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Oregon lawmakers lead new push for long-sought cannabis banking reform

It seems to have widespread support, but the politics are complicated......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 13th, 2022

Waypoints On The Road To Currency Destruction (And How To Avoid It)

Waypoints On The Road To Currency Destruction (And How To Avoid It) Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, The few economists who recognise classical human subjectivity see the dangers of a looming currency collapse. It can easily be avoided by halting currency expansion and cutting government spending so that their budgets balance. No democratic government nor any of its agencies have the required mandate or conviction to act, so fiat currencies face ruin. These are some waypoints to look for on the road to their destruction: Monetary policy will be challenged by rising prices and stalling economies. Central banks will almost certainly err towards accelerating inflationism in a bid to support economic growth. The inevitability of rising bond yields and falling equity markets that follows can only be alleviated by increasing QE, not tapering it. Look for official support for financial markets by increased QE. Central banks will then have to choose between crashing their economies and protecting their currencies or letting their currencies slide. The currency is likely to be deemed less important, until it is too late. Realising that it is currency going down rather than prices rising, the public reject the currency entirely and it rapidly becomes valueless. Once the process starts there is no hope for the currency. But before we consider these events, we must address the broader point about what the alternative safety to a fiat collapse is to be: cryptocurrencies led by bitcoin, or metallic money to which people have always returned when state fiat money has failed in the past. Introduction When expected events begin to unfold, they can be marked by waypoints. These include predictable government responses, and the confused statements of analysts who are unfamiliar with the circumstances. We see this today in the early stages of an inflation that threatens to become a terminal cancer for fiat currencies. Harder to judge is the human element, the pace at which realisation dawns and the public’s consequential response to the discovery that their currency is being debauched and their wealth being transferred stealthily to the state. But history can provide some guidance. If we consider the evidence from Austria before the First World War, we see that the economic prophets who truly understood economics became thoroughly despondent long before the First World War and the currency collapse of the early 1920s. Carl Menger, the father of subjectivity in marginal price theory became depressed by what he foresaw. As von Mises in his Memoirs wrote of Menger’s discouragement and premature silence, “His keen intellect had recognized in which direction Austria, Europe, and the world were pointed; he saw this greatest and highest of all civilizations rushing toward the abyss”. Mises then recorded a conversation his great-uncle had had with Menger’s brother, which referred to comments made by Menger at about the turn of the century, when he reportedly said, “The policies being pursued by the European powers will lead to a terrible war ending with gruesome revolutions, the extinction of European culture and destruction of prosperity for people of all nations. In anticipation of these inevitable events, all that can be recommended are investments in gold hoards and the securities of the two Scandinavian countries” [presumably being on the periphery of European events]. The few economists who have studied American and European monetary and economic policies dispassionately and how they have evolved since the Nixon shock will resonate with Menger’s concerns. Mises also noted that this “pessimism consumed all sharp-sighted Austrians”. Menger’s pupil and friend, Crown Prince Rudolf, successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne took his own life and that of his lover in 1889 because of his despair over the future of his empire and that of European civilisation, and not because of his love affair. As with all historical comparisons, today’s decline in American hegemony is only a most generalised repetition of the process by which an empire dies. But from this distance of over a century from events in Vienna it is easy to forget how important the Hapsburgs were and that before Napoleon the Austro-Hungarian empire had been the largest and most important of the European empires. But putting aside the obvious differences between then and now, today we see little or no evidence of cutting-edge economists sharing the despair of the early Austrians. There is a good reason why this despair is absent today. Instead of economists independent from the state, universities, and professorial sponsorship, the entire economic profession is paid for by governments and their departments to promote statist intervention in the economic affairs of humanity. Feeding off statistics, mathematics is every policy-makers and investor’s religion. But economics is not a natural science governed by mathematics, like physics or chemistry, but a social science governed by markets; markets being forums where humans interact to satisfy their needs and wants, to exchange their production for consumption, and to manage their savings and capital. As Hayek said of his friend Keynes, Keynes was a mathematician and not an economist. Today we can confidently state that students are taught mathematics and not economics. Economists are no longer economists, but statisticians and mathematicians devoid of the a priori reasoning that was central to the science before Keynes. With the entire profession taught to believe in statist intervention, perhaps we should not be surprised that economists are not ringing the alarm bells warning of the consequences of decades of state manipulation of markets and of the catastrophe that evolves from denying there is any difference between money and currency, that is gold or silver, and infinitely expandable promissory notes and credit. Even many modern “Austrians” seem oblivious to the danger of a fiat money collapse, let alone the dire economic consequences. Among them there is even an antipathy against metallic money, which suggests they have not fully absorbed the theories of money and credit so lucidly explained by their earlier mentors. Hopefully, the decline of America and its dollar hegemony we will not result in military conflict, let alone one on the scale of the 1914-18 European catastrophe. But that might be a vain hope. In today’s America we see a hegemon struggling to get to terms with its decline and the reality that the rise of Asia cannot be stopped. But what concerns us here is the more obvious and immediate problem of its currency, dollars backed by nothing more than the faith and credit of the declining US Government. It is not too late to avoid a complete collapse of the dollar-led global currency regime, but there is no sign that the measures to avoid it will be taken. And with the exclusive dominance of mathematical economists: neo-Keynesians, monetarists, and modern monetary theorists alike, there is hardly anyone, like Menger, Mises, and the other Austrian economists who, before the First World War foresaw the economic and monetary consequences of unfettered statism and inflationary financing. Bitcoin — the canary in the currency mine We find ourselves not being warned of potential inflationary dangers by the state-educated pseudo-economists but by a motley crowd of geeks and speculators instead, who have grasped the relative price effect from different rates of currency issuance. Bitcoin’s quantity is capped while those of fiat currencies are not. All you need to exploit this simple fact is believe and convince yourself and others that bitcoin is the replacement currency of tomorrow for the comparison between bitcoin and state fiat to appear valid. This was certainly the story being promoted by crypto enthusiasts from shortly after bitcoin’s first trade until the end of last year. But they have become increasingly convinced that the future for bitcoin is not so much as a currency (after all, while its price in dollars is rising it is in no one’s interest to use it as a medium for exchanging goods), but simply that, like a stock index on steroids, it is the inflation hedge par excellence. And for fear of missing out, even investing institutions run by custodians of other peoples’ money are now piling in. But an index based on equities has the fundamental prop under it of being comprised of stocks the objective of which is to earn money for shareholders by selling goods and services for profit. With bitcoin there are no underlying earnings and nothing which is inflation-linked. In that sense it is a chimera. An argument has therefore developed, with investors and speculators buying bitcoin only because the relative rate of issue relative to fiat currencies is capped, which is expected to drive the price still higher as governments continue to print their currencies. The underlying rationale, that bitcoin is a replacement currency for state fiat currencies has been disproved and I have little more to add in this respect. It cannot be used for economic calculation, because for a borrower there is uncertainty of repayment value. Nor does bitcoin as a rival to state currencies hold water because no central bank will permit it to act as such. This is one reason why they are heading private cryptocurrencies off at the pass by developing their own, state-issued, and state-controlled digital currencies which can be used for economic calculation. Not only has the argument for ever rising bitcoin prices become its sole support, but the underlying rationale, that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin qualify as a medium for transactions and will be permitted to replace state-issued fiat currencies cannot apply. By identifying relative rates of currency issue as a valuation factor the tech-savvy millennial generation has understood a partial truism. The other part of which they appear not to be fully aware is that the effect of monetary inflation is to undermine a currency’s purchasing power. It is a separate argument from one based solely on relative rates of currency issue. However, having half the story understood at least is an advance from not comprehending any of it, and when further rises in prices for goods become widely expected, as they appear to be beginning to today, crypto fans are likely to learn the consequences of monetary inflation earlier than their non-tech predecessors, and perhaps even before state-educated economists as well. For now, investors are being enticed by nothing other than the promise of riches to buy bitcoin as an inflation hedge, being disappointed by gold’s non-performance. In a recent quote in the UK’s Daily Telegraph a Morgan Stanley analyst stated just that: “We believe the perception of bitcoin as a better inflation hedge than gold is the main reason for the current upswing… triggering a shift away from gold [funds] into bitcoin funds since September”. But without the prop of being a credible form of replacement money the only reason to buy bitcoin is that circular argument: it should be bought because it is being bought. Furthermore, buying bitcoin funds dissipates potential bitcoin demand, because for a bitcoin fund to qualify as a regulated investment, obtaining regulatory permission is easiest when a fund deals mostly or wholly in contracts on a regulated futures exchange instead of the underlying unregulated bitcoin. In other words, much of the demand for bitcoin is being side-lined into paper versions rather than for bitcoin itself. Bubbles based on pure speculation always fail. That is not to say that speculative flows won’t drive bitcoin’s price higher still; as a possibility it seems highly likely. But that is for speculators, not those who seek protection from evolving economic and monetary events. Attention should be paid to Menger’s reported words 120 years ago, quoted above, that “In anticipation of these inevitable events, all that can be recommended are investments in gold hoards and the securities of the two Scandinavian countries” — except the securities of the two Scandinavian countries offer no escape today. That being the case, the price of gold measured in bitcoin would appear to present a remarkable opportunity for lucky holders of bitcoin and similar private-sector cryptocurrencies. This is shown in Figure 1 below. Since April 2015, the ratio of gold to bitcoin prices has fallen from over 5 to 0.03, a decline of over 99%. We have established why bitcoin has advanced: it is now due solely to the madness of an investing crowd, given that it is apparent that it will have no monetary role in the future. Market participants have either forgotten about or turned their backs against the metallic monies of millennia which have always returned as circulating media when state-issued fiat currencies fail. Why gold is under-owned and unappreciated Bitcoin is just part of this story: the other is the central banks’ resistance to rivalry to their fiat currencies from sound money. When US citizens were banned from owning gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates by executive order in 1933, the US Government’s desire to escape the discipline of gold as money became public. The resetting of international currency arrangements at Bretton Woods replaced gold with the dollar as the reserve currency with convertibility into gold limited to central banks and certain post-war supranational organisations. Even that failed, leading to the Bretton Woods agreement being suspended by President Nixon in 1971. Led by the US Fed, ever since the Nixon shock central banks have run a propaganda campaign to convince their private sectors that gold’s historic role as the money “of last resort” had been made redundant through the magic of monetary progress. That propaganda campaign is now fifty years old and encompasses the entire working lives of employees in all financial sectors. The dollar myth as the ultimate form of money is now fully institutionalised. In parallel with statist propaganda there has been a fundamental reform of the financial system to permit the development of various forms of derivatives. While derivatives previously existed in limited quantities, their massive expansion since the mid-eighties big-bang and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act created the means to absorb speculative demand for all commodities, including metallic money. According to the Bank for International Settlements, outstanding notional amounts of gold OTC derivatives at the end of last year stood at $834bn, to which must be added derivatives on regulated markets totalling a further $100bn. Together they are the equivalent together of over 15,000 tonnes of gold. There is little doubt that, like bank credit, the financial system’s ability to create paper gold out of thin air has had a profound effect on the price. Backing this inflation of derivative paper has been the expansion of bank and shadow bank credit. That is now coming to an end, with the implementation of the latest phase of Basel 3 banking regulations. Basel 3 and the net stable funding ratio If you Google it, you find that Basel 3 is an internationally agreed set of measures developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in response to the financial crisis of 2007-09. It was a crisis centred on derivatives, which highlighted the inadequacies of minimum capital requirements, banking supervision and market discipline, the three pillars of banking regulation. Basel 3 is gradually being introduced, but the regulations which concern gold and silver derivatives are what specifically concern us. Curbing balance sheet risk from inappropriate funding of precious metal derivative positions has already been introduced in Europe, Switzerland, and the US with the introduction of the net stable funding ratio. The last major financial jurisdiction to be affected is the UK, which introduces appropriate regulations from the first trading day of 1922 — in only nine weeks’ time. Put briefly, a bank will no longer be able to run unrestricted derivative assets and liabilities without them being tied together. In other words, if a bank has a derivative as an asset on its balance sheet, it must relate specifically to and match a liability for netting purposes and be otherwise unencumbered if a balance sheet funding penalty is to be avoided. If a bank owns unencumbered physical gold as an asset, it can match that against a customer’s unallocated account without a funding penalty, if it has successfully sought and obtained regulatory permission to do so. Two consequences follow. The first is that a bullion bank can only run an uneven book if it is prepared to accept a funding penalty through the application of the net stable funding ratio.[iii]Therefore, liquidity will almost certainly be withdrawn from futures and forwards markets, at least because banks want to appear fully compliant with the regulations. And the second is that most of the BIS gold derivative number of $834bn referred to above reflects bullion banks liabilities to their gold deposit accounts. By the year-end bullion banks will want to remove them, and the only way this can be achieved is by paying off customer gold accounts in fiat currency. There could be thousands of tonnes equivalent of paper gold to reconcile in this way, leaving gold account depositors to either abandon their gold exposure entirely or to buy physical replacements in the market. And while the gaff is being blown on gold forwards and futures, reconciling central bank swaps and leases could also emerge as a problem. In short, the factors that have suppressed the gold price since the early 1970s are not only coming to an end but are being reversed. The liquidation of paper gold threatens a gold liquidity crisis, which in the past would have been resolved by making bullion available through central bank gold swaps. But with central banks already owed bullion by the commercial banks and increasingly concerned about monetary inflation, this facility may be restricted. For the leading central banks, the introduction of Basel 3’s net stable funding ratio therefore comes at a difficult time. They are already fighting to convince their markets that inflation is only a transient price effect and are beginning to reluctantly admit it is more intractable than they thought. The last thing they need is for the gold price to be forced higher by their own regulations, adding to fears of yet higher inflation to come. But for individuals seeking to escape a fiat money catastrophe it appears that the ratio of gold to bitcoin is at an extreme of overvaluation for bitcoin and an extreme undervaluation for gold. The next waypoints in understanding inflation Because bitcoin has introduced the concept of relative rates of issue for currencies, the masses of the millennial generations will be alerted to the debasement of fiat currencies sooner than they would otherwise have been. We are less interested in how this is reflected in cryptocurrency prices than how this knowledge changes relations between consumers and state currencies. Statist economists and monetary policy makers at the major central banks insist that higher prices for consumer goods are being driven by a combination of increased spending, which was stored up during covid lockdowns, and logistics disruption. To this can be added labour problems, with acute shortages in certain industry sectors and absenteeism due to continuing covid infections. Furthermore, energy and other input costs for businesses have been rising rapidly. Monetary policy makers are aware that a wider consumer panic over rising prices must be avoided. They understand that continuing reports of product shortages will risk encouraging consumer stockpiling, driving consumer prices even higher. They will fear that interest rates would have to be increased significantly to bring price inflation back under control. But growth in the major economies appears to be stalling, which in the Keynesian playbook calls for lower interest rates and monetary stimulation instead. This leads us to... Waypoint 1. Commentary in the main-stream media has yet to address this dilemma. It is to be expected at any time. Following our first waypoint, we can assume that interest rates will be forced to rise by markets beginning to discount further losses of currency purchasing power for which interest compensation is demanded. That will inevitably terminate the bull market in equities because it undermines bond prices, pushing up yields and disrupting relative valuations. Figure 2 shows that this process has probably started, though markets are not yet discounting a rise in bond yields beyond a minor amount. The technical message from this chart confirms that the 10-year UST yield is set to go significantly higher, affecting government borrowing adversely through rising interest costs. And when the bear market in these bonds becomes more obvious to investors and foreign holders of them alike, funding the government deficit will become much more difficult. The scale of the rise in fixed interest yields is likely to take market participants and policy planners alike by surprise. The only way in which monetary policy planners can attempt to control rising bond yields and to stop equities sliding into a bear market is to increase the pace of currency creation, particularly through enhanced QE. But for now, the Fed’s stated intention is to taper QE, not increase it. This leads us to... Waypoint 2. No anticipation of this dilemma in the media or independent commentary has yet been detected. Look out for it. In the run up to the northern hemisphere winter and the Christmas shopping season, energy prices and fuel costs are set to rise further. There is no sign of product shortages being resolved. The danger is that with continuing product shortages, consumers will push their purchases of goods not immediately needed even further into the future in case they become unavailable. This will drive consumer prices even higher, creating expectations of yet higher interest rates in financial markets. The Fed will have a straightforward choice: resist market pressures for higher interest rates to save financial markets, stave off insolvencies by over-leveraged borrowers and minimise government funding costs; or protect the dollar by raising the funds rate sufficiently to take all expectation of higher rates out of the market and ignore the financial carnage. This will be next... Waypoint 3. No anticipation of this dilemma in the media or independent commentary has yet been detected. There is a specific danger developing from consumer demand leading to a general stockpiling goods. When the process goes beyond a certain point the consequences of consumers disposing of their currency and credit in favour of goods become apparent. Currency no longer works as the objective value in a transaction, this role being switched to goods, because people begin to buy goods just to get rid of currency. When that process starts in earnest, the fate of the currency is sealed. A hundred years ago this was called the crack-up boom, the final abandonment of currency. Waypoint 4. No anticipation of the final nails in the fiat currency coffin is currently anticipated. When it is, the fate of the currency will have already been sealed. Summary and conclusions Those of us not under the direct management of the US monetary policies will not escape the consequences. All western central banks accept the dollar as their reserve currency and not metallic money, so events affecting the dollar affect all the other fiat currencies. Furthermore, the other major central banks led by the Bank of Japan, European Central Bank, and the Bank of England are pursuing similarly inflationary monetary policies. Central bank groupthink is concreted into global monetary policies. Without a change in their mandate the end of modern currencies is only a matter of time — and a shortening one at that. The dying days of fiat are foreshadowed by the speculative fervour in bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies. A new millennial tech-savvy class of investors has got at least half the message, that fiat currency quantities are being inflated. That a significant element of the population has grasped this much about currencies early challenges the long-held wisdom that not one in a million understands money, which allows governments to oversee a limitless expansion of currency and credit for significant periods of time. Therefore, the danger to state inflationism is that significant numbers will act sooner to avoid currency depreciation by dumping it in favour of goods. It is a process that once started is impossible to stop. While the establishment appears vaguely aware of this danger, it lacks the theoretical knowledge to deal with it. Ninety years of denying classical economics in favour of Keynesianism and other statist monetary theories are too embedded in the official mind. And in the absence of understanding the destructive forces of inflationism, prescient individuals seeking protection for their families, close friends and themselves have no option but to reduce their dependency on fiat currencies and all ephemeral financial assets tied to them. These include savings deposits and “stores of wealth”, particularly fixed-interest bonds and equities. The fashionable alternative is distributed ledger cryptocurrencies which are beyond the interference of the state, exemplified by the rise and rise of bitcoin. But this article points out that this has now become dominated by speculation, so much so that in their ignorance of catallactics investors are discarding metallic money in favour of bitcoin. This is a mistake. There are sound reasons why metallic money, gold and silver, have always been money used as a medium of exchange. And as Figure 1 in this article illustrates, relative to bitcoin gold is now less than 1% of its value in 2016. Bitcoin is the bubble; gold has become the anti-bubble. The systematic suppression of gold in favour of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is now coming to an end. The fact that westerners hardly own any bullion as part of their savings is a mistake they will rue, if, as seems inevitable, current monetary and economic policies persist. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/29/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report US equity-index drifted in a tight range overnight, in a tight range before key jobs data that could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy. As noted in our preview, unless the jobs report is a disaster, it will virtually assure the Fed launches tapering in one month. Markets drifted higher on Thursday after the Senate averted the risk of an immediate default, pushing global stocks on course for their best week since early September, but a late day selloff wiped away most gains and closed spoos below the critical 4400 level. At 07:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.10%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.00 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.07%. Treasury Yields were 1 point higher after earlier tagging 1.60%, the highest since June. The dollar was flat while Brent topped $83 before paring gains. Bitcoin traded above $55,000. Uncertainty over the debt ceiling negotiations and a run-up in U.S. Treasury yields over elevated inflation were major concerns among investors earlier this week, injecting volatility in equity markets this week. High-growth FAAMG stocks slipped in premarket trading following sharp gains in previous session. Energy firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil gained about 0.8% tracking crude prices, while major U.S. lenders also edged up as the benchmark 10-year yield hit its highest level since June 4. Here are some of the biggest movers and stocks to watch today: Tesla (TSLA US) shares in focus after Elon Musk says a global shortage of chips and ships is the only thing standing in the way of the company maintaining sales growth in excess of 50% Sundial Growers (SNDL US) shares rise as much as 19% in U.S. premarket after the Canadian cannabis producer said it will buy liquor and pot retailer Alcanna for $276m in stock Allogene Therapeutics (ALLO US) plunges 36% in U.S. premarket trading after an early-stage study of its cell therapy was put on hold by U.S. regulators Prelude Therapeutics (PRLD US) fell in U.S. premarket trading, adding to Thursday’s 40% plunge on early- stage data for the company’s experimental cancer treatments that Barclays says came in below expectations Vaxart (VXRT US) rises 8% in U.S. premarket trading after its oral tablet vaccine candidate cut transmission of Covid-19 in animals, according to data from a study led by Duke University Faraday Future (FFIE US) slides 4% in U.S. premarket trading after J Capital says it is short on the stock. The short-seller says they don’t think the company “will ever sell a car” Codiak Biosciences (CDAK US) shares fell 6% in Thursday postmarket trading after disclosing that Sarepta Therapeutics is terminating a research license and option agreement Agile Therapeutics (AGRX US) tumbled Thursday postmarket after the women’s health-care company said that it intends to offer and sell shares of its common stock, as well as warrants to purchase shares of its common stock, in an underwritten public offering Looking to today's main event, economists expect September hiring to have surged by 500,000 jobs as the summer wave of COVID-19 infections began to subside, and as millions of Americans no longer receive jobless benefits, positioning the Fed to start scaling back its monthly bond buying.  “All roads lead to non-farm payrolls data which will decide, in the market’s minds, whether the start of the Fed taper is a done deal for December,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. “I do not believe that markets have priced in the Fed taper and its implications to any large degree yet. Even a weak number probably only delays the inevitable for another month.” Even “reasonably soft” payrolls and unemployment figures wouldn’t be enough to change the minds of its officials, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “Only a shockingly low figure could do that,” she said. “The persistent rise in oil prices can only continue boosting inflation fears and the central bank hawks, limiting the upside potential in case of a further recovery in stocks.” “As soon as you start thinking about tapering it’s really hard to not then think about what that means for the Fed funds rate and when that might start to increase,” Kim Mundy, currency strategist and international economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, said on Bloomberg Television. “We do see scope that markets can start to price in a more aggressive Fed funds rate hike cycle.” In Europe, tech companies led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.2%, with energy stocks and carmakers being the only industry groups with meaningful gains. Chip stocks fell, especially Apple suppliers, following a profit warning from Asian peer and fellow supplier AAC Technologies. On the other end, European travel stocks rose after U.K. confirmed the travel “red list” will be cut to just seven countries; British Airways parent IAG and TUI led the advances. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Daimler shares gains as much as 3.2%, outperforming peers, after UBS upgrades stock to buy from neutral, calling it an earnings momentum story that stands to gain from strong demand, electrification trends and its future focus on passenger cars. Adler shares rise as much as 13% after shareholder Aggregate sells a call option to Vonovia for a 13.3% stake in the German real estate investment firm at a strike price of EU14 per share. Cewe Stiftung shares jump as much as 4.2%, their best day in over three months, after the photography services firm gets a new buy rating at Hauck & Aufhaeuser. Weir shares fall as much as 6.3%, to the lowest since Nov. 13, after the U.K. machinery maker announced that a ransomware attack will affect full-year profitability; Jefferies says it’s unlikely that guidance beyond that will be revised. Zur Rose slumps as much as 9.2% after Berenberg downgrades the Swiss online pharmacy to hold from buy, citing the expected negative impact from a delay in the implementation of mandatory e-prescriptions in Germany. Czech digital-payments provider Eurowag shares slide as much as 10% as it starts trading in London, after pricing its IPO below an initial range and making its debut a day later than planned. Asian stocks rose for a second day as China’s market reopened higher and the U.S. Senate approved a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 1% in a rally led by consumer discretionary shares. Alibaba and Tencent were among the biggest contributors to the gauge’s climb. Shares in mainland China surged more than 1% as investors returned from the Golden Week holiday. Chinese property shares fell after a report that more than 90% of China’s top 100 property developers’ sales declined in September by an average of 36% from the same period last year, while investor concerns about developers’ liquidity rose after Fantasia bonds were suspended from trading. In mainland: CSI 300 Real Estate Index drops as much as 2%, Seazen Holdings falls as much as 5%, Poly Developments -4%. Asia’s stock benchmark is slightly down for the week, as rising bond yields weighed on tech-heavy indexes in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The gauge is down more than 1% this month amid an energy shortage in China and India.  “Markets may not want to commit directionally” given that we have non-farm payrolls data on the docket, making a follow-through of today’s rally suspect, said Ilya Spivak, the head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. Traders are expecting today’s U.S. employment data to provide clues on the direction of the world’s largest economy. On Thursday, the U.S. averted what would have been its first default on a debt payment. Most major benchmarks in Asia climbed, led by Japan, Indonesia and Australia. India’s central bank kept its lending rates at a record low at a policy meeting today. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9% to close at 7,320.10. All industry groups edged higher. The benchmark rose 1.9% for the week, the biggest weekly gain since early August. Miners led the charge, having the best week since July, banks the best since the start of March. EML Payments tumbled after an update on its Ireland subsidiary from the country’s central bank. Chalice Mining continued its rebound, finishing the session the strongest performer in the mining subgauge.  There is a risk of excessive borrowing due to low interest rates and rising house prices, Reserve Bank of Australia said in its semiannual Financial Stability Review released Friday. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 13,086.60 In rates, Treasury futures remained under pressure after paring declines that pushed 10-year yield as high as 1.5995% during European morning, highest since June 4; the 1.60% zone is thought to have potential to spur next wave of convexity hedging. U.K. 10-year is higher by 4bp, German by 2.3bp - gilts underperformed, weighing on Treasuries as money markets continue to bring forward BOE rate-hike expectations. During U.S. session, September jobs report may seal case for Fed taper announcement in November.  In FX, the greenback traded in a narrow range versus G10 peers while 10-year Treasury yields approached 1.6%, outperforming Bunds.  Gilt yields rose 5-6bps across the curve; demand for downside protection in the pound eases this week as the U.K. currency moves off cycle lows amid money markets repricing. U.K. wage growth rose at its strongest pace on record in a survey of job recruiters, indicating strains from a shortage of workers are persisting. Turkish lira initially weakens above 8.96/USD before recouping half of its losses In commodities, oil extended a rebound, on track for a seventh weekly gain. Crude futures pushed to the best levels for the week. WTI rises 1.5% near $79.50, Brent pops back on to a $83-handle. Spot gold trades a $5 range near $1,757/oz. Base metals are mostly positive, with LME nickel gaining over 3.5%. Looking at the day ahead, the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,389.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 457.18 MXAP up 0.4% to 194.72 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 636.80 Nikkei up 1.3% to 28,048.94 Topix up 1.1% to 1,961.85 Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 24,837.85 Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3,592.17 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,070.61 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,320.09 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,956.30 Brent Futures up 1.4% to $83.09/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,756.25 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 German 10Y yield up +3.4 bps to -0.151% Euro little changed at $1.1549 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Global talks to reshape the corporate tax landscape are set to resume on Friday after Ireland’s decision to adhere to the world consensus on a minimum rate removed one hurdle to an agreement that still hangs in the balance Germany’s Social Democrats hailed a positive start in their effort to form a government after their first meeting with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats A U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine struck an object while submerged in international waters in the Indo- Pacific region last week, the Navy said, adding that no life- threatening injuries were reported China drained the most short- term liquidity from the banking system in a year on a net basis as it reduced support after a week-long holiday. Government bond futures slid by the most since August China’s central bank will continue to push for the reform of its benchmark loan rate and make deposit rates more market-based, according to a senior official India’s central bank surprised markets by suspending its version of quantitative easing, signaling the start of tapering pandemic-era stimulus measures as an economic recovery takes hold U.K. government bond yields have climbed to levels last seen before the Brexit referendum in 2016 relative to German peers, as traders brace for inflation in Britain over the next decade to far outpace the rate in Europe’s largest economy A detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly higher as the region conformed to the global upbeat mood after the agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling which the Senate approved, with the overnight bourses also invigorated by the return of China and strong Caixin PMI data. The ASX 200 (+0.9%) was led higher by strength in mining names with underlying commodity prices boosted as Chinese buyers flocked back to market which helped the ASX disregard a record increase in daily COVID-19 cases in Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+1.3%) was the biggest gainer and reclaimed the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a softer currency, while attention turns to PM Kishida who will outline his policy program today and is reportedly planning to present an additional budget after the election. Furthermore, there were recent comments from an ally of the new PM who suggested that capital gains tax could be raised to 25% from the current 20% without affecting stock prices, although this failed to dent the mood in Tokyo and weaker than expected Household Spending was also brushed aside. The gains for the KOSPI (-0.1%) were later reversed alongside the tentative price action in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics after its Q3 prelim. results showed oper. profit likely rose to its highest in three years but missed analysts’ forecasts. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.7%) were mixed with the latter jubilant on reopen from the Golden Week holiday after improved Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which both returned to expansionary territory. This helped mainland stocks overlook the recent developer default fears and largest daily liquidity drain by the PBoC since October last year, although Hong Kong initially lagged amid heavy Northbound Stock Connect trade. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined on spillover selling from T-notes and with havens shunned amid the gains across riskier assets, although downside in JGBs was limited given the BoJ’s presence in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Steadies Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Report as Yields Climb Investors Fear Tax Talk in Kishida’s ‘New Japanese Capitalism’ China Coal Prices Plunge as Producers Vow to Ease Shortages China Developer Stocks Fall After Report of Monthly Sales Drop An initially contained to marginally-firmer European cash open followed an upbeat APAC handover (ex-Hang Seng) was short-lived with bourses coming under moderate pressure; Euro Stoxx 600 -0.3%. As such, major indices are all in the red, except for of the UK FTSE 100 which is essentially unchanged and bolstered by strength in heavy-weight energy and mining names given broader price action the return of China. Sectors were initially mixed at the open, but in-fitting with the action in indices, has turned to a predominantly negative performance ex-energy. Crossing to the US, futures have directionally been following European peers, but the magnitude has been more contained, with the ES unchanged as we await the September labour market report for any read across to the Fed’s policy path; however, officials have already made it clear that it would have to be a very poor report to spark a deviation from its announced intentions, where it is expected to announce an asset purchase tapering in November. Returning to Europe, Daimler (+2.5%) stands out in the individual stocks space, firmer after a broker upgrade and notable price target lift at UBS; Marks & Spencer (+1.5%) is also supported on broker action. To the downside lies Weir Group (-3.0%) after reports of a ransomware attack. Top European News Adler’s Largest Shareholder Sells Option on Stake to Vonovia; A Controversial Tycoon Sits on Adler’s $9 Billion Pile of Debt Chip Stocks Drag Tech Gauge Lower as Asian Apple Supplier Warns European Gas Rises as Bumpy Ride Continues With Cold Air Coming Lira Weakens to Fresh Low as Rising U.S. Yields Add Pressure In FX, the Dollar is trying to regroup and firm up again after its latest downturn amidst a further rebound in US Treasury yields, more pronounced curve re-steepening, and perhaps some relief that the Senate finally passed the debt ceiling extension bill, albeit by a slender margin and only delaying the issue until early December. Looking at the DXY as a benchmark, a marginally higher low above 94.000 and lower high below 94.500 is keeping the index contained as the clock ticks down to September’s jobs report that is expected to show a recovery in hiring after the prior month’s shortfall, but anecdotal data has been rather mixed to offer little clear pointers for the bias around consensus - full preview of the latest BLS release is available via the Research Suite under the Ad-hoc Economic Analysis section. From a technical perspective, near term support for the DXY resides at 94.077 (vs the current 94.139 base) and resistance sits at 94.448 (compared to a 94.338 intraday high). TRY - A double whammy for the already beleaguered Lira as oil prices come back to the boil and ‘sources’ suggest that Turkish President Erdogan’s patience is wearing thin with the latest CBRT Governor as the Bank waited until September to cut rates. Recall, Erdogan has already ousted a CBRT chief for not loosening monetary policy in his belief that lowering the cost of borrowing will bring inflation down, and although the reports have been by a senior member of his administration there is a distinct feeling of no smoke without fire in the markets as Usd/Try remains bid having only held below 9.0000 by short distance between 8.9707-8.8670 parameters. CHF/JPY - No real surprise that the low yielders and funders are underperforming, even though broadly upbeat risk sentiment during APAC hours has not rolled over to the European session. The Franc has retreated to 0.9300 vs the Buck and Yen is trying to fend off pressure on the 112.00 handle after failing to sustain momentum through 111.50 before weaker than expected Japanese household spending data overnight. However, decent option expiry interest from 111.85-75 (1.4 bn) may weigh on Usd/Jpy pending the aforementioned US payrolls outcome. AUD - Some payback for the Aussie after Thursday’s outperformance, as Aud/Usd loses a bit more momentum following its rebound beyond 0.7300 and with hefty option expiries at 0.7335 (2.7 bn) capping the upside more than smaller size at the round number (1.1 bn) cushions the downside. In commodities, WTI and Brent remain on an upward trajectory after the mid-week pullback; as it stands, crude benchmarks are near fresh highs for the week, with WTI for November eyeing USD 80/bbl once again. Fresh news flow for the complex has been sparse, aside from substantial UK press focus on the domestic energy price cap potentially set to increase next year. More broadly, US officials have largely reiterated commentary from the Energy Department provided on Thursday around not currently intending act on energy costs with a reserve release. The session ahead has just the Baker Hughes rig count specifically for crude scheduled, though the complex may well get dragged into a broader risk move depending on the initial reaction to and analysis on NFP. For metals, spot gold and silver are contained around the unchanged mark and haven’t been affected by any significant amount by the firmer USD or elevated yield space thus far. Elsewhere, base metals are buoyed by China’s return and strong Caixin data from the region, although it is worth highlighting that the likes of LME copper are well off earlier highs. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 500,000, prior 235,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 450,000, prior 243,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 25,000, prior 37,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 5.1%, prior 5.2% Sept. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.8% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.8%, prior 61.7% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 4.6%, prior 4.3% 10am: Aug. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 2.0%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ve never quite understood why you’d go to the cinema if you’ve got a nice telly at home but such has been the nature of life over the last 19 months that I was giddy with excitement last night at booking tickets for James Bond at the local cinema next week. We’ve booked it on the same night as our first ever physical parents evening where I’ll maybe have the first disappointing clues that my three children aren’t going to be child prodigies and that maybe they’ll even have to settle for a career in finance! Markets have been stirred but not completely shaken this week and yesterday they continued to rebound thanks to the near-term resolution on the US debt ceiling alongside subsiding gas prices, which took the sting out of two of the most prominent risks for investors over the last couple of weeks. That provided a significant boost to risk appetite, and by the close of trade, the S&P 500 had recovered +0.83% in its 3rd consecutive move higher, which put it back to just -3.0% beneath its all-time high in early September, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 was also up +1.60% and closed before a later US sell-off. Attention will today focus squarely on the US jobs report at 13:30 London time, which is the last one before the Fed’s next decision in early November, where a potential tapering announcement is likely bar an extraordinarily poor number today, or an exogenous event in the next few weeks. Starting with the debt ceiling, yesterday saw Democratic and Republican Senators agree to pass legislation to raise the ceiling by enough to get to early December, meaning we won’t have to worry about it for another 8 whole weeks. The Senate voted 50-48 with no Republicans blocking the legislation to increase the debt limit by $480bn, with House Majority leader Hoyer saying that the House would convene on Tuesday to pass the measure as well. To raise it for a longer period, the chatter out of Washington made it clear that Democrats would need to need to raise the debt ceiling in a partisan manner as part of the reconciliation process. As we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, this extension means that a number of deadlines have now been punted into the year end, including the government funding and the debt ceiling (both now expiring the first Friday of December), just as the Democrats are also seeking to pass Biden’s economic agenda through a reconciliation bill containing much of their social proposals, alongside the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure package. And on top of that, we’ve also got the decision on whether Chair Powell will be re-nominated as Fed Chair, with the decision 4 years ago coming at the start of November. So a busy end to the year in DC. The other main story yesterday was the sizeable decline in European natural gas prices, with the benchmark future down -10.73% to post its biggest daily loss since August. Admittedly, they’re still up almost five-fold since the start of the year, but relative to their intraday peak on Wednesday they’ve now shed -37.5%. So nearly a double bear market all of a sudden! The moves follow Wednesday’s signal that Russia could supply more gas to Europe. However, even as energy prices were starting to fall back from their peak, the effects of inflation were being felt elsewhere, with the UN’s world food price index climbing to its highest level in a decade in September. Looking ahead, today’s main focus will be on the US jobs report for September later on. Last month the report significantly underwhelmed expectations, coming in at just +235k, which was well beneath the +733k consensus expectation and the slowest pace since January. That raised questions as to the state of the labour market recovery, and helped to complicate a potential decision on tapering, with nonfarm payrolls still standing over 5m beneath their pre-Covid peak. This month, our US economists are expecting a somewhat stronger +400k increase in nonfarm payrolls, which should see the unemployment rate tick down to a post-pandemic low of 5.1%. On the bright side at least, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for September on Wednesday came in at an above-forecast 568k (vs. 430k expected), while the weekly initial jobless claims out yesterday for the week through October 2 were beneath expectations at 326k (vs. 348k expected). Ahead of that, global equities posted a decent rebound across the board, with cyclicals leading the march higher on both sides of the Atlantic. As mentioned at the top, the S&P 500 advanced +0.83%, which was part of a broad-based advance that saw over 390 companies move higher on the day. That said the index was up as much as +1.5% in early US trading before slipping lower in the US afternoon. The pullback was partly due to new headlines that China’s central bank plans to continue addressing monopolistic actions in internet companies that operate in the payments sector. Nonetheless, Megacap tech stocks were among the big winners yesterday, with the FANG+ index up +2.08%, whilst the small-cap Russell 2000 index was also up +1.58%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+1.60%) posted its strongest daily gain since July, and the broader gains helped the STOXX Banks index (+1.61%) surpass its pre-pandemic high, taking it to levels not seen since April 2019, even as sovereign bond yields moved lower. Speaking of sovereign bonds, yesterday saw a divergent set of moves once again, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up +5.2bps to 1.573%, their highest level since June, whereas those across the European continent moved lower. The US increase came against the backdrop of that debt ceiling resolution, and there was a noticeable rise in yields for Treasury bills that mature in December, which is where the debt ceiling deadline has now been kicked to. Elsewhere in North America, the Bank of Canada’s Macklem joined the global central bank chorus and noted inflation pressures were likely to be temporary, even if they’ve been more persistent than previously expected. Meanwhile over in Europe, lower inflation expectations helped yields move lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (-3.6bps) all moving back. Overnight in Asia, all markets are trading in the green with the Nikkei (+2.16%) leading the way, along with CSI (+1.34%), Shanghai Composite (+0.60%), KOSPI (+0.22%) and Hang Seng (+0.04%). Chinese markets reopened after a week-long holiday so the focus will again be back on property market debt, and today the PBOC injected just 10bn Yuan with its 7-day reverse repos, resulting in a net liquidity withdrawal of 330bn Yuan. That comes as the services and composite PMIs did see a pickup from August level, with the services PMI up to 53.4 (vs. 49.2 expected), moving back above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. In Japan however, household spending was down -3.0% year-on-year in August (vs. -1.2% expected) which came amidst a surge in the virus there. There’s also some news on the ESG front, with finance minister Shunichi Suzuki saying that the country would introduce ESG factors when considering the finance ministry’s foreign reserves. Looking forward, S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are pointing to a small move higher. In Germany, as talks got underway today on a potential traffic-light coalition, it was reported by DPA that CDU leader Armin Laschet had signalled his willingness to stand down, with the report citing unidentified participants from internal discussions. In televised remarks last night, Laschet said that his party needs fresh voices across the board and that new leadership will be in place soon. This moves comes as Germany’s Social Democratic Party held talks with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party to enact a new three-way ruling coalition, which would leave the CDU out of power entirely. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though German industrial production fell by -4.0% in August (vs. -0.5% expected), which follows the much weaker than expected data on factory orders the previous day. Elsewhere, the Manheim used car index increased +5.3% in September, its first positive reading in 4 months. Our US economics team points out that there tends to be around a two month lag between wholesale prices and CPI prints, so we aren’t likely to see this impact next week’s CPI print but it will likely prevent a bigger fall towards the end of the year. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report from the US. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Financial War Takes A Nasty Turn

Financial War Takes A Nasty Turn Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, The chasm between Eurasia and the Western defence groupings (NATO, Five-eyes, AUKUS etc.) is widening rapidly. While media commentary focuses on the visible side of the conflict in Ukraine, the economic and financial aspects are what really matter. There is an increasing inevitability about it all. China has been riding the inflationist Western tiger for the last forty years and now that it sees the dollar’s debasement accelerating wonders how to get off. Russia perhaps is more advanced in its plans to do without dollars and other Western currencies, hastened by sanctions. Meanwhile, the West is increasingly vulnerable with no apparent alternative to the dollar’s hegemony. By imposing sanctions on Russia, the West has effectively lined up its geopolitical opponents into a common cause against an American dollar-dominated faction. Russia happens to be the world’s largest exporters of energy, commodities, and raw materials. And China is the supplier of semi-manufactured and consumer goods to the world. The consequences of the West’s sanctions ignore this vital point. In this article, we look at the current state of the world’s financial system and assess where it is headed. It summarises the condition of each of the major actors: the West, China, and Russia, and the increasing urgency for the latter two powers to distance themselves from the West’s impending currency, banking, and financial asset crisis. We can begin to see how the financial war will play out. The West and its dollar-based pump-and-dump system The Chinese have viewed the US’s tactics under which she has ensured her hegemony prevails. It has led to a deep-seated distrust in her relationship with America. And this is how she sees US foreign policy in action. Since the end of Bretton Woods in August 1971, for strategic reasons as much as anything else America has successfully continued to dominate the free world. A combination of visible military capability and less visible dollar hegemony defeated the communism of the Soviets and Mao Zedong. Aid to buy off communism in Africa and Latin America was readily available by printing dollars for export, and in the case of Latin America by deploying the US banking system to recycle petrodollars into syndicated loans. In the late seventies, banks in London would receive from Citibank yards-long telexes inviting participation in syndicated loans, typically for $100 million, the purpose of which according to the telex was invariably “to further the purposes of the state.” Latin American borrowing from US commercial banks and other creditors increased dramatically during the 1970s. At the commencement of the decade, total Latin American debt from all sources was $29 billion, but by the end of 1978, that number had skyrocketed to $159 billion. And in early-1982, the debt level reached $327 billion.[i] We all knew that some of it was disappearing into the Swiss bank accounts of military generals and politicians of countries like Argentina. Their loyalty to the capitalist world was being bought and it ended predictably with the Latin American debt crisis. With consumer price inflation raging, the Fed and other major central banks had to increase interest rates in the late seventies, and the bank credit cycle turned against the Latins. Banks sought to curtail their lending commitments and often (such as with floating-rate notes) they were paying higher coupon rates. In August 1982, Mexico was the first to inform the Fed, the US Treasury, and the IMF that it could no longer service its debt. In all, sixteen Latin American countries rescheduled their debts subsequently as well as eleven LDCs in other parts of the world. America assumed the lead in dealing with the problems, acting as “lender of last resort” working with central banks and the IMF. The rump of the problem was covered with Brady Bonds issued between 1990—1991. And as the provider of the currency, it was natural that the Americans gave a pass to their own corporations as part of the recovery process, reorganising investment in production and economic output. So, a Latin American nation would have found that America provided the dollars required to cover the 1970s oil shocks, then withdrew the finance, and ended up controlling swathes of national production. That was the pump and dump cycle which informed Chinese military strategists analysing US foreign policy some twenty years later. In 2014, the Chinese leadership was certain the riots in Hong Kong reflected the work of American intelligence agencies. The following is an extract translated from a speech by Major-General Qiao Liang, a leading strategist for the Peoples’ Liberation Army, addressing the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in 2015: “Since the Diaoyu Islands conflict and the Huangyan Island conflict, incidents have kept popping up around China, including the confrontation over China’s 981 oil rigs with Vietnam and Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” event. Can they still be viewed as simply accidental? I accompanied General Liu Yazhou, the Political Commissar of the National Defence University, to visit Hong Kong in May 2014. At that time, we heard that the “Occupy Central” movement was being planned and could take place by end of the month. However, it didn’t happen in May, June, July, or August. What happened? What were they waiting for? Let’s look at another timetable: the U.S. Federal Reserve’s exit from the Quantitative Easing (QE) policy. The U.S. said it would stop QE at the beginning of 2014. But it stayed with the QE policy in April, May, June, July, and August. As long as it was in QE, it kept overprinting dollars and the dollar’s price couldn’t go up. Thus, Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” should not happen either. At the end of September, the Federal Reserve announced the U.S. would exit from QE. The dollar started going up. Then Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” broke out in early October. Actually, the Diaoyu Islands, Huangyan Island, the 981 rigs, and Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” movement were all bombs. The successful explosion of any one of them would lead to a regional crisis or a worsened investment environment around China. That would force the withdrawal of a large amount of investment from this region, which would then return to the U.S." For the Chinese, there was and still is no doubt that America was out to destroy China and stood ready to pick up the pieces, just as it had done to Latin America, and South-East Asia in the Asian crisis in 1997. Events since “Occupy Central” will have only confirmed that view and explains why the Chinese dealt with the Hong Kong problem the way they did, when President Trump mounted a second attempt to derail Hong Kong, with the apparent objective to prevent global capital flows entering China through Shanghai Connect. For the Americans the world is slipping out of control. They have had expensive wars in the Middle East, with nothing to show for it other than waves of displaced refugees. For them, Syria was a defeat, even though that was just a proxy war. And finally, they had to give up on Afghanistan. For her opponents, America has lost hegemonic control in Eurasia and if given sufficient push can be removed from the European mainland entirely. Undoubtedly, that is now Russia’s objective. But there are signs that it is now China’s as well, in which case they will have jointly obtained control of the Eurasian land mass. Financial crisis facing the dollar The geopolitics between America and the two great Asian states have been clear for all of us to see. Less obvious has been the crisis facing Western nations. Exacerbated by American-led sanctions against Russia, producer prices and consumer prices are not only rising, but are likely to continue to do so. In particular, the currency and credit inflation of not only the dollar, but also the yen, euro, pound, and other motley fiat currencies have provided the liquidity to drive prices of commodities, producer prices and consumer prices even higher. In the US, reverse repos which absorb excess liquidity currently total nearly $2 trillion. And the higher interest rates go, other things being equal the higher this balance of excess currency no one wants will rise. And rise they will. The strains are most obvious in the yen and the euro, two currencies whose central banks have their interest rates stuck below the zero bound. They refuse to raise them, and their currencies are collapsing instead. But when you see the ECB’s deposit rate at minus 0.5%, producer prices for Germany rising at an annualised rate of over 30%, and consumer prices already rising at 7.5% and sure to go higher, you know they will all go much, much higher. Like the Bank of Japan, the ECB and its national central banks through quantitative easing have assembled substantial portfolios of bonds, which with rising interest rates will generate losses which will drive them rapidly into insolvency. Furthermore, the two most highly leveraged commercial banking systems are the Eurozone’s and Japan’s with assets to equity ratios for the G-SIBs of over twenty times. What this means is that less than a 5% fall in the value of its assets will bankrupt the average G-SIB bank. It is no wonder that foreign depositors in these banking systems are taking fright. Not only are they being robbed through inflation, but they can see the day when the bank which has their deposits might be bailed in. And worse still, any investment in financial assets during a sharply rising interest environment will rapidly lose value. For now, the dollar is seen as a haven from currencies on negative yields. And in the Western world, the dollar as the reserve currency is seen as offering safety. But this safety is an accounting fallacy which supposes that all currency volatility is in the other fiat currencies, and not the dollar. Not only do foreigners already own dollar-denominated financial assets and bank deposits totalling over $33 trillion, but rising bond yields will prick the dollar’s financial asset bubble wiping out much of it. In other words, there are currently winners and losers in currency markets, but everyone will lose in bond and equity markets. Add into the mix counterparty and systemic risks from the Eurozone and Japan, and we can say with increasing certainty that the era of financialisation, which commenced in the 1980s, is ending. This is a very serious situation. Bank credit has become increasingly secured on non-productive assets, whose value is wholly dependent on low and falling interest rates. In turn, through the financial engineering of shadow banks, securities are secured on yet more securities. The $610 trillion of OTC derivatives will only provide protection against risk if the counterparties providing it do not fail. The extent to which real assets are secured on bank credit (i.e., mortgages) will also undermine their values. Clearly, central banks in conjunction with their governments will have no option but to rescue their entire financial systems, which involves yet more central bank credit being provided on even greater scales than seen over covid, supply chain chaos, and the provision of credit to pay for higher food and energy prices. It must be unlimited. We should be in no doubt that this accelerating danger is at the top of the agenda for anyone who understands what is happening — which particularly refers to Russia and China. Russia’s aggressive stance There can be little doubt that Putin’s aggression in Ukraine was triggered by Ukraine’s expressed desire to join NATO and America’s seeming acquiescence. A similar situation had arisen over Georgia, which in 2008 triggered a rapid response from Putin. His objective now is to get America out of Europe’s defence system, which would be the end of NATO. Consider the following: America’s military campaigns on the Eurasian continent have all failed, and Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was the final defeat. The EU is planning its own army. Being an army run by committee it will lack focus and be less of a threat than NATO. This evolution into a NATO replacement should be encouraged. As the largest supplier of energy to the EU, Russia can apply maximum pressure to speed up the political process. The most important commodity for the EU is energy. And through EU policies, which have been to stop producing carbon-based energy and to import it instead, the EU has become dependent on Russian oil, natural gas, and coal. And by emasculating Ukraine’s production, Putin is putting further pressure on the EU with respect to food and fertiliser, which will become increasingly apparent over the course of the summer. For now, the EU is toeing the American line, with Brussels instructing member states to stop importing Russian oil from the end of this year. But already, it is reported that Hungary and Slovakia are prepared to buy Russian oil and pay in roubles. And it is likely that while other EU governments will avoid direct contractual relationships with Russia, ways round the problem indirectly are being pursued. A sticking point for EU governments is having to pay in roubles. Otherwise, the solution is simple: non-Russian, non-EU banks can create a Eurorouble market overnight, creating rouble bank credit as needed. All that such a bank requires is access to rouble liquidity to manage a balance sheet denominated in roubles. The obvious providers of rouble credit are China’s state-controlled megabanks. And we can be reasonably sure that at his meeting with President Xi on 4 February, not only would the intention to invade Ukraine have been discusseded, but the role of China’s banks in providing roubles for the “unfriendlies” (NATO and its supporters) in the event of Western sanctions against Russia will have been as well. The point is that Russia and China have mutual geopolitical objectives, and what might have come as a surprise to the West was most likely agreed between them in advance. The recovery in the rouble from the initial hit to an intraday low of 150 to the dollar has taken it to 64 at the time of writing. There are two factors behind this recovery. The most important is Putin’s announcement that the unfriendlies will have to pay for energy in roubles. But there was a subsidiary announcement that the Russian central bank would be buying gold. Notionally, this was to ensure that Russian banks providing finance to gold mines could gold and other related assets as collateral. But the central bank had stopped buying gold and accumulated the unfriendlies currencies in its reserves instead. This was taken by senior figures in Putin’s administration as evidence that the highly regarded Governor, Elvira Nabiullina, had been captured by the West’s BIS-led banking system. Russia has now realised that foreign exchange reserves which can be blocked by the issuers are valueless as reserves in a crisis, and that there is no point in having them. Only gold, which has no counterparty risk can discharge this role. And it is a lesson not lost on other central banks either, both in Asia and elsewhere. But this sets the rouble onto a different course from the unbacked fiat currencies in the West. This is deliberate, because while rising interest rates will lead to a combined currency, banking, and financial asset crisis in the West, it is a priority of the greatest importance for Russia to protect herself from these developments. A new backing for the rouble Russia is determined to protect herself from a dollar currency collapse. So far as Russia is concerned, this collapse will be reflected in rising dollar prices for her exports. And only last week, one of Putin’s senior advisors, Nikolai Patrushev, confirmed in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta that plans to link the rouble to commodities are now being considered. If this plan goes ahead, the intention must be for the rouble to be considered a commodity substitute on the foreign exchanges, and its protection against a falling dollar will be secured. We are already seeing the rouble trending higher, with it at 64 to the dollar yesterday. Figure 1 below shows its progress, in the dollar-value of a rouble. Keynesians in the West have misread this situation. They think that the Russian economy is weak and will be destabilised by sanctions. That is not true. Furthermore, they would argue that a currency strengthened by insisting that oil and natural gas are paid for in roubles will push the Russian economy into a depression. But that is only a statistical effect and does not capture true economic progress or the lack of it, which cannot be measured. The fact is that the shops in Russia are well stocked, and fuel is freely available, which is not necessarily the case in the West. The advantages for Russia are that as the West’s currencies sink into crisis, the rouble will be protected. Russia will not suffer from the West’s currency crisis, she will still get inflation compensation in commodity prices, and her interest rates will decline while those in the West are soaring. Her balance of trade surplus is already hitting new records. There was a report, attributed to Dmitri Peskov, that the Kremlin is considering linking the rouble to gold and the idea is being discussed with Putin. But that’s probably a rehash of the interview that Nickolai Patrushev recorded with Rossiyskaya Gazeta referred to above, whereby Russia is considering fixing the rouble against a wider range of commodities. At this stage, a pure gold standard for the rouble of some sort would have to take the following into account: History has shown that the Americans and the West’s central banks manipulate gold prices through the paper markets. To fix the rouble against a gold standard would hold it a hostage to fortune in this sense. It would be virtually impossible for the West to manipulate the rouble by intervening in this way across a range of commodities. Over long periods of time the prices of commodities in gold grams are stable. For example, the price of oil since 1950 has fallen by about 30%. The volatility and price rises have been entirely in fiat currencies. The same is true for commodity prices generally, telling us that not only are commodities priced in gold grams generally stable, but a basket of commodities can be regarded as tracking the gold price over time and therefore could be a reasonable substitute for it. If Russia has significant gold bullion quantities in addition to declared reserves, these will have to be declared in conjunction with a gold standard. Imagine a situation where Russia declares and can prove that it has more gold that the US Treasury’s 8,133 tonnes. Those who appear to be in a position to do so assess the true Russian gold position is over 10,000 tonnes. Combined with China’s undeclared gold reserves, such an announcement would be a financial nuclear bomb, destabilising the West. For this reason, Russia’s partner, China, for which exporting semi-manufactured and consumer goods to the West is central to her economy activities, would prefer an approach that does not add to the dollar’s woes directly. The Americans are doing enough to undermine the dollar without a push from Asia’s hegemons. Furthermore, a mechanism for linking the rouble to commodity prices has yet to be devised. The advantage of a gold standard is it is a simple matter for the issuer of a currency to accept notes from the public and to pay out gold coin. And arbitrage between gold and roubles would ensure the link works on the foreign exchanges. This cannot be done with a range of commodities. It will not be enough to simply declare the market value of a commodity basket daily. Almost certainly forex traders will ignore the official value because they have no means of arbitrage. It is likely, therefore, that Russia will take a two-step approach. For now, by insisting on payments in roubles by the unfriendlies domestic Russian prices for commodities, raw materials and foods will be stabilised as the unfriendlies’ currencies fall relative to the rouble. Russia will find that attempts to tie the currency to a basket of currencies is impractical. After the West’s currency, banking, and financial asset crisis has passed then there will be the opportunity to establish a gold standard for the rouble. The Eurasian Economic Union While it is impossible to formally tie a currency which trades on the foreign exchanges to a basket of commodities, the establishment of a virtual currency specifically for trade settlement between jurisdictions is possible. This is the basis of a project being supervised by Sergei Glazyev, whereby such a currency is planned to be used by the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Glazyev is Russia’s Minister in charge of integration and macroeconomics of the EAEU. While planning to do away with dollars for trade settlements has been in the works for some time, sanctions by the unfriendlies against Russia has brought about a new urgency. We know no detail, other than what was revealed in an interview Glazyev gave recently to a media outlet, The Cradle [ii]. But the desire to do away with dollars for the countries involved has been on the agenda for at least a decade. In October 2020, the original motivation was explained by Victor Dostov, president of the Russian Electronic Money Association: “If I want to transfer money from Russia to Kazakhstan, the payment is made using the dollar. First, the bank or payment system transfers my roubles to dollars, and then transfers them from dollars to tenge. There is a double conversion, with a high percentage taken as commission by American banks.” The new trade currency will be synthetic, presumably price-fixed daily, giving conversion rates into local currencies. Operating rather like the SDR, state banks can create the new currency to provide the liquidity balances for conversion. It is a practical concept, which being relatively advanced in the planning, is probably the reason the Kremlin is considering it as an option for a future rouble. That idea of a commodity basket for the rouble itself is bound to be abandoned, while a successful EAEU trade settlement currency can be extended to both the wider Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the BRICS members not in the SCO. China’s position We can now say with confidence that at their meeting on 4 February Putin and Xi agreed to the Ukraine invasion. Chinese interests in Ukraine are affected, and the consequences would have had to be discussed. The fact that Russia went ahead with its war on Ukraine makes China complicit, and we must therefore analyse the position from China’s point of view. For some time, America has attacked China’s economy, trying to undermine it. I have already detailed the position over Hong Kong, to which can be added other irritations, such as the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada on American instructions, trade tariffs, and the sheer unpredictability of trade policy during the Trump administration. President Biden and his administration have now been assessed by both Putin and Xi. By 4 February their economic and banking advisors will have made their recommendations. Outsiders can only come to one conclusion, and that is Russia and China decided at that meeting to escalate the financial war on the West. Their position is immensely strong. While Russia is the largest exporter of energy and commodities in the world, China is the largest provider of intermediate and consumer goods. Other than the unfriendlies, nearly all other nations are neutral and will understand that it is not in their interests to side with NATO, the EU, Japan and South Korea. The only missing piece of the jigsaw is China’s commoditisation of the renminbi. Following the Fed’s reduction of its funds rate to the zero bound and its monthly QE increase to $120bn per month, China began to aggressively stockpile commodities and grains. In effect, it was a one-nation crack-up boom, whereby China took the decision to dump dollars. The renminbi rose against the dollar, but by considerably less than the dollar’s loss of purchasing power. This managed exchange rate for the renminbi appears to have been suppressed to relieve China’s exporters from currency pressures, at a time when the Chinese economy was adversely affected first by credit contraction, then by covid and finally by supply chain disruptions. With respect to supply chains, current lockdowns in Shanghai and the logjam of container vessels in the Roads look set to emasculate Western economies with supply chain issues for the rest of the year. All we know is that the authorities are making things worse, but we don’t know whether it is deliberate. It is increasingly difficult to believe that the financial and currency war is not being purposely escalated by the Chinese-Russian partnership. Having attacked Ukraine, the West’s response is undermining their own currencies, and the urgency for China and Russia to protect their currencies and financial systems from the consequences of a fiat currency crisis has become acute. It is the financial war which is going “nuclear”. Talk in the West of the military war escalating towards a physical nuclear war misses this point. China and Russia now realise they must protect themselves from the West’s looming currency and economic crisis as a matter of urgency. To fail to do so would simply ensure the crisis overwhelms them as well. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/06/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 6th, 2022

Live updates: GOP plans abortion strategy after Roe v. Wade leak

The campaign arm of the Senate GOP told Republicans to be "the compassionate, consensus-builder on abortion policy." Pro-choice demonstrators hold signs in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images The GOP is advising members on abortion communications after the SCOTUS leak, Axios reported. It called Democrats "extreme" and said Republicans should be the "compassionate, consensus-builder." Politico also said it is adding security measures after publishing the leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade. The GOP told lawmakers to portray themselves as 'the compassionate, consensus-builder' on abortion policy after SCOTUS leak, Axios reportsSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA leaked GOP memo obtained by Axios told Republican lawmakers to portray themselves as the "compassionate consensus-builder" on abortion policy after the leak.The memo by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is the campaign arm of the Senate GOP, said: "Be the compassionate, consensus-builder on abortion policy ... While people have many different views on abortion policy, Americans are compassionate people who want to welcome every new baby into the world."It also Republicans should "expose the Democrats for the extreme views they hold," claiming that "Joe Biden and the Democrats have extreme and radical views on abortion that are outside of the mainstream of most Americans," Axios reported.Read Full Story Phone location data from people who visited abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood, is legally on sale for $160, Vice reportsThe outside of the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen in St. Louis, Missouri.Saul Loeb/Getty ImagesVice found that location data from Planned Parenthood branches can be legally sold.Vice paid a broker $160 for a dataset that included a week's worth of phone location data for 600 Planned Parenthoods in the US, including some that provide abortions.Data from such brokers is aggregated, which means individuals are not singled out, but it is possible to de-anonymize the data and idenfify people from the datasets.Read Full StoryPolitico told its employees to watch out for strangers trying to enter their office after it published the leaked SCOTUS draft, The Daily Beast reportsProtests erupt after a leaked opinion favors abortion bans.Getty ImagesPolitico told employees to watch out for strangers trying to enter their office after they published the leaked draft opinion, The Daily Beast reported.Politico's Chief Talent Officer Traci Schweikert said new security measures would be put in place after the report.The Daily Beast did not report the specifics of any new measures, but reported that Schweikert told staff to be aware of potential threats."Be aware of anyone accessing our elevators with you and the possibility of 'tailgating' to your floor," Schweikert said.The email also urged employees to delete private information from their social media accounts, The Daily Beast reported.Read Full Story  Women on TikTok say hookup culture will be 'decimated' if Roe V. Wade is overturnedThe landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case provided the legal precedent that makes abortion legal in the US.TikTokSome women say they will deny casual sex if they do not have abortion rights after news broke that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe V. Wade case. "In case you're a man who doesn't care about roe v wade just know that if abortion gets banned hookup culture will be absolutely decimated," TikTok user @moneymollusk wrote in a video, which has received more than 1.2 million views in a single day."What women would have mediocre sex with a drunk rando if he could potentially father their child," she continued, noting that the video is directed at "all the pro-life men who love Plan B."Read Full StoryReasoning behind leaked draft decision could lead to anti-feminist laws nationwide, says Rep. Jamie RaskinProtesters at a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court on November 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMaryland Rep. Jamie Raskin said this week that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned based on Justice Samuel Alito's reasoning, it might be an invitation for other laws to be overturned. Raskin was discussing the bombshell leak of the Supreme Court's draft majority opinion on Roe v. Wade during an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday.Read Full StoryOverturning Roe v. Wade is 'not what a majority of Americans want,' says Elizabeth WarrenSen. Elizabeth Warren.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA video taken on Tuesday showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren fuming over a leaked Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito which appeared to show that the Supreme Court's conservative judges have lined up to overturn Roe v. Wade.The 1973 Supreme Court decision codified the right to an abortion into law, but the memo leaked by Politico on Monday showed that the court's five conservative judges all shared their opposition to the law in February.A furious Warren ripped into the lawmakers who approved the conservative judges while speaking with reporters on Tuesday, appearing shaken with anger as an aide helped escort her away from the courthouse.Read Full StoryAs Roe v. Wade faces being overturned, communities of color continue to fight for their rightsFor decades, women of color have been on the front line of the fight for abortion rights.Whitney Curtis/Getty ImagesAbortion advocates say that communities of color will bear the brunt of the overturning of the decades-long precedence of Roe v. Wade."We know this imminent ruling will have a dramatic impact on all people seeking to end a pregnancy and its consequences will reverberate nationwide," Lupe M. Rodríguez, the executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, wrote in a statement to Insider.Read Full StorySupreme Court's leaked decision gives Democrats a fresh shot at the culture warsBoth pro- and anti-abortion demonstrators gathered in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesRepublicans planned to ride to electoral victory this fall on a wave of parental fears and dissatisfaction with schools, teachers' unions, and COVID restrictions.The Supreme Court was poised over the summer to weigh in on one of the most polarizing issues of all, overturning abortion rights. But now that an authentic draft of the conservative majority's opinion has been leaked ahead of schedule, it has accelerated concerns, and a decision to gut Roe v. Wade could supersede all other culture wars when Americans go to the polls in November.Democrats are counting on it.Read Full StorySchumer blasts McConnell for not discussing Supreme Court draft opinionSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Alex Wong/Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday ripped into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the top Republican avoiding talking about his longtime push to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion nearly 50 years ago.McConnell earlier on Tuesday criticized the release of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court — an unprecedented leak related to a major abortion rights case that's still pending. The top Republican focused his outrage on the nature of the leak, and avoided speaking on the substance of the draft opinion, which would overturn Roe."It is utterly amazing that Mitch McConnell did not want to say he supports repealing Roe v. Wade," Schumer said during a press conference. "All he did was talk about the leaks."Read Full StoryRepublican senators won't say if they support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bansRepublican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Joni Ernst of IowaJim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AFP via Getty Images; Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty; Anna Moneymaker/GettyEvery Republican president since Ronald Reagan has stood behind anti-abortion views with exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the pregnant person.But some Senate Republicans refused to tell Insider whether they support such exceptions in the wake of the publication of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling protecting abortion rights.Read Full StoryConservative media talking heads play defense on overturning Roe v. WadeSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe conservative legal movement appears to be on the cusp of achieving a nearly 50-year dream of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting abortion.But so far, conservative media appearances show the party and its most loyal pundits holding off on taking a victory lap.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to make Roe v. Wade the law of the landSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesDemocrats have promised to vote on a bill that would protect abortion rights after a leaked draft showed the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. "Every American is going to see which side every senator stands on," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday on the steps of the US Capitol, adding that a vote would happen "soon" on the Women's Health Protection Act. Read Full StoryJustice Samuel Alito quoted Ruth Bader Ginsburg in leaked draft opinionUS Supreme Court Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito, Jr. sit next to each other for a group portrait on November 30, 2018.Jim Young/ReutersAssociate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito cited the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in his leaked draft opinion that would reverse landmark abortion rights. Ginsburg was a famously strong defender of women's rights during her 27-year tenure on the court before her death in 2020. "Roe...halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believed, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue," Alito quoted Ginsburg on the third page of his 98-page opinion.Read Full StoryScrapping of Roe v. Wade would hurt women's personal and financial securityProtesters, demonstrators, and activists gather in front of the US Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesOver the last few years, women and trans Americans have seen their economic, physical, and personal security imperiled, and policy hasn't stepped up to address those challenges.A Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade would be yet another big setback, Insider's Juliana Kaplan and Joseph Zeballos-Roig write.Read Full StoryThe draft leak was Chief Justice John Roberts' worst 'nightmare'Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion.Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty ImagesChief Justice John Roberts has a pattern of warning Supreme Court clerks and staff to maintain confidentiality in court dealings. Roberts would highlight to the clerks that leaking information could mean blows to their careers, clerks told Insider.Legal experts called the breach — which is almost unprecedented — "highly disturbing." Roberts has instructed the court marshal to start an investigation into the leak. He called it a "betrayal of the confidences of the court."Read Full StoryOklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Texas-style bill that bans abortions around the six-week pregnancy mark—Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 3, 2022Stitt signed SB 1503 — a bill that mirrors the highly restrictive Texas abortion ban — on Tuesday saying he wants Oklahoma "to be the most pro-life state in the country."The "Oklahoma Heartbeat Act" would make it illegal for any pregnant individual to obtain an abortion passed the point when a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus. This typically occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy — though most people are unaware that they are pregnant at this point. The bill leaves out exceptions including rape or incest and only allows the procedure if the impregnated person's life is at risk.It also enables private citizens to sue others who induce or provide an abortion for up to $10,000, just like the Texas law. The bill immediately goes into effect since Stitt signed.Oklahoma lawmakers passed another abortion law in April forbidding medical professionals from performing the procedure except in medical emergencies — punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. This bill would go into effect in the summer unless courts stop it.Some companies are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different statesSarah Goggans (C) holds her daughter Lilith Centola in front of the US Supreme Court as demonstrators gather in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesSome US companies are taking steps in response to increasing restrictions on abortion access.  Amazon, Apple, and Citi, for example, are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different states.At least half of US states are "certain or likely" to ban abortion if the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is struck down, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute.Read Full StoryAOC calls Sen. Kyrsten Sinema 'an obstructionist' and rips on the Arizona lawmakerSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images; J. Scott Applewhite, File/Associated PressRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Sen. Kyrsten Sinema "an obstructionist" and slammed the Arizona lawmaker for refusing to support changes to the Senate filibuster to codify abortion protections."We could protect Roe tomorrow, but Sinema refuses to act on the filibuster. Until that changes she can take a seat talking about 'women's access to health care,'" Ocasio-Cortez said, calling for Sinema to be primaried. Read Full StoryRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in SCOTUS has been rockedRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in the Supreme Court has been rocked after the leaked draft opinion suggesting Roe v. Wade would be overturned. "Roe is still the law of the land. We don't know the direction that this decision may ultimately take, but if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now," she told reporters. Murkowski, who supports abortion rights, voted to approve Conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.Read Full StoryKamala Harris says the 'rights of all Americans are at risk' after leaked draft opinionVice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff disembark from Air Force 2 at San Francisco International Airport on April 21, 2022 in California.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that "the rights of all Americans are at risk" as the Supreme Court seems set to overturn Roe v. Wade. "If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life," Harris said.She added: "Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women."Read Full StorySen. Elizabeth Warren rips Republicans for 'plotting' to get a conservative Supreme CourtU.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to pro-choice demonstrators outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Republicans for "plotting" to get a conservative Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades," Warren told reporters Tuesday. "They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench who would accomplish something that the majority of Americans do not want."She said she's "angry and upset and determined," after the leaked draft opinion appearing to signal the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned. Read Full StorySen. Kyrsten Sinema stands by her support of the Senate filibusterSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Feb. 1, 2022 in Washington.Al Drago/Bloomberg via AP, FileSen. Kyrsten Sinema is standing by her support of the Senate filibuster, busting Democrats' hopes of codifying Roe v. Wade into law.  "Protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women's access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever," she said in a Tuesday statement.The filibuster requires most legislation to get a three-fifths majority to head to debate, meaning Democrats can't pass many policy items in an evenly divided Senate.  Read Full StoryRep. Cori Bush said she's 'broken up' by the Roe v. Wade draft opinionDemocratic Rep. Cori Bush — who previously revealed she got an abortion after being raped as a teen — said she was "broken up" after the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn the constitutional right to abortion."I'm pretty broken up," the 45-year-old Missouri congresswoman told The New York Times in an interview on Tuesday.She added: "Whether you have an abortion, or whether you have the child, no one is on that table with you. No one is on that bed with you."Read Full StorySupreme Court confirms authenticity of leaked draft opinion gutting abortion rightsU.S. Supreme Court Police officers set up barricades on the sidewalk as pro-choice and anti-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing abortion rights."Although the document described in yesterday's reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," the court said in a statement.Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court will investigate to find out who leaked the document.Read Full StorySusan Collins slams Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh after leaked draft opinionSusan CollinsGreg Nash-Pool/Getty ImagesRepublican Sen. Susan Collins slammed conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn the right to an abortion."If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," Collins said in a statement.Collins — who supports abortion rights — has previously defended her decision to vote for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmations. Read Full StoryMajority Leader Schumer says the Senate will vote on an abortion rights billSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to hold a vote that would codify federal abortion rights into law."A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets," Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor. "We will vote to protect a woman's right to choose and every American is going to see on which side every American stands."Read Full StoryBiden says it's up to 'voters to elect pro-choice officials' after leaked SCOTUS draft opinionBiden at former Vice President Walter Mondale’s memorial service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 1, 2022.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden urged voters to elect pro-choice lawmakers in the wake of a leaked draft opinion seemingly suggesting that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden in a Tuesday statement said at a federal level, the country needs "more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House" so he can pass legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. "If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose," the president added. "And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November." Read Full StoryMcConnell lashes out at Democrats over reactions to Roe v. Wade leakSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the US Capitol on April 27, 2022.STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democrats over their reactions to the leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to undo abortion rights. "By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left's ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law," McConnell said in a statement.He also called the leak "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court." Read Full StoryCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes to build a statewide constitutional 'firewall' around abortion rightsCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proposed building a statewide constitutional "firewall" around abortion rights."California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution," Newsom said in a joint statement with California's State Senate President Toni Atkins and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.The statement said California lawmakers will propose a constitutional amendment to "enshrine the right to choose."Read Full StoryDemocrats plan to make abortion rights a huge midterm issueAbortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democrats plan to make abortion a main talking point ahead of the fall midterm elections if the Supreme Court overturns existing protections for women's reproductive rights.If the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is overturned, pro-choice groups say outrage could help inspire people to vote. "The reality is abortion is absolutely going to be on the ballot in 2022, no ifs, ands, or buts about it," Kristin Ford, vice president of communications at NARAL Pro-Choice America, told Insider in March.Read Full StoryDemocrats are worried that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be targeted next after SCOTUS leakDemocratic lawmakers are concerned that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be undone next in the wake of a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to overturn abortion rights.The Supreme Court "isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday.Legal scholar Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter that next steps may include a "nationwide abortion ban, followed by a push to roll back rights to contraception, same-sex marriage, sexual privacy, and the full array of textually unenumerated rights long taken for granted." Read Full StorySCOTUS leaked draft opinion is unprecedented, but details about Court deliberations have been made public beforeCaroline McDonald, left, a student at Georgetown University, Lauren Morrissey, with Catholics for Choice, and Pamela Huber, of Washington, join a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, as arguments are set to begin about abortion by the court, on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinThe leaked draft opinion seemingly showing that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is certainly unprecedented. An entire draft opinion has never been leaked like this before. But details about justices' deliberations have been made public before — for example a 1972 memo about Roe that was leaked to the Washington Post before it became public. Read Full StoryBiden has been reluctant to say the word 'abortion' throughout his termPresident Joe Biden has been reluctant to publicly say the word "abortion" since he took office in January 2021.According to CNN, he has never said the word "abortion" out loud and used it a few times in some written statements. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to codify the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to 'codify Roe,' but it's unlikely to succeedSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesIn the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion, Democrats have quickly organized to codify Roe v. Wade and make it a law.One thing stopping Democrats' efforts, however, is the Senate filibuster. Democrats are currently focusing on the Women's Health Protection Act as a way to protect women's' federal right to abortion. Read Full StoryA constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible to get throughThe First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's on September 17, 2021 in New York City.Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesAmending the Constitution is extremely difficult and rare. An amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible.Abortion rights amendments have previously been proposed by both supporters and opponents. In the 233-year-long lifespan of the Constitution, it has only been amended 27 times — most recently in 1992 — and would require massive support in Congress and among states.  Read Full StoryLegal experts are shocked the drafted decision leakedSeated from left: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left: Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesLegal experts have expressed shock at the fact that a draft opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked to Politico. "The fact that it leaked is, to me, the most surprising thing," Harvard Law School professor I. Glenn Cohen told Insider.Mark Kende, a law professor at Drake University, told Insider that it's "highly disturbing that the opinion was improperly leaked in an unprecedented way, presumably by someone at the Court."Read Full StoryTop Democrats slam SCOTUS justices for 'one of the worst' decisions in historySenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the potential Supreme Court ruling as  "one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history."Their remarks came in response to a leaked draft opinion published by Politico that appears to show the Supreme Court is set to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case. "If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. Read Full StoryProtesters in support of Roe v. Wade gathered outside Supreme CourtPro-choice and anti-abortion activist rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesHundreds of protestors gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, late on Monday night after Politico published a leaked draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade was poised to be overturned. "I got down here early, right, cause I got home from a long day kicked off shoes my shoes, opened Twitter, saw that Roe v. Wade was trending to be overturned, put my shoes back on, and came right back from east of the river," Rev. Wendy Hamilton, a Democratic congressional candidate from DC, told Insider. Read Full StoryLeaked draft opinion shows SCOTUS set to overturn Roe v. WadeThe U.S. Supreme Court building is seen at sunset in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA leaked draft opinion obtained by Politico appears to show that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.Politico late Monday published the 98-page initial draft majority opinion, purportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito who said Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start.""We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the draft opinion says, labeled as the "Opinion of the Court," according to the report.The decision — if finalized — would mark a momentous shift in constitutional rights. Over a dozen GOP states have laws that would immediately restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Read Full StoryRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 4th, 2022

Live updates: Overturning Roe v Wade is "not what a majority of Americans want," says Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Over a dozen GOP-led states have laws that would immediately restrict abortion access if the Supreme Court throws out Roe v. Wade. Pro-choice demonstrators hold signs in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images A video shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren furious about the leaked memo regarding Roe v. Wade. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades," Warren said. If finalized, the ruling would throw out a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion. Reasoning behind leaked draft decision could lead to anti-feminist laws nationwide, says Rep. Jamie RaskinProtesters at a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court on November 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMaryland Rep. Jamie Raskin said this week that if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned based on Justice Samuel Alito's reasoning, it might be an invitation for other laws to be overturned. Raskin was discussing the bombshell leak of the Supreme Court's draft majority opinion on Roe v. Wade during an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday.Read Full StoryOverturning Roe v. Wade is 'not what a majority of Americans want,' says Elizabeth WarrenSen. Elizabeth Warren.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA video taken on Tuesday showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren fuming over a leaked Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito which appeared to show that the Supreme Court's conservative judges have lined up to overturn Roe v. Wade.The 1973 Supreme Court decision codified the right to an abortion into law, but the memo leaked by Politico on Monday showed that the court's five conservative judges all shared their opposition to the law in February.A furious Warren ripped into the lawmakers who approved the conservative judges while speaking with reporters on Tuesday, appearing shaken with anger as an aide helped escort her away from the courthouse.Read Full StoryAs Roe v. Wade faces being overturned, communities of color continue to fight for their rightsFor decades, women of color have been on the front line of the fight for abortion rights.Whitney Curtis/Getty ImagesAbortion advocates say that communities of color will bear the brunt of the overturning of the decades-long precedence of Roe v. Wade."We know this imminent ruling will have a dramatic impact on all people seeking to end a pregnancy and its consequences will reverberate nationwide," Lupe M. Rodríguez, the executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, wrote in a statement to Insider.Read Full StorySupreme Court's leaked decision gives Democrats a fresh shot at the culture warsBoth pro- and anti-abortion demonstrators gathered in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 3.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesRepublicans planned to ride to electoral victory this fall on a wave of parental fears and dissatisfaction with schools, teachers' unions, and COVID restrictions.The Supreme Court was poised over the summer to weigh in on one of the most polarizing issues of all, overturning abortion rights. But now that an authentic draft of the conservative majority's opinion has been leaked ahead of schedule, it has accelerated concerns, and a decision to gut Roe v. Wade could supersede all other culture wars when Americans go to the polls in November.Democrats are counting on it.Read Full StorySchumer blasts McConnell for not discussing Supreme Court draft opinionSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Alex Wong/Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday ripped into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the top Republican avoiding talking about his longtime push to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion nearly 50 years ago.McConnell earlier on Tuesday criticized the release of a draft opinion from the Supreme Court — an unprecedented leak related to a major abortion rights case that's still pending. The top Republican focused his outrage on the nature of the leak, and avoided speaking on the substance of the draft opinion, which would overturn Roe."It is utterly amazing that Mitch McConnell did not want to say he supports repealing Roe v. Wade," Schumer said during a press conference. "All he did was talk about the leaks."Read Full StoryRepublican senators won't say if they support rape and incest exceptions to abortion bansRepublican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Joni Ernst of IowaJim Lo Scalzo/Pool/AFP via Getty Images; Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty; Anna Moneymaker/GettyEvery Republican president since Ronald Reagan has stood behind anti-abortion views with exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, and protecting the life of the pregnant person.But some Senate Republicans refused to tell Insider whether they support such exceptions in the wake of the publication of a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling protecting abortion rights.Read Full StoryConservative media talking heads play defense on overturning Roe v. WadeSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe conservative legal movement appears to be on the cusp of achieving a nearly 50-year dream of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision protecting abortion.But so far, conservative media appearances show the party and its most loyal pundits holding off on taking a victory lap.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to make Roe v. Wade the law of the landSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesDemocrats have promised to vote on a bill that would protect abortion rights after a leaked draft showed the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. "Every American is going to see which side every senator stands on," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday on the steps of the US Capitol, adding that a vote would happen "soon" on the Women's Health Protection Act. Read Full StoryJustice Samuel Alito quoted Ruth Bader Ginsburg in leaked draft opinionUS Supreme Court Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito, Jr. sit next to each other for a group portrait on November 30, 2018.Jim Young/ReutersAssociate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito cited the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in his leaked draft opinion that would reverse landmark abortion rights. Ginsburg was a famously strong defender of women's rights during her 27-year tenure on the court before her death in 2020. "Roe...halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believed, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue," Alito quoted Ginsburg on the third page of his 98-page opinion.Read Full StoryScrapping of Roe v. Wade would hurt women's personal and financial securityProtesters, demonstrators, and activists gather in front of the US Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesOver the last few years, women and trans Americans have seen their economic, physical, and personal security imperiled, and policy hasn't stepped up to address those challenges.A Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade would be yet another big setback, Insider's Juliana Kaplan and Joseph Zeballos-Roig write.Read Full StoryThe draft leak was Chief Justice John Roberts' worst 'nightmare'Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the leak of a draft opinion.Andrew Harnik/AFP via Getty ImagesChief Justice John Roberts has a pattern of warning Supreme Court clerks and staff to maintain confidentiality in court dealings. Roberts would highlight to the clerks that leaking information could mean blows to their careers, clerks told Insider.Legal experts called the breach — which is almost unprecedented — "highly disturbing." Roberts has instructed the court marshal to start an investigation into the leak. He called it a "betrayal of the confidences of the court."Read Full StoryOklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Texas-style bill that bans abortions around the six-week pregnancy mark—Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 3, 2022Stitt signed SB 1503 — a bill that mirrors the highly restrictive Texas abortion ban — on Tuesday saying he wants Oklahoma "to be the most pro-life state in the country."The "Oklahoma Heartbeat Act" would make it illegal for any pregnant individual to obtain an abortion passed the point when a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus. This typically occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy — though most people are unaware that they are pregnant at this point. The bill leaves out exceptions including rape or incest and only allows the procedure if the impregnated person's life is at risk.It also enables private citizens to sue others who induce or provide an abortion for up to $10,000, just like the Texas law. The bill immediately goes into effect since Stitt signed.Oklahoma lawmakers passed another abortion law in April forbidding medical professionals from performing the procedure except in medical emergencies — punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. This bill would go into effect in the summer unless courts stop it.Some companies are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different statesSarah Goggans (C) holds her daughter Lilith Centola in front of the US Supreme Court as demonstrators gather in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2022.Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesSome US companies are taking steps in response to increasing restrictions on abortion access.  Amazon, Apple, and Citi, for example, are covering travel costs for employees seeking abortion in different states.At least half of US states are "certain or likely" to ban abortion if the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is struck down, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute.Read Full StoryAOC calls Sen. Kyrsten Sinema 'an obstructionist' and rips on the Arizona lawmakerSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images; J. Scott Applewhite, File/Associated PressRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Sen. Kyrsten Sinema "an obstructionist" and slammed the Arizona lawmaker for refusing to support changes to the Senate filibuster to codify abortion protections."We could protect Roe tomorrow, but Sinema refuses to act on the filibuster. Until that changes she can take a seat talking about 'women's access to health care,'" Ocasio-Cortez said, calling for Sinema to be primaried. Read Full StoryRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in SCOTUS has been rockedRepublican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her "confidence" in the Supreme Court has been rocked after the leaked draft opinion suggesting Roe v. Wade would be overturned. "Roe is still the law of the land. We don't know the direction that this decision may ultimately take, but if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now," she told reporters. Murkowski, who supports abortion rights, voted to approve Conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.Read Full StoryKamala Harris says the 'rights of all Americans are at risk' after leaked draft opinionVice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff disembark from Air Force 2 at San Francisco International Airport on April 21, 2022 in California.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesVice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that "the rights of all Americans are at risk" as the Supreme Court seems set to overturn Roe v. Wade. "If the right to privacy is weakened, every person could face a future in which the government can potentially interfere in the personal decisions you make about your life," Harris said.She added: "Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of the law against women."Read Full StorySen. Elizabeth Warren rips Republicans for 'plotting' to get a conservative Supreme CourtU.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to pro-choice demonstrators outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Republicans for "plotting" to get a conservative Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade. "The Republicans have been working toward this day for decades," Warren told reporters Tuesday. "They have been out there plotting, carefully cultivating these Supreme Court justices so they could have a majority on the bench who would accomplish something that the majority of Americans do not want."She said she's "angry and upset and determined," after the leaked draft opinion appearing to signal the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned. Read Full StorySen. Kyrsten Sinema stands by her support of the Senate filibusterSen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Feb. 1, 2022 in Washington.Al Drago/Bloomberg via AP, FileSen. Kyrsten Sinema is standing by her support of the Senate filibuster, busting Democrats' hopes of codifying Roe v. Wade into law.  "Protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women's access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever," she said in a Tuesday statement.The filibuster requires most legislation to get a three-fifths majority to head to debate, meaning Democrats can't pass many policy items in an evenly divided Senate.  Read Full StoryRep. Cori Bush said she's 'broken up' by the Roe v. Wade draft opinionDemocratic Rep. Cori Bush — who previously revealed she got an abortion after being raped as a teen — said she was "broken up" after the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn the constitutional right to abortion."I'm pretty broken up," the 45-year-old Missouri congresswoman told The New York Times in an interview on Tuesday.She added: "Whether you have an abortion, or whether you have the child, no one is on that table with you. No one is on that bed with you."Read Full StorySupreme Court confirms authenticity of leaked draft opinion gutting abortion rightsU.S. Supreme Court Police officers set up barricades on the sidewalk as pro-choice and anti-abortion activists demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe Supreme Court confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing abortion rights."Although the document described in yesterday's reports is authentic, it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case," the court said in a statement.Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court will investigate to find out who leaked the document.Read Full StorySusan Collins slams Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh after leaked draft opinionSusan CollinsGreg Nash-Pool/Getty ImagesRepublican Sen. Susan Collins slammed conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn the right to an abortion."If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office," Collins said in a statement.Collins — who supports abortion rights — has previously defended her decision to vote for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmations. Read Full StoryMajority Leader Schumer says the Senate will vote on an abortion rights billSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to hold a vote that would codify federal abortion rights into law."A vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets," Schumer said during a speech on the Senate floor. "We will vote to protect a woman's right to choose and every American is going to see on which side every American stands."Read Full StoryBiden says it's up to 'voters to elect pro-choice officials' after leaked SCOTUS draft opinionBiden at former Vice President Walter Mondale’s memorial service in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 1, 2022.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden urged voters to elect pro-choice lawmakers in the wake of a leaked draft opinion seemingly suggesting that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. Biden in a Tuesday statement said at a federal level, the country needs "more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House" so he can pass legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. "If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation's elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman's right to choose," the president added. "And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November." Read Full StoryMcConnell lashes out at Democrats over reactions to Roe v. Wade leakSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) departs the US Capitol on April 27, 2022.STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democrats over their reactions to the leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to undo abortion rights. "By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left's ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law," McConnell said in a statement.He also called the leak "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court." Read Full StoryCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes to build a statewide constitutional 'firewall' around abortion rightsCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proposed building a statewide constitutional "firewall" around abortion rights."California will build a firewall around this right in our state constitution," Newsom said in a joint statement with California's State Senate President Toni Atkins and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.The statement said California lawmakers will propose a constitutional amendment to "enshrine the right to choose."Read Full StoryDemocrats plan to make abortion rights a huge midterm issueAbortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, in Washington, as the court hears arguments in a case from Mississippi, where a 2018 law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)Democrats plan to make abortion a main talking point ahead of the fall midterm elections if the Supreme Court overturns existing protections for women's reproductive rights.If the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling is overturned, pro-choice groups say outrage could help inspire people to vote. "The reality is abortion is absolutely going to be on the ballot in 2022, no ifs, ands, or buts about it," Kristin Ford, vice president of communications at NARAL Pro-Choice America, told Insider in March.Read Full StoryDemocrats are worried that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be targeted next after SCOTUS leakDemocratic lawmakers are concerned that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be undone next in the wake of a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court is set to overturn abortion rights.The Supreme Court "isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Monday.Legal scholar Laurence Tribe wrote on Twitter that next steps may include a "nationwide abortion ban, followed by a push to roll back rights to contraception, same-sex marriage, sexual privacy, and the full array of textually unenumerated rights long taken for granted." Read Full StorySCOTUS leaked draft opinion is unprecedented, but details about Court deliberations have been made public beforeCaroline McDonald, left, a student at Georgetown University, Lauren Morrissey, with Catholics for Choice, and Pamela Huber, of Washington, join a pro-choice rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, as arguments are set to begin about abortion by the court, on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinThe leaked draft opinion seemingly showing that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is certainly unprecedented. An entire draft opinion has never been leaked like this before. But details about justices' deliberations have been made public before — for example a 1972 memo about Roe that was leaked to the Washington Post before it became public. Read Full StoryBiden has been reluctant to say the word 'abortion' throughout his termPresident Joe Biden has been reluctant to publicly say the word "abortion" since he took office in January 2021.According to CNN, he has never said the word "abortion" out loud and used it a few times in some written statements. During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to codify the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.Read Full StoryDemocrats want to 'codify Roe,' but it's unlikely to succeedSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer discusses efforts to codify Roe v. Wade into law this past February.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesIn the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion, Democrats have quickly organized to codify Roe v. Wade and make it a law.One thing stopping Democrats' efforts, however, is the Senate filibuster. Democrats are currently focusing on the Women's Health Protection Act as a way to protect women's' federal right to abortion. Read Full StoryA constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible to get throughThe First Printing of the Final Text of the United States Constitution is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's on September 17, 2021 in New York City.Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesAmending the Constitution is extremely difficult and rare. An amendment protecting abortion rights is nearly impossible.Abortion rights amendments have previously been proposed by both supporters and opponents. In the 233-year-long lifespan of the Constitution, it has only been amended 27 times — most recently in 1992 — and would require massive support in Congress and among states.  Read Full StoryLegal experts are shocked the drafted decision leakedSeated from left: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left: Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty ImagesLegal experts have expressed shock at the fact that a draft opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked to Politico. "The fact that it leaked is, to me, the most surprising thing," Harvard Law School professor I. Glenn Cohen told Insider.Mark Kende, a law professor at Drake University, told Insider that it's "highly disturbing that the opinion was improperly leaked in an unprecedented way, presumably by someone at the Court."Read Full StoryTop Democrats slam SCOTUS justices for 'one of the worst' decisions in historySenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Designate Nancy Pelosi.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the potential Supreme Court ruling as  "one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history."Their remarks came in response to a leaked draft opinion published by Politico that appears to show the Supreme Court is set to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case. "If the report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past fifty years – not just on women but on all Americans," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. Read Full StoryProtesters in support of Roe v. Wade gathered outside Supreme CourtPro-choice and anti-abortion activist rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country.Kevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesHundreds of protestors gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, late on Monday night after Politico published a leaked draft opinion suggesting that Roe v. Wade was poised to be overturned. "I got down here early, right, cause I got home from a long day kicked off shoes my shoes, opened Twitter, saw that Roe v. Wade was trending to be overturned, put my shoes back on, and came right back from east of the river," Rev. Wendy Hamilton, a Democratic congressional candidate from DC, told Insider. Read Full StoryLeaked draft opinion shows SCOTUS set to overturn Roe v. WadeThe U.S. Supreme Court building is seen at sunset in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesA leaked draft opinion obtained by Politico appears to show that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that granted women the constitutional right to an abortion.Politico late Monday published the 98-page initial draft majority opinion, purportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito who said Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start.""We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the draft opinion says, labeled as the "Opinion of the Court," according to the report.The decision — if finalized — would mark a momentous shift in constitutional rights. Over a dozen GOP states have laws that would immediately restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Read Full StoryRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 4th, 2022

Greenwald: Former Intel Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big-Tech Monopoly Power Vital To National Security

Greenwald: Former Intel Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big-Tech Monopoly Power Vital To National Security Authored by Glenn Greenwald via Substack, When the U.S. security state announces that Big Tech's centralized censorship power must be preserved, we should ask what this reveals about whom this regime serves. (l) An illustration of the CIA logo (Getty Images); (r) An illustration shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and a laptop screen. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy. The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech's power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech's monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow. While one of their central claims is that Big Tech monopoly power is necessary to combat (i.e., censor) “foreign disinformation,” several of these officials are themselves leading disinformation agents: many were the same former intelligence officials who signed the now-infamous-and-debunked pre-election letter fraudulently claiming that the authentic Hunter Biden emails had the "hallmarks” of Russia disinformation (former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Obama CIA Director Michael Morrell, former Obama CIA/Pentagon chief Leon Panetta). Others who signed this new letter have strong financial ties to the Big Tech corporations whose power they are defending in the name of national security (Morrell, Panetta, former Bush National Security Adviser Fran Townsend). The ostensible purpose of the letter is to warn of the national security dangers from two different bipartisan bills — one pending in the Senate, the other in the House — that would prohibit Big Tech monopolies from using their vertical power to "discriminate” against competitors (the way Google, for instance, uses its search engine business to bury the videos of competitors to its YouTube property, such as Rumble, or the way Google and Apple use their stores and Amazon uses its domination over hosting services to destroy competitors). One bill in the Senate is co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), and has attracted ample support in both parties, as has a similar House bill co-sponsored by House Antitrust Committee Chair David Cicilline (D-RI) and ranking member Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). The amount of bipartisan support each bill has garnered — and the widespread animosity toward Big Tech reflected by this Congressional support — has shocked Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook lobbyists, who are accustomed to getting their way in Washington with lavish donations to the key politicians in each party. This letter by former national security officials is, in one sense, an act of desperation. The bills have received the support of the key committees with jurisdiction over antitrust and Big Tech. In the Senate, five conservative Republican Committee members who have been outspoken critics of Big Tech power — Grassley, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MI), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) — joined with Democrats to ensure the passage of one bill out of the Judiciary Committee by a 16-6 vote, with a companion bill passing that Committee with the support of 20 of twenty-two Senators. As The Intercept's Sara Sirota and Ryan Grim report: “Both bills have Big Tech reeling” since “a floor vote would likely be a blowout for Big Tech.” The extreme animus harbored by large parts of the left and right toward Big Tech make it very difficult for any lawmaker to go on record in opposition to these proposed bills if they are forced to publicly take a position in a floor vote. Many Senators with financial ties to Big Tech — including the two California Senate Democrats who represent Silicon Valley and are recipients of their largesse (Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla) — have expressed reservations about these reform efforts and have refused to co-sponsor the bill, yet still voted YES when forced to vote in Committee. This shows that public pressure to rein in Big Tech is becoming too large to enable Silicon Valley to force lawmakers to ignore their constituents’ wishes with lobbyist donations. These politicians will work behind the scenes to kill efforts to rein in Big Tech, but will not vote against such efforts if forced to take a public position. As a result, Big Tech's last hope is to keep the bill from reaching the floor where Senators would be forced to go on record, a goal they hope will be advanced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York due to his close ties to Silicon Valley. “Both [Schumer's] children are on the payroll of companies the proposals would seek to rein in,” reported The New York Post: “Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon, according to New York state records. Alison Schumer works at Facebook as a product marketing manager.” Despite that, Schumer claimed to The Intercept that he supports both bills and will vote in favor of them, even though he has engaged in maneuvers to impede the bills from getting a full floor vote. This is where these former intelligence and national security officials come in. While these former CIA, Homeland Security and Pentagon operatives have little sway in the Senate Judiciary and House Antitrust Committees, they command great loyalty from Congressional national security committees. Those committees, created to exert oversight of the U.S. intelligence and military agencies, are notoriously captive to the U.S. National Security State. The ostensible purpose of this new letter is to insist that Big Tech monopoly power is vital to U.S. national security — because it is necessary for them to censor “disinformation” from the internet, especially now with the grave Russian threat reflected by the war in Ukraine — and they thus demand that the anti-Big-Tech bills first be reviewed not only by the Judiciary and Antitrust Committees, but also the national security committees where they wield power and influence, which have traditionally played no role in regulating the technology sector: We call on the congressional committees with national security jurisdiction – including the Armed Services Committees, Intelligence Committees, and Homeland Security Committees in both the House and Senate – to conduct a review of any legislation that could hinder America’s key technology companies in the fight against cyber and national security risks emanating from Russia’s and China’s growing digital authoritarianism. Why would these former national security and intelligence officials be so devoted to preserving the unfettered power of Big Tech to control and censor the internet? One obvious explanation is the standard one that always runs Washington: several of them have a financial interest in serving Big Tech's agenda. Unsurprisingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has himself pushed the claim that undermining Big Tech's power in any way would threaten U.S national security. And there is now an army of well-compensated-by-Silicon-Valley former national security officials echoing his message. A well-researched Politico article from September — headlined: “12 former security officials who warned against antitrust crackdown have tech ties” — detailed how many of these former officials who invoke national security claims to protect Big Tech are on the take from the key tech monopolies: The warning last week from a dozen former national security leaders was stark: An antitrust crackdown on Silicon Valley could threaten the nation’s economy and “cede U.S. tech leadership to China.” But the group was united by more than their histories of holding senior defense and intelligence roles in the Trump, Obama and George W. Bush administrations: All 12 have ties to major tech companies, either from working with them directly or serving with organizations that get money from them, according to a POLITICO analysis…. Seven of the 12, including Panetta, hold roles at Beacon Global Strategies, a public relations firm that according to a person familiar with the matter counts Google as a client…Five of the former officials, including former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert Cardillo and former National Security Agency deputy director Richard Ledgett, serve as advisory board members at Beacon. Panetta and Michael Morell, a former acting CIA director under President Barack Obama, are senior counselors for the firm…. Frances Townsend, who was a counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, is on the national security advisory board for American Edge, a Facebook-funded group that opposes changes to strengthen antitrust laws….Townsend is also on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, which counts Facebook and Google as funders; the board of trustees for Center for Strategic and International Studies, which counts Apple and Google as funders; and the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, which receives money from Microsoft and counts Facebook and Google in its highest membership category. As Rep. Buck, the Colorado House Republican who favors reform, put it: “It is not surprising that individuals who receive money from Big Tech are defending Big Tech. At the end of the day, Big Tech is harming U.S. competition and innovation through anticompetitive practices.” In other words, these former intelligence officials are exploiting their national security credentials to protect an industry in which they have a deep financial interest. The view that preservation of Big Tech is vital for national security is by no means a unanimous view even in that world. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark and others have vehemently argued that this claim is a “myth.” As veteran internet security expert Bruce Schneier observed: “These bills will encourage competition, prevent monopolist extortion, and guarantee users a new right to digital self-determination.” But the National Security State has enough True Believers combined with paid shills to make it appear as if Americans should be desperate to preserve and protect Big Tech's power because this power is crucial to keeping America safe and, particularly, fighting Russia. There are indeed valid and rational reasons for these officials to view Big Tech monopoly power as a vital weapon in advancing their national security agenda. As I documented last week when reporting on the unprecedented censorship regime imposed in the West regarding the war in Ukraine, Big Tech censorship of political speech is not random. Domestically, it is virtually always devoted to silencing any meaningful dissent from liberal orthodoxy or official pieties on key political controversies. But in terms of foreign policy, the censorship patterns of tech monopolies virtually always align with U.S. foreign policy, and for understandable reasons: Big Tech and the U.S. security state are in a virtually complete union, with all sorts of overlapping, mutual financial interests: Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress have gleefully spread fabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine. Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation….Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation" but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation provided that its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment. It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party. Needless to say, the U.S. security state wants to maintain a stranglehold on political discourse in the U.S. and the world more broadly. They want to be able to impose propagandistic narratives without challenge and advocate for militarism without dissent. To accomplish that, they need a small handful of corporations which are subservient to them to hold in their hands as much concentrated power over the internet as possible. If a free and fair competitive market were to arise whereby social media platforms more devoted to free speech could fairly compete with Google and Facebook— as the various pending bills in Congress are partially designed to foster — then that new diversity of influence, that diffusion of power, would genuinely threaten the ability of the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House to police political discourse and suppress dissent from their policies and assertions. By contrast, by maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed. In this new letter, these national security operatives barely bother to hide their intention to exploit the strong animosity toward Russia that they have cultivated, and the accompanying intense emotions from the ubiquitous, unprecedented media coverage of the war in Ukraine, to prop up their goals. Over and over, they cite the grave Russian threat — a theme they have been disseminating and manufacturing since the Russiagate fraud of 2016 — to manipulate Americans to support the preservation of Big Tech's concentrated power, and to imply that anyone seeking to limit Big Tech power or make the market more competitive is a threat to U.S. national security: This is a pivotal moment in modern history. There is a battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy, and the former is using all the tools at its disposal, including a broad disinformation campaign and the threat of cyber-attacks, to bring about a change in the global order. We must confront these global challenges. . . . U.S. technology platforms have given the world the chance to see the real story of the Russian military’s horrific human rights abuses in Ukraine. . . . At the same time, President Putin and his regime have sought to twist facts in order to show Russia as a liberator instead of an aggressor. . . . The Russian government is seeking to alter the information landscape by blocking Russian citizens from receiving content that would show the true facts on the ground. .. . . . Indeed, it is telling that among the Kremlin’s first actions of the war was blocking U.S. platforms in Russia. Putin knows that U.S. digital platforms can provide Russian citizens valuable views and facts about the war that he tries to distort through lies and disinformation. U.S. technology platforms have already taken concrete steps to shine a light on Russia’s actions to brutalize Ukraine. . . . Providing timely and accurate on-the-ground information – and disrupting the scourge of disinformation from Russian state media – is essential for allowing the world (including the Russian people) to see the human toll of Russia’s aggression. . . . [T]he United States is facing an extraordinary threat from Russian cyber-attacks . . . In the face of these growing threats, U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks, particularly as the West continues to rely on the scale and reach of these firms to push back on the Kremlin . . . . Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the start of a new chapter in global history, one in which the ideals of democracy will be put to the test. The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure that the safety of its citizens and the narrative of events continues to be shaped by facts, not by foreign adversaries. It is hardly controversial or novel to observe that the U.S. security state always wants and needs a hated foreign enemy precisely because it allows them to claim whatever powers and whatever budgets they want in the name of stopping that foreign villain. And every war and every new enemy ushers in new authoritarian powers and the trampling of civil liberties: both the First War on Terror, justified by 9/11, and the New Domestic War on Terror, justified by 1/6, should have taught us that lesson permanently. Usually, though, U.S. security state propagandists are a bit more subtle about how they manipulate anger and fear of foreign villains to manipulate public opinion for their own authoritarian ends. Perhaps because of their current desperation about the support these bills have attracted, they are now just nakedly and shamelessly trying to channel the anger and hatred that they have successfully stoked toward Russia to demand that Big Tech not be weakened, regulated or restricted in any way. The cynical exploitation could hardly be more overt: if you hate Putin the way any loyal and patriotic American should, then you must devote yourself to full preservation of the power of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. It should go without saying that these life-long security state operatives do not care in the slightest about the dangers of "disinformation.” Indeed — as evidenced by the fact that most of them generated one Russiagate fraud after the next during... *  *  * To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Wed, 04/20/2022 - 23:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 21st, 2022

Meet the college basketball player turned US senator who pitched a tax on billionaires like Elon Musk to fund Biden"s economic agenda

Sen. Ron Wyden's optimism is being tested in the 50-50 Senate as he tries to bring Joe Manchin on board. Sen. Ron Wyden is playing a big role trying to revive Biden's economic agenda after a Democratic holdout torpedoed it last year.Ron Wyden; Marianne Ayala/InsiderThe shot-clock is about to hit zero to pass President Joe Biden's economic agenda as the midterm elections draw near. But Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says he's far from beaten.Wyden, 72, chairs the Senate Finance Committee, a powerful panel with major sway over tax and health policy. He's spent much of the past year wheeling and dealing on Biden's social- and climate-spending package that's withered in the Senate for over three months.Congress is about to get a closer look at what can happen when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.The Oregon Democrat is confident he can lock down a holdout standing between the party's failure or victory: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the conservative Democrat who sank the legislation at the end of last year. "I talked to him a few minutes ago," he told Insider at the US Capitol on February 1.Not even 2 1/2 minutes had passed (or the full length of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough") before Manchin walked past him and killed the bill all over again."What Build Back Better bill?" Manchin told Insider when asked about the future of Biden's economic agenda. "I don't know what you're all talking about.""It's dead," he said, re-emphasizing his opposition to the House bill as if to double-check it had no pulse. Despite Manchin's dismissal, Wyden accepts he has a crucial but uphill battle to revive the Build Back Better plan in some form. He's near the center of the effort to pull the Democratic agenda from the shredder that Manchin threw it in. The midterms are approaching, and voters will likely judge Democrats on pledges to curb prescription drug costs and provide financial relief for families. But the evenly divided Senate has also tested the limits of Wyden's optimism in a chamber where every Democrat is a president with veto power."Rounding up 50 votes in the Senate is not for the faint-hearted," Wyden told Insider in two wide-ranging interviews. "Legislating is not a spectator sport. You've got to be hands-on."Wyden has played a key role in shepherding several COVID-19 relief packages through Congress over the past two years. Those measures briefly expanded the safety net with direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance to buoy struggling Americans. It demonstrated that the US can reduce poverty even in the middle of one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.Now, Wyden's focus is on reviving a bill without any of the chaos and blown deadlines from last fall. The mercurial Manchin says he's open to cutting a deal, floating a summer deadline to pass legislation without committing to it. But Wyden and other Democrats haven't managed yet to sort through the wreckage of their domestic ambitions to assemble another bill that fits his narrow demands.Some Democrats, particularly progressives, are souring on the odds he'll ever vote for anything. "Another week, another Manchin," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told Insider in early March. "The moment he's actually willing to do something, I'll be listening. But as long as he's talking about doing something, I don't really have much faith."There are signs of a similar pessimism spilling into Democratic leadership. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Senate Democrat, openly conceded he had effectively thrown in the towel on the social and climate package. He laid the blame on Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another holdout.Rounding up 50 votes in the Senate is not for the faint-hearted. Sen. Ron WydenWyden acknowledged the numerous obstacles still separating Democrats from success on the centerpiece of their economic agenda."This is a uniquely challenging political time," Wyden said, noting war in Ukraine and supply-chain breakdowns at home contributing to the highest inflation in four decades. "I've never seen anything coming at us with this kind of velocity."But Wyden seems determined not to call it quits just yet even with time running short."Ron Wyden is one of the biggest optimists I've ever encountered," Josh Kardon, Wyden's former longtime chief of staff, said in an interview. "He wakes up every morning believing that he can make a difference, even when all the evidence around him suggests that's not so. It's really quite extraordinary."Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, left, and Wyden before a 2018 Senate committee hearing.Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallThe brigade to put Build Back Better back on trackSince he sided with the GOP to sink most of Biden's economic agenda, Manchin has dropped hints about his priorities. "Just fix the tax code," he said in February. "We have to basically get our financial house in order," he said another time. For Biden and Democrats in Congress, decoding Manchin is comparable to interpreting hieroglyphs — but without a Rosetta Stone to crack the meaning.He sketched out a smaller bill focused on prescription-drug savings, stepping up taxes on the rich, climate-related spending, and deficit reduction. Yet he's grown skeptical of domestic initiatives he views as social programs like affordable childcare. He told Insider in February that he "wants nothing to do with that."Wyden wants to meet him somewhere in the middle. Almost immediately after the talks went off the rails in December, the Oregon Democrat outlined a possible alternative centered on Obamacare subsidies to reduce the price of health insurance, cutting prescription drug costs, and clean-energy tax credits.There has been occasional speculation that Manchin could switch parties. But Wyden thinks negotiations with the conservative Democrat have been in good faith. "We all get an election certificate to represent the people in our state," he said.He's kept hitting the phones and dialed up fellow Democrats on reviving the party's broader agenda. Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are a few members forming a Build Back Better brigade to put the bill back on track, Democratic aides and offices said."My wife in fact said, 'Is there any day when these discussions about these next efforts on health and climate don't take place?'" Wyden said in late February. "I said, 'They're every day.' I've been in several today already. And it's only 5 o'clock, and I got probably two more to go."Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and Wyden at the US Capitol.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe Democratic two-step on chasing billionaire wealthAmong Wyden's top responsibilities is designing a litany of new taxes on the richest Americans and large corporations to finance the suite of climate, health, and childcare programs. But he's faced a familiar Democratic two-step on many of his ideas, including one of his biggest hopes: taxing billionaires.Wyden pitched ambitious tax plans through 2021, such as a tax on carbon emissions and ending the step-up loophole.  But fellow Democrats nixed them one-by-one. Then Sinema closed the door on rolling back swaths of the 2017 GOP tax cuts, depriving the party's plans of about $700 billion in new revenue from raising individual and corporate rates.The last-minute scramble for cash led Wyden to dust off what's perhaps his most audacious plan that had been in the works for two years.In the fall, he unveiled a billionaires' income tax to finance a large chunk of the package, targeting about 700 of the richest Americans who tend to park growing fortunes in tradable assets like stocks. The tax would apply to all the gains in value on those investments from the time they were first purchased.The novel plan took a cue from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who pushed a wealth tax on the superrich during her 2020 presidential campaign that proved popular with voters.But Wyden's plan didn't get a warm reception among his colleagues: Plenty of Democrats treaded cautiously around the largely untested measure, and a few powerful ones assailed it. Manchin branded it as divisive within hours, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi privately slammed it as a "public-relations stunt."Wyden also made a rival out of a tech titan. Tesla CEO Elon Musk unleashed vulgar attacks on Wyden and other prominent Democrats as the party debated his billionaire-tax proposal. That measure would have slapped Musk with a $10 billion annual tax bill over the first five years. He brushed off Musk. "I knew a long time ago that people say stuff online that can't exactly go into the old-fashioned community newspaper," Wyden said. "I just do my job. I've got my hands full trying to get stuff done that helps people."Biden recently unveiled a billionaire tax proposal of his own, the first time the White House had drafted a plan specifically aimed at some of the richest people in America. Wyden was on board. But it was dead within 12 hours after Manchin came out against it.To make up some of the lost revenue, Wyden is looking overseas to domestic companies paying little or no taxes if they're headquartered abroad."He's put together a very solid revenue package," Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider. "If and when we get something through, it'll have a lot of those international components."From left, Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Wyden, and Chuck Schumer and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo attend a press conference about supply-chain issues.Joshua Roberts/Getty Images'He's just situated impossibly'Democrats can go only so far with needle-thin majorities. They don't have a vote to spare in the Senate after their surprise victories in the 2021 Georgia runoffs handed them control of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade. Democrats control the 50-50 upper chamber with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.The party also holds only a three-seat House majority. The near-unanimity needed to pass legislation means they're bound to settle for much less than the original aim to strengthen the American welfare state and invest enormous sums on healthcare, education, clean energy, and tax credits for low-income families."Wyden is trying to deal with the fact that the Senate is composed of 50 Republicans who will always say no," Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in an interview. "And can he bring along Sinema, Manchin, and a few other Democrats in a direction that advances the Democratic agenda?" Rosenthal added: "He's just situated impossibly.""Chairman Wyden knows how to reach a deal," said Kardon, now a partner at the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel. "He learned long ago not to allow the perfect be the enemy of the good."The party's first big priority after the 2020 elections was muscling through a $1.9 trillion stimulus law to pump fresh money to Americans, hospitals, and state and local governments. Wyden initially sought to restore the $600-per-week unemployment insurance established early in the pandemic. He calculated the original amount — meant to fully replace a worker's lost wages — on his iPhone in a meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in March 2020.He settled for less, and Democrats nearly lost the whole package due to Manchin's 11th hour demands to cut federal unemployment benefits. "This is the best that can be done for people who are hurting now," Wyden said in an interview at the time."He's cared about this stuff," Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, an architect of the expanded child tax credit, said in an interview. "He's done it because he's passionate about trying to make the tax code fair for working people and for families."No Republican in either chamber voted for the package, foreshadowing their unified opposition to the Build Back Better plan. The ongoing partisan warfare has prompted Wyden to grow more circumspect on the big bipartisan compromises he once sought."It's always a heavy lift. It's clearly much harder today," Wyden said. But on restricting prescription-drug costs, there might be a brief window of opportunity. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Finance panel, told Insider he believed a bipartisan agreement can be struck while Democrats still control Congress. He teamed up with Wyden on a drug bill in 2019. But it didn't go anywhere, partly because Mitch McConnell, then the Senate majority leader, sabotaged his efforts."We know what the situation is in the Congress of the United States when you put Republicans and Democrats together," Grassley said. "Even if Republicans control the Congress next time, there's going to be a lot of new members. I know what we got now, and we ought to move now."From left, Sens. Max Baucus, Mike Crapo, and Wyden speak at the US Capitol in December 2012. Baucus was the last Democrat before Wyden to serve as Senate finance chair.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call'The value of having a gavel'Congress today couldn't be more different from the one that a lanky, younger Wyden first stepped into. A former college basketball player and the son of a journalist, Wyden was first elected to the House in 1980. He later became the first US senator to win an election conducted entirely by mail in 1996.In the Senate, Wyden carved out a profile as a liberal unafraid to work with Republicans. Over the years, he's partnered with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on campaign-finance reform, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz on GPS privacy, and former GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Bob Bennett of Utah on healthcare reform. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity to push through healthcare reform.Wyden reintroduced legislation alongside Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to secure universal healthcare for Americans by expanding private insurance. Though the plan gathered dust, its guardrails preventing insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions ended up in what became the Affordable Care Act, the law that expanded health coverage to many Americans.Wyden's chief of staff at the time thinks that era formed a valuable learning experience the senator still draws from.Democrats overcame Republican opposition and internal splits to forge the ACA. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the last Democratic chair of the Senate Finance Committee before Wyden, tried courting a handful of GOP votes for Obama's healthcare plan only for it to sputter out. Then Wyden fought with Baucus to make the law more ambitious in scope. But Baucus won out, helped get the bill over the finish line and signed into law in March 2010. "I think the senator above all learned the value of having a gavel," Kardon said of Wyden."As chairman, it remains to be seen what can be accomplished in this particular environment in a bipartisan fashion," Kardon said. "But those skills also have lent themselves to his dealings with the more conservative side of his caucus."Wyden takes the stage to speak at the "Time to Deliver" Home Care Workers rally and march on November 16 in Washington, DC.Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIUWyden's willpowerThe economy is in far better shape compared to a year ago. In 2021, the economy grew at its fastest rate since the Reagan years, creating a record 6.4 million jobs with wages rising at their fastest pace in years. But inflation is wiping out those pay increases and surveys indicate that Americans are souring on the economy.Democrats face enormous challenges hanging onto their narrow majorities this year — and Wyden is warning of blowback if the party fails to keep its campaign promises. I've never seen anything coming at us with this kind of velocity. Ron Wyden"My point has been, 'Senators, how many times have we promised that we were going to get serious about holding down the cost of medicine?" Wyden said in a Zoom interview, banging his fist on the desk. "How do you keep a straight face when you go home if you're not serious about doing this?" Other Democrats are keenly aware of the high stakes, particularly if they end up losing the House, Senate, or both. "We're not giving up," Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said in a brief interview. "There's too many important things."For now, Wyden is taking a lead role in bipartisan efforts to revoke trade relations with Russia, a step that essentially treats the country as an international pariah. He doesn't intend to sit around like a "potted plant" while Manchin makes up his mind about casting a vote on a smaller climate and energy bill."Every single day, he wakes up, reads about eight newspapers, starts quizzing his staff, and tries to figure out how to move the ball," Kardon said. "That's who the guy is." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 1st, 2022

Does Compass, Inc. (COMP) Have the Potential to Rally 141% as Wall Street Analysts Expect?

The consensus price target hints at a 141.4% upside potential for Compass, Inc. (COMP). While empirical research shows that this sought-after metric is hardly effective, an upward trend in earnings estimate revisions could mean that the stock will witness an upside in the near term. Shares of Compass, Inc. (COMP) have gained 3.4% over the past four weeks to close the last trading session at $7.87, but there could still be a solid upside left in the stock if short-term price targets of Wall Street analysts are any indication. Going by the price targets, the mean estimate of $19 indicates a potential upside of 141.4%.The average comprises five short-term price targets ranging from a low of $18 to a high of $20, with a standard deviation of $1. While the lowest estimate indicates an increase of 128.7% from the current price level, the most optimistic estimate points to a 154.1% upside. More than the range, one should note the standard deviation here, as it helps understand the variability of the estimates. The smaller the standard deviation, the greater the agreement among analysts.While the consensus price target is a much-coveted metric for investors, solely banking on this metric to make an investment decision may not be wise at all. That's because the ability and unbiasedness of analysts in setting price targets have long been questionable.But, for COMP, an impressive average price target is not the only indicator of a potential upside. Strong agreement among analysts about the company's ability to report better earnings than they predicted earlier strengthens this view. While a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions doesn't gauge how much a stock could gain, it has proven to be powerful in predicting an upside.Here's What You Should Know About Analysts' Price TargetsAccording to researchers at several universities across the globe, a price target is one of many pieces of information about a stock that misleads investors far more often than it guides. In fact, empirical research shows that price targets set by several analysts, irrespective of the extent of agreement, rarely indicate where the price of a stock could actually be heading.While Wall Street analysts have deep knowledge of a company's fundamentals and the sensitivity of its business to economic and industry issues, many of them tend to set overly optimistic price targets. Are you wondering why?They usually do that to drum up interest in shares of companies that their firms either have existing business relationships with or are looking to be associated with. In other words, business incentives of firms covering a stock often result in inflated price targets set by analysts.However, a tight clustering of price targets, which is represented by a low standard deviation, indicates that analysts have a high degree of agreement about the direction and magnitude of a stock's price movement. While that doesn't necessarily mean the stock will hit the average price target, it could be a good starting point for further research aimed at identifying the potential fundamental driving forces.That said, while investors should not entirely ignore price targets, making an investment decision solely based on them could lead to disappointing ROI. So, price targets should always be treated with a high degree of skepticism.Why COMP Could Witness a Solid UpsideThere has been increasing optimism among analysts lately about the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates higher. And that could be a legitimate reason to expect an upside in the stock. After all, empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.Over the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has increased 5.3%, as one estimate has moved higher compared to no negative revision.Moreover, COMP currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which means it is in the top 20% of more than the 4,000 stocks that we rank based on four factors related to earnings estimates. Given an impressive externally-audited track record, this is a more conclusive indication of the stock's potential upside in the near term. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>Therefore, while the consensus price target may not be a reliable indicator of how much COMP could gain, the direction of price movement it implies does appear to be a good guide. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free.Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How To Profit From Trillions On Spending For Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Compass, Inc. (COMP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMar 29th, 2022

Does Signet (SIG) Have the Potential to Rally 27% as Wall Street Analysts Expect?

The consensus price target hints at a 27% upside potential for Signet (SIG). While empirical research shows that this sought-after metric is hardly effective, an upward trend in earnings estimate revisions could mean that the stock will witness an upside in the near term. Shares of Signet (SIG) have gained 8.1% over the past four weeks to close the last trading session at $76.23, but there could still be a solid upside left in the stock if short-term price targets of Wall Street analysts are any indication. Going by the price targets, the mean estimate of $96.83 indicates a potential upside of 27%.The average comprises six short-term price targets ranging from a low of $40 to a high of $140, with a standard deviation of $33.05. While the lowest estimate indicates a decline of 47.5% from the current price level, the most optimistic estimate points to an 83.7% upside. More than the range, one should note the standard deviation here, as it helps understand the variability of the estimates. The smaller the standard deviation, the greater the agreement among analysts.While the consensus price target is a much-coveted metric for investors, solely banking on this metric to make an investment decision may not be wise at all. That's because the ability and unbiasedness of analysts in setting price targets have long been questionable.But, for SIG, an impressive average price target is not the only indicator of a potential upside. Strong agreement among analysts about the company's ability to report better earnings than they predicted earlier strengthens this view. While a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions doesn't gauge how much a stock could gain, it has proven to be powerful in predicting an upside.Here's What You Should Know About Analysts' Price TargetsAccording to researchers at several universities across the globe, a price target is one of many pieces of information about a stock that misleads investors far more often than it guides. In fact, empirical research shows that price targets set by several analysts, irrespective of the extent of agreement, rarely indicate where the price of a stock could actually be heading.While Wall Street analysts have deep knowledge of a company's fundamentals and the sensitivity of its business to economic and industry issues, many of them tend to set overly optimistic price targets. Are you wondering why?They usually do that to drum up interest in shares of companies that their firms either have existing business relationships with or are looking to be associated with. In other words, business incentives of firms covering a stock often result in inflated price targets set by analysts.However, a tight clustering of price targets, which is represented by a low standard deviation, indicates that analysts have a high degree of agreement about the direction and magnitude of a stock's price movement. While that doesn't necessarily mean the stock will hit the average price target, it could be a good starting point for further research aimed at identifying the potential fundamental driving forces.That said, while investors should not entirely ignore price targets, making an investment decision solely based on them could lead to disappointing ROI. So, price targets should always be treated with a high degree of skepticism.Why SIG Could Witness a Solid UpsideThere has been increasing optimism among analysts lately about the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates higher. And that could be a legitimate reason to expect an upside in the stock. After all, empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.Over the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has increased 14.8%, as two estimates have moved higher compared to no negative revision.Moreover, SIG currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which means it is in the top 20% of more than the 4,000 stocks that we rank based on four factors related to earnings estimates. Given an impressive externally-audited track record, this is a more conclusive indication of the stock's potential upside in the near term. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>Therefore, while the consensus price target may not be a reliable indicator of how much SIG could gain, the direction of price movement it implies does appear to be a good guide. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free.Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How To Profit From Trillions On Spending For Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Signet Jewelers Limited (SIG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksMar 29th, 2022

Fiat Currencies Are Going To "Fail Spectacularly": Lawrence Lepard

Fiat Currencies Are Going To "Fail Spectacularly": Lawrence Lepard Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance Friend of Fringe Finance Lawrence Lepard released his most recent investor letter a few weeks ago with his updated take on the monetary miasma spreading across the globe. Larry had joined me for several interviews last year and I believe him to truly be one of the muted voices that the investing community would be better off for considering. He’s the type of voice that gets little coverage in the mainstream media, which, in my opinion, makes him someone worth listening to twice as closely. Lawrence Lepard (Photo: Kitco)Larry was kind enough to allow me to share his thoughts heading into 2022. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Larry predicted that a “crack up boom” could be on its way and also offered his take on gold, inflation, monetary policy, bitcoin, fiscal policy, the ongoing supply chain crunch, and much, much more. That analysis is included. Now, the invasion of Ukraine has helped catalyze a number of his predicted scenarios. Here are several Fringe Finance excerpts from Larry’s thoughts on the Ukraine invasion and the markets heading into 2022, from prior to the invasion. Russia Invading Ukraine Has Caused A ‘Monetary Earthquake’ What just happened in the last two weeks is enormously important and misunderstood by many investors. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding Western sanctions and seizure of Russian FX reserves are nothing short of a monetary earthquake. The last comparable event was Nixon's abandonment of the gold standard in 1971.  Russia, with the backing and support of China, just told the world that it is no longer going to sell its oil, gas and wheat for Western currencies which are programmed to debase.  The West in its response just said to all countries around the world: “If you have foreign exchange reserves, held in our system, they are no longer safe if we disagree with your politics.”  Russian FX ReservesIt is similar to what the Canadians did when they moved to seize the bank accounts of Canadians who had demonstrated support for the truckers without due process of law. Both of these political moves are blatant advertisements for what I call "non state controlled money without counterparty risk", like gold and bitcoin. If governments can weaponize their money when they do not like what you are doing, what is the natural defense? Gold Will Rip Higher Because Of What Russia Is Doing The US Dollar has been the reserve currency of the world since WW II and the Bretton Woods agreement. This has given the US an enormous advantage and subsidy from the rest of the world because everyone else needs to produce goods and services to obtain dollars and the US can simply produce dollars at no cost by printing them.    Putin is now cast in the role of Charles de Gaulle who complained about the "exorbitant privilege" of the US with its dollar hegemony. As we all know, de Gaulle demanded gold in exchange for France's US dollar FX surpluses and this outflow forced Nixon to close the gold window.    Recall that post this event, gold went from $35 per ounce to $800 per ounce (23x).  Russia's move will lead to a similar move in favor of gold. Putin could see that the US fiscal and monetary situation was becoming untenable and he decided to use this to create an existential threat to the US and the world financial system.  He undoubtedly knows that the West has artificially suppressed the price of gold and that is why he has been building his gold reserves steadily for the past 20 years. Putin just shot "King Dollar" in the head.  We can see it in the financial markets, as the price of everything commodity related is going up relentlessly in dollar terms.  Russia is long commodities, long gold and doesn't need fiat currency. His debt to GDP ratio is low and taxes are low. If the world financial markets collapse on a relative basis, the position of Russia will be improved significantly. This is what I believe he is playing for. If investors do not recognize this they will be caught wrong footed as I believe many are today. The implications for investors are quite clear. None of us own enough gold, real assets or commodities. Fiat currencies are going to fail spectacularly, and soon, in my opinion. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Larry predicted that a “crack up boom” could be on its way and also offered his take on gold, inflation, monetary policy, bitcoin, fiscal policy, the ongoing supply chain crunch, and much, much more. Now, the invasion of Ukraine has likely catalyzed a number of his scenarios. A Crack Up Boom Could Be Coming The bottom line is that the monetary system is exhibiting many of the early characteristics of a crack-up boom. A crack-up boom is the crash of the credit and monetary system due to continual credit expansion and price increases that cannot be sustained long-term.  In the face of excessive credit expansion, consumers' inflation expectations accelerate to the point that money becomes worthless and the economic system crashes.  Wow, does that sound familiar? “Real resource crunch” - do we have any shortages in commodities or labor? Well, ask the people in Europe who are worried about their costs for electricity, natural gas and heating oil this winter. Or, how about the labor shortages that we are seeing develop everywhere? How about the shortages of goods that are backed up in ships off the California coast? Supply chain issues have been blamed on COVID and government officials have, until recently, tried to spin the resulting inflation as transitory.  Certainly some of the current rip-roaring inflation could abate as supply chain delivery times improve (left chart below) which may permit PMI Input / Output prices to soften (right chart below): But to date there is little evidence of abatement. But perhaps there is also something else going on. Labor and product supply shortages can easily lead to further price increases and there is the potential for a vicious “cost-push” spiral upward. Eventually businesses may not be able to operate and business failures begin to occur. (They cannot get the necessary inputs, or properly price their goods and services). When highly levered businesses fail, the destruction of credit and demand soon follow. Historically, the Government response is to print more in a vain attempt to prevent failures - as if money printing could produce goods and services.  We are seeing some of this in our personal observations. We know of builders who cannot get needed supplies to build houses. One builder in Las Vegas reported that his cost of building a house went up 40% LAST QUARTER. We know of an interior designer who cannot source products (furniture delivery times of 6 months plus) and so his business is likely to fail. We are concerned that if inflationary expectations continue to grow, the path to a crack up will become clear. We believe that inflation expectations will continue to grow as this present inflation is “cost-push” rather than the more temporary “demand-pull” form of inflation.  Today’s blog post has been published without a paywall because I believe the content to be far too important. However, if you have the means and would like to support my work by subscribing, I’d be happy to offer you 22% off to become a subscriber in 2022: Get 22% off forever While we may not be on the precipice of a Crack Up Boom (yet), the probabilities of it occurring have certainly increased. We believe investors must begin to consider the “tail risk” that all confidence could be lost in our current monetary system.  When price signals are so distorted that markets no longer function, the only possible outcome is total collapse of the market structure. We believe that the US Treasury and Federal Reserve see these risks and that is why they are trying hard to control Government spending, and are accelerating the pace of tapering the extraordinary QE that was initiated in March 2020 when Jerome Powell vowed to do whatever it takes to keep the markets functioning (the Third Fed Mandate).  So, just how probable is a crack up boom? Sometimes it is easier to see these things visually. The US stock market below: And the Venezuelan Stock market just before its currency became worthless as a result of hyperinflation: The important driver here is inflationary expectations. Note the earlier quote on Crack Up Booms, “consumers' inflation expectations accelerate to the point that money becomes worthless”. This is the major point of the Austrian School Economists: when individuals discover that not only is inflation occurring, but it is the policy of government, and that inflation cannot and will not be reversed. Then there becomes a rush to substitute their store of value savings of the inflated fiat money with stores of value that are of more limited supply and will hold value for the future. This is Gresham’s Law: bad money drives out good. If people perceive that the money is becoming worthless they will spend it as quickly as possible on any tangible good before prices rise further.  We are not at or near that point yet, but inflation awareness and inflation expectations are growing. Here are some of Larry’s additional observations about 2021: The last time an inflation print came in at 7.0% (June 1982), 10-year Treasury yields exceeded 14%. Ten-year yields ended 2021 at 1.51%, with inflation-adjusted “real” yields deeply into negative territory. (-5.49%)  Producer Price Index (PPI) was up 13.3% in November y-o-y (highest since 1980). The Bloomberg Commodities Index jumped 27.1% in 2021.  The S&P hit over 70 new all-time highs, ending the year up 27%. Off the March 2020 low, the S&P is now up 113% and trading at 21.2x forward P/Ex, near its March 2000 peak P/Ex. The 2021 federal fiscal deficit reached $2.77 TN, with a historic $5.9 TN two-year shortfall (28% of GDP). The federal deficit was $3.1T in fiscal 2020 (September year-end). Recall that US Federal Tax Revenues totaled $3.86T in 2021. Budget deficit was 42% of total fiscal spending.  The Fed’s balance sheet inflated an astonishing $5.015 TN, or 135%, in the 120 weeks since QE was restarted in September 2019. Federal Reserve Assets have now inflated nearly 10x since the mortgage finance Bubble collapse. [went from $0.907T at Sept. 2008 to $8.766T today]  In the same time frame (2008-2021) the US CPI gauge of inflation went from 211.4 to 278.9 or an increase of 31.9% (annual average 2.2%). If inflation is a monetary phenomenon (we believe it is) there is a lot of catching up to be done as CPI increases to reflect money supply growth. During the same time frame (2008-2021) M2 (Money supply) went from $8.2T to $21.4T, growth of 161%, or annualized growth of over 7.7%.  o Notably, M2 growth since March 2020 has been 38.6%, a sharp acceleration above trend.∙ The monthly U.S. Goods Trade Deficit ballooned to a record $98 billion in November vs. a two decade average $56bn. Larry echoed the sentiments of Doug Noland when opining on inflation in 2021: Books will be written chronicling 2021. I’ll boil an extraordinary year’s developments down to a few simple words: “Things Ran Wild”. COVID ran wild. Monetary inflation ran wild. Inflation, in general, ran completely wild. Speculation and asset inflation ran really wild. More insidiously, mal-investment and inequality turned wilder. Bucking the trend, confidence in Washington policymaking ran - into a wall. M2 “money” supply inflated another $2.478 TN (12 months through November) to a record $21.437 TN – with egregious two-year growth of $6.185 TN, or 40.6%. Bank Deposits surged $1.957 TN over the past year (12.1%), with two-year growth of $4.812 TN (36%). Money Fund Assets rose another $408 billion y-o-y, or 9.5%, to $4.70 TN. The myth that QE effects remain well contained within Treasury and securities markets has been debunked.  And took to pointing out analysis by Trey Reik on gold: Between 3/31/20 and 12/31/21, the Fed grew its balance sheet $3.503 trillion (66.67%). During this time span, the S&P 500 appreciated 84.41% while spot gold increased just 15.98%. We find it bewildering that even though gold has been maligned for “not doing better” while stocks soared during 2021’s QE and inflation, now that the Fed is telegraphing tightening, consensus is equally confident that equity markets are well prepared and will power-through on the back of strong earnings, but gold will surely suffer.  Watching The Fed In March 2020, COVID erupted and the US Stock and Bond markets began to plunge. In a period of just 23 days, the S&P 500 Index plunged 35% from its high in late February to a low on March 23rd. At the same time, something very unusual happened in the US Treasury bond market. In the early part of the stock sell off, government bond prices rallied and yields declined as selling stock investors sought safety in US Treasuries. This was normal. But then suddenly, 10 year US Treasury bonds sold off hard too and the treasury yield went from 39 bps to 126 bps in a period of just 7 days! The Fed meeting minutes from that period discussed that for a brief period the US Treasury bond market went “no bid”. This led to Fed Chairman Jay Powell’s announcement on March 15, 2020 to cut the discount rate to effectively zero, resume quantitative easing and expand swap lines.  This was the Fed’s worst nightmare. If the market for US Treasury securities fails, the entire world financial system collapses. What transpired from there was another chapter of the long standing “Fed Put” that was initially written by Greenspan and then enthusiastically renewed by Bernanke, Yellen and now Powell. Originally the put only protected equities but at the base of the entire financial system is the so called “risk free” US Treasury bond. The put now clearly includes the US Treasury bond. Additionally, we have seen the Fed and financial commentators discuss an additional mandate: “maintaining orderly markets”. Powell has explicitly said that the Fed will take “whatever action is necessary” to maintain orderly markets which we believe is now a Third Fed Mandate, behind stable prices and full employment. In extremis, the Fed will print as much money as is necessary, perhaps a nearly infinite amount.  The stock and bond markets have taken the recent Fed “hawkish” policy shift in stride. Yes, there is still tons of liquidity in the system, but also, we believe investors realize that Powell will execute another “pivot” when the market stumbles. Perhaps investors are willing to front run the next episode of money printing. Thus the market behavior which looks like a “crack up boom” is actually rational if you know that the Fed can never stop printing.  Recently, to the Fed’s credit (and to preserve their credibility), Chairman Powell admitted that it is turning out that inflation is not transitory. Thus, they have announced that they will accelerate the tapering of QE which began slowly a few months ago. Today’s blog post has been published without a paywall because I believe the content to be far too important. However, if you have the means and would like to support my work by subscribing, I’d be happy to offer you 22% off to become a subscriber in 2022: Get 22% off forever At the current proposed rate they will not be purchasing any bonds in April of 2022. Furthermore, they have also indicated that taking interest rates off the zero bound in 2022 and the consensus dot plot is that the Fed Funds rate will go to 0.75% via three quarter point hikes this year. Now, whether the markets can handle this withdrawal of monetary stimulus appears to be an open question. [QTR: In the past few weeks, since this letter, inflation has continued, most recently at a 7.5% clip and investment banks are predicting up to 9 or 10 rate hikes for 2022]. In a system that is dependent upon the supply of new money and credit growing at an ever accelerating rate, it is merely a matter of time until the next crisis erupts and the Fed is forced to reverse course again. Hopefully for them, by that time inflation will have abated a bit and so we will start the next inflationary episode off a lower base. We fear that, as Luke Gromen said, that in trying to control the economy the Fed thinks they have a thermostat when it may be more akin to an on/off switch on a nuclear reactor!  Interestingly, given the Repo markets enhancements by the Fed, it’s possible the Taper of QE is irrelevant. As a former Federal Reserve Open Markets Senior Trader Joseph Wang points out:  There is still $1 trillion in Fed liquidity that will gradually flow into the private sector after QE stops. A large chunk of liquidity created by QE over the past two years never entered the banking system, but instead sat first in the Treasury’s Fed account and later in the RRP Facility. In the coming months Treasury will restart bill issuance and draw those funds out of the RRP into the TGA, and then spend those funds into the banking sector. Over time that will leave the banking sector with about $1T more in reserves, and the non-banks with a $1T more in deposits. If the past is any guide, that suggests more portfolio rebalancing where banks will purchase more Treasuries and non-banks more risk assets. Why Soft Gold And Bitcoin Prices? Gold and Bitcoin, analog and digital sound money, respectively, are the two monetary fire alarms in our system. Gold began 2020 at $1,550. It is at $1,830 at year end 2021, appreciation of 18%. Bitcoin began 2020 at $8,000 per coin. It closed 2021 at $47,000, appreciation of 487%. As we have discussed in the past, we believe the price of gold is heavily suppressed through the futures markets and the issuance of paper claims on gold. Bitcoin does not suffer from this problem yet, although there is a $20B futures market in Bitcoin. Bitcoin’s total market value is $966B and it trades approximately $25B of value per day in on chain transactions. We do not believe the futures market is a big factor in Bitcoin price discovery….yet. But there is no doubt that the leveraged Bitcoin exchanges and their growth have had an impact on prices. Still, Bitcoin is the monetary debasement fire alarm which is working.  Both the Bitcoin and gold prices are somewhat soft at present. Gold is 11% below its recent all-time high. Bitcoin is 40% below its recent all-time high. We believe this is occurring because the market is reacting to the threat of less monetary accommodation. And while we concede that the Fed is trying to slow down the printing (sort of), as stated above we do not believe that in the intermediate term they can stop in any sort of meaningful way. The prescient words of Richard Russell apply here: INFLATE OR DIE.  Our friend and Austrian based investor Ronnie Stoeferle recently posted this missive on Twitter which serves as a good reminder of how history often rhymes:  “Two years ago gold bugs ran wild as the price of gold rose nearly six times. But since cresting two years ago it has steadily declined, almost by half, putting the gold bugs in flight. The most recent advisory from a leading Wall Street firm suggests .that the price will continue to drift downward, and may ultimately settle 40% below current levels. The sharply reduced rates of inflation combined with resurgence of other, more economically productive investments, such as stocks, real estate and bank savings have combined to eliminate gold’s allure. Although the American economy has reduced its rate of recovery, it is on a firm expansionary course.”  - New York Times, August 1976  And as our friend Brien Lundin, CEO of the New Orleans Investment Conference points out: “Gold bottomed in early September 1976, but really took off when the Treasury began gold auctions in ’78. This overt manipulation for covert reasons was a desperation move that ironically fueled another 8x rise in the gold price!” History often rhymes indeed, in this case in terms of an inflationary decade like the 1970s and the reaction of hard money assets.  About Larry Lepard Larry manages the EMA GARP Fund, a Boston based investment management firm. Their strategy is focused on providing "Monetary Debasement Insurance". He has 38 years experience and an MBA from Harvard Business School. On Twitter he is @LawrenceLepard Managing Partner and, via email, he is llepard@ema2.com Disclaimer: QTR is long various gold and silver miners and have both long and short exposure to the market through equities and derivatives. I have no position in Larry’s funds. Larry is a subscriber to Fringe Finance and has been on my podcast. The excerpts from Larry’s letter, above, shall not be construed as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to sell, any securities or services. Any such offering may only be made at the time a qualified investor receives from EMA formal materials describing an offering plus related subscription documentation. There is no guarantee the Fund’s investment strategy will be successful. Investing involves risk, and an investment in the Fund could lose money. The strategy is also subject to the following risks: Currency Risk, Non-US Investment Risks, Issuer Specific Risk. Tyler Durden Sat, 03/12/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 12th, 2022

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations, Six years ago, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country, the Ukrainians bet that a Hillary Clinton presidency would offer better protection from Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he had invaded Crimea during the Obama-Biden administration, whose Russian policies Clinton vowed to continue. Working with both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, Ukrainian government officials intervened in the 2016 race to help Clinton and hurt  Donald Trump in a sweeping and systematic foreign influence operation that's been largely ignored by the press. The improper, if not illegal, operation was run chiefly out of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, where officials worked hand-in-glove with a Ukrainian-American activist and Clinton campaign operative to attack the Trump campaign. The Obama White House was also deeply involved in an effort to groom their own favored leader in Ukraine and then work with his government to dig up dirt on – and even investigate -- their political rival. Ukrainian and Democratic operatives also huddled with American journalists to spread damaging information on Trump and his advisers – including allegations of illicit Russian-tied payments that, though later proved false, forced the resignation of his campaign manager Paul Manafort. The embassy actually weighed a plan to get Congress to investigate Manafort and Trump and stage hearings in the run-up to the election. As it worked behind the scenes to undermine Trump, Ukraine also tried to kneecap him publicly. Ukraine's ambassador took the extraordinary step of attacking Trump in an Op-Ed article published in The Hill, an influential U.S. Capitol newspaper, while other top Ukrainian officials slammed the GOP candidate on social media. Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. attacked Trump in an Op-Ed weeks before the 2016 election. At first glance, it was a bad bet as Trump upset Clinton. But by the end of his first year in office, Trump had supplied Ukrainians what the Obama administration refused to give them: tank-busting Javelin missiles and other lethal weapons to defend themselves against Russian incursions. Putin never invaded on Trump's watch. Instead, he launched an all-out invasion during another Democratic administration – one now led by President Biden, Barack Obama's former Vice President, whose Secretary of State last year alarmed Putin by testifying, “We support Ukraine's membership in NATO.” Biden boasted he’d go “toe to toe” with Putin, but that didn't happen as the autocrat amassed tanks along Ukraine’s border in response to the NATO overtures. The Ukrainian mischief is part of Special Counsel John Durham’s broader inquiry – now a full-blown criminal investigation with grand jury indictments – into efforts to falsely target Trump as a Kremlin conspirator in 2016 and beyond. Sources say Durham has interviewed several Ukrainians, but it’s not likely the public will find out exactly what he's learned about the extent of Ukraine’s meddling in the election until he releases his final report, which sources say could be several months away. In the meantime, a comprehensive account of documented Ukrainian collusion – including efforts to assist the FBI in its 2016 probe of Manafort – is pieced together here for the first time. It draws from an archive of previously unreported records generated from a secret Federal Election Commission investigation of the Democratic National Committee that includes never-before-reviewed sworn affidavits, depositions, contracts, emails, text messages, legal findings and other documents from the case. RealClearInvestigations also examined diplomatic call transcripts, White House visitor logs, lobbying disclosure forms, congressional reports and closed-door congressional testimony, as well as information revealed by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in social media postings, podcasts and books. 2014: Prelude to Collusion U.S. envoys Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt helped bring to power Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, right. (AP) The coordination between Ukrainian and Democratic officials can be traced back at least to January 2014. It was then when top Obama diplomats – many of whom now hold top posts in the Biden administration – began engineering regime change in Kiev, eventually installing a Ukrainian leader they could control. On Jan. 27, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt phoned Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at her home in Washington to discuss picking opposition leaders to check the power of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whom they believed was too cozy with Putin. “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together,” Pyatt said of a planned coalition government, adding that they needed “somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.” Nuland responded that Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan had just told her that the vice president – who was acting as Obama’s point man in Ukraine – would give his blessing to the deal. “Biden’s willing,” she said. But they agreed they had to “move fast” and bypass the European Union. “Fuck the EU,” Nuland told the ambassador, according to a leaked transcript of their call. Hunter Biden: His father helped engineer the rise of an amenable Ukrainian leader who would later fire a prosecutor investigating the son.   Nuland’s role in the political maneuvering was not limited to phone calls. She traveled to Kiev and helped organize street demonstrations against Yanukovych, even handing out sandwiches to protesters. In effect, Obama officials greased a revolution. Within months, Yanukovych was exiled and replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who would later do Biden’s bidding – including firing a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter. Poroshenko would also later support Clinton's White House bid after Biden decided not to run, citing the death of his older son Beau. The U.S. meddling resulted in the installation of an anti-Putin government next door to Russia. A furious Putin viewed the interference as an attempted coup and soon marched into Crimea. Nuland is now Biden’s undersecretary of state and Sullivan serves as his national security adviser. Whispering in their ear at the time was a fiery pro-Ukraine activist and old Clinton hand, Alexandra “Ali” Chalupa. A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Chalupa informally advised the State Department and White House in early 2014. She organized multiple meetings between Ukraine experts and the National Security Council to push for Yanukovych’s ouster and economic sanctions against Putin. In the NSC briefings, Chalupa also agitated against longtime attorney-lobbyist Manafort, who at the time was an American consultant for Yanukovych's Party of Regions, which she viewed as a cat’s paw of Putin. She warned that Manafort worked for Putin’s interests and posed a national security threat. At the same time, Chalupa worked closely with then-Vice President Biden’s team, setting up conference calls with his staff and Ukrainians. Another influential adviser at the time was former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who provided Nuland with written reports on the Ukrainian crisis and Russia that echoed Chalupa’s warnings. Nuland treated them as classified intelligence, and between the spring of 2014 and early 2016, she received some 120 reports on Ukraine and Russia from Steele. 2015: The Move Against Manafort Commences Paul Manafort: Targeted by Chalupa over work for the ousted Ukrainian president and ties to Trump. (AP) In April 2015, the DNC hired Chalupa as a $5,000-a-month consultant, according to a copy of her contract, which ran through the 2016 election cycle. (Years earlier, Chalupa had worked full-time for the DNC as part of the senior leadership team advising Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) After Trump threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, Chalupa grew concerned that Manafort was or would be involved with his campaign since Manafort had known Trump for decades and lived in Trump Tower. She expressed her concerns to top DNC officials and “the DNC asked me to do a hit on Trump,” according to a transcript of a 2019 interview on her sister’s podcast. (Andrea Chalupa, who describes herself as a journalist, boasted in a November 2016 tweet: “My sister led Trump/Russia research at DNC.”) Chalupa began encouraging journalists both in America and Ukraine to dig into Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine and expose his alleged Russian connections. She fed unsubstantiated rumors, tips and leads to the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as CNN, speaking to reporters on background so a DNC operative wouldn’t be sourced. “I spent many, many hours working with reporters on background, directing them to contacts and sources, and giving them information,” Chalupa said. But no reporter worked closer with her than Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff. He even accompanied her to the Ukrainian Embassy, where they brainstormed attacks on Manafort and Trump, according to FEC case files. Chalupa was also sounding alarm bells in the White House. In November 2015, for example, she set up a White House meeting between a Ukrainian delegation including Ukraine Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and NSC advisers – among them Eric Ciaramella, a young CIA analyst on loan to the White House who later would play a significant role as anonymous "whistleblower" in Trump’s first impeachment. In addition to Putin’s aggression, the group discussed the alleged security threat from Manafort. Chalupa was back in the White House in December. All told, she would visit the Obama White House at least 27 times, Secret Service logs show, including attending at least one event with the president in 2016. Eric Ciaramella (middle right) across from Ukrainians in a June 2015 meeting at the White House, flanked by Biden security adviser Michael Carpenter and Ciaramella's NSC colleague Liz Zentos. (unknownukraine.com) January 2016: High-Level Meetings With Ukrainians in the White House On Jan. 12, 2016 – almost a month before the first GOP primary – Chalupa told top DNC official Lindsey Reynolds she was seeing strong indications that Putin was trying to steal the 2016 election for Trump. Emails also show that she promised to lead an effort to expose Manafort – whom Trump would not officially hire as his campaign chairman until May – and link him and Trump to the Russian government. That same day, Chalupa visited the White House. A week later, Obama officials gathered with Ukrainian officials traveling from Kiev in the White House for a series of senior-level meetings to, among other things, discuss reviving a long-closed investigation into payments to American consultants working for the Party of Regions, according to Senate documents. The FBI had investigated Manafort in 2014 but no charges resulted. One of the attendees, Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko, recalled Justice Department officials asking investigators with Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, if they could help find fresh evidence of party payments to such U.S. figures. (Three years later, Democrats would impeach Trump for allegedly asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, Joe Biden.) The Obama administration’s enforcement agencies leaned on their Ukrainian counterparts to investigate Manafort, shifting resources from an investigation of a corrupt Ukrainian energy oligarch who paid Biden’s son hundreds of thousands of dollars through his gas company, Burisma. “Obama’s NSC hosted Ukrainian officials and told them to stop investigating Hunter Biden and start investigating Paul Manafort,” said a former senior NSC official who has seen notes and emails generated from the meetings and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Suddenly, the FBI reopened its Manafort investigation. “In January 2016, the FBI initiated a money laundering and tax evasion investigation of Manafort predicated on his activities as a political consultant to members of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian politicians,” according to a report by the Justice Department’s watchdog. The White House summit with Ukrainian officials ran for three days, ending on Jan. 21, according to a copy of the agenda stamped with the Justice Department logo. It was organized and hosted by Ciaramella and his colleague Liz Zentos from the NSC. Other U.S. officials included Justice prosecutors and FBI agents, as well as State Department diplomats. The Ukrainian delegation included Artem Sytnyk, the head of NABU, and other Ukrainian prosecutors. Ciaramella was a CIA detailee to the White House occupying the NSC’s Ukraine desk in 2015 and 2016. In that role, Ciaramella met face-to-face with top Ukrainian officials and provided policy advice to Biden through the then-vice president's security adviser Michael Carpenter. He also worked with Nuland and Chalupa.Ciaramella was carried over to the Trump White House. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, he would later anonymously blow the whistle on Trump asking Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help “get to the bottom of” Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, a phone call that triggered Trump’s first impeachment by a Democrat-controlled House. Ciaramella’s former NSC colleague Alexander Vindman leaked the call to him. Vindman, a Ukrainian-American, is also aligned with Chalupa. (Vindman is now back in the news for his demands that the United States provide more active military support to Ukraine and his insistence that Trump shares great blame for the war.) As Manafort drew closer to Trump, Obama officials zeroed in, and the FBI reopened a closed 2014 probe. (Justice Department Office of the Inspector General) February 2016: Obama White House-Ukraine Coordination Intensifies On Feb. 2, two weeks after the White House meetings, Secret Service logs reveal that Ciaramella met in the White House with officials from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, which would later provide the FBI highly sensitive bank records on Manafort. (In addition, a senior FinCEN adviser illegally leaked thousands of the confidential Manafort records to the media.) On Feb. 9, less than a month after the White House summit, Telizhenko, who worked for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Zentos of the NSC at a Cosi sandwich shop in Washington, according to emails obtained by the Senate. It's not known what they discussed. In addition, on Feb. 23, the two emailed about setting up another meeting the following day. “OK if I bring my colleague Eric, who works on Ukraine with me?” Zentos asked Telizhenko, apparently referring to Ciaramella. In the emails, they discussed the U.S. primary elections, among other things. NSC's Zentos and Ukraine's Telizhenko would meet and correspond numerous times during 2016. (HSGAC-Finance Committee Hunter Biden Report) Telizhenko would later testify that Ambassador Chaly had ordered him then to “start an investigation [into the Trump campaign] within the embassy just on my own to find out with my contacts if there’s any Russian connection that we can report back.” He suspects the Ambassador delivered that report to Chalupa and the DNC. Chalupa visited the White House on Feb. 22, entrance records show, just days before the second meeting Telizhenko had planned with Zentos. March 2016: Chalupa Engineers Manafort Messaging Assault With Ukrainians After Manafort was named Trump campaign chair, the campaign against him went into overdrive. New York Times On March 3, Zentos and Telizhenko planned to meet again, this time at a Washington bar called The Exchange. According to their email, Zentos wrote, “I’ll see if my colleague Eric is up for joining.” The pair also met the next day at Swing’s coffee house in Washington. After the meeting, Telizhenko emailed Zentos seeking a meeting with senior Obama NSC official Charlie Kupchan, an old Clinton hand who was Ciaramella’s boss on the Russia/Ukraine desk. Kupchan is an outspoken critic of Trump who has made remarks suggesting what countries “can do to stop him” and “protect the international institutions we’ve built .” Zentos and Telizhenko also met on March 10, patronizing the Cosi coffee shop again. On March 24, 2016, four days before the Trump campaign announced that it had hired Manafort, Chalupa met at the Ukrainian Embassy with Ambassador Chaly and his political counselor Oksana Shulyar, where they shared their concerns about Manafort, according to Politico. When news broke on March 28 that Manafort was joining the Trump campaign, Chalupa could hardly contain herself. “This is huge,” she texted senior DNC officials. “This is everything to take out Trump.” She immediately began circulating anti-Manafort memos, warning the DNC of the “threat” he posed of Russian influence. The next day, March 29, she briefed the DNC communications team about Manafort. They, in turn, hatched a plan to reach out to the Ukrainian Embassy to get President Porochenko to make an on-camera denouncement of Manafort and feed the footage to ABC News, where former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos works as a top anchor. On March 30, Chalupa fired off an email to Shulyar, her contact at the Ukrainian Embassy: "There is a very good chance that President Poroshenko may receive a question from the press during his visit about the recent New York Times article saying that Donald Trump hired Paul Manafort as an adviser to his campaign and whether President Poroshenko is concerned about this considering Trump is the likely Republican nominee and given Paul Manafort’s meddling in Ukraine over the past couple of decades,” Chalupa wrote. "It is important President Poroshenko is prepared to address this question should it come up. In a manner that exposes Paul Manafort for the problems he continues to cause Ukraine." Within minutes of sending the email, Chalupa wrote the DNC’s communications director Luis Miranda, “The ambassador has the messaging.” Then she reached out to a friend in Congress, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, about holding hearings to paint Manafort as a pro-Kremlin villain. April 2016: Chalupa Solicits Ukrainian Dirt on Trump, His Campaign, and Manafort Though accounts differ, Chalupa discussed Trump dirt with Ukrainian representatives. Federal Election Commission American presidential campaigns aren't supposed to work with foreign governments to dig up dirt on their political opponents. Geneva Convention rules bar diplomats from becoming entangled in their host country’s political affairs, particularly elections. There are also federal laws banning foreign nationals from engaging in operations to influence or interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes. In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government for that purpose. But just weeks after Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, the Ukrainian Embassy appeared to be working with the Clinton campaign to torpedo him and the campaign. Emails reveal that Chalupa and Shulyar, a top aide to Ambassador Chaly, agreed to meet for coffee on April 7, 2016, at Kafe Leopold, a restaurant near the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. (Chalupa had paid a visit to the White House just three days earlier.) One of the purposes of the meeting, according to FEC case files, was to discuss Manafort and the danger he allegedly posed. They were joined at the café by Telizhenko, who said he was working on a “big story” on Manafort and Trump with the Wall Street Journal. In a sworn 2019 deposition taken by the FEC, Telizhenko alleged that Chalupa solicited “dirt” on Trump, Manafort, and the Trump campaign during the meeting. Telizhenko also testified that Chalupa told him that her goal was “basically [to] use this information and have a committee hearing under Marcy Kaptur, congresswoman from Ohio, in Congress in September and take him off the elections." Telizhenko later approached Ambassador Chaly about the DNC representative's overtures and he responded: “Yes. And I know that this is happening. You should work with her." After speaking with Chaly, Telizhenko claims that he went back to Shulyar who instructed him to help Chalupa. “I went to Oksana and said, ‘Like what are we doing?’” he testified. " And she told me, ‘You have to work with Chalupa. And any information you have, you give it to me, I’ll give it to her, then we’ll pass it on later to anybody else we are coordinating with.’” Less than a week later, on April 13, Telizhenko met again with White House official Zentos, email records reveal. Telizhenko said he resigned the next month because of concerns regarding his embassy’s work with Chalupa and the Clinton team. In her sworn account of the meeting, Chalupa acknowledged discussing Manafort and the “national security problem” he allegedly presented, but denied asking the embassy for help researching him. She allowed that she “could have mentioned the congressional investigation … that I had talked to Marcy Kaptur,” but maintained she couldn't recall trying to enlist the embassy in the effort. Shulyar, however, clearly recalls that Chalupa sought the embassy’s help warning the public about Manafort – including pitching stories to the press and lobbying Congress, according to a 2020 written statement to the FEC. An “idea floated by Alexandra Chalupa was that we approach a co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus to initiate a congressional hearing on Paul Manafort,” Shulyar said, though she denied the embassy acted on the idea. Around the same time, two Ukrainian lawmakers – Olga Bielkova and Pavlo Rizanenko – visited the U.S. and met with journalists, as well as a former State Department official with close ties to Sen. John McCain – David Kramer of the McCain Institute. Kramer would later leak the entire Steele dossier to the media. The meeting was arranged by major Clinton Foundation donor Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch who lobbied Clinton when she was Obama’s secretary of state. Bielkova was also connected to the Clinton Foundation, having once managed a Clinton Global Initiative program for Ukrainian college students. While Clinton was at Foggy Bottom from 2009 to 2013, Ukrainians gave more money – at least $10 million, including more than $8 million from Pinchuk – to the Clinton Foundation than any other nationality including Saudi Arabians. Pinchuk's donation was a down payment on an astounding $29 million pledge. On April 12, 2016, Bielkova also attended a meeting with Ciaramella and his NSC colleague Zentos, head of the Eastern Europe desk, according to lobbying disclosure records. In late April, Chalupa helped organize a Ukrainian-American protest against Manafort in his Connecticut hometown. Activists shouted for Trump to fire Manafort, whom they called “Putin’s Trojan Horse,” while holding signs that read: “Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump” and “Putin, Hands Off the U.S. Election.” Chalupa also organized social media campaigns against Manafort and Trump, including one that encouraged activists to share the Twitter hashtags: “#TrumpPutin” and "#Treasonous Trump." Also that month, Chalupa reached out to Yahoo News reporter Isikoff to pitch a hit piece on Manafort. She connected him with a delegation of Ukrainian journalists visiting D.C. Isikoff would later be used by Steele to spread falsehoods from his dossier. May-June 2016: Manafort Dirt Spreads In a May 3 email, Chalupa alerted DNC communications director Luis Miranda and DNC opposition research director Lauren Dillion that there was “a lot more [dirt on Manafort] coming down the pipe[sic].” Chalupa told them the dirt has “a big Trump component” and would “hit in the next few weeks.” It’s not clear if she was referring to the notorious "black ledger” smear against Manafort, who was promoted to campaign chairman on May 19, but a story about it was brewing at the time. On May 30, Nellie Ohr, an opposition researcher for the Clinton-retained firm Fusion GPS, emailed her husband, Bruce Ohr, a top official at the Justice Department who would become a prime disseminator of the Steele dossier within the government, and two federal prosecutors to alert them to an article indicating NABU had suddenly discovered documents allegedly showing Manafort receiving illicit payments. Amid the flurry of anti-Manafort activity, Zentos met again with Telizhenko on May 4, records show. And Chalupa visited the White House for a meeting on May 13. Chalupa paid another visit to the White House on June 14, Secret Service logs show. On June 17, Ciaramella held a White House meeting with Nuland and Pyatt of the State Department to discuss undisclosed Ukrainian matters. In late June, the FBI signed an evidence-sharing agreement with NABU, less than two months before the Ukrainian anti-corruption agency released what it claimed was explosive new evidence on Manafort. July 2016: Ukrainian Officials Attack Trump Publicly Chalupa continued to pow-wow with the Ukrainian Embassy and got so cozy with officials there that they offered her a position, which she declined, as an “embedded consultant” in the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That same month, high-ranking Ukrainian officials openly insulted Trump on social media in an unusual departure from normal diplomacy. For instance, Ukraine Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov tweeted that Trump was a “clown” who was “an even bigger danger to the U.S. than terrorism.” In another July post, he called Trump “dangerous for Ukraine.” And on Facebook, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warned that Trump had “challenged the very values of the free world." (After Trump upset Clinton, Avakov and other officials tried to delete their statements from their social network accounts, saying that they had been wrong and had rushed to conclusions.) “It was clear that they were supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy,” Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko told Politico. “They did everything from organizing meetings with the Clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing Trump." While attending the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Chalupa spread the scurrilous rumor that Manafort was the mastermind behind the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and that he “stole" her and other Democrats’ emails. She later told her sister’s podcast that she had reported her conspiracy theory to the FBI, eventually sitting down and meeting with agents in September to spin her tale of supposed espionage (the Senate has asked the FBI for copies of her interview summaries, known as FD-302s). Chalupa also prepared a report for the FBI, as well as members of Congress, detailing her Russiagate conspiracy theories, which Mueller later found no evidence to support. In addition, Chalupa helped spread a false narrative that Trump removed a reference to providing arms to Kiev from the Republican platform at the party's convention earlier that month. Internal platform committee documents show the Ukraine plank could not have been weakened as claimed, because the “lethal” weapons language had never been part of the GOP platform. The final language actually strengthened the platform by pledging direct assistance not just to the country of Ukraine, but to its military in its struggle against Russian-backed forces. August-September 2016: The Phony Manafort Ledger Leaks  A page released by Ukrainian authorities from the fake Manafort ledger. New York Times/NABU In another attempt to influence the 2016 election, Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko leaked to the U.S. media what he claimed was evidence of a secret handwritten ledger showing Manafort had received millions in cash from Yanukovych’s party under the table. He claimed that 22 pages of the alleged ledger, which contained line items written by hand, had mysteriously appeared in his parliament mailbox earlier that year. Leshchenko would not identify the sender. A fuller copy of the same document showed up later on the doorstep of a Ukrainian intelligence official who passed it to NABU, which shared it with FBI agents stationed in Kiev. Leshchenko and NABU officials held press conferences declaring the document was “proof" of Manafort corruption and demanding he be “interrogated.” The Clinton campaign seized on the story. In an Aug. 14 statement, campaign manager Robby Mook stated: “We have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.” He demanded Trump "disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities." But there was a big hole in the story. Though Manafort was a consultant to Yanukovych's party, he was paid by wire, not in cash, casting serious doubt on the ledger’s authenticity. Another problem: the ledger was alleged to have been kept at party headquarters, but rioters had destroyed the building in a 2014 fire. Leshchenko admitted that he had a political agenda. He told The Financial Times at the time that he went public with the ledger because “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy.” He added that most of Ukraine’s politicians are “on Hillary Clinton’s side." Leshchenko also happened to be "a source for Fusion GPS,” as Nellie Ohr confirmed under questioning during a 2019 closed-door House hearing, according to a declassified transcript. Fusion was a paid agent of the Clinton campaign, which gave the private opposition-research firm more than $1 million to gin up connections between Trump and Russia. Fusion hired Steele to compile a series of “intelligence” memos known as the dossier. As a former MI6 operative, Steele gave the allegations a sheen of credibility. FBI counterintelligence veteran Mark Wauck said the dossier and the black ledger both appear to have originated with Fusion GPS, which laundered it through foreigners who hated Trump – Steele and Leshchenko. "The ledger and the dossier are both Fusion hit jobs,” Wauck said. “The two items shared a common origin: the Hillary campaign’s oppo research shop." In an August 2016 memo written for Fusion GPS, “The Demise of Trump’s Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,” Steele claimed he had corroborated Leshchenko’s charges through his anonymous Kremlin sources, who turned out to be nothing more than beer buddies of his primary source collector, Igor Danchenko, a Russian immigrant with a string of arrests in the U.S. for public intoxication, as RealClearInvestigations first reported. Danchenko had worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic think tank in Washington that Durham has subpoenaed in connection to its own role in Russiagate. Danchenko was indicted last year by Special Counsel Durham for lying about his sources, including one he completely made up, as RCI reported. “YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorize and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged,” Steele claimed in the unsubstantiated report, citing “a well-placed Russian figure” with knowledge of a "meeting between PUTIN and YANUKOVYCH” allegedly “held in secret” on Aug. 15. As a paid informant, Steele had long reported to the FBI about alleged corruption involving Yanukovych. The FBI used his Clinton-funded dossier as a basis to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump adviser Carter Page, including the false claim that Page acted as an intermediary between Russian leadership and Manafort in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” that included sidelining Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue. Steele also falsely claimed that Page had helped draft the RNC platform statement to be more sympathetic to Russia’s interests by eliminating language about providing weapons to Ukraine, according to a report by the Department of Justice's watchdog. In fact, Page was not involved in the GOP platform. The misinformation came from Danchenko’s fictional source. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson worked closely with the New York Times on the Manafort ledger story. In his book, “Crime in Progress,” Simpson boasts of introducing Leshchenko to the Times as a source, who ended up providing the paper some of the dubious ledger records. On Aug. 19, Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign the day after the Times reported what it had been fed by the anti-Trump operatives. In effect, Ukrainian government officials tried to help Clinton and undermine Trump by disseminating documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and telling the American media they were investigating the matter. In 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that Leshchenko and NABU’s Sytnyk illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger. Among the evidence was a recording of Sytnyk saying the agency released the ledger to help Clinton’s campaign – “I helped her,” Sytnyk is recorded boasting. But the damage was done. The Ukrainians, along with Chalupa and the Clinton camp, achieved their goal of undermining the Trump campaign by prompting Manafort’s ouster though they never proved he was colluding with the Russians. Neither did Special Counsel Mueller. In fact, Mueller did not use the ledger to prosecute Manafort after a key witness for the prosecution told him it was fabricated. “Mueller ended up dropping it like a hot potato,” Wauck said.  Ukraine’s neutrality in the election was also called into further question that September, when Porochenko met with Clinton during a stop in New York. He never met with Trump, who appeared to get the cold shoulder from the Ukrainian leader. In statements following Trump’s surprise victory over Clinton in November, Ukraine’s embassy has denied interfering in the election and insisted that Chalupa was acting on her own. Epilogue After Trump won the election in spite of her efforts to sabotage him, Chalupa predicted: “Under President Trump, the Kremlin could likely invade U.S. allies in Europe without U.S. opposition.” Not only did Russia not invade Europe “under Trump,” it didn’t even invade Ukraine. Rather, the invasion came under Biden, whose campaign Chalupa supported. Yet she continues to blame Trump. Recent tweets show a still-obsessed Chalupa has not dialed back her extremist views about Trump or Manafort, whom she believes should be prosecuted for “treason." In a Feb. 28 post on Twitter, for example, Chalupa claimed that Putin installed “a puppet regime in the U.S. with the help of Paul Manafort.” The previous day, she tweeted, “We had a Putin installed Trump presidency.” A day before that, she wrote: “Now would be a good time to release the Putin-Trump treason calls.” And on Feb. 25, Chalupa tweeted another wild conspiracy theory: "It’s important to note that Putin’s imperial aspirations are of a global criminal empire, as we saw when he installed Donald J. Trump president and tried to turn the U.S. into a Russian satellite state." Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 11th, 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

Does Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc. (ASO) Have the Potential to Rally 29% as Wall Street Analysts Expect?

The average of price targets set by Wall Street analysts indicates a potential upside of 29.2% in Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc. (ASO). While the effectiveness of this highly sought-after metric is questionable, the positive trend in earnings estimate revisions might translate into an upside in the stock. Shares of Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc. (ASO) have gained 2.7% over the past four weeks to close the last trading session at $40.06, but there could still be a solid upside left in the stock if short-term price targets of Wall Street analysts are any indication. Going by the price targets, the mean estimate of $51.75 indicates a potential upside of 29.2%.The average comprises eight short-term price targets ranging from a low of $45 to a high of $60, with a standard deviation of $4.86. While the lowest estimate indicates an increase of 12.3% from the current price level, the most optimistic estimate points to a 49.8% upside. More than the range, one should note the standard deviation here, as it helps understand the variability of the estimates. The smaller the standard deviation, the greater the agreement among analysts.While the consensus price target is a much-coveted metric for investors, solely banking on this metric to make an investment decision may not be wise at all. That's because the ability and unbiasedness of analysts in setting price targets have long been questionable.But, for ASO, an impressive average price target is not the only indicator of a potential upside. Strong agreement among analysts about the company's ability to report better earnings than they predicted earlier strengthens this view. While a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions doesn't gauge how much a stock could gain, it has proven to be powerful in predicting an upside.Here's What You Should Know About Analysts' Price TargetsAccording to researchers at several universities across the globe, a price target is one of many pieces of information about a stock that misleads investors far more often than it guides. In fact, empirical research shows that price targets set by several analysts, irrespective of the extent of agreement, rarely indicate where the price of a stock could actually be heading.While Wall Street analysts have deep knowledge of a company's fundamentals and the sensitivity of its business to economic and industry issues, many of them tend to set overly optimistic price targets. Are you wondering why?They usually do that to drum up interest in shares of companies that their firms either have existing business relationships with or are looking to be associated with. In other words, business incentives of firms covering a stock often result in inflated price targets set by analysts.However, a tight clustering of price targets, which is represented by a low standard deviation, indicates that analysts have a high degree of agreement about the direction and magnitude of a stock's price movement. While that doesn't necessarily mean the stock will hit the average price target, it could be a good starting point for further research aimed at identifying the potential fundamental driving forces.That said, while investors should not entirely ignore price targets, making an investment decision solely based on them could lead to disappointing ROI. So, price targets should always be treated with a high degree of skepticism.Why ASO Could Witness a Solid UpsideAnalysts' growing optimism over the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates higher, could be a legitimate reason to expect an upside in the stock. That's because empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.For the current year, one estimate has moved higher over the last 30 days compared to no negative revision. As a result, the Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased 4.1%.Moreover, ASO currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), which means it is in the top 5% of more than the 4,000 stocks that we rank based on four factors related to earnings estimates. Given an impressive externally-audited track record, this is a more conclusive indication of the stock's potential upside in the near term. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>Therefore, while the consensus price target may not be a reliable indicator of how much ASO could gain, the direction of price movement it implies does appear to be a good guide. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Academy Sports and Outdoors, Inc. (ASO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Wall Street Analysts Think Oxford Industries (OXM) Could Surge 28%: Read This Before Placing a Bet

The mean of analysts' price targets for Oxford Industries (OXM) points to a 27.8% upside in the stock. While this highly sought-after metric has not proven reasonably effective, strong agreement among analysts in raising earnings estimates does indicate an upside in the stock. Shares of Oxford Industries (OXM) have gained 2.1% over the past four weeks to close the last trading session at $96.10, but there could still be a solid upside left in the stock if short-term price targets of Wall Street analysts are any indication. Going by the price targets, the mean estimate of $122.80 indicates a potential upside of 27.8%.The average comprises five short-term price targets ranging from a low of $112 to a high of $135, with a standard deviation of $10.23. While the lowest estimate indicates an increase of 16.6% from the current price level, the most optimistic estimate points to a 40.5% upside. More than the range, one should note the standard deviation here, as it helps understand the variability of the estimates. The smaller the standard deviation, the greater the agreement among analysts.While the consensus price target is a much-coveted metric for investors, solely banking on this metric to make an investment decision may not be wise at all. That's because the ability and unbiasedness of analysts in setting price targets have long been questionable.But, for OXM, an impressive average price target is not the only indicator of a potential upside. Strong agreement among analysts about the company's ability to report better earnings than they predicted earlier strengthens this view. While a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions doesn't gauge how much a stock could gain, it has proven to be powerful in predicting an upside.Here's What You Should Know About Analysts' Price TargetsAccording to researchers at several universities across the globe, a price target is one of many pieces of information about a stock that misleads investors far more often than it guides. In fact, empirical research shows that price targets set by several analysts, irrespective of the extent of agreement, rarely indicate where the price of a stock could actually be heading.While Wall Street analysts have deep knowledge of a company's fundamentals and the sensitivity of its business to economic and industry issues, many of them tend to set overly optimistic price targets. Are you wondering why?They usually do that to drum up interest in shares of companies that their firms either have existing business relationships with or are looking to be associated with. In other words, business incentives of firms covering a stock often result in inflated price targets set by analysts.However, a tight clustering of price targets, which is represented by a low standard deviation, indicates that analysts have a high degree of agreement about the direction and magnitude of a stock's price movement. While that doesn't necessarily mean the stock will hit the average price target, it could be a good starting point for further research aimed at identifying the potential fundamental driving forces.That said, while investors should not entirely ignore price targets, making an investment decision solely based on them could lead to disappointing ROI. So, price targets should always be treated with a high degree of skepticism.Why OXM Could Witness a Solid UpsideThere has been increasing optimism among analysts lately about the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates higher. And that could be a legitimate reason to expect an upside in the stock. After all, empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has increased 0.4% over the past month, as two estimates have gone higher compared to no negative revision.Moreover, OXM currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), which means it is in the top 5% of more than the 4,000 stocks that we rank based on four factors related to earnings estimates. Given an impressive externally-audited track record, this is a more conclusive indication of the stock's potential upside in the near term. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>Therefore, while the consensus price target may not be a reliable indicator of how much OXM could gain, the direction of price movement it implies does appear to be a good guide. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Oxford Industries, Inc. (OXM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 14th, 2022

Cop Who Killed Ashli Babbitt Was Cleared Of Criminal Wrongdoing Without Interview

Cop Who Killed Ashli Babbitt Was Cleared Of Criminal Wrongdoing Without Interview Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations, When U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd went on “NBC Nightly News” to tell his side of shooting and killing unarmed Jan. 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt, he made a point to note he’d been investigated by several agencies and exonerated for his actions that day. “There’s an investigative process [and] I was cleared by the DOJ [Department of Justice], and FBI and [the D.C.] Metropolitan Police,” he told NBC News anchor Lester Holt in August, adding that the Capitol Police also cleared him of wrongdoing and decided not to discipline or demote him for the shooting. Above, Lt. Michael Byrd, the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt, told NBC News he gave fair warning, but under penalty of perjury he refused to say anything to investigators. Byrd then answered a series of questions by Holt about the shooting, but what he told the friendly journalist, he likely never told investigators. That’s because he refused to answer their questions, according to several sources and documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations. Ashli Babbitt: Her family calls the rushed Byrd investigation a “whitewash" and a "coverup" of misconduct by the officer.  Maryland MVA/Calvert County Sheriff's Office/AP In fact, investigators cleared Byrd of wrongdoing in the shooting without actually interviewing him about the shooting or threatening him with punishment if he did not cooperate with their criminal investigation. “He didn’t provide any statement to [criminal] investigators and they didn’t push him to make a statement,” Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts said in an RCI interview. “It’s astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is." Roberts, who has spoken with the D.C. MPD detective assigned to the case, said the kid-glove treatment of Byrd raises suspicions the investigation was a “whitewash.” The lawyer's account appears to be backed up by a January 2021 internal affairs report, which notes Byrd "declined to provide a statement,” D.C. MPD documents show. Terry Roberts, Babbitt family attorney:  “It’s astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is." Roberts & Wood Asked about it, a D.C. MPD spokeswoman confirmed that Byrd did not cooperate with internal affairs agents or FBI agents, who jointly investigated what was one of the most high-profile officer-involved shooting cases in U.S. history. “MPD did not formally interview Lt. Byrd,” deputy D.C. MPD communications director Kristen Metzger said. And, “He didn’t give a statement while under the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.” Lt. Michael Byrd: Pistol drawn in the House chamber just before the Babbitt shooting. Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News After Byrd declined to cooperate with D.C MPD Internal Affairs Division’s investigation, which was led by Det. John Hendrick, his case eventually was turned over to the USCP for a final administrative review of whether or not his actions conformed with department policies and training. Still, USCP concluded in August that “the officer’s conduct was lawful and within department policy.” The agency launched its administrative investigation after the criminal investigation was closed. In April, within four months of the shooting, Byrd was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the Justice Department, which declined to impanel a grand jury to hear evidence in a departure from other lethal police-shooting cases involving unarmed citizens. Taking deadly aim: Byrd was cleared after refusing to answer investigators' questions. nbcsandiego.com Justice ruled there “was not enough evidence” to conclude Byrd violated Babbitt’s civil rights or willfully acted recklessly in shooting her.  Byrd remains the commander in charge of security for the House of Representatives. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department would comment on whether they pressed Byrd after he insisted on remaining silent. The D.C. police force, which shares some jurisdiction with the Capitol Police, takes the lead in internal affairs probes like this one. Roberts questioned how investigators could find that Byrd acted in self-defense and properly followed his training procedures, including issuing warnings before shooting Babbitt, since he refused to talk about it while the investigation was open -- and his statements, unlike those made to NBC, would have been taken under penalty of perjury. “How would they know if they never interviewed him?” he said, adding that it’s not enough to say an officer did nothing wrong without showing how it reached such a finding. Troy Nehls, Texas Republican and former sheriff: “Many officers in the USCP I have spoken to believe the investigations of Lt. Boyd were dropped because of his position and other political considerations." nehls.house.gov By avoiding an interrogation, he said Byrd avoided saying anything that could have been used to incriminate him, including making false statements to federal agents, which would be a felony. Remarkably, he did not formally invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, according to people familiar with his case, which makes the reluctance of authorities to lean on him or sanction him for not cooperating all the more puzzling. By law, federal agencies can use leverage short of termination, such as an unwelcome duty reassignment, to persuade employees to cooperate with investigators. Byrd was put on paid administrative leave during the investigative process. Byrd waited to speak publicly until after his statements could no longer be used against him in a criminal probe. The heavily promoted NBC “exclusive” told only his account of what happened with no opposing viewpoints. “I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6,” Byrd said. In defending his actions, Byrd told Holt things he evidently wouldn’t tell investigators, including his claim that he shot as “a last resort” and only after warning Babbitt to stop. However, documents uncovered by Judicial Watch reveal that eyewitnesses — including three police officers at the scene — told investigators they did not hear Byrd give Babbitt any verbal warnings prior to firing, contradicting what Byrd told NBC. The Babbitt family has maintained that the rushed investigation amounted to a "coverup" of misconduct by the officer. It says the federal probe was conducted under political pressure, arguing that Byrd was not put through the normal rigors of a police shooting investigation to avoid making a martyr of Babbitt, an avid Donald Trump supporter. An Air Force veteran from California, Babbitt died while wearing a Trump flag as a cape. The former president has demanded the Justice Department reinvestigate her death. Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas, a former sheriff, argued Babbitt’s shooting should have been presented to a federal grand jury. “This case was mishandled from the very beginning,” the Republican lawmaker told the U.S. attorney who led the probe for the Justice Department in a recent letter. In a separate letter to the Capitol Police chief, Nehls wrote: “Many officers in the USCP I have spoken to believe the investigations of Lt. Boyd were dropped because of his position and other political considerations." Use-of-Force Experts Skeptical Some use-of-force experts are skeptical Byrd did the right thing, even after watching his largely sympathetic NBC interview. “The limited public information that exists raises serious questions about the propriety of Byrd’s decision to shoot, especially with regard to the assessment that Babbitt was an imminent threat,” said police consultants and criminologists Geoffrey Alpert, Jeff Noble and Seth Stoughton in a recent Lawfare article.“We have serious reservations about the propriety of the shooting,” they wrote. They said they doubted Byrd’s claims that he reasonably believed Babbitt “was posing a threat” and had the ability and intention to kill or seriously injure Byrd or other officers or lawmakers and therefore had to be stopped with lethal force. They noted that he admitted to Holt that he never actually saw Babbitt, who stood 5-foot-2 and weighed 110 pounds, brandish a weapon. Babbitt was shot by Byrd a year ago when she and other pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol amid efforts to stop Congress from certifying the state results of the 2020 election of Joe Biden. They sought to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject electors from Arizona and other states, where narrow results were challenged by Trump and his lawyers over allegations of voter fraud and other election irregularities.Roberts and the Babbitt family are preparing to sue Byrd and the Capitol Police in a wrongful-death claim seeking at least $10 million in damages. Asked why his client chose not to go on the record and cooperate with investigators, Byrd’s attorney, Mark Schamel, declined comment. In an earlier interview, Schamel maintained the shooting was justified and that there is no basis for a civil case against his client. The federal investigation of the lethal shooting was marked by secrecy and other irregularities. Unlike other officers involved in fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, Byrd was long shielded from public scrutiny after shooting Babbitt as she tried to climb through a broken window of a barricaded door at the Capitol. For eight months D.C. police officials withheld Byrd’s identity, first revealed by RealClearInvestigations, and they have not released a formal review of the shooting, or the 28-year veteran's disciplinary records. Nor did the Capitol Police hold a briefing on Babbitt's death. Records uncovered by Judicial Watch reveal authorities ordered her body cremated two days after the shooting, without her husband's permission. No Babbitt probe yet: Chairman Bennie Thompson, left, with Republicans Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger. AP/Scott Applewhite Meanwhile, the feds have thrown the book at suspected Jan. 6 rioters — publicly identifying them on a Justice Department website — and are still engaged in a national manhunt for suspects. More than 725 defendants have been charged mostly for relatively minor offenses ranging from trespassing to disorderly conduct.So far, the select House committee set up to investigate the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol has not explored the most lethal violence that occurred that day. Byrd was responsible for the only shot fired during the riot – all other armed officers showed restraint, including 140 who were injured confronting rioters -- and Babbitt was the only person directly killed on that day. Like the other rioters, she carried no firearm — no guns were recovered from the Capitol. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has pledged to “investigate fully the facts and circumstances of these events.” Asked if the police shooting is on the agenda for public hearings planned for this winter, or whether it will be addressed in a final report scheduled for release before November’s congressional elections, a committee spokesman declined comment. Trump and GOP leaders have accused the panel, which is composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans, of trying to damage pro-Trump Republicans ahead of the midterms by claiming they helped orchestrate an “insurrection” and continue to pose "a threat to democracy." ‘Point-Blank Range’ Unlike in a criminal investigation, there is no right to remain silent in a civil case. Wrongful-death litigation claiming negligence may hinge on whether Byrd warned Babbitt before opening fire on her. Roberts said Babbitt, a former military police officer who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, would have complied with commands to stop and peacefully surrendered had Byrd or other Capitol officers attempted to arrest her. But he said additional eyewitnesses he’s interviewed say Byrd never gave her such verbal commands. He said Babbitt wasn’t even aware that the officer was nearby because he was positioned in a doorway of a room off to the side of the Speaker’s Lobby doors. Byrd, whose mouth was covered with a surgical mask, took aim outside her field of vision and fired as her head emerged through the window. Roberts compared her shooting to an “execution.” “Killing her by shooting her at point-blank range was completely unnecessary,” he said. “This alone renders the shooting legally unjustified.” Roberts pointed out that Byrd had mishandled his firearm in the past. He was the subject of a previous internal investigation for leaving his loaded service pistol in a Capitol restroom. It’s not clear if he was disciplined. At the time, the lieutenant reportedly told officers he would not be punished due to his high rank, which he kept despite the incident. But in the NBC interview, he said he was “penalized” for the 2019 misstep, without elaborating. A USCP spokeswoman declined to respond to repeated requests for information about any discipline administered for his misconduct. Byrd could not be reached for comment, but in the NBC interview he denied receiving special treatment. “Of course not,” he said. “No way." Before filing a lawsuit naming a federal agency, Roberts has to send a formal complaint for a claim for “damage, injury or death” — known as a federal form SF-95 — to USCP and wait for a response. He sent the notice in May and is still waiting for the Capitol Police to reply. “We have received the SF-95 from Ms. Babbitt’s family attorney,” USCP General Counsel Tad DiBiase confirmed to RCI in an email. He declined to say how the department plans to respond: “I cannot comment on that." In the meantime, Roberts said he is interviewing witnesses and also building a case from documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act.“I am still reviewing records obtained in FOIA action and there are more coming,” he said. “I am in no rush." Tyler Durden Wed, 01/12/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 13th, 2022

Biden Accuses Trump Of Spinning "Web Of Lies" While Promising To "Defend Democracy" In Jan. 6 Speech

Biden Accuses Trump Of Spinning "Web Of Lies" While Promising To "Defend Democracy" In Jan. 6 Speech Update (0940ET): Just as expected, President Biden came out swinging in his speech Thursday morning, but still somehow missed the mark. Although he never mentioned Trump by name, the 79-year-old geriatric president tried his hardest to sound virile. "I will stand in the breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to put a dagger to the throat of American democracy," Biden announced. At this point, we're mostly surprised he managed to wake up this early. In its review of the speech, the NYT wondered if this is a preview of the kind of rhetoric Americans are likely to see heading into the midterms this fall - and 2024 just around the corner after that. The strategy worked for Dems in 2020, but has been less effective in the months since, as the electorate has focused mostly on surging inflation and COVID numbers, issues that directly impact most Americans. At one point, Biden proclaimed that his predecessor wasn't just "a former president but a defeated former president". He also blasted Trump for doing "nothing" for hours as the "assault" on the Capitol ground on. He also accused his main political rival of spinning a "web of lies" and for placing his own ego above protecting Democracy. At least one GOP senator, Lindsey Graham, accused Biden of brazenly politicizing the occasion. What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden. I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried? — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 6, 2022 * * * As President Biden attempts to squeeze as much political capital as he can out of the anniversary of the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol, the White House has informed the press that Biden intends to accuse his predecessor, President Trump, of having "singular responsibility" for the events of that day. The remarks come as the new AG Merrick Garland insists that anyone involved with that day's events will be prosecuted, whether they were present or not. We'll set aside the fact that the AG has stopped just short of openly calling for Americans to be persecuted for thought crimes, and focus on the matter at hand: that President Biden's sagging polling and twin devils of inflation and the current COVID surge have left him in a desperate position. In ten months, Americans will head to the polls in what's bound to be a closely watched midterm election. It's possible Democrats could lose both of their narrow Congressional majorities. To try and stop this from happening, Biden needs to try and scare Americans into remembering how bad the last guy was. And he intends to accomplish this with high-handed rhetoric about media lies and the "subversion" of Democracy. Biden is set to speak live from the Statuary Hall of the Capitol at 0900ET. Readers can watch live below: The Biden Team has already distributed select excerpts from the president's planned remarks to the media. In one quip, Biden exhorts Americans not to accept "political violence as the norm". "Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people?” Biden will say in his speech, according to excerpts provided by the White House. “We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation." As Bloomberg points out in its coverage, Biden appears to be abandoning a strategy of not mentioning Trump directly. As his poll numbers continue to sag, Biden and his team are going to try "reengaging" with Trump (on a purely rhetorical basis) to see if this might help lift Biden's sagging approval rating. The day represents "a rhetorical opportunity" for Biden to change the narrative of his flailing presidency and "reorient" the conversation away from the disastrous handling of the COVID pandemic and toward something more politically useful for the Democrats. Speaking during yesterday's White House press briefing, Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted that Biden was "personally" affected by the events of Jan. 6. "It hit him personally", she said (though not as personally as it hit AOC, who infamously lied about the "rioters" threatening her during the "siege". Psaki also claimed Biden would be discussing "the truth" of what happened that day, while pushing back against "lies" and the "subversion" of American democracy. Biden's comments are part of a "day long" parade of speeches from top Democrats including - of course - Nancy Pelosi. The speeches will focus on the importance of "democracy" and dovetail with Biden's planned push to reject voter ID laws that are increasingly being implemented across the country at the state level. Pelosi, Biden and VP Kamala Harris will all speak at the Capitol (starting at 0900ET, as we noted above). After a morning of remarks, a House pro forma session will be held on the House floor at noon, with prayer, a statement from the chair and a moment of silence. At 1300ET, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden will moderate a conversation between historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham to "establish and preserve the narrative" of Jan. 6.  At 1430ET, members of Congress will reflect on Jan. 6, presided over by Representative Jason Crowe. A prayer vigil will be held at 1730ET. One person we won't be hearing from Thursday (thanks in part to the ongoing social media blackout): President Trump. He has cancelled a planned press conference at Mar a Lago at the urging of allies, according to Bloomberg. Although we wouldn't be surprised to hear something from him, perhaps in the form of a statement disseminated through one of his former aides, or  perhaps on Gettr. Both Pelosi and Schumer have released statements to mark the occasion: Pelosi's comments came in the form of a press release: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a singular message for Americans and the world on the eve of the anniversary of the horrific attack on the Capitol: “Democracy won.” In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, steps from where a mob loyal to Donald Trump laid siege to the building, Pelosi said it’s time for the country to turn to its “better angels,” draw from history and ensure a day like Jan. 6 never happens again. “Make no mistake, our democracy was on the brink of catastrophe,” Pelosi told the AP. “Democracy won that night,” she said. “These people, because of the courageous work of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police and others, they were deterred in their action to stop the peaceful transfer of power. They lost.” The speaker will lead Congress on Thursday in a day of remembrance at the Capitol, with President Joe Biden speaking in the morning, and historians and lawmakers sharing remembrances throughout the day — though few Republicans are expected to attend. The deadly insurrection stunned the country, and the world, as rioters ransacked the Capitol, some in hand-to-hand combat with police, after a defeated President Trump exhorted them to fight as Congress was certifying the Biden’s election. Pelosi said no one could have imagined a U.S. president calling for an insurrection, but there’s now an “enormous civic lesson learned as to what a president is capable of,” she said. “I think now people are alerted to the fact that there can be rogue presidents.” The California congresswoman, who made history 15 years ago as the first female speaker of the House -- and has become one of the most powerful leaders ever to have held the gavel -- said she bears “absolutely no sense of responsibility” for the current divisions in Congress, or the country. After having twice led the House to impeach Trump, she said her message to those who assaulted the Capitol — and the millions of Americans who backed Trump and may support him again — is that they were lied to. Countless court cases and investigations have shown no evidence of voter fraud that could have tipped the election, as he claims. “They may have thought that was right,” she said. ”But they were lied to by the president of the United States.” For that, she said, “he should be ashamed.” Sitting beneath a portrait of George Washington, Pelosi drew heavily on the founders’ vision for a country where Americans would have many differences but rely on common sense to resolve them. She drew on Abraham Lincoln’s time -- insisting on constructing the dome of the Capitol despite naysayers during the Civil War-- to keep the country together. “We cannot shirk our responsibility. We have the power and we have the responsibility and we will live up to that to keep our country together,” she said. “Let’s hope that we never elect a president who will incite an insurrection on the Congress of the United States.” Looking back on the night of Jan. 6 after the riot, Pelosi said she is most proud of the decision congressional leaders made, once the Capitol was cleared of the mob, to quickly return to certify the election results. She hopes to “soon” reopen the mostly shuttered Capitol -- a “symbol of democracy to the world,“ now closed longer than any other time in its history — once the coronavirus pandemic wanes and the physician’s office signals it is safe. And Pelosi urged Americans to look ahead, not back. “The future is America’s resilience, America’s greatness,” she said. “America will always prevail and that we will survive — even what we went through last year.” And here are Schumer's: Dear Colleague: As we approach the anniversary of the January 6 attack on our Capitol and our democracy, I am writing to follow up on my last Dear Colleague before Christmas, specifically to outline next steps on urgently-needed voting rights legislation. One year ago this week, we experienced great sorrow: mere hours after the dawn of a new Congress and a new Majority, our beloved Capitol was attacked. It was attacked in a naked attempt to derail our Republic’s most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power. Domestic violent extremists sought to inflict chaos and violence. Fueled by conspiracy and the ravings of a vengeful former President, they sought to destroy our Republic. Our democracy held – for now. As we all are witnessing, the attacks on our democracy have not ceased. In fact, they have only accelerated. Much like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol nearly one year ago, Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president’s Big Lie about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions. While these actions all proceed under the guise of so-called “election integrity”, the true aim couldn’t be more clear. They want to unwind the progress of our Union, restrict access to the ballot, silence the voices of millions of voters, and undermine free and fair elections. They wish to propagate the Big Lie perpetuated by the former president that our elections are not on the level. Make no mistake about it: this week Senate Democrats will make clear that what happened on January 6th and the one-sided, partisan actions being taken by Republican-led state legislatures across the country are directly linked, and we can and must take strong action to stop this antidemocratic march. Specifically, as we honor the brave Capitol police officers who defended us from those motivated by the Big Lie who tried to undo a fair and free election, Senate Democrats will continue to make the case for passing voting rights legislation to counter the Republican voter suppression and election nullification laws with the same anti-democratic motives born out of the Big Lie. Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness - an effort to delegitimize our election process, and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration – they will be the new norm. Given the urgency of the situation and imminence of the votes, we as Senate Democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their Senators the importance of acting and reforming the Senate rules, if that becomes a perquisite for action to save our democracy. Our Caucus has fought back against these assaults, uniting behind comprehensive legislation that would address these threats to our democracy. Sadly, these common-sense solutions to defend our democracy have been repeatedly blocked by our Republican colleagues, who seem wholly uninterested in taking any meaningful steps to stem the rising tide of antidemocratic sentiment still being stoked by the former president today. In June, August, October, and once more in November, Republicans weaponized arcane Senate rules to prevent even a simple debate on how to protect our democracy. The Senate was designed to protect the political rights of the minority in the chamber, through the promise of debate and the opportunity to amend. But over the years, those rights have been warped and contorted to obstruct and embarrass the will of majority – something our Founders explicitly opposed. The constitution specified what measures demanded a supermajority – including impeachment or the ratification of treaties. But they explicitly rejected supermajority requirements for legislation, having learned firsthand of such a requirement’s defects under the Articles of Confederation. The weaponization of rules once meant to short-circuit obstruction have been hijacked to guarantee obstruction. We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same? We must adapt. The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history. As former Senator Robert Byrd famously said, Senate Rules “must be changed to reflect changed circumstances.” Put more plainly by Senator Byrd, “Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past.” The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy. We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 09:58.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

Breaking Down Careers In Finance, From Hedge Funds To M&A

Corporate finance is a key pillar on which modern markets and economies have been built. And this complex ecosystem consists of a number of important sectors, which can lead to lucrative career avenues. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more From lending to investment banking, and private equity to hedge funds, the graphic above […] Corporate finance is a key pillar on which modern markets and economies have been built. And this complex ecosystem consists of a number of important sectors, which can lead to lucrative career avenues. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more From lending to investment banking, and private equity to hedge funds, the graphic above by Wall Street Prep breaks down the key finance careers and paths that people can take. Let’s take a further look at the unique pieces of this finance ecosystem. The Lending Business Lending groups provide much needed capital to corporations, often in the form of term loans or revolvers. These can be part of short and long-term operations or for events less anticipated like the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in companies shoring up $222 billion in revolving lines of credit within the first month. Investment Banking Next, is investment banking, which can split into three main areas: Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A): There’s a lot of preparation and paperwork involved whenever corporations merge or make acquisitions. For that reason, this is a crucial service that investment banks provide, and its importance is reflected in the enormous fees recognized. The top five U.S. investment banks collect $10.2 billion in M&A advisory fees, representing 40% of the $25 billion in global M&A fees per year. Loan Syndications: Some $16 billion in loan syndication fees are collected annually by investment banks. Loan syndications are when multiple lenders fund one borrower, which can occur when the loan amount is too large or risky for one party to take on. The loan syndication agent is the financial institution involved that acts as the third party to oversee the transaction. Capital Markets: Capital markets are financial markets that bring buyers and sellers together to engage in transactions on assets. They split into debt capital markets (DCM) like bonds or fixed income securities and equity capital markets (ECM) (i.e. stocks). Some $41 billion is collected globally for the services associated with structuring and distributing stock and bond offerings. The top investment banks generally all come from the U.S. and Western Europe, and includes the likes of Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. Sell Side vs Buy Side Thousands of analysts in corporate finance represent both the buy and sell-sides of the business, but what are the differences between them? One important difference is in the groups they represent. Buy-side analysts usually work for institutions that buy securities directly, like hedge funds, while sell-side analysts represent institutions that make their money by selling or issuing securities, like investment banks. According to Wall Street Prep, here’s how the assets of buy-side institutions compare: Buy side institution Total assets Mutual Funds, ETFs $21 trillion Private equity $5 trillion Hedge funds $3 trillion Venture capital $0.5 trillion Also, buy-side jobs appear to be more sought after across financial career forums. Breaking Down The Buy Side Mutual funds, ETFs, and hedge funds all generally invest in public markets. But between them, there are still some differentiating factors. For starters, mutual funds are the largest entity, and have been around since 1924. Hedge funds didn’t come to life until around 1950 and for ETFs, this stretched to the 1990s. Furthermore, hedge funds are strict in the clients they take on, with a preference for high net worth investors, and they often engage in sophisticated investment strategies like short selling. In contrast, ETFs, and mutual funds are widely available to the public and the vast bulk of them only deploy long strategies, which are those that expect the asset to rise in value. Private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) are groups that invest in private companies. Venture capital is technically a form of PE but tends to invest in new startup companies while private equity goes for more stable and mature companies with predictable cash flow patterns. Who funds the buy side? The source of capital roughly breaks down as follows: Source of capital Capital amount Individuals $112 trillion Banks $51 trillion Pension funds $34 trillion Insurance Companies $24 trillion Endowments $1.4 trillion Endowment funds are foundations that invest the assets of nonprofit institutions like hospitals or universities. The assets are typically accumulated through donations, and withdrawals are made frequently to fund various parts of operations, including critical ones like research. The largest university endowment belongs to Harvard with some $74 billion in assets under management. However, the largest endowment fund overall belongs to Ensign Peak Advisors. They represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), with some $124 billion in assets. Primary Market vs Secondary Market One of the primary motivations for a company to enter the public markets is to raise capital, where a slice of the company’s ownership is sold via an allotment of shares to new investors. The actual capital itself is raised in the primary market, which represents the first and initial transaction. The secondary market represents transactions after the first. These are considered stocks that are already issued, and shares now fluctuate based on market forces. Tying It All Together As the infographic above shows, corporate finance branches out far and wide, handles trillions of dollars, and plays a key part in making modern markets and economies possible. For those exploring a career in finance, the possibilities and avenues one can take are practically endless. Article by Visual Capitalist Updated on Jan 5, 2022, 4:21 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 5th, 2022

How Addictive Social Media Algorithms Could Finally Face a Reckoning in 2022

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are under mounting pressure to reform the ways in which they're built to be addictive for users In the face of claims that they prioritize profits over people, Facebook and Instagram are under mounting pressure to reform the ways in which their platforms are built to be addictive for users. Experts say this increased scrutiny could signal that the social media industry’s current business model is due for a significant disruption. Often compared to Big Tobacco for the ways in which their products are addictive and profitable but ultimately unhealthy for users, social media’s biggest players are facing growing calls for both accountability and regulatory action. In order to make money, these platforms’ algorithms effectively function to keep users engaged and scrolling through content, and by extension advertisements, for as long as possible. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “[These companies] aren’t being held accountable for any of their business practices,” says Sherry Fowler, a professor of practice in information technology and business analytics at North Carolina State University. “I think we’re at the same point [with Big Tech] that we were when Big Tobacco was forced to share the research on how its products were harming individuals. There had to be this mass campaign to inform the public because, at that point, a lot of people didn’t even know that tobacco was addictive. Here we have something that’s just as addictive and we’ve allowed the companies not to have to answer to anybody. Certain industries can’t run rampant without any rules being enforced.” With bipartisan consensus growing that more must be done to combat how social media’s leading platforms drive engagement by employing algorithmic tools that are destructive to individual and societal wellbeing, government intervention seems more inevitable—and imminent—than ever in the year ahead. Bipartisan lawmakers have already introduced a House bill dubbed the Filter Bubble Transparency Act that would require platforms to offer a version of their services where content is not selected by “opaque algorithms” that draw on personal user data to generate recommendations. As Republican Rep. Ken Buck, one of the representatives sponsoring the legislation, told Axios, “Consumers should have the option to engage with internet platforms without being manipulated by secret algorithms driven by user-specific data.” But the question remains: Is real change possible? The dark side of addictive algorithms While concerns over addictive algorithms extend beyond the two platforms owned by Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, internal documents—sometimes referred to as the “Facebook Papers”—leaked in recent months by Facebook product manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen have shone a spotlight on the harmful effects that Facebook and Instagram specifically can have on users, and especially young users. In her October testimony to a Senate Commerce subcommittee, Haugen said that Facebook’s use of “engagement-based ranking”—an algorithmic system that rewards posts that generate the most likes, comments and shares—and heavy weighting of “meaningful social interactions”—content that generates strong reactions—has resulted in a system that’s amplified divisive content on the platform, fostered hate speech and misinformation, and incited violence. Read more: Why Frances Haugen Is ‘Super Scared’ About Facebook’s Metaverse On Instagram, these mechanisms push children and teens to harmful content that can lead to body image issues, mental health crises and bullying. Internal research leaked by Haugen showed that some of the features that play a key role in Instagram’s success and addictive nature, like the Explore page, which serves users curated posts based on their interests, are among the most harmful to young people. “Aspects of Instagram exacerbate each other to create a perfect storm,” one report read. Meta did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment on potential algorithmic changes. Popular video platforms like TikTok and YouTube have also come under fire for employing algorithmic recommendation systems that can lead viewers down dangerous—and addictive—rabbit holes, with the New York Times reporting in December that a copy of an internal document detailing the four main goals of TikTok’s algorithm was leaked by a source who was “disturbed by the app’s push toward ‘sad’ content that could induce self-harm.” In response to a request for comment, a TikTok spokesperson pointed TIME to a Dec. 16 Newsroom post on the work the platform is doing to safeguard and diversify its For You feed recommendations. “As we continue to develop new strategies to interrupt repetitive patterns, we’re looking at how our system can better vary the kinds of content that may be recommended in a sequence,” the post read. “That’s why we’re testing ways to avoid recommending a series of similar content—such as around extreme dieting or fitness, sadness, or breakups—to protect against viewing too much of a content category that may be fine as a single video but problematic if viewed in clusters.” Continued lack of transparency Still, one of the major challenges posed by regulating these platforms is the continued lack of transparency surrounding their inner workings. “We don’t know a ton about just how bad these networks are, in part, because it’s so hard to research them,” says Ethan Zuckerman, an associate professor of public policy, communication and information at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “We’re relying on Frances Haugen’s leaks rather than doing [independent] research because, in most cases, we can’t get the data that actually tells the story.” When it comes to hate speech, extremism and misinformation, Zuckerman says the algorithm might not even be the most dangerous part of the problem. “I tend to think the algorithm part of the story is overhyped,” he says. “There’s a decent amount of research out there on YouTube—which is a lot easier to study than Facebook, for instance—that suggests the algorithm is really only a small part of the equation and the real problem is people who are looking for hateful or extreme speech on the platform and finding it. Similarly, when you look at some of what’s happened around misinformation and disinformation, there’s some pretty good evidence that it’s not necessarily being algorithmically fed to people, but that people are choosing to join groups in which it’s the currency of the day.” But without the ability to obtain more data, researchers like Zuckerman aren’t able to fully get to the root of these escalating issues. “The very little bits of information that have been made available by companies like Facebook are intriguing, but they’re sort of just hints of what’s actually going on,” he says. “In some cases, it’s more than just the platform would have to give us more data. It’s that we would actually need the ability to go in and audit these platforms in a meaningful way.” Referencing the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal—wherein the political consulting firm harvested the data of at least 87 million Facebook users in order to help elect Donald Trump as president—Zuckerman says that Facebook and other companies rely on user privacy as a defense for not sharing more information. “These companies claim that they can’t be more transparent without violating user privacy,” he says. “Facebook invokes privacy as a way of preventing [third-party] research from taking place. So the barrier to [evaluating how the algorithm actually works] is Facebook will use privacy as an excuse for why meaningful investigation of the platform can’t take place.” However, if Congress were to step in and pass new laws addressing these issues, Zuckerman says it could be a catalyst for real change. “The place where we have the best chance at progress is legislating a certain amount of transparency,” he says. “If we believe as a society that these tools are really powerful and doing damage to us, it makes perfect sense that we would try to audit them so that we can understand what that damage might be.” A need for congressional intervention During Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri’s first-ever appearance before Congress on Dec. 8, several members of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security took the stance that Instagram’s recent efforts to make the platform safer for young users are “too little, too late” and that the time for self-policing without congressional intervention is over. These remarks seemed to signal that regulatory legislation designed to reign in Facebook, Instagram and other platforms could be on the horizon in the coming year. From Fowler’s perspective, this is the only way that the threats posed by addictive algorithms, as well as other aspects of the Big Tech business model, will begin to be mitigated. “I’m very doubtful that unless they are compelled by law to do something that they will self-correct,” she says. “We’re not going to be able to do anything without Congress acting. We’ve had so many hearings now and it’s quite obvious the companies aren’t going to police themselves. There aren’t any Big Tech players that can regulate the industry because they’re all in it together and they all work exactly the same way. So we must implement laws.” The Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act, a bill introduced by House Democrats in October, would create an amendment in Section 230—a portion of the Communications Decency Act that protects companies from legal liability for content posted on their platforms—that would hold a company responsible when it “knowingly or recklessly uses an algorithm or other technology to recommend content that materially contributes to physical or severe emotional injury.” However, party divisions combined with the fact that it’s a congressional election year gives Fowler pause over the likeliness of whether there will be any tangible progress made in 2022. “My suggestion is that [politicians] move forward on what they agree on with regard to this topic—specifically in the area of how social media impacts minors,” she says, “and not focus on why they agree, because they have different reasons for coming to a similar conclusion.” Whether Big Tech giants will ever be able to reach a point where they’re truly prioritizing people over profits remains to be seen, but Zuckerman notes that companies like Facebook don’t have a great track record in that regard. “Facebook is a phenomenally profitable company. If they care about protecting users from mis- and disinformation, they have enormous amounts of money to invest in it. Something that’s become very clear from the Facebook Papers is that their systems just aren’t very good and probably have not been very heavily invested in. And that’s the problem that comes up again and again and again with them.” Instead, Zuckerman suggests that a different way of looking at the societal harms caused by social media may be more apt: “At a certain point we have to start asking ourselves the question: Do we want our digital public sphere, the space in which we’re talking about politics and news and the future, to be run by for profit companies? And very lightly regulated for-profit companies at that.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 4th, 2022

Wall Street Analysts See a 151% Upside in Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (KNSA): Can the Stock Really Move This High?

The average of price targets set by Wall Street analysts indicates a potential upside of 150.6% in Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (KNSA). While the effectiveness of this highly sought-after metric is questionable, the positive trend in earnings estimate revisions might translate into an upside in the stock. Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (KNSA) closed the last trading session at $11.97, gaining 0.3% over the past four weeks, but there could be plenty of upside left in the stock if short-term price targets set by Wall Street analysts are any guide. The mean price target of $30 indicates a 150.6% upside potential.The average comprises three short-term price targets ranging from a low of $26 to a high of $37, with a standard deviation of $6.08. While the lowest estimate indicates an increase of 117.2% from the current price level, the most optimistic estimate points to a 209.1% upside. More than the range, one should note the standard deviation here, as it helps understand the variability of the estimates. The smaller the standard deviation, the greater the agreement among analysts.While the consensus price target is a much-coveted metric for investors, solely banking on this metric to make an investment decision may not be wise at all. That's because the ability and unbiasedness of analysts in setting price targets have long been questionable.But, for KNSA, an impressive average price target is not the only indicator of a potential upside. Strong agreement among analysts about the company's ability to report better earnings than they predicted earlier strengthens this view. While a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions doesn't gauge how much a stock could gain, it has proven to be powerful in predicting an upside.Here's What You May Not Know About Analysts' Price TargetsAccording to researchers at several universities across the globe, a price target is one of many pieces of information about a stock that misleads investors far more often than it guides. In fact, empirical research shows that price targets set by several analysts, irrespective of the extent of agreement, rarely indicate where the price of a stock could actually be heading.While Wall Street analysts have deep knowledge of a company's fundamentals and the sensitivity of its business to economic and industry issues, many of them tend to set overly optimistic price targets. Are you wondering why?They usually do that to drum up interest in shares of companies that their firms either have existing business relationships with or are looking to be associated with. In other words, business incentives of firms covering a stock often result in inflated price targets set by analysts.However, a tight clustering of price targets, which is represented by a low standard deviation, indicates that analysts have a high degree of agreement about the direction and magnitude of a stock's price movement. While that doesn't necessarily mean the stock will hit the average price target, it could be a good starting point for further research aimed at identifying the potential fundamental driving forces.That said, while investors should not entirely ignore price targets, making an investment decision solely based on them could lead to disappointing ROI. So, price targets should always be treated with a high degree of skepticism.Here's Why There Could be Plenty of Upside Left in KNSAThere has been increasing optimism among analysts lately about the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates higher. And that could be a legitimate reason to expect an upside in the stock. After all, empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has increased 0.2% over the past month, as one estimate has gone higher compared to no negative revision.Moreover, KNSA currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which means it is in the top 20% of more than the 4,000 stocks that we rank based on four factors related to earnings estimates. Given an impressive externally-audited track record, this is a more conclusive indication of the stock's potential upside in the near term. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>Therefore, while the consensus price target may not be a reliable indicator of how much KNSA could gain, the direction of price movement it implies does appear to be a good guide. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (KNSA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022

Wall Street Analysts Think Vaxcyte, Inc. (PCVX) Could Surge 96%: Read This Before Placing a Bet

The average of price targets set by Wall Street analysts indicates a potential upside of 96.5% in Vaxcyte, Inc. (PCVX). While the effectiveness of this highly sought-after metric is questionable, the positive trend in earnings estimate revisions might translate into an upside in the stock. Shares of Vaxcyte, Inc. (PCVX) have gained 24.8% over the past four weeks to close the last trading session at $25.45, but there could still be a solid upside left in the stock if short-term price targets of Wall Street analysts are any indication. Going by the price targets, the mean estimate of $50 indicates a potential upside of 96.5%.The mean estimate comprises three short-term price targets with a standard deviation of $5. While the lowest estimate of $45 indicates a 76.8% increase from the current price level, the most optimistic analyst expects the stock to surge 116.1% to reach $55. It's very important to note the standard deviation here, as it helps understand the variability of the estimates. The smaller the standard deviation, the greater the agreement among analysts.While the consensus price target is a much-coveted metric for investors, solely banking on this metric to make an investment decision may not be wise at all. That's because the ability and unbiasedness of analysts in setting price targets have long been questionable.However, an impressive consensus price target is not the only factor that indicates a potential upside in PCVX. This view is strengthened by the agreement among analysts that the company will report better earnings than what they estimated earlier. Though a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions doesn't give any idea as to how much the stock could surge, it has proven effective in predicting an upside.Here's What You May Not Know About Analysts' Price TargetsAccording to researchers at several universities across the globe, a price target is one of many pieces of information about a stock that misleads investors far more often than it guides. In fact, empirical research shows that price targets set by several analysts, irrespective of the extent of agreement, rarely indicate where the price of a stock could actually be heading.While Wall Street analysts have deep knowledge of a company's fundamentals and the sensitivity of its business to economic and industry issues, many of them tend to set overly optimistic price targets. Are you wondering why?They usually do that to drum up interest in shares of companies that their firms either have existing business relationships with or are looking to be associated with. In other words, business incentives of firms covering a stock often result in inflated price targets set by analysts.However, a tight clustering of price targets, which is represented by a low standard deviation, indicates that analysts have a high degree of agreement about the direction and magnitude of a stock's price movement. While that doesn't necessarily mean the stock will hit the average price target, it could be a good starting point for further research aimed at identifying the potential fundamental driving forces.That said, while investors should not entirely ignore price targets, making an investment decision solely based on them could lead to disappointing ROI. So, price targets should always be treated with a high degree of skepticism.Why PCVX Could Witness a Solid UpsideThere has been increasing optimism among analysts lately about the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates higher. And that could be a legitimate reason to expect an upside in the stock. After all, empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has increased 3.7% over the past month, as one estimate has gone higher compared to no negative revision.Moreover, PCVX currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), which means it is in the top 20% of more than the 4,000 stocks that we rank based on four factors related to earnings estimates. Given an impressive externally-audited track record, this is a more conclusive indication of the stock's potential upside in the near term. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>Therefore, while the consensus price target may not be a reliable indicator of how much PCVX could gain, the direction of price movement it implies does appear to be a good guide. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Vaxcyte, Inc. (PCVX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022