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Key Words: People of color have been less likely than their white counterparts to get a COVID-19 vaccine — but that is finally changing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports vaccination data, but critics say it still has some significant gaps......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 14th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), Dave: You do lack self control, but I learned and laughed making my way thru this. ~ Larry Summers (@LHSummers), former Secretary of the Treasury Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Introduction I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. What began more than a dozen years ago as a synopsis of the year’s events in markets and finance for a few friends morphed beyond my control into a Year in Review (YIR)—an attempt to chronicle human folly and world events for the entire year. It captures key moments before they slip into the brain fog. The process of trying to write a coherent narrative helps me better understand WTF just happened and seminal moments that catch my eye. By far my favorite end-of-year recap for the last ten years. Finished it yesterday. Once again David hasn’t disappointed. He’s on my I want to go to dinner with list. ~ Jim Pallotta (@jimpallotta13), money manager and former owner of Boston Celtics I’m game, Jim, even if it’s just a pretzel, nachos, and a brewski. The title, “Crisis of Authorities,” is a double entendre. On the one hand, previously trusted authorities that we relied on to better understand the world are long gone. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Tim Russert have been replaced with Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Oops. Scratch Chris Cuomo. Ponder the following: which acronymed organization do you still trust? FBI? CIA? FEMA? DOJ? CBS? ABC? Fox? CNN? At one point I would have comfortably offered up the CDC, FDA, and NIH. Portions of those three should be razed. Social media offered up one acceptable answer: KFC. The second, more deeply disturbing meaning is that smoldering socialism has veered toward authoritarianism, a seismic shift that is global and quite possibly unstoppable. 2021: The year liberals threw eggs at black politicians, republicans pushed to legalize pot, conservatives declared “my body, my choice”, and libertarians muttered, “just shoot me now.” I am suffering future shock—the struggle to adapt to an abruptly changing world. Topics that seemed farcical not long ago are less entertaining now. Silly events in public schools and college campuses loosely defined as political correctness have morphed into religious wars. Progress was made in the Cancel Culture Wars. They tried to get Joe Rogan and couldn’t put a glove on him. The populace and the workers at Netflix went after Dave Chappelle and learned that not everybody kowtows: If this is what being canceled is like, I love it… To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands. ~ Dave Chappelle, wisdom Politicians groping for their vig—10% for the Big Guy—have mutated into total MAC (Mutually Assured Corruption). Social contagions are more virulent than biological pathogens. Attempts to stem the movements are emblematic of proto-authoritarianism of the past. I am unable to keep up—unable to even catch my breath on some days. Following up after listening to a widely distributed QTR podcast, a friend and long-time YIR reader asked, “Are you OK?” I said I was fine, but on further reflection realized I was not so sure. You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ~ Winston Churchill (@DeadGuy) I have lost friends and made new ones all because of the Great Partisan Divide. (Please excuse the caps throughout; everything now seems to demand a proper name and acronym.) My colleagues have put to rest doubts about whether I am nuts, noting that I am contrarian on all topics. Of course, they don’t hear about the ones for which I have no gripe, but their assertions are not entirely wrong. Friends let me be me, but there is something isolating about it. By contrast, I have many friends in the digital world for which the Venn Diagram of Ideas has a much greater overlap. You can have friends without ever seeing them in the flesh, but these digital pals become bucket-listers for me to meet. Some accept my invitation to have dinner on my deck overseeing Cayuga Lake. Try explaining to your wife that you are having dinner with some guy you met on the internet. This has included famous people like David Einhorn, Tony Deden, Cate Long, and Doug Noland as well as walk-ins whom I knew nothing about until they showed up with a bottle of wine. They have, without fail, brought rewarding evenings of lively chat. Disclaimer: Opinions and ideas expressed herein are not my own. I also don’t use asterisks, so you are just going to have to grow a f*cking pair. If this message is lost because you have sh*t for brains, my advice is to stop reading now. Philosophy. I have let go of the belief that I know truth, because I am relentlessly doubting the veracity of the data from which my narrative derives. In the Age of Narratives, all I can offer is Dave’s Narrative. There is also no topic in the Year of Our Lord 2021 in which my opinion is non-partisan because all opinions are now partisan. Consequently, I may come off as a right-wing white supremacist who moonlights as a Russian operative while serving up nostrums characteristic of an anti-war ex-hippie. This guy is so left wing that he doesn’t even understand his own bias. ~ Rich Weatherford, commenter on a podcast   The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him. ~ Richard Benchley My attempt to create a Unified Theory of Everything is very much like building a jumbo jet in mid-flight. In science, when your model is right, it starts playing like the tail end of a game of Solitaire or a jigsaw puzzle—the cards and pieces naturally fall into place. If the nothing makes sense no matter how hard you try, it may be time to tear down that Rube Goldberg structure and start from a fresh perspective. My greatest strength and weakness are an ability to entertain almost any idea—entertain conspiracy theories and scamper down rabbit holes—until I hit paydirt or hardpan. Feel free to call me a conspiracy theorist; it helps me identify narrow-minded boneheads. What baffles me is why “conspiracy” is so pejorative. Men and women of wealth and power conspire. Anybody who cannot concede that point is an intellectual dingleberry (or works for the Deep State!) Alex Jones got more right than CNN. ~ Dave Smith, comic and possible presidential candidate   Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. ~ Matt Taibbi I am an openly white, right-leaning, closeted hand-sexual male with audacious opinions. I promise, however, that I will sling barbs without regard to race, creed, or color. If I think you are a douche bag, I will say so. When anger consumes me, however, it gives way to angst because somebody may have suckered me into playing a role in some higher authority’s master plan to disrupt the American Dream. As we are being dazzled by the Harlem Globe Trotters, recognize that we are the Washington Generals. Remember the olden days when the wealthy and powerful nefariously assaulted the unsuspecting populace? If caught, scandal followed, heads rolled, and we moved on, leaving us plebes with the sense that justice was served. Since the government was small relative to GDP, the systemic corruption represented a few percent of the system. It’s now growing like a tumor and devoid of consequences for the powerful. In the Age of Narratives, we snarf down platters of propaganda served by powerful media empires. This bread and circuses is free but leaves us marinating in ignorance. It’s a trap Mickey: the cheese is not free! The Western media is now the arm of the State, no better than Pravda. Failed business model led the media into the oldest profession. How many narratives have we fallen for? How many have you fallen for? I think you owe it to yourselves to replay the tape from years past and ask whether you were duped. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest (see Books) suggests we are hard-wired to trust. As social animals, we cannot function if we don’t. It’s difficult to push back but push back we must. The more highly politicized the topic—climate change, pandemics, vaccines, elections, central banking, foreign wars—the greater the urgency to repel. I offer up one of several quotes from Gore Vidal, a thought-leader canted profoundly left whom I have come to view as the intellectuals’ George Carlin: Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own. ~ Gore Vidal Sources and Social Media. I am a Twitter long hauler with 70,000 followers but haven’t yet figured out how to monetize the micro-fame enough to buy a mocha Frappuccino. I do, however, find it a useful sounding board. One tweeter—probably a Twitter bot—captured the essence: If you need something researched for free and you don’t feel like doing it just post a tweet about it that’s mildly incorrect and wait. ~ @InternetHippo My Twitter long hauling has occasionally been interrupted by Twitter time-outs. They range from 12 hours to ponder the err in my ways for posting an inappropriate link to Bichute or The Lancet, to a full week for calling Tony Fauci “a skanky whore.” A permanent ban would (will) be painful because I have old and new friends there—Rudy: I love ya man!—who enrich my life with their wisdom. New posse members joining the already eclectic mix include @JonNajarian (getting me closer to winning CNBC Twitter Bingo), scholar and author @BretWeinstein (see Books), actor @AdamBaldwin, polymath rapper @ZubyMusic, and waves of bitcoin hodlers. Favorite news sources include podcasts—I am an audiophile—as well as blogs and newsletters by Tony Greer, James Grant, Jesse Felder, Bill Fleckenstein, Automatic Earth, Grant Williams, Ron Griess of The Chart Store, Chris Martenson, emails from a woman named Denise, and the 500 lb. gorilla of the internet—Zerohedge. I know I’ve missed many more. Apologies. The trouble is, you think you have time. ~ Buddha Figure 1. Toddler hacks the US Strategic Air Command; nuclear war was averted. Topics Untouched. As usual, I am up to my ass in debris on the cutting room floor writing this beast. Some topics simply proved unworthy; others were not ready yet. One of the great merits of blogging is that blogs stand alone; write them when you wish. A once-a-year narrative, by contrast, demands some sort of theme or glue, and, frankly, you can’t write The Wealth of Nations in November. By December the tank read “Empty”, but there were topics I had to finish. I actually started getting minor migraines. What follows are thumbnail sketches of a few stories that were left largely untold. There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen. ~ Vladimir Lenin By late 2020, it was clear that I had overlooked China as the global provocateur. They are Orwell’s hole in the air—the blurry schlieren in the jungle as the Predator arrives to tear out Arnie’s organs. The Chinese have infiltrated all aspects of the West’s geopolitical and economic system. Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven (see Books) is an excellent primer. I’ve heard second hand that the military top brass believes we are already at war but just don’t realize it yet. I regret punting the most important story, but they invented the punt for a reason. I’ve taken a pass on campus politics, cancel culture, and all things politically correct. I know how much joy it brought many of you to find out how much you wasted sending your children to college, but this was an off-year. Cancel culture may be fading because, to put it bluntly, nobody likes a bunch of clueless douche bags. Critical race theory (CRT) with its deeply Marxist underpinnings and intentions is a bad idea whose time has come. In a law school, there are scholarly components. As it seeps into the K–12 zone it becomes a steaming load of crap. If you have kids, you should go to school board meetings and get arrested for speaking up or, what is now called, being a domestic terrorist. It masquerades as objective science but was written as—all right, I’ll use the word—propaganda. ~ Steven Koonin (@SteveKoonin), former Cal Tech physicist, Obama Science Advisor, and author of Unsettled? The 2019 YIR tackled climate change.ref 1 I thought I might be augmenting it this year, but I will simply leave it by noting a few high-water marks. Steve Koonin, former Cal Tech physicist, expert modeler of complex systems, and Obama chief science advisor wrote the book Settled?. (See Books.) Like many other “climate deniers” his creds are beyond reproach. Steve had chaired the American Physical Society’s committee of 12 elite scientists that examined the state of climate science. After paying some lip service to Mankind’s contributions, Steve eviscerated the models and absurdities comprising the Climate Change Narrative. This, of course, caused a seismic shift in the scientific community’s view of our global climate initiatives. Just kidding. Nobody gave a shit because trillions of dollars have already been spent on it and an estimated $150 trillion more will be handed out to anybody willing to feign belief in the Scriptures. I also had a long talk with a Stanford University psychologist and media expert who went down that rabbit hole and became a denier. Nothing will get in the way of this $150-trillion-dollar juggernaut. All hail Greta! By the way, Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans appears to have snuck back on YouTube after being banned for truthiness. It is a good documentary.ref 2 Despite numerous podcasts with Holy Rolling Bitcoin Hodlers with their Scriptures under arm trying to sell me currency warranties, I remain on the sidelines (a no-coiner, pejoratively speaking). I cannot add much to this heated debate except to congratulate them for riding Metcalf’s Law to riches. I suspect their next test will be a Tether insolvency or a good ol’ fashioned credit crunch, prefacing the final Battle of the Bastards pitting the Hodlers versus The State unwilling to forfeit control of the money supply. All of this presumes cryptos aren’t just a fad. I wish you laser-eyed crazies well. Dude –you deserve a Pulitzer for your coverage of the George Floyd Story, and I’m going to tweet that out. ~ Tony Greer (@TgMacro), TGMacro In the 2020 YIR I wrote extensively on why Chauvin would be a tricky conviction.ref 3 At least two of us thought it worthy. The trial went off without a hitch. The media’s minor lipservice given to why angry mobs in the street would make it hard for the jury to remain unbiased while obsessing over why he should be convicted no matter what. The jury did their job. The part that was missed was the witness nullification. I must confess to not watching much, but nobody—as in not a single person in court—wanted to provide the testimony that got Chauvin acquitted. You could hear witnesses choose their words carefully. I’m not even sure the defense team wanted the win. Oh well, I wouldn’t underwrite Derek’s life insurance policy. Prosecutor: But you decided you needed to run because of the fire of [inaudible]: why? What was so urgent? Kyle Rittenhouse: There was a fire. Enter the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. In shades of the Covington Scandal, even the President of the United States fondled the scales of justice to ensure the right outcome. The talking heads served up narratives that were fact-free clickbait to pay the bills. The prosecution was so comically bad—moments of great levityref 4a,b,c—that I began to wonder if they were tossing the case intentionally. Both the judge and the prosecution appeared to be intentionally setting up a mistrial. Kyle is gonna have a college essay to die for. Good luck getting it past all but Liberty University’s admissions committee.ref 5 In a related story, Nick Sandmann of Covington fame got his third quarter of a billion dollar settlement for defamation of character. Early negotiations are rumored to involve a 50:50 split of CNN by Sandmann and Rittenhouse. Figure 2. Judge David Collum and Kyle Rittenhouse playing Call of Duty-Modern Warfare. And now to bullet a few drive-by shootings: The Epstein story could have been resurrected from the 2019 YIRref 6 with the arrest of Head Pimp, Gishlaine “Gizz” Maxwell, caught hiding in a New Hampshire mansion already surveilled by the FBI, but it is just starting. I’m guessing she will be convicted of a 1997 minor traffic(king) violation, punished with time served, and retire comfortably on the MPP (Mossad Pension Plan) to live out her days in seclusion with her manly girlfriend, Jessica Schlepstein. Durham’s investigation of the Steele Dossier could heat up but hasn’t yet. Indictments are working their way from the bottom up. I won’t believe that plot has legs till I see it running. Nobody in power ever pays for their misdeeds. The Pandora Papers showed galaxy-class criminality of the global elite socking over $11 trillion dollars away in off-shore accounts, but prominent Americans were notably absent.ref 7 The media assured us that there are no crooks of such sociopathy in America.ref 8 The story had the shelf life of a souffle. John McAfee offed himself (or not). There were rumors that he had a kill switch that would hew vast stands of powerful people including voter fraudsters.ref 9 Well, McDeadGuy, we’re waiting. It won’t matter anyway because…oh never mind. Major Themes of 2021. Enough already: what are you going to talk about? I cover the usual topics on the economy and investing and take a bat to market valuations again. Broken Markets are a prominent because they’ve never been more broken. Covid-19 and the vaccine get serious facetime as the opening act of a much bigger drama. The events at the January Insurrection offers more plot thickener as one of the most important single days in American history. That anagnorisis arrives when the voice says, “The call is coming from inside the house!” The final scene will be the rise of global authoritarianism—total global domination—and you squeal… I did nazi that coming. WTF just happened? Figure 3. Change comes with little warning. Contents Part 1  Introduction My Year Investing – Gold, Energy, and Materials  Gold and Silver The Economy Inflation The Fed Valuations Broken Markets Part 2 (Coming Soon) Covid-19 – The Disease Covid-19 – The Response Vaccine – The Risks Vaccine – The Rollout Part 3 (Coming Soon) Biden – Freshman Year One Scorecard Capitol Insurrection Rising Authoritarianism Conclusion Acknowledgment Books My Year This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. ~ Winston Churchill I read a book on narcissism. Although I flunked yet another test having checked a paucity of the boxes, there were a couple of categories demanding a big Sharpie. Narcissistic tendencies underly all achievement so there’s that too. This section is where I wander through the last calendar year of my life looking for college-essay material. It can be skipped by all but the most loyal readers (three at last count). That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing. ~ Truman Capote Self-Improvement. OK. Let’s call it attenuated personal decay. I had dropped 26 pounds of comorbidity in 2020 and another 10 pounds in 2021. I am by no means emaciated yet. I was pestered by London money manager Mitch Feierstein into playing a seminal round of golf after decades of neglect and was hooked. While watching the final hole of the FedEx Open, Cantalay hits a 371-yard drive, a 217-yard 6 iron 10 ft from the cup and two-putts for a birdie and $15 million. I’m thinkin’, “Hey: I can birdie a par 5 with a few Mulligans!” .....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 3rd, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Homicide Rates In 2020 Surged To 24-Year High... Another Sign Of A Failing Regime

Homicide Rates In 2020 Surged To 24-Year High... Another Sign Of A Failing Regime Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute, By mid 2020, it was already becoming clear that the United States was experiencing a spike in crime. Indeed, by midyear, numerous media outlets were already reporting remarkably large increases in homicide in a number of cities. It was clear that if then current trends continued, homicide rates in the United States would reach levels not seen in over a decade. With full-year data for 2020 now available on the FBI’s Crime in the United States report, we can see that those predictions were right. According to the report, the homicide rate in the United States rose to 6.5 per 100,000 in 2020, which is the highest rate reported since 1997—a twenty-four-year high. Moreover the increase from 2019 to 2020 was one of the largest increases the US has experienced in ninety years. For similar increases in a similarly short period of time, we must go back to the 1960s—or even the 1940s. In other words, this is not normal. If the current trend continues, the US could find itself back experiencing homicide growth not experienced since the late 1960s and early 1970s. It remains to be seen, however, if this is a temporary spike or part of a longer trend. If it is a spike, we can expect homicide rates to fall back to around 5 per 100,000, as had become a common experience over the past decade. If it is just a spike, then we can blame the surge in homicide on short-term events such as the covid lockdowns or the Black Lives Matter riots. If the surge is part of a larger trend, however, we’ll need to look to more broad and permanent causes for a satisfactory explanation. But finding the causes of larger trends in homicide rates is no simple matter, and ideological groups tend to use movements in homicide rates as "proof" of the correctness of their preferred political hobby horses.  There is compelling evidence, however, that trends in crime are driven largely by how the public views the legitimacy of the regime and its institutions. In short, the theory rests on the idea that crime increases when a jurisdiction's residents do not respect government institutions and do not believe that government institutions can provide safety or administer justice in a fairly reliable way. If the United States is indeed at the beginning of an upward trend in homicide, it might be more evidence of what many already suspect is happening: trust in American political institutions is falling, and consequently fear of private crime and social disorder is rising. Homicides: Some Historical Perspective In order to get some perspective on these trends, however, we have to look at historical movements in homicide rates. There is significant disagreement over the measurement of homicide rates in the early twentieth century, and data is especially spotty before the FBI established the Uniform Crime Report system in 1930. There is much more consensus, however, that homicide rates were high by today’s standards during the early 1930s. These rates began to decline rapidly after 1934, and this began a long downward trend in homicide that lasted until the late 1950s. This trend bottomed out at 4 per 100,000 in 1957. By 1965, homicide rates had begun a rapid ascent, climbing from 4.6 per 100,000 in 1963 and peaking at 9.8 per 100,000 in 1980. Homicide rates remained at elevated levels throughout the 1980s, but went into steep decline after 1993, reaching 4.4 per 100,000—a fifty-one-year low—in 2014. Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Program; Vital Statistics of the United States: 1965–1979; Vital Statistics of the United States: 1939–1964. Since 2014, however, the homicide rate has increased by more than 45 percent. Yet, 2020's rate of 6.5 per 100,00 is not especially high by twentieth-century standards, and we’re not yet returning to the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s, when violent crime was high year after year. On the other hand, the magnitude of 2020’s increase is sizable and alarming. Measured as a percentage increase, 2020’s increase is simply the largest ever recorded. Homicides in terms of raw totals increased by a whopping 29 percent from 2019 to 2020. No other one-year percentage change in ninety years has been as large. Certainly, in some years the total number of homicides has increased by very large amounts. For example, during the early 1970s, the US experienced some immense increases in terms of totals. Yet the only comparable percentage increases can be found over two-year periods in the past. For example, from 1944 to 1946, homicides increased rapidly as young men flooded America’s cities and towns following the end of the Second World War. Homicides had been suppressed throughout the war by the fact most of the nation’s young men—the people most likely to commit violent crime—had been shipped off to war. Homicides increased 34 percent, from 6,553 in 1944 to 8,784 in 1946. That was a very temporary situation, however, and the "trend" ended in 1946. By contrast, from 1966 to 1968, total homicides increased by 26 percent, rising from 11,606 in 1966 to 14,686 in 1968. This was only the beginning of an upward and severe trend in homicide that would last for years. What Causes These Changes? There are many different theories that purport to explain trends in homicides. Many people naturally gravitate toward the ones that confirm their existing world views. For example, some groups can be counted on to blame racial discrimination or a lack of government welfare as the causes of crime. Some say its economic inequality. Others might turn to racial theories to claim that certain ethnic groups are always behind surging homicide. And of course, a favorite alleged cause of changing homicide rates is the presence of firearms.  Like everyone else, I have my own preferred theory and it’s this: trends in homicide are driven largely by the public’s views of the legitimacy of the state’s institutions. When the public regards state institutions as ineffective in maintaining peace, order, and some semblance of justice, violence becomes more widespread.  For example, as Stephen Mihm explains, sociologist Roger Gould in his 2003 book Collision of Wills determined that virtually every spike in the homicide rate in 19th-century France correlated with periods of political instability. Moreover, he found that murder rates also went up in parts of France distant from eruptions of actual revolutionary upheaval; simply living in the shadow of a political breakdown was sufficient to jack up the murder rate. This theory has been developed in detail by Gary LaFree (in Losing Legitimacy [1998]) and by crime historian Randolph Roth. But perhaps the largest study within this theoretical framework is Roth's five hundred–page empirical analysis American Homicide. Roth contends that any serious analysis must take into account trends in homicide measures over numerous decades in a wide variety of times and places. With this data, Roth concludes it is reasonable to accept LaFree's contention that the variables that correlate most clearly with homicide are "the proportion of adults who say they trust their government to do the right thing and the proportion who believe that most public officials are honest." Roth then adds the following variables as central to understanding movements in homicide rates: The belief that government is stable and that its legal and judicial institutions are unbiased and will redress wrongs and protect lives and property. A feeling of trust in government and the officials who run it, and a belief in their legitimacy. Patriotism, empathy, and fellow feeling arising from racial, religious, or political solidarity. The belief that the social hierarchy is legitimate, that one's position in society is or can be satisfactory and that one can command the respect of others without resorting to violence. If these conditions do not exist, Roth concludes, then homicide rates will climb as residents view others in their community as potential threats. Furthermore, community members will feel they must engage in vigilante justice to make up for a lack of fair or reliable action on the part of police and other state actors. Criminologists and crime historians, of course, debate how well the historical data matches the theory. But Roth contends this relationship goes back centuries in American history, even to the seventeenth century. Where revolution, rebellion, and social unrest exist, we will likely see rising homicide rates. So are we in this situation right now? Certainly, the theory is plausible given the current state of affairs. On the one hand are groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters. These groups can engage in outright violence at times and at other times simply sow general unrest and a lack of confidence in the regime. At the same time, we find that a growing number of Americans are purchasing firearms at unusually high levels. Millions of Americans believe that election outcomes are manipulated. Others believe the police are either malicious or at least incompetent. In 2020, police officers were closing down businesses that refused to "lock down." Police were arresting mothers for daring to let their children play in city parks. We have every reason to believe these acts will only sow additional suspicion and resentment of government institutions. Many believe government vaccine mandates are both morally and legally illegitimate.  This is not a society that views government institutions with growing trust and reverence. Rather, this is a society that views government institutions as a source of injustice and disorder. Moreover the disorder has spread well beyond the nation’s ghettos. It might be comforting to think that homicides are only growing in certain crime-ridden Chicago districts. But this is not the case. Even the nation’s small cities in areas far from the nation’s traditional crime centers are seeing large increases. For example, in South Dakota—a state historically with relatively very low homicide rates—homicides increased by nearly 150 percent from 2019 to 2020. Similar trends were seen in other states, such as Iowa, where homicides have generally been very low in recent decades. Offenders also come from a variety of backgrounds. While homicides committed by known black offenders increased by 26 percent from 2019 to 2020, homicides by known white offenders notably increased by 23 percent. That is, there were 4,728 known homicides committed by whites in 2019. That rose to 5,844 in 2020. So, if more Americans of many different backgrounds are buying guns because they fear crime, their fear is not based in imaginary trends. From the federal level on down to the local police department and courthouse, government officials appear either unwilling or unable to deal with the realities of crime and social disorder. The public appears to have taken notice. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 17:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

Key Words: People of color have been less likely than their white counterparts to get a COVID-19 vaccine — but this is gradually changing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports vaccination data, but critics say it still has some significant gaps......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 14th, 2022

51 gifts for teens that they won"t toss away in their closet, from a popular hair dryer to a tie-dye kit

The best gifts for teens are ones they'll actually want to use, like tech gadgets, beauty products, and cool accessories. Here are 51 unique gifts. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.One of the best gifts for teens is a portable, waterproof speaker they can bring with them on trips with friends.Amazon It's never easy to shop for a teenager, especially if their tastes change frequently. We rounded up 51 gifts to make it easier to find the perfect gadget, game, or accessory.  Browse all of Insider Reviews' gift guides for more great gift ideas. Being a teenager is tough, but trying to buy a gift for one is even harder: They can be picky and fickle when it comes to what products they want. Sometimes, the best way to show a teen that you care is just to listen, and sometimes it's a thoughtful gift to show them you see them.To make the gift search easier, we curated 51 gifts ranging from a card game to a smartwatch to a quick-drying hair towel at various price points to ensure as many options as possible.If you are still unsure of what to get (and you can't ask them directly) try consulting their friends. Either way, a smart general rule of thumb is to make sure your gift is returnable. The 51 best gifts for teens: A tie dye kit they can use for a fun at-home activityTargetTulip 37pc One Step Tie Dye Kit, available at Target, $9.99They can revitalize white clothes and spend a few hours having fun doing something creative, whether solo or with family or friends.This one-step hair dryer brushElana Rubin/InsiderRevlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush, available at Target, $54.99Who doesn't love a one-step tool that feels luxurious? This popular round brush acts as a hairdryer while they brush, giving their hair volume without much finesse or time. You can find a full review of the Revlon One-Step here. An Apple AirTag to keep track of their belongingsLisa Eadicicco/InsiderApple AirTag, available at Target, $29.99The teenager in your life can attach this tag to their backpack, wallet, keys, or any other easily lost item and find it easily with the Find My app whenever they've misplaced it. Using the app, they can opt for the tag to play a sound until they've found their keys sandwiched between couch cushions or their wallet in the pantry.A board game that feels like a video gameAmazonCephalofair Games Gloomhaven Multi-Award-Winning Strategy Boxed Board Game, available at Amazon, $111.47This collaborative board game (good for one to up to four players) is sort of like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and other cult-favorite fantasy adventure games that forces its players to contend with monsters and mercenaries, explore a new world, and discover treasure and fame. Players make tactical decisions, and the game unfolds in reaction to their choices. Disposable cameras to help them stay in the momentAmazonFujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera, available at Amazon, $69.04Funsaver One Time Use Film Camera (2-pack), available at Amazon, $45.30Disposable cameras are popular right now, partly because of the nostalgic aesthetic of a polaroid and partly because of their simplicity. Spending so much time immersed in technology — and combatting the temptation to retake and edit photos in real-time — keep us from staying present.Disposable film cameras or polaroids help preserve memories without adding to their screen time. Plus, they give them cute photos to decorate their room with!Glossier's fan-favorite productsGlossierBoy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew Pack, available at Glossier, $42No-makeup makeup is in right now and, if your teen is into beauty products, they may appreciate a gift from Glossier, which is the "natural and glowy" brand Olivia Rodrigo says she wears in her Vogue beauty diary.We'd recommend a gift card or a pack like the Boy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew pack, which covers three of its fan-favorite products.A great bookAmazon"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11Books are an incredible gift if your teen is a reader. It can translate into hours of enjoyment at a minimum and, at its best, a favorite story that follows them well into adulthood.Plus, if you've read the book, it can also mean great conversations about it or movie adaptations to watch together. It's also a gift where money doesn't really matter; you can find a great read for $20 and spending more won't make much difference.Some book suggestions:"All the Bright Places," a popular YA book on TikTok"Scythe," a bestselling dystopian YA book similar to "The Hunger Games"The best young adult books, according to a teenagerThe best young adult romance booksThe best young people's literature of 2021 according to the National Book AwardsThe best books we read in our 20sAn eco-conscious tie-dye beanieFree The EarthFeel the Earth Breathe Tie Dye Beanie, available at Free People, from $40These unisex tie-dye beanies come in cool colors and with a unique plant logo. (To date, the Parks Project has reportedly contributed over $2,000,000 to help fund vital projects in national parks around the US).Ribbed beanies are big right now, à la the popular Carhartt beanie. If they've got that staple covered, the Parks Project also has tube socks. A splashproof, portable Bluetooth speaker perfect for outdoor tripsAmazonUltimate Ears Wonderboom 2, available at Amazon, $98This rugged, compact speaker can go with them anywhere. It's waterproof, has an "outdoor boost" button specifically for listening outside, is "drop-proof," and boasts a 13-hour battery life.A plush toy that they can heat upUrban OutfittersSmoko Mini Toasty Heatable Plushie, available at Urban Outfitters, $18Whenever they need some cozy comfort, they can heat up this cute animal-shaped heating pad for a snuggle.A portable phone chargerAmazonElecjet Powerpie Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $54.99This handheld charger can charge up your teen's smartphone or various devices like an iPad or small laptop so they can stay in touch, turn their paper in on time, or just never have to stress about 5% battery life.Sheet masks to go with a Netflix marathonAmazonTONYMOLY I'm Real Sheet Masks, available at Amazon, $26There are few things my 15-year-old sister loves more than oversized hoodies, Boba, and an endless supply of sheet masks. Grab a pack, throw them on, and make a night out of it with your teen's favorite candy and TV show.A pair of trendy, easy-to-use AirPodsAppleApple AirPods Pro with Charging Case, available at Target, $199.99If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy. A Boba-shaped AirPods Pro caseUrban OutfittersSmoko Boba Tea AirPods Pro Case, available at Urban Outfitters, $18As I mentioned, part of my 15-year-old sister's ideal trifecta is Boba. You can pick up a cute, fun case no matter what their interest is — Baby Yoda, gaming, Boba, or whatever else. A Bluetooth water bottle speakerGrommetBluetooth Water Bottle Speakers, available at Grommet, $39.95This Bluetooth water bottle speaker offers a boost of hydration and fun for everyone. The water-resistant speaker resides at the top, ensuring greater sound quality that lasts 6-10 hours. It's the perfect accessory for them to bring to every hang-out session. A slim leather walletAmazonBellroy Slim Sleeve Leather Wallet, available at Amazon and Bellroy, $79This thin wallet is a subtle nudge toward minimalism, something many teens appreciate. The Bellroy Slim Sleeve wallet offers room for up to eight cards and a pocket to stash cash. It comes in a variety of colors and features environmentally certified leather.An eco-friendly phone casePelaPela Phone Case, available at Amazon and Pela, from $38.95Pela offers a wide variety of biodegradable cases for iPhone and Android, all made from plant-based polymers. Pela cases are rugged enough to offer drop protection, and if a phone has both a Pela case and screen protector but still cracks, Pela will cover the bill to get it fixed.A comfortable and sustainable Patagonia pullover they'll wear all the timePatagoniaLightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, Men, available at Patagonia, $119Patagonia Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at Patagonia, $119A Patagonia sweater is a particularly good gift for teens who are interested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993 and continues to do so today.Its Snap-T pullover is the unofficial uniform of the cozy adventurer. It and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely on heavily during colder weather.Not sold on the Patagonia option? They may also appreciate the Acadia Recycled Polar Trail Fleece from the environmentally-conscious Parks Project.A gift card for stylish new glassesWarby ParkerGift Card, available at Warby Parker, from $50Teens are a notoriously picky bunch, so you can never go wrong with a gift card. If they're in the market for new glasses or sunglasses, we recommend Warby Parker because of its versatility, size flexibility, and free at-home try-on program. An Amazon Echo Dot for hands-free calls, alarms, music, updates on the weather, and moreAmazonEcho Dot (4th gen), available at Best Buy, $34.99The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason — it's compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (weather updates, recipes, music, news) without any of the bulk. A smartphone-sized travel photo printerTargetHP Sprocket 200 Photo Printer, available at Amazon and B&H Photo, $79.99This tiny, compact device prints photos with sticker backing on ZINK film with Zero Ink technology. It connects to devices via Bluetooth, and multiple devices can connect at once (personalized LED lights indicate who's currently printing). String lights with clips for photosAmazon/Business InsiderPhoto Clip LED String Lights, available at Target, $10Perfect for creating the archetypal teen room that's most often seen in Netflix movies and old Taylor Swift music videos, the photo clip string lights combine warm light and Polaroids (or other memorabilia). A trendy Champion sweatshirtUrban OutfittersChampion Reverse Weave Fleece Crew Neck Sweatshirt, available at Urban Outfitters, $54Like Fila, Champion is a brand that's had a resurgence as of late. If you want to get them something they'll end up wearing all the time, this is a good candidate. A great video game"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD" / Nintendo"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD", available at Amazon, from $49.94If they're really into video games, all other gifts may pale in comparison to a really good new one. Check out "Hades," "NBA 2K22," and "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD."A vinyl record membershipVinyl Me, PleaseGift Membership, 3 months, available at Vinyl Me, Please, $119There's no greater joy than adding to a record collection or playing a new album for the first time. Your recipient gets to choose from three different types of tracks each month and will also receive extra goodies in each package. They'll also get one bonus record as part of the three-month gift membership. A gentle facial cleansing device that removes 98.5% of dirt and makeupFOREOLuna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, Men, available at Foreo, $199Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, Women, available at Foreo, $199FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 3 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch-points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge.This newest generation also offers an array of massages to tighten the skin for a youthful look. Find a full review on the previous generation Luna 2 from a female reporter and a male reporter here.Comfortable lounge pants that look put-togetherMeUndiesThe Lounge Pant, Men, available at MeUndies, $68The Lounge Pant, Women, available at MeUndies $68MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings or heading to the dining hall when they get to college (yep, they'll last that long) while still looking sleek.A subscription to a famous book club that sends them great hardcovers each monthBook of the Month/Instagram3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If your teen is a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially cool gift. It's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time (like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple).If you gift them a subscription, they'll receive a hardcover book delivered once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If they're really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).An Apple Watch that combines their smartphone with a fitness trackerAmazonApple Watch SE GPS, 40mm, available at Apple, from $279If you have a little extra to spend on your teen, consider getting them a smartwatch. The Apple Watch SE is like a smartphone, fitness tracker, and music player all in one. Just like on their phone, they can customize the watch to show their favorite apps to pick, including social media.A cute iPhone caseSociety6Coffee Reading iPhone Case, available at Society6, $22This fun iPhone case is funny and unique, and most of their friends probably won't have the exact same one. Reusable strawsAmazonHiware Reusable Silicone Straws (10-pack), available at Amazon, $6.99Help teens do their part to keep single-use plastics out of trash bins, landfills, and the ocean by giving them this pack of reusable silicone drinking straws. They come in various colors and include a few cleaning brushes as well.A set of velvet retro-inspired scrunchiesAmazon/Business InsiderHair Scrunchie Variety Pack, available at Target, $6.99Another trendy gift is as many scrunchies as you can carry. This pack comes with 12 options in enough colors to work with virtually any outfit or mood. A multicolor mini cinema light boxUrban OutfittersMulticolor Cinema Light Box, available at Uncommon Goods, from $20These trendy lightboxes are inspired by cinema marquees, and they come with 100 letters and symbols for personal messages. This one also has color-changing LED lights for further customization.Fun and useful PopSockets for the back of their phoneAmazon/Business InsiderPopGrips, available at PopSockets and Amazon, from $10PopSockets have become their own cultural phenomenon in recent years, and they're surprisingly useful. Get your teen one for their own phone or tablet, and depending on their age, you may find it's the gift they're most excited about. It doesn't hurt that there's free domestic shipping on orders over $20, or that you can actually design your own.A waterproof e-reader with a no-glare screenAmazonAll-New Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is its thinnest, lightest version. It also has double the storage, a built-in light that adjusts to accommodate reading indoors or outdoors, and is waterproof for reading anywhere, including the beach or bath. Plus, a single battery charge lasts weeks rather than hours.Cool backpacks from a popular startup with a charitable missionSTATE Bags/FacebookState bags and accessories, from $15State bags are increasingly popular thanks to their versatile, laid-back aesthetic and characteristically bright nylon colorways. They're also known as #GiveBackPack(s), because for every State bag purchased, State hand-delivers a backpack — packed with essential tools for success — to a local child in need. The Lorimer and Bedford are two of the company's best sellers.A three-month subscription of beauty productsBirchBox3-Month Subscription, available at BirchBox, $45Teens are usually among the most interested in the latest and greatest beauty or grooming products — but may lack the funds to try all the full-sized versions. Birchbox sends samples of new and beloved products once a month, so they can test out new finds and discover products they may want to buy a full size of in the future. (It's also just fun to get an ongoing gift.)Personalized NikesNikeCustomizable Nikes, available at Nike, from $120Nike makes great stuff, but it's nice to get the benefits of a great shoe without forsaking what makes something unique. You can customize a pair of Nikes for them, or give them a gift card so they can get creative making something one-of-a-kind on their own.A great Alexa-enabled speaker they can control by voiceSonosSonos One Smart Speaker, available at Sonos, from $219The new Sonos One smart speaker fills any room with clear, rich sound, and they can use Alexa to play and control their music without ever lifting a finger. Find a full review here.A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%Aquis/Business InsiderAquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Amazon and Sephora, from $20.99Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. If they've ever complained about frizzy hair, this and a silk pillowcase are thoughtful gifts they'll actually use. A Disney+ subscription for access to classic movies and moreDisney PlusDisney+ Gift Subscription Service, available at Disney, $79.99/yearDisney Plus is the new Disney-centric streaming service. The platform includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. You can gift a whole year of access for $80, which is something their entire family can benefit from.If you'd rather test Disney Plus out before buying, you can sign up for a free weeklong trial.A suitcase with an ejectable battery that can charge their devices on the goAwayThe Carry-On, available at Away, from $225Travel startup Away makes a great carry-on thanks to an ejectable battery that can charge devices seamlessly on the go, 360-degree wheels, and a lightweight build that travels easily. In other words, it takes a lot of the angst out of travel and may make family trips far more enjoyable and stress-free.Durable sunglasses that look good, tooAmazonSmith Optics Lowdown2, available at Backcountry, $129Who better to make a pair of durable, performance-based sunglasses than the company known for innovating the ski goggle? The Lowdown2 features bio-based materials for the frame, ChromaPop lens technology which creates high contrast and vibrant colors, and an anti-reflective smudge-resistant coating.Plus, the brand offers peace of mind with free shipping, 30-day returns, and a lifetime warranty.Comfortable, high-quality sheets that come in lots of colors and patternsBrooklinenLuxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen and Amazon, from $240We think Brooklinen makes the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds. It's perfect for lazy Saturday mornings or the rare occasion sleeping in is encouraged.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 15 colors and patterns that range from classic to fun, and you can mix and match them to suit their preferences. Grab a gift card (delivered digitally) if you want to give them more freedom.Fidget ballsSpeksSpeks 2.5mm magnet balls, available at Speks, $34.95Made from rare earth magnets, these tiny balls can be molded into an infinite number of shapes and designs. The size of Speks balls makes them ideal for teens to keep with them for those unpredictable moments of nervousness that fill those teenage years.A pack of smart plugs so they can control devices from a distanceAmazon/Business InsiderTP-Link KIT WiFi Smart Plug, 2-Pack, available at Amazon, $35.99Whether they're wondering if they turned off their hot iron or just don't want to get up to turn off the TV, a smart plug lets them control devices from a distance. You can connect to them using any smart device.A Time-Turner clock that actually spinsHarry PotterHarry Potter Time-Turner Clock, available at Pottery Barn, $79It may not be able to take them back in time or help them be in two places at once, but this Time-Turner clock will help them stay on top of their schedule. It even has a functional hourglass on the back so they can time their study breaks. A toothbrush with a timerAmazonOral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush, available at Amazon, $39.97Rigorous dental hygiene isn't usually on the top of the list of things teens care about, which is all the more reason a rechargeable toothbrush with a timer is a fantastic gift. This rechargeable brush breaks up 300% more plaque on the gum line than traditional brushing and lets them know when two minutes have passed.Compact hand sanitizer sprayTouchlandTouchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9It's in the car, the house, and their pocket these days, but many hand sanitizers can smell a little like household cleaner. Touchland comes in scents like Vanilla Cinnamon and Forrest Berry, or keep it simple and choose unscented.The compact sanitizer features 67% alcohol for killing germs but balances it with soothing aloe vera and essential oils to hydrate the skin. A lottery card that donates to charitiesLottoLove/Business InsiderLottoLove Card, available at LottoLove, from $5When you gift this lottery card, you're actually giving the gift of charity. When you "win big," you're winning a charitable prize that gets donated to nonprofits in one of four categories: Clean water, solar light, nutritious meals, or literacy tools. To date, LottoLove and its partners have impacted lives in over 70 countries.Gift cards for concert tickets, food, and clothesChipotleYou can't go wrong with money for their favorite things, especially for teens who are often relying upon part-time jobs to fund their frequent Chipotle meals and concert trips with friends. Check out more gift card ideas here.Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift CardCoffee and food: Starbucks Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardEntertainment and live events: Netflix Gift Card / Xbox Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / StubHub gift cardMusic: Spotify Gift CardSheets: Brooklinen Gift CardGroceries and food: Whole Foods Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift CardRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

The Mainstream Media Is Losing The Fight Of Its Life...All Thanks To Joe Rogan

The Mainstream Media Is Losing The Fight Of Its Life...All Thanks To Joe Rogan Via QTR's Fringe Finance substack, I'm expecting one of the largest mainstream media pivots in history in 2022, catalyzed by capitalism and common sense... A couple of things all happened together over the last 48 hours. First, I came up with the idea of writing 100 predictions for the year 2022 – a blog post that I might still wind up finishing at some point. And second, I listened to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast interview of mRNA inventor Dr. Robert Malone, M.D., hours after the doctor was banned from Twitter for having opinions on Covid that stood at odds with the mainstream narrative. The opinions that Malone echoed during his Rogan appearance included, but were not limited to: Calling the government “out of control” and “lawless” in their Covid response Stating mandates of “experimental” vaccines are “explicitly illegal” Noting that India had success in treating Covid early with drugs like ivermectin Saying “half a million” excess deaths have occurred due to government actions Arguing those with natural immunity have higher risk of vaccine adverse events Alleging that people are living through a mass formation psychosis I’m not going to rehash all of the doctor’s points about Covid, but instead will say that I believe he made an extraordinary amount of thoughtful points that the mainstream media and “big tech” are too scared (and/or too stupid) to touch on themselves. You can watch clips and read a full writeup of Malone’s interview here and read a detailed thread of the interview here. Among the 100 predictions I was going to make in my blog post was going to be calling for a drastic shift in the mainstream media in the coming year. Instead of 100 predictions, I decided to instead write this piece. Here’s how it came to be. *  *  * When the last hour of the podcast was coming to its conclusion as I was finishing an 8 mile run, a thought dawned on me: this interview with Malone is now officially out there and, no matter how much anyone tries to censor it, it can’t be taken back. As we all know, nowadays when you make it on JRE, you’ve officially “made it”. Putting aside the obvious irony of Twitter attempting to ban somebody and the person in question going viral as a result, I also thought about how, despite the fact that Malone’s opinions put him at odds with the mainstream media (who would never dare to have him on), Joe Rogan launched him past the usual media suspects and into the real “mainstream”. I then thought to myself that in 2022, the mainstream media as we know it today (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, etc.) is going to be forced to change its narrative on Covid. “It’ll never happen,” you’re thinking to yourself, right? Let me explain. *  *  * The idea of the media being forced to change its tune on Covid is something I touched upon a couple of days ago when I wrote about the Omicron variant and how the media is creating a mass hysteria mountain out of a mole hill. But after listening to Dr. Robert Malone‘s well reasoned arguments, delivered for three straight hours, concisely and calmly, it became clear to me that the entire mainstream media machine could wind up falling at the hands of content creators like Joe Rogan. It’s an interesting little piece of game theory, when you think about it. Rogan generates so many views and has grown so quickly - strictly because he allows open dialogue, civil discourse and approaches things with honest intent – that there is no financial incentive to de-platform him. Ever notice how YouTube apparently had no problem taking down Rogan’s interview with Malone, but hasn’t banned Rogan’s channel from the site yet? One issue for media and political elites to consider is the fact that Rogan has supporters on both sides of the aisle. These supporters watch him because he routinely touches on topics that are considered faux pas or irreverent. The question of whether or not Rogan’s legacy and impact are here, and are going to remain here, can be answered with a resounding “yes”. Rogan has thrived, whether intentionally (bringing on people specifically because they are being censored) or unintentionally (shooting the shit with people he finds interesting), from the start, by shining light in the dark areas that the mainstream media refuses to discuss. In the same way that bitcoin unintentionally became a global phenomenon as a result of the negative consequences of central banking, Joe Rogan has become a global phenomenon at the hands of the negative consequences of how the mainstream media and “big tech” does business. It reminds of me the scene in the 1989 version of Batman where Batman tells the Joker, “I’m going to kill you”, to which the Joker retorts: “You IDIOT! You made me. Remember? You dropped me into that vat of chemicals! That wasn't easy to get over, and don't think that I didn't try!” And so now, as it stands, knob-heads like Brian Stelter and his merry band of buffoons over at CNN - who spent 2021 attacking Rogan - have little choice but to fall in line behind him. You see, one of the great things about being the leader in an industry (in this case, media), is that you set the pace, you dictate the tone and you become the bar of expectation for integrity, honesty, open-mindedness, truthful dialogue and creating discussion that benefits the greater good, and not just those who you serve. Joe Rogan has raised the bar, whether people on the left, on the right, in the media or in politics care, or not.  Not only has Rogan taken the lead by several lengths like Smarty Jones breaking loose around the final turn at the Preakness, he has also inspired and created a whole new crop of content creators that are following his model. In other words, it isn’t just Joe Rogan that the mainstream media is up against, it’s the hundreds, if not thousands, of content creators that are either looking to build media empires themselves, or are simply just inspired by open dialogue, like myself. In the words of Grace Wheelberg: “He's very popular, Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.”   I think the result of the seismic shift is going to be several-fold, but the most important revelation I’ve come to is that the mainstream media is losing the fight of its life over the Covid narrative.   If there’s one thing we can agree one, it’s that Covid is a tie that binds all 7 billion people on Planet Earth right now: everybody knows about it, everybody is concerned about it and everybody, to some degree, wants to stay informed about it.  In fact, health officials and the media have made it this way. What they may not have known they were inadvertently doing, however, was opening up communication veins for people with integrity and honesty like Joe Rogan to dose them with a them with a look at reason and honest inquiry. This, in turn, created a benchmark for the world to compare the mainstream media to, revealing them to be the hysterical, sensational maniacs that they’ve become. The media has already taken a couple of serious L’s during the Trump Administration. When it came to Donald Trump, they manufactured most of the Russiagate story, they pushed the now-debunked Steele dossier, they covered up the Hunter Biden laptop story leading up to the election and routinely mangled Trump’s words to make it look as though he was an open supporter of white supremacy, despite him actually saying just the opposite. The media got away with it and always had an audience because half the country hated Donald Trump to begin with. But now, on a global scale, everybody is interested in developments pertaining to Covid and whether we know it or not - and no matter how different our opinions are on Covid - we’re all still unified by the same desires: we all want health, we all want security, we all want to love our families, we all want to be productive members of our community and we all want to live a life with purpose and meaning. Covid has unified us more than we know. These tenets usurp our political biases, whether we know it or not. They also become vessels for earnest discussion about finding objective truths about Covid that will collectively benefit mankind. And if you think the numbskulls in the mainstream media had the four dimensional chess skills necessary to see this coming, you’ve obviously never watched Don Lemon’s analysis of…well, anything. And don’t try to tell me change isn’t being affected already. Have you seen recent reports about CNN essentially changing its entire programming lineup, likely due to a major ratings collapse? As reported by Zerohedge in November, citing former Mediaite and IJR managing editor (and former breaking news editor at the DC Examiner) Jon Nicosia: “CNN is going to revert to a 100% news channel, and a ‘good number’ of CNN's' ‘talent/staff’ will be fired as part of a major shakeup. Have you seen the rise of sites like Substack, which you are reading this article on right now, because of the censorship that the mainstream media’s narrative has forced onto the populace? Have you seen the customers and the subscribers willing to pay for content because even if you’re not always right, they know that you have a vested interest in finding the truth and trying to speak about it honestly? I have. When I started this blog in August, 2021, I didn’t expect anybody would sign up. Much like my podcast, my goal was only to speak openly and honestly about the issues that I thought were important and were not being covered extensively enough. Four years after starting my podcast, I have over more than 5 million listens. Six months after the launch of my blog, I have about 10,000 people on my email list - more than I thought I’d have in 10 years of writing. Is it because I’m some great thought leader? Hell no. It’s because people are desperate for truth and honesty, and its a perfect example of how powerful the new wave of media is that’s on its way. Again, I don’t want to harp on the details of Robert Malone’s interview. I encourage you to watch it here. But what I do want to say is that I’m predicting for 2022 that the media is going to make one of the biggest pivots on any topic it has ever made, on Covid. “Shouldn’t be a problem,” you’ll think to yourself. “After all, the media follows the truth, so what’s so tough about making a pivot on a story?” Let’s get real. We all know that the media - both sides of the aisle - hates to correct itself, hates to pivot and hates to do anything but double down on narratives that it is being fed regardless of whether or not they are objectively true. For 2022, I’m gonna make a bold prediction. The media, and maybe even politicians, are going to start to realize that the narratives that they have been pushing with regard to Covid, lockdowns, vaccinations and our economy are no longer being accepted at face value by their viewers. The same capitalistic engine keeping Joe Rogan on the air is going to force the change in legacy media. While they may not correct themselves totally or do a full 180°turn, they will fall in line behind those breaking new ground in the space - content creators like Rogan - and they will start to commit more to reason and less to political narratives. I feel confident in making this prediction because I’m confident that the survival of many media empires depends on it. I know a lot of my readers are going to tell me that this is nonsense and that I’ll be eating crow in a year. That’s fine. I won’t be surprised if a major change doesn’t happen, either. But I felt strongly enough about it that I wanted to put it down and timestamp it today. If not for any other reason, than to start the year with an optimistic outlook that positive change could be on its way. *  *  * Today’s blog post was free, because I believe the content to be important enough to not place behind a paywall. If you’d like to support my work and subscribe, however, I’d be happy to offer you 22.20% off a subscription to welcome you to 2022: Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 11:31.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

44 cheap gifts under $25 you can still buy on Amazon that are meaningful

The Insider Reviews team compiled a list of our favorite budget gift ideas from Amazon. These are the best thoughtful gifts under $25 from Amazon. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Getty Images Amazon has wide selections and low costs, making it difficult to know what's worth buying. The Insider Reviews team shared the best things they've bought on Amazon for under $25. We unearthed some interesting finds, from a cheddar cheesy powder to a vintage puzzle. Amazon has not only become a one-stop shop for its variety of products, but it's also where many shoppers go for affordable gifts. The retailer has a huge selection where you'll find household names, low prices, and the two-day (or two-hour) Prime shipping that caters well to those among us who are gluttons for instant gratification.But a huge selection can make it time-consuming to root out what's really worth spending your money on. The best loophole is to seek out recommendations from people you trust. We asked our colleagues at Insider about the best things they've bought on Amazon for under $25 — most of whom spend every day researching and testing thousands of products to recommend to you. Below are the 44 best things we've bought on Amazon that cost us less than $25:A set of silk pillowcasesAmazonBedsure Satin Pillowcases Standard Set of 2$15.99 FROM AMAZONSilk pillowcases are game-changing products for your beauty sleep. They offer premium care as silk pillowcases leave skin hydrated and hair undamaged. Better yet, silk pillowcases feature a soft texture and elevate any bedroom decor toward an elegant taste.A cute tea infuserAmazonGenuine Fred Duck Drink Tea Infuser $12.59 FROM AMAZONTea time becomes a whimsical affair with this charming tea infuser. The duck-shaped infuser is a perfect gift for the tea lover looking for an additional delight.A ring that holds your nail polishAmazonTweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder Ring$9.99 FROM AMAZONFor the manicure-obsessed friend, this nail care gift is something they'll absolutely need. The wearable nail polish holder allows you to flawlessly polish your nails without bothersome spills. —Taylor JeffriesA deck of tarot cardsLauren Savoie/InsiderDa Brigh Original Tarot Cards Deck$24.95 FROM AMAZONI'm not into the occult, but this deck of tarot cards has bought be endless hours of fun with my friends and insight for journaling. On days I don't feel inspired to write in my journal, I pull a card and reflect on whatever feelings it brings up. —Lauren SavoieA quick-drying styling brushJacqueline Saguin/InsiderWet Volume & Body Round Brush$14.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $16.98 | Save 12%Some may think a blow dryer does all the work, but a round brush makes all the difference. Replacing the $5 styling brush I've owned far past its use, the Wet Round Brush completely revived my hair routine. It grips onto large hair sections and helps dry my entire head in 10 minutes, making it a great haircare product to gift. Knowing its on Amazon, I'll definitely be gifting myself this brush more frequently. —Jacqueline SaguinA satisfying foot peel maskAmazonCÉLOR Foot Peel Mask$14.97 FROM AMAZONOk, I know these things are all over the internet, but this winter is the perfect time to gift one of these viral foot peels. It took about five days for my feet to start peeling after using it, but it was so satisfying in a really gross, but fascinating sort of way. The end result was that my feet looked and felt softer, but I have to say that the process was all part of the fun. —Lauren SavoieDelicious coffee groundsSally Kaplan/InsiderCafe Du Monde Coffee Chicory$7.60 FROM AMAZONI usually abide by a time-consuming pour-over routine that involves grinding my own beans every morning, but when I'm short on time (and honestly, even when I'm not), I've come to rely heavily on this Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee. Most pre-ground coffee is flavorless and brews a weak cup, but this stuff is strong, rich, and delicious. Ten out of ten, highly recommend gifting this to a coffee lover! —Sally KaplanA handy dough scraperAmazonLasenersm Two-Piece Dough Scraper$5.59 FROM AMAZONIf they bake a lot, do them a favor and gift a pack of these plastic bench scrapers. They're great for scraping dough out of bowls or off the counter — I can't tell you how handy they are! —Sally KaplanA two-in-one workout bra tankJacqueline Saguin/InsiderLemedy Padded Sports Bra Tank Top$18.98 FROM AMAZONOriginally $25.99 | Save 27%I've found some of my favorite workout pieces from Amazon. This two-in-one sports bra tank has a smoothing material that rivals luxury activewear fabrics that you may gift this season. Its cropped cut meets high-waisted leggings for a flattering fit. Plus, it comes in 19 fun colors. —Jacqueline SaguinA sweet-smelling scrub for sensitive skinJacqueline Saguin/InsiderBrooklyn Botany Brown Sugar Body Scrub$13.99 FROM AMAZONFace and body scrubs make me nervous because of my sensitive skin, but this brown sugar exfoliator combines natural ingredients like sweet almond oil that are nourishing and gentler than other formulas. I typically use it on my body before I shave or before I apply self-tanner. It's comforting knowing that whenever I run out I can get it in just a couple of days. —Jacqueline SaguinA convenient Bluetooth charging port for your carAmazonAnker Roav Bluetooth FM Transmitter$16.98 FROM AMAZONMy car is from 2005, long before Bluetooth connectivity in cars were standard. This little transmitter instantly brought my car up to present-day standards, letting me stream music and directions from my phone via an open radio channel. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and even has two USB ports so my husband and I can both charge our phones on long rides. It cost less than $15 and gifting this device will make your driving experience infinitely more enjoyable. —Lauren SavoieA plastic bath drain coverAmazonSlipX Solutions Bottomless Bath Overflow Drain Cover$8.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $10.99 | Save 18%Ok, I know everyone and their mother raves about this gift, but it's the only thing allowing me to take baths in my current apartment. Our claw foot tub is from the early 20th century and if I don't cover the overflow drain, my bathtub only accommodates enough water to barely reach the top of my thighs before it starts draining — not a very pleasant or relaxing bath. This little plastic overflow drain cover lets me soak deeply and comfortably in my tub. —Lauren SavoieA cheesy powder that takes popcorn to the next levelSally Kaplan/InsiderHoosier Hill Farm Cheddar Cheese Powder$11.99 FROM AMAZONI generally eat pretty healthy, but I think I'm in love with this tub of powdered cheese. It's so good on popcorn, in mac and cheese, and sprinkled on any other sort of cracker, chip, etc. It's a supremely cheesy and salty and delicious treat to gift! This is honestly one of the best Amazon purchases I've made in years. —Sally KaplanA practical but chic wine holderAmazonUrban Deco Honeycomb Wine Rack$30.99 FROM AMAZONI wanted a non-bulky wine rack to sit on my kitchen counter, and I love the bright gold of this one. This honeycomb design holds seven bottles officially, but nine if you add two on top — and if you need more storage, you can buy two and stack them. —Rachael SchultzA set of hair clipsAmazonTOCESS Big Hair Claw Clips$13.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $16.98 | Save 18%I have really long hair and most clips can't hold it all back when I'm washing my face. These oversized clips are so great, I gifted the other three in this set to friends with crazy curly hair. All four of the matte colors are very lowkey and match everything. I've dropped mine at least two dozen times, and it has yet to break. —Rachael SchultzA challenging puzzle that doubles as vintage home decorAmazonCavallini Papers & Co. Celestial 1,000 Piece Puzzle$19.98 FROM AMAZONI once gifted a Cavallini Papers & Co. puzzle to a puzzle lover, and they thought it was the perfect blend of challenging and aesthetically pleasing. They hung it up afterward, adding a sense of accomplishment as well as a nice vintage touch to their space. The company has even more fun designs like house plants and national parks map. —Jacqueline Saguin A ring light that pulls out all the stopsJacqueline Saguin/InsiderAIXPI 10-inch LED Ring Light$20.99 FROM AMAZONI took a cue from our Insider Reviews team by gifting myself its pick for the best budget ring light. It has made my job on the style and beauty reviews team much easier, drastically cutting down on my photo-taking time. When I test makeup and clothing, I can set this up anywhere and adjust it to the angle I need in order to do my products justice. I love changing between its three different light settings: white, warm yellow, and warm white, to find the perfect glow. —Jacqueline SaguinAn out-of-this-world moon lampJacqueline Saguin/InsiderUooEA Saturn Lamp$28.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $29.99 | Save 3%Earning the title of Insider Reviews' best planet moon lamp, this light offers 16 soothing hues that illuminate a Saturn shape. I love its unique look and the subtle glow it gives while I watch movies at nighttime. This gift offers four color modes, including flash, strobe, fade, and smooth. The latter is my favorite as it softly transitions through all the colors. —Jacqueline SaguinA decorative antique tray that shows off and stores your beauty productsAmazonZosenley Polyresin Ellipse Antique Decorative Mirror Tray$13.99 FROM AMAZONThis tray is an aesthetically pleasing stage that doubles as decor and a proud home for my cosmetics. I use it in my bathroom, storing the skincare products and perfume I reach for every day. I've seen people using it on TikTok as a jewelry vanity to display their favorite pieces. —Jacqueline SaguinSpiral hair ties that won't breakKitschKitsch Spiral Hair TiesFREE FROM AMAZONOriginally $7.99 | Save 100%After using elastic hair ties for so long, I got tired of pulling out my hair, getting headaches, and snapping scrunchies. I had seen spiral hair ties before but assumed they wouldn't hold well. However, these ones from Kitsch really do the trick. They keep their shape, are comfortable, and avoid long-lasting ponytail bumps. I wear these with high ponytails, low ponytails, and even braids. —Katie Decker-JacobyEspresso capsules that satisfy your coffee fixAmazonilly Coffee iperEspresso Capsule (Classico)$15.50 FROM AMAZONThe majority of my Amazon order history is made up of these illy espresso capsules, and the orders have even been way more frequent since I started working from home. You'll need one of the illy pod machines to use them (I have the X7) but the investment is 110% worth it in my opinion.I can whip up an Italian espresso in under a minute, and it tastes so much better than the coffee from the Nespresso and Keurig machines I previously owned. Being able to buy the pods off of Amazon means my caffeine supply is always well-stocked, and if I ever do run out, I know I can get more in just two days max. —Ashley PhillipsA hair mask that restores moisture to your scalpAmazonShiseido Tsubaki Premium Repair Hair Mask$16.35 FROM AMAZONI was looking for hair masks because my hair tends to get really dry in the wintertime. I bought this hair mask after doing some research on Asian hair products, and I'm so glad I did. My hair feels soft and moisturized after I use it, even if I just use it as a normal conditioner. It works even better as a leave-in deep conditioner, and I highly recommend gifting it to anyone who wants to add moisture to their hair. Bonus: It also smells amazing. Item ordered online may arrive after Christmas. —Allison JiangAn iPad case that is multi-functionalAmazonESR Rebound Pencil Case$14.99 FROM AMAZONI needed a simple case for my new iPad Air 4 but was shocked by how much Apple charges for one of its cases. This option from ESR is a fraction of Apple's Smart Cover, and while it doesn't have as nice of a build quality as the Smart Cover, the ESR case is well-made nonetheless. It has a magnetic closure to wake the iPad's screen or put it to sleep, the cover folds into a stand, and there's a convenient slot for an Apple Pencil. My only complaint is that the case makes it hard to use the Touch ID sensor, but I'm quite satisfied given the price and overall usability. —Les ShuFuzzy slippers to complete your work-from-home lookJacqueline Saguin/InsiderEhoomely Womens Fuzzy Slippers$18.98 FROM AMAZONI've been hearing about these Amazon slippers for months — from TikTok, Instagram, podcasts I listen to — so I had to give them a try. These slippers are comfy, just warm enough, and a perfect gift for working from home. The quality is also great for being under $20. An added bonus is that they come in almost any color you can imagine! —Victoria GracieA knit beanie that's stylish and comfortableAmazon/Business InsiderCarhartt Acrylic Watch Hat$16.98 FROM AMAZONI've noticed Carhartt beanies have become increasingly popular and I finally jumped on the bandwagon. This beanie is cute, comfortable, and super warm. I got it in black so it would go with almost anything and I've been wearing it nonstop since I got it. —Victoria GracieIngredients for a favorite recipeAmazonNatierra Nature's Organic Freeze-Dried Strawberries$5.79 FROM AMAZONI buy a lot of recipe ingredients, spices, and hot sauces on Amazon that I'm less likely to find in stores near me, like these freeze-dried strawberries. They are the star ingredient in my Berry Crinkle Cookies recipe; I use one whole package per batch. — Ellen Hoffman A liquid cleanser that works as a gentle hand soap for sensitive skinAmazonFree & Clear Liquid Cleanser$7.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $8.94 | Save 11%I bought this as an alternative to my household's Bath & Body Works hand soap stock. Its fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and dermatologist-tested formula pleases my sensitive skin. This straightforward cleanser gift never causes redness or irritation for frequent hand washers like me. I pour the liquid into a decorative holder so it matches my bathroom. — Jacqueline SaguinPimple patches that suck the gunk right out of your poresLeft: Mighty Patch Original. Right: Invisible+ Mighty Patch.Mara Leighton/InsiderHero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original (36-count)$12.99 FROM AMAZON$12.99 FROM HERO COSMETICSIf you look at my Amazon history, these pimple patches are the only thing I consistently order. They're super effective at drawing out fluids from pimples and helping them deflate, and as small, virtually clear stickers, they're hardly noticeable by other people. Within a few hours, you can expect them to noticeably improve the look and swelling of your pimple — they're that reliable. — Connie ChenA natural clay mask that has a cult-followingJacqueline Saguin/InsiderAztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask$14.95 FROM AMAZON$12.19 FROM TARGETThis mask, as seen on Insider, transformed my skin and is probably my most recommended product to gift this season. The best part? It's $15! — Chelsey HoffmanA milk frother for homemade treatsAmazonPowerLix MilkPro Milk Frother$15.95 FROM AMAZONThis gift is the BOMB. So easy to use and clean, and to spice up my weekend coffees/matcha drinks at home, allowing me to live my best bougie life. — Kirstie JiongcoA wash and stain bar that will keep your shirt collars looking nicer for longerAmazonThe Laundress Wash & Stain Bar$6.50 FROM AMAZONNo $6 has had a more positive impact on my effort to preserve my clothing than the $6 I spent on this bar by The Laundress. I learned about this product from editor-in-chief Ellen Hoffman and I can honestly say it's the best thing I've done for my dress shirts. One bar has lasted me well over a year, and I just need to wet my shirt collar and rub the bar back and forth a few times before washing. It gets rid of all of the grime and oil from my collars. I was able to rehab shirts that were ready to go to charity or become rags. — Breton FischettiA mini waffle-maker that gets the job done and takes up minimal countertop spaceAmazonDash Mini Waffle Maker$17.09 FROM AMAZONThis teeny-tiny waffle maker is a small but mighty gift. For those rare instances when I'm craving a waffle or two, this very small appliance easily gets the job done and stays out of the way when it's stored. It's very easy to use and clean; just plug in and wait for the light, add your batter and close the iron. To clean, wait for the iron to cool down, then wipe with a damp cloth and you're done. — Melanie Winer A pair of $15 earbuds that sound like they'd cost way moreAmazonPanasonic ErgoFit Earbuds$15.11 FROM AMAZONOriginally $19.98 | Save 24%These Panasonic earbuds were easily the best $8.25 [price at the time] I ever spent on Amazon. The sound quality is fantastic and they're incredibly comfortable. I'm not someone who would ever spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of over-the-ear headphones, so these are exactly a budget-friendly gift. — Andrew MeolaHangers that actually keep your clothes hung upJacqueline Saguin/InsiderAmazon Basics Velvet Non-Slip Suit Hangers - 30 pack$20.39 FROM AMAZONClothes falling off hangers are a thing of the past once you gift these grippy velvet hangers to upgrade their closet. — Ellen Hoffman A little 'Tub Shroom' that catches your hair before it clogs the drainAmazonTubShroom Revolutionary Tub Drain Protector$12.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $19.95 | Save 35%Between her curly red hair and my long brown hair, my roommate and I shed a lot. Our tub doesn't have a drain catch and after a particularly effortful session with a plastic drain cleaner, I decided it was finally time to try this viral hair catcher out. This small silicone tool fits into most standard tub drains and collects all the hair before it washes down and clogs your drain. Take it out, remove the hair with a piece of toilet paper, and it's ready for the next shower."  — Connie Chen Comfortable, public-friendly sweatpantsAmazonSweatyRocks Women's Drawstring Striped Joggers$17.98 FROM AMAZONOriginally $23.99 | Save 25%As work from home continues, I've been looking for more sweatpants that I can comfortably work in that are also appropriate for walks and socially distant plans. These sweats are affordable to gift, have sustained washes and all-day wear, and the rainbow stripe down the side adds a bit of fun. Item ordered online may arrive after Christmas.— Emily HeinNo-slip gel gripped socksAmazonPeds Microfiber Liner Socks$9.50 FROM AMAZONOriginally $13.00 | Save 27%These PEDS socks are the only ones I use, and I wear sneakers almost every day. The no-slip gel grips on the heel keep them from falling off and bunching up. — Sally KaplanA hairbrush that won't break after a few monthsWetWet Brush Rubberized Wet Detangle Shower Brush$8.34 FROM AMAZONMy thick hair has a long history of eating brushes, but the Wet Brush finally put a stop to that! It painlessly smooths out tangles and the bristles are tough enough that I only have to buy a new one every year or so. Before, my brushes only ever made it a few months. — Ashley PhillipsAn inexpensive, well-designed measuring cupAmazonOXO Good Grips 3-Piece Angled Measuring Cup Set $20.95 FROM AMAZONOXO is my go-to kitchen brand for cheap, well-designed tools. This measuring cup set has an angled surface that allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level. I also highly recommend gifting OXO's silicone baking mat for creating a non-stick surface that makes for easier cleanups and this cookie scoop for scooping out balls of dough that are all the same size. — Ellen Hoffman A slim wastebasket that fits almost anywhere, but also fits a lot of garbageAmazonUmbra Skinny Trash Can$7.00 FROM AMAZONLove this slim garbage can that fits into narrow spaces, but still holds a lot. — Navah MaynardAffordable jewelry that lets you save up for an investment pieceAmazonBBTO Layered Choker Necklace (9-piece)$12.59 FROM AMAZONI love chokers and layering different necklaces together, but I have a short attention span when it comes to jewelry. I tend to lean more towards affordable jewelry that I can experiment with on different looks before committing to staple pieces that I know I'll wear forever. This choker set was a great addition to my summer looks, and now I have more of an idea of what I'm looking for when I eventually take the plunge on long-wear jewelry. — Emily HeinA PopSocket to make gripping a large iPhone less strenuous on your fingersJacqueline Saguin/InsiderPopSockets PopGrip$7.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $9.99 | Save 20%$15.00 FROM POPSOCKETSWhen I got my iPhone X, I also picked up a PopSocket grip to make it easier to hold my phone without straining my fingers. I love it as a gift because it's practical, keeps one's phone secure, and lets me express my crazy cat lady side. — Malarie GokeyEditor's note: They come in a variety of colors and designs.A rapid egg cooking machine that's completely foolproofAmazonDash Rapid Egg Cooker$16.98 FROM AMAZONOriginally $19.98 | Save 15%After I read Jen Gushue's review of this under-$20 rapid egg cooking gadget, I was fully influenced to buy it. It makes hard-boiled eggs in half the time of traditional methods with absolutely no guesswork, saving me a good chunk of time during the week and ensuring I actually eat breakfast on busy mornings. — Ellen HoffmanThis handy water bottle that takes the guesswork out of hydrationAmazonCactaki 32 oz Water Bottle with Time Marker$18.95 FROM AMAZONOriginally $24.95 | Save 24%This water bottle comes with me everywhere I go. The secure lid ensures no spillage in my bag and the removable strap adds versatility in transportation. The printed tracking is the main selling point as a quick glance can let me know how I am doing with my daily water intake and if needed motivate me to ensure I am drinking at least 64oz of water per day. In a sense, this water bottle has gamified drinking water and that's fun for a gift! — Frank MassaroRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

Greenwald: Corbyn Leads British Left In Opposition To Vaccine Mandates As Anti-Worker And Repressive

Greenwald: Corbyn Leads British Left In Opposition To Vaccine Mandates As Anti-Worker And Repressive Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, The shorthand label “anti-vax” once had a clear and concise meaning: namely, those who reject the prevailing western scientific orthodoxy that vaccines are a safe and effective means of protecting humans against infectious diseases by training the immune system to combat a pathogen in advance. As vaccines become more prevalent against an increasingly wide range of diseases — measles, mumps, polio, chickenpox — a dissenting political and scientific movement has emerged which rejects the scientific premises of vaccines and attempts to persuade others not to vaccinate themselves or their children on the ground that they are ineffective, dangerous and/or motivated by corporate profit rather than legitimate concerns about public health. Former UK Labour Party Leader and current independent MP Jeremy Corbyn argues against vaccine mandates for health care workers and vaccine passports for all citizens, Dec. 13, 2021 But exactly as we have seen with so many other political labels — terrorist, racist, fascist, white nationalist, anti-Semite — this once-descriptive, precise and useful phrase has metamorphized far beyond its original meaning into something barely recognizable or cogent. That transformation has been deliberate, with a clear motive: to weaponize the term into a potent political insult designed to compel submission to decrees from institutions of authority and stigmatize dissenters, threatening them with reputation destruction. The rapid expansion of the term “anti-vax” into a coercive political weapon has been years in the making, but the COVID pandemic was the steroid it needed to blossom into one of the most reputation-crippling labels one can affix to a political target. Just as is true of accusing people of being terrorists, white nationalists, fascists or anti-Semites not because one espouses views traditionally designated by those terms but as punishment for any sort of dissent, the destructive power of the COVID iteration of “anti-vax” resides precisely in its vagueness, its lack of precise contours, its emptiness and meaninglessness. A term that means nothing can, by definition and by design, encompass anyone and everyone depending solely on the needs of the moment. The utter obliteration of any coherent definition is evidenced by the fact that one can now be labelled “anti-vax” even though one a) believes in the foundational science of vaccines, b) is themselves vaccinated for COVID and makes the decision that one's children will be as well, and c) states publicly that they have chosen to be vaccinated. How is it possible to pull off such a seemingly inane and internally contradictory attack: namely, malign people who have taken the vaccine and publicized their choice to do so as “anti-vax"? This is accomplished by twisting and distorting the term “anti-vax” away from its scientific meaning (“one who rejects the efficacy of vaccines”) into a term of political disobedience. Thus, the operational definition of the term has become: one who questions any of the decrees of public health authorities on any matters or who believes that adult citizens should retain the choice to decide for themselves whether to be vaccinated. In other words, the term “anti-vax” now means nothing other than: one who questions any policies adopted by state officials in the name of fighting COVID. Unfortunately for the liberal-left which has constructed this manipulative and coercive framework, this now requires that the term “anti-vax” be applied to one of the international left's most beloved political figures: former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. They must also now apply this term of shame to the most admired left-wing members of the British Parliament along with leading trade unions in the UK. That is because the British Left — not just Corbyn and leftist MPs but also leading labor unions — have united to emphatically oppose vaccine mandates and vaccines passports on the ground that 1) it is immoral and profoundly anti-worker to fire health care front-line workers and other workers for refusing a vaccine they have not been convinced is safe and effective, and 2) persuasion is a far more effective and ethical means of administering public health policy than coercion, dictate and punishment. On Tuesday night, the UK Parliament approved a proposal by conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson to require proof of COVID vaccines — a COVID passport — to enter any venues with large crowds such as nightclubs and stadiums. The vote was 369 to 126. But the opposition was composed of a mix of populist right-wing Tories and the anti-establishment left-wing members of Labour and other leftist parties. Close to one hundred conservatives, and more than 20 leftist Labour members (along with Corbyn, now technically an “independent” after being expelled by his successor, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer), voted against Johnson's vaccine passport law. Vote breakdown in UK Parliament on vote to require proof of vaccines to enter large venues, Dec. 15, 2021 A similar vote, and similar breakdown, emerged on a separate bill from Prime Minister Johnson to require workers of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to be vaccinated or be fired. The vote in favor of that vaccine mandate bill was 385-100. Conservative opposition to these two bills was — despite being advocated by the Tory Prime Minister — unsurprising. Their rationale was similar to right-wing opposition to such COVID-era coercive measures around the democratic world. Tory opponents depicted such mandates as an infringement of individual liberty as well as unnecessary, in light of the UK's vaccination rates for all adults, which exceeds 70%, and is at least on par with most other western European countries. But what is particularly notable — and most definitely out of the ordinary when it comes to Western politics — is the steadfast opposition to vaccine mandates and passports from the British left. Labour unions have adamantly denounced the threat of termination for employees who refuse the vaccine as “anti-worker” and a violation of the autonomy of workers. They have argued that it is particularly cruel to threaten health care workers — the same people the world has been applauding for their brave work on the front-line of the pandemic — with loss of their job for their belief that vaccination is not the right choice for them and their family. In October, for instance, the BDA Trade Union announced what it called “a clear and definitive position in opposition to any attempts to make the take-up of the vaccination mandatory.” While the union encouraged its members to be vaccinated, they argued that firing employees who refused would be illegal: “Mandatory vaccination could potentially discriminate against staff with protected characteristics as contained in the Equality Act 2010” based on race, age, disability, sex and religious belief. The British trade union UNITE, which represents more than 100,000 health care workers, has similarly and repeatedly opposed such mandates, with its leader saying in October: "Unite strongly opposes forcing any health and social care workers to have a vaccine or risk sacrificing their job. Encouragement, not compulsion, is the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the very good reason that such an approach is shown to work." Corbyn has spent weeks echoing the views of labour unions. On Tuesday afternoon, the leftist icon announced his opposition to both vaccine mandate and passport bills: Tonight I will oppose both compulsory vaccines for NHS staff, and the introduction of vaccine passports. Both measures are counterproductive and will create division when we need cooperation and unity. — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 14, 2021 In an interview he gave on Monday to LBC, the radio call-in network, Corbyn was adamant that mandating vaccines was a completely unjustified intrusion into the right of individuals to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies. Citing the sacred right of bodily autonomy, he added that other, less intrusive measures — such as requiring testing for entrance to nursing homes and other places where “vulnerable populations” were found — was a far more reasonable and balanced approach to COVID: Other prominent British leftists have been similarly steadfast about the injustice of vaccine mandates and passports. The Corbyn-supporting MP Zarah Sultana, who represents the Coventry South constituency in Parliament, published a lengthy statement on Tuesday saying she "shares concerns by human rights organizations such as Liberty on COVID passes, with fears that they are ineffective and will lead to to the further marginalization of minority groups.” MP Sultana also cited the opposition of British trade unions to such mandates, arguing that they “will be counterproductive, entrenching vaccine hesitancy, and may worsen staff shortages” (despite this ringing opposition, Sultana apparently lacked the courage to defy party leadership as she failed to vote on the bill to require passports). But perhaps the most stirring opposition was expressed by left-wing MP Rachael Maskell, a former shadow minister under Corbyn and also a former health-care worker and trade unionist. On the floor of Parliament, Maskell stood to note the dark irony that the same health care workers who were heralded as essential heroes were now under threat of termination for failure to obey a vaccine mandate, and emphasized what had been a long-standing left-wing value: bodily autonomy. Is the U.S. liberal-left now going to disparage Corbyn, trade unions and left-wing members of the Labour Party as being “anti-vax” and “anti-science" and recklessly risking lives? Are they going to claim that these leftist stalwarts, speaking for workers, are somehow placing extremist libertarian values of individual rights over public health and the collective good? Will they say that these left-wing “anti-vaxxers” have blood on their hands because they refuse to force people upon pain of losing their jobs in a pandemic to take a vaccine into their body that they do not believe is safe or effective rather than attempting to persuade them that it is? This defiant and courageous stance on principle by Corbyn, labour unions and the British left highlights the obscenity of labelling anyone who dissents from or questions endless attempts to further empower the state as “anti-vaxxers.” But it also highlights one of the hidden truths about vaccine hesitancy: namely, who composes the "vaccine hesitant” and what their motives are. As we have repeatedly covered here, a false narrative was manufactured from the start: namely, that the only people doubting the vaccine were right-wing Trump supporters, which enabled condescending employees of media corporations to malign anyone who sees the world differently than they do as primitive, deplorable racists. The truth, from the start, was far more complex: many of those who were in doubt about the vaccine were not only Trumpian "white nationalists" but disproportionately brown and black people, along with a higher percentage of Republicans. Indeed, many of the most outspoken celebrities in culture and sports expressing vaccine hesitancy were Black. That is why vaccine mandates for workers with a punishment of firing for noncompliance can lead to racist outcomes, as these British trade unionists noted: because such punishment will fall disproportionately on black and brown workers. And labor unions representing health care workers and workers in other sectors around the world — in the U.S., in Europe, and on other continents including Africa — were vehemently opposed from the start to the liberal demand (now joined in the UK by the politically desperate Tory Government) that workers be fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Now that one of the world's most admired leftist icons, Jeremy Corbyn, has not only spoken out but voted against vaccine mandates for health care workers and vaccine passports for the citizenry — joined by labor unions and other leading British leftists — this sham narrative will be harder to maintain. Will the liberal-left now shift to applying to their own leaders one of the most shameful and reputation-crippling titles that can now be bestowed in left-liberal circles: anti-vaxxers? Or will the British Left's principled stance finally force the recognition that long-standing left-wing values of bodily autonomy and anti-authoritarianism are often the grounds for the view that it is long past time to keep increasing the power of the state over our lives and bodies in the name of stopping a disease that will almost certainly be with us into the indefinite future? To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Thu, 12/16/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 16th, 2021

39 useful gifts for new parents, including a cozy robe for them and a sound machine to soothe the baby

New parents love useful gifts that make life with a new baby easier. Here are 40 of the best gifts for new parents, from diapers to meal kits. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Amazon A thoughtful gift can really make a difference in the busy life of a new parent. From a portable high chair to a swaddling blanket, here are 38 of the best gifts for new parents. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Being a new parent means that people will naturally want to shop for you and the baby — mainly because gifts for new parents are fun to buy. The gifts here are a great way to celebrate new life with gifts that are both practical and fun.We rounded up 38 gift ideas that will help new parents adjust to life with a baby, help everyone sleep a little better, eat a little easier, and make those new baby photos pop.We've done our best to select a range of gifts with a variety of shipping options. Keep in mind that gifts purchased now may not arrive in time for the holidays. Be sure to check estimated arrival dates when checking out and keep in mind that the ship date is different than the package arrival date.Here are 39 of the best gifts for new parents:A digital baby bookQeepsakeQeepsake Membership, available at Qeepsake, from $35.88It's easy to forget to record special milestones when you're a sleep-deprived new parent. That's where Qeepsake comes in handy. The service texts parents questions about their baby and then saves their responses and photos. Parents can order the printed book that includes all their memories.A soft robe they'll want to wear all dayParachuteClassic Bathrobe, available at Parachute, $99Busy parents will love to wrap themelves in this cozy robe after a quick shower. The midweight robe is made from 100% Turkish cotton for both comfort and quick drying, and it's one of our all-time favorites.A food catchall that is easy to cleanThe Rooted Baby Co.Silicone Bib, available at The Rooted Baby Co., $12.99Eating meals is a messy affair for the littlest eaters among us. This bib made of high-quality silicone makes cleanup a breeze with the ability to catch any snack spills. It's good to go for the next meal with just a few wipes and it's dishwasher safe.A way to nurse comfortably and stylishly at the same timeTargetBamboobies Nursing Cover, available at Buy Buy Baby, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond, from $20.99New moms may take a little time adjusting to breastfeeding in public and there's no need to hide behind a hot blanket. A good nursing cover allows baby to feed in peace and mom to cover up for any occasion or outing.A comfy, personalized blanket made just for babyPottery Barn KidsCable Knit Recycled Chamois Baby Blanket, available at Pottery Barn Kids, $40Putting your baby's name on anything instantly makes it a family classic. This cable knit chamois version is the coziest blanket for afternoon naps to keep your little one warm.A bag that puts everything you need within reachLululemonLululemon Everywhere Belt Bag, available at Lululemon, $38Fanny packs have gotten a bad rap, but for a busy parent who needs three extra hands, it's the perfect solution. This belt bag allows you to put your most used items in quick reach so that you're not digging through a diaper bag to find your keys while also keeping an eye on the baby.A safe, easy-to-use nail trimmerBblüvBblüv Trimö Baby Electric Nail Trimmer, available at Buy Buy Baby, $29.99Baby nails can get really sharp. And because they're so small and delicate, they can be intimidating to take care of. This electric trimmer makes it easy to gently cut fingernails and toenails without having to worry about getting them too short. The electric file gently rounds off the rough edges.A fun way to clean up snot-nosed kidsFridaBaby/InsiderFrida Baby Nose Frida the Snotsucker, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $16.99Stuffy noses can make a baby uncomfortable. Since they can't just go blow it out with a tissue, they need a little help. The Nose Frida Snotsucker looks, well, weird, but it's safe, clean, easy to wash, and if we're being honest, it's kind of fun too. A pillow spray to help parents get a good night's sleepAmazon.comThis Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, available at Dermstore, $29Sleep is a tenuous proposition, at best, for new parents, so when they finally get the chance to turn in for the night, this spray will help them fall into a deeper and more relaxed sleep. Featuring a pleasing blend of lavender, chamomile, and vetivert, the relaxing scent helps a person doze off. One of our reporters swears by it for a better night's sleep.A cleverly designed towel that quickly dries and comforts babiesParachuteParachute Hooded Baby Towel, available at Parachute, $29Getting out of the bath is cold for babies, too, but this this absorbent towel keeps lets you wrap them up to keep them cozy while drying off. The adorable hood adds extra warmth.A keepsake calendar filled with sweet photosArtifact UprisingArtifact Uprising Wood Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, $30Parents can't get enough photos of their newborn. Take some of those photos to create a unique, practical calendar featuring their little one that they can use every day.An essential supply they can never get enough ofHonest/Business InsiderHonest Diapers, available at Honest.com, $10.95/packCloth diapers aren't for everyone, but these absorbent disposable diapers made from Earth-friendly materials are a good alternative for the eco-conscious. They also feature fun prints, even holiday designs. And to up the convenience factor for busy new parents, the company also has a diapers and wipes subscription box to save money and precious time. A comfortable seat for babyBumboBumboo Infant Floor Seat, available at Buy Buy Baby and Target, from $44.99Made from soft, durable foam, the Bumboo seat helps babies learn to sit upright, starting at three months. Parents will appreciate its portability as well as how easy it is to clean.A comfortable and flexible baby slingAmazonBaby K'tan Original Carrier, available at Amazon, and Target, from $59.95Hands-free carrying is a convenient way to keep baby close that parents will appreciate, whether they're grocery shopping or talking on the phone. This sling is comfortable for the baby as well as parents. It's a gift one of Business Insider's own gives to new parents after having used it with her kids from the time they were born until they were toddlers. You can check out our top picks for the best baby carriers here.Crib sheets in cute printsBrooklinenBrooklittles Crib Sheet Sets, available at Brooklinen, from $28.80From spit up to diaper blowouts, crib sheets have to endure a lot, so it's essential that there's always a clean one handy. Parents will really appreciate such a practical gift when they need one. Brooklinen's line of sheets for little ones feature fun patterns and prints that look great in any nursery.A baby book parents will actually want to fill outMaisonetteLucy Darling Flower Child Memory Book, available at Maisonette, $34.99Parents always appreciate looking back on the special memories they otherwise might have lost to sleep deprivation during baby's first year. Jotting down moments to savor won't feel like more paperwork with this spiral-bound baby book adorned with fun floral patterns. There's even a place for the baby's hand and foot prints.A warm cup of coffee on a cold dayContigo/Business InsiderContigo Autoseal West Loop Insulated Travel Mug, available at Amazon, $20.99Life with a baby doesn't pause so parents can rest, so having a little caffeine on hand can be a lifesaver when a parent's running morning errands on five hours of sleep. This leak-free travel mug keeps drinks hot or cold for up to seven hours, and it comes in 30 colors and a variety of sizes.An Amazon Prime membership so new parents can order suppliesWhat to buy on Amazon Prime Day 2018Sundry Photography/ShutterstockAmazon Prime gift subscription, three months, $39Nobody wants to make an extra trip to the store, especially busy new parents. A Prime membership lets them avoid the hassle, allowing them to order whatever they need and have it delivered instead, in two days.A full-year subscription is $119. And if they already have a Prime membership, they'll be able to convert your gift to credit so they can spend the money on anything they need.A portable gadget for fussy sleepersAmazonBaby Shusher Sleep Miracle, available at Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, and Target, $14.99White-noise machines are useful gadgets to have around because they're helpful for getting a fussy baby to fall asleep. The Baby Susher plays a real human voice, and it's easy to use at home, in the car, etc. A pacifier that won't keep falling to the groundAmazon/Business InsiderPhilips Avent Soothie Snuggle Pacifier Holder with Detachable Pacifier, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $14.95This pacifier features a plush animal that can be detached to make cleaning both pieces fast and easy. You can choose from a variety of animals, including elephant, giraffe, monkey, and seal, that make it easy to find and comforting for babies to snuggle. A swaddling blanket that transforms their baby into a burritoUncommon GoodsTortilla Baby, available at Uncommon Goods, $48What's better than a delicious burrito? A swaddling blanket that looks like a burrito and helps baby sleep tight after a long day.Socks for tired feetBombasGift a Bombas Gift Box, from $35Bombas' comfortable gym socks feature a blister tab and cushioned footbeds that wrap feet in luxury. Busy, tired parents will appreciate comfortable socks. Also, Bombas also donates a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. A jolt of caffeine after a sleepless nightSwift CupAgaro Free-Dried Coffee (6 cup box), available at Swift Cup Coffee, $14Instant coffee isn't what it used to be; it's actually good now, and that's excellent news. Tested by our experts, these six individual packets of freeze-dried Ethiopian coffee will give sleepy parents the quick jolt they're looking for, and all they have to do it add 10 ounces of hot or cold water and stir.A sleek bassinet that rocks crying babies to sleepSnooSnoo Rental Gift Card, available at Happiest Baby, from $25There's nothing new parents will appreciate more than a little help with a baby who doesn't sleep well. Sensing when a baby is tense, the Snoo automatically rocks them to sleep with a gentle motion. There's also a built-in white noise machine and a swaddle to help calm fussy little ones. Parents can control the bassinet and monitor it via the app. And while the Snoo is expensive, the company has a rental program for a more affordable option.Bilingual board books for early learningAmazon/Business InsiderCanticos Board Books, available at Amazon, from $2.41It's never too soon to start learning a second language. These books help by introducing important early words like numbers, shapes, and more in both English and Spanish.A mustache pacifierBuyBuyBaby/IniderMustachifier, available on BuyBuyBaby, $9.99This pacifier will have everyone doing a double take to see if that baby really does have a hipster mustache. And don't overlook the value of peace and quiet that comes with it too.A meal kit delivery service so they can cook for themselvesBlue ApronBlue Apron Subscription Gift Card, from $65Cooking can be an extra hassle for frazzled new parents, but a delivery service like this can make it a little easier to get a healthy, home-cooked meal. Blue Apron boxes come with preportioned ingredients and three easy-to-cook recipes. They'll get one week of meal kits for $60.Check out our guide to the best meal kit delivery services, which includes options for special diets.A gadget to make diaper changes easierDiapertainment/Business InsiderDiapertainment, available at Amazon, $15.99Diaper changing is much easier when a squirming baby is occupied. This smartphone mount does helps hold a little one's attention with their favorite short videos so parents can get down to business.An interactive play matLoveveryThe Lovevery Play Gym, available at Lovevery, $140This activity gym has different learning zones and a range of accessories designed to engage a baby as they grow. Designed by childhood development experts, there are features here for infants as well as toddlers.*This product is currently backorderedA pregnancy journal to track progress and memoriesAmazon/Business Insider"Expecting You: A Keepsake Pregnancy Journal," available at Amazon, $13.46Pregnancy is a journey, and this journal gives new parents the chance to track their memories and experiences. Whether they end up using it as a reference for subsequent children or just as a way to look back on a special time, this keepsake journal makes a timeless treasure for parents.A portable way to secure babies to their seatsBuyBuyBabyInglesina Fast Table Chair in Black, available at Buy Buy Baby, $79.99A popular choice for an easy-to-use high chair because of its convenience, the Inglesia Fast Table Chair can be used with any table up to 3.3 inches thick. And it can be used for children ranging in age from 6 months to 3 years.A 5-in-1 machine to help baby sleepBaby Dream MachineBaby Dream Machine, available at Baby Dream Machine, $119On top of smoothing "pink noise" sound that help infants relax, the Baby Dream Machine is also a cool-mist humidifier as well as an aromatherapy machine. It even provides red light and night light therapy with an adorable bear design that will great in the nursery. The gift of getting some shut-eyeHalo/Business InsiderHalo Sleepsack Swaddle Wrap, available at Buy Buy Baby, $24.99Swaddling helps a baby feel more relaxed, and a more relaxed baby is a better sleeper. This transitioning swaddle features a unique design that allows a baby to be wrapped with their arms in or out, which is important for safety once they start rolling.An adjustable, washable pillow to ensure a good night's restLauren Savoie/Business InsiderCoop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow, available at Amazon, $63.99Few things help exhausted parents fall asleep faster than a comfortable pillow. This customizable pillow is hypoallergenic and works well for all sleeping positions.Fun PJs' for any occasionHanna AnderssonEarth Day Baby Zip Sleeper, available at Hanna Andersson, $16.99Whether they're cozying up to watch a parents' favorite show or settling in for a special holiday, matching family pajama sets are a fun way for families to share an experience. Hanna Andersson makes a comfy set of pajamas featuring everything from holiday prints to dinosaurs to popular characters.A time-saving food hack parents can feel good aboutCerebelly/Business InsiderCerebelly Pouches, available at Cerebelly, $4.24 eachWith organic vegetable-based recipes that babies will love, these handy little pouches are perfect in a meal-time pinch. They're self-stable, so they'll last long enough to be around when you need them. Created by a neurosurgeon, this go-anywhere babyfood is also loaded with nutrients that help with brain development.  A smart home device to act as an assistantLisa Eadicicco/Business InsiderEcho Dot 4th generation, available at Target, $29.99A smart speaker is the perfect nursery assistant. It can play gentle music to help lull babies to sleep or set timers for feeding times. They're also compatible with a long list of smart home devices, which makes it easy to turn off light or set the thermostat while parents are busy changing diapers.An Instant Pot for easy mealsInstant PotInstant Pot Duo 60, available at Amazon, $89Our favorite Instant Pot includes a number features and functions, from pressure cooking to sautéing. Parents can make delicious one-pot meals for themselves and the baby with just a few easy steps and a lot less cleanup.Something to soothe and protect baby's delicate skinDove/Business InsiderBaby Dove Derma Care Body Wash, available at Walmart, $8.86Baby Dove Eczema Care Cream, available at Rite Aid, $8.69Newborns have delicate skin that requires gentle, soothing products to keep them clean and their outer layer soft and hydrated. Developed alongside pediatric dermatologists, Dove's wash and cream are free of dyes, parabens, phthalates, steroids, and fragrances.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 15th, 2021

David Solomon: Inflation Could Be Above Trend For A Period Of Time

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) Chairman & CEO David Solomon on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Tuesday, December 7th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon Says Inflation Could Be […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) Chairman & CEO David Solomon on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Tuesday, December 7th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon Says Inflation Could Be Above Trend For A Period Of Time ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Joining us right now to talk all about all of this and the market risk, vaccine mandates, return to work and so much more. David Solomon is here, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs and thank you for having us. We are here now, this is the 12th floor, you guys just redid this place. DAVID SOLOMON: Well first of all, Andrew, thank you for coming down to, to our office this morning. I'm delighted to be here with you this morning. We did redo this over the course of the last couple years. We started before COVID and then we paused for a little while but we've moved our executive team down here into the sky lobby on the 12th floor just so we can be more present, be more visible and I must say, we've been here about six months and we're really enjoying it. It just it keeps us much more connected to what's going on in the building. It's SORKIN: It’s pretty cool. I got a little tour early, early morning tour. Let's talk markets though and try to just understand where we are and what's going through your brain as we're dealing with both the Fed on one side and this variant on the other and then the markets and the valuation as you see them. SOLOMON: Well, there's a lot of uncertainty. And you know, I know that we're all looking for answers, but I think we need more time to see how this all plays out. I'm encouraged by what I'm hearing around the variant and the trajectory of that, but I think it's still uncertain. Yet the market certainly, the market certainly and this morning is another indication is kind of looking past the variant as something that's going to be slowing down economic activity. But we're still not completely out of the pandemic. There's uncertainty that comes from that and that uncertainty is going to affect economic activity and we're going to have to deal with that in some way. Against that, we clearly have real inflation in the economy. We've got a variety of problems, headwinds, issues that have occurred because we went into a pandemic, we shut the economy down, and we're now, we're turning it back on. That's really unprecedented. And, you know, on top of that, we have shifts going on in fiscal and monetary policy to try to balance that. And so there's no, there's no question that this has been an unprecedented period and so it's very hard to predict how we're going to come out of this. SORKIN: So, one of the singular questions we've been asking on the program this past week or so, given the emergence of this variant is if the variant is mild and it's not something that we're, we need to be as concerned about as I think the worst case outcomes would have been, does that mean that the market rifts, if you will, or is the Fed on the other side going to keep that from happening, meaning what's more important right now? SOLOMON: My, my base case, Andrew, is we're going to continue to find a path past the, past the pandemic broadly. This will be endemic in society, we're gonna have to live with it, but we're going to find a way to live with it effectively and economic activity will flourish. I don't believe we're in a new paradigm where the world will be fundamentally different, but it's going to take some time to move forward. In the context of that, I think that monetary and fiscal policy on a go forward basis, while the bigger impact on the trajectory of markets than the pandemic will from this point forward. That doesn't mean there won't be periods of time where in the short term, the variant can flare up. There's, there's news that affects markets in the short term but the bigger issue to focus now is we've had unprecedented monetary and fiscal policy for a meaningful period of time and we're going to emerge from that and unwind that and that's going to have an impact. It's had a big impact on asset prices, market activity, and a variety of things. It's going to have an impact on those things as we unwind it and find the balance and the thing that I don't have the answer to, none of us have the answer to, is can that be done in a smooth way where we take a little bit of the air out with, with not a lot of bumps in volatility, are we gonna have some bumps in volatility along the way? SORKIN: Okay. You spend a lot of time talking to the CEOs of corporate America and around the world. And so, when you talk to them about this and really talk to them about the issue of valuation, oftentimes about their own stocks because they're thinking about whether they should be pursuing different transactions, what their own values are, what are you telling them at this point? Is this a fairly valued market? Do you say look, things are, you're, you're valued very highly, take advantage of the currency now? I mean, what's the thought? SOLOMON: Well, there's no question that that looking at the market broadly, valuations are full in any historical context. And so, if you're talking to companies that have a very, very strong currency, you're certainly encouraging them if they have aspirations to deploy capital and put that capital to work. This is an interesting time to think about it. Also, for most companies, borrowing rates and the ability to access capital through debt finance has never been cheaper. And so, it's been a very, very good time to think about investing in business and deploying capital. I think it depends on the company and the particular company that you're talking to. I think the market has been very enamored with growth at all costs and I think we're seeing a little bit of the momentum come out of that over the course of the last couple of weeks. A lot of these businesses that have very, very strong top line growth, but haven't yet proven whether or not the business model really generates earnings over the long term, I think those are going to be a tougher slog, and I, you know, I'd encourage those companies to make sure they have the capital in place to execute on their growth plans while that capital is available. I think some of that can rebalance in the coming months, you know, over time, but it's not one size fits all. And you can look through the spectrum of the market and you can see different valuations for different businesses. SORKIN: When you look though at what's happening for example in the IPO market or frankly the SPAC market, is that something that persists and continues at pace? Do you feel it's slowing down? Do you feel it's speeding back up again? I mean, we've sort of had this, this, this undulating roller coaster. SOLOMON: It's, there's, there's been some undulation to use your word. But there's no question SPAC activity has come way off its peaks. SPACs are good capital markets innovation, they're not perfect. There's been an evolution in disclosure and the process around SPACs. I think SPACs are here to stay but I don't think we're going to regularly see the volume of activity and the surplus of activity that we saw in the early part of this year. SORKIN: And when you talk about inflation again with clients, are you in the category of cash is trash and inflation is gonna make that cash, you know, not just worthless but worth less, or you in the category of you might actually want to keep a little bit because there might be an opportunity coming? SOLOMON: Well, once again, not black and white. I do think that we've lived for a long time with inflation below trend. And I think one of the things that I'm concerned about or I think about a lot is people have kind of lost a historical perspective on what markets look like and what is normal. From a, from a monetary policy perspective, what we've had over the last decade is truly unusual. And I remember and I know historically, I've been around doing this, you know, since the 1980s, I remember when we had a very, very different environment and we could have a different environment again. And so, I do think that while we've had inflation below trend for quite a significant period of time, there's a reasonable chance that we're going to have inflation above trend for a period of time. Doesn't mean it has to be like the 1970s, could be, doesn't have to be, but when you think about periods where there's inflation, inflation hurts asset prices, and it slows down your ability to make money with almost any asset. From 1970 to 1980, there was almost nothing you could own where you made money. Basically, during that 10-year period, oil and gold, cash you lost money. If you owned US equities during that 10-year period, you lost nearly 50% of the value of your holdings. So, people forget the historical perspective. It wasn't too long ago in 2004 to 2006 I think it was June 2004 to June 2006, that as the Fed normalized rates, they hiked 17 times in that two-year period. Now I'm not saying that's going to happen, but I think we're living in a world where people are forgetting the history and this might be, you know, a period that's different. We could go back to another period that looks materially different from this. And so, I think you've got to be cautious and manage your risk appropriately for the distribution or the chance that that might happen. SORKIN: What do you think about bank valuations? Your bank’s done quite well recently. SOLOMON: Like any other CEO, you know, I think that my company and my stock is underappreciated and undervalued. There's no question there's been a, there's been a mark up in bank valuations. I think the earnings power of the traditional financial services sector is quite powerful and we get a very, very low multiple on those earnings. I think there's a perception because of the last 10 to 15 years, that there's greater volatility in that earnings stream than I think there is at this point, that doesn't mean that there can't be volatility in those earnings streams. But I think that as a group, there is much, much more fee based, durable, recurring revenue. I think, you know, that we're working on shifting our mix to continue to increase that and I think at some point in time, there's still upside because the earnings power of these institutions, the franchises that they, that they hold is really quite powerful. SORKIN: What do you think about FinTech valuations on the other hand? SOLOMON: I think that FinTech valuations at the moment project a view of the future because there are very few FinTechs that actually make money at this point in time to the degree that some of these platforms turn out to be sustainable platforms that really have business models where they can make a lot of money, some of them will look to be cheap over a period of time. To the degree that they can't convert to a business model that can actually make money, they'll be absorbed or they'll go away, but I think it's, I think it's a, it's a mixed bag. And what's clear to me is some of them will be a huge success, some of them won’t, but I also think the incumbent players, there’s a big disruption going on in the digitization of financial services and how they're delivered, whether it's the institutions, or to individuals, and I think the incumbents are going to play a big role in that and I think upstart FinTechs are going to play a big role in that. Not everybody's going to be a winner in every way, but the market’s probably ahead on some but not ahead on others. SORKIN: I want to talk crypto in just a moment, but Becky's got a question. Becks? BECKY QUICK: Hey David, great to see you this morning. Thanks for joining us. We had a big debate in the last hour just about back to work and whether getting back to work or working from home is going to be the future. There's differing opinions out there. I know you have been somebody who thinks it's really important to be in the office so I'd like to ask where you think the majority of office places are going to be, let's say a couple of years from now, maybe when the job market shifts a little bit and it's not quite as competitive and will those offices be in places like New York City? SOLOMON: So, first Becky it's great to see you and appreciate you having me on. I think this is a complex question and my view on this and I talked to Andrew about this a couple of months ago when we were together at an event. I've been very focused on Goldman Sachs and what's right for Goldman Sachs and what Goldman Sachs needs to do to continue to serve its clients and be super competitive in our business. For our organization, which is an organization where 50% of the people who work at Goldman Sachs are in their 20s, we need to come together. We're an apprenticeship culture, we collaborate and we need to come together. That doesn't mean that there can't be flexibility. That doesn't mean that technology can't lever that flexibility but generally speaking for our organization, we need to come together. I think in most businesses, collaboration is important but every business has to determine what's best for that business to serve their clients or their customers, to compete, to retain their talent. I'm talking to a lot of, you know, our employees are in their 20s. They don't want to be sitting at home in a small apartment. They want to be with other people their age, they want to be collaborating, they want to be learning, they want to be in touch and so every company is going to choose its journey along a path to how to get back to work. I'm not good. I don't have a crystal ball to say where everyone comes out. But generally speaking, we're social creatures and I'd be, you know, I'd be cautious about interpolating forward, you know, a permanent state based on what we see at the moment. QUICK: What about New York City? SOLOMON: Well, I think in New York City, one of the reasons why I'm an advocate here in New York City, I think it's very important for the economic vitality of New York City to get people back into the city and get people back working. If you go through Midtown during the day, it's getting a little bit better but think about all the small businesses and all the organizations that are still, you know, under enormous pressure because we don't have that economic ecosystem where people come during the day. So I think for big urban centers, they have to be attractive, you have to bring people in. There's got to be a balance. I think technology allows more flexibility, but generally speaking, you know, I think it's important for New York to continue to bring people together and I think one of the strengths in New York is that young people want to be here. And I don't think young people want to be locked in their apartments. I think they want to be here. They want to participate, go out at night. The city's very, very busy and so, I think we're in a transition to getting people back engaged, and hopefully we'll make more progress over the next six months. But I think it's very, very important for economic vitality in the city. SORKIN: By the way, what do you think of Eric Adams? SOLOMON: I'm excited about Eric Adams and, you know, very, very hopeful that he’s going to— SORKIN: I know you were worried about the city though. SOLOMON: Lead the city forward. Well, I'm concerned, and I said this, you know, publicly, you know, recently, you know, history will tell you that no city’s place in the world is permanent and it's important that, that all cities are attractive for business and for people to live and cost of living, the vitality of the city, you know, what the city offers, taxes, all those things go into an equation that either attracts and retains and sustains people or at times put pressure on that. And so safety— SORKIN: What’s your bet on New York? SOLOMON: Well, my bet on New York and I said this clearly when I was interviewed about this, New York is not going away. But there's no question that safety, security, cleanliness, these things matter and I'm really hopeful and I've heard from, from the mayor elect directly that, you know, he's gonna be focused on these things. I think these things matter in any urban center. SORKIN: Before when we were talking about FinTech, I said I’d get to crypto. Has the Solomon family changed its view on crypto? Do you own Bitcoin or Ethereum personally? SOLOMON: I don't, I don't personally own Bitcoin or Ethereum and I don't, I don't have a strong view. When you say I've changed my view, I don',t I don't know what you think my view is. My view on, on Bitcoin for example is I really don't know but it's really not something, you know, individually that's important to me. I'm a big believer in the digitization that is occurring and the disruption that's occurring in the way financial services are delivered as I said to you both for institutions and for individuals. I think it's a massive shift. We're trying to participate in it based on what we're doing around Goldman Sachs, Marcus and our digital banking platform— SORKIN: But do you want your clients in it? SOLOMON: I'm sorry? SORKIN: Do you want your clients in it? SOLOMON: I want our clients to, to, to do what they think they want to do. As a speculative asset, is it interesting and are some of our clients participating? Absolutely. But whether it goes up or down, my guess is, look at the last week it's going to go up, it's going to go down. I don't know what the permanent state of Bitcoin is. But I think Bitcoin is really not the key thing. The key thing is how can blockchain or other technologies that are not developed yet accelerate the pace of the digitization of the way financial services are delivered? And I, you know, I just talked to you about our digital bank, you know, that we just made an announcement out of AWS re:Invent about a platform, the financial cloud that we're building in partnership with AWS for institutional clients. All of that is the changing of the digital processes that kind of lubricate the way financial services are delivered and I think that's a big opportunity and we're excited about that. SORKIN: And that gives your clients almost direct access through APIs and such into the dataset that is Goldman Sachs. Joe’s got a question for you. JOE KERNEN: Andrew, I know you got a lot of places you want to go, we could. David it's good to see you. We could do this for probably longer than an hour but just real quickly, so rates are probably after years of what we've seen, they're probably headed the other way, someday. Is Goldman Sachs factoring in a lower average return for equities over the next three or four years than we've seen for the past three or four. It's just a simple question. Do you think it has to be that way? Are we back to like mid-single digits, maybe? SOLOMON: So, so, Joe, I would never say it has to be because has to be as is, is stronger than I would make it but it's certainly we would expect that we're not going to see the same rate of returns in equities and many other assets over the next few years that we've seen over the last couple of years. It's been an extraordinary disruption in markets and in the context of that you've seen some skewed results. And so, I'm not a believer that double digit equity returns compounding in perpetuity is something as an investor you should expect. My, I've been involved in a number of investment committees and, you know, charitable foundations, college board, etc. And certainly, my mindset is the returns we've received over the course the last three to five years are different than what we should expect as we go forward from here. SORKIN: What we have here also wanted to ask you a little bit about China because it's a controversial topic. Goldman Sachs has spent a lot of time trying to build a business and you're committed to building a business in China. And yet we're at this moment where a lot of people are looking at the human rights issues that are taking place in that country and thinking about what is the role of an American business, oftentimes vocal American businesses here when it comes to ESG or voting rights or, or all sorts of other issues? You've been very outspoken about gender equality, for example, and yet doing business in China at the same time. SOLOMON: So the geopolitical relationship between the US and China is, is very complex and that's going to continue for sure. We've been investing in our business in China for a long time because China's a very important part of the economic vitality of our world broadly. And we have clients that we serve around the world that are clearly exposed to economic activity all over the world and we want to continue to serve them. I think when you think about policy actions, it's not our job as a private enterprise to set policy actions, but we watch appropriately, and we obviously will respond to policy actions as I've said. I obviously don't like the human rights violations that I see in that part of the world. But I think that from a policy perspective, we have to strike a balance across this because we're very economically entwined and it's not simple. There are places where I think we have to cooperate and I would point to climate as a great example and I can highlight, for example, a green finance working group that were involved in establishing that's got both public and private sector leaders coming together with a particular focus on China's transition and then there are places like human rights violation where we have to confront and try to get a different result. But if people are looking for a black and white answer, I think that's that's going to be a very, very hard execution. But we've got to continue to focus on this because we're very economically entwined. SORKIN: What do you think the role though of business is to speak out or not? Can they speak, can a business leader speak out on a human rights issue for example in China? I think, you know, for example, Adam Silver at the NBA has tried to thread this needle. Ray Dalio was on our air last week trying to thread the needle and it didn't work. Elon Musk was speaking at a Wall Street Journal event last night, very pro-China. And I think there were a lot of people critiquing him saying, does he feel he can't say something critical of China because he has so much business in China? SOLOMON: So, I can't speak for everybody else, but I generally try to stick to business, and I leave policymakers to set policy. And, you know, I just commented, I said to you, I don't approve of the, of the human rights violations that are going on. And so that's a point of view, but it's not my job to set policy. We need government to set policy, we need them to legislate, we need them to interact in that geopolitical relationship, and it's our job to balance and run business based on the parameters that are set up. And I think, you know, I think Joe said this, or somebody said this on your show earlier this week, if we got into a debate of everything that goes wrong somewhere in the world every day and how businesses responsible for that we got ourselves to a very complex place. I don't think any of you are advocating that's where we want to go. SORKIN: We gotta let you go. I know you’ve got a big conference today. SOLOMON: We do. We've got our Financial Services Conference here where we've got a broad group of financial services companies here with, with investors and so that should be an interesting day and a lot of discussion about some of the things you and I were talking about, digitization, crypto, changes in disruption to the way those services are delivered so we're looking forward to that. SORKIN: They're playing the music out. You're a better DJ, I do, Barry Manilow that's what I listened to the podcast. He did a podcast last week guys, and Barry Manilow is your— SOLOMON: No, my dad loved Barry Manilow and unfortunately my dad's not with us and so sometimes when I hear Barry Manilow, I think about my dad. It’s a great memory. SORKIN: David Solomon, thank you for joining us this morning. SOLOMON: Thanks a lot. Good to be with you all. Thank you very much. Updated on Dec 7, 2021, 10:45 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 7th, 2021

53 gifts to show new moms they"re appreciated, from handy accessories to thoughtful keepsakes

If you're not sure what to give a new mother, we've rounded up 53 the best gifts for new moms, including useful baby gear, flowers, and jewelry. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.The Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet can soothe a baby while a new mom gets some rest.Happiest Baby New moms will appreciate gifts that help them relax, save time, and mark milestones with their baby. Here are 53 of the best gifts for new moms, from funny parenting books to handy on-the-go accessories. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Becoming a mother is a life-changing experience. New moms are suddenly responsible for another human being, and there are quite a few things that can make that job easier. In a very uncertain time, new moms will appreciate gifts that are both practical and luxurious — things that can save them money and time. They also appreciate items that bestow a few precious moments for self-care.New moms are among the busiest people in our lives, and they undoubtedly deserve a meaningful gift this holiday. Some of these gifts will help them care for their new baby, while others are simply geared toward a mother who is ready for some "me time." Check out 53 of the best gifts for new moms:A wet bag for messesBuy Buy BabyItzy Ritzy Travel Happens Sealed Wet Bag, available at Buy Buy Baby, $18.99Wet bags are commonly used to store dirty cloth diapers, but new moms will find them useful for everything from onesies that were victims of a blowout to wet swim diapers. A wet bag is a gift many parents never knew they needed but are happy to have in the diaper bag when messes inevitably happen.A convenient case for diapers and wipesOXOOXO Tot On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser with Diaper Pouch, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $20.99Sometimes parents need diaper change supplies, but they don't want to lug around the whole diaper bag. This convenient pouch is designed to hold wipes, diapers, and diaper rash cream. There's even room for some hand sanitizer.Whimsical crib sheetsAmazonRookie Humans Crib Sheets, available at Amazon, $38These sheets are beautifully designed and can be the focal point of a themed nursery. Some of the designs are high contrast, which appeals to a newborn's developing eyes. After testing a sample of these sheets, I found that they fit my daughter's mattress well without popping off the corners or having too much extra fabric. A simple milestone blanketMaisonetteBaby Milestone Mat, available at Maisonette, $23Moms delight in capturing their babies at all ages and stages. From one day old to one year and beyond, this blanket makes it easy to capture their baby at every age. The neutral design also gives parents the opportunity to add seasonal elements or themes to each picture.A T-shirt that makes a statementGreatwood Boutique/EtsyGreatwood Boutique Tough as a Mother Shirt, available at Etsy, $12.30It goes without saying that moms are tough. Remind her just how tough and resilient she is with this super soft T-shirt. It's available in 13 different colors and sizes XS to 3XL.A letterboard for memorable milestone picturesTargetPearhead 10-by-10-inch Letterboard Set, available at Target, $12.99Letterboards help parents say it all with a picture; they're often used for baby's birth announcement picture and to get a snapshot of milestones. This one is just the right size to prop next to baby for a picture.Basic birth recovery suppliesFridaFriday Mom Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit, available at Amazon, $49.99After having a baby, things are a bit messy to say the least. Help mom recover with this kit that includes disposable postpartum underwear, instant ice maxi pads, perineal cooling pad liners, and perineal healing foam all stored in a convenient toilet-top storage caddy. Something to help them stay caffeinatedAmazonTakeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $24.99New moms need all the coffee. If cold brew is their thing, gift this cold brew coffee maker. It makes four servings of coffee. If mom preps it the night before, fresh coffee will be ready at the crack of dawn — right about when the baby wakes up. A treat just for momMilk BarFall Assorted Truffle Box, available at Milk Bar, $44Doesn't a mom deserve some time to sit down and indulge a bit? They'll certainly be able to with this assorted truffle box from Milk Bar. It includes three different flavors of cake truffles: Birthday, Chocolate Birthday, and Apple Cider Doughnut Cake.A pick-me-up for her eyesPeach & LilyCold Brew Eye Recovery Stick, available at Peach & Lily, $28With one swipe of this stick, mom's eyes will feel more awake and less puffy. They probably won't have time to put on a full face of makeup, but this will help them feel a little more put together after a night of broken sleep.A smart bassinetHappiest BabyHappiest Baby Gift Card, available at Happiest Baby, from $25This smart bassinet helps new moms and babies get sleep by combining gentle rocking with soothing white noise. The smart technology responds to baby by increasing motion and shushing when it detects fussiness. It also keeps babies in a secure swaddle so they stay safely on their back.The best socks they've never triedBombasBombas Gift Bag or Box, available at Bombas, from $69You might be thinking: Really, socks? But having a nice pair can make a world of difference. Bombas spent two years perfecting its gym socks. With thoughtful innovations, like a blister tab and performance cushioned footbeds, their feet will notice the difference. Bombas also donates a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. A minimalistic diaper bagKibouKibou Bag, available at Nordstrom, $89Moms need their hands free to do all the holding, rocking, wiping, and feeding that comes along with new babies. This small diaper fanny pack is made of high-quality vegan leather and has room for wipes, diapers, credit cards, keys, mom's phone, and more. It even comes with a built-in changing pad.A floral arrangement to brighten their dayThe Bouqs Co.A Fresh Floral Arrangement, available at The Bouqs Co., from $44These fresh flower arrangements come from farms that minimize waste and recycle water. Choose from classic bouquets like roses or sunflowers or opt for a more unique option that she can plant. The floral arrangement will be a bright spot in her day.Something to help them sleepAmazonCoop Home Goods Pillow, available at Amazon, $63.99I know what you're thinking: Is it really worth $63 for a pillow? The answer is yes. This memory foam pillow is adjustable so it's comfortable for every type of sleeper. New moms need all the help they can get when it comes to sleeping.A virtual baby bookQeepsakeQeepsake Membership, available at Qeepsake, from $47.88Qeepsake texts parents or caregivers questions to answer about their child. Parents simply text their answer back with accompanying photos if they desire and Qeepsake saves the responses. Then, users can order a book that displays all the questions, answers, and memories.Their favorite quote, framedMintedA Framed Custom Quote, available at Minted, from $38Maybe a new mom has a favorite quote that reminds them of their baby or they're just a lover of words. This gift will be a beautiful keepsake for them to always remember the newborn phase. A sentimental gift for a lasting memoryMainEventUSA/EtsyBaby Hand and Footprint Kit, available at Etsy, $25.95This gift freezes the littleness of their new baby in time. Nothing shows how fast a baby grows quite like comparing their growing hands and feet to how small they once were. This kit allows new moms to do the prints at home and add two pictures.A treat to satisfy their sweet tooth while supporting milk productionAmazonMunchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites, available at Amazon, $18.49These delicious cookies come in prepackaged bags so they can easily grab a snack while nursing. Although more studies examining the benefits of lactation cookies need to be conducted, this convenient treat certainly won't hurt.A nightlight that will help their baby — and in turn, them — sleep wellAmazonHatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise, available at Buy Buy Baby, $59.99Rest is a nightlight, sound machine, and wake-up alert that grows with children — from soft light and white noise for midnight newborn feeding sessions to a preschooler's nightlight. Parents can customize everything — color, brightness, sound, and volume level — or they can choose from presets recommended by sleep experts. A neck and back massager they can use any timeAmazonZyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager, available at Amazon, $69.95New moms spend a lot of time hunched over: picking up baby, putting down baby, carrying baby, and feeding baby. This massager has heated nodes that rotate, and moms can move it around to any spot they're feeling tension.A memorable piece of jewelryMarky Baby Milk Jewelry/EtsyMarky Baby Milk Jewelry DIY Kit, available at Etsy, from $33.04Moms who choose to breastfeed often face an emotional journey. The piece of jewelry from this DIY kit is made with their own breast milk so they can remember this special time long after their baby has grown up.A personalized beauty subscriptionBirchboxBirchbox Three-Month Subscription, available at Birchbox, $45New moms will inevitably be dealing with spilled milk, spit-up, and lots of dirty diapers. Make them feel pampered with a personalized beauty subscription. They'll be able to create her own Beauty Profile, making each box just right for them.A personalized T-shirtKnown Supply/InstagramPersonalized Fitted Crew, available at Known Supply, $32 + $10 monogramLet's be honest — they're probably going to be spending a lot of time at home in the first year. What could be better than a cozy, comfortable tee made of Pima cotton? Bonus points if you choose a color that will hide a spit-up stain.Merino-wool sneakersAllbirdsWool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98When you're on your feet all day, a pair of good shoes makes all the difference. Allbirds wool runners won't fail them — they're soft, comfortable, and machine washable. You can't go wrong with the originals, but the new Tree line is similarly light and comfortable. A variety of Korean sheet masks for an at-home spa dayFacetory/Business InsiderFacetory 7 Lux 1-Month Gift Subscription, available at Facetory, $19.90They could try a different Korean sheet mask every day of the week if they wanted to. The unique sheets made with innovative ingredients are hard to find anywhere else — Facetory curates only the most interesting and effective in the K-beauty world. Adorable leather baby moccasinsFreshly Picked/InstagramFreshly Picked Baby Moccasins, available at Buy Buy Baby, $29.99These 100% genuine cowhide leather moccasins have a soft sole to help children who are starting to walk. They're easy to put on, will actually stay on your kid's feet, and come in many stylish prints and colors. An Audible gift subscriptionAudible/Business InsiderAn Audible subscription, available at Audible, from $15Do you know what's really hard to do when you're holding a baby, a bottle, and trying to cook all at once? Read a book. What's easier? Listening to one on Audible. They can listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and more while multitasking at home or strolling through the neighborhood.A luxurious bathrobeSnoweAn Ultra-plush Terry Bathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Deemed the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, Snowe's bathrobe is super comfortable and fluffy. It's perfect for a mom looking for moments of relaxation during an otherwise hectic day. A necklace that symbolizes unbreakable bond between mother and childAUrate14-Karat Connection Necklace, available at Aurate, $390This beautiful necklace, available in yellow, white, or rose gold, manages to be simultaneously elegant and bold. The company has ideals they'll support, too: Its ethical solid gold is sourced from conflict-free suppliers and it donates a book to a child in need with each purchase. A 5-year journalWrite to MeThe First Five Years Baby Journal, available at Writer To Me, $46.95This linen-bound guided journal prompts parents to record milestones and memories to cherish for a lifetime. They'll be able to look back at all the firsts — first birthday, first haircut, first steps — and beam with pride.A funny book about the realities of motherhoodAmazon/Business Insider"The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year," available at Amazon, $14.99Any mom knows that motherhood is not all rainbows and sunshine. This book dispenses practical and useful information in a humorous format that will have new parents laughing through the particularly hard days.  A selection of soft, high-quality baby clothing basicsPrimaryA Primary gift card, available at Primary, from $25Shopping for baby clothing is easy at Primary, which was founded by two moms. The adorable, colorful, and gender-neutral styles are classic and made from safe Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, soft fabrics. Primary offers sizes from newborn through age 12.A fitness app so they can work out with a trainer at homeKira Stokes/Business InsiderA subscription to Kira Stokes Fit, from $14.99/monthFlexibility is paramount for busy moms, and a good fitness app offers just that. The Kira Stokes Fit app has abs, legs, core, and full-body workouts available to stream anytime, on any device, so moms can sweat on their own time. Crib sheets from an Internet-famous bedding startupBrooklinenMini Crib Sheet Set, available at Brooklinen, from $32Adults love Brooklinen sheets, and now babies can enjoy the soft and comfortable experience, too. If they don't yet have a set for themselves, include a gift that will help them sleep as well. A versatile diaper bagAmazonSkip Hop Forma Backpack Diaper Bag, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $68.80The lightweight, minimalist design of this diaper bag makes it a versatile option for new moms. The included cubes make it easy to organize diapers, wipes, bottles, and snacks. There's also a convenient changing pad within one of its pockets.Dinner on the table in under an hourHelloFresh/InstagramA HelloFresh Gift Card, from $70Meal kits take the guesswork out of cooking. Food is delivered weekly, meaning fewer trips to the grocery store, and the kit includes easy step-by-step recipes to prepare dinner — a snap when they're basically too tired to function.A long-distance touch lampFiliminFilimin Long-Distance Touch Lamps, available at Uncommon Goods, from $85A new mom's life is busy and tiring, so they might not always be available to talk and catch up. When you want to let them know you're thinking of them and vice versa without actually saying anything, just tap the lamp to make the other one light up. Stress relief in a tiny jade packageWalgreens/Business InsiderRevlon Cool & Depuff Jade Stone Facial Roller, available at Amazon, $9.98This facial roller can be used on all skin types to help improve circulation and reduce the puffiness that comes with sleep deprivation. It may temporarily firm skin, too. Most of all, it just feels good, especially when kept cool in the fridge.A modern baby bookArtifact UprisingA Baby Book "The Story of You," available at Artifact Uprising, from $99With a sturdy fabric-bound cover (available in seven color/foil pairings), this interactive photo journal is a beautiful way to focus on the everyday moments rather than major milestones. The book is 100 pages and holds 47 photos. Register it online and get a complimentary set of Everyday Prints. Leggings that feel and look great90 Degree by Reflex/Facebook90 Degree By Reflex High-Waist Power Flex Tummy Control Leggings, available at Amazon, from $9.99We love these leggings because they are versatile, supportive, and silhouette smoothing. They also have a little pocket to hold keys or a credit card if she needs to run out. Available in 13 colors, these leggings are available up to size XXL and run true to size.A moment of zenChijiA Positive Energy Candle, available at Home of Chiji, from $39.99This brand's motto is "illuminate positivity" and when baby has been crying for hours, a positive vibe is desperately needed. These candles are infused with crystals like amethyst and rose quartz to bring some calm to a chaotic house.A comfortable nursing braAmazon/Business InsiderMotherhood Maternity Women's Wrap Front Nursing Sleep Bra, available at Amazon, from $12All a new mom wants is to be comfortable, since chances are they aren't for most of the day. This wrap-front bra is soft, wireless yet supportive, and perfect for wearing all day and all night.A smart home deviceAmazonAmazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), available at Amazon, $29.99Hands-free music streaming, news and weather reports, thermostat controls, and alarms for naps or feeding, the Echo Dot does it all. They'll become a multitasking mom in no time with this smart home device.A soothing under eye treatmentSephoraWander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks, available at Sephora, $25These gold foil eye masks provide a soothing treatment for tired eyes. They help with puffiness and dark circles. Best of all, they won't fall off like some sheet masks, so they can hold baby upright while pampering themselves.Bubble bath made from plant-based ingredientsWalmart/Business InsiderHello Bello Bubble Bath, available at Walmart, $5.98Hello Bello, the baby line from Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, prides itself on making premium, plant-based products like body wash, baby lotion, wipes, and this bubble bath. The gentle, hypoallergenic formula is dermatologist-tested and safe on sensitive skin, so both mom and baby can enjoy a nourishing playful bath.A soothie to keep pacifier off the floorAmazon/Business InsiderPhilips Avent Soothie Snuggle Pacifier Holder with Detachable Pacifier, available at Buy Buy Baby, $14.99This adorable pacifier and holder be used beginning at birth. The pacifier and animal detach from each other, so it's easy and fast to clean both pieces. It comes in a variety of cute critters like an elephant, giraffe, monkey, and seal. A women's multivitamin subscriptionRitual1-month supply of Ritual vitamins, available at Ritual, $30New moms have a lot to juggle, and eating healthy, balanced meals may fall by the wayside some days. Help them get the nutrients to keep their energy up with these vegan multivitamins, which contain folate, vitamin D3, B12, iron, and magnesium, and are free of artificial colorants, synthetic fillers, and gluten.A reusable smart notebookAmazonRocketbook Everlast Reusable Smart Notebook, available at Amazon, $32New parents live and die by a schedule. This notebook is surprisingly handy — it will send their handwritten notes to the cloud and wipes clean with a damp cloth. It makes sharing with the entire family a breeze, and no more wasting paper.The gift of hydrationWalmartSodaStream Fountain Kit, available at Walmart, $49.88Staying hydrated is key, especially for nursing moms. Indulge their sparkling water obsession with this sleek gadget that turns regular water into bubbly bliss in seconds. You'll also be helping to save the planet by eliminating hundreds of single-use plastic bottles.  Stress relief in portable balm formAmazonScentered Aromatherapy Balm Sticks Gift Set, available at Amazon, $33Scentered's balm sticks come in five functions — Focus, Sleep Well, Love, Escape, and De-Stress — and help them relax wherever they are. Each non-greasy balm contains up to 25 essential oils and is formulated with a blend of moringa and moisturizing shea butter. A book that helps new moms who have endless questionsAmazon/Business Insider"Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool," available at Amazon, $13.89If they loved Emily Oster's pregnancy book "Expecting Better," they'll dive right into "Cribsheet." The "data-driven guide" helps new parents with sleep, potty training, and much more. A pair of embroidered makeup towelsWeezieMakeup Towels, available at Weezie, $40We've personally discovered Weezie's makeup towels are unexpectedly useful, and so will they. Even if they aren't washing off makeup, the fluffy fabric will feel great at the end of a long day. You can even have them embroidered to say "Mama" or a phrase of your choosing.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2021

Moderna CEO: Could Take Weeks For More Clarity On Omicron Covid Variant

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stephane Bancel on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, November 29th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel: Could Take Weeks For More Clarity On Omicron […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA) CEO Stephane Bancel on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, November 29th. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel: Could Take Weeks For More Clarity On Omicron Covid Variant MEG TIRRELL: Hey Joe, Stephane Bancel joins us now. Stephane, thanks for being with us this morning. I think the whole world wants to hear from you and what you're doing on Omicron. But let's start first with the level of alarm or concern that you feel about this variant given what we know about it right now. STEPHANE BANCEL: Good morning, Meg. Thank you so much for having us. So, let me maybe start to tell you what I think we know about the virus. Clearly, it has been reported a lot of mutations, mutation in the spike protein, the one that is important for the vaccine. Just to remind people, there were very few mutations on the spike of the Beta or the Delta virus variants and I think it was a big surprise to the science community. I don't believe many people could have predicted such a big jump in evolution in one variant. What we also know is that it's taking over Delta in South Africa very quickly. It took around four months for Delta to take over Beta. It seems that in just a couple of weeks for this new variant to take over Delta so that's something to keep in mind. And we also know that it's in many countries already. What I think we should move on is what do we believe? We believe this virus is highly infectious. We need to get more data to confirm this, but it seems to be much more infectious than Delta which of course is problematic. And we also believe that it's only present in most countries. I think what happened with the planes coming from South Africa to Poland over the weekend is a good example. I believe that most countries that have direct flights from South Africa in the last seven to 10 days have already cases in that country that they might not be aware of. And then the last piece is what we not know yet, but we don't know. There are two key things that we don't know yet and we're gonna find out in the coming weeks. One is vaccine efficacy, what is the impact all these new variants on the vaccine efficacy, and we should know that in around two weeks. Given the large number of mutation, it is highly possible that the efficacy of the vaccine, all of them, is going down but we need to wait for the data to know if this is true and how much is it going down. The second piece that we don't know that we need to keep probably an open mind is the virulence of the virus, how much disease of the people. I believe this will take two to six weeks to really know and I think we need to be cautious that it could be more virulent, it could be as virulent, or it could be less virulent and I think today it's really impossible to know. I think the piece we should be cautious is I don't believe that what's going to happen in the coming week or two in South Africa will be predicting the true virulence of the variant and I think that's because if you think about it in South Africa, you have less than 5% of population over 60 years of age, and you don't have a lot of comorbidity and so it's not because it's going to look not very virulent in South Africa, that it will not be virulent in Europe or in America or in the north. TIRRELL: Well, going back to that question of course about the vaccines. You know, what we saw from the Beta variant which also arose in South Africa is that there was in what Dr. Fauci likes to call a diminution of the protection from the vaccines, but it still seemed like the vaccines could provide protection against severe disease. What's your expectation for that dynamic with Omicron? What diminution we might see based on the mutations that are understood and the effect that there will still be on severe disease from the vaccines? BANCEL: Yes, I think this really is the big question, Meg, is if you look at the new virus it does with Delta mutation, it does with Beta mutation, and many more on the spike up to 32 mutations. So we anticipate that there will be a loss of vaccine efficacy to prevent disease. What is important for people to remember is that unlike an antibody treatment, the vaccines provide you not one or two antibodies, but a soup of antibodies and so some antibodies will still be protective neutralizing antibodies even if you have a mutation and that's a piece that’s really hard to handicap what we did in the last few days to analyze the virus, you know, on computers and doing, you know, 3D modeling and so on. It’s tough to know how we going to lose no 5x, are we going to lose 8x of the antibody levels. These grids will be patient and see the data scientists have been working since middle of next week before Thanksgiving weekend and working through the whole weekend. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, nonstop because we know it really matters. What is important I think to know is that Moderna we have a free line of defense strategy and I'm not aware of any company that has so many tools to help and respond if vaccine efficacy drops and the virulence is, is higher or same. One is as we know, we've lowered the dose of a booster of our current vaccine and so we have a lot of safety data showing that we could go back to 100 microgram dose and to double the dose of the current vaccine, which should provide better protection than the third dose booster of 50 micrograms. So that's first line of defense actionable right away. The second line of defense— JOE KERNEN: Yeah, sorry, we've been just kicking around a couple of the things that maybe you can clear up for us. When you're designing your messenger RNA vaccine it, are surface proteins the only target you could use the spike protein because they do seem to mutate a lot. Is there any way you could use messenger RNA to I don't know to code for some other part of the virus, something that's more conserved, or does it have to be something that that the antibody sees right on the surface of the virus right away? Is that the only target you can use for a messenger RNA vaccine? BANCEL: It’s a great question, Joe. In the past, we looked at several targets on the, on the surface of the virus and really the spike is the one that has always given us the best response in terms of efficacy of a vaccine and protection against disease. It is true that it is mutating but we really believe it is still the best target to provide protection. KERNEN: Is the, the other question that I had was in terms of safety. You get these small changes random it appears in the spike protein and maybe it makes it more infectious, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. But is there a risk in just assuming that since we've been through the safety trials for the original messenger RNA vaccine, if there's slight changes in the base pairs that that you're talking about in the spike protein, could it make it much more dangerous to the immune system in terms of long-term side effects, or can we assume from the safety studies that we already did that you change a few things to adapt to these new variants and it's going to be the same or do we have to go all the way back through all those safety regimen again? BANCEL: So, I think there's two sides to your question, what we believe from a science standpoint and what the regulator needs to see. From a science standpoint, we believe that changing a few builds won't change the safety of a product, we use the same chemical to bond, the same liquid around it, in the same machine. So, it'd be very comfortable having my loved ones getting a vaccine modified by just changing a few base builds in the spike in clinical studies. That's what I believe. Now, what a regulator will require in terms of change or not, I think we depend on what's happening in the community and the risk. I could see a world where if a virulence is less, the regulator asked us to do a full study of a new construct. But if the virulence is very bad, it's a massive public health from a risk benefit trader, the regulator might be comfortable allowing us to go straight to when you construct. BECKY QUICK: Stephane, very quickly, I just wanna go back to something you said. You said that you think countries that have had flights that came from South Africa and I'm guessing you mean any of those eight countries in South Africa, not the official South Africa country, that you think any country having flights coming from the last seven to 10 days from those countries very likely already has this new variant there, even if they haven't detected it yet. If that's the case, how effective are these lockdowns or these potential moves at this point to try and stop it? BANCEL: Yeah, so exactly Becky, I believe that any country that had direct flights from South Africa in the last seven to 10 days, you're now quickly that new variant to cover locally from the data we have seen, as that case exported to that country or imported of the virus. I think the, the measures that are being taken in a lot of countries can slow down the progress of the virus when we figure out the efficacy of the vaccine impact, when we figure out virulence and I think those actions can save a lot of lives down the road. ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Hey Stephane, I’m— QUICK: So just a follow up real quickly, Andrew I'm sorry, I'll get out of the way in just a second. But just a follow up if you have a lockdown, you've got Israel and Japan that are doing total lockdown, other countries that are saying you can't come unless you're a citizen of that country. Does it matter? Does COVID check your passport to see if you're a citizen of that country? BANCEL: Of course it does not. So, I think the piece is testing, testing, testing. I think what Holland did by testing all the people who landed on that plane was the right thing to do. And as you can see, between people who took the plane with a negative COVID test and people who’ve arrived, you had around 10% of the plane that was COVID positive and that's happening everywhere on most flights. That’s why we need to be very cautious. SORKIN: Stephane, as you know, one of the, the great critiques of the world of pharmaceuticals right now and those making vaccines is that, is that we're not getting enough of them to folks as quickly as we should. Part of the issue in South Africa was there wasn't enough uptake. But I wanted to understand from you if you were king for the day, and you had unlimited funds, if the US government were to say we will, we will send you a check for $100 billion right this second, how quickly if a new version of the vaccine needs to be produced, manufactured and distributed, how you would do it and how you would do it differently? BANCEL: So, the challenge is that the manufacturing capacity is what takes times to change drastically. I think today if you look at just the two amounted players, we are on track together to make around 7 billion doses of vaccine for 2022. We could of course increase that if required but if you look at just the number of people who don't want the vaccine around the planet, I think with 7 billion doses, we covering most people who want a vaccine with, with a single dose booster. In terms of timelines, I think as we've said there are 60 to 90 days to get a new virus vaccines already made and actually approved by the regulators. The question is how quickly can manufacturing and when do you decide to switch because today we're making the current vaccine because many countries still want it because that's the only protection available and when do you make that decision so we are getting ready to make the decision as soon as we have the data in the next week or two. TIRRELL: And Stephane, just going back to all the different things that you're looking at as potential solutions for Omicron. I mean, you mentioned looking at the 100-microgram dose booster, that's the full dose rather than the half, seeing if that potentially provides enough protection on its own and then presumably, you've got that ready to go. You also have multi variant booster candidates that target parts of Beta and Delta that you say may potentially work and then you're also working that Omicron specific potential update to the vaccine. When do you think you'll know which one of those is the right solution? Are you working on all of them in parallel? When will we know what the right way to treat this is? BANCEL: So first Meg, yes, we are working on the three solutions at the same time because those have different timelines of when they could be actionable. The higher dose could be done right away but it will be months before the Omicron specific variant is ready to ship in massive quantities. And I think the big pivot is going to be the vaccine efficacy impact when we learn that in a week or two, depending on how much it drop, we might decide on the one hand to start getting a higher dose of a current vaccine around the world to better protect people, maybe people at very high risk the elderly, immunocompromised should need a fourth dose, question mark. And then in the meantime, rolling them into balance. So, I think those are just different timelines and just depending how bad the vaccine efficacy is impacted, we'll have to use one or the other strategy or maybe the three of them because they might just come one after the other. KERNEN: Hey Stephane, I wonder what your thinking is on, on people that have seen the entire virus. In other words, people that had COVID and so they got their antibodies were generated, the antigen was the entire virus itself, not just the spike protein. Would they have an advantage in terms of Omicron? Or because it's a different spike protein, would it be like that like their bodies seeing something entirely new as well and then they'd be defenseless, not defenseless, but maybe that the Omicron can get around the, the natural immunity a person had from, from getting COVID the first time around? Do you know? BANCEL: We don't know. I think it's a really interesting question, Joe. I think the question depends on when were they infected naturally because what we've seen so far is people who get vaccinated get higher level of antibody than people who get naturally infected. But as you say, people who get naturally infected get a much broader repertoire of antibodies, and that tradeoff between diminishing antibodies and the breadth of the antibodies is really hard to not even if it's a new variant, but it's highly possible but we don't know. TIRRELL: And Stephane, just thinking about the, the solutions to this, this issue. There have been calls from scientists in South Africa for, you know, if vaccines are needed to be updated or we need a higher booster dose or any of those solutions, there've been calls to prioritize that region of the world to try to stem the problem at its source. Is that possible to do? And of course, we've heard from Dr. Scott Gottlieb yesterday on “Face the Nation” saying that there is a resistance to accepting more vaccines in some of those countries because it's difficult to distribute them. The uptake in some places is, is low. What issues are you seeing there? BANCEL: Well actually, it’s exactly the same issues that Dr. Scott Gottlieb described. We have right now between 50 and 70 million doses of a vaccine in our warehouse unfortunately, ready to ship that are either custom issues or people in some countries have too many vaccines right now, and not enough people who want to get vaccinated or not enough medical workers to inject those. So, I think the world has changed drastically from what it was at three months ago, where there was not enough vaccine. Now already believe there is there's too much vaccine, which is a good thing for a planet but the issue is really the last mile. TIRRELL: Stephane Bancel, we really appreciate you being with us to help us understand how you're thinking through all of this and we hope to stay in touch with you as you learn more. Thanks again. BANCEL: Thank you. Updated on Nov 29, 2021, 11:57 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 29th, 2021

GreenWood Investors 3Q21 Commentary: Defense, Offense & Conviction

GreenWood Investors commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, titled, “Defense, Offense & Conviction.” Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more When Defense Misfires “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” This past quarter, much of my curiosity has been focused on the differences between offense and defense. Given I’ve spent little time watching […] GreenWood Investors commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, titled, “Defense, Offense & Conviction.” if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more When Defense Misfires “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” This past quarter, much of my curiosity has been focused on the differences between offense and defense. Given I’ve spent little time watching team sports, it’s been an interesting exploration. As my mind was occupied by defining an offensive playbook for our two coinvestments, we took our eyes off the ball of our protective, defense-oriented portfolio activities. The performance in the quarter was impacted by a 4% headwind generated by one particular short, which was the primary reason our fund underperformed indices in the quarter. While it was a painful lesson, we immediately evolved our short process in order to prevent our defensive measures from ever hurting our performance to such an extent going forward. Cutting to the chase, the performance in the quarter for the Global Micro Fund was -7.7% net (+30.5% YTD), and this compares to our benchmark MSCI ACWI index returning -1.1% in the quarter (+11.5% YTD). Without any FX headwinds, euro-denominated Luxembourg fund returned -3.3% net (+39.4% YTD). Separate account composites had similar returns, as Global Micro strategy returned -8.1% net (+15.0% YTD) and our longest-running and long-only Traditional accounts returned -6.8% net (16.5% YTD). The Builders Fund I returned -5.2% net in the quarter (+84.5% YTD) driven partially by foreign exchange. Builders Fund II, which was launched in the quarter, returned +3.0% net (+3.0% YTD). Aside from the one short mentioned, our returns were also impacted by corrections at Superdry PLC (LON:SDRY) and Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ:PTON), each taking away roughly 2% from our performance in the quarter. They are both experiencing very different situations right now in the aftermath of Covid, but both are pressing their offense strategies with increased vigor. We remain undeterred with Superdry despite popular skepticism on the brand’s turnaround. Such perspectives look mismatched with a reinvigorated influencer strategy targeting a whole new generation, which have just driven same-store-sales to positive territory on a two-year stack. This is ahead of a pivotal autumn-winter season, when its jackets, coats and sweaters have traditionally shined. Having missed last winter due to Covid, we are excited to see the new product resonate with an entirely new base of consumers. We recently followed the Chairman and CEO’s insider buys, and purchased more shares on weakness. We continue to be encouraged by the progress made; and for a slightly longer discussion on where our thoughts are on Superdry, click here to see a tweet thread. Peloton has experienced a round trip of home workout demand back to pre-covid levels. Thus, while it is launching new products and new geographies, and retains an industry-leading engaged base of 6.2 million exercisers with low monthly subscription churn, this position will have to return to old fashioned marketing to continue on its path towards its incredibly ambitious goal of impacting 100 million users’s fitness routines every month.. With its customer satisfaction, as measured by the Net Promotor Score, remaining one of the highest, if not the highest, in the world, we would not bet against this heavily engaged cult of growing endorphin-filled users. We believe the company still has a very significant market opportunity to both attack and define. Revisiting The Defense Playbook “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” Warren Buffett Stretching the offense and defense analogies over to investing, this past year has rewarded risk-taking (offensive) strategies, particularly those that are furthest out on the risk curve. But over the long-term, value-oriented investing wins the championship. That means taking a conservative underwriting approach to investment opportunities and maintaining a defensive posture when everyone else is doing the opposite. In our opinion, that also means running a short book, which allow us to remain opportunistic in periods of greater stress. It is not a good time to be reducing a defensive posture, in our opinion. Over the first 11 years of GreenWood’s existence, we have almost never been idea-constrained. Rather, we have been only constrained by the capacity we have to analyze the large opportunity set. That has typically meant, aside from the earliest years, we have had minimal cash left over. Given we have gravitated towards misunderstood assets and areas neglected by robotic index funds, not only does this portfolio tend to not carry a large cash balance, but it has exhibited more volatility than an index. Accordingly, carrying a short book is essential for us to be able to remain opportunistic in periods of stress. And quite frankly, our defense track record could use some improvement. While this defensive posture paid off in 2008, 2011, and 2018, we had few opportunistic shorts going into 2016 and 2020, right when we needed them. I’m personally committed to improving on that 3-2 market defense track record. I’m also committed to lowering any significant portfolio tilt towards specific factors, as our fundamental research capabilities are not able to be matched on a macroeconomic scale. There are too many factors and estimates to know anything on a large scale with any degree of certainty. For us, conviction is the most important function of an asset manager. It was with that intention we have been carrying a full short book ever since late 2020. And that short book largely paid off over the first half of this year, as the current environment has proved to be fertile in finding over-valued, value-less businesses. In fact, most of these shorts underperformed the market so quickly and so dramatically, that short book turnover caused Chris and I to run on a faster and faster treadmill throughout this year. When we found the short that ended up causing us so much pain in the quarter, it sounded too good to be true. It was a perfect offset to some of our chunkier portfolio factor exposures, but even more, it became clear this was not only a terrible business model, but it was likely a fraud. As Chris and I dug further into the business, there was a never-ending string of yarn that we kept pulling, and the more we pulled, the more damning the evidence was on the founder, company and target markets. In that excited process, we failed to appreciate the risk posed by the meme-trading phenomenon, in the assumption that an Italian company was unlikely to get caught up in the retail trading frenzy that has generated so many distortions elsewhere. Bypassing that debate proved to be our mistake, as the less liquid nature of the stock meant that it was more easily manipulated higher for a few months. As it was getting squeezed, I took action to eliminate that portfolio risk, even knowing that the stock would eventually go to zero. And in the wake of that experience, we also exited other shorts that had largely run their course, but that posed some possible retail trading risk. In our post-mortems, that are published on our investors-only research area, we identified one of the problems we were trying to solve for was the treadmill we found ourselves on. Because each piece of incremental evidence made it more and more compelling, we actually didn’t pause to have a proper bull-bear debate, which is what we have done for every other position. We had put too much pressure on ourselves to maintain a timely short book, and in many ways that papered over the obvious truth that the borrow was hard to obtain and liquidity was not accommodative. We revised our ranking framework to ensure there is a significantly higher bar for less liquid shorts in the future. Furthermore, we decided that any “gaps” in needed short exposure would more easily be filled immediately with index funds that could directly help offset some of the chunkier factor risks to our portfolio, namely European value stocks. We don’t intend to hold these index hedges forever, but believe it will help take pressure off of us to prematurely add new shorts to the portfolio. We have a lot of candidates in the backlog, but we are determined to ensure that we get the timing right as opposed to just the company thesis and factor exposure. At their core, our defensive moves should first do no harm. This analogy mirrors perhaps the most quoted Buffett lesson about rule number one, noted above. In that vein, our current short portfolio is comprised of large, liquid index constituents with very low short interests, cheap borrows, and are largely well-loved. Similar to most of our short positions in the past, they also have mounting liabilities as decades of unconscious behaviors or corruption have eroded the core values of the businesses. We recently published our research on two newer positions on our investor-only research site. These shorts have multiple catalysts over the next few quarters, that we believe, will cause both a material impact to their financials while also possibly downgrading the market’s behavioral narrative. More Conscious Than ESG “Sustainability is built into our business model. If we are focused on the long term, there is no conflict between profitability and the interests of stakeholders. If you are focused on the short term, there is. It’s that simple!” Sir Martin Sorrell Most importantly, these two businesses that we are short have some deeply unconscious features. While each case is different, this means that we’ve found evidence of corruption or deliberate sales of defective or toxic products for decades prior to being discontinued. All of these behaviors are only now catching up to these companies and present material downside risks to these businesses that have historically been run for short-term profit maximization as opposed to long-term value creation or innovation. These are the kinds of companies that are causing the ESG movement to gain major traction around the world. But while we applaud action being taken on protecting the environment, the ESG movement is not solving the root of the problem. The movement is addressing the symptoms rather than the causes. In a white paper that I can’t wait to publish, we’ll show evidence that the fundamental issue facing business today is one of unaccountable agents seeking immediate gratification. There’s a lack of ownership and accountability in a market that continues to outsource much of the “ratings” to agents. Large funds managed by agents with no skin in the game are relying on ratings agencies, also with no skin in the game, to dictate qualitative criteria that often don’t tie to value creation, but rather liability minimization. And that is important, but not sufficient on its own. It is defense without the offense. Or sometimes, it’s all marketing covering up flimsy foundations. Owners or founders exhibit more long-term, conscious capitalist behavior. They generally don’t give quarterly profit guidance, and instead prefer to focus on their customer satisfaction and employee morale. They invest more in their own businesses rather than paying that capital out to shareholders or to acquisition targets. Great shareholder returns are the result of a highly conscious business model, not the goal in and of itself. Exhibit 1: Builders Have Happier Customers & More Engaged Employees Source: GreenWood Investors, OO = owner operators, DC = dual share class structures, S&P = S&P 1200 Global Index But what does it mean actually to be conscious? That’s the subject that Anil Seth seeks to answer in his latest work, Being You. In seeking to demystify the mystery of consciousness, he discusses the most robust model that has been put forward for understanding and measuring how conscious an organism is. Integration information theory (IIT) postulates that consciousness is measured by the degree to which information is integrated into a system or action. Seth explains, “This underpins the main claim of the theory, which is that a system is conscious to the extent that its whole generates more information than its parts.” This concept struck me, as it has many direct parallels to well-worn concepts in investing. Of course it makes sense that the more conscious an organization is, the better it is at integrating information into action. But what really struck me here is that using this IIT framework- an organization is only conscious if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To me this infers that if the parts of a business don’t come together to produce something more powerful or valuable than the sum of those individual units, segments or components, the business is not a conscious business. Seth later explained how conscious perceptions are largely built from best guesses and confidence. A key insight of Bayesian inference is that perception is largely a function of updating beliefs about the world based on the precision and reliability of new information. Our minds seek to eliminate prediction errors everywhere and all the time, and we do so by converging our beliefs to the level of conviction we have in the information. In this age of ubiquitous and free information, we differentiate ourselves by the level of conviction we have in the quality and reliability of the insights we have. Conviction is the key. And as Seth later demonstrated, such insights are virtually worthless if not paired with action. This echoes the sentiment that Warren Buffett expressed in talking about getting fat pitches in one’s career, and that one must “swing big,” as they don’t happen very often. This is indeed why we are “swinging big” with Coinvestment II, as this is one of the fattest pitches we’ve ever been thrown. Moving From Defense to Offense “High expectations are the key to everything.” -Sam Walton As my mind was more occupied with offensive capital allocation strategies in the quarter, this pairing of action with insight particularly spoke to me, highly conscious offense playbook strategies are rare. Instead the norm is that most offensive actions are typically made from a defensive motive, and are not based on novel insights. As I wrote in last year’s fourth quarter letter, we endeavor to only get involved in turnaround situations where we either have a board presence, or where a founder or owner operates the business. In our view, these managers have been more resilient in defending their businesses from adversity. Simply put, they cannot just give up and move on. As Covid ripped through the world and economies, far too many managers decided to give up. In the depths of the Covid crisis, at the Presidential inauguration ceremony, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman articulated rather eloquently that, “Your optimism will never be as powerful as it is in that exact moment when you want to give it up.” Founders are inherently optimistic, and they don’t give up. In exploring the differences between defense and offense, I’ve come to realize that it is even more important to have an owner-oriented management culture when moving from defense to offense. Defense is inherently reactive, reacting to “known knowns” or “known unknowns.” Reactions are easier than proaction. Traditional boards are typically very good at liability minimization. But as important as liability reduction is, these actions do not create value. New business and invention is inherently venturing into the unknown, seeing what others don’t, and pursuing the path untravelled. It comes naturally to a founder or owner, whose authorship imbues the business with the optimistic, entrepreneurial impulse that often started it in the first place. As my friend Bill Carey has articulated, most managers compensated via stock options act more like stock brokers as opposed to owners. Similar to brokers, their time horizons have shrunk considerably. They are simply rent-seeking for a short period of time. And as my friend Chris Mayer likes to say, “no one washes a rental.” Our research on the differences in the behaviors of owner operators and these renters, shows these renters are not very good at offense strategies either. They are very good at competitive reactions, cost cutting and margin optimization. These are important, just as any defense strategy is, but they typically fail to create any lasting value. The value that is captured from these tools generally only lasts as long as the brief period in which the manager’s stock options vest. Given 70-90% of mergers and acquisitions fail, and stock repurchases have taken a notably pro-cyclical, buy-high, sell-low, history, these renters have a typically poor track record in value-creating initiatives and capital deployment. This short-term rental behavior often results in mediocre outcomes. As the late great Sergio Marchionne regularly reminded, “mediocrity is not worth the trip.” Marchionne acted like an owner even before he was one. And he created so much value that his net worth neared $1 billion when he shuffled off this mortal coil. While much of that was indeed generated by options that he exercised, such options were struck at twice and three times the level at which he came in to rescue Fiat in 2004. His package inspired the design of CTT’s options package for top and first level managers. Sergio was very good at seeing things others didn’t. He and his venerable team of managers, to whom he dedicated so much of his energy, were very good at transforming ignored products and assets into gold. Of particular note, Jeep grew from just over 2%of the market in the US to just under 6% when he passed- and it became a truly global brand. He invented Ferrari’s Icona series, which made the irregular limited edition profits part of the regular P&L of the brand without diluting the exclusivity of such models. He and parent holding company Exor have continued to provide much of the inspiration behind our activities with both coinvestments. We endeavor to replicate their divide & conquer strategy, which allowed the Fiat Group to become stronger as stand-alone Fiat-Chrysler (now Stellantis), Ferrari, CNH, and soon to be Iveco Group. Just as Sergio advised the few believers throughout his career, investors will be “owning multiple pieces of paper” as the journey unfolds. In hindsight, we can all agree on the value creation prowess of him and his team. But we easily forget that for most of his career, he was faced mostly by skeptics and doubters. He was not afraid to look dumb. In his own words, “A lot of what I do is challenge assumptions . . . which often looks like you are asking stupid questions.” Being entrepreneurial, by definition, means taking the path untraveled, and heading into the unknown with daring boldness. Offense playbooks, by design, must take competition by surprise. Coming from a humble place with brands and companies that were ridiculed by competitors, when Sergio put medium-term plans out to the market, they were not timid. He would always aim higher than anyone, especially his competitors, believed he and his team could reach. And while not every target was always achieved, the formidable results speak for themselves. This past earnings season, as Twitter was the only social media company to deliver on guidance while also confirming the quarter ahead to be at least as good, the stock sold off materially as its monetizable daily active user (MDAU) targets in the medium-term were called into question. While founder Jack Dorsey is clearly unafraid to look foolish to the public, or even in front of congress, he also manages multiple businesses at the same time. Competitors openly make fun of him. But his team is exceptionally loyal to him, and they have set out very ambitious targets for themselves over the next few years. The recent sell-off in Twitter shares was like deja vu all over again, as I reminisced about the Fiat capital markets day in 2014, fittingly on Twitter in this tweet thread. With its product and revenue servers rebuilt, it can now innovate and launch new ad formats faster than ever before. We look forward to the Twitter team pressing its offense strategy as a major peer loses focus on its core business. Into The Unknown “Action is inseparable from perception. Perception and action are so tightly coupled that they determined and define each other. Every action alters perception by changing the incoming sensory data, and every perception is the way it is in order to help guide action. There is simply no point to perception in the absence of action.” Anil Seth, Being You What does it mean to move into offense? One thing very clear to us, is that it has to be a dynamic and reflexive approach. It cannot be built into a three or five year plan and remain fixed over that duration. As Anil Seth’s work on consciousness explains, a highly conscious being is constantly ingesting and integrating information, evolving actions based on reliability, precision and conviction. As capital-markets focused investors, we believe one of the highest values we can provide to our companies is information that can be integrated into their offense and defense playbooks. Thanks to our collaborative approach, we get nearly daily recommendations and thoughts from our investors with new information, new case studies, and new suggestions on how to continue iterating. One of the biggest differentiations between good and great investments, that is often overlooked, is the value added by good capital allocation- be it with a very well-done merger, opportunistic buyback or even more, venture-style investments that are almost in no one’s “model” or perception. Small acquisitions that bring new tools and managers can often upgrade the business model. As Clayton Christensen suggested in The Big Idea: The New M&A Playbook, these are often the most overlooked investments. But during the quarter, when posed with the question of how to best allocate capital over the long term, I found myself tongue tied. For it’s a dynamic and reflexive question to ask. It’s easy to see what to do right now, and where to build in the next few years. But sound capital allocation is a function of the opportunities that present themselves. It is also about creating new possibilities, particular ones that competitors don’t see. At CTT, with defensive, problem-solving actions becoming less of a focus, attention can now turn to offense. What that looks like in the near term, at least to me, should be continued progress and convergence on the strategy to become the Shopify of Iberia. With Portugal e-commerce order frequency at very small fractions of neighboring Spain, we believe it is CTT’s responsibility to make itself the most convenient and most cost effective way of conducting commerce. Through more parcel lockers, better digital tools, while maintaining or improving on best-in-class quality of service, we believe much of the responsibility to make online the most convenient commerce channel in Portugal will fall on CTT’s shoulders. Going further with online shop enabling, more cost effective payments tools, and an integrated fulfillment offer, that continues through to returns and customer service, it has every tool it needs to enable this digital transition. This convergence is happening at the same time EU recovery stimulus dollars will be directed towards digitalizing the economy. Case studies like Kaspi, which started as a bank, evolved into a payments company, then launched an e-commerce marketplace and then further expanded into logistics, provide more inspiration than any company in the logistics industry. This reminds me of Google’s earliest days, when its managers encouraged their teams to ignore the traditional competitors and instead go where other competitors hadn’t dared to venture- into the unknown. We believe CTT has greater competitive advantages than some “new economy” companies playing throughout the same e-commerce value chain, often trading at significantly higher valuation multiples. Whether we’re talking about fulfillment services, parcel lockers, or alternative purchase financing, it’s the customer relationship that differentiates and builds competitive advantages. That is why one of the first priorities of the new management was to improve customer satisfaction. And while some analysts that cover the company still use traditional methods to frame the opportunity, the shareholder base has largely transitioned away from income-oriented investors. More like-minded shareholders, aligned with management, can enable the team to build something truly great. Building Great Companies “The urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” DaVinci What started for us as an approach to separate the bank from the industrial company, and achieve a sum of parts valuation, has been upgraded to that of building a great compound machine. As Exor articulated in 2019, its purpose to “build great companies,” is an aspirational philosophy for us. While we certainly aren’t doing the building here, perhaps through setting the right strategic priorities, incentives, and providing timely and right information, we can assist in the build underway. Exor has provided an exemplary model of how to enable its teams to build greater value by dividing, conquering, and then often later combining with more synergistic peers. Just like Anil Seth described, the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts in a highly conscious organization. When a company’s sum of the parts is greater than the total, the organization is not conscious, and therefor not capable of adding material value. Just as Exor has executed masterfully in its portfolio companies over the past decade, the path forward is one of both dividing and one of conquering. Extending the business and commerce services that CTT provides is a natural offense-oriented positioning that further reinforces the strength of the whole. But there are other parts of this organization that aren’t adding as much to the sum total- those can, and should be separated to pursue their own offense playbooks in a more focused and agile manner. Such an approach goes well beyond ESG, and it goes well beyond most other broker-oriented management teams. It is a highly conscious capitalist approach, aligned with long term value creation and sustainability. And that process should result in considerable returns as an effect, not as a goal. As owner operators’ short, medium, and long term benchmark outperformance demonstrates, this strong alignment between management and ownership is a championship-winning combination. Exhibit 2: Owner Operators’ Stock Index Outperformance Source: GreenWood Investors In the months ahead, we anticipate thoroughly engaging with the management and board of the target at the Builders Fund II. This company is mirroring CTT’s current posture, in that it is in the process of finishing nearly a decade of defense-oriented actions. After years of strategic actions focused on fixing problematic areas, contracts or business dynamics, most of these reactive or defensive actions are increasingly passing into the rearview mirror. It is entering a new phase of life in a position to also divide and conquer, and it has exceptional assets. With both coinvestments representing a substantial portion of our net exposure, we move forward with conviction. While this quarter was a lesson that we, nor our companies, can lose sight of a strong defense strategy, we are increasingly looking forward to our portfolio pressing offense strategies moving forward. Committed to deliver, Steven Wood, CFA GreenWood Investors Updated on Nov 24, 2021, 4:37 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 24th, 2021

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes US equity futures continued their selloff for the second day as Treasury yields spiked to 1.66%, up almost 4bps on the day, and as the selloff in tech shares spread as traders trimmed bets for a dovish-for-longer Federal Reserve after the renomination of Jerome Powell as its chair. At 8:00am ET, S&P futures were down 2.75 points or -0.05%, with Dow futures flat and Nasdaq futures extended their selloff but were off worst levels, down 41.25 points or 0.25%, after Monday’s last-hour furious rout in technology stocks. As repeatedly covered here in recent weeks, the Turkish currency crisis deepened with the lira weakening past 13 per USD, a drop of more than 10% in one day.  Oil rebounded - as expected - after a panicking Joe Biden, terrified about what soaring gas prices mean for Dems midterm changes, announced that the US, together with several other countries such as China, India and Japan, would tap up to 50 million barrels in strategic reserves, a move which was fully priced in and will now serve to bottom tick the price of oil. In premarket trading, Zoom lost 9% in premarket trading on slowing growth. For some unknown reason, investors have been reducing expectations for a deeper dovish stance by the Fed after Powell was selected for a second term (as if Powell - the man who started purchases of corporate bonds - is somehow hawkish). The chair himself sought to strike a balance in his policy approach saying the central bank would use tools at its disposal to support the economy as well as to prevent inflation from becoming entrenched. “While investors no longer have to wonder about who will be leading the Federal Reserve for the next few years, the next big dilemma the central bank faces is how to normalize monetary policy without upsetting markets,” wrote Robert Schein, chief investment officer at Blanke Schein Wealth Management. Following Powell’s renomination, “the market has unwound hedges against a more ‘dovish’ personnel shift,” Chris Weston, head of research with Pepperstone Financial Pty Ltd., wrote in a note. Not helping was Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic who said Monday that the Fed may need to speed up the removal of monetary stimulus and allow for an earlier-than-planned increase in interest rates European stocks dropped with market focusing on potential Covid lockdowns and policy tightening over solid PMI data. Euro Stoxx 50 shed as much as 1.7% with tech, financial services and industrial names the hardest hit. Better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. As Goldman notes, the Euro area composite flash PMI increased by 1.6pt to 55.8 in November — strongly ahead of consensus expectations — in a first gain since the post-July moderation. The area-wide gain was broad-based across countries, and sectors. Supply-side issues continued to be widely reported, with input and output price pressures climbing to all-time highs. In the UK, the November flash composite PMI came in broadly as expected, and while input costs rose to a new all-time high, pass-through into output prices appears lower than usual. Forward-looking expectations remain comfortably above historical averages across Europe, although today's data are unlikely to fully reflect the covid containment measures taken in a number of European countries over recent days. Key numbers (the responses were collected between 10 and 19 November (except in the UK, where the survey response window spanned 12-19 November). Euro Area Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 55.8, GS 53.6, consensus 53.0, last 54.2. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (Nov, Flash): 58.6, GS 57.7, consensus 57.4, last 58.3. Euro Area Services PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.6, GS 53.9, consensus 53.5, last 54.6. Germany Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 52.8, GS 52.1, consensus 51.0, last 52.0. France Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.3, GS 54.4, consensus 53.9, last 54.7. UK Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 57.7, GS 57.7, consensus 57.5, last 57.8. And visually: Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell toward a three-week low as Jerome Powell’s renomination to head the Federal Reserve boosted U.S. yields, putting downward pressure on the region’s technology shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.5%, as the reappointment sent Treasury yields higher and buoyed the dollar amid concerns monetary stimulus will be withdrawn faster. Consumer discretionary and communication shares were the biggest drags on Asia’s benchmark, with Tencent and Alibaba slipping on worries over tighter regulations in China. “Powell’s renomination was generally expected by the market,” said Chetan Seth, an Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura. The market’s reaction may be short-lived as traders turn their attention to the Fed’s meeting in December and Covid’s resurgence in Europe, he added. Asia shares have struggled to break higher as the jump in yields weighed on sentiment already damped by a lackluster earnings season and the risk of accelerating inflation. The region’s stock benchmark is down about 1% this year compared with a 16% advance in the MSCI AC World Index. Hong Kong and Taiwan were among the biggest decliners, while Australian and Indian shares bucked the downtrend, helped by miners and energy stocks. India’s benchmark stock index rose, snapping four sessions of declines, boosted by gains in Reliance Industries Ltd.   The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.3% to close at 58,664.33 in Mumbai, recovering after falling as much as 1.3% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 0.5%. Of the 30 shares on the Sensex, 21 rose and 9 fell. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of metal stocks.  Reliance Industries Ltd. gained 0.9%, after dropping the most in nearly 10 months on Monday following its decision to scrap a plan to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals unit to Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Shares of One 97 Communications Ltd., the parent company for digital payments firm Paytm, climbed 9.9% after two days of relentless selling since its trading debut. In rates, Treasuries dropped, with the two-year rate jumping five basis points, helping to flatten the yield curve. Bunds and Treasuries bear steepened with German 10y yields ~5bps cheaper. Gilts bear flatten, cheapening 1.5bps across the short end. 10Y TSY yields rose as high as 1.67% before reversing some of the move. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier advancing to the highest level since September 2020 as markets moved to price in a full quarter-point rate hike by the June Fed meeting, with a good chance of two more by year-end; Treasury yields inched up across the curve apart from the front end. The Japanese yen briefly fell past 115 per dollar for the first time since 2017. The euro advanced after better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. Sterling declined versus the dollar and the euro; traders are taking an increasingly negative view on the pound, betting that the decline that’s already left the currency near its lowest this year has further to run New Zealand’s dollar under-performed all G-10 peers as leveraged longs backing a 50 basis-point hike from the central bank were flushed out of the market; sales were mainly seen against the greenback and Aussie. The yuan approached its strongest level against trade partners’ currencies in a sign that traders see a low likelihood of aggressive official intervention. The Turkish lira (see above) crashed to a record low on Tuesday, soaring more than 10% and just shy of 14 vs the USD, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended his pursuit of lower interest rates to boost economic growth and job creation. In commodities, crude futures rebounded sharply after Biden announced a coordinated, global SPR release which would see the US exchange up to 32mm barrels, or a negligible amount. Brent spiked back over $80 on the news after trading in the mid-$78s. Spot gold drops ~$8, pushing back below $1,800/oz. Base metals are well supported with LME nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, the main data highlight will be the flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,667.75 Brent Futures down 0.9% to $78.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,796.86 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.39     Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The volatility term structures in the major currencies show that next month’s meetings by monetary policy authorities are what matters most. Data galore out of the U.S. by Wednesday’s New York cut off means demand for one-day structures remains intact, yet it’s not enough to bring about term structure inversion as one-week implieds stay below recent cycle highs Lael Brainard, picked to be vice chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to be a critical defender of its commitment to maximum employment across demographic groups at a time when other U.S. central bankers are more worried by inflation ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel said there’s an increasing threat of inflation taking hold, as she played down the danger that resurgent coronavirus infections might impede the euro zone’s recovery Regarding latest pandemic restrictions, “when it comes to the impact, I would say that while it will surely have a moderating impact on economic activity, the impact on inflation will actually be more ambiguous because it might also reinforce some of the concerns we have around supply bottlenecks,” ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot says in Bloomberg Television interview with Francine Lacqua European Union countries are pushing for an agreement on how long Covid-19 vaccinations protect people and how to manage booster shots as they try to counter the pandemic’s fourth wave and safeguard free travel Germany’s top health official reiterated a warning that the government can’t exclude any measures, including another lockdown, as it tries to check the latest wave of Covid-19 infections The State Council, China’s cabinet, released three documents in the past several days, outlining measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises weather the downturn: from encouraging local governments to roll out discounts for power usage to organizing internet companies to provide cloud and digital services to SMEs A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following a similar performance in the US where participants digested President Biden’s decision to nominate Fed Chair Powell for a second term and Fed’s Brainard for the Vice Chair role. This resulted in bear flattening for the US curve and underpinned the greenback, while the major indices were choppy but with late selling heading into the close in which the S&P 500 slipped beneath the 4,700 level and the Nasdaq underperformed as tech suffered the brunt of the higher yields. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was positive with sentiment encouraged after stronger PMI data and M&A developments including BHP’s signing of a binding agreement to merge its oil and gas portfolio with Woodside Petroleum to create a global top 10 independent energy company and the largest listed energy company in Australia, which spurred outperformance for the mining and energy related sectors. KOSPI (-0.5%) was lacklustre and retreated below the 3k level amid broad weakness in tech which was not helped by concerns that South Korea could take another aim at large tech through a platform bill and with the government said to be mulling strengthening social distancing measures. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) continued to diverge amid a neutral liquidity effort by the PBoC and with the Hong Kong benchmark conforming to the tech woes, while the mainland was kept afloat after the State Council pledged to strengthen assistance to smaller firms and with Global Times noting that China will likely adopt another RRR cut before year-end to cope with an economic slowdown. Finally, Japanese participants were absent from the market as they observed Labor Thanksgiving Day, while yields in Australia were higher as they tracked global counterparts and following a Treasury Indexed bond offering in the long-end. Top Asian News Tiger Global Leads $210 Million Round by India Proptech Unicorn China’s Slowdown Tests Central Bank Amid Debate Over Easing Kuaishou Defies China Crackdown as Revenue Climbs 33% Evergrande Shares Jump in Afternoon Trading as Group Units Rally Major bourses in Europe are lower across the board, but off worst levels (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.1%; Stoxx 600 -1.3%) following on from the mixed APAC performance, but with pandemic restrictions casting a shower over the region. US equity futures are mostly lower but to a lesser extent than European peers, with the YM (+0.1%) the relative outperformer vs the ES (-0.1%), NQ (-0.3%) and RTY (-0.8%). Back to Europe, the morning saw the release of Flash PMIs which failed to spur much action across market given the somewhat stale nature against the backdrop of a worsening COVID situation in Europe. Losses in the UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.1%) are more cushioned vs European counterparts, with heavyweight miners doing the heavy lifting, and as the basic resources sector outpaces and resides as the only sector in the green at the time of writing amid a surge in iron ore prices overnight. Sticking with sectors, there is no clear or overarching theme/bias. Tech resides at the foot of the pile, unaided by the intraday rise in yields. Travel and Leisure also reside towards the bottom of the bunch, but more a function of the “leisure” sub-sector as opposed to the “travel” component, with Evolution Gaming (-3.7%) and Flutter (-3.5%) on the back foot. In terms of individual movers, Thyssenkrupp (-7.0%) tumbles after the Co. announced a secondary offer by Cevian of 43mln shares. Meanwhile, Telecom Italia (-3%) is softer following yesterday’s run, whilst Vivendi (-0.5%) said the current KKR (KKR) offer does not reflect Telecom Italia's value and it has no intention of offloading its 24% stake. Top European News U.K. PMIs Show Record Inflation and ‘Green Light’ for BOE Hike Kremlin Says New U.S. Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 Are ‘Illegal’ ECB’s Knot Says New Lockdowns Won’t Delay Wind-Down of Stimulus Telefonica Drops, Berenberg Cuts on Spain Margin Problems In FX, the Buck had already eased off best levels to relieve some pressure from its rivals, but the Euro also derived encouragement from the fact that a key long term Fib held (just) at 1.1225 before getting a rather unexpected fundamental fillip in the form of stronger than forecast flash Eurozone PMIs plus hawkish-sounding comments from ECB’s Schnabel. Eur/Usd duly rebounded to 1.1275 and the Dollar index retreated to 96.308 from a fresh y-t-d peak of 96.603, while the Yen and Franc also took advantage to varying degrees against the backdrop of deteriorating risk sentiment and in thinner trading volumes for the former due to Japan’s Labor Day Thanksgiving holiday. Usd/Jpy recoiled from 115.15 to 114.49 at one stage and Usd/Chf to 0.9301 from 0.9335 before both pairs bounced with the Greenback and a rebound in US Treasury yields ahead of Markit’s preliminary PMIs and Usd 59 bn 7 year note supply. TRY - Simply no respite for the Lira via another marked pull-back in oil prices on heightened prospects of SPR taps, the aforementioned Buck breather or even a decent correction as Usd/Try extended its meteoric rise beyond 11.5000 and 12.0000 towards 12.5000 irrespective of an ally of Turkish President Erdogan urging a debate on CBRT independence. Instead, the run and capital flight continues as talks with the IMF make no progress and an EU court condemns the country for detaining 400+ judges after the coup, while the President rules out a snap election after recent calls for an earlier vote than the scheduled one in 2023 by the main opposition party. NZD/CAD/GBP/AUD - It remains to be seen whether the RBNZ maintains a 25 bp pace of OCR normalisation overnight, but weak NZ retail activity in Q3 may be a telling factor and is applying more downside pressure on the Kiwi across the board, as Nzd/Usd hovers under 0.6950 and the Aud/Nzd cross tests 1.0425 on relative Aussie strength or resilience gleaned from another spike in iron ore that is helping to keep Aud/Usd above 0.7200. Conversely, the latest downturn in crude is undermining the Loonie and the Pound hardly derived any traction from better than anticipated UK PMIs even though they should provide the BoE more justification to hike rates next month. Usd/Cad has now breached 1.2700 and only stopped a few pips short of 1.2750 before fading ahead of comments from BoC’s Beaudry, while Cable topped out just over 1.3400 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey, whilst Haskel reaffirmed his stance in the transitory inflation camp, although suggested that if the labour market remains tight the Bank Rate will have to rise. SCANDI/EM - Hardly a shock that Brent’s reversal has hit the Nok alongside broader risk-aversion that is also keeping the Sek defensive in advance of the Riksbank, but the Zar is coping well considering Gold’s loss of Usd 1800+/oz status and test of chart support at the 100 DMA only a couple of Bucks off the 200. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny are still resisting general Usd strength and other negatives, with help from China’s State Council pledging to strengthen assistance to smaller firms perhaps. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan'22 futures remain under pressure with the former back under USD 76/bbl (vs USD 76.59/bbl high) and the latter around USD 79/bbl (vs USD 79.63/bbl high). The WTI contract is also narrowly lagging Brent by some USD 0.30/bbl at the time of writing. Participants are keeping their eyes peeled for reserve releases from the US, potentially in coordination with other nations including China, Japan, and India – with inflation concerns being the common denominator. The move also comes in reaction to OPEC+ flouting calls by large oil consumers, particularly the US, to further open the taps beyond the group’s planned 400k BPD/m hikes. A source cited by Politico caveated that a final decision is yet to be made, and US officials are hoping that the threat of an SPR release would persuade OPEC+ to double their quotas at the Dec 2nd meeting. As it stands, Energy Intel journalist Bakr noted that she has not heard anything from OPEC+ officials about changing production plans, but delegates yesterday suggested that plans may be tweaked. Click here for the full Newsquawk analysis piece. Aside from this, US President Biden is also poised to give a speech on the economy, whilst the weekly Private Inventories will also be released today. Elsewhere, spot gold and have been drifting lower in what is seemingly a function of technical, with the yellow metal dipping under USD 1,800/oz from a USD 1,812/oz current high, with a cluster of DMAs present to the downside including the 100 DMA (around USD 1,793/oz), 200 DMA (around USD 1,791/oz) and 50 DMA (around USD 1,789/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper holds a positive bias with prices on either side of USD 9,750/t, whilst Dalian iron ore surged overnight - with reports suggesting that steel de-stockpiling accelerated last week, and analysts suggesting that the market is betting on steelmakers in December. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 57.6 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 59.0, prior 58.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 58.4 10am: Nov. Richmond Fed Index, est. 11, prior 12 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detail IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. Today is the start of a new adventure as I’m doing my first overseas business trip in 20 months. It took me a stressful 2 hours last night to find and fill in various forms, download various apps and figure out how on earth I travel in this new world. Hopefully I’ve got it all correct or I’ll be turned back at the Eurostar gates! The interesting thing about not travelling is that I’ve filled the time doing other work stuff so productivity will suffer. So if I can do a CoTD today it’ll be done on an iPhone whilst racing through the French countryside. Actually finishing this off very early in a long taxi ride on the way to the train reminds me of how car sick I get working on my iPhone! The delights of travel are all coming flooding back. After much anticipation over recent weeks, we finally heard yesterday that President Biden would be nominating Fed Chair Powell for another four-year term at the helm of the central bank. In some ways the decision had been widely expected, and Powell was the favourite in prediction markets all along over recent months. But the Fed’s staff trading issues and reports that Governor Brainard was also being considered had led many to downgrade Powell’s chances, so there was an element of uncertainty going into the decision, even if any policy differences between the two were fairly marginal. In the end however, Biden opted for continuity at the top, with Brainard tapped to become Vice Chair instead. Powell’s nomination will require senate confirmation once again, but this isn’t expected to be an issue, not least with Powell having been confirmed in an 84-13 vote last time around. Further, Senate Banking Committee Chair Brown, viewed as a progressive himself, noted last week there should be no issue confirming Powell despite rumblings from progressive lawmakers. More important to watch out for will be who Biden selects for the remaining positions on the Fed Board of Governors, where there are still 3 vacant seats left to fill, including the position of Vice Chair for Supervision. In a statement released by the White House, it said that Biden intended to make those “beginning in early December”, so even with Powell staying on, there’s actually a reasonable amount of scope for Biden to re-shape the Fed’s leadership. A potential hint about who may be considered, President Biden noted his next appointments will “bring new diversity to the Fed.” President Biden, flanked by Powell and Brainard, held a press conference following the announcement. He noted maintaining the Fed’s independence and leadership stability informed his decision, and that Chair Powell assured the President he would focus on fighting inflation. He was apparently also assured that the Chair would work to combat climate change, perhaps an olive branch to those in his party that wanted a more progressive nominee. Powell and Brainard both followed up with remarks of their own, but didn’t stray from the recent Fed party line. In response to the decision, investors moved to bring forward their timing of the initial rate hike from the Fed, with one now just about priced by the time of their June 2022 meeting, whilst the dollar index (+0.54%) strengthened to a fresh one-year high. This reflects the perception among many investors that Brainard was someone who’d have taken the Fed on a more dovish trajectory. Inflation breakevens fell across the curve as well in response. Indeed the 4-year breakeven, which roughly coincides with the term of the next Fed chair, was down -3.8bps after yesterday’s session, with the bulk of that dive coming immediately after the confirmation of Powell’s nomination. Nevertheless, that decline in breakevens was more than outweighed by a shift higher in real rates that sent nominal yields noticeably higher. By the close, yields on 2yr (+7.8bps) and 5yr (+9.5bps) Treasuries were at their highest levels since the pandemic began, and those on 10yr Treasuries were also up +7.7bps, ending the session at 1.62%. 2yr yields were a full 14.1bps higher than the intra-day lows on Friday after the Austria lockdown news. We had similar bond moves in Europe too, with yields on 10yr bunds (+4.0bps) moving higher throughout the session thanks to a shift in real rates. Another noticeable feature in the US was the latest round of curve flattening, with the 5s30s (-4.4bps) reaching its flattest level (+64.1bps) since the initial market panic over Covid-19 back in March 2020. The S&P 500 took a sharp turn heading into the New York close after trading in positive territory for most of the day, ultimately closing down -0.32%. Sector performance was mixed, energy (+1.81%) and financials (+1.43%) were notable outperformers on climbing oil prices and yields, while big tech companies across different sectors were hit by higher discount rates. The NASDAQ (-1.26%) ended the day lower, having pared back its initial gains that earlier put it on track to reach a record of its own. The other main piece of news yesterday came on the energy front, where it’s been reported that we could have an announcement as soon as today about a release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, potentially as part of a joint announcement with other nations. Oil prices were fairly resilient to the news, with Brent crude (+1.03%) and WTI (+0.85%) still moving higher, although both are down from their recent peaks as speculation of such a move has mounted. This could help put some downward pressure on inflation, but as recent releases have shown, price gains have been broadening out over the last couple of months to a wider swathe of categories, so it remains to be seen how helpful this will prove, and will obviously depend on how much is released along with how the OPEC+ group react. For their part, OPEC+ members noted that the moves from the US and its allies would force them to reconsider their production plans at their meeting next week. Looking ahead now, one of the main highlights today will come from the release of the flash PMIs for November, which will give us an initial indication of how the global economy has fared into the month. As mentioned yesterday, the Euro Area PMIs have been decelerating since the summer, so keep an eye out for how they’re being affected by the latest Covid wave. It’ll also be worth noting what’s happening to price pressures, particularly with inflation running at more than double the ECB’s target right now. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mixed with Shanghai Composite (+0.43%), CSI (+0.20%), KOSPI (-0.44%) and Hang Seng (-1.01%) diverging, while the Nikkei is closed for Labor Thanksgiving. The flash manufacturing PMI release from Australia (58.5 vs 58.2 previous) came in close to last month while both the composite (55 vs 52.1 previous) and services (55 vs 51.8 previous) accelerated. In Japan the Yen slid past an important level of 115 against the Dollar for the first time in four years after Powell was confirmed. This marks an overall slide of 10% this year making it the worst performer amongst advanced economy currencies. S&P 500 (-0.01%) and DAX futures (-0.31%) are flat to down with Europe seemingly catching up with the weak U.S. close. Before this, in Europe yesterday, equities continued to be subdued, with the STOXX 600 down -0.13% after trading in a tight range, as the continent reacted to another surge in Covid-19 cases. The move by Austria back into lockdown has raised questions as to where might be next, and Bloomberg reported that Chancellor Merkel told CDU officials yesterday that the recent surge was worse than anything seen so far, and that additional restrictions would be required. So the direction of travel all appears to be one way for the time being in terms of European restrictions, and even a number of less-affected countries are still seeing cases move in an upward direction, including France, Italy and the UK. So a key one to watch that’ll have big implications for economies and markets too. Staying on Germany, there was some interesting news on a potential coalition yesterday, with Bloomberg obtaining a preliminary list of cabinet positions that said that FDP leader Christian Lindner would become finance minister, and Green co-leader Robert Habeck would become a “super minister” with responsibility for the economy, climate protection and the energy transition. The report also said that both would become Vice Chancellors, whilst the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock would become foreign minister. It’s worth noting that’s still a preliminary list, and the coalition agreement is yet to be finalised, but it has been widely suggested that the parties are looking to reach a conclusion to the talks this week, so we could hear some more info on this relatively soon. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though the European Commission’s advance November consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area fell back by more than expected to -6.8 (vs. -5.5 expected), which is the lowest it’s been since April. Over in the US, there was October data that was somewhat more positive however, with existing home sales rising to an annualised rate of 6.34m (vs. 6.20m expected), their highest level in 9 months. Furthermore, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index was up to 0.76 (vs. 0.10 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. d Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 08:31.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

Buying a House Feels Impossible These Days. Here Are 6 Innovative Paths to Homeownership

A dozen Grade-A eggs will run you about $0.40 more than they did a year ago, and you’ll have to fork over $0.66 more for a pound of ground beef. At the gas pump, a gallon of unleaded is now $1.23 higher than it was in 2020. But few year-over-year price increases compare to what’s… A dozen Grade-A eggs will run you about $0.40 more than they did a year ago, and you’ll have to fork over $0.66 more for a pound of ground beef. At the gas pump, a gallon of unleaded is now $1.23 higher than it was in 2020. But few year-over-year price increases compare to what’s happened to the American housing market. The sale price of a median home in the U.S. has ballooned by more than $67,000 in the past year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis — surging from just under $338,000 to nearly $405,000. There’s lots of reasons for this. In the past year, a combination of low interest rates and COVID-19, which forced tens of millions of people to work from home, fueled demand for houses. Longtime renters began looking to buy a place with more space, while those who were already homeowners began looking for secondary vacation residences. (Mortgage applications for second homes spiked 84% between January of 2020 and 2021.) [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] That jump in demand was compounded by a nationwide slump in housing supply—the result of both nationwide labor shortages and disruptions in the supply chain of crucial building materials, like copper and lumber. These recent issues have been exacerbated by lags in new housing construction over the past twenty years, according to a June report from the National Association of Realtors. The end result is that millions of American families across the income spectrum are now effectively locked out of homeownership. The problem is particularly acute for young people and people of color. The homeownership rate among millennials, ages 25-34, is 8 percentage points lower than it was for both baby boomers and Gen Xers in the same age cohort. Black homeownership, meanwhile, remains at just 45%—30% lower than that of white families and nearly unchanged since 1968, when overt housing discrimination was outlawed. It’s more than just a housing dilemma. Since home ownership remains the best way for an average family to accrue wealth over a lifetime, it’s a prosperity issue, too. Homeowners in the U.S. have, on average, forty times more wealth than renters, according to a September 2020 report from the Federal Reserve. In light of this crisis in home ownership, here are six ways that communities and companies around the country are legislating and innovating to help Americans buy a house. 1. A narrow case study in reparations for Black families Like most cities in the U.S., Evanston, Illinois has a long history of racist housing laws. For decades, Black residents were segregated into poor neighborhoods where occupancy rates were estimated to be 150% and some units lacked crucial amenities, like heating. While hundreds of vacant homes were available in more desirable parts of town, landlords and real estate agents explicitly barred Black families from renting them, and banks blocked Black families from financing. “Owners and agents of vacant property plan to prevent the negroes from spreading from their own quarters,” a 1918 Evanston News-Index article read. Housing segregation fueled wealth inequality: Black families in Evanston earn $46,000 less than their white counterparts on average. Former Evanston Alderman Robin Rue Simmons sought to address that sordid history. While in office in 2019, she created the first-ever taxpayer-backed reparations fund in a U.S. city. It sets aside $10 million in revenue, raised by the city’s tax on recreational marijuana, over a 10-year period. The first $400,000 out of that reserve will go to victims of racial housing discrimination and their descendants, divided up into $25,000 grants which can be used this year for down-payments on new homes, mortgage payments or renovations on existing homes. That initial $400,000 will hardly solve the problem. There are more than 12,000 Black residents in Evanston and the initial outlay will provide just 16 households with funding. But, Simmons argues, “it’s better than zero”—and the program also sets a key precedent. In the years since Evanston stood up its reparations fund, several other locales, including Detroit, Michigan and Amherst, Massachusetts, have voted to explore or start similar programs. “If you think of any significant, transformative national or federal legislation, it started with localities and grassroots efforts organizing and pushing their local leaders,” Simmons says. “This is no exception.” 2. Community Land Trusts: Buying the home but not the land The most unique part of the two-story home in Winooski, Vermont that Sarah and husband Colin Robinson bought for $172,000 in 2008 wasn’t its quaint terrace garden or the funky bunk-room upstairs. It was the fact that the Robinsons didn’t own the land that it was built on. That’s because the house is part of what’s known as a community land trust (CLT)—a non-profit, community-controlled collection of properties. The first CLT in the U.S. was created in Albany Georgia in 1969. Now there are more than 220 nationwide, offering more than 12,000 homes total. While the particular rules of each CLT are a little different, the idea is the same: aspiring homeowners share the cost of purchasing a house with the CLT, which owns the land the home is built on. When the homeowner sells, he or she returns a share of the appreciation with the CLT. Champlain Housing Trust—the CLT that helped the Robinsons become homeowners—is the largest in the country, with 636 properties in the Burlington area. Under its rules, the purchase price of an average home is offset by about 30%, and upon selling, the homeowner keeps a quarter of the home’s appreciation price, plus the cost of any major renovations invested into the property. The average Champlain Housing Trust member keeps their home for 7.5 years and walks away $25,000 richer—money that they can then put toward purchasing more expensive homes on the regular market. A 2010 Urban Institute analysis of Champlain Housing Trust, founded in 1984, found that 68% of those who left CLT went on to purchase market-rate homes. The Robinsons are a model of how it’s supposed to work. When they sold their first, CLT home in 2014, they walked away with $40,000 in equity, which they rolled into the purchase of their second home on the regular market. “We were able to bring that money with us, and that was really what made it possible,” says Sarah. “It really changed the trajectory of our lives.” 3. Zoning overhaul: Ending de-facto redlining Nowhere in the country is the racial housing gap wider than in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where more than 70% of white families own, compared to just 20% of Black families, according to a 2021 Urban Institute report. One big reason for this disparity is an insufficient supply of affordable homes: the state is 40,000 housing units short of demand, according to a Minnesota Housing Finance Agency estimate. Restrictive zoning rules built on decades of discriminatory policies worsen this shortage. After the federal government outlawed explicit racial housing discrimination in the 1960s, local lawmakers scrambled to bolster different regulations—namely single-family zoning ordinances that would maintain the homogeneousness of their neighborhoods. Under those rules, construction companies were banned from building anything other than standalone homes—including more affordable row homes, condominiums, duplexes, triplexes—in most upscale neighborhoods, which had the effect of pricing Black and brown families out of the market. Lisa Bender, president of Minneapolis’ City Council, argues that changing those rules is “the very bare minimum first thing” that policymakers can do “to fix centuries of racial exclusion.” In 2018, she spearheaded a City Council effort to rescind regulations reserving 70% of the city’s residential land for single-family zoning—a move that could effectively triple the housing supply in some Minneapolis neighborhoods by prompting construction of new, more cost-efficient multi-family units. The rule change went into effect in 2020. Portland, Oregon and the entire state of California have since enacted policies that effectively end single-family zoning too. Most Popular from TIME 4. 3D printing: Construction meets environmentalism and efficiency Jason Ballard, who grew up in an oil-soaked East Texas town, was always interested in environmental sustainability. But it wasn’t until college that he realized the best way he could explore environmentalism was not by becoming a biologist, but by becoming a builder. “Buildings are the number one user of energy. Construction is the number one producer of waste,” he says, adding that construction is also one of the top users of water behind agriculture. In 2017, he cofounded ICON, a construction technologies company that builds affordable, structurally sound, environmentally resilient single-family homes using a 3D printing method that creates far less waste than traditional building processes. While the startup is just getting off the ground—its first four homes sold this year—its cost of construction appears to be 10-30% less than traditional builders, thanks largely to reductions in labor and supply needs. In October, ICON announced a project to use its technology to break ground on 100 homes in the Austin area in 2022, creating the largest community of 3D-printed homes to date. Ballard predicts costs will continue to decrease as ICON automates more components of the construction process. The method also has the potential to be unbelievably speedy. While constructing an average American home the normal way takes 7.7 months, according to a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau survey, a Boston-based 3D printing construction company, Apis Cor, says it can make a move-in ready three-bedroom, two-bath in less than a month. Illustration by Wenjia Tang for TIME 5. Modular housing: building houses like Henry Ford built cars There’s no way that Sara and Jon Comiskey, both in their mid-20s, would have been able to afford a house in the Buena Vista area of Colorado, where median home prices hover around $515,000, if it wasn’t for a start-up called Fading West. In 2016, Fading West began building homes that were constructed off-site, in a factory, streamlining the production in the same way that manufacturers build cars. Workers complete most components of a house—house siding, flooring, and walls—at scale, then attach them to a foundation on site. Final features, like garages and porches, are added once the home is at its final resting place, says Fading West founder Charlie Chupp. “You wouldn’t build a Camry in someone’s driveway,” he says. Why do it for a house? Chupp says his company’s lean production model reduces waste by eliminating weather-related damage to materials like is typical during outdoor construction, requires fewer skilled laborers, and significantly reduces the time required to make a home. “With 100 people on a traditional system, you might be able to build between 100 and 150 homes a year,” he says. “We think we can do between 600 and 700 homes a year.” There are downsides. The need to transport the house components from factory to foundation curtails how large the end-product can be, and the standardization of the process means homeowners must accept limited design options. Customers get two cabinet choices, three tile options, three window sizes, and one color carpet. “We offer a standard quartz countertop in any color you want,” Chupp jokes, “as long as it’s white.” But Chupp also offers something that many other real estate developers don’t: affordability. He estimates his off-site produced houses are at least 25% cheaper than comparable models in the area. In April 2021, the Comiskeys bought a 900-square-foot Fading West townhouse in Buena Vista for $240,000. 6. Divvy: A fresh take on rent-to-own Adena Hefets grew up listening to her parents’ stories of how difficult it was for them to purchase a home in the early 1980s. As an immigrant from Israel, her dad didn’t have an established credit score and so couldn’t get a mortgage. Eventually, her family was able to buy a seller-financed home—a rare home-buying mechanism where a seller allows a buyer to pay for a home in increments, rather than making mortgage payments to a bank. In 2017, Hefets started Divvy, a tech company, that offers prospective homebuyers a very similar model. Divvy purchases homes on the open-market and covers closing costs, taxes, insurance and repairs in exchange for the client paying monthly rent that is approximately 10-25% more than what they would pay for comparable rentals in the area. The differential goes toward equity in the home. The client can then buy back the home with the equity they accrued through paying the rent, or cash out the equity at the end of their lease. It’s not a universal solution. Divvy requires that buyers have moderate credit scores and clients must be able to pay above market-rate rents. But in the last five years, the company has entered partnerships with thousands of families, roughly 47% of whom end up purchasing their home back from Divvy. LaCresa Hooks, who works as an accountant, couldn’t find a traditional mortgage because she was working as a short-term contractor. In October 2020, she signed a lease with Divvy and less than a year later, she’d bought back her 3-bedroom, 2-bath Georgia home with bank financing thanks to the equity she accrued. Now, she looks forward to something most people loathe: Paying her mortgage. “I’m building something now,” she says. “With rent, you aren’t building anything. You’re just paying your landlord and that’s it for the next 30 days.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 22nd, 2021

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns US equity futures and European markets started the Thanksgiving week on an upbeat note as investors set aside fear of surging inflation and focused on a pickup in M&A activity while China signaled possible easing measures. The euphoria which lifted S&P futures up some 0.5% overnight and just shy of all time highs ended abruptly and futures reversed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid situation in the country is worse than anything so far and tighter curbs are needed. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 95 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.25 points, or 0.26% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.75 points, or 0.357%. U.S. stocks trade near record levels, outpacing the rest of the world, as investors see few alternatives amid rising inflation and a persistent pandemic that undermines global recovery. Concerns about high valuations and the potential for the economy to run too hot on the back of loose monetary and fiscal policies have interrupted, but not stopped the rally. In other words, as Bloomberg puts it "bears are winning the argument, bulls are winning in the market" while Nasdaq futures hit another record high as demand for technology stocks remained strong. “Based on historical data, the Thanksgiving week is a strong week for U.S. equities,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “Black Friday sales will be closely watched. The good news is, people still have money to spend, even though they get less goods and services in exchange of what’s spent.” In premarket moves, heavyweights, including most FAANG majors, rose in premarket trade. Vonage Holdings Corp. jumped 26% in premarket trading after Ericsson agreed to buy it. Telecom Italia SpA jumped as much as 30% in Europe after KKR offered to buy it for $12 billion. Energy stocks recovered slightly from last week's losses, although anticipation of several economic readings this week kept gains in check. Bank stocks rose in premarket trading as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed for the first time in three sessions to about 1.58%. S&P 500 futures gain as much as 0.5% on Monday morning. Tesla gained 2.8% after Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that Model S Plaid will "probably" be coming to China around March. Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) slipped 1.1% after a media report that the video game publisher's top boss, Bobby Kotick, would consider leaving if he cannot quickly fix culture problems. Travel and energy stocks, which were among the worst performers last week, also marked small gains before the open. Here is a list of the other notable premarket movers: Astra Space (ASTR US) shares surge 33% in premarket trading after the company said its rocket reached orbit. Aurora Innovation (AUR US) falls 8% in premarket, after soaring 71% last week amid a surge in popularity for self-driving technology companies among retail traders. Chinese electric-carmaker Xpeng (XPEV US) rises as much as 2.8% premarket after co. unveils a large sports-utility vehicle pitted more directly against Tesla’s Model Y and Nio’s ES series. Stocks of other EV makers are mixed. Monster Beverage (MNST US)., the maker of energy drinks, is exploring a combination with Corona brewer Constellation Brands (STZ US), according to people familiar with the matter. CASI Pharma (CASI US) jumped 17% in postmarket trading after CEO Wei-Wu He disclosed the purchase of 400,000 shares in a regulatory filing. Along with an eye on the Fed's plans for tightening policy, investors are also watching for an announcement from Joe Biden on his pick for the next Fed chair. Powell was supposed to make his decision by the weekend but has since delayed it repeatedly. Investors expect current chair Jerome Powell to stay on for another term, although Fed Governor Lael Brainard is also seen as a candidate for the position. “Bringing the most dovish of the doves wouldn’t guarantee a longer period of zero rates,” Ozkardeskaya wrote. “If the decisions are based on economic fundamentals, the economy is calling for a rate hike. And it’s calling for it quite soon.” The Stoxx 600 trimmed gains after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tighter Covid-19 restrictions. European telecom shares surged after KKR’s offer to buy Telecom Italia for about $12 billion, which boosted sentiment about M&A in the sector. The Stoxx 600 Telecommunications Index gained as much as 1.6%, the best-performing sector gauge for the region: Telefonica +4.8%, Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane +4%, KPN +2.7%. Meanwhile, telecom equipment stock Ericsson underperforms the rest of the SXKP index, falling as much as 4.9% after a deal to buy U.S. cloud communication provider Vonage; Danske Bank says the price is “quite steep”. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as Covid-19 resurgences in Europe triggered risk-off sentiment across markets amid weaker oil prices, a strong U.S. dollar and higher bond yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3%, with India’s Sensex measure slumping the most since April as Paytm’s IPO weighed on sentiment. The country’s oil giant Reliance dragged down the Asian index after scrapping a deal with Saudi Aramco, and energy and financials were the biggest sector losers in the region. Asian markets have turned softer after capping their first weekly retreat this month, following lackluster moves from economically sensitive sectors in the U.S., while investors continue to monitor earnings reports of big Chinese technology firms this week. “Some impact from the regulatory risks and dull macroeconomic conditions have shown up in several Chinese big-tech earnings and that may put investors on the sidelines as earnings season continues,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte., wrote in a note. China’s equity gauge posted a second straight day of gains after the central bank’s quarterly report indicated a shift toward easing measures to bolster the economic recovery. South Korea led gains in the region, with the Kospi adding more than 1%, helped by chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. Asia’s chip-related shares rose after comments from Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra added to optimism the global shortage of semiconductors is easing. Reports of Japan earmarking $6.8 billion to bolster domestic chipmaking and Samsung planning to announce the location of its new chip plant in the U.S. also aided sentiment. Japanese stocks fluctuated after U.S. shares retreated on Friday following hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials. The Topix index was virtually unchanged at 2,044.16 as of 2:21 p.m. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1% to 29,783.92. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,107 rose and 948 fell, while 125 were unchanged. “There are uncertainties surrounding the direction of U.S. monetary policy,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. “The latest comments from FRB members are spurring talk that steps to taper could accelerate.” Australian stocks sunk as banks tumbled to almost a 4-month low. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,353.10, weighed down by banks and technology stocks as the measure for financial shares finished at the lowest level since July 30.  Nickel Mines was the top performer after agreeing to expand its strategic partnership with Shanghai Decent. Flight Centre fell for a second session, ending at its lowest close since Sept. 20, as the Covid-19 situation worsens in Europe. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 12,607.64. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index holds Asia’s narrow range, trading little changed on the day. AUD outperforms G-10 peers, extending Asia’s modest gains. SEK and JPY are the weakest. RUB lags in EMFX, dropping as much as 1% versus the dollar with USD/RUB on a 74-handle. According to Bloomberg, hedge funds’ bullishness toward the dollar is starting to evaporate amid speculation the U.S. currency has risen too much given the Federal Reserve remains adamant it’s in no rush to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the euro pared modest Asia session losses to trade below $1.13, while European bond yields edged higher, led by bunds and gilts. The pound dipped after comments from Bank of England policy makers raised questions about the certainty of an interest-rate increase in December. Governor Andrew Bailey said that the risks to the U.K. economy are “two-sided” in a weekend interview. Australian dollar advanced against the kiwi on position tweaking ahead of Wednesday’s RBNZ’s rate decision, and after China’s central bank removed sticking with “normal monetary policy” from its policy outlook. Yen declines as speculation China will steer toward more accommodative policy damps the currency’s haven appeal. Hungary’s forint tumbled to a record low against the euro as back-to-back interest rate increases failed to shield it during a rapidly deteriorating pandemic and a flight to safer assets. In commodities, crude futures drifted higher. WTI rises 0.3% near $76.20, Brent regains at $79-handle. Spot gold has a quiet session trading near $1,844/oz. Base metal are mixed: LME copper, tin and zinc post small losses; lead and nickel are in the green Looking at today's calendar, we get the October Chicago Fed national activity index, existing home sales data, and the Euro Area advance November consumer confidence. Zoom is among the companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,710.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 487.45 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro little changed at $1.1283 MXAP down 0.2% to 198.88 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 647.20 Nikkei little changed at 29,774.11 Topix little changed at 2,042.82 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,951.34 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,582.08 Sensex down 2.0% to 58,450.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,353.08 Kospi up 1.4% to 3,013.25 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $79.22/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,846.10 U.S. Dollar Index also little changed at 96.08 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Negotiators hammering out details of a transformative new global corporate tax regime are shaping the deal to maximize its chance of winning acceptance in the U.S., whose companies face the biggest impact from the overhaul The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations. The ruble slid to the weakest since August and the hryvnia fell With investors ramping up expectations for the Federal Reserve and other developed-market central banks to tighten policy, the likes of the Brazilian real and Hungarian forint have been weighed down by inflation and political concerns even as local officials pushed up borrowing costs. The Chinese yuan, Taiwanese dollar and Russian ruble have been among the few to stand their ground An organization formed by key participants in China’s currency market urged banks to limit speculative foreign-exchange trading after the yuan climbed to a six-year high versus peers The Avalanche cryptocurrency has surged in the past several days, taking it briefly into the top 10 by market value and surpassing Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, after a deal related to improvement of U.S. disaster-relief funding A more detailed breakdown of overnight news courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's mostly negative performance stateside, where risk appetite was dampened by concerns of a fourth COVID wave in Europe and recent hawkish Fed rhetoric. Weekend newsflow was light and the mood was tentative heading into this week's risk events including FOMC minutes and US GDP data before the Thanksgiving holiday. The ASX 200 (-0.6%) was subdued with declines led by weakness in gold miners and the energy sector. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was lacklustre after last week’s inflows into the JPY but with downside eventually reversed as the currency faded some of the gains and following the recent cabinet approval of the stimulus spending. The KOSPI (+1.4%) outperformed and reclaimed the 3k level with shares in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallying as its de facto leader tours the US which spurred hopes the Co. could deploy its USD 100bln cash pile. The Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) diverged with the mainland kept afloat after the PBoC conducted a mild liquidity injection and maintained its Loan Prime Rate for a 19th consecutive month as expected, although Hong Kong was pressured by losses in energy and cautiousness among developers, as well as the recent announcement of increased constituents in the local benchmark. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked marginal gains amid the cautious risk tone in Asia and following firmer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr JGBs, but with upside capped as T-note futures continued to fade Friday’s early gains that were fuelled by the COVID-19 concerns in Europe before the advances were later halted by hawkish Fed rhetoric calling for a discussion on speeding up the tapering at next month’s meeting. Top Asian News China Blocks Peng Shuai News as It Seeks to Reassure World China FX Panel Urges Banks to Cap Speculation as Yuan Surges Paytm Founder Compares Himself to Musk After Historic IPO Flop China Tech Stocks Are Nearing Inflection Point, UBS GWM Says European cash bourses kicked off the new trading week with mild gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a mixed APAC handover. Some have been attributing the mild gains across Europe in the context of the different approaches of the Fed and ECB, with the latter expected to remain dovish as the former moves tighter, while COVID lockdowns will restrict economic activity. News flow in the European morning has however been sparse, as participants look ahead to FOMC Minutes, Flash PMIs and US GDP ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday (full Newsquawk Desk Schedule on the headline feed) alongside the Fed Chair update from President Biden and a speech from him on the economy. US equity futures see modestly more pronounced gains, with the more cyclically-exposed RTY (+0.6%) performing better than then NQ (+0.4%), ES (+0.4%) and YM (+0.4%). Since the European cash open, the initial mildly positive momentum has somewhat waned across European cash and futures, with the region now conforming to a more mixed picture. Spain's IBEX (+0.7%) is the clear regional outperforming, aided by index heavyweight Telefonica (+5.0%), which benefits from the sectorial boost received by a couple of major M&A updates. Firstly, Telecom Italia (+22%) gapped higher at the open after KKR presented a EUR 0.505/shr offer for Telecom Italia. The offer presents a ~45% premium on Friday's close. Second, Ericsson (-3.5%) made a bid to acquire American publicly held business cloud communications provider Vonage in a deal worth USD 6.2bln. As things stand, the Telecom sector is the clear outperformer, closely followed by banks amid a revival in yields. The other end of the spectrum sees Travel & Leisure back at the foot of the bunch as COVID fears in Europe mount. In terms of individual movers, Vestas Wind Systems (-2.0%) was hit as a cyber incident that impacted parts of its internal IT structure and data has been compromised. Looking ahead, it’s worth noting that volume will likely be more muted towards the latter half of the week on account of the Thanksgiving holiday. Top European News Scholz Closer to German Chancellery as Cabinet Takes Shape Austria Back in Lockdown Ahead of Mandatory Vaccine Policy Energy Crunch Drives Carbon to Record as Europe Burns More Coal BP Goes on Hydrogen Hiring Spree in Bid for 10% Market Share In FX, the Antipodean Dollars are outperforming at the start of the new week on specific supportive factors, like a bounce in the price of iron ore and a further re-opening from pandemic restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, while the REINZ shadow board is ‘overwhelmingly’ behind another RBNZ rate hike this week. Aud/Usd is holding around 0.7250 and Nzd/Usd is hovering circa 0.7000 as the Aud/Nzd cross pivots 1.0350 in the run up to flash Aussie PMIs and NZ retail sales. DXY - Aussie and Kiwi strength aside, the Greenback retains a solid underlying bid on safe haven and increasingly hawkish Fed grounds after a run of recent much better than expected US data. In index terms, a base just above 96.000 provides a platform to retest last week’s peaks at 96.245 and 96.266 vs 96.223 so far, but Monday’s agenda may not give bulls much in the way of encouragement via data with only existing home sales scheduled. Instead, the Buck could derive more impetus from Treasuries given front-loaded supply ahead of Thanksgiving in the form of Usd 58 bn 2 year and Usd 59 bn 5 year notes. CHF/CAD/EUR/GBP/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US rival, as the Franc keeps its head above 0.9300 and meanders between 1.0485-61 vs the Euro amidst some signs of official intervention from a rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks. Meanwhile, the Loonie has some leverage from a mild rebound in crude prices to pare declines from sub-1.2650 and should glean support into 1.2700 from 1 bn option expiries at 1.2685 on any further risk aversion or fallout in WTI. Conversely, 1 bn option expiry interest from 1.1300-05 could scupper Euro recoveries from Friday’s new y-t-d low around 1.1250 against the backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 contagion and pre-ECB speakers plus preliminary Eurozone consumer confidence. Elsewhere, the Pound is weighing up BoE tightening prospects and the impact of no breakthrough between the UK and EU on NI Protocol as Cable and Eur/Gbp straddle the 1.3435-40 zone and 0.8400 respectively, while the Yen has unwound more of its safe haven premium within a 114.27-113.91 range eyeing UST yields in relation to JGBs alongside overall risk sentiment. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is deriving some traction from Brent back over Usd 79/brl, but geopolitical concerns are preventing the Rub from benefiting and the Mxn is also on a weaker footing along with most EM currencies. However, the Try is striving to draw a line in the sand irrespective of a marked deterioration in Turkish consumer sentiment and the Cnh/Cny are holding up well regardless of a softer PBoC fix for the onshore unit as LPRs were unchanged yet again and China’s FX regulator told banks to limit Yuan spec trades. In CEE, the Pln has plunged on diplomatic strains between Poland and the EU, the Huf has depreciated to all time lows on virus fears and the Czk has been hampered by CNB’s Holub downplaying the chances of more big tightening surprises such as the aggressive hike last time. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures see some consolidation following Friday’s slide in prices. In terms of the fundamentals, the demand side of the equations continues to be threatened by the fourth wave of COVID, namely in the European nations that have not had a successful vaccine rollout. As a reminder, Austria is in a 20-day nationwide lockdown as of today, whilst Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands see tighter restrictions, with the latter two also experiencing COVID-related social unrest over the weekend. The European Commission will on Wednesday issue a set of new recommendations to its member states on non-essential travel, a senior EU diplomat said, which will be watched for activity and jet fuel demand. Over to the supply side, There were weekend reports that Japan and the US are planning a joint announcement regarding the SPR release, although a key Japanese official later noted there was no fixed plan yet on releasing reserves. Japanese PM Kishida confirmed that they are considering releasing oil reserves to curb prices. Meanwhile, Iranian nuclear talks are regaining focus as negotiations are poised to resume on the 29th of November – it is likely we’ll see officials telegraph their stances heading into the meeting. Eyes will be on whether the US offers an olive branch as Tehran stands firm. Elsewhere, the next OPEC+ meeting is also looming, but against the backdrop of lower prices, COVID risk and SPR releases, it is difficult to see a scenario where OPEC+ will be more hawkish than dovish. WTI and Brent Jan trade on either side of USD 76/bbl and USD 79/bbl respectively and within relatively narrow bands. Spot gold and silver meanwhile see a mild divergence, with the yellow metal constrained by resistance in the USD 1,850/oz area, whilst spot silver rebounded off support at USD 24.50/oz. Finally, base metals are relatively mixed with no standout performers to point out. LME copper is flat but holds onto USD 9,500+/t status. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Oct. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.10, prior -0.13 10am: Oct. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 7.0% 10am: Oct. Home Resales with Condos, est. 6.18m, prior 6.29m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve just published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. 2021 has been one of the lowest vol years for credit on record but we think this is unlikely to last and spreads will sell-off at some point in H1 when markets reappraise how far behind the curve the Fed is. Even with covid restrictions mounting again in Europe as we go to print, we think it’s more likely that we’ll be in a “growthflationary” environment for 2022 and think overheating risks are more acute than the stagflation risk, especially in the US. Strong growth and high liquidity should mean that full year 2022 is a reasonable year for credit overall but if we’re correct there’ll be regular pockets of inflationary/interest rate concerns in the market, which we think is more likely to happen in H1. At the H1 wides, we could see spreads widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY which is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. However, with the potential for a shift in the narrative to potential late-cycle dynamics, we think spreads will close 2022 slightly wider than they are today. We will be watching the yield curve closely through the year for clues as to how the cycle will evolve into 2023. This has the ability to move our YE 22 forecasts in both directions as the year progresses. This week will be heavily compressed given Thanksgiving on Thursday. The highlight though will be a likely choice of Fed governor before this, assuming the timetable doesn’t slip again. Overnight it’s been announced that Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices. It’s possible the Fed Chair gets announced here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. We will see. Following that, Wednesday is especially busy as a pre-holiday US data dump descends upon us. We’ll see the minutes of the November 3rd FOMC meeting and earlier that day the core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation metric), Durable Goods, the UoM sentiment index (including latest inflation expectations), new home sales and jobless claims amongst a few other releases. More internationally, covid will be focus, especially in Europe as Austria enters lockdown today after the shock announcement on Friday. Germany is probably the swing factor here for sentiment in Europe so case numbers will be watched closely. Staying with Germany, there’s anticipation that a coalition agreement could be reached in Germany between the SPD, Greens and the FDP, almost two months after their federal election. Otherwise, the flash PMIs for November will be in focus, with the ECB following the Fed and releasing the minutes from their recent meeting on Thursday. As discussed at the top the most important market event this week is likely to be on the future leadership of the Federal Reserve, as it’s been widely reported that President Biden is expected to announce his choice on who’ll be the next Fed Chair by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Previous deadlines have slipped on this announcement, but time is becoming increasingly limited given the need for Senate confirmation ahead of Chair Powell’s current four-year term expiring in early February. The two names that are quite obviously in the frame are incumbent Chair Powell and Governor Brainard, but there are also a number of other positions to fill at the Fed in the coming months, with Vice Chair Clarida’s term as an FOMC governor expiring in January, Randal Quarles set to leave the Board by the end of this year, and another vacant post still unfilled. So a significant opportunity for the Biden administration to reshape the top positions at the Fed. In spite of all the speculation over the position of the Fed Chair, our US economists write in their latest Fed update (link here), that the decision is unlikely to have a material impact on the broad policy trajectory. Inflation in 2022 is likely to remain at levels that make most Fed officials uncomfortable, whilst the regional Fed presidents rotating as voters lean more hawkish next year, so there’ll be constraints to how policy could shift in a dovish direction, even if an incoming chair wanted to move things that way. Another unconfirmed but much anticipated announcement this week could come from Germany, where there’s hope that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP will finally reach a coalition agreement. The general secretaries of all three parties have recently said that they hope next week will be when a deal is reached, and a deal would pave the way for the SPD’s Olaf Scholz to become chancellor at the head of a 3-party coalition. Nevertheless, there are still some hurdles to clear before then, since an agreement would mark the start of internal party approval processes. The FDP and the SPD are set to hold a party convention, whilst the Greens have announced that their members will vote on the agreement. On the virus, there is no doubt things are getting worse in Europe but it’s worth putting some of the vaccine numbers in some context. Austria (64% of total population) has a double vaccination rate that is somewhat lower than the likes of Spain (79%), Italy (74%), France (69%), the UK (69%) and Germany (68%). The UK for all its pandemic fighting faults is probably as well placed as any due to it being more advanced on the booster campaign due to an earlier vaccine start date and also due to higher natural infections. It was also a conscious decision back in the summer in the UK to flatten the peak to take load off the winter wave. So this is an area where scientists and the government may have made a calculated decision that pays off. Europe is a bit behind on boosters versus the UK but perhaps these will accelerate as more people get 6 months from their second jab, albeit a bit too late to stop some kind of winter wave. There may also be notable divergence within Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain (and to a slightly lesser extent France) that were hit hard in the initial waves have a high vaccination rate so it seems less likely they will suffer the dramatic escalation that Austria has seen. Germany is in the balance as they have had lower infection rates which unfortunately may have encouraged slightly lower vaccination rates. The irony here is that there is some correlation between early success/lower infections and lower subsequent vaccination rates. The opposite is also true - i.e. early bad outcomes but high vaccination rates. The US is another contradiction as it’s vaccination rate of 58% is very low in the developed world but it has had high levels of natural infections and has a higher intolerance for lockdowns. So tough to model all the above. Overall given that last winter we had no vaccines and this year we have very high levels of protection it seems unfathomable that we’ll have an outcome anywhere near as bad. Yes there will be selected countries where the virus will have a more severe impact but most developed countries will likely get by without lockdowns in my opinion even if the headlines aren’t always going to be pleasant. Famous last words but those are my thoughts. In light of the rising caseloads, the November flash PMIs should provide some context for how the global economy has performed into the month. We’ve already seen a deceleration in the composite PMIs for the Euro Area since the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s maintained. If anything the US data has reaccelerated in Q4 with the Atlanta Fed GDPNow series at 8.2% for the quarter after what will likely be a revised 2.2% print on Wednesday for Q3. Time will tell if Covid temporarily dampens this again. Elsewhere datawise, we’ll also get the Ifo’s latest business climate indicator for Germany on Wednesday, which has experienced a similar deceleration to other European data since the summer. The rest of the week ahead appears as usual in the day-by-day calendar at the end. Overnight in Asia stocks are mixed with the KOSPI (+1.31%) leading the pack followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and CSI (+0.53%), while the Nikkei (-0.18%) and Hang Seng (-0.35%) are lower. Stocks in China are being boosted by optimism that the PBOC would be easing its policy stance after its quarterly monetary policy report on Friday dropped a few hints to that effect. Futures are pointing towards a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 futures (+0.31%) and DAX futures (+0.14%) both in the green. Turning to last week now, rising Covid cases prompted renewed lockdown measures to varying degrees and hit risk sentiment. Countries across Europe implemented new lockdown measures and vaccine requirements to combat the latest rise in Covid cases. The standouts included Austria and Germany. Austria will start a nationwide lockdown starting today and will implement a compulsory Covid vaccine mandate from February. Germany will restrict leisure activities and access to public transportation for unvaccinated citizens and announced a plan to improve vaccination efforts. DM ten-year yields decreased following the headline. Treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -3.8bps, -6.7bps, and -4.6bps on Friday, respectively, bringing the weekly totals to -1.3bps, -8.3bps, and -3.5bps, respectively. The broad dollar appreciated +0.54% Friday, and +0.98% over the week. Brent and WTI futures declined -2.89% and -3.68% on Friday following global demand fears, after drifting -4.27% and -5.79% lower throughout the week as headlines circulated that the US and allies were weighing whether to release strategic reserves. European equity indices declined late in the week as the renewed lockdown measures were publicized. The Stoxx 600, DAX, and CAC 40 declined -0.33%, -0.38%, and -0.42%, respectively on Friday, bringing their weekly totals to -0.14%, +0.41%, and +0.29%. The S&P 500 index was also hit ending the week +0.32% higher after declining -0.14% Friday, though weekly gains were concentrated in big technology and consumer discretionary stocks. U.S. risk markets were likely supported by the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Biden Administration’s climate and social spending bill. The bill will proceed to the Senate, where its fate lays with a few key moderate Democrats. This follows President Biden signing a physical infrastructure bill into law on Monday. On the Fed, communications from officials took a decidedly more hawkish turn on inflation dynamics, especially from dovish members. Whether the Fed decides to accelerate its asset purchase taper at the December FOMC will likely be the key focus in markets heading into the meeting. Ending the weekly wrap up with some positive Covid news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all adults. Additionally, the US will order 10 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid pill. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Gen Z voters eye GOP over cancel culture

And Democrats may blow campaign promises and give the rich a big tax cut. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Democrats risk losing millennial and Gen Z voters over 'cancel culture' and vaccine mandatesDemocrats may blow campaign promises and give the rich a big tax cutInternal memo shows how freaked-out progressives plan to beat Republicans in 2022Insider1. OPPORTUNITY FOR GOP: Millennials and Gen Z pose an existential threat to the Republican Party. But the GOP has found two wedge issues that appear to be gaining traction with young voters. One of these is "cancel culture," which young conservatives rank as a top issue, especially on college campuses.Here's what the data suggests thus far:Cancel culture is mostly a nonfactor for most voters: "But among young voters, it looms large," my colleague writes. "According to Pew polling last year, two-thirds of adults under 30 said they'd heard a lot about the issue, compared with just a third of those 50 and older."Some Democrats also see the topic as a growing vulnerability: "Cancel culture is very similar to critical race theory," a prominent Democratic pollster told Insider. "When you look at polling on this kind of thing, the public agrees more with Republicans at some base level than Democrats. So it's just a question of how salient it becomes."Experts say the issue's popularity has risen amid the changing face of America: Vladimir Medenica, a political science professor at the University of Delaware who helps direct a national survey of young voters, said the fear of cancel culture was closely linked to young white men's anxiety about losing economic and social status.More details: "White men are the most conservative group among young voters and the most likely to say white people are losing out economically," my colleague writes. "In one poll, more than 40% of young white men said discrimination against white people was as serious as discrimination against racial-minority groups."Read more about how the GOP is using opposition to vaccine mandates to help make inroads with younger voters.2. House censures Paul Gosar for posting violent anime video: Lawmakers voted to censure Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and remove him from his committee assignments after he posted an anime video that was edited to depict him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger were the only Republicans who voted to punish Gosar. Before the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned Democrats that depriving a Republican of committee assignments established a precedent that the GOP would remember should it retake control of the House. For his part, Gosar compared himself to Alexander Hamilton, adding it was "it was not my purpose to make anyone upset." More on the first censure of a House lawmaker in over a decade.How he's responding: Gosar posted a meme of himself on Gettr, the conservative social-media platform. He also retweeted the same video that led to his censure.3. Internal memo shows how freaked-out progressives plan to beat Republicans in 2022: A progressive training group inspired by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota says the key to beating Republicans next year is getting more skilled organizers on the ground earlier to ensure Democratic message is resonating in communities of color. A strategy memo the nonprofit Re:Power shared exclusively with Insider concludes that unless Democrats do so, they will continue to bleed support from single parents; Black, Latino, and Asian voters; and young people from underrepresented communities. Read more about how progressives are responding to Democrats' gubernatorial loss in Virginia and poor showing in New Jersey.4. Democrats may blow campaign promises and give the rich a big tax cut: President Joe Biden could get the bulk of his economic agenda passed by New Year's Eve, but some Democrats worry it may contain a measure that contradicts their promises: It could give more tax cuts to the wealthy than for poor Americans. The plan designates $285 billion to raise the cap on the state-and-local-tax deduction to $80,000 from $10,000, reversing part of President Donald Trump's 2017 tax cuts. It's the single largest program currently within the House's package. But Democrats remain divided over its inclusion, with one senator telling Insider "It doesn't make any sense at all."Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Drew Angerer/Getty Images5. The debt-ceiling game of chicken is back: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the US could continue to pay its bills only until December 15. With mere weeks to stave off catastrophe, neither party has changed its tune. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won't offer Democrats the same deal he gave in October. Here's where things stand.6. Overdose deaths topped 100,000 in one year: "​​Overdose deaths have been rising for more than two decades, accelerated in the past two years, and, according to new data posted Wednesday, jumped nearly 30% in the latest year," the Associated Press reports. Experts say "the growing prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the illicit drug supply and the pandemic" were drivers of the grim milestone. "Drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns, and even flu and pneumonia."7. "QAnon Shaman" is sentenced to 41 months in prison: Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, received one of the longest prison sentences so far stemming from the January 6 insurrection. Chansley pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding rather than risk facing a longer sentence had he gone to trial. In a nearly half-hour address, Chansley invoked Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi as he presented himself to Judge Royce Lamberth as a remorseful, changed man who took responsibility for his conduct during the riot. Here's what happened inside the courtroom during the wild sentencing.Malcolm X talking to reporters in Washington, DC, on May 16, 1963.AP Photo, File8. Two men convicted of killing Malcolm X are set to be exonerated: The Manhattan district attorney's office said two of the three men convicted of the assassination of the civil-rights leader more than 50 years ago were expected to be formally absolved of the conviction later today, The New York Times reports. The reversal follows a reexamination by the Manhattan DA's office, lawyers from the Innocence Project, and a civil-rights attorney that discovered evidence was previously withheld by the FBI and the New York City Police Department. More on the news.9. Striking John Deere workers sign a new contract: United Auto Workers members voted 61% to 39% in favor of the agreement with terms to increase pay and boost retirement benefits over six years, ending a five-week strike. More than 10,000 John Deere workers at 14 locations went on strike last month after contract negotiations with the company failed. It was the company's first strike since 1986. More on the new contract.10. Staples Center is being renamed Crypto.com Arena: The home of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings, where Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, and Phil Jackson hoisted NBA titles together, is set to have a new identity next month. Axios reports that the deal cost more than $700 million. More on one of the largest naming-rights deals ever.Today's trivia question Today is Mickey Mouse's birthday. Which president celebrated the Disney icon's 50th birthday at the White House? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: William Howard Taft is the most recent president to have been censured by a chamber of Congress. Taft was "accused of trying to influence a disputed Senate election," the Congressional Research Service writes of the 1912 Senate resolution.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

Smith: Leftists Support Tyranny, Conservatives Do Not; It"s Time To Separate

Smith: Leftists Support Tyranny, Conservatives Do Not; It's Time To Separate Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, One of the great semantic debates of the past decade has been the ongoing attempt to muddle the definition of “Left vs Right” in the American political sphere. For example, a lot of people who are new to the liberty movement (people who became active during or after the Trump campaign in 2016) have heard of the “false left/right paradigm”, but they have no clue what it actually means. If you think it means there are no legitimate political sides in this fight and that the entire conflict is theatrical or manipulated, then you are misinformed. The false left/right paradigm specifically refers to the fake division at the VERY TOP of the political pyramid among elitists in government. There are certainly Republicans that are conservative in their rhetoric but not conservative in their actions or policies, and they tend to support or side with politicians on the left regularly when it comes to big government spending and big government power (just look to the Republicans that voted in favor of Joe Biden’s recent infrastructure bill). Democrats and leftists don’t have to pretend. They base their entire platform on collectivism and centralization. This is no secret. The only theater is in their motives. Top Democrats claim they are fighting for the “greater good” of the masses when they are actually elevating and benefiting a tiny minority of wealthy elites. They do not care at all about the lives of their constituents. Things change dramatically when we start talking about the bottom of the pyramid among regular people. The political spectrum is not as broad and nuanced as some people would have us believe and the sides are much easier to discern. There are exceptions to every rule and to every group, but to say the groups do not exist is an act of denial. There are also people who call themselves “moderates” because they think this makes them more impartial and more open-minded. They don’t want to appear as if they are moving to one “extreme” end of the spectrum or the other. But, ultimately, there are only two sides in this fight: Either you are in favor of intensive government dominance of people’s lives, or you are not. And, the vast majority of people in favor of government tyranny herald from the left side of the political spectrum. They revel in the totalitarianism, even when they don’t necessarily benefit from it. Yes, it’s time to stop pretending as if there is a “gray area” here and call the situation as it really is. The political left is obsessed with control over how people live, act and even how they think. Issues like Critical Race Theory, BLM, big tech censorship, the covid lockdowns and vax mandates have really clarified things to the point that if you can’t see the enormous difference between leftists and conservatives then you are being willfully ignorant. In my latest articles I have been exploring the theme of the political left and their habit of wearing masks to hide their true natures. Many of them will support socialist, collectivist and globalist policies while also claiming they support freedom at the same time. Yet, when they are actually faced with real world decisions in terms of unilateral authoritarianism, the true character of the average leftist is revealed and it’s an ugly thing to behold. Lets just use the covid and vaccines mandates as one litmus test for a moment – Poll after poll after poll indicates that an overwhelming number of Democrats (around 80%) applaud the mandates and continue to defend them even after almost 2 years of failures and a lack of scientific honesty. For these people the covid controls are purely political and they often argue in their favor as a vehicle to attack conservatives rather than “saving lives”. The fact is, without their enthusiastic support the draconian mandates would not exist in the US. Now, some people will point out that polls also show that around a quarter of Republicans support some form of vax mandates, but here’s the difference: Republicans and conservatives are actually willing to engage in honest debate over the scientific and social merits of the mandates. The vast majority of Democrats and leftists are absolutely not interested. They view any opposition as an act of treason, and any debate as thought crime committed by “cranks” and “conspiracy theorists”. This is a rather convenient tactic to take because leftists will never actually have to defend their own assumptions and beliefs in a public forum on fair ground; they can simply say that all evidence that is being presented is “meaningless” because it is being presented by treasonous enemies. Everything they do no matter how destructive or oppressive is thus justified by the assertion that conservatives represent an insurgency against “democracy” rather than honest Americans with honest concerns. It should also be noted that the minimal republican support for the mandates has been steadily dropping as new information is released which contradicts the mainstream narrative on vaccine effectiveness, and as Joe Biden continues to use the vaccines as a means to gain power over private businesses. Yet, support among democrats is as high as ever. In the past few years I have seen leftists en masse defend the indoctrination of American children with CRT, which teaches white kids that they are all inherently evil oppressors and black and brown kids that they are all perpetual victims that cannot help themselves. When they get called out, leftists then claim that CRT “doesn’t exist” or does not represent what conservatives say it represents. All you have to do is read their own books to see that this is a lie. If you are willing to slog through the insanity of the book ‘Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed The Movement’, you will see that everything conservatives warn about when it comes to CRT is true. It is edited by Kimberle Crenshaw, widely viewed as a co-founder of critical race theory and “intersectionality.” It is also a book that you will find used as a teaching aid in most social science classes in most colleges. I have seen leftists support BLM riots and the destruction of private property across the nation while calling them “peaceful protests”. I have also seen BLM take hundreds of millions of dollars from the very corporations and globalist institutions they claim they hate. I have seen leftists defend Big Tech censorship of any person or group that disagrees with the woke narrative, to the point that conservatives now have to constantly self-edit key words and phrases just so algorithms do not automatically derail their accounts, and so that leftists cannot false flag their commentaries as “hate speech” or “medical misinformation.” I have seen leftists avidly support covid lockdowns and the arbitrary destruction of hundreds of thousands of businesses as “non-essential”. I have seen them aggressively defend mask mandates despite the fact that red states which removed mask mandates had the same infection rates or even lower rates. Now I am witnessing their fevered joy as they help push forced experimental vaccination through federal and state mandates, using the threat of joblessness to intimidate those who do not comply. In the meantime, we have seen conservatives become the overwhelming majority of people in direct opposition to all of these totalitarian activities. And still today I continue to see people try to argue that there are no sides, and that conservatives are “just as bad” as leftists. These people either do not understand what a conservative is, or they are deliberately misrepresenting reality because they have an agenda. The bottom line is that proof is seen in action: Red states are free, blue states are enslaved. There’s no way around that. The debate is over, at least in terms of left vs. right. The differences are stark and painfully obvious. Places with majority conservative populations are still fighting the mandates while places with a majority of leftists are perpetuating tyranny. It cannot be denied. It cannot be argued. This is reality. In this day and age if you want to be free you make sure you are surrounded by conservatives, or you become a conservative. There is not a single blue state in the country that is not on the war path to enforce Biden’s vax mandates. There is not a single blue city in the country that is not trying to subversively teach CRT in schools. And, there is not a single blue region in the country that is not obsessed with wokism and globalism. The truth is, America has split into two completely different cultures with two completely different social objectives. To be sure, there are some nuances in terms of geography. Blue states, for example, are often checkered with red counties that do not like the policies of the state government, but this does not change the reality of the overall political divide. I have also noted that most Europeans and people in the UK and Australia have no concept at all of what a conservative actually is. They think a conservative is a corporatist. They have been indoctrinated by their predominantly socialist and leftist systems to treat “conservative” as a four letter word. The people in these nations that oppose the leftist agenda will commonly refer to themselves as “traditional liberals”, but really, they are just conservatives that are afraid to call themselves conservatives. I am speaking specifically on the American dynamic, however, and in this country the two sides are sharply defined. I think that there is also a subsection of the population that does not want to admit a separation of the US is in progress even though it is a fact. They want to believe the false left/right paradigm applies to the regular population because they don’t want to accept the inevitability of the breakup of our country. They want to believe that if we just deal with the elites at the top of the pyramid that the division at the bottom will simply disappear. This is naive. There are principles and ideals which are mutually exclusive; they cannot exist within the same society at the same time. There are moments in history when tribes form and cults rise, and generally these groups grow from either a desire to control others or a desire to remain free. We are living in such times. The political left, according to every metric and statistic, is an antithesis to conservative principles of small government, decentralization, personal liberty, free markets, family values, etc. This does not mean all conservatives agree on every aspect of society. We don’t all share the same religious fervor, or adherence to the same denomination. We don’t all have the same ideas on what constitutes “merit”, and the things we value in terms of character traits and life choices vary. We definitely don’t all agree on solutions to the problems and enemies we face everyday, which is why organizing resistance to the mandates has taken so much time and energy. That said, we ALL agree that the leftist agenda is poison and that it is not something we can continue to live with. I have heard it argued that if the US is broken into two parts that this will weaken us to threats from the outside. Many conservatives don’t like to accept notions of secession or the left/right paradigm because they fear foreign aggression from places like China, for instance. I would point out that this thinking lacks a sense of priority. We have to deal with the leftists/socialists/communists in our own house first before we can deal with communist on the other side of the world. Keeping this defunct marriage between leftist culture and conservative culture going just for the sake of appearances is the most destructive policy we can have in the long run. My thinking is this: If we break up there are two possible results – We go our own separate ways peacefully and the conservative states will continue to succeed economically and socially because we will have freedom, while leftist states will continue to sink into debt and will continue to bleed citizens due to oppression. Or, we separate and the leftists try to stop us using force, and we go to war. And make no mistake, they will ultimately lose such a war. The latter is not the most pleasant option but in either case freedom remains in the world. It is time to stop treating separation and division as integrally bad. Sometimes it is healthy and necessary. The old phrase “divide and conquer” is a misnomer for our particular situation. Often, nations and cultures are conquered from within because they refuse to separate from the riff-raff and define their moral boundaries. The right to divide is actually one of the most powerful forms of liberty there is, and it is one of the greatest protections against the leftist authoritarian movements in our midst. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/13/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 14th, 2021

Medical Research Rapidly Adopts "Systemic Racism" As Truth, Risking Scientific Credibility, Part 1

Medical Research Rapidly Adopts "Systemic Racism" As Truth, Risking Scientific Credibility, Part 1 By John Murawski of RealClearInvestigations, Part 1 of 2 Rejection used to be common for medical sociologist Thomas LaVeist when he tried to get his research published on the effects of racism on the health of black people. “Now,” said the 60-year-old dean of Tulane University’s School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, “I have those same journals asking me to write articles for them.” LaVeist’s experience illustrates the dramatic transformation in medical research, accelerating in the past few years. While few would dispute that black Americans are more prone to chronic health problems and have shorter life expectancies than whites, the medical community generally sought answers in biology, genetics and lifestyle. Research, like LaVeist’s, that focused on racism was frowned upon as lacking rigor or relevance, an amateurish detour from serious intellectual inquiry. Thomas LaVeist: His work focused on racism was once frowned upon as lacking rigor or relevance. Not any more. Today medical journal editors are clamoring for a racial lens and apologizing for what they call their past moral blindness. In recent years, and especially since Black Lives Matter protests erupted last year, systemic racism has been transformed from a fringe theory to a canonical truth. Medical researchers are now able to offer a sweeping socio-political explanation for racial health disparities by citing the hundreds of peer-reviewed articles authored by LaVeist and a host of others, thus conferring upon the study of systemic racism the imprimatur of scholarly authority and even settled science. This year, top officials at the National Institutes of Health issued an apology to all who have suffered from structural racism in biomedical research. The NIH, the nation’s largest funder of biomedical research, announced that it is dedicating $90 million to the study of health disparities and structural racism, engaging in more than 60 diversity and inclusion initiatives, and committing “every tool at our disposal to remediate the chronic problem of structural racism.” In an August special issue dedicated to racial health disparities, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association stated that systemic racism is a scientific fact beyond dispute, and disagreeing on this point is “wrong,” “misguided” and “uninformed.” Systemic racism is a reality to be assumed in medical research rather than a sociological hypothesis to be tested by skeptical researchers.  Deemed incontestable, systemic racism provides the political rationale for “dismantling” — in the words of no less an authority than the National Institutes of Health — the social institutions and cultural standards that, according to the framework’s advocates, were constructed and are maintained to uphold white supremacy.  The consequences of ignoring this new prime directive for racially focused research were made abundantly clear this year when the top two editors of JAMA were pressured to resign after the organization ran a podcast that questioned whether systemic racism explains health disparities between blacks and other Americans. “When JAMA sends a call for paper on structural racism, when the NIH director sends out an apology letter for racism in the NIH and when the CDC for the first time uses the term ‘racism,’ these are highest-level determinants of what research will be done in coming years in this country,” said Shervin Assari, an associate professor of family medicine and urban public health at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, one of four historically black medical schools in the nation. Shervin Assari: Now the feds are "paying good money to the best researchers in this country who are competing to understand how structural racism works, rather than if it exists.” “This is the first time the NIH has issued a call for research on structural racism. This is the first time JAMA fires an editor who said something wrong about racism,” said Assari, who has published more than 350 papers on race, social determinants and health equity. “Now NIH is paying good money to the best researchers in this country who are competing to understand how structural racism works, rather than if it exists.” Systemic racism, generally unseen but known by its perceived effects, doesn’t directly cause diabetes, hypertension or depression, but it purportedly creates the living conditions in which chronic conditions opportunistically thrive, advocates say. Such living conditions include unsafe neighborhoods, aggressive policing, substandard schools, discriminatory workplaces, inferior medical care and the resulting stress, despair and self-destructive behavior, the theory states.  To institutionalize its new policy, JAMA is revising its peer review standards and diversifying its ranks to advance health care equity, a term that refers to narrowing or even eliminating racial health disparities in chronic conditions and life expectancies. Similar steps are being adopted throughout the medical profession — by the cluster-hiring of minority applicants, hiring of diversity and equity officers, and training staff on “white privilege,” implicit bias, microaggressions, and allyship. A lead editorial in the August special issue, co-signed by 15 people, including JAMA’s newly installed executive editor and executive managing editor, along with other JAMA leaders, said all medical journals are morally obligated to assume systemic racism as a fact and document this fact in their research. “At this point in the arc of medicine and scientific publication,” JAMA stated, “it is crucial for all journals to fulfill renewed editorial and journal missions that include a heightened and appropriate emphasis on equity and publication of information that addresses structural racism with the goal of overcoming its effects in medicine and health care.” This rapid turn of events has blindsided traditional doctors, who are put off by the intense focus on race and the strong rhetoric. “The spectacle of the gatekeepers of medical publications announcing a political blueprint that medical authors must follow — or else — is pretty breathtaking,” Thomas Huddle, who retired this year as professor at the medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said by email. Thomas Huddle, dissenter: “The medical gatekeepers are in the grip of a moral panic.” “The medical gatekeepers are in the grip of a moral panic,” said Huddle, who has published on medical ethics and edited several medical journals. “The JAMA convulsion over the podcast was positively Maoist in its fervor for achieving moral correctness and purging the impure.” It's an open secret that some find the systemic explanation to be nothing more than leftist polemic, while others are skeptical it convincingly explains everything it claims to explain. These skeptics worry about the career implications of publicly dissenting from the new orthodoxy, but it's not inconceivable that blaming an entire national culture for racial disparities will prompt independent scholars and conservative think tanks to produce opposing research that explores black-on-black murder, racial disparities in IQ testing and other taboo subjects.  The dramatic transformation sweeping through the health care profession is not happening in a vacuum. It mirrors social justice movements committed to exposing structural racism that allegedly pervades education, criminal justice, the arts, hard sciences and other domains of U.S. society. Activists in those fields, as well as medicine, talk of dismantling white supremacy and other “structures” that operate by means of race-neutral laws and colorblind norms that cause racial and gender power imbalances and harm non-white groups. Skeptical physicians say that medical journal editors are essentially replacing the scientific method with a political ideology, namely critical race theory, and leaving little room for alternative explanations — such as personal agency or cultural differences. “There’s a tremendous amount of groupthink,” said Stanley Goldfarb, a former dean for curriculum who taught about kidney disease at the University of Pennsylvania medical school before retiring this summer. “If you don’t agree with all that, you’re a bad person.” “This is an argument that you’re not allowed to have — that’s the problem here,” said Goldfarb, who has served on the editorial boards of three medical journals and was editor-in-chief of a nephrology journal. Racial health disparities underlie the four-year gap in black-white life expectancy in the United States. The factors that contribute to this disparity include chronic conditions, unintentional injuries, suicide and homicide, which is the leading cause of death for black males aged 44 and younger. Scholars committed to the systemic racism explanation blame the disproportionately high crime rates in poor black neighborhoods on discrimination, substandard schools and other manifestations of systemic racism.  The body of research into racial health disparities has broken into the mainstream after establishing credibility through the time-honored system of academic citations and referrals. Since LaVeist began his work in the 1990s, a small stream of articles has swelled into a critical mass that now allows medical researchers to assume systemic racism as a proven fact and cite the evidence in footnotes, as established knowledge, instead of arguing the case each time. “When the weight of the evidence becomes so overwhelming that we reach consensus, we no longer continue to question whether or not [it is true],” LaVeist said. “We don’t question gravity anymore because the consensus is that gravity is a thing.” One of the JAMA articles in the August special issue found that the major health care spending disparity is that whites spend more on dental, pharmaceutical, and outpatient care, while blacks spend more on emergency room and inpatient hospital care, suggesting that black people are more likely to be uninsured and otherwise lack access to routine medical care. Instead of detailing the precise reasons that may explain this gap, the authors invoke previous articles: “There are many mechanisms that have already been identified that explain how structural racism shapes health and healthcare.” In a phone interview, the lead author, Joseph Dieleman, associate professor of health metric sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, said: “These are taken as a given by us. These are not to be debated, or being tested, in our analysis.”  Health Affairs, dubbed by a Washington Post columnist as “the bible of health policy,” is redoubling its focus on systemic racism, anti-racism, and equity, not only in its published content but also in attending to the racial makeup of its published authors and reviewers. “We acknowledge that the dominant voices in our work are those with power and privilege,” Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil wrote in January. “Even as we have dramatically increased the volume of our content focused on equity, the narrative has primarily been written by those in power. We vow to change this.” Weil, who was trained in critical legal theory, a precursor to critical race theory, as a Harvard law student in the 1980s, said in a phone interview that the concepts of merit and quality are often used to maintain power and privilege, and these structures must be examined for bias. “We’re just talking about — forgive the language that is used by the believers — interrogating ourselves,” Weil said. Systemic racism, a core tenet of critical race theory, doesn’t have a settled definition but it has broad applicability. One of the peculiar features of systemic racism is that the mechanism is not evident to those who are not initiated into the theory, but ubiquitous to its acolytes. For best-selling and award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi, whose writings are considered essential reading at some medical schools, any disparity can signify racism. The concept can refer to all manner of disparate outcomes —  in murder rates, arrest rates, life expectancies, education levels, school discipline, household income, standardized tests scores and grades — even in the fact that black people are nowhere to be seen in the corridor portraits of medical school dignitaries and are underrepresented in symphony orchestras. Ibram X Kendi: Any disparity can signify racism. “There is no ‘official’ definition of structural racism,” states a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine.  “All definitions make clear that racism is not simply the result of private prejudices held by individuals, but is also produced and reproduced by laws, rules, and practices, sanctioned and even implemented by various levels of government, and embedded in the economic system as well as in cultural and societal norms.” One line of attack against the status quo is the movement to eliminate long-accepted practices to promote merit and excellence that, according to activists, operate as colorblind mechanisms to produce unequal outcomes: gifted and talented programs, gifted schools, and admissions tests for elite high schools, as well as standardized test scores for university admission. In medicine, the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination test is changing from a graded score to pass/fail to help minority students, while Northwestern University and its Feinberg School of Medicine are promoting diversity by eliminating a six-decade-old Honors Program in Medical Education. Still, the concept provides special challenges for medicine. Unlike bacteria, for instance, systemic racism is an invisible force that can only be measured indirectly, by its perceived effects. Nevertheless, LaVeist is convinced that systemic racism is the best explanation for racial health disparities because the correlation of race and health is consistent across numerous studies for multiple chronic conditions. “We cannot make direct causal inferences. The best we can do is look at plausible causality,” LaVeist said. “What we have is a case where once you’ve ruled out all of the plausible explanations, the only thing left is systemic racism.” LaVeist and Weil agree that health and other disparities can have other causes than systemic racism, and good scholarship should be cognizant of other potential variables. LaVeist said that without allowing for other factors, people of color would have no free will, but it is important to note that African American culture is also shaped by white racism. One of LaVeist’s early co-authored papers that was rejected by several journals before finding a publisher concluded that black people who experience rudeness at the hands of white people have longer life expectancies if they blame systemic racism, or some other external factor, for being treated disrespectfully. An implication of the study: Even if the rude behavior by the white person isn’t caused by racism or an external factor, it’s strategically beneficial for black people to attribute the rudeness to someone else’s racism, boorishness or insensitivity, rather than blaming themselves. “Yes — racism, or some other external attribution,” LaVeist said. “If you make an external attribution, that is going to be healthier than you thinking, ‘Oh they’re right, I am a bad person, I deserve to be mistreated.’” Assari specializes in the study of “diminished returns” in quality of life and health that black people and other marginalized groups experience as they gain education and income in U.S. society. His research contends that black people reap fewer benefits — such as income and health — as they rise in education, compared to white people, which he attributes to structural racism. He has written half of the 300-some academic papers on that subject cited by the National Library of Medicine. He makes connections that would not be self-evident to someone who lacks training in his specialty. One of his recent papers, published in the Journal of Health Economics, says that Americans are less likely to smoke as their income level rises. But that rule doesn’t hold for high-income Chinese Americans, who are more likely to smoke as they generate more income.  So Assari postulates that upwardly mobile Chinese Americans resort to nicotine as a means of coping with the anti-Asian bias they encounter in this country’s elite institutions.   Yet, he also said that even though the anti-racist movement seems invincible now, overweening claims about systemic racism will eventually invite scholarly criticism, especially if equity policies and interventions now being implemented fail to deliver results. “I think there will be a very strong backlash against critical race theory very soon,” Assari said. “I don’t think it is sustainable. And it is falsifiable. So there would be an anti-CRT movement among other group of social scientists.” Nevertheless, Assari said systemic racism is a reliable theoretical framework because it parsimoniously explains the marginalization of many racial groups. “This is one model which explains many of our observations,” Assari said. “A theory is [reliable] when an observation or assumption holds regardless of the context, setting, place, population, design, sample. It is replicated many times across a diverse group of settings, age groups, resources, and outcomes.” LaVeist said segregation, much of it rooted in historical practices such as redlining and Jim Crow, is the primary driver of disparities. Poor neighborhoods are generally more polluted, closer to highways and industrial zones, and have less access to quality restaurants, grocery stores, public schools, and green spaces. Such environments tend to breed despair, which leads to crime and an overly aggressive police response. The constant stress of dealing with these hassles and micro-aggressions wears on the body, research into health disparities says, echoing arguments made by critical race theorists in the 1980s. One medical paper, published in The Lancet in 2017 and cited more than 1,500 times as of November, says that residential segregation is the foundation of structural racism, and notes that “growing research is linking interpersonal racism to various biomarkers of disease and well-being, including allostatic load, inflammatory markers, and hormonal dysregulation.” There are those who say the medical establishment is not going far enough in this research direction. The STAT News health information website reported in September that anti-racism and equity have become so trendy that “white scholars are colonizing research on health disparities.” According to the STAT investigation, white researchers are caught up in “a gold rush mentality” and “rushing to scoop up grants and publish papers.” The white scholars are replicating work done by black researchers without giving sufficient credit, a new form of exploitation practiced by “health equity tourists” and “opportunistic scientific carpetbaggers.” One of the worst offenders: JAMA’s August special issue on health disparities. “Not one of the five research papers published in the issue included a Black lead or corresponding author, and just one lead author was Hispanic,” STAT reported. Weil sympathizes with these concerns and said Health Affairs is creating a mentorship program to help scholars of color get their papers published in the journal. Weil, who said about 5% of submitted papers are accepted for publication at Health Affairs, is confident that dismantling power and privilege won’t necessitate compromising standards of excellence, and he considers such criticisms to be “generally false and intentionally inflammatory.” “Equitable representation should be the outcome of an equitable process, not the jerry-rigged result of a change of standards for one group — that is not where we want to be,” Weil said. “So if the fix here is an equitable outcome by lowering standards for a certain group, our readers will notice, and that’s not the end point I’m looking for.” Weil’s biggest concern is not that the anti-racist movement in medical research will go too far, but that the momentum and resolve will fizzle out. “I think it’s very hard to tell where you are on a swinging pendulum when you’re in the middle of it,” he said. “I am much more concerned that this will become a rote exercise where everyone genuflects to anti-racism but does nothing about it, than I am that this is an overcorrection.” Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

44 thoughtful and useful gifts under $25 you can buy on Amazon this holiday season

I asked my colleagues to share the best things they've bought for under $25 on Amazon. These are all of our favorite affordable finds. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Getty Images Amazon has wide selections and low costs, making it difficult to know what's worth buying. The Insider Reviews team shared the best things they've bought on Amazon for under $25. We unearthed some interesting finds, from a cheddar cheesy powder to a vintage puzzle. Amazon has become the one-stop shop for an unbelievable amount of online purchases. The e-commerce kingpin has a huge selection where you'll find household names, low prices, and the two-day (or two-hour) Prime shipping that panders well to those among us who are gluttons for instant gratification.But a huge selection can make it time-consuming and ultimately expensive to root out what's really worth spending your money on. The best loophole is to seek out recommendations from people you trust. We asked our colleagues at Insider about the best things they've bought on Amazon for under $25 - most of whom spend every day researching and testing thousands of products to find the few worth writing home about. Below are the 44 best things we've bought on Amazon that cost us less than $25: A ring that holds your nail polish Amazon Wearable Nail Polish Holder Ring (small)For the manicure-obsessed friend, this nail care gift is something they'll absolutely need. The wearable nail polish holder allows you to flawlessly polish your nails without bothersome spills. —Taylor Jeffries A deck of tarot cards Lauren Savoie/Insider Original Tarot Cards Deck (small)I'm not into the occult, but this deck of tarot cards has bought be endless hours of fun with my friends and insight for journaling. On days I don't feel inspired to write in my journal, I pull a card and reflect on whatever feelings it brings up. —Lauren Savoie A quick-drying styling brush Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Volume & Body Round Brush (small)Some may think a blow dryer does all the work, but a round brush makes all the difference. Replacing the $5 styling brush I've owned far past its use, the Wet Round Brush completely revived my hair routine. It grips onto large hair sections and helps dry my entire head in 10 minutes, making it a great haircare product to gift. Knowing its on Amazon, I'll definitely be gifting myself this brush more frequently. —Jacqueline Saguin A satisfying foot peel mask Amazon Foot Peel Mask (small)Ok, I know these things are all over the internet, but this winter is the perfect time to gift one of these viral foot peels. It took about five days for my feet to start peeling after using it, but it was so satisfying in a really gross, but fascinating sort of way. The end result was that my feet looked and felt softer, but I have to say that the process was all part of the fun. —Lauren Savoie A cat teaser toy that keeps interest Amazon Natural Instinct Cat Bait Morpho Teaser Toy (small)As a crazy cat mom, I'm constantly looking for new toys that my cat will like and she is very picky and loses interest pretty quickly. For whatever reason, she is obsessed with this teaser toy. I originally bought it for myself because I was tired of bird wands breaking or snapping and this looked like it had more solid construction (it does). An unexpected result is that my cat loves this gift more than any I've ever bought her and still hasn't lost interest a few months in. —Lauren Savoie Delicious coffee grounds Sally Kaplan/Insider Coffee Chicory (small)I usually abide by a time-consuming pour-over routine that involves grinding my own beans every morning, but when I'm short on time (and honestly, even when I'm not), I've come to rely heavily on this Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee. Most pre-ground coffee is flavorless and brews a weak cup, but this stuff is strong, rich, and delicious. Ten out of ten, highly recommend gifting this to a coffee lover! —Sally Kaplan A handy dough scraper Amazon Two-Piece Dough Scraper (small)If they bake a lot, do them a favor and gift a pack of these plastic bench scrapers. They're great for scraping dough out of bowls or off the counter — I can't tell you how handy they are! —Sally Kaplan A two-in-one workout bra tank Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Padded Sports Bra Tank Top (small)I've found some of my favorite workout pieces from Amazon. This two-in-one sports bra tank has a smoothing material that rivals luxury activewear fabrics that you may gift this season. Its cropped cut meets high-waisted leggings for a flattering fit. Plus, it comes in 19 fun colors. —Jacqueline Saguin A sweet-smelling scrub for sensitive skin Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Brown Sugar Body Scrub (small)Face and body scrubs make me nervous because of my sensitive skin, but this brown sugar exfoliator combines natural ingredients like sweet almond oil that are nourishing and gentler than other formulas. I typically use it on my body before I shave or before I apply self-tanner. It's comforting knowing that whenever I run out I can get it in just a couple of days. —Jacqueline Saguin A convenient Bluetooth charging port for your car Amazon Bluetooth FM Transmitter (small)My car is from 2005, long before Bluetooth connectivity in cars were standard. This little transmitter instantly brought my car up to present-day standards, letting me stream music and directions from my phone via an open radio channel. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and even has two USB ports so my husband and I can both charge our phones on long rides. It cost less than $15 and gifting this device will make your driving experience infinitely more enjoyable. —Lauren Savoie  A plastic bath drain cover Amazon Bottomless Bath Overflow Drain Cover (small)Ok, I know everyone and their mother raves about this gift, but it's the only thing allowing me to take baths in my current apartment. Our claw foot tub is from the early 20th century and if I don't cover the overflow drain, my bathtub only accommodates enough water to barely reach the top of my thighs before it starts draining — not a very pleasant or relaxing bath. This little plastic overflow drain cover lets me soak deeply and comfortably in my tub. —Lauren Savoie A cheesy powder that takes popcorn to the next level Sally Kaplan/Insider Cheddar Cheese Powder (small)I generally eat pretty healthy, but I think I'm in love with this tub of powdered cheese. It's so good on popcorn, in mac and cheese, and sprinkled on any other sort of cracker, chip, etc. It's a supremely cheesy and salty and delicious treat to gift! This is honestly one of the best Amazon purchases I've made in years. —Sally Kaplan A practical but chic wine holder Amazon Wine Rack (small)I wanted a non-bulky wine rack to sit on my kitchen counter, and I love the bright gold of this one. This honeycomb design holds seven bottles officially, but nine if you add two on top — and if you need more storage, you can buy two and stack them. —Rachael Schultz A set of hair clips Amazon Big Hair Claw Clips (small)I have really long hair and most clips can't hold it all back when I'm washing my face. These oversized clips are so great, I gifted the other three in this set to friends with crazy curly hair. All four of the matte colors are very lowkey and match everything. I've dropped mine at least two dozen times, and it has yet to break. —Rachael Schultz A challenging puzzle that doubles as vintage home decor Amazon Cats and Kittens 1,000 Piece Puzzle (small)I once gifted a Cavallini Papers & Co. puzzle to a puzzle lover, and they thought it was the perfect blend of challenging and aesthetically pleasing. They hung it up afterward, adding a sense of accomplishment as well as a nice vintage touch to their space. The company has even more fun designs like house plants and national parks map. —Jacqueline Saguin  A ring light that pulls out all the stops Jacqueline Saguin/Insider 10-inch LED Ring Light (small)I took a cue from our Insider Reviews team by gifting myself its pick for the best budget ring light. It has made my job on the style and beauty reviews team much easier, drastically cutting down on my photo-taking time. When I test makeup and clothing, I can set this up anywhere and adjust it to the angle I need in order to do my products justice. I love changing between its three different light settings: white, warm yellow, and warm white, to find the perfect glow. —Jacqueline Saguin An out-of-this-world moon lamp Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Saturn Lamp (small)Earning the title of Insider Reviews' best planet moon lamp, this light offers 16 soothing hues that illuminate a Saturn shape. I love its unique look and the subtle glow it gives while I watch movies at nighttime. This gift offers four color modes, including flash, strobe, fade, and smooth. The latter is my favorite as it softly transitions through all the colors. —Jacqueline Saguin A decorative antique tray that shows off and stores your beauty products Amazon Product CardThis tray is an aesthetically pleasing stage that doubles as decor and a proud home for my cosmetics. I use it in my bathroom, storing the skincare products and perfume I reach for every day. I've seen people using it on TikTok as a jewelry vanity to display their favorite pieces. —Jacqueline Saguin Spiral hair ties that won't break Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties (small)After using elastic hair ties for so long, I got tired of pulling out my hair, getting headaches, and snapping scrunchies. I had seen spiral hair ties before but assumed they wouldn't hold well. However, these ones from Kitsch really do the trick. They keep their shape, are comfortable, and avoid long-lasting ponytail bumps. I wear these with high ponytails, low ponytails, and even braids. —Katie Decker-Jacoby Espresso capsules that satisfy your coffee fix Amazon iperEspresso Capsule (Classico) (small)The majority of my Amazon order history is made up of these illy espresso capsules, and the orders have even been way more frequent since I started working from home. You'll need one of the illy pod machines to use them (I have the X7) but the investment is 110% worth it in my opinion.I can whip up an Italian espresso in under a minute, and it tastes so much better than the coffee from the Nespresso and Keurig machines I previously owned. Being able to buy the pods off of Amazon means my caffeine supply is always well-stocked, and if I ever do run out, I know I can get more in just two days max. —Ashley Phillips A hair mask that restores moisture to your scalp Amazon Premium Repair Hair Mask (small)I was looking for hair masks because my hair tends to get really dry in the wintertime. I bought this hair mask after doing some research on Asian hair products, and I'm so glad I did. My hair feels soft and moisturized after I use it, even if I just use it as a normal conditioner. It works even better as a leave-in deep conditioner, and I highly recommend gifting it to anyone who wants to add moisture to their hair. Bonus: It also smells amazing. —Allison Jiang An iPad case that is multi-functional Amazon Rebound Pencil Case (small)I needed a simple case for my new iPad Air 4 but was shocked by how much Apple charges for one of its cases. This option from ESR is a fraction of Apple's Smart Cover, and while it doesn't have as nice of a build quality as the Smart Cover, the ESR case is well-made nonetheless. It has a magnetic closure to wake the iPad's screen or put it to sleep, the cover folds into a stand, and there's a convenient slot for an Apple Pencil. My only complaint is that the case makes it hard to use the Touch ID sensor, but I'm quite satisfied given the price and overall usability. —Les Shu Fuzzy slippers to complete your work-from-home look Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Womens Fuzzy Slippers (small)I've been hearing about these Amazon slippers for months — from TikTok, Instagram, podcasts I listen to — so I had to give them a try. These slippers are comfy, just warm enough, and a perfect gift for working from home. The quality is also great for being under $20. An added bonus is that they come in almost any color you can imagine! —Victoria Gracie A knit beanie that's stylish and comfortable Amazon/Business Insider Acrylic Watch Hat (small)I've noticed Carhartt beanies have become increasingly popular and I finally jumped on the bandwagon. This beanie is cute, comfortable, and super warm. I got it in black so it would go with almost anything and I've been wearing it nonstop since I got it. —Victoria Gracie Ingredients for a favorite recipe Amazon Nature's Organic Freeze-Dried Strawberries (small)I buy a lot of recipe ingredients, spices, and hot sauces on Amazon that I'm less likely to find in stores near me, like these freeze-dried strawberries. They are the star ingredient in my Berry Crinkle Cookies recipe; I use one whole package per batch. — Ellen Hoffman  A liquid cleanser that works as a gentle hand soap for sensitive skin Amazon Liquid Cleanser (small)I bought this as an alternative to my household's Bath & Body Works hand soap stock. Its fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and dermatologist-tested formula pleases my sensitive skin. This straightforward cleanser gift never causes redness or irritation for frequent hand washers like me. I pour the liquid into a decorative holder so it matches my bathroom. — Jacqueline Saguin Makeup storage that fits a snug countertop Amazon Makeup and Jewelry Big Storage Case Display (small)I've always struggled with storing my makeup since I don't have a ton of space and I can never seem to find a way to keep it all organized. Most of my makeup fits nicely into these drawers and everything is now easy to find and organized. The drawers fit a ton, but aren't too large, making them the perfect gift to use on a bathroom countertop, dresser, or vanity. —Victoria Gracie Pimple patches that suck the gunk right out of your pores Left: Mighty Patch Original. Right: Invisible+ Mighty Patch. Mara Leighton/Insider Mighty Patch Original (36-count) (small, Preferred: Amazon)If you look at my Amazon history, these pimple patches are the only thing I consistently order. They're super effective at drawing out fluids from pimples and helping them deflate, and as small, virtually clear stickers, they're hardly noticeable by other people. Within a few hours, you can expect them to noticeably improve the look and swelling of your pimple — they're that reliable. — Connie Chen A natural clay mask that has a cult-following Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Indian Healing Clay Mask (small, Preferred: Amazon)This mask, as seen on Insider, transformed my skin and is probably my most recommended product to gift this season. The best part? It's $15! — Chelsey Hoffman A milk frother for homemade treats Amazon MilkPro Milk Frother (small)This gift is the BOMB. So easy to use and clean, and to spice up my weekend coffees/matcha drinks at home, allowing me to live my best bougie life. — Kirstie Jiongco A wash and stain bar that will keep your shirt collars looking nicer for longer Amazon Wash & Stain Bar (small)No $6 has had a more positive impact on my effort to preserve my clothing than the $6 I spent on this bar by The Laundress. I learned about this product from editor-in-chief Ellen Hoffman and I can honestly say it's the best thing I've done for my dress shirts. One bar has lasted me well over a year, and I just need to wet my shirt collar and rub the bar back and forth a few times before washing. It gets rid of all of the grime and oil from my collars. I was able to rehab shirts that were ready to go to charity or become rags. — Breton Fischetti A mini waffle-maker that gets the job done and takes up minimal countertop space Amazon Mini Waffle Maker (small)This teeny-tiny waffle maker is a small but mighty gift. For those rare instances when I'm craving a waffle or two, this very small appliance easily gets the job done and stays out of the way when it's stored. It's very easy to use and clean; just plug in and wait for the light, add your batter and close the iron. To clean, wait for the iron to cool down, then wipe with a damp cloth and you're done. — Melanie Winer  A pair of $15 earbuds that sound like they'd cost way more Amazon ErgoFit Earbuds (small)These Panasonic earbuds were easily the best $8.25 [price at the time] I ever spent on Amazon. The sound quality is fantastic and they're incredibly comfortable. I'm not someone who would ever spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of over-the-ear headphones, so these are exactly a budget-friendly gift. — Andrew Meola Hangers that actually keep your clothes hung up Jacqueline Saguin/Insider Velvet Non-Slip Clothes Hangers (30 Pack) (small)Clothes falling off hangers are a thing of the past once you gift these grippy velvet hangers to upgrade their closet. — Ellen Hoffman  A little 'Tub Shroom' that catches your hair before it clogs the drain Amazon Revolutionary Tub Drain Protector (small)Between her curly red hair and my long brown hair, my roommate and I shed a lot. Our tub doesn't have a drain catch and after a particularly effortful session with a plastic drain cleaner, I decided it was finally time to try this viral hair catcher out. This small silicone tool fits into most standard tub drains and collects all the hair before it washes down and clogs your drain. Take it out, remove the hair with a piece of toilet paper, and it's ready for the next shower."  — Connie Chen  Comfortable, public-friendly sweatpants Amazon Women's Drawstring Striped Joggers (small)As work from home continues, I've been looking for more sweatpants that I can comfortably work in that are also appropriate for walks and socially distant plans. These sweats are affordable to gift, have sustained washes and all-day wear, and the rainbow stripe down the side adds a bit of fun." — Emily Hein No-slip gel gripped socks Amazon Microfiber Liner Socks (small)These PEDS socks are the only ones I use, and I wear sneakers almost every day. The no-slip gel grips on the heel keep them from falling off and bunching up. — Sally Kaplan A hairbrush that won't break after a few months Wet Rubberized Wet Detangle Shower Brush (small)My thick hair has a long history of eating brushes, but the Wet Brush finally put a stop to that! It painlessly smooths out tangles and the bristles are tough enough that I only have to buy a new one every year or so. Before, my brushes only ever made it a few months. — Ashley Phillips An inexpensive, well-designed measuring cup Amazon Good Grips 3-Piece Angled Measuring Cup Set (small)OXO is my go-to kitchen brand for cheap, well-designed tools. This measuring cup set has an angled surface that allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level. I also highly recommend gifting OXO's silicone baking mat for creating a non-stick surface that makes for easier cleanups and this cookie scoop for scooping out balls of dough that are all the same size. — Ellen Hoffman  A slim wastebasket that fits almost anywhere, but also fits a lot of garbage Amazon Skinny Trash Can (small)Love this slim garbage can that fits into narrow spaces, but still holds a lot. — Navah Maynard Affordable jewelry that lets you save up for an investment piece Amazon Layered Choker Necklace (9-piece) (small)I love chokers and layering different necklaces together, but I have a short attention span when it comes to jewelry. I tend to lean more towards affordable jewelry that I can experiment with on different looks before committing to staple pieces that I know I'll wear forever. This choker set was a great addition to my summer looks, and now I have more of an idea of what I'm looking for when I eventually take the plunge on long-wear jewelry. — Emily Hein A PopSocket to make gripping a large iPhone less strenuous on your fingers Jacqueline Saguin/Insider PopGrip (small, Preferred: Amazon)When I got my iPhone X, I also picked up a PopSocket grip to make it easier to hold my phone without straining my fingers. I love it as a gift because it's practical, keeps one's phone secure, and lets me express my crazy cat lady side. — Malarie GokeyEditor's note: They come in a variety of colors and designs. A rapid egg cooking machine that's completely foolproof Amazon Rapid Egg Cooker (small, Preferred: Amazon)After I read Jen Gushue's review of this under-$20 rapid egg cooking gadget, I was fully influenced to buy it. It makes hard-boiled eggs in half the time of traditional methods with absolutely no guesswork, saving me a good chunk of time during the week and ensuring I actually eat breakfast on busy mornings. — Ellen Hoffman This handy water bottle that takes the guesswork out of hydration Amazon 32 oz Water Bottle with Time Marker (small)This water bottle comes with me everywhere I go. The secure lid ensures no spillage in my bag and the removable strap adds versatility in transportation. The printed tracking is the main selling point as a quick glance can let me know how I am doing with my daily water intake and if needed motivate me to ensure I am drinking at least 64oz of water per day. In a sense, this water bottle has gamified drinking water and that's fun for a gift! — Frank Massaro Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 11th, 2021