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Elon Musk"s empire: Tesla, SpaceX and possibly Twitter

Elon Musk shoots for the moon with a diversified portfolio of companies ranging from Tesla to SpaceX, and he's adding to his empire. Musk is the richest person in the world. Elon Musk's empire has been in the spotlight over the years as his fame — and bank account — continue to grow. From Tesla to Solar City to The Boring Company and his new interest in Twitter, Musk is noted for his ingenuity, expertise and accomplishments.  For the last 20 years of Musk's career, he's watched his net worth and market portfolio grow into the top segment of the financial world, making him the wealthiest person in the world.  In 2004, Musk became a major investor in Tesla Motors, a company started by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. ELON MUSK FILES COUNTERSUIT UNDER SEAL VS TWITTER OVER $44B DEAL In 2008, Musk was named chief executive of the electric automaker. In this role as CEO, Musk is the head of all engineering, product design and global manufacturing of Tesla's cars, battery products and solar energy products. Tesla's mission has been to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.  Starting with Tesla's first electric product, the Roadster sports car, the company has advanced to producing sedans, SUVs and trucks. The company was founded in 2006 by Musk's cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive. Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016 to become the first vertically-integrated sustainable energy company in the world. SolarCity is known to be the top provider of solar power systems. The Solar Roof was developed in 2017 and was considered an affordable energy generation product.  SolarCity will create an integrated solar and battery combination that is crucial to provide grid-independent renewable backup power. This will provide an advantage for consumers against changes to net metering in the future.  As head designer for SpaceX, Musk oversees the manufacturing of spacecraft and rockets to venture into Earth's orbit and ultimately other planets. Since 2008, SpaceX has been making great strides in the rocket business. In 2008, the Falcon 1 reached orbit as the first privately created liquid fuel rocket. In 2018, the Falcon Heavy completed its first flight, making it the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Continuing in spacecraft advancement, 2019 saw a demonstration mission with SpaceX's crew-capable version of the Dragon spacecraft. ELON MUSK SETS RECORD STRAIGHT ON PRIVATE AIRPORT Further advancements focus on developing Starship, a reusable transportation system to reach the moon, Mars and beyond. With the creation of Starlink, high-speed broadband internet service will be delivered to locations that have not yet been attainable or have been expensive and unreliable. This company addresses the transportation system to alleviate urban congestion and promote rapid long-distance travel. The Boring Company was developed to improve transportation with affordable tunneling technology along with an all-electric public transportation system. Past projects include a 1.15-mile R&D tunnel south of Los Angeles and a public transportation system is being constructed in Las Vegas.  Musk, a self-described "free-speech absolutist," has been critical of the platform and its CEO Parag Agrawal's approach to free speech. The billionaire offered to buy Twitter April 14 in a deal worth more than $43 billion to take the social media company private. However, after a lot of back and forth, Musk announced in early July he would be terminating the deal, claiming Twitter is "in material breach of multiple provisions" of the agreement and "appears to have made false and misleading representations" when it accepted Musk’s acquisition offer April 25. Musk has disputed Twitter's internal estimates that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of its users.  GLENN GREENWALD: EVEN IF ELON MUSK-TWITTER DEAL IMPLODES, SEEING THE ESTABLISHMENT PANIC WAS A 'SILVER LINING' In response to Musk and his team's accusations, Twitter called the "purported termination" of the deal "invalid and wrongful" and a "repudiation of their obligations under the agreement."  Twitter is also suing Musk, accusing him of refusing to "honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests." A trial in the legal battle is scheduled for October.  FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsAug 5th, 2022

We Are In So Much Trouble

We Are In So Much Trouble Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog, What we are witnessing is truly the beginning of the end.  In recent months I have focused a lot on the economic implosion that is now taking place, but what we are facing is so much broader than that.  Our society is literally falling to pieces all around us, and now World War 3 has begun.  Many regard the war that has erupted on the other side of the globe as just a conflict between Ukraine and Russia, but the truth is that it is really a proxy war between the United States and Russia.  And since neither side seems much interested in diplomacy at this point, this proxy war could eventually become a shooting war between the two greatest nuclear powers on the entire planet. Before the war started, events were already starting to accelerate substantially.  Inflation was out of control, a new energy crisis had flared up, and global food supplies were getting tighter and tighter.  But now we are truly in unprecedented territory.  If you doubt this, just look at what is happening to the price of fertilizer. Fertilizer prices 1993-present The spike in the middle is the 2008 financial crisis >it’s so over pic.twitter.com/MW0Csb1mXj — Alexei Arora (@AlexeiArora) March 26, 2022 That chart should chill you to the core, because it clearly tells us that food shortages are coming. In fact, even Joe Biden is now publicly admitting that food shortages are coming.  On his show the other night, Tucker Carlson broke this down in a way that only Tucker Carlson can... Before the war, some fertilizers had doubled in price and some had tripled in price. In the video that you just watched, we are told that some fertilizer prices are now four to five times higher than they were a year ago. Here in the western world, most farmers will simply bite the bullet and pay the higher prices.  In turn, we will pay higher prices for food at the grocery store. But in poorer parts of the globe, many farmers will use a whole lot less fertilizer or none at all.  As a result, global food production will be way down in the months ahead. To turn this crisis around, what we really need is for the proxy war in Ukraine to end.  Unfortunately, both sides just continue to escalate matters instead. For example, on Saturday Joe Biden shocked the entire world when he stated that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power”… President Joe Biden on Saturday said Russian leader Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” ratcheting up international pressure and further uniting NATO allies against Putin over his invasion of Ukraine. “A dictator, bent on rebuilding an empire, will never erase the people’s love for liberty,” Biden said at the end of a sweeping speech in Poland. “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.” That was a call for regime change in Russia. Russian leaders were already paranoid about western intentions before, and now their paranoia is going to be off the charts. Biden administration officials are trying to walk back Biden’s comments, but the damage has already been done. Meanwhile, we just learned that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have not spoken at all since February 15th… Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov have not spoken since February 15, over a week before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the State Department told Antiwar.com on Friday. Earlier this week The Washington Post cited US officials who said Blinken hasn’t attempted to speak with Lavrov since the start of the conflict. When asked to confirm the story, a State Department spokesperson said, “We can confirm that the last time Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke was on February 15.” Even during the darkest days of the Cuban missile crisis, U.S. officials always kept talking to the Russians. So this is something that should alarm all of us greatly. On top of everything else, Joe Biden just told U.S. troops in Poland that they will see what conditions in Ukraine are like “when you’re there”… According to The Associated Press, Biden’s remarks were given in front of U.S. troops who “had been sent near Poland’s border [with Ukraine] to assist with the humanitarian emergency and to bolster the U.S. military presence on the eastern flank of NATO.” The words, “and you’re gonna see when you’re there,” were spoken right after the president mentioned the bravery of Ukrainian citizens. Later, the White House once again told reporters that U.S. troops would not be deployed to fight in the war in Ukraine. Every time Biden opens his mouth, he makes things even worse. If he isn’t careful, he could drag the entire world into a global war.  Earlier today, I was horrified to learn that Biden has decided to reaffirm “America’s right to use nukes in a first-strike scenario” at such a tense moment… President Joe Biden is abandoning a campaign vow to alter longstanding US nuclear doctrine, and will instead embrace existing policy that reserves America’s right to use nukes in a first-strike scenario, according to multiple reports. As Russian forces continue their bloody assault on Ukraine, Biden is under pressure from NATO allies not to abandon the right to use nuclear weapons to deter conventional attacks. Many had thought that the war in Ukraine would help to unite America and would provide a boost to Biden’s extremely poor approval ratings. And in the initial days of the war, that seemed to happen. But now Biden’s approval ratings are falling once again… President Joe Biden’s job approval ratings keep falling in his second year in the White House, with just 40% of Americans approving of the job that he is doing, a new NBC News survey finds. That is the lowest rating Biden has seen in his presidency. We were warned that 2022 would be a very troubled year, and we are still in the very early chapters. If the Biden administration continues with all of this insanity, things are going to get a whole lot worse.  I really like how Gerald Celente summarized matters during his recent interview with Greg Hunter… “We are headed for an economic calamity the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetime. They are getting our minds off it with the war in Ukraine. . . . You know, I wrote in the magazine in the beginning of the year, we said that the Covid war would wind down by late March and mid-April. It’s winding down. . . . So, now, as we said in the magazine, we went from the Covid war to the Ukraine war, and now to world war. We are headed to World War III. . . . There is not a peep about a cease-fire. Biden is only bragging about more weapons being sent in. Biden says we are going to defeat the Russians. We are not backing down. No one is talking about a cease-fire, and no one is talking about peace. If we don’t unite for peace, we are all going to die in war.” A thermonuclear war with Russia would be more horrible than most people could possibly imagine, and our leaders should be doing all that they can to prevent that from happening. But right now Biden administration officials apparently don’t even see any point in talking with the Russians. We are steamrolling down a road that leads to nuclear war, and meanwhile the global economy is starting to implode at frightening speed. If you are still delusional enough to believe that everything will work out “just fine” somehow, then I really feel sorry for you. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Tue, 03/29/2022 - 06:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 29th, 2022

Donald Trump"s docket: The latest on key cases and investigations faced by the ex-president

Donald Trump and his business are involved in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. Here's the latest on all of them. Former President Donald Trump addresses the America First Agenda Summit in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images Donald Trump and his business are involved in at least a dozen significant investigations and lawsuits. They include probes into election, insurrection and financial wrongdoing in Georgia, DC and New York. Check back here for updates on what's happening — and what's next. It's hard to keep track of Donald Trump's very busy legal docket. The former president is the subject of at least three major investigations into wrongdoing relating to the election, the insurrection, and his finances — probes based in Fulton County, Georgia; Washington, D.C.; and New York.Trump's business remains under indictment in Manhattan for an alleged payroll tax-dodge scheme. On top of all that, Trump is fighting or bringing a grab-bag of important lawsuits. Keep up to date on the latest of Trump's legal travails, both criminal and civil, with this guide to the ever-evolving Trump docket.Indictments Trump with his former CFO Allen Weisselberg at Trump Tower in 2017.Evan Vucci/APThe Trump Organization Payroll Case The Parties: The Manhattan DA is prosecuting The Trump Organization, and his former CFO Allen Weisselberg.The Issues: Trump's business could be fined, and his ex-CFO jailed for anywhere from one to 15 years, if they are found guilty of a 2021 indictment alleging a years-long payroll tax-dodge scheme in which key officials received some pay in off-the-books perks like free apartments, cars and tuition reimbursement.   Weisselberg and lawyers for the business have entered not-guilty pleas to charges including grand larceny, conspiracy and scheme to defraud. What's next: Barring a plea deal, the parties are scheduled to set a trial date when they next meet in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, tentatively on August 12.Criminal InvestigationsFulton County Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is photographed in her office in Atlanta, on Jan. 4, 2022.AP Photo/Ben Gray, FileThe Fulton County election interference probeThe parties: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump, and his Republican associates The issues: Willis is investigating whether Trump and his associates tried to interfere in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Her probe has expanded to also include investigating an alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to Georgia's state Capitol in an attempt to overturn the elections.Willis's investigation experienced a minor setback after an Atlanta judge said on June 25 that Willis cannot question Georgia Republican state Sen. Burt Jones due to a conflict of interest. Jones was among a dozen Republicans issued a subpoena by a Fulton County special grand jury. What's next: Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former personal attorney, was ordered to appear on August 17 before the Fulton County special grand jury as part of Willis probe into Trump's possibly interference in the Georgia elections.Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Jon Cherry/Getty ImagesThe Justice Department investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 electionThe parties: Federal investigators are increasingly scrutinizing the role Trump and his allies played in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.The issues: The Justice Department is facing pressure to prosecute following a string of congressional hearings that connected the former president to the violence of January 6, 2021, and to efforts to prevent the peaceful handoff of power.In a series of eight hearings, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol described Trump's conduct in criminal terms and pointed to an April court decision in which a federal judge said the former president likely committed crimes in his effort to hold onto power. In that ruling, Judge David Carter called Trump's scheme a "coup in search of a legal theory."Prosecutors have asked witnesses directly about Trump's involvement in the effort to reverse his loss in the 2020 election and are likely to issue more subpoenas and search warrants in the weeks ahead.In June, federal investigators searched the home of Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who advanced Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.On the same day, federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer who helped advise Trump on how to overturn the 2020 election. A top prosecutor in the Justice Department's inquiry, Thomas Windom, revealed in late July that investigators had obtained a se cord warrant allowing a search of Eastman's phone. What's next:  The Justice Department has remained largely silent about how and whether it would consider charges against Trump, but in July, prosecutors asked witnesses directly about the former president's involvement in the attempt to reverse his electoral defeat. FBI agents descended on Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, with a search warrant.Darren SamuelsohnThe Justice Department investigation into the handling of classified documentsThe parties: The FBI searched Trump's estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago, on August 8 as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of government records, including classified documents. Trump and his lawyers alleged prosecutorial misconduct and condemned the search as politically motivated.The issues: Early in 2022, Trump turned over 15 boxes of documents — including some marked as classified and "top secret" — to the National Archives. But federal investigators scrutinizing the former president's handling of records reportedly grew suspicious that Trump or people close to him still retained some key records. The FBI seized about a dozen boxes of additional documents during the raid of Mar-a-Lago, in a search that immediately demonstrated how Trump's handling of records from his administration remains an area of legal jeopardy.What's next: The Justice Department is facing pressure to provide more details about the search, with Republicans — including some Trump critics — calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to at least release documents authorizing the raid. To obtain the warrant, the Justice Department needed to convince a federal judge there was probable cause that a crime was committed and that evidence could be found at Mar-a-Lago. The warrant and supporting documents appear to be under seal.Civil InvestigationsNew York Attorney General Letitia James speaks on June 6, 2022, in New York.Mary Altaffer/APThe NY AG's Trump Organization probeThe parties: New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating Trump, his family and the Trump Organization for three years. The issues: James says she has uncovered a decade-long pattern of financial wrongdoing at Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.She alleges Trump misstated the value of his properties on annual financial statements and other official documents used to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks. Trump has called the probe a politically motivated witch hunt.What's next: Court-ordered depositions of Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., were delayed by the death of family matriarch Ivana Trump. But their depositions finally wrapped on August 10, when Donald Trump testified before investigators in James' Manhattan offices. He vowed beforehand to plead the Fifth rather than cooperate.The contentious, massive probe — involving more than 5 million pages of documents — appears close to filing a several-hundred-page lawsuit that could seek to put the Trump Organization out of business entirely. Lawsuits against TrumpSupporters of then-President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DCBrent Stirton/Getty ImagesLawsuits alleging 'incitement' on January 6The Parties: House Democrats and two Capitol police officers accused Trump of inciting the violent mob on January 6.The Issues: Trump's lawyers have argued that his time as president grants him immunity that shields him from civil liability in connection with his January 6 address at the Ellipse, where he urged supporters to "fight like hell."A federal judge rejected Trump's bid to dismiss the civil lawsuits, ruling that his rhetoric on January 6 was "akin to telling an excited mob that corn-dealers starve the poor in front of the corn-dealer's home."Judge Amit Mehta said Trump later displayed a tacit agreement with the mob minutes after rioters breached the Capitol, when he sent a tweet admonishing then-Vice President Mike Pence for lacking the "courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country."What's Next: Trump has appealed Mehta's ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and requested an oral argument. In a late July court filing, Trump's lawyers said the immunity afforded to the former president cannot be "undercut if the presidential act in question is unpopular among the judiciary."Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on October 18, 2021 in New York City.James Devaney/GC ImagesGalicia v. TrumpThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Efrain Galicia and four other protesters of Mexican heritage have sued Trump, his security personnel, and his 2016 campaign in New York.The issues: They say Donald Trump sicced his security guards on their peaceful, legal protest outside Trump Tower in 2015. The plaintiffs had been demonstrating with parody "Make America Racist Again" campaign signs to protest Trump's speech announcing his first campaign for president, during which he accused Mexican immigrants of being "rapists" and drug dealers. Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen said in a deposition that Trump directly ordered security to "get rid of" the protesters; Trump said in his own deposition that he didn't even know a protest was going on until the next day. His security guards have said in depositions that they were responding to aggression by the protesters.What's next: Trial is set for jury selection on September 6 in NY Supreme Court in the Bronx.Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is pictured in New York in 2020.Seth Wenig/APE. Jean Carroll v. TrumpThe Parties: Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation in federal court in Manhattan in June 2019.The Issues: Carroll's lawsuit alleges Trump defamed her after she publicly accused him of raping her in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-90s.Trump responded to Carroll's allegation by saying it was untrue and that she was "not my type." Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a photo to the contrary.What's next: Arrangements for the sharing of evidence are ongoing behind the scenes, including for the possible collection of Trump's DNA.Carroll has said she wants to compare Trump's DNA with unidentified male DNA on a dress she wore during the alleged rape. Trial is tentatively set for Feb. 6, 2023; Carroll has said she would never settle the case.Donald Trump Jr, Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump during the filming of the live final tv episode of The Celebrity Apprentice on May 16 2010 in New York City.Bill Tompkins/Getty ImagesThe 'multi-level marketing' pyramid scheme caseThe Parties: Lead plaintiff Catherine McKoy and three others sued Trump, his business, and his three eldest children, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan.The Issues: Donald Trump is accused of promoting a scam multi-level marketing scheme on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The lawsuit alleges Trump pocketed $8.8 million from the scheme — but that they lost thousands of dollars. Trump's side has complained that the lawsuit is a politically motivated attack. What's Next: The parties say in court filings that they are working to meet an August 31 deadline for the completion of depositions. Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen's 'imprisonment' caseThe Parties: Trump fixer-turned-critic Michael Cohen sued Donald Trump, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and more than a dozen federal prison officials and employees, in federal court in Manhattan in 2021.The Issues: The president's former personal attorney is seeking $20 million in damages relating to the time he spent in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress about Trump's dealings in Congress. Cohen says in his suit that he had been moved to home confinement for three months in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, but was then vindictively thrown into solitary confinement when he refused to stop speaking to the press and writing a tell-all book about his former boss. A judge ordered him released after 16 days.What's Next: Oral arguments on pending defense motions to dismiss are set for August 2. Singer Eddy Grant performs in concert in honor of Nelson Mandela in Hyde Park, London June 27, 2008.Andrew Winning/ReutersThe Electric Avenue copyright caseThe Parties: Eddy Grant, the composer/performer behind the 80s disco-reggae mega-hit "Electric Avenue," sued Donald Trump and his campaign in federal court in Manhattan in 2020.The Issues: Grant is seeking $300,000 compensation for copyright infringement. His suit says that Trump made unauthorized use of the 1983 dance floor staple during the 2020 campaign. About 40 seconds of the song played in the background of a Biden-bashing animation that Trump posted to his Twitter account. The animation was viewed 13 million times before being taken down a month later. Trump has countered that the animation was political satire and so exempt from copyright infringement claims. He's also said that the campaign merely reposted the animation and have no idea where it came from.What's Next: There is an August 21 deposition completion deadline for both sides. Pretrial motions are not due to be filed until October.Mary Trump speaks to Katie Phang on MSNBC on June 17, 2022.MSNBCMary Trump v. Donald TrumpThe Parties: The former president's niece sued him and his siblings in 2020 in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.The Issues: Mary Trump alleges that she was cheated out of at least $10 million in a 2001 court settlement over the estate of her late father, Fred Trump, Sr. Mary Trump alleges she only learned by helping with a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times article that she'd been defrauded by her Uncle Donald, her aunt, Maryanne Trump Barry, and the late Robert Trump, whose estate is named as a defendant.The Times' 18-month investigation "revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges," the Pulitzer Committee said in praising the piece. Lawyers for the Trumps have countered that it's far too late for Mary Trump to sue over a 2001 settlement that she had knowingly participated in.What's next: The defendants' motion to dismiss, including on statute of limitations grounds, is still pending.Lawsuits brought by Trump Donald Trump v. Mary Trump The Parties: The former president counter-sued his niece Mary Trump — and the New York Times — in 2021 in New York state Supreme Court in Dutchess County.The Issues: Mary Trump, the Times and three of its reporters  "maliciously conspired" against him, Trump alleges, by collaborating with the Times on its expose of and breaching the confidentiality of the family's 2001 settlement of the estate of Mary Trump's father, Fred Trump, Sr. What's Next: Mary Trump's motion to dismiss is pending in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, where the case has since been transferred to.Hillary Clinton.Photo by: Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDonald Trump v. Hillary ClintonThe Parties: Trump has sued Hillary Clinton, her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and prominent Democrats including former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta in a federal court in southern Florida in March, 2022.The Issues:  Trump alleges in this unusual use of federal racketeering statutes that Clinton and her campaign staff conspired to harm his 2016 run for president by promoting a "contrived Trump-Russia link." The defendants are trying to get the massive lawsuit dismissed on statute of limitation grounds, to which Trump's side counters that the "conspiracy" wasn't fully disclosed until the 2019 report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation.What's Next: Trump's side is asking that a tentative May, 2023 trial date be pushed back to November of 2023.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 10th, 2022

Sen. Lindsey Graham: States Should Decide On Same-Sex Marriage

Sen. Lindsey Graham: States Should Decide On Same-Sex Marriage Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Aug. 7 that states, not the federal government, should decide whether same-sex marriage should be legally recognized. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 5, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) Graham’s comments came during a panel discussion on CNN’s “State of the Union” after HR 8404, the proposed Respect for Marriage Act, passed the House of Representatives 267-157 on July 19 with the support of 47 Republicans. The bill is pending in the 50/50 Senate where it is expected to enjoy the support of Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine.) Among the Republicans voting for the bill were House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Scott Perry (R-Penn.), who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Voting no were Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Lindsey Graham on CNN says that "I think states should decide the issue of marriage," but when Dana Bash asks him if states should also decide whether interracial marriage is legal, he dismisses the question as a distraction from inflation pic.twitter.com/L1rGv6ZGBi — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 7, 2022 The bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to refuse to accept same-sex marriages recognized under other states’ laws. After then-President Bill Clinton signed DOMA, about 40 states banned same-sex marriage. DOMA was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), a ruling that held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriage. The new bill would also codify the Obergefell ruling. Respect for Marriage Act supporters say the bill is needed because the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision overturning 49-year-old abortion precedent Roe v. Wade potentially opened the door to the future reversal of Obergefell by the court. Although Graham said he did not believe the Supreme Court would actually reverse Obergefell, neither the court nor the federal government should be deciding the issue of same-sex marriage for the entire nation. “I’ve been consistent. I think states should decide the issue of marriage and states should decide the issue of abortion,” Graham told CNN. “I have respect for South Carolina. South Carolina voters here I trust to define marriage and to deal with [the] issue of abortion and not nine people on the court. That’s my view.” The proposed Respect for Marriage Act is a distraction from the problems Americans are really facing, Graham suggested. “We’re talking about things that don’t happen because you don’t want to talk about inflation, you don’t want to talk about crime,” Graham said, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) at his side. Blumenthal said the Obergefell ruling must be codified because “there’s a real danger of it being overturned” by the high court. “This Supreme Court has indicated it has a hit list, beginning with marriage equality, contraception, possibly others as well, Loving v. Virginia,” the senator said. In Loving, the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that laws forbidding interracial marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment. In his concurring opinion (pdf) in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade, Justice Brett Kavanaugh specifically wrote that the Dobbs ruling “does not threaten or cast doubt” on Loving or Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 Supreme Court decision recognizing the right to use contraceptives. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court, now that it has overturned Roe, should also reconsider its “demonstrably erroneous” rulings in cases such as Obergefell and Griswold. Thomas did not identify Loving as a precedent that should be overturned. Tyler Durden Tue, 08/09/2022 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 9th, 2022

Elon Musk"s empire: Tesla, SpaceX and possibly Twitter

Elon Musk shoots for the moon with a diversified portfolio of companies ranging from Tesla to SpaceX, and he's adding to his empire. Musk is the richest person in the world. Elon Musk's empire has been in the spotlight over the years as his fame — and bank account — continue to grow. From Tesla to Solar City to The Boring Company and his new interest in Twitter, Musk is noted for his ingenuity, expertise and accomplishments.  For the last 20 years of Musk's career, he's watched his net worth and market portfolio grow into the top segment of the financial world, making him the wealthiest person in the world.  In 2004, Musk became a major investor in Tesla Motors, a company started by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. ELON MUSK FILES COUNTERSUIT UNDER SEAL VS TWITTER OVER $44B DEAL In 2008, Musk was named chief executive of the electric automaker. In this role as CEO, Musk is the head of all engineering, product design and global manufacturing of Tesla's cars, battery products and solar energy products. Tesla's mission has been to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.  Starting with Tesla's first electric product, the Roadster sports car, the company has advanced to producing sedans, SUVs and trucks. The company was founded in 2006 by Musk's cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive. Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016 to become the first vertically-integrated sustainable energy company in the world. SolarCity is known to be the top provider of solar power systems. The Solar Roof was developed in 2017 and was considered an affordable energy generation product.  SolarCity will create an integrated solar and battery combination that is crucial to provide grid-independent renewable backup power. This will provide an advantage for consumers against changes to net metering in the future.  As head designer for SpaceX, Musk oversees the manufacturing of spacecraft and rockets to venture into Earth's orbit and ultimately other planets. Since 2008, SpaceX has been making great strides in the rocket business. In 2008, the Falcon 1 reached orbit as the first privately created liquid fuel rocket. In 2018, the Falcon Heavy completed its first flight, making it the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Continuing in spacecraft advancement, 2019 saw a demonstration mission with SpaceX's crew-capable version of the Dragon spacecraft. ELON MUSK SETS RECORD STRAIGHT ON PRIVATE AIRPORT Further advancements focus on developing Starship, a reusable transportation system to reach the moon, Mars and beyond. With the creation of Starlink, high-speed broadband internet service will be delivered to locations that have not yet been attainable or have been expensive and unreliable. This company addresses the transportation system to alleviate urban congestion and promote rapid long-distance travel. The Boring Company was developed to improve transportation with affordable tunneling technology along with an all-electric public transportation system. Past projects include a 1.15-mile R&D tunnel south of Los Angeles and a public transportation system is being constructed in Las Vegas.  Musk, a self-described "free-speech absolutist," has been critical of the platform and its CEO Parag Agrawal's approach to free speech. The billionaire offered to buy Twitter April 14 in a deal worth more than $43 billion to take the social media company private. However, after a lot of back and forth, Musk announced in early July he would be terminating the deal, claiming Twitter is "in material breach of multiple provisions" of the agreement and "appears to have made false and misleading representations" when it accepted Musk’s acquisition offer April 25. Musk has disputed Twitter's internal estimates that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of its users.  GLENN GREENWALD: EVEN IF ELON MUSK-TWITTER DEAL IMPLODES, SEEING THE ESTABLISHMENT PANIC WAS A 'SILVER LINING' In response to Musk and his team's accusations, Twitter called the "purported termination" of the deal "invalid and wrongful" and a "repudiation of their obligations under the agreement."  Twitter is also suing Musk, accusing him of refusing to "honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests." A trial in the legal battle is scheduled for October.  FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsAug 5th, 2022

US Declares Monkeypox Public Health Emergency

US Declares Monkeypox Public Health Emergency Update (1440ET): The Biden administration has officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency. "I want to make an announcement today that I will be declaring a public health emergency," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said during a Thursday call with reporters. "We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus." "We urge every American to kick monkey pox seriously and to take responsibility and help us tackle this virus," he continued. *  *  * The Biden administration is planning to declare a public health emergency over monkeypox as soon as Thursday, the Washington Post reports, citing 'two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity' - possibly after Nancy Pelosi loaded up on monkeypox stonks. Dr Xevier Becerra The declaration - an effort to 'galvanize awareness and unlock additional flexibility and funding to fight the virus’ spread' - would come from Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who is also considering a second declaration which would allow federal officials to 'expedite medical countermeasures, such as potential treatments and vaccines, without going through full-fledged federal reviews,' the Post continues. The administration’s announcement follows similar decisions by health officials in New York, California and Illinois and global health leaders. The World Health Organization on July 23 declared that monkeypox was a public health emergency of international concern, its highest-level warning, after confirmed outbreaks in about 70 countries where the virus has not historically spread. -WaPo According to the report, policymakers have argued over whether to declare the disease a public health emergency - which is no surprise considering that the vast majority of transmission occurs between gay men, to the point that the World Health Organization has urged gay men to 'temporarily limit their number of sexual partners.' Yet, looks like the Biden admin is going full throttle on monkeypox into midterms - with the White House naming longtime FEMA official, Robert J. Fenton, to head up the national response to monkeypox earlier this week. Robert J. Fenton Federal officials have identified 1.6 million people as 'highest risk' for monkeypox, however the US has only received enough doses of Bavarian Nordic's Jynneos vaccine - the only FDA-approved shot to protect against the virus - for around 550,000 people. More than 6,600 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the United States since May 18 with the vast majority occurring among men who have sex with men — a total that has doubled about every 8 days, but which experts believe is a significant undercount. Officials have also reported at least five cases of monkeypox in children, who are believed to have gotten infected through household transmission. While health officials have stressed that monkeypox poses far fewer risks than coronavirus — with just a handful of deaths globally and none to date in the United States — the virus can lead to fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash and often painful lesions that can last for weeks and result in scarring. The virus also is linked to more severe complications in children, pregnant women and people with immune conditions. -WaPo Are they going to also institute a "stop having gay orgies for 2 weeks to stop the spread" policy, given the precedent set during the pandemic that those spreading a virus should make wide-ranging personal sacrifices for the 'greater good'? Thornhill et al, NEJM, MPOX summary: -98% gay/bisexual -41% have concurrent HIV -95% transmission by sexual activity -13% hospitalized for derm/anogenital lesions -No deaths Govt response mass indiscriminate purchase/deployment of JYNNEOS nonreplicating orthopox product? No way! pic.twitter.com/1bEnet0nl2 — Peter McCullough, MD MPH (@P_McCulloughMD) July 23, 2022 Monkeypox, which comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox, spreads primarily through skin-to-skin close contact - mostly during sexual activity. As the Post notes, 'the virus spreads through other forms of touch and can circulate outside the gay community, noting a handful of cases in women and children.' According to Politico, the Biden administration and US public health officials have developed a 'decision memo' which will govern the monkeypox public health emergency. Tyler Durden Thu, 08/04/2022 - 14:38.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 4th, 2022

Global Markets Slump With Terrified Traders Tracking Pelosi"s Next Move

Global Markets Slump With Terrified Traders Tracking Pelosi's Next Move Forget inflation, stagflation, recession, depression, earnings, Biden locked up in the basement with covid, and everything else: today's it all about whether Nancy Pelosi will start World War 3 when she lands in Taiwan in 3 hours. US stocks were set for a second day of declines as investors hunkered down over the imminent (military) response by China to Pelosi's Taiwan planned visit to Taiwan, along with the risks from weakening economic growth amid hawkish central bank policy. Nasdaq 100 contracts were down 0.7% by 7:30a.m. in New York, while S&P 500 futures fell 0.6% having fallen as much as 1% earlier. 10Y yields are down to 2.55% after hitting 2.51% earlier, while both the dollar and gold are higher. Elsewhere around the world, Europe's Stoxx 600 fell 0.6%, with energy among the few industries bucking the trend after BP hiked its dividend and accelerated share buybacks to the fastest pace yet after profits surged. Asian stocks slid the most in three weeks, with some of the steepest falls in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Among notable movers in premarket trading, Pinterest shares jumped 19% after the social-media company reported second-quarter sales and user figures that beat analysts’ estimates, and activist investor Elliott Investment Management confirmed a major stake in the company. US-listed Chinese stocks were on track to fall for a fourth day, which would mark the group’s longest streak of losses since late-June, amid the rising geopolitical tensions. In premarket trading, bank stocks are lower amid rising tensions between the US and China. S&P 500 futures are also lower, falling as much as 0.9%, while the 10-year Treasury yield falls to 2.56%. Cowen Inc. shares gained as much as 7.5% after Toronto-Dominion Bank agreed to buy the US brokerage for $1.3 billion in cash. Meanwhile, KKR’s distributable earnings fell 9% during the second quarter as the alternative-asset manager saw fewer deal exits amid tough market conditions. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Activision Blizzard (ATVI US Equity) falls 0.6% though analysts are positive on the company’s plans to roll out new video game titles after it reported adjusted second-quarter revenue that beat expectations. While the $68.7 billion Microsoft takeover deal remains a focus point, the company is building out a “robust” pipeline, Jefferies said. Arista Networks (ANET US) analysts said that the cloud networking company’s results were “impressive,” especially given supply-chain constraints, with a couple of brokers nudging their targets higher. Arista’s shares rose more than 5% in US after-hours trading on Monday after the company’s revenue guidance for the third quarter beat the average analyst estimate. Avis Budget (CAR US) saw a “big beat” on low Americas fleet costs and strong performance for its international segment, Morgan Stanley says. The rental-car firm’s shares rose 5.5% in US after-hours trading on Monday, after second-quarter profit and revenue beat the average analyst estimate. Snowflake (SNOW US) falls 5.3% after being cut at BTIG to neutral from buy, citing field checks that show a potential slowdown in product revenue growth in the coming quarters. Clarus Corp. (CLAR US) should continue to see “outsized demand” from the “mega-trend” of people seeking the great outdoors, Jefferies says, after the sports gear manufacturer reported second-quarter sales that beat estimates. Clarus’s shares climbed 9% in US postmarket trading on Monday. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks are lower in US premarket trading as Bitcoin falls for the third consecutive session as global markets and cryptocurrencies remain pressured over deepening US-China tension. Coinbase (COIN US) falls 2.3% while Marathon Digital (MARA US) drops 3.3%. Transocean (RIG US) rises 18% in US premarket trading after 2Q Ebitda beat estimates, with other positives including a new contract and a 2-year extension of a revolver. US-listed Chinese stocks are on track to fall for a fourth day, which would mark the group’s longest streak of losses since end-of-June, amid geopolitical tensions related to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit to Taiwan. Alibaba (BABA) falls 2.5% and Baidu (BIDU US) dips 2.7% ZoomInfo Technologies analysts were positive on the software firm’s raised guidance and improved margins, with Piper Sandler saying the firm is “in a class of its own.” The shares rose more than 11% in US after-hours trading, after closing at $37.73. Pelosi is expected to land in Taiwan on Tuesday, the highest-ranking American politician to visit the island in 25 years, a little after 10pm local time evening in defiance of Chinese threats. China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, has vowed an unspecified military response to a visit that risks sparking a crisis between the world’s biggest economies. “There is no way people will want to put on risk right now with this potential boiling point,” said Neil Campling, head of tech, media and telecom research at Mirabaud Securities. The potential ramifications of Pelosi’s planned visit “are huge.” The growing tensions are the latest addition to a myriad of challenges facing equity investors going into the second half of the year. Fears of a US recession as the Federal Reserve tightens policy to tame soaring inflation have weighed on risk assets. US manufacturing activity continued to cool in July, with the data highlighting softer demand for merchandise as the economy struggles for momentum. In the off chance we avoid world war, there will be a shallow recession that could start by the end of the year, according to Rupert Thompson, chief investment officer at Kingswood Holdings. Meanwhile, the market is too optimistic about the path of monetary policy and “the risk is the Fed goes further than the markets are building in in terms of hiking,” Thompson said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Goldman Sachs strategists also said it was too soon for stock markets to fade the risks of a recession on expectations of a pivot in the Fed’s hawkish policy. On the other hand, JPMorgan strategists said the outlook for US equities is improving for the second half of the year on attractive valuations and as the peak in investor hawkishness has likely passed. “Although the activity outlook remains challenging, we believe that the risk-reward for equities is looking more attractive as we move through the second half,” JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic wrote in a note dated Aug. 1. “The phase of bad data being interpreted as good is gaining traction, while the call of peak Federal Reserve hawkishness, peak yields and peak inflation is playing out.” Markets are also bracing for commentary on the US interest-rate outlook from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard. In Europe, tech, financial services and travel are the worst-performing sectors. Euro Stoxx 50 falls 0.8%. FTSE 100 is flat but outperforms peers. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: BP shares rise as much as 4.8% on earnings. The oil major’s quarterly results look strong with an earnings beat, dividend hike and increased buyback all positives, analysts say. OCI rises as much as 8.6%, the most since March, on its latest earnings. Analysts say the results are ahead of expectations and the fertilizer firm’s short-term outlook remains robust. Maersk shares rise as much as 3.7% after the Danish shipping giant boosted its underlying Ebit forecast for the full year. Analysts note the boosted guidance is significantly above consensus estimates. Greggs shares rise as much as 4% after the UK bakery chain reported an increase in 1H sales. The 1H results are “solid,” while the start to 2H is “robust,” according to Goodbody. Delivery Hero shares gain as much as 3.8%. The stock is upgraded to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan, which said many of the negatives that have weighed on the firm are starting to turn. Rotork gains as much as 4%, the most since June 24, after beating analyst expectations for 1H 2022. Shore Capital says the company shows “good momentum” in the report. Credit Suisse shares decline as much as 6.4% after its senior debt was downgraded by Moody’s, and its credit outlook cut by S&P, while Vontobel lowered the PT following “disappointing” 2Q earnings. Travis Perkins shares drop as much as 11%, the most since March 2020. Citi says the builders’ merchant’s results are “slightly weaker than expected,” with RBC noting shortfalls in sales and Ebita. DSM shares drop by as much as 4.9% as Citi notes weak free cash flow after company reported adjusted Ebitda for the second quarter up 5.3% with FY22 guidance unchanged. UK homebuilders fall after house prices in the country posted their smallest increase in at least a year, indicating that the property market is starting to cool, with Crest Nichols dropping as much as 5.2%. Wind-turbine stocks fall in Europe after Spain’s Siemens Gamesa cut sales and margin guidance, with Siemens Energy dropping as much as 6.1%, with Vestas Wind Systems down as much as 4.7%. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as traders braced for a potential escalation of US-China tensions given a possible visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.4%, poised for its worst day in five weeks. All sectors, barring real estate, were lower with chipmaker TSMC and China’s tech stocks among the biggest drags on the regional measure. Pelosi is expected to arrive in Taipei late on Tuesday. Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has promised “grave consequences” for her trip. Benchmarks in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan were among the laggards in Asia, slipping at least 1.4% each. Japan’s Topix declined as the yen received a boost from safe-haven demand.  还没打就见血了。4400个股票受伤。 Chinese stocks collapsed in the shadow of a looming conflict. 4400 of 4800 stocks hurt. pic.twitter.com/zo66di9W7I — Hao HONG 洪灝, CFA (@HAOHONG_CFA) August 2, 2022 “I do expect a negative feedback loop into China-related equities especially those related to the semiconductor and technology sectors as Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan is likely to harden the current frosty US-China tech war,” said Kelvin Wong, analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore). Pelosi’s controversial trip is souring a nascent revival in risk appetite in the region that saw the MSCI Asia gauge rise in July to cap its best month this year. China’s economic slowdown continues to weigh on sentiment, as authorities said this year’s economic growth target of “around 5.5%” should serve as a guidance rather than a hard target.  Japanese equities fell as the yen soared to a two month high over concerns of US-China tensions escalating with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expected to visit Taiwan on Tuesday.  The Topix fell 1.8% to 1,925.49 as of the market close, while the Nikkei declined 1.4% to 27,594.73. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 2.6%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 227 rose and 1,903 fell, while 40 were unchanged. Pelosi would become the highest-ranking American politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China views the island as its territory and has warned of consequences if the trip takes place. “The relationship between the US and China was just about to enter into a period of review, with a move from the US to reduce China tariffs,” said Ikuo Mitsui a fund manager at Aizawa Securities. That could change now as a result of Pelosi’s visit, he added Meanwhile, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index erased an earlier loss of as much as 0.7% to close 0.1% higher after the Reserve Bank’s widely-expected half-percentage point lift of the cash rate to 1.85%. The index wiped out a loss of as much as 0.7% in early trade. The RBA’s statement was “not as hawkish as anticipated and the lower growth forecast suggests the RBA is aware of both the domestic and international drags on the economy,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan.  “We expect the RBA will continue to push interest rates back to a neutral level this year given the successive upgrades to the inflation outlook, but 2023 looks to be a much less eventful year for the RBA,” Craig said.  Banks and consumer discretionary advanced to boost the index, while miners and energy shares declined.   In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose less than 0.1% to 11,532.46. Indian stock indexes are on course to claw back this year’s losses on steady buying by foreigners. The S&P BSE Sensex closed little changed at 58,136.36 in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.6% earlier in the day. The measure is now just 0.2% away from turning positive for the year. The NSE Nifty Index too is a few ticks away from moving into the green. Nine of the BSE Ltd.’s 19 sector sub-indexes advanced on Tuesday, led by power and utilities companies.  Foreigners bought local shares worth $836.2 million in July, after pulling out a record $33 billion from the Indian equity market since October. July was the first month of net equity purchases by foreign institutional investors, after nine months of outflows. Still, “choppiness would remain high due to the upcoming RBI policy meet outcome and prevailing earnings season,” Ajit Mishra, vice-president for research at Religare Broking Ltd. wrote in a note. “Participants should continue with the buy-on-dips approach.” The Reserve Bank of India is widely expected to raise interest rates for a third straight time on Friday. Of the 33 Nifty companies that have reported results so far, 18 have beaten the consensus view while 15 have trailed. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 16 rose, while 14 fell. IndusInd Bank and Asian Paints were among the key gainers on the Sensex, while Tech Mahindra Ltd. and mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp were prominent decliners.  In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index rises 0.1%. JPY and CAD are the strongest performers in G-10 FX, NOK and AUD underperforms, after Australia’s central bank hiked rates by 50 basis-points for a third straight month and signaled policy flexibility. USD/JPY dropped as much as 0.9% to 130.41, the lowest since June 3, in the longest streak of daily losses since April 2021. Leveraged accounts are adding to short positions on the pair ahead of Pelosi’s visit, Asia-based FX traders said. In rates, treasuries extended Monday’s rally in early Asia session as 10-year yields dropped as low as 2.514% amid escalating US-China tension over Taiwan. Treasury yields were richer by up to 5bp across long-end of the curve, where 20-year sector continues to outperform ahead of Wednesday’s quarterly refunding announcement, expected to make extra cutbacks to the tenor. US 10-year yields off lows of the day around 2.55%, lagging bunds by 4bp and gilts by 4.5bp. US stock futures slumped given risk adverse backdrop, adding support into Treasuries while bunds outperform as traders scale back ECB rate hike expectations. The yield on the two-year German note, among the most sensitive to rate hikes, fell as low as 0.17%, its lowest since May 16. Gilts also gained across the curve. Bund curve bull-steepens with 2s10s widening ~2 bps. Gilt and Treasury curves mostly bull-flatten. Australian bonds soared after RBA delivered a third- straight 50bp rate hike as expected, but gave itself wriggle room to slow the pace of tightening in the coming months. In commodities, WTI trades within Monday’s range, falling 0.6% to trade around $93, while Brent falls below $100. Spot gold is little changed at $1,779/oz. Base metals are mixed; LME nickel falls 2% while LME zinc gains 0.6%. Bitcoin remains under modest pressure and has incrementally lost the USD 23k mark, but remains comfortably above last-week's USD 20.6k trough. Looking to the day ahead now and there is a relatively short list of economic indicators to watch, including June JOLTS report and total vehicle sales (July) for the US, UK’s July Nationwide house price index and July PMI for Canada. Given the apparent uncertainty about the direction of the Fed in markets, many will be awaiting Fed’s Bullard, Mester and Evans, who will speak throughout the day. And in corporate earnings, it will be a busy day featuring results from BP, Caterpillar, Ferrari, Marriott, KKR, Uber, S&P Global, Occidental Petroleum, Electronic Arts, Gilead Sciences, Advanced Micro Devices, Starbucks, Airbnb, PayPal, Marathon Petroleum. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.6% to 4,096.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 435.13 MXAP down 1.3% to 159.73 MXAPJ down 1.3% to 516.82 Nikkei down 1.4% to 27,594.73 Topix down 1.8% to 1,925.49 Hang Seng Index down 2.4% to 19,689.21 Shanghai Composite down 2.3% to 3,186.27 Sensex little changed at 58,120.97 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 6,998.05 Kospi down 0.5% to 2,439.62 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.74% Euro down 0.3% to $1.0231 Brent Futures down 0.6% to $99.44/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,770.93 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 105.61 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Oil Steadies Before OPEC+ as Traders Weigh Up Market Tightness China Slaps Export Ban on 100 Taiwan Brands Before Pelosi Visit Pozsar Says L-Shaped Recession Is Needed to Conquer Inflation Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip Raises Angst in Global Financial Markets Taiwan Risk Joins Long List of Reasons to Shun China Stocks Biden Says Strike in Kabul Killed a Planner of 9/11 Attacks Biden Team Tries to Blunt China Rage as Pelosi Heads for Taiwan The Best and Worst Airlines for Flight Cancellations GOP Plans to Deploy Obscure Rule as Weapon Against Spending Bill US to Stop TSMC, Intel From Adding Advanced Chip Fabs in China US Anti-Terrorism Operation in Afghanistan Kills Al-Qaeda Leader They Quit Goldman’s Star Trading Team, Then It Raised Alarms Sinema’s Silence on Manchin’s Deal Keeps Everyone Guessing Manchin Side-Deal Seeks to Advance Mountain Valley Pipeline A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks followed suit to the weak performance across global counterparts as tensions simmered amid Pelosi's potential visit to Taiwan. ASX 200 was initially pressured ahead of the RBA rate decision where the central bank hiked by 50bp, as expected, although most of the losses in the index were pared amid a lack of any hawkish surprises in the statement and after the central bank noted it was not on a pre-set path. Nikkei 225 declined amid a slew of earnings and continued unwinding of the JPY depreciation. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp underperformed due to the ongoing US-China tensions after reports that House Speaker Pelosi will arrive in Taiwan late on Tuesday despite the military threats by China, while losses in Hong Kong were exacerbated by weakness in tech and it was also reported that Chinese leaders said the GDP goal is guidance and not a hard target which doesn't provide much confidence in China's economy. Top Asian News Tourism Jump to Power Thai GDP Growth to Five-Year High in 2023 China in Longest Streak of Liquidity Withdrawals Since February Singapore Says Can Tame Wild Power Market Without State Control India’s Zomato Appoints Four CEOs, to Change Name to Eternal Taiwan Tensions Raise Risks in One of Busiest Shipping Lanes Japan Trading Giants Book $1.7 Billion Russian LNG Impairment     Japan Proposes Record Minimum Wage Hike as Inflation Hits European bourses are pressured as the general tone remains tentative ahead of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.9%; note, FTSE 100 -0.1% notably outperforms following earnings from BP +3.0%. As such, the Energy sector bucks the trend which has the majority in the red and a defensive bias in-play. Stateside, futures are similarly downbeat and have been drifting lower amid the incremental updates to Pelosi and her possible Taiwan arrival time of circa. 14:30BST/09:30ET; ES -1.0%. Apple (AAPL) files final pricing term sheet for four-part notes offering of up to USD 5.5bln, according to a filing. Top European News Ukraine Sees Slow Return of Grain Exports as World Watches Ruble Boosts Raiffeisen’s Russian Unit Despite Credit Halt DSM 2Q Adj. Ebitda Up; Jefferies Sees ‘Muted’ Reaction Credit Suisse Hit by More Rating Downgrades After CEO Reboot Man Group Sees Assets Decline for First Time in Two Years Exodus of Young Germans From Family Nest Is Getting Ever Bigger FX Yen extends winning streak through yet more key levels vs Buck and irrespective of general Greenback recovery on heightened US-China tensions over Taiwan USD/JPY breaches support around 131.35 and probes 130.50 before stalling, but remains sub-131.00 even though the DXY hovers above 105.500 within a 105.030-710 range. Aussie undermined by risk aversion and no hawkish shift by RBA after latest 50bp hike; AUD/USD nearer 0.6900 having climbed to within a few pips of 0.7050 on Monday. Kiwi holds up better with AUD/NZD tailwind awaiting NZ jobs data, NZD/USD hovering just under 0.6300 and cross closer to 1.1000 than 1.1100. Euro and Pound wane after falling fractionally short of round number levels vs Dollar, EUR/USD back under 1.0250 vs 1.0294 at best, Cable pivoting 1.2200 from 1.2293 yesterday. Loonie and Franc rangy after return from Canadian and Swiss market holidays, USD/CAD straddling 1.2850 and USD/CHF rotating around 0.9500. Yuan off lows after slightly firmer PBoC midpoint fix, but awaiting repercussions of Pelosi trip given Chinese warnings about strong reprisals, USD/CNH circa 6.7700 and USD/CNY just below 6.7600 vs 6.7950+ and 6.7800+ respectively. South Africa's Eskom says due to a shortage of generation capacity, Stage Two loadshedding could be implemented at short notice between 16:00-00:00 over the next three days. Fixed Income Taiwan-related risk aversion keeps bonds afloat ahead of relatively light pm agenda before a trio of Fed speakers. Bunds hold above 159.00 within 159.70-158.57 range, Gilts around 119.50 between 119.70-20 parameters and T-note nearer 122-02 peak than 121-17+ trough. UK 2032 supply comfortably twice oversubscribed irrespective of little concession. Commodities WTI Sept and Brent Oct futures trade with both contracts under the USD 100/bbl mark as the participants juggle a myriad of major factors, incl. the JTC commencing shortly. Spot gold is stable and just below the 50-DMA at USD 1793/oz while base metals succumb to the broader tone. A source with knowledge of last month's meeting between President Biden and Saudi King Salman said the Saudis will push OPEC+ to increase oil production at their meeting on Wednesday and that the Saudi King made the assurance to President Biden during their face-to-face meeting July 16th, according to Fox Business's Lawrence. US Senator Manchin "secured a commitment" from President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi for completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, according to 13NEWS. US Event Calendar July Wards Total Vehicle Sales, est. 13.4m, prior 13m 10:00: June JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 11.3m 10:00: Fed’s Evans Hosts Media Breakfast 11:00: NY Fed Releases 2Q Household Debt and Credit Report 13:00: Fed’s Mester Takes Part in Washington Post Live Event 18:45: Fed’s Bullard Speaks to the Money Marketeers DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap In thin markets, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan today for meetings tomorrow (as part of her tour of Asia) could be the main event. She's scheduled to land tonight local time which will be mid-morning US time. She'll be the highest ranking US politician to visit in 25 years. Expect some reaction from the Chinese and markets to be nervous. Meanwhile to dial back rising tensions, the White House has urged China to refrain from an aggressive response as speaker Pelosi’s visit does not change the US position toward the island. As the headline confirming her visit was going ahead broke, 10 year US Treasuries immediately fell a handful of basis point from 2.69% (opened at 2.665%) and continued falling to around 2.58% as Europe retired for the day, roughly where it closed (-6.8bps). Breakevens led most of the move. 2 year notes actually held in which inverted the curve a further -6.12bps and to the lowest this cycle at -30.84bps. Remember that August is the best month of the year for fixed income (see my CoTD last week here for more on this) so the month has started off in line with the textbook. This morning 10yr USTs yields have dipped another -3bps to 2.55%, some 14bps lower than when Pelosi stopover was first confirmed 18 hours ago. 2yr yields have slightly out-performed with the curve just back below -30bps again. Lower yields initially helped to lift equities yesterday, with the Nasdaq being up more than a percent at one point before falling with the rest of the market and closing -0.18%. The S&P 500 was -0.28% and dragged lower by energy (-2.17%). The latter came as crude prices moved substantially lower, with WTI losing -4.91% and Brent (-3.97%) dipping below $100 per barrel as well. Growth concerns, partly due to the weekend and yesterday’s data from China, and partly due to the US risk off yesterday, were mainly to blame. These worries filtered through other commodities as well, including industrial metals and agriculture. For the latter, Ukraine’s first grain shipment since the war began was a contributing factor. European gas was a standout, notching a +5.2% gain as the relentless march continues. In an overall risk-off market, staples (+1.21%) were the only sector meaningfully advancing on the day, followed by discretionary (+0.51%) stocks. Meanwhile, real estate (-0.90%), financials (-0.89%) and materials (-0.82%) dragged the index lower. Although yesterday’s earnings stack was light, today’s line up includes BP, Starbucks, Airbnb and PayPal. Asian equity markets opened sharply lower this morning on the fresh geopolitical tensions between the US and China over Taiwan. Across the region, the Hang Seng (-2.96%) is leading losses after yesterday’s data showed that Hong Kong slipped into a technical recession as Q2 GDP shrank by -1.4%, contracting for the second consecutive quarter as global headwinds mount. Mainland China stocks are also sliding with the Shanghai Composite (-2.90%) and CSI (-2.33%) trading deep in the red whilst the Nikkei (-1.59%) is also in negative territory. Elsewhere, the Kospi (-0.77%) is also weak in early trade. Outside of Asia, DMs stock futures point to a lower restart with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.38%), NASDAQ 100 (-0.40%) and DAX (-0.50%) all turning lower. As we go to print, the RBA board has raised rates by another 50 basis points to 1.85%. Their economic forecasts seem to have been lowered and they have now said monetary policy is "not on a pre-set path" which some are already interpreting as possibly meaning 25bps instead of 50bps at the next meeting. Aussie 10yr yields dropped 7-8bps on the announcement and 10bps on the day. Back to yesterday, and the important US ISM index, on balance, painted a slightly more comforting picture than it could have been – although the index slowed to the lowest since June 2020. The headline came in above the median estimate on Bloomberg (52.8 vs 52.0). We did see a second month in a row of below-50 score for new orders, but a fall in prices paid from 78.5 to 60.0, the lowest since August 2020, offered some respite to fears about price pressures. Similarly, a rise in the employment gauge from 47.3 to 49.9, beating estimates, was also a positive. The manufacturing PMI was revised down a tenth from the preliminary reading which didn't move the needle. JOLTS today will be on my radar given it's been the best measure of US labour market tightness over the past year or so. Also Fed hawks Mester (lunchtime US) and Bullard (after the closing bell) will be speaking today. Turning to Europe, price action across sovereign bond markets was driven by dovish repricing of ECB’s monetary policy, in contrast to the US where the front end held up. A cloudier growth outlook from yesterday’s European data releases helped drive yields lower – retail sales in Germany unexpectedly contracted in June (-1.6% vs estimates of +0.3%) and Italy’s manufacturing PMI slipped below 50 (48.5 vs 49.0 expected). So Bund yields fell -3.8bps, similar to OATs (-3.1bps). The decline was more pronounced in peripheral yields and spreads, with BTPs (-12.9bps) in particular dropping below 3% for the first time since May of this year, perhaps on further follow through from last week's story that the far right party leading the polls aren't planning to break EU budget rules. Spreads have recovered the lost ground from Draghi's resignation announcement now. Weaker economic data overpowered the effect of lower yields and sent European stocks faded into the close after being higher most of the day with the STOXX 600 eventually declining -0.19%. The Italian market outperformed (+0.11%) for the reasons discussed above. Early this morning, data showed that South Korea’s July CPI inflation rate rose to +6.3% y/y, hitting its highest level since November 1998 (v/s +6.0% in June), in line with the market consensus. The strong inflation data comes as the Bank of Korea (BOK) mulls further interest rate hikes at its next policy meeting on August 25. To the day ahead now and there is a relatively short list of economic indicators to watch, including June JOLTS report and total vehicle sales (July) for the US, UK’s July Nationwide house price index and July PMI for Canada. Given the apparent uncertainty about the direction of the Fed in markets, many will be awaiting Fed’s Bullard, Mester and Evans, who will speak throughout the day. And in corporate earnings, it will be a busy day featuring results from BP, Caterpillar, Ferrari, Marriott, KKR, Uber, S&P Global, Occidental Petroleum, Electronic Arts, Gilead Sciences, Advanced Micro Devices, Starbucks, Airbnb, PayPal, Marathon Petroleum. Tyler Durden Tue, 08/02/2022 - 08:05.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 2nd, 2022

The night the Lord of the Skies got away

In 1985, US agents had a chance to stop Mexico's top drug lord. Years later, evidence from that night proved valuable in a way no one could predict. Reuters; John Moore/Getty Images; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderOne night in 1985, US agents may have had a chance to stop the rise of Mexico's most powerful drug lord — a chance they quickly gave up without knowing it. But the evidence gathered that night would prove valuable in a way no one could predict. If he'd blinked he might have missed them.The pair of cars were parked window to window, just off the side of Highway 67, nine miles north of the tiny border town of Presidio, Texas. As David Ramirez cruised by in his dun-colored U.S. Border Patrol sedan, the night sky outside the range of headlights was so pitch-black that he could have been forgiven for not spotting the vehicles.    Ramirez guessed that something was up. Slowing the cruiser, he banged a quick U-turn and headed back. "They were on the side of the road, at that time of night, in that area, which was known for drug trafficking," Ramirez recalled. "And there wasn't any other traffic. We were out there in a patrol vehicle and we saw maybe two other vehicles in a three-hour time span."It was May 1985, and Ramirez had only been with the Border Patrol for two and a half years. But at a posting as remote as southwest Texas, where only a handful of agents were stationed at the time, that qualified him to train the new guy. So, in the passenger seat sat his partner for the evening, a trainee agent learning the ropes as they cruised along this ribbon of pebbles, dust, and potholes masquerading as a state highway.As Ramirez maneuvered his patrol car, two pairs of headlights came on, two engines rumbled to life, and two cars peeled out. A late-model pickup truck went first, and, following closely behind, a big-body, white Mercury Grand Marquis. They were headed south, toward Presidio, and toward Mexico.Ramirez spun the cruiser around once again and sped off in pursuit, flashing his red-and-blues to signal the drivers to stop. The two vehicles ignored him.The Mercury wasn't going that fast, 60, maybe 70 miles-per-hour, but it acted as a sort of rearguard, allowing the driver of the pickup truck to put more and more distance between himself and the Border Patrol agents giving chase. This went on for a while, five minutes maybe. Finally, with the pickup truck out of sight, the driver of the Mercury eased to the side of the road and crunched to a stop. Ramirez knew it was a feint designed to let the other driver — and whatever cargo he might be carrying — get away. But he also knew that at the end of that road, just before the international port of entry, was a Border Patrol station. He radioed ahead for agents to be on the lookout, and turned his focus to the Mercury.Carefully opening his door, Ramirez climbed out of the cruiser, unclasped the snap on his holster, and drew his .38-caliber service revolver, holding it at a downward angle. It had been dark for hours, but in these parts even after midnight  in late spring can be mind-bendingly hot. The thermostat hovered around 95 degrees and the night air hung heavy like a blanket. As Ramirez approached the Mercury from the driver-side door, his heart rate quickened. The ambient sounds of the desert night, the buzz of insects and snuffling of wild javelinas, receded into the background. His training — and his survival instinct — kicked in to guide him. The trainee, armed with a shotgun, mirrored the more experienced agent and sidled toward the car from the passenger side. Speaking in Spanish through the rolled down window, the driver had an easy-does-it, friendly manner. With the trainee standing back, Ramirez holstered his revolver and requested the suspect's documents. The driver obliged.One was a border-crossing card, issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, that allowed Mexicans living close to the border to cross back and forth for errands and jobs.The other document identified the driver as an agent of the Federal Security Directorate, or DFS, a powerful — and phantasmagorically corrupt — branch of Mexico's federal law enforcement. For Ramirez, this didn't prove the man was a cop. The DFS was notorious for its connections to drug traffickers, and its agents were known to hand out fake badges to the smugglers they worked with. But he couldn't be sure the man wasn't a cop.Ramirez asked the man if he had any weapons, and the driver said no, no guns. But peering into the Marquis, Ramirez could see a box of ammo sitting on the passenger seat, clear as day. He asked again. No weapons? You sure about that?David Ramirez (r); John Moore/Getty Images; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderThe driver made no attempt to keep the lie going and admitted that, sure, he had a small gun in the trunk. On Ramirez' orders, the driver opened the door and walked around to the rear to pop the trunk. The "small gun" turned out to be a loaded AR-15 assault rifle.Ramirez eyed the driver more closely now. He stood about six feet tall, trim and lanky, and dressed like a well-heeled cowboy, with nice boots and well-fitting clothes. Despite everything, he seemed relaxed. Ramirez gave the driver a careful patdown and, finding no other weapons on him, escorted him back to the Border Patrol cruiser and directed him into the back seat, locking him in there but deciding not to place him in handcuffs, given the DFS badge."In any law enforcement, I would say there's a certain courtesy you give to [other] law enforcement," Ramirez told me. "As a young agent, I didn't really know how to deal with it. I was naive."The trainee took the keys to the Mercury and started back to the station at the Presidio-Ojinaga border. Ramirez followed. In the backseat, the driver sat – quiet, calm, no fuss.The man's name, according to his INS card and DFS badge, was Amado Carrillo Fuentes.The Lord of the Skies Within a decade of that traffic stop, Amado would be the most significant drug trafficker in Mexico. His knack for using airplanes to smuggle huge quantities of drugs earned him the nickname "el señor de los cielos," the Lord of the Skies, and, to this day, he is easily the most prolific and most powerful drug lord the country has ever seen. His would be a household name in Mexico and a curse on the lips of U.S. federal agents tasked with fighting the narcotics trade. Another two decades after that, he would feature prominently as the absurdly white-washed protagonist of the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico. But on the night David Ramirez encountered him on that desolate stretch of Highway 67, Amado was just one trafficker among many. Not a nobody, certainly, but his photo wouldn't yet be on any police bulletin boards, nor his name in any newspapers.Amado was then 28 years old, and for years he had found a comfortable niche for himself in the growing drug empire run by his uncle — a fearsome brute named Ernesto "Don Neto" Fonseca — Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, and Rafael Caro Quintero. Like nearly all major drug traffickers of the era — including Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, who was born around the same time as Amado — they all hailed from the northwestern state of Sinaloa. But they ran their operation out of the city of Guadalajara, and became known as the Guadalajara cartel. As the demand for cocaine began to surge in the late 1970s and exploded in the early 1980s, most cocaine headed to the U.S. from Colombia, across the Caribbean, and into Florida. But as the DEA and the Coast Guard cracked down on that route, the Colombians needed a new way of getting drugs north The syndicate that Don Neto, Félix Gallardo, and Caro Quintero operated, which previously focused on heroin and marijuana and was well positioned to offer an alternative route to their new friends in Colombia, was busy forging contacts with Colombian cocaine suppliers. Within a few years, the Mexican traffickers had become an integral link in the chain that saw cocaine travel by air from its roots high in the Andes to labs in the jungles of Colombia to local smugglers in Mexico, and finally to an eager customer base in the United States. Using the staggering infusion of cash that came along with their new specialty in moving cocaine, the Guadalajara network was able to bring most of the major drug traffickers in Mexico under a unified protection racket negotiated by Félix Gallardo and overseen by the DFS and other federal police agencies.Amado, who was quickly gaining a reputation for being cool-headed and having a talent for forging political connections, played a key role in this transformation of the drug game, coordinating cargo planes, loaded down with hundreds — and later thousands — of kilos of coke, to clandestine air strips in northern Mexico.An act of supreme recklessnessEverything changed, however, just a few months before Amado was stopped in southwest Texas. In February 1985, a group of gunmen snatched a young DEA agent named Enrique "Kiki" Camarena off the streets of Guadalajara, tortured and murdered him along with a pilot who'd worked with the DEA, and dumped their bodies on a distant ranch. Amado Carrillo Fuentes (c). Henry Romero/Reuters; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderThe brutal kidnapping, torture, and murder of a U.S. federal agent was an act of supreme recklessness and the consequences were sweeping. By April, Don Neto and Caro Quintero were in prison, Félix Gallardo was in hiding, and the network they had carefully built and paid a fortune to protect was in disarray, cracking under the pressure of a vengeful United States, and the obligatory, if belated, efforts of Mexican cops. (Just this month, on July 15, Caro Quintero was arrested in Mexico in a joint U.S.-Mexican operation. In 2013, while serving a 40-year sentence for the murders, a Mexican court had ordered Caro Quintero released. U.S. officials immediately sought to re-arrest him, adding him to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, but Caro Quintero went into hiding. During the operation on July 15, 14 marines died when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed outside the city of Los Mochis. A few days after the re-capture of Caro Quintero, in a seemingly unrelated move, Félix Gallardo officially trademarked his own name, apparently for a fashion brand.)Mid-level traffickers who were lucky or savvy enough to escape the dragnet exploited a sudden power vacuum and set up territorial fiefdoms, negotiating new protection pacts with corrupt officials and continuing to traffic all the cocaine, heroin, and marijuana that North Americans could sniff, shoot up?, or smoke.Amado was one of those survivors, but he couldn't stay in Guadalajara. So he headed to Ojinaga, just across the border from Presidio, Texas, where he joined forces with a rough-and-tumble smuggler named Pablo Acosta. The Wild West At the northern extreme of the Chihuahuan Desert and the southwest extreme of Texas, Presidio sits just east of Ojinaga — rather than the proverbial "north of the border," as the Rio Grande runs south there. Located just to the south and east lies Big Bend National Park, and with its canyons, culverts, and deep ravines scored into the earth over millennia, the landscape is such a godsend to smugglers of all kinds that it could almost seem as if it was created for that express purpose.   For as long as the border has divided Presidio and Ojinaga, this remote land has been a causeway for smugglers looking to take advantage of prohibition in the U.S. — first of alcohol, later of marijuana and heroin, and finally cocaine — and of Mexico's booming black market for illegally imported commercial goods that resulted from the country's high tariffs.David Ramirez, a native of of El Paso, arrived in Presidio in 1982, shortly after joining the Border Patrol. He could almost count his fellow agents on two hands, and together they were tasked with patrolling not only the port of entry, with its wooden, two lane bridge crossing the river, but also the vast desert landscape stretching out on either side. (It was still many years before the Border Patrol would morph into the veritable army that polices the border today, with its drones, seismic motion sensors, and agents more numerous than the armies of more than a dozen small nations.) "We often had no radio comms, and all of Big Bend [National Park] to deal with," Ramirez recalled. "It was like the Wild West."Ramirez and his fellow agents may have had the might of the U.S. government at their backs, but down in Presidio, with the drug trade in overdrive, they were tilting at windmills.It wasn't like they could rely much on the Mexican authorities across the border either. The dirty and not so well-kept secret of the drug trade in Mexico is that it is inextricably tied to and controlled by extra-official protection rackets run by corrupt members of the country's business, political, and judicial elite. Just like every other lucrative smuggling corridor along the border, Ojinaga was controlled by a local boss. For much of the 1970s, that person had been Manuel Carrasco; when he eventually ran afoul of too many people he fled town and with time — and after a few shootouts — control passed to an up-and-coming trafficker named Pablo Acosta. 'He's their guy'According to the journalist Terrence Poppa, who chronicled the rise and fall of Acosta in his 1991 book "Drug Lord," Acosta came to power in Ojinaga in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and by 1982 he was either directly involved with, or charging a tax on, all illegal merchandise flowing across the border.Acosta, like Amado, was treated to a sympathetic portrayal in Narcos: Mexico. The actor Gerardo Taraceno plays Acosta up as a sentimental, old-school cowboy — reckless and violent at times, sure, but living by a code of honor and harboring a sentimental streak to boot. This flies in the face of all available evidence. Poppa — and a number of sources I spoke with who either investigated Acosta or did business with him — said that the real-life Acosta was a brutal thug, quick to mete out violence and shocking cruelty against anyone he saw as a threat. He shot men down in the street in broad daylight, subjected people to brutal torture, and was said to have once strapped a rival to the back of his pickup truck and dragged him to his bloody, horrible death. And as the years wore on, Acosta grew ever more erratic, thanks in part to his growing number of enemies and also to his fondness for basuco, a crude cocaine paste that he sprinkled into cigarettes and smoked around the clock.He was, in other words, the polar opposite of Amado. Little is known of Amado and Acosta's working relationship, one the young face of the drug trade to come and the other the proud, battle-scarred avatar of what came before. Amado was there not to do Acosta's bidding but to look after the interests of his uncle's syndicate in Guadalajara, which was increasingly coordinating shipments of cocaine on behalf of the Colombians and moving it through Ojinaga. David Ramirez (r); Rachel Mendelson/InsiderOne player who had the opportunity — or misfortune — to see that dynamic up close was Don Henry Ford, Jr, a former drug trafficker working in the region in the '70s and '80s."Amado Carrillo was never working for Pablo Acosta, not for one fucking day," Ford told me. "He represents the big guys down there, the cartel, he's their guy."When Pablo Acosta was finally gunned down in a raid by Mexican police in the tiny village of his birth in 1987, rumors immediately proliferated that Amado had paid a corrupt police commander $1 million to take him out. Unrepentant cowboyIf Ramirez that night in 1985 saw the amiable, confident face that Amado showed when being detained, Don Henry Ford Jr., two years prior, saw something closer to the real Amado — the careful balance of friendly and ruthless with which Amado gained the trust of business partners and government benefactors, while rooting out potential traitors and rivals.Ford grew up on a Texas ranch a few hundred miles north of the border, but as his family's business started to fail in the late 1970s he began to drift down to Mexico, making trips back and forth across the border in search of easy money and unlimited weed."You may consider one side Mexico and one the U.S., but it ain't either. It's the border," Ford told me recently when I reached him by phone. "People in Presidio and Ojinaga have more in common with each other than with anyone in Washington or Mexico City."By the time I talked to him, Ford had been out of the drug game for decades. The beginning of the end had come in 1986 when he was arrested in Texas but then managed to escape and spend a year or so as an honest-to-god fugitive outlaw, laying low in a tiny communal ejido south of the border, guarding multi-ton shipments of Colombian weed in a cave with just a rifle by his side. In 1987, he was caught while moving about a hundred pounds of weed in southern Texas and ended up serving seven years of a 15-year sentence before being released on good behavior — after which he spent another few years under tight restrictions, pissing in a cup for his parole officer as many as three times a week. As much as he hated giving up those years to prison and parole, Ford knows how lucky he was: less than a year after his second arrest, in 1988, the US eliminated parole for federal offenses and introduced mandatory minimums for large-scale drug trafficking. If he'd been busted any later, he could have spent the rest of his life behind bars, as did many drug traffickers — particularly Black and Brown people — sentenced amid the drastic ramping up of the U.S. war on drugs.He put that life behind him — raised kids, raised cattle, and even put aside some land and a business to pass on to his children. But he still has the spark of an outlaw in his voice. Even his email address, which includes the words "unrepentant cowboy," makes clear that he remains resolutely nonconformist. The south Texas ranch where Ford spends his days is so remote that his cell phone barely gets a signal. When we spoke, his voice crackled out of earshot every time he moved in the wrong direction or when he sat down.Ford had a rather haphazard start as a drug trafficker, running into some greedy cops on his first trip to Mexico who were happy to relieve him of his seed money and send him packing. But before long he found a knack for the business, and developed a lucrative operation trading with a loose network of marijuana growers and wholesalers, trafficking hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars in weed at a time.He did most of his business in the state of Coahuila, east of Acosta's territory in Chihuahua, where he could work without having to deal with Acosta, who he knew by reputation to be a fickle and violent man. Years later, Ford would find that out firsthand, when he was attacked by men he believes to have been working for Acosta, and interrogated at length by a man he believes to be Acosta himself. He believes it to have been Acosta because he was blindfolded, and Ford is not one to say things he's not 100% sure of. (I had to take Ford's word on this incident, as there's no record of it aside from Ford's memory of the experience, and Acosta is not around to confirm it.)But before his near-death encounter with Acosta, it was in Coahuila, in the home of his main connect, a guy named Oscar, that he first met Amado around 1983.Their first meeting was just in passing; Amado was one of several cowboy-looking guys milling about during a visit to the home of his partner, where Ford was visiting on one of his many trips south to score wholesale loads of weed. Amado was dressed, like the rest of the guys, in wide-cut polyester pants and the boots popular with Mexican cowboys with a high, slanted Spanish riding heel."He didn't look like anybody extraordinary at all, he looked like Oscar was giving him some work on the farm," Ford told me. "He wasn't wearing a bunch of gold jewelry and shit that would give away the sense of being wealthy. His boots were worn."For most of his career, Ford had stuck to marijuana. And even in the early years of the cocaine boom he said he could see the effect that the introduction of cocaine was having on the business of smuggling. Guys he had known to be sworn pacifists motivated by peace and love as much as money, began carrying weapons, acting all jittery."All of a sudden it was like Miami Vice," he recalled. But he wasn't so altruistic as to turn down good business, and it soon became clear to him that the real money was in cocaine. He wanted in. So he made some inquiries and was told the person to talk to was Amado — that quiet guy in cowboy boots he'd met once a while back.The meeting happened sometime in 1983, just Ford, his cousin, his partner Oscar, and Amado in a motel room in the city of Torreon, in the southern reaches of Coahuila. It started off well enough — like many meetings between drug traffickers, it was mostly a chance to size each other up. Amado brought with him some of the product he had on hand, and for a few hours, the wirey Texan and the Sinaloan trafficker hung out, drank, sniffed cocaine, and chatted pleasantly. Just as Ramirez would observe later, Ford recalled Amado as a smooth customer, calm and collected but friendly. Even a few drinks and a few lines deep, Amado kept his wits about him."He did a lot more listening than he did talking," Ford said.Ford liked that, and he told Amado that he didn't have any interest in working with a hothead like Acosta."I told him 'If you're like that, I don't wanna do business with you,'" Ford said. "I'm interested in fuckin' moving some drugs and making some money."Ford and Amado didn't make a deal that night, but Ford said they agreed to "something tentative." When it was time for Amado to go, but he left the remaining coke as a gift, more where that came from, and Ford and his cousin set about enjoying it.Rachel Mendelson/InsiderA few hours later, as they were trying to sleep off their coke jitters, there came a series of thunderous knocks on the door, bam-bam-bam, and chaos descended on them. A team of heavily armed men rushed into the hotel room. They wore no uniforms, but they moved with such trained precision that Ford immediately took them for cops of some sort. Over the next few hours, he said, they questioned the pair relentlessly."This motherfucker did this to see if I was a cop," Ford said. "He didn't trust us, and decided he was gonna find out who we were."He never saw Amado again.200 miles from El PasoTwo years or so after Ford met him in Torreon, Amado sat patiently in the Border Patrol station in Presidio with agent David Ramirez. The other driver, the one Amado had slowed down to let escape, had made it to the point of entry. His car was clean and, after showing his ID — along with a DFS badge like Amado's — the agents who spoke to him had nothing to charge him with, and let him cruise back into Mexico. (In an interview, Ramirez told me ruefully that he had written the man's name down in his notebook but later lost it, and the question of the man's identity piques his curiosity to this day.)As for Amado, Ramirez may not have caught him trafficking drugs in flagrante, nor had he proven any collusion with the driver of the pickup truck. But there was the AR-15 he'd found in the trunk. For a nonresident of the United States, it was a serious crime to be in possession of a loaded assault rifle. If charges were brought, it could have earned him a few solid years in a federal prison. No one knew it then, but that could have put a serious crimp in Amado's upward trajectory. But that wasn't the purview of the Border Patrol. If they were going to hold Amado, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms — 200 miles away in El Paso — would have to get involved. If they agreed, someone would have to come in from El Paso, a four-hour drive away, bring Amado back, and then take him to magistrate court in Pecos, another two-hour drive from El PasoRamirez made the call, and waited. In the meantime, in case Amado would be charged, Ramirez fingerprinted the suspect, and took a couple mugshots.By now it was around three in the morning. Amado had been pretty quiet as they drove into Presidio, but sitting in the Border Patrol station, he started to open up a bit more, chatting with Ramirez, even boasting a bit as they made small talk to kill time."The guy, once again, had not a worry in the world," Ramirez said. "Real easy guy, and you know it was strange, he offered a lot of info, like that his uncle was Don Neto and that Caro Quintero was his partner."It might seem strange that an experienced heavy in the drug trade would brag about his connections to a well-known trafficker like Don Neto and the notorious killer of a federal agent like Caro Quintero, but the code of silence only applies to the saps at the bottom of the totem pole, or to the civilians ensnared in the web of violence, corruption, and extortion that funnels money up to the bosses. For the guys making the real money, the relationship with law enforcement is a lot more fluid, with a lot more give and take. Perhaps Amado saw an opportunity to cultivate a contact, pocket a card that he could play at a later date. Or maybe he just knew that no ATF agents were getting their asses out of bed at three in the morning and driving all the way to Presidio and back to book him. Much more likely was that he'd be back in Mexico by sun-up no matter what he said to Ramirez.An hour passed, and then Ramirez got word from the Bureau that they weren't going to bother with this one. Coming all that distance to Presidio, it was too much trouble. So he let Amado go. Ramirez held on to the box of ammo, but Amado drove back into Mexico a free man with the illegal AR-15 in his trunk.'You can't live in what-ifs'Looking back to that night in Presidio in 1985, It's hard to fathom how it was possible that agents of the federal government had one of the top drug traffickers in Mexico in their custody and didn't even know it. But according to Ramirez, that was par for the course back then. "At that time, in that area, there was no intelligence collection. It was very primitive," he said. "We were patrol, we weren't really trained for intelligence gathering. Unfortunately that was the attitude back then."Ramirez doesn't pester himself much wondering how things might have gone if the ATF had bothered to haul Amado in. "He coulda done some time, sure," Ramirez replied when I pushed the point. "But you can't live in what-ifs."After that night in 1985, Ramirez would see Amado from time to time around town on the other side of the border. Ramirez would mostly avert his gaze so as not to make eye contact with the man whose night he'd ruined. He saw him at the border crossing too, and from the way Amado carried himself there, Ramirez said he could tell Amado had pull among Mexican officials."He was a charismatic kinda guy," Ramirez recalled. "He made friends with the inspectors there on the U.S. side, the Customs inspectors and the immigration inspectors, invited them to his ranch and they would go over and come back and tell about the cookouts and the time they had." One of the inspectors even invited Ramirez to the party. Ramirez politely declined.Whatever scrutiny caused him to flee Guadalajara did not appear to have followed Amado to Ojinaga, according to Ramirez. "He wasn't hiding! I mean he was out in the open," Ramirez said with some bemusement.In the years that followed, Amado continued to plot his deliberate, careful rise to power. That evening he spent with Ramirez would go down as his only known brush with US authorities — or at least the only one in which he was a suspected criminal rather than a guy asking Customs inspectors over for lunch. Alongside other major traffickers of his generation, like "El Chapo" in Sinaloa and Sonora and the Arellano-Félix brothers in Tijuana, Amado expertly navigated every power vacuum that presented itself — or triggered power vacuums himself. By the late 1980s Amado had moved his base of operations to Ciudad Juárez, the sprawling metropolis that sits across the river from El Paso, where the multiple ports of entry allow a far greater amount of train, truck, and car traffic — and contraband — than Ojinaga ever could. It was there that Amado truly came into his own, controlling organized crime in the city so tightly that normal, everyday street crime became a rarity, lest criminals incur the wrath of the henchmen tasked with keeping things quiet and orderly. David Ramirez had left Presidio as well, transferring to his hometown of El Paso, where he began doing undercover work investigating trafficking networks alongside Mexican cops. He saw firsthand the control that Amado exercised in the city.He even saw Amado once. Ramirez was in Juárez, eating breakfast with some Mexican colleagues, including a federal police commander, when who walks in but Amado, surrounded by a swarm of burly, heavily armed guards. Amado made a beeline for their table and greeted the commander warmly as Ramirez studied his food and preyed that he wouldn't be recognized. "I thought 'oh shoot, this is the guy I arrested!'" Ramirez recalled. "Everybody says they're looking for him, and he's right there!" Once again, though, Ramirez's hands were tied: no matter how much the U.S. might want its hands on Amado, he was out of reach in Mexico, where his massive web of bribes and political connections made him largely untouchable. Still, even if Ramirez's actions did nothing to stop Amado's rise to power, it wasn't all for naught.The Lord of the Skies is deadOn July 3, 1997, Amado Carrillo Fuentes entered Hospital Ángeles Santa Mónica in the ritzy Mexico City neighborhood of Polanco. Amado had had a rough time of it recently, and it would have shown, his voracious cocaine habit and relentless workload taking their toll on his face and his increasingly heavy frame. The hospital was under heavy security, with an entire wing shut down for the guest of honor's privacy. Reuters; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderAmado was by now the undisputed public face of the drug trade in Mexico, with mansions all over the country and countless men doing his bidding. Being the boss is great for a guy like Amado, but not if everyone knows it. In Juárez he and his henchmen had worked hard to keep his name out of the papers, intimidating and threatening journalists and even discouraging singers from composing narcocorridos, the norteño ballads penned in honor of prominent drug traffickers that form an important role in the folk history of organized crime in Mexico. But when you amass power and wealth like Amado had, you can only remain in the shadows for so long. Things had really taken a turn for Amado that February, when one of his most important guardian angels — General Jesús Héctor Gutierrez Rebollo, Mexico's drug czar  — was arrested and publicly accused of collaboration with Amado. Just a few months earlier, Guttierrez Rebollo had been feted in Washington, described by his American counterpart as "a guy of absolute, unquestioned integrity." So it was with a deeply embarrassed vengeance that the attention of both governments now trained itself on Amado.Amado knew as well as anyone that a drug lord's days are numbered as soon as he becomes a liability to the government. By multiple accounts, Amado started looking for an exit almost immediately. He bought property in Chile, moved money abroad, and was even rumored to have approached contacts in the government to offer a massive bribe in exchange for his freedom to retire in anonymity.On July 3, he checked in under a fake name at the hospital in Polanco to undergo plastic surgery to alter his features. (Or, it was rumored later, for a bit of liposuction. It may have been both.)He was never seen alive again.The next day, July 4, about two miles away from the hospital in the similarly posh Lomas Altas neighborhood, Fourth of July festivities were underway at the fortress-like mansion that was home to the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Diplomats and dignitaries, bureaucrats and spooks were spread out across the lawn, mingling with their spouses. Among the revelers were a handful of agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who, as Amado might have suspected, had been racing to pin down Amado before he could vanish.Their day off came to a sudden end when one of the DEA agents got a call. According to his source, Amado had succumbed to an overdose on the operating table and the body was headed for burial in his home state of Sinaloa.The call kicked off a furious race by U.S. and Mexican officials alike desperate to confirm the drug lord's death. Rumors were swirling that it was all a lie, that Amado couldn't possibly be dead, and to quiet this talk Mexican officials would a few days later take the extraordinary step of laying out Amado's body — puffy by now; his skin a ghastly grey-green — for a viewing at a government building in Mexico City, inviting journalists to show his corpse to the world.Meanwhile, a young intelligence officer for the DEA named Larry Villalobos was racking his brains to think of a way to confirm that the body was Amado's.Then it hit him: the fingerprints. Villalobos had worked for a while as a fingerprint technician with the FBI before joining the DEA, and, prior to his posting in Mexico City, he had been stationed at the DEA field office in El Paso, where he'd helped build a dossier on Amado. As part of his research, he had learned of Amado's brief detention by Border Patrol agent David Ramirez back in 1985, and he knew Ramirez had taken Amado's mugshot and fingerprints. Villalobos made some calls, and it wasn't long before Ramirez found himself awoken by the ring of his telephone. Amado may not have been worth getting out of bed for when Ramirez called the ATF back in 1985, but he sure was now.."They called me about 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, wanting to know if I still had his prints," Ramirez recalled rather matter-of-factly. "So I dug 'em up and I sent 'em to him."In Mexico City, Villalobos received a fax of the prints and headed to the morgue to compare them with those belonging to the corpse.They were a match.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 22nd, 2022

Feds Eye Criminal Charges For Hunter Biden As Probe Reaches "Critical Stage"

Feds Eye Criminal Charges For Hunter Biden As Probe Reaches 'Critical Stage' The Department of Justice is weighing possible charges against Hunter Biden, after investigations into his business dealings and false statements involving his purchase of a gun have reached a 'critical juncture,' CNN (!?) reports. Sources say that the probe has intensified in recent months 'with discussions among Delaware-based prosecutors, investigators running the probe and officials at Justice Department headquarters.' While no final decision has been made, the possibility of dropping charges on Hunter would put a longstanding guideline to avoid bringing politically sensitive cases close to an election. Discussions recently have centered around possibly bringing charges that could include alleged tax violations and making a false statement in connection with Biden's purchase of a firearm at a time he would have been prohibited from doing so because of his acknowledged struggles with drug addiction. ... Adding to the pressure, Republicans in Congress have already announced that if they take over the House of Representatives after the midterm elections, they plan to launch new investigations and hold hearings to examine the conduct of Hunter Biden and others in the Biden family. -CNN The debate over whether to bring the case this close to midterms has revolved around the fact that Joe Biden isn't on the ballot.  While the DOJ probe initially focused on Hunter Biden's financial and business activities in foreign countries while his father was vice president, investigators had expanded the scope to include whether Hunter and associates violated money laundering, campaign finance, tax and foreign lobbying laws - and whether he broke federal firearm and other regulations, according to multiple sources. These matters have been narrowed down to tax and gun-related charges - which means the Biden family will likely be shielded from scrutiny over improper business dealings which leveraged Joe Biden's position of power - and which Joe Biden provably lied about discussing with Hunter. So Hunter gets a pass on all this? In March, CBS News' Catherine Herridge reported that two associates of the younger Biden testified before a grand jury last fall about a shady, now-bankrupt Chinese energy company linked to the infamous "10 for the big guy" from Hunter's emails. "Federal officials are looking at his foreign business dealings, including his ties to a Chinese energy company," said "CBS Mornings" host Tony Dokoupil. "The investigation began as a tax inquiry years ago and has expanded into a federal probe involving the FBI and IRS," Herridge added. "A source familiar with the investigation now tells CBS News, two men who worked with Hunter Biden when his father was Vice President were called to the grand jury last fall." According to records reviewed by CBS along with congressional documents, the feds are looking at "multiple financial transactions involving an energy company called CEFC. Republicans accuse the business of being an arm of the Chinese government. In 2017, the year Joe Biden left the Vice Presidency, a $1 million retainer was signed with a Chinese energy company for Hunter Biden's services as a lawyer. His client, a CEFC official, Patrick Ho, was later convicted on international bribery and money laundering charges on unrelated work in Africa." The Hunter Biden investigation began as a tax inquiry years ago + expanded into a federal probe. Source familiar with the investigation now tells @cbsnews I-unit two men who worked w/Hunter Biden when his father VP were called to the grand jury last fall.pic.twitter.com/1LaXDiycWk — Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) March 31, 2022 For those who've been keeping up with our reporting since October 2020 when the Hunter Biden laptop story broke (and was immediately suppressed by the media), CEFC was the company that the Bidens allegedly accepted a $5 million interest-free loan that enraged their business partner, Tony Bobulinski - who flipped on the Bidens following a Senate report which revealed the $5 million 'loan.' According to the former Biden insider, he was introduced to Joe Biden by Hunter, and they had an hour-long meeting where they discussed the Biden's business plans with the Chinese, with which he says Joe was "plainly familiar at least at a high level." Text messages from Bobulinski also reveal an effort to conceal Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter's business dealings, while Tony has also confirmed that the "Big guy" described in a leaked email is none other than Joe Biden himself. This is maybe THE clip from this interview. Bobulinski to #Tucker: "I remember looking at Jim Biden in saying how are you guys getting away with this? Like, aren't you concerned? And he looked at me and he laughed a little bit and said. 'plausible deniability.'" pic.twitter.com/GMDL1JNZtB — Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 28, 2020  "You can imagine my shock when reading the report yesterday put out by the Senate committee.  The fact that you and HB were lying to Rob, James and I while accepting $5 MM from Cefc is infuriating," wrote Bobulinski to Jim Biden. (Via the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross): CEFC was paying Hunter $850,00 per year according to an email from Biden business associate James Gilliar to Bobulinksi - which is also the source of the "10 held by H for the big guy" email. Emails obtained by the New York Post show that Hunter "pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be “interesting for me and my family.”" according to the report. You can read more on Hunter and the CEFC here. As an aside, but of course not coincidental we're sure, the Clinton Foundation accepted a donation between $50,001 and $100,000 from CEFC. Tony Bobulinski on Tucker says it is a "blatant lie" when Joe Biden says he had no knowledge of his son's business dealings: "There was no other reason for me to be in that bar meeting Joe Biden then to discuss what I was doing with his family's name and the Chinese." pic.twitter.com/famy4WaxOk — Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 28, 2020 But yes, let's focus on Hunter's tax evasion and gun issues. Tyler Durden Wed, 07/20/2022 - 18:51.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJul 20th, 2022

Strengthening Ties With Iran, Putin Meets With Supreme Leader In Tehran

Strengthening Ties With Iran, Putin Meets With Supreme Leader In Tehran On the heels of President Biden's trip to the Middle East, which was aimed in part at galvanizing a regional alliance against Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday visited Tehran in a move that promises to bolster cooperation between two targets of the U.S. empire. “It’s the definition of pushback,” Ali Vaez, the Iran project director and senior adviser to the president of the International Crisis Group tells The Wall Street Journal. “They now share a vision of a coalition of sanctioned states, comprised of countries like Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela.” In a rare foreign excursion during Russia's war in Ukraine, Putin met with Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.   Since Covid hit Iran in Feb 2020, only two presidents have gotten this close to Khamenei: Assad in May and Putin today. This observation is of course based on pictures released by Khamenei's office. pic.twitter.com/jPtAflJ55c — Kian Sharifi (@KianSharifi) July 19, 2022 “Our relations are developing at a good pace,” said Putin as he began his meeting with Raisi. “We are strengthening our cooperation on international security issues, making a significant contribution to the settlement of the Syrian conflict.” Before Putin's arrival, Russian gas producer Gazprom and Iran's national oil company signed a $40 billion deal in which Gazprom will help develop oil and gas fields, and complete liquefied natural gas facilities and gas export pipelines.  That deal is a welcome shot in arm for Iran, whose economy continues to be suffocated by Western sanctions. The Ukraine war has had its own negative impact, per Reuters:  In May, [we] reported that Iran's crude exports to China had fallen sharply as Beijing favored heavily discounted Russian barrels, leaving almost 40 million barrels of Iranian oil stored on tankers at sea in Asia and seeking buyers. There are more dimensions to the growing economic cooperation between Russia and Iran. For example, in June, we reported on a pilot run of a new trade route connecting Russia to India via Iran, called the "International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)."  Khamenei called for both Iran and Russia to use their own currencies in international commerce. "The U.S. dollar should be gradually taken off global trade," Khamenei said.  The Supreme Leader also offered supportive sentiments regarding Putin's invasion of Ukraine: "War is a hostile, harsh matter and the Islamic Republic never favors seeing ordinary people afflicted by wars. However, in the issue of Ukraine, had Russia not initiated taking action, the other side would have started a war...NATO is a dangerous entity. The West is totally opposed to a strong, independent Russia. If the way is opened for NATO, it will recognize no limits." Asked about the trip, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby curiously declared that, while Biden went to the Middle East "to bring countries together," Putin's trip to Iran "just shows the degree to which Mr. Putin remains isolated now." Kirby should be reminded that, in meeting with Erdogan, Putin was engaging with the leader of a NATO country.   Discussions with Erdogan touched on a pending deal to restart grain exports from Ukraine via the Black Sea, as well as violence in Syria. As Reuters reports: Turkey has threatened to launch more military operations to extend 30-km (20-mile) deep 'safe zones' along the [Syria] border. Moscow and Tehran oppose any such action by Turkey...Russia and Iran are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's strongest backers, while Turkey supports anti-Assad insurgents. If Turkey were to attack, it would be against the Kurdish YPG militia. Though part of the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, Erdogan calls the YPG a "terrorist organization."  NOW - Putin, Raisi, and Erdogan holding hands in Iran.pic.twitter.com/qQRx4VMist — Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) July 19, 2022 Tyler Durden Wed, 07/20/2022 - 15:05.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 20th, 2022

China Furious Over Reports Pelosi To Visit Taiwan In August

China Furious Over Reports Pelosi To Visit Taiwan In August House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's planned trip to Taiwan has predictably sparked outrage in China, with Beijing slamming the potential trip as causing "grave harm" and threatening "forceful measures" if she goes through with it. She would be the first Speaker of the US House of Representatives - which is third in line to the US Presidency - to visit the country in 25 years after Republican speaker Newt Gingrich visited in 1997. In April she nearly sparked a major diplomatic row with China after it emerged she would stop over in Taiwan while on a southeast Asian trip. But (perhaps only too conveniently), she tested positive for Covid-19 days ahead of the expected tour, leading to cancelation altogether. Via Reuters Word of a rescheduled trip set for August has left Beijing furious. FT is citing "Six people familiar with the situation" who say "Pelosi would take a delegation to Taiwan in August." During the Chinese Foreign Ministry's daily briefing on Tuesday, spokesman Zhao Lijiang vowed "resolute and strong measures" if she goes through with it. He said a visit by the US House Speaker would "severely undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, gravely impact the foundation of China-U.S. relations and send a seriously wrong signal to Taiwan independence forces." "If the U.S. were to insist on going down the wrong path, China will take resolute and strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity," Zhao added. The quick condemnation and scathing statements reminding Washington that it must stick by the 'one China' principle are similar to China's reaction in April. Given that prior trip never materialized (again, due to her announced Covid diagnosis), she was able to quietly back out and many observers chalked up the entire planned Taiwan trip to "rumor" given neither the US nor Taipei side ever confirmed it. In these latest remarks Zhao didn't indicate precisely what counter-US or counter-Taiwan steps China would take. It comes also amid Beijing demanding the Biden administration cancel a proposed 5th package of arms to Taiwan, totaling $108 million, and as Beijing is challenging the status of the Taiwan Strait as "international waters".  If she really dares to visit Taiwan, it will be a major serious incident. She will be the enemy that divides China. She will experience a risky visit. She will also bear historical responsibility for possibly triggering a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait. pic.twitter.com/pNXIRvtX0W — Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) July 19, 2022 Some Chinese state-linked pundits are going so far as to warn that Pelosi's visit could spark military conflict between Taiwan and China. Among them, former editor-in-chief of the Communist Party's Global Times has blasted the "risky" visit for which she would "bear historical responsibility for possibly triggering military conflict in the Taiwan Strait." So the question remains: will the 82-year old speaker go through with it? Or perhaps, she'll conveniently come down with a last minute case of "Covid" again (maybe Monkeypox?); or possibly, she'll be busy bailing out her husband Paul. The region is especially on edge given growing comparisons to the Ukraine war - a comparison which China has consistently rejected. Tyler Durden Tue, 07/19/2022 - 18:25.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 19th, 2022

Putin Using Western Wokeness As A Weapon: WSJ Op-Ed

Putin Using Western Wokeness As A Weapon: WSJ Op-Ed Left-wing wokeism is one of America's greatest weaknesses, which both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are using as a weapon against the West, according to a Monday Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Hudson Institute Fellow Walter Russell Mead. After suggesting that Ukraine is giving Russia more than they bargained for on the battlefield thanks to "Western high-tech arms" among other things, Mead notes that Putin has had the most success in the domains of economics and politics, giving the West a run for its money. Fears that a Russian gas embargo could cripple European economies and leave comfortable German burghers freezing in the dark next winter have replaced hopes that Western sanctions would bring Moscow to its knees. Thoroughly intimidated by the consequences of an economic war with Russia, Germany is beginning to weasel out of its pledges to increase defense spending. -WSJ According to Mead, hopes that the world would unite against Russian aggression has "fizzled," adding: "Led by China and joined by India and Brazil, countries around the world are choosing trade with Russia over solidarity with the Group of Seven." The author suggests that in order to prevent "another major setback" such as those in Georgia, Crimea, the South China Sea and the Middle East, the West must "recalibrate" against the "revisionist powers" (China, Russia and Iran), and "rethink assumptions and conventional doctrines that have demonstrably failed." The West also needs to understand that the revisionist powers "seek the destruction of what they see as an American-led, West-dominated global hegemony," which is "decadent and vulnerable." Specifically, there are several vulnerabilities the West needs to protect against; including protectionism ("which reduces the economic attraction of the WWestern system for developing countries"), and self-righteous "values-based" entitlements "with its origins in the age of European imperialism." Why else, people ask, are Britain and France permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, while there is only one permanent member from Asia, and none from Africa, the Islamic world or Latin America? What possible justification is there for including Italy and Canada in the exclusive G-7? Conventional defenders of the Western world order respond by touting its commitment to universal values such as human rights and the fight against climate change. The current world order may, they acknowledge, be historically rooted in Western imperial power, but as an “empire of values,” the Western world order deserves the support of everyone who cares about humanity’s future. -WSJ Wokeness as a weakness After laying out the current situation, Mead writes that "the West's increasingly "woke" values agenda is not as credible or popular as liberals hope," noting that President Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia this week puts America's leftist hypocrisy on full display - reminding the world "of the limits on Western commitments to human rights." Many values dear to the hearts of Western cultural leaders (LGBTQ rights, abortion on demand, freedom of speech understood as allowing unchecked Internet pornography) puzzle and offend billions of people around the world who haven’t kept up with the latest hot trends on American campuses. -WSJ Mead also notes that woke Western banks are pissing off 'elites and the public at large' in developing countries over blocking financing for fossil-fuel extraction as part of their virtue-signaling ESG agenda. What's more, liberal West's "new, post-Judeo-Christian values agenda divides the West," as culture wars at home "don't promote unity overseas." Also, Western leftists have totally lost their shit in front of the world. Completely unhinged pic.twitter.com/7H2Z8E5vLh — Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) March 1, 2022 Bringing it home, Mead writes: The moral and political confusion of the contemporary West is the secret weapon that the leaders of Russia and China believe will bring the American world order to its knees. Messrs. Putin and Xi might be wrong; one certainly hopes that they are. But their bet on Western decadence has been paying off handsomely for more than a decade. Western survival and global flourishing require more thought and deeper change than the Biden administration and its European allies can currently imagine. -WSJ As we've noted many times, Americans were explicitly warned about weakening the West by KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov. How do we cure wokeism and actors who peddle it to score points? Tyler Durden Wed, 07/13/2022 - 20:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 13th, 2022

Putin Using Western Wokeness As Weapon: WSJ Op-Ed

Putin Using Western Wokeness As Weapon: WSJ Op-Ed Left-wing wokeism is one of America's greatest weaknesses, which both Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are using as a weapon against the West, according to a Monday Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Hudson Institute Fellow Walter Russell Mead. After suggesting that Ukraine is giving Russia more than they bargained for on the battlefield thanks to "Western high-tech arms" among other things, Mead notes that Putin has had the most success in the domains of economics and politics, giving the West a run for its money. Fears that a Russian gas embargo could cripple European economies and leave comfortable German burghers freezing in the dark next winter have replaced hopes that Western sanctions would bring Moscow to its knees. Thoroughly intimidated by the consequences of an economic war with Russia, Germany is beginning to weasel out of its pledges to increase defense spending. -WSJ According to Mead, hopes that the world would unite against Russian aggression has "fizzled," adding: "Led by China and joined by India and Brazil, countries around the world are choosing trade with Russia over solidarity with the Group of Seven." The author suggests that in order to prevent "another major setback" such as those in Georgia, Crimea, the South China Sea and the Middle East, the West must "recalibrate" against the "revisionist powers" (China, Russia and Iran), and "rethink assumptions and conventional doctrines that have demonstrably failed." The West also needs to understand that the revisionist powers "seek the destruction of what they see as an American-led, West-dominated global hegemony," which is "decadent and vulnerable." Specifically, there are several vulnerabilities the West needs to protect against; including protectionism ("which reduces the economic attraction of the WWestern system for developing countries"), and self-righteous "values-based" entitlements "with its origins in the age of European imperialism." Why else, people ask, are Britain and France permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, while there is only one permanent member from Asia, and none from Africa, the Islamic world or Latin America? What possible justification is there for including Italy and Canada in the exclusive G-7? Conventional defenders of the Western world order respond by touting its commitment to universal values such as human rights and the fight against climate change. The current world order may, they acknowledge, be historically rooted in Western imperial power, but as an “empire of values,” the Western world order deserves the support of everyone who cares about humanity’s future. -WSJ Wokeness as a weakness After laying out the current situation, Mead writes that "the West's increasingly "woke" values agenda is not as credible or popular as liberals hope," noting that President Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia this week puts America's leftist hypocrisy on full display - reminding the world "of the limits on Western commitments to human rights." Many values dear to the hearts of Western cultural leaders (LGBTQ rights, abortion on demand, freedom of speech understood as allowing unchecked Internet pornography) puzzle and offend billions of people around the world who haven’t kept up with the latest hot trends on American campuses. -WSJ Mead also notes that woke Western banks are pissing off 'elites and the public at large' in developing countries over blocking financing for fossil-fuel extraction as part of their virtue-signaling ESG agenda. What's more, liberal West's "new, post-Judeo-Christian values agenda divides the West," as culture wars at home "don't promote unity overseas." Also, Western leftists have totally lost their shit in front of the world. Completely unhinged pic.twitter.com/7H2Z8E5vLh — Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) March 1, 2022 Bringing it home, Mead writes: The moral and political confusion of the contemporary West is the secret weapon that the leaders of Russia and China believe will bring the American world order to its knees. Messrs. Putin and Xi might be wrong; one certainly hopes that they are. But their bet on Western decadence has been paying off handsomely for more than a decade. Western survival and global flourishing require more thought and deeper change than the Biden administration and its European allies can currently imagine. -WSJ As we've noted many times, Americans were explicitly warned about weakening the West by KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov. How do we cure wokeism and actors who peddle it to score points? Tyler Durden Wed, 07/13/2022 - 20:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 13th, 2022

11 Tory leadership candidates" donors and war chests analysed ahead of £300,000 contest

Insider has reviewed the entries of all the candidates in the Conservative leadership contest to see how their campaigns might be funded. Frontrunner Rishi SunakNIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images Candidates in the Conservative leadership contest can spend up to £300,000. Insider has analysed donations to the 10 declared candidates, plus Priti Patel. The contest officially begins Tuesday and will conclude on September 5. Voting in the Conservative Party leadership contest is due to begin Tuesday afternoon, with the UK expected to learn the name of its new prime minister by September 6. So far there are 10 candidates confirmed, although Home Secretary Priti Patel has yet to say whether she is running, and has accrued at least 13 supporters without declaring.Candidates can spend £300,000 this year, double the spending limit in the 2019 contest, and equivalent to the spending limit for three Parliamentary by-elections.That only covers funds spent after the formal beginning of the campaign, which will be good news for those with flashy videos released (and possibly re-released) last week. Teams don't have to declare for a month after receiving the donation. In the meantime Insider takes you through the 11 candidates's declared donations to see what their war chests could be, should they make it past the first few elimination rounds. Ready for Rishi Rishi Sunak declared £50,000 received by his local party organisation in November 2021, but has received no personal donations in the past year. The £50,000 came from Dean Benson, a Teesside millionaire.All being said, Sunak's probably rich enough to put his hand in his own pocket – and the £16,876 redundancy payment he's entitled to for resigning from being Chancellor will help too.There's been awkward news in the Mail on Sunday already about his launch video and how it features Diageo and Guinness, given his campaign is being run by Beer APPG vice-chair Lord Smith of Hindhead. PM4PMPenny Mordaunt has had nothing coming her way in the past year, but Mordaunt's previously received £20,000 from First Corporate Consultants, a firm run by Bristol Port Company owner Terence Mordaunt (no relation).The Port Company gave £25,000 to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt each last time they ran for the leadership.Mordaunt's local association received £3,000 from billionaire donor Sir Michael Hintze in October 2019, but that was part of nearly £300,000 given by Hintze to the Conservative Party for the general election. Hintze is also in line for a peerage in Johnson's resignation honours, The Sunday Times reported.Mordaunt is unlikely to be accepting donations from Alexander Temerko, though.Tom: A Clean StartTom Tugendhat, the Foreign Affairs Committee chair, warned in a March interview with Insider that MPs and political parties should exercise greater caution in accepting donations, noting he had "declined" donations "from certain people" who would go on to or had given money to other politicians.Tugendhat's launch event was attended by Michael Tory, a political donor and investment banker who has previously given the Conservatives nearly £350,000 but most recently gave £15,000 to the Liberal Democrats in the 2019 general election. Tory told the Sunday Times in early June that Johnson had to resign. Tugendhat has also raked in £65,000 to support his work on the committee in the past year, including £25,000 from former Tory Party treasurer Lord (Michael) Spencer, who gave £20,000 to Sajid Javid in 2019. Liz for LeaderLiz Truss's only entry in the register of members' interests for the past year is the £229.25 royalty payment for "Britannia Unchained", the page-turning 2012 treatise she co-authored with Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, and Chris Skidmore.Her donors since her 2010 election are pretty limited: £4,000 from Norfolk logistics businessman Richard Johnston and £2,000 from David Meller in 2015, last primarily seen in the PPE VIP fast-track lane, as openDemocracy reported. Truss's own flashy video has got into a bit of hot water already over questions about the use of footage filmed by civil servants, not special advisers.Her HQ is based at Lord Greville Howard's 11 Lord North Street townhouse, where one Boris Johnson ran his campaign in 2019.NZ4PMNadhim Zahawi is so rich, he doesn't quite know how rich he is – though seemingly not rich enough to spark the interest of the Sunday Times Rich List research team.He could self-fund his campaign, potentially getting another mortgage out on either his property and 31 acres of land in Warwickshire with (heated) stables; his London house; or his Dubai apartment. Or he could sell his shares worth more than £70,000 in BT.Zahawi has had no donors in the past year, but during the 2019 general election his constituency was helped out by £3,000 from Lord Peter Cruddas; £5,000 from Jo Bamford, heir to the JCB empire; and £2,000 from Iraqi-born financier Raed Hanna's MFL Finance.The newly-appointed Chancellor has pledged more transparency about his finances following a series of allegations he is under investigation by HMRC, after he was previously probed by the National Crime Agency, and for good measure the Serious Fraud Office – but only once he's made PM, of course.Tory donor Dr Maurizio Bragagni told Insider he'd be backing Zahawi.A spokesperson for Zahawi's campaign told Insider: "Like all candidates we will be seeking donations from our supporters. These will all be declared in due course in line with the rules."Kemi for Prime MinisterKemi Badenoch has declared relatively little in the way of donors to date, aside from having her ticket to a Tory Party fundraiser last November paid by Hintze, and £26,755.20 worth of legal research on online abuse from branding consultant Jeremy Hildreth.But she has received the backing of Michael Gove, who may be able to assist given he was handed £100,000 from property developer Zak Gertler in August 2021, and £20,000 from Aberdeen-based property tycoon Alan Massie in May 2021.Priti PatelPriti Patel has not yet announced she's running, but if she does, she has been given £140,000 since February 2022: £100,000 from venture capital firm Andurand Ventures, and £40,000 from the directors of investment management firm Njord Partners.Win Back Trust with Jeremy HuntJeremy Hunt is back again for another pop at the top job. The former foreign secretary has not declared any donations in the past year to build up a war chest in advance.Insider has asked Alexander Temerko if he'll be backing him again, after the two had lunch earlier this year.Suella 4 LeaderSuella Braverman has had no donations in the past year, but she's previously been supported by telecommunications business boss Darren Ridge.Otherwise there is little in the way of apparent financial support to run a campaign, though she has been backed by Tory MP Richard Drax, believed to be worth more than £150 million.Team SajSajid Javid earned almost £150,000 from JP Morgan from August 2020 to June 2021, another £113,000 from C3.ai, and nine months worth of C3.ai shares worth £45,000 per month.He's also previously been supported by Tory donor Lord Rami Ranger, so even if he's not commissioned a brand new leadership bid film, he's certainly got the earnings to do so. Team Saj told Insider funding would "all be declared in usual way in due course".Rehman ChishtiPlease get in touch with Insider if there's anything secretly damning hidden in Rehman Chishti's entry in the register of members' interests that might stop a campaign that has barely begun, with Chishti yet to receive the public endorsement of any MPs other than, presumably, himself.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 12th, 2022

Elon Musk Responds To Twitter Lawsuit Threat

Elon Musk Responds To Twitter Lawsuit Threat Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times, Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk reacted with a series of memes to Twitter’s preparations to sue him in a bid to force him to buy the social media platform for $44 billion. In a late-night Twitter post on Sunday, Musk shared a meme featuring with images of himself laughing, along with captions that marked several key developments in his buyout bid saga. pic.twitter.com/JcLMee61wj — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2022 Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share, a significant premium over market price, which on July 11 stood at $36.81. He has since moved to void his deal with Twitter’s board, issuing a formal filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (pdf) that claims there are too many bots and automated accounts on the platform. Twitter has fired back, saying it would try to enforce the deal and possibly hit Musk with a lawsuit. Bret Taylor, chairman of Twitter, said in a social media post on July 8 that Twitter plans to sue Musk in the Delaware Court of Chancery to force him to follow through with the deal. Chuckmate — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2022 There has been media speculation that a filing could come as soon as early this week. Back in April, Musk bought a significant amount of Twitter’s shares, triggering speculation that he would enforce changes to the company’s content moderation policies. Musk has repeatedly taken aim at Twitter, arguing it has a left-wing bias and targets conservative accounts. ‘Exorbitant’ Price Former President Donald Trump reacted to Musk’s filing that seeks to pull out of the $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, saying he believed the move was inevitable. Trump, who himself owns the Truth Social platform, told Breitbart News, “I knew that Twitter had a lot of the fake accounts because I read, like everyone else does.” “I thought that the price was exorbitant,” Trump added, referring to the $44 billion price tag Musk committed to in the agreement with the Twitter board. Twitter has said that bots or automated accounts make up less than 5 percent of the total accounts, a claim Musk disputes. His legal team said in the July 8 filing that Twitter has failed to give him sufficient access to its data to carry out his own analysis, while essentially arguing that the company misrepresented its monetizable daily active user counts and so broke the terms of their agreement. ... Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 07/11/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 11th, 2022

Explosion Rocks Oklahoma Natural Gas Plant

Explosion Rocks Oklahoma Natural Gas Plant A natural gas gathering and processing facility near Medford, Oklahoma, exploded Saturday afternoon and could disrupt the flow of hydrocarbons to energy export hubs on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Oneok, Inc., a leading midstream service provider and the operator of a major natural gas liquids (NGL) systems, experienced an explosion at its NGL fractionation facility in Medford, about 85 miles south of Wichita, Kansas.  "There is an active incident at the plant south of town, and we are asking all residents south of Main Street to evacuate your homes and go to the Medford public school building," the Grant County Sheriff's Office noted on Facebook yesterday.  Michael and Brittany Stone captured this video of an explosion in Medford, Oklahoma, near the Kansas border. This gas plant fire caused evacuations and road closures #KWCH12 pic.twitter.com/V8Cy8FbYfM — KWCH Eyewitness News (@KWCH12) July 9, 2022 #DEVELOPING Evacuations issued after explosion at ONEOK natural gas plant in Medford, Oklahoma pic.twitter.com/2N52yC0CCA — KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) July 10, 2022 ONEOK released a statement later in the day that said, "there was an incident at ONEOK's Medford natural gas liquids fractionation facility ... All ONEOK personnel are accounted for, and we are unaware of any injuries at this time. We are cooperating with local emergency responders and appreciate their quick response. Our focus continues working with emergency responders to extinguish the fire and the safety of the surrounding community and our employees."  ONEOK's fractionation plant separates NGLs into NGL products, such as ethane, propane, butane, and natural gas, used widely in all sectors of the economy. NGL products are used in inputs for petrochemical plants, generating electricity at power plants, burning for cooking, and blended into vehicle fuel.  The Medford fractionation facility feeds NGL products in pipelines through Texas to Mont Belvieu on the Gulf Coast, a major export hub area for energy products. There's no word (yet) on disruptions to pipeline flows.  One Twitter user points out there has been a spate of fires and explosions at oil/gas facilities or pipelines in the last month (similar to the mysterious fires at food processing plants), and the most significant disruption so far has been Freeport's LNG export terminal catching firing last month, curbing some LNG exports to Europe.  2/4 July 9, 2022- ONEOK natural gas plant explosion (Medford, OK) July 7, 2022- Energy Transfer pipeline explosion (Wallis, TX) Jun. 27, 2022- Petro Star refinery explosion, (VALDEZ, AK) Jun. 8, 2022- LNG natural gas plant explosion (Freeport, TX)@hackableanimal — J Mal (@EPUnum_) July 10, 2022 Details are scant about what disruptions the ONEOK fractionation facility has caused. Still, if there were any, it comes at an inopportune time for the Texas power grid (powered half by NatGas) set to experience record demand as soaring heat boosts cooling demand by households and businesses. From OTC Global: ERCOT demand is expected to top 80GW Monday afternoon. Fasten your seatbelts. pic.twitter.com/TyLpH65TPU — Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT (@MikeZaccardi) July 9, 2022 What could possibly go wrong?   Tyler Durden Sun, 07/10/2022 - 10:06.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 10th, 2022

Explosion Rocks Oklahoma Natural Gas Plant 

Explosion Rocks Oklahoma Natural Gas Plant  A natural gas gathering and processing facility near Medford, Oklahoma, exploded Saturday afternoon and could disrupt the flow of hydrocarbons to energy export hubs on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Oneok, Inc., a leading midstream service provider and the operator of a major natural gas liquids (NGL) systems, experienced an explosion at its NGL fractionation facility in Medford, about 85 miles south of Wichita, Kansas.  "There is an active incident at the plant south of town, and we are asking all residents south of Main Street to evacuate your homes and go to the Medford public school building," the Grant County Sheriff's Office noted on Facebook yesterday.  Michael and Brittany Stone captured this video of an explosion in Medford, Oklahoma, near the Kansas border. This gas plant fire caused evacuations and road closures #KWCH12 pic.twitter.com/V8Cy8FbYfM — KWCH Eyewitness News (@KWCH12) July 9, 2022 #DEVELOPING Evacuations issued after explosion at ONEOK natural gas plant in Medford, Oklahoma pic.twitter.com/2N52yC0CCA — KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) July 10, 2022 ONEOK released a statement later in the day that said, "there was an incident at ONEOK's Medford natural gas liquids fractionation facility ... All ONEOK personnel are accounted for, and we are unaware of any injuries at this time. We are cooperating with local emergency responders and appreciate their quick response. Our focus continues working with emergency responders to extinguish the fire and the safety of the surrounding community and our employees."  ONEOK's fractionation plant separates NGLs into NGL products, such as ethane, propane, butane, and natural gas, used widely in all sectors of the economy. NGL products are used in inputs for petrochemical plants, generating electricity at power plants, burning for cooking, and blended into vehicle fuel.  The Medford fractionation facility feeds NGL products in pipelines through Texas to Mont Belvieu on the Gulf Coast, a major export hub area for energy products. There's no word (yet) on disruptions to pipeline flows.  One Twitter user points out there has been a spate of fires and explosions at oil/gas facilities or pipelines in the last month (similar to the mysterious fires at food processing plants), and the most significant disruption so far has been Freeport's LNG export terminal catching firing last month, curbing some LNG exports to Europe.  2/4 July 9, 2022- ONEOK natural gas plant explosion (Medford, OK) July 7, 2022- Energy Transfer pipeline explosion (Wallis, TX) Jun. 27, 2022- Petro Star refinery explosion, (VALDEZ, AK) Jun. 8, 2022- LNG natural gas plant explosion (Freeport, TX)@hackableanimal — J Mal (@EPUnum_) July 10, 2022 Details are scant about what disruptions the ONEOK fractionation facility has caused. Still, if there were any, it comes at an inopportune time for the Texas power grid (powered half by NatGas) set to experience record demand as soaring heat boosts cooling demand by households and businesses. From OTC Global: ERCOT demand is expected to top 80GW Monday afternoon. Fasten your seatbelts. pic.twitter.com/TyLpH65TPU — Mike Zaccardi, CFA, CMT (@MikeZaccardi) July 9, 2022 What could possibly go wrong?   Tyler Durden Sun, 07/10/2022 - 10:06.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 10th, 2022

Former Japanese PM Shinzo Showing No Vital Signs After Apparent Assassination Attempt

Former Japanese PM Shinzo Showing No Vital Signs After Apparent Assassination Attempt Update (2317ET): Accroding to Kyodo news, former Japanese Prime Minister Abe is reportedly showing no signs of life and has suffered from cardiac arrest after being taken to the hospital, according to police and fire officials. The 67-year-old was shot from approximately 3 meters (10 feet) away. The shooter, a man in his 40s, reportedly stayed on the scene until his arrest. Nikkei 225 futures erased gains following news of Abe's collapse, while the yen gained with US Treasuries. *  *  * Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly been shot in the chest during a campaign speech at around 11:30 a.m. in the city of Nara, near Kyoto. According to NHK what sounded like 'consecutive bangs' were heard, after which Abe could be seen bleeding - with some reports saying from the neck. It appears he was shot in the left chest area from behind. The local fire department reports that Abe is in cardiac arrest, while Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) members reported him to be unconscious. BREAKING: Former Prime Minister Abe collapses in Nara, apparent gun shots heard. Taken away by ambulance after being possibly shot in the chest, NHK reports. pic.twitter.com/sBnz3v5oah — Kurumi Mori (@rumireports) July 8, 2022 Wow l'ancien premier ministre Shinzo Abe se serait fait tiré dessus lors d'un meeting à Nara.pic.twitter.com/KxFZApaF2B — ⛩ Ryo Saeba ⛩ (@Ryo_Saeba_3) July 8, 2022 A suspect, believed to be a young or middle-aged man, was apprehended at the scene along with a shotgun, according to NHK. Futures took an immediate hit on the news. Tyler Durden Thu, 07/07/2022 - 22:51.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 7th, 2022

Alaska On Fire: Stunning Satellite Imagery Shows Blackening Skies Over State

Alaska On Fire: Stunning Satellite Imagery Shows Blackening Skies Over State Alaska's fire season is off to a fiery start, possibly a historic one as more than 2 million acres burned, the earliest date for this milestone in decades.  As of Wednesday, more than 200 wildfires rage across the state, with worsening air quality over the central and eastern interior and the western Yukon Territory, Alaska Wildland Fire Information noted on their website.  Fairbanks Airport now approaching 300 hours with visibility reducing #wildfire smoke, all since June 12. This is already the fifth highest total past 71 years and we've got a long way to go. #akwx @Climatologist49 @Anisian @CarrieinFbx @alasjules @newsminer pic.twitter.com/DPAYvM3JvM — Rick Thoman (@AlaskaWx) July 5, 2022 New satellite imagery (via Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite) shows smoke and hundreds of wildfires blackening skies over the state.  The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center reported 210 active fires, and 42 were large, with firefighters working to control the blazes.  "Wildfires are a regular feature of Alaskan summers, but this year's fires have been exacerbated by drought, unusual heat, and several intense lightning storms. In early July, the area burned was on track to be among the largest on record," according to University of Alaska Fairbanks climatologist Rick Thoman, who NASA cited.  Tyler Durden Thu, 07/07/2022 - 15:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 7th, 2022

Despite Opposition From His Closest Advisors And Supporters, Biden Expected To Roll Back China Tariffs As Soon As This Week

Despite Opposition From His Closest Advisors And Supporters, Biden Expected To Roll Back China Tariffs As Soon As This Week Joe Biden woke up on July 4, failed miserably when trying to read one word from the teleprompter... As you celebrate the 4th tomorrow, remember our President's inspiring words about this great nation. pic.twitter.com/EcNoXNuY8l — Bill D'Agostino (@Banned_Bill) July 3, 2022 ... and decided that the most patriotic thing the president could do, was leak that tariffs imposed on China by the Trump administration could be rolled back as soon as this week, a decision which the WSJ said is constrained by competing policy aims: on one hand addressing inflation (because supposedly easing tariffs will somehow shrink inflation) while on the other hand maintaining economic pressure on Beijing, not that that has been a policy goal of Joe Biden, who has become China's de facto Manchurian candidate courtesy of his son Hunter. Citing 'people familiar with the situation', the Journal writes that what comes next could include a pause on tariffs on consumer goods such as clothing and school supplies, as well as launching a broad framework to allow importers to request tariff waivers. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is conducting a mandatory four-year review of the Trump-era tariffs. A comment period for businesses and others who have benefited from the tariffs will close July 5, giving the administration an opportunity to calibrate its policy. A tariff rollback would mark Biden's first major policy step on trade ties between the world’s two biggest economic powers. The president in recent weeks held a number of meetings with senior economic advisers where options for a decision on the Trump-era tariffs were discussed, Bloomberg adds citing its own sources. Hints that the Biden administration is considering an easing in some of the tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports have multiplied as inflation has accelerated, putting pressure on US officials to find ways to tamp down prices paid by consumers for everyday merchandise. Biden said last month he’ll be talking to Chinese President Xi Jinping “soon” and told reporters he was “in the process” of making up his mind about whether to lift tariffs. Some members of Biden’s Cabinet suggested he use the upcoming call with Xi to ask him for reciprocal tariff cuts on American goods currently facing import duties, though that idea was quickly shot down, the people said. Meanwhile, as he weighs a decision, Biden has been buffeted by policy disagreements both within his administration, and by outside forces including business, labor and lawmakers, which is why a plan to announce a tariff cut has been repeatedly postponed, as it reflects the "sharp divisions" within his own administration over the China tariffs. Among his own cabinet, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen - who recently admitted her cluelessness is behind the most catastrophic inflationary juggernaut unleashed in the US in more than 40 years - has called tariffs a drag on the economy, saying the administration is looking at ways to reconfigure them to help curb inflation. Yellen has said some of the inherited tariffs aren’t strategic and don’t address China’s unfair trade practices. “Reconfiguring some of those tariffs so they make more sense and reducing unnecessary burdens is something that’s under consideration,” Yellen said in an interview with ABC News on June 19. Most of Biden's cronies, however, take the opposite view to that of the senile trasury secretary: on the other side are U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and National security adviser Jake Sullivan, who see tariffs as valuable leverage in getting concessions from China. These skeptics want a tariff cut paired with another measure designed to keep pressure on Beijing to change practices that the U.S. says put American companies and workers at a disadvantage. Among the possible steps are raising tariffs on strategic items such as industrial machinery and transportation equipment, while lowering duties on consumer goods. The U.S. also could start a fresh investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act focusing on China’s industrial subsidies on high-tech items, a policy the USTR has been preparing for months.  Such a policy could lead to tariffs on a new set of products. “From the domestic political perspective, there are two very strong, competing concerns. One is the need to be perceived as fighting inflation. And the other is the need to be seen to be very strong in standing up to China,” said Claire Reade, a longtime China official for the USTR who is now at the law firm Arnold & Porter. “The question is how do you take all of these divergent concerns and harmonize them into one policy?” she said. The catalyst behind the highly unpopular decision is an even more unpopular byproduct of the Biden administration - soaring prices. The White House has been struggling in vain to contain the fallout from high prices for food, gas and other consumer items, which will decimate the Democratic Party in the November midterm elections. Unsurprisingly, economists say removing Chinese tariffs isn’t likely to have a dramatic impact on inflation. Peterson Institute analysts Megan Hogan and Yilin Wang estimate that removing tariffs on Chinese imports could lower consumer-price index inflation by a marginal 0.26 percentage point at first. But “as U.S. corporations trim their markups to compete with imports,” that might eventually lead to a 1-percentage-point reduction in inflation, they added. Meanwhile republicans including Sen. Bill Hagerty (R., Tenn.) and others have rightfully pointed out that, for more than two years after the tariffs were introduced, there were few signs of inflation or discussions linked to their impact on consumer prices. “Wouldn’t removing these tariffs simply encourage more bad behavior,” Hagerty asked Tai at a recent hearing. “What kind of message would it send to China?” At the same time, proponents of tariff reduction - most of them generously funded by China - say it is important for Biden to show he is serious about fighting inflation, possibly by pausing tariffs on consumer goods purchased by American households. As the Federal Reserve is primarily responsible for controlling inflation, tariff reduction is one of the few policy options available to the president. Biden himself has said in recent weeks that he is considering a tariff cut, noting that the levies were introduced by the previous administration. Of course, this being the Biden administration where every incremental decision only lead to more chaos and pain, a decision to drop tariffs would only lead to even more acute attacks on the White House as it was Biden's own advisors such as Tai (previously appointed by Biden) who has repeatedly defended the tariffs as a useful tool in confronting China over its trade practices. “The China tariffs are, in my view, a significant piece of leverage, and a trade negotiator never walks away from leverage,” Ms. Tai told a Senate subcommittee meeting on June 22. For its part, China has long pressed the U.S. to ease the tariffs, contending they hurt both countries. “With inflation rates running high across the globe, the U.S. needs to lift all the additional tariffs imposed on China, as this will serve the interests of businesses and consumers and benefit both countries and the world at large,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a June 15 press conference. As the main weapon of his trade war with China, former President Donald Trump imposed tariffs ranging from 7.5% to 25% on Chinese imports worth roughly $370 billion over four rounds between July 2018 and September 2019. The action was based on the findings of a Section 301 investigation over China’s practices related to technology transfer and intellectual property. While early rounds of the tariffs were placed on strategic items closely linked to the investigation, the lists were later expanded to consumer goods as Trump officials ramped up pressure on Beijing. There is one reason why we should be skeptical that Biden will order tariff cuts: labor unions and progressive Democrats, who have had a decisive sway on Biden’s trade policy, are among the most vocal opponents of tariff cuts. Among them are the members of the Labor Advisory Committee advising the USTR, representing top unions including the AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers and Service Employees International Union. They noted that nothing has changed in China’s practices since Trump’s 301 investigation that would merit lifting the tariffs. If anything, they wrote, Beijing has “only doubled down on their strategy and approach.” Tyler Durden Mon, 07/04/2022 - 15:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 4th, 2022

We Need To Declare Our Independence From The Federal Reserve

We Need To Declare Our Independence From The Federal Reserve Authored by Joe Moffett via BitcoinMagazine.com, The Democrat and Republican parties have been wielding social movements as weapons in a culture war. Is it time the Libertarian Party wields the Bitcoin hammer in the battle against the Federal Reserve? In the cypherpunk mailing list, Satoshi Nakamoto had a back-and-forth exchange with an unknown cryptographer: “You will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography.” — Unknown cryptographer “Yes, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. “Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.” — Satoshi Nakamoto  Between Nakamoto’s emails, the Bitcoin white paper and the source code, there was probably nothing they said with a more aloof tone than this quote. I have to imagine they understood the economic ramifications that would come with developing such a system and this was likely why they remained anonymous. Then again, maybe they were blissfully unaware that there is no more dangerous enemy to the power of the state than economically free people. Many early adopters of bitcoin were more likely software and tech gurus than they were economists or libertarians, but this comment by Nakamoto was profoundly libertarian. After all, if the government can wage war on poverty, drugs, crime and terror, why can’t libertarians and Bitcoiners alike wage war on money printing? It’s hard to overstate the phrasing here: “[W]e can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom.” The Libertarian Party, under new management, recognizes just how important Bitcoin is in this battle. Angela McArdle, chair of the Libertarian National Committee, embraces the importance of bitcoin’s scarcity, self-sovereignty, and censorship resistance. On a phone interview, McArdle shared: “Inflation is being reported at 8.6%, but if you fill up the gas in your car, you know that it must be higher than that. No one knows the real rate of inflation, but what I do know is you cannot print more bitcoin. You can print dollars perpetually until it’s worthless like Venezuela, but you can’t print more bitcoin.” Sure, the Libertarian Party is using the language, “Declare your independence from the Fed,” in a metaphorical way, but we can never forget that our country was founded on a very real Declaration of Independence that led to something very tangible. “We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.” — The Libertarian Party’s Statement of Principles Today more than ever, the enforcement tool of the so-called “omnipotent state” and those in power is their monetary policy. The monopolization of fiat currency and the burden of taxes have become weapons of the state to empower Washington and disenfranchise the people. Libertarians and Austrian economists have been sounding the alarms for decades, but as Ron Paul has attributed to George Orwell, “Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” At a certain point however, the truth comes out. Jerome Powell: "I think we now understand better how little we understand about inflation." Host: "That's not very reassuring" Jerome : "This was unpredicted" Only the "experts" and the media didn't see this coming. Just about everyone else did. Sound ON pic.twitter.com/6Gv35rXPrW — Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) June 29, 2022 This inflation was either due to incompetence or deliberate debasing of the U.S. dollar, but Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve Board, admitted that he doesn’t understand basic economics. I would have preferred him to come out and admit he lied. Our favorite Bitcoiner, Peter “Gold” Schiff, along with every Austrian economist, pointed out how inflation works when the money printer started in March 2020 (when Schiff comes to the same realization as Bitcoiners, we will welcome him with open arms), As the Fed will create all this money out of thin air the people will pay the cost through inflation. Consumer prices are about to soar, wiping out the savings of millions of Americans, and destroying the purchasing power of wages for millions more. — Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) March 27, 2020 So here we are, July Fourth is coming up and we, the people, are in a quandary. Our leaders lie, our media covers for them, our financial institutions are corrupt and consent of the governed sounds more like a brand slogan than the foundation of our government. So what options do we have? Fix the money, fix the world. Bitcoin is the greatest peaceful revolution the world may ever know. Back to that seemingly innocuous Nakamoto quote, “[W]e can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.” The arms race they must be referring to is power — political and economic — of governments versus economic power in the hands of individuals. Maybe it’s time to turn Rosie the Riveter into Dolores the Diamond Hands. (Painting/J. Howard Miller) Libertarians and Bitcoiners are allies in the fight for sound monetary policy. Speaking of a Bitcoiner and Libertarian alliance, McArdle said, “It’s important for us to build a parallel economy, so in the event the dollar collapses completely, or some kind of financial crash, we have something to shift over to laterally. The more people that have Bitcoin and understand it, the better.” Nakamoto had this revelation when they said, “It’s very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint if we can explain it properly. I’m better with code than with words though.” Clearly, they weren’t wrong. Nakamoto’s creation spawned a movement without a speech or catchy slogan, just code and believers. Some of us libertarians may have been a bit late to bitcoin, myself included, but the troops are coming.  “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more” — King Henry in “Henry V” by William Shakespeare The Libertarian Party is hosting a livestream event at 2:00PM EST on July 3, 2022. Join the call and declare your independence from the Fed. Declare your independence from the Fed Join the Libertarian Chair Angela McArdle and Vice Chair Joshua Smith July 3 at 2:00 PM EST with the Bitcoin experts Saifedean Ammous, Marty Bent, Stephan Livera, Jameson Lopp and Guy Swann. Think about doing three things in preparation for Independence Day: Watch the livestream and donate some sats (bitcoin) for liberty Stack some sats for yourself Help one friend or family member stack their first sats I want you… to buy bitcoin. (Source) Tyler Durden Sun, 07/03/2022 - 10:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 3rd, 2022