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Treasury may take back millions from Arizona education fund over condition barring mask mandates

The Biden administration is threatening to take back millions of federal dollars from Arizona because it's only giving that money to schools without mask mandates,.....»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 14th, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

Facebook Admits Its “Fact Checks” Are Just Opinions

Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Injured on the Commute… While Working From Home? One major perk of working from home is having no […] Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice. .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 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Injured on the Commute… While Working From Home? One major perk of working from home is having no commute. Well, a shorter commute. You still have to walk from your bed to your desk. And that can be quite dangerous. A German man was commuting to his downstairs home office when he fell down the stairs, and broke his back. He said that because he was on his way to work, he was entitled to workplace accident insurance. His employer’s insurance company refused to pay the claim, and it went to court. Now the court has ruled that the man is in fact entitled to compensation, because the walk downstairs was no different than his commute to work. Click here to read the full story. Facebook Admits Fact Checks are Opinion, Not Truth Journalist John Stossel posted a video on Facebook which suggested that government mismanagement of forests was a bigger cause of California’s wildfires than climate change. But Facebook’s fact checkers labeled the video “misinformation” because they viewed Stossel’s report as a denial of climate change. But Stossel never denied climate change. His entire point was that government mismanagement makes the problem much worse. After Facebook refused to remove the label, Stossel decided his only recourse was to sue over defamation— after all, the public was being told that he is a journalist who spreads misinformation. In court documents responding to the suit, Facebook admitted that its fact checks are really just opinion. “The labels themselves are neither false nor defamatory; to the contrary, they constitute protected opinion.” So fact checks are just the opinions of some random Facebook employees. And that means they have nothing to do with objective truth. Click here to read the full story. US Government Doubles Import Duty on Canadian Lumber In May 2021, lumber futures prices in the US were four times higher than the average from the previous five years. At $1,600 per thousand board feet, it added about $36,000 to the price of building a single family home. And while the prices have fallen from their peak in May, they are rising once again. Now the US government has doubled the import duty on Canadian lumber from 8.99% to 17.9%. Keep in mind that inflation has now reached 6.8%. Yet by increasing the import duty, the government is deliberately making lumber MORE expensive. Naturally we totally believe these people are committed to providing affordable housing. Click here to read the full story. Biden Wants to Ban Companies From Firing Striking Workers Unionized workers for Kellogg, the cereal company, have been striking for two months to demand higher wages and more benefits. Kellogg has made six offers to union members, but all have been rejected. Now the company, which has already hired temporary replacement workers, is moving to make those replacements permanent. This prompted President Biden to chime in, saying: “Permanently replacing striking workers is an existential attack on the union and its members’ jobs and livelihoods. I have long opposed permanent striker replacements and I strongly support legislation that would ban that practice.” So, in addition to making lumber more expensive, he also wants to ban companies from hiring replacement workers when their current employees refuse to work. That would essentially mean unionized workers could demand any absurd wage or benefit they want, and companies would be powerless to say no. It doesn’t take a PhD in economics to see how this would lead to even worse inflation. Click here to read the full story. Canceling Student Debt is Apparently a Civil Right Now… The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is urging people to sign a petition in favor of canceling $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower. Now, you may be confused about why an organization dedicated to ‘civil liberties’ wants the government to forgive student loan debt. The ACLU explains that “canceling student debt can help close the racial wealth gap by over 20 percent – securing financial stability and economic mobility for Black, Latinx, and other people of color who are disproportionately burdened by loans, while addressing the debt crisis for millions.” Clearly, redistributing wealth is now a civil right. Click here to read the full story. Colorado Governor Says Restrictions are Over Colorado Governor Jared Polis turned his state into a dictatorship in the name of stopping the spread of COVID. But now, amid the media-hyped new omicron variant, Polis says that lockdowns and mask mandates will not return to Colorado, at least not at the state level. “The emergency is over,” Polis said. “You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job… You don’t tell people to wear a jacket when they go out in winter and force them to. If they get frostbite, it’s their own darn fault. If you haven’t been vaccinated, that’s your choice. I respect that. But it’s your fault when you’re in the hospital with COVID.” Obviously his assertion assumes that the only people who catch COVID and end up in the hospital are unvaccinated heretics. But at least he used the all-important words “choice” and “respect”. We’ll see if he can stick to his word. Click here to read the full story. On another note… We think gold could DOUBLE and silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES in the next few years. That's why we published a new, 50-page long Ultimate Guide on Gold & Silver that you can download here. Inside you'll learn... How you could Double Your Money with an asset that has a 5,000 Year History of Prosperity Why gold could potentially DOUBLE, and why silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES The 5 smartest, safest and most lucrative ways to own gold and silver (and one way you should definitely avoid) Why gold is the ultimate anti-currency and insurance policy against the systematic destruction of the US dollar (that everyone should at least consider owning) Why ETFs are a lurking timebomb and why you want to avoid them like the plague And everything else you need to know about buying, owning, storing and investing in precious metals This 50-page report is brand new and absolutely free. Article by Simon Black, Sovereign Man Updated on Dec 17, 2021, 4:32 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 17th, 2021

Transcript: John Doerr

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: John Doerr appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have, yes, an extra special guest, John Doerr of the famed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins is here to discuss all things venture capital and climate related. He has a new book out that’s really quite interesting. We talk about everything from crypto to Tesla to beyond me, to all of the opportunities that exist in order to help moderate and reduce carbon in the atmosphere and the potential climate crisis that awaits us if we don’t change our ways. So, Doerr is a venture capitalist. He invests money in order to generate a return. These aren’t just finger-wagging-be-green-for-green sake. He describes their venture fund which they put nearly a billion dollars into it 10 years ago and now, it’s worth over three billion. That’s how successful the returns have been. He describes the climate crisis as a multitrillion dollar opportunity. Yes, we need to do something in order to make sure we leave our children and grandchildren a habitable Earth. At the same time, there is a massive opportunity in everything from food to electrical grid, to transportation, on and on and on. It really is quite fascinating somebody like him sees the world from both perspectives, from the, hey, we want to make sure we have a habitable place to live but he can’t take off his VC hat and he sees just massive opportunities to do well by doing good. Really, a fascinating conversation. With no further ado, my interview with Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is John Doerr. He is the famed venture capitalists known for his work at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The venture capital firm operates 32 funds. They’ve made more than 675 investments, including such early-stage funding for companies like Google, Twitter, Amazon and too many others to list. Doerr still holds a substantial stake in his initial investment in Google. His most recent book is “Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving our Climate Crisis Now.” John Doerr, welcome to Bloomberg. JOHN DOERR, CHAIRMAN, KLEINER PERKINS: It’s thrilled to be here with you, Barry. Thank you. RITHOLTZ: And I’m thrilled to talk to you. Let’s go back to the early parts of your career before we start to get current. You originally joined Intel because you couldn’t land a gig as a venture capitalist. Tell us a little bit about that. DOERR: I came to Silicon Valley with no job, no place to live and incidentally, no girlfriend. The lady I’ve been dating decided I was too persistent and dumped me. So, I — my real goal was to win my way back into her heart and to join with some friends to start a company. I wanted to start a company and I heard that venture capital had something to do with that. So, I cold called all the venture capitalists and some of them returned my call in the mid-70s and they looked at my experience and uniformly included that I should go get a real job. That was their advice. I remember Dick Gramley (ph) said, we just backed a small new chip company called Intel, why don’t you interview for a job there, and I did. And lo and behold, unbeknownst to me, my former girlfriend, Ann Howland, now Ann Howland Doerr, has gotten a job at Intel. I got a job there and when I arrived that first summer day, I was surprised to see her there and she was not happy to see me. So, it took the rest of the summer to put our relationship back together again. But I love Intel, it was a dynamic place. They just invented the microprocessor and I’ve seriously considered abandoning my graduate education in business as it turns out to just stay at Intel. But I returned there after graduating and worked for, I guess, four or five years helping democratize computing as to get microprocessors used in everything from traffic lights to defibrillators, to nuclear resonance magnetic imaging systems, and it was all because I wanted to be part of new rapidly growing companies. RITHOLTZ: How did you work your way from Intel to venture investing? How did you find your way to Kleiner Perkins? DOERR: I got a phone call one day from a friend who said, hey, John, I just finished interviewing for job at a venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It sounded to me like a law firm. I really didn’t know them. But he said, you should go interview there because what they want to add to their team is someone younger professional with a strong technical background, a good network in Silicon Valley, and a passion for startups. I think you and they would make a great fit. So, I didn’t — they ran an ad actually in the “Wall Street Journal” for this position which I didn’t see. But I called up, I interviewed and got a job there as an entry level professional, a gofer, I did everything. I carried people’s bags. I read business plans. But there was one important condition that I had and that is I made them promise that they would back me with my friends in starting a company. I went to work there because, honestly, I wasn’t interested in venture capital. I wanted to be an early ’80s entrepreneur. And they had — they agreed to that and pointed out that they had backed other young partners at Kleiner in writing business plans. Bob Swanson had written a business plan for Genentech that led to the whole biotech industry and Jimmy Treybig had done the same thing with Tandem Computers. My current partner, Brook Byers as the young partner at Kleiner wrote the business plan for hybrid tech. So, Eugene Kleiner and Tom Perkins were unusual and I’d even say mythic or epic figures in that they had technical backgrounds. They started their own companies and they felt that was part of what their venture capital firm ought to do. RITHOLTZ: So, here’s the key question, how come you never left Kleiner Perkins? Why didn’t you launch your own startup? DOERR: Well, I did. They backed me in doing it. The first was one called Silicon Compilers. I became the full-time CEO and founder of that with a Cal Tech professor, Carver Mead. RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: Then as I worked with companies like Compaq, Sun Microsystems, they were growing really rapidly, I realized I was not at all qualified to advise these entrepreneurs. So, I took another 18-month leave of absence from Kleiner to run the desktop division of Sun and almost left Kleiner permanently to do that. But Ann and I wanted to start a family and she said, you know, you’re doing this Sun thing and keeping involved in Kleiner, it’s just not going to work, we have to make some choices here. And so, I left my operating role at Sun. But never gave up an interest in starting new companies and did that again at a later time with a company called @Home. You may remember that they … RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: … standardized and commercialized the cable modem to access the Internet. Before the @Home venture, access to the Internet was really very slow and cable modem swept the United States and our company was key in making that happen. RITHOLTZ: So, I like this quote from you, “If you can’t invent the future, the next best thing is to fund it.” And so, I guess that helps to explain your move from Sun over back to Kleiner Perkins. DOERR: Exactly. It was Alan Kay, the Chief Scientist at Apple, who said the best way to predict the future is to invent it and while I’ve made some inventions, they’re modest, my better fortune has been to find amazing entrepreneurs, identify them and then help fund and accelerate their success. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. Amazon, Netscape, Applied Materials, Citrix, Intuit, Genentech, EA Sports, Compaq, Slack, Uber, Square, Spotify, Robinhood, that is just an amazing, amazing list of startups that you guys were fairly early investors in. Any of them stand out as uniquely memorable to you? DOERR: Well, two of the standouts got to be Amazon and Google, now, Alphabet, because, what are they, they’re two of the four or five most valuable companies in the world and I think both of them have profoundly changed the way that we live, communicate, educate, inform, conduct commerce, see the world. They both — what they both have in common is exceptional founders and really strong management teams who have a sense of urgency and a focus on either large new markets or large existing markets that deserved and have benefited from disruption. So, I remember when I was first offered a position at Kleiner Perkins, I told them that I thought it was kind of unfair that they would pay me to do the job. I would pay them for the privilege of working with these amazing entrepreneurs and founders. RITHOLTZ: So, when you’re thinking about putting money into the Amazon in the mid ’90s or Google in the late ’90s, at any point in that process, are you thinking, sure, these can become $2 trillion companies soon? DOERR: Well, I had no really good idea how big they could be. So, I put the question to Jeff Bezos and his response was, well, John, I don’t know but we’re going to get big fast. At that time, I kicked up something of a firestorm by proclaiming that the Internet had been under hyped and it might be the largest legal creation of wealth in our lifetimes. But I was more clear and explicit with Larry Page when I met with him and Sergey and I asked Larry, how big Google would get. I’ll never forget this, Barry. He responded to me without missing a beat, 10 billion, and I said, just to test myself, I said, surely, you mean market capitalization, don’t you, and he said, no, John, I mean revenues. We’re just beginning in the field of search and you cannot imagine how much better it’s going to get over time. And sure enough, he was, he was more than right. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, let’s talk a bit about Google. You are known for introducing to both Larry and Sergey your concept of, OKRs, objectives and key results. What was the impact of that on Google? How did they respond to your suggestion on come up with objectives and come up with ways to measure your progress? DOERR: So, for everyone in your audience, objectives and key results or OKRs is a goalsetting system that Andy Grove invented at Intel and that’s because in the semiconductor industry, I’m a refugee from the semiconductor industry, you got to get tens of thousands of people to get lines that are a millionth of a meter, one micron wide, exactly right or nothing works, the chips fail. So, you need exceptional discipline, attention to detail, focus and execution. And so, Andy came up with the system. I was so enamored of it. When I left Intel, I took it everywhere I went from nonprofits to startups to large companies. The Gates Foundation in the nearly days, for example, how — they were — I mean, they were a very large nonprofit startup and an important one for the planet. So, I took Andy Grove’s system to Larry and Sergey, the founders of Google, in the very early days and I went through it with them and at the end of it asked them, so, guys, what you think, would you use this in growing Google, and Larry was — had no comment whatsoever. But Sergey, he was more like brilliant. I’d like to tell you, Barry, that he said, we love this, we’re going to adopt it wholeheartedly. Well, the truth of the matter is what he said was, we don’t have any better way to manage this Google company. So, we’ll give it a try, which I took as a ringing endorsement because what’s happened since then to this day, every Googler, every quarter, writes down her objectives and key results and publishes them for the entire company to see and interestingly, they never leaked. So, there’s 140,000 Googlers who are doing this four times a year. They’re graded. But at the end of each quarter, they’re swept aside because they’re not used for bonuses or promotions. They serve a higher purpose and that’s a collective social contract to get everybody focused and aligned and committed in tracking their progress to stretch for almost impossible to achieve goals. And I’m telling you this story because the same system that Andy Grove invented has now spread pretty broadly through the technology and other sectors of the economy and it’s at the heart of this plan that we have called speed and scale to deal with climate crisis. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. I want to stick with some of the early investments that you made and ask a really broad general question, how likely is it that a company you made in early stage investment in ends up looking like the company you thought you were investing in, meaning, how often do companies iterate or pivot into something totally different from what you thought you were getting involved with? DOERR: Well, I was going to say not often if it’s totally different. But if it’s meaningfully different, that happens all the time. And that’s why in the venture capital work that we do, it’s so important to back — to find fund and build a relationship with the right people because the people and the quality of the team is going to affect how they pivot, how they adapt their business plan to changing markets, changing technologies, changing opportunities. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. So, you mentioned Amazon and Google as just uniquely memorable startups. What about some memorable ones that you thought would work out that didn’t or I know VCs love to talk about look how silly we are, we had an opportunity to invest in X and we passed and now X is fabulously successful, what stands out in that space? DOERR: Well, the standout in that space is the bad decision we made to invest in Fisker instead of in Tesla and at that time, they had similar strategies, which was to enter the electric vehicle market with high-end luxury, pretty expensive car and then to drive the cost of that vehicle down over time. Both companies were struggling to raise money. One of them had experienced executive from the automobile industry, fundamentally a designer by the name of Henrik Fisker as its founder and CEO. The other had Elon Musk who had no automobile industry experience but was determined to reinvent every part of the automotive car doing it more as a machine to run software than a collection of subsystems procured from the automobile industry. We made the wrong call and the rest is history. RITHOLTZ: That Fisker, that first Fisker car was just a gorgeous design and at that time, Tesla was taking old Lotus convertibles and filling them with laptop batteries. Between the two, it’s pretty easy to see how the Fisker opportunity really looked more intriguing than Tesla did way back when. How typical is that for the world of venture? DOERR: It happens all the time. RITHOLTZ: All the time. DOERR: That’s what makes the job of finding funding and accelerating the success of entrepreneurs hard. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, there was just a new report that came out. It said, renewable energy in the U.S. has quadrupled over the past decade. So, we’re all good, right? There’s nothing else to worry about with the climate? DOERR: I wish that was true. I came to this project, this passion back in 2006 when Al Gore’s movie, you remember “An Inconvenient Truth” appeared. RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: And I took my family and friends to see it and we came back for a dinner conversation and went around the table to see what people thought. When it came turn for my 16-year-old daughter Mary Doerr, she said, I’m scared and I’m angry. She said, dad, your generation created this problem, you better fix it. And, Barry, I was speechless, I had no idea what to say. So, I set out with partners at Kleiner Perkins to understand the extent of the climate crisis, even hired Al Gore as a partner and over time, over three funds, invested a third up to a half of the funds, total about $1 billion in some 70 climate ventures, most of which failed and, in fact, it’s hard, it’s very hard to grow a climate tech or green tech venture. It’s pretty lonely in the early days of doing that. And we almost lost all of our investments but we stood by these entrepreneurs and they produced companies like Beyond Meat or Enphase or the NEST smart thermostats and today are worth some $3 billion. But that was then, this is now. I think what’s important about now is we need way greater ambition and speed to avert catastrophic, irreversible climate crisis. I mean, the evidence is all around us. We’ve got devastating hurricanes and floods and wildfires and 10 million climate refugees. The IPCC says that if we don’t reduce our carbon emissions by 2030 by 55 percent, we will see global warming overshoot by more than 2°C, nearly 4°F. And the Paris accords, which were agreed to in 2015, if we were achieving them, it would still cause us to land at around 2°C. The bad news is we’re not close to achieving any of those goals. So, the latest report from the UN said this is a code red problem and I also see all problems as opportunities. Barry, I think this is going to be the greatest opportunity, human opportunity, social opportunity, economic opportunity for the 21st century. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about that opportunity. You talked in the book about cutting emissions in half by 2030 and net zero by 2050 and you referenced six main areas of attack, transportation, the electrical grid, food, protecting nature, cleaning up industry, and then removing carbon from the atmosphere. Let’s talk a little bit about each of those because they’re all quite fascinating. We were talking about Tesla, how quickly do we think that we’re going to be past internal combustion engines with a fully electrified transportation network? DOERR: Well, that’s a great question and we can — I want to put this in context. Every year, we dump 59 gigatons of carbon, greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere as if it’s some kind of free and open sewer. And so, the book and the research behind it has built a plan in electrifying transportation and the other five for which each of the objectives has three to five key results. These are Andy Grove Intel style, very measurable specific steps in transportation. It says that electric vehicles will achieve parity, price performance parity with combustion engines in the U.S. by 2024. It says one of two new personal vehicles purchased worldwide are electric vehicles by 2030. So, what I’m trying to say is this is a global plan. RITHOLTZ: Right. DOERR: We’ve seen some nations of the world, some states like California say they’re going to ban the sale of internal combustion vehicles. And there’s also key results for buses, for trucks, for miles driven, for airplanes and maritime and this whole plan is available for free. You can download it at the website speedandscale.com. So, it’s pragmatic, it’s ambitious, it’s almost unachievable. It’s a total of 55 key results for the world, numeric time bound, and we’ve got to get after them all at once. We can’t take turns. We’re not going to achieve all of these, Barry. It’s — but if we fall short on one, we can make ground faster in others. Now, I don’t want to intimidate people by how big — how tall an order this is. The book also includes 35 stories from entrepreneurs and policymakers and leaders and innovators, leaders of indigenous tribes that describe in their own words their struggle, their successes, their journey to change the world. One of my favorites is of a cross-country team who got together to petition their school district to go to cleaner busses. They were sick and tired of running behind diesel buses with polluted air and it shows that something that I deeply believe and that is we’re fast running out of time. And so, yes, we need individuals to take individual action to eat less meat, use photovoltaic solar and buy an electric vehicle if you can afford it. But I’ve really written this book for the leader inside of everyone, their inner leader, and that’s their ability to influence others to act as a group like this cross-country team of runners in Maryland who got their school district to adopt electric buses. What the book shows is that we can get this job done but, as I said, we’re fast running out of time. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about — by the way, the bus discussions in the book are quite fascinating not just because China leapt out to a big lead and have been very aggressively replacing diesel buses with electric buses but you helped fund an entrepreneur in the U.S. that’s gone around and has done a great job getting cities to purchase electric buses. The transportation grid is clearly an issue but as you point out, that’s only six gigatons. A bigger issue is the grid, the electric grid, which produces 21 gigatons of emissions. Tell us about what we need to do to decarbonize the electrical grid. DOERR: 100%, you’re right. If we move to electric vehicles but we still use coal to generate electricity, we won’t have reduced emissions. And the biggest opportunity is to decarbonize the grid and that’s to take today’s 24 gigatons of emissions mostly from goal, also natural gas to generate electricity. Take that 24 down to three gigatons. So, the first key result, the biggest of them, is to get 50 percent of our electricity from zero emission sources globally by 2025 and get it down to 38 percent — get a 90 percent by 2035. That would save us 16.5 gigatons. Simply put, we need to move to renewable sources like wind and solar and invest in longer-term durable storage so that we have reliable energy when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about that battery technology a little bit. We’ve seen a series of incremental improvements over time but nothing has been like an order of magnitude improvement. Will we be able to get there soon enough? Do we need a Manhattan project for batteries or are all those incremental improvements compounding and we’ll get there eventually? DOERR: Much of the improvement that is needed in all of these technologies is lowering their costs. And so, batteries today are still too expensive for electric vehicles in India and in China. They’re barely affordable in the U.S. marketplace. RITHOLTZ: Right. DOERR: And so, the book tells the story of QuantumScape, I’ll disclose, a public company that I’ve invested in and served on the board of, an entrepreneur by the name of Jagdeep Singh and he is going for a quantum improvement in batteries to more than double their energy density. The energy density of a battery is how much energy you’ll get out of it for a pound of weight of a battery and it’s especially important in electric vehicles because the most expensive part of the vehicle is the battery and it’s the heaviest part and you got use energy to move the weight around. So, if you double the energy density of a battery, you can get a three or four times systems improvement in the vehicle itself. I’m not expecting, I don’t think anyone is forecasting an order of magnitude improvement. We’ve seen considerable lowering costs of batteries over time. But the QuantumScape innovation, which is an all solid-state battery, would be a genuine breakthrough. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about food, another key source of emissions. How can we become more efficient in growing the food affecting the menu of what we eat and reducing enough food waste to make a difference? DOERR: There’s three big things t to do about food. The first is to reduce the meat and dairies in our diet and I’m not saying cut them out entirely but to replace some of that with delicious, healthy plant-based proteins. And the book tells a story of Beyond Meat and the crusade of its founder. He struggled and mortgaged his house to lead the revolution in plant-based protein. It turns out that there’s a billion cows on the planet. The book tells you their story as well. If they were a nation, it would be the third largest country in terms of the emissions. The second big thing to do about food is to reduce food waste. Globally, 30 percent of the food that we produce is wasted and taking some straightforward measures we think that can be reduced. Our goal is to reduce it to 10 percent of the food that we produce, particularly when you consider the population will grow to 10 billion by the end of the century. Finally, we got to get more efficient with how we grow food and we can, for example, apply fertilizer much more precisely with new technologies. All in all, the food sector is a way for us to reduce nine gigatons of emissions to two gigatons by 2050 or a net gain of seven out of the 59 gigatons that we got to drive to zero. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about beef and agriculture generally. But let’s talk about commercial fishing, what’s the impact of our fishing practices on the health of the oceans and its ability to absorb carbon and reflect heat? DOERR: Well, over fishing together with over drilling and over development have released huge amounts of carbon from the ocean floor and life and if we prevented the destruction of mangroves and other ocean life, we could prevent a gigaton of emissions from entering the atmosphere every year. Our plan calls to eliminate deep sea bottom trawling, which is an especially destructive practice. Bottom trawling releases one and a half gigatons of CO2 equivalent emissions. It also calls for increasing the protection of oceans to 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. I want to call out, this is an area of climate ambition that Walmart is staking out an important and powerful leadership position. Not only that they said they’re going to have their supply chain be carbon neutral by 2040 but they are going to preserve, protect millions of acres of land and ocean water in the effort to become the first scale regenerative company. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. So, very often, the average person listening to a conversation like this thinks, well, what can I do, I’m just one person. What’s the balance of responsibility between individuals on one side and government and institutions on the other? DOERR: We need all the forces in our economy, in our society to come together and work on this. We need innovators. We need entrepreneurs. We need policymakers. We need investors. We need to hear more from impassioned youth. In 2018, Greta Thunberg was a single high school student skipping school on Fridays. A year later, in 2019, in December, she organized a million-person march in a hundred cities around the world and specifically, she made the climate crisis atop two voting issue in the nations in Europe. Barry, it is not a top voting issue in the U.S. It is not a top issue in China or even in India. So, we have work to do and that’s one of our accelerants, the ways we get all this done faster and that’s to turn movements into specific actions. We really need individuals to lead others in powerful ways. That’s, for example, employees, pushing your employers to make net-zero commitment or shareholders and investors demanding changes in the board rooms. It turns out that changing the lightbulbs and eating less meat is important but we’ve got to go further. We’ve got to change our laws or even our lawmakers in order to avert this climate crisis. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. I want to talk about some of the things you’ve said in the book that apply everywhere but are especially applicable to the climate crisis. Let’s start with, quote, “It seems every dozen years we witness magical ever-exponentially larger waves of innovation.” So, let’s start first with climate, how and where are those waves of innovation coming that’ll help ameliorate the climate crisis? DOERR: Well, the innovations are happening on many fronts, the material sciences, electrochemistry, biology. The opportunity that the climate transition to a clean energy the economy represents is the largest of our lifetime. It’s a bigger mobilization than even the effort of the allies to defeat the Nazi Axis in World War II. You’ll remember then, we shut down for four years all manufacturing of automobiles and appliances and instead, created 268,000 fighter aircrafts, 20,000 battleships. It was a monumental effort dealing with an existential threat. And that same level of innovation and ambition is required to win in this climate campaign. Other areas of breakthroughs or innovations, I’m even becoming a believer that we’ll see nuclear fusion. That’s the kind of clean energy that comes from the sun, practical within a decade. Concrete and steel that’s carbon free, long duration storage, the opportunities to reimagine and reinvent how we create, share, transmit and use energy in every facet of our lives is as big an opportunity as we’ll see in our lifetime. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay focused on that opportunity for a minute. This isn’t a charity or a foundation that’s doing this for free. When we look around, there are actual venture investments that you’ve been making successfully. So, you past on Tesla but somebody put money into Tesla. Wind turbines, solar, Beyond Meat is now public company. You are an early investor into that. You’re looking at this as more than just, hey, we have to do this in order to make sure that we don’t have a runaway greenhouse effect and Earth turns into Venus and becomes uninhabitable. But there are also very legitimate economic opportunities here also. Expound on those a little bit. DOERR: Well, there’s no better example than Tesla which had gone from a struggling company reliant on loans, thank you, United States taxpayers, to the sought most valuable company in the world. And by some measures, Elon Musk is the most — is the richest individual in the world. He took on huge risks and he delivered for his customers and shareholders, his country and his planet. And the best of the work that Elon has done is inspire, perhaps, through fear but certainly by example the rest of the automobile industry to accelerate their shift to clean and electric vehicles. So, this is, how I like to say, the mother of all markets. It’s a monster market. Batteries alone, the batteries to move from internal combustion vehicles to electric vehicles, are estimated to be $400 billion per year, Barry, for 20 years. We are going to — we must recreate all the infrastructure that we use to power out planet. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about something we haven’t gotten to when we were talking about those larger waves of innovation. Lots of folks are excited about blockchain and crypto and Web 3.0. But when we look at things like Bitcoin, it’s a big energy hog, how do we reconcile all the wealth that’s being created there with its massive electricity consumption? DOERR: Its electricity consumption is sustainable and so, we’re going to have to move to clean Bitcoin, green Bitcoin and we’ll get there by regulation, if not, by other market forces I would predict. Today, I believe that Bitcoin uses as much energy as the entire nation of Sweden. So, Bitcoin, I believe, is here to stay but it — we can’t fuel it through dirty electricity. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned concrete earlier and I also read in the book that you want to end single-use plastics. What does the world of material science promised us for replacing things in those spaces? How do you replace concrete? How do you replace single-use plastic? DOERR: Concrete is probably the hardest problem of all because in the production of the concrete, you almost must create carbon emissions. We can reduce the energy use to make concrete. There are some concrete innovations that absorb the CO2 into the material. But that’s an area where we need more innovation. What was your second area? RITHOLTZ: Single-use plastics. DOERR: Single-use plastics. The plan calls for the banning and really the replacement of single-use plastics. The banning of single-use plastics and in general to replace plastics with compostable materials that can be recycled and I am confident that with investment and entrepreneurial work, we can get that done. RITHOLTZ: So, we haven’t really talked about pulling carbon out of the atmosphere. I get the sense from some people that they’re expecting some technological magic bullet that’s going to solve climate change. Tell us about how we can remove carbon from the atmosphere and is there a magic bullet coming. DOERR: The speed and scale plan calls for us to remove 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year. I emphasize remove. This will be gigatons of CO2 emissions that we were not able to eliminate, we were not able to cut, we were not able to slash. They’ll be some uses of aviation fuel as an example or other stubborn carbon. Two approaches to this, one of which is to innovate around nature-based ways of removing CO2. For example, growing greater kelp forest in the oceans. But the other that has captured a lot of attention is called direct air capture or that’s engineered removal of carbon. Think of them as kind of mechanical trees and this technology works today but only at small scale. It sucks the CO2 out of the air. It requires a lot of electricity in order to do that. And so, it’s very expensive today, some $600 per ton. If we’ve got to remove five gigatons per year at $600 per ton, that’s $3 trillion a year and it’s hard to see how that’s affordable. So, entrepreneurs are hard at work to lower those costs and I hope they do. RITHOLTZ: So, there’s a quote I like from another venture capitalist who said venture capital properly deployed can solve the biggest problems, filling the void left by shrinking scientific ambitions of governments, foundations and international organizations. What are your thoughts on that approach? How crucial is venture capital to our future and can it replace these other entities? DOERR: Venture capital is crucial and it’s stepping up to the challenge. There will be an estimated $30 billion invested venture capital in climate technologies this year. Our plan calls for 50 billion this year. But venture capital is not going to get this job done on its own. We need government-funded research and development to grow in the U.S. alone to 40 billion a year. Other countries have got to triple their funding. We need project financing. We need philanthropic investing. Jeff Bezos’ commitment of $10 billion to the Bezos Earth Fund is the largest philanthropic commitment to climate crisis that we’ve ever witnessed or enjoyed. There’s really four accelerators that will get this job done. One of them is investing. Another is innovation, the work of entrepreneurs. But I think the hardest are going to be to turn our movements into actions so we get the politics and the policy correct because it’s going to take a massive, collective, coordinated effort to achieve our ultimate OKR and that’s to take 59 gigatons of emissions to net zero by 2050. RITHOLTZ: That’s an ambitious target and if we miss that target, what are the ramifications? DOERR: We’ll leave our kids and our grandkids an uninhabitable planet. We’ll see the Arctic sea ice surely melts away. We’ll have — estimates are up to a billion climate refugees. There’s 10 million of them already. Hundreds of millions of people will starve. It’s unthinkable. And so, we must get this done. RITHOLTZ: So, let me turn this back to what’s going on in the world of venture now. When the early decades of you work at Kleiner Perkins was into a very friendly IPO market, how much does timing matter broadly, meaning, hey, if there’s an exit available, if there’s a big IPO market that makes it more likely people are going to invest in these companies and have a successful exit. Tell us a little bit about timing. DOERR: Well, investors, myself included, will stop at nothing to copy success. So, the timing of today’s markets for climate technologies whether it’s Tesla or Rivian or better batteries or Beyond Meat, it’s good and I would say in the long run, it’s going to continue to be good because the size of the markets and the need, the economic need, the opportunity, and the planetary pressures. RITHOLTZ: So, if a younger venture capitalist or a newfound venture fund came to you and ask for advice, what would you tell them about this opportunity? DOERR: There’s so many different venture firms and strategies. I would say to them that this is the greatest opportunity with 21st century that they should be strategic about their contribution. Is it to work with early-stage entrepreneurs and removing technical risks or at the other extreme, is it to be smart and sharp about project financing? But the overall costs of the transition from a dirty fossil economy to a clean new energy economy is $4 trillion per year, per year. That sounds like a big number until you compare it with the cost of dirty energy, the social cost, the disruption, the premature deaths. One in five deaths are premature due to carbon pollution. Those come in at about $10 billion per year. So, it’s literally cheaper to save the Earth than it is to ruin it. RITHOLTZ: And there’s just seems to be endless amounts of cash pouring into the venture capital sector. Arguably, it’s never been higher. What are your thoughts on this? Does it worry you? What’s the driver of all this money sloshing around? DOERR: Some people say that we’re experiencing a bubble, a bubble in fintech or Bitcoin or climate technologies. I see it very differently. I think it’s a boom and historically, whether it was the advent of transcontinental railroads or the automobiles, we saw booms which led to full employment, overinvestment, rapid innovation. And, no, not all those car companies survive. But I think the same will be true of the other fields of innovation. I think one of the things that gives me great hope is the power of human ingenuity. We got ourselves into these specs and, Barry, I’m betting, we’re going to figure our way out. RITHOLTZ: So, what do you say to people who sort of posture Silicon Valley’s best days are behind it? Do you have a response to any of those folks? DOERR: I think they’re wrong. I think provided we deal with this existential threat, the climate crisis, and that is not guaranteed, but provided we do that and we get a 50% reduction in the next decade, I think we’re on track for a wonderful, prosperous, healthy planet. RITHOLTZ: Can I tell you and I should have mentioned this earlier but I read a ton of books for the show and I found the book really quite fascinating and it’s pretty obvious to me that an engineer was behind this. There’s just a lot of great slides and charts and graphs and it’s not just all texts. Parts of it are narrative and parts of it are historical and it reminds me of a well-made slide deck. So, nice job on the book. DOERR: Well, thanks for sharing that. I want to send you a bound version of the book if you’ll email me your physical mailing address. There’s one other thing — other story I might tell you about the book. RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: I was talking the other day with a reader, a mom who told me that every night, she takes two or three pages of the book and she reads them together with her daughter and then they talk about together what that means for the world her daughter is going to inherit, and I thought, wow, that’s the use of the book I never imagined and one that I’m honestly proud of. RITHOLTZ: How — it looks like this was the work of a lot of different people. How did you end up researching and writing this? DOERR: We talked to hundred different leaders in the field, policymakers, researchers, modelers, activists and from those, selected some 35 stories. We ended up with a thousand different data points that we needed to verify and collected those into 500 end notes, which are in the book. And I did it with an amazing small team of three or four on research and writing stuf. I’m an engineer as you know and so I’m not so good with words and I had the benefit of a writing team that helped make this much more readable. RITHOLTZ: Well, it shows, you can see the book is a fast read. I sat down with a bunch of stickies and highlighter and found myself just plowing through chapter after chapter. It was a relatively quick read and very easy to put down and then pick back up again. Each chapter is very distinct and you’ve really laid out a plan to prevent climate catastrophe from taking place. So, thank you for that. DOERR: One thing I want to make sure your audience know is this, they can get a free infographic, it’s a single poster-sized piece of paper that has on both sides of it all the objectives, all the key results, all the measures. And it’s reassuring for people who are fearful that there is a plan and that if we do these things, we can find a way to a habitable planet. That’s what we’ve got to do. RITHOLTZ: So, I know I only have you for a limited amount of time. Let me jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of my guests starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days, give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime or whatever podcast you’re listening to. DOERR: So, I haven’t had time for streaming on Netflix. I’ve been doing research, reading books and papers on the climate crisis itself. But getting this word out, I’ve listened to a — I’ve started listening to a couple of new podcast, John Heilemann’s Hell & High Water … RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: … and Tim Ferriss Show, both of which, I think, have a distinctive imprint from their hosts (ph). RITHOLTZ: Tell us about your mentors who helped to shape your career. DOERR: So, the biggest influence on my life was my dad Lou Doerr, an engineer, entrepreneur and hero and I’ve been blessed by a number of mentors, perhaps most notable of them, Andy Grove, and what I learned from him at Intel prompted me to write a first book called “Measure What Matters” and that tells stories of a dozen different organizations using OKRs, which is what then I applied to the climate crisis. I would tell you Al Gore is a hero of mine. He’s wonderfully resolute man who’s impassioned, effective and funny. He and I talked regularly about the climate crisis. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about some of your favorite books, what are your all-time favorites and what are you reading right now. DOERR: So, my current reading, no surprise, is largely around the climate crisis. I love Elizabeth Colbert’s “Under a White Sky” which described climate futures. And two other books are “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates, very accessible book, and a profile — a new profile of Winston Churchill called “The splendid and the Vile.” RITHOLTZ: Two good recommendations. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who wanted to pursue a career in venture investing? DOERR: I would say to her gain experience as an entrepreneur. I’d repeat the advice that I was given early in my career which was go get a real job in a real growing tech company and sharpen your skills in the real hard world of business economics and then take that experience to help other entrepreneurs succeed. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture investing today that you wish you knew 40 years ago? DOERR: I wish I knew 40 years ago how important the team is, the leadership of the team, the recruiting of the team, the growing of the team because in the end, it’s more than large market, it’s more than compelling technologies. It’s teams who know how to execute well. RITHOLTZ: Really, really fascinating stuff. Thanks, John, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with John Doerr. He is a partner at famed venture firm Kleiner Perkins and the author of the new book, “Speed and Scale: An Action Plan for Solving our Climate Crisis Now.” If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out all of our previous discussions. You can find those wherever you find your favorite podcast, iTunes, Spotify, Acast, wherever. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reads @ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter, @Ritholtz. I would be remiss if I do not thank our crack staff that helps with these conversations together each week, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager, Paris Wald is our producer, I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: John Doerr appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 6th, 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

Futures Drift Higher In Quiet, Holiday Session

Futures Drift Higher In Quiet, Holiday Session US equity futures rose (ahead of a cash session that is closed for Thanksgiving holiday), European stocks were mixed and Asian snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday, hurt by the U.S. dollar which continued to march higher as investors bet on interest rates rising more quickly in the United States than in other major economies such as Japan and the euro zone. Overnight Goldman (which only a few weeks ago brought forward its liftoff forecast by one year to July 2002) said that it now expects the Fed "to announce at its December meeting that it is doubling the pace of tapering to $30bn per month starting in January." That forecast, however, has not spooked futures with S&P 500 and Nasdaq eminis rising by 7 points (0.14%) and 28 points (0.17%) respectively, in a listless session - trading volumes on the MSCI’s gauge of world equities slid 18% from its 30-day average. The dollar rose again, hitting a fresh 16-month high. Remy Cointreau SA jumped 11% in Europe on an earnings beat. Base metals rallied, with nickel near the highest level in seven years. Unlike recent sharp drawdowns, on Wednesday U.S. stocks proved resilient to a slew of strong economic data and Fed minutes on Wednesday that hinted at stagflationary concerns and supported expectations for a quicker removal of stimulus by the Fed. And while inflation concerns deepened, and traders appeared in no mood to miss a year-end calendar meltup, rising bets not only for a quicker taper, but also an earlier liftoff of interest rates, suggest caution may return after Thanksgiving. “The market mood is rather OK-ish after the minutes,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “At this point, it makes sense to expect an earlier, and maybe a steeper rate normalization from the Fed.” European stocks traded off opening highs with Euro Stoxx 50 up as much as 0.7% before stalling and trading up 0.25% last. Utilities, tech and financial services are the strongest performers; travel remains under pressure as Covid measures are still in focus. MSCI’s global equity benchmark headed for the biggest advance since Nov. 16 as European traders shrugged off a worsening Covid-19 situation in the continent. The Stoxx 600 gauge was boosted by utilities and real estate companies. Remy Cointreau soared to a record high after the French distiller reported first-half results that Citigroup Inc. called “truly exceptional.” Earlier in the session, Asian equities were poised to snap a three-day losing streak, as traders continued to weigh the prospects of higher inflation and faster-than-expected tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.3% Thursday, with Japanese stocks among the leaders as the dollar held a three-day advance against the yen. In Hong Kong, shares of Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd's (1638.HK) rose as much as 24% on their return to trading, after the embattled Chinese developer said it was offering bondholders an option to exchange existing bonds with new bonds having an extended maturity, to improve financial stability. In India, Reliance shares returned to a price level reached prior to the scrapping of the Indian conglomerate’s deal with Saudi Aramco.  Asian stocks are hovering near a six-week low as a strong dollar remains a headwind for emerging-market equities, while higher U.S. Treasury yields have dragged down technology and other growth stocks around the region. The latest Fed minutes suggested it will accelerate the pace of tapering and rate hikes if inflation persistently stays above the targeted rate and maintains its uptrend, said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment. “Strong dollar concerns remain intact on earlier-than-expected rate hikes, intensifying the inflation of emerging markets.” South Korean stocks were among the biggest decliners after the nation’s central bank hiked its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1%, as expected, citing faster inflation. In broad terms, "when it comes to regional equities allocation, we're watching the U.S. dollar which is making new highs and that is a headwind for emerging market equities," said Fook-Hien Yap, senior investment strategist at Standard Chartered Bank wealth management. "The market is now pricing in more than two hikes next year, but we think that is overly aggressive. We are only looking for about one hike next year," said Yap. These expectations have pushed U.S. treasury yields higher, albeit inconsistently, with benchmark 10 year notes last yielding 1.6427% having risen as high as 1.6930% on Wednesday. U.S. Treasuries will not trade on Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. stock markets will also be closed and will have a shortened session on Friday. Sure enough, fixed income markets are quiet. Bund and gilt curves bull flatten a touch, cash Treasuries remain closed for Thanksgiving. In other central bank news, the Bank of Korea raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points on Thursday, as widely expected, as concern about rising household debt and inflation offset uncertainty around a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index recovered Asia’s small weakness to trade flat. SEK is the best performer in G-10 with EUR/SEK down 0.4% after the Riksbank tweaked inflation forecasts slightly and signaled that they see a case for a higher benchmark rate in 2024. NZD and AUD lag with most majors trading a narrow range. The dollar is trading near its highest in almost five years versus the Japanese currency at 115.3 yen, and nearly 18 months to the euro which was at $1.1206. In commodities, oil prices were mixed after a turbulent few days in which the United States said it would release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain to try to cool oil prices after calls to OPEC+ to pump more went unheeded. However, investors laughed at the programme's effectiveness, leading to price gains. Brent crude was last at $82.14 a barrel, down 0.1%. Action continued to heat up in the base metals market. Nickel rose in London toward the highest level since May 2014 on a closing basis as shrinking inventories pointed to tight supply. Aluminum and copper extended their two-day increase to at least 2% each. Looking at the day ahead, it's a fairly quiet calendar given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. On the central bank side however, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, and the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson and Schnabel, along with BoE Governor Bailey and the BoE’s Haskel. On top of that, the ECB will release the account of their October meeting, and data releases include the German GfK consumer confidence reading for December. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded mixed following on from the tentative mood in US where the major indices headed into the Thanksgiving holiday with a slight positive bias although upside was capped as participants digested a deluge of mixed data releases and hawkish leaning FOMC Minutes which suggested an increased likelihood of a taper adjustment. ASX 200 (+0.1%) was choppy as outperformance in tech and miners was counterbalanced by losses in consumer stocks, energy and the top-weighted financials sector, while mixed capex data which showed a larger than expected contraction for Q3 further added to the headwinds. Nikkei 225 (+0.7%) outperformed and reclaimed the 29,500 level after the recent favourable currency flows and stimulus optimism with Japan considering offering a JPY 5k inbound travel subsidy and is planning a JPY 22.1tln government bond sale as part of economic stimulus and extra budget. KOSPI (-0.4%) softened amid a widely expected 25bps rate hike by the BoK and with BoK Governor Lee suggesting the potential for another hike in Q1 next year. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) lacked direction amid ongoing frictions including issues related to Taiwan and after the US Commerce Department placed 12 Chinese companies/entities on its entity list due to national security concerns, while EU ambassadors approved to renew sanctions on four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity for human rights abuses. However, the downside for Chinese bourses was limited after another tepid PBoC liquidity effort and with a local press report noting that China is to use more fiscal policy to support growth. There were also reports that Chengdu city launched measures to help developers with cash problems in obtaining funds, while Kaisa Group shares saw a double-digit percentage jump on reopen from a three-week trading halt after it offered to exchange bonds for new bonds with an extended maturity in an effort to improve financial stability and remain afloat. Finally, 10yr JGBs were rangebound after the sideways price action seen in global counterparts and cautious risk tone in Asia, while the results of the latest 40yr JGB auction were also inconclusive with a weaker b/c offset by an increase in the low price. European cash equities (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) trade on a modestly in the green but off best levels as bourses’ attempt to reclaim some of the lost ground seen throughout the week somewhat lost momentum, with the Stoxx 600 down 1.3% WTD. Macro drivers for the region remain a combination of this week’s (slightly stale) survey metrics, ECB speak and COVID angst with the latter providing a bulk of the direction for European assets this week. The handover from the APAC region was a somewhat mixed one as the Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) continued to benefit from favourable currency flows and ongoing stimulus hopes whilst Chinese stocks (Shanghai Comp -0.2%) digested a combination of US-China tensions over Taiwan, EU sanctions on China and expectations of domestic fiscal measures to support growth. Futures in the US (ahead of the early close) are currently on a mildly firmer footing (ES +0.3%) however, traders will likely not pay much credence to these moves given that the cash markets are closed today. The latest BofA flow show noted that stocks saw just their second week of outflows for the year, albeit equities have posted USD 839bln of inflows in 2021 which is more than the USD 785bln seen in the past 19 years combined. Elsewhere, SocGen is of the view that the bull market is not over for European equities and the cycle has further room to run into next year as inflation peaks and Fed-ECB policy diverges. SocGen’s end-2022 target of 520 implies a 9% upside from current levels. Sectors in Europe are mostly firmer with the Food & Beverage sector a top performer amid gains in Remy Cointreau (+11%) who sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 post-earnings which saw the Co. raise its profit outlook. In sympathy, Pernod Ricard (+2.0%), Campari (+1.1%) and Diageo (+0.8%) are all seen higher. To the downside, Travel & Leisure names lag amid ongoing losses in sector-heavyweight Evolution (-5.6%) with the latest update for the Co. noting it has contacted New Jersey regulators and launched an internal probe following accusations the company is conducting business in US blacklisted countries. Also of note for the sector, reports suggest that the EU is set to endorse a 9-month limit on COVID-19 vaccine validity in travel. Finally, Vivo Energy (+20%) is seen higher on the session after Vitol reached an agreement to purchase the Co. for USD 1.85/shr. In FX, the index sees a mild pullback in early European trade on Thanksgiving Day Holiday, after notching a fresh YTD peak yesterday at 96.938 with traders also weighing end-of-month flows. Yesterday's FOMC Minutes had little impact on the Buck, but the release stated the Fed should be prepared to adjust the pace of asset purchases and raise the target range for FFR sooner if inflation continued to run higher than levels consistent with the Fed objective. Some participants preferred a somewhat faster pace of reductions. DXY trades within a narrow 96.649-832 range. Ahead, the calendar is empty from a US standpoint. EUR, GBP - The single currency stands are the current G10 winner, albeit within narrow ranges in holiday-thinned trade. Desks suggest that light short-covering may warrant given the recent COVID-led downside. On the COVID front, reports suggested the EU is to endorse a 9-month limit on COVID-19 vaccine validity in travel. Sources earlier in the week suggested that updated EU travel guidance will likely be released today, whilst France is also today poised to provide more colour on COVID-related restrictions. EUR/USD has reclaimed a 1.1200 handle but trades within yesterday's 1.1184-1.1250 range. GBP/USD meanwhile is relatively flat within a 20-pip parameter, with not much to report aside from overnight commentary highlighting the 'substantial distance' between the UK and EU on the Northern Ireland protocol. Ahead, participants will be on the lookout for commentary from BoE governor Bailey and Haskel. Note, some participants also highlight chunky OpEx tomorrow in GBP/USD comprising of some GBP 1.3bln around 1.3400-10. AUD, NZD - Antipodeans are on the back foot, with the NZD continuing to lag post-RBNZ and following a narrower NZ trade deficit as the AUD/NZD cross inches closer towards 1.0500 after confirming support around the 1.0450 region. AUD/USD was unfazed by lower-than-expected Q3 Aussie Capex. Desks highlight support at 0.7170 (Sept 29th low) ahead of the YTD low at 0.7106. Technicians may also be cognizant of the 21 DMA (0.7346) set to cross through the 100 DMA (0.7346) and 50 DMA (0.7344). JPY - The JPY is relatively flat on the day within a 115.30-45 band, with desks suggesting bids are eye towards 115.00 and offers above 115.50. OpEx is interesting; USD/JPY sees USD 1.2bln between 115.10 and around USD 800mln at strike 115.50. SEK, HUF - The Riksbank maintained its Rate at 0.00% and asset holdings unchanged as expected and said the repo rate will be raised in the latter part of 2024 – with the Q4 2024 rate path seen averaging at 0.19%. Overall, the decision was in-line with expectations. The SEK saw some modest upside heading into the announcement, but on the largely as-expected release, EUR/SEK remained in proximity to the pre-announcement level of 10.20. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Central Bank announced a 40bps hike to its 1-week Repo Rate in an expected but unscheduled move. EUR/HUF moved from 367.25 to 365.40 on the hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy following the earlier softness at the start of the session, which was seemingly a function of a mild deterioration across equity markets, also coinciding with Ifax reports that the US is trying to persuade Russia to lift oil output. Sticking with OPEC+, the morning also saw commentary out of Kuwait and the UAE, who both signalled open-mindedness heading into next week’s meeting, although WSJ sources yesterday suggested the UAE does not see the need to pause current plans. WTI Jan has dipped back under USD 78/bbl (vs high USD 76.65/bbl) while Brent Feb resides just north of USD 80.50/bbl (vs high 81.40/bbl). Ahead, participants will be balancing OPEC+ sources and commentary to get a more solid idea on which route the group will likely take next week. Elsewhere, spot gold remains caged within a cluster of DMAs including the 100 (1,793), 200 (1,791) and 50 (1,789). Base metals are once again firmer with traders citing bullish commentary on Chinese infrastructure. LME copper inches closer towards USD 10k/t whilst Dalian iron ore futures overnight stretched their rally to a fifth consecutive session, spot prices topped USD 100/t. DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that this week we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. Today will likely prove a quieter one in markets given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. But ahead of that, risk assets eventually climbed a wall of worry yesterday as investors moved to dial up their hawkish bets on the Fed’s policy trajectory, just as the latest Covid wave in Europe further contributed to investor concerns. Nevertheless, after trading in the red most of the day, global equity markets just managed to finish the day in positive territory, with the S&P 500 gaining +0.23% and the STOXX 600 advancing +0.09%. First, on the hawkish Fed policy trajectory, our US economics team updated their calls to expect just that. In a note yesterday (link here), they outlined expectations for the Fed to double the pace of tapering at the December FOMC meeting following better-than-expected inflation and employment data since the November FOMC. This would bring monthly reductions in Treasury purchases to $20bn and MBS purchases to $10bn, which would bring the end of taper forward to March. In line, they’re bringing their call for liftoff forward a month to June 2022. Our econ team weren’t the only ones to adjust their outlook. San Francisco Fed President Daly, one of the biggest doves on the FOMC and a voter in December, said in an interview that, “if (strong inflation and jobs data continue) then those are the things that would say, looks like we need faster tapering”. Furthermore, she also said that “I am very open and, in fact, leaning towards that we’ll want to raise rates from the zero lower bound at the end of next year”. So if one of the Fed’s biggest doves is feeling this way, then that showcases the shift in thinking that could be taking place more broadly on the committee. Front-end US rates sold off following the comment and yesterday’s data releases, which did nothing to change the recent hawkish turn from Fed officials. In fact, by the close of trade investors were fully pricing in a hike by June, and pricing about two-thirds probability of a May hike. They are still projecting three full hikes in the next calendar year. You’ll know from the credit outlook that we continue to think the Fed is way behind the curve and that catch-up will likely cause some volatility in H1 with notably wider credit spreads. See the link at the top for more on our view. Those moves were given some fresh impetus by stronger-than-expected US data, of which plenty arrived in advance of the holiday today. First, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through November 20 fell to 199k (vs. 260k expected), which is their lowest level since 1969 and the first time we’ve seen a reading comfortably around or beneath their levels immediately before the pandemic. Claims are always a bit all over the place around Thanksgiving due to seasonal adjustments so we may need a couple of weeks before the trend can be confirmed. Secondly, we then had the second estimate of Q3 GDP in the US, which was revised up a tenth to show an annualised growth rate of +2.1%. Third, the personal income and spending data came in above expectations in October, with personal income up +0.5%, and personal spending up +1.3%, which in both cases was three-tenths higher than expected. And finally, although the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index was still at a decade low, the final measure came in at 67.4, above the preliminary reading of 66.8. Long-term inflation expectations edged back up a tenth to 3.0%, where it was in September and May this year, the joint highest readings since 2013. All that created additional momentum in front-end US rates, with the 2yr yield (+2.6bps) and the 5yr yield (+0.3bps) both rising to fresh post-pandemic highs as the prospect of faster tapering and earlier rate hikes came into view. That put further upward pressure on the dollar as well, with the index strengthening by +0.33% yesterday to hit a 16-month high, having now risen by over +6% since its low in late May just 6 months ago. Of course the flip side was that a number of currencies shifted lower vis-à-vis the dollar, and the euro dipped below the $1.12 mark at the end of the day for the first time since June 2020. Amidst the moves higher in front-end Treasury yields, another round of curve flattening saw longer-dated ones fall back yesterday, with the 10yr yield down -3.1bps to 1.63%. That flattening took the 5s30s curve down -6.9bps to its lowest level since the initial market turmoil at the start of the pandemic back in March 2020, having fallen by over 100bps since its intraday high back in February. 2s10s twisted -5.7bps flatter as well, as investors priced in near-term Fed policy action that could engender a hard landing that hurts longer term growth. It was a different picture in Europe however, where curves steepened for the most part and the moves lower in long-end rates were much more subdued. By the close, yields on 10yr bunds (-0.8bps), OATs (+0.0bps) and BTPs (+1.3bps) had seen relatively little movement, as investors continue to expect that the ECB will take a much more cautious approach to raising rates relative to the Fed. Overnight in Asia markets are again mixed but being led by the Nikkei (+0.68%) and the Hang Seng (+0.14%), while the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), CSI (-0.31%) and KOSPI (-0.34%) are losing ground. In a widely expected move the Bank of Korea raised rates for a second time since August, taking the policy rate to 1.0%. The BOK revised its inflation outlook to 2.3% for 2021 and 2% for 2022 which was expected. Futures markets are higher with the S&P 500 (+0.28%) and DAX (+0.35%) trading in the green. Treasuries are closed. Back to yesterday, and one of the main pieces of news came from Germany, where there was finally confirmation that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP had agreed a full coalition deal. In terms of the economic measures, the notable ones include a restoration of the debt brake from 2023, which has been suspended during the pandemic, as well as an increase in the minimum wage to €12 per hour. We’ll wait to see if dealing with the climate emergency is carved out to some degree from the debt brake. I suspect it will be in some form. Assuming the deal is agreed by each of the parties, who will put the agreement to internal party approval processes, that could see the SPD’s Olaf Scholz become Chancellor in the week commencing December 6, bringing an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. That new coalition will be coming into office at a difficult time in light of the latest covid wave across Europe, and in his remarks yesterday, Scholz said that they would consider targeted vaccination mandates for those working with vulnerable groups. That came as the Bild newspaper reported that Chancellor Merkel asked the members of the new coalition to impose a 2-week nationwide lockdown, but this was rejected in a meeting on Tuesday evening. Overnight Germany reported 75,961 new cases, up from 66,884 on Tuesday. Other countries are also moving to ramp up restrictions across the continent, with French health minister Veran expected to announce fresh measures at a news conference today, whilst Italy approved new curbs on the unvaccinated, including entry restrictions to enter restaurants and cinemas. Elsewhere, Slovakia announced a new lockdown that will see residents only permitted to leave home for work, education, or essential activities, with the closure of restaurants and non-essential shops for two weeks. A reminder that we are adding a daily G7 plus important country new cases chart every day in this email blast and a fatalities chart in the full pdf under “view report”. The day ahead has a fairly quiet calendar given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. On the central bank side however, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, and the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson and Schnabel, along with BoE Governor Bailey and the BoE’s Haskel. On top of that, the ECB will release the account of their October meeting, and data releases include the German GfK consumer confidence reading for December. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 08:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 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

American Defense Policy After Twenty Years Of War

American Defense Policy After Twenty Years Of War Authored by Jim Webb via NationalInterest.org, America has always been a place where the abrasion of continuous debate eventually produces creative solutions. Let’s agree on those solutions, and make the next twenty years a time of clear purpose and affirmative global leadership. The American scorecard for foreign policy achievements over the past twenty years is, frankly, pretty dismal. And without talking our way all around the globe, it’s clear that the most dismal score goes to the stupidest mistakes. We fought one war that we never should have fought and another war whose objectives grew so out of control that no amount of battlefield proficiency could overcome the naïve mission creep of the political and military leadership at the top that was defining what our troops were supposed to do. So, let me start with a couple of quotes from two pieces I wrote, one at the beginning of this twenty-year period and the other at the end.   On September 4, 2002, five months before the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Iraq, I wrote the following as part of a larger editorial for the Washington Post, warning that an invasion would be a strategic blunder: Nations such as China can only view the prospect of an American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall. Indeed, if one gives the Chinese credit for having a long-term strategy — and those who love to quote Sun Tzu might consider his nationality — it lends credence to their insistent cultivation of the Muslim world. An “American war” with the Muslims, occupying the very seat of their civilization, would allow the Chinese to isolate the United States diplomatically as they furthered their own ambitions in South and Southeast Asia. Almost exactly nineteen years later as the military planners serving the Biden Administration executed a shamefully incompetent final withdrawal from Afghanistan, I wrote the following for The National Interest, excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, in a piece entitled “Requiem for an Avoidable Disaster:”  …the war that we began was not the same war that we are finally bringing to an end. When we went into Afghanistan in 2001 our national concern was to eliminate terrorist entities who desired to attack us. The common understanding at the time was that we would operate with maneuver elements capable of attacking and neutralizing terrorist entities. It was never to occupy territory with permanent bases or to attempt to change the societal and governmental structure of the Afghan people. This “mission creep” began after a few years of successful operations and was obvious in 2004 when I was in the country as an embed journalist. The change in mission eventually increased our troop presence tenfold and sent our forces on an impossible political journey that no amount of military success could overcome. Why did all this happen? And how can we rectify the damage that has been done to the institutions that were involved, and to our international credibility? There’s an old saying that “success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan.” In this case, there were two entirely different categories of orphans, some of whom were not touched personally or even professionally, and some who gave up lives, limbs, and emotional health. For the policymakers in Washington, these were wars to be remotely managed inside the guide rails of theoretical national strategy and uncontrolled financial planning. As with so many other drawn-out military commitments with vaguely defined and often changing objectives, America’s diplomatic credibility steadily decreased while the price tag rose through the roof, into trillions of dollars and thousands of combat deaths. There is no way around the reality that these hand-selected policymakers, military and civilian alike, failed the country, even as many of them were being lionized in the media and offered lucrative post-retirement positions in the private sector. Their immediate strategic goals, vague as they were from the outset, were not accomplished. The larger necessity of meeting global challenges, and particularly China’s determined expansion, was put on the back burner as our operational and diplomatic capabilities were diverted into a constantly quarreling region with the deserved reputation of being the “Graveyard of Empires.” In the context of history, the human cost on the battlefield as viewed by those at the top was manageably small, and carried out by an all-volunteer military. Indeed, despite the length of twenty years of war and many ferocious engagements, the overall casualty numbers were historically low. DOD reports the total number of American military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over twenty years as 7,074, of which 5,474 were killed in action. This twenty-year number was about the same as six months of American casualties during any one of the peak years of fighting in Vietnam. Emotionally, although there was much sympathy and respect for our soldiers we were not really a nation in a fully engaged war. As the wars continued, life in America went on without disruption. A very small percentage of the country was at human or even family risk. The wars did not interfere on a national scale with the lives of those who chose not to serve. The economy was largely good. In places like my home state of Virginia it absolutely boomed with tens of billions of dollars going to Virginia-based programs in the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. This societal disconnect gave the policymakers great latitude in the manner in which they ran the wars. It also resulted in very little congressional oversight, either in operational concepts or in much-need scrutiny of DOD and State Department management and budgets. Powerpoint presentations replaced vigorous discussion. Serious introspection by Pentagon staff members gave way to bland reports from Beltway Bandit consultants hired to provide answers to questions asked during committee hearings. An “Overseas Contingency Fund” with billions of unlabeled dollars allowed military leaders to fund programs that were never directly authorized or specifically appropriated by Congress. To be blunt, the Pentagon and the Joint commands were basically making their own rules, and to hell with everybody else. This was not the Congress in which I had worked as a full committee counsel during the Carter Administration. Nor was it the Pentagon in which I had served as an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan. At the other end of the pipeline, it was different. For those who did serve, and especially for those who served in ground combat units and in special operations, being thrown into the middle of a region where violence and bitter retribution is the norm was often a life-altering experience. Repetitive combat tours pulled them away from home, from family, and from the normal routines of their peers again and again, creating burnout from unresolved personal issues of stress and readjustment to civilian life. So-called “stop loss” programs kept many soldiers on active duty after their initial terms of service were supposed to end, a policy that brought the not-unreal slogan that stop-loss was, in reality, nothing more than a back-door version of the draft: We have you. And we are going to keep you until we no longer need you. The traditional policy of allowing troops a two-to-one ratio of “dwell time” at home between deployments was repeatedly shortened until, for the Army, the ratio was less than one-to-one, requiring soldiers to return to combat for fifteen months with only twelve months at home to recuperate, refurbish, and retrain. Those who left the military after one enlistment rather than choosing a career were largely ignored by commands that provided little post-military guidance and sent battle-weary young soldiers home without much more than a goodbye. But along the way, as with those who have served our country in uniform in every other war, our young military did the job that they were sent to do, no matter the overall wisdom of the mission itself. With respect to these capable and dedicated young Americans who stepped forward to serve, I feel fortunate to have been able to play a part in making sure that the public was aware of the contributions they made, and to put into place policies that recognized and properly rewarded their service. And as a writer, journalist and later a Senator I was able to use whatever pulpit was available in order to emphasize that our greatest strategic challenges were not in the places where our elites had decided to invest our people and our national treasure, and to call for the country’s leadership to cease its unfortunate obsession with a region that has never needed a permanent American ground presence as a means of mediating, much less resolving, its centuries-old conflicts. You don’t take out a hornet’s nest by sitting on top of it. We’re smarter than that, and also more capable.   In addition to working on strongly felt issues such as economic fairness and criminal justice reform, once I was elected to the Senate I took a two-pronged approach to resolving the mess that had been made in our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first involved our larger strategic interests. I immediately gained a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two years later was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. From our immediate office, I designed a staff—and a legislative approach—that would energetically re-emphasize our commitment to relations in East Asia, and recruited good people to carry out that approach. My mission to my staff was that we were going to work to invigorate American relations in East Asia, particularly in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, and we were going to open up Burma to the outside world. We did more than talk about this, averaging three intense trips every year where I was able to meet with top leaders in those countries as well as almost every other country in ASEAN. Barack Obama later announced a similar policy after he was elected two years later, calling it the “Pivot to Asia.” Unfortunately, his administration’s approach skirted the largest issue in the region by avoiding any major confrontations with China. The pivot was largely abandoned at a crucial period in 2012 after China claimed sovereignty over a two million square kilometer area of the South China Sea, and began militarizing numerous contested islands claimed by several other countries. The Obama administration declined to criticize China’s actions, saying that the United States would not take a position on sovereignty issues. Quite obviously, not taking a position in this matter was defaulting to China’s aggressive acts. I responded by introducing a Senate resolution condemning any use of military force in the resolution of sovereignty issues in the South China Sea, which passed with a unanimous vote. The second involved the day-to-day manner in which our wars were being fought, and the way that our younger military people were being treated by those at the top. I participated in numerous hearings on all aspects from my seats on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, becoming even more concerned about the lack of serious congressional oversight. During one Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-invasion reconstruction efforts, an assistant secretary of state testified that the United States had spent 32 billion dollars on different smaller-scale projects.  I asked him to provide me and the committee a complete list of every project, as well as the cost. That was in 2007. I’m still waiting for his answer. This was clearly not the way things worked when I was a counsel in the House, where such requests were often answered within a day or two, from information that had already been compiled. In fact, the lack of an answer, despite follow-up calls from my staff, followed a broader pattern that had evolved after 9/11 when vague answers and delayed responses had become the norm, a deliberate and increasingly routine snub of the Congress by higher-level members of the executive branch. Take your choice. This was either incompetent leadership or deliberate obstruction. If the congressional liaisons from DOD were able to provide specific, complicated data within a day or two in 1977, certainly the computers of 2007 were capable of doing so after thirty years of technological progress. I responded by co-authoring legislation along with Senator Claire McCaskill that created the Wartime Contracts Commission, modeled after the Truman Commission of World War Two. After three years of investigations, the commission’s final report estimated that due to major failures in our contracting system the United States had squandered up to 60 billion dollars through contract waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the commission lacked subpoena power or criminal jurisdiction over actions taken in the past, but it certainly got the attention of would-be fraudsters, led to better record-keeping, improved the oversight process, and put a marker down for contracts from that point forward.   Having grown up in the military, and serving as an infantry Marine in Vietnam, and with a son who had left college to enlist in the Marine Corps infantry and fought in Ramadi, Iraq during one of the worst periods in that war, I seized the opportunity – and undertook the obligation – to properly reward the contributions of those who had stepped forward to serve. Immediately after I won the election to the Senate, and two months before actually being sworn in, I sat down with the Senate legislative counsel and drafted the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Having spent four years as a full committee counsel on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, my legislative model was the GI Bill that had been given to our World War Two veterans, the most generous GI Bill in history up to that time: pay for the veteran’s tuition and fees, buy the books, and provide a monthly living stipend. For every tax dollar that was spent on the World War Two GI bill, our treasury received eight dollars in tax remunerations from veterans who had gone on to successful lives. By contrast, the Vietnam Era GI Bill had provided only a monthly payment that in almost every case was far less than the costs of higher education, beginning in 1966 at a paltry rate of 50 dollars a month and ending in the early 1970s at $340 a month. I introduced the Post-9/11 GI Bill on my first day as a Senator. I put together a bipartisan leadership team—two Republicans, John Warner and Chuck Hagel; two Democrats, Frank Lautenberg and myself; two of them World War Two veterans, and two of them Vietnam veterans. Sixteen months later in a modern-day Congressional miracle, the bill became law, ironically over the strong opposition of the Bush Administration to the very end. The White House and the Pentagon claimed that such a generous bill would affect retention, causing too many people to leave the military. The obvious but implicit message was, Don’t treat them too good; they’ll leave. This position was taken by general officers who were going to receive a couple of hundred thousand dollars every year in military retirement when they themselves decided to leave. Having spent five years in the Pentagon and being intimately familiar with manpower issues, I held a completely different belief, that the generosity of the new GI Bill would enhance enlistments and help broaden the base of our overall military. In a back-handed compliment, at least in my view, I was not invited to the White House for the ceremony when the President signed the bill. But to date, millions of post-9/11 veterans have used this Bill, which is beyond cavil the most generous GI Bill in history. It has created opportunities and empowered the careers of people who are now making their way into positions of leadership and influence throughout the country. Shortly after I introduced the GI Bill, I introduced legislation to mandate a proper ratio for dwell time between overseas deployments. The legislation would have required that military members not be returned to combat unless they had been home for at least the amount of time that they had previously been gone. This was not unreasonable. A two-to-one ratio was a simple formula that reflected traditional rotation cycles. With the continuous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan it had fallen to less than one-to-one, which meant that for years our soldiers would be gone longer than they were at home, and when they were at home they would be spending much of their time getting ready to go back. This reality was clearly affecting not only morale but also the potential for long-term emotional difficulties such as post-traumatic stress. Predictably, the White House and the Pentagon opposed the legislation. Some claimed that I had designed it with a hidden agenda to slow down the war in Iraq. Others, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, claimed that the legislation was unconstitutional, that Congress could not intervene in the operational tempo of the military since the President was the Commander in Chief. But a precedent was already set. During the Korean War, Congress had ceased the deployment of soldiers who were being sent to the war zone without proper training by mandating that no military members could be deployed overseas unless they had spent 120 days on active duty. If the military leaders weren’t going to take care of their people, it was only right that Congress should set proper boundaries. The Republicans filibustered the legislation, which then required sixty votes for passage. Although the bill twice received a fifty-six vote majority, with several Republican votes for passage, we did not break the filibuster.  But we did put the issue of dwell time firmly before Congress and the public, and the two-to-one deployment cycle eventually became the express goal inside the Department of Defense. All of that is history. I put it before you as something of a template to show the patterns that evolved and have continued over the past twenty years, as well as evidence that strong and informed leadership in Congress can turn things around. In many ways, this dislocation is between those who make policy—including military leaders—and those who carry it out. It continues due to the group mentality of a foreign policy aristocracy seeking common agreement rather than original thought. And it has exacerbated this ever-growing dislocation by freezing out those who are not, basically, in the club because their thinking does not fit the usual mantra and their ideas threaten the prevailing orthodoxy. We need these other voices. There are lessons to be learned and unavoidable questions that need to be answered at every level. Some involve the articulation of our national security objectives and how we define national strategy. Some involve when and how we should use the military for operational missions in harm’s way. And some involve the actual makeup of these military missions, from their remote or covert or overt nature, and if deployed in large numbers how large that footprint should be, and what portion should consist of military contractors along the lines of the past twenty years. And for those who want to repair the damage, it challenges us to find clear ways where we can move forward. Who do we hold accountable for the random and often changing strategic mistakes that have damaged our strength and our reputation? How do we move forward in the way we articulate and implement our national strategy here at home? How do we regain our respect in the international community, both among our friends who need us, and from potential adversaries who pray every day that America will lose its willpower, that we would be so overcome by military failures abroad and turbulence at home that the nation itself will atrophy and descend into the ranks of an also-ran, second-rate power?   We should begin with a vigorous and open discussion about the makeup, power, and influence of America’s massive defense establishment. And here I’m talking about the highest levels of our uniformed military, the civilian government officials, the powerful defense corporations, the numerous think tanks funded heavily by the defense industry, the hugely influential lobbying organizations, and—if not at the bottom, certainly in the bullseye of the efforts of all of these entities—the authorizing and appropriating committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. Couple that with the media of all sorts, particularly the huge growth of the internet and social media, and one can see how complicated the debate over any controversial issue can become. We were warned about this, sixty years ago, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his well-remembered speech about the “military / industrial complex.” The speech was the president’s carefully placed farewell message to the American people, made just three days before he left office. His words resonate, symbolic in their timing as his final shot across the bow, and coming as they did from this former five-star general who knew the military with a completeness that no other American president could ever match. After commenting that in the aftermath of World War Two the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience,” Eisenhower expressed his concern about the “total influence – economic, political, even spiritual” of this new reality “in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”   The outgoing, immensely popular President then bluntly called out the members of his own professional culture—the military itself—and the bond its top leaders were increasingly forming with America’s defense corporations. “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military / industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Looking at the decades following his speech and particularly the past twenty years, I believe President Eisenhower would be amazed at how massively this military-industrial complex has grown, how entangled the relationships between the military and the industrial complex have become, and how much it has affected the career paths of civilian “experts,” as well as the positions taken by many senior flag officers facing retirement. Lucrative civilian careers have been made through the “revolving doors” of serving for a few years in appointed posts in the Departments of Defense and State, or by working on committee staffs in the Congress, then rotating over the space of many years in and out of government into the defense-oriented industry and in the ever more influential think tanks, some of them heavily funded by corporations with major financial interests in defense contracts. The number of people involved in such revolving doors and the amount of money flowing back and forth would have stunned the understanding of people in Eisenhower’s era. Likewise, many military officers have made similar career moves, taking advantage of skills and relationships that were developed while on active duty. Those in uniform and others who work in the area of national defense regularly comment about the potential for conflicts of interest among the most senior flag officers as they carry out their final active duty positions before retiring and prepare for their next career in the civilian world. Critical issues ranging from the procurement of weapons systems to carrying out politically sensitive military operations often comprise the way in which potential civilian employers decide on the next chapter in their lives. A hand played well can bring large financial benefits. A hand played poorly can result in media stigma or even being relieved of their duties, and a beach house in Tarpon Springs. As with other areas of public service, it would be useful for Congress to examine the firewalls in place in order to maintain the vitally important separation of the military, on the one side, and the industrial complex on the other, just as President Dwight Eisenhower so prophetically pointed out sixty years ago. Dwight Eisenhower would have liked General Robert Barrow, the twenty-seventh commandant of the Marine Corps. His leadership example personally inspired me, both during and after my service in the Corps. We had many personal discussions over the years, until he passed away in 2008. He was a great combat leader. He mastered guerrilla warfare while fighting Japanese units alongside Chinese soldiers in World War Two. In the Korean War, he received the Navy Cross, our country’s second-highest award, for extraordinary heroism as a company commander during the historic breakout from the Chosin Reservoir. And in Vietnam, he was known as one of the war’s finest regimental commanders. He knew war, he knew loyalty, and he knew his Marines. General Barrow was fond of emphasizing that moral courage was often harder, and more exemplary, than physical courage. On matters of principle, he would not bend. During one difficult period when he was dealing with serious issues in the political process, the four-star Commandant calmly pointed out to me that his obligation was to run the Marine Corps “the same way a good company commander runs his rifle company: I’ll do the best job I know how to do, and if you don’t like what I’m doing, then fire me.” It is rare these days to see such leaders wearing the stars of a general or an admiral. And thinking of President Eisenhower’s prescient warnings about what he termed the “the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals,” I have no doubt that he and General Barrow shared the same concerns. General Barrow held another firm belief. Having served as Commandant of the Marine Corps, he believed it would soil the dignity of that office by trading on its credibility for financial gain through banging on doors in Washington as a lobbyist or serving as a board member giving a defense-related corporation his prized insider’s advice on how to sell their product. The Japanese have a saying that “life is a generation, but reputation is forever.” And General Barrow’s pristine motivation will forever preserve his honor. I grew up in the military. I know the price that families must pay when their fathers or now even their mothers are continuously deployed, because I lived it as a very young boy. My father, a pilot who flew B-17s and B-29s in World War Two and cargo planes in the Berlin Airlift, was continually deployed either overseas or on bases with no family housing, at one point for more than three years. I know the demands and yet the honor of leading infantry Marines in combat and then spending years in and out of the hospital after being wounded. I know what it is like to be a father with a son deployed in a very bad place as an enlisted infantry Marine. And most of all I know the pride that comes from being able to say for the rest of my life that when my country called, I was there, and I took care of my people. My other major point today is that our top leaders in all sectors of national defense need to get going and develop a clearly articulated foreign policy. We have lost twenty years, unfortunately fulfilling the prediction that I made in the Washington Post five months before the invasion of Iraq that “Nations such as China can only view the prospect of an American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall.” And for China, indeed it was. It’s ironic that we are now hearing frantic warnings from our uniformed leaders about China’s determined expansionism, both military and economic, and particularly about how recent reports of Chinese technological leaps might be something of a new “Sputnik” moment where America has been caught off-guard and now must rush to catch up. Too bad they weren’t following this as these policies and technological improvements were developed by the Chinese over at least the past two decades, while our focus remained intently on the never-ending and never-resolved brawls in the Middle East. The very people who now are wringing their hands and calling for a full-fledged effort to counter such threats are the same people who should have been warning the nation of their possibility ten or even twenty years ago. So, ask yourself: If things go wrong, who then shall we blame? Much of the world is now uneasy with China’s unremitting aggression on its home turf in Asia. Over the past decade, China has been calling its own shots, rejecting international law and public opinion while flexing its muscle to signal its view that it will soon replace the United States as the region’s dominant military, diplomatic and economic power. Beijing has taken down Hong Kong’s democracy movement; started military spats with India; disrupted life for tens of millions by damming the headwaters of the Mekong River; conducted what our government now deems a campaign of genocide against Muslim Uighurs; escalated tensions with Japan over the Senkaku Islands; consolidated its illegal occupation and militarization of islands in the South China Sea; and made repeated bellicose gestures designed to test the international community’s resistance to “unifying” the “renegade province” of Taiwan. China’s military is expanding and modernizing and its Navy is becoming not only technological but global. While we expended a huge portion of our human capital, emotional energy, and national treasure on two wars, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has had a major economic impact in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and with individual governments on other continents. In Africa, whose population has quadrupled since 1970 and which counts only one of the world’s top thirty countries in Gross National Product, more than forty countries have signed on to China’s BRI. Let’s get going. We have alliances to enhance, and extensive national security interests to protect. We need to address these issues immediately and with clarity. America has always been a place where the abrasion of continuous debate eventually produces creative solutions. Eventually is now. Let’s agree on those solutions, and make the next twenty years a time of clear purpose and affirmative global leadership. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

How the Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Can Work Together

While the transitions to WFH may have appeared to have been smooth-ish (in hindsight), coming back to work will be all the more anxiety-driving. One apparent challenge is how to get vaccinated and unvaccinated people to work together. While vaccinations are a personal choice, in trying to implement policies, you don’t want to offend anyone, […] While the transitions to WFH may have appeared to have been smooth-ish (in hindsight), coming back to work will be all the more anxiety-driving. One apparent challenge is how to get vaccinated and unvaccinated people to work together. While vaccinations are a personal choice, in trying to implement policies, you don’t want to offend anyone, jeopardize anyone, or get sued in the process. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As an employer, you now find yourself in new and volatile territory. In fact, while you did nothing to ‘find yourself’ in this position, you have a very active role – to chart this territory for your organization, clear a path in the ever-changing terrain, and guide your employees along with as few casualties as possible. How then can you navigate this task? I’ve been studying medical decision-making, publishing academic papers about it, and consulting within the industry for nearly two decades now. Health and medical choices raise ethical issues for everyone. My guiding principle—based on my education and the knowledge that I bring in psychology and behavioural economics—is to make sure that information is conveyed clearly so that people can understand it. As an employer, I suggest you solve the foggy ethical issues by using safety as your guiding principle. This, followed by principles that consider the complexity of the matter, will empower you to maximize health and minimize grudges. The ABCDEF model I developed suggests that you: Acknowledge beliefs and concerns. Be transparent about your policy. Cite the law. Do not get into medical arguments. Enforce. Form alternatives, where possible. But safety first. The only way an employer can tread there safely is by making employee safety their North Star. Actual safety, in the physical sense, is, therefore, the first item on my list. Ironically, the Safety First movement was formed in the early 20th century to protect employees from hazardous working conditions. Now the hazard to employees comes from their own choices, which they are free to make, as long as safety isn’t compromised. This goes for vaccinations, as well as for masking and other protective measures. Though people are free to make decisions, their choices affect others, and the consequences can be harmful. The only person that is safer when you get vaccinated is yourself. Yes, you supposedly decrease viral load with vaccines which then decreases the number of people you infect if you get it, but the best way to really decrease infecting others is to not be in super spreader situations with them. Or to take the proper precautions if you must be in those situations. With that in mind, you should make your workplace into a non-super-spreader event (open windows, good air filtration, meetings outdoors, etc.). That’s actually practicing safety first. However, such precautions are not always possible. Good luck having an outdoor meeting, or keeping the windows open, when it’s 12 degrees. Good luck being an unvaccinated nurse who needs to measure blood pressure while maintaining social distance from the patient. This is why, as an employer, vaccinations are your best, most consistent line of protection. Some employers, like the City of New York, are now enforcing vaccination mandates, such as for school workers. But not every employer can or wants to take such steps. How then can you keep everyone safe and everyone’s emotions (more or less) intact? Acknowledge Beliefs And Concerns Employees’ emotions cannot be wrong, even if their fears are unfounded. It’s a fine line, and you’d better not cross it. People need to be heard, so hear them out, merely reflecting back their words, a technique taken from Imago Relationship Therapy. Acknowledging helps maintain the employer-employee relationship that can definitely be trying when at this point, as employers navigate legal demands, safety concerns, keeping the business going, and employee preferences. This is what acknowledging sounds like: “I hear you. You believe that you eat organic food and work out, and you think this will protect you from COVID, so you do not need to vaccinate.” Mind you, acknowledging does not mean agreeing. Be Transparent About Your Policy Trust is the foundation of all relationships, including our relationships with institutions and governments and lack of transparency. When there isn’t reasoning behind decisions, trust is eroded. Create a policy that is founded on the law, and make it known to all, with no exceptions. If the COVID terrain changes and the policy needs to change, then, by all means, change it, but again, make it crystal clear what the changes are based on. Cite The Law You are not arm wrestling with your employees when you ask that they vaccinate or that if they choose not to vaccinate, they maintain social distancing,  mask up at all times, and provide negative proof of testing once a week. You’re merely following the law. Companies have a legal right to require employees to get vaccinated unless they have a conflicting disability or religious belief. That is one strong argument. In fact, if you neglect to follow the law, you might expect backlash from employees. There have been lawsuits against employers for being COVID-negligent, especially when employees got sick. Do Not Go Into Medical Arguments Chances are you are ill-equipped to deal with arguments like, “I have endometriosis, and the vaccine will hurt my fertility even further,” or, “My entire family was sick; my father died from COVID, and I was near him the whole time. So, for sure, I have antibodies or some natural immunity and do not need the vaccine.” These are conversations that you do not want to have or even need to have. Because there is no winning here. As I suggested above, you can acknowledge concerns by reflecting them back, even if you find no medical evidence that they are valid. And in any event, it is not your role to determine the validity of medical claims or to change employees’ views with data. Enforce Rules are worthless unless followed. Remember, COVID vaccination and other rules are meant to protect employees and to allow them to work together. Once you cut corners, such as allowing your most essential employee to show up unvaccinated and unmasked, you compromise safety and throw transparency out the window. That said, enforcement needs to be done both firmly and politely. The employer can say, “Our policy, based on the law, is for unvaccinated employees to bring negative COVID testing. You failed to do so, and I ask you to leave the premises right now.” Insults are unacceptable in any context (such as “are you so stupid that you don’t want to vaccinate against a disease that killed over 700,000 Americans?!). But so is neglecting to follow up on the company COVID policy you’ve outlined. Form Alternatives For example, is it possible for employees to work from home? This would remove the friction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. If so, offer this possibility to both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, so you’re not discriminating against anyone. Act within reason, all the while remembering that this is a workplace, so it’s problematic if people cannot do their jobs. For example, if a nurse won’t adhere to the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, she cannot phone in an ER shift. Indeed, the State of New York has mandated vaccinations for healthcare workers because safe alternatives could not be found. But it did so with legal backup and allowed time for employees to meet the requirement. Conclusion These steps should allow you to keep everyone’s emotions intact: both yours and your employees’ - vaccinated and unvaccinated. And, above all, to keep everyone healthy. Keep everyone productive because when teams are also comprised of friends, they perform better. And most importantly – follow this model to keep everyone safe. About the Author Dr. Talya Miron-Shatz is a keynote speaker, consultant, and researcher at the intersection of medicine and behavioral economics. She is the author of the new book, Your Life Depends on It: What You Can Do to Make Better Choices About Your Health. She is full professor at the business school of the Ono Academic College in Israel, senior fellow at the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest in New York, and a visiting researcher at the University of Cambridge. Miron-Shatz was a post-doctoral researcher at Princeton University, and a lecturer at Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of over 60 academic papers on medical decision-making. She is CEO of CureMyWay, an international health consulting firm whose clients include Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Samsung. Updated on Oct 12, 2021, 5:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 12th, 2021

Gold Can’t Rise on Weak Payrolls

The US economy added only 194,000 jobs in September, falling short of expectations, but the Fed can still taper soon – and gold knows it. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Another disappointment from the economy! The September nonfarm payrolls came surprisingly weak. As the chart below shows, the US labor market added […] The US economy added only 194,000 jobs in September, falling short of expectations, but the Fed can still taper soon – and gold knows it. 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 Another disappointment from the economy! The September nonfarm payrolls came surprisingly weak. As the chart below shows, the US labor market added only 194,000 jobs last month, much below the expectations (analysts forecasted about half a million added jobs). The disappointing numbers followed the additions of 1,091,000 in July and 366,000 in August (after an upward revision). The most recent job gains were the weakest since December 2020. However, the overall report was generally more positive than the headline. First of all, the unemployment rate declined from 5.2% to 4.8%, as the chart above shows.  It’s a positive surprise, as economists expected a drop to only 5.1%. In absolute terms, the number of unemployed people fell by 710,000 - to 7.7 million. It’s a considerably lower level compared to the recessionary peak, but still significantly higher than before the pandemic (5.7 million and unemployment rate of 3.5%). Second, taking revisions into account, the employment in July and August combined is 169,000 higher than previously reported. It means that the monthly job growth has averaged 561,000 so far this year and about 550,000 over the last three months. Third, the main reason for the very weak nonfarm payrolls was a decline in local and state government education - by 161,000. Most back-to-school-hiring typically occurs in September, but the recruitment last month was lower than usual, which some analysts attribute to early retirement of some teachers, mask-wearing mandates and vaccination requirements. Another issue is that the report is based on data that was collected when the Delta variant of the coronavirus was reaching its peak, and now the situation looks better. Implications for Gold What does the recent employment report imply for the Fed’s monetary policy and the gold market? Well, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters during his press conference in September that he would like to see a “reasonably good” or “decent” employment report before deciding that the Fed’s threshold for reducing its asset purchasing program has been met. So, you know, for me, it wouldn’t take a knockout, great, super strong employment report. It would take a reasonably good employment report for me to feel like that test is met. And others on the Committee, many on the Committee feel that the test is already met. Others want to see more progress. And, you know, we’ll work it out as we go. But I would say that, in my own thinking, the test is all but met. So I don’t personally need to see a very strong employment report, but I’d like it see a decent employment report. Now, the question is whether 194,000 job gains are decent enough to taper the quantitative easing. Interpreting words of an oracle is never an easy task. The September payrolls are neither strong nor a catastrophe. However, given the level of expectations and the fact that job gains were weaker than in August (commonly considered a great disappointment) I wouldn’t describe the latest payrolls as “decent”. However, we have to remember that the overall report was much better than the payrolls analyzed in isolation. Given the significant decline in the unemployment rate, the September employment report can be defended as “decent”. So, the Fed can still taper in November, or announce it at least, especially that some members of the FOMC were ready to tighten US monetary policy already in September. It seems that my line of thinking is in line with the market’s interpretation of the Fed’s likely course of action. The price of gold jumped briefly on Friday above $1,780, but it could not break the resistance or hold this position and returned quickly to its recent comfort zone of $1,750-1,760. The rather shy reaction of the yellow metal can be seen on the chart below. Gold’s inability to shine in response to the second weak nonfarm payrolls in a row or to the inflation worries is quite disappointing. Well, Mr. Market decided that the September employment report wouldn’t restrain the Fed from tapering. The focus on the upcoming tightening cycle creates downward pressure on gold prices, which counterweighs worries about the labor market or inflation. However, it might be the case that the price of the yellow metal will bottom somewhere around the actual start of tapering, and, without all that pressure around the tapering announcement, it could be free to move upward again. If you enjoyed today’s free gold report, we invite you to check out our premium services. We provide much more detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. In order to enjoy our gold analyses in their full scope, we invite you to subscribe today. If you’re not ready to subscribe yet though and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today! Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care Updated on Oct 12, 2021, 2:43 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 12th, 2021

How Wrong Can Things Get?

        Last week, I asked, “What if things go right?” Today, we are going to find out “How wrong can things get?” At least in New York State, where September 27th is the date vaccine mandates go into effect for healthcare workers and others. The US has a pre-existing condition – namely,… Read More The post How Wrong Can Things Get? appeared first on The Big Picture.         Last week, I asked, “What if things go right?” Today, we are going to find out “How wrong can things get?” At least in New York State, where September 27th is the date vaccine mandates go into effect for healthcare workers and others. The US has a pre-existing condition – namely, a shortage of skilled nurses and other health care professionals. That will present a challenge to the industry. Will nurses and others who refuse to get jabbed quit (or technically refuse to comply with job requirements, thereby not getting unemployment benefits)? I discussed this with an eldercare attorney (My 85-year old mom updated her NYS power of attorney/health care proxy). It’s not just hospitals but assisted living facilities, nursing homes, rehab centers, just about any medical facility. There is a shortage of people is reducing the quality of care everywhere, and that is under normal circumstances. Along the Gulf Coast, hospitals have been filled past capacity due to a refusal to follow basic medical advice – get vaccinated, and where infection rates rise, wear a mask and social distance. There is nothing radical about any of this, except for how it has been politicized by opportunistic politicos aided by social media misinformation pushed along by Russian Agitprop. I did some digging around, and the consensus I heard among medical professionals was that doctors run in the high 90s% for vaccinations, nurses high 50%s to low 60%, and other crucial healthcare workers even lower. I have not confirmed these numbers (they could be wrong), but does it ever light up my confirmation bias: More education, more vaccinations. If these numbers prove to be accurate, it creates an interesting test case as to what factors drive health care misinformation, how we can track that, and what we can do to repair it. Strange data point: Catching Covid in the line of duty is now the leading cause of death for police – cops are twice as likely to die of Covid than be shot and killed. But their unions are fighting vaccine mandates. Note most departments mandate bulletproof vests regardless of how hot or uncomfortable wearing them might be. “Death before… a Jab?” seems like an odd hill to die on. France badly lagged other economically developed countries soon after the vaccines became available, but they turned it around. I was unaware that the French have long been vaccine hesitancy. As the NYT reported, a mix of “mandates and inducements encouraged millions to get the shot as the Delta variant spread.” Meanwhile, as you can see from the chart up top, the USA had leaped out to a fast start in vaccinations, but then fell behind. The combination of misinformation and partisan politicization has proven deadly. Now, the U.S. has fallen to the lowest vaccination rate among the world’s wealthiest democracies. A glimmer of hope was found in people’s self-preservation instinct, when hospitalizations and deaths spiked, vaccination rates improved (even in Florida and Texas). Why is a self-professed data-loving market junky who dabbles in behavioral finance paying attention to this? Because the next few quarters of economic activity will be impacted by all of this – maybe even the next few years. Retail sales, travel, wages, etc. lead to more (or less) revenues and profits which affect sentiment, risk appetite, and market valuations. A more normal set of circumstances leads the Fed to get off of its emergency footing, normalizes rates, and shrink its balance sheet. The sooner we can get everybody fully vaxxed, the sooner the economy returns to normal.       Previously: What If Things Go Right? (September 23, 2021) DELTA is Coming For Your Economic Recovery (August 13, 2021) Beware Russian Agitprop (August 17, 2021)   The post How Wrong Can Things Get? appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 27th, 2021

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org, You asked for it, so we made it. A collection of all the arguments you’ll ever need. We get a lot of e-mails and private messages along these lines “do you have a source for X?” or “can you point me to mask studies?” or “I know I saw a graph for mortality, but I can’t find it anymore”. And we understand, it’s been a long 18 months, and there are so many statistics and numbers to try and keep straight in your head. So, to deal with all these requests, we decided to make a bullet-pointed and sourced list for all the key points. A one-stop-shop. Here are key facts and sources about the alleged “pandemic”, that will help you get a grasp on what has happened to the world since January 2020, and help you enlighten any of your friends who might be still trapped in the New Normal fog: “Covid deaths” – Lockdowns – PCR Tests – “asymptomatic infection” – Ventilators – Masks – Vaccines – Deception & Foreknowledge *  *  * PART I: “COVID DEATHS” & MORTALITY 1. The survival rate of “Covid” is over 99%. Government medical experts went out of their way to underline, from the beginning of the pandemic, that the vast majority of the population are not in any danger from Covid. Almost all studies on the infection-fatality ratio (IFR) of Covid have returned results between 0.04% and 0.5%. Meaning Covid’s survival rate is at least 99.5%. * 2. There has been NO unusual excess mortality. The press has called 2020 the UK’s “deadliest year since world war two”, but this is misleading because it ignores the massive increase in the population since that time. A more reasonable statistical measure of mortality is Age-Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR): By this measure, 2020 isn’t even the worst year for mortality since 2000, In fact since 1943 only 9 years have been better than 2020. Similarly, in the US the ASMR for 2020 is only at 2004 levels: For a detailed breakdown of how Covid affected mortality across Western Europe and the US click here. What increases in mortality we have seen could be attributable to non-Covid causes [facts 7, 9 & 19]. * 3. “Covid death” counts are artificially inflated. Countries around the globe have been defining a “Covid death” as a “death by any cause within 28/30/60 days of a positive test”. Healthcare officials from Italy, Germany, the UK, US, Northern Ireland and others have all admitted to this practice: Removing any distinction between dying of Covid, and dying of something else after testing positive for Covid will naturally lead to over-counting of “Covid deaths”. British pathologist Dr John Lee was warning of this “substantial over-estimate” as early as last spring. Other mainstream sources have reported it, too. Considering the huge percentage of “asymptomatic” Covid infections [14], the well-known prevalence of serious comorbidities [fact 4] and the potential for false-positive tests [fact 18], this renders the Covid death numbers an extremely unreliable statistic. * 4. The vast majority of covid deaths have serious comorbidities. In March 2020, the Italian government published statistics showing 99.2% of their “Covid deaths” had at least one serious comorbidity. These included cancer, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure and diabetes (among others). Over 50% of them had three or more serious pre-existing conditions. This pattern has held up in all other countries over the course of the “pandemic”. An October 2020 FOIA request to the UK’s ONS revealed less than 10% of the official “Covid death” count at that time had Covid as the sole cause of death. * 5. Average age of “Covid death” is greater than the average life expectancy. The average age of a “Covid death” in the UK is 82.5 years. In Italy it’s 86. Germany, 83. Switzerland, 86. Canada, 86. The US, 78, Australia, 82. In almost all cases the median age of a “Covid death” is higher than the national life expectancy. As such, for most of the world, the “pandemic” has had little-to-no impact on life expectancy. Contrast this with the Spanish flu, which saw a 28% drop in life expectancy in the US in just over a year. [source] * 6. Covid mortality exactly mirrors the natural mortality curve. Statistical studies from the UK and India have shown that the curve for “Covid death” follows the curve for expected mortality almost exactly: The risk of death “from Covid” follows, almost exactly, your background risk of death in general. The small increase for some of the older age groups can be accounted for by other factors.[facts 7, 9 & 19] * 7. There has been a massive increase in the use of “unlawful” DNRs. Watchdogs and government agencies have reported huge increases in the use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) over the last twenty months. In the US, hospitals considered “universal DNRs” for any patient who tested positive for Covid, and whistleblowing nurses have admitted the DNR system was abused in New York. In the UK there was an “unprecdented” rise in “illegal” DNRs for disabled people, GP surgeries sent out letters to non-terminal patients recommending they sign DNR orders, whilst other doctors signed “blanket DNRs” for entire nursing homes. A study done by Sheffield Univerisity found over one-third of all “suspected” Covid patients had a DNR attached to their file within 24 hours of hospital admission. Blanket use of coerced or illegal DNR orders could account for any increases in mortality in 2020/21.[Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART II: LOCKDOWNS 8. Lockdowns do not prevent the spread of disease. There is little to no evidence lockdowns have any impact on limiting “Covid deaths”. If you compare regions that locked down to regions that did not, you can see no pattern at all. “Covid deaths” in Florida (no lockdown) vs California (lockdown) “Covid deaths” in Sweden (no lockdown) vs UK (lockdown) * 9. Lockdowns kill people. There is strong evidence that lockdowns – through social, economic and other public health damage – are deadlier than the “virus”. Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19 described lockdowns as a “global catastrophe” in October 2020: We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus[…] it seems we may have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition […] This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe.” A UN report from April 2020 warned of 100,000s of children being killed by the economic impact of lockdowns, while tens of millions more face possible poverty and famine. Unemployment, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug use and other social/mental health crises are spiking all over the world. While missed and delayed surgeries and screenings are going to see increased mortality from heart disease, cancer et al. in the near future. The impact of lockdown would account for the small increases in excess mortality [Facts 2 & 6] * 10. Hospitals were never unusually over-burdened. the main argument used to defend lockdowns is that “flattening the curve” would prevent a rapid influx of cases and protect healthcare systems from collapse. But most healthcare systems were never close to collapse at all. In March 2020 it was reported that hospitals in Spain and Italy were over-flowing with patients, but this happens every flu season. In 2017 Spanish hospitals were at 200% capacity, and 2015 saw patients sleeping in corridors. A paper JAMA paper from March 2020 found that Italian hospitals “typically run at 85-90% capacity in the winter months”. In the UK, the NHS is regularly stretched to breaking point over the winter. As part of their Covid policy, the NHS announced in Spring of 2020 that they would be “re-organizing hospital capacity in new ways to treat Covid and non-Covid patients separately” and that “as result hospitals will experience capacity pressures at lower overall occupancy rates than would previously have been the case.” This means they removed thousands of beds. During an alleged deadly pandemic, they reduced the maximum occupancy of hospitals. Despite this, the NHS never felt pressure beyond your typical flu season, and at times actually had 4x more empty beds than normal. In both the UK and US millions were spent on temporary emergency hospitals that were never used. *  *  * PART III: PCR TESTS 11. PCR tests were not designed to diagnose illness. The Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is described in the media as the “gold standard” for Covid diagnosis. But the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the process never intended it to be used as a diagnostic tool, and said so publicly: PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.” * 12. PCR Tests have a history of being inaccurate and unreliable. The “gold standard” PCR tests for Covid are known to produce a lot of false-positive results, by reacting to DNA material that is not specific to Sars-Cov-2. A Chinese study found the same patient could get two different results from the same test on the same day. In Germany, tests are known to have reacted to common cold viruses. A 2006 study found PCR tests for one virus responded to other viruses too. In 2007, a reliance on PCR tests resulted in an “outbreak” of Whooping Cough that never actually existed. Some tests in the US even reacted to the negative control sample. The late President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, submitted samples goat, pawpaw and motor oil for PCR testing, all came back positive for the virus. As early as February of 2020 experts were admitting the test was unreliable. Dr Wang Cheng, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences told Chinese state television “The accuracy of the tests is only 30-50%”. The Australian government’s own website claimed “There is limited evidence available to assess the accuracy and clinical utility of available COVID-19 tests.” And a Portuguese court ruled that PCR tests were “unreliable” and should not be used for diagnosis. You can read detailed breakdowns of the failings of PCR tests here, here and here. * 13. The CT values of the PCR tests are too high. PCR tests are run in cycles, the number of cycles you use to get your result is known as your “cycle threshold” or CT value. Kary Mullis said: “If you have to go more than 40 cycles[…]there is something seriously wrong with your PCR.” The MIQE PCR guidelines agree, stating: “[CT] values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported,” Dr Fauci himself even admitted anything over 35 cycles is almost never culturable. Dr Juliet Morrison, virologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times: Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive…I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive…A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35″. In the same article Dr Michael Mina, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the limit should be 30, and the author goes on to point out that reducing the CT from 40 to 30 would have reduced “covid cases” in some states by as much as 90%. The CDC’s own data suggests no sample over 33 cycles could be cultured, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says nothing over 30 cycles is likely to be infectious. Despite this, it is known almost all the labs in the US are running their tests at least 37 cycles and sometimes as high as 45. The NHS “standard operating procedure” for PCR tests rules set the limit at 40 cycles. Based on what we know about the CT values, the majority of PCR test results are at best questionable. * 14. The World Health Organization (Twice) Admitted PCR tests produced false positives. In December 2020 WHO put out a briefing memo on the PCR process instructing labs to be wary of high CT values causing false positive results: when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain. Then, in January 2021, the WHO released another memo, this time warning that “asymptomatic” positive PCR tests should be re-tested because they might be false positives: Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology. * 15. The scientific basis for Covid tests is questionable. The genome of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was supposedly sequenced by Chinese scientists in December 2019, then published on January 10th 2020. Less than two weeks later, German virologists (Christian Drosten et al.) had allegedly used the genome to create assays for PCR tests. They wrote a paper, Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR, which was submitted for publication on January 21st 2020, and then accepted on January 22nd. Meaning the paper was allegedly “peer-reviewed” in less than 24 hours. A process that typically takes weeks. Since then, a consortium of over forty life scientists has petitioned for the withdrawal of the paper, writing a lengthy report detailing 10 major errors in the paper’s methodology. They have also requested the release of the journal’s peer-review report, to prove the paper really did pass through the peer-review process. The journal has yet to comply. The Corman-Drosten assays are the root of every Covid PCR test in the world. If the paper is questionable, every PCR test is also questionable. *  *  * PART IV: “ASYMPTOMATIC INFECTION” 16. The majority of Covid infections are “asymptomatic”. From as early as March 2020, studies done in Italy were suggesting 50-75% of positive Covid tests had no symptoms. Another UK study from August 2020 found as much as 86% of “Covid patients” experienced no viral symptoms at all. It is literally impossible to tell the difference between an “asymptomatic case” and a false-positive test result. * 17. There is very little evidence supporting the alleged danger of “asymptomatic transmission”. In June 2020, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said: From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” A meta-analysis of Covid studies, published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in December 2020, found that asymptomatic carriers had a less than 1% chance of infecting people within their household. Another study, done on influenza in 2009, found: …limited evidence to suggest the importance of [asymptomatic] transmission. The role of asymptomatic or presymptomatic influenza-infected individuals in disease transmission may have been overestimated…” Given the known flaws of the PCR tests, many “asymptomatic cases” may be false positives.[fact 14] *  *  * PART V: VENTILATORS 18. Ventilation is NOT a treatment for respiratory viruses. Mechanical ventilation is not, and never has been, recommended treatment for respiratory infection of any kind. In the early days of the pandemic, many doctors came forward questioning the use of ventilators to treat “Covid”. Writing in The Spectator, Dr Matt Strauss stated: Ventilators do not cure any disease. They can fill your lungs with air when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. They are associated with lung diseases in the public’s consciousness, but this is not in fact their most common or most appropriate application. German Pulmonologist Dr Thomas Voshaar, chairman of Association of Pneumatological Clinics said: When we read the first studies and reports from China and Italy, we immediately asked ourselves why intubation was so common there. This contradicted our clinical experience with viral pneumonia. Despite this, the WHO, CDC, ECDC and NHS all “recommended” Covid patients be ventilated instead of using non-invasive methods. This was not a medical policy designed to best treat the patients, but rather to reduce the hypothetical spread of Covid by preventing patients from exhaling aerosol droplets. * 19. Ventilators killed people. Putting someone who is suffering from influenza, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or any other condition which restricts breathing or affects the lungs, will not alleviate any of those symptoms. In fact, it will almost certainly make it worse, and will kill many of them. Intubation tubes are a source of potential a infection known as “ventilator-associated pneumonia”, which studies show affects up to 28% of all people put on ventilators, and kills 20-55% of those infected. Mechanical ventilation is also damaging to the physical structure of the lungs, resulting in “ventilator-induced lung injury”, which can dramatically impact quality of life, and even result in death. Experts estimate 40-50% of ventilated patients die, regardless of their disease. Around the world, between 66 and 86% of all “Covid patients” put on ventilators died. According to the “undercover nurse”, ventilators were being used so improperly in New York, they were destroying patients’ lungs: This policy was negligence at best, and potentially deliberate murder at worst. This misuse of ventilators could account for any increase in mortality in 2020/21 [Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART VI: MASKS 20. Masks don’t work. At least a dozen scientific studies have shown that masks do nothing to stop the spread of respiratory viruses. One meta-analysis published by the CDC in May 2020 found “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”. Another study with over 8000 subjects found masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” There are literally too many to quote them all, but you can read them: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Or read a summary by SPR here. While some studies have been done claiming to show mask do work for Covid, they are all seriously flawed. One relied on self-reported surveys as data. Another was so badly designed a panel of experts demand it be withdrawn. A third was withdrawn after its predictions proved entirely incorrect. The WHO commissioned their own meta-analysis in the Lancet, but that study looked only at N95 masks and only in hospitals. [For full run down on the bad data in this study click here.] Aside from scientific evidence, there’s plenty of real-world evidence that masks do nothing to halt the spread of disease. For example, North Dakota and South Dakota had near-identical case figures, despite one having a mask-mandate and the other not: In Kansas, counties without mask mandates actually had fewer Covid “cases” than counties with mask mandates. And despite masks being very common in Japan, they had their worst flu outbreak in decades in 2019. * 21. Masks are bad for your health. Wearing a mask for long periods, wearing the same mask more than once, and other aspects of cloth masks can be bad for your health. A long study on the detrimental effects of mask-wearing was recently published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Dr. James Meehan reported in August 2020 he was seeing increases in bacterial pneumonia, fungal infections, facial rashes . Masks are also known to contain plastic microfibers, which damage the lungs when inhaled and may be potentially carcinogenic. Childen wearing masks encourages mouth-breathing, which results in facial deformities. People around the world have passed out due to CO2 poisoning while wearing their masks, and some children in China even suffered sudden cardiac arrest. * 22. Masks are bad for the planet. Millions upon millions of disposable masks have been used per month for over a year. A report from the UN found the Covid19 pandemic will likely result in plastic waste more than doubling in the next few years., and the vast majority of that is face masks. The report goes on to warn these masks (and other medical waste) will clog sewage and irrigation systems, which will have knock on effects on public health, irrigation and agriculture. A study from the University of Swansea found “heavy metals and plastic fibres were released when throw-away masks were submerged in water.” These materials are toxic to both people and wildlife. *  *  * PART VII: VACCINES 23. Covid “vaccines” are totally unprecedented. Before 2020 no successful vaccine against a human coronavirus had ever been developed. Since then we have allegedly made 20 of them in 18 months. Scientists have been trying to develop a SARS and MERS vaccine for years with little success. Some of the failed SARS vaccines actually caused hypersensitivity to the SARS virus. Meaning that vaccinated mice could potentially get the disease more severely than unvaccinated mice. Another attempt caused liver damage in ferrets. While traditional vaccines work by exposing the body to a weakened strain of the microorganism responsible for causing the disease, these new Covid vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines theoretically work by injecting viral mRNA into the body, where it replicates inside your cells and encourages your body to recognise, and make antigens for, the “spike proteins” of the virus. They have been the subject of research since the 1990s, but before 2020 no mRNA vaccine was ever approved for use. * 24. Vaccines do not confer immunity or prevent transmission. It is readily admitted that Covid “vaccines” do not confer immunity from infection and do not prevent you from passing the disease onto others. Indeed, an article in the British Medical Journal highlighted that the vaccine studies were not designed to even try and assess if the “vaccines” limited transmission. The vaccine manufacturers themselves, upon releasing the untested mRNA gene therapies, were quite clear their product’s “efficacy” was based on “reducing the severity of symptoms”. * 25. The vaccines were rushed and have unknown longterm effects. Vaccine development is a slow, laborious process. Usually, from development through testing and finally being approved for public use takes many years. The various vaccines for Covid were all developed and approved in less than a year. Obviously there can be no long-term safety data on chemicals which are less than a year old. Pfizer even admit this is true in the leaked supply contract between the pharmaceutical giant, and the government of Albania: the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and that there may be adverse effects of the Vaccine that are not currently known Further, none of the vaccines have been subject to proper trials. Many of them skipped early-stage trials entirely, and the late-stage human trials have either not been peer-reviewed, have not released their data, will not finish until 2023 or were abandoned after “severe adverse effects”. * 26. Vaccine manufacturers have been granted legal indemnity should they cause harm. The USA’s Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) grants immunity until at least 2024. The EU’s product licensing law does the same, and there are reports of confidential liability clauses in the contracts the EU signed with vaccine manufacturers. The UK went even further, granting permanent legal indemnity to the government, and any employees thereof, for any harm done when a patient is being treated for Covid19 or “suspected Covid19”. Again, the leaked Albanian contract suggests that Pfizer, at least, made this indemnity a standard demand of supplying Covid vaccines: Purchaser hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer […] from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, losses, damages, liabilities, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses *  *  * PART VIII: DECEPTION & FOREKNOWLEDGE 27. The EU was preparing “vaccine passports” at least a YEAR before the pandemic began. Proposed COVID countermeasures, presented to the public as improvised emergency measures, have existed since before the emergence of the disease. Two EU documents published in 2018, the “2018 State of Vaccine Confidence” and a technical report titled “Designing and implementing an immunisation information system” discussed the plausibility of an EU-wide vaccination monitoring system. These documents were combined into the 2019 “Vaccination Roadmap”, which (among other things) established a “feasibility study” on vaccine passports to begin in 2019 and finish in 2021: This report’s final conclusions were released to the public in September 2019, just a month before Event 201 (below). * 28. A “training exercise” predicted the pandemic just weeks before it started. In October 2019 the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins University held Event 201. This was a training exercise based on a zoonotic coronavirus starting a worldwide pandemic. The exercise was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI the vaccine alliance. The exercise published its findings and recommendations in November 2019 as a “call to action”. One month later, China recorded their first case of “Covid”. * 29. Since the beginning of 2020, the Flu has “disappeared”. In the United States, since Februart 2020, influenza cases have allegedly dropped by over 98%. It’s not just the US either, globally flu has apparently almost completely disappeared. Meanwhile, a new disease called “Covid”, which has identical symptoms and a similar mortality rate to influenza, is supposedly sweeping the globe. * 30. The elite have made fortunes during the pandemic. Since the beginning of lockdown the wealthiest people have become significantly wealthier. Forbes reported that 40 new billionaires have been created “fighting the coronavirus”, with 9 of them being vaccine manufacturers. Business Insider reported that “billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars” by October 2020. Clearly that number will be even bigger by now. *  *  * These are the vital facts of the pandemic, presented here as a resource to help formulate and support your arguments with friends or strangers. Thanks to all the researchers who have collated and collected this information over the last twenty months, especially Swiss Policy Research. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Unmask America

Unmask America Authored by Jeff Deist via The Mises Institute, Enough is enough. It is time to stop wearing masks, or at the very least to eliminate mask mandates in all settings.  This is especially urgent for children in schools and universities, who suffer the effects of masks for long hours each day despite being at exceedingly low risk for death or serious illness from covid. We have a responsibility, once and for all, to reject the ludicrous, ever-shifting narratives underpinning masks as effective impediments to the spread of covid infections. Seriously people - STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus - former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams in February 2020.  The story changed from "masks don't work," to "masks may work," to "masks work and you must wear one." Now the narrative switches yet again: "cloth masks don't work, so you should wear a surgical or 'well-fitted' mask," or even wear two! Note that even as covid evolves into a less dangerous omicron variant, we are supposed to increase the hysteria level by wearing masks intended for surgeons maintaining a sterile environment over open wounds. We are told this by the same political, medical, and media figures who have been "frequently wrong but never in doubt" about all things covid over the past two long years. And they spoke with just as much bogus certainty then as they do now. Perversely, the Biden administration recently ordered 400 million surgical N95 masks for distribution across the country. Since N95 masks are considered disposable, and meant to be worn at most perhaps 40 hours, it is unclear what happens in a week or two when 330 million Americans run out of their "free" personal protective equipment. The UK has sensibly ended its mask mandates, both in public places (offices and other workplaces, bars, restaurants, sporting events, theaters) and thankfully schools. One young university student broke down in tears at the news, lamenting the inhumanity of her experience over the past two years. As British Health secretary Savid Javid stated, "We must learn to live with covid in the same way we live with flu." Amen. The arguments against masks are straightforward. Masks don't work. Or at least cloth masks don't. Even the CDC now admits what Dr. Anthony Fauci told the world in February 2020: cloth masks don't work and there is no reason to wear one:  "The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you." I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location. CNN's dubious medical expert Dr. Lena Wen, previously an uber-masker, now tells us cloth masks are "little more than facial decorations. And heroic skeptic Dr. Jay Bhattacharya cites both a Danish study and a Bangladeshi study which found cloth masks show little efficacy in preventing covid.  Are we seriously prepared to wear tight and uncomfortable surgical masks all day to evade omicron? Masks are filthy. Humans lungs and our respiratory system are designed to inhale nitrogen and oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is literally a waste product, removed from the blood via our lungs. Masks may not trap injurious levels of carbon dioxide against our nose and mouth, but they certainly get filthy very quickly unless changed constantly. They also encourage mouth breathing, which can cause "mask mouth" symptoms including acne, bad breath, tender gums, and lip irritation. Why would we ever interfere with natural breathing unless we felt sick, displayed symptoms, and were worried about infecting others? And in that case, why not just stay home? Masks are dehumanizing. Humans communicate verbally and nonverbally, and masks impede both forms. Masks muffle and distort our words. Our facial expressions are important cues to everyone around us; without those cues communication and understanding suffer. Infants and toddlers may be most affected, as a lack of facial engagement with parents and loved ones impedes the human connections and attachments formed during childhood. Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the symbolic effects when millions of Americans dutifully wear masks based on flimsy evidence provided by deeply unimpressive people. Facelessness--the lack of individual identity, personality, and looks-- is inherently dehumanizing and dystopian. Like prison or military uniforms, masks reduce our personal characteristics. Mask are muzzles, symbols of rote acquiescence to an ugly new normal nobody asked for or voted for. Risk is inevitable. Risk is omnipresent, and heavily subjective (e.g., covid risk varies enormously with age and comorbidities). Nobody has a right to force interventions like masks onto others, just as nobody has a right to a hypothetical germ-free landscape. Exhalation is not aggression, short of purposefully attempting to sicken others. People wearing masks arguably shed slightly fewer covid virus particles than those not, but this does not justify banning the latter from public life. As always, the overwhelming burden of justification for any intervention—including mask mandates—must rest on those proposing it, not those opposing it.  In sum, Americans are not children. Tradeoffs are part of every policy, whether government officials admit this or not. We know how to coexist with flu, just as we live with countless bacteria and viruses in our environment. We will similarly coexist with covid. The goal is not to eliminate germs, and zero covid is an absurdity. A healthy immune system, built up through diet, exercise, and sunlight will always be the best frontline defense against communicable disease. But diet, exercise, and sunlight cannot be outsourced to health officials or mandated by politicians. Whatever slight benefits masks may provide are a matter for individuals to decide for themselves. People who feel sick with symptoms should stay home. We can all wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Otherwise it is time for Americans to assert themselves against the dubious claims and non-existent legality of government covid measures.  It is time to get back to normal life, and that starts with visible human faces. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/22/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 22nd, 2022

Texas Judge Blocks Biden"s Vaccine Mandate For Federal Employees Nationwide

Texas Judge Blocks Biden's Vaccine Mandate For Federal Employees Nationwide While President Biden was occupied Friday trying to take credit for a new factory for the production of semiconductors (and all the jobs - construction-related and otherwise - that he said it would create), a federal judge in Texas was issuing an injunction to put the second major piece of Biden's vaccine mandate on ice. After SCOTUS last week rejected the administration's attempt to force corporations to abide by the mandate via OSHA, a federal court in Texas has issued an injunction against Biden's jab mandate for federal workers, the other part of his administration's attempts to force vaccines on reluctant Americans -  a strategy that Biden has already abandoned in favor of providing at-home COVID tests to all Americans. Biden issued both mandates by executive order back in September. Trump-appointed Judge Jeffrey Brown of the US Court for the Southern District of Texas said the case was not about whether individuals should be vaccinated or even about federal power more broadly. Instead, he said it's about "whether the president can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment," Brown wrote. "That, under the current state of the law as just recently expressed by the Supreme Court, is a bridge too far." The order that SCOTUS struck down last week would have mandated all private sector employers with more than 100 workers, as well as the US Postal Service, to test or vaccinated their employees. The case against the mandate for federal workers was brought by Feds for Medical Freedom, which has filed three different lawsuits against the mandate, according to a report from Government Executive. Most federal agencies have already started implementing the mandate requiring vaccination or testing, and some had already started ordering suspensions for workers who failed to meet the requirements. This latest ruling will forestall (at least temporarily) those suspensions from moving forward. Although there's still a possibility that the injunction granted could be overturned, given SCOTUS's conservative majority and its previous ruling on the other federal vaccine mandate, any workers who were facing suspension can probably breath a sigh of relief. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 12:59.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 21st, 2022

This Is Your Last Chance, Part 2

This Is Your Last Chance, Part 2 Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic, Read Part 1 here... Supposedly collectivists will reap the rewards of the only things they produce—destruction and death. After the collapse, a global collectivist government will replace the current multiplicity of collectivist governments. Most of the collapse’s survivors will become slaves living on subsistence doled out by the small aristocracy that will rule the planet. The real work will be done by artificially intelligent machines. The slaves will be pacified chemically and electronically through ubiquitous virtual reality technologies and monitored ceaselessly while the aristocrats live in unimaginable splendor. Those who resist pacification and enslavement will be “corrected,” or if that fails, murdered. This is simply a straight line projection of the present and recent past that ignores a fully evident counter-trend still gathering steam. After a centuries-long, bull-market run, government as an institution has topped out. The plans and predictions of the global totalitarians are the overconfident rationalizations of newly minted millionaires at the top of bull markets—the “permanently high plateau” in 1929, the “new economy” in 2000, “house prices only go up” in 2007, and “the Fed’s got our backs” now. We already have shining examples of totalitarian collectivist failure in really big countries with lots of people—the Soviet Union and Communist China. The former collapsed after tens of millions died, the latter made a mid-course correction towards more freedom after tens of millions died. Blithering idiots attribute those failures to incomplete control by the totalitarians or claim collectivism can only work when the whole world is completely enslaved. They ignore the core quandary of collectivist control—it produces nothing. Collectivist governments steal, they don’t produce. A global collectivist government will produce exactly what the current multiplicity of collectivist governments produce: nothing. Yet, this government will supposedly build the world back better from the ashes of financial, economic, and political collapse. Collectivists have perfected a demand management technique that obscures but does not solve the productive inability of the economic systems over which they presided: murder a lot of people. People are producers so production shrinks faster than populations, exacerbated by the collectivists’ unerring ability to kill the most productive people. Today’s collectivist killers plan to use the same demand management technique, but this time AI machines will make up the shortfall. Current AI technology isn’t there yet but somehow a slave society will produce the innovations necessary to get it up to snuff. The absurdity of this presumption is captured in the contradiction in terms that will supposedly fill the gap: state science. State science is the approved propaganda of the moment propagated by state functionaries and cohorts mislabelled as scientists—for instance the rampant convolutions, contortions, corrections, and prevarications that characterize the Covid travesty, climate change, and green energy. As for slavery, Alexis de Tocqueville had the last word on its economics in 1835. It is true that in Kentucky the planters are not obliged to pay the slaves whom they employ, but the derive small profits from their labor, while the wages paid to free workmen would be returned with interest in the value of their services. The free workman is paid but he does his work quicker than the the slave; and rapidity of execution is one of the great elements of economy. The white sells his services, but they are purchased only when they may be useful; the black can claim no remuneration for his toil, but the expense of his maintenance is perpetual; he must be supported in his old age as well as in manhood, in his profitless infancy as well as in the productive years of youth, in sickness as well as in health. Payment must equally be made in order to obtain the services of either class of men: the free workman receives his wages in money; the slave in education, in food, in care, and in clothing. The money which a master spends in the maintenance of his slaves goes gradually and in detail, so that it is scarcely perceived; the salary of the free workman is paid in a round sum and appears to enrich only him who receives it; but in the end the slave has cost more than the free servant, and his labor is less productive. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Volume One, 1835 The slaves will own nothing because they’ll produce next to nothing. It’s doubtful they’ll be any happier with that state of affairs than slaves have been in the past. Turning again to the historical record, the accomplishments of state science and industry are an almost undetectable molehill compared to the Everest of innovations and wealth flowing from free scientific inquiry and production. Picking through this meager molehill, one finds that many state “accomplishments” are merely new and improved ways to kill people. Setting aside straight line projections, what’s actually coming is a history’s greatest trend change: total financial, economic, intellectual, and moral collapse. The staggering sum of global debt, unfunded liabilities, and derivatives is in the quadrillions, a double-digit multiple of global production. The numbers are so large and opaque that a more precise estimate for that multiple cannot be derived. Every asset and stream of income is already pledged as collateral—often several times—or will be de facto collateral as governments’ bankruptcies and rapacity mount; they’ll steal whatever they can get their hands on. What most of the world reckons as wealth is somebody’s debt or equity, so insolvency will quickly work its way through the daisy chain. So much for financialization. Like financial and economic collapse, intellectual and moral collapse will center on governments. Billions of people indoctrinated in some version of statist dogma will look to governments as the solution for the government-created apocalypse. Courtier intellectuals, media lights, corporate shills, and other minions and toadies will be scurrying like cockroaches in a filthy kitchen when the lights are turned on. Their voluminous output of putrid, state worshipping dreck will have the same value as fiat debt and currencies. Today’s “thought leaders” are circling the drain. They’re on the wrong side of history and they’ll take billions of devout believers in government omniscience and omnipotence with them. Fat cat crony collectivist corporations all the way down to those subsisting on some form of state-granted transfer payments will find the government teat withered and barren. The delusory notion that bankrupt governments can provide universal basic incomes will be treated with the universal derision it deserves. Government has been collapsing under its own weight for decades. If one were to graph its overall strength, the U.S. government at the end of World War II was peak government—the U.S. empire was at its unchallenged economic, political, and military apex. Vietnam, Nixon’s abandonment of the gold standard, the fall of the USSR, the war on terror, the Patriot Act, and the Covid insanity would mark some of the downward inflection points since. History will probably look back on the Biden camarilla’s fraudulent ascension to power as the final sharp break, the demarcation of the vertiginous crash. It’s hard to imagine that the institution that plays such a huge part in all our lives will simply be rubble amidst the chaos and ruins, but few people foresaw the end of the Soviet state either. Straight line projections don’t yield such predictions. To those who rule and are trying to implement their global consolidation: This is your last chance to save your own skins. Nothing will stop the collapse, but you can at least abandon your nefarious project and its totalitarian blueprint. It’s your only chance to avoid the Sarlacc pit, and that’s a slim chance indeed. Collapse will focus your victims’ attention on their ruination and your responsibility for it. You’ll be lucky to escape their retribution. Your odious class has always hid your failures and tried to shift the blame, but that game is up. As always happens after cataclysms, the survivors will rebuild. The human race is a hardy bunch. With previous equity, debt and its corresponding credit assets wiped out, and many real assets destroyed in the mayhem and chaos, there will be little capital to fund their efforts. Capital will be earned and rebuilt the old fashioned way—consumption less than production generating savings invested in enterprises whose returns compound the savings. With governments either broke or wiped out, emergent groups in smaller geographic areas will have to look to their own resources for protection. On the other hand, they’ll be unencumbered by the confiscatory taxes, stifling laws and regulations, rampant corruption, Big Brother surveillance, perpetual violence, and general idiocy we now take for granted among governments. There will be a decentralized multiplicity of new political arrangements and subdivisions, from chaotic black holes to well-ordered enclaves. The success of the latter will be due to the freedom they embrace, the individual rights they protect, and their ability to defend their enclaves. New industries, technologies, modes of commerce, and ways of life will emerge. This will be the true great reset, not the Klaus Schwab version, which only recycles failed concepts of centralized power and collective subjugation on a larger scale. Brace for impact, the collapse is well underway and will soon hit its inflection point, if it hasn’t already. It will be a test of character unlike anything we’ve faced before. It was Jabba the Hut and his creepy cohorts—Planet Tatooine’s establishment—who were blown to smithereens and cast into the Sarlacc Pit. Our enemies’ greatest weakness: the arrogant stupidity of evil and the crumbling bulwark of lies behind which it hides. These are the allies of Samuel Adams’, “irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” Our greatest weapon: the magnificently defiant human spirit that stands on the plank above the abyss and shouts: “Jabba, this is your last chance, free us or die!” Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 21st, 2022

A federal judge in Texas blocked Biden"s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees

The ruling is the latest setback for Biden, who has pushed for vaccine mandates for workers as the US grapples with COVID-19 outbreaks. President Joe BidenChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesA federal judge on Friday blocked the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal workers and ruled that the government could not discipline those who choose not to get vaccinated. US District Judge Jeffrey Brown said his ruling was about "whether the President can, with the stroke of a pen and without the input of Congress, require millions of federal employees to undergo a medical procedure as a condition of their employment." The ruling is the latest setback for President Joe Biden's push for more vaccinations. Biden in September announced the requirement for federal employees, aimed at mitigating the then-rampant Delta variant. Biden also instituted mandates for large employers and healthcare workers.But Republicans immediately pushed back against the mandates — and they've found success in the courts while trying to limit Biden's orders.Last week, the Supreme Court blocked Biden's vaccine-or-testing mandate for private companies with over 100 employees.Brown —who was appointed by Trump in 2019 — cited the Supreme Court decision in his own ruling, saying the mandate for federal workers was "a bridge too far."The Supreme Court did, however, allow a vaccine requirement for healthcare workers at federally funded facilities to take effect across the US.This story is developing. Please check back for updates.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2022

"We Are Going To Take Back America": Trump Holds First Rally Of 2022 In Arizona

"We Are Going To Take Back America": Trump Holds First Rally Of 2022 In Arizona Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times, Former President Donald Trump painted a positive future for Republicans late Saturday at his first rally of 2022, held in Arizona. “A great red wave is going to begin here in Arizona and is going to sweep across this country and it’s going to wash hundreds and thousands of Democrat socialists out of office with an unstoppable surge of Republican patriots, and they’re going to be doing it, you’re going to be heading to the polls,” Trump said at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds, in Florence, a Republican stronghold about 70 miles southeast of Phoenix. “This is the year we are going to take back the House, we are going to take back the Senate, and we are going to take back America. This is so important,” he told the crowd that responded in loud cheers. “This is maybe the most important election we’ve ever had. I do believe that 2024 will be even more important … In 2024, we are going to take back the White House!” he added. Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) Thousands of supporters gathered at Trump’s rally, his second in Arizona since he left office. The former president described the crowd as a “sea of people” that stretched “as far as the eyes can see,” and urged media members present to turn their cameras around. Trump used the crowd size to question the results of the 2020 election. “I ran twice, and we won twice, and we did better the second time … This crowd is a massive symbol of what took place because the people are hungry for the truth, they want their country back,” the former president asserted. Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) “A person that comes here and has crowds that go further than any eye can see … and has cars that stretch out for 25 miles—that’s not somebody that lost an election,” he later said. “And now because of it, our country is being destroyed.” Trump deplored the current state of the nation but expressed hope the situation will change, outlining agendas that include to eliminate COVID-19 mandates, investigate the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and combat illegal immigration. During his speech, Trump endorsed Kari Lake for Arizona governor while calling incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, a “terrible representative” of the state. Lake, a former journalist, promised to eliminate mandates if she becomes governor. She also promised she would help to ensure election integrity and address illegal immigration, including to finish building the border wall. Former President Donald Trump and Kari Lake, whom Trump is supporting in the Arizona’s gubernatorial race, speak during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) COVID-19 Mandates The former president lobbied heavy criticism against the Biden administration’s mandates, which he said are “absolutely decimating our economy.” Trump urged Americans to “tell Joe Biden the Americans’ health choices are none of his business, we can make our own choices.” “With these decisions they’re making, they’re wrecking and devastating people’s lives; firing Americans from their jobs, forcing innocent children to grow up in masks, closing their schools—destroying education, crushing their development, demolishing their futures—[and] locking people in their homes,” Trump said. “They’re truly hurting the American people … they’ve taken away their dignity, they’ve taken away their liberties. And I say enough is enough and we are not going to take it anymore.” “This is the moment the Americans must take their lives and their future back,” he added. “We have to do it. We have to be strong. It’s time for the radical Democrats to leave our families alone, leave our elderly alone, leave our children alone with their strong immune system.” Supporters gather at a rally by former President Donald Trump at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) “Big Pharma is making a fortune. Democrats are putting corporate profits over the rights of the American people. These corrupt, power-hungry lunatics need to hear us loud and clear—we are done having our lives controlled by politicians and Washington bureaucrats. We’re done with the mandates, including the mandates for frontline health care workers.” Trump said he had “fiercely resisted mandates, and always will.” Jan. 6 Probe The former president said that if Republicans regain control of congress, they will start an investigation into the events of Jan. 6, 2021, the day when the U.S. Capitol was breached. “We will immediately begin our own investigations into what happened—what really happened, because this is being totally whitewashed,” Trump said, while denouncing the current Democrat-led House committee investigation of Jan. 6. “January 6 has become the Democrat Party’s excuse to justify an unprecedented assault on Americans’ civil rights and liberties,” Trump said. A supporter wears a large button reading “Fighting for President Trump, January 6 We’re Coming” on his hat as he attends the first rally of the year by former President Donald Trump at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) He criticized the treatment of people who have been detained in the Jan. 6 investigation. “Appalling persecution of political prisoners. What’s happening to those people in those jails … the blatant abuse of power to harass their political opponents is disgraceful, it’s never happened to this extent,” Trump said. “When it comes to January 6 defendants, most of whom were charged with non-violent offenses, partisan Democrats have celebrated their indefinite detention without trial,” he said. “These people are living in hell. Let them fight, let them see their lawyers, let them go out … These people are being persecuted.” Trump also denounced the shooting of Ashli Babbitt and the man who shot her. “Let’s see how he could do without the protections that he got,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace the way he shot Ashli.” “The American people deserve answers,” he said. “The Jan. 6 rally was a protest against a crooked election carried out by unhinged Democrats, Big Tech, working with the fake news media, all working together to defeat Republicans, and your favorite president—me.” Illegal Immigration Trump said that one of Republicans’ top priorities if they regain control of Congress will be to “stop the illegal flood of aliens across our southern border,” which includes human trafficking. Trump said Republicans plan to increase the number of ICE and Border Patrol officers to detain and deport illegal aliens. “We should also pass a law that says that sanctuary city officials who knowingly release criminals will be charged as accessories in any future crimes.” The border situation changed from “best” to “worst” in the span of one year, he said. “Over 2 million illegal aliens have trespassed across our borders—but that’s also a fake number given by the press and others,” Trump said, adding that he believes the number could be “10 times that amount.” “I think we’re talking about tens of millions of people are pouring into this country,” he suggested. “We see certain people and we sort of lock it down, well that’s the number, but it’s not. I think that it’s tens of millions of people, and these are not necessarily people we want in our country.” Trump noted a “record number” of undocumented migrant children arriving across the border. He accused Democrats of pushing “very cruel policies are pushing vulnerable youths into the arms of child smugglers, human traffickers, and very vicious criminal cartels.” “What the criminal cartels are doing to women and children—unbelievable. The trafficking is mostly in women, [and] what they’re doing to women is horrible. Yet despite all of this … the radical left are still hellbent on passing mass amnesty for illegal aliens,” Trump said. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 12:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

For Leftists, Your Freedom Is Their Misery – Your Slavery Is Their Joy

For Leftists, Your Freedom Is Their Misery – Your Slavery Is Their Joy Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, There is a certain level of madness required to reach the state our country is in today. I think most of us feel this and know this but I want to dissect the situation a little so that we can see the guts of the thing and understand the mechanics of it. Insanity has a structure, believe it or not, and there are ways to analyze it and identify it. For example, there are many forms of madness that stem from an obsession with power and control. In my previous article ‘Is There A Way To Prevent Psychopaths From Getting Into Positions Of Power’, I explored the thinking patterns and predatory habits of the worst 1% of humanity and how they insinuate themselves into authority by blending in (until they have all the power and no longer need to blend it). Now I want to talk more about the OTHER unstable people, the 5%-10% of the population that psychopaths exploit as a mob or army to frighten everyone else into conformity and help them achieve their goals. To be clear, almost any group can become an exploitable weapon used by psychopaths. There have been times in history where the elites within the Catholic Church used zealotry among Christians to dominate society to the point of torture and terror during the inquisitions and crusades. During the George W. Bush era I remember well the lies about WMDs used to herd Republicans into pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, that is the past. Today the problem of zealotry is resoundingly on the side of the political left. That is to say, the political left is now the side that is most appealing to narcissists, sociopaths, the emotionally unstable, etc., and this attraction is forming a mob that can be easily exploited by the establishment. What I find interesting is that leftists actually believe that THEY are the underdogs and that they are fighting a “revolution” against the establishment. This is a bizarre disconnect from reality. Every major institution of power and influence in the US is on the side of the political left. How can you be rebelling against the establishment if all your values coincide with the establishment’s agenda? The mainstream media and Hollywood have gone hardline in favor of leftist propaganda from critical race theory to the trans agenda and identity politics to feminism to socialism and centralization. Nearly every commercial, TV show and movie we see today reflects a far-left viewpoint or far left imagery, even though the majority of the population has no interest in woke ideology. Clearly, leftists and their friends in media think that if they force their cultism into people’s faces non-stop 24/7 that we will eventually capitulate and embrace it. Big Tech and major social media platforms ALL operate according to leftist politics. All of their terms of service rules are enforced to protect leftists from criticism and to censor conservatives and any moderates that dare speak up. The evidence overwhelmingly shows a left leaning bias in Big Tech censorship with conservatives being booted off platforms for nothing more than citing facts. We saw this recently with Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia GOP representative, who was banned from Twitter and called a “far-right conspiracy theorist” for posting links to the VAERS database. For those unfamiliar with VAERS, it is a database run by the US government to track the adverse effects of vaccinations including covid vaccinations. While the numbers have been manipulated in the past (which the CDC claims was due to “reporting errors”), VAERS has still reported thousands upon thousands of deaths and side effects directly related to the covid vaccines, but you aren’t supposed to know about that. So, Greene gets booted from Twitter for posting the government’s own data, which is now only accessible if you go through a maze of links to get to the downloads. Social media is also commonly used as a weapon by leftists in order to “cancel” people that step out of line. An American Airlines pilot was attacked this week by a Twitter mob when a crazed feminist recorded images of his luggage. His crime? A small sticker on his suitcase which said “Lets Go Brandon.” The woman and her Twitter cohorts called for the pilot to be fired and American Airlines is “investigating” the issue. This is just one instance among thousands in the past few years that illustrate the sheer rage leftists feel when they are faced with a free thinking person. Their immediate reaction is to punish and destroy rather than accept and move on. But where does this mentality come from? I think it’s a combination of a culture of narcissism and collectivism coupled with a desperate desire for weak people to feel as though they are powerful. Leftists are very commonly people you might call the “runners-up” in life. There are a lot of malcontents and socially inept failures in their ranks that grow up feeling powerless. Instead of improving their lot by improving themselves and achieving something of merit, they instead blame others and the world for their lack of accomplishment. This mentality can also be seen with their academia which often exaggerates their own importance and the importance of their accolades. One can get a masters degree in social sciences or feminist studies, but how useful is that person to the world really? Being an activist alone is not a career and they produce nothing, so the only measure of their education and their life is how much they can destroy, not how much they can build and create. Joe Rogan’s latest move from Twitter over to GETTR is another big story that leftists are losing their minds over. They act as though they just want to be rid of conservatives and argumentative moderates from their “safe spaces,” but in reality this does not satisfy them. They don’t want us to walk away, they want us to conform. They want us trapped within their echo chambers and going along to get along, or, they want us erased. Leftists see people as property of the collective, and if you and millions of others walk away this reflects badly on their ideology, which is unacceptable. This is why they are CONSTANTLY attacking or trying to take down conservative social media platforms. You would think they would be happy that GETTR exists, but they are miserable. Your freedom is their misery. Think about that for a moment; there are millions of leftists out there that cannot abide your existence if you are free to express your discontent with their narrative. When Joe Rogan contracted covid the leftists were jittery with excitement hoping he would die. When he beat the virus in less than three days without being vaccinated they cried out in horror. It’s as if they don’t realize that most unvaccinated people have had the virus and have easily survived it (I had covid for a week and then I was fine – I will NEVER get vaccinated). Maybe they are aware that the vaccines are mostly pointless. Maybe what really bothers them is that the unvaxxed are free and do not conform to the mandates or the fear mongering? Maybe they are more concerned about the act of defiance rather than any issues of legitimate “health safety”…? And this brings me to the relationship between the majority of government and the political left, which are working hand in hand to push forward covid controls and vax mandates. I’ve said this before and I’ll point it out again – There is no longer any debate about who the authoritarians really are. If you want to be free from overt government intrusion and tyranny you go to a conservative red state. If you want to be a slave to bureaucracy you go to a progressive blue state. Red states value individual freedom – Blue states do not. This is undeniable. Leftists are not the rebels they think they are; they are not the heroes – They are the villains. They are the empire. I believe the vax mandate agenda in particular appeals to their innate desire for control over others. This is evident in their crazed rhetoric over the vaccination issue. The LA Times just published an Op-Ed titled ‘Mocking Anti-Vaxxers’ Covid Deaths Is Ghoulish, Yes – But May Be Necessary’ (originally titled ‘Why Shouldn’t We Dance On The Graves Of Anti-Vaxxers?), and it’s this kind of bloodthirsty propaganda that truly reveals the extend of the political left’s broken psychology. They want you to die for going against the mandates. They seem to think that covid is their avenging angel, but this only shows that they are too dumb to understand basic science or too malicious to think rationally. The Biden Administration has been a key element in fear mongering over the covid pandemic, which has an average Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) of 0.26% to 0.27% according to dozens of peer reviewed studies, and now with the even less dangerous Omicron strain the death rate is plummeting further. The overwhelming majority of people have NOTHING to fear from covid, yet leftists readily rally around Biden and his medical tyranny. Furthermore, the bias (or ignorance) of the LA Times is made clear when we look at the actual data for Breakthrough Cases. Breakthrough cases are covid infections and deaths among fully vaccinated individuals. As a point of reference, in the state of Massachusetts alone there have been over 262,000 fully vaccinated people who still ended up infected with covid and 1054 deaths according to official numbers. That is an infection fatality rate of 0.4%, which is HIGHER than the national average IFR of 0.27%. The most vaccinated countries in the world are also suffering from the worst infection spikes in the world. In Ireland, for example, over 63% of recent covid deaths were fully vaccinated individuals. In Israel, nearly 60% of covid hospitalizations are fully vaccinated. Uruguay, Bahrain, Maldives and Chile all have overwhelming majority vaccination rates and all of them have seen spikes in covid deaths and and infections. According to the UK government’s own stats, people who are triple vaxxed are 4.5 times more likely to be infected with Omicron than people who are unvaxxed. The average vaccine is tested for 10-15 years before it is approved for use on human beings, yet covid vaccines were released within months with no long term testing to prove their safety. It makes perfect sense for people to be concerned. So, I would ask the hacks at the LA Times: Should we be dancing on your graves when you die from covid despite all those miraculous untested vaccines? Or maybe when you end up dead and on the VAERS list due to vaccine side effects? Autoimmune disorders can take 2-4 years to gestate and be identified by doctors; maybe in 2024 you’ll be wishing you had taken a wait-and-see approach to the untested vaccines like all the smart people are doing? This is called logic, reason and science. The above data is beyond the mental grasp of many leftists and even when they do get it they ignore it. They have no interest in protecting your health or the health of the public, that’s not what this is about. What they care about is control and nothing would bring them more joy than to see 100% conformity and slavery to their ideals. They live vicariously through tyranny. The pandemic paranoia, the lockdowns, the mandates, Big Tech, social media, cancel culture are all means to an end. Leftists pretend they are humanitarians that care about the greater good, but this is a facade. It’s just another excuse to justify a deep seated thirst to micromanage the lives of others. A classic tactic of narcissistic sociopaths is to victimize and terrorize people, then accuse them of being monsters when those people snap back and rebel.   They are projecting their tyranny on the rest of us and label us the bad guys.  It’s time to end the theater and call leftists what they really are – They are the dictators they claim they are trying to fight. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 23:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Virginia"s New AG Fires Civil Rights Division, Will Start Prosecuting Cases Dropped By "Social Justice" DAs

Virginia's New AG Fires Civil Rights Division, Will Start Prosecuting Cases Dropped By 'Social Justice' DAs Within hours of taking office, Virginia's newly sworn-in Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) cleaned house - firing dozens of lawyers, including those in the Civil Rights division - and announcing investigations into the Virginia Parole Board and Loudon County Public Schools. "I've been told incoming AG @JasonMiyaresVA just FIRED the entire civil rights division in the Attorney General's office," tweeted VA State Senator Louise Lucas. I've been told incoming AG @JasonMiyaresVA just FIRED the entire civil rights division in the Attorney General's office. My bill helped create and expand the authority that this division uses. — L. Louise Lucas (@SenLouiseLucas) January 14, 2022 According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Miyares notified around 30 staff members they're being let go - including 17 attorneys and 13 staff members. The attorneys include the solicitor general, Herring's deputies, and reportedly Helen Hardiman - an assistant AG who worked on housing discrimination. Miyares, who will take over Democratic AG Mark Herring, campaigned on a promise to pursue legislation that would enable state AGs to circumvent "social justice" attorneys who refuse to vigorously prosecute crimes. As Fox News noted in November, "Under current law, the AG's office can prosecute a case on behalf of a commonwealth's attorney – Virginia's version of a district attorney (DA) – so long as the DA requests it." "George Soros-backed commonwealth’s attorneys are not doing their jobs," said Miyares in May 2021 comments to the Arlington County Republican Committee. Liberal billionaire George Soros has repeatedly poured thousands into prosecutor's races in Virginia. In 2019, Soros provided a significant cash infusion to three winning progressive candidates, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in Arlington County (nearly $1 million from Soros); Buta Biberaj in Loudon County ($850,000 from Soros); and Steve Descano in Fairfax County ($600,000 from Soros). Soros spent about $200,000 in a prosecutor's race in Norfolk this year. His candidate went on to win the race. -Fox News When reached for comment, Miyares spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said: "During the campaign, it was made clear that now Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office," adding "We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past." In a Saturday statement just houtrs after Miyares and GOP Gov. Glenn Younkin were sworn in, he explained why he launched the investigations into the parole board and the school district. "One of the reasons Virginians get so fed up with government is the lack of transparency - and that’s a big issue here," he wrote. "The Virginia Parole Board broke the law when they let out murders, rapists, and cop killers early on their sentences without notifying the victims. Loudoun Country Public Schools covered up a sexual assault on school grounds for political gain, leading to an additional assault of a young girl." Loudoun County became a focal point in Youngkin’s gubernatorial race against former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe following the arrest of a 14-year-old male high school student, who identifies as nonbinary, who has been found guilty of raping a female student in a school bathroom. That student was transferred to another school where he allegedly raped another student and the district has been accused of covering up the crime which resulted in one of the alleged victim's parents being arrested at a school board meeting. The offending student has been placed on the sex offenders registry for life as part of his sentence. -Fox News Meanwhile, within hours of his inauguration, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 11 executive actions - including lifting the mask mandate in Virginia schools, and "ending divisive concepts, including critical race theory, in public education." As Terri Wu via the Epoch Times reports: He also signed an executive directive rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees. The 55-year-old former business executive, in his inauguration speech at Richmond, emphasized a “common path forward” with “our deep and abiding respect for individual freedom.” Youngkin vowed to strengthen and renew the “spirit of Virginia” associated with the history of the state as the home of American democracy. He credited Virginians with the spirit of tenacity, grit, and resilience. Youngkin said he was “ready to lead and serve, starting on day one,” and it would start in the classroom to get Virginia’s children “career and college ready.” The crowd of an estimated size of 6,000 burst into a loud cheer upon hearing from Youngkin that he would “remove politics from the classroom.” “Virginia is open for business,” Youngkin promised to create 400,000 new jobs and 10,000 new startups in the four years of his administration by reducing regulations and increasing job-related training. According to him, residents of the commonwealth will see the “largest tax rebate in Virginia’s history.” In addition, he promised to “fully fund” and “return respect to” law enforcement. ‘Hope’ and ‘Optimism’ Voters echoed the sentiment of “hope” and “optimism” highlighted in Youngkin’s speech. “I’m excited because we have somebody in here who’s willing to fight like we do, just on a higher level,” said Shirley Green, a public relations specialist, while waiting to join the inauguration ceremony. Improving the school system was the first step she wanted the new administration to take. And she was “optimistic” that the Youngkin administration would deliver their campaign promise because of their “humility” and “passion for Virginians.” Green grew up as a Democrat in the District of Columbia metropolitan area but became a conservative 13 years ago. She said she had found the Democratic Party having a different vision than “working for the people.” Shirley Green at the public entrance to the Capitol Square in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 15, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times) “I feel great. It’s a great day for Virginia,” said Joe. He and his wife attended the inauguration ceremony in “Youngkin vests,” the same style of fleece vests Youngkin often wore on his campaign trail. The couple owns a local safety business and prefers not to disclose their names. The previous Virginia administration “didn’t always take in consideration of the people” in its decision-making, said the wife. “Education is the number one concern,” she said, adding that parents among their employees and employees at their client organizations—Republicans, independents, and Democrats—voted for Youngkin “because of their concerns for their families.” Aiden Sheahan and Alyson Bucker with the University of Virginia were among a group of five college students and graduates who also attended the ceremony. They made phone calls and door-to-door visits for the Youngkin campaign. Sheahan said he saw “a lot of optimism” during the campaign; people had hopes that many things, including jobs, the standard of living, and policies, would change with the new governor. The group described the new Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears, a black American who immigrated from Jamaica, as “confident” and “powerful.” “She doesn’t use her skin color, her circumstances, or her identity to promote herself. She used her accomplishments, rather than something she cannot control, to promote herself,” added Matthew Carpenter, a recent college graduate from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Challenges from Day One The former executive who campaigned as a political outsider will face challenges working with a state legislature with divided party control, and some priorities facing deadlocks. The General Assembly session began on Jan. 12, with a newly empowered Republican majority (52–48) in the State House, and a Senate where Democrats still hold a 21–19 majority. In the next 60 days, lawmakers will review and adopt a two-year state budget proposed by former Governor Ralph Northam on Dec. 16. Youngkin has already said “the recognition of the need for tax cuts is understated” in Northam’s plan. The new Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert announced education, inflation, and public safety as Virginia House GOP’s agenda for 2022. By comparison, House Democrats’ “top priority is to protect the advances they made against Republican efforts to roll them back,” in three key areas: supporting public schools, keeping families healthy, and ensuring economic security for all. With a Democrat-controlled House and Senate in the past two years, former Democratic Governor Northam signed into law in 2020 a series of liberal measures, including increased gun control, lifting abortion restrictions, and relaxed voter requirements. “I think we have a Governor-elect who is going to come in and do something about some of our school problems, introduce our freedoms, and be more protective of law enforcement. And I think that gives us a lot of hope,” veteran Republican State Senator Steve Newman told ABC13 a day before the inauguration. An inaugural parade followed the ceremony. On Sunday, the three-day events will close with an open house at the governor’s mansion. Along with Youngkin, Winsome Sears was sworn in on Saturday as the Lieutenant Governor and Jason Miyares as the Attorney General. Sears will hold the tie-breaking vote in the State Senate. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 20:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

A 1997 Prophecy: Bitcoin And The Unfolding Of "The Sovereign Individual" Thesis

A 1997 Prophecy: Bitcoin And The Unfolding Of 'The Sovereign Individual' Thesis Authored by Bob Simon via BitcoinMagazine.com, The following is the written version of a video presentation which can be viewed here. THE WANING OF THE MODERN AGE “In our view, you are witnessing nothing less than the waning of the Modern Age. It is a development driven by ruthless but hidden logic. More than we commonly understand, the next millennium will no longer be ‘modern.’ We say this not to imply that you face a savage or backward future, although that is possible, but to emphasize that the stage of history now opening will be qualitatively different from that into which you were born. Something new is coming. Just as farming societies differed in kind from hunting and gathering bands, and industrial societies differed radically from feudal or yeoman agricultural systems, so the New World to come will mark a radical departure from anything seen before.” –”The Sovereign Individual,” page 53 Published in 1997 from authors James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, “The Sovereign Individual” can best be described as a guidebook. The authors combine a deep investigation into the history of man with a careful analysis of praxeology, or the study of human action, to come to a startling conclusion: Our civilization is standing at the precipice of radical change. Those who recognize this change and take the proper actions will benefit immensely, while those who remain ignorant will suffer the consequences. The book can also be viewed as a prophecy, making bold predictions about the future of civilization, many of which have already come to pass. A quarter of a century ago, while “experts” such as Paul Krugman were predicting that the internet would have little impact on the economy, Davidson and Rees-Mogg were predicting the emergence of the cybereconomy; non-state digital money; personalized media; the convergence of the telephone, computer and TV into a single device; as well as the record level of public distrust in major institutions currently unfolding before our eyes. THE THESIS OF “THE SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUAL” While religious and allegorical themes are beautifully woven throughout the book, the authors make it very clear that their thesis is rooted in hard logic, specifically a concept they call “the logic of violence.” Throughout all of history, humans have had to deal with the simple truth that taking is often easier than making. Working hard to acquire possessions such as food, shelter and clothing means nothing if they cannot be protected. The available methods by which humans have defended themselves and their property have transformed drastically from the time of hunter-gatherers up until the present day. In the authors’ views, it is this transformation of the logic of violence that is at the root of all major societal change throughout history. The fundamental axiom of the book is this: Human action is guided by incentives. If we can become conscious of the incentives, then we can, to a certain extent, forecast human action. For example, dropping a $100 bill on the ground of any city in the world will produce very predictable results: someone will quickly pick it up. To better understand the origins of these incentives, the authors introduce a concept called “megapolitics.” “The concept of megapolitics helps illuminate some of the major mysteries of history: how governments rise and fall and what types of institutions they become; the timing and outcome of wars; and patterns of economic prosperity and decline. By raising or lowering the costs and rewards of projecting power, megapolitics governs the ability of people to impose their will on others.” –“The Sovereign Individual,” page 65 Unlike manmade political institutions, megapolitics exist outside of the realm of conscious direction. Davidson and Rees-Mogg describe the four basic types of megapolitical forces as being topography, climate, microbes and technology. Of these four, technology is described as “having played by far the largest role in determining the costs and rewards of projecting power during the modern centuries.” CYBERCASH It is the authors’ belief that the emergence of cryptography in conjunction with the borderless jurisdiction of cyberspace was poised to drastically alter the logic of violence, and therefore shift the balance of power from the state to the individual. In the past, massive and expensive armies were needed to secure large amounts of wealth. Today, thanks to the invention of Bitcoin, wealth can be stored in the brain of any human being, simply by memorizing 24 words. Instead of needing to rely upon state-run institutions to uphold property rights, wealth in the 21st century will be protected by unbreakable cryptography, or in other words, pure mathematics. Read as the authors describe in detail the eventual emergence of what they call “cybercash” and keep in mind that all this was first published in 1997: “Now the advent of the Information Age implies another revolution in the character of money. As cybercommerce begins, it will lead inevitably to cybermoney. This new form of money will reset the odds, reducing the capacity of the world's nationstates to determine who becomes a Sovereign Individual. A crucial part of this change will come about because of the effect of information technology in liberating the holders of wealth from expropriation through inflation. Soon, you will pay for almost any transaction over the Net the same time you place it, using cybercash. This new digital form of money is destined to play a pivotal role in cybercommerce. It will consist of encrypted sequences of multihundred-digit prime numbers. Unique, anonymous, and verifiable, this money will accommodate the largest transactions. It will also be divisible into the tiniest fraction of value. It will be tradable at a keystroke in a multi-trillion-dollar wholesale market without borders.”  –“The Sovereign Individual,” page 215 Bitcoin has turned this 1997 prophecy into a reality. Bitcoin will be the most important tool in the arsenal of the 21st century sovereign individual. Impervious to confiscation via theft or inflation, and open to all human beings on earth with access to the internet, the rise of Bitcoin represents the rise of the sovereign individual. THE STRUGGLE FOR SOVEREIGNTY Sovereignty in this context is a zero-sum game. When individuals gain sovereignty, the state necessarily loses sovereignty over them. As citizens continue to take advantage of new technological innovations, institutions will naturally struggle to reclaim power. We are not only seeing this with Bitcoin in the form of propaganda-style attacks launched by many central banks, but we are seeing it in legacy media as well. In the words of “The Sovereign Individual,” “The mass media will become individualized media… No longer will you be at the mercy of Dan Rather or the BBC for the news that reaches you. You will be able to select news compiled and edited according to your instructions.” With the rise of alternative, independent and social media, the mainstream media has never held less power than it does today. Legacy news organizations are so desperate for significance that they do not hesitate to lie, manipulate and sow fear and hatred among its viewers in exchange for cheap clicks and views. So many of the biggest issues in society are kept alive by the mainstream media’s incessant desperation for relevance. CNN’s recent spat with Joe Rogan provides us a real time example of legacy media’s waning influence. Rogan, a single man, was able to expose CNN’s lies about him by the simple virtue of the fact that he, himself, has a larger audience than CNN does. We are entering a world where all voices will have the opportunity to be heard. The internet is providing each human being a chance to live up to their full potential. Geography, social class, gender and other labels are no longer limitations in the new digital world. The internet doesn’t care what you look like. If you are able to provide value, you will be rewarded. A NEW PARADIGM As fascinating and impressive as the authors’ use of logic to accurately predict many aspects of our modern life is, perhaps equally fascinating is their ability to look into the deeper, more mysterious patterns of history. “Giggle if you will, but we do not despise or dismiss intuitive understandings of history. Although our argument is grounded in logic, not in reveries, we are awed by the prophetic power of human consciousness... Understanding the way the world works means developing a realistic intuition of the way that human society obeys the mathematics of natural processes. Reality is nonlinear. But most people's expectations are not. To understand the dynamics of change, you have to recognize that human society, like other complex systems in nature, is characterized by cycles and discontinuities. That means certain features of history have a tendency to repeat themselves, and the most important changes, when they occur, may be abrupt rather than gradual.” –“The Sovereign Individual,” page 49 The pattern they are referring to is a curious 500-year cycle which seems to correlate with paradigm shifting events in Western civilization. Beginning in 500 BC, the emergence of Greek democracy and philosophy laid the foundations of Western civilization. The birth of Christ in 4 BC, during the height of the Roman empire, set the stage for Judeo-Christian values becoming the bedrock of Western culture. Five centuries later, in 500 AD, the fall of Rome would lead to the dark ages in Western Europe, a period of institutional collapse and lawless disarray. 1,000 AD marks the beginning of a period now known as the Middle Ages in which commerce and literacy were rediscovered. In the words of Raoul Glaber, an 11th century historian quoted by “The Sovereign Individual,” the turn of the millennium “shook off the tatters of antiquity.” 500 years later, around the year 1,500, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the discovery of the New World all contributed to what we view as the commencement of the modern era. Now, here we sit 500 years later in the very early stages of the 21st century. Technological advances are being compounded exponentially. The era which gave birth to our modern notion of the nation state around the year 1,500 is coming to an end. As the balance of power shifts from the institutional level to the individual level, we would expect the legacy system to tighten its grip. This is exactly what we’re seeing. Simply questioning the official story given by the state or mainstream media can result in being labeled a dangerous conspiracy theorist. Attempting to create a dialogue about important issues on social media can result in censorship and re-education. Suddenly, the inalienable right of bodily sovereignty encoded at Nuremberg is being revoked by governments throughout the world. Citizens of many countries are literally trapped within the borders, unable to leave unless granted permission by their government. Innocent Australians are being removed from their homes and shipped in buses to internment camps where they are being held in isolation, and then hunted down when they try to escape back to their families. Unable to fund these operations against their citizens via transparent taxation, governments and central banks throughout the world have resorted to printing exorbitant amounts of money resulting in the highest inflation in decades. The mainstream media tells you this is all normal, the government tells you this is all normal, the big tech monopolies tell you this is all normal. However, to anyone paying any attention at all, it is becoming abundantly clear that the emperor has no clothes. As unsettling as all this may be, it is all a part of a natural process. Metamorphosis requires death and rebirth. Old institutions are dying, and the madness we are witnessing all around us is simply evidence of their accelerating decay. Just as Gutenberg's printing press broke the Catholic Church’s monopoly on information five centuries ago, Bitcoin is poised to break the state’s monopoly on money. The stage is already set: Insolvent governments will continue to print money in an effort to maintain control over their subjects. The savings of millions of responsible people throughout the world will be wiped out as the value of paper trends towards zero. Many unwitting people will go down with the ship. But for the rest of us, a bright orange lifeboat awaits. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/27/2021 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 27th, 2021

The Top 10 Woke Tweets Of 2021

The Top 10 Woke Tweets Of 2021 Authored by Ophelie Jacobson via Campus Reform, Leftist professors in academia didn’t hold back when it came to sharing their woke ideas on Twitter this year. From a professor defending sex work to a professor praising Joseph Stalin, Campus Reform reported on some of the most outrageous hot takes on Twitter out of higher education. 10. UC prof: Zionism has 'politically toxified our schools' A professor at the University of California-Riverside tweeted in January 2021 claiming that Zionism has “politically toxified our schools.” Dylan Rodriguez tweeted, “most California public education administrators don't understand how Zionism politically toxified our schools and curricula. It prevents us from teaching historical material about entire populations. This must not continue.” According to Rodríguez, the tweet was part of the “Save Arab American Studies twitter storm.” He encouraged others to join in the social media movement, tweeting, “Retweet and join with #DefendEthnicStudies. I support a California Ethnic Studies curriculum that is rigorous and inclusive of vital fields like AAS.”  9. UNT gives 'mask-urbate' guidelines for sex during COVID The University of North Texas’s Student Health and Wellness Center had some advice for students on how to have sex and avoid COVID-19 at the same time.  In a since-deleted tweet, the school tweeted “Mask-urbate?! Read below to learn more,” along with an image suggesting that ill students should “skip sex and stay in." “Mask-urbate! Use face coverings during mutual masturbation to reduce your risk,” read the infographic, complete with the university’s logo. The image also encouraged students to “be creative with physical barriers & sexual positions to prevent close face-to-face contact,” and to wear masks as well as condoms during sex. 8. Prof blames 'every single' future COVID death on the GOP A professor at the University of Rhode Island tweeted in July 2021 arguing that the Republican Party will be to blame for “every single” future COVID-19 death. “The thousands of upcoming COVID deaths are entirely the fault of the Republican Party. Every single one,” Loomis tweeted. “Though, it is worth noting, people do have agency and if they were bamboozled by the Republican Party, they also wanted to be.” This tweet came just one day before American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten tweeted that “Millions of Floridians are going to die for Ron DeSantis’ ignorance and he’s choosing to profit from it. He doesn’t care about Floridians; he cares about furthering his own cruel agenda.” 7. Stanford prof says 'Whiteness' explains parents' opposition to school mask mandates A professor at Stanford University tweeted in August 2021 claiming that protestors of school mask mandates are doing so because of their “Whiteness.” Hakeem Jefferson tweeted “make no mistake, this crazy opposition to mask wearing that is leading folks (read white ppl) to act violently at school board meetings & council meetings & everywhere else—yeah, you can’t disconnect it from whiteness. And discussions that don’t acknowledge this are incomplete.” Jefferson also attributed White identity as the cause of the January 6 Capitol riots, saying, “It’s like my reaction to jan6. You don’t have to be an expert in identity to know that whiteness is driving the behavior.” The professor also retweeted a reply to his thread stating, “Whiteness is the most pressing threat to the nation that isn’t climate change.”  6. Iowa State professor says she limits interactions with white people 'as much as possible' A professor at Iowa State University allegedly tweeted in February 2021 that she limits her interactions “with yt people as much as possible.” Rita Mookerjee tweeted "Lately, I try to limit my interactions with yt people as much as possible. I can't with the self-importance and performance esp during Black History Month.”  The term "yt" is often used online in place of the word "white" in conversations involving race.  5. Phylicia Rashad, dean at Howard U, celebrates Bill Cosby’s release from prison The dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University tweeted in June 2021 celebrating Bill Cosby’s release from a Pennsylvania prison. Phylicia Rashad, who is also an actress, said in a since-deleted tweet, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad, who played Cosby’s fictional wife on The Cosby Show, immediately received criticism for her “insensitive and disrespectful” comments.   Rashad then tweeted “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.” 4. Prof: ‘The problem with academia today is that it has too many conservatives’ A professor at the University of Massachusetts tweeted in April 2021 claiming that higher education institutions have “too many conservatives” on campus. Asheesh Kapur Siddique tweeted “The problem with academia today is that it has too many conservatives. They run the university. They sit in admin & on university boards enforcing manufactured austerity, combating unionization, & casualizing most of the professoriate.” He also added that “those who think that the ideological character of the university can be discerned by the political leanings of its faculty betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how institutions work. You have to look at management, not labor.” 3. California professor says Joseph Stalin was a 'very successful revolutionary' A professor at Riverside City College tweeted in June 2021 defending Joseph Stalin and saying he was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, citing the dictator's contributions to Marxism.  Asatar Bair tweeted, “People say I 'idolize' Stalin. Not true, I hold a fair and balanced view. The man was neither savior nor saint, but he was, at once, a very successful revolutionary, a great contributor to Marxist theory, and said to be a great listener and collaborator during discussions.” Bair also added that he “would certainly conclude that he is one of the great leaders of the 20th c[entury] though.” 2. DISGUSTING: Profs rejoice in Rush Limbaugh's death Conservative talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh passed away at the beginning of the year from lung cancer. Limbaugh hosted a variety of conservative television and radio programs over the course of decades, including The Rush Limbaugh Show. He was one of the most influential talk radio hosts in the United States and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. However, not everyone saw him as a legend. Multiple professors from different colleges and universities tweeted in February 2021 celebrating the passing of Limbaugh.  A professor at Yale University’s law school tweeted, “I wouldn't say I was happy that Rush Limbaugh died. It's more like euphoria.” Scott Shapiro’s tweet has since been deleted tweet. The chair of the religious studies department at the University of Pennsylvania tweeted an ambiguous celebratory GIF about an hour after the news broke.  A professor at Georgia Southern University called Limbaugh “one of the most harmful and poisonous people in the modern United States of America.”  Jared Yates Sexton also added that “his pursuit of wealth and power hurt untold numbers of people and wrought incalculable damage to politics as a public good, society as a whole, and the planet itself.” Ryan Devlin — an assistant professor at the Pratt Institute — tweeted a GIF of a body thrown into a dumpster. The tweet has since been deleted.  1. U of Ottawa professor: ‘Sex work’ is ‘the best thing young people can do early in their careers’ An adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and a Canadian Lawyer tweeted in June 2021 endorsing sex work for “young people” calling it “the best thing” they can do early in their careers.  Naomi Sayers tweeted, “unpopular opinion: the best thing young people can do early in their careers is do #SexWork on the side because your early career prospects will be unstable, unpredictable, low pay, likely contract work and very much exploitative.” She then addressed the idea of sex work being exploitative by comparing it to capitalism. “That’s how capitalism works… People out here saying young people can be exploited in sex work. Literally, that’s capitalism. Lol. And quite literally, that’s any kind of work.” Tyler Durden Sat, 12/25/2021 - 20:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 25th, 2021