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Twitter is testing "Notes" longform tweets

Twitter has announced it's working on longform posts, which can be up to 2,500 words. Happy Thursday, readers. Jordan Parker Erb here, with word that Twitter is working on longform tweets, a function that will let users surpass the 280-character limit.Let's get to it.If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.SOPA Images/Getty Images1. Get ready to tweet your heart out. Twitter is testing a new longform blogging feature, called Twitter Notes, that could launch in the coming weeks, TechCrunch first reported.Right now, the feature is limited to just a handful of writers in the United States, Canada, Ghana, and the United Kingdom. You can see an example of a Note here.Notes can be a whopping 2,500 words, can include photos, and can be edited after they're published (a feature Twitter users have long been asking for), according to the company's blog.The update will be the biggest change to word count since 2017, when Twitter announced it'd be upping the character limit from 140 to 280.Here's the latest on Twitter Notes.In other news:An Amazon Alexa deviceShutterstock2. Amazon is working on giving Alexa the ability to mimic anyone's voice — dead or alive. An Amazon exec said his team has been instructing Alexa to pick up a voice from a short audio clip and convert it into longer audio output. Here's what we know.3. One of PayPal's first employees shared his biggest takeaway from working with Elon Musk. The former employee said one of his biggest observations of Musk, who was PayPal's CEO, is that he's never doing only one thing at a time. Here's what else he said.4. Every Wall Street firm should know these Big Tech execs. As Wall Street eyes bigger cloud projects, we put together a list of 14 experts from companies like Snowflake, Oracle, and Google Cloud who could make the jump from Silicon Valley to the Street. Meet them here.5. A former Tesla worker rejected a $15 million payout. The employee's lawyers said the payout, which was awarded after the former Tesla elevator operator filed a racial abuse lawsuit, wasn't enough. Now, the employee and Tesla are heading back to court.6. Sweetgreen is winning over Gen Z with TikTok. The salad chain already won over millennials. Now, Sweetgreen is using TikTok videos to expand its appeal to a younger generation. How Sweetgreen is wooing Gen Z.7. Mark Zuckerberg just hinted at an operating system for Meta. In an interview with CNBC's "Mad Money," Zuckerberg said a Facebook operating system may be needed "in order to deliver on what we want to build." Here's what else he said.8. These books can help you weather the crypto tailspin and become a smarter investor. Experts shared their top picks for books that can help you understand digital currencies and their current downturn. Check out their 27 book recommendations.Odds and ends:The Meta Avatars store will allow users to purchase designer outfits.Meta9. Meta just launched a store where users can buy designer clothes for their Avatars. The Meta Avatars Store will sell clothes from brands like Balenciaga, Prada, and Thom Browne — but unlike designer clothes in real life, items will range from $2.99 to $8.99. What we know so far.10. A new way to buy and sell NFTs is now available for the masses. An Insider reporter bought a superhero bunny on Coinbase's new NFT marketplace, but the experience still has her wondering what purpose NFTs truly serve. Read more from her experience.What we're watching today:FedEx and others are reporting earnings. Keep up with earnings here.Tech Live London is happening today and tomorrow.Linux Security Summit kicks off today in Austin.TechCrunch's annual summer party is happening in Menlo Park, CA.Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Lisa Ryan (tweet @lisarya) in New York.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

Watch Live: Jan. 6 Panel Prime-Time "Show-Trial"

Watch Live: Jan. 6 Panel Prime-Time 'Show-Trial' Watch the fully-produced circus live here (due to start at 2000ET) As WaPo reports, while the committee is bipartisan, both Republicans on it are fierce Trump critics. McCarthy (Calif.) pulled his handpicked members from the panel last year after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vetoed two of his picks. Many of the details of the proceedings have been kept secret, but Politico reported Tuesday morning that the proceedings will include testimony from US Capitol police officer Caroline Edwards and a documentarian named Nick Quested who was embedded with the Proud Boys during the attack, but it’s unclear what the focus of his testimony will be. In fact, while expectations have been set for a 'smoking gun', 'gotcha' moment for Trump - just like Schiff and his pals did with Russia collusion - WaPo reports that committee aides sought to temper expectations of any shocking revelations during Thursday’s hearing and instead framed the session as an opening argument. “[Thursday] night is connecting the dots,” said a second aide. “A lot of this has been reported and bits and pieces of it have been shared. But our aim is to tie all that together in a comprehensive narrative and to show how it’s a pattern that started before the election and went all the way through January 6.” We look forward to seeing the ratings for this must-watch TV... sigh. *  *  * As we detailed earlier, the Jan. 6 panel will use never-before-seen documentation and closed-door depositions on Thursday to present their grand unifying theory to connect former President Trump to the Capitol riot, as part of a broader effort to keep him in power. Tonight's televised 90-minute hearing, which begins at 8pm ET and is being produced by a former network television executive, will show that the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the Capitol was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden," a House Select Committee aide told reporters during a Thursday call. "And indeed, that President Donald Trump was at the center of that effort," the aide added. House Democrats will also feature live testimony from Nick Quested - a British documentarian who was creating a project about the Proud Boys and was present at a meeting between that group and the Oath Keepers, who participated in the Capitol breach. "You’re talking about two witnesses who were there at the very initial breach," said the aide. "We’re going to hear about their experiences from that day — particularly sort of what they heard, what they saw from the rioters." Democrats are expected to connect how the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers interacted with Trump's tweets on Reddit and other message boards, according to Axios, which pointed out two other 'areas of interest.' 1. Efforts by Trump and aides to destroy documents. Trump often tore up White House documents that should have been preserved as presidential records. Some of the presidential records sent to the Jan. 6 committee by the National Archives had been ripped up, then taped back together, the Washington Post reported. A committee witness testified that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his West Wing fireplace after meeting with a House Republican about challenging the 2020 election, the N.Y. Times and Politico reported. 2. Trump's consideration of invoking the Insurrection Act, a federal law that allows the president to deploy the military domestically. Committee members have studied how close Trump came to invoking the act immediately after the election and leading up to Jan. 6. -Axios Other witnesses include Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured on the day of the 'insurrection' attempt. Both Edwards and Quested, the documentarian, plan top recount their experiences - "particularly what they saw and heard from the rioters," said a committee aide. January 6 was the violent culmination of an extensive effort to overturn a presidential election. The American people know a lot about those events, but soon they will learn more, and see how close we came to losing our democracy. On Thursday, we will begin to tell that story. pic.twitter.com/hX6RAS9GFR — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 5, 2022 House Republicans, meanwhile, say that the Democrats' use of former ABC News president James Goldston on the presentation may have violated House rules. As the Epoch Times notes, in a letter (pdf) to the Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Committee on House Administration Chairperson Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), GOP lawmakers asked for confirmation that Goldston has been hired as an employee of the committee, and not as a consultant or in an “unofficial capacity.” The letter was signed by Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), and others. It comes after Axios first reported Monday that the former network news executive had joined the committee as an “unannounced adviser” and is “busily producing Thursday’s 8 p.m. ET hearing as if it were a blockbuster investigative special.” Goldston has previously served as a producer for some of the network’s biggest news programs like “20/20,” “Nightline,” and “Good Morning America.” He left ABC in March. Citing congressional laws pertaining to committee staff, the lawmakers noted that a letter is required requesting approval of the Committee on House Administration regarding Goldston’s hiring, along with a signed contract agreement and resume. Under that same law, Goldston would be unable to commence work for the committee until the contract has been approved by the Committee on House Administration. “To our knowledge, the Committee has not received or considered such a request,” wrote the representatives. The GOP lawmakers also cited reports from CNN that Goldston is working with the select committee “to help produce their upcoming hearings” and “helping the committee with the planning of the hearings and their presentation.” They noted that the committees are allowed to “obtain temporary or intermittent services of individual consultants or organizations, to advise the Committee with respect to matters within its jurisdiction,” but that Goldston would not be able to act as an employee of the committee. “The Committee on House Administration will not approve a contract if the services to be provided by the consultant are the regular duties of Committee staff,” lawmakers wrote. “Planning, preparation, and production of hearings are unquestionably the ‘regular duties of Committee staff’.” Republican lawmakers also noted in their letter that Goldston would be barred from working for the Jan. 6 Committee free of charge, noting that such an arrangement would “violate House Rules and the House Ethics Manual regulations which clearly states that no logical distinction can be drawn between the private contribution of in-kind services and the private contribution of money.” Finally, the big question is: Could Trump face criminal charges? Inciting an insurrection or riot is a federal crime, but the Justice Department would have to charge him separately. That’s unlikely, according to Frederick Lawrence, a lecturer at the Georgetown University Law Center. Not only would prosecutors have to prove Trump intentionally whipped up his supporters, Lawrence said, but also that he intended for them to break into the Capitol, loot and cause bodily harm. A further complication is a 1969 Supreme Court precedent that shields inflammatory speech under the First Amendment unless it’s aimed at “imminent” lawless behavior. Apart from what Trump said in his speech, prosecutors could take an alternative path if they uncover evidence that the former president or his advisers were involved in planning the riot. Whether such conspiracy charges are viable would depend on the nature of the plotting and how close Trump and his inner circle was to it. “It would all turn on who was in the room and what they are prepared to testify to,” Lawrence said. More than 850 people have been criminally charged in connection with the riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 by a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters. Most are accused of conventional offenses such as trespassing and assault, while 16 members of two right-wing groups are facing a more exotic charge: seditious conspiracy. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/09/2022 - 19:52.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 9th, 2022

Tonight: Jan. 6 Panel To Accuse Trump Of "Coordinated, Multi-Step Effort" To Overturn Election

Tonight: Jan. 6 Panel To Accuse Trump Of 'Coordinated, Multi-Step Effort' To Overturn Election The Jan. 6 panel will use never-before-seen documentation and closed-door depositions on Thursday to present their grand unifying theory to connect former President Trump to the Capitol riot, as part of a broader effort to keep him in power. Tonight's televised 90-minute hearing, which begins at 8pm ET and is being produced by a former network television executive, will show that the Jan. 6 2021 attack on the Capitol was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden," a House Select Committee aide told reporters during a Thursday call. "And indeed, that President Donald Trump was at the center of that effort," the aide added. House Democrats will also feature live testimony from Nick Quested - a British documentarian who was creating a project about the Proud Boys and was present at a meeting between that group and the Oath Keepers, who participated in the Capitol breach. "You’re talking about two witnesses who were there at the very initial breach," said the aide. "We’re going to hear about their experiences from that day — particularly sort of what they heard, what they saw from the rioters." Democrats are expected to connect how the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers interacted with Trump's tweets on Reddit and other message boards, according to Axios, which pointed out two other 'areas of interest.' 1. Efforts by Trump and aides to destroy documents. Trump often tore up White House documents that should have been preserved as presidential records. Some of the presidential records sent to the Jan. 6 committee by the National Archives had been ripped up, then taped back together, the Washington Post reported. A committee witness testified that then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows burned papers in his West Wing fireplace after meeting with a House Republican about challenging the 2020 election, the N.Y. Times and Politico reported. 2. Trump's consideration of invoking the Insurrection Act, a federal law that allows the president to deploy the military domestically. Committee members have studied how close Trump came to invoking the act immediately after the election and leading up to Jan. 6. -Axios Other witnesses include Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured on the day of the 'insurrection' attempt. Both Edwards and Quested, the documentarian, plan top recount their experiences - "particularly what they saw and heard from the rioters," said a committee aide. January 6 was the violent culmination of an extensive effort to overturn a presidential election. The American people know a lot about those events, but soon they will learn more, and see how close we came to losing our democracy. On Thursday, we will begin to tell that story. pic.twitter.com/hX6RAS9GFR — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) June 5, 2022 House Republicans, meanwhile, say that the Democrats' use of former ABC News president James Goldston on the presentation may have violated House rules. As the Epoch Times notes: In a letter (pdf) to the Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Committee on House Administration Chairperson Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), GOP lawmakers asked for confirmation that Goldston has been hired as an employee of the committee, and not as a consultant or in an “unofficial capacity.” The letter was signed by Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), and others. It comes after Axios first reported Monday that the former network news executive had joined the committee as an “unannounced adviser” and is “busily producing Thursday’s 8 p.m. ET hearing as if it were a blockbuster investigative special.” Goldston has previously served as a producer for some of the network’s biggest news programs like “20/20,” “Nightline,” and “Good Morning America.” He left ABC in March. Citing congressional laws pertaining to committee staff, the lawmakers noted that a letter is required requesting approval of the Committee on House Administration regarding Goldston’s hiring, along with a signed contract agreement and resume. Under that same law, Goldston would be unable to commence work for the committee until the contract has been approved by the Committee on House Administration. “To our knowledge, the Committee has not received or considered such a request,” wrote the representatives. The GOP lawmakers also cited reports from CNN that Goldston is working with the select committee “to help produce their upcoming hearings” and “helping the committee with the planning of the hearings and their presentation.” They noted that the committees are allowed to “obtain temporary or intermittent services of individual consultants or organizations, to advise the Committee with respect to matters within its jurisdiction,” but that Goldston would not be able to act as an employee of the committee. “The Committee on House Administration will not approve a contract if the services to be provided by the consultant are the regular duties of Committee staff,” lawmakers wrote. “Planning, preparation, and production of hearings are unquestionably the ‘regular duties of Committee staff’.” Republican lawmakers also noted in their letter that Goldston would be barred from working for the Jan. 6 Committee free of charge, noting that such an arrangement would “violate House Rules and the House Ethics Manual regulations which clearly states that no logical distinction can be drawn between the private contribution of in-kind services and the private contribution of money.” Tyler Durden Thu, 06/09/2022 - 12:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 9th, 2022

Musk Files Amended 13D: May Engage In Strategic, Governance Discussions With Twitter

Musk Files Amended 13D: May Engage In Strategic, Governance Discussions With Twitter Update (0900ET): Having deleted several 'interesting' tweets on the strategic direction of Twitter, Elon Musk has filed a 13D explaining he may buy more stock and offer his opinions to the board and management. In the rather generic Filing, Musk notes that:  "The Reporting Person holds the Common Stock of the Issuer for investment purposes. Depending on the factors discussed herein, the Reporting Person may, from time to time, acquire additional shares of Common Stock and/or retain and/or sell all or a portion of the shares of Common Stock held by the Reporting Person in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, and/or may distribute the Common Stock held by the Reporting Person to other entities." "From time to time, the Reporting Person may engage in discussions with the Board and/or members of the Issuer’s management team concerning, including, without limitation, potential business combinations and strategic alternatives, the business, operations, capital structure, governance, management, strategy of the Issuer and other matters concerning the Issuer. The Reporting Person may express his views to the Board and/or members of the Issuer’s management team and/or the public through social media or other channels with respect to the Issuer’s business, products and service offerings." All very boiler plate, but it was helped rebound TWTR shares back to almost unchanged... *  *  * Update (0820ET): Following Agrawal's tweet, Musk posted a now-deleted emoji of a hand covering a mouth. Twitter shares were off around 2.9% pre-market, however the initial drop was quickly bought. As Bloomberg notes, "The billionaire behind Tesla Inc. and SpaceX has been vocal about changes he’d consider at the social media platform. Musk wasted no time in appealing to users about prospective moves from turning Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter and adding an edit button for tweets, to granting automatic verification marks to premium users. Those open musings drew in even Amazon.com Inc. founder and space-faring rival Jeff Bezos, among other high-profile personalities." Musk and Twitter Execs had planned a town-hall for employees this week, however it's unclear if that will now happen. *  *  * Following Elon Musk's recent acquisition of 9.2% of Twitter and last Tuesday's formal announcement that he would be joining the Board of Directors, Musk has declined the board seat. "Elon Musk has decided not to join our board," wrote CEO Parag Agrawal, adding "We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward." "Elon's appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not." Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief note to the company, sharing with you all here. pic.twitter.com/lfrXACavvk — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 11, 2022 Word of Musk's appointment to the board sent liberals into fits - as the inclusion of the free-speech advocate was seen as a threat to left-wing heterodoxy that underpins Twitter's culture. Of course, for those paying attention, this means that Musk can now own more than 14.9% of the company - a limit that board members must adhere to. As the Wall Street Journal notes, "It was unclear why Musk refused the board seat. Adding Musk would have restricted how big a stake in the company he could own. Musk could now do anything from selling his stake to potentially pursuing a hostile takeover of the company." We await the next Musk tweet with bated breath... Tyler Durden Mon, 04/11/2022 - 09:44.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 11th, 2022

Illinois County Democratic Party Official Resigns After Calling Sunday Parade Massacre "Karma" For Rittenhouse Acquittal

Illinois County Democratic Party Official Resigns After Calling Sunday Parade Massacre "Karma" For Rittenhouse Acquittal A former official with the DuPage County Democratic Party in Illinois has come under fire for callous comments suggesting that Sunday night's mass murder at a Wisconsin Christmas parade was "karma" for the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, according to Fox News. Mary Lemanski Mary Lemanski, who was listed as the social media director for the Democratic Party chapter as of this morning, and whose name was removed minutes ago, mocked the Waukesha parade massacre that left at least five dead and 40 injured as "probably just self-defense," and "karma" following the verdict in Kenosha. Lemanski also describes herself as an acting student with the famed Second City comedy group. "Living in Wisconsin, he probably felt threatened," read another post attributed to Lemanski, referring to the SUV driver in the Waukesha case. -Fox News Lemanski - who also lists herself as an acting student with the Second City comedy group - didn't stop there, tweeting that "The blood of Kyle Rittenhouse’s victims is on the hands of Wisconsin citizens," adding "even the children." via @drewnatum In a now-deleted tweet, Lemanski wrote "I’m sad," adding "I’m sad anytime anyone dies. I just believe in Karma and this came around quick on the citizens of Wisconsin." "You reap what you sow, Wisconsin," she added in a subsequent tweet. When she was called out for being a "scumbag," Lemanski replied. "It's sad people died, but when you open the door to vigilante justice, everyone seems threatening." Lemanski, who hasn't locked her Twitter account (yet), says she 'owns her words,' before complaining that "I've put out music for 20 years nobody gave a shit," adding "Why do people all of a sudden care about a stupid remark? I can't believe my 15 minutes of fame is for this shit." In response to Lemanski's comments, the DuPage Democrats tweeted: "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Waukesha.We are aware of statements made by a former member of our organization and find them to be incredibly insensitive and not in alignment of who we are as an organization. Our organization does not support hate in any form" We are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Waukesha.We are aware of statements made by a former member of our organization and find them to be incredibly insensitive and not in alignment of who we are as an organization. Our organization does not support hate in any form — DuPage Democrats (@DuPage_Dems) November 22, 2021 And as one Twitter user pointed out, she appears to have resigned. As of a couple minutes ago, according to her Facebook page, she resigned from her post. pic.twitter.com/FQysqN2Uyk — JerBoyce (@JerBoyce) November 22, 2021 Lemanski isn't the only leftist to celebrate after the mass murder. As Paul Joseph Watson of Summit News notes: Entrepreneur and social justice activist Mark L. Feinberg reacted to the shocking incident by appearing to mock the victims. After Feinberg, who is CEO of OTHRSource, sardonically remarked that the killer had acted in “self defense” against the parade attendees, a reference to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, he was told by another Twitter user, “It was a Christmas parade, you nitwit.” “Poor white people,” responded Feinberg. He also responded to another tweet that called the tragedy “just terrible” by claiming the oppression faced by black people was far worse. “More or less terrible than 402+ years of a systemic holocaust against black people (which has killed millions)? After receiving a backlash to his vile comments, Feinberg then tried to play the anti-semitism card. He appears to have deleted all of the tweets captured above. As Chris Menahan highlights, numerous other leftists responded to the massacre by either mocking the victims or blaming “white supremacy.” To reiterate, the killer was an African-American male. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 12:16.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

"Health Should Not Be Political": Packers" Aaron Rodgers Deflects Hysteria About Being Unvaccinated In Lengthy Interview

"Health Should Not Be Political": Packers' Aaron Rodgers Deflects Hysteria About Being Unvaccinated In Lengthy Interview The Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers tested positive for Covid and revealed to the world he was unvaccinated this week, despite previously leading on that he had been immunized.  Rodgers, who appeared on the Pat McAfee show to talk about his decision to not get vaccinated, said he was already feeling better and that he was following the same path for treatment that got Joe Rogan better within days: monoclonal antibodies, vitamins and ivermectin.  "I realize I'm in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I'd like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies out there," he says at the onset of defending himself. Rodgers started the interview by saying that right off the bat, after speaking to experts, he knew two vaccines were going to be off the table for him since he's allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines. "Much like the study I put into hosting Jeopardy, I met with a lot of people to get the most information about all the vaccines," Rodgers told Pat McAfee.  From there he goes on to explain that the JNJ vaccine wound up in the news for clotting issues around the time he would have needed to make the decision to get vaccinated, so he didn't take it. He also notes that he followed protocol for unvaccinated players and tested every single day. In the interview, Rodgers says he now "feels great" after testing positive for Covid.  He also brought up some great common sense points, like asking: "If the vaccine is so great, why are so many vaccinated people getting sick?" and "If it is so safe, why to the manufacturers need legal immunity?" Rodgers points to the study out of Israel saying he'll have more robust immunity than he would with a vaccine and makes the point that when Trump was pushing the vaccine, the same hysterical left was all saying they'd never take it.  "Everyone on the squad knew I was not vaccinated. Everyone in the organization knew I was not vaccinated," he said. "I was trying to minimize this conversation going on and on. There were some people in the media who found out about it and sat on it, so I knew I would have to discuss it." "The problem with this is that it's so political," Rodgers continues. "Health should not be political." Speaking about the NFL and the woke mob trying to ensure everyone was vaccinated, Rodgers said: "It was such a witch hunt. They wanted to out and shame every single person that didn't get vaccinated." He also then brought up the rarely-broached-by-the-left topic of why the virus is easier to handle for those in better shape: "Has anyone actually talked about real health? Exercise? Drinking water, eating real food? No. I'm making a decision based on what's best for me and my own health - and for me, it's a no brainer".  "You have a moral obligation to object to unjust rule," Rodgers concludes, quoting Martin Luther King.   Spot on from Aaron Rodgers.. “The right is gonna champion me and the left is gonna cancel me. I don't give a sh*t about either of them. Politics is a total sham. I'm not going on Fox News just like I'm not going to go on CNN.” - Aaron Rodgers pic.twitter.com/lXwG6KxEkm — NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) November 6, 2021 Tyler Durden Sat, 11/06/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 6th, 2021

Despite DHS Panic Over 400K Migrants In October, Agency Issues "No-Arrest" Guidelines

Despite DHS Panic Over 400K Migrants In October, Agency Issues 'No-Arrest' Guidelines Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times, New guidelines promulgated by a top Biden administration official on Thursday advise immigration enforcement agents that being in the country illegally is not by itself enough reason to arrest somebody. More than 11 million illegal immigrants are estimated to be in the United States, but Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have the resources to arrest and seek to remove all of them, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memorandum laying out the guidelines. He urged agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an office inside DHS, to exercise “discretion” in enforcing immigration rules. “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” he wrote. “We will use our discretion and focus our enforcement resources in a more targeted way. Justice and our country’s well-being require it,” he added. Only illegal immigrants who pose a threat to national security, pose a threat to public safety, or pose a threat to border security should be targeted for removal, according to the guidelines. Triggers include a noncitizen committing certain crimes or having a serious prior criminal record; being engaged or suspected of terrorism or espionage; or being apprehended while trying to illegally enter the United States at the border. Being in the country without a green card or other legitimatization documents means a person can be removed under U.S. law. The new guidelines mean the administration is acknowledging that it won’t enforce the law, critics immediately charged. “The person who swore an oath to uphold immigration law *as written by Congress* has declared that immigration law will be upheld according only to his diktats,” NumbersUSA, which advocates for lower immigration levels as a way to “allow present and future generations of Americans to enjoy a stabilizing U.S. population,” wrote in a social media post. Level of Illegal Immigration Setting Record The guidance comes as the United States under President Joe Biden sees record-setting levels of illegal immigration. Some experts believe a new fiscal year record will likely be set when the numbers for September come in and are almost certain that at the current pace of border crossings—which rose during the hot summer months instead of following the typical trendline—the yearly record will be eclipsed. "As many as 400,000 migrants" are heading to the U.S. border, NBC News reports. "An unprecedented number...nearly doubling the stunning numbers we've seen the last two months, which were a 21-year high." "As many as 400,000 migrants" are heading to the U.S. border, NBC News reports. "An unprecedented number...nearly doubling the stunning numbers we've seen the last two months, which were a 21-year high." pic.twitter.com/6kPDR1rE1H — RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 1, 2021 Biden upon taking office halted construction of the border wall, stopped the Trump era “Remain in Mexico” program, and curtailed use of emergency pandemic powers to expel illegal immigrants. The policies have served to entice illegal immigration, according to experts, immigrants, and members of Congress from both parties. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) linked the jump in illegal immigration to the increasing lack of in-country enforcement seen in Mayorkas’s memo. “The Biden administration has welcomed the flood of illegal aliens crossing our border and is now promising those same illegal aliens that they may stay in the U.S. without repercussions,” he said on Twitter. Mayorkas, nominated to his post by Biden and approved by the Senate, sees it differently. He said in a statement that the guidelines will “require an assessment of the individual and take into account the totality of the facts and circumstances.” “In exercising this discretion, we are guided by the knowledge that there are individuals in our country who have been here for generations and contributed to our country’s well-being, including those who have been on the frontline in the battle against COVID, lead congregations of faith, and teach our children. As we strive to provide them with a path to status, we will not work in conflict by spending resources seeking to remove those who do not pose a threat and, in fact, make our nation stronger,” he added. The guidelines are poised to take effect on Nov. 29. But they’re likely to face legal challenges. The enforcement priorities they’re replacing, which were issued by ICE’s acting director, Tae Johnson, in February, were blocked in August by a federal judge. Johnson attempted to direct agents not to focus on detaining and removing certain illegal immigrants. But U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump nominee, found that the Executive Branch was, through Johnson’s memo, trying to “enforce a law enacted by Congress in a way that is contrary to the plain language of the law.” An appeals court panel, though, earlier this month largely overturned the decision. A separate challenge over the February memo was filed over the summer by ICE agents and sheriffs. That case has not been decided yet by a federal district court in Texas. Other lawsuits have been lodged against other aspects of the administration’s immigration policies, including its widespread release of illegal immigrants into the U.S. interior, including one filed by Florida this week. *  *  * Interestingly, as the New York Post notes, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the Biden administration could maintain a Trump-era public health authority that would allow for the rapid deportation of migrant families due to the Covid-19 pandemic, known as Title 42. US District Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote in his Sept. 16 ruling that “in view of the wide availability of testing, vaccines, and other minimization measures, the Court is not convinced that the transmission of COVID-19 during border processing cannot be significantly mitigated.” The appeals court’s decision came hours after NBC News reported that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had asked top Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials whether they were prepared for up to 400,000 people to try to enter the US in October if Sullivan’s order was upheld. -NY Post Is Nancy Pelosi going to call this xenophobic? Tyler Durden Fri, 10/01/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 1st, 2021

"Suitcases Full Of Drug Money": Credit Suisse Found Criminally Guilty in Money-Laundering Case Tied to Cocaine Ring

"Suitcases Full Of Drug Money": Credit Suisse Found Criminally Guilty in Money-Laundering Case Tied to Cocaine Ring Another day, another dismal development for the 2nd largest (but most damned) Swiss bank. On Monday, Credit Suisse Group was convicted of failing to prevent money laundering by a Bulgarian cocaine trafficker, in the first ever criminal conviction of a major Swiss bank in the country’s history. The verdict, in which a former relationship manager at the bank was also convicted on money laundering charges, was handed down by Switzerland’s top criminal court on Monday afternoon. The former employee, who prosecutors said regularly accepted suitcases of cash from one of the ring members that went beyond allowed limits, was given a 20-month suspended sentence. A person from another bank and two members of the crime ring were also found guilty of money-laundering charges.  There was a silver lining, as the penalty was purely token: Credit Suisse will be fined two million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) over “certain historical organizational inadequacies”,  or about how much the cocaine trafficker spent on hookers in one trip to Switzerland to deposit his drug money with Credit Suisse. Money aside, the decision is another blow to the tarnished reputation of Credit Suisse, which had argued the crimes date to an era when compliance standards were less stringent. It has been struggling with a series of scandals that have sent its shares to near-record lows, and may face a second criminal indictment in an unrelated case later this year. As Bloomberg notes, the case was criticized by Credit Suisse for having been brought so many years after the events in question. The bank expressed its “astonishment” in late 2020 when Swiss prosecutors publicly charged it with money laundering offenses, given the alleged crimes took place between 2004 and 2008. The court said Credit Suisse made it possible for the crime ring to launder money through the bank between July 2007 and December 2008 by failing to adequately monitor its accounts and make sure the business complied with anti-money-laundering rules. The crime ring allegedly recruited a Bulgarian wrestler and others in his orbit for operations transporting drugs and laundering money. Credit Suisse said in a pre-trial statement that it “unreservedly rejects as meritless all allegations in this legacy matter raised against it and is convinced that its former employee is innocent.” It also said previously that outside lawyers and consultants had reviewed its systems against money laundering and found its organizational setup was “correct and appropriate” in the period being probed. Prosecutors initially charged the bank with deficiencies between 2004 and 2008 but had to narrow the time frame because too much time had passed. Under Swiss law, local prosecutors can press criminal charges against banks if they believe those institutions didn’t do enough to screen clients and their cash for obvious ties to illicit activity. The former Credit Suisse manager, a woman who can only be named as E. under Swiss reporting restrictions, accepted deposits of used bank notes that regularly exceeded 500,000 euros ($528,650) at a time, according to the 515-page indictment. Cash deposits were very common given the parlous state of Bulgaria’s banks at the time, she said in testimony. Her lawyer also said she wasn’t sufficiently trained by the bank, and will appeal. The conviction hits Credit Suisse as it tries to turn a corner on financial losses and other scandals, including more than $5 billion in losses related to the collapse of family office Archegos Capital Management.  Credit Suisse said it would appeal the decision. It noted that the alleged offenses date to more than 14 years ago. It had said it was astonished to be charged when prosecutors brought the case in December 2020. The bank on Monday said it is continually testing its anti-money-laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time.  On Tuesday, Credit Suisse will update investors on plans to cut costs this year to help offset falling revenue in some divisions. It previously said it expects to post its third consecutive quarterly loss for the three months ending June 30. Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 02:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 28th, 2022

"The Rubicon Has Been Crossed": The BOJ Now Owns More Than 50% Of All Japanese Bonds

"The Rubicon Has Been Crossed": The BOJ Now Owns More Than 50% Of All Japanese Bonds A little over three years ago, the Bank of Japan crossed a historic milestone when we reported that the central bank had become a top-10 shareholder in 50% of all Japanese companies. Since then, the central bank's equity stake across Japanese corporations has only grown. One week ago, we also reported that the BOJ was on the verge of crossing the final "50%" Rubicon, when as consequence of the latest surge in bond buying by Kuroda's central bank meant to prevent the bank's Yield Curve Control from collapsing, the BoJ was brought to a place it almost certainly never envisaged when it started QE as a “temporary” measure back in 2001 -- owning virtually half of the JGB market. As Bloomberg's Simon White said last week, "we are in uncharted territory as no other major central bank has crossed this threshold before." He continued: The BoJ could pass the 50% threshold as early as this week. That would be crossing the Rubicon. However you slice it or dice it, the BoJ will be the JGB market. What this means over the long term we’ll eventually find out. But it’s not a big leap to guess that private JGB holders -- both domestic and foreign -- will become less comfortable in a market with such lopsided ownership. Well, as of today, this final threshold has also been crossed, thanks to the recent burst of YCC-defending debt monetization which reached a mindbogglging 11 trillion in the last week... BoJ weekly purchases of government bonds. Holy moly pic.twitter.com/pz6e9KRn4z — Duncan Lamont (@DuncanLamont2) June 27, 2022 ... and as Japan's Nikkei reports, the share of Japanese government bonds held by the Bank of Japan just topped 50%, hitting a record Ponzi high. According to Nikkei calculations, the BOJ purchased JGBs worth 14.8 trillion yen ($110 billion) in June, surpassing the 11.1 trillion yen purchased in November 2002, its largest monthly total. According to the QUICK database, the outstanding value of long-term JGBs as of June 20 totaled 1,021.1 trillion yen, of which the BOJ held 514.9 trillion yen on a face-value basis. That translates to 50.4% of the total amount outstanding, up from 50.0% in February to March 2021. As we explained a few weeks ago, the BOJ has been buying up the majority of the JGBs on the market, an unusual situation that has caused distortions in the bond market including a deeply inverted yield curve. Putting the BOJ's unprecedented bond buying spree in context, the central bank's JGB holdings were "only" in the 10% range when Gov. Kuroda started the massive monetary easing program in 2013. Its holdings have continued to grow as the ultraloose policy has continued. At this rate, all else equal, the BOJ will own the entire bond market in another decade or so. Several years ago, the IMF calculated that the BOJ holding around 40% of the bond market would lead to a broken market. Well, it is now 50%+ and there are days when not a single trade crosses - the definition of a broken market. The problem for the BOJ is that it can't stop buying now... or ever: According to estimates by the Japan Center for Economic Research, the BOJ will need to increase its JGB holdings by 120 trillion yen from the current level of over 500 trillion yen to keep long-term interest rates at 0.25%. The central bank's JGB holdings are quickly approaching and are expected to exceed 60% of total. Until now, the BOJ has concentrated on specific JGBs, holding 87.6% of newly issued 10-year JGBs, a measure of long-term interest rates. However, at this rate it will soon run out of 10Y paper to buy and will be forced to move left and right on the ccurve. Meanwhile, even though bonds with longer maturities have higher interest rates, as the BOJ has focused on the yield on 10-year JGBs to suppress interest rates, yields on JGBs with seven to nine years to maturity are now higher than those on 10-year JGBs. As discussed on several prior occasions, this month some trades occurred at yields above the BOJ's upper limit of 0.25% -- a situation where JGBs were trading at a lower price than the level at which the BOJ promised to buy them -- effectively breaching the bank's yield curve control. This means that market participants believe the BOJ will soon no longer be able to maintain the current interest rate control measures, known as yield curve control. A failure to defend YCC could lead to a catastrophic move lower in the JGB market, and spark a hyperinflation collapse of the Japanese yen, and the entire economy. The BOJ's bond-buying stands out compared with other central banks' moves. The U.S. Federal Reserve's holdings of government bonds were in the 20% range at the end of March, and it began quantitative tightening in June to reduce its holdings of government bonds and other assets. The European Central Bank's ratio is currently in the 30% range. The ECB will end its quantitative easing program of purchasing government bonds and other assets in July. At the same time, and as also discussed extensively, the widening interest rate gap between Japan and the U.S. and Japan and Europe has prompted a fall in the value of the yen. The Japanese currency fell to a 24-year low of 136 against the dollar earlier this month. It will fall much lower if the BOJ defends the 0.25% YCC barrier "whatever it takes", as the resultant liquidity needed to prevent yields from spiking will continue crashing the yen. Naturally, with the BOJ buying up every piece of paper it can find, JGBs held by private financial institutions have been rapidly declining: as of the end of March, banks and other deposit-taking institutions held 11.4% of the total, while insurance and pension funds held 23.2%. This means that the BOJ is now taking on even more risk of incurring losses if long-term interest rates rise and JGB prices drop. Japan's three megabanks hold a total of over 70 trillion yen in JGBs. The average maturity is 2.8 years for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, 2.8 years for Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and 1.2 years for Mizuho Financial Group. In recent years, these banks have been investing mainly in bonds with shorter maturities to prepare for rising interest rates. As the Nikkei concludes, the BOJ's strategy of holding half of the JGBs could be perceived as its way of filling the budget deficit. "There is also a risk that the government's fiscal discipline could be loosened by the central bank keeping interest rates low" the Nikkei notes, adding that "the government needs to work on reforms to stimulate economic growth, to break away from its dependence on the BOJ." To which all we can say is "it's far too late for that" and instead we recommend the BOJ - and Japanese savers - panic. Tyler Durden Mon, 06/27/2022 - 17:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 27th, 2022

CNN"s Navarro Cites Own Autistic & Special Needs Family Members In Making Case For Abortion

CNN's Navarro Cites Own Autistic & Special Needs Family Members In Making Case For Abortion In recent commentary reacting to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, prominent CNN pundit and co-host of The View Ana Navarro "shocked" by bluntly suggesting live on air that some of her own special needs family members, her brother included, should have been... well, we'll let her say it: "I am not anybody to tell you what you need to do with your life or with your uterus." She then mentioned special needs people in her family, saying, "I have a family with a lot of special needs kids. I have a brother who's 57 and has the mental and motor skills of a one-year-old. And I know what that means financially, emotionally, physically for a family. And I know not all families can do it."  She also spoke of her "step-granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome" and her "step-grandson who is very autistic, who has autism..."  Yikes — @ananavarro is talking about her “special needs” family members with Autism and Down's Syndrome to make the case for Abortion. These people are SICK. pic.twitter.com/BSLprNd9ba — Baby Lives Matter Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 24, 2022 Yes, she really suggested that her family and others could benefit from open access to abortion to prevent their autistic family members, as well as for anyone with slow motor skills, from ever having been born. Given this precisely echoes the arguments that eugenicists during the time of the Nazi Third Reich made in arguing the "unfit" should be exterminated, Navarro's commentary was met with widespread disgust and horror among pro-life social media users. Many suggested that this is where the 'logic' of abortion advocates actually leads. But even S.E. Cupp, also a CNN host, who is on record as being 'pro-choice' but has a special needs child - also reacted fiercely. She called out Navarro personally, saying the following: "You said you have a step-grand daughter with Down’s syndrome, and a ‘step-grandson who is very autistic.’ And that ‘there are mothers and people who are in that society or in that community will tell you they’ve considered suicide because that’s how difficult it is to get help." Cupp then said: "I have an autistic child. I have never met a parent of an autistic child or any parent of a special needs child who said they’d wished they’d aborted him or her." In the series of tweets, Cupp stated she remains against Roe being overturned, while stressing she is horrified by what Navarro appears to be advocating: "I have been clear. I don’t want Roe overturned. But don’t even for a second make it about our special needs kids. NOT EVEN ONE SECOND," she tweeted. Navarro later tried to distance herself from her prior CNN commentary amid huge backlash, saying her words had been "twisted", claiming in a follow-up tweet: "Some have twisted my words. Won’t stop me calling it out: Banning women’s choices, but NOT funding enough aid for kids & adults w/special needs & disabilities, or a safety-net for single moms & poor families, or safe, loving foster care & adoption, isn’t Pro-life. It’s hypocrisy." S.E. Cupp (left), Ana Navarro (right), via Mediaite And yet her original words were clear as she personally invoked family members including her disabled brother in extolling the 'virtues' of abortion. Tyler Durden Sun, 06/26/2022 - 15:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 26th, 2022

The Federal Bureau Of Tweets: Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents

The Federal Bureau Of Tweets: Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents Authored by Alan MacLeod via Mint Press News, Twitter has been on a recruitment drive of late, hiring a host of former feds and spies. Studying a number of employment and recruitment websites, MintPress has ascertained that the social media giant has, in recent years, recruited dozens of individuals from the national security state to work in the fields of security, trust, safety and content. Chief amongst these is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is generally known as a domestic security and intelligence force. However, it has recently expanded its remit into cyberspace. “The FBI’s investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies,” the “About” section of its website informs readers. “The FBI has divided its investigations into a number of programs, such as domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence [and] cyber crime,” it adds. For example, in 2019, Dawn Burton (the former director of Washington operations for Lockheed Martin) was poached from her job as senior innovation advisor to the director at the FBI to become senior director of strategy and operations for legal, public policy, trust and safety at Twitter. The following year, Karen Walsh went straight from 21 years at the bureau to become director of corporate resilience at the silicon valley giant. Twitter’s deputy general counsel and vice president of legal, Jim Baker, also spent four years at the FBI between 2014 and 2018, where his resumé notes he rose to the role of senior strategic advisor. Meanwhile, Mark Jaroszewski ended his 21-year posting as a supervisory special agent in the Bay Area to take up a position at Twitter, rising to become director of corporate security and risk. And Douglas Turner spent 14 years as a senior special agent and SWAT Team leader before being recruited to serve in Twitter’s corporate and executive security services. Previously, Turner had also spent seven years as a secret service special agent with the Department of Homeland Security. When asked to comment by MintPress, former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley said that she was “not surprised at all” to see FBI agents now working for the very tech companies the agency polices, stating that there now exists a “revolving door” between the FBI and the areas they are trying to regulate. This created a serious conflict of interests in her mind, as many agents have one eye on post-retirement jobs. “The truth is that at the FBI 50% of all the normal conversations that people had were about how you were going to make money after retirement,” she said. Many former FBI officials hold influential roles within Twitter. For instance, in 2020, Matthew W. left a 15-year career as an intelligence program manager at the FBI to take up the post of senior director of product trust at Twitter. Patrick G., a 23-year FBI supervisory special agent, is now head of corporate security. And Twitter’s director of insider risk and security investigations, Bruce A., was headhunted from his role as a supervisory special agent at the bureau. His resumé notes that at the FBI he held “[v]arious intelligence and law enforcement roles in the US, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East” and was a “human intelligence and counterintelligence regional specialist.” (On employment sites such as LinkedIn, many users choose not to reveal their full names.) Meanwhile, between 2007 and 2021 Jeff Carlton built up a distinguished career in the United States Marine Corps, rising to become a senior intelligence analyst. Between 2014 and 2017, his LinkedIn profile notes, he worked for both the CIA and FBI, authored dozens of official reports, some of which were read by President Barack Obama. Carlton describes his role as a “problem-solver” and claims to have worked in many “dynamic, high-pressure environments” such as Iraq and Korea. In May 2021, he left official service to become a senior program manager at Twitter, responsible for dealing with the company’s “highest-profile trust and safety escalations.” Other former FBI staff are employed by Twitter, such as Cherrelle Y. as a policy domain specialist and Laura D. as a senior analyst in global risk intelligence. Many of those listed above were active in the FBI’s public outreach programs, a practice sold as a community trust-building initiative. According to Rowley, however, these also function as “ways for officials to meet the important people that would give them jobs after retirement.” “It basically inserts a huge conflict of interest,” she told MintPress. “It warps and perverts the criminal investigative work that agents do when they are still working as agents because they anticipate getting lucrative jobs after retiring or leaving the FBI.” Rowley – who in 2002 was named, along with two other whistleblowers, as Time magazine’s Person of the Year – was skeptical that there was anything seriously nefarious about the hiring of so many FBI agents, suggesting that Twitter could be using them as sources of information and intelligence. She stated: Retired agents often maintained good relationships and networks with current agents. So they can call up their old buddy and find out stuff… There were certainly instances of retired agents for example trying to find out if there was an investigation of so and so. And if you are working for a company, that company is going to like that influence.” Rowley also suggested that hiring people from various three-letter agencies gave them a credibility boost. “These [tech] companies are using the mythical aura of the FBI. They can point to somebody and say ‘oh, you can trust us; our CEO or CFO is FBI,’” she explained. Twitter certainly has endorsed the FBI as a credible actor, allowing the organization to play a part in regulating the global dissemination of information on its platform. In September 2020, it put out a statement thanking the federal agency. “We wish to express our gratitude to the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force for their close collaboration and continued support of our work to protect the public conversation at this critical time,” the statement read. One month later, the company announced that the FBI was feeding it intelligence and that it was complying with their requests for deletion of accounts. “Based on intel provided by the FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate,” Twitter’s safety team wrote. Yet the evidence they supplied of this supposed threat to American democracy was notably weak. All four of the messages from this Iranian operation that Twitter itself shared showed that none of them garnered any likes or retweets whatsoever, meaning that essentially nobody saw them. This was, in other words, a completely routine cleanup operation of insignificant troll accounts. Yet the announcement allowed Twitter to present the FBI as on the side of democracy and place the idea into the public psyche that the election was under threat from foreign actors. Based on intel provided by the @FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate. — Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 1, 2020 Iran has been a favorite Twitter target in the past. In 2009, at the behest of the U.S. government, it postponed routine maintenance of the site, which would have required taking it offline. This was because an anti-government protest movement in Tehran was using the app to communicate and the U.S. did not want the demonstrations’ regime-change potential to be stymied. A carnival of spooks The FBI is far from the only state security agency filling Twitter’s ranks. Shortly after leaving a 10-year career as a CIA analyst, Michael Scott Robinson was hired to become a senior policy manager for site integrity, trust and safety. The California-based app has also recruited heavily from the Atlantic Council, a NATO cutout organization that serves as the military alliance’s think tank. The council is sponsored by NATO, led by senior NATO generals and regularly plays out regime-change scenarios in enemy states, such as China. The Atlantic Council has been associated with many of the most egregious fake news plants of the last few years. It published a series of lurid reports alleging that virtually every political group in Europe challenging the status quo – from the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and UKIP in Great Britain to PODEMOS and Vox in Spain and Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece – were all secretly “the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses.” Atlantic Council employee Michael Weiss was also very likely the creator of the shadowy organization PropOrNot, a group that anonymously published a list of fake-news websites that regularly peddled Kremlin disinformation. Included in this list was virtually every anti-war alternative media outlet one could think of – from MintPress to Truthout, TruthDig and The Black Agenda Report. Also included were pro-Trump websites like The Drudge Report, and liberatarian ventures like Antiwar.com and The Ron Paul Institute. PropOrNot’s list was immediately heralded in the corporate press, and was the basis for a wholescale algorithm shift at Google and other big tech platforms, a shift that saw traffic to alternative media sites crash overnight, never to recover. Thus, the allegation of a huge (Russian) state-sponsored attempt to influence the media was itself an intelligence op by the U.S. national security state. In 2020, Kanishk Karan left his job as a research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research (DFR) Lab to join Twitter as information integrity and safety specialist – essentially helping to control what Twitter sees as legitimate information and nefarious disinformation. Another DFR Lab graduate turned Twitter employee is Daniel Weimert, who is now a senior public policy associate for Russia – a key target of the Atlantic Council. Meanwhile, Sarah Oh is simultaneously an Atlantic Council DFR Lab non-resident senior fellow and a Twitter advisor, her social media bio noting she works on “high risk trust and safety issues.” In 2019, Twitter also hired Greg Andersen straight from NATO to work on cybercrime policy. There is sparse information on what Andersen did at NATO, but, alarmingly, his own LinkedIn profile stated simply that he worked on “psychological operations” for the military alliance. After MintPress highlighted this fact in an article in April, he removed all mention of “psychological operations” from his profile, claiming now to have merely worked as a NATO “researcher.” Andersen left Twitter in the summer of last year to work as a product policy manager for the popular video platform TikTok. Twitter also directly employs active army officers. In 2019, Gordon Macmillan, the head of editorial for the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region was revealed to be an officer in the British Army’s notorious 77th Brigade – a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. This bombshell news was steadfastly ignored across the media. Positions of power and control With nearly 400 million global users, there is no doubt that Twitter has grown to become a platform large and influential enough to necessitate extensive security measures, as actors of all stripes attempt to use the service to influence public opinion and political actions. There is also no doubt that there is a limited pool of people qualified in these sorts of fields. But recruiting largely from the U.S. national security state fundamentally undermines claims Twitter makes about its neutrality. The U.S. government is the source of some of the largest and most extensive influence operations in the world. As far back as 2011, The Guardian reported on the existence of a massive, worldwide U.S. military online influence campaign in which it had designed software that allowed its personnel to “secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.” The program boasts that the background of these personas is so convincing that psychological operations soldiers can be sure to work “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries.” Yet Twitter appears to be recruiting from the source of the problem. These former national security state officials are not being employed in politically neutral departments such as sales or customer service, but in security, trust and content, meaning that some hold considerable sway over what messages and information are promoted, and what is suppressed, demoted or deleted. It could be said that poachers-turned-gamekeepers often play a crucial role in safety and protection, as they know how bad actors think and operate. But there exists little evidence that any of these national security state operatives have changed their stances. Twitter is not hiring whistleblowers or dissidents. It appears, then, that some of these people are essentially doing the same job they were doing before, but now in the private sector. And few are even acknowledging that there is anything wrong with moving from big government to big tech, as if the U.S. national security state and the fourth estate are allies, rather than adversaries. That Twitter is already working so closely with the FBI and other agencies makes it easy for them to recruit from the federal pool. As Rowley said, “over a period of time these people will be totally in sync with the mindset of Twitter and other social media platforms. So from the company’s standpoint, they are not hiring somebody new. They already know this person. They know where they stand on things.” Is there a problem? Some might ask “What is the problem with Twitter actively recruiting from the FBI, CIA and other three-letter agencies?” They, after all, are experts in studying online disinformation and propaganda. One is optical. If a Russian-owned social media app’s trust, security and content moderation was run by former KGB or FSB agents and still insisted it was a politically neutral platform, the entire world would laugh. But apart from this, the huge influx of security state personnel into Twitter’s decision-making ranks means that the company will start to view every problem in the same manner as the U.S. government does – and act accordingly. “In terms of their outlooks on the world and on the question of misinformation and internet security, you couldn’t get a better field of professionals who are almost inherently going to be more in tune with the government’s perspective,” Rowley said. Thus, when policing the platform for disinformation and influence campaigns, the former FBI and CIA agents and Atlantic Council fellows only ever seem to find them emanating from enemy states and never from the U.S. government itself. This is because their backgrounds and outlooks condition them to consider Washington to be a unique force for good. This one-sided view of disinformation can be seen by studying the reports Twitter has published on state-linked information operations. The entire list of countries it has identified as engaging in these campaigns are as follows: Russia (in 7 reports), Iran (in 5 reports), China (4 reports), Saudi Arabia (4 reports), Venezuela (3 reports), Egypt (2 reports), Cuba, Serbia, Bangladesh, the UAE, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria, Honduras, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, Armenia, Spain, Tanzania, Mexico and Uganda. One cannot help noticing that this list correlates quite closely to a hit list of U.S. government adversaries. All countries carry out disinfo campaigns to a certain extent. But these “former” spooks and feds are unlikely to point the finger at their former colleagues or sister organizations or investigate their operations. The Cold (cyber)war Twitter has mirrored U.S. hostility towards states like Russia, China, Iran and Cuba, attempting to suppress the reach and influence of their state media by adding warning messages to the tweets of journalists and accounts affiliated with those governments. “State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” it noted. In a rather bizarre addendum, it explained that it would not be doing the same to state-affiliated media or personalities from other countries, least of all the U.S. “State-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the U.K. or NPR in the U.S. for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media for the purposes of this policy,” it wrote. It did not explain how it decided that Cuban, Russian, Chinese or Iranian journalists did not have editorial independence, but British and American ones did – this was taken for granted. The effect of the action has been a throttling of ideas and narratives from enemy states and an amplification of those coming from Western state media. As the U.S. ramps up tensions with Beijing, so too has Twitter aggressively shut down pro-China voices on its platform. In 2020, it banned 170,000 accounts it said were “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China,” such as praising its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic or expressing opposition to the Hong Kong protests, both of which are majority views in China. Importantly, the Silicon Valley company did not claim that these accounts were controlled by the government; merely sharing these opinions was grounds enough for deletion. The group behind Twitter’s decision to ban those Chinese accounts was the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a deeply controversial think tank funded by the Pentagon, the State Department and a host of weapons manufacturers. ASPI has constantly peddled conspiracy theories about China and called for ramping up tensions with the Asian nation. ASPI - The Gov’t-Funded Conspiracist Think Tank Now Controlling Your Social Media Feed Perhaps most notable, however, was Twitter’s announcement last year that it was deleting dozens of accounts for the new violation of “undermining faith in the NATO alliance.” The statement was widely ridiculed online by users. But few noted that the decision was based upon a partnership with the Stanford Internet Observatory, a counter-disinformation think tank filled with former spooks and state officials and headed by an individual who is on the advisory board of NATO’s Collective Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. That Twitter is working so closely with organizations that are clearly intelligence industry catspaws should concern all users. Not just Twitter While some might be alarmed that Twitter is cultivating such an intimate relationship with the FBI and other groups belonging to the secret state, it is perhaps unfair to single it out, as many social media platforms are doing the same. Facebook, for example, has entered into a formal partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, whereby the latter holds significant influence over 2.9 billion users’ news feeds, helping to decide what content to promote and what content to suppress. The NATO cutout organization now serves as Facebook’s “eyes and ears,” according to a Facebook press release. Anti-war and anti-establishment voices across the world have reported massive drops in traffic on the platform. The social media giant also hired former NATO Press Secretary Ben Nimmo to be its head of intelligence. Nimmo subsequently used his power to attempt to swing the election in Nicaragua away from the leftist Sandinista Party and towards the far-right, pro-U.S. candidate, deleting hundreds of left-wing voices in the week of the election, claiming they were engaging in “inauthentic behavior.” When these individuals (including some well-known personalities) poured onto Twitter, recording video messages proving they were not bots, Twitter deleted those accounts too, in what one commentator called a Silicon Valley “double tap strike.” An April MintPress study revealed how TikTok, too, has been filling its organization with alumni of the Atlantic Council, NATO, the CIA and the State Department. As with Twitter, these new TikTok employees largely work in highly politically sensitive fields such as trust, safety, security and content moderation, meaning these state operatives hold influence over the direction of the company and what content is promoted and what is demoted. Likewise, in 2017, content aggregation site Reddit plucked Jessica Ashooh from the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force to become its new director of policy, despite the fact that she had few relevant qualifications or experience in the field. Jessica Ashooh: The Taming of Reddit and the National Security State Plant Tabbed to Do It In corporate media too, we have seen a widespread infiltration of former security officials into the upper echelons of news organizations. So normalized is the penetration of the national security state into the media that is supposed to be holding it to account, that few reacted in 2015 when Dawn Scalici left her job as national intelligence manager for the Western hemisphere at the Director of National Intelligence to become the global business director of international news conglomerate Thomson Reuters. Scalici, a 33-year CIA veteran who had worked her way up to become a director in the organization, was open about what her role was. In a blog post on the Reuters website, she wrote that she was there to “meet the disparate needs of the U.S. Government” – a statement that is at odds with even the most basic journalistic concepts of impartiality and holding the powerful to account. Meanwhile, cable news outlets routinely employ a wide range of “former” agents and mandarins as trusted personalities and experts. These include former CIA Directors John Brennan (NBC, MSNBC) and Michael Hayden (CNN), ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (CNN), and former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend (CBS). And news for so many Americans comes delivered through ex-CIA interns like Anderson Cooper (CNN), CIA-applicants like Tucker Carlson (Fox), or by Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC), the daughter of a powerful national security advisor. The FBI has its own former agents on TV as well, with talking heads such as James Gagliano (Fox), Asha Rangappa (CNN) and Frank Figliuzzi (NBC, MSNBC) becoming household names. In short, then, the national security state once used to infiltrate the media. Today, however, the national security state is the media. Social media holds enormous influence in today’s society. While this article is not alleging that anyone mentioned is a bad actor or does not genuinely care about the spread of disinformation, it is highlighting a glaring conflict of interest. Through its agencies, the U.S. government regularly plants fake news and false information. Therefore, social media hiring individuals straight from the FBI, CIA, NATO and other groups to work on regulating disinformation is a fundamentally flawed practice. One of media’s primary functions is to serve as a fourth estate; a force that works to hold the government and its agencies to account. Yet instead of doing that, increasingly it is collaborating with them. Such are these increasing interlocking connections that it is becoming increasingly difficult to see where big government ends and big media begins. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/23/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 23rd, 2022

Danaher (DHR) Exhibits Bright Prospects, Headwinds Persist

Danaher (DHR) gains from solid demand for its products, acquired assets and shareholder-friendly policies. However, escalating costs and high debt levels remain concerns. Danaher Corporation DHR has been benefiting from solid demand for bioprocessing products, therapeutics and products related to molecular testing. Also, strength across the company’s consumables business and solid demand for equipment have been driving its performance. The impact of COVID-related testing is also predicted to boost its sales in the near term. Danaher expects year-over-year core revenue growth in the range of low-single digits for the second quarter of 2022 and mid-single digits for 2022.The company intends to strengthen and expand its businesses by adding assets. DHR’s acquisition of Aldevron (August 2021) is anticipated to enhance the company's foothold in the genomic medicine field. Also, it added Vanrx Pharmasystems and Swift Biosciences to its portfolio in first-quarter 2021. In first-quarter 2022, acquisitions boosted the company’s sales by 2%.Danaher remains committed to rewarding shareholders handsomely through dividend payments and share buybacks. In 2021 and the first three months of 2022, the company used $742 million and $191 million for paying out dividends, respectively. Notably, the quarterly dividend rate was hiked by 4 cents per share in February 2022.However, escalating costs and expenses have been a major concern for the company over time. In first-quarter 2022, its cost of sales increased 14.5% year over year, while selling, general and administrative expenses rose 11.5%. Also, its research and development expenses increased 16.1% in the quarter. Inflationary pressures and woes related to supply-chain restrictions might continue adversely impacting its margins and profitability in the near term.Its high-debt profile remains a concern too. Exiting first-quarter 2022, its long-term debt was $21.8 billion. In December 2021, the company issued $1 billion worth of senior notes and redeemed notes worth €800 million. Further, a rise in debt levels can raise its financial obligations.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has lost 23.4% compared with a 22.4% decline of its industry in the past six months.Stocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked companies from the Zacks Conglomerates sector are discussed below:Griffon Corporation GFF presently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). GFF’s earnings surprise in the last four quarters was 97%, on average. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocksIn the past 60 days, Griffon’s earnings estimates have increased 80.5% for fiscal 2022 (ending September 2022). The stock has declined 9.5% in the past six months.Carlisle Companies Incorporated CSL presently flaunts a Zacks Rank of 1. CSL delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 23%, on average.In the past 60 days, Carlisle’s earnings estimates have increased 22.8% for 2022. CSL’s shares have declined 1.3% in the past six months.3M Company MMM presently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). MMM delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 13.8%, on average.Earnings estimates of MMM have increased 6.1% for 2022 in the past 60 days. Its shares have declined 25.5% in the past six months. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Electric Vehicles Big money has already been made in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. But, the EV revolution has not hit full throttle yet. There is a lot of money to be made as the next push for future technologies ramps up. Zacks’ Special Report reveals 5 picks investorsSee 5 EV Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report 3M Company (MMM): Free Stock Analysis Report Danaher Corporation (DHR): Free Stock Analysis Report Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL): Free Stock Analysis Report Griffon Corporation (GFF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 23rd, 2022

Fun AI Apps Are Everywhere Right Now. But a Safety ‘Reckoning’ Is Coming

Text-to-image tools have the potential to turbocharge harassment and spread misinformation If you’ve spent any time on Twitter lately, you may have seen a viral black-and-white image depicting Jar Jar Binks at the Nuremberg Trials, or a courtroom sketch of Snoop Dogg being sued by Snoopy. These surreal creations are the products of Dall-E Mini, a popular web app that creates images on demand. Type in a prompt, and it will rapidly produce a handful of cartoon images depicting whatever you’ve asked for. More than 200,000 people are now using Dall-E Mini every day, its creator says—a number that is only growing. A Twitter account called “Weird Dall-E Generations,” created in February, has more than 890,000 followers at the time of publication. One of its most popular tweets so far is a response to the prompt “CCTV footage of Jesus Christ stealing [a] bike.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] pic.twitter.com/8OqcI5FSjW — Weird Dall-E Mini Generations (@weirddalle) June 14, 2022 If Dall-E Mini seems revolutionary, it’s only a crude imitation of what’s possible with more powerful tools. As the “Mini” in its name suggests, the tool is effectively a copycat version of Dall-E—a much more powerful text-to-image tool created by one of the most advanced artificial intelligence labs in the world. That lab, OpenAI, boasts online of (the real) Dall-E’s ability to generate photorealistic images. But OpenAI has not released Dall-E for public use, due to what it says are concerns that it “could be used to generate a wide range of deceptive and otherwise harmful content.” It’s not the only image-generation tool that’s been locked behind closed doors by its creator. Google is keeping its own similarly powerful image-generation tool, called Imagen, restricted while it studies the tool’s risks and limitations. The risks of text-to-image tools, Google and OpenAI both say, include the potential to turbocharge bullying and harassment; to generate images that reproduce racism or gender stereotypes; and to spread misinformation. They could even reduce public trust in genuine photographs that depict reality. Text could be even more challenging than images. OpenAI and Google have both also developed their own synthetic text generators that chatbots can be based on, which they have also chosen to not release widely to the public amid fears that they could be used to manufacture misinformation or facilitate bullying. Read more: How AI Will Completely Change the Way We Live in the Next 20 Years Google and OpenAI have long described themselves as committed to the safe development of AI, pointing to, among other things, their decisions to keep these potentially dangerous tools restricted to a select group of users, at least for now. But that hasn’t stopped them from publicly hyping the tools, announcing their capabilities, and describing how they made them. That has inspired a wave of copycats with fewer ethical hangups. Increasingly, tools pioneered inside Google and OpenAI have been imitated by knockoff apps that are circulating ever more widely online, and contributing to a growing sense that the public internet is on the brink of a revolution. “Platforms are making it easier for people to create and share different types of technology without needing to have any strong background in computer science,” says Margaret Mitchell, a computer scientist and a former co-lead of Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence team. “By the end of 2022, the general public’s understanding of this technology and everything that can be done with it will fundamentally shift.” The copycat effect The rise of Dall-E Mini is just one example of the “copycat effect”—a term used by defense analysts to understand the way adversaries take inspiration from one another in military research and development. “The copycat effect is when you see a capability demonstrated, and it lets you know, oh, that’s possible,” says Trey Herr, the director of the Atlantic Council’s cyber statecraft initiative. “What we’re seeing with Dall-E Mini right now is that it’s possible to recreate a system that can output these things based on what we know Dall-E is capable of. It significantly reduces the uncertainty. And so if I have resources and the technical chops to try and train a system in that direction, I know I could get there.” That’s exactly what happened with Boris Dayma, a machine learning researcher based in Houston, Texas. When he saw OpenAI’s descriptions online of what Dall-E could do, he was inspired to create Dall-E Mini. “I was like, oh, that’s super cool,” Dayma told TIME. “I wanted to do the same.” “The big groups like Google and OpenAI have to show that they are on the forefront of AI, so they will talk about what they can do as fast as they can,” Dayma says. “[OpenAI] published a paper that had a lot of very interesting details on how they made [Dall-E]. They didn’t give the code, but they gave a lot of critical elements. I wouldn’t have been able to develop my program without the paper they published.” In June, Dall-E Mini’s creators said the tool would be changing its name to Craiyon, in response to what they said was a request from OpenAI “to avoid confusion.” Advocates of restraint, like Mitchell, say it’s inevitable that accessible image- and text-generation tools will open up a world of creative opportunity, but also a Pandora’s box of awful applications—like depicting people in compromising situations, or creating armies of hate-speech bots to relentlessly bully vulnerable people online. Read more: An Artificial Intelligence Helped Write This Play. It May Contain Racism But Dayma says he is confident that the dangers of Dall-E Mini are negligible, since the images it generates are nowhere near photorealistic. “In a way it’s a big advantage,” he says. “I can let people discover that technology while still not posing a risk.” Some other copycat projects come with even more risks. In June, a program named GPT-4chan emerged. It was a text-generator, or chatbot, that had been trained on text from 4chan, a forum notorious for being a hotbed of racism, sexism and homophobia. Every new sentence it generated sounded similarly toxic. Just like Dall-E Mini, the tool was created by an independent programmer but was inspired by research at OpenAI. Its name, GPT-4chan, was a nod to GPT-3, OpenAI’s flagship text-generator. Unlike the copycat version, GPT-3 was trained on text scraped from large swathes of the internet, and its creator, OpenAI, has only been granting access to GPT-3 to select users. A new frontier for online safety In June, after GPT-4chan’s racist and vitriolic text outputs attracted widespread criticism online, the app was removed from Hugging Face, the website that hosted it, for violating its terms and conditions. Hugging Face makes machine learning-based apps accessible through a web browser. The platform has become the go-to location for open source AI apps, including Dall-E Mini. Clement Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, told TIME that his business is booming, and heralded what he said was a new era of computing with more and more tech companies realizing the possibilities that could be unlocked by pivoting to machine learning. But the controversy over GPT-4chan was also a signal of a new, emerging challenge in the world of online safety. Social media, the last online revolution, made billionaires out of platforms’ CEOs, and also put them in the position of deciding what content is (and is not) acceptable online. Questionable decisions have tarnished those CEOs’ once glossy reputations. Now, smaller machine learning platforms like Hugging Face, with far fewer resources, are becoming a new kind of gatekeeper. As open-source machine learning tools like Dall-E and GPT-4chan proliferate online, it will be up to their hosts, platforms like Hugging Face, to set the limits of what is acceptable. Delangue says this gatekeeping role is a challenge that Hugging Face is ready for. “We’re super excited because we think there is a lot of potential to have a positive impact on the world,” he says. “But that means not making the mistakes that a lot of the older players made, like the social networks – meaning thinking that technology is value neutral, and removing yourself from the ethical discussions.” Still, like the early approach of social media CEOs, Delangue hints at a preference for light-touch content moderation. He says the site’s policy is currently to politely ask creators to fix their models, and will only remove them entirely as an “extreme” last resort. But Hugging Face is also encouraging its creators to be transparent about their tools’ limitations and biases, informed by the latest research into AI harms. Mitchell, the former Google AI ethicist, now works at Hugging Face focusing on these issues. She’s helping the platform envision what a new content moderation paradigm for machine learning might look like. “There’s an art there, obviously, as you try to balance open source and all these ideas around public sharing of really powerful technology, with what malicious actors can do and what misuse looks like,” says Mitchell, speaking in her capacity as an independent machine learning researcher rather than as a Hugging Face employee. She adds that part of her role is to “shape AI in a way that the worst actors, and the easily-foreseeable terrible scenarios, don’t end up happening.” Mitchell imagines a worst-case scenario where a group of schoolchildren train a text-generator like GPT-4chan to bully a classmate via their texts, direct messages, and on Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp, to the point where the victim decides to end their own life. “There’s going to be a reckoning,” Mitchell says. “We know something like this is going to happen. It’s foreseeable. But there’s such a breathless fandom around AI and modern technologies that really sidesteps the serious issues that are going to emerge and are already emerging.” The dangers of AI hype That “breathless fandom” was encapsulated in yet another AI project that caused controversy this month. In early June, Google engineer Blake Lemoine claimed that one of the company’s chatbots, called LaMDA, based on the company’s synthetic-text generation software, had become sentient. Google rejected his claims and placed him on administrative leave. Around the same time, Ilya Sutskever, a senior executive at OpenAI suggested on Twitter that computer brains were beginning to mimic human ones. “Psychology should become more and more applicable to AI as it gets smarter,” he said. In a statement, Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel said the company was “taking a restrained, careful approach with LaMDA to better consider valid concerns on fairness and factuality.” OpenAI declined to comment. For some experts, the discussion over LaMDA’s supposed sentience was a distraction—at the worst possible time. Instead of arguing over whether the chatbot had feelings, they argued, AI’s most influential players should be rushing to educate people about the potential for such technology to do harm. “This could be a moment to better educate the public as to what this technology is actually doing,” says Emily Bender, a linguistics professor at the University of Washington who studies machine learning technologies. “Or it could be a moment where more and more people get taken in, and go with the hype.” Bender adds that even the term “artificial intelligence” is a misnomer, because it is being used to describe technologies that are nowhere near “intelligent”—or indeed conscious. Still, Bender says that image-generators like Dall-E Mini may have the capacity to teach the public about the limits of AI. It’s easier to fool people with a chatbot, because humans tend to look for meaning in language, no matter where it comes from, she says. Our eyes are harder to trick. The images Dall-E Mini churns out look weird and glitchy, and are certainly nowhere near photorealistic. “I don’t think anybody who is playing with Dall-E Mini believes that these images are actually a thing in the world that exists,” Bender says. Despite the AI hype that big companies are stirring up, crude tools like Dall-E Mini show how far the technology has to go. When you type in “CEO,” Dall-E Mini spits out nine images of a white man in a suit. When you type in “woman,” the images all depict white women. The results reflect the biases in the data that both Dall-E Mini and OpenAI’s Dall-E were trained on: images scraped from the internet. That inevitably includes racist, sexist and other problematic stereotypes, as well as large quantities of porn and violence. Even when researchers painstakingly filter out the worst content, (as both Dayma and OpenAI say they have done,) more subtle biases inevitably remain. Read more: Why Timnit Gebru Isn’t Waiting for Big Tech to Fix AI’s Problems While the AI technology is impressive, these kinds of basic shortcomings still plague many areas of machine learning. And they are a central reason that Google and OpenAI are declining to release their image and text-generation tools publicly. “The big AI labs have a responsibility to cut it out with the hype and be very clear about what they’ve actually built,” Bender says. “And I’m seeing the opposite.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 23rd, 2022

Twitter Launching This New Feature Is "Most Significant Update" In 5 Years, Says Analyst

Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) is testing a new feature called Notes to allow lengthier tweets. Latest Ratings for TWTR DateFirmActionFromTo Mar 2022Deutsche BankInitiates Coverage OnHold Mar 2022BenchmarkInitiates Coverage OnHold Feb 2022Wells FargoMaintainsEqual-Weight View More Analyst Ratings for TWTR View the Latest Analyst Ratings read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaJun 23rd, 2022

European Power Prices Spike As Heat Dome Strains Grid 

European Power Prices Spike As Heat Dome Strains Grid  European day-ahead power prices continue to soar for the third day due to an early-season heat wave driving up cooling demand, lack of renewable energy generation, declining nuclear power, and soaring natural gas costs.  Large swaths of Europe over the weekend experienced temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius). The hottest temperatures were from Spain to Germany to France.  (7) European Heat Wave:Yesterday 19 June 3 more monthly records were beaten in France, while the real exceptional event had moved west to central Europe. They are: Langres 35.3C Challes-les-Eaux 37.5C Chambery 36.7C pic.twitter.com/chrDNh9Owk — Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps) June 20, 2022 Bloomberg notes power grids were under stress as wind generation in Germany and Italy plunged, forcing the need to increase the capacity of fossil fuel power generators to make up for the lost power. This placed a bid under electricity prices as the cost to generate power soars because of tightening supplies due to declining Russian flows.  "Already high gas prices, combined with low wind output will require less efficient, higher cost gas plants to fire up, pushing up prices," BloombergNEF's Andreas Gandolfo said.  Day-ahead power prices in France traded at 383.14 euros ($404.08) a megawatt-hour, up more than 64% from last week.  Besides tight fossil fuel supplies and a lack of renewable power from Germany and Italy, half of France's 56 nuclear reactors are offline. France was the biggest net exporter of power last year, supplying many European countries.  French nuclear power is needed when renewable energy is lacking. Also, Brussels' drive for net-zero carbon emissions and weening off Russian fossil fuels has made the energy crisis on the continent worse.  To avert a more profound crisis, German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Sunday that the country is increasing coal generation to increase power output.  The decision comes just days after Russian gas company Gazprom announced that it was reducing supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for "technical reasons." Meanwhile, the Netherlands is following Germany to increase coal-fired power station output to prevent an energy crisis (Greta Thunberg isn't going to be happy about this).  A perfect storm of factors shows Europe's power grid is vulnerable to blackouts this summer unless more energy generating capacity can be restored. So far, the continent is desperately trying to restart fossil fuel power units after retiring them for the failed green transition.  Tyler Durden Wed, 06/22/2022 - 02:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 22nd, 2022

Bank of Japan Spends A Record $81 Billion To Avert Collapse, But $10 Trillion JGB Market Is Now Completely Broken

Bank of Japan Spends A Record $81 Billion To Avert Collapse, But $10 Trillion JGB Market Is Now Completely Broken Exactly one week ago, when quantifying the dizzying cost of the BOJ's defense of its Yield Curve Control policy (at the expense of the collapsing yen), Deutsche Bank's George Saravelos calculated that the "the BOJ printer is on overdrive", and if the current pace of buying persists, the bank will have bought approximately 10 trillion yen in June. To put that number in context, it is roughly equivalent to the Fed doing more than $300bn of QE per month when adjusting for GDP. Somewhat redundantly, the DB strategist said that this is a "truly extreme" level of money printing given that every other central bank in the world is tightening policy and is one of the reasons why he has been bearish on the yen. And as so many have argued, "currency intervention in this environment is simply not credible given it is the BoJ itself that is the cause of yen weakness." More broadly, Saravelos echoes what we said in our preview of the end of MMT, writing that he worries that "the currency and Japanese financial markets are in the process of losing any sort of fundamental-based valuation anchor" and, as a result, "we will soon enter a phase where dramatic and unpredictable non-linearities in Japanese financial markets would kick in." He was proven right the very next day, when not an insigificant part of Japan’s bond market imploded as the central bank battles to keep control of its policy goals as some of the largest hedge funds in the world pile on billions in bets that the BOJ is about to lose control, in a repeat of Soros' dramatic crusade against the BOE (which the billionaire democrat ended up winning, and affording him the wealth to be the US government's shadow puppetmaster to this day). As Bloomberg explained, a small tweak to the Bank of Japan’s bond purchase plan this week blew up an arbitrage strategy popular with overseas investors known as the basis trade (the same basis trade which blew up in 2019 in the US cash/futures market sparking the historic repo crash and the Fed's return to QE). It also exacerbated a supply shortage of government bonds that has ramped up pressure on domestic financial institutions, leading them to turn to the BOJ for help to relieve the strain. One week ago we described how after four straight days of declines in Japanese bond futures, the central bank announced unlimited purchases of so-called cheapest-to-deliver 10-year notes for Thursday and Friday - securities closest linked to the contracts. That sent the spread between the futures and the bonds underlying them soaring to the widest since 2014 - a massive shock for traders with positions between the two. As a result, 10Y JGB futs crashed by the most since 2013 as traders bet that the BOJ will be forced to abandon its pledge to cap yields at 0.25%... ... while the gap between JGB futs and underlying cash bonds soared the most on record. The chart below is another way of visualizing this historic divergence between futs and cash JGBs, clearly signaling the market's belief that the BoJ will fold on its unlimited bond buying curve control program. Needless to say, arbs who were short the cheapest-to-deliver bonds and long the futures contracts suddenly faced steep losses and found it impossible to close their positions (remarkably all this was happening in the world's 2nd largest bond markets, amounting to some 1.24 quadrillion yen or about $10 trillion, yet all everyone can talk about is crypto). As Bloomberg notes, the BOJ had effectively cornered the market in the cheapest-to-deliver bonds making it almost impossible for others to purchase them, while the futures price slumped to the brink of a trading halt as those caught out rushed to close. By late day Wednesday, a Bloomberg estimate of the cost to close this so-called short basis trade widened to about minus 7% from minus 0.4% the day before. It remained at distressed levels Friday -- around minus 2% -- suggesting some investors were still stuck on the wrong side of the trade. "The selloff in futures has killed arbitrage opportunities,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities. “This situation will eventually end up in a total stalemate in markets." By stalemate, he means "crash." Speculative attacks on Japanese bonds have mounted as a growing number of funds - most notably the giant, $127 billion BlueBay - bet the BOJ will cave in to pressure and change its increasingly isolated super-easy monetary policy. The central bank confounded its critics Friday, holding firm with its rock-bottom interest rates and continuing with its fixed-rate bond purchase plan. Benchmark bond yields fell further below the 0.25% ceiling, after the central bank announced a fixed-rate purchase operation for the afternoon. But the bigger problem for the BOJ is that those purchases, which preserving the BOJ's YCC "credibility" (for now) are also sucking up what little liquidity is available in the JGB market, piling pressure on local institutions, something which can be seen in the usage of the BOJ’s lending program -- another gauge of stress in the market. Yes: on one hand the BOJ continues to buy billions in JGBs via QE, but on the other it is forced to lend what it has bought back into the market to avoid a terminal paralysis of what was once the second deepest bond market. The amount of bonds the central bank has lent "temporarily" to financial institutions to relieve supply tightness has hit a record, Bloomberg data show. The BOJ lent 3.2 trillion yen ($23.9 billion) of JGBs through its Securities Lending Facility on Thursday, well above the 2.3 trillion yen lent at the peak of coronavirus fears in March 2020. BOJ Governor Kuroda told reporters on Friday that the BOJ will take appropriate measures to address any decline in bond market liquidity. But he also said he isn’t thinking about raising the 10-year yield ceiling from 0.25%, which means that the liquidity situation will only get worse in the coming days. “Market functioning and liquidity have deteriorated sharply with the BOJ’s massive JGB purchases,” Barclays strategist Shinji Ebihara wrote in a note. Meanwhile, and going back to the original point brought up by DB's Saravelos above that the BOJ is spending monstrous amounts of yen just to keep the JGB market from crashing, as traders countdown to the complete Ice-9ing of the Japanese bond market (which in recent months has seen its share of days without a single trade crossing) Bloomberg has calculated how much it cost the BOJ to preserve calm after last week's catastrophic slide in futures, and the answer is some 10.9 trillion yen ($81 billion) of government bond purchases last week, the most on record. By way of comparison, European Central Bank asset purchases under its so-called APP program averaged about $27 billion - per month - this year through May. But fear not, once Europe's dominoes start falling and peripheral yields explode to all time highs, Lagarde's hedge fund will make BOJ's purchases seems like a walk in the park by comparison. And while every day could be the BOJ's last, market watchers see the temporary calm as an eye in the proverbial hurricane, as the BOJ continues to defy an intensifying global wave of central bank tightening and concentrated market pressure on the yen and government bonds. Treasuries remain a key driver as does the direction of the dollar-yen, hovering around a 24-year low. “If the yen weakens further as a sell-off in foreign bonds resumes, it would not be surprising were the yen rates market to start testing the BOJ again,” wrote Citigroup Inc. strategist Tomohisa Fujiki in a note. One place where the pressure is building up, is in implied volatility for 10-year JGBs, which however eased modestly after rising to the highest since the global financial crisis in 2008 on Friday. The BOJ said Friday its bond buying will continue for an extended period of time. “Since the JGB market volatility has been initiated by the global reaction to US CPI and the Federal Reserve’s tightening, the structure keeping it unstable remains quite intact,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities. “Even as the BOJ steps up efforts to defend its turf, the structure behind the challenges remain the same.” Speculative attacks on Japan’s bond market have mounted amid bets the BOJ will cave in to pressure and tweak its increasingly isolated easy monetary policy -- something it reconfirmed at its policy decision Friday. But the impact of the central bank’s bond purchases have squeezed some corners of the futures markets, putting at least some arbitrage traders under pressure. And yet, the most ominous sign yet for the BOJ is the recent quiet appointment of a Japanese government bond expert with experience of the market turmoil of the late 1990s to a key role in the Finance Ministry, which caught the attention of market watchers in Tokyo. Michio Saito -- dubbed “Mr. JGB” -- will head up a division that covers the bond market and may strengthen lines of communication with the central bank, according to some strategists. For the BOJ to seek a smooth exit from massive bond purchases, close cooperation with the finance ministry is essential, so the appointment of an experienced person in charge is very significant, Iwashita said. This “is positive news for the market,” she said. Most disagree, however, although they know better than to take the BOJ head on: after all, shorting JGBs has been a widowmaker trade for decades. Still, there is a sense of ominous capitulation vis-a-vis the Japanese bond market in recent days, almost as if we are now well past the point of no return and the final collapse of not just the JGB market, but the entire fraudulent MMT paradig, is just days if not hours away. Indeed, as Rabobank's Michael Every put it, with every attempt to preserve the status quo, the BOJ is pulling even further on a monetary elastic band that will hurt far more when it does inevitably come snapping back the other way, and concludes that when the BOJ's YCC peg eventually breaks, markets are going to get hit hard: "Japan is currently a source of ultra-cheap financing in a world of rising rates, and with a currency that is only going one way - down. If both reverse at once,… ouch!" Tyler Durden Mon, 06/20/2022 - 22:03.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 20th, 2022

MiB: Dr. Charles Strom on Antibodies & Early Cancer Detection

  This week, we speak with Dr. Charles Strom, former Medical Director for Genetic Testing at Quest Diagnostics. He has spent the past 30 years in the fast-changing field of genetic testing, and did groundbreaking work in pre-implantation genetics while at the Reproductive Genetics Institute, and served as a faculty member at the University of… Read More The post MiB: Dr. Charles Strom on Antibodies & Early Cancer Detection appeared first on The Big Picture.   This week, we speak with Dr. Charles Strom, former Medical Director for Genetic Testing at Quest Diagnostics. He has spent the past 30 years in the fast-changing field of genetic testing, and did groundbreaking work in pre-implantation genetics while at the Reproductive Genetics Institute, and served as a faculty member at the University of Chicago, where he also earned his doctorate and medical degrees. Currently, he is CEO and co-founder of Liquid Diagnostics, which uses new technology to analyze ultra-short DNA fragments in saliva and blood, We discuss how the latest medical technology can look for specific disease markers in antibodies in saliva — a much less invasive process than biopsies or blood draws. There are also genetic markers for specific types of cancers, which are difficult to detect otherwise. As an example, 80% of lung cancers are detected when they are in phase 3 or 4. At that stage, it is too late to successfully treat the disease, and the outcome is invariably poor. If at-risk patients have these (or other) cancers detected earlier, the prognosis improves dramatically. He explains how during the pandemic, Liquid Diagnosis added Covid-antibodies to their test kit. Rather than merely determining if a patient is positive or negative for Covid, they can determine quantitative antibody levels. This creates a substantial tool for determining how at risk an individual or entire city or region is. High levels of antibodies suggest a city can withstand a new surge, low levels indicate potential higher levels of infection, hospitalization, and mortality. Dr. Streom notes that in public health, everybody is considered the same. But that turns out not to be the case. If you can determine your antibody level, you can decide if you need a second or third booster. People with high levels of Covid antibodies should feel free to do whatever they were doing pre-covid and can postpone another booster until cold & flu season. Those with low antibodies should get a booster immediately. A list of his favorite books is here; A transcript of our conversation is available here Monday. 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. Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Jonathan Miller, discussing real estate, home sales, rentals, and whether cities are dead or not. Miller is the CEO and co-founder of Miller Samuel, whose data and analytics on real estate have become the standard for the residential real estate appraisal and brokerage industry.     Buck Strom’s Favorite Books Shoeless Joe: The Inspiration for FIELD OF DREAMS by W.P. Kinsella Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Once Upon a Masterpiece) by Anna Harwell Celenza A Harry Bosch Novel (20 book series) by Michael Connelly The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly The post MiB: Dr. Charles Strom on Antibodies & Early Cancer Detection appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJun 18th, 2022

Large Explosion, Blaze Engulfs Shanghai Petrochemical Complex

Large Explosion, Blaze Engulfs Shanghai Petrochemical Complex At least one person has been reported killed and more injured amid a massive fire that consumed a Shanghai ethylene glycol production plant. Large explosions were reported by eyewitnesses after a fire broke out at the plant, reportedly at around 4am local time.  Some five hours later, the Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company said firefighters were able to successfully extinguish the blaze, the cause of which is as yet unknown and under investigation. Video clip on Weibo shows a plant of SINOPEC Shanghai Petrochemical Company caught fire at around 4:00 am on June 18. The group says the fire in glycol unit was under control.#China #OOTT pic.twitter.com/4OImLn51aQ — CN Wire (@Sino_Market) June 18, 2022 Some residents within the city's Jinshan district, where the plant is located, said they were forced to flee due to the thick black smoke that engulfed the whole area. Local officials said the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Ecology and Environment is monitoring air pollutants. Chinese state media is citing a huge emergency response to gain control of the fire. "A total of 563 firefighters and rescuers and 113 fire engines rushed to the site, and the fire is under control," Xinhua press agency wrote. Explosions at Sinopec Shanghai Petrochem. Plant operating at 1/20 designed load cos weak demand since March. Fire & smoke billowing into sky, inferno erupting. Pray safe. 上海石化因需求不足超低负荷运行而爆炸,最低时1/20设计负荷。远处可见,滚滚浓烟逐日。祈祷平安。 pic.twitter.com/cyB0wnxopo — Hao HONG 洪灝, CFA (@HAOHONG_CFA) June 18, 2022 "A nearby shop owner, surnamed Sun, told Xinhua that after hearing the explosion in the early morning, he drove his family away because they were worried about the potential fallout and pollution," the report continued. Image: Xinhua/Sipa USA The company in a Saturday afternoon statement (local time) said the fire has at this point been brought "under control." Subsequent overhead news footage as well as social media images showed a sizeable blaze which which cause thick black clouds to linger over the city. Roughly an hour ago a large fire erupted at the Sinopec Shanghai Jinshan petrochemical complex in #China. pic.twitter.com/C88wMhxnLc — Doge (@IntelDoge) June 18, 2022 CNN notes that in the fire aftermath, "China has seen a spate of industrial accidents in recent years that have left scores dead, raising concerns about public safety." The report recalls that "In 2015, at least 173 people died after a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern port city of Tianjin." And further, "Last October, at least three people were killed and more than 30 injured in a powerful explosion at a restaurant in the northeastern city of Shenyang. The gas explosion took place in a mixed-use residential and commercial building." Tyler Durden Sat, 06/18/2022 - 12:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 18th, 2022

82-Year-Old Speaker Pelosi Blames Bidenflation On "COVID, And The War... In Iraq"

82-Year-Old Speaker Pelosi Blames Bidenflation On "COVID, And The War... In Iraq" 82-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who's so old she was at JFK's inauguration, claimed on Thursday that the "war in Iraq" and the Covid-19 pandemic (as opposed to the Democrats' war on oil and trillions in stimulus) are responsible for inflation. Nancy Pelosi thinks we’re still in a war with Iraq and is also amazed to learn that she has hands. pic.twitter.com/VYo6TRcAWO — Sara Gonzales (@SaraGonzalesTX) June 16, 2022 Then, her office lied about it - 'correcting' a transcript of her statement from Iraq to Ukraine. The gaffe comes several similar mix-ups from President Biden over the last few months. In January he confused Iraq and Iran, while in March he confused Iran and Ukraine. Pelosi's comments are the latest in pre-midterms Democrat damage control over not-so-transitory inflation, which just hit 8.6% YoY. So far they've blamed: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Covid-19 Oil companies Shipping companies But whatever you do, don't blame reckless spending by the "adults" who are back in charge! “I’m SICK of this stuff!” Joe Biden is furious that Americans blame inflation on his government spending. pic.twitter.com/quRxB2lfvA — Townhall.com (@townhallcom) March 11, 2022 When do we start testing the cognition of these ancient lawmakers? Tyler Durden Fri, 06/17/2022 - 16:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 17th, 2022

Australia"s Energy Crisis Worsens As Gov"t Ask People To Keep Lights Off To Avert Blackouts

Australia's Energy Crisis Worsens As Gov't Ask People To Keep Lights Off To Avert Blackouts Australia's energy minister asked Sydney and the New South Wales (eastern part of the country) residents to turn off lights and energy-intensive appliances in the evening to prevent power blackouts due to an ongoing energy crunch, The Independent reports.  The federal energy minister, Chris Bowen, asked residents in a televised address to turn off energy-intensive devices between "6 to 8 [pm]" to mitigate risks of a spike in power during peak hours. He pointed to several offline coal-fired plants because of maintenance and unexpected issues.  Reuters notes that 65% of eastern Australia's power is generated by coal, but more than a quarter of that capacity is offline.  Wholesale electricity prices have soared and on Monday exceeded the capped price of A$300 per megawatt-hour. Above A$300, coal power generation plants lost money and forced some operators to shutter power generation units, thus removing energy capacity off the grid and sending prices even higher. The rise of power prices began when coal prices jumped following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Bowen snapped at a journalist when asked if more coal power is the answer the energy crunch.  Chris Bowen isn't having any of Uhlmann's 'wind doesn't always blow' rhetoric. "the rain doesn't always fall either, but we manage to store the water - we can store the renewable energy if we have the investment"#auspol pic.twitter.com/LjJkEr3zJy — Squizz (@SquizzSTK) June 16, 2022 "The situation in recent days has posed challenges to the entire energy industry, and suspending the market would simplify operations during the significant outages across the energy supply chain," Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) chief executive Daniel Westerman said in a statement. "It was understandable generators had held back supply in light of the price caps along with unplanned outages and supply challenges with coal and gas, but having to direct generators to provide supply had made it impossible to maintain normal market operations," Westerman said.  Australia's dysfunctional power grid hasn't stopped at coal. In the last three weeks, declining solar output and periods of low wind have created power generation challenges, which have placed a heavier burden on fossil fuel generators. Also, the coldest start to a winter season in decades is boosting heating demand and worsening the problem.  Australia better find a way to bring more coal power plants online or risk widespread blackouts amid high demand because of the winter chill.  Tyler Durden Thu, 06/16/2022 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 17th, 2022

Pixar"s "Lightyear" Banned Across 14 Countries Over Gay Kiss Scene

Pixar's "Lightyear" Banned Across 14 Countries Over Gay Kiss Scene Pixar's upcoming "Lightyear" animated film, which is the next iteration of the popular "Toy Story" series, has already been banned across 14 markets ahead of its release over its promotion of a same-sex relationship between two characters. The Hill writes that "Disney, which owns Pixar, told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday it had declined to edit the film to remove scenes including a kiss between two married female characters." The report notes of the movie that "In one scene, Buzz’s best friend Alisha Hawthorne, who is voiced by Uzo Aduba, kisses her same-sex partner." Image: Disney/Pixar via Metro UK The United Arab Emirates was the latest Monday to block the film in a growing list of Middle East region and Muslim-majority countries. Per the WSJ this additionally currently includes bans by Egypt, Malaysia, Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories. It comes also as Pixar's owner Disney is set to launch its much anticipated Disney+ streaming service across a number of countries later this year; however, it has yet to be revealed whether "Lightyear' will be included. It will hit movie theaters in the United Stats on Friday, during "Pride Month". The expectation is that China too will join the list of countries banning the film: It is assumed the film won’t open in China either. Authorities in China had asked Disney to make cuts to “Lightyear,” but Disney declined. “We’re not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he’s missing by the choices that he’s making, so that’s not getting cut,” film producer Galyn Susman said to Reuters earlier this week. This screenshot shows a gay scene #Lightyear pic.twitter.com/e1xINeDbpu — Toon town studios (@JonathanPeng20) June 11, 2022 In China's case, authorities recently implemented a broad ban on anything considered to promote "effeminate" behavior among youth: On September 2, 2021, the Chinese government had put a ban on effeminate men from all entertainment platforms – including TV, video games, and social media. The ban was announced following subsequent attempts by the government to enforce "revolutionary culture" which tighten the mobilization of media and censors any social threats that may corrupt the nation’s "common prosperity." The majority of the markets banning the movie appear to have made the decision based on religious and socially conservative values. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/16/2022 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 16th, 2022