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JK Rowling Casts Anti-Doxxing Spell Against Trans Activists In Furious Twitter Thread

JK Rowling Casts Anti-Doxxing Spell Against Trans Activists In Furious Twitter Thread.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Utah"s Largest Newspaper Calls For Unvaxxed To Endure Draconian Lockdowns Enforced By National Guard

Utah's Largest Newspaper Calls For Unvaxxed To Endure Draconian Lockdowns Enforced By National Guard The editorial board of Utah's largest newspaper - the Salt Lake Tribune - which is controlled by the family of former Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., has called for the deployment of the National Guard "to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere." The draconian measure was suggested in a Saturday op-ed titled "Utah leaders have surrendered to COVID pandemic," suggesting that elected officials have failed to mandate the vaccine for all citizens, and that if Utah was a "civilized place" Governor Spencer Cox (R) would treat the unvaccinated (and no mention of the naturally immune) as lepers with severe lockdown mandates. "Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere," the editorial board writes. The board blames "Government officials, mostly but not exclusively Republicans, were apparently determined not to be caught governing in the face of this challenge," adding that "Any move or recommendation to mask up or, when safe and effective vaccines became available, to make vaccination a requirement of admission to public places and society in general was shouted down as an unwarranted imposition on individual freedoms." The Salt Lake City newspaper wants the Utah national guard to not allow unvaccinated people to leave their homes. This is mindless, anti-science insanity — omicron is infecting everyone — but these “journalists” are demanding totalitarianism. And they think they’re the good guys. pic.twitter.com/BYoskGNQ5R — Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 16, 2022 In response to the op-ed, Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson tweeted: "The truth is Omicron is out of control everywhere. Even in places with mask and vaccine mandates. We always push vaccines, but even vaccinated ppl [sic] are catching it. It’s easy to take shots from the cheap seats but this is the sort of nonsense that makes editorial boards irrelevant." (h/t Fox News) The truth is Omicron is out of control everywhere. Even in places with mask and vaccine mandates. We always push vaccines, but even vaccinated ppl are catching it. It’s easy to take shots from the cheap seats but this is the sort of nonsense that makes editorial boards irrelevant pic.twitter.com/Zladdqnulc — Deidre Henderson (@DeidreHenderson) January 15, 2022 All in the family... As Zero Hedge reader Paul W. notes, "Former Utah R Governor, Jon Hunstman, Jr. directly controls the Salt Lake Tribune through the Huntsman Family Investment vehicle. The SL Tribune is a non profit that is wholly owned and controlled by the Hustmans. "Jon's brother, Paul, is the Chair of the Editorial board at the Tribune," he continued, adding: "The Hunstmans are implicitly calling for violence against unvaxxed Americans." Former Orinn Hatch staffer, Utah senator Matt Whitlock summed it up: "Use the national guard to prevent unvaccinated from going anywhere?! That would be more draconian than any state in the country - how do they think things are going in Australia? The Trib editorial board is absolute garbage." Use the national guard to prevent unvaccinated from going anywhere?! That would be more draconian than any state in the country - how do they think things are going in Australia? The Trib editorial board is absolute garbage. — Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) January 15, 2022 Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 13:07.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Taibbi: Vaccine Aristocrats Strike Again

Taibbi: Vaccine Aristocrats Strike Again Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, Jimmy Kimmel Live, fast becoming Leonid Brezhnev’s never-realized dream of a Soviet Tonight Show, just put out a high-effort gag called “Anti-Vax Barbie.” It’s impressively on-message: Introducing Anti-Vax Barbie! pic.twitter.com/sf6NJ4qtF2 — Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) January 11, 2022 The skit begins with jazzy VO: “There’s a new doll in town and the fun is contagious. It’s Anti-Vax Barbie! She’s STRONG. She’s INDEPENDENT. She doesn’t trust SCIENCE!” In a shirt reading, I CALL MY OWN SHOTS, Barbie drawls, “Bill Gates is the Antichrist!” The doll even “comes with a computer so she can do her own research!” (We see Barbie typing and twanging, “Sez here Moderna turns yer teeth Jewish!”). When you take Anti-Vax Barbie shopping, she attacks the cashier who demands she wear a mask, while another Barbie in a shirt reading PFIZER TELLS LIEZERS films the besieged worker and yells, “I’m reporting you, bitch, you’re going to jail!” You can also take Barbie “to the stables,” where she’ll chug ivermectin! Moreover, the only “man-date” this Barbie cares about is “with her proud boyfriend Ken,” who wears a “Let’s Go Brandon” tee and can’t hear his Barbie-pal — the one dressed in JOHNSON AND JOHNSON IS SATAN AND SATAN shirt — because he’s listening to Alex Jones tell him the truth about monoclonal antibodies. The kicker is a hoot: Exclusively sold in Florida and Kentucky! Barbie dream ventilator sold separately! Mocking the hayseeds is always fun, but what a bonus, when you can jack off some of TV’s biggest advertisers at the same time! Kimmel’s riff came as Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik ran a piece entitled, “Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary.” The priceless part about Hiltzik’s column: he makes a whole range of arguments about why mockery may be “necessary,” but never gets around to saying that laughing at dead anti-vaxxers is actually funny. These people have such shit instincts for humor, they can only embrace it as political necessity. They’re like Putinites who have to chant, “Remember the mammoths!” to get young people to have sex. The spectacle of posh celebs sneering at hicks who won’t take the jab has been compelling theater for a while now, especially since the smartypants act has often come packaged in outrageous errors. Whether it’s MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid suggesting horse paste eaters clogging emergency rooms in Oklahoma be stuck at the back of the line for leaving “gunshot victims” untreated (there were no gunshot victims, the story turned out to be bunk), or Goldman analyst-turned-CNN-anchor Erin Burnett joining imperious colleagues Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Bakari Sellers, Jim Acosta, and industry mascot Brian Stelter in blasting Joe Rogan for taking a drug “intended for livestock” (Rogan’s human ivermectin dose was prescribed by a doctor), or even Joe Biden announcing he was mandating vaccines for health care workers so you can have “certainty” they can’t “spread it to you” (they can still spread it to you), the endless campaign of maladroit scolding almost seems designed to make fence-sitters refuse the shot out of spite, confusion, or both. While the shame campaign has been a catastrophe as public health strategy, it has been effective as aristocratic misdirection, a way to keep the public’s eyes off the vault. Maybe that’s what it’s for. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 15:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022

Is Geopolitics The Big Market Risk We"re Missing?

Is Geopolitics The Big Market Risk We're Missing? Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “Address all your skill and the valour of my soldiers to exterminate the treacherous English and walk all over General French’s contemptible little army…” Markets are up and down, and the noise is focused on Covid, Central Banks, Inflation and Tech stocks. But… perhaps the big risks lie elsewhere. Where are Geopolitics headed? Faceoffs in Ukraine and Taiwan have the potential to completely derail markets. Looking at bond and stock prices there is a rising sense markets might finally have peaked. Some of the conviction underlying strength, the likely support of central banks, and the buy-the-dip games of last year, feel like it’s evaporated. There are plenty of opinions and concerns about the inflation/stagflation threat, worries about globalisation and what the pandemic might or might not still do to us. It’s easy to figure why markets are nervous today, but they might just as well be ecstatic tomorrow if these fears and tensions subside – which will likely prove the case when Covid is beaten! As always, I take the middle road: “Things are never as bad as you fear, but seldom as good as you hope”. Now is a time for patience – waiting the current misty market front to pass through, and for the path ahead to become clearer, which post pandemic (which I hope is sooner than we expect) the situation may look very good again. But, But and But again…. When things look good… look for bad… One aspect that doesn’t seem to be getting quite as much focus and attention as it probably should is Geopolitics – and the specific risks global tension zones could suddenly turn hot, specifically Taiwan and Ukraine. Speaking to clients yesterday – everyone had a multiplicity of views on stocks, covid, credit, bonds and inflation, but no one was really talking about the destabilisation risks of global tension and conflict. And that’s probably a mistake as things look likely to come to head soon in Ukraine and the South China Seas. Maybe we discount the geopolitical threats because we like to focus on the threats we understand and can predict. We can make a decent stab at explaining predicted inflation – considering every little detail like CPI, the pace of innovation and long-term demographics, to put together well constructed arguments. We can look logically at individual stocks and sectors and make educated assumptions on business models, profits and fundamental returns. We can look at volatility and bond yields and come up with risk assumptions about correlations across markets. But watching Europe, the US, China and Russia and trying to predict how they will behave – especially in today’s fraxious market – is like watching a game of poker in a darkened room. You have some idea of who holds what cards, but no idea on how they might play them. We can make all kinds of assumptions about the motivations, the relative military and political strengths, and the weaknesses of each player – we really don’t know what makes them tick, what their respective appetites for risk might be, their ultimate objectives, or what they are prepared to do to achieve them. So, this morning, I shall go off-piste on one my irregular jaunts into an area where I have no particular knowledge or experience of – although I might have some pretty good contacts. Weigh the risks and what the potential scenarios mean. Actual hostilities would doubtless absolutely challenge markets – triggering a massive flight to quality: buy Gold and Treasuries. In such an environment you can forget about Crypto-currencies. People will want real assets. Power for computers may become dicey, and the Russians might just press the destruct button to discombobulate crypto markets/shams in order to ferment domestic dissent in the West from furious meme-stock traders who will think they’ve been robbed! Hot wars are always a classic sell the fact moment, before turning into a potential buy moment as the news develops, if/when peace is achieved or, hopefully, the west triumphs. But will it actually happen? Nobody really expects conflict… do they? That’s exactly what we thought in August 1914 and March 1938. Conflicts can take years to quietly fester and brew, but can turn hot in an instant on a miscalculation. It would be a mistake to think the chances of conflict are purely down to current personalities. Distrust of Russia has characterised the West for centuries – they may be European, but they are very very different. (Personally, on the individual level Russians are great fun and I like them, but they can be very dark..) The Chinese are a very different prospect, but their 4000 years of continuous history illustrates that no Emperor or Dynasty ever sits easy on throne – whatever President Xi may think he has acheived. Let’s try and think about the threats… I read about the Chinese building full-scale mobile mock-ups of a Gerald Ford class US Aircraft Carrier and escort vessels in the vastness of Xinjiang’s Taklamakan desert. They are there so the Chinese can send a clear “do not interfere in Taiwan” warning. These targets will be taken out by China’s 1000 mile range DF-21D “ship-killer” missiles as a demonstration of their power projection. The Chinese believe their missiles are an effective way to deny the US from supporting for Taiwan. That matters, if conjecturally, China’s was able to “manufacture” an incident where suborned domestic politicians called for Chinese “peace-keepers” to protect the populace from an Anti-China coup. China would make the usual noise about it being a domestic issue and warn others to stay away. But, the US Navy may disagree the missiles are an effective area-denial weapon. Taking out a number of undefended mock-ups in a desert is terribly clever, but the US Navy’s Carrier task forces are very well defended. They are working on anti-ballistic missile systems (ABM) to take down the missiles during their 15 minute flight, and can probably already disrupt the telemetry and systems guiding the missiles. Then the missiles have to get through F-18 fighters ABM screen, the Arleigh Burke class air defence destroyers and their ABM systems, and the final phalanx systems. The Chinese will probably have to swamp each task force with multiple missiles to ensure “mission kills” (sinking carriers is actually very difficult – as the US Navy found when they sank the USS Kitty Hawk to become a reef.) But each carrier has a crew of 6000 – and the American’s will be loath to risk them. The danger is an attack on a task force steaming to the defence of Taiwan could rapidly escalate. Neither side would be minded to back down. The missiles 15 minute flight gives the US time to warn off Beijing and threaten to launch a first Nuclear strike. The Chinese simply don’t have the warheads to match an American attack – although they are rapidly building more. Missiles in the South China Sea could turn hot in moments. Meanwhile, the Ukraine is a major challenge to the West and Russia. There is an article in the Washington Post well worth reading if your want the background: “Russia’s rifts with the West keep growing. How did we get there.” It reads like something out of the inglorious summer of 1914. Sit back and analyse it and both sides have backed each other into a corner. If the West sits back and lets Putin “intervene/invade” where would that leave Nato’s credibility? Putin has little alternative to look big to maintain his strong-man image. Historically, Ukraine is the road to Moscow, and its inconceivable it could end up in the hands of Nato.  He wants Ukraine back in the Russian fold and a key part, alongside Belarus, of Moscow’s security buffer. Last week’s abortive revolution in Kazakhstan may have caught Putin by surprise, but if it was a manufactured warning from the West not to interfere in Ukraine by reminding Russia just how week some allied nations are, then it was a mistake. Its already served as an opportunity for Putin to stamp it out with Russian troops, rally his close states, forcibly reminding them who is charge, and committing them to his narrative. Putin has repeatedly said he has no intention of invasion, successfully convincing the West he will. America has no boots on the ground, but is making a great deal of noise about the sanctions and “very angry letters telling Vladmir how angry they are” if he were to cross the border. And if Putin invades, his armies may well be tested. Ukraine’s military are not expected to last long. On the other hand, in December the Russians staged a dramatic paradrop assault exercise on the Ukraine border – but what Nato Analysts saw was a Russian Airforce short of transports and logistical support. Long-term it may even be in the West’s interest to let Putin in – although the short-term credibility costs would be huge. The conspicuous domestic wealth of the west, and relative lack of popular support for authoritarian Putin dependent regimes in the satellite states (Belarus and Kazakhstan, and Ukraine if it’s taken) could prove a major cost and challenge for Russia in the future. And there is no way Russia can afford these costs if it’s under renewed American sanction. Clearly any serious examination of the geopolitics of today’s market can’t be done in a couple of pages in the Morning Porridge, but I hope it makes you think. I haven’t even mentioned the raw materials and commodities dimension in regard to China, or the potential alliance that seems be forming between Putin and his “new best friend” Xi. And I haven’t mentioned the potential no-see-um: Iran… What if Iran, encouraged under the radar by Xi and Putin, decides to go rogue in the Middle East? Ouch…. The message is simple – don’t discount the geopolitical background to the current markets. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 13:09.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2022

13 eye-opening essays from Black writers to read to understand America"s problems with race

From Ida B. Wells to James Baldwin to Ta-Nehisi Coates, these free works by Black authors give important context for what's going on in the US now. Crystal M. Fleming, author and associate professor of sociology and Africana Studies at SUNY Stony Brook, recommended works by Ida B. Wells and James Baldwin.Crystal Fleming Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important time to keep educating yourself on racism in the US. Black literature experts shared their top nonfiction essay and article picks on race. The list includes "A Report from Occupied Territory" by James Baldwin. In the weeks after the killings of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, many Americans rushed to purchase books on race and executives scrambled to hold town halls on racism. The spiked interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion was promising, but it needs to continue if long-term change is to happen, consultants told Insider. Part of that process includes educating yourself. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday dedicated to remembering the Civil Rights leader, is an important time to do that. Insider asked Black literary and historical experts to share their favorite works of journalism on race by Black authors. Here are the top pieces they recommended everyone read, including a piece by King himself.This article was originally published in February 2021. "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases" and "The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States" by Ida B. WellsIda B. Wells, pictured here in 1920.Chicago History Museum/Getty ImagesIn 1892, investigative journalist, activist, and NAACP founding member Ida B. Wells began to publish her research on lynching in a pamphlet titled "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases." Three years later, she followed up with more research and detail in "The Red Record." Shirley Moody-Turner, associate Professor of English and African American Studies at Penn State University recommended everyone read these two texts, saying they hold "many parallels to our own moment."  "In these two pamphlets, Wells exposes the pervasive use of lynching and white mob violence against African American men and women. She discredits the myths used by white mobs to justify the killing of African Americans and exposes Northern and international audiences to the growing racial violence and terror perpetrated against Black people in the South in the years following the Civil War," Moody-Turner told Business Insider. Read  "Southern Horrors" here and "The Red Record" here>>"The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi CoatesWriter and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, testified about reparations for the descendants of slaves during a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee in June 2019.Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesTa-Nehisi Coates, best-selling author and national correspondent for The Atlantic, made waves when he published his 2014 article "The Case for Reparations," in which he called for "collective introspection" on reparations for Black Americans subjected to centuries of racism and violence. "In his now famed essay for The Atlantic, journalist, author, and essayist, Ta-Nehisi Coates traces how slavery, segregation, and discriminatory racial policies underpin ongoing and systemic economic and racial disparities," Moody-Turner said. "Coates provides deep historical context punctuated by individual and collective stories that compel us to reconsider the case for reparations," she added.  Read it here>>"The Idea of America" by Nikole Hannah-Jones and the "1619 Project" by The New York TimesReporter Nikole Hannah-Jones attends The 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony in 2016.Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Peabody AwardsIn "The Idea of America," Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones traces America's history from 1619 onward, the year slavery began in the US. She explores how the history of slavery is inseparable from the rise of America's democracy in her essay that's part of The New York Times' larger "1619 Project," which is the outlet's ongoing project created in 2019 to re-examine the impact of slavery in the US. "In her unflinching look at the legacy of slavery and the underside of American democracy and capitalism, Hannah-Jones asks, 'what if America understood, finally, in this 400th year, that we [Black Americans] have never been the problem but the solution,'" said Moody-Turner, who recommended readers read the whole "1619 Project" as well. Read "The Idea of America" here and the rest of the "1619 Project here>>"Many Thousands Gone" by James BaldwinJames Baldwin is best known for his works "Notes of a Native Son," "The Fire Next Time" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain."Jean-Regis Rouston/Roger Viollet/Getty ImagesIn "Many Thousands Gone," James Arthur Baldwin, American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist lays out how white America is not ready to fully recognize Black people as people. It's a must read, according to Jimmy Worthy II, assistant professor of English at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst."Baldwin's essay reminds us that in America, the very idea of Black persons conjures an amalgamation of specters, fears, threats, anxieties, guilts, and memories that must be extinguished as part of the labor to forget histories deemed too uncomfortable to remember," Worthy said.Read it here>>"Letter from a Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King Jr.Martin Luther King Jr. was the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.GettyOn April 13 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights activists were arrested after peaceful protest in Birmingham, Alabama. In jail, King penned an open letter about how people have a moral obligation to break unjust laws rather than waiting patiently for legal change. In his essay, he expresses criticism and disappointment in white moderates and white churches, something that's not often focused on in history textbooks, Worthy said."King revises the perception of white racists devoted to a vehement status quo to include white moderates whose theories of inevitable racial equality and silence pertaining to racial injustice prolong discriminatory practices," Worthy said. Read it here>>"The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" by Audre LordeAfrican-American writer, feminist, poet and civil-rights activist Audre Lorde poses for a photograph during her 1983 residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.Robert Alexander/Getty ImagesAudre Lorde, African American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist asks readers to not be silent on important issues. This short, rousing read is crucial for everyone according to Thomonique Moore, a 2016 graduate of Howard University, founder of Books&Shit book club, and an incoming Masters' candidate at Columbia University's Teacher's College. "In this essay, Lorde explains to readers the importance of overcoming our fears and speaking out about the injustices that are plaguing us and the people around us. She challenges us to not live our lives in silence, or we risk never changing the things around us," Moore said. Read it here>>"The First White President" by Ta-Nehisi CoatesCoates is the author of several books including "Between the World and Me" and "The Water Dancer."Associated PressThis essay from the award-winning journalist's book "We Were Eight Years in Power," details how Trump, during his presidency, employed the notion of whiteness and white supremacy to pick apart the legacy of the nation's first Black president, Barack Obama.Moore said it was crucial reading to understand the current political environment we're in. Read it here>>"Just Walk on By" by Brent StaplesDirector Roger Ross Williams and New York Times writer Brent Staples speak in 2019 in Park City, Utah.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for The New York TimesIn this essay, Brent Staples, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer for The New York Times, hones in on the experience of racism against Black people in public spaces, especially on the role of white women in contributing to the view that Black men are threatening figures.  For Crystal M. Fleming, associate professor of sociology and Africana Studies at SUNY Stony Brook, his essay is especially relevant right now. "We see the relevance of his critique in the recent incident in New York City, wherein a white woman named Amy Cooper infamously called the police and lied, claiming that a Black man — Christian Cooper — threatened her life in Central Park. Although the experience that Staples describes took place decades ago, the social dynamics have largely remained the same," Fleming told Business Insider. Read it here>>"I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman" by Tressie McMillan CottomTressie McMillan Cottom at the 70th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner in November 2019.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesTressie McMillan Cottom is an author, associate professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and a faculty affiliate at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. In this essay, Cottom shares her gut-wrenching experience of racism within the healthcare system. Fleming called this piece an "excellent primer on intersectionality" between racism and sexism, calling Cottom one of the most influential sociologists and writers in the US today. Read it here>>"A Report from Occupied Territory" by James BaldwinJames Baldwin lived from 1924 to 1987.Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty ImagesBaldwin's "A Report from Occupied Territory" was originally published in The Nation in 1966. It takes a hard look at violence against Black people in the US, specifically police brutality. "Baldwin's work remains essential to understanding the depth and breadth of anti-black racism in our society. This essay — which touches on issues of racialized violence, policing and the role of the law in reproducing inequality — is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand just how much has not changed with regard to police violence and anti-Black racism in our country," Fleming told Business Insider. Read it here>>"I'm From Philly. 30 Years Later, I'm Still Trying To Make Sense Of The MOVE Bombing" by Gene DembyGene Demby pictured here with his colleague NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates in 2019.JC Olivera/Getty ImagesOn May 13, 1985, a police helicopter dropped a bomb on the MOVE compound in Philadelphia, which housed members of the MOVE, a black liberation group founded in 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Eleven people, including five children, died in the airstrike. In this essay, Gene Demby, co-host and correspondent for NPR's Code Switch team, tries to wrap his head around the shocking instance of police violence against Black people. "I would argue that the fact that police were authorized to literally bomb Black citizens in their own homes, in their own country, is directly relevant to current conversations about militarized police and the growing movement to defund and abolish policing," Fleming said. Read it here>>Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Glenn Beck says he has caught COVID-19 again and it"s "getting into my lungs"

The former Fox News host hasn't been vaccinated and is currently taking ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug that hasn't been proven effective. American commentator Glenn Beck speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 10, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.Getty Images Glenn Beck said he has COVID-19 for the second time and this time it's "getting into my lungs."  The unvaccinated conservative host said he is currently taking ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and fluvoxamine.  Beck — who first caught COVID-19 in December 2020 — told Mark Levin this week that he is "not concerned."  Conservative host Glenn Beck said he has caught COVID-19 for the second time — and said this week that the virus is "getting into my lungs." "It's a lighter case, but it's now starting to get into my lungs today. [It's] a little disturbing," he told Mark Levin during Levin's daily radio show on Wednesday.Beck said he has had COVID-19 for about a week and while he is not getting worse, he is not getting better yet. "I'm not going downhill. I'm feeling better, it's just getting into my lungs. You want to avoid that," Beck said, occasionally coughing during the interview. Beck has not been vaccinated against the virus, but told Levin he is "on all the medication and treatment."Beck said he was taking the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as well as hydroxychloroquine, and fluvoxamine. The drugs — which have been championed by anti-vaccine activists and skeptics — have not been proven effective against COVID-19 and haven't been approved by federal regulators for use to treat the disease."My doctors are hitting it really hard," Beck said during the radio show. "This is basic science, this is basic medicine," Beck said of the medications he is taking to fight his virus. "I am not concerned about it, I'm really not," Beck told Levin. "I am just done with this whole COVID thing." Beck added that he hasn't taken monoclonal antibodies, claiming the COVID-19 treatment "doesn't seem to be working for the new strain."But in his Instagram post announcing his positive COVID-19 test, Beck seemed to express interest in getting the treatment, slamming the Biden administration for not making it more available."WHY CAN MY DOCTOR GIVE ME THE TREATMENT HE AND MANY OTHER DR's Believe in," he wrote. "Why is it we are out of the Monoclonal antibody treatment?"Beck first had COVID-19 in December 2020, he wrote on Instagram.  A post shared by Glenn Beck (@glennbeck)  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

German police used a tracing app to scout crime witnesses. Some fear that’s fuel for covid conspiracists.

Apparent misuse of the Luca tracing app could hinder public health efforts by providing additional fodder for anti-government activists who believe coronavirus-related conspiracy theories......»»

Category: topSource: washpostJan 13th, 2022

Column: Mocking anti-vaxxers" COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary

How should we think about anti-vaccine activists who die from COVID?How should we think about anti-vaccine activists who die from COVID?.....»»

Category: topSource: latimesJan 13th, 2022

Bulgarians Storm Parliament To Protest COVID "Green" Pass

Bulgarians Storm Parliament To Protest COVID "Green" Pass The latest example of public unrest triggered by new government-imposed restrictions unfolded Wednesday in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, as thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Parliament building to demand that the government walk back new COVID-related restrictions. During the demonstration, protesters reportedly tried to storm the the Bulgarian parliament building. They insisted that lawmakers abandon a "mandatory" health pass. Protesters, many of whom traveled via bus for the rally, pushed back a police cordon around Parliament until they reached the front doors of the building. Footage of the rally circulated on Twitter: 12/01/22 .. manifestações contra pass sanitário.. #NoPass.. Sofia Bulgária pic.twitter.com/Y454mFJQ82 — ForçaPoderHonra (@florzinhaapime1) January 12, 2022 Bulgaria today, anti-mandate protestors vs the police. Hello to the new normal.pic.twitter.com/UYyR9Sqfvq — Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) January 12, 2022 The crowd stopped just short of breaking in before demanding that lawmakers come outside to hear their demands while waving national flags (as well as flags of the ultra-nationalist Revival party "I do not approve of the green certificates. I do not approve that the children are being stopped from attending classes. I do not see the logic of these things,” 39-year old engineer Asparuh Mitov told Reuters at the start of the rally. Bulgarians have to wear masks indoors and on public transport and show a health pass, given to people who are vaccinated, recovered or who have tested negative for the virus, to get into restaurants, cafes and shopping malls and gyms. The pass is similar to the "green" pass being used in nearby Italy. As the least vaccinated country in the EU, Bulgaria reported a record number of new infections on Wednesday, a surge that scientists said was partly due to omicron. The country reported more than 7K new confirmed cases over the 24 hours to Wednesday. Source: Worldometer Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who took office last month and pledged to increase the rate vaccinations, told a local TV channel that he regretted he could not meet with the protesters, but was ready to do so on Friday, when he will be finished quarantining after a recent COVID exposure. Petkov, President Rumen Radev and senior ministers went into self-isolation after a participant at a security meeting they attended on Monday tested positive for the coronavirus. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 02:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

Reddit Allows Hate Speech to Flourish in Its Global Forums, Moderators Say

Reddit moderators around the world say that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, misinformation and personal threats are running rampant on the site When Reddit moderator asantos3 clicked on a thread inside the group r/Portugueses in December and found it full of racist comments, he wasn’t exactly surprised. The group is often home to nationalist and nativist rhetoric, and in this instance, users here were responding angrily to a new law that allowed increased freedom of movement between Portuguese-speaking countries including African nations like Mozambique and Angola. “Wonderful, more stupid Blacks to rob me in the street,” read one comment in Portuguese, which received 19 likes. “This Africanization of Portugal can only lead the country to a third-world backwardness,” read another. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] So, asantos3, who moderates the much larger and more mainstream group r/Portugal, quickly sent a report to Reddit staffers with a link to the thread. Within minutes, he received an automated response: “After investigating, we’ve found that the reported content doesn’t violate Reddit’s Content Policy.” The response was disappointing but predictable for asantos3, who has served as a volunteer content moderator for six years. As part of his duties, he deletes comments that contain racism, homophobia, sexism and other policy violations, and sends reports to Reddit about hate speech coming from smaller satellite groups like r/Portugeses. Asantos3 spoke on the condition that he would be identified only by his Reddit handle. He says his duties have led to him being doxxed—with personal details including his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles posted online— and threatened. And asantos3 says that the company itself has repeatedly ignored reports of harassment from him and other moderators. “We mostly stopped reporting stuff, because we don’t have feedback,” he says. “We have no idea if they read our reports, or if there are even Portuguese-speaking people in the company.” Reddit’s problem is a global one, say current and former moderators. Indian subreddits like r/chodi and r/DesiMeta include Islamophobic posts and calls for the genocide of Muslims. In subreddits about China like r/sino and r/genzedong, users attack Uyghurs and promote violence against them. And members of r/Portugueses regularly traffic in anti-Black, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant sentiment. READ MORE: The Subreddit /r/Collapse Has Become the Doomscrolling Capital of the Internet. Can Its Users Break Free? “Anything outside the anglosphere is pretty much ignored, to be honest,” 11th Dimension, a former moderator of r/Portugal who stepped down from his role due to burnout, says. “It’s hard to convey to the company what’s racist and what’s not when the admins are so far from the details and the cultural differences.” TIME spoke to 19 Reddit moderators around the world who shared similar stories and concerns about the San-Francisco-based company’s reluctance to control hate-speech in its non-English language forums. Nearly all of the moderators agreed to speak on the condition that their real names would not be published because they say they have received death threats and other attacks online for their work. This all-volunteer corps of moderators, of which there are at least tens of thousands, is only growing in importance for the company. Reddit announced in December that it intends to make an initial public offering of stock in 2022. The company was recently valued at $10 billion, is one of the 25 most visited websites in the world according to multiple trackers and has made its international expansion a key aspect of its post-IPO growth strategy. But some of its most devoted users—its unpaid moderators—argue that while the company aims to be the “front page of the internet,” it has not invested in the infrastructure to combat vile content that is rife on many of its non-English language pages. Reddit has acknowledged that its expansion to international markets makes policing its platform more difficult, and some moderators said the company has taken steps in recent months to correct the longstanding problems. “When we begin to open in non-English speaking countries, moderation does get more complex,” a Reddit spokesperson said in a statement to TIME. “We are investing now to build and hire for non-English capabilities and add support for more languages.” READ MORE: Facebook Let an Islamophobic Conspiracy Theory Flourish in India Despite Employees’ Warnings These problems are not unique to Reddit. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have each struggled to contain hate speech and misinformation as they pushed into new markets around the world. Facebook groups and posts, for example, have been linked to real-world violence in India, the Philippines, Myanmar and other countries even as the platform spends billions of dollars a year on safety and security. This year, other Silicon Valley companies will be watching closely as Reddit embarks on a precarious balancing act: to gain legitimacy and generate revenue while retaining its freewheeling, decentralized structure. Can the company preserve free speech while protecting its users? And will its model of running a lean operation with few paid staffers allow it to adapt to the responsibilities of hosting growing, diverse communities around the world? More from TIME Many moderators and analysts are skeptical. “Reddit has very little incentive to do anything about problems [in subreddits] because they see them as a self-governing problem,” Adrienne Massanari, an associate professor at American University who has been studying Reddit for years and wrote a book on its communities, says. “They’re creating a very successful business model in pushing work to moderators and users, who have to be exposed to horrific stuff.” Using dog whistles to get around the rules Zach Gibson—Getty ImagesReddit Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman looks on during a hearing with the House Communications and Technology and House Commerce Subcommittees on Oct. 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The hearing investigated measures to foster a healthier internet and protect consumers. Reddit, founded in 2005, is essentially a messaging board, but it could be compared to a high school extracurriculars fair. The site comprises hundreds of self-contained forums arranged by varied interests, from sports to makeup to art to pets. While many of these subreddits are innocuous, it’s no secret that Reddit has long been a haven for unseemly behavior. Reddit CEO, Steve Huffman, even explicitly stated in 2018 that racism was not against Reddit’s rules, elaborating that “on Reddit there will be people with beliefs different from your own, sometimes extremely so.” However, over the two years—following intense criticism rained down on the company over its hate speech and harassment policies, including in the wake of the murder of George Floyd—the company backed away from its original hands-off ethos and has been hard at work to clean up its communities and clamp down on noxious, racist behavior. Toxic communities like r/The_Donald have been banned; AI-powered tools aimed at curbing hate speech and abuse have been rolled out; backchannels between moderators and company employees have been established. READ MORE: Reddit Places a ‘Quarantine’ on The_Donald, Its Largest Community of Trump Supporters But many non-English moderators say that cleanup has not extended to the pages they monitor. R/India is one of the largest national subreddits, with 693,000 members. There, users will typically find a fairly tame mix of news links, memes and local photos. That’s partly down to the hard work of unpaid moderators to remove Islamophic content. A group of five r/India moderators, speaking to TIME over a Zoom call, say they can spend several hours a day actively responding to queries, removing hate speech and banning rogue accounts. (Old moderators approve the applications of new ones; the primary draws of the gig, according to moderators, are community-building and the ability to help shape a discourse.) One moderator for r/India has served in his role since 2011, when there was a more laissez-faire approach. Moderators soon realized that a hands-off moderation style “wasn’t working because it allowed the worst people to dominate the conversations,” he says. “There would be lots of people just saying things like ‘Muslims need to die.’” When moderators began to block these users, some would simply return with a new account and taunt them, creating an endless game of whack-a-mole. Moderators say they saw other users instead start or join offshoot groups that allowed more controversial posts. The largest of those r/India offshoots currently is r/Chodi, which was created in 2019 and has 90,000 members who create hundreds of posts a day. R/Chodi—which translates as a crude slang in Hindi—contains ample examples of far-right Hindu nationalism that often spills over into hate speech and sectarian bigotry. Dozens of posts a week denigrate Islam, often depicting Muslims as ignorant, violent or incestuous. “Poorer, dumber, breeding like rats. They’ve got it all,” one post says about Muslims in India, which is still online. “India needs to eliminate them before they rise up,” read another, which has since been deleted. (R/Chodi’s increased popularity has coincided with a steep rise in religious hate crimes in India.) As r/Chodi has faced criticism from communities like r/AgainstHateSpeech, the group’s own moderators have made efforts to halt the most overt examples of hate speech, including creating a list of banned words. But r/Chodi posters have simply turned to code words and increasingly slippery rhetoric, to get around the moderators and Reddit’s AI-driven natural language processing techniques, according to r/India moderators. Muslims are referred to using coded language such as “Abduls,” “Mull@s,” “K2as,” or, derisively, “Peace loving” people. Christians are referred to as “Xtians”; while Pakistan is called “Porkistan.” Reddit said in a statement that automation and machine learning “help moderators remove 99% of reported hateful content.” But, studies have shown that AI is far less powerful when working outside the language it was designed in. The moderators who spoke with TIME say they have tried to flag these alternative slurs to the Reddit administrators, paid employees who are largely based in the U.S., but have been mostly ignored. “I have tried to report these comments 20 or 30 times, easily,” a second r/India moderator says. “I’ve tried to collate these slurs and send them the translations, but it was never even replied to.” In a statement responding to the moderator’s claim, Reddit wrote that “harassment, bullying, and threats of violence or content that promotes hate based on identity or vulnerability” are prohibited on the platform and that they “review and work with communities that may engage in such behavior, including the subreddit in question.” Extremists around the world use code words in a way similar to the users of r/Chodi. The user DubTeeDub—who moderates r/AgainstHateSubreddits and wrote a widely shared open letter last year excoriating racism on the platform and demanding change—says that Reddit’s administrators have failed to keep up with racists’ constantly evolving dog whistles, such as Neo-Nazis putting Jewish names in triple parentheses to signal their identity. “It’s very clearly a white supremacist symbol, but the admins will just say, ‘that seems fine to me,’ and they’ll ignore it,” DubTeeDub, says. But the moderators of r/India feel that Reddit is not only allowing hate speech to spread on r/Chodi and other similar groups, but actively pushing users toward the group. They have found posts from r/Chodi within r/India itself, algorithmically suggested as “posts you may like” and giving the subreddit a veneer of tacit official approval. “These are very hateful subs, and we don’t want our subscribers going there,” a second r/India moderator says. “They can discover them on their own, but that should not be happening from inside our sub.” Reddit’s volunteer moderators face threats The fraught interplay between r/India and r/Chodi is emblematic of cat-and-mouse games playing out in subreddits in other parts of the world, especially as far-right political groups amass power in many countries and gain legions of followers. In Portugal, r/Portugueses (6,900 members) is filled with anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric, homophobia, and racist depictions of Africans. “How is it possible for someone to want to see a place like this full of Africans, Brazilians, Indians and I don’t know what else?” posted one commenter alongside an idyllic illustration of a Portuguese town. A screenshot from the Reddit community r/Portugueses, which often includes anti-Black, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant sentiment. “How is it possible for someone to want to see a place like this full of Africans, Brazilians, Indians, and I don’t know what else?,” the caption reads in Portuguese. Concerned moderators have attempted to report these posts and, in turn, become targets of abuse. One of the most common tactics is for zealous users to band together and report moderators for invented reasons in an effort to get them suspended or banned by unsuspecting admins. DubTeeDub says these types of tactics have led to his suspension at least seven times. But the attacks often turn much more personal and vicious, as trolls dig up moderators’ personal information. Asantos3, the r/Portugal moderator, says he’s been stalked across LinkedIn and Instagram. One user offered Bitcoin to anyone who could find out his address. “It’s so weird, but some of these actions are so common that we kind of ignore them now,” he says. In Brazil, a São Paulo-based student and r/Brasil moderator who gave his name as Tet said he was threatened and doxxed when he and other moderators tried to crack down on the hate speech on r/Brasilivre (176,000 members), on which users post transphobia, anti-Black racism and homophobic slurs. “Stay smart because we’re watching you. Don’t think I’m the only one,” wrote one commenter in Portuguese. “I will find each one of you and kill you slowly.” Another user posted Tet’s address and personal Facebook account, writing, “Just let the hate flow and f— with them… bring trouble to their lives.” Neither of those posters have active accounts anymore, and Tet has since stopped moderating the subreddit partly due to burnout. Perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a high level of fatigue among moderators, who are often forced to see the worst aspects of Reddit on a daily basis. One r/India moderator tells TIME that women are especially vulnerable to harassment. “I know female mods are regularly hounded, targeted, not given space: it’s not a place to identify as a woman,” he says. How Reddit can move forward Many other social media platforms are struggling to balance free speech ideals with the aggressive spread of hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. This fall, documents released by the whistleblower Frances Haugen showed that Facebook deprioritized efforts to curtail misinformation. In July, Black soccer players for England’s national team received torrents of racist abuse on Facebook and Twitter following the Euro 2021 Championship final, provoking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to demand “the urgent need for action” from social media companies. In India, Facebook allowed Hindu extremists to operate openly on its platform for months, despite being banned by the platform. Facebook, in response to criticism, has pledged to bolster its safety team and resources: it has 40,000 employees working on safety and security alone. Reddit, similarly, is pledging to ramp up its efforts, although its team is skeletal in comparison. Over the last year, the company has expanded its workforce from 700 to 1,300. A Reddit spokesperson said that the company opened offices in Canada, the U.K., Australia and Germany, and would “continue to expand to other countries” in an effort to get closer to their global communities. Reddit created a Mod Council to receive feedback from moderators last year. It is also testing a new feature to give users more advanced blocking capabilities to limit the mobilizing power of extremists, harassers and bigots. In October 2021, the company posted a statement laying out statistics about its efforts toward “internationalizing safety,” and wrote, “The data largely shows that our content moderation is scaling and that international communities show healthy levels of reporting and moderation.” Many Reddit moderators feel the site’s system of using volunteer moderators is less healthy than the company suggests. “There are a lot of people who just move on,” Jonathan Deans, a Scotland-based moderator of r/worldnews, says. “They’re like, ‘I’m sick of doing this. We just remove hateful comments all day, and what do we get out of it? Not really anything.” Massanari, the American University professor, argues that Reddit’s problems will continue to worsen without a concerted internal effort. “Reddit’s defense has been, ‘If you ignore these spaces, they’ll go away,’” she says. “But the scholars and experts who have researched extremism and hate speech for years have clearly said that the more you allow that stuff to continue, you get more and more extreme versions of it.” “We take safety extremely seriously and are committed to continuously enhancing our policies and processes to ensure the safety of users and moderators on our platform,” Reddit said in a statement. “We are seeing some improvements in the prevalence of hateful content as a result of our efforts, and we will continue to invest in our safety capabilities as well as moderator tools and resources.” Ellen Pao, the former interim chief executive of Reddit and current CEO of Project Include, agrees that the company’s unpaid moderation model has severe limits. When she led the company in between 2014 and 2015, Pao made it a priority to take down revenge porn and unauthorized nude photos and to ban toxic communities like the fat-shaming community r/fatpeoplehate, which spurred a huge backlash from many of Reddit’s most active users. Pao says that Silicon Valley has historically sidelined efforts like these in favor of their bottom lines. “You have these platforms that were founded by white men, who do not experience the same levels of toxicity, harassment and harm themselves, so they don’t see or understand these problems and let them fester,” she says. “It’s something they’ve been able to ignore for a long time.” Pao says that hiring more people whose jobs involve confronting these issues is the first step. “If you really care about your users, and if you really want to prevent harassment and harm, then why wouldn’t you take on those roles yourself?” she says. Back in Portugal, the moderator asantos3 is still spending his free time trying to clean up Portuguese-language subreddits. After receiving the automated message about the racist thread, he sent a frustrated note with more details to the Reddit’s staff administrators. This time, an admin wrote back—a rare occurrence in itself. But the note only reinforced the gap between him and the company: “I think some things may be getting lost in the translations here but am happy to take another look,” the admin wrote. “It would also help if you were able to explain a bit more directly how the linked article promotes hate.” Asantos3 responded with some details, and reported a few more comments in the thread, which asserted that the influx of Portuguese-speaking Africans would lead to “population replacement and genocide,” “kidnap and rape,” and “violent possessive monkey rage.” But he received the same automated brush-off and never heard back from a human. The whole thread, as of publication, is still online. “I’m feeling frustrated,” he said. “I guess it doesn’t matter at all.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 13th, 2022

Destroying A Democracy To Save it: Democrats Call For The Disqualification Of Dozens Of Republican Members

Destroying A Democracy To Save it: Democrats Call For The Disqualification Of Dozens Of Republican Members Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the Hill on the continued calls to disqualify Republican members of Congress to prevent them from running for reelection. What is maddening is that Democratic groups and commentators are seeking to remove as many as 120 Republicans from the ballots in the name of democracy. It is like burning books in the name of literacy. Yet, on this anniversary of the January 6th riot, members of Congress and Democratic groups want to block voters from reelecting their preferred representatives. Like villages in Vietnam, it appears that some members and activists believe that you have to destroy democracy to save it from itself. Here is the column: This year, the Biden administration joined many in the United States in criticizing the mass disqualification of 583 candidates in Iran by the Guardian Council. The Iranian elections (like elections in other countries like China and Venezuela) are democratic only in the most artificial sense: You can freely vote from a pre-selected list of candidates. Electoral disqualification systems are generally anathema to democratic values, but some in the United States are now toying with the idea for the 2022 or 2024 elections. While more modest than the Iranian model, the Democratic calls for disqualification are just as dangerous. What is most maddening is that this anti-democratic effort is cloaked in democratic doublespeak. This week, Democratic lawyer Marc Elias predicted that 2022 would bring a renewed interest in disqualifying Republican members from office based on an obscure Civil War-era provision. Elias — the former Hilary Clinton campaign general counsel — is a well-known figure in Washington who has been prominently featured in the ongoing investigation of Special Counsel John Durham. Elias has founded a self-described “pro-democracy” group that challenges Republican voting laws and pledges to “shape our elections and democratic institutions for years to come.” In the age of rage, nothing says democracy like preventing people from running for office. Elias and others are suggesting that — rather than defeat Republicans at the polls — Democrats in Congress could disqualify the Republicans for supporting or encouraging the Jan. 6 “insurrection.” Last year, Democratic members called for the disqualification of dozens of Republicans. One, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) demanded the disqualification of the 120 House Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy(R-Calif.) — for simply signing a “Friend of the Court brief” (or amicus brief) in support of an election challenge from Texas. These members and activists have latched upon the long-dormant provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — the “disqualification clause” — which was written after the 39th Congress convened in December 1865 and many members were shocked to see Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president, waiting to take a seat with an array of other former Confederate senators and military officers. Justin Reade of the North Carolina Supreme Court later explained, “[t]he idea [was] that one who had taken an oath to support the Constitution and violated it, ought to be excluded from taking it again.” So, members drafted a provision that declared that “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” By declaring the Jan. 6th riot an “insurrection,” some Democratic members of Congress and liberal activists hope to bar incumbent Republicans from running. Even support for court filings is now being declared an act of rebellion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) helped fuel this movement — before Jan. 6 even occurred — by declaring that the Republicans supporting election challenges were “subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead.” Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. I publicly condemned President Trump’s speech that day while it was being given — and I denounced the riot as a “constitutional desecration.” However, it has not been treated legally as an insurrection. Those charged for their role in the attack that day are largely facing trespass and other less serious charges — rather than insurrection or sedition. That’s because this was a riot that was allowed to get out of control by grossly negligent preparations by Capitol Police and congressional officials. While the FBI launched a massive national investigation, it did not find evidence of an insurrection. With an ominous mid-term election approaching, much of the effort among Democrats on the Hill and in the media has been to keep the enmity alive from Jan. 6. In what seemed almost a hopeful plea, the New York Times recently declared “Every Day is Now Jan. 6.” It made this tragedy sound like the political equivalent of a year-round Christmas store: Every day should involve a renewed gift of reminiscence and rage. The saddest aspect of this politicization of the Jan. 6 riot is that many of us wanted a full, transparent, and apolitical investigation. House Republicans rejected that idea, but there remain many questions to be answered — which has not happened. Instead, we have an effort to encode the notion of an actual insurrection through mantra-like repetition. The Constitution fortunately demands more than proof by repetition. In this case, it requires an actual rebellion. The clause Democrats are citing was created in reference to a real Civil War in which over 750,000 people died in combat. The confederacy formed a government, an army, a currency, and carried out diplomatic missions. Conversely, Jan. 6 was a protest that became a riot. That is not meant to diminish the legitimate outrage over the day. It was reprehensible — but only a “rebellion” in the most rhetorical sense. More importantly, even if you adopt a dangerously broad definition of “insurrection” or “rebellion,” members of Congress who supported challenging the electoral votes (as Democrats have done in prior years) were exercising constitutionally protected speech. Moreover, the Democrats cannot simply use their razor-thin majority to disqualify opponents willy-nilly. Punishments like expulsions take two-thirds votes, and any disqualifications can be challenged in the court. Indeed, not long after ratification in 1869, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase ruled in a circuit opinion that the clause was not self-executing. He suggested that allowing Congress to simply bar political opponents from office would be a form of punishment without due process and would likely violate the prohibition on bills of attainder. As Democrats push to federalize elections and negate the laws in a couple dozen states, figures like Elias are now suggesting that Republicans could also be listed as “rebels” and barred from the ballot. Congress would then control not just how states conduct their elections but even who can appear on such ballots. The renewed calls for disqualifications may be simply reckless rhetoric timed for the anniversary of the riot. After all, every day would not be Jan. 6 without the requisite rage. However, it is reason — not rage — that we need right now. A recent poll showed that one in three Americans believes that violence against the government can be justified. It often seems like some want to trigger an actual rebellion by disenfranchising parts of our population. The fact is that there are people who traffic and profit in rage, and we are all the poorer for it. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2022

Reuters Data Scientist Fired After Nuking BLM Narrative, Exposing "Significant Left-Wing Bias" In Reporting

Reuters Data Scientist Fired After Nuking BLM Narrative, Exposing 'Significant Left-Wing Bias' In Reporting On Tuesday, we republished a column from a journalist who resigned from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation because the network exhibited such extreme left-wing bias and propaganda that she couldn't be a part of it any longer. Today, bring you the story of Zac Kriegman, a former Reuters data scientist who was fired after performing a statistical analysis which refuted claims by Black Lives Matter, and spoke out against the company's culture of "diversity and inclusion" which unquestioningly celebrated the BLM narrative. As journalist Chris F. Rufo writes in City Journal: "Driven by what he called a “moral obligation” to speak out, Kriegman refused to celebrate unquestioningly the BLM narrative and his company’s “diversity and inclusion” programming; to the contrary, he argued that Reuters was exhibiting significant left-wing bias in the newsroom and that the ongoing BLM protests, riots, and calls to “defund the police” would wreak havoc on minority communities." Week after week, Kriegman felt increasingly disillusioned by the Thomson Reuters line. Finally, on the first Tuesday in May 2021, he posted a long, data-intensive critique of BLM’s and his company’s hypocrisy. He was sent to Human Resources and Diversity & Inclusion for the chance to reform his thoughts. - He refused—so they fired him. -City Journal Kriegman, who has a bachelors in economics from Michigan, a JD from Harvard, and "years of experience with high-tech startups, a white-shoe law firm, and an econometrics research consultancy," spent six years at Thomson Reuters, where he rose through the ranks to spearhead the company's efforts on AI, machine learning, and advanced software engineering. By the time he was fired, he was the Director of Data Science, and lead a team which was in the process of implementing deep learning throughout the corporation. Following the death of George Floyd, Kriegman described Reuters as a "blue bubble" where "people were constantly celebrating Black Lives Matter, where it was assumed that everyone was on board." The company asked employees to participated in a "21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge," which promoted reparations, academic articles on critical race theory (on which Rufo has written extensively), and instructions on "how to be a better white person." The materials were both patronizing and 'outright racist,' writes Rufo. The Reuters workforce was told that their "black colleagues" are "confused and scared," and are barely able to show up to work. They allegedly felt pressured to "take the personal trauma we all know to be true and tuck it away to protect white people," who are unable to grasp the black experience because of their own whiteness. To right the wrongs of slavery and systemic oppression, white Reuters employees were told to let themselves get "called out" by minority colleagues, and then respond with "I believe you"; "I recognize that I have work to do"; "I apologize, I'm going to do better." Ultimately, white people are supposed to admit their complicity in systemic racism and repent for their collective guilt, because "White people built this system. White people control this system," according to a learning module from self-described "wypipologist" Michael Harriot. "It is white people who have tacitly agreed to perpetuate white supremacy throughout America’s history. It is you who must confront your racist friends, coworkers, and relatives. You have to cure your country of this disease. The sickness is not ours." Kriegman came to believe that the company’s “blue bubble” had created a significant bias in the company’s news reporting. “Reuters is not having the internal discussions about the facts and the research, and they’re not letting that shape how they present the news to people. I think they’ve adopted a perspective and they’re unwilling to examine that perspective, even internally, and that’s shaping everything that they write,” Kriegman said. Consequently, Reuters adopted a narrative that promotes a naïve, left-wing narrative about Black Lives Matter and fails to provide accurate context—which is particularly egregious because, unlike obviously left-leaning outlets such as the New York Times, Reuters has a reputation as a source of objective news reporting. A review of Reuters coverage over the spring and summer of 2020 confirms Kriegman’s interpretation. Though early articles covering the first days of the chaos in Minneapolis were straightforward about the violence—“Protests, looting erupt in Minneapolis over racially charged killing by police,” reads one headline—Reuters’s coverage eventually seemed like it had been processed to add ideology and euphemism. Beginning in the summer and continuing over the course of the year, the newswire’s reporting adopted the BLM narrative in substance and style. The stories framed the unrest as a “a new national reckoning about racial injustice” and described the protests as “mostly peaceful” or “largely peaceful,” despite widespread violence, looting, and crime. “More than 93% of recent demonstrations connected to Black Lives Matter were peaceful,” Reuters insisted, even as rioters caused up to $2 billion in property damage across the country. The company’s news reporters adopted the syntax of BLM activists. A May 8 story opened with the familiar “say their names” recitation, ignoring the fact that the first named individual, for example, had attacked a police officer, who was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing: “Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Freddie Gray. Their names are seared into Americans’ memories, egregious examples of lethal police violence that stirred protests and prompted big payouts to the victims’ families.” Even as Seattle’s infamous “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” descended into lawlessness and saw the brutal murder of two black teenagers, the newswire’s headlines downplayed the destruction, claiming that the Seattle protests were “diminished but not dismantled.” -City Journal According to Kriegman, Reuters 'data-based fact checks' were also biased - and always in favor of BLM interpretations. In one instance, the wire service's "special report" claimed that "a growing body of research supports the perception that police unfairly target Black Americans. They are more likely to be stopped, searched and arrested than their white compatriots. They also are more likely to be killed by police." Reuters dedicated just two short paragraphs to refute the viewpoint, which it quickly dismisses to continue advancing the pro-BLM argument. Reuters made an evidence-free claim that qualified immunity - which is protected by the Supreme Court - is "rooted in racism." The company also hosted a panel with left-wing pundits to discuss criminal reform, which ended up uncritically promoting such policies as "defund the police," and who suggested that "hundreds" of unjustified police killings of black men "fail to win victims any redress." As usual, no facts backed up their claims. The company’s data reporting consistently re-contextualized accurate information about racial violence and policing in order to align with Black Lives Matter rhetoric. In a “fact check” of a social media post that claimed whites are more likely to be killed by blacks than blacks are to be killed by whites, Reuters concedes that this is factually accurate but labels the post “misleading”—in part because it doesn’t show that police kill black people at a higher rate than their share of the overall population, a completely unrelated claim. Likewise, when President Donald Trump accurately pointed out that police officers kill “more white people” than black people each year, Reuters immediately published a story reframing the narrative. Though the report admitted that “half of people killed by police are white,” the writers pushed the line that “Black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate” and then used a quotation from the American Civil Liberties Union to paint the president as a “racist.” -City Journal "I did look through Reuters’s news, and it was concerning to me that a lot of the same issues that I was seeing in other media outlets seemed to be replicated in Reuters’s news, where they were reporting favorably about Black Lives Matter protests without giving any context to the claims that were being made at those protests [and] without giving any context about the ‘Ferguson effect’ and how police pulling back on their proactive policing has been pretty clearly linked to a dramatic increase in murders," Kriegman told Rufo. "At a certain point, it just feels like a moral obligation to speak out when something that’s having such a devastating impact is being celebrated so widely, especially in a news company where the perspective that’s celebrated is having such a big impact externally." Kriegman took two months off from Thomson Reuters to 'grapple with the statistical and ethical implications' of how the company was reporting on the BLM movement and related riots. While on leave, he embarked on a careful statistical investigation comparing BLM's claims on racism, violence and policing with hard evidence. The result: a 12,000-word essay, titled “BLM is Anti-Black Systemic Racism,” that called into question the entire sequence of claims by the Black Lives Matter movement and echoed by the Reuters news team. “I believe the Black Lives Matter (‘BLM’) movement arose out of a passionate desire to protect black people from racism and to move our whole society towards healing from a legacy of centuries of brutal oppression,” Kriegman wrote in the introduction. “Unfortunately, over the past few years I have grown more and more concerned about the damage that the movement is doing to many low-income black communities. I have avidly followed the research on the movement and its impacts, which has led me, inexorably, to the conclusion that the claim at the heart of the movement, that police more readily shoot black people, is false and likely responsible for thousands of black people being murdered in the most disadvantaged communities in the country.” Thomson Reuters, Kriegman continued, has a special obligation to “resist simplistic narratives that are not based in facts and evidence, especially when those narratives are having such a profoundly negative impact on minority or marginalized groups.” -City Journal The essay debunks three key claims of BLM activists and their media supporters. That police officers kill blacks disproportionately That law enforcement 'over-polices' black neighborhoods That policies such as "defund the police" will reduce violence. Rufo breaks down Kriegman's arguments:  First, Kriegman writes that the narrative about police officers systematically hunting and killing blacks is not supported by the evidence. “For instance, in 2020 there were 457 whites shot and killed by police, compared to 243 blacks. Of those, 24 of the whites killed were unarmed compared to 18 blacks,” he writes, citing the Washington Post database of police shootings. And though the number of blacks killed might be disproportionate compared with the percentage of blacks in the overall population, it is not disproportionate to the level of violent crime committed by black citizens. “Depending on the type of violent crime, whites either commit a slightly greater (non-fatal crimes) or slightly smaller (fatal, and serious non-fatal crimes) percentage of the total violent crime than blacks, but in all cases roughly in the same ballpark,” Kriegman writes. However, according to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey data, “there are many more whites killed by police, even though whites account for a similar absolute number of violent offenders. Thus, if the number of potentially violent encounters with police reflects the violent crime rates, then the raw statistics suggest that there is actually a slight anti-white bias in police applications of lethal force.” To round out his case, Kriegman concludes with a study by Harvard’s Roland Fryer, which, according to Fryer, “didn’t find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime.” Next, Kriegman takes up “over-policing.” Black Lives Matter activists and Reuters reporters had pushed the idea that police officers focus disproportionate attention on black neighborhoods and, because of deep-seated “racial bias,” are more likely to stop, search, and arrest black Americans “than their white compatriots.” While this might be true on its face, Kriegman writes, it misses the appropriate context: black neighborhoods are significantly more violent than white neighborhoods. If police want to reduce violent crime, they must spend more time in the places where violent crime occurs. Kriegman points out to his colleagues in Thomson Reuters’s Boston office that “the reason that police have more confrontations in predominantly black neighborhoods in Boston is because that is where the great bulk of violent crime is occurring,” with nearly all the annual murders happening in predominantly black neighborhoods such as Dorchester and Roxbury—far from the homes and offices of his colleagues in the professional-managerial class at Reuters. And Boston is hardly an outlier. According to Kriegman, the most rigorous statistical analyses demonstrate that violent-crime rates and policing are, in fact, highly correlated and proportionate. He quotes a Justice Department report which “found that for nonfatal violent crimes that victims said were reported to police, whites accounted for 48% of offenders and 46% of arrestees. Blacks accounted for 35% of offenders and 33% of arrestees. Asians accounted for 2% of offenders and 1% of arrestees. None of these differences between the percentage of offenders and the percentage of arrestees of a given race were statistically significant.” Finally, Kriegman addresses the policy implications of “de-policing.” Contrary to Reuters’s sometimes glowing coverage of the “defund the police” movement, Kriegman makes the case that de-policing, whether it occurs because of the “Ferguson Effect” or because of deliberate policy choices, has led to disaster for black communities. His argument, building on the work of City Journal’s Heather Mac Donald, follows this logic: after high-profile police-involved killings, such as those involving Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Black Lives Matter movement and the media have demonized police departments and caused many officers to reduce proactive policing measures and to pull back from situations out of fear that they might need to use force. The result, according to data from a range of academic literature, is an increase in crime and violence. Kriegman again cites Fryer, who concluded that the Ferguson Effect led to 900 excess murders in five cities he considered, and the University of Utah’s Paul G. Cassell, who found that the “Minneapolis Effect” led to 1,520 excess murders in the United States. Thus, BLM’s signature policy solution—“defund the police”—would likely lead to incredible carnage in black communities. -City Journal Instead of his essay winning hearts and minds at Reuters, where he hoped it would help his colleagues move beyond "the blue bubble" and see "how devastating Black Lives Matter has been to black communities," Reuters HR panicked and took down Kriegman's post. "I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but I expected the reaction to be intense," said Kriegman. "And it was." He says a "team of HR and communications professionals" were called in to manage the situation, which they told him they were "reviewing." When he asked multiple times about the company's decision to remove his essay, he was told that it was too "antagonistic" and "provocative," and that he needed to work with their head of diversity and inclusion, Cristina Juvier, if he wanted to pursue the matter further. Read the rest of the report here. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2022

"This Has Put Us In An Untenable Situation" - Chicago In Chaos As Teachers" Union Shutters Schools

"This Has Put Us In An Untenable Situation" - Chicago In Chaos As Teachers' Union Shutters Schools Just the other day, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during an interview with CNBC that her goal is to "never shut down again", in reference to a lockdown that economically devastated small business owners. During this interview, Lightfoot insisted that schools weren't a locus of the spread, which of course is in line with the CDC's own guidance. "Our schools are not the source of significant spread. The issue is community spread. But we need to keep our kids in schools, which is what we’re going to do in Chicago," she said, adding that: ...she “will not allow” the union “to take our children hostage.” She took issue with the union demanding that all educators, students, and volunteers test negative for COVID-19 before returning to school. “We are not going to rob parents of their right and their obligation to tell us if they want testing or not on their children. It’s not going to happen. It’s morally wrong,” Lightfoot said. Yet, two days later, millions of parents in the city of Chicago are scrambling Thursday morning as the city's public schools have once again been shut down by a teacher's union that's determined to strike until they get more tests for members who are worried about "safety", despite the fact that even omicron hasn't been shown to spread in schools and among children. As the NYT explains, nowhere in the US is the situation more "acrimonious and unpredictable" than in Chicago. The city retaliated to the Teachers' Union vote by calling off school altogether, refusing the teachers' call for remote instruction. The enmity between the teacher's union and city hall is something that's been years in the making, according to the NYT. And with violence surging in the city's streets following its most murderous year in decades, there's never been a time where leaving children unsupervised could put them more at risk. One city activist put things perfectly: the city is now in an "untenable situation." "If they are in class and Covid is rampaging, that’s a problem. If they are not there and out on the streets, that’s a problem," said Tamar Manasseh, who leads an anti-violence group in the city, and who said she was looking into ways to help children with nowhere to go during the day. "This has put us in an untenable situation." To get a better picture of the situation that Chicago parents are dealing with: parents weren't informed about the cancellation of school starting Wednesday until 2300 Chicago Time on Tuesday night. The decision impacts the more than 300K schoolchildren in Chicago, and it's unclear when classes will resume. Union leaders insist that their members are only asking for basic safety precautions like regular testing for students and proper protocols for quarantining and shutting down schools experiencing an outbreak. Their attacks on Mayor Lightfoot have grown surprisingly personal, with one top official complaining to a NYT reporter that Lightfoot doesn't "understand partnership and collaboration." Jesse Sharkey, the union president, said an increase of cases in the school system and the onslaught of Omicron, which causes milder illness than other variants but frequent breakthrough infections, had heightened members’ concern. He called for testing all students before classrooms reopened, as well as stepped-up surveillance testing after that. The district had instituted an optional testing plan over winter break, but most of the 150,000 or so mail-in P.C.R. tests given to students were never returned; of the ones that were, a majority produced invalid results. "If you want to get us back into the schools quicker, provide testing,” he said. Mr. Sharkey and Stacy Davis Gates, the union’s vice president, also criticized the mayor for her approach to negotiations and for her repeated public criticisms of the union. Members of Ms. Lightfoot’s administration have defended the school system’s efforts to make classrooms safe and have emphasized that children rarely face severe outcomes from Covid-19. "The mayor wants to fight when we should be working,” Ms. Davis Gates said. “She’s fighting us instead of the virus. I don’t understand it." She said the mayor’s “her-way-or-the-highway” leadership style had made matters worse. "The mayor, bless her heart, she doesn’t understand partnership and collaboration,” Ms. Davis Gates said. Some activists are blaming Mayor Lightfoot, saying the decision to close schools was made in response to a "political beef". But in Chicago, some said they did not believe that the district had adequately adjusted to the incursion of Omicron. Ja'Mal Green, an activist and former mayoral candidate who lives on the South Side, said he held his son out of kindergarten this week because he did not think the district had adequate virus precautions. Mr. Green praised the union’s actions, and said he worried about the convergence of the pandemic, street violence and educational disruption in the city. "The mayor really has a political beef with the union and doesn’t want to come to any type of compromise because she wants to beat them over the head for the strikes and the things that have happened in the past," said Mr. Green, who has frequently criticized Ms. Lightfoot. One would think that failing to keep the schools open is a basic failure for a mayor. The mayor has received backing from the White House, which said earlier Wednesday that all schools should remain open, including in Chicago, but the union has thus far stood firm on its demands. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 12:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

My boss in a senior living facility won’t get vaccinated and I’m furious

Resentments are growing as the divide deepens between pro- and anti-vaccination colleagues. All you can control are the lengths you're willing to go to for your own and others' protection......»»

Category: topSource: washpostJan 6th, 2022

Big Left-Wing "Dark Money" Groups Fund Schumer"s Secretive Anti-Filibuster Ally

Big Left-Wing 'Dark Money' Groups Fund Schumer's Secretive Anti-Filibuster Ally Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times, Fix Our Senate, the obscure outfit leading a coalition of 70 liberal advocacy groups backing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) anti-filibuster drive, is a left-wing “dark-money pop-up,” according to a political nonprofit finance expert. “Fix Our Senate may present itself as a standalone, grassroots activist group, but it’s actually a front for the Sixteen Thirty Fund, itself part of a $1.7 billion left-wing ‘dark- money pop-up’ empire run by the shadowy consulting firm Arabella Advisors,” said Capital Research Center (CRC) senior investigative researcher Hayden Ludwig. “We call these fronts ‘pop-ups’ because they’re websites which pop into existence, run attack campaigns, and disappear in an instant and almost never reveal their connection to Arabella or its nonprofits,” Ludwig told The Epoch Times on Jan. 4. The CRC is a conservative nonpartisan foundation that specializes in tracking trends among the most influential charities, nonprofits, and special-interest groups affecting the public policy process in the nation’s capital. “We study unions, environmentalist groups, and a wide variety of nonprofit and activist organizations. We also keep an eye on crony capitalists who seek to profit by taking advantage of government regulations and by getting their hands on taxpayers’ money,” CRC says of its purpose on its website. Schumer promised earlier this week to seek a vote by Jan. 17 on abolishing or reforming the filibuster—the Senate’s “cloture” rule that requires 60 votes to end debate and vote on a proposal—if Senate Republicans block consideration of two election reform packages that are top priorities of the Democrats’ progressive, or far-left, faction. Republicans argue the reforms—the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act—severely limit or eliminate entirely the use of photo IDs and related ballot security measures, and require that all proposed changes to state election laws have prior Department of Justice (DOJ) approval. Measures such as strengthening voter identification requirements are highly popular with the public, with recent surveys by Rasmussen, Monmouth, Pew, and AP-NORC finding 72 to 80 percent support for requiring photo IDs to vote. Fix Our Senate describes itself as a “coalition of more than 70 organizations (and counting) representing millions of Americans fighting to eliminate the filibuster and fix the Senate so our elected officials can finally start delivering on their promises.” While no individuals are identified as officials on Fix Our Senate’s website, Eli Zupnick is identified by The Hill as a “spokesman.” He’s cited as praising Schumer for making “the choice clear: Senate Democrats must now choose between protecting our democracy or stubbornly preserving an outdated and abused Senate rule.” The Epoch Times received no response to its questions submitted through the “Press Inquiries” contact form on the Fix Our Senate website by press time. Zupnick, who identifies himself with Fix Our Senate on his Twitter profile page, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. He’s the former longtime communications director for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), working for her in various positions from 2009 until 2019. He also was briefly in 2019 the managing principal for Precision Strategies, a Washington and New York City political consulting and marketing firm co-founded by Stephanie Cutter, who identifies herself as the former deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Among the 70 organizations participating in the Fix Our Senate coalition are the American Muslim Civil Rights Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Equal Justice Society, Faith in Public Life, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, Peoples’ Action, Right to Health Action, and United We Dream. Many of the participating groups are locally focused activists groups such as the Long Beach Alliance for Clean Energy and Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action. Many of the coalition members, whether nationally or locally focused, share one thing in common—significant funding from the Sixteen Thirty/Arabella Fund dark money network, according to Ludwig. “Because Fix Our Senate and other ‘pop-ups’ aren’t real nonprofits, they don’t file IRS Form 990 disclosures or publicly report their budgets, boards, or lobbying–making it impossible to trace their donors,” Ludwig explained.  “Instead, all that money moves through the Sixteen Thirty Fund, itself created and managed by the for-profit company Arabella Advisors as a way for liberal mega-donors to quietly fund many of the Left’s most extreme causes.” Ludwig said CRC has “traced about $10 million flowing from Arabella’s network funded by anonymous liberal donors to signatories on Fix Our Senate’s anti-filibuster coalition.” Prospects for the success of the Schumer/Fix Our Senate campaign to abolish or reform the Senate filibuster suffered a major blow on Jan. 4, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters that he worries that “being open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. It’s a heavy lift.” With the Senate split 50-50, the loss of even one Democratic vote on a filibuster reform proposal would be fatal unless 11 Republicans would then be willing to join the effort, which is highly unlikely. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also has spoken publicly against revising the filibuster process, and a senior congressional GOP source who asked not to be named told The Epoch Times on Jan. 3 that “at least a couple of other Democrat senators will oppose it if Schumer forces a vote.” Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2022

US Bases In Both Iraq & Syria Under Fresh Rocket Attacks

US Bases In Both Iraq & Syria Under Fresh Rocket Attacks During the week of the Jan.3rd second anniversary of the 2020 killing by US drone strike of IRGC commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, there's been a spate of attacks on bases where American troops are stationed in Iraq and Syria. On Wednesday there's been three consecutive attacks so far.  As ABC News details, "Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq's western Anbar province and the capital of Baghdad were hit by Katyusha rockets Wednesday while in Syria, eight rounds of indirect fire landed inside a base with members of the U.S.-led coalition, the Iraqi and U.S. militaries said." Image of Ain Assad base showing aftermath of Jan.2020 Iranian ballistic missile attack, intended as "revenge" for the Jan.3 Soleimani killing. This includes a rocket attack on al-Assad base in Western Iraq, after the day prior small drones targeted the base, but which were downed by the US anti-air systems operating there. In Syria the base named 'Green Village' in Deir Ezzor was targeted in a fresh attack, the day following US 'preemptive' action against suspected rocket launch sites used by area militias. The US-led Coalition on Wednesday issued a rare statement very openly blaming what it called "Iran-supported malign actors". US forces responded with artillery rounds, according a regional correspondent.  "Our Coalition continues to see threats against our forces in Iraq and Syria by militia groups that are backed by Iran," the statement said, singling out the Islamic Republic. "These attacks are a dangerous distraction from our Coalition's shared mission to advise, assist & enable partner forces to maintain the enduring defeat of Daesh." Visual update here: Aerial footage of US-led coalition’s airstrikes on several rocket launching positions around Green Village, Deir Ezzur, Syria. It seems that some attacks occurred this morning just before the Coalition base in Green Village became under rocket attack. pic.twitter.com/zWHRNiYL5a — Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) January 5, 2022 US forward operating bases in Syria are especially vulnerable to possible attack, given their smaller size compared to Iraq bases where Americans are hosted.  Images in the aftermath of the attack in Syria were released Wednesday... Exclusive Pix shows the impact of this morning’s rocket attack on US base in Green Village, Deir Ezzur, Syria. Coalition forces has responded it by firing six rounds of artillery towards the point of origin of the attack just outside Mayadin, Syria pic.twitter.com/gGsMyoQCQ2 — Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) January 5, 2022 Despite the usual Iran blame-game coming out of the Pentagon, it also remains that Syrian Army and pro-Assad national forces want to see the US occupation come to an end. Could this be the start of a pressure campaign being waged from Damascus?  After all, if Assad decided to seek imposing a significant "cost" on US forces being there (chiefly in the oil-rich northeast, as well as al-Tanf on the Iraq border), it would indeed create huge problems back in Washington, given the current status of a relatively 'undefined' mission there. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 14:21.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

A guide to the most important primary elections of the 2022 midterms, which will test Trump"s influence over the GOP

The 2022 primaries, starting in March, will test former President Trump's power over the GOP and could reshape both parties' bases in Congress. The U.S Capitol is visible at sunset as a man plays fetch with a dog in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Critical primary elections for the 2022 midterms are kicking off in March.  Primaries will hold greater importance in 2022 with fewer competitive districts in Congress. The 2022 primaries will also test Trump's influence over the GOP and shape both parties' futures.  The 2022 midterm elections are just 10 months away, and primaries for key congressional and statewide races will be more crucial and decisive than ever for both political parties. The 2022 primaries will test the power of former President Donald Trump's endorsement — and his status as the leader of the Republican Party. This year's primaries could substantially reshape the composition of Congress and each party's bases. And the unprecedented effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election will loom large in 2022's elections, which will determine who runs and oversees future elections. In Congress, Republicans have their sights set on winning back the US Senate, currently evenly split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, by flipping Democratic-held seats in Arizona and Georgia and holding control of competitive open seats in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Republicans are well-positioned to win back the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold just a slim three-vote majority, due to President Joe Biden's poor approval ratings and the historical norm of the president's party losing seats in midterm elections. But not all majorities are created equal. On the GOP side, more Trump-style conservatives could replace moderate and establishment Republicans, especially in the US Senate, where five such Republicans are retiring.  And Democrats could see more young candidates and candidates of color, who are underrepresented in both chambers of Congress, replace retiring members. In this June 5, 2021, file photo, former President Donald Trump, right, announces his endorsement of North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd, left, for the 2022 North Carolina U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Richard BurrChris Seward/APAs of January 5, 36 House members and counting are retiring, setting off a nationwide reshuffling that will play out during the primary season. Over two-thirds of already-announced retirements are from the Democratic side of the aisle, a possible indication of how Democrats view their prospects of holding the House majority. Complicating matters further, the national House primary calendar is still in flux due to the ongoing process of states drawing new congressional lines following the 2020 Census, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term trends of negative polarization, partisan self-sorting, and a decline in voters who split their tickets between parties are being exacerbated by states shoring up incumbents at the expense of competitiveness in redistricting. This means the 2022 elections are likely to see a historically low number of competitive House districts in general elections, making primaries even more important. Many states have yet to complete their congressional redistricting, and some key states that have finalized maps, like Ohio and North Carolina, are facing lawsuits over congressional and state legislative lines that could delay their filings periods and primary dates. North Carolina has already pushed back its primaries, and Pennsylvania could be next, delays that also affect marquee Senate and gubernatorial contests.Here are the most important and most competitive primaries happening over the next nine months as currently scheduled: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, left, next to his wife and Texas State Sen. Angela Paxton, speaks to anti-abortion activists at a rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMarch: The 2022 primary cycle is set to kick off in Texas on March 1. Embattled Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing multiple high-profile primary challenges from Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and former State Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Gov. Greg Abbott will also face primary challengers including former state Sen. Don Huffines, who has been endorsed by several Trumpworld figures, and Allen West, the former state party chairman. Democrat Beto O'Rourke is likely to secure the Democratic nomination for the governorship in Texas, which hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in three decades. Texas also gained two House seats in post-2020 Census reapportionment and has three members of its delegation retiring, setting up competitive primaries in some House districts. Texas will hold runoff elections in May for any contests where no candidate earns a majority of the vote outright. May: On May 3, Ohio is holding a hotly-contested Republican primary for US Senate to replace longtime retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The candidates include former state party chair Jane Timken, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, state Sen. Mike Dolan, venture capitalist and author JD Vance, and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. Rep. Tim Ryan and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser Morgan Harper are the two main contenders for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Mike DeWine is facing primary challenges from former Rep. Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone, who are appealing to Trump's supporters.May 10 will see the first confirmed House primary between two incumbents with Trump-endorsed Rep. Alex Mooney facing off against Rep. David McKinley for West Virginia's 1st Congressional District. The two Republicans were drawn into the same district as a result of the state losing a congressional seat after the 2020 Census. May 17 is set to see primaries for high-stakes statewide races in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina (if either state's primaries don't get delayed).In Pennsylvania, competitive Republican and Democratic primaries will determine the nominees for the open US Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. Physician and television personality Mehmet Oz, hedgefund executive David McCormick, former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and real estate developer Dave Bartos are competing for the GOP nomination.Rep. Conor Lamb, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Montgomery County Commissioner and physician Val Arkoosh are the lead contenders vying for the Democratic nomination for Senate to flip the seat. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, left, and Rep. Conor Lamb, right, are two of the Democrats seeking to flip control of a key US Senate seat in PennsylvaniaAP Photo/Marc Levy, AP Photo/Dave DermerNorth Carolina is holding primaries for an open US Senate seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. The Republican field includes Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, Rep. Mark Walker, and former Gov. Pat McCrory while Cheri Beasley, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, appears poised to secure the Democratic nomination. North Carolina, home to some of the most contentious partisan and legal battles over redistricting in recent history, is back in court defending its congressional maps after GOP lawmakers drew an aggressive Republican gerrymander, a case with significant implications for the state's House primaries. On May 19, Idaho's Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin is waging a Trump-backed primary challenge against incumbent GOP Gov. Brad Little.On May 24, Trump-backed congressman Mo Brooks and former Senate chief of staff Katie Britt are the leading candidates in the GOP primary for the Alabama US Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.While Brooks has Trump's support (for now, at least), Britt has received the backing of Shelby, her former boss, and quietly gotten financial support from several members of the Senate Republican caucus. Lynda Blanchard, former US Ambassador to Slovenia under the Trump administration, was also initially in the running for Senate but dropped out of that race and is now mounting a primary challenge to incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey.Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Decatur, GaBrynn Anderson/APAlso on May 24, a series of blockbuster primaries in Georgia will set the battle lines for November's elections in the key battleground state which after years as a reliable GOP stronghold, voted for Biden in 2020 and handed control of the Senate to Democrats in 2021.Former NFL star Herschel Walker, endorsed by Trump, is the frontrunner in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who was elected in a 2021 special runoff election, for a full term. Two top Republicans who endured Trump's wrath for defending the integrity of the 2020 election in Georgia are now contending against Trump-backed primary challengers.Gov. Brian Kemp will face primary challengers from former US Senator David Perdue, who has been endorsed by Trump, and state Rep. Vernon Jones. Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenge from GOP Rep. Jody Hice, one of the congressmen who led the charge to object to counting electoral votes on January 6. Stacey Abrams is the strong frontrunner in the Democratic primary for a potential rematch against Kemp. In the House, two Democratic incumbents, Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, will also face off in the primary for the new 7th District. North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama all hold runoff elections later in the summer for races in which no one candidate earns a plurality or a majority of the vote outright. In this Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, photo Republican Adam Laxalt, flanked by pictures of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, talks to a supporter at the Douglas County Republican Party Headquarters on the final day of his Senate campaign's statewide tour in Gardnerville, NevAP Photo/Sam MentzJune:The battleground state of Nevada will hold primaries for races including its competitive Senate contest, on June 14, where former Attorney General Adam Laxalt is the frontrunner to run against Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto.South Carolina is holding House primaries on June 14 in which GOP Reps. Nancy Mace and Tom Rice, who vocally criticized Trump over the January 6 insurrection, could both face Trump-backed primary challengers.California, Illinois, and New York, key Democratic strongholds which all lost one House seat each in post-2020 reapportionment, are also holding their House primaries in June. California's independent redistricting commission drew a Democratic-friendly map that, along with four House retirements, avoided pitting incumbents against each other but sets the stage for some competitive primaries on June 14.On June 28, Illinois, where state lawmakers drew an aggressive Democratic gerrymander, will see two member-on-member primaries: one between Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newmanin the Chicago suburbs and downstate between two Republicans, Trump-endorsed Rep. Mary Miller, and Rep. Rodney Davis.New York's congressional lines aren't close to being finalized yet. But further up the ballot, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who ascended to the office in August 2021, is seeking the nomination for a full term against challengers including Rep. Tom Suozzi, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and likely New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democratic candidate for governor, addresses the members of Arizona's Electoral College in Phoenix.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, FileAugust:August will be a significant test of Trump's ability to punish high-profile members of Congress who voted to impeach and convict him for inciting the January 6 insurrection, and to shape competitive Republican primaries. And two more Trump-backed candidates are running for key election administration positions in the presidential swing states of Arizona and Michigan.The month starts on August 2 with competitive primaries in Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, and Washington.  In Arizona, Trump-endorsed candidate and former TV anchor Kari Lake is seeking the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Doug Ducey, who is term-limited, against State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, state Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, former Rep. Matt Salmon, and businessman Steve Gaynor. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who gained a national profile for defending the 2020 election results and rebuffing the partisan review of the 2020 election results in Arizona, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor along with former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman. A crowded field of candidates, including Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Thiel Foundation president Blake Masters, and businessman Jim Lamon, are competing for the GOP nomination for US Senate to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. Trump-endorsed state Rep. Mark Finchem, who has echoed Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen, is competing for the Republican nomination for secretary of state against fellow state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita. Former Maricopa Recorder Adrian Fontes and Arizona's House Minority Leader Reginald Bolling are running in the Democratic primary for the top election job. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, left, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt, right, are the leading candidates for the GOP nomination for US Senate in MissouriAP Photo/Jeff RobersonIn Missouri, a crowded field of Republicans, including former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, and personal injury lawyer Mark McCloskey, are competing for the nomination for US Senate to replace retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt in the now solidly-Republican state. Trump has not yet endorsed candidates in either the Arizona or Missouri Senate primaries. In the key swing state of Michigan, Republicans will select nominees to run against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Trump-endorsed Kristina Karamo is seeking to challenge Benson for the state's top election post.Due to redistricting, Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin will face off in the primary for Michigan's new 11th Congressional District. Rep. Peter Meijer, one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over January 6, is also set to face a Trump-backed primary challenger.Two Washington State House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Rep. Dan Newhouse and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has a Trump-endorsed primary challenger, are also seeking reelection on August 2.On August 9, voters in battleground Wisconsin will select a Democratic nominee for Senate to run for the seat currently held by GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who hasn't yet confirmed whether he's running for election, and a Republican nominee to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Rep. Liz Cheney speaks with U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell after a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill. Cheney is facing a primary challenger endorsed by Trump.Jim Bourg/Pool via AP, FileOn August 16, two of Trump's most high-profile Republican foes in Congress will face primary challenges. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will face off against Trump-endorsed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka under Alaska's first-ever top-four primary election system. And Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the House Select Committee probing the January 6 insurrection, will face Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in Wyoming's at-large House seat. Florida rounds out the month with its August 23 primaries. Democrats will decide on a nominee to take on GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis between Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Rep. Charlie Crist, and State Sen. Annette Taddeo. Voters will also pick a Democratic nominee to take on Sen. Marco Rubio out of a field currently led by Rep. Val Demings.September: New England will finish out the primary cycle. Republicans, who have struggled to recruit a candidate to run against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, will select a nominee on September 13. And in the House, a crowded field of GOP candidates including Gail Huff Brown, former TV anchor and wife of former Sen. Scott Brown, former State Department spokesman Matt Mowers, and former Trump White House spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt are competing to take on Rep. Chris Pappas. Massachusetts will select nominees to replace outgoing GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, whose decision not to run for a third term creates a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 5th, 2022

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields After futures rose to a new all time high during the Tuesday overnight session, the mood has been decided more muted after yesterday's sharp rates-driven tech selloff, and on Wednesday U.S. futures were mixed and Nasdaq contracts slumped as investors once again contemplated the effect of expected rate hikes on tech stocks with lofty valuations while waiting for the release of Federal Reserve minutes at 2pm today. At 730am, Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.3% lower amid caution over the impact of higher yields on equity valuations, S&P 500 Index futures were down 0.1%, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge traded near a record high. The dollar weakened, as did bitcoin, while Brent crude rose back over $80. “The sharp rise in U.S. yields this week has sparked a move from growth to value,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific. “Wall Street went looking for the winners in an inflationary environment and as a result, loaded up on the Dow Jones at the expense of the Nasdaq.” Concerns related to the pandemic deepened as Hong Kong restricted dining-in, closed bars and gyms and banned flights from eight countries including the U.S. and the U.K. to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Meanwhile, a selloff in technology stocks extended to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled as much as 4.2%, sending the gauge toward a six-year low. Traders are now caught in a quandary over deepening fears on global growth combined with a faster tightening by the Federal Reserve. “Earlier we thought that rate hikes wouldn’t be on the table until mid-2022 but the Fed seems to have worked up a consensus to taper faster and hike sooner rather than later,” Steve Englander, head of global G-10 FX research at Standard Chartered, said in a note. “But we don’t think inflation dynamics will support continued hiking. We suspect the biggest driver of asset markets will be when inflation and Covid fears begin to ebb.” Data on Tuesday showed mixed signs on U.S. inflation. Prices paid by manufacturers in December came in sharply lower than expected. However, figures showing a faster U.S. job quit rate added to concerns over wage inflation. With 4.5 million Americans leaving their jobs in November, compared with 10.6 million available positions, the odds increased the Fed will struggle to influence the employment numbers increasingly dictated by social reasons. The data came before Friday’s monthly report from the Labor Department, currently forecast to show 420,000 job additions in December. In premarket trading, tech giants Tesla, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices were among the worst performers. Pfizer advanced in New York premarket trading after BofA Global Research recommended the stock. Shares of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. extended their decline after Tencent cut its stake in gaming and e-commerce company Sea, triggering concerns of similar actions at other firms amid Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the technology sector. Alibaba (BABA US) falls 1.2%, Didi (DIDI US) -1.8%. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Shares in electric vehicle makers fall in U.S. premarket trading, set to extend Tuesday’s losses, amid signs of deepening competition in the sector. Tesla (TSLA US) slips 1.1%, Rivian (RIVN US) -0.6%. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares jump 8.9% premarket following a CNBC report that Yum! Brands’ KFC will launch fried chicken made with the company’s meat substitute. Recent selloff in Pinterest (PINS US) shares presents an attractive risk/reward, with opportunities for the social media company largely unchanged, Piper Sandler writes in note as it upgrades to overweight. Stock gains 2.3% in premarket trading. Senseonics Holdings (SENS US) shares rise 15% premarket after the medical technology company said it expects a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision in weeks on an updated diabetes- monitoring system. MillerKnoll (MLKN US) shares were down 3.1% in postmarket trading Tuesday after reporting fiscal 2Q top and bottom line results that missed analysts’ estimates. Annexon (ANNX US) was down 23% postmarket Tuesday after results were released from an experimental therapy for a fatal movement disorder called Huntington’s disease. Three patients in the 28- person trial discontinued treatment due to drug-related side- effects. Wejo Group (WEJO US) shares are up 34% premarket after the company said it’s developing the Wejo Neural Edge platform to enable intelligent handling of data from vehicles at scale. Smart Global (SGH US) falls 6% postmarket Tuesday after the computing memory maker forecast earnings per share for the second quarter. The low end of that forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Beyond Meat (BYND) shares surge premarket after CNBC KFC launch report UBS cut the recommendation on Adobe Inc. (ADBE US) to neutral from buy, citing concerns over the software company’s 2022 growth prospects. Shares down 2% in premarket trading. Oncternal Therapeutics (ONCT US) shares climb 5.1% premarket after saying it reached consensus with the FDA on the design and major details of the phase 3 superiority study ZILO-301 to treat mantle cell lymphoma. In Europe, the energy, chemicals and car industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.2% to near an all-time high set on Tuesday. The Euro Stoxx 50 rises as much as 0.6%, DAX outperforms. FTSE 100 lags but rises off the lows to trade up 0.2%. Nestle dropped 2.4%, slipping from a record, after Jefferies cut the Swiss food giant to underperform. Utilities were the worst-performing sector in Europe on Wednesday as cyclical areas of the market are favored over defensives, while Uniper and Fortum fall following news of a loan agreement.  Other decliners include RWE (-2.4%), Endesa (2.1%), Verbund (-1.3%), NatGrid (-1.2%), Centrica (-1.2%). Earlier in the session, technology shares led a decline in Asian equity markets, with investors concerned about the prospects of higher interest rates and Tencent’s continued sale of assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.6%, the most in two weeks, dragged down by Tencent and Meituan. The rout in U.S. tech spilled over to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 4.6%, the most since July, following Tencent’s stake cut in Singapore’s Sea. Declines in tech and other sectors in Hong Kong widened after the city tightened rules to curb the spread of the omicron variant. Most Asian indexes fell on Wednesday, with Japan an exception among major markets as automakers offered support. The outlook for tighter monetary policy in the U.S. and higher Treasury yields weighed on the region’s technology shares, prompting a rotation from growth to value stocks.   Read: China Tech Selloff Deepens as Tencent Sale Spooks Traders Asian equities have underperformed U.S. and European peers amid slower recoveries and vaccination rates in the past year. With omicron rapidly gaining a foothold in Asia, there is a risk of “any further restriction measures, which could cloud the services sector outlook, along with disruption to supply chains,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a strategist at IG Asia Pte.  Philippine stocks gained as trading resumed following a one-day halt due to a systems glitch. North Korea appeared to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, just days after leader Kim Jong Un indicated that returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. was a low priority for him in the coming year. India’s key equity gauges posted their longest run of advances in more than two moths, driven by a rally in financial stocks on hopes of revival in lending on the back of capex spending in the country. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.6% to 60,223.15 in Mumbai, its highest since Nov. 16, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.7%. Both benchmarks stretched their winning run to a fourth day, the longest since Oct. 18. All but six of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, led by a gauge of banking firms. “I believe from an uncertain, volatile environment, the Nifty is now headed for a directional move,” Sahaj Agrawal, a head of derivative research at Kotak Securities, writes in a note. The Nifty 50 crossed a significant barrier of the 17,800 level and is now expected to trade at 19,000-19,500 level in the medium term, Agrawal added. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s gain, increasing 2.4%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 18 rose, while 12 fell In FX, Bloomberg Dollar Spot index slpped 0.2% back toward Tuesday’s lows, falling as the greenback was weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers, SEK and JPY are the best performers in G-10, CAD underperforms. Scandinavian currencies and the yen led gains, though most G-10 currencies were trading in narrow ranges. Australia’s dollar reversed an Asia-session loss in European trading. The yen rebounded from a five-year low as investors trimmed short positions on the haven currency and amid a decline in Asian stock markets. Treasuries were generally flat in overnight trading, with the curve flatter into early U.S. session as long-end outperforms, partially unwinding a two-day selloff to start the year with Tuesday witnessing a late block sale in ultra-bond futures. 10-year yields traded as high as 1.650% ahead of the US open after being mostly flat around 1.645%; yields were richer by up to 2bp across long-end of the curve while little change from front-end out to belly, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 0.5bp and 1.8bp; gilts outperformed in the sector by half basis point. Focus expected to continue on IG issuance, which has impacted the market in the past couple of days, and in U.S. afternoon session FOMC minutes will be released. IG dollar issuance slate includes EIB $5B 5-year SOFR and Reliance Ind. 10Y/30Y/40Y; thirteen borrowers priced $23.1b across 30 tranches Tuesday, making it the largest single day volume for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds since first week of September. European peripheral spreads widen to core. 30y Italy lags peers, widening ~2bps to Germany with order books above EU43b at the long 30y syndication. Ten-year yields shot up 8bps in New Zealand as its markets reopened following the New Year holiday. Aussie yields advanced 4bps. A 10-year sale in Japan drew a bid-cover ratio of 3.46. In commodities, crude futures were range-bound with WTI near just below $77, Brent nearer $80 after OPEC+ agreed to revive more halted production as the outlook for global oil markets improved, with demand largely withstanding the new coronavirus variant. Spot gold puts in a small upside move out of Asia’s tight range to trade near $1,820/oz. Base metals are mixed. LME nickel lags, dropping over 2%; LME aluminum and lead are up ~0.8%.  Looking at the day ahead, data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,783.25 MXAP down 0.4% to 193.71 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 626.67 Nikkei up 0.1% to 29,332.16 Topix up 0.4% to 2,039.27 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 22,907.25 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,595.18 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,300.47 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,565.85 Kospi down 1.2% to 2,953.97 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 494.52 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.09% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1304 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $79.72/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,819.73 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.13% to 96.13 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The U.S. yield curve’s most dramatic steepening in more than three months has little to do with traders turning more optimistic on the economy or betting on a more aggressive timetable for raising interest rates The surge in euro-area inflation that surprised policy makers in recent months is close to its peak, according to European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau Some Bank of Japan officials say it’s likely the central bank will discuss the possible ditching of a long-held view that price risks are mainly on the downward side at a policy meeting this month, according to people familiar with the matter Turkish authorities are keeping tabs on investors who are buying large amounts of foreign currency and asked banks to deter their clients from using the spot market for hedging-related trades as they struggle to contain the lira’s slide Italy is trying to lock in historically low financing costs at the start of a year where inflationary and political pressures could spell an end to super easy borrowing conditions North Korea appears to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, after leader Kim Jong Un indicated he was more interested in bolstering his arsenal than returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. A More detailed breakdown of overnight news from Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded mostly in the red following the mixed handover from Wall Street, where the US majors maintained a cyclical bias and the NDX bore the brunt of another sizeable Treasury curve bear-steepener. Overnight, US equity futures resumed trade with mild losses and have since been subdued, with participants now gearing up for the FOMC minutes (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite) ahead of Friday’s US jobs report and several scheduled Fed speakers. In APAC, the ASX 200 (-0.3%) was pressured by its tech sector, although the upside in financials cushioned some losses. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was kept afloat by the recent JPY weakness, whilst Sony Group rose some 4% after its chairman announced EV ambitions. The KOSPI (-1.2%) was dealt a blow as North Korea fired a projectile that appeared to be a ballistic missile, but this landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Hang Seng (-1.6%) saw its losses accelerate with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. China Huarong Asset Management slumped over 50% as it resumed trade following a nine-month halt after its financial failure. The Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. In the debt complex, the US T-note futures held a mild upside bias since the resumption of trade, and the US curve was somewhat steady. Participants also highlighted large short-covering heading into yesterday’s US close ahead of the FOMC minutes. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Slide as Surging Yields Squeeze Technology Sector China’s Growth Forecast Cut by CICC Amid Covid Outbreaks BOJ Is Said to Discuss Changing Long-Held View on Price Risks Gold Holds Gain With Fed Rate Hikes and Treasury Yields in Focus European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.1%) trade mixed in what has been a relatively quiet session thus far with the final readings of Eurozone services and composite PMIs providing little in the way of fresh impetus for prices. The handover from the APAC region was predominantly a soft one with Chinese bourses lagging once again with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Comp. (-1%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. Stateside, the ES and RTY are flat whilst the NQ lags once again after yesterday bearing the brunt of another sizeable treasury curve bear-steepener. In terms of house views, analysts at Barclays expect “2022 to be a more normal yet positive year for equities, looking for high single-digit upside and a broader leadership”. Barclays adds that it remains “pro-cyclical (Industrials, Autos, Leisure, reopening plays and Energy OW), and prefer Value to Growth”. Elsewhere, analysts at Citi stated that “monetary tightening may push up longer-dated nominal/real bond yields, threatening highly rated sectors such as IT or Luxury Goods. Alternatively, higher yields could help traditional value trades such as UK equities and Pan-European Financials”. Sectors in Europe are mostly higher, with auto names leading as Renault (+3.4%) sits at the top of the CAC, whilst Stellantis (+0.6%) has seen some support following the announcement that it is planning for a full battery-electric portfolio by 2028. Elsewhere, support has also been seen for Chemicals, Oil & Gas and Banking names with the latter continuing to be supported by the current favourable yield environment. To the downside, Food and Beverage is the clear laggard amid losses in Nestle (-2.6%) following a broker downgrade at Jefferies. Ocado (+5.5%) sits at the top of the Stoxx 600 after being upgraded to buy at Berenberg with analysts expecting the Co. to sign further deals with new and existing grocery e-commerce partners this year. Finally, Uniper (-2.4%) sits near the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after securing credit facilities totalling EUR 10bln from Fortum and KfW. Top European News U.K. Weighs Dropping Covid Test Mandate for Arriving Travelers German Energy Giant Uniper Gets $11 Billion for Margin Calls European Gas Extends Rally as Russian Shipments Remain Curbed Italian Inflation Hits Highest in More Than a Decade on Energy In FX, notwithstanding Tuesday’s somewhat mixed US manufacturing ISM survey and relatively hawkish remarks from Fed’s Kashkari, the week (and year) in terms of data and events really begins today with the release of ADP as a guide for NFP and minutes of the December FOMC that confirmed a faster pace of tapering and more hawkish dot plots. As such, it may not be surprising to see the Buck meandering broadly and index settling into a range inside yesterday’s parameters with less impetus from Treasuries that have flipped from a severe if not extreme bear-steepening incline. Looking at DXY price action in more detail, 96.337 marks the top and 96.053 the bottom at present, and from a purely technical perspective, 96.098 remains significant as a key Fib retracement level. JPY/EUR/AUD/GBP/NZD - All taking advantage of the aforementioned Greenback fade, and with the Yen more eager than others to claw back lost ground given recent underperformance. Hence, Usd/Jpy has retreated further from multi-year highs and through 116.00 to expose more downside potential irrespective of latest reports via newswire sources suggesting the BoJ is expected to slightly revise higher its inflation forecast for the next fiscal year and downgrade the GDP outlook for the year ending in March. Similarly, the Euro is having another look above 1.1300 even though EZ services and composite PMIs were mostly below consensus or preliminary readings and German new car registrations fell sharply, while the Aussie is retesting resistance around 0.7250 and its 50 DMA with some assistance from firm copper prices, Cable remains underpinned near 1.3550 and the 100 DMA and the Kiwi is holding mainly above 0.6800 in the face of stronger Aud/Nzd headwinds. Indeed, the cross is approaching 1.0650 in contrast to Eur/Gbp that is showing signs of changing course following several bounces off circa 0.8333 that equates to 1.2000 as a reciprocal. CHF/CAD - The Franc and Loonie appear a bit less eager to pounce on their US peer’s retrenchment, as the former pivots 0.9150 and latter straddles 1.2700 amidst a downturn in crude pre-Canadian building permits and new house prices. SCANDI/EM - Little sign of any fallout from a slowdown in Sweden’s services PMI as overall risk sentiment remains supportive for the Sek either side of 10.2600 vs the Eur, but the Nok is veering back down towards 10.0000 in line with slippage in Brent from Usd 80+/brl peaks reached on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Zar is shrugging off a sub-50 SA PMI as Gold strengthens its grip on the Usd 1800/oz handle and the Cnh/Cny are still underpinned after another PBoC liquidity drain and firmer than previous midpoint fix on hopes that cash injections might be forthcoming through open market operations into the banking system from the second half of January to meet rising demand for cash, according to China's Securities Journal. Conversely, the Try has not derived any real comfort from comments by Turkey’s Finance Minister underscoring its shift away from orthodox policies, or insistence that budget discipline will not be compromised. In commodities, crude benchmarks are currently little changed but have been somewhat choppy within a range shy of USD 1/bbl in European hours, in-spite of limited fresh newsflow occurring. For reference, WTI and Brent reside within USD 77.26-76.53/bbl and USD 80.25-79.56/bbl parameters respectively. Updates for the complex so far include Cascade data reporting that gas flows via the Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline in an eastward direction have reduced. As a reminder, the pipeline drew scrutiny in the run up to the holiday period given reverse mode action, an undertaking the Kremlin described as ‘operational’ and due to a lack of requests being placed. Separately, last nights private inventories were a larger than expected draw, however, the internals all printed builds which surpassed expectations. Today’s EIA release is similar expected to show a headline draw and builds amongst the internals. Elsewhere, and more broadly, geopolitics remain in focus with Reuters sources reporting that a rocket attack has hit a military base in proximity to the Baghdad airport which hosts US forces. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are once again fairly contained though the yellow metal retains the upside it derived around this point yesterday, hovering just below the USD 1820/oz mark. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications -5.6%, prior -0.6% 8:15am: Dec. ADP Employment Change, est. 410,000, prior 534,000 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.9 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.5, prior 57.5 2pm: Dec. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As you may have seen from my CoTD yesterday all I got for Xmas this year was Omicron, alongside my wife and two of our three kids (we didn’t test Bronte). On Xmas Day I was cooking a late Xmas dinner and I suddenly started to have a slightly lumpy throat and felt a bit tired. Given I’d had a couple of glasses of red wine I thought it might be a case of Bordeaux-2015. However a LFT and PCR test the next day confirmed Covid-19. I had a couple of days of being a bit tired, sneezing and being sniffly. After that I was 100% physically (outside a of bad back, knee and shoulder but I can’t blame that on covid) but am still sniffly today. I’m also still testing positive on a LFT even if I’m out of isolation which tells me testing to get out of isolation early only likely works if you’re completely asymptomatic. My wife was similar to me symptom wise. Maybe slightly worse but she gets flu badly when it arrives and this was nothing like that. The two kids had no real symptoms unless being extremely annoying is one. Indeed spending 10 days cooped up with them in very wet conditions (ie garden activity limited) was very challenging. Although I came out of isolation straight to my home office that was still a very welcome change of scenery yesterday. The covid numbers are absolutely incredible and beyond my wildest imagination a month ago. Yesterday the UK reported c.219k new cases, France c.272k and the US 1.08 million. While these are alarming numbers it’s equally impressive that where the data is available, patients on mechanical ventilation have hardly budged and hospitalisations, while rising, are so far a decent level below precious peaks. Omicron has seen big enough case numbers now for long enough that even though we’ve had another big boost in cases these past few days, there’s nothing to suggest that the central thesis shouldn’t be anything other than a major decoupling between cases and fatalities. See the chart immediately below of global cases for the exponential recent rise but the still subdued levels of deaths. Clearly there is a lag but enough time has passed that suggests the decoupling will continue to be sizeable. It seems the main problem over the next few weeks is the huge number of people self isolating as the variant rips through populations. This will massively burden health services and likely various other industries. However hopefully this latest wave can accelerate the end game for the pandemic and move us towards endemicity faster. Famous last words perhaps but this variant is likely milder, is outcompeting all the others, and our defences are much, much better than they have been (vaccines, immunity, boosters, other therapeutic treatments). Indeed, President Biden directed his team to double the amount of Pfizer’s anti-covid pill Paxlovid they order; he called the pill a game changer. So a difficult few weeks ahead undoubtedly but hopefully light at the end of the tunnel for many countries. Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted yesterday that Britain can ride out the current Omicron wave without implementing any stricter measures, suggesting that learning to live with the virus is becoming the official policy stance in the UK. The head scratcher is what countries with zero-covid strategies will do faced with the current set up. If we’ve learnt anything from the last two years of covid it is that there is almost no way of avoiding it. Will a milder variant change such a stance? Markets seem to have started the year with covid concerns on the back burner as day 2 of 2022 was a lighter version of the buoyant day 1 even if US equities dipped a little led by a big under-performance from the NASDAQ (-1.33%), as tech stocks got hit by higher discount rates with the long end continuing to sell off to start the year. Elsewhere the Dow Jones (+0.59%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+0.82%) both climbed to new records, with cyclical sectors generally outperforming once again. Interestingly the STOXX Travel & Leisure index rose a further +3.11% yesterday, having already surpassed its pre-Omicron level. As discussed the notable exception to yesterday’s rally were tech stocks, with a number of megacap tech stocks significantly underperforming amidst a continued rise in Treasury yields, and the rotation towards cyclical stocks as investors take the message we’ll be living with rather than attempting to defeat Covid. The weakness among that group meant that the FANG+ index fell -1.68% yesterday, with every one of the 10 companies in the index moving lower, and that weakness in turn meant that the S&P 500 (-0.06%) came slightly off its record high from the previous session. Showing the tech imbalance though was the fact that the equal weight S&P 500 was +0.82% and 335 of the index rose on the day. So it was a reflation day overall. Staying with the theme, the significant rise in treasury yields we saw on Monday extended further yesterday, with the 10yr yield up another +1.9bps to 1.65%. That means the 10yr yield is up by +13.7bps over the last 2 sessions, marking its biggest increase over 2 consecutive sessions since last September. Those moves have also coincided with a notable steepening in the yield curve, which is good news if you value it as a recessionary indicator, with the 2s10s curve +11.3bps to +88.7bps over the last 2 sessions, again marking its biggest 2-day steepening since last September Those moves higher for Treasury yields were entirely driven by a rise in real yields, with the 10yr real yield moving back above the -1% mark. Conversely, inflation breakevens fell back across the board, with the 10yr breakeven declining more than -7.0bps from an intraday peak of 2.67%, the highest level in more than six weeks, which tempered some of the increase in nominal yields. The decline in breakevens was aided by the release of the ISM manufacturing reading for December, since the prices paid reading fell to 68.2, some way beneath the 79.3 reading that the consensus had been expecting. In fact, that’s the biggest monthly drop in the prices paid measure in over a decade, and leaves it at its lowest level since November 2020. Otherwise, the headline reading did disappoint relative to the consensus at 58.7 (vs. 60.0 expected), but the employment component was above expectations at 54.2 (vs. 53.6 expected), which is its highest level in 8 months and some promising news ahead of this Friday’s jobs report. Staying with US employment, the number of US job openings fell to 10.562m in November (vs. 11.079m expected), but the number of people quitting their job hit a record high of 4.5m. That pushed the quits rate back to its record of 3.0% and just shows that the labour market continues to remain very tight with employees struggling to hire the staff needed. This has been our favourite indicator of the labour market over the last few quarters and it continues to keep to the same trend. Back to bonds and Europe saw a much more subdued movement in sovereign bond yields, although gilts were the exception as the 10yr yield surged +11.7bps as it caught up following the previous day’s public holiday in the UK. Elsewhere however, yields on bunds (-0.2bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (+0.9bps) all saw fairly modest moves. Also of interest ahead of tonight’s Fed minutes, there was a story from the Wall Street Journal late yesterday that said Fed officials are considering whether to reduce their bond holdings, and thus beginning QT, in short order. Last cycle, the Fed kept the size of its balance sheet flat for three years after the end of QE by reinvesting maturing proceeds before starting QT. This iteration of QE is set to end in March, so any move towards balance sheet rolloff would be a much quicker tightening than last cycle, which the article suggested was a real possibility. As this cycle has taught us time and again, it is moving much faster than historical precedent, so don’t rely on prior timelines. Balance sheet policy and the timing of any QT will be a major focus in tonight’s minutes, along with any signals for the timing of liftoff and path of subsequent rate hikes. Overnight in Asia markets are trading mostly lower with the KOSPI (-1.45%), Hang Seng (-0.85%), Shanghai Composite (-0.81%) and CSI (-0.67%) dragged down largely by IT stocks while the Nikkei (+0.07%) is holding up better. In China, Tencent cut its stake in a Singapore based company yesterday by selling $ 4 billion worth shares amidst China's regulatory crackdown with investors concerned they will do more. This has helped push the Hang Seng Tech Index towards its lowest close since its inception in July 2020 with Tencent and companies it invested in losing heavily. Moving on, Japan is bringing forward booster doses for the elderly while maintaining border controls in an effort to contain Omicron. Futures are indicating a weaker start in DM markets with the S&P 500 (-0.25%) and DAX (-0.11%) both tracking their Asian peers. Oil prices continued their ascent yesterday, with Brent Crude (+1.20%) hitting its highest level since the Omicron variant first emerged on the scene. Those moves came as the OPEC+ group agreed that they would go ahead with the increase in output in February of 400k barrels per day. And the strength we saw in commodities more broadly last year has also continued to persist into 2022, with copper prices (+1.12%) hitting a 2-month high, whilst soybean prices (+2.49%) hit a 4-month high. Looking at yesterday’s other data, German unemployment fell by -23k in December (vs. -15k expected), leaving the level of unemployment at a post-pandemic low of 2.405m in December. Finally, the preliminary French CPI reading for December came in slightly beneath expectations on the EU-harmomised measure, at 3.4% (vs. 3.5% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

Kazakh Protesters Storm & Torch Government Buildings, Shots Fired, After Cabinet Resigns

Kazakh Protesters Storm & Torch Government Buildings, Shots Fired, After Cabinet Resigns Despite an attempt to impose a strict curfew on Kazakhstan's largest city overnight and a 'state of emergency' across all locales hit by unrest, protesters are reportedly storming government buildings in Almaty, as chaos continues on the streets amid clashes with police, now in the fourth day of angry crowds raging against a dramatic hike in gas prices after government-imposed caps were lifted on liquefied petroleum gas on Saturday, which meant prices at the pump immediately more than doubled and tripled in some places. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has accepted the resignation of the government in the one-party state. "Tokayev said on Wednesday morning that he had accepted the resignation of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, and ordered the acting cabinet to reinstate price controls on Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG)," Al Jazeera reports. There were reports of gunfire heard in Almaty throughout the night and into the morning, and emerging unconfirmed reports of casualties from protests in various cities and towns. ⚡️⚡️⚡️ Right now, the storming of the Presidential Administration of Kazakhstan begins. #BreakingNews #Breaking #Kazakhstan #Казахстан #protests pic.twitter.com/iuOiCDDvor — Aleksander Onishchuk (@Brave_spirit81) January 5, 2022 But it's looking too little too late as the continuing unrest is now targeting the government, despite President Tokayev warning the prior day that "Calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal," and vowing that "The government will not fall" in a national TV address. Russia's TASS news agency is reporting, "Protesters armed with machine guns in Almaty smash former presidential residence – security officials have left the area." And now... the president is vowing "maximum toughness" in his response to the protests and riots. KAZAKH PRESIDENT SAYS HE WOULD ACT AS TOUGH AS POSSIBLE - TV KAZAKH PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL STAY IN THE CAPITAL - TV KAZAKH PRESIDENT SAYS HE TAKES OVER AS SECURITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN - TV pic.twitter.com/t4ciMFGKE9 — Russian Market (@russian_market) January 5, 2022 Perhaps to save and ensure his own political rule, there's some rapid backtracking taking place on the prior weekend removal of price control caps, as Tokayev— ...also ordered the acting cabinet to broaden price controls to petrol, diesel and other "socially important" consumer goods. The moves followed clashes in Almaty overnight between police and thousands of protesters who had called for the government’s resignation. "Old man out" - some are reportedly shouting. In more than one major city, footage shows buildings on fire, and police trying to restore order through riot control tactics like flash bangs and rubber bullets. 'Live fire' is also being reported, but the situation remains murky, also as there seems to be few if any foreign journalist crews on the ground amid the mayhem. More footage from Alma-Ata.#BreakingNews #Breaking #Kazakhstan #Казахстан #protests pic.twitter.com/tlgVbPMxGi — Aleksander Onishchuk (@Brave_spirit81) January 5, 2022 According to NetBlocks on Wednesday, the nationwide internet outage has endured. "Kazakhstan is now in the midst of a nation-scale internet blackout after a day of mobile internet disruptions and partial restrictions," the net monitoring group writes. "The incident is likely to severely limit coverage of escalating anti-government protests." Almaty #Kazakhstan right now: these protestors are on some extra shit, attacking an APC like their lives mean nothing pic.twitter.com/4C9BpmLNtW — Don (@donhoxa) January 4, 2022 A number of public buildings especially in Almaty appear to be on fire, and now there's concern the capital of Nur-Sultan could come under threat next. Reuters reports the intensifying situation on Wednesday as follows: An Instagram live stream by a Kazakh blogger showed a fire blazing in the office of the Almaty mayor, with apparent gunshots audible nearby. Videos posted online also showed the nearby prosecutor's office burning. Earlier on Wednesday, Reuters journalists saw thousands of protesters pressing towards Almaty city center, some of them on a large truck. Security forces, ranked in helmets and riot shields, fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades. In Kazakhstan's Aktau city, on the Caspian Sea, what look like civilians have been filmed halting a military truck. pic.twitter.com/EpQNPT1yDA — Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) January 5, 2022 Authorities are now vowing to stamp out the actions of "extremists" amid accusations that innocent bystanders have been injured by the outraged mobs. Reuters continues: The city's police chief said Almaty was under attack by "extremists and radicals", who had beaten up 500 civilians and ransacked hundreds of businesses. A presidential decree announced a two-week state of emergency and nighttime curfew in the capital Nur-Sultan, citing "a serious and direct security threat to citizens". States of emergency were also declared in Almaty and in western Mangistau province, where the protests first emerged in recent days. Given emerging reports that in a number of cities police and military personnel are completely overwhelmed, the violence is likely to get worse before things calm, despite the desperate attempts to announce the return of fuel price controls.  Footage circulating on social media also reportedly shows security forces completely overwhelmed in Almaty as crowds beat up one national guardsman on a street corner. pic.twitter.com/PnQJMZLXI2 — Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) January 5, 2022 developing... Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 08:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

US Launches Preemptive Strike On "Rocket Sites" Near Occupied Syrian Oil Fields

US Launches Preemptive Strike On "Rocket Sites" Near Occupied Syrian Oil Fields Late in the day Tuesday (local time) the US military carried out what's being described as a "preemptive strike" against rocket sites in eastern Syria that "posed a threat" - according to a US coalition official statement.  "The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the coalition saw several launch sites near the Green Village in Syria," Reuters reports, referencing an American base in Deir Ezzor province. "The official did not specify from which country the coalition carried out the strike." Illustrative, iStock The base that was being "threatened" is in Syria oil-rich eastern region, which for years American forces have occupied in support of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). In the same area lies the country's largest oil facility, al-Omar oil field, as well as Conoco gas field - both under US-SDF control, something Damascus and Moscow have long condemned as an illegal occupation presence intent on blocking Syria from its own vital energy resources.  Over the past year the US base has seen occasional attacks, which is typically blamed by the Pentagon on "pro-Iran" militias, or also possibly Syrian national forces.  In this case too, at least one regional correspondent has been told by a coalition official that "Iranian militias" were targeted in the new strikes.  Most recently, in the past few months, the Pentagon has more often had to worry about its outposts near the Syria-Iraq border, with al-Tanf base in particular coming under recent drone and mortar attack. Such border region incidents are suspected as originating from either side of the border - with the Iraqi side seeing Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces recently stepping up small drone attacks. On Monday in Iraq, US forces came under drone attack at Camp Victory near the Baghdad airport. US forces in the region are on edge this week as large anti-American demonstrations are being held in major cities to mark the second anniversary of the killing of IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani.  And then on Tuesday drones threatened Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq, where US troops are stationed - the same base hit by Iranian cruise missiles two years ago, days after the Jan.3, 2020 assassination by drone of Soleimani.  Footage from Ain Al-Assad Airbase, #Iraq from the CRAM engagement of the two suspected Samad drones downed during the early hours of this morning. pic.twitter.com/8xGo7BYVO3 — Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) January 4, 2022 The above footage captures the base's anti-air defenses intercepting the drones in real-time. Tyler Durden Tue, 01/04/2022 - 20:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 4th, 2022

Netflix reportedly sent its staff talking points and tips on how to deal with questions from job applicants about Dave Chappelle"s controversial special

Netflix's memo told staff to "find a way to respectfully end" talk of Dave Chappelle's show if it goes beyond provided talking points, per The Verge. Chappelle in "The Closer."Netflix Netflix reportedly sent recruiters a memo on how to deal with job candidates bringing up Dave Chappelle's "The Closer" in interviews. The memo listed talking points and said to "respectfully end" discussion veering beyond their scope. The comedy special sparked controversy for its transphobic jokes, and Netflix employees staged a walkout over it. Lean on talking points. Use your best judgment. Change the subject.These are some of the tips that Netflix has given its staff for dealing with job candidates who bring up Dave Chappelle's controversial stand-up special "The Closer," according to The Verge.The publication ran a leaked memo on Tuesday appearing to show pointers and talking points Netflix sent to members of its talent acquisition team to help minimize discussion of the comedy special in job interviews.The memo says to "avoid commenting directly on The Closer" and "find a way to respectfully end and move on from the topic if you're pressed further on the topic in areas not covered in the talking points," according to The Verge."The Closer" has drawn backlash for its transphobic jokes. In the Netflix special, Chappelle said "gender is a fact," drew comparisons between transgender people's genitals and plant-based meat alternatives, and aligned himself with TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists.The special sparked uproar among Netflix employees, who organized a walkout in October to protest it. That month, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos had sent staff an email defending the special, saying, "While some employees disagree, we have a strong belief that content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm."Netflix also drew criticism for suspending three employees around that time. One was software engineer Terra Field, who is trans and had spoken out against the special in a viral Twitter thread, saying, "This is not an argument with two sides. It is an argument with trans people who want to be alive and people who don't want us to be."The company said the employees weren't suspended for criticizing Chappelle's special but rather for attending an executive meeting to which they weren't invited. Netflix later reinstated the three employees.The company came under fire again in October for firing the leader of a trans employee resource group who organized the walkout that month. Netflix said at the time that the person was fired for "sharing confidential, commercially sensitive information outside the company."Netflix's memo to recruiters includes what to tell job applicants if they ask about the employee termination or the October walkout, as well as blanket statements reiterating the company is "committed to inclusion" and "working to increase representation," according to The Verge.Netflix did not respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the full memo in The Verge here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022