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SCOTUS To Hear Case That Could Give State Legislatures, Not Judges, Power to Regulate Elections

SCOTUS To Hear Case That Could Give State Legislatures, Not Judges, Power to Regulate Elections.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE17 hr. 28 min. ago Related News

Tesla Delivered Only 254,695 Vehicles For Q2, But Posted A Record Production Month In June

Tesla Delivered Only 254,695 Vehicles For Q2, But Posted A Record Production Month In June Tesla came out today and said that it delivered just 254,695 vehicles for Q2 2022, as the company hit snags due to its Shanghai shutdown and supply chain issues. Despite this, the company's June month was the highest vehicle production month in Tesla’s history, according to Bloomberg. The company's deliveries represent a 26.7% gain in deliveries from last year and a drop from last quarter's record of 310,048.  The drop marked the lowest delivery quarter since Q3 2021 for Model 3/Y vehicles.  The company was originally expected to deliver 295,000 vehicles, but analysts had reduced their estimates to around 256,000 over the last week, TheStreet noted. Tesla delivered 238,533 Model 3 and Model Ys for the quarter, and 16,162 Model S and Model X vehicles.  As you can see, the company's phase out of the Model S and Model X looks to have continued, despite a slight uptick: The company stated: "In the second quarter, we produced over 258,000 vehicles and delivered over 254,000 vehicles, despite ongoing supply chain challenges and factory shutdowns beyond our control." Q2 was widely expected by Wall Street to be a miss due to the disruptions. “This has been a very tough quarter, primarily due to supply chain and production challenges in China. So we need to rally hard to recover!” CEO Elon Musk said back in mid-June.  Morgan Stanley was out 2 weeks ago bracing for the Q2 plunge, lowering price targets on the name and saying it expected lower Q2 volumes. “We mark to market our 2Q forecasts for lower volume (latest data, China) with most of the shortfall made up for in 2H volume and higher pricing,” analyst Adam Jonas wrote last month. He also predicted the company would have a good June:  Despite the cuts, Jonas is still encouraging "buying the dip" into what will likely be a weak Q2 print. He said that “with TSLA 2Q sales estimated to be around 100k units through May (EV-Volumes.com), we believe TSLA will flex its manufacturing prowess, aided by accelerated ramp of Austin and Berlin, and deliver ~170-175k units in June.” Also in June we had highlighted a Wedbush note from Dan Ives said Tesla's shutdown in China was an "epic disaster" for its June quarter. Ives said he expects to see "modest delivery softness" for the quarter.  Ives also said he is expecting a "slower growth trajectory" in China into the second half of the year and called the headwinds out of Asia "hard to ignore". He also commented that the ongoing Twitter drama "may be a distraction" for Musk at a time when his attention should be focused on dealing with Tesla's issues.  Recall, we noted weeks ago that "no vehicles were sold in Shanghai last month [April]" as a result of the lockdown, according to an auto-seller association in the city.  Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 14:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 hr. 0 min. ago Related News

"Unexpected" Tropical Storm Forms Off South Carolina, May Disrupt July 4 Celebrations

"Unexpected" Tropical Storm Forms Off South Carolina, May Disrupt July 4 Celebrations.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 hr. 28 min. ago Related News

Recession Risks. Are They Already Priced In?

Recession Risks. Are They Already Priced In? Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com, Are recession risks fully “priced in” by the markets? Such was an interesting question asked recently by my colleague Albert Edwards at Societe Generale. To wit: “A US recession looks imminent and the discussion in the markets has moved on to how deep it will be. Forecasts for a ‘mild’ recession will now abound. But when a key Fed economic model sees an 80% chance of a hard landing, you know things are bad! And I’ve read with increasing regularity that equities have fallen so quickly, well ahead of profits, that ‘equities have already factored in a recession.’ Another alarm bell just rang! As noted recently, the NFIB Small Business Survey is already signaling a recession is likely. To wit: “We again see many of the early warning signs of an economic downturn. While such doesn’t guarantee a recession, it does suggest the risks of an economic downturn are markedly higher. As noted above, in 2007, the market warned of a recession 14-months in advance of the recognition. In 2019, it was just 5-months.” Notably, a broad range of data suggests recession risks in the U.S. are mounting. Our Economic Composite Index, which comprises more than 100 different economic data points, also warns of recession risks. The chart below compares the index to the 6-month percentage change in the Leading Economic Index. As Mr. Edwards concludes: “The leading indicators look grim as well. For example, the Conference Board’s leading indicator fell for the third month in a row in May and that now makes 4 declines in the last 5 months. That is normally the stuff of recession.” The 6-month percentage change (the Conference Board says is the best predictor of recessions) is already warning of a recession. But have stocks already discounted those recession risks? Have Stocks Priced In Recession Risks Stocks currently remain under selling pressure due to a variety of issues causing a repricing of valuations; Surging inflation Aggressive Fed rate hikes Reduction, or tapering, of the Fed’s balance sheet Lack of stimulus support from the Government Rising inventories Weakening retail sales Declining real disposable incomes High gas and food prices weighing on consumption As noted recently in “Earnings Recession,” as the Fed hikes rates to slow economic growth, they risk pushing the economy into a contraction. With consumers dependent on low rates to support economic growth via debt, the risk of a policy mistake remains elevated. Since earnings remain highly correlated to economic growth, earnings don’t survive rate hikes. As the arrows show, Fed rate increases lead to earnings recessions. Not surprisingly, our composite economic index also suggests earnings have further to fall. Despite the year-to-date asset price decline, recession risks are unlikely to be fully accounted for. During the previous four recessions and subsequent bear markets, the typical revision to consensus EPS estimates ranged from -6% to -18%, with a median of 10%. So far, those estimates have not fallen nearly enough. “The problem with (current) lower P/E ratios is that while the ‘P’ has moved, the ‘E’ is on thin ice, and the cracks are starting to show.” – Albert Edwards As he notes, while forward P/E ratios have declined, much of that is due to the decline in the “P” and not the “E.” Therefore, if an earnings recession is coming, as the data suggests, then the current “bear market” cycle still has more work to do as earnings decline. The realignment of market prices and valuations is always a brutal process. Most likely, we are just starting the negative revision phase, which makes risk management in portfolios a key priority for now. Investing In A Recession Investing during a recession can be dangerous, particularly when elevated valuations are present across all asset classes. However, you can take some steps to ensure increased volatility is survivable. Have excess emergency savings so you are not “forced” to sell during a decline to meet obligations. Extend your time horizon to 5-7 years as buying distressed stocks can get more distressed. Don’t obsessively check your portfolio. Consider tax-loss harvesting (selling stocks at a loss) to offset those losses against future gains. Stick to your investing discipline regardless of what happens. Once prepared, what investments do well in a recession? “A recession is a good time to avoid speculating, especially on stocks that have taken the worst beating. Weaker companies often go bankrupt during recessions, and while stocks that have fallen by 80%, 90%, or even more might seem like bargains, they are usually cheap for a reason. Just remember - a broken business at an excellent price is still a broken business.” – Motley Fool In other words, chasing what worked previously will likely not be the right choice. More importantly, in a slower-growing economy in the future, fundamentals will become more critical. Therefore, to make money in a recession, focus on companies that: Have consistent earnings growth over time. Are dividend-payers and avoid high leverage. Have free cash flow and strong operating margins. Avoid companies dependent on consumer spending, high cash burn rates, or negative incomes. Invest incrementally using lower prices to build positions. Lastly, don’t forget about bonds that offer a haven during volatile market environments. While the media tries to pick the next market bottom, it is better to let the market show you. You will be late, but you will have confirmation the selling is over. But, if I am correct, we have more work to do first. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 13:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE18 hr. 28 min. ago Related News

Bill Gates Granted Authority To Buy 2100 More Acres Of North Dakota Farmland

Bill Gates Granted Authority To Buy 2100 More Acres Of North Dakota Farmland.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE19 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

Delta Offered $10,000 To Flyers Willing To Give Up Seats On Oversold Flight

Delta Offered $10,000 To Flyers Willing To Give Up Seats On Oversold Flight Confronted with an overbooked flight last week, Delta flight attendants channeled Vito Corleone and tried making boarded passengers an offer they couldn't refuse: Give up your seat and receive the princely sum of $10,000 in cash, not flight credit.   The shock of that number is compounded by the fact that this wasn't a long-haul international flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg or LAX to Sydney. We're talking about a 90-minute hop from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis.  The episode first gained public attention via a tediously-written, first-person account by Inc. tech columnist Jason Aten. (Lured by a Buzzfeed-grade teaser headline—"On This Flight, Delta Just Did Something Unheard Of"—readers had to endure EIGHT paragraphs of nothingness* before actually finding out what the flying f— Delta had done on Aten's flight.) Flight attendants were looking for eight people to change flights to a later date. "If you have Apple Pay, you'll even have the money right now," Aten says one of them declared. Another passenger, Todd McCrumb, told KTVB that Delta's bid started at $5,000, a sum that likely would've generated headlines on its own if things had stopped there. He said the offer sounded so far-fetched he asked fellow passengers if the crew was joking.  The juicy offer came as the airline industry is beset with cancellations and delays driven by a shortage of pilots and understaffing at the FAA. Seeking to minimize problems during the July 4 weekend, Delta this week offered customers the option to rebook without change fees or even fare differences.   Apparently not wanting to show its cards to future travelers, Delta declined various media outlets' requests for comment on the specific $10,000 offer. Speaking more generally, a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch, "The ability to provide compensation on full flights empowers our employees' efforts to care for customers and get aircraft out on time."  In 2017, CNBC reported that Delta had boosted the limit for enticements for "voluntary denied boardings." At that time, the standard limit became $2,000, but the real maximum—subject to various rules and authorizations from management—grew to $9,950.  That Delta policy change came after a spectacular, reputation-bruising episode in which a seated United Airlines passenger, 69-year old Dr. David Dao, refused to relinquish his seat in favor of an airline employee who needed to fly. He was violently removed, with cell phone video capturing his bloody face and broken eyeglasses. According to his lawyers, Dao's was concussed, had a broken nose and lost two teeth.  Dao, a lung specialist, told USA Today he refused because he was about to oversee the opening of a clinic he founded to serve veterans, as his way of expressing gratitude to service members: The U.S. Navy plucked Dao from the ocean as he fled Communist Vietnam some 44 years earlier.  At first, United's CEO called Dao "disruptive and belligerent," but apologized after public uproar. Dao sued and received an undisclosed settlement. We're guessing it was far north of $10,000.   *You're still here, Zero Hedge reader? Congratulations, you've unlocked a special July 4th Weekend BONUS FEATURE—an elaboration on Jason Aten's aggravatingly exhausting essay at Inc.com about his first-hand experience of being offered $10,000 to change flights. Don't forget the clickbait title: "On This Flight, Delta Just Did Something Unheard Of". Unlike our deeply respected Zero Hedge readers, the poor saps who read Inc. were being held in suspense deep into the article. (To our credit, we prefer to center our occasional clickbait indulgences on tastefully tempting imagery.)  How did Aten manage to fill EIGHT paragraphs before telling readers what remarkable thing Delta did on his flight? His feat started with providing Inc readers this deeply insightful crystallization of the airline business:  "You sell tickets on flights between cities based on some kind of schedule. People buy those tickets, and in exchange for the money they pay, they expect to end up on a plane flying to wherever it is they wanted to go." Across the nation, Inc readers' jaws dropped in a shared moment of exhilarating clarity: At long last, they finally grasped the commercial air travel value proposition that had hitherto bewildered them.  Part of the excruciating journey to Aten's $10,000 punch line included an explanation of the concept of overbooking. Apparently, Aten thinks that too is an alien concept to a business magazine readership with an average household income of $419,000.   Written as if he's paid by the word, Aten's lesson even included this elaboration on the concept: "Obviously, a plane with 200 seats can't hold more than 200 people. If you sold 210 tickets, and everyone who bought a ticket shows up for the flight, some of them aren't going anywhere." By that point—not even realizing I was still five paragraphs from the revelation—I was yelling "What the f— did Delta DO?!" and wondering why my exceedingly well-read college chum would send me this article and subject me to Aten's enhanced-interrogation-technique-level tedium. By the time I finally saw the truly extraordinary Delta offer at the heart of the story, it was too late. I was a broken man...ready to tell Jason Aten that Saddam Hussein and I presented gift-wrapped, Nigerien, yellow cake uranium to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Muammar Gaddafi's living room, our feet casually propped on high-strength aluminum tubes as we helped ourselves to the Colonel's gilded snack bowls brimming with pre-genocide, recreational Viagra.  If only Inc. had declared Aten's column overbooked and offered me $4 to get off.    Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 12:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE20 hr. 0 min. ago Related News

Nearly 8,000 Flights Delayed On Friday As July 4th Weekend To Be Hell

Nearly 8,000 Flights Delayed On Friday As July 4th Weekend To Be Hell Thousands of flights were delayed, and hundreds canceled Friday evening amid pilot and crew shortages, as industry experts warned of travel chaos this Independence Day holiday weekend. More than 7,800 flights were delayed within, into, or out of the US, and 586 canceled, according to FlightAware. As of Saturday morning at 0930 ET, 373 delays and 66 cancelations have already been reported, with the bulk of disruptions across airports in New York City and Washington–Baltimore metropolitan regions.  Independence Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Auto club AAA anticipates 3.5 million air travelers this holiday weekend as airlines struggle to keep up with the soaring demand amid labor shortages.  "We're now going into the Independence Day Holiday weekend and are concerned that our customers' plans will be disrupted once again," Captain Jason Ambrosi, Chairman of the Delta Master Executive Council (MEC), a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, said in a statement.  Ambrosi continued: "The perfect storm is occurring. Demand is back, and pilots are flying record amounts of overtime but are still seeing our customers being stranded and their holiday plans ruined." We expect flight disruptions will increase throughout the day as travel demand surges.  Maybe Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will act tough and tweet at airlines for the misery they're creating. However, airline industry group Airlines for America recently blamed Federal Aviation Administration's understaffing for "crippling" East Coast air traffic. To us, this looks like finger-pointing.  Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 09:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE20 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

Anatomy Of A Bear Market: Even The Fed Can"t Rescue Market If Earnings Tank

Anatomy Of A Bear Market: Even The Fed Can't Rescue Market If Earnings Tank By Nicholas Colas of DataTrek Research If you were trading/investing from 2000 – 2002, today’s stock market action likely gave you a sense of déjà vu. It certainly did for us. The current bear market has taken as much out of the S&P 500 in 6 months as was the case in the first 12 months during the early 2000’s downturn. Also, recall that the Fed shifted to an aggressive easing stance in early 2001 and that did nothing to end the bear market because of uncertainty around corporate earnings, which fell by 32 pct. Bottom line: bear markets always end, but we remain cautious/defensive. * * * This week's disappointing equity price action got us thinking once again about the 2000 – 2002 bear market, and that is the subject of today’s “Markets” section. To be clear, we are not predicting US equities will lose half their value from the early January 2022 highs, as they did from peak to trough in the early 2000s. The point here is to understand the contours and narratives of a lengthy bear market, and for that there is no better case study in the modern era than 2000 – 2002. There is a chart at the end of this section with a comparison of the S&P 500’s price action from the March 2000 highs to the lows in October 2002 and the index’s price performance from the early January 2022 highs to today. Here are 4 points we see in that data: #1: US large caps have declined much more quickly in 2022 than at the start of the early 2000s bear market: At this point in 2000 (day 122 of that bear market), the S&P was only off 4 percent from its March highs. As of today’s close, the index is off 20.3 percent from its January 2022 highs of 4,797. If you were trading or investing in markets back in 2000, you know the reason for this difference: back then, it was the NASDAQ that first fell dramatically from its March 2000 highs. Investors cycled into more traditional names to play defense against the rout in tech shares. That put a temporary bid under the S&P 500. Some of the same thing happened earlier this year, but its effect only lasted through Q1. The S&P ended the first quarter only down 5.6 percent on the year. Since then the selloff has been much more widespread, as would be the case later in the 2000 – 2002 bear market. Takeaway: the S&P 500 of 2022 is running the 2000 – 2002 bear market playbook at an accelerated rate. It took the index a year to drop by 20 percent in 2000 – 2001, and we’ve done that in 6 months this time now. A combination of geopolitical issues and their effect on oil prices as well as Fed rate policy are the central reasons for this more precipitous decline. #2: The 2000 – 2002 bear market had its start as the result of Federal Reserve monetary policy, but even when the Fed shifted its stance stocks continued to drop: The Fed had been increasing interest rates since June 1999 by 25 basis points at 2 meetings that year and at the first 2 meetings in 2000. It then bumped rates by 50 basis points at the May 16th, 2000 meeting. This was the last rate hike of that tightening cycle. Starting in early January 2001, the Fed began cutting rates aggressively. There was an unscheduled (“emergency”) rate cut on January 3rd of 50 basis points, followed by another 50 bp reduction at the regularly scheduled January 31st meeting. The FOMC then went on to reduce rates by 50 basis points again at the March and May meetings, with another emergency cut on April 18th as well. The second half of 2001 saw the Fed cut interest rates at every regularly scheduled meeting by 25 basis points, except for the October meeting where it reduced rates by 50 basis points. This was a follow-on step after the emergency cut of 50 bp on September 17th, just after the 9-11 terror attacks. The last rate cut of the 2000 – 2002 bear market came on November 6th, 2002, another 50 basis points. From May 2000 to November 2002, Fed Funds went from 6.5 percent to 1.25 percent. Takeaway: the lesson for today is that a change in Fed policy alone is no guaranty of a stock market rally. Even as the Federal Reserve was busy reducing interest rates through the first 8 months of 2001, the S&P 500 fell by 14.1 percent. Moreover, 10-year Treasury yields fell throughout the entire 2000 – 2002 bear market. They peaked at 6.8 percent in January 2000 and troughed in October 2002 at 3.6 percent. As with Fed monetary policy, that was not enough to support equity valuations. #3: Corporate earnings declined from 2000 – 2001 because of the March – November 2001 recession, and the bear market lows came AFTER the lows for earnings power: S&P 500 earnings power on a quarterly basis peaked in Q2 2000 at $14.88/share, just after the March 2000 highs. Quarterly earnings bottomed at $9.02/share in Q2 2001, 39 percent lower than the prior year peak. Earnings had already recovered to $11.61/share in Q3 2002, 28 percent off the lows, before the S&P 500 made its bottom in October of that year. Annualized S&P earnings power fell by 32 percent from peak to trough during 2000 – 2002, on the low side of the typical 25 – 50 percent decline in earnings power typical during a recession. Takeaway: 2002 was a rare case when stocks ignored a very visible increase in earnings power after a recession since geopolitical risk remained an overhang in the year after the 9-11 terror attacks. As much as earnings drive stock prices, geopolitics – especially those centered on the Middle East and tied to oil-producing states – can trump those over long enough periods to matter to investors. The October 2002 lows occurred the same week as Congress’ approval for military action against Iraq, an odd catalyst for a bear market low, but it did have the effect of removing any uncertainty about the future course of American foreign policy. One secondary issue worth noting is that investors were growing concerned about a “double dip” recession in 2002. #4: Wrapping up with 3 lessons for today’s market: The chart below shows what investors are coming to realize about the 2022 bear market: short term rallies can and do occur. They can seem like turning points, even when they are not. Let’s be careful with the idea that a change in Fed monetary policy alone can mark a turning point for the direction of stocks. This was certainly not the case in 2001 because of rising uncertainty related to corporate earnings as recession took hold. Such is the case again now, with S&P earnings near their peak at present ($55/share) but there is little visibility about where they go in the second half of the year and into 2023 if Fed policy has the desired effect of cooling the US economy. A confluence of events created the 2000 – 2002 bear market, and we are experiencing similar issues in 2022 at an accelerated pace and without the chance of any near-term support from the Federal Reserve. The logical response to that setup is to invest defensively and bide one’s time until there is more clarity. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 10:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE20 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

Russia Now Demands Rubles For Grain As World"s Largest Wheat Exporter

Russia Now Demands Rubles For Grain As World's Largest Wheat Exporter After threatening to do so for a couple months now, Russia has pulled the trigger on expanding the list of commodities for which it demands payment in rubles to now include grain exports, effective Friday per a government legal website. So now grain, sunflower oil and extracted meal are the next to follow the March decision to charge clients from "unfriendly" countries - including major customers in Europe - in rubles for natural gas instead of the normative dollars and euros. On top of this move, recently Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev announced that Russia's agricultural products will go to "friendly countries" only, and according to "who needs it most" - a hugely significant statement sure to continue sowing uncertainty and chaos for the global food supply. Via Farmdocdaily: Russia and Ukraine account for 14% of global wheat production and rank 1stand 5threspectively. Both countries are prominent exporters, providing nearly 30% of global wheat exports.  The EU, U.S., and Canada are also major producers and exporters of wheat.  China and India are major wheat producers, but are net importers and provide relatively small shares of global wheat exports.  Other countries with fairly large wheat export shares include Australia (8.4%), Argentina (6.6%), Kazakhstan (4.1%), and Turkey (3.4%). Russian state media detailed further of the new decree published to a government law portal, "It also provides for a one-year extension of duties to be paid in the national currency in respect of exported sunflower oil and sunflower meal until August 31, 2023."   And further, "As part of the new payment mechanism, the base price for calculating the export duty on wheat will be 15,000 rubles (over $267) per ton." While Russia has blamed Western sanctions aiming to punish and isolate the Russian economy for blowing back on the global food supply, and especially the Middle East and African countries already heavily reliant on Ukraine and Russia grain exports, G7 countries days ago at their summit in Germany blasted Moscow in a statement for what it called "a geopolitically motivated attack on global food security." As these "attack on food supply" charges against Russia from the West have been persisting especially within the last couple months as Ukraine's grain exports have remained blocked at war-torn ports, the Kremlin has also blamed Ukraine's military mining its own coastline for blocking grain ships' safe passage. The so-called "Putin price hike" - as the White House has dubbed it - has also been a central talking point in discussing rising inflation fears. In statements last Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin laid blame on the "irresponsible actions" of G7 countries themselves. He said at the time, according to a Russian media translation: "The sharp increase in inflation did not happen yesterday - it is the result of... many years of irresponsible macroeconomic policy of the G7 countries," Putin said during the BRICS Plus meeting. "We are certainly ready to continue to fulfill in good faith all our contractual obligations for the supply of agricultural products, fertilizers, energy carriers and other critical products," Putin stressed. He further took a swipe at what Western leaders often refer to as Russia's flouting of the 'rules-based order,' questioning sarcastically: "What rules? Who made those rules up?"  Source: Farmdodaily Farmdocdaily: Ukraine and Russia are the leading producers and exporters of sunflower oil which comprises a 9% production share and nearly a 2% export share for the world vegetable oil market. Nearly 60% of world sunflower oil production occurs in Ukraine and Russia, and the two countries account for over 75% of world exports. Meanwhile The New York Times earlier in the summer assessed just where things stand on the US-EU efforts to inflict severe and lasting damage on the Russian economy, writing, "Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered global condemnation and tough sanctions aimed at denting Moscow’s war chest. Yet Russia’s revenues from fossil fuels, by far its biggest export, soared to records in the first 100 days of its war on Ukraine, driven by a windfall from oil sales amid surging prices, a new analysis shows." "Russia earned what is very likely a record 93 billion euros in revenue from exports of oil, gas and coal in the first 100 days of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to data analyzed by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a research organization based in Helsinki, Finland," the report continued, based on the study. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 11:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE20 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

The Most Valuable Form Of Money Nobody"s Seen...Yet

The Most Valuable Form Of Money Nobody's Seen...Yet Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, What is "money"? "Money" is a claim on the essentials of life. Ration cards are claims on essentials. Many people expect "money" will soon be tied to commodities. Agreed. It's called a ration card that grants the holder the right to buy a specific quantity of essential goods at a specified price. This right is a form of "money" directly tied to the value of commodities. Ration cards are the only fair way to distribute essentials in times of chronic scarcity. Markets work fine when there's a substitute for whatever is scarce, but there are no substitutes for electricity, food, fuel or fresh water, the FEW essentials (Food, energy, water). Leaving the distribution of scarce, no-substitutes essentials up to the market leads to the rich eating very well indeed and the poor going hungry. This leads to a little thing called the overthrow of the failed status quo and the destruction of a good chunk of its ruling class (Payback's a witch, etc.). No bread? Let them eat iPhones. We know ration cards work because a mass experiment in rationing essentials was conducted in World War II. Maybe fairness no longer matters (and if it doesn't, then prepare for the overthrow of the failed status quo and the destruction of a good chunk of its ruling class), but if fairness matters--or the ruling elite wish to keep all their power and all their goodies--then rationing and the ruthless suppression of price gouging are as good as gold. What is "money"? "Money" is a claim on the essentials of life. Ration cards are claims on essentials, enforced by the state to insure everyone has a minimum of the FEW resources. Beyond that minimum, the market will discover the price of extra goodies. But the point is that ration cards are a fair form of "money." With a little digital magic, ration cards can't be counterfeited or used by anyone but the person to whom they were issued. If you get your ration and don't need all of it, nobody's stopping you from selling it to somebody else. But at least everyone got the same amount at the same price. How valuable is ration-card "money"? Let's put it this way: if you're a wealthy, powerful member of the ruling elite, how much would you pay to avoid the overthrow of your regime? If creating ration-card "money" saves your bacon, then what other form of "money" has more value than that? The other form of "money" that will be valuable isn't even tangible. It's called self-reliance. More on that later. *  *  * My new book is now available at a 10% discount this month: When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.   Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 11:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE20 hr. 16 min. ago Related News

Recession Fears Could Derail The Global Metals Boom

Recession Fears Could Derail The Global Metals Boom By Ag Metal Miner via OilPrice.com Mexico’s steel metal market recently saw a slowdown, leading experts to believe that Mexico’s industrial metal market may soon turn bearish. Flat steel prices, along with long steel prices, have been dropping over the past several weeks. In fact, Mexico’s steel prices have been in steady decline since April. However, in mid-May, prices dropped sharply and remain bearish. This is a dramatic change from March of 2022, when Mexico’s steel metal market was following an unquestionably-bullish path.m Experts note that the Mexican metals industry has not seen such erratic fluctuations since the end of 2020. Recently, Banxico, one of Mexico’s benchmark banks, increased national interest rates. Like the US, this was an attempt to stifle dramatic inflation rates. Indeed, steep inflation has plagued the US and Mexican metal markets all year. With a looming recession in the US, increasing steel exports from Mexico may not be possible. Fear of a US Recession Grows While Industrial Metal Prices Fall While supply chain issues remain a problem around the globe, metal prices in the US are being impacted by a looming recession. In fact, The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell about 10% in the past week alone. And though many experts speculate that the US could avoid a recession, investors and buyers remain skeptical. Tin and copper have hit their lowest point in years, and aluminum prices are quickly following suit. With commodities, in particular, experts have reason to believe that these downturns will continue, putting the immediate future of metal distributors and metal producers in question. Of course, the war in Ukraine has also impacted commodity prices, supply, and distribution. In recent months, the demand for coal has gone back up, and prices have increased, especially in Europe. All in all, one thing remains certain: big changes are coming to the global commodities market. China Cutting Down Industrial Metal Manufacturing With metals hitting bearish numbers not seen since the Great Recession of 2008, manufacturing and exports from countries like China are being cut back. To add injury to insult, sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine continue to impact global metal supply. As one might expect, construction and industrial equipment are the two markets most heavily impacted by the change. Indeed, some experts speculate that this could severely stagger money spent on automobiles and the use of metal in heavy construction. After all, a looming recession means less spending, both by businesses and consumers. If it does happen, markets will need to adjust rapidly. Europe and India’s Metal Markets Slide Along with the US’ Several major global metal exchanges are sliding alongside the US’. In Europe, for instance, metal distributors are stuck with massive amounts of inventory they can’t unload. Upon reaching a high point in the European metals market in March, European distributors purchased at an alarming rate. It was a logical move at the time, as many feared prices would continue to climb. Now with a possible global recession on the horizon, supply chains are sitting on inventory they can’t turn around. In India, where metal stocks have slid by as much as 30%, industrial metal commodities are not fairing much better. India’s central bank system has taken actions similar to Mexico and the US, trying to stifle inflation along with unprecedented commodity prices. Clearly, even the world’s largest democracy is wary of the impacts of sliding metal prices. Even so, the question remains: will the recession hit in 2022? Moreover, perhaps bracing for a global recession doing just as much damage? Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 09:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE22 hr. 44 min. ago Related News

Poland Says EU & Russia Agree They Need A Plan On Kaliningrad

Poland Says EU & Russia Agree They Need A Plan On Kaliningrad Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com, Late this week Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the EU and Russia agree that they need to come up with a plan concerning the transit of goods through Lithuania to Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea. "Both sides concluded that it is worth agreeing a plan that will not violate de facto implementation of the sanctions, because, frankly speaking, the Kaliningrad Oblast is a very small part of Russia," Morawiecki said. Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, EPA/EFE Lithuania recently started enforcing EU sanctions on goods traveling to Kaliningrad through its territory, angering Russia, which has warned of a response if the move is not reversed. Morawiecki’s comments came a day after Reuters reported that European officials are in talks on a compromise that could exempt goods traveling to Kaliningrad. The report said a deal could be reached soon if Lithuania drops its reservations, although Vilnius doesn’t want to appear like it’s making a concession to Russia. "Poland supports Lithuania as much as possible in its discussion together with the European Commission in the area of ​​developing… an appropriate mechanism in the flow of goods between Kaliningrad and Russia proper," Morawiecki said. Publicly, Lithuanian officials have said they will stick to enforcing the restrictions on Kaliningrad. Lithuanian officials have also said that they don’t expect Russia to respond to the embargo militarily since the Baltic nation is a member of NATO. Reuters has noted that "Lithuanian, formerly ruled from Moscow, is now one of Russia's fiercest critics in the EU and has been at odds with officials in Germany and Brussels who want to defuse the row." Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 2nd, 2022Related News

Video Of Israeli-Ukrainian Captured By Pro-Russian Forces Circulates On Social Media

Video Of Israeli-Ukrainian Captured By Pro-Russian Forces Circulates On Social Media Video is circulating on social media of a Ukrainian-Israeli man who's been captured by pro-Russian separatists. In the video, 40-year-old Vladimir Kozlovsky tells a bleak story of his brief service with the Ukrainian military.  "When the war started, my wife and I wanted to leave the country," says Kozlovsky, according to a translation of the video by Israeli news site ynet. "I am also a citizen of Israel...Before the border, in Uzhgorod, I met with the Israeli consulate, they gave me a special certificate so I could leave the country—but I was stopped at the border. The border guards detained me and did not let me out." Uzhgorod is in westernmost Ukraine, on the Slovakian border. While Kozlovsky's wife and child were allowed to proceed, Ukraine bars men age 18-60 from leaving the country so they can be available for conscription into the war against Russia.  Kozlovsky was reportedly pressed into military service as a radio operator for an intelligence unit operating near the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Oblast (province) that, along with the Donetsk Oblast, comprises the contested Donbas region central to the ongoing war. On the eve of its invasion, Russia recognized the sovereignty of the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics.  Sent on a mission to transport personnel, Kozlovsky and fellow members of his unit came under heavy artillery fire. They retreated but, upon returning, were captured by members of the pro-Russian, separatist Luhansk Republic Army.   It's important to note the possibility that Kozlovsky's statements may be coerced. However, if his account is true, it shows the limited effectiveness of efforts to pour Western weapons into the conflict, and Ukraine's challenge in rapidly turning civilians into soldiers:   "We had foreign weapon systems but we didn't know how to use them. We were not trained to fight and nevertheless were sent to the battlefield. They didn't tell us we were going to fight either. We thought we'd stay in Western Ukraine, but we were deployed to Lysychansk. We were thrown to the battleground like cannon fodder." Kozlovsky said Ukrainian military commanders encouraged the hapless conscripts to fight to the death. "We've received messages from the Russians saying we'll be better off if we surrendered. The soldiers also discussed this before, but commanders tried to prevent these talks. They told us that if we surrendered, the Russians would torture us to death, so it is better not to be taken alive." The video was shared on the Telegram channel of the separatist Luhansk Republic Military. Along with Kozlovsky's video testimonial, the group also provided surrender instructions for Ukrainians who want to exit the war. After learning of Kozlovsky's capture, Israel's foreign ministry and its Moscow embassy have been in contact with Russian officials, according to the Jerusalem Post.   #Israel|i citizen fighting on the side of #Ukraine army was captured by #LNR forces. He saying that He is electronic warfare professional #Donbass pic.twitter.com/2x5P4iNcqO — Middle East Update (@islamicworldupd) June 30, 2022 Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 08:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 2nd, 2022Related News

Escobar: You"re Either With Us, Or You"re A "Systemic Challenge"

Escobar: You're Either With Us, Or You're A "Systemic Challenge" Authored by Pepe Escobar, After all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem... Fast but not furious, the Global South is revving up. The key takeaway of the BRICS+ summit in Beijing,  held in sharp contrast with the G7 in the Bavarian Alps, is that both West Asia’s Iran and South America’s Argentina officially applied for BRICS membership. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has highlighted how BRICS has “a very creative mechanism with broad aspects”. Tehran – a close partner of both Beijing and Moscow – already had “a series of consultations” about the application: the Iranians are sure that will “add value” to the expanded BRICS. Talk about China, Russia and Iran being sooooo isolated. Well, after all we’re deep into the metaverse spectrum, where things are the opposite of what they seem. Moscow’s obstinacy in not following Washington’s Plan A to start a pan-European war is rattling Atlanticist nerves to the core. So right after the G7 summit significantly held at a former Nazi sanatorium, enter NATO’s, in full warmongering regalia. So welcome to an atrocity exhibition featuring total demonization of Russia, defined as the ultimate “direct threat”; the upgrading of Eastern Europe into “a fort”; a torrent of tears shed about the Russia-China strategic partnership; and as an extra bonus, the branding of China as a “systemic challenge”. There you go: for the NATO/G7 combo, the leaders of the emerging multipolar world as well as the vast swathes of the Global South that want to join in, are a “systemic challenge”. Turkiye under the Sultan of Swing – Global South in spirit, tightrope walker in practice – got literally everything it wanted to magnanimously allow Sweden and Finland to clear their paths on the way of being absorbed by NATO. Bets can be made on what kind of shenanigans NATO navies will come up with in the Baltics against the Russian Baltic Fleet, to be followed by assorted business cards distributed by Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Zircon, Mr. Onyx and Mr. Kalibr, capable of course of annihilating any NATO permutation, including “decision centers”. So it came as a sort of perverse comic relief when Roscosmos released a set of quite entertaining satellite images pinpointing the coordinates of those “decision centers”. The “leaders” of NATO and the G7 seem to enjoy performing a brand of lousy cop/clownish cop routine. The NATO summit told coke comedian Elensky (remember, the letter “Z” is verboten) that the Russian combined arms police operation – or war – must be “resolved” militarily. So NATO will continue to help Kiev to fight till the last Ukrainian cannon fodder. In parallel, at the G7, German Chancellor Scholz was asked to specify what “security guarantees” would be provided to what’s left of Ukraine after the war. Response from the grinning Chancellor: “Yes … I could” (specify). And then he trailed off. Illiberal Western liberalism Over 4 months after the start of Operation Z, zombified Western public opinion completely forgot – or willfully ignores – that Moscow spent the last stretch of 2021 demanding a serious discussion on legally binding security guarantees from Washington, with an emphasis on no more NATO eastward expansion and a return to the 1997 status quo. Diplomacy did fail, as Washington emitted a non-response response. President Putin had stressed the follow-up would be a “military technical” response (that turned out to be Operation Z) even as the Americans warned that would trigger massive sanctions. Contrary to Divide and Rule wishful thinking, what happened after February 24 only solidified the synergistic Russia-China strategic partnership – and their expanded circle, especially in the context of BRICS and the SCO. As Sergey Karaganov, head of Russia’s Council on Foreign and Defense Policy noted earlier this year, “China is our strategic cushion (…) We know that in any difficult situation, we can lean on it for military, political and economic support.” That was outlined in detail for all the Global South to see by the landmark February 4th joint statement for Cooperation Entering a New Era – complete with the accelerated integration of BRI and the EAEU in tandem with military intelligence harmonization under the SCO (including new full member Iran), key foundation stones of multipolarism. Now compare it with the wet dreams of the Council on Foreign Relations or assorted ravings by armchair strategic “experts” of “the top national security think tank in the world” whose military experience is limited to negotiating a can of beer. Makes one yearn for those serious analytic days when the late, great Andre Gunder Frank penned ” a paper on the paper tiger” , examining American power at the crossroads of paper dollar and the Pentagon. The Brits, with better imperial education standards, at least seem to understand, halfway, how Xi Jinping “has embraced a variant of integral nationalism not unlike those that emerged in interwar Europe”, while Putin “skillfully deployed Leninist methods to resurrect an enfeebled Russia as a global power.” Yet the notion that “ideas and projects originating in the illiberal West continue to shape global politics” is nonsense, as Xi in fact is inspired by Mao as much as Putin is inspired by several Eurasianist theoreticians. What’s relevant is that in the process of the West plunging into a geopolitical abyss, “Western liberalism has itself become illiberal.” Much worse: it actually became totalitarian. Holding the Global South hostage The G7 is essentially offering to most of the Global South a toxic cocktail of massive inflation, rising prices and uncontrolled dollarized debt. Fabio Vighi has brilliantly outlined how “the purpose of the Ukrainian emergency is to keep the money printer switched on while blaming Putin for worldwide economic downturn. The war serves the opposite aim of what we are told: not to defend Ukraine but to prolong the conflict and nourish inflation in a bid to defuse cataclysmic risk in the debt market, which would spread like wildfire across the whole financial sector.” And if it can get worse, it will. At the Bavarian Alps, the G7 promised to find “ways to limit the price of Russian oil and gas”: if that doesn’t work according to “market methods”, then “means will be imposed by force”. A G7 “indulgence” – neo-medievalism in action – would only be possible if a prospective buyer of Russian energy agrees to strike a deal on the price with G7 representatives. What this means in practice is that the G7 arguably will be creating a new body to “regulate” the price of oil and gas, subordinated to Washington’s whims: for all practical purposes, a major twist of the post-1945 system. The whole planet, especially the Global South, would be held hostage. Meanwhile, in real life, Gazprom is on a roll, making as much money from gas exports to the EU as it did in 2021, even though it’s shipping much smaller volumes. About the only thing this German analyst gets right is that were Gazprom forced to cut off supplies for good, that would represent “the implosion of an economic model that is over-reliant on industrial exports, and therefore on imports of cheap fossil fuels. Industry is responsible for 36% of Germany’s gas use.” Think, for instance, BASF forced to halt production at the world’s biggest chemicals plant in Ludwigshafen. Or Shell’s CEO stressing it’s absolutely impossible to replace Russian gas supplied to the EU via pipelines with (American) LNG. This coming implosion is exactly what Washington neocon/neoliberalcon circles want – removing a powerful (Western) economic competitor from the world trading stage. What’s truly astonishing is that Team Scholz can’t even see it coming. Virtually no one remembers what happened a year ago when the G7 struck a pose of trying to help the Global South. That was branded as Build Back Better World (B3W). “Promising projects” were identified in Senegal and Ghana, there were “visits” to Ecuador, Panama and Colombia. The Crash Test Dummy administration was offering “the full range” of US financial tools: equity stakes, loan guarantees, political insurance, grants, technical expertise on climate, digital technology and gender equality. The Global South was not impressed. Most of it had already joined BRI. B3W went down with a whimper. Now the EU is promoting its new “infrastructure” project for the Global South, branded as Global Gateway, officially presented by European Commission (EC) Fuhrer Ursula von der Leyen and – surprise! – coordinated with the floundering B3W. That’s the Western “response” to BRI, demonized as – what else – “a debt trap”. Global Gateway in theory should be spending 300 billion euros in 5 years; the EC will come up with only 18 billion from the EU budget (that is, financed by EU taxpayers), with the intention of amassing 135 billion euros in private investment. No Eurocrat has been able to explain the gap between the announced 300 billion and the wishful thinking 135 billion. In parallel, the EC is doubling down on their floundering Green Energy agenda – blaming, what else, gas and coal. EU climate honcho Frans Timmermans has uttered an absolute pearl: “Had we had the green deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependency on fossil fuels and natural gas.” Well, in real life the EU remains stubbornly on the road to become a fully de-industrialized wasteland by 2030. Inefficient solar or wind-based Green Energy is incapable of offering stable, reliable power. No wonder vast swathes of the EU are now Back to Coal. The right kind of swing It’s a tough call to establish who’s The Lousiest in the NATO/G7 cop routine. Or the most predictable. This is what I published about the NATO summit . Not now: in 2014, eight years ago. The same old demonization, over and over again. And once again, if it can get worse, predictably it will. Think of what’s left of Ukraine – mostly eastern Galicia – being annexed to the Polish wet dream: the revamped Intermarium, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, now dubbed as a bland “Three Seas Initiative” (with the added Adriatic) and comprising 12 nation-states. What that implies long-term is a EU breakdown from within. Opportunist Warsaw just profits financially from the Brussels system’s largesse while holding its own hegemonic designs. Most of the “Three Seas” will end up exiting the EU. Guess who will guarantee their “defense”: Washington, via NATO. What else is new? The revamped Intermarium concept goes back all the way to the late Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski. So Poland dreams of becoming the Intermarium leader, seconded by the Three Baltic Midgets, enlarged Scandinavia, plus Bulgaria and Romania. Their aim is straight from Comedy Central: reducing Russia into “pariah state” status – and then the whole enchilada: regime change, Putin out, balkanization of the Russian Federation. Britain, that inconsequential island, still invested in teaching Empire to the American upstarts, will love it. Germany-France-Italy much less. Lost in the wilderness Euro-analysts dream of a European Quad (Spain added), replicating the Indo-Pacific scam, but in the end it will all depend which way Berlin swings. And then there’s that unpredictable Global South stalwart led by the Sultan of Swing: freshly rebranded Turkiye. Soft neo-Ottomanism seems to be on a roll, still expanding its tentacles from the Balkans and Libya to Syria and Central Asia. Evoking the golden age of the Sublime Porte, Istanbul is the only serious mediator between Moscow and Kiev. And it’s carefully micromanaging the evolving process of Eurasia integration. The Americans were on the verge of regime-changing the Sultan. Now they have been forced to listen to him. Talk about a serious geopolitical lesson to the whole Global South: it don’t mean a “systemic challenge” thing if you’ve got the right kind of swing. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 2nd, 2022Related News

If You"re A Saudi Cocaine-User, Move To Uruguay

If You're A Saudi Cocaine-User, Move To Uruguay According to the latest edition of the United Nations World Drug Report, 284 million people used illegal drugs in the last year, while around 21 million of them used cocaine. The use of the drug has risen in the past decade, according to the report, but slowed somewhat in the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz details below, with global cocaine production reaching new highs, cocaine supply chains to Europe have been diversifying, which is driving prices down and pushing quality up, potentially increasing the level of harm caused by use of the drug in the region. You will find more infographics at Statista In the United Kingdom, for example, cocaine prices fell from the equivalent of $178 to $103 between 2019 and 2020. The country continues to have a high cocaine retail street price in a global comparison, however, with prices lower in most European countries. In developed economies outside of Europe, a higher premium is usually charged for cocaine, like in Hong Kong ($145 per gram), Japan ($188 per gram), Israel ($205 per gram) or Australia ($242 per gram). For the United States, no 2020 numbers were reported, but in 2019, the price for a gram of cocaine stood at $200 per gram. Prices were even higher in Arab countries, which have strict laws forbidding drug use and trade. A gram of cocaine can be found for a fraction of its price on the Persian Gulf in some parts of Europe, such as in the Netherlands and Portugal where UNODC states it has a retail street price of $58 and $38 per gram, respectively. The later country has recently radically decriminalized the use of even class A drugs. Uruguay, one of the few Latin American countries for which data was available, came in at the very bottom of the list. Cocaine is expensive in the only African country on the list, Algeria. India was included in the report for the first time this year, with the price of cocaine set at an average $67 per gram. While this is rather low by international standards, attainability is likely lower than in Europe due to the differences in purchasing power in the country. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 07:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 2nd, 2022Related News

The Colossal Untapped Value Of Asteroids

The Colossal Untapped Value Of Asteroids In the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter, there is an almost unfathomable amount of resources waiting to be utilized. As Statista's Martin Armstrong details below, according to data from Wired and Valerio Pellegrini, the asteroid 'Davida', which has a diameter of 326 kilometers, has been identified as the most valuable asteroid in the belt, with a resource value estimated to be some 27 quintillion (26,990,000,000,000,000,000) U.S. dollars. It is a carbonaceous chondrite asteroid, and contains water, nickel, iron, cobalt, nitrogen, ammonia, and hydrogen. You will find more infographics at Statista June 30 marked Asteroid Day, a UN-sanctioned global awareness campaign with the mission "to inspire, engage and educate the public about asteroids opportunities and risks." While the risks to Earth and all life on it are clearly not to be disregarded, the potential to increase the resources at mankind's disposal - and reap the financial rewards from them - is immense. As Statista's dossier on space mining reports: "While space mining has not yet become a reality, the technology that will eventually enable to exploitation of the rich resources of the asteroids in the solar system is increasingly being developed by a variety of companies. The market value of these activities amounted to some 712 million U.S. dollars worldwide in 2017, and is forecast to increase to 3.9 billion U.S. dollars by 2025." Tyler Durden Fri, 07/01/2022 - 23:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 2nd, 2022Related News

Author Matt Palumbo Lays Out How George Soros Has Significant Control Over Media Narratives

Author Matt Palumbo Lays Out How George Soros Has Significant Control Over Media Narratives Authored by Masooma Haq and Roman Balmakov via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Matt Palumbo, author of “The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros,” details billionaire George Soros’s connection to American politics, and illustrates how Soros controls not only what is written about him, but also influences how the American public perceives news events. Matt Palumbo, author of “The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros,” during an interview on "Facts Matter" on June 15, 2022. Soros created a financial concept called reflexivity, which Palumbo said is “brilliant,” because it can cause what Soros wants in the finance sector to happen. “But expectations set reality and Soros realized, ‘Well, that’s true of media as well.’ If you tell people what to expect, they’re going to reinterpret reality,” and that can be used to affect how people interpret news events, Palumbo said during a recent interview for EpochTV’s “Facts Matter” program. “For whatever reason, if people think something’s going to happen, it actually will happen,” and Soros applied this to media companies’ coverage to make people believe something that did not actually happen, happened, said Palumbo. Soros-backed media agencies use this concept to create false narratives and make people believe in something that did not actually occur. The reason Soros is able to have this level of influence is that he gives tens of millions of dollars to the U.S. media infrastructure. There are many Soros-linked mainstream media organizations including, “ABC, CBS, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, I mean, it is a very long list. Type Soros’s name and just look at how they cover him, and if it’s ever anything negative, it’s ‘anti-Semites say: negative claim,’” said Palumbo, adding that their coverage always seems to favor Democrats and Soros. A watchdog group called the Media Research Center (MRC) has documented Soros’s ties to media infrastructure. “Soros has spent more than $52 million funding media properties, including the infrastructure of news—journalism schools, investigative journalism, and even industry organizations,” according to an MRC report. Many left-wing groups, including media companies, get funding via Soros’s Open Society Foundation. That group is known to fund progressive initiatives like Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police, as well as political candidates and district attorney campaigns, said Palumbo. Antifa and Black Lives Matter demonstrators protest on election night near the White House in Washington on Nov. 3, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images) Soros’s foundation claims to promote democracy and individualism, but in reality, it supports a more radical agenda, said Palumbo. “There is what they say things are and what they really are,” Palumbo said about the Open Society Foundation ... In his research, Palumbo also found that many people who once worked for Soros’s Open Society Foundation later went on to work for media outlets. In addition, Soros has funded campaigns for many Democratic politicians and progressive district attorneys, backing those who will get the results Soros wants. “If you elect a DA, they have total autonomy on all those things, so it’s just hey, I want the law changed, I back a guy who wants to change it exactly the way I do, he goes in and changes it overnight,” said Palumbo. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 2nd, 2022Related News

US Falls Behind In Hypersonic Weapons Race After Another Failed Test 

US Falls Behind In Hypersonic Weapons Race After Another Failed Test  America is lagging behind its international competitors in the hypersonic weapons race. This week's test provided more insight into just how badly the U.S. is behind.  Bloomberg was the first to report the Common Hypersonic Glide Body atop a two-stage missile booster that failed after an "anomaly" occurred during launch at the Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.  The booster failed to ignite, which would've accelerated the rocket in excess of Mach 5, at which the glide body separates and uses speed and an unpredictable path to strike targets without being detected by the most advanced defense shields in the world.  "While the Department was unable to collect data on the entirety of the planned flight profile, the information gathered from this event will provide vital insights," said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cdr. Tim Gorman in a statement. He didn't provide additional details about the failed test.  Gorman said officials would use data from the rocket's failures to correct the issue for future tests.  Even though the hypersonic weapons program has experienced multiple "fight test anomalies" over the last year, the spokesman was confident the delivery of the weapons to modern battlefields would occur "on target dates beginning in the early 2020s."  The previous test of the glide body ended early when the booster rocket failed, which prevented the missile from leaving the launch pad. The Navy and Army have jointly been working on developing hypersonic weapons.  The Air Force has also been working on a hypersonic weapon. After several failed tests earlier this year, the service successfully tested a hypersonic missile off Southern California in May.   It's no secret the U.S. is falling behind the hypersonic weapons race as the largest military in the world, in terms of size and defense budget, has yet to field hypersonic weapons. Meanwhile, Russia (see: here) and China (see: here) have completed successful tests and or fielded super fast weapons on the modern battlefield. The Biden administration recently revealed a new trilateral security pact between Australia – United Kingdom – United States (AUKUS) partnership, a move to "accelerate the development of advanced hypersonic and counter-hypersonic capabilities." The takeaway is the U.S. is lagging behind the competition in fielding hypersonic weapons as threats of spillovers from the conflict in Ukraine are undoubtedly rising.  Tyler Durden Fri, 07/01/2022 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 1st, 2022Related News

What If People Actually Controlled The Government?

What If People Actually Controlled The Government? Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, Imagine, if you will, the following system... Government is managed by elected representatives who are in turn elected by the people. Government is further restrained by checks and balances between three branches, each of which is accountable ultimately to the people who live under the laws. Unlike the ancient system of government in which the only people who were truly free were the aristocracy, under this new system, every adult citizen has political rights. No one rules over anyone without accountability.  Also part of this, no one in government has a permanent job that is exempt from oversight. The laws and rules under which people live are not invented by faceless bureaucrats but rather by representatives with names who can be voted out.  In that way, we give the idea of freedom the best-possible hope.  Sounds dreamy? A bit. We haven’t had that system in the US for a very long time, even if what I just mapped out seems more or less like what the US Constitution set up.  There are two main reasons why we are so far from that ideal.  First, the US system was supposed to exalt the juridical sovereignty of the “several states” so that the central government was of secondary importance.  Second, a fourth branch of government gradually came into existence. It is what we now call the administrative state. It consists of millions of employees with maximum power who answer to absolutely no one. The Federal Register lists 432 agencies that currently employ people who are beyond legislative reach but they still make policy and determine the structure of the regime under which we live. But we the people have no real control over them.  Not even the president can control them. This system was created with one piece of legislation in 1883 called the Pendleton Act. The New Deal exploited the new system. The administrative state even got its own constitution in 1946 called the Administrative Procedures Act. The 1984 Supreme Court decision in Chevron vs NRDC even entrenched deference to the agency’s interpretation of the law.  The result is something the Founders never imagined: hundreds of three-letter agencies exercising hegemonic control over the country. Everyone got to know this system well from 2020 as the CDC invented myriad rules on the spot that shut businesses and churches and even legislated how many people you could have in your home for a party.  This problem vexxed Donald Trump, who came to power with the promise to drain the swamp. He soon discovered that he could not because most federal employees were beyond his reach. Things got wildly out of hand after he made the enormous error of greenlighting lockdowns in a March 16, 2020 press conference. After that point and all the way until the election, his presidential powers slipped ever further as the administrative bureaucracy wielded power without precedent.  Two weeks before the election, the Trump administration innovated a solution. It was Executive Order 13957 that created a new category of federal employment called Schedule F. Any employee involved at any level in policy making would be subject to presidential oversight. It makes sense: these are executive-level agencies so the president, because he bears responsibility for what they do, should have some personnel control over them.  This order was immediately reversed by Biden when he took office, leaving Schedule F a dead letter. The administrative state is once again safe from oversight.  Let us quote Trump’s executive order at length so that we can see the thinking here. Then we’ll deal with various objections. It reads as follows: To effectively carry out the broad array of activities assigned to the executive branch under law, the President and his appointees must rely on men and women in the Federal service employed in positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. Faithful execution of the law requires that the President have appropriate management oversight regarding this select cadre of professionals. The Federal Government benefits from career professionals in positions that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition but who discharge significant duties and exercise significant discretion in formulating and implementing executive branch policy and programs under the laws of the United States. The heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) and the American people also entrust these career professionals with non‑public information that must be kept confidential… Given the importance of the functions they discharge, employees in such positions must display appropriate temperament, acumen, impartiality, and sound judgment. Due to these requirements, agencies should have a greater degree of appointment flexibility with respect to these employees than is afforded by the existing competitive service process. Further, effective performance management of employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, the Government’s current performance management is inadequate, as recognized by Federal workers themselves. For instance, the 2016 Merit Principles Survey reveals that less than a quarter of Federal employees believe their agency addresses poor performers effectively. Separating employees who cannot or will not meet required performance standards is important, and it is particularly important with regard to employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions. High performance by such employees can meaningfully enhance agency operations, while poor performance can significantly hinder them. Senior agency officials report that poor performance by career employees in policy-relevant positions has resulted in long delays and substandard-quality work for important agency projects, such as drafting and issuing regulations. Pursuant to my authority under section 3302(1) of title 5, United States Code, I find that conditions of good administration make necessary an exception to the competitive hiring rules and examinations for career positions in the Federal service of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. These conditions include the need to provide agency heads with additional flexibility to assess prospective appointees without the limitations imposed by competitive service selection procedures. Placing these positions in the excepted service will mitigate undue limitations on their selection. This action will also give agencies greater ability and discretion to assess critical qualities in applicants to fill these positions, such as work ethic, judgment, and ability to meet the particular needs of the agency. These are all qualities individuals should have before wielding the authority inherent in their prospective positions, and agencies should be able to assess candidates without proceeding through complicated and elaborate competitive service processes or rating procedures that do not necessarily reflect their particular needs. Conditions of good administration similarly make necessary excepting such positions from the adverse action procedures set forth in chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code. Chapter 75 of title 5, United States Code, requires agencies to comply with extensive procedures before taking adverse action against an employee. These requirements can make removing poorly performing employees difficult. Only a quarter of Federal supervisors are confident that they could remove a poor performer. Career employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy‑making, and policy-advocating positions wield significant influence over Government operations and effectiveness. Agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation. Part of the order pushed an internal review of all agencies to reclassify employees, thus making them subject to normal standards of employment – the same ones that every person in the private sector adheres to.  Why is there resistance aside from the high-stakes effort to keep the current despotism in place? Let’s look at the sincere objections.  Schedule F would bring back the spoils system The term itself is a smear of system in which the elected leadership can actually make a difference in public life. Are cronies hired? Yes. Are good people sometimes fired? Probably. But the alternative is dictatorship by the bureaucracy itself and that is what is truly intolerable. Instead of the “spoils system,” a state in which the elected leaders can enact policy by controlling personnel is called representative democracy. It is also the system the Constitution gave us.  Trump issued Schedule F because he wanted more power  Depends on what you mean by more power. More power over the bureaucracy, yes, but the driving motivation here was to emancipate power from being ruled by bureaucrats that he could not control. It was also designed to stop the bureaucracy from working directly with the media to undermine through lies and smears the work of the administration. In words, elected leaders absolutely do need more power over the deep state.  This would gut government of expertise  There is this strange presumption that educational credentials and a permanent job equals expertise plus good outcomes. That is very obviously untrue. Good outcomes come from basic competence and a work ethic. Those are in short supply in government precisely because the turnover rate is less than zero, unlike the private sector. Anyone who has worked in a federal agency knows this. The best way to unleash genuine expertise is through normal job accountability.  Presidents would use this to politicize the bureaucracy  This is a decent point but the bureaucracy is already heavily politicized, and always in the direction of policies that push more power and money toward the government. Everyone knows this. Is there a danger that a radically and dangerous president would press bureaucrats into even further politicization? Yes, but there is an easy solution to this one: cut the reach and power of the agencies themselves, consistent with the Constitution. Finally – a crucial point – elected leaders could override the influence of private industry which has captured their operations. Bureaucracies would get around this by minimizing Schedule F designations  They would certainly attempt this but that would require that employees refrain from ”policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions.” That would be very great! If they eschewed Schedule F and did that anyway, the Office of Personnel Management could hunt them down and the agency itself would be responsible for illegal actions.  There are surely some downsides to the system as Trump imagined it but all of them trace to the inflated powers of the federal government itself. Yes, a vastly ambitious government machinery will always need bureaucracies and they will always have problems with waste, abuse, and unneeded exercise of power. Perhaps, then, the best long-term effect of Schedule F would be to inspire a rethinking of government’s role in a free society.  It seems remarkable that the executive order creating Schedule F was issued at all. It needs to be pressed upon any future reformers as a path to revisit, ideally with legislative support. Until that time, there will continue to be the grave problem that our elected officials are positioned to be little more than dancing marionettes while the administrative state wields all the real power.  Tyler Durden Fri, 07/01/2022 - 23:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 1st, 2022Related News

The Insufferable Arrogance Of The Constantly Wrong

The Insufferable Arrogance Of The Constantly Wrong Authored by Clayton Fox via The Brownstone Institute, The media, and the people who work in and around it, the Blue Checks™ of Twitter, have upped the ante over the past few years regarding how far they are willing to go to enforce various preferred narratives.  Pick any major story of the past three years - e.g. Lab Leak, Jussie Smollett, Russiagate, Ukrainian Biolabs, Ivermectin, Hospitalizations From COVID v. With Covid, January 6th, ‘Transitory’ Inflation, and of course Hunter’s Laptop - and you will find absolutely hysterical narrative pushing up front followed by retractions, corrections, and outright denials as reality became undeniable.  In the meanwhile, our civilization was ripped apart, our citizens were gaslit and impoverished, and in countries across the Western world, innocent people were removed from polite society, branded as lepers, and fired from their jobs.  Why? Because there is one story that just won’t die and for which no corrections have been issued - the shibboleth that vaccination can prevent infection, transmission, and help “end” COVID. While there is never an excuse for hateful rhetoric towards, and intervention in, the personal medical choices of law-abiding Americans, perhaps one could have, kinda sorta, understood the campaign if the new vaccines had provided long-lasting immunity and prevented community transmission. They do not.  Early on we were told: “Nine out of ten [vaccinated] people won’t get sick” (Columbia University feat. Run-DMC, February 12th, 2021, no this is not a joke); “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don`t get sick” (Dr. Rochelle Walensky, March 29th, 2021); “When people are vaccinated, they can feel safe that they are not going to get infected” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, May 17th, 2021).  And by mid-summer, 2021, we were still being told that unequivocally, these vaccines were a resounding success worthy of uncritical support. On July 27th in Scientific American, Dr. Eric Topol wrote, “Vaccination is the closest thing to a sure thing we have in this pandemic.” Not to be outdone, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIAID told CBS on August 1st, that the unvaccinated were responsible for “propagating this outbreak.”  But on July 29th, 2021, the Washington Post reported a scoop that the CDC was privately acknowledging that the vaccinated could spread COVID as easily as the unvaccinated. Occasionally, they are forced to report inconvenient facts. And August 5th, CDC Director Walensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that, “They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death — they prevent it. But what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.” While there is a mountain of medical literature available demonstrating quite clearly the failure of these vaccines to prevent infection and transmission, the August 5th declaration from the CDC Director should have made clear that being vaccinated is contributing in no way to the safety of others, nor to the eradication of this virus.  In fact, Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz was even caught on tape in September of last year explaining that the use of the Israeli Green Pass wasn’t intended to make a difference epidemiologically, but because it would help convince people to get vaccinated. And even vaccine poobah Bill Gates admitted in a late 2021 interview, that, “We got vaccines to help you with your health, but they only slightly reduce the transmissions.” So there should be no question that continuing to suggest in any way that these shots are a panacea, and that those who refused to get them were plague spreaders, should have been thoroughly trashed by Fall 2021.  Nonetheless, on September 24th President Joe Biden coined his now famous phrase “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” To our north, Prime Minister Trudeau called the unvaccinated science deniers, misogynists, and racists, and asked rhetorically whether Canadians should “tolerate” them.  And during the first week of January 2022, while kicking the unvaccinated out of French daily life and public spaces, French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted the measures to “piss off” his unvaccinated citizens. With world leaders speaking this way, it’s no wonder so many Blue Check™ elites took up the banner!  Prominent media figures like Amy Siskind, Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten, and more have come out of the woodwork in recent months to share with us their enthusiasm for medical discrimination. Noted neurotic Howard Stern is all in on forced vaccination due to what must be his own debilitating fear of his mortality. Bill Kristol says the unvaccinated have “blood on their hands.”  David Frum, heir to Maimonides, writes, “Let the hospitals quietly triage emergency care to serve the unvaccinated last.” Charles M. Blow was “furious” at the unvaccinated. CNN contributor Dr. Leana Wen suggested that the unvaccinated should not be allowed to leave their homes. The Ragin’ Cajun even wants to punch the unvaccinated in the face!  All of the above links/stories were posted after Dr. Walensky’s unequivocal announcement that the vaccines do not prevent transmission.  And all of the self-satisfied segregationists are supported in their vitriol by the Blue Checks™ of the Medical Establishment, like Dr. Paul Klotman, President and Executive Dean of the Baylor School of Medicine, who said on camera back in January that he isn’t polite to friends and family who aren’t vaccinated. “Keep them away. I don’t do it respectfully, I tell them to stay away, and teach them a lesson.” Less vitriolic but equally problematic, the WHO’s COVID-19 “technical lead” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove continued to push the lie that vaccination can prevent outbreaks as recently as January 26th, 2022. She is, as well, a Blue Check™. And yes, Dr. Anthony Fauci is still at it, even as of April 14th, 2022, telling MSNBC that harsh Chinese lockdowns could be used to get the population vaccinated so that “When you open up, you won’t have a surge of infections.”  The examples are legion. Blue Checks, Medical Blue Checks, Times Columnists, Radio Jocks, Presidents, and Prime Ministers have all espoused misinformation and/or hate speech regarding vaccination status. But they are all given intellectual cover by the official reporting of the fourth estate. Even in the face of all the evidence that there is no epidemiological basis for discrimination, our intellectual betters in the legacy media press onward the canard.  On August 26th, the Toronto Star ran an article entitled, “When it comes to empathy for the unvaccinated, many of us aren’t feeling it.” Then, on December 22nd, published an explainer which stated that two doses won’t stop you from spreading COVID-19. Comme ci, comme ca.  Back in February, MSNBC political contributor Matthew Dowd shared his insight that the unvaccinated do not believe in the United States Constitution, because if they did, they would get vaccinated for “We The People.” For the common good.  An examination of the New York Times reveals three articles written this year which overtly continue supporting the idea that the vaccines prevent transmission. First, on January 29th in a piece entitled, “As Covid Shots For Kids Stall, Appeals Are Aimed At Wary Parents,” the author cites “public health officials” who say that to aid in “containing” the pandemic, kids must also be vaccinated. (It is worth mentioning that the current vaccines and boosters being distributed were designed in February 2020 to provide an immune response to a version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein circulating prior to that, not entirely similar to what is circulating now.) Then February 23rd, in a hit piece on the Surgeon General of Florida Dr. Joe Ladapo, the Times writes, “When public health officials across the country were urging vaccines as a way to end the pandemic, Dr. Ladapo was raising warning flags about possible side effects and cautioning that even vaccinated people could spread the virus.”  So, Dr. Ladapo was correct?  Finally, in a piece about Novak Djokovic published March 3rd, they write, “Djokovic was the only player ranked in the top 100 in Australia who had not received a Covid-19 vaccination, which experts have long said will not eradicate the virus unless most of the population receives one.”  They do not address the question of how a vaccine which does not prevent transmission can eradicate a virus. And they won’t. As Israeli Health Minister Horowitz candidly admitted, none of this is about epidemiology.  And even when mainstream media tacitly acknowledges the failures of the vaccines to prevent transmission, they skillfully elide the significance of this fact in order to allow them to continue to scapegoat the unvaccinated. In a dazzling display of sophistry, Time Magazine moved the Overton window in this January 12th, 2022 piece, “These Charts Show That COVID-19 Is Still A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated.”  The author states that due to the rapidly narrowing gap between cases in the vaccinated and unvaccinated, some readers might think that the phrase “pandemic of the unvaccinated” is no longer justifiable. But with the grace of a ballerina, Time goes on to tell us that because the vaccines are still showing efficacy against severe illness, the phrase is still kosher. If an unvaccinated person gets sicker than his vaccinated neighbor who contracted COVID at a fully vaccinated wedding, that unvaccinated person is still the problem! New York Magazine isn’t lacking in similar gymnastics. On February 16th of this year, Matt Stieb published a piece entitled, “Is Kyrie Irving Going to Get Away With It?” Irving is the Brooklyn Nets player who famously chose not to be vaccinated, and has become a fetish object for the Covidian Left. Stieb acknowledges that Irving’s vaccinated teammates were getting COVID at such high rates that it forced Nets management to allow Irving back to play in away games but still calls the New York City ban on unvaccinated athletes “a rare public health mandate with real teeth.”  Just seven days later on February 23rd, Will Leitch, in the same publication, sighs, “Unfortunately, It’s Time to Let Kyrie Irving Play in New York.” He outlines all the reasons why epidemiologically it makes no sense to prevent athletes like Irving and Novak Djokovic from participating, but says, “It would feel like they got away with all their bullshit.” And also, they are “annoying.”  And this barely concealed hatred for the unvaccinated from media and government and Big Tech—even in the rare moments when writers such as Leitch acknowledge the failure of the vaccines to prevent transmission—has real consequences. People have lost their jobs. People have been arrested for trying to go to a movie theater.  Families got kicked out of restaurants, and patrons either cheered or remained indifferent, which is worse. A teenage boy at an uber-progressive and expensive Chicago prep school committed suicide after being bullied over an incorrect rumor he was unvaccinated. The stench of bad journalism rots people’s basic decency.  A January Rasmussen poll found that, “Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democratic voters would favor a government policy requiring that citizens remain confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine…Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine…” As well as, “Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.” Unfortunately, these disturbing results are politically lopsided, but it’s no surprise when you consider who the readers of most legacy media platforms are.  The saddest thing is that these media outlets and their flag bearers really think their readers are all morons. The New York Times believes that, in the midst of the Omicron wave as boosted person after boosted person was getting COVID, they could tell you these particular vaccines are still the way to eradicate this thing, and expect you to deny reality and nod your head.  It calls to mind the quote attributed to Solzhenitsyn (or Elena Gorokhova), “The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.” We have ceded the better angels of our common cerebrum to people who may not have our best interests at heart, and a sycophantic laptop class who gleefully endorses their diktats and “fact-checks.” Collectively: Sophistry Inc.  Their behavior, endorsed by every single entity which holds power in our society, is destroying us, and has already poisoned us such that there may be no antidote. Yes, first they came for the unvaccinated, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come for you next. Tyler Durden Fri, 07/01/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGEJul 1st, 2022Related News