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Op-ed: National Grid is pushing for policies that our weaken attempts to address climate change

Keeping the utility firm's pipeline dream alive is costing us ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkJun 23rd, 2022

Planet Earth’s Future Now Rests in the Hands of Big Business

On a brisk Monday in Houston in early March, dozens of protesters gathered across the street from the giant Hilton hotel hosting CERAWeek, the energy industry’s hallmark annual conference. Their signs accused the corporate executives inside of betraying humanity in pursuit of financial return. STOP EXTRACTING OUR FUTURE, read one. PEOPLE OVER PROFIT, read another.… On a brisk Monday in Houston in early March, dozens of protesters gathered across the street from the giant Hilton hotel hosting CERAWeek, the energy industry’s hallmark annual conference. Their signs accused the corporate executives inside of betraying humanity in pursuit of financial return. STOP EXTRACTING OUR FUTURE, read one. PEOPLE OVER PROFIT, read another. Two days later, inside a standing-room-only hotel ballroom, Jennifer Granholm, the U.S. secretary of energy, offered a different message to the executives: the Biden Administration needs your help to tackle climate change. The scene encapsulated this moment in the fight to address global warming: some of the most ardent activists say that companies can’t be trusted; governments are saying they must play a role. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] They already are. The U.S. Department of Energy has partnered with private companies to bolster the clean energy supply chain, expand electric-vehicle charging, and commercialize new green technologies, among a range of other initiatives. In total, the agency is gearing up to spend tens of billions of dollars on public-private partnerships to speed up the energy transition. “I’m here to extend a hand of partnership,” Granholm told the crowd. “We want you to power this country for the next 100 years with zero-carbon technologies.” Across the Biden Administration, and around the world, government officials have increasingly focused their attention on the private sector—treating companies not just as entities to regulate but also as core partners. We “need to accelerate our transition” off fossil fuels, says Brian Deese, director of President Biden’s National Economic Council. “And that is a process that will only happen if the American private sector, including the incumbent energy producers in the United States, utilities and otherwise, are an inextricable part of that process—that’s defined our approach from the get go.” Photo illustration by C.J. Burton for TIME For some, the emergence of the private sector as a key collaborator in efforts to tackle climate change is an indication of the power of capitalism to tackle societal challenges; for others it’s a sign of capitalism’s corruption of public institutions. In the three decades since the climate crisis became part of the global agenda, scientists, activists, and politicians have largely assumed that government would need to dictate the terms of the transition. But around the world, legislative attempts to tackle climate change have repeatedly failed. Meanwhile, investors and corporate executives have become more aware of the threat climate change poses to their business and open to working to address its causes. Those developments have laid the foundation for a new approach to climate action: government and nonprofits partnering with the private sector to do more—a new structure that carries both enormous opportunity and enormous risk. Read More: This Mining Executive Is Fighting Her Own Industry to Protect the Environment Just 100 global companies were responsible for 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions over the past three decades, according to data from CDP, a nonprofit that tracks climate disclosure, and pushing the private sector to step up is already showing dividends. Last fall, more than 1,000 companies collectively worth some $23 trillion set emissions-reduction goals that line up with the Paris Agreement. “We are in the early stages of a sustainability revolution that has the magnitude and scale of the Industrial Revolution,” says Al Gore, the former U.S. Vice President who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. “In every sector of the economy, companies are competing vigorously to eliminate unnecessary waste to become radically more energy efficient, and focus on the sharp reduction of their emissions.” Despite that momentum, risks abound. Companies have an incentive to make big commitments, but they need a credible system to set the rules of the road and ensure that those pledges can be scrutinized. Even then, corporate progress is unlikely to add up to enough without clear policy that incentivizes good behavior and/or punishes bad behavior. “To catalyze business, we need governments to lead and set strong policies,” says Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple and a former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “That’s just what the science says.” Nor are companies built to address the array of social challenges—millions displaced, millions more with livelihoods destroyed, the escalating health ailments—that will arise from climate change and the transition needed to address it. “The private sector has been surprisingly aggressive on climate in the last 12 months,” says Michael Greenstone, former chief economist in Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. “But that is a very misshapen approach: there’s no real substitute for a coherent climate policy.” It’s increasingly hard to imagine how we find such a policy in time. In February, the IPCC, the U.N.’s climate science body, warned of a “rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future.” Emissions need to peak by 2025 in order to have a decent chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C. In a landmark report outlining the possible levers to cut global emissions, the IPCC found that private sector initiatives, if followed through, could make a “significant” contribution to that goal. The group assessed the impact of 10 private sector initiatives, and found they could result in a total of 26 gigatonnes in reduced or avoided emissions by 2030—equivalent to more than five years of U.S. carbon pollution. How this partnership between government and industry plays out will shape not just the trajectory of emissions over the coming years and decades but also the future of democratic governance and how society will manage the now inevitable social disruption that will result from climate change. To understand how we got here, it’s helpful to look back to a remarkable coincidence of history. Climate change entered public consciousness at the same time that, in the U.S., the zeitgeist turned against government’s playing a robust role in society. In 1988, when then NASA scientist James Hansen offered his now famous warning that the planet was already warming as a result of human activity, and TIME soon after named the “Endangered Earth” as “Planet of the Year,” American voters had spent eight years hearing President Ronald Reagan tell them that government lay at the root of society’s problems. So it’s perhaps no wonder that in the decades that followed, government attempts to tackle a new problem, unprecedented in scope and scale, encountered roadblocks. That effort began in earnest in 1992 as heads of government from around the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro to inaugurate a new U.N. framework to address climate change. Every year since, with the pandemic-related exception of 2020, countries have met to hash out solutions to the problem. But, in the first two decades of talks, a comprehensive solution failed to break through. In the U.S., the lagging climate policy can in large part be attributed to the then pervasive free-market ideology, which dictated that businesses exist to make a profit. From the 1990s, and into the new century, fossil-fuel companies as well as heavy industry spent millions denying the existence of the problem and funding organizations that opposed climate rules. Other firms remained on the sidelines of an issue that seemed unrelated to their core business. The results in the political arena were clear. President Bill Clinton tried to pass an energy tax in Congress, but a concerted lobbying effort from manufacturers and the energy industry doomed the plan. George W. Bush publicly questioned the science of climate change and appointed executives from the oil and gas industry into senior positions in his Administration. Barack Obama pursued comprehensive climate legislation that would have capped companies’ emissions in 2009; the legislation failed to make it to the floor of the Senate after a prominent group of businesses condemned it. Christophe Archambault—Pool/ReutersThe launch of a key climate coalition for businesses in 2017 with Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and others But around that time, many business leaders began to feel pressure to do something on climate for the first time. Prioritizing environmental, social, and corporate governance concerns in investing, or ESG for short, had risen from a niche idea in the early 1990s to a mainstream approach to investment two decades later. At that point, a growing flow of reports from financial institutions warned of the economic consequences of inaction. And key voices in the business community—from Michael Bloomberg to Bill Gates—took the message on the road, telling CEOs to take climate change seriously. From 2012 to 2014, the value of investment in the U.S. earmarked for sustainable funds that took into account ESG issues close to doubled, to nearly $7 trillion, according to data from the U.S. SIF Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable investment strategies. To foster this momentum, government leaders sought to bring business into the policymaking conversation. Their goal was to create what is often referred to as a virtuous cycle: if they could get commitments from the private sector on climate issues, they argued, it would, theoretically, push government to do more, which in turn would push companies to double down. In 2015, that approach was put into practice as a group of business leaders showed up in Paris to talk with government officials. The result: CEOs declared their commitment to reducing emissions, and the final text of the Paris Agreement created a formalized framework for involving private companies in the official U.N. process. Just a year later, the U.S. elected Donald Trump as President and began to unravel the country’s environmental rules. Five months into office, he announced that he would take the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. Within hours, 20 Fortune 500 companies declared that they were “still in” the global climate deal and would cut their emissions in hopes of keeping the U.S. on track. By the time Trump left office, more than 2,300 American companies had joined the coalition. For many pushing climate action, working with the private sector became the best path forward. “More and more power is distributed in societies,” Antonio Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General, told me in 2019, explaining his extensive outreach to the business community on climate. “If you want to achieve results, you need to mobilize those that have an influence in the way decisions are made.” The most important private-sector push came from the institutional investors at the center of the global economy, who control trillions of dollars in assets and are invested in every sector and essentially every publicly traded firm. When you own a little bit of everything, the scenarios portending climate-driven economic decline are terrifying. “We’re too big to just take all of our hundreds of billions, and try to find a nice safe place for that money,” Anne Simpson, then-director of board governance and sustainability at CalPERS, California’s $500 billion state pension fund, told me in 2019. “We’re exposed to these systemic risks, so we have to fix things.” With the U.S. government on the sidelines, these investors joined together to send a signal. When French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a climate summit in Paris in December 2017, he brought together a group of investors controlling $68 trillion in assets to launch Climate Action 100+. In the beginning, this consortium used their status as high-profile investors to push emissions reductions in 100 publicly traded companies through one-on-one engagements with high-level executives. “All of this made for a reorganization of the politics of climate,” says Laurence Tubiana, a key framer of the Paris Agreement who now heads the European Climate Foundation. “It has now crystallized into something new: a strong coalition between business, financial institutions, investors, and governments.” All these threads came to a head last year in Glasgow at the U.N. climate conference. Walking around the Scottish Events Center last November, it would have been easy to forget that the conference was ostensibly for government officials. An attendee could easily spot, among the 40,000 attendees, high-profile business leaders mingling in the hallway. And by many accounts, the most significant news involved the private sector. Six major automakers joined with national governments to declare that they would produce 100% zero-emissions passenger vehicles no later than 2035. A group of financial institutions representing $130 trillion in assets committed to aligning its investments and operations with the Paris Agreement. What sort of emissions reduction does this all add up to? The truth is no one really knows. An analysis of more than 300 member companies of the Science Based Targets initiative, a leading voluntary program for corporations to set emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, found that, on average, each company succeeded in reducing their direct emissions annually by more than 6% between 2015 and 2019. But the global framework for emissions reduction centers on country-level commitments, and in its most recent report, the IPCC noted the ability to track corporate progress separate from national-level commitments remains “limited.” The multilateral system for addressing climate change inaugurated in Rio, created by government for government, has evolved into something else. And, in the assessment of many activists, the result has left out concerns about justice in the transition. In Glasgow, activists and civil-society groups complained about being excluded from negotiating rooms while business leaders were ushered onstage. “It now looks more like a trade summit, rather than a climate convention,” says Asad Rehman, who organized for the COP26 Coalition, a climate-justice group. These activists worry about what the resulting government decisions look like when they’re made hand in hand with businesses. “The very people who created this crisis are now positioning themselves as the people who will solve it,” says Rehman. “The decisions being made seem very much to be locking us into a particular approach to solve the crisis—and, of course, that approach is not necessarily in the best interest of the people.” Last December, just a few weeks after returning to the U.S. from Glasgow, I caught a flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., on what United Airlines billed as the first flight operated with an engine running on only a lower-carbon alternative to jet fuel. As we approached Reagan Airport, Scott Kirby, the airline’s CEO, told me about the coalition—including companies like Deloitte, HP, and Microsoft—he has formed to help bring the fuel to market. “This is not just about United Airlines; this is about building a new industry,” Kirby told me. “To do that, we’ve got to have a lot of airlines participate, we’ve got to have partners participate… and we’ve got to have government participate.” Kirby had chosen Washington as the destination for this flight for a reason: to truly deploy the technology would require some help from the U.S. government. The Biden Administration has been eager to serve as a partner, proposing a tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel and using the bully pulpit to tout United’s work—and aviation is just the tip of the iceberg. The administration has sought to partner on climate with companies across the country and across industries. It almost goes without saying that Biden has been the most aggressive U.S. president yet on the climate issue. His administration has introduced or tightened more than 100 environmental regulations; worked with activists to address the inequalities worsened by climate change; and put climate at the center of “Build Back Better,” its signature $2 trillion spending package that failed to pass Congress last year. He has worked with activists to address the inequalities worsened by climate change. But engagement with the private sector offers a different avenue to push for emissions reduction, and, administration officials say, it has been a key part of his climate strategy. “That’s him availing every tool he’s got,” says Ali Zaidi, Biden’s Deputy National Climate Advisor, of Biden’s private sector engagement. “One of those superpowers that he has is the ability to meet people where they are and bring them along.” Jeff J Mitchell—Getty ImagesGreenpeace activists protest corporate involvement at the COP26 U.N. climate talks, in November 2021 That approach is also based in a sense of realism: the technologies we need to cut emissions over the next decade exist today and any reasonable consideration of how the world can cut carbon emissions means deploying those technologies as quickly as possible—largely by getting companies to adopt them. We need “to take the technology that DOE has spent so many years working on and actually get it in the hands of consumers,” says Jigar Shah, who runs the department’s Loan Program Office. I met Shah, who previously ran a clean energy investment fund, in a small conference room in Houston where he had been taking meetings with a range of companies to convince them to do business with his agency—and more broadly the federal government. Shah has $40 billion at his disposal to invest in promising companies and projects. The idea, he says, is if business and government work together, they can move quickly to build a low-carbon economy by restoring the country’s ability to do big things. “We actually haven’t done these big things for 30 years,” he says. “America truly has sort of lost this general understanding of, like, how does an airport add a runway? How does a road get widened? Who makes the decision on upgrading our wastewater treatment plant?” The business-oriented approach to climate change permeates the Biden Administration. Last September, I watched in the back of the room in Geneva as John Kerry, Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, pitched the Administration’s approach to CEOs of some of the world’s biggest companies, presenting more than 30 slides detailing a new government program to catalyze production of clean technologies, in sectors ranging from air travel to steel manufacturing. Instead of government mandates, Kerry proposed that companies themselves take the lead by making deals to purchase clean technology. “Because we’re behind, we have got to find ways to step up,” he told the gathered CEOs. Read More: Biden Wants an American Solar Industry. But It Could Come at an Emissions Cost Kerry’s approach echoes the realism of the Biden Administration’s. The truth is that in 2022 Big Business has the power to influence—and halt—much of what the government does. “I’m convinced, unless the private sector buys into this, there won’t be a sufficient public-sector path created, because the private sector has the power to prevent that,” Kerry told me in September. “The private sector has enormous power. And our tax code reflects that in this country. And what we need is our environmental policy to reflect the reality.” It makes sense then that from the outset the Biden Administration’s climate-spending plan has focused primarily on carrots rather than sticks. That is, it included a laundry list of rewards for companies doing positive things—namely tax credits for clean energy and subsidies for technologies like electric vehicles. Meanwhile, the two key policies that would have penalized businesses for their emissions—a fee for methane emissions and a tax when power companies failed to meet emissions-reductions targets—were abandoned after industry pushback. Despite those concessions, the most influential trade groups that lobby in Washington on behalf of big businesses still refused to back the overall legislation—because it required an increase in corporate taxes. It’s a reality that climate advocates readily decry as hypocrisy, and an indicator that business isn’t serious about climate change. In the coming weeks, as negotiations for a revamped climate-spending bill accelerate, businesses will have another chance to show they are serious about climate policy. It brings to mind a key moment in a panel I moderated in April last year with Granholm, and a handful of top corporate executives’ work to reduce their companies’ emissions. “You are visionaries and you are leading, and there’s so many thousands of other businesses that can learn from your example, and there are a lot of members of Congress that could learn from your words. And it’s not to get political, but sometimes folks just need to hear,” she told them. “To the extent you can, we’d be really grateful because we feel like our hair is on fire.” They can still help, but the clock is ticking. Even before Joe Biden took office, the American auto industry had begun to adopt the President-elect’s ambition of a rapid transition to electric vehicles. Within weeks of the election, GM dropped a lawsuit that sought to block more stringent fuel-economy standards. Two months later, it said it would go all electric by 2035. Meanwhile, Biden committed to a federal-government purchase of hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles. Since then, the U.S. auto industry has become an electric-vehicle arms race, with companies left and right announcing new capital expenditures to advance the national electric-vehicle fleet. GM says it will spend $35 billion in the effort over the next few years. Ford says it’s spending $50 billion. “The biggest thing that’s happening here is there’s a realization, on the part of both labor and business now, that this is the future,” Joe Biden said as he stood with auto industry executives, union leaders and administration officials on the White House lawn last August. Last year, I traveled to Ohio and Tennessee to see firsthand how the pressing questions about this transformation were playing out on the ground in the cities and towns that have relied on the auto industry for decades. In conversations with workers and local officials, I could sense excitement, but also consternation. Building an electric vehicle requires less labor than does its old-fashioned counterpart, and there’s no guarantee that new jobs created will be covered with a union. “There’s just going to be a lot less people building cars,” Dave Green, a GM assembly worker who previously led a local UAW branch in Ohio, told me at the time. The green transition will also displace oil, gas, and coal workers. Entire cities in flood and fire zones will be dislocated. Diseases will spread more quickly. How will society manage such problems, accounting for a diverse array of interests, without a comprehensive, government-led approach to the transition? Not well, if past transitions are any indicator. Inequality soared during the Industrial Revolution, and the U.S. is still dealing with the economic fallout of globalization in the 2000s, when many blue collar jobs were outsourced. To make up for the slow pace of government policy to guarantee an equitable transition, many activists have set their sights on influencing corporations directly. In 2019, for example, hundreds of Amazon employees walked out of work, insisting that the company do more to address climate change. Across a range of industries, corporate leaders now say that climate change is a top concern for recruits. Consumers, too, have begun to push companies to change, largely through the power of their dollars, by refusing to buy from companies with poor labor and environmental practices. “It’s not perfect,” says Michael Vandenbergh, a law professor at Vanderbilt University Law School who served as chief of staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Clinton. But “it will buy us time until the public demands that government actually overcome some of the democracy deficits that we face.” As challenging as it may be in these polarizing times, overcoming that democracy deficit is necessary, not just to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels but also to protect those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and to the necessary changes ahead. It’s for that reason that the upswing in climate-activist movements—from the youth’s marching for a Green New Deal to the union members’ joining with climate activists to push for a just transition—matters beyond any policy platform. Climate change will reshape the lives of people everywhere. A truly just transition will require people to engage in the fight to fix it. —With reporting by Nik Popli and Julia Zorthian......»»

Category: topSource: timeApr 14th, 2022

10 Signs The War In Ukraine Is Part Of The Great Reset

10 Signs The War In Ukraine Is Part Of The Great Reset Via WinterOak.org.uk, Welcome to the second phase of the Great Reset: war. While the pandemic acclimatised the world to lockdowns, normalised the acceptance of experimental medications, precipitated the greatest transfer of wealth to corporations by decimating SMEs and adjusted the muscle memory of workforce operations in preparation for a cybernetic future, an additional vector was required to accelerate the economic collapse before nations can ‘Build Back Better.’ I present below several ways in which the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine is the next catalyst for the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset agenda, facilitated by an interconnected web of global stakeholders and a diffuse network of public-private partnerships. 1. The war between Russia and Ukraine is already causing unprecedented disruption to global supply chains, exacerbating fuel shortages and inducing chronic levels of inflation. As geopolitical tensions morph into a protracted conflict between NATO and the Sino-Russia axis, a second contraction may plunge the economy into stagflation. In the years ahead, the combination of subpar growth and runaway inflation will force a global economic underclass into micro-work contracts and low-wage jobs in an emerging gig economy. Another recession will compound global resource thirst, narrow the scope for self-sufficiency and significantly increase dependence on government subsidies. With the immiseration of a significant portion of the world’s labour force looming on the horizon, this may well be a prelude to the introduction of a Universal Basic Income, leading to a highly stratified neo-feudal order. Therefore, the World Economic Forum’s ominous prediction that we will ‘own nothing and be happy’ by 2030 seems to be unfolding with horrifying rapidity. 2. The war’s economic fallout will lead to a dramatic downsizing of the global workforce.  The architects of the Great Reset have anticipated this trend for a number of years and will exploit this economic turbulence by propelling the role of disruptive technologies to meet global challenges and fundamentally alter traditional business patterns to keep pace with rapid changes in technology. Like the pandemic, disaster preparedness in the age of conflict will rest significantly on the willingness to embrace specific technological innovations in the public and private spheres so that future generations can supply the labour demands of the Great Reset. A recurring theme in Klaus Schwab’s Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that groundbreaking technological and scientific innovations will no longer be relegated to the physical world around us but become extensions of ourselves. He emphasises the primacy of emerging technologies in a next generation workforce and highlights the urgency to push ahead with plans to digitise several aspects of the global labour force through scalable technology based solutions. Those spearheading the Great Reset seek to manage geopolitical risk by creating new markets which revolve around digital innovations, e-strategies, telepresence labour, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Bodies. The breakneck speed in which AI technologies are being deployed suggest that the optimization of such technologies will initially bear on traditional industries and professions which offer a safety net for hundreds of millions of workers, such as farming, retail, catering, manufacturing and the courier industries. However, automation in the form of robots, smart software and machine learning will not be limited to jobs which are routine, repetitive and predictable. AI systems are on the verge of wholesale automation of various white collar jobs, particularly in areas which involve information processing and pattern recognition such as accounting, HR and middle management positions. Although anticipating future employment trends is no easy task, it’s safe to say that the combined threat of pandemics and wars means the labour force is on the brink of an unprecedented reshuffle with technology reshaping logistics, potentially threatening hundreds of millions of blue and white collar jobs, resulting in the greatest and fastest displacement of jobs in history and foreshadowing a labour market shift which was previously inconceivable. While it has long been anticipated that the increased use of technology in the private sector would result in massive job losses, pandemic lockdowns and the coming disruption caused by a war will speed up this process, and many companies will be left with no other option but to lay off staff and replace them with creative technological solutions merely for the survival of their businesses. In other words, many of the jobs which will be lost in the years ahead were already moving towards redundancy and are unlikely to be recovered once the dust is settled. 3. The war has significantly reduced Europe’s reliance on the Russian energy sector and reinforced the centrality of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ‘net zero‘ emissions which lies at the heart of the Great Reset. Policymakers marching lockstep with the Great Reset have capitalised on the tough sanctions against Russia by accelerating the shift towards ‘green’ energy and reiterating the importance of decarbonisation as part of the ‘fight against climate change’. However, it would be very short-sighted to assume that the Great Reset is ultimately geared towards the equitable distribution of ‘green’ hydrogen and carbon-neutral synthetic fuels replacing petrol & diesel. While UN SDGs are crucial to post-pandemic recovery, more importantly, they are fundamental to the makeover of shareholder capitalism which is now being vaunted by the Davos elites as ‘stakeholder capitalism’. In economic terms, this refers to a system where governments are no longer the final arbiters of state policies as unelected private corporations become the de facto trustees of society, taking on the direct responsibility to address the world’s social, economic and environmental challenges through macroeconomic cooperation and a multi-stakeholder model of global governance. Under such an economic construct, asset holding conglomerates can redirect the flow of global capital by aligning investments with the UN’s SDGs and configuring them as Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) compliant so that new international markets can be built on the disaster and misery of potentially hundreds of millions of people reeling from the economic collapse caused by war. Therefore, the war offers a huge impetus for the governments pushing the reset to actively pursue energy independence, shape markets towards ‘green and inclusive growth’ and eventually move populations towards a cap-and-trade system, otherwise known as a carbon credit economy. This will centralise power in the hands of stakeholder capitalists under the benevolent guise of reinventing capitalism through fairer and greener means, using deceptive slogans like ‘Build Back Better’ without sacrificing the perpetual growth imperative of capitalism. 4. Food shortages created by the war will offer a major boon to the synthetic biology industry as the convergence of digital technologies with materials science and biology will radically transform the agricultural sector and encourage the adoption of plant-based and lab-grown alternatives on a global scale.  Russia and Ukraine are both breadbaskets of the world and critical shortages in grains, fertilisers, vegetable oils and essential foodstuffs will catapult the importance of biotechnology to food security and sustainability and give birth to several imitation meat start-ups similar to ‘Impossible Foods’ which was co-funded by Bill Gates. One can therefore expect more government regulation to usher a dramatic overhaul to industrial food production and cultivation, ultimately benefiting agribusiness and biotech investors, since food systems will be redesigned through emerging technologies to grow ‘sustainable’ proteins and CRISPR gene-edited patented crops. 5. Russia’s exclusion from SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) foreshadows an economic reset which will generate precisely the kind of blowback necessary for corralling large swathes of the global population into a technocratic control grid. As several economists have opined, weaponizing SWIFT, CHIPS (The Clearing House Interbank Payments System) and the US Dollar against Russia will only spur geopolitical rivals like China to accelerate the process of de-dollarisation. The main benefactor of economic sanctions against Russia appears to be China which can reshape the Eurasian market by encouraging member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS to bypass the SWIFT ecosystem and settle cross-border international payments in the Digital Yuan. While the demand for cryptocurrencies will see a massive spike, this is likely to encourage many governments to increasingly regulate the sector through public blockchains and enforce a multilateral ban on decentralised cryptocurrencies. The shift to crypto could be the dress rehearsal to eventually expedite plans for programmable money overseen by a federal regulator, leading to the greater accretion of power in the hands of a powerful global technocracy and thus sealing our enslavement to financial institutions. I believe this war will bring currencies to parity, therefore heralding a new Bretton Woods moment which promises to transform the operation of international banking and macroeconomic cooperation through the future adoption of central bank digital currencies. 6.  This war marks a major inflection point in the globalist aspiration for a new international rules-based order anchored in Eurasia. As the ‘father of geopolitics’ Halford Mackinder opined over a century ago, the rise of every global hegemon in the past 500 years has been possible because of dominance over Eurasia. Similarly, their decline has been associated with losing control over that pivotal landmass. This causal connection between geography and power has not gone unnoticed by the global network of stakeholders representing the WEF, many of whom have anticipated the transition to a multipolar era and return to great power competition amid America’s receding political and economic influence and a pressing need for what technocrats call smart globalisation. While America tries desperately to cling to its superpower status, China’s economic ascent and Russia’s regional ambitions threaten to upend the strategic axial points of Eurasia (Western Europe and Asia Pacific). The region in which America previously enjoyed uncontested hegemony is no longer impervious to cracks and we may be witnessing a changing of the guard which dramatically alters the calculus of global force projection. Although China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has the potential to unify the world-island (Asia, Africa and Europe) and cause a tectonic shift in the locus of global power, the recent invasion of Ukraine will have far-reaching consequences for China-Europe rail freight. The Ukrainian President Zelensky claimed that Ukraine could function as the BRI’s gateway to Europe. Therefore, we cannot ignore China’s huge stake in the recent tensions over Ukraine, nor can we ignore NATO’s underlying ambition to check China’s rise in the region by limiting the sale of Ukrainian assets to China and doing everything in its capacity to thwart The Modern Silk Road. As sanctions push Russia towards consolidating bilateral ties with China and fully integrating with the BRI, a Pan-Eurasian trading bloc may be the realignment which forces a shared governance of the global commons and a reset to the age of US exceptionalism. 7. With speculation mounting over the war’s long term impact on bilateral trade flows between China and Europe, the Russia-Ukraine conflict will catapult Israel – a leading advocate of the Great Reset – to even greater international prominence.  Israel is a highly attractive BRI market for China and the CCP is acutely aware of Israel’s importance as a strategic outpost connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea through the Gulf of Suez. Furthermore, the Chinese government has for many years acknowledged the primacy of Israel as a global technology hub and capitalised on Israel’s innovation capabilities to help meet its own strategic challenges. Therefore, Naftali Bennet’s mediation between Moscow and Kiev is likely to factor the instrumental role of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in expanding both China and Israel’s regional and global strategic footprint. Israel’s status as among the leading tech hubs of the future and gateway connecting Europe and the Middle East is inextricably tied to the web of physical infrastructures, such as roads, railways, ports and energy pipelines which China has been building over the past decade. Already a powerhouse in auto-technologies, robotics and cybersecurity, Israel aspires to be the central nation in the millennial Kingdom and the country’s tech startups are predicted to play a key role in the fourth industrial revolution. Strengthening its evolving relationship with China amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis could help propel Israel into a regional hegemon par excellence with a large share of centralised economic and technological power converging in Jerusalem. As Israel embarks on efforts to diversify its export markets and investments away from the United States, it begs an important question. Is Israel in the formative stages of outsourcing its security interests away from the US and hedging its bets on the Sino-Russia axis? 8. It is now common knowledge that Digital IDs are a central plank in the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset agenda and are to be streamlined across industries, supply chains and markets as a way of advancing the UN 2030 SDGs and delivering individualised and integrated services in future smart cities. Many have cottoned on to how such a platform can be used to usher in a global system of technocratic population control and compliance by incorporating humanity into a new corporate value chain where citizens are mined as data commodities for ESG investors and human capital bond markets and assigned a social and climate score based on how well they measure up against the UN SDGs. This seamless verification of people and connected devices in smart environments can only take place once our biometrics, health records, finances, education transcripts, consumer habits, carbon footprint and the entire sum of human experiences is stored on an interoperable database to determine our conformity with the UN SDGs, thus forcing a monumental change to our social contract. Vaccine passports were initially touted by public-private partnerships as an entry point for Digital IDs. Now that such a logic has run its course, how might the present geopolitical tensions contribute to scaling what is the key node in a new digital ecosystem? Ukraine has traditionally been called Europe’s breadbasket and alongside Russia, both nations are major global suppliers of staple grains. Therefore, the war has all the makings of a black swan for commodities and inflation. With an economy teetering on the brink of collapse due to a global supply crunch, I believe the resulting economic tremors will trigger wartime emergencies across the world and the public will be told to brace themselves for rationing. Once this takes place, the multilateral adoption of Digital IDs which interface with Central Bank Digital Currencies can be touted as the solution to efficiently manage and distribute household rations under an unprecedented state of emergency and exception. The Bank of England has already floated the prospect of programmable cash which can only be spent on essentials or goods which an employer or government deem sensible. Once the issuer is granted control over how it is spent by the recipient, it will become nigh impossible to function adequately without a Digital ID, which will be required to receive food parcels and obtain a basic means of subsistence. Think UBI (Universal Basic Income). If food inflation continues on an upward trajectory with no signs of abating, governments may institute price controls in the form of rationing and ration entries could be logged on blockchain ledgers on the Digital ID to track our carbon footprint and consumptive habits during a national emergency. 9. Europe is directly in the line of fire once a hybrid war between NATO and the Sino-Russia axis is underway. It would be remiss to ignore the clear and present danger posed by a cyber attack on banks and critical infrastructure or even a tentative and tactical nuclear exchange with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). I can’t see how any warring party will not be limited by the doctrine of mutually assured destruction so a thermonuclear fallout is unlikely. However, the use of remote access technologies to erase system memory from the SWIFT banking apparatus or Cross-Border Interbank Payment System can potentially render much of the international economy non-operational and send the dollar into a tailspin. If an event of such cataclysmic proportions was to occur, it will undoubtedly lead to increasing demands to overhaul cyber security. The fallout from such an event could very well establish a new global security protocol according to which citizens must possess a Digital ID as a necessary national security measure. One can imagine how accessing the internet or public services in the aftermath of a nationwide cyberattack may require citizens to use a Digital ID to authenticate that their online activities and transactions are from a legitimate and non-malicious source. There are few coincidences in politics. 10. The economic implications of this war will be so disastrous that governments and the public sector will require a significant injection of private capital to address the financing shortfall.  This will effectively render the traditional separation of powers between central banking institutions and governments obsolete, as the former will be positioned to disproportionately influence the fiscal trajectory of nation states, whose sovereignty will be hollowed out by the wholesale capture of governments by the central banks and hedge funds. Therefore, the nation-state model is gradually being upended by a global technocracy, consisting of an unelected consortium of leaders of industry, central banking oligarchs and private financial institutions, most of which are predominantly non-state corporate actors attempting to restructure global governance and enlist themselves in the global decision-making process. Therefore, the future of international relations and the social, economic and political transformation which the world is presently undergoing in light of the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict will not be decided through multilateralism and elected representatives of sovereign states. Rather, it will be decided through a network of multi-stakeholder partnerships which are motivated by the politics of expediency and not accountable to any electorate or beholden to any state and for whom concepts like sovereignty and international law are meaningless. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 15th, 2022

The UK And Its Lost Opportunities

The UK And Its Lost Opportunities Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Two years after leaving the EU Britain has made almost none of the promised progress towards economic liberalisation. While Brussels hasn’t been helpful, libertarian ministers in the Tory government have been both conquered by the bureaucracy of the civil service and even turned into high spending statists. There has been no attempt to reduce the state’s suffocating dominance over the economy. On current policies, the private sector is set to continue its long-term decline, with higher taxes and ever-increasing regulation. But it needn’t be so. This article looks at the dangers and opportunities that Britain faces, principally inflation, the challenge of government spending, of maintaining a balanced budget, trade policy and why Britain should just declare unilateral free trade, foreign policy in a world where the future is American decline and a rising Russia—China partnership, and the economic craziness of the green agenda. There is no sign that these important issues are being addressed in a constructive and statesman-like manner. Fortunately or unfortunately, rising interest rates threaten to bring forward a crisis of bank credit of such magnitude that fiat currencies are likely to be undermined. Most of the policies recommended herein should be incorporated after the banking and currency crisis has passed as part of a reset designed to avoid repeating the mistakes of big government, Keynesianism, and the socialisation of economic resources. Decline and fall “This is the week a government that began with such promise finally lost its soul. Its great policy relaunch is a tragic mush, proof that it no longer believes in anything, not even in its self-preservation.” Allister Heath, Editor of The Sunday Telegraph writing in today’s Daily Telegraph 3 February Two years ago this week, Britain formally left the EU. Yet, it is estimated there are 20,000 pieces of primary EU legislation still on the statute books. And only now is there going to be an effort to remove or replace them with UK legislation. Obviously, going through them one by one would tie the legislative calendar up for years, so it is proposed to deal with them through an omnibus Brexit Freedoms Bill. Excuse me for being cynical, but one wonders that if the Prime Minister had not come under pressure from Partygate, would this distraction from it have got to first base? After two years of inaction, why now? And it transpires that instead of doing away with unnecessary regulations as suggested in the Brexit Freedoms Bill, legislative priority will be given to the economically destructive green agenda. This underlines Allister Heath’s comment above. There is also irrefutable evidence that a remain-supporting civil service has continually frustrated the executive over Brexit and has discouraged all meaningful economic reform. The way the Brexit Freedoms Bill is likely to play out is for every piece of EU legislation dropped, new UK regulations of similar or even tighter restrictions on production freedom will be introduced — drafted by the civil service bureaucracy with its Remainer sympathies. For improvement, read deterioration. It will require ministers in all departments to strongly resist this tendency — there’s not much hope of that. The track record of British government is not good. Since Margaret Thatcher was elected, successive conservative administrations have pledged to reduce unnecessary state intervention and ended up fostering the opposite. They raise taxes every time they are elected, even though they market themselves as the low tax party. While the number of quangos (quasi-autonomous national government organisations) has been reduced, in practice it is because they have been merged rather than abandoned and their remits have remained intact. Another measure of government intervention, the proportion of government spending to total GDP, has risen from about 40% to over 50% in 2020. An unfair comparison given the impact of covid, some would say. But there is little sign that the explosion of government spending will come back to former levels. Like the unelected bureaucracy in Brussels from which the nation sought to escape, the UK’s civil service has no concept of the economic benefits of free markets. Without having any skin in the game, they believe that government agencies are in the best position to decide economic outcomes for the common good. Decades of Keynesian reasoning, belief in bureaucratic process and never having had to work in a competitive environment have all fostered an arrogance of purpose in support of increasing statist economic management. It is a delusion that will end in crisis, as it did in 1975 when under a Labour government Britain was driven to borrow funds from the IMF that were reserved for third world nations. Against this background of restrictions to economic progress, the nation is unprepared to deal with some major issues appearing on the horizon. This article examines some of them: inflation, state spending, trade policies, foreign policies, and the economic harm from the green agenda. These are just some of the areas where policies can be improved for the good of the nation and create opportunities for greatness through economic strength. Inflation In common with other central banks, the Bank of England would have us believe that inflation is of prices only, failing to mention changes in the quantity of currency and credit in circulation. Yet even schoolchildren in primary education will tell you that if a cake is cut into a greater number of pieces, you do not end up with more cake; you end up with smaller pieces. It is the same with the money supply, or more correctly the quantity of currency and credit. Instead, central banks seem to believe in the parable of the feeding of the five thousand: five loaves and two fishes can be subdivided to satisfy the multitudes with some left over. The source of an increase in the general price level is increasing quantities of currency and credit, leading to each unit buying less, just like the smaller slices of cake. And measured by the Bank of England’s M4 (the broadest measure of currency and credit) the currency cake has been subdivided into many more smaller pieces in recent times. Figure 1 shows that M4 has increased from £1.82 trillion at the time of the Lehman failure to £2.96 trillion last September, an increase of 63%. But the rate of increase accelerated substantially in the first six months of 2020 to an annualised rate of 19.3%. This is the engine driving prices of goods higher, and to a lesser extent, services. At that time, currency inflation was everywhere, leading to significantly higher commodity prices. The commodity inputs to industry represent sharply rising production costs, coupled with skill shortages and supply chain disruptions. But these are merely the evidence of the currency cake being more thinly sliced. Buying and installing a new kitchen in your house requires more of the smaller slices of the currency cake than it did last year. All else being equal, there are still significant price effects to come with past currency debasements yet to work their way through to prices. And given that monetary policy is to meet rising prices by raising interest rates while still inflating, higher interest rates will follow as well. The effect on bond yields and equity prices will be beyond doubt. But all else is never equal, and the effect of higher production costs will be to close uneconomic production and put overindebted manufacturers out of business. This development is already becoming evident globally, with the post-pandemic bounce-back already fading. Being undermined, the effect on financial collateral values is likely to make banks more cautious, reduce bank lending, and at the margin increase the rate of foreclosures. The problem is that most currency in circulation is the counterpart of bank credit. A bond and equity bear market will lead to a contraction of bank credit, triggering policies designed to counter deflation. What will the Bank of England do? Undoubtedly, it will want to increase its monetary stimulation at a time of rising interest rates and falling financial values. The Bank will also find itself replacing contracting bank credit to keep the illusion of prosperity alive. The issuance of base currency will not be a trivial matter. But according to the Keynesians, who can only equate price levels with consumer demand, inflation during an economic slump should never happen. Worse, it will come at a time when UK banks are highly leveraged at record levels — Barclay’s, for example, has a ratio of assets to equity of about twenty times. And as the European financial centre, London is highly exposed to counterparty risk from the Eurozone which, being in a desperately fragile condition, is a major systemic threat. With these increased dangers so obviously present, it would behove the Bank and the Treasury to rebuild the national gold reserves, so foolishly sold down by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor. It is the only insurance policy against a systemic and currency collapse that is becoming more likely as inflationary policies are pursued. Government spending As mentioned above, in 2020 the government’s share of GDP rose to over 50% and there appears to be no attempt to rein it in. And for all the rhetoric about post-Brexit Britain being an attractive place to do business, any government taking half of everyone’s income and profits in the form of taxes will fail to attract as many international businesses to locate in Britain as would otherwise be possible. Government spending is inherently wasteful. To enhance economic performance, the solution is to cut government spending to as low as possible in the shortest possible time and to reduce taxes with it. But instead, the Treasury is seeking to cover the budget deficit, which was £250bn in the last fiscal year (11.7% of GDP) by increasing taxes without reforming wasteful government spending. The civil service has protected its practices by seeing off attempts by government appointees, such as Dominic Cummings, to remodel the civil service on more effective lines. Critics of the Treasury’s policies say it is better to cut taxes to encourage growth which in future will generate the taxes to cover the deficit. But with the state already taking half of everyone’s income on average in taxes, the increase in the deficit while maintaining government spending will only add to inflationary pressures. The transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector by the expansion of currency will more than negate any benefit to the private sector from lower taxes. And the higher interest rates from yet higher price inflation will bankrupt overindebted borrowers in a highly leveraged economy. Those who think the Bank of England is clueless about finances and economics should not omit the Treasury from their criticisms. About the only thing the Treasury gets right is the necessity to eliminate the budget deficit, albeit by the wrong approach which is simply to increase the tax burden on the private sector. But in this objective it has consistently failed, as shown in Figure 2. From the seventies, budget deficits have only been eliminated briefly in the boom times of fiscal 1989/90 and 2000/01. The OBR’s forecast of a return to near balance in 2023/24 is a demonstration of wishful thinking. On the verge of a new downturn in production brought about by unsustainable cost pressures, the deficit is likely to decline only marginally, if at all. Budget deficits create an additional problem, because without an increase in consumer savings (discouraged by the Keynesians), national accounting shows that a twin trade deficit is the consequence. And without the trade deficit contracting, the Remainers in the establishment are bound to claim that Brexit has not delivered the benefits in trade promised by the Brexiteers. Trade policy Besides gaining political independence, Brexit was said to lead to an opportunity for better terms of trade than could be obtained as a member of the EU. Britain’s industrial history and heritage is as an entrepôt, whereby goods were imported, processed, and re-exported to international markets. The concept of freeports was promoted with this in mind. The UK government has so far made laborious progress in signing trade agreements in a protectionist world. A far better approach would be to abandon trade agreements and tariffs altogether, with the sole exception of protecting some agricultural produce, for which special treatment can be justified. Today, agriculture is a small part of the economy, and the benefits to the consumer of scrapping tariffs are relatively minor, but risk fundamentally bankrupting important parts of the rural economy. To understand why Britain should abandon trade agreements for tariff free trade, we should refer to David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage. Ricardo argued that if a distant producer was better at producing a good or service than a local one which is therefore unable to compete, then it is better to reap the benefit of the distant production and for the local producer to either find a better way of manufacturing the product, or to deploy the capital of production elsewhere. The theory was put to the test by Robert Peel, who as Prime Minister rescinded and finally repealed the Corn Laws between 1846—1849. The consequence for the British economy was that lower food prices in what was for most of the population a subsistence economy allowed the labouring masses to buy other things to improve their standard of living. Not only did living standards improve, but employment was created in the woollen, cotton, and tobacco industries and much else besides. Furthermore, other countries began to adopt free trade policies, which combined with sound money led to widespread economic improvement. By the First World War, over 80% of the world’s shipping then afloat, central to international trade, had been built in Britain. The situation today is different, in that the effect of removing food tariffs from what has become a relatively small sector is far too emotive for the potential gain. This is less true of industry, despite the undoubted cries that would emanate from protectionists. But a Glaswegian is perfectly free to buy a product made in Birmingham, or to contract for a service provided from London, even if there is an equivalent available in Glasgow. But what’s the difference between our Glaswegian buying something from Birmingham, compared with Stuttgart, or Lyons, or China? The answer is none, other than he gets more choice, and the signal sent to domestic manufacturers is they are uncompetitive. And it’s no good claiming that foreigners are unfair competition. If a foreign manufacturer is subsidised in its production, that is all to the benefit of UK consumers. Tariffs are a tax on consumers and lead to less efficient domestic production. The benefit for Britain is that if it becomes a genuinely free trade centre, international manufacturing and service activities would gravitate to the UK, providing additional employment — all the empirical evidence confirms this is what happens. It would be a direct challenge to the EU’s Fortress Europe trade policies designed to keep foreigners out. And to the degree that tariff reform is promoted, Britain would be doing the world a favour, because as in Robert Peel’s time, other nations would likely follow suit. The dirty truth about tariffs is that they are a tax on one’s own people as well as an unnecessary restriction of trade. Instead of recognising this truth and the evidence of its own experience, Britain is pursuing a halfway-house of laborious trade agreements. Through limited relief on taxes, the half-hearted proposal to set up free ports is an admission of the burden the government places on business in the normal course: otherwise, why are free ports an incentive? Far better to reduce taxes on all production and remove the tariff burdens on everyone. This conservative administration started with constructive trade policies, but the permanent establishment has whittled them down to the point where they are likely to be minimised and ineffective, confirming in its Remainer yearnings that Brexit was a political and economic blunder. Foreign policy One of the opportunities presented by Brexit was for the UK government to think through its foreign policy agenda, and how Britain can best serve itself and the rest of the world. The history of its foreign policy might have provided a guide, though it seems to have been ignored. Instead, Britain is sticking to the Foreign Office’s and intelligence services’ status quo, which is basically to be unquestioningly allied through the five-eyes partnership with America. Admittedly, it would have been difficult to do otherwise in the wake of President Trump’s successful takedown of Huawei, spreading fear of Chinese spying in a modern version of reds under the bed. But the reality of modern geopolitics is that Halford Mackinder’s Heartland Theory, first presented to the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1904, is coming true: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island commands the world.” — Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, p. 150 There can be no doubt that the alliance between Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China together with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are proving Mackinder’s prophecy and that they are destined to become the dominant geopolitical force in the world. Therefore, Britain remains hitched in the long term to the eventual loser when it should be reconsidering its relationship with Eastern European nations, for which read Russia. A substantial rethink over foreign policy is due, and instead of the status quo, there is profit to be had in studying the status quo ante — Britain’s foreign policies at the time of the Napoleonic wars and subsequently. Lord Liverpool was Prime Minister, with Castlereagh as Foreign Secretary and Wellington as commander-in-chief of the army. They had an iron rule never to interfere in a foreign state’s domestic policies but only to act to protect British interests. Those interests principally concern trade, and they guided foreign policy and protected British property in the colonies until the First World War. Compared with the foreign policy principals of the nineteenth century, the support given to American hegemony in attacking nations in the Middle East and North Africa on purely political grounds has been a disaster, leading to unnecessary deaths and the displacement of millions of refugees. Some of these ventures could have been prevented if Britain had not joined in. Britain’s refusal to support a Syrian invasion after a parliamentary vote turned it down was a rare example of Britain standing up for its own interests, no thanks to a government which would otherwise have sent the troops in. The US is dragging its heels with respect to a trade agreement with the UK, and that should be considered as well. A modern Castlereagh would take these factors into consideration in proposing a new treaty securing trade and defence considerations for both European nations and Russia, thereby respecting their sovereignties. There are enough elements in play for a sensible outcome, particularly if America is made to accept that its role in Europe is divisive and that it has no option but to accommodate compromise. The British government is in a unique position to broker a deal, if it can demonstrate political independence from all parties, including America. The green agenda The government’s green agenda, whereby the nation is mandated to cut carbon emissions by 78% from 1990 levels by 2035 with a target of net zero by 2050 is a deliberate policy of economic destruction. After the boost to non-fossil fuel investment, initially funded by yet more government spending, the costs imposed on the population to replace domestic heating by gas and oil with heat pumps is prohibitive and impractical. It can only be achieved by the destruction and rebuilding of swathes of existing residential and commercial properties. The energy available will be overdependent on unreliable wind and solar panel sources, and the available supply will be facing far larger demands on the grid than imposed today. Keynesians advising the government seem to believe that all the investment and rebuilding to new ecological standards stimulates economic activity — this has been argued by them before in the context of post-war reconstruction. But then Bastiat’s broken window fallacy, whereby the alternative use of economic resources is not being considered, appears to have passed them by. The green replacement of transport logistics, which is well over 95% diesel driven, is a destruction of efficient and current capacity to be replaced by electrical powered transportation whose energy source is to be shared with all other energy demands. The only possible solution to the problem created by climate change activism involves the rapid development of nuclear energy. But besides taking decades from drawing board to switch on, nuclear is stymied on cost grounds, with wind and solar being far cheaper on a per therm basis. Furthermore, only 16% of Britain’s electricity supply is nuclear, and almost half of that is due to be decommissioned by 2025, with only one new plant under construction. The UK government’s green policies are propelling the nation into an energy disaster, when it has substantial fossil fuel reserves available in the form of coal and natural gas. Coal driven electricity supply has been reduced to under 3%. Instead of being phased out it should be brought back into supply production, because scrubbers remove almost all particulates and sulphates, and doubtless can be further developed to deal with CO2 emissions as well. There are good reasons to reinstate coal and for that matter gas fracking. China and India retain and are increasing their coal powered supplies, giving them a significant energy price advantage for their own economies over the West. And while they have signed up to eventually reducing their coal dependency, it is a promise to do so at a vanishingly future date. On energy grounds alone, Britain along with other European nations are committing themselves to swapping their economic status with emerging nations, so that when the latter have fully emerged, Britain and Europe will then have the third world status. Whatever climate change debate merits, it is an argument which is not to be confused with economics. It must be admitted that in the enthusiasm for doing away with fossil fuels and primary and reliable sources of energy, under this current government the outlook for Britain’s economy is of an accelerated decline. The likely outcome of government policies From what started as a government of ministers with a strong libertarian approach, two years later we see the opportunity to improve Britain’s economic consequences sadly squandered. Politically, the position is fragile, with the Prime Minister struggling to survive in the wake of the report on Partygate and the ongoing police investigation. Furthermore, he appears to have found it far easier and more pleasurable to increase spending than address wasteful government spending. It is difficult to be optimistic, with the signs that the permanent civil service establishment remains firmly in charge and is increasing its economic and bureaucratic influence over weak ministries. Perhaps the most important of the difficulties outlined above is monetary inflation, likely to lead to higher interest rates in the coming months. This is not a trend isolated to sterling, and even on a best-case basis whereby a Conservative government addresses the issues raised in this article, it is very likely that attempts at economic, monetary, trade policy, foreign policy, and administrative reforms will be overtaken by the repetitive cycle of bank lending contraction. So highly geared have banks in the Eurozone become, for which London acts as the principal financial centre, that rising interest rates seem sure to trigger a global banking crisis with London as an epicentre on a scale larger than that of thirteen years ago when Lehman failed. Such an event is likely to destroy not only banking and central banking as we know it today, but currencies, the debasement of which socialising governments increasingly rely upon. Nevertheless, the issues raised in this article will remain and need to be addressed after a currency and credit crisis has passed and economic stability begins to return. The role for a British government with respect to foreign policy will become more important, particularly for post-crisis European political stability when the euro and possibly the entire Brussels construct have been destroyed. In this event the threat of another European war cannot be dismissed, and we will need the wisdom of a modern Lord Liverpool and Viscount Castlereagh. The destruction of the fiat currency system will provide opportunities for a reset, based on the lessons learned. The post-crisis government must learn from the mistakes of past errors and be the servant of the people and not its master. It must not interfere in the economy, and keep its size to the minimum possible, taxing no more than 10—15% of everyone’s income and profits. It must restrict its role to providing a framework for contract and criminal law and the policing of the latter, as well as the defence of the realm. It must not respond to any demands for special treatment from either businesses or individuals. Individuals must take full responsibility for their own actions, and any welfare strictly limited. And most importantly, the state must ensure that currency is sound, backed by and exchangeable for gold coin. Tyler Durden Sun, 02/06/2022 - 07:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

Why Did Vladimir Putin Invade Ukraine?

Why Did Vladimir Putin Invade Ukraine? Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, Nearly three weeks have passed since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine, but it still is not clear why he did so and what he hopes to achieve. Western analysts, commentators and government officials have put forward more than a dozen theories to explain Putin's actions, motives, and objectives. Some analysts posit that Putin is motivated by a desire to rebuild the Russian Empire. Others say he is obsessed with bringing Ukraine back into Russia's sphere of influence. Some believe that Putin wants to control Ukraine's vast offshore energy resources. Still others speculate that Putin, an aging autocrat, is seeking to maintain his grip on power. While some argue that Putin has a long-term proactive strategy aimed at establishing Russian primacy in Europe, others believe he is a short-term reactionary seeking to preserve what remains of Russia's diminishing position on the world stage. Following is a compilation of eight differing but complementary theories that try to explain why Putin invaded Ukraine. 1. Empire Building The most common explanation for Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that Putin, burning with resentment over the demise of the Soviet Empire, is determined to reestablish Russia (generally considered a regional power) as a great power that can exert influence on a global scale. According to this theory, Putin aims to regain control over the 14 post-Soviet states — often referred to as Russia's "near abroad" — that became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This is part of greater plan to rebuild the Russian Empire, which territorially was even more expansive than the Soviet Empire. The Russian Empire theory holds that Putin's invasion of Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014, as well as his 2015 decision to intervene militarily in Syria, were all parts of a strategy to restore Russia's geopolitical position — and erode the U.S.-led rules-based international order. Those who believe Putin is trying to reestablish Russia as a great power say that once he gains control over Ukraine, he will turn his focus to other former Soviet republics, including the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and eventually Bulgaria, Romania and even Poland. Putin's ultimate objective, they say, is to drive the United States out of Europe, establish an exclusive great-power sphere of influence for Russia on the continent and dominate the European security order. Russian literature supports this view. In 1997, for instance, Russian strategist Aleksandr Dugin, a friend of Putin, published a highly influential book — "Foundation of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia" — which argued that Russia's long-term goal should be the creation, not of a Russian Empire, but of a Eurasian Empire. Dugin's book, which is required reading in Russian military academies, states that to make Russia great again, Georgia should be dismembered, Finland should be annexed and Ukraine should cease to exist: "Ukraine, as an independent state with certain territorial ambitions, represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia." Dugin, who has been described as "Putin's Rasputin," added: "The Eurasian Empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, the strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us." In April 2005, Putin echoed this sentiment when, in his annual state of the nation address, he described the collapse of the Soviet empire as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century." Since then, Putin has repeatedly criticized the U.S.-led world order, in which Russia has a subordinate position. In February 2007, during a speech to the Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin attacked the idea of a "unipolar" world order in which the United States, as the sole superpower, was able to spread its liberal democratic values to other parts of the world, including Russia. In October 2014, in a speech to the Valdai Discussion Club, a high-profile Russian think tank close to the Kremlin, Putin criticized the post-World War II liberal international order, whose principles and norms — including adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and the promotion of liberal democracy, as well as preserving the sanctity of territorial sovereignty and existing boundaries — have regulated the conduct of international relations for nearly 80 years. Putin called for the creation of a new multipolar world order that is more friendly to the interests of an autocratic Russia. The late Zbigniew Brzezinski (former National Security Advisor to U.S. President Jimmy Carter), in his 1997 book "The Grand Chessboard," wrote that Ukraine is essential to Russian imperial ambitions: "Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.... However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as its access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia." The German historian Jan Behrends tweeted: "Make no mistake: For #Putin it's not about EU or NATO, it is about his mission to restore Russian empire. No more, no less. #Ukraine is just a stage, NATO is just one irritant. But the ultimate goal is Russian hegemony in Europe." Ukraine expert Peter Dickinson, writing for the Atlantic Council, noted: "Putin's extreme animosity towards Ukraine is shaped by his imperialistic instincts. It is often suggested that Putin wishes to recreate the Soviet Union, but this is actually far from the case. In fact, he is a Russian imperialist who dreams of a revived Czarist Empire and blames the early Soviet authorities for handing over ancestral Russian lands to Ukraine and other Soviet republics." Bulgarian scholar Ivan Krastev agreed: "America and Europe aren't divided on what Mr. Putin wants. For all the speculation about motives, that much is clear: The Kremlin wants a symbolic break from the 1990s, burying the post-Cold War order. That would take the form of a new European security architecture that recognizes Russia's sphere of influence in the post-Soviet space and rejects the universality of Western values. Rather than the restoration of the Soviet Union, the goal is the recovery of what Mr. Putin regards as historic Russia." Transatlantic security analyst Andrew Michta added that Putin's invasion of Ukraine was: "The culmination of almost two decades of policy aimed at reconstructing the Russian empire and bringing Russia back into European politics as one of the principal players empowered to shape the Continent's future." Writing for the national security blog 1945, Michta elaborated: "From Moscow's perspective the Ukrainian war is in effect the final battle of the Cold War — for Russia a time to reclaim its place on the European chessboard as a great empire, empowered to shape the Continent's destiny going forward. The West needs to understand and accept that only once Russia is unequivocally defeated in Ukraine will a genuine post-Cold War settlement finally be possible." 2. Buffer Zone Many analysts attribute the Russian invasion of Ukraine to geopolitics, which attempts to explain the behavior of states through the lens of geography. Most of the western part of Russia sits on the Russian Plain, a vast mountain-free area that extends over 4,000,000 square kilometers (1.5 million square miles). Also called the East European Plain, the vast flatland presents Russia with an acute security problem: an enemy army invading from central or eastern Europe would encounter few geographical obstacles to reach the Russian heartland. In other words, Russia, due to its geography, is especially difficult to defend. The veteran geopolitical analyst Robert Kaplan wrote that geography is the starting point for understanding everything else about Russia: "Russia remains illiberal and autocratic because, unlike Britain and America, it is not an island nation, but a vast continent with few geographical features to protect it from invasion. Putin's aggression stems ultimately from this fundamental geographical insecurity." Russia's leaders historically have sought to obtain strategic depth by pushing outward to create buffer zones — territorial barriers that increase the distance and time invaders would encounter to reach Moscow. The Russian Empire included the Baltics, Finland and Poland, all of which served as buffers. The Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact — which included Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania — as a vast buffer to protect against potential invaders. Most of the former Warsaw Pact countries are now members of NATO. That leaves Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, strategically located between Russia and the West, as the only eastern European countries left to serve as Russian buffer states. Some analysts argue that Russia's perceived need for a buffer is the primary factor in Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. Mark Galeotti, a leading British scholar of Russian power politics, noted that the possession of a buffer zone is intrinsic to Russia's understanding of great-power status: "From Putin's point of view, he has built so much of his political identity around the notion of making Russia a great power and making it recognized as a great power. When he thinks of great power, he is essentially a 19th century geopolitician. It's not the power of economic connectivity, or technological innovation, let alone soft power. No. Great power, in good old-fashioned terms, has a sphere of influence, countries whose sovereignty is subordinate to your own." Others believe that the concept of buffer states is obsolete. International security expert Benjamin Denison, for instance, argued that Russia cannot legitimately justify the need for a buffer zone: "Once nuclear weapons were invented ... buffer states were no longer seen as necessary regardless of geography, as nuclear deterrence worked to ensure the territorial integrity of great powers with nuclear capabilities.... The utility of buffer states and the concerns of geography invariably changed following the nuclear revolution. Without the concern of quick invasions into the homeland of a rival great power, buffer states lose their utility regardless of the geography of the territory.... "Narrowly defining national interests to geography, and mandating that geography pushes states to replicate past actions throughout history, only fosters inaccurate thinking and forgives Russian land-grabs as natural." 3. Ukrainian Independence Closely intertwined with theories about empire-building and geopolitics is Putin's obsession with extinguishing Ukrainian sovereignty. Putin contends that Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and that its independence in August 1991 was a historical mistake. Ukraine, he claims, does not have a right to exist. Putin has repeatedly downplayed or negated Ukraine's right to statehood and sovereignty: In 2008, Putin told William Burns, then the U.S. ambassador to Russia (now director of the CIA): "Don't you know that Ukraine is not even a real country? Part of it is really East European and part is really Russian." In July 2021, Putin penned a 7,000-word essay — "On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians" — in which he expressed contempt for Ukrainian statehood, questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine's borders and argued that modern-day Ukraine occupies "the lands of historical Russia." He concluded: "I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia." In February 2022, just three days before he launched his invasion, Putin asserted that Ukraine was a fake state created by Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union: "Modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia — by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.... Soviet Ukraine is the result of the Bolsheviks' policy and can be rightfully called 'Vladimir Lenin's Ukraine.' He was its creator and architect." Russia scholar Mark Katz, in an essay — "Blame It on Lenin: What Putin Gets Wrong About Ukraine" — argued that Putin should draw lessons from Lenin's realization that a more accommodating approach toward Ukrainian nationalism would better serve Russia's long-term interests: "Putin cannot escape the problem that Lenin himself had to deal with of how to reconcile non-Russians to being ruled by Russia. The forceful imposition of Russian rule in part — much less all — of Ukraine will not bring about such a reconciliation. For even if Ukrainians cannot resist the forceful imposition of Russian rule over part or all of Ukraine now, Putin's success in imposing it is only likely to intensify feelings of Ukrainian nationalism and lead it to burst forth again whenever the opportunity arises." Ukraine's political independence has been accompanied by a long-running feud with Russia over religious allegiance. In January 2019, in what was described as "the biggest rift in Christianity in centuries," the Orthodox church in Ukraine gained independence (autocephaly) from the Russian church. The Ukrainian church had been under the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate since 1686. Its autonomy dealt a blow to the Russian church, which lost around one-fifth of the 150 million Orthodox Christians under its authority. The Ukrainian government claimed that Moscow-backed churches in Ukraine were being used by the Kremlin to spread propaganda and to support Russian separatists in the eastern Donbas region. Putin wants the Ukrainian church to return to Moscow's orbit, and has warned of "a heavy dispute, if not bloodshed" over any attempts to transfer ownership of church property. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, has declared that Kyiv, where the Orthodox religion began, is comparable in terms of its historic importance to Jerusalem: "Ukraine is not on the periphery of our church. We call Kiev 'the mother of all Russian cities'. For us Kiev is what Jerusalem is for many. Russian Orthodoxy began there, so under no circumstances can we abandon this historical and spiritual relationship. The whole unity of our Local Church is based on these spiritual ties." On March 6, Kirill — a former KGB agent who is known as "Putin's altar boy" due to his subservience to the Russian leader — publicly endorsed the invasion of Ukraine. In a sermon he repeated Putin's claims that the Ukrainian government was carrying out a "genocide" of Russians in Ukraine: "For eight years, the suppression, extermination of people has been underway in Donbass. Eight years of suffering and the entire world is silent." German geopolitical analyst Ulrich Speck wrote: "For Putin, destroying Ukraine's independence has become an obsession.... Putin has often said, and even written, that Ukraine is not a separate nation, and should not exist as a sovereign state. It is this fundamental denial that has led Putin to wage this totally senseless war that he cannot win. And that leads us to the problem of making peace: either Ukraine has the right to exist as a nation and a sovereign state, or it hasn't. Sovereignty is indivisible. Putin denies it, Ukraine defends it. How can you make a compromise about the existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state? Impossible. That's why both sides can only fight on until they win. "Normally wars that take place between states are about conflicts they have between them. Yet this is a war about the existence of one state, which is denied by the aggressor. That's why the usual concepts of peacemaking — finding a compromise — do not apply. If Ukraine continues to exist as a sovereign state, Putin will have lost. He is not interested in territorial gain as such — it's rather a burden for him. He is only interested in controlling the entire country. Everything else for him is defeat." Ukraine expert Taras Kuzio added: "The real cause of today's crisis is Putin's quest to return Ukraine to the Russian orbit. For the past eight years, he has used a combination of direct military intervention, cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, economic pressure, and coercive diplomacy to try and force Ukraine into abandoning its Euro-Atlantic ambitions.... "Putin's ultimate objective is Ukraine's capitulation and the country's absorption into the Russian sphere of influence. His obsessive pursuit of this goal has already plunged the world into a new Cold War.... "Nothing less than Ukraine's return to the Kremlin orbit will satisfy Putin or assuage his fears over the further breakup of Russia's imperial inheritance. He will not stop until he is stopped. In order to achieve this, the West must become far more robust in responding to Russian imperial aggression, while also expediting Ukraine's own Euro-Atlantic integration." 4. NATO This theory holds that Putin invaded Ukraine to prevent it from joining NATO. The Russian president has repeatedly demanded that the West "immediately" guarantee that Ukraine will not be allowed to join NATO or the European Union. A vocal proponent of this viewpoint is the American international relations theorist John Mearsheimer, who, in a controversial essay, "Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West's Fault," argued that the eastward expansion of NATO provoked Putin to act militarily against Ukraine: "The United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia's orbit and integrate it into the West.... "Since the mid-1990s, Russian leaders have adamantly opposed NATO enlargement, and in recent years, they have made it clear that they would not stand by while their strategically important neighbor turned into a Western bastion." In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Mearsheimer blamed the United States and its European allies for the current conflict: "I think all the trouble in this case really started in April 2008, at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, where afterward NATO issued a statement that said Ukraine and Georgia would become part of NATO." In fact, Putin has not always opposed NATO expansion. Several times he went so far as to say that the eastward expansion of NATO was none of Russia's concern. In March 2000, for instance, Putin, in an interview with the late BBC television presenter David Frost, was asked whether he viewed NATO as a potential partner, rival or enemy. Putin responded: "Russia is part of the European culture. And I cannot imagine my own country in isolation from Europe and what we often call the civilized world. So, it is hard for me to visualize NATO as an enemy." In November 2001, in an interview with National Public Radio, Putin was asked if he opposed the admission of the three Baltic states — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — into NATO. He replied: "We of course are not in a position to tell people what to do. We cannot forbid people to make certain choices if they want to increase the security of their nations in a particular way." In May 2002, Putin, when asked about the future of relations between NATO and Ukraine, said matter-of-factly that he did not care one way or the other: "I am absolutely convinced that Ukraine will not shy away from the processes of expanding interaction with NATO and the Western allies as a whole. Ukraine has its own relations with NATO; there is the Ukraine-NATO Council. At the end of the day the decision is to be taken by NATO and Ukraine. It is a matter for those two partners." Putin's position on NATO expansion radically changed after the 2004 Orange Revolution, which was triggered by Moscow's attempt to steal Ukraine's presidential election. A massive pro-democracy uprising ultimately led to the defeat of Putin's preferred candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, who eventually did become president of Ukraine in 2010 but was ousted in the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution. Former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in a recent interview with Radio Free Europe, discussed how Putin's views about NATO have changed: "Mr. Putin has changed over the years. My first meeting took place in 2002...and he was very positive regarding cooperation between Russia and the West. Then, gradually, he changed his mind. And from around 2005 to 2006, he got increasingly negative toward the West. And in 2008, he attacked Georgia.... In 2014, he took Crimea, and now we have seen a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. So, he has really changed over the years. "I think the revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine in 2004 and 2005 contributed to his change of mind. We shouldn't forget that Vladimir Putin grew up in the KGB. So, his thinking is very much impacted by that past. I think he suffers from paranoia. And he thought that after color revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, that the aim [of the West] was to initiate a regime change in the Kremlin — in Moscow — as well. And that's why he turned against the West. "I put the blame entirely on Putin and Russia. Russia is not a victim. We have reached out to Russia several times during history.... First, we approved the NATO Russia Founding Act in 1997.... Next time, it was in 2002, we reached out once again, established something very special, namely the NATO-Russia Council. And in 2010, we decided at a NATO-Russia summit that we would develop a strategic partnership between Russia and NATO. So, time and again, we reached out to Russia. "I think we should have done more to deter Putin. Back in 2008, he attacked Georgia, took de facto Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We could have reacted much more determinedly already in that time." In recent years, Putin repeatedly has claimed that the post-Cold War enlargement of NATO poses a threat to Russia, which has been left with no other choice than to defend itself. He also has accused the West of trying to encircle Russia. In fact, of the 14 countries that have borders with Russia, only five are NATO members. The borders of those five countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Poland — are contiguous with only 5% of Russia's total borders. Putin has claimed that NATO broke solemn promises it made in the 1990s that the alliance would not expand to the east. "You promised us in the 1990s that NATO would not move an inch to the east. You brazenly cheated us," he said in during a press conference in December 2021. Mikhail Gorbachev, then president of the Soviet Union, countered that such promises were never made. Putin recently issued three wildly unrealistic demands: NATO must withdraw its forces to its 1997 borders; NATO must not offer membership to other countries, including Finland, Sweden, Moldova or Georgia; NATO must provide written guarantees that Ukraine will never join the alliance. Writing for Foreign Affairs, Russian historian Dmitri Trenin, in an essay — "What Putin Really Wants in Ukraine" — argued that Putin wants stop NATO expansion, not to annex more territory: "Putin's actions suggest that his true goal is not to conquer Ukraine and absorb it into Russia but to change the post-Cold War setup in Europe's east. That setup left Russia as a rule-taker without much say in European security, which was centered on NATO. If he manages to keep NATO out of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and U.S. intermediate-range missiles out of Europe, he thinks he could repair part of the damage Russia's security sustained after the Cold War ended. Not coincidentally, that could serve as a useful record to run on in 2024, when Putin would be up for re-election." 5. Democracy This theory holds that Ukraine, a flourishing democracy, poses an existential threat to Putin's autocratic model of governance. The continued existence of a Western-aligned, sovereign, free and democratic Ukraine could inspire the Russian people to demand the same. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and Robert Person, a professor at the United States Military Academy, wrote that Putin is terrified of democracy in Ukraine: "Over the last thirty years, the salience of the issue [NATO expansion] has risen and fallen not primarily because of the waves of NATO expansion, but due instead to waves of democratic expansion in Eurasia. In a very clear pattern, Moscow's complaints about NATO spike after democratic breakthroughs.... "Because the primary threat to Putin and his autocratic regime is democracy, not NATO, that perceived threat would not magically disappear with a moratorium on NATO expansion. Putin would not stop seeking to undermine democracy and sovereignty in Ukraine, Georgia, or the region as a whole if NATO stopped expanding. As long as citizens in free countries exercise their democratic rights to elect their own leaders and set their own course in domestic and foreign politics, Putin will keep them in his crosshairs.... "The more serious cause of tensions has been a series of democratic breakthroughs and popular protests for freedom throughout the 2000s, what many refer to as the "Color Revolutions." Putin believes that Russian national interests have been threatened by what he portrays as U.S.-supported coups. After each of them — Serbia in 2000, Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004, the Arab Spring in 2011, Russia in 2011-12, and Ukraine in 2013-14 — Putin has pivoted to more hostile policies toward the United States, and then invoked the NATO threat as justification for doing so.... "Ukrainians who rose up in defense of their freedom were, in Putin's own assessment, Slavic brethren with close historical, religious, and cultural ties to Russia. If it could happen in Kyiv, why not in Moscow?" Ukraine expert Taras Kuzio agrees: "Putin remains haunted by the wave of pro-democracy uprisings that swept Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, setting the stage for the subsequent Soviet collapse. He sees Ukraine's fledgling democracy as a direct challenge to his own authoritarian regime and recognizes that Ukraine's historical closeness to Russia makes this threat particularly acute." 6. Energy Ukraine holds the second-biggest known reserves — more than one trillion cubic meters — of natural gas in Europe after Russia. These reserves, under the Black Sea, are concentrated around the Crimean Peninsula. In addition, large deposits of shale gas have been discovered in eastern Ukraine, around Kharkiv and Donetsk. In January 2013, Ukraine signed a 50-year, $10 billion deal with Royal Dutch Shell to explore and drill for natural gas in eastern Ukraine. Later that year, Kyiv signed a 50-year, $10 billion shale gas production-sharing agreement with the American energy company Chevron. Shell and Chevron pulled out of those deals after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. Some analysts believe Putin annexed Crimea to prevent Ukraine from becoming a major oil and gas provider to Europe and thereby challenge Russia's energy supremacy. Russia, they argue, was also worried that as Europe's second-largest petrostate, Ukraine would have been granted fast-track membership to the EU and NATO. According to this theory, Russia's invasion of Ukraine is aimed at forcing Kyiv to officially acknowledge Crimea as Russian, and recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states, so that Moscow can legally secure control over the natural resources in these areas. 7. Water On February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops restored water flow to a strategically important canal linking the Dnieper River to Russian-controlled Crimea. Ukraine blocked the Soviet-era North Crimean Canal, which supplies 85% of Crimea's water needs, after Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014. The water shortages resulted in a massive reduction in agricultural production on the peninsula and forced Russia to spend billions of rubles each year to supply water from the mainland to sustain the Crimean population. The water crisis was a major source of tension between Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted that the water supply would not be restored until Russia returns the Crimean Peninsula. Security analyst Polina Vynogradova noted that any resumption of water supply would have amounted to a de facto recognition of Russian authority in Crimea and would have undermined Ukraine's claim to the peninsula. It would also have weakened Ukrainian leverage over negotiations on Donbas. Even if Russian troops eventually withdraw from Ukraine, Russia likely will maintain permanent control over the entire 400-kilometer North Crimean Canal to ensure there are no more disruptions to Crimea's water supply. 8. Regime Survival This theory holds that the 69-year-old Putin, who has been in power since 2000, seeks perpetual military conflict as a way of remaining popular with the Russian public. Some analysts believe that after public uprisings in Belarus and Kazakhstan, Putin decided to invade Ukraine due to a fear of losing his grip on power. In an interview with Politico, Bill Browder, the American businessman who heads up the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, said that Putin feels the need to look strong at all times: "I don't think that this war is about NATO; I don't think this war is about Ukrainian people or the EU or even about Ukraine; this war is about starting a war in order to stay in power. Putin is a dictator, and he's a dictator whose intention is to stay in power until the end of his natural life. He said to himself that the writing's on the wall for him unless he does something dramatic. Putin is just thinking short-term ... 'how do I stay in power from this week to the next? And then next week to the next?'" Anders Åslund, a leading specialist on economic policy in Russia and Ukraine, agreed: "How to understand Putin's war in Ukraine. It is not about NATO, EU, USSR or even Ukraine. Putin needs a war to justify his rule & his swiftly increasing domestic repression.... It is really all about Putin, not about neo-imperialism, Russian nationalism or even the KGB." Russia expert Anna Borshchevskaya wrote that the invasion of Ukraine could be the beginning of the end for Putin: "Though he is not democratically elected, he worries about public opinion and protests at home, seeing them as threats to retaining his grip on power.... While Putin may have hoped that invading Ukraine would quickly expand Russian territory and help restore the grandeur of the former Russian empire, it could do the opposite." Tyler Durden Tue, 03/15/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 15th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

8 Top CEOs Give Their Predictions for the Wild Year Ahead

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders from across the world of business to share their priorities and expectations for the year ahead. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, wants to leverage the advances his pharmaceutical company has made in fighting COVID-19 to tackle other diseases, while Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has made improving access to healthcare one of her goals over the next year. GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan says building trust will be at the heart of decision-making at the crowdfunding platform—both with workers and its wider community. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Innovation is key to Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger and Forerunner Ventures founder and managing partner Kirsten Green. And Rothy’s CEO Stephen Hawthornthwaite, Albemarle CEO Kent Masters, and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, shared their suggestions for how companies and policymakers can respond to persistent supply chains problems. Read on to see how some of the most powerful people in business envision the coming year. (These answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you expect in the year ahead? Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer: The scientific advancements made by Pfizer and others over the past year have brought us very powerful tools to battle the worst pandemic of our lives. But, unfortunately, we don’t see everyone using them. I am concerned about the limited infrastructure and resources in the poorest countries as they struggle to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines to their people. Some of these countries have asked us to pause our deliveries of doses while they work to address these issues. While I am proud of the work Pfizer has done to make vaccines available to low- and lower middle-income countries over the past year, we need to find new ways to support the World Health Organization as they work with NGOs and governments to address these infrastructure issues. Getty ImagesAlbert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer Over the next year I’d like us to help find solutions to issues like the shortage of medical professionals, vaccine hesitancy due to limited educational campaigns, lack of equipment and even roads to allow timely delivery of vaccines. Throughout every chapter of this pandemic, we have been reminded of the importance of collaboration and innovative thinking. We need to work harder than ever before to address these health inequities so that people around the globe are protected from the virus. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel: Throughout the history of technology, we’ve seen the pendulum swinging between centralized and decentralized computing. And there is still a tremendous untapped opportunity in edge computing as we bring greater intelligence to devices such as sensors and cameras in everything from our cars to manufacturing to the smart grid. Edge computing will not replace cloud; we’re swinging back to where decentralized compute becomes the primary growth for new workloads because the inference and AI analysis will take place at the edge. Technology has the power to improve the lives of every person on earth and Intel plays a foundational role within. We aim to lead in the opportunity for every category in which we compete. Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens: The pandemic affirmed Walgreens as a trusted neighborhood health destination to help our customers and patients manage their health. We provide essential care to our communities, including administering more than 50 million COVID-19 vaccines as of early December 2021. The opportunity ahead of us at Walgreens Health—our new segment launched this past fall—is to create better outcomes for both consumers and partners, while lowering costs across the care continuum. A year from now I want to look back on this time as an inflection point and a moment in time where real, lasting change happened—that we will all have collectively banded together to get through the pandemic and at the same time delivered real change toward improving accessible and affordable healthcare. I feel inspired and hopeful that some good will come out of this very difficult time in our country and the world’s history. Jason Redmond—AFP/Getty ImagesRosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens, speaks in Seattle, Washington on Mar. 20, 2019. Tim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe: We’re going to see continued disruption in the world and the workplace in 2022—this will require more people to come together to help each other. Our opportunity is to use our voice and platform to bring more people together to help each other with all aspects of their lives. Asking for help is hard but coming together to help each other is one of the most important and rewarding things we can do in life. We are continuously improving our product to make it easier for more people to both ask for and give help, whether it’s helping an individual fulfill a dream, working on a global cause like climate change, or supporting a family during a difficult time. Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures: We are nearly two years into the pandemic, and it is still ongoing. We must embrace this new normal and figure out how to make that reality work for our businesses, our consumers, and our people. Thankfully, we often see innovation come out of these periods of change and fluctuation. At the same time, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the world has evolved, and it is still important to understand that the ‘reset’ button just got hit for a lot of people. Values, goals, and core needs are being reevaluated and reestablished, and we as a society need to figure out how to move forward during a volatile period. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles: Our industry needs to help drive the American economic recovery amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top priority remains getting goods to American consumers and creating a more fluid supply chain. We also need to address the growing trade imbalance. Imports are at all-time highs while U.S. exports have declined nearly 40% over the past three years in Los Angeles. We have to help American manufacturers and farmers get their products to global markets. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, our team is working to get our fair share of federal funds to accelerate projects to improve rail infrastructure, local highways and support facilities. The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s primary trade gateway, yet east and gulf coast ports have received most of the federal funding in the past decade. The best return on port infrastructure investment is in Los Angeles, where the cargo we handle reaches every corner of the country. Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle: Challenges will likely continue to include competition for top talent, supply chain disruptions due to possible pandemic impacts to raw material availability and logistics, and potential inflation impacts to material and freight costs, all of which we’re monitoring closely so we can respond quickly. With the global EV market growing rapidly, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us for years to come. Next year, we’ll advance our lithium business through new capacity ramp-ups in Chile, Australia and China, and restart the MARBL Lithium Wodgina hard rock resource in Australia to help feed our new conversion assets and meet customer needs. We’re also keenly focused on organizational goal alignment and continuous improvement to drive greater productivity through our global workforce next year. What do you expect to happen to supply chains in 2022? Gelsinger: The unprecedented global demand for semiconductors—combined with the impact of the global pandemic—has led to an industry-wide shortage, which is impacting technology providers across the industry. Intel is aggressively stepping in to address these issues and build out more capacity and supply around the globe for a more balanced and stable supply, but it will take time and strong public-private partnerships to achieve. Read more: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Brewer: We learned a lot over the past two years and companies are taking action with investments in capacity, resiliency and agility for supply chains across the world. We will continue finding creative ways to increase manufacturing and shipping capacity. Manufacturers will continue expanding capacity and increasing the diversity in their supplier base to reduce reliance of single sourcing. Companies will continue to invest to increase resiliency through expanded inventory positions, extended planning horizons and lead-times, and increased agility in manufacturing and logistics capabilities to fulfill customer needs. As the marketplace changes, we must be agile and adapt quickly as we respond to shifts in consumer behavior. Investments in technology, such as real time supply chain visibility and predictive/prescriptive analytics, will enable companies to deliver the speed and precision expected by today’s consumer. Seroka: Goods and products will get to market. The maritime logistics industry must raise the bar and make advances on service levels for both our import and export customers. Retailers will be replenishing their inventories in the second quarter of the year. And by summer, several months earlier than usual, we’ll see savvy retailers bringing in products for back to school, fall fashion and the winter holidays. Despite the challenges, retail sales reached new highs in 2021. Collectively, supply chains partners need to step up further to improve fluidity and reliability. Stephen Hawthornthwaite, CEO of Rothy’s: In 2022, pressure from consumers for transparency around manufacturing and production, coupled with pandemic learnings about existing supply chain constraints, will push businesses to condense their supply chains and bring in-house where possible. I also predict that more brands will test make-to-demand models to better weather demand volatility and avoid supply surpluses—a benefit for businesses, consumers and the planet. Nimbleness and a willingness to innovate will be crucial for brands who wish to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. At Rothy’s, we’ve built a vertically integrated model and wholly-owned factory, enabling us to better navigate the challenges that production and logistics present and unlock the full potential of sustainability and circularity. Courtesy of Rothy’sStephen Hawthornthwaite, chairman and CEO, Rothy’s Green: The pandemic crystallized what a lot of us knew to be true, but hadn’t yet evaluated: There’s not nearly as much innovation in the supply chain as a flexible world is going to need. What we’re seeing now is a giant wake-up call to the entire commerce ecosystem. This is more than a rallying cry; it’s a mandate to reevaluate how we’re managing our production processes, and 2022 will be the start of change. Expect a massive overhaul of the system, and expect to see more investment building innovation, efficiency, and sustainability into the supply chain space. Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Masters: As the pandemic continues with new variants, we expect global supply chain issues to persist in 2022. To what degree remains to be seen, but I would expect impacts to some raw materials, freight costs, and even energy costs. On a positive note, we can successfully meet our customer obligations largely because of our vertically integrated capabilities. This helps us continue to be a reliable source of lithium, as well as bromine. Worldwide logistics issues are a factor, but more marginal in the supply question when the determining factor is the ability to convert feedstock to product and bolster the supply chain. In lithium, we have active conversion facilities running at full capacity now. As we bring more capacity online (La Negra III/IV, Kemerton I/II, Silver Peak expansion, and our Tianyuan acquisition in China) while making more efficient use of our feedstocks, it will help strengthen the global supply chain. How will the labor market evolve and what changes should workers expect in the coming year? Brewer: The labor market will continue to be competitive in 2022. I often say to my team: as an employer, it’s not about the products we make, it’s not about our brand. It’s about how are we going to motivate team members to feel good about themselves, fulfilled and passionate about their work, to contribute at their highest level of performance. How do we create a culture that means Walgreens Boots Alliance is the best place to work—so our team members say, “Yes, pay me for the work that I do, but help me love my job.” In the coming year and beyond, broadly across the market, we will see that managers will continue to become even more empathetic and listen more actively to their team members as people. Workers will expect that employers and their managers accept who they are as their whole, authentic selves, both personally and professionally. Read more: The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough? Gelsinger: Our employees are our future and our most important asset, and we’ve already announced a significant investment in our people for next year. As I’ve said, sometimes it takes a decade to make a week of progress; sometimes a week gives you a decade of progress. As I look to 2022, navigating a company at the heart of many of the pandemic-related challenges, we must all carefully consider what shifts are underway and what changes are yet to come. It will continue to be a competitive market and I expect you’ll continue to see companies establish unique benefits and incentives to attract and retain talent. We expect the “hybrid” mode that’s developed over the past years to become the standard working model going forward. Al Drago/Bloomberg—Getty ImagesPatrick Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., speaks during an interview at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Dec. 9, 2021. Bourla: The past couple of years have challenged our workforce in ways that we never would have imagined. Companies have asked employees to demonstrate exceptional flexibility, commitment, courage and ingenuity over the past two years—and they have risen to the challenge. I predict that we are likely to see an increase in salaries in the coming year due to inflation—and I believe this is a good thing for workers, as it will help close the gap in income inequality. That said, financial rewards are no longer the only thing that employees expect from their employers. Increasingly, people want to work for a company with a strong culture and a defined purpose. As such, companies will need to foster and promote a culture in which employees feel respected and valued for their contributions and made to feel that they are integral to furthering the purpose of their company. Businesses that are able to create such a culture will not only be able to attract the best talent, but also maximize the engagement, creativity and productivity of their people by enabling them to bring their best selves to every challenge. Green: For many years, Forerunner has been saying, “It’s good to be a consumer. Consumers want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and they’re getting it.” That same evolution of thought has now moved into the labor market: It’s a worker’s market, not a company’s market, and the relationship between the worker and the employer needs to evolve because of that. Workers should expect to get more flexibility, respect, benefits, and pay in some cases—but they still need to show up and deliver impact at work. It’s a two-way street, and we need to tap into a broader cultural work ethic. As a society, we need to be more holistic in our approach to meeting both company and worker needs. Read more: The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now We Have a Chance to Reinvent Work Seroka: There’s a need for more truck drivers and warehouse workers in southern California. President Biden’s new Trucking Action Plan funds trucker apprentice programs and recruit U.S. military veterans. It’s an important step forward to attract, recruit and retain workers. Private industry needs to look at improved compensation and benefits for both truckers and warehouse workers. We need to bring a sense of pride and professionalism back to these jobs. On the docks, the contract between longshore workers and the employer’s association expires June 30. Both sides will be hard at work to negotiate and reach an agreement that benefits the workers and companies while keeping cargo flowing for the American economy. Courtesy Port of Los AngelesGene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles. Masters: I think there will still be a fight for talent next year. It’s a tight labor market overall and Covid-19 restrictions are a challenge in some regions. Albemarle has a really attractive growth story and profile, especially for workers interested in combatting climate change by contributing in a meaningful way to the clean energy transition. We are embracing a flexible work environment, much like other companies are doing, and upgrading some benefits to remain an employer of choice in attracting and retaining the best people on our growth journey. And, of course, we should all expect pandemic protocols to continue next year to ensure everyone’s health and safety. How do you see your role as a leader evolving over the coming year? Bourla: We are entering a golden age of scientific discovery fueled by converging advancements in biology and technology. As an industry, we must leverage these advancements to make disruptive changes in the way we discover, develop and bring new medicines to patients. Since I became CEO of Pfizer, we have been working to reimagine this process by operating as a nimbler, more science-driven organization, focused on delivering true breakthroughs for patients across our six therapeutic areas. In the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver on this promise of bringing true scientific breakthroughs through our colleagues’ tireless work in COVID-19. But there is more work to be done to address the unmet need in other disease areas—and now is the time to do it. In the year ahead, my leadership team and I will focus on leveraging these advancements in biology and technology, as well as the lessons learned from our COVID-19 vaccine development program, so that we may continue to push this scientific renaissance forward. This is critical work that we must advance for patients and their families around the world who continue to suffer from other devastating diseases without treatment options. Gelsinger: We are in the midst of a digital renaissance and experiencing the fastest pace of digital acceleration in history. We have immense opportunities ahead of us to make a lasting impact on the world through innovation and technology. Humans create technology to define what’s possible. We ask “if” something can be done, we understand “why,” then we ask “how.” In 2022, I must inspire and ensure our global team of over 110,000 executes and continues to drive forward innovation and leadership on our mission to enrich the lives of every person on earth. Brewer: Purpose is the driving force at this point in my career. I joined Walgreens Boots Alliance as CEO in March of 2021, what I saw as a rare opportunity to help end the pandemic and to help reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. Seven months later, we launched the company’s new purpose, vision, values and strategic priorities. My role as CEO now and in 2022 is to lead with our company’s purpose—more joyful lives through better health—at the center of all we do for our customers, patients and team members. I’m particularly focused on affordable, accessible healthcare for all, including in traditionally medically underserved communities. Healthcare is inherently local, and all communities should have equitable access to care. John Lamparski—Getty Images for Advertising Week New YorkTim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe, speaks in New York City on Sept. 26, 2016. Cadogan: The last two years were dominated by a global pandemic and social and geopolitical issues that will carry over into 2022. The role of leaders in this new and uncertain environment will be to deliver value to their customers, while helping employees navigate an increasingly complex world with a completely new way of working together. Trust will be at the center of every decision we make around product development and platform policies—do the decisions we are making align with our mission to help people help each other and do they build trust with our community and our employees? Green: Everything around us is moving at an accelerated pace, and being a leader requires you to operate with a consistent set of values while still leaning into opportunity. Arguably, the pandemic has been the most disruptive time in decades—a generational disruption on par with the Depression or WWII. People’s North Stars are in the process of transforming, and leaders need to figure out what that means for their companies, their cultures, and their work processes. How does this change require leaders to shift their priorities as a business? Courtesy, Forerunner VenturesKirsten Green, founder and managing partner, Forerunner Ventures Masters: My leadership style is to make decisions through dialogue and debate. I encourage teams to be curious about other perspectives, be contrarian, actively discuss, make decisions, and act. I wasn’t sure how well we could do this from a strictly remote work approach during the pandemic, but watching our teams thrive despite the challenge changed my mind. Our people adapted quickly to move our business forward. We’ve worked so well that we’re integrating more flexibility into our work environment in 2022. With this shift to hybrid work, it will be important for all leaders, myself included, to empower employees in managing their productivity, and ensure teams stay engaged and focused on our key objectives. We’re facing rapid growth ahead, so our culture is vital to our success. I’ll continue to encourage our teams to live our values, seek diverse viewpoints, be decisive, and execute critical work to advance our strategy. Courtesy of Albemarle Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle Seroka: Overseeing the nation’s busiest container port comes with an outsized responsibility to help our nation—not just the Port of Los Angeles—address the challenges brought about by the unprecedented surge in consumer demand. That means taking the lead on key fronts such as digital technology, policy and operational logistics. On the digital front, our industry needs to use data better to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency in the flow of goods. Policy work will focus on improving infrastructure investment, job training and advocating for a national export plan that supports fair trade and American jobs. Operationally, we’ll look for new ways to improve cargo velocity and efficiency......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 2nd, 2022

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general.  Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages. It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.  Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.  For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes.  If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads).  Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.  The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles. “The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas. “Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.” “Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.” In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only say what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts.  In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites. “A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.” When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did, by virtue of private meetings, have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation.  It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health. From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little.  When Atlas would raise doubts about Birx, Jared Kushner would repeatedly assure him that “she is 100% MAGA.” Yet we know for certain that this is not true. We know from a different book on the subject that she only took the position with the anticipation that Trump would lose the presidency in the November election. That’s hardly a surprise; it’s the bias expected from a career bureaucrat working for a deep-state institution. Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty.  The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not.  That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier.  It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns.  Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns.  Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled.  Atlas writes: “On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.” The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity is that did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes: Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—“Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it. Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is  “to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.” There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals.  I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method: “Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection…. Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.” The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic.  Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference.  Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise.  To fix it meant changing the CDC guidelines. Atlas’s story of attempting to do that is eye-opening. He wrestled with every manner of bureaucrat and managed to get new guidelines written, only to find that they had been mysteriously reverted to the old guidelines one week later. He caught the “error” and insisted that his version prevail. Once they were issued by the CDC, the national press was all over it, with the story that the White House was pressuring the scientists at the CDC in terrible ways. After a week-long media storm, the guidelines changed yet again. All of Atlas’s work was made null.  Talk about discouraging! It was also Atlas’s first full experience in dealing with deep-state machinations. It was this way throughout the lockdown period, a machinery in place to implement, encourage, and enforce endless restrictions but no one person in particular was there to take responsibility for the policies or the outcomes, even as the ostensible head of state (Trump) was on record both publicly and privately opposing the policies that no one could seem to stop.  As an example of this, Atlas tells the story of bringing some massively important scientists to the White House to speak with Trump: Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, Joseph Ladapo, and Cody Meissner. People around the president thought the idea was great. But somehow the meeting kept being delayed. Again and again. When it finally went ahead, the schedulers only allowed for 5 minutes. But once they met with Trump himself, the president had other ideas and prolonged the meeting for an hour and a half, asking the scientists all kinds of questions about viruses, policy, the initial lockdowns, the risks to individuals, and so on.  The president was so impressed with their views and knowledge – what a dramatic change that must have been for him – that he invited filming to be done plus pictures to be taken. He wanted to make it a big public splash. It never happened. Literally. White House press somehow got the message that this meeting never happened. The first anyone will have known about it other than White House employees is from Atlas’s book.  Two months later, Atlas was instrumental in bringing in not only two of those scientists but also the famed Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. They met with the HHS secretary but this meeting too was buried in the press. No dissent was allowed. The bureaucrats were in charge, regardless of the wishes of the president.  Another case in point was during Trump’s own bout with Covid in early October. Atlas was nearly sure that he would be fine but he was forbidden from talking to the press. The entire White House communications office was frozen for four days, with no one speaking to the press. This was against Trump’s own wishes. This left the media to speculate that he was on his deathbed, so when he came back to the White House and announced that Covid is not to be feared, it was a shock to the nation. From my own point of view, this was truly Trump’s finest moment. To learn of the internal machinations happening behind the scenes is pretty shocking.  I can’t possibly cover the wealth of material in this book, and I expect this brief review to be one of several that I write. I do have a few disagreements. First, I think the author is too uncritical toward Operation Warp Speed and doesn’t really address how the vaccines were wildly oversold, to say nothing of growing concerns about safety, which were not addressed in the trials. Second, he seems to approve of Trump’s March 12th travel restrictions, which struck me as brutal and pointless, and the real beginning of the unfolding disaster. Third, Atlas inadvertently seems to perpetuate the distortion that Trump recommended ingesting bleach during a press conference. I know that this was all over the papers. But I’ve read the transcript of that press conference several times and find nothing like this. Trump actually makes clear that he was speaking about cleaning surfaces. This might be yet another case of outright media lies.  All that aside, this book reveals everything about the insanity of 2020 and 2021, years in which good sense, good science, historical precedent, human rights, and concerns for human liberty were all thrown into the trash, not just in the US but all over the world. Atlas summarizes the big picture: “in considering all the surprising events that unfolded in this past year, two in particular stand out. I have been shocked at the enormous power of government officials to unilaterally decree a sudden and severe shutdown of society—to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movements, mandate behavior, regulate interactions with our family members, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any defined end and with little accountability.” Atlas is correct that “the management of this pandemic has left a stain on many of America’s once noble institutions, including our elite universities, research institutes and journals, and public health agencies. Earning it back will not be easy.”  Internationally, we have Sweden as an example of a country that (mostly) kept its sanity. Domestically, we have South Dakota as an example of a place that stayed open, preserving freedom throughout. And thanks in large part to Atlas’s behind-the-scenes work, we have the example of Florida, whose governor did care about the actual science and ended up preserving freedom in the state even as the elderly population there experienced the greatest possible protection from the virus.  We all owe Atlas an enormous debt of gratitude, for it was he who persuaded the Florida governor to choose the path of focussed protection as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration, which Atlas cites as the “single document that will go down as one of the most important publications in the pandemic, as it lent undeniable credibility to focused protection and provided courage to thousands of additional medical scientists and public health leaders to come forward.” Atlas experienced the slings, arrows, and worse. The media and the bureaucrats tried to shut him up, shut him down, and body bag him professionally and personally. Cancelled, meaning removed from the roster of functional, dignified human beings. Even colleagues at Stanford University joined in the lynch mob, much to their disgrace. And yet this book is that of a man who has prevailed against them. In that sense, this book is easily the most crucial first-person account we have so far. It is gripping, revealing, devastating for the lockdowners and their vaccine-mandating successors, and a true classic that will stand the test of time. It’s simply not possible to write the history of this disaster without a close examination of this erudite first-hand account.  Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 12:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 28th, 2021

"No Major Surprises" - Five Main Takeaways From The Xi-Biden Virtual Meeting

"No Major Surprises" - Five Main Takeaways From The Xi-Biden Virtual Meeting As noted earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting Monday evening US time / Tuesday evening Asia time. Public statements from the two countries were broadly consistent on what they relayed in terms of substance, but differed considerably in length and emphasis. No major deliverables were announced, consistent with expectations going into the meeting, though as Goldman economist Andrew Tilton writes, "do see the possibility of increased bilateral exchanges and some US ‘tariff exclusions’ in coming weeks or months." As BBC notes, the talks were the most substantial since Biden took office in January. Both sides emphasized the two men's personal relationship and the summit was an attempt to ease tensions. But they could not escape one of the most sensitive topics: the self-ruled island of Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day. While the US recognizes and has formal ties with China, it has also pledged to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of an attack. China's state-run Global Times said Xi blamed recent tensions on "repeated attempts by the Taiwan authorities to look for US support for their independence agenda as well as the intention of some Americans to use Taiwan to contain China". "Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt," it said. The White House countered by saying that Biden "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait". Despite the strong words on Taiwan, the meeting began with both leaders greeting each other warmly, with Xi saying he was happy to see his "old friend" Biden, who in turn said the two had "always communicated with one another very honestly and candidly," adding "we never walk away wondering what the other man is thinking". Xi said the two countries needed to improve "communication" and face challenges "together". "Humanity lives in a global village, and we face multiple challenges together. China and the US need to increase communication and co-operation." said Xi. What else was discussed The world's two most powerful nations do not see eye-to-eye on a number of issues, and Biden raised US concerns about human rights abuses in Hong Kong and against Uyghurs in the north-west region of Xinjiang. China accuses the US of meddling in its domestic affairs. On trade, Biden highlighted the "need to protect American workers and industries from the PRC's [People's Republic of China's] unfair trade and economic practices". Xi also appeared to have made a strong comment on the issue, with Reuters reporting that he had told Biden that the US needed to stop "abusing the concept of national security to oppress Chinese companies". Climate change was also discussed. Last week the two sprung a surprise by issuing a joint declaration to address climate change, at talks in Glasgow, Scotland. * * * This was the third time the two leaders have spoken since Biden's inauguration in January. The talks lasted three-and-a-half hours, longer than expected. Xi has not left China in nearly two years, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both men are facing domestic concerns, with Biden's poll numbers slumping in the face of inflation, the threat of coronavirus and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Xi is tackling energy shortages and a property crisis. Here are the five main takeaways from the summit, courtesy of Goldman's Tilton: Presidents Xi and Biden held a virtual meeting, the first few minutes of which were open to media. The meeting lasted for over three hours and the two countries released separate readouts (see here for the Chinese readout and here for the US readout). CNY strengthened against the USD and Chinese equity market rallied during the meeting but reversed most of the moves later in the day. There were some signs of a positive tone. Xi greeted Biden as an “old friend” (the two have met on multiple occasions over the past decade). Both sides stated the need to manage risks, with the US readout commenting that President Biden “noted the need for common-sense guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict” and the Chinese readout commenting,“non-conflict and non-confrontation is the bottom line that both countries must adhere to”. Some more challenging topics were also discussed, with Taiwan clearly receiving considerable attention. While President Biden underscored the US’s commitment to the “one China” policy, he also reiterated “the continued determination of the US to uphold commitments to the region”. The US readout commented on Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong and human rights issues, whereas the Chinese readout called for the US to “implement its position of not fighting the ‘new cold war’”. On the economic front, President Xi also urged the US to“stop abusing and generalizing the concept of national security to suppress Chinese companies.” The readouts implied some potential areas for cooperation in future: - First, of course, was climate: the US readout noted “the two leaders discussed the existential nature of the climate crisis to the world and the important role that the United States and the PRC play”, while China’s readout quoted Xi as saying “Climate change can definitely become a new highlight of Sino-US cooperation.” - A second area where we might see initiatives includes “people to people” and diplomatic exchanges. The US readout indicated the two leaders “discussed ways for the two sides to continue discussions on a number of areas, with President Biden underscoring the importance of substantive and concrete conversations.” China’s readout reported that Biden said, “Our younger generation should be encouraged to get in touch with each other more and understand each other’s cultures, so as to make the world a better place.” Conceivably, these comments could open the door to adjustments in visa policies or even the eventual reopening of the Houston and Chengdu consulates, although presumably more negotiations would be required on both fronts. - A third topic was energy security – China’s readout suggested work “to jointly safeguard global energy security, strengthen cooperation in the fields of natural gas and new energy, and work with the international community to maintain the security and stability of the global industrial chain and supply chain”, while the US comment simply noted “the importance of taking measures to address global energy supplies.” There was no mention of the trade deal or tariffs in either readout, despite their major role in the US-China economic relationship at the moment, and despite the participation of both Vice Premier Liu He and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the meeting. While a major breakthrough on this front was not expected, the lack of any commentary was mildly surprising. Still, targeted US “tariff exclusions” in response to requests by US companies remain a possibility in coming weeks and months. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/16/2021 - 15:41.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 16th, 2021

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

How the baby boomer generation is the real problem, according to 21 millennials

21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for the many problems millennials now face. These millennials tell us about the problems they now face because of baby boomers. Business Insider Deutschland Millennials are accused by some of being whiny, narcissistic, and too politically passive. A number of them suggest, however, that the real problem isn't them; it's baby boomers. 21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for many problems millennials now face. See more stories on Insider's business page. Whiny, self-obsessed, not politically engaged enough - the accusations directed at millennials by older generations seem endless.Millennials, or anyone born between 1980 and 2000, often get painted as pampered do-gooders with a naive worldview, whose priorities extend only to getting sabbaticals and being allowed to work from home.That said, decades of disregard for the climate, unfair policies and structures being implemented between the generations, and questionable ideas concerning success in the workplace have left 18 to 38-year-olds with a heavy weight to bear.Twenty-one young people from Germany told Insider of the problems the baby boomers have created and perpetuated in Germany and how they can be solved:'Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong.' Felix Finkbeiner, 20, environmental activist. Flickr / Plant for the Planet We're hurtling towards the edge of a cliff at full pelt - it isn't for the sake of science that we're trying to figure out the quantity by which sea levels are set to rise; it's about survival.Together, with more than 67,000 other children and young people from our Plant for the Planet initiative, I've committed myself to combat the climate crisis. And yes, perhaps the older generation is listening to us but are they doing enough?The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The CO2 clock is ticking. What must we do and what can we do right now? Well, we can massively reduce our CO2 emissions. And we can plant 1,000 billion trees to absorb a quarter of man-made CO2. I'd say to the older generations, to company bosses, and to politicians: "Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong or what's going wrong - let's plant trees together and save our future."'It's older people who get to call the shots on pensions - yet they no longer have to cough up.' Sarna Röser, 30, chairwoman of Junger Unternehmer (Young Entrepreneurs). BJU Most baby boomers will be retiring soon, which will put considerable pressure on our pension system. There's a massive disparity between the number of working people and the increasing number of pensioners for whom those working people are footing the bill.I think a simple and logical solution would be if everyone had to work for a period of time during their later years. And retirement should be linked to life expectancy. I'm skeptical about who decides what's what when it comes to pensions. You only find older people sitting on the Pensions Commission, who no longer foot the bill themselves. We younger people have to hand out payments but aren't given a say.'The biggest problem the baby boomers have left us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crap.' Kevin Kühnert, 28, national chairman of the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Jusos. Getty Images The biggest problem the baby boomers have dumped on us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crappy habits: it's the state they've in which they've left the future of our pension system. Pay-as-you-go financing, which has been successfully practiced for decades, will come under increasing pressure as more baby boomers leave the workforce and begin receiving benefits from the pension fund. This news comes as no surprise but politics has, so far, failed to make provisions for that day, when it comes.Fewer contributors and more beneficiaries mean great challenges will be posed for the statutory pension for a good 15 years. How these challenges will be managed isn't just a technical question. In fact, some are taking the opportunity - through scandalous inaction - to slowly chip away at the principle of solidarity when it comes to pensions and to privatize them. If all employees became contributors, we could increase contributions slightly and, if necessary, avoid shying away from tax subsidies.'We've inherited the baby boomers' workaholic attitude and taken it to the next level. Stefanie Laufs, 31, senior communications consultant at a PR agency. Stefanie Laufs The notion that Generation Y has no interest in professional success and thinks of the home office as synonymous with doing nothing is certainly not new - and unfortunately, it's firmly rooted in the minds of many among the older generation. I actually believe we've inherited their workaholic attitude - always better, always more, always higher - and that we've taken what the baby boomers did and pushed it much further.Whether among friends, colleagues, or in reports in the media - no other generation linked with topics such as burnout or partly unpaid overtime as often as ours. The demands on our generation when it comes to starting a career are enormous. You're expected to have five years of professional experience after completing your studies as well as to nearly have finished your Ph.D. Of course, you can't solely blame the baby boomers, but they've always stressed the importance of establishing a career and reinforced that it was the key to a successful and happy life. Although we've taken on this attitude, we'd actually do a lot better to leave it behind. Generation Y continues to work a lot, but having a private life is much more important than money: leisure and downtime shouldn't be overlooked.Our generation is on its way to achieving the ideal work-leisure balance and to putting the baby boomers' workaholic madness to rest.'Too much emphasis on progress and performance is a key problem we've inherited from the older generation.' Jonathan Sierck, 24, author of the book 'Junge Überflieger'. Jonathan Sierck A serious problem we've inherited from the older generation is this fixation on progress and performance. In our tireless efforts to push boundaries, whatever the cost, there's usually little room to address the often serious consequences. There's no doubt about it: constant growth and development do pay off and, as a species, we have to take certain risks every now and then in order to move forward and survive. But pushing boundaries mustn't become the objective itself nor must it come at the cost that it currently does.In order to steer us into a desirable future, we need those in decision-making positions to be sharp. They need both the courage to change yet the informed judgment to pick up on warning signs too. To ensure we don't continue to deplete our resources, we need a clear plan that takes into consideration the effects of our actions. Otherwise, we'll leave our future generations with more - possibly even more serious - problems than those we have inherited, whether they be nuclear waste, the bees dying off, or climate disasters.'Our education systems barely differ to those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.' Magdalena Rogl, 33, head of digital channels Microsoft Germany. Magdalena Rogl I'm firm on the notion that we owe much to those who came before us. Especially the generation born in 1968, who revolutionized so much and helped break down so many structures.But one area in which far too little has happened in recent decades is education. Our education systems have barely changed from those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.At the age of 10, our children are still "sorted" into schools - not based on their individual talents, but purely according to their grades. Applicants are still assessed according to their qualifications on paper far too often, and not by what they actually know. And academic degrees are still worth more than emotional education.I still remember the look of horror on the faces of my first boyfriend and his parents when I announced I was leaving high school as soon as I legally could, to follow my heart and become a childcare worker.But I think I learned more life lessons through doing so than I could have ever done at university.And that's exactly what our generation so urgently needs: lessons in life. More and more tasks are being taken over by machines and artificial intelligence. The skills Generation Y needs in professional life today are not obedience, authority, and academic knowledge, but empathy, flexibility, and problem-solving.Our generation must adapt quickly to new circumstances, because the job you did yesterday may look quite different tomorrow. And the office is no longer about sitting at a desk from nine until five; it's about working at a time and place that maximizes one's quality of work, based on the individual.That's why I'm committed to ensuring our future generations get better human and digital education, so they make our world more human and each individual person can be as he or she is - and thus achieve their own best performance.'Those who monopolize most of the power are, on average, much too old.' Daniel Krauss, 35, cofounder and chief information officer of Flixbus. Flixbus Today's prosperity is probably the greatest legacy of the previous generation. We should definitely be grateful for it. But it's not as though it's being passed down to younger generations without its drawbacks. The downside is that his focus on prosperity means few provisions have been made for the future and we haven't adapted to our current challenges.Those who monopolize most of the power are still, on average, far too old. Our generation is still trapped in a gilded cage. At some point, young Germans are going to escape that cage and find that the country is no longer at the top of the list of industrial nations.This power needs to be handed over to the younger generation at an early stage. We're ready to take on the responsibility and start restructuring things.'The older generation knows little about what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet.' Jörg Mayer and Nadine Horn, both in their early thirties, are vegan bloggers on 'Eat this'. Eat This The abundance in food and convenience have featured heavily in the kitchens of the post-war generation. Where meat had previously featured rarely on the dining table, it was almost a compulsory, everyday part of meals in the 1950s. But it had to be simple, fast, and cheap.It's becoming increasingly clear that this kind of practice can't go on indefinitely for future generations.Due to this abundance and a lack of true appreciation for food, some among the older generation have little idea about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet. What's more, over the years a lot of marketing-driven pseudo-sciences - which, simply put, is often wrong and sometimes even dangerous - have persisted.Questions like: "Where do vegans get protein from if they don't eat meat?" or the myth that milk consumption is good for the bones (when the opposite is true) are still firmly anchored in their minds and will only be shifted with a lot of effort.We try to set a good example and show that vegan life is anything but boring, that we don't just live off salad or tofu - that the kitchen can be a place to have fun. We're trying to show that cooking with friends, either alone or in pairs, is not another tedious chore; it's the best thing you can do.'Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously.' Ria Schröder, 26, chairman of Jungen Liberalen (the Young Liberals). Business Insider Deutschland The baby boomers, our parents and theirs, have been instrumental in ensuring we grew up with high living standards. I'm grateful for that but we've also inherited a few problems, one of them being the pension situation. Like many in my generation, I don't assume I'll be provided for in old age. The level of baby boomers being paid for by us is ever increasing while there are fewer of us to foot the bill. It's great that people are living longer but the subsidy for the pension system is already the largest item in the German budget.At the same time, less and less is being invested in the future: for example, in education, and in infrastructure. My generation is outnumbered. But those who focus only on large voter groups are putting the future of our country at risk in favor of short-term electoral success. Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously. Ultimately it will help not only one generation but the whole country.'We know humanity has power over the Earth's biophysical systems, thanks to our predecessors.' Sina Leipold, 32, junior professor of social transformation and circular economy at the University of Freiburg. Sina Leipold For some time, we've known humanity affects and has control over the Earth's biophysical systems more than any other force of nature - knowledge we've attained only thanks to our predecessors. It is both a blessing and a curse for our generation.Never before have so many people been able to inhabit our planet and never before have commodities like regular holiday flights been so easy and readily affordable.At the same time, hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves have threatened to destroy (and, in many cases, have destroyed) the lives and homes of millions.My personal goal, through a more responsible approach than previous generations, is to help our generation ensure this power sticks around long term, instead of putting it at risk by inviting irreversible climate disasters.'Older generations aren't prepared to take risks.' Christopher Obereder, 26, startup founder. David Visnjic Setting up a business in Germany is far too complex; it should be more straightforward. Other countries are well ahead and we should be moving on as soon as possible. The tax system in Germany is also massively outdated and makes it extremely difficult for those looking to get started with a business.Start-ups could be much better supported with tax reforms so the start-ups could focus more on taking care of their business. Singapore has attracted startups from all over the world with its simple control system and has become the hub of the crypto scene. Our political structures are also too slow to change and aren't able to keep up with innovation. Things have to change on this front.A survey by U.S. News showed Germany was in first place in the "Entrepreneurship" category, ahead of Japan and the USA. It's clear Germany is at the forefront despite the clear room for improvement.Work has also changed: people used to stay in the same job their whole life, which is why it used to be feasible to work without constantly developing and learning. Today we seem to switch jobs every year or two. I think it has a lot to do with the Internet.We always need to be ready to learn new things and take risks. And many opportunities and possibilities arise with the Internet if you're open to it - cryptocurrencies are something I'm currently heavily involved in and open to, and I realize older generations aren't.There's a conflict simply because older generations always advocate stability and safety over risk-taking, which they aren't prepared to do. I can only speak for myself but if I'd never taken risks, I'd never have learned. We have to learn through trial and error that you can't make money from anything and everything. Failure has become a valid part of working life, even if older generations still don't want to admit it.But older generations are starting to accept the start-up scene for what it is: it's fast-moving, involves risk-taking, and isn't always lucrative.'The older generation has left European peace in a fragile state.' Lisa Badum, 34, Green Party parliament representative. Lisa Badum The rapid rise in greenhouse gases, the dramatically worsening climate crisis, the question of nuclear waste disposal, the irreversible death of countless plant and animal species - these are just some of the many consequences of failed climate and environmental policies from previous generations. Because they haven't relied on sustainability, they've dumped the consequences of and responsibility for their actions onto future generations. We're now having to face a mammoth challenge together: to keep global warming below two degrees to give future generations the chance to make mistakes.As for Europe, our younger generation has inherited the task of establishing European peace, a project which the older generation has left in a sorry state. The continually rising rate of youth unemployment within the EU, austerity policies, Brexit - all of these things have greatly weakened the notion of the "European community" and reinforced right-wing nationalist and populist forces in Europe. I myself have close ties with Greece, and over the years I've witnessed the destructive effects of austerity there, and have also seen growing disillusionment towards the EU. We have to stop this in its tracks and do it now because lasting peace between us all is the most basic of prerequisites for taking on the many challenges ahead and finding solutions for tomorrow.Where justice and gender equality are concerned, the older generation has set us on a path of clear progress, particularly as regards legal equality between the sexes. While we have to defend this success, we also have to continue fighting for 100% equality between men and women, whether in family and work, pay or pension, and the end of sexual violence towards women and girls.'Digitisation is largely a generational issue.' Barbara Engels, 30, economist at the Institute of German Economics Cologne (IW). IW Cologne Being digital means being online, networking, being open to new business models - and being young. It seems to be a largely generational issue: older people are less likely to be online than younger people, which is a pity because digitization opens up many new possibilities, especially for people who are aging. It can simplify and enrich everyday life. I hope people of all ages will greet digitization with open arms and optimism, but obviously not without a healthy dose of skepticism. Networking is at the heart of the digital world and could contribute to a better level of understanding between young and old. And it would help us learn much more from older people and vice versa.'Pension plans are a big disappointment.' Kristine Lütke, 35, president of WirtschaftsjuniorDeutschland (the Junior Chamber Germany). Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland The subsequent drop in birth rate as a result of the rise of the contraceptive pill among the baby boomers is exacerbating demographic change. This has resulted in a shortage of specialists and labor in all areas of the economy. We young entrepreneurs and managers in particular are suffering from this as employers. Moreover, our country's pension plans are a huge disappointment for our generation and an attack on intergenerational justice, particularly in view of demographic changes. The question of billions of funding for the "maternal pension" that's been proposed in Germany remains open.What can be done to increase employment rates and to mitigate the consequences of demographic change, as well as the pensions package? We need to look at options for flexible retirement. The statutory retirement age should be done away with. And working time law needs to be fundamentally reformed.'Climate change presents us with challenges that will dictate the opportunities of future generations.' Lukas Köhler, 31, Free Democratic Party Member of Parliament. Lukas Köhler We've inherited a lot of problems to do with CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change today presents us with a task - and how we manage this task will directly determine the opportunities available for future generations. That's why I'm fully committed to limiting climate change as much as possible. We will only succeed with a market-based climate policy in which politicians set clear targets for reducing emissions. Other bans and regulations are unnecessary and provide false incentives. If we succeed in building a global emissions trading scheme with ambitious goals, which is as broad as possible for all economic sectors, I'm convinced we can limit global warming to an acceptable level.'We've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability.' Sonja Oberbeckmann, 36, environmental microbiologist at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. Sonja Oberbeckmann We have much to thank the previous generations for: no generation has grown up as carefree and with as many possibilities as ours. However, it's come at a price: we've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability, where material prosperity counts more than individual happiness.My professional field, science, is set up for the short term: there are many temporary contracts, focusing on trendy topics. But this profit-focused society has left its mark everywhere. The environment is riddled with pesticides, exhaust gases, plastics, and much more. People are stressed and it seems they would sooner pop pills than demand the time to live more healthily. Hardly anyone stops to breathe.We, all generations together, can define new goals and break out of this established cycle, that's exploiting human and environmental resources. Instead of sitting passively in front of the television and getting worked up about company bosses, we should all be taking responsibility and consuming both more sustainably and consciously. And we should be asking ourselves from time to time what actually makes us truly happy.'We're still teaching as though we're in the 19th century.' Nina Toller, Private Teacher. Business Insider Deutschland Living in the 21st century, teaching 19th-century style: this is what seems to be at the core of our schooling.I've tried myself to fend this off with learning methods that combine critical thinking and communication with creativity and teamwork, as well as the use of digital media. My students shouldn't just be learning content and facts; they should be learning how to obtain new facts, how to share work effectively and efficiently, and how best to absorb and apply what they've learned. In this way, they develop openness, a willingness to learn, and also a certain degree of independence. The teacher becomes more of a companion for learning and a moderator.My school is open to digital media and supports me in my creative work. I almost always use QR codes or get foreign-language authors, into the classroom via Skype.Yet, due to a lack of technical support, training, time, and security, few teachers can organize something like this on their own initiative. On my page "Toller Unterricht" I publish lots of my ideas as well as tried and tested lesson plans, with materials included.Politicians have made promises to digitize schools. In addition to the lack of qualifications teachers have, there also seems to be a lack of equipment. I'm glad my school has some projectors and smartboards I can use for my lessons, but some don't even have Internet access.Data protection is currently being taken to ridiculous extremes: new data protection regulation makes the use of private computers difficult, so some are being advised to use paper and pen. This won't work within the frame of a digitization strategy for Germany in 2018.Therefore, comprehensive reform is needed. Only then can we equip all our students with the skills to prepare them for life and learning in the 21st century.'It's as if the parents think schools are responsible for raising children.' Franziska Hafer, 23, teacher. Franziska Hafer The older generation has paid far too little attention to sustainable development. Sustainable development means empowering children to form their own opinions and encouraging them to act sustainably. Sustainable development means the current generation is developing, not compromising the next generation, but actively considering it. Children haven't been sensitized to this at all.I think there's a very different tone in schools now. I get the sense that kids are becoming less and less respectful. Manners are disappearing and, unfortunately, you rarely see a boy holding the door open for a girl. It's as if parents think schools are responsible for bringing children up.Some children are only interested in who has the latest, highest-end mobile. The children who do not have a say in this are outside the picture - and I think that the generation above us is responsible for instilling different values.'We've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us.' Max Lucks, 21, spokesman for Grünen Jugend (Green Youth). Max Lucks We've not inherited generational conflicts; we've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us, which has dealt little with political change or shaping the future and has been more focused on how everything can remain as is. One only has to look at how Merkel's government dealt with a climate crisis and how it's always been ignored and fought against by one commission or another. This political style has disappointed our generation and rightly so: it's clear to young people that a little isn't enough to answer the hard questions. For example, how can we still find well-paid and permanent jobs in 20 years' time in spite of digitalization?'The older ranks of conservative politicians are afraid of change.' Akilnathan Logeswaren, 29, European Activist. Business Insider Deutschland As an activist for a united Europe, I'm always reminded of how much of the older ranks of conservative politicians fear change. While young people are almost unanimous in their commitment to a united Europe, the older generation is still resistant to it, although though the United States of Europe has been on the agenda of previous German political figures such as Franz Josef Strauss himself.While old politicians are practicing against the left by remaining on the right, today's young people are already focusing more on the spirit of the European Parliament, namely by looking for solutions.In the 21st century, it is no longer about just having ideas, but about collaborating for a shared future. For example, the campaign #FreeInterrail - a free Interrail ticket for all Europeans as soon as they turn 18 - was devised by the youth for the youth. Ideas like these will secure our peace and cohesion in the long term.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

In Deep Ship: What"s Really Driving The Supply-Chain Crisis

In Deep Ship: What's Really Driving The Supply-Chain Crisis By Michael Every and Matteo Iagatti of Rabobank Summary It is impossible to ignore the current shipping crisis and its impact on global supply chains  A common view is that this is all the result of Covid-19. Yet while Covid has played a key role, it is only part of a far larger interconnected set of problems This report examines current shipping market dynamics; overlooked “Too Big to Sail” structural issues; a brewing political tsunami as a backlash; possible Cold War icebergs ahead; and the ‘ship of things to come’ if maritime past is a guide to maritime future  The central argument is that while central banks and governments both insist inflation is transitory and will fall once supply-chain bottlenecks are resolved, shipping dynamics suggest they are closer to becoming systemically entrenched Moreover, both historical and current trends towards addressing such problems suggest potential global market disruptions at least equal to the shocks we have already experienced. Many ports will get caught in this storm, if so Ready to ship off? It is impossible to ignore the current shipping crisis and its impact on global supply chains and economies. Businesses face huge headaches as supply dries up. Consumers see bare shelves and rising prices. Governments have no concrete solutions – save the army? Economists have to discuss the physical economy rather than a model. Central banks still assume this will all resolve itself. And shippers make massive profits. The giant Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March 2021, is emblematic of these problems, but they run far deeper. This report will explore the shipping issue coast-to-coast, and past-to-present in six ‘containers’: “Are you shipping me?”, a deep-dive into market dynamics and supply-demand causes of soaring shipping prices; “To Big to Sail”, a key structural issue driving things; “Tsunami of politics” of the looming backlash to what is happening; “Cold War icebergs” of fat geopolitical tail risks; “Ship of things to come?”, asking if the maritime past is a potential guide to maritime future; and “Wait and sea?”, a strategic overview and conclusion. Are You Shipping Me? Since 2020, global shipping has been frenetic, with equally frenetic shipping rates (figure 2); difficulties for both businesses and consumers; and container-carrier profits. Is Covid-19 driving these developments, or are there other structural and cyclical factors at play? Let’s take stock. One root of the problem… In 2020, COVID-19 become a global pandemic, and lockdowns ensued: factories, restaurants, and shops all closed, bringing global supply chain almost to a halt. In this context, container carriers had no visibility on future demand and did the only reasonable thing: cut capacity. There is no economic sense in moving half-empty ships across the globe; it is costly, especially for a sector operated on tiny margins for a very long time. The consequence was widespread vessel cancellations, which soared in the first months of 2020 (figure 3). Progressively, more trade lines and ports were involved as containment measures were enacted globally. By H2-2020, virus containment measures were over in China, and many other nations eased them too. Shipping cancellations did not stop, however, just continuing at a slower pace. Indeed, capacity cuts have plagued supply-chains in 2021. Excluding the January-February peaks, from March to September 2021, an average of 9.2 vessels per week were cancelled, four vessels per week more than the previous off-peak period of July to December 2020 (figure 3). Cumulative cancellations (figure 4) underline the problems. Transpacific (e.g., China-US) and Asia-Northern Europe lines saw the largest capacity cuts, but Transatlantic and Mediterranean-North America vessels also reached historic levels of cancellations. Transpacific and Asia-Europe lines are the backbone of global trade, each representing 40% of the total container trade. More than 3 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, a standard cargo measure) are moved on Transpacific and Asia-Europe lines in total per month. Due to cancellations, more than 10% of that capacity was lost in early 2020. In such a context, it was only normal to expect a rise in container rates. Over January-December 2020 the Global Baltic index (the world reference for box prices) increased by 115% from $1,460 to $3,140/TEU. However, as figure 2 shows, things then changed dramatically in 2021 for a variety of reasons. As can be seen (figure 5), cancellations alone cannot explain the price surge seen in the Baltic Dry Index -- the leading international Freight Rate Index, providing market rates for 12 global trade lines-- and on key global shipping routes (figure 6). So what did? We have instead identified five key themes that have pushed up shipping costs, which we will explore in turn: Suez – and what happened there; Sickness – or Covid-19 (again); Structure – of the shipping market; Stimulus – most so in the US; and “Stuck” – as in logistical congestion. Suez On March 23rd 2021, a 20,000TEU giant vessel, the Ever Given, owned by the Taiwanese carrier Evergreen, was forced by strong winds to park sideways in the Suez Canal, ultimately obstructing it. For the following six days, one of the fundamental arteries of trade between Europe, the Gulf, East Africa, the Indian Ocean, and South East Asia was closed for business. While the world realized how fragile globalized supply chains are, carriers and shippers were counting the costs. 370 ships could not pass the Canal, with cargoes worth around $9.5bn. Every conceivable good was on those ships. The result was more unforeseen delays, more congestions and, of course, more upward pressure on container rates. Sickness New COVID-19 Delta variant outbreaks in 20201 forced the closure of major Chinese ports such as Ningbo and Yantian causing delays and congestion that reverberated both in the region and globally. Vietnamese ports also suffered similar incidents. These closures, while not decisive blows, contributed to taking shipping capacity off the global grid, hindering the recovery trend. They were also signals of how thin the ice is that global supply chain are walking on. Indeed, Chinese and South-east Asian ports are still suffering the consequences of those earlier closures, with record queues of ships waiting to unload. Structure When external shocks cause price spikes it is always wise to look at structure of the sector in which disruption caused the price spike. This exercise provides precious hints on what the “descent” from the spike might look like. Crucially, in the shipping sector, consolidation and concentration has achieved levels that few other sectors of the economy reach. In the last five years, carriers controlling 80% of global capacity became more concentrated, with fewer operators of even larger size (figure 7). However, this is just the most obvious piece of the puzzle. In our opinion, the real change started in 2017, when the three main container alliances (2M, THE, and Ocean) were born. This changed horizontal cooperation between market leaders in shipping. The three do not fix prices, but via their networks capacity is shared and planned jointly, fully exploiting economies of scale that are decisive to making a capital-intensive business profitable and efficient. Unit margins can stay low as long as you move huge volume with high precision, and at the lowest cost possible. To be able to move the huge volumes required by a globalized and increasingly e-commerce economy at the levels of efficiency and speed demanded by operators up and down supply chains, there was little other options than to cooperate and keep goods flowing for the lowest cost possible at the highest speed possible. A tight discipline of cost was imposed on carriers, who also had to get bigger. This strategy more than paid off in the Covid crisis, when shippers demonstrated clear minds, efficiency in implementing capacity control, and a key understanding of the elements they could use to their advantage: in other words – how capitalism actually works. Carriers did not decide on the lockdowns or port closures; but they exploited their position in the global market when the pandemic erupted. In a recent report, Peter Sands from BIMCO (the Baltic and International Maritime Council) put it as follows: “Years of low freight rates resulting in rigorous cost-cutting by carriers have left them in a great position to maximise profits now that the market has turned.” Crucially, this market structure is here to stay - for now. It is a component of the global system. Carriers will continue to exert pressure and find ways to make profit but, most importantly, they will make more than sure that, this time, it is not only them that end up paying the costs of rebalancing within the global system. In short, the current market allows carriers to make historic levels of profits. However, in our view this is not the end of the story – as shall be shown later. Stimulus 2020 and 2021 saw unprecedented economic shocks from Covid-19, as well as unprecedented economic stimulus from some governments. In particular, the US government sent out direct stimulus cheques to taxpayers. With few services to spend the money on, it was instead centred on goods. Hence, consumer demand for some items is red-hot (figures 8-10). The consequences of this surge in buying on top of a workforce still partly in rolling lockdowns, and against a backlog of infrastructure decades in the making, was obvious: logistical gridlock. Moreover, with the US importing high volumes, and not exporting to match, and its own internal logistics log-jammed, there has been a build-up of shipping containers inside the US, and a shortage elsewhere. Shippers are, in some cases, even dropping their cargo and returning to Asia empty: the same has been reported in Australia. Against this backdrop, the US is perhaps close to introducing further major fiscal stimulus, with little of this able to address near-term infrastructure/logistical shortfalls. Needless to say, the impact on shipping, if such stimulus is passed, could be enormous. As such, while central banks and governments still insist that inflation is transitory, supply-chain dynamics suggest it is in fact closer to becoming systemically entrenched. Stuck In normal times, a surge in consumer spending would be a bonanza for everyone: raw material producers, manufacturers, carriers, shippers, and retailers alike. In Covid times, this is all a death-blow to global supply chains. Due to misplaced global capacity, high export volumes cannot be moved fast enough, intermediate goods cannot reach processors in time, and everybody is fighting to get a container spot on the ships available. Ports cannot handle the throughput given the backlog of containers that are still waiting to be shipped inland or loaded on a delayed boat. It is not by chance that congestion hit record peaks at the same time in Los Angeles – Long beach (LALB), and in the main ports in China, the two main poles of transpacific trade. Clearly, LALB cannot handle the surge in imports, the arrival queue keeps on growing by the day (figure 11). There are now plans to shift to working 24/7. However, critics note that all this would do is to shift containers from ships to clog other already backlogged areas of the port, potentially reducing efficiency even further. Meanwhile, in Shanghai and Ningbo there were also 154 ships waiting to unload at time of writing. The power-cuts seeing Chinese factories only operating 3-4 day weeks in many locations suggest a slow-down in the pace of goods accumulating at ports, but also imply disruption, shortages, and delays in loading, still making problems worse overall. Imagine large-scale US stimulus on top of a drop in supply! Overall, “endemic congestion” is the perfect definition for the state of the global shipping market. It is the results of many factors: vessels cancellations and capacity control; Covid; bursts of demand in some trade lines; imbalances in container distribution; regular disruption in key arteries and ports; a backlog and increasing volumes cannot be dealt with at the same time, all creating an exponentially amplifying effect. The epicenter is in the Pacific, but the problem is global. At present 10% of global container capacity is waiting to be unloaded on ship at the anchor outside some port. Solutions need to be found quickly – but can they be? The Transpacific situation is particularly delicate, stemming from a high number of cancellations, ongoing disruption, and the highest demand surge in the global economy. However, this perfect recipe for a disaster is also affecting Asia–Europe lines where shipping rates hikes also do not show any signs of slowing down. …and unstuck? The shipping business would logically seem best-placed to get out of this situation by increasing vessel capacity. Indeed, orders of new ships spiked in 2021, and in coming years 2.5m TEUs will come on stream (figure 12). However, this will not arrive for some time, and may not sharply reduce shipping prices when it does. Indeed, the industry --which historically operates on thin margins, and has seen many boom and bust cycles—knows all too well the old Greek phrase: “98 ships, 101 cargoes, profit; 101 ships, 98 cargoes, disaster”. They will want to preserve as much of the current profitability as possible, which a concentrated ‘Big 3’ makes easier. Tellingly, a recent article stressed: “Ship-owners and financiers should avoid sinking money into new container vessels despite a global crunch because record orders have driven up prices, according to industry insiders.” True, CMA CGM just froze shipping spot rates until February 2022, joining Hapag-Lloyd. Yet in both cases the new implied benchmark is of price freezes at what were once unthinkable levels – not price falls. To conclude, shipping prices are arguably very high for structural reasons, and are likely to stay high ahead – if those structures do not change. On which, we even need to look at the structure of ships themselves. Too Big to Sail Shipping, like much else, has become much larger over the years. Small feeder ships of up to 1,000TEU are dwarfed by the largest Ultra-Large Container Vessels (ULCVs), which start from 14,501 TEUS up, and are larger than the US Navy’s aircraft carriers. Of course, there is a reason for this gigantism: economy of scale. It is a sound argument. However, the same was said in other industries where painful experience, after the fact, has shown such commercial logic is not the best template for systemic stability. In banking we are aware of the phenomenon, and danger, of “Too Big to Fail”. In shipping, ULCVs and their associated industry patterns could perhaps be seen as representing “Too Big to Sail”. After all, there are downsides to so much topside beyond the obvious incident with the Ever Given earlier in the year: ULVCs cannot fit through the Panama Canal; Not all ports can handle ULCVs; They are slow at sea; They are slow to load and unload; They require more complex cargo placement / handling; They force carriers to maximize efficiency to cover costs; They force all in-land logistics to adapt to their scale; They force a hub-and-spokes global trade model; and They are vulnerable to accident or disruption, i.e., they were designed for an entirely peaceful shipping environment at a time of rising geopolitical tensions (which we will return to later). In short, current ULCV hub-and-spokes trade models are the antithesis of a nimble, distributed, flexible, resilient system, and actually help create and exacerbate the cascading supply-chain failures we are currently experiencing. However, we do not have a global shipping regulator to order shippers to change their commercial practices! Specifically, building ULVCs takes time, and shipyard capacity is more limited. As shown, the issue is not so much a lack of ULCVs, but limited capacity from ports onwards. That means we need to expand ports, which is a far slower and more difficult process than adding new containers or ships, given the constraints of geography, and the layers of local and international planning and politics involved in such developments. There is also then a need for matching warehousing, roads, trucks, truckers, rail, and retailer warehousing, etc. As we already see today, just finding truckers is already a huge issue in many  economies. Meanwhile, any incident that impacts on a ULCV port --a Covid lockdown, a weather event, power-cuts, or a physical action-- exacerbates feedback loops of supply-chain disruption more than any one, or several, smaller ports servicing smaller feeder ships would do. So why are we not adapting? Economic thinking, partly dictated by the need to survive in a tough industry; massive sunk costs; and equally massive vested interests – which we can collectively call “Too Big to Sail”. Naturally, some parties do not wish to move to a nimbler, less concentrated, more widely-distributed, locally-produced, more resilient supply-chain system --with lower economies of scale-- while some do: and this is ultimately a political stand-off. Crucially, nobody is going to make much-needed new investments in maritime logistics until they know what the future map of global production looks like. Post-Covid, do we still make most things in China, or will it be back in the US, EU, and Japan – or India, etc.? Are we Building Back Better? Where? Resolving that will help resolve our shipping problems: but it will of course create lots of new ones while doing so. Tidal Wave of Politics Against this backdrop, is it any surprise that a tsunami of politics could soon sweep over global shipping? In July, US President Biden introduced Executive Order 14036, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy”. This puts forward initiatives for federal agencies to establish policies to address corporate consolidation and decreased competition - which will include shipping. Ironically, the US encouraged “Too Big to Sail” for decades, but real and political tides both turn. Indeed, in August a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress --“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021”-- which proposes radical changes to: Establish reciprocal trade to promote US exports as part of the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) mission; Require ocean carriers to adhere to minimum service standards that meet the public interest, reflecting best practices in the global shipping industry; Require ocean carriers or marine terminal operators to certify that any late fees --known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges-- comply with federal regulations or face penalties; Potentially eliminate “demurrage” charges for importers; Prohibit ocean carriers from declining opportunities for US exports unreasonably, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking; Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and TEUs (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the US; and Authorizes the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate. Promoting reciprocal US trade would either slow global trade flows dramatically and/or force more US goods production. While that would help address the global container imbalance, it would also unbalance our economic and financial architecture. Fining carriers who refuse to pick up US exports would also rock many boats. Moreover, forcing carriers to carry the cost of demurrage would change shipping market dynamics hugely. At the moment, the profits of the shipping snarl sit with carriers and ports, and the rising costs with importers: the US wants to reverse that status quo. While global carriers and US ports obviously say this bill is “doomed to fail”, and will promote a “protectionist race to the bottom”, it is bipartisan, and has been endorsed by a large number of US organisations, agricultural producers and retailers. Even smaller global players are responding similarly. For example, Thailand is considering re-launching a national shipping carrier to help support its economic growth: will others follow suite ahead? Meanwhile, shipping will also be impacted by another political decision - the planned green energy transition. The EU will tax carbon in shipping from 2023, and new vessels will need to be built. For what presumed global trade map, as we just asked? The green transition will also see a huge increase in the demand for resources such as cobalt, lithium, and rare earths. Economies that lack these, e.g., Japan and the EU, will need to import them from locations such as Africa and Australia. That will require new infrastructure, new ports, and new shipping routes – which is also geopolitical. Indeed, the US, China, the EU, UK, and Japan have all made clear that they wish to hold commanding positions in new green value chains - yet not all will be able to do so if resources are limited. Therefore, green shipping threatens to be a zero-sum game akin to the 19th century scramble for resources. As Foreign Affairs noted back in July: “Electricity is the new oil” – meant in terms of ugly power politics, not more beautiful power production. Before the green transition, energy prices are soaring (see our “Gasflation” report). On one hand, this may lift bulk shipping rates; on another, we again see the need for resilient supply chains, in which shipping plays a key role. In short, current zero-sum supply-chains snarls, already seeing a growing backlash, are soon likely to be matched by a zero-sum shift to new green industrial technologies and related raw materials. In both dimensions, shipping will become as (geo)political as it is logistical. Notably, while tides may be turning, we can’t ‘just’ reshape the global shipping system, or get from “just in time” to “just in case”, or to a more localized “just for me” just like that: it will just get messy in the process. Cold War Icebergs The US is now pushing “extreme competition” between “liberal democracy and autocracy”; China counters that US hegemony is over. For both, part of this will run through global shipping. Both giants are happy to decouple supply chains from the other where it benefits them. However, the larger geostrategic implications are even more significant. Piracy and national/imperial exclusion zones used to be maritime problems, but post-WW2, the US Navy has kept the seas safe and open to trade for all carriers equally. This duty is extremely expensive, and will get more so as new ships have to be built to replace an ageing fleet. Meanwhile, China is building its own navy at breath-taking speed, and a maritime Belt and Road (BRI). As a result, a clear shift has occurred in US maritime strategy: 2007’s “A Co-operative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power”, stressed: “We believe that preventing wars is as important as winning wars.” 2015’s update argued: “Our responsibility to the American people dictates an efficient use of our fiscal resources.” 2020’s title was changed to “Advantage at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power”, and stressed: “...the rules-based international order is once again under assault. We must prepare as a unified Naval Service to ensure that we are equal to the challenge.” The US is also pressing ahead with the AUKUS defence alliance and the ‘Quad’ of Japan, India, and Australia to maintain naval superiority in the Indo-Pacific. This is generating geopolitical frictions, and fears of further escalation of maritime clashes in the region. The Quad has also agreed to key tech and supply-chain cooperation, with Australia a key part of a new green minerals strategy – a race in which China is still well ahead, and the EU lags. Should any kind of major incident occur, shipping costs would escalate enormously, as can easily be seen in the case of US-UK shipping from 1887-1939: this leaped 1,600% during WW1, and these shipping data stopped entirely in September 1939 due to WW2. Crucially, US naval strategy is rooted in the post-WW2 power structure in which it benefitted from such control commercially. That architecture is crumbling - and there is a matching US consensus to shift towards “America First”, or “Made in America”. The thought progression from here is surely: “Why are we paying to protect shipping from China, or economies that do not support us against China?” In short, the strategic and financial logic is: surrender control of the seas, or ensure commercial gains from it. There are enormous implications for shipping if such a shift in thinking were to occur - and such discussions are already taking place. July 2020’s “Hidden Harbours: China’s State-backed Shipping Industry” from the Center for Strategic and International Studies argued: “The time is long overdue for the US to reinvigorate its maritime industries and challenge the Chinese in the same game by using the very same techniques the Chinese have used to gain dominance in the global maritime industry. The private-sector maritime industry cannot do this alone—the US maritime industry simply cannot compete against the power of the Chinese state. The US and allied governments must bring to bear substantial and sustained political action, policies, and financial support. To do anything less is to cede control of the world’s maritime industry and global supply chains to China, and perhaps to force the US and its allies to enter their own ‘century of shame.’” Meanwhile, stories link ports and shipping to national security (see here and here), underlining logistics are no longer seen as purely commercial areas, but rather fall within the “grey zone” between war and peace – as was the case pre-WW2. This again has major implications for the shipping business. Expect that trend to continue ahead if the maritime past as guide, as we shall now explore. The Ship of Things to Come? US maritime history in particular holds some clear lessons for today’s shipping world if looked at carefully. First, the importance of the sea to what we now think of as a land-based US: the US merchant marine helped it win independence from the powerful naval forces of the British, and the first piece of legislation Congress passed in 1789 was a 10% tariff on British imports, both to build US industry and merchant shipping. Indeed, the underlying message of US maritime history is that the US is a major commercial force at sea – but only when it sees this as a national-security goal. Following independence, US commercial shipping and industry surged in tandem, with an understandable dip only due to war with the British in 1812. The gradual normalisation of maritime trade with the UK after that saw a gradual decline in the share of trade US shipping carried, which accelerated with the end of steamship subsidies --which the British maintained-- and the US Civil War. By the start of the 20th century, W. L. Marvin was arguing: “A nation which is reaching out for the commercial mastery of the world cannot long suffer nine-tenths of its ocean-carrying to be monopolized by its foreign rivals.” Yet 1915 saw the welfare-focused US Seaman’s Act passed and US flags move to Panama, where costs were lower. However, WW1 saw US shipping surge, and the Jones Act in 1920 reaffirmed ‘cabotage’ – only US flagged and crewed vessels can trade cargo between US ports. The 1930s saw global trade and the US maritime marine dwindle again – until 1936, when the Federal Maritime Commission was set up "to promote the commerce of the US, and to aid in the national defense." WW2 then saw US mass production of Liberty Ships account for over a third of global merchant shipping – and then post-1945, this lead slipped away again, and the US merchant marine now stands at around just 0.4% of the world fleet. Indeed, in 2020, US sealift capability was reported short on personnel, hulls, and strategy such that the commercial fleet would be unlikely to meet the Pentagon’s needs for a large-scale troop build-up overseas. As we see, the US has been here several times before. If the past is any guide for the future response, this suggests the following US actions could be seen ahead: Use its market size to force shippers to change pricing – which may already be happening; Raise tariffs again (on green grounds?); Refuse to take goods from some foreign ships or ports; Force vessels to re-flag in the US, at higher cost; Build a rival to China’s marine BRI with allies; Massive ship-building, for the 3rd time in the last century; Charter US private firms to bring in green materials; or The US Navy stops protecting some sea lanes/carriers, or forces the costs of their patrols onto others. It goes without saying that any of these steps would have enormous implications for global shipping and the global economy – and yet most of them are compatible with both the strategic military/commercial logic previously underlined, as well as the lessons of history. Wait and Sea? We summarize what we have shown in the key points below: Markets For markets, there are obvious implications for inflation. How can it stay low if imported prices stay high? How will central banks respond? Rate hikes won’t help. Neither will loose monetary policy – and less it is directed to a directly-related government response on supply chains and logistics. This suggests greater impetus for a shift to more localised production on cost grounds, at least at the lower end of the value chain, if not the more-desirable higher end. Yet once this wave starts to build, it may be hard to stop. Look at EU plans for strategic autonomy in semiconductors, for example, which are echoed in the US, China, and Japan. For FX, the countries that ride that wave best will float; the ones that don’t will sink. Helicopter view of ships Clearly, shipping will continue to boom. There are huge opportunities in capex on ships, ports, logistics, and infrastructure ahead – as well as in new production and supply chains. Yet one first needs to be sure what, or whose, map of production will be used for them! As the industry sits and waits for the wind and tide to change, logically one wants to position oneself best for what may be coming next. That implies global consolidation and/or vertical integration: Large shippers looking at smaller shippers to snuff out alternative routes and capacity; shippers looking at ports; ports looking at shippers; giant retailers/producers looking at shippers; importers banding together for negotiating power in ultra-tight markets. Of course, nationally, governments are looking at shippers, or at starting new carriers. If this is to be a realpolitik power struggle for who rules the waves --“Too Big to Sail”, or a new more national/resilient map of production-- then having greater scale now increases your fire-power. Of course, it also makes you a larger target for others. Let’s presume current trends continue. Could we even end up with a return to older patterns of production, e.g., where oil used to be produced by company X, refined in its facilities, shipped on its vessels, to its de facto ports, and on to its retail distribution network. Might we even see the same for consumer goods? That is the logic of globalisation and geopolitics, as well as the accumulation of capital. However, if history is a guide, and (geo)politics is a tsunami, things will look very different on both the surface and at the deepest depths of the shipping industry and the global economy. Much we take as normal today could become flotsam and jetsam. To conclude, who benefits from the huge profits of the current shipping snarl, and who will pay the costs, is ultimately a (geo)political issue, not a market one. Many ports are likely going to be caught up in that storm. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/03/2021 - 12:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 3rd, 2021

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Jan. 6 live updates: Trump rattles off a dozen livid social media posts as ex-aide gives explosive testimony to Jan. 6 panel

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The House committee investigating the Capitol riot held a surprise hearing on Tuesday. Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide under former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified. Hutchinson said that Trump knew supporters were armed and even tried to get to the Capitol himself. Trump rattles off a dozen livid social media posts as ex-aide gives explosive testimony to Jan. 6 panelA trailer for a documentary that centers on Trump and January 6 was released by Discovery Plus.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump on Tuesday unleashed a dozen social media posts in the wake of the testimony of a former top White House aide before the January 6 committee, calling the staffer a "total phony," "third rate social climber' and suggesting she was a "whacko" because of her handwriting."There is no cross examination of this so-called witness. This is a Kangaroo Court!" Trump wrote on his social media platform.In another post, he said that her "body language is that of a total bull…. artist. Fantasy Land!"Read MoreA former Trump White House chief of staff says the latest January 6 hearing provided 'stunning' new evidence of potential criminalityWASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney (L) listen to comments during a luncheon with representatives of the United Nations Security Council, in the Cabinet Room at the White House on December 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesTuesday's congressional hearing on the insurrection was a "very, very bad day" for the former president, former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said.The hearing featured a former White House aide testifying that Donald Trump knew some protesters were armed before they marched to the US Capitol — and that his own top advisors asked for pardons after the January 6 riot."A stunning 2 hours," Mulvaney, a onetime Trump loyalist, posted on Twitter following the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, who succeeded Mulvaney as Trump's White House chief of staff.Keep ReadingA Capitol Police officer injured on January 6 said 'our own president set us up'US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell wipes his eye as he watches a video being displayed during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021.Jim Bourg/Pool via APA US Capitol Police officer injured during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol told HuffPost's Igor Bobic "our own president set us up" during the sixth public hearing of the House commitee investigating the Capitol riot. Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, an Army veteran who was in the room during Tuesday's hearing, testified before Congress last year about the injuries he suffered while defending the Capitol. Gonell underwent surgery and was moved to desk duty as a result of the injuries he sustained to his foot and shoulder while being physically attacked by rioters during the Capitol siege."I just feel betrayed," Gonell told Bobic on Tuesday. "The president should be doing everything possible to help us and he didn't do it. He wanted to lead the mob and wanted to lead the crowd himself ... he wanted to be a tyrant." Read MoreCongressman says Trump sent police to the Capitol to be 'potentially slaughtered'Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesDemocratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said US Capitol cops were 'sent to be potentially slaughtered' on January 6 after a former White House staffer gave stunning testimony that former President Donald Trump knew that protesters were armed and heading to the Capitol. "If it wasn't because of this brave 25-year-old woman, we wouldn't even know what was happening," the Arizona lawmaker told reporters at the hearing on Thursday, referring to Cassidy Hutchinson. "This is a very sad moment in our country right now."Read Full StoryFormer top White House aide says Trump's attacks on Pence 'disgusted' herFormer Trump White House aide Cassidy HutchinsonJacquelyn Martin/APFormer top Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said ex-President Donald Trump's attacks on then-Vice President Mike Pence during the Capitol riot "disgusted" her."I remember feeling frustrated, disappointed, and really, it felt personal, I was really sad," she testified when asked for her reaction to Trump's praise of the rioters on January 6, 2021. "As an American, I was disgusted. It was unpatriotic, it was un-American. We were watching the Capitol building get defaced over a lie." Read Full StoryLiz Cheney shares evidence of witness tampering at Jan. 6 hearingUS Representative Liz CheneyPhoto by OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesJanuary 6 panel vice chair and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney shared two messages purportedly received by witnesses before their testimony that she said are signs of witness tampering.Cheney shared two messages that she said witnesses had received ahead of their depositions. The witnesses, who Cheney didn't name, subsequently shared the messages with the committee.In one, a witness received a phone call: "[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition," the caller allegedly said.Witness tampering is a federal crime.Read MoreEx-White House aide said she wanted Mark Meadows to 'snap out of it' during Capitol riotFormer White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.AP Photo/Andrew HarnikTrump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows' former top aide testified that she wanted him to "snap out it" and pay attention to the chaos unfolding at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.During her testimony before the January 6 committee, Cassidy Hutchinson said she saw Meadows on his couch on his phone as rioters stormed the Capitol building and fought with police.Hutchinson said she asked Meadows: "The rioters are getting really close. Have you talked with the president?"Meadows allegedly replied: "No, he wants to be alone right now."Read Full StoryRudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows both sought pardons from TrumpRudy Guiliani and Mark MeadowsGetty ImagesDonald Trump's lawyer and ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani as well as the president's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows both sought pardons after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.That's according to explosive testimony from Meadows' aide during a House hearing investigating the insurrection.Read Full Story Trump threw dishes and flipped tablecloths 'several times' while at the White House: former aideCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's temper flared "several times" in the White House, a former top aide says, recounting how he threw dishes and flipped tablecloths in the White House dining room."There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him [Trump] either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere," said former aide Cassidy Hutchinson.After one outburst, Hutchinson said she had to wipe ketchup off the wall.KEEP READINGFox News host: Trump throwing his lunch isn't 'wholly out of character'Fox News host Martha MacCallum downplayed new revelations about former President Donald Trump's violent outbursts while he attempted to overturn the 2020 election.Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump threw a plate in the White House dining room after he found out former Attorney General Bill Barr publicly said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, leaving "ketchup dripping down the wall."MacCallum said the alleged outburst didn't sound "wholly out of character," even as a Fox News colleague called the revelations "stunning."Read Full StoryDonald Trump says he 'hardly' knows the former top aide who gave damning testimony against himDonald TrumpChet Strange/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump called the ex-White House aide who gave damning testimony about his actions on January 6 "bad news" and said he "hardly" knew her."I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and "leaker") ...," Trump wrote in part on his social media platform, Truth.Read Full StoryMike Flynn pleaded the 5th when asked whether the violence on January 6 was justifiedFormer National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at a campaign event in Brunswick, Ohio on April 21, 2022.Dustin Franz/Getty ImagesMike Flynn, a former 3-star general and Trump's national security advisor, waited over a minute before pleading the Fifth Amendment when asked if violence during the Capitol riot was justified.During a House panel on the insurrection, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming aired a clip of Flynn appearing to struggle with the question.Flynn also refused to say whether he supported the peaceful transition of power.Read MoreTrump threw his lunch at the wall after Barr said there wasn't widespread voter fraud: ex-aideCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesA former top White House aide testified that ex-President Donald Trump threw his lunch at a wall after then-Attorney General Bill Barr told him there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud."There was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor," Cassidy Hutchinson testified on Tuesday before a House panel investigating the Captiol riot on January 6, 2021.Read Full StoryTrump said Mike Pence 'deserves it' as Capitol rioters chanted that he should be hung: ex-aideDonald Trump and former US Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 2, 2020, in Washington, DC.MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump defended Capitol rioters who were chanting to hang Vice President Mike Pence during the Capitol riot, a top White House aide testified."Mike deserves it," Trump allegedly said, according to testimony from ex-aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Donald Trump also said that the rioters storming the Capitol building "weren't doing anything wrong." Read Full StoryEx-aide says top GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy warned White House officials that Trump shouldn't go to the Capitol on January 6President Donald Trump (R) speaks as he joined by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFormer White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that top House Republican Kevin McCarthy called White House advisors on January 6, 2021, warning that then-president Donald Trump should not come to the US Capitol.Hutchinson told a House panel that she got a call from McCarthy after Trump's speech on the Ellipse that day. McCarthy wasn't convinced that Trump wasn't planning to make his way to the Capitol building."Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don't come up here," she testified he said in the call.Read Full StoryTrump lunged at his driver and demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6.Former President Donald Trump.AP Photo/Joe MaioranaFormer President Donald Trump lunged at his driver and tried to grab the steering wheel on January 6, 2021, as he demanded to be taken to the Capitol building as his supporters were marching away from his speech that morning, a former aide testified.Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to the then-White House chief of staff, told a House panel investigating the Capitol riot that a Secret Service agent relayed the story of what happened to her.Hutchinson said that Trump "said something to the effect of 'I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.' "Read Full StoryTrump knew the January 6 crowd was armed, but said 'they're not here to hurt me,' aide testifiesDonald TrumpSeth Herald/Getty ImagesA former White House aide said Donald Trump knew that his supporters were armed on January 6 hours before they stormed the Capitol building."I don't fucking care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me," Trump said the morning of the insurrection at the US Capitol, according to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Hutchinson said Trump was incensed that there were gaps in the crowd of his speech on January 6.Read Full StoryTrump was 'fucking furious' armed supporters couldn't get to his speech: former aideFormer White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesAn ex-White House aide testified that President Donald Trump was "fucking furious" that people in the MAGA crowd weren't able to get to his speech on January 6, 2021 because they were carrying weapons.Trump was insistent that security remove the metal detectors outside the White House so more people with weapons could get into the grounds, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the House panel investigating the insurrection.She also quoted the president as saying: "Take the fucking mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here."READ FULL STORY Feds seized John Eastman's phoneJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APAnother big development emerged Monday in the widening federal criminal probe into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.This one involves federal agents who seized the phone of John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who advised Trump during his failed bid to stop the inauguration of Joe Biden. Eastman made the feds' move public in a filing with a New Mexico federal court, seeking the return of property from the government.According to his filing, FBI agents acting on behalf of DOJ's internal watchdog stopped Eastman as he was leaving a restaurant in New Mexico on June 22, taking his phone.Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson in the spotlightCassidy Hutchinson’s testimony is shown during the fifth January 6 committee hearing on June 23, 2022.Demetrius Freeman-Pool/Getty ImagesCassidy Hutchinson is the surprise lead witness for Tuesday's sixth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.The former top aide under then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is a direct witness to many of the events and discussions of interest to the panel.She's given the committee several important pieces of information, including the six GOP House members who sought pardons from Trump and that the president told Meadows he agreed with rioters demands to "hang" Vice President Mike Pence.Read Full Story Select committee announces surprise hearing.January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi speaks to reporters following the committee’s fifth hearing on June 23, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesThe Jan. 6 select committee announced it would hold a sixth hearing to start Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET during the congressional recess and despite previous statements that it would hold its next hearings in July.A committee advisory said it would present "recently obtained evidence" and feature witnesses, whom it did not name.Read Full StoryKamala Harris said she commended her vice presidential predecessor Mike Pence for 'courage' in certifying Biden as president despite Trump's pressureVice President Kamala Harris.Al Drago-Pool/Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said Monday that she commended former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying Joe Biden as president on January 6 despite him facing tremendous pressure by former President Donald Trump to overturn the election. "I think that he did his job that day," Harris said in a CNN interview after reporter Dana Bash asked her whether her opinion of Pence had changed. "And I commend him for that because clearly it was under extraordinary circumstances that he should have not had to face. And I commend him for having the courage to do his job."This month the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol attack has detailed how Trump tried to push Pence not to recognize Biden's victory in the days leading up to January 6, 2021. Trump wanted Pence to "send back" slates of electors for Biden back to their states in order to overturn his election loss. But Pence put out an open letter saying he didn't have the authority to take such actions, and his role in the certification process was largely ceremonial.Read Full StoryKevin McCarthy says it's 'all good' between him and Trump as the former president fumes about the lack of Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee: 'The right decision was the decision I made'Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and President Donald Trump.Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/POOL/Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Monday that everything is good between him and Donald Trump as the former president publicly questions whether it was wise to keep more Republicans off of the House January 6 committee."The right decision was the decision I made," McCarthy told Fox News' Dana Perino. "If other people change their opinion, read the rules and I think they'll come back to the same conclusion." The former president and McCarthy have talked recently, according to the top House Republican. When Perino asked if things were "all good?" McCarthy responded, "Oh, all good. Yes."McCarthy repeated his long-held defense of the decision, arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have only selected Republicans that would have fit her views. The California Republican then named three of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump as examples of people Pelosi would have supported.Read Full StoryHow to watch the House January 6 committee hearings on the Capitol attackVideo featuring former President Donald Trump’s White House senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is played during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Stepien, who was scheduled to testify in person, was unable to attend due to a family emergency. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for President Joe Biden.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Insurrection at the US Capitol is bringing to light its findings from a year's worth of work with a series of public hearings this summer. The select committee, formed in May 2021, has nine members, seven Democrats, including Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, and two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Its members and staff have spent the past year conducting hundreds of closed-door interviews, poring over hundreds of thousands of documents, and parsing phone and email records to reconstruct how President Donald Trump and his allies sought to overturn his 2020 election loss before a mob of pro-Trump rioters breached the US Capitol in an effort to stop the final certification of the 2020 election. Five public hearings, including one in primetime, have already taken place, and one more hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 hearing takeaways: Pardon pleas, more Bill Barr, and a riveting account of how Trump turned to the Justice Department and a loyal lawyer to 'help legitimize his lies'TheBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)Spanning more than two hours in the late afternoon, the House January 6 committee's fifth public hearing captured the drama that unfolded inside the Justice Department and White House as Trump looked to some of the country's most senior and important law enforcement officials to help him remain in power.READ FULL STORYMatt Gaetz 'personally' pushed for a pardon from Trump 'from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things,' Trump officials testifyRepublican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida at the White House on May 8, 2020.Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee aired a series of video testimonies from former Trump administration officials detailing which Republican members of Congress sought pardons from former President Donald Trump at the end of his term as he and his allies exhausted different avenues to stay in power.Most prominently featured: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.According to various officials who spoke with the committee, Gaetz began pushing for a pardon well before other Republicans who were involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election."Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December," said Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in testimony aired by the committee on Thursday.READ FULL STORYFox News cut away from the Jan. 6 hearing minutes before testimony by Trump aides about GOP lawmakers who sought pardonsPlaque at the entrance to Fox News headquarters in New YorkErik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty ImagesJust as former Department of Justice Officials were detailing how they threatened to resign en masse if former President Donald Trump went ahead with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Fox News cut away to air its previously scheduled talk show, "The Five."CNN and MSNBC aired the hearings in full, which ended with Rep. Adam Kinzinger listing six GOP lawmakers whom Trump aides testified sought pardons in the administration's final weeks.Other than the first of the five hearings so far, Fox News has carried the proceedings without commercial breaks, save for recesses during the proceedings.READ FULL STORYDOJ officials threatened to resign if Jeffrey Clark was appointed Attorney GeneralJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesTop officials at the US Department of Justice threatened to resign if former President Donald Trump succeeded in making loyalist Jeff Clark the acting Attorney General, per testimony before the January 6 committee on Thursday.Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, said that the pledge to resign was made on a phone call in the wake of reports that Trump was considering installing Clark, who at the time was promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 election."They would resign en masse if the president made that change," Donoghue told the committee. "All without hesitation said they would resign."At least six GOP members of Congress sought pardons after January 6, 2021, per testimony from a former White House aideRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are charged with crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite/APCassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified Wednesday before the January 6 House panel that at least six House members asked the White House for a pardon following the Capitol siege.According to Hutchinson, Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania requested pardons.The former White House aide added that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked for an "update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress" but did not personally ask for one.Keep Reading Trump suggested sending letter to states alleging 2020 election fraud, a former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen testifiedFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen has already testified about Trump's efforts to pressure DOJ.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen said on Thursday that then-President Donald Trump suggested that the Justice Department send letters to state legislatures in Georgia and other states alleging that there was voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election despite knowing there was no such evidence.Rosen told lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection that during Trump's final days in office, the former president and his campaign suggested several strategies for the Justice Department to overturn the presidential election results. These tactics included filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court, making public statements, and holding a press conference."The Justice Department declined all of those requests that I was just referencing because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts and the law, as we understood," Rosen said.Read MoreA former Trump DOJ official testified that former President Donald Trump urged him and other officials to 'just say the election was corrupt'Notes from Richard Donoghue displayed at the January 6 committee's hearing on June 23, 2022.Screenshot / C-SPANThe January 6 committee on Thursday displayed scans of notes taken by Richard Donoghue, then the acting deputy attorney general serving out the final days of the Trump administration.One note, displayed as Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois led the committee's questioning, included an apparent plea from then-President Donald Trump to "just say the election was corrupt" and "leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen."Read Full StoryBill Barr says he's 'not sure we would have had a transition at all' to Biden if DOJ hadn't investigated Trump's baseless voter fraud claimsFormer Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer Attorney General William Barr said he was "not sure we would have had a transition at all" if the Justice Department had not investigated Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud and found them baseless.In a closed-door deposition, Barr suggested to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack that Trump might not have left office voluntarily if DOJ had not proactively examined the election fraud claims ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration. Read Full Story'You would be committing a felony'Eric Herschmann spoke to the Jan. 6 committee on Thursday.Senate Television via APFormer White House attorney Eric Herschmann told the committee that he brutally mocked a plan from a Trump loyalist to hijack control of the Justice Department in a last-ditch effort to overturn the 2020 election."And when he finished discussing what he planned on doing, I said, 'good, fucking, excuse me, f-ing, a-hole, congratulations you just admitted that your first step or act you would take as attorney general would be committing a felony and violating rule 6c," Herschmann told the panel, per an excerpt of his previously private deposition that was released on Thursday.Read Full Story  Fast times in the CapitolActor Sean Penn and DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges at the January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2022.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinSean Penn is in the House.The actor and well known Hollywood activist made an unexpected appearance at the fifth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. "I'm just here to observe — just another citizen," Penn told a CNN reporter. "I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we're looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney is mailing instructions to Democrats on how to change parties and vote for her in Wyoming's GOP primaryU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesAs Rep. Liz Cheney faces a tough reelection battle in Wyoming, she's turning to Democrats in her home state to help her chances in the August 16 Republican primary.Cheney's campaign has mailed instructions to Wyoming Democrats on how to change their party affiliation to vote for the incumbent congresswoman, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Under Wyoming law, voters must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican in order to vote in that party's primary election. Read Full StoryFeds search home of former top Trump DOJ officialJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesWe've got a major development that surfaced Thursday into what appears to be a widening federal investigation into Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election.Federal investigators on Wednesday searched the Northern Virginia home of Jeff Clark, a former top Justice Department official who became the go-to Trump ally trying to push DOJ into backing the then-president's baseless claims about voter fraud.ABC News first reported this, and a DOJ spokesperson has since confirmed to Insider's Ryan Barber that law enforcement activity did indeed happen in the Washington DC suburb where Clark lives. The spokesperson wouldn't comment on the nature of the activity or about any specific individuals.Expect to hear Clark's name a couple times or more during Thursday's House select committee hearing as the panel examines Trump's efforts to use DOJ in his bid to stop Joe Biden from being sworn in as the country's 46th president.Read Full Story#unprecedentedA trailer for a documentary that centers on Trump and January 6 was released by Discovery Plus.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesHere's something that doesn't show up on the internet very often: a 30-second trailer for a new three-part documentary taking people behind the scenes of Donald Trump's presidency and the January 6 insurrection.But that's exactly what landed online late Wednesday via Discovery+, which shows footage of the new series titled "Unprecedented." The clip features Trump and his adult children Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump and closes with the ex-president himself agreeing to discuss the riot at the US Capitol. —discovery+ (@discoveryplus) June 23, 2022House January 6 investigators have the documentary footage too, courtesy of a subpoena that Politico reported about. And Trump allies were apparently in the dark about the filming, with one texting Rolling Stone: "what the fuck is this?"Read Full Story Hearings to resume at 3 p.m. ET Thursday with testimony expected from former DOJ officialsFormer Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 commission's fifth hearing is expected to start at 3 p.m. Thursday, with testimony expected from former Trump-administration Justice Department officials. They are:Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney generalRichard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney generalSteven Engel, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal CounselRosen served as acting attorney general in the final weeks of Trump's presidency. He previously told the committee how he came under persistent pressure from Trump to have the DOJ back Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as Insider's C. Ryan Barber reported.Toward the end of his presidency, Trump considered ousting Rosen and installing Jeffrey Clark, a supporter of the bogus voter-fraud claims, in his place, but ultimately decided not to after officials threatened to resign if he went through.Analysis: Trump shot himself in the foot by opposing a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission because now he has no allies to defend him in scathing public hearingsLawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/APAs the House's January 6 committee lays out in devastating detail Donald Trump's effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, the former president is turning his anger on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Trump has complained about McCarthy's decision to boycott the panel, with the former president telling the Punchbowl newsletter on Wednesday: "Republicans don't have a voice. They don't even have anything to say."But Trump has no one but himself to blame for the situation, one of his Republican critics pointed out, as he was the one who opposed the formation of a bipartisan commission equally split between Republicans and Democrats to investigate the riot. Read Full StoryTrump is hate-watching every Jan. 6 hearing and almost screams at the TV because he feels nobody is defending him, report saysDonald TrumpJoe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump is hate-watching the January 6 committee hearings, incensed because he believes nobody is defending him, according to The Washington Post.Trump is at "the point of about to scream at the TV" as he tunes in to each hearing, one unnamed close advisor told the paper. Another in his circle, also unnamed, told the paper that Trump continually complains that "there's no one to defend me" at the hearings, which have attracted huge amounts of media coverage.Per The Post, Trump's anger centers on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who boycotted the committee at its formation, passing up the chance to put pro-Trump figures on the panel.Read Full StoryDOJ issued subpoenas to alleged fake Trump electors and a Trump campaign official, reports sayA general view shows a House January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2022.Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Justice Department expanded its investigation into the Capitol riot after issuing subpoenas to a would-be Trump elector in Georgia and a Trump campaign official who worked in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Wednesday.Arizona, Georgia, and New Mexico are among the seven battleground states where a failed effort to overturn the election took place by appointing pro-Trump electors.The news comes after Rep. Adam Schiff said the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection obtained evidence that former President Donald Trump was involved in the aforementioned scheme.Read Full StoryTrump aides didn't know someone was filming Trump on January 6 until the House committee got the footage: reportsPresident Donald Trump listens as Jared Kushner speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on September 11, 2020.Andrew Harnik/AP PhotoAides to Donald Trump had no idea a documentary maker filmed the former president on January 6, 2021, until the House committee investigating that day subpoenaed the footage, reports said. The existence of the footage by UK documentarian Alex Holder was first reported by Politico on Tuesday.The outlet said that Holder complied with the House committee request and handed over several months of footage of Trump up to and including January 6. The New York Times reported that many top Trump advisors were surprised by news of the project, which was known to only a small circle of close Trump aides.Read Full StoryIvanka Trump claimed to believe Trump's false voter-fraud theories but later told Jan. 6 panel she didn't, report saysIvanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump claimed to believe former President Donald Trump's false voter-fraud theories in a December 2020 interview, directly contradicting her testimony to congressional investigators earlier this year, a new report says.In April 2022, Trump had told the House committee investigating the Capitol riot that she had "accepted" former Attorney General Bill Barr's assessment that Donald Trump's claims of election fraud were wrong.But according to The New York Times, Ivanka Trump told the documentary filmmaker Alex Holder on December 10, 2020 — nine days after Barr made the assessment that supposedly swayed her — that she supported her father's efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.She said Trump should "continue to fight" the 2020 election results because Americans were questioning the "sanctity of our elections."Read Full StoryElection worker testifies that conspiracy theorists tried to citizen's arrest her grandmother after lies from Trump, GiulianiWandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman, right, during the House January 6 committee's hearing.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinA Georgia election worker testified that her grandmother faced a citizen's arrest by a group of election deniers who tried pushing their way into her house due to election lies told by former President Donald Trump and former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia, told lawmakers during a January 6 select committee hearing that she and her mother Ruby Freeman, who worked as a short-term election worker in 2020, were among the workers counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. When Giuliani and Trump accused those workers of orchestrating election fraud, Moss said her family faced death threats and were pushed out of town, living in Airbnbs for two months around January 6 at the FBI's recommendation.Moss said she endured racist harassment as well, adding that a group of people influenced by the election conspiracies showed up to her grandmother's house and tried to perform a citizen's arrest.Read Full StoryWhere's Pat Cipollone?Former White House Counsel Pat CipolloneAlex Wong/Getty ImagesPaging Pat Cipollone.The former White House counsel under then-President Donald Trump is now front and center as a top witness the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection still wants to hear from.That's according to Rep. Liz Cheney, who publicly called Tuesday for Cipollone to testify about evidence the committee has collected showing that he "tried to do what was right" as  Trump pushed to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney also noted that the House panel is also "certain" Trump doesn't want Cipollone to testify. His previous job as Trump's top White House attorney could complicate the matter, though as Insider's Ryan Barber points out in his story, Bill Barr did participate in its investigation.Read Full StorySexualized texts, a break-in and doxxingsGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is sworn in to testify on Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTuesday's House select committee featured jaw-dropping testimony from election officials who detailed the threats they faced after refusing to go along with then President Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 election results.One big dose of it came from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who explained how he received texts from all over the US and eventually his wife became a target of harassment too. "My wife started getting the texts and hers typically came in as sexualized texts, which were disgusting," Raffensperger said during his testimony before the January 6 committee. "You have to understand that Trish and I met in high school and we have been married over 40 years now. They started going after her I think to probably put pressure on me: 'Why don't you just quit and walk away?'" Raffensperger also testified about Trump supporters who broke into the home of his daughter-in-law, a widow with two children. And he said his phone and email were doxxed, meaning that someone had posted the number and email publicly so that people would message him. Read Full StoryDeath threatsWandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is sworn in before January 6 committee on June 21, 2022.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA Black former Georgia election worker delivered stark testimony on Tuesday about the racist and deadly threats that came when President Donald Trump publicly attacked her and her mother amid his drive to overturn the 2020 election results.Insider's Bryan Metzger has more on the remarks from Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, a veteran election official in Fulton County who ended up on the receiving end of myriad threats after Rudy Giuliani specifically named her and her mom when speaking to the Georgia state Senate."They included threats, a lot of threats wishing death upon me," Moss said. "Telling me that, you know, I'll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, 'Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920.'" Read Full Story'We were just kind of useful idiots'Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Delaware, Ohio, on April 23, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images"We were just kind of useful idiots, or rubes at that point."That's a quote from former Donald Trump 2020 campaign staffer Robert Sinner describing to the House January 6 investigators his displeasure with a scheme to overturn now-President Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia.Sinner's remarks were broadcast in a video recording shown during Tuesday's select committee hearing, Insider's John Dorman reports.Read Full Story Suspicious package found outside House hearing roomThe House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty ImagesThe House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection kept on going Tuesday despite a suspicious package being found right outside the hearing room where the panel was meeting.Insider's Lauren Frias reported that the US Capitol Police officials did issue an all-clear about an hour after first sending out its alert. The police advised staff and visitors on the premises to stay away from the area during the incident. A Fox News producer tweeted that the package appeared to be an unattended backpack on top of a walker outside of the House building.Read Full Story'Do not give that to him'Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and former Vice President Mike Pence.Drew Angerer and Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Sen. Ron Johnson sought to deliver a slate of "alternate" electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the counting of votes during a Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.That's according to a series of eye-catching text messages first displayed by the January 6 committee on Tuesday, Insider's Bryan Metzger reported."Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise," Sean Riley, Johnson's chief of staff, wrote of the materials that were related to "alternate" electors from two contested Midwestern states that Democratic nominee Joe Biden had narrowly carried: Michigan and Wisconsin. "What is it?" replied Chris Hodgson, a legislative aide to Pence."Alternate slate of elector for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them," Riley replied."Do not give that to him," Hodgson replied.Read Full StoryRudy admitted to not having election fraud evidenceRudy Giuliani, former lawyer for President Donald Trump.William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesRudy Giuliani admitted to not having any evidence of election fraud after the 2020 presidential election despite repeatedly claiming he did, according to the Republican speaker of the Arizona state House."My recollection, he said, 'We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence,'" Russell "Rusty" Bowers, the Arizona official, said in describing a conversation with then-President Donald Trump's personal attorney.Bowers, a Trump supporter, was testifying on Tuesday before the House January 6 select committee to recount his interactions with Giuliani and the Trump legal team surrounding the events of the last presidential election.He called the Trump team "a tragic parody" and compared them to the 1971 comedy "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight."Read Full Story A very real threat to the 2022 midtermsCouy Griffin, a central figure in a New Mexico county's refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines, has avoided more jail time for joining the mob that attacked the US Capitol.AP Photo/Gemunu AmarasingheThe House select committee's January 6 hearings have spotlighted the very real threat to future US elections, including the midterms coming up this November.That's the big takeaway from a story by Insider's Grace Panetta published Tuesday that looks at how a court had to intercede after New Mexico county commission initially refused to certify results from the state's June 7 primary."The election denial movement pushed by Trump and his allies that spurred so many to attack the Capitol on January 6 has now fanned out to county commissions, town halls, and polling places around the country, presenting wholly novel burdens on election officials and new threats to the health of American democracy," Grace wrote.Read Full StoryTrump is ready to abandon attorney John Eastman after he was criticized in committee hearings, report saysJohn Eastman at a pro-Trump rally on January 6, 2021.Jim Bourg/ReutersFormer President Donald Trump sees no reason to defend the conservative attorney John Eastman, Rolling Stone reported.The decision the outlet relayed came in light of the heavy scrutiny of Eastman in the Congressional Jan. 6 committee hearings, which detailed his role helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.Eastman wrote a memo detailing a last-ditch plan for Vice President Mike Pence to block Joe Biden's certification as president on January 6, 2021, at the Congressional proceeding which was interrupted by the Capitol riot.Citing two sources close to Trump, the outlet reported that the committee's focus on Eastman in its public hearings had bothered Trump, and that Trump has started distancing himself from the attorney.READ FULL STORYFull list of witness testifying on June 21Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers is among those scheduled to testify in the committee's June 21 hearing.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FileInsider's Warren Rojas has a roster of those scheduled to appear in the committee's public hearings. See the full list below.Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee subpoenas filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the riotTrump speaks to supporters from the Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee sent a subpoena to Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the Capitol riot, Politico's Playbook newsletter reported Tuesday.The existence of this footage had never been reported before, and Holder is expected to fully cooperate with the panel, Playbook reported.Holder also spent several months interviewing members of Trump's family, including his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Playbook reported.The subpoena asked Holder to provide any raw footage he might have from the Capitol riot and interviews with Trump, his family, and former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as any footage he has of discussions about voter fraud in the 2020 election.Trump boasts he's been impeached twice and screams 'nothing matters!' amid ongoing January 6 hearingsFormer President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump on Friday bragged that he was impeached twice, while recycling his false claims about the 2020 election and attacking former Vice President Mike Pence and former Attorney General William Barr.Delivering a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Nashville, the former president said Pence didn't have the courage to embrace his effort to overturn the election and mocked Barr for being "afraid" of getting impeached."What's wrong with being impeached? I got impeached twice and my poll numbers went up," Trump said.Read Full StoryGinni Thomas says she 'can't wait' to talk to Jan. 6 committee after it asks for interview over her efforts to overturn 2020 electionGinni ThomasChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesGinni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said she "can't wait' to talk to the House January 6 commission after it asked to interview her over her efforts to overturn the 2020 election."I can't wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them," Thomas told the right-wing news site The Daily Caller. She did not say what those misconceptions might be.Her comments come after the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot announced that it had requested an interview with her. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said the panel wanted to talk to her "soon," Axios reported.Thomas faces scrutiny over her connections to former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Read Full StoryEven on the day of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still doubtful if Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election, says ex-Trump lawyerRudy Giuliani.Jacquelyn Martin/APEric Herschmann, a former Trump White House lawyer, revealed on Thursday that even on the morning of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still debating whether then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the votes in the 2020 election. Herschmann's testimony was aired on Thursday during the third of six public hearings organized by the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot. Thursday's session centered on the pressure exerted by the Trump camp in a bid to get Pence to overturn the vote.Herschmann said he received a call "out of the blue" from Giuliani on the morning of January 6, 2021, concerning what Pence's role would be that day."And, you know, he was asking me my view and analysis and then the practical implications of it," Herschmann said, who described the call as an "intellectual discussion." "And when we finished, he said, like, 'I believe that, you know, you're probably right.'" Read Full StoryMike Pence's former lawyer said he warned Trump's camp that overturning votes would lead to the 2020 election being 'decided in the streets'Then-US President Donald Trump arrives with then- Vice President Mike Pence for a "Make America Great Again" rally in Michigan on November 2, 2020.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesA lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence said that he strongly disagreed with conservative lawyer John Eastman about the Trump camp's plan to overturn the 2020 election result and warned Eastman that it might lead to violence in the streets.Testifying on Thursday before the January 6 panel investigating the Capitol riot, Greg Jacob said he had spoken to Eastman on January 5, 2021. During their conversation, Jacob said he expressed his "vociferous disagreement" with the plan for Pence to overturn the electoral vote on behalf of former President Donald Trump and send the votes back to their respective states. "Among other things, if the courts did not step in to resolve this, there was nobody else to resolve it," Jacob testified. Read Full StoryDemocracy on the brinkPeople arrive before a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.Drew Angerer/Pool Photo via APAmerican democracy was on the brink like no time ever before.That's the lede paragraph from Insider's Grace Panetta in her story that sums up the biggest takeaways from Thursday's historic and marathon third public hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Grace writes that the two lead witnesses, Greg Jacob and Michael Luttig, were steeped in legal expertise and constitutional scholarship as they explained at a granular and methodical level why neither the Electoral Count Act nor the 12th Amendment permitted then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.Then-President Donald Trump and one of his personal legal advisors, John Eastman, were pushing the vice president to do exactly that in a break with all of US history. Read Full StoryMAGA world a "clear and present danger to American democracy"Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, looks at Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, as he testifies before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump and his supporters remain a "clear and present danger to American democracy."Those were the startling words of Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who has long been championed by Republicans. He made them near the end of Thursday's marathon House select committee hearing into the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Luttig, who advised then-Vice President Mike Pence about his ceremonial role on January 6, also went on to say Trump world is being more than blunt about its plans to manipulate the results of the next election for the White House. "The former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in open and plain view of the American public," Luttig testified, per Insider's Warren Rojas. Read Full Story'1 more relatively minor violation' of election law...please?Former Trump legal adviser John EastmanAP Photo/Susan WalshIt's perhaps one of the biggest bombshells to come out of Thursday's House select committee hearing on the Capitol insurrection: a Trump lawyer putting in writing a request to break the law.The no-no came from John Eastman, who sent an email at 11:44 p.m. on the night of January 6, 2021, repeated his demand that Vice President Mike Pence halt the proceedings to certify the 2020 election and send it back to the states for a period of 10 days."So now that the precedent has been set that the Electoral Count Act is not quite so sacrosanct as was previously claimed, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here," Eastman wrote to Pence lawyer Greg Jacob.Insider's Jake Lahut writes that the Eastman email was sent after Jacob and the then-vice president's staff and family, had been sheltering in place in a secure location during the riot.Read Full StoryEastman asked Giuliani to be added to Trump's pardon listJohn Eastman appeared onstage with Rudy Giuliani at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the January 6 attack on the Capitol.Jim Bourg/ReutersThe House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol made some news on Thursday by disclosing evidence that conservative lawyer John Eastman wanted to get added to lame-duck President Donald Trump's pardon list.Eastman was pushing to overturn the 2020 election, and as Insider's Oma Seddiq reports, his efforts prompted an email to personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. "I've decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works," Eastman wrote  to Giuliani, according to Rep. Pete Aguilar, a lawmaker on the January 6 panel who read the email during Thursday's hearing. Eastman ultimately did not receive a pardon. Read Full StoryAides say Trump called Pence 'P-word' and 'wimp' on Jan. 6 callTrump and Pence at a White House event on July 13, 2020.AP Photo/Evan VucciThe language got pretty profane in the White House on the morning of January 6, 2021, Insider's Bryan Metzger reports.That's according to former aides who testified to the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection about a call then-President Donald Trump made to Mike Pence, his vice president."I remember hearing the word 'wimp'. Either he called him a wimp — I don't remember if he said, 'you are a wimp, you'll be a wimp' — wimp is the word I remember," said Nicholas Luna, a former assistant to Trump.Julie Radford, who served as Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, told the committee that Ivanka told her that the president "just had an upsetting conversation with the Vice President" in which he called Pence "the P-word."Read Full Story'Secret' MAGA back channel Jan. 6 investigators are teasing is also Oath Keepers' legal defenseStewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017.Susan Walsh/APThe House January 6 investigators keep on teasing how there'll soon be upcoming testimony that reveals secret coordination between Trumpworld and extremist groups.But as Insider's Laura Italiano points out in a new story, the Oath Keepers have long boasted of such a back channel.In fact, leader and founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other members of the pro-Trump militia are staking their seditious-conspiracy defense case on these yet-described communications with rally organizers.Read Full StoryCruz wanted the ex-judge testifying against Trump as a SCOTUS justiceRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired Judge Michael Luttig.AP Photos/Manuel Balce Ceneta and Susan WalshThere's an interesting twist to the retired conservative federal Judge Michael Luttig testifying as a key witness in Thursday's January 6 committee hearing.Insider's Bryan Metzger dug up video from the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates showing Luttig was once named by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as an ideal Supreme Court nominee.—bryan metzger (@metzgov) June 16, 2022 Bryan writes that it was "yet another example of just how much former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results has divided the conservative legal world."Read Full Story   DOJ: House's 'failure' to share transcripts hurting Jan. 6 investigationsTrump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesMore public tension is emerging between the Justice Department and the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Insider's Ryan Barber has the details on a new letter sent Wednesday from the top US attorney in Washington DC to the House panel. There, the DOJ official says that the House panel has complicated criminal cases with its 'failure' to turn over interview transcripts to prosecutions.DOJ is looking for access to more than 1,000 interviews the congressional panel has conducted during its months-long examination of the Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election.Read Full StoryJudge Luttig: If Pence tossed valid electoral votes it would have been 'a revolution'Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, testifies Thursday to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.AP Photo/Susan WalshSome really powerful testimony to start Thursday's January 6 select committee hearing from former federal judge J. Michael Luttig.In his opening remarks, he told the panel investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol that Vice President Mike Pence overturning the 2020 election would've pushed the country into 'the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic.'"That declaration of Donald Trump as the next president would have launched America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America which in my view would have been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic," Luttig told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. Read Full StoryFormer Pence counsel says 'the law is not a plaything' for presidentsVice President Mike PenceScott J. Applewhite/APMike Pence's former counsel Greg Jacob is a lead witness in Thursday's third public hearing for the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.In his written statement submitted before the hearing, Jacob called serving the vice president "the honor of a lifetime," while also warning that the rule of law is "not a plaything" for political leaders to bend per their whim."The law is not a plaything for presidents or judges to use to remake the world in their preferred image," he wrote. "Our Constitution and our laws form the strong edifice within which our heartfelt policy disagreements are to be debated and decided."Insider's Grace Panetta has more on Jacob's testimony and spells out why he was a key figure in rebuffing the intense pressure campaign and efforts to compel Pence to obstruct or meddle with the count. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 committee says it will 'soon' seek interview with Ginni ThomasConservative activist Ginni Thomas and January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.AP Photos/Susan Walsh and J. Scott ApplewhiteConservative activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, should be expecting an interview request soon from the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol."We think it's time that we, at some point, invite her to come talk to the committee," Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the panel, told Axios' Andrew Solender. He added that the invitation would come "soon."Thomas has recently come under scrutiny for her role in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, including emailing Trump lawyer John Eastman and pressuring 29 state legislators in Arizona to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Read Full Story  Meet the former Trump attorney starring in the January 6 hearingEric Herschmann, former White House attorney, speaks with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 13, 2022.(House Select Committee via APAnyone remember Eric Herschmann? The White House attorney burst into the national spotlight defending President Donald Trump during his first Senate impeachment trial way back in the early pre-pandemic days of 2020.Now he's back, but for a very different reason.That's the story that Oma Seddiq just delivered for Insider readers ahead of Thursday's House January 6 hearing profiling Herschmann. He's been in the news as video clips make the rounds of his testimony where he talks about warning Trump and his allies after the presidential election that there was no proof the race was rigged and stolen, and their efforts may be illegal. In addition to his colorful language, Herschmann has drawn notice because he gave his deposition in a room with a baseball bat hanging on the wall and the word "JUSTICE" inscribed on it in bold, white letters. Observers also have noted a large painting behind him of a panda, by the artist Rob Pruitt, is similar to one that appeared in the 2015 erotic drama "50 Shades of Grey."Read Full StoryNick Quested explains how it felt to testify before the January 6 committeeBritish filmmaker Nick Queste.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Jan. 6 live updates: Trump defended Capitol rioters chanting to hang Pence, ex-aide testifies

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is holding a surprise hearing at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday. Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide under former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, is testifying. Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows both wanted pardons after the Capitol riot, she said. Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows both sought pardons from TrumpRudy Guiliani and Mark MeadowsGetty ImagesDonald Trump's lawyer and ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani as well as the president's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows both sought pardons after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.That's according to explosive testimony from Meadows' aide during a House hearing investigating the insurrection.Read Full Story Trump threw dishes and flipped tablecloths 'several times' while at the White House: former aideCassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies before the January 6 committee in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump's temper flared "several times" in the White House, a former top aide says, recounting how he threw dishes and flipped tablecloths in the White House dining room."There were several times throughout my tenure with the chief of staff that I was aware of him [Trump] either throwing dishes or flipping the tablecloth to let all the contents of the table go onto the floor and likely break or go everywhere," said former aide Cassidy Hutchinson.After one outburst, Hutchinson said she had to wipe ketchup off the wall.KEEP READINGDonald Trump says he 'hardly' knows the former top aide who gave damning testimony against himDonald TrumpChet Strange/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump called the ex-White House aide who gave damning testimony about his actions on January 6 "bad news" and said he "hardly" knew her."I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchinson, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and "leaker") ...," Trump wrote in part on his social media platform, Truth.Read Full StoryMike Flynn pleaded the 5th when asked whether the violence on January 6 was justifiedFormer National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at a campaign event in Brunswick, Ohio on April 21, 2022.Dustin Franz/Getty ImagesMike Flynn, a former 3-star general and Trump's national security advisor, waited over a minute before pleading the Fifth Amendment when asked if violence during the Capitol riot was justified.During a House panel on the insurrection, committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming aired a clip of Flynn appearing to struggle with the question.Flynn also refused to say whether he supported the peaceful transition of power.Read MoreTrump threw his lunch at the wall after Barr said there wasn't widespread voter fraud: ex-aideCassidy Hutchinson, a top former aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testifies during the sixth hearing by the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection in the Cannon House Office Building on June 28, 2022 in Washington, DC.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesA former top White House aide testified that ex-President Donald Trump threw his lunch at a wall after then-Attorney General Bill Barr told him there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud."There was ketchup dripping down the wall and there was a shattered porcelain plate on the floor," Cassidy Hutchinson testified on Tuesday before a House panel investigating the Captiol riot on January 6, 2021.Read Full StoryTrump said Mike Pence 'deserves it' as Capitol rioters chanted that he should be hung: ex-aideDonald Trump and former US Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 2, 2020, in Washington, DC.MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump defended Capitol rioters who were chanting to hang Vice President Mike Pence during the Capitol riot, a top White House aide testified."Mike deserves it," Trump allegedly said, according to testimony from ex-aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Donald Trump also said that the rioters storming the Capitol building "weren't doing anything wrong." Read Full StoryEx-aide says top GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy warned White House officials that Trump shouldn't go to the Capitol on January 6President Donald Trump (R) speaks as he joined by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFormer White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that top House Republican Kevin McCarthy called White House advisors on January 6, 2021, warning that then-president Donald Trump should not come to the US Capitol.Hutchinson told a House panel that she got a call from McCarthy after Trump's speech on the Ellipse that day. McCarthy wasn't convinced that Trump wasn't planning to make his way to the Capitol building."Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don't come up here," she testified he said in the call.Read Full StoryTrump lunged at his driver and demanded to be taken to the Capitol on January 6.Former President Donald Trump.AP Photo/Joe MaioranaFormer President Donald Trump lunged at his driver and tried to grab the steering wheel on January 6, 2021, as he demanded to be taken to the Capitol building as his supporters were marching away from his speech that morning, a former aide testified.Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to the then-White House chief of staff, told a House panel investigating the Capitol riot that a Secret Service agent relayed the story of what happened to her.Hutchinson said that Trump "said something to the effect of 'I'm the effing president, take me up to the Capitol now.' "Read Full StoryTrump knew the January 6 crowd was armed, but said 'they're not here to hurt me,' aide testifiesDonald TrumpSeth Herald/Getty ImagesA former White House aide said Donald Trump knew that his supporters were armed on January 6 hours before they stormed the Capitol building."I don't fucking care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me," Trump said the morning of the insurrection at the US Capitol, according to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Hutchinson said Trump was incensed that there were gaps in the crowd of his speech on January 6.Read Full StoryTrump was 'fucking furious' armed supporters couldn't get to his speech: former aideFormer White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesAn ex-White House aide testified that President Donald Trump was "fucking furious" that people in the MAGA crowd weren't able to get to his speech on January 6, 2021 because they were carrying weapons.Trump was insistent that security remove the metal detectors outside the White House so more people with weapons could get into the grounds, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson told the House panel investigating the insurrection.She also quoted the president as saying: "Take the fucking mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here."READ FULL STORY Feds seized John Eastman's phoneJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APAnother big development emerged Monday in the widening federal criminal probe into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.This one involves federal agents who seized the phone of John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who advised Trump during his failed bid to stop the inauguration of Joe Biden. Eastman made the feds' move public in a filing with a New Mexico federal court, seeking the return of property from the government.According to his filing, FBI agents acting on behalf of DOJ's internal watchdog stopped Eastman as he was leaving a restaurant in New Mexico on June 22, taking his phone.Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson in the spotlightCassidy Hutchinson’s testimony is shown during the fifth January 6 committee hearing on June 23, 2022.Demetrius Freeman-Pool/Getty ImagesCassidy Hutchinson is the surprise lead witness for Tuesday's sixth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.The former top aide under then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is a direct witness to many of the events and discussions of interest to the panel.She's given the committee several important pieces of information, including the six GOP House members who sought pardons from Trump and that the president told Meadows he agreed with rioters demands to "hang" Vice President Mike Pence.Read Full Story Select committee announces surprise hearing.January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi speaks to reporters following the committee’s fifth hearing on June 23, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesThe Jan. 6 select committee announced it would hold a sixth hearing to start Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET during the congressional recess and despite previous statements that it would hold its next hearings in July.A committee advisory said it would present "recently obtained evidence" and feature witnesses, whom it did not name.Read Full StoryKamala Harris said she commended her vice presidential predecessor Mike Pence for 'courage' in certifying Biden as president despite Trump's pressureVice President Kamala Harris.Al Drago-Pool/Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said Monday that she commended former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying Joe Biden as president on January 6 despite him facing tremendous pressure by former President Donald Trump to overturn the election. "I think that he did his job that day," Harris said in a CNN interview after reporter Dana Bash asked her whether her opinion of Pence had changed. "And I commend him for that because clearly it was under extraordinary circumstances that he should have not had to face. And I commend him for having the courage to do his job."This month the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol attack has detailed how Trump tried to push Pence not to recognize Biden's victory in the days leading up to January 6, 2021. Trump wanted Pence to "send back" slates of electors for Biden back to their states in order to overturn his election loss. But Pence put out an open letter saying he didn't have the authority to take such actions, and his role in the certification process was largely ceremonial.Read Full StoryKevin McCarthy says it's 'all good' between him and Trump as the former president fumes about the lack of Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee: 'The right decision was the decision I made'Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and President Donald Trump.Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/POOL/Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Monday that everything is good between him and Donald Trump as the former president publicly questions whether it was wise to keep more Republicans off of the House January 6 committee."The right decision was the decision I made," McCarthy told Fox News' Dana Perino. "If other people change their opinion, read the rules and I think they'll come back to the same conclusion." The former president and McCarthy have talked recently, according to the top House Republican. When Perino asked if things were "all good?" McCarthy responded, "Oh, all good. Yes."McCarthy repeated his long-held defense of the decision, arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have only selected Republicans that would have fit her views. The California Republican then named three of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump as examples of people Pelosi would have supported.Read Full StoryHow to watch the House January 6 committee hearings on the Capitol attackVideo featuring former President Donald Trump’s White House senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is played during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Stepien, who was scheduled to testify in person, was unable to attend due to a family emergency. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for President Joe Biden.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Insurrection at the US Capitol is bringing to light its findings from a year's worth of work with a series of public hearings this summer. The select committee, formed in May 2021, has nine members, seven Democrats, including Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, and two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Its members and staff have spent the past year conducting hundreds of closed-door interviews, poring over hundreds of thousands of documents, and parsing phone and email records to reconstruct how President Donald Trump and his allies sought to overturn his 2020 election loss before a mob of pro-Trump rioters breached the US Capitol in an effort to stop the final certification of the 2020 election. Five public hearings, including one in primetime, have already taken place, and one more hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 hearing takeaways: Pardon pleas, more Bill Barr, and a riveting account of how Trump turned to the Justice Department and a loyal lawyer to 'help legitimize his lies'TheBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)Spanning more than two hours in the late afternoon, the House January 6 committee's fifth public hearing captured the drama that unfolded inside the Justice Department and White House as Trump looked to some of the country's most senior and important law enforcement officials to help him remain in power.READ FULL STORYMatt Gaetz 'personally' pushed for a pardon from Trump 'from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things,' Trump officials testifyRepublican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida at the White House on May 8, 2020.Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee aired a series of video testimonies from former Trump administration officials detailing which Republican members of Congress sought pardons from former President Donald Trump at the end of his term as he and his allies exhausted different avenues to stay in power.Most prominently featured: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.According to various officials who spoke with the committee, Gaetz began pushing for a pardon well before other Republicans who were involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election."Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December," said Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in testimony aired by the committee on Thursday.READ FULL STORYFox News cut away from the Jan. 6 hearing minutes before testimony by Trump aides about GOP lawmakers who sought pardonsPlaque at the entrance to Fox News headquarters in New YorkErik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty ImagesJust as former Department of Justice Officials were detailing how they threatened to resign en masse if former President Donald Trump went ahead with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Fox News cut away to air its previously scheduled talk show, "The Five."CNN and MSNBC aired the hearings in full, which ended with Rep. Adam Kinzinger listing six GOP lawmakers whom Trump aides testified sought pardons in the administration's final weeks.Other than the first of the five hearings so far, Fox News has carried the proceedings without commercial breaks, save for recesses during the proceedings.READ FULL STORYDOJ officials threatened to resign if Jeffrey Clark was appointed Attorney GeneralJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesTop officials at the US Department of Justice threatened to resign if former President Donald Trump succeeded in making loyalist Jeff Clark the acting Attorney General, per testimony before the January 6 committee on Thursday.Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, said that the pledge to resign was made on a phone call in the wake of reports that Trump was considering installing Clark, who at the time was promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 election."They would resign en masse if the president made that change," Donoghue told the committee. "All without hesitation said they would resign."At least six GOP members of Congress sought pardons after January 6, 2021, per testimony from a former White House aideRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are charged with crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite/APCassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified Wednesday before the January 6 House panel that at least six House members asked the White House for a pardon following the Capitol siege.According to Hutchinson, Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania requested pardons.The former White House aide added that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked for an "update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress" but did not personally ask for one.Keep Reading Trump suggested sending letter to states alleging 2020 election fraud, a former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen testifiedFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen has already testified about Trump's efforts to pressure DOJ.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen said on Thursday that then-President Donald Trump suggested that the Justice Department send letters to state legislatures in Georgia and other states alleging that there was voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election despite knowing there was no such evidence.Rosen told lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection that during Trump's final days in office, the former president and his campaign suggested several strategies for the Justice Department to overturn the presidential election results. These tactics included filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court, making public statements, and holding a press conference."The Justice Department declined all of those requests that I was just referencing because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts and the law, as we understood," Rosen said.Read MoreA former Trump DOJ official testified that former President Donald Trump urged him and other officials to 'just say the election was corrupt'Notes from Richard Donoghue displayed at the January 6 committee's hearing on June 23, 2022.Screenshot / C-SPANThe January 6 committee on Thursday displayed scans of notes taken by Richard Donoghue, then the acting deputy attorney general serving out the final days of the Trump administration.One note, displayed as Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois led the committee's questioning, included an apparent plea from then-President Donald Trump to "just say the election was corrupt" and "leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen."Read Full StoryBill Barr says he's 'not sure we would have had a transition at all' to Biden if DOJ hadn't investigated Trump's baseless voter fraud claimsFormer Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer Attorney General William Barr said he was "not sure we would have had a transition at all" if the Justice Department had not investigated Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud and found them baseless.In a closed-door deposition, Barr suggested to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack that Trump might not have left office voluntarily if DOJ had not proactively examined the election fraud claims ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration. Read Full Story'You would be committing a felony'Eric Herschmann spoke to the Jan. 6 committee on Thursday.Senate Television via APFormer White House attorney Eric Herschmann told the committee that he brutally mocked a plan from a Trump loyalist to hijack control of the Justice Department in a last-ditch effort to overturn the 2020 election."And when he finished discussing what he planned on doing, I said, 'good, fucking, excuse me, f-ing, a-hole, congratulations you just admitted that your first step or act you would take as attorney general would be committing a felony and violating rule 6c," Herschmann told the panel, per an excerpt of his previously private deposition that was released on Thursday.Read Full Story  Fast times in the CapitolActor Sean Penn and DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges at the January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2022.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinSean Penn is in the House.The actor and well known Hollywood activist made an unexpected appearance at the fifth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. "I'm just here to observe — just another citizen," Penn told a CNN reporter. "I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we're looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney is mailing instructions to Democrats on how to change parties and vote for her in Wyoming's GOP primaryU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesAs Rep. Liz Cheney faces a tough reelection battle in Wyoming, she's turning to Democrats in her home state to help her chances in the August 16 Republican primary.Cheney's campaign has mailed instructions to Wyoming Democrats on how to change their party affiliation to vote for the incumbent congresswoman, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Under Wyoming law, voters must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican in order to vote in that party's primary election. Read Full StoryFeds search home of former top Trump DOJ officialJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesWe've got a major development that surfaced Thursday into what appears to be a widening federal investigation into Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election.Federal investigators on Wednesday searched the Northern Virginia home of Jeff Clark, a former top Justice Department official who became the go-to Trump ally trying to push DOJ into backing the then-president's baseless claims about voter fraud.ABC News first reported this, and a DOJ spokesperson has since confirmed to Insider's Ryan Barber that law enforcement activity did indeed happen in the Washington DC suburb where Clark lives. The spokesperson wouldn't comment on the nature of the activity or about any specific individuals.Expect to hear Clark's name a couple times or more during Thursday's House select committee hearing as the panel examines Trump's efforts to use DOJ in his bid to stop Joe Biden from being sworn in as the country's 46th president.Read Full Story#unprecedentedA trailer for a documentary that centers on Trump and January 6 was released by Discovery Plus.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesHere's something that doesn't show up on the internet very often: a 30-second trailer for a new three-part documentary taking people behind the scenes of Donald Trump's presidency and the January 6 insurrection.But that's exactly what landed online late Wednesday via Discovery+, which shows footage of the new series titled "Unprecedented." The clip features Trump and his adult children Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump and closes with the ex-president himself agreeing to discuss the riot at the US Capitol. —discovery+ (@discoveryplus) June 23, 2022House January 6 investigators have the documentary footage too, courtesy of a subpoena that Politico reported about. And Trump allies were apparently in the dark about the filming, with one texting Rolling Stone: "what the fuck is this?"Read Full Story Hearings to resume at 3 p.m. ET Thursday with testimony expected from former DOJ officialsFormer Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 commission's fifth hearing is expected to start at 3 p.m. Thursday, with testimony expected from former Trump-administration Justice Department officials. They are:Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney generalRichard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney generalSteven Engel, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal CounselRosen served as acting attorney general in the final weeks of Trump's presidency. He previously told the committee how he came under persistent pressure from Trump to have the DOJ back Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as Insider's C. Ryan Barber reported.Toward the end of his presidency, Trump considered ousting Rosen and installing Jeffrey Clark, a supporter of the bogus voter-fraud claims, in his place, but ultimately decided not to after officials threatened to resign if he went through.Analysis: Trump shot himself in the foot by opposing a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission because now he has no allies to defend him in scathing public hearingsLawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/APAs the House's January 6 committee lays out in devastating detail Donald Trump's effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, the former president is turning his anger on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Trump has complained about McCarthy's decision to boycott the panel, with the former president telling the Punchbowl newsletter on Wednesday: "Republicans don't have a voice. They don't even have anything to say."But Trump has no one but himself to blame for the situation, one of his Republican critics pointed out, as he was the one who opposed the formation of a bipartisan commission equally split between Republicans and Democrats to investigate the riot. Read Full StoryTrump is hate-watching every Jan. 6 hearing and almost screams at the TV because he feels nobody is defending him, report saysDonald TrumpJoe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump is hate-watching the January 6 committee hearings, incensed because he believes nobody is defending him, according to The Washington Post.Trump is at "the point of about to scream at the TV" as he tunes in to each hearing, one unnamed close advisor told the paper. Another in his circle, also unnamed, told the paper that Trump continually complains that "there's no one to defend me" at the hearings, which have attracted huge amounts of media coverage.Per The Post, Trump's anger centers on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who boycotted the committee at its formation, passing up the chance to put pro-Trump figures on the panel.Read Full StoryDOJ issued subpoenas to alleged fake Trump electors and a Trump campaign official, reports sayA general view shows a House January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2022.Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Justice Department expanded its investigation into the Capitol riot after issuing subpoenas to a would-be Trump elector in Georgia and a Trump campaign official who worked in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Wednesday.Arizona, Georgia, and New Mexico are among the seven battleground states where a failed effort to overturn the election took place by appointing pro-Trump electors.The news comes after Rep. Adam Schiff said the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection obtained evidence that former President Donald Trump was involved in the aforementioned scheme.Read Full StoryTrump aides didn't know someone was filming Trump on January 6 until the House committee got the footage: reportsPresident Donald Trump listens as Jared Kushner speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on September 11, 2020.Andrew Harnik/AP PhotoAides to Donald Trump had no idea a documentary maker filmed the former president on January 6, 2021, until the House committee investigating that day subpoenaed the footage, reports said. The existence of the footage by UK documentarian Alex Holder was first reported by Politico on Tuesday.The outlet said that Holder complied with the House committee request and handed over several months of footage of Trump up to and including January 6. The New York Times reported that many top Trump advisors were surprised by news of the project, which was known to only a small circle of close Trump aides.Read Full StoryIvanka Trump claimed to believe Trump's false voter-fraud theories but later told Jan. 6 panel she didn't, report saysIvanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump claimed to believe former President Donald Trump's false voter-fraud theories in a December 2020 interview, directly contradicting her testimony to congressional investigators earlier this year, a new report says.In April 2022, Trump had told the House committee investigating the Capitol riot that she had "accepted" former Attorney General Bill Barr's assessment that Donald Trump's claims of election fraud were wrong.But according to The New York Times, Ivanka Trump told the documentary filmmaker Alex Holder on December 10, 2020 — nine days after Barr made the assessment that supposedly swayed her — that she supported her father's efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.She said Trump should "continue to fight" the 2020 election results because Americans were questioning the "sanctity of our elections."Read Full StoryElection worker testifies that conspiracy theorists tried to citizen's arrest her grandmother after lies from Trump, GiulianiWandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman, right, during the House January 6 committee's hearing.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinA Georgia election worker testified that her grandmother faced a citizen's arrest by a group of election deniers who tried pushing their way into her house due to election lies told by former President Donald Trump and former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia, told lawmakers during a January 6 select committee hearing that she and her mother Ruby Freeman, who worked as a short-term election worker in 2020, were among the workers counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. When Giuliani and Trump accused those workers of orchestrating election fraud, Moss said her family faced death threats and were pushed out of town, living in Airbnbs for two months around January 6 at the FBI's recommendation.Moss said she endured racist harassment as well, adding that a group of people influenced by the election conspiracies showed up to her grandmother's house and tried to perform a citizen's arrest.Read Full StoryWhere's Pat Cipollone?Former White House Counsel Pat CipolloneAlex Wong/Getty ImagesPaging Pat Cipollone.The former White House counsel under then-President Donald Trump is now front and center as a top witness the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection still wants to hear from.That's according to Rep. Liz Cheney, who publicly called Tuesday for Cipollone to testify about evidence the committee has collected showing that he "tried to do what was right" as  Trump pushed to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney also noted that the House panel is also "certain" Trump doesn't want Cipollone to testify. His previous job as Trump's top White House attorney could complicate the matter, though as Insider's Ryan Barber points out in his story, Bill Barr did participate in its investigation.Read Full StorySexualized texts, a break-in and doxxingsGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is sworn in to testify on Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTuesday's House select committee featured jaw-dropping testimony from election officials who detailed the threats they faced after refusing to go along with then President Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 election results.One big dose of it came from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who explained how he received texts from all over the US and eventually his wife became a target of harassment too. "My wife started getting the texts and hers typically came in as sexualized texts, which were disgusting," Raffensperger said during his testimony before the January 6 committee. "You have to understand that Trish and I met in high school and we have been married over 40 years now. They started going after her I think to probably put pressure on me: 'Why don't you just quit and walk away?'" Raffensperger also testified about Trump supporters who broke into the home of his daughter-in-law, a widow with two children. And he said his phone and email were doxxed, meaning that someone had posted the number and email publicly so that people would message him. Read Full StoryDeath threatsWandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is sworn in before January 6 committee on June 21, 2022.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA Black former Georgia election worker delivered stark testimony on Tuesday about the racist and deadly threats that came when President Donald Trump publicly attacked her and her mother amid his drive to overturn the 2020 election results.Insider's Bryan Metzger has more on the remarks from Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, a veteran election official in Fulton County who ended up on the receiving end of myriad threats after Rudy Giuliani specifically named her and her mom when speaking to the Georgia state Senate."They included threats, a lot of threats wishing death upon me," Moss said. "Telling me that, you know, I'll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, 'Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920.'" Read Full Story'We were just kind of useful idiots'Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Delaware, Ohio, on April 23, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images"We were just kind of useful idiots, or rubes at that point."That's a quote from former Donald Trump 2020 campaign staffer Robert Sinner describing to the House January 6 investigators his displeasure with a scheme to overturn now-President Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia.Sinner's remarks were broadcast in a video recording shown during Tuesday's select committee hearing, Insider's John Dorman reports.Read Full Story Suspicious package found outside House hearing roomThe House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty ImagesThe House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection kept on going Tuesday despite a suspicious package being found right outside the hearing room where the panel was meeting.Insider's Lauren Frias reported that the US Capitol Police officials did issue an all-clear about an hour after first sending out its alert. The police advised staff and visitors on the premises to stay away from the area during the incident. A Fox News producer tweeted that the package appeared to be an unattended backpack on top of a walker outside of the House building.Read Full Story'Do not give that to him'Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and former Vice President Mike Pence.Drew Angerer and Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Sen. Ron Johnson sought to deliver a slate of "alternate" electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the counting of votes during a Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.That's according to a series of eye-catching text messages first displayed by the January 6 committee on Tuesday, Insider's Bryan Metzger reported."Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise," Sean Riley, Johnson's chief of staff, wrote of the materials that were related to "alternate" electors from two contested Midwestern states that Democratic nominee Joe Biden had narrowly carried: Michigan and Wisconsin. "What is it?" replied Chris Hodgson, a legislative aide to Pence."Alternate slate of elector for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them," Riley replied."Do not give that to him," Hodgson replied.Read Full StoryRudy admitted to not having election fraud evidenceRudy Giuliani, former lawyer for President Donald Trump.William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesRudy Giuliani admitted to not having any evidence of election fraud after the 2020 presidential election despite repeatedly claiming he did, according to the Republican speaker of the Arizona state House."My recollection, he said, 'We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence,'" Russell "Rusty" Bowers, the Arizona official, said in describing a conversation with then-President Donald Trump's personal attorney.Bowers, a Trump supporter, was testifying on Tuesday before the House January 6 select committee to recount his interactions with Giuliani and the Trump legal team surrounding the events of the last presidential election.He called the Trump team "a tragic parody" and compared them to the 1971 comedy "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight."Read Full Story A very real threat to the 2022 midtermsCouy Griffin, a central figure in a New Mexico county's refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines, has avoided more jail time for joining the mob that attacked the US Capitol.AP Photo/Gemunu AmarasingheThe House select committee's January 6 hearings have spotlighted the very real threat to future US elections, including the midterms coming up this November.That's the big takeaway from a story by Insider's Grace Panetta published Tuesday that looks at how a court had to intercede after New Mexico county commission initially refused to certify results from the state's June 7 primary."The election denial movement pushed by Trump and his allies that spurred so many to attack the Capitol on January 6 has now fanned out to county commissions, town halls, and polling places around the country, presenting wholly novel burdens on election officials and new threats to the health of American democracy," Grace wrote.Read Full StoryTrump is ready to abandon attorney John Eastman after he was criticized in committee hearings, report saysJohn Eastman at a pro-Trump rally on January 6, 2021.Jim Bourg/ReutersFormer President Donald Trump sees no reason to defend the conservative attorney John Eastman, Rolling Stone reported.The decision the outlet relayed came in light of the heavy scrutiny of Eastman in the Congressional Jan. 6 committee hearings, which detailed his role helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.Eastman wrote a memo detailing a last-ditch plan for Vice President Mike Pence to block Joe Biden's certification as president on January 6, 2021, at the Congressional proceeding which was interrupted by the Capitol riot.Citing two sources close to Trump, the outlet reported that the committee's focus on Eastman in its public hearings had bothered Trump, and that Trump has started distancing himself from the attorney.READ FULL STORYFull list of witness testifying on June 21Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers is among those scheduled to testify in the committee's June 21 hearing.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FileInsider's Warren Rojas has a roster of those scheduled to appear in the committee's public hearings. See the full list below.Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee subpoenas filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the riotTrump speaks to supporters from the Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee sent a subpoena to Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the Capitol riot, Politico's Playbook newsletter reported Tuesday.The existence of this footage had never been reported before, and Holder is expected to fully cooperate with the panel, Playbook reported.Holder also spent several months interviewing members of Trump's family, including his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Playbook reported.The subpoena asked Holder to provide any raw footage he might have from the Capitol riot and interviews with Trump, his family, and former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as any footage he has of discussions about voter fraud in the 2020 election.Trump boasts he's been impeached twice and screams 'nothing matters!' amid ongoing January 6 hearingsFormer President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump on Friday bragged that he was impeached twice, while recycling his false claims about the 2020 election and attacking former Vice President Mike Pence and former Attorney General William Barr.Delivering a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Nashville, the former president said Pence didn't have the courage to embrace his effort to overturn the election and mocked Barr for being "afraid" of getting impeached."What's wrong with being impeached? I got impeached twice and my poll numbers went up," Trump said.Read Full StoryGinni Thomas says she 'can't wait' to talk to Jan. 6 committee after it asks for interview over her efforts to overturn 2020 electionGinni ThomasChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesGinni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said she "can't wait' to talk to the House January 6 commission after it asked to interview her over her efforts to overturn the 2020 election."I can't wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them," Thomas told the right-wing news site The Daily Caller. She did not say what those misconceptions might be.Her comments come after the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot announced that it had requested an interview with her. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said the panel wanted to talk to her "soon," Axios reported.Thomas faces scrutiny over her connections to former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Read Full StoryEven on the day of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still doubtful if Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election, says ex-Trump lawyerRudy Giuliani.Jacquelyn Martin/APEric Herschmann, a former Trump White House lawyer, revealed on Thursday that even on the morning of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still debating whether then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the votes in the 2020 election. Herschmann's testimony was aired on Thursday during the third of six public hearings organized by the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot. Thursday's session centered on the pressure exerted by the Trump camp in a bid to get Pence to overturn the vote.Herschmann said he received a call "out of the blue" from Giuliani on the morning of January 6, 2021, concerning what Pence's role would be that day."And, you know, he was asking me my view and analysis and then the practical implications of it," Herschmann said, who described the call as an "intellectual discussion." "And when we finished, he said, like, 'I believe that, you know, you're probably right.'" Read Full StoryMike Pence's former lawyer said he warned Trump's camp that overturning votes would lead to the 2020 election being 'decided in the streets'Then-US President Donald Trump arrives with then- Vice President Mike Pence for a "Make America Great Again" rally in Michigan on November 2, 2020.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesA lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence said that he strongly disagreed with conservative lawyer John Eastman about the Trump camp's plan to overturn the 2020 election result and warned Eastman that it might lead to violence in the streets.Testifying on Thursday before the January 6 panel investigating the Capitol riot, Greg Jacob said he had spoken to Eastman on January 5, 2021. During their conversation, Jacob said he expressed his "vociferous disagreement" with the plan for Pence to overturn the electoral vote on behalf of former President Donald Trump and send the votes back to their respective states. "Among other things, if the courts did not step in to resolve this, there was nobody else to resolve it," Jacob testified. Read Full StoryDemocracy on the brinkPeople arrive before a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.Drew Angerer/Pool Photo via APAmerican democracy was on the brink like no time ever before.That's the lede paragraph from Insider's Grace Panetta in her story that sums up the biggest takeaways from Thursday's historic and marathon third public hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Grace writes that the two lead witnesses, Greg Jacob and Michael Luttig, were steeped in legal expertise and constitutional scholarship as they explained at a granular and methodical level why neither the Electoral Count Act nor the 12th Amendment permitted then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.Then-President Donald Trump and one of his personal legal advisors, John Eastman, were pushing the vice president to do exactly that in a break with all of US history. Read Full StoryMAGA world a "clear and present danger to American democracy"Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, looks at Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, as he testifies before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump and his supporters remain a "clear and present danger to American democracy."Those were the startling words of Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who has long been championed by Republicans. He made them near the end of Thursday's marathon House select committee hearing into the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Luttig, who advised then-Vice President Mike Pence about his ceremonial role on January 6, also went on to say Trump world is being more than blunt about its plans to manipulate the results of the next election for the White House. "The former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in open and plain view of the American public," Luttig testified, per Insider's Warren Rojas. Read Full Story'1 more relatively minor violation' of election law...please?Former Trump legal adviser John EastmanAP Photo/Susan WalshIt's perhaps one of the biggest bombshells to come out of Thursday's House select committee hearing on the Capitol insurrection: a Trump lawyer putting in writing a request to break the law.The no-no came from John Eastman, who sent an email at 11:44 p.m. on the night of January 6, 2021, repeated his demand that Vice President Mike Pence halt the proceedings to certify the 2020 election and send it back to the states for a period of 10 days."So now that the precedent has been set that the Electoral Count Act is not quite so sacrosanct as was previously claimed, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here," Eastman wrote to Pence lawyer Greg Jacob.Insider's Jake Lahut writes that the Eastman email was sent after Jacob and the then-vice president's staff and family, had been sheltering in place in a secure location during the riot.Read Full StoryEastman asked Giuliani to be added to Trump's pardon listJohn Eastman appeared onstage with Rudy Giuliani at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the January 6 attack on the Capitol.Jim Bourg/ReutersThe House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol made some news on Thursday by disclosing evidence that conservative lawyer John Eastman wanted to get added to lame-duck President Donald Trump's pardon list.Eastman was pushing to overturn the 2020 election, and as Insider's Oma Seddiq reports, his efforts prompted an email to personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. "I've decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works," Eastman wrote  to Giuliani, according to Rep. Pete Aguilar, a lawmaker on the January 6 panel who read the email during Thursday's hearing. Eastman ultimately did not receive a pardon. Read Full StoryAides say Trump called Pence 'P-word' and 'wimp' on Jan. 6 callTrump and Pence at a White House event on July 13, 2020.AP Photo/Evan VucciThe language got pretty profane in the White House on the morning of January 6, 2021, Insider's Bryan Metzger reports.That's according to former aides who testified to the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection about a call then-President Donald Trump made to Mike Pence, his vice president."I remember hearing the word 'wimp'. Either he called him a wimp — I don't remember if he said, 'you are a wimp, you'll be a wimp' — wimp is the word I remember," said Nicholas Luna, a former assistant to Trump.Julie Radford, who served as Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, told the committee that Ivanka told her that the president "just had an upsetting conversation with the Vice President" in which he called Pence "the P-word."Read Full Story'Secret' MAGA back channel Jan. 6 investigators are teasing is also Oath Keepers' legal defenseStewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017.Susan Walsh/APThe House January 6 investigators keep on teasing how there'll soon be upcoming testimony that reveals secret coordination between Trumpworld and extremist groups.But as Insider's Laura Italiano points out in a new story, the Oath Keepers have long boasted of such a back channel.In fact, leader and founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other members of the pro-Trump militia are staking their seditious-conspiracy defense case on these yet-described communications with rally organizers.Read Full StoryCruz wanted the ex-judge testifying against Trump as a SCOTUS justiceRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired Judge Michael Luttig.AP Photos/Manuel Balce Ceneta and Susan WalshThere's an interesting twist to the retired conservative federal Judge Michael Luttig testifying as a key witness in Thursday's January 6 committee hearing.Insider's Bryan Metzger dug up video from the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates showing Luttig was once named by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as an ideal Supreme Court nominee.—bryan metzger (@metzgov) June 16, 2022 Bryan writes that it was "yet another example of just how much former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results has divided the conservative legal world."Read Full Story   DOJ: House's 'failure' to share transcripts hurting Jan. 6 investigationsTrump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesMore public tension is emerging between the Justice Department and the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Insider's Ryan Barber has the details on a new letter sent Wednesday from the top US attorney in Washington DC to the House panel. There, the DOJ official says that the House panel has complicated criminal cases with its 'failure' to turn over interview transcripts to prosecutions.DOJ is looking for access to more than 1,000 interviews the congressional panel has conducted during its months-long examination of the Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election.Read Full StoryJudge Luttig: If Pence tossed valid electoral votes it would have been 'a revolution'Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, testifies Thursday to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.AP Photo/Susan WalshSome really powerful testimony to start Thursday's January 6 select committee hearing from former federal judge J. Michael Luttig.In his opening remarks, he told the panel investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol that Vice President Mike Pence overturning the 2020 election would've pushed the country into 'the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic.'"That declaration of Donald Trump as the next president would have launched America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America which in my view would have been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic," Luttig told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. Read Full StoryFormer Pence counsel says 'the law is not a plaything' for presidentsVice President Mike PenceScott J. Applewhite/APMike Pence's former counsel Greg Jacob is a lead witness in Thursday's third public hearing for the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.In his written statement submitted before the hearing, Jacob called serving the vice president "the honor of a lifetime," while also warning that the rule of law is "not a plaything" for political leaders to bend per their whim."The law is not a plaything for presidents or judges to use to remake the world in their preferred image," he wrote. "Our Constitution and our laws form the strong edifice within which our heartfelt policy disagreements are to be debated and decided."Insider's Grace Panetta has more on Jacob's testimony and spells out why he was a key figure in rebuffing the intense pressure campaign and efforts to compel Pence to obstruct or meddle with the count. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 committee says it will 'soon' seek interview with Ginni ThomasConservative activist Ginni Thomas and January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.AP Photos/Susan Walsh and J. Scott ApplewhiteConservative activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, should be expecting an interview request soon from the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol."We think it's time that we, at some point, invite her to come talk to the committee," Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the panel, told Axios' Andrew Solender. He added that the invitation would come "soon."Thomas has recently come under scrutiny for her role in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, including emailing Trump lawyer John Eastman and pressuring 29 state legislators in Arizona to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Read Full Story  Meet the former Trump attorney starring in the January 6 hearingEric Herschmann, former White House attorney, speaks with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 13, 2022.(House Select Committee via APAnyone remember Eric Herschmann? The White House attorney burst into the national spotlight defending President Donald Trump during his first Senate impeachment trial way back in the early pre-pandemic days of 2020.Now he's back, but for a very different reason.That's the story that Oma Seddiq just delivered for Insider readers ahead of Thursday's House January 6 hearing profiling Herschmann. He's been in the news as video clips make the rounds of his testimony where he talks about warning Trump and his allies after the presidential election that there was no proof the race was rigged and stolen, and their efforts may be illegal. In addition to his colorful language, Herschmann has drawn notice because he gave his deposition in a room with a baseball bat hanging on the wall and the word "JUSTICE" inscribed on it in bold, white letters. Observers also have noted a large painting behind him of a panda, by the artist Rob Pruitt, is similar to one that appeared in the 2015 erotic drama "50 Shades of Grey."Read Full StoryNick Quested explains how it felt to testify before the January 6 committeeBritish filmmaker Nick Queste.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Jan. 6 live updates: Trump knew the January 6 crowd was armed but still wanted metal detectors removed, former White House aide testifies

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is holding a surprise hearing at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday. Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide under former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, is testifying. Trump knew the MAGA crowd on January 6 was armed, Hutchinson testified on Tuesday.  Trump was 'fucking furious' armed supporters couldn't get to his speech: former aideFormer White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesAn ex-White House aide testified that President Donald Trump was "fucking furious" that people in the MAGA crowd weren't able to get to his speech on January 6, 2021 because they were carrying weapons."I don't fucking care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me," Trump said the morning of the insurrection at the US Capitol, according to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.Trump was also insistent that security remove the metal detectors outside the White House so more people with weapons could get into the grounds, Hutchinson told the House panel investigating the insurrection. She also quoted the president as saying: "Take the fucking mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here."READ FULL STORY Feds seized John Eastman's phoneJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APAnother big development emerged Monday in the widening federal criminal probe into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.This one involves federal agents who seized the phone of John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who advised Trump during his failed bid to stop the inauguration of Joe Biden. Eastman made the feds' move public in a filing with a New Mexico federal court, seeking the return of property from the government.According to his filing, FBI agents acting on behalf of DOJ's internal watchdog stopped Eastman as he was leaving a restaurant in New Mexico on June 22, taking his phone.Read Full StoryCassidy Hutchinson in the spotlightCassidy Hutchinson’s testimony is shown during the fifth January 6 committee hearing on June 23, 2022.Demetrius Freeman-Pool/Getty ImagesCassidy Hutchinson is the surprise lead witness for Tuesday's sixth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.The former top aide under then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is a direct witness to many of the events and discussions of interest to the panel.She's given the committee several important pieces of information, including the six GOP House members who sought pardons from Trump and that the president told Meadows he agreed with rioters demands to "hang" Vice President Mike Pence.Read Full Story Select committee announces surprise hearing.January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi speaks to reporters following the committee’s fifth hearing on June 23, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesThe Jan. 6 select committee announced it would hold a sixth hearing to start Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET during the congressional recess and despite previous statements that it would hold its next hearings in July.A committee advisory said it would present "recently obtained evidence" and feature witnesses, whom it did not name.Read Full StoryKamala Harris said she commended her vice presidential predecessor Mike Pence for 'courage' in certifying Biden as president despite Trump's pressureVice President Kamala Harris.Al Drago-Pool/Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said Monday that she commended former Vice President Mike Pence for certifying Joe Biden as president on January 6 despite him facing tremendous pressure by former President Donald Trump to overturn the election. "I think that he did his job that day," Harris said in a CNN interview after reporter Dana Bash asked her whether her opinion of Pence had changed. "And I commend him for that because clearly it was under extraordinary circumstances that he should have not had to face. And I commend him for having the courage to do his job."This month the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol attack has detailed how Trump tried to push Pence not to recognize Biden's victory in the days leading up to January 6, 2021. Trump wanted Pence to "send back" slates of electors for Biden back to their states in order to overturn his election loss. But Pence put out an open letter saying he didn't have the authority to take such actions, and his role in the certification process was largely ceremonial.Read Full StoryKevin McCarthy says it's 'all good' between him and Trump as the former president fumes about the lack of Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee: 'The right decision was the decision I made'Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and President Donald Trump.Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/POOL/Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Monday that everything is good between him and Donald Trump as the former president publicly questions whether it was wise to keep more Republicans off of the House January 6 committee."The right decision was the decision I made," McCarthy told Fox News' Dana Perino. "If other people change their opinion, read the rules and I think they'll come back to the same conclusion." The former president and McCarthy have talked recently, according to the top House Republican. When Perino asked if things were "all good?" McCarthy responded, "Oh, all good. Yes."McCarthy repeated his long-held defense of the decision, arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have only selected Republicans that would have fit her views. The California Republican then named three of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump as examples of people Pelosi would have supported.Read Full StoryHow to watch the House January 6 committee hearings on the Capitol attackVideo featuring former President Donald Trump’s White House senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is played during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building on June 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Stepien, who was scheduled to testify in person, was unable to attend due to a family emergency. The bipartisan committee, which has been gathering evidence for almost a year related to the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, will present its findings in a series of televised hearings. On January 6, 2021, supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol Building during an attempt to disrupt a congressional vote to confirm the electoral college win for President Joe Biden.Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Insurrection at the US Capitol is bringing to light its findings from a year's worth of work with a series of public hearings this summer. The select committee, formed in May 2021, has nine members, seven Democrats, including Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, and two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Its members and staff have spent the past year conducting hundreds of closed-door interviews, poring over hundreds of thousands of documents, and parsing phone and email records to reconstruct how President Donald Trump and his allies sought to overturn his 2020 election loss before a mob of pro-Trump rioters breached the US Capitol in an effort to stop the final certification of the 2020 election. Five public hearings, including one in primetime, have already taken place, and one more hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 hearing takeaways: Pardon pleas, more Bill Barr, and a riveting account of how Trump turned to the Justice Department and a loyal lawyer to 'help legitimize his lies'TheBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)Spanning more than two hours in the late afternoon, the House January 6 committee's fifth public hearing captured the drama that unfolded inside the Justice Department and White House as Trump looked to some of the country's most senior and important law enforcement officials to help him remain in power.READ FULL STORYMatt Gaetz 'personally' pushed for a pardon from Trump 'from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things,' Trump officials testifyRepublican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida at the White House on May 8, 2020.Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee aired a series of video testimonies from former Trump administration officials detailing which Republican members of Congress sought pardons from former President Donald Trump at the end of his term as he and his allies exhausted different avenues to stay in power.Most prominently featured: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.According to various officials who spoke with the committee, Gaetz began pushing for a pardon well before other Republicans who were involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election."Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December," said Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in testimony aired by the committee on Thursday.READ FULL STORYFox News cut away from the Jan. 6 hearing minutes before testimony by Trump aides about GOP lawmakers who sought pardonsPlaque at the entrance to Fox News headquarters in New YorkErik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty ImagesJust as former Department of Justice Officials were detailing how they threatened to resign en masse if former President Donald Trump went ahead with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Fox News cut away to air its previously scheduled talk show, "The Five."CNN and MSNBC aired the hearings in full, which ended with Rep. Adam Kinzinger listing six GOP lawmakers whom Trump aides testified sought pardons in the administration's final weeks.Other than the first of the five hearings so far, Fox News has carried the proceedings without commercial breaks, save for recesses during the proceedings.READ FULL STORYDOJ officials threatened to resign if Jeffrey Clark was appointed Attorney GeneralJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesTop officials at the US Department of Justice threatened to resign if former President Donald Trump succeeded in making loyalist Jeff Clark the acting Attorney General, per testimony before the January 6 committee on Thursday.Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, said that the pledge to resign was made on a phone call in the wake of reports that Trump was considering installing Clark, who at the time was promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 election."They would resign en masse if the president made that change," Donoghue told the committee. "All without hesitation said they would resign."At least six GOP members of Congress sought pardons after January 6, 2021, per testimony from a former White House aideRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are charged with crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite/APCassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified Wednesday before the January 6 House panel that at least six House members asked the White House for a pardon following the Capitol siege.According to Hutchinson, Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania requested pardons.The former White House aide added that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked for an "update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress" but did not personally ask for one.Keep Reading Trump suggested sending letter to states alleging 2020 election fraud, a former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen testifiedFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen has already testified about Trump's efforts to pressure DOJ.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen said on Thursday that then-President Donald Trump suggested that the Justice Department send letters to state legislatures in Georgia and other states alleging that there was voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election despite knowing there was no such evidence.Rosen told lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection that during Trump's final days in office, the former president and his campaign suggested several strategies for the Justice Department to overturn the presidential election results. These tactics included filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court, making public statements, and holding a press conference."The Justice Department declined all of those requests that I was just referencing because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts and the law, as we understood," Rosen said.Read MoreA former Trump DOJ official testified that former President Donald Trump urged him and other officials to 'just say the election was corrupt'Notes from Richard Donoghue displayed at the January 6 committee's hearing on June 23, 2022.Screenshot / C-SPANThe January 6 committee on Thursday displayed scans of notes taken by Richard Donoghue, then the acting deputy attorney general serving out the final days of the Trump administration.One note, displayed as Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois led the committee's questioning, included an apparent plea from then-President Donald Trump to "just say the election was corrupt" and "leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen."Read Full StoryBill Barr says he's 'not sure we would have had a transition at all' to Biden if DOJ hadn't investigated Trump's baseless voter fraud claimsFormer Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer Attorney General William Barr said he was "not sure we would have had a transition at all" if the Justice Department had not investigated Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud and found them baseless.In a closed-door deposition, Barr suggested to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack that Trump might not have left office voluntarily if DOJ had not proactively examined the election fraud claims ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration. Read Full Story'You would be committing a felony'Eric Herschmann spoke to the Jan. 6 committee on Thursday.Senate Television via APFormer White House attorney Eric Herschmann told the committee that he brutally mocked a plan from a Trump loyalist to hijack control of the Justice Department in a last-ditch effort to overturn the 2020 election."And when he finished discussing what he planned on doing, I said, 'good, fucking, excuse me, f-ing, a-hole, congratulations you just admitted that your first step or act you would take as attorney general would be committing a felony and violating rule 6c," Herschmann told the panel, per an excerpt of his previously private deposition that was released on Thursday.Read Full Story  Fast times in the CapitolActor Sean Penn and DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges at the January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2022.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinSean Penn is in the House.The actor and well known Hollywood activist made an unexpected appearance at the fifth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. "I'm just here to observe — just another citizen," Penn told a CNN reporter. "I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we're looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney is mailing instructions to Democrats on how to change parties and vote for her in Wyoming's GOP primaryU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesAs Rep. Liz Cheney faces a tough reelection battle in Wyoming, she's turning to Democrats in her home state to help her chances in the August 16 Republican primary.Cheney's campaign has mailed instructions to Wyoming Democrats on how to change their party affiliation to vote for the incumbent congresswoman, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Under Wyoming law, voters must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican in order to vote in that party's primary election. Read Full StoryFeds search home of former top Trump DOJ officialJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesWe've got a major development that surfaced Thursday into what appears to be a widening federal investigation into Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election.Federal investigators on Wednesday searched the Northern Virginia home of Jeff Clark, a former top Justice Department official who became the go-to Trump ally trying to push DOJ into backing the then-president's baseless claims about voter fraud.ABC News first reported this, and a DOJ spokesperson has since confirmed to Insider's Ryan Barber that law enforcement activity did indeed happen in the Washington DC suburb where Clark lives. The spokesperson wouldn't comment on the nature of the activity or about any specific individuals.Expect to hear Clark's name a couple times or more during Thursday's House select committee hearing as the panel examines Trump's efforts to use DOJ in his bid to stop Joe Biden from being sworn in as the country's 46th president.Read Full Story#unprecedentedA trailer for a documentary that centers on Trump and January 6 was released by Discovery Plus.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesHere's something that doesn't show up on the internet very often: a 30-second trailer for a new three-part documentary taking people behind the scenes of Donald Trump's presidency and the January 6 insurrection.But that's exactly what landed online late Wednesday via Discovery+, which shows footage of the new series titled "Unprecedented." The clip features Trump and his adult children Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump and closes with the ex-president himself agreeing to discuss the riot at the US Capitol. —discovery+ (@discoveryplus) June 23, 2022House January 6 investigators have the documentary footage too, courtesy of a subpoena that Politico reported about. And Trump allies were apparently in the dark about the filming, with one texting Rolling Stone: "what the fuck is this?"Read Full Story Hearings to resume at 3 p.m. ET Thursday with testimony expected from former DOJ officialsFormer Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 commission's fifth hearing is expected to start at 3 p.m. Thursday, with testimony expected from former Trump-administration Justice Department officials. They are:Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney generalRichard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney generalSteven Engel, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal CounselRosen served as acting attorney general in the final weeks of Trump's presidency. He previously told the committee how he came under persistent pressure from Trump to have the DOJ back Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as Insider's C. Ryan Barber reported.Toward the end of his presidency, Trump considered ousting Rosen and installing Jeffrey Clark, a supporter of the bogus voter-fraud claims, in his place, but ultimately decided not to after officials threatened to resign if he went through.Analysis: Trump shot himself in the foot by opposing a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission because now he has no allies to defend him in scathing public hearingsLawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/APAs the House's January 6 committee lays out in devastating detail Donald Trump's effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, the former president is turning his anger on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Trump has complained about McCarthy's decision to boycott the panel, with the former president telling the Punchbowl newsletter on Wednesday: "Republicans don't have a voice. They don't even have anything to say."But Trump has no one but himself to blame for the situation, one of his Republican critics pointed out, as he was the one who opposed the formation of a bipartisan commission equally split between Republicans and Democrats to investigate the riot. Read Full StoryTrump is hate-watching every Jan. 6 hearing and almost screams at the TV because he feels nobody is defending him, report saysDonald TrumpJoe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump is hate-watching the January 6 committee hearings, incensed because he believes nobody is defending him, according to The Washington Post.Trump is at "the point of about to scream at the TV" as he tunes in to each hearing, one unnamed close advisor told the paper. Another in his circle, also unnamed, told the paper that Trump continually complains that "there's no one to defend me" at the hearings, which have attracted huge amounts of media coverage.Per The Post, Trump's anger centers on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who boycotted the committee at its formation, passing up the chance to put pro-Trump figures on the panel.Read Full StoryDOJ issued subpoenas to alleged fake Trump electors and a Trump campaign official, reports sayA general view shows a House January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2022.Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Justice Department expanded its investigation into the Capitol riot after issuing subpoenas to a would-be Trump elector in Georgia and a Trump campaign official who worked in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Wednesday.Arizona, Georgia, and New Mexico are among the seven battleground states where a failed effort to overturn the election took place by appointing pro-Trump electors.The news comes after Rep. Adam Schiff said the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection obtained evidence that former President Donald Trump was involved in the aforementioned scheme.Read Full StoryTrump aides didn't know someone was filming Trump on January 6 until the House committee got the footage: reportsPresident Donald Trump listens as Jared Kushner speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on September 11, 2020.Andrew Harnik/AP PhotoAides to Donald Trump had no idea a documentary maker filmed the former president on January 6, 2021, until the House committee investigating that day subpoenaed the footage, reports said. The existence of the footage by UK documentarian Alex Holder was first reported by Politico on Tuesday.The outlet said that Holder complied with the House committee request and handed over several months of footage of Trump up to and including January 6. The New York Times reported that many top Trump advisors were surprised by news of the project, which was known to only a small circle of close Trump aides.Read Full StoryIvanka Trump claimed to believe Trump's false voter-fraud theories but later told Jan. 6 panel she didn't, report saysIvanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump claimed to believe former President Donald Trump's false voter-fraud theories in a December 2020 interview, directly contradicting her testimony to congressional investigators earlier this year, a new report says.In April 2022, Trump had told the House committee investigating the Capitol riot that she had "accepted" former Attorney General Bill Barr's assessment that Donald Trump's claims of election fraud were wrong.But according to The New York Times, Ivanka Trump told the documentary filmmaker Alex Holder on December 10, 2020 — nine days after Barr made the assessment that supposedly swayed her — that she supported her father's efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.She said Trump should "continue to fight" the 2020 election results because Americans were questioning the "sanctity of our elections."Read Full StoryElection worker testifies that conspiracy theorists tried to citizen's arrest her grandmother after lies from Trump, GiulianiWandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman, right, during the House January 6 committee's hearing.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinA Georgia election worker testified that her grandmother faced a citizen's arrest by a group of election deniers who tried pushing their way into her house due to election lies told by former President Donald Trump and former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia, told lawmakers during a January 6 select committee hearing that she and her mother Ruby Freeman, who worked as a short-term election worker in 2020, were among the workers counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. When Giuliani and Trump accused those workers of orchestrating election fraud, Moss said her family faced death threats and were pushed out of town, living in Airbnbs for two months around January 6 at the FBI's recommendation.Moss said she endured racist harassment as well, adding that a group of people influenced by the election conspiracies showed up to her grandmother's house and tried to perform a citizen's arrest.Read Full StoryWhere's Pat Cipollone?Former White House Counsel Pat CipolloneAlex Wong/Getty ImagesPaging Pat Cipollone.The former White House counsel under then-President Donald Trump is now front and center as a top witness the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection still wants to hear from.That's according to Rep. Liz Cheney, who publicly called Tuesday for Cipollone to testify about evidence the committee has collected showing that he "tried to do what was right" as  Trump pushed to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney also noted that the House panel is also "certain" Trump doesn't want Cipollone to testify. His previous job as Trump's top White House attorney could complicate the matter, though as Insider's Ryan Barber points out in his story, Bill Barr did participate in its investigation.Read Full StorySexualized texts, a break-in and doxxingsGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is sworn in to testify on Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTuesday's House select committee featured jaw-dropping testimony from election officials who detailed the threats they faced after refusing to go along with then President Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 election results.One big dose of it came from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who explained how he received texts from all over the US and eventually his wife became a target of harassment too. "My wife started getting the texts and hers typically came in as sexualized texts, which were disgusting," Raffensperger said during his testimony before the January 6 committee. "You have to understand that Trish and I met in high school and we have been married over 40 years now. They started going after her I think to probably put pressure on me: 'Why don't you just quit and walk away?'" Raffensperger also testified about Trump supporters who broke into the home of his daughter-in-law, a widow with two children. And he said his phone and email were doxxed, meaning that someone had posted the number and email publicly so that people would message him. Read Full StoryDeath threatsWandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is sworn in before January 6 committee on June 21, 2022.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA Black former Georgia election worker delivered stark testimony on Tuesday about the racist and deadly threats that came when President Donald Trump publicly attacked her and her mother amid his drive to overturn the 2020 election results.Insider's Bryan Metzger has more on the remarks from Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, a veteran election official in Fulton County who ended up on the receiving end of myriad threats after Rudy Giuliani specifically named her and her mom when speaking to the Georgia state Senate."They included threats, a lot of threats wishing death upon me," Moss said. "Telling me that, you know, I'll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, 'Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920.'" Read Full Story'We were just kind of useful idiots'Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Delaware, Ohio, on April 23, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images"We were just kind of useful idiots, or rubes at that point."That's a quote from former Donald Trump 2020 campaign staffer Robert Sinner describing to the House January 6 investigators his displeasure with a scheme to overturn now-President Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia.Sinner's remarks were broadcast in a video recording shown during Tuesday's select committee hearing, Insider's John Dorman reports.Read Full Story Suspicious package found outside House hearing roomThe House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty ImagesThe House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection kept on going Tuesday despite a suspicious package being found right outside the hearing room where the panel was meeting.Insider's Lauren Frias reported that the US Capitol Police officials did issue an all-clear about an hour after first sending out its alert. The police advised staff and visitors on the premises to stay away from the area during the incident. A Fox News producer tweeted that the package appeared to be an unattended backpack on top of a walker outside of the House building.Read Full Story'Do not give that to him'Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and former Vice President Mike Pence.Drew Angerer and Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Sen. Ron Johnson sought to deliver a slate of "alternate" electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the counting of votes during a Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.That's according to a series of eye-catching text messages first displayed by the January 6 committee on Tuesday, Insider's Bryan Metzger reported."Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise," Sean Riley, Johnson's chief of staff, wrote of the materials that were related to "alternate" electors from two contested Midwestern states that Democratic nominee Joe Biden had narrowly carried: Michigan and Wisconsin. "What is it?" replied Chris Hodgson, a legislative aide to Pence."Alternate slate of elector for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them," Riley replied."Do not give that to him," Hodgson replied.Read Full StoryRudy admitted to not having election fraud evidenceRudy Giuliani, former lawyer for President Donald Trump.William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesRudy Giuliani admitted to not having any evidence of election fraud after the 2020 presidential election despite repeatedly claiming he did, according to the Republican speaker of the Arizona state House."My recollection, he said, 'We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence,'" Russell "Rusty" Bowers, the Arizona official, said in describing a conversation with then-President Donald Trump's personal attorney.Bowers, a Trump supporter, was testifying on Tuesday before the House January 6 select committee to recount his interactions with Giuliani and the Trump legal team surrounding the events of the last presidential election.He called the Trump team "a tragic parody" and compared them to the 1971 comedy "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight."Read Full Story A very real threat to the 2022 midtermsCouy Griffin, a central figure in a New Mexico county's refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines, has avoided more jail time for joining the mob that attacked the US Capitol.AP Photo/Gemunu AmarasingheThe House select committee's January 6 hearings have spotlighted the very real threat to future US elections, including the midterms coming up this November.That's the big takeaway from a story by Insider's Grace Panetta published Tuesday that looks at how a court had to intercede after New Mexico county commission initially refused to certify results from the state's June 7 primary."The election denial movement pushed by Trump and his allies that spurred so many to attack the Capitol on January 6 has now fanned out to county commissions, town halls, and polling places around the country, presenting wholly novel burdens on election officials and new threats to the health of American democracy," Grace wrote.Read Full StoryTrump is ready to abandon attorney John Eastman after he was criticized in committee hearings, report saysJohn Eastman at a pro-Trump rally on January 6, 2021.Jim Bourg/ReutersFormer President Donald Trump sees no reason to defend the conservative attorney John Eastman, Rolling Stone reported.The decision the outlet relayed came in light of the heavy scrutiny of Eastman in the Congressional Jan. 6 committee hearings, which detailed his role helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.Eastman wrote a memo detailing a last-ditch plan for Vice President Mike Pence to block Joe Biden's certification as president on January 6, 2021, at the Congressional proceeding which was interrupted by the Capitol riot.Citing two sources close to Trump, the outlet reported that the committee's focus on Eastman in its public hearings had bothered Trump, and that Trump has started distancing himself from the attorney.READ FULL STORYFull list of witness testifying on June 21Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers is among those scheduled to testify in the committee's June 21 hearing.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FileInsider's Warren Rojas has a roster of those scheduled to appear in the committee's public hearings. See the full list below.Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee subpoenas filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the riotTrump speaks to supporters from the Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee sent a subpoena to Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the Capitol riot, Politico's Playbook newsletter reported Tuesday.The existence of this footage had never been reported before, and Holder is expected to fully cooperate with the panel, Playbook reported.Holder also spent several months interviewing members of Trump's family, including his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Playbook reported.The subpoena asked Holder to provide any raw footage he might have from the Capitol riot and interviews with Trump, his family, and former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as any footage he has of discussions about voter fraud in the 2020 election.Trump boasts he's been impeached twice and screams 'nothing matters!' amid ongoing January 6 hearingsFormer President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump on Friday bragged that he was impeached twice, while recycling his false claims about the 2020 election and attacking former Vice President Mike Pence and former Attorney General William Barr.Delivering a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Nashville, the former president said Pence didn't have the courage to embrace his effort to overturn the election and mocked Barr for being "afraid" of getting impeached."What's wrong with being impeached? I got impeached twice and my poll numbers went up," Trump said.Read Full StoryGinni Thomas says she 'can't wait' to talk to Jan. 6 committee after it asks for interview over her efforts to overturn 2020 electionGinni ThomasChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesGinni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said she "can't wait' to talk to the House January 6 commission after it asked to interview her over her efforts to overturn the 2020 election."I can't wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them," Thomas told the right-wing news site The Daily Caller. She did not say what those misconceptions might be.Her comments come after the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot announced that it had requested an interview with her. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said the panel wanted to talk to her "soon," Axios reported.Thomas faces scrutiny over her connections to former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Read Full StoryEven on the day of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still doubtful if Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election, says ex-Trump lawyerRudy Giuliani.Jacquelyn Martin/APEric Herschmann, a former Trump White House lawyer, revealed on Thursday that even on the morning of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still debating whether then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the votes in the 2020 election. Herschmann's testimony was aired on Thursday during the third of six public hearings organized by the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot. Thursday's session centered on the pressure exerted by the Trump camp in a bid to get Pence to overturn the vote.Herschmann said he received a call "out of the blue" from Giuliani on the morning of January 6, 2021, concerning what Pence's role would be that day."And, you know, he was asking me my view and analysis and then the practical implications of it," Herschmann said, who described the call as an "intellectual discussion." "And when we finished, he said, like, 'I believe that, you know, you're probably right.'" Read Full StoryMike Pence's former lawyer said he warned Trump's camp that overturning votes would lead to the 2020 election being 'decided in the streets'Then-US President Donald Trump arrives with then- Vice President Mike Pence for a "Make America Great Again" rally in Michigan on November 2, 2020.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesA lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence said that he strongly disagreed with conservative lawyer John Eastman about the Trump camp's plan to overturn the 2020 election result and warned Eastman that it might lead to violence in the streets.Testifying on Thursday before the January 6 panel investigating the Capitol riot, Greg Jacob said he had spoken to Eastman on January 5, 2021. During their conversation, Jacob said he expressed his "vociferous disagreement" with the plan for Pence to overturn the electoral vote on behalf of former President Donald Trump and send the votes back to their respective states. "Among other things, if the courts did not step in to resolve this, there was nobody else to resolve it," Jacob testified. Read Full StoryDemocracy on the brinkPeople arrive before a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.Drew Angerer/Pool Photo via APAmerican democracy was on the brink like no time ever before.That's the lede paragraph from Insider's Grace Panetta in her story that sums up the biggest takeaways from Thursday's historic and marathon third public hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Grace writes that the two lead witnesses, Greg Jacob and Michael Luttig, were steeped in legal expertise and constitutional scholarship as they explained at a granular and methodical level why neither the Electoral Count Act nor the 12th Amendment permitted then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.Then-President Donald Trump and one of his personal legal advisors, John Eastman, were pushing the vice president to do exactly that in a break with all of US history. Read Full StoryMAGA world a "clear and present danger to American democracy"Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, looks at Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, as he testifies before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump and his supporters remain a "clear and present danger to American democracy."Those were the startling words of Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who has long been championed by Republicans. He made them near the end of Thursday's marathon House select committee hearing into the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Luttig, who advised then-Vice President Mike Pence about his ceremonial role on January 6, also went on to say Trump world is being more than blunt about its plans to manipulate the results of the next election for the White House. "The former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in open and plain view of the American public," Luttig testified, per Insider's Warren Rojas. Read Full Story'1 more relatively minor violation' of election law...please?Former Trump legal adviser John EastmanAP Photo/Susan WalshIt's perhaps one of the biggest bombshells to come out of Thursday's House select committee hearing on the Capitol insurrection: a Trump lawyer putting in writing a request to break the law.The no-no came from John Eastman, who sent an email at 11:44 p.m. on the night of January 6, 2021, repeated his demand that Vice President Mike Pence halt the proceedings to certify the 2020 election and send it back to the states for a period of 10 days."So now that the precedent has been set that the Electoral Count Act is not quite so sacrosanct as was previously claimed, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here," Eastman wrote to Pence lawyer Greg Jacob.Insider's Jake Lahut writes that the Eastman email was sent after Jacob and the then-vice president's staff and family, had been sheltering in place in a secure location during the riot.Read Full StoryEastman asked Giuliani to be added to Trump's pardon listJohn Eastman appeared onstage with Rudy Giuliani at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the January 6 attack on the Capitol.Jim Bourg/ReutersThe House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol made some news on Thursday by disclosing evidence that conservative lawyer John Eastman wanted to get added to lame-duck President Donald Trump's pardon list.Eastman was pushing to overturn the 2020 election, and as Insider's Oma Seddiq reports, his efforts prompted an email to personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. "I've decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works," Eastman wrote  to Giuliani, according to Rep. Pete Aguilar, a lawmaker on the January 6 panel who read the email during Thursday's hearing. Eastman ultimately did not receive a pardon. Read Full StoryAides say Trump called Pence 'P-word' and 'wimp' on Jan. 6 callTrump and Pence at a White House event on July 13, 2020.AP Photo/Evan VucciThe language got pretty profane in the White House on the morning of January 6, 2021, Insider's Bryan Metzger reports.That's according to former aides who testified to the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection about a call then-President Donald Trump made to Mike Pence, his vice president."I remember hearing the word 'wimp'. Either he called him a wimp — I don't remember if he said, 'you are a wimp, you'll be a wimp' — wimp is the word I remember," said Nicholas Luna, a former assistant to Trump.Julie Radford, who served as Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, told the committee that Ivanka told her that the president "just had an upsetting conversation with the Vice President" in which he called Pence "the P-word."Read Full Story'Secret' MAGA back channel Jan. 6 investigators are teasing is also Oath Keepers' legal defenseStewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017.Susan Walsh/APThe House January 6 investigators keep on teasing how there'll soon be upcoming testimony that reveals secret coordination between Trumpworld and extremist groups.But as Insider's Laura Italiano points out in a new story, the Oath Keepers have long boasted of such a back channel.In fact, leader and founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other members of the pro-Trump militia are staking their seditious-conspiracy defense case on these yet-described communications with rally organizers.Read Full StoryCruz wanted the ex-judge testifying against Trump as a SCOTUS justiceRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired Judge Michael Luttig.AP Photos/Manuel Balce Ceneta and Susan WalshThere's an interesting twist to the retired conservative federal Judge Michael Luttig testifying as a key witness in Thursday's January 6 committee hearing.Insider's Bryan Metzger dug up video from the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates showing Luttig was once named by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as an ideal Supreme Court nominee.—bryan metzger (@metzgov) June 16, 2022 Bryan writes that it was "yet another example of just how much former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results has divided the conservative legal world."Read Full Story   DOJ: House's 'failure' to share transcripts hurting Jan. 6 investigationsTrump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesMore public tension is emerging between the Justice Department and the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Insider's Ryan Barber has the details on a new letter sent Wednesday from the top US attorney in Washington DC to the House panel. There, the DOJ official says that the House panel has complicated criminal cases with its 'failure' to turn over interview transcripts to prosecutions.DOJ is looking for access to more than 1,000 interviews the congressional panel has conducted during its months-long examination of the Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election.Read Full StoryJudge Luttig: If Pence tossed valid electoral votes it would have been 'a revolution'Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, testifies Thursday to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.AP Photo/Susan WalshSome really powerful testimony to start Thursday's January 6 select committee hearing from former federal judge J. Michael Luttig.In his opening remarks, he told the panel investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol that Vice President Mike Pence overturning the 2020 election would've pushed the country into 'the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic.'"That declaration of Donald Trump as the next president would have launched America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America which in my view would have been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic," Luttig told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. Read Full StoryFormer Pence counsel says 'the law is not a plaything' for presidentsVice President Mike PenceScott J. Applewhite/APMike Pence's former counsel Greg Jacob is a lead witness in Thursday's third public hearing for the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.In his written statement submitted before the hearing, Jacob called serving the vice president "the honor of a lifetime," while also warning that the rule of law is "not a plaything" for political leaders to bend per their whim."The law is not a plaything for presidents or judges to use to remake the world in their preferred image," he wrote. "Our Constitution and our laws form the strong edifice within which our heartfelt policy disagreements are to be debated and decided."Insider's Grace Panetta has more on Jacob's testimony and spells out why he was a key figure in rebuffing the intense pressure campaign and efforts to compel Pence to obstruct or meddle with the count. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 committee says it will 'soon' seek interview with Ginni ThomasConservative activist Ginni Thomas and January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.AP Photos/Susan Walsh and J. Scott ApplewhiteConservative activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, should be expecting an interview request soon from the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol."We think it's time that we, at some point, invite her to come talk to the committee," Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the panel, told Axios' Andrew Solender. He added that the invitation would come "soon."Thomas has recently come under scrutiny for her role in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, including emailing Trump lawyer John Eastman and pressuring 29 state legislators in Arizona to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Read Full Story  Meet the former Trump attorney starring in the January 6 hearingEric Herschmann, former White House attorney, speaks with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 13, 2022.(House Select Committee via APAnyone remember Eric Herschmann? The White House attorney burst into the national spotlight defending President Donald Trump during his first Senate impeachment trial way back in the early pre-pandemic days of 2020.Now he's back, but for a very different reason.That's the story that Oma Seddiq just delivered for Insider readers ahead of Thursday's House January 6 hearing profiling Herschmann. He's been in the news as video clips make the rounds of his testimony where he talks about warning Trump and his allies after the presidential election that there was no proof the race was rigged and stolen, and their efforts may be illegal. In addition to his colorful language, Herschmann has drawn notice because he gave his deposition in a room with a baseball bat hanging on the wall and the word "JUSTICE" inscribed on it in bold, white letters. Observers also have noted a large painting behind him of a panda, by the artist Rob Pruitt, is similar to one that appeared in the 2015 erotic drama "50 Shades of Grey."Read Full StoryNick Quested explains how it felt to testify before the January 6 committeeBritish filmmaker Nick Queste.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

The White House Needs To End Its Embarrassing, Petulant War On US Oil

The White House Needs To End Its Embarrassing, Petulant War On US Oil Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance As it relates to inflation, the Biden administration has publicly shot itself (and the middle class) in the foot and, rather than address their errors and admit wrongdoing, they have instead been unfairly using the oil and gas industry as a scapegoat for problems that the administration helped create. Among the statements Biden and his cohorts have made over the last few months are:  “At a time of war – historically high refinery profit margins being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable” - President Biden, June 15, 2022 "This is not the time to sit on record profits, it's time to step up for the good of your country" - President Biden, March 31 “The crunch that families are facing deserves immediate action. Your companies need to work with my Administration to bring forward concrete, near-term solutions that address the crisis” - President Biden, June 15, 2022 “Exxon made more money than god” - President Biden, June 10, 2022 “80% of Americans support a Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil companies. These corporations are making billions in war-fueled profits while Americans struggle at the pump. We must crack down on Big Oil’s massive profits & reduce reliance on fossil fuels,” - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, April 24, 2022 “Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused gas prices to rise for Americans, but giant oil corporations like [Exxon] are making billions in record profits. We need a Windfall Profits Tax to tax big oil on their profits & we need to invest in clean energy too,” - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, April 7, 2022 But as CNBC astutely noted days ago: “Refiners can’t just ramp up output, with utilization rates already above 90%.” And part of the lack of infrastructure to produce more supply is a result of the left’s very own, incessant push for greener fuels: “Additionally, some refiners are now being reconfigured to make alternate products like biofuel.” I noted this past week on Twitter that the vilification simply doesn’t make sense. People on the left use petroleum-based products just like people on the right - and no one from government was concerning themselves with oil and gas in the slightest when the price of oil crashed in April 2020 and Exxon lost over $20 billion that year. There was no concern for the families who worked for Exxon and there was little chatter out of the White House at all.   Certainly, the government outrage about the effects of oil & gas on the middle class - when it meant financial struggles for an employer of 64,000 people - was missing in action. I guess no one really cared about those families… On the contrary, the occasional headline that popped about oil in 2020 was usually someone dancing on the grave of the industry:   But all of a sudden, now that these companies are doing something “evil”, like turning a profit, they have once again become hellish juggernauts that must be stopped at all costs. It’s so clear this isn’t just a leftist war about clean energy, it’s a war on capitalism and profitability. The left absolutely hates that oil companies make money. Biden recently complained they are “making more money than god” but failed to say they “lost more money than god” when they burned through $20 billion in 2020. Leftists politicians believe these companies simply don’t deserve it. The left wants a state planned economy where they dictate which companies are virtuous enough for them to be the bearer of profits, regardless of how integral the products or services are to them in their daily lives. And as we see, as these companies return back to profitability, all of a sudden it’s important to immediately denounce them. This is a war on capitalism. Last week, what can only be described as an ongoing campaign of harassment and wholly misguided vilification of the oil and gas industry finally met some pushback in the form of CEOs who wrote to the Biden administration, defending their businesses and their industry. Chevron CEO Mike Wirth noted that the company produced its highest volume of supply in its 143 year history in 2021 and that it was investing $10 billion to reduce emissions. He also wrote: “Addressing this situation requires thoughtful action and a willingness to work together, not political rhetoric.” “Chevron and its 37,000 employees work every day to help provide the world with the energy it demands and to lift up the lives of billions of people who rely on these supplies. Notwithstanding these efforts, your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.” And Wirth is right. For the last decade, oil and gas has been the punching bag of the left, whether the topic has been climate change, the economy or inequality: the left has figured out a way to somehow make oil and gas the enemy - all while they enjoy the fruits of the energy and petroleum produced by these companies.   For those that don’t know how ubiquitous petroleum is, here’s a list of 140 common items that use petroleum hydrocarbons. The list, in addition to oil and gas, includes items like shampoo, speakers, luggage, golf balls, dishes, hair curlers, house paint, surfboards, petroleum jelly, vitamin capsules, panty hose, shag rugs, ballpoint pens and upholstery. And here’s a great diagram for the next time your activist friend puts their makeup on and preps for that big anti-fossil fuel rally:    Surely, nobody on the left screaming critiques of the industry uses these products, right? Today’s article is free, but if you enjoy the content and have the means to support, I’d love to have you as a paid subscriber: Subscribe now This vilification of the industry (and the hundreds of thousands of American families that it helps support) has been completely uncalled for and has gone on for far too long. People on the left side of the aisle are beneficiaries of hydrocarbons and petroleum-based products just like the rest of the world is. But the anti-energy rhetoric has been ratcheted up over the last six months while the current Presidential administration looks for someone to blame for skyrocketing oil prices. The truth of the matter - as Jerome Powell himself confirmed last week - is that inflation had begun before Russia invaded Ukraine, but sanctions placed on Russian oil and gas exacerbated an energy imbalance that was already underway. This imbalance dovetailed from a demand spike, thanks to the Covid reopening, and limited supply, thanks to oil prices crashing in 2020 and OPEC being stingy with how much supply they allow into the market. Instead of just acknowledging this seemingly innocuous reality of the situation and committing to the American people to help bring new supply online, the Biden administration – and its cohorts on the left - are playing the “blame game”, spinning up fictitious accusations about price gouging at the pump and unfair business practices, none of which can be proven or substantiated. And while some of the blame for inflation in the country can be placed on the Trump administration – after all, Trump pushed hard for easy money policies from the Fed - the Biden administration has only served to exacerbate it, pushing for trillions more in new spending and entertaining horrifically inefficient ideas like the Green New Deal. Every day, the Biden administration talks about how it wants to help the middle class - but this must not include the 7.5 million people that make their living from the energy industry. Every day, the Biden administration talks about how it wants to lower energy prices - but this must not include tactics like bringing new domestic supply online. And every day, the Biden administration talks about combating inflation, yet it continues to push grandiose spending plans. The administration’s left hand literally doesn’t know what its right hand is doing. So what’s all this bitching, moaning and carrying on about oil for? The solutions that the administration has come up with - namely, releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve and playing the blame game - are impotent and meaningless. They do almost nothing to address the problem on a long-term scale. And so let me say clearly what oil and gas CEO’s failed to: it’s time to stop the charade. If President Biden wanted to get serious about the energy crisis, he would go out of his way to incentivize new supply to come online in the United States and treat oil and gas companies with respect. New supply in the U.S. would prove to be a far better, longer-term solution. We could help cap prices and also reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Yet, in what can only be described as a baffling display of hypocrisy, “Mr. Equality” Joe Biden would rather travel to the Middle East – you know, that group of countries where being gay is legally punishable by death and where journalists are murdered for saying the wrong thing - so he can grovel at their feet to bring more supply online. These are the guys he’s begging for oil right now: It really goes to show how all the lip service about equality and human rights truly means nothing to the left when it comes down to brass tacks. The idea of begging the Middle East for more oil, while publicly detesting our own energy infrastructure despite the fact that companies like Exxon are ahead of their net zero carbon emission goals, is reprehensible. The energy crisis is partly an American-created problem. President Biden needs to pull his head out of his ass and realize that there is also an American made solution… …if he could simply get over his disdain for capitalism and U.S. corporations. -- Share this article, if you enjoyed.   Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 13:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 28th, 2022

Jan. 6 live updates: Committee announces surprise hearing on Tuesday to reveal "recently obtained evidence"

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/AP The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is holding a surprise hearing at 1 pm EST Tuesday. Lawmakers will present "recently obtained evidence" and feature witnesses, whom they did not name. Congress is on recess, and the chair had earlier said there'd be no more hearings until July. Select committee announces surprise hearing.January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi speaks to reporters following the committee’s fifth hearing on June 23, 2022.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesThe Jan. 6 select committee announced it would hold a sixth hearing to start Tuesday at 1pm ET during the congressional recess and despite previous statements that it would hold its next hearings in July.A committee advisory said it would present "recently obtained evidence" and feature witnesses, whom it did not name.Read Full StoryJanuary 6 hearing takeaways: Pardon pleas, more Bill Barr, and a riveting account of how Trump turned to the Justice Department and a loyal lawyer to 'help legitimize his lies'TheBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)Spanning more than two hours in the late afternoon, the House January 6 committee's fifth public hearing captured the drama that unfolded inside the Justice Department and White House as Trump looked to some of the country's most senior and important law enforcement officials to help him remain in power.READ FULL STORYMatt Gaetz 'personally' pushed for a pardon from Trump 'from the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things,' Trump officials testifyRepublican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida at the White House on May 8, 2020.Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee aired a series of video testimonies from former Trump administration officials detailing which Republican members of Congress sought pardons from former President Donald Trump at the end of his term as he and his allies exhausted different avenues to stay in power.Most prominently featured: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.According to various officials who spoke with the committee, Gaetz began pushing for a pardon well before other Republicans who were involved in the attempt to overturn the 2020 election."Mr. Gaetz was personally pushing for a pardon, and he was doing so since early December," said Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in testimony aired by the committee on Thursday.READ FULL STORYFox News cut away from the Jan. 6 hearing minutes before testimony by Trump aides about GOP lawmakers who sought pardonsPlaque at the entrance to Fox News headquarters in New YorkErik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty ImagesJust as former Department of Justice Officials were detailing how they threatened to resign en masse if former President Donald Trump went ahead with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Fox News cut away to air its previously scheduled talk show, "The Five."CNN and MSNBC aired the hearings in full, which ended with Rep. Adam Kinzinger listing six GOP lawmakers whom Trump aides testified sought pardons in the administration's final weeks.Other than the first of the five hearings so far, Fox News has carried the proceedings without commercial breaks, save for recesses during the proceedings.READ FULL STORYDOJ officials threatened to resign if Jeffrey Clark was appointed Attorney GeneralJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesTop officials at the US Department of Justice threatened to resign if former President Donald Trump succeeded in making loyalist Jeff Clark the acting Attorney General, per testimony before the January 6 committee on Thursday.Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, said that the pledge to resign was made on a phone call in the wake of reports that Trump was considering installing Clark, who at the time was promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 election."They would resign en masse if the president made that change," Donoghue told the committee. "All without hesitation said they would resign."At least six GOP members of Congress sought pardons after January 6, 2021, per testimony from a former White House aideRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., joined from left by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks at a news conference about the treatment of people being held in the District of Columbia jail who are charged with crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite/APCassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testified Wednesday before the January 6 House panel that at least six House members asked the White House for a pardon following the Capitol siege.According to Hutchinson, Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania requested pardons.The former White House aide added that GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked for an "update on whether the White House is going to pardon members of Congress" but did not personally ask for one.Keep Reading Trump suggested sending letter to states alleging 2020 election fraud, a former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen testifiedFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen has already testified about Trump's efforts to pressure DOJ.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesFormer acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen said on Thursday that then-President Donald Trump suggested that the Justice Department send letters to state legislatures in Georgia and other states alleging that there was voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election despite knowing there was no such evidence.Rosen told lawmakers on the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection that during Trump's final days in office, the former president and his campaign suggested several strategies for the Justice Department to overturn the presidential election results. These tactics included filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court, making public statements, and holding a press conference."The Justice Department declined all of those requests that I was just referencing because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts and the law, as we understood," Rosen said.Read MoreA former Trump DOJ official testified that former President Donald Trump urged him and other officials to 'just say the election was corrupt'Notes from Richard Donoghue displayed at the January 6 committee's hearing on June 23, 2022.Screenshot / C-SPANThe January 6 committee on Thursday displayed scans of notes taken by Richard Donoghue, then the acting deputy attorney general serving out the final days of the Trump administration.One note, displayed as Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois led the committee's questioning, included an apparent plea from then-President Donald Trump to "just say the election was corrupt" and "leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen."Read Full StoryBill Barr says he's 'not sure we would have had a transition at all' to Biden if DOJ hadn't investigated Trump's baseless voter fraud claimsFormer Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer Attorney General William Barr said he was "not sure we would have had a transition at all" if the Justice Department had not investigated Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud and found them baseless.In a closed-door deposition, Barr suggested to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack that Trump might not have left office voluntarily if DOJ had not proactively examined the election fraud claims ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration. Read Full Story'You would be committing a felony'Eric Herschmann spoke to the Jan. 6 committee on Thursday.Senate Television via APFormer White House attorney Eric Herschmann told the committee that he brutally mocked a plan from a Trump loyalist to hijack control of the Justice Department in a last-ditch effort to overturn the 2020 election."And when he finished discussing what he planned on doing, I said, 'good, fucking, excuse me, f-ing, a-hole, congratulations you just admitted that your first step or act you would take as attorney general would be committing a felony and violating rule 6c," Herschmann told the panel, per an excerpt of his previously private deposition that was released on Thursday.Read Full Story  Fast times in the CapitolActor Sean Penn and DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges at the January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 23, 2022.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinSean Penn is in the House.The actor and well known Hollywood activist made an unexpected appearance at the fifth hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. "I'm just here to observe — just another citizen," Penn told a CNN reporter. "I think we all saw what happened on January 6 and now we're looking to see if justice comes on the other side of it."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney is mailing instructions to Democrats on how to change parties and vote for her in Wyoming's GOP primaryU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesAs Rep. Liz Cheney faces a tough reelection battle in Wyoming, she's turning to Democrats in her home state to help her chances in the August 16 Republican primary.Cheney's campaign has mailed instructions to Wyoming Democrats on how to change their party affiliation to vote for the incumbent congresswoman, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Under Wyoming law, voters must be registered as a Democrat or a Republican in order to vote in that party's primary election. Read Full StoryFeds search home of former top Trump DOJ officialJeff ClarkYuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesWe've got a major development that surfaced Thursday into what appears to be a widening federal investigation into Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election.Federal investigators on Wednesday searched the Northern Virginia home of Jeff Clark, a former top Justice Department official who became the go-to Trump ally trying to push DOJ into backing the then-president's baseless claims about voter fraud.ABC News first reported this, and a DOJ spokesperson has since confirmed to Insider's Ryan Barber that law enforcement activity did indeed happen in the Washington DC suburb where Clark lives. The spokesperson wouldn't comment on the nature of the activity or about any specific indiviuals.Expect to hear Clark's name a couple times or more during Thursday's House select committee hearing as the panel examines Trump's efforts to use DOJ in his bid to stop Joe Biden from being sworn in as the country's 46th president.Read Full Story#unprecedentedA trailer for a documentary that centers on Trump and January 6 was released by Discovery Plus.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesHere's something that doesn't show up on the internet very often: a 30-second trailer for a new three-part documentary taking people behind the scenes of Donald Trump's presidency and the January 6 insurrection.But that's exactly what landed online late Wednesday via Discovery+, which shows footage of the new series titled "Unprecedented." The clip features Trump and his adult children Ivanka, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump and closes with the ex-president himself agreeing to discuss the riot at the US Capitol. —discovery+ (@discoveryplus) June 23, 2022House January 6 investigators have the documentary footage too, courtesy of a subpoena that Politico reported about. And Trump allies were apparently in the dark about the filming, with one texting Rolling Stone: "what the fuck is this?"Read Full Story Hearings to resume at 3 p.m. ET Thursday with testimony expected from former DOJ officialsFormer Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.Yuri Gripas-Pool/Getty ImagesThe January 6 commission's fifth hearing is expected to start at 3 p.m. Thursday, with testimony expected from former Trump-administration Justice Department officials. They are:Jeffrey Rosen, former acting attorney generalRichard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney generalSteven Engel, former assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal CounselRosen served as acting attorney general in the final weeks of Trump's presidency. He previously told the committee how he came under persistent pressure from Trump to have the DOJ back Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as Insider's C. Ryan Barber reported.Toward the end of his presidency, Trump considered ousting Rosen and installing Jeffrey Clark, a supporter of the bogus voter-fraud claims, in his place, but ultimately decided not to after officials threatened to resign if he went through.Analysis: Trump shot himself in the foot by opposing a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission because now he has no allies to defend him in scathing public hearingsLawmakers listen as an image of a Trump campaign donation banner is shown behind them during a House January 6 committee hearing.Susan Walsh/APAs the House's January 6 committee lays out in devastating detail Donald Trump's effort to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, the former president is turning his anger on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Trump has complained about McCarthy's decision to boycott the panel, with the former president telling the Punchbowl newsletter on Wednesday: "Republicans don't have a voice. They don't even have anything to say."But Trump has no one but himself to blame for the situation, one of his Republican critics pointed out, as he was the one who opposed the formation of a bipartisan commission equally split between Republicans and Democrats to investigate the riot. Read Full StoryTrump is hate-watching every Jan. 6 hearing and almost screams at the TV because he feels nobody is defending him, report saysDonald TrumpJoe Raedle/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump is hate-watching the January 6 committee hearings, incensed because he believes nobody is defending him, according to The Washington Post.Trump is at "the point of about to scream at the TV" as he tunes in to each hearing, one unnamed close advisor told the paper. Another in his circle, also unnamed, told the paper that Trump continually complains that "there's no one to defend me" at the hearings, which have attracted huge amounts of media coverage.Per The Post, Trump's anger centers on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who boycotted the committee at its formation, passing up the chance to put pro-Trump figures on the panel.Read Full StoryDOJ issued subpoenas to alleged fake Trump electors and a Trump campaign official, reports sayA general view shows a House January 6 committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2022.Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Justice Department expanded its investigation into the Capitol riot after issuing subpoenas to a would-be Trump elector in Georgia and a Trump campaign official who worked in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Wednesday.Arizona, Georgia, and New Mexico are among the seven battleground states where a failed effort to overturn the election took place by appointing pro-Trump electors.The news comes after Rep. Adam Schiff said the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection obtained evidence that former President Donald Trump was involved in the aforementioned scheme.Read Full StoryTrump aides didn't know someone was filming Trump on January 6 until the House committee got the footage: reportsPresident Donald Trump listens as Jared Kushner speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on September 11, 2020.Andrew Harnik/AP PhotoAides to Donald Trump had no idea a documentary maker filmed the former president on January 6, 2021, until the House committee investigating that day subpoenaed the footage, reports said. The existence of the footage by UK documentarian Alex Holder was first reported by Politico on Tuesday.The outlet said that Holder complied with the House committee request and handed over several months of footage of Trump up to and including January 6. The New York Times reported that many top Trump advisors were surprised by news of the project, which was known to only a small circle of close Trump aides.Read Full StoryIvanka Trump claimed to believe Trump's false voter-fraud theories but later told Jan. 6 panel she didn't, report saysIvanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesIvanka Trump claimed to believe former President Donald Trump's false voter-fraud theories in a December 2020 interview, directly contradicting her testimony to congressional investigators earlier this year, a new report says.In April 2022, Trump had told the House committee investigating the Capitol riot that she had "accepted" former Attorney General Bill Barr's assessment that Donald Trump's claims of election fraud were wrong.But according to The New York Times, Ivanka Trump told the documentary filmmaker Alex Holder on December 10, 2020 — nine days after Barr made the assessment that supposedly swayed her — that she supported her father's efforts to challenge the 2020 election results.She said Trump should "continue to fight" the 2020 election results because Americans were questioning the "sanctity of our elections."Read Full StoryElection worker testifies that conspiracy theorists tried to citizen's arrest her grandmother after lies from Trump, GiulianiWandrea "Shaye" Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother Ruby Freeman, right, during the House January 6 committee's hearing.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinA Georgia election worker testified that her grandmother faced a citizen's arrest by a group of election deniers who tried pushing their way into her house due to election lies told by former President Donald Trump and former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia, told lawmakers during a January 6 select committee hearing that she and her mother Ruby Freeman, who worked as a short-term election worker in 2020, were among the workers counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. When Giuliani and Trump accused those workers of orchestrating election fraud, Moss said her family faced death threats and were pushed out of town, living in Airbnbs for two months around January 6 at the FBI's recommendation.Moss said she endured racist harassment as well, adding that a group of people influenced by the election conspiracies showed up to her grandmother's house and tried to perform a citizen's arrest.Read Full StoryWhere's Pat Cipollone?Former White House Counsel Pat CipolloneAlex Wong/Getty ImagesPaging Pat Cipollone.The former White House counsel under then-President Donald Trump is now front and center as a top witness the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection still wants to hear from.That's according to Rep. Liz Cheney, who publicly called Tuesday for Cipollone to testify about evidence the committee has collected showing that he "tried to do what was right" as  Trump pushed to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney also noted that the House panel is also "certain" Trump doesn't want Cipollone to testify. His previous job as Trump's top White House attorney could complicate the matter, though as Insider's Ryan Barber points out in his story, Bill Barr did participate in its investigation.Read Full StorySexualized texts, a break-in and doxxingsGeorgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is sworn in to testify on Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.Jacquelyn Martin/AP PhotoTuesday's House select committee featured jaw-dropping testimony from election officials who detailed the threats they faced after refusing to go along with then President Donald Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 election results.One big dose of it came from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who explained how he received texts from all over the US and eventually his wife became a target of harassment too. "My wife started getting the texts and hers typically came in as sexualized texts, which were disgusting," Raffensperger said during his testimony before the January 6 committee. "You have to understand that Trish and I met in high school and we have been married over 40 years now. They started going after her I think to probably put pressure on me: 'Why don't you just quit and walk away?'" Raffensperger also testified about Trump supporters who broke into the home of his daughter-in-law, a widow with two children. And he said his phone and email were doxxed, meaning that someone had posted the number and email publicly so that people would message him. Read Full StoryDeath threatsWandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is sworn in before January 6 committee on June 21, 2022.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesA Black former Georgia election worker delivered stark testimony on Tuesday about the racist and deadly threats that came when President Donald Trump publicly attacked her and her mother amid his drive to overturn the 2020 election results.Insider's Bryan Metzger has more on the remarks from Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, a veteran election official in Fulton County who ended up on the receiving end of myriad threats after Rudy Giuliani specifically named her and her mom when speaking to the Georgia state Senate."They included threats, a lot of threats wishing death upon me," Moss said. "Telling me that, you know, I'll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, 'Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920.'" Read Full Story'We were just kind of useful idiots'Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Delaware, Ohio, on April 23, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images"We were just kind of useful idiots, or rubes at that point."That's a quote from former Donald Trump 2020 campaign staffer Robert Sinner describing to the House January 6 investigators his displeasure with a scheme to overturn now-President Joe Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia.Sinner's remarks were broadcast in a video recording shown during Tuesday's select committee hearing, Insider's John Dorman reports.Read Full Story Suspicious package found outside House hearing roomThe House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection.Photo by Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty ImagesThe House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection kept on going Tuesday despite a suspicious package being found right outside the hearing room where the panel was meeting.Insider's Lauren Frias reported that the US Capitol Police officials did issue an all-clear about an hour after first sending out its alert. The police advised staff and visitors on the premises to stay away from the area during the incident. A Fox News producer tweeted that the package appeared to be an unattended backpack on top of a walker outside of the House building.Read Full Story'Do not give that to him'Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and former Vice President Mike Pence.Drew Angerer and Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesGOP Sen. Ron Johnson sought to deliver a slate of "alternate" electors to then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the counting of votes during a Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.That's according to a series of eye-catching text messages first displayed by the January 6 committee on Tuesday, Insider's Bryan Metzger reported."Johnson needs to hand something to VPOTUS please advise," Sean Riley, Johnson's chief of staff, wrote of the materials that were related to "alternate" electors from two contested Midwestern states that Democratic nominee Joe Biden had narrowly carried: Michigan and Wisconsin. "What is it?" replied Chris Hodgson, a legislative aide to Pence."Alternate slate of elector for MI and WI because archivist didn't receive them," Riley replied."Do not give that to him," Hodgson replied.Read Full StoryRudy admitted to not having election fraud evidenceRudy Giuliani, former lawyer for President Donald Trump.William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty ImagesRudy Giuliani admitted to not having any evidence of election fraud after the 2020 presidential election despite repeatedly claiming he did, according to the Republican speaker of the Arizona state House."My recollection, he said, 'We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence,'" Russell "Rusty" Bowers, the Arizona official, said in describing a conversation with then-President Donald Trump's personal attorney.Bowers, a Trump supporter, was testifying on Tuesday before the House January 6 select committee to recount his interactions with Giuliani and the Trump legal team surrounding the events of the last presidential election.He called the Trump team "a tragic parody" and compared them to the 1971 comedy "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight."Read Full Story A very real threat to the 2022 midtermsCouy Griffin, a central figure in a New Mexico county's refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines, has avoided more jail time for joining the mob that attacked the US Capitol.AP Photo/Gemunu AmarasingheThe House select committee's January 6 hearings have spotlighted the very real threat to future US elections, including the midterms coming up this November.That's the big takeaway from a story by Insider's Grace Panetta published Tuesday that looks at how a court had to intercede after New Mexico county commission initially refused to certify results from the state's June 7 primary."The election denial movement pushed by Trump and his allies that spurred so many to attack the Capitol on January 6 has now fanned out to county commissions, town halls, and polling places around the country, presenting wholly novel burdens on election officials and new threats to the health of American democracy," Grace wrote.Read Full StoryTrump is ready to abandon attorney John Eastman after he was criticized in committee hearings, report saysJohn Eastman at a pro-Trump rally on January 6, 2021.Jim Bourg/ReutersFormer President Donald Trump sees no reason to defend the conservative attorney John Eastman, Rolling Stone reported.The decision the outlet relayed came in light of the heavy scrutiny of Eastman in the Congressional Jan. 6 committee hearings, which detailed his role helping Trump try to overturn the 2020 election.Eastman wrote a memo detailing a last-ditch plan for Vice President Mike Pence to block Joe Biden's certification as president on January 6, 2021, at the Congressional proceeding which was interrupted by the Capitol riot.Citing two sources close to Trump, the outlet reported that the committee's focus on Eastman in its public hearings had bothered Trump, and that Trump has started distancing himself from the attorney.READ FULL STORYFull list of witness testifying on June 21Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers is among those scheduled to testify in the committee's June 21 hearing.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FileInsider's Warren Rojas has a roster of those scheduled to appear in the committee's public hearings. See the full list below.Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee subpoenas filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the riotTrump speaks to supporters from the Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesThe January 6 committee sent a subpoena to Alex Holder, a documentary filmmaker who interviewed Trump before and after the Capitol riot, Politico's Playbook newsletter reported Tuesday.The existence of this footage had never been reported before, and Holder is expected to fully cooperate with the panel, Playbook reported.Holder also spent several months interviewing members of Trump's family, including his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Playbook reported.The subpoena asked Holder to provide any raw footage he might have from the Capitol riot and interviews with Trump, his family, and former Vice President Mike Pence, as well as any footage he has of discussions about voter fraud in the 2020 election.Trump boasts he's been impeached twice and screams 'nothing matters!' amid ongoing January 6 hearingsFormer President Donald Trump gives the keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition during their annual conference on June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.Seth Herald/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump on Friday bragged that he was impeached twice, while recycling his false claims about the 2020 election and attacking former Vice President Mike Pence and former Attorney General William Barr.Delivering a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Nashville, the former president said Pence didn't have the courage to embrace his effort to overturn the election and mocked Barr for being "afraid" of getting impeached."What's wrong with being impeached? I got impeached twice and my poll numbers went up," Trump said.Read Full StoryGinni Thomas says she 'can't wait' to talk to Jan. 6 committee after it asks for interview over her efforts to overturn 2020 electionGinni ThomasChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesGinni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, said she "can't wait' to talk to the House January 6 commission after it asked to interview her over her efforts to overturn the 2020 election."I can't wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them," Thomas told the right-wing news site The Daily Caller. She did not say what those misconceptions might be.Her comments come after the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot announced that it had requested an interview with her. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said the panel wanted to talk to her "soon," Axios reported.Thomas faces scrutiny over her connections to former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Read Full StoryEven on the day of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still doubtful if Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election, says ex-Trump lawyerRudy Giuliani.Jacquelyn Martin/APEric Herschmann, a former Trump White House lawyer, revealed on Thursday that even on the morning of the Capitol riot, Rudy Giuliani was still debating whether then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the votes in the 2020 election. Herschmann's testimony was aired on Thursday during the third of six public hearings organized by the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot. Thursday's session centered on the pressure exerted by the Trump camp in a bid to get Pence to overturn the vote.Herschmann said he received a call "out of the blue" from Giuliani on the morning of January 6, 2021, concerning what Pence's role would be that day."And, you know, he was asking me my view and analysis and then the practical implications of it," Herschmann said, who described the call as an "intellectual discussion." "And when we finished, he said, like, 'I believe that, you know, you're probably right.'" Read Full StoryMike Pence's former lawyer said he warned Trump's camp that overturning votes would lead to the 2020 election being 'decided in the streets'Then-US President Donald Trump arrives with then- Vice President Mike Pence for a "Make America Great Again" rally in Michigan on November 2, 2020.PhoPhoto by Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty ImagesA lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence said that he strongly disagreed with conservative lawyer John Eastman about the Trump camp's plan to overturn the 2020 election result and warned Eastman that it might lead to violence in the streets.Testifying on Thursday before the January 6 panel investigating the Capitol riot, Greg Jacob said he had spoken to Eastman on January 5, 2021. During their conversation, Jacob said he expressed his "vociferous disagreement" with the plan for Pence to overturn the electoral vote on behalf of former President Donald Trump and send the votes back to their respective states. "Among other things, if the courts did not step in to resolve this, there was nobody else to resolve it," Jacob testified. Read Full StoryDemocracy on the brinkPeople arrive before a hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.Drew Angerer/Pool Photo via APAmerican democracy was on the brink like no time ever before.That's the lede paragraph from Insider's Grace Panetta in her story that sums up the biggest takeaways from Thursday's historic and marathon third public hearing of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Grace writes that the two lead witnesses, Greg Jacob and Michael Luttig, were steeped in legal expertise and constitutional scholarship as they explained at a granular and methodical level why neither the Electoral Count Act nor the 12th Amendment permitted then-Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.Then-President Donald Trump and one of his personal legal advisors, John Eastman, were pushing the vice president to do exactly that in a break with all of US history. Read Full StoryMAGA world a "clear and present danger to American democracy"Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, looks at Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, as he testifies before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022.J. Scott Applewhite/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump and his supporters remain a "clear and present danger to American democracy."Those were the startling words of Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who has long been championed by Republicans. He made them near the end of Thursday's marathon House select committee hearing into the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Luttig, who advised then-Vice President Mike Pence about his ceremonial role on January 6, also went on to say Trump world is being more than blunt about its plans to manipulate the results of the next election for the White House. "The former president and his allies are executing that blueprint for 2024 in open and plain view of the American public," Luttig testified, per Insider's Warren Rojas. Read Full Story'1 more relatively minor violation' of election law...please?Former Trump legal adviser John EastmanAP Photo/Susan WalshIt's perhaps one of the biggest bombshells to come out of Thursday's House select committee hearing on the Capitol insurrection: a Trump lawyer putting in writing a request to break the law.The no-no came from John Eastman, who sent an email at 11:44 p.m. on the night of January 6, 2021, repeated his demand that Vice President Mike Pence halt the proceedings to certify the 2020 election and send it back to the states for a period of 10 days."So now that the precedent has been set that the Electoral Count Act is not quite so sacrosanct as was previously claimed, I implore you to consider one more relatively minor violation and adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here," Eastman wrote to Pence lawyer Greg Jacob.Insider's Jake Lahut writes that the Eastman email was sent after Jacob and the then-vice president's staff and family, had been sheltering in place in a secure location during the riot.Read Full StoryEastman asked Giuliani to be added to Trump's pardon listJohn Eastman appeared onstage with Rudy Giuliani at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the January 6 attack on the Capitol.Jim Bourg/ReutersThe House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol made some news on Thursday by disclosing evidence that conservative lawyer John Eastman wanted to get added to lame-duck President Donald Trump's pardon list.Eastman was pushing to overturn the 2020 election, and as Insider's Oma Seddiq reports, his efforts prompted an email to personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. "I've decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works," Eastman wrote  to Giuliani, according to Rep. Pete Aguilar, a lawmaker on the January 6 panel who read the email during Thursday's hearing. Eastman ultimately did not receive a pardon. Read Full StoryAides say Trump called Pence 'P-word' and 'wimp' on Jan. 6 callTrump and Pence at a White House event on July 13, 2020.AP Photo/Evan VucciThe language got pretty profane in the White House on the morning of January 6, 2021, Insider's Bryan Metzger reports.That's according to former aides who testified to the House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection about a call then-President Donald Trump made to Mike Pence, his vice president."I remember hearing the word 'wimp'. Either he called him a wimp — I don't remember if he said, 'you are a wimp, you'll be a wimp' — wimp is the word I remember," said Nicholas Luna, a former assistant to Trump.Julie Radford, who served as Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, told the committee that Ivanka told her that the president "just had an upsetting conversation with the Vice President" in which he called Pence "the P-word."Read Full Story'Secret' MAGA back channel Jan. 6 investigators are teasing is also Oath Keepers' legal defenseStewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017.Susan Walsh/APThe House January 6 investigators keep on teasing how there'll soon be upcoming testimony that reveals secret coordination between Trumpworld and extremist groups.But as Insider's Laura Italiano points out in a new story, the Oath Keepers have long boasted of such a back channel.In fact, leader and founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other members of the pro-Trump militia are staking their seditious-conspiracy defense case on these yet-described communications with rally organizers.Read Full StoryCruz wanted the ex-judge testifying against Trump as a SCOTUS justiceRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and retired Judge Michael Luttig.AP Photos/Manuel Balce Ceneta and Susan WalshThere's an interesting twist to the retired conservative federal Judge Michael Luttig testifying as a key witness in Thursday's January 6 committee hearing.Insider's Bryan Metzger dug up video from the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates showing Luttig was once named by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as an ideal Supreme Court nominee.—bryan metzger (@metzgov) June 16, 2022 Bryan writes that it was "yet another example of just how much former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results has divided the conservative legal world."Read Full Story   DOJ: House's 'failure' to share transcripts hurting Jan. 6 investigationsTrump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesMore public tension is emerging between the Justice Department and the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.Insider's Ryan Barber has the details on a new letter sent Wednesday from the top US attorney in Washington DC to the House panel. There, the DOJ official says that the House panel has complicated criminal cases with its 'failure' to turn over interview transcripts to prosecutions.DOJ is looking for access to more than 1,000 interviews the congressional panel has conducted during its months-long examination of the Capitol attack and former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election.Read Full StoryJudge Luttig: If Pence tossed valid electoral votes it would have been 'a revolution'Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge who was an adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, testifies Thursday to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.AP Photo/Susan WalshSome really powerful testimony to start Thursday's January 6 select committee hearing from former federal judge J. Michael Luttig.In his opening remarks, he told the panel investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol that Vice President Mike Pence overturning the 2020 election would've pushed the country into 'the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the republic.'"That declaration of Donald Trump as the next president would have launched America into what I believe would have been tantamount to a revolution within a constitutional crisis in America which in my view would have been the first constitutional crisis since the founding of the Republic," Luttig told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. Read Full StoryFormer Pence counsel says 'the law is not a plaything' for presidentsVice President Mike PenceScott J. Applewhite/APMike Pence's former counsel Greg Jacob is a lead witness in Thursday's third public hearing for the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.In his written statement submitted before the hearing, Jacob called serving the vice president "the honor of a lifetime," while also warning that the rule of law is "not a plaything" for political leaders to bend per their whim."The law is not a plaything for presidents or judges to use to remake the world in their preferred image," he wrote. "Our Constitution and our laws form the strong edifice within which our heartfelt policy disagreements are to be debated and decided."Insider's Grace Panetta has more on Jacob's testimony and spells out why he was a key figure in rebuffing the intense pressure campaign and efforts to compel Pence to obstruct or meddle with the count. Read Full StoryJanuary 6 committee says it will 'soon' seek interview with Ginni ThomasConservative activist Ginni Thomas and January 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.AP Photos/Susan Walsh and J. Scott ApplewhiteConservative activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, should be expecting an interview request soon from the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol."We think it's time that we, at some point, invite her to come talk to the committee," Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the panel, told Axios' Andrew Solender. He added that the invitation would come "soon."Thomas has recently come under scrutiny for her role in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, including emailing Trump lawyer John Eastman and pressuring 29 state legislators in Arizona to overturn the state's 2020 election results.Read Full Story  Meet the former Trump attorney starring in the January 6 hearingEric Herschmann, former White House attorney, speaks with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 13, 2022.(House Select Committee via APAnyone remember Eric Herschmann? The White House attorney burst into the national spotlight defending President Donald Trump during his first Senate impeachment trial way back in the early pre-pandemic days of 2020.Now he's back, but for a very different reason.That's the story that Oma Seddiq just delivered for Insider readers ahead of Thursday's House January 6 hearing profiling Herschmann. He's been in the news as video clips make the rounds of his testimony where he talks about warning Trump and his allies after the presidential election that there was no proof the race was rigged and stolen, and their efforts may be illegal. In addition to his colorful language, Herschmann has drawn notice because he gave his deposition in a room with a baseball bat hanging on the wall and the word "JUSTICE" inscribed on it in bold, white letters. Observers also have noted a large painting behind him of a panda, by the artist Rob Pruitt, is similar to one that appeared in the 2015 erotic drama "50 Shades of Grey."Read Full StoryNick Quested explains how it felt to testify before the January 6 committeeBritish filmmaker Nick Queste.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 27th, 2022

The World Is Failing In Both Energy Affordability And Climate Goals

The World Is Failing In Both Energy Affordability And Climate Goals Authored by Alex Kimani via OilPrice.com, Global energy investment is forecast to rise by 8 percent to $2.4 trillion this year. Investment in renewables is rising, but it’s nowhere near the levels necessary to limit global warming within a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase. IEA: Inflation has brought the first increases in the cost of renewables in a decade. U.S. shale spending remains far below 2019 levels in 2022. Global energy investment is on the rise and expected to grow by 8 percent annually this year, pushed up by record spending on clean energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its new report World Energy Investment 2022.   On the face of it, that’s great news for global energy supply and climate goals. But in reality, the rising trend is a function of galloping inflation, a deepening divide between developed and emerging economies’ investment trends, and an increase in coal investments as the biggest economies in Asia prioritize energy security amid soaring energy prices and upended energy markets following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “As things stand, today’s energy investment trends show a world falling short on climate goals, and on reliable and affordable energy,” the IEA itself admitted as much in its report. Inflation To Eat Up Nearly Half Of Investment Increase Global energy investment is forecast to rise by 8 percent to $2.4 trillion this year, with renewables and grid investments increasing at the fastest pace. Still, nearly half of the $200 billion increase in investment in 2022 is likely to be eaten up by higher costs rather than bringing additional energy supply capacity or savings. Costs are soaring amid supply chain pressures, tight labor, and energy services markets, and surging steel and cement prices, the Paris-based agency said. Inflation has also brought the first increases in the cost of renewables in a decade, and as capital-intensive technologies, renewables face a stronger impact from pressures affecting the cost of raw materials and financing than other forms of power generation, the IEA notes. “Renewable equipment manufacturers are passing on some of these pressures in their products, with increases in the cost of solar PV panels and wind turbines of 10-20% and attempts to renegotiate existing contracts, depending on the technology and region,” the agency said. Cost pressures could raise the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from variable renewables by 20-30 percent this year compared to 2020. Nevertheless, the IEA says, investment in renewables remains attractive due to the role of clean energy in the energy transition, especially if backed by supportive government policies and incentives. Renewable Investment Is A Tale Of Two Worlds While renewables investment and capacity installations are continuously rising in developed economies and China, the developing and emerging economies are stuck at the same level of clean energy investment as in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed, the IEA’s estimates showed. Apart from some bright spots such as growth in wind and solar in Brazil and utility-scale renewables in India, the developing economies except China struggle to see renewable energy investment take off. Those major regional variations in clean energy investment “underline the risk of new dividing lines on energy and climate,” the IEA notes, adding that “overall, the relative weakness of clean energy investment across much of the developing world is one of the most worrying trends revealed by our analysis.” The cost of capital can be up to seven times higher in developing markets than in advanced economies. Moreover, in developing economies excluding China, public funds to back renewables are lacking, policy frameworks are often weak, economies are threatened by soaring inflation and increased poverty, and borrowing costs are rising. “Much more needs to be done to bridge the gap between emerging and developing economies’ one-fifth share of global clean energy investment, and their two-thirds share of the global population,” the IEA said.   Fossil Fuel Investment Caught Between Climate Goals And Energy Security Investment in renewables is rising, but it’s nowhere near the levels necessary to limit global warming within a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase. At the same time, investment in fossil fuels, including coal, is set to increase this year, undermining the global pathway to climate goals on the one hand, but still insufficient to meet rising global energy demand, on the other hand. “Overall, today’s oil and gas spending is caught between two visions of the future: it is too high for a pathway aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C but not enough to satisfy rising demand in a scenario where governments stick with today’s policy settings and fail to deliver on their climate pledges,” the IEA said. Investment in new coal supply is rising amid energy security concerns. “High prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mean that fuel supply investment is currently viewed through an energy security lens, but climate pressures cannot be put aside,” the IEA said. Investment in coal supply jumped by 10 percent last year, led by Asia, and is likely to rise by another 10 percent this year to reach $116 billion, which would be higher than the 2019 investment of $104 billion. In upstream oil and gas, investment is also set for a 10-percent rise this year, to $417 billion, but it lags the $500 billion investment in 2019, per the IEA’s estimates. Moreover, cost escalation is diminishing the impact of higher spending on activity levels. Only the national oil companies in the Middle Eastern oil exporters are set to spend more this year than in 2019, as Saudi Arabia and the UAE look to boost oil production capacity. Despite an expected increase of U.S. shale investments, the level of 2022 spending is still expected to be around 30 percent below 2019 levels, as operators focus on profitability and capital discipline rather than production expansion, the IEA noted.  In refining, the sector saw in 2021 the first net reduction in global capacity for the first time in 30 years, as near-record levels of capacity were retired in 2020 and 2021, contributing to the current tightness in global fuel markets. Investment in refining, however, is not certain going forward, the IEA says. “However, the strong financial performance and high utilisation rates seen in recent months may not necessarily translate into higher investment levels given lingering uncertainty around the long-term outlook for oil demand.” Tyler Durden Sat, 06/25/2022 - 18:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 25th, 2022

Live by-election updates: Boris Johnson should quit or be forced out, former Conservative leader says

The by-election results in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton are piling fresh pressure onto Boris Johnson, as voters turn from the Conservatives. A file photo of Oliver Dowden and Boris Johnson at the Conservative party conference.Ian Forsyth/Getty Images Former party leader Michael Howard has called on Boris Johnson to quit or be forced out. Tory MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said another leadership challenge could be triggered in weeks. Malcolm Rifkind warned Johnson could be brought down by just a dozen junior ministers. Boris Johnson should quit or be forced out of office, former party leader Michael Howard has said. Howard, who led the Tories in opposition, told the BBC: "I think the party, and even more importantly the country, would now be better off under new leadership."He called for the 1922 committee to consider changing the rules so that a new leadership vote, despite Johnson having narrowly won during a recent challenge. Cabinet ministers should also "very carefully consider their positions, as Oliver Dowden has done", Howard said. Dowden resigned as Conservative Party chairman early Friday morning, saying: "We cannot carry on with business as usual. Somebody must take responsibility." Dowden's letter makes no mention of support for the prime minister, but only his loyalty to the party. Other senior Tories have also suggested Johnson could face a fresh leadership challenge.Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Treasurer of the 1922 committee, said the Conservative Party will hold "serious discussions" in the next few days "and then we will all have to make difficult decisions".Malcolm Rifkind, who served in Margaret Thatcher's final Cabinet, said Johnson could be brought down by a dozen junior ministers.  Former Conservative leader, Michael Howard, calls for Boris Johnson to quit – or others in party to force him outFormer Conservative leader Michael Howard has called for Boris Johnson to quit, after the party lost two key seats in the by-elections overnight. Howard, who led the Tories between 2003 and 2005, told BBC's World at One: "I think the party, and even more importantly the country, would now be better off under new leadership."He added: "[Johnson's] biggest asset has always been his ability to win votes, but yesterday's results make it clear that he no longer has that ability."The best person who has the ability to judge the mood of both the party and the electorate is its chairman. I have enormous respect for Oliver Dowden and the implications of his resignation letter are, I think, very clear."Howard noted that in the by-elections "the electorate delivered its verdict... I don't think it's very likely that he will [resign] but there are others who can take action, who can make that course come about".Tory MPs mulling whether to trigger second leadership contest in Boris Johnson, says senior backbencherBoris JohnsonUK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERSSir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has said Tory MPs will decide whether to trigger a leadership contest in the coming weeks.  "We will need to hear from the prime minister how he intendes to lead the country forward to address the very serious and increasinly difficult economic problems we have got."When we have head that we will need to make an assessment whether that is acceptable to the party or whether we need to trigger a leadership contest of one form or another."Acknowleding the "current rules" mean Boris Johnson could not face another vote of no confidence in the next 12 months, Clifton-Brown told Sky News it would be a "very serious decision" to shake things up. "The parliamentary party would need to make it very clear to the [1922] executive that the rules need to be changed, and that would be a decision for the whole executive," he added. "Colleagues are talking privately, working out what is the best way forward." A dozen ministers could end Boris Johnson's leadership, says Sir Malcolm RifkindSir Malcolm Rifkind says Boris Johnson could be brought down by a dozen junior ministersAwakening/Getty ImagesThe Conservatives have "moved into a fundamentally new stage of this ongoing controversy" because of the resignation of Oliver Dowden, according to Tory grandee Sir Malcolm Rifkind.Rifkind, a former Cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, tells Sky News that Dowden's resignation letter was "a very clear way of saying the prime minister is refusing" to take responsibility. Divisions among ministers "have to be brought to a conclusion in one way to another", he adds, saying the end of Thatcher's tenure came about without a challenge to her "integrity".He adds: "Given the resignation of a senior Cabinet minister, on  this very issue, ks what the views are not just of the Cabeint but 50 or 60 junior ministers of state, without whom the government cannot function."Boris Johnson should seek their views or they should go to him, he adds, but "if a dozen ministers" no longer support the prime minister, they could bring his leadership to an end. Liberal Democrats will 'get rid of a lot of Conservative MPs' in general election, warns party leaderLiberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said his party plans to "get rid of a lot of Conservative MPs" in a future general election, although admits he can't put a number on it. The Lib Dems often do well in by-elections as a "protest vote" against whoever the incumbent is, but national votes are a very different matter. Speaking from Tiverton, Davey tells reporters: "It is difficult to say, as we are maybe two years from a general election. "The fact we have won three parliamentary by-elections in just over 12 months suggests we are going to make advances and are going to get rid of a lot of Conservative MPs.""It is too early to put a number of it but we certainly intend to get rid of a lot of Conservative MPs."Liberal Democrats unveil latest by-election victory stunt – showing Boris Johnson 'the door'The Liberal Democrats have pulled one of their customary stunts after winning a by-election - showing Boris Johnson "the door". Ed Davey, the party leader, has joined his newest MP Richard Foorde in the constituency Tiverton & Honiton, where the pair unveiled a blue door for the prime minister. —Ami Wyllie (@amiwyllienews) June 24, 2022Past stunts have included Davey smashing through a "Blue Wall" and bursting a blue balloon. Rishi Sunak says 'we all take responsibility for results' as he signals intention to stay put as chancellorThere have been more than a few rumours circulating this morning that Rishi Sunak could be about to fall on his sword.However, judging by the tweet the social media-savvy chancellor has just posted, that seems unlikely, at least in the short-term.In a nod to Oliver Dowden's call for someone to take responsibility, Sunak says "we all take responsibility for the results".It's not exactly full-throated support for Boris Johnson, but it's a clear indication that he plans to remain in post.—Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) June 24, 2022 Robert Buckland: Boris Johnson must look himself in the mirrorRobert Buckland, former justice secretaryWiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesA former Cabinet minister says Boris Johnson must "look in the mirror and make sure that he does better" after the disastrous by-election results. Robert Buckland, a former justice secretary who was demoted by Johnson last year, insists he is not looking to jettison "the captain", saying the problems faced by the Tories were "much bigger than the story of one man". But speaking to Sky News, he says: "He needs to, as I've said to him myself, look in the mirror and make sure he does better."I think, therefore, the next couple of years are the time for him to prove to all of us that this can be done, and for the Conservative Party to demonstrate that it is still capable of governing this country as it has done, I believe, so well in the past."  By-election result not just mid-term blues, says polling guru Prof John CurticeBoris Johnson might be trying to push some of the blame for the by-elections onto a traditional mid-term slump, but one of the UK's foremost polling experts argues otherwise. John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Social Research, told BBC Radio 4 it was more a sign of terminal decline."You have to go back to John Major's government of 1992 to 1997 to find a government struggling as much in by elections, and that of course is not a very happy precedent," he said. Although much of this has translated into voter apathy rather than an emphatic swing to Labour, Curtice notes that the swing to Labour in Wakefield was "probably just enough to generate a Labour overall majority [at a general election]".Boris Johnson's response to Oliver Dowden fails to acknowledge reason for minister's resignationBoris Johnson's letter responding to Oliver Dowden's resignation this morning makes for interesting reading. The prime minister thanks him for his work and says he is sad to see the party chairman leave Government, as you would expect. But there is no reference to the points made about the need for change or for "somebody" to take responsibility.Instead, the PM says: "Whilst I completely understand your disappointment with the by-election results, this Government was elected with an historic mandate just over two years ago to unite and level up. I look forward to continuing to work together on that."—Amanda Milling (@amandamilling) June 24, 2022 'Spotlight on him': Tory co-chair Ben Elliot is 'part of reason we lost', claims sourcePrime Minister Boris Johnson poses with Ben Elliot, Conservative party co-chairmanDavid M. Benett/Dave BenettOne Tory source got in touch to point out that the Conservative Party does still have a chairman in the form of Ben Elliot. "Oliver was only ever co-chair," the source said. "They kept the first syllable rather quiet to keep Ben in the shadows."Elliot's position as party co-chair has been long under attack, both by opposition figures and those within the party. Labour claims the Tories have raised almost £2 million from people with links to Russia since Elliot joined CCHQ. Insider recently reported senior MPs calling for him to be ousted, after "contaminating" links with Russia. Read more about that here.The Tory source says the "scandal-soaked" Elliot "is part of the reason we lost and Dowden resigned - spotlight on him".Minister Paul Scully insists 'it's not business as usual', after by-election lossesPaul Scully, the small business minister, is filling in on Sky New after Oliver  Dowden resigned.He admits "it's not been a good evening for the party by any stretch of the imagination", but that the government will "respond". Scully says voters will reward those who "govern well", pointing to policies meant to address the spiraling cost of living in the UK. "It is not business as usual, we will reflect, we will listen and we will respond," he adds. Boris Johnson "has always said he will take personal responsibility", but is still the right person for the job, Scully says. Dominic Raab admits 'distractions because of partygate' hurt Tories in by-electionsDominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, has been covering for Oliver Dowden on BBC Radio 4, after his colleague quit as Conservative Party chairman this morning.Raab says the poor by-election results were down to a "perfect storm of very difficult local scenarios, given the situations of the previous sitting Conservative MPs, plus the national headwinds".He said the "distractions we have had" are also a factor. But he then argues that the Tories will spend the next two years trying to win support back. Asked if he is talking about business as usual – something Dowden criticised in his letter – Raab says: "We have had distractions because of partygate, because of too much Westminster internal focus when people want to see us focused on their priorities."He then highlights support that the Government has brought forward to deal with the cost of living crisis. Starmer: If Tories had any decency, they would get out of the wayLabour's win in Wakefield is "a vindication of all our hard work over the last two years", Sir Keir Starmer said. The swing against the Tories in the Red Wall seat was because Labour was "absolutely focused on the issues facing hard working people", he added. "And what a judgement this is on the Tories and Boris Johnson, what a judgement it is on them," Starmer says. "They are out of touch, out of ideas and if they had any decency they would get out of the way for the sake of the country."—BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 24, 2022 Two and a half weeks is a (very) long time in politics...Channel 4 News' Paul McNamara sums it up: —Paul McNamara (@PGMcNamara) June 24, 2022 Boris Johnson plays down partygate, blames mid-term slump and economy for by-election resultsBoris Johnson said he will "listen to what people are saying", as he sought to play down the impact of partygate on the by-election results. The prime minister thanked Oliver Dowden, whom he called an "excellent party chairman."Johnson said it was "absolutely true we have had some tough by-election results, [but] they have been a reflection of a lot of things".He tells broadcasters: "We have got to recognise that voters are going through a tough time at the moment. We have got to listen to what people are saying, particularly in the difficulties over the cost of living, which for most people is the number one issue."However Johnson stressed that "mid-term governments, post-war, lose by-elections". Asked about the Sue Gray report into lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street, he added: "Historically, over the last 50 years or more, you have seen governments punished at the polls mid-term, particularly when people are feeling economic pressures."Ed Davey: Voters will 'send Tory MPs packing' if they don't sack Boris JohnsonEd Davey (R) with newly-elected Tiverton MP Richard Foord on the campaign trailFinnbarr Webster/Getty ImagesOliver Dowden might be absent from the morning round, but Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey is more than happy to go on the air after the historic by-election result this morning. Davey tells Sky News: "If Conservative MPs don't wake up, at the next election voters will send them packing."He argues that the Tiverton & Honiton win "isn't a flash in the pan – this is a series of victories against the Conservatives for the Lib Dems", after similar successes in Chesham and Amersham and North Shropshire. Davey adds: "[Tory MPs] have he power to dispatch this prime minister. If they don't do that I think the voters will wreak their revenge... the fact Tory MPs won't do the decent thing, won't listen to the people, mean they will pay the price at the next election."Lord Frost: By-election results are 'terrible' for Tories – but not great for Labour or Lib DemsFormer minister Lord Frost says the by-election results are "terrible" for the Tories but are not "particularly good" for Labour or the Liberal Democrats either. Frost, who has been increasingly critical of Boris Johnson, said: "In contrast to many 'normal' mid-term by-elections, these do not show strong protest votes for the opposition."They show people who voted for us in 2019 refusing to come out and do so again. We as Conservatives must decide why that is, and what we do about it."What will Boris Johnson do now?Boris Johnson is thousands of miles from home, in Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. According to PA Media, the prime minister said he would "listen" to voters but "keep going" after the double by-election defeat.On his way to Rwanda, he told journalists: "Governing parties generally do not win by-elections, particularly not in midterm. You know, I'm very hopeful, but you know, there you go.Asked to confirm he was not considering his future, he replied: "Are you crazy?"However, the resignation of Oliver Dowden is putting renewed pressure on the prime minister.Gavin Barwell: Boris Johnson must go to avoid Tories 'sleepwalking into defeat' at general electionGavin Barwell, the chief of staff under former prime minister Theresa May, says the Conservative party risks "sleepwalking into a defeat" at a future general election.  He tells Sky News that the Tiverton & Honiton result is "catastrophic" because "it means there is a whole swathe of seats across the south of the country that are vulnerable".The peer adds: "Finally, finally, somebody in the Cabinet has taken the decision to stand down."If the Conservative party carries on as it is, it is sleepwalking into a defeat at the next election, so I am very pleased that somebody senior in the party has recognised that and done something about it."The party "can't just change the figurehead" - it has to change direction, to avoid this, he argues.Tory MPs play down prospect of Cabinet coup after Oliver Dowden resignsOliver Dowden and Boris Johnson at the Conservative party conferenceIan Forsyth/Getty ImagesTory MPs are playing down the prospect of a Cabinet coup after Oliver Dowden resigned, following the "poor" by-election results this morning. Rebel backbenchers have urged ministers to act by removing Boris Johnson, after they failed to get enough numbers in the recent vote of no confidence. Dowden's resignation letter was notably absent of any warm words for the prime minister. However Tory MPs said this was unlikely to kick off a wave of colleagues quitting. While one MP told Insider he was hopeful it would trigger others to do the same, colleagues were sceptical. One said it was "doubtful" because "there aren't many decent ones in there".The MP questioned whether Dowden had backed Johnson during the confidence vote, noting his allegiance to David Cameron and Theresa May."The Oliver I know is decent and honourable and will have hated having to defend the indefensible." Another said: "There cannot be a coup, there is no mechanism. Rebels should have waited."Tory MPs: Oliver Dowden not the person to blame for by-election resultsOther Tory MPs have come out swinging after the poor by-election results this morning. Angela Richardson, who quit as Michael Gove's PPS earlier this year over partygate, has praised Oliver Dowden as a "fantastic colleague", adding that he is "most certainly not responsible for these results".Simon Hoare, chairman of the Northern Ireland committee, echoes her comments, saying: "An honourable letter from an honourable man. Oliver Dowden is not to blame for these results. Since 2015 I have always been proud to call Oliver a friend. Never more so than today."Dowden's resignation is sending shockwaves through Westminster, after his letter made no reference to ongoing support in Boris Johnson. —Angela Richardson MP (@AJRichardsonMP) June 24, 2022 Tory MP Roger Gale: Boris Johnson 'ought to honourably this morning be re-considering his position'Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale has said the prime minister should "honourably" be considering standing down following the by-election results. Gale, who has long criticised Johnson and was among those to go public with his letter of no confidence, says: "Spin them how you like the by- election results in Tiverton & Honiton and in Wakefield are another vote of no-confidence in a Prime Minister that ought to honourably this morning be re-considering his position."Commiserations to Conservative candidates who deserved better. The soul of our Party is at stake."Gale adds: "Oliver Dowden is a decent and honourable man who has clearly decided that he can no longer defend the indefensible."Oliver Dowden's resignation: What happens next?Boris JohnsonJacob King/PA/Getty ImagesThe shock resignation of Oliver Dowden is reopening questions about Boris Johnson's grip on power, just two weeks after he narrowly won a confidence vote among his own MPs. While the rules of the party mean the prime minister should theoretically be safe from challenges for another year, sources have told Insider that those rules are not set in stoneSimply put, if there are enough calls for him to go from new corners, we could see another vote in weeks or months. Dowden's resignation is also likely to bring forward the reshuffle, which was expected to be held in July. However Johnson is currently in Rwanda and has a string of international events to attend that will keep him out of the country until next week. One MP told Insider: "He has to replace Dowden. He can do it anywhere, anytime, but assume he will want to be in Downing Street."More immediately, the question is who will replace Dowden on the morning's media round?Oliver Dowden's resignation letter in fullOliver Dowden, the Conservative Party chairman, has resigned following the dire by-election results in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton. Here is his letter in full. —Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) June 24, 2022 Keir Starmer: Country has lost confidence in the ToriesKeir Starmer (right) campaigning alongside Simon LightwoodIan Forsyth/Getty ImagesSir Keir Starmer, the Labour party leader, has said the win in Wakefield shows "the country has lost confidence in the Tories".He is alluding to the confidence vote in Boris Johnson, in which 148 of his own backbencher voted against him.Starmer adds:"This result is a clear judgement on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas. Britain deserves better."Wakefield has voted Labour because we have the solutions for the challenges facing the British people. The Labour Party is back on the side of working people, winning seats where we lost before, and ready for government." Tory candidate in Tiverton & Honiton 'locked herself in room'Shortly before the results were announced at Tiverton & Honiton this morning, it seems the Conservative candidate Helen Hurford locked herself in a room. —Tess de la Mare (@TessdelaMare) June 24, 2022 —Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) June 24, 2022 Number crunching: The vote in Tiverton & HonitonThe result in Wakefield is a big loss to Boris Johnson's Conservatives, who have spent much political capital courting the Red Wall vote. However, the result in Tiverton & Honiton will arguably worry the Tories more. The majority was much higher, meaning Richard Foord's success required a larger swing. Much like North Shropshire, which the party lost late last year, it is a 'Blue Wall' seat of traditional Tory voters. It was also predominantly a Leave-backing seat. All that will make today's results pretty grim reading for the party. Here's what the figures look like: —Britain Elects (@BritainElects) June 24, 2022 Richard Foord: Boris Johnson has overstayed his welcomeRichard Foord (C) reacts to the result in Tiverton & Honiton on June 24, 2022Finnbarr Webster/Getty ImagesThe Liberal Democrats' Richard Foord overturned a majority of more than 24,000 – a swing of almost 30% – to take Tiverton & Honiton from the Tories. Foord said it was a referendum on Johnson's troubled leadership, after 148 of his own MPs voted against the prime minister."There is a real feeling now that he has overstayed his welcome as our prime minister," Foord told Sky News.Simon Lightwood: I am still waiting for Boris Johnson to come to WakefieldSimon Lightwood, middle, in Wakefield ahead of the resultsIan Forsyth/Getty ImageThe new Labour MP for Wakefield has criticised Boris Johnson for not turning up once to campaign in the seat. Speaking to Sky News after his win, Simon Lightwood said: "People are absolutely tired of the lies and deceit that we have seen from the prime minister and demanding change and tonight is a demonstration of that."He defended Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has been criticised for not being more forceful in pushing back against Johnson. "I think we have seen here in Wakefield that he is making the impact we need to make and making progress for the Labour Party," Lightwood said. "[Starmer] has been here three times, and really energised the campaign and I am still waiting for the prime minister."Number crunching: The vote in WakefieldThe Red Wall seat of Wakefield has returned to Labour, after it fell to the Conservatives in 2019. The party's Simon Lightwood won the seat with nearly half the total votes - here is how that looks:—Britain Elects (@BritainElects) June 24, 2022 Analysis: Pressure is on after Tories lose both by-electionsGood Morning. The UK is waking up to the news that the Conservatives have lost both by-elections, piling further pressure onto Boris Johnson. The Red Wall seat of Wakefield had been expected to swing back to Labour, but Tories had still be hopeful that Tiverton & Honiton would remain blue, albeit with a smaller majority. But the by-election has ended such hopes, and laid bare the scale of the challenge now facing Johnson's Conservatives in both the Red Wall and traditional Tory areas."It would be a real mistake for the Conservatives to retain Boris Johnson as their leader and it could be electoral suicide for them," Richard Foord told Sky News after winning.He said Johnson should take a lesson from Neil Parish, his predecessor, who resigned over allegations he was watching pornography in the House of Commons.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 24th, 2022