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The S&P 500’s Fake Breakdown

S&P 500 bears couldn‘t follow through, and the bond market downswing looks tired – starting off a risk-on base, never quite flipping risk-off. Perhaps best of all, tech saved its bullets, and is ready to join when TLT comes back and erases Friday‘s modest decline on low volume. The usual “suspects“ continue doing well – […] S&P 500 bears couldn‘t follow through, and the bond market downswing looks tired – starting off a risk-on base, never quite flipping risk-off. Perhaps best of all, tech saved its bullets, and is ready to join when TLT comes back and erases Friday‘s modest decline on low volume. The usual “suspects“ continue doing well – energy, healthcare, consumer staples, materials and industrials – best picks for what‘s to come in the remaining part of this rally. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get 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 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   It can and still will go on – all the mixed Fed messaging in the prior week won‘t stop it, signs of decelerating inflation would continue popping up (to accompany PPI) while speculation would continue as to when exactly would a recession arrive. Approaching, not yet here except for housing, manufacturing etc that feel the pain already – remember, job market is the last to roll over (non-farm payrolls – unemployment claims are actually leading). The gyrating bets on Fed taking its foot off the pedal, are the ingredient that can power stocks higher before earnings start to bite next year. Keep enjoying the lively Twitter feed serving you all already in, which comes on top of getting the key daily analytics right into your mailbox. Plenty gets addressed there, but the analyses (whether short or long format, depending on market action) over email are the bedrock, so make sure you‘re signed up for the free newsletter and that you have Twitter notifications turned on so as not to miss any tweets or replies intraday. Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of www.stockcharts.com). S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook Fake breakdown was indeed the result of what I wrote here Friday morning. 4,000 are on the chopping block this week. Credit Markets For now, both the retreat in yields and general risk-on posture in bonds, can continue. Still a lot of instituitional money on the sidelines that needs to be invested before year end – both in stocks and bonds. Gold, Silver and Miners This doesn‘t look like the end of a major countertrend rally – higher highs have been made while fresh lows… not exactly. The tide has turned, and precious metals would focus increasingly more on the high debt servicing costs in anticipation of yet another Fed turn (in support of the economy and fiscal deficits that would grow during recessions) no matter whether 5% or 5.50% Fed funds rate is reached after Mar FOMC – see how little decline happend from Jul lows and where rates were back then. Thank you for having read today‘s free analysis, which is a small part of the premium Monica's Trading Signals covering all the markets you're used to (stocks, bonds, gold, silver, oil, copper, cryptos), and of the premium Monica's Stock Signals presenting stocks and bonds only. Both publications feature real-time trade calls and intraday updates. While at my homesite, you can subscribe to the free Monica‘s Insider Club for instant publishing notifications and other content useful for making your own trade moves on top of my extra Twitter feed tips. Thanks for subscribing & all your support that makes this great ride possible! Thank you, Monica Kingsley Stock Trading Signals Gold Trading Signals Oil Trading Signals Copper Trading Signals Bitcoin Trading Signals www.monicakingsley.co mk@monicakingsley.co All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice. Monica Kingsley does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. Her content serves educational purposes and should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks and options are financial instruments not suitable for every investor. Please be advised that you invest at your own risk. Monica Kingsley is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading her writings, you agree that she will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make. Investing, trading and speculating in financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Monica Kingsley may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in her writings, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 22nd, 2022

How many Instagram followers you need to start making money

Dozens of influencers talk about when content creators can start making money on Instagram with brand deals, affiliate marketing, and more. Tess Barclay is a nano influencer who makes money from brand deals.Tess Barclay A couple thousand followers on Instagram qualifies some users as "influencers." But at what point — and with how many followers — can an influencer start making money? Insider has talked with dozens of influencers about when they started making money, how, and how much. With a few thousand followers on Instagram these days, it's easy to ask yourself: When can I start making money doing this?The good news is, there's no strict minimum. Five influencers Insider interviewed — all with under 6,000 Instagram followers — said they got paid by brands to post to their small audiences.For instance, Tess Barclay, a Toronto-based nano influencer who creates lifestyle content, started earning money with a few thousand Instagram followers in 2021. She makes money by working with brands and charges upwards of $154 for an in-feed Instagram post, she told Insider in May."I always thought you needed a million followers, or a hundred thousand followers, to make money on social media," Barclay told Insider. "But that's really not true. There are so many ways that you can make it a business, even if it is part-time."Meanwhile, may other influencers start making money by earning a commission from sales via affiliate marketing. Check out: 7 top brands that work with micro influencers on Instagram, TikTok, and moreInstagram is also directly paying some influencers through incentive programs like "Bonuses" for Reels. Some Instagram monetization features like "Badges," Instagram's tipping tool for IG Live, require that creators have at least 10,000 followers. Many of these programs also are limited to certain countries, have an age minimum of 18, and require accounts to be registered as business or creator accounts on the app. While the doors have opened for many more creators on Instagram to start making a living, often they don't start making full-time incomes immediately (although a fair number of micro influencers with under 100,000 followers work full-time as influencers). Read more: 19 content creators share how they turned their social-media side hustles into full-time jobsToday, Instagram influencers no longer need hundreds of thousands of followers to start earning cash.Here are a few reasons why:"Nano" and "micro" influencers (typically accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers) are being hired by many brands across industries. These smaller influencers have demonstrated the power of niche and engaged communities on Instagram, where fake followers and disproportional engagement have flooded the platform. Influencers can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars from these deals. Meta-owned Instagram is opening its multibillion-dollar wallet and paying some influencers, which it announced last year with a flashy $1 billion investment into content creators through 2022. The platform also introduced a creator-brand marketplace for sponsorships in 2022.Affiliate links are easier than ever to share now that Instagram widely rolled out the link sticker in 2021. Some affiliate programs do have their own requirements, however, such as LTK or ShopStyle.So, how much money are these influencers making on Instagram?Insider interviewed over two dozen Instagrammers about how much money they make, with follower counts between 2,000 and just over 100,000. Here's a full breakdown of our coverage:From brand deals:Natasha Greene, a food and lifestyle creator with 137,000 Instagram followersJehava Brown, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 70,000 followersKara Harms, a full-time lifestyle blogger and influencer with 77,000 Instagram followersJon Seaton, a college football star and creator with 58,000 Instagram followersTomi Obebe, a lifestyle influencer with 40,000 followersEmma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer and podcast host with 47,000 followersAisha Beau Frisbey, a lifestyle creator with 34,000 followersManasi Arya, a Gen-Z artist with 19,000 followersAlexa Curtis, a lifestyle influencer and entrepreneur with 20,000 followersMary Margaret Boudreaux, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 20,000 followersReni Odetoyinbo, a personal-finance and lifestyle creator with 14,000 followersGigi Kovach, a part-time lifestyle blogger and mom of two with 13,500 followersTejas Hullur, a personal-finance creator and entrepreneur with 12,000 followersTyler Chanel, a sustainability influencer with 12,000 followersJour'dan Haynes, a lifestyle creator with 5,900 Instagram followersTess Barclay, a lifestyle blogger with 5,600 followersLaur DeMartino, a nano influencer and full-time college student with 5,200 followersJalyn Baiden, a skincare influencer with 4,000 followersJen Lauren, a part-time lifestyle influencer with 2,900 followersKayla Compton, a lifestyle nano influencer with about 2,000 Instagram followersFrom Meta Platforms, including Instagram:Kelly Anne Smith, a personal-finance influencer with 12,000 Instagram followers shares how much she earned from Bonuses in a monthJackson Weimer, a meme creator who got paid more than $6,000 for views on his ReelsSeveral influencers reveal the different 'bonus' payments Instagram is offering, with some stretching up to $35,000From affiliate links:Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, a lifestyle micro influencer with 16,000 followersVi Lai, a skincare influencer, uses Instagram and TikTok to make thousands of dollars per month using affiliate marketingRead more: Instagram is shutting down its native affiliate-marketing program after more than a year of testingRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 30th, 2022

Trump may have broken these 8 federal laws

Trump's legal troubles are piling up as the Justice Department and the January 6 committee are looking at potential laws he could have violated. Donald Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Trump's legal troubles have been piling up since the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago.  The DOJ is investigating if Trump violated three federal laws related to his handling of national security information. The Jan. 6 commitee is also examining if Trump broke five laws and will ask the DOJ to prosecute Trump on some of those charges. Former President Donald Trump officially launched his 2024 campaign in November. But in addition to a number of political fumbles that have hindered his comeback, Trump is also mounting his third run for the White House while facing a mountain of legal headaches.Over the summer, the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in south Florida and recovered troves of sensitive government records that had been moved from the White House. Soon after, it surfaced that the Justice Department is investigating whether Trump violated three federal laws related to his handling of national security information and classified documents.The former — and possibly future — president is also a person of interest in the DOJ's sprawling inquiry into events surrounding the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The House select committee running a parallel congressional investigation into the siege has sought to build the case that Trump violated at least five federal laws connected to his efforts to overturn the 2020 US election.The committee subpoenaed Trump in October, which he did not comply with, and the panel has asked the DOJ to prosecute Trump for violating three of the five statutes it highlighted.Here's a breakdown of the eight federal laws that Trump may have violated:The Espionage ActThe DOJ is investigating if Trump violated a key facet of the Espionage Act relating to the removal of information pertaining to the US's national defense. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.The FBI took around 20 boxes of items total, including a handwritten note; Trump's order commuting the GOP strategist Roger Stone's prison sentence; information about the "President of France"; and binders of photos.Federal agents also recovered 11 sets of classified documents after searching Mar-a-Lago. Some of the records were marked top secret and only meant to be housed in special government facilities, according to court filings.Concealment, removal, or mutilation of recordsThere are two other laws Trump is suspected of violating in connection to his handling of government documents.18 USC § 2071, which bars the concealment, removal, or mutilation generally of government records. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of three years and disqualification from holding public office.18 USC § 1519, which prohibits the destruction, alteration, or falsification of records "with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter" within the jurisdiction of federal agencies or departments. Conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman previously reported that Trump allegedly ripped up and flushed sensitive documents in the toilet. Earlier this week, Haberman shared photos with Insider that showcase paper notes in two toilet bowls.Wire fraudThe House select committee revealed in a June 13 hearing that Trump's campaign raised more than $250 million from his supporters. In the fundraising emails, Trump's team suggested he would use the money to legally challenge the 2020 presidential election results. But the committee found that the legal fund was never created, and instead the money was funneled to a political action committee called "Save America.""It's clear that [Trump] intentionally misled his donors, asked them to donate to a fund that didn't exist and used the money raised for something other than what he said," Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of the bipartisan January 6 committee, said after the June hearing.Legal experts said the committee's revelations were part of an effort to show that Trump may have committed fraud."This is an allegation of textbook wire fraud," the former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason said of Lofgren's comments. Under federal law, an individual commits wire fraud if they intend to defraud or obtain money under false pretenses. Obstructing an official proceedingThe Jan. 6 committee has said it has evidence showing that Trump and his 2020 campaign team violated federal law by attempting to obstruct or impede an official proceeding. The panel points to Trump's efforts to pressure then Vice President mike Pence to disrupt Congress' election certification process by rejecting electors from battleground states that Biden won. They've also pointed to Trump's alleged scheme to remain in power by sending fake slates of pro-Trump electors to Congress from battleground states that he lost.The committee is expected to ask the DOJ to prosecute Trump for this charge.Witness tamperingThe Jan. 6 committee has also said Trump and his associates tried contacting witnesses who testified before the panel.At a hearing on July 12, the committee showed evidence that Trump tried make a phone call to a committee witness, which could have constituted witness tampering. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is vice chair of the committee, said she referred the matter to the Justice Department. In another hearing on June 28, Cheney displayed two messages that a witness received from Trump's associate. Cheney did not disclose the witness' identity but read a description of their call with the Trump associate.Cheney said the witness told the committee: "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I'm on the team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World."Conspiracy to defraud the governmentIn a March 2 court filing, the January 6 committee said that it has evidence that Trump and his campaign team violated another federal law by engaging in "a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."Prosecutors would have to prove that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and continued to pursue efforts to overturn the election results. To that end, the January 6 panel played footage of testimony from multiple former White House officials who said they repeatedly told Trump that he had lost the election and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.The panel is expected to ask the DOJ to prosecute Trump for this charge.Inciting a rebellionProsecutors could also potentially build a case that the former president incited a rebellion on January 6 when thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Biden's victory.The former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the January 6 committee that Trump knew his supporters were armed. She recalled Trump saying earlier on January 6: "I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in."The January 6 committee is expected to ask the DOJ to prosecute Trump for this charge.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 26th, 2022

S&P 500 Celebrates CPI News And Fed

S&P 500 celebrated the “only” 7.1% CPI YoY news, but it was really just the real assets who kept their gains while stocks fell back to where they started from in what appears the correct big picture view of being on the lookout to get short as betting it all on a strong Santa Claus […] S&P 500 celebrated the “only” 7.1% CPI YoY news, but it was really just the real assets who kept their gains while stocks fell back to where they started from in what appears the correct big picture view of being on the lookout to get short as betting it all on a strong Santa Claus rally has the appeal of picking up pennies in front of a steamroller without more USD retreat juice. I really liked the precious metals performance with miners increasingly confirming the upswing, with both metals doing increasingly well. Let alone copper and oil… if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton 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 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Where does that land us in stocks today? The weak follow through has me on toes, this inability to defend 4,070. I doubt we would overcome my long ago touted 4,130 obstacle later today as Powell dutifully delivers a no surprise statement. Conference is a volatility wildcard. As usual, I‘ll be covering the FOMC live on Twitter for you. Keep enjoying the lively Twitter feed serving you all already in, which comes on top of getting the key daily analytics right into your mailbox. Plenty gets addressed there, but the analyses (whether short or long format, depending on market action) over email are the bedrock. So, make sure you‘re signed up for the free newsletter and that you have my Twitter profile open with notifications on so as not to miss a thing, and to benefit from extra intraday calls. Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of www.stockcharts.com). S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook In short, the bulls don‘t look to be done, but time (especially if you open the weekly chart), isn‘t on their side. Gold, Silver and Miners Great run in silver that‘s nowhere over, and my conservative April 2023 $27 target has me itching to upgrade it over the nearest months by at least 10%. As a side note, COMEX stockpile is at 33mln oz only (typical short squeeze territory)... Crude Oil Crude oil has duly turned as per the caption – and similarly to the positive natgas views published lately on Twitter (fine U.S. weather driver), sees black gold trying to turn a corner after a fake breakdown. Thank you for having read today‘s free analysis, which is a small part of my site‘s daily premium Monica's Trading Signals covering all the markets you're used to (stocks, bonds, gold, silver, miners, oil, copper, cryptos), and of the daily premium Monica's Stock Signals presenting stocks and bonds only. Both publications feature real-time trade calls and intraday updates. While at my site, you can subscribe to the free Monica‘s Insider Club for instant publishing notifications and other content useful for making your own trade moves. Turn notifications on, and have my Twitter profile (tweets only) opened in a fresh tab so as not to miss a thing – such as extra intraday opportunities. Thanks for all your support that makes this great ride possible! Thank you, Monica Kingsley Stock Trading Signals Gold Trading Signals Oil Trading Signals Copper Trading Signals Bitcoin Trading Signals www.monicakingsley.co mk@monicakingsley.co All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice. Monica Kingsley does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. Her content serves educational purposes and should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks and options are financial instruments not suitable for every investor. Please be advised that you invest at your own risk. Monica Kingsley is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading her writings, you agree that she will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make. Investing, trading and speculating in financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Monica Kingsley may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in her writings, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 14th, 2022

Elon Musk vs. Twitter: Here are all the juiciest private texts between Musk and his billionaire buddies discussing plans for Twitter

A trove of private messages between Elon Musk and notable figures in business and tech is part of Twitter's ongoing lawsuit against the billionaire. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon MuskSteve Nesius/Reuters Text logs show Reid Hoffman, Jack Dorsey, Joe Rogan, and many more texting Musk about Twitter.  Conversations ranged from praise of Musk's moves to financing his acquisition of the company. Texts also show who influenced Musk and what caused the breakdown of talks with Twitter executives.  Elon Musk's smartphone has been bombarded by billionaires, executives, bankers, and other notable figures from tech, finance, and media, all hoping to get a piece of his wild and wayward $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. Hundreds of his private text conversations were just released as part of Twitter's lawsuit against Musk, who is trying back out of the deal. Among those who showed up are fellow tech billionaires like former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who was also interested in buying Twitter and offered Musk $5 billion to get in on his eventual deal, text logs show.Then there are the likes of TV personality Gayle King, who wanted Musk for a sit-down interview, podcaster Joe Rogan, Justin Roiland, co-creator of "Rick and Morty," and Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Insider parent company Axel Springer. James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn Murdoch make individual appearances, too.Musk also had extensive back and forth with Twitter executives, including board chair and Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. Talk between Musk and Agrawal went south quickly, prompting Musk to reveal that he'd decided to buy Twitter instead of join its board because a board seat was "a waste of time." Brother Kimball Musk was a frequent confidant on Musk's ideas for Twitter, or a possible competing platform.  Also notable in Musk's texts are the various people he solicited for either financing for the $44 billion deal or advice on running the company. Many others reached out to him to offer their help, thoughts, or sometimes money. David Sacks was invited to invest. Reid Hoffman, too, eventually suggesting he could put $2 billion toward a deal. Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce, shows up to talk about a new operating system for Twitter. Musk friends Jason Calacanis and Tim Urban offer to help, along with VC's Joe Lonsdale, Adeo Russi and Riot Games founder Marc Merrill. Sean Parker texted once to say he was doing Twitter due diligence from his mother's apartment. The log makes clear that, at least at one point, Musk was serious about acquiring Twitter. Not until early May did Musk begin to discuss any concerns about the platform. That began with an exchange with Morgan Stanley tech banker Michael Grimes in which Musk asks him to "slow down" on the deal. The majority of the texts shown in the log span between March and mid-June, a few weeks before Musk sent Twitter a letter attempting to cancel the deal altogether. Now Musk is locked in a legal battle with the company, which is trying to force him to acquire it.See below for highlights of the juiciest exchanges between Musk and other Twitterati:Jack DorseyJack DorseyChesnot/Getty ImagesDorsey and Musk exchanged many texts in the days before Musk's involvement in Twitter became public. Eventually, Musk pointed to phone conversations he'd had with Dorsey as supportive of his decision to take the company private. In one text to board chair Bret Taylor from April 10, two days after he told Agrawal he intended to buy the company and not sit on its board, Musk wrote:"It's better in my opinion to take Twitter private, restructure and return to the public markets one that is done. That was also Jack's view when I spoke to him."Joe RoganJoe Rogan in March 2019.Michael S. Schwartz/Getty ImagesMusk has spoken to Rogan on his podcast twice, in one 2018 interview infamously smoking weed, leading to some corporate headaches for the Tesla CEO. Rogan first texted Musk about Twitter April 4, the day Musk's stake in Twitter became public, asking "Are you going to liberate twitter from the censorship happy mob?""I will provide advice, which they may or may not choose to follow," Musk replied.A few weeks later, after Musk had offered to acquire Twitter, Rogan on April 25 texted again. "I REALLY hope you get Twitter. If you do, we should throw one hell of a party," Rogan said. Musk replied with the "100" emoji.Parag AgrawalBrendan McDermid/ReutersThings appear to have started off friendly between Musk and Parag Agrawal, who took over from Dorsey as Twitter CEO less than a year ago. They texted about meeting in person with Taylor, the text log shows, as well as other video meetings. They touched on things that needed to improve on Twitter and Agrawal said April 3, a few days before Musk's decision to join the board became public, he was "super excited about the opportunity and look forward to working closely and finding ways to use your time as effectively as possible."The mood shifted quickly after Agrawal texted Musk on April 9, regarding Musk's asking on Twitter "Is Twitter dying?" Agrawal told Musk he was free to Tweet anything he wanted about Twitter, "But it's my responsibility to tell you that it's not helping me make Twitter better in the current context. Next time we speak, I'd like to provide you perspective on the level of internal distraction right now and how its hurting our ability to do work."Musk responded about 30 minutes later asking "What did you get done this week?" He immediately followed up with, "I'm not joining the board. This is a waste of time" and added, "Will make an offer to take Twitter private."Agrawal asked to get on the phone with Musk, who appears to have refused, as Taylor followed up a few minutes later, saying Agrawal had informed him of "your text conversation." Taylor asked to speak on the phone, too. Musk simply said "Please expect a take private offer." Taylor tried again to speak by phone, wanting to "understand the context.""Fixing Twitter by chatting with Parag won't work," Musk wrote back. "Drastic action is needed.""This is hard to do as a public company, as purging fake users will make the numbers look terrible, so restructuring should be done as a private company. This is Jack's opinion too."Musk again refused to get on the phone with Taylor, saying he was "about to take off" but could talk the following day.Larry EllisonJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesMusk and Ellison also texted a number of times, with Ellison expressing support for Musk's effort to buy Twitter from the outset. On March 27, Ellison texted Musk to set up a call: "I do think we need another Twitter."When Musk on April 20 asked the Oracle founder if he wanted to take part in financing the deal, Ellison wrote: "Yes, of course." He offered to put up "A billion… or whatever you recommend." Musk recommend $2 billion, but Ellison only ended up putting in the $1 billion he initially offered. "This has very high potential and I'd rather have you than anyone else," Musk wrote to Ellison."I agree that it has huge potential… and it would be lots of fun," Ellison replied.Sam Bankman-FriedSamuel Bankman-Fried fPhoto by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesWill MacAskill, an advisor to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, texted Musk on March 29 in hopes of connecting the two about Twitter, about two weeks before Musk moved to take over the company. It's unclear whether Musk knew immediately who Bankman-Fried was, as he asked MacAskill "you vouch for him?" after MacAskill suggested Bankman-Fried had been interested in buying Twitter "for a while" and was open to working with Musk "about a possible joint effort in that direction."To that Musk replied, "Does he have huge amounts of money?" MacAskill said he was worth $24 billion and that he'd already mentioned contributing $1 billion to $8 billion into any deal for Twitter, a number that could potentially have gone up to $15 billion with financing.Musk did not appear very interested. Bankman-Fried texted Musk directly April 1, saying he was "happy to chat about Twitter (or other things) whenever!" Musk responded "Hi!" adding that he was currently in Germany. Bankman-Fried offered to call at a time that worked for Musk's time zone, but there are no texts in the log showing that Musk responded. Bankman-Fried texted again about two weeks later, after Musk's offer to acquire Twitter was in full swing, saying he would "love to talk about Twitter." Musk does not appear to have responded.Morgan Stanley's Grimes then tried to connect Musk with Bankman-Fried on April 25, saying he could put $5 billion into Musk's deal to buy Twitter. Musk disliked Grimes' text explaining briefly who Bankman-Fried is and suggesting a meeting. But wrote of a meeting, "So long as I don't have to have a laborious blockchain debate."Joe LonsdaleJoe Lonsdale's comments sparked outrage online.Brian Ach/Getty ImagesBefore Musk's stake in Twitter became public, he began posting questions and polls to his many millions of followers on the platform about what its future should look like. Joe Lonsdale, cofounder of Palantir and an outspoken political conservative, texted Musk in response to a March 24 post he made asking "Should Twitter be an open source?"Lonsdale wrote to Musk saying he loved the question and he was going to bring it up at a "GOP policy retreat" he was heading to the next day. "Now I can cite you so I'll sound less crazy myself :). Our public squares need to not have arbitrary sketchy censorship.""Absolutely," Musk replied. "What we have now is hidden corruption!"Gayle KingGayle King (left)Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & ChandonKing texted Musk a few times in an attempt to get him to do a sit-down interview with her. The first was on April 6, when King wrote: "Have you missed me. Are you ready to do a proper sit down with me? so much to discuss! Especially with your Twitter play... what do I need to do???"Musk responded by downplaying his involvement at the time, saying, "The whole Twitter thing is getting blown out of proportion" and "Owning ~9% is not quite control."Gayle texted Musk again about two weeks later, after Musk offered to buy Twitter outright."ELON! You buying Twitter or offering to buy Twitter wow! Now don't you think we should sit down together face to face this is as the kids say a 'gangsta move' I dont know how shareholders turn this down... like I said you are not like the other kids in the class."Musk responded a few days later suggesting only that Oprah Winfrey would make a good addition to Twitter's board under his ownership. "Wisdom about humanity and knowing what is right are more important than so called 'board governance' skills, which mean pretty much nothing in my experience," he wrote.Reid HoffmanGreylockMusk invited Reid Hoffman to take part in financing the Twitter deal on April 27. At first, Hoffman politely declined, saying "It's way beyond my resources. I presume you are not interested in venture $."Musk said VC money "is fine if you want.""There is plenty of financial support, but you're a friend, so just letting you know you'd get priority," he added.Hoffman proceeded to ask what "the largest $ that would be ok?" Musk suggested $2 billion, and Hoffman said "Great. Probably doable -- let me see." Musk then connected Hoffman to Morgan Stanley.The text log does not show why Hoffman eventually decided against putting up money for the deal, but he claimed earlier this month to be skeptical of it. Egon DurbanSilver Lake Partners' Egon DurbanREUTERSMusk first texted Egon Durban, a director at Silver Lake Capital and a Twitter board member and investor, on March 26, before his stake in the company was made public."This is Elon. Please call when you have a moment. It is regarding the Twitter board," Musk texted.The next day, Durban connected Musk via text with Agrawal, Taylor and Martha Lane Fox, another member of Twitter's board."Elon – everyone is excited about prospect of you being involved and on board. Next step is for you to chat so we can move this forward quickly. Maybe we can get this done in the next few days," Durban wrote. On April 5, Agrawal announced that Musk was joining the board. At some point, Durban and Musk may have had some kind of falling out. Their last text that appears on the log is from Musk on April 17, so after Musk offered to acquire Twitter."You're calling Morgan Stanley to speak poorly of me…" Musk wrote. A reply from Durban does not appear in the log.James Murdoch James Murdoch at the Tribeca FestivalPhoto by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Tribeca FestivalOn April 26, James Murdoch texted Musk about a connection that is not referenced elsewhere in the text log, saying "Thank you. I will link you up."Murdoch added, "Also, will call when some of the dust settles. Hope all is ok."Murdoch's wife, Kathryn, texted in the same thread to ask only, "Will you bring Jack back?"Musk replied, "Jack doesn't want to come back. He is focused on Bitcoin."David SacksElon Musk and David SacksGetty ImagesSacks and Musk texted several times casually about Twitter and exchanging links to posts on the platform. On April 26, Sacks asked Musk if he'd be interested in connecting with Justin Amash, a libertarian politician who asked Sacks for an introduction in order to be "helpful to Twitter." Musk replied, "I don't own Twitter yet."Two days later, Musk asked Sacks if he wanted to "invest in the take private?" Sacks replied "Yes but I don't have a vehicle for it (Craft is a venture) so either I need to set up and SPV or just do it personally. If the latter, my amount would be mice-nuts in relative terms but I would be happy to participate to support the cause.""Up to you," Musk said."I'm in personally, and will raise an SPV too if that works for you," Sacks wrote."Sure," Musk said.Sacks has tried to fight being part of Twitter's case against Musk, arguing he never committed to investing in the deal.Justin Roiland"Rick and Morty" was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon.Warner Bros. Television DistributionRoiland, co-creator of popular adult cartoon "Rick and Morty," texted Musk on April 6, the day after Musk agreed to join Twitter's board."I fucking love that you're the majority owner of Twitter," Roiland said.He proceeded to suggest that Musk meet friends of his who had created a program to verify people's identities, "As in, if people choose to use it, it could verify that they are a real person and not a troll farm."Musk corrected him two days later, saying "I just own 9% of Twitter, so don't control the company." He said he would "raise the identity issue with Parag (CEO)." Are you a Twitter employee or someone else with insight to share? Contact Kali Hays at khays@insider.com, on secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267, or through Twitter DM at @hayskali. Reach out using a non-work device.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 29th, 2022

Escobar: The Second Coming Of The Heartland

Escobar: The Second Coming Of The Heartland Authored by Pepe Escobar, It’s tempting to visualize the overwhelming collective West debacle as a rocket, faster than free fall, plunging into the black void maelstrom of complete socio-political breakdown. The End of (Their) History turns out to be a fast-forward historical process bearing staggering ramifications: way more profound than mere self-appointed “elites” – via their messenger boys/girls – dictating a Dystopia engineered by austerity and financialization: what they chose to brand as a Great Reset and then, major fail intervening, The Great Narrative. Financialization of everything means total marketization of Life itself. In his latest book, No-Cosas: Quiebras del Mundo de Hoy (in Spanish, no English translation yet), the foremost German contemporary philosopher (Byung-Chul Han, who happens to be Korean), analyzes how Information Capitalism, unlike industrial capitalism, converts also the immaterial into merchandise: “Life itself acquires the form of merchandise (…) the difference between culture and commerce disappears. Institutions of culture are presented as profitable brands.” The most toxic consequence is that “total commercialization and mercantilization of culture had the effect of destroying the community (…) Community as merchandise is the end of community.” China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping proposes the idea of a community of shared future for mankind, essentially a geopolitical and geoeconomic project. Yet China still has not amassed enough soft power to translate that culturally, and seduce vast swathes of the world into it: that especially concerns the West, for which Chinese culture, history and philosophies are virtually incomprehensible. In Inner Asia, where I am now, a revived glorious past may offer other instances of “shared community”. A glittering example is the Shaki Zinda necropolis in Samarkand. Afrasiab – the ancient settlement, pre-Samarkand – had been destroyed by the Genghis Khan hordes in 1221. The only building that was preserved was the city’s main shrine: Shaki Zinda. Much later, in the mid-15th century, star astronomer Ulugh Beg, himself the grandson of Turkic-Mongol “Conqueror of the World” Timur, unleashed no less than a Cultural Renaissance: he summoned architects and craftsmen from all corners of the Timurid empire and the Islamic world to work into what became a de facto creative artistic lab. The Avenue of 44 Tombs at Shaki Zinda represents the masters of different schools harmoniously creating a unique synthesis of styles in Islamic architecture. The most remarkable décor at Shaki Zinda are stalactites, hung in clusters in the upper parts of portal niches. An early 18th century traveler described them as “magnificent stalactites, hanging like stars above the mausoleum, make it clear about the eternity of the sky and our frailty.” Stalactites in the 15th century were called “muqarnas”: that means, figuratively, “starry sky”. The Sheltering (Community) Sky The Shaki Zinda complex is now at the center of a willful push by the Uzbekistan government to restore Samarkand to its former glory. The centerpiece, trans-historical concepts are “harmony” and “community” – and that reaches way beyond Islam. As a sharp contrast, the inestimable Alastair Crooke has illustrated the death of Eurocentrism alluding to Lewis Carroll and Yeats: only through the looking glass we can see the full contours of the tawdry spectacle of narcissistic self-obsession and self-justification offered by “the worst”, still so “full of passionate intensity”, as depicted by Yeats. And yet, unlike Yeats, the best now do not “lack all conviction”. They may be few, ostracized by cancel culture, but they do see the “rough beast, its hour come out at last, slouching towards…” Brussels (not Jerusalem) “to be born”. This unelected gaggle of insufferable mediocrities – from von der Leyden and Borrell to that piece of Norwegian wood Stoltenberg – may dream they live in the pre-1914 era, when Europe was at the political center. Yet now not only “the center cannot hold” (Yeats) but Eurocrat-infested Europe has been definitely engulfed by the maelstrom, an irrelevant political backwater seriously flirting with reversion to 12th century status. The physical aspects of the Fall – austerity, inflation, no hot showers, freezing to death to support neo-Nazis in Kiev – has been preceded, and no Christianized imagery need apply, by the fires of sulphur and brimstone of a Spiritual Fall. The transatlantic masters of those parrots posing as “elites” could never come up with any idea to sell to the Global South centered on harmony and much less “community”. What they sell, via their Unanimous Narrative, actually their take on “We Are the World”, is variations of “you will own nothing and be happy”. Worse: you will have to pay for it – dearly. And you have no right to dream of any transcendence – irrespective if you’re a follower of Rumi, the Tao, shamanism or Prophet Muhammad. The most visible shock troops of this reductionist Western neo-nihilism – obscured by the fog of “equality”, “human rights” and “democracy” – are the thugs being swiftly denazified in Ukraine, sporting their tattoos and pentagrams. The dawn of a new Enlightenment The Collective West Self-Justification Show staged to obliterate its ritualized suicide offers no hint of transcending sacrifice implied in a ceremonial seppuku. All they do is to wallow in the adamant refusal to admit they could be seriously mistaken. How would anyone dare to deride the set of “values” derived from the Enlightenment? If you don’t prostrate yourself in front of this glittering cultural altar, you’re just a barbarian set to be slandered, law-fared, canceled, persecuted, sanctioned and – HIMARS to the rescue – bombed. We still do not have a post-Tik Tok Tintoretto to depict the collective West’s multi-wallowing in Dante-esque chambers of pop Hell. What we do have, and must endure, day after day, is the kinetic battle between their “Great Narrative”, or narratives, and pure and simple reality. Their obsession with the need for virtual reality to always “win” is pathological: after all the only activity they excel in is manufacturing fake reality. Such a pity that Baudrillard and Umberto Eco are not among us anymore to unmask their tawdry shenanigans. Does that make any difference across vast swathes of Eurasia? Of course not. We just need to keep up with the dizzying succession of bilateral meetings, deals, and progressive interaction of BRI, SCO, EAEU, BRICS+ and other multilateral organizations to get a glimpse of how the new world-system is being configured. In Samarkand, surrounded by mesmerizing instances of Timurid art coupled with a development boom that brings to mind the East Asian miracle of the early 1990s, it’s plain to see how the heart of the Heartland is back with a vengeance – and is bound to dispatch the pleonexia-afflicted West to the swamp of Irrelevancy. I leave you with a psychedelic sunset facing the Registan, at the razor’s edge of a new sort of Enlightenment that is leading the Heartland towards a reality-based version of Shangri-La, privileging harmony, tolerance and most of all, the sense of community. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/15/2022 - 22:15.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 15th, 2022

Trump may have broken these 8 federal laws that have put him in a lot of legal trouble

Trump's legal troubles are piling up as the Justice Department and the January 6 committee are looking at potential laws he could have violated. Donald Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Trump's legal troubles are piling up after the DOJ searched Mar-a-Lago.  The DOJ is investigating if Trump violated three federal laws.  The January 6 commitee is also examining if Trump broke five federal laws. The Justice Department is investigating whether former President Donald Trump violated three federal laws related to his handling of classified documents.This comes against the backdrop of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. The committee has used its public hearings this summer to try to build a case that Trump violated at least five federal laws.Here is a breakdown of the eight federal laws that Trump potentially violated as the Justice Department and the January 6 committee continues investigating the former president.Violation of the Espionage ActThe Justice Department is investigating if Trump violated the Espionage Act by gathering, transmitting, or losing national defense information. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the FBI took 11 sets of classified documents after searching former Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence. One of the documents Trump possessed included records labeled with "Variousclassified/TS/SCI," which refers to sensitive government information, according to a copy of the warrant.Concealment, removal, or mutilation of recordsThe Justice Department is investigating whether Trump violated two criminal statutes by attempting to conceal or remove records, according to a copy of the warrant. Federal authorities were also searching for evidence that Trump violated another federal law to obstruct justice by engaging in or attempting to damage, alter, or falsifiy records.New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had previously reported that Trump allegedly ripped up and flushed sensitive documents in the toilet. Earlier this week, Haberman shared photos with Insider that showcase paper notes in two toilet bowls.'Wire Fraud'The House select committee revealed in one of its hearings on June 13 that Trump's campaign raised more than $250 million from his supporters. In the fundraiser emails, his team suggested that Trump would use the money to create a fund to legally challenge the 2020 presidential election results. The committee revealed that a fund of this kind was never created and was instead funneled to a new political action committee called "Save America."Under current laws, wire fraud is committed if an individual intends to defraud or obtain money through false pretenses. Obstructing an official proceedingThe January 6 committee has said that it has evidence to prove that Trump and his 2020 campaign team violated federal law by attempting to obstruct or impede an official proceeding. Prosecutors could potentially point to him pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to stop Congress's election certification process. Prosecutors could also use evidence on Trump's alleged scheme to send a fake slate of electors to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections. Witness tamperingThe January 6 committee has asserted that Trump and his associates have tried contacting some witnesses who have testified before the panel.During a January 6 hearing on July 12, the committee provided new evidence that Trump tried to call a January 6 witness—an action that could have constituted witness tampering. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is vice chair of the committee, said she referred the matter to the Justice Department. In another hearing on June 28, Cheney presented two messages one of the witnesses received from an associate of Trump. Cheney did not disclose the witness's identity but read a description of the witness's call with the Trump associate.Cheney said the witness told the committee that "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I'm on the team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World."Conspiracy to defraud the governmentIn a March 2 court filing, the January 6 committee said that it has evidence that Trump and his campaign team violated another federal law by engaging in "a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States."Prosecutors would have to prove that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and continued to pursue efforts to overturn the election results. During the public hearings, the January 6 panel played testimonies of former White House officials who repeatedly told Trump that there was no evidence of voter fraud and that he lost the election fairly.Inciting a rebellionProsecutors could potentially build a case that the former president incited a rebellion on January 6 based on some of the committee's evidence.A former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the January 6 committee that Trump allegedly knew his supporters were armed. Earlier on January 6, she recalled Trump saying: "I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in."Prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump knew in advance that violence would occur on January 6.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 12th, 2022

Scaling Ethereum: The Role Of Rollups

Scaling Ethereum: The Role Of Rollups Authored by Conor Ryder via Kaiko.com, The growth of Decentralized Finance and more recently NFTs exposed Ethereum’s lack of scaling solutions for all to see. During the Bored Ape Yacht Club land sale only a few months ago, buyers paid over $10,000 in transaction fees per NFT, which surpassed the $6,000 or so price tag of the NFT itself. These transaction costs rear their ugly head every time the Ethereum network becomes congested - think times of extreme volatility like the Terra collapse or the Celsius crisis recently. Whatever your thoughts on Ether as an investment, the fact that the cost of using the network can exceed the price of the item being bought is a clear sign that the Ethereum blockchain isn’t fit for purpose in its current state. This Deep Dive will take a look at the data behind Layer 2 rollups, Ethereum’s quickest solution for scaling the network in the short term. There are two main ways to scale Ethereum: Improve the transaction capacity of the blockchain itself. The most effective way to upgrade the blockchain but also the most complicated. Sharding and other upgrades may not be seen for another year or more. Move to Layer 2. Instead of doing all the computational work on Layer 1 (Ethereum blockchain), a solution is to move the bulk of the work to Layer 2 - an off-chain network that reduces the computational strain on the Ethereum mainchain. The Layer 2 protocols responsible for achieving this scalability solution are called rollups. Layer 2 rollups are the fastest way to help Ethereum scale in the short term. Blockchain Improvements Improvements are being planned to the Ethereum network, most notably the Merge in September, which should see the energy consumption of the Ethereum blockchain reduced by about 99%. However, contrary to what some may think, the Merge itself won’t be a big factor in helping Ethereum solve its scalability issues. These fixes are due to come later in 2023 when the network begins the process of sharding. Sharding is beyond the scope of this deep dive but it essentially entails splitting the network into shards or seperate pieces in order to reduce congestion and improve transaction throughput. Transaction throughput is where Ethereum struggles compared to its ambitions to be the backbone of a new financial system. Currently, Ethereum can only handle about 15 transactions per second, compared to Visa’s 24,000 and Solana’s 50,000. Only when Ethereum completes its roadmap of sharding and other updates to the blockchain will it reach the elusive 100,000 transactions per second. We can see that optimistic and zK rollups offer respectable throughput improvements and when we factor in that there are, and will be, multiple protocols offering capacity for transactions, that throughput number starts to approach Visa’s level. In the absence of widespread upgrades to the blockchain, rollups definitely serve a purpose for the Ethereum network in the near term - with lower fees comes more adoption. Ethereum Fees Transaction fees on the Ethereum network are currently at their lowest levels since December 2020. A falling transaction fee is exactly what Ethereum needs, however in this instance it's related to a lack of demand. TVL of DeFi projects has plummeted while NFTs are in their first ever bear market, all combining to bring blockspace demand to recent lows. However, the low fees do offer us a glimpse into how Ethereum users might interact with protocols in the future if the fees weren’t so prohibitive. As decentralized exchange volume decreases year to date, one would assume that this paints a sufficient picture of the activity on these platforms. However, an interesting trend to examine is trade count, which arguably shows the actual usage on an exchange. Trade size is also a useful barometer for whale vs. retail activity and for the purposes of this article, a smaller trade size is indicative of more retail usage. Take Uniswap and Curve for example, Ethereum’s two largest decentralized exchanges by volume. Have users adjusted their behaviors in light of the lower fees? The answer is yes. The lowest transaction fees in nearly two years have seen trade sizes on the decentralized exchanges, such as Uniswap above, plummet while trade count actually rises. More trades are being placed by Uniswap users as transaction costs are low. Lower fees make DeFi more accessible to the average user and less geared towards whales, a nuance that is most definitely pivotal for the adoption of DeFi.  One decentralized exchange that is geared towards whales is Curve, an exchange specializing in stablecoin trading. We’ve observed a similar trend there where average trade size has fallen by over 80% while trade count rises. In contrast, Coinbase volumes are hovering around yearly lows as average trade size and trade count are both moving lower. In bear markets, volumes plummet on centralized exchanges as general interest among the public wanes. DeFi, however, still has plenty of use cases during a bear market (look at Curve’s role in the Terra collapse) and we can see that one factor of on-chain activity is Ethereum transaction fees, rather than general interest.  Reducing fees is priority number one for the Ethereum community in order to drive underlying adoption of the network. The quickest way to do that is via rollups. State of Rollups There are two main types of rollups, Optimistic and zK rollups, and their cost saving benefits have been clear to see already. Below are the fee comparisons between various Layer 2’s and Ethereum, according to l2fees.info. Optimistic and zK rollups mainly differ on their treatment of transaction veracity - how do we know the block being sent back to the Ethereum network does not contain fake transactions? Optimistic Rollups Optimistic rollups (ORs) presume transactions are valid when sending rolled up transactions back to the Ethereum blockchain, hence the name Optimistic. This assumption can be tested with a process called fraud proofs, where an onlooker can claim a transaction is fraudulent. The period for this usually spans 7 days, which is widely accepted as the biggest drawback of optimistic rollups. An exchange might logistically struggle to support immediate withdrawals if it was subject to a 7 day waiting period on transactions.  The two largest ORs are Arbitrum, which has yet to release a token, and Optimism, which launched a token on June 1st this year. There are other Layer 2 protocols with tokens that investors can get exposure to, such as Boba, a governance token for the Boba network, another optimistic rollup. Dydx is also a governance token, this time for the operation of the Layer 2 version of the decentralized exchange, which depends on zK rollups. IMX is a Layer 2 scaling solution for NFTs on Ethereum and differs slightly from the other governance tokens as it also can be used to pay transaction fees on the platform. The market seemed to start arriving at the conclusion that optimistic rollups were just a band aid over a bigger issue as since the Optimism (OP) token launch, it underperformed not only ETH but also other Layer 2 protocols.  However, with the announcement of a final date for the Merge, the market became more bullish on the Ethereum blockchain as a whole and Optimism started to outperform. This bullish sentiment is also evident in the futures market for OP which has seen a large buildup of open interest while the funding rate has moved positive in the last week. zK Rollups While Optimistic rollups presume all transactions are valid and allow onlookers to submit fraud proofs, “Zero knowledge” (zK) rollups do the work of validating each transaction themselves by submitting a validity proof along with each bundle of transactions. This is why they are more computationally intensive and up until recently, not EVM compatible, but it is also why they are far faster at settlements and withdrawals - there is no need for a window for fraud proof. This near-instant settlement is extremely appealing to exchanges who need to be able to satisfy user withdrawals in a timely manner; exactly why dydx has already adopted a zK rollup on Layer 2. Due to the computational intensity of zK rollups, OR’s were initially rolled out quickest while developers worked on what was deemed the ‘holy grail’ of rollups, a zK rollup that was EVM compatible. In the last couple of weeks we may have witnessed the beginning of the zK rollup era, as three teams, Polygon, Matter Labs and Scroll, all announced breakthroughs with EVM compatible zK rollups.  Layer 2s and DEXs Looking specifically at Uniswap and Curve’s breakdown of TVL, we can see that only a small portion of their value sit on Layer 2 optimistic rollups (Optimism and Arbitrum): 1.9% on Uniswap and 1.8% on Curve. Uniswap currently has 97% of TVL sitting on the Ethereum mainchain, while Curve has 92%. It’s reasonable to expect that once a zK EVM compatible rollup is rolled out that this number will decrease and move towards Layer 2, allowing more DEX users to avail of the cheaper fees on offer. Conclusion Layer 2 rollups are an essential part of Ethereum’s short/mid-term scaling strategy and possibly even in the long term as the rollups will sit on top of the improved Ethereum network.  It looks as if zK rollups are beginning to arbitrage away the competitive advantages of optimistic rollups, and if the teams working on an EVM compatible zK rollup can successfully launch their products, I expect them to gain a large amount of market share, potentially with traffic directed from decentralized exchanges.   Vitalik Buterin: “my advice to teams like Optimism and Arbitrum is that I think they should start zK-ifying themselves fairly soon.” Tyler Durden Thu, 08/04/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 5th, 2022

The Strangest Recession Of Our Lifetimes

The Strangest Recession Of Our Lifetimes Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times, The evidence of economic weakness and decline fill the headlines day by day, with major banks reporting lower earnings, big box stores with excess inventories, home sales skidding, and consumer sentiment crashing. Meanwhile, inflation in all sectors is raging so high and hot that it has overtaken every other issue that polls say matter in the lives of average Americans. This inflationary recession—also called stagflation—is an odd beast in any case. The combination of both purchasing power declines and falling productivity violates not only every modeling presumption made since the Keynesian revolution of the 1930s but also just plain intuition. Higher prices are supposed to signal higher demand and/or tighter supply, not lower demand and higher supply. So yes, this is strange. We are going to have to get used to it. It’s what happens when the money itself loses its integrity. The whole point of money in the first place—the essence of its economic utility—is to provide a common tool of measurement to facilitate trade and enable accounting. Its emergence permits investors, producers, and capital owners to assess the economic rationality of their actions. When money blows up and no longer serves as a reliable guide to economic realities, various degrees of chaos ensue. You can feel like you are getting richer when you are really getting poorer. What can seem like profits are really losses. What seems like a hopeful environment can quickly switch to the other direction and become despair. This is why inflation induces such fear in every sector of life. We learned this in the 1970s as stagflation gradually took over in successive waves until it was stopped in 1981 by two major shifts: tighter money and a policy emphasis on strong economic growth. Today we are getting the former but not the latter, virtually guaranteeing a serious quagmire that will last at least two more years. The economic damage of this period will be too enormous to contemplate. But let’s take a careful look at the strangest anomaly of all: the unemployment rate. It is historically low right now, at 3.6 percent. That is far lower than it has ever been during any impending recession. In fact, it is as low as any period since the end of World War II. (Data: Federal Reserve Economic Data [FRED], St. Louis Fed; Chart: Jeffrey A. Tucker) And yet, everyone knows that this is not a reason for hope: the labor participation rate is about where it was forty years ago, as if the whole experience of a more inclusive workforce never happened. It is also currently falling. There are reasons both demographic and cultural for this but it is impossible to understand without reference to the egregious and devastating effects of lockdowns. (Data: Federal Reserve Economic Data [FRED], St. Louis Fed; Chart: Jeffrey A. Tucker) In other words, the official unemployment rate measures only those who are looking for work right now. It does not count those who are not looking for work (or who have figured out how to pay the bills by working unofficially). That makes sense in a way. Why count people who are not even looking for work as part of the unemployed masses? On the other hand, it is a case of how a statistically accurate number can create a seriously misleading picture. By any standard, this measure of economic health is broken. Every recession on record in the 20th century has been marked by high unemployment. This pattern has been so strong that it has confused even smart economists, many of whom came to believe that the labor problem was itself a cause—rather than an effect—of the recession. They often sought to solve this issue through benefits and job creation programs, policy tricks that have never worked. Today, this no longer works. But this points to a larger problem: most of these data sets are overly aggregated. The big number treats all “workers” as a whole without regard to demographics. The Department of Labor tries to break it down by categories but not in ways that are particularly helpful. We can find out all kinds of things about race and gender but not much about the issue that really terrifies people: which income groups are most vulnerable to job insecurity today. Only about 20 percent of U.S. workers are able to earn more than $100,000 per year but these are the target jobs that every single college graduate wants. Ironically, this is because everyone knows that these are the jobs that require the least work and offer the most benefits. They are the Zoom jobs that everyone wanted to have during the lockdowns because it meant getting up late, wearing PJs all day, and starting cocktail hour mid-afternoon. Life was good! Better than good! My friends, beware. Everything we are seeing among current economic trends suggests that these jobs, more than any other, are vulnerable to being slaughtered in tight economic times. This would be the opposite of the 2008 recession. Back then, unemployment peaked at 10 percent. But a more careful look at the numbers showed something incredible. This affected the high incomes not at all: their rate of unemployment never went above 3.2 percent. A breakdown of the data revealed that the unemployment of that period hit mostly the working classes earning wages, while leaving the upper incomes untouched. The disparity of economic suffering was the single most salient feature of that period. This time, we face something completely different. There is a huge shortage of workers willing to earn relatively lower incomes, show up to the office, earn wages, and actually work with their hands, drive the trucks, move the boxes, and make the food. There is, on the other hand, a huge surplus of workers demanding huge salaries to stare at screens, stay home, gossip on Slack, and otherwise deploy their generous benefits packages to their maximum extent. This recession will very likely be felt in the labor markets severely but the impact will not be among those who are willing to do actual work versus earn high incomes by virtue of their college credentials. The people who are in for a rude awakening are those who have heretofore imagined that their CVs alone would guarantee a good life. In other words, this will be a “welcome-to-reality” moment for the entire class of people who rode out the pandemic response by “staying home and staying safe” while expecting the working classes to serve their every need. They gladly took their stimulus checks even though they saw no interruption in their income streams, while figuring out clever ways to trick their bosses into believing they were productive while doing almost nothing at all. Perhaps the best term for our times is: reckoning. Thanks to massive government spending and the magic printing press, the administrative state created a fake world in which the overclass thrived for at least two years. Some might say that this fakery actually began in 2008 and continued through the whole decade. In the end, economic reality can be slow to dawn but the dawn can burn very bright once it happens. This inflationary recession will be one for the ages. It could be a rare instance in which the overclass itself feels the most pain while workers with actual skills and the desire to produce will find a way to make it through despite every obstacle. The “essential workers” are about to find out just how essential they really are. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/16/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 16th, 2022

Futures Grind Higher With All Eyes On Red-Hot CPI

Futures Grind Higher With All Eyes On Red-Hot CPI After yesterday's last hour stock market puke prompted by a fake CPI "leak" that showed inflation rising more than double digits in June which sent spoos just over 3,800, US index futures advanced ahead of a report that will show inflation hitting a fresh four-decade high according to Bloomberg consensus which expects headline inflation to print 8.8%, ensuring another 75bps rate hike. Contracts on the S&P 500 rose 0.3% by 7:15 a.m. ET after the underlying gauge declined over the past three days. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.4% after the tech-heavy index shed 3% this week, reversing most of last week's gains. The dollar dropped from a 2 year high, bitcoin rose but held below $20,000 and WTI crude oil stabilized at about $96 a barrel after a tumble. Among notable pre-market movers, Twitter rose 1% after suing Elon Musk over his abandoned $44 billion takeover bid, accusing the billionaire of having buyer’s remorse after his fortune declined. Meanwhile, Atara Biotherapeutics tumbled 36% after the biotech firm gave an update on its multiple sclerosis therapy with Cowen strategists saying that the interim analysis of the ATA188 Phase 2 study was “inconclusive.” Here are other notable premarket movers: Stitch Fix (SFIX US) jumps 9.3% in premarket trading after J William Gurley, a board member and general partner at venture capital firm Benchmark, bought $5.43 million of shares in the company. Gurley’s purchase comes as the online personal-styling platform’s stock has fallen 73% this year. Atara Biotherapeutics (ATRA US) shares drop 41% in US premarket trading, after the biotech company gave an update on its multiple sclerosis therapy, with Cowen saying that the interim analysis of the Phase 2 study was “inconclusive” and Roth flagging potential “additional risks.” Humanigen (HGEN US) shares plummet as much as 76% in US premarket trading, after the biotech firm said that its Covid-19 drug trial didn’t achieve statistical significance on the primary endpoint, with Cantor Fitzgerald cutting its rating on Humanigen to neutral from overweight. Keep an eye on Apple (AAPL US) shares as Citi lowers its estimates for the company given cooling consumer spending trends amid macro woes and continued supply chain bottlenecks. Hannon Armstrong (HASI US) stocks could be active as analysts defended the climate-change investment firm after its shares slumped 19% on Tuesday. The losses followed a report from short seller Carson Block’s Muddy Waters Capital that criticized its accounting practices. Watch Alphabet (GOOGL US) stocks as Cowen trims 2022 Google Search and YouTube ad estimates, following checks that suggested that Search is seeing healthy demand but the business is decelerating, largely in line with expectations. US inflation is projected to have continued to heat up in June, hitting a fresh pandemic peak. The consumer price index probably increased 8.8% from a year earlier, marking the largest jump since 1981, as discussed some banks expected a slightly softer print although others sees headline CPI rising as much as 9.0%. The consumer-price reading will be a major decisive factor for the Fed in its upcoming meeting as it decides how much further it should tighten policy to tame soaring inflation. Its hawkish policy already stoked fears the economy is heading for a recession this year. “This is widely expected to be a really strong print,” Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments, said on Bloomberg Television. “Even if it is not, I don’t think that changes the Fed’s perspective in a couple of weeks. We won’t have enough evidence that inflation is convincingly turning over.” Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund cut its growth projections for the US economy and warned that a broad-based surge in inflation poses “systemic risks” to both the country and the global economy. Traders are also on tenterhooks for the latest corporate earnings getting underway this week and monitoring for a brewing energy crisis in Europe if Russia cuts off gas supplies in the fallout from its invasion of Ukraine. After today's CPI, investor focus will turn to the start of the earnings season, which kicks off tomorrow with major Wall Street banks. Meanwhile in Europe, the region’s benchmark Stoxx 600 Index fell 0.5% while the Euro Stoxx 50 slumped as much as 1.2% before roughly halving losses, amid deteriorating economic outlook. Shares of insurance companies and automakers led the drop.. FTSE 100 and FTSE MIB lag on the recovery. Autos, insurance and travel are the worst-performing sectors. Here are the biggest movers: Saipem shares tumble as much as 45%, extending Tuesday’s 49% slump, after only 70% of its EU2 billion rights offering was taken up by investors, signaling low confidence in the engineering company’s turnaround plan. Svenska Cellulosa falls as much as 4.1% and DS Smith declines 2.7% as Exane BNP downgrades its ratings on both, saying it anticipates a robust 2Q for packaging, but a correction in pulp prices. Bayer drops as much as 3% after a US appeals court reinstated a lawsuit by a Roundup herbicide user who claims the company failed to warn him of cancer risks. Galp Energia falls as much as 2.8% following its second-quarter production update, with analysts saying volumes were softer than anticipated. Vontobel declines as much as 6%, and EFG falls as much as 5.2% after Citi cut both to sell and kept a buy rating on Julius Baer, saying that it still sees good value in Swiss banks and prefers larger players to independents. Evonik falls as much as 3.9% after Barclays cut its rating to equal-weight, saying that it sees opportunities in Brenntag and Lanxess among European chemicals stocks. Orion gains as much as 7.9% after the pharmaceutical company raised its FY outlook after announcing it plans to work with MSD on developing and commercializing ODM-208, a drug for prostate cancer. Outokumpu gains as much as 6.5% after the stainless steel producer sold the majority of its Long Products business, a transaction which Jefferies and Morgan Stanley describe as positive. Hugo Boss rises as much as 3.1% as Jefferies says the company appears to be outperforming its luxury peers, and that expectations of continued growth, “comfortable” guidance and a successful rebrand are starting to move the market. Verallia gains as much as 3.3% after being initiated with a buy rating at Jefferies, which says the glass-packaging maker’s discount to peers is “unjustified.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced, led by the region’s technology shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.6%, halting a two-day slide that dragged the benchmark to the lowest level in two years on Tuesday. Tech names such as TSMC, JD.com and Meituan contributed the most to the rally. Information technology was the region’s best-performing sector as the Hang Seng Tech Index bounced back after its recent drops sent the measure into a technical correction.  Taiwan’s benchmark jumped nearly 3% as the government vowed to support the stock market for the first time since the early days of the pandemic. Equities posted moderate gains in South Korea and New Zealand after their central banks hiked interest rates by 50 basis points as expected. Thailand’s stock market was closed for a holiday.  “Central bankers, policy makers all over the world are gonna have to pick their spots on how much inflation they’re prepared to tolerate versus how much a growth downdraft they wanna create,” Ben Powell, chief APAC investment strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. In addition to today's data on consumer prices to assess what the Federal Reserve will do next, traders are also monitoring corporate earnings results in Asia for signs of any impact from China’s lockdowns during the second quarter. Japanese stocks advanced as investors await US data that may show inflation hit a fresh four-decade high. The Topix index rose 0.3% to 1,888.85 at the 3pm close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.5% to 26,478.77. Recruit Holdings Co. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.9%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,400 rose and 633 fell, while 137 were unchanged. “Japanese stocks will have a hard time finding a sense of direction before the US CPI announcement,” said Mitsushige Akino a senior executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management.  In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held near its highest level in more than two years and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers as traders awaited US inflation data later on Wednesday for clues on the Federal Reserve’s rate trajectory. JPY and SEK are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, CHF and AUD outperform. EUR/USD stalls again, declining 6 pips shy of parity before recovering slightly.  Money markets raised bets on the pace of BOE rate hikes after the UK economy grew faster than the median estimate in May to ease fears of a recession. UK GDP rose by a surprisingly robust 0.5% amid a surge in visits to doctors and holiday bookings, after an 0.2% decline in April, a figure that was revised higher. New Zealand’s dollar initially fell and then erased losses after the central bank raised interest rates by 50 basis points as economists forecast. The yen underperformed all its Group-of-10 peers amid expectations US CPI will be strong enough to keep wagers high for a continued aggressive rate-hike cycle by the Federal Reserve. Super-long sectors led drop in government bond yields after purchases by the Bank of Japan. In rates, the 10-year Treasury yield was little changed at 2.97% after falling two basis points on Tuesday. Cash TSYs are comparatively quiet ahead of today’s CPI release. German and UK curves bear-flatten, underperforming Treasuries. Peripheral spreads widen to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund back near 200bps.  Gilts and Bunds fell, underperforming Treasuries. Money markets raised bets on the pace of BOE rate hikes after the UK economy grew faster than the median estimate in May to ease fears of a recession. In commodities, crude futures advance. WTI drifts 1.1% higher to trade near $96.90. Most base metals trade in the green; LME lead rises 1.1%, outperforming peers. LME zinc lags, dropping 0.2%. Spot gold is little changed at $1,726/oz To the day ahead now, and data releases include the US CPI release for June, as well as UK monthly GDP for May and Euro Area industrial production for May. Otherwise from central banks, the Bank of Canada will be making their latest policy decision, and the Federal Reserve will release their Beige Book. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 3,830.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 413.52 MXAP up 0.3% to 155.40 MXAPJ up 0.5% to 511.37 Nikkei up 0.5% to 26,478.77 Topix up 0.3% to 1,888.85 Hang Seng Index down 0.2% to 20,797.95 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,284.29 Sensex down 0.5% to 53,636.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 6,621.56 Kospi up 0.5% to 2,328.61 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.16% Euro little changed at $1.0038 Brent Futures up 1.1% to $100.63/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,726.85 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 108.15 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The planned reopening of a key Russian gas pipeline next week may be a bigger deal for the euro than the first interest-rate hike in a decade by the ECB. Both are set for July 21. While the ECB’s plans to start lifting rates have been well flagged and hence priced in by markets, there’s more doubt over whether Russia will actually restore gas flows to Europe after maintenance on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline is completed China will take advantage of the market-based adjustment mechanism of deposit rates and guide financial institutions to transmit the effect of falling deposit rates to their borrowers as part of efforts to lower real lending rates, Zou Lan, head of PBOC’s monetary policy department, says at a briefing The ECB is watching the euro-dollar exchange rate as recent lows can further stoke already record inflation, according to Governing Council member Francois Villeroy De Galhau A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mostly positive as the region shrugged off the weak lead from Wall St but with upside capped amid central bank rate hikes and ahead of upcoming key risk events including Chinese trade and US CPI data. ASX 200 traded indecisively as strength in tech was offset by losses in energy after the recent slump in oil prices. Nikkei 225 was underpinned by a weaker currency but with gains limited after a ramp-up in Tokyo COVID cases. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. gained but with the mainland choppy ahead of Chinese trade data, while Hong Kong tech stocks were bolstered after China approved 67 domestic games in July. Top Asian News China's Customs said foreign trade is expected to achieve stable growth and that trade growth in May and June reversed the declining trend, but noted that foreign trade faces instabilities and uncertain factors, according to Reuters. "Lanzhou in NW China's Gansu Province has sealed off its 4 districts for 7 days to curb the latest COVID19 flare-up which started from last Friday and has led to 143 infections as of 10 am on Wed", according to Global Times. European bourses are pressured and towards the mid-point of the morning's parameters as we await US inflation data, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%.  Sectors, are predominently in the red with defensively-inclined names lagging though Energy outperforms and is green amid benchmark action. Stateside, futures are modestly firmer but have been choppy with pre-CPI positioning underway; ES +0.2%. Alphabet (GOOGL) said, on July 12th, that due to the hiring progress already attained, will slow the hiring process for remainder of year, via Reuters; like all Cos, not immune to economic headwinds. Kroger (KR) is launching an annual membership, provides unlimited free deliveries on orders over USD 35 and fuel discounts of up-to USD 1/gallon alongside other savings. Top European News UK lawmakers are to push ahead with legislation to tear up the post-Brexit trade deal today, according to FT. Network Rail offered workers at two unions pay hikes in a bid to avert further crippling strikes, according to FT. Italy's Salvini says the League Party is not willing to remain in the government if the 5-Star Party quits, adding that if 5-Star does not back a Thursday confidence vote, Italy should call snap elections. Subsequently, Democratic Party is unwilling to form new governments without the 5-Star Party, according to a party source cited by Reuters. Geopolitical China's military said it monitored and drove away a US destroyer which entered the South China Sea Paracel Islands, while it added that the actions of the US military seriously violated China's sovereignty and security. Furthermore, the US military stated that USS Benfold asserted navigational rights and freedoms near the Paracel Islands consistent with international law, according to Reuters. US Navy says the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is operating in the South China Sea. Venezuela detained at least three Americans earlier this year accused of attempting to enter the country illegally, according to sources cited by Reuters. Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson says results of the negotiations with Saudi Arabia have been promising, sides have an interest to continue talks. Subsequently, Iran President Raisi says it will not retreat from its 'rightful' stance in talks to revive the 2015 JCPOA, state TV reported. Central Banks RBNZ hiked the OCR by 50bps to 2.50%, as expected, and said it remains appropriate to continue to tighten policy, while it will tighten conditions at a pace to maintain price stability and support maximum sustainable employment. RBNZ added the Committee is resolute in its commitment to ensuring price inflation returns to the 1%-3% target range and it agreed to lift the OCR to a level where it is confident consumer price inflation will settle within the target range but added that once aggregate supply and demand are more balanced, the OCR can return to a lower and more neutral level. Furthermore, the Committee agreed to maintain the approach of briskly lifting the OCR and remained comfortable with the projected path of the OCR it outlined in May, as well as noted that there are near-term upside risks to consumer prices and also medium-term downside risks to economic activity. BoK raised its Base Rate by 50bps to 2.25%, as expected, with the decision made unanimously. BoK stated that South Korea's 2022 growth will moderate further from an earlier projection and inflation will remain high for some time, as well as noted that inflation will surpass the May forecast for the entire of 2022 and that core inflation is to be higher than 4% for a considerable period. Furthermore, BoK Governor Rhee said more policy tightening of 25bps looks appropriate going forward should current inflation continue for the time being and that it is reasonable to expect rates at 2.75%-3.00% by year-end. ECB's Villeroy says it is not the EUR that is weak but the USD that is strong. FX Greenback grinds higher ahead of US inflation data, but remains restrained, DXY back above 108.000 within 108.020-390 range. Aussie regroups alongside base metals and awaits labour report for further impetus; AUD/USD approaching 0.6800 vs sub-0.6750 low. Franc forges safe-haven gains vs Dollar and Euro, USD/CHF below 0.9800 and EUR/CHF under 0.9850. Kiwi somewhat deflated after RBNZ maintained half-point tightening pace, guidance and OCR path, NZD/USD capped into 0.6150. Sterling underpinned by above-forecast UK data and remarks from BoE Governor Bailey leaning towards bigger than 25bp hike, Cable straddling 1.1900 and EUR/GBP pivoting 100 and 200 DMAs. Loonie looking for a BoC boost via 75bp rate increase and hawkish guidance, USD/CAD towards the low end of 1.3050-00 band with 1.57bln option expiries rolling off at the round number. Yen undermined by firmer US Treasury yields pre-CPI and post-weak 10-year note the auction, USD/JPY rebounds through 137.00 again. Yuan pares some losses after China’s trade surplus tops consensus and PBoC pledges to up support for real economy; USD/CNH and USD/CNY testing bids and support on either side of 6.7200. Fixed Income Debt fades from early EU highs irrespective of risk-off sentiment as clock ticks down to key US CPI data. Bunds pull up just ahead of 153.00, Gilts into 116.00 and T-note shy of 119-00. Italian and German supply relatively well received, but impending long bond refunding comes hot on the heels of tepid demand for 10 year issuance. Commodities Crude benchmarks are bid after a concerted pick-up in the European morning that occurred without any obvious fresh fundamental driver. US Private Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +4.7mln (exp. -0.2mln), Gasoline +2.9mln (exp. -0.4mln), Distillates +3.2mln (exp. +1.6mln), Cushing +0.3mln. Libya's Government of National Unity decided to replace the NOC chairman and board, according to a government source. NOC later announced the lifting of the force majeure on exports from the Brega and Zueitina oil terminals, while it added that negotiations were conducted to allow exports from Es Sider port and resume output at the Al Waha and Mellita fields, according to Reuters. Eni (ENI IM) Chair says Italy will be able to replace 50% of Russian gas flows with other sources this winter, and 80% next winter, via Reuters citing a paper. Hungary Foreign Minister says it could purchase up to 700 MCM of gas on the market ahead of the heating season, in addition to long-term supply deal with Russia. IEA OMR: 2023 demand 101.3mln BPD, +2.1mln BPD; led by strong growth in non-OECD countries. 2022 demand cut by 200k BPD, seeing a rise of 1.7mln to 99.2mln BPD Spot gold is modestly firmer managing to capitalise on the session’s bout of USD easing, LME Copper has benefited from the generally constructive APAC tone though participants will remain cognisant of and cautious around the China-COVID situation. US Event Calendar 07:00: July MBA Mortgage Applications -1.7%, prior -5.4% 08:30: June CPI YoY, est. 8.8%, prior 8.6%; MoM, est. 1.1%, prior 1.0% 08:30: June CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 5.7%, prior 6.0%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6% 08:30: June Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -3.0%, revised -2.9% 08:30: June Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -3.9%, revised -4.0% 14:00: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book 14:00: June Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$75b, prior -$174.2b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’m supposed to be off for the next three days with the family but given how busy things are I’m delaying two of the days until August. However I can’t escape a Theme Park outing tomorrow so I’m still doing that. I hate Theme Parks and rollercoasters with a passion. Readers might remember the last time I went I had an argument with someone who pushed in with his whole family in the queue ahead of me. I was most disgruntled at the end of a long day and vowed never to return. However my kids love them. If it were up to me my preferences would dominate and we wouldn’t go but unfortunately my selfless wife puts our kids first. Probably a good thing!! I’ll be here now for the all important US CPI today but I’ll miss the ceremonial start of earnings season tomorrow with this week seeing a small selection of major US financials and consumer packaged goods companies reporting. My colleague Binky has just released his full preview, available here. He expects earnings to beat in the low single digits percentage region, below the long-run historical average of 5%. Earnings are likely to be 3.1% qoq along with downward revisions to forward estimates. Heading into earnings season, estimates have been revised lower for every sector but energy, which has experienced upgrades. Using a bottom-up approach, yoy EPS growth will come in at 5.7%. Heading into CPI and earnings, after markets had climbed a wall of worry since mid-June, they seem to be losing a bit of footing again over the last few days as fears of a recession dominate again, alongside fears of aggressive rate hikes by central banks, rising Covid cases in China and the prospect of Russia cutting off Europe’s gas. This gloomy backdrop saw the S&P 500 (-0.92%) lose ground for a 3rd day running, whilst those fears of weakening demand sent Brent crude oil prices back beneath $100/bbl and also led to day two of a new fresh sizeable rally in sovereign bonds. Oil is little changed in Asia trade with Brent and WTI futures almost flat at $99.76/bbl and $95.99/bbl respectively as we go to press. However, today’s main focus will almost certainly be on the US CPI release for June, which will set the stage for the Fed’s next decision in just two weeks’ time. Remember that it was last month’s much stronger-than-expected report that sparked a tumultuous market reaction that culminated in the Fed moving by 75bps at a single meeting for the first time since 1994, having previously only signalled a 50bps move. So any further surprises today could have a big impact. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for an above-consensus monthly reading for both headline CPI (+1.3%) and core CPI (+0.6%), which in turn would take the year-on-year headline CPI up to its highest level since 1981, at +9.0%. Although we’re expecting another strong inflation print today, ahead of that release there were actually growing signs of respite on the inflation front thanks to further losses amongst a number of key commodities. Brent Crude (-7.11%) and WTI (-7.93%) oil prices saw substantial losses, copper prices (-4.10%) hit a 19-month low and gold (-0.46%) hit a 9-month low. Indeed, the only major exception to that pattern was the usual suspect of European natural gas (+4.92%) which just about reversed the previous day’s decline following cuts to Norwegian capacity. Our research colleagues in Frankfurt published a detailed note yesterday on the gas supply issue (link here), where they run through 3 scenarios of how things might evolve, including what happens if Russia completely turns off the gas taps to Germany after the maintenance period that would involve gas being rationed during the winter months. Although many will welcome the decline in those commodities mentioned above, the bad news is that the reason they’re declining is because of recession fears, and yesterday saw a number of additional recessionary indicators flash with growing alarm. One in particular is the 2s10s curve, which has inverted before every one of the last 10 US recessions, and remains near its most inverted of this cycle so far at -8.5bps after dipping below -12bps intraday. We would stress that while we are the yield curve’s biggest fan, it usually takes a minimum of three quarters from inversion to recession so we still think it may take a bit of time from the first inversion in March to confirm the almost inevitable recession. For the 1s10s and the 2s5s curve, it was much the same story of being the most inverted so far this cycle, and the 3m10s curve reached its flattest since November 2020. And whilst the Fed have told us to focus on their preferred near-term forward spread (18m3m minus 3m), even that closed beneath 100bps for the first time so far this year at 94bps (from a peak of 270bps in early April), so these measures are all trending in the wrong direction from a recessionary standpoint. In terms of the absolute yield moves, the risk-off tone saw them move lower on both sides of the Atlantic. 10yr Treasury yields fell -2.4bps to 2.97% albeit having being as much as -9.6bps lower intraday. There was a discrete bounce in longer-dated Treasury yields following the 2bp tail in the 10yr auction. Yields are fairly stable in Asian trading. Meanwhile in Europe, those on 10yr bunds (-11.3bps), OATs (-12.8bps) and BTPs (-9.8bps) all fell back too, as concerns about the economic situation led investors to price in a less aggressive pace of monetary tightening over the coming months, particularly from the ECB. That also meant that the Euro itself moved ever closer to parity against the US Dollar yesterday, and you had to look to 5 decimal places to see that it just avoided that milestone, with an intraday low of $1.00003 during the European morning, ending the day just a hair lower versus the dollar, down -0.03% at $1.0037. European equities staged a modest comeback from Monday’s selloff, while US equities ended lower after flirting with gains all day. The STOXX 600 gained +0.49%, with the DAX performing a touch better at +0.57%, bringing the STOXX 600 to just under flat for the week, while the DAX is still -0.84% lower on the week. The S&P 500 fell -0.92%, after trading near unchanged most of the day. Theories abounded for the late turnaround. Underlying market technicals pointed to potential algorithmic selling programs, whilst rumours spread in some circles that the CPI report was leaked and revealed a +10% print. Officials disabused us of the latter, but it nevertheless speaks to the heightened anxiety markets are trading with around inflationary data. In terms of the breakdown, energy shares (-2.03%) were the clear underperformer, but a wide-breadth of shares took a dip lower in the afternoon, sending the NASDAQ (-0.95%), FANG+ (-1.01%), and Russell 2000 (-0.22%) all lower on the day. So no clear macro driver for equities yesterday, but again, today’s CPI will be instructive about the near-term path. Overnight in Asia equity markets are trading higher after recent losses. As I type, the Hang Seng (+0.81%) is leading gains across the region with the Kospi (+0.71%), Shanghai Composite (+0.36%), CSI (+0.26%), and the Nikkei (+0.33%) all trading up. Looking ahead, equity futures in the US point to a steady start with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.14%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.21%) moving higher. Moving on to monetary policy action, the Bank of Korea (BOK) increased rates by 50bps, bringing the benchmark rate to 2.25% in order to help pullback inflation from a 24-yr high of 6%. The unprecedented rate hike size comes even as the central bank forecasts the country’s growth rate to lag “below the May forecast of 2.7%. Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) in an expected move also increased its official cash rate (OCR) by 50bps for a third straight meeting to 2.5%. Staying in Asia, another risk that’s been in a few headlines again is Covid. Partly this is because of the ongoing situation in China, where a steady stream of cases have been reported over recent days. But in addition to that, the US is considering whether to expand the recommendation of the second booster to all adults in light of the BA.5 omicron variant’s spread, and White House coronavirus coordinator Ashish Jha said that these discussions “have been going on for a while”. Of particular concern to officials, the BA.5 seems to evade immunity provided from prior infections. Here in the UK, it’ll be another eventful day on the political scene as the first ballot of MPs takes place in the Conservative leadership election, which will also decide the next Prime Minister. 8 candidates will be on today’s ballot, and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is currently leading when it comes to MP’s endorsements, with yesterday seeing him gain that of Deputy PM Dominic Raab, among others. Candidates will need the support of at least 30 MPs today to progress onto the next ballot that takes place tomorrow. There wasn’t much data yesterday, but the releases we did get only added to negative sentiment. First the German ZEW survey saw the expectations reading fall to its lowest level since the sovereign debt crisis at -53.8 (vs. -40.5 expected), whilst the current situation reading fell to -45.8 (vs. -34.5 expected). Separately, the NFIB’s small business optimism index from the US fell to 89.5 (vs. 92.5 expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the US CPI release for June, as well as UK monthly GDP for May and Euro Area industrial production for May. Otherwise from central banks, the Bank of Canada will be making their latest policy decision, and the Federal Reserve will release their Beige Book. Tyler Durden Wed, 07/13/2022 - 07:57.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 13th, 2022

Luongo: China Queues Up To Join The Davos Beatdown

Luongo: China Queues Up To Join The Davos Beatdown Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, The headlines are full of abject terror that Germany’s vaunted industrial base can collapse, and with it the banking sector, if Russia pulls all natural gas supplies. Of course, this is exactly what the EU said they wanted, and the question now is will they get it, to quote H.L. Mencken, “good and hard.” So, finally, after destroying their own economy, the politicians in Europe are considering the right question, “Did we do this to ourselves?” The Euro’s collapse yesterday morning to a new twenty-year low below $1.03 is answering a resounding, “Yes. Yes you did.” I’m sure the board at Uniper, now staring at a $9+ billion bailout after Vice-Chancellor Robert Haebeck and the rest of his Green/Neocon zealots destroyed their investment in the Nordstream 2 pipeline, would agree with the market. And so much of this is because now the markets are fully handicapping a global recession based on a spate of terrible economic news, including Germany running a trade deficit in May for the first time in 30 years. So much for that argument that Europe has a positive cash flow statement and can’t/won’t break down because of it, c.f. my podcast from February with Peter Boockvar. But to understand why things are accelerating this quickly, beyond the Fed’s hawkishness, I think it’s high time we look at what China’s role in this is and will be. There’s been a lot of discussion about China’s lockdown policy since the beginning of the War in Ukraine. What did it mean? Are they seriously paranoid or was this their very Chinese way of supporting Russia’s efforts in Ukraine by exacerbating the massive supply chain breakdown created by Davos’ Coronapocalypse? You know I side with the latter position. So, after a successful BRICS Summit which saw both Iran and Argentina apply for member status (and China inviting Saudi Arabia to join it and the SCO), China announced a week ago they are loosening the COVID restrictions on foreign travelers into the country. China unexpectedly slashed quarantine times for international travelers, to just one week, which suggests Beijing is easing COVID zero policies. The nationwide relaxation of pandemic restrictions led investors to buy Chinese stocks. Inbound travelers will only quarantine for ten days, down from three weeks, which shows local authorities are easing draconian curbs on travel and economic activity as they worry about slumping economic growth sparked by restrictive COVID zero policies earlier this year that locked down Beijing and Shanghai for months (Shanghai finally lifted its lockdown measures on May 31). The result is, as Zerohedge pointed out at the time, the return of capital inflow to China’s equity markets on the announcement. But the markets had been forecasting capital flight into China for weeks since bottoming in April. That said, this is a perfect example of what I talk about all the time with respect to potential changes in the US political situation.  Markets are always looking for changes in intentions by the political class.   These little changes are seen by traders and investors as edges to be played.  They may not pan out, but are bets based on a probability calculation of a state change in public policy. To this end, Fungal Joe is going to lift the Trump tariffs on Chinese imports this week to buy votes by hoping inflation moderates. I’m okay with him doing this trying to right the ship. Tariffs are never the answer, just like sanctions. Notice also this has zero to do with monetary policy and everything to do with supply disruptions caused by government diktat. This change by China signals an intention by the CCP to open China back up to tourism and business development that isn’t likely to be reversed.  I expect this to be real and for China to make even more little moves like this as the summer drags on and markets churn in the West. With that change, capital inflow lessens the pressure on both the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) and the Hang Seng while giving China more cover to loosen monetary policy without necessarily raising rates and creates another place for capital to flow now that the ECB has capitulated. Christine Lagarde’s recent statements about fighting inflation being “more art than science” is just saying the quiet parts out loud. But it was what came out of the ECB’s emergency meeting a couple of weeks ago that finally signaled the end for the euro in the minds of investors. Not only is Germany’s industrial base being literally destroyed gleefully by its government, now the ECB is going to sell German debt to buy Italian and Spanish debt to keep from drowning. This is akin to bailing water out of one end of the boat only to throw it in the other end. Couple these things with the frankly, disastrous G-7 Summit where the biggest collection of unserious buffoons gathered to ban the sale of Russian gold and contemplate a global price cap on oil. … words fail me. Honestly, after this G-7 the rush into the BRICS Alliance as well the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be unstoppable.  What serious investor with real capital appreciation goals is going to look at this group of committed (and committable) lunatics and think, “Yes! I can trust my money with Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Ursula Von der Leyen!” No, they are looking at this crap and opening up Tradestation.   The fact that Justin Trudeau was even invited should have been your sell signal. While the BRICS were talking about a new trade settlement currency and adding members, the G-7 was talking World War III while getting caught spending more time on photo ops than substantive dialogue. Unserious people with sophomoric ideas and an antiquated sense of their global importance (especially true of the UK and Germany) is not a recipe for global capital inflow over the long term. When you look at the fragility of the EU, the UK, and Canada you realize that the only thing propping up global markets at this point is the hope that the U.S. mid-terms are a complete refutation of the Davos agenda.   If that doesn’t happen, if somehow Soros and Davos steal enough seats and put a bunch of RINOs back into Congress and the Senate to freeze any reform of Washington D.C. the collapse of the West will accelerate very quickly. Again, go back to what I said at the outset, the markets are looking for early indicators, edges, they can play to front run a big change in a country’s domestic/foreign policy. If the US has an honest political revolution in November replete with the stirrings of entitlement reform and fiscal sanity while the Fed continues raising rates, then that would be a massive buy signal for not only the US but also China. If not the US begins its collapse and happens for multiple reasons.  The first is obvious.  Insane Progressives and Commies will be emboldened to destroy what’s left of the Rule of Law in the US.: pack the SCOTUS, ban guns, etc.   That will send capital fleeing to relatively safe places like Pakistan. The second is almost as obvious.  It will confirm and solidify for a critical mass of people that the government is irredeemable and it’s time for either a new convention of States, per my recent conversation with Bill Fawell, or secession as the only real options left. Because when all peaceful means of revolt are taken away from people, violence ensues. While these evil people think they are unassailable, the reality is that they are not. If you doubt me, go look at video of the Dutch Farmer’s Revolution for confirmation of just how angry people truly are. None of the issues surrounding the Dems have worked at this point. No amount of SSRI-addled, known-to-law-enforcement-enabled shootings will roll out gun control in the US. No amount of screeching from unfuckable purple-hairs will bring back Roe v. Wade. No amount of sexual deviance at the public schools will usher in legalized pedophilia. These are the positions Democrats have staked their future as a party on and most of America is sincerely fed up with it while their businesses are looted, their bank accounts are emptied and their kids sexually-assaulted at school by strippers. This is why I fully expect voter fraud costs to soar this November and for the 2000(00) Mules strategy to fail as a result. Proud Boys and Oathkeepers will gladly stand outside drop boxes looking for some douchebag with a handful of fake ballots to “question.” This means they will just print votes out of thin air, but they can only really do that in places like California.   China opening back up for business is good news.  Ending COVID restrictions are necessary to shifting the flow of capital from mattresses back into the global economy.   But it won’t happen fast enough without a political revolution in the US to stave off a year or two of messy activity as supply chains reroute. If China opens up more and the mid-terms are a blowout for normal people there is ample room for the Fed to keep going higher with rates from a US gov’t budget perspective.  A good article recently from Wolf Street reminds us (and me) that only new debt is subject to the higher rates the Fed is now charging. We have historically low debt servicing costs. The budget is still a mess and it’s why entitlement reform is the key political issue going forward.  So, if Soros wins this fall and Davos remains firmly in control of Washington, then there is no hope for America’s future as a 50-state compact.  They will burn the rest of this country to the ground before giving up control of it. Even if the mid-terms go well, the transition period before the new Congress is sat will be horrific. Between now and then expect them to push a NATO casus belli in Ukraine on us to try and save Biden’s Depends budget, Johnson’s terrible hair and Scholz’s saggy man boobs. This is how they will counter China moving to attract capital, by starting another war.  The problem for all of them is that China ultimately wins either way.  All they will do is delay the inevitable because as I pointed out the other day, there isn’t the productive capacity TODAY to fight a two-front war in Europe and the Pacific.   If NATO moves on Russia, China will move on Taiwan. The Russians are salivating at the prospect of the Brits coming in to fight them in Ukraine to free up the US to take on China. And the West will lose both wars simultaneously, on the off-chance the whole thing doesn’t go nuclear. I do believe pushing the US into political crisis is the ultimate Davos play here.  The problem is, since Putin moved on Ukraine the way he did, there is no pulling that off without atomizing Europe in the process. So, for once, Davos is staring at a Hobson’s Choice rather than their victims. That Vlad, what a card! China doesn’t want war with the US anymore than Russia does.  So opening up China’s economy and Biden lifting tariffs here are the right capital-attracting moves to force even more instability on Europe.   If we avoid WWIII, along with the Fed putting Congress in a fiscal straightjacket, then we can effect real political change in the US Everyone wins. I do believe this is the single most important point every other analyst has missed over the past couple of years.  The point of beating Davos is to stop WWIII, stop the messy dissolution of the US which would be a catastrophe for everyone, and end the cycle of violence which has emanated from the European colonial powers for centuries. The US can survive this fiscally and politically.  The SCOTUS just flipped off the commies.  The people are rejecting woke anti-storytelling like Lightyear and nearly everything Netflix and Amazon produce. Seen recently in the Financial Times, even Blackrock is seeing the light. This tells me that Blackrock’s balance sheet is in serious trouble.  It tells me their AUM is falling and their ESG/DEI strategy is gutting the company from within.  I wouldn’t doubt for a second that Larry Fink bet the farm on Obama/Schwab getting rid of Powell and now they are staring at a collapse as Powell says, “My turn.” For all of their power, this is still a company with just $36 billion in shareholder equity. Apple sells that many iPhones in 2 months. I’d love nothing more than to see Blackrock become the next Lehman Moment.  I’m sure most of Wall St. wouldn’t either.  There is blood in the water folks and the sharks are circling Europe. Maybe Jamie Dimon will change his middle name to Bruce just to make the point clear to everyone. I’m sad I gave up popcorn. *  *  * Join my Patreon if you like Popcorn Tyler Durden Wed, 07/06/2022 - 21:25.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJul 6th, 2022

The Influencer"s Dilemma (Why Elon Musk Is Probably Right About Twitter)

The Influencer's Dilemma (Why Elon Musk Is Probably Right About Twitter) Authored by Omid Malekan via Medium.com, The following in an excerpt from my new book: Re-Architecting Trust, The Curse of History and the Crypto Cure for Money, Markets and Platforms. It provides context on the ongoing breakdown of traditional social medial. The prevalence of digital fakery is an underrated contributor to the breakdown of respect in every online setting. It leads to a toxic environment where the worst behaviors are rewarded. To see why, we must first recognize that online influence is valuable. Having a lot of likes, retweets, positive reviews, and followers is an asset, one that increasingly impacts the offline economy. A restaurant that has a lot of five-star reviews is more likely to get new customers and a pundit who has a lot of Twitter subscribers is more likely to get a book deal. The digital attestations of likes and followers and so on are a form of social capital, and everyone is motivated to acquire as much as they can. The question is how. Some people try to acquire their social capital by doing something useful, like running a quality restaurant or putting out valuable content. They hustle, put in long hours, and work to earn every like, retweet, positive review, and follower. This is the social capital equivalent of proof of work: do the work, earn the reward. Other people cheat. They don’t put in the hours or hustle, they instead buy enough fake followers and reviews on the black market to make it look like they did. This is the social capital version of a Sybil attack. On any centralized platform such as Seamless or Twitter, the second group is guaranteed to win. As the comedian Groucho Marx once said, “the secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” To understand why, recall that the target audience — the consumers who order food from an app, watch TikTok videos, and subscribe to Instagram feeds — have no idea what’s real and what’s fake. Facebook doesn’t tell them what percentage of an Instagram influencer’s likes were generated by a click farm (if it did, advertising revenues would plummet). This lack of information puts every would-be influencer in a bind. If viewers can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake, then what’s the best strategy for becoming popular? Should they work hard to earn real users or pay up to acquire fake ones? The answer is both. After all, those who decide to both build and buy will always be more popular than those who only do one. In game theory, this is known as the Nash equilibrium. In real life, it’s a race to the bottom. But now we have a new problem because Instagram users aren’t that gullible. They understand that some chicanery is going on. There are too many content creators who are suspiciously popular, and the numbers only ever go up, sometimes too quickly. There are also academic studies and media reports that confirm their suspicions. But there is no obvious tell, so the most reasonable response from the users perspective is to assume that everything is a little fake, and to discount every number — every like, retweet, five-star review, and follower count — accordingly. Since tomorrow will bring more fakery, then discount a little more with each passing day. It helps that the human brain is uniquely adept at performing this invisible calculus. People have been doing it for millennia. Not with social capital of course, but with money. Online social capital in any centralized setting is an inflationary currency. It does not enjoy scarcity of any kind and is easy to counterfeit so its purchasing power falls on a daily basis. That’s why it takes much higher numbers to impress users today than it used to. Here the world’s centralized platform operators are even more irresponsible than central banks. The Federal Reserve might be profligate with its printing, but it at least tries to preserve the integrity of its currency after it’s been issued. That’s why $100 bills are difficult to counterfeit. One hundred (or one hundred thousand) likes on any social media platform, on the other hand, are easy to counterfeit. In economics, Gresham’s Law is the phenomenon by which “bad money eventually drives out good.” It’s more of a principle than a law but explains why lower quality representations of the same currency, like diluted coins with less gold that still have the same face value, tend to force higher quality money out of circulation. It’s best understood from the perspective of ordinary people making sensible decisions. In any economy where legal tender laws force citizens to treat coins of different metal content as having the same value, people are going to try to spend the diluted coins (to get rid of them) and save the denser ones. Maybe the laws will be changed, or the currency will fail, and all coins will have to be melted down to capture their pure metallic value. A similar phenomenon also explains why Bitcoin is increasingly viewed as a store of value, not the medium of exchange it was invented to be. The more fiat money that is printed by the world’s central banks, the greater the perception that fiat is a form of bad money, leading people to want to spend their dollars and hoard their bitcoins. Kabessa’s Law is the social capital equivalent of this dynamic, named after a popular crypto pundit who first postulated the dilemma that every would-be influencer faces in a centralized setting — to build or to buy. This law states that counterfeit online social capital eventually drives out the quality kind, taking over. The higher the percentage of fake activity on any platform, the lower the incentive to bother trying to create the real deal. Put differently, the easier it is to buy one thousand Twitter followers, the lower the incentive to try to earn one. *  *  * About the book: Re-Architecting Trust is a thought-provoking exploration of how decentralized blockchain networks and the digital assets that they enable can reinvent our most important trust frameworks by creating new types of money, reinvigorating how we transact the old kind, disintermediating the least trustworthy financial institutions, and enabling meaningful business models for artists and influencers. You can order a copy here Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 29th, 2022

How many Instagram followers you need to start getting paid

When can a content creator start making money on Instagram with brand deals, or affiliate marketing? We spoke with dozens of influencers to find out. Tomi Obebe is a micro influencer on Instagram.Tomi Obebe A couple thousand followers on Instagram qualifies some users as "influencers." But at what point — and with how many followers — can an influencer start making money? Insider has talked with dozens of influencers about when they started making money, how, and how much. With a few thousand followers on Instagram these days, it's easy to ask yourself: When can I start making money doing this?The good news is, there's no strict minimum. Three influencers Insider interviewed — all with under 3,000 Instagram followers — said they got paid by brands to post to their small audiences.For instance, Kayla Compton became a brand ambassador for jewelry company PuraVida with less than 2,000 followers, she told Insider last year. She said her starting sponsored-content package at the time was $250, and that she also got paid by sharing affiliate links or codes with her followers and earning a small commission.And now, it's easier than ever to share affiliate links on Instagram stories since the company rolled out access to link stickers to all accounts in October. Instagram is also directly paying some influencers through incentive programs like "Bonuses" for Reels, which requires at least 1,000 views on Reels (rather than a follower minimum). On the other hand, other Instagram monetization features like "Badges," Instagram's tipping tool for IG Live, require that creators have at least 10,000 followers. Many of these programs also are limited to certain countries, have an age minimum of 18, and require accounts to be registered as business or creator accounts on the app. While the doors have opened for many more creators on Instagram to start making a living, often they don't start making full-time incomes immediately (although a fair number of micro influencers with under 100,000 followers work full-time as influencers). Read more: 19 content creators share how they turned their social-media side hustles into full-time jobsToday, influencers no longer need hundreds of thousands of followers to start earning cash.Here are a few reasons why:"Nano" and "micro" influencers (typically accounts with fewer than 100,000 followers) are being hired by many brands across industries. These smaller influencers have demonstrated the power of niche and engaged communities on Instagram, where fake followers and disproportional engagement have flooded the platform. Influencers can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars from these deals. Meta-owned Instagram is opening its multi-billion-dollar wallet and paying some influencers, which it announced last year with a flashy $1 billion investment into content creators through 2022.Affiliate links are easier to share now than ever. Some affiliate programs do have their own requirements, however, such as LTK or ShopStyle. Instagram also is testing its own affiliate marketing program, which is available to a select number of creators at the moment. Influencers can get paid a commission on sales driven directly through Instagram. Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, who's already enrolled and had 16,000 followers when Insider first interviewed her, earned more than $500 in one month. Check out: Leaked commission rates from September 2021 reveal how much brands in Instagram's affiliate marketing test like Sephora were paying influencersSo, how much money are these influencers making on Instagram?Insider interviewed over two dozen Instagrammers about how much money they make, with follower counts between 2,000 and just over 100,000. Here's a full breakdown of our coverage:From brand deals:Natasha Greene, a food and lifestyle creator with 137,000 Instagram followersMacy Mariano, a travel and fashion influencer with 102,000 followersJehava Brown, a travel and lifestyle influencer with 70,000 followersNick Cutsumpas, a plant influencer with 63,700 followersAshley Jones, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 45,000 followersTomi Obebe, a lifestyle influencer with 40,000 followersEmma Cortes, a lifestyle influencer and podcast host with 47,000 followersBritney Turner, a lifestyle influencer with 27,000 followersCaitlin Patton, a lifestyle influencer with 22,000 followersMary Margaret Boudreaux, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 20,000 followersGigi Kovach, a part-time lifestyle blogger and mom of two with 13,500 followersTyler Chanel, a sustainability influencer with 12,000 followersKhadijah Lacey-Taylor, a fashion and lifestyle influencer with 9,800 followersTess Barclay, a lifestyle blogger with 5,600 followersLaur DeMartino, a nano influencer and full-time college student with 5,200 followersJalyn Baiden, a skincare influencer with 4,000 followersJen Lauren, a part-time lifestyle influencer with 2,900 followersAmber Broder, a part-time skincare influencer and full-time college student with 2,300 followersKayla Compton, a lifestyle nano influencer with about 2,000 Instagram followersFrom Meta Platforms, including Instagram:Kelly Anne Smith, a personal finance influencer with 12,000 Instagram followers shares how much she earned from Bonuses in MarchJackson Weimer, a meme creator who got paid more than $6,000 for views on his Reels with 114,000 followersSeveral influencers reveal the different 'bonus' payments Instagram is offering, with some stretching up to $35,000From affiliate links:Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe, a lifestyle micro influencer with 16,000 followers, makes money using Instagram's native affiliate programVi Lai, a skincare influencer, uses Instagram and TikTok to make thousands of dollars per month using affiliate marketing4 Instagram influencers reveal what the platform's exclusive affiliate marketing beta test is like — and how much they're earningRead more: Instagram is abruptly shutting down its affiliate marketing bonuses, which used to pay up to $400 a monthRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 27th, 2022

Gold & The West"s Vicious Cycle Of Self-Destruction

Gold & The West's Vicious Cycle Of Self-Destruction Authored by Egon von Greyerz via GoldSwitzerland.com, “The first panacea of a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permeant ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” Ernest Hemingway As the West is standing on the edge of the precipice, there are only unpalatable outcomes. At best the world is facing a hyperinflationary depression later followed by deflationary depression. But sadly there is today much more at stake as the West is frenetically escalating the sound of war drums against Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. THE WEST HAS NO DESIRE FOR PEACE As the global economy reaches the point of collapse, countries get the leaders they deserve. There is today no leader or statesman in the West who can stand up to Putin in order to negotiate peace. Biden sadly neither has the vigour, nor the ability to play any significant role in solving the conflict. Also, he has the neocons pressurising him to attack and defeat Russia. And Biden’s rhetoric against Putin is certainly not conducive to peace, with words like war criminal and genocide. Biden mustn’t forget that just in the Vietnam war, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong are estimated to have lost one million soldiers and two million civilians. Unprovoked wars are of course always senseless whoever starts them. Technically the US did not start a war against Russia. But Russia will of course argue that the US backed 2014 Maidan revolution, ousting  the elected President Yanukovych, was a direct threat against Russia. The 1988 NATO map below and the likely one today, if Finland and Sweden join, is clearly a very uncomfortable situation for Russia. President Zelensky is doing all he can to involve the rest of the world militarily by demanding more money and more weapons from the West, rather than putting his efforts into peace negotiations. Ukraine can of course never win the war against Russia alone. And dragging in the US and NATO can only lead to a war of incalculable consequences and potentially a WWIII which could be nuclear. And in the West, not a single leader is making a serious peace attempt. From Biden to Johnson, Macron and Scholz, we only hear talk of more weapons and more money for Ukraine. This is terribly tragic and a sign of totally incompetent leadership in the West. Trump had many weaknesses, but he would not have hesitated to initiate peace talks with Putin. WEAK EUROPEAN LEADERS So the US and the West has no ability or desire to achieve peace. And Boris Johnson has welcomed the war as a diversion from his domestic “Partygate” political pressures and therefore has taken an aggressive position against Russia rather than finding a peaceful solution. Macron is an opportunist who stands with one foot in each camp by being chummy with Putin and at the same time condemning him. And Scholz, the German chancellor is in an impossible position caused by Merkel’s poor management of Germany’s energy position. The three remaining German nuclear power stations will be closed down and fossil fuels are politically unacceptable. Nearly 60% of German gas imports come from Russia. German industry would not survive without Russian gas. So Scholz wants to have his cake and eat it, sanctioning Russia on the one hand and simultaneously spending billions of Euros buying their energy and other natural resources including food. Quite a precarious position for Germany to be totally dependent economically on its war enemy. At the same time, this is good for the world as Germany has a vested interest to achieve peace. But we must remember that only a minority of countries are backing the actions of the US and Europe.  Africa, South America, most of Asia are not taking sides and continuing to trade with Russia and these regions represent around 85% of world population. So the vast majority of the world has no desire for war with Russia but their voice is seldom heard in the Western dominated media. As Western leaders continue their war mongering, we must remind ourselves of Winston Churchill’s words: “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” - Winston Churchill So Messrs Biden, Johnson, Scholz and Macron should take note that they could soon, in the words of Churchill, be “the slaves of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events”. Russia is clearly determined to take back what they consider historically belongs to them, which is the Donbas region in the east and southern Ukraine, including Odessa, which gives them full access to the Black Sea. Being totally surrounded by NATO countries, especially if Finland and Sweden join, is clearly another “irritation” for Russia but since these countries have never been part of the Russian empire, it has less significance. END OF A MONETARY ERA & A NEW ONE EMERGING Politics and money cannot be separated and the geopolitical situation that has now arisen  will act as a perfect catalyst to the end of the monetary era since the creation of the Fed in 1913. But what we must remember is that it is primarily the Western controlled monetary system  (including Japan) which will come to an end. America’s and the EU’s final desperate attempt to save their broken system by sanctions on world trade will eventually fail as the Western economies gradually decay in an economic and social breakdown brought about by a quagmire of currency collapse, deficits, debts and history’s most epic of asset bubbles. The Phoenix emerging will clearly be the East, led by China with Russia as an important partner. China is, population wise, the biggest country in the world and will soon be the biggest country in GDP terms. With total US assistance in the form of know-how and technology China has built up a strategic and advanced manufacturing base with dominance in many sectors. For example, 18% of all US imports come from China including 35% of all computers and electronics. Chinese sellers represent 40% of all top brands on Amazon and 75% of all new sellers. The US and the rest of the world criticise Germany for being dependent on Russian energy, but the US folly of shifting much of its manufacturing to China certainly qualifies for joint first prize in commercial and strategic idiocy. Since gold is the ultimate money and the only money that has survived in history, it will have a very important role in coming years as the fiat currency system collapses. THE WEST’S VICIOUS CYCLE OF SELF-DESTRUCTION Empires normally suffer a drawn-out and painful death. The fall of the US and the West has certainly been long, starting over half a century ago. But the fake prosperity has benefitted a small elite and lumbered the masses with colossal debts. In 1971, US debt was $1.7 trillion and 50 years later it is $90 trillion, a mere 53x increase.  As the finale of the debt and currency collapse approaches, the desperation rises exponentially. Consequently, increasing amounts of money need to be created and wars initiated to justify the debt explosion, all in a vicious cycle of self-destruction.   For over half a century, the US has destroyed its currency and initiated unprovoked military actions in numerous countries – virtually all of them unsuccessful. Yes, the US has certainly experienced a temporary false prosperity. But that could only be achieved with deficits, debt and printing fake money. The massive cost of the failed Vietnam war led to Nixon closing the gold window in 1971. As Nixon said at the time, “the strength of the currency is based on the strength of the economy”!  Hmmm, half a century later that currency has lost 98% in real terms (GOLD) and the Federal Debt has grown 75 fold from $400 billion to $30 trillion. It took 22 years , from 1971 to 1993 for the debt to expand by $15 trillion. Just in the last 2 years the debt is up by the same amount of $15 trillion. It is amazing, as Hemingway said,  how quickly “political and economic opportunists” can destroy both the economy and the currency. So there we have it. The US dollar is a totally failed currency reflecting the bankrupt state of the US economy. As I have pointed out numerous times, the US has increased the federal debt every year since 1930, with the exception of four single years. As most currencies have been linked to the dollar since WWII, either through Bretton Woods or through the petrodollar, they have all been dragged down into the swamp with the dollar. Having started my working life a couple of years before the ominous date of 15 August 1971 (closing of the gold window) I have had the best seat to observe the collapse of a currency system and the sad but inevitable occurrence of war. Intellectually it is a fascinating experience to watch incompetent and desperate leaders who have totally failed to manage both their economy and currency. But even without a world war, the effects of the collapse of the West will have devastating effects on humanity for a very long time. GOLD HAS OUTPERFORMED ALL ASSET CLASSES IN THE 2000s Since the 1999 low of $250, gold is up 8X in dollar terms. But more importantly, the Dow Jones has lost 60% against gold during the same period (dividends are excluded). In this century, gold has been one of the best performing asset classes and still nobody owns it with less than 0.5% of financial assets being invested in gold. Since January 2000 gold is up 7X. It is fascinating that in spite of this stellar performance, gold has been totally ignored by the investment world. But that is all about to change. The current fake monetary system based on $300 trillion of global debt, plus worthless paper assets in the form of derivatives to the extent of around $2 quadrillion, will over coming years collapse under its own worthless weight. Future observers and historians will write many books on a system of smoke and mirrors with fake money, fake paper and grossly overvalued assets, all creating the most colossal asset bubble in history. Obviously China and Russia will be the kernel of the future world economy with the combination of the globally dominant manufacturing base of China and the world’s greatest natural resource reserves of Russia amounting to a massive $75 trillion. China and Russia are also the world’s largest producers of gold and probably have gold reserves far in excess of their reported figures which could amount to well in excess of 20,000 tonnes. On the other hand, a major part of the reported US gold reserves of 8,000 tonnes has probably been sold or leased against worthless paper gold claims. So it is obvious that over coming years as the Western dollar based currency system collapses, it will be replaced by commodity backed currencies with the Yuan and the Ruble as two important pillars, both backed by gold. Anyone who hasn’t bought physical gold yet, which is 99.5% of investors, can still buy it incredibly cheaply but not for very long. MARKETS Since we focus on wealth preservation and in particular physical precious metals, we are neither concerned with paper assets nor with short term moves. But since 99% of financial investments are in paper assets with a short horizon, these investors should really be concerned with protecting their fake paper wealth. As I have tweeted recently, stocks are about to start a devastating fall and are not the right place to be. But sadly most investors will believe in yet another miracle with the Fed and other central banks saving them. These investors will be very sorry as the biggest wealth transfer in history is now starting. Gold will soon resume its strong uptrend and will be extremely important as wealth preservation insurance to protect against the coming economic and geopolitical storms. The consequence of the stock market crashing and gold surging can be seen in the Dow/Gold ratio below. In 1980 this ratio was 1 to 1 at Dow 850 and Gold $850. This ratio is likely to, at a minimum, reach the trend line on the chart which is 0.5. This means that the Dow (and other stock markets) will fall at least 75% against gold from current levels. What that involves in price we can only speculate about. It could be Dow 10,000 and Gold $20,000. Or it could be Dow 5,000 and Gold $10,000.  In my view, the ratio will be a lot lower than 0.5. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/05/2022 - 06:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 5th, 2022

18 wild details from "The Dropout," Hulu"s miniseries on Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos — and whether they really happened or not

Here's what's real, what's exaggerated, and what's just plain fake in "The Dropout," a Hulu miniseries about Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos saga. Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes (left) and the real Elizabeth Holmes (right).Beth Dubber/Hulu; Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images "The Dropout" chronicles the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and blood-testing company Theranos. The Hulu miniseries shows Theranos' deceptions to outsiders, Holmes' relationship with COO Ramesh Balwani, and more. Here's which parts of the show are rooted in reality and which are exaggerated or simply made up. Elizabeth Holmes' fraud trial ended with a conviction months ago, but the meteoric rise and fall of the Theranos CEO is still capturing plenty of attention elsewhere.Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout" (left); Elizabeth Holmes (right).Beth Dubber/Hulu; Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunchHulu miniseries "The Dropout" chronicles her journey building Theranos and the blood-testing company's spectacular demise. Some parts of the show are exaggerated or fake, but many others have roots in reality.Here are 18 wild scenes and details from "The Dropout" and how much they align with what really happened at the embattled startup.Holmes and Balwani did meet on a summer trip to Beijing through a Mandarin immersion program run by Stanford University.Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/Hulu"The entire department knew about her Chinese, her skills. When I first met her, I'm like, 'Oh, you must be the Elizabeth Holmes,'" Balwani recalled in a 2017 deposition to the SEC obtained by ABC News.At the time they met in 2002, Holmes was 18 years old, and Balwani was 37.It's also true that Holmes didn't always envision Theranos would make blood-testing machines.Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/HuluHolmes' first patent application was for a patch that could simultaneously diagnose its wearer and deliver the appropriate drug.As in the series, Theranos got its name from this particular combination of purposes: "Therapy" and "Diagnosis" fused to become "Theranos."In the show, Holmes has a close call with a stray bullet shortly after moving into the new office in east Palo Alto, and the scare prompts her to contact Balwani despite previously saying she wanted no further contact with him.Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews in "The Dropout."HuluBack in the office, Balwani consoles Holmes and tells her, "You can't push me away again. I'm going to protect you."While this provides an intense ending to the first episode, there's no corroboration this incident actually happened.And yes, Theranos really did fake its demo for pharmaceutical giant Novartis in Switzerland in 2006.Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/HuluAs depicted in the show, a device malfunctioned when they were in Switzerland and the Theranos crew stayed up all night to try to fix it.When it came time for the demo the next morning and it still wasn't fixed, they had a recorded test result beamed over from California that they presented as a real-time test result, according to former Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou's book, "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup." Carreyrou would go on to lift the lid on Theranos' many deceptions many years later in an investigation that kickstarted the company's public demise.Holmes and Balwani did keep their romantic relationship a secret from Theranos board members, investors, and press for many years.Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews in "The Dropout."Michael Desmond/HuluIn the show, we see Theranos' chief scientist, Ian Gibbons, ask who Balwani is when he shows up one day at the office, and Holmes responds that Balwani is a friend. Later on, when Balwani arrives unannounced at the lab while Holmes is away in Nashville for the Pfizer trial, he describes himself as an "unofficial consultant."It's unclear how Balwani may have been introduced to Theranos staffers, but like everyone else involved with the company, employees were also out of the loop about his relationship with Holmes.The show also zeroes in on one aspect of the Theranos saga that has captured a lot of public attention: Holmes' baritone.Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/HuluIn the show, we see Holmes trying out a lower register for the first time after returning from the Pfizer study in Nashville.In reality, many people, including Carreyrou, think she faked her unusually deep voice, perhaps to be taken seriously as a female CEO in male-dominated Silicon Valley.In her fraud trial several months ago, Holmes spoke in her signature baritone while testifying.To this day, it's still unclear if Holmes was putting on a front with her voice all this time or if her voice is naturally that low.True to life, the Theranos board came very close to replacing Holmes as CEO at one point.The Board confronts Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried).HuluIn 2008, board members wanted to bring on a more experienced CEO, but Holmes managed to convince them to let her stay by offering to bring on Balwani, whom she said would help the company get closer to reaching its goals.She sweetens the pot by adding that Balwani has offered to pour $20 million into Theranos. This is slightly exaggerated; in reality, Balwani gave Theranos a personal loan of between $12 and $14 million, according to the "Bad Blood" podcast.In the series, Walgreens executives ask a man named Kevin Hunter to scope out Theranos' lab to make sure things are up to par before they sign any deal with the company. In one scene, Hunter examines some of Theranos' literature, reading, "Theranos has been thoroughly validated over the last seven years by a majority of the largest pharmaceutical companies." This is a bit of both reality and fiction.Rich Sommer in "The Dropout."HuluIn Holmes' trial, jurors saw a 2010 presentation she showed to Walgreens' then-chief financial officer Wade Miquelon. Similar to the show, it read, "Theranos systems have been comprehensively validated over the course of the last seven years by ten of the fifteen largest pharmaceutical companies."In reality, many investors and partners believed Theranos' technology had been validated by major pharmaceutical companies, even though this was not the case. This owed partly to the fact that Holmes put the logos of industry giants Pfizer and Schering-Plough on validation reports.In her trial, Holmes testified that she slapped on the logos because "this work was done in partnership with those companies and I was trying to convey that," according to NPR.Theranos did, in fact, use modified third-party machines from companies like Siemens instead of the proprietary Edison machine.Theranos whistleblowers Erika Cheung (played by Camryn Mi-young Kim and pictured at left) and Tyler Shultz (played by Dylan Minnette and pictured second from left) were instrumental in bringing Theranos' lab issues to light.Michael Desmond/HuluTheranos' principal selling point was the Edison machine, which the company said could conduct hundreds of blood tests using just one drop of blood. But behind closed doors, the company was actually making modifications to existing machines on the market and using those to run tests instead.Holmes' reaction to Ian Gibbons' death really was that cruel.Stephen Fry plays Dr. Ian Gibbons in Hulu's "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/Hulu; Ian GibbonsAs shown in the series, Holmes' reaction to the tragic suicide of Theranos chief scientist Ian Gibbons was deeply unfeeling. When his widow, Rochelle Gibbons, called to inform Theranos, "the secretary was devastated and offered her sincere condolences" but Holmes herself did not call to offer condolences.As recounted by Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton, "A few hours later, rather than a condolence message from Holmes, Rochelle instead received a phone call from someone at Theranos demanding that she immediately return any and all confidential Theranos property."Holmes' terrifying birthday party actually took place in real life.Sam Waterston in "The Dropout."Michael Desmond/HuluAs depicted in "The Dropout," Holmes' birthday party was a strange celebration of the Theranos founder's ego. The show's creator, Elizabeth Meriwether, confirms that the masks of Holmes' face worn by guests were real.Additionally, Dylan Minnette confirmed that Tyler Shultz really did write and perform a song for Holmes at her party. There's no indication whether Holmes forced him to do so after discovering his misgivings about Theranos, and this is almost certainly dramatic license.The legal side of "The Dropout" is more fictionalized.Michaela Watkins and Dylan Minnette in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/HuluLinda Tanner, played by Michaela Watkins, is a fabricated character, a composite of various Theranos lawyers.She didn't really accost Tyler at a home owned by his grandfather, former US Secretary of State George Shultz. However, Shultz has said he once had a conversation with his grandfather before the senior Shultz later revealed two lawyers were upstairs listening in on their discussion. Tanner's encounter with Tyler in the series was clearly inspired by that real encounter.Elizabeth Holmes really did meet Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.Elizabeth Holmes and Joe Biden.Diana Mulvill for TheranosWhile it seems unlikely given the extent of Holmes' scandal and now-disgraced reputation, she did publicly appear with former President Bill Clinton and then-Vice President Joe Biden at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in 2015."Don't worry about the future, we're in good hands," Clinton said at the time.Likewise, Biden once described Theranos as "the laboratory of the future."After visiting Theranos' headquarters in 2015, where he met with Holmes, Biden said, "Talk about being inspired. This is inspiration. It is amazing to me, Elizabeth, what you've been able to do." It's not clear if Phyllis Gardner and Elizabeth Holmes ever reunited after Holmes' time at Stanford.Laurie Metcalf and Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/Hulu"The Dropout" makes it clear from the get-go that Holmes does not have an ally in Phyllis Gardner. The Stanford professor was one of the first people to doubt Holmes' credentials and products, dismissing Holmes' patch idea when she was a 19-year-old student at the university.Gardner and Holmes crossed paths once again when the Theranos CEO was invited to join the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows in 2015. But there's no evidence that the pair met again in an unofficial capacity, so their confrontation at a bar in the penultimate episode of the show was almost certainly fabricated.However, former dean Jeffrey Flier said that he made a point of "introducing" Holmes to the board so it's feasible that Gardner and Holmes crossed paths once again.Tyler Shultz's relationship with his grandfather was permanently affected by the Theranos scandal.Dylan Minnette as Tyler Shultz in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/Hulu"The Dropout" explores the fallout of Theranos' implosion on dozens of people affected by Holmes' actions. The rift between Tyler Shultz and his grandfather was deep, and the senior Shultz never apologized to his grandson. "That was extremely tough," Shultz told "CBS Mornings" earlier this year. "This whole saga has taken a financial, emotional, and social toll on my relationships. The toll it took on my grandfather's relationship was probably the worst. It is tough to explain. I had a few very honest conversations with him."Holmes said "I don't know" over 600 times in her deposition.Amanda Seyfried in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/Hulu"The Dropout" amusingly draws attention to Holmes' repeated inability to recall key details of her time at Theranos. She is frequently seen saying, "I don't specifically remember," "I don't remember, "I can't recall," and "I don't recall."This has a strong basis in reality.During Holmes' SEC deposition, she said the words "I don't know" more than 600 times over a three-day period, according to ABC News.The breakdown of Balwani and Holmes' relationship wasn't made public.Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes and Naveen Andrews as Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani in "The Dropout."Beth Dubber/HuluAmid Theranos' legal scandals, the conclusion of Holmes' relationship with Balwani more or less coincided with the company's downfall, as they broke up around the time Balwani departed Theranos in mid-2016.However, given that the couple kept their relationship under wraps for many years, it's difficult to know how accurately the show portrays their private conversations. That Balwani told Holmes, "I invented you inside my head, you're not real," seems somewhat dramatized but text messages between the pair that emerged during Holmes' trial have shown Balwani speak critically to Holmes on several occasions.Holmes has testified that Balwani abused her, saying he told her on several occasions that she needed to "become a new Elizabeth" in order to succeed in business. Balwani's attorneys have denied the allegations.Holmes actually bought a Siberian husky as Theranos collapsed.Not Holmes' actual dog.Kateryna Orlova/ShutterstockAs Theranos neared its demise, Holmes purchased a Siberian husky named Balto which she hoped would buoy spirits. Balto was named after a real-life Siberian husky which delivered a diphtheria antitoxin to a remote Alaskan town in 1925. However, Balto was untrained and frequently urinated and defecated in different rooms around the Theranos headquarters."While Holmes held board meetings, Balto could be found in the corner of the room relieving himself while a frenzied assistant was left to clean up the mess," wrote Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton. He also said that buying Balto "seemed to help fortify" Holmes' image as "an iconoclastic weirdo."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Rabobank: You Just Saw History Being Made

Rabobank: You Just Saw History Being Made By Michael Every of Rabobank I have repeatedly stressed how ridiculous it is to look at US jobs data when they are just estimates of the small monthly delta of a very large number strained through an algorithm and seasonal adjustments. The ADP report saw a shock fall in jobs, then non-farm payrolls --whose methodology the ADP uses!-- saw a shock surge. Yet the adjustment was far larger than normal despite more unadjusted jobs lost as the Great Resignation continues and the working week shrinking. Worse, there were vast backward revisions for years. The million jobs created last summer now happened this winter. Economic history was just rewritten – and we are supposed to take it seriously. Regardless, a Fed policy error is now baked in…unless what went up in January comes down equally stupidly in February right before the FOMC has to pull the trigger pointed at its own head. Yet how can they not when ultra-easy fiscal and monetary policy, against a backdrop of supply chains now offshore (because “it’s cheaper”), or dominated by oligopolies or monopolies (because “it’s cheaper”), ends up with everything being more expensive? The market response, based on the yield surge we are seeing so far, is going to be very messy. Bloomberg jumped the gun(s) Friday with a headline saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had started. Not yet. However, we still have an escalating military build-up. The US variously claims war could start as soon as today(!) and would see up to 50,000 Ukrainian casualties vs. just 4,000 soldiers for Russia, and 5 million refugees fleeing to the EU: Kyiv would fall in 72 hours. The US also believes Russia will hold a nuclear drill to coincide with an invasion to warn the world not to intervene: but some, like the Ukrainian government, are more upbeat; and some believe the US is only saying this to pressure Ukraine into surrendering – as more US troops arrive in the EU. Germany’s Bild has even wilder claims that Russia plans to invade, rig a referendum, and absorb Ukraine – with internment camps for any resistance. This is hard for markets to believe: camps in eastern Europe - when has that ever happened? Yet China’s Olympics, where a Dutch journalist was dragged off air on live TV, had a Uyghur light its Olympic flame, which as the NBC anchor stated live is “quite provocative. It is a statement from the Chinese president, Xi Jinping… It is an in-your-face response to Western nations, including the US, who have called the Chinese treatment of that group genocide.” It also demonstrates Western markets and businesses don’t respond to such allegations after the fact, let alone before. And when they do get involved, it is to point fingers at the West. Ben & Jerrys tweeted: “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. We call on President Biden to de-escalate tensions and work for peace rather than prepare for war. Sending thousands more US troops to Europe in response to Russia’s threats against Ukraine only fans the flame of war.” There are no Vegetius fats in their products, and on-line responses are that their newest flavour is “appease-mint”, now with “added Neville Chamberlain”. In short, don’t look to the hobby horse cavalry of Western businesses/markets to react unilaterally even if we were to see internment camps. ‘Market forces’ don’t work when morality costs money rather than making it. Realpolitik rules. Which is why Russia and China announced an historic “no limits” alliance: politics, military, economics, trade (with a new 30-year deal for gas delivery, and Russia allowing all its regions to export grain to China for the first time), tech, space, and finance (to work around US sanctions) aimed at a new world order. China hence backs Russia’s security demands that NATO must be rolled back, and Russia is supporting China over Taiwan. The US now faces a two-front military challenge from an economic alliance loaded with arms and resources across two claimed ‘spheres of influence’: Europe/the Caucuses, and Asia-Pacific. It will need far more support in both, e.g., Russia is already now able to send troops from the Chinese border to Ukraine. Pointedly, the US National Security Advisor has already said that China would “end up owning some of the costs” if Russia invades Ukraine. For those who like to ignore guns to others’ heads, also note the official Russian statement deliberately subverts the West in saying: “…democracy is a universal human value, rather than a privilege of a limited number of States, and…its promotion and protection is a common responsibility of the entire world community... A nation can choose such forms and methods of implementing democracy that would best suit its particular state, based on its social and political system, its historical background, traditions and unique cultural characteristics. It is only up to the people of the country to decide whether their State is a democratic one…Russia and China as world powers with rich cultural and historical heritage have long-standing traditions of democracy, which rely on 1,000 years of experience of development, broad popular support and consideration of the needs and interests of citizens.” So, both are now democracies, while the elitist West says it needs multiparty elections, the rule of law, press freedom, and not poisoning the opposition. That new claim --and Mother-Russia-and-apple-pie stuff about peace, cooperation, growth, and the UN-- is to sell the alliance to the world and to Western markets/businesses. Indeed, Wall Street’s logical thought progression is likely to be: 20 years ago: Keep investing there and they will become like us! 5 years ago: Keep investing there though they haven’t because we don’t believe Cold Wars! This year: Keep investing there because if we don’t we might see a hot war! And, given the relative scale of the two camps and the single-minded determination of one’s state-business nexus vs. the vacillation of the other’s, one could also add: 5 years from now: Keep investing there because we have become more like them! As I warned back in 2017, we are in a Cold War: this time between liberal(ish) democratic oligarchic financial capitalism with asset bubbles, and authoritarian “democratic” oligarchic state-capitalism with asset bubbles. Perhaps that lowest common denominator is why Wall Street does not see this will bite them. Yet bite them it will – or the concept and geography of ‘Western’ will not mean much long term/in as many places. The US is already trying to decouple in fits and start, and this will only speed up; Sweden is reopening a Cold War anti-Russian fake news unit; and Der Spiegel reports Germany will now designate China as a “systemic rival” rather than competitor. Yes, Western firms will say: “We need a foot in both camps.” But that was where they needed to be five years ago when all we had was a trade war. In a Cold War, playing both sides won’t play well with politicians if firms’ profits/vulnerabilities mean losses for ‘The West’. In a hot war, things will be far worse. And if we see the camps Bild is talking about, even more so and even faster. Yes, Wall Street will say: “Yummy, appease-mint!” Yet a Cold War means some capital controls will come in, and capital won’t. In a hot war, things will be far worse. And if we see the camps Bild is talking about, even more so and even faster. Or maybe the West will see the rift instead. French President Macron goes to Moscow to talk to Putin again today, saying in advance that: he is optimistic he can secure a de-escalation; Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine, but wants to “reforge” relations with NATO; and while “The security and sovereignty of Ukraine or any other European state cannot be a subject for compromise, it also legitimate for Russia to pose the question of its own security… We must protect our European brothers by proposing a new balance capable of preserving their sovereignty and peace. This must be done while respecting Russia and understanding the contemporary traumas of this great people and nation.” What new balance? Does Macron think he can somehow flip Russia’s geostrategy (despite valid questions over how the two new friends really trust each other)? How much of Europe’s current security framework is he offering to de-escalate to try? As Romania asks for US F-35s, which NATO members will have to disarm? Munich, Yalta, and Potsdam will spring to said NATO members’ minds as they watch their security debated over their heads, just as the EU recently saw its debated just between Russia and the US. We are in the crazy position now where, even against the backdrop of currently volatile markets, and flapping central banks, it may be easier to predict what the long-run cost of borrowing and key FX rates in Europe will be than which political geographies will be party to them! Years ago, I argued history showed the unsustainable nature of Western capital funding a rival bloc’s military development while China and Russia sell their output to the West for dollars that are recycled to finance the US military. The unhappy breakdown of that contemporary echo of the pre-1914 UK-German dynamic should now be abundantly clear, even to the most somnolent and solipsistic. Future historians will look back at the recent announcement of a Russian-Chinese alliance as a 21st century turning point. Markets would be wise to do the same, even as they focus on what is likely to be an historic policy error by central banks. Tyler Durden Mon, 02/07/2022 - 09:22.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 7th, 2022

Can You Hear It? That’s the Crowd Booing Gold’s Downturn

Even though the technicals have been predicting this for several months, people were still taken aback by gold’s fall — that’s why they are booing. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more While the precious metals received a round of applause for their performances in October, I warned on several occasions that the celebration […] Even though the technicals have been predicting this for several months, people were still taken aback by gold’s fall — that’s why they are booing. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton 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 While the precious metals received a round of applause for their performances in October, I warned on several occasions that the celebration was premature. And with gold, silver, and mining stocks resuming their 2021 downtrends, investors’ cheers have turned into jeers in short order. The GDX ETF Could Rally To $35 To explain, I warned previously that the GDX ETF could rally to or slightly above $35 (the senior miners reached this level intraday on Nov. 12, moving one cent above it). However, with the GDX ETF’s RSI (Relative Strength Index) signaling overbought conditions, I highlighted just how quickly the air often comes out of the balloon. For context, the blue vertical dashed lines below depict the sharp reversals that followed after the GDX ETF’s RSI approached or superseded 70. Why am I telling you this? To emphasize that what happened recently was neither random nor accidental. What you see is a true, short-term top that formed in tune with previous patterns. You also see a fake inverse head-and-shoulders formation that was invalidated. This means that the implications of what happened really are bearish. Let’s check why and how, in tune with the past patterns, the previous broad top really was. Please see below: The GDX ETF rallied on huge volume on Nov. 11 and there were only 4 cases in the recent past when we saw something like that after a visible short-term rally. In EACH of those 4 cases, GDX was after a sharp daily rally. In EACH of those 4 cases, GDX-based RSI indicator (upper part of the chart above) was trading close to 70. The rallies that immediately preceded these 4 cases: The July 27, 2020 session was immediately preceded by a 29-trading-day rally that took the GDX about 42% higher. It was 7 trading days before the final top (about 24% of time). The November 5, 2020 session was immediately preceded by a 5-trading-day rally that took the GDX about 14%-15% higher (the high-volume day / the top). It was 1 trading day before the final top (20% of time). The January 4, 2021 session was immediately preceded by a 26-trading-day rally that took the GDX about 17%-18% higher (the high-volume day / the top). It was 1 trading day before the final top (about 4% of time). The May 17, 2021 session was immediately preceded by a 52-trading-day rally that took the GDX about 30% higher. It was 7 trading days before the final top (about 13% of time). So, as you can see these sessions have even more in common than it seemed at the first sight. The sessions formed soon before the final tops (4% - 24% of time of the preceding rally before the final top), but the prices didn’t move much higher compared to how much they had already rallied before the high-volume sessions. Consequently, since history tends to rhyme, it would have been only natural for one to expect the GDX ETF to move a bit higher here (but not significantly so) and for one to assume that this move higher would take between additional 0 to 7 trading days (based on the Nov. 12 session). That’s what is wrote to my subscribers – to expect this kind of performance. The final top formed on Nov. 16 - 4 trading days after the huge-volume session, practically right in the middle of the expected 0-7 trading day range. Moreover, since the GDX topped very close to its 38.2% Fibonacci retracement, it seems that miners corrected “enough” for another huge downswing to materialize. Having said that, let’s move on to more recent developments. Gold Price Declines Gold price declined heavily recently and the same goes for the silver price. What’s more, the proxy for junior mining stocks - the GDXJ ETF (our short position) materially underperformed on Nov. 26 – after it declined by nearly 3x the percentage of the GDX ETF – and, in my opinion, more downside is likely to materialize over the medium term. The GDXJ ETF ended the Nov. 26 session slightly below its 50-day moving average, and the milestone is often a precursor to sharp drawdowns. That’s what happened in late February 2020 and also in mid-June 2021. Big declines followed in both cases. Moreover, with the S&P 500’s weakness on Nov. 26 mirroring the onslaught that unfolded in early 2020, the GDXJ ETF’s underperformance follows a familiar script. As a result, another ‘flash crash’ for the pair may unfold once again. Keep in mind, though: while asset prices often don’t move in a straight line, a bullish pause may ensue if/once gold reaches its previous lows. All in all, though, lower lows should confront the GDXJ ETF over the short term and my $35 price target remains up to date. As a reminder, that’s only an interim target, analogous to the late-Feb. 2020 low. Interestingly, it is the February 2020 low along with its late-March 2020 high that created this target. Also, the GDXJ/GDX ratio is falling once again. And with the price action implying that the GDXJ ETF is underperforming the GDX ETF, a drop below 1 isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. In fact, it’s quite likely. As such, this is why I’m shorting the junior mining stocks. For context, I think that gold, silver and the GDX ETF are all ripe for sharp re-ratings over the medium term. However, I think that the GDXJ ETF offers the best risk-reward proposition due to its propensity to materially underperform during bear markets in the general stock market. Finally, the HUI Index/gold ratio is also eliciting bearish signals. For example, I marked (with the shaded red boxes below) just how similar the current price action is to 2013. And back then, after a sharp decline was followed by a small corrective upswing before the plunge, the ratio’s current behavior mirrors its historical counterpart. What’s more, the end of the corrective upswing in 2013 occurred right before gold sunk to its previous lows (marked with red vertical dashed lines in the middle of the chart below). Thus, the ratio is already sending ominous warnings about the PMs’ future path. In addition, with the S&P 500 acting as the bearish canary in the coal mine, the ratio plunged in 2008 and 2020 when the general stock market tanked. Thus, if a similar event unfolds this time around, the gold miners’ sell-off could occur at a rapid pace. For more context, I wrote previously: A major breakdown occurred after the HUI Index/gold ratio sunk below its rising support line (the upward sloping black line on the right side of the chart above). Moreover, with the bearish milestone only achieved prior to gold’s crash in 2012-2013, the ratio’s breakdown in 2013 was the last chance to short the yellow metal at favorable prices. And while I’ve been warning about the ratio’s potential breakdown for weeks, the majority of precious metals investors are unaware of the metric and its implications. As a result, investors’ propensity to ‘buy the dip’ in gold will likely backfire over the medium term. Conclusion In conclusion, the crowd has turned on the precious metals, and the narrative has shifted once again. However, despite all of the drama and the volatility that came with it, the technicals have been predicting this outcome for several months. And with the GDXJ ETF down by more than 20% YTD (as of the Nov. 26 close), the junior miners’ 2021 performance is far from critically-acclaimed. As a result, the chorus of boos will likely continue over the short- and/or medium term. Thank you for reading our free analysis today. Please note that the above is just a small fraction of today’s all-encompassing Gold & Silver Trading Alert. The latter includes multiple premium details such as the targets for gold and mining stocks that could be reached in the next few weeks. If you’d like to read those premium details, we have good news for you. As soon as you sign up for our free gold newsletter, you’ll get a free 7-day no-obligation trial access to our premium Gold & Silver Trading Alerts. It’s really free – sign up today. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA Founder, Editor-in-chief Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care All essays, research and information found above represent analyses and opinions of Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and Sunshine Profits' associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. Opinions and analyses are based on data available to authors of respective essays at the time of writing. Although the information provided above is based on careful research and sources that are deemed to be accurate, Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA and his associates do not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. The opinions published above are neither an offer nor a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities. Mr. Radomski is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Przemyslaw Radomski's, CFA reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading and speculation in any financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA, Sunshine Profits' employees and affiliates as well as members of their families may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice. 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Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 29th, 2021

Jim Quinn: Fear Of Our Escalating Power Is Leading Elites To Increasingly Reckless Directives

Jim Quinn: Fear Of Our Escalating Power Is Leading Elites To Increasingly Reckless Directives Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, The Wall Was Too High, As You Can See Hey you, out there in the cold Getting lonely, getting old Can you feel me? Hey you, standing in the aisles With itchy feet and fading smiles Can you feel me? Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light Don’t give in without a fight Pink Floyd – Hey You I wrote an article in December 2012, a week after the Newtown school shooting, called Hey You. My interpretation of this classic Pink Floyd song was related to how our culture has created generations of alienated and isolated people, allowing Big Pharma to peddle their pharmaceutical concoctions to the masses as the “easy” solution to living “normally” in a profoundly abnormal society. My contention was these mass shootings by young men (Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Tucson) were caused by the Big Pharma psychotropic drugs prescribed to all these young killers by sick industry peddlers (aka physicians). The hugely profitable Big Pharma solution to alienation, isolation and depression is drugs that turn a percentage of those afflicted into psychotic killers. The article’s premise was how our techno-narcissistic society, encouraged and enabled by our totalitarian overlords through mind manipulation, drugs, public education indoctrination, and propaganda, has purposely created the alienation, isolation, and hopelessness to further their goals of power, control, and wealth. When it comes to dystopian literature, there is always a clash between Huxley’s softer totalitarianism versus Orwell’s boot on your face tyranny when assessing how our governments enforce their dictates upon their subjects. The Wall certainly has an Orwellian bent, as it explores the issues of abandonment, isolation, alienation, authoritarianism, the brutality of war, a tyrannical conformist educational system, and the walls individuals and society build to protect themselves from having to confront reality and deal with the consequences of their actions. Once alienated from society, having built a wall between yourself and the outside world, attempting to reengage with society can be almost impossible, as the wall becomes too high, and no one can hear your pleas. Sometimes, there is no escape. The opening lyrics are haunting to me. I have felt like I’ve been out in the cold since the outset of this pandemic of herd madness in March 2020. I’ve gotten older and feel older. While family, friends, and coworkers have been drawn into this vortex of falsity, I feel like I am standing alone behind walls constructed by the government, the media, and society in general. It’s lonely when you chose to make a stand against the lies being peddled 24/7 by corrupt politicians, fake news pundits, faux medical “experts” bought off by Big Pharma, mega-corporations, and Hollywood propagandists playing their parts. These demonic forces have tried to bury the light of truth under an avalanche of lies. I’m unsure of their true purpose, but I am sure it will not be beneficial to me, my family or the honest hard-working people trying to survive this dystopian nightmare. Most days it feels like the evil forces arrayed against me and other lovers of liberty and freedom have the upper hand and cannot be defeated. I do feel isolated and alienated from the majority, as they have been psychologically manipulated to obey their masters, as their double vaccine dose, now requires a booster after six months, and will require annual boosters for eternity. They will unquestioningly submit, without ever using their critical thinking skills to grasp these are not real vaccines and do not work. I will not give in to their mass psychosis. Since I was relating the song to the Big Pharma drug induced mass shootings, my 2012 article gravitated towards Huxley’s view of totalitarianism, as he believed our overlords would use pharmaceuticals, conditioning, and mind control to achieve their evil means. “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World “And always, everywhere, there would be the yelling or quietly authoritative hypnotists; and in the train of the ruling suggestion givers, always everywhere, the tribes of buffoons and hucksters, the professional liars, the purveyors of entertaining irrelevances. Conditioned from the cradle, unceasingly distracted, mesmerized systematically, their uniformed victims would go on obediently marching and countermarching, go on, always and everywhere, killing and dying with the perfect docility of trained poodles.” –  Aldous Huxley My dire view of our future was just as grim nine years ago as it is today. My belief was the alienation and isolation created by our sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government controlled, debt financed society had spread like a cancerous tumor, slowly killing our country. As with most of my early articles I gravitated towards our dire fiscal situation and how it was surely unsustainable. My example was: Since 1979, Total Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to $55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. It had gone up $51 trillion in 33 years. Well guess what? It now stands at $85 trillion, up another $30 trillion in 9 years, with no deceleration in sight. Since I wrote that 2012 article, the national debt went from $16 trillion to $29 trillion (up 81%), GDP went from $16 trillion to $23 trillion (up 44%), the Dow went from 13,000 to 36,000 (up 177%), and consumer debt went from $2.9 trillion to $4.4 trillion (up 52%). As usual, the plebs went further into debt, while their overlords saw their trillions in stock holdings almost triple in nine years. I thought the debt growth was unsustainable, but the Fed said hold my beer. Their debt creation orgy accelerates by the minute, with real inflation (as opposed to the fake BLS bullshit) running in excess of 10% hitting average Americans, while the Wall Street oligarchs get richer by the second. Even using the BLS bullshit inflation figures, the USD has lost 17% of its purchasing power since 2012, again screwing the little guy. The USD has lost 96.4% of its purchasing power since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. So much for meeting their “mandate” of stable prices. Do you get it yet? The Fed’s job is to enrich their owners (bankers & billionaire oligarchs) while enslaving you in debt and making sure your meager wages buy less and less each year. This is where the “You Will Own Nothing and Be Happy” slogan begins to make sense. The Build Back Better slogan, created by Schwab and his Davos co-conspirators, really refers to building a better wall around the plebs so they remain isolated, alienated and under control. Roger Waters has explained the song Hey You was also an exhortation to make connections with people, help each other, and overcome the alienation and isolation created by those pulling the strings of our societal dystopia. When I heard the song on the radio the other day, my take on the lyrics is now colored by the last two years of this engineered, weaponized, marketed Covid pandemic. The alienation and isolation have not been a choice of individuals, but a mandate from our authoritarian overlords. The wall is being built by those who want to destroy our existing structural paradigm and replace it with something they consider better, but which will be far worse for liberty and freedom minded individuals. A more Orwellian dystopia is being ushered in by Soros, Gates, Schwab and their chief lieutenants Biden, Pelosi, Fauci, Powell, along with the other highly paid apparatchiks in government, media, medical industrial complex, and military industrial complex. We were already in the death throes of the most dysfunctional, decadent, delusional, debt engendered era in the long history of mankind. Their debt saturated “solutions” from 2008 through 2019 reflected an air of desperation. Those in power realized their stranglehold on the narrative was slipping away and were in danger of seeing a sudden decline in their wealth and control over the masses. Rather than accept their slightly less profitable fate like normal human beings, these psychopaths have doubled down by using a relatively non-serious flu for anyone under 85 years old and not morbidly obese, to try and implement a new world order, where they continue to reap all the benefits and the masses incur the pain, suffering and death. The diabolical aspects of this evil undertaking are almost too outrageous to believe. They have redoubled their propaganda endeavors in order to convince the ignorant masses to willingly love their servitude. But it was only fantasy The wall was too high As you can see No matter how he tried He could not break free And the worms ate into his brain Pink Floyd – Hey You In today’s circumstances those lyrics reflect this fantasy/nightmare of Covid being used as the justification to destroy our economic system, drive hundreds of thousands of small businesses into bankruptcy, locking people in their homes for months, mandating useless masks as a dehumanization and fear tactic, mandating the injection of an experimental gene therapy into our bodies as a requirement to make a living, and using a bottomless supply of lies and media propaganda to convince an already dumbed down populace to beg for increased levels of servitude to those who haven’t been right about one thing since this scamdemic was launched. As others have noted, this hasn’t been a pandemic, it’s been an IQ test. And as a society we’ve scored low enough to be put on the short bus to the school for the slow-witted. The global oligarchs began constructing our wall, but millions of willing collaborator Karens and Todds are gleefully adding bricks to that wall. I’ve been flabbergasted since the outset of this propagandized and highly marketed fearfest, over a strain of the annual flu, by the lack of critical thinking skills exhibited by average Americans and their inability to understand simple mathematical risk calculations when they are told blatant lies by the likes of Fauci, Walensky and a plethora of Big Pharma bribed “medical experts” paraded on the boob tube every day. They have let feelings, emotions, and false narratives guide their actions, rather than facts, data, and scientific proof. Everyone has the freedom to verify what they are being told and calculate for themselves the 99.7% overall survival rate and 99.999995% survival rate for those under 25 years old. But they have been psychologically compelled to not question the State or embrace their Constitutional freedom to dissent and not comply. They unquestioningly inject their children with these drugs when unequivocal evidence shows a much higher risk from the jab than from Covid. Huxley realized decades ago a weak-minded populace could be easily manipulated. We have now reached peak complicity, compliance and cowering to the national State and those pulling the strings of our government. “This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.” –  Aldous Huxley Huxley was not a big fan of technological “progress” as he just saw it as a more efficient means of going backwards. Those who believe technology is the answer to all of our problems are either insanely myopic or profiting from this fallacy. Technology has certainly contributed to allowing corporations to generate profits through efficiencies, marketing, logistics, and replacing human beings with computers and robots. Technology has also made it very efficient for the State to utilize propaganda, fear, and social indoctrination through electronic media to control the population and manipulate the narrative to suit their diabolic purposes. For the few who dissent from their commands, technology is used to sensor, de-platform, restrain, monitor, and destroy their lives, if necessary. Modern technology has a dual purpose, as an entertainment aphrodisiac, and an electronic boot stomping on your face forever. They want you distracted, amused, and consumed by trivialities, while they execute their wealth pillaging scheme and slowly build a technological wall which grows ever higher and impossible to escape. Consumption, diversion, and obedience is all they asked. Societal stability, in the eyes of the sociopath unseen rulers behind the curtain, is based upon state designed happiness, social indoctrination disguised as public education, endless war, fear-based propaganda, and the use of pharmaceuticals to alleviate dissent and wrong thinking. Normalcy, traditional families, community standards, hard work, thrift, self-responsibility, neighborly connections, faith, and self-governing are all antithetical to the societal breakdown required to implement the Great Reset. Therefore, these values are banned in the world we inhabit today. The best laid plans of the ruling class began to go awry in late 2019, as the gears of the financial system began to grind and fracture. The never-ending Trump coup was floundering under the weight of lies. Their wealth, power, and control were going to take a major hit. So, they decided to pull it. They had laid the groundwork for decades, creating generations trained to value material possessions, require instant gratification, shun critical thinking, let feelings guide their actions, believe debt acquired possessions constituted wealth, trust politicians are working in their best interests, and do whatever those deemed “experts” by the corporate media tell them to do. They have created tens of millions of mentally ill sheep who only appear normal because they fit in to this profoundly abnormal society, where they forfeited the thinking and decision making for their lives to people like Gates, Soros, Biden, Fauci and Zuckerberg, who despise them. Because of their government created neurosis and cowardly compliance, we are all victims, and the wall we must scale to escape gets higher by the day. “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” –  Aldous Huxley The walls erected within Roger Waters’ lyrics were figurative, referring to the isolation and alienation from society chosen by an individual (himself). My interpretation, based on what myself and many others are experiencing today, is more literal, with the isolation and alienation being created by government and their mentally ill, willfully ignorant advocates of lockdowns, masking, jabs, mandates, passports, quarantine camps, and coercion to command compliance. This entire pandemic scheme has been designed as a divide and conquer undertaking, with the purpose of implementing their Great Reset plan to own everything while the plebs own nothing and happily do as they are told. For those of us not willing to go along with their plan, they have alternate arrangements in store. We are in the midst of this struggle for the future of our country and the world. The Party has told you to reject unequivocal facts during this entire engineered psychological operation. They convinced the vast majority of the population to be terrorized by a virus with a 99.7% survival rate that only kills the very old and the very obese. They said it didn’t come from the Wuhan lab and wasn’t funded by Fauci. They convinced the masses masks worked when they knew they didn’t. They said a fifteen-day lockdown would slow the spread and end the pandemic. They said their vaccines would immunize you from catching Covid before they changed the definition of vaccines and told you it was always supposed to just reduce the symptoms. They have convinced a couple hundred million people to participate in an experiment as guinea pigs for an unproven untested gene therapy. They continue to proclaim vaccines work, even though they don’t, and of course get your booster, also because they don’t work. They refuse to acknowledge natural immunity to be far more effective and long-lasting than their jabs. No money to be made from natural immunity. They have censored and de-platformed anyone who showed proof ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine worked better than the vaccines. No money in subscribing either safe and effective treatment. They deny the vaccines have caused millions of adverse reactions and tens of thousands of deaths. They have instructed you to reject all of this evidence of their deceit and demonic designs to abscond with your wealth, freedoms, and liberties. As we enter Biden’s dark winter, you can sense the desperation of the Party/Deep State/Oligarchy as they employ more coercive and destructive tactics to force the non-compliant to obey and do as they are told. They are attempting to isolate and alienate those who refuse to submit to their clearly unlawful vaccine mandates by excluding them from society and threatening their livelihoods. The threats and intimidation have succeeded with a significant portion of the holdouts, but tens of millions are refusing to bend the knee. Many feel alone in their resistance to these totalitarian measures, as those in control of the narrative have painted a picture of only a small minority of conspiracy theorists rejecting their Great Reset authoritarian blueprint. The wall seems too high for many. The truth be told, their blueprint is growing stale, as they desperately attempt to strike fear into the masses with their latest variant of the month. The truth is they fear our opposition. They fear we will inspire more people to resist. They fear we will band together. They fear the truth, which is the backbone for our resistance. They fear we are heavily armed. They fear us realizing we are actually the majority. They fear they are starting to lose. Their fear of our escalating power is leading them to make increasingly reckless and drastic pronouncements and demands. The push back to their directives is gaining in intensity. They believe they can make the wall high enough to deter those who could foil their Great Reset scheme. The odds are in their favor because they control the politicians, media, corporations, and the minds of the indoctrinated sheep, but don’t tell me there’s no hope at all. We have truth, the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment, and millions of liberty-minded truculent partisans who will not bend to their will. We have no choice but to fight, using any means at our disposal. We realize we must stand together, because divided we will fall. Hey you, out there on the road Always doing what you’re told Can you help me? Hey you, out there beyond the wall Breaking bottles in the hall Can you help me? Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all Together we stand, divided we fall Pink Floyd – Hey You *  *  * The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 28th, 2021

COVID Is Over (If You Want It)

COVID Is Over (If You Want It) Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance The title of this blog post is, of course, an homage to the classic John Lennon Christmas song “Happy XMas (War is Over)”, which then spurred the popularity of the phrase “War is Over! (If You Want It)”. Despite my distaste for Yoko Ono (and John Lennon being one of my least favorite Beatles), the song is undeniably one of the greatest ever written, both musically and lyrically. Its chorus, including the background lyrics “war is over, if you want it”, sung by the Harlem Community Choir, deliver a goosebump-inducing message of peace at the time of year where so many people, of varying walks of life, celebrating any number of holidays, realign themselves with the magic of giving, the importance of family, the closeness of community and a sense of purpose about our short journey here on Earth. I caught myself by surprise a couple days ago when the first Christmas playlist I put on this year pumped out this song and I started to get a little emotional. It’s surprising, because while I’ve always enjoyed Christmas and the holidays, I never found Christmas music to be particularly moving. Rather, after suffering through years of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” being the number one song played on the bar jukebox where I used to work during all of November and December, I found it less to be about the spirit of giving and more to be a lobotomized cue for automatons to order a 16th glass of egg nog. And so, this week, I was trying to take personal inventory about what could have me feeling so moved during only the second week of November. I started thinking about it then, and finished thinking about it during a 3 hour drive I had this week - one of the rare times where I have silence and can hear myself think. I stumbled upon the idea that because Christmas last year broke from tradition for so many people (myself and my family included) and because this year it finally feels like some of the nation is breathing a true sigh of relief from Covid, that the 2021 holiday season could wind up being one where we embrace tradition yet again. This is akin to some actual Christmas magic.To me, it feels like the nation is on the verge of collectively exhaling after what can only be described as a physically arduous and psychologically burdensome 24 months. We’ve lost some family and friends, we’re all a couple years older, our perspectives have shifted - yet, if you’re reading this, you’re one of the billions of members of the human race relentlessly marching forward. Together, we have dealt with an assault on our senses for nearly two years and, this holiday season, it’s time to just let that shit go. Worse than the virus itself has been the continued incessant reminders to get vaccinated, two-faced mask requirements from hypocritical politicians, spurious and useless mandates and individuals and businesses who suffered personal or economic losses. The psychological toll from Covid easily rivals, if not surpasses, the physical toll we have paid. And why wouldn’t it be? Every day, the mainstream media brutalizes us with new sensationalist claims about how Covid is waiting around the corner with a gun, getting ready to shoot us in the face in our own homes if we do something as meaningless as use a one-way door labeled “Exit” to enter a building. And if the virus doesn’t shoot us (hyperbole), the government might (less hyperbole). Just ask Australia.What have we been rewarded with, as a nation - as a human race - for obeying all of these rules? We have been lied to and deceived at almost every instance possible. There have been deceptions about herd immunity, Dr. Fauci has lied willingly about whether or not he helped fund gain of function research, the media has lied about potentially efficacious Covid treatments, FDA staff have resigned in protest over pressure to approve boosters and the stocks of companies like Moderna have gone through the roof. Yesterday was another day that I woke up and watched the mainstream media narrative alternate between trying to scare the shit out of people and complete and total implosion. Almost one year to the day after President Biden said “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” the following headline made its way onto MSNBC. The article read: “What we’re starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who’ve been vaccinated but not boosted,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Tuesday in an interview. Surprise, surprise. The goalposts have been moved again. Oh, and look: vaccination status continues to be pushed as controversial. Yesterday there was unending coverage on ESPN over whether or not NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown was vaccinated or whether he faked his vaccination card. The allegations of Brown using a fake card were made by his former private chef, who said Brown owes him $10,000. To which, I replied: who honestly fucking cares? How is this news? Nobody in a stadium full of 40,000 football fans (or on the field tackling each other) honestly cares so much about this that it should be any news story. The virus is dangerous, but not that dangerous, and vaccines have been, and will continue to be, personal health decisions. Between headlines like these and another “impending doom” chryon (remember that idiocy from the CDC director?), we continue to be subject to an onslaught of media hysteria heading into the holiday season. To the average American just trying to do the right thing, these news items are yet another reason, in addition to skyrocketing inflation and just trying to survive in general while healthy, to wake up with your muscles tensed and your mind panicked. How much human capital are we wasting in this perpetual fight or flight state right now? How far have we overshot the response mark? How counterintuitive are our actions? How much is it eating at our quality of life? The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Covid is simply going to be unavoidable for most of us. It is everywhere, it’s going to be everywhere, and the sooner that one makes peace with that and accepts it, the quicker they can start to alleviate themselves of the psychosis they’ve been carrying around for two years months. Since about March 2020, I haven’t worried much about Covid. I’m in good shape and have continued most of my normal routine despite having Covid earlier this year. I was one of the lucky ones who had a fever for a couple of days, some flu like symptoms, and then just got on with my life. The worst part was losing my smell and taste for a while, but that eventually came back. I didn’t crow about my positive Covid test, I didn’t write about it on Twitter, I didn’t use it as a soapbox to tell people what to do with their lives, and I didn’t have a nervous breakdown. I just got on with my life. This holiday season, we can all do the same. It’s weird that I’m feeling a great sense of relief heading into the holiday season this year. I know I’m going to be around family. I know they are going to be slightly less stressed than they are were last year and – Covid or no Covid – I know I only have so many holiday seasons left. So, this year, I’ll be focusing 100% of my energy on making this one special, and one to remember. By all means, if you are immuno-compromised or elderly, or have people with comorbidities in your family – take precautions. Protect those that you love. Realistically, you may not be able to completely ignore Covid this holiday season , but there’s a high chance that you owe it to yourself to try and exhale and enjoy your holidays as close to “normally” as you can. Many people might even be able to turn their brains off to Covid completely, like millions across the nation have already done. The least you can do, even if you are taking precautions with your family, is turn off the television and stop bludgeoning yourself with the media. It has been nothing but a combination of deception, hysteria and and sensationalism. None of those things belong at your peaceful holiday dinner table. Take that deep breath now, then exhale. Covid is over (if you want it). *  *  * This was a free look at paid subscriber content from QTR's Fringe Finance. If you enjoy and want to support my work, I'd love to have you as a subscriber. Zerohedge readers get 10% off a subscription for life by using this link. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/19/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 19th, 2021

The 8 best artificial Christmas trees for every home — from a tiny tabletop Tannenbaum to a stunning flocked spruce

An artificial Christmas tree saves you money and the hassle of dealing with a live tree. Here are the most realistic fake trees you can buy. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Puelo International/Facebook Artificial Christmas trees have come a long way and look more like the real thing than ever. Realistic and quality fake trees are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles. To complete the look of your Christmas tree, check out our guide to the best tree decorations. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyGrabbing the artificial tree box from the basement will never equal the nostalgic thrill of chopping your own from a snowy field. However, it sure beats the never ending mess of pine needles and the chore of watering a half-living tree in your living room every day.Even better, the artificial holiday trees of today aren't the aluminum monsters of the past. Many are made of high-quality combinations of PVC, polyethylene, and sometimes vinyl. You have to get up close and take a whiff before you realize they're not from a tree farm.After researching faux trees and assessing them for cost, convenience, beauty, and realism, we've found the best artificial trees you can buy this holiday season.Here are the best artificial Christmas trees in 2021A classic faux blue spruceBalsam HillThe Balsam Hill Classic Blue Spruce Tree looks so real, you'll have to look twice to realize it's manufactured.The realistic color of the Balsam Hill Classic Blue Spruce is a major selling point. The shade is a very natural-looking deep green that will remind you of an authentic winter wonderland.The set-up is quick and easy so that anyone should be able to do it themselves in less than an hour. In addition to the tree itself, you'll also get a storage bag and two pairs of white gloves to aid in your branch-fluffing efforts.This highly rated tree is available in multiple sizes, ranging from 4.5 to 9 feet tall, and can be purchased with or without built-in clear LED lights. The only remaining problem is the lack of that beloved pine scent. But tree-scented candles and aromatherapy oils are getting more realistic, too. Problem solved.Classic Blue Spruce Artificial Tree (7 Feet) (button)A towering 10-foot artificial firNational Tree CompanyThe 10-foot Pre-lit Dunhill Fir Tree by National Tree is the ideal artificial tree for people with high ceilings who want to impress guests.If you want your living room to look like the grand ballroom in The Nutcracker Ballet, then National Tree's 10-foot pre-lit Dunhill Fir Tree is your pick.This particular tree comes pre-lit with 1,500 perfectly spaced clear lights, so there's no fiddling with tangled strands or burnt-out bulbs — if one burns out, the others will stay lit. The metal stand is also included, so just add a tree skirt, your family's own traditional ornaments, a topper, and you're set for Santa.This tree is rather difficult to put up but looks amazing once it's done. So that's something to consider if you're planning to set it up by yourself. But two people should be able to set it up perfectly well with a bit of time and patience. Besides, at 10-feet tall, you can expect a little assembly time for any tree.A pre-lit Fraser fir pencil Christmas treeAmazonThe Puleo International Pre-Lit Fraser Fir Pencil Artificial Christmas Tree is thin and tall, so it won't take up a lot of space. For minimalists who want to get the most convenience out of a faux Christmas tree, this pre-lit pencil fir tree from Puleo International is a great option. This high-quality tree comes with white lights wrapped around the trunk and branches for a hassle-free setup. The Fraser fir's narrow pencil shape looks sharp and elegant. This is an ideal tree for those with high ceilings but who live in a small space. Plus, you can adjust the branch tips to make the tree appear fuller or accommodate larger ornaments. A budget-friendly stalwartBest Choice ProductsThe 6-foot Best Choice Products Artificial Christmas Tree is a solid, sturdy tree that offers bang for your buck.This isn't the most realistic-looking tree on our list, but for the money, it's one of the best values out there. The tree is easy to set up, and the metal stand also drives up the functionality. It makes the tree a lot sturdier and less likely to tip than others that come with cheap plastic stands.You may have to do some creative branch fluffing to maintain a full-looking tree, but once you load it up with ornaments, lights, ribbons, and tinsel, you won't think twice about whether or not your purchase was worth it.If the perfect Pinterest-worthy tree is important to your holiday cheer, then you may want to up your budget. But if a solid tree with easy-as-pie setup and a cheap price tag sounds great to you, then deck the halls with this pick.A flocked Christmas tree for a snow-covered lookAmazonIf you want to fully embrace a winter wonderland look, the Best Choice Products Snow Flocked Artificial Christmas Tree looks like you plucked it out of a swirling snowfall.An artificial Christmas tree like Best Choice Products' Snow Flocked one comes almost pre-decorated. With its fully integrated white lights and the addition of a faux snow overlay, all you need to add are some ornaments or bows to make it your own.The tree comes in four heights ranging from 4.5 feet to 9 feet. Your tree will come in three sections that stack together with metal fixtures — no painstakingly installing individual branches. Like any artificial tree, you'll have to take some time to fluff branches for a full look. The all-metal stand provides a solid base.The flocking does tend to shed, so keep a vacuum handy during setup and breakdown.It also comes in an unlit version if you already have your own lights.A space-saving wall huggerHome HeritageThe 5-foot Home Heritage Pre-Lit Half Christmas Tree is a good-sized tree that's perfect for small spaces.Trying to jam a majestic tree into your studio apartment or even a dorm room just got easier. With the Half Christmas Tree from Home Heritage, you don't have to limit yourself to a tiny tabletop tree. You can get the look of a full tree without sacrificing your precious floor space because it's basically a faux tree that's been cut in half.At 14-inches wide, you'll use up what will seem like a tiny amount of floor space for a tree this tall. If you're worried that the lack of width might make this tall tree tippy, some owners said the stand it comes with works perfectly to keep it upright, with no need to anchor it to the wall.There's also a 7-foot version if you have a bit more space that can accommodate a slightly taller and wider tree and a corner version is space is even tighter.A nontraditional ombre Christmas treeTreetopiaThe Treetopia Silver Shadow Ombre Artificial Christmas Tree is a modern conversation starter.If you want to expand your Christmas decor beyond the traditional, look no farther than this black-and-silver ombre tree from Treetopia.A sturdy metal base supports the 6-foot-tall tree shape composed of high-quality PVC and tinsel needles. The shape is tall and thin, like a real-life Douglas fir, but no one will be under the impression that this tree once grew in the ground.The fact that this tree doesn't strive to look "realistic" is actually one of its upsides. The shininess and sparkly color, combined with a perfectly cone-shaped silhouette, are the tree's top features.Treetopia is a highly praised and customer-friendly brand, and its trees tend to be high-quality yet on the low end of the pricing scale.You should have no trouble setting this one up yourself, but note that it may take a few days of fluffing and waiting for all the branches to lie perfectly symmetrically.A miniature tabletop Christmas treeAmazonThe little Goplus 2-Foot Tabletop Christmas Tree arrives with no setup required — pop in three AA batteries and perch it wherever you need a bit of seasonal decor.The Goplus 2-Foot Tabletop Christmas Tree is the perfect faux tree for small spaces that need cheerful decor. The tree only weighs 2 pounds, so you can easily carry it wherever you need to go. With 71 branches to hold ornaments, you can still customize your artificial Christmas tree for a more traditional look. The miniature spruce comes with white lights decorated around the tree and has a cement base with festive red fabric wrapped around it.This tabletop Christmas tree is a budget- and space-friendly option for anyone looking for a simple but elegant tree for the holidays.Artificial Christmas tree FAQsReal versus artificial Christmas trees: What's the difference?Artificial Christmas trees are a fairly effortless alternative to purchasing or cutting down a real Christmas tree each year. A fake tree is a one-time purchase that you can use year after year without any hassle. However, real trees come with the opportunity to pick one out with friends or family, and they will fill your home with the sweet scents of the forest. Plus, real trees are biodegradable and easy to recycle through local curbside pick-up programs, or you can repurpose the wood for firewood, DIY crafts, and more. Real trees require consistent watering and can be hazardous if they dry out. Artificial trees do not require as much attention, and you won't have to deal with pesky pine needles dropping on the floor. If you're someone who tends to have bad allergies, a fake tree could be a better option.What are the benefits of fake Christmas trees?The convenient nature of a fake Christmas tree is one of the best reasons to invest in one. Every year you can be certain that you have a tree that you can decorate whenever. You'll know it fits in your house, and you won't have to worry about the cost after the initial purchase. In addition to ease of use, safety is another perk to artificial trees. Fake trees are fire-retardant, unlike a real tree that needs to be watered.The bottom line is that fake Christmas trees will likely make your life easier once you purchase one. If you aren't attached to the idea and aroma of a real tree, fake ones are a convenient alternative. Can I buy a real Christmas tree online?If you prefer a formerly living Tannenbaum for Christmas, several retailers will ship real Christmas trees to your front door. Stores like Lowe's and The Home Depot have real trees available to ship from tree farms across the country. Trees range anywhere from $30 to over $200, and there can be additional shipping costs. You can order a tree now, but most retailers don't ship the tree until mid to late November.What are artificial Christmas trees made of?Most artificial trees are made of a mix of plastics and metals. The most common type of plastic used is Polyvinyl Chloride, commonly referred to as PVC. This type of plastic is what makes artificial trees fire-retardant. How long does an artificial Christmas tree last? Artificial Christmas trees usually come with a cover or storage to protect them the 11 months out of the year they're not in use. With proper storage and light use around the holidays, artificial trees can last you up to 10 years. Many artificial trees come with warranties between three to 10 years. Since fake Christmas trees are made of PVC plastic and metal, you will have to throw them away in the trash. Artificial trees cannot be recycled, but if your tree is still in good condition, you can give it to a local charity or donation center.What's the best way to store an artificial Christmas tree?If you have the space, it's best to store your fake Christmas tree fully assembled and standing up in a waterproof cover. This prevents any damage that can be caused by trying to fit your tree in a small container. If upright isn't an option, storing the tree unassembled in a dedicated waterproof storage container is much better than the cardboard box your tree came in. Cardboard boxes aren't waterproof, and can lead to your tree becoming damaged or moldy, especially if you store it in the basement. A cheap, but still great option, is to store your tree unassembled in heavy duty garbage bags. This may even be preferable to storing it in the cardboard box (or, if you prefer, you can store it in the box and then place the box in a garbage bag for extra protection).The best deals on artificial Christmas trees from this guideArtificial Christmas trees have become incredibly realistic in recent years, to the point where you may not be able to tell the difference between a real and fake tree at first. Save yourself the hassle of caring for a live tree every year by purchasing an artificial tree that can be stored and reused. To save the most money on a faux tree, the best times to buy one are right after Christmas and during Black Friday and Cyber Monday where you can find the lowest prices just in time for the holidays. Here are the best deals on our favorite artificial Christmas trees.There are currently no deals on our recommended artificial Christmas trees. Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.Check out our other great Christmas decorating guidesEtsyThe best tree skirtsThe best Christmas tree decorationsThe best Christmas stockingsThe best holiday lightsThe best Christmas decorationsThe best places to buy Christmas ornamentsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 15th, 2021

I"m a Hollywood actress who often works with weapons on set. Until the tragic "Rust" shooting, I felt safe.

"I keep asking myself how something as terrible as this could have happened," actress Lisa Gorlitsky, who's appeared on "Law and Order," told Insider. Courtesy of Lisa Gorlitsky Lisa Gorlitsky is a Brooklyn, New York-based actress who began her career in commercials at age 7. She's played roles involving weapons on TV shows, films, and theatrical performances, including the "Law & Order" franchise. Up until the recent fatal shooting on the set of "Rust," Gorlitsky felt safe. But now, she's not so sure. This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Lisa Gorlitsky, a Hollywood actress. It has been edited for length and clarity.The very same day I learned of the tragedy on the set of Rust, a photo popped up in my Facebook memories and brought me to tears.The image was of me on the set of a TV pilot I'd been filming exactly eight years ago to the day. Sitting in the driver's seat of a car, wearing a crisp white button-down shirt, I stared into the camera, drenched in fake blood, with a gunshot wound to the neck, compliments of the makeup department. Now years later, while I sat safely at home, I thought of the devastating course of events that cost Halyna Hutchins her life, wondering where the breakdown in communication and safety protocols had taken place that could have led to Alec Baldwin being handed what he was told was a cold gun-meaning it didn't contain live rounds-when, in fact, it wasn't one.The first time I held a real gun was in college As a fine arts student at SUNY Purchase, we often used prop guns in our theatre productions. Since the guns we used weren't able to fire or discharge anything, they seemed just like any other prop. We didn't view them as harmful.Then one day, things unexpectedly changed. A production I was working on required us to transition from our usual prop gun to a real gun loaded with blanks so an actual shot could be heard and a blast could be seen by the audience. Until then, we'd always worked alongside our fellow students in the design-tech department when it came to props. But now, standing in front of us was a real grown-up who'd been brought in specifically to teach us about gun safety. It was a sobering experience and a teaching moment for everyone involved that dayPrior to that day, I had never seen a gun up close before or felt the weight of one in the palm of my hand. Yet there I was, for the first time in my life, holding an actual gun.One of the first things we were taught was never to point a gun toward anyone, under any circumstances, and that even a blank could hurt or kill someone at close range. While I can't recall the name of the man who came to our class that afternoon, his words are forever seared into my brain. Every time I'm on set, I can still hear his voice in my head, stressing the importance of learning our angles of safety when a weapon is present - something we as actors do time and again as we practice the delicate dance of stunt and fight choreography when using a weapon.When I began working on sets with weapons, I was a bit apprehensive But my fears soon all but vanished, because safety protocols were always taken so seriously. Over the years, every set I have worked on has made safety a top priority and every protection has been afforded. Even the time I had to do 12 takes of a scene where I was positioned in a car being pulled by a truck with its diesel fumes blasting me in the face - and being shot at by motorcyclists through a window, with tempered glass breaking in front of me - I felt safe. That says a lot. On a personal level, I've never owned a gun or even considered owning one. But professionally, it's a different story. My characters have wrestled gun-in-hand, fired guns, and been shot. One producer even told me I die very well.Yet despite all of this, I've never been required to take any sort of weapons-safety training class by any studio I've worked with. Throughout my career, like most actors, I've simply trusted the process, placing my faith in the hands of the professionals whose job it is to keep us safe. This tragedy has taught me it's no longer simply about trusting the systemThe same way I've learned to advocate for myself over the years -everything from being treated with respect to receiving meals and transportation - I now have to advocate myself to ensure safety protocols are in place. This means asking to see the gun being used in advance while double or even triple checking its chambers along with the dummies and blanks.Like all industries, in order to move things along, we ask people to trust one another for the role they were hired to do. When I show up on the set, my job is to give the best performance I can and I expect others to do the same.But trusting people to do a good job with hair and makeup or costumes and lighting is very different from putting your life in someone's hands.I keep asking myself how something as terrible as this could have happened, because it's the opposite experience of everything I've ever known. How could the protocol system have been so broken on the set to the point that somebody was killed?It's going to be a bit scary the next time I set foot on a set with firearms. I just pray what happened in New Mexico is not simply viewed as an isolated accident, but a serious systemic breakdown in current safety protocols - and that labor issues are addressed to ensure everyone's safety moving forward.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 29th, 2021