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Former White House Advisor Joins Coinbase As Chief Policy Officer

What Happened: Crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) has recruited former White House Deputy National Security Advisor Faryar Shirzad to serve as the exchange’s new head of policy. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 25th, 2021

"This Is Completely Avoidable" - New York Hospitals Prepare For Staffing Crisis As Vaccination Mandate Forces Mass Firings

"This Is Completely Avoidable" - New York Hospitals Prepare For Staffing Crisis As Vaccination Mandate Forces Mass Firings With President Biden's federal vaccine mandate set to take effect on Monday, health-care systems around the country are suspending elective in-patient surgeries and refusing to accept ICU patients from other hospitals as they brace for potentially hundreds of firings of nurses and other critical staffers, potentially even doctors. According to the NYT, the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo is planning to do all that and more, as it says it may soon fire about 400 employees who have chosen not to get the single job required by the edict (which was pushed through despite being blocked by a federal judge). Similarly, officials at Northwell Health, the state's largest health-care provider, estimate that NWH might be forced to fire thousands of people who have refused to get vaccinated. In an economy with more job openings than workers - 2.2MM more, to be exact - forcing workers to choose between employment and their health or religious compunctions simply isn't a smart idea. Without even a hint of self-awareness, the governor apparently agrees: "What is looming for Monday is completely avoidable, and there’s no excuses,” Ms. Hochul said, pleading for those who have not done so to get vaccinated," Hochul said during a weekend press briefing. But we digress. The situation is less dire in NYC, but there will still be plenty of hospitals left with massive staffing holes after mass-firings. The city's largest private hospital network, NewYork-Presbyterian, has more than 200 employees who may face termination because they haven't received at least one jab. Of course, as we have pointed out in recent posts, health-care workers are only a fraction of the worker who will be impacted by shortages across the economy. In California, nurse shortages have reached crisis levels in California, airlines are seeing flights frequently cancelled due to worker shortages. As of late September, 84% of NY's 450,000 hospital workers and 83% of nursing home workers - which number around 45,400 - remained unvaccinated.  Despite being directly threatened by their superiors, most say they're refusing the jab on religious or health grounds, or because they're allergic to certain ingredients. In an effort to scare workers into compliance, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul has threatened to find "foreign workers" to staff the Empire state's hospitals and care homes (despite the fact that vaccination rates are much lower in most of the world outside the US). She has also threatened to call in the National Guard or order a state of emergency in a plan unveiled over the weekend. NY's teachers are also facing a mandate to either get vaccinated or kiss their jobs goodbye. Roughly 10,000 public school workers, that's compared to 75K teachers and tens of thousands of other employees from custodians to paraprofessioanls. Circling back to hospitals and care homes, institutions like Northwell are being relatively parsimonious with their exemptions for religious and health reasons, But some are getting through . NY's emergency order doesn't stipulate how exactly hospitals and nursing homes should enforce it, and there's a good chance that hospitals serving communities in greater need will be forced to make exceptions. Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have gotten the jab in far lower numbers than white new Yorkers. The NYT points out in its story that some hospitals in the Bronx see unvaccinated rates among doctors and nurses reaching into double-digit territory. At St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, about 12 percent of the nearly 3,000 employees had not been vaccinated as of midday on Friday, the chief medical officer, Eric Appelbaum, said in an interview. The group includes roughly 3 important doctors, and plenty of badly eed studiws Anecdotally hospitals are reporting a surge in vaccinations among hospital workers who haven't yet been vaccinated. But who knows what to believe. All we know is that we wouldn't want to be having an elective surgery or delivering a baby in NY right now. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt5 hr. 32 min. ago

The Island of Death: Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

Allstate CHRO details why the insurance leader is betting big on workforce technology

Carrie Blair, the EVP and CHRO of Allstate, told Insider how the insurance leader has calibrated its technological capabilities over the past year. Insider To boost efficiency and in-house capabilities, Allstate has introduced self-service and analytics tools for employees and managers. Allstate Carrie Blair has been EVP and CHRO at Allstate since October 2019. Over the past year, Allstate has been focusing on innovative technology experiences for employees. Blair said she works with the CIO and CFO to prioritize tech investments based on measurable outcomes. This article is part of the "Innovation C-Suite" series about business growth and technology shifts. For Carrie Blair, joining Allstate as the chief human resource officer in October 2019 was a no-brainer. After nearly 15 years in human resources positions at financial services companies, she was ready for a role at an iconic, purpose-driven, optimistic brand. "I can't think of anywhere I've traveled where someone hasn't said, 'Oh, they're the Good Hands people," Blair told Insider. But she was also energized by the idea that Allstate was clearly willing to disrupt and transform the insurance industry, both for consumers and employees. In general, she explained, insurance has fallen behind when it comes to technology innovation, but is catching up fast. Allstate, for example, now uses telematics to assess driving behavior; drones to survey catastrophes; and offers QuickFoto Claim to allow customers to assess car insurance claims for minor vehicle damage. For Allstate's employees, Blair's challenge has been how to prioritize and implement consumer-grade, innovative technology experiences for people inside the company, while still being aggressive with consumer offerings. A new approach to technology and HR"Recently, we've really started taking a look at our entire approach to technology and HR," she said. In the past, for example, the company might have bought tools for talent acquisition, or performance management, but they did not necessarily work well together or across the ecosystem. Now, Allstate's HR organization is working to deploy self-service tools for employees and managers for things that are frequently used or highly repetitive, Blair said, as well as analytics tools that offer them insights about their work patterns. "Every week I get a view that comes into my own personal inbox that tells me how I spent my time last week, how long I was in meetings, how much time I spent collaborating and how much time I had for focused, head-down work," she explained. Another tool offers the organization a full view across the enterprise to understand how and where people are working, which helps inform decisions around real estate in a new, hybrid workplace. For example, the types of collaboration rooms they need and where they should be located. The company has also started using a digital workspace called MURAL. The platform offers a shared digital canvas for visual collaboration, as well as Zoom Rooms, which uses AI-driven face recognition technology to bring hybrid teams, including those together in person, into Zoom meetings. "It creates this level playing field, which stops the in-person group from simply talking to each other and brings remote workers fully into the meeting," she said. All of these tools, she explained, are about testing and learning in the HR space around the most recent technology trends, with a focus on investing in people. "Human capital is always the most important thing," she said. "After all, we don't really produce anything, we deliver services and solutions to customers that depend on people." Technology innovation accelerated by the pandemicThe focus on technology innovation targeting employees was accelerated by the pandemic, said Blair, who began her role at Allstate only six months after COVID-19 shutdowns began. "Our IT team had been investing in our technology stack for a number of years, so we were able to get 95% of our folks working from home within days, around the world," she said. While only 20% of Allstate's workforce worked from home pre-pandemic, she said that under a new hybrid workforce model, that number will permanently rise to over 70%. "We've seen huge increases in applications because of that," Blair said. "It's been a positive outcome that people don't have to be tethered to an office anymore, because we have seen a 30% rise in diverse candidates applying for opportunities, and we can go to markets we never would have been in before." That includes targeting hard-to-find technology talent in places like Miami where Allstate does not have a physical presence, she explained. Blair added that she has worked closely with other C-suite executives, such as the CIO and CFO, around technology innovation, particularly around changing the funding model for technology investments to make sure it focuses on outcomes rather than annual financial cycles. "It will allow us to iterate as we go and get learnings faster," she said. "It also will allow us to put our Allstate hat on and say, 'As we look across the system, what is the best thing for the company?'" Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Up 1% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues. A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Williams-Sonoma (WSM). Shares have added about 1% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Williams-Sonoma due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers. Williams-Sonoma (WSM) Q2 Earnings Beat Estimates, View UpWilliams-Sonoma Inc. reported solid second-quarter fiscal 2021 results, wherein earnings and revenues handily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and significantly increased year over year, courtesy of strength across all brands along with accelerated e-commerce growth.Meanwhile, it lifted fiscal 2021 outlook once again, courtesy of encouraging macro trends.Laura Alber, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said, “We believe we are at the intersection of a transformative change that will accelerate the growth of our industry, and our market share within the industry. In addition, our growth strategies are gaining traction faster than we predicted, and our key differentiators are further distancing us from our competition."Earnings & RevenuesNon-GAAP adjusted earnings of $3.24 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.55 by 27.1%. The figure also increased 80% from $1.80 per share reported a year ago.Revenues of $1,948.3 million beat the consensus mark of $1,802 million by 8.1% and grew 30.7% year over year. The better-than-expected revenues were driven by solid comparable brand revenue growth and e-commerce penetration.Comps increased 29.8% versus 10.5% growth in the year-ago period. Comps at West Elm increased an impressive 51.1% compared with 7% growth registered in the prior-year quarter. Comps in the Pottery Barn brand grew 29.6% versus 8.1% growth in the prior-year quarter. Williams Sonoma brand’s comps rose 6.4% compared with 29.4% growth in the year-ago quarter. Pottery Barn Kids and Teen’s comps rose 18% versus 4.8% growth in the year-ago quarter.Also, e-commerce penetration accounted for 65% of total revenues, buoyed by its in-house tech platform, rapid experimentation program, content-rich online experience and marketing strategies.Operating HighlightsNon-GAAP gross margin was 44.1%, up 710 bps from the year-ago period. The upside was primarily caused by higher merchandise margins and occupancy leverage in the quarter.Non-GAAP selling, general and administrative expenses were 27.3% of net revenues compared with 23.9% in the year-ago quarter, reflecting an increase of 340 bps. The upside was driven by robust top-line performance and ongoing financial and operational strategies, partly offset by higher advertising spending. Furthermore, non-GAAP operating margin expanded 360 bps from the year-ago period to 16.7% for the quarter.FinancialsWilliams-Sonoma reported cash and cash equivalents of $655.2 million as of Aug 1, 2021 compared with $1,200.3 million at fiscal 2020-end. For the second quarter, its capital expenditure was $36 million. Williams-Sonoma returned more than $180 million to shareholders in the form of $45 million in dividends and $135 million in share repurchases.Raised Fiscal 2021 GuidanceThe company is optimistic about business strength, and anticipates recovery in retail traffic as well as inventory levels during fiscal 2021.For fiscal 2021, Williams-Sonoma now expects revenues to witness high-teens to low-twenties net revenue growth versus low double-digit to mid-teen improvement expected earlier. It also expects non-GAAP operating margin between 16% and 17% for the year.Furthermore, the company now projects revenue acceleration to $10 billion over the next four years (a year earlier than previous projection).How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?It turns out, estimates revision have trended upward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted 15.57% due to these changes.VGM ScoresAt this time, Williams-Sonoma has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with a C. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the top 40% for this investment strategy.Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.OutlookEstimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Williams-Sonoma has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report WilliamsSonoma, Inc. (WSM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China With Wall Street's fascination with risk associated with Evergrande's default fading fast, and the sellside pumping out charts such as this one showing that the contagion in China junk bond market is unlikely to spillover globally... ... the smartest men in the room are once again missing the forest for the trees because as we explained in detail over the weekend, and again reminded earlier this week... Remember: for China this is not about Evergrande, it's about preserving confidence in the property sector — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 ... for Beijing the real risk is not whether foreign creditors are impacted - in fact Evergrande's willingness to default on offshore bondholders while preserving operational cash flow and continuing to build homes shows just how much China "cares" about Blackrock's P&L - but how an Evergrande crisis could impact China's massive, $60 trillion, property sector, something which CCB International, the Chinese investment bank, touched on in a recent research note in which it said that Evergrande "contagion risk has spread from financing to land sales, property sales, project deliveries and home prices." And indeed, as the FT reports this morning, some very ominous cracks in China's property market - which according to Goldman is the largest asset class globally - are starting to emerge. In a letter to the Shaoxing municipal government in eastern Zhejiang province, the local office of developer Sunac China appealed for “policy assistance” as it was struggling through what it called a "turning point in China’s real estate industry." "We have never experienced such a radical change in the external environment," Sunac’s Shaoxing office said, pointing to a 60% year-on-year fall in home sales over the summer. "The market is almost frozen," it added in the letter, which was first reported by the Financial Times. “The radical change in policy and environment has seriously disrupted our business and made it very difficult to maintain normal operations.” The sudden, sharp collapse in China's property market is shown in the charts below which reveal that the amount of actual land transactions was not only well below the land supply in recent weeks, an unprecedented divergence, but that volumes were 65% below year-ago levels as potential buyers are suddenly terrified of investing in real estate as the Evergrande fate remains in limbo, with some worried that some of the 65 million empty apartments could hit the market and lead to a crash in property values. While the plunge in transactions is demand-induced, there are also concerns that an Evergrande insolvency and eventual collapse could lead to a supply crunch. As reported earlier, in July a Chinese city halted sales at two Evergrande projects alleging the troubled developer misappropriated funds by only depositing a portion of the proceeds from housing sales into the escrow accounts, according to a local government statement.  To ensure Evergrande doesn’t divert these funds, the housing bureau in Nansha district created an escrow account under its own name this month to take in proceeds from Evergrande homebuyers, cutting off the developer’s direct access to the money. A lack of funds has already led to a construction halt on some unfinished housing properties, sparking social unrest among buyers. In Guangzhou, buyers surrounded a local housing bureau earlier this month to demand Evergrande restart construction. As we discussed over the weekend, one of the most troubling downstream consequences from chaos in the property sector would be social unrest, and as we noted, maintaining social order has always been a key priority for the Communist Party, which has no tolerance for protests of any kind. In Guangzhou, homebuyers surrounded a local housing bureau last week to demand Evergrande restart stalled construction. Disgruntled retail investors have gathered at the companys Shenzhen headquarters for at least three straight days this week, and videos of protests against the developer in other parts of China have been shared widely online. Without a social safety net and with limited places to put their money, Chinese savers have for years been encouraged to buy homes whose prices were only ever supposed to go up (similar to the US before 2007 when even idiots like Ben Bernanke said that the US housing market never goes down). Today, buying a house (or two) is a cultural touchstone. And while housing affordability has become a hot topic in the West, many Chinese are more likely to protest falling home prices than spiking ones. Which brings us to a must read report from Goldman's Kinger Lau published overnight and focusing entirely on China's property sector - instead of just Evergrande - where it addresses a glaring dilemma: Beijing's desire to regulate and deleverage the housing sector even as it keeps property prices rising, a dynamic we summarized concisely earlier this week inside a tweet: Markets used to focus on China's "impossible trinity" but it's time to shift to China's "impossible dilemma": you can't have deleveraging/tightening/"3 red lines" AND rising home prices at the same time. China wants both, will have to pick one — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 In his must read report (available for professional subscribers in the usual place) Goldman's Lau explains that what is going on with Evergrande, and in fact the turmoil gripping China's broader property sector is largely self-inflicted as "regulatory actions in China Internet have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on the tech sector since mid-Feb, but in the past two weeks, investor focus has shifted to the US$60tn China property market which is linked to ~20% of Chinese GDP and represents 62% of household wealth." Specifically, Goldman notes that more than 400 new property regulations (shown in the appendix) that are largely tightening in nature have been announced ytd to restrain housing market activity, spanning supply, demand, funding, leverage, to price control measures. It is these measures that have contributed to a 14% year-on-year fall in property sales and $90 billion of market-cap losses among developer stocks in 3Q alone. In his attempt to summarize the critical linkages between China's all-important property sector and the broader economy (something we first tried to do back in 2017 in "Why The Fate Of The World Economy Is In The Hands Of China's Housing Bubble"), Goldman first focuses on the immediate catalyst behind the current crisis, which according to the bank has to do with the unprecedented regulatory tightening "in the largest asset class globally." Or, as Goldman puts it succinctly, "Property is everywhere in China" Some explanatory notes on the chart above: The regulatory cycle keeps evolving: The ongoing regulatory tightening cycle, which is unprecedented in terms of its duration, intensity, scope, and velocity (of new regulation announcement) as suggested by our POE regulation proxy, has so far provoked significant concerns among investors in and have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on China Tech. From Tech to Social Sector, and then to Property: According to Centaline, more than 400 new property regulations have been unveiled ytd across the central and local governments to address the issues of rising property prices and imbalanced supply/demand in certain areas, over-reliance on property for economic growth and fiscal revenues, and potential speculation in the real estate market where 22% of property could be vacant and ~60% of recent-year purchases were driven by investment demand. Property market tightening isn’t a new feature in the Chinese policy cycle over the past decade, but the severity of the measures, the scope of tightening, and the determination of policy implementation (e.g. the 3 Red Lines) are arguably unprecedented. China property is big: Almost two years ago, Goldman took a deep dive into the US$40tn Chinese residential housing market and analyzed its impacts on macro and asset markets. Since then, the market has grown to US$60tn in notional value including inventory, likely the largest asset class in the world on current prices. It has also registered Rmb26tn (US$4tn) of home sales with more than 3bn sqm of GFA being sold, almost 3x the size of HK SAR. Additionally, it is well-documented that Chinese households have a strong investment and allocation bias towards real assets for different economic and cultural reasons—as of Aug 2021, property accounted for around 62% of household assets in both the total and net terms, vs. 23% in the US and 36% in Japan, where stocks are the dominant household assets. Property is ubiquitous in China, fundamentally and financially: Goldman economists estimate that the housing sector contributes to around 20% of GDP via direct and indirect channels such as property FAI, property construction supply chain, consumption, and wealth effect. In the financial markets, 15% of aggregate market earnings (i.e. ~US$150bn out of US$1tn in 2020) could be exposed to ‘property demand’ in the extended housing construction-to-sale cycle which typically spans over three years, and that property-related loans (developer loans, mortgages, shadow banking)/ developer bonds represent 35%/23% of banks’ loan books/the outstanding balance of the offshore USD credit (IG + HY) market,respectively. And visually: While a full-blown property crisis would impact virtually every aspect of the Chinese economy, starting with capital markets, shadow banks, and social stability, the most immediate one for global investors is of course, the equity market. Here are Goldman's key observations on this topic: The regulation headwinds have resulted in a noticeable slowdown in property activities in recent months: nationwide property sales have fallen 14% yoy in3Q21 alongside stable prices in the primary market but large declines of transactions in the secondary market; property FAI and new starts have fallend rastically, although completion growth momentum has remained strong largely on favorable base effects. At the macro level, Goldman economists have laid out 3 scenarios to model the contagion impacts from reduced property impulse on macro growth. Overall, they see 2022 GDP growth hit ranging from 1.4% to 4.1% depending on the magnitude/severity of the property market slowdown and the tightening of financial conditions domestically, although their scenario analysis does not take into consideration potential monetary and fiscal policy easing in response to the property market declines. While listed developers only account for 4% of earnings in the aggregate listed universe, the housing market could be linked, directly and indirectly, to ~15% of corporate earnings, and every 10pp growth deceleration in housing activity could reduce profit growth of the housing market by ~2pp, all else equal. Broadly, Goldman lists five key transmission mechanisms along the extended property market food chain: Property developers and management companies (4% of equity market earnings): Developers’ earnings are highly sensitive to the property market fundamentals. However, given the time lag between transaction (pre-sales) and revenue recognition (accrual-based accounting), reported earnings usually lag sales by around 2 years, meaning that their current- and next-year earnings may not fully reflect the latest situation in the physical market. For property management companies, their near-term earnings profile is more sensitive to completions than sales but slowing property sales could dampen their future growth prospect. Financial institutions (54% of equity market earnings): Developer loans and mortgage loans account for 35% of commercial banks’ aggregate loan book. Goldman's banks analysts see the potential for mortgage NPLs to rise (at 0.3% now, 1% increase in mortgage NPL ratio translates into 18.7% drop in net profits per their bear case) although their risk exposures to property-related WMPs have fallen substantially since 2016. For insurers, Goldman's team believes the listed insurers’ exposure to the property sector is low, but the potential indirect wealth effect could pose a bigger fundamental challenge. While not directly linked to the housing market, equity brokers’ earnings cycles have been negatively correlated with property sales, likely reflecting the asset allocation decisions/flows from Chinese households between the two asset classes. Construction (2% of equity market earnings): From new property FAI start to completion, the construction cycle for commodity housing typically lasts 20-30 months in China. It drives demand for construction materials (China is the largest consumer of copper, iron ore and steel), although the focus of materials and their consumption intensity varies in different parts of the cycle. The process also directly impacts construction-related equipment, with excavators, heavy-duty trucks, bulldozers, cranes, and loaders all exhibiting reasonably high demand correlation with land sales. Consumption: (3% of equity market earnings): Whether property purchase is considered consumption (at least for first time buyer) remains an open-ended debate, but the housing market is undoubtedly a key demand driver for a wide range of consumption items, including white goods,consumer durables like furniture equipment, and certain electronic products(e.g. Audio devices and air conditioners). Goldman's study shows that housing completion usually leads the sales and earnings in these sectors by 6-9months. Wealth effect (1% of equity market earnings): At the micro level, capital appreciation (or depreciation) in the housing market could have short-term material impact on discretionary spending given the potential wealth creation from the US$60tn asset market, especially considering the relatively high investment ratios there. Industries that are sensitive to this channel encompass the Autos (luxury), Macau gaming, HK retailers and travel-related companies (before the pandemic), which tend to lag property sales by around two quarters, although these relationships may be also reflective of the broader macro dynamics including liquidity easing. A snapshot of the various top-down impact of the Chinese property cycle on corporate earnings is shown below: In sum, mapping Goldman' base case assumptions on GDP growth and property activities for 2022 onto corporate earnings via these channels,the bank lowers its 2022E EPS growth for MSCI China from 13% to 7%, but as the bank warns "the earnings downside (delta) could be much more significant (-28pp) if their bear cases prevail." And should more companies warn that "the market is almost frozen" as a result of the Evergrande crisis, the bear case is virtually assured. We conclude with Goldman's observations on the contagion risks which according to the bank - and contrary to the market - "are building", even if systemic risks can still be avoided. While the restrictive policies have cooled the market, it has put highly-geared developers, notably Evergrande, in the spotlight as their deleveraging path becomes increasingly challenging. On one hand, Goldman agrees with us, and says that on a standalone basis, Evergrande should not be a serious systemic threat given that its total liability of Rmb1.9tn accounts for 0.6% of China’s outstanding TSF, its bank loans of Rmb572bn represent 0.3% of systemwide loan book, and its market share in nationwide commodity housing sales stood at 4% by 1H21. However, the real risks emerges in the context of the slowing property market: indeed, as in other systemic/crisis episodes, investors are concerned about specific weak links which could spread to the broader system via fundamental and financial channels in the case of disorderly default, and therefore the financial condition tightening risk could be much more significant than the Rmb1.9tn liability would suggest, according to Goldman. How much risk is priced in? This is a popular question from investors but also a difficult one to answer given the fluidity of the situation. However, the following analyses lead Goldman to believe that the market may have priced in some degrees of degradation in macro/corporate fundamentals and possibly policy response from the authorities (i.e. a “muddle-through” scenario), but not a harsh scenario that is systemic and global in nature Episodic analysis: Historical physical property market downturns were short-lived and shallow, but if we focus on episodes where developer equities traded at depressed valuations to proxy for property-related concerns (eg.2H11, early 2015, and late 2018), prevailing NAV discounts of listed developers(-60%) are roughly in-line with those difficult times. At the index level, MSCI China bottomed at around 10-11x fwd P/E and 10% ERP in those periods, vs. 13xand 9% at present respectively. Fair PE targets: The MSCI China index is currently trading on 13x fP/E, having already de-rated from 19.6x at the peak in mid-Feb. Applying Goldman's three scenarios to its top-down macro PE model, the bank estimates that the index fair PE could fall to 12.5x in the base case, and 11.0x in their most bearish case. Correlation analysis: Intra- and inter-sector, and cross-asset correlations with regard to Chinese stocks or developer equities have all risen in the past weeks, albeit from a low base. However, compared with previous cases where concerns related to China regulations or trade relations had spooked global markets (e.g. 2015 FX reform, 2018 US-China trade war), the absolute correlation levels are more benign at present, suggesting a global contagious impact is not fully priced in. In light of all this, the good news is that in Goldman's view systemic risks could still be avoided considering: broad liquidity and risk-appetite indicators such as 7d repo, the onshore funding stress index, as well as the A-share market performance/ turnover suggest that the imminent "minsky moment" remains a narrative but far from a reality; the effective leverage (LTV) for the housing market is low, around 40% to 50% per our Banks team’s estimate; the institutional setup in China where the government has strong control over its banking system makes a market-driven collapse less likely to happen than would otherwise be the case; Losses will be realized by stakeholders associated with highly-geared developers, but the liabilities are relatively transparent and are less widely socialized in the financial markets than in previous global financial crises; the potential economic, social, and financial impacts have been well publicized and discussed, and it appears that the authorities are assessing the situation and starting to take actions; and, economists believe there is potential for the authorities to ease policy to prevent a disorderly default of Evergrande from developing into a crisis leading up to the Sixth Plenum in November. Ultimately, timing will be key to a happy ending: Given the outsized market value of China property, and its intricate linkages to the real economy and the financial markets, deleveraging the property market and improving financial stability - two contradictory concepts - could raise systemic concern if policy actions are pursued too aggressively, or without clear coordination among regulators and communication with the market. Importantly, as market concerns over tail risk and spillovers start to build, there is increasing focus on the narrowing window for policymakers to provide the necessary circuit breakers to ring-fence the (collateral) damages and stop the downward spirals. A key risk from continued delayed action would be a bigger snowball effect and more damage on markets and investor (already strained) confidence in Chinese assets. As such, Goldman expects the market to focus on potential actions that could be pursued, such as a combination of debt restructuring (bank loans, WMP, credits), conditional government involvement in working capital bridges and unfinished property projects, and a coordinated plan to divest and cash in assets. Finally, as promised earlier, here is a summary of the key loosing (green) and tightening (red) policies in China's property market.   Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Wall Street lobbies for crypto - Plaid hires chief privacy officer - How to get a job at Goldman

The top finance news for Sept. 24, including the latest on Goldman's new crypto expert and Plaid's first-ever chief privacy officer. Welcome to Insider Finance. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android.On the agenda today:Goldman Sachs just hired a digital-assets expert from Facebook.Plaid hired its first-ever chief privacy officer. Finance-career experts gave us an inside look at how to land a job at Goldman.Let's get started. Goldman Sachs just hired a digital-assets expert from Facebook Reuters / Shannon Stapleton Facebook's Lee Brenner will be joining Goldman Sachs as the bank's first head of public policy for digital assets. Brenner will work with Washington watchdogs, at a time when regulators are increasingly looking at banks' involvement in crypto. Get the details on his new role.Plaid has hired its first chief privacy officer Plaid As Plaid's first-ever chief privacy officer, Sheila Jambekar will play a key role in the long-running turf war between fintechs and big banks. Coming from Twilio, Jambekar will develop and oversee Plaid's data privacy and security standards. Meet her here.How to land a job at Goldman Sachs Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider We spoke with a Wall Street recruiter and finance-career experts who gave us insight on how to navigate Goldman's hiring process. From making sure your résumé is completely honest and demonstrating a passion for more than numbers, here's their best advice for getting a job at Goldman Sachs.How Better became one of America's top startups Better Mortgage company Better has hired 7,000 people during the pandemic, and was recently nominated by LinkedIn as the top startup in the US. We chatted with execs, who told us how they've ramped up hiring and how they keep staff happy. Get the inside story on Better's rise.On our radar:Four lawyers share stories of mental and physical exhaustion - and why they ultimately decided to quit Big Law.The Financial Times reports that Wall Street CEOs like Jamie Dimon and Brian Moynihan are bucking the trend of quick-fire bosses. More on the "forever CEO."TPG has appointed a new president, WSJ reports. Among other management changes, Todd Sisitsky will take on the role of president. The Goldman Sachs executive who led its consumer banking launch is set to depart, per the Financial Times. Get the latest on his exit.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump

Biden Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Tied To Alleged 2016 Clinton Scheme To Co-Opt CIA/FBI To Tar Trump Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan figures prominently in a grand jury investigation run by Special Counsel John Durham into an alleged 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign scheme to use both the FBI and CIA to tar Donald Trump as a colluder with Russia, according to people familiar with the criminal probe, which they say has broadened into a conspiracy case. Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as Clinton campaign adviser for the 2016 election. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File Sullivan is facing scrutiny, sources say, over potentially false statements he made about his involvement in the effort, which continued after the election and into 2017. As a senior foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sullivan spearheaded what was known inside her campaign as a “confidential project” to link Trump to the Kremlin through dubious email-server records provided to the agencies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Last week, Michael A. Sussmann, a partner in Perkins Coie, a law firm representing the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of making false statements to the FBI about his clients and their motives behind planting the rumor, at the highest levels of the FBI, of a secret Trump-Russia server. After a months-long investigation, the FBI found no merit to the rumor. The grand jury indicated in its lengthy indictment that several people were involved in the alleged conspiracy to mislead the FBI and trigger an investigation of the Republican presidential candidate -- including Sullivan, who was described by his campaign position but not identified by name. The Clinton campaign project, these sources say, also involved compiling a "digital dossier” on several Trump campaign officials – including Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page. This effort exploited highly sensitive, nonpublic Internet data related to their personal email communications and web-browsing, known as Internet Protocol, or IP, addresses. Alleged targets: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page. YouTube/CNN/FNC/RCP To mine the data, the Clinton campaign enlisted a team of Beltway computer contractors as well as university researchers with security clearance who often collaborate with the FBI and the intelligence community. They worked from a five-page campaign document called the "Trump Associates List." The tech group also pulled logs purportedly from servers for a Russian bank and Trump Tower, and the campaign provided the data to the FBI on two thumb drives, along with three “white papers” that claimed the data indicated the Trump campaign was secretly communicating with Moscow through a server in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia. Based on the material, the FBI opened at least one investigation, adding to several others it had already initiated targeting the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. Michael Sussmann: Indicted former Clinton campaign lawyer allegedly coordinated with Jake Sullivan on dubious materials provided to the FBI and media. perkinscoie.com The indictment states that Sussmann, as well as the cyber experts recruited for the operation, "coordinated with representatives and agents of the Clinton campaign with regard to the data and written materials that Sussmann gave to the FBI and the media." One of those campaign agents was Sullivan, according to emails Durham obtained. On Sept. 15, 2016 – just four days before Sussmann handed off the materials to the FBI – Marc Elias, his law partner and fellow Democratic Party operative, "exchanged emails with the Clinton campaign’s foreign policy adviser concerning the Russian bank allegations," as well as with other top campaign officials, the indictment states. The sources close to the case confirmed the "foreign policy adviser" referenced by title is Sullivan. They say he was briefed on the development of the opposition-research materials tying Trump to Alfa Bank, and was aware of the participants in the project. These included the Washington opposition-research group Fusion GPS, which worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Elias discussed with Sullivan, the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI. Fusion researchers were in regular contact with both Sussmann and Elias about the project in the summer and fall of 2016. Sullivan also personally met with Elias, who briefed him on Fusion's opposition research, according to the sources. Sullivan maintained in congressional testimony in December 2017 that he didn’t know of Fusion’s involvement in the Alfa Bank opposition research. In the same closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, he also denied knowing anything about Fusion in 2016 or who was conducting the opposition research for the campaign. "Marc [Elias] ... would occasionally give us updates on the opposition research they were conducting, but I didn't know what the nature of that effort was – inside effort, outside effort, who was funding it, who was doing it, anything like that," Sullivan stated under oath. Jake Sullivan's December 2017 House testimony may put him in perjury jeopardy.  House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Sullivan also testified he didn’t know that Perkins Coie, the law firm where Elias and Sussmann were partners, was working for the Clinton campaign until October 2017, when it was reported in the media as part of stories revealing the campaign's contract with Fusion, which also produced the so-called Steele dossier. Sullivan maintained he didn’t even know that the politically prominent Elias worked for Perkins Coie, a well-known Democratic law firm. Major media stories from 2016 routinely identified Elias as "general counsel for the Clinton campaign" and a "partner at Perkins Coie." "To be honest with you, Marc wears a tremendous number of hats, so I wasn’t sure who he was representing," Sullivan testified. "I sort of thought he was, you know, just talking to us as, you know, a fellow traveler in this — in this campaign effort." Although he acknowledged knowing Elias and his partner were marshaling opposition researchers for a campaign project targeting Trump, Sullivan insisted, "They didn’t do something with it." In truth, they used the research to instigate a full-blown investigation at the FBI and seed a number of stories in the Washington media, which Elias discussed in emails. Marc Elias: Prominent Democrat lawyer allegedly also coordinated with Sullivan. Sullivan would later plead ignorance under oath about Elias's role. Perkins Coie Lying to Congress is a felony. Though the offense is rarely prosecuted, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller won convictions of two of Trump’s associates on charges of that very offense. An attorney for Sullivan did not respond to questions, while a spokeswoman for the National Security Council declined comment. After the 2016 election, Sullivan continued to participate in the anti-Trump effort, which enlisted no fewer than three Internet companies and two university computer researchers, who persisted in exploiting nonpublic Internet data to conjure up “derogatory information on Trump" and his associates, according to the indictment.Prosecutors say the operation ran through at least February 2017, when Sullivan met with another central figure in the plot to plant the anti-Trump smear at the FBI. But now the goal was to compel agents to continue investigating the false rumors in the wake of the election, thereby keeping Trump's presidency under an ethical cloud. Daniel Jones: One of the lead figures in helping resurrect the Trump-Russia collusion narrative after Trump's election, Jones coordinated with Sullivan in hatching the effort. McCain Institute/YouTube On Feb. 10, 2017, Sullivan huddled with two Fusion operatives and their partner Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Democratic staffer on the Hill, to hatch the post-election plan to resurrect rumors Trump was a tool of the Kremlin. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, the meeting, which lasted about an hour and took place in a Washington office building, also included former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The group discussed raising money to finance a multimillion-dollar opposition research project headed by Jones to target the new president. In effect, Jones’ operation would replace the Clinton campaign’s operation, continuing the effort to undermine Trump. It’s not clear if Sussmann attended the Feb. 10 meeting, but he was apparently still involved in the operation, along with his crew of data miners. The day before the meeting attended by Sullivan, Sussmann paid a visit to the CIA’s Langley headquarters to peddle the disinformation about the secret server – this time to top officials there, according to the sources familiar with Durham's investigation. During a roughly 90-minute meeting, Sussmann provided two officials at the intelligence headquarters “updated” documents and data he'd provided the FBI before the election, RealClearInvestigations has learned exclusively. Then, on March 28, 2017, Jones met with the FBI to pass on supposedly fresh leads he and the cyber researchers had learned about the Alfa Bank server and Trump, and the FBI looked into the new leads after having closed its investigation a month earlier. That same month, FBI Director James Comey publicly announced the bureau was investigating possible “coordination" between Moscow and the newly sworn-in president's campaign. Despite the renewed push by Jones, the FBI debunked the tip of a nefarious Russian back channel. Agents learned the email server in question wasn’t even controlled by the Trump Organization. "It wasn’t true," Mueller confirmed in 2019 testimony. It turns out that the supposed “secret server" was housed in the small Pennsylvania town of Lititz, and not  Trump Tower in New York City, and it was operated by a marketing firm based in Florida called Cendyn that routinely blasts out emails promoting multiple hotel chains. Simply put, the third-party server sent spam to Alfa Bank employees who used Trump hotels. The bank had maintained a New York office since 2001. “The FBI’s investigation revealed that the email server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump Organization but, rather, had been administrated by a mass-marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” Durham wrote in his indictment. Nonetheless, Jones and Sullivan kept promoting the canard as true. Democrat Senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden: Conduits for TDIP's Trump-Russia material. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik With help from Sullivan and Podesta in 2017, Jones launched a nonprofit group called The Democracy Integrity Project, which raised some $7 million mainly from Silicon Valley tech executives. TDIP hired computer researchers, as well as Fusion opposition researchers and Christopher Steele, the British author of the now-discredited Steele dossier, to “prove” the rumors in the dossier. As they sought new dirt on Trump, they fed their information to media outlets, leading Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee (namely Sens. Mark Warner and Ron Wyden), and the FBI. Jones previously worked on the Senate intelligence panel, which had launched a major investigation of Trump and Russia, and he provided a pipeline of information for the committee, according to the sources. As RCI first reported, Jones emailed a daily news bulletin known as "TDIP Research" to prominent Beltway journalists to keep the Trump-Russia “collusion” rumor-mill going, including the debunked rumor about the "secret server." Durham has subpoenaed Jones to testify before his grand jury hearing the case, along with computer experts and researchers recruited by Sussmann for the Clinton campaign project, persons close to the investigation said. Attempts to reach Jones for comment were unsuccessful. In a statement, Durham said his investigation "is ongoing." Special Counsel John Durham: Lengthy single count "speaking" indictment of Sussmann suggests a broader conspiracy case in the works. AP Indictments for a single-count process crime such as making a false statement normally run a page or two. But Durham’s filing charging Sussmann spans 27 pages and is packed with detail. FBI veterans say the 40-year prosecutor used the indictment to outline a broader conspiracy case he’s building that invokes several other federal statutes. "That is what we call a 'speaking indictment,' meaning it is far more detailed than is required for a simple indictment under [federal statute] 1001,” which outlaws making false statements and representations to federal investigators, former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker said in an interview with RealClearInvestigations. "It is damning,” he added. “And I see it as a placeholder for additional indictments, such as government grant and contract fraud, computer intrusion, the Privacy Act and other laws against dissemination of personally identifiable information, and mail fraud and wire fraud – not to mention conspiracy to commit those offenses." Chris Swecker: The Sussmann indictment "is damning," and "I definitely see more to come," says the ex-top FBI investigator. Miller & Martin "I definitely see more [indictments] to come,” emphasized Swecker, who knows Durham personally and worked with him on prior investigations. The sources close to the case said former FBI general counsel James Baker, who accepted the sketchy materials from Sussmann and passed them on to agents for investigation, is cooperating with Durham’s investigation, along with former FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap, who has provided prosecutors contemporaneous notes about what led the bureau to open an investigation into the allegations Trump used Alfa Bank as a conduit between his campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal the election. According to the sources, Durham also has found evidence Sussmann misled the CIA, another front in the scandal being reported here for the first time. In December 2016, the sources say Sussmann phoned the general counsel at the agency and told her the same story about the supposed secret server – at the same time the CIA was compiling a national intelligence report that accused Putin of meddling in the election to help Trump win. Sussmann told Caroline Krass, then the agency’s top attorney, that he had information that may help her with a review President Obama had ordered of all intelligence related to the election and Russia, known as the Intelligence Community Assessment. The review ended up including an annex with several unfounded and since-debunked allegations against Trump developed by the Clinton campaign. It’s not clear if the two-page annex, which claimed the allegations were “consistent with the judgments in this assessment,” included the Alfa Bank canard. Before it was made public, several sections had been redacted. But after Sussmann conveyed the information to Krass, an Obama appointee, she told him she would consider it for the intelligence review of Russian interference, which tracks with Sussmann’s 2017 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. (Krass’ name is blacked out in the declassified transcript, but sources familiar with Sussmann's testimony confirmed that he identified her as his CIA contact.) Caroline Krass: Michael Sussmann also gave  Trump-Russia material to this CIA lawyer. CIA/Wikipedia “We’re interested,” said Krass, who left the agency several months later. "We’re doing this review and I’ll speak to someone here.” It’s not known if Sussmann failed to inform the top CIA lawyer that he was working on behalf of the Clinton campaign, as he’s alleged to have done at the FBI. Attempts to reach Krass, who now serves as Biden’s top lawyer at the Pentagon, were unsuccessful. But in his return trip to the CIA after the election, Sussmann “stated falsely – as he previously had stated to the FBI general counsel – that he was ‘not representing a particular client,’ " according to the Durham indictment, which cites a contemporaneous memo drafted by two agency officials with whom Sussmann met that memorializes their meeting. (The document refers to the CIA by the pseudonym “Agency-2.” Sources confirm Agency-2 is the CIA.) Remarkably, the CIA did not ask for the source of Sussmann’s walk-in tip, including where he got several data files he gave the agency. The FBI exhibited a similar lack of curiosity when Sussmann told it about the false Trump/Alfa Bank connection. Attempts to reach Sussmann to get his side to the additional CIA allegations leveled by Durham were unsuccessful. The 57-year-old attorney pleaded not guilty to a single felony count and was released on a $100,000 bond Friday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.The prominent Washington lawyer quietly resigned from Perkins Coie, which has scrubbed all references to him from its website. And late last month, as rumors of the indictment swirled, the powerhouse law firm divested its entire Political Law Group formerly headed by Marc Elias – who commissioned the Steele dossier. Elias, who worked closely with Sussmann on the Trump-Alfa Bank project, also is no longer employed by the firm. Jake Sullivan’s Golf Cart Rounds In late July 2016, during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the CIA picked up Russian chatter about a Clinton foreign policy adviser who was trying to develop allegations to “vilify" Trump. The intercepts said Clinton herself had approved a “plan" to “stir up a scandal” against Trump by tying him to Putin. According to hand-written notes, then-CIA chief John Brennan warned President Obama that Moscow had intercepted information about the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016, of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump.” That summer, Brennan had personally briefed Democrats, including then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on the Alfa Bank-Trump server rumors, according to congressional reports. Reid fired off a letter to Comey demanding that the FBI do more to investigate Trump's ties to Russia. During that convention, Sullivan drove a golf cart from one TV-network news tent in the parking lot to another, pitching producers and anchors a story that Trump was conspiring with Putin to steal the election. CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News, as well as Chris Wallace of Fox News, all gave him airtime to spin the Clinton campaign’s unfounded theories. Sullivan also gave off-camera background briefings to reporters. "We were on a mission," Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri later admitted in a Washington Post column. “We wanted to raise the alarm." Then, on the eve of the election, Sullivan claimed in a written campaign statement that Trump and the Russians had set up a “secret hotline” through Alfa Bank, and he suggested “federal authorities” were investigating “this direct connection between Trump and Russia.” He portrayed the shocking discovery as the work of independent experts — “computer scientists” — without disclosing their attachment to the campaign. “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed. Clinton teed up his statement in an Oct. 31, 2016, tweet, which quickly went viral. Also that day, Clinton tweeted, “It’s time for Trump to answer serious questions about his ties to Russia,” while attaching a meme that read: “Donald Trump has a secret server. It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank called Alfa Bank.” The Clinton campaign played up the bogus Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton It’s not immediately apparent if then-Vice President Joe Biden was briefed about the Alfa Bank tale or other Trump-Russia rumors and investigations. Biden has never been questioned about his own role in the investigation of Trump. However, it was the former vice president who introduced the idea of prosecuting Trump’s national security adviser appointee, Gen. Flynn, under the Logan Act of 1799, a dead-letter statute that prohibits private citizens from interfering in U.S. foreign policy and which hasn’t been used to prosecute anyone in modern times. According to notes taken by then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, who attended a Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting with Obama and Biden, in which Trump, Flynn and Russia were discussed, Biden raised the idea: “VP: Logan Act,” the notes read. Although he’s not an attorney, Sullivan has argued in congressional testimony and elsewhere that Flynn violated the Logan Act, raising suspicions he may have put the idea in Biden’s head. Sullivan had advised the vice president before joining the Clinton campaign. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Taiwan Seeks Entry Into Key Trade Pact Before China, Says Simultaneous Bid "Quite Risky"

Taiwan Seeks Entry Into Key Trade Pact Before China, Says Simultaneous Bid "Quite Risky" China and Taiwan are increasingly entering a war of words as both are within the last week seeking to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. The Pacific trade pact involves Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and others among 11 total countries, which began in 2018 - though previous to that it was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and ironically was long deemed a crucial economic counterweight to China's regional influence.  On Wednesday, merely less than a week after Beijing announced its own bid for formal membership, Taiwan's Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi unveiled the application in a press conference while Cabinet spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng said, "Applying to join the CPTPP is an important economic and trade policy that the government has worked hard to promote for a long time." Taiwan's chief trade negotiator John Deng admitted on the same day that "it will pose a major obstacle for Taiwan to join the trade bloc if Beijing joins it first." Beijing's 'One China' policy has attempted to aggressively enforce the idea that Taiwan can't join international trade pacts and institutions.  Source: EPA-EFE Deng followed up in Thursday statements by pointing out that China consistently attempts to obstruct Taiwan's participation in global trade and entities, underscoring that, "So if China joins first, Taiwan’s membership case should be quite risky. This is quite obvious." "I stress that Taiwan is an sovereign, independent nation. It has its own name. But for trade deals the name we have used for years is the least controversial," Deng added. He explained further: But Taiwan has a different "system" from China, Deng added, pointing to Taiwan’s democracy, rule of law, transparent laws and respect for personal property. However he said there was no direct connection between Taiwan’s decision to apply and China’s, which has yet to comment on Taiwan’s application. "How mainland China comments on this is a matter for them," Deng said. He added that Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, has applied to join under the name it uses in the World Trade Organization (WTO) — the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu. Taiwan is a member of the WTO and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping. Last week Chinese state-run media hailed the Beijing's own application application as affirming China's leading role in global trade and success in resisting Washington pressures. For example Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times had this to say in a prior op-ed just hours after the announcement: The late-night announcement aims to cement China's leadership role in global trade, while piling pressure on the US that has thus far stayed away from rejoining the revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade pact initiated by the US under former President Barack Obama that was widely believed to be aimed at containing China's rise, experts said.  GT took further swipes, suggesting China represents multilateralism in the face of Washington bullying as follows: China is hoping for the CPTPP to put global trade and economic cooperation back on track, underscoring the need for multilateralism, thereby reviving both the Chinese economy and the global economy in the post-COVID-19 era. More importantly, watchers of international affairs stressed that China's latest step that is set to steady its partnership with CPTPP members, would inevitably subject the US to what could be overwhelming pressure. So without doubt, officials in Beijing will see Taiwan's bid for CPTPP membership as but yet more Washington meddling with a US 'hidden hand' challenging One China. On Thursday outspoken GT editor Hu Xijin weighed in with the following... Taiwan applied to join the CPTPP. If Taiwan wants to use this process to reinforce its impact on the one-China policy, I can say with certainty that it cannot enter the CPTPP. — Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) September 23, 2021 Currently Japan has the foremost visible leadership role in the CPTPP, which could further complicate things in terms of both China and Taiwan applying at the same time, given current rising Japan-China tensions are centered precisely on Tokyo's recent willingness to take a pro-Washington line on the matter. Meanwhile, Britain began negotiations to enter the trans-Pacific trade pact in June, and its own case is front and center, said to be proceeding the fastest at the moment. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 20:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

Corona Wars: Biden"s Battle For Total Control

Corona Wars: Biden's Battle For Total Control Authored by Buck Sexton via AmericanConsequences.com, Biden’s Authoritarian COVID-19 Battle We are entering a new and even more politically toxic phase of the pandemic. The initial promises of the vaccine campaign – it will allow for an end of masking, never be forced upon those who don’t want it, and herd immunity will not require everyone to get the shot – have been abandoned. Not only that, but those at the top of the government and health bureaucracy have adopted a tone that is hostile to anyone who remains hesitant to get a COVID vaccine. The growing spasm over unconstitutional overreach from the Biden team has been building for months. President Joe Biden’s biggest pitch to the American people, other than him immediately abandoning his promise of “unity” across party lines, was to be his handling of the pandemic. Despite the Biden White House’s endless repetition of their “follow the science” mantra, the summer of 2021 was much worse for COVID than any of their so-called experts expected.  Cases over Labor Day weekend across the U.S. were up almost 300% from the same weekend 12 months ago. There were around 40,000 daily cases in the U.S. in mid-September 2020, and there are close to 150,000 new cases a day in the same period of 2021. Crushing our Freedoms This is not “crushing the virus” as Biden promised us. That around 200 million Americans have received at least one vaccine shot, and the virus is spreading even more rapidly now than it was in the same month a year ago, has caused considerable alarm. And with that, the political animus between the vaccinated and unvaccinated has only grown… The Biden White House and the Democrat Party have decided to use the force of government to make that hostility even worse. Of course, the people in charge of our response have found someone to blame: the unvaccinated. “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Joe Biden said in his recent speech announcing federal mandates. “And your refusal has cost all of us,” he added. The ominous tones were followed with various promises to punish the non-compliant. It didn’t have to be this way… For one thing, less than a year ago President Biden told the country that he didn’t agree with imposing a vaccine mandate. And now, as of September 2021, Biden has completely gone back on that and ordered a series of sweeping mandates that will make all federal and 100 million private-sector employees get the shot or lose their jobs. This is pretty close to the nuclear option of government pandemic countermeasures. It will have enormous ramifications for the future of the country, not just when it comes to public health issues, but to the very core of the Constitution and the relationship between citizen and state. What is the constitutional justification for this? If the federal government can mandate that all private businesses with more than 100 employees must vaccinate their staff (or get them weekly testing, which is meant to be onerous and ruinously expensive), then what can’t Washington, D.C. mandate? What’s the point of the 10th Amendment, and the plenary powers delegated to the states? If for reasons of pure politics, the federal government can, via administrative fiat instead of going through Congress, make such an order on a health matter, could they take similar action about climate change or gun confiscation? In our standard political discourse, polemicists abuse terms like “tyranny” and “authoritarian” – but this has more than a whiff of both. The top-down decision from the Executive Branch of the federal government to use the Labor Department as the implementation arm of a health policy dictatorship shows that, in the era of COVID, the Democrat Party no longer views the separation of powers as any meaningful impediment to its preferred health policies. The Biden Mandate In fact, in his September 9 speech outlining the new plan to get the virus under control, President Biden made clear his intent to steamroll any states’ rights opposition…  If they will not help, if those governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way. The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered. Any teacher or school official whose pay is withheld for doing the right thing will have that pay restored by the federal government, 100 percent. I promise you, I will have your back. Get them out of the way, Biden said, in a line that seemed to tell the American people more than he intended about the lack of limits on his power. During the early months of the pandemic in 2020, the same voices who are backing Biden’s authoritarian maneuvers now were claiming that – with stronger legal backing – state governors have extensive plenary powers to deal with health emergencies, including some mandatory quarantine practices. Now that some states – most notably Florida, though Texas has begun to mirror the pro-freedom approach of Governor Ron DeSantis – refuse to do the Biden administration’s bidding on COVID policy, the federal bureaucracy steps in as an unconstitutional super-legislature. On the school masks mandate issue, in particular, the Democrat-Fauciite position has become: We will find a way to have it our way. Biden’s September 9 declaration of COVID total war had no shortage of ire directed toward those who have thus far made the choice not to get the vaccine, one they had been previously told they were legally and ethically entitled to make. That has suddenly changed. Biden made it clear that the unvaxxed are public health enemy No. 1… We still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot. And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19. Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they are ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in our communities. This is totally unacceptable. As many commentators have pointed out, Biden seemed to be much more agitated with Americans who have chosen not to get a COVID vaccine than he ever was toward the Taliban during his chaotic, incompetent withdrawal plan. This parading of partisan animus is unsettling, to say the least, as it is meant to convey a message to American people (or at least the Biden voters among them) that anyone who is unvaccinated is a reckless, selfish menace to public health. But there’s cognitive dissonance at the heart of this thinking from Biden and his supporters. First of all, when one breaks down the demographic data, the highest proportion of eligible but unvaccinated individuals in America is young Black and Latino males, who have received at least one shot at 43% and 48%, respectively. While there’s certainly a group within those categories of Republicans and Trump voters, the data tells us that most young minority males are not MAGA-hat-wearing, anti-vax Right-wingers… But the Democrat narrative ignores this reality. After months of extraordinary gains, the U.S. stock market is now looking off. Investors worldwide now ask, “Is this the beginning of the end of the most epic stock rally in history?” All eyes are on September 28 for the answers. Here’s the entire story. In fact, the Biden view of vaccine hesitancy is that white male, Right-wing individuals who refuse to get the vaccine are bad people who don’t care about the science. However, racial minorities are an entirely different matter when it comes to vaccine hesitancy. Dr. Fauci, Biden, and the whole COVID apparatus of control constantly make excuses around “access” issues for minorities who choose not to get the shot. We are supposed to ignore the politics of this and the fact that more than 90% of African American voters cast their ballots for Democrats in the 2020 election. There’s also the inexcusable, inexplicable absence of any policy or even mention of naturally acquired immunity. Americans who have had COVID-19, and the most current estimates say that around 100 million of them have beaten the virus, are likely the most immunologically protected of anyone. That Biden, his chief henchman of the biosecurity state Dr. Fauci, and the rest of the control apparatus refuse publicly acknowledging this scientific reality is further evidence of the intense politicization at work. The Power-Drunk Variant People are, understandably, very angry in America about what the country has gone through. We have lost more than 650,000 Americans to the novel coronavirus, and we’ve also lost a tremendous amount of freedom, spent trillions of dollars of public money, and continue to suffer through a period of tremendous anxiety. But instead of trying to unite and heal the country, the most powerful voices in the government and bureaucracy have decided to scapegoat disfavored political groups.  And that, in essence, is where we find ourselves now: the fight over total control. The national response to COVID in America has been an abject failure, based on the promises the experts made and the concessions they demanded of us. Perhaps it was never going to be any different in this country, regardless of the collective response to a highly contagious virus. But we will never be allowed to figure that out, or even have the discussion. There’s too much government power and intellectual vanity at stake for the elites. And so we are forced to get the shot, mask up, “social distance,” and suffer whatever ineffective indignities our government overlords can conjure to pretend they are protecting us from COVID. It will not be enough for them to silence dissent – they will demand everyone participate in and celebrate their new authoritarian health regime. Biden isn’t even trying to hide it anymore. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 17:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

Tucker Carlson peddled a white supremacist conspiracy theory while attacking Biden over the Haitian migrant crisis

Critics say Carlson, the most-watched host on cable news, is mainstreaming white supremacy by pushing the racist "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory. Fox News host Tucker Carlson Janos Kummer/Getty Images Tucker Carlson pushed the white supremacist "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory on his show Wednesday. Carlson baselessly accused Biden of "eugenics" as he railed against the president on immigration. He falsely suggested the president once said that "non-white DNA" is the source of America's strength. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fox News host Tucker Carlson unabashedly pushed the white supremacist "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory on his show Wednesday night as he baselessly accused President Joe Biden of "eugenics" and allowing migrants to flood into the US in order to "change the racial mix of the country."Carlson's Wednesday night attacks on Biden came as the president faces rampant criticism over an escalating crisis at the border involving Haitian migrants. "American citizens owe no debt to Haiti," Carlson said, while lambasting the Biden administration over the fact the White House called images of Border Patrol whipping at Haitian migrants "horrific." Contrary to Carlson's claims, however, the Biden administration is currently moving to deport thousands of Haitians - and facing major pushback from Democrats and activists over the treatment of the migrants as a result. "You've got to ask yourself, as you watch the historic tragedy that is Joe Biden's immigration policy, what's the point of this? Nothing about it is an accident, obviously. It is intentional. Biden did it on purpose. But why? Why would a president do this to his own country? No sane, first-world nation opens its borders to the world," Carlson said.He went on to say, "There's only one plausible answer ... To reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here, and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the third world ... In political terms, this policy is sometimes called the great replacement - the replacement of legacy Americans, with more obedient people from faraway countries."The Fox News host explicitly invoked the white supremacist "replacement" conspiracy theory, rhetoric often linked to hate groups that he has used before.-nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 23, 2021 White nationalist and far-right groups have consistently pushed the racist conspiracy theory that people of color are vying to replace white people.Talk of "white genocide" is common among white supremacist groups. During the deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, the white nationalists in attendance chanted: "Jews will not replace us."Carlson, who is the most-watched host on cable news, has repeatedly echoed these bigoted talking points on his show. Critics say he's mainstreaming white supremacy.-nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 17, 2021 On Tuesday, he warned of a migrant "invasion" at the US-Mexico border.Carlson in April contended that Democratic lawmakers are "importing a brand new electorate" of "Third World" immigrants to "dilute" American voters. Fox Corporation chief executive Lachlan Murdoch defended Carlson at the time amid calls from the Anti-Defamation League for him to be fired. "A full review of the guest interview indicates that Mr. Carlson decried and rejected replacement theory," Murdoch said. "As Mr. Carlson himself stated during the guest interview: 'White replacement theory? No, no, this is a voting rights question.'"But Carlson in his segment on Wednesday made explicit references to "non-white DNA," while effectively accusing Biden of pushing a policy of eugenics against whites.Carlson was taking remarks made by Biden as vice president during a 2015 summit on terrorism out of context.At the time, Biden lauded the "unrelenting stream of immigration" to the US that began in the 1700s, and said it's not a "bad thing" that it's projected white people in the US will eventually be a minority. Biden was touting diversity, and the immigrant tradition in the US, as a source of American strength.Carlson misconstrued Biden's words, and falsely said, "[Biden] said that non-White DNA is the, quote, source of our strength. Imagine saying that this is the language of eugenics. It's horrifying." Biden never said this.Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

26 of the best beach houses on Airbnb in the US where the sand is just steps away

These are the best Airbnb beach house rentals in the US, from an oceanfront Malibu home in California to a condo on the water with a pool in Florida. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Airbnb Beach vacations are always top of mind for a relaxing, warm-weather getaway. Many Airbnbs are found along the best beaches in the US, with direct beachfront or private access. From Malibu to Cape Cod, these are the best beach homes on Airbnb, from $100 to $650 per night. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAirbnbs with beachfront access continue to rank among the most searched for filters on the vacation rental platform.After all, who doesn't want to wake up to the sound of waves crashing right outside their back porch, or take a moonlit stroll along the sand after the sun goes down? Though, if you'd prefer to cool off in an Airbnb with a private pool instead, we have plenty of options for that, too. And if hotels are more your thing, here are the best beach hotels in the US.If a beach vacation is on your mind, from sea to shining blue sea there's no shortage of beautiful Airbnb beach houses across the US.Browse all Airbnb beach houses below, or jump to a specific area here:The best Airbnb beach houses in the NortheastThe best Airbnb beach houses in the SouthThe best Airbnb beach houses in the WestFAQ: Airbnb beach housesHow we selected the best beach houses on AirbnbFind more great beach house rentalsThese are the best Airbnb beach houses, sorted by region and price from low to high. BI Charming beachfront cottage on the Jersey Shore This cottage's private back deck leads straight to the beach. Airbnb Book this New Jersey beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $270Town: Cape MaySleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.93Set along one of the Jersey Shore's most charming seaside towns, Cape May, this cozy bayfront cottage with one bedroom is best suited for couples and solo travelers, though it is also pet-friendly.It's important to note, this is a two-family home and while this space is completely private and uses a separate entrance, the other side of the house is occupied, which might not work for some guests. You are also required to bring your own linens to fit the Queen-sized bed.The location, however, is unparalleled and you'll love spending time on the private back deck, which includes a hammock and leads directly out to the beach. The front porch with chairs and an umbrella adds additional space for enjoying the sea breeze.Inside, the decor is simple but includes a red leather couch, an all-white kitchen with a dining table for two, and ocean photos in the bedroom.  Beach suite in Massachusetts This lovely beachfront suite includes beach passes and options for in-house massages and whale watching excursions. Airbnb Book this Massachusetts beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $299Town: GloucesterSleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.98The charming seaside town of Gloucester, pronounced Glah-Sta, in coastal New England comes alive in the summertime. From long walks on a private beach to romantic dinners on the deck, this one-bedroom beachside retreat will make a great getaway for couples. Not only does the property come with a beachfront location, but beach passes are included, which would otherwise run between $25 to $30 per day. You may also book add-ons like in-house massages and whale watching expeditions directly with the host.While this is a separate guest suite with its own private entrance, the entire cottage consists of three units that are each rented separately. Though, you can combine listings to book the entire property.  Home by the sea in Maine Take in over 175 feet of mesmerizing oceanfront views from the roof deck. Airbnb Book this Maine beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $350Town: YorkSleeps: 4 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.94Just one hour north of Boston and one hour south of Portland, Maine, the Little Sea Star Castle is tucked away along Nubble Point in York Beach, Maine. One of 12 oceanside cottages within the LightHouse Village Colony, the house is set on nearly two acres with over 175 feet of oceanfront splendor with sunny, southern exposure and rugged rocky coastlines.The cottage offers plenty of space to lounge. A roof deck has panoramic views over the ocean, and the lawn has Adirondack chairs and a picnic table for outdoor dining. The kitchen has everything needed to make yourself at home, and beachy accents like starfish pillows and mini sailboats on the dressers keep the home on theme.The location is stellar, among scenic walking trails along the water. Bayfront oasis in Maryland Bayfront views are a captivating sight, and available throughout the home. Airbnb Book this Ocean City beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $395Town: Ocean CitySleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.92Offering uninterrupted bayfront views, this cozy townhome in Ocean City, Maryland is the ideal locale for your beach vacation. Sip morning coffee on the private balcony, enjoy steamed crabs on the large bayfront deck, or kick back with a cocktail and watch the sunset from the living room. The layout is an open-living concept with a master bedroom upstairs with a private balcony and a King-size bed. The second bedroom has a Queen bed and there's also a beige striped sectional couch that converts to a bed in the living room. Wicker furniture and deep blue quilts give this home a subtle beach vibe.Located on a corner lot of the bay, the owner is explicit that this is not meant for partiers or large group gatherings. If you're looking for a chill and relaxing beach getaway, this is the place for you. Beachfront home with bay views in Delaware Each room in this coastal home features scenic water views. Airbnb Book this Delaware beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $425Town: MiltonSleeps: 6 guests/4 bedroomsRating: 5.0Featuring both beachfront and bay views, this spacious four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in the quiet community of Broadkill Beach in Milton, Delaware offers unobstructed water views from almost every room. The home features a coastal design with plenty of natural light and soft tones. The well-equipped kitchen has unique tiling, a large island, and turquoise bar stools for grabbing a quick bite or enjoying a cup of coffee.One room includes bunk beds decked out in comforters with a cute whale pattern for kids. The location is peacefully quiet and primed to enjoy beautiful sunrises over the bay. Large oceanfront house with great views in Maine Luxury finishes couple with panoramic ocean views at this delightful property. Airbnb Book this Maine beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $613Town: SacoSleeps: 8 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.71If luxury finishes and panoramic views of the ocean sounds like your kind of vibe, then consider this oceanfront haunt in Saco, Maine. Enjoy coffee or wine from the upstairs balcony before taking a walk along Ferry Beach or Camp Ellis Pier.Ideal for bigger groups, the listing has two bedrooms and common spaces that sleep up to eight people. Though, the standout draw is no doubt the beachfront location and gorgeous water views, along with the surrounding quiet community. The home offers the chance to catch particularly stunning sunrises and sunsets.Other perks include a Smart TV with Netflix, beach chairs, and free parking included in the stay, as well as a digital guidebook handy for helping guests explore the area. Chic beachfront cottage in New York's North Fork of Long Island A minimalist interior style creates a tranquil ambiance. Airbnb Book this North Fork beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $650Town: RiverheadSleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.96Set on a secluded stretch of Long Island's illustrious North Fork, this two-bedroom beachfront cottage is a great place to hang by the beach or go wine tasting at one of the area's many charming vineyards.Wander along the private beach path or open up the floor-to-ceiling glass sliders that lead to a picturesque deck to dine at the picnic-style outdoor table, or relax on the plush lounger. An Airbnb Plus listing, the cottage's chic palette features crisp, minimalist whites and neutrals, creating a sense of serene seaside solitude for a quiet getaway. After a walk on the sand, rinse off in the outdoor shower while savoring water views. BI Cozy home on the North Carolina shore The nautical-themed living room has a picturesque balcony overlooking the ocean. Airbnb Book this North Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $100Town: North Topsail BeachSleeps: 6 guests/1 bedroomsRating: 4.91A cute condo directly on North Topsail Beach in North Carolina, this is a great option for couples or small families looking for a low-key beach getaway. The bedroom has a Queen bed and there are also Twin bunk beds built directly into the hallway.Completely renovated in 2020, the apartment has a nautical-beach theme with soft blue and yellow hues, and big living room windows frame beach views. You can also head out to the balcony for a closer look. Bright colors and floral decor give this home a warm, welcoming vibe, and a seashell bed quilt and striped bar stools at the eating nook add additional beach flair. Oceanfront condo with a pool in Florida Beachy accents like a mermaid statue and marine-inspired colors set a scene that creates a real sense of place. Airbnb Book this Florida beach home with a pool on AirbnbTypical starting price: $132Town: Cape CanaveralSleeps: 4 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.95Serenity awaits at this casual oceanfront condo in Florida's Cape Canaveral. Set on a beautiful private beach, this Airbnb Plus stands out for its whimsical decor and thoughtful amenities, which include blues of every hue from the turquoise velvet armchair to the robin's egg backsplash in the kitchen. A mirror made out of oars, a mermaid statue, and an octopus painting over the couch are all fun touches for a beach home.This is also a great place to spend your time kayaking, paddle boarding, or enjoying some much-needed downtime just lounging on the beach or pool, which are both just a few steps away. Within minutes of downtown Port Canaveral and the iconic Cocoa Beach Pier, there's plenty to do right nearby. Ocean and bay view beach house in Texas The Bolivar Flats, Anahuac national wildlife refuge, and the Smith Oak sanctuary are all nearby and great for birdwatching. Airbnb Book this Texas beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $130Town: Bolivar PeninsulaSleeps: 6 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Located on the bayside of the Bolivar Peninsula on Texas' Gulf Coast, this home offers one bedroom and a lofted room, plus plenty of views of both the Gulf of Mexico and East Bay. It's also just a few miles away from popular bird-watching areas including Bolivar Flats, Anahuac national wildlife refuge, and the Smith Oak sanctuary.Bright and airy, this house is perched on stilts, and underneath, you'll have a grill and a private sitting area. However, the wraparound porch is likely where you'll spend the bulk of your time, soaking in the view from the wooden Adirondack chairs.Inside isn't bad either, with soaring pitched ceilings, a big blue sectional sofa, and marble countertops and bar stools in the kitchen. Waterfront beach bungalow in North Carolina This homey bungalow has its own private beach. Airbnb Book this North Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $145Town: JarvisburgSleeps: 4 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.94Relax on your own private beach or hop in a kayak and explore miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches and cypress tree-filled coves from this bungalow in Jarvisburg, North Carolina set at the confluence of the North River and the Albemarle Sound.The home is pet-friendly, and the bedroom offers a Queen sized bed as well as a futon for extra guests if you don't mind the squeeze.While not exactly modern, the bungalow has a homey vibe with string lights along the ceiling, a bright desk and bookcase, and purple cushions on the futon. The location is tranquil and fun amenities include a charcoal grill and outdoor fire pit. The house is only 15-minutes away from unspoiled shorelines and the beaches of the Outer Banks. Home overlooking the sound in North Carolina The spacious home's dock makes it easy to get out on the water. Airbnb Book this North Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $157Town: HertfordSleeps: 10 guests/4 bedroomsRating: 4.69Step into the backyard of this spacious home on the Albemarle Sound and you'll find nothing but peace and tranquility. Located in a quiet neighborhood in Hertford, North Carolina, the house is nice for bigger families or groups of friends.Start and end your day on the dock, which comes with a bench to sit and watch the sunrise. Apart from the views directly overlooking the sound, highlights include the coffee bar in the kitchen, a gas log fireplace in the living room, and a fully covered and screened-in porch for enjoying home-cooked barbecue from the grill.The house also comes with a washer/dryer and high-speed Wi-Fi. Chesapeake Bay beach cabin in Virginia The decor is simple with a subtle ocean theme. Airbnb Book this Virginia beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $199Town: NorfolkSleeps: 6 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.95A brand new beach cabin on the Chesapeake Bay, this spacious home is steps from the beach.During the warm months, watch the sailing regattas from the balcony on Wednesday and Sunday evenings, or walk to nearby Ocean View Beach Park to listen to live music.The decor is simple but useful, with wicker furniture accents, ocean-themed artwork, wood floors, and a big kitchen. A plaid couch and floral armchair are comfy spots to relax, though they may feel a bit dated. A patio out back adds additional hangout space. A rustic cottage in Florida This cottage has a large outdoor deck with a fire pit and access to a secluded beach. Airbnb Book this Florida cottage on AirbnbTypical starting price: $275Town: St.Augustine Sleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroom Rating: 4.90The pinewood interior and absence of electronic appliances bring an old-fashioned feel to this cottage. The cottage was originally built in 1946, but each room has been remodeled since except for the corner kitchen. The master bedroom has a plush Queen-size bed where you can fall asleep to the sounds of nearby waves crashing. Although you won't find a TV or phone, there are various ways to indulge in this home's rustic charm. A large outdoor deck overlooks an uncrowded beach and has a fire pit for chilly nights. Visit in summer and you may catch a glimpse of the sea turtles that dwell by the deck. Waterfront nest cottage in Mississippi Lounge on the spacious front porch for stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Airbnb Book this Mississippi beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $279Town: Long BeachSleeps: 4 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on ever-popular Long Beach, this waterfront cottage features breathtaking views over the Gulf of Mexico from its spacious front porch and has direct beach access.The two bedrooms can easily accommodate up to six people and inviting outdoor wicker furniture is framed by idyllic views.Inside, modern interiors include a spacious kitchen with marble countertops, soaking tubs in the bathrooms, and living room couches that face the water.  Pet-friendly oceanfront condo with pool access in South Carolina Staying here comes with access to a community pool, beaches, and bike rentals. Airbnb Book this South Carolina beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $261Town: Saint Helena IslandSleeps: 6 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Watch dolphins from the private balcony, walk to the beach, or laze the day away by the pool —  this oceanfront condo in South Carolina offers it all.Located in a private community just a stone's throw from one of the state's most beguiling beaches at Hunting Island State Park, the area offers miles of unspoiled beaches and is frequented by birders and nature lovers for some of the best animal sightings in the area.This second-floor condo offers one Queen bedroom and a second bedroom with a Twin bed. Guests have access to the community pool, beach, and two bikes. The unit also comes with a washer and dryer and is great for families with pets looking for a low-country getaway. Oceanfront condo in South Carolina Enjoy access to a private fishing pier, a community pool, and a pretty South Carolina beach. Airbnb Book this South Carolina beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $291Town: Isle of PalmsSleeps: 4 guests/1 bedroomsRating: 4.98Watch the waves roll in as you enjoy your morning coffee on the private terrace from this modern Isle of Palms condo in South Carolina. Newly renovated, this third-floor condo is especially nice for families with young children since it offers a King-size bed in the master and a bunk bed in the hallway. The decor is tasteful but beachy with coral pillows, a gray sofa, velvet armchairs, and a modern kitchen has a funky blue stone backsplash.The building has easy access to the beach and a private fishing pier, as well as a community pool and coin laundry facility.  Spacious beach house in South Carolina This expansive home is perched on half an acre on Port Royal Sound with private beach access. Airbnb Book this Hilton Head beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $332Town: Hilton HeadSleeps: 10 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.85Located on half an acre along Port Royal Sound, this three-bed, four-bath manse is capable of sleeping up to 10 people. Adjacent to a 40-acre nature preserve, staying here comes with direct views over the sound, plus private access to the beach. With an expansive, well-groomed yard for playing or relaxing under large oak trees covered in Spanish Moss, the house is also open to those looking to host a small, picture-perfect wedding or retreat with the beach and ocean as the backdrop.If this home is booked up, consider our other picks for the best vacation homes on Hilton Head Island. Beach house on a private island in South Carolina Escape to your very own private island off of Hilton Head with a beach all to yourself. Airbnb Book this private island beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $589Town: Hilton HeadSleeps: 6 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.94Instead of renting a regular old cottage on the beach, opt to claim your own private island here on Old House Cay. Accessible only by boat, this is as secluded and off-the-grid as it gets.Just a 10-minute ride away from neighboring Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, the home is part of a series of private islands that you'll have all to yourself over your stay. Experience everything from boating, fishing, and kayaking to simply lounging around the island and going for long beach walks. As far as getting around, the owners will take you and your guests back and forth from Hilton Head on their private boat as needed.Accommodations include a large, multi-story home with gorgeous wood floors, high ceilings, a modern kitchen, and a big blue dining table with room for the whole crew. All wood walls give it a hint of a cabin feel, while bright pillows and quilts add pops of color. A wooden deck with a fire pit out front is a lovely place to relax or make s'mores into the evening.  BI Beachfront condo in Southern California The beach is only a few steps away from this quaint second-floor condo. Airbnb Book this California beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $283Town: CarlsbadSleeps: 3 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.90Open your door and step directly onto the sand at this charming beachfront condo in Carlsbad, California, near San Diego. Within walking distance to Carlsbad Village, this home is close to restaurants and boutiques, with a cozy set-up that is best suited to solo travelers and couples. The two-story condo unit is on the ground floor and features a brick fireplace, a small dining table and kitchen, a blue sofa with colorful pillows, and a private balcony with a table and chairs that overlook the ocean, which is just a few feet away. Beach house on a cove in Oregon A backyard trail leads to Shelter Cove where orcas often reside. Airbnb Book this Oregon beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $275Town: Port OrfordSleeps: 6 guests/3 bedroomsRating: 4.91Set on a cul-de-sac in the quiet neighborhood of Port Orford along the Oregon coast, this three-bedroom beach house is protected by old-growth forest and faces a cove where orcas are known to stay and take shelter.With gorgeous bay windows and total privacy within the neighborhood, along with private beach access and unobstructed views of the Lighthouse at Cape Blanco, it's tough to beat the spectacular setting. A private trail off the backyard takes you directly to Shelter Cove.The house itself offers big windows for a light and airy feel, with neutral colors of grays and creams, huge bedrooms, and a porch with a dining table, as well as a small fire pit in the yard. Cozy ocean view cabin in Northern California Breathe in the ocean air and spend time whale watching from this cliffside cabin. Airbnb Book this California beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $300Town: TrinidadSleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.97Tucked away in verdant Patrick Point State Park in northern California, this rustic two-bedroom cabin has incredible ocean views amid a lush forest. Top-rated features include the oversized hot tub, a picnic area overlooking the ocean, and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows after a long day. The yard offers ample space and lucky guests might even spot whales from the Adirondack chairs perched atop the lawn.The house is set on steep cliffs, which means you'll have phenomenal views, but won't be able to walk right out onto the beach. Instead, you will have to wind your way down to the shores below. Oceanview apartment in Northern California This cliffside home offers romantic views of the Pacific Ocean and Black Sands Beach. Airbnb Book this Northern California beach house on AirbnbTypical starting price: $348Town: WhitethornSleeps: 3 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.92Overlooking the Pacific and Black Sands Beach, this one-bedroom cliffside home is lovely for a romantic trip.Inside, you'll find a private entrance and a wrap-around deck. The bedroom has a California King bed, plus a modern kitchen, bathroom, and a living room with a fireplace. There is even a private hot tub that directly faces the ocean.Take the trail from the home leading to the beach or walk or bike to any of the nearby beaches, restaurants, cafes, bars, and golf courses. The owner notes that you will need a car to get around and this home has a strict no pets policy and isn't suitable for young children. Posh beachfront apartment in Malibu This charming home has a sun-drenched interior, airy open-plan layout. Airbnb Book this Malibu beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $514Town: MalibuSleeps: 2 guests/1 bedroomRating: 4.99This sweet one-bedroom Airbnb Plus listing is well-placed on the iconic shores of Malibu for sweeping, dramatic views that feel plucked from a Nicholas Sparks novel.Light and airy, this seaside haven is impeccably decorated with pristine white fixtures that stand out against natural wood floors and beams. Unique details like a small, wire Eiffel Tower perched on an antique desk and old framed letters and clippings add whimsical charm.Fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves after enjoying drinks on the deck as you catch a sunset. Just know that this home is incredibly popular and tends to book almost a year in advance. Pacific Ocean beachfront home in Encinitas, California Pacific Ocean views abound from every room. Airbnb Book this Californian beach home on AirbnbTypical starting price: $516Town: EncinitasSleeps: 4 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.90This beach home wows right away with its stunning panoramic ocean views, available throughout the house. However, they're especially impressive from the open plan living room thanks to its arched beam ceilings that make the space feel airy and breezy.The unobstructed views are also sure to dazzle from the multiple patios, which come with a grill, lounge chairs, an outdoor shower, and a private stairway leading to the sand.The amenities are also nicely appointed, with a  fireplace, full kitchen with a wine fridge, and multiple bedrooms, some of which lead directly to the terrace.  Pet-friendly beach cottage with amazing views in Oregon This contemporary home has an outdoor shower, a gas fireplace, and a great balcony. Airbnb Book this Oregon beach cottage on AirbnbTypical starting price: $599Town: Cannon BeachSleeps: 5 guests/2 bedroomsRating: 4.98This modern beachfront home in beautiful, iconic Cannon Beach, Oregon has easy beach access just 100 feet from the front door. Inside, large picture windows offer unobstructed ocean views and a gas fireplace makes for a cozy spot. The outdoor shower is a nice way to rinse away sand after a beach day and the outdoor balcony is a great place to savor the sweeping views. At night, have a bonfire with s'mores in the yard.The pet-friendly home is located on a quiet residential street with free street parking and is within easy access of plenty of shops, grocery stores, and restaurants. FAQ: Airbnb beach houses Where is the best place to rent a beach house?The best place to rent a beach house depends on the type of beach and vacation you prefer. For year-round warm weather, look to places like Florida or Southern California.For the classic New England look of windswept beach grass, large dunes, and shingled cottages, you'll find great homes in places like Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Jersey Shore. For something posh, try the Hamptons.Bluer waters and warmer temps of course will be found within the South or West Coast, and the West Coast offers stunning scenery from California up to Oregon and Washington.How do I search for a beach house on Airbnb?You can specifically search for a beach house on Airbnb. First, input your preferred location and dates, then select More Filters, and refine results to only show beachfront homes by selecting the box that says Beachfront under Amenities.What should I look for in an Airbnb?Sorting through the vast array of homes available on Airbnb can be tough. Consider using criteria similar to what we use, which includes looking at the average rating, as well as reading up on recent reviews to ensure the home is still in top shape. Look for Superhosts and consider sorting by Airbnb Plus or Airbnb Luxe if you want a higher-end stay that's been vetted for exceptional amenities, decor, and hosting. Of course, for a beach getaway, location will be key. Be sure to look on the map and ensure before booking that the home is actually close to the beach. You don't want to arrive only to find out you actually need to take a 30-minute car ride before your toes can hit the sand. Is Airbnb safe?We strongly encourage following guidelines and advice from leading health organizations including the CDC and following local and state laws before planning a vacation of any kind. You should also be proactive when it comes to wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and maintaining social distancing no matter where you go.However, the CDC now recommends domestic travel as safe for fully vaccinated individuals.Experts also say that booking an entire home rental is one of the safest options for travelers right now because they eliminate encounters with others outside your traveling party, and because Airbnb mandates Enhanced Clean protocols that all hosts must now follow. What is Airbnb's cancellation policy?Cancellation policies on Airbnb differ from home to home and are set by each individual host. You can find a full breakdown of Airbnb's cancellation policies here. How we selected the best beach houses on Airbnb Every Airbnb listing is for the entire home, per current expert recommendation.All Airbnb homes are highly-rated listings with a rating of 4.7 or higher.All beach houses are located right on, or next to the beach.All take part in Airbnb's Enhanced Clean protocol program for added peace of mind.The homes offer strong value in terms of price, offerings, amenities, and location and are priced between $100 and $650 per night to start.Homes are available to book in the coming weeks and months, as of publishing. However, some homes are quite popular and book fast. Consider booking for a future vacation in a few months or next year. Find more great beach house rentals Airbnb The best Airbnbs on the Jersey ShoreThe best Airbnbs in the HamptonsThe best Airbnbs in Cape CodThe best Airbnbs in Hilton HeadThe best Airbnbs in FloridaThe best Airbnbs in Myrtle Beach The best Airbnbs in Virginia BeachThe best vacation rentals in the Outer BanksThe best vacation rentals in Ocean City  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

Top Democrats compare Biden to Trump over the Haitian migrant crisis, as the GOP falsely accuses him of allowing open borders

The Biden administration has continued to use a Trump era public health law known as Title 42 to expel migrants. CIUDAD ACUNA, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 20: Haitian immigrants cross the Rio Grande back into Mexico from Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As U.S. immigration authorities began deporting immigrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio while others crossed the river back into Mexico to avoid deportation. John Moore/Getty Images Biden is facing rampant criticism over an evolving crisis involving Haitian migrants at the border. Republicans are falsely accusing Biden of allowing open borders. Top Democrats and activists are comparing Biden to Trump as he moves to deport thousands. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Biden administration is facing criticism from all angles over its handling of an influx of Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border.Republicans baselessly accuse President Joe Biden of opening America's borders to immigrants. Meanwhile, as Biden moves to deport thousands of Haitians, top Democrats and activists are comparing his immigration policy to former President Donald Trump's. "Joe Biden is presiding over lawless open borders," GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said in a tweet earlier this week, even as the administration began actively deporting Haitian migrants who've fled violence, poverty, and political turmoil."There is a growing crisis in Del Rio, Texas and across the southern border. Biden's open borders policies created this mess," the Republican National Committee tweeted on Thursday. Seemingly regardless of what Biden does on immigration, Republicans and their right-wing media allies continue to falsely accuse him of opening America's doors to anyone and everyone. "You've got to ask yourself, as you watch the historic tragedy that is Joe Biden's immigration policy, what's the point of this? Nothing about it is an accident, obviously. It is intentional. Biden did it on purpose. But why? Why would a president do this to his own country? No sane, first-world nation opens its borders to the world," Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his show on Wednesday, while peddling the white supremacist "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory.-nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 23, 2021 The GOP's primary talking point on immigration has been that Biden's desire to offer a pathway to citizenship to roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants has induced a crisis at the border. "As tens of thousands of illegal immigrants come across the border, Joe Biden promises them citizenship," GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted last on Friday. "He's making this crisis much worse."But as Biden uses a Trump era rule to deport Haitians, his allies are accusing him of reneging on his pledge to take a more humane approach to immigration than his predecessor. Democrats and activists compare Biden to Trump"The question that's being asked now is: How are you actually different than Trump?" Marisa Franco, the executive director of the Latino civil rights organization Mijente, told the New York Times. "You campaigned that immigration was one of the places where Trump was inhumane and failed. And last time I checked, Trump is not the president."The Biden administration has continued to use a Trump era public health policy, a law known as Title 42, to expel migrants and deny them an opportunity to apply for asylum - and it's defended the law in court. The Trump administration began invoking the law in March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spiral out of control (and as Trump simultaneously downplayed the threat of the virus). A New York Times review of government data found that officials caught people crossing the southwestern border roughly 1.24 million times from February to August, and Title 42 was used to turn them away 56% of the time.Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on Biden to halt expulsions and end the use of Title 42."I urge President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to immediately put a stop to these expulsions and to end this Title 42 policy at our southern border," Schumer said. "We cannot continue these hateful and xenophobic Trump policies that disregard our refugee laws. We must allow asylum seekers to present their claims at our ports of entry and be afforded due process."-CSPAN (@cspan) September 21, 2021"Haitians fleeing violence & the lack of a credible government in Haiti are being treated like animals," Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California said in a tweet on Tuesday. "U.S. government cowboys on horses used whips on Haitians as they sought refuge. Why are we following the Trump policies? This horrendous treatment of Haitians must STOP NOW."Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most prominent progressives in Congress, in a tweet described the situation at the border as a "stain on our country."The White House this week fervently decried images of Border Patrol agents on horseback whipping at Haitian migrants."What I saw depicted about those individuals on horseback treating human beings the way they were, was horrible. And I fully support what is happening right now, which is a thorough investigation into exactly what is going on there," Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday.But the administration's words have seemingly been insufficient to top civil rights organizations."The humanitarian crisis happening under this administration on the southern border disgustingly mirrors some of the darkest moments in America's history," Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, said in a statement. "If we were to close our eyes and this was occurring under the Trump administration, what would we do? The inhumane treatment of the Haitian refugees seeking help is utterly sickening." A United States Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas on September 19, 2021. Paul Ratje/Getty Images 'Inhumane, counterproductive'Thousands of Haitian migrants have crossed the border in recent weeks, gathering in a makeshift camp in terrible conditions under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. Haiti's president was assassinated in July, launching the already embattled country into further turmoil. Its capital, Port-au-Prince, is overrun by violent gangs. And the country is also still reeling from a devastating earthquake that killed over 2,000 in August. But the Biden administration has been adamant that Haitians, and other migrants, should not come to the US. "If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned," Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas said earlier this week.Deportation flights to Haiti began on Sunday. As a result of the Biden administration's approach to the massive influx of Haitian migrants, the US special envoy to Haiti resigned. Ambassador Daniel Foote, a career diplomat, wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and said he won't be associated with the US's "inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life."The evolving crisis at the border comes on the heels of the Afghanistan withdrawal, which also led to widespread, bipartisan criticism.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

Seattle e-commerce platform Fabric hires former HPE exec as chief people officer

Seattle-based Fabric, a startup that enables companies to manage their online shopping experiences, announced Tuesday it has hired Val Rupp as the company's first chief people officer. Rupp joins Fabric from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where she was head of human resources for the company's GreenLake cloud services. She spent more than three years at HPE in various HR roles. "Val brings the rare combination of realism and optimism to the table, giving valuable insight and solutions to complex….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsSep 22nd, 2021

A renowned luxury brand teamed up with an LA bootleg label to create a "Vaccinated" hoodie that celebs and fashion insiders are clamoring for

Italian fashion house Valentino took a different approach to fashion trolls than Nike did with MSCHF's "Satan shoes." Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative director of Valentino. Pierpaolo Piccioli/Handout via Reuters Valentino is releasing a $690 sweatshirt with the word "Vaccinated" across the front. It's a collaboration with an LA company called Cloney, which originally produced a bootleg version. The approach is noticeably different than how Nike dealt with MSCHF's "Satan shoes." See more stories on Insider's business page. Luxury fashion designers have dealt with knockoff companies recreating their wares for years.But in today's world, high-end wares are almost as likely to be repurposed into a statement-making shoe, or sweatshirt. Such is the case for Valentino, the 60-year-old Italian fashion house known for its dramatic gowns and ubiquitous Rockstud heels. The company's serif branding, "V" logo, and penchant for the color red are highly recognizable in the fashion world - so much so that, according to The New York Times, a Los Angeles-based company called Cloney repurposed the branding onto a simple black sweatshirt emblazoned with a single word: "Vaccinated." The sweatshirt caught the eye of Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who bought one and wore it in a post on his Instagram account along with a caption that read, in part: "Getting vaccinated is not a choice." The sweatshirt was an instant hit among Piccioli's followers, which include the likes of actress Zoey Deutch, Instagram fashion chief Eva Chen, activist and TV host Janet Mock, and fellow designer Marc Jacobs. According to the Times, Piccioli bought five more sweatshirts, the last of Cloney's stock, and distributed them to friends, family, and Lady Gaga. A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) Now, Valentino is working with Cloney to produce luxe versions of the design which will retail for 590 euros, or about $690. According to the Times, all of the proceeds will go to UNICEF to support the COVAX program, a World Health Organization initiative to supply vaccines and supplies to countries that need them. But the "Vaccinated" sweatshirt also capitalizes on the pandemic-themed fashion trend that began cropping up early last year. Fashion labels like Erdem and Fendi introduced luxury face masks and hand sanitizer holders, respectively, and a company called Cala recently introduced another way to prove your vaccination status: with a simple white t-shirt complete with a plastic pouch for your vaccine card. As the Times points out, however, Valentino could have sued or ripped off the design altogether. But by collaborating, it's taking a vastly different approach to fashion trolls than Nike did earlier this year, when it filed a lawsuit against MSCHF over its so-called satan shoes.The shoes were a collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X that involved tricking out a pair of Air Max 97s with "666" in red ink and a drop of human blood to the midsole. Nike alleged that it had suffered "significant harm to its goodwill, including among consumers who believe that Nike is endorsing satanism." Nike and MSCHF later settled the suit for an undisclosed amount with MSCHF issuing a voluntary recall of the shoes. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

Dow surges 338 points as Federal Reserve hints at pace of tapering and timing of rate hikes

The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady as expected at the end of its two-day policy meeting. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Spencer Platt/Getty Images The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday broke a four session losing streak. Stocks climbed as the Fed suggested the economy has recovered enough to withstand policy changes. The Fed said it expects to start tapering asset purchases "soon." See more stories on Insider's business page. Stocks surged Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it will "soon" begin reducing stimulus measures, suggesting that the world's largest economy is in shape to withstand less support from the central bank.The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped about 340 points and broke a string of four consecutive losses and the S&P 500 gained after falling in three of the past four sessions. The Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates near zero and held the size of its emergency asset purchases steady. The recovery in the economy since the pandemic outbreak led officials to say they are moving closer to reducing policy aid."If progress continues broadly as expected, the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted," the central bank said.Here's where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday: S&P 500: 4,395.62, up 0.95%Dow Jones Industrial Average: 34,258.32, up 1% (338.48 points)Nasdaq Composite: 14,896.85, up 1.02%"We weren't surprised to see the Fed tee up November as the likely beginning of tapering as they have previously highlighted the higher-than-expected inflation numbers and were only waiting for the job market to improve before beginning to reduce their bond purchases," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, in a note Wednesday. "Although there may be some additional turbulence this fall, we are constructive on the US economy in general and believe that any dips would be worth buying as the fundamentals are still sound and recession appears to be more than a year away at this point," he said. Around the markets, Facebook fell after saying changes to Apple's privacy policy in its latest iOS update have negatively impacted advertisers. Retail investors pushed $1.9 billion into US stocks during the Evergrande-driven selloff on Monday, data from VandaTrack show, the fourth-biggest day of net purchases since the start of the pandemic. Dogecoin fans stormed a poll by AMC CEO Adam Aron on Twitter asking if the theater chain should accept the meme-token as payment. Gold declined by 0.3% to $1,768.27 per ounce. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.32%. Bond yields fall as prices rise. Oil prices popped higher. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 2.7% to $72.17 per barrel. Brent oil, oil's international benchmark, picked up 2.4% to $76.13. Bitcoin leapt 6.9%, trading near $43,410. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

MBA Launches Policy Initiative to Close the Racial Homeownership Gap

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) recently announced a new policy initiative, “Building Generational Wealth Through Homeownership,” aimed at providing industry leadership and direction for reducing the racial homeownership gap; developing and supporting policies that support sustainable homeownership for communities of color; and promoting fair, equitable and responsible lending for minority borrowers. Through advocacy, partnerships and […] The post MBA Launches Policy Initiative to Close the Racial Homeownership Gap appeared first on RISMedia. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) recently announced a new policy initiative, “Building Generational Wealth Through Homeownership,” aimed at providing industry leadership and direction for reducing the racial homeownership gap; developing and supporting policies that support sustainable homeownership for communities of color; and promoting fair, equitable and responsible lending for minority borrowers. Through advocacy, partnerships and connections within the industry, MBA’s initiative will increase homeownership opportunities for minority borrowers, expand homeownership readiness to future borrowers, and assist current homeowners with maintaining and maximizing the benefits of homeownership. “Homeownership is often the largest source of intergenerational wealth for families. MBA’s new policy initiative serves as a perfect foundation to level the playing field,” said Susan Stewart, 2021 MBA chairman and chief executive officer at SWBC Mortgage Corporation, in a statement. “The mortgage industry has a responsibility to promote minority homeownership by partnering with key stakeholders to remove barriers and support financial education and counseling, with a goal to close the racial homeownership gap and increase generational wealth among minority households.” “MBA is uniquely positioned to harness its internal and external resources to help more minority families become homeowners,” said Bob Broeksmit, CMB, MBA president and CEO, in a statement. “Through industry advocacy and partnerships with housing experts, consumer groups, nonprofits, and civil rights organizations, our industry will focus on eliminating obstacles and shaping policy to promote and increase minority homeownership.” MBA’s initiative will complement the marketplace efforts of its signature Affordable Housing Initiative, CONVERGENCE, which was developed by MBA’s Minority Homeownership Joint Task Force, a collection of industry professionals drawn from MBA’s Residential Board of Governors (RESBOG) and the Affordable Homeownership Advisory Council. To learn more about the policy initiative, click here. Source: MBA The post MBA Launches Policy Initiative to Close the Racial Homeownership Gap appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 22nd, 2021

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming Despite today's looming hawkish FOMC meeting in which Powell is widely expected to unveil that tapering is set to begin as soon as November and where the Fed's dot plot may signal one rate hike in 2022, futures climbed as investor concerns over China's Evergrande eased after the property developer negotiated a domestic bond payment deal. Commodities rallied while the dollar was steady. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 flipped from losses to gains as China’s central bank boosted liquidity when it injected a gross 120BN in yuan, the most since January... ... and investors mulled a vaguely-worded statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment.  S&P 500 E-minis were up 23.0 points, or 0.53%, at 7:30 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were up 199 points, or 0.60%, and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 44.00 points, or 0.29%. Among individual stocks, Fedex fell 5.8% after the delivery company cut its profit outlook on higher costs and stalled growth in shipments. Morgan Stanley says it sees the company’s 1Q issues getting “tougher from here.” Commodity-linked oil and metal stocks led gains in premarket trade, while a slight rise in Treasury yields supported major banks. However, most sectors were nursing steep losses in recent sessions. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers: Adobe (ADBE US) down 3.1% after 3Q update disappointed the high expectations of investors, though the broader picture still looks solid, Morgan Stanley said in a note Freeport McMoRan (FCX US), Cleveland- Cliffs (CLF US), Alcoa (AA US) and U.S. Steel (X US) up 2%-3% premarket, following the path of global peers as iron ore prices in China rallied Aethlon Medical (AEMD US) and Exela Technologies (XELAU US) advance along with other retail traders’ favorites in the U.S. premarket session. Aethlon jumps 21%; Exela up 8.3% Other so-called meme stocks also rise: ContextLogic +1%; Clover Health +0.9%; Naked Brand +0.9%; AMC +0.5% ReWalk Robotics slumps 18% in U.S. premarket trading, a day after nearly doubling in value Stitch Fix (SFIX US) rises 15.7% in light volume after the personal styling company’s 4Q profit and sales blew past analysts’ expectations Hyatt Hotels (H US) seen opening lower after the company launches a seven-million-share stock offering Summit Therapeutics (SMMT US) shares fell as much as 17% in Tuesday extended trading after it said the FDA doesn’t agree with the change to the primary endpoint that has been implemented in the ongoing Phase III Ri-CoDIFy studies when combining the studies Marin Software (MRIN US) surged more than 75% Tuesday postmarket after signing a new revenue-sharing agreement with Google to develop its enterprise technology platforms and software products The S&P 500 had fallen for 10 of the past 12 sessions since hitting a record high, as fears of an Evergrande default exacerbated seasonally weak trends and saw investors pull out of stocks trading at lofty valuations. The Nasdaq fell the least among its peers in recent sessions, as investors pivoted back into big technology names that had proven resilient through the pandemic. Focus now turns to the Fed's decision, due at 2 p.m. ET where officials are expected to signal a start to scaling down monthly bond purchases (see our preview here).  The Fed meeting comes after a period of market volatility stoked by Evergrande’s woes. China’s wider property-sector curbs are also feeding into concerns about a slowdown in the economic recovery from the pandemic. “Chair Jerome Powell could hint at the tapering approaching shortly,” said Sébastien Barbé, a strategist at Credit Agricole CIB. “However, given the current uncertainty factors (China property market, Covid, pace of global slowdown), the Fed should remain cautious when it comes to withdrawing liquidity support.” Meanwhile, confirming what Ray Dalio said that the taper will just bring more QE, Governing Council member Madis Muller said the  European Central Bank may boost its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end. “Dovish signals could unwind some of the greenback’s gains while offering relief to stock markets,” Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, wrote in emailed comments. A “hawkish shift would jolt markets, potentially pushing Treasury yields and the dollar past the upper bound of recent ranges, while gold and equities would sell off hunting down the next levels of support.” China avoided a major selloff as trading resumed following a holiday, after the country’s central bank boosted its injection of short-term cash into the financial system. MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index declined for a third day, dragged lower by Japan. Stocks were also higher in Europe. Basic resources - which bounced from a seven month low - and energy were among the leading gainers in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as commodity prices steadied after Beijing moved to contain fears of a spiraling debt crisis. Entain Plc rose more than 7%, extending Tuesday’s gain as it confirmed it received a takeover proposal from DraftKings Inc. Peer Flutter Entertainment Plc climbed after settling a legal dispute.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entain shares jump as much as 11% after DraftKings Inc. offered to acquire the U.K. gambling company for about $22.4 billion. Vivendi rises as much as 3.1% in Paris, after Tuesday’s spinoff of Universal Music Group. Legrand climbs as much as 2.1% after Exane BNP Paribas upgrades to outperform and raises PT to a Street-high of EU135. Orpea shares falls as much as 2.9%, after delivering 1H results that Jefferies (buy) says were a “touch” below consensus. Bechtle slides as much as 5.1% after Metzler downgrades to hold from buy, saying persistent supply chain problems seem to be weighing on growth. Sopra Steria drops as much as 4.1% after Stifel initiates coverage with a sell, citing caution on company’s M&A strategy Despite the Evergrande announcement, Asian stocks headed for their longest losing streak in more than a month amid continued China-related concerns, with traders also eying policy decisions from major central banks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 0.7% in its third day of declines, with TSMC and Keyence the biggest drags. China’s CSI 300 tumbled as much as 1.9% as the local market reopened following a two-day holiday. However, the gauge came off lows after an Evergrande unit said it will make a bond interest payment and as China’s central bank boosted liquidity.  Taiwan’s equity benchmark led losses in Asia on Wednesday, dragged by TSMC after a two-day holiday, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed. Key stock gauges in Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam rose “A liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China accompanied the Evergrande announcement, which only served to bolster sentiment further,” according to DailyFX’s Thomas Westwater and Daniel Dubrovsky. “For now, it appears that market-wide contagion risk linked to a potential Evergrande collapse is off the table.” Japanese equities fell for a second day amid global concern over China’s real-estate sector, as the Bank of Japan held its key stimulus tools in place while flagging pressures on the economy. Electronics makers were the biggest drag on the Topix, which declined 1%. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225. The BOJ had been expected to maintain its policy levers ahead of next week’s key ruling party election. Traders are keenly awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision due later for clues on the U.S. central banks plan for tapering stimulus. “Markets for some time have been convinced that the BOJ has reached the end of the line on normalization and will remain in a holding pattern on policy until at least April 2023 when Governor Kuroda is scheduled to leave,” UOB economist Alvin Liew wrote in a note. “Attention for the BOJ will now likely shift to dealing with the long-term climate change issues.” In the despotic lockdown regime that is Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,296.90, reversing an early decline in a rally led by mining and energy stocks. Banks closed lower for the fourth day in a row. Champion Iron was among the top performers after it was upgraded at Citi. IAG was among the worst performers after an earthquake caused damage to buildings in Melbourne. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3% to 13,215.80 In FX, commodity currencies rallied as concerns about China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles eased as China’s central bank boosted liquidity and investors reviewed a statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment. Overnight implied volatility on the pound climbed to the highest since March ahead of Bank of England’s meeting on Thursday. The British pound weakened after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warnedthat people should prepare for longer-term high energy prices amid a natural-gas shortage that sent power costs soaring. Several U.K. power firms have stopped taking in new clients as small energy suppliers struggle to meet their previous commitments to sell supplies at lower prices. Overnight volatility in the euro rises above 10% for the first time since July ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision announcement. The Aussie jumped as much as 0.5% as iron-ore prices rebounded. Spot surged through option-related selling at 0.7240 before topping out near 0.7265 strikes expiring Wednesday, according to Asia- based FX traders.  Elsewhere, the yen weakened and commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar pushed higher. In rates, the dollar weakened against most of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasury futures were under modest pressure in early U.S. trading, leaving yields cheaper by ~1.5bp from belly to long-end of the curve. The 10-year yield was at ~1.336% steepening the 2s10s curve by ~1bp as the front-end was little changed. Improved risk appetite weighed; with stock futures have recovering much of Tuesday’s losses as Evergrande concerns subside. Focal point for Wednesday’s session is FOMC rate decision at 2pm ET.   FOMC is expected to suggest it will start scaling back asset purchases later this year, while its quarterly summary of economic projections reveals policy makers’ expectations for the fed funds target in coming years in the dot-plot update; eurodollar positions have emerged recently that anticipate a hawkish shift Bitcoin dropped briefly below $40,000 for the first time since August amid rising criticism from regulators, before rallying as the mood in global markets improved. In commodities, Iron ore halted its collapse and metals steadied. Oil advanced for a second day. Bitcoin slid below $40,000 for the first time since early August before rebounding back above $42,000.   To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 4,362.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 461.19 MXAP down 0.7% to 199.29 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 638.39 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 24,221.54 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,628.49 Sensex little changed at 59,046.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,296.94 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,140.51 Brent Futures up 1.5% to $75.47/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,775.15 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.26 German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to -0.319% Euro little changed at $1.1725 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg What would it take to knock the U.S. recovery off course and send Federal Reserve policy makers back to the drawing board? Not much — and there are plenty of candidates to deliver the blow The European Central Bank will discuss boosting its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end, but any such increase is uncertain, Governing Council member Madis Muller said Investors seeking hints about how Beijing plans to deal with China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis are training their cross hairs on the central bank’s liquidity management A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as caution lingered ahead of upcoming risk events including the FOMC, with participants also digesting the latest Evergrande developments and China’s return to the market from the Mid-Autumn Festival. ASX 200 (+0.3%) was positive with the index led higher by the energy sector after a rebound in oil prices and as tech also outperformed, but with gains capped by weakness in the largest-weighted financials sector including Westpac which was forced to scrap the sale of its Pacific businesses after failing to secure regulatory approval. Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) was subdued amid the lack of fireworks from the BoJ announcement to keep policy settings unchanged and ahead of the upcoming holiday closure with the index only briefly supported by favourable currency outflows. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) was initially pressured on return from the long-weekend and with Hong Kong markets closed, but pared losses with risk appetite supported by news that Evergrande’s main unit Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow, although other sources noted this is referring to the onshore bond payments valued around USD 36mln and that there was no mention of the offshore bond payments valued at USD 83.5mln which are also due tomorrow. Meanwhile, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection and provided no surprises in keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged for the 17th consecutive month at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid the absence of any major surprises from the BoJ policy announcement and following the choppy trade in T-notes which were briefly pressured in a knee-jerk reaction to the news that Evergrande’s unit will satisfy its coupon obligations tomorrow, but then faded most of the losses as cautiousness prevailed. Top Asian News Gold Steady as Traders Await Outcome of Fed Policy Meeting Evergrande Filing on Yuan Bond Interest Leaves Analysts Guessing Singapore Category E COE Price Rises to Highest Since April 2014 Asian Stocks Fall for Third Day as Focus Turns to Central Banks European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.5%) trade on a firmer footing in the wake of an encouraging APAC handover. Focus overnight was on the return of Chinese participants from the Mid-Autumn Festival and news that Evergrande’s main unit, Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow; however, we await indication as to whether they will meet Thursday’s offshore payment deadline as well. Furthermore, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection whilst keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged (as expected). Note, despite gaining yesterday and today, thus far, the Stoxx 600 is still lower to the tune of 0.7% on the week. Stateside, futures are also trading on a firmer footing ahead of today’s FOMC policy announcement, at which, market participants will be eyeing any clues for when the taper will begin and digesting the latest dot plot forecasts. Furthermore, the US House voted to pass the bill to fund the government through to December 3rd and suspend the debt limit to end-2022, although this will likely be blocked by Senate Republicans. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly firmer with outperformance in Basic Resources and Oil & Gas amid upside in the metals and energy complex. Elsewhere, Travel & Leisure is faring well amid further upside in Entain (+6.1%) with the Co. noting it rejected an earlier approach from DraftKings at GBP 25/shr with the new offer standing at GBP 28/shr. Additionally for the sector, Flutter Entertainment (+4.1%) are trading higher after settling the legal dispute between the Co. and Commonwealth of Kentucky. Elsewhere, in terms of deal flow, Iliad announced that it is to acquire UPC Poland for around USD 1.8bln. Top European News Energy Cost Spike Gets on EU Ministers’ Green Deal Agenda Travel Startup HomeToGo Gains in Frankfurt Debut After SPAC Deal London Stock Exchange to Shut Down CurveGlobal Exchange EU Banks Expected to Add Capital for Climate Risk, EBA Says In FX, trade remains volatile as this week’s deluge of global Central Bank policy meetings continues to unfold amidst fluctuations in broad risk sentiment from relatively pronounced aversion at various stages to a measured and cautious pick-up in appetite more recently. Hence, the tide is currently turning in favour of activity, cyclical and commodity currencies, albeit tentatively in the run up to the Fed, with the Kiwi and Aussie trying to regroup on the 0.7000 handle and 0.7350 axis against their US counterpart, and the latter also striving to shrug off negative domestic impulses like a further decline below zero in Westpac’s leading index and an earthquake near Melbourne. Next up for Nzd/Usd and Aud/Usd, beyond the FOMC, trade data and preliminary PMIs respectively. DXY/CHF/EUR/CAD - Notwithstanding the overall improvement in market tone noted above, or another major change in mood and direction, the Dollar index appears to have found a base just ahead of 93.000 and ceiling a similar distance away from 93.500, as it meanders inside those extremes awaiting US existing home sales that are scheduled for release before the main Fed events (policy statement, SEP and post-meeting press conference from chair Powell). Indeed, the Franc, Euro and Loonie have all recoiled into tighter bands vs the Greenback, between 0.9250-26, 1.1739-17 and 1.2831-1.2770, but with the former still retaining an underlying bid more evident in the Eur/Chf cross that is consolidating under 1.0850 and will undoubtedly be acknowledged by the SNB tomorrow. Meanwhile, Eur/Usd has hardly reacted to latest ECB commentary from Muller underpinning that the APP is likely to be boosted once the PEPP envelope is closed, though Usd/Cad is eyeing a firm rebound in oil prices in conjunction with hefty option expiry interest at the 1.2750 strike (1.8 bn) that may prevent the headline pair from revisiting w-t-d lows not far beneath the half round number. GBP/JPY - The major laggards, as Sterling slips slightly further beneath 1.3650 against the Buck to a fresh weekly low and Eur/Gbp rebounds from circa 0.8574 to top 0.8600 on FOMC day and T-1 to super BoE Thursday. Elsewhere, the Yen has lost momentum after peaking around 109.12 and still not garnering sufficient impetus to test 109.00 via an unchanged BoJ in terms of all policy settings and guidance, as Governor Kuroda trotted out the no hesitation to loosen the reins if required line for the umpteenth time. However, Usd/Jpy is holding around 109.61 and some distance from 1.1 bn option expiries rolling off between 109.85-110.00 at the NY cut. SCANDI/EM - Brent’s revival to Usd 75.50+/brl from sub-Usd 73.50 only yesterday has given the Nok another fillip pending confirmation of a Norges Bank hike tomorrow, while the Zar has regained some poise with the aid of firmer than forecast SA headline and core CPI alongside a degree of retracement following Wednesday’s breakdown of talks on a pay deal for engineering workers that prompted the union to call a strike from early October. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny by default have regrouped amidst reports that the CCP is finalising details to restructure Evergrande into 3 separate entities under a plan that will see the Chinese Government take control. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer this morning though once again fresh newsflow for the complex has been relatively slim and largely consisting of gas-related commentary; as such, the benchmarks are taking their cue from the broader risk tone (see equity section). The improvement in sentiment today has brought WTI and Brent back in proximity to being unchanged on the week so far as a whole; however, the complex will be dictated directly by the EIA weekly inventory first and then indirectly, but perhaps more pertinently, by today’s FOMC. On the weekly inventories, last nights private release was a larger than expected draw for the headline and distillate components, though the Cushing draw was beneath expectations; for today, consensus is a headline draw pf 2.44mln. Moving to metals where the return of China has seen a resurgence for base metals with LME copper posting upside of nearly 3.0%, for instance. Albeit there is no fresh newsflow for the complex as such, so it remains to be seen how lasting this resurgence will be. Finally, spot gold and silver are firmer but with the magnitude once again favouring silver over the yellow metal. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.7%, prior 2.0% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Rate Decision (Lower Boun, est. 0%, prior 0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap All eyes firmly on China this morning as it reopens following a 2-day holiday. As expected the indices there have opened lower but the scale of the declines are being softened by the PBoC increasing its short term cash injections into the economy. They’ve added a net CNY 90bn into the system. On Evergrande, we’ve also seen some positive headlines as the property developers’ main unit Hengda Real Estate Group has said that it will make coupon payment for an onshore bond tomorrow. However, the exchange filing said that the interest payment “has been resolved via negotiations with bondholders off the clearing house”. This is all a bit vague and doesn’t mention the dollar bond at this stage. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that Chinese authorities have begun to lay the groundwork for a potential restructuring that could be one of the country’s biggest, assembling accounting and legal experts to examine the finances of the group. All this follows news from Bloomberg yesterday that Evergrande missed interest payments that had been due on Monday to at least two banks. In terms of markets the CSI (-1.11%), Shanghai Comp (-0.29%) and Shenzhen Comp (-0.53%) are all lower but have pared back deeper losses from the open. We did a flash poll in the CoTD yesterday (link here) and after over 700 responses in a couple of hours we found only 8% who we thought Evergrande would still be impacting financial markets significantly in a month’s time. 24% thought it would be slightly impacting. The other 68% thought limited or no impact. So the world is relatively relaxed about contagion risk for now. The bigger risk might be the knock on impact of weaker Chinese growth. So that’s one to watch even if you’re sanguine on the systemic threat. Craig Nicol in my credit team did a good note yesterday (link here) looking at the contagion risk to the broader HY market. I thought he summed it up nicely as to why we all need to care one way or another in saying that “Evergrande is the largest corporate, in the largest sector, of the second largest economy in the world”. For context AT&T is the largest corporate borrower in the US market and VW the largest in Europe. Turning back to other Asian markets now and the Nikkei (-0.65%) is down but the Hang Seng (+0.51%) and Asx (+0.58%) are up. South Korean markets continue to remain closed for a holiday. Elsewhere, yields on 10y USTs are trading flattish while futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.10% and those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.21%. Crude oil prices are also up c.+1% this morning. In other news, the Bank of Japan policy announcement overnight was a non-event as the central bank maintained its yield curve target while keeping the policy rate and asset purchases plan unchanged. The central bank also unveiled more details of its green lending program and said that it would immediately start accepting applications and would begin making the loans in December. The relatively calm Asian session follows a stabilisation in markets yesterday following their rout on Monday as investors looked forward to the outcome of the Fed’s meeting later today. That said, it was hardly a resounding performance, with the S&P 500 unable to hold on to its intraday gains and ending just worse than unchanged after the -1.70% decline the previous day as investors remained vigilant as to the array of risks that continue to pile up on the horizon. One of these is in US politics and legislators seem no closer to resolving the various issues surrounding a potential government shutdown at the end of the month, along with a potential debt ceiling crisis in October, which is another flashing alert on the dashboard for investors that’s further contributing to weaker sentiment right now. Looking ahead now, today’s main highlight will be the latest Federal Reserve decision along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference, with the policy decision out at 19:00 London time. Markets have been on edge for any clues about when the Fed might begin to taper asset purchases, but concern about tapering actually being announced at this meeting has dissipated over recent weeks, particularly after the most recent nonfarm payrolls in August came in at just +235k, and the monthly CPI print also came in beneath consensus expectations for the first time since November. In terms of what to expect, our US economists write in their preview (link here) that they see the statement adopting Chair Powell’s language that a reduction in the pace of asset purchases is appropriate “this year”, so long as the economy remains on track. They see Powell maintaining optionality about the exact timing of that announcement, but they think that the message will effectively be that the bar to pushing the announcement beyond November is relatively high in the absence of any material downside surprises. This meeting also sees the release of the FOMC’s latest economic projections and the dot plot, where they expect there’ll be an upward drift in the dots that raises the number of rate hikes in 2023 to 3, followed by another 3 increases in 2024. Back to yesterday, and as mentioned US equity markets fell for a second straight day after being unable to hold on to earlier gains, with the S&P 500 slightly lower (-0.08%). High-growth industries outperformed with biotech (+0.38%) and semiconductors (+0.18%) leading the NASDAQ (+0.22%) slightly higher, however the Dow Jones (-0.15%) also struggled. Europe saw a much stronger performance though as much of the US decline came after Europe had closed. The STOXX 600 gained +1.00% to erase most of Monday’s losses, with almost every sector in the index ending the day in positive territory. With risk sentiment improving for much of the day yesterday, US Treasuries sold off slightly and by the close of trade yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +1.2bps to 1.3226%, thanks to a +1.8bps increase in real yields. However, sovereign bonds in Europe told a different story as yields on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-0.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) moved lower. Other safe havens including gold (+0.59%) and silver (+1.02%) also benefited, but this wasn’t reflected across commodities more broadly, with Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (-0.30%) losing ground for a 4th consecutive session. Democratic Party leaders plan to vote on the Senate-approved $500bn bipartisan infrastructure bill next Monday, even with no resolution to the $3.5tr budget reconciliation measure that encompasses the remainder of the Biden Administration’s economic agenda. Democrats continue to work on the reconciliation measure but have turned their attention to the debt ceiling and government funding bills.Congress has fewer than two weeks before the current budget expires – on Oct 1 – to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Republicans yesterday noted that the Democrats could raise the ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, with many saying that they would not be offering their support to any funding bill. Democrats continue to push for a bipartisan bill to raise the debt ceiling, pointing to their votes during the Trump administration. If Democrats are forced to tie the debt ceiling and funding bills to budget reconciliation, it could limit how much of the $3.5 trillion bill survives the last minute negotiations between progressives and moderates. More to come over the next 10 days. Staying on the US, there was an important announcement in President Biden’s speech at the UN General Assembly, as he said that he would work with Congress to double US funding to poorer nations to deal with climate change. That comes as UK Prime Minister Johnson (with the UK hosting the COP26 summit in less than 6 weeks’ time) has been lobbying other world leaders to find the $100bn per year that developed economies pledged by 2020 to support developing countries as they reduce their emissions and deal with climate change. In Germany, there are just 4 days to go now until the federal election, and a Forsa poll out yesterday showed a slight narrowing in the race, with the centre-left SPD remaining on 25%, but the CDU/CSU gained a point on last week to 22%, which puts them within the +/- 2.5 point margin of error. That narrowing has been seen in Politico’s Poll of Polls as well, with the race having tightened from a 5-point SPD lead over the CDU/CSU last week to a 3-point one now. Turning to the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson reported that their booster shot given 8 weeks after the first offered 100% protection against severe disease, 94% protection against symptomatic Covid in the US, and 75% against symptomatic Covid globally. Speaking of boosters, Bloomberg reported that the FDA was expected to decide as soon as today on a recommendation for Pfizer’s booster vaccine. That follows an FDA advisory panel rejecting a booster for all adults last Friday, restricting the recommendation to those over-65 and other high-risk categories. Staying with the US and vaccines, President Biden announced that the US was ordering 500mn doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be exported to the rest of the world. On the data front, there were some strong US housing releases for August, with housing starts up by an annualised 1.615m (vs. 1.55m expected), and building permits up by 1.728m (vs. 1.6m expected). Separately, the OECD released their Interim Economic Outlook, which saw them upgrade their inflation expectations for the G20 this year to +3.7% (up +0.2ppts from May) and for 2022 to +3.9% (up +0.5ppts from May). Their global growth forecast saw little change at +5.7% in 2021 (down a tenth) and +4.5% for 2022 (up a tenth). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Fed Urged To Fire Officials Over "Pandemic Profiteering"

Fed Urged To Fire Officials Over "Pandemic Profiteering" Two weeks ago, Fed Presidents Robert Kaplan and Eric Rosengren (and to a lesser, though still notable extent, Fed Chair Powell himself) were 'outed' for their multi-million-dollar stock and bond trades, sparking widespread outrage, bolstering claims that not only is the market rigged and manipulated by the Fed but that it is rigged directly for the benefit of Fed members like Kaplan and Rosengren who - whether they intended or not - benefited monetarily from their own decisions and their inside information that nobody else was privy to.. While none of the transactions appears to violate the Fed's code of conduct, CNBC reported, municipal bonds are an asset class that are far more niche that stocks or ETFs.  Officials “should be careful to avoid any dealings or other conduct that might convey even an appearance of conflict between their personal interests, the interests of the system, and the public interest," the Fed's code of conduct says. It was such 'bad optics' that less than two days after the widespread public fury at this grotesque discovery, the presidents of the Federal Reserve banks of Boston and Dallas said they would sell their individual stock holdings by Sept. 30 amid "ethics concerns", and invest the proceeds in diversified index funds or hold them in cash. Kaplan: Data Now Suggest Sept. Taper Announcement, Oct. Start "Dump it all" pic.twitter.com/3ztLyKYXYO — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 8, 2021 While we are sure the Fed officials hoped this would satisfy the ignorant masses... it has not. And as The Wall Street Journal reports, two advocacy groups and a former Fed adviser have said that The Fed should fire at least one (and perhaps both) of the Fed officials over their "pandemic profiteering trading conduct." Better Markets, a group that pushes for tighter financial regulation; the left-leaning Center for Popular Democracy’s Fed Up campaign; and Andrew Levin, a former top Federal Reserve staff member and now a professor at Dartmouth College, are calling for the Fed to take action against Messrs. Kaplan and Rosengren. “It’s time for the Fed to do what leaders are supposed to do:  Lead by example,” Better Markets president and chief executive officer Dennis Kelleher wrote in a letter sent to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Tuesday. Messrs. Kaplan and Rosengren, both should resign or be fired “for having lost the confidence and trust of the American people and, one would think, the Chairman of the U.S. central bank,” Mr. Kelleher said. As The Fed is about to shift policy regimes into a taper of its unprecedented fre-money-gasm-machines, Mr. Kelleher added: “This is no time for the American people to lose confidence and trust in the Fed, which must be above reproach, not set the lowest bar for ethical and legal conduct,” Some Fed watchers say the trading raises questions about who policy was designed to help. “There are a lot of reasons that working people are right to wonder if the Fed has their best interests in mind,” said Benjamin Dulchin, campaign director for Fed Up. “These trades are only the most obvious reason, but it makes it harder for the Fed to do its job,” Mr. Dulchin said, adding if he were Mr. Kaplan or Mr. Rosengren, “I would resign.” There is, however, one man supportive of Kaplan - his predecessor at the Dallas Fed, Rich Fisher, who shrugged off the million-dollar trades as nothing, noting that in fact, Kaplan was "talking against his own book..." "Remember Robert Kaplan was talking against his own book. He's a hawk," says Former Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. pic.twitter.com/hDgIiNyR4s — Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) September 21, 2021 But, 'Dick', actions speak louder than words eh? And now that he has been shamed into cutting all market exposure, who cares whether he is hawkish or dovish - he's made his! Source: NorthmanTrader Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

A Confused Wall Street Reacts To Evergrande"s Debt Payment

A Confused Wall Street Reacts To Evergrande's Debt Payment After two anxiety-filled days during which China was on holiday and traders hammered Hong Kong trader property stocks, contagion fears arising from China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis moderated overnight with mainland stocks declining less than expected on Wednesday as they resumed trading, after Evergrande’s onshore unit unveiled vaguely worded plans to pay interest due Thursday on a yuan bond, while leaving the fate of a $83.5 million offshore bond coupon payment in limbo. As we noted earlier, in its filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the Evergrande unit said that it reached an agreement with yuan bondholders on an interest payment due Sept. 23. It, “has been resolved via negotiations off the clearing house,” but didn’t specify how much or when it will pay the 232m yuan coupon at stake. The language is potentially ominous because under normal circumstances, Chinese bond issuers would simply transfer money to a clearing house to complete payments. The “off-the-clearing house” approach usually means direct but delayed, or partial payment to bondholders. There could even be a lower interest rate involved. In short: it’s one way to avoid being called a defaulter. As Bloomberg's Shen Hong wrote, "Evergrande may have secured bondholders’ agreement with a payment extension or at least succeeded in asking them not to act until compromise is reached, even as it misses the payment due Thursday." In any case, the notice coupled with a 120 billion liquidity injection by the PBOC, the largest since January, and sparking hope that Beijing won't leave the property market in turmoil... ... ushered in relief across markets, with China's CSI 300 Index trimming losses to just 0.7% as of the mid-day lunch break after falling as much as 1.9% at open. Market participants said the development could provide support to stocks battered by regulatory worries, with an injection of short-term cash by the People’s Bank of China also boosting sentiment. In any case, as the sampling of Wall Street reactions to the Evegrande announcement courtesy of Bloomberg shows, responses ranged from the cheerfully optimistic to the downright pragmatic, with some predicting this is the end of the Evergrande drama while others speculating that it is only just starting. Liu Xiaodong, fund manager at Shanghai Power Asset Management Co. “There is evidently a large disparity between what onshore stock investors make of the Evergrande risks and the broader pessimism offshore. I agree with local investors that Evergrande ultimately will not be a systemic risk, and authorities will take action to prevent it from being one, and this difference in attitudes stems from different read of the government need to get involved in risk containment.” “However I don’t think the news today changes much and I won’t be trading much on company headlines since I believe that it will not be systemic and will only affect property and companies in the supply chain.” Jun Rong Yeap, market strategist at IG Asia Pte. “I think we may be seeing a temporary reprieve with some repayments aiding to provide a better-than-expected situation than many would expect. This also comes along with some injection of short-term funds by the PBOC, which suggests that they are monitoring the situation closely and are ready to step in if the economy comes under risks.” Kelvin Wong, analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore) Pte.: Short-term traders or investors that use momentum-driven quantitative strategies “are likely to initiate long positions for a potential mean reversion rebound play plus risk/reward ratio of such trading strategies are attractive at this level,” he said. The Evergrande coupon news “has added another layer of positive feedback loop in terms of short-term sentiment that is likely to prevent the CSI 300 from a much more pronounced decline,” after the Hang Seng Property Index went into oversold territory this week. Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office: Evergrande news “will be helpful and hopefully suppress some of the inevitable volatility and downside after the holiday break. That said for confidence to return more meaningfully will need the market to see sight of the broad restructuring plans for Evergrande.” Thomas Westwater and Daniel Dubrovsky, analyst and strategist at DailyFX: “A liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China accompanied the Evergrande announcement, which only served to bolster sentiment further,” Westwater and Dubrovsky wrote in a note. “Chinese policymakers stopped short of cutting 1- and 5-year loan prime rates, however. For now, it appears that market-wide contagion risk linked to a potential Evergrande collapse is off the table.” James Sullivan, head of Asia Pacific equity research at JPMorgan Chase & Co. told Bloomberg Television: “Evergrande is still likely to default. This is not a company specific issue, this is a structural issue that will impact the entirety of the Chinese developer space but this will not become systemic. We see potential buying opportunities in less leveraged developers with lower inventory levels but we do not see this as a contagion risk for the rest of the region at all.” Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 09:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

JPMorgan Makes An Unexpected Discovery: Delta Variant Only "Half As Infectious As Assumed"

JPMorgan Makes An Unexpected Discovery: Delta Variant Only "Half As Infectious As Assumed" Now that the Delta variant in the US has peaked in terms of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, media fearmongering surrounding the latest round of the covid pandemic has understandably been quietly pulled from the front pages at least until such time the mu variant, or some other virulent strain du jour, makes a triumphant appearance and Fauci is again trotted across the mainstream media to distill a fresh round of fear and set the scene for a new round of restrictions and lockdowns, a cycle that will repeat at least until the mid-term elections which predictably will have to be conducted largely by mail. But while we wait, we wanted to bring attention to a remarkable new analysis from JPMorgan which found that contrary to developed nations, many of which imposed draconian lockdowns, most notably Australia... Source: @ianmSC ... developing nations saw a Delta wave that was "much milder" than anticipated. JPM's discussion and conclusions as to why this may have happened are striking. Taking a step back, over two months ago in early July, JPMorgan wrote a note about EM vulnerabilities to the COVID-19 Delta variant in which it drew attention to seven countries – the Philippines, Peru, Columbia, South Africa, Ecuador, Thailand and Mexico – which at the time looked particularly vulnerable due to a combination of low prevalence of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates. Given the widely accepted assumption that the Delta variant is much more infectious than prior strains of SARS-CoV-2, and given the prevailing trends in vaccination rates, JPMorgan then estimated that the spread of the Delta variant would push up the effective reproduction numbers (Re) significantly in these countries. JPMorgan's concern was that these seven countries would see significant gains in COVID-19 infections which would prompt further restrictive measures on mobility and mixing in some countries (EM Asia) or lead to worsening in public health and confidence in others (Latin America): "we thought that Re in the Philippines would rise from 0.92 to 1.97 as the Delta variant became fully prevalent. At an Re of 0.92 new infections are falling, while at an Re of 1.97 new infections are doubling every six to seven days." What happened next was unexpected: JPMorgan policy research analyst David Mackie found that "the Delta wave was much milder than expected: none of these countries saw the gains in Re that we anticipated." This brings us to the latest note from JPM titled "What happened to the COVID-19 Delta wave in vulnerable EM countries?" in which the bank tries to explain just why it was so wrong with its modeling and assumptions. The bank starts off by showing the evolution of the reproductive numbers (Re) over the past couple of months for these seven countries. While Re did initially rise over the summer as the Delta variant spread, which led to an increase in infections, it was not by as much as expected. While on average, Re was expected to rise by 0.58 from the end of June to the time when the Delta variant was fully prevalent (from 1.07 to 1.65), the average rise was only by 0.24 (from 1.07 to 1.31); in other words, around half of the expected gain in Re did not occur. "How can we explain this shortfall?" JPMorgan's Mackie asks, and answers: There are five areas which could contribute to an explanation: mobility; vaccinations; acquired immunity from infection and recovery, seasonality and the infectiousness of the Delta variant. Starting at the top, JPMorgan points out the obvious: mobility cannot explain the lower than expected Re. Mobility did decline sharply in July in the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand, but these declines were mostly reversed during August. "The short-lived nature of the decline in mobility in these countries implies only a temporary depressing effect on Re" JPM observes and adds that on average across the seven countries, higher mobility contributed 0.16 to the change in Re from the time of our original note to the moment that the Delta variant reached full prevalence. Another possible explanation for the far more moderate-than-expected rise in Re - the preferred explanation of Anthony Fauci - is that actual infections have been much higher than reported infections, which would have introduced more immunity into the populations. This is notable because as JPMorgan then notes, in its analysis the bank takes reported infections and assume that acquired immunity from infection and recovery is the same as from full vaccination. This assumption would make the Biden admin, which sternly refuses to discuss the impact of natural immunity and is desperately trying to force jabs on everyone, quite displeased. Yet this too is hardly the full story: according to JPMorgan, with these assumptions acquired immunity from infection and recovery has pushed down Re by just 0.02, and means that aAlthough actual infections are likely above reported infections, the under-reporting would have to be very large to make the contribution to the change in Re significant in size. That is unlikely. The most likely, and most politically problematic explanation, proposed by JPMorgan is that "the Delta variant may be less infectious than initially assumed." As JPM explains, the impact of infectiousness comes through changes in the basic reproduction number (R0). In the bank's framework, on a forward looking basis it makes assumptions about the level of R0, but on a backward looking basis R0 is the residual given the path of Re is already known. In the bank's original, July  note, it had assumed an R0 of 3.0 for the original wild strain of SARS-CoV-2, 3.9 for the Alpha variant (an increase in infectiousness of 30%) and 5.2 for the Delta variant (a further increase in infectiousness of 33%), in line with what the accepted "science" claimed was reasonable. As JPM further notes, assuming that the Alpha variant was the previously dominant strain, the spread of the Delta variant should have added 1.3 to Re as it moved from zero to full prevalence. But in the event, the implied increase in R0 over the past couple of months has been much less than expected. Table 3 compares JPM's original expectation of the contribution of R0 to the change in Re with its latest estimate of the contribution. On average, the bank finds that "the estimate of the contribution to the change in Re of increased infectiousness of the Delta variant has been 0.56, around half of our initial estimate." What does this mean? Simple: as Mackie explains, "it is very possible that the Delta variant is around half as infectious as initially assumed." While this - JPM exclaims optimistically - would be very positive going forward, and would limit any increase in infections in the coming months, it would be devastating for such institutions as the NIH, not to mention Biden's chief covid advisor, Fauci, whose entire argument since the start is that the delta variant was far more infectious than any of the previous covid variants; it would also once again make a mockery of "the science" which had fully supported the theory that Delta had a far greater infectiousness. Of course by even getting this far, the JPMorgan analyst may have broken most of the most cardinal of taboos of delta variant discussion in "polite society", so we are not surprised that he did not even dare breathe the word "ivermectin" and its use in Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Ecuador, Thailand and Mexico. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 21:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021