Advertisements



Chaos In Texas As Employees Fired For Refusing To Get Vaxxed Demand Their Jobs Back

Chaos In Texas As Employees Fired For Refusing To Get Vaxxed Demand Their Jobs Back Things are getting very confusing in Texas. Shortly after governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning the vaccine mandates by any employer, which in turn was followed by several prominent Texas corporations - such as IBM, American Air, Southwest - saying they would snub the EO and back Biden on shots, we've reach a point where some employers side with the governor, others side with the president, meanwhile employees have no idea what they have to do (or not do), while yet another group of (former) employees that was fired for refusing to comply with the mandates is now trying to get their jobs back.  As Houston Public Media reports, more than 150 former employees of Houston Methodist Hospital, who either quit or were fired in June over a vaccine mandate policy will demand to be rehired after Gov. Abbott issued an executive order on Monday banning any entity in the state from implementing such mandates, according to a lawyer representing the former employees. Attorney Jared Woodfill, who represents almost 200 healthcare workers in multiple lawsuits against Methodist, said executive order GA-40 makes the hospital’s policy illegal. “Governor Abbott says very clearly, ‘whereas countless Texans fear losing their livelihoods because they object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination for reasons of personal conscience,'” he said. “That applies to every plaintiff that I represent, and every plaintiff that Methodist hospital thought it was appropriate to fire.” Woodfill said he planned to send a formal request to the hospital on Tuesday in an attempt to reinstate the former employees. As we reported at the time, Houston Methodist, which operates several hospitals in the area and has more than 25,000 employees, was the first hospital in the country to implement a vaccine mandate for workers in April sparking a fierce legal battle between hundreds of employees and the hospital. In June, 178 employees were suspended after declining to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Weeks later, 153 employees either resigned or were terminated. According to Methodists' numbers, 25 opted to get vaccinated and return to work. In a statement, Methodist CEO Marc Boom didn’t touch on whether or not the former employees would be allowed back, but said he was "deeply disappointed" by Abbott’s order. He added that the order wouldn’t have an impact on Methodist since the hospital implemented its vaccine mandate months ago. The hospital system is still reviewing Abbott’s order and its possible implications, but because its own rule went into effect months ago, 100% of its employees are compliant with the vaccine policy, according to Boom.  “We are reviewing the order now and its possible implications,” the statement read. “We expect all of our employees and physicians to be vaccinated as we must continue doing everything possible to keep all our patients and each other as safe as possible until this pandemic is over." He added that “not only are our patients safe as a result, but we are able to remain healthy at work and be there for our community when it needs us the most." Boom said he hoped that other Texas hospitals, like Baylor College of Medicine and Memorial Hermann, would continue to implement their vaccine mandates despite the governor’s orders. “We are grateful we mandated the vaccine early so the order will not have an immediate impact on us,” Marc Boom, the chief executive officer of Houston Methodist, wrote in an email. “But we are concerned for other Texas hospitals that may not be able to continue their mandates now with this executive order.” Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 20:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Leader Of California"s Largest Labor Union Quits After Tax, Embezzlement Charges

Leader Of California's Largest Labor Union Quits After Tax, Embezzlement Charges Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The executive director of California’s largest labor union has resigned from her post after the state charged her and her husband with embezzlement, tax fraud, perjury, and failure to pay unemployment insurance taxes. Then-Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California Executive Director Alma Hernandez and her husband, Jose Moscoso, were charged in a seven-page felony complaint filed with the Sacramento County Superior Court earlier this month. Hernandez had held the position since 2016. The charges, which came about as a result of a multiagency investigation led by California’s Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy Task Force, were made public this week by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat. SEIU represents more than 700,000 workers across California. Hernandez campaigned to defeat the September recall effort against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. Her organization reportedly donated upward of $6 million to the anti-recall campaign. Newsom easily won the vote. “The union is also a major player in the Capitol, pushing for policies such as a $15 minimum wage,” The Sacramento Bee reported. “It represents local government employees, state workers, in-home caregivers, lecturers, janitors, and health and care professionals, among others.” In announcing the criminal proceeding on Oct. 13, Bonta defended the role of labor unions. “Labor unions are an integral part of what makes California strong. Unions are working people standing together to demand fair wages, quality healthcare, a safe work environment, and the ability to retire with dignity,” he said in a statement. “Working people deserve leaders they can depend on to help them achieve these goals at the bargaining table and through political advocacy, but also leaders they can trust. When there is reason to believe trust has been broken and crimes have been committed, we have an ethical duty to investigate—we owe that to the people of California.” The California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation began probing the married couple’s finances after the Fair Political Practices Commission alleged following an investigation that Hernandez had embezzled $4,500 from an SEIU California-sponsored political action committee, or PAC. It’s also alleged that she declared on a form that the PAC paid $11,700 to her husband for food vendor services that she knew hadn’t been provided. The California Franchise Tax Board alleges that Hernandez and Moscoso underreported their income by $1.4 million from 2014 to 2019. The Employment Development Department also claims that Moscoso’s air duct cleaning business failed to report and remit taxes on employees’ wages from 2017 to 2020 and that he paid employees under the table. The complaint also included a so-called white-collar crime enhancement that would force the couple to serve time in state prison if convicted. Family spokesperson Mari Hernandez told The Sacramento Bee that Hernandez quit her job so that she could focus on “legal issues facing her family.” “Those who know her know she has devoted her entire working life to the cause of justice and dignity for working people, especially those without power, privilege, or papers,” she said. Timothy Snowball, California litigator for the Freedom Foundation, which has been critical of public-sector unions, said malfeasance in labor unions is commonplace. Timothy Snowball, California litigator for Freedom Foundation (courtesy Timothy Snowball) “This kind of corruption at the highest echelons of leadership of SEIU California or any other union,” comes as no surprise “unfortunately,” according to Snowball. “We’ve been documenting and spending time for years explaining to public employees about this type of corruption,” he told The Epoch Times. “So the way this works is public employees show up at their jobs the first day, and like many jobs, you’re handed a pile of paperwork to fill out.” That paperwork typically contains union membership cards, according to Snowball. “A lot of times they don’t even explain what these cards are,” he said. “Sometimes, they’ll send in union representatives to strongarm people into signing these things. They find them, and then they have money taken out every paycheck to unions like SEIU California, who then take that money and spend it on political causes that those members very well may oppose. “And when people find out about this, they go, ‘Oh, my gosh. I had no idea you’re going to be spending this on fighting the recall or anything else. And hey, I don’t want my money spent that way.’ And the union winds up saying, ‘Sorry, you signed this card. You didn’t read the fine print, and now you’re out luck.’ And it’s absolutely outrageous.” Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation, implied that criticism now being leveled at SEIU wasn’t sincere. These charges “provide fuel” to union opponents, Smith told The Sacramento Bee, but stated that every union leader in the state “takes the responsibility of being a good steward of members’ funds very seriously.” “The way we fight back against politically motivated attacks is by continuing to show what a strong, unified labor movement accomplishes for working people,” he said. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 20:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge9 hr. 53 min. ago

We"re Living In A Chaos Economy... Here"s How To End It

We're Living In A Chaos Economy... Here's How To End It Authored by Mark Thornton via The Mises Institute, The Federal Reserve has been increasing the money supply at an explosive rate. The federal budget, deficits, and the trade deficit are record levels. Governments, both foreign and domestic, have locked down people, restricting production and consumption. How should this be viewed by an economist? There is clearly chaos in the economy, and hardly a day goes by when I don’t find unusual if not unprecedented situations in day-to-day economic life. However, many people and economists are either oblivious to the problems or in denial. Things are normal for them. Politicians are mostly in this camp. For economists and investment promotors, inflation is “transitory.” They don’t know how the economy works and they expect near perfection from the economy and entrepreneurs. This view is wrong. The chaos is all too real for most others. Homemakers who spend household income are seeing their purchasing power shrink, their choices disappearing, and more of their time consumed stretching the family budgets. Christmas shopping will be worse than normal. Chaos deniers are further entrenched in their experience by the mainstream media (MSM). The problems are either not reported by the MSM or are masked by aggregate statistics like price inflation, i.e., the Consumer Price Index, low unemployment, wage increases, and extremely high stock markets and real estate, especially housing prices. These stats make people feel good, or at least less nervous. Below the government economists’ radar there is real economic suffering. Small businesses are hurting and going out of business. Based on Help Wanted signs I drive by every day, it is extremely difficult to hire employees or purchase inputs. One local BBQ restaurant recently had a sign that said, “Out of Chicken, Pork and Beef.” Big business is likewise finding roadblocks throughout their supply chains, primarily because of lockdowns and covid restrictions. This government roadblock to economic life is epitomized by the five hundred thousand shipping containers stuck off the port of Long Beach, California. Meanwhile, domestic inventories are dwindling for everything from houses to mayonnaise.  Austrian economics provides an understanding of the causes of this chaos and the way to solve it. The Fed’s actions have been a tidal wave force against the economy. Printing money has given some signs of prosperity, but its main known effect tangible effects are higher prices, malinvestment, and more wealth redistributed from the middle class to the very wealthy. The solution is straightforward. The central bank needs to stop its policy of propping up the markets for government bonds and home mortgages and the perverse effects it is creating on the general loan market in the form of ultralow interest rates. Promises of the Fed “tapering,” where they do fewer asset purchases, is really too little too late. Completely ending assets purchases by the Fed would stop their mischief, limit the damage, and would make stocks, bonds, and homes more affordable for Americans. Lockdowns and restrictions are a great harm to the US and world economies. Why are so many cargo ships sitting waiting for unloading? Why are others going unfilled in the first place? Why aren’t truckers driving product to market? Why isn’t product being placed on shelves? There are millions of details here, but in many cases, workers are not available or are unwilling to comply with covid restrictions and requirements. Production is stuck in a quagmire of government intervention. A big piece of the problem are the restrictions and subsidies in the US labor markets. Special unemployment benefits and stimulus checks from the government mean that not working pays more than working, plus more leisure time for those that accept being on the public dole. In one recent week I engaged with three small businesses. They could not have continued to operate if they had not been able to hire a few new workers who were unwilling to be on the dole or, more likely, had not realized how easy it is to collect unemployment. Locally, McDonalds is offering 50 percent higher than minimum wage for fourteen-year-old kids, and they are still having trouble attracting workers! The bottlenecks, empty shelves, business closures, reduced hours, and “worker wanted” signs are not the direct result of price controls nor are they the fault of the market economy. Rather prices in some areas of the economy need to rise so high and so fast to harmonize supply and demand that entrepreneurs can hardly keep pace in this environment dominated by government interventions and heightened uncertainty. I truly sympathize with entrepreneurs who are trying to save jobs, keep food on our tables, plus pay a huge chunk of taxes. Locally, an ice cream stand that has been successfully in business for almost seven decades had to shut down. It wasn’t the complexity of the business, the lack of product or even the higher prices it charged. They could not find and maintain a workforce through the maze of restrictions of unemployment subsidies. The current owner of this beloved multigeneration family-owned business explained, “We don’t really know what’s going to happen. It just depends on COVID and when people want to start working.” It is unclear what aspect(s) of covid is their primary concern, but the main complaint is that “[n]obody wants to work anymore.” The federal government, in a variety of ways, is what killed this business. It is evident and increasingly clear that unemployment insurance bonuses and government stimulus checks must be stopped for the economy to recover. It’s not just retail products that are not readily available even at higher prices. People who repair and replace things that wear out or break in normal circumstances are also much scarcer. Repair-and-replace service dealers are having a hard time finding parts, replacement models, and workers to make parts and products and to service and replace them in a timely manner. I have had several such companies not answer their phone and not be able to offer appointments or show up on time because of a lack of parts and employees. All of these companies were reliable and showed up on time for repair appointments before the government-caused chaos. Buying a new car or large flat-screen smart TV is a joyous occasion in a family’s material life. We know that we will get years of enjoyment for a good price. How does this compare to going without a refrigerator, hot-water heater, or air conditioner because the product was not available? It should be clear that the cause of our new economic problems is massive across-the-board government intervention here and abroad. Among the negative consequences are these harms and dislocations we face. The solution is to remove those government interventions. Not only have they caused a great deal of interference in economic transactions, but they have destroyed businesses and people’s lives. Many have also even died as a result, from the despair and chaos, not the disease. Meanwhile, social media and internet giants, and pharmaceutical companies, among others, have received an enormous unearned windfall. This is an economic crisis, and it is one of the government’s making. Economic statistics and stock markets (led by a small number of superwinners from the lockdowns) have masked the calamity. The sure remedy is to end the interventions, especially the Fed’s inflationary policy and the restrictions and subsidies on production and consumption. This would help restore the market economy to a functioning state. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge16 hr. 53 min. ago

Three Bizarre Reasons Why Inflation Is Here To Stay

When I was about five years old in the early 1980s, my dad brought home our first computer. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more I’ll never forget it– it was an clunky IBM with a tiny, orange, monochromatic monitor, and dual floppy disks. It had 640 kilobytes of RAM, and no hard disk. […] When I was about five years old in the early 1980s, my dad brought home our first computer. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more I’ll never forget it– it was an clunky IBM with a tiny, orange, monochromatic monitor, and dual floppy disks. It had 640 kilobytes of RAM, and no hard disk. I loved it. With that computer I learned how to program, how to navigate a command-line interface, how to design algorithms, and how to solve constant problems… because it was ridiculously buggy and would break down all the time. It was also painfully slow. The boot-up process could easily take an hour, from the time I flipped on the power switch, to the time I saw the ‘DOS prompt’. Sometimes I think that computer is a great metaphor for the global economy. Turning it off is nothing; you flip the switch and the power goes off. But starting it back up again takes a long time. And the process isn’t so smooth– sometimes it crashes during bootup. The Great Plague Last March when the Great Plague was upon us, nearly every industry, in nearly every country in the world, practically shut down. And many businesses went bust, never to return. Eighteen months later businesses have largely reopened. But like my old computer, the reboot process has been riddled with critical errors and system failures. For example, right now there are countless businesses in industries from retail to manufacturing that are experiencing severe labor shortages. Supply chains around the world are breaking down, resulting in product shortages and major transportation bottlenecks. The end result of this dumpster fire is that prices are soaring. And I wanted to spend some time today connecting the dots to help explain some of these important trends. Let’s go back to last March again when everything shut down. You probably recall that dozens of large companies declared bankruptcy, like Nieman Marcus, GNC, JC Penny, etc. But there were other companies that went bust which most people have probably never heard of. They were in more mundane, less sexy industries… like corrugated paper and wood pulp. Yet while their demise was hardly noticed, it turns out they would have a significant impact on the global economy. Surge In Global Shipping Demand Global shipping demand surged last year in ways that had never been seen before. Suddenly, instead of efficient supply chains shipping goods to large marketplaces (like retail and grocery stores), consumers wanted everything delivered to them. While the total volume of shipping was largely the same (or even less) than previous years, the number of individual shipments increased dramatically. In other words, instead of a single large shipment to a store or supermarket, companies were making thousands of tiny shipments to individual consumers. This meant more trips… and more packaging. More cardboard boxes. More plastic wrap. More plastic containers. More Styrofoam. And the prices for all of these materials has spiked. The price for polyethylene, for example, which is used extensively in shipping, has increased from $820 per ton to $1,850 per ton. Polypropylene prices are also up from $1,100 per ton to $1,770 per ton. It’s a similar trend with cardboard and corrugated paper. And these price increases aren’t simply due to high demand either. Supply has fallen. Last March when a number of wood pulp producers went out of business, no one noticed and no one cared. But it turned out that more than 10% of all North American paper capacity vanished, practically overnight, just before demand started to surge. And this capacity cannot be simply turned on again with a flip of a switch. It takes a lot of effort to resurrect a bankrupt factory, to re-hire and re-train workers. (We’ll get to the worker issue in a moment.) It’s a similar trend around the world– foreign factories have closed, and those that remain open are struggling to retain workers and operate under strict COVID protocols. Manufacturing efficiency is way down as a result, so they’re not producing enough supply to keep up with demand. The Actual Shipping Problems Then there are the actual shipping problems– the crazy delays, especially on the West Coast of the United States, that prevent container ships from delivering their cargo. It’s not that there aren’t enough ships in the world; in fact, the total global capacity in terms of TEUs, or 20-foot Equivalent Units, is slightly higher than pre-pandemic. But a range of factors, including COVID rules and union regulations, means there’s a shortage of maritime crew to operate the vessels. There’s also a shortage of dockworkers, truck drivers, forklift operators, etc. at the ports. This is especially true in California, whose regulatory environment makes port operations extremely difficult and inefficient. Yet sadly for the United States, California’s ports are the busiest and most important in the country; most of the seafreight from China is offloaded at the Port of Long Beach or Port of Los Angeles, so bottlenecks there cause a major ripple effect across the country. Right now there is a backlog of ships waiting to unload their cargo in southern California. This makes the COVID policies of California especially important for the rest of the United States; whatever Gavin Newsome decides has a huge impact on the national economy. Labor Shortage Labor is obviously another major issue in this messy economic reboot. Thanks to a steady digest of mass media Covid hysteria, there are still plenty of people who are terrified to leave their homes and go to work. Moreover, there are so many people who got used to being home over the past 18-months, that now they only want a job where they can work from home. This is a major problem for businesses… and why it’s so hard for restaurant companies, fast food joints, retail shops, factories, etc. to find workers. People would rather stay home. The government hasn’t exactly been helpful in this department when they were paying outsized unemployment benefits to encourage everyone to stay home. That effect is lingering. There’s another trend at work here, though. For the last several years, politicians have been fighting hard to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. It turns out that no one really wanted those jobs to begin with. Younger people in particular don’t have as much interest in those sorts of traditional jobs; they’d rather be ‘influencers’ and make their money posting butt selfies and snapshots of their contrived lifestyle. This was already becoming an issue prior to COVID; large companies– especially those in industries that were considered unappealing to Gen Z– were complaining how difficult it was to hire, train, and retain young workers. Now it’s borderline impossible. Businesses also have to compete with the government for labor, which has gobbled up workers and put them to work as ‘contact tracers’. And retail companies that are lucky enough to find employees are forced to misallocate those scarce resources to do unproductive tasks, like checking everyone’s ‘papers’ when customers walk through the door. And then, of course, if a business has been able to navigate all of those crazy obstacles, Hunter Biden’s dad is now forcing you to fire any worker who hasn’t been [unmentionable word– thanks Google]. Federal Reserve’s Monetary Blowout On top of all of the above is the Federal Reserve’s monetary blowout. They’ve printed trillions of dollars over the past 18 months to ‘support the economy’. Yet even though the unemployment rate is down to 4.8%, they’re STILL printing at least $120 billion per month in new money. All that new money has helped fuel giant asset bubbles in stocks, bonds, property, and commodities. Energy prices in particular have risen sharply, and this tends to cause all other prices to rise. The result of all of this insanity is inflation. Lots of it. The problem is that most of these trends are not going away anytime soon. The Fed may start to taper its money printing. But they have very little room to raise interest rates meaningfully to combat inflation. Plus the labor issues, government policy, shipping, manufacturing shortages, etc. are going to last for a while. In fact, you’d think the correct government policy right now would be to create incentives for people to work, to create new businesses, and to invest in new technology that could automate and clean up the bottlenecks. At a minimum you’d think they’d stay the hell away and let capitalism do its job. After all, free market competition is one of the greatest tools to fix any economic woes, especially inefficiencies and resource misallocation. Yet all of the policies they’re proposing are anti-competitive and anti-market. They want to create DISINCENTIVES to form businesses and make investments. It’s the exact opposite of what they should be doing. (This is what happens when you put a socialist in charge of writing the budget.) So the next time one of these politicians or central bankers say that inflation is ‘transitory’, you can be certain they’re completely clueless about what’s happening in the real world. On another note… We think gold could DOUBLE and silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES in the next few years. That's why we published a new, 50-page long Ultimate Guide on Gold & Silver that you can download here. Inside you'll learn... How you could Double Your Money with an asset That Has a 5,000 Year History of Prosperity Why gold could potentially DOUBLE, and why silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES The 5 smartest, safest and most lucrative ways to own gold and silver (and one way you should definitely avoid) Why gold is the ultimate anti-currency and insurance policy against the systematic destruction of the US dollar (that everyone should at least consider owning) Why ETFs are a lurking timebomb and why you want to avoid them like the plague And everything else you need to know about buying, owning, storing and investing in precious metals This 50-page report is brand new and absolutely free. Article by Simon Black, Sovereig Mman Updated on Oct 15, 2021, 4:01 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 15th, 2021

Gold’s Journey Signals To Dollars Instability and Supply Chain Issues

Gold had an interesting week, as the start of the fourth quarter draws in mixed reports, stemming from weak jobs reports, continued COVID-19 restrictions, record-high oil prices, supply chain bottleneck, and inflation. The Fed continues to give mix signals as to what policies they will implement to help curb inflation and give a substantial boost […] Gold had an interesting week, as the start of the fourth quarter draws in mixed reports, stemming from weak jobs reports, continued COVID-19 restrictions, record-high oil prices, supply chain bottleneck, and inflation. The Fed continues to give mix signals as to what policies they will implement to help curb inflation and give a substantial boost to the economy. Recently, the Fed’s Jerome Powell mentioned the possibility of tapering COVID era policies, but yet, we do not know what tapering measures will be implemented. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Government Spending In Washington, the battle continues between liberals and conservatives on issues about the debt ceiling, the massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, and government funding. Conservatives believe the government cannot afford to fund the new proposed projects the Democrats are demanding. The US’s debt currently stands at $28.8 trillion. Some Democrats have even proposed the minting of a $1 trillion coin to be deposited in the US Treasury to fund the numerous amount of government services. Many economists believe that will have insignificant effects on curbing debt woes, saying that changing monetary policy is one solution to fixing our economic issues. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she does not intend to mint a 1 trillion dollar coin to help pay for the government expenses. Labor Shortage Unemployment has increased in the weeks following the end of stimulus relief. Many low-paying salaried employees have decided to opt-out of returning to work. Many people in the service industry have not returned to work since the U.S shutdown of businesses last year, due to COVID restrictions. With the increased work from home phenomena and automation taking over menial jobs, there is no going back. Another factor to increased unemployment comes from newly enforced vaccination policies that have left many without a job. The Biden Administration is set to implement more COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employers by December. This fall season, with new impending COVID-19 regulations, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Since 2020, over 200,000 businesses were forced to shutter, adding to the nation’s economic woes. Supply Chain Bottlenecks Are Aggravating Markets If the labor shortage wasn’t enough to aggravate markets, the supply chain issue is surely bringing on the pain. As inflation continues to increase at an alarming pace, many consumers are wondering when prices will cool off. Recently, the Fed stated that inflation is transitory and will cool off once supply chain issues are corrected. But is that exactly true? The Fed seems to overlook the fact that their unlimited supply of cheap money circulating the economy has increased demand for goods and services. More money people have to spend because of easy credit and extra money saved over the pandemic has lead consumers to purchase goods at very high rates. U.S. household wealth reached a high of $141.7 trillion. Homeowners saw their net worth increase with the housing market, with many people taking advantage of low-interest rates. As of Oct. 15, retail sales were up 0.7%. The chip shortage is another factor with the lack of highly demanded supplies like automobiles, electronics, machinery, and other high-tech equipment available. As a result, car prices, both new and used have skyrocketed. Car manufactures cannot keep up with production and have lead people to the used car market. Ps5s and gaming equipment has become scarce as well. Manufacturers are trying to keep up with production, but with the labor shortage, COVID-19 restrictions, and energy crisis, it seems like the problem will continue way into 2022. Energy Crisis Adding To Supply Chain Problem The current energy crisis is causing industrial powerhouses, China and India, to shut down factories in many of their provinces. China is struggling to source coal after several storms impeded coal production. Oil prices hit past $80 this week. The US, UK, and the EU have demanded OPEC+ to boost output but seems to fall on deaf ears. The U.S. has suggested using the nation’s emergency supply to help relieve record-high gas prices Americans are currently enduring. Analysts have voiced concerns, that if oil and gas demands aren’t meet, we can soon see oil prices hit above the $100 mark. Gold And Bitcoin Standing Tall As the dollar struggles to make significant gains, gold and Bitcoin have attracted many investors who worry about a dollar collapse. As of Oct. 15, Bitcoin passed to the $60,000 mark, with many saying that it will soon pass $70,000. The current rate of inflation is sounding an alarm bell with many suggesting that stagflation can certainly be upon us. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium had an interesting week, with gold surging past $1,800. Seeing as the Fed is surely out of tools to stop the rate of inflation, many savvy investors are hedging their assets with gold as a way to protect their wealth. We will see what next week has in store for us. Updated on Oct 15, 2021, 4:26 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 15th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Dems nervously eye Virginia

And Texas' abortion law will stand for now. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Virginia governor's race shaping up as test of state's Democratic strength and BidenINVESTIGATION: TSA staffers are angry, working 2nd jobs, and ready to retire earlyTexas' strict abortion law will stand for nowWith Phil Rosen. The Virginia gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe, left, and Glenn Youngkin. AP Photo/Cliff Owen 1. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: The Virginia governor's race always serves as a key barometer for the midterms. The current race between former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican Glenn Youngkin is shaping up as a test of the state's Democratic strength and President Joe Biden.Here are the key things to watch in the final closing weeks:McAuliffe appears to be in the lead: The former governor led by 5 percentage points in the latest Fox News poll among likely voters (11 points among all registered voters). Respected political handicappers like Sabato's Crystal Ball are also still giving McAuliffe the edge.Who's rocking in the suburbs?: Democrats have been ascendant in the commonwealth for over a decade. Explosive growth in northern Virginia, home to the state's fastest-growing suburbs, has powered presidential victories in a state the GOP once dominated. Both McAuliffe and Youngkin, a former co-CEO of Carlyle Group, call the area home.Experts say Youngkin's background may help him try to woo voters back to the GOP: "He's not hated as much as Trump is here - that's for sure," J. Miles Coleman, the associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, told Insider. "He kind of has an uplifting life story, and I think he's probably better positioned to appeal to some of those suburban voters who used to be Republicans but now vote for Democrats."RELATED: Ex-Carlyle chief and Virginia GOP gubernatorial hopeful Glenn Youngkin talks to Insider about his days as a Wall Street kingpinBiden looms large: McAuliffe himself has pointed to Biden's dipping approval nationally and in the state as reasons for concern. (Biden's approval was slightly above water in the Fox News poll). Former President Barack Obama and other top Democrats are expected to stump in the state in a closing show of force before November 2.Read more about the state of the race.2. TSA agents have had it: Nearly 20 years after their agency's creation, TSA screeners, known as transportation security officers, told Insider they were burned out by low wages, high turnover, conflicts with management, angry travelers, and, since the onset of the pandemic, the threat of COVID-19. "They're angry, they're violent, they want to fight, they want to throw things," an Atlanta TSA officer said of unruly passengers. One officer said passengers had even worn underwear on their faces in an effort to flout federal mask mandates. Read more about why TSA staffers think they are "the bastard children of the federal government."3. Texas' abortion law will stand for now: A federal appeals court sided with Texas in refusing the Justice Department's request to reinstate a temporary ban on the state law that effectively bans abortion in the state, The Washington Post reports. The 2-1 order, which is expected to be appealed to the US Supreme Court, did not state the reasoning for the decision. More on the ruling and what's expected in the fight over abortion. Anthony Klotz coined the phrase The Great Resignation. His next prediction: a wave of quitters returning to their previous employers. Samantha Lee/Insider 4. People who quit during the pandemic are starting to ask for their old jobs back: The next chapter of the Great Resignation is upon us as "boomerang employees" return to work. Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M, is predicting a wave of quitters to make a comeback. And he doesn't see it as a bad thing: Read about the next pandemic workplace trend.5. Democrats say they don't know what Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wants: A major holdup in the talks over the party's massive $3.5 trillion spending plan is said to be opposition by Sinema to any tax increases for individuals and large corporations. Such a position threatens to deprive the package of over $700 billion in revenue to finance the bulk of Biden's agenda. Progressives recently assailed Sinema and a fellow centrist, Sen. Joe Manchin, for not being clear in laying out their priorities. More on how Sinema is vexing her party as it tries to pass Biden's agenda.6. Moderna boosters are one step closer to happening: A panel of independent experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend a Moderna booster shot for certain people who got their shot at least six months earlier. Moderna is seeking to use a lower dose for its booster than for the first two shots. Here's what still needs to happen before shots can go into arms.7. Biden's SCOTUS commission is split on court expansion: Commissioners wrote in a draft report that they were divided on whether it "would be wise" to add more justices to the US's highest court. Biden's support for a presidential commission to study the court's future came during the 2020 Democratic primaries amid an intense pressure campaign on presidential hopefuls to commit to adding more justices. More from the draft report, including why commissioners say expanding the Supreme Court could further inflame the confirmation battles.8. Capitol riot panel moves to hold Steve Bannon in contempt: Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said the panel "will not tolerate the defiance of our subpoenas" and was moving forward with holding Bannon in criminal contempt for his refusal to cooperate. Lawmakers on the panel have rejected Bannon's assertion that former President Donald Trump's claim of executive privilege means he can't testify. Biden's White House has moved to waive such claims. More on where the investigation stands.9. Bill Clinton was hospitalized with a non-COVID infection: A spokesman for the former president said Clinton was "on the mend" after being admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center. Clinton, 75, is being closely monitored at the hospital and was administered IV antibiotics and fluids. More on the news. "The Simpsons." Fox 10. Want to make some D'oh while binging "The Simpsons"? A company is hiring a "Simpsons series analyst" to watch all 706 episodes of the legendary television series and write reports on happenings that might predict the future. The pay is $6,800 for eight weeks. The show has built a reputation for predicting real-life events years ahead of time. Plus, the company is offering free doughnuts. Mmmm, doughnut.Today's trivia question: Speaking of "The Simpsons," which first family briefly feuded with the classic show? The president in question even used Springfield's best-known family as a campaign punch line. Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: President Jimmy Carter's brother, Billy, is responsible for the creation of Billy Beer, though the president's brother would often acknowledge he really drank PBR at home.That's all for now. Have a great weekend!Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

Andrew McCabe, the former FBI official who was fired under Trump just hours before his retirement, won back his pension in a settlement with the DOJ

McCabe was fired in 2018 after multiple public attacks from Trump. In a lawsuit against the Justice Department, he alleged the firing was political. Andrew McCabe. Alex Wong/Getty Images The Justice Department settled a lawsuit brought by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. McCabe sued over his 2018 firing, alleging it was done for political reason and fueled by Trump. McCabe won back his pension and benefits and the firing will be removed from his record. Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI who was fired in 2018 one day before he was set to retire, won back his pension in a settlement with the Department of Justice on Thursday.Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe after an investigation into his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe. Justice Department officials concluded McCabe was not forthcoming during the investigation and recommended he be fired.But McCabe argued the firing was politically motivated, citing the multiple public attacks then-President Donald Trump made against him. He sued the agency in 2019."It was Trump's unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him," McCabe's lawsuit said. "Plaintiff's termination was a critical element of Trump's plan and scheme."Under the settlement, which was first reported by The New York Times, McCabe will be able to officially retire, with the firing removed from FBI records, and receive his pension and other benefits. He will also receive back pay for the pension payments he missed, which The Times reported total abut $200,000.The Justice Department did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement."Politics should never play a role in the fair administration of justice and Civil Service personnel decisions," McCabe said in a statement, according to The Times. "I hope that this result encourages the men and women of the FBI to continue to protect the American people by standing up for the truth and doing their jobs without fear of political retaliation."After his dismissal from the FBI, McCabe continued to speak out against Trump. In August, he said Trump's praise for Ashli Babbitt, the Capitol rioter who was killed by police during the attack, amounted to "threatening members of law enforcement."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck US equity futures, already sharply higher overnight, jumped this morning as a risk-on mood inspired by stellar bank earnings, overshadowed concern that supply snarls. a China property crunch, a tapering Fed and stagflation will weigh on the global recovery. Nasdaq futures jumped 1%, just ahead of the S&P 500 which was up 0.9%. 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower to about 1.5%, and with the dollar lower as well, oil jumped. Bitcoin and the broader crypto space continued to rise. Shares in Morgan Stanley, Citi and Bank of America jumped as their deal-making units rode a record wave of M&A. On the other end, Boeing shares fell more than 1% after a Dow Jones report said the plane maker is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner. Here are some of the biggest other U.S. movers today: Occidental (OXY US) rises 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell its interests in two Ghana offshore fields for $750m to Kosmos Energy and Ghana National Petroleum Plug Power (PLUG US) rises 3.3% premarket, extending gains from Wednesday, when it announced partnership with Airbus SE and Phillips 66 to find ways to harness hydrogen to power airplanes, vehicles and industry Esports Entertainment (GMBL US) shares rise 16% in U.S. premarket trading after the online gambling company reported its FY21 results and reaffirmed its FY22 guidance Perrigo  (PRGO US) gains 2.8% in premarket trading after Raymond James upgrades to outperform following acquisition of HRA Pharma and recent settlement of Irish tax dispute AT&T (T US) ticks higher in premarket trading after KeyBanc writes upgrades to sector weight from underweight, saying it seems harder to justify further downside from here Avis Budget (CAR US) may be active after getting its only negative rating among analysts as Morgan Stanley cuts to underweight with risk/reward seen pointing toward downside OrthoPediatrics (KIDS US) dipped 2% Wednesday postmarket after it said 3Q revenue was hurt by the surge in cases of Covid-19 delta variant and RSV within children’s hospitals combined with staff shortage Investors continue to evaluate the resilience of economic reopening to supply chain disruptions, a jump in energy prices and the prospect of reduced central bank support. In the earnings season so far, executives at S&P 500 companies mentioned the phrase “supply chain” about 3,000 times on investor calls as of Tuesday -- far higher than last year’s then-record figure. “Our constructive outlook for growth means that our asset allocation remains broadly pro-risk and we continue to be modestly overweight global equities,” according to Michael Grady, head of investment strategy and chief economist at Aviva Investors. “However, we have scaled back that position marginally because of growing pains which could impact sales and margins.” Europe's Stoxx 600 index reached its highest level in almost three weeks, boosted by gains in tech shares and miners. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose over 1% to best levels for the week. FTSE 100 rises 0.75%, underperforming at the margin. Miners and tech names are the strongest sectors with only healthcare stocks in small negative territory. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: THG shares advance as much as 10%, snapping a four-day losing streak, after a non-executive director bought stock while analysts at Goldman Sachs and Liberum defended their buy recommendations. Steico gains as much as 9.9%, the most since Jan., after the insulation manufacturer reported record quarterly revenue, which Warburg says “leaves no doubt” about underlying market momentum. Banco BPM climbs as much as 3.6% and is the day’s best performer on the FTSE MIB benchmark index; bank initiated at buy at Jefferies as broker says opportunity to internalize insurance business offers 9%-16% possible upside to 2023 consensus EPS and is not priced in by the market. Hays rises as much as 4.3% after the recruiter posted a jump in comparable net fees for the first quarter. Publicis jumps as much as 3.7%, the stock’s best day since July, with JPMorgan saying the advertising company’s results show a “strong” third quarter, though there are risks ahead. Kesko shares rise as much as 6.1%. The timing of this year’s third guidance upgrade was a surprise, Inderes says. Ubisoft shares fall as much as 5.5% after JPMorgan Cazenove (overweight) opened a negative catalyst watch, citing short-term downside risk to earnings ahead of results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced, boosted by a rebound in technology shares as traders focused on the ongoing earnings season and assessed economic-reopening prospects in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, as a sub-gauge of tech stocks rose, halting a three-day slide. Tokyo Electron contributed the most to the measure’s climb, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed up 0.4% ahead of its earnings release. India’s tech stocks rose following better-than-expected earnings for three leading firms in the sector. Philippine stocks were among Asia’s best performers as Manila began easing virus restrictions, which will allow more businesses in the capital to reopen this weekend. Indonesia’s stock benchmark rallied for a third-straight day, as the government prepared to reopen Bali to tourists. READ: Commodities Boom, Tourism Hopes Fuel Southeast Asia Stock Rally Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX, said FOMC minutes released overnight provided Asian markets with little direction, which may offer some opportunity for recouping recent losses. The report showed officials broadly agreed last month they should start reducing pandemic-era stimulus in mid-November or mid-December. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields stayed below 1.6%, providing support for tech stocks.  “Markets seemed to conclude the near-term narrative is on pause until further evidence,” Spivak said. Shares in mainland China fell as the country reported factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September. Singapore’s stock benchmark pared initial losses as the country’s central bank unexpectedly tightened policy. Hong Kong’s equity market was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were steady to a tad higher, underperforming Bunds which advanced, led by the long end.  Fixed income is mixed: gilts bull steepen with short dates richening ~2.5bps, offering only a muted reaction to dovish commentary from BOE’s Tenreyro. Bunds rise with 10y futures breaching 169. USTs are relatively quiet with 5s30s unable to crack 100bps to the upside. Peripheral spreads widen slightly. In FX, the Turkish lira was again the overnight standout as it weakened to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three central bankers. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell and the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, with risk-sensitive and resource-based currencies leading gains; the euro rose to trade above $1.16 for the first time in a week.  The pound rose to more than a two-week high amid dollar weakness as traders wait for a raft of Bank of England policy makers to speak. Sweden’s krona temporarily came off an almost eight-month high against the euro after inflation fell short of estimates. The euro dropped to the lowest since November against the Swiss franc as banks targeted large option barriers and leveraged sell-stops under 1.0700, traders said; Currency traders are responding to stagflation risks by turning to the Swiss franc. The Aussie advanced to a five-week high versus the greenback even as a monthly jobs report showed employment fell in September; the jobless rate rose less than economists forecast. The kiwi was a among the top performers; RBNZ Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand said inflation pressures were becoming more persistent China’s yuan declined from a four-month high after the central bank signaled discomfort with recent gains by setting a weaker-than-expected reference rate. In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains with WTI up ~$1 before stalling near $81.50. Brent regains a $84-handle. Spot gold drifts through Wednesday’s highs, adding $4 to print just shy of the $1,800/oz mark. Base metals are well bid with LME copper and aluminum gaining as much as 3%.  Looking at the day ahead, we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,382.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 464.38 MXAP up 0.7% to 196.12 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 642.66 Nikkei up 1.5% to 28,550.93 Topix up 0.7% to 1,986.97 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,558.28 Sensex up 0.7% to 61,190.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,311.73 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,988.64 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $83.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,796.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 93.84 German 10Y yield fell 1.5 bps to -0.143% Euro little changed at $1.1615 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.13/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A flattening Treasury yield curve signals increasing concern Federal Reserve efforts to keep inflation in check will derail the recovery in the world’s largest economy China’s factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September, potentially adding to global inflation pressure if local businesses start passing on higher costs to consumers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired monetary policy makers wary of cutting interest rates further, driving the lira to record lows against the dollar with his midnight decree Singapore’s central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy settings, strengthening the local dollar, as the city-state joins policymakers globally concerned about risks of persistent inflation Shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for oil, deepening what was already a sizable supply deficit in crude markets, the International Energy Agency said A tropical storm that’s lashing southern China mixed with Covid-related supply chain snarls is causing a ship backlog from Shenzhen to Singapore, intensifying fears retail shelves may look rather empty come Christmas A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk A constructive mood was seen across Asia-Pac stocks with the region building on the mild positive bias stateside where the Nasdaq outperformed as tech and growth stocks benefitted from the curve flattening, with global risk appetite unfazed by the firmer US CPI data and FOMC Minutes that suggested the start of tapering in either mid-November of mid-December. The ASX 200 (+0.5%) traded higher as tech stocks found inspiration from the outperformance of US counterparts and with the mining sector buoyed by gains in underlying commodity prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.5%) was the biggest gainer amid currency-related tailwinds and with the latest securities flow data showing a substantial shift by foreign investors to net purchases of Japanese stocks during the prior week. The KOSPI (+1.5%) conformed to the brightening picture amid signs of a slowdown in weekly infections, while the Singapore’s Straits Times Index (+0.3%) lagged for most of the session following weaker than expected Q3 GDP data, and after the MAS surprisingly tightened its FX-based policy by slightly raising the slope of the SGD nominal effective exchange rate (NEER). The Shanghai Comp. (U/C) was initially kept afloat but with gains capped after slightly softer than expected loans and financing data from China and with participants digesting mixed inflation numbers in which CPI printed below estimates but PPI topped forecasts for a record increase in factory gate prices, while there was also an absence of Stock Connect flows with participants in Hong Kong away for holiday. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher after the recent curve flattening stateside and rebound in T-notes with the US longer-end also helped by a solid 30yr auction, although gains for JGBs were capped amid the outperformance in Tokyo stocks and mostly weaker metrics at the 5yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer Shares Fall on Debt Crisis: Evergrande Update Japan’s Yamagiwa Says Abenomics Fell Short at Spreading Wealth China Seen Rolling Over Policy Loans to Keep Liquidity Abundant Malaysia’s 2020 Fertility Rate Falls to Lowest in Four Decades Bourses in Europe have modestly extended on the upside seen at the European cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) in a continuation of the firm sentiment experienced overnight. US equity futures have also conformed to the broader upbeat tone, with gains seen across the ES (+0.7%), NQ (+0.8%), RTY (+0.8%) and YM (+0.7%). The upside comes despite a lack of overly pertinent newsflow, with participants looking ahead to a plethora of central bank speakers. The major indices in Europe also see a broad-based performance, but the periphery narrowly outperforms, whilst the SMI (Unch) lags amid the sectorial underperformance seen in Healthcare. Overall, the sectors portray somewhat of a cyclical tilt. The Basic Resources sector is the clear winner and is closely followed by Tech and Financial Services. Individual moves are scarce as price action is largely dictated by the macro picture, but the tech sector is led higher by gains in chip names after the world's largest contract chipmaker TSMC (+3.1% pre-market) reported strong earnings and upgraded its revenue guidance. Top European News German 2021 Economic Growth Forecast Slashed on Supply Crunch U.K. Gas Shipper Stops Supplies in Another Blow to Power Firms Christmas Toy Shortages Loom as Cargo Clogs a Major U.K. Port Putin Is Back to Building Financial Fortress as Reserves Grow In FX, the Dollar and index by default have retreated further from Tuesday’s 2021 peak for the latter as US Treasury yields continue to soften and the curve realign in wake of yesterday’s broadly in line CPI data and FOMC minutes that set the schedule for tapering, but maintained a clear differential between scaling down the pace of asset purchases and the timing of rate normalisation. Hence, the Buck is losing bullish momentum with the DXY now eying bids and downside technical support under 94.000 having slipped beneath an early October low (93.804 from the 5th of the month vs 93.675 a day earlier) and the 21 DMA that comes in at 93.770 today between 94.090-93.754 parameters before the next IJC update, PPI data and a heavy slate of Fed speakers. NZD/AUD - No real surprise that the Kiwi has been given a new lease of life given that the RBNZ has already taken its first tightening step and put physical distance between the OCR and the US FFR, not to mention that the move sparked a major ‘sell fact’ after ‘buy rumour’ reaction. However, Nzd/Usd is back on the 0.7000 handle with additional impetus via favourable tailwinds down under as the Aud/Nzd cross is now nearer 1.0550 than 1.0600 even though the Aussie is also taking advantage of the Greenback’s fall from grace to reclaim 0.7400+ status. Note, Aud/Usd may be lagging somewhat on the back of a somewhat labour report overnight as the employment tally fell slightly short of expectations and participation dipped, but the jobless rate fell and full time jobs rose. Moreover, RBA Deputy Governor Debelle repeated that circumstances are different for Australia compared to countries where policy is tightening, adding that employment is positive overall, but there is not much improvement on the wage front. CAD/GBP/CHF - The next best majors in terms of reclaiming losses vs their US counterpart, with the Loonie also encouraged by a firm bounce in oil prices and other commodities in keeping with a general recovery in risk appetite. Usd/Cad is under 1.2400, while Cable is now over 1.3700 having clearly breached Fib resistance around 1.3663 and the Franc is probing 0.9200 for a big figure-plus turnaround from recent lows irrespective of mixed Swiss import and producer prices. EUR/JPY - Relative laggards, but the Euro has finally hurdled chart obstacles standing in the way of 1.1600 and gradually gathering impetus to pull away from decent option expiry interest at the round number and just above (1.5 bn and 1 bn 1.1610-20), and the Yen regrouping around the 113.50 axis regardless of dovish BoJ rhetoric. In short, board member Noguchi conceded that the Bank may have little choice but to extend pandemic relief support unless it becomes clear that the economy has returned to a pre-pandemic state, adding that more easing may be necessary if the jobs market does not improve from pent-up demand, though he doesn't see and immediate need to top up stimulus or big stagflation risk. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are continuing the grind higher seen since the European close yesterday as the risk tone remains supportive and in the aftermath of an overall bullish IEA oil market report. The IEA upgraded its 2021 and 2022 oil demand forecasts by 170k and 210k BPD respectively, which contrasts the EIA STEO and the OPEC MOMR – with the former upping its 2021 but cutting 2022 forecast, whilst the OPEC MOMR saw the 2021 demand forecast cut and 2022 was maintained. The IEA report however noted that the ongoing energy crisis could boost oil demand by 500k BPD, and oil demand could exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022. On this, China has asked Russia to double electricity supply between November-December. The morning saw commentary from various energy ministers, but perhaps the most telling from the Russian Deputy PM Novak who suggested Russia will produce 9.9mln BPD of oil in October (in-line with the quota), but that Russia has no problem in increasing oil output which can go to 11.3mln BPD (Russia’s capacity) and even more than that, but output will depend on market situation. Long story short, Russia can ramp up output but is currently caged by the OPEC+ pact. WTI Nov extended on gain about USD 81/bbl to a current high of USD 81.41/bbl (vs 80.41/bbl low) while its Brent counter topped USD 84.00/bbl to a USD 84.24/bbl high (vs 83.18/bbl low). As a reminder, the weekly DoEs will be released at 16:00BST/11:00EDT on account of the Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices have also moved higher in intraday, with the UK Nat Gas future +5.5% at the time of writing. Returning to the Russian Deputy PM Novak who noted that Nord Stream 2 will be ready for work in the next few days, still expects certification to occur and commercial supplies of gas via Nord Stream 2 could start following certification. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver have been drifting higher as the Buck wanes, with spot gold topping its 200 DMA (1,7995/oz) and in striking distance of its 100 DMA (1,799/oz) ahead of the USD 1,800/oz mark. Over to base metals, LME copper is again on a firmer footing, owing to the overall constructive tone across the market. Dalian iron ore meanwhile fell for a second straight day in a continuation of the downside seen as Beijing imposed tougher steel output controls for winter. World Steel Association also cut its global steel demand forecast to +4.5% in 2021 (prev. forecast +5.8%); +2.2% in 2022 (prev. forecast 2.7%). US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7%; YoY, est. 8.6%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 7.1%, prior 6.7% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%; YoY, est. 6.5%, prior 6.3% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 326,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.67m, prior 2.71m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 53.4 Central Banks 8:35am: Fed’s Bullard Takes Part in Virtual Discussion 9:45am: Fed’s Bostic Takes Part in Panel on Inclusive Growth 12pm: New York Fed’s Logan Gives Speech on Policy Implementation 1pm: Fed’s Barkin Gives Speech 1pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Conference on Small Business Credit 6pm: Fed’s Harker Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Inflation dominated the conversation yet again for markets yesterday, after another upside surprise from the US CPI data led to the increasing realisation that we’ll still be talking about the topic for some time yet. Equities were pretty subdued as they looked forward to the upcoming earnings season, but investor jitters were evident as the classic inflation hedge of gold (+1.87%) posted its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the US dollar (-0.46%) ended the session as the worst performer among the G10 currencies. Running through the details of that release, headline US consumer prices were up by +0.4% on a monthly basis in September (vs. +0.3% expected), marking the 5th time in the last 7 months that the figure has come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, though core prices were in line with consensus at +0.2% month-over-month. There were a number of drivers behind the faster pace, but food inflation (+0.93%) saw its biggest monthly increase since April 2020. Whilst some pandemic-sensitive sectors registered soft readings, housing-related prices were much firmer. Rent of primary residence grew +0.45%, its fastest pace since May 2001 and owners’ equivalent rent increased +0.43%, its strongest since June 2006. These housing gauges are something that Fed officials have signposted as having the potential to provide more durable upward pressure on inflation. The CPI release only added to speculation that the Fed would be forced to hike rates earlier than previously anticipated, and investors are now pricing in almost 4 hikes by the end of 2023, which is over a full hike more than they were pricing in just a month earlier. In response, the Treasury yield curve continued the previous day’s flattening, with the prospect of tighter monetary policy seeing the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to a post-pandemic high of 0.358%, whilst the 10yr decreased -4.0bps to 1.537%. That move lower in the 10yr yield was entirely down to lower real rates, however, which were down -7.4bps, suggesting investors were increasingly concerned about long-term growth prospects, whereas the 10yr inflation breakeven was up +3.3bps to 2.525%, its highest level since May. Meanwhile in Europe, 10yr sovereign bond yields took a turn lower alongside Treasuries, with those on bunds (-4.2bps), OATs (-4.0bps) and BTPs (-2.3bps) all falling. Recent inflation dynamics and issues on the supply-side are something that politicians have become increasingly attuned to, and President Biden gave remarks last night where he outlined efforts to address the supply-chain bottlenecks. This followed headlines earlier in the session that major ports in southern California would move to a 24/7 schedule to unclog delivery backlogs, and Mr. Biden also used the opportunity to push for the passage of the infrastructure plan. That comes as it’s also been reported by Reuters that the White House has been speaking with US oil and gas producers to see how prices can be brought lower. We should hear from Mr. Biden again today, who’s due to give an update on the Covid-19 response. On the topic of institutions that care about inflation, the September FOMC minutes suggested staff still remained optimistic that inflationary pressures would prove transitory, although Committee members themselves were predictably more split on the matter. Several participants pointed out that pandemic-sensitive prices were driving most of the gains, while some expressed concerns that high rates of inflation would feed into longer-term inflation expectations. Otherwise, the minutes all but confirmed DB’s US economists’ call for a November taper announcement, with monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases of $10 billion for Treasuries and $5 billion for MBS. Markets took the news in their stride immediately following the release, reflecting how the build-up to this move has been gradually telegraphed through the year. Turning to equities, the S&P 500 managed to end its 3-day losing streak, gaining +0.30% by the close. Megacap technology stocks led the way, with the FANG+ index up +1.13% as the NASDAQ added +0.73%. On the other hand, cyclicals such as financials (-0.64%) lagged behind the broader index following flatter yield curve, and JPMorgan Chase (-2.64%) sold off as the company’s Q3 earnings release showed muted loan growth. Separately, Delta Air Lines (-5.76%) also sold off along with the broader S&P 500 airlines index (-3.51%), as they warned that rising fuel costs would threaten earnings over the current quarter. European indices posted a more solid performance than the US, with the STOXX 600 up +0.71%, though the sectoral balance was similar with tech stocks outperforming whilst the STOXX Banks index (-2.05%) fell back from its 2-year high the previous session. Overnight in Asia equities have put in a mixed performance, with the KOSPI (+1.17%) and the Nikkei (+1.01%) moving higher whilst the Shanghai Composite (-0.25%) and the CSI (-0.62%) have lost ground. Those moves follow the release of Chinese inflation data for September, which showed producer price inflation hit its highest in nearly 26 years, at +10.7% (vs. +10.5% expected), driven mostly by higher coal prices and energy-sensitive categories. On the other hand, the CPI measure for September came in slightly below consensus at +0.7% (vs. +0.8% expected), indicating that higher factory gate prices have not yet translated into consumer prices. Meanwhile, equity markets in the US are pointing to a positive start later on with S&P 500 futures up +0.32%. Of course, one of the drivers behind the renewal of inflation jitters has been the recent surge in commodity prices across the board, and we’ve seen further gains yesterday and this morning that will only add to the concerns about inflation readings yet to come. Oil prices have advanced yet again, with Brent Crude up +0.69% this morning to be on track to close at a 3-year high as it stands. That comes in spite of OPEC’s monthly oil market report revising down their forecast for world oil demand this year to 5.8mb/d, having been at 5.96mb/d last month. Elsewhere, European natural gas prices were up +9.24% as they continued to pare back some of the declines from last week, and a further two energy suppliers in the UK collapsed, Pure Planet and Colorado Energy, who supply quarter of a million customers between them. Otherwise, copper (+4.4x%) hit a 2-month high yesterday, and it up a further +1.01% this morning, Turning to Brexit, yesterday saw the European Commission put forward a set of adjustments to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is a part of the Brexit deal that’s caused a significant dispute between the UK and the EU. The proposals from Commission Vice President Šefčovič would see an 80% reduction in checks on animal and plant-based products, as well as a 50% reduction in paperwork by reducing the documentation needed for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It follows a speech by the UK’s David Frost on Tuesday, in which he said that Article 16 of the Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, could be used “if necessary”. Mr. Frost is due to meet with Šefčovič in Brussels tomorrow. Running through yesterday’s other data, UK GDP grew by +0.4% in August (vs. +0.5% expected), and the July number was revised down to show a -0.1% contraction (vs. +0.1% growth previously). The release means that GDP in August was still -0.8% beneath its pre-pandemic level back in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and on the calendar we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

Taibbi: Konstantin Kilimnik, Russiagate"s Last Fall Guy, Speaks Out

Taibbi: Konstantin Kilimnik, Russiagate's Last Fall Guy, Speaks Out Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, On Real Time With Bill Maher two Fridays ago, I fumbled and deflected politely over a Russiagate question, instead of going full cage match. The segment went off the rails beginning with this exchange: MAHER: You compared it to WMDs. You said, the Russia connection with Trump is this generation’s WMD. I don’t think that’s an accurate analogy, because there were no WMDs. But there was collusion with Russia. TAIBBI: Really? Where? MAHER: Where? The Senate Intelligence Committee, run by Republicans, who are if anything slavish to Trump, their report said, “The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a ‘grave’ counterintelligence threat.” First of all, that quote isn’t from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report from last August. It’s actually a paraphrase of the report from an Associated Press article, “Trump campaign’s Russia contacts ‘grave’ threat, Senate says,” which reads: WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a “grave” counterintelligence threat, a Senate panel concluded Tuesday… The real SSCI quote is a little different: Taken as a whole, Manafort's high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat. By all rights, Russiagate should be dead as a serious news story. But as the Real Time episode showed, “collusion” is still alive for some, and the bulk of the case essentially rests now upon the characterization of one person from the above passage as a Russian agent: a former aide to Paul Manafort named Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik is a Ukrainian-American who’d served in the army and was hired to work as a translator at the American-funded International Republican Institute in Moscow beginning in the mid-nineties. In 2005, he left the IRI to go work for Paul Manafort, who was advising future president Viktor Yanukovich and the “Party of Regions” in Ukraine. As it happens, Kilimnik worked at the IRI in Moscow during the same time I lived in that city in the nineties and early 2000s. In fact, he was well-known enough in that small expatriate community that in the space of a day last week I was able to reach, through mutual acquaintances, five of Kilimnik’s former colleagues, including three from the IRI and one from the U.S. State Department, to whom he was a regular and valuable contact (the Senate investigators left that fact out). I also called Kilimnik and had two lengthy interviews with him. Why bring this up? Because in that little flurry of calls, I did more actual work on Konstantin Kilimnik than either the Special Counsel or SSCI researchers, who ostensibly spent thousands of man-hours investigating him. Kilimnik being a spy wouldn’t just mean that the Trump campaign had been penetrated. It would mean the same thing for the IRI, which was chaired by late Senator and leading proponent of the Russiagate theory John McCain at the time. More to the point, it would also be disastrous for the State Department, and particularly for the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, whose staffers placed great trust in “KK” as a regular source. The FBI’s own declassified reports show Kilimnik met with the head of the Kiev embassy’s political section “at least biweekly” during his time working with Manafort and Yanukovitch, adding that he “displayed good knowledge and seemed to know what was going on,” and came across as “less slanted” than other sources, among many other things. This fits with what I was told by multiple former colleagues of Kilimnik’s, that staffers in the Kiev embassy valued his analyses above those of some Americans in Yanukovitch’s orbit. (A third former co-worker was a little more blunt about what he heard, saying the Kiev embassy was “sucking his dick”). They also show the embassy was so intent on protecting Kilimnik’s identity as a State Department source that they pulled his name out of diplomatic cables sent home: Kilimnik says he “played a certain role in communication with the Western embassies in Kiev” both before and after the “Euromaidan” Revolution in 2014. “I tried to draw attention to facts about thugs attacking TV channels and opposition politicians, and things like [an arson attack against “InterTV” in 2016],” he says, adding that he “naively thought the West would stand for media freedom and protecting rules for fair play in politics, like it has for many years.” The only reason nobody’s asked the Senate Committee why Kilimnik’s alleged spy status doesn’t also represent a “grave” embarrassment to, say, the U.S. State Department is because our press corps is the most dogshit on earth (more on that in a moment). Special Counsel Robert Mueller claimed the FBI spoke to an IRI employee who said Kilimnik was “fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong.” Though not all the IRI staffers I reached liked Kilimnik, each found the idea that he might be a spy alternately ridiculous and baffling. Multiple ex-colleagues said they believed he was fired for “moonlighting,” i.e. because he’d already started working for Manafort. “I was actually moonlighting. It was a funny story,” Kilimnik says (for a more complete explanation, see the Q&A below). As to the idea that it was known around the IRI office that Kilimnik had intelligence ties, one former senior IRI official said, “I think whoever said that, that’s someone trying to feel more important in retrospect,” adding that the idea that he was “some GRU plant from years gone by” was questionable because the Russians “didn’t know their right from their left back then, and the IRI could not described as a high-value target.” The official concluded: “I find the notion that Kilimnik is now this big figure remarkable.” None of former employees of the Moscow IRI office I spoke with had been contacted by any American investigator, including Mueller. Then there’s the matter of the suspect himself. Question to Kilimnik: how many times was he questioned by American authorities, with whom he was so familiar — remember he met with American officials “at least biweekly” at one point pre-Trump — during the entire Russiagate period? “Not a single person from the U.S. Government ever reached out to me,” Kilimnik says. Nobody from the Office of the Special Counsel, the FBI, or the Senate Intelligence Committee ever contacted him? “Not once,” Kilimnik says. “Nobody from Mueller’s team reached out to me, literally nobody.” In reaching Kilimnik last week I also became just the second American reporter, after Aaron Maté of RealClear Investigations and Grayzone, to call Kilimnik for comment on the Senate report. Virtually every American news organization or TV commentary program has in the last year repeated accusations against Kilimnik made by either the Senate Intelligence Committee or the U.S. Treasury Department, which earlier this year called him a “Russian Intelligence Services agent” in an announcement of sanctions against Russia. It was once normal practice in American media to give people a chance to respond to serious allegations, but no longer, apparently. “Zero. Zero,” says Kilimnik, when asked how many American media outlets called him after the release of the Senate report. Incidentally, Kilimnik isn’t hiding under a snow-covered trap door at a secret FSB installation outside Izhievsk. He’s in an apartment in Northwest Moscow, where anyone could find him. “Everybody knows my phone number. It was in Mueller’s reports,” he says. “But I got no questions. I mean, a lot of people know how to find me. I guess they just didn’t care.” Kilimnik was even on the list of 16 entities and 16 individuals the Treasury just this year said “attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government.” That’s the 2020 election, not the 2016 election, meaning the one that came after the Senate report. “The US actually sanctioned me for interference in 2020 elections,” Kilimnik says. “I would not be able to say why. I’d love to know. I’ve been sitting in fucking Moscow, in my backyard, and feeding squirrels. Must have been some sort of interference.” The aforementioned Maté published photos of Kilimnik’s passport that appear to show he entered the U.S. on a visa stamped in a regular Russian passport on October 28, 1997. This is the same date the Senate committee said he was entering the United States on a diplomatic passport. The Senate also said Kilimnik met with Manafort in Spain in 2017, which he denies. “I’ve never been to Spain,” Kilimnik laughs. “I haven’t been there. Let them prove I’ve been there.” Another thing that came up on Real Time was the idea that we shouldn’t dismiss the monetarily tiny Russian Facebook campaign — featuring classics that ironically read like Real Time bits, with images of Jesus pleading with American voters, “Struggling with addiction to masturbation? Reach out to me and we’ll beat it together” — because “9/11 didn’t cost much either”: I oversold things on the air, talking about how the Internet Research Agency only spent $100,000, as only $44,000 of that was before the campaign. More importantly, only a tiny percentage of ads qualified as coherent propaganda. I’d wager few Americans have actually read through all these ads, which have messages like, “Tell me once again that there’s no such thing as white privilege,” “Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!”, and “Share the experience and the challenges of the black hair industry.” Overall, for 2016, they read like a creepy, overambitious parody of woke culture, with a tinge of Charlie Manson’s “Helter Skelter” plan thrown in. Whatever it is/was, it’s pretty far from 9/11: Kilimnik stands accused of helping Evil Von Putin aim this high-tech weapon. How? Senate investigators said, “Manafort briefed Kilimnik on sensitive Campaign polling data and the Campaign’s strategy for beating Hillary Clinton.” What was sensitive about it? “That’s bullshit. There was nothing that resembled ‘sensitive’ polling data,” Kilimnik says. “I would get two figures maybe once a month, not every day, not every week.” Two figures — meaning two pages? “Two digits,” he says. “Like, ‘Trump 40, Hillary 45.’ That’s all I would get, nothing more. So I don’t understand how this is sensitive data.” Kilimnik was getting his information from former Trump deputy campaign chief Rick Gates, who was directed to send the data to Kilimnik by Manafort. None other than Rachel Maddow once called Gates “Mueller’s star cooperating witness.” I called Gates last week and asked: what was he passing to Kilimnik? “Top-line data, and I want people to understand what that means,” he says. “It was like, ‘Ohio, Clinton 48, Trump 50,’ Or, ‘Wisconsin, Trump 50, Clinton 42.’ The sources were a combination of things like RealClear Politics and occasionally some numbers from [Republican pollster] Tony Fabrizio. But it was all just top-line stuff.” Gates’s story is that Manafort was passing this data back to people like his longtime sponsors, the Ukrainian barons Rinat Akhmetov and Sergei Lyvochkin, because “Paul was just trying to show that Trump was doing well,” as “Paul was just trying to do what he’s always done,” i.e. trying to show how valuable he could be. For those disinclined to believing the Gates or Kilimnik version of events, remember that neither Mueller nor the Senate Intelligence Committee could come up with a different one. Apart from adding “sensitive” to their description (Mueller just called it “internal polling data”), the Senate never offered evidence that Kilimnik was getting more than those few numbers. As to why Kilimnik was sent this information, this is what the Senate had to say: The Committee was unable to reliably determine why Manafort shared sensitive internal polling data or Campaign strategy with Kilimnik. Manafort and Gates both claimed that it was part of an effort to resolve past business disputes and obtain new work with their past Russian and Ukrainian clients by showcasing Manafort's success. Why “sensitive?” The Committee was “unable to reliably determine” why, having no idea what Kilimnik did with those numbers. But they were sure enough it was bad to conclude it represented a “grave counterintelligence threat.” Kilimnik is roughly the twentieth suspect in a long list of alleged secret conduits that across five years have already been tried out and discarded by pundits and investigators alike as “smoking gun” links between Trump and Putin. An abbreviated list: There was a Maltese professor named Josef Mifsud and a young Trump aide named George Papadopoulos, former Trump adviser Carter Page, an alleged “secret server” supposedly pinging between Trump and Alfa Bank, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser J.D. Gordon, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, real estate developer Felix Sater, another Russian who approached Trump people claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton named Henry Oknyansky, a Russian firm called Concord Consulting, plus Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and many others. The pattern with all of these “smoking gun” cases was the same. At first, there would be a great press hullaballoo, complete with front-page media profiles and heated straight-to-camera monologues at the tops of cable commentary shows over “Breaking News” chyrons: Freakouts would be long, but months or years later, narratives would collapse. Ambassador Sergei Kislyak was everyone’s favorite suspect in the summer of 2016 for having done everything from rig the Republican convention platform to turning Sessions into a spy, but then Mueller quietly said Kisylak’s interactions with Trump officials in those months were “brief, public, and non-substantive.” Reporters howled that Christopher Steele was right about Cohen meeting Russian hackers in Prague to help rig the 2016 race, and even claimed (see above) that Mueller was about to release evidence of it any minute, until Mueller said flatly, “Cohen… never traveled to Prague.” The saddest case involved Carter Page. Steele’s Dossier identified Page — not Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, or even Donald Trump — as the mastermind of the Wikileaks leak: The aim of leaking the DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks during the Democratic Convention had been to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP… This objective had been conceived and promoted, inter alia, by TRUMP’s foreign policy adviser Carter PAGE… Steele also had Page negotiating a massive bribe via the oil company Rosneft in exchange for the dropping of sanctions, and acting as the personal intermediary between Paul Manafort and the Kremlin. Page, not knowing he was being spied upon, told an FBI informant that August that he had “literally never met” or “said one word to” Paul Manafort, even going so far as to complain that Manafort never answered his emails. The FBI sat on this information, and wrote up a secret surveillance warrant application that read: Sub-Source reported that the conspiracy was being managed by Candidate’s then campaign manager, who was using, among others, foreign policy advisor Carter Page as an intermediary… It wasn’t until the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came out in December of 2019 that the world found out that the FBI not only “did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page,” but had covered up Page’s history as an informant for the CIA, very much like the Senate and the Treasury are now covering up Kilimnik’s status as a U.S. State Department source. Kilimnik is just the last person on the list, and he’s conveniently in Moscow, unlikely to ever come back here to defend himself. As such, he’s the perfect fall guy for the marooned-Japanese-soldier-type holdouts on Russiagate who think the collusion narrative is still viable. More from Kilimnik: TK: You were described by the Senate Intelligence Committee as a “Russian Intelligence Officer.” Are you one? Konstantin Kilimnik: I have not had any relationship with any intelligence agency. Not with U.S. intelligence, not the Ukrainian, Russian, Zimbabwean, whatever. I’m a consultant who has worked for many years running elections in Ukraine. I just haven’t had any relationship with any intelligence, and haven’t seen any facts proving otherwise. I think the investigation was so politically charged from the beginning, that they just needed to find a Russian body that they could just put as much dirt as possible on. Ultimately, nobody is going to care, because all the Russians are considered to be bad anyhow, they’re all spies. TK: The intelligence community in the U.S. seems unanimous in their conclusion that Russians interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections. Did they not? Konstantin Kilimnik: I don’t think Russians interfered… I know that runs counter to all the conclusions of the intelligence community and all that country to all the intelligence and press and all that. And maybe there were other efforts, as well. But, I was not involved in any of that. There was a lot of misinformation, just because the public wanted someone, and I just happened to be that person thrown into the mix. If I had Hungarian citizenship or any other citizenship, of course, people would not have given my name. They just needed the Russian connection, and I happened to be that unfortunate Russian connection. TK: The Mueller report claims an IRI employee believed you were “fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong.” Others say you were “moonlighting.” Why did you leave the IRI? Konstantin Kilimnik: I was actually moonlighting. It was a funny story. I was looking for ways to move on, because by 2005 I had been at IRI for 10 years. Some time in mid-2004 an old IRI pal, Phil Griffin, reemerged and proposed a well-paying job of going to Ukraine and writing analyses of what was going on during the Orange Revolution, for Manafort. So, I went there after not having been to Ukraine for over 10 years. I was ecstatic about Kiev and got seriously interested in what was going on politically… Manafort, Griffin and I (as a translator) went to Donetsk in, I think, November 2004 to meet some guy I had no previous knowledge of (who turned out to be Rinat Akhmetov’s closest confidant, Borys Kolesnikov). Manafort and he spoke for several days and got convinced that the “Donetsk guys” were not even close to being thugs they had been portrayed by the Western media to be. I went back a couple of times to translate for these meetings, which I thought were not in any conflict with my work at IRI Moscow. Then, the government in Ukraine changed. [Viktor] Yuschenko became the President, Manafort was in negotiations about the contract, and I almost forgot about my short translation jobs. In April 2005, we were at an IRI retreat, and my boss, director of Europe and Eurasia programs Steve Nix got a tip from the new President’s office that “Donetsk thugs” were looking to hire an American consultant, and that a guy who seemed to work at IRI was helping in the process. Steve, who was very pro-Yuschenko, completely freaked out, and accused me of working for criminals. I said that a) I was doing this in my free time, 2) this did not conflict in any way with my job at IRI Russia, and 3) maybe things are not so straightforward in Ukrainian politics, and there are no guys in black and white hats, but mostly gray hats. He disagreed and demanded I resign, which I did. TK: The Senate claims you met Manafort in Spain in 2017. Did you? Konstantin Kilimnik: I have never been to Spain. (laughter)...I have not been there. They can’t prove that. And yet they’ve inserted that. And yet, that’s central to what they’re saying. Europe is specific place in terms of passports and immigration. To cross the border, you have to give your fingerprints, and upon any re-entry too. If I went to Spain, I can guarantee that, first of all, Europe keeps a record of that. They would say that I have crossed the border at a certain time in a certain place. And that would be okay because, again, it’s all tied to the fingerprints. You cannot get into the EU without this. You can’t fake it. So let them prove it. TK: You’ve been accused of obtaining that “sensitive polling data” for Oleg Deripaska. Was that right? Konstantin Kilimnik: No, Deripaska was a Russian businessman. I actually didn’t have any contact with him. There were Ukrainian businessmen and Ukrainian politicians in 2016 who were in opposition, and who were actually under pressure from Petro Poroshenko’s government. Naturally, for them, any change, opening a channel into the U.S. Government, that for them would have been a great thing. So that’s why they were interested in the outcome of the elections. There was no Russian connection whatsoever. If there were, they would have a record of me talking to Deripaska or visiting him.TK: You never had any contact with Deripaska? Konstantin Kilimnik: No, I haven’t met him since, I’m afraid to be exact, but like 2006, I think was the last time I saw him. I was translating for Manafort. But after that, Manafort spoke to him himself, because Deripaska spoke the language by then. And there was no need for me. Part 2 of my interview with Konstantin Kilimnik is coming later this week. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 21:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson: The Left Got What It Wanted - So Now What?

Victor Davis Hanson: The Left Got What It Wanted - So Now What? Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, There is no schadenfreude in seeing the Left destroy everything it touches - because its claws tear all of us as well... What was the purpose for the insane opposition of the Left between 2017 and 2021? To usher in a planned nihilism, an incompetent chaos, a honed anarchy to wreck the country in less than a year? Then No sooner had Donald Trump entered office than scores of House Democrats filed motions for impeachment, apparently for thought crimes that he might, some day, in theory, could possibly commit. Foreign Policy published an article by a liberal Obama Administration lawyer outlining all the ways to remove an elected president as soon as possible—including consideration of a military coup.  The FBI and the entrenched bureaucrats at the Justice Department continued their prior failed efforts during the campaign to seed the lies of the fabricated Steele dossier and Fusion GPS. A 22-month-long and $40 million hoax ended with the special counsel himself, a doddering Robert Mueller, swearing under oath that he essentially knew nothing about the dossier or Fusion GPS—the twin catalysts that had prompted his very own investigation.  Fired FBI Director James Comey—a lion on Twitter, and a lamb when under oath—on over 240 occasions testified to the Congress that he either did not know or could not remember, when asked details about the collusion fraud that the philosopher G-man had helped perpetuate.  No one worried about the weaponization of government. So, we went right from the nefarious legacy of John Brennan (who lied under oath to Congress twice), James Clapper (who lied under oath to Congress once), James Comey (who leaked confidential presidential memos), Andrew McCabe (who gave false testimony to federal investigators), Lisa Page (who was fired from the special counsel’s legal team for various unprofessional conduct), Peter Strzok (about whom there is not enough space to detail his transgressions), and the now convicted felon Kevin Clinesmith onto the next round of impeachments.  Two of them followed. Neither was conducted by a special counsel. There was no array of witnesses, no prosecutorial report. Much less were there formal charges of a specific high crime or misdemeanor, or bribery or treason, as specified by the Constitution.  In the end, both farces ended in trials—but not before the Left had established lots of baleful precedents. Impeachment is now simply a tool to embarrass a president in his first term when he has lost the House. A Senate trial could hound an innocent president, even as a private citizen out of office. And a chief justice need not preside over the Senate trial. If and when Joe Biden loses the House, the Left should applaud any attempt to impeach him—given it established the new model of opposition. Of the January 6 debacle, we were not told that it was a riot involving lawbreakers who would be punished. Instead, we were lied to that it was an “armed insurrection,” a “coup,” and “a rebellion” of massive proportions.  Our esteemed retired military and civil libertarians who had damned the mere thought of using federal troops to quell the prior four summer months of continuous rioting were suddenly happy to see 25,000 federal soldiers patrol Washington to hound out fantasy second-wave insurrectionists. In Animal Farm fashion, there were now to be good federal troops deterring mythical violent domestic extremists, but bad federal troops who should never stop real, ongoing mayhem in the streets. It mattered nothing that “armed” in the case of January 6 meant that no firearms were used or even found among the protestors. No one was charged with conspiracy, insurrection, or racketeering. But many were placed in solitary confinement without specific charges being filed—to the utter delight of liberal groups like the ACLU and human rights organizations. The FBI—recently known mostly for spreading Hillary Clinton’s campaign collusion hoax—found no premeditated grand plot. The remaining media narratives were also untrue: Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick was not murdered, but died tragically of a stroke the next day. Five persons were not “killed.” Four who died were Trump supporters. Only one of the five deaths occurred at the hand of a known other—a 14-year military veteran, unarmed, 110-pound female Ashli Babbitt. She was fatally shot while attempting to enter through a window of the Capitol by a law-enforcement officer—to the frequent approbation of the left-wing commentariat. The officer’s name was hidden for months from the public—something conspicuously uncharacteristic in other cases where law enforcement officers are involved in shooting unarmed suspects.  Videos surrounding the entire melee still have been repressed. They likely will never be released. That infamous day remains in dire contrast to the prior 120 days of continuous rioting, looting, and arson. In the election-year summer 2020, federal courthouses and iconic buildings were torched. Nearly $2 billion worth of property was destroyed and 28 were killed.  Yet current Vice President Kamala Harris rallied the public to help bail out the arrested. And the architect of the “1619 Project” reassured Americans that crimes against property like arson and looting are not really violence per se. The weeks of “spontaneous” mayhem magically vanished after November 3, 2020. Note that esteemed medical professionals argued that BLM protestors who flooded the streets were exempt from quarantine, social distancing, and mask requirements, given their higher morality. There are now good riots and bad ones, and noble sustained silence about a noble officer who lethally shoots an unarmed suspect, and noble immediate outing of an ignoble officer who lethally shoots an unarmed suspect. These were merely the main media distortions and fixations over the last four years. We forget the daily craziness such as a president’s calls to foreign heads of state routinely leaked or the FBI director passing on confidential memos of private presidential conversations to the liberal press, or the “whistleblower” who was not a whistleblower as much as a Democratic operative. The media nadir came when the press bellowed that Trump had overfed a fish. An array of retired four-stars damned their president as Hitlerian, Mussolini-like, and deserving an early exit from office. Their superior morality naturally excused them from abiding by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  The New York Times falsely identified a minor Trump Administration bureaucrat (“anonymous”) as a major conservative truth-teller—once he thrilled the media by lying that a large, morally superior, inside cabal was devoted to obstructing the implementation of a president’s orders. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to an active FBI lawyer bragged of joining the “Resistance,” with plenty of conspiratorial retro-accusations that the 2016 election was “rigged.” All that was a warm-up for the plague year in which Donald Trump was blamed for every COVID death. His medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci was deified, due largely to his coy opposition to the president he was supposed to serve.  Both the current president and vice president had, less than a year ago, urged Americans not to be vaccinated, given their own reluctance to take a “Trump” vaccine. At least the anti-vaxxers had consistent opposition to the experimental inoculations; in contrast, the anti-Trumper anti-vaxxers merely saw sabotaging the 2020 vaccination program as necessary to be in a position to claim it as their own in 2021. Now What did all that madness achieve? Mostly, the first election in U.S. history in which over 100 million ballots were not cast on Election Day. Strangely, with such an avalanche of ballots, the usual error rate of absentee balloting dived from around 2-4 percent to 0.2-0.4 percent. You see, when we suddenly must count tens of millions more paper ballots then it becomes easier, not harder, to spot errors. So, the Left won its Pyrrhic victory.  The nation was done with the demonized Trump and now the Left controlled the presidency, and both houses of Congress. Somnolent Ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton pledged to heal the nation as he overturned his predecessor’s supposedly disastrous policies and went on a rampage of slandering his opponents. If Donald Trump was once damned as non compos mentis, the same media and academic accusers kept mum as Biden shuffled, fell, went mute, slurred words, and went off on angry, disjointed, and incoherent riffs. What followed was a concerted effort to destroy the Trump record: the greatest level of combined annual natural gas and oil production in any nation’s history, record low minority unemployment and near record peacetime, general unemployment, a border secure and illegal immigration finally under control, and a New Middle East in which Israel and its Arab enemies concluded neutrality pacts. China was put on notice for its past mockery of global norms. Inflation was low, growth was good. “Stagflation” was still a rarely remembered word from the past. And again, what was all that Pavlovian nihilism to achieve?  Within eight months the following was finalized: Joe Biden utterly destroyed the idea of a border. Some 2 million were scheduled to cross illegally in the current fiscal year. The sheer inhumanity of deplorable conditions at the border surpassed any notion of the “cages” Donald Trump, in fact, had inherited from the humanitarian Barack Obama.  A war almost immediately broke out in the Middle East, once Biden distanced the United States from Israel and rebooted the radical Palestinian cause.  The Taliban defeated the 20-year effort of the United States in Afghanistan, in the most humiliating withdrawal of the American military in over 45 years. Tens of billions of dollars of abandoned military equipment now arm the Taliban and have turned Afghanistan into a world arms mart for terrorists. Iran is emboldened and speeds up its nuclear proliferation efforts. China brags that the United States has been Afghanistanized and will not defend its allies, Taiwan in particular.  At home, gas prices have soared. Prior trillion-dollar deficits now seem financially prudent in comparison to multitrillion-dollar red ink. The nation is more racially polarized than at any time in the last half-century. A bleak and venomous woke creed has outdone the hate and fear of the McCarthyism of the 1950s, as it wages war on half the nation for various thought crimes and the incorrect idea that the United States was, is, and always will be a kind and humane place. More will likely have died each day from COVID by year’s end during the Biden first 12 months than during Trump’s last 12 months. That statistic perhaps might have been meaningless had Biden himself not demagogued the idea that a president is strangely responsible for all pandemic deaths on his watch.  But then again, Biden had warped the pandemic narrative only after he had inherited the Trump vaccination program (17 million vaccinated by Inauguration Day). Biden was wrongly and prematurely convinced that vaxxes were a permanent prophylaxis to any sort of COVID variants that would simply disappear once he took office. Depending on the occasion, Biden claims none, or just 4 million, were vaxxed until he took office, as truth and fantasies waft through his cloudy cognition. With Biden came not just woke polarization, stagflation, a subsidized ennui that erodes the work ethic, and selective nonenforcement of existing laws: Worse, still, we got a bankrupt ideological defense of these insanities. Critical legal theory, critical race theory, and a new monetary theory were all dreamed up by parlor academics to justify the nihilism.  Did America ever believe that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would trash his commander in chief as Hitlerian to journalist hitmen, or allegedly denounce news organizations as “terrorists,” or interrupt the chain of command on a prompt by the Speaker of the House, or warn the Chinese military that he believed there was enough instability in the White House to justify a promise to warn of any impending U.S. military action against Beijing deemed offensive? Was General Milley suffering from the very “white rage” he sought to ferret out? With Biden, China is now omnipresent in the halls of power. A task of our chief COVID advisor, Anthony Fauci, seems to be to deny repeatedly that his stealthy funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan virology lab in China had anything to do with the likely accidental release of a likely human engineered and energized coronavirus. Americans still cannot even imagine that their government might have helped subsidize the plague germ that has wrought such havoc upon them. Meanwhile the president’s son still owns a 10 percent cut in a communist Chinese government-affiliated financial venture, apparently due to his prior drug-addled record of financial mismanagement. The media still insists Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation,” while his paint-by-numbers art is auctioned off to foreign lobbyists expecting a return of the old days when Hunter and Joe grandly arrived on Air Force Two to do their bidding.  What did the Left leave as the proper model for conservatives now to deal with Biden?  Impeach him when he loses the House? Get a special counsel, lavish said counsel with $40 million, a dream team of right-wing lawyers, and 22 months to find real Chinese collusion?  Start seeding a conservative version of Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and an “anonymous” whistleblower inside the Biden octopus?  Get retired four-star generals on TV to swear Biden is a Chinese “asset,” or have them retweet the idea of sending Biden supporters to China, or swear that he is a fascist? Bring back Woodward and Bernstein to find out whether Biden, Inc. ever paid taxes on all that Chinese and Ukrainian cash?  Call in the ubiquitous Dr. Bandy X. Lee from Yale to administer the Montreal Cognitive Assessment to prove that Biden can distinguish a camel from an elephant or a train from a bike or count backwards from five?  Will the Right prod General Mark Milley’s replacement to collude with soon-to-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy and call the Russians to warn them that Biden is demented, democracy is “messy,” Kamala Harris is crazy, and thus Moscow might need a warning from us about any Biden preemptive aggression? And what of the people who voted for this change and the media that empowered it? In the latest Quinnipiac poll, known for its liberal affinities, Biden now earns a 38 percent approval rating. We should add a few extra negative points given media bias. Do they suffer buyer’s remorse or angst that they were lied to by the hard Left that Joe Biden was cognizant and not a mere vessel for a two-year push for overt socialism? Meanwhile the media is reduced to explaining why an undocumented activist has an understandable right to chase a liberal Democratic senator into a public restroom, hector her, and then video her as she enters a stall to relieve herself and then post the grotesqueness on the internet—a felony in the state of the Arizona, though just part of the “process” for the president of the United States. We could call the above insanity nemesis for woke hubris. Or maybe it is karma, “payback’s a bitch,” or “what goes around comes around.” But there is no schadenfreude in seeing the Left destroy everything it touches—because its claws tear all of us as well. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 20:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Why you should be celebrating the record number of people saying, "I quit"

Over 4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, extending a streak of record walkouts. They're probably unlocking better pay and productivity. Mixetto/Getty Images In August, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs, extending a five-month streak of historically high walkouts. While quitting could hold up the wider economic recovery, workers who quit likely find better pay and productivity. Americans are simply capitalizing on a wide range of job opportunities, one labor-market economist told Insider. Americans are ditching their jobs at a record pace. While employers bemoan a labor shortage, the extraordinary amount of quitting suggests the US economy will bounce back stronger than ever before.August marked the fifth month of Americans quitting in near-record numbers, with 4.3 million workers quitting. The continually elevated departures show that workers are taking more control over their careers - and saying no to low wages and bad working conditions.There are plenty of reasons for Americans to quit their jobs right now. COVID-19 continues to rage across the country, making some Americans too concerned to work in-person jobs, or leaving work to take care of their own or someone else's coronavirus symptoms.Burnout has become a crisis of its own, particularly in sectors where reopening brought a sudden surge of demand.And some people are simply just leaving their jobs for better work.The last reason is exactly why record-high quits should be applauded, not feared. Usually quits tick up when the labor market is strong and unemployment is low; indeed, unemployment dropped to 4.8% in September, even as the country added a lower than expected number of jobs. Recent data backs up the idea that workers are quitting amid a plethora of options. Job openings soared to record highs through much of 2021 and, despite falling in August, still totaled more than 10 million, according to JOLTS data published Tuesday.There's a whole lot of opportunities out there right now, Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed, told Insider. "We're seeing lots of workers seemingly going out and seizing them." The benefits of being a quitterLeaving one's job doesn't just free up new work opportunities. Research suggests it gives way to higher pay and greater productivity.In fact, it could lead to a whole new economy: Arindrajit Dube, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, wrote on Twitter that if quits stay elevated through next year, it "could have a fundamental and lasting impact on labor market power and wage norms." There's a "remarkably strong relationship" between switching jobs and higher wages, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found in 2015. Switching jobs tends to push workers up the economic ladder. Generally, a jump in the quit rate leads to stronger wage growth one to two quarters later, the team said.Quitting can also give way to stronger productivity. Some of the strongest productivity gains of the last decade have taken place during the pandemic, when workers were leaving their jobs and looking for new ones. Businesses are pushed to do the same amount of work with fewer employees, forcing adoption of new practices or technologies.And Americans who quit can better match their skills with a new job. That also lifts productivity and gives workers more power when bargaining for higher pay."One of the best ways for a person to boost their earnings is to switch jobs. And I think that's very much likely to be the case right now," Bunker said.Quits can also send a strong message to companies mired in the status quoDataTrek Research, an economic research group, tracks what it calls the "take this job and shove it" indicator. That's the share of job separations that were quits as opposed to layoffs or other reasons for leaving work.Jessica Rabe, DataTrek's co-founder, told Insider in an email that the indicator rose to a record 71.1% in August. She noted that two-thirds of the month's increase in quits came from accommodation and food services - an industry that is historically lower-paying and has been hard-hit by labor shortages."That tells us workers continue to leave the restaurant industry amid challenging demands put on existing staff due to labor shortages and other requirements, such as mask mandates for customers," Rabe said. And, because the quits rate has remained high in leisure and hospitality, "the industry will remain constrained due to the dearth in available workers which will continue to weigh on overall employment."To be sure, quits data only tells economists so much about where workers are going next. Quits only show Americans leaving their jobs, not finding new ones. And JOLTS data doesn't show whether Americans quitting their jobs left for other sectors or stayed in the same industry.If labor shortages continue, the number of workers quitting might remain stubbornly high."The outlook for demands still seems pretty robust moving forward," Bunker said. "So it seems likely we will see quitting stay elevated for quite some time." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report For the second day in a row, an overnight slump in equity futures sparked by concerns about iPhone sales (with Bloomberg reporting at the close on Tuesday that iPhone 13 production target may be cut by 10mm units due to chip shortages) and driven be more weakness out of China was rescued thanks to aggressive buying around the European open. At 800 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.24%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.50 points, or 0.4% ahead of the CPI report due at 830am ET. 10Y yields dipped to 1.566%, the dollar was lower and Brent crude dropped below $83. JPMorgan rose as much as 0.8% in premarket trading after the firm’s merger advisory business reported its best quarterly profit. On the other end, Apple dropped 1% lower in premarket trading, a day after Bloomberg reported that the technology giant is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units due to prolonged chip shortages. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Suppliers Skyworks Solutions (SWKS US), Qorvo (ORVO) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS US) slipped Tuesday postmarket Koss (KOSS US) shares jump 23% in U.S. premarket trading in an extension of Tuesday’s surge after tech giant Apple was rebuffed in two patent challenges against the headphones and speakers firm Qualcomm (QCOM US) shares were up 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after it announced a $10.0 billion stock buyback International Paper (IP US) in focus after its board authorized a program to acquire up to $2b of the company’s common stock; cut quarterly dividend by 5c per share Smart Global (SGH US) shares rose 2% Tuesday postmarket after it reported adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Wayfair (W US) shares slide 1.8% in thin premarket trading after the stock gets tactical downgrade to hold at Jefferies Plug Power (PLUG US) gains 4.9% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley upgrades the fuel cell systems company to overweight, saying in note that it’s “particularly well positioned” to be a leader in the hydrogen economy Wall Street ended lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, as investors grew jittery in the run-up to earnings amid worries about supply chain problems and higher prices affecting businesses emerging from the pandemic. As we noted last night, the S&P 500 has gone 27 straight days without rallying to a fresh high, the longest such stretch since last September, signaling some fatigue in the dip-buying that pushed the market up from drops earlier this year. Focus now turn to inflation data, due at 0830 a.m. ET, which will cement the imminent arrival of the Fed's taper.  "A strong inflation will only reinforce the expectation that the Fed would start tapering its bond purchases by next month, that's already priced in," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. "Yet, a too strong figure could boost expectations of an earlier rate hike from the Fed and that is not necessarily fully priced in." The minutes of the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting, due later in the day, will also be scrutinized for signals that the days of crisis-era policy were numbered. Most European equities reverse small opening losses and were last up about 0.5%, as news that German software giant SAP increased its revenue forecast led tech stocks higher. DAX gained 0.7% with tech, retail and travel names leading. FTSE 100, FTSE MIB and IBEX remained in the red. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entra shares gain as much as 10% after Balder increases its stake and says it intends to submit a mandatory offer. Spie jumps as much as 10%, the biggest intraday gain in more than a year, after the French company pulled out of the process to buy Engie’s Equans services unit. Man Group rises as much as 8.3% after the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund announced quarterly record inflows. 3Q21 net inflows were a “clear beat” and confirm pipeline strength, Morgan Stanley said in a note. Barratt Developments climbs as much as 6.3%, with analysts saying the U.K. homebuilder’s update shows current trading is improving. Recticel climbs 15% to its highest level in more than 20 years as the stock resumes trading after the company announced plans to sell its foams unit to Carpenter Co. Bossard Holding rises as much as 9.1% to a record high after the company reported 3Q earnings that ZKB said show strong growth. Sartorius gains as much as 5.9% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades to hold from sell and raises its price target, saying it expects “impressive earnings growth” to continue for the lab equipment company. SAP jumps as much as 5% after the German software giant increased its revenue forecast owing to accelerating cloud sales. Just Eat Takeaway slides as much as 5.8% in Amsterdam to the lowest since March 2020 after a 3Q trading update. Analysts flagged disappointing orders as pandemic restrictions eased, and an underwhelming performance in the online food delivery firm’s U.S. market. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted a modest advance as investors awaited key inflation data out of the U.S. and Hong Kong closed its equity market because of typhoon Kompasu. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after fluctuating between gains and losses, with chip and electronics manufacturers sliding amid concerns over memory chip supply-chain issues and Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets. Hong Kong’s $6.3 trillion market was shut as strong winds and rain hit the financial hub.  “Broader supply tightness continues to be a real issue across a number of end markets,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Katy L. Huberty wrote in a note. The most significant iPhone production bottleneck stems from a “shortage of camera modules for the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max due to low utilization rates at a Sharp factory in southern Vietnam,” they added. Wednesday’s direction-less trading illustrated the uncertainty in Asian markets as traders reassess earnings forecasts to factor in inflation and supply chain concerns. U.S. consumer price index figures and FOMC minutes due overnight may move shares. Southeast Asian indexes rose thanks to their cyclical exposure. Singapore’s stock gauge was the top performer in the region, rising to its highest in about two months, before the the nation’s central bank decides on monetary policy on Thursday. Japanese stocks fell for a second day as electronics makers declined amid worries about memory chip supply-chain issues and concerns over Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets.  The Topix index fell 0.4% to 1,973.83 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 28,140.28. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 1.3%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 608 rose and 1,489 fell, while 84 were unchanged. Japanese Apple suppliers such as TDK, Murata and Taiyo Yuden slid. The U.S. company is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter Australian stocks closed lower as banks and miners weighed on the index. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to close at 7,272.50, dragged down by banks and miners as iron ore extended its decline. All other subgauges edged higher. a2 Milk surged after its peer Bubs Australia reported growing China sales and pointed to a better outlook for daigou channels. Bank of Queensland tumbled after its earnings release. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 13,025.18. In rates, Treasuries extended Tuesday’s bull-flattening gains, led by gilts and, to a lesser extent, bunds. Treasuries were richer by ~2bps across the long-end of the curve, flattening 5s30s by about that much; U.K. 30-year yield is down nearly 7bp, with same curve flatter by ~6bp. Long-end gilts outperform in a broad-based bull flattening move that pushed 30y gilt yields down ~7bps back near 1.38%. Peripheral spreads widen slightly to Germany. Cash USTs bull flatten but trade cheaper by ~2bps across the back end to both bunds and gilt ahead of today’s CPI release. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell by as much as 0.2% and the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers; the Treasury curve flattened, mainly via falling yields in the long- end, The euro advanced to trade at around $1.1550 and the Bund yield curve flattened, with German bonds outperforming Treasuries. The euro’s volatility skew versus the dollar shows investors remain bearish the common currency as policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank remains for now. The pound advanced with traders shrugging off the U.K.’s weaker-than-expected economic growth performance in August. Australia’s sovereign yield curve flattened for a second day while the currency underperformed its New Zealand peer amid a drop in iron ore prices. The yen steadied after four days of declines. In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range with WTI near $80, Brent dipping slightly below $83. Spot gold pops back toward Tuesday’s best levels near $1,770/oz. Base metals are in the green with most of the complex up at least 1%. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,346.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 459.04 MXAP up 0.2% to 194.60 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 638.16 Nikkei down 0.3% to 28,140.28 Topix down 0.4% to 1,973.83 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,561.76 Sensex up 0.8% to 60,782.71 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,272.54 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,944.41 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,768.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.23% to 94.30 German 10Y yield fell 4.2 bps to -0.127% Euro little changed at $1.1553 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Vladimir Putin wants to press the EU to rewrite some of the rules of its gas market after years of ignoring Moscow’s concerns, to tilt them away from spot-pricing toward long-term contracts favored by Russia’s state run Gazprom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Russia is also seeking rapid certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany to boost gas deliveries, they said. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will be removed from his role as the main watchdog of Wall Street lenders after his title officially expires this week. The EU will offer a new package of concessions to the U.K. that would ease trade barriers in Northern Ireland, as the two sides prepare for a new round of contentious Brexit negotiations. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is on course to raise taxes and cut spending to control the budget deficit, while BoE Governor Andrew Bailey has warned interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months to curb a rapid surge in prices. Together, those moves would mark a simultaneous major tightening of both policy levers just months after the biggest recession in a century -- an unprecedented move since the BoE gained independence in 1997. Peter Kazimir, a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, was charged with bribery in Slovakia. Kazimir, who heads the country’s central bank, rejected the allegations A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mixed following the choppy performance stateside with global risk appetite cautious amid the rate hike bets in US and heading into key events including US CPI and FOMC Minutes, while there were also mild headwinds for US equity futures after the closing bell on reports that Apple is set to reduce output of iPhones by 10mln from what was initially planned amid the chip shortage. ASX 200 (unch.) was little changed as gains in gold miners, energy and tech were offset by losses in financials and the broader mining sector, with softer Westpac Consumer Confidence also limiting upside in the index. Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) was pressured at the open as participants digested mixed Machinery Orders data which showed the largest M/M contraction since February 2018 and prompted the government to cut its assessment on machinery orders, although the benchmark index gradually retraced most its losses after finding support around the 28k level and amid the recent favourable currency moves. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) also declined as participants digested mixed Chinese trade data in which exports topped estimates but imports disappointed and with Hong Kong markets kept shut due to a typhoon warning. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady with price action contained after the curve flattening stateside and tentative mood heading to upcoming risk events, although prices were kept afloat amid the BoJ’s purchases in the market for around JPY 1tln of JGBs predominantly focused on 1-3yr and 5-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Edges Higher on Weaker Dollar Before U.S. Inflation Report RBA Rate Hike Expectations Too Aggressive, TD Ameritrade Says LG Electronics Has Series of Stock-Target Cuts After Profit Miss The mood across European stocks has improved from the subdued cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) despite a distinct lack of newsflow and heading into the official start of US earnings season, US CPI and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and trade in modest positive territory across the board, with the NQ (+0.5%) narrowly outperforming owing to the intraday fall in yields, alongside the sectorial outperformance seen in European tech amid tech giant SAP (+4.7%) upgrading its full FY outlook, reflecting the strong business performance which is expected to continue to accelerate cloud revenue growth. As such, the DAX 40 (+0.7%) outperformed since the cash open, whilst the FTSE 100 (-0.2%) is weighed on by underperformance in its heavyweight Banking and Basic Resources sectors amid a decline in yields and hefty losses in iron ore prices. Elsewhere, the CAC 40 (+0.3%) is buoyed by LMVH (+2.0%) after the luxury name topped revenue forecasts and subsequently lifted the Retail sector in tandem. Overall, sectors are mixed with no clear bias. In terms of individual movers, Volkswagen (+3.5%) was bolstered amid Handelsblatt reports in which the Co was said to be cutting some 30k jobs as costs are too high vs competitors, whilst separate sources suggested the automaker is said to be mulling spinning off its Battery Cell and charging unit. Chipmakers meanwhile see mixed fortunes in the aftermath of sources which suggested Apple (-0.7% pre-market) is said to be slashing output amid the chip crunch. Top European News The Hut Shares Swing as Strategy Day Feeds Investor Concern U.K. Economy Grows Less Than Expected as Services Disappoint Man Group Gets $5.3 Billion to Lift Assets to Another Record Jeff Ubben and Singapore’s GIC Back $830 Million Fertiglobe IPO In FX, the Dollar looks somewhat deflated or jaded after yesterday’s exertions when it carved out several fresh 2021 highs against rival currencies and a new record peak vs the increasingly beleaguered Turkish Lira. In index terms, a bout of profit taking, consolidation and position paring seems to have prompted a pull-back from 94.563 into a marginally lower 94.533-246 range awaiting potentially pivotal US inflation data, more Fed rhetoric and FOMC minutes from the last policy meeting that may provide more clues or clarity about prospects for near term tapering. NZD/GBP - Both taking advantage of the Greenback’s aforementioned loss of momentum, but also deriving impetus from favourable crosswinds closer to home as the Kiwi briefly revisited 0.6950+ terrain and Aud/Nzd retreats quite sharply from 1.0600+, while Cable has rebounded through 1.3600 again as Eur/Gbp retests support south of 0.8480 yet again, or 1.1800 as a reciprocal. From a fundamental perspective, Nzd/Usd may also be gleaning leverage from the more forward-looking Activity Outlook component of ANZ’s preliminary business survey for October rather than a decline in sentiment, and Sterling could be content with reported concessions from the EU on NI customs in an effort to resolve the Protocol impasse. EUR/CAD/AUD/CHF - Also reclaiming some lost ground against the Buck, with the Euro rebounding from around 1.1525 to circa 1.1560, though not technically stable until closer to 1.1600 having faded ahead of the round number on several occasions in the last week. Meanwhile, the Loonie is straddling 1.2450 in keeping with WTI crude on the Usd 80/brl handle, the Aussie is pivoting 0.7350, but capped in wake of a dip in Westpac consumer confidence, and the Franc is rotating either side of 0.9300. JPY - The Yen seems rather reluctant to get too carried away by the Dollar’s demise or join the broad retracement given so many false dawns of late before further depreciation and a continuation of its losing streak. Indeed, the latest recovery has stalled around 113.35 and Usd/Jpy appears firmly underpinned following significantly weaker than expected Japanese m/m machinery orders overnight. SCANDI/EM - Not much upside in the Sek via firmer Swedish money market inflation expectations and perhaps due to the fact that actual CPI data preceded the latest survey and topped consensus, but the Cnh and Cny are firmer on the back of China’s much wider than forecast trade surplus that was bloated by exports exceeding estimates by some distance in contrast to imports. Elsewhere, further hawkish guidance for the Czk as CNB’s Benda contends that high inflation warrants relatively rapid tightening, but the Try has not derived a lot of support from reports that Turkey is in talks to secure extra gas supplies to meet demand this winter, according to a Minister, and perhaps due to more sabre-rattling from the Foreign Ministry over Syria with accusations aimed at the US and Russia. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures see another choppy session within recent and elevated levels – with the former around USD 80.50/bbl (80.79-79.87/bbl) and the latter around 83.35/bbl (83.50-82.65/bbl range). The complex saw some downside in conjunction with jawboning from the Iraqi Energy Minster, who state oil price is unlikely to increase further, whilst at the same time, the Gazprom CEO suggested that the oil market is overheated. Nonetheless, prices saw a rebound from those lows heading into the US inflation figure, whilst the OPEC MOMR is scheduled for 12:00BST/07:00EDT. Although the release will not likely sway prices amidst the myriad of risk events on the docket, it will offer a peek into OPEC's current thinking on the market. As a reminder, the weekly Private Inventory report will be released tonight, with the DoE's slated for tomorrow on account of Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices, meanwhile, are relatively stable. Russia's Kremlin noted gas supplies have increased to their maximum possible levels, whilst Gazprom is sticking to its contractual obligations, and there can be no gas supplies beyond those obligations. Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the receding Buck, with spot gold inching closer towards its 50 DMA at 1,776/oz (vs low 1,759.50/oz). In terms of base metals, LME copper has regained a footing above USD 9,500/t as stocks grind higher. Conversely, iron ore and rebar futures overnight fell some 6%, with overnight headlines suggesting that China has required steel mills to cut winter output. Further from the supply side, Nyrstar is to limit European smelter output by up to 50% due to energy costs. Nyrstar has a market-leading position in zinc and lead. LME zinc hit the highest levels since March 2018 following the headlines US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. CPI YoY, est. 5.3%, prior 5.3%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Sept. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.0%, prior 4.0%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Sept. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -0.9%, revised -1.4% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap So tonight it’s my first ever “live” parents evening and then James Bond via Wagamama. Given my daughter (6) is the eldest in her year and the twins (4) the youngest (plus additional youth for being premature), I’m expecting my daughter to be at least above average but for my boys to only just about be vaguely aware of what’s going on around them. Poor things. For those reading yesterday, the Cameo video of Nadia Comanenci went down a storm, especially when she mentioned our kids’ names, but the fact that there was no birthday cake wasn’t as popular. So I played a very complicated, defence splitting 80 yard through ball but missed an open goal. Anyway ahead of Bond tonight, with all this inflation about I’m half expecting him to be known as 008 going forward. The next installment of the US prices saga will be seen today with US CPI at 13:30 London time. This is an important one, since it’s the last CPI number the Fed will have ahead of their next policy decision just 3 weeks from now, where investors are awaiting a potential announcement on tapering asset purchases. Interestingly the August reading last month was the first time so far this year that the month-on-month measure was actually beneath the consensus expectation on Bloomberg, with the +0.3% growth being the slowest since January. Famous last words but this report might not be the most interesting since it may be a bit backward looking given WTI oil is up c.7.5% in October alone. In addition, used cars were up +5.4% in September after falling in late summer. So given the 2-3 month lag for this to filter through into the CPI we won’t be getting the full picture today. I loved the fact from his speech last night that the Fed’s Bostic has introduced a “transitory” swear jar in his office. More on the Fedspeak later. In terms of what to expect this time around though, our US economists are forecasting month-on-month growth of +0.41% in the headline CPI, and +0.27% for core, which would take the year-on-year rates to +5.4% for headline and +4.1% for core. Ahead of this, inflation expectations softened late in the day as Fed officials were on the hawkish side. The US 10yr breakeven dropped -1.9bps to 2.49% after trading at 2.527% earlier in the session. This is still the 3rd highest closing level since May, and remains only 7bps off its post-2013 closing high. Earlier, inflation expectations continued to climb in Europe, where the 5y5y forward inflation swap hit a post-2015 high of 1.84%. Also on inflation, the New York Fed released their latest Survey of Consumer Expectations later in the European session, which showed that 1-year ahead inflation expectations were now at +5.3%, which is the highest level since the survey began in 2013, whilst 3-year ahead expectations were now at +4.2%, which was also a high for the series. The late rally in US breakevens, coupled with lower real yields (-1.6bps) meant that the 10yr Treasury yield ended the session down -3.5bps at 1.577% - their biggest one day drop in just over 3 weeks. There was a decent flattening of the yield curve, with the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to 0.34%, its highest level since the pandemic began as the market priced in more near-term Fed rate hikes. In the Euro Area it was a very different story however, with 10yr yields rising to their highest level in months, including among bunds (+3.5bps), OATs (+2.9bps) and BTPs (+1.0bps). That rise in the 10yr bund yield left it at -0.09%, taking it above its recent peak earlier this year to its highest closing level since May 2019. Interestingly gilts (-4.0bps) massively out-performed after having aggressively sold off for the last week or so. Against this backdrop, equity markets struggled for direction as they awaited the CPI reading and the start of the US Q3 earnings season today. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.07%) had both posted modest losses as they awaited the next catalyst. Defensive sectors were the outperformers on both sides of the Atlantic. Real estate (+1.34%) and utilities (+0.67%) were among the best performing US stocks, though some notable “reopening” industries outperformed as well including airlines (+0.83%), hotels & leisure (+0.51%). News came out after the US close regarding the global chip shortage, with Bloomberg reporting that Apple, who are one of the largest buyers of chips, would revise down their iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by 10 million units. Recent rumblings from chip producers suggest that the problems are expected to persist, which will make central bank decisions even more complicated over the coming weeks as they grapple with increasing supply-side constraints that push up inflation whilst threatening to undermine the recovery. Speaking of central bankers, Vice Chair Clarida echoed his previous remarks and other communications from the so-called “core” of the FOMC that the current bout of inflation would prove largely transitory and that underlying trend inflation was hovering close to 2%, while admitting that risks were tilted towards higher inflation. Atlanta Fed President Bostic took a much harder line though, noting that price pressures were expanding beyond the pandemic-impacted sectors, and measures of inflation expectations were creeping higher. Specifically, he said, “it is becoming increasingly clear that the feature of this episode that has animated price pressures — mainly the intense and widespread supply-chain disruptions — will not be brief.” His ‘transitory swear word jar’ for his office was considerably more full by the end of his speech. As highlighted above, while President Bostic spoke US 10yr breakevens dropped -2bps and then continued declining through the New York afternoon. In what is likely to be Clarida’s last consequential decision on monetary policy before his term expires, he noted it may soon be time to start a tapering program that ends in the middle of next year, in line with our US economics team’s call for a November taper announcement. In that vein, our US economists have updated their forecasts for rate hikes yesterday, and now see liftoff taking place in December 2022, followed by 3 rate increases in each of 2023 and 2024. That comes in light of supply disruptions lifting inflation, a likely rise in inflation expectations (which are sensitive to oil prices), and measures of labour market slack continuing to outperform. For those interested, you can read a more in-depth discussion of this here. Turning to commodities, yesterday saw a stabilisation in prices after the rapid gains on Monday, with WTI (+0.15%) and Brent Crude (-0.27%) oil prices seeing only modest movements either way, whilst iron ore prices in Singapore were down -3.45%. That said it wasn’t entirely bad news for the asset class, with Chinese coal futures (+4.45%) hitting fresh records, just as aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange (+0.13%) eked out another gain to hit a new post-2008 high. Overnight in Asia, equity markets are seeing a mixed performance with the KOSPI (+1.24%) posting decent gains, whereas the CSI (-0.06%), Nikkei (-0.22%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.69%) have all lost ground. The KOSPI’s strength came about on the back of a decent jobs report, with South Korea adding +671k relative to a year earlier, the most since March 2014. The Hong Kong Exchange is closed however due to the impact of typhoon Kompasu. Separately, coal futures in China are up another +8.00% this morning, so no sign of those price pressures abating just yet following recent floods. Meanwhile, US equity futures are pointing to little change later on, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.12%. Here in Europe, we had some fresh Brexit headlines after the UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, said that the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not working” and was not protecting the Good Friday Agreement. He said that he was sharing a new amended Protocol with the EU, which comes ahead of the release of the EU’s own proposals on the issue today. But Frost also said that “if we are going to get a solution we must, collectively, deliver significant change”, and that Article 16 which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures could be used “if necessary”. Elsewhere yesterday, the IMF marginally downgraded their global growth forecast for this year, now seeing +5.9% growth in 2021 (vs. +6.0% in July), whilst their 2022 forecast was maintained at +4.9%. This masked some serious differences between countries however, with the US downgraded to +6.0% in 2021 (vs. +7.0% in July), whereas Italy’s was upgraded to +5.8% (vs. +4.9% in July). On inflation they said that risks were skewed to the upside, and upgraded their forecasts for the advanced economies to +2.8% in 2021, and to +2.3% in 2022. Looking at yesterday’s data, US job openings declined in August for the first time this year, falling to 10.439m (vs. 10.954m expected). But the quits rate hit a record of 2.9%, well above its pre-Covid levels of 2.3-2.4%. Here in the UK, data showed the number of payroll employees rose by +207k in September, while the unemployment rate for the three months to August fell to 4.5%, in line with expectations. And in a further sign of supply-side issues, the number of job vacancies in the three months to September hit a record high of 1.102m. Separately in Germany, the ZEW survey results came in beneath expectations, with the current situation declining to 21.6 (vs. 28.0 expected), whilst expectations fell to 22.3 (vs. 23.5 expected), its lowest level since March 2020. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Seattle PD May Lose 40% Of Officers Over Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate

Seattle PD May Lose 40% Of Officers Over Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate It was inevitable - as vaccine mandates across the country approach their deadlines, vast swaths of American workers, service members and atheletes face termination or disciplinary action for refusing to take the Covid-19 jab. In Los Angeles, nearly 1,000 firefighters are about to sue the city over the mandate. Southwest Airlines' pilot union sued the company last week, before staffing shortages led to the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights over the weekend (and more on Monday). Meanwhile, doctors and nurses across the country have begun suing their employers. Interestingly, after a group of officers from the Los Angeles Police Department sued over the mandate, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that he would not 'force anyone' to take the jab. But not Seattle - which stands to lose 40% of its 1,000 person force for failing to get vaccinated as an Oct. 18 deadline approaches. Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz "The environment has been pretty toxic and negative," one officer anonymously told Fox 13. "Not just from this whole mandate, but prior to that as well. I’m not sure this would be a good place for me to work long-term for my mental health. It has been very stressful." Recall that this is on the heels of the city losing around 300 officers amid Black Lives Matter riots and the "defund the police" movement. By the numbers, as of Oct. 6, 292 sworn personnel had yet to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination per the report, down from 354 on Tuesday. An additional 111 officers are awaiting the results of exemption requests, meaning the total number of potentially fired Seattle cops is as high as 403. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan pushed back, telling officers in a Monday email: "We value each of you, and do not want to lose you as employees," adding "But the people that count on you the most are the ones that need you to get vaccinated." As she enters the final months of her term, Durkan is faced with a dilemma: go back on her vaccine mandate or thrust the city into a public safety emergency.  Neither scenario is politically palatable.  In anticipation of the Oct. 18 deadline, Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz advised his department to transition into a "Phase 3 Mobilization," effective Oct. 13.  According to an internal memo obtained by FOX 13 News, the change in posture will require all sworn personnel to be on standby to respond to 911 calls. That includes detectives assigned to specialty units.  Gov. Jay Inslee told FOX 13 News that agencies across the state have contingency plans to help ensure basic levels of staffing. -Fox13 Another anonymous patrol officer told Fox13 that "Losing even 50 to 75 officers in one day, the response times for the city will go up drastically," adding that if they don't approve their religious exemption, "I will continue working until the day that they fire me and that’s about all that I can do." Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 18:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

Over half of restaurant workers say they"ve been abused by customers or managers - and many are planning to flee the industry because of it

Restaurants are in crisis as workers continue to quit at record rates, forcing dining room closures and fewer hours. Noam Galai/Getty Images 15% of restaurant workers left the industry in the last year, and another 33% said they hope to, according to a new survey. 62% of the survey's respondents report emotional abuse from customers, and 49% report abuse from managers. Restaurants are closing dining rooms and cutting hours to cope with fewer workers. It's no secret that the restaurant industry is in crisis, and signs point to it getting even worse. Turnover, which is already higher in restaurants than in many industries, is still elevated over pre-pandemic levels, according to a survey of 4,700 former, current, and hopeful restaurant workers from Black Box Intelligence. Turnover for hourly workers is at 144% for quick service restaurants, compared to 135% in 2019, and turnover for full service restaurants is at 106%, compared to 102% in 2019.Workers gave clear reasons for leaving the industry. Well over half of workers, 62%, reported receiving emotional abuse and disrespect from customers, and 49% reported abuse from managers, according to the Black Box Intelligence survey. Of workers surveyed, 15% left the restaurant industry in the last year, and another 33% said that they hope to.Other data shows that things could become even bleaker. A survey of nearly 14,000 hourly workers from Joblist found that 58% of restaurant and hotel employees plan to quit their jobs by the end of the year. Further resignations could completely destroy the industry's hopes of recovery, adding to the record numbers of workers that have been quitting throughout the year.Business owners say they're unable to find staff and in some cases even cite a lack of desire to work, while workers say they can demand better pay and benefits in the tight labor market. This mismatch has led to restaurants decreasing hours and closing dining rooms. Restaurants are already feeling the effects of workers leaving the industry. Nearly half of operators said that they reduced dining capacities voluntarily. According to a survey from the National Restaurant Association, 61% of fast-food restaurants, and 81% of full-service restaurants said that they decided to shut parts of dining rooms in August because they didn't have the workers to serve those areas.There is some hope that workers would return to restaurants, but it would require a major shift in the industry. 66% of workers told Black Box that they'd consider returning if the right conditions were met, including higher pay, consistent schedules and income, and improvements to company culture and work environments.With these changes seeming unlikely in the near future, restaurant workers have fled to other industries.In place of customer-facing restaurant jobs, some workers are turning to warehouse employment with companies like Amazon, even as those jobs make headlines for poor conditions. Warehouse jobs are up 278% over pre-pandemic levels, and on-demand jobs like Uber and Lyft driving are up 183%, per Black Box."Employees have been fired or people are quitting because we're so overworked and stressed and abused," an employee at a Midwest Starbucks previously told Insider.The "handful [of customers] that you get each day who will berate or abuse you can take a drastic toll on your mental well being," a restaurant worker in Louisiana echoed.Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

September Payrolls Preview: It Will Be A Beat, The Question Is How Big

September Payrolls Preview: It Will Be A Beat, The Question Is How Big After a strong initial claims report and a solid ADP private payrolls print, all eyes turn to the most important economic data point of the week, and the month, Friday's nonfarm payrolls report due at 830am ET on Friday, where consensus expects a 500K print- more than double last month's disappointing 235K print - as well as a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.1% and an increase in average hourly earnings to 4.6%. And unlike last month, when we correctly predicted the big miss in August payrolls, this time we agree that tomorrow's report will be a beat, the only question is how big. Here is a snapshot of what to expect tomorrow: Total Payrolls: 500K, Last 235K Private Payrolls: 450K, Last 243K Unemployment Rate: 5.1%, Last 5.2% Labor force participation rate: 61.8%, Last 61.7% Average Hourly Earnings Y/Y: 4.6%, Last 4.3% Average Hourly Earnings M/M: 0.4%, Last 0.6% Average Weekly Hours: 34.7, Last 34.7 As Newsquawk writes in its NFP preview, September’s jobs data, the last before the Fed’s November 3rd policy meeting, will be framed in the context of the central bank’s expected taper announcement, where a merely satisfactory report would likely to be enough for the FOMC to greenlight a November announcement to scale-back its USD 120BN/month asset purchases. Goldman economists are more bullish than normal, and estimate nonfarm payrolls rose 600k in September, above consensus of +500k, and they note that "labor demand remains very strong, and we believe the nationwide expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits on September 5 boosted effective labor supply and job growth—as it did in July and August in states that ended federal benefits early." As a result, Goldman is assuming a 200k boost in tomorrow’s numbers and a larger boost in October. The bank also believes the reopening of schools contributed to September job growth, by around 150k. Despite these tailwinds, Big Data employment signals were mixed, and dining activity rebounded only marginally. Labor market proxies have been constructive for the month: ADP’s gauge of payrolls surprised to the upside, although analysts continue to note that the direct relationship between the official data and the ADP’s gauge is tenuous, despite the gap being under 100k over the last three reports. The number of initial jobless claims and continuing claims has eased back between the survey periods of the August and September jobs data, although analysts note that more recent releases have shown an uptick in claims potentially clouding the outlook. The ISM business surveys have signaled employment growth in the month, with manufacturing employment rising into growth territory again, but services sector hiring cooled a little in the month, but remains expansionary; survey commentary continues to allude to a tight labour market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the September employment situation report at 13:30BST/08:30EDT on October 8th. POLICY: The September jobs report might have reduced relevance on trading conditions given that Fed officials have effectively confirmed that, barring a collapse in the jobs data, it is on course to announce a tapering of its asset purchases at the November 3rd meeting. Accordingly, trading risks may be skewed to the downside, rather than to the upside, where a significant payrolls miss may present obstacles to the Fed announcing its taper. Additionally, it is worth being cognizant of how efforts in Washington to raise the debt ceiling are progressing; as yet, officials have not struck a deal, and are in the process of enacting stop gap legislation to allow funding into December; some analysts suggest that the Fed may be reticent to tighten policy in the face of potential default risks. PAYROLLS: The consensus looks for 500k nonfarm payrolls to be added to the US economy in September (prev. 235k), which would be a cooler rate of growth than the three- and six-month average rate, though in line with the 12-month average (3-month average is 750k/month, the six-month average is 653k/month, and the 12-month average is 503k/month – that technically at least suggests an improving rate of payrolls growth in recent months). Aggregating the nonfarm payrolls data since March 2020, around 5.33mln Americans remain out of work relative to pre-pandemic levels. MEASURES OF SLACK: The Unemployment Rate is expected at 5.1% (prev. 5.2%); Labour Force Participation previously at 61.7% vs 63.2% pre-pandemic; U6 measure of underemployment was previously at 8.8% vs 7.0% prepandemic; Employment-population ratio was previously 58.5% vs 61.1% pre-pandemic. These measures of slack are likely to provide more insight into how Fed officials are judging labour market progress, with many in recent months noting that they are closely watching the Underemployment Rate, Participation Rate, and the Employment-Population Ratio for a better handle on the level of slack that remains in the economy. Analysts would be encouraged the closer these get to pre-pandemic levels. EARNINGS: Average Hourly Earnings expected at +0.4% M/M (prev. +0.6%); Average Hourly Earnings expected at +4. 6% Y/Y (prev. +4.3%); Average Workweek Hours expected at 34.7hrs (prev. 34.7hrs). Aggregating the nonfarm payrolls data since March 2020, around 5.33mln Americans still remain out of work relative to pre-pandemic levels. ADP: The ADP National Employment Report showed 568k jobs added to the US economy in September, topping expectations for 428k, and a better pace than the prior 340k (revised down from 374k initially reported). ADP itself said that the labor market recovery continued to make progress despite the marked slowdown in the rate of job additions from the 748k pace seen in Q2. It also noted that Leisure & Hospitality remained one of the biggest beneficiaries to the recovery, though said that hiring was still heavily impacted by the trajectory of the pandemic, especially for small firms. ADP thinks that the current bottlenecks in hiring will likely fade as the pandemic situation continues to improve, and that could set the stage for solid job gains in the months ahead. On the data methodology, analysts continue to note that ADP's model incorporates much of the prior official payrolls data, other macroeconomic variables, as well as data from its own payrolls platform; "Payrolls were soft in August, thanks to the hit to the services sector from the Delta variant, and that weakness likely constrained ADP data," Pantheon Macroeconomics said. "The overshoot to consensus, therefore, suggests that the other inputs to ADP’s model were stronger than we expected, but none of the details are published, so we don’t know if the overshoot was model-driven or due to stronger employment data at ADP’s clients." INITIAL JOBLESS CLAIMS: Initial jobless claims data for the week that coincides with the BLS jobs report survey window saw claims at around 351k – little changed from the 349k for the August jobs data survey window – where analysts said seasonal factors played a role in boosting the weekly data, while there may have been some lingering Hurricane Ida effects; the corresponding continuing claims data has fallen to 2.802mln in the September survey period vs 2.908mln in the August survey period. In aggregate, the data continues to point to declining trend, although in recent weeks the level of jobless claims has been picking up again. BUSINESS SURVEYS: The Services and Manufacturing ISM reports showed divergent trends in September, with the service sector employment sub-index easing a little to 53.0 from 53.7, signalling growth but at a slower rate, while the manufacturing employment sub-index rose back into expansionary territory, printing 50.2 from 49.0 prior. On the manufacturing sector, ISM said companies were still struggling to meet labour-management plans, but noted some modest signs of progress compared to previous months: "Less than 5% of comments noted improvements regarding employment, compared to none in August," it said, "an overwhelming majority of panelists indicate their companies are hiring or attempting to hire," where around 85% of responses were about seeking additional staffing, while nearly half of the respondents expressed difficulty in filling positions, an increase from August. "The increasing frequency of comments on turnover rates and retirements continued a trend that began in August," ISM said. Meanwhile, in the services sector, employment activity rose for a third straight month; respondents noted that employees were flocking to better-paying jobs and there was a lack of pipeline to replace these staff, while other respondents talked of labor shortages being experienced at all levels. ARGUING FOR A BETTER-THAN-EXPECTED REPORT: End of federal enhanced unemployment benefits. The expiration of federal benefits in some states boosted labor supply and job-finding rates over the summer, and all remaining such programs expired on September 5. The July and August indicated a cumulative 6pp boost to job-finding probabilities from June to August for workers losing $300 top-up payments and a 12pp boost for workers losing all benefits. Some of the 6mn workers who lost some or all benefits on September 5 got a job by September 18—in time to be counted in tomorrow’s data. Goldman assumes a +200k boost to job growth from this channel, with a larger increase in subsequent reports (+1.3mn cumulatively by year end). School reopening. The largest 100 school districts are all open for in-person learning, catalyzing the return of many previously furloughed teachers and support staff. While full normalization of employment levels would contribute 600k jobs (mom sa, see left panel of the chart below), some janitors and support staff did not return due to hybrid teaching models, and job openings in the sector are only 200k above the pre-crisis level (see right panel). Relatedly, the BLS’s seasonal factors already embed the usual rehiring of education workers on summer layoff, so if fewer janitors returned to work than in a typical September, this would reduce seasonally adjusted job growth, other things equal. Taken together, assume a roughly 150k boost from the reopening of schools in tomorrow’s report. Job availability. The Conference Board labor differential—the difference between the percent of respondents saying jobs are plentiful and those saying jobs are hardto get - edged down to 42.5 from 44.4, still an elevated level. Additionally, JOLTS job openings increased by 749k in July to a new record high of 10.9mn. ADP. Private sector employment in the ADP report increased by 568k in September, above consensus expectations for a 430k gain, implying strong growth in the underlying ADP sample. Additionally, schools generally do not use ADP payroll software, arguing for a larger gain from school reopening in the official payroll measure. ARGUING FOR A WEAKER-THAN-EXPECTED REPORT: Delta variant. Rebounding covid infection rates weighed on services consumption and the labor market in August. And while US case counts began to decline in early September, restaurant seatings on Open Table rebounded only marginally. leisure and hospitality employment rose in September, but probably not at the ~400k monthly pace of June and July. Employer surveys. The employment components of our business surveys were flat to down, whereas we and consensus forecast a pickup in job growth. Goldman's services survey employment tracker remained unchanged at 54.5 and the manufacturing survey employment tracker declined 0.4pt to 57.8. And while the Goldman Sachs Analyst Index (GSAI) decreased 0.8% to 68.5, the employment component rose1.9% to 71.9. NEUTRAL FACTORS: Big Data. High-frequency data on the labor market were mixed between the August and September survey weeks, on net providing little guidance about the underlying pace of job growth. Three of the five measures tracked indicate an at-or-above-consensus gain (Census Small Business Pulse +0.5mn, ADP +0.6mn,Google mobility +2mn), but the Homebase data was an outlier to the downside. At face value, it would indicate a large outright decline in payrolls. The Census Household Pulse (-0.6mn) was also quite weak, though encouragingly, it also indicated a large drop in childcare-related labor supply headwinds as schools reopened. Seasonality. The September seasonal hurdle is relatively low: the BLS adjustment factors generally assume a 600-700k decline in private payrolls (which exclude public schools), compared to around -100k on average in July and August. Continued labor shortages encouraged firms to lay off fewer workers at the end of summer. Partially offsetting this tailwind, the September seasonal factors may have evolved unfavorably due to the crisis—specifically by fitting to last September’s reopening-driven job surge (private payrolls +932k mom sa). Jobless claims. Initial jobless claims fell during the September payroll month, averaging 339k per week vs. 378k in August despite a boost from individuals transitioning or attempting to transition to state programs. Across all employee programs including emergency benefits, continuing claims fell dramatically (-3.3mn)–but again for non-economic reasons (federal enhanced programs expired). Continuing claims in regular state programs decreased 106k from survey week to survey week. Job cuts. Announced layoffs reported by Challenger, Gray & Christmas rebounded 11% month-over-month in September after decreasing by 14% over the prior two months (SA by GS). Nonetheless, layoffs remain near the three-decade low on this measure (in 1993). Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 20:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 7th, 2021

How Facebook Forced a Reckoning by Shutting Down the Team That Put People Ahead of Profits

Facebook's civic-integrity team, where whistle-blower Frances Haugen worked, pledged to put people ahead of profits. Facebook shut it down, but some former members are still honoring their promise. Facebook’s civic-integrity team was always different from all the other teams that the social media company employed to combat misinformation and hate speech. For starters, every team member subscribed to an informal oath, vowing to “serve the people’s interest first, not Facebook’s.” The “civic oath,” according to five former employees, charged team members to understand Facebook’s impact on the world, keep people safe and defuse angry polarization. Samidh Chakrabarti, the team’s leader, regularly referred to this oath—which has not been previously reported—as a set of guiding principles behind the team’s work, according to the sources. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Chakrabarti’s team was effective in fixing some of the problems endemic to the platform, former employees and Facebook itself have said. But, just a month after the 2020 U.S. election, Facebook dissolved the civic-integrity team, and Chakrabarti took a leave of absence. Facebook said employees were assigned to other teams to help share the group’s experience across the company. But for many of the Facebook employees who had worked on the team, including a veteran product manager from Iowa named Frances Haugen, the message was clear: Facebook no longer wanted to concentrate power in a team whose priority was to put people ahead of profits. Illustration by TIME (Source photo: Getty Images) Five weeks later, supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol—after some of them organized on Facebook and used the platform to spread the lie that the election had been stolen. The civic-integrity team’s dissolution made it harder for the platform to respond effectively to Jan. 6, one former team member, who left Facebook this year, told TIME. “A lot of people left the company. The teams that did remain had significantly less power to implement change, and that loss of focus was a pretty big deal,” said the person. “Facebook did take its eye off the ball in dissolving the team, in terms of being able to actually respond to what happened on Jan. 6.” The former employee, along with several others TIME interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear that being named would ruin their career. Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesSamidh Chakrabarti, head of Facebook’s civic-integrity team, stands beside Katie Harbath, a Facebook director of public policy, in Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Oct. 17, 2018.   Enter Frances Haugen Haugen revealed her identity on Oct. 3 as the whistle-blower behind the most significant leak of internal research in the company’s 17-year history. In a bombshell testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security two days later, Haugen said the civic-integrity team’s dissolution was the final event in a long series that convinced her of the need to blow the whistle. “I think the moment which I realized we needed to get help from the outside—that the only way these problems would be solved is by solving them together, not solving them alone—was when civic-integrity was dissolved following the 2020 election,” she said. “It really felt like a betrayal of the promises Facebook had made to people who had sacrificed a great deal to keep the election safe, by basically dissolving our community.” Read more: The Facebook Whistleblower Revealed Herself on 60 Minutes. Here’s What You Need to Know In a statement provided to TIME, Facebook’s vice president for integrity Guy Rosen denied the civic-integrity team had been disbanded. “We did not disband Civic Integrity,” Rosen said. “We integrated it into a larger Central Integrity team so that the incredible work pioneered for elections could be applied even further, for example, across health-related issues. Their work continues to this day.” (Facebook did not make Rosen available for an interview for this story.) Impacts of Civic Technology Conference 2016The defining values of the civic-integrity team, as described in a 2016 presentation given by Samidh Chakrabarti and Winter Mason. Civic-integrity team members were expected to adhere to this list of values, which was referred to internally as the “civic oath”. Haugen left the company in May. Before she departed, she trawled Facebook’s internal employee forum for documents posted by integrity researchers about their work. Much of the research was not related to her job, but was accessible to all Facebook employees. What she found surprised her. Some of the documents detailed an internal study that found that Instagram, its photo-sharing app, made 32% of teen girls feel worse about their bodies. Others showed how a change to Facebook’s algorithm in 2018, touted as a way to increase “meaningful social interactions” on the platform, actually incentivized divisive posts and misinformation. They also revealed that Facebook spends almost all of its budget for keeping the platform safe only on English-language content. In September, the Wall Street Journal published a damning series of articles based on some of the documents that Haugen had leaked to the paper. Haugen also gave copies of the documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The documents, Haugen testified Oct. 5, “prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about what its own research reveals about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems, and its role in spreading divisive and extreme messages.” She told Senators that the failings revealed by the documents were all linked by one deep, underlying truth about how the company operates. “This is not simply a matter of certain social media users being angry or unstable, or about one side being radicalized against the other; it is about Facebook choosing to grow at all costs, becoming an almost trillion-dollar company by buying its profits with our safety,” she said. Facebook’s focus on increasing user engagement, which ultimately drives ad revenue and staves off competition, she argued, may keep users coming back to the site day after day—but also systematically boosts content that is polarizing, misinformative and angry, and which can send users down dark rabbit holes of political extremism or, in the case of teen girls, body dysmorphia and eating disorders. “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” Haugen said. (In 2020, the company reported $29 billion in net income—up 58% from a year earlier. This year, it briefly surpassed $1 trillion in total market value, though Haugen’s leaks have since knocked the company down to around $940 billion.) Asked if executives adhered to the same set of values as the civic-integrity team, including putting the public’s interests before Facebook’s, a company spokesperson told TIME it was “safe to say everyone at Facebook is committed to understanding our impact, keeping people safe and reducing polarization.” In the same week that an unrelated systems outage took Facebook’s services offline for hours and revealed just how much the world relies on the company’s suite of products—including WhatsApp and Instagram—the revelations sparked a new round of national soul-searching. It led some to question how one company can have such a profound impact on both democracy and the mental health of hundreds of millions of people. Haugen’s documents are the basis for at least eight new SEC investigations into the company for potentially misleading its investors. And they have prompted senior lawmakers from both parties to call for stringent new regulations. Read more: Here’s How to Fix Facebook, According to Former Employees and Leading Critics Haugen urged Congress to pass laws that would make Facebook and other social media platforms legally liable for decisions about how they choose to rank content in users’ feeds, and force companies to make their internal data available to independent researchers. She also urged lawmakers to find ways to loosen CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s iron grip on Facebook; he controls more than half of voting shares on its board, meaning he can veto any proposals for change from within. “I came forward at great personal risk because I believe we still have time to act,” Haugen told lawmakers. “But we must act now.” Potentially even more worryingly for Facebook, other experts it hired to keep the platform safe, now alienated by the company’s actions, are growing increasingly critical of their former employer. They experienced first hand Facebook’s unwillingness to change, and they know where the bodies are buried. Now, on the outside, some of them are still honoring their pledge to put the public’s interests ahead of Facebook’s. Inside Facebook’s civic-integrity team Chakrabarti, the head of the civic-integrity team, was hired by Facebook in 2015 from Google, where he had worked on improving how the search engine communicated information about lawmakers and elections to its users. A polymath described by one person who worked under him as a “Renaissance man,” Chakrabarti holds master’s degrees from MIT, Oxford and Cambridge, in artificial intelligence engineering, modern history and public policy, respectively, according to his LinkedIn profile. Although he was not in charge of Facebook’s company-wide “integrity” efforts (led by Rosen), Chakrabarti, who did not respond to requests to comment for this article, was widely seen by employees as the spiritual leader of the push to make sure the platform had a positive influence on democracy and user safety, according to multiple former employees. “He was a very inspirational figure to us, and he really embodied those values [enshrined in the civic oath] and took them quite seriously,” a former member of the team told TIME. “The team prioritized societal good over Facebook good. It was a team that really cared about the ways to address societal problems first and foremost. It was not a team that was dedicated to contributing to Facebook’s bottom line.” Chakrabarti began work on the team by questioning how Facebook could encourage people to be more engaged with their elected representatives on the platform, several of his former team members said. An early move was to suggest tweaks to Facebook’s “more pages you may like” feature that the team hoped might make users feel more like they could have an impact on politics. After the chaos of the 2016 election, which prompted Zuckerberg himself to admit that Facebook didn’t do enough to stop misinformation, the team evolved. It moved into Facebook’s wider “integrity” product group, which employs thousands of researchers and engineers to focus on fixing Facebook’s problems of misinformation, hate speech, foreign interference and harassment. It changed its name from “civic engagement” to “civic integrity,” and began tackling the platform’s most difficult problems head-on. Shortly before the midterm elections in 2018, Chakrabarti gave a talk at a conference in which he said he had “never been told to sacrifice people’s safety in order to chase a profit.” His team was hard at work making sure the midterm elections did not suffer the same failures as in 2016, in an effort that was generally seen as a success, both inside the company and externally. “To see the way that the company has mobilized to make this happen has made me feel very good about what we’re doing here,” Chakrabarti told reporters at the time. But behind closed doors, integrity employees on Chakrabarti’s team and others were increasingly getting into disagreements with Facebook leadership, former employees said. It was the beginning of the process that would eventually motivate Haugen to blow the whistle. Drew Angerer—Getty ImagesFormer Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies during a Senate hearing entitled ‘Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower’ in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 2021. In 2019, the year Haugen joined the company, researchers on the civic-integrity team proposed ending the use of an approved list of thousands of political accounts that were exempt from Facebook’s fact-checking program, according to tech news site The Information. Their research had found that the exemptions worsened the site’s misinformation problem because users were more likely to believe false information if it were shared by a politician. But Facebook executives rejected the proposal. The pattern repeated time and time again, as proposals to tweak the platform to down-rank misinformation or abuse were rejected or watered down by executives concerned with engagement or worried that changes might disproportionately impact one political party more than another, according to multiple reports in the press and several former employees. One cynical joke among members of the civic-integrity team was that they spent 10% of their time coding and the other 90% arguing that the code they wrote should be allowed to run, one former employee told TIME. “You write code that does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and then you had to argue with execs who didn’t want to think about integrity, had no training in it and were mad that you were hurting their product, so they shut you down,” the person said. Sometimes the civic-integrity team would also come into conflict with Facebook’s policy teams, which share the dual role of setting the rules of the platform while also lobbying politicians on Facebook’s behalf. “I found many times that there were tensions [in meetings] because the civic-integrity team was like, ‘We’re operating off this oath; this is our mission and our goal,’” says Katie Harbath, a long-serving public-policy director at the company’s Washington, D.C., office who quit in March 2021. “And then you get into decisionmaking meetings, and all of a sudden things are going another way, because the rest of the company and leadership are not basing their decisions off those principles.” Harbath admitted not always seeing eye to eye with Chakrabarti on matters of company policy, but praised his character. “Samidh is a man of integrity, to use the word,” she told TIME. “I personally saw times when he was like, ‘How can I run an integrity team if I’m not upholding integrity as a person?’” Do you work at Facebook or another social media platform? TIME would love to hear from you. You can reach out to billy.perrigo@time.com Years before the 2020 election, research by integrity teams had shown Facebook’s group recommendations feature was radicalizing users by driving them toward polarizing political groups, according to the Journal. The company declined integrity teams’ requests to turn off the feature, BuzzFeed News reported. Then, just weeks before the vote, Facebook executives changed their minds and agreed to freeze political group recommendations. The company also tweaked its News Feed to make it less likely that users would see content that algorithms flagged as potential misinformation, part of temporary emergency “break glass” measures designed by integrity teams in the run-up to the vote. “Facebook changed those safety defaults in the run-up to the election because they knew they were dangerous,” Haugen testified to Senators on Tuesday. But they didn’t keep those safety measures in place long, she added. “Because they wanted that growth back, they wanted the acceleration on the platform back after the election, they returned to their original defaults. And the fact that they had to break the glass on Jan. 6, and turn them back on, I think that’s deeply problematic.” In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Tom Reynolds rejected the idea that the company’s actions contributed to the events of Jan. 6. “In phasing in and then adjusting additional measures before, during and after the election, we took into account specific on-platforms signals and information from our ongoing, regular engagement with law enforcement,” he said. “When those signals changed, so did the measures. It is wrong to claim that these steps were the reason for Jan. 6—the measures we did need remained in place through February, and some like not recommending new, civic or political groups remain in place to this day. These were all part of a much longer and larger strategy to protect the election on our platform—and we are proud of that work.” Read more: 4 Big Takeaways From the Facebook Whistleblower Congressional Hearing Soon after the civic-integrity team was dissolved in December 2020, Chakrabarti took a leave of absence from Facebook. In August, he announced he was leaving for good. Other employees who had spent years working on platform-safety issues had begun leaving, too. In her testimony, Haugen said that several of her colleagues from civic integrity left Facebook in the same six-week period as her, after losing faith in the company’s pledge to spread their influence around the company. “Six months after the reorganization, we had clearly lost faith that those changes were coming,” she said. After Haugen’s Senate testimony, Facebook’s director of policy communications Lena Pietsch suggested that Haugen’s criticisms were invalid because she “worked at the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision-point meeting with C-level executives—and testified more than six times to not working on the subject matter in question.” On Twitter, Chakrabarti said he was not supportive of company leaks but spoke out in support of the points Haugen raised at the hearing. “I was there for over 6 years, had numerous direct reports, and led many decision meetings with C-level execs, and I find the perspectives shared on the need for algorithmic regulation, research transparency, and independent oversight to be entirely valid for debate,” he wrote. “The public deserves better.” Can Facebook’s latest moves protect the company? Two months after disbanding the civic-integrity team, Facebook announced a sharp directional shift: it would begin testing ways to reduce the amount of political content in users’ News Feeds altogether. In August, the company said early testing of such a change among a small percentage of U.S. users was successful, and that it would expand the tests to several other countries. Facebook declined to provide TIME with further information about how its proposed down-ranking system for political content would work. Many former employees who worked on integrity issues at the company are skeptical of the idea. “You’re saying that you’re going to define for people what political content is, and what it isn’t,” James Barnes, a former product manager on the civic-integrity team, said in an interview. “I cannot even begin to imagine all of the downstream consequences that nobody understands from doing that.” Another former civic-integrity team member said that the amount of work required to design algorithms that could detect any political content in all the languages and countries in the world—and keeping those algorithms updated to accurately map the shifting tides of political debate—would be a task that even Facebook does not have the resources to achieve fairly and equitably. Attempting to do so would almost certainly result in some content deemed political being demoted while other posts thrived, the former employee cautioned. It could also incentivize certain groups to try to game those algorithms by talking about politics in nonpolitical language, creating an arms race for engagement that would privilege the actors with enough resources to work out how to win, the same person added. Graeme Jennings—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook, speaks via video conference during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on, July 29, 2020. When Zuckerberg was hauled to testify in front of lawmakers after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018, Senators were roundly mocked on social media for asking basic questions such as how Facebook makes money if its services are free to users. (“Senator, we run ads” was Zuckerberg’s reply.) In 2021, that dynamic has changed. “The questions asked are a lot more informed,” says Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook employee who was fired in 2020 after she criticized Facebook for turning a blind eye to platform manipulation by political actors around the world. “The sentiment is increasingly bipartisan” in Congress, Zhang adds. In the past, Facebook hearings have been used by lawmakers to grandstand on polarizing subjects like whether social media platforms are censoring conservatives, but this week they were united in their condemnation of the company. “Facebook has to stop covering up what it knows, and must change its practices, but there has to be government accountability because Facebook can no longer be trusted,” Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, told TIME ahead of the hearing. His Republican counterpart Marsha Blackburn agreed, saying during the hearing that regulation was coming “sooner rather than later” and that lawmakers were “close to bipartisan agreement.” As Facebook reels from the revelations of the past few days, it already appears to be reassessing product decisions. It has begun conducting reputational reviews of new products to assess whether the company could be criticized or its features could negatively affect children, the Journal reported Wednesday. It last week paused its Instagram Kids product amid the furor. Whatever the future direction of Facebook, it is clear that discontent has been brewing internally. Haugen’s document leak and testimony have already sparked calls for stricter regulation and improved the quality of public debate about social media’s influence. In a post addressing Facebook staff on Wednesday, Zuckerberg put the onus on lawmakers to update Internet regulations, particularly relating to “elections, harmful content, privacy and competition.” But the real drivers of change may be current and former employees, who have a better understanding of the inner workings of the company than anyone—and the most potential to damage the business. —With reporting by Eloise Barry/London and Chad de Guzman/Hong Kong.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 7th, 2021

Why Nike Hasn’t Weighed In on NBA Superstar Kyrie Irving’s Vaccine Hesitancy

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving has put Nike in an awkward position. And that’s not even referring to the time in July when he called the company’s design of the latest Kyrie 8 signature shoes “trash” on social media. (Irving subsequently walked those comments back.) Irving, one of the most dazzling players on… Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving has put Nike in an awkward position. And that’s not even referring to the time in July when he called the company’s design of the latest Kyrie 8 signature shoes “trash” on social media. (Irving subsequently walked those comments back.) Irving, one of the most dazzling players on the globe who every game seems to pull off some basketball magic trick heretofore never seen, has to this point hesitated to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, a position that has caused everyone from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and Spain’s prime minister to oppose his stance. Under New York City law, Irving cannot compete in Brooklyn home games, or practice at the team’s facility, without at least one does of a COVID-19 vaccine. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] (While Irving has not publicly confirmed he’s unvaccinated, he participated in Nets media day remotely on Sept. 27, and did not practice with the team in Brooklyn on Tuesday due to the city’s vaccination protocols.) Nike, Irving’s biggest sponsor, plans to release the Kyrie 8s in November. Sales woulds benefit if he were actually playing, full time. The company—not to mention the NBA, his Nets teammates and fans—wants Irving to receive a vaccine; some 95% of NBA players are already vaccinated. TIME reached out to Nike for comment on the Irving situation. Nike is chose to stay mum on the matter. Read More: Brands Continue to Back Naomi Osaka, Showing An Evolution in How Sponsors Treat Athletes We’re living in an age when consumers demand that companies take stands on important issues. Nike itself, for example, threw its full support behind Colin Kaepernick after his social justice protest effectively got him fired from the NFL. Supporting vaccines—and public health—would seem like a worthy cause for the company. Not to mention in its own self-interest. If Irving gets sick, his performance could suffer. If he spreads the disease, his reputation could take a serious hit. So by staying silent on Irving, is Nike being hypocritical, or just carrying out a smart business strategy that protects a company that generated $44.5 billion in revenues in its most recent fiscal year? It’s probably some combination of both. Nike’s new vaccine mandate Just this week, Nike announced that all U.S. office-based employees will need to be vaccinated. The company plans on calling its workers back to offices on January 10. So while Irving may not technically be a Nike employee, the company’s position could be interpreted as a double standard. “If Nike and other sponsors believe that vaccines are important and everyone should get them, they should say the same about their athletes,” says Ricardo Fort, former VP of global sports and entertainment partnerships at Coca-Cola who now has is own consulting firm. “I don’t see a reason for having two different approaches.” From a strategic perspective, however, Nike has good reason to stay on the sidelines. First off, Irving may soon receive his shot: the Nets’ first game in Brooklyn is on October 24, and he only needs a first vaccination shot to be eligible to play. So Irving has some time to decide whether he’s willing to miss games. And while some consumers may be upset about Kyrie’s stance, they’re not taking it out on Nike—at least not yet. So the company has little incentive to inject itself into the vaccine wars. “Look, their business is built on on selling sneakers and apparel,” says Scott Rosner, a sports consultant and academic director of Columbia University’s sports management program. “There’s a social justice component of what they do. But that’s not what drives their business and their growth.” No stance, more profit? While the numbers would indicate that most consumers disagree with Irving’s stance—62% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, and 56% are fully vaccinated—that might not really matter. “From Nike’s perspective, athletes do have freedom of choice,” says Rosner, “and, at the end of the day, the bottom line is still the bottom line. Kyrie Irving sells a significant number of sneakers for Nike. That kind of thing, at least for the time being, allows them to take more of a hands off approach.” If Irving ultimately decides to sit out his home games, Nike may have to craft some sort of response. But the timing of his decision—on the heels of the release of his latest Nike shoe—would likely prove more harmful to business than any kind of mass backlash. “Brand shaming and virtue signaling by advocacy groups of all types have become so commonplace as to have lost part of their power and influence,” says David Carter, founder of the Sports Business Group and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. Remember, when Nike threw its weight behind Kaepernick, loud calls for Nike boycotts followed. Instead, sales rose. “We can disagree with Irving’s misunderstanding of science,” says Rosner. “But does that make it rise to the level of a boycott, where there’s going to be a mass boycott against Kyries? I don’t think so.” Irving is a complicated character. He’s done plenty of good, like committing $1.5 million to supplement the income of WNBA players who chose to sit out their 2020 season due COVID-19 concerns or to work on social justice issues. But he has also shared flat-earth theories, and last season broke NBA safety protocols by attending a family birthday party maskless. Now on the eve of the NBA’s 75th season, he’s created a vaccine controversy. “It’s a bad spot,” says longtime sports business professor Kenneth Shropshire, who leads Arizona State’s Global Sports Institute. “It’s hard for Nike to lay low. But I think that’s the best thing they can do.” While hoping he just gets that jab.        .....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 6th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Biden"s Infrastructure Package Is Poorly Timed

Biden's Infrastructure Package Is Poorly Timed Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog, Like many Americans, I'm concerned and put off by the size and goals of President Biden's infrastructure package. Even the scaled-down package is unnecessary. Part of the problem is the timing of this massive spending bill. Such packages are often introduced at a time when unemployment is high and people can't find jobs, currently, that is not the case. We certainly do not need to stimulate demand at a time suppliers are suffering huge supply chain disruptions. While many people and politicians see government spending on infrastructure as a job creator and a silver bullet for our ailing economy I would like to raise a word of caution, things are not that simple. Several reasons why the timing of this bill is horrible are staring us in the face, the most notable is that currently, no shortage of jobs exists. In fact, employers are having difficulty finding workers due to the fact many people have dropped out of the workforce and lost interest in returning to work in the current era of "covid-lite." People are ignoring that a great deal of money already in the pipeline for states and local governments has yet to be spent. Much of this money could be used for infrastructure is being sent to governments based on a "use it or lose it" system of distribution.  Politicians often view this as "free money" allowing them to use it as they please. With this attitude, it is little wonder so much of it is squandered on stupid programs such as allowing people to ride free on public buses or putting in walking and bike lanes in areas where they will see little use.  Many people have come to think that the money flowing from Washington does not cost us anything because often such bills are shrouded in the message the project will more than pay for itself over time by creating greater growth. The devil is in the details when it comes to such spending. Sadly, politicians often prefer to use such funds on what they view as legacy projects that will shape the future of their area or shiny pet projects that will enrich their cronies. Many of these tend to be rather wasteful and controversial and it is not uncommon to see them plagued by cost overruns. Already Cones Galore But No Workers! When recently driving the highways of America, I constantly encounter miles and miles of lanes coned off and in the middle of being resurfaced.  Still, I often find there are no workers and little equipment present. Blame it on the way road work contracts are granted of work overseen but this indicates the companies performing the work are already stretched thin. Unfortunately, this tends to result in traffic jams. Having employees trapped in slow-moving traffic costs businesses a great deal of money and reduces productivity. Throwing more money at companies already overextended is just asking for shoddy work at a higher price is hardly a formula for economic success. Expect no bargains for taxpayers when this bill gets passed. What it will do is push higher the cost of materials and labor which drives inflation. Ironically, it will also encourage the "premature replacement of good infrastructure" that still has years of useful life. This directly conflicts with the idea of pursuing a "green path forward" which those endorsing the bill claim gives it merit. An example of this pops up in a recent study about how trading in your old car for a brand new electric vehicle may be doing more harm to the environment than good. Researchers in Japan say choosing to keep and drive your older gasoline-powered car longer is better than crushing it and going new when considering all the energy used to build a new vehicle. In short, research shows keeping older fuel-efficient cars on the road longer reduces CO2 emissions significantly more than speeding up the global transition to green technology. A team from Kyushu University says most of the debate over gasoline and electric cars focuses on fuel efficiency and the CO2 emissions they produce rather than the fact a rapid transition shoots up "manufacturing emissions." Building Bridges Creates Jobs But Is Not Free Since we are already suffering from supply chain disruptions and soaring prices, the cynical part of me thinks the timing of this bill is lousy and the American people should get ready to get bent over and taken advantage of. America's national debt is exploding, this means it might be a good time to revisit the idea a country can create the illusion of economic prosperity by spending while at the same time not accomplishing its goals of long-term growth. History shows that while a country can kick its gross domestic product into high gear by building a false economy based on infrastructure or war, this does not translate into sustainable growth.  When a country gorges at the trough of deficit spending it can easily manipulate a big temporary boost in its GDP but solid growth is often the result of a slower well-planned approach. When Washington begins to talk about infrastructure spending hands go out across America as politicians and businesses  rush to endorse such programs claiming they should be administered on a local level so the money is not squandered by the inefficient minions of  Washington that do not understand the priorities we face. As for the number of jobs we claim are created from such spending are often only temporary and can be easy to overstate. While infrastructure spending brings the illusion of solid growth it is generally a long-term investment financed by creating debt, this debt often lasts for decades and long after the project is completed. Often the jobs such projects create quickly fade away. This makes it important the money is well spent or the bill will come back to haunt society and the economy over time.  This Is Third-World Infrastructure! Those promoting such massive spending often claim America has a third-world infrastructure, this is poppycock. While things may not always be perfect, it is far from what much of the world has to deal with. The picture to the right is reflective of a "third world" infrastructure. When things don't work as planned in America, a lot of other factors are often involved such as a lack of accountability or the people in charge having no skin in the game. As stated before, solid growth is often the result of a slower well-planned approach. This means creating clear smart prudent well-defined goals and long-term strategies on how to meet them.    In the long run, a country's economic policies and its system of taxation are far more important to the economy than government spending. It is pure folly to think in our age of crony capitalism that infrastructure spending that tends to be poorly spent during the best of times, will be able to rapidly transform our economy in the way politicians are promising.  Already, people are lining up to steal this money. In the current environment, the one thing we can count on is that when all is said and done, the family members and friends of government officials and business leaders are about to benefit greatly from this poorly timed bill. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 15:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

Ozy Media’s Carlos Watson Addresses The Company’s Downfall

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ozy Media Co-Founder Carlos Watson on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, October 4th.  Following are links to video on CNBC.com: [soros] Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ozy Media’s Watson On Path Forward: We’re Going To Have To Change Substantially […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ozy Media Co-Founder Carlos Watson on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, October 4th.  Following are links to video on CNBC.com: [soros] Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ozy Media’s Watson On Path Forward: We’re Going To Have To Change Substantially Ozy Media’s Watson Addresses Numerous Scandals Leading To Company’s Downfall ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Welcome back to “Squawk Box.” Our next guest is here to give us a first-person account of the dramatic rise and fall of Ozy, a roughly 8-year old new media company that collapsed last week following reporting The New York Times about a series of allegedly misleading statements and actions. We’ve been talking about it all week, Ozy Media Co-Founder Carlos Watson is here with us on the set. Carlos, good morning to you. CARLOS WATSON: Morning. SORKIN: We have so many questions that have been unanswered and I’m hoping you can help us with. The first though— WATSON: Do you mind if I start at the top though? SORKIN: Well I think what you’re about to say because we just heard that, and we talked about it as a collapse. On Friday, the company said effectively they’re, it was going out of business. WATSON: Said we’re going to suspend operations and begin an orderly wind down but over the weekend, good conversations with investors, with advertisers. I was warmly surprised to hear from a number of folks readers, viewers, others, and as embarrassing sometimes as it may feel to do, I realized that we were premature. I realized we have something special here. I think that there’s a really good opportunity and part of what last week showed me is not only that we have lots of things that we have to do to improve. We do and I know we’re going to talk about some of those today. But I very genuinely feel like we have a meaningful important voice in what is maybe the most transformative decade and a half century, and I want Ozy to be around and be a part of it. I want people to read our newsletters. I want them to watch our TV shows. I want them to enjoy our podcast. I want them to come to our live events. I think all of that matters. SORKIN: Okay for them to do that, if that’s going to be the case, they’re gonna have to trust you and they’re gonna have to trust the Ozy brand. WATSON: Right. SORKIN: So, let’s talk about that trust because I think there’s, there were so many questions raised by the reporting that that was in the New York Times last week plus lots of other reporting in other places. And let’s just say this, lots of Ozy was real. I just wanna say that out loud, which is to say, the newsletters exist, the festival exists, the advertising exists. You’ve won an Emmy, that exists. But I think there’s other questions about whether the numbers were inflated. We heard about this phone call between your co-founder and Goldman Sachs apparently impersonating somebody from YouTube. We’ve talked about the advertising that suggested that said one thing, but the quotes necessarily, didn’t necessarily come from where they said they were coming from. I think we need to just try to the extent that you can clear the error, explain it— WATSON: Sure. SORKIN: Let’s do that. Let’s start with this phone call though because that’s what sort of set this whole thing off. Your co-founder had a phone call with Goldman Sachs as you were trying to raise money and effectively took them off of a Zoom, and then apparently started to impersonate within it with a fake email address as well, somebody from YouTube. What happened? WATSON: I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But I do know that I got a call from the YouTube folks after it saying something strange had happened, and we figured out what happened. I immediately called back to the folks at Goldman, right away, not four days later as I think someone wrote at one point and, and look, it’s heartbreaking, it’s wrong, it’s not good, it’s not okay. I love Goldman, I worked there, I’ve got a lot of friends there, you know, to this day several months afterwards. I’m grateful to them that, you know, we’ve formed a new advertising partnership and so, you know, hopefully there was some sense of trust regained, but there’s no doubt about it that that was not okay and that fractured a lot of trust not just there, but obviously, you saw what happened in a very tumultuous week last week, SORKIN: But part of what was happening in that instance from what I understand is, you had represented, and the company had represented at one point that your show was going to appear originally on A&E, by the way represented to me because I appeared on your show, and when I first got that email from the producer, it said this show was on going to be on A&E with 95 million households and I remember sitting down actually when I was about to do your show and I said to the producer in the, in the ear I said, “By the way, when does this air?” Thinking it’s going to air on A&E and she said something like, “We, you know, we’re really leaning in hard to online media, this is actually a YouTube Original.” But what it now appears like is it actually wasn’t a YouTube Original either. And in fact, that was somewhat of what the discussion or the issue was with Goldman Sachs, that you were uploading these videos to YouTube, but a YouTube Original is something where you say they’ve effectively commissioned the program. WATSON: So lots of miscommunication in that but I want to clarify that one because I think that that was definitely one where we lost a lot of trust. We originally conceived the show with A&E, you’ve seen the announcements that we have, have a partnership with them or a multi-year partnership. You know we’ve done shows on A&E, on their sister network History Channel, on Lifetime Channel, did good things. And originally during the summer, the conversation was with them. We created a sizzle reel together. We talked about which guests and things like that. And as the summer moved on, we realized that they were on a different timetable than we were and so, we shifted to YouTube. Now in the back of our mind we thought there still could be an opportunity for us to come back to them, but we clearly shifted to YouTube. I know that for you and for a number of other people, you got emails on that. That was wrong. I don’t know whether that was a mistake or whether that was intentional but whatever it is, that was wrong. SORKIN: But the executive producer that you hired believed that he was making a show for A&E and in fact, suggested on the record in the New York Times this week, or last week, that the show, every time he was told that he wanted to call someone at A&E, he was told effectively not to. WATSON: You know, I don’t know about that but I have to say this, I made a really bad decision last week and I didn’t respond to your text. I didn’t respond to texts lots of other people I know and I wish I had engaged with the media, had good conversations because I felt like after that piece, it was kind of like open season for people to throw whatever crazy half-truth and put it out there. Now, to be really clear, some of the things that came out last week were mistakes that we made, I know that we’ll talk about those too, but that’s a good example of one that I think that’s true. That same producer you’re talking about is the same producer who’s texted me multiple times since then with multiple exclamation points saying congratulations on the show bringing Matt Damon on, congratulations on the show now appearing on Amazon Prime. So, look, there’s no doubt about it that last summer, as the show started, we originally hoped that we were going to do with A&E and it ended up shifting to YouTube and, and, and I am sure that we did not communicate that well and I own that and that’s— SORKIN: But you use the word half-truths. I think there’s more than a half-truth or, or a half-lie in that which is the producer actually said to you specifically that you were lying to the staff about the fact that this show was supposed to be on A&E and then apparently lied again when you said it was gonna be a YouTube Original. WATSON: I disagree. I don’t think that’s true. So, both pieces of what you’re saying, which is the idea that he said to me that I was lying— SORKIN: Right. WATSON: And number two that I then said to the staff that it was YouTube Original, right. Clearly it wasn’t a YouTube Original and knowing what a YouTube Original was, it clearly wasn’t that. And let me— SORKIN: But why did they believe that it was a YouTube Original? Why were they telling me by the way that it was YouTube Original? WATSON: I hope that it was only a mix up of words, right. I hope that’s all it was. It may not have been but I hope there was only a mix up of words. But Andrew, what I don’t want to have obscured is that we didn’t do one or two episodes of the show, we’ve done 200 episodes and when Scarlett Johansson has come on, when Dr. Fauci has come on, when H.E.R. has come on, when Mark Cuban has come on, when Malcolm Gladwell has come on. SORKIN: But no one is— WATSON: Hold on one second. They come on knowing that they’re coming on a terrific YouTube show that has a chance to reach a really dynamic audience. SORKIN: Nobody’s disputing the quality of the program but by the way you just mentioned this being on Amazon Prime which became another issue is that you advertised it was the first show, first talk show on Amazon Prime. You were uploading that show to Amazon Prime. I remember seeing that ad for the first time thinking wow good for Carlos, Amazon Prime has commissioned him. That’s amazing. And then I found out when I read the story, that in fact you were just simply uploading it like anybody could. WATSON: It’s not. No, no, no, timeout guys and again, thank you for this time. I know we are going to spend a lot of time, Joe, do you mind if I hit this first and then come to you? JOE KERNEN: I’m just seeing like a pattern and I’m just wondering who is in charge that decided— WATSON: You know what? Let me, let me answer that and let me come back there because that also ties to the question of regaining trust and there’s a larger question, that’s totally legitimate question. So, to be really clear, getting on Amazon Prime, not everyone can upload it. That’s a very rare thing and this suggestion in one of the articles is just like any random yahoo can do that. You can’t do that, you should talk to the folks at Amazon and not believe some of the, you know, not very good reporting about that so it is a big deal. Number two, our understanding from them is that we were the only talk show and part of what was special about that is that they hadn’t done it otherwise and they weren’t in a place yet where they were willing to put their own money, but what they were willing to do in terms of a large upfront payment, but what they were willing to do and what they do for a few people is allow you to be part of Amazon Prime where you take risk and they take risk and the more views you have, the more you get paid. SORKIN: But to put a fine point on it. WATSON: Hold on. Hold on. SORKIN: They then asked you to stop advertising this point. WATSON: Well, but they asked to stop everything because what they said to us and what they said to me is because we are not convinced that we’re definitely gonna get in the talk show business and if you advertise it like that, you’re gonna have lots of other people, their agents and everyone calling, so they didn’t say take it down because it’s not true, they said take it down because we don’t want you stimulating more pitches for us in a space that we haven’t committed to yet. Let’s see how you do. If you do well with the interesting guests you have, whether it’s a Priyanka Chopra, whether it’s a Mark Cuban, a Lloyd Blankfein, whomever, then great and we’ll see where we go from there. So, please with all of these things let’s have the conversation, right, because we definitively made some mistakes and Joe I know we want to have a larger conversation about whether mistakes were ingrained in who we are or whether, like a lot of young companies, we made mistakes but that was the 20% not the 80% of who we are, but let’s go through all of these because I think that’s a super important point. We are on Amazon Prime, it’s a very difficult place to get. There are only two ways to get in there, you can either get a meaningful upfront payment and they drive it or for a few people, they say you’re special enough and if you want to take risk, and we’ll take risk, we’ll do that together and we bet on ourselves and we did it and our understanding and talking to them is that we were the only talk show and their hesitation about having it out there was not that it wasn’t true but that they didn’t want to stimulate more demand and so I want to clear that up and I think that’s important. SORKIN: Okay, Becky’s got a question for you. BECKY QUICK: Carlos, really quickly, back to the issue of— WATSON: Becky, I apologize, I’m not hearing you yet. QUICK: Oh sorry, maybe they can turn on the microphone. Can you hear me now? SORKIN: Can you hear her? WATSON: I don’t hear her yet. QUICK: Okay, maybe it’s not back. Joe’s got a question, why don’t you let him ask. KERNEN: Mine, I’m just wondering, the, the aggressive marketing that caused sort of to oversell and you could call it aggressive or someone was downright just this falsehoods about where, you know, you buy some advertising somewhere and then the entity suddenly the LA Times is saying — who was that, who because it happened again and again, again, do you have a head of marketing or— WATSON: But let me start with a macro place Joe and I’m saying this in order to address this and address it comprehensively because it’s important. KERNEN: Right. WATSON: Again, as you said before and as you know because I’ve been here with you before. We have a real business. We have real newsletters that millions of people get. We have real TV shows that people watch, we’ve won an Emmy. We have real podcasts that have been in the top 10 on Apple. We have real festivals that people come to. We have tried to market these very different franchises, about 25 in all, we’ve tried very hard to market them well. I would tell you that one of the mistakes we made is that sometimes we were too aggressive in marketing them unequivocally and I own that, not anyone else, I own that. That’s my mistake. I’m the CEO, I’m responsible that we tried our best. Now, do, if you’re asking me do I think that we got it wrong 50% of the time or 80% of time? No. If you ask me do I think we got it wrong 20% of the time? Yeah, we probably did and that’s on me and I own that and one of the things I hope will be true of that going forward is we’ll be much better about that, much crisper about that. KERNEN: So, 80% of the marketing was, was true, I don’t think that’s true. WATSON: Why do you not think it’s true? KERNEN: I just heard of some of the best— WATSON: Look, it was an incredibly salacious week and I do think at some point I hope you will invite me back to talk about the state of journalism, and I want to talk to Andrew and Becky about that too. I thought last week there was, there was not only real critique and there was, and make no mistake about it, I own the things that we need to do better on data, the things we need to do better on marketing, the things we need to do better on leadership and culture. I clearly own that and clearly have thoughts about where we can go from there. But in addition to that, I thought there was a wild piling on that was inappropriate, and that left you, and a lot of other people saying, is this everything about Ozy? Even Andrew, Andrew I look back, you sent me a text after you were on my show and you said, I’ve never had so many people tell me that they were watching the show, where did you get that magic from. You remember sending me that text? SORKIN: I remember looking at the, I think what I said to you, I think was— WATSON: No, no, no, I— SORKIN: You can get it because I remember being amazed by how many people were watching it on YouTube. WATSON: You told me in the text, you said and I’m happy to bring it. SORKIN: You can. WATSON: You said on the text to me and I’ll read it here to you if you like. You said to me— SORKIN: I was amazed how many people were watching it. WATSON: You said to me quote on August 29th at 7:54pm, “You have a big audience on YouTube, I keep hearing from various people who say they saw it.” I keep hearing from various people saying that they saw it. “I’d love to talk to you.” SORKIN: Right. WATSON: So that’s what you said, keep hearing from people. So, look, I just, I need you guys to be fair about this and thoughtful about this and not just go with this kind of one way digital mob. SORKIN: I know and Becky’s got a question but I want to ask you one other, which relates to the newsletter franchise, one of the things you’ve talked about is having 26 million people getting this newsletter. And I don’t disbelieve that you have 26 million addresses in your database. You can buy some of those, you can do some of that organically. But I also saw an investment deck that you had. WATSON: You can partner. SORKIN: Right, you can partner. WATSON: And I’ve partnered before on newsletter efforts with The New York Times. SORKIN: But I did see, I saw an investment deck that said you had a 25% open rate on those 26 million newsletters, subscribers. That is a very high open rate for what I don’t believe is a fully organic list. Can you, can you speak to that? Was it really, do you really have a 25% open rate on 26 million newsletters? WATSON: We do not. But, but I hope what it said and I don’t know which deck you’re referring to, I hope what it said is that for our best most regular people that it was 25%. So, of that 26 million, that 10 to 12 million who were the most regular, I hope what it said is that we have a 25% open rate, I hope that’s what it said. SORKIN: This was a deck for your, for your Series D, which brings me to another question. The investors who invested after this now infamous call between your executive and Goldman Sachs. Were they made aware of the call and the questions that have been raised that we’re now talking about today? WATSON: You know what, because you know that that is fraught and there are a lot of questions, I’m not going to go into that but I will say this and I think this is really important and when we talk about investments you know this with private companies, when you invest in a private company, you don’t just have one conversation or there’s not one data point. You and I both know that it can be a three to 12-month process. You and I both know that you often, if you’re the potential investor, you often have dozens of conversations both ones at the company sets up but also ones that you do yourself and that there are lots of data points and you go through that and you sync it all through and I’m confident that all of our investors and I’m confident that they talk to customers. I’m confident they talk to members of our team. I’m confident that they talk to other competitors. I’m confident that they consumed our newsletters and our TV shows and our podcasts, and many of them would come in the earlier days to our festivals as well so I want to say that because I know we keep having this conversation— QUICK: Hey Carlos. Just on that point though— WATSON: As though— QUICK: On that, on that point— WATSON: Becky, sorry, Becky can I just say one more thing— QUICK: But on that point, I just want to clarify what the point that you’re making right now. We know that the situation the conversation with Samir Rao, that that was a situation that you say where it was a mental break. Was there, were there any other occasions where investors were given misleading information in any of these conversations that you’re talking about right now or was that a one-off event? WATSON: Becky, I hope and I hope and I believe that that was a one-off event. I mean it’s a tragic event, it’s a horrific event, it’s a wrong event. And, and so I hope and trust that that was a that was a one-off. And so, but let me say something else because I think, again, this is important and it started at the beginning of the conversation Andrew. Like, I think it’s completely inappropriate and not thoughtful these kind of comparisons to Theranos. You and I both know that Theranos didn’t have a real product. And again, you’ve been on my TV shows. You’ve seen the Emmy that we won. You’ve received our newsletters at least heard of so— SORKIN: No, no, I— WATSON: So I want to make sure that we have like a grounded, thoughtful conversation and so investors who were thinking about us, considering us, getting to know us by the way, we’re also investing in other companies who were investing in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, they were investing in Business Insider, they were investing in, in the Atlantic and all sorts of other companies and so these are people who aren’t just sophisticated investors but often investors who know the media space, maybe even better than I do. SORKIN: The point that Ben Smith made in today’s column was though, that it was a group think. It was everybody trying to be part of a club and that they actually didn’t do their diligence at all. WATSON: Yeah, so let’s, what I’d say is that I think Ben Smith should never have had a chance to write this piece. I’ve shared with a number of people before that two years ago in August of 2019, Ben Smith sent an email to me and his then CEO Jonah Peretti said I think you guys should get together for the purposes of talking about them buying me. We spent three months in conversation. They had me meet all of their top leaders, folks in marketing, folks in finance, folks in analytics, they went through our numbers backwards and forwards, they put together a joint presentation, and they made us after the end of that, in November, right before Thanksgiving, spending all that time doing diligence, Joe they made us an offer of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for a company that Ben Smith now sets up as though it’s a house of cards and it was just group think. How is that possible that Ben Smith who’s been in new media for that many years, kicked off a process, followed up with me and they ended up making an offer for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, $225 million, for something that they now say was group think and it was made up. And when we said no to him once and said no to him twice, two weeks later he quit, went to the Times and his first column in March of 2020 was, I guess, new media can’t work, I guess I’ve got to join the Times. Just because it didn’t work for him, not okay for him now to take a potshot at us and did he tell his editor that he was conflicted when he was writing about us. Did he tell his editor that he still owns lots of stock in Buzzfeed and that he tried to buy us? He didn’t. I don’t think that’s okay. I don’t think that’s okay, I don’t think he should have been able to write that piece and write the other pieces and create this false narrative that because Ozy doesn’t look like something he wants it to be and because we said no to him multiple times— SORKIN: But clearly you’re acknowledging that there are things that you, you and the company have done that are misleading. That were fair game for, for a journalist to write about. WATSON: 100% that we should have done better. Three of the areas and there may be more than three, but we definitely should have been better with data because so many of the data tools, only look at digital only, and we’re not a digital media company. I call us a modern media company because we’ve got TV shows, newsletters, podcasts and festivals. So we should have figured out that multi-platform data, we should have been better on the marketing. Joe, we got it wrong, it’s not okay what we did, it’s not, but I don’t think it was 80% of the time, I think it was probably more like 20% of the time and I would tell you that there’s some things around leadership and culture that I need to be better at and we need to be at. QUICK: Carlos, can I just, can I just clarify on that point? The things that you say you own because you were the leader you own it because people under you were doing things you didn’t know about or people under you were doing things that you did know about? WATSON: Becky, that’s such a broad question and, you know, that’s such a broad question. QUICK: No, I’m trying to be specific. It’s right for a leader to say it happened on my watch, it’s my fault. But is it your fault because you didn’t know or your fault because you did— WATSON: Fair. Let me give you a couple. So one on the data, I should have figured out a third party group that could have done, not just digital like Comscore does because Comscore only looks at website traffic or mainly looks at website traffic, but even though it was hard I should have figured out a solution as I now have and we have a third party that has done a preliminary look and hopefully they’ll finish up in the next couple of weeks and we will share it broadly with people and going forward, every month, we will share our data. We’ve got nothing to hide, we’ve got good things there. And so yes, I own that I didn’t make sure that that happened. And I knew that that was critical to us and we did the best we could. We did it piecemeal, but I should have had someone external as an example do it, do it consistently and share it with people in an easy consumable way. QUICK: But I’m sorry when we’re talking about made up marketing numbers, did you know that was happening or not? WATSON: I don’t believe we had made up marketing numbers, Becky. I don’t believe we had made up marketing numbers, and so I’ve heard people say that repeatedly but what it is, in my mind, is it’s Ben Smith and people like him who only believe that what happens on Twitter and websites matter and discount newsletters and discount podcasts and discount TV shows and discount festivals, and so their belief is, if you’re not doing that, if you’re not active on Twitter and doing snarky things on Twitter, then you don’t have a real media company and I, I constitutionally reject that. In fact, a big part of the reason why we’re going to continue going forward is because I don’t think it’s a good world where the only kind of media companies you have or the kind of media companies that get Ben Smith excited, what about the rest of us. SORKIN: I just want to say because I asked you about the email opens before and I’m looking at the deck, I’ll show it to you right here. 25% email opens. Ozy email average 25% open rate, 2.5 times industry and 3% CTR. It doesn’t have a star next to it that says just the people who are actively engaged with you in some way, and— WATSON: You know, I need to look at that more closely but let’s make sure that we do something here, which is that I don’t want, if you and I looked at any small company— SORKIN: Right. WATSON: Or a large company, we would find a handful of things that aren’t great. Just to be really clear, we would, we would find and just because something is sloppy or stupid, doesn’t mean it’s illegal, right. I just want to be really clear about that— SORKIN: Look I’m not, I recognize mistakes can be made, I think the question is whether there’s a pattern and series of mistakes and I think that is the, the larger issue. I’ll raise another one with you, Sharon Osborne, you made a comment on this program, by the way, saying that she was a friend and investor in the company. WATSON: I didn’t say she was a friend. SORKIN: I think we can probably go back and get the tape. WATSON: You know what, play the tape then. Please, go ahead, play the tape. SORKIN: I don’t know if we have the tape— WATSON: You know what, cue up the tape. This is an Obama Romney moment. Cue up the tape. Show me the tape. SORKIN: As we wait for the tape if we can get it. WATSON: So here’s, here’s what I said and here’s what is true. We have a wonderful music and ideas festival that I’ve invited you to many times. Becky you were going to come, as you recall, and you were going to do something. We had a conversation about that you couldn’t do it, we went back and forth with folks to try and see if we could get you to be a moderator of one of the things— QUICK: Yeah, it was something I couldn’t do. WATSON: It’s called OZY Fest and Sharon Osborne and the folks said that that was too close to the name of something they did called Ozzfest. They ended up suing us. We went back and forth and the final resolution was that they would get stock in our company, they would ultimately get about 50,000 shares. And so, I think on this show and maybe a couple of others, in my mind people who own shares in our company, are investors— SORKIN: But you do recognize an investor— WATSON: Hang on, hang on. Hey can I finish? SORKIN: You tell somebody that they’re an investor, they typically do that proactively and you didn’t say by the way, they happened to get shares instead of cash. WATSON: Andrew. SORKIN: I mean there’s a difference. There’s a difference. WATSON: Andrew, no doubt that there’s a difference but also if you put the blink test on this, the Malcolm level blink test, do you think I’m really saying to serious investors invest because Sharon Osborne? Like do you really think that’s like a calling card, like seriously, is that a calling card like just the blink test here. You really think that’s what I was doing or do you think you and I were having a light moment and we were making a joke and I said that, like play the tape. I’m sure it’s a light moment and there’s no one I’m going to say, hey, you know why you should invest because Sharon Osborne is in Ozy. I’m not gonna say that we were probably having a light moment I hope you’ll play the tape. SORKIN: What do you say to people, and I want to go back if we could to this though, you’re going to try to continue this company and, and keep going. WATSON: And it will be tough and it will be tough, as you said we will to, Joe, we will have to regain trust. SORKIN: The investors apparently have left the company. I mean Ron Conway effectively said I’m giving back the shares. WATSON: And again, I need you, Andrew, as sophisticated as you are about this stuff, like, you know, that we’ve raised millions of dollars of capital and Ron Conway put in $50,000. And so for you to keep banding about Ron Conway— SORKIN: It’s the first time I’m mentioning his name. WATSON: Hey, hey, today, right. But you mentioned it before last week so for you to keep banding that about like that’s a substantive big decision, like that’s not accurate and that’s what I meant before Joe about these things that are misleading. So, I’m sorry to see them go. He’s a terrific investor. SORKIN: But why do they, why do they abandon the company if things are as, as good as you say they are. Marc Lasry, by the way, defended you initially said that he thought that this mental health issue was real, said that it was dealt with appropriately. You know, 72 hours later, he’s gone. Why? Tell us about that conversation then. WATSON: Can’t, can’t speak to that except to say it’s heartbreaking. I am a big fan of Marc’s. I’ve been lucky to get a chance to work with him. He was great as an investor, as a board member, as a chairman. He joined me here on this show, as you know, I think more than once. He helped me with a number of our key business development efforts and so he was great and I’m, I, you know I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I’m sure he and I both wish last week hadn’t happened. I think we both felt like Ozy had had some incredible momentum this year, which is part of the reason why he became chairman. I think we both hoped that a lot more will happen but part of my opportunity going forward is to make sure that we build back stronger, that we create something that he and others can be proud of and, you know, Joe, you probably remember Tylenol situation, years ago, right. And that was a moment of leadership, that was a moment when it looked like an important company was going to go away. KERNEN: Timber. WATSON: You remember that? KERNEN: I remember it well. WATSON: And so, you know, look at our best and we, we may not get there, right, this is gonna be hard but at our best, this will be our Lazarus moment, right, at our best, and we may or may not see— SORKIN: So, tell us, what do you think you need to do at this point. By the way, you’re gonna have to get, I assume, maybe more, more investors though I know you have some cash still on hand, you’re gonna have to bring back the advertising community to ultimately support this and then readers and the public. WATSON: And so I think the first thing I have to do is think about my team. SORKIN: How are they gonna stay with you by the way? WATSON: You know what? That that’s a good question. That’s a good question. SORKIN: Have you talked to them? WATSON: I’ve talked to some of them. Obviously this has all happened very quickly. It’s a terrific team, they were as traumatized last week as I was as heartbroken as I was. I mean, whenever you want to say, you and I both know that when you ever you met people from Ozy, they loved Ozy. They weren’t kind of going through the motions, it wasn’t just like they loved Ozy, right, and so and so— SORKIN: But by the way, there were a number of reports last week from at least ex-employees who clearly didn’t love Ozy. WATSON: Fair enough. Of the, of the nearly thousand people we’ve hired over the last decade, part time and full time from freelance reporters to software engineers to people doing our festivals, crews on our TV shows and other folks, we did have people. And people ran with stories from for example one gentleman who we fired for lying multiple times but they set him up and allowed his quote Potemkin village or things like that to run wild as though he was a credible source, I don’t think that’s okay. Right. And so, I’m happy to have conversations about that and I’m happy to walk through that. But here’s the bottom line when you ask me what I need to do next, got to make sure that our team is in a good place and that’s not going to be easy and you and I both know that, have to make sure that we regain the trust of investors that’s not going to be easy either, have to make sure that we deliver really premium products. So at the end of the day, if we don’t have a newsletter that people want to read, if we don’t have TV shows that people want to watch, we don’t podcasts that people put on their headsets and go for a safe swim like we don’t have anything. If we don’t have an OZY Fest, that you can come to we don’t have anything so that’s going to be important. And the last thing I would say that’s going to ultimately be really important is we have to change. We have to change substantially on data, on leadership and culture, on marketing. SORKIN: Carlos Watson, we very much appreciate you being here. WATSON: You know what I wish I’d come last week— SORKIN: But one thing I can tell you is that I do wish you luck, I really do. WATSON: Thank you. Thank you. I hope I get a chance to come back. SORKIN: Thank you, Carlos. KERNEN: Thank you. WATSON: Thank you Joe. Thank you Becky. Updated on Oct 4, 2021, 1:30 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 4th, 2021

"Power Play" dives into Elon Musk"s greatest successes and failures - a must-read for any fan or critic

"Power Play" by Tim Higgins is a great book for understanding the nuances of Elon Musk and Tesla's success. Here are 5 things I learned. "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century" by WSJ reporter Tim Higgins explores Musk's greatest successes - and controversies. NurPhoto/Getty Images; Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider "Power Play" is a bestselling new book about Tesla's rise in the past decade. Written by WSJ reporter Tim Higgins, it covers both Elon Musk's successes and controversies. I found the book a fascinating read for people who love Elon Musk - and for his biggest critics. Last year showed that irrespective of the world being on pause from a global pandemic, Big Tech companies will continue to flourish. And while Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (popularly known as GAFA) have been posting record revenue and profit numbers, there's one company that took the world by storm in the last couple of years: Tesla. From being on the precipice of going bankrupt in 2018 (and many times before), Tesla has emerged as a behemoth in a matter of a few years. There hasn't been a month last year when its CEO, Elon Musk, wasn't in the news. In January this year, Tesla crossed a market value of $800 billion, which was higher than the market cap of the next five auto companies combined. How could a younger-than 20-year-old automaker, which sells only electric cars, leave established names such as Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors languishing in the dust?Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century (small)That question prodded me to pick up "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century" by Tim Higgins, a Wall Street Journal reporter who covered the auto beat for the paper and then moved to San Francisco to cover Silicon Valley.Higgins' unique understanding of the auto and tech industry is what makes the book eminently readable. (Don't go by Elon Musk's review of the book though - he calls it "false and boring.") Here are five things that stuck with me long after I had read the book and helped me understand the growth of Big Tech:1. "First principles thinking" helped Tesla think outside the box and become a disruptor in the industry. Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images Tesla is an electric car company that wanted to change the way things were done. Its CEO, Elon Musk constantly referred to 'first principles thinking' when addressing influential staff. It's a way of problem-solving that drills a concept down to its most basic ideas before you work your way up. By design, it emphasizes curiosity.Musk wouldn't take established trends and facts from a traditional auto company as something to be applied to Tesla. Instead, he nudged his engineers to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to approach problems differently. This workplace culture, along with Musk's ability to attract excellent talent to Tesla, enabled the electric car maker to eventually have its own battery-making plant, eschew franchise agreements, and sell directly to customers, amid other firsts. 2. Many of Tesla's victories came at employees' expense, especially during the pandemic. Tesla employees working on the factory floor in 2015. David Butow / Contributor / Getty Images The price paid by those working at Tesla seemed to be ignored as long as the stock price and Tesla car sales were on the rise. Tesla has made Roadster, Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y and each of their productions was the same story: Tesla running out of money followed by Musk managing to raise it. Workers were asked to forget downtime and work hard "this one time," with many getting fired because Musk wanted to micro-manage. Higgins succinctly explained this trend: "Tesla was building the airplane as Musk was heading down the runway for a takeoff." Musk got away with many wrong-doings as Tesla's stocks rose, fulfilling the stereotype of the world's richest men refusing to acknowledge that their wealth is made on the backs of daily wage workers who are often exploited. Despite a raging pandemic, Musk went all out to ensure workers made themselves available on the factory floor - shelter at home regulations be damned. 3. Elon Musk's Twitter behavior has been excused by many because of the company's success - but there have also been consequences. Drew Angerer / Staff / Getty Images Elon Musk can elicit extreme responses. On one hand, he leads the most valuable auto company, but the road to getting there is strewn with mercurial behavior, fulfilling personal whims and fancies at employees' wellbeing, delayed plans, pushing talented people to burnout, or worse, firing anyone who caught him on a bad day. But what feels distinct to Musk is the fact that no other CEO has used Twitter this obsessively. He doesn't just use it as a medium to rant against people he thinks "are out to ruin" Tesla, but also for calling people names, making repeatedly unsubstantiated claims, and even attacking journalists who point out the problems at Tesla. (Business Insider's Linette Lopez faced a relentless tweet-storm from Musk over her scoop on Tesla, documented in the book.) While Tesla is still lucrative, Musk's behavior did face some deep financial consequences from time to time. When he called the British cave rescuer of the Thai children's football team a pedophile, Tesla shares dropped 3.5% wiping out $2 billion off its valuation.Another time, when Musk tweeted "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," share prices soared to record heights to the extent that NASDAQ had to halt trading for a while. The NASDAQ has to be informed about such maneuvers in advance, which Musk failed to do. As a result, Musk and Tesla were fined $20 million each as part of a fraud settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It also led him to step down as chairman of Tesla's board of directors for three years.4. China is always an important block of the tech-economy puzzle. STR / Contributor / Getty Images In every tech company book that I've read over the last couple of years, there are two countries that always stand out: China and Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Arabia mostly features as a country willing to fuse capital when American technology companies need it most, China really provides a lot of these companies the escape velocity needed for growth beyond western markets. Tesla got a taste of that in 2020 when its business in China accounted for 21% of its total sales. China is providing incentives to electric vehicle makers and is one of the top markets for EVs in sales numbers: Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory makes Chinese variants of the Model S and cars for the European market as well.In the luxury EV space, it has little competition from Chinese carmakers who address the budget buyers. Just like with Apple, China will continue to be a huge market for Tesla in the near term. 5. Tesla's risks from a decade ago have reshaped the automobile industry to start prioritizing electric vehicles. Justin Sullivan / Staff / Getty Images When Tesla had released its first Roadster in 2008, there wasn't anything quite in its league: Electric cars were most often seen as a compromise. In a little over 10 years, the landscape has turned on its head. With debates around climate justice picking up pace and fossil fuels being looked down upon, every major carmaker - Ford, GM, Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz - has been forced to push its portfolio towards electric cars. With Tesla, its founders and Elon Musk took a leap of faith in the early 2000s and followed through by plunging headfirst into a cut-throat automotive market. Looking at Tesla's share prices, one gets hope that it will push many companies to strive towards introducing more green technologies.The bottom lineIn the last couple of years, Musk has dominated the technology news cycle for good - and bad - reasons. Musk seems to have an equal number of admirers and haters - I think this book is meant for people in both those categories. It shows Elon Musk's biggest fans the many ways their hero is deeply flawed, from his Twitter takedowns to how he treats members of his own staff.And for those who ardently dislike Musk, this book covers the complicated truth of him taking bets that no incumbent auto company would ever dare to, ultimately reshaping the industry to produce greener cars.Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century (small)In an age where a personality like Musk has a cult-like following, "Power Play" shows us that even certified innovators come with their fair shares of setbacks. Other great books about Big Tech and Silicon Valley:How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future (small)The Inside Story" (small)Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire" (small)The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level" (small)China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order" (small)WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion" (small)Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021