Supreme Court vaccine mandate ruling a "high-profile setback" for Labor Department: Eugene Scalia

Eugene Scalia says the Supreme Court's decision to block President Biden's OSHA vaccine mandate is a major setback for the Labor Department, shrinking their authority......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 14th, 2022

10 Things in Politics: SCOTUS seems likely to undercut Roe

And some Republicans are threatening a government shutdown over vaccine mandates. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to's what we're talking about:The Supreme Court seems open to undermining Roe v. WadeRepublicans may shut down the government over vaccine mandatesElizabeth Holmes' emotional testimony may have saved herProtesters, demonstrators, and activists in front of the US Supreme Court on Wednesday.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images1. AT THE SUPREME COURT: Justices appear ready to fundamentally change abortion rights in the US by reversing one of the major parts of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.Here are some of the major takeaways from oral arguments:None of the court's conservative justices appear to want the status quo: The Mississippi law that would prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks is a direct challenge to an underpinning of Roe that prohibits states from outlawing abortions before the point of fetal viability, roughly 22 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy, The Washington Post reports. Justices' comments seem to strongly indicate that line will be moved.Key quote: "Why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line?" Chief Justice John Roberts asked during oral arguments yesterday. Roberts, who is viewed as the most moderate of the court's six conservative justices, said Mississippi's 15-week deadline was not a "dramatic departure" from Roe's red line.And some are ready to ditch Roe entirely: Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch asked questions that strongly indicated they saw no middle ground on the topic, The New York Times reports. Meaning, they would like the court to overturn Roe entirely and allow states to determine the extent of abortion bans. Just years ago, some considered it far-fetched that Roe would be completely overturned.Here's what would happen then: Many states have laws in the books that would automatically limit access to abortion once allowed by the courts. Twelve states have so-called trigger laws that would explicitly ban most abortions. Others such as Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan have currently unenforced abortion bans that predate Roe.The spotlight is on Justice Brett Kavanaugh: During his contentious confirmation hearings, Kavanaugh told senators that Roe was "settled as precedent." During oral arguments, Kavanaugh appeared to differ from those remarks, The Post reports.More details: At one point, he cited a list of instances in which prior courts had ruled against precedent, including Brown v. Board, when a unanimous court overruled the "separate but equal" doctrine that had shielded segregation for generations.2. A top aide to Vice President Kamala Harris is leaving: Symone Sanders, Harris' chief spokesperson and senior advisor, is leaving Harris' office at the end of the year, Politico reports. It's not immediately clear where Sanders will go, but she is set to be the second high-profile staffer to leave the vice president's office after a tumultuous first year. More on what's happening in Harris' orbit.3. Republicans may shut down the government over vaccine mandates: A small group of GOP senators and House Republicans are threatening to derail a government-funding bill over a push to include amendments defunding the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Their effort is reminiscent of the 2013 government shutdown when Republican lawmakers dug in their heels in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act only to cave when Democrats and President Barack Obama refused to acquiesce to their demands. Here's where talks stand ahead of Friday night's deadline.4. First US Omicron case is detected in California: The University of California at San Francisco spotted the case in an infected traveler, an adult under age 50, who had returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for the coronavirus on November 29. The person is said to be fully vaccinated with "mild symptoms that are improving." More on the news.A police road block restricting access to Oxford High School after a shooting Tuesday in Oxford, Michigan.Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images5. Prosecutors may charge the parents of the Michigan school-shooting suspect: Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said prosecutors expected to charge the suspect, identified as Ethan Crumbley, with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of felony firearm possession. She added that evidence indicated the shooting was planned. Authorities say Crumbley's father just last Friday purchased the pistol used in the shooting. Here's what else we're learning about what happened.6. Meadows says Trump tested positive for coronavirus before his chaotic first debate with Biden: Former President Donald Trump lashed out at his former chief of staff Mark Meadows over Meadows' claim that Trump tested positive on September 26, three days before his indoor, in-person presidential debate with Joe Biden, and later tested negative. Meadows also writes in his new book that Trump's doctor Sean Conley instructed the president's team to stop Trump from traveling to a campaign rally. Instead, Trump went ahead with his plans as scheduled and later talked to reporters on Air Force One without wearing a mask. Trump also went ahead with an event for Gold Star families, an event he later blamed with infecting him.7. Biden is preparing to extend a mask mandate for air travel: The White House is expected to extend a federal mandate for travelers in the US to wear face coverings on planes, trains, and buses, as well as in airports and other transit stations, Reuters reports. Here's how else things are changing in the face of the Omicron variant.8. Alec Baldwin says he never pulled the trigger before fatal shooting: "I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them," Baldwin told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, his first sit-down interview since the deadly incident on the set of his Western "Rust." Baldwin said he had "no idea" how a real bullet, something experienced Hollywood hands have said should never be on a film set, was in his gun. More from Baldwin's interview.Vicki Behringer9. Elizabeth Holmes' testimony may have saved her: Holmes, the embattled Theranos founder, and one of her top lawyers, Kevin Downey, "spent four days in court singing a pitch-perfect duet that attempted to portray her as the biggest victim of the company she founded," Adam Lashinsky wrote for Insider. Her tearful appearance didn't change the case against her, he said, but did exploit her skill as a storyteller — and could be enough to sway the jury.10. MLB has begun its first work stoppage in decades: America's national pastime is facing an uncertain future after owners locked out players early Thursday morning following the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement, the Associated Press reports. Until now, the sport had experienced labor peace for over 26 years. Here's where things stand as spring training and opening day are under threat.Today's trivia question: Speaking of MLB, who is the only person to have been elected to both the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the US Senate? It just so happens this person was instrumental in the history of the MLB players' union too. Email your answer and a suggested question to me at's answer: Henry Clay became secretary of state after the closely contested election of 1824. Andrew Jackson cried foul and rode his cries of a "corrupt bargain" straight into the White House. Historians still debate how explicit any backroom dealing was at the time.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2021

Make the Most of This Historic Market

Sheraz Mian goes over the bullish and bearish arguments for how investors should respond to an economy that's rapidly recovering from the pandemic and hitting new highs. The stock market’s recent behavior has been nothing less than spectacular and one for the record books.The market rebound that got underway in March last year still continues, with the major indexes at or near record levels. Helping the stock market’s momentum is optimism about the economy, with the U.S. economy expected to achieve a growth pace of close to +6% this year, despite the growth pace moderating in Q3.But there are those with less optimism about the outlook given the ongoing resurgence in infection levels and slow-moving vaccination efforts in many parts of the world that are allowing new strains of the virus to take hold. There are worries about inflation as well, with a vocal segment of the market disagreeing with the Fed’s ‘inflation-pressures-are-transitory’ outlook.The interplay of these competing views will determine how the market performs in the coming months and quarters. To that end, let’s examine the landscape of bullish and bearish arguments to help you make up your own mind.Let's talk about the Bull case first.A Strong Economic Rebound: The Q3 GDP growth deceleration from the first half’s pace is only temporary and reflective of transitory factors like supply-chain bottlenecks and the Delta variant. The overall growth backdrop remains very strong, with the U.S. economy expected to expand by close to +6% this year and more than +4% next year.Driving this favorable growth outlook is the U.S. household sector that remains in excellent financial health. The unprecedented fiscal support was instrumental in helping keep household finances in good shape through the pandemic, with labor market gains expected to sustain the momentum going forward. In addition to the elevated consumer spending outlook, adding depth to the economic rebound is a strong housing sector and continued factory sector momentum.These positive growth projections do not include contribution from the new infrastructure plan and other spending measures currently being considered in Congress.  All in all, the growth outlook hasn’t looked this good in a long while.Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Notification of Release: 5 Stocks Set to Double Five Zacks' experts each revealed their single favorite stock with the best chance to gain +100% and more in the months ahead. One tech stock has skyrocketed +1,200% since late 2017 and experts predict more stratospheric gains.¹Today, you are invited to download the just-released Special Report that names these stocks and spotlights why their gain potential is so exceptional.See Stocks Now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Expansive Fiscal Measures: The Biden administration’s ambitious spending plan has not been passed yet, but it is in-line with the extraordinary fiscal measures that have been in place since the start of the pandemic.Beyond the visible fiscal relief measures, the government’s proactive vaccine investments, under the current and previous administrations, allowed the economy to reopen and successfully handle the Delta variant that remains a problem in many parts of the world. The current U.S. debate about booster shots and children’s vaccines spotlight the vaccine supply abundance in the country that even many rich countries don’t enjoy.These policy measures helped replace lost wages for workers, assisted small businesses in staying open and staved off solvency issues in industries hit hard by the pandemic. Importantly, these and the coming measures will ensure an extended period of above-trend growth for the U.S. economy for the next few years.Supportive Fed: While there is some uncertainty in the market about the timing of the central bank’s tactical decisions as it initiates ‘tapering’ the current QE program, the market has a roadmap in the way the Fed concluded its last bond-purchase program in 2014.Importantly, the Fed’s ‘transitory’ inflation explanation assures that it will be deliberate and patient as it handles this key part of its mandate.The Fed’s hard-won credibility on the inflation question is one of the biggest tools in its arsenal as it leads the market in the current environment of evolving inflation expectations. What this means is that the central bank will continue to keep interest rates and overall financial conditions supportive of stocks for the foreseeable future.Let's see what the Bears have to say in response.Market Complacency about Economic Growth: The U.S. economy has been unable to sustain the first half’s strong growth momentum, as this week’s Q3 GDP report will show. The market appears too sanguine about the growth deceleration, seeing the trend as resulting from temporary factors like Delta that will reverse from Q4 onwards.While Covid infection rates have thankfully come down, some of the other headwinds like supply-chain challenges that weighed on the economy in Q3 are still with us. As such, the growth deceleration in Q3 could very well continue in Q4 and beyond. This will be in contrast to current consensus estimates that suggest growth rebounding in the current period (2021 Q4) after losing steam in Q3.Tied to the growth question is the issue of inflation, which the market appears comfortable seeing from the Fed’s standpoint as ‘transitory’ in nature. The consensus view on growth and inflation could very well be on target, but it would nevertheless pay to be prepared for the dreaded scenario of low growth and high inflation as well.A Durable Hit to Confidence? The risk to human life, a function of the highly contagious pathogen, has been a unique aspect of this economic downturn. As a result, previously benign activities like eating out or taking a flight or any activity that involved physical interaction with others got weaponized.Public health officials keep emphasizing that the Covid vaccines provide sufficient immunity against Delta and other variants. This should help sustain the momentum towards increased reopening and social interactions that became the norm in the U.S. since the Summer.That said, the pathogen has a wide pool of unvaccinated population globally where it can thrive and morph into even deadlier variants. With the new vaccine technology, one would expect a quicker turnaround from the industry to counter any new strain that offers significant challenges to the existing vaccines. But the emergence of any such new strains will nevertheless be a hit to confidence that will have consequences for the markets. The Market’s Fed Addiction: The market’s Fed dependence has only increased as a result of this pandemic. The central bank not only cut interest rates to near-zero, but has been playing an active role in ensuring market liquidity and backstopping corporate balance sheets.In an ideal world, the central bank will gradually remove the market’s ‘training wheels’ without creating uncertainty and volatility. But we know that we don’t live in an ideal world, which guarantees the coming period of monetary policy transition to generate uncertainty.The markets responded calmly to the Fed announcement in July that opened the door for a ‘taper’ decision in one of the coming meetings this year. It is possible that the Fed seamlessly executes this policy change without any disturbance, but the more likely outcome is at least some level of uncertainty that disturbs the markets.Where Do I Stand? I don’t dismiss the bearish arguments entirely, but I don’t see them adding up to coming in the way of the U.S. economy’s rebound or reversing the spectacular rally in the market.With most of the U.S. at-risk population already vaccinated, the risks posed by the Delta variant should be manageable and offer no durable hindrance to economic reopening.The issue is with regions beyond the U.S. that have far smaller proportions of their populations immunized and are forced to institute fresh restrictions in the face of this outbreak. That said, the worst of the pandemic’s economic and corporate earnings impact is now behind us, with the picture getting clearer as we move forward.As regular readers of my earnings commentary know, the earnings picture has not been this good in a long time, with estimates for the current and coming quarters steadily going up. This is a trend that I strongly feel will only accelerate in the coming months as we put the pandemic behind us.Markets are forward-looking pricing mechanisms; they have already discounted the economic rebound and are looking forward to the aforementioned turnaround in earnings outlook. Continued confirmation of this favorable trend will further strengthen bullish sentiment in the market.These are historic times for the economy and the market. And historic times create historic opportunities.All in all, this is the best time to be fully invested in the market, particularly if you are investing for the long haul.And I would definitely be a buyer on any dip because with economic growth this year and next to be the strongest in years, it looks like there's a lot more upside to go. How to Make This Historic Growth Work for You  Today is the perfect time to take advantage of the current strength of our economic recovery. That's why I'm inviting you to look into our unique arrangement called Zacks Investor Collection.It gives you access to the picks and commentary from all our long-term portfolios in real time for the next 30 days. Plus, it includes Zacks Premium research so you can find winning stocks, ETFs and mutual funds on your own.In 2020, these portfolios closed 67 double- and triple-digit gains and there have already been 48 more in 2021. The gains reached as high as +251.1%, +386.8% and even +995.2%.¹Here's a Head Start To put the odds of success even more in your favor, you are also invited to download our just-released Special Report, 5 Stocks Set to Double. Each stock was handpicked by a Zacks expert as their personal favorite to have the best chance of gaining +100% and more in the months ahead:Previous editions of this report have racked up some huge gains. Examples include Boston Beer Co. +143.0%, NVIDIA +175.9%, Weight Watchers +498.3% and Tesla +673.0%.¹Stock #1: Earnings Jumping by 10,050%??? That’s what analysts are predicting through year’s end for this well-run oil mid-cap! It has one of the best balance sheets in the industry and is positioned to take advantage of high demand and rising prices.Stock #2: Profiting from Modern Medicine’s Great Discovery Gene editing aims to cure a multitude of diseases, and Zacks names one company to gain the most in months to come. Its upcoming data release and superior patent profile offers a huge opportunity for investors.Stock #3: Stunning Gap Between Earnings and Stock Price This divergence always presents an opportunity, and a small pop culture consumer company plans to “completely disrupt its space.” Already, over the past year, its earnings beats are averaging 160% per quarter.  Stock #4: Unheard of Record for New Product Launch   Audiophiles love this consumer electronics company that blasted past forecasts for 15 years straight. Now it’s coming off a patent win over a tech giant and a record week for new product registrations.Stock #5: Riding Not 1 but 2 Booming Industries An ascending star in streaming TV and digital advertising, this tech stock has skyrocketed +1,200% since late 2017. Experts believe that some recent profit taking has set the stage for more stratospheric gains.  The earlier you get into these stocks the higher their profit potential. Also, the opportunity to download this just-released Special Report, 5 Stocks Set to Double, ends on Saturday, October 30th.Look into Zacks Investor Collection and 5 Stocks Set to Double now >>Thanks and good trading,SherazSheraz Mian serves as the Director of Research and manages the entire research department. He also manages the Zacks Focus List and Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolios. He invites you to access Zacks Investor Collection.¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position.  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 To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 27th, 2021

Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi"s Italy

Things Are Getting Messy In Draghi's Italy Authored by Nick Corbishley via, Sixteen percent of the country’s officially employed workforce just lost their jobs (temporarily for the moment). And as one would expect, they’re not happy.   It is a strange experience watching the events currently unfolding in Italy from the relative calm and normality of Catalonia. As I reported in August, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled against the use of covid passports to restrict access to public spaces — specifically hospitality businesses (bars, restaurants and nightclubs). Since then the court has scaled back the ruling, allowing certain regions, including Galicia and Catalonia, to use the digital documents to restrict access to bars and nightclubs. But things are still moving quite slowly though I’m sure they’ll pick up speed soon. Italy, by contrast, has just introduced the strictest rules in Europe. “No Jab, No Job” Writ Large As of last Friday all residents of Italy need a covid passport, or Green Pass, to access not only public spaces but also public and private workplaces. The pass proves that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have recovered from the disease in the past six months or have recently tested negative. And now they need it to make a living, to feed their families. The “no jab, no job” rule applies to workers of all kinds, including the self employed, domestic staff and even people working remotely. If you’d still rather not get vaccinated, you have the option of showing proof of a negative test every two days. That can cost anywhere between €15 and €50 each time — far beyond the means of most low-paid workers. If you still refuse to get vaccinated or present proof of negative tests, you face unpaid suspension as well as a fine of up to €1,500. Public sector workers have five days to present the green pass before being suspended. Private sector workers without a green pass face suspension from the first day. Here’s more from Politico (comment and emphasis in brackets my own): By law, all workers must be able to show a so-called Green Pass, proving they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative in the past 48 hours. Roughly 81 percent of Italians over 12 are fully vaccinated. While polls suggest the majority of Italians are in favor of vaccine passes (just as the majority of people in all countries are in favour of vaccine passes, according to polls), there are still 3.8 million unvaccinated workers, many in strategic sectors and public services such as ports, trucking, health care and law enforcement, who will be unable to work. Massive Cull of Workers This is by any measure a massive cull of workers. Three point eight million is more than 5% of Italy’s entire population and over 16% of the country’s officially employed workforce (22.7 million). The total number of people currently unemployed in Italy is 2.3 million. In other words, if none of the unvaccinated workers were to cave in to the government’s demands — some will, of course, we just don’t know how many — the number of people without work in Italy would increase by well over 150% — in the space of just one week! And as the Politico article mentions, many of these workers are in strategic sectors and public services. This is all happening as Europe — and the world at large — faces the worst supply chain crisis in decades as well as acute energy and labor shortages. The move also risks giving a huge boost to Italy’s already quite large informal economy. Given as much, this is a huge, high-stakes bluff on the part of Draghi’s technocratic government, which was formed eighth months ago. If it pays off, the vast majority of Italy’s vaccine holdouts will fall into line and go back to work, and other governments across Europe will follow suit with similar mandates. If it doesn’t, Italy’s economy could be plunged into chaos. So far, data suggest that the government’s “no jab, no job” rule hasn’t exactly had the desired effect. When the rule was initially unveiled, on September 16, Italy’s Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said it would trigger such a “huge” boost vaccination take-up that its job would largely be done before it even came into effect. That hasn’t happened. As El Mundo reports, in the week through Oct.8 some 410,000 people received the first dose, according to official data, a 36% drop from the previous week and the lowest weekly count since early July.  Over the last few days the response of many of the affected workers has been to stage rolling strikes and protests across the country. Roads and ports have been blocked. This has coincided with hundreds of flight cancellations due to strikes by workers at the former flagship airline Alitalia, which flew its last flight on Thursday. There have also been violent demonstrations by far-right groups such as Casa Pound and Forza Nuova as well as a 24-hour general strike held last week by unions to protest the government’s labour and economic policies. Since Friday Italy’s largest port, Trieste, 40% of whose employees are unvaccinated, has been an important focal point of industrial action. “There are no blockades, whoever wants to work does,” said Stefano Puzzer, leader of the protest against the health pass in the port of Trieste, on Friday. Yet although the strike was reportedly entirely peaceful and workers who wanted to work were allowed to do so, riot  police yesterday used water cannons and tear gas to evict the longshoremen. One Little Flaw The ostensible logic behind the government’s latest mandate is that by “nudging” almost everyone who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated, it will help the country finally achieve herd immunity and thereby eliminate the virus. Also, work spaces will become much safer places because all workers will either have been fully vaccinated against covid-19, will have natural immunity or will have recently tested negative for the virus. There’s just one little flaw in the plan: the current crop of covid-19 vaccines are rather “leaky”, particularly with regard to the Delta variant. As such, people who are vaccinated are still liable to catch and transmit the virus and in some countries (such as the UK) the vaccinated account for more cases (in nominal terms) than the unvaccinated. In addition, what protection the vaccines do provide tends to wane rapidly. At the peak of Israel’s latest wave of infections, in August, half of the seriously ill hospitalized patients had been fully vaccinated at least five months prior, reported NPR.  Which begs the question: if a vaccinated person and an unvaccinated person have a similar capacity to carry, shed and transmit the virus, particularly in its Delta form and even more so after four of five months after vaccination, what difference does implementing a vaccination passport, certificate or ID actually make to the spread of the virus? Vaccine Passport: An End In and Of Itself? In sum, Italy just unleashed the most severe de facto vaccine mandate in Europe on the basis of a vaccine that doesn’t actually work very well and is still only authorised by the European Medical Agency for emergency use. To give an idea of just how extreme the Draghi government’s position now is, the only other country in the world to have introduced a mandatory Covid passport for all workers is Saudi Arabia, reports Thomas Fazi in a recent article: With these changes, we are effectively stripping citizens who haven’t broken any law whatsoever (in Italy, like elsewhere, Covid vaccines are not mandatory) of their basic constitutional rights — the right to work, to study, to move freely. That should give anyone reason to pause and reflect. This kind of discrimination is also in direct violation of EU Regulation 2021/953, which states that “[t]he issuance of [Covid] certificates… should not lead to discrimination on the basis of the possession of a specific category of certificate”, and that “[i]t is necessary to prevent direct or indirect discrimination against persons who are not vaccinated, for example because of medical reasons… or because they have not yet had the opportunity or chose not to be vaccinated”. This is also echoed by Resolution 2361 (2021) of the Council of Europe. In fact, the word “discrimination” doesn’t even begin to do justice to what we are witnessing in Italy. Representatives of the political, medical and media establishment have openly accused the unvaccinated of being “rats”, “subhumans” and “criminals”, who deserve to be “excluded from public life” and “from the national health service” and even to “die like flies”. Perhaps more worryingly, both prime minister Mario Draghi and the president Sergio Mattarella have accused the unvaccinated of “putting the lives of others at risk” (a claim based on the assumption that the vaccinated aren’t contagious). That claim has now been thoroughly disproved by myriad scientific studies, as Yves painstakingly documented in August. So why do governments continue to repeat it? Why aren’t they rethinking their strategy? Perhaps, as Fazi postulates, the green pass is not just a means to an end — mass vaccination — but also an end in and of itself: The Italian economic-political establishment has a long history of invoking, embellishing or even engineering crises — usually economic in nature — to justify technocratic governments and emergency measures, as well as the sidestepping of the normal channels of democracy. In this sense, it is not outlandish to posit that the country’s elites, under Draghi’s leadership, may view the current conjecture as a golden opportunity to complete the oligarchisation of the country they’ve been working at for the past decades (and in which Mario Draghi has played a central role). A crucial feature of this process has been the transition from a post-war regime based on the centrality of parliament to one dominated by executive, technocratic and supranational powers, in which the legislature performs a marginal role, thus insulating policymaking from democratic processes. As a result, there has been an increased resort to so-called “technical governments” run by “experts” supposedly untainted by political partisanship and unburdened by the complications of parliamentary politics — as well as the transfer of key policy tools from the national level, where a certain degree of democratic control can always potentially be exercised, to the supranational institutions of the EU, which are undemocratic by design. Now Draghi is even being heralded in some quarters as a possible new figurehead for Europe in the post-Merkel era. The financial and economic elite are no doubt salivating at the prospect.   Tyler Durden Wed, 10/20/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly: When An Airline Falls Behind, It’s Hard To Catch Up

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Tuesday, October 12. Following are links to video on Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Southwest CEO: When An Airline Falls Behind, It’s […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Tuesday, October 12. Following are links to video on .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 input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Southwest CEO: When An Airline Falls Behind, It’s Hard To Catch Up Southwest CEO On The Airline’s Covid Vaccine Push, Flight Fiasco JIM CRAMER: Southwest shares are edging higher this morning, thank heavens. The airline is hoping to normalize the schedule by tomorrow. Normalize is an odd term because I expect normal from Southwest. The wave of cancellations in the past few days, wave in cancellations let’s go back earlier in the spring. This is suboptimal. So, joining us now is Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly. Gary, I got to tell you, you do not shy away. I said you got to come on and here you are. Gary, because you are so good and so deserving of the respect, could you please tell us what you see going on because this is not you and it's not southwest. GARY KELLY: Hey, morning Jim. Great to be with you. Yeah, I know it's been a really rough weekend and obviously I really feel for our customers and our people that are trying their best to serve our customers but when an airline gets behind, it's hard to catch up. So, if you go back to Friday, basically the FAA had a series of delay programs that were implemented that covered all of Florida, every single one of our stations including a seven-hour ground stop at Orlando. You'll have to ask the FAA what was the cause of all of that, but about half of our airplanes touch the state of Florida. We’re one of the largest airlines in the country. So, by the end of the day we had significant numbers of airplanes and flight crews that were totally out of position and as any, again, any aviation expert knows it just takes several days to get everything back aligned so we had a pretty good day yesterday. Far fewer cancellations than what we were experiencing Saturday and Sunday. And today was pretty much shaping up to be a normal day. As usual we have other issues that we have to deal with whether it's weather or other ATC delays across the country but for the most part, today's pretty much back to normal. CRAMER: Okay, Gary, I understand that the weather-related issues. Florida didn't really see that much cancellations from other companies in your industry, but there's a lawsuit that was filed, filed Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, it’s in the Northern District of Texas. And what disturbed me about it, this was earlier this year, is they say that basically you're using illegal tactics are a form of asymmetrical warfare negotiations. Gary, Gary, you know when you read this and then you read about the Texas governor says, listen we can't, we're gonna be against mandates. I see. Well, wait, wait a second, maybe vaccines are an issue, maybe labor problems of which Southwest Air has not historically had so you understand how we quickly just pivot from Florida and FAA to wondering what happened here with the pilots? KELLY: Well yeah, again, I think that we're uniquely affected because we have so many of our flights that touch Florida. All the airlines were impacted on Friday, it was just more of an impact on us and it just took us longer to recover. But all of our employees worked very hard through the weekend and it's, it's tough on our customers but it's also tough on our people so they did a phenomenal job. There's absolutely no, no issue in working with our employees. Talking about the vaccine mandate, oh yeah, I mean there are some that have very strong views on both sides of that issue and, you know, it's not as I think you probably know, I've never been in favor of corporations imposing that kind of a mandate. I'm not in favor of that, never have been. But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees and then all federal contractors which covers all the major airlines have to have a mandate vaccine in place by December the eighth so we're working through that. We're urging all of our employees to get vaccinated. If they can't, we're urging them to seek an accommodation either for medical or religious reasons and my goal obviously is that no one loses their job. The objective here obviously is to improve health and safety, not for people to lose their jobs. So, yes, we have some very strong views on that topic but that's not what was at issue with Southwest over the weekend. CRAMER: Alright but I still want to go over this. United has only 3% people who are not vaccinated. Delta, you have a $200 monthly surcharge healthcare if you don't get vaccinated. What do you have to make it so people get vaccinated and if they don't, what is the procedure? KELLY: We're encouraging them and we're offering the equivalent of two days pay for them to turn in their vaccination card that compensates them obviously for the time that it takes and any aftereffects, you know, from the vaccine. So, it's an encouragement and not, not any kind of a stick if you will. CARL QUINTANILLA: Gary, all the same, the, the cancellations are being used by some to argue that this was a huge vaccine protest in the words of Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter in the past 24 hours. I mean, how much can you push back on that? You say it was not an issue but to what degree did it contribute to this problem at all? KELLY: Zero. I mean, again, we look at all of our employee behaviors in terms of absenteeism, in terms of people volunteering to come in and pick up what's referred to as open time, and they're very, they're all very normal. The president of our pilots union has been out talking to the media confirming all of that so I think people again that, that understand how airlines work, when you get behind, it just takes several days to catch up and the fact that we're basically caught up yesterday and today supports, you know, the, the assertion that we're making here but we were significantly set behind on Friday and it just takes several days to catch up. CRAMER: Gary, I feel awful doing this but I got to go back in June. Two days, technical issues, 500 flights canceled. I want to step back for a second. You’re Southwest Air. I frankly don't care that there were problems with Florida, with FAA, you’re Southwest Air. You solve these things. You have two outages, again, you had one in June. Maybe Southwest Air has to change its ways that it can't be just shut down because of what Orlando, maybe you shouldn't do that maybe you need to go more hub and spoke. This is your, your airline and everyone knows, never, never, no cancellations, no problems. The fact that I have to ask about labor, the fact that I have to ask about the outages, something's wrong at Southwest Air. KELLY: Well I think very fair criticism Jim and so I was simply answering the question of what happened here over the weekend, you know, not whether we should have been better prepared or have done something differently. So, we operate a linear route network, we don’t hub and spoke. We’re the probably the largest airline in terms of seats offered in the state of Florida. Again, every single airport in the state of Florida was impacted by this. So, it's, it's very unique. It's very unusual. It wasn't anything that Southwest caused. If you go back to the June outage, that was, that was us. That was a technology outage and those are, those are few and far between. But it's been a rough summer and I'm not offering any excuses. Our customers didn't get their best from Southwest Airlines is not what we want. We definitely are, we definitely have some staffing challenges as well that we've talked about before so we have moderated our flight schedule and accelerated our hiring plans so there were definitely steps underway to, to mitigate the issue. We were thinly staffed coming into the weekend and that certainly didn't help things as we were trying to recover but point well taken, and, you know, it's, as usual, any company is a work in progress and we've always got opportunities to improve and you get no argument from me that this is not, not the kind of service that we want to offer from Southwest. CRAMER: Fair enough. DAVID FABER: Hey Gary, it’s David. I mean when, when it comes then to those opportunities to improve, where is your, and by the way the next CEO, where is the focus going to be on that improvement given what you've seen both this weekend and obviously from June? I know not necessarily related, separate issues but still. KELLY: Yeah not related at all but I think in the, in this particular case, it would help for us to have better tools to recover. So, there, there aren't perfect optimization tools to re-flow airplanes when we have a setback like we did on Friday. And then, secondly, there's technology that's required to reschedule our flight crews, so we have flight attendants, we have pilots, we have airplanes and once it gets behind, it's just difficult to get that back together so I think the opportunity is to improve on that process. It's called repair. It's complicated, but we definitely have some good opportunities there, you know, for the future. QUINTANILLA: Gary, finally there's some commentary from some of the other carriers today about the holiday season, preparing for robust travel period. Are you seeing that kind of booking in Q4? KELLY: Yeah, I think, you know, on the business side of things, you have the Delta variant, the surge in cases that occurred, you know, beginning back in June and then eventually that has an impact on air travel and it suffers so that wave has turned over and we've definitely seen some improvement in, in bookings there so yeah we're looking forward to a strong holiday season. And we just want to be very focused on offering a high-quality schedule and experience for our customers. CRAMER: I want to go deeper on this weather issue. IBM has a weather product, the Wall Street Journal seemed to indicate that maybe it was not up to snuff. There are questions about whether you had spent enough money on IT during the 500 flight cancellation in June. Are you underspending on IT and have you over furloughed and therefore having trouble getting people back? KELLY: All great questions. I think the answer is, you know, a very emphatic no, we're not underspending. We suspended investing in some of our initiatives early on when the pandemic first unfolded in March, but we very quickly got back on track once the CARES Act Payroll Support Program came through and made sure that we continue to make those investments. The two technology outages that occurred back in June were human error so it wasn't a lack of technological capability, it was simply, in one case, not adhering to a procedure. So, it happens to companies, you know, occasionally we just don't want it to happen very often and obviously every time something like that happens, we, we tried to learn from it. We've deployed new technology for reservations, we're in the process of deploying new maintenance, record keeping software that supports all of our aircraft, one of the largest projects we've ever undertaken, probably the largest deployment in the airline industry in history. So, we have wonderful technology, we have a wonderful technology department. They’re, they're very well resourced. I think what like a lot of companies, we definitely are having some hiring challenges. We're trying to get 5,000 people hired by the end of this year, we're about halfway there. But overall technology's in pretty good shape in terms of staffing and for the most part, our staffing challenges have moderated. I’d still like to have more cushion in the operation so we can absorb the kind of blow that we saw last Friday better. CRAMER: Alright, thank you Gary Kelly, Chairman & CEO of Southwest Air. Good luck to you sir. Appreciate you coming on “Squawk on the Street.” KELLY: Thank you sir. You bet. Updated on Oct 12, 2021, 1:14 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; 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: valuewalkOct 12th, 2021

Southwest"s weekend meltdown wasn"t due to a vaccine protest, its pilots union says

Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights over the weekend due to staffing shortages and scheduling issues, not a pilot protest. Southwest Airlines pilot Mike Stewart/AP Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights over the weekend due to staffing shortages. High-profile public figures incorrectly suggested the shortages were due to an anti-vax walkout. The company's pilot union said flight crews were not participating in a protest. Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights over the weekend due to a confluence of severe weather and air traffic control issues, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. The company's pilots union said the issues were not due to a pilot protest, dispelling misleading tweets from high-profile public figures, including Republican lawmakers. -Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021The Federal Aviation Administration added that a military training exercise and limited staffing at one control tower exacerbated the issue for a few hours on Friday, but that the problems did not cause the ripple effect into the weekend."Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place," the agency said Sunday. -The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) October 10, 2021 The weekend meltdown came just a day after the airline's pilot union asked a court to block the company from carrying out President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate while a lawsuit over an alleged labor laws violation is disputed. The union argued the federal order violates the Railway Labor Act, which controls airline-union relations.The previous week, Southwest had announced all employees must be vaccinated by November 24.Headlines about the new rules and friction with its union prompted a handful of public figures to incorrectly suggest flight crews were calling out of work in an anti-vax protest."Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we're short on pilots & air traffic controllers," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, tweeted Sunday.-Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 10, 2021Meanwhile, former Fox News producer Jillian Anderson, conservative author Brigitte Gabriel, and podcast host Jesse Kelly also pushed the narrative, with Kelly saying "cancel my flights -- continue the fight." -Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) October 10, 2021-Jillian Anderson (@Jillie_Alexis) October 11, 2021 The union rebutted the swirling false information, saying Saturday its pilots were not participating in any "official or unofficial job actions," which could refer to a strike, sickout, or walkout. "SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions," it said." Our Pilots will continue to overcome SWA management's poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world," the union said in a statement.Southwest echoed SWAPA and emphasized that the flight disruptions were due to bad weather and ATC issues in Florida."The weekend challenges were not a result of Employee demonstrations, as some have reported," Southwest told Insider.Flight disruptions due to staffing shortages and weather are nothing new in the airline industry, where small blips in highly coordinated schedules can cause cascading delays.In a note to staff seen by CNBC, Southwest executive vice president of daily flight operations Alan Kasher said displaced pilots, coupled with federal and contractual working limits, can cause a quick snowball effect.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Progressives search for the next Bernie

And Nancy Pelosi is making a big gamble on infrastructure today. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to other news, Republicans won their first Congressional Baseball Game since 2016. It was an odd scene with so much looming over Washington.Here's what we're talking about:Nancy Pelosi is making a big gamble on infrastructure todayProgressives say 9 rising stars are the top successors to the Bernie movementJudge suspends Britney Spears' father from conservatorshipWith Phil Rosen. Former campaign staffers of Sen. Bernie Sanders - pictured with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ro Khanna, and Cori Bush - say progressives on Capitol Hill will fuel their movement. Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images 1. WHO'S NEXT?: Progressives say they can't "feel the Bern" forever. Some of Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters as well as former staffers doubt he'll run for president again, leaving the left's mantel up for grabs.Key quote: "Oh, my God, no, no, please no," one former senior Sanders staffer told my colleagues when asked about another campaign, adding: "It's time to have a new standard-bearer for many of the ideas that Bernie brought to the public consciousness."These are some of the people viewed as Sanders' most likely successors:"You've got to start with AOC": That's what Chuck Rocha, a Sanders 2020 senior advisor, said of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. She has built a massive national following in less than two full terms and was a key surrogate for Sanders on the campaign trail.Some former Sanders aides caution against focusing on any one person: Anna Bahr, Sanders' former deputy national press secretary, said that many "powerful progressives" had emerged - including Ocasio-Cortez as well as Reps. Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, and Ro Khanna - and that the movement didn't need one figurehead.And just because Sanders may not run doesn't mean he's going away: "Bernie obviously has not retired," said Jeff Weaver, a senior Sanders advisor, adding that Sanders would be "the leader of progressive politics" for a long time.Read more about who top Sanders campaign alums see as the 9 rising stars in the progressive movement.2. Pelosi plods on with infrastructure vote: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still expected to hold a vote today on a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan. But she could easily delay such a vote amid a large progressive revolt, The Washington Post reports. Congress also needs to fund the federal government before midnight or there will be a shutdown. This is set to be a busy and consequential day on Capitol Hill.The Senate is expected to vote first on averting a shutdown: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he had a deal with Republicans to move quickly on a stop-gap bill, CNN reports. The House could move quickly following Senate passage. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the Congressional Baseball Game. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images As for infrastructure, neither side is blinking: Pelosi is making a big gamble on passing the bill. Her decision to reverse an earlier pledge to wait to pass the bill until Senate Democrats made more progress on the party's separate $3.5 trillion plan has only emboldened progressive opposition. Lawmakers like Rep. Pramila Jayapal are worried centrists care only about passing the bipartisan infrastructure funding, not the massive overhaul of social programs. Here's where things stand.At the same time, key centrists are dragging their feet: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told Politico he was months away from supporting the $3.5 trillion plan, which would also most likely have to be significantly reduced in size and scope to win him over. Washington is hanging on Manchin's every word. Jamie Spears and Britney Spears. AP and Getty Images 3. Judge suspends Britney Spears' father from conservatorship: Judge Brenda Penny officially granted the singer's request for Jamie Spears' immediate suspension from her conservatorship. Britney Spears' attorney Mathew Rosengart called the ruling "a massive win." Here's what's next, including a November hearing that could dissolve the conservatorship for good.4. Former US gold medalist Klete Keller pleads guilty in Capitol riot case: Keller appeared in court to enter his guilty plea of obstruction of an official proceeding. His plea includes an agreement to help in the prosecution of other insurrection cases in exchange for federal prosecutors' dropping additional charges. More on his plea. Corey Lewandowski. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images 5. Corey Lewandowski has been ousted from Trumpworld: Lewandowski, Donald Trump's first campaign manager, is leaving his role at Make America Great Again Action, a Trump super PAC, amid accusations of unwanted sexual advances, The New York Times reports, citing a Trump spokesman. Trashelle Odom, a top Republican donor, had earlier told Politico that Lewandowski "repeatedly touched me inappropriately" and said "vile and disgusting things" at a recent Las Vegas charity event. More on the unfolding scandal for one of the biggest Trump loyalists.6. YouTube bans all anti-vaccine content: The Google-owned social-media platform says it will remove any video that attempts to describe well-known vaccines that are endorsed by federal health officials as harmful, greatly expanding the policy it has used for COVID-19 vaccines, The Washington Post reports. A YouTube representative told Insider the company was shutting down the accounts of high-profile vaccine opponents like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Experts praised the move but also questioned why it wasn't made sooner.7. China is preparing severe restrictions for the Olympics: Beijing and the International Olympic Committee have agreed to perhaps sports' strictest vaccine mandate along with a plan to severely limit what athletes, journalists, and other workers can do during the Winter Olympics. Athletes will be required to have received a World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 shot or agree to be quarantined in Beijing for 21 days after arrival. Fans will be allowed in the stands, but only people from mainland China who meet certain requirements. More on what is shaping up to be a vastly different Olympics from even the past summer's Tokyo Games.8. CDC issues urgent warning for pregnant people to get vaccinated: The advisory comes on the heels of the deadliest month of the pandemic for pregnant people yet; in August, at least 22 pregnant people in the US died from COVID-19. Almost all of the pregnant people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in 2021 - 97% - have been unvaccinated. New data indicates that being pregnant almost doubles the risk of death from COVID-19.9. Dollar Tree is raising prices above $1: CEO Michael Witynski suggested some prices at the dollar-branded retailer could hit $1.25 or $1.50 to cope with rising shipping costs and inflation. As a result, Dollar Tree may have to bring $3 and $5 items to more locations.10. Finding your holiday turkey may be harder this season: Turkey production has decreased this year, and shoppers could face problems finding the right bird for their Thanksgiving dinner. Supply-chain issues plague both the US and the UK. Here's what this could mean for you.Looking for a challenge to start your day? Try your luck at today's Insider Crossword.Today's trivia question: Wednesday was National Coffee Day in the US. Which president's family started a small chain of coffee shops in New York? Hint: Legend ties this same president to Maxwell House's slogan, though it's highly unlikely he was the one who said it first.Yesterday's answer: Some of the most requested items at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum deal with "Little House on the Prairie." Rose Wilder Lane - Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter - was a journalist, personal friend of the 31st president, and author of one of his biographies.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 30th, 2021

Supreme Court Blocks Biden"s OSHA Vaxx Mandate

Supreme Court Blocks Biden's OSHA Vaxx Mandate Despite the misinformation spewed forth by Justice Sotomayor, The US Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule for US businesses, but allows vaccine mandate for most health care workers. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) argue against the Department of Labor, in the Court's first hearing, that: "OSHA’s sweeping regulatory dictate," will "irreparably injure the very businesses that Americans have counted on to widely distribute COVID-19 vaccines and protective equipment to save lives—and to keep them fed, clothed, and sustained during this now two-year-long pandemic." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule would have required 80 million workers to get shots or periodic tests. The OSHA ruling vote was 6-3 with Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan in dissent. "Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life - simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock - would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization." pack it in, experts — Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) January 13, 2022 Chief Justice John Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said during arguments that he thinks it’s hard to argue that the 1970 law governing OSHA “gives free reign to the agencies to enact such broad regulation.” The court allowed a separate rule to take effect requiring shots for workers in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments from the federal government (which will be interesting given that California just allowed COVID positive healthcare workers to go back to work). The vaccine mandate for healthcare workers vote was 5-4 with Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett in dissent, which means Roberts and Kavanaugh joined liberal justices in allowing the HHS mandate on healthcare workers to stand. So with over 1 million COVID cases per day, record high inflation, Sinema blew out the filibuster, record low approval rating, and now his vaxx mandate in tatters, this seems to sum things up rather well... This must be Biden's worst day in office. — Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) January 13, 2022 How long before the cries of "Pack The Court" echo around The Capitol once more? *  *  * Read the full opinions below: OSHA CMS Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 05:11.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

"They"re Totally Confused": Biden"s Vaccine Mandate Chaos Leaves Employers With "Whiplash"

"They're Totally Confused": Biden's Vaccine Mandate Chaos Leaves Employers With "Whiplash" The Biden Administration's attempt to force millions of American workers to either get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs has backfired spectacularly. On Monday, the NYT published what to many probably sounded like scathing criticism coming from the notoriously pro-Dem paper: President Biden's attempt to use OSHA to try and force some 84MM workers to get vaccinated has left said employers with "whiplash". "They're totally confused", a quote in the headline screamed. Just a few weeks ago, the Administration was charging ahead, but its momentum has been decidedly crippled, especially now that the "very definition of fully vaccinated" has been thrown into question. The marching orders from the Biden administration in November had seemed clear — large employers were to get their workers fully vaccinated by early next year, or make sure the workers were tested weekly. But a little over a month later, the Labor Department’s vaccine rule has been swept into confusion and uncertainty by legal battles, shifting deadlines and rising Covid case counts that throw the very definition of fully vaccinated into question. The spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has seemingly bolstered the government’s argument, at the heart of its legal battle over the rule, that the virus remains a grave threat to workers. But the recent surge in cases has raised the issue of whether the government will take its requirements further — even as the original rule remains contentious — and ask employers to mandate booster shots, too. The country’s testing capacity has also been strained, adding to concerns that companies will be unable to meet the rule’s testing requirements. Even the lawyers don't know what to do. "My clients are totally confused as, quite frankly, am I," Erin McLaughlin, a labor and employment lawyer at Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, said on Saturday. "My sense is that there are a lot of employers scrambling to try and put their mandate programs in place." With the issue still being viciously contested in the courts, the legal reality of the situation is that the order is still pending, so in effect, the Biden Administration has been stymied. With so much likely riding on a decision from the nation's highest court, how much longer until this becomes another cudgel used by the progressive left to push their court packing agenda, which is not dead, since President Biden and VP Kamala Harris mostly refuse to talk about it publicly. No company has been spared the whirlwind of changes in the last week, set off by the spike in Covid cases that have, in some instances, cut into their work forces. Then on Friday, an appeals court lifted the legal block on the vaccine rule, though appeals to the ruling were immediately filed, leaving the rule’s legal status up in the air. On Saturday, hours after the appeals court ruling, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urged employers to start working to get in compliance. But OSHA also gave employers some leeway, pushing back full enforcement of the rule until February, recognizing that for all its best intentions the rollout of the rule has been muddled. For companies struggling to meet OSHA’s standards because of testing shortages, the Labor Department said Sunday that it would “consider refraining from enforcement” if the employer has shown a good-faith effort to comply. The fact that many states have cities (most notably NYC) have rolled out their own rules for enforcement adds another layer of complexity to the whole mess. Adding a layer of confusion, many states and cities have created their own vaccine rules — some more stringent than the federal government’s, as in New York City, where an option to test out of vaccine requirements isn’t allowed, while some, like Florida, have sought to undermine OSHA’s rule. There’s also the question of whether companies will eventually be required to mandate boosters, which would require accommodating the six-month delay between the second and third shots. And as far as Wall Street is concerned, their current state of vaccine enforcement is "we're not going to talk about it." JPMorgan Chase, whose decision to require vaccines is complicated by its sprawling retail operations across the United States, declined to comment on how the court’s most recent decision, along with the recent spike in cases, affects any plans to mandate vaccines. But the bank on Friday told its American employees who do not work in bank branches that “each group should assess who needs to come into the office, work priorities and who should revert to working from home on a more regular basis over the next few weeks.” At this point, opponents of the rule, which includes the National Retail Federation, a trade group, haven't changed their positions despite the "rise" of omicron (which, keep in mind, has only been confirmed in a tiny fraction of overall new cases). Even the spread of Omicron hasn’t changed the position of some of the vaccine rule’s most ardent opponents. The National Retail Federation, one of the trade groups challenging the administration’s vaccine rule, is among those that have filed a petition with the Supreme Court. The group is in favor of vaccinations but has pushed for companies to get more time to carry out mandates. Still, even as it fights the administration’s rule, the federation is also holding twice weekly calls with members to compare notes on how to carry it out. "There’s no question that the increased number of variants like Omicron certainly don’t make it less dangerous," said Stephanie Martz, the group’s chief administrative officer and general counsel. "The legitimate, remaining question is, is this inherent to the workplace?" Then of course there's the booster question. And employers face yet another uncertainty: Should they mandate boosters? And will they be required to? When will all of this insanity and confusion end? Tyler Durden Mon, 12/20/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 20th, 2021

Biden extends deadline for businesses to meet COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement

The Labor Department won't take any action on testing requirements until February 9, over a month after the initial January 4 deadline. A vial of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.Rick Bowmer/AP Photo The Labor Department said that it would delay its vaccine-or-testing rule for large businesses until Feb. 9. The Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on Friday ruled that the mandate could stand. Twenty-seven business groups quickly filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court to block the rule. The Biden administration will give employers additional time to abide by a federal requirement that workers get vaccinated or COVID-19 or be subject to testing after a federal court reinstated the rule.In a statement issued on Saturday, the Department of Labor granted the extension after the Ohio-based US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on Friday allowed the requirement to proceed. A three-judge panel ruled that the OSHA requirement was within the agency's purview."The record establishes that Covid-19 has continued to spread, mutate, kill and block the safe return of American workers to their jobs," wrote Judge Jane B. Stranch. "To protect workers, OSHA can and must be able to respond to dangers as they evolve."According to the department, employees who haven't been fully vaccinated won't have to adhere to the requirement until February 9 — more than four weeks after the initial January 4 deadline.The Labor Department in a statement said that no "citations for noncompliance" will be issued before February 9 for testing rules "so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard."In the Biden mandate — which would affect 80 million individuals — private business that employed at least 100 people were to have ascertained the vaccination status of all workers and mandated that unvaccinated staffers wear face coverings by a December 6 deadline.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the workplace-safety agency overseeing the implementation of the rule, lauded the court's decision."OSHA is gratified the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit's stay of the Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard," per the agency's statement. "OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace."Several GOP-led states have challenged the vaccine rule — arguing that it it exceeds the authority of OSHA — but the court on Friday disputed that argument."The claim that COVID-19 exists outside the workplace and thus is not a grave danger in the workplace is equally unavailing. As discussed above, OSHA routinely regulates hazards that exist both inside and outside the workplace," Stranch wrote. "More to the point, OSHA here demonstrated with substantial evidence that the nature of the workplace — commonplace across the country and in virtually every industry — presents a heightened risk of exposure."David Michaels, an assistant secretary of labor for OSHA during the Obama administration and an epidemiologist at the George Washington University School of Public Health, told USA Today that the spread of the omicron variant should push employers to "ramp up workplace protections as quickly as possible."A coalition of twenty-seven business groups quickly responded to the court's decision on Friday, filing an appeal with the US Supreme Court to block the vaccine requirement."It will impose substantial, nonrecoverable compliance costs on those businesses. Those businesses will be faced with either incurring the costs of testing for the millions of employees who refuse to be vaccinated — and passing those costs on to consumers in the form of yet higher prices at a time of record inflation — or imposing the costs of testing upon their unvaccinated employees, who will quit en masse rather than suffer additional testing costs each week," the appeal says.As of December 17, more than 806,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US, with nearly 50.8 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 18th, 2021

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect, Setting Up Supreme Court Showdown

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect, Setting Up Supreme Court Showdown Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly (emphasis ours), President Joe Biden in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 17, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) A federal appeals court late Friday in a split decision ruled that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers of companies exceeding 100 people can take effect. The 2–1 decision by a panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dissolves the stay entered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month on the nationwide mandate. The rule issued by OSHA meant that some 84 million U.S. workers faced a Jan. 4 deadline to get vaccinated before it was paused. It is unclear after the latest ruling Friday when the requirement will be in effect. The case was brought by multiple businesses, including the American Family Association; multiple individuals; and several states, including Texas, Utah, and Mississippi. Petitioners said the mandate, promulgated as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should be struck down because it exceeds OSHA’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The ruling comes after several industries - including airlines and the big three US automakers - agreed not to mandate vaccines for their union employees. Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote in her majority opinion (pdf) on Friday, “Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace.” She added, “Indeed, no virus—HIV, HBV, COVID-19—is unique to the workplace and affects only workers. And courts have upheld OSHA’s authority to regulate hazards that co-exist in the workplace and in society but are at heightened risk in the workplace.” Gibbons was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The other judge who ruled in favor of the OSHA mandate, Jane Branstetter Stranch, was appointed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Earlier this week, the 6th Circuit’s active judges rejected a move to have the entire panel consider the case, on an 8–8 vote, reported The Associated Press. The dissenting judge, Joan Louise Larsen, was appointed by President Donald Trump, a Republican. In her dissenting opinion, she noted that Congress did not authorize OSHA to create such a rule; furthermore, to work around Congress, the rule did not meet the emergency standard of necessity that the secretary of labor needed to bring it about. “The Secretary has not made the appropriate finding of necessity,” she noted. “An emergency standard must be ‘necessary to protect employees from [grave] danger.'” She wrote, “The purpose of the mandate is to protect unvaccinated people. The rule’s premise is that vaccines work. And so, OSHA has explained that the rule is not about protecting the vaccinated; they do not face ‘grave danger’ from working with those who are not vaccinated.” She also added, “[A] multitude of petitioners—individuals, businesses, labor unions, and state governments—have levied serious, and varied, charges against the mandate’s legality. They say, for example, that the mandate violates the nondelegation doctrine, the Commerce Clause, and substantive due process; some say that it violates their constitutionally protected religious liberties and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  To lift the stay [by the 5th Circuit] entirely, we would have to conclude that not one of these challenges is likely to succeed. A tall task.” Under the rule, employees who are not fully vaccinated would have to wear masks and be tested on a weekly basis for COVID-19. Exceptions would apply to those who work outdoors or from home. The OSHA rule threatens fines of up to $13,600 per violation. It also threatens to fine an additional $13,600 per day that an employer does not abate the violation. For a willful, or serious, violation OSHA can issue a fine up to $136,000. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge denounced the ruling. In a statement, she indicated she would move to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block it. “The Sixth Circuit’s decision is extremely disappointing for Arkansans because it will force them to get the shot or lose their jobs,” she said. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who chairs the Republican Attorneys General Association, expressed disappointment in the decision. “We are confident the mandate can be stopped,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “We will go immediately to the Supreme Court—the highest court in the land—to fight this unconstitutional and illegal mandate. The law must be followed and federal abuse of power stopped.” Zachary Stieber and Nick Ciolino contributed to this report. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/18/2021 - 10:23.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 18th, 2021

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect

Appeals Court Allows Biden Private Business Covid-19 Vax Mandate To Take Effect Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly (emphasis ours), President Joe Biden in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 17, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) A federal appeals court late Friday in a split decision ruled that the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers of companies exceeding 100 people can take effect. The 2–1 decision by a panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dissolves the stay entered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month on the nationwide mandate. The rule issued by OSHA meant that some 84 million U.S. workers faced a Jan. 4 deadline to get vaccinated before it was paused. It is unclear after the latest ruling Friday when the requirement will be in effect. The case was brought by multiple businesses, including the American Family Association; multiple individuals; and several states, including Texas, Utah, and Mississippi. Petitioners said the mandate, promulgated as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), should be struck down because it exceeds OSHA’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The ruling comes after several industries - including airlines and the big three US automakers - agreed not to mandate vaccines for their union employees. Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote in her majority opinion (pdf) on Friday, “Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace.” She added, “Indeed, no virus—HIV, HBV, COVID-19—is unique to the workplace and affects only workers. And courts have upheld OSHA’s authority to regulate hazards that co-exist in the workplace and in society but are at heightened risk in the workplace.” Gibbons was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The other judge who ruled in favor of the OSHA mandate, Jane Branstetter Stranch, was appointed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Earlier this week, the 6th Circuit’s active judges rejected a move to have the entire panel consider the case, on an 8–8 vote, reported The Associated Press. The dissenting judge, Joan Louise Larsen, was appointed by President Donald Trump, a Republican. In her dissenting opinion, she noted that Congress did not authorize OSHA to create such a rule; furthermore, to work around Congress, the rule did not meet the emergency standard of necessity that the secretary of labor needed to bring it about. “The Secretary has not made the appropriate finding of necessity,” she noted. “An emergency standard must be ‘necessary to protect employees from [grave] danger.'” She wrote, “The purpose of the mandate is to protect unvaccinated people. The rule’s premise is that vaccines work. And so, OSHA has explained that the rule is not about protecting the vaccinated; they do not face ‘grave danger’ from working with those who are not vaccinated.” She also added, “[A] multitude of petitioners—individuals, businesses, labor unions, and state governments—have levied serious, and varied, charges against the mandate’s legality. They say, for example, that the mandate violates the nondelegation doctrine, the Commerce Clause, and substantive due process; some say that it violates their constitutionally protected religious liberties and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  To lift the stay [by the 5th Circuit] entirely, we would have to conclude that not one of these challenges is likely to succeed. A tall task.” Under the rule, employees who are not fully vaccinated would have to wear masks and be tested on a weekly basis for COVID-19. Exceptions would apply to those who work outdoors or from home. The OSHA rule threatens fines of up to $13,600 per violation. It also threatens to fine an additional $13,600 per day that an employer does not abate the violation. For a willful, or serious, violation OSHA can issue a fine up to $136,000. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge denounced the ruling. In a statement, she indicated she would move to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block it. “The Sixth Circuit’s decision is extremely disappointing for Arkansans because it will force them to get the shot or lose their jobs,” she said. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, who chairs the Republican Attorneys General Association, expressed disappointment in the decision. “We are confident the mandate can be stopped,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “We will go immediately to the Supreme Court—the highest court in the land—to fight this unconstitutional and illegal mandate. The law must be followed and federal abuse of power stopped.” Zachary Stieber and Nick Ciolino contributed to this report. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/18/2021 - 10:23.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 18th, 2021

Growing Number Of Companies And Organizations Are Walking Back Vaccination Requirements

Growing Number Of Companies And Organizations Are Walking Back Vaccination Requirements Submitted by Jack Phillips of Epoch Times, More and more businesses in recent days have walked back previous rules mandating COVID-19 vaccine sas a condition for employment in a bid to keep workers. UCHealth registered nurse Karen Nerger administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a mass COVID-19 vaccination event on Jan. 30, 2021 Earlier this week, Amtrak—a quasi-public corporation—became the latest to rescind its vaccine requirement amid concerns about staff shortages and cut service in January. In a memo sent to staff that was obtained by The Epoch Times, Amtrak CEO William Flynn said the company would do away with the mandate that would have given employees until Jan. 4 to get fully vaccinated or go on unpaid leave. About 500 out of more than 17,000 Amtrak workers remain unvaccinated, according to the memo. Still, the sudden loss of that many workers would have caused service disruptions, Flynn suggested, while noting that Amtrak was acting in accordance with recent court orders handed down against President Joe Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandates. Several hospitals and healthcare systems have similarly rescinded vaccine mandates for employees and cited labor issues that were triggered by the new requirements. In early December, Florida’s AdventHealth announced the end of its vaccine requirement for some 83,000 workers, also citing the several recent court injunctions against federal mandates. “Due to recent decisions by the federal courts to block the [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] vaccine mandate, we are suspending all vaccination requirements of our COVID-19 vaccination policy,” AdventHealth Chief Clinical Officer Neil Finkler said in a letter to staff. The move came after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services confirmed to The Epoch Times that the agency suspended enforcement following two court orders several weeks ago. An Amtrak passenger train sits in New York City’s Pennsylvania Station on April 27, 2017. Tenet Healthcare, HCA Healthcare, and Cleveland Clinic recently announced they are pulling back as well, citing labor concerns. Along with AdventHealth, the three healthcare companies operate a combined 300 hospitals and have more than 500,000 workers. They cited recent court orders that blocked Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from enforcing its mandate on Medicare- and Medicaid-funded medical facilities. The rule was announced by Biden on the same day that he confirmed that he would impose mandates on federal government employees, businesses who have contracts with the federal government, and, most controversially, businesses that have 100 or more workers. The mandate for private businesses, slated to be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was paused by the agency last month following a scathing ruling that was issued by a panel of judges on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. At the time, OSHA said it remained confident that the federal government would ultimately prevail in court. “We have seen some anecdotal reports of hospitals that have paused or rolled back their vaccine mandates in light of the legal process that is currently playing out,” the American Hospital Association said in a statement to The Washington Post about the recent hospital decisions on vaccine requirements. But the organization said that it does “not think most hospitals are changing their mandates, but some may be choosing to mandate weekly testing or other mitigating strategies for unvaccinated workers instead,” while “some have also decided to no longer terminate unvaccinated staff.” Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Unified School District board, for different reasons, voted overwhelmingly in favor of postponing its student vaccine requirement from January 2022 until the fall of 2022 after tens of thousands of students reportedly would not comply—meaning that they would not be able to attend in-person classes. Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest naval shipbuilder in the United States, announced it won’t enforce the Biden administration’s federal contractor mandate. The company had told its 44,000 workers that it was not contractually obligated to comply, although a federal judge in Georgia later blocked the mandate. The University of Iowa also recently pulled its vaccine directive for staff working on federal contracts from its website following a federal judge’s order last month. University of Iowa Faculty Senate President Teresa Marshall said on Dec. 7 that the requirement was placed on hold until federal lawsuits get sorted out. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 20:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls U.S. equity futures are flat, rebounding from an overnight slide following news that 5 "mild" Omicron cases were found in New York, and European stocks wavered at the end of a volatile week as traders waited for the latest jobs data to assess the likely pace of Federal Reserve tightening and accelerated tapering. Emini S&P futures traded in a narrow range, and were up 2 points or 0.04%, Nasdaq futures were flat,while Dow Jones futures were up 8 points. The dollar edged higher, along with the euro after ECB President Christine Lagarde said inflation will decline in 2022. Crude advanced after OPEC+ left the door open to changing the plan to raise output at short notice. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts fluctuated after dip-buyers Thursday fueled the S&P 500’s best climb since mid-October, a sign that some of the worst fears about the omicron virus strain are dissipating. That said, concerns about omicron are overshadowing economic news for now with “a lot of noise and very little meaningful information,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at Federated Hermes in London. “The prospect of a faster monetary policy tightening could -- and should probably -- lead to a clear market reaction,” he said. “It is also another argument for why we assume value stocks outperform growth stocks. At the moment, however, investors’ attention is elsewhere.” In the latest U.S. data, jobless claims remained low, suggesting additional progress in the labor market. Traders are awaiting today's big event - the November payrolls numbers, which could shape expectations for the pace of Fed policy tightening (full preview here). Bloomberg Economics expects a strong report, while the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists predicts an increase of 550,000. “Assuming the omicron news remains less end-of-the-world, a print above 550,000 jobs should see the faster Fed-taper trade reassert itself,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “That may nip the equity rally in the bud, while the dollar and U.S. yields could resume rising.” In premarket trading, Didi Global Inc. jumped more than 14% in U.S. premarket trading before reversing all gains, after the Chinese ride-hailing giant said it began preparations to withdraw from U.S. stock exchanges. U.S. antitrust officials sued to block chipmaker Nvidia’s proposed $40 billion takeover of Arm, saying the deal would hobble innovation and competition. Elon Musk’s offloading of Tesla Inc. shares surpassed the $10 billion mark as he sold stock in the electric-car maker for the fourth consecutive week. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: DocuSign (DOCU US) plunges 32% in premarket trading as the e-signature company’s quarterly revenue forecast missed analysts’ estimates. JPMorgan and Piper Sandler cut ratings. Marvell Technology (MRVL US) shares rise 18% in premarket after the semiconductor company’s fourth-quarter forecast beat analyst estimates; Morgan Stanley notes “an exceptional quarter” with surprising outperformance from enterprise networking, strength in 5G and in cloud. Asana (ASAN US) shares slump 14% in premarket trading after results, with KeyBanc cutting the software firm’s price target on a reset in the stock’s valuation. Piper Sandler said that slight deceleration in revenue and billings growth could disappoint some investors. Zillow Group (ZG US) shares rise 8.8% in premarket after the online real-estate company announced a $750 million share repurchase program and said it has made “significant progress” on Zillow Offers inventory wind- down. Stitch Fix (SFIX US) jumped in premarket after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to equal-weight from underweight. Smartsheet (SMAR US) rose in postmarket trading after the software company boosted its revenue forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate. National Beverage Corp. (FIZZ US) gained in postmarket trading after the drinks company announced a special dividend of $3 a share. Ollie’s Bargain (OLLI US) plunged 21% in U.S. premarket trading on Friday, after the company’s quarterly results and forecast disappointed, hurt by supply-chain troubles. Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI US) stock fell 15% in postmarket trading after adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter missed the average analyst estimate. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped as much as 0.2% before turning green with mining companies and carmakers underperforming and energy and utility stocks rising. Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB fell as much as 26% after private-equity firm Advent International and Singapore wealth fund GIC abandoned their $7.6 billion bid to buy the drugmaker. Volatility across assets remains elevated, reflecting the Fed’s shift toward tighter monetary settings and uncertainty about how the omicron outbreak will affect global reopening. The hope is that vaccines will remain effective or can be adjusted to cope. New York state identified at least five cases of omicron, which is continuing its worldwide spread, while the latest research shows the risk of reinfection with the new variant is three times higher than for others. “The environment in markets is changing,” Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citigroup Private Bank, said on Bloomberg Television. “Monetary policy, fiscal policy are all losing steam. It doesn’t mean a down market. But it’s not going to be like the rebound, the sharp recovery that we had for almost every asset in the past year.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks held gains from the past two days as travel and consumer shares rallied after their U.S. peers rebounded and a report said Merck & Co. is seeking to obtain approval of its Covid-19 pill in Japan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after climbing as much as 0.3%, with Japan among the region’s best performers. South Korea’s benchmark had its biggest three-day advance since February, boosted by financial shares. Still, Asian stocks headed for a weekly loss as U.S. regulators moved a step closer to boot Chinese firms off American stock exchanges. The Hang Seng Tech Index slid as much as 2.7% to a new all time low, as Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding fell after Didi Global Inc. began preparations to withdraw its U.S. listing.  “While the risks of delisting have already been brought up previously, a step closer towards a final mandate seems to serve as a reminder for the regulatory risks in Chinese stocks,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asian stocks remain stuck near a one-year low, as the delisting issue damped sentiment already hurt by omicron and the Fed’s hawkish pivot. A U.S. payrolls report later today could give further clues on the pace of tightening Japanese equities rose, paring their weekly loss, helped by gains in economically sensitive names. Electronics makers reversed an early loss to become the biggest boost to the Topix, which gained 1.6%. Automakers and banks also gained, while reopening plays tracked a rebound in U.S. peers. Daikin and Recruit were the largest contributors to a 1% gain in the Nikkei 225, which erased a morning decline of as much as 0.6%. The Topix still dropped 1.4% on the week, extending the previous week’s 2.9% slide, amid concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant. Despite some profit-taking in tech stocks in the morning session, “the medium and long-term outlooks for these names continue to be really good,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “The spread of the omicron variant doesn’t mean an across-the-board selloff for Japanese stocks.” India’s benchmark equity index recorded a weekly advance, partly recovering from a sharp sell-off triggered by uncertainty around the new Covid variant, with investors focusing on the central bank’s monetary policy meeting from Monday.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.3% to 57,696.46, but gained 1% for the week after declining for two weeks. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 1.2%, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 26. All but three of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a gauge of energy companies. “The focus seems to be shifting from premium Indian equities to relatively cheaper markets,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of retail equity search at Kotak Securities said in a note. The cautious mood in India was heightened by the “unenthusiastic” response to the IPO of Paytm, which was also the biggest public share sale in the country, and a resurgence of Covid concerns across Europe, he added.  Investors also focused on the country’s economic outlook, which is showing signs of improvement. Major data releases this week -- from economic expansion to tax collection -- showed robust growth. “Strong domestic indicators are playing a key role in driving the market amid negative global cues,” said Mohit Nigam, a fund manager with Hem Securities. But any further spread of the omicron strain in India may cap local equity gains, he said. Two cases of the new variant have been detected so far in the country. The market’s attention will shift to the Reserve Bank of India’s policy announcement on Dec. 8, after a three-day meeting from Monday. The panel is expected to leave record low interest rates unchanged as inflation remains within its target range. The economy faces new risks from the omicron variant after expanding 8.4% in the three months through September. Reliance Industries contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, falling 3%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 26 fell and 4 gained. Australia stocks posted a fourth week of losses amid the Omicron threat even as the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to close at 7,241.20, boosted by banks and miners. That trimmed the benchmark’s loss for the week to 0.5%, its fourth-straight weekly decline.  Corporate Travel was among the top performers, rising for a second session. TPG Telecom led the laggards, tumbling after media reports that founder David Teoh entered into an agreement to sell about 53.1 million shares in a block trade.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 12,676.50. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced and the greenback was higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers, with risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies the worst performers. Turkish lira swings back to gain against the USD after central bank intervention for the 2nd time in 3 days. The pound weakened and gilt yields fell after Bank of England policy maker Michael Saunders urged caution on monetary tightening due to the potential effects of the omicron variant on the economy. The euro fell below $1.13 and some traders are starting to use option plays to express the view that the currency may extend its drop in coming month, yet recover in the latter part of 2022. The Aussie dropped for a fourth day amid concern U.S. payroll data due Friday may add to divergence between RBA and Fed monetary policy. Australia’s sale of 2024 bonds saw yields drop below those in the secondary market by the most on record. The yen weakened for a second day as the prospects for a faster pace of Fed tapering fans speculation of portfolio outflows from Japan. In rates, Treasury yields ticked lower, erasing some of Tuesday jump after Fed officials laid out the case for a faster removal of policy support amid high inflation.  Treasurys followed gilts during European morning, when Bank of England’s Saunders said the omicron variant is a key consideration for the December MPC decision which in turn lowered odds of a December BOE rate hike. Treasury yields are richer by up to 1.5bp across 10-year sector which trades around 1.43%; gilts outperform by ~1bp as BOE rate- hike premium for the December meeting was pared following Saunders comments. Shorter-term Treasury yields inched up, and the 2-year yield touched the highest in a week Friday’s U.S. session features a raft of data headed by the November jobs report due 8:30am ET where the median estimate is 550k while Bloomberg whisper number is 564k; October NFP change was 531k Crude futures extend Asia’s modest gains advanced after OPEC+ proceeded with an output hike but left room for quick adjustments due to a cloudy outlook, making shorting difficult. WTI added on ~2.5% to trade near $68.20, roughly near the middle of the week’s range. Brent recovers near $71.50. Spot gold fades a small push higher to trade near $1,770/oz. Most base metals are well supported with LME aluminum and zinc outperforming.  Looking at the day ahead, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,574.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 466.43 MXAP little changed at 192.06 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 625.64 Nikkei up 1.0% to 28,029.57 Topix up 1.6% to 1,957.86 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,766.69 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,607.43 Sensex down 1.3% to 57,692.90 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,241.17 Kospi up 0.8% to 2,968.33 Brent Futures up 3.3% to $71.97/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,767.28 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 96.29 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1286 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg “I see an inflation profile which looks like a hump” and “we know how painful it is,” ECB President Christine Lagarde says at event Friday. She also said that “when the conditions of our forward guidance are satisfied, we won’t be hesitant to act” and that an interest rate increase in 2022 is very unlikely The betting window is open in the fixed-income market as hedge funds and other traders hunt for mispriced risk heading into 2022 -- whether it’s predictions for accelerating inflation or rising interest rates The U.K. Municipal Bonds Agency aims to sell the first ethical bonds on behalf of local governments early next year. The body, set up to help U.K. councils access capital markets, is looking to issue a couple of sustainable bonds in the first quarter of 2022, according to officials advising on the sales. It expects to follow that with a pooled ethical bond to raise money for a group of different local authorities Low- income countries indebted to Chinese commercial and policy banks could buy specially-created Chinese government bonds and then use these as collateral to support the sale of new yuan debt, Zhou Chengjun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s finance research institute, wrote in an article published in the ChinaBond Magazine Chinese tech shares briefly touched their record lows in Hong Kong, as Didi Global Inc.’s announcement to start U.S. delisting and rising scrutiny on mainland firms traded there dealt a further blow to already soured sentiment The yuan is set to weaken for the first time in three years in 2022, as capital inflows are expected to slow amid a shrinking yield gap between China and the U.S., a Bloomberg survey shows Turkish inflation accelerated for a sixth month in November to the highest level in three years, driven by a slump in the lira that continues to cloud consumer price outlook A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities eventually traded mostly higher following the cyclical-led rebound in the US, but with the mood in the region tentative as Omicron uncertainty lingered after further cases of the new variant were reported stateside and with the latest NFP data drawing near. ASX 200 (+0.2%) lacked direction as resilience in cyclicals was offset by underperformance in defensives and amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns which prompted the Western Australian government to widen its state border closure to include South Australia. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) was initially subdued amid recent currency inflows and with SoftBank among the worst performers amid several negative headlines including the FTC suing to block the Nvidia acquisition of Arm from SoftBank, while the Japanese conglomerate also suffered from its exposure in “super app” Grab which tumbled 20% in its New York debut and with Didi to start delisting from the NYSE in favour of a Hong Kong listing, although the index eventually recovered losses in latter half of trade. Hang Seng (-0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.9%) were varied with US-listed Chinese companies pressured as the US SEC moved closer to delisting Chinese ADRs for failing to comply with disclosure requirements, while the mood across developers was also glum with Kaisa shares at a record low after its bond exchange offer to avert a default was rejected by bondholders and China Aoyuan Property Group slumped by double-digit percentages following its warning of an inability to repay USD 651.2mln of debt due to a liquidity crunch. Furthermore, participants digested the latest Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which slowed from the prior month, but both remained in expansion territory and with reports that advisors are to recommend lowering China’s economic growth target to 5.0%-5.5% or above 5%, fanning hopes for looser policy. Finally, 10yr JGBs gained and made another incursion above 152.00 with prices supported amid the cautious mood in Japan and with the BoJ also present in the market today for a total of JPY 1.05tln of JGBs heavily concentrated in 1yr-5yr maturities. Top Asian News Astra Said to Sink Advent’s $7.6 Billion Buyout of Biotech Sobi BOJ Is Said to See Omicron as Potential Reason to Keep Covid Aid Kaisa Swap Rejected, Developer Bonds Slide: Evergrande Update Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL The positivity seen heading into the European open dissipated as the session went underway, with the region seeing more of a mixed configuration in cash markets (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%; Stoxx 600 Unch) – with no clear drivers in the run-up to the US jobs report. The release will be carefully watching measures of labour market slack to gauge the progress towards the Fed's 'three tests' for rate hikes, whilst the Fed appears almost certain to announce a quickening in the pace of asset purchase tapering at its December meeting (Full NFP preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). The recent downside in Europe also seeps into the US futures, with the RTY (-0.2%), NQ (-0.2%) and ES (-0.3%) posting broad-based losses as things stand. Sectors have shifted from the earlier firm cyclical layout to one of a more defensive nature, with Healthcare, Food & Beverages, and Personal & Household Goods making their way up the ranks. Travel & Leisure still sits in the green but largely owed to sector heavyweight Evolution (+6.3%) as the group is to acquire its own shares in Nasdaq Stockholm. Oil & Gas sits as the current winner as crude markets claw back a bulk of this week's losses. On the flip side, Basic Resources are hit as iron ore tumbled overnight. In terms of individual movers, Dassault Aviation (+8.0%) shares soared after France signed a deal with the UAE worth some EUR 17bln. Allianz (+1.0%) stays in the green after entering a reinsurance agreement with Resolution Life and affiliates of Sixth Street for its US fixed index annuity portfolio, with the transaction to unlock USD 4.1bln in value. Top European News U.K. Nov. Composite PMI 57.6 vs Flash Reading 57.7 The Chance of a BOE Rate Hike This Month Has Fallen: BofA’s Wood AP Moller Holding Agrees to Buy Diagnostics Company Unilabs Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL In FX, it’s debatable whether this month’s US jobs data will carry as much weight as normal given that Fed rhetoric in the run up to the pre-FOMC blackout period has effectively signalled a faster pace of tapering and the likelihood of more hawkishly aligned dot plots. However, the latest BLS report could be influential in terms of shaping the tightening path once QE has been withdrawn, as markets continue to monitor unfolding COVID-19 developments with the main focus on vaccine efficacy against the new Omicron variant. In the meantime, Buck bulls have resurfaced to lift the index more firmly back above 96.000 and towards loftier levels seen earlier this week within a 96.075-324 range, eyeing Monday’s 96.448 peak ahead of the semi-psychological 96.500 mark and then the w-t-d best at 96.647 set the day after. Back to Friday’s agenda, Fed’s Bullard is due to speak and the services ISM rounds off the week. AUD/NZD - The high betas are bearing the brunt of Greenback gains, but also bearish technical forces as the Aussie and Kiwi both lose sight of key chart and simple round number levels that were keeping them afloat or declines relatively contained at least. Aud/Usd is now probing 0.7050 and a Fib retracement just above, while Nzd/Usd is hovering around 0.6775 as the Aud/Nzd cross holds in the low 1.0400 zone. JPY/CAD/CHF/GBP/EUR - All softer vs their US counterpart, with the Yen looking towards 113.50 for support with added protection from option expiry interest up to 113.60 in 1.1 bn, while the Loonie is relying on WTI to maintain recovery momentum before Canada and the US go head-to-head in the employment stakes. Usd/Cad is meandering in the low 1.2800 area as the crude benchmark regains Usd 68+/brl status from a sub-Usd 66.50 base and even deeper trough below Usd 62.50 in knee-jerk response to OPEC+ sticking to its output plan yesterday. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to straddle 0.9200, Sterling has retreated from 1.3300+ terrain again post-fractionally softer than forecast final UK services and composite PMIs, whilst a less hawkish speech from BoE hawk Saunders took Cable to a session low of 1.3255 and a 15bps Dec hike pricing fell from 51% to 26%. The Euro has also reversed from recent highs beyond 1.1300 amidst rather mixed Eurozone readings and pretty routine ECB rhetoric from President Lagarde plus GC members Knot, de Cos and de Guindos. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures continue to nurse losses seen earlier this week, with the post-OPEC downside completely erased alongside some more. To recap, oil contracts were under pressure from compounding COVID headlines at the start of the week and in the run-up to OPEC+ whereby ministers opted to keep production plans despite the Omicron variant and the recent SPR releases. Delving deeper into these themes, desks suggest that a dominant Omicron variant could actually be positive if the strain turns out to be milder than some of its predecessors – with the jury still out but initial reports from India and South Africa suggesting so. Regarding OPEC+, some oil traders suggest the move to maintain plans was more of a political strategy as opposed to an attempt to balance markets, with journalists also suggesting that tensions with the US have simmered down and the prospect of further SPR releases have significantly declined. Further, it's also worth bearing in mind that due to maintenance and underinvestment, the real output hike from OPEC+ producers will likely be under the 400k BPD. In terms of Iranian developments, updates have been less constructive, with sources suggesting that Iran is holding a tougher stance than during the June talks. Negotiations will break today and resume next week. Crude contracts are modestly lower on the week and well-off worst levels, with Brent Feb now back around USD 71.50/bbl (65.72-77.02 weekly range), while WTI Jan resides around USD north of USD 68/bbl (62.43-72.93/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold and silver vary, with the former finding some overnight support around USD 1,766/oz as risk sentiment erred lower, whilst the cluster of DMAs remain around the USD 1,790-91/oz region. In terms of base metals, LME copper is flat on either side of USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Dalian iron ore futures fell amid a decline in mill demand, whilst China's steel hub Tangshan city is to launch a second-level pollution alert from December 3-10th, the local government said – providing further headwinds for iron demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 550,000, prior 531,000 Nov. Change in Private Payrolls, est. 525,000, prior 604,000 Nov. Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 45,000, prior 60,000 8:30am: Nov. Unemployment Rate, est. 4.5%, prior 4.6% Nov. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.3% Nov. Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.7%, prior 61.6% 8:30am: Nov. Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9% Nov. Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% Nov. Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.5 Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.0, prior 57.0 10am: Oct. Factory Orders, est. 0.5%, prior 0.2% Oct. Factory Orders Ex Trans, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7% Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. -0.5%, prior -0.5% Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.3% Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.6% 10am: Nov. ISM Services Index, est. 65.0, prior 66.7 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I got great news yesterday. It was the school Xmas Fayre last weekend and at one stall we had to guess the weight of the school duck that lives in their pond. I spent a long time analysing it outside and was trying to mentally compare it to the weights of my various dumbbells at home. I learnt yesterday that I’d won. My prize? A rubber duck for the bath. In more trivial news I also learnt I was voted no.1 analyst in four categories of the Global Institutional Investor Fixed Income Analyst awards for 2021. So many thanks for all who voted. It is very much appreciated. However in terms of physical mementoes of my achievements yesterday, all I actually have to show for it is a brown rubber duck. Guessing the weight of a duck is a walk in the park at the moment compared to predicting markets. Indeed it’s been a wild week. If you’ve managed to time all the various swings you can surely only have done it via a time machine. If you have done so without one though I will happily hand over my prized rubber duck. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (+1.42%) had begun to recover following its worst 2-day performance in over a year. The VIX index of volatility ticked back down beneath the 30 mark again, but finished above 25 for the fourth day in five for the first time since December of last year. Meanwhile Oil plunged and then soared on OPEC+ news and curves continued to flatten as 2yr yields got back close to their pre-Omicron levels after a near 20bps round journey over the last week. I’m glad I’m a research analyst not a day trader, and that’s before we get to today’s payrolls print. We’ll start with Omicron, where yesterday predictably saw a number of new countries report confirmed cases for the first time, as well as a second case in the United States during market hours, this one with roots in New York City, which reported more than 11,300 new cases yesterday, the highest daily count since January. After the market closed, an additional five cases were identified in New York, which sent futures over -0.5% lower at the time. They are back to flat as we type possibly helped by a late deal and vote in Congress to fund the US government through to February 18th and avert a shutdown at midnight tonight. Back to the virus and governments continued to ramp up their defence measures, with Germany yesterday announcing a range of fresh restrictions as they grapple with the latest wave, including a requirement that you must either be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid in order to get into restaurants or non-essential stores. There’s also set to be a parliamentary vote on mandatory vaccinations, and incoming Chancellor Scholz said that he expected it to pass. In the US, President Biden announced new measures to fight the impending winter wave and spreading Omicron variant, including tighter testing guidelines for international visitors, wider availability of at home tests, whilst accelerating efforts to get the rest of the world vaccinated. Over in South Africa, the daily case count rose further yesterday, with 11,535 reported, up from 8,561 the previous day and 4,373 the day before that. So definitely one to keep an eye on as we look for clues about what this could mean for the world more broadly. That said, we’re still yet to get the all-important information on how much less or more deadly this might be, as well as how effective vaccines still are and the extent to which it is more transmissible relative to other variants. Back to markets, and the revival in risk appetite led to a fresh selloff in US Treasuries, with the 2yr yield up +6.7bps, and the 10yr yield up +3.7bps. Nevertheless, as mentioned at the top, the latest round of curve flattening has sent the 2s10s slope to its flattest since before the Georgia Senate seat runoff gave Democrats control of Congress. It’s now at just +82.0bps, whilst the 5s30s slope is now at flattest since March 2020, at +55.0bps. So a warning sign for those who believe in the yield curve as a recessionary indicator, albeit with some way to go before that flashes red. In Europe there was also a modest curve flattening, but yields moved lower across the board, with those on 10yr bunds (-2.6bps), OATs (-3.2bps) and BTPs (-5.6bps) all down by the close. Over in equities, there was a decent rebound in the US following the recent selloff, with the S&P 500 (+1.42%) posting a solid gain. It was a very broad-based advance, with over 90% of the index’s members moving higher for the first time since mid-October. Every S&P sector increased, which was enough to compensate for the noticeable lag in mega-cap shares, with the FANG index gaining just +0.15%. The STOXX 600 decreased -1.15%, though that reflected the fact Europe closed ahead of the big reversal in sentiment the previous session. Aside from Omicron, one of the other biggest stories yesterday was the decision by the OPEC+ group to continue with their production hike, which will add a further +400k barrels/day to global supply in January. The news initially sent oil prices sharply lower, with Brent crude falling to an intraday low beneath $66/bbl, before recovering to end the day back at $69.67/bl in light of the group saying that they could adjust their plans “pending further developments of the pandemic”, with the ability to “make immediate adjustments if required”. Even with the bounceback yesterday however, oil has been one of the worst-performing assets over recent weeks, with Brent hitting an intraday high of $86.7/bbl in late-October, followed by a November that marked its worst monthly performance since the pandemic began. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher with the KOSPI (+0.86%), Shanghai Composite (+0.58%), CSI (+0.35%) and the Nikkei (+0.29%) up but with the Hang Seng (-0.74%) under pressure amid the ongoing regulatory clampdown in technology from China as Didi prepares to delist on US markets. Looking forward now, the main highlight on today’s calendar is the US jobs report for November, which comes less than two weeks’ away from the Fed’s meeting where they’ll decide on the pace of tapering. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for nonfarm payrolls to grow by +600k, which would be the fastest pace of job growth since July, and that in turn would take the unemployment rate down to a post-pandemic low of 4.4%. Ahead of that, we had another decent weekly claims report (albeit that took place after the jobs report survey period), with the number for the week through November 26 coming in at a stronger-than-expected 222k (vs. 240k expected). The previous week’s number was also revised down -5k, sending the 4-week moving average down to its own post-pandemic low of 238.75k. Looking at yesterday’s other data releases, the Euro Area unemployment rate fell to a post-pandemic low of 7.3% in October, in line with expectations. However producer price inflation shot up even faster than anticipated to +21.9% (vs. 19.0% expected). To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

Cook County Blows Past 1,000 Homicides This Year In First Since 1994

Cook County Blows Past 1,000 Homicides This Year In First Since 1994 The greater Chicago-area Cook County has this week surpassed a grim record - for the first time in almost three decades seeing more than 1,000 homicides in one year. With still a month to go until the close of 2021 the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office put out figures on Tuesday showing 1,009 total homicides. The last time the county - which is the most populous within the state of Illinois encompassing the Chicagoland area and Evanston city - saw 1,000 homicides in a one-year period was in 1994, when there were 1,141 killings. Image via Townhall According to local CBS-2, "Chicago alone has had 777 homicides so far this year, according to the medical examiner’s office. That’s more than the total number of homicides reported by Chicago Police all of last year, when CPD reported 769 homicides." Further, the medical examiner's office records show that "the vast majority of homicide victims have been Black, with 81% of the victims identified as African American. Latinos accounted for about 15% of the county’s homicide victims." The vast majority of these deaths are by gun violence. But strangely enough, Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot who has lately been at war with her own police department over the vaccination status disclosure mandate, has tried to shift blame for the soaring violent crime gripping the city's streets onto (what else?) the coronavirus pandemic... "There’s no question that the COVID-related impact on the public safety system in Chicago, in New York, in L.A., D.C. and other cities across the country is real. And what we’ve got to continue to do is make sure that we’re demanding of our courts and our prosecutors that they hold violent people accountable and keep them off our streets,” the mayor told MSNBC last month. Most recently, Thanksgiving weekend saw over 40 people shot, including five killed, which means Cook County could possibly be headed toward an all-time high of shootings before 2021 is out.  One report after the bloody holiday weekend described Chicago as "a war zone" while featuring footage of someone firing a machine gun: This it the terrifying moment machine gun shooting erupted on the streets of Chicago in a bloody Thanksgiving weekend of gun violence.  ...Footage posted online shows a man, who does not appear to have a gun, running through the streets of Chicago as machine gun fire erupts nearby.   'Chicago is a war zone': Terrifying video shows MACHINE GUN fire erupting on the streets in bloody Thanksgiving weekend of violence as three are killed and another 40 are shot - — Blanche Victoria (@tammytabby) November 30, 2021 It's certainly not the first time in recent months that fully automatic gunfire has erupted on Chicago streets. As one previously widely viewed social media video from last summer showed, gunfights have on occasion broken out in broad daylight... Chicago's Gone Wild: Gang Member Machine Gun Shootout Called Worst Violence Since Al Capone Days!! — Willie D (@WillieDLIVE) June 26, 2021 Meanwhile, the city of Chicago and Mayor Lightfoot's hugely controversial vaccine status disclosure mandate for police officers remains at a tense stalemate. Just under a month ago an Illinois judge handed the police union a major victory, ruling that an arbitrator must examine the policy before the city can implement it based on prior union agreements and rules with the city. The vaccine mandate order remains blocked for the time being. Many observers and Chicagoans themselves have expressed alarm that if patrol officers were ever actually removed from the streets for failure to comply with the pandemic-related mandates, the chaotic violence would spiral out of control even beyond already existing levels. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Bureaucrat"s False Promise: Take Two COVID Shots And We Will Reopen

Bureaucrat's False Promise: Take Two COVID Shots And We Will Reopen Authored by Mike Shedlock via, More lockdowns are underway in Europe. What happened to reopen promises? Fury Over Lockdowns  Global markets are reeling in the wake of more lockdowns and threats of them. The Economist (paywall) notes surge of deadly covid cases in Europe is met by popular fury over lockdowns. The sight of 40,000 unvaccinated Austrians marching through their capital, Vienna, in recent days was troubling twice over. The tightly packed opponents of lockdown measures were at risk of spreading the coronavirus. They also threatened to stir up an already tense political situation. Karl Nehammer, Austria’s interior minister, warned that anti-vaxxers in the Alpine republic are growing more radicalised. He called the demonstration’s mood “incensed” and “aggressive”. Some protesters were extremely provocative, carrying placards likening Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s new chancellor, to Josef Mengele, the sadistic physician at the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. The protesters were marching against Austria’s increasingly tough measures against anti-vaxxers. On November 22nd the government imposed a full lockdown once again, to last for at least ten days. That compels Austria’s 9m people to hunker down at home, leaving only for work, essential shopping and exercise. Austria is also the first Western democracy to make covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all, starting on February 1st 2022. “For a long time—maybe too long—I and others assumed that it must be possible to convince people in Austria to get vaccinated voluntarily,” said Mr Schallenberg when he announced his “very difficult” decision. Let Our Guard Down The Washington Post (paywalled) reports ‘We let our guard down’: Frustrated Europe heads into second pandemic winter Life was finally starting to feel normal. An online flier for an October party in this Belgian beach town cursed the coronavirus and invited people to dance and drink again, to “get your clacker back from the attic” and kick off Carnival season. Hundreds attended that event and another Carnival party the next night. Most of the town is vaccinated, and people were required to show proof, or a recent negative test, to enter. But it wasn’t enough. Coronavirus cases spiked the week after. Officials worried about pressure on the local hospital. And soon the town found itself under semi-lockdown once more. As Americans catch up with family and friends this holiday week, with some trepidation about enduring risk, Europe is facing another wave of the virus — and a gloomy and frustrating second pandemic winter. New Heavily Mutated Covid Variant CNBC reports Belgium Confirms Case of New, Heavily Mutated Covid Variant. The emerging variant arrives in Europe amid an already devastating Covid surge linked to the delta strain. Europe saw more than 2.4 million new Covid cases over the week ended Nov. 21, an increase of 11% from the previous seven days, according to the WHO’s most recent epidemiological update. Europe represented 67% of all Covid cases reported globally during that span, the WHO measured. Belgium tightened restrictions this week to stop the spread of the virus, requiring people to work from home four days a week through the middle of December. Austria started its fourth lockdown of the pandemic on Monday, with a nationwide vaccine mandate scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg has said that the lockdown will last for at most 20 days. New Lockdowns and Restrictions Slovakia declared a two-week lockdown on Wednesday. People can leave home for a limited number of reasons, including buying groceries, going to work and to school, and getting vaccinated. And starting next week, all workers will have to show they’ve been vaccinated, recovered from the coronavirus or had a recent negative test. Austria, imposed a lockdown that will last at least 10 days and up to 20.  The Netherlands ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 p.m. Belgium has mandated that all but essential employees work from home four days a week. Belgium also reinstituted an indoor mask mandate this month. Merkel pushed for a German lockdown as its death toll passed 100,000. The U.K.  halted flights from six countries in the region, and European Union member states have collectively agree to pause travel to and from southern Africa. Singapore banned flights from southern Africa Japan is increasing border controls for travelers from the region. Italy requires proof of vaccination or recovery for access to many parts of public life. Vaccination restrictions fcome into effect on December 6 and last until January 15. Mess in Germany  Eurointelligence comments on Germany's Federal Virus. The massive outbreak in Covid-19 hospitalizations and fatalities in Germany raises disturbing questions about who is in charge. Having failed to achieve the right levels of vaccine procurement early on during the pandemic, the German authorities have repeated the same mistake. They did not procure the booster shots they needed. They have not set up a network of vaccination centres to deliver them rapidly. As of this weekend, only 11.4% of the population has received booster shots. It is very difficult to get an appointment. Only doctor's surgeries are allowed to deliver them. The network has not been expanded to pharmacies.  So why is this happening again? The answer is that the German healthcare system, well-funded as it is, is not set up for a pandemic, or indeed for public health emergencies in general. This is a publicly-funded, but privately run, healthcare system. The states are in charge of the local healthcare administrations and hospitals. Health insurance is a matter for the federal government, but states supervise the health insurance companies. What can possibly go wrong? Message From German Stats In Germany, over 45% of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are fully vaccinated. That last stat sounds more shocking than it really is. Germany is 68% fully vaccinated. Thus 55% of the hospitalizations cases come from 32% of the population. Only 11% of Germany received a booster. Given vaccinations wear off, the proper take away is get a booster, not flout the stats.  Vaccine Mandate US In the US, the Biden administration imposed a vaccine mandate vis OSHA on companies with more than 100 employees. On November 15, I noted Appeals Court Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate in a Blistering Rebuke The rebuke was a huge attack on the competence of Biden's mandate. My position, upfront was the mandate was unconstitutional.  Given multiple attacks on the mandate, jurisdiction, the case moved from the 5th Circuit to the 6th Circuit, where Biden doubled down.  On November 23, I commented Biden Doubles Down on Vaccine Mandate With Another Circuit Court The justice department files an emergency motion with the 6th circuit court arguing the 5th circuit's postponement of the OSHA vaccine mandate was unjustified I strongly suspect the 6th Circuit will reaffirm the previous ruling. Meanwhile, protests or not, mutations go on and on.  What Covid Lockdowns and Disruptions in Europe Signal to the U.S. False Promise "Take two shots and we will reopen society. That turned out to be a false promise." It's been one false promise after another, by Dr. Fauci, by Trump, by Biden, by Merkel, globally everywhere. Trust is essentially gone and rising protests are proof. *  *  * Like these reports? If so, please Subscribe to MishTalk Email Alerts. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/27/2021 - 13:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 27th, 2021

Five Trump-Russia "Collusion" Corrections We Need From The Media Now

Five Trump-Russia 'Collusion' Corrections We Need From The Media Now Authored by Aaron Maté via, Five years after the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded collection of Trump-Russia conspiracy theories known as the Steele dossier was published by BuzzFeed, news outlets that amplified its false allegations have suffered major losses of credibility. The recent indictment of the dossier's main source, Igor Danchenko, for allegedly lying to the FBI, has catalyzed a new reckoning. In response to what the news site Axios has called "one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history," the Washington Post has re-edited at least a dozen stories related to Steele. For two of those, the Post removed entire sections, changed headlines, and added lengthy editor's notes. Rosalind Helderman: Bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@PostRoz Tom Hamburger: Other bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@thamburger But the Post's response also exhibits the limits of the media's Steele-induced self-examination. First, the reporters bylined on those two articles, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, and their editors have declined to explain how and why they were so egregiously misled. Nor have they revealed the names of the anonymous sources responsible for deceiving them and the public over months and years. Perhaps more important, the Post, like other publications, has so far limited its Russiagate reckoning to work directly involving Steele – and only after a federal indictment forced its hand. But the Steele dossier has been widely discredited since at least April 2019, when Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and his team of prosecutors and FBI agents were unable to find evidence in support of any of its claims. The dossier was also only one aspect of the Trump-Russia misinformation fed to the public. Even when not advancing Steele's most lurid allegations, the nation's most prominent news outlets nonetheless furthered his underlying narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy and a Kremlin-compromised White House. Along the way, some journalists won their profession's highest distinction for this flawed coverage. While co-bylining stories that the Post has all but retracted, Helderman and Hamburger also share a now increasingly awkward honor along with more than a dozen other colleagues at the Post and New York Times: a Pulitzer Prize. In 2018, the Pulitzer awards committee honored the two papers for 20 articles it described as "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect's transition team and his eventual administration." Above, Washingon Post and New York Times reporters whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on the Trump-Russia affair is tainted by evidence in the public record that significant reporting was erroneous or misleading -- reporting that still has not been corrected by their publications, even though the Post recently made numerous corrections regarding the long-discredited Steele dossier. Journalist identifications are here. (Credit: YouTube/The Pulitzer Prizes) Although neither newspaper has given any indication that it is returning the Pulitzer, the public record has long made clear that many of those stories – most of which had nothing to do with Steele – include falsehoods and distortions requiring significant corrections. Far from showing "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage," the Post's and the Times' reporting has the same problem as the Steele document that these same outlets are now distancing themselves from: a reliance on anonymous, deceptive, and almost certainly partisan sources for claims that proved to be false. Many other prestigious outlets published a barrage of similarly flawed articles. These include the report by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy that the Mueller team obtained evidence that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had visited Prague in 2016; Jane Mayer's fawning March 2018 profile of Steele in the New Yorker; the report by Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier of BuzzFeed that President Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress -- explicitly denied by Mueller at the time; and Luke Harding of The Guardian's bizarre and evidence-free allegation that Julian Assange and Paul Manafort met in London's Ecuadorian embassy. McClatchy and BuzzFeed have added editors' notes to their stories but have not retracted them.  In this article, RealClearInvestigations has collected five instances of stories containing false or misleading claims, and thereby due for retraction or correction, that were either among the Post and Times' Pulitzer-winning entries, or other work of reporters who shared that prize. Significantly, this analysis is not based on newly discovered information, but documents and other material long in the public domain. Remarkably, some of the material that should spark corrections has instead been held up by the Post and Times as vindication of their work. RCI sent detailed queries about these stories to the Post, the Times, and the journalists involved. The Post's response has been incorporated into the relevant portion of this article. The Times did not respond to RCI's queries by the time of publication. Falsehood No. 1: Michael Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russia and Lied About It Flynn faces the press in his only White House Briefing Room remarks as national security adviser. YouTube/C-SPAN Officials say Flynn discussed sanctions By Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen NakashimaWashington Post, February 9, 2017 Less than a month after BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, the Washington Post significantly advanced the then-growing narrative that the Trump White House was beholden to Russia. A Feb. 9, 2017, Post article claimed that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia" with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak "during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials." The Post sourced its reporting to nine "current and former officials" who occupied "senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls" between Flynn and Kislyak following the Nov. 8, 2016 election. The Post's sources – who were revealing classified information, presumably from taps on Kislyak's phone – left no room for doubt: "All of those officials said Flynn's references to the election-related sanctions were explicit." They also added their own spin to the meaning of the conversations: Flynn's calls with Kislyak "were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election." Adding some mind-reading to the narrative, a former official told the Post that Kislyak "was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time." The Post and its sources fueled innuendo that Flynn had floated a payback for Russia's alleged 2016 election help and lied to cover it up. Facing a barrage of anonymous officials contradicting him, Flynn walked back an initial denial and told the Post that "while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up." Four days later, he was forced to resign. The following December, Special Counsel Mueller seemingly vindicated the Post's narrative when Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, including about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn would later backtrack and reverse that guilty plea, sparking a multi-year legal saga. When the transcripts of his calls with Kislyak were finally released in May 2020, they showed that Flynn had grounds to fight: It wasn't Flynn who made a false statement about discussing sanctions with Kislyak; it was all nine of the Post's sources — and, later, the Mueller team — who had misled the public. Sergei Kislyak: Transcripts of Flynn's calls with the Russian Ambassador do not square with the Washington Post's reporting. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File In all of Flynn's multiple conversations with Kislyak in December 2016 and January 2017, the issue of sanctions only gets one fleeting mention – by Kislyak. The Russian ambassador tells Flynn that he is concerned that sanctions will hurt U.S.-Russia cooperation on fighting jihadist insurgents in Syria. The sum total of Flynn's response on the matter: "Yeah, yeah." The pair did have a longer discussion about a separate action Obama had ordered at the time: the expulsion of 35 Russian officials living in the United States. The expulsions, which were carried out by the State Department, were a distinct action from the sanctions, which targeted nine Russian entities and individuals under a presidential executive order. In discussing the expulsions, Flynn never addressed what Trump might do; his only request was that the Kremlin's response be "reciprocal" and "even-keeled" so that "cool heads" can "prevail." "[D]on't go any further than you have to," Flynn told Kislyak. "Because I don't want us to get into something that has to escalate, on a, you know, on a tit for tat." In its rendering of the call, the Mueller team cited these comments from Flynn – but inaccurately claimed that he had made them about sanctions. The Special Counsel's Office appeared to be following the lead of the Post's sources, who had claimed, falsely, that Flynn's references to sanctions were "explicit." Both the Post and the special counsel used Flynn's explicit comments about expulsions to erroneously assert that he had discussed sanctions. Yet the release of the transcripts did not prompt the Post to come clean. Instead, both the Post and the New York Times doubled down on the deception. The Post's May 29, 2020, story about the transcripts' release was headlined "Transcripts of calls between Flynn, Russian diplomat show they discussed sanctions." The Times claimed that same day that "Flynn Discussed Sanctions at Length With Russian Diplomat, Transcripts Show." In reality, the transcripts showed the exact opposite. In response to RCI, the Post acknowledged that the Feb. 9, 2017 story had conflated "sanctions" with "expulsions." "We appropriately used the word 'sanctions' in reference to the punitive measures announced by President Obama, including Treasury penalties on Russian individuals, expulsions of Russian diplomats/spies and the seizure of two Russia-owned properties," Shani George, the Post's Vice President for Communications, wrote. In other articles, however -- including a Dec. 29, 2016 article linked in the Feb. 9 story's second paragraph – the Post made a clear distinction between the two. Asked about dropping the distinction between sanctions and expulsions for the article discussed here, the Post did not respond by the time of publication.  Falsehood No. 2: Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence Left to right, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone: Repeated contacts with Russian spies? Doubtful. FNC/AP Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence By Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, February 14, 2017 On Feb. 14, 2017 – just one day after Flynn resigned – the New York Times fanned the flames of the growing Trump-Russia inferno. "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials," the Times reported. The story, written by three members of the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning team, Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, also suggested that these suspicious "repeated contacts" were the basis for the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's potential conspiracy with Russia: "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election." The article even threw in a plug for Christopher Steele, who, the Times said, is believed by senior FBI officials to have "a credible track record." The story helped build momentum for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller, and then quickly unraveled. Four months after the Times' report – and just weeks after Mueller's hiring – FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress about the story, saying that "in the main, it was not true." When the Mueller report was released in April 2019, it contained no evidence of any contacts between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officials, senior or otherwise. And in July 2020, declassified documents showed that Peter Strzok, the top FBI counterintelligence agent who opened the Trump-Russia probe, had privately dismissed the article. The Times reporting, Strzok wrote upon its publication, was "misleading and inaccurate … we are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials." Comey on Times story: "In the main, it was not true." It's still uncorrected. To date, the Times has appended two minor corrections. The most recent one reads: "An earlier version of a photo caption with this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D." Rather than address its glaring errors, the Times left the story otherwise intact. When the Strzok notes disputing its claims emerged, the Times responded: "We stand by our reporting." Earlier this year, the Times even claimed vindication. The occasion was an April 15, 2021, press release from the Treasury Department. The Treasury statement alleged that Konstantin Kilimnik, a former aide to Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is a "known Russian Intelligence Services agent" who "provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" during the 2016 election. Writing that same day, Times reporters Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt declared that Treasury's evidence-free press release — coupled with an evidence-free Senate Intelligence claim in August 2020 that Kilimnik is a "Russian intelligence officer" — now "confirm" the Times' report from February 2017. The Treasury announcement did not explain how the department, which conducted no official Russiagate investigation, was prompted to lodge an explosive allegation that a multi-year FBI/Mueller investigation found no evidence for. It also does not name the position Kilimnik allegedly held in Russian intelligence – much less say whether he was a senior official. It also failed to address ample countervailing evidence: that Kilimnik had shared this same, publicly available polling data with Americans; that the FBI still does not deem him a Russian intelligence officer, instead claiming that he has unspecified "ties"; that he had long been a valued State Department source; that he traveled to the U.S. on a civilian Russian passport, not the suspicious diplomatic one Mueller alleged without producing it; and that even the Senate Intelligence Committee was "unable to obtain direct evidence of what Kilimnik did with the polling data and whether that data was shared further."  Wanted in the U.S., Kilimnik shared his civilian (not diplomatic) passport with RCI. Konstantin Kilimnik via RealClearInvestigations In addition, no U.S. government or congressional investigator ever contacted him for questioning, Kilimnik told RCI in an April 2021 interview when he produced images of the civilian passport. To declare victory, Mazzetti and Schmidt not only relied on one sentence of a press release but distorted the claims of their original story. Even if Kilimnik somehow proved to be a Russian intelligence officer, the Times' 2017 story had reported that the Trump campaign had engaged in "intercepted calls" with multiple "senior Russian intelligence officials" – not just one person, and at a "senior" level. To elide that, Mazzetti and Schmidt abandoned the plural Russian "intelligence officials" to spin the Treasury press release as proof that "there had been numerous interactions between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the year before the election." It then returned to the use of the plural to further claim that Treasury's statement is "the strongest evidence to date that Russian spies had penetrated the inner workings of the Trump campaign." RCI sent Mazzetti and Schmidt detailed questions about their February 2017 article and their claim, four years later, that a Senate report and a Treasury press release confirm it. They did not respond. Falsehood No. 3: George Papadopoulos's 'Night of Heavy Drinking' With the Australian Envoy The Times mischaracterized George Papadopoulos's supposed Russiagate-launching barroom chat. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Unlikely Source Propelled Russian Meddling Inquiry By Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, December 30, 2017 By late 2017, the Russiagate saga was engulfing the Trump presidency. The indictments of several figures connected to Trump fueled a media-driven narrative that Mueller was closing in on a Trump-Russia conspiracy. But a roadblock emerged in late October. After a year of evasions, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its law firm Perkins Coie admitted that they had funded the Steele dossier and that a lawyer for the firm, Marc Elias, had commissioned it. The disclosure was forced by House Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, who had subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS in a bid to identify its secret funder. (Fusion GPS was the opposition-research firm hired by Perkins Coie that in turn hired Steele.) For those wedded to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, the admission was problematic: After months of anonymous media claims that Steele's dossier was "credible" and even "bearing out," the heralded document was exposed as a paid partisan hit job from Trump's political opponents. If the FBI was found to have relied on the dossier, the Clinton campaign's key role could discredit the entire investigation. Just before the 2017 year-end deadline for 2018 Pulitzer eligibility, the New York Times produced a new origin story for the probe that would temper these concerns and help the newspaper win the prize. The FBI's decision to open the Trump-Russia probe had nothing to do with Steele, the Times claimed. Instead, the instigator was George Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign volunteer indicted by Mueller two months prior. "During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016," the Times' piece began, Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer that Russia had "political dirt on Hillary Clinton," including "thousands of emails." Papadopoulos, the Times said, had learned of the Russian scheme the previous month from Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who claimed to be in touch with "high-level Russian officials." Mifsud's claim signaled inside knowledge of Russia's alleged hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Times said, because at that point the "information was not yet public." Alexander Downer: The Australian diplomat's account of his conversation with George Papadopoulos conflicts with the Times' reporting. Twitter/@AlexanderDowner When Downer, via the Australian government, relayed this information to the U.S. in July, the FBI decided to open its Trump-Russia probe, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, the Times reported. "The [DNC] hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," the Times claimed. The article pointedly asserted that the Steele dossier "was not part of the justification to start a counterintelligence inquiry, American officials said." (In a possible contradiction, it also claims, without specifics, "that the investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British.") Several key aspects of the article have been challenged by the principals involved — leaving aside a key question the Times appears never to have asked: Why would the FBI launch a counterintelligence probe of a presidential campaign based on a barroom conversation involving a volunteer? Moreover, the Times or its sources mischaracterized the barroom conversation, according to both of its participants. Speaking to a Sydney-based newspaper a few months later about the fateful London exchange, Downer said Papadopoulos had never mentioned "dirt" or "thousands of emails" — which the FBI would have linked to the DNC hack. Instead, Downer told The Australian, Papadopoulos "mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging." Contrary to the specificity of the Times' rendering, Downer recalled that Papadopoulos "didn't say what it was." He also said Papadopoulos made no mention of Mifsud, a mysterious figure with rumored ties to Western intelligence who vanished after a cursory FBI interview. A declassified FBI document would later confirm Downer's account of a vague conversation. In May 2020, the Justice Department released the July 31, 2016, FBI electronic communication (EC) that officially opened its Russia investigation. The EC states that Downer had told the U.S. government that Papadopoulos had "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist" the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing damaging information about Clinton and President Obama. The EC made no mention of any "dirt," "thousands of emails," or Mifsud. It also acknowledged that the nature of the "suggestion" was "unclear" and that the possible Russian help could entail "material acquired publicly," as opposed to hacked emails by the thousands. Another declassified document, the December 2017 testimony from Andrew McCabe — the former FBI deputy director who helped launch and oversee the Russia probe — also undermined the Times' premise. Asked why the FBI never sought a surveillance warrant on the Trump volunteer who supposedly sparked the investigation, McCabe replied that "Papadopoulos' comment didn't particularly indicate that he was the person … that was interacting with the Russians." Despite the countervailing claims of Downer, McCabe, and the FBI document that opened the investigation (not to mention the recollections of both Papadopoulos and Downer that they only had one drink, belying the Times claim of "a night of heavy drinking"), the Times has never run a single update or correction. Falsehood No. 4: Russia Launched a Sweeping Interference Campaign That Posed a ‘National Security Threat' Social media posts from Russia's effort to "assault American democracy," as the Times put it. HPSCI Minority Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked By Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip RuckerWashington Post, December 14, 2017 To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans By Scott ShaneNew York Times, September 8, 2017 As the Pulitzer-winning media outlets relied on anonymous intelligence officials to fuel innuendo about Trump-Russia collusion, they turned to these same sources to imply that a compromised president was unwilling to confront the existential threat of "Russian interference." "Nearly a year into his presidency," a Pulitzer-winning December 2017 Washington Post story declared, "Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House." As a result, Trump has "impaired the government's response to a national security threat." The Post's article was sourced to "more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who "described the Russian interference as the political equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." Another Pulitzer-winning story, written by Scott Shane of the New York Times two months earlier, offered a revealing window into the merits of the Russian interference allegations, and the appropriateness of equating them to attacks like 9/11. "To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans," the Times' headline blared. Aside from the Pulitzer board, Shane's article also impressed the New York Times' editors, who proclaimed in a follow-up editorial that their colleague's "startling investigation" had revealed "further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy." But from the details in Shane's article, it is difficult to see why anonymous U.S. intelligence officials, Pulitzer judges, and Times editors saw the alleged Russian "cyberarmy" as such a seismic danger. Melvin Redick, suspected Russian operator. The proof? Articles "reflecting a pro-Russian worldview," the Times reported. New York Times Shane's piece opened by describing a June 2016 Facebook post by an account user named Melvin Redick, who promoted the website DC Leaks, alleged by the U.S. to be a Russian intelligence cutout. Redick's posts, Shane writes, were "among the first public signs" of Russia's "cyberarmy of counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts" that turned the platforms into "engines of deception and propaganda." To Clint Watts, a former FBI agent turned MSNBC commentator, Russia's infiltration of Facebook and Twitter was so dangerous that social media, he said, is now afflicted by a "bot cancer." But these explosive conclusions, Shane's own piece later acknowledged, were undermined by a lack of evidence. The online users who manipulated social media, Shane quietly notes near the bottom, were in fact only "suspected Russian operators" [emphasis added]. Shane's uncertainty extends to Melvin Redick, the alleged Russian bot who begins the story. Redick is one of several identified accounts that "appeared to be Russian creations," Shane concedes. The only proof tying Redick to Russia? "His posts were never personal, just news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview." Robert Mueller's final report two years later also tried to raise alarm about what he called a "sweeping and systematic" Russian interference campaign. But as with the Pulitzer-winning outlets before him, the contents of his report failed to support the headline assertion. The Russian troll farm blamed for a sweeping social media campaign to install Trump spent about $46,000 on pre-election posts that were juvenile, barely about the election, and mostly appeared during the primaries. After suggesting that the troll farm was tied to the Kremlin, the Mueller team was forced to walk back that innuendo in court, and later dropped the case altogether. The other main claim regarding Russian interference – that the GRU (Russia's foreign intelligence agency) hacked the DNC's email servers and gave the material to Wikileaks – was quietly undermined by Mueller's qualified language and key evidentiary gaps, as RCI reported in 2019. The Russian hacking claim suffered an additional setback in May 2020, when testimony from the CEO of CrowdStrike — the Clinton-contracted firm that was the first to publicly accuse Russia of infiltrating the DNC — was declassified. Speaking to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, CrowdStrike's Shawn Henry disclosed that his company "did not have concrete evidence" that alleged Russian hackers had stolen any data from the servers. Despite its once exhaustive and alarmist interest in the operations of Russia's cyber army, neither the Times nor the Post has ever reported Henry's explosive admission. This includes Pulitzer-winning Post national security reporter Ellen Nakashima, who effectively kicked off the Russiagate saga by breaking the news on CrowdStrike's Russian hacking allegation in June 2016. Other than Henry, Nakashima's main source was Michael Sussmann – the Clinton campaign attorney recently indicted for lying to the FBI. Falsehood No. 5: The Justice Department Pulled Its Punches on Trump Ex-Justice official Rod Rosenstein was blamed for handcuffing Mueller -- a charge much doubted. AP Photo/Evan Vucci Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump's Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say By Michael S. SchmidtNew York Times, Aug. 30, 2020 (Updated June 9, 2021) When Mueller ended his investigation in 2019 without charging Trump or any other associate for conspiring with Russia, a collusion-obsessed media formulated more conspiracy theories to explain away this unwelcome ending. First came the belief that Attorney General William Barr had forced Mueller to shut down, misrepresented his final report, and hid the smoking-gun evidence behind redactions. When Mueller failed to support any of these allegations in his July 2019 congressional testimony, a new culprit was needed. One year later, the New York Times found its fall guy: Mueller's overseer, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, had handcuffed the special counsel. "The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump's decades-long personal and business ties to Russia," Michael Schmidt reported on Aug. 30, 2020. Rosenstein, Schmidt said, "curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere" and preventing the FBI from "completing an inquiry into whether the president's personal and financial links to Russia posed a national security threat." To buttress his case, Schmidt cited the Democrats' leading collusion advocate, Rep. Adam Schiff, who feared that "that the F.B.I. Counterintelligence Division has not investigated counterintelligence risks arising from President Trump's foreign financial ties." But as Schmidt's article tacitly acknowledged, that outcome did not come from Rosenstein but the Mueller team itself. After Rosenstein appointed Mueller, Schmidt reported, members of the special counsel's team "held early discussions led by the agent Peter Strzok about a counterintelligence investigation of the president." But these "efforts fizzled," Schmidt added, when Strzok "was removed from the inquiry three months later for sending text messages disparaging Mr. Trump." If Rosenstein had indeed "curtailed" a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller's team, why did the special counsel staffers discuss it, and why did it only "fizzle" upon Strzok's exit three months later? Strzok himself disputed the premise of Schmidt's article. "I didn't feel such a limitation," Strzok told the Atlantic. "When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel's Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president." The only problem, Strzok added, was that by "the time I left the team, we hadn't solved this problem of who and how to conduct all of the counterintelligence work." Strzok's "worry," he added, was that the counterintelligence angle "wasn't ever effectively done" – not that it was ever curtailed. Another key Mueller team member, lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, also rejected Schmidt's claim. NYT story today is wrong re alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, “without telling the bureau.” Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel's Office and we were never told to keep anything from them. 1 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Also erroneous is NYT claim "Rosenstein concluded the F.B.I. lacked sufficient reason to conduct an investigation into the president’s links to a foreign adversary.” See DOJ Special Counsel Appointment Order, para. (b)(i). 2 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Rosenstein's May 2017 scope memo, which established the parameters of Mueller's investigation, indeed contained no such limitations. It broadly tasked Mueller to examine "any links and/or co-ordination" between the Russian government and anyone associated with the Trump campaign, as well as – even more expansively – "any matters that arose or may arise directly from that investigation." In his July 2019 congressional appearance, Mueller had multiple opportunities to reveal that his probe had been impeded or narrowed. Asked by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) whether "at any time in the investigation, your investigation was curtailed or stopped or hindered," Mueller replied "No." When Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) tried to lead Mueller into agreeing that he "of course … did not obtain the president's tax returns, which could otherwise show foreign financial sources," Mueller did not oblige. "I'm not going to speak to that," Mueller replied. With no curtailing or interference in the probe, perhaps Mueller never turned up any Russia-tied counterintelligence or financial concerns about Trump because there was simply none to find. For a media establishment that had spent years promoting a Trump-Russia collusion narrative and sidelining countervailing facts, that was indeed a tough outcome to fathom. But it's no time for excuses or false claims of vindication: The tepid accounting spurred by the Steele dossier's collapse should be just the start of a far more exhaustive reckoning. Broadly misleading journalism that plunged an American presidency into turmoil demands much more than piecemeal corrections. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 17:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 24th, 2021

The Road To Fascism: Paved With Vaccine Mandates And Corporate Collusion

The Road To Fascism: Paved With Vaccine Mandates And Corporate Collusion Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.” - Jean-Jacques Rousseau We are moving fast down the road to fascism. This COVID-19 pandemic has shifted us into high gear. The heavy-handed collusion between the Techno-Corporate State and the U.S. government over vaccine mandates is merely the latest manifestation of the extent to which fascist forces are working to overthrow our constitutional republic and nullify the rights of the individual. In early November 2021, the Biden Administration drew its line in the sand for more than 100 million American workers: get vaccinated against COVID-19 (by Nov. 22 for federal workers, and Jan. 4 for federal contractors and companies with more than 100 employees) or else. Or else what? For many individuals with sincere objections to the vaccine, either based on their religious beliefs or some other medical or philosophical concern, non-compliance with workplace vaccine mandates will mean losing their jobs and the possibility of no unemployment benefits. One survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management estimated that 28% of employed Americans wouldn’t get a COVID vaccine even if it meant losing their jobs. Although OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is requiring that employees be paid for the time it takes to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects, those who refuse to get vaccinated but keep their jobs will have to test negative for COVID weekly and could be made to shoulder the costs of those weekly tests. Healthcare workers are not being given an option for testing: it’s the vaccine or nothing. To give the government’s arm-twisting some added strength, companies that violate the workplace mandate rules “can face fines of up to $13,653 per violation for serious violations and 10 times that for willful or repeated violations.” In other words, as Katrina Trinko writes for USA Today, “the government is turning employers—who are not paid by, nor work for, the government—into an army of vaccine enforcers.” You know who won’t suffer any harm as a result of these vaccine mandates? The Corporate State (manufacturers, distributors, and health care providers), which were given a blanket “get out of jail” card to insulate them from liability for any injuries or death caused by the vaccines. While this vaccine mandate is being presented as a “targeted” mandate as opposed to a national mandate that impacts the entire population, it effectively leaves those with sincere objections to the COVID vaccine with very little options beyond total compliance or unemployment. This has long since ceased to be a debate over how best to protect the populace at large against an unknown pandemic. Rather, it has become a massively intrusive, coercive and authoritarian assault on the right of individual sovereignty over one’s life, self and private property. As such, these COVID-19 mandates have become the new battleground in the government’s tug-of-war over bodily autonomy and individual sovereignty. Already, the legal challenges to these vaccine mandates are piling up before the courts. Before long, divided circuit court rulings will make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will be asked to decide whether these mandates constitute government overreach or a natural extension of the government’s so-called emergency powers. With every new court ruling that empowers corporations and the government to use heavy-handed tactics to bring about vaccine compliance, with every new workplace mandate that forces employees to choose between their right to bodily autonomy and economic livelihood, and with every new piece of legislation that insulates corporations and the government from being held accountability for vaccine injuries and deaths, our property interest in our bodies is diminished. At a minimum, our right to individual sovereignty over our lives and our bodies is being usurped by power-hungry authoritarians; greedy, self-serving corporations; egotistical Nanny Staters who think they know what’s best for the rest of the populace; and a short-sighted but well-meaning populace which fails to understand the long-term ramifications of trading their essential freedoms for temporary promises of safety and security. We are more vulnerable now than ever before. This debate over bodily autonomy, which covers broad territory ranging from forced vaccinations, abortion and euthanasia to forced blood draws, biometric surveillance and basic healthcare, has far-reaching ramifications for who gets to decide what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials. On a daily basis, Americans are already being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are now guilty until proven innocent. This merely pushes us one step further down that road towards a total control society in which the government in collusion with Corporate America gets to decide who is “worthy” of being allowed to take part in society. Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are the magic ticket for gaining access to the “privileges” of communal life. Having already conditioned the population to the idea that being part of society is a privilege and not a right, such access could easily be predicated on social credit scores, the worthiness of one’s political views, or the extent to which one is willing to comply with the government’s dictates, no matter what they might be. The government is litigating and legislating its way into a new framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry. When all that we own, all that we earn, all that we say and do—our very lives—depends on the benevolence of government agents and corporate shareholders for whom profit and power will always trump principle, we should all be leery and afraid. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, nothing good can come from totalitarian tactics - no matter how benevolent they appear - that are used to make us cower, fear and comply with the government’s dictates. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 19th, 2021

The US Is A Powder Keg

The US Is A Powder Keg Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via, Last night I did my usual grocery run. I don’t shop at stores with philosophies. I go for el cheapo places that don’t have olive bars and don’t play Schubert on the intercom. I just want the stuff I need at the lowest possible prices. Even I was stunned at the 40% increase in my usual bill. I thought I was buying in a minimalist way. Later I looked more carefully at what went wrong. I bought beef and bacon. Beef price increases are now at double-digit rates, and bacon is even higher. You are paying much more per pound than one year ago. Pork and chicken are less, but that could change. Turkeys are in short supply for Thanksgiving. It will be the most expensive Thanksgiving meal in our lifetimes. Stores don’t tag groceries based on the percentage increases in prices. Those you have to remember from last week and last month. Indeed, stores have every reason to disguise this. Manufacturers too, which is why packaging these days is holding ever less product. This is called “shrinkflation.” It is an epidemic right now, as manufacturers are struggling to survive huge increases in their own costs. Biggest Inflation Spike in Over 30 Years The Consumer Price Index came out this week. It revealed that consumer prices soared 6.2% in October, the biggest inflation spike in over 30 years. And it’s probably even worse than the official figures show. Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index revealed that the year-over-year change in the index for construction materials is up almost 20%. Now let’s look at gasoline. You experience it daily, the high prices at the pump. Last year at this time, the average price per gallon was $1.81. Now it is $3.40. It is also rising as demand intensifies and supply faces restrictions. Most important here are the monetary effects, as all the money that the Fed sloshed up in the last 20 months reduces its value or what it can buy. This inflation will never hit all products and all sectors evenly. It moves from sector to sector. These days the toxin is moving so fast and in so many directions it makes one’s head spin. Not So Thrifty We keep hoping each month to get good news. Perhaps the Fed will prove correct that inflation is only transitory. Sadly, that is not likely. They have been way off in their predictions. The Producer Price Index is the one to watch because these price increases get passed on to consumer prices as inventory is depleted. Clothing is a case in point. We are already facing high prices and shortages on the shelves. This is driving people to the thrift stores. The major headlines are starting to show this. Thrift store prices too are on the increase, as I predicted last month. The percent change in the producer prices that go into making polyester clothing is now up 23.6%. Even if monetary policy is fixed, even if supply chains are repaired, even if the clogs at the dock are unclogged, it will be months before this figures into consumer prices. Sadly, there is almost no chance that any of these good changes happen, meaning that these higher and higher prices are here to stay. A Broken State As I’ve mentioned before, there is something about American political culture that is especially averse to inflation. People frankly hate it, especially since we’ve lived 40-plus years without consumer inflation being a particularly pressing problem. Now looking at price trends creates shock and even hatred. It is hitting the Biden administration particularly hard. A USA Today poll shows that Biden’s approval has sunk to 38%. The trend line here is truly devastating. We can speculate why. Inflation plays a role. But also the vaccine mandate seems to have hit the Biden approval rating very hard. In the coming month, millions of jobs could be affected by this. The protests are growing in every city, and the people protesting are union members, city employees and even tech workers. They are furious that government would presume the right to tell people what medicines they must inject into their bodies. Some of the protesters are themselves vaccinated against their will. They are bitter and angry about it. The news of adverse outcomes from vaccination is leaking out through family networks and alternative news venues, though it continues to be suppressed by the media. So this mandate is now being seen as a direct threat to individual health. That’s something that will inspire people to take to the streets. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay against OSHA’s mandate on businesses. The Biden administration attempted a response, but the result was lame. It just said that it stands by the mandate on health grounds, period. Perhaps this won’t surprise you, but the president himself instructed businesses to go ahead and proceed, essentially advocating that they ignore the court ruling. In other words, the Biden administration has gone completely lawless, not just ignoring the U.S. Constitution but also advocating that businesses ignore the courts. That’s dangerously close to announcing that we now live with dictatorship. It’s no wonder that even Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is talking about secession from the union. If he is saying this, I truly cannot imagine the kind of anger there is among the citizens. If you wanted to live in exciting times, you chose a great time to be alive. The conditions are ripe not only for continuing electoral bloodbaths but more street protests, explosive town halls, hate-filled school board meetings and much worse. A more divisive and destructive policy is hard to imagine. Sadly, these policies are dividing friends and family. Some people with vaccinations don’t see the big deal here. Just get the jab, they say, and then you can be free. Others find this idea to be outrageous, an immoral acquiescence to power that can only lead to even worse outcomes. Powder Keg I just watched several hours of testimony from big shots at the NIH and the CDC. It might as well have been a paid advertisement from Moderna and Pfizer. Nearly every word out of the bureaucrats’ mouths was structured to push the vaccines that most everyone knows by now have failed to live up to their promise. Indeed, if they were as good and safe as they say, government would not need to mandate them. The mandates, ironically, undermine public confidence. It’s hard to imagine that public confidence in everything could fall further, but it will. To top it off, making all the above much worse, the vaccination is now coming for the kids. Mandates will surely follow. You want revolution in this country? This is a good way to foment one. The current regime has another year of unchecked power. It seems unfathomable. So far, they have not been deterred by anything, not the courts, not public opinion, not even sinking election prospects. The U.S. has become a powder keg. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/17/2021 - 20:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 17th, 2021

Rabobank: We All Know That If Stocks Slump, The Fed Will Boost QE To Push Them Back Up

Rabobank: We All Know That If Stocks Slump, The Fed Will Boost QE To Push Them Back Up By Michael Every of Rabobank The Fed’s bi-annual Financial Stability Report is making headlines: "Prices of risky assets keep rising, making them more susceptible to perilous crashes if the economy takes a turn for the worse." It also notes asset prices remain vulnerable to significant declines should investor risk sentiment deteriorate, or if progress on containing the virus disappoints. Presumably the latter is why the White House insists businesses proceed with its vaccine mandate despite a court ruling the process be halted: Think of the stocks, man, think of the stocks! Except, of course, we all know that if stocks slump, the Fed will increase QE again to push them back up, because stocks are what it cares about. FOMC members themselves play the markets and would lose out personally if they let asset-prices crash. Moreover, how did asset prices get to such risky levels? Did a financialized, asset-based economy ‘just happen’? I recall Alan Greenspan warning about “excessive exuberance” once upon a time too. Even if the Fed isn’t venal, it is political. Powell may or may not get reappointed as Chair, but today he is attending a conference presenting “research about diversity and inclusion in economics, finance, and central banking.” Is that a backdrop against which the Fed could pivot towards cracking down on financial excesses, when such hairshirt policy could be decried as running counter to demands for higher public spending and social justice? In short, it looks another reason for the Fed to stay loosey-goosey, even if this asset-based approach is actually driving massive economic inequality across all of society. Indeed, the Report notes: “Leverage continued to be high by historical standards at life insurance companies, and hedge fund leverage remained somewhat above its historical average.” – and who regulates financial leverage? “Structural vulnerabilities persist in some types of MMFs and other cash-management vehicles as well as in bond and bank loan mutual funds.” - and who regulates MMFs and mutual funds? “There are also funding-risk vulnerabilities in the growing stablecoin sector.” – and, yes, it’s the SEC who seem to have acted a little on crypto….because the Fed has sat there while a $3 trillion ‘print- your-own-money’ fest has happened right under its nose. Bitcoin is now at another record high of$67,000. And IOU Chicken, man, IOU Chicken. Only in one area do we see a fire the Fed didn’t start or watch burn, as they note: “stresses in the real estate sector in China caused in part by China’s ongoing regulatory focus on leveraged institutions, as well as a sharp tightening of global financial conditions, especially in highly indebted emerging market economies (EMEs), could pose some risks to the US financial system. If realized, the effects of near-term risks could be amplified through the financial vulnerabilities identified in this report." Yet can argue China’s US-style housing-bubble driven economy is the underlying problem, not its attempt to finally deal with it in a way the US would never dream of. (Prompting further ‘green’, i.e., no debt red-lines crossed, Chinese developers’ bonds to suddenly collapse in normal trading.) The Fed is thus warning other people not to firefight for it! The Report also noted that while corporate balance sheets are sound, “the expiration of government support programs and uncertainty over the course of the pandemic may still pose significant risks to households.” Time to get back to those low-wage jobs then, rather than hold out for better pay, or to pass the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill? We can guess which Janet Yellen, who often speaks as if she were running both Treasury and Fed, would prefer. The Report also warns that “difficult-to-predict” volatility like the meme-‘stonks’ frenzy could become more frequent as “social media influences trading”: that, not ludicrous liquidity, “I see no ships” regulatory oversight, and a socio-economic paradigm which does not reward work, just asset speculation. The Fed don’t appear to mention the “difficult-to-predict” volatility in bond markets after their “We are going to take away the punchbowl – ooh, look, here’s a big bottle of Absinthe, drink up!” approach to monetary policy. In short, it’s a worrying Fed headline. But burn after reading, because the arsonists are doing the firefighting. If you don’t believe that, ask yourself what the Fed is now going to do about any of the points it has listed. Even optimists should watch the final scene from the Cohen brothers’ Burn After Reading for guidance. And ask the markets. US stock futures were happily in the green at time of writing, and “CALM” was the Bloomberg daybreak headline, which sums it up nicely. I am not sure how many dollars, crypto, or stonks the yacht pictured on a placid sea in the accompanying Bloomberg graphics is worth, but I am sure the majority of the Bloomberg readership, and the Fed, are far better acquainted with these kinds of social niceties than I am. Meanwhile, the arsonists are also firefighting in geopolitical terms too. On top of a long and growing global list of potentially dangerous flashpoints, Belarus is now creating a refugee border crisis with Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, playing with fire there, like someone else is in the Balkans. Poland is already doubling the size of its army: the EU are just doubling the size of their rhetoric. Von der Leyen warns sanctions could be placed on Belarus and “third-country airlines,” but this was already threatened in mid-October by Borrell and hasn’t happened – and where was the appropriate EU response to the Belarus plane incident back in May? Hypothetically, what happens if this is soon all linked to critical Russian gas or Belarussian potash exports to the EU? Nice way to divide it even more, if so. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 10:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 9th, 2021

Rabobank: Our System Can Fall Apart If Every Peasant Quits The Physical Economy And Starts Trading Crypto

Rabobank: Our System Can Fall Apart If Every Peasant Quits The Physical Economy And Starts Trading Crypto By Michael Every of Rabobank Revising Views and Economic Gravity Friday’s US payrolls report for once proved somewhat interesting – and also underlined just how pointless a release it is via backwards revisions that dramatically shift perceptions of what the labour market is (or isn’t) doing. Headline jobs growth was 531K vs. 450K forecast, and September was revised up to 312K from 194K, and August up from 366K to 483K. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%, but it’s not clear if that means anything given the BLS are evidently making this all up more than usual due to Covid distortions and via birth/death models - are new businesses really opening post-pandemic, and in the face of a supply-chain crisis, the way they would in a normal post-recession cycle? One other data distortion that needs pointing out is a recent survey suggesting 4% of workers, concentrated most in low-wage areas, have quit their jobs on the back of crypto earnings. This sounds ludicrous. It is also possible. Indeed, as I was saying again in a recent discussion, one does not have to expect revolution to believe our current system isn’t sustainable: it can just as easily fall apart if every ‘peasant’ quits the physical economy and trades crypto. Another is that the White House’s national vaccine mandate is already being blocked by a US court: we can argue over the efficacy of vaccinating children until its constitutionality is clarified. (How many 5-year-olds were in ICUs during Covid?) Pfizer is also now to produce a Covid treatment pill not called ‘Iver-Me-ctin-too’ because it has one key difference: this one does not get you banned from social media if mentioned. So, recovery at last? Over to you, Mother Nature. Friday night also saw passage of the $1.2 trillion ($550bn of new money) infrastructure bill, which most Progressives, with Republican help, finally allowed on the White House pinkie-swear the same will happen for the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) bill. However, this does little to address supply-chain or growth concerns today - indeed, Matt Stoller points out most of the cash will flow to monopolists yet again. Moreover, it remains to be seen if Progressives have squandered their resistance for a pocketful of mumbles. Such are promises from senators who could now block BBB having gotten what they want. Given Fed tapering is still with us, one can take the view the labor market is bouncing, Covid has been vici-ed, and US fiscal stimulus looms, and so bond yields should be rising as well as equities - until that hurts equities. More so if one thinks the labor market is shrinking as workers of the world unite to use the digital means and memes of production to avoid having to work at all. Yet, as our Rates Strategy Team has to keep patiently reminding, US QE tapering means lower, not higher yields, as it takes away demand from a financialized, not real economy; the stimulus outlook is arguably less positive than before the infrastructure bill passed; and while some of the proletariat may have become kulaks/click-aks, and others think offering financial advice to Elon Musk over Twitter gives them power (let’s see if he sells $21bn in stock), the majority face higher inflation, e.g., global food prices at a fresh 10-year high. As such, the 96% who are not click-aks face lower real wages, and so the economy will ultimately stall. Indeed, post payrolls we saw US bond yields decline, and the curve flatten, with 10s back at 1.47% at the time of writing. Meanwhile, China may also see big backwards revisions with future implications. Not to data, where Sunday showed a larger-than-expected rise in exports (27.1% y/y) and smaller-than-expected in imports (20.6%). Rather, through Thursday it is the CCP’s Sixth Plenum. As Bloomberg puts it: “Between each party congress, the Communist Party's Central Committee meets seven times in meetings called plenums that cover different topics…the agenda is top secret and only revealed in a communique afterward….It's the final chance for horse trading before big decisions are made at the following year's congress.” This plenum may see Xi Jinping pass an ‘Historical Resolution’, a landmark statement on CCP history and policy direction, and only the third ever if so. The first under Mao in 1945 cemented centralisation of the economy; the second under Deng in 1981 revised that view and cemented a shift to opening up; the third would cement ‘Common Prosperity’ in place - and addressing the Mao and Deng eras is possible via a resolution on: “the major achievements and historical experiences of the party’s 100 years”. The New York Times states: “While ostensibly about historical issues, the Central Committee’s resolution --practically holy writ for officials-- will shape China’s politics and society for decades to come.” Wall Street will of course call it all “regulatory changes”, if it even notices what happened. The UK, in-between sleaze allegations, is also forging a new policy course. As the EU warns of severe consequences if London triggers Article 16 and starts a trade war, Foreign Secretary Truss, visiting ASEAN for the week, is openly stating that the UK’s new economic and international relations focus is Asia, underlining that ‘by 2050 it is Indonesia, not Germany, that will be the world’s fourth-largest economy’. Overall, one looks around and cannot help but hum a certain song from the musical ‘Wicked’: Something has changed within me; Something is not the sameI'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game Too late for second-guessing; Too late to go back to sleep It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap! It's time to try; Defying economic gravity I think I'll try; Defying economic gravity Kiss me goodbye; I'm defying economic gravity And you won't bring me down… Unlimited (unlimited); My future is (future is) unlimited (unlimited) And I've just had a vision; Almost like a prophecy I know it sounds truly crazy; And true, the vision's hazy But I swear, someday I'll be... Flying so high! (defying economic gravity); Kiss me goodbye! (defying economic gravity) So if you care to find me; Look to the western sky! As someone told me lately, "Everyone deserves the chance to fly!" I'm defying economic gravity! And you won't bring me down, bring me down, bring me down! Unfortunately, we are all walking an increasing narrow, not a Broadway. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/08/2021 - 10:10.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 8th, 2021