Louisiana's Bill Cassidy said the state's maternal death rate isn't so high if you "correct our population for race," Politico reported. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Sen Bill Cassidy said his state's high maternal death rates are more standard if you "correct for race," Politico reports. Louisiana has a high Black population and one of the worst maternal death rates in the US. Experts called this framing "disturbing," arguing the state must improve healthcare for Black women. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said that the state's poor maternal mortality rate is only an "outlier" because of the high proportion of Black women in the state, according to Politico. Cassidy's comment was featured in Politico's in-depth exploration of Louisiana's maternal death rates, which are among the worst in the country. The state ranks 47 out of 48 states assessed for maternal deaths, state officials said. Cassidy told the outlet that this is partly because "about a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality."So, if you correct our population for race, we're not as much of an outlier as it'd otherwise appear."He continued: "Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality."Overall, according to Louisiana's Department of Health, "four black mothers die for every white mother" in the state. It outpaces a three-to-one ratio nationwide, which is already the worst in the developed world, Politico reported. Dean Michelle Williams of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discussed Cassidy's comments in a blog post. (The Politico article was produced as part of a series partnership with the school.)Williams said: "It's no mystery why maternal mortality rates are so high among Black women. They are high because of the devastating impacts of structural racism and individual bias."According to the CDC, Black women are disadvantaged in their "access to care, quality of care, prevalence of chronic diseases, structural racism, and implicit biases" in healthcare.Williams said she found Cassidy's framing "disturbing.""This is not a moment to quibble about how states are ranked," Williams wrote."It's not a moment to correct for race. It's a moment to assert that Louisiana — precisely because it has such a large population of Black women — must seize a leadership role in making pregnancy and childbirth safer for all."She noted that Cassidy has supported numerous public health measures, including those that protect pregnancies. Cassidy's comment comes soon after Politico's publishing of a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a measure that the Senator supports. Anti-abortion organization Louisiana Right To Life says that Cassidy has a "100% pro-life voting record." Louisiana is also one of 13 states with "trigger laws" that would come into effect to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade, as looks likely, is overturned. Following the Roe leak, top British medical journal The Lancet warned in a stark editorial statement that "women will die" if the decision is overturned. Furthermore, Black women will be the group most affected by the move, ABC News reported.Asked by Politico how maternal death rates may be affected by the measure, Cassidy said: "If we're using abortion to limit maternal deaths, that's kind of an odd way to approach the problem."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for the many problems millennials now face. These millennials tell us about the problems they now face because of baby boomers. Business Insider Deutschland Millennials are accused by some of being whiny, narcissistic, and too politically passive. A number of them suggest, however, that the real problem isn't them; it's baby boomers. 21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for many problems millennials now face. See more stories on Insider's business page. Whiny, self-obsessed, not politically engaged enough - the accusations directed at millennials by older generations seem endless.Millennials, or anyone born between 1980 and 2000, often get painted as pampered do-gooders with a naive worldview, whose priorities extend only to getting sabbaticals and being allowed to work from home.That said, decades of disregard for the climate, unfair policies and structures being implemented between the generations, and questionable ideas concerning success in the workplace have left 18 to 38-year-olds with a heavy weight to bear.Twenty-one young people from Germany told Insider of the problems the baby boomers have created and perpetuated in Germany and how they can be solved:'Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong.' Felix Finkbeiner, 20, environmental activist. Flickr / Plant for the Planet We're hurtling towards the edge of a cliff at full pelt - it isn't for the sake of science that we're trying to figure out the quantity by which sea levels are set to rise; it's about survival.Together, with more than 67,000 other children and young people from our Plant for the Planet initiative, I've committed myself to combat the climate crisis. And yes, perhaps the older generation is listening to us but are they doing enough?The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The CO2 clock is ticking. What must we do and what can we do right now? Well, we can massively reduce our CO2 emissions. And we can plant 1,000 billion trees to absorb a quarter of man-made CO2. I'd say to the older generations, to company bosses, and to politicians: "Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong or what's going wrong - let's plant trees together and save our future."'It's older people who get to call the shots on pensions - yet they no longer have to cough up.' Sarna Röser, 30, chairwoman of Junger Unternehmer (Young Entrepreneurs). BJU Most baby boomers will be retiring soon, which will put considerable pressure on our pension system. There's a massive disparity between the number of working people and the increasing number of pensioners for whom those working people are footing the bill.I think a simple and logical solution would be if everyone had to work for a period of time during their later years. And retirement should be linked to life expectancy. I'm skeptical about who decides what's what when it comes to pensions. You only find older people sitting on the Pensions Commission, who no longer foot the bill themselves. We younger people have to hand out payments but aren't given a say.'The biggest problem the baby boomers have left us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crap.' Kevin Kühnert, 28, national chairman of the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Jusos. Getty Images The biggest problem the baby boomers have dumped on us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crappy habits: it's the state they've in which they've left the future of our pension system. Pay-as-you-go financing, which has been successfully practiced for decades, will come under increasing pressure as more baby boomers leave the workforce and begin receiving benefits from the pension fund. This news comes as no surprise but politics has, so far, failed to make provisions for that day, when it comes.Fewer contributors and more beneficiaries mean great challenges will be posed for the statutory pension for a good 15 years. How these challenges will be managed isn't just a technical question. In fact, some are taking the opportunity - through scandalous inaction - to slowly chip away at the principle of solidarity when it comes to pensions and to privatize them. If all employees became contributors, we could increase contributions slightly and, if necessary, avoid shying away from tax subsidies.'We've inherited the baby boomers' workaholic attitude and taken it to the next level. Stefanie Laufs, 31, senior communications consultant at a PR agency. Stefanie Laufs The notion that Generation Y has no interest in professional success and thinks of the home office as synonymous with doing nothing is certainly not new - and unfortunately, it's firmly rooted in the minds of many among the older generation. I actually believe we've inherited their workaholic attitude - always better, always more, always higher - and that we've taken what the baby boomers did and pushed it much further.Whether among friends, colleagues, or in reports in the media - no other generation linked with topics such as burnout or partly unpaid overtime as often as ours. The demands on our generation when it comes to starting a career are enormous. You're expected to have five years of professional experience after completing your studies as well as to nearly have finished your Ph.D. Of course, you can't solely blame the baby boomers, but they've always stressed the importance of establishing a career and reinforced that it was the key to a successful and happy life. Although we've taken on this attitude, we'd actually do a lot better to leave it behind. Generation Y continues to work a lot, but having a private life is much more important than money: leisure and downtime shouldn't be overlooked.Our generation is on its way to achieving the ideal work-leisure balance and to putting the baby boomers' workaholic madness to rest.'Too much emphasis on progress and performance is a key problem we've inherited from the older generation.' Jonathan Sierck, 24, author of the book 'Junge Überflieger'. Jonathan Sierck A serious problem we've inherited from the older generation is this fixation on progress and performance. In our tireless efforts to push boundaries, whatever the cost, there's usually little room to address the often serious consequences. There's no doubt about it: constant growth and development do pay off and, as a species, we have to take certain risks every now and then in order to move forward and survive. But pushing boundaries mustn't become the objective itself nor must it come at the cost that it currently does.In order to steer us into a desirable future, we need those in decision-making positions to be sharp. They need both the courage to change yet the informed judgment to pick up on warning signs too. To ensure we don't continue to deplete our resources, we need a clear plan that takes into consideration the effects of our actions. Otherwise, we'll leave our future generations with more - possibly even more serious - problems than those we have inherited, whether they be nuclear waste, the bees dying off, or climate disasters.'Our education systems barely differ to those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.' Magdalena Rogl, 33, head of digital channels Microsoft Germany. Magdalena Rogl I'm firm on the notion that we owe much to those who came before us. Especially the generation born in 1968, who revolutionized so much and helped break down so many structures.But one area in which far too little has happened in recent decades is education. Our education systems have barely changed from those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.At the age of 10, our children are still "sorted" into schools - not based on their individual talents, but purely according to their grades. Applicants are still assessed according to their qualifications on paper far too often, and not by what they actually know. And academic degrees are still worth more than emotional education.I still remember the look of horror on the faces of my first boyfriend and his parents when I announced I was leaving high school as soon as I legally could, to follow my heart and become a childcare worker.But I think I learned more life lessons through doing so than I could have ever done at university.And that's exactly what our generation so urgently needs: lessons in life. More and more tasks are being taken over by machines and artificial intelligence. The skills Generation Y needs in professional life today are not obedience, authority, and academic knowledge, but empathy, flexibility, and problem-solving.Our generation must adapt quickly to new circumstances, because the job you did yesterday may look quite different tomorrow. And the office is no longer about sitting at a desk from nine until five; it's about working at a time and place that maximizes one's quality of work, based on the individual.That's why I'm committed to ensuring our future generations get better human and digital education, so they make our world more human and each individual person can be as he or she is - and thus achieve their own best performance.'Those who monopolize most of the power are, on average, much too old.' Daniel Krauss, 35, cofounder and chief information officer of Flixbus. Flixbus Today's prosperity is probably the greatest legacy of the previous generation. We should definitely be grateful for it. But it's not as though it's being passed down to younger generations without its drawbacks. The downside is that his focus on prosperity means few provisions have been made for the future and we haven't adapted to our current challenges.Those who monopolize most of the power are still, on average, far too old. Our generation is still trapped in a gilded cage. At some point, young Germans are going to escape that cage and find that the country is no longer at the top of the list of industrial nations.This power needs to be handed over to the younger generation at an early stage. We're ready to take on the responsibility and start restructuring things.'The older generation knows little about what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet.' Jörg Mayer and Nadine Horn, both in their early thirties, are vegan bloggers on 'Eat this'. Eat This The abundance in food and convenience have featured heavily in the kitchens of the post-war generation. Where meat had previously featured rarely on the dining table, it was almost a compulsory, everyday part of meals in the 1950s. But it had to be simple, fast, and cheap.It's becoming increasingly clear that this kind of practice can't go on indefinitely for future generations.Due to this abundance and a lack of true appreciation for food, some among the older generation have little idea about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet. What's more, over the years a lot of marketing-driven pseudo-sciences - which, simply put, is often wrong and sometimes even dangerous - have persisted.Questions like: "Where do vegans get protein from if they don't eat meat?" or the myth that milk consumption is good for the bones (when the opposite is true) are still firmly anchored in their minds and will only be shifted with a lot of effort.We try to set a good example and show that vegan life is anything but boring, that we don't just live off salad or tofu - that the kitchen can be a place to have fun. We're trying to show that cooking with friends, either alone or in pairs, is not another tedious chore; it's the best thing you can do.'Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously.' Ria Schröder, 26, chairman of Jungen Liberalen (the Young Liberals). Business Insider Deutschland The baby boomers, our parents and theirs, have been instrumental in ensuring we grew up with high living standards. I'm grateful for that but we've also inherited a few problems, one of them being the pension situation. Like many in my generation, I don't assume I'll be provided for in old age. The level of baby boomers being paid for by us is ever increasing while there are fewer of us to foot the bill. It's great that people are living longer but the subsidy for the pension system is already the largest item in the German budget.At the same time, less and less is being invested in the future: for example, in education, and in infrastructure. My generation is outnumbered. But those who focus only on large voter groups are putting the future of our country at risk in favor of short-term electoral success. Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously. Ultimately it will help not only one generation but the whole country.'We know humanity has power over the Earth's biophysical systems, thanks to our predecessors.' Sina Leipold, 32, junior professor of social transformation and circular economy at the University of Freiburg. Sina Leipold For some time, we've known humanity affects and has control over the Earth's biophysical systems more than any other force of nature - knowledge we've attained only thanks to our predecessors. It is both a blessing and a curse for our generation.Never before have so many people been able to inhabit our planet and never before have commodities like regular holiday flights been so easy and readily affordable.At the same time, hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves have threatened to destroy (and, in many cases, have destroyed) the lives and homes of millions.My personal goal, through a more responsible approach than previous generations, is to help our generation ensure this power sticks around long term, instead of putting it at risk by inviting irreversible climate disasters.'Older generations aren't prepared to take risks.' Christopher Obereder, 26, startup founder. David Visnjic Setting up a business in Germany is far too complex; it should be more straightforward. Other countries are well ahead and we should be moving on as soon as possible. The tax system in Germany is also massively outdated and makes it extremely difficult for those looking to get started with a business.Start-ups could be much better supported with tax reforms so the start-ups could focus more on taking care of their business. Singapore has attracted startups from all over the world with its simple control system and has become the hub of the crypto scene. Our political structures are also too slow to change and aren't able to keep up with innovation. Things have to change on this front.A survey by U.S. News showed Germany was in first place in the "Entrepreneurship" category, ahead of Japan and the USA. It's clear Germany is at the forefront despite the clear room for improvement.Work has also changed: people used to stay in the same job their whole life, which is why it used to be feasible to work without constantly developing and learning. Today we seem to switch jobs every year or two. I think it has a lot to do with the Internet.We always need to be ready to learn new things and take risks. And many opportunities and possibilities arise with the Internet if you're open to it - cryptocurrencies are something I'm currently heavily involved in and open to, and I realize older generations aren't.There's a conflict simply because older generations always advocate stability and safety over risk-taking, which they aren't prepared to do. I can only speak for myself but if I'd never taken risks, I'd never have learned. We have to learn through trial and error that you can't make money from anything and everything. Failure has become a valid part of working life, even if older generations still don't want to admit it.But older generations are starting to accept the start-up scene for what it is: it's fast-moving, involves risk-taking, and isn't always lucrative.'The older generation has left European peace in a fragile state.' Lisa Badum, 34, Green Party parliament representative. Lisa Badum The rapid rise in greenhouse gases, the dramatically worsening climate crisis, the question of nuclear waste disposal, the irreversible death of countless plant and animal species - these are just some of the many consequences of failed climate and environmental policies from previous generations. Because they haven't relied on sustainability, they've dumped the consequences of and responsibility for their actions onto future generations. We're now having to face a mammoth challenge together: to keep global warming below two degrees to give future generations the chance to make mistakes.As for Europe, our younger generation has inherited the task of establishing European peace, a project which the older generation has left in a sorry state. The continually rising rate of youth unemployment within the EU, austerity policies, Brexit - all of these things have greatly weakened the notion of the "European community" and reinforced right-wing nationalist and populist forces in Europe. I myself have close ties with Greece, and over the years I've witnessed the destructive effects of austerity there, and have also seen growing disillusionment towards the EU. We have to stop this in its tracks and do it now because lasting peace between us all is the most basic of prerequisites for taking on the many challenges ahead and finding solutions for tomorrow.Where justice and gender equality are concerned, the older generation has set us on a path of clear progress, particularly as regards legal equality between the sexes. While we have to defend this success, we also have to continue fighting for 100% equality between men and women, whether in family and work, pay or pension, and the end of sexual violence towards women and girls.'Digitisation is largely a generational issue.' Barbara Engels, 30, economist at the Institute of German Economics Cologne (IW). IW Cologne Being digital means being online, networking, being open to new business models - and being young. It seems to be a largely generational issue: older people are less likely to be online than younger people, which is a pity because digitization opens up many new possibilities, especially for people who are aging. It can simplify and enrich everyday life. I hope people of all ages will greet digitization with open arms and optimism, but obviously not without a healthy dose of skepticism. Networking is at the heart of the digital world and could contribute to a better level of understanding between young and old. And it would help us learn much more from older people and vice versa.'Pension plans are a big disappointment.' Kristine Lütke, 35, president of WirtschaftsjuniorDeutschland (the Junior Chamber Germany). Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland The subsequent drop in birth rate as a result of the rise of the contraceptive pill among the baby boomers is exacerbating demographic change. This has resulted in a shortage of specialists and labor in all areas of the economy. We young entrepreneurs and managers in particular are suffering from this as employers. Moreover, our country's pension plans are a huge disappointment for our generation and an attack on intergenerational justice, particularly in view of demographic changes. The question of billions of funding for the "maternal pension" that's been proposed in Germany remains open.What can be done to increase employment rates and to mitigate the consequences of demographic change, as well as the pensions package? We need to look at options for flexible retirement. The statutory retirement age should be done away with. And working time law needs to be fundamentally reformed.'Climate change presents us with challenges that will dictate the opportunities of future generations.' Lukas Köhler, 31, Free Democratic Party Member of Parliament. Lukas Köhler We've inherited a lot of problems to do with CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change today presents us with a task - and how we manage this task will directly determine the opportunities available for future generations. That's why I'm fully committed to limiting climate change as much as possible. We will only succeed with a market-based climate policy in which politicians set clear targets for reducing emissions. Other bans and regulations are unnecessary and provide false incentives. If we succeed in building a global emissions trading scheme with ambitious goals, which is as broad as possible for all economic sectors, I'm convinced we can limit global warming to an acceptable level.'We've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability.' Sonja Oberbeckmann, 36, environmental microbiologist at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. Sonja Oberbeckmann We have much to thank the previous generations for: no generation has grown up as carefree and with as many possibilities as ours. However, it's come at a price: we've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability, where material prosperity counts more than individual happiness.My professional field, science, is set up for the short term: there are many temporary contracts, focusing on trendy topics. But this profit-focused society has left its mark everywhere. The environment is riddled with pesticides, exhaust gases, plastics, and much more. People are stressed and it seems they would sooner pop pills than demand the time to live more healthily. Hardly anyone stops to breathe.We, all generations together, can define new goals and break out of this established cycle, that's exploiting human and environmental resources. Instead of sitting passively in front of the television and getting worked up about company bosses, we should all be taking responsibility and consuming both more sustainably and consciously. And we should be asking ourselves from time to time what actually makes us truly happy.'We're still teaching as though we're in the 19th century.' Nina Toller, Private Teacher. Business Insider Deutschland Living in the 21st century, teaching 19th-century style: this is what seems to be at the core of our schooling.I've tried myself to fend this off with learning methods that combine critical thinking and communication with creativity and teamwork, as well as the use of digital media. My students shouldn't just be learning content and facts; they should be learning how to obtain new facts, how to share work effectively and efficiently, and how best to absorb and apply what they've learned. In this way, they develop openness, a willingness to learn, and also a certain degree of independence. The teacher becomes more of a companion for learning and a moderator.My school is open to digital media and supports me in my creative work. I almost always use QR codes or get foreign-language authors, into the classroom via Skype.Yet, due to a lack of technical support, training, time, and security, few teachers can organize something like this on their own initiative. On my page "Toller Unterricht" I publish lots of my ideas as well as tried and tested lesson plans, with materials included.Politicians have made promises to digitize schools. In addition to the lack of qualifications teachers have, there also seems to be a lack of equipment. I'm glad my school has some projectors and smartboards I can use for my lessons, but some don't even have Internet access.Data protection is currently being taken to ridiculous extremes: new data protection regulation makes the use of private computers difficult, so some are being advised to use paper and pen. This won't work within the frame of a digitization strategy for Germany in 2018.Therefore, comprehensive reform is needed. Only then can we equip all our students with the skills to prepare them for life and learning in the 21st century.'It's as if the parents think schools are responsible for raising children.' Franziska Hafer, 23, teacher. Franziska Hafer The older generation has paid far too little attention to sustainable development. Sustainable development means empowering children to form their own opinions and encouraging them to act sustainably. Sustainable development means the current generation is developing, not compromising the next generation, but actively considering it. Children haven't been sensitized to this at all.I think there's a very different tone in schools now. I get the sense that kids are becoming less and less respectful. Manners are disappearing and, unfortunately, you rarely see a boy holding the door open for a girl. It's as if parents think schools are responsible for bringing children up.Some children are only interested in who has the latest, highest-end mobile. The children who do not have a say in this are outside the picture - and I think that the generation above us is responsible for instilling different values.'We've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us.' Max Lucks, 21, spokesman for Grünen Jugend (Green Youth). Max Lucks We've not inherited generational conflicts; we've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us, which has dealt little with political change or shaping the future and has been more focused on how everything can remain as is. One only has to look at how Merkel's government dealt with a climate crisis and how it's always been ignored and fought against by one commission or another. This political style has disappointed our generation and rightly so: it's clear to young people that a little isn't enough to answer the hard questions. For example, how can we still find well-paid and permanent jobs in 20 years' time in spite of digitalization?'The older ranks of conservative politicians are afraid of change.' Akilnathan Logeswaren, 29, European Activist. Business Insider Deutschland As an activist for a united Europe, I'm always reminded of how much of the older ranks of conservative politicians fear change. While young people are almost unanimous in their commitment to a united Europe, the older generation is still resistant to it, although though the United States of Europe has been on the agenda of previous German political figures such as Franz Josef Strauss himself.While old politicians are practicing against the left by remaining on the right, today's young people are already focusing more on the spirit of the European Parliament, namely by looking for solutions.In the 21st century, it is no longer about just having ideas, but about collaborating for a shared future. For example, the campaign #FreeInterrail - a free Interrail ticket for all Europeans as soon as they turn 18 - was devised by the youth for the youth. Ideas like these will secure our peace and cohesion in the long term.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Kenneth Tropin, Graham Capital Management, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in… Read More The post Transcript: Kenneth Tropin appeared first on The Big Picture. The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Kenneth Tropin, Graham Capital Management, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have yet another extra special guest. And this is really a fascinating extra special guest who you probably never heard of, but you should. His name is Ken Tropin. Where do I even begin with him? He is a member of the Futures Hall of Fame. He is the chairman and founder of Graham Capital Management, which runs $18 billion and has amassed quite a track record. He used to work with John Henry, currently the owner of the Boston Red Sox, and another successful hedge fund manager. He worked with Paul Tudor Jones. The list of people he knows and has trained with and under is quite astonishing. The firm that he’s built is one of those very quiet, very successful entities that without a whole lot of media coverage, without a whole lot of fanfare, just amassed an enormous amount of capital because they’ve done so well for their clients over time. I found the conversation with Ken to be absolutely fascinating, and I think you will also. If you’re all interested in macro investing, trend following, commodities, currencies, fixed income, various types of quantitative strategies, and most important of all, risk management, you’re going to find this conversation to be absolutely fascinating. With no further ado, my interview of GCM’s Ken Tropin. I want to start with your background. You began at Shearson in the 1980s. Tell us a little bit about those days. KENNETH TROPIN, CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER, GRAHAM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well, you know, here we are at a very different place and time, so it’s kind of cool to reflect back on what was happening in 1980. RITHOLTZ: Like, very different universe, right? TROPIN: Right. Well, for example, interest rates were 14% when I started at Shearson. RITHOLTZ: And those were Treasuries. We’re not talking junk bonds here. TROPIN: Yeah. No, no, no. And in fact, I think we got as high as 20 early in my career. And so, you know, it was a very interesting time to begin, which I did as an account executive at Shearson. And then in 1982, Dean Witter recruited me to join them and to really start managing what was their fledgling hedge fund practice, which was really with CTAs back in that era, and then evolved into, you know, more macro style funds. RITHOLTZ: So you eventually become director of Managed Futures at Dean Witter Reynolds. TROPIN: Yup. RITHOLTZ: That’s pretty early in the managed futures history. Tell us a little bit about that era. TROPIN: Sure. It was an era where, you know, first of all, the markets were really inefficient, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: So it was very fertile to do what we do because markets moved a lot. There was a lot of volatility. And I think it’s almost the polar opposite of where the world has been the last few years, where volatility has been so much subdued, and you know, equities have been such a strong performer. But back in 1982, you know, stocks were very quiet. They were in a trading range. Interest rates were super high. Commodity markets were moving a lot. And there wasn’t a lot of competition, if you’re a trader in that early part of the industry’s history. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about that inefficiency for a moment. Today, you want to hang a shingle or you want to open your own proprietary trading, it’s very difficult to find an edge and consistently make money. Back in the 1980s, that wasn’t necessarily the case. TROPIN: Yeah. I mean, relatively simple trading systems made money. And you know, they had volatility, and people were okay with volatility because everything was volatile back then. And so, you know, it was relatively, I wouldn’t say straightforward because I don’t think generating consistent profits has ever been something that’s so straightforward or so easy. But on a relative basis, it was easier. And of course, when you have a young industry, that’s a great time to get involved. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, to say the very least. So after Dean Witter Reynolds, you end up as CEO of John Henry and Company. Tell us a little bit about that experience. TROPIN: Yeah. John was one of our managers that we had, you know, our clients invest in. And in 1989, he and I explored, me leaving Dean Witter to join his firm as CEO. His company was in California at that time. I wanted to be on the East Coast. We moved the firm to Connecticut, and I was there for about four and a half years. And then he and I saw things differently in 1993. And I parted company, and you know, had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do, and ultimately decided I wanted to start up my own fund. And that’s how Graham got, you know, underway in the spring of 1994. RITHOLTZ: So we’re going to talk a lot more about Graham, but John Henry seem to have done pretty okay for himself. TROPIN: Sure. I mean, he now owns the Red Sox, among things. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, relocated to Boston, right? TROPIN: And you know, he’s done very, very, very well. He’s left the finance world, but he’s certainly not left the business world. RITHOLTZ: And he seemed to have brought the same set of analytical chops to owning the Red Sox as he did in his own hedge fund. TROPIN: Yeah, I think that’s kind of who he is. RITHOLTZ: Quantitative database and logical decisions, which, you know, seemed to have broken the Curse of the Babe. TROPIN: Well, yeah, you know, let’s face it, right? I mean, it was a year that they were down 3 and 0 to the Yankees or something, and then ended up prevailing in that World Series. I’m a Yankee fan so I can’t say I was rooting for that, but that’s what happened. RITHOLTZ: A hundred years was all it took to overcome that one mistake. All right. So let’s talk a little bit about founding Graham Capital in 1994. You leave John Henry. You have a little time to think about what you want to do. What was the process like launching a new hedge fund in the early to mid ‘90s? TROPIN: I mean, this is not an easy thing to do ever. I would say would probably somewhat, you know, easier to do in ‘94 than it would be today, where the world has become so institutional. And you know, I’ve been longtime close friends with Paul Jones and Mark Dalton, the President, and you know, when Paul, the founder and CEO of Tudor. And when I left Henry, we talked about a couple of ideas I had about starting my own fund, and they were kind enough and eager to invest and help me seed Graham, which made it a lot easier to get the fund off the ground. RITHOLTZ: Sure. TROPIN: And I invested my prop capital alongside of their prop capital, and we began trading in I guess it was July or something like that of 1994. RITHOLTZ: What sort of strategies were you using when you first launched the firm? TROPIN: Yeah. So it was trend following systems that I designed. And they had some features to them that were intended to take advantage of what’s very good about trend following, which is sort of capturing these big right tail moves. But we’re also intended to not have some of the givebacks that people associate with trend following when trends reverse. And those were techniques that I came up with, that I thought would work. They ended up being pretty successful. And that’s, you know, in the early days of Graham, like any new hedge fund, I did everything from designing trading systems to executing those systems. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about trend following because people who are professional traders, or especially futures and commodities traders, are fairly familiar with that strategy. I don’t know if all our listeners are. The basic concept is when one of these asset classes starts a long move, they tend to go much further and much longer than people typically expect, and you want to capture as much of that move as possible. Is that too much of an oversimplification? TROPIN: Yeah. That’s a pretty good description. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. TROPIN: And think of it this way, that a good trend following system will identify based on momentum signals, that a trend is underway. Let’s take a recent example, energy prices. Everybody knows energy prices have gone up in the last six months quite a bit. And you know, a simple trend following system is going to identify that this is a strong trend, and it’s going to get you on the right side of that trend. Now, at some point, that trend is going to end. And that same trend following system is never going to predict the exact top, but it’s going to get you out of that trend after it’s made some amount of profit on the way up. And it’s always going to expect to lose some of those profits when the trend reverses, but still end up capturing the meat of the trend. So if you could say that the maximum size of a trend was, say, 100, maybe you might capture 60% or 70% of that trend. And if you’re able to do that in a diverse number of markets and asset classes, while managing risk in the markets that aren’t trending, you know, that’s in general how trend following works. It’s much better to be involved in trend following when markets are moving. And when markets are quiet and sideways, not as easy to make money in turn. RITHOLTZ: Right. Right. I’m thinking about how you catch the reversal at the end. Obviously, you have to be willing to give back some of the profits before it’s clear that the trend was broken. How do you avoid the false positives, the whipsaws? I can count how many times when I was a young Turk on a trading desk, you would get shaken out of a move, and then it would, as soon as you’re gone, immediately go back to the prior trend. TROPIN: Yeah. It’s a great question. There are a lot of technologies that people use that we use. You know, some of those technologies can include having multiple signals and multiple time horizons. So maybe your quick systems get shaken out on sort of a minor or medium reversal. But your longer term systems, for example, take longer to get knocked out. And so most people I know who do this do not have one-time horizon. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: They use multiple time horizons. That’s just an example of a technique that’s easy to understand. RITHOLTZ: You guys do everything from quantitative analysis to macro. Tell us a little bit about your approach to trading the markets. TROPIN: Sure. Well, as you sort of referenced, we do a lot of different trading styles at Graham. We do discretionary macro trading, which is typically a portfolio manager — and we have some number of portfolio managers, 15 or 18 different portfolio managers that independently manage a book of, you know, risk assets. And they will decide what they’re going to buy and sell. And they’re going to live with certain risk policies, and they’re going to, hopefully, not be all doing the same thing at the same time. And then we also run a large quantitative business, which is a model-driven, you know, computer trading system business that is also really diversified in the types of models it uses. Some are pure momentum-based models which people identify with trend following. But then there are some models that are value-based, that are fundamentally based. Some, you know, are smart systems that are learning systems. So there are a lot of different ways to hopefully make money in the macro markets that we are involved in. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about that diversification. If you have 18 different portfolio managers, and I know you’re only half joking when you say “we hope they’re not all doing the same things,” by design, the assumption is each of them are bringing a different approach to the assets they’re covering, or is it possible that some of them are overlapping with others? TROPIN: Yeah. Well, the answer is yes to both. So we currently have 15 different teams, not 18, although there are a couple of teams that are pretty close to joining us. And many of them are going to be trading the most important macro market. So you know, that’s fixed income markets. That’s the equity markets. That’s the foreign exchange markets, and to some extent, commodities. And some of them are going to have similar views when really interesting big moves are happening. An example of that is there was a big move up and rates that sort of peaked in May, and a lot of our traders got involved in that and benefited from rates going up in Germany and rates going up in the United States. There are other times where they have very different time horizons. And so one trader might, you know, be long U.S. fixed income, and a trader right next to him is short. And they could both actually be right, depending on the time horizon. So somebody who has a very short term trading style could be short for a week and get out and make a profit doing that. While the other trader who’s long is waiting, you know, for 6 to 8 or 12 weeks for his position to accomplish what he thinks he should accomplish. So different time horizons, different assets. We have traders that are involved in, you know, a lot of interest rate derivatives, swaps, the yield curve, things that our trading systems don’t always get involved in, but our traders will. So for example, as you know, there’s been this giant flattening of the yield curve. That’s been something that a number of our traders have been involved in, something that typically the, you know, technical systems wouldn’t be so involved in. RITHOLTZ: And you sit on the risk management committee, when you have all these teams with a lot of authority and a lot of independence, trading their own models, how do you manage that? That sounds like that’s a lot of balls in the air at once. TROPIN: It is. But you know, we have a lot of technology to support all of that. We have risk systems that are live P&L reporting models that tell us what every trader’s performance is every minute of the day that the markets are open. RITHOLTZ: Wow. TROPIN: And then we meet every day at 9:30 and have since 2008, to look at every trader’s portfolio, how has it changed since the previous day? Who’s added to risk? Who’s got risk? What assets are they in? We run stress tests on all of their positions. We see who’s performing well, who might be struggling. And you know, if we have to encourage a trader to reduce risk or do nothing, we, as the senior management team of the firm, are acutely aware of exactly what the firm’s risk is at any minute of the day. And I think it’s that discipline to meet and have, you know, total transparency into risk taking helps manage, you know, the outcome quite a bit. RITHOLTZ: And you guys have been doing this for almost 30 years, so you obviously know a thing or two about risk management. I look around this year, I see some quant-focused hedge funds blowing up to say nothing of all the venture investments into crypto. And some of the crypto funds really just losing 90%, 95%, in some cases, a 100% of their assets. As someone who is a professional risk manager, when you look out, what do you see when the world around you has these frequent flare-ups? TROPIN: Well, you know, it always gives you religion about managing risk, right? RITHOLTZ: Yeah. TROPIN: I mean, at the end of the day, it’s awfully important to make money for our clients and on our proprietary capital for ourselves. But the only way you’re going to do that is by managing the downside. And so we’re just really conservative in our risk policies. We’re not so conservative that there’s no breathing room to make money because if you’re not willing to lose some money, you can’t make any money. I mean, it’s an age old thing in investing and trading. But the question is how much. And we’re just very process-driven in how we look at risk, how we analyze it. You know, we’ve learned that we just have to make some hard decisions fairly quickly at certain moments. And we’ve had moments where we’ve had traders lose more than we would have liked them to have lost. We’ve got trading systems that have had bad cycles. But we have prevailed over 29 years because, in general, we avoid, you know, some really bad experiences that sort of, as you alluded to, we try not to let that happen to us or to our clients. RITHOLTZ: It’s pretty clear that a number of the funds that have blown up didn’t seem to have a whole lot of risk controls in place. It’s one thing to take a loss, it’s another thing to let a bad situation become a fatal one. TROPIN: Yeah. Well, I think that, you know, it kind of speaks to who is Graham. We’re a conservative firm. We’ve been doing this for 29 years. I’ve been involved in the markets for over 40. You’ll learn a lot over that amount of time that, you know, you can’t be in a hurry to try and make a profit. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: You’ve got to just, you know, be a patient investor. You got to be an opportunistic investor. And if you manage conservatively your business, I like the odds of you finding the moments when it’s good for what you do and capitalizing on it. RITHOLTZ: You know, I’m going to editorialize briefly, but I’ve had this conversation — Third Bridge Forum has a huge archive of expert interviews. Their content covers both public and private companies in any sector across all major geographies around the globe. To give you a sense, last year, over 16,000 investment professionals from a thousand firms, private equity, public equity and credit, downloaded approximately 500,000 interview transcripts from Third Bridge Forum. Each transcript covers a one-hour in-depth interview between an unbiased sector analyst and a specially sourced industry executive. Find out how the globe successful investors use Third Bridge to make better decisions at thirdbridge.com/mib. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: — countless times about just be long term greedy, just be patient, it will come to you and everybody that seems to get into trouble, whether it’s a trader or a fund, or whatever, it’s always that hurry that seems to cause their disasters. TROPIN: Yeah, that’s a factor for sure. It’s not the only one, right? Like liquidity can change. RITHOLTZ: Sure. TROPIN: And that is something that can bite you when something that was relatively liquid and easy to get in and out of becomes eloquent. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: And you know, we’ve seen that in some of the situations you described earlier of funds having problems. And so one of the things we really scrutinize as risk managers is what’s happening with liquidity? How is it changing? And is there any adverse behavior as it relates to liquidity that we should be very careful and thoughtful about? RITHOLTZ: And last question about the various teams, does everybody have a different benchmark? How do you track performance? Is it strictly absolute returns, or are people working towards a specific bogey that they’re comparing themselves with? TROPIN: Yeah. It’s really an absolute return business. And you know, we are trying to have our traders generate, you know, call it high single digits, low double digit returns, with relatively moderate volatility. So annual volatility of 4%, or something like that. And that’s a pretty good ballpark idea of the parameters that we ask traders to live within. And that’s a pretty comfortable place for our clients. You know, our — RITHOLTZ: Meaning the amount of risk they’re willing to assume relative to potential reward? TROPIN: Correct. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. I want to start talking about the current environment with a quote of yours that I really like. You said, “I can’t recall a more interesting time to be a macro investor since the financial crisis.” Tell us a little bit about that. I haven’t heard a lot of people describe this year 2022 that way. TROPIN: Yeah. Well, you know, because we’re a macro-oriented fund, what we’re really concerned with is what’s happening with interest rates, what’s happening with foreign exchange, what’s happening with commodity prices, and what’s happening with equity prices. And all of those four sectors have been moving a lot. And so that’s a really fertile, constructive environment for us to try and generate returns. RITHOLTZ: Meaning if they’re moving, you’re finding opportunities? TROPIN: Exactly. You know, for us, it’s nowhere near as productive environment if asset classes are really quiet. If you think about interest rates as an example, you know, today is a Fed meeting. But, you know, think about that Germany didn’t raise rates for 10 years until recently, right? So just practically speaking, there’s going to be less to do if you’re trading German interest rates, and the central banks not moving them for 10 years. Now, rates are moving and they’re moving a lot. If you think about the U.S., you know, the central bank started giving us something they never used to do, which was forward guidance, saying, “Not only are we not changing rates today, but we’re telling you we’re not going to change rates for the foreseeable future.” RITHOLTZ: I’m so glad you said that because I remember in the 1990s, CNBC used to have the Greenspan briefcase indicator, how thick or thin the briefcase he carried into the FOMC meeting was their hint as to what was going to go on with rates. That’s a different world. Now, they literally say, “This is what we’re doing.” Earlier this last week, or two weeks ago, somebody at the Fed said to Nick Timiraos at the Wall Street Journal, “Hey, we’re going 75 basis points.” There’s no misunderstanding. They are not just telegraphing, explicitly telling us what they’re going to do, how does that affect your ability to find opportunities? TROPIN: Well, so here’s the thing, if they’re telling us they’re going to do nothing, that’s not so helpful. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: If they’re telling us that they’re going to be moving interest rates a lot, and they’re not just going to do this at one meeting, but over some series of meetings for the next year or something, then there’s a lot to work with in terms of the markets. They’re going to move a lot. They’re going to overreact. They’re going to give us, you know, trading opportunities, both on the long and short side. And so when I say the markets are more interesting, they’ve been for a really long time, it’s for a variety of reasons. Markets are moving. We’ve got central banks all over the world starting to move. We’ve got equity prices moving a lot. You know, there’s a big realization of P/E to lower levels, right, as earnings start to decline and erode. You’ve got commodity prices that went through the roof in the first third of this year because of supply chain issues, the Ukraine war, and so on. And then you’ve got the dollar making one of the biggest moves that I’ve seen in a long time, like 20 years. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. TROPIN: I mean, we’ve had a move in dollar-yen. It was 25%. We haven’t seen that in a long time. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: So that makes — RITHOLTZ: And euro parity is — TROPIN: Exactly. So you’ve had great moves in a lot of markets. And what I’m excited about is I don’t see that changing into a quiet moment anytime soon. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about next year. But before we get to that, I want to ask you about last year. So 2021, for equity investors, hey, plus 28% seemed like a great year. But if you’re a volatility trader, markets were never less than 5% from all-time highs. It was a shockingly quiescent year, straight up, and hardly any move. Was 2021 a less interesting year than 2022? TROPIN: Yeah, for sure. Definitely. I mean, we’re able to generate on average returns last year, a positive year. But there’s way more to do this year. And you know, last year, if you’re going to have a good year, you had to be essentially long beta. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: And we like — RITHOLTZ: From the beginning of the year and straight through. TROPIN: Correct. And just be patient and stay with it. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: And you know, we certainly did that on a portion of what we look at as our risk budget. But we’re much happier. We’re going to be more profitable. There’s going to be more interesting environment when, you know, you’re not looking at one asset class and that’s the only game in town, but rather there’s something to do in foreign exchange, or something to do in rates, or something to do in commodity, something to do in credit. All of these asset classes now are moving and moving a lot. RITHOLTZ: So 2021 not so interesting, 2022 very interesting. Why do you believe 2023, this high interest, high volatility environment is going to continue into next year? TROPIN: Yeah. So the question, of course, is I expect there to be plenty of volatility next year, will it be as volatile as ‘22? Maybe not. But will it be volatile enough for it to be fertile for what we do and constructive for what we do? And I think the answer to that is yes. So I’m cautiously optimistic that will be the case. And I say that because I think of some of the problems that the Fed is trying to manage through and central banks in Europe are trying to manage through. These problems I don’t see ending when we flip the calendar on ’23. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: You know, the supply chain bottleneck is going to end that soon. RITHOLTZ: No, no, it’d all be good January 1. It will go away. TROPIN: Exactly my point. So there are secular issues that are causing inflation, that I believe the Fed really can’t do that much about. And I think the problem that inflation causes for central banks are not going away so quickly. So I think this year may be unusually good for macro, but I think the upcoming several years are going to be also pretty interesting for what we do. RITHOLTZ: So the consensus of economists has the Fed raising 75 basis points today, July 27th, and then another 75 in September, and then — TROPIN: I think 50 is the base. RITHOLTZ: Is that where that’s now moving back towards? TROPIN: Yeah, I think it’d be 50. RITHOLTZ: Because the prior hint was 75. TROPIN: Yeah, I think when we got that — RITHOLTZ: But the economy really seems to be slowing. TROPIN: Well, we got that really bad inflation print a few weeks ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. For June. TROPIN: And then, you know, we’ve gotten some weaker data since. And so I think people have priced in 50 basis points in the next hike, and then there’ll maybe one — RITHOLTZ: And then cuts in 2023. TROPIN: That’s the thing. They’re pricing and also cuts in ‘23. Maybe, maybe not. You know, I’m not so — RITHOLTZ: You’re not in that camp? TROPIN: I’ll wait and see. I mean, I think we need to see inflation get a lot closer to the Fed’s target. And you know, I don’t see inflation coming down as rapidly as the market is pricing in Fed cuts. RITHOLTZ: Oh, really? That’s very interesting. TROPIN: Right. So in order for the Fed to want to cut, they’re going to need to see inflation contract quite a bit. And it will contract from the very high levels it’s at now. But will it go down to their target? I’m not sure. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about commodities. Lumber cut in half. Copper down 30%. TROPIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Oil under a 100. What are we like? 32 days in a row of gasoline prices falling. TROPIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Industrial metals also down 25%, 30%. Most of the commodity complex that really ran amok seems to be starting to roll over and soften. How do you view that? Is that just — TROPIN: I view that as helpful, for sure. But, you know, have rents collapsed? No. RITHOLTZ: No. And they’re sticky too. TROPIN: Housing is really tight. Labor still really, really tight. The employee still has the upper hand, you know, as it relates to — RITHOLTZ: Is that still true? Because the sense seems to be you have layoffs at the tech firms. They were in a mad dash to hire. They overhired. And now, some of the retailers are talking about easing Amazon and Walmart. It feels like the great resignation is over. And whatever upper hand employees had, they seem to have lost a little hand over the past few weeks. TROPIN: I think that’s a perception, not necessarily the reality. I think that will become reality. I don’t think we’re there. I don’t think psychology changes so fast. So I think, you know, employees here at Bloomberg do have remote work policy. RITHOLTZ: Right. And free lunch. So in perspective view is skewed. TROPIN: And most firms, you know, have similar policies. And I think that’s reflective of employee having a lot of leverage over employers. And these policies will probably evolve, you know, because they all got birthed out of COVID, and so on, an incredibly hot labor market. But I don’t see drastic changes yet in how employees are thinking and what their work expectations are. I think that we’ll get to there, but we’re not there. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: You know, it used to be “How do you keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Gay Perry?” And now it’s “Hey, how the hell do you get them back into the city?” They want to work from the farm. The world has changed. Personally, I can’t help but notice how much more productive and efficient I am up into a point where, “All right, I got to get the hell out of the same four walls.” I’m wondering how that extrapolates out to the entire labor market. TROPIN: Yeah. I think it really depends on what people do, right? I mean, I think, you know, some people can be very effective working remotely. And I think others are more effective when they collaborate. RITHOLTZ: Sure. TROPIN: And I think it’s easier to learn, right, when you’re around people who are very bright and very innovative. And you know, you can hopefully piggyback some of that knowledge and experience, and have it improve your knowledge base and your skill set. And so I’m a big fan of, you know, people working in offices to a significant degree. But I also understand that a lot of people really enjoy working remotely, and I understand that. I mean, it’s very efficient, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. But it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be some form of hybrid at most major employers going forward. TROPIN: Right. Right. RITHOLTZ: The question is, is it 4 and 1? Is it 3 and 2? It’s not going to be 0 and 5 like it was for two years. That’s pretty much done. TROPIN: I have to agree with that. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about some interesting trends that we’ve seen play out in 2022 and whether or not they’ll continue for the rest of the year. We haven’t talked a lot about equities. But if I think of anything in 2022, finally. value has started to show its advantage after lagging growth for practically a decade. Do you guys look at these sorts of factors? Is that one thing to consider? TROPIN: We do. I mean, a lot of our training systems are sort of momentum-based systems. But then we also have value based quantitative models, and our traders are definitely looking at value. And you know, look, equities have come down a lot. But I think the question is what’s next? And you know, to me, do we test the lows? You know, we’ve bounced about 7% off the lows in the last few weeks. You know, it would not surprise me as earnings slow down and the economy slows down. And the fact that these rate hikes begins to kick in, you know, earnings should deteriorate. And the question is how much and how much we’ll spend in contract and things like that? And what kind of demand destruction are we going to see? So I think equities probably have some downside on them. On the other hand, the bull cases, there’s not a lot else to do with money. And so, you know, the sell-offs are pretty well bought by institutional investors. RITHOLTZ: Said differently, what’s already in the price? So let me throw a couple of things at you. We talked earlier, down 20%, more or less price is in a recession, right, or at least a mild recession? Is that a fair assessment the way you would think about the macro environment of stocks as a leading indicator? TROPIN: You know, I don’t know that’s all priced in there because think about it, we’re up 28% last year, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: So it’s a lot. And we were down 20% this year. RITHOLTZ: And up 21% the year before. TROPIN: Right. RITHOLTZ: So this is just a little mean reversion. TROPIN: You know, I think of this as sort of a very normal correction after the years and years and years of unusually good performance for equities. And I’m not sure that a recession is completely priced in. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. TROPIN: I think the slowdown in the economy is somewhat priced in, but I think we could see lower prices from here. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about earnings both second quarter and third quarter. Second quarter earnings have started to trickle out, a few disappointments, but stocks really haven’t been punished. The way when we saw a first quarter 2022 earnings come out in April, if you missed, you got (Gillette) down 20%, 30%. Walmart, really, I can’t say on radio what they did, but terrible. The stock was off 8% or 9%. It’s really relative to how badly they missed. I was surprised that that’s all they were down. So the question is, what does it mean when stocks aren’t punished when bad news comes out? TROPIN: So I think perhaps part of the explanation is that there was a deleveraging that occurred in the first quarter. And I think that is somewhat behind us. So — RITHOLTZ: Meaning that very richly valued stocks — TROPIN: Yeah. I mean — RITHOLTZ: So this is more multiple contraction than being punished for missing earnings? TROPIN: I mean, you know, there were equity hedge funds that were pretty levered, that had pretty highly concentrated, you know, growth bets, and a lot of technology companies and so on. And a lot of those equities went down a lot. And a lot of those funds had to exit and a lot of investors, you know, exited some of those positions, and then come back to Earth. And so I think some of the deleveraging has already occurred, and that’s why the reaction function is not as severe as you see new earnings hit the tape. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. So let’s talk a little bit about third quarter earnings. If the Fed goes 50 or 75 in September, is the market pricing in a potential decrease from record highs for S&P 500 earnings? TROPIN: I don’t think we’re pricing that yet. And I’d be a bit surprised if we don’t — if we have continuing, you know, erosion of earnings, I think equity prices will follow that. Well, I’m not forecasting another 20% down, but I do think we could go down 5% or 10%. RITHOLTZ: Easily, right? TROPIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: I mean, that’s a bad Tuesday down 10%. People forget what a very bad Tuesday — TROPIN: It’s a very bad Tuesday, black Tuesday. RITHOLTZ: That’s right. Or it’s really just a fraction of that. So we talked about if this is pricing in a recession, does it matter if we’re in recession or not now, or will be next year? How do you contextualize the economic data and the broad stamp recession when you’re thinking about managing risk? TROPIN: You know, we obviously have to be concerned with it. And you know, we would not be at all surprised to see the economy contract. The Feds rate hikes take effect, beta slips, prices go down somewhat, if you’re talking about equities. And then at some point, buyers come back and invest because there’s a perception. And if you think about, you know, the last decade or more, if you didn’t buy the dips in equity prices, you are sort of punished by the market. And so there is a psychology that’s been well trained into all investors, institutional and otherwise, that when equities go down, you need to shut your eyes and buy. And so I think we’re going to continue to have that behavior occurring. And you know, we’ll just have to see how it plays out in terms of what does the market do, not just over the next quarter, but over the next several. RITHOLTZ: You were awarded for buying the dip in 2010 when we had the flash crash. You were rewarded for buying the dip in fourth quarter of 2018 when we were down almost 20%. If you bought into the end of the quarter of the pandemic, March Q1, you were awarded. This seems to be the first year where the dip buyers really got their hand smacked by the market. How long does it take? You’ve been doing this for 40 years. How long does it take for that psychology of buy the dip, buy the dip, buy the dip, for that muscle memory to get broken? TROPIN: I think it takes a couple years. RITHOLTZ: Really? TROPIN: Yeah. I don’t know it will happen — I don’t think — RITHOLTZ: Like ’08, ’09 definitely had a big impact on people. TROPIN: Yeah. I think it takes a couple years. I don’t really think it happens in — let’s face it, we’re five, six months into the year, six or seven months in the year now. I mean, I don’t think we’re there. I think, you know, if we were to see two years of poor performance in equities, the buy the dip psychology would really erode a lot. But if you see seven months of poor equity performance, I’m not sure we’re there. RITHOLTZ: So we’re halfway through 2022. We’re looking at the rest of the year and into 2023. Any particular asset class or sector that strikes you as intriguing? Energy, you mentioned earlier, had a great year, the past 12 months. The banking sector really seems to have missed earnings. What looks interesting? TROPIN: Well, the dollar is really interesting. I mean, the dollar is making a big move, and it continues to be a currency, right, that has positive carry versus its counterparts. So you know, rates in the United States are still considerably higher than the rest of the world. RITHOLTZ: And that attracts capital? TROPIN: That’s going to attract capital, you know, until proven otherwise. I mean, Japan has committed to a maximum rate of 25 basis points, while the U.S. is marching on up 75 basis points today. So you know, I think the dollar continues to intrigue me. You know, it’s moved a lot. You have to be cognizant of that. We’ve seen, you know, the dollar moved 25% against the yen. RITHOLTZ: Huge. TROPIN: Well, could it go more? I think so. And could it go more against the euro? I think so. RITHOLTZ: So here’s the pushback from my Gold Bug friends who I have been tormenting for the past decade. Yeah, the dollar is up, but it’s the only clean shirt in a dirty hamper. We’re going to go, the won, the yen the euro, everything else is junk. The dollar is just half decent. How do you respond to that sort of criticism to dollar strength? TROPIN: You know, I guess my question is, does it matter? I mean, if the dollar is going up because — RITHOLTZ: Who cares? TROPIN: Well, because it’s got a much higher interest rate than other currencies, I don’t know if I’d call out that it has a clean shirt. I think it has favorable fundamentals. And people should buy things that have favorable fundamentals and not buy things that have lousy fundamentals. RITHOLTZ: So if the dollar is strong, what does that say about our ability to export? What does that say about global macro travel? I had a buddy who in the late ‘90s, in early 2000s, the last time the dollar was as strong, was flying to Europe, buying 911s and Z8s, and other European sheet metal Ferraris, bringing them back to the U.S., converting them and still selling them at a healthy profit versus what the dealers were asking for, because of the strength of the dollar. How does this impact global trade and other economic factors? TROPIN: It’s a big factor. I think, you know, keep in mind, your supply chain bottleneck problems are as persistent as ever. So you know, our ability to do what you just said, right, to go and start buying Porsches or something, it’s not happening because you can’t get them. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: So some of that stuff has to work itself out independent of the currency. But, you know, one of the things that’s causing inflation is secular trends, such as supply chain problems and what have you. And that’s one of the reasons I think inflation is going to be around for a while because those secular trends are slow moving. RITHOLTZ: So when you say inflation, we’re obviously or maybe not so obviously, we’re not talking 8%, 9%, but we’re talking elevated above Fed target of 2%? TROPIN: Correct. RITHOLTZ: So 4% or 5% inflation? TROPIN: Correct. Yeah. Maybe we’ll get down to 4% or 5%, but that’s the number the Fed doesn’t like. RITHOLTZ: I like 4% better than 9%. TROPIN: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: But that still means that that’s pressure. TROPIN: But we’re going to move to the right direction. But are we going to move as fast as the Fed would like? I don’t think so. And that’s why I think people who have this expectation that the Fed is going to be cutting rates sometime in the first or second quarter of next year, I’m not sure that’s realistic. RITHOLTZ: So let’s assume you’re right. We’ve seen peak inflation. But transitory takes much longer than expected. TROPIN: Right. RITHOLTZ: And we slowly work our way down to maybe there’s 6 handle by the end of the year, 5 handle. TROPIN: Right. RITHOLTZ: And then sometime next year 4%. What does that mean in terms of wages and people demanding higher salaries? What does that mean in terms of consumer spending? That has to mean mortgage rates are going to be much higher. What does that mean for housing? And lastly, what does that mean for politics? I can’t imagine the present occupant of the White House is happy with that sort of inflation forecast. TROPIN: Yeah. I’m sure he’s not. And I’m sure, you know, the Democratic Party is not very happy going into a midterm election with really high inflation. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: And you know, I’m not sure, for good or for bad, politicians are really bad involved in managing inflation, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: It’s not what they do. The central banks really had that mandate. RITHOLTZ: They like to pass through around it, but — TROPIN: But they’ll take credit or blame accordingly, you know, depending on what side of the policy you’re on. But I think, you know, we’re going to have a pretty thorny issue, which is that inflation and the things that need to happen for it to go down, just are going to move slowly. And that’s my base case. I could be wrong. We could really contract quicker. I mean, you mentioned that energy prices would come down some. You know, other commodity prices have come down a lot. But let’s also not forget, you know, crude oil is still about $1 right now. And could it come down? Sure. But it hasn’t come down that much. Are we going to get down to 80 cents or something like that? Maybe. But we’re not there. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. And last market question, so we’ve seen equity valuations come down. I get the sense you’re expecting cheaper valuations, if not much cheaper valuations. TROPIN: Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say much cheaper valuation. But I would say I think the risk is to the downside more than the upside. RITHOLTZ: How do we get there? Do we get there through multiple contraction, or do we get there through price? TROPIN: I think it’s really choppy price behavior. I mean, we’re seeing — RITHOLTZ: Stair step down? TROPIN: Yeah, a little bit. I mean, you look at some of these rallies, they’ve had vicious bear market rallies this year, right, where the market was up, you know, 3% one day and 2% or 3% the next day, and so on and so forth. And then the next week is the exact opposite. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: So I think that kind of erratic behavior, maybe not quite as volatile as that is what I would expect. And I think, you know, there’s a lot of money that needs to get deployed. And if I’m an investor, I’m an institution, I’m going to have so much in hedge funds. I’m going to have so much in private investing. But I need to be in liquid markets. And I’m not going to just exclusively invest in, you know, alternative assets, if you will. So there’s going to be a continuing bet for beta because institutions need to invest a lot of capital. But will the economy continue to support ever higher valuations like the last 10 years? I don’t think we’re there. RITHOLTZ: So one last thing I have to ask, you mentioned institution sitting with capital. Did you imagine, didn’t want to go back to the ‘80s, but even 2000, that there would ever be these many trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars looking for a home? I never, in my wildest dreams, imagined that so much capital would be amassed. How do you contextualize all this money looking for a place to be well treated? TROPIN: Yeah. I mean, it’s almost hard to fathom. RITHOLTZ: Right. TROPIN: I mean, when you think about all of, you know, the quantitative easing that’s gone on, and all of the stimulus, and all of the capital that there is, all the cash in the world, it’s really huge. And I think that is something that is a positive fundamental for equity prices. That cash has to get invested somewhere, sometime, somehow. So even if earnings aren’t great, even if the economy continues to look slow, even if inflation is too high, I think there is an argument to be made that there’s a lot of cash out there looking for a home, and that cash is going to periodically be deployed into equities. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense. All right. Before I get to my favorite questions, let me just throw a curveball at you. Graham Capital Management’s headquarters is at a site named Rock Ledge. This used to be the Office of General Douglas MacArthur? TROPIN: Correct. Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Tell us first how did you find Rock Ledge and make it the home of GCM, and tell us a little bit about the place. TROPIN: Yeah. No. Back in, you know, 1994, when I started Graham, we moved into Stamford and we were in Stamford, Connecticut for some number of years. And that was a really good place for us to recruit and retain talent. And a lot of people, you know, enjoyed, as I did, the ability to have access to New York City, but you know, also have good school systems and what have you in the suburbs of New York and in Connecticut. And a lot of hedge funds were in Connecticut. We outgrew the space in Stamford. And so somebody called me and said, you know, this building in Rowayton, Connecticut that’s available and it’s pretty amazing. And I went up and I saw it, and it has, you know, beautiful campus setting of about 100,000 square feet of office space. And you know, it needed a lot of work, but it was really pretty cool. And so I thought, “Gee, what a better place, what a great place to try and attract the best people you could find to work in your fund.” And from a quality of work-life perspective, this was just an amazing place to run a hedge fund, to attract really talented people. You know, the success of a hedge fund is all about the people who work there, and having a great place to work is not unimportant. RITHOLTZ: It looks like a college campus. It’s quite beautiful. TROPIN: Yeah. It’s been fantastic. We’ve been there a long time now, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. RITHOLTZ: We’re glad to hear it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to Our favorite questions that I asked all of our guests, starting with tell us what kept you entertained during the pandemic. What were you watching or listening to? TROPIN: Well, mostly the markets, you know. And so, obviously, being in a position of monitoring risk and performance, and position taken of all these traders and trading systems, you know, that’s always front and center in my conscious. But, you know, there have been some really good shows that have come out that I’ve enjoyed. You know, there’s recently something I’ve been watching that’s called Tehran. It’s on Apple Plus. It’s a pretty good show. Jeff Bridges is in a good show. I think it’s on FX or something like that called The Old Man. That’s a great show. So you know, everyone needs a break from the markets once in a while. RITHOLTZ: For sure. TROPIN: That’s a couple of things I’ve been watching. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about your early mentors who helped shape your career. TROPIN: Well, you know, I think about some of the people who really were just great mentors and great people to learn from. Paul Jones comes to my mind. I met Paul about 40 years ago. And you know, what an amazing person, philanthropist, great trader, visionary for the world of finance. And you know, I was very fortunate to have him help me get Graham going back in 1994. He’s been an insane role model, not just for me, but for a lot of people in finance. When I was at Dean Witter, I had a really tough boss named Charlie Fiumefreddo that ran Asset Management. Charlie brook no nonsense. He had a Monday morning meeting at 8:00 a.m. every Monday. And you know, all of his division heads, I was one of them, had to be down there in the World Trade Center at 8 o’clock. And man, I left my house at 6:00 because if you got to that office at 8:02, you waited for an hour till the meeting was over outside his office, and then got to explain what you were doing, you know, one on one which wasn’t that much fun. So you know, he was a great boss because he was no nonsense and tough as nails. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about some of your favorite books and what are you reading recently. TROPIN: You know, I like spy novels. So the Portrait of an Unknown Woman, David Silva, just came out. That’s a great book. I’ve always, you know, loved The Trilogy by (inaudible), something I read when I’m totally stressed out, and I want to get into another world. It’s a great place to go. And then I’ve just devour all financial news and technology news, and things like that. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is interested in a career in macro investment or quantitative trading? TROPIN: You know, the advice I would give is try and get a job at a really good macro fund that has some really bright people. And if you want to get ahead and you want to be successful, it’s really simple. You show up before anyone else. You leave after everyone else. You never are screwing around on the Internet. You’re paying attention to everything that’s happening. And trust me, if you have brains and creativity and innovation, there is no industry that rewards you better. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing today you wish you knew 40 years ago when you were first getting started? TROPIN: You know, that’s a tough question. I mean, obviously, on one hand, our trading systems, our traders are so much more sophisticated and it’s more complicated. And you know, we’ve learned a lot of lessons about managing risk. We’ve learned a lot of lessons about being opportunist in certain market cycles, and really conservative in other market cycles. And you know, the only way to learn those lessons is through experience and making some mistakes, and overcoming those mistakes and ultimately prevailing. So you know, it would have been great to never have to learn through, you know, making mistakes, but that’s the way the world works. And I think we’ve been successful because we’ve been intellectually honest with ourselves. When we make a mistake, we own it. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. Thanks so much, Ken, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Ken Tropin. He is the chairman and founder of Graham Capital Management. If you enjoy this conversation, well, check out any of the previous 400 we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your favorite podcasts. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps these conversations come together so well each week. Sarah Livesley [ph] is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is my project manager. Paris Wald is my producer. Sean Russo is my head of Research. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END ~~~ The post Transcript: Kenneth Tropin appeared first on The Big Picture......»»
We Are Not The First Civilization To Collapse, But We Will Probably Be The Last Authored by Chris Hedges via The Chris Hedges Report, I am standing atop a 100-foot-high temple mound, the largest known earthwork in the Americas built by prehistoric peoples. The temperatures, in the high 80s, along with the oppressive humidity, have emptied the park of all but a handful of visitors. My shirt is matted with sweat. I look out from the structure—-known as Monks Mound — at the flatlands below, with smaller mounds dotting the distance. These earthen mounds, built at a confluence of the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri rivers, are all that remain of one of the largest pre-Columbian settlements north of Mexico, occupied from around 800 to 1,400 AD by perhaps as many as 20,000 people. This great city, perhaps the greatest in North America, rose, flourished, fell into decline and was ultimately abandoned. Civilizations die in familiar patterns. They exhaust natural resources. They spawn parasitic elites who plunder and loot the institutions and systems that make a complex society possible. They engage in futile and self-defeating wars. And then the rot sets in. The great urban centers die first, falling into irreversible decay. Central authority unravels. Artistic expression and intellectual inquiry are replaced by a new dark age, the triumph of tawdry spectacle and the celebration of crowd-pleasing imbecility. “Collapse occurs, and can only occur, in a power vacuum,” anthropologist Joseph Tainter writes in The Collapse of Complex Societies. “Collapse is possible only where there is no competitor strong enough to fill the political vacuum of disintegration.” Doomsday Selfie - by Mr. Fish Several centuries ago, the rulers of this vast city complex, which covered some 4,000 acres, including a 40-acre central plaza, stood where I stood. They no doubt saw below in the teeming settlements an unassailable power, with at least 120 temple mounds used as residences, sacred ceremonial sites, tombs, meeting centers and ball courts. Cahokia warriors dominated a vast territory from which they exacted tribute to enrich the ruling class of this highly stratified society. Reading the heavens, these mound builders constructed several circular astronomical observatories — wooden versions of Stonehenge. The city’s hereditary rulers were venerated in life and death. A half mile from Monks Mound is the seven-foot-high Mound 72, in which archeologists found the remains of a man on a platform covered with 20,000 conch-shell disc beads from the Gulf of Mexico. The beads were arranged in the shape of a falcon, with the falcon’s head beneath and beside the man's head. Its wings and tail were placed underneath the man’s arms and legs. Below this layer of shells was the body of another man, buried face downward. Around these two men were six more human remains, possibly retainers, who may have been put to death to accompany the entombed man in the afterlife. Nearby were buried the remains of 53 girls and women ranging in age from 15 to 30, laid out in rows in two layers separated by matting. They appeared to have been strangled to death. The poet Paul Valéry noted, “a civilization has the same fragility as a life.” Across the Mississippi River from Monks Mound, the city skyline of St. Louis is visible. It is hard not to see our own collapse in that of Cahokia. In 1950, St. Louis was the eighth-largest city in the United States, with a population of 856,796. Today, that number has fallen to below 300,000, a drop of some 65 percent. Major employers — Anheuser-Busch, McDonnell-Douglas, TWA, Southwestern Bell and Ralston Purina —have dramatically reduced their presence or left altogether. St. Louis is consistently ranked one of the most dangerous cities in the country. One in five people live in poverty. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has the highest rate of police killings per capita, of the 100 largest police departments in the nation, according to a 2021 report. Prisoners in the city’s squalid jails, where 47 people died in custody between 2009 and 2019, complain of water being shut off from their cells for hours and guards routinely pepper spraying inmates, including those on suicide watch. The city’s crumbling infrastructure, hundreds of gutted and abandoned buildings, empty factories, vacant warehouses and impoverished neighborhoods replicate the ruins of other post-industrial American cities, the classic signposts of a civilization in terminal decline. “Just as in the past, countries that are environmentally stressed, overpopulated, or both, become at risk of getting politically stressed, and of their governments collapsing,” Jared Diamond argues in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. “When people are desperate, undernourished and without hope, they blame their governments, which they see as responsible for or unable to solve their problems. They try to emigrate at any cost. They fight each other over land. They kill each other. They start civil wars. They figure that they have nothing to lose, so they become terrorists, or they support or tolerate terrorism.” Pre-industrial civilizations were dependent on the limits of solar energy and constrained by roads and waterways, impediments that were obliterated when fossil fuel became an energy source. As industrial empires became global, their increase in size meant an increase in complexity. Ironically, this complexity makes us more vulnerable to catastrophic collapse, not less. Soaring temperatures (Iraq is enduring 120 degree heat that has fried the country’s electrical grid), the depletion of natural resources, flooding, droughts, (the worst drought in 500 years is devastating Western, Central and Southern Europe and is expected to see a decline in crop yields of 8 or 9 percent), power outages, wars, pandemics, a rise in zoonotic diseases and breakdowns in supply chains combine to shake the foundations of industrial society. The Arctic has been heating up four times faster than the global average, resulting in an accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet and freakish weather patterns. The Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia are warming up to seven times faster. Climate scientists did not expect this extreme weather until 2050. “Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up,” the anthropologist Ronald Wright warns, calling industrial society “a suicide machine.” In A Short History of Progress, he writes: Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn't easily moved. This human inability to foresee — or to watch out for — long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer. Wright also reflects upon what will be left behind: The archaeologists who dig us up will need to wear hazmat suits. Humankind will leave a telltale layer in the fossil record composed of everything we produce, from mounds of chicken bones, wet-wipes, tires, mattresses and other household waste to metals, concrete, plastics, industrial chemicals, and the nuclear residue of power plants and weaponry. We are cheating our children, handing them tawdry luxuries and addictive gadgets while we take away what’s left of the wealth, wonder and possibility of the pristine Earth. Calculations of humanity’s footprint suggest we have been in ‘ecological deficit,’ taking more than Earth’s biological systems can withstand, for at least 30 years. Topsoil is being lost far faster than nature can replenish it; 30 percent of arable land has been exhausted since the mid-20th century. We have financed this monstrous debt by colonizing both past and future, drawing energy, chemical fertilizer and pesticides from the planet’s fossil carbon, and throwing the consequences onto coming generations of our species and all others. Some of those species have already been bankrupted: they are extinct. Others will follow. As Cahokia declined, violence dramatically increased. Surrounding towns were burned to the ground. Groups, numbering in the hundreds, were slaughtered and buried in mass graves. At the end, “the enemy killed all people indiscriminately. The intent was not merely prestige, but an early form of ethnic cleansing” writes anthropologist Timothy R. Pauketat, in Ancient Cahokia and the Mississippians. He notes that, in one fifteenth-century cemetery in central Illinois, one-third of all adults had been killed by blows to the head, arrow wounds or scalping. Many showed evidence of fractures on their arms from vain attempts to fight off their attackers. Such descent into internecine violence is compounded by a weakened and discredited central authority. In the later stages of Cahokia, the ruling class surrounded themselves with fortified wooden stockades, including a two-mile long wall that enclosed Monks Mound. Similar fortifications dotted the vast territory the Cahokia controlled, segregating gated communities where the wealthy and powerful, protected by armed guards, sought safety from the increasing lawlessness and hoarded dwindling food supplies and resources. Overcrowding inside these stockades saw the spread of tuberculosis and blastomycosis, caused by a soil-borne fungus, along with iron deficiency anemia. Infant mortality rates rose, and life spans declined, a result of social disintegration, poor diet and disease. By the 1400s Cahokia had been abandoned. In 1541, when Hernando de Soto’s invading army descended on what is today Missouri, looking for gold, nothing but the great mounds remained, relics of a forgotten past. This time the collapse will be global. It will not be possible, as in ancient societies, to migrate to new ecosystems rich in natural resources. The steady rise in heat will devastate crop yields and make much of the planet uninhabitable. Climate scientists warn that once temperatures rise by 4℃, the earth, at best, will be able to sustain a billion people. The more insurmountable the crisis becomes, the more we, like our prehistoric ancestors, will retreat into self-defeating responses, violence, magical thinking and denial. The historian Arnold Toynbee, who singled out unchecked militarism as the fatal blow to past empires, argued that civilizations are not murdered, but commit suicide. They fail to adapt to a crisis, ensuring their own obliteration. Our civilization’s collapse will be unique in size, magnified by the destructive force of our fossil fuel-driven industrial society. But it will replicate the familiar patterns of collapse that toppled civilizations of the past. The difference will be in scale, and this time there will be no exit. Tyler Durden Tue, 08/16/2022 - 16:25.....»»
Modern American Policy: Stupid Or Sinister? Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via GoldSwitzerland.com, American policy has been acting in ways which suggest either a desperate ignorance or a sinister restructuring of the national narrative. Surveying the Senseless The USA is now staring down the barrel of four-decade high inflation, an inverted yield curve and the highest debt levels in its history as Wall Street recently enjoyed the strongest relief rally since 2020 on the bad news of yet another Fed rate hike (75bp) into a percolating liquidity crisis. Huh? In a Fed-led dystopia marked by years of printed rather than earned liquidity, bad news is now good news to markets who nervously seek pretexts for central bank stimulus rather than actual earnings or GDP. In such distorted landscapes, positive jobs data creates sell offs and crippling rate hikes induce rising stocks. For almost 2 years, while we and other candid market observers were warning of crippling inflation, our central bankers were describing it as “transitory” with a dishonesty similar to the current recession is not a recession meme. Huh? Meanwhile in DC, we see growing signs of a political culture less about public service and more about self-service. Wealth disparity in the home of the brave has passed the highest levels ever recorded and points directly to the slow and empirical death of the American middle class. The suburbs around DC are growing richer with lobbyist and polo-playing defense contractors buying concessions and second homes from politicians who openly sell votes for reelection in a democracy that more resembles an auction house than a house of representation. A former tobacco tsar at the FDA, for example, recently took an executive role at Phillip Morris while an executive at Raytheon (America’s second largest defense contractor) just took a key post at the Department of Defense. Alas, the foxes not only guard the hen house, they run it. The Land of the Free? If fascism is defined as “the perfect merger of the state and corporate powers” (See Mussolini circa 1936), then the USA may still be the land of the brave, but it no longer resembles the land of the free. JP Morgan, led by a $35M/year Jamie Dimon, just paid a $96M “fine” for a $20B profit garnered from openly manipulating the gold market. Huh? At the same time, once great (and now police-defunded) cities like Chicago, NYC, and San Francisco are seeing tumbleweeds blowing past office vacancy rates as high as 40% following an historically disastrous COVID lockdown policy which did far more psychological, criminal and financial damage ($7T and counting) to America than a flu with less than a 1% Case Fatality Rate. Huh? Turning to foreign policies, having failed to deliver “freedom and democracy” to Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan at the cost of America’s best sons and daughters, one wonders why the US has spent another $60B to bring “freedom” to the Ukraine when millions of US children live in poverty. All Americans hate to see civilians suffer in needless wars. But many who blindly wave Ukrainian flags in moments of ad-water, instant-virtue signaling from a government-led media can’t place Ukraine on a map nor bother to examine the complex history of its Russian tensions which date back to the 1750s. Furthermore, sending an IQ, history and geography challenged Kamila Harris to pre-war Ukraine with a NATO narrative only accelerated the February drums of war (and the financially disastrous sanctions that followed) in the same way that Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan seems to be more about flaming rather than cooling the war hawks. Does the US, with over 800 military bases in 70 countries actively seek war, or does it seek peace? Thousands are dying in the East for what many professional US statesmen believe was an easily avoidable war. Has the military industrial complex, against which Eisenhower (no stranger to war) warned in January of 1961, hi-jacked American politics? Meanwhile, as American monetary and fiscal policy reached new levels of open insanity in the seemingly deliberate fear-campaign led by “experts” like Fauci in the dramatically-described “war against COVID,” the latest boogieman out of DC is an equally unaffordable war against an equally-hyped climate change. If passed, “The Inflation Adjustment Act of 2022,” now sitting on Biden’s desk (or pillow), seeks further dollars that America does not earn yet which the White House assures won’t be inflationary. Huh? Do the foregoing samples of questionable policy failures evidence open stupidity, or is there something more systemic at play? The Fed: “Advancing the Few at the Expense of the Many” My take on the Fed is only that: My take. It is based upon the premise (and bias) that the Fed is driven, as Andrew Jackson warned, to serve the few and not the many. This presumption comes not only from personal observations, but a careful study of the Fed’s illegitimate practices and origins, far too complex to unpack here but detailed in Gold Matters. The Ongoing Inflation Lie As I’ve been writing and saying for months, the Fed’s current inflation narrative as well as “solution” is as openly bogus as a 42nd Street Rolex. There is little about the current inflation narrative that compares to the 1970’s, and hence little about Powell’s current policies which remotely compare to the so-called Volcker era of 1980, which ended, by the way, in a recession. Nevertheless, I am fascinated by the extensive time, brain-power and pundit attention given to explaining current inflation. Fancy concepts from “demand-pull” to “supply shocks,” or “extraneous shocks” and “accelerants” to even “black swans” are used to explain a 9.1% CPI inflation scale (which, if DC truly wishes to be “Volcker-like,” is closer to 18% using the metrics of his era…). The Simple Inflation Truth Inflation, which was already steadily rising pre-Putin and percolating pre-COVID, is nothing more than the direct consequence of USD debasement driven by: 1) years of openly addictive mouse-click money (>10X since 2008) from the Eccles Building and, 2) fatal fiscal spending from the White House, be it red or blue. In just the last 24 months, the Fed created 50% more mouse-click money than all the money that ever existed in the 256 years of its national existence. Such numbers are a tad “inflationary,” no? Alas, costs are rising because our grotesquely inflated/de-valued dollar is tanking. Between 1776 and the un-immaculate conception of the Fed in 1913, a USD was once a USD. Since 1913, however, a USD is really (worth) nothing more than a Nickle. Why? Broken Faith vs. Store of Value Because when a central bank creates trillions of those dollars out of thin air with no link to an underlying real asset or an equivalent exchange for a good or service (as Germans like Alfred Lansburgh, Austrians like von Mises and Americans like Andrew Dickson White argued), that dollar is nothing more than a symbol of broken faith rather than a store of genuine value. Like a glass of wine filled with a swimming pool of water, the dollar is diluted; it’s flavor, color and value ruined. Since 1971, and when measured against a single milligram of gold, the USD, like all other fiat currencies, has lost greater than 95% of its value. The Fed: Blaming vs. Accountability Rather than confess the toxic reality (and complicity) of the fatal and inflationary expansion of the broad money supply, the DC elites first tried to call it “transitory,” and when that failed, they tried to call it “Putin’s inflation.” Really? There’s no doubt that the sanctions against Putin sent gas prices and the CPI higher—especially in Europe. And there’s also no doubt that the trillions of fiscal and monetary dollars used to “fight” COVID were CPI tailwinds. But a tailwind does not mean a cause. Take the “war on COVID” and the $7T+ in combined fiscal and monetary dollars used to combat it. I’m not here to end the COVID debate with medicine or science, of which I’m clearly no expert. But many of us (including Rand Paul or Christine Anderson) would agree that neither was Fauci, the CDC, the WHO or the NIH. Almost everyone (vaxed or un-vaxed, masked or un-masked) has already caught the virus; it’s fairly clear that locking the country down for well over a year did nothing but cost money and freedoms while destroying businesses who deserved to choose for themselves whether to stay open or shut. There will be others who disagree, but in my legally, historically and financially educated mind, not since the oxy-moronic Patriot Act have I seen a greater crime (or psy op) against a nation’s own citizens and their once inalienable rights and civil liberties as that which was embodied by the 2020 lockdowns. As Ben Franklin warned, a nation which surrenders its freedoms in the name of security deserves neither. Critical Thinking Locked Down As a kid who won athletic scholarships to some of the finest schools (from Choate to Harvard) in America, I learned the trade of critical thinking, which any of us can acquire, with or without a shiny diploma. What particularly sickened me, however, was that the very schools (prep to grad level) who taught me the history, laws and methods of thinking critically, independently and openly, were the same knee-bending schools who collectively insulted those same principals by shutting their doors to the un-vaxed and censoring alternative views from professors and students who thought differently. Were these lockdowns proof of humanitarian concern or were they test-drives for increasingly centralized control over national and international markets, currencies and populations? From the very beginning of the pandemic, expert virologists, physicians and even vaccine creators (as evidenced by the meetings at the AIER in Great Barrington) with equal if not far superior credentials than Dr. Fauci, were openly censored, gas-lighted and criminalized by the media as flat-earth “conspiracy theorists”—the now favorite term of art for anyone who disagrees with DC’s often comically official narrative on anything from WMD to the current definition of a recession. Thus, when considering the current inflation narrative and its causes, was the US merely stupid in imposing financially crippling lockdowns or were there sinister forces engineering fear as a means of pushing the masses into dependency while the Fed printed more dollars for the repo and bond markets (a hidden “bailout’) than for Main Street? Saudi Did It? Others may want to blame the Saudis and the high oil prices for the inflation we see today. It’s worth reminding, however, that today’s oil price is roughly the same as it was in April of 2020. The Solution Narrative As far as combatting inflation, that too creates a great deal of space for debate, error and comedy. Many, including the Fed’s James Bullard, Lael Brainard or Neel Kashkari have been arguing for aggressive rate hikes to kill inflation. But with inflation already at 9.1%, such “above-neutral” would require the Fed to follow the IMF’s recommendation that interest rates be at least 1% above inflation rates. In an honest world, that would require a 10.1% interest rate policy, which would immediately bankrupt Uncle Sam. Instead, Powell is boasting of an “aggressive” 2.25-50% Fed Fund Rates to fight 9.1% inflation, the policy equivalent of storming the beaches of Normandy with squirt-guns. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Fed, as per my recent articles, is using dishonest math to publicly claim positive 1% real rates despite the fact that when measuring even a 3% yield on the 10Y UST against a 9.1% inflation rate, the USA is in fact living in a world of at least -6% rather than +1% real rates. Like the CPI scale itself, the Fed is openly lying about negative real rates. Sadly, such clever math is now the new DC normal. The Fed won’t say what the rest of us know, namely: The only tool to fight Fed-made inflation is a Fed-made recession, which they will deny in plain sight. The Recession Narrative The latest lie from on high, of course, is the valiant attempt by Powell, Biden and Yellen to downplay 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP as a non-recessionary “transition” despite such data effectively confirming the very definition of a recession. Instead, DC would now have us believe that positive labor and unemployment data is non-recessionary. In particular, the BLS is boasting 528,000 newly created jobs in July (and 2M year-to-date), which places US unemployment at an admirable 3.5%, the lowest level seen in 50 years. Unfortunately, a little bit of honest math indicates that those “new jobs” don’t represent new folks finding work, but sadly, just folks already-employed who are taking on second or third jobs to survive rising inflation costs. The July labor force participation rate actually went down, which means there are less not more people in the work force. In April of 2019, I did a more extensive report on the DC math used to artificially puff US labor data (U3 and U6) which is far worse than officially reported. But who needs real math or honest data when DC’s comforting words feel so much better? Such consistent trends of sanctioned dishonesty, however, force us to question the intelligence and desperation of our so-called “leadership.” From Fake Math to Real Wars I’ve written and spoken extensively about the avoid-ability of the war in Ukraine as well as the foreseeable stupidity of the Western sanctions against Putin, all of which have empirically backfired at every level– from the slow collapse of the petrodollar (and hence USD) to the slow rise of a stronger, Eastern-lead trading block among the BRICS. The petrodollar is no laughing matter. Since de-coupling from the gold standard, the US relies on the forced global purchase of oil in US Dollars to prevent this already debased currency from losing even more demand, and hence value and power. Only two global leaders have since tried to stand up to the petrodollar power in the past. Saddam Hussein wanted to buy oil in euros and Khaddaffi wanted to buy oil in gold; and just look what happened to them… Unfortunately for the US, both China and Russia have nuclear weapons. Hence, the US playbook of fighting wars or indirectly eliminating leaders to keep its financial interests secure got a little bit messier this February when poking at Putin. The Dollar Fairytale: Another Open Lie from On High Despite openly objective evidence of an increasingly unloved USD, DC continues to boast of the relative strength of the USD on the DXY. What DC won’t say, however, is that this “strength” is only measured against a tanking yen and euro, two debt-soaked currencies who don’t have enough reserve currency clout to afford a currency-boosting rate hike. Against the Chinese Yuan, however, the US has less of which to boast… In short, the USD is anything but strong. As discussed above, its inherent purchasing power has been neutered by over a century of devaluation and is little more than the best horse in the Western glue factory. Profitable War Drums Given the failings and open lies above, from inflation realism and recessionary word-smithing to dying currencies and rising, unpayable debts, why on earth would the US now be saber rattling over the Ukraine or pinching the Chinese bear over Taiwan? Is it to spread democracy and freedom by helping the underdog, whatever the sacrifice? Well, one of our most famous underdogs, military generals and presidents, George Washington, warned over 2 centuries ago to precisely avoid such foreign entanglements. “Truly enlightened and independent patriots,” he argued, focused on prosperity within their borders not peripheral wars outside them. Despite such warnings, the US has spent a lot of time fighting outside its borders rather building unity within them. Why? One sad but empirically proven argument is that war is historically good for tanking GDP and struggling stock markets. In March of 2018, I penned an eerily prescient analysis of how US stocks love global war, and warned of escalations against Russia and China. In particular, I addressed the historical data of the “war dividend,” which tracked US markets reacting favorably to de-stabilization outside its borders. Thus, even if Generals Washington and Eisenhower warned against such conflicts, Wall Street and the defense contractors who lobby DC love a good war. Why? Because war feeds US markets. Conflicts overseas create massive capital flows into the relative safety of the US. During the Iraq War, hundreds of billions in Middle Eastern assets rushed into US markets while NATO bombs landed in Iraq. Between 2003 and 2008, the Dow rose steadily upwards. During the Vietnam War (which killed 58,000 Americans and 1.2 million Vietnamese), the Dow gained 53%. When the war ended, the markets promptly fell, and fell hard. During the Great War of 1914-1918, the Dow nearly doubled. As for WW2, the Dow rose by 164% between Pearl Harbor in 1941 and VJ day in 1945. Given such numbers, was the recent idea of sending a kindergarten-level intellect like Kamila Harris to negotiate peace (?) with Putin in early 2022 deliberately set up to fail? Was Pelosi’s recent flight to Taiwan a commitment to ensure freedom? Or is there a more sinister, yet hidden, motive to push for war in a time of economic disaster at home? Is America Heading in the Opposite Direction of Its Founding Fathers? History confirms that every debt crisis leads to a financial crisis, a market crisis, a currency crisis, social unrest, a political crisis, and ultimately extreme authoritarian and centralized control from the far political left of right. Given how increasingly centralized our openly broken yet centrally controlled markets, economies and politics have become, and given the acceleration and scope of the open lies, backfiring polices and unpayable costs and debts which have emerged in the post-COVID and post-sanction new normal, is it possible that the USA is headed toward a similarly authoritarian fate? Is it possible that the by ignoring the clear warnings of figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Benjamin Franklin and Dwight Eisenhower, that America is heading in the opposite direction of its founding principles? Is it possible that the openly failing inflation, recessionary, domestic and foreign polices listed above are more than just a list of stupid mistakes, but indicators of a set-up for something more sinister? Are our markets, economies, currencies and individual freedoms being sacrificed to the altar of order, control, safety and security? Is DC creating an intentional class of American lords and serfs, in which the former hand out stimulus checks to prevent the later from reaching for pitch forks? As we learned in the Europe of the 1930’s or the lockdowns of the 2020’s, fear (be it viral, militant or economic) is a potent tool of control—it turns revolutionary anger into malleable subservience. Just a thought. Tyler Durden Thu, 08/11/2022 - 23:00.....»»
If you're looking for a thoughtful gift for Mom, we put together a list for all budgets and interests. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.If you're looking for a thoughtful gift for Mom, we put together a list for all budgets and interests.Senreve; Homesick; The Sill; Artifact Uprising; Amazon; Nordstrom; Uncommon Goods; Alyssa Powell/InsiderShopping for Mom can be a struggle, especially if you're looking for an upgrade from the homemade macaroni necklaces and IOU coupon books she may have received one too many times already. So if you don't know where to start, we have some ideas to inspire you. Whether it's her birthday, Mother's Day, or just because, these gifts are a sweet way to show Mom or a mother figure in your life that you care. They also make great gifts for any mothers in your life, whether you have a friend who's a new mom or a mother-in-law you'd like to celebrate.Whether she's a bookworm, a techie, a fitness fiend, or a luxury lover, we have rounded up the perfect gifts for every type of mom below.Here are the best 66 gifts for Mom in 2022:Style gifts for momFood and kitchen gifts for momTech gifts for momHome gifts for momBeauty gifts for momHobby-related gifts for momStyle giftsKnown Supply/MejuriThe gift of comfortable loungewearTommy JohnShop all women's loungewear and sleepwear, available at Tommy JohnTommy John E-Gift Card, available at Tommy John, starting at $25Best for: The mom who loves to loungeThe Insider Reviews team is positively smitten with Tommy John's loungewear and underwear — so much so, we named the latter one of the best women's underwear brands in our buying guide, so you can be sure Mom will love it too.A diamond charm of her initialsMejuriDiamond Letter Charm, available at Mejuri, $225Best for: The mom who loves personalized giftsQuite a few mothers rock necklaces with their initials — or, sometimes, even their children's or spouse's. It's sweet and sentimental, but also really chic, especially when the charms are these diamond ones from Mejuri. Pair it with one of Mejuri's dainty chains so it's ready to wear or let Mom add the charms onto one of her own necklaces. You can also browse more jewelry gifts for mom here.Popular leggings with a no-slip fitVuoriDaily Legging, available at Vuori, $89Best for: The mom who prioritizes comfortVuori is well-known for its super-soft fabrics and flattering cuts, and the Daily Leggings are just another example. This style looks like a pair of joggers but fits like a pair of leggings. The high waistband and drawstring allow for a snug feel while the brand's smoothing technology gives an airbrushed appearance.Read more about the Daily Legging here.A pair of cozy, eco-friendly slip-on shoesAllbirdsWomen's Wool Lounger Fluffs, available at Allbirds, $115Best for: The mom who loves sneakersKeep mom looking cool and feeling comfy every time she leaves the house with these slip-on sneakers. Made with cozy soft merino wool inside and out, these shearling shoes are ideal for cool fall days running errands or meeting up with friends for lunch. The best part: The entire shoe is machine washable.A luxurious bathrobeParachuteClassic Bathrobe, available at Parachute, $109Best for: The mom who takes self-care seriouslyA plush bathrobe will make every shower feel like a trip to the spa. Parachute's soft Turkish cotton robe comes in four great colors: white, mineral, blush, and stone. This cozy gift for Mom will become her go-to pick. Read our full review of the Parachute Classic Bathrobe here.A pendant necklaceSet & StonesSet & Stones Cheyenne Mama Necklace, available at Nordstrom, $198Best for: The proud mamaYour mom will want to keep this pendant necklace very close to her heart. It'll sit lightly around her neck and be a subtle reminder of her special bond with you. If this is quite her style, you can browse more jewelry gifts for mom here.A proud sweatshirt for the southern momOutdoor VoicesY'all Graphic Sweatshirt, available at Outdoor Voices, $88Best for: The mom with Southern prideAny Southern mom will adore this loud-and-proud declaration of their heritage. She'll be as comfy as she is cheery in this yellow "y'all" soft cotton terry sweatshirt.A roomy work bag with tons of pocketsDagne DoverDagne Dover Allyn Tote, available at Dagne Dover, from $340Best for: The mom who's picky about bagsDagne Dover's Allyn Tote is a sophisticated and spacious work bag with a padded laptop sleeve, water bottle holder, and other thoughtful interior pockets that will keep Mom organized and always ready to go. A comfortable, ethical sandalNisoloGo-To Flatform Sandal, available at Nisolo, $130Best for: The mom in search for a good summer sandalNisolo is known for its ethically and sustainably made footwear. The aptly named Go-To Flatform Sandal is a basic summer staple that can be dressed up or dressed down — a practical wardrobe necessity. Pearl hoop earringsMejuriMejuri Pearl Hoops, available at Mejuri, $78Best for: The mom who loves minimalist jewelryGet your mom a beautiful pair of earrings or a necklace with her zodiac sign that she can wear every day. Mejuri is a favorite jewelry startup of ours, so your Mom will likely enjoy this Canadian company's delicate jewelry, too. You can also browse more jewelry gifts for mom here.Read our full review of Mejuri here.A pair of sunglasses to block the sun in styleGlassesUSACheck out GlassesUSA's selection of sunglasses, starting at $19Best for: The mom who loves the sunSunglasses are spring and summer essentials and a perfect gift for Mom. GlassesUSA carries a wide variety of popular brands, including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Muse, Prada, and more. If you want a pair for yourself too, you can buy one and get one free with the code BOGOFREE at checkout.Read our full review of GlassesUSA here.A gold square watch to keep track of timeNordstromMVMT Signature Square Bracelet Watch, available at Nordstrom, $128Best for: The mom who hates using her phone for a watchThis elegant square watch bears a minimalist and luxurious design that elevates any look. The gold watch is so impossible to miss that she'll now be on time for every occasion with it as a reminder.A beautiful scarf with her birth-month flowerUncommon GoodsBirth Month Flower Scarf, available at Uncommon Goods, $48Best for: The mom who likes sentimental giftsGive her something beautiful to wear that will remind her how thoughtful you are every time she wraps it. This scarf is patterned with the flower of her birth month, a nice touch of under-the-radar personalization.A chic purse that can turn into a backpackSenreveAlunna, available at Senreve, starting at $645Best for: The mom who hates lugging stuff on her shoulderA purse is an obvious gift for Mom if she has an eye for handbags, but you can mix things up by giving her one that's both a purse and a backpack. The Alunna by Senreve is versatile and stylish, and it can be worn on her back, hand, over the shoulder, or across the body. Plus, it can organize all of Mom's essentials with its two interior pockets and exterior cardholder.Luxe slippers with a cozy cashmere blendMargauxSlippers, available at Margaux, $148Best for: The mom who refuses to walk barefoot on hardwood floorsMade from a soft wool-cashmere blend and cushiony foam padding, Margaux slippers feel like stepping into a cloud. Mom will enjoy wearing any of the three styles — Slide, Ballet, or Cozy — around the house.A leather wallet that can be monogrammed with Mom's initialsLeatherologyKlyde Continental Wallet, available at Leatherology (+ $10 for monogram), starting at $70Best for: The mom with the wallet that's falling apartA sophisticated leather wallet instantly elevates a busy mother's everyday style and keeps her organized when she's constantly moving from place to place. You can get this leather wallet from Leatherology in 11 colors and three different personalization options. A personalized T-shirtKnown SupplyPersonalized Women's Fitted Crew, available at Known Supply, $32Best for: The new mom beaming with prideYou can personalize this comfortable Pima cotton tee with "mom" or "mama" — or any other name that's under nine characters — in cute, loopy cursive. A crossbody bag with a hand-painted monogramClare V.Midi Sac, avaliable at Claire V., starting at $335 (+ $50 for hand-painted monogram)Best for: The practical yet stylish momThis leather crossbody bag comes in tons of colors and is great for travel and daytime outings — for an extra $50, you can customize it with a gold foil or hand-painted monogram. A bracelet that tells her how you really feelNordstromLittle Words Project "Ride or Die" Stretch Bracelet, available at Nordstrom, $25Best for: The nostalgic momFor your Day One ride or die, give this beaded stretch bracelet that will always remind Mom how special she is to you. If this saying or colorway isn't really her jam, Little Words Project makes plenty more options she's sure to love. A passport cover and luggage tagLeatherologyDeluxe Passport Cover + Luggage Tag Set, available at Leatherology, starting at $75 + monogram $20Best for: The mom who travels more than you doMom might be planning her next trip out of town, and what better travel accessory to have than a personalized passport cover and luggage tag? She'll be less likely to lose her passport or suitcase thanks to these colorful accessories that also sport her initials. Food and kitchen giftsAmazon/Milk BarA delicious treat from Milk BarMilk Bar/Alyssa Powell/InsiderCheck out all the goodies in Milk Bar's Gift Shop, starting at $46Best for: The mom with the sweet toothMilk bar cakes topped our list of the All-Time Best things we've tested and these treats will definitely satisfy Mom's sweet tooth. Choose from a limited-edition Strawberry Shortcake Cake, the bestselling B'Day Truffles, and plenty more. We break down how to shop for Milk Bar online, here. Read our full review of Milk Bar.A cocktail maker that mixes drinks in secondsBartesianBartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine, available at Amazon, $369.85Best for: The bartender momSummer's almost here, which, for some moms, means it's time to break out refreshing cocktails. This cocktail maker will make Mom's life a whole lot easier, since all she has to do is pop in a cocktail capsule, choose her preferred strength, and press mix. She'll be sipping a margarita, cosmopolitan, or gin martini in seconds.Read our full review of the Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine here. A wooden gift crate with 2 pounds of cheese insideMurray's CheeseMurray's Cheese Greatest Hits Gift Box, available at Murray's Cheese, $95Best for: The mom who *always* says yes to cheese on her pastaCheese lovers will find a lot to like in this wooden gift crate (yes, crate) from Murray's Cheese, which includes two mouthwatering pounds of English cheddar, brie, cave-aged Gruyere, and one-year-aged Manchego along with snacks to pair with each cheese: spiced cherry preserves, sea salt crackers, and Marcona almonds.For more of the best from Murray's Cheese, check out our guide to the best cheeses you can buy online.Read our review of Murray's Cheese gift boxes.A gift subscription to a popular coffee clubAtlas Coffee ClubAtlas Coffee Club 3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $60Best for: The coffee enthusiastIf her veins run dark roast, a coffee gift won't go unused. We recommend a gift subscription to the Atlas Coffee Club, which curates a global selection of single-origin coffee that gets freshly roasted and shipped to your house starting at $9 per bag. Read our full review of the Atlas Coffee Club Subscription here.A cookbook focused entirely on vegetablesMilk StreetMilk Street Vegetables Cookbook, available at Amazon, $26.35Best for: The vegetarian chef If your mom is a vegetarian (or just trying to do more Meatless Mondays), this cookbook takes inspiration from the many ways in which vegetables are celebrated by different cultures around the world.A Le Creuset dutch ovenAmazonLe Creuset Round Dutch Oven, available at Williams-Sonoma, starting at $250Best for: The mom with chipped potsAt $160, this Le Creuset dutch oven might be the most expensive piece of cookware in Mom's kitchen, but it'll also be the most used. It comes in tons of colors, so you can choose Mom's favorite. We've even ranked it as the best overall in our guide to the best dutch ovens. It's one of the best products we've ever tested.Read our full review of the Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven here.A cutting board in the shape of the state Mom calls homeAmazonTotally Bamboo State Cutting & Serving Board, available at Amazon, $29.99Best for: The mom full of state prideAvailable for all 50 states as well British Columbia, Puerto Rico, Long Island, and Ontario, this uniquely shaped cutting and serving board doubles as kitchen decor. An indoor herb garden that requires zero effortClick & GrowSmart Garden 3 Indoor Gardening Kit, available at Click & Grow, $79.96Best for: The mom who loves a fresh garnishEvery chef knows that cooking with fresh ingredients like basil can make a big difference. The Click & Grow Smart Garden is a self-watering system that allows even the most amateur gardeners to quickly and effortlessly grow herbs and vegetables. We tried it and were impressed with how well it worked, as well as the truly effortless process. Read our full review of the Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Gardening Kit here.A tasty baking cookbookAmazon"Dessert Person" by Claire Saffitz, available at Amazon, $21.11Best for: The mom who bakes all the timeFor the mom who adores baking, this dessert cookbook has plenty of baking recipes to satisfy the family's sweet tooth. It offers recipes and guidance on how to bake sweet and savory treats whether it's a caramelized honey pumpkin pie or English muffins. If she already has it, here are some of the best baking books recommended by professional bakers.A retro-inspired electric kettleNordstromSMEG 50's Retro Style 7-Cup Electric Kettle, available at Williams-Sonoma, starting at $189.95Best for: The mom who loves fresh coffee or teaWith this retro-inspired electric kettle in her kitchen, she'll spend much less time making tea and more time enjoying a cup. It comes in 10 fun colors, like pastel green and bright red. You can learn more about this kettle in our guide to the best electric kettles. A water bottle that solves all pain pointsHydro Flask/Alyssa Powell/InsiderHydro Flask Wide Mouth Watter Bottle (32 oz), available at REI, $44.95Best for: The mom who needs to hydrateHydro Flask water bottles are one of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested and have a cult following for a number of reasons: The double-walled vacuum seal keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours on end, many products come with a lifetime warranty, and the bright colors add a bit of fun to something that's otherwise thought of as ordinary. You can hear more about why we love this water bottle in our guide to the best travel mugs. A delicious wine-mimic for healthy nights offJukes CordialitiesJukes 6, available at Jukes Cordialities, $55 for 9 bottlesBest for: The sober momIf mom loves vino, she'll love this tasty non-alcoholic substitute for nights where she's craving a glass but wants to stay sober. Created by a British wine critic, Jukes Cordialities are thoughtful and complex — the closest to the real stuff we've tried.We personally love the full red mimic, Jukes 6, which is deep and spicy like a glass of Rioja, and pairs well with food in the same way wine does — all without the buzz and with the added health benefits of organic apple cider vinegar (the base).Tech giftsAmazon/Uncommon GoodsA voice-assisted remote for all Mom's streaming needsAmazonFire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, available at Amazon, $39.99Best for: The mom who watches everythingShe can access hundreds of streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and more, with this affordable entertainment hub. Plus, Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV episodes with Amazon Prime Video. This model supports up to 4K Ultra HD. You can read more in our guide to the best streaming devices.The Amazon EchoAmazonAmazon Echo (4th Generation), available at Amazon, $99.99Best for: The mom who wants some hands-off helpThere's an ever-so-slight learning curve in figuring out what Amazon's Alexa can and can't do, but once that's passed, the Echo can forecast the weather, read an audiobook, order a pizza, tell jokes, or any number of things Mom should find charming. Read our full review of the Amazon Echo (4th Generation) here.A step tracker to keep her movingFitbitFitbit Charge 5, available at Best Buy, $119.95Best for: The fitness enthusiastIf your mom's looking to stay on top of their health, we highly recommend gifting a very practical Fitbit. The Charge is one of our top picks for covering all the basics — counting steps, tracking sleep, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, tracking 20 different exercises — without breaking the bank, and all with an easy-to-read display and sleek design on the wrist.(If she'd want smartphone notifications on her wrist, too, we recommend the Versa 2, which has a bigger display but is still reasonably priced.)Alexa-enabled glassesAmazonEcho Frames Smart Glasses, available at Amazon, $134.99Best for: The mom who wants the glasses of the futureIf your mom loves tech, they'll think these smart glasses are from the future. Amazon's Echo Frames allow for open-ear audio, hands-free calling, and access to thousands of Alexa's skills.Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Frames.A cuter way to send mom "love you" messagesUncommon GoodsLovebox Spinning Heart Messenger, available at Uncommon Goods, from $100Best for: The mom who loves being reminded of how much you love herMoms love nothing more than being randomly told their kids love them, and this creative box lets you do it in a way more special than just a text. When you send a message, the heart on the box will spin and she can open it up to read the digital display of your loving words.A digital picture frame for remembering the good timesAuraCarver Digital Picture Frame, available at Aura, $179Best for: The mom who can't decide on one photo to frameIt's hard to find a mom who isn't obsessed with taking photos and displaying them all around the house. But instead of buying tons of picture frames, she can show off all her family photos using this digital picture frame. You can upload an unlimited amount of pictures to the Aura app, connect the frame to Wi-Fi, and she's all set. Read our full review of Aura here.A waterproof Kindle PaperwhiteAmazonAmazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99Best for: The avid readerIf your mom's tired of lugging around heavy hardcovers, the Kindle Paperwhite is an extremely thoughtful and practical gift. The latest version is waterproof, too, which is a huge bonus.Read our full review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite here.A rejuvenating, at-home foot massagerRENPHORENPHO Foot Massager Machine, available at Amazon, $129.99Best for: The mom who loves an at-home spa dayTreat her to a spa day any (and every) day she wants with this at-home foot massager. It's a full-service Shiatsu device that offers kneading, compression, and heat therapy. We love that it encompasses your ankles too for extra relief, all of which is why it's our top pick.An alarm clock that uses light to wake her up gentlyAmazonPhilips Light Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $79.95Best for: The mom who struggles waking up in the morningJust because Mom has to wake up before the sun rises doesn't mean they have to awaken to the blaring of an obnoxious alarm clock.Philips makes a lovely alarm clock that gradually lights up to mimic the sunrise. The light alarm clock also displays the time and has customizable sounds, so Mom can wake up feeling rested and ready for the day. You can find out why we recommend this alarm clock in our guide to the best sunrise alarm clocks. Read our full review of the Philips Wake-Up Light.A mini massage gunTherabodyTheragun Mini, available at Therabody and Amazon, from $149.99Best for: The mom who's always working outIf she's achy from regular exercise or a pulled muscle, every type of person will see benefit from using a massage gun. We love the Theragun Mini because it'll work out kinks and aches anywhere you place it with a powerful motor and easy-to-hold grip.Home giftsHomesick/The SillA fresh flower bouquetUrban StemsFresh flower bouquets, available at UrbanStems, from $40Best for: The mom who loves the classicsWe've ordered bouquets from UrbanStems and it offers gorgeous flower arrangements, potted plants, and even dried bouquets, and they're delivered quickly, too. A bouquet of flowers is a classic gift for Mom that she'll love on any given day. Its bouquets are one of the best things we've ever tested. Read our full review of UrbanStems.A candle for your favorite spot togetherHomesick, Rachael Schultz/InsiderMemory Candles, available at Homesick, starting at $19Best for: The mom who loves reminiscing Whether your best memories are childhood ski trips, your annual beach vacation, or just baking in the kitchen together, share the sentiment with mom. Homesick makes a deliciously-scented candle for nearly every memory — and if that doesn't work, it also has a candle for every state and city, astrology sign, and even one that simply says, "Thank you, Mom."Soft, crisp sheets and beddingBrooklinenBrooklinen Queen Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, starting at $230.25Brooklinen Queen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, starting at $272.25Best for: The mom who needs to be comfierBrooklinen's luxe sheets are the ones we always recommend to friends, family, and readers, for their affordable price, sophisticated look, and comfort.The Hardcore Sheet Bundles have everything she needs to completely makeover your mom's bed — and stay nice and cozy all year long. Each bundle includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, duvet cover, and four pillowcases. Brooklinen also sells comforters, pillows, candles, and blankets. This is another item that features in our list of the All-Time Best products we've tested.Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.A custom map posterGrafomap InstagramCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, starting at $19Best for: The mom who misses her favorite placeGrafomap is a website that lets you design map posters of any place in the world. You can make one of your mom's hometown, college town, favorite travel destination, or the place she got engaged or married — you're only limited by your imagination.Read our full review of the Grafomap Custom Map Poster here.A hardcover photo book for any mother figureArtifact UprisingHardcover Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising, starting at $61Best for: The mom with 17 old photo albumsHonor any mother figure with a custom hardcover photo album that commemorates their best life moments. You can tie in her life story with a display-worthy dust jacket that puts her front and center. Choose from 11 fabric binding colors to complement her bookshelf or coffee table.A cute potted plant instead of flowersThe SillShop The Sill's selection of plants, starting at $38Best for: The mom who prefers long-lasting plantsThe Sill is a relatively new startup that's making the process of choosing and buying house plants much easier. This gift set is just one of many options you can choose from — you can even shop based on which plants are pet-safe. Read our full review of The Sill here.A weighted blanket to help her sleep betterBearabyBearaby 15-pound Cotton Napper, available at Bearaby, $249Best for: The mom who cherishes being cozyMade of soft organic cotton just like her favorite T-shirt, this weighted blanket can help Mom fall asleep faster and its buttery softness is perfect for wrapping up in. We ranked it as the best weighted throw blanket in our guide to the best weighted blankets. A jewelry holderCatbirdSwan Ring Holder, available at Catbird, $32Best for: The mom who always loses her ringsThis ornate swan is a subtle jewelry holder that'll dress up any bathroom countertop or nightstand.A personalized photo calendar for her deskArtifact UprisingWalnut Desktop Photo Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, starting at $30Best for: The mom who loves physical calendarsA desk calendar can add a decorative touch to her desk, but one that displays photos of family makes for an even better gift for Mom. She'll love glancing at her calendar and being reminded of her favorite memories with you.A coffee table book for the mom who loves photographyAmazon"Women: The National Geographic Image Collection," available at Amazon, $26.49Best for: The mom who loves a good coffee table bookYou can't go wrong with a coffee table book gift for Mom, and this one is a true standout. The photography is sure to be top-notch, since National Geographic created this book. Moms often serve as constant sources of inspiration, so why not pass along this book of powerful women?A fancy candle setOtherland/Alyssa Powell/InsiderOtherland Candles The Threesome, available at Otherland, $89Best for: The mom who loves quality candlesCandles make any home smell great, and this fancy candle set from Otherland will look gorgeous in any room in her house. It includes three coconut and soy wax blend candles in beautiful glass vessels. Each candle burns for 55 hours — that's a lot of time that your mom can spend enjoying this gift. We named candles by Otherland one of the All-Time Best products we've tested.Read our full review of Otherland candles here.Beauty giftsAmazon/AnthropologieA silk pillowcase to upgrade her beauty sleepAmazonSlip Silk Queen Pillowcase, available at Amazon, $89Best for: The mom who appreciates luxuryUpgrade Mom's beauty sleep with a pillowcase or two from Slip. Not only do silk pillowcases look and feel luxurious, but because they're made of a material that's not too absorbent, they're great for keeping skin and hair moisturized. A face mask set for at-home spa daysfreshMini Loves Mini Masks Set, available at Walmart, $44.74Best for: The mom who never passes on a face maskMoms need time to themselves, too, and these face mask minis will have her and her skin feeling rejuvenated. She can kick back and relax with one of the black tea masks, the clay mask, the rose mask, or even the sugar exfoliator.A two-in-one hair dryer brush for easy at-home blowoutsAmazonRevlon 1 Step 2-in-1 Hair Dryer Volumizer Styling Brush, available at Amazon, $32.49Best for: The mom who wants a salon blowout at homeIf your mom has been eyeing the $600 Dyson Airwrap, this is a more affordable alternative that produces similarly easy blowouts at home. It's our favorite blow dryer brush if you're on a budget.A luxurious facial treatment deviceZIIPZIIP GX Series, available at ZIIP Beauty, $495Best for: The mom who cares about her skinSwitch up her facial appointments with the ZIIP experience that beautifully improves your skin beyond your imagination with every use. The ZIIP devices employ energy from tiny electrical currents with a conductive gel to sculpt and tighten the skin for a radiant glow. The weighted sleep mask that's the ticket to instant sleepAnthropologieNodpod Weighted Eye Mask, available at Anthropologie, $34Best for: The mom who prioritizes beauty sleepMove over, weighted blankets. These eye masks have gentle weights with just the right amount of pressure to lull her to sleep. The four equally weighted pods let her rest easy no matter her sleep position. A floral fragrance with a pear and white freesia scentJo MaloneEnglish Pear & Freesia Cologne, available at Jo Malone, $155Best for: The mom who collects perfumeIf she prefers a light yet luscious fragrance, this Jo Malone perfume makes for a lovely layer. This floral perfume accentuates her style with a smell of autumn from the freshness of the pear and freesias along with the subtle woodsy scents.Hobby-related giftsBook of the Month/ZazzleA 'book of the month' membershipBook of the MonthBook of the Month Membership, available at Book of the Month, from $49.99 for 3 monthsBest for: The book loverIf she loves to read and isn't ready to go 100% digital, a Book of the Month membership is the perfect gift. This gift subscription gets Mom her pick of the best new books for $12.50-$15 a month, depending on the length of subscription you choose to give. She can also request extra books if she reads more than one book a month. You can learn more about Book of the Month here.A yoga mat for the fitness enthusiastMandukaProLite Yoga Mat, available at Manduka, $99Best for: The yoga enthusiastFor the mom who starts every morning with yoga, this mat has just the right amount of padding, is made of eco-friendly materials, and has a no-slip grip texture. It has even earned the title of best yoga mat overall in our guide to the best yoga mats.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn new thingsMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, $180/yearBest for: The lifelong studentMasterClass, unlike many competitors, follows a format that feels like a one-sided conversation with your favorite icons rather than a traditional academic setting. You can get into the supplementary reading materials or just listen to their insight while running errands. An Unlimited Membership grants access to all the site's online courses for the year.Some popular courses include Neil deGrasse Tyson on Scientific Thinking and Communication, Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership.Read our full review of MasterClass here.A jigsaw puzzle featuring a family photoZazzleMemorable Family Jigsaw Puzzle, available at Zazzle, starting at $19.50Best for: The mom who loves a good puzzleIf your mom loves puzzles (and has finished practically all of them), this custom one featuring a cherished family photo will earn a spot on the wall when it's done.A daily planner for the busy momAmazonPanda Planner Daily Planner 2021, available at Amazon. $19.97 Best for: The journalerEven the most organized mom could use the help of a trusty planner. This one from Panda Planner has monthly, weekly, and daily sections for all of her needs. She'll have her schedule, tasks, goals, and projects all in one place. We like the layout of this planner so much that we include it in our guide to the best planners.A DNA test kit23andme23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA Test, available at 23andMe, $199Best for: The mom interested in her family treeThis genetic test kit from 23andMe is a unique and cool gift idea for any mom who's interested in learning more about her family history.A personalized video message from her favorite celebrityCameoPersonalized video message, available at Cameo, starting at $1Best for: The celeb-obsessed momWhen trying to think of a unique gift for Mom, one that might not immediately come to mind is Cameo. The online service has tons of famous people she might want a personalized video message from, like her favorite actor from "The Office." Whether it's for her birthday, Mother's Day, or a different milestone, there's something for everyone on Cameo, with all types of categories and price points to choose from.Read more about Cameo and how to use Cameo. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Blake Masters says the GOP isn"t John McCain"s party anymore. Now, he"s taking on Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly for McCain"s old seat.
"John McCain, rest his soul," Blake Masters, the GOP Arizona Senate nominee once said. "It's not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore." Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters in Williams, AZ on July 6, 2022.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images Blake Masters won the Arizona GOP Senate primary by embracing Trump and the party's right fringe. But he now faces an uphill battle against Mark Kelly for the seat once held by John McCain. "John McCain, rest his soul," Masters once said. "It's not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore." APACHE JUNCTION, Arizona — It was 20 minutes into the monthly meeting of the Superstition Mountain Republican Club, and Blake Masters was running late. The host, a local constable named Ted Gremmel, had informed attendees in a large room at Avalon Elementary School on July 14 that the Republican Senate candidate was tied up with an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Masters, a towering, lanky figure, eventually walked in wearing a navy blue suit and what looked like a face full of TV makeup."Mark Kelly is the worst US senator. He's the single worst!" Masters began his pitch, skewering the Democratic senator whose seat he hopes to take. He went on to solicit the crowd's nominations for the title of "worst US Senator."One attendee shouted out the name of Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice-chair of the January 6 committee."Liz Cheney's in the House, but she's pretty, pretty bad!" Masters replied, adding: "What about Bernie Sanders? Chuck Schumer? Chuck Schumer's got a heck of a face! He looks like an Ayn Rand villain, right? He just looks like an evil guy."Masters eventually made the case that Kelly, the Democratic incumbent who won his seat in a special election in 2020, was the worst US senator because he "votes just as badly as Bernie Sanders," but is, according to Masters, pretending to be a moderate.Endorsed by Trump, Masters won the GOP nomination for US Senate in Arizona last week.Over the next three months, Masters will take on Kelly for the prize of a Senate seat held for 31 years by the late Sen. John McCain, a Republican with a record of bucking his party, championing bipartisan initiatives like campaign finance reform, and drawing the ire of Trump even after his death in 2018. And even as he rejects the mantle of McCain, Masters will have to woo middle-of-the-road voters in a state that's trending purple and has generally sent moderates to the Senate.A 36-year-old first-time candidate, Masters has a history of violating political taboos, hopes to establish an "America First Caucus" in the Senate, and would represent a stark departure from a 2008 GOP presidential candidate who famously defended his opponent from Islamophobic attacks."John McCain, rest his soul," Masters said during a March interview with a New York radio station. "You know, it's not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore."But observers warn that this political positioning could come back to bite Masters in the general election, when both independent voters and the Republicans he failed to win over during the primary are up for grabs."McCain absolutely does still have sway in Arizona," said Mike Noble, an Arizona pollster who leads OH Predictive Insights. "It's one of the contributing factors as to why Trump came up short in Arizona in the last presidential election."Blake Masters speaks to the Superstition Mountain Republican Club in Apache Junction, AZ on July 14, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderFrom Trumpian Thiel protege to general-election 'independent'After growing up in Tucson and getting a bachelor's and a law degree from Stanford, Masters spent the majority of his professional life working in Silicon Valley. He is a close associate of conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel, serving as the chief operating officer of Thiel's investment firm and the president of his foundation until March of this year. Masters was a student of Thiel's at one point, taking notes on the tech entrepreneur's lectures about building startups that would eventually become their co-authored book, Zero to One. Thiel's idiosyncratic brand of politics — which have evolved from an escapist libertarian tendency toward a more populist, nationalist ideology — are now part and parcel with the "New Right," a reactionary political ideology that makes critiques of capitalism, social progressivism, and other aspects of modernity. As with JD Vance, the GOP Senate nominee in Ohio, Thiel has bankrolled Masters' bid, spending at least $15 million on a political action committee backing the candidate's campaign.But while Masters has certainly gestured towards some of the economic aspects of New Right ideology, he's leaned harder into its socially conservative cultural prescriptions, which land much more comfortably with a Republican base in line with Trump, Fox News, and other influential right-wing figures. During his appearance at the Republican club meeting in July, he launched into a speech rife with incendiary claims about the country's immigration system, pitching a symbolic impeachment of President Joe Biden over border policy while arguing that the Democratic Party is waging an assault on the nuclear family and American values. He also spent considerable time on education policy, leaning into familiar GOP complaints about critical race theory and the New York Times' 1619 Project on the history of slavery."I think what's worse than this crazy racial stuff, and this crazy fake history project, is this perverse gender ideology," he said. "The progressive left, they want to teach your 5-year-old, or your 5-year-old grandchild, that he or she can change their gender, encourage these kids to change their gender. I'm sorry, but I think that is child abuse."Masters secured Trump's endorsement — and roughly 40% of the primary vote — by fully embracing the former president's false claims of a stolen 2020 election. Masters' attendance at a screening of the Dinesh D'Souza film "2000 Mules" at Mar-a-Lago in May reportedly gave him an edge as he and other Senate candidates sought to curry favor with Trump."The power of documentary — it's on video!" Masters exclaimed before the crowd in Apache Junction, urging them to watch the broadly-debunked film that makes several false claims about the 2020 election.But Masters' intentional violation of liberal pieties and political taboos is what makes him Trumpian, and it's seemingly a consistent aspect of his personality. He's chided former GOP Sen. Martha McSally for allegedly avoiding criticizing Kelly's position on guns because Kelly's wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot and badly wounded by a gunman in Tucson in 2011."Mark Kelly is a gun-grabber, and we need to run a candidate who's bold enough to say, like, hey, I'm sorry about what happened to your wife," Masters said on the Charlie Kirk Show in June. "Like, it's truly horrible, like his family and Gabby Giffords, a real victim of a horrible gun crime, right?" "That doesn't give you the right, though, to disarm Arizonans," he continued.Spokespeople for both Kelly and Masters declined Insider's interview requests.Masters has also described supporters of abortion rights as "demonic" and likened the practice to a "religious sacrifice" for progressives, suggested that the FBI instigated the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, described the country's political leadership as "psychopaths," tweeted out a clip of an interview in which he articulated the "great replacement" theory just hours after a mass shooter inspired by similar ideas opened fire at a Buffalo grocery store, and referred to Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the "affirmative action pick." After the New York Times reported on Masters' years-old incendiary posts on a CrossFit forum, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii — one of 10 Jewish members of the body in which Masters hopes to serve — called Masters anti-Semitic.But while taking controversial and unorthodox positions may play well among GOP voters, Masters still has to convince the rest of his purple state's electorate to support him.The late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona at the Capitol on July 13, 2017.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images"That'll get you the Republican nomination, but it's not going to win you a general election," said Chuck Coughlin, a long-time political consultant in Arizona who's worked primarily for Republicans. "So he's gonna have to choose on how to narrate the campaign, and I just don't see him moving. I don't see him moving away from that narrative line, I see him doubling down on it."Ryan O'Daniel, an Arizona lobbyist and campaign consultant who managed McCain's final Senate campaign in 2016, offered a more optimistic view of Masters' chances, saying that the fundamentals of the national environment may matter more than anything else. But he also warned that the so-called "pivot" to the general election, in which candidates seek to moderate their image and appeal to a broader audience, might not be so easy for Masters."There's nowhere to hide because they've spent a year on the trail, they're all over YouTube, they're all over Twitter," he said. "There's much more of a record of things now than there used to be seven years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. So you almost can't pivot anymore."Masters is now attempting to make that pivot. His first TV ad since winning the primary is far less dark than some of his primary campaign ads and he's now pitching himself as "independent."But he's also continued to be combative. When Tucson Mayor Regina Romero announced a press conference highlighting several Masters' controversial statements, he responded with a press release calling her a "Low IQ Activist."A 'young and dynamic' America First caucus?When asked who he'd seek to emulate as a senator, Masters has repeatedly pointed to Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a man with a history of his own provocations. "Josh Hawley is calling me saying, 'give me some backup!'" Masters told attendees in Apache Junction while condemning Big Tech. "He's the only one in the US Senate who really understands this stuff."Masters talks up the idea of an "America First Caucus" made up of other "young and dynamic" senators including Hawley, Vance (if he wins his election), and curiously, Rand Paul. Perhaps intentionally on Masters' part, the proposed caucus shares the name of an ill-fated idea that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was forced to abandon last year: a caucus that would have been organized in part around "uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions."Asked about Masters' caucus idea at the Capitol in July, Hawley demurred."Well, I — listen, I would, first of all, I welcome more Republicans next Congress to the Senate," Hawley told Insider. "I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch."But he offered praise for the first-time Senate candidate, who he endorsed earlier this year ahead of the primary election."I think Blake is thoughtful. I think that he is a tireless worker," said Hawley. "I think that he's really smart, and we agree on the — I think where he is on the issues, I really, you know, I agree with him on much of it, I'm sure not all, but, you know, much."Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ohio GOP Senate nominee JD Vance, both of whom Masters names as potential "America First" caucus-mates.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesBut Coughlin described Masters' politics as "dystopian" and drawing on people's sense of alienation from existing power structures. And he argued that having a more hardline, Hawley-esque senator from Arizona would be a "substantive break" from the state's history of electing moderates."I mean, if you really, truly understand Arizona's success as a state, you understand it as a cooperative relationship with the federal government," said Coughlin, pointing to both border security, water management issues, and military installations as key avenues where a more cooperative, compromising approach is needed. "So now, we're gonna send somebody to Washington, and all they want to do is take a sledgehammer to all those relationships? That's never been the case in the history of Arizona politics," he added.O'Daniel, meanwhile, suggested that Masters' penchant for speaking openly about his beliefs — even if it means calling the Unabomber an "underrated thinker" in the midst of an electoral campaign — could actually appeal to voters."That's part of what made Trump successful in 2016," said O'Daniel. "You know exactly what you're gonna get."'All he did was badmouth other people'During the question-and-answer portion of Masters' address to the Superstition Mountain Republican Club in Arizona, a 79-year old woman named Charlene Lockwood rose to decry the back-and-forth "football game" of Washington. She challenged Masters on whether he had read the US Constitution while praising the work of legislators who work across the aisle."I am proud of Senator Sinema. I am proud of Senator Manchin," she said, citing the two Democrats' opposition to removing the Senate's 60-vote filibuster, which has proven a formidable obstacle to passing Biden's agenda.Though Masters offered praise for Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's frequent spurning of her party — "give credit where it's due: we still have a country," he said — he largely avoided the substance of the question, seizing on a comment Lockwood had made about term limits for members of Congress to make his argument that "unelected bureaucrats" in Washington need term limits.After the event, Lockwood told Insider she would "never even consider voting for Masters" after what she witnessed."All he did was badmouth other people," she said, later adding that Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska was her favorite senator. "I don't think Blake Masters even knows what the Constitution is really, just from the way he acted."Blake Masters speaks at a campaign event on August 1, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesSeeking to capitalize on Masters' far-right politics, Kelly rolled out a list of Republican endorsements last month. And observers generally agree that Kelly's incumbency and fundraising prowess offer him a head-start in the race, despite a national environment likely to favor Republicans. "If one could give an award for best strategy and navigation of these incredibly turbulent political waters for Democrats, Mark Kelly should get a gold medal," said Noble."He's done a really, really great job of not really being in the fire, and kind of hitting the issues most important to Arizonans, and just staying planted squarely in the middle from a perception standpoint," Noble added. "Because his voting record is obviously very different."And Democrats may have something of a wild-card opportunity in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, particularly after voters in conservative Kansas rejected an anti-abortion constitutional amendment earlier this month. To that end, Kelly's first attack ad against Masters highlights the Republican's comments on abortion.On some level, the shape of the race will likely be determined by both the broader national environment and by Biden's approval ratings. In a statement to Insider, RNC Arizona spokesman Ben Petersen previewed the GOP's line of attack on Kelly, calling him a "lackey" for Biden while arguing that he "could be wielding a one-vote veto in the Senate right now."But in many ways, Sinema has embraced the mantle of McCain more than Kelly, publicly taking positions that put her at odds with the Democratic base — most prominently on the Senate filibuster and a party-line spending bill that Democrats recently passed — while Kelly has largely voted with his party. As a result, Sinema's approval ratings are higher with Republicans than Democrats in Arizona. "I'd be hugging the shit out of her right now," said Coughlin.Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona walks with Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain and the current US Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, at the Capitol on August 4, 2021.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesOne prominent Mesa Republican, outgoing speaker of the Arizona House Rusty Bowers, told Insider he's "not a fan" of Masters, citing his "lack of self awareness" and "lack of sensitivity."Bowers lost a state Senate primary to Trump-backed former Sen. David Farnsworth last week after testifying before the January 6 committee about Trump's efforts to overturn Arizona's election results.Asked directly in July how he would vote in a Kelly vs. Masters general election, Bowers stopped short of declaring his support for Kelly, but heaped praise on the incumbent Democratic senator."It's probably best to say: I'm going to vote for somebody for Senate that has got character, has got history, has got experience, who's got maturity," said Bowers. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Doctors Criticize Fauci For Saying COVID Vaccines Induce 'Only Temporary' Menstrual Irregularities Authored by Enrico Trigoso via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent comments on menstrual irregularities met with serious rebuttal from gynecologists, who say COVID-19 vaccines should not have been injected into pregnant women without adequate safety testing. “Well, the menstrual thing is something that seems to be quite transient and temporary, that’s one of the points,” Fauci said in an appearance on Fox News on July 25, upon being asked about the effect of vaccines on menstrual cycles. “We need to study it more,” Fauci added. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 17, 2022. (Shawn Thew/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and has been a frontman for COVID vaccine information in the United States. Dr. Christiane Northrup MD, a former fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, remarked to The Epoch Times on Fauci’s comments: “Unfortunately the menstrual problems we are seeing are far from transient and temporary. Many women have been bleeding daily or having heavy, irregular, painful periods for an entire year. And some of these are well past menopause. Something is way off here. ” Dr. James Thorp is an extensively published 69-year-old physician MD board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as maternal-fetal medicine, who has been practicing obstetrics for over 42 years. “The significant and dramatic changes in menstrual patterns occurring after COVID-19 vaccines should not be marginalized. It is indicative of major adverse effects on women of reproductive age. The stakeholders claimed that the vaccine would remain at the injection site in the deltoid muscle. This was misinformation. The lipid nanoparticles (LNP’s) are now known to be distributed throughout the entire body and to be concentrated in the ovaries, according to at least two studies. Schadlich and colleagues demonstrated concentration of the LNP’s in ovaries of different mouse species and Wistar rats, in vivo, in vitro and by sophisticated microscopic imaging in 2012,” he told The Epoch Times. A lipid nanoparticle is an extremely small particle, a fat-soluble membrane that is the cargo of the messenger RNA. Pfizer’s Internal Documents Pfizer’s internal documents, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show a 118-fold increase in the concentration of LNPs from the time of injection to 48 hours. “The LNP’s are known to include toxic substances including polyethylene glycol and pseudo-uridinated mRNA. The limited number of ovum in the ovaries (about 1 million) are exposed to potentially toxic substances and could potentially have catastrophic effects on human reproduction,” Thorp said. “The stakeholders claimed that the pseudo-uridinated mRNA could not be reverse transcribed into the human DNA. This was misinformation,” he added, referring to a Swedish study published in February 2022 that concluded that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is able to enter human liver cells and is converted into DNA. Thorp and former Pfizer VP Michael Yeadon believe that the medical industrial complex had unequivocal evidence on the vaccine’s danger in pregnant women. “This is proven not only by VAERS but also by Pfizer’s own internal document ‘Pfizer 5.3.6 post-marketing experience’” Thorp said. Within the first 90 days of trials, there were 1,223 deaths, multiple severe adverse effects, and a 45 percent complication rate in pregnancy cases (274) that occurred in vaccinated mothers (124). The 2012 study, mentioned by Thorp earlier, says that after testing with different mouse species and Wistar rats, “a high local accumulation of nanoparticles, nanocapsules and nanoemulsions in specific locations of the ovaries was found in all animals.” Yeadon believes that the pharmaceutical industry “definitely knew,” since 2012, that the lipid nanoparticles would accumulate in the ovaries of women that took the vaccines. “No one in the industry or in leading media could claim ‘they didn’t know about these risks to successful pregnancy,’” Yeadon told The Epoch Times in April. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sat, 08/06/2022 - 15:30.....»»
Elon Musk confirms he has 9 kids with 3 women and claims a falling birthrate means a "slow death" for civilization
The world's richest individual spoke about his vision on The Full Send podcast and said the biggest threat to civilization was a falling birth rate. Musk has previously shared his concerns about declining birthrates.Ray Tamarra/Getty Images Elon Musk, who had his first child at 29 years of age, confirmed he has 9 kids with 3 women. He told The Full Send podcast that a low birth rate was the biggest threat facing the world. Mark Cuban had asked Musk how many kids he'd have, to which he replied: "Mars needs people." Elon Musk has confirmed he has nine kids with three women and would rather "civilization went out with a bang than a whimper and adult diapers."Speaking on The Full Send podcast released on Thursday, Musk was asked how many children he has and said he has nine offspring with three women. One of the hosts mentioned he had met Musk's twins, who are now going to college, their father said.The world's richest individual said the biggest threat facing the world was a flatlining birthrate and claimed that overpopulation was a myth."Population is not growing. Lifespan is increasing. People are living longer. That's the only reason why the population on earth hasn't plummeted, but it will plummet," Musk said.However, the United Nations expected the world's population to rise by 2 billion over the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050.Musk added: "One thing to track is the ratio of adult diapers to baby diapers. What point does the country have more adult diapers and baby diapers?" He said sales of adult diapers in Japan have outpaced those for babies since 2011.Musk has long shared his concerns about a declining birthrate. The SpaceX CEO wants to put humans in a settlement on Mars. He previously said on a podcast that SpaceX will put humans on the planet with its Starship rockets in five to 10 years.However, he claimed there would not be enough people to move to Mars if the demographic crisis continued.In this week's podcast, Musk says civilization will die with a whimper and adult diapers: "That kind of sucks doesn't it, it's like anticlimactic. Frankly, if given the choice, I'd rather civilization went out with a bang than a whimper and adult diapers."In July, Insider reported that the tech mogul had twins last November with one of his top executives at Neuralink, Shivon Zilis, according to court documents.Musk is worth about $264 billion, per Forbes. He has four companies: the electric-vehicle maker Tesla, the spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX, the tunnel-construction startup The Boring Company, and the brain-machine-interface implant company Neuralink. You can view Musk's family tree here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
MSNBC Remains Silent After Elie Mystal Unleashes Racist Attack On Herschel Walker Authored by Jonathan Turley, One of the long-standing complaints of media critics has been the double standard applied to liberal and conservative figures voicing controversial viewpoints. For example, columnists celebrated the firing of former Sen. Rick Santorum at CNN for making insensitive or false comments about the influence of Native American culture on the United States. When racist statements, however, are made by those on the left, there is no such hue and cry. The latest example is MSNBC regular Elie Mystal, who launched into a racist diatribe against Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker who is African American. During a segment on “The Cross Connection,” Mystal suggested Walker was supported because he does what Republicans “want from their Negroes.” “You ask why are Republicans backing this man who’s so clearly unintelligent, who so clearly doesn’t have independent thoughts, but that’s actually the reason. Walker is going to do what he’s told, and that is what Republicans like. That’s what Republicans want from their Negroes: to do what they were told. And Walker presents exactly as a person who lacks independent thoughts, lacks an independent agenda, lacks an independent ability to grasp policies, and he’s just going to go in there and vote like Mitch McConnell tells them to vote.” Mystal has previously caused uproars for controversial claims from accusing a senator of wanting to murder Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to his continued attacks on a high school student even after he was cleared of a false race-based story. He has called the Constitution “trash” and previously stated that white, non-college-educated voters supported Republicans because they care about “using their guns on Black people and getting away with it.” He has also lashed out at “white society” and explained how he strived to maintain a “whiteness free” life in the pandemic. Many clearly relish Mystal’s race-baiting takes on issues on MSNBC. The issue, in my view, is not why Mystal is allowed to continue to make such comments on a network but the clear double standard applied to such commentators. We have seen the same double standard at universities. For example, Women’s Studies Professor Donna Hughes was publicly condemned by the University of Rhode Island for writing an op-ed that criticized what she called the LGBTQ ideology. Yet, the university has largely remain silent on the writings of Director of Graduate Studies of History Erik Loomis, who has defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence. Loomis also declared that “Science, statistics, and technology are all inherently racist because they are developed by racists who live in a racist society, whether they identify as racists or not.” I have defended faculty who have made an array of disturbing comments about “detonating white people,” denouncing police, calling for Republicans to suffer, strangling police officers, celebrating the death of conservatives, calling for the killing of Trump supporters, supporting the murder of conservative protesters and other outrageous statements. Yet, liberal professors continue to enjoy the full protection of academic freedom and free speech. Indeed, at the University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display. The fact is that most faculty hold liberal views and do not feel threatened by such biased, content-based approaches to free speech and academic freedom. Others remain silent to avoid being the next tagged in the next campaign. The support enjoyed by faculty on the far left is in sharp contrast to the treatment given faculty with moderate, conservative or libertarian views. Anyone who raises such dissenting views is immediately set upon by a mob demanding their investigation or termination. This includes blocking academics from speaking on campuses like a recent Classics professor due to their political views. Conservatives and libertarians understand that they have no cushion or protection in any controversy, even if it involves a single, later deleted tweet. At the University of North Carolina (Wilmington) one such campaign led to a professor killing himself a few days before his final day as a professor. Mystal knows that he has a license to speak that is denied to those on the right on platforms like MSNBC. He wrote an April column calling Walker’s campaign a “political minstrel show.” He later attacked New York mayor Eric Adams bizarrely as a “conservative” and then added “these tokens who are out here right now shucking and jiving for their White handlers.” Obviously, such attacks on liberal black figures would not be tolerated by the media and a commentator would be barred by many platforms as persona non grata. Again, I believe that we all benefit from having an array of different views, including controversial views like those of Mystal and Santorum. The worst approach is to maintain a double standard where racist or controversial commentary is celebrated from the left while condemned on the right. Tyler Durden Wed, 08/03/2022 - 22:20.....»»
I spent two and a half hours with David Farnsworth, the Trump-backed candidate who defeated January 6 committee witness Rusty Bowers. Here"s what I learned about religion, "conspiracy facts," and the modern Republican party.
In a lengthy interview with Insider, Farnsworth suggested Satan was behind Trump's 2020 election laws and indulged several other conspiracy theories. Former state Sen. David Farnsworth attends a Trump rally in Prescott, Arizona on July 22, 2022.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin Trump has endorsed former Sen. David Farnsworth to take out AZ House Speaker Rusty Bowers. Farnsworth spoke to me for 2.5 hours about why he's challenging Bowers, a prominent Jan. 6 committee witness. It was a window into how faith, conspiratorial thinking, and the conservative movement intersect. Note: A previous version of this story was published ahead of the August 2 primary. It has been updated in light of Farnsworth's victory.MESA, Arizona — Even as he was in the midst of his seventh campaign for office in Arizona, David Farnsworth insisted that he really, really, really doesn't like politics."I am confident that anywhere there's a consolidation of money and power, evil people are going to congregate there," he said. "It's unpleasant business, a lot of deal making, which just doesn't fit my personality."Farnsworth, who served in the Arizona Senate from 2013 until 2021, emerged from retirement to take on Rusty Bowers, a former colleague and the outgoing speaker of the Arizona House. The 71-year-old was recruited by Republican figures in Arizona who say the 2020 election was stolen, and who viewed Bowers — recently a star witness at a June hearing of the January 6 committee — as a turncoat who stood in the way of advancing the MAGA agenda.Sitting in his home office as his wife, Robin, looked on, Farnsworth spoke with me about his abiding faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, his reasons for challenging Bowers, and how those two things intertwine.Farnsworth competed against Bowers, who's term-limited from continuing to serve in the House, for the prize of representing the newly-drawn 10th legislative district in the Arizona Senate. Covering the eastern half of Mesa, the district has a strong conservative bent, and the Farnsworth is almost certainly likely to serve come January 2023.Shortly after Bowers' June testimony, Farnsworth earned the official backing of former President Donald Trump, Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward, and Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, a former House Freedom Caucus chair who represents Mesa in Congress.On the plane from Washington to Phoenix earlier this month, I contacted both Farnsworth and Bowers for a story about the primary, which was shaping up to be the latest stop on an ongoing revenge war by the former president against his intra-party political foes. The election also posed an intriguing juxtaposition with the January 6 committee, given the timing of the primary just weeks after Bowers' testimony.But while the outgoing speaker would make time for a 45-minute phone call, Farnsworth invited me to his home — at least for an hour, he requested — so he could fully explain his worldview.Once I landed, I gave Farnsworth a call.Before he would fully agree to an interview, he asked what Insider's partisan leanings were (nonpartisan) and what my own opinions of Trump might have been. I replied that Trump was "certainly a consequential president" and "someone who is clearly going to continue to have significant sway over the future of the party."And before handing over his address, he had one final question."My favorite thing to do is have discussions where I mix patriotism and religion," he said. "Are you comfortable with doing that?"'We wished we were not in the race'I arrived about three hours later at Farnsworth's home in eastern Mesa, where he greeted me in front of his modest, ranch-style house along a major thoroughfare. We made our way to Farnsworth's home office, where his wife Robin offered me a glass of ice-cold water; it was roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit outside.Outside of politics, Farnsworth has worked in real estate, including a successful career flipping houses. He mentioned that he and his wife hope to make a trip to San Diego soon."I'm hands on, I do my own work, I do my own plumbing, electrical, and sheet rock, and Robin's right there with me painting the walls," he said. "We have a little Airbnb up in Snowflake, and that's a story of its own."The former state senator sat before a bookshelf stocked with two different compendiums of Arizona state law, copies of the Book of Mormon in several different languages, "How to Get Rich" by Donald Trump, and books warning of the dangers of the United Nations, marijuana legalization, and communism.Above the shelf sat an oversized pencil emblazoned with "Making a Mark for School Choice," along with a portrait of Farnsworth with President Trump, the man whose endorsement powered him to victory.Former Sen. David Farnsworth at his home in Mesa, Arizona on July 13, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderI recognized the shelves as Farnsworth's backdrop at a virtual debate he'd had with Bowers just days earlier. Despite the fact that many of the MAGA-aligned forces backing Farnsworth were intent on seeing Bowers fall, I had been struck by the congenial, low-key nature of the debate."I had a whole script here that would have taken it away from that," said Farnsworth. "I've known Rusty for a long time, and, well, I just made the decision not to talk about the negative."Farnsworth previously served with Bowers in the Arizona House from 1994 to 1996. "I won't say that Rusty and I were friends, but certainly pleasant acquaintances," said Farnsworth. "I mean, we sat next to each other, literally, in the House for two years."In the middle of their virtual debate, Farnsworth even displayed a caricature that Bowers once drew of him. "I'm gonna sit in on this, is that okay?" asked his wife Robin, who later explained that she didn't want her husband to be "twisted around" by a reporter. "That's happened one time before."Farnsworth had warned me ahead of time that he's prone to giving lengthy answers to questions, a warning that he would ultimately follow through with. He began by explaining how he'd been encouraged by fellow Republicans to run for office again, and how he was viewed as the one man who could take on Bowers in a district with a strong Mormon influence. As he recounted the story of his recruitment, he took pains not to reveal the identity of the state senator who had reached out, explaining that he feared Bowers might retaliate against her.But then, he slipped up."And then I said, Kelly, I don't want to do it — oops, I slipped didn't I," he said. "Strike that, will you?"The "Kelly" in question was Sen. Kelly Townsend, another MAGA-aligned Republican who was later forthright when I asked her if she'd encouraged Farnsworth to run. "I just don't want to have to serve with him again," she said of Bowers in a phone call days later.For the Farnsworths, the campaign had been "overwhelming.""We have both questioned that decision numerous times since then, and in fact, we have expressed to each other that we wished we were not in the race," he said. "And of course, perhaps that brings up more questions than it does answers, I don't know."'My father warned me not to trust the brethren'By the time our conversation reached the one-hour mark, Farnsworth had produced a large, well-worn, marked-up copy of the Book of Mormon from his shelf, and was reciting passages from it while explaining how scripture influenced his way of thinking.He began with one chapter detailing the struggle between "freemen" and "King-men" among the Nephites, a group that settled in the Americas hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, according to Mormon teachings. He likened that dichotomy to "freedom-loving people" and "socialists" in modern-day America. He later moved on to a section detailing "secret combinations" that "will seek to destroy the freedom of all lands," which he likened to "the insiders, One World Government people, the socialists" of the modern day. At one point during that discussion, he made a passing reference to the "Clinton Body Count" conspiracy theory.Farnsworth also said that there were "two types" of Mormons, which he suggested was the explanation for the difference between him and Bowers."There are those who look at their leaders as being infallible, almost," said Farnsworth. "And then, you've got the mindset of those that are a little more realistic about it."In a roundabout way, he said that he places himself in the latter group, pointing to teachings from Brigham Young, the first president of the church, warning of the perils of blindly following leaders."My father warned me not to trust the brethren," he said, referring to church authorities. "I believe it was really good for me, because it caused me, at a young age, to question and decide what the proper course is."It is this mode of thinking — a distrust of authority coupled with a religious conviction in the sanctity of Scripture — that seems to influence much of how Farnsworth approaches politics, whether he's discussing the official certification of the 2020 election in Arizona, public health authorities' pronouncements about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, the motivations of the Mormon-owned Deseret News, or the operating procedures of the state's Department of Child Safety.I later sought Bowers' take on some of the things Farnsworth had told me."I believe that there are conspiracies in the world," Bowers told me over the phone, making a passing reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine. "That doesn't mean every time I disagree with somebody, that they're part of a secret combination."Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers greets January 6 committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming following his testimony on June 21, 2022.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesFarnsworth's case against Bowers was essentially two-fold. The first issue, and the reason for which Trump and others backed him, is that he believes Bowers did not do enough to ensure faith in the state's electoral processes in the wake of the 2020 election."You have to have elections that people have confidence in, or you don't have a country," said Farnsworth.The second issue is his belief that Bowers — who, like Farnsworth, is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — strayed from church doctrine by holding a hearing on an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill that's been endorsed by the Mormon church in the most recent legislative session."Have you read about what Rusty has said on the — I don't even know the initials — L, G, B, T," he began as his wife helped him remember the rest of the acronym. Later on, she would ask me what those same letters stood for."My foundation is the doctrine of my church, and it flavors everything I do," he said, gesturing towards the books on his shelf. "I believe this is the word of God. I'm reading the Old Testament right now, three chapters every morning. Really enjoying it."Farnsworth then diverted, expounding for about 15 minutes on the history of the Mormons, his take on the Founding Fathers' conception of the separation of church and state, and the notion of free will before returning to the subject of the nondiscrimination bill."It is contrary to our church doctrine," he said, pointing to the church's 1995 proclamation stating that marriage is between one man and one woman."It lays out the doctrine of — well, you can find the same thing in the Old Testament, right?" he said. "In fact, the penalties were very severe in the Old Testament on homosexual activities, adultery, and so forth. They took you out to town and stoned you."Farnsworth added, positively, that the New Testament had put more of a "loving flavor" over the Old Testament, but maintained that the 1995 proclamation was "contrary" to the bill that Bowers held a hearing about."If you read the Deseret News, it really sounds like my church is encouraging Rusty to push that bill," said Farnsworth, referring to the LDS-backed bill. "But who owns Deseret News, and who's the one that controls them?"Later, as we wrapped up our conversation, Farnsworth added that he believes that sexuality is a choice."We love gay people, we should love them. It's the Christ-like thing to do. But we do not condone their lifestyle, we try to save them from it," he said, drawing a contrast between nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people and people of color. "To give someone that same protected class because of a lifestyle choice they make? That doesn't carry the same logic."'It is a conspiracy fact'"I have two mentors, two heroes," said Farnsworth. "I kind of like President Trump, but I don't count him as one of the two."One hero that Farnsworth named was Captain Moroni, a military commander who defended the freedom of the Nephites against the "King-men" that he had mentioned before. He mentioned he owned a tie emblazoned with Moroni's image. The other hero, who Farnsworth says "warned us about the swamp," was Ezra Taft Benson.Benson, who served as President Dwight Eisenhower's secretary of Agriculture before going on to become the 13th president of the church, had ties to the right-wing John Birch Society. He was well-known for his crusade against communism, and his belief that the leftist ideology was itself a "secret combination." In 1972, he considered running on a presidential ticket with George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor."If you want to know what I believe, and how I feel, just Google Ezra Taft Benson," he said. "Because I don't disagree with anything he ever said."And Farnsworth is fond of a particular quote of Benson's."There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon — it is a conspiracy fact," Benson said in a 1972 speech entitled "Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints." The readiness with which Farnsworth will interpret events as a Satanic conspiracy may explain his position on the 2020 presidential election. During his virtual debate with Bowers, the former state senator said the "devil himself" was behind the supposed theft of the election, an exchange that Farnsworth brought up unprompted when speaking with me."This is larger than any of us, because every tyrant that ever lived has been inspired by Satan to take control over the hearts and minds and souls and bodies and lives of mankind," Farnsworth told me.A street near Farnsworth’s home in Mesa, Arizona on July 16, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderFarnsworth also said he has "no doubt" that the 2020 election was stolen, but was up-front in declaring that he personally has no evidence to back up that assertion. Instead, he referred three separate times to "2000 Mules," the widely-debunked Dinesh D'Souza film that purports to show how ballot fraud influenced the 2020 election, which he insisted I find the time to watch. "This came out recently, but it reinforces how I already felt. I felt that the election was stolen. I believed it was stolen, because I know Arizona," he said."No, I'm not an attorney. I'm not a brilliant researcher. I can't give you the proof," he also said. "But I am confident that the election was stolen."His overall argument boiled down to this: With distrust in elections so high (in no small part due to Trump's baseless claims of a stolen election), Bowers had the responsibility to hold hearings and get to the bottom of the issue.I asked about the details of Trump's pressure campaign against Bowers, which culminated in asking the Arizona house speaker to move to decertify the state's Biden electors, according to Bowers' sworn testimony. Farnsworth says he would've understood how Bowers turned down that request, but insisted that wasn't what happened."If that's all he saw was, 'they're asking me to steal the election for Donald Trump,' and he stood against it, I'd call him a hero too," said Farnsworth. "But that wasn't the only option, and I don't believe that's what they were asking him to do."I asked him if he thought other Democrats elected statewide in Arizona in recent years, including Sen. Mark Kelly in 2020 and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, had also been elected fraudulently."I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me. I have no evidence," he said. "I have no strong feelings one way or the other."'A shot that probably does more harm than good'Farnsworth's conspiratorial thinking took him in a variety of directions, leading him at one point to allege that a man associated with an outside political spending effort in support of Bowers was "working for Satan."He also criticized the Deseret News for its favorable coverage of Bowers, suggesting another conspiracy was afoot by a news outlet with a wide reach among members of the Church."I don't know who owns the Deseret News, but the word 'Deseret' comes from the Book of Mormon," he said. "So people view that as doctrinal. And yes, it troubles me that they have worked so hard — from what I've seen looking at their articles, it's not objective. Their intention is to make a hero out of Rusty Bowers."He wondered at several points "what happened" to his primary opponent. "You know, I would love to see inside Rusty's head to see what happened to him," says Farnsworth.And he spoke of his frustration with the closing of congregations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."The most frustrating thing of my life was when our churches were shut down," he said. "And when we could go back, we had to wear masks, but the most frustrating thing of all, we were not allowed to sing!""If this is a real epidemic, why wouldn't we be fasting and praying that the Lord would turn it aside, rather than going after the solutions of men?" he added. "Which is a shot that probably does more harm than good."I asked, for good measure, whether he's been vaccinated. He replied that he's never even taken a COVID test.On a yard sign for David Farnsworth, an endorsement message from former President Donald Trump obscures the former state senator's middle name.Bryan Metzger/Insider'We have evil people in our church'At one point in the conversation, I had asked Farnsworth what he made of figures like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona — two prominent Mormon Republicans who had been among the harshest GOP critics of Trump.His wife had interjected to say that "they're not" Mormons."There is a lot of judgment — I'll say in the world, I'm not going to pick on my own church," said Farnsworth, alluding to Trump's aggressiveness and often crude language. "To me it comes down to who really understands the truth of the doctrine."He insisted on reading from one of Ezra Taft Benson's books before I left, landing on a passage arguing that followers of the devil had been placed "within the kingdom in order to try to destroy it.""This was approved by the First Presidency when he was a prophet, so I would say this is church doctrine," he said. "This is the Prophet, the president of the Church, saying we have infiltrators, we have evil people in our church."He eventually came to liken Flake and other Trump-critical Republicans to the infiltrators of which Benson spoke, before appearing to come to grips in real time with the implications of his analogy."I'm not saying Jeff is an evil man," he insisted. "I'm not saying Rusty's an evil man."At that point, I had to leave for my next event. Farnsworth thanked me for indulging him, and I thanked him for the opportunity."I haven't done this very often," he said. "And this is obviously the longest interview I've ever had with a reporter."The Mesa Arizona Temple on July 16, 2022.Bryan Metzger/Insider'Some of the comments they made seemed logical to me'"Everybody is scared to death of Dave Farnsworth," Bowers would later tell me. "He doesn't invest intellectual capital."I had been unable to make time during my lengthy interview with Farnsworth to ask him about QAnon, a conspiracy theory that posits that Trump is engaged in an ongoing, secret war against elite, Satan-worshiping pedophiles.The Arizona Mirror had reported that Farnsworth said his "basic impression" of the conspiracy theory is that it was "credible.""I have talked to quite a few people who really believe they are good people who are trying to bring out the truth," Farnsworth once texted a friend, according to a screenshot shared with the outlet. "You are the first person I have known who doesn't think they make sense."And in his prior tenure as a senator, Farnsworth had been known for undertaking investigations of allegations of child sex-trafficking in the Department of Child Safety, which eventually led to a dust-up with a fellow Republican state senator after she told him to cut it out.I called Farnsworth again on Monday as he was driving back down to Mesa from Snowflake — a heavily-Mormon town in eastern Arizona co-founded by the great-great-grandfather of Sen. Flake — where the Farnsworths maintain an Airbnb."I know almost nothing about them. All I've seen is, you know, snatches where something would pop up on Facebook or, you know, something I couldn't avoid," he said of QAnon. "And some of the comments they made seemed logical to me."Having spent hours speaking with Farnsworth about his worldview, his explanation largely made sense to me."My philosophy is, I learn from wherever I can," he added. "If something fits into, you know, the jigsaw puzzle of understanding that we continually work on, then I don't accept or reject according to where I hear it. I accept or reject according to the logic of what is presented."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
I spent two and a half hours with David Farnsworth, the man who Trump endorsed to defeat GOP Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers. Here"s what I learned about religion, "conspiracy facts," and the modern Republican party.
In a lengthy interview with Insider, the Trump-endorsed candidate offered a window into how his Mormon faith colors an often conspiratorial worldview. David Farnsworth, then a state senator, speaks during a legislative session at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix, on May 8, 2020.AP Photo/Bob Christie Trump has endorsed former Sen. David Farnsworth to take out AZ House Speaker Rusty Bowers. Farnsworth spoke to me for 2.5 hours about why he's challenging Bowers, a prominent Jan. 6 committee witness. It was a window into how faith, conspiratorial thinking, and the conservative movement intersect. MESA, Arizona — Even as he's in the midst of his seventh campaign for office in Arizona, David Farnsworth insists that he really, really, really doesn't like politics."I am confident that anywhere there's a consolidation of money and power, evil people are going to congregate there," he says. "It's unpleasant business, a lot of deal making, which just doesn't fit my personality."Farnsworth, who served in the Arizona Senate from 2013 until 2021, is now emerging from retirement to take on Rusty Bowers, a former colleague and the outgoing speaker of the Arizona House. The 71-year-old has been recruited by Republican figures in Arizona who say the 2020 election was stolen, and who view Bowers — recently a star witness at a June hearing of the January 6 committee — as a turncoat who stands in the way of advancing the MAGA agenda.Sitting in his home office as his wife, Robin, looked on, Farnsworth spoke with me about his abiding faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, his reasons for challenging Bowers, and how those two things intertwine.Farnsworth is competing against Bowers, who's term-limited from continuing to serve in the House, for the prize of representing the newly-drawn 10th legislative district in the Arizona Senate. Covering the eastern half of Mesa, the district has a strong conservative bent, and the winner of the August 2 primary is almost certainly likely to serve come January 2023.Shortly after Bowers' June testimony, Farnsworth earned the official backing of former President Donald Trump, Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward, and Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, a former House Freedom Caucus chair who represents Mesa in Congress.On the plane from Washington to Phoenix earlier this month, I contacted both Farnsworth and Bowers for a story about the primary, which is shaping up to be the latest stop on an ongoing revenge war by the former president against his intra-party political foes. The election also poses an intriguing juxtaposition with the January 6 committee, given the timing of the primary just weeks after Bowers' testimony.But while the outgoing speaker would make time for a 45-minute phone call, Farnsworth invited me to his home — at least for an hour, he requested — so he could fully explain his worldview.Once I landed, I gave Farnsworth a call.Before he would fully agree to an interview, he asked what Insider's partisan leanings were (nonpartisan) and what my own opinions of Trump might have been. I replied that Trump was "certainly a consequential president" and "someone who is clearly going to continue to have significant sway over the future of the party."And before handing over his address, he had one final question."My favorite thing to do is have discussions where I mix patriotism and religion," he said. "Are you comfortable with doing that?"'We wished we were not in the race'I arrived about three hours later at Farnsworth's home in eastern Mesa, where he greeted me in front of his modest, ranch-style house along a major thoroughfare. We made our way to Farnsworth's home office, where his wife Robin offered me a glass of ice-cold water; it was roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit outside.Outside of politics, Farnsworth has worked in real estate, including a successful career flipping houses. He mentioned that he and his wife hope to make a trip to San Diego soon."I'm hands on, I do my own work, I do my own plumbing, electrical, and sheet rock, and Robin's right there with me painting the walls," he said. "We have a little Airbnb up in Snowflake, and that's a story of its own."The former state senator sat before a bookshelf stocked with two different compendiums of Arizona state law, copies of the Book of Mormon in several different languages, "How to Get Rich" by Donald Trump, and books warning of the dangers of the United Nations, marijuana legalization, and communism.Above the shelf sat an oversized pencil emblazoned with "Making a Mark for School Choice," along with a portrait of Farnsworth with President Trump, the man whose endorsement may power him to victory.Former Sen. David Farnsworth at his home in Mesa, Arizona on July 13, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderI recognized the shelves as Farnsworth's backdrop at a virtual debate he'd had with Bowers just days earlier. Despite the fact that many of the MAGA-aligned forces backing Farnsworth are intent on seeing Bowers fall, I had been struck by the congenial, low-key nature of the debate."I had a whole script here that would have taken it away from that," said Farnsworth. "I've known Rusty for a long time, and, well, I just made the decision not to talk about the negative."Farnsworth previously served with Bowers in the Arizona House from 1994 to 1996. "I won't say that Rusty and I were friends, but certainly pleasant acquaintances," said Farnsworth. "I mean, we sat next to each other, literally, in the House for two years."In the middle of their virtual debate, Farnsworth even displayed a caricature that Bowers once drew of him. "I'm gonna sit in on this, is that okay?" asked his wife Robin, who later explained that she didn't want her husband to be "twisted around" by a reporter. "That's happened one time before."Farnsworth had warned me ahead of time that he's prone to giving lengthy answers to questions, a warning that he would ultimately follow through with. He began by explaining how he'd been encouraged by fellow Republicans to run for office again, and how he was viewed as the one man who could take on Bowers in a district with a strong Mormon influence. As he recounted the story of his recruitment, he took pains not to reveal the identity of the state senator who had reached out, explaining that he feared Bowers might retaliate against her.But then, he slipped up."And then I said, Kelly, I don't want to do it — oops, I slipped didn't I," he said. "Strike that, will you?"The "Kelly" in question was Sen. Kelly Townsend, another MAGA-aligned Republican who was later forthright when I asked her if she'd encouraged Farnsworth to run. "I just don't want to have to serve with him again," she said of Bowers in a phone call days later.For the Farnsworths, the campaign has been "overwhelming.""We have both questioned that decision numerous times since then, and in fact, we have expressed to each other that we wished we were not in the race," he said. "And of course, perhaps that brings up more questions than it does answers, I don't know."'My father warned me not to trust the brethren'By the time our conversation reached the one-hour mark, Farnsworth had produced a large, well-worn, marked-up copy of the Book of Mormon from his shelf, and was reciting passages from it while explaining how scripture influenced his way of thinking.He began with one chapter detailing the struggle between "freemen" and "King-men" among the Nephites, a group that settled in the Americas hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, according to Mormon teachings. He likened that dichotomy to "freedom-loving people" and "socialists" in modern-day America. He later moved on to a section detailing "secret combinations" that "will seek to destroy the freedom of all lands," which he likened to "the insiders, One World Government people, the socialists" of the modern day. At one point during that discussion, he made a passing reference to the "Clinton Body Count" conspiracy theory.Farnsworth also said that there were "two types" of Mormons, which he suggested was the explanation for the difference between him and Bowers."There are those who look at their leaders as being infallible, almost," said Farnsworth. "And then, you've got the mindset of those that are a little more realistic about it."In a roundabout way, he said that he places himself in the latter group, pointing to teachings from Brigham Young, the first president of the church, warning of the perils of blindly following leaders."My father warned me not to trust the brethren," he said, referring to church authorities. "I believe it was really good for me, because it caused me, at a young age, to question and decide what the proper course is."It is this mode of thinking — a distrust of authority coupled with a religious conviction in the sanctity of Scripture — that seems to influence much of how Farnsworth approaches politics, whether he's discussing the official certification of the 2020 election in Arizona, public health authorities' pronouncements about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, the motivations of the Mormon-owned Deseret News, or the operating procedures of the state's Department of Child Safety.I later sought Bowers' take on some of the things Farnsworth had told me."I believe that there are conspiracies in the world," Bowers told me over the phone, making a passing reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine. "That doesn't mean every time I disagree with somebody, that they're part of a secret combination."Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers greets January 6 committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming following his testimony on June 21, 2022.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesFarnsworth's case against Bowers is essentially two-fold. The first issue, and the reason for which Trump and others are backing him, is that he believes Bowers did not do enough to ensure faith in the state's electoral processes in the wake of the 2020 election."You have to have elections that people have confidence in, or you don't have a country," said Farnsworth.The second issue is his belief that Bowers — who, like Farnsworth, is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — strayed from church doctrine by holding a hearing on an LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill that's been endorsed by the Mormon church in the most recent legislative session."Have you read about what Rusty has said on the — I don't even know the initials — L, G, B, T," he began as his wife helped him remember the rest of the acronym. Later on, she would lask me what those same letters stood for."My foundation is the doctrine of my church, and it flavors everything I do," he said, gesturing towards the books on his shelf. "I believe this is the word of God. I'm reading the Old Testament right now, three chapters every morning. Really enjoying it."Farnsworth then diverted, expounding for about 15 minutes on the history of the Mormons, his take on the Founding Fathers' conception of the separation of church and state, and the notion of free will before returning to the subject of the nondiscrimination bill."It is contrary to our church doctrine," he said, pointing to the church's 1995 proclamation stating that marriage is between one man and one woman."It lays out the doctrine of — well, you can find the same thing in the Old Testament, right?" he said. "In fact, the penalties were very severe in the Old Testament on homosexual activities, adultery, and so forth. They took you out to town and stoned you."Farnsworth added, positively, that the New Testament had put more of a "loving flavor" over the Old Testament, but maintained that the 1995 proclamation was "contrary" to the bill that Bowers held a hearing about."If you read the Deseret News, it really sounds like my church is encouraging Rusty to push that bill," said Farnsworth, referring to the LDS-backed bill. "But who owns Deseret News, and who's the one that controls them?"Later, as we wrapped up our conversation, Farnsworth added that he believes that sexuality is a choice."We love gay people, we should love them. It's the Christ-like thing to do. But we do not condone their lifestyle, we try to save them from it," he said, drawing a contrast between nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people and people of color. "To give someone that same protected class because of a lifestyle choice they make? That doesn't carry the same logic."'It is a conspiracy fact'"I have two mentors, two heroes," said Farnsworth. "I kind of like President Trump, but I don't count him as one of the two."One hero that Farnsworth named was Captain Moroni, a military commander who defended the freedom of the Nephites against the "King-men" that he had mentioned before. He mentioned he owned a tie emblazoned with Moroni's image. The other hero, who Farnsworth says "warned us about the swamp," was Ezra Taft Benson.Benson, who served as President Dwight Eisenhower's secretary of Agriculture before going on to become the 13th president of the church, had ties to the right-wing John Birch Society. He was well-known for his crusade against communism, and his belief that the leftist ideology was itself a "secret combination." In 1972, he considered running on a presidential ticket with George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor."If you want to know what I believe, and how I feel, just Google Ezra Taft Benson," he said. "Because I don't disagree with anything he ever said."And Farnsworth is fond of a particular quote of Benson's."There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon — it is a conspiracy fact," Benson said in a 1972 speech entitled "Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints." The readiness with which Farnsworth will interpret events as a Satanic conspiracy may explain his position on the 2020 presidential election. During his virtual debate with Bowers, the former state senator said the "devil himself" was behind the supposed theft of the election, an exchange that Farnsworth brought up unprompted when speaking with me."This is larger than any of us, because every tyrant that ever lived has been inspired by Satan to take control over the hearts and minds and souls and bodies and lives of mankind," Farnsworth told me.A street near Farnsworth’s home in Mesa, Arizona on July 16, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderFarnsworth also said he has "no doubt" that the 2020 election was stolen, but was up-front in declaring that he personally has no evidence to back up that assertion. Instead, he referred three separate times to "2000 Mules," the widely-debunked Dinesh D'Souza film that purports to show how ballot fraud influenced the 2020 election, which he insisted I find the time to watch. "This came out recently, but it reinforces how I already felt. I felt that the election was stolen. I believed it was stolen, because I know Arizona," he said."No, I'm not an attorney. I'm not a brilliant researcher. I can't give you the proof," he also said. "But I am confident that the election was stolen."His overall argument boiled down to this: With distrust in elections so high (in no small part due to Trump's baseless claims of a stolen election), Bowers had the responsibility to hold hearings and get to the bottom of the issue.I asked about the details of Trump's pressure campaign against Bowers, which culminated in asking the Arizona house speaker to move to decertify the state's Biden electors, according to Bowers' sworn testimony. Farnsworth says he would've understood how Bowers turned down that request, but insisted that wasn't what happened."If that's all he saw was, 'they're asking me to steal the election for Donald Trump,' and he stood against it, I'd call him a hero too," said Farnsworth. "But that wasn't the only option, and I don't believe that's what they were asking him to do."I asked him if he thought other Democrats elected statewide in Arizona in recent years, including Sen. Mark Kelly in 2020 and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, had also been elected fraudulently."I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me. I have no evidence," he said. "I have no strong feelings one way or the other."'A shot that probably does more harm than good'Farnsworth's conspiratorial thinking took him in a variety of directions, leading him at one point to allege that a man associated with an outside political spending effort in support of Bowers is "working for Satan."He also criticized the Deseret News for its favorable coverage of Bowers, suggesting another conspiracy was afoot by a news outlet with a wide reach among members of the Church."I don't know who owns the Deseret News, but the word 'Deseret' comes from the Book of Mormon," he said. "So people view that as doctrinal. And yes, it troubles me that they have worked so hard — from what I've seen looking at their articles, it's not objective. Their intention is to make a hero out of Rusty Bowers."He wondered at several points "what happened" to his primary opponent. "You know, I would love to see inside Rusty's head to see what happened to him," says Farnsworth.And he spoke of his frustration with the closing of congregations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."The most frustrating thing of my life was when our churches were shut down," he said. "And when we could go back, we had to wear masks, but the most frustrating thing of all, we were not allowed to sing!""If this is a real epidemic, why wouldn't we be fasting and praying that the Lord would turn it aside, rather than going after the solutions of men?" he added. "Which is a shot that probably does more harm than good."I asked, for good measure, whether he's been vaccinated. He replied that he's never even taken a COVID test.On a yard sign for David Farnsworth, an endorsement message from former President Donald Trump obscures the former state senator's middle name.Bryan Metzger/Insider'We have evil people in our church'At one point in the conversation, I had asked Farnsworth what he made of figures like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and former Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona — two prominent Mormon Republicans who had been among the harshest GOP critics of Trump.His wife had interjected to say that "they're not" Mormons."There is a lot of judgment — I'll say in the world, I'm not going to pick on my own church," said Farnsworth, alluding to Trump's aggressiveness and often crude language. "To me it comes down to who really understands the truth of the doctrine."He insisted on reading from one of Ezra Taft Benson's books before I left, landing on a passage arguing that followers of the devil had been placed "within the kingdom in order to try to destroy it.""This was approved by the First Presidency when he was a prophet, so I would say this is church doctrine," he said. "This is the Prophet, the president of the Church, saying we have infiltrators, we have evil people in our church."He eventually came to liken Flake and other Trump-critical Republicans to the infiltrators of which Benson spoke, before appearing to come to grips in real time with the implications of his analogy."I'm not saying Jeff is an evil man," he insisted. "I'm not saying Rusty's an evil man."At that point, I had to leave for my next event. Farnsworth thanked me for indulging him, and I thanked him for the opportunity."I haven't done this very often," he said. "And this is obviously the longest interview I've ever had with a reporter."The Mesa Arizona Temple on July 16, 2022.Bryan Metzger/Insider'Some of the comments they made seemed logical to me'"Everybody is scared to death of Dave Farnsworth," Bowers would later tell me. "He doesn't invest intellectual capital."I had been unable to make time during my lengthy interview with Farnsworth to ask him about QAnon, a conspiracy theory that posits that Trump is engaged in an ongoing, secret war against elite, Satan-worshiping pedophiles.The Arizona Mirror had reported that Farnsworth said his "basic impression" of the conspiracy theory is that it was "credible.""I have talked to quite a few people who really believe they are good people who are trying to bring out the truth," Farnsworth once texted a friend, according to a screenshot shared with the outlet. "You are the first person I have known who doesn't think they make sense."And in his prior tenure as a senator, Farnsworth had been known for undertaking investigations of allegations of child sex-trafficking in the Department of Child Safety, which eventually led to a dust-up with a fellow Republican state senator after she told him to cut it out.I called Farnsworth again on Monday as he was driving back down to Mesa from Snowflake — a heavily-Mormon town in eastern Arizona co-founded by the great-great-grandfather of Sen. Flake — where the Farnsworths maintain an Airbnb."I know almost nothing about them. All I've seen is, you know, snatches where something would pop up on Facebook or, you know, something I couldn't avoid," he said of QAnon. "And some of the comments they made seemed logical to me."Having spent hours speaking with Farnsworth about his worldview, his explanation largely made sense to me."My philosophy is, I learn from wherever I can," he added. "If something fits into, you know, the jigsaw puzzle of understanding that we continually work on, then I don't accept or reject according to where I hear it. I accept or reject according to the logic of what is presented."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
What Psychedelics And Bitcoin Have In Common Authored by Maxx Mannheimer via BitcoinMagazine.com, I’ll begin by stating that I do not suggest that anyone take psychedelics. Each individual knows what is best for them and it is not my intent to challenge your free will in any way. If what I have written connects with your life experience, great. If it does not, feel free to ignore every word. But if you wish to debate about what I am presenting, I would only request that you carefully read this article in its entirety. I do not recommend participating in any activity which is illegal where you live and I do not recommend taking psychedelic substances without professional guidance. Psychedelic experiences can be profoundly liberating and inspiring, but they can also be existentially earth-shattering if used without proper preparation. As always, do your own research and use your best judgment. I’m not the first to draw a link between psychedelics and Bitcoin. Articles about billionaire investor Christian Angermayer have highlighted at least one anecdote of psilocybe mushrooms assisting with the understanding of Bitcoin. However, I believe this won’t be the last time we see these two topics mentioned together. If my intuition is correct, we will be seeing many more articles along these lines as Bitcoin and psychedelics both enter the mainstream consciousness. A financial revolution without a spiritual one will fail to create a better world for the majority of life on this planet. A spiritual revolution without a financial one will fail to enact lasting change due to the corruption that is built into our current monetary system. Both are needed to fix the world. It is important that we acknowledge this dynamic period in human history holistically and ecologically rather than making blanket statements about quick-fix solutions to the issues that humanity is facing. The Bitcoin community often discusses the potential for a second renaissance. I hear much of the same talk in the psychedelics space. However, the two worlds often don’t consider the potential synergies between the two. My hope for this article is to support the ice-breaking process which has already begun. The 1960s were a time of ranging counterculture with no concrete direction. It represented a powerful lashing out against a system that doesn’t serve humanity. But after creating a cultural movement — and some excellent music — the flame was extinguished by draconian government intervention. Not only did all use of psychedelics get pushed to the black market, but all scientific research was completely halted for about 50 years. Many psychedelics were being used recklessly at that time, but psychedelics were made illegal for political reasons, not health reasons. The loss to human progress is impossible to calculate. In my assessment, the heavy handed prohibition is unraveling before our eyes. Various city and state governments have opted to decriminalize or legalize the use of psychedelics for therapy. Well known authors, comedians and other public figures are openly discussing psychedelics. Netflix is airing documentaries about psychedelics and many podcasters are covering the topic in a way which would have been shocking ten years ago. Publicly-traded companies are even working on psychedelic pharmaceutical development. More conservative-minded Bitcoiners may pause before seeing this in a positive light, but the data regarding psychedelics potential for therapeutic use can’t be ignored. Therapy using MDMA — the chemical abbreviation for the drug known more commonly as ecstasy or “Molly” — seems to be the most effective way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a lasting manner. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is moving through U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) trials to have the substance rescheduled. Their phase three trials have demonstrated 67% of PTSD patients no longer met the criteria for PTSD two months after their sessions. Even after the fiat fiasco collapses we’ll still need to support these people who were traumatized by it. Note: MAPS accepts donations in bitcoin. The psychedelics community may have some hesitancy about the Bitcoin community as well. From my interaction with plant medicine enthusiasts, I have gathered that they’re a sensitive bunch. I genuinely mean that as a compliment, but sensitivity doesn’t always lend itself well to the self-identified “toxic” Bitcoin community. As a generalization, they are wary of anything that could be used to exclude people and deepen inequality. These concerns are valid, but are often projected onto the bitcoin life raft rather than the fiat sinking ship. As a result, there isn’t a sturdy connection between these two communities, but I am predicting that there could be for a number of reasons. The first bridge is the one that leads towards personal and collective liberation. Psychedelics have the potential to liberate us from old systems of thought and all of their downstream effects. Bitcoin has the potential to liberate us from Modern Monetary Theory and all its downstream effects. Both are interested in reducing violence against humanity. Both are interested in reducing government control over what we decide to put in our bodies. Both carry an inherently egalitarian questioning of authority. The second bridge is the novelty of thought required to understand Bitcoin. As I mentioned in “The Bitcoin Customer Service Department,” Bitcoin is a complex paradigm-shifting topic. Despite the simplicity of the Bitcoin white paper, understanding all its implications requires a dramatically novel understanding of the world. In Michael Pollan’s book “How to Change Your Mind,” the following metaphor is used by Mendel Kaelen to explain the effects of psychedelics on the human psyche. “Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill, a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into the preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time, it becomes more and more difficult to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction. Think of psychedelics as temporarily flattening the snow. The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.” This metaphor is an excellent way to visualize what has been observed in psychedelic patient trials. Neural pathways become more flexible. New connections are created that allow for novel thought, understanding and behavior. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they fully understood your viewpoint and agreed with everything you said just to see them revert back to their default assumptions a day or two later? That’s the snow metaphor in conversation form. The more concrete our neural connections become, the less likely we will be to understand new emergent technologies. The third bridge relates to the counterculture which gravitates around both Bitcoin and psychedelics. Radical rejection of conventional norms seems to be inherent in the Bitcoin ethos. Bitcoiners generally don’t accept mainstream media, political corruption or dishonesty. Psychedelics enthusiasts generally don’t accept moralistic arguments, violence or inauthenticity. Both groups seek fair treatment of humanity. Both groups avoid processed foods. Both groups are opposed to mindless materialistic consumption. Psychedelics enthusiasts are proponents of meditation and if Bitcoin holders haven’t been meditating through the 2020-22 market, I wouldn’t know what else to call it. Psychedelics pose a threat to authoritarian systems of control because they show users a deeper potential for spirituality and connection with their environment. They enable a novel view of circumstances which allows people to notice that what they are used to may not be the truth. What happened in the 1960s, exactly? A ton of young people realized that the game they were playing was making them and the rest of society miserable. They dropped out in the hopes of finding a new way to live. Most of the hippies in the 1960s were deeply distrustful of the government and of the fruitless wars politicians were creating. They knew the game was rigged and the best course of action was to opt out. What are Bitcoiners talking about today? Essentially the same thing. I know that both of these amorphous groups may balk at the fact that I have categorized them into groups at all. They are not really groups, but rather millions of individuals who share common interests and many of whom will never meet. That’s the beauty of it. Bitcoiners and psychedelic enthusiasts seem to be under a constant centrifugal force. As soon as I begin to categorize or wrangle them into any semblance of a group identity, they sprawl out even further. They span the full scope of human backgrounds and experience. The propaganda war against psychedelics has largely lumped them together, in the mind of the public, with dangerous addictive substances. I would recommend a more nuanced approach to understanding drugs and their uses. Every drug is a tool and each has its proper use. To simply ask for any random tool when what you really need is specifically a Phillips-head screwdriver, you’re unlikely to meet your needs. A closer inspection of each substance will clearly demonstrate that lumping all “drugs” together, simply due to legal status, is absurd. The federal government has clearly lost its grip on “The War On Drugs.” In direct opposition to federal drug scheduling laws, Oregon has decriminalized all drugs and made psilocybe mushroom therapy legal. As Ryan McMaken points out in his recent article, 43% of Americans are currently living in states which have legalized recreational cannabis. Again, in direct opposition to federal drug scheduling laws. If there was a “War On Drugs” it is fair to say that the drugs have won. Right or wrong, this trend is likely to continue. The continuous lack of understanding regarding drug use in America has had a devastating impact on the psyche and freedom of the country. We have the highest incarceration rate in the world and approximately half of our prisoners are locked up for non-violent offenses. Drugs and alcohol play a critical role in many of the violent offenses as well. Those incarcerations damage families for generations which ultimately increases future crime rates and use of addictive drugs. Rinse and repeat. The harder we press down on drugs, the more harmful the drugs on the street become. Opium, heroin, oxycontin, fentanyl. Overdoses have never been worse. The criminal justice system is totally broken and people are suffering. Is it possible that people are turning to these drugs because they are disenfranchised by a system which has done nothing but abuse them since the moment they were born? Don’t worry though! Big pharma has a solution for us. They’ll use their cantillon-bucks to lobby for their interests and pay doctors to prescribe psychotropic pharmaceuticals to numb the populace. It’s helpful to keep folks docile as we push them back into the massive machine which is crushing their souls. Western medicine really shines when it comes to saving people who are in dire need of intervention, but largely falls flat when it comes to improving quality of life in a sustainable way. In addition to treating PTSD, psychedelics have shown remarkable potential in assisting with anxiety, depression, addiction, birth trauma and fear of death. I personally have witnessed resolutions of serious physical ailments which were thought to be permanent medical conditions following ayahuasca ceremonies. Is this a result of the plant medicine or is it a result of the plant medicine’s ability to unlock human potential in self-healing? In either case, the effects could only be described as miraculous. Due to the lengthy prohibition, empirical research in this field is just beginning and the potential benefits are much broader than most realize. As John Sanro argues in “The Mindbody Prescription,” many of the ailments which we think of as physical in nature originate in the emotional body. If used responsibly, psychedelics can create lasting emotional relief which does not require repeated use. Most psychedelics are also non-addictive. Many have said that one profound experience is enough to create a permanent positive impact in one’s life. To my knowledge there are no pharmaceuticals which can make that claim. The understanding of self-interest in human action is a critical component for understanding society. The understanding of what constitutes the self is a critical component for understanding spirituality. At the core of every spiritual practice is the same lesson. The litigious dogma which separates religions simply distracts from that. This has been said at least since Baruch Spinoza, Sri Aurobindo and Alan Watts. Some have argued that the core spiritual message has been lost since the original teachings of Buddha, Christ and Muhammad were passed on to their followers. As eloquently discussed by Eckhart Tolle in “A New Earth,” humanity has simply missed the mark and that is the origin of suffering. The boundary between our self-interest and the interest of every other form of life is merely a condition of our perspective on the separation. You may discover that acting exclusively in self-interest without any consideration of others gradually becomes self-destructive. Most actions taken for the exclusive benefit of others, at great personal cost, typically prove themselves fruitless as well. There is a good reason for this. In his 2001 book, “No Boundary,” Ken Wilber presents a thorough case that all separation is simply an illusion. It is my belief that we all get the chance to see through this illusion upon departing this physical realm, but if we can look through the door, before permanently crossing the threshold, the broadened perspective can be beneficial to our experience until the departure. However, all of these words have very little consequence if they are not accompanied by first-hand experience. The metaphor I like to employ for this understanding is that of the mountain. Throughout human history the great prophets and mystics have arduously made their way up the mountain using various methods. Many have done their best to describe the sights, sounds and viewpoints from the paths that they chose. Those who reached the top have seldom had words to describe what was there and many never make the attempt to explain. That place is not describable to those who have not experienced it. This is true of every aspect of life. How can sight be described to a blind person? How can sound be described to a deaf person? Words ultimately only point to truth, they do not contain truth. Without a shared context of reality, words are empty. What psychedelics may be able to assist with, if the seeker is prepared, is to find a temporary view of various parts of the mountain. The glimpses into those heightened states of consciousness are simply that: glimpses. They do not contain the same value as thousands of hours of meditation, years of yoga practice or pilgrimages to holy sites, but the glimpses they provide can be profoundly liberating. To hop in a helicopter and visit the top of the mountain for fifteen minutes has the potential to alter your life permanently. The permanency is what many people fear when they hear about psychedelics, but what if the changes that remain with us are largely beneficial to our well-being rather than harmful? What if the expansion of human consciousness is exactly what is needed to slingshot us into the next phase of human evolution? The lowering of time preference alone seems to have a spiritual component, but is it enough to shift human nature away from the darkest parts of our past? The answer will come in the form of individual choice and expression. I want to believe that the separation of money and state will benefit humanity as a whole, but I won’t be entirely convinced until I see how it happens. What I would ask from the reader is a gentle approach to both psychedelics and to Bitcoin. You may benefit from listening for the true intent of those you are communicating with, not the intent you may have assumed they have. This speaks true not just for Bitcoin and psychedelics, but for all topics of discussion. The lack of understanding of a topic is not the same as malevolence. Assume the former even if you suspect the latter and your ability to support others in learning will improve significantly. Have a nice trip. Tyler Durden Wed, 07/27/2022 - 20:55.....»»
Gold & The Upcoming Recession Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, We are now seeing the initial stages of a currency, credit, and banking crisis develop. Driving it are an inflation of prices, contraction of bank credit and a pathological fear of recession. One can imagine that the major central banks almost wish a mild recession upon us so that they can keep interest rates suppressed and bond yields low. The key to understanding the course of events is that the cycle of bank credit is turning down, and this time the factors driving contraction are greater than anything we have experienced since the 1930s, and possibly in all modern monetary history. This article joins the dots between inflation and recession and puts the relationship between money (that is only gold), currencies, credit, and commodity prices into their proper perspective. The bank credit downturn… It is increasingly obvious that the economic cost of sanctioning Russia is immense, and there’s now growing evidence of all major economies facing a downturn in economic activity. And we don’t have to rely on GDP forecasts to know why. Intuitively, if food and energy shortages impact us all, higher prices for these items alone will affect our spending on less important items and services. That’s reasonable enough for sensible citizens. But financial analysts insist on quantifying it with their models. Their principal measure is the total value of all recorded transactions, comprised of GDP. They proceed seemingly unaware of the difference between the value of economic activity to the advancement of the human condition, which can’t be measured, and a meaningless total comprised of only currency and credit, which can. Consequently, all they end up recording is changes in the quantity of currency and credit deployed in the economy. Of course, there is a broad point that if the quantity of currency and credit contracts, GDP falls. And if it is severe, economic activity tends to fall as well. But to equate the two to the point that a variation of less than a per cent or so from modelled forecasts means anything is nonsense. A proper assessment of the economic condition gets lost. Instead, an awareness of the role of bank credit is called for. Banks create credit, which feeds into the GDP total when they are optimistic about the outlook for lending. And when they deem the outlook to be deteriorating, they withdraw credit which reduces the GDP total. It leads to a repetitive cycle of boom and bust. We are now entering a period where, at the margin, banks are trying to reduce their exposure to credit going sour. Therefore, GDP will contract And we can assess where it will contract. It really is that simple. The best thing to do is to stand back and let the excesses of lending and the support for malinvestments wash themselves out of the system. The last time this was done was the brief but very sharp recession of 1920—1921 in the US. The government of the day understood it was not its business to intervene, and anyway, it was not capable of improving thngs. But increasingly since, monetary policy has become run by central banks which steer their economies through rear view mirrors, reacting to information rather than anticipating. But even if they could anticipate economic trends they lack the commercial nous to manage it. Instead, their stock reaction to declining GDP will be to “stimulate”. Not only do they have a mandate to maintain full employment, but they have a Keynesian belief that a decline in GDP is entirely due to falling demand. Falling demand, they say, leads to lower prices, so the inflation figures in the CPI will fall. Producer prices will fall. All commodity prices will fall. The chart below feeds this line of hopeful thinking. This basket of commodities has fallen in value by 17% in a month. Panic over. Even wheat and soya prices have fallen. Dr Copper is down. Grasping at these straws, central banks are undoubtedly relieved that inflation might be turning transient after all. Or so they think. There is no doubt that we are experiencing enormous price volatility. If it was entirely due to consumers deciding not to spend because prices are too high for them, that is one thing. But if it is because banks are withdrawing credit, the consequences are materially different. A central bank’s concern to maintain consumer spending might discourage banks from contracting credit for consumers, at least initially. Furthermore, their risk models show that while individually consumers using credit are often high risk the magic of securitisation turns these risks collectively into low risk. It becomes a numbers game. So, credit card and other consumer faced lending divisions with very high credit margins are not the first to be targeted. And anyway, that would put the bank’s executives at odds with the central bank. Instead, in the initial stages of a credit downturn, banks withdraw credit principally from business borrowers who use overdraft facilities. A business that frequently resorts to overdraft facilities is high risk in any bank’s assessment. Weaker businesses are first to succumb to the credit downturn for this reason. Other early victims of credit contraction are financial speculators because their collateral is easily realised. We have seen the decline of US stock indices so far being accompanied by a $200bn reduction in margin lending. There’s still much more to go. As the economist Irving Fisher pointed out in the 1930s, calling in loans to reduce bank credit can become a self-feeding destruction of value. The bit he failed to understand is that in a serious downturn it can’t be helped, because it is the other side of earlier credit expansion, and it is the unwinding of unsound lending. Both an understanding of what drives periodic contractions of bank credit and the empirical evidence that it has repeated in one form or another approximately every decade since records began, inform us that it should not be stopped but allowed to proceed. Compare the brief 1920—1921 slump in the US with the prolonged 1930s slump, the latter managed by first Presidents Herbert Hoover and then Franklin Roosevelt. We should also know from understanding that bank credit is a cycle, that the height of the recent expansionary phase measured by the ratio of total bank balance sheet assets to their shareholders’ capital indicates the likely severity of the subsequent credit contraction. It reflects deposit liabilities to a bank’s customers relative to its shareholders assets. Traditionally, asset to equity ratios of more than eight to ten times were deemed risky. Some major banks, particularly in the EU and Japan, are now at over twenty times. While the US banks are less geared, the systemic risks to them from other national banking systems in this financially interconnected world are the highest they have ever been. For the immediate future we can discern two things. First is that production of goods and services is likely to be more limited than consumption due to an absence of bank credit, knocking on the head the Keynesian misconception that it is a problem of insufficient demand. That is just an initial phase. And following it, the contraction of bank credit can be expected to become more severe, as banks draw their horns in to protect their shareholders from an Irving Fisher style slump. In this subsequent second phase both producers and consumers will face enormous financial difficulties. Without aggressive intervention by central banks, the correction from excessive over-lending taking bank balance sheets beyond dangerous levels of leverage will simply fuel a GDP slump. Central banks will intervene, not just to deliver on the full employment mandate, but to finance government budget deficits which will soar under these developing circumstances. Prices in a slump The last real slump, when the forces driving bank credit contraction were arguably less severe, was in the 1930s following the Wall Street crash. At that time, the dollar and sterling, together the world’s major international currencies, were both on gold standards. Prices of commodities, raw materials and agricultural products collapsed, effectively measured in gold through these two currencies. The political strains led to Britain abandoning its bullion standard in 1932, and the US gold coin standard was suspended for US citizens in 1933, followed by a 40% dollar-devaluation in January 1934. The effect of the collapse of bank credit was to make circulating media in dollars and sterling scarce, thereby raising their purchasing power. To this extent, gold’s purchasing power also rose, because it was tied to the currencies. While gold gave credibility to the dollar and sterling, it was the contraction of bank credit that drove the slump in prices, while gold got the blame. We know that priced in gold, over time commodity, raw materials, and agricultural product prices are remarkably stable. Disruption in the price relationship does not come from gold. The following chart of the WTI oil price rebased to 1950 illustrates prices in sterling, dollars, and euros where there are huge variations in prices. Contrast that with gold (the yellow line), where the price today is down about 30% from 1950 with minimal volatility along the way. Our next chart makes the point with base metals, fuel and non-cyclical agriculture raw materials all rebased in gold. Since 1992, which is the earliest common date we have for these series, an unweighted average gold value for them has fallen a net 19% (the black line). Fuel has been the most volatile at up to 2.5 times the 1992 price, but from the previous chart we can see that it was up a net 12 times in US dollars in 2007/08 from 1992. Priced in gold, the relatively little volatility we see in these commodity groups is as close as we can get to free market values in sound money. And even then, we know that gold prices are manipulated in the markets. We can also assume that the origin of this volatility does not come from gold, but from the violent price changes in fiat currencies, their interest rates, and their distortions with respect to demand for commodities. These findings overturn conventional opinions on price formation. The evidence is that it is not true that fiat currencies are purely objective in their relationship with commodity prices. Forecasters of commodity prices incorrectly assume there is no change from the currency side. But clearly, the fluctuations overwhelmingly emanate from the currencies themselves. This brings us to the likely effect of an economic slump on prices. Initially in our analysis, we will assume there is little change in the public’s desire to hold fiat currencies relative to the range of commodities and consumer goods. That being the case, we can see that it will be variations in the quantity of currency and credit in circulation driving prices. A contraction in this quantity will tend to lower prices. And Keynesian economists might conclude that precious metals being commodities will also fall in price against fiat currencies, given that fiat currencies are no longer tied to gold. The flaw in this argument is that there are indeed other factors involved, and the consequences for the quantity of currency and credit in a slump must be taken into account. Irrespective of changes in monetary policy, in socialised economies government budget deficits soar and will need financing by expansion of the currency if bank credit is not forthcoming. In other words, despite the tendency for banks to contract bank credit to the private sector and even if central banks do not amend monetary policies, it will be more than offset by an expansion of currency passed into the economy through the government’s books. Furthermore, under these circumstances monetary policy will change as well. Following the initial withdrawal of overdraft credit from businesses and bank loans for financial speculation, there is likely to be a softening of consumer demand as lending standards tighten and financial insecurity for consumers escalates. Central banks will notice the tendency for the withdrawal of bank credit to lead to a slump in consumer demand. They will almost certainly reduce interest rates and reintroduce quantitative easing to replace contracting bank credit to stimulate flagging economic activity. They have eased and stimulated in every bank credit cycle at this point since the 1930s, and there’s no reason to think they will do otherwise today. An increase in currency and credit, not emanating from the commercial banks but from the central bank, with increasing budget deficits will continue to debase the currency in gold terms. The currency will also be debased against commodities. But with some volatility imparted from the currency side, we can see that the general relationship between commodities and gold can be expected to remain intact. A systemic failure is on the cards All this assumes that within the context of the bank credit cycle there is not a significant systemic failure. Given that the forces behind credit contraction today are greater than any time since the 1930s, and possibly for all modern monetary history, that is a vain hope. Last week I pointed out the looming catastrophe for the euro system and the euro. A similar tale can be told about the Japanese yen. And sterling is just a poor man’s version of the dollar without its hegemony status. In the event of a systemic crisis, the role of central banks will be to underwrite their entire commercial banking system. The consequences of letting Lehman go bankrupt on the last cycle of bank credit contraction did not serve as a warning to profligate bankers. Instead, it had us all staring into a systemic abyss, and that mistake will not be repeated. In a systemic crisis today, it will take unprecedented currency and credit creation by the central banks to save the financial world. And it’s that debasement that will end up collapsing fiat currencies. Meanwhile, we can expect central banks to milk the transitory inflation story for all its worth. Forget the CPI rising at 8%+ they will say. It will soon return to the 2% target as recession bites. But that’s another excuse to ease policy. It might buy just a little more time before the crisis hits. But don’t bank on it. Manipulation becomes official Earlier this month, three JPMorgan Chase traders faced a federal trial in Chicago, accused of masterminding a massive eight-year scheme to manipulate international markets for precious metals by spoofing, including gold and silver. JPMorgan had already been fined $920m in 2020. Coincidently, Peter Hambro who was a gold trader in London in the early days of the derivatives market described how the bullion banks created unallocated gold accounts. One of Hambros’ more interesting comments was about the role of the authorities: “Disinformation for many years has kept the lid on this tinderbox and since 2018 the Financial Stability Desks at the world’s central banks have followed the Bank of International Settlements’ instruction to hide the perception of inflation by rigging the gold market.” Perhaps it’s not too great a leap of the imagination to suggest that the three JPMorgan Chase traders facing criminal charges in Chicago are being hung out to dry, when all they were doing the BIS’s and other central banks’ bidding. What appears to have got Hambro commenting was a chart released by the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in its quarterly derivatives report, replicated with notes below. Over the previous quarter, 2022 Q1 shows a 520% increase in precious metal derivatives over 2021 Q4. As the note explains, this is due to a reclassification of gold derivatives from exchange rates to precious metals. What it does not say is that the effect is to increase the supervisory factor from 4% to 18%. The following definition of supervisory factors is taken from the OCC’s Bulletin 2020-7: “The Basel Committee standard uses supervisory factors that reflect the volatilities observed in the derivatives markets during the financial crisis. The supervisory factors reflect the potential variability of the primary risk factor of the derivative contract over a one-year horizon.” In the context of this article, the reason for the reclassification of legal money (for that is gold) from exchange rate derivatives to commodities is that after significant back-testing they found gold correlated more with commodities than currencies. Bravo! That is what the earlier charts in this article, of the steadiness of commodity prices over time measured in gold, point out. The mistake made by regulators is to think price volatility is in commodities, when in fact it is in fiat currencies. What they should be doing is giving gold a zero supervisory factor, commodities a 4% factor, and currencies 18%. But as Peter Hambro points out, the BIS, which supervises Basel banking regulations, has run a secret campaign with the major central banks to suppress the price of gold. While the manipulators at the BIS might think that declassifying gold from currency is a further nail in gold’s coffin, the measure could backfire. Following this ruling, to maintain substantial derivative positions chews up balance sheet, and bank treasurers are likely to seek restraint on outstanding positions, given their mandate to reduce balance sheet leverage. This observation is a segway to another consideration. The markets for over the counter and regulated derivatives have increased along with the financialisation of banking activities since the mid-eighties. For nearly forty years, the dollar has acted as the backbone of financialisation with the big New York banks acting as its recycler. Two events are calling an end to this period. First, the long-term decline of interest rates has come to an end as the purchasing power of the dollar declines at an accelerating pace. And secondly, sanctions against Russia have backfired badly on dollar hegemony. If anything, it heralds a new era of Asian currencies reflecting, or being tied to commodities. Indeed, a trade settlement currency for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) with a major commodity element in it is planned. It may not see the light of day, but commodities, not financial activities, are central to pan-Asian trade and the dollar’s successors are likely to reflect it. Even Saudi Arabia has shown interest in aligning with the BRICS group, which in turn is aligning with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which has in its membership all the EAEU nations. Saudi Arabia is important, because it was the Kingdom’s agreement with President Nixon which created the petrodollar. So, Mohammed bin Salman who now rules the kingdom politically, appears to be turning his back on the Nixon agreement to only accept payment in dollars for oil. That is the death knell for the petrodollar. And then there are the balance sheet considerations in the financially centric banking system. Rising interest rates are collapsing the availability of bank credit for maintaining the bull market in stock and bond prices. Just as a long-term bull market on the back of an enduring decline in interest rates has driven the expansion of derivatives, the end of that bull market is bound to lead to a contraction. And as commercial bank treasurers prioritise balance sheet reductions, those having a high supervisory factor, such as precious metal and commodity derivatives will attract their attention. The BIS scheme for suppressing gold prices will be unwound while global currency debasement accelerates. It looks like a double-whammy is about to undermine global fiat currency world credibility. For now, it is the dollar that reflects the upcoming storm, like the weird fall in sea levels ahead of a tsunami. The collapse in the yen, euro, and pound, together with an increasing list of minor currencies collapsing, is like an approaching tsunami, when the sea level initially drops. The same happened in the last bank credit crisis, when Lehman failed, and every other US bank was rescued by the Fed. There was an initial flight into the dollar which saw gold prices fall. The problem facing risk-averse Keynesian-educated investors is their accounting of profits and losses is in fiat currencies. They must sell risky investments for cash in their currencies of account. And internationally, that is predominantly dollars which is why the dollar is usually a safe haven in the initial stages of a systemic crisis. After the initial rush, dollars and other currencies are then sold for real money, which is and always has been gold. Tyler Durden Wed, 07/27/2022 - 07:20.....»»
After resisting a post-2020 election pressure campaign, Arizona GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers says he"s "running against Donald Trump" in his upcoming primary
Censured by his party and facing a Trump-backed primary challenge after his Jan. 6 testimony, Bowers says he wants to stop "thugs" from taking over. Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers arrives to testify before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC on June 21, 2022.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky Rusty Bowers testified at a Jan. 6 hearing about enduring pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 election. Now, he's facing a Trump-backed primary challenger: former state Sen. David Farnsworth. Bowers told Insider that he's "running against Donald Trump," who's "propping up" his opponent. MESA, Arizona — Russell "Rusty" Bowers, the Speaker of the Arizona House, testified before the January 6 committee in June about withstanding a pressure campaign from then-President Donald Trump to reverse the 2020 presidential election results in his state.Now, Bowers is hoping to withstand another Trump-driven campaign: an August 2 state Senate primary against former Sen. David Farnsworth, a fellow Mormon who's known Bowers for years.By the time Bowers testified about being pressured to take action to decertify the state's pro-Biden electors — and the harassment campaign that ensued when he refused — his primary had already been underway for a few months."I've got a former president running against me. I'm not running against David Farnsworth," Bowers told Insider this month. "I'm running against Donald Trump. It's his name that's propping up Dave Farnsworth."Term-limited in the House, Bowers is now running in the newly-drawn 10th legislative district centered on Mesa, a city of roughly half a million people just east of Phoenix. Trump endorsed Farnsworth shortly after Bowers appeared before the committee, calling the state House speaker a "longtime political operative" and someone who "must be defeated."He was also just censured by the Arizona GOP, whose chair, Kelli Ward, has referred to Bowers as "Rusty Bowels."Farnsworth, for his part, told Insider that he did not seek out Trump's endorsement personally, only saying that there were "at least a half a dozen people in Arizona that told me they were trying to get the Trump endorsement for me."With Bowers raising more than $320,000 and Farnsworth raising just $70,000 — most of which came from a $40,000 personal loan — Farnsworth will largely have to rely on Trump's appeal and antipathy toward Bowers in order to prevail."Instead of David Christian Farnsworth on his signs, now it says 'David Trump Farnsworth,'" Bowers said, referring to the placement of an endorsement message that obscures Farnsworth's middle name. "All of us look at that, and say... yeah, that says something."On a yard sign for David Farnsworth, an endorsement message from former President Donald Trump obscures the former state senator's middle name.Bryan Metzger/InsiderBowers could certainly win the race. Brad Raffensperger, who testified alongside Bowers, handily beat a Trump-backed opponent in his Republican primary for a second term as Georgia secretary of state a week before he appeared on Capitol Hill. Other Republicans, like Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, have also recently prevailed against Trump-backed challengers.But if he loses, Bowers would become the latest addition to the universe of high-profile Republicans who've been excommunicated from the party after crossing Trump, such as Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who's opted to retire rather than face a primary, or Rep. Tom Rice, who faced down a primary and lost."I would be, in one way, okay. I've lost before," said Bowers of a potential loss. "And in another way, I'm thinking 'oh my gosh, right when we need adults the most, the thugs take over.'"'They're all uniformly thankful'In June, Bowers testified before the January 6 committee about the months of harassment outside his home that he'd endured from supporters of the former president. He also described the deluge of phone and email messages registering disapproval at his refusal to bend to Trump's will.—CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 21, 2022 Now, in the throes of another political campaign, Bowers seems to be used to confrontation.Bowers now says that "nobody's come by the house of late," though he said some friends had suggested he prepare for the possibility for further demonstrations in light of Trump's recent visit to the state.And he told Insider that he's continuing to get "basically the same type of harassment online that I've gotten for the last two years," but pays it little mind."I don't Twitter," he said. "I told the President that — I don't tweet."Bowers told Insider that he's received mostly positive responses from people who've approached him about his committee testimony, particularly among fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in his neighborhood on the northern edge of Mesa."Especially in my neighborhood. Ds, Rs, Is, people from space," he said. "They're all uniformly thankful."Bowers concedes, however, that the most committed party activists in his district are incensed with him."The fix is with the district leadership and in the Republican women," said Bowers. "The fix is all in for Trump and Dave, they've been working at it for months."Bowers has increasingly irked the more right-wing members of his party. Earlier this year, he killed a so-called "election integrity" bill — which would have allowed Arizona's state legislature to overturn the will of the state's voters — by assigning it to all 12 of the chamber's committees, ensuring it wouldn't ever make it to the floor."That's why they're so angry at Rusty, because he slapped us in the face by saying, 'I'm not even gonna look at it,'" said Farnsworth."We passed 38 bills on election integrity stuff," said Bowers, seeking to defend his record on an issue of increasing importance to the Republican base. "No, we didn't take away people's fundamental right to choose the electors."Bowers' foes also accuse him of being vindictive and petty. Sen. Kelly Townsend, a Republican from Apache Junction, told Insider that she encouraged Farnsworth to run against Bowers because of long-standing difficulties in working with the speaker, particularly when the two served together in the state's lower chamber. "I have had trouble with Rusty for four years," said Townsend, a Trump-aligned figure who promotes the idea that the 2020 election was stolen who's now caught in her own contentious primary."He killed all my stuff, I had to do a lot of maneuvers just to get my bills across the board," said Townsend. "I just don't want to have to serve with him again."At a rally in Prescott Valley on Friday night, Trump slammed Bowers for his January 6 committee testimony while touting Farnsworth,"Rusty Bowers is a RINO coward who participated against the Republican Party in the totally partisan, unselect committee of political thugs and hacks," said Trump. "He disgraced the state of Arizona."—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 23, 2022'No animosity, except that he called me a swamp rat'In an interview at his home in Mesa, Farnsworth, a former state senator, spoke in religious terms as he told Insider about how his own Mormon faith had driven him to come out of retirement to challenge Bowers."The whole issue of this race, from my perspective, is that… our freedom is being destroyed," said Farnsworth as he sat with the Book of Mormon open in front of him. "And it's the people that are prophesied in this book who orchestrated the theft of the election." In Farnsworth's telling, Townsend told him that he was the "only one that can beat Rusty" because of their shared Mormon faith, and he said he was running against his one-time acquaintance largely over dissatisfaction with how he handled the 2020 election."I have no doubt in my mind that the election was stolen," said Farnsworth. "I can't show you the proof, but I grew up in Arizona, I've seen all the evidence, I've talked to all these people, and in my heart, I know the election was stolen."Farnsworth said that while he agrees that trying to appoint pro-Trump electors might have been a step too far, he thinks the former president genuinely believes he'd won the 2020 election and that it was Bowers' job to address the widespread lack of faith in the vote, suggesting that he could've held hearings to uncover evidence of fraud."Rusty, as Speaker of the House, had the responsibility as a leader in the Arizona legislature, to do whatever it took to restore that trust," says Farnsworth. "That is what this election is all about. He failed in his duty to do what he needed to do."Farnsworth said that if elected, he wants to hold hearings on the issue himself, though he made clear that he doesn't believe the election itself can be reversed."At this point, if you try to put Trump in instead of Biden, you'd probably create a civil war," he said. "It's been too long."Former Sen. David Farnsworth at his home in Mesa, Arizona on July 13, 2022.Bryan Metzger/InsiderFarnsworth, notably, has said that the QAnon conspiracy theory seems "credible" and said during a recent debate that "some of the things they've said made sense to me." However, he told Insider that he "definitely [does] not follow them" and has never "even googled the name to find out about them."Bowers contrasts himself from Farnsworth primarily by talking about his ability to work constructively with others."Everybody is scared to death of Dave Farnsworth, because he doesn't listen well," says Bowers. "I have no animosity, except that he called me a swamp rat."Bowers recalled an anecdote from when the two men served together in the Arizona House in the 1990s when Farnsworth voted no on a bill simply because he wasn't sure what was in it."He doesn't invest intellectual capital," says Bowers. "You have to be willing to really think things through on a lot of issues, and listen to a lot of voices, and synthesize a course of action from many different interests." The 'growing fragility of civilization' Bowers, a sculptor and painter who's now nearing age 70, has gone through a great deal of stress in recent years. His daughter, Kacey, died of a terminal illness at the end of January 2021 as Bowers dealt with protestors accusing him of being a "pedophile" outside his home.Asked why he's opted to run for another political office — given both his age and the anger he's faced from members of his own party — Bowers spoke of his "love" for Arizona."There isn't anybody in the legislature that knows more about this state than me," he said.But Bowers also warned of what he calls the "growing fragility of civilization.""The use of emotional violence as a political tool — the biggest tool in the toolbox — is now kind of common," said Bowers. "Just bully them until they can't take it anymore."He bemoaned the rise of this style of politics at a time when big challenges, including water scarcity driven by climate change, are impacting Arizona hard; when Bowers spoke with Insider, the average temperature in Maricopa County was well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit."The policies, the practical governance of a society suffers," he said. "And I'm afraid.""We are going to need to wisely move quickly to use the resources we've set aside," he continued. "And I think — I want my opponent taking those decisions?"In his testimony before the January 6 committee in June, Bowers spoke of his admiration for President Ronald Reagan.A yard sign for Rusty Bowers' state senate campaign with a "Republican in Name Only" sign placed next to it in Mesa, Arizona.Bryan Metzger/InsiderBowers even cited Reagan in a December 2020 statement declaring that he would not seek to replace the state's pro-Biden electors at Rudy Giuliani's request, quoting the 40th president in calling the peaceful transfer of power "nothing less than a miracle."But asked whether he thought Reagan still held sway with his party, Bowers demurred. "That's a good question for a sit around, fireside chat type of thing," he said.He then recounted a trip he once made to Reagan's ranch in California, remarking that he was struck to see that he had read many of the same books as the former president, and that Reagan had used "Head and Shoulders" shampoo in a plywood shower on the property."He was a very common man," said Bowers of Reagan. "Whereas now, it's like, we have a — I don't want to use the word cultic, but maybe that would be appropriate — view of these leaders." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
From memoirs to mysteries, these are the best books of 2022 so far, according to Amazon's book editors. From memoirs to mysteries, these are the best books of 2022 so far, according to Amazon's book editors.Goodreads/GoodreadsWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Halfway through the year, Amazon editors release their favorite books so far. All of their picks have been published in 2022 and include a range of genres. Here are their top 20 favorite new books of 2022, according to Amazon editors. At the end of every year, we look forward to the awards and "best of" lists that annually solidify our favorite books, movies, songs, and more, but waiting so long to find a great recommendation can feel like an eternity.Fortunately, Amazon has released its list of the top 20 books of the year so far, so you can find a great new read hand-picked by its editorial team.Amazon releases monthly book selections but in early summer, its editorial team votes for the best books published from January to June. While some are from its "best books of the month" lists, others are customer favorites, bestsellers, or little-known picks that pack a literary punch. Whether you're looking for a gripping nonfiction read or an emotional historical fiction journey, here are the best books of the year, according to Amazon.The best books of 2022 so far, according to Amazon editors:"Remarkably Bright Creatures" by Shelby Van PeltAmazon "Remarkably Bright Creatures," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $17.76Chosen as the best book of 2022 so far for its cast of lonely characters who form something unexpected together, "Remarkably Bright Creatures" follows Tova Sullivan who works the night shift at the aquarium, staying busy to keep her mind off her husband's death and her son's mysterious disappearance 30 years prior. As Tova forms an unlikely but remarkable friendship with a giant octopus named Marcellus, he soon uncovers what happened the night of her son's disappearance and must figure out how to communicate the truth to Tova."What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma" by Stephanie FooGoodreads"Remarkably Bright Creatures," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $23.99Stephanie Foo seemed perfectly successful on paper when she was diagnosed with complex PTSD after years of panic attacks, uncontrollable anxiety, and years of wondering what was "wrong" with her. This personal and researched read is part psychology book and part memoir as Foo investigates the effects of generational immigrant trauma while healing from her past."All My Rage" by Sabaa TahirCCLS"Remarkably Bright Creatures," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $9.05Salahudin and Noor were once closer than best friends, but a terrible fight has destroyed their bond and forced each of them to face some of the hardest times in their lives alone. Salahudin is left trying to save their family's motel in the wake of his mother's passing and his father's debilitating grief while Noor hides her college applications in an attempt to escape her brutal uncle. When it seems they can take no more, Noor and Salahudin must decide the value of their friendship in this breathtaking and heart-wrenching young adult novel."The Maid" by Nita ProsePopsugar"The Maid," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $16.90"The Maid" is a mystery read about Molly Gray, a hotel maid who struggles with social skills but excels in her work because of her obsessive love of cleaning. One day, Molly finds a hotel guest dead in his bed and her life is turned upside down when she becomes the lead suspect in his murder investigation — until her friends unite to search for clues, solve the murder, and prove Molly's innocence."River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile" by Candice MillardGoodreads"River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $19.50 This new historical read outlines Britain's frenzied search for the sources of the Nile and the race to colonize and exploit the area in the 19th century. Millard's account follows the very public rivalry of Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke on their expeditions to and from Africa as well as the previously overlooked story of Sidi Mubarak Bombay, a formerly enslaved East African man whose resourceful exploits on each trip led to the Englishmen's self-proclaimed successes and may have even meant the difference between life and death."Lessons in Chemistry" by Bonnie GarmusGoodreads"River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $17.69 "Lessons in Chemistry" is a bright and witty historical fiction story about chemist Elizabeth Zott who faces inequality in the early 1960s at the research institute where she works. Years later, Elizabeth finds herself the star of a beloved cooking show. With an unusual approach to combining chemistry with traditional cooking, Elizabeth is unwittingly changing the status quo for women everywhere in this heartwarming, funny, and entertaining read."Memphis" by Tara M. StringfellowTarget"Memphis," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $14.59When Joan, her mother, and her sister flee their father's violence in favor of their mother's ancestral home in Memphis, Joan processes her rage and grief through art as she learns the complexity of her family's past while sketching portraits of the women around her. Inspired by the author's family history, "Memphis" is a multi-generational tale about justice, violence, freedom, and healing through time."Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John MandelAmazon"Sea of Tranquility," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $12.50"Sea of Tranquility" blends science fiction and historical fiction as readers follow a young man in the 1912 Canadian wilderness who hears a violin in an airship terminal, a famous moon colony writer on an Earthly book tour for her pandemic novel, and a detective hired to investigate a strange anomaly in the North American wilderness. Readers love this book because it is complex, expansive, reflective, and dazzlingly relevant."Half-Blown Rose" by Leesa Cross-SmithTarget"Half-Blown Rose," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $13.99After a shocking betrayal by her husband, Vincent is settling into her new life in Paris where she teaches at the art museum, spends time with new friends, and has even fallen into a passionate relationship with a young man named Loup. When Vincent agrees to see her estranged husband again at their son's wedding, she must look inward to find what she wants out of life and who she wants to become."Hello, Molly!" by Molly ShannonGoodreads"Hello, Molly!," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $18.18Comedian Molly Shannon is well-known for her years on "Saturday Night Live" and her role as Mary Katherine Gallagher in "Superstar." In this memoir, Shannon reflects on the tumultuous events in her young life that made her who she is today and the long and interesting road through show business that led to her iconic roles and resounding successes as a comedian and actress."The Kaiju Preservation Society" by John ScalziAmazon"The Kaiju Preservation Society," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $20.99During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamie Gray is reunited with an old acquaintance who offers Jaime a job as a last-minute grunt for an upcoming field visit with his "animal rights organization," failing to mention that the "animals" are not from our Earth. In an alternate dimension, Kaiju are the world's largest and most dangerous panda and the Kaiju Preservation Society is not the only group that knows of their existence but must go to great lengths to ensure their protection in this science fiction novel perfect for those who loved "Jurassic Park.""Sleepwalk" by Dan ChaonGoodreads"Sleepwalk," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $22.52Loved for its fast-paced plot and intriguing main character, "Sleepwalk" is about Will Bear, an off-the-grid, good-natured henchman who runs dangerous errands for others while creating few ties of his own. When a young woman claiming to be his daughter calls him in need of help, Will is uncertain whether or not she's AI yet sets off on an increasingly complicated road trip as the line between friend and foe becomes less and less clear."The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty" by Neal ThompsonAmazon"The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty," Amazon and Bookshop, $24.49Though many of us think of the Kennedy family today as icons of wealth and power, former President Kennedy once connected with blue-collar voters through his family's working-class history. Now, with new genealogical information, this historical biography traces the history of the first Kennedys who arrived in America following the Great Famine and rose to success despite poverty and discrimination."Such Big Dreams" by Reema PatelGoodreads"Such Big Dreams," avaialble at Amazon and Bookshop, $22.42Rakhi is living in a Mumbai slum and working as an office assistant at Justice For All, a human rights law organization, when Alex, a graduate student from Canada, arrives for an internship and asks for Rakhi to show him the "real" India. When their seemingly harmless transaction brings challenging moral choices to the surface, Rakhi must fight for redemption and her right to live her life on her own terms."Young Mungo" by Douglas StuartGoodreads"Young Mungo," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $14.79From the author of "Shuggie Bain", "Young Mungo" is the story of first love between two young men, destined to be enemies as Mungo is born Protestant and James is born Catholic. Despite it all, the boys fall in love and when Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip with two strange men, he must dig deep into his inner strength to get to a safe place where he and James can finally be together."Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases" by Paul HolesWalmart"Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $17.62Perfect for any true crime fan, this memoir is written by the detective who helped uncover the Golden State Killer and solve the murders of Laci and Conner Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard. Through a personal and insightful narrative, Paul Holes outlines his life of solving America's toughest cold cases and the sacrifices he had to make for his career."Nightcrawling" by Leila MottleyGoodreads"Nightcrawling," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $18.17Living in an East Oakland apartment without parents or a high school education, Kiara is struggling to make ends meet for her, her brother, and the young abandoned boy next door until she happens into a well-paying but unexpected job nightcrawling. When Kiara's name comes up in an investigation by the Oakland Police Department, she finds herself at the center of a major scandal and failure of the justice system."Black Cake" by Charmaine WilkersonGoodreads"Black Cake," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $13.99This pick is about two estranged siblings whose recently deceased mother left behind a strange inheritance of a black cake recipe with a deep history and a voice recording that recounts her story. In this historical fiction read about lineage, heritage, and relationships, siblings Byron and Benny take an extraordinary journey through their mother's past to fulfill her final request to share the black cake when the time is right."The Final Strife" by Saara El-ArifiGoodreads"The Final Strife," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $26.49Chosen for its masterful writing, beautiful yet painfully human cast, and deeply compelling fantasy landscape, "The Final Strife" is a debut fantasy novel rooted in African and Arabian mythology. In this sapphic high fantasy story, Sylah, Anoor, and Hassa, each with their own marked pasts, find each other and ignite a revolution to set a terribly divided Empire right in a world where red blood rules the kingdom, blue blood belongs to the laborers, and clear blood leaves many invisible."The Unsinkable Greta James" by Jennifer E. SmithGoodreads"The Unsinkable Greta James," available at Amazon and Bookshop, $17.86Months after her very public breakdown just before the launch of her sophomore album, Greta is still reeling from her mother's sudden death when she agrees to take an Alaskan cruise with her father, one originally planned for her parent's anniversary. In this story of healing, gracious recovery, and hope, Greta meets a historian facing an upheaval of his own, confronts her broken heart, and slowly learns how to find her voice once more.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP Thursday's hearing in the Jan. 6 probe is focusing on Trump's actions as his supporters stormed the Capitol. Two administration officials — national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews — are testifying. The panel plans to keep digging through August and with more hearings to come in September. Jan. 6 panel has summertime plansJan. 6 Committee vice-chair Liz CheneySaul Loeb/AFPThe January 6 Committee leaders kicked off Thursday's hearing by outlining their plans for more summertime work as their panel continues its investigation of the 2021 insurrection at the Capitol.Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel's chairman, said via video that there'd be more hearings in September. A few moments later, Rep. Liz Cheney, said the panel plans to spend the August recess "pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts" before turning to additional hearings."The damn has begun to break," Cheney said. Latest hearing will focus on Trump's reaction to the Capitol riot — and his alleged inaction to stop it.Former President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesThe House panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 will hold its eighth hearing on Thursday night.The hearing — scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET — will focus on Trump's actions during the deadly insurrection at the Capitol building.Committee members have argued that Trump knew of the violence and refused to take actions to prevent or stop it, despite the pleas from advisors in his inner circle.Former national security adviser Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Matthews, former deputy press secretary in the Trump administration, are expected to testify.The committee is expected to add to the public's understanding of the critical 187 minutes between when Trump stirred up a crowd of his supporters at the Ellipse to when he posted a video to Twitter asking them to "go home."READ FULL STORYRep. Kinzinger says Trump acted like an angry child during January 6 attackRepublican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois during a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2021.Ting Shen-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is expected to play a leading role in Thursday's primetime hearing, will focus on Trump's mindset and actions as he watched his supporters assault law enforcement and desecrate the Capitol.In an interview with The Bulwark, Kinzinger said Trump "was someone who knew exactly what he was doing."Read Full StoryTrump spent most of the January 6 attack watching TV in the White House dining room: new videoFormer President Donald Trump speaks during a "Save America" rally in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTrump spent the bulk of his time during the Capitol attack watching reports of the insurrection on TV, according to video testimony given to the January 6 House panel.Ahead of Thursday night's hearing on how Trump reacted to the storming of the Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a member of the House Select Committee, shared a video compilation of the depositions on Twitter.—Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 21, 2022Read Full StorySecret Service may have violated federal law by deleting messages around January 6The leaders of the January 6 hearings say the Secret Service may have violated federal law by undergoing a process that led to text messages from the time of the Capitol riot to be deleted."The procedure for preserving content prior to this purge appears to have been contrary to federal records retention requirements and may represent a possible violation of the Federal Records Act," a letter from Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said.So far, the committee had received one text message from the agency.Jan. 6 hearings are 'undoubtedly starting to take a toll' on Trump's popularity, former ambassador saysFormer White House counsel Pat Cipollone is seen on a video display during the seventh hearing held by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on July 12, 2022.Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty ImagesA former ambassador who served during the Trump administration says the former president's popularity is taking a hit as more revelations about Trump's actions before and during the Capitol riot come out.Attorney Randy Evans, who was ambassador to Luxembourg, said the hearings' "steadiness, the repetitiveness, has had a corrosive effect."Evans added it's "all undoubtedly starting to take a toll — how much, I don't know. But the bigger question is whether it starts to eat through the Teflon. There are some signs that maybe it has. But it's too early to say right now."Read MoreSecret Service has only submitted 1 text to the Jan. 6 committee: panel memberThe House panel investigating the Capitol riot has received just one text message from the Secret Service in response to a subpoena, Rep. Zoe Lofgren said."In their letter they gave no indication that they have secured the phones in question and done some forensic work with them. That's something we want to know," Lofgren told MSNBC on Tuesday."Obviously, this doesn't look good ... Coincidences can happen but we really need to get to the bottom of this and get a lot more information than we have currently."Read Full StoryJan. 6 panel subpoenas Secret Service for text messages as DHS watchdog accuses agents of deleting them after being askedA US Secret Service agent takes position outside the White House in November 2020.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoThe House committee investigating the Capitol riot has issued a subpoena to the US Secret Service after the Department of Homeland Security inspector general accused the agency of deleting text messages after being asked.Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairperson, said in a Friday letter to Secret Service director James Murray that the panel was seeking text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021.Thompson mentioned three previous requests for information, sent in January, March, and August of last year, pertaining to all communications between DHS officials and then-President Donald Trump about the Capitol riot.Read Full StoryThe Jan. 6 witness Trump tried to call is a White House support staffer, reports sayThe Jan. 6 committee witness whom former President Donald Trump is alleged to have tried to contact is a White House support staffer, reports say. At Tuesday's hearing, committee member Rep. Liz Cheney claimed that Trump sought to contact a witness who had not appeared publically, in what she characterized as a form of witness tampering. CNN first reported, citing two sources, that Trump made the call to the witness after the June 28 testimony by another witness, the former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson.According to the report, the support staffer was in a position to corroborate parts of Hutchinson's testimony, and had been providing evidence to the committee. NBC News later said it had confirmed CNN's reporting. Neither outlet named the person.Read Full StoryWatergate star witness predicts criminal charges after latest Jan. 6 testimony: 'Trump is in trouble'Former White House Counsel John Dean testifying on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2019.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesJohn Dean, a key witness in the Watergate investigation, said that former President Donald Trump and others will likely face legal repercussions from evidence presented at Tuesday's January 6 committee hearing. In an interview with CNN, Dean highlighted testimony by former members of extremist group the Oath Keepers, who were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol.Dean described them as "really classic authoritarian followers, following the leader."He argued that the testimony proves the extent to which the rioters believed they had been sent by Trump, which he said could be used by prosecutors were they to bring charges against the former president.Read Full StoryTrump 'liked the crazies' and wanted Alex Jones and Ali Alexander as Jan. 6 rally speakers despite red flags raised, former spokesperson saysKatrina Pierson, a former campaign spokesperson for Donald Trump and one of the organizers of the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally, said Trump wanted Alex Jones and Ali Alexander to speak at the event despite the "red flags" they raised.On Tuesday, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a member of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, played a video of Pierson's testimony to the panel in which Pierson commented on Trump's love for "crazies" like Jones and Alexander."Yes, I was talking about President Trump. He loved people who viciously defended him in public," Pierson said in her deposition.Read Full StoryPhoto shows Mark Meadows escorting Rudy Giuliani from the White House following 'UNHINGED' West Wing meeting about 2020 election resultsA photo that Cassidy Hutchinson took of Mark Meadows leading Rudy Giuliani away from the Oval Office.Courtesy of CSPANFormer Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had to escort former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani from the Oval Office following a chaotic, late-night December 2020 West Wing meeting about the election results, according to new January 6 testimony.Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide whose explosive testimony stunned Washington last month, shared with the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot a photo she took of Meadows leading Giuliani away from the Oval Office following the turbulent gathering, which was the site of a face-off between Trump's legal allies and White House lawyers over efforts to promote the then-president's baseless claims of election fraud, according to testimony.The January 6 panel shared the photo alongside real-time text messages Hutchinson was sending from the meeting during its seventh live hearing on Tuesday. READ FULL STORYFormer Twitter employee feared people were going to die on January 6A former Twitter employee told the House committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol that activity on the platform raised concerns that there would be deadly violence in Washington on January 6.The former employee, whose voice was obscured in a recording played during Tuesday's hearing, testified about trying and failing to get the company to intervene as former President Donald Trump's extremist supporters used the platform to repeat his statements about the upcoming protests to the 2020 election results.On the night of January 5, the employee testified about slacking a colleague, a message to the effect of, "When people are shooting each other tomorrow, I will try and rest in the knowledge that we tried."The former employee was on a team responsible for platform and content moderation policies during 2020 and 2021.READ FULL STORYOath Keepers attorney used the 'Queer Eye' loft kitchen from Season 3 as her video background before the January 6 committeeOath Keepers attorney Kellye SoRelle.C-SPANTestifying remotely before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, the Oath Keepers' attorney and acting president used a green screen background from the Netflix show "Queer Eye."Erin Ryan, host of Crooked Media's "Hysteria" podcast, tweeted out a screenshot of the remote deposition from Oath Keepers acting president Kellye SoRelle alongside an image from the third season of the streaming series, which Ryan said she found from a reverse Google image search.READ FULL STORYRep. Liz Cheney ends hearing with bombshell: Donald Trump called a witness in the House January 6 investigationFormer President Donald Trump called a witness in the congressional inquiry into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, Rep. Liz Cheney said Tuesday, prompting House investigators to notify the Justice Department. "After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation. A witness you have not yet seen in these hearings. That person declined to answer or respond to President Trump's call and, instead, alerted their lawyer to the call," said Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, in a bombshell revelation that concluded the House January 6 committee's seventh public hearing."Their lawyer alerted us, and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice," she added. "Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously."READ FULL STORYThe January 6 investigators obtained a video of Roger Stone reciting the Proud Boys' 'Fraternity Creed,' the first step for initiation to the extremist groupAn image of Roger Stone is shown on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.Doug Mills/Pool via APNew details emerged at Tuesday's January 6 committee hearing on the close ties between Roger Stone and extremist groups, including that the longtime Donald Trump confidante was recorded reciting the Proud Boys' so-called "Fraternity Creed." Rep. Jamie Raskin, who co-chaired the public hearing, described reciting the creed as "the first level of initiation" into the far-right group, five members of which are scheduled to be tried on seditious conspiracy charges in December. "Stone's ties to the Proud Boys go back many years," Raskin said. "He's even taken their so-called "Fraternity Creed," required for the first level of initiation to the group."Video then played showing Stone in a crowded outdoor setting, saying, "Hi, I'm Roger Stone. I'm a Western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for the creation of the modern world." READ FULL STORYTrump planned to call on his supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6, according to a draft tweetThe House committee investigating the Capitol riot on Tuesday revealed a draft tweet in which President Donald Trump called on his supporters to go to the US Capitol after his speech on January 6, 2021."I will be making a Big Speech at 10AM on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the Steal!!" Trump wrote in the draft tweet, which is undated.Trump never sent the tweet, but its existence, along with other messages exchanged between rally organizers, offer proof that the march to the Capitol was premeditated, the January 6 committee said.Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida presented the evidence during Tuesday's hearing, and said: "The evidence confirms that this was not a spontaneous call to action, but rather it was a deliberate strategy decided upon in advance by the president."READ FULL STORYTrump's ex-campaign manger Brad Parscale said in private texts that Trump is to blame for Capitol rioter's deathIn a series of texts revealed at the 7th hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, President Donald Trump's former campaign manger Brad Parscale suggested in a message to former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson that Trump's words led to the death of a capitol rioter.Messages show Pierson tried to push back, writing that "it wasn't the rhetoric.""Katrina," Parscale wrote back. "Yes it was."Read Full StoryPat Cipollone suggested Pence should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom for refusing to block the Electoral Collage count certificationA video of Pat Cipollone, former White House counsel, is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.Doug Mills/Pool via AP"I think the vice president did the right thing, I think he did the courageous thing," Cipollone said in testimony revealed at the House January 6 committee's seventh public hearing on Tuesday. "I have a great deal of respect for Vice President Pence."Cipollone added that he didn't think Pence had any "legal authority" to do anything other than refuse to give into President Donald Trump's pressure campaign and interfere with the Electoral College certification on January 6, 2021.Read Full Story 11 House Republicans met with Trump to strategize overturning the election results on January 6, and 5 of them later asked for pardonsAccording to Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, a member of the January 6 committee, several Republicans met at the White House on December 21, 2020, as part of an effort to "disseminate his false claims and to encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on January 6."Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani were all at the meeting, along with President Donald Trump.According to White House visitor logs, Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Rep. Paul Gosar of Florida, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia all attended the meeting.Read Full StoryFormer Twitter employee tells January 6 committee that Trump received special treatment from TwitterAn evidence tweet is shown on a screen during a full committee hearing on "the January 6th Investigation," on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2022, in Washington, DC. - The House committee probing the 2021 assault on the US Capitol is examining connections between associates of former US President Donald Trump and far right-wing extremist groups at its seventh hearing on Tuesday.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images"I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem," the former Twitter employee told investigators in testimony aired in Tuesday's hearing of the congressional committee investigating January 6.The employee, whose identity was kept secret, was introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin as having worked on Twitter's content moderation team from 2020 to 2021.Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson texted a fellow White House aide 'the west wing is UNHINGED' as Oval Office meeting almost devolved into a brawlCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesAccording to messages released by the House January 6 committee, Hutchinson texted the message to another top aide, Anthony Ornato.It was sent amid the scene of a December 2020 Oval Office meeting as Trump attorney Sidney Powell and White House lawyers clashed over efforts to push Trump's debunked election fraud claims. Read Full Story Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone 'set a new land speed record' trying to break up a meeting between Trump, Michael Flynn, and Overstock's CEO, Sidney Powell saidDemocratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, one of the committee members leading Tuesday's January 6 hearing, said former President Donald Trump, election lawyer Sidney Powell, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, had met to discuss an ongoing effort to reverse the results of the 2020 election.Powell told investigators in previously recorded testimony, however, that the group had "probably no more than 10 or 15 minutes" with Trump before Pat Cipollone, then the White House Counsel, intercepted the meeting."I bet Pat Cipollone set a new land speed record," Powell quipped.Rep. Jamie Raskin says the 'oldest domestic enemy' of US democracy' is 'whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections'Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., left, listens as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite"The problem of politicians whipping up mob violence to destroy fair elections is the oldest domestic enemy of constitutional democracy in America," Raskin said in his opening statement during Tuesday's January 6 hearing.He mentioned a time during Abraham Lincoln's presidency, when an 1837 racist mob in Alton, Illinois, during which rioters broke into an abolitionist newspaper's office and murdered the paper's editor, Elijah Lovejoy."If racist mobs are encouraged by politicians to rampage and terrorize, Lincoln said, they will violate the rights of other citizens and quickly destroy the bonds of social trust necessary for democracy to work," Raskin said.Read Full StoryConvicted Capitol rioter testifying in front of the committee warned that a 'Civil War will ensue' if Trump got robbed in 2020Stephen Ayres, who pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct in connection to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, is set to testify in from to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack.His testimony is expected to underscore how Trump summoned supporters to Washington DC on the day Congress was scheduled to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.On December 26, 2020, Ayres posted to Twitter: "If the [deep state] robs president Trump!!! Civil War will ensue!" It was posted days after Trump called for a "big protest" in his own tweet.Read Full StoryEx-White House counsel Pat Cipollone was against Trump naming Sidney Powell special counselA video of former White House counsel Pat Cipollone is shown as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteIn previously unseen footage from his deposition to the House Select Committee last Friday, Cipollone spoke about Powell being Trump's pick to be special counsel for the Department of Justice to investigate repeatedly disproven wide spread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election."I was vehemently opposed," Cipollone said when asked about Powell being made special counsel. "I didn't think she should've been appointed to anything."Read Full StoryRep. Jamie Raskin says Trump 'electrified and galvanized' his extremist supporters with a tweet calling for a 'big protest'Jamie Raskin listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteRaskin, a Maryland Democrat, referenced a December 19, 2020, tweet from Trump during the House's January 6 committee hearing on Tuesday."Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump's tweet said. "Be there, will be wild!" Raskin said that Trump's tweet spurred on "the dangerous extremists in the Oathkeepers, the Proud Boys and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government.""Here were thousands of enraged Trump followers, thoroughly convinced by the Big Lie who traveled from across the country to join Trump's wild rally to 'stop the steal,'" he added. "With the proper incitement by political leaders, and the proper instigation from the extremists, many members of this crowd could be led to storm the Capitol, confront the vice president in Congress and try to overturn the 2020 election results."Read Full Story Ivanka Trump told the House January 6 committee that she believed her father lost re-election 'probably prior' to a formal Electoral Collage vote in December 2020Ivanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump told the House January 6 committee that she believed her father lost the 2020 presidential election likely before a formal Electoral College vote on December 14, 2020."Was that an important day for you? Did that affect your planning or your realization as to whether or not there was going to be an end to this administration?" an attorney for the committee asked Ivanka Trump in video taped testimony."I think it was my sentiment, probably prior as well," Ivanka Trump said in response.Read Full StoryPat Cipollone's testimony 'met our expectations," Cheney saysFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee vice chair and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone testified before the panel — and that his testimony "met our expectations."The House committee then aired several clips of Cipollone's sworn testimony at the start of their seventh hearing on Tuesday.Cipollone told the January 6 committee that he agreed Trump should concede the 2020 election and that he lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden fair and square. Read Full StoryCheney: Trump is 'not an impressionable child'GOP Rep. Liz CheneyAP Photo/ Andrew Harnik)GOP Rep. Liz Cheney pushed back on excuses for former President Donald Trump's actions during the Capitol riot, saying he was not simply misled about his election lies but knew they were false."President Trump is a 76-year-old man," Cheney said as the January 6 committee began its hearing on Tuesday. "He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices."Cheney said evidence shows Trump was warned "over and over" that there was no sign of widespread election fraud."No rational or sane man in his position could disregard that information and reach the opposite conclusion," she said, "and Donald Trump cannot escape responsibility by being willfully blind."Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee's next hearing expected to link Trump even more closely to the Capitol attackLawmakers on the House January 6 committee will air the inquiry's findings during a public hearing Thursday.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesFrom its very first hearing, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol made a point of connecting former President Donald Trump to the violence of that day.A month later, the House panel is poised to delve even deeper. At its next public hearing, set for 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, the committee is expected to focus on how the violent pro-Trump mob coalesced on January 6 and the involvement of far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.Committee aides said Monday during a background call with reporters that the panel's seventh hearing would underscore how a single tweet from Trump mobilized his supporters, proving a "pivotal moment that spurred a chain of events, including pre-planning by Proud Boys.""Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump tweeted on December 19, 2020. "Be there, will be wild!"READ FULL STORYCassidy Hutchinson's testimony jolted the DOJ into focusing on Trump in its Jan 6 investigation, report saysCassidy Hutchinson testifying before the Jan. 6 committee on June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTestimony by Jan. 6 witness Cassidy Hutchinson sparked debate among top Justice Department officials about Donald Trump's potential criminal culpability for the Capitol riot, The New York Times reported. The June 28 testimony by the former White House aide prompted officials to discuss Trump's actions on January 6, 2021, and questions about potential legal ramifications for the former president, sources told The Times. Present at some of the discussions were Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the report said. Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson and Rep. Liz Cheney have forged an 'unlikely bond' amid January 6 testimony process, per reportCassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide whose explosive January 6 testimony stunned Washington last month, has found a friend and ally in Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who has been ostracized from the GOP for criticizing the former president and serving as vice-chair on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, according to The New York Times.The two Republican women — both on the outs with the party's overwhelming Trump faction — have developed an unlikely bond in recent weeks as the January 6 panel riot zeroes in on increasingly damning testimony against former President Donald Trump.The congresswomen admires Hutchinson's dedication to country over personal power, according to The Times. "I have been incredibly moved by young women that I have met and that have come forward to testify in the Jan. 6 committee," Cheney said in a recent speech at the Reagan Library.Read Full Story A bad day for Steve BannonSteve Bannon asked to delay his mid-July trial by at least three months.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesMonday was not a good day in court for Steve Bannon.The former Trump aide lost on several key pre-trial motions ahead of his upcoming July 18 federal trial on contempt of Congress charges.U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, ruled from the bench that Bannon's defense attorneys couldn't use several of their planned arguments. Nichols also denied Bannon's bid to have the trial date delayed.Insider's Ryan Barber was at the courthouse in Washington, DC, and has more in his dispatch linked below. Read Full Story'That mob on the Mall'An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana.William Campbell/Corbis via Getty ImagesWe've got a handy preview for you on Tuesday's next big House January 6 hearing, which will focus on the right-wing extremist groups that in the words of Rep. Adam Schiff helped lead "that mob on the Mall." Laura Italiano breaks down the five potential bombshells she'll be looking out for when the panel convenes at 1 pm. Check out what those are here:Read Full Story The most shocking revelations from the January 6 committee's first hearings on the Capitol attackCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoThe next January 6 committee hearing is scheduled for July 12, at 10 a.m. ET.Catch up on the biggest revelations from the public hearings thus far.Read Full StoryTeasing new witnesses, Rep. Adam Kinzinger says of Trump and his allies: 'They're all scared. They should be.'Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesIn a series of Sunday tweets, Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Donald Trump and his allies, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are "scared" following last week's testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson before the Jan. 6 select committee. "This BIPARTISAN committee has been able to find out things that up until recently were denied by the Jan 6th truthers, so they are left with trying to discredit a young woman with more courage than they could muster in a lifetime. Except… that isn't working," Kinzinger tweeted."Cassidy doesn't seek the limelight, but she is compelled with honor. She didn't even have to swear an oath to the constitution like Kevin, Elise, Kristi Noem and others did. But she volunteered to come under oath to tell what she knows. She is a better person than them all. "Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says the January 6 panel won't 'stand by' and let 'men who are claiming executive privilege' attack Cassidy Hutchinson's characterCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testify during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney in an interview that aired on Sunday reaffirmed her confidence in former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony and said that the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol wouldn't sit by idly and let her endure anonymous attacks.While sitting down with ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., the Wyoming Republican expressed confidence in Hutchinson and the credibility of future hearings."What Cassidy Hutchinson did was an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage and patriotism in the face of real pressure," she said."The Committee is not going to stand by and watch her character be assassinated by anonymous sources and by men who are claiming executive privilege. And so we look forward very much to additional testimony under oath on a whole range of issues," she added.Read Full StoryKinzinger says new witnesses have been coming forward to the Jan. 6 committee since Cassidy Hutchinson's 'inspiring' testimonyRep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesRep. Adam Kinzinger says that more witnesses have come forward since Cassidy Hutchinson's blockbuster testimony during the Jan 6. hearings last week. "She's been inspiring for a lot of people," Kinzinger said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "Every day, we get new people that come forward and say, 'hey, I didn't think maybe this piece of the story that I knew was important, but now that you guys are talking' — I do see this plays in here."Hutchinson, an ex-aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, revealed in front of the Jan. 6 committee shocking details of former president Donald Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol attack, including that he attempted to grab the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at one of his Secret Service agents, as Insider's Grace Panetta previously reported. "I mean, look, she is going to go down in history," Kinzinger said, referring to the 25-year-old. "People can forget the names of every one of us on the committee. They will not forget her name. And, by the way, she doesn't want that. She doesn't want to be out in the public spotlight."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says the Jan. 6 committee could potentially make multiple criminal referrals, including one against TrumpU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney in an interview broadcast on Sunday said that the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol could potentially make multiple criminal referrals, including one against former President Donald Trump.During an interview on ABC's "This Week," Cheney — who serves as the vice-chair of the panel — was asked by correspondent Jonathan Karl if the work conducted by its members has shown that Trump's conduct warrants prosecution."Ultimately, the Justice Department will decide that," the Wyoming Republican said. "I think we may well as a committee have a view on that."She continued: "If you just think about it from the perspective of what kind of man knows that a mob is armed and sends the mob to attack the Capitol and further incites that mob when his own vice president is under threat — when the Congress is under threat? It's just very chilling. And I think certainly we will continue to present to the American people what we've found."Read Full StoryDOJ wants a DC judge to reject Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial over January 6 hearings' publicity, saying that he has 'barely been mentioned'Steve Bannon argued in April that his criminal prosecution should be dismissed.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Department of Justice asked a DC judge on Friday to reject Trump ally Steve Bannon's request to delay his contempt-of-Congress trial, arguing that the January 6 hearings have not revolved around him to the point of distraction.On Wednesday, Bannon's lawyers asked a DC judge to delay his July 18 trial, citing a "media blitz" from the public January 6 committee hearings and saying the request was "due to the unprecedented level of prejudicial pretrial publicity."DOJ lawyers said that Bannon is not as popular as he thinks he is."The Defendant's motion gives the false impression — through general statistics about the volume of viewership of the Committee's hearings and overall media coverage of the Committee's hearings — that all of the Committee's hearings and the attendant media coverage is about him," DOJ lawyers wrote in a filing on Friday. "The truth is just the opposite — the Defendant has barely been mentioned in the Committee's hearings or the resulting media coverage of them."Read More2 Secret Service sources told CNN that Trump angrily demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6, partly confirming Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimonyFormer President Donald Trump.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesTwo Secret Service sources told CNN on Friday that they heard about former President Donald Trump lunging at the driver of his presidential SUV on January 6, 2021.The pair of sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, backed up much of former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony on the altercation in the motorcade vehicle known as "the Beast" after Trump found out he wouldn't be driven to join his supporters at the Capitol."He had sort of lunged forward – it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don't know," one of the Secret Service sources told CNN. "Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat – for what reason, nobody had any idea."Read Full StoryMichael Cohen says Trump uses a 'mob boss' playbookMichael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, compared the former president to a "mob boss" amid allegations that Trump allies sought to intimidate Jan. 6 witnesses."Donald Trump never changes his playbook," Cohen told The Washington Post. "He behaves like a mob boss, and these messages are fashioned in that style. Giving an order without giving the order. No fingerprints attached."Read Full StoryTrump allies paid legal fees for multiple Jan. 6 witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson, sparking witness-influencing concerns, report saysCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's allies and supporters paid the legal fees for multiple people who had provided testimony to the January 6 committee, including the former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, The New York Times reported.Hutchinson eventually fired the lawyer who was paid for a pro-Trump group, and went on to provide damning testimony about Trump, the report said. Two sources familiar with the committee told The Times that they believe Hutchinson's decision to part ways with the lawyer — who had been recommended by Trump allies and paid for by a pro-Trump PAC — likely played a role in her decision to provide new evidence. There are no laws against a third party paying for a witness' legal representation in a congressional inquiry, but the situation may raise some ethical concerns, according to the report.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent said he, too, would have defied Trump's request to be taken to the Capitol on January 6Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow said in an op-ed that he also would not have taken then-President Donald Trump to the Capitol on January 6, 2021.In an op-ed published by Newsweek, Wackrow said he was shocked by Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the January committee regarding Trump's actions on the day of the Capitol riot. Hutchinson, a former aide in the Trump White House, claimed that Trump had gotten into a physical altercation with the head of his security detail while demanding to be brought to the Capitol."If I had been working on Trump's security detail on January 6, I would have made the same decision as Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Engel to not go to the Capitol based on the known escalating threats," Wackrow wrote.He added, however, that he believed Trump still respects the Secret Service because he probably has seen "first-hand what they're willing to do to protect him and his family." Read Full StoryGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Cassidy Hutchinson is a 'hero' and has 'more courage than most' Republicans after January 6 testimonyCassidy Hutchinson testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday applauded Cassidy Hutchinson for her testimony to the January 6 committee, saying the former top aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has "more courage" than most of his Republican colleagues. "Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero and a real patriot (not a faux 'patriot' that hates America so much they would attempt a coup.)," Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said in a tweet."Of course they will try to bully and intimidate her. But she isn't intimidated. More courage than most in GOP," Kinzinger added of Hutchinson.Read Full StoryGOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearingsRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with Trump in February 2018.AP Photo/Evan VucciRepublican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024."I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot."Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."Read Full StoryCheney 'absolutely confident' that former White House aide's explosive testimony is credibleRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, speaks during a business meeting on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves as vice-chair of the House's January 6 committee, said she is "absolutely confident" that a former White House aide's damning testimony is accurate."I am absolutely confident in her credibility. I'm confident in her testimony," Cheney told ABC News's Jonathan Karl about the allegations made by top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson this week.Cheney said that Hutchinson showed "an unbelievable example of bravery and of courage" by testifying.Read MoreBannon wants his contempt trial to be delayed because of Jan. 6 hearingsSteve Bannon outside of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesTrump ally Steve Bannon has asked for his contempt-of-Congress trial to be delayed because the hearings on the Capitol riot are getting so much publicity.A federal grand jury indicted Bannon in November 2021 on two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.In a Wednesday court filing, Bannon's lawyers argued that the coverage of the committee's hearings would make his trial unfair.Read More January 6 panel subpoenas former White House counsel Pat CipolloneFormer White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said he would testify about Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ official who outlined ways for Trump to challenge the 2020 election.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House's panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.The demand for Cipollone to appear before the committee comes after explosive testimony from a former top White House aide in the Trump administration, who described Trump and his inner circle's actions before and during the insurrection.Read Full StoryFormer Secret Service agent says Trump's 'girth' would have made it impossible to attack driverOutgoing US President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2021.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA former White House aide testified that former President Donald Trump grabbed the steering wheel of his SUV and lunged at a Secret Service agent on January 6, 2021, after they refused to take him to the Capitol building.But former Secret Service agents told Insider they have doubts about the story."Trump's not a little guy, right? And the space to actually be able to lunge towards the wheel is not that big," one former agent said, speaking on background to Insider. "I don't mean to sound disparaging to the former president, but just his girth would prevent him from actually getting to the steering wheel."Keep ReadingHouse Republican who led rioter on tour before insurrection could oversee Capitol policeRep. Barry LoudermilkBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Barry Loudermilk — who led a Capitol rioter on a tour of the building the day before the insurrection — could end up overseeing Capitol police.If Republicans regain control of the House, Loudermilk would be next in line to lead the committee that has oversight over the police force attacked by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.Loudermilk has faced backlash from Democrats after video showed him taking a group on a tour of the Capitol building, showing them hallways, security areas, and stairwells. The next day, members of the tour flaunted a sharpened flagpole bearing the American flag as they marched near the Capitol.It remains unclear whether the group entered the Capitol building itself during the riot.Read Full Story Former Jan. 6 committee investigator announces run for SenateSenior investigative counsel John Wood questions witnesses during the third public hearing of the January 6 committee on June 16, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesJanuary 6 committee investigator John Wood is launching an independent Senate campaign in Missouri in an effort to stop GOP nominee Eric Greitens.Wood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes Greitens — the former Missouri governor — is likely to win the Republican nomination, and that voters deserved an alternative.Wood, a Republican, said he will run as an independent.Read MoreTrump ally says Hutchinson's testimony was a 'campaign commercial' for Ron DeSantis in 2024Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisPhelan M. Ebenhack/AP PhotoExplosive testimony by a former Trump White House aide could be a boost to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to replace Trump on the presidential ticket in 2024, CNN reported.One Trump adviser said the hearings — which painted as Trump as violent and volatile — were "basically a campaign commercial" for DeSantis. Another told CNN that "no one is taking this lightly."DeSantis has flirted with larger political ambitions and is a rising Republican star who would be poised to fill the leadership vacuum if Trump is forced aside.Read Full StorySecret Service agents willing to dispute Hutchinson's claims about Trump's outburst, reports sayFormer President Donald TrumpSAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesSecret Service agents are willing to testify before the January 6 House panel to refute former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's claim that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel when he demanded to be taken to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, according to multiple reports.The driver of the car and the head of Trump's security are ready to testify under oath that the former President never lunged for the wheel or physically assaulted the driver, according to CBS News.Read More Hutchinson's testimony could lead to legal trouble for Trump: reportCassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoFormer aides to Donald Trump worry the explosive testimony by a former White House aide could put Trump in legal jeopardy, according to the New York Times."This hearing definitely gave investigators a lot to chew on," former Attorney General Bill Barr told the Times after testimony from top White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson detailed Trump's behavior on the day of the Capitol riot.Hutchinson's testimony painted Trump as a volatile man who knew his supporters were armed on January 6, 2021. Trump also demanded to be taken to the Capitol building, but his security staff refused, Hutchinson said.Mick Mulvaney, who was once Trump's White House Chief of Staff, said evidence of possible witness tampering could open his orbit up to charges.Keep Reading Former Trump press secretary shares text that appears to show Melania Trump to condemn Capitol riot violenceMelania Trump speaks at the White House on October 09, 2019Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham shared a text exchange on Tuesday that purportedly showed former First Lady Melania Trump refusing to condemn the violence during the Capitol riot. The apparent screengrab of a text exchange was between Grisham and a person named "MT." "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?" read the message. "No," the person replied.Representatives for Melania Trump at Trump's post-presidential press office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.Read Full StoryJohn Eastman drops lawsuit blocking his phone records from January 6 committeeJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APIn a late Tuesday filing, John Eastman dropped a lawsuit he'd filed to prevent the Jan. 6 committee from accessing his phone records."Plaintiff brought this lawsuit primarily to protect the content of his communications, many of which are privileged," the latest filing read. "The Congressional Defendants represented in their motion to dismiss that they were not seeking the content of any of Plaintiff's communications via the subpoena they had issued to Defendant Verizon."The former Trump lawyer's phone was seized by federal agents on June 22, according to a separate suit he filed on Monday, seeking the return of his property. Of interest to investigators are call logs from Eastman's personal device, and the search warrant indicates investigators will not review any additional content from his phone without a court order. Read Full StoryTrumpworld shocked by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive January 6 testimony, calling it the 'most damning day' and 'insane'Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoIt took six hearings for the January 6 select committee to finally break through to embattled former President Donald Trump's inner circle.Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified during a surprise hearing Tuesday that Trump was determined to go to the US Capitol with his armed supporters on January 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying the election results. Hutchinson's additional revelations about that day came crashing down on Trumpworld during the two-hour hearing. Among them were that Meadows told Hutchinson "things might get real, real bad" on January 6, that Trump knew his supporters were armed when they flooded the Ellipse to attend his "Stop the Steal" rally, and that Trump said "Mike deserves it" when rioters chanted "hang Mike Pence." "Definitely most damning day of testimony," one former White House aide told Insider. READ MOREFox News host says it's not 'wholly out of character' that Trump 'might throw his lunch' after January 6 testimony on ketchup dripping down the wallFormer President Donald Trump and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier.Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesMoments after a colleague referred to Tuesday's January 6 committee testimony as "stunning," Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall.""I mean, I'm not sure that it really shocks anybody that the president just — knowing what we've seen, observing him over the years — if he got angry then he might throw his lunch," MacCallum said. "I'm not sure. It's obviously a very dramatic detail, and the way that she describes it, um, is. But I'm not sure if this is wholly out of character with the Donald Trump and the President Trump that people came to know over the years."READ MOREHere are all the people who sought preemptive pardons from Donald Trump after the Capitol riot, per January 6 committee witnessesRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are ch.....»»
An Air Force scientist was accused of tricking a defense contractor into hiring an unqualified sex worker as a military researcher
The scientist allegedly moved government funds around to pay the woman's salary and threatened to kill one of the contractors if they told anyone. Senior Air Force scientist Jim Gord was suspected of tricking a defense contractor into hiring an unqualified sex worker he had a relationship with as a military researcher.US Air Force A senior Air Force scientist allegedly tricked a defense contractor into hiring a sex worker, according to court records. The woman was also named co-chair of a scientific panel despite lacking necessary qualifications. The scientist is also said to have used a government travel card to pay for sexual services, according to an unsealed warrant application. A senior scientist working for the US Air Force tricked a military contractor into hiring a sex worker he thought was "hot," according to a recently unsealed search warrant application first published by The Daily Beast. Jim Gord, a senior researcher who was working on advanced propulsion technologies at Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at the time, paid for the services of a 32-year-old sex worker using a government credit card before taking steps to get her hired as a contractor at the Air Force Research Laboratory, the document details.Gord allegedly urged his friend, civilian military contractor Sukesh Roy with Spectral Energies, to hire the unnamed woman in 2017 after giving him a doctored resume claiming she had a degree in biochemistry, among other impressive yet fictitious qualifications. He is said to have spoken highly of the woman's "technical expertise" and claimed he'd met her on a flight to Washington D.C. He finished the conversation by telling Roy she was "also really hot." Gord, who was married for over 30 years, had really met the woman in Cincinnati and charged her $400-per-hour rate for sex work to his government travel card. According to the Dec. 2019 search warrant application, he also kept a spreadsheet on his government-issued computer called "Burner Log" detailing past relationships with 27 sex workers across the US."Many of the 27 women listed on the spreadsheet were foreign nationals from countries considered US national security concerns," an affidavit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio said. Roy reported these allegations about Gord, according to the document filed by a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Gord was never charged in connection with the warrant prior to his death from unnamed causes in September 2021; the woman identified as a sex worker also has not been charged, according to The Daily Beast.Gord allegedly would introduce the woman he got hired as a contractor as a "research assistant." He also named her co-chair of a scientific panel of researchers designing turbine engines, detonation engines, scramjets and rockets. After her hiring as an administrative technician at Spectral Energies, Roy told investigators it quickly became clear that the woman was not up to the task, explaining that she "did not fully understand how to use basic word processing and document creation software and struggled to formulate coherent interoffice emails."When Roy confronted Gord about the woman's incompetence, Gord came clean. He told Roy the woman was a prostitute and that he used his government travel card so his family finances were not visibly affected, according to the special agent's application. Roy then met with an attorney to discuss terminating the woman's employment at her one-year review in Nov. 2018. Gord, upon learning of Roy's plan to fire the woman, said he would show up "with one of his many guns" to "end it all," which Roy believed meant he would kill him and then himself, according to the search warrant. Gord also said that because Roy, who is originally from Bangladesh, is an immigrant, the "old boys club" at the Air Force Research Laboratory would never believe him even if he told people the truth. Two weeks before Roy planned to fire her, Gord moved more than half of the government funds typically allocated to Roy's company to a rival company, Innovative Scientific Solutions, where the woman was hired after abruptly resigning from her previous post. According to the recently unsealed warrant, the woman was also "engaged in acts of prostitution" with other scientists from the AFRL at Wright-Patterson.Gord's alleged scheme was unraveled in the fall of 2019 when Roy told investigators that Gord had engaged in "unethical government contract negotiations, had communicated threats of violence and was regularly soliciting prostitution while on the installation and while traveling on official US Air Force business."Prior to his death, Gord was "an internationally recognized leader in the development and application of optical measurement techniques for advanced propulsion and fuel systems," according to the AFRL. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»