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Norway Finds Rare Earth Metals That Could Make Europe Less Dependent On China

Norway Finds Rare Earth Metals That Could Make Europe Less Dependent On China Authored by Ingólfur Stefánsson via The Epoch Times, Norwegian scientists have made a discovery of rare earth metals in the country’s northern region. The findings have the potential to transform the country’s economy and secure its place as a major player in the global market for high-tech and green technology. Furthermore, the findings could make Europe less dependent on China for the critical metals. Today, China is believed to account for more than 80 percent of many metals that are needed for green energy solutions, such as rare earth metals used in electric cars and wind turbines. Karl Kristensen, a consultant for Bergfald Environmental Consultants, says that the green shift in economics will only multiply the world’s dependence on these materials. He warned that China has almost complete control of the market for rare earth metals in his lecture on the topic during the KÅKÅnomics economics festival in Stavanger, Norway, in October 2022. The discovery in Norway was made during a routine survey of the region and was confirmed through extensive drilling and analysis. The deposits are believed to be among the largest of their kind in the world, and the potential for further discoveries in the area is significant. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) was responsible for conducting the research that led to the find. “The NPD has built up expertise over many years, in part through a number of expeditions. We’ve mapped relevant areas, collected data, and taken large volumes of mineral samples,” said Kjersti Dahle, director, technology, analysis and coexistence at the NPD. NPD’s research shows that there is a large area of the Norwegian continental shelf with significant mineral resources, particularly in the deep sea, where several of these minerals are concentrated. The Norwegian government and NPD are now working together to create the necessary framework for a sustainable and responsible exploration and utilization of these minerals. The focus is on ensuring the protection of the marine environment, preserving the diversity of marine life, and mitigating the impact of the mineral exploration and extraction activities. The discovery of these minerals on the Norwegian continental shelf is seen as a major step forward in the country’s efforts to reduce its dependency on mineral imports and to become a leading player in the production of sustainable technologies. The NPD’s report will now be used as a basis for further research and exploration activities in the coming years. “Of the metals found on the seabed in the study area, magnesium, niobium, cobalt, and rare earth minerals are found on the European Commission’s list of critical minerals,” the NPD said in its statement on the research. Rare Earth Metal Supply Chain in the West The Norwegian find is a result of the West rebuilding its supply chain for rare earth minerals. It follows an announcement from LKAB, a Swedish mining company, earlier in January 2023. LKAB announced the discovery of Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth oxides in the country’s far north. The discovery was described as positive for not only the company, the region, and Sweden, but also for Europe and the climate. To reduce dependence on China, Western countries are investing in exploration, mining, and processing of these minerals. The United States, for example, is funding projects to extract rare earths from coal and phosphates and is also working on recycling technology to reduce the need for new minerals. Europe is making efforts to secure its own supply of rare earths and is funding research into new technology to extract and process these minerals. The rebuilding of the rare earths supply chain is a step in reducing dependence on China and ensuring a sustainable future for technology and green energy solutions. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE19 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

Half-Dozen Countries Temporarily Close Istanbul Consulates Over "Security Threats"

Half-Dozen Countries Temporarily Close Istanbul Consulates Over 'Security Threats' Large-scale protests in Turkey over the recent Quran-burnings by a far right activist in Sweden have resulted in multiple Western countries this week issuing travel alerts for their citizens in Turkey. Additionally some half-dozen consulates in Istanbul have announced temporary closures due to security threats this week. German and Dutch consulates closed their doors Wednesday, and possibly further into the week, citing unspecified "security reasons". The Dutch Consulate General in the Beyoğlu district announced extra precautions due to "potential protests" and "increasing threat against western targets." The Swiss consulate general in Istanbul on Thursday is the latest to suspend operations - the sixth country to do so. So far Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK have temporarily shuttered their consulates. Turkey is not happy, complaining that the unnecessary closures are severely damaging tourism, and that the dramatic step to close consulates has been done without evidence of said threats. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu charged Thursday that Western nations have launched "a psychological war" and that extra precautions amount to a propaganda stunt. Further, he was quoted as saying:  "On a day when we declared our aim of (attracting) 60 million tourists, at a time when 51.5 million tourists arrived and we obtained $46 billion in tourism revenue, they were on the verge of starting a new psychological warfare (against) Turkey," said Soylu, who is known for his anti-Western rhetoric. Turkey had earlier issued its own blanket warning to its nationals abroad, saying that growing 'anti-Islamic' protests in the West constitute a severe security threat, and that Turks should avoid crowds and public gathers where these occur.  Protests have continued across various Muslim nations following the late January Quran-burning in Stockholm, which took place in front of Turkey's embassy. Turkish officials are outraged that Swedish authorities didn't shut it down, but instead offered police protection against counter-demonstrators. Protests continue to erupt across the Muslim world. Somalis are holding protests in Mogadishu to denounce the burning of a Quran by Rasmus Paludan on Saturday in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. pic.twitter.com/UWfa5o9C7B — Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) January 28, 2023 President Erdogan has since warned Sweden that it shouldn't expect to enter NATO. But Sweden responded this week that its application process should have nothing to do with religion. As for the Quran-burning incident (which has now happened at least twice), Stockholm leaders said they find it morally reprehensible, but Sweden's robust free speech laws protects such demonstrations. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 02:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE19 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

The EU"s Response To Biden"s Inflation Reduction Act Is Finally Here

The EU's Response To Biden's Inflation Reduction Act Is Finally Here Authored by Felicity Bradstock via OilPrice.com, Following the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S., pressure grew on the EU to introduce its own legislation to help fund the clean energy push on the continent. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resultant energy security issues in Europe have only added to the pressure on EU politicians to solve the bloc's energy problems. The EC’s new draft proposal is designed to encourage companies to remain in the EU rather than move operations to the U.S. to take advantage of IRA-related benefits. When President Biden introduced his Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last summer, he surprised the world with the extent of the climate commitments within it While supposedly aimed at inflation reduction, the legislation also provides extensive political support and funding for the green transition, providing tax cuts, subsidies, and other incentives for companies looking to use cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. The EU has long been hailed as the leader in the switch to renewable energy, encouraging other countries worldwide to follow in its footsteps when it comes to climate pledges and policies. However, following the introduction of the IRA, pressure on the EU grew to introduce its own far-reaching, region-wide climate policy. After several months, it appears that the EU is ready to launch a transition policy that will provide the funding needed to keep up with the U.S. in the race to green.  The EU has announced plans to reduce restrictions on tax credits for renewable energy projects in response to Biden’s IRA. Following mounting public pressure to expand its climate policy following the introduction of the new U.S. law, the European Commission (EC) has stated that it aims to loosen state aid rules to encourage greater investment in production facilities in the green energy industry. However, this kind of major policy shift requires broad support from its 27 member states, which often slows down the introduction of new laws. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russian energy, the EU and many other parts of the world have experienced severe energy shortages and rising consumer costs. This has led to greater pressure from the public and policymakers to accelerate the green transition, to ensure the future of the region’s energy security. The EC’s draft proposal reportedly proposes the redirection of some of the $869.8 billion in Covid-19 recovery funding to green tax credits. It states: “The provisions on tax benefits would enable member states to align their national fiscal incentives on a common scheme, and thereby offer greater transparency and predictability to businesses across the EU.”  The EC appears to be following in the footsteps of President Biden, having seen a flurry of activity in the green energy industry following the introduction of the IRA. The leader of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, stated in January at the World Economic Forum that the EU is planning to mobilize state aid and a sovereign fund for renewable energy companies through the introduction of a new Net-Zero Industry Act or Green Deal Industrial Plan. The introduction of an expansive new climate policy is hoped to encourage companies to remain in the EU rather than moving operations to the U.S., where they may be eligible to receive tax credits and other incentives for using renewable energy in their operations.  This news will be encouraging for renewable energy firms that have been discouraged from expanding operations in recent months. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU imposed revenue caps on wind and solar firms to protect consumers facing rising energy costs. In contrast, the IRA offers tax credits that boost U.S. wind and solar project profitability, making the U.S. a more attractive environment to develop new projects.  At present, EU state aid rules do not allow countries to provide direct support for national companies, a rule that the EC is open to temporarily adapting to accelerate the green transition and boost the EU’s energy security. Explaining the plan, von der Leyen stated: “To keep European industry attractive, there is a need to be competitive with the offers and incentives that are currently available outside the EU.” However, for it to become a reality, the Net-Zero Industry Act needs to achieve broad support from EU member states.  Pierre Tardieu, chief policy officer at lobby group WindEurope, believes the EC’s plan demonstrates “a conscious decision to emulate...rather than challenge” the IRA. He believes it to be an extension of the 2022 REPowerEU strategy, which aims to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy and speed up the green transition. The new climate Act would improve permitting procedures for clean-tech product sites across the region and simplify state-aid rules to provide both grants and subsidies. It would also help Europe to solidify its position in the global green energy transition, not only ensuring that it meets its climate targets but that the U.S. does not become the leading green energy hub for energy and manufacturing firms. However, clear action on von der Leyen’s aim of making “Europe the home of clean tech and industrial innovation” has yet to be taken.  The introduction of a far-reaching climate policy by the EU would help position the region at the center of the global transition away from fossil fuels to renewable alternatives. Following the launch of President Biden’s IRA, the unveiling of a new policy from the EC would not be surprising, as it hopes to make the EU a favorable and competitive region for the development of green energy operations and technologies. Further announcements will likely be made to expand upon von der Leyen’s aims over the next few months, with a new EU climate policy on the horizon. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 03:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE19 hr. 57 min. ago Related News

US Firms Investing Billions In China’s AI Sector: Report

US Firms Investing Billions In China’s AI Sector: Report Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), U.S. companies were involved in at least 37 percent of the total investment transactions in China’s artificial intelligence (AI) sector between 2015 and 2021, according to a new report. AI security cameras with facial recognition technology are seen at the 14th China International Exhibition on Public Safety and Security in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2018. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images) The report (pdf), published by the Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology, found that $40.2 billion in investment transactions into Chinese AI companies had American backing, though it was unclear what percentage of that amount was made by U.S. investors or their overseas counterparts. The money was given to 251 Chinese AI companies, primarily as venture capital angel, seed, and pre-seed stage investments. There are risks with such investments, the report noted, as they are generally accompanied by other intangible benefits in which U.S. expertise is delivered to China-based companies. “While Crunchbase data suggests that U.S. outbound investment into Chinese AI companies is limited, such financial activity, commercial linkages, and the tacit expertise that transfers from U.S.-based funders to target companies in China’s booming AI ecosystem carry implications that extend beyond the business sector,” the report said. “Earlier stage VC investments in particular can provide intangible benefits beyond capital, including mentorship and coaching, name recognition, and networking opportunities. As such, U.S. outbound investment in Chinese technology, and particularly AI, merits additional attention and tracking.” US Firms Funding Chinese AI Companies American investments in China-based AI companies have come under fire in recent years due to the amount of control exercised over such companies by China’s communist regime. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a single-party state, has implemented several laws that require China-based companies to make all data in their possession available to the regime upon request. This means that any data or technologies developed by China-based companies with U.S. backing could directly be used by the CCP to improve upon its military capabilities, in line with the regime’s “military-civil fusion” strategy. Moreover, such investments directly fuel China’s efforts to overtake the United States as the lead technological power. This is demonstrated by the value of the investments being made by U.S. sources into China’s AI companies. Whereas investment transactions involving U.S. funding sources only made up 17 percent of the total number of transactions made, the report said, those transactions accounted for 37 percent of the total funding value of all such transactions. Notably, the U.S. investments also include major funding for Chinese companies whose research could tangibly benefit the Chinese military’s pursuit of AI and autonomous systems. “Some of the largest investments include Goldman Sachs’ solo investment in 1KMXC, an AI-enabled robotics company, as well as an investment by three U.S.-based VC firms in Geek+, an autonomous mobile robot company,” the report said. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 23:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE21 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

If You"re A Warehouse Worker. This Boston Dynamics Video Might Be An Ominous Sign

If You're A Warehouse Worker. This Boston Dynamics Video Might Be An Ominous Sign Warehouse automation continues to accelerate as millions of jobs are at risk of being displaced. The latest automation nightmare for warehouse laborers comes from a new video uploaded on YouTube by Boston Dynamics.  In a press release, the US robotics firm announced that Deutsche Post DHL Group has successfully deployed the Stretch robot for loading and unloading boxes from tractor trailers at warehouse docks.  "Unloading boxes is a strenuous, physically demanding work process which can impact an associate's ability to work efficiently. By automating this process, DHL Supply Chain explained, the operation not only addresses safety concerns but also the ongoing labor supply challenge by redirecting skilled labor to focus on value-add, strategic tasks in other areas of the warehouse," DHL wrote in a press release.  Translation: DHL is automating its supply chain and won't need as many warehouse workers in the future.  "The custom-designed, lightweight arm of the robot has seven degrees-of-freedom, which gives it the length and flexibility to reach cases throughout the trailer or container," DHL continued in the press release.  By the end of this decade, DHL and other major companies, such as Amazon, are set to fully automate their warehouses. After all, robots don't strike over wages and working conditions.  So for all those warehouse workers -- the video above is an ominous sign your job will be in jeopardy.  Perhaps "learn to code," but that might be challenging to land a job at a major tech firm considering the mass layoffs.  Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE21 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

Escobar: The Trials And Tribulations Of The Collective West

Escobar: The Trials And Tribulations Of The Collective West Authored by Pepe Escobar, Sit back, relax and enjoy a race to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only question is who will get there first: the EU, NATO, or both... One may be excused to imagine all sorts of amusement games unrolling at the HQ of the Russian General Staff as The Empire and NATO go literally bonkers. What crazy stunt will they come up with next – short of WWIII? Here is a delightful put down of NATO’s dementia praecox. Everything so far has failed, from “crippling sanctions” to all sorts of wunderwaffen, while the whole Global South marvels at the exploits of Wagner PMC – now configured as the planet’s top urban fighting machine. CIA mouthpiece Washington Post duly released how Washington, once again, had the Liver Sausage Chancellor Scholz for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The idea was floated by Secretary of State Tony Blinken: let’s announce we will deliver M1 Abrams to Ukraine in a hazy, unspecified future, thus providing cover for Scholz to release the Leopards now. Don’t you just love German sovereignty in action? Every military analyst with an IQ over room temperature knows all those Leopards will be duly incinerated – or better yet, captured, and dissected by Russian military specialists. So what happens next is yet another vector of the – very successful so far – U.S.-unleashed German de-industrualization racket: the Americans will invade the German industrial military complex with their “much improved” Abrams – which may perhaps arrive in 2024, when only a rump Ukraine may still exist, or never arrive at all. So no need for the Abrams to prove themselves in actual combat – as in being captured and/or incinerated. Rumors in Washington advance that the U.S. “strategy” in Ukraine – extensively detailed by endless think tank reports – had to be adapted. It’s not about “defeating Russia” anymore, but providing Kiev with the means to “scare” Russia. The Russian General Staff must be trembling in their boots. Meanwhile, in real life, nearly every possible scenario gamed in Washington and Brussels finishes with NATO like a giant, armoured version of Wile E. Coyote plunging to the depths of the Grand Canyon. And that happens even if the much ballyhooded “Big Arrow” Russian offensive starts in a few days or weeks, or never starts at all. Arguably the Russian General Staff has concluded a long time ago there’s no point in reducing Ukraine to rubble in a matter of hours – something they could easily accomplish. Thus the fabled mincing machine approach – offering no excuses for NATO to “escalate” (which they continue to do anyway, as Jens “War is Peace” Stoltenberg is so fond of parroting). The trick is that NATO’s escalation overdrive, as it happens, is somewhat controlled by the Russian General Staff, which is always calculating which optimal maneuvers will consume NATO’s military hardware faster. Call it a Russian version of the popular axiom “frog in a boiling pot doesn’t realize it’s being cooked until it croaks.” Attacking Russia-China-Iran Absolute desperation is now graphically extrapolating into attacks on Iran. Both Russia and China have Iran as their key ally in West Asia for the whole, complex process of Eurasia integration; strategic partnerships interlink the trio. So attacking the Ministry of Defense in Isfahan with drones – total fail – and bombing an IRGC convoy of humanitarian aid crossing from Iraq to Syria is a serious U.S.-Israel-coordinated provocation. Essentially these are also attacks against Russia and China. Israel cannot lift its hand or foot without U.S. permission. Iranian intel may be able to establish how the Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con cabal in charge of U.S. foreign policy authorized if not ordered these attacks, which of course are directly connected to NATO’s desperation in Ukraine. When in doubt, just come back to Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski: “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia and perhaps, Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by contemporary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc.” And mirroring Ukraine/Russia there’s of course Taiwan/China. As Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar has extensively explained, if Taiwan manufactures chips for U.S. missiles Washington then sends to Taiwan for its “self-defense”, but Taiwan needs to wait because the missiles are needed in Ukraine instead, or chips can’t be shipped to the U.S. owing to a possible sea and air blockade imposed by China, the Americans will be operationally ill-equipped to support their two-front war against peer competitors Russia and China. Bye bye Pax Americana. It’s the fear, actually paranoia, of a destroyed Taiwan – and the destruction in every scenario would be provoked by the Americans themselves – that has led the Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con cabal to demand their chips be Made in USA. On the energy front, since U.S. energy costs are low, Washington gambled that much of the deindustrialization of Germany would revert to American benefit. Yet since Iranian, Russian and Venezuelan oil prices are lower than the U.S., not much production may be shifting to the Hegemon: it will go to China. To the bottom of the Grand Canyon! The January 10 joint declaration between EU-NATO graphically shows how the EU is no more than the P.R. arm of NATO. This NATO-EU joint mission consists in using all economic, political and military means to make sure the “jungle” always behaves according to the “rules-based international order” and accepts to be plundered ad infinitum by the “blooming garden”. So in the end what’s left of “Europe”, when it’s NATO – actually Washington – that really rules? “Europe”, according to relentless propaganda, means defending “our values” – as in peace, democracy and prosperity. The trick is that unelected elites forced the implicit identification of this imagined, practically sacred “Europe” with the European Union. And that’s how the EU has acquired a mythical identity. Of course, in real life the EU – as in the real, politically organized “Europe” – has performed as a toxic instrument of division among European peoples. Instead of peace, it has invested in all-out rabid war against Russia. The EU is arguably the most democratically irresponsible institution on the planet: spend a day in Brussels and you understand everything. And instead of prosperity, the EU has institutionalized austerity. So sit back, relax and enjoy a race to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The only question is who will get there first: the EU, NATO, or both. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 23:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE21 hr. 45 min. ago Related News

"High-Speed Rail" - California & Japan Are Different

'High-Speed Rail' - California & Japan Are Different Authored by Thomas Buckley via 'The Point' Substack, Well, it’s big in Japan... That is what proponents of California’s high speed rail project say when asked about the whys and wherefores of the system.  In other words, if it works somewhere else it will work here. That argument, though, falls in the face of a rather basic fact:  California and Japan are different. It is true that Japan’s high speed rail system, first begun in 1964, actually makes money – a lot, in fact.  The iconic first line, Shinkansen Tokaido, alone carries 90 million people a year and has an operating profit of about $4.4 billion dollars.  That does not include capital costs, but teasing that number out after 60 years of operation and the privatization of the route in the late 1980s is extremely difficult – suffice to say the deal has “worked” for the owners. There are multiple other Shinkansen lines in Japan, most of which also realize an operating profit (the latest expansion to Hokkaido – the very large island north of the Japanese mainland – has proven to be problematic, though.) Focusing on the Tokaido line – the line typically referred to for comparison - shows a few similarities but many glaring differences.  It’s distance is 320 miles, not terribly different from the 390 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  Also, it takes two and half hours – again not too dissimilar  - and, in a downtown to downtown comparison, is faster and more convenient than flying (though not cheaper – it’s about $100 to fly and about $160 to take the Shinkansen) just like California’s project is supposed to be. But that’s about it. First, there is the issue of population.  The Tokaido line (with its “Nozomi” train only stopping in the largest cities and hence the fastest) runs from Tokyo to Osaka, which alone have combined populations of 17 million, compared to 11 million for LA (including the county) and San Francisco.  In the cities along the Tokaido route there are 9 million more people; in the space between LA and SF, there are less than 3 million.  For comparison, the smallest city on the Tokaido is Shinagawa at 400,000 people; the smallest city on the California system is Gilroy, at 58,000.  All told, the average “stop population” between LA and SF is about 250,000 – on the Tokaido/Nozomi is 2,250,000. It is these concentrations and the economies of scale they allow that drive the success of the Tokaido line - California’s system is simply not in the same league. The Nozomi train operates 32 1,300-seat trains each way every day; pretty much on the half-hour with fewer overnight, while the two other slower (but still high speed) trains on the same system operate much more frequently and make many more stops. Note on the following information– when dealing with California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Authority numbers - time or money - it is a good idea to remind oneself that they have never been right before, so really really big grain - meet salt. The CHSR system will – in its “horizon year” of 2040, operate 105 southbound and 103 northbound trains per day over the system.  Southbound, 64 trains will start in San Francisco, 20 in San Jose, and 21 in Merced.  Northbound, 42 trains will start in Anaheim, 44 in Los Angeles, and 17 will start in Merced (note – that means 86 trains will pass through LA northbound every day.) The system will operate 18 hours per day, with six hours designated “peak;” about half of the trains will operate during those six hours, the other half during the 12 “off peak” hours. That means LA’s Union Station will – during the morning commute – see a train going north about every eight minutes, every day. At 1,200 (could be a bit lower, could be a bit higher as the final design is not yet set) seats per train, about 10,000 people could leave LA between 7 and 8 a.m.  For the system to hit its ridership (and therefore revenue) goals, about 5,000 have to. Six trains will run non-stop from LA to SF and 10 will run with only stops at San Jose and Burbank – the non-stops are expected to meet the 2 hour and 40 minute time limit set by original bond; the other trains will not. Like the Tokaido, California’s system will charge different fares for different distances traveled … sort of. The 2020 ridership estimate report shows a ticket price (one way) of $100 from San Francisco to Bakersfield.  The cost to travel to LA or even Anaheim?  Also $100.  It appears planners simply worked – in accordance with the original bond measure - backwards from a typical Southwest fare to set the cap. For those traveling to/from smaller cities, the fares are obviously less.  For example, San Francisco to San Jose is $26, SF to Merced is $66, Los Angeles to Anaheim is $34, etc..  While the high-speed rail has been touted as a way to make lower cost Central Valley housing more accessible, the fare rates could significantly impact that desire as it would cost about $30,000 a year to commute from Merced into the city (admittedly, it can most likely be assumed there will be some sort of farepass/frequent user program will cut that price.) But at numbers in the thousands per month, the incentive to move out of more expensive cities becomes far less – why spend the money on train fare rather than on a more expensive, more central home if it’s going to be a wash, unless you were going to move anyway to raise a family and mow the lawn? As to overall finances, the most the CHSR says the LA to SF system will cost is $113 billion and it will be done in 2033, four years after the Central Valley “starter kit” is done. Exactly where the money will come from remains a bit of a puzzle, but the CHSR is hoping the Cap and Trade money it gets will be extended to 2050 (an extra $10-20 billion,) that they will find more federal funds including non-transportation grants for things such as renewable energy and “social equity.” As to a private investor, the CHSR admits they are not quite ready for that but that once the system is running and turning an operational profit businesses will come knocking to invest. Speaking of operational profit, the CHSR projects there is a “99.4%” likelihood it make an operational profit by 2040.  It should be noted “operational profit” is just that – how much more money you bring in than you have to spend every day and is not related to the capital cost. If – IF – the system makes $1.4 billion it expects to in 2040, that would give it a return on capital investment of 1.4% percent.  That’s not terribly good and may make private companies think again and again and again about investing.  In other words, if (not accounting for inflation) the CHSR simply saved its money to build the rest of the system – the San Diego, Sacramento extensions – it would take about 40 years of “profit” to cover the cost And those revenues figures are based on having about 1 million riders a week,  about 140,000 a day, about 6,000 an hour, 100 a minute. For proper context: Currently about 2.5 million people fly each year between LA and the Bay Area. And about 700,000 currently take Amtrak to/from Bakersfield to Oakland and/or Sacramento. That’s 3.2 million - total. Note - assuming the new system attracts a few more riders in the Central Valley alone, that means the “south from Bakersfield” and the “Merced to San Francisco” and the “long haul” trips will have to attract about 50 million riders alone Obviously, a whole bunch of other people drive to and from and in between, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to wonder if the 51 million annual riders the HSR estimates will use the system may be just a tad bit on the optimistic side All this to be able to get from Fresno to Bakersfield for $63 six years from now. That’s 20 bucks more than Amtrak charges today. *  *  * The Point is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 21:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

Can Chat GPT3 Make Pennsylvania A Red State?

Can Chat GPT3 Make Pennsylvania A Red State? Authored by  Athan Koutsiouroumbas via RealClear Wire, In the past three weeks, policymakers had their worlds rocked by generative artificial intelligence. The problem is that they don’t know it – yet. First, a team of researchers demonstrated that Open AI’s Chat GPT3 can pass the stringent United States Medical Licensing Exam. Days later, Chat GPT 3 passed a bar exam. Finally, Chat GPT3 passed the prestigious Wharton Business School’s rigorous core examination. The Wharton researcher writes, “OpenAI’s Chat GPT3 has shown a remarkable ability to automate some of the skills of highly compensated knowledge workers in general and specifically the knowledge workers in the jobs held by MBA graduates including analysts, managers, and consultants.” Lawyers, doctors, administrators, managers, and consultants are some of the most highly compensated professionals in the United States. Generative artificial intelligence is banishing them to obsolescence. With only 375 employees, the unprofitable Chat GPT3 was acquired by behemoth Microsoft at a valuation reportedly northward of $30 billion. For perspective, with over 42,000 highly educated healthcare employees, AmerisourceBergen is the largest company by revenue headquartered in Pennsylvania. Its valuation is $33.25 billion. So, with 99% fewer employees, the unprofitable Chat GPT3 is already worth nearly the same as the largest company in the Commonwealth. Microsoft has already pledged $10 billion to optimize Chat GPT3 toward profitability. Tens of billions more dollars are coming. The last time policymakers were presented with displacement on this scale was the globalization that decimated the American working class. The solution for Pennsylvania policymakers was to pivot the state’s economy to “Eds and Meds,” which now constitute 44% of total employment. Those industries were chosen because spending is generated predominantly by the government, which is historically stable. To quote Ronald Reagan, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear.” Pennsylvania policymakers knew that they were making safe bets as those markets would almost always exist. The pivot worked, with Pennsylvania stabilizing its population decline. Communities able to make the pivot, particularly in the suburbs, saw prosperity. Once reliably Republican, the suburban voters employed by “Eds and Meds” now constitute the Democratic Party’s base. The rise of conservative populism, which pointed the finger at college-educated elites for the decline of the working class, accelerated the trend. The reticence of suburban elites to choose Republican candidates is understandable, considering some in the GOP’s working-class base label them the enemy. For many in the working class, the contempt is personal, as they perceive the college-educated as having enriched themselves at their expense, via globalization. But generative artificial intelligence is poised to inflict the same level of economic devastation on suburban elites as suffered by the working class through globalization. Some elites will undoubtedly find sure footing in the pending economy created by generative artificial intelligence. But many others will not. The Rust Belt’s decline took decades to manifest. Its slow pace helped shield policymakers from criticism because gradual change enabled some Americans to find solutions on their own. In contrast to globalization’s slow deindustrialization, however, technological adoption moves at lightning speed and is only getting faster. “Eds and Meds” suburbanites are unlikely to gain a reprieve through gradual transition. Profitable generative artificial intelligence business models may surface within a year. Suburban prosperity could be severely undermined before the next Winter Olympics. Policymakers need immediate solutions. Political polarization rises during economic decline. A 20-point gap persists between the political affiliations of college-educated and non-college-educated Americans. It is one of the most pronounced cleavages in American politics. The displacement potentially caused by generative artificial intelligence could put college-educated voters back into electoral play for Republicans, presuming the GOP can deliver something for them. The path to help these Pennsylvanians, one that would be exclusive to Republicans, is rapid reindustrialization. The prerequisites for rapid reindustrialization are affordable, abundant energy and school choice. Both are fundamental tenets of the GOP platform. Pennsylvania is blessed with abundant natural resources and is a net exporter of energy. It has educational entrepreneurs pleading for the opportunity to create the most industrially skilled workforce on the planet. Products made in Pennsylvania can reach most of the continental United States or international waters within 24 hours. Among the 50 states, this “iron triangle” of energy-workforce-logistics may be unique to Pennsylvania. Rapid reindustrialization is the path that unites all educational backgrounds to produce real, sustainable wealth. Instead of pitting the educational classes against one another, it makes them partners in success. Pennsylvania Republican policymakers have the opportunity before them to accomplish what Ron DeSantis has achieved in Florida: a generational political realignment of a state. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s Republican Party leaders have proposed spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a 2022 midterm post-mortem. That’s fine. But the lesson of the 2022 midterm is that voters do not reward looking backwards. A crisis has begun. The GOP will respond either by providing tomorrow’s leaders or being condemned by history for failing to rise to the challenge. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 22:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

Record 285,000 Illinois Residents Saw Power Shut-Offs Due To Non-Payment In 2022

Record 285,000 Illinois Residents Saw Power Shut-Offs Due To Non-Payment In 2022 Authored by Jarryd Jaeger via The Post Millennial, A new report compiled by the Center for Biological Diversity has revealed that the number of households having their electricity disconnected by power companies as a result of not being able to pay soared between 2021 and 2022. Leading the way among states who report such data is Illinois, whose main electricity providers shut down power for nearly 300,000 households between January and October 2022, a massive increase over the previous year.  According to the report, disconnects in Illinois rose 26 percent from 2021 to 284,720 in the first ten months of 2022. The state's two largest electricity providers, Exelon’s Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and Amaren, accounted for the vast majority of shut-offs. Both companies are investor-owned and have been criticized for increasing executives' salaries while working to make electricity more expensive for customers. As the report states, ComEd imposed a 26 percent rate hike in October 2021, and gained permission from regulators in November 2022 to raise prices yet again by $199 million. All the while, customers were having their lights turned off for non-payment.During this time, ComEd was also embroiled in a corruption scandal, in which it was accused of "using ratepayer funds as part of a bribery scheme" to secure the passage of 2011 legislation that implemented a "formula rate" system. The system subjected customers to hundreds of millions of dollars in rate hikes over the last decade, but ComEd benefited to the tune of nearly $4.7 billion. At the onset of Covid-19, a moratorium on shutoffs due to nonpayment was imposed across the nation, however, Illinois was one of the states that ended the policy as soon as it possibly could. By late 2021, no such forgiveness was offered. "The preventable practice of disconnections keeps millions of Americans in poverty and narrows their avenues of escape," the report lamented. "By giving utility companies the power to penalize poverty, we license them to perpetuate it." Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 19:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

Turkey Can Forget About Getting F-16s If Sweden, Finland NATO Bids Blocked: Senators

Turkey Can Forget About Getting F-16s If Sweden, Finland NATO Bids Blocked: Senators The United States is now threatening Turkey with holding more American-made fighter jets captive, this time over the Erdogan government's refusal to allow Sweden into NATO. Turkey starting in 2021 issued a formal request purchase 40 F-16 jets and about 80 modernization kits from the US, but a group of over two dozen US senators has said they are ready to block the sale if Turkey doesn't ratify Sweden and Finland's NATO accession protocols.  Anadolu Agency via Getty Images "Congress cannot consider future support for Türkiye, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets, until Türkiye completes ratification of the accession protocols," the senators, led by Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), wrote in a letter to the president Thursday. "Failure to ratify the protocols or present a timeline for ratification threatens the Alliance’s unity at a key moment in history, as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine," the lawmakers stressed. The White House appears favorable to the Congressional members' stance regarding getting tougher on Turkey while Ankara blocks Sweden's NATO membership:  "We have made the same point to our Turkish allies … that we need this Congress’s support moving forward for the security enhancements that we think that they need, as allies, F16s, some of them are old, but that this Congress is likely to look far more favorably on that after ratification," [Victoria] Nuland said, urging senators to "keep making your points and we will too." But Turkey has never been easily pressured by Washington - and this is perhaps given the Turkish military remains the second largest in NATO, and the fact that Turkey plays host to American military bases. With the F-16 hold-up now having dragged on a couple of years, Turkey has long flirted with the idea of acquiring Russian-made Su-35s and Su-57 fighter jets, causing alarm among NATO allies. Turkey has argued it's a problem of Washington's own making, given the 2019 decision to boot Turkey from the Lockheed F-35 program. Lately, Erdogan has said Turkey looks favorably on Finland joining the alliance, while at the same time suspending accession talks with Swedish officials, especially after last month's Quran-burning incident in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 20:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

Early Primary State Voters Willing To Move Past Trump, Biden

Early Primary State Voters Willing To Move Past Trump, Biden Authored by Dallas Woodhouse via RealClear Wire, As Trump and Biden focus their attention on the early primary state of South Carolina, Palmetto State voters are thinking about the future, one that focuses on public policy solutions, not “gotcha” politics and controversies of the past. Voters are expressing a willingness to move on from both the former and current president if they can’t meet the moment with real solutions to the problems facing everyday voters. South Carolinians are looking for concrete proposals to address inflation. 78% of SC voters are concerned with their family’s ability to pay their bills due to inflation, with nearly half (48.4%) saying they are very concerned, according to a new poll from the South Carolina Policy Council. Less than four in ten SC voters believe America on the right track, with 58% saying it is on the wrong track. Voters across the board still believe that lower taxes help spur economic growth. Nearly four in five (79%) likely SC voters said further tax reductions are important for creating new jobs and attracting business, with 54% saying they are very important. 85% of GOP voters said further tax cuts are important for economic growth, as did 68% of Democrat voters and 81% of independent voters. South Carolina voters are also demanding more government transparency. 83% agreed that government bodies should be required to livestream their public meetings on the internet for greater transparency and accountability. Critically, the survey data shows voters are highly interested in moving on from both Biden and Trump. In fact, 54% of likely 2024 SC voters agreed that “the country would be better off if neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump is elected President in 2024.” Only 30% said they disagree. Other important takeaways include: A majority (51%) of likely voters viewed Trump unfavorably, compared with 46% who viewed him favorably. Biden is viewed unfavorably by 54% of likely voters, while only 45% viewed him favorably. Of Republican primary voters, only 37% said the GOP should nominate Trump in 2024, while 47% said the GOP should nominate someone else. In a head-to-head matchup, a majority of likely Republican voters favored Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (52%) over former President Donald Trump (33%) by a whopping 19%. Nearly half (46%) of Republican primary voters that viewed Trump very favorably said the GOP should nominate someone else. Of the SC voters who viewed Biden very favorably, 38% still said America would be better off if neither Biden nor Trump were elected in 2024. Of SC Democratic primary voters, only 43% said their party should nominate Joe Biden for re-election in 2024, while 38% answered someone else.   A full 20% of Democrats were unsure of whom the party should nominate. Overall, more than half (58%) of likely Democrat voters indicated they are not sold on Biden in 2024. While South Carolina is a reliable GOP state in the general election, data just to the north in purple North Carolina is shockingly similar, according to new polling conducted by Differentiator Data. The results show that Trump is viewed favorably by just 38% of North Carolina’s likely voters. Only 42% of NC voters viewed President Biden favorably. Republican voters favored Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (47%) over Trump (35%) by 12 points in a six person GOP field. Nearly half of GOP voters that viewed Trump favorably would still pick DeSantis or another candidate. For Trump and Biden to win back the voters they have lost, they will have to turn the page on the past and deliver an optimistic, forward-looking agenda for the future – a herculean task for two men who have been on the earth for eight decades. Another nasty personal fight between the two of them might produce an electoral winner, but not one who can capture the hearts and minds of Americans and successfully lead the country. South Carolinians will be key in deciding which Republican and which Democrat will become their party’s nominee.  North Carolina, decided by just 1.75% in 2020, will be a key swing state in the 2024 general election. Yet across the Carolinas, voters are already sending signals. Voters are hungry for fresh, new policy ideas. They want competent leadership that can deliver real policy solutions to address real world problems. The question is, can either party and its candidates deliver? Dallas Woodhouse is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Policy Council. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 20:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

"Significant Threat To National Security": US Air Force Warns Over Chinese Corn Mill In North Dakota

"Significant Threat To National Security": US Air Force Warns Over Chinese Corn Mill In North Dakota The US Air Force has warned that the construction of a Chinese-owned corn mill in North Dakota poses a "significant threat to national security." Grand Forks Air Force Base located 12 miles from proposed building site of Chinese-owned corn mill in North Dakota. The company which owns the mill is Fufeng Group, an MSG and xantham gum manufacturer based in Shandong province, China, bought 370 acres of farmland in Grand Forks - along with the promise that the $700 million site would economically benefit the region. According to GOP Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer, however, the Air Force says: "the proposed project presents a significant threat to national security with both near- and long-term risks of significant impacts to our operations in the area," though the military branch declined to state specific threats. Thousands of residents have speculated that the corn mill might be used for spying, however. In August of last year, at least 5,000 residents signed a petition aimed at preventing the mill's construction. Mayor Brandon Bochenski, while initially supportive of the mill, came out on Tuesday saying that it should be stopped. "The federal government has requested the city’s help in stopping the project as geo-political tensions have greatly increased since the initial announcement of the project," he said, adding that he would block construction by denying building permits and refusing to connect city infrastructure to the site, Yahoo News reports. Fufeng USA’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Chutorash has since denied that the mill would be used to spy on or harm the U.S. The corn mill was proposed to be built 12 miles away from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, which is home to U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance units, including its top-secret drone technology. -Yahoo! In a Tuesday joint press release, Cramer and Hoeven called on Grand Forks officials to "discontinue" the project, and instead "work together to find an American company to develop the agriculture project." Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 20:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

Inside The Secret Government Meeting On COVID-19 Natural Immunity

Inside The Secret Government Meeting On COVID-19 Natural Immunity Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Four of the highest ranking U.S. health officials—including Dr. Anthony Fauci—met in secret to discuss whether or not naturally immune people should be exempt from getting COVID-19 vaccines, The Epoch Times can reveal. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing in Washington on May 17, 2022. (Shawn Thew/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) The officials brought in four outside experts to discuss whether the protection gained after recovering from COVID-19—known as natural immunity—should count as one or more vaccine doses. “There was interest in several people in the administration in hearing basically the opinions of four immunologists in terms of what we thought about … natural infection as contributing to protection against moderate to severe disease, and to what extent that should influence dosing,” Dr. Paul Offit, one of the experts, told The Epoch Times. Offit and another expert took the position that the naturally immune need fewer doses. The other two experts argued natural immunity shouldn’t count as anything. The discussion did not lead to a change in U.S. vaccination policy, which has never acknowledged post-infection protection. Fauci and the other U.S. officials who heard from the experts have repeatedly downplayed that protection, claiming that it is inferior to vaccine-bestowed immunity. Most studies on the subject indicate the opposite. The meeting, held in October 2021, was briefly discussed before on a podcast. The Epoch Times has independently confirmed the meeting took place, identified all of the participants, and uncovered other key details. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University who did not participate in the meeting, criticized how such a consequential discussion took place behind closed doors with only a few people present. “It was a really impactful decision that they made in private with a very small number of people involved. And they reached the wrong decision,” Bhattacharya told The Epoch Times. An email obtained by The Epoch Times shows Dr. Vivek Murthy contacting colleagues to arrange the meeting. (The Epoch Times) The Participants From the government: Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden until the end of 2022 Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Francis Collins, head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which includes the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, until December 2021 Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House vaccine coordinator until November 2021 From outside the government: Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an adviser to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on vaccines Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a former member of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and dean of the Baylor College of Medicine’s School of Tropical Medicine Fauci and Murthy decided to hold the meeting, according to emails The Epoch Times obtained. “Would you be available tonight from 9-9:30 for a call with a few other scientific colleagues on infection-induced immunity? Tony and I just discussed and were hoping to do this sooner rather than later if possible,” Murthy wrote in one missive to Fauci, Walensky, and Collins. All three quickly said they could make it. Walensky asked who would be there. Murthy listed the participants. “I think you know all of them right?” he said. Walensky said she knew all but one person. “Sounds like a good crew,” she added. From top left, clockwise: Dr. Vivek Murthy, Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky. (Getty Images) ‘Clear Benefit’ During the meeting, Offit put forth his position—that natural immunity should count as two doses. At the time, the CDC recommended three shots—a two-dose primary series and a booster—for many Americans 18 and older, soon expanding that advice to all adults, even though trials of the boosters only analyzed immunogenicity and efficacy among those without evidence of prior infection. Research indicated that natural immunity was long-lasting and superior to vaccination. On the other hand, the CDC published a paper in its quasi-journal that concluded vaccination was better. Osterholm sided with Offit, but thought that having recovered from COVID-19 should only count as a single dose. “I added my voice at the meeting to count an infection as equivalent to a dose of vaccine! I’ve always believed hybrid immunity likely provides the most protection,” Osterholm told The Epoch Times via email. Hybrid immunity refers to getting a vaccine after recovering from COVID-19. Some papers have found vaccination after recovery boosts antibodies, which are believed to be a correlate of protection. Other research has shown that the naturally immune have a higher risk of side effects than those who haven’t recovered from infection. Some experts believe the risk is worth the benefit but others do not. Hotez and Iwasaki, meanwhile, made the case that natural immunity should not count as any dose—as has been the case in virtually the entire United States since the COVID-19 vaccines were first rolled out. Iwasaki referred to a British preprint study, soon after published in Nature, that concluded, based on survey data, that the protection from the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines was heightened among people with evidence of prior infection. She also noted a study she worked on that found the naturally immune had higher antibody titers than the vaccinated, but that the vaccinated “reached comparable levels of neutralization responses to the ancestral strain after the second vaccine dose.” The researchers also discovered T cells—thought to protect against severe illness—were boosted by vaccination. There’s a “clear benefit” to boosting regardless of prior infection, Iwasaki, who has since received more than $2 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told participants after the meeting in an email obtained by The Epoch Times. Hotez received $789,000 in grants from the NIH in fiscal year 2020, and has received other grants totaling millions in previous years. Offit, who co-invented the rotavirus vaccine, received $3.5 million in NIH grants from 1985 through 2004. Hotez declined interview requests through a spokesperson. Iwasaki did not respond to requests for comment. No participants represented experts like Bhattacharya who say that the naturally immune generally don’t need any doses at all. In an email obtained by The Epoch Times, Akiko Iwasaki wrote to other meeting participants shortly after the meeting ended. (The Epoch Times) Public Statements In public, Hotez repeatedly portrayed natural immunity as worse than vaccination, including citing the widely criticized CDC paper, which drew from just two months of testing in a single state. In one post on Twitter on Oct. 29, 2021, he referred to another CDC study, which concluded that the naturally immune were five times as likely to test positive compared to vaccinated people with no prior infection, and stated: “Still more evidence, this time from @CDCMMWR showing that vaccine-induced immunity is way better than infection and recovery, what some call weirdly ‘natural immunity’. The antivaccine and far right groups go ballistic, but it’s the reality.” That same day, the CDC issued a “science brief” that detailed the agency’s position on natural immunity versus the protection from vaccines. The brief, which has never been updated, says that available evidence shows both the vaccinated and naturally immune “have a low risk of subsequent infection for at least 6 months” but that “the body of evidence for infection-induced immunity is more limited than that for vaccine-induced immunity.” Evidence shows that vaccination after infection, or hybrid immunity, “significantly enhances protection and further reduces risk of reinfection” and is the foundation of the CDC’s recommendations, the agency said. Several months later, the CDC acknowledged that natural immunity was superior to vaccination against the Delta variant, which was displaced in late 2021 by Omicron. The CDC, which has made misleading representations before on the evidence supporting vaccination of the naturally immune, did not respond to a request for comment regarding whether the agency will ever update the brief. Iwasaki had initially been open to curbing the number of doses for the naturally immune—”I think this supports the idea of just giving one dose to people who had covid19,” she said in response to one Twitter post in early 2021, which is restricted from view—but later came to argue that each person who is infected has a different immune response, and that the natural immunity, even if strong initially, wanes over time. Osterholm has knocked people who claim natural immunity is weak or non-existent, but has also claimed that vaccine-bestowed immunity is better. Osterholm also changed the stance he took in the meeting just several months later, saying in February 2022 that “we’ve got to make three doses the actual standard” while also “trying to understand what kind of immunity we get from a previous infection.” Offit has been the leading critic on the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which advises U.S. regulators on vaccines, over their authorizations of COVID-19 boosters. Offit has said boosters are unnecessary for the young and healthy because they don’t add much to the primary series. He also criticized regulators for authorizing updated shots without consulting the committee and absent clinical data. Two of the top U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials resigned over the booster push. No FDA officials were listed on invitations to the secret meeting on natural immunity. Fauci and Walensky Downplay Natural Immunity Fauci and Walensky, two of the most visible U.S. health officials during the pandemic, have repeatedly downplayed natural immunity. Fauci, who said in an email in March 2020 that he assumed there would be “substantial immunity post infection,” would say later that natural immunity was real but that the durability was uncertain. He noted the studies finding higher antibody levels from hybrid immunity. In September 2021, months after claiming that vaccinated people “can feel safe that they are not going to get infected,” Fauci said that he did not have “a really firm answer” on whether the naturally immune should get vaccinated. “It is conceivable that you got infected, you’re protected—but you may not be protected for an indefinite period of time,” Fauci said on CNN when pressed on the issue. “So I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously.” After the meeting, Fauci would say that natural immunity and vaccine-bestowed immunity both wane, and that people should get vaccinated regardless of prior infection to boost their protection. Walensky, before she became CDC director, signed a document called the John Snow Memorandum in response to the Great Barrington Declaration, which Bhattacharya coauthored. The declaration called for focused protection of the elderly and otherwise infirm, stating, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.” The memorandum, in contrast, said there was “no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection” and supported the harsh lockdown measures that had been imposed in the United States and elsewhere. In March 2021, after becoming director, Walensky released recommendations that the naturally immune get vaccinated, noting that there was “substantial durability” of protection six months after infection but that “rare cases of reinfection” had been reported. Walensky hyped the CDC study on natural immunity in August 2021, and the second study in October 2021. But when the third paper came out concluding natural immunity was superior, she did not issue a statement. Walensky later told a blog that the study found natural immunity provided strong protection, “perhaps even more so than those who had been vaccinated and not yet boosted.” But, because it came before Omicron, she said, “it’s not entirely clear how that protection works in the context of Omicron and boosting.” Walensky, Murthy, and Collins did not respond to requests for interviews. Fauci, who stepped down from his positions in late 2022, could not be reached. Murthy and Collins also portrayed natural immunity as inferior. “From the studies about natural immunity, we are seeing more and more data that tells us that while you get some protection from natural infection, it’s not nearly as strong as what you get from the vaccine,” Murthy said on CNN about two months before the meeting. Collins, in a series of blog posts, highlighted the studies showing higher antibody levels after vaccination and urged people to get vaccinated. He also voiced support for vaccine mandates. Read more here... Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 21:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

Apple Pares Much Of Drop During Earnings Call

Apple Pares Much Of Drop During Earnings Call Update 6:00pm:  Apple has staged a remarkable reversal after hours, and erased almost the entire loss after the company said that it expects a 5% impact from FX rates in Q2, and also expects iPhone revenue growth to accelerate in Q2. CEO Tim Cook was also asked whether the move to higher ASPs for the iPhone is sustainable in light of the sharp decline in sales, and whether this will continue in a worsening economy. Cook said the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max did extremely well until the supply-chain constraints. He says this is definitely a “strong Pro cycle” and credits the new features in the device. He says he’s happy that Apple is now shipping to the demand. Tim Cook also said that AI is critical to Apple and mentions features like crash-and-fall detection and the use of AI in features like EKG on the Apple Watch. He says AI will effect everything the company does, including all products and services. Apple is quite bullish on India and other emerging markets, with CEO Tim Cook saying the company will soon open its first retail stores in India. He also said Apple saw marked improvement in China in December (versus November) after another round of Covid re-openings. As Bloomberg notes, the company also stuck to a line that revenue and sales of individual product categories would have been higher if not for supply-chain constraints and issues stemming from the macroeconomic environment. * * * With both Amazon and Google sliding after reporting disappointing earnings and mixed guidance, it was all up to the world's biggest company, AAPL, to provide some hail mary for the tech earnings season which for better or worse is concentrated in a one hour stretch this afternoon. Alas, it was not meant to be and after missing on the top and bottom line, AAPL has joined the parade of selling and tumbled after hours due to numbers which the market was clearly not impressed with. EPS $1.88 vs. $2.10 y/y, missing estimate $1.94 Gross margin $50.33 billion, -7.2% y/y, missing estimate $52.03 billion Revenue $117.15 billion, -5.5% y/y, missing estimate $121.14 billion Products revenue $96.39 billion, -7.7% y/y, missing estimate $98.98 billion IPhone revenue $65.78 billion, -8.2% y/y, missing estimate $68.3 billion Mac revenue $7.74 billion, -29% y/y, missing estimate $9.72 billion IPad revenue $9.40 billion, +30% y/y, beating estimate $7.78 billion Wearables, home and accessories $13.48 billion, -8.3% y/y, missing estimate $15.32 billion Service revenue $20.77 billion, +6.4% y/y, beating estimate $20.47 billion Greater China rev. $23.91 billion, -7.3% y/y, beating estimate $21.8 billion Cash and cash equivalents $20.54 billion, -45% y/y, estimate $29.91 billion And here is AAPL's diluted EPS in context: needless to say, could have been better. Commenting on the quarter, Tim Cook said that “during the December quarter, we achieved a major milestone and are excited to report that we now have more than 2 billion active devices as part of our growing installed base.” CFO Luca Maester chimed in: “our record September quarter results continue to demonstrate our ability to execute effectively in spite of a challenging and volatile macroeconomic backdrop. We continued to invest in our long-term growth plans, generated over $24 billion in operating cash flow, and returned over $29 billion to our shareholders during the quarter. The strength of our ecosystem, unmatched customer loyalty, and record sales spurred our active installed base of devices to a new all-time high. This quarter capped another record-breaking year for Apple, with revenue growing over $28 billion and operating cash flow up $18 billion versus last year.” Going back to the results, Apple missed consensus revenue in most product categories, with the exception of iPads, to wit: IPhone revenue $65.78 billion, missing estimate $68.3 billion Mac revenue $7.74 billion, missing estimate $9.72 billion Wearables, home and accessories $13.48 billion, missing estimate $15.32 billion IPad revenue $9.40 billion, beating estimate $7.78 billion Of note: Apple recorded its first decline in iPhone revenue since the third quarter of 2020; yet in context, the 8% drop was still less than the 20% decrease reported by Samsung. Other major smartphone providers that have yet to report are expecting to see double-digit losses. Ironically, Apple may have fared comparatively well on smartphone revenue. The silver lining: service revenue $20.77 billion, +6.4% y/y, beating estimates of $20.47 billion... ... and rose 6.5% Y/Y, an improvement from last quarter's 5.0% One other place where investors were pleasantly surprised was China sales, which at $23.91 billion, beat the estimate of $21.8 billion by more than $2 billion. None of that changes the fact that AAPL's sales by region were uniformly negative across the board. And another potential problem: AAPL's gross cash continues to slide, dropping to $165 billion, the lowest since June 2014... ... while cash net of debt rebounded modestly from $49 billion to $54 billion, just above a 12 year low with the company having spent hundreds of billions on stock buybacks. Let's hope that Apple doesn't actually need to use that cash. Commenting on the results, Bloomberg writes that the results show that Apple hasn’t been able to dodge the tech slowdown afflicting many of its competitors. Demand for smartphones and computers has slumped in the past year, and Covid-19 restrictions in China added to Apple’s woes during the holiday sales period. Timing was another issue: The company didn’t launch new Macs and HomePods until recent weeks, missing the end of the first quarter. In response to these disappointing earnings, the stock predictably slumped as much as 4% before recouping some losses, although even with the drop it is back to where it was... yesterday. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

DHS Will Allow Border Agents To Testify On Border Crisis After Subpoena Threats

DHS Will Allow Border Agents To Testify On Border Crisis After Subpoena Threats Authored by Caden Pearson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow two chief border patrol agents to testify before a Congressional hearing on the U.S. border crisis, after initially trying to “muzzle” them, according to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.). Flanked by House Republicans, U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Comer highlighted how DHS leadership sought to prevent the chief border agents from testifying at the Feb. 7 hearing, but later reversed its stance after Comer threatened to use subpoenas. The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability plans to hold the hearing to gather facts from U.S. Border Patrol witnesses. The hearing is titled “On the Front Lines of the Border Crisis: A Hearing with Chief Patrol Agents.” Comer wrote that he invited the agents’ testimony on Jan. 19 and that DHS “initially sought to prevent Congress from hearing invaluable testimony from Chief Patrol Agents, believing that DHS’s internal protocols superseded Congressional oversight prerogatives.” “I am pleased that the DHS is no longer taking such a position, and will make available as witnesses Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, Rio Grande Valley Sector and Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, Tucson Sector,” Comer wrote (pdf). “These two law enforcement professionals also serve as Lead Field Coordinators for the border regions that collectively include Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.” In a statement, Comer described the Biden administration’s “radical open borders policies” as the cause of the “worst border crisis in American history.” “Starting on day one in office, President [Joe] Biden and his administration rolled back deterrent-focused policies, halted the construction of the border wall, gutted interior enforcement, pushed amnesty for illegal immigrants—all of which have made it difficult for U.S. Border Patrol agents to secure the border,” Comer said in a statement. “Next week, we will hear firsthand from the Border Patrol about this humanitarian and national security crisis,” he continued, adding the Republicans on the panel were committed to holding the Biden administration accountable. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington on April 28, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) Republicans Move to Impeach Mayorkas Republicans have been critical of Mayorkas’s handling of the crisis at the southern U.S. border, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) repeatedly calling on him to resign last year, and declaring his intention to investigate and impeach Mayorkas. On Monday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) told Fox News that he intends to file articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. Read more here... Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 18:30.....»»

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Adani Races To Restore Confidence With Lender Talks As Corporate Empire Falters

Adani Races To Restore Confidence With Lender Talks As Corporate Empire Falters Losses in Gautam Adani's corporate empire surged to $108 billion on Thursday, sparking fears of a potential systemic implosion one day after the Indian conglomerate's flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd. scrapped a 200 billion-rupee ($2.4 billion) stock offering.  The suddenness of the equity offering withdrawal reverberated across markets, politics, and business circles. One dealmaker told Bloomberg that he has never seen an equity offering canceled so quickly in his two-decade career. Indian lawmakers are questioning and requesting a broader probe into the plunge in Adani Enterprises shares. Even the Reserve Bank of India is checking on banking exposure to ensure there's no systemic threat.  In a separate report, Bloomberg said Credit Suisse and Citigroup have stopped accepting some bonds issued by Adani's companies as collateral for margin loans to high-net-worth clients. However, Goldman Sachs told investors Adani bond prices have likely hit a floor.  A crisis in confidence plagues Adani and his corporate empire, and he is racing to plug the holes in his sinking ship. A person familiar with the situation said Adani is in discussions with lenders to prepay and release pledged shares as he seeks to restore confidence,.  Adani nor his companies have faced margin calls on these pledges and aiming for quick prepayment, the person said, adding the move is to dismiss concerns about margin calls.  They noted Adani officials would address investors about the prepayment in the coming days. This turmoil comes in the wake of Hindenburg Research's short-seller report. The US firm alleges Adani oversees a sprawling empire built on market manipulation and accounting fraud -- allegations he and his conglomerate have repeatedly denied. Simultaneously, Adani's personal wealth has taken a massive hit. In just six trading sessions, the billionaire, but no longer Asia's richest person, has lost $52 billion in personal wealth.  Adani's primary goal in the short term is to remove concerns about a wave of potential margin calls concerns and default risk as dollar bonds plunge to very distressed levels.  There is no clear messaging (yet) from India's government if they will get involved in the fight between Hindenburg and Adani.  "Adani and his officials are trying their best to paint it as a foreign conspiracy against the rise of India as an economic power," said Ashok Swain, head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University in Sweden.  However, fund managers aren't buying that messaging: veteran emerging-markets investor Mark Mobius told Bloomberg that Adani Enterprises' massive debt load "scared us away" from participating in the share offering. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 18:50.....»»

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Growing Number Of Doctors Say They Won’t Get COVID-19 Booster Shots

Growing Number Of Doctors Say They Won’t Get COVID-19 Booster Shots Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A growing number of doctors say that they will not get COVID-19 vaccine boosters, citing a lack of clinical trial evidence. “I have taken my last COVID vaccine without RCT level evidence it will reduce my risk of severe disease,” Dr. Todd Lee, an infectious disease expert at McGill University, wrote on Twitter. A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is seen in a file photograph. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Lee was pointing to the lack of randomized clinical trial (RCT) results for the updated boosters, which were cleared in the United States and Canada in the fall of 2022 primarily based on data from experiments with mice. Lee, who has received three vaccine doses, noted that he was infected with the Omicron virus variant—the vaccines provide little protection against infection—and described himself as a healthy male in his 40s. Dr. Vinay Prasad, a professor of epidemiology and biostatics at the University of California, San Francisco, also said he wouldn’t take any additional shots until clinical trial data become available. “I took at least 1 dose against my will. It was unethical and scientifically bankrupt,” he said. Allison Krug, an epidemiologist who co-authored a study that found teenage boys were more likely to suffer heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccination than COVID-19 infection, recounted explaining to her doctor why she was refusing a booster and said her doctor agreed with her position. She called on people to “join the movement to demand appropriate evidence,” pointing to a blog post from Prasad. “Pay close attention to note this isn’t anti-vaccine sentiment. This is ‘provide [hard] evidence of benefit to justify ongoing use’ which is very different. It is only fair for a 30 billion dollar a year product given to hundreds of millions,” Lee said. Dr. Mark Silverberg, who founded the Toronto Immune and Digestive Health Institute; Kevin Bass, a medical student; and Dr. Tracy Høeg, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, joined Lee and Prasad in stating their opposition to more boosters, at least for now. Høeg said she did not need clinical trials to know she’s not getting any boosters after receiving a two-dose primary series, adding that she took the second dose “against my will.” “I also had an adverse reaction to dose 1 moderna and, if I could do it again, I would not have had any covid vaccines,” she said on Twitter. “I was glad my parents in their 70s could get covid vaccinated but have yet to see non-confounded data to advise them about the bivalent booster. I would have liked to see an RCT for the bivalent for people their age and for adults with health conditions that put them at risk.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to updated boosters, or bivalent shots, from Pfizer and Moderna in August 2022 despite there being no human data. Observational data suggests the boosters provide little protection against infection and solid shielding against severe illness, at least initially. Five months after the authorization was granted, no clinical trial data has been made available for the bivalents, which target the Wuhan strain as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Moderna presented efficacy estimates for a different bivalent, which has never been used in the United States, during a recent meeting. The company estimated the booster increased protection against infection by just 10 percent. The FDA is preparing to order all Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines be replaced with the bivalents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issues recommendations on vaccines, continues advising virtually all Americans to get a primary series and multiple boosters. Professor Calls for Halt to Messenger RNA Vaccines A professor, meanwhile, became the latest to call for a halt to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are both based on messenger RNA technology. “At this point in time, all COVID mRNA vaccination program[s] should stop immediately,” Retsef Levi, a professor of operations management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a video statement. “They should stop because they completely failed to fulfill any of their advertised promise[s] regarding efficacy. And more importantly, they should stop because of the mounting and indisputable evidence that they cause unprecedented level of harm, including the death of young people and children.” Levi was referring to post-vaccination heart inflammation, or myocarditis. The condition is one of the few that authorities have acknowledged is caused by the messenger RNA vaccines. Read more here... Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 19:10.....»»

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"The Scandal Would Be Enormous": Pfizer Director Worried About Vax-Induced Menstrual Irregularities

'The Scandal Would Be Enormous': Pfizer Director Worried About Vax-Induced Menstrual Irregularities Project Veritas on Thursday released a new segment of undercover footage of Pfizer director Jordon Walker in which the Director of R&D within the company's mRNA operation expressed concern over how the COVID-19 vaccine may be affecting women's reproductive health. "There is something irregular about the menstrual cycles. So, people will have to investigate that down the line," Walker told an undercover journalist he thought he was on a date with. "The [COVID] vaccine shouldn’t be interfering with that [menstrual cycles]. So, we don’t really know," he added. Walker also hopes we don't discover that "somehow this mRNA lingers in the body and like -- because it has to be affecting something hormonal to impact menstrual cycles," adding "I hope we don’t discover something really bad down the line…If something were to happen downstream and it was, like, really bad? I mean, the scale of that scandal would be enormous." Watch: BREAKING: @Pfizer Director Concerned Over Women's Reproductive Heath After COVID-19 Vaccinations "There is something irregular about their menstrual cycles...concerning...The vaccine shouldn't be interfering with that...It has to be affecting something hormonal..."#Pfertility pic.twitter.com/XAuMPJNShD — Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) February 2, 2023   Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 19:30.....»»

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Princeton Ban On Cheating "Unfairly Targets" Minorities, According To Student Op-Ed

Princeton Ban On Cheating "Unfairly Targets" Minorities, According To Student Op-Ed.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News

"All Clear": How The FBI Handling Of The Biden Investigation Could Make Things Difficult For The Special Counsel

"All Clear": How The FBI Handling Of The Biden Investigation Could Make Things Difficult For The Special Counsel Authored by Jonathan Turley, Below is my column in the New York Post on the latest developments in the Biden classified document investigation. The latest search occurred on the first day at the office for Robert Hur as Special Counsel. He may find that any potential criminal case has already been made more difficult by decisions by the FBI. Here is the column: The FBI issued the “all clear” on its latest search of one of President Biden’s residences. The announcement came with the first day of special counsel Robert Hur on the job at the Justice Department. Hur may find that the Biden legal team feels that “all clear” extends beyond the latest search. It could be challenging to make a criminal case after how the investigation has been handled. At every stage, the FBI has adopted an approach that would compromise or complicate any criminal charge. The FBI left the home untouched for over three months after classified documents were found in Biden’s former office in DC. While it was recently learned that the FBI did go to that office a couple weeks later, they reportedly elected to have personal counsel for the president conduct searches on the residences. Biden then spent weeks traveling to these residences after the FBI waited to search the premises. The private searches clearly went through these documents and moved (and potentially organized) material. Despite being given the opportunity to conduct and record the initial searches, the FBI will now have to rely on the accounts of private counsel on how these documents were originally left, including any visible classification markings. For example, to go through the papers, counsel had to handle them, sort them, and stack or box them. That means that the original conditions are lost in determining, for example, if anyone in the vicinity could have seen a telltale bordered classified jacket or whether a classified document was partially or fully outside of a jacket. The FBI allowed uncleared private counsel to tread all over these scenes, creating a nightmare of chain of custody. It then waited weeks to send its own agents to places like Rehoboth Beach as counsel and the Bidens frequented the property. It is also not clear how the FBI conducted these searches. Reports recently indicated that Biden included classified information in notebooks that were seized in earlier searches. If true, that is a nightmare for investigators because it would require agents to do more than simply look for classified documents with markings at the beginning of paragraphs and tops of pages. They would have to actually read material to determine if Biden incorporated classified material. In fairness to the FBI, the same hands-off approach was initially used with Trump as the FBI allowed for material to be collected and stored with additional security at Mar-a-Lago. There are two differences. First, Trump never denied having such material. He insisted that he was allowed to have the files because he considered them unclassified. Second, while the Trump team insists that the FBI was given access to the documents, Trump resisted efforts to turn over all of the documents. Indeed, the FBI has raised a pattern of obstruction and false statements. With Biden, the FBI did not know where documents might be located. The findings overlap with residential and office space used by Biden over the years. Moreover, they were reportedly told that they could search and seize any documents. They did not use that opportunity to search all of these locations, even after counsel erroneously stated that no more classified material was present at these locations. The FBI is moving no more aggressively with other possible areas containing classified material. The FBI still has not reportedly searched the massive trove of Biden documents being stored at the University of Delaware. Reports indicate that Biden removed classified material as senator and these records cover that period. Looking for a few documents in Rehoboth Beach and not the university (roughly 80 miles away) with a truckload of documents is like driving past the ocean to go fishing in a wading pool. The result for Hur is a case that is messier than Biden’s garage. It is hard to see how this investigation would yield a solid criminal case absent confirmation that Biden worked off clearly classified material. If so, he showed both intent and knowledge of unlawful possession during prior years. It would also make his categorical denials of any knowledge appear more sinister and incriminating. Either way, none of this suggests “transparency,” as Biden likes to boast. The investigation has proceeded with a small fraction of the information leaked or released against Trump. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) also says that the National Archives were blocked from putting out a press release about the case — either by the Department of Justice or the White House. Combined with the fact that nothing was made public until after the midterms, it shows that Biden’s team wanted to keep this quiet. In the end, both Biden and Trump come out looking bad but that is not nearly as bad a thing for Trump. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/02/2023 - 17:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEFeb 2nd, 2023Related News