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Miami mayor speaks out against socialism ‘driving poverty, immigration’

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez argues a "massive shift" towards socialist ideas creates "tremendous" poverty in South America, which builds immigration pressure......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 25th, 2023

Joe Biden"s biggest successes and failures in his second year in office

Biden faces low approval ratings over inflation and immigration, despite making progress on infrastructure and climate change. President Joe BidenSamuel Corum/Getty Images Challenges with inflation, COVID-19, and immigration persisted throughout Biden's second year as president. But he made progress on his legislative agenda in Congress, despite Democrats' razor-thin majorities. He has also rallied world leaders in support of Ukraine against Russian aggression. As he ended his first year in office, President Joe Biden was asked by a reporter about a laundry list of problems facing the nation: high inflation, his stalled domestic agenda, COVID-19, and division throughout the nation."Why are you such an optimist?" Biden responded, drawing laughter.A year later, some of those issues persist. Grocery prices are high, gas prices have fallen but have been volatile, and the White House is warning of another COVID-19 winter surge. Biden faces other setbacks, including increasing migrant arrests at the southwest border and failed efforts to to unravel former President Donald Trump's controversial border policies.But he has also made progress on his domestic agenda.His second year in office was marked by historic legislative achievements despite Democrats' razor-thin majority in Congress. The measures included bills to improve the nation's infrastructure, reduce prescription drug costs and climate change, boost semiconductor manufacturing, and promote gun safety. He nominated, and the Senate confirmed, the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.And he rallied world leaders in defense of Ukraine against Russian aggression.Biden's approval ratings, though still underwater, have ticked up slightly since the midterm elections, which exceeded expectations for Democrats when predictions of a so-called "red wave" of Republican victories fizzled.Here are some of the highs and lows from Biden's second year:Success: UkrainePresident Joe Biden talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outside the White House.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin expected a swift and decisive victory when he ordered an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Instead, Russian forces are struggling and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country "is alive and kicking.""Against all odds and doom-and-gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn't fall," Zelenskyy told members of Congress during a historic visit to Washington, DC, in December.Biden has led a multinational coalition to support Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia while the US has provided billions in humanitarian and military assistance, including a Patriot missile battery in December to boost Ukraine's air defense."I've spent several hundred hours face-to-face with our European allies and the heads of state of those countries, and making the case as to why it was overwhelmingly in their interest that they continue to support Ukraine," Biden said during a joint news conference with Zelenskyy.Biden faced criticism for calling Putin's actions in Ukraine "genocide" and saying he "cannot remain in power." Republicans blamed the war on Biden, calling him weak.Biden could have "tried harder to prevent the war," wrote Michael E. O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute in October. But Biden helped lead an economic response that has "cut off most high-tech cooperation between the West and Russia" and "rightly decided that the United States should not directly enter the conflict and risk World War III," O'Hanlon wrote.  Conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens in September called the "staggering gains" by Ukrainian forces "a victory for Joe Biden, too." Beyond military equipment assistance, he wrote, the US is providing "battlefield intelligence that enables them to maneuver, target, strike and evade in ways they otherwise couldn't."Success: First Black woman to SCOTUSPresident Joe Biden congratulates Ketanji Brown Jackson moments after the U.S. Senate confirmed her to be the first Black woman to be a justice on the Supreme Court in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on April 07, 2022.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesBiden's judicial nominations have promoted diversity on the federal bench, most notably with the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice.Jackson won bipartisan support with three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah — joining 50 Democrats to vote in favor of her confirmation.Her swearing-in represented "a profound step forward for our nation, for all the young, Black girls who now see themselves reflected on our highest court, and for all of us as Americans," Biden said in June.Judicial nominations have been a priority for Biden, with more than 90 Article III federal judges confirmed, according to the Federal Judicial Center. The White House in November said 67% of his nominees were women and 66% were people of color.Success: Pushing through some bipartisan legislation As a presidential candidate, Biden was greeted with skepticism by progressives when he touted the virtue of bipartisan dealmaking. But his second year in office ends with trillions of dollars pledged to infrastructure and semiconductor manufacturing. —President Biden (@POTUS) December 29, 2022 Even Republicans, such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have conceded that many in the GOP underestimated the president, whom right-wing critics taunt as being too old. Instead, the leader some Democrats refer to as "Dark Brandon" continued to sign more deals into law, including the largest gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years and expanded benefits for veterans exposed to toxic environments such as burn pits.In ceding the spotlight to Congress, Biden has found a way to fulfill a slew of campaign promises.But it hasn't been all kumbaya across Washington. Just as with COVID-19 relief, Democrats turned to a budget maneuver that allowed them to pass major priorities — including the largest investment in climate-related programs in US history and major expansion of Medicare's power to lower drug costs — without a single Republican vote.  Success (mostly): The midterms Supporters of then-Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman celebrate on election night in Pittsburgh. Fetterman went on to a flip a seat to Democrats.Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty ImagesMidterms are supposed to humble a first-term president. But there was no "red wave" in 2022. In fact, Democrats expanded their Senate majority and the number of governorships they control. Republicans did retake the House, but their majority is so slim that it's still an open question whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will win enough far-right support to become Speaker of the House.Like many items on this list, Biden can't take sole credit. The Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade galvanized a major segment of voters. And like his predecessors — outside of Trump — Biden had a limited presence on the campaign trail.But he and the White House by all accounts appear vindicated in their branding of far-right Republicans as "ultra MAGA" and election deniers as a fundamental threat to democracy. And, no malarkey, Biden and his allies are delighting in how the fallout has left Trump weakened with GOP leaders calling for him to step aside.Failure: Free community college, voting rights, and everything else Biden abandonedPresident Joe Biden pauses as he speaks to reporters following a rare meeting at the Capitol with Senate Democrats where he implored them to partially kill the filibuster. His efforts failed.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe filibuster is still alive.The survival of that procedural Senate hurdle meant a Democratic president was forced to accept that major campaign promises must be either broken or at least severely curtailed.Candidate Biden stumped repeatedly for tuition-free community college. It was first lady Jill Biden, a longtime community college professor, that marked its demise."We knew this wouldn't be easy," Jill Biden told a summit of community college leaders in early 2022. "Still, like you, I was disappointed.It was far from the only major policy that didn't survive 2022. Democrats' much-hyped push for voting rights ended in a failed effort to gut the filibuster.Universal pre-K was included in a sweeping spending plan passed by House Democrats until their Senate colleagues cut that out too. The back-and-forth between the two sides at the Capitol — especially when it involved the views of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — helped kill another Biden pledge to help raise taxes on major corporations.Even early successes, such as the expansion of the Child Tax Credit, which was credited for a large drop in poverty, weren't renewed by a divided Congress.Failure: ImmigrationBorder Patrol agents transfer Venezuelan and Nicaraguan migrants after they crossed the Rio Grande river from Ciudad Juarez in late DecemberHerika Martinez/AFP/Getty ImagesLegal challenges have been an obstacle for Biden in his attempts to end controversial Trump-era immigration policies at the southern border, including Title 42. The 2020 policy allows the US to expel certain migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and Biden has said the policy's revocation is "overdue."The Department of Homeland Security had been planning a surge of resources for the border in anticipation of Title 42 lifting in December, allowing migrants to make long-delayed cases for asylum.But the Supreme Court allowed the policy to remain in effect temporarily after Republican-led states argued the states would be harmed by a potential influx of migrants. Another Trump-era policy known as "Remain in Mexico" is still in effect after a federal judge in Texas paused the administration's attempt to end it. The policy requires certain non-Mexican citizens to await immigration proceedings in Mexico instead of the US.Migrants waiting across the border have described a desperate situation, living in encampments with tarp-covered tents in the cold. In December, El Paso's mayor issued an emergency declaration after thousands of migrants crossed the Rio Grande into the city. The US Customs and Border Protection agency says it has stopped migrants 2.38 million times at the southwest border for the fiscal year ending in September, compared to 1.73 million for the previous fiscal year.Republicans routinely call on Biden to visit the border, and some say Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should be impeached for failures there. The GOP has already vowed to use their power in the House to probe the Biden administration's handling of the border.Failure: Inflation President Joe Biden arrives for an event focused on inflation and the supply chain at the Port of Los Angeles in June.Evan Vucci/APIt was supposed to be "transitory." It wasn't.The good news is that Americans are starting to feel relief as inflation has cooled for five months straight.The bad news is that inflation still hit peaks not seen in 40 years and there's still no guarantee disaster isn't looming for the broader economy.Biden and his team like to point out that the US is far from the only nation that faced record inflation as COVID-19 mostly receded and riddled the world with supply chain disasters. Some economists, including Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, argue that Biden made it worse last year by pushing for a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan that overheated the economy.Over time, the administration ramped up pressure on large corporations that it blamed for exacerbating price hikes.At the pump, gas prices soared as supply-chain issues and Putin's invasion of Ukraine disrupted the global market.  Biden signed off on record releases from the nation's strategic oil reserves — even though economists said such action wouldn't provide much relief. Gas prices have since fallen back below their record highs.The reality is that both issues are difficult for a White House or even Congress to tackle. That's why now and next year the focus will be on the Federal Reserve, which has aggressively raised interest rates to keep inflation in check — a move the central bank is likely to continue in 2023.Failure (still lingering): AfghanistanA Taliban fighter stands guard as a woman walks by him in Kabul in late December.Ebrahim Noroozi/APBiden's record in the war-ravaged country was mixed in 2022 after his chaotic troop withdrawal in 2021.In August, he announced that "justice has been delivered" after a drone strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda leader who oversaw the September 11, 2001 attacks with group founder Osama bin Laden. The CIA operation in Kabul gave Biden an accomplishment to tout in Afghanistan. But the fallout from his handling of the withdrawal still lingers today. Thousands of Afghans who worked with the US during the 20-year war remain in the country, fearing retaliation from the Taliban, the militant Islamist group that seized control after the US withdrawal.A $1.7 trillion federal spending bill that passed Congress in December includes a measure to provide more visas for Afghans who worked with the US, but it omits legislation to provide a pathway to permanent residency for them.The Taliban has taken severe action against women, including banning female education, most jobs for women, and most freedoms.Investigating the botched withdrawal is likely to be a priority for Republicans when they take control of the House. Anthony Cordesman, emeritus chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Biden could have done better in handling the collapse of the Afghan government and forces."But he inherited a lost cause, a failed and corrupt Afghan government, Afghan forces that could not fight on their own, and a peace process where the previous President had already announced the U.S. would leave on a fixed date," he wrote in an email. "The war was effectively lost before he took office."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 31st, 2022

Why Sol Trujillo’s L’Attitude Ventures Sees Latino-Owned Businesses as a Growth Market

Trujillo is working to circulate data to help convince leaders they should invest in Latino businesses and appoint more Latino execs Barack Obama and Lin-Manuel Miranda were just a few of the thousands of people who gathered in San Diego this week for the fifth annual L’Attitude conference, an event helping executives understand the potential of Latinos in the U.S. economy. L’Attitude is the brainchild of Solomon “Sol” Trujillo, who has served as CEO of international companies including US West, Orange, and Telestra, the Australian telecoms company. Trujillo has focused, since his return to the U.S. from Australia in 2009, on changing negative perceptions of Latinos in the U.S. Through the Latino Donor Collaborative, a nonprofit he co-founded in 2010, Trujillo is working to circulate data that can help convince leaders that they should invest in Latino businesses and appoint more Latino executives. The total economic output of Latinos in the U.S. was $2.8 trillion in 2020, according to a report released Sept. 22 by L’Attitude. That’s a figure that is higher than the GDP of the U.K., India, or France, and one that he hopes will turn executives’ heads. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Trujillo is also CEO of L’Attitude Ventures, a venture capital (VC) firm he founded in 2019 to invest in businesses led by Latinos. He says he’s tired of seeing Latino founders coming out of good schools that people don’t recognize and then struggling to secure the funding they need. “The punchline is, they’re hungry,” he tells TIME. “They have ideas and they’re willing to do what’s needed. They just need fuel for their business.” It’s not all that different from how he had to hustle when he graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1974, he says. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. CO2.com enables every business to maximize their impact through high-quality climate action portfolios. Created by experts, backed by science and verified by independent third parties. For more information, and to accelerate your climate journey, go to co2.com You were a longtime CEO when you decided to start a nonprofit, the Latino Donor Collaborative. Tell me what motivated that shift. I’ve operated companies all over the world, but I was born in the United States. My family’s roots go back about 500 years. I feel a lot of pride in what our country stands for. But when I was living abroad, I saw people [in the U.S.] talking about building walls, deporting people. I thought, number one, that’s not what our country is about. I was a young business person when Ronald Reagan was telling the Russian President to take down walls. We believed in opening things up. And number two, it doesn’t make sense economically. As a country, we’re aging, and we need workers. Once you start cutting off immigration, then you start running into the problems that we now have in today’s economy. The reason why we have inflation—the driving variable that nobody wants to talk about—is that we don’t have enough workers. The wage inflation drives pricing inflation, which then creates disruptions all over. So when I was coming back in 2009, I decided to start gathering data and create a nonprofit, which was called the Latino Donor Collaborative. I co-founded it with (former San Antonio mayor) Henry Cisneros—he was the Democrat, I was the Republican. We decided to start thinking about the Latino brand, and why the perception was that Latinos are all bad people. We knew the perceptions were wrong. We wanted to get the data so we can help people understand it. What were the perceptions at the time and how did that differ from the reality shown in the data you gathered? A poll we commissioned then found that two thirds of Americans believed that Latinos were here as takers, tying up schools, tying up hospitals, with everyone going on welfare. And only a third thought that they were here as productive, contributing citizens. But we found the Latino cohort is the most productive of all cohorts in the United States. Because people came here to essentially pursue the American dream. They disproportionately serve in the military, protecting our country. They’re the most entrepreneurial—the highest percentage of net new business formations were being developed by Latinos. Our recent study found that out of all net new small businesses with employees, 52% were created by Latinos. Where do those negative perceptions come from? Everywhere in the world we live with perceptions of others. If you’re the most common cohort in a country, you understand that cohort, but then when there’s other people that are different, you make assumptions about them. Part of this stems from the media. Our most recent study shows that although Latinos are 25% of all American youth, Latinos have only 3.1% of lead roles in shows, are only 1.5% of showrunners, and less than 1.3% of directors. In many of these shows, portrayals of Latinos are as gangbangers, drug dealers, criminals. The few that are positive, you have a Latino nanny or maid—or Pablo, the trusted gardener who speaks with an accent and does low paid work. So perceptions develop. Part of your work is trying to change the perceptions that Americans have of Latinos. How do you run that advertising campaign for people who are getting bombarded with the opposite images in the media? We live in a capitalist economy. And one of the common things I’ve seen around the world is those who create wealth have the most influence. And so you need to think about how you help people understand how core the Latino cohort is to the economy, and also show that they’re creating a lot of wealth. That’s why I came up with the idea of this GDP report that shows the total economic output of Latinos in the United States. Between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. Latino GDP was the third fastest growing among the 10 largest GDPs. The broader U.S. economy ranked fifth. If everybody understood that, as we did when we were looking at China 25 years ago or India 20 years ago, it would really help. There’s all this growth, you create funds, you go after it, you allocate capital to grow. So it’s always about capital flow. You make money by investing where the growth is. So it’s not only that this is an economic force that helps the economy but that you, the person reading this message, can benefit from it. Kind of the capitalist pitch almost. Well you know, I’m a believer that capitalism works 92.5% of the time. If capital is flowing properly, you can grow an economy which benefits everybody. And you can help the most productive cohorts become wealth creators. We have a youthful Latino cohort. They’re very entrepreneurial. They’re very productive. So let’s feed capital to them and that will grow the economy for the next 20 years or so. You mentioned that the U.S. economy needs Latinos for demographic reasons too. Can you elaborate on that? If you think about it, the highest periods of GDP growth in our economy in modern times were during two presidential terms—Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s. We had 16 years, basically of 3.5% GDP growth. We found the single most explanatory variable in terms of GDP growth was not the unemployment rate or some of the things that you hear Fed chairs talk about. It is basically the labor force growth rate. If you look at it. It’s really logical. GDP is a function of outputs of goods and services that workers produce. If you’re not increasing the numbers of workers, your outputs of your goods and services are flat. Both the Baby Boomer cohort and the Gen Xers that were such a disproportionate share of our economy didn’t replace themselves with high birth rates. And they aren’t running as many businesses anymore. So now, we have a natural phenomenon that’s happening, a youthful cohort called the Latino cohort. So the future success of our economy and the success of the Latino cohort are intertwined. If this part of our economy doesn’t grow, the whole economy is not going to grow. You recently started a venture firm to feed capital to Latino entrepreneurs. What was the motivation behind targeting that demographic? Latinos are creating 50% of all employer-based companies. But I wanted to look and see how well these Latino firms were doing. They’re doing well in terms of growth—to a point. Once you get to be about $1 million in revenue, then you’re really accelerating, you need capital. And, there’s no capital availability. We had Bain & Company do a study and we found that less than 1% of all invested capital by private equity and VCs was flowing into this cohort. I decided rather than continue to try to explain to people that it’s a problem and an opportunity, we’re going to create a prototype called L’Attitude Ventures, in order to show people there’s a lot of companies out there that need capital, and that can create growth. We’ll show you how you should do it. A lot of the leadership of many companies are well intentioned, and they give a lot of good speeches about ESG and diversity and inclusion. But sometimes people don’t know quite how to do it. We are creating the prototype so that people can see and say: “oh, okay. We can start flowing capital like L’Attitude Ventures does.” Why do you think a mismatch exists if these Latino-owned firms have so much potential and there’s money out there looking for places to invest? These firms collect capital, and then put it to work, but they put it to work in the same places as they did in the ’80s and the ’90s. So the same structures have only gotten bigger, but they keep on investing in the same way. And they’re not looking in these other places to grow. A corollary would be—people talk about talent, where do I find talent? Do I keep on going to the same universities and the same places where you used to hire people? The answer is, you start looking in other places, because there’s talent almost everywhere. You really need to start thinking differently in the 21st century. I think a lot of Americans have been taught that this is a zero sum game: If this younger Latino cohort gains, then some other group is losing, and they were taught to fear this. Do you think there’s a way to reverse those perceptions? I think the more we’re educated through news media, through entertainment media, people will learn. We’ve seen a shift in perceptions. A decade ago, two thirds of Americans had negative perceptions of Latinos. Today, two thirds have positive perceptions. What we found was that if you had a neighbor, or if you work with somebody who is Latino, your perceptions were a lot different than if you never did and your perceptions came from entertainment media. So the more we provide data and information, the more people will learn. Which is why I co founded L’Attitude. We’re creating a platform where we invite in what I would call resource allocators of the country. CEOs, public leaders, venture capital funds and private equity funds. So you create that new conversation. You create that new set of data, and you share it and people talk about it and understand how they benefit from it. Now you’ll start seeing changes in boards and changes in senior leadership. For example, Target, which just appointed their third Latina to the board (PepsiCo COO Grace Puma). If you look at their growth in the company, a very high percentage of net sales growth is tied to the Latina mom. So they need people on their boards and in their senior management to help understand that cohort, just like they did the Anglo mom in the ’50s and ’60s, as this country’s demographics looked dramatically different than they do today. Speaking of boards, some states like California have mandated that companies have a certain number of women on their boards. Do you think that mandating a certain number of Latino executives on boards would be an effective policy? Well, I’m not a big believer in mandates, because I like how markets work. So one of the things that I like to do is look at structural reasons why things aren’t happening. What do I mean by that? If capital is flowing, there’s going to be a lot of growth. It will be a natural phenomenon that Latinos are going to be starting businesses more and more frequently and grow to be larger sizes. People are going to see Latinos as entrepreneurs. Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg were getting capital even pre-revenue from people that say we don’t invest in startups. Name a Latina that has been able to do that. You’ve worked abroad, in Australia and in Europe as well. Do you think the perception of immigrants is different there? Or is it difficult everywhere if you’re not the majority? Life is the same around the world. When I went to Australia, that first day, on the front page of one of the financial newspapers there was a caricature of me, the new Telstra CEO. It was a Mexican on a burro with a sombrero. That was different. They’d never had anybody like me there. Was that discouraging to you? Actually, those kinds of things charged me up. Because that said that people don’t understand who this cohort was. They found out that their perception was wrong. We were dynamic, we dramatically transformed the company. Rather than being discouraged, you become charged up because you want to help people understand. When I first started in business, I knew I wanted to be the CEO. I graduated from the University of Wyoming. Not Harvard, not Stanford, not any of the elite colleges. So I knew I had to be five times better or 10 times better than the next person to me. But I didn’t carry that as a chip on my shoulder. I carried it as a challenge that said, “Okay, those are the rules of the game.” Once you understand the rules of the game, you play by the rules. If you have to score 10 more goals to be considered a winner. I’ll do it. (For coverage of the future of work, visit TIME.com/charter and sign up for the free Charter newsletter.).....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 25th, 2022

NYC Mayor Adams Calls For "National Czar" To Manage Border Crisis, Despite VP Harris Already Holding Role

NYC Mayor Adams Calls For 'National Czar' To Manage Border Crisis, Despite VP Harris Already Holding Role Authored by Samantha Flom via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), New York Mayor Eric Adams has called for the appointment of a “national czar” to manage the immigration crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border, seemingly unaware that Vice President Kamala Harris already holds that role. “There must be a national czar,” Adams said at a Jan. 17 press conference held at New York City Hall. “I think it should be done through FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency],” he added. “We should treat this the same way we treat any major disaster or major crisis. That should be coordinating with the Border Patrol, coordinating with our cities, our states, to make sure that we as a country absorb this national issue.” New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks onstage during NYC & Company Foundation Visionaries & Voices Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on Dec. 5, 2022. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for NYC & Company Foundation) The Democratic mayor recently returned from a weekend tour of the Texan border city of El Paso, which he described on Jan. 17 as a “beautiful city” that’s been “overrun” by the recent surge of illegal immigrants crossing the border. El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser, also a Democrat, has declared a state of emergency in the city because of the overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants. Leeser and Adams have been critical of the Biden administration’s approach to the situation, saying that not enough is being done at the federal level to ease the burden on cities and states. “Our cities are being undermined,” Adams said on Jan. 15 in El Paso. “And we don’t deserve this. Migrants don’t deserve this and the people who live in the cities don’t deserve this. We expect more from our national leaders to address this issue in a real way.” Despite his previous assertions that there is “no room” in New York for additional illegal immigrants, Adams said on Jan. 17 that suspending the city’s self-professed sanctuary status as a deterrent is “not on the agenda at all.” “I think of, as we celebrated the birth of Jesus, he was faced with a ‘no more room,’ but there was a place that was found,” he said. “And that’s what we are doing. We have no more room, but we are still finding spaces and accommodating. And we are going to continue to do that. That is our law, that is our obligation, and that is what’s morally right.” ‘Border Czar’ In March 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Harris as the official “border czar” to lead the administration’s response to the growing crisis at the southern border. Every month since, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recorded more than 150,000 encounters with noncitizens at the border, and for fiscal year 2022, encounters totaled more than 2.3 million—the highest number on record. So far, Harris has made only one visit to the southern border as vice president. That trip took place in June 2021—after much public pressure—during which she visited a migrant processing center in Texas. In October 2022, it was thought that Harris might visit the border again, while in Texas for a political fundraiser, but no such tour occurred. “I don’t understand why the vice president just won’t take an hour plane ride to the border and just listen, talk to people, just show up and say, ‘Hey, we are here to help.’ Just say, ‘The administration hasn’t abandoned you’ … something!” Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) said at the time. Meanwhile, the president just took his first tour of the border on Jan. 8 in El Paso, where he met with border personnel, observed how they conduct their work, and visited the border wall and affected areas of the city. “They need a lot of resources,” Biden said after surveying the situation. “We’re going to get it for them.” Days prior to the visit, Biden announced new measures aimed at securing the border and slowing the flow of illegal immigration, including turning away Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans who arrive illegally at the border, and rejecting illegal aliens who don’t seek asylum first in a country they traveled through en route to the United States. At the same time, up to 30,000 people per month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela who arrive in the country legally will be allowed to come to the United States for two years and be allowed to work, provided they have a sponsor and pass background checks. For Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the president’s visit was “$20 billion too late and two years too late,” according to the scathing letter (pdf) hand-delivered by the Republican to Biden upon his arrival. Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 01/20/2023 - 09:15.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 20th, 2023

Repression, economic turmoil, and gang violence is driving the crisis at the US border, an expert says

President Joe Biden visited the US-Mexico border for the first time as president on Sunday amid a surge in the number of undocumented migrants. President Joe Biden with Border Patrol agents at the US-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, on January 8, 2023.JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden visited the US-Mexican border on Sunday for the first time since taking office. It came amid a surge in the number of undocumented migrants seeking to enter the US.  An analyst told Insider that a perfect storm of factors is driving people north to the border. President Joe Biden's first visit as president to the US-Mexican border Sunday came amid an unprecedented surge in the number of undocumented migrants seeking to enter the US. Biden is facing fierce criticism from Republicans who are calling for President Donald Trump's harsh migration policies to be reinstated, as well as from members of his own party urging reform of the US immigration system. The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is gearing up to make migration one of its core issues as the 2024 presidential election looms.According to US government figures, 2 million migrants were detained at the US southern border between September 2021 and September 2022.It's a steep increase on past years: 1.67 million in 2020-2021, and the 400,000 the year before that, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged. The figures include migrants attempting to re-enter the US after being expelled. Title 42, a law imposed by Trump in the pandemic, allowed authorities to more easily expel migrants on public-health grounds. Biden attracted criticism from some in his party when he kept Title 42 in place. Last Thursday he went a step further and announced plans to expand it to apply to those from a larger list of neighboring countries.Experts say that behind the surge is a unique geopolitical storm, of escalating violence, poverty and instability in countries near the US.Ariel Ruiz, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said that the factors driving migration are "intersecting and compounding," and driving the surge from Central America, South America and the Caribbean. In Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, increased political repression and inflation related to the COVID-19 pandemic are key factors driving the surge, while in Haiti, he said, a surge in gang violence was the main driver. He said that the US migration system has failed to adapt to the shifting trends in those attempting to enter the country, as it is mainly designed to deal with Mexicans seeking entry to the US. Under US law, migrants from countries seen as dangerous and unstable, such as Venezuela and Nicaragua, must have their cases heard, unlike with Mexico, where the US has a deal to quickly deport its citizens back over the border. "Until last week's announcement by the President Biden, Cubans and Nicaraguans were significantly more likely to be allowed into the United States to continue their removal proceedings and seek asylum options, as opposed to the majority of Mexican and Northern Central American migrants."This is in part of result of the strained relations between the United States and Cuba and Nicaragua that complicate the return of migrants," he said. But overall, the power of changes like this pale compared to the huge draw that is the US economy, he said.The wealth available in the US, the relative poverty of other nearby nations, and limited options for legal migration, mean that high undocumented migration is likely to continue, Ruiz concluded.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 9th, 2023

The "world"s coolest dictator" rounded up 60,000 people in a supposed crackdown on MS-13. A shrimp farming community is fighting back.

The MS-13 gang made El Salvador one of the most violent places not at war. The "world's coolest dictator" created a new layer of misery. Residents of the Bajo Lempa meet weekly at a retreat center to discuss the mass arrests.Fred Ramos for InsiderGang violence has made El Salvador one of the world's most violent places not at war. The crackdown by its "Bitcoin president" created a new layer of misery.SISIGUAYO, EL SALVADOR — On the morning that Walber Rodriguez was arrested last May, he was just two minutes from his home in Sisiguayo, El Salvador.Walber and his wife Estefany had worked the overnight shift at the shrimp cooperative, and then taken their six-year-old daughter Michelle to visit a relative. Walber was driving the family motorcycle, and Estefany and Michelle sat behind him. They were headed home.Walber was pulled over at "El Ceibo," a gathering place in Sisiguayo that's marked by a sturdy tree with an abundant canopy. Soon, Walber's sister, mother, and father had arrived, trying to reason with the officer, who knew them by name. They didn't understand why Walber was being handcuffed. Sisiguayo was a place that saw police and soldiers as allies. Back in 2015, when the MS-13 gang descended on the hamlet looking to recruit local teenagers, the cops had come down hard, even murdering some of the gang members, and Walber and his neighbors had raised money to build a new police station. Now, backup was arriving for the officer. Two navy soldiers showed up, including one who had been with Walber just the night before, watching a soccer game, and informed the others that Walber was "a working man." A patrol vehicle full of additional cops followed. No one named anything that Walber had done wrong. Yet the family's pleas didn't work. "Look," said the officer who led Walber off, flipping his wrist to the sky, "this comes from above." Within days of Walber's arrest, the Rodriguezes learned he was being accused of belonging to MS-13. "El Ceibo," a gathering place in Sisiguayo, is marked by a sturdy tree with an abundant canopy. It was here that Walber Rodriguez was arrested on May 1, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderScenes like this have been playing out across El Salvador since March, when President Nayib Bukele declared a "state of exception" and suspended certain constitutional rights, ostensibly to deal with MS-13 and two offshoots of the rival Barrio 18 gang, Barrio 18 Sureños and Barrio 18 Revolucionarios — all of which have terrorized El Salvador and made it one of the world's most violent places not at war. The declaration was meant to be temporary, lasting 30 days, but Bukele's administration has renewed it nine times. More than 60,000 people, mostly working-age men, have been arrested, while signs along roadways feature cinematic images of heavily-armed police ridding the country of "terrorists." Just as commercial fishermen trawl their way through columns of water to maximize their catch, Salvadoran authorities have rounded people up indiscriminately and with flimsy explanations.The 'world's coolest dictator' Even before authorities crushed in tens of thousands in a span of mere weeks, El Salvador's prisons were overcrowded and disease-ridden. It now tops the list of countries with the highest percentage of their populations behind bars, according to the World Prison Brief, a distinction that has been previously held by the United States. The supposed targets, MS-13 and Barrio 18, began in Los Angeles in the late twentieth century and arrived in El Salvador by way of gang members deported from the US. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump referenced MS-13 to say the US had allowed "animals" to cross into the country, and to justify draconian immigration policies. In El Salvador, the gangs have become one of the country's biggest employers, and they have cemented their power through backroom deals with elected leaders. That appears to have continued under Bukele, a former executive at a family public relations firm who was elected president in 2019 and has fashioned himself, in his ever-changing Twitter bio, as the "world's coolest dictator." Outside El Salvador, Bukele is best known for adopting Bitcoin as a national currency. A sign in the capital, San Salvador, announces the anti-gang crackdown.Fred Ramos for InsiderLast year, the US Treasury sanctioned two senior officials from Bukele's administration for cutting a deal with the gangs in exchange for support in the 2021 midterm elections — which saw Bukele's New Ideas party win a supermajority — and committing fewer homicides. What preceded the state of exception was a horrific weekend in which the gangs killed nearly 90 people. It, too, was allegedly a product of that deal: Salvadoran journalists at the investigative news outlet El Faro reported that the rampage was MS-13's retribution for a break-down in the agreement. The cooperation doesn't end there. Earlier this year, when the U.S. federal court of the Eastern District of New York requested the extradition of MS-13's leadership to stand trial on terrorism charges, Bukele-allied judges blocked some of the extraditions. The administration then released one of the wanted gang leaders from prison, and a senior official helped him flee to Guatemala. The administration denies all this, and, so far, things appear to be going Bukele's way. Tough-on-crime stances have historically been as popular in El Salvador as in the United States. And, as in the U.S., the public is primed to believe that anyone targeted by police is guilty until proven innocent. A Gallup poll released in October recorded Bukele's public approval at 86%. Police make an arrest in San Salvador on June 14th, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe word on the street, according to family members gathered at prisons for news of loved ones, is that while local gang cliques have gone quiet, they're still out there — hiding in full knowledge of the police, whose focus is elsewhere. According to the Passionist Social Services, nearly 40% of the murders in El Salvador since the beginning of the state of exception have been committed by police. Meanwhile, the administration has steadily eroded public access to information about who they are taking and why. El Faro obtained documents involving 690 arrests between March and April, and found that, overwhelmingly, the police are using criteria like "looking suspicious" or "acting nervous" to justify the arrests. Bukele, for his part, has breezily mentioned a margin of "one percent error." "This time, they're not coming out," he tweeted about the state of exception detainees in mid-April. The administration is building a new prison that Bukele says will house 40,000 "terrorists" who "will be cut off from the outside world." But, by terrorists, the president seems to mean people like Walber. 'Until we can embrace them'Once it became clear that Walber had been caught up in the crackdown, the Rodriguez family's hope for a quick release evaporated. By this point, they had discovered that they were not alone. All around them in Sisiguayo and the surrounding Bajo Lempa valley, people were arrested with no satisfactory explanation. The sons of two cousins who lived in a nearby community, Mario and Pablo, were among the first to be taken; their boys were handcuffed while drinking beers after a soccer game. Another neighbor was arrested even though he'd obtained and was carrying around his spotless police record, believing, wrongly, that such a thing would matter to police. He was detained holding his one-year-old in his arms.Residents of the Bajo Lempa who'd been touched by the arrests had begun meeting weekly at a nearby retreat center. There were only about a dozen attendees then, most of them trembling in fear and unable to tell their stories without crying. Now, Estefany, along with Walber's sister, Glenda, and Walber's parents, Tomas and Margarita, became the group's newest members. The group had started in April, launched by Rossy Iraheta Marinero and José Salvador Ruiz, known as Chamba  — two lay pastoral guides whose faith follows the tenets of Latin American liberation theology. They came from the same limited economic reality as their neighbors, and, in fact, they have full-time jobs and families. None of their own relatives had been detained. But they'd been stirred by the plight and compelled by their own theological solidarity practices to act. In the early days, they found that even civil society organizations that were traditionally fearless in denouncing state violence seemed reluctant to aid the so-called "terrorists." A handful of human rights organizations, principally one called Cristosal and a feminist collective in San Salvador, stepped up and, through them, the group has now filed 111 claims of habeas corpus  — a legal demand that prosecutors present their evidence against a detained person, or forfeit custody. "The families have hope that their loved ones are still alive, but they don't have certainty of that," Rossy told me. They also created a website where they posted photos of their imprisoned kin, and composed a song, "Until we can embrace them," that enshrines their suffering and their demands.   Few groups elsewhere in the country have coalesced in this way to lobby. Rossy evokes groups in Argentina and Mexico – and even in El Salvador itself – who never stopped agitating for justice on behalf of loved ones who had been disappeared by the state in earlier decades, leaving maps for others to follow. "A long battle" lies ahead, Rossy cautioned them in one meeting. "You have to be prepared."Outside MarionaWalber, and many of the others from the Bajo Lempa, had ended up at a prison informally known as Mariona, for the municipality where it's located. Under the state of exception, prisons were sealed off. Not even lawyers could get in. There was no protocol for finding out how Walber was doing, or if he was even alive. In El Salvador, it falls to families to help feed and clothe incarcerated relatives. Although the State provides meals to those in prison, Bukele has limited the men to two meager plates per day, as punishment. To leave supplemental food and other essentials, or to elicit a nugget of information from a bureaucrat at the prison's entrance, Estefany, Glenda, and others from Sisiguayo had no choice but to camp out outside Mariona. It's mostly men who have been arrested, and, in the first months of the crackdown, it was mostly women waiting outside prisons, by the thousands, for days at a time, sharing meals and makeshift cardboard mattresses. Everyone was taking on debt to afford the litany of expenses that follow an arrest, and some said they'd lost their jobs because they had spent so many days waiting. It was rumored that some police were offering to trade a man's freedom for sex or money.Glenda Rodriguez walks to the Mariona prison to get news of her brother, Walber Rodriguez, on June 20, 2022.Fred Ramos for Insider The jailings came so fast that Cristosal rushed to set up an online system where families could report arrests and sign up for support as they navigated the justice system. Families described traveling hours to a public defender's office and finding a line so long they lost hope of being seen. There's now about one public defender for every 200 arrests. Initial hearings include up to 500 defendants simultaneously, and Bukele has warned he'll be monitoring judges for "favoring delinquents."  If a name disappears from the register of detainees, it could mean they'd been moved to another prison, or to a hospital, or to a morgue. The country's major newspapers run regular reports of families being unceremoniously delivered the lifeless bodies of loved ones. One of the few men who'd been held at Izalco prison and then released told the Salvadoran outlet La Prensa Grafica that prisoners had been made to run barefoot in circles for hours. When one man fell from exhaustion, the guards broke his ribs, and he died eight days later, the man said. This is the kind of news the families of the Bajo Lempa live in terror of receiving. 'We fear each other again'Sisiguayo sits in the fertile valley where the Lempa river makes its final stretch through El Salvador before flowing out to the Pacific Ocean. Here, the air tastes salty and thick, a reminder of the mangrove forests and the ocean just beyond them. Homes are one-story cinderblock structures, painted in tropical greens and blues and surrounded by clotheslines, palm trees and outhouses. A communal speaker system broadcasts news and emergency alerts.A sunbaked dirt road connects Sisiguayo to the nearest highway, and along it, residents commute by bicycle or motorbike, bending around the cows, horses and dogs that loll about. Every year around November, the rainy season leaves behind deep potholes, so each family gives the share of money they can spare to pay for gas to power the construction equipment loaned from the mayor's office to fortify the road. Most young people work in shrimp cooperatives, where many tasks are nocturnal. It's a life of little sleep and hard manual labor. Night shifts start at around three in the morning. The workers return home for breakfast at about nine, and head off to a second job, like seasonal farming or bricklaying. Here, as everywhere else, the state of exception has been a financial drain. More than a dozen men from one of the shrimp cooperatives were netted in the crackdown, and what normally takes the cooperative two weeks to accomplish now takes two or three months. Roxana, another one of the Rodriguezes' neighbors, was hit especially hard by the arrests. Her two sons, a daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law were rounded up, as well as her boyfriend Jeremias' two nephews. Now, she spends much of her time running endless arrest-related errands. Her youngest daughter, who's 12, had to leave school to help run the family's corner store and care for Roxana's 5-year-old grandchild. Within the first six weeks, the costs ballooned to around $1000 — a small fortune that's twice the amount Roxana spent to open and fully stock her shop. By the late summer, Jeremias is usually out in the fields alongside Roxana's two boys and his two nephews, planting corn for the family to eat. With them in prison, he had to forgo the crop this year, because it's too much to handle alone.  The state of exception "has a human cost that we still can't fully see," said Noah Bullock, Executive Director of Cristosal. "There is the torture, the inhumane treatment, the more than eighty deaths in prisons, and that's only talking about the people who are detained. Life projects that people have built slowly over generations are suddenly paralyzed and collapsed. There's the loss of income and the simultaneous expenses. The social cost of being stigmatized as 'terrorists.'" The administration seems unperturbed by the volume of blameless people it has locked up. "There will always be victims in war," Vice President Felix Ulloa has said of the state of exception. Walber's father, Tomas, at home in Sisiguayo, on June 17, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe last time state security forces were targeting the people of the Bajo Lempa en masse and without explanation, it was in the middle of a civil war. From late 1979 until 1992, vicious US-backed government forces clashed with a leftist guerrilla movement. More than 75,000 Salvadorans died and thousands more were disappeared. A United Nations truth commission later found that 85% of the war kidnapping, torture and murder were committed by the government forces, including police and military. Walber's parents were among those fighting on the side of the guerrillas. In 1992, when they dropped their rifles after U.N.-brokered peace talks, they were given land as a way to return to civilian life. Margarita, Tomas and their neighbors came to inhabit Sisiguayo, with its rich coastal tracts, generous for fishing and farming. For Margarita, her son's senseless arrest reminded her of the state-sponsored kidnappings that had led her to take up arms. "That's what most hurts," she told me. "Now we fear each other again."  A photo of Walber Rodriguez's father, Tomas, from when he was a member of a guerrilla group during the Salvadoran civil war, hangs in his house.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe Bajo Lempa is also a flood plain, a condition that was exacerbated by poor government management of the hydroelectric dams that line the river. During repeated devastating floods in the past three decades, the people of the region, the Rodriguez family among them, lobbied and protested, even marching about sixty miles on foot to the capital to demand better dam administration. For Walber and his older sister Glenda, who were children at the time, this was an early education in democracy. The Bajo Lempa won. San Salvador committed to building the levies needed to ameliorate the annual floods, and to communicating its plans to discharge water from the dams, so the communities in harms' way could evacuate in time.Now, they are again under siege. Surf City Abroad, Bukele is best known for two things. First, his announcement, at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, that his government would "push humanity at least a tiny bit in the right direction" by adopting Bitcoin as a national currency. Second, his "Surf City" initiative along El Salvador's 190-mile Pacific coastline, where consistent eight-to-ten-foot waves in prime spots makes it one of the best surfing destinations in the Americas. Bukele's target audience for Surf City is Bitcoin enthusiasts and international surfers. And everyone knows that Surf City is his. After the apparent breakdown in negotiations between the administration and MS-13, the gangs left a message for Bukele in the form of a mangled cadaver on the highway that connects the beaches to the capital.By June 2022, Bloomberg estimated that Bukele's crypto gamble had cost El Salvador nearly $56 million. That same month, as thousands of Salvadorans were being locked up, Surf City was playing host to the World Surf League's Championship Tour at a beach called Punta Roca. "Eighty-two degree water, no wetsuits!" a voice thundered from the loudspeaker.Nearby, cameramen grumbled to a Salvadoran surfer that they couldn't pan without a uniformed man with a rifle coming into the image.  Locals, who in theory stand to benefit from all of this, were remarking that whitewashing the entrance wall to one beach, El Tunco, and stamping it with an English name left it looking like a drive-through bank. "It was good that he saw the potential in our waves," Enzo, who runs a couple of cafes in the area, told me one evening. Promised infrastructural improvements, like finally completing a waste-water treatment plant so that businesses aren't reliant on bottled water, haven't arrived. Meanwhile, new luxury apartments with a base price of $400,000 are being marketed to crypto enthusiasts, prompting worry that excessive development will smother the area's natural beauty and put everyone out of business. It's almost as if Surf City is Bukele's Potemkin Village, thrown up to boost his standing in a handful of elite circles as he loses legitimacy elsewhere. Bukele "wants to promote the country as a place that other people can buy," said Bullock of Cristosal. "But what is his plan for the middle-aged man who has sold coconuts in Punta Roca his whole life? El Tunco already has local commerce and its own identity. Why not honor that identity?"'Dad's not working, is he?'When Walber was jailed, Estefany told their six-year-old, Michelle, that Walber had gone out of town for a job. When Estefany and Glenda left for days camped outside the prison, she said they were studying. Michelle's questions became harder to escape. When he was away working, Walber usually sent a flood of adoring messages to his daughter on Estefany's phone, but this time, there were none to show. Before ten days had passed, Michelle cornered her mom: "Dad's not working, is he?"  At six, Michelle is absorbing that her life is built on shifting sands — a father in prison, a mother who might withhold the truth. Estefany tried to explain, saying, "The authorities make mistakes." But it's just another tectonic lesson for a child. Walber and Estefany have known each other since they were kids and they've been partners for years, but it was only last year that they finally got married. They were the first in the family to have a real wedding, and Glenda remembers how they both giggled when they asked her to save the date — Dec. 17. Graduation photos of Walber Rodriguez, left, and his sister, Glenda Rodriguez, right, at the family house in Sisiguayo.Fred Ramos for InsiderEstefany's dress, which Glenda and Margarita helped her choose, was the color of red wine and had a sparkling brooch at the bosom. Walber had splurged on a new oxford shirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes. He also surprised Estefany with a wedding ring, which he had secretly saved for months to buy. It was a luxury she had never imagined. The cake, a single-tier white sphere adorned with fruit, held the children rapt until it was time to dig in. When Glenda thinks about the politicians and the police who get to return home to their families at night, so easy in their freedom, it fills her with rage. They can't even begin to comprehend what they have stolen from their people.'No one else will defend him but us' The retreat center where the families met every week was a thirty-minute crawling drive down the potholed dirt road from where Walber was arrested. In late June, 54 days after Walber's arrest, three-dozen of them sat as they usually did, in a circle of plastic chairs in an open-air pavilion, roofed in ceramic tile and ringed in a garden of carefully-manicured green.Rossy stood in the middle of the circle, wearing flip-flops and a white tunic embroidered with flowers, calling on people to speak. Chamba kept a notebook propped between his thigh and the arm of his wheelchair. The families were debating: Should they stay the course, and pursue their habeas corpus claims in court? Or was it time to take to the streets? The habeas corpus route had been Rossy's idea. Back in 2020, right when COVID-19 upended global travel, Rossy was in Ecuador at a theological conference. Bukele was about to close the borders and implement some of the most restrictive pandemic measures in the world. She managed to get onto the last flight into the Salvadoran airport and ended up at a quarantine center for six weeks. Desperate for a way out, a lawyer friend advised her to file a habeas corpus claim. It worked – she was released. Now, it's a tactic that more than 1,800 other Salvadorans across the country have also used since March, but to little effect since the administration has wrenched the legal system into its orbit, forcing many judges to retire and intimidating the rest, along with flooding the system with many times more defendants than it can handle. Members of the group have been harassed by the police, and there was always concern that cops might show up in the middle of the meeting to arrest everyone. One woman who had started attending after her husband was arrested was then herself arrested. Now, the neighbors couldn't agree on what was best. The state of exception allowed the police to detain anyone for any reason. If they protested and ended up incarcerated alongside their loved ones, who would defend them then?  People clamored to speak. Rossy called on a gray-haired man in a cowboy hat. He was one of the many who had spent consecutive days and nights on the street outside Mariona, where his son was being held, and while there, he heard rumor that the guards take vengeance on prisoners whose families caused trouble out front. He rose slowly, and then stated his firm opposition to any public action. He reminded the group that it wasn't only themselves who would pay the price for protesting. When he took up arms in the civil war, he said, it was his own life he was putting at risk. But now, any action might put his son's life at risk. When he finished speaking, Glenda – who, at 28 years old, was among the youngest group members – raised her hand. "I may not have as much life experience as many of you. And I didn't live the war fighting in the mountains like many of you did," she began. But, she continued, she did know that all of El Salvador's civil rights victories, including democracy itself, were the product of struggles on the street. She too had camped outside Mariona, and she had learned that viral malicious rumors appeared on social media as part of an attempt to silence families. A meeting of the Bajo Lempa families on June 17, 2022.Fred Ramos for Insider"If the state is going to kill my brother, it will do so whether or not I speak out. If it will incarcerate me – the same is true," she reasoned. "No one else will defend him but us." Finally, there was simply the value of the truth: "The president wants to make this country look like a wonderland, like everything is Surf City," she said – but the world needed to know what was really happening in El Salvador.  The group ultimately decided that Glenda was right: it was time to take the streets. And just as each Bajo Lempa family had discovered that they were not alone when they found the group, now they saw there were hundreds of families around the country who, like them, were ready to march in San Salvador. They began regularly joining the others in the capital to protest and speak to the media, while continuing their habeas corpus petitions. Just before Christmas, the families of the Bajo Lempa packed a bridge on a main thoroughfare and demanded their loved ones be freed. For now, the Bukele administration remains unmoved. The group is now planning to sue their government in an international human rights court.One day last summer, before anyone comprehended how long this would last, Roxana told me something that multiple women in the Bajo Lempa echoed: Since her children were detained, she has been dreaming of them. In one dream, she was sitting at home in the dark, and one of her three sons walked through the front door. He paused in the threshold. She thought it was Cristian, the only one who has not yet been taken. But when he stepped out of the shadow, she saw that it was Javier, her youngest. He was dressed just as he had been on April 27, the night the police hauled him away. She called to him – and then the dream ended. "As a mother," she said, "you wake up to a nightmare."This reporting was supported by the International Women's Media Foundation's Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2022

The "world"s coolest dictator" rounded up 60,000 people in a crackdown on MS-13. A shrimp farming community is fighting back.

The MS-13 gang made El Salvador one of the most violent places not at war. The 'world's coolest dictator' created a new layer of misery. Residents of the Bajo Lempa meet weekly at a retreat center to discuss the mass arrests.Fred Ramos for InsiderGang violence has made El Salvador one of the world's most violent places not at war. The crackdown by its "Bitcoin president" created a new layer of misery.SISIGUAYO, EL SALVADOR — On the morning that Walber Rodriguez was arrested last May, he was just two minutes from his home in Sisiguayo, El Salvador.Walber and his wife Estefany had worked the overnight shift at the shrimp cooperative, and then taken their six-year-old daughter Michelle to visit a relative. Walber was driving the family motorcycle, and Estefany and Michelle sat behind him. They were headed home.Walber was pulled over at "El Ceibo," a gathering place in Sisiguayo that's marked by a sturdy tree with an abundant canopy. Soon, Walber's sister, mother, and father had arrived, trying to reason with the officer, who knew them by name. They didn't understand why Walber was being handcuffed. Sisiguayo was a place that saw police and soldiers as allies. Back in 2015, when the MS-13 gang descended on the hamlet looking to recruit local teenagers, the cops had come down hard, even murdering some of the gang members, and Walber and his neighbors had raised money to build a new police station. Now, backup was arriving for the officer. Two navy soldiers showed up, including one who had been with Walber just the night before, watching a soccer game, and informed the others that Walber was "a working man." A patrol vehicle full of additional cops followed. No one named anything that Walber had done wrong. Yet the family's pleas didn't work. "Look," said the officer who led Walber off, flipping his wrist to the sky, "this comes from above." Within days of Walber's arrest, the Rodriguezes learned he was being accused of belonging to MS-13. "El Ceibo," a gathering place in Sisiguayo, is marked by a sturdy tree with an abundant canopy. It was here that Walber Rodriguez was arrested on May 1, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderScenes like this have been playing out across El Salvador since March, when President Nayib Bukele declared a "state of exception" and suspended certain constitutional rights, ostensibly to deal with MS-13 and two offshoots of the rival Barrio 18 gang, Barrio 18 Sureños and Barrio 18 Revolucionarios — all of which have terrorized El Salvador and made it one of the world's most violent places not at war. The declaration was meant to be temporary, lasting 30 days, but Bukele's administration has renewed it nine times. More than 60,000 people, mostly working-age men, have been arrested, while signs along roadways feature cinematic images of heavily-armed police ridding the country of "terrorists." Just as commercial fishermen trawl their way through columns of water to maximize their catch, Salvadoran authorities have rounded people up indiscriminately and with flimsy explanations.The 'world's coolest dictator' Even before authorities crushed in tens of thousands in a span of mere weeks, El Salvador's prisons were overcrowded and disease-ridden. It now tops the list of countries with the highest percentage of their populations behind bars, according to the World Prison Brief, a distinction that has been previously held by the United States. The supposed targets, MS-13 and Barrio 18, began in Los Angeles in the late twentieth century and arrived in El Salvador by way of gang members deported from the US. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump referenced MS-13 to say the US had allowed "animals" to cross into the country, and to justify draconian immigration policies. In El Salvador, the gangs have become one of the country's biggest employers, and they have cemented their power through backroom deals with elected leaders. That appears to have continued under Bukele, a former executive at a family public relations firm who was elected president in 2019 and has fashioned himself, in his ever-changing Twitter bio, as the "world's coolest dictator." Outside El Salvador, Bukele is best known for adopting Bitcoin as a national currency. A sign in the capital, San Salvador, announces the anti-gang crackdown.Fred Ramos for InsiderLast year, the US Treasury sanctioned two senior officials from Bukele's administration for cutting a deal with the gangs in exchange for support in the 2021 midterm elections — which saw Bukele's New Ideas party win a supermajority — and committing fewer homicides. What preceded the state of exception was a horrific weekend in which the gangs killed nearly 90 people. It, too, was allegedly a product of that deal: Salvadoran journalists at the investigative news outlet El Faro reported that the rampage was MS-13's retribution for a break-down in the agreement. The cooperation doesn't end there. Earlier this year, when the U.S. federal court of the Eastern District of New York requested the extradition of MS-13's leadership to stand trial on terrorism charges, Bukele-allied judges blocked some of the extraditions. The administration then released one of the wanted gang leaders from prison, and a senior official helped him flee to Guatemala. The administration denies all this, and, so far, things appear to be going Bukele's way. Tough-on-crime stances have historically been as popular in El Salvador as in the United States. And, as in the U.S., the public is primed to believe that anyone targeted by police is guilty until proven innocent. A Gallup poll released in October recorded Bukele's public approval at 86%. Police make an arrest in San Salvador on June 14th, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe word on the street, according to family members gathered at prisons for news of loved ones, is that while local gang cliques have gone quiet, they're still out there — hiding in full knowledge of the police, whose focus is elsewhere. According to the Passionist Social Services, nearly 40% of the murders in El Salvador since the beginning of the state of exception have been committed by police. Meanwhile, the administration has steadily eroded public access to information about who they are taking and why. El Faro obtained documents involving 690 arrests between March and April, and found that, overwhelmingly, the police are using criteria like "looking suspicious" or "acting nervous" to justify the arrests. Bukele, for his part, has breezily mentioned a margin of "one percent error." "This time, they're not coming out," he tweeted about the state of exception detainees in mid-April. The administration is building a new prison that Bukele says will house 40,000 "terrorists" who "will be cut off from the outside world." But, by terrorists, the president seems to mean people like Walber. 'Until we can embrace them'Once it became clear that Walber had been caught up in the crackdown, the Rodriguez family's hope for a quick release evaporated. By this point, they had discovered that they were not alone. All around them in Sisiguayo and the surrounding Bajo Lempa valley, people were arrested with no satisfactory explanation. The sons of two cousins who lived in a nearby community, Mario and Pablo, were among the first to be taken; their boys were handcuffed while drinking beers after a soccer game. Another neighbor was arrested even though he'd obtained and was carrying around his spotless police record, believing, wrongly, that such a thing would matter to police. He was detained holding his one-year-old in his arms.Residents of the Bajo Lempa who'd been touched by the arrests had begun meeting weekly at a nearby retreat center. There were only about a dozen attendees then, most of them trembling in fear and unable to tell their stories without crying. Now, Estefany, along with Walber's sister, Glenda, and Walber's parents, Tomas and Margarita, became the group's newest members. The group had started in April, launched by Rossy Iraheta Marinero and José Salvador Ruiz, known as Chamba  — two lay pastoral guides whose faith follows the tenets of Latin American liberation theology. They came from the same limited economic reality as their neighbors, and, in fact, they have full-time jobs and families. None of their own relatives had been detained. But they'd been stirred by the plight and compelled by their own theological solidarity practices to act. In the early days, they found that even civil society organizations that were traditionally fearless in denouncing state violence seemed reluctant to aid the so-called "terrorists." A handful of human rights organizations, principally one called Cristosal and a feminist collective in San Salvador, stepped up and, through them, the group has now filed 111 claims of habeas corpus  — a legal demand that prosecutors present their evidence against a detained person, or forfeit custody. "The families have hope that their loved ones are still alive, but they don't have certainty of that," Rossy told me. They also created a website where they posted photos of their imprisoned kin, and composed a song, "Until we can embrace them," that enshrines their suffering and their demands.   Few groups elsewhere in the country have coalesced in this way to lobby. Rossy evokes groups in Argentina and Mexico – and even in El Salvador itself – who never stopped agitating for justice on behalf of loved ones who had been disappeared by the state in earlier decades, leaving maps for others to follow. "A long battle" lies ahead, Rossy cautioned them in one meeting. "You have to be prepared."Outside MarionaWalber, and many of the others from the Bajo Lempa, had ended up at a prison informally known as Mariona, for the municipality where it's located. Under the state of exception, prisons were sealed off. Not even lawyers could get in. There was no protocol for finding out how Walber was doing, or if he was even alive. In El Salvador, it falls to families to help feed and clothe incarcerated relatives. Although the State provides meals to those in prison, Bukele has limited the men to two meager plates per day, as punishment. To leave supplemental food and other essentials, or to elicit a nugget of information from a bureaucrat at the prison's entrance, Estefany, Glenda, and others from Sisiguayo had no choice but to camp out outside Mariona. It's mostly men who have been arrested, and, in the first months of the crackdown, it was mostly women waiting outside prisons, by the thousands, for days at a time, sharing meals and makeshift cardboard mattresses. Everyone was taking on debt to afford the litany of expenses that follow an arrest, and some said they'd lost their jobs because they had spent so many days waiting. It was rumored that some police were offering to trade a man's freedom for sex or money.Glenda Rodriguez walks to the Mariona prison to get news of her brother, Walber Rodriguez, on June 20, 2022.Fred Ramos for Insider The jailings came so fast that Cristosal rushed to set up an online system where families could report arrests and sign up for support as they navigated the justice system. Families described traveling hours to a public defender's office and finding a line so long they lost hope of being seen. There's now about one public defender for every 200 arrests. Initial hearings include up to 500 defendants simultaneously, and Bukele has warned he'll be monitoring judges for "favoring delinquents."  If a name disappears from the register of detainees, it could mean they'd been moved to another prison, or to a hospital, or to a morgue. The country's major newspapers run regular reports of families being unceremoniously delivered the lifeless bodies of loved ones. One of the few men who'd been held at Izalco prison and then released told the Salvadoran outlet La Prensa Grafica that prisoners had been made to run barefoot in circles for hours. When one man fell from exhaustion, the guards broke his ribs, and he died eight days later, the man said. This is the kind of news the families of the Bajo Lempa live in terror of receiving. 'We fear each other again'Sisiguayo sits in the fertile valley where the Lempa river makes its final stretch through El Salvador before flowing out to the Pacific Ocean. Here, the air tastes salty and thick, a reminder of the mangrove forests and the ocean just beyond them. Homes are one-story cinderblock structures, painted in tropical greens and blues and surrounded by clotheslines, palm trees and outhouses. A communal speaker system broadcasts news and emergency alerts.A sunbaked dirt road connects Sisiguayo to the nearest highway, and along it, residents commute by bicycle or motorbike, bending around the cows, horses and dogs that loll about. Every year around November, the rainy season leaves behind deep potholes, so each family gives the share of money they can spare to pay for gas to power the construction equipment loaned from the mayor's office to fortify the road. Most young people work in shrimp cooperatives, where many tasks are nocturnal. It's a life of little sleep and hard manual labor. Night shifts start at around three in the morning. The workers return home for breakfast at about nine, and head off to a second job, like seasonal farming or bricklaying. Here, as everywhere else, the state of exception has been a financial drain. More than a dozen men from one of the shrimp cooperatives were netted in the crackdown, and what normally takes the cooperative two weeks to accomplish now takes two or three months. Roxana, another one of the Rodriguezes' neighbors, was hit especially hard by the arrests. Her two sons, a daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law were rounded up, as well as her boyfriend Jeremias' two nephews. Now, she spends much of her time running endless arrest-related errands. Her youngest daughter, who's 12, had to leave school to help run the family's corner store and care for Roxana's 5-year-old grandchild. Within the first six weeks, the costs ballooned to around $1000 — a small fortune that's twice the amount Roxana spent to open and fully stock her shop. By the late summer Jeremias, is usually out in the fields alongside Roxana's two boys and his two nephews, planting corn for the family to eat. With them in prison, he had to forgo the crop this year, because it's too much to handle alone.  The state of exception "has a human cost that we still can't fully see," said Noah Bullock, Executive Director of Cristosal. "There is the torture, the inhumane treatment, the more than eighty deaths in prisons, and that's only talking about the people who are detained. Life projects that people have built slowly over generations are suddenly paralyzed and collapsed. There's the loss of income and the simultaneous expenses. The social cost of being stigmatized as 'terrorists.'" The administration seems unperturbed by the volume of blameless people it has locked up. "There will always be victims in war," Vice President Felix Ulloa has said of the state of exception. Walber's father, Tomas, at home in Sisiguayo, on June 17, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe last time state security forces were targeting the people of the Bajo Lempa en masse and without explanation, it was in the middle of a civil war. From late 1979 until 1992, vicious US-backed government forces clashed with a leftist guerrilla movement. More than 75,000 Salvadorans died and thousands more were disappeared. A United Nations truth commission later found that 85% of the war kidnapping, torture and murder were committed by the government forces, including police and military. Walber's parents were among those fighting on the side of the guerrillas. In 1992, when they dropped their rifles after U.N.-brokered peace talks, they were given land as a way to return to civilian life. Margarita, Tomas and their neighbors came to inhabit Sisiguayo, with its rich coastal tracts, generous for fishing and farming. For Margarita, her son's senseless arrest reminded her of the state-sponsored kidnappings that had led her to take up arms. "That's what most hurts," she told me. "Now we fear each other again."  A photo of Walber Rodriguez's father, Tomas, from when he was a member of a guerrilla group during the Salvadoran civil war, hangs in his house.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe Bajo Lempa is also a flood plain, a condition that was exacerbated by poor government management of the hydroelectric dams that line the river. During repeated devastating floods in the past three decades, the people of the region, the Rodriguez family among them, lobbied and protested, even marching about sixty miles on foot to the capital to demand better dam administration. For Walber and his older sister Glenda, who were children at the time, this was an early education in democracy. The Bajo Lempa won. San Salvador committed to building the levies needed to ameliorate the annual floods, and to communicating its plans to discharge water from the dams, so the communities in harms' way could evacuate in time.Now, they are again under siege. Surf City Abroad, Bukele is best known for two things. First, his announcement, at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, that his government would "push humanity at least a tiny bit in the right direction" by adopting Bitcoin as a national currency. Second, his "Surf City" initiative along El Salvador's 190-mile Pacific coastline, where consistent eight-to-ten-foot waves in prime spots makes it one of the best surfing destinations in the Americas. Bukele's target audience for Surf City is Bitcoin enthusiasts and international surfers. And everyone knows that Surf City is his. After the apparent breakdown in negotiations between the administration and MS-13, the gangs left a message for Bukele in the form of a mangled cadaver on the highway that connects the beaches to the capital.By June 2022, Bloomberg estimated that Bukele's crypto gamble had cost El Salvador nearly $56 million. That same month, as thousands of Salvadorans were being locked up, Surf City was playing host to the World Surf League's Championship Tour at a beach called Punta Roca. "Eighty-two degree water, no wetsuits!" a voice thundered from the loudspeaker.Nearby, cameramen grumbled to a Salvadoran surfer that they couldn't pan without a uniformed man with a rifle coming into the image.  Locals, who in theory stand to benefit from all of this, were remarking that whitewashing the entrance wall to one beach, El Tunco, and stamping it with an English name left it looking like a drive-through bank. "It was good that he saw the potential in our waves," Enzo, who runs a couple of cafes in the area, told me one evening. Promised infrastructural improvements, like finally completing a waste-water treatment plant so that businesses aren't reliant on bottled water, haven't arrived. Meanwhile, new luxury apartments with a base price of $400,000 are being marketed to crypto enthusiasts, prompting worry that excessive development will smother the area's natural beauty and put everyone out of business. It's almost as if Surf City is Bukele's Potemkin Village, thrown up to boost his standing in a handful of elite circles as he loses legitimacy elsewhere. Bukele "wants to promote the country as a place that other people can buy," said Bullock of Cristosal. "But what is his plan for the middle-aged man who has sold coconuts in Punta Roca his whole life? El Tunco already has local commerce and its own identity. Why not honor that identity?"'Dad's not working, is he?'When Walber was jailed, Estefany told their six-year-old, Michelle, that Walber had gone out of town for a job. When Estefany and Glenda left for days camped outside the prison, she said they were studying. Michelle's questions became harder to escape. When he was away working, Walber usually sent a flood of adoring messages to his daughter on Estefany's phone, but this time, there were none to show. Before ten days had passed, Michelle cornered her mom: "Dad's not working, is he?"  At six, Michelle is absorbing that her life is built on shifting sands — a father in prison, a mother who might withhold the truth. Estefany tried to explain, saying, "The authorities make mistakes." But it's just another tectonic lesson for a child. Walber and Estefany have known each other since they were kids and they've been partners for years, but it was only last year that they finally got married. They were the first in the family to have a real wedding, and Glenda remembers how they both giggled when they asked her to save the date — Dec. 17. Graduation photos of Walber Rodriguez, left, and his sister, Glenda Rodriguez, right, at the family house in Sisiguayo.Fred Ramos for InsiderEstefany's dress, which Glenda and Margarita helped her choose, was the color of red wine and had a sparkling brooch at the bosom. Walber had splurged on a new oxford shirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes. He also surprised Estefany with a wedding ring, which he had secretly saved for months to buy. It was a luxury she had never imagined. The cake, a single-tier white sphere adorned with fruit, held the children rapt until it was time to dig in. When Glenda thinks about the politicians and the police who get to return home to their families at night, so easy in their freedom, it fills her with rage. They can't even begin to comprehend what they have stolen from their people.'No one else will defend him but us' The retreat center where the families met every week was a thirty-minute crawling drive down the potholed dirt road from where Walber was arrested. In late June, 54 days after Walber's arrest, three-dozen of them sat as they usually did, in a circle of plastic chairs in an open-air pavilion, roofed in ceramic tile and ringed in a garden of carefully-manicured green.Rossy stood in the middle of the circle, wearing flip-flops and a white tunic embroidered with flowers, calling on people to speak. Chamba kept a notebook propped between his thigh and the arm of his wheelchair. The families were debating: Should they stay the course, and pursue their habeas corpus claims in court? Or was it time to take to the streets? The habeas corpus route had been Rossy's idea. Back in 2020, right when COVID-19 upended global travel, Rossy was in Ecuador at a theological conference. Bukele was about to close the borders and implement some of the most restrictive pandemic measures in the world. She managed to get onto the last flight into the Salvadoran airport and ended up at a quarantine center for six weeks. Desperate for a way out, a lawyer friend advised her to file a habeas corpus claim. It worked – she was released. Now, it's a tactic that more than 1,800 other Salvadorans across the country have also used since March, but to little effect since the administration has wrenched the legal system into its orbit, forcing many judges to retire and intimidating the rest, along with flooding the system with many times more defendants than it can handle. Members of the group have been harassed by the police, and there was always concern that cops might show up in the middle of the meeting to arrest everyone. One woman who had started attending after her husband was arrested was then herself arrested. Now, the neighbors couldn't agree on what was best. The state of exception allowed the police to detain anyone for any reason. If they protested and ended up incarcerated alongside their loved ones, who would defend them then?  People clamored to speak. Rossy called on a gray-haired man in a cowboy hat. He was one of the many who had spent consecutive days and nights on the street outside Mariona, where his son was being held, and while there, he heard rumor that the guards take vengeance on prisoners whose families caused trouble out front. He rose slowly, and then stated his firm opposition to any public action. He reminded the group that it wasn't only themselves who would pay the price for protesting. When he took up arms in the civil war, he said, it was his own life he was putting at risk. But now, any action might put his son's life at risk. When he finished speaking, Glenda – who, at 28 years old, was among the youngest group members – raised her hand. "I may not have as much life experience as many of you. And I didn't live the war fighting in the mountains like many of you did," she began. But, she continued, she did know that all of El Salvador's civil rights victories, including democracy itself, were the product of struggles on the street. She too had camped outside Mariona, and she had learned that viral malicious rumors appeared on social media as part of an attempt to silence families. A meeting of the Bajo Lempa families on June 17, 2022.Fred Ramos for Insider"If the state is going to kill my brother, it will do so whether or not I speak out. If it will incarcerate me – the same is true," she reasoned. "No one else will defend him but us." Finally, there was simply the value of the truth: "The president wants to make this country look like a wonderland, like everything is Surf City," she said – but the world needed to know what was really happening in El Salvador.  The group ultimately decided that Glenda was right: it was time to take the streets. And just as each Bajo Lempa family had discovered that they were not alone when they found the group, now they saw there were hundreds of families around the country who, like them, were ready to march in San Salvador. They began regularly joining the others in the capital to protest and speak to the media, while continuing their habeas corpus petitions. Just before Christmas, the families of the Bajo Lempa packed a bridge on a main thoroughfare and demanded their loved ones be freed. For now, the Bukele administration remains unmoved. The group is now planning to sue their government in an international human rights court.One day last summer, before anyone comprehended how long this would last, Roxana told me something that multiple women in the Bajo Lempa echoed: Since her children were detained, she has been dreaming of them. In one dream, she was sitting at home in the dark, and one of her three sons walked through the front door. He paused in the threshold. She thought it was Cristian, the only one who has not yet been taken. But when he stepped out of the shadow, she saw that it was Javier, her youngest. He was dressed just as he had been on April 27, the night the police hauled him away. She called to him – and then the dream ended. "As a mother," she said, "you wake up to a nightmare."This reporting was supported by the International Women's Media Foundation's Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2022

The "world"s coolest dictator" rounded up 60,000 people he claims are MS-13 gang members. A shrimp farming community is fighting back.

The MS-13 gang made El Salvador one of the most violent places not at war. The 'world's coolest dictator' created a new layer of misery. Residents of the Bajo Lempa meet weekly at a retreat center to discuss the mass arrests.Fred Ramos for InsiderGang violence has made El Salvador one of the world's most violent places not at war. The crackdown by its "Bitcoin president" created a new layer of misery.SISIGUAYO, EL SALVADOR — On the morning that Walber Rodriguez was arrested last May, he was just two minutes from his home in Sisiguayo, El Salvador.Walber and his wife Estefany had worked the overnight shift at the shrimp cooperative, and then taken their six-year-old daughter Michelle to visit a relative. Walber was driving the family motorcycle, and Estefany and Michelle sat behind him. They were headed home.Walber was pulled over at "El Ceibo," a gathering place in Sisiguayo that's marked by a sturdy tree with an abundant canopy. Soon, Walber's sister, mother, and father had arrived, trying to reason with the officer, who knew them by name. They didn't understand why Walber was being handcuffed. Sisiguayo was a place that saw police and soldiers as allies. Back in 2015, when the MS-13 gang descended on the hamlet looking to recruit local teenagers, the cops had come down hard, even murdering some of the gang members, and Walber and his neighbors had raised money to build a new police station. Now, backup was arriving for the officer. Two navy soldiers showed up, including one who had been with Walber just the night before, watching a soccer game, and informed the others that Walber was "a working man." A patrol vehicle full of additional cops followed. No one named anything that Walber had done wrong. Yet the family's pleas didn't work. "Look," said the officer who led Walber off, flipping his wrist to the sky, "this comes from above." Within days of Walber's arrest, the Rodriguezes learned he was being accused of belonging to MS-13. "El Ceibo," a gathering place in Sisiguayo, is marked by a sturdy tree with an abundant canopy. It was here that Walber Rodriguez was arrested on May 1, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderScenes like this have been playing out across El Salvador since March, when President Nayib Bukele declared a "state of exception" and suspended certain constitutional rights, ostensibly to deal with MS-13 and two offshoots of the rival Barrio 18 gang, Barrio 18 Sureños and Barrio 18 Revolucionarios — all of which have terrorized El Salvador and made it one of the world's most violent places not at war. The declaration was meant to be temporary, lasting 30 days, but Bukele's administration has renewed it nine times. More than 60,000 people, mostly working-age men, have been arrested, while signs along roadways feature cinematic images of heavily-armed police ridding the country of "terrorists." Just as commercial fishermen trawl their way through columns of water to maximize their catch, Salvadoran authorities have rounded people up indiscriminately and with flimsy explanations.The 'world's coolest dictator' Even before authorities crushed in tens of thousands in a span of mere weeks, El Salvador's prisons were overcrowded and disease-ridden. It now tops the list of countries with the highest percentage of their populations behind bars, according to the World Prison Brief, a distinction that has been previously held by the United States. The supposed targets, MS-13 and Barrio 18, began in Los Angeles in the late twentieth century and arrived in El Salvador by way of gang members deported from the US. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump referenced MS-13 to say the US had allowed "animals" to cross into the country, and to justify draconian immigration policies. In El Salvador, the gangs have become one of the country's biggest employers, and they have cemented their power through backroom deals with elected leaders. That appears to have continued under Bukele, a former executive at a family public relations firm who was elected president in 2019 and has fashioned himself, in his ever-changing Twitter bio, as the "world's coolest dictator." Outside El Salvador, Bukele is best known for adopting Bitcoin as a national currency. A sign in the capital, San Salvador, announces the anti-gang crackdown.Fred Ramos for InsiderLast year, the US Treasury sanctioned two senior officials from Bukele's administration for cutting a deal with the gangs in exchange for support in the 2021 midterm elections — which saw Bukele's New Ideas party win a supermajority — and committing fewer homicides. What preceded the state of exception was a horrific weekend in which the gangs killed nearly 90 people. It, too, was allegedly a product of that deal: Salvadoran journalists at the investigative news outlet El Faro reported that the rampage was MS-13's retribution for a break-down in the agreement. The cooperation doesn't end there.: Earlier this year, when the U.S. federal court of the Eastern District of New York requested the extradition of MS-13's leadership to stand trial on terrorism charges, Bukele-allied judges blocked some of the extraditions. The administration then released one of the wanted gang leaders from prison, and a senior official helped him flee to Guatemala. The administration denies all this, and, so far, things appear to be going Bukele's way. Tough-on-crime stances have historically been as popular in El Salvador as in the United States. And, as in the U.S., the public is primed to believe that anyone targeted by police is guilty until proven innocent. A Gallup poll released in October recorded Bukele's public approval at 86%. Police make an arrest in San Salvador on June 14th, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe word on the street, according to family members gathered at prisons for news of loved ones, is that while local gang cliques have gone quiet, they're still out there — hiding in full knowledge of the police, whose focus is elsewhere. According to xxx, nearly 40% of the xxx murders in El Salvador since the beginning of the state of exception have been committed by police. Meanwhile, the administration has steadily eroded public access to information about who they are taking and why. El Faro obtained documents involving 690 arrests between March and April, and found that, overwhelmingly, the police are using criteria like "looking suspicious" or "acting nervous" to justify the arrests. Bukele, for his part, has breezily mentioned a margin of "one percent error." "This time, they're not coming out," he tweeted about the state of exception detainees in mid-April. The administration is building a new prison that Bukele says will house 40,000 "terrorists" who "will be cut off from the outside world." But, by terrorists, the president seems to mean people like Walber. 'Until we can embrace them'Once it became clear that Walber had been caught up in the crackdown, the Rodriguez family's hope for a quick release evaporated. By this point, they had discovered that they were not alone. All around them in Sisiguayo and the surrounding Bajo Lempa valley, people were arrested with no satisfactory explanation. The sons of two cousins who lived in a nearby community, Mario and Pablo, were among the first to be taken; their boys were handcuffed while drinking beers after a soccer game. Another neighbor was arrested even though he'd obtained and was carrying around his spotless police record, believing, wrongly, that such a thing would matter to police. He was detained holding his one-year-old in his arms.Residents of the Bajo Lempa who'd been touched by the arrests had begun meeting weekly at a nearby retreat center. There were only about a dozen attendees then, most of them trembling in fear and unable to tell their stories without crying. Now, Estefany, along with Walber's sister, Glenda, and Walber's parents, Tomas and Margarita, became the group's newest members. The group had started in April, launched by Rossy Iraheta Marinero and José Salvador Ruiz, known as Chamba  — two lay pastoral guides whose faith follows the tenets of Latin American liberation theology. They came from the same limited economic reality as their neighbors, and, in fact, they have full-time jobs and families. None of their own relatives had been detained. But they'd been stirred by the plight and compelled by their own theological solidarity practices to act. In the early days, they found that even civil society organizations that were traditionally fearless in denouncing state violence seemed reluctant to aid the so-called "terrorists." A handful of human rights organizations, principally one called Cristosal and a feminist collective in San Salvador, stepped up and, through them, the group has now filed 111 claims of habeas corpus  — a legal demand that prosecutors present their evidence against a detained person, or forfeit custody. "The families have hope that their loved ones are still alive, but they don't have certainty of that," Rossy told me. They also created a website where they posted photos of their imprisoned kin, and composed a song, "Until we can embrace them," that enshrines their suffering and their demands.   Few groups elsewhere in the country have coalesced in this way to lobby. Rossy reminds the families ofthat they are not friendless in their woe, evoking groups in earlier decades in Argentina and Mexico – and even in El Salvador itself – who never stopped agitating for justice on behalf of loved ones who had been disappeared by the state in earlier decades, leaving maps for others to follow. "A long battle" lies ahead, Rossy cautioned them in one meeting. "You have to be prepared."Outside MarionaWalber, and many of the others from the Bajo Lempa, had ended up at a prison informally known as Mariona, for the municipality where it's located. Under the state of exception, prisons were sealed off. Not even lawyers could get in. There was no protocol for finding out how Walber was doing, or if he was even alive. In El Salvador, it falls to families to help feed and clothe incarcerated relatives. Although the State provides meals to those in prison, Bukele has limited the men to two meager plates per day, as punishment. To leave supplemental food and other essentials, or to elicit a nugget of information from a bureaucrat at the prison's entrance, Estefany, Glenda, and others from Sisiguayo had no choice but to camp out outside Mariona. It's mostly men who have been arrested, and, in the first months of the crackdown, it was mostly women waiting outside prisons, by the thousands, for days at a time, sharing meals and makeshift cardboard mattresses. Everyone was taking on debt to afford the litany of expenses that follow an arrest, and some said they'd lost their jobs because they had spent so many days waiting. It was rumored that some police were offering to trade a man's freedom for sex or money.Glenda Rodriguez walks to the Mariona prison to get news of her brother, Walber Rodriguez, on June 20, 2022.Fred Ramos for Insider The jailings came so fast that Cristosal rushed to set up an online system where families could report arrests and sign up for support as they navigated the justice system. Families described traveling hours to a public defender's office and finding a line so long they lost hope of being seen. There's now about one public defender for every 200 arrests. Initial hearings include up to 500 defendants simultaneously, and Bukele has warned he'll be monitoring judges for "favoring delinquents."  If a name disappears from the register of detainees, it could mean they'd been moved to another prison, or to a hospital, or to a morgue. The country's major newspapers run regular reports of families being unceremoniously delivered the lifeless bodies of loved ones. One of the few men who'd been held at Izalco prison and then released told the Salvadoran outlet La Prensa Grafica that prisoners had been made to run barefoot in circles for hours. When one man fell from exhaustion, the guards broke his ribs, and he died eight days later, the man said. This is the kind of news the families of the Bajo Lempa live in terror of receiving. 'We fear each other again'Sisiguayo sits in the fertile valley where the Lempa river makes its final stretch through El Salvador before flowing out to the Pacific Ocean. Here, the air tastes salty and thick, a reminder of the mangrove forests and the ocean just beyond them. Homes are one-story cinderblock structures, painted in tropical greens and blues and surrounded by clotheslines, palm trees and outhouses. A communal speaker system broadcasts news and emergency alerts.A sunbaked dirt road connects Sisiguayo to the nearest highway, and along it, residents commute by bicycle or motorbike, bending around the cows, horses and dogs that loll about. Every year around November, the rainy season leaves behind deep potholes, so each family gives the share of money they can spare to pay for gas to power the construction equipment loaned from the mayor's office to fortify the road. Most young people work in shrimp cooperatives, where many tasks are nocturnal. It's a life of little sleep and hard manual labor. Night shifts start at around three in the morning. The workers return home for breakfast at about nine, and head off to a second job, like seasonal farming or bricklaying. Here, as everywhere else, the state of exception has been a financial drain. More than a dozen men from one of the shrimp cooperatives were netted in the crackdown, and what normally takes the cooperative two weeks to accomplish now takes two or three months. Roxana, another one of the Rodriguezes' neighbors, was hit especially hard by the arrests. Her two sons, a daughter-in-law and a brother-in-law had all been rounded up, as well as her boyfriend Jeremias' two nephews. Now, she spends much of her time running endless arrest-related errands. Her youngest daughter, who's 12, had to leave school to help run the family's corner store and care for Roxana's 5-year-old grandchild. Within the first six weeks, the costs ballooned to around $1000 — a small fortune that's twice the amount Roxana spent to open and fully stock her shop. By the late summer, Jeremias, is usually out in the fields alongside Roxana's two boys and his two nephews, planting corn for the family to eat. With them in prison, he had to forgo the crop this year, because it's too much to handle alone.  The state of exception "has a human cost that we still can't fully see," said Noah Bullock, Executive Director of Cristosal. "There is the torture, the inhumane treatment, the more than eighty deaths in prisons, and that's only talking about the people who are detained. Life projects that people have built slowly over generations are suddenly paralyzed and collapsed. There's the loss of income and the simultaneous expenses. The social cost of being stigmatized as 'terrorists.'" The administration seems unperturbed by the volume of blameless people it has locked up. "There will always be victims in war," Vice President Felix Ulloa has said of the state of exception. Walber's father, Tomas, at home in Sisiguayo, on June 17, 2022.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe last time state security forces were targeting the people of the Bajo Lempa, en masse and without explanation, it was in the middle of a civil war. From late 1979 until 1992, vicious US-backed government forces clashed with a leftist guerrilla movement. More than 75,000 Salvadorans died and thousands more were disappeared. A United Nations truth commission later found that 85% of the war kidnapping, torture and murder were committed by the government forces, including police and military. Walber's parents were among those fighting on the side of the guerrillas. In 1992, when they dropped their rifles after U.N.-brokered peace talks, they were given land as a way to return to civilian life. Margarita, Tomas and their neighbors came to inhabit Sisiguayo, with its rich coastal tracts, generous for fishing and farming. For Margarita, her son's senseless arrest reminded her of the state-sponsored kidnappings that had led her to take up arms. "That's what most hurts," she told me. "Now we fear each other again."  A photo of Walber Rodriguez's father, Tomas, from when he was a member of a guerrilla group during the Salvadoran civil war, hangs in his house.Fred Ramos for InsiderThe Bajo Lempa is also a flood plain, a condition that was exacerbated by poor government management of the hydroelectric dams that line the river. During repeated devastating floods in the past three decades, the people of the region, the Rodriguez family among them, lobbied and protested, even marching about sixty miles on foot to the capital to demand better dam administration. For Walber and his older sister Glenda, who were children at the time, this was an early education in democracy. The Bajo Lempa won. San Salvador committed to building the levies needed to ameliorate the annual floods, and to communicating its plans to discharge water from the dams, so the communities in harms' way could evacuate in time.Now, they are again under siege. Surf City Outside El Salvador, Bukele is best known for two things. First, his announcement, at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, that his government would "push humanity at least a tiny bit in the right direction" by adopting Bitcoin as a national currency. Second, his "Surf City" initiative along El Salvador's 190-mile Pacific coastline, where consistent eight-to-ten-foot waves in prime spots makes it one of the best surfing spots in the Americas. Everyone knows that Surf City is his, and that Bukele's target audience is Bitcoin enthusiasts and international surfers. After the apparent breakdown in negotiations between the administration and MS-13, the gangs left a message for Bukele in the form of a mangled cadaver left on the highway that connects the beaches to the capital.By June 2022, Bloomberg estimated that Bukele's crypto gamble had cost El Salvador nearly $56 million. That same month, as thousands of Salvadorans were being locked up, Surf City was playing host to the World Surf League's Championship Tour at a beach called Punta Roca. "Eighty-two degree water, no wetsuits!" thundered from the sportscaster.Nearby, cameramen grumbled to a Salvadoran surfer that they couldn't pan without a uniformed man with a rifle coming into the image.  Locals, who in theory stand to benefit from all of this, were remarking that whitewashing the entrance wall to one beach, El Tunco, and stamping it with an English name left it looking like a drive-through bank. "It was good that he saw the potential in our waves," Enzo, who runs a couple of cafes in the area, told me one evening. And promised infrastructural improvements, like finally completing a waste-water treatment plant so that businesses aren't reliant on bottled water, haven't arrived. Meanwhile, new luxury apartments with a base price of $400,000 are being marketed to crypto enthusiasts, prompting worry that excessive development will smother the area's natural beauty and put everyone out of business. It's almost as if Surf City is Bukele's Potemkin Village, thrown up to boost his standing in a handful of elite circles as he loses legitimacy elsewhere. Bukele "wants to promote the country as a place that other people can buy," said Bullock of Cristosal. "But what is his plan for the middle-aged man who has sold coconuts in Punta Roca his whole life? El Tunco already has local commerce and its own identity. Why not honor that identity?"'Dad's not working, is he?'When Walber was jailed, Estefany told their six-year-old, Michelle, that Walber had gone out of town for a job. When Estefany and Glenda left for days camped outside the prison, she said they were studying. Michelle's questions became harder to escape. When he was away working, Walber usually sent a flood of adoring messages to his daughter on Estefany's phone, but this time, there were none to show. Before ten days had passed, Michelle cornered her mom: "Dad's not working, is he?"  At six, Michelle is absorbing that her life is built on shifting sands — a father in prison, a mother who might withhold the truthcapable of deceiving her. Estefany tried to explain, saying, "The authorities make mistakes." But it's just another tectonic lesson for a child. Walber and Estefany have known each other since they were kids and they've been partners for years, but it was only last year that they finally got married. They were the first in the family to have a real wedding, and Glenda remembers how they both giggled when they asked her to save the date — Dec. 17. Graduation photos of Walber Rodriguez, left, and his sister, Glenda Rodriguez, right, at the family house in Sisiguayo.Fred Ramos for InsiderEstefany's dress, which Glenda and Margarita helped her choose, was the color of red wine and had a sparkling brooch at the bosom. Walber had splurged on a new oxford shirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes. He also surprised Estefany with a wedding ring, which he had secretly saved for months to buy. It was a luxury she had never imagined. The cake, a single-tier white sphere adorned with fruit, held the children rapt until it was time to dig in. When Glenda thinks about the politicians and the police who get to return home to their families at night, so easy in their freedom, it fills her with rage. They can't even begin to comprehend what they have stolen from their people.'No one else will defend him but us' The retreat center where the families met every week was a thirty-minute crawling drive down the potholed dirt road from where Walber was arrested. In late June, 54 days after Walber's arrest, three-dozen of them sat as they usually did, in a circle of plastic chairs in an open-air pavilion, roofed in ceramic tile and ringed in a garden of carefully-manicured green.Rossy stood in the middle of the circle, wearing flip-flops and a white tunic embroidered with flowers, calling on people to speak. Chamba kept a notebook propped between his thigh and the arm of his wheelchair. The families were debating: Should they stay the course, and pursue their habeas corpus claims in court? Or was it time to take to the streets? The habeas corpus route had been Rossy's idea. Back in 2020, right when COVID-19 upended global travel, Rossy was in Ecuador at a theological conference. Bukele was about to close the borders and implement some of the most restrictive pandemic measures in the world. She managed to get onto the last flight into the Salvadoran airport and ended up at a quarantine center for six weeks. Desperate for a way out, a lawyer friend advised her to file a habeas corpus claim. It worked – she was released. Now, it's a tactic that more than 1,800 other Salvadorans across the country have also used since March, but to little effect since the administration has wrenched the legal system into its orbit, forcing many judges to retire and intimidating the rest, along with flooding the system with many times more defendants than it can handle. Members of the group have been harassed by the police, and there was always concern that cops might show up in the middle of the meeting to arrest everyone. One woman who had started attending after her husband was arrested was then herself arrested. Now, the neighbors couldn't agree on what was best. The state of exception allowed the police to detain anyone for any reason. If they protested and ended up incarcerated alongside their loved ones, who would defend them then?  People clamored to speak. Rossy called on a gray-haired man in a cowboy hat. He was one of the many who had spent consecutive days and nights on the street outside Mariona, where his son was being held, and while there, he heard rumor that the guards take vengeance on prisoners whose families caused trouble out front. He rose slowly, and then stated his firm opposition to any public action. He reminded the group that it wasn't only themselves who would pay the price for protesting. When he took up arms in the civil war, he said, it was his own life he was putting at risk. But now, any action might put his son's life at risk. When he finished speaking, Glenda – who, at 28 years old, was among the youngest group members – raised her hand. "I may not have as much life experience as many of you. And I didn't live the war fighting in the mountains like many of you did," she began. But, she continued, she did know that all of El Salvador's civil rights victories, including democracy itself, were the product of struggles on the street. She too had camped outside Mariona, and she had learned that viral malicious rumors appeared on social media as part of an attempt to silence families. A meeting of the Bajo Lempa families on June 17, 2022.Fred Ramos for Insider"If the state is going to kill my brother, it will do so whether or not I speak out. If it will incarcerate me – the same is true," she reasoned. "No one else will defend him but us." Finally, there was simply the value of the truth: "The president wants to make this country look like a wonderland, like everything is Surf City," she said – but the world needed to know what was really happening in El Salvador.  The group ultimately decided that Glenda was right: it was time to take the streets. And just as each Bajo Lempa family had discovered that they were not alone when they found the group, now they saw there were hundreds of families around the country who, like them, were ready to march in San Salvador. They began regularly joining the others in the capital to protest and speak to the media, while continuing their habeas corpus petitions. Just before Christmas, the families of the Bajo Lempa packed a bridge on a main thoroughfare and demanded their loved ones be freed. For now, the Bukele administration remains unmoved. The group is now planning to sue their government in an international human rights court.One day last summer, before anyone comprehended how long this would last, Roxana told me something that multiple women in the Bajo Lempa echoed: Since her children were detained, she has been dreaming of them. In one dream, she was sitting at home in the dark, and one of her three sons walked through the front door. He paused in the threshold. She thought it was Cristian, the only one who has not yet been taken. But when he stepped out of the shadow, she saw that it was Javier, her youngest. He was dressed just as he had been on April 27, the night the police hauled him away. She called to him – and then the dream ended. "As a mother," she said, "you wake up to a nightmare."This reporting was supported by the International Women's Media Foundation's Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2022

Inside the over 30-year friendship of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who didn"t even want to meet at first but now have each other on speed dial

Gates and Buffett didn't have any interest in meeting back in 1991. But they couldn't help taking a liking to each other and becoming best buds. Both Gates and Buffett credit their tremendous success to their laser focus.Nati Harnik/AP Images Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have been best friends for over 30 years. Initially, they weren't interested in meeting each other — but they hit it off right away. They've partnered on political and philanthropic ventures, and mentored each other along the way. Warren Buffett turned 92 on August 30th. Bill Gates marked the occasion by sharing a series of pictures of the two of them together. The photos highlighted a 32-year bromance between the two billionaires.Rick Wilking/Reuters"Life is more fun when you have a friend like Warren," Gates tweeted.—Bill Gates (@BillGates) August 30, 2022Gates, 67, is the fourth-richest person in the world. He's the former CEO of Microsoft and the cofounder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.Bill Gates speaking at an event in Washington, 2014.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergBuffett, 92, is the sixth-richest person in the world. He's a legendary investor and the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.Warren Buffett speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC.Paul Morigi/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergGates' and Buffett's friendship dates back to July 5, 1991. Gates' mother, Mary, had invited the late Meg Greenfield, a Washington Post editor, to her home. Greenfield was to bring her friend Buffett with her.AP PhotoSource: Fortune, Business InsiderMary Gates pressed her son to join them — he didn't want to take the day off work. "What were he and I supposed to talk about, P/E ratios?" Gates later wrote. The only reason he decided to come was because Greenfield was also bringing the late Post publisher Katharine Graham and he was interested in the Post's history.Katharine Graham.APSource: Fortune, Business InsiderBuffett didn't particularly want to meet Gates, either. "While we're driving down there, I said, 'What the hell are we going to spend all day doing with these people? How long do we have to stay to be polite?" Buffett remembered years later.DATE IMPORTED:July 31, 1995Investor Warren Buffett answers reporters' questions during a press conference to announce that Walt Disney will buy Capital Cities/ABC July 31.Mark Cardwell/ReutersSource: Business Insider, The SnowballTo the surprise of both men, they hit it off. Gates recalls being impressed by the questions Buffett asked him, like, "If you were building IBM from scratch, how would it look different?" And Gates told Buffett to buy stock in Intel and Microsoft. It was the beginning of a deep friendship and a mutual mentorship.Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates (R) shares a laugh with Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway during a news conference at the seventh annual CEO summit held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington May 21, 2003.Jeff Christensen/ReutersSource: Fortune, Business InsiderBuffett has attended multiple Microsoft events, but he's never served on the company's board or invested in the tech company. In 2018, he said it would be a conflict of interest due to their close friendship.Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, right, and Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, left, at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Thursday, July 12, 2012.AP Photo/Paul SakumaSource: InsiderHowever, Gates joined Berkshire Hathaway's board in 2004 after Buffett's first wife, Susan Thompson, died.Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, right, listens to Microsoft founder and Berkshire board member Bill Gates during an interview with Liz Claman of the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Neb., Monday, May 7, 2012.AP Photo/Nati HarnikSource: Seattle TimesShortly after they first met, Gates asked Buffett for his favorite business book recommendation. Buffett lent Gates his copy of "Business Adventures" by John Brooks. Today, it's Gates' favorite business book, too — and he still has Buffett's copy.Ramin Talaie/Getty; AmazonSource: The Wall Street Journal, Business InsiderBoth credit their tremendous success to a laser focus. Gates has written that he's learned from Buffett how to manage his time by prioritizing certain people and tasks.Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, right, and Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and director at Berkshire Hathaway, sit together during an interview by Liz Claman of the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Neb., Monday, May 8, 2017.Nati Harnik/AP ImagesSource: LinkedIn, LinkedInThey've often joined forces for political and philanthropic causes. In 2010, Gates and Buffett, along with Gates' then-wife, Melinda French Gates, started The Giving Pledge. Billionaires who sign up commit to giving away most of their wealth to charitable causes in their lifetimes or in their wills. To date, about $600 billion has been pledged.Seth Wenig/AP ImagesSource: The Giving PledgeGates also credits Buffett with inspiring him to found the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.Bill and Melinda Gates smile at each other during an interview in Kirkland, Washington on Feb. 1, 2019.Elaine Thompson/The Associated PressIn fact, Buffett has given part of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annually for years. In July, he donated $4 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stocks to the Gates Foundation and four other charities.Both Gates and Buffett credit their tremendous success to their laser focus.Nati Harnik/AP ImagesSource: CNBCGates said Buffett's generosity moved him to tears.Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, in an interview on May 5, 2015Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images"I'm grateful for Warren's gifts to support the foundation's work and for our many years of friendship," Gates tweeted in July. "When he decided in 2006 to make these gifts, it moved me to tears. It still does."—Bill Gates (@BillGates) June 14, 2022 Buffett's contributions to Gates' foundation from 2006 through 2022 total $45 billion, when taking into account the appreciation of the Berkshire stock over time.Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, right, speaks to Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, as they appear to speak on the Fox Business Network with Liz Claman, in Omaha, Neb., on May 8, 2017.Nati Harnik/AP"I believe this is the largest gift ever given, and thinking about it fills me with awe and gratitude and a sense of responsibility to make sure it is spent well," Gates wrote in an post on his blog, Gates Notes, in December 2022. "Our secret weapon, which should not be secret at all, is the incredible generosity of Warren Buffett."In 2014, Gates and Buffett, along with Sheldon Adelson, published a New York Times op-ed pushing for immigration reform.GettySource: New York TimesDuring the coronavirus pandemic, Buffett called Gates his "science advisor." In February 2020, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $100 million to fight COVID-19.GettySource: Business Insider, CNBC In July 2020, Gates told Yahoo's Andy Serwer, "Warren and [Gates] are talking on a more regular basis than ever" about the economy and businesses during the pandemic. The same week, Buffett told Serwer that they schedule a weekly hour-long call but they usually exceed that time limit.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Yahoo FinanceThat same year, Gates resigned from his roles at Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft. The billionaire said he made the move "to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities."Bill Gates, Azim Premji , Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet during a press conference in New Delhi, Thursday, March 24, 2011.Photo by Qamar Sibtain/The India Today Group via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderIn 2021, Gates and his wife divorced after 27 years of marriage. Meanwhile, Buffett resigned from the three-person board at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals," Buffett said at the time.Bill and Melinda Gates are seen in Paris, France.Frederic Stevens/GettySource: BloombergThe friends not only have a long history, but they also have some unusual pastimes. For example, they have participated in a newspaper-tossing challenge at the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting. The popular tradition is a nod to a gig Buffett had as a teenager delivering Washington Post newspapers.REUTERS/Rick WilkingSource: Business Insider, CNBCThe two have also been known to play bridge together since they first met in the '90s.Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, right, plays bridge with Microsoft co-founder and director with Berkshire Hathaway Bill Gates outside the company-owned Borsheims jewelry store in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 7, 2017, as the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting comes to an end.AP Photo/Nati HarnikSource: The Wall Street Journal They've also been spotted together at many different types of sporting events, from equestrian cups to NBA matchups.Bill Gates, right, and Warren Buffett talk during a break in the FEI World Cup equestrian jumping grand prix in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, April 1, 2017. Jennifer Gates, daughter of Bill Gates, is one of the contestants.AP Photo/Nati HarnikSource: The Wall Street JournalIn 2017, they learned that they like trying out mattresses together.The Gates Notes, LLCSource: Business InsiderGates has said Buffett's number is one of just two he had on speed dial at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His home phone occupied the other spot.Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (R) talks to Microsoft founder Bill Gates as they play Bridge during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. May 7, 2017.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Gates NotesThe friendship has had a big impact on both men. In 2016, Gates wrote that "Warren has helped us [Bill and Melinda] do two things that are impossible to overdo in one lifetime: learn more and laugh more."Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (L) gestures before a table tennis game with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in Omaha May 5, 2013 the day after the company's annual meeting.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Gates NotesIn a August 2020 blog post dedicated to Buffett's 90th birthday, Gates wrote that Buffett has "a phenomenal eye for talent" and "works incredibly hard" while leaving room for life outside the board room. "Of all the things I've learned from Warren, the most important thing might be what friendship is all about," he added.Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesSource: Gates NotesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 20th, 2022

At least 17 Republicans are checking out their presidential prospects, diminishing Trump"s shot at getting a free pass for the 2024 nomination

At least 17 Republicans have shown they're interested in the 2024 presidential nomination, even though Trump has already declared he's running. Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak during an event at Mar-a-Lago on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Donald Trump is the only Republican who has made a '24 run official. But many others have been floating the possibility of entering the GOP contest. From Pence to Haley, here's how Republicans are laying the groundwork for presidential runs. It's beginning to look a lot like 2016. Former President Donald Trump is the only Republican so far who has announced a 2024 presidential run, but numerous others are signaling that they're toying with the same idea. They're doing all the things they're supposed to do to test their chances: Visiting early primary states, writing books, showing up on the Sunday shows, campaigning with other Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterms, and weighing in publicly on President Joe Biden's policies — and even Trump's latest controversies. The next step will be hiring teams in Iowa and New Hampshire, Doug Heye, a longtime GOP aide and strategist, told Insider."You have got a stable of people who are essentially putting themselves all in the starting gates and all have their own timetable about when and if they decide to run," he said. December would be a "frustrating month" for political watchers because "no one is going to move that much," said Kristin Davison, vice president and general consultant at Axiom Strategies. But hopefuls would be floating what she called "trial balloons" — in which they publicly raise the prospect of a run to see how donors and the press will react. Whoever seizes the nomination will likely face Biden, though he has yet to formally declare his candidacy. But, Heye said, "it's a real possibility" that the GOP lineup will be large like it was in 2016.The stakes for losing the nomination aren't all bad, even if Republicans might come out of it with an unforgettable Trump nickname. After all, one of the people running for president could end up getting chosen as running mate or get a seat on the new president's Cabinet.And there are other perks to formally seeking the White House, such as raising one's profile and having a better shot at the presidency during a future cycle. Candidates could also wind up selling a lot more books or leave politics to get a prime TV or radio show. "It's a long, difficult process," Heye said, "and you're more likely to lose than not."Trump's legal, political, and personal liabilities have been piling up in the last month, leading many in the GOP to say the party needs not just a fresh face but to be led by a candidate who can actually win. Insider identified 17 people who could seek the Republican nomination in 2024, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Tim Scott of South Carolina who are up for re-election this cycle and will therefore be in campaign mode anyway. Each will have to effectively answer the "why I'm running for president" question and find their lane in the party — which will inevitably include defining, or redefining, their relationship with Trump. "I don't think you can discount any of them at this point," Heye said. "It's too early to determine who outside of Trump is a frontrunner." Scroll through to see the lawmakers listed here in alphabetical order. Outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney of WyomingRep. Liz Cheney, a Republican of Wyoming, campaigned with Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat of Michigan, at an Evening for Patriotism and Bipartisanship event on November 1, 2022 in East Lansing, Michigan.Bill Pugliano/Getty ImagesCheney, 56, is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and one of Trump's toughest Republican critics.She voted to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, and served as vice chair of the House select committee investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney's actions have come at a cost under the heavy weight of Trump's ire. House Republicans punished her by stripping her of her leadership post, and she lost her US House seat to Trump-backed GOP challenger Harriet Hageman during the state's August primary.But she hasn't been deterred. Cheney said on NBC's "Today" that she would do "whatever it takes" to keep Trump out of the White House in 2024, including "thinking about" running for president herself. "I wouldn't be surprised to see her run for president," Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told Insider in August. Cheney voted with Trump on policy when he was in office, and remains a conservative, telling the Reagan Foundation and Institute in June that she believes "deeply in the policies of limited government, of low taxes, of a strong national defense." But Cheney said she sees a breaking point with the Republican Party, telling the Texas Tribune Festival in September that she would leave the GOP if Trump became the 2024 nominee.This could mean she'd run for president as an Independent. Already, she has shown she's willing to campaign against Republicans who falsely deny that Biden won the 2020 presidential election.This year, Cheney converted her House campaign finance committee into an anti-election denier leadership PAC called The Great Task. The PAC spent $500,000 on a TV ad in Arizona that urged voters to reject Republicans Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, who were running for governor and secretary of state, respectively. During the 2022 midterms, Cheney endorsed incumbent Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. Both won their races. "We had to make sure that we prevented election deniers from taking power," she told The Washington Post's Global Women's Summit in November. Many outsiders see long odds for Cheney, though a poll conducted in Utah found she could be a top contender there. Outgoing Rep. Adam Kinzinger of IllinoisRep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a hearing in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteLike Cheney, Kinzinger, 44, has spent much of the last year focused on the January 6 committee and drawing Trump's ire. He's the only other Republican on the House committee investigating the riot, and will be retiring from his seat at the end of this Congress, after six terms. Kinzinger told HuffPost in April that he "would love" to run against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, but more for the fun of it than to actually win."Even if he crushed me, like in a primary, to be able to stand up and call out the garbage is just a necessary thing, regardless of who it is," he said. "I think it'd be fun."In a move that could be signaling he's planning on doing just that, Kinzinger in early 2021 launched his anti-election denier leadership PAC, called Country First. Kinzinger sponsored several bills that became law, including measures to prevent opioid addiction and a bill to help veterans with medic training transition to EMT work as civilians. Kinzinger served in the Air Force and remains a pilot in the Air National Guard. Sen. Ted Cruz of TexasSen. Ted Cruz, a Republican of Texas, speaks at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker on November 10, 2022 in Canton, Georgia.Megan Varner/Getty ImagesCruz, 51, was the last Republican standing against Trump during the 2016 presidential nomination and had even announced that he'd pick former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate. But Cruz — whom Trump nicknamed "Lyin' Ted" — lost following a nasty primary in which Trump levied highly personal attacks against the senator, including disparaging his wife's looks and falsely suggesting that Cruz's father had something to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Once Trump was in office, however, Cruz was one of the president's  biggest defenders. He voted to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania and helped to secure Trump's acquittal in his second impeachment trial. In recent months, Cruz has been spending time in New Hampshire and campaigned with retired football star Herschel Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff. While in the Senate, Cruz led the successful effort to zero out the unpopular fine on the uninsured created by the Affordable Care Act.More recently, Cruz used Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing to score points for a potential 2024 run, questioning her about school curriculum on race. Before coming to Congress, Cruz was solicitor general in Texas, a role that involves arguing cases before the Supreme Court. When Insider asked whether Trump's latest missteps had provided an opening for him to jump into the 2024 presidential race, Cruz chuckled a bit before laying out what sounded like a near-term agenda. "I think the Senate is the battleground … and I'm going to do everything I can to lead the fight right here," Cruz told Insider before launching into a tirade about his mounting frustration with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision making. He made no specific mention of 2024, but also didn't work in the word "no" anywhere.Cruz told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas that he'll seek reelection in Texas in 2024 when his term is up, though state law allows him to run for both offices at the same time.Former Gov. Chris Christie of New JerseyFormer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoChristie, 60, is famously said to have missed his moment for the White House because he didn't run for president when he was getting a lot of attention as New Jersey's governor in 2012, and instead fizzled out in 2016 when faced with Trump and numerous other contenders. But that hasn't stopped him from weighing another go at it. As recently as October, during an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher," Christie confirmed that he was considering a 2024 run.  In the last 18 months, Christie has been prominently involved in midterm campaigning and on the same speech circuit as other GOP hopefuls, including the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. He also put out a book in 2021, titled "Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden." Christie served two terms as a Republican governor in a blue state where Democrats controlled the legislature. In that role, he expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and passed bail reform.But he got flak over a handshake with then-President Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and was hurt politically after members of his administration created traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge.Christie became a lobbyist in 2020, when he had several healthcare clients but cut ties a year later, according to the lobbying disclosure database, in what could be a sign that he's lining up for a run.   Today, Christie blames Trump for the GOP's losses the last three election cycles and spent months saying Republicans "have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday" if they ever want to win another election. His tone on Trump is a stunning turnaround for a man who was one of Trump's closest outside advisors when he was in the White House and was even on the shortlist to be Trump's chief of staff. Christie turned on Trump after January 6, saying the president violated his oath of office. More recently, he told The New York Times that Trump's candidacy was "untenable" and that the former president had had "poor judgement" after he dined at Mar-a-Lago with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. He also told the Washington Examiner that Republicans "fail the leadership test" when they don't call out Trump. Gov. Ron DeSantis of FloridaRepublican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022.Giorgio VIERA / AFP via Getty ImagesDeSantis, 44, has an enviable mantle for the presidency in the Florida governor's office — and he's making the most of it. He famously and unapologetically reopened Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, before federal health officials said he should. He banned certain teachings on race in workplaces and schools, and flew unsuspecting migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. DeSantis also signed a contentious parental involvement and sex ed bill into law that critics call "Don't Say Gay." Instead of backing down over the outcry, he punished Disney for threatening to repeal it.Then there were the historic tax cuts in Florida with promises of more as well as viral videos bashing what he calls the "corporate media." All of these actions have portrayed the governor as a fighter. That's not the only part of his public persona on display. Often in tow is his beautiful, young family. His former newscaster wife, Florida's first lady Casey DeSantis, has been instrumental in his rise. To the New York Post, pictures of the DeSantis family on Election Night was "DeFuture." Others see a conservative JFK. But the politician DeSantis most often gets compared to is Trump. Numerous news profiles have described DeSantis as "Trump without the baggage," or as a more disciplined Trump. Yet after leaning on Trump during his first gubernatorial victory in 2018, DeSantis showed he could win big on his own, scoring a historic, 20-point victory in Florida in November without Trump's endorsement.As for presidential clues, DeSantis is also out with his first memoir in February: "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival." During the midterms, he extended goodwill to other Republicans by campaigning with them. Back at home, he raked in a record amount of cash for a gubernatorial race. If the GOP primary were decided today, numerous polls show, DeSantis is the only person that gets close to Trump. DeSantis, a former conservative House member, has not pledged to serve out all four years of his second term. All of that has angered Trump. He has called DeSantis "Ron DeSanctimonious" and threatened to release damaging information about the governor. DeSantis has refused to punch back at Trump publicly, instead blaming the media and saying, "When you're leading, when you're getting things done, you take incoming fire."South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemSouth Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11, 2021.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesNoem, 51, has been on a Trump-related roller coaster ride as of late. In January 2021, the embattled former president tried to get her to primary fellow South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a lawmaker Trump took to calling a RINO (which stands for "Republican in name only") after Thune balked at his baseless claims of election fraud. Noem bowed out of joining Trump's revenge campaign, opting to focus on her own re-election plans. Once 2022 rolled around, she leaned hard into the GOP culture wars, promising voters that she'd bar transgender athletes from participating in women's sports, stamp out any "critical race theory" instruction in local schools, and decimate any "radical political ideologies" that annoyed her evangelical Christian base.Come July, Noem told CNN she'd be "shocked" if Trump tapped her to be his 2024 running mate. But she didn't rule out sliding into the VP slot — or mounting a challenge of her own. Since winning a second term in November, Noem has started taking on bigger foes, including the People's Republic of China. —Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) November 30, 2022 Her state government-wide ban against the use of social media app TikTok scored her fawning interviews on conservative outlets including Fox News and Newsmax, beaming her into the homes of potential admirers who don't happen to reside in the Mount Rushmore State. Noem seems far less enthusiastic about Trump these days, telling reporters that the twice-impeached, scandal-plagued former president isn't Republicans' "best chance" at retaking the White House in 2024. She issued this prediction just days after Trump announced he was running again.  Former UN Ambassador Nikki HaleyFormer UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during a news conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.Matt Rourke/AP PhotoHaley, 50, has made it clear she's interested in the presidency. At the Republican Jewish Coalition in November, she told the crowd she was thinking about a presidential run "in a serious way" and would announce a decision "soon.""I've won tough primaries and tough general elections," she said. "I've been the underdog every single time. When people underestimate me, it's always fun. But I've never lost an election. And I'm not going to start now." The remarks were a turnaround from Haley's comments last year, when she said she wouldn't run for president if Trump were to seek the White House in 2024. Haley said at a Turning Point USA event that she'd take the winter holidays to make a decision. Early in her career, Haley joined her family's clothing business before leading the National Association of Women Business Owners.She served in the South Carolina House for three terms then was the state's governor for six years. In that time Haley delivered the GOP response to Obama's 2016 State of the Union Address.She pushed for the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol after a gunman killed nine Black people at Emanuel Church in Charleston. Also as governor, Haley would not support a bill requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. But in 2021 she wrote a commentary in the National Review saying transgender inclusion in sports was an "attack on women's rights."Haley was UN Ambassador under Trump for two years, and successfully pushed for the US to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and defended Trump's decision to do so.In 2019 she published a memoir, "With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace." Her experiences give her the coveted pairing of having both executive and foreign policy chops, which are often viewed as crucial to the presidency. Aside from Trump and Pence, few other contenders would have such a profile. As a woman of Indian descent, she could also help bring in suburban women voters who graduated from college and expand the GOP coalition among people of color. Her nonprofit group, called Stand for America, Inc., is seen as a campaign in waiting and raised about $8.6 million in 2021, according to Politico. And she founded the Stand for America PAC after her time in the Trump administration. Haley campaigned and fundraised in high-profile races during the 2022 midterms, including in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Haley told the National Republican Committee the day after the January 6 riot that Trump was "badly wrong" in his speech to supporters and that his "actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history." Sen. Josh Hawley of MissouriSenator Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 22, 2022.JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Hawley, 42, has reached for the spotlight whenever possible while Congress is in session.From famously saluting the January 6 protestors on the day of the violent siege at the Capitol to holding Brown Jackson's feet to the fire as she raced to join the Supreme Court, the first-term lawmaker works to portray himself as the perennial outsider who's only here to shake things up. He's played up the part by voting to overturn the 2020 election results on behalf of MAGA vote-magnet Trump, butting heads with McConnell on the way the upper chamber is run, and blaming short-sighted leaders for running the party into the ground. "When your 'agenda' is cave to Big Pharma on insulin, cave to Schumer on gun control & Green New Deal ('infrastructure'), and tease changes to Social Security and Medicare, you lose," Hawley, bemoaned on Twitter following a demoralizing midterms performance by flawed GOP candidates, which he blamed on "Washington Republicanism." The potential 2024 contender followed up with some suggestions, floating an alternative vision he said would help "unrig the system."   "What are Republicans actually going to do for working people? How about, to start: tougher tariffs on China, reshore American jobs, open up American energy full throttle, 100k new cops on the street," Hawley, who was also Missouri's former attorney general, tossed out on his social media feed. Asked by Insider about his intentions of formally jumping into the 2024 presidential race, Hawley laughed out loud for a few seconds. "I hope to run for reelection to the Senate in 2024. If the people of Missouri will have me," he said. Nowhere in there did Hawley say "no." Outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan of MarylandGov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesEven before the bruising 2022 midterms, Hogan, 66, was warning that Republicans couldn't continue down the path they are on. "I am not about to give up on the Republican party or America," he wrote on Twitter in early December. "None of us can. It's too important."The two-term governor who beat a 2015 cancer scare has been fired up about plotting his next act. Hogan, a centrist Republican, is already making the rounds in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. A nonprofit group aligned with him reported raising $2 million in 2021, some of which was spent on "supporter acquisition" and "audience building." And Hogan recently scored some face time with GOP mega donors at this year's Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting — mentioning to political reporters covering the event that he and other potential 2024 hopefuls were there because "maybe there's a little blood in the water." Trump was notably absent at the event, but did video-conference in. As governor, Hogan signed a gun control bill into law and has said that while he opposed abortion, he wouldn't move to gut the state's guarantee on reproductive rights. During the COVID-19 pandemic he instituted a statewide mask mandate, then lifted restrictions in May 2021. While he has yet to formally declare a 2024 run, Hogan has begun billing himself as a "commonsense conservative" who GOP voters sick of losing may want to consider."I think there are 10 people who want to be the next Donald Trump, and I think there may be a different lane," Hogan said while stumping in Manchester, New Hampshire, adding, "I'm going to do everything I can to get the country back on track." He cast a write-in vote for Reagan in the 2020 election and called for Trump to be impeached or resign after January 6. Outgoing Gov. Asa Hutchinson of ArkansasArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson attends the National Governors Association summer meeting, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Portland, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/AP PhotoHutchinson, 72, hasn't been shy about criticizing Biden or Trump. After Trump's 2024 announcement, he said the former president's "self-indulging message promoting anger has not changed," and also disavowed the Fuentes and Ye meeting at Mar-a-Lago.Hutchinson has taken at least five trips to Iowa through America Strong & Free, the nonprofit of which he's the honorary chairman and spokesperson."I am seriously looking at a run in 2024 because America and the Republican Party are not in the best place," he said in a statement provided to Insider. "I know how to get us back on track both in terms of leadership and facing the challenging issues of border security, increased violent crime and energy inflation." He'll make a decision in January, he told KARK.As governor for the last eight years, he has pushed to make the state a leader in computer science, and signed several tax cuts into law, including lowering the state income tax rate from 7% to 4.9%. Hutchinson also signed bills into law blocking businesses from requiring customers and workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, and blocked state and local officials from obligating masks — a move he later said he regretted. He asked state lawmakers to create a carve-out for schools, but the Arkansas House rejected the proposal. While he signed an abortion ban into law in 2019 that took effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, he said on CNN that he personally believes in exceptions for rape and incest."Many out there appreciate a 'consistent conservative,' even one they don't agree with all the time," Hutchinson told Insider. "I am not interested in the 'outrage of the day,' and I am committed to using my consistent conservative principles to guide me and our nation on important policy decisions." Hutchinson began his government career as a US attorney for the Western District of Arkansas under President Ronald Reagan, then went on to serve in the US House for three terms. President George W. Bush tapped him to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration, after which he served as undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. He has criticized Biden on illegal immigration, inflation, student loan forgiveness, and said on CNN that the president's September speech about democracy "singled out a segment of Americans and said basically they're our enemy."Hutchinson also has the distinction of being especially press friendly at a time when numerous Republicans have copied Trump's style of lashing out against journalists. "The media plays an important role in our democracy," Hutchinson told Insider. "I've never shied away from tough questions, and I have always been willing to defend my positions and conservative principles with the hard questions coming from the press."Former Vice President Mike PenceFormer Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Friday, November 18, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoPence, 63, has begun to distance himself from his former boss, while also promoting his new book, "So Help Me God." He told ABC's "World News Tonight" that Trump "decided to be part of the problem" by not immediately calling off the insurrectionists during the January 6 riot, after he declined to help invalidate Biden's lawful win. Pence also pushed back against Trump on WVOC in South Carolina after he called for terminating the Constitution, and came out forcefully after Trump had dinner with Fuentes."President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table," he said on November 28. An adviser to the former vice president told Insider that, should Pence decide to run, the team has discussed several policy areas to differentiate himself, including Trump's bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, and that he'll continue to be "very outspoken on the issue of life."In contrast, Trump didn't mention his three Supreme Court picks when he announced his 2024 presidential run, even though they helped overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that previously guaranteed a national right to abortion. Pence wouldn't have to worry about name ID during a presidential run. Still, his new book and a campaign would allow him to reintroduce himself to voters by talking about his work in the US House and then as governor of Indiana. He already has made numerous trips to early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina. Further, he'll be able to amplify policies that carried his fingerprints during the Trump administration, including his oversight of the US's pandemic response.Pence was a sought-after midterm surrogate, traveling to dozens of states. In May, he went to Georgia to help incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp beat Trump-backed primary challenger David Perdue.Pence's vision for the future of the party is laid out in his Freedom Agenda and Advancing American Freedom, the nonprofit aligned with him that serves as a type of campaign in waiting. The policies include reducing mail-in voting and implementing universal school choice, which allows public education funds to pay for K-12 students to select alternatives to public schools. While Pence didn't testify before the January 6 select committee, his senior aides including former chief of staff Marc Short and legal advisor J. Michael Luttig walked investigators through some of the scenarios that led up to the attack. In November, Pence said on Fox's "Hannity" that he would make a 2024 decision after discussing it with his family during the holidays. Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoFormer Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Friday, November 18, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoPompeo, 58, told Chicago donors in September that he already had teams in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.His outside campaign in waiting is called Champion American Values Fund, and Pompeo has been doing press appearances to talk about his forthcoming book, "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love." Pompeo represented Kansas in the US Congress and was also former CIA director under Trump. After the end of the administration, he lost weight, which sparked speculation that he was interested in a White House run. Similar to Haley, Pompeo would enter the contest with a foreign policy background. He has openly criticized Biden, including after the president's September speech on protecting democracy. "He essentially said if you're pro-life or you're opposed to a certain set of policies, you're a threat," Pompeo told the New England Council's "Politics and Eggs" breakfast.  Biden, he said at the event, could be summed up as having "woke ideas, weak resolve, and waffling leadership."Trump should not have taken classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, he said, but added that the "raid on Mar-a-Lago was indecent and improper." Pompeo told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in November that Trump's announcement wouldn't affect whether he decides to run for president, adding that he'd make a determination in the spring. "We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward," Pompeo said, "not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood." Sen. Marco Rubio of FloridaWilfredo Lee/AP PhotoRubio, 51, has come out hot after cruising to a third term in November, castigating GOP leaders for totally blowing the midterms. "We have a historically unpopular Dem President, record inflation, a violent crime wave & total chaos at the border & not only did we fail to win a majority, we lost a seat. And the Senate GOP response is going to be to make no changes?" Rubio fumed in a December 7 Twitter post. His anger hadn't abated when Insider caught up with him at the US Capitol. "I don't know how you come back from what we have just encountered and conclude that the status quo and business as usual is how we want to proceed," Rubio said of the need for drastic changes within the GOP. While conceding that he doesn't have "all those answers," Rubio suggested that Senate Republicans take a hard look at "the mechanics of elections, policy, the legislative agenda, and all of that." "I think that's something we should all be involved in talking about," Rubio said of the sorely needed soul searching. Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, was speaker of the Florida House before heading to Washington. He has sponsored numerous bills that have become law, including doubling the child tax credit and co-authoring the Paycheck Protection Program that helped keep small businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.On top of that, he's got a powerful perch as the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee. Political operatives have credited him with helping the GOP grow its influence with Hispanic voters, NBC News reported. Asked by Insider whether he had it in him to take another run at the former president after getting clobbered by the insult-flinging Trump in 2016, Rubio said he just really needs to take a breath. "We'll have time over the holidays and into the new year to sort of focus on everything going on in my life and here in the Senate," Rubio told Insider, adding that he hasn't "really focused in on" returning to the presidential proving grounds at the moment. Perhaps voters will learn more about future plans in his forthcoming book, "Decades of Decadence." Sen. Tim Scott of South CarolinaSen. Tim Scott, a Republican of South Carolkina, speaks at a fundraiser in Anderson, South Carolina on August 22, 2022.Meg Kinnard/AP Photo, FileScott, 57, hinted at a presidential bid during his midterms victory speech, even though he previously said he wouldn't run against Trump. "My grandfather voted for the first man of color to be elected as president of the United States," he said on November 8, referring to the vote his grandfather cast for Obama. "I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected president of the United States. But this time, let it be a Republican and not just a Democrat. So just know: All things are possible in America."Scott, who previously served in the US House, is the only Black Republican in the Senate. He said his six-year term in the Senate beginning in January will be his last, but he hasn't ruled out a presidential run and is making all the right moves to position himself for the undertaking. Despite his own election, he has taken several trips to Iowa and spent time campaigning on behalf of other Republicans. He also released a memoir, "America, a Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity" and is one of the top fundraisers in the Senate — which includes support from small and online donors — even though he defended a safe seat this cycle.Major donors have contributed to Opportunity Matters Fun, a pro-Scott super PAC.Scott was among those leading the push for the successful passage of the bipartisan First Step Act and his measure to create Opportunity Zones that bring private investments into economically distressed communities was part of the 2017 tax reform law. He garnered national interest after delivering the GOP response to Biden's address to Congress in April. Afterward, McConnell said the senator represented "the future of the Republican Party." Scott has been open about the racism he has faced over the course of his life. "I get called Uncle Tom and the n-word by progressives, by liberals," he said in response to Biden's address. He has shared that police have pulled him over numerous times, despite him not violating any traffic laws. He sat down with Trump at the White House to discuss systemic racism and publicly called on Trump to call back certain statements he made on race. Haley, who was South Carolina governor at the time, appointed Scott to the Senate in 2013 after the seat opened up. Miami Mayor Francis SuarezTaylor Hill / Contributor Getty ImagesSuarez, 45, confirmed in October that he's considering a presidential run."It's something that I would consider given the right circumstances and given the right mood of the country," Suarez said at a Punchbowl News event. Miami has been getting a lot of attention given the surge of people moving to Florida — and tech companies and crypto startups in particular headed to Miami under Suarez's encouragement. He even told Twitter CEO Elon Musk that he should consider relocating the company's headquarters from San Francisco.Suarez's office sent over a list of accomplishments for the mayor, saying the city was No. 1 in job and wage growth, and had 1.4% unemployment. The Financial Times called Miami "the most important city in America." The mayor made historic increases to the city's police department, increased funding on climate-resistant infrastructure, and passed a rental tax credit for seniors. Suarez didn't vote for Trump during the 2020 election and in the 2018 gubernatorial race in Florida he voted for Democrat Andrew Gillum over DeSantis. But Suarez said Trump also has been kind to him. The two spoke at a wedding recently, he said, and Trump told him he was the "hottest politician in America after him.""I don't know if he meant physically hot or if he meant I was getting a lot of buzz," Suarez said. "But he was very nice." Suarez is of Cuban descent and leads the National Conference of Mayors. When asked about how he might stand out in a presidential race, Suarez said he might be able to speak to "a variety of minority communities that are going to be important if Republicans want to grow their base for a generation." Gov. Chris Sununu of New HampshireGov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.Jon Cherry/Getty Images for ConcordiaSununu, 48, was just reelected to a fourth term in New Hampshire, where governors are reelected every two years and there are no term limits. "I haven't ruled anything in or out," he told Politico's "Playbook Deep Dive" podcast when asked about running for president in 2024. "I haven't ruled out a fifth term. I haven't ruled out running for higher office."Sununu is a centrist Republican who has the distinction of being in favor of abortion rights, at a time when many states are banning abortion. He came close to running for the US Senate in 2022, but told the Washington Examiner that other senators told him their main job was to be a "roadblock" in office — and he wasn't interested in that.Sununu also called Trump "fucking crazy" at the Gridiron dinner, a journalism event. "Let's stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November," Sununu said in November at Republican Jewish Coalition meeting.He told the Washington Examiner after the midterms that there should be new GOP leadership — not just in the White House but inside the Republican National Committee."Did they achieve on the level of results that we all thought we were going to get?" he asked. "No. So, why would we stick with the same team assuming we're going to get a better result?"Sununu is part of a political dynasty. His father was governor of New Hampshire who then went on to work in the George H.W. Bush administration as chief of staff. His brother was in the US House and US Senate. Gov. Glenn Youngkin of VirginiaGov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.AP Photo/Steve Helber, FileYoungkin, 56, tried his hand at playing kingmaker in over a dozen 2022 gubernatorial contests and mostly came up short. The newly-minted Republican who rocketed to stardom in late 2021 by keeping Virginia purplish with his electrifying win over Democratic fixture Terry McAuliffe tried to work that same Trump-light magic into contests all around the country. The result: only four of the 15 Republican gubernatorial candidates Youngkin got involved with won their races. It's unclear whether Youngkin had any effect on the reelection bids of blowout winners like Kemp or Noem.By the same token, it's debatable whether he could have dragged Lake, Michigan's Tudor Dixon, or any of the other 2020 election deniers across the finish line given their full-on embrace of Trumpism. While he remains reluctant to badmouth the embattled former president, Youngkin clinched his 2021 win by keeping Trump at bay while still reaching out to the MAGA base. Trump, on the other hand, has tried to take full credit for Youngkin's win and lashed out at the newcomer for not being more appreciative. Trump's already working on trying to clip a Youngkin presidential bid from ever taking wing, panning him and DeSantis as ingrates who have no chance of beating him. Trump also reverted to his old tricks after the politically damaging 2022 midterms flop, hitting Youngkin with a bizarre, racist rant on Truth Social. Given that Virginia only allows governors to serve non-consecutive terms, it makes sense for Youngkin to seek opportunities elsewhere.The Washington Post reported that Youngkin spent part of his summer huddling with Republican mega donors in New York. And while he remains mum on any official plans for 2024, Politico said Youngkin's putting in place the types of fundraising groups a presidential candidate would want to have at the ready.Youngkin is a former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. As governor, his first official action was to sign an executive order prohibiting Virginia schools from teaching "critical race theory." More recently, he's been pushing to reimburse individuals and businesses who paid fines for violating state COVID-19 restrictions under his Democratic predecessor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 10th, 2022

After 15 Break-Ins, A Portland Business Finally Calls It Quits

After 15 Break-Ins, A Portland Business Finally Calls It Quits Progressives are hell bent on fixing the world, climate, capitalism and every form of social injustice.... just don't look at the destruction in the cities under their control. Take Portland resident, Marcy Landolfo, who finally hit her breaking point. As KATU reports, this week marked the 15th break-in at her PDX store within a year and a half in the city that spawned the radical-leftist Antifa movement. Landolfo said most of those repairs at the Northeast Portland location were paid for out of pocket. Other times, she just left the windows boarded up. "It’s just too much with the losses that are not covered by insurance, the damages, everything. It’s just not sustainable," Landolfo said. The owner at Rains tells me after five break-ins in about three weeks, she made the sudden decision to permanently close. Staff here are putting pressure on the city to look after small businesses dealing with ongoing challenges with crime. pic.twitter.com/XyP2p6PR6W — Megan Allison (@mallisonKATU) November 26, 2022 KATU asked why Landolfo decided to close now, instead of keeping doors open through the holiday shopping season. "The products that are being targeted are the very expensive winter products and I just felt like the minute I get those in the store they’re going to get stolen," she said. Landolfo said she's worried about her employees, and no longer sees this location as a feasible business model. "The problem is, as small businesses, we cannot sustain those types of losses and stay in business. I won’t even go into the numbers of how much has been out of pocket," she said. If only the progressives who effectively run her city were aware of the hellhole they have made it into, maybe this could have been avoided, but alas - anyone who speaks out against the idiotically socialist practices of these "progressive" ghettos is immediately blasted as a racist, white supremacist, etc, and promptly canceled. When Rains was broken into in late October, KATU reached out to Mayor Ted Wheeler's office; his team responded that they're working to increase funding for business repair grants through Prosper Portland. Because somehow for socialists it makes more sense to pay fore reparations instead of preventing the crime from occurting in the first place. Then again, all such Democrat strongholds are all about reparations. Needless to say, for Landolfo that was not enough. "Paying for glass that’s great, but that is so surface and does nothing for the root cause of the problem, so it’s never going to change," she said, gradually realizing why socialism never works. The mayor's office also said they participated in a retail safety summit in October, and cited recent efforts to streamline the permitting process for things like storefront lighting. News channel KATU asked how that work is going, and it was still waiting to hear back. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/27/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 28th, 2022

Transgender Guaranteed Income Programs Discriminatory, Critics Say

Transgender Guaranteed Income Programs Discriminatory, Critics Say Authored by Brad Jones via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on Jan. 15, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Guaranteed income programs for transgender residents in San Francisco and Palm Springs have raised the eyebrows of some critics, who say they are a misuse of public funds and discriminatory. Erin Friday, a co-leader of Our Duty, a group that protests the gender transitioning of minor children and young adults, told The Epoch Times the programs could indirectly promote prostitution and other crimes by prioritizing transgender convicts and sex workers. “Trans-identified people need mental health assistance, not unrestricted cash,” she said. San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the launch of the Guaranteed Income for Transgender People (GIFT) program on Nov. 16 to provide “economically marginalized transgender people with unrestricted monthly guaranteed income as a way to combat poverty.” The city and county will provide $1,200 a month in guaranteed income for 18 months to 55 transgender residents at a cost of about $1.2 million. “The program will prioritize enrollment of Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) people who are also Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), experiencing homelessness, living with disabilities and chronic illnesses, youth and elders, monolingual Spanish-speakers, and those who are legally vulnerable such as TGI people who are undocumented, engaging in survival sex trades, or are formerly incarcerated,” according to the GIFT website. A man stands near two women posing as prostitutes during a police sting in Pomona, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2004. (David McNew/Getty Images) Friday, an attorney, said Our Duty is exploring legal challenges to the program, which she says is “both racist and discriminatory on the basis of sex and gender.” With health insurance providers mandated to provide gender transition treatment to those who seek it, and nonprofit groups such as Planned Parenthood offering cross-sex hormones at a nominal fee, Friday said trans-identified people should not be entitled to more money than other impoverished segments of the population. The poverty rate in California was estimated at approximately 12 percent in the fall of 2021, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, with 29 percent living near or below the poverty line. The poverty rate for seniors 65 and older was 16 percent, “markedly higher” than younger adults at 12 percent and children at 9 percent. In addition, public funds should not be spent to promote “an ideology that supports cancer-and-sterility-causing experimental hormones on children and removal of healthy body parts,” Friday said. Chloe Cole takes part in a demonstration against “gender-affirming care” for minors in Anaheim, Calif., on Oct. 8, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) She urged parents in other states to “be on the lookout” for similar policies being implemented in their cities, since others may also be planning similar pilot programs in the hopes of starting a nationwide movement, she said. Greg Burt with the California Family Council, a religious organization based in Fresno, told The Epoch Times in a Nov. 18 statement the programs are discriminatory and counterproductive. “It implies transgender poor are more valuable and deserving of help than those who are not,” he said. Giving money to poor people who identify as transgender with no accountability or limitations on how the money is spent isn’t compassionate because it harms the people it seeks to help, he said. “The policy is foolish because it will incentivize the poor to identify as transgender to get the $1,200. There is no medical test or visual identifier to know who is transgender,” he said. Mayors for Guaranteed Income Aside from the GIFT program, Breed has led two other guaranteed income pilot programs, including the Abundant Birth Project for pregnant women who are black or Pacific Islanders, and a $6 million universal basic income program for local artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiatives are part of the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, which plans to provide grants totaling $35 million for pilot programs across the state. Each program must be funded with at least a 50 percent match by local governments or organizations. According to the City of Palm Springs, it’s also part of a broader plan by Mayors for Guaranteed Income, an organization founded by former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs in 2020 that now has more than 80 supportive mayors in at least 29 different states. The group includes 23 mayors in California, including San Francisco’s Breed and Palm Springs’ former Mayor Christy Holstege. “Between the pilots that have already started disbursements and those that are in the works, our coalition will provide more than $200 million in direct, unconditional relief to everyday Americans,” the organization states on its website. The organization lists as its donors Jack Dorsey’s #startsmall, California Community Foundation, Carol Tolan, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Arrow Impact, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The California Wellness Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation. Palm Springs, Calif., seen from Highway 74 on Dec. 29, 2011. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) Palm Springs The Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously in March to set up a guaranteed income program that would pay transgender and non-binary residents up to $900 a month. The council allocated $200,000 to two organizations, DAP Health and Queer Works, to develop the guaranteed income plan and apply for a share of the state funding. Mayor Lisa Middleton, who is openly transgender, voted to support the program at a March city council meeting but expressed doubts about whether the city should fund it or not. “For the record, I strongly support reform of our poverty programs,” Middleton said. “I do not believe that guaranteed income programs as they are currently envisioned will be able to succeed and scale up to the level of the problem that they are attempting to address, nor do I believe that placing income maintenance programs within municipal government broadly is an appropriate public policy step. Notwithstanding that statement, I’m prepared to vote for the $200,000.” However, Jacob Rostovsky the founder and CEO of Queer Works, indicated the city is expected to provide an additional $1 million to $1.2 million, according to a city staff report. The anticipated state grant and financial support from donors will cover 40 to 50 percent of the $2 million project. Randy Economy, a Republican who resides in Coachella Valley, told The Epoch Times the mayor and council of Palm Springs have taken the city from “LGBTQ friendly” to a “much more radical place.” In 2017, Palm Springs became the first city in the nation with an all-LGBT city council. “Using the transgenderism situation as a political social experiment city by city is absolutely nonsensical and dangerous,” Economy said. An openly gay man “who happens to be a Republican in California,” Economy said he left the Democratic Party about 20 years ago because of its “bizarre obsession with sexuality and gender.” “What we’ve seen in cities with predominant majorities from one persuasion or the other, whether it be racially dominant … or in this case, dominated [by] … the LGBTQ community, just because they got elected, they feel they’ve been given a green light to be able to go ahead and promote their agenda, their will, their entire philosophy—on the entire community that they represent,” he said. Economy played a lead role in the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and he ran unsuccessfully in the June 7 primary election for the District 4 seat on the California State Board of Equalization. He also opposes subjecting children to gender identity issues inside or outside of the classroom. “It has gotten to the point where it’s socially acceptable and routine to take a 5-year-old or a 7-year-old and [allow] them to start [gender] transitioning,” he said. “To me, that’s reprehensible. It’s cruelty to the children to put them through such a horrendous situation until their minds mature and develop. I understand the issue because I’ve seen it happen, and kids need to be kids.” Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) takes a photo with a drag queen in San Francisco, Calif., on Oct. 22, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times) Drag Queen Laureate The day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced the GIFT program, she issued a press release requesting applications for the city’s first drag queen ambassador. The Drag Laureate program will support a drag performer to promote the city’s “LGBTQ+, arts, nightlife and entertainment communities,” according to the release. California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) sponsored the program in his prior elected office as a county supervisor. “San Francisco’s Drag Laureate program is a wonderful celebration of our drag queens,” Wiener said in the release. “Drag performers are an amazing representation of the LGBTQ community and they contribute so much to our city. I’m thrilled about the launch of this program, and excited to see who is crowned Drag Laureate.” British feminist Kellie-Jay Keene recently staged a protest against Wiener’s promotion of drag queens at a pumpkin carving contest for families in San Francisco that Mayor Breed attended. Keene, who opposes the transgender movement, was in the city as part of her Let Women Speak U.S. tour. Wiener is the author of several controversial legislative bills supporting the transgender community and “gender-affirming care.” One of his bills, Senate Bill 107, will shelter parents of trans-identified youth who seek to avoid prosecution for child abuse in other states, making California a trans sanctuary state. Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the partisan bill into law in September despite widespread opposition and no support from Republicans in the legislature. Transgender and Non-Binary Population The Williams Institute at the University of California–Los Angeles studied data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and found about 42.7 percent of people in the U.S. who identify as transgender and nonbinary are teenagers or young adults, according to a report released in June 2022. Youth ages 3 to 17 currently comprise about 18 percent of the transgender-identified population, up from 10 percent in previous estimates. More than 1.6 million adults (18 years and older) and youth (ages 13 to 17) identify as transgender in the United States, or 0.6 percent of those ages 13 and older, the institute reports. In California, about 1.93 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds identify as transgender, compared to 0.7 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, 0.5 percent of 24- to 64-year-olds, and 0.34 percent of people 65 and older. The number of adult Californians who identify as transgender is 150,000 or 0.49 percent of the total state population. The Williams Institute research also found the racial composition of people who identify as transgender generally reflects the racial makeup of the general population, though the estimates “mirror prior research that found transgender youth and adults are more likely to report being Latinx and less likely to report being White compared to the U.S. population.” Tyler Durden Wed, 11/23/2022 - 21:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 23rd, 2022

Futures Slide On China Covid Curb Concerns; Disney Jumps After Chapek Fired

Futures Slide On China Covid Curb Concerns; Disney Jumps After Chapek Fired After opening modestly in the green, US equity futures have drifted steadily lower all session and were last trading near their Monday lows as concerns that China may tighten Covid curbs after China reported its first Covid-related death in almost six months and a city near Beijing rumored to be a test case for dropping all curbs enforced a slew of restrictions all weighed on growth in the world’s second-largest economy, as well as the ongoing carnage in the crypto space. At 7:30am ET, S&P futures were down 0.5% to 3,953 while Nasdaq 100 futures slumped 0.9% to session lows, below 11,600. The dollar stormed higher as investors sought shelter in the dollar; 10Y yields rose to 3.83%, while bitcoin traded around $16,000 after dumping over the weekend. Oil dipped but rebounded from session lows on concern of a weakening demand outlook from China and following a $10 price target cut to $100 for Q4 2022 from Goldman overnight. US-listed Chinese stocks including Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com fell in US premarket trading after China saw its first Covid-related death in almost six months, sparking concern that Beijing could see a return of heightened restrictions on schools, restaurants and shops amid a continuing outbreak in the capital. Worsening outbreaks across the nation are stoking concerns that authorities may again resort to harsh restrictions. A city near Beijing that was rumored to be a test case for the ending of virus restrictions has suspended schools, locked down universities and asked residents to stay at home for five days. Elsewhere in premarket moves, Walt Disney shares soared 8% after the firm fired embattled CEO Bob Iger and brought back former leader Bob Iger as chief executive officer, a surprise capitulation by the board after a string of disappointing results. Cryptocurrency-related stocks declined after the price of Bitcoin retreated amid worries over contagion from the downfall of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire. Shares in Riot Blockchain -4.5%, Marathon Digital  -3.1%, Coinbase -4.6%. Squarespace shares gained 2.2% after being upgraded to overweight from neutral at Piper Sandler, which identifies the website- building and hosting company as having the lowest risk to its 2023 numbers among e-commerce stocks. "Markets got their hopes up that the Chinese government might loosen its Covid policy, but despite the slowing economy, there is little chance of that," said Joachim Klement, head of strategy, accounting and sustainability at Liberum Capital. “This is going to be bad for commodity-related stocks as well as luxury companies and other exporters to China.” However, others like Morgan Stanley, remain hopeful and expect that China will end Covid zero in a few months; in its base case the bank sees China reopening by April as shown below. "Financial markets have caught a cold amid worries that mounting Covid cases in China and a fresh tightening of restrictions will send a fresh shiver through manufacturing output and push down demand for raw materials," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. As Bloomberg notes, trading will be slow this week, with the US market closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and open for a half day on Friday. Meanwhile, Goldman strategists warned that the bear market had more room to run and that stocks were likely to see more declines and lower valuations in 2023. "The conditions that are typically consistent with an equity trough have not yet been reached,” strategists including Peter Oppenheimer and Sharon Bell wrote in a note on Monday. They said that a peak in interest rates and lower valuations reflecting recession are necessary before any sustained stock-market recovery can happen. After a sharp rally fueled by signs of cooling inflation, US stocks were subdued last week as Federal Reserve officials indicated they need to see a meaningful slowdown in prices before reducing the pace of their interest rate increases. The big event for the market this week comes Wednesday, when the central bank releases minutes from its latest policy meeting, possibly providing clues on when it will shift to less-aggressive rate hikes. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 index fell 0.5%, with the IBEX outperforming peers, adding 0.4%, while FTSE MIB lags, dropping 1%. Miners, tech and chemicals are the worst-performing sectors. Here are the notable European movers: Virgin Money UK shares rose as much 16%, the most in two years, after the British lender announced an extension of its share buyback program and reported earnings that analysts said could prompt upgrades in profit forecasts. Ipsen rose as much as 4.5%, to the highest since April, after JPMorgan said the stock may get a boost from clinical trial data on its Onivyde and elafibranor drugs in 2023. Rheinmetall shares jumped as much as 3.7% after Deutsche Bank upgraded the defense and automotive company to buy from hold and Berenberg raised its PT on the stock. Diploma shares gained as much as 3.3% after the seals and components distributor reported full-year revenue that beat analyst estimates. Next and Boohoo fell after they were both downgraded to hold from buy at Panmure. The broker cited inventory challenges for UK apparel retailers more broadly as demand has fallen in the UK clothing market since early October. Next fell as much as 1.9% while Boohoo dropped 7%; M&S and Asos also fell. Shares in Vallourec dropped as much as 13% in Paris trading after the steel and alloy tubing group announced third- quarter results that fell short of analyst expectations. Shares in IT services firm Bechtle fell as much as 5.4% after Exane downgraded the stock to neutral, citing concern about how margins will be affected by wage inflation and cost increases. SGS shares fell as much as 3.6%. The testing and inspection firm was cut to underweight from neutral at JPMorgan, with the broker saying shares look “mispriced.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also declined, with Hong Kong leading losses, as investors assessed the outlook for China’s reopening while continuing to monitor the Federal Reserve’s policy trajectory. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.2%. Chinese technology stocks were the biggest drags on the gauge, also driving the Hang Seng Index down almost 2%, after fresh reports of Covid deaths and lockdowns in China. Malaysian shares pared losses as a deadline for party leaders to name a prime minister was extended after Saturday’s election produced the country’s first-ever hung parliament. Benchmarks across Asia Pacific also fell, while the dollar strengthened, as Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Susan Collins reiterated the likelihood of large US interest-rate hikes, with the outlook for inflation still uncertain. US stocks had risen recently on hopes for a slower pace of tightening. “After the recent good US consumer and producer price inflation reports, it was easy to conclude that there are much better times ahead in the asset markets,” said Gary Dugan, chief executive officer at the Global CIO Office in a note. “It just won’t be that easy.” Asian stocks had been rebounding as well, gaining as much as 15% from a trough in October, helped also by hopes for reduced restrictions in China. The advance started to falter last week amid lingering doubts over China’s reopening and US rate policy India’s major stock indexes posted their biggest decline in more than a month, tracking weaker global markets and as shares of Reliance Industries and index-heavy software makers slipped.   The S&P BSE Sensex closed 0.8% lower at 61,144.84 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index eased by an equal measure. Both indexes posted their biggest single-day slump since Oct. 11, with the Sensex now trading 1.3% off its recent peak. Global stocks fell amid concern that China may tighten Covid curbs after a string of reported deaths. Worsening outbreaks across the nation are stoking concerns that authorities may again resort to harsh restrictions.  All but two of the 19 sector sub-gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. traded lower, led by information technology companies. In FX, the dollar gained as fears of a return to stricter Covid containment measures in China boosted demand for havens. The Bloomberg dollar spot index rises 0.7%. CHF and CAD are the strongest performers in G-10 FX, SEK and JPY underperform. The yen plunged by more than 1% dropping as low as 142 per dollar. The Japanese currency held up well throughout most of the Asian session, but began a steep slide shortly before European session began. The euro fell by as much as 1% versus the dollar, the biggest slide this month, to touch $1.0226.  The Australian dollar and Swedish krona were also among the worst performers It’s not unusual for implied volatility to trail realized in the currency market, especially at times when key risk events like central bank policy meetings are far ahead on the calendar. When it comes to the euro-dollar pair, options are underpriced across the curve, with striking moves on the one- and six-month tenors New Zealand dollar short-dated FX option volatility advanced as pricing for a 75- basis-point hike in the official cash rate holds at 60%, two days out from the decision In rates, Treasuries were mixed with the belly of the curve underperforming, cheapening 2s5s30s fly by 3.2bp on the day. Wider losses were seen across gilts where the front-end underperforms.  Treasury yields were cheaper by 0.5bp across belly and richer by 1.5bp across long-end of the curve, flattening 5s30s spread by 1.5bp on the day -- reaching as low as -10.9bp and tightest since Nov. 7. The US 10-year yields around 3.825% and slightly richer on the day;  gilts lag by additional 1.5bp in the sector. US session focus includes double auction event for 2- and 5-year notes while Daly is expected to speak in the afternoon.  The gilts curve bear-flattens with 2s10s narrowing 2.3bps, while the Bund curve bear-steepens. Peripheral spreads are mixed to Germany; Italy widens, Spain and Portugal tighten. In commodities, WTI and Brent are lower by around USD 0.50/bbl or 0.50% on the session, but have lifted from earlier lows and as such are some way from Friday's base. The crude complex was weighed by China's COVID controls, with a stronger US dollar also impacting and adding to the broader complex's woes. Goldman Sachs cut its Q4 Brent oil outlook by USD 10/bbl to $100/bbl due to China COVID concerns, while it sees elevated oil flows from China ahead of EU curbs and a price cap; $ forecasts Brent to recovery to USD 110/bbl in 2023, expects oil demand to increase at an above trend rate of circa. 1.6mln BPD in 2023. Spot gold/silver are unable to glean any haven-related upside in wake of the USDs strength, with the yellow metal over $10/oz below the USD 1751/oz 10-DMA despite briefly surpassing the figure overnight; base metals similar dented. Cryptocurrency prices struggled in the ongoing crisis sparked by the downfall of Sam Bankman-Fried’s once powerful FTX empire. Crypto-exposed stocks fell. It's a quiet start to the holiday-shortened week, with just the October Chicago Fed national activity index due at 830am. We get earnings from Zoom; On the Fed speaker slate, Fed's Daly talks on price stability. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.6% to 3,950.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 432.60 MXAP down 1.2% to 150.77 MXAPJ down 1.4% to 487.13 Nikkei up 0.2% to 27,944.79 Topix up 0.3% to 1,972.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.9% to 17,655.91 Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 3,085.04 Sensex down 0.9% to 61,121.88 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,139.25 Kospi down 1.0% to 2,419.50 German 10Y yield up 1% to 2.03% Euro down 0.9% to $1.0230 Brent Futures down 0.7% to $86.97/bbl Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,739.61 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.86% to 107.85 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Asset managers are turning ever more bearish on the dollar amid bets that the Federal Reserve may be approaching the peak of its interest-rate hike cycle Investors are slowly coming to terms with the sheer size of the UK government’s borrowing needs over the next few years and it doesn’t look pretty The PBOC net drained 2b yuan ($421m) via its open-market operations on Monday for the first time since Nov. 9, as a selloff in government and corporate bonds eased China’s financial regulators have asked banks to stabilize lending to property developers and construction firms, the latest effort by policymakers to turn around the real-estate crisis and bolster economic growth More than two years of growth-squelching policies sent international investors fleeing China. It’s taken all of two weeks to lure them back Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt crypto empire owes its 50 biggest unsecured creditors a total of $3.1 billion, new court papers show, with a pair of customers owed more than $200 million each A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks began the week mostly lower amid headwinds from China after several areas announced fresh virus restrictions including lockdowns and the country also reported its first COVID-19 deaths in about six months. ASX 200 was constrained by underperformance in the mining-related sectors amid a decline in commodity prices and with BHP shares pressured amid reports its chairman is considering retiring next year. Nikkei 225 lacked direction amid further political tremors in the Kishida government after Internal Affairs Minister Terada resigned due to involvement in a funding scandal and was the third cabinet member to step down in under a month. KOSPI declined amid geopolitical concerns after North Korea's recent missile launches and with sentiment subdued as data for the first 20 days of November showed exports fell 16.7% Y/Y and imports fell 5.5% Y/Y. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp suffered losses due to the worsening COVID situation in the mainland, while the Hong Kong benchmark was the worst hit with the special administrative region said to be near to cutting non-emergency services at public hospitals amid a surge in COVID cases and its Chief Executive Lee also tested positive for COVID-19. Furthermore, the PBoC maintained its key lending rates with the 1-Year and 5-Year LPR kept at 3.65% and 4.30%, respectively, although this was widely expected. Top Asian News China reported 2,365 (prev. 2,267) new coronavirus cases in the mainland on November 20th, 24,730 (prev. 22,168) new asymptomatic cases and 2 COVID deaths, which follows its first COVID-related death in six months on Saturday. Beijing’s Chaoyang district urged residents to remain at home on Monday as cases continue to rise, according to Reuters. It was also reported that the Baiyun district in China's Guangzhou imposed a 5-day lockdown from November 21st-25th and China's Shijiazhuang city is to conduct mass coronavirus testing in certain areas. Beijing City has tightened testing requirements for travellers entering Beijing, according to an official; will now require 3 PCR tests in 3 days upon arrival, via Reuters. Hong Kong is near to cutting non-emergency services at public hospitals again amid a surge in COVID cases, according to SCMP. It was also reported that Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee tested positive for COVID-19. Taiwan’s representative at APEC Morris Chang said he had a very happy interaction with Chinese President Xi during a brief meeting, according to Reuters. US VP Harris met with Chinese President Xi briefly at APEC and she noted to Xi that they must maintain open lines of communication to responsibly manage the competition between their countries, according to a White House official. Furthermore, Harris said that the US does not seek conflict or confrontation and welcomes competition, while she added that her Asia trip signifies the significance of the relationship between the US and its allies and partners in the region, according to Reuters. US House GOP leader McCarthy said he will form a select committee on China if he is elected as House Speaker, according to Reuters. Germany plans to tighten disclosure rules for companies exposed to China and plans to assess company disclosures to decide whether they should conduct stress tests on China risks, according to a draft document cited by Reuters. APEC leaders’ declaration affirmed the commitment to promote strong, balanced, secure sustainable and inclusive growth and stated that they are determined to uphold and further strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, while they welcomed progress this year in advancing the free-trade area of the Asia-Pacific. Furthermore, APEC is determined to achieve a post-COVID economic recovery and recognised that more intensive efforts are needed to address challenges such as rising inflation, food security, climate change and natural disasters, according to Reuters. Japanese PM Kishida accepted the resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Terada in order to prioritise parliamentary debate and which follows the latter’s involvement in funding scandals, while it was later reported that Japan appointed former Foreign Minister Matsumoto as the new Internal Affairs Minister, according to Reuters. European bourses are pressured across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%, as China's COVID crackdowns weighs on sentiment in an otherwise limited European morning. Sectors feature a defensive bias with those most sensitive to renewed COVID controls posting modest underperformance. Stateside, futures are similarly pressured, ES -0.6%, given the above headwinds with the US docket slim today at the start of a holiday shortened week. Goldman Sachs equity strategy: bear market is not over, continue to think near-term path is likely to be volatile and down before reaching a final trough in 2023, via Reuters. Top European News ECB's Lane says (when questioned on the increment of upcoming hikes) "what matters is the level we're going to arrive at. The exact allocation across different meetings is a secondary issue", via ECB. Does not think December is going to be the last rate hike, "The logic of a pause for the ECB: we’re not at that point". UK PM Sunak will be urged by businesses on Monday to seek better EU relations and will face pressure from businesses to soften the impact of Brexit such as by opening doors to more immigration to fill holes in the nation's labour market, according to FT. UK was reportedly considering Swiss-style ties with the EU and the government believes that EU relations are thawing which could lead to 'frictionless' trade, according to The Times. However, UK Health Minister Barclay said he did not recognise a report that the government wants to shift to a Swiss-style relationship with the EU, according to Reuters. FX Dollar benefits from short squeeze amidst latest bout of China-related risk aversion, DXY eyes 108.000 from 106.890 low. Yen sinks alongside Yuan, towards 142.00 after breach of 100 DMA near 141.00. Euro loses 1.0300+ status as Buck bounces and overshadows hawkish-leaning ECB commentary and firm rebound in EGB yields. Aussie undermined by deteriorating Chinese COVID situation, but Kiwi holds up better in hope of hawkish RBNZ hike on Wednesday; AUD/USD hovers on 0.6600 handle, NZD/USD hangs above 0.6100. Sterling loses Fib support just over 1.1800 after failing to breach round number above convincingly. Fixed Income Despite pronounced action earlier on, core fixed benchmarks are in relative proximity to the unchanged mark with Bunds just 20 ticks lower overall. Bunds were bid on a surprising MM domestic PPI decrease; however, ECB's Lane then pushed the complex back down before the latest Beijing, China updates saw that downside dissipate to leave the benchmark only modestly softer. Stateside, USTs have been directionally in-fitting though magnitudes slightly more contained ahead of a holiday-thinned weak and with two lots of supply due later. Commodities Crude benchmarks are weighed on by China's COVID controls, with a stronger USD also impacting and adding to the broader complex's woes. Specifically, WTI and Brent are lower by around USD 0.50/bbl or 0.50% on the session, but have lifted from earlier lows and as such are some way from Friday's base. BP (BP/ LN) - Stopped production at its Rotterdam Refinery (400k BPD), been taken "completely and safely out of operation". Follows reports via Bloomberg on Friday of a serious incident re. a steam outage, via BP. Subsequently, workers will not assist in restarting operations at the Rotterdam refinery (400k BPD) unless their wage demands are met, via Union. A large explosion reportedly hit Russia’s Gazprom pipeline amid suspicions of sabotage related to Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to the Daily Mail. Kuwait’s oil revenues for FY21/22 rose 84.5% Y/Y to KWD 16.33bln, according to the Finance Ministry. US VP Harris said the US will use its APEC host year to set new ambitious sustainability goals and she proposed setting a new aggregate target for reducing carbon emissions from the power sector in APEC, while she also proposed to set a goal for reducing methane emissions and said the US will introduce a new initiative on a just energy transition, according to a White House official cited by Reuters. UN climate agency published a new COP27 cover decision draft deal text and approved a proposal covering funding arrangements loss and damage from climate change suffered by vulnerable countries. However, it was also reported that EU climate policy chief Timmermans said the deal is not enough of a step forward and that the mitigation programme agreement allows some parties to hide from their commitments, while he added that too many parties are not ready to make more progress, according to Reuters. Goldman Sachs cut its Q4 Brent oil outlook by USD 10/bbl to USD 100/bbl due to China COVID concerns, while it sees elevated oil flows from China ahead of EU curbs and a price cap; UBS forecasts Brent to recovery to USD 110/bbl in 2023, expects oil demand to increase at an above trend rate of circa. 1.6mln BPD in 2023. Russia is now the largest fertiliser supplier to India for the first time as it provides discounts, according to Reuters sources. China's NDRC is to lower retail prices of gasoline and diesel by CNY 175/tonne and CNY 165/tonnes respectively as of November 22nd. Spot gold/silver are unable to glean any haven-related upside in wake of the USDs strength, with the yellow metal over USD 10/oz below the USD 1751/oz 10-DMA despite briefly surpassing the figure overnight; base metals similar dented. Geopolitics IAEA said powerful explosions shook the area of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Saturday evening and Sunday morning with more than a dozen blasts heard within a short period during the morning. It was also reported that Ukraine’s Energoatom said Russia's military shelled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Sunday morning and that there were at least 12 hits on the plant’s infrastructure facilities, while Russia’s Defence Ministry said Ukraine fired shells at power lines supplying the nuclear power plant, according to Reuters and TASS. US Defense Secretary Austin said Russia is carrying out atrocities in Ukraine and said that ‘these aren’t just lapses’, while he added that China, like Russia, is seeking a world where ‘might makes right’. Austin said autocrats like Russian President Putin are watching the Ukraine conflict and could seek nuclear weapons, while he added autocrats could conclude obtaining ‘nuclear weapons would give them a hunting licence of their own’, according to Reuters. UK PM Sunak told Ukrainian President Zelensky that the UK will provide a GBP 50mln air defence package to Ukraine which will include 125 anti-aircraft guns and technology to counter Iranian-supplied drones, according to Reuters. Russian President Putin spokesperson says there is no discussion in the Kremlin of a fresh wave of military mobilisation, via Reuters. German Defence Ministry spokesperson says air policing is being discussed with Poland, via Reuters. US Event Calendar 08:30: Oct. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. -0.03, prior 0.10 Central Bank speakers 13:00: Fed’s Daly Talks on Price Stability A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of DB's Jim Reid This morning my new credit strategy team and I have just published our 2023 credit outlook. Our view on the terminal rate for 2023 credit spreads and peak level 2024 defaults hasn’t changed much since we last updated our spread targets in April, when we became the first bank to warn of a tough 2023 US recession. In this outlook, we slightly increase our targets and see YE ‘23 spreads for EUR and USD IG hitting 245bps and 235bps, and EUR and USD HY hitting 930bps and 860bps, respectively. This is a widening from current levels of +53bps, +100bps, +400bps and +410bps, respectively. Our full-year total return forecasts for EU IG is 1.6%, USD IG -0.2%, USD HY -3.3% and EUR HY -4.4%. A lack of near-term maturities will limit 2023 defaults, but our models highlight that leverage is 2x more important than maturity walls at explaining historical default patterns. We forecast YE'23 defaults in USD HY of 4.5%, USD Loans of 5.6%, EUR HY of 2.2%, and EUR Loans of 3.7%. But by 2H’24, we forecast peak defaults in USD HY of 9%, USD Loans of 11.3%, EUR HY of 4.3% and EUR loans of 7.1%. Indeed loans worry us more than high-yield bonds in 2023. We see USD loans returning -10.8% over FY'23 as defaults rise and CLO demand is impaired from future downgrades. In the near-term, European credit should continue to outperform US credit, as event risk in the region falls with spreads still wide to the US. Our bearishness gathers momentum later in 2023. Indeed, the major 2023 theme will be the likely US recession in H2. Whether this happens and how severe it is will make or break 2023. In some ways we feel that this has been a pretty easy US cycle to predict as it's been an old fashioned boom-and-bust cycle. Half the 66 economists who forecast the US economy on Bloomberg now predict at least two consecutive quarters of negative growth for 2023 (albeit mildly negative). Has there ever been such a large number predicting a recession from a starting point of not being in one? The worry we would have is that economists’ models seldom predict a recession. So if they now do, that speaks volumes. The risk is that if and when it arrives, it creates systemic risk from somewhere in the over-levered / illiquid financial system. Something normally breaks when the Fed hikes. So the main driver of 2023 view is the combination of still relatively high rates, a tough US recession, and what crisis that might subsequently trigger. If we’re wrong on the US recession call, or if it is mild and without systemic risk, then we will be wrong on our forecasts. We suspect most readers will hope we are. See the full report here. Hopefully this new report won't distract you from the World Cup. I've drawn Argentina and Poland in the office sweepstake which will distract me from England's likely stressful journey through the tournament, however long it lasts. The start of the World Cup coincides with Thanksgiving week so it will be the usual compressed few days of activity. The FOMC minutes (Wednesday) and the ECB's account of their last meeting (Thursday) will be the key macro events. Focus will likely be on their thinking about the terminal rate (both) and QT plans (ECB), with both now more likely to hike 50bps than 75bps in December. We will also see global flash PMIs on Wednesday. Other data will include an array of business activity indicators, including durable goods orders in the US. Indeed, Wednesday is a US data dump ahead of Thanksgiving and we will also see the final UoM consumer confidence data which includes the inflation expectations revision which is important. Claims also comes a day early. The Fed speakers last week helped prompt a big flattening of the US curve as they generally hinted towards a terminal rate of above 5%. As such before we see the FOMC minutes, tomorrow sees three Fed speakers who might add to the debate. They are all hawks (Mester, George and Bullard) though and have all spoken since the FOMC so the market should know their biases. Over the weekend, the Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic (non-voter) opined that he believes that the Fed can slow the pace of rate hikes and feels that the Fed's target policy rate need not rise more than 1 percentage point to tackle inflation and help ensure a soft landing. Boston Fed Collins also spoke but kept all options open. Lastly, with only around 20 S&P 500 firms left to report earnings this season, this week's results line-up will be tech-heavy and feature a number of large Chinese firms. These include Baidu (Tuesday), Xiaomi (Wednesday) and Meituan (Friday). In the US, we will hear from Zoom today and Analog Devices, Autodesk and HP tomorrow. Risk aversion has resurfaced across Asian equity markets this morning with fresh China COVID-19 fears after the nation witnessed its first Covid-related death in 6 months on Saturday with two more following on Sunday, sparking concerns that Beijing would reimpose strict Covid curbs even as they consider longer-term reopenings. As I type, the Hang Seng (-2.09%) is the largest underperformer with the Shanghai Composite (-0.81%), the CSI (-1.30%) and the KOSPI (-1.11%) all slipping. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.02%) has been wavering between gains and losses. In overnight trading, stock futures in the DMs are pointing to a weak start with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.29%), NASDAQ 100 (-0.24%) and the DAX (-0.37%) trading in the red. Meanwhile, yields on the 2 and 10yr USTs are -2.5bps and -4.1bps lower, respectively, with the curve now at -72.6bps, a fresh four decade low. Coming back to China, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) left its benchmark lending rates unchanged for the third straight month, maintaining its one-year loan prime rate (LPR) at 3.65%, while the five-year LPR (a reference for mortgages) was kept intact at 4.30%. With the authorities recently extending more support to property developers, the possibility of additional easing seems less likely from the central bank. In energy markets, oil prices are continuing their recent decline amid China demand concerns. Brent crude futures are down -1.02% at $86.73/bbl with WTI (-1.09%) just below $80/bbl. Reviewing last week now, US yields and equities sold off while European counterparts rallied, though the moves in equities in particular were small despite another week filled with macro news. Starting on rates, Fed Vice Chair Brainard kept to the company line in outlining a likely step down to +50bp hikes starting in December, but, unlike her colleagues, did not explicitly tie the slower pace with a higher terminal rate. Regional Fed Presidents were happy to take up that mantle, however, with St. Louis Fed President Bullard continuing to lead the vanguard. Indeed, Bullard noted that policy rates may even need to get as high as 7% to fight inflation, from just under 4% today. The Taylor Rule was invoked in that speech. That sent 2yr Treasury yields +19.2bps higher on the week (+7.2bps Friday). 10yr yields lagged, climbing +1.3bps (+5.9bps Friday), which drove the 2s10s curve to its most inverted of the cycle, ending the week at -70.6bps. While curves also flattened on this side of the Atlantic, Bunds and Gilts outperformed, where 10yr Bunds fell -14.6bps (-0.6bps Friday) and Gilts were -11.9bps (+3.7bps Friday) lower. Despite continued tech layoffs, fears of a material escalation in the war after the missiles landed in Poland (for which tensions were quickly eased), and tighter expected Fed policy, equities were subdued but resilient. Indeed, the S&P 500, which fell -0.69% over the week (+0.48% Friday), had its first weekly performance that did not exceed +1% in either direction since early August, while the STOXX 600 climbed +0.25% given the move lower in European discount rates. For a truly muted performance, we highlight the Dow Jones, which was -0.01% lower (+0.59% Friday). While aggregate indices put in a lacklustre shift, regional indices in Europe outperformed, with the DAX up +1.46% (+1.16% Friday) and the CAC +0.76% (+1.04% higher), and certain sectors underperformed in the US where the Nasdaq fell -1.57% (+0.01% Friday) and the Russell 2000 was -1.75% lower (+0.58% Friday). Elsewhere, Brent crude oil pulled back -8.72% (-2.41% Friday), which was its worst weekly return since early August, coincidentally also the last week that the S&P 500 had an absolute value return below 1%. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/21/2022 - 07:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 21st, 2022

There have only been 2 Black elected governors in US history, but the 2022 midterm elections could usher in unparalleled change

On Tuesday, voters could reshape the number of Black governors holding office in the US. But the journey in many ways remains difficult. From left to right: Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, and Iowa Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deidre DeJear.Steve Helber/AP Exchange, Kathy Willens/AP Exchange, Alex Brandon/AP Exchange, Charlie Neibergall/AP Exchange, Akili-Casundria Ramsess/AP Exchange There have only been two Black elected governors in US history, but that could change on Tuesday. Insider spoke with Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Maryland's Wes Moore about their bids. Black candidates often face questions about electability in the gubernatorial nomination process. When L. Douglas Wilder won the 1989 Virginia gubernatorial election, he had already shattered a major barrier four years earlier by becoming the state's first Black lieutenant governor.In the 1980s, Virginia's rapidly-growing suburbs were becoming major centers of power in the legislature, but the Commonwealth's rural heartland, filled with the sorts of conservative Democrats who once formed the backbone of the party, remained a critical part of Wilder's calculus for winning the highest office in state government.Wilder, who had catapulted into office as a state senator representing a Richmond-anchored district, knew he would have to appeal to as many voters as possible in his bid to be governor of a state whose capital city was formerly the seat of the Confederacy.With the victory, Wilder became the first Black elected governor in the United States, generations after P.B.S. Pinchback had briefly served as the acting governor of Louisiana from December 1872 to January 1873 during Reconstruction.Wilder left office at the end of his term in January 1994, but it wasn't until November 2006 that another state elected the second Black governor — Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.Recalling a conversation he had with Wilder, Patrick said, "Wilder told me probably my favorite introduction of all the time while I was in office. He said people brag about him as the first Black governor elected in America. He said being first doesn't mean a thing unless there's a second. I think it's such an important point."Patrick, who served in office from 2007 to 2015, told Insider the pipeline for Black candidates must be developed "more broadly than other elected officials," given the questions about electability faced by nominees in the past.In five states across the country, Black candidates are featured on the November ballot as major-party gubernatorial nominees — Stacey Abrams of Georgia; Wes Moore of Maryland; Deidre DeJear of Iowa; Yolanda Flowers of Alabama; and Chris Jones of Arkansas.On Tuesday, voters could reshape the number of Black governors holding office in the US. But the journey in many ways remains difficult.Then-Virginia Gov. Gerald Baliles, right, share the podium with then-Virginia Lt. Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, center, and then-Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, left, after the three were sworn in at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va., on January 11, 1986.AP Photo/Steve HelberA pipeline for Black candidatesOver the course of 40 years, there have been several Black candidates who aimed for governorships and came up short as general election candidates, including Tom Bradley — the first Black mayor of Los Angeles who narrowly lost to Republican George Deukmejian in the 1982 California gubernatorial election — and Abrams, a former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives who was narrowly edged out by now-GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia in the state's 2018 gubernatorial contest.There are other notable examples.Former US Rep. Cleo Fields, who in 1995 was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Louisiana, was defeated by GOP nominee Mike Foster by over 25 points.Republican Ken Blackwell sought the Ohio governorship in 2006 but lost decisively to then-Democratic US Rep. Ted Strickland.Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum came up short to now-GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in 2018. And that same year, former NAACP president Ben Jealous was unable to oust incumbent GOP Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.The number of Black governors currently sits at zero.Other Black candidates have also fallen short in their gubernatorial bids, having been stymied by infrastructural barriers within their respective parties — including the lack of robust fundraising — or the absence of compelling messages that would encourage voters to take a risk on them.Patrick — who served as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and was an assistant attorney general for the civil rights division in the Department of Justice before serving as governor — told Insider that his first race had an "insider-outsider dynamic" that helped him stand out among more established candidates."Most people were feeling that Beacon Hill was really about the neighborhood around Beacon Hill and not focused elsewhere," the former governor said, referring to the affluent area of Boston that is the nexus of state government. "So we ran a grassroots campaign for both practical and sort of philosophical reasons: Practical, because that was the only way an outsider was going to break in, and philosophical, because it was the only way I could think of to express an understanding that most people felt like outsiders needed to be invited to make a political future of their own."Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore speaks with supporters in Baltimore, Md., on September 6, 2022.AP Photo/Bryan Woolston'Is that the one that looks like me?'It used to be that virtually all Black lawmakers were relegated to highly-gerrymandered districts that often left them at a disadvantage when it came time to seek higher office; they often had little name identification and scant relationships with party brokers who helped candidates navigate tough primaries.However, this year, Black gubernatorial candidates weren't overly reliant on the party leadership to help them land the nominations in their respective states.Abrams, who is locked with Kemp in a rematch of their 2018 gubernatorial contest, has sought to appeal to the state's growing Gen Z and millennial populations — while also stumping for support in urban and suburban communities that allowed her to come within 55,000 votes of winning four years ago. And the former lawmaker's work for Fair Fight, the voting-rights organization widely credited with helping elect Democratic Georgia Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff last year, has endeared her to legions of grassroots activists.DeJear, Jones, and Flowers are running in states that have a decidedly Republican lean and Black populations that fall below 30 percent.Moore — a Johns Hopkins-educated Rhodes Scholar and Army veteran who as a first-time candidate defeated veteran state Comptroller Peter Franchot and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez in a Democratic primary — would be Maryland's first Black governor if he triumphs over GOP state Del. Dan Cox on Tuesday.During a conversation with Moore on his campaign bus last month, he told Insider he appreciated the significance of representation — as he would also be only the third Black governor since the country's founding if elected. Moore then told the story of a union leader who attended an event where he would be featured; the leader's grandson quickly recognized his name."He said to her, 'Is that the one that looks like me?' And she's like, 'Yeah, that's the one that looks like you.' Especially when you consider the history of this state, it's very humbling," Moore said."This is the state of Harriet Tubman. This is the state of Frederick Douglass. This is the state of Thurgood Marshall. This is the state of redlining. This is the state of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War," he continued.But Moore was also clear that he's not running for the sake of a historical milestone but to enact policies that will improve the lives of Marylanders."The making history is not lost on me, but that's not the assignment. At the end of the day, if that's what I accomplished, that's not enough," Moore told Insider. "If I can focus on things like making child poverty history — if I can do things like that, then I think I actually understood the assignment of why this moment mattered."Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.AP Photo/John Bazemore'It's about tomorrow and what you show people is possible'Larry Sabato — the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and a longtime expert on the state's political history — recounted to Insider that Wilder's campaigns for higher office in 1980s-era Virginia were met with pushback from some Democratic Party leaders."Particularly for lieutenant governor, they were convinced he was going to sink the ticket," he said of Wilder's 1985 statewide campaign alongside then-gubernatorial candidate Gerald Baliles and then-attorney general candidate Mary Sue Terry. "And they convinced me and a lot of other people that Virginia wasn't ready. Well, he proved otherwise."In the years since Wilder and Patrick served in office, Black candidates have made major strides in Congress, with lawmakers like Democratic Reps. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut and Joe Neguse of Colorado having been elected in districts without large minority populations. And there are now 58 current members of the Congressional Black Caucus.But Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University, told Insider that a House seat held by a Black politician generally has offered less mobility to jump to an open Senate seat."What could be a launchpad for white politicians has in many instances been a plateau for Black politicians. What's ended up happening for Black members of the House of Representatives is they peak politically at the House," she said. "They gain seniority if their party is in power; that usually puts them in a position, particularly if they're Democrats based on how Democrats tend to run the chamber."There are currently three Black senators serving in the upper chamber — Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Warnock. There have only been 11 Black senators in US history.Patrick told Insider there is "power in example.""It's not about us and it's not about now it's not about me. It's about tomorrow and what you show people is possible," Patrick said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 7th, 2022

Escobar: China"s Xi Gets Ready For The Final Countdown

Escobar: China's Xi Gets Ready For The Final Countdown Authored by Pepe Escobar, President Xi Jinping’s 1h45min speech at the opening of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing was an absorbing exercise of recent past informing near future. All of Asia and all of the Global South should carefully examine it. The Great Hall was lavishly adorned with bright red banners. A giant slogan hanging in the back of the hall read, “Long Live our great, glorious and correct party”. Another one, below, functioned like a summary of the whole report: “Hold high the great flag of socialism with Chinese characteristics, fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, carry forward the great founding spirit of the party, and unite and struggle to fully build a modern socialist country and to fully promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” True to tradition, the report outlined the CPC’s achievements over the past 5 years and China’s strategy for the next 5 – and beyond. Xi foresees “fierce storms” ahead, domestic and foreign. The report was equally significant for what was not spelled out, or left subtly implied. Every member of the CPC’s Central Committee had already been briefed about the report – and approved it. They will spend this week in Beijing studying the fine print and will vote to adopt it on Saturday. Then a new CPC Central Committee will be announced, and a new Politburo Standing Committee – the 7 that really rule – will be formally endorsed. This new leadership line-up will clarify the new generation faces that will be working very close to Xi, as well as who will succeed Li Keqiang as the new Prime Minister: he has finished his two terms and, according to the constitution, must step down. There are also 2,296 delegates present at the Great Hall representing the CPC’s over 96 million members. They are not mere spectators: at the plenary session that ended last week, they analyzed in-depth every major issue, and prepared for the National Congress. They do vote on party resolutions – even as those resolutions are decided by the top leadership, and behind closed doors. The key takeaways Xi contends that in these past 5 years the CPC strategically advanced China while “correctly” (Party terminology) responding to all foreign challenges. Particularly key achievements include poverty alleviation, the normalization of Hong Kong, and progress in diplomacy and national defense. It’s quite telling that Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was sitting in the second row, behind the current Standing Committee members, never took his eyes off Xi, while others were reading a copy of the report on their desk. Compared to the achievements, success of the Xi-ordered Zero-Covid policy remains highly debatable. Xi stressed that it has protected people’s lives. What he could not possibly say is that the premise of his policy is to treat Covid and its variants as a US bioweapon directed against China. That is, a serious matter of national security that trumps any other consideration, even the Chinese economy. Zero-Covid hit production and the job market extremely hard, and virtually isolated China from the outside world. Just a glaring example: Shanghai’s district governments are still planning for zero-Covid on a timescale of two years. Zero-Covid will not go away anytime soon. A serious consequence is that the Chinese economy will most certainly grow this year by less than 3% – well below the official target of “around 5,5%”. Now let’s look at some of the Xi report’s highlights. Taiwan: Beijing has started “a great struggle against separatism and foreign interference” on Taiwan. Hong Kong: It is now “administered by patriots, making it a better place.” In Hong Kong there was “a major transition from chaos to order.” Correct: the 2019 color revolution nearly destroyed a major global trade/finance center. Poverty alleviation: Xi hailed it as one of three “major events” of the past decade along with the CPC’s centenary and socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a “new era”. Poverty alleviation is the core of one of the CPC’s “two centenary goals.” Opening up: China has become “a major trading partner and a major destination for foreign investment.” That’s Xi refuting the notion that China has grown more autarchic. China will not engage in any kind of “expansionism” while opening up to the outside world. The basic state policy remains: economic globalization. But – he didn’t say it – “with Chinese characteristics”. “Self-revolution”: Xi introduced a new concept. “Self-revolution” will allow China to escape a historical cycle leading to a downturn. And “this ensures the party will never change.” So it’s the CPC or bust. Marxism: definitely remains as one of the fundamental guiding principles. Xi stressed, “We owe the success of our party and socialism with Chinese characteristics to Marxism and how China has managed to adapt it.” Risks: that was the speech’s recurrent theme. Risks will keep interfering with those crucial “two centenary goals”. Number one goal was reached last year, at the CPC’s 100th anniversary, when China reached the status of a “moderately prosperous society” in all respects (xiaokang, in Chinese). Number two goal should be reached at the centenary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049: to “build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.” Development: the focus will be on “high-quality development”, including resilience of supply chains and the “dual circulation” economic strategy: expansion of domestic demand in parallel to foreign investment (mostly centered on BRI projects). That will be China’s top priority. So in theory any reforms will privilege a combination of “socialist market economy” and high-level opening, mixing the creation of more domestic demand with supply-side structural reform. Translation: “Dual-circulation” on steroids. “Whole-process democracy”: that was the other new concept introduced by Xi. Translates as “democracy that works”, as in rejuvenating the Chinese nation under – what else – the CPC’s absolute leadership: “We need to ensure that people can exercise their powers through the People’s Congress system.” Socialist culture: Xi said it’s absolutely essential “to influence young people”. The CPC must exercise ideological control and make sure the media fosters a generation of young people “who are influenced by traditional culture, patriotism and socialism”, thus benefitting “social stability”. The “China story” must go everywhere, presenting a China that is “credible and respectable”. That certainly applies to Chinese diplomacy, even the “Wolf Warriors”. “Sinicise religion”: Beijing will continue its drive to “Sinicise religion”, as in “proactively” adapting “religion and the socialist society”. This campaign was introduced in 2015, meaning for instance that Islam and Christianity must be under CPC control and in line with Chinese culture. The Taiwan pledge Now we reach the themes that completely obsess the decaying Hegemon: the connection between China’s national interests and how they affect the civilization-state’s role in international relations. National security: “National security is the foundation of national rejuvenation, and social stability is a prerequisite of national strength.” The military: the PLA’s equipment, technology and strategic capability will be strengthened. It goes without saying that means total CPC control over the military. “One country, two systems”: It has proven to be “the best institutional mechanism for Hong Kong and Macau and must be adhered to in the long term”. Both “enjoy high autonomy” and are “administered by patriots.” Xi promised to better integrate both into national strategies. Taiwan reunification: Xi made a pledge to complete the reunification of China. Translation: return Taiwan to the motherland. That was met with a torrent of applause, leading to the key message, addressed simultaneously to the Chinese nation and “foreign interference” forces: “We will not renounce the use of force and will take all necessary measures to stop all separatist movements.” The bottom line: “The resolution of the Taiwan issue is a matter for the Chinese people themselves, to be decided by the Chinese people.” It’s also quite telling that Xi did not even mention Xinjiang by name: only by implication, when he stressed that China must strengthen the unity of all ethnic groups. Xinjiang for Xi and the leadership mean industrialization of the Far West and a crucial node in BRI: not the object of an imperial demonization campaign. They know that the CIA destabilization tactics used in Tibet for decades did not work in Xinjiang. Shelter from the storm Now let’s unpack some of the variables affecting the very tough years ahead for the CPC. When Xi mentioned “fierce storms ahead”, that’s what he thinks about 24/7: Xi is convinced the USSR collapsed because the Hegemon did everything to undermine it. He won’t allow a similar process to derail China. In the short term, the “storm” may refer to the latest round of the no holds barred American war on Chinese technology – not to mention free trade: cutting China off from buying or manufacturing chips and components for supercomputers. It’s fair to consider Beijing keeps the focus long-term, betting that most of the world, especially the Global South, will move away from the US high tech supply chain and prefer the Chinese market. As the Chinese increasingly become self sufficient, US tech firms will end up losing world markets, economies of scale, and competitiveness. Xi also did not mention the US by name. Everyone in the leadership – especially the new Politburo – is aware of how Washington wants to “decouple” from China in every possible way and will continue to provocatively deploy every possible strand of hybrid war. Xi did not enter into details during his speech, but it’s clear the driving force going forward will be technological innovation linked to a global vision. That’s where BRI comes in, again – as the privileged field of application for these tech breakthroughs. Only this way we can understand how Zhu Guangyao, a former vice minister of finance, may be sure that per capita GDP in China in 2035 would at least double the numbers in 2019 and reach $20,000. The challenge for Xi and the new Politburo right away is to fix China’s structural economic imbalance. And pumping up debt-financed “investment” all over again won’t work. So bets can be made that Xi’s third term – to be confirmed later this week – will have to concentrate on rigorous planning and monitoring of implementation, much more than during his previous bold, ambitious, abrasive but sometimes disconnected years. The Politburo will have to pay way more attention to technical considerations. Xi will have to delegate more serious policymaking autonomy to a bunch of competent technocrats. Otherwise, we will be back to that startling observation by then Premier Wen Jiabao in 2007: China’s economy is “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable”. That’s exactly where the Hegemon wants it to be. As it stands, things are far from gloomy. The National Development and Reform Commission states that compared to the rest of the world, China’s consumer inflation is only “marginal”; the job market is steady; and international payments are stable. Xi’s work report and pledges may also be seen as turning the usual Anglo-American geopolitical suspects – Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman, Brzezinski – upside down. The China-Russia strategic partnership has no time to lose with global hegemonic games; what drives them is that sooner rather than later they will be ruling the Heartland – the world island – and beyond, with allies from the Rimland, and from Africa to Latin America, all participating in a new form of globalization. Certainly with Chinese characteristics; but most of all, pan-Eurasian characteristics. The final countdown is already on. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/20/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 21st, 2022

Applications have opened for a huge new guaranteed income pilot in Illinois which officials say is the biggest scheme of its kind

The $42 million pilot will give $500 a month to 3,250 households in Cook County for two years with no strings attached. To be eligible, applicants must have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.Jacob Fergus/Getty Images Applications have opened for a $42 million guaranteed-income pilot in Cook County, Illinois. 3,250 households will be given $500 per month for two years with no strings attached. County officials say it's the biggest publicly-funded guaranteed income pilot. Applications have opened for a $42 million guaranteed income pilot in Illinois, where 3,250 households will be given $500 per month for two years.The project will provide the "no-strings-attached" payments to residents of Cook County, the US' second-biggest county by population. The county, which includes much of Chicago, has more than five million residents. Toni Preckwinkle, president of the county's board of commissioners, said the scheme is the "largest publicly-funded guaranteed income pilot in American history." It aims to improve the health and financial wellbeing of the participants and will also be used to gather data on the impacts of such projects.A bellwether universal basic income scheme in Stockton, California found that after a year of receiving $500 a month, full-time employment among participants had increased while depression and anxiety had decreased."We are confident that by directly investing in our residents — by giving poor folks what they need most, cash — we will have meaningful impact on our communities and create lasting change here in Cook County," Preckwinkle said on Twitter.The unemployment rate in Illinois is 4.5%, compared to the national average of 3.7%.To be eligible, residents have to be aged 18 or older and have a household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level, unlike universal basic income schemes which are open to everyone regardless of income.This is $33,975 for a one-person household, rising by $11,800 per additional person. Applicants won't be asked to verify their citizenship or immigration status.County officials estimate that 36% of all county residents are eligible for the pilot. Residents can't take part if they're already getting payments from another guaranteed income pilot. The City of Chicago is currently operating a pilot where 5,000 participants get $500 per month for a year, while the City of Evanston is launching a pilot for 150 residents.Applications opened on Thursday and will close on October 21, after which 3,250 eligible applicants will be randomly selected to take part. Most participants will get their first payments in December, with the remainder receiving theirs by the end of January."We anticipate that there will be many more residents who apply than we are able to serve," the county says on a webpage for the pilot.More than 180,000 people applied for Los Angeles County's universal basic income scheme, which will give $1,000 a month to 1,000 residents for three years.Participants can spend their money "however they see fit to meet their needs," and won't be taxed on the monthly payments because they'll be classed as tax-exempt charitable gifts, the county says."Our promise to Cook County residents is to make this program permanent in the years to come," Preckwinkle said.The $42 million project is being funded by President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed into law in March 2021.The concept of a guaranteed level of income, often in the form of a universal basic income (UBI), dates back to at least the 16th century and has since attracted support from people ranging from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Andrew Yang to Elon Musk.Though calls for a guaranteed income were already growing, pandemic has acted as a major catalyst by exacerbating and exposing huge income inequalities."We knew providing a stable income was important pre-pandemic, but post-pandemic it is a lifeline for Stockton families," Natalie Foster, cofounder of the Economic Security Project, previously wrote for Insider.Stockton's mayor has launched a coalition of dozens of US mayors working to push support for the schemes, and cities including Cambridge, Massachusetts, Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia have all launched pilot programs.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 7th, 2022

2022-2030: Transformation Or Stagnation?

2022-2030: Transformation Or Stagnation? Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Some decades are easy and expansive, others are painful but necessary to lay the foundations for future progress. Many people reject the idea of historical cycles due to their imprecision. I understand the appeal of this objection, but it is nonetheless striking that transformative decades tend to manifest in cycles rather than evenly over time. Compare the decades of the past 70 years: 1952 to the present. How different was the culture and economy of the U.S. between 1952 and 1959? While there was progress in civil rights and prosperity, the zeitgeist (the look, feel, values, expectations, beliefs, outlook, mood, etc.) of 1959 was not much different from that of 1952: clothing, films, the Cold War, segregation, etc. were identifiably in the same era. Elvis, Chuck Berry, et al. enlivened popular music, but the overall impact of rock/R&B was limited to entertainment and youth culture. Now compare the zeitgeist of 1962 and that of 1969. The zeitgeist of 1969 was nothing like the zeitgeist of 1962. It wasn't just clothing and music that changed; the values, expectations, beliefs, outlook, mood, and the political, social and economic structures had been transformed in ways that reverberated for decades to come. The 1960s were not just tumultuous; the decade was transformative. The civil rights, feminist and environmental movements changed laws, values, culture, politics, society and the economy. Economically, the stagflation of the 1970s was a consequence of changes that occurred in the 1960s, much of it beneath the surface. In 1969, the popular music from fifty years before (1919) might as well have been the music of a previous century. Yet here in 2022 the music of the late 1960s and early 1970s is still listened to, purchased and influential today, 50+ years later. Cycles are often the result of the interconnecting forces of wars, economic turmoil, energy/food scarcities and large-scale economic and social forces: the transition from wood to coal, for example, or the mass immigration generated by crop failures and poverty. The 1920s is another example of a decade of rapid transformation that laid the groundwork for the Great Depression of the 1930s. New freedoms of personal expression made the 1920s different in look and feel from the immediate post-World War I era of 1919-1920. The 1870s was another decade that transformed economies and societies globally. The investment boom in railroads following the end of the American Civil War, the reparations imposed on France after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the end of silver coinage in the U.S., a speculative stock market boom in Europe that crashed in the Panic of 1873--all these dynamics reinforced each other, leading to a global depression that by some accounts lasted into the 1890s. Yet despite the failure of railroads and banks and widespread unemployment and suffering, the Second Industrial Revolution continued transforming economies as coal, iron, steel, manufacturing, transport and urbanization all changed the underpinnings of global economies. The western powers' industrial expansion drove colonization and reactions to colonization such as the Meiji Restoration of 1868 transformed Japan. We can of course detect change in every decade of human history, but Lenin's famous exaggeration ("There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen") speaks to the way various dynamics build up beneath the surface, interact with other forces and then burst forth. Could the world of 2030 look and feel completely different from the world of 2022, which is still coasting on the excesses of the waste is growth Landfill Economy of extreme financialization and globalization? My guess is yes. Previous cycles emerged from financial excesses of either expansion or contraction, the aftermaths of wars, deep economic changes as energy sources expand (shifts from wood to coal and then to oil) or contract (forests depleted) and climate change (the "years without summer" in the 1630s, etc.). Though many believe the next energy expansion is starting (fusion or other nuclear power, solar/wind), the practicalities of physics, resource depletion and cost provide little support for these projections. For example, the U.S. would need to build hundreds of nuclear reactors in the next 20 years to make a dent in hydrocarbon consumption, yet only two reactors have been built in the past 25 years. There is no evidence that the resources, material and financial, and the political will required to build 500 reactors in the next 20 years are available. If a massive quantity of wind and solar power is installed over the next 20 years, all the systems that are 20 years old will need to be replaced because they're worn out. These aren't renewable, they're replaceable. Thus we face an energy contraction at the same time as the extremes of financialization and globalization that have driven expansion unravel. This unraveling won't be linear, i.e. gradual and predictable. It will be non-linear and unpredictable, with apparently modest changes collapsing supply chains and speculative excesses. Extremes of inequality and repression act as pendulums. Once they reach the maximum endpoint of momentum, they reverse and trace a line to the opposite extreme, minus a bit of friction. Many of these dynamics are already visible. What's not yet visible is the rapid acceleration and mutual reinforcement of these dynamics. Eras of expansion may be liberating and fun, but there is no guarantee that the liberation and fun will be evenly distributed. Eras of contraction are rarely fun, and the misery is widely distributed. Whether we like it or not, the era of the waste is growth Landfill Economy is ending in what promises to be a non-linear process. But that doesn't mean the eventual result won't be positive. Tumultuous transformations can set the stage for more widely distributed prosperity and liberation. Some decades are easy and expansive, others are painful but necessary to lay the foundations for future progress. Which will 2022-2030 be? Stay tuned. The music of the late 1960s was remarkably different from the music of 1962--not to mention 1952 or the popular music of fifty years earlier in 1919. An essay on this topic was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and free website. *  *  * My new book is now available at a 10% discount this month: When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/25/2022 - 10:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2022

Trump barely mentioned at conservative Florida conference featuring other top GOP stars who are trying to map out the future of the American right

Republicans are split over whether to make promises to voters or simply bash Democrats. Former President Donald Trump rides around his golf course at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, on Monday, September 12, 2022.Alex Brandon/AP Photo A conservative conference near Miami was focused on the future of the American right. Trump was scarcely mentioned as he huddled at his golf club in Virginia.  There's an open question over whether another Republican can capture Trump's movement. AVENTURA, Fl. — Republicans are working to harness the populist movement Donald Trump started under his Make America Great Again campaign. Missing from it, though, is the ex-president.  At the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, top Republicans who headlined the third annual National Conservatism Conference made just a few isolated nods to Trump. Instead, the GOP leaders spent Sunday to Tuesday painting a picture of the post-Trump American right, one Trump himself inspired.Most attendees came to see Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who touted his actions in Florida as a roadmap for the party. During an hourlong keynote on Sunday night, he also embraced a Trump-like posture of doubling down in the face of opposition.The gathering happened at a time when congressional Republicans are split over whether to make promises to voters heading into the 2022 midterms.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will unveil a "Commitment to America" next week, according to Axios, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't planning to offer a GOP policy agenda. NatCon was unapologetically a place to explore policy and map out the future. The conference promotes a nationalist brand of conservatism and is a project of the Edmund Burke Foundation, a conservative public affairs institute.The tenets have a lot of ties to the movement Trump started. Attendees support free enterprise and limited immigration, and reject globalism, according to a statement of principles provided to conference attendees.They also support policies that promote traditional nuclear families that include opposite-sex couples and children, as well as the belief that "public life should be rooted in Christianity." In contrast, Trump is not a churchgoer and was a thrice-wed politician who supported same-sex marriage — though he also advanced anti-LGBTQ rights policies as president.NatCon's consensus, kicked off first in a speech by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, was that Republicans need a plan for how they'll govern. It's a point that Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has been trying to make for a months."If the Republicans return to Washington business as usual, if we have no better plan than to be a speed bump on the continued road to socialism, we don't deserve to govern," Scott said in his Sunday evening speech promoting a "12-point Plan to Rescue America" that McConnell hasn't embraced for the party. Scott wasn't alone in calling for a clear governing philosophy. Fellow Floridian Sen. Marco Rubio said during his speech that he hoped the Senate would do more introspection about policymaking, adding that it's not enough to compare themselves to Democrats. "We have to outline a vision of the future that captures the hopes and dreams of everyday people and also paints a picture of the kind of future that made America unique and special," Rubio said. Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 26, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesTrump huddled in Virginia NatCon isn't like the massive Conservative Political Action Conference held in Orlando, Florida, this year, where attendees sported sparkly Trump shirts and hats, eager to hear from the former president himself. The latest conservative gathering was just 4.3 miles north of a trio of Trump's eponymous residential skyscrapers towering over Sunny Isles Beach. And there was not a single MAGA hat in sight at the Marriott. NatCon is a more low-key event that's heavy on policy, and is an opportunity for GOP headliners to fundraise. It features leaders from conservative think tanks and media organizations, and college students are among the attendees. In making the case for why they thought it was necessary for Republicans to paint a vision of their priorities, speakers painted a dark picture of the Democratic Party, and of the US. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri spoke about liberal Democrats' "efforts to unmake history" in a speech that heavily focused on Christian values and stories from the Bible. Rubio called Democrats an "out of touch elite" engaged in "Marxism." Scott called the "militant left-wing" the "enemy within," saying the "woke" controlled numerous areas of American life. "We are meeting at a time of great peril for America and also, we just hope, significant opportunity for recovery," Christopher DeMuth, chairman of the conference, wrote in a letter to attendees enclosed with the conference program. The speeches hearkened back to Trump's "American carnage" picture of America, delivered on the steps of the Capitol during his 2017 inauguration. In his address, Trump pointed to abandoned factories, crime, and poverty, pledging to bring about change and saying: "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."As for Trump, he wasn't one of the speakers at this week's event, but instead was at his golf club in Virginia just outside Washington, DC. Trump was photographed huddling with his son Eric and a few other men soon after the Justice Department subpoenaed 40 people close to the former president. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, delivered the keynote speech at the National Conservatism Conference in Aventura, Florida, on September 11, 2022.Courtesy of The Edmund Burke FoundationRepublicans bash Mar-a-Lago searchNumerous signs show Trump still has a hold on the party, and developments about his life and legal troubles continue to dominate national headlines. The conventional wisdom is that Trump would secure the 2024 GOP nomination if he were to run again.A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released Monday found Trump has the highest favorability among political figures, both Democratic and Republican. If the 2024 presidential election were to be held today, Trump would defeat President Joe Biden, the poll projected — yet it also found a majority of voters think neither man should run.  Trump's grip on the party did surface in a few instances at NatCon. Scott made the largest overtures to Trump by expressing outrage over the FBI's Mar-a-Lago raid before kicking off his formal remarks. Hawley, too, said the raid was a sign Democrats were "not afraid to use power." The Missouri senator was also the first to announce he would challenge states' election results on January 6, 2021, the day a violent mob of Trump supporters breached and ransacked the Capitol. At another point in his speech, Scott said the US needed to finish building the "damn wall" bordering the US and Mexico, and said it should be named after Trump. In the same vein, DeSantis slammed Biden for reversing Trump's border policies and cities that oppose or refuse to fully comply with federal immigration authorities of doing so to "virtue signal" against Trump. NatCon's Republican headliners are among a growing list of candidates who appear to be exploring the possibility of running for president in 2024. Others include former Vice President Mike Pence, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.The lineup suggests a wait-and-see approach. Trump is dealing with considerable legal and political problems, from scrutiny of his activities during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, to a DOJ investigation into whether he improperly took classified materials to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Other factors, such as age, health, or an unforeseen matter, could make room for an alternative GOP ascendant. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 13th, 2022

Inside the over 30-year friendship of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who didn"t even want to meet and now have each other on speed dial

Gates and Buffett didn't have any interest in meeting back in 1991. But they couldn't help taking a liking to each other and becoming best buds. Both Gates and Buffett credit their tremendous success to their laser focus.Nati Harnik/AP Images Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have been best friends for over 30 years. Initially, they weren't interested in meeting each other — but they hit it off right away. They've partnered on political and philanthropic ventures, and mentored each other along the way. Warren Buffett turned 92 on August 30th. Bill Gates marked the occasion by sharing a series of pictures of the two of them together. The photos highlighted a 32-year bromance between the two billionaires.Rick Wilking/Reuters"Life is more fun when you have a friend like Warren," Gates tweeted on Tuesday.—Bill Gates (@BillGates) August 30, 2022Gates, 66, is the fifth-richest person in the world. He's the former CEO of Microsoft and the cofounder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.Bill Gates speaking at an event in Washington, 2014.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergBuffett, 92, is the seventh-richest person in the world. He's a legendary investor and the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.Warren Buffett speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC.Paul Morigi/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergGates' and Buffett's friendship dates back to July 5, 1991. Gates' mother, Mary, had invited the late Meg Greenfield, a Washington Post editor, to her home. Greenfield was to bring her friend Buffett with her.AP PhotoSource: Fortune, Business InsiderMary Gates pressed her son to join them — he didn't want to take the day off work. "What were he and I supposed to talk about, P/E ratios?" Gates later wrote. The only reason he decided to come was because Greenfield was also bringing the late Post publisher Katharine Graham and he was interested in the Post's history.Katharine Graham.APSource: Fortune, Business InsiderBuffett didn't particularly want to meet Gates, either. "While we're driving down there, I said, 'What the hell are we going to spend all day doing with these people? How long do we have to stay to be polite?" Buffett remembered years later.DATE IMPORTED:July 31, 1995Investor Warren Buffett answers reporters' questions during a press conference to announce that Walt Disney will buy Capital Cities/ABC July 31.Mark Cardwell/ReutersSource: Business Insider, The SnowballTo the surprise of both men, they hit it off. Gates recalls being impressed by the questions Buffett asked him, like, "If you were building IBM from scratch, how would it look different?" And Gates told Buffett to buy stock in Intel and Microsoft. It was the beginning of a deep friendship and a mutual mentorship.Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates (R) shares a laugh with Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway during a news conference at the seventh annual CEO summit held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington May 21, 2003.Jeff Christensen/ReutersSource: Fortune, Business InsiderBuffett has attended multiple Microsoft events, but he's never served on the company's board or invested the tech company. In 2018, he said it would be a conflict of interest due to their close friendship.Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, right, and Microsoft Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, left, at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Thursday, July 12, 2012.AP Photo/Paul SakumaSource: InsiderThough, Gates joined Berkshire Hathaway's board in 2004 after Buffett's first wife died.Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, right, listens to Microsoft founder and Berkshire board member Bill Gates during an interview with Liz Claman of the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Neb., Monday, May 7, 2012.AP Photo/Nati HarnikSource: Seattle TimesShortly after they first met, Gates asked Buffett for his favorite business book recommendation. Buffett lent Gates his copy of "Business Adventures" by John Brooks. Today, it's Gates' favorite business book, too — and he still has Buffett's copy.Ramin Talaie/Getty; AmazonSource: The Wall Street JournalBoth credit their tremendous success to their laser focus. Gates has written that he's learned from Buffett how to manage his time by prioritizing certain people and tasks.Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, right, and Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and director at Berkshire Hathaway, sit together during an interview by Liz Claman of the Fox Business Network in Omaha, Neb., Monday, May 8, 2017.Nati Harnik/AP ImagesSource: LinkedIn, LinkedInThey've often joined forces for political and philanthropic causes. In 2010, Gates and Buffett, along with Gates' then-wife, Melinda, started The Giving Pledge. Billionaires who sign up commit to giving away more than half their wealth. To date about $600 billion had been pledged.Seth Wenig/AP ImagesSource: The Giving PledgeGates also credits Buffett with inspiring him to found the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.Bill and Melinda Gates smile at each other during an interview in Kirkland, Washington on Feb. 1, 2019.Elaine Thompson/The Associated PressIn fact, Buffett contributes part of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation every year. In July, he donated $4 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stocks to the Gates Foundation and four other charities.Both Gates and Buffett credit their tremendous success to their laser focus.Nati Harnik/AP ImagesSource: CNBCGates said Buffett's generosity moved him to tears. The 92-year-old has donated about $36 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the foundation since 2006.Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, in an interview on May 5, 2015Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images"I'm grateful for Warren's gifts to support the foundation's work and for our many years of friendship," Gates tweeted in July. "When he decided in 2006 to make these gifts, it moved me to tears. It still does."—Bill Gates (@BillGates) June 14, 2022 In 2014, Gates and Buffett, along with Sheldon Adelson, published a New York Times op-ed pushing for immigration reform.GettySource: New York TimesDuring the coronavirus pandemic, Buffett called Gates his "science advisor." In February 2020, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $100 million to fight the pandemic.GettySource: Business Insider, CNBC In July 2020, Gates told Yahoo's Andy Serwer, "Warren and [Gates] are talking on a more regular basis than ever" about the economy and businesses during the pandemic. The same week, Buffett told Serwer that they schedule a weekly hour-long call but they usually exceed that time limit.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: Yahoo FinanceThat same year, Gates resigned from his roles at Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft. The billionaire said he made the move "to dedicate more time to philanthropic priorities."Bill Gates, Azim Premji , Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet during a press conference in New Delhi, Thursday, March 24, 2011.Photo by Qamar Sibtain/The India Today Group via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderIn 2021, Gates and his wife divorced. Meanwhile, Buffett resigned from the three-person board at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals," Buffett said at the time.Bill and Melinda Gates are seen in Paris, France.Frederic Stevens/GettySource: BloombergThe friends not only have a long history, but they also have some unusual pastimes. For example they have participated in the newspaper-tossing challenge at the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting. The popular tradition is a nod to a gig Buffett as a teenager delivering Washington Post newspapers.REUTERS/Rick WilkingSource: Business Insider, CNBCThe two have also been known to play bridge together since they first met in the 90s.Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, right, plays bridge with Microsoft co-founder and director with Berkshire Hathaway Bill Gates outside the company-owned Borsheims jewelry store in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 7, 2017, as the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting comes to an end.AP Photo/Nati HarnikSource: The Wall Street Journal They've also been spotted together at many different types of sporting venues, from equestrian cups to NBA matchups.Bill Gates, right, and Warren Buffett talk during a break in the FEI World Cup equestrian jumping grand prix in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, April 1, 2017. Jennifer Gates, daughter of Bill Gates, is one of the contestants.AP Photo/Nati HarnikSource: The Wall Street JournalIn 2017 they learned that they like trying out mattresses together.The Gates Notes, LLCSource: Business InsiderGates has said Buffett's number is one of just two he had on speed dial at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His home phone occupied the other spot.Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (R) talks to Microsoft founder Bill Gates as they play Bridge during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. May 7, 2017.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: GatesNotesThe friendship has made a big impact on both men. In 2016 Gates wrote that "Warren has helped us [Bill and Melinda] do two things that are impossible to overdo in one lifetime: learn more and laugh more."Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett (L) gestures before a table tennis game with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in Omaha May 5, 2013 the day after the company's annual meeting.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: GatesNotesIn a August 2020 blog post dedicated to Buffett's 90th birthday, Gates wrote that Buffett has "a phenomenal eye for talent" and "works incredibly hard" while leaving room for life outside the board room. "Of all the things I've learned from Warren, the most important thing might be what friendship is all about," he added.Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesSource: GatesNotesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 4th, 2022

Leaked Email Shows NYC Struggling To Cope With "Drastic Influx" Of Illegal Aliens Amid Border Crisis

Leaked Email Shows NYC Struggling To Cope With 'Drastic Influx' Of Illegal Aliens Amid Border Crisis Authored by Michael Washburn via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), An email recently sent from New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) to all names on its distribution list, and obtained by The Epoch Times, urged all staff who can work overtime to do so, to deal with a “drastic influx of asylum seekers” in Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Mayor Eric Adams speaks at ribbon-cutting ceremony for Radio Hotel in New York City on July 25, 2022. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times) The internal request came about a week after the city’s Mayor Eric Adams described the growing stream of illegal aliens coming into the Big Apple as a “real burden on New Yorkers,” adding that the city already had “an overburdened shelter system.” Dated July 28, the email stated: “Dear DSS/HRA Leadership and Staff, In recent weeks, we have seen a drastic influx of asylum seekers coming to our shelter intake sites. As a result, DHS is standing up several emergency shelters to ensure we have the capacity for these individuals.” The Department of Social Services (DSS) is charged with administering public assistance programs in the city, and is composed of the HRA and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The email showed urgent internal efforts by social services agencies to grapple with the surge in illegal aliens arriving in New York City amid an ongoing border crisis that is vexing the Biden administration. It continues with a plea for staff of the agency to commit to working overtime in order to help deal with the massive influx. “While we implement a longer term solution, there is a critical immediate need for Agency staff members to volunteer to work overtime to help manage these sites. Eligible employees who volunteer for this opportunity may earn cash overtime in accordance with contractual guidelines,” it stated. “If you have availability to assist outside of your regularly scheduled hours, please speak with your supervisor to confirm and then enter your information via the link below. Participation is subject to final approval by Agency senior staff,” the email continued. On July 29, the day after the email, the HSA and DSS declared an emergency, noting in a letter (pdf) to Comptroller Brad Lander and the city’s top lawyer Sylvia Hinds-Radix that as of July 28, some 4,000 asylum seekers had entered New York’s shelter system in the past three months, driving up the DHS census by roughly 10 percent. A homeless person sleeps along Wall Street on April 28, 2022 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Influx For some experts and advocates, the developments suggest that not even recent public statements by Adams, in which the mayor acknowledged the problems resulting from the huge influx of asylum seekers south of the border, have provided a full and accurate measure of the strain that local authorities are experiencing. On July 19, the mayor’s office issued a plea for federal help, issuing a statement that read: “New York has experienced a sharp increase in asylum seekers from Latin America and other regions, with more than 2,800 individuals entering New York City’s shelter system.” “In some instances, families are arriving on buses sent by the Texas and Arizona governments, while in other cases, it appears that individuals are being sent by the federal government,” Adams said in the statement. The mayor then issued an urgent plea: “In order to meet both the legal mandate as a right-to-shelter city and provide high-quality shelter and services for those who enter our system, New York City needs additional federal resources immediately. If we do not get these urgently needed resources, we may struggle to provide the proper level of support our clients deserve.” Mayor Eric Adams speaking on the New York homeless situation at City Hall on July 19, 2022 (Epoch Times/David Wagner) Criticism Adam’s response has not satisfied some local advocacy and social services organizations, who have sharply criticized the mayor for what they characterize as his lack of preparedness and for trying to deflect blame for the situation to the federal level. The Legal Aid Society and the Coalition for the Homeless released a joint statement on July 21 addressing what they called Adams’s “misleading and problematic comments” on the surge. “The Mayor isn’t speaking the whole truth. We spoke to eight families with children this morning who slept on the floor last night at the City’s shelter intake center in the Bronx, in addition to the four families the Mayor acknowledged who had slept there Sunday night. This humanitarian crisis shows no sign of abating anytime soon regardless of how many press conferences the Mayor holds to conceal this reality.” The mayor and his officials knew what was brewing on the southern border and could have taken action months ago to avert the crisis, the advocates alleged. “As City officials just acknowledged, they have known about this influx of families, a portion attributable to those seeking asylum, for months. But, despite this knowledge, the Administration still lacks a plan to ensure safe shelter placement, and officials failed to detail any specifics for a viable path forward at today’s press conference, opting instead to heap praise on each other,” the statement continued. “The City is also failing to use its resources to move people into permanent housing,” it added. Conflicting Priorities Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute think tank who studies the homelessness issue, told the Epoch Times that the Adams administration has struggled to fulfill the terms of the right-to-shelter mandate in the midst of the unexpected arrivals. Read more here... Tyler Durden Wed, 08/03/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 3rd, 2022

How Democrats who aren"t named Joe Biden are running for president — without running for president

Democratic politicians have made moves that suggest they're keeping their options open about running for president — just in case Biden decides not to run. President Joe Biden motions while boarding Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport after attending the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles on June 11, 2022.AP Photo/Evan Vucci Joe Biden plans to seek reelection in 2024, even though voters are souring on him. Democrats aren't expected to primary Biden, but questions linger about a backup plan. Would-be candidates have been seeking the national spotlight.  President Joe Biden has been clear that he plans to run for a second term in 2024. His political team is even getting ready for a spring reelection announcement, according to the Washington Post. But that hasn't stopped the "will he really?" chatter, particularly after a New York Times poll found that 61% of Democrats said they hoped someone other than Biden would be their nominee in 2024, largely because of his age and job performance.Democratic insiders are questioning whether Biden, 79, can mount a vigorous campaign in 2024 — especially if former President Donald Trump decides to run again.Despite the doubts, Biden is not expected to face a primary challenge given that it would would alienate other people in the party as well as the donor class, said Mark Jones, Rice University political science professor and Baker Institute fellow. "The norm is that you do not challenge a sitting president from your party," Jones said. "That's a major political faux pas. It either isn't done, or if it is done it's done more for political ambition — not to actually win, but to put the spotlight on yourself for other reasons." A key factor helping Biden's staying power is Trump. The New York Times poll found that Biden would be favored to win in another contest against Trump. "The belief is Biden beat Trump before, he can beat him again," Jones said. If a Democrat were to try to primary Biden — and weaken him in the process — then that person would be blamed if a Republican, even Trump, were to win in 2024. But none of these factors rule out politicians' making under-the-radar moves. If Biden somehow reverses his plans, that'll mean the party will need to find a backup. Some ways that candidates begin to test the field through "invisible primaries" are by campaigning for other Democrats to build loyalty, particularly in swing districts. They also may appear at events in potential early voting states and offer noncommittal responses about whether they'll support Biden in 2024, said Shawn Donahue, a University at Buffalo assistant professor of political science.  Other ways are through grabbing headlines through weighing in on national debates, holding leadership roles in the party, and raising huge sums particularly from out-of-staters. In the case of governors interested in the White House, they'll need to crush the opposition if they're up for reelection this year, in November. "There will be a host of people who want to be waiting in the wings so the moment Biden says he's not running they can sort of jump in," Jones said. Even if Biden doesn't change his mind, 2028 isn't much further off. Here are 15 politicians who are taking actions or gaining interest that might position them for a 2024 White House run if Biden changes his mind: Vice President Kamala HarrisVice President Kamala Harris previously was a US senator representing California, and before that, was California's attorney general.Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesHarris, 57, is the standard-bearer for Democrats if Biden bows out of a 2024 contest. Should Harris win, she would become the first woman and first woman of color to become president. Any Democrats running against Biden, or against Harris, would be perceived as trying to jump ahead of a historic nominee. "It's the rare person that's going to defect on Biden, because if you do that, you're also defecting on Kamala Harris," Jones said. "You're alienating the president of the US and a substantial coalition in the Democratic party: Women and people of color." Harris has leaned into the abortion fight ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. She also headlined a Democratic fundraiser in South Carolina in June. On top of that, Harris has the blessing of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement is key for South Carolina."Right now, I'm for Biden, and second, I'm for Harris," Clyburn told The Wall Street Journal in June. There's also a recent positive data point for a Harris-led ticket. If the Republican nominee is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who's gaining ground on Trump in polls — then Harris has the edge in winning, according to a Harvard-CAPS Harris poll conducted in March. After herself running for president during Election 2020 but withdrawing before the primaries began, Harris has said she expects to run in 2024 — as Biden's running mate. Still, her approval ratings have been lower than Biden's and she has faced criticism, including from Republicans, after media interviews. The White House also handed Harris a contentious set of policy issues that included immigration policy, police reform, and voting rights. Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegTransportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.Patrick Semansky/AP PhotoBesides Harris, Buttigieg, 40, is the only other Democratic presidential candidate who unsuccessfully ran in the 2020 primary but landed a job in Biden's administration.And serving as Department of Transportation secretary has given Buttigieg loads of visibility with the public — he travels all over the US and holds the purse strings for $500 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, and railways as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package Biden signed into law.Buttigieg frequently participates in national and local media interviews, where he has impressed insiders with his handling of difficult questions. All of his work provides solid groundwork for another future White House run. "He has the advantage that he's doing all that on Biden's behalf," Jones said. "He can essentially have his cake and eat it too, because he can be seen as serving Biden until the day Biden isn't running anymore." Insider reported in October 2021 that Buttigieg's donors from his 2020 presidential bid would like to see him run in 2024. Still, Buttigieg, the first openly gay cabinet secretary to be Senate-confirmed, is relatively inexperienced compared to other potential Democratic candidates.California Gov. Gavin NewsomCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom previously was mayor of San Francisco.Rich Pedroncelli/APNewsom, 54, told the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in May that he had "sub-zero interest" in running for president, and in DC on Wednesday, he told reporters he supported Biden in 2024. At the same time, Newsom, a progressive, has taken several actions that raise his national profile. He has been a leading national voice bashing conservative Republicans, particularly on guns, abortion, and LGBTQ rights. He even called out his own party on abortion. "Why aren't we standing up more firmly, more resolutely?" he said after the Supreme Court struck down Roe. More 2024 speculation rose after his campaign took the unusual move of airing an ad in Florida attacking DeSantis. Back in 2021, he'd gone on "The Late Late Show" with James Corden to attack DeSantis on his coronavirus policies.All of this raises questions about whether he someday expects to face off against DeSantis for the White House. But Newsom also has liabilities, including attending a private dinner at the exclusive restaurant, The French Laundry, even as he discouraged Californians from getting together during the coronavirus pandemic. Curiously, Newsom was once married to attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is now engaged to Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.Newsom survived a recall in September and is expected to get reelected in November. Illinois Gov. J.B. PritzkerIllinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is a billionaire and heir of the Hyatt Hotels fortune.John O'Connor, File/AP PhotoPritzker, 57, stoked presidential chatter after delivering vociferous speeches, one in support of abortion rights and another in the wake of the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. The speeches gained national coverage given that many Democrats saw the governor delivering the type of passion they believe is necessary for the party heading into the midterms and then into 2024. Pritzker also visited New Hampshire — the first presidential primary state — in June for the state's Democratic primary convention and has donated to other Democratic candidates. He'll be the keynote speaker at a July gala for Florida Democrats in Tampa. That'll put him right in DeSantis' home state. Pritzker is a billionaire and heir of the Hyatt Hotels fortune who has given millions to his own reelection campaign. In November, he'll face off against GOP state Sen. Darren Bailey. Pritzker told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that he would support Biden if he were to run again.Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of VermontSen Bernie Sanders has run for president twice before.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesSanders, 80, has told CNN he wouldn't primary Biden in a 2024 contest and that would support the president if he runs. But Sanders' aides wrote a memo earlier this year saying he hasn't closed the door on seeking the White House if there's an open primary. Sanders continues to grab headlines on Capitol Hill. He also travels all over the US including a trip to Iowa in June when he rallied support for United Auto Workers who were on strike.Sanders, an independent, has twice sought the Democratic nomination for president and lost, though he stunned Democrats with his performance and grassroots support, and decidedly shifted the party left. Should the third time be the charm for Sanders in 2024, then he would be 83 by Inauguration Day 2025, just a year older than Biden would be.Sanders has overcome murmurings about his health before: He had a heart attack when he ran for president in 2020 but was still the runner up to Biden. Rep. Ro Khanna of CaliforniaRep. Ro Khanna was deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Commerce under then-President Barack Obama.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoProgressives have been pushing for Khanna, 45, to seek the White House if Biden bows out in 2024, according to Politico. Khanna has told CNN that he would not challenge Biden, and he's mostly seen as the standard bearer of the progressive movement who'll come after Sanders. Khanna co-chaired Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, which allowed him to spend time in early voting states. As a representative, he's been able to help secure tech jobs to some of those same states. He also wrote a book — "Dignity in the Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us" — which handed him high-profile interviews on late night shows. Presidential candidates generally write books about their lives or visions for America as a way to help introduce themselves to the public. Khanna is the son of Indian immigrants. His wife's multimillion-dollar fortune makes him one of the wealthiest members of Congress.Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGov. Gretchen Whitmer was previously in the Michigan legislature.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesWhitmer, 50, told NBC News in June that she wouldn't weigh in on whether Biden should run for president in 2024 but that she'd back him if he did. She also said it was "flattering" that NBC would ask whether she would consider running for the White House. Whitmer gained a national profile when she fought Republicans in Michigan's state legislature to impose strict coronavirus restrictions. She's been a consistent supporter of the Biden administration. And like several other politicians who've gained prominence in recent weeks, she has taken a forceful approach to protecting abortion rights. Donahue of the University at Buffalo said that, particularly after the Supreme Court decision, Democratic voters were yearning for fighters. "Whitmer has shown she's a really strong fighter on the abortion issue, but she can also say, 'I'm electable,'" he said. Whitmer is up for reelection in November and was considered to be on shortlist for vice president. But not all the coverage she's received has been positive. Whitmer has received blowback for violating the state's coronavirus measures, despite her push for strong regulations.Sen. Amy Klobuchar of MinnesotaSenator Amy Klobuchar has been in the US Senate since 2007.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesKlobuchar, 62, frequently appears on news lists predicting she would have strength in a 2024 Democratic primary.In 2020, she clinched the enviable endorsement of the New York Times editorial page, which passed on Biden in part because of his age. Last March, Klobuchar was featured at a Democratic dinner in New Hampshire. But it's not clear how she might break through against other similar candidates if Democrats in 2024 conducted a wide-open primary. "If you have Whitmer, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg then you have three kind of pragmatic Midwesterners all in one race, so you wonder how that would operate," Donahue said. Sen. Cory Booker of New JerseySen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was formerly the mayor of Newark.AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-RhoadesBooker, 53, didn't get very far when he ran for president in 2020. But having run once before could give him the experience he needs to give it another shot.He hasn't left the national spotlight: Booker was a prominent defender of now-Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as she was being confirmed to the Supreme Court, and has also partnered with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a sweeping cannabis reform proposal. In December 2021, he headlined a Democratic fundraiser in New Hampshire.Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey AbramsStacey Abrams previously served as the Democratic Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives.AP Photo/Akili-Casundria RamsessAbrams, 48, is a Democratic star who has said she "absolutely" has the ambition to be president one day.In an interview with Cosmopolitan, she indicated 2028 would be her year, although earlier this year, Abrams made a cameo on "Star Trek: Discovery" as president of futuristic United Earth. Back in the present, Abrams is widely seen as an effective advocate on voting rights who helped Biden secure a victory in Georgia, as well as a majority in the Senate.Abrams was on Biden's running-mate shortlist before she announced she'd run for governor in Georgia in 2022. If she wins, she'll be the first Black woman governor in the United States.Abrams has a huge out-of-state fundraising base that could help her on the national stage, but first she has to win decidedly in November in her rematch against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.The race is one of the most hotly contested in the country, and if Abrams loses, it'll be a second high-profile defeat in a row for her, having lost to Kemp in 2018.  North Carolina Gov. Roy CooperNorth Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has drawn parallels to former President Jimmy Carter.Ben McKeown, file/AP PhotoCooper, 65, has managed to get elected twice in a red state, which tends to be bonus for candidates aspiring to the national stage.While some of Cooper's actions have received national attention — including an executive order on paid parental leave and helping to repeal a transphobic bathroom bill — he hasn't clamored for the spotlight like some other governors have. Still, his job leading the Democratic Governors Association has helped him connect with big donors as he works to help elect Democratic candidates for governor all over the United StatesCooper told reporters in December that he would support Biden's reelection and that he thought a Biden 2024 ticket was in the best interest of the party.   New Jersey Gov. Phil MurphyNew Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at an international offshore wind conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 28, 2022.Wayne Parry/AP PhotoMurphy, 64, has tamped down speculation that he'll run for president in an interview with NJ Advance Media."I'm not running," he said. "Jesus, lord, help me."But he's seen as having national aspirations after the launch of Stronger Fairer Forward, a super PAC and nonprofit chaired by his wife. The group is running ads in New Jersey telling Murphy's life's story and promoting his tax relief measures aimed at fighting inflation. Murphy is also poised to lead the Democratic Governor's Association after Cooper, in 2023, and has held the role once before. Murphy logged a major win when he was reelected governor in 2021, but he just squeaked by. Most of his voters also don't think he'd make a good president, according to a Monmouth University Poll released in April.Colorado Gov. Jared PolisColorado Gov. Jared Polis was previously a US House representative.David Zalubowski, File/AP PhotoPolis, 47, recently told the National Journal that he had "no interest" in running for any office aside from the one he has, and told the Denver Post that he wants to stay in Colorado. He'll be up for reelection in November. But Polis has gotten a good deal of national attention. He stands apart from other Democratic governors by rejecting the efficacy of mask mandates as a way to prevent surges in COVID-19. (His team said the national coverage was aimed at stressing the efficacy of vaccines.)Polis founded ProFlowers and is a multimillionaire who has contributed money to his own campaigns. Polis, who is the first openly gay governor of Colorado, has been polling well in his state. While he's often cast a progressive, he's also seen as having unique positions on several issues, given his more hands-off approach to COVID and his calling for ending Colorado's state income tax.Sen. Elizabeth Warren of MassachusettsSen. Elizabeth Warren ran for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. She's a former professor at Harvard Law School who proposed and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesWarren, 73, has already said she's running in 2024 — but for a third term in the Senate. "I'm not running for president in 2024. I'm running for Senate," she said in April on NBC's Meet the Press. "President Biden is running for reelection in 2024, and I'm supporting him."Still, it's no secret that Warren would be interested in becoming president given that she sought the White House in 2020. Warren continues to gain national coverage, including by urging the Biden administration for stronger action. She has pushed Democrats to pass as much of their agenda as they can before November.Most recently she presented a menu of options for officials to consider to protect abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. She also continues to have a national network of supporters and donors.  Sen. Sherrod Brown of OhioDemocratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has been in the US Senate since 2007.Bill O'Leary/Pool via REUTERSBrown, 69, hasn't gotten the same kinds of questions about running for president as some others on this list, and he hasn't taken any actions that might raise eyebrows about whether he's considering the White House. But Democrats do have their eyes on him because he considered running for president in 2020 and even toured early primary states. Ultimately, however, he decided against joining what turned out to be a crowded field. Brown would face a challenging question should he consider running for president in 2024. That's the year he's up for reelection in Ohio. Should he run and not win the Democratic nomination, it might be difficult for him to jump back into the race to keep his Senate seat. Brown gets a lot of attention for being a successful Democrat in red-shifting Ohio, and he was considered a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 17th, 2022