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Quantifying The World"s Most Powerful Militaries

Quantifying The World's Most Powerful Militaries When it comes to manpower, no military in the world comes close to that of China. According to Global Firepower estimates, the People's Republic has around 2 million active military personnel. The United States in comparison, has significantly less - 1.4 million - but when assessing the overall power of the world's military forces, the U.S. comes out on top, ahead of Russia and China in second and third, respectively. You will find more infographics at Statista With Russian military build up around Ukraine and increasingly aggressive posturing from the Kremlin, the chances of at least one of the world's most powerful militaries applying its strength in a major new conflict appear to be at their highest for some time. Diplomatic efforts have so far failed, and it now remains to be seen how Russia will act. Elsewhere, the risk of China and the United States clashing in some form over Taiwan remains ever-present. The index "utilizes over 50 individual factors to determine a given nation's PowerIndex score with categories ranging from military might and financials to logistical capability and geography." While a rating of 0.000 would represent the perfect score, it is considered realistically unattainable. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 20:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times, A Florida family fighting to give their loved one on a ventilator alternative treatments for COVID-19 have lost another battle—this time in Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The wife and son of Daniel Pisano first squared off against Mayo Clinic Florida at an emergency hearing on Dec. 30 in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit. Before that, they’d been begging the hospital to allow them to try treating Pisano—who’s been on a ventilator now for 28 days—with the controversial drug ivermectin, along with a mix of other drugs and supplements, part of a protocol recommended by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC). The family’s request for an emergency injunction to force the Mayo Clinic to allow treatments recommended by an outside doctor was denied by Judge Marianne Aho. They appealed the decision. On Jan. 14, Aho’s decision was upheld by Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The three-judge panel deciding the case included Judge Thomas “Bo” Winokur, appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2015; Judge M. Kemmerly Thomas, appointed in 2016 by Scott; and Judge Robert E. Long, Jr., appointed in 2020, by Gov. Ron DeSantis. “An opinion of this Court explaining its reasoning will follow,” the judges stated in the order they issued.  “So we wait to see what that looks like, unless it takes too long,” said Jeff Childers, an attorney for the family.  Seventy-year-old Daniel Pisano doesn’t have unlimited time, says Eduardo Balbona, M.D., an independent doctor in Jacksonville who’s been advising the family since they reached out to him while researching other treatments that could potentially help their loved one. Daniel and Claudia Pisano moved to Florida and bought a homesite to be 20 minutes from their only two grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano) Balbona, who has been monitoring Pisano’s treatment at the Mayo Clinic through an online portal, testified on behalf of the Pisano family in the first hearing. The Mayo Clinic has argued that the treatment plan doesn’t fit with the hospital’s standard protocol for treating COVID-19 patients and they don’t know what the effects of following Balbona’s recommendations would be. The hospital has told the family that Pisano has a less-than-five percent chance of survival, and all that’s left to do is wait and see if he recovers on the ventilator. The Mayo Clinic has not responded to requests for comment. The family has begged the Mayo Clinic to simply step aside and let Balbona try what he thinks could work. But the Mayo Clinic doesn’t allow outside doctors to treat patients. Since media reports mentioned his involvement in the case, particularly his confidence in recommending ivermectin, Balbona has faced a mix of hate-filled criticism and desperate cries for help. He says he’s used ivermectin along with the rest of the FLCCC protocol successfully with minor modifications, on “dozens and dozens” of seriously ill patients suffering the effects of COVID-19. Some of those patients have come to him from as far away as California. He’s not alone in his belief in ivermectin and the mix of drugs and supplements he’s suggesting. Different health care professionals across the country have spoken out over the past two years about the efficacy of using ivermectin and the FLCCC protocol to treat COVID-19. The drug has been used for 40 years and won a Nobel Prize for its creator. While ivermectin is most often used to prevent or kill parasites in animals, it has also been widely and successfully used for years to treat parasites and viruses in humans in the United States and other countries. There is an ever-growing list of peer-reviewed studies showing the drug’s efficacy in treating COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates there are ongoing clinical trials investigating the use of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19 on a webpage warning people not to self-medicate with ivermectin. The FDA published a tweet in August mocking those who do. And some politicians and media outlets have railed relentlessly against those claiming ivermectin could be an effective and inexpensive way to combat COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shared this tweet on Aug. 21, 2021, mocking the use of the drug ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of FDA via Twitter) “You should be embarrassed to practice medicine, to sue the Mayo Clinic to get horse medicine to a human being, because of Internet garbage,” one person seethed on a voicemail at Balbona’s office after his court testimony was mentioned in an Epoch Times article. “Your license should be revoked, you worthless piece of garbage. You are killing people, not helping them, and to harass the Mayo Clinic, because you are not good enough to be their doctor is disgusting. Disgusting. You and doctors like you should all be banned from society. Shame on you. Disgusting. Goodbye and good riddance. I hope you get COVID. Goodbye.” Balbona says he deletes messages like that and pushes on with his treatment of patients. It’s “just the intolerance and hatred that takes me by surprise,” he said, about his office communications now getting “flooded by hate.” Eduardo Balbona, M.D., completed specialty training in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center and served as a physician at the U.S. Capitol, caring for senators, congressmen and Supreme Court justices. (Photo courtesy of Eduardo Balbona, M.D.) “Everything I do treating COVID is directed at lowering the inflammatory response, which is out of control, and improving blood flow to the lungs, and avoiding the complications of clots,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest change I’ve made from protocols in the hospital and with FLCCC is increasing the dose of dexamethasone. The dose of dexamethasone in FLCCC is relatively low at 6 mg, and I generally increase that to 18 mg daily in more serious cases. That’s a logic change, and I realize the study support is at 6 mg.” “There’s a reason for every medicine and everything I do treating COVID with my protocol. I have to be able to defend it since I know it will be attacked. Crazy world we’re in.” Christie DeTrude, of Switzerland, Florida, feels certain that Balbona’s recommendations saved her husband, Dewey. He had just retired last spring at 59 after a long career as a pipe-fitter. At 200 pounds and 6-feet-tall, he was in the peak of health, with strong “country muscles after a lifetime of turning a wrench,” she said. Dewey and Christie DeTrude on vacation in Hawaii, before he fell ill with COVID-19. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) When he sought treatment for COVID-19 at an urgent-care clinic in July, he was prescribed ivermectin by a doctor there. “But what we didn’t know at the time was, it wasn’t a high enough dose, because it’s supposed to be weight-based,” Christie DeTrude said. “Theirs was a very low dose, and they discontinued it after five days and said that it would be damaging to his liver and kidneys if they continued, which isn’t true.” On his eighth day of illness, he had developed pneumonia, and the urgent-care clinic told him to go to the hospital for treatment with convalescent plasma and oxygen. The referring doctor promised he wouldn’t be admitted, Christie DeTrude said. When she dropped him off at the Mayo Clinic Florida emergency room, she was told to come back and pick him up in 4-5 hours. “Once he got to Mayo, they just completely took over, and there was no informed consent,” DeTrude said. “There was no giving him information and letting us make a decision. They made all of his decisions for him, and they follow a standard protocol.” “There were no choices, there was no discussion…they just kept upping the oxygen,” DeTrude said. The Mayo Clinic did not return requests for comment by The Epoch Times about DeTrude’s case, Pisano’s case, or COVID-19 treatment protocols, in general. DeTrude said that eventually, her husband had become so weak, he couldn’t get out of the hospital bed. She felt that the hospital’s treatments weren’t working. She wanted to take him home. The hospital wouldn’t agree to discharge him and didn’t allow her to visit, she said. Dewey DeTrude’s wife hired an attorney to help her get her husband out of the intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic Florida, so he could be treated at home with ivermectin. DeTrude, shown here on Aug. 3, 2021, spent 46 days in the hospital. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) Days passed. Then, weeks. She says that she could tell from their phone calls that her husband was getting weaker. His 60th birthday came and went. And still, she says the hospital wouldn’t let her visit. “I was able to get a Catholic priest to come give him Last Rites, and the priest said that my husband’s mental state was like that of a prisoner of war, that he was definitely suffering trauma from the isolation from family, from his faith, from not seeing the sun. He’d lost 35 pounds,” she said. Part of the problem was that she wasn’t allowed to bring him vegan meals, she said. “A lot of the food, my husband wasn’t interested in. And when you’re on oxygen, it does affect your appetite, and he needed assistance eating, but they wouldn’t let me be that person,” she said. After 18 days, Christie DeTrude hired an attorney to help her push the hospital to stabilize her husband so she could take him home. Meanwhile, she searched for an outside doctor who could help. With that aim, she attended a medical freedom rally in Jacksonville in August, hoping to find something or someone who could advise her. Several doctors spoke about alternative treatments for COVID-19 that hospitals weren’t using, including ivermectin. The next day, she called them all. Only Dr. Balbona came to the phone to speak with her, she said. At Christie DeTrude’s request, Balbona promised the hospital that he’d take over her husband’s care. He ordered oxygen, medication, and home-health assistance for the family, she said. As she waited for Mayo doctors to agree to discharge him, Christie DeTrude prayed every day that her husband could hang on a little longer. After 46 days at Mayo Clinic, Dewey DeTrude finally was discharged and immediately started following Dr. Balbona’s instructions, taking ivermectin, fluvoxamine to prevent blood clots, and propranolol to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder from his hospital stay. He also took Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. He ate healthy food and spent time in the sunshine. Within days, it was clear her husband was on the mend, Christie DeTrude said. Now, four months later, “he’s working part-time, going to the gym,” she said. “He’s completed physical therapy and working on rebuilding his stamina and lung capacity. And if it weren’t for Dr. Balbona, I’m quite sure he would have died in the hospital.” Gene Bennett, a 77-year-old retired field engineer for IBM, tells a similar story. He was enjoying life in Bryceville, Florida helping his son clear five acres of land for a homesite when COVID-19 struck in January 2021. An ambulance transported him to Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, where he was treated with remdesivir. “They had to keep getting my oxygen higher and higher,” Bennett said. “I was finally up to the point of seven liters per minute, which is almost pure oxygen. And I knew that I wasn’t getting better. I could tell I was getting weaker and weaker. So when the doctor made his rounds on the Monday morning, I said, ‘This is my last day of remdesivir treatment and I know that I’m not improving. What’s our next step?’ “He looked at me and very calmly said, ‘Mr. Bennett, we don’t have a next step.’ He said, ‘We have done all for you that we can do. There’s nothing else we can do for you.’” Gene Bennett insisted on leaving the hospital, instead of going on a ventilator. (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) Overnight, Bennett thought a lot about the conversation. The next day, he asked the doctor, “Are you serious? There’s nothing else that this hospital can do for me?” “He said, ‘No, sir. The next step is for you to go on a ventilator.’” “Well, I’m not going to do that,” Bennett recalls saying. “I want to be released from this hospital.” He quickly learned that was no longer a decision he could make for himself. Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital did not respond to a request for comment. “They weren’t going to release me because I was on a high level of oxygen,” he told The Epoch Times. “So finally, after I raised hell with them, to put it mildly, all day, my son picked me up” that evening. The next morning, Bennett’s wife drove him to Dr. Balbona, his physician for many years. Balbona came out to the parking lot of his office to help him out of the car. “I could barely walk with a walker without assistance — that’s how bad off I was,” Bennett said. He says Balbona told him, ” You have the most severe case of COVID that I have seen. But I have a medicine I have been using and I’ve had great success with it.” Bennett needed no convincing. “What is it? I’ll take it,” Bennett recalls saying. “I know I’m dying. I just feel it.” “He told me and my wife, ‘Most people that have COVID as severe as you do not survive. We’re behind the curve, but we’re going to try to get you over the hump. The medicine I’d like to prescribe for you is normally a heartworm medicine for dogs—that’s the most common use.’ “He said, ‘They use it all over the world. It’s been around for 40 years, and it’s dirt cheap, but very effective.’ “He said, ‘I would never, ever give a patient a medicine that I thought would be harmful to them.’ And I totally believed, and just accepted the fact he was doing what he thinks was right. “I thought, I don’t have any options. I know if I don’t take something to stop this, it’s going to kill me.” They picked up a $30 supply of ivermectin from a drug store that day. Bennett was so weak, he could barely feed himself. His wife and son later told him that they thought he was going to die. But after five days on what Dr. Balbona prescribed, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, steroids, and a diuretic to get fluid off his lungs, he started to improve. “I’m a firm believer and I’d swear on the Bible, had I not been prescribed ivermectin, I would have died. Had I not stepped out of St. Vincent’s and checked myself out and gone to him and got the ivermectin, I wouldn’t be talking to you today. It saved my life. And for how much money? Thirty dollars!” He has since read a lot of research about the efficacy of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Gene Bennett refused to go on a ventilator when he was seriously ill with COVID-19. After leaving the hospital, his doctor treated him with ivermectin. He made a full recovery.  (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) “I can’t tell you if it is 100 percent effective for everyone, but I can tell you it was for me. I personally cannot understand why the government balks at giving these treatments. Why don’t they make the announcement that it’s available and let it be an individual’s choice?” Ivermectin has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in all or part of 22 countries. Over the past year, Bennett’s gotten back to full health, almost, regaining about half of the 45 pounds he lost while he was ill. His wife’s brother died in early January of COVID-19. They begged the hospital to try ivermectin. The hospital declined. His daughter-in-law’s mother died of COVID-19, too, in a Jacksonville Beach hospital, after the family begged to try ivermectin, and the hospital refused, Bennett said. An FDA spokeswoman said she would provide the number of reports of patients who had problems after self-medicating with ivermectin. Three days later, that information had not been provided to The Epoch Times. The FDA Office of Media Affairs said a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would be required to obtain details about when ivermectin might be approved for use in treating COVID-19, and about bonafide injuries to people who’ve used ivermectin to treat the illness. “The most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 include getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you and following current CDC guidance,” the FDA’s website advises. The Epoch Times spoke to a dozen people who have used ivermectin formulated for humans to treat COVID-19 at home. Most obtained prescriptions for the drug through online medical services. None reported having any side effects, even those who admitted to using ivermectin formulated for animals. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Walmart Creates Its Own Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Enters Metaverse With Sales Of Virtual Goods

Walmart Creates Its Own Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Enters Metaverse With Sales Of Virtual Goods The last time Walmart was reportedly entering the crypto space, it turned out to be a giant Litecoin-promoting hack, that was quickly reversed, after it became clear that playful hackers had fabricated a press release. But there appears to be nothing fake about the latest news involving Walmart's desire to ride the latest wave of crypto/web 3.0/metaverse/NFT euphoria, and as a result the big box retailer is boldly venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. According to CNBC, Walmart filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, the company said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.  In total, seven separate applications have been submitted. The patent applications were among a flurry the company filed on Dec. 30, including three under “Walmart Connect” - the name of the company’s existing digital advertising venture - for a financial exchange for virtual currency and advertising. Applications also were filed for “Verse to Store,” “Verse to Curb” and “Verse to Home” for shopping services. It’s also seeking trademarks to apply the Walmart name and “fireworks” logo to heath-care services and education in virtual and augmented reality. “They’re super intense,” said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney, quoted by CNBC. “There’s a lot of language in these, which shows that there’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes about how they’re going to address cryptocurrency, how they’re going to address the metaverse and the virtual world that appears to be coming or that’s already here.” Gerben said that ever since Facebook announced it was changing its company name to Meta, signaling its ambitions beyond social media, businesses have been rushing to figure out how they will fit into a virtual world. The applications represent a significant step for the retail giant as it studies how to participate in the metaverse, a virtual world that blends aspects of digital technologies. Walmart dropped a hint to what was coming, after it advertised in August a position to develop “the digital currency strategy and product roadmap” while identifying “crypto-related investment and partnerships,” according to a job posting on the company’s website. “Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences,” the company responded in an emailed statement. “We don’t have anything further to share today, but it’s worth noting we routinely file trademark applications as part of the innovation process.” Walmart’s cryptocurrency plans were the subject of a high-profile hoax in September, when a fake announcement caused a short-lived surge in Litecoin, a relatively obscure cryptocurrency. According to the faked news release, Walmart would start letting its customers pay with Litecoin. In October, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer started a pilot program in which shoppers can buy Bitcoin at Coinstar kiosks in some of its U.S. stores. The test with Coinstar, which is known for the machines that let customers exchange U.S. coins for paper bills or gift cards, includes 200 kiosks in Walmart stores. In early December, Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said at an analyst conference that the company was open to allowing shoppers to pay in cryptocurrency if customers demand it, but the company didn’t see a need to rush out any capabilities. Walmart is the latest brand to jump on the bandwagon of selling virtual goods and/or NFTs. In November, Nike filed a slew of trademark applications that previewed its plans to sell virtual branded sneakers and apparel. Later that month, it said it was teaming up with Roblox to create an online world called Nikeland. In December, it bought the virtual sneaker company RTFKT (pronounced “artifact”) for an undisclosed amount. “All of a sudden, everyone is like, ‘This is becoming super real and we need to make sure our IP is protected in the space,’” said Gerben. Others are also piling in: Gap has started selling NFTs of its iconic logo sweatshirts. The apparel maker said its NFTs will be priced in tiers ranging from roughly $8.30 to $415, and come with a physical hoodie. Meantime, both Under Armour’s and Adidas’ NFT debuts sold out last month. They’re now fetching sky-high prices on the NFT marketplace OpenSea. Gerben said that apparel retailers Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks detailing their intent to open some sort of virtual store. A report from CB Insights outlined some of the reasons why retailers and brands might want to make such ventures, which can potentially offer new revenue streams. Launching NFTs allows for businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted. As the following chart from JPM shows, the NFT space has been red hot in the past year, and the market cap of the NFT universe has never been higher even though crytpocurrencies have tumbled by more than 40% in the past 2 months as institutions dumped the best performing assets of 2021 ahead of widely telegraphed Fed tightening. Launching NFTs allows for businesses to tokenize physical products and services to help reduce online transaction costs, it said. And for luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, NFTs can serve as a form of authentication for tangible and more expensive goods, CB Insights noted. Gerben said that as more consumers familiarize themselves with the metaverse and items stored on the blockchain, more retailers will want to create their own ecosystem around it. And after all, while it is the view of the World Economic Forum that after the Great Reset "you will own nothing, and you will be happy", nobody said that one can't own virtual goods in the coming dystopian future. Quoted by CNBC, Frank Chaparro, director at crypto information services firm The Block, said that many retailers are still reeling from being late to e-commerce, so they don’t want to miss out on any opportunities in the metaverse. “I think it’s a win-win for any company in retail,” Chaparro said. “And even if it just turns out to be a fad there’s not a lot of reputation damage in just trying something weird out like giving some customers an NFT in a sweepstake, for instance.” Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump

China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump A busy night started with weakness in US equity futures (Nasdaq down 0.5%) and an unexpected cut in a key China policy rate and a modest addition of liquidity. This was then followed by a mixed bag of China macro with a GDP beat (but slowing growth) but ugly retail sales disappointment. All of which sent the Yuan lower... As Bloomberg reports, China lowered a key interest rate for the first time since the peak of the pandemic in 2020 as a property-market slump and repeated virus outbreaks dampened the nation’s growth outlook. The People’s Bank of China cut the rate on its one-year policy loans by 10 basis points to 2.85%. That’s the first reduction since April 2020. It also slashed the rate on the seven-day reverse repurchase agreements by the same magnitude to 2.1%. The central bank made the move while offering 700 billion yuan ($110 billion) via the medium-term lending facility, exceeding the 500 billion yuan coming due. It added 100 billion yuan with seven-day reverse repos. “The PBOC has accelerated its pace of policy easing in order to guide borrowing costs lower and to encourage credit supply,” said Yewei Yang, an analyst at Guosheng Securities Co. “The move suggests China’s economic is weak and it will trigger a significant slide in borrowing costs.” The cut to policy rates indicates the PBOC is taking easier stance to deal with economic downward pressures which were reflected somewhat in a mixed set of data from China that showed growth slowing (albeit better than expected) and retail sales notably disappointing. China 4Q GDP Grows 4% Y/Y; Est. 3.3%, but notably below Q3's +4.9% China Dec. Industrial Output Rises 4.3% Y/Y; Est. 3.7% China Jan.-Dec. Fixed Investment Rises 4.9% Y/Y; Est. 4.8% China Jan.-Dec. GDP Grows 8.1% Y/Y; Est. 8% China End-Dec. Survey Jobless Rate Rises to 5.1% vs 5.0% Prior China Dec. Retail Sales Rise 1.7% Y/Y; Est. 3.8% As is clear in the chart below, all of the key macro measures worsened... As Bloomberg's Enda Curran notes, the retail sales weakness looks broad based. There was a big decline in sales of household electronics and automobiles and also contraction for restaurant/catering, clothing, jewelry and furniture. Given the news through January regarding the virus outbreaks, one wonders if that can turn around materially in the near term. The annual new years holiday would be an obvious boost in other years, but less clear how it plays out this year. On a seasonally adjusted month/month basis, China’s retail sales rose in just four months last year. Even during 2020’s pandemic impacts, there were five months of such sales growth. On top of the big miss for retail sales, online shopping shows more worrying signs for the country’s weakening consumer demand. Online retail sales grew 14.1% in 2021, the slowest annual pace since 2014. Chang Shu and David Qu, economists at Bloomberg Economics, say the bigger-than-expected cut to the one-year MLF rate shows it’s serious about supporting the economy. We give the final words to Peiqian Liu, an economist at NatWest Markets: This is a decisive dovish tilt as the policymakers acknowledged the importance to stabilize short term growth. The rate cut may translate into a broad-based 10bps lower in 1Y and 5Y LPR on Thursday. In terms of our outlook for monetary policy in 2022, we think the PBOC will unlikely resort to “flood-style stimulus” of consecutive and aggressive rate cuts. Instead, we see room for moderate easing with another 20bps rate cut and 100bps RRR cut for the rest of this year. US equity futures extended their losses despite the MLF rate cut... One last thing of note, China’s stats folks say the country’s population was about 500,000 people more at year’s end than a year earlier (albeit a rounding error), but it signals that China hasn’t gotten to peak population just yet apparently. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 21:28.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Visualizing The $94 Trillion World Economy In One Chart

Visualizing The $94 Trillion World Economy In One Chart Just four countries - the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany - make up over half of the world’s economic output by gross domestic product (GDP) in nominal terms. In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Dorothy Neufeld notes, the GDP of the U.S. alone is greater than the combined GDP of 170 countries. How do the different economies of the world compare? In this visualization we look at GDP by country in 2021, using data and estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). An Overview of GDP GDP serves as a broad indicator for a country’s economic output. It measures the total market value of final goods and services produced in a country in a specific timeframe, such as a quarter or year. In addition, GDP also takes into consideration the output of services provided by the government, such as money spent on defense, healthcare, or education. Generally speaking, when GDP is increasing in a country, it is a sign of greater economic activity that benefits workers and businesses (while the reverse is true for a decline). The World Economy: Top 50 Countries Who are the biggest contributors to the global economy? Here is the ranking of the 50 largest countries by GDP in 2021: *2020 GDP (latest available) used where IMF estimates for 2021 were unavailable. At $22.9 trillion, the U.S. GDP accounts for roughly 25% of the global economy, a share that has actually changed significantly over the last 60 years. The finance, insurance, and real estate ($4.7 trillion) industries add the most to the country’s economy, followed by professional and business services ($2.7 trillion) and government ($2.6 trillion). China’s economy is second in nominal terms, hovering at near $17 trillion in GDP. It remains the largest manufacturer worldwide based on output with extensive production of steel, electronics, and robotics, among others. The largest economy in Europe is Germany, which exports roughly 20% of the world’s motor vehicles. In 2019, overall trade equaled nearly 90% of the country’s GDP. The World Economy: 50 Smallest Countries On the other end of the spectrum are the world’s smallest economies by GDP, primarily developing and island nations. With a GDP of $70 million, Tuvalu is the smallest economy in the world. Situated between Hawaii and Australia, the largest industry of this volcanic archipelago relies on territorial fishing rights. In addition, the country earns significant revenue from its “.tv” web domain. Between 2011 and 2019, it earned $5 million annually from companies—including Amazon-owned Twitch to license the Twitch.tv domain name—equivalent to roughly 7% of the country’s GDP. *2019 GDP (latest available) used where IMF estimates for 2021 were unavailable. Like Tuvalu, many of the world’s smallest economies are in Oceania, including Nauru, Palau, and Kiribati. Additionally, several countries above rely on the tourism industry for over one-third of their employment. The Fastest Growing Economies in the World in 2021 With 123% projected GDP growth, Libya’s economy is estimated to have the sharpest rise. Oil is propelling its growth, with 1.2 million barrels being pumped in the country daily. Along with this, exports and a depressed currency are among the primary factors behind its recovery. Ireland’s economy, with a projected 13% real GDP growth, is being supported by the largest multinational corporations in the world. Facebook, TikTok, Google, Apple, and Pfizer all have their European headquarters in the country, which has a 12.5% corporate tax rate—or about half the global average. But these rates are set to change soon, as Ireland joined the OECD 15% minimum corporate tax rate agreement which was finalized in October 2021. Macao’s economy bounced back after COVID-19 restrictions began to lift, but more storm clouds are on the horizon for the Chinese district. The CCP’s anti-corruption campaign and recent arrests could signal a more strained relationship between Mainland China and the world’s largest gambling hub. Looking Ahead at the World’s GDP The global GDP figure of $94 trillion may seem massive to us today, but such a total might seem much more modest in the future. In 1970, the world economy was only about $3 trillion in GDP—or 30 times smaller than it is today. Over the next thirty years, the global economy is expected to more or less double again. By 2050, global GDP could total close to $180 trillion. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

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

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

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

FedEx Wants To Arm Cargo Planes With Anti-Missile Lasers

FedEx Wants To Arm Cargo Planes With Anti-Missile Lasers International logistics giant FedEx seeks permission to mount a laser weapon system on the exterior of cargo planes as a countermeasure against heat-seeking missiles, according to an unpublished Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposal in the Federal Register.  The unpublished document, titled "FedEx Express, Airbus Model A321-200 Airplanes; Installation of an Infrared Laser Countermeasure System," is set to be released by the FAA on Jan. 18, explains how the logistics company wants to install the laser weapon on at least one Airbus A321-200 freighter that would be used to direct laser energy toward heat-seeking missiles as a countermeasure.  This action proposes special conditions for the Airbus Model A321-200 airplane. This airplane, as modified by FedEx Express (FedEx), will have a novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes. This design feature is a system that emits infrared laser energy outside the aircraft as a countermeasure against heat-seeking missiles. The applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for this design feature. These proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. "In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS)," the unpublished document said. In 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by a military-grade surface-to-air missile near Tehran, Iran.  "This has led several companies to design and adapt systems like a laser-based missile-defense system for installation on civilian aircraft, to protect those aircraft against heat-seeking missiles. The FedEx missile-defense system directs infrared laser energy toward an incoming missile, in an effort to interrupt the missile's tracking of the aircraft's heat," it continued.  The move to equip planes with laser countermeasures could allow them to fly in highly contested air space that would usually be off-limits, a move that could save FedEx time and money.  As the world becomes a more dangerous place by the day, it's only a matter of time before civilian airlines adopt such technology.  Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 22:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

The Lab Leak: The Plots & Schemes Of Jeremy Farrar, Anthony Fauci, And Francis Collins

The Lab Leak: The Plots & Schemes Of Jeremy Farrar, Anthony Fauci, And Francis Collins Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, Jeremy Farrar is a former professor at Oxford University and the head of the Wellcome Trust, an extremely influential non-government funder of medical research in the UK and a big investor in vaccine companies.  Some people regard Farrar as the UK’s Anthony Fauci. He had much to do with the pandemic response, including the lockdowns and mandates in the UK. For the entire pandemic ordeal, he has been in touch with his colleagues around the world. He has written a book (it appeared July 2021 but was probably written in the Spring) on his experience with the pandemic.  I reviewed already.  In general, the book is chaotic, strongly backing lockdowns without ever presenting a clear rationale for why, much less a road map for how to get out of lockdowns. I swear you could read this book carefully front to back and not know anything more about pandemics and their course than you had at the beginning. In this sense, the book is an abysmal failure, which probably explains why it is so little talked about.  That said, the book is revealing in other ways, some of which I did not cover in my review. He carefully presents the scene at the beginning of the pandemic, including the great fear that he, Fauci, and others had that the virus was not of natural origin. It might have been created in a lab and leaked, accidentally or deliberately. This awesome prospect is behind some of the strangest sentences in the book, which I quote here: By the second week of January, I was beginning to realise the scale of what was happening. I was also getting the uncomfortable feeling that some of the information needed by scientists all around the world to detect and fight this new disease was not being disclosed as fast as it could be. I did not know it then, but a fraught few weeks lay ahead. In those weeks, I became exhausted and scared. I felt as if I was living a different person’s life. During that period, I would do things I had never done before: acquire a burner phone, hold clandestine meetings, keep difficult secrets. I would have surreal conversations with my wife, Christiane, who persuaded me we should let the people closest to us know what was going on. I phoned my brother and best friend to give them my temporary number. In hushed conversations, I sketched out the possibility of a looming global health crisis that had the potential to be read as bioterrorism. ‘If anything happens to me in the next few weeks,’ I told them nervously, ‘this is what you need to know.’ Sounds like a thriller movie! A burner phone? Clandestine meetings? What the heck is going on here? If there really was a virus on the loose and a looming crisis of public health, why would your first impulse be, as a famous guy and so on, to write about it, tell the public everything you know, inform every public health official, open up and prepare people, and get to work finding therapeutics that can save lives? Why would you not immediately investigate the demographics of risk and inform people and institutions of the best-possible response? What the heck is all this cloak-and-dagger about? Seems like a bad start for a responsible public policy.  The next chapter reveals some of the background to all this high dudgeon: In the last week of January 2020, I saw email chatter from scientists in the US suggesting the virus looked almost engineered to infect human cells. These were credible scientists proposing an incredible, and terrifying, possibility of either an accidental leak from a laboratory or a deliberate release…. It seemed a huge coincidence for a coronavirus to crop up in Wuhan, a city with a superlab. Could the novel corona-virus be anything to do with ‘gain of function’ (GOF) studies? These are studies in which viruses are deliberately genetically engineered to become more contagious and then used to infect mammals like ferrets, to track how the modified virus spreads. They are carried out in top-grade containment labs like the one in Wuhan. Viruses that infect ferrets can also infect humans, precisely the reason ferrets are a good model for studying human infection in the first place. But GOF studies always carry a tiny risk of something going wrong: the virus leaking out of the lab, or a virus infecting a lab researcher who then goes home and spreads it…. The novel coronavirus might not even be that novel at all. It might have been engineered years ago, put in a freezer, and then taken out more recently by someone who decided to work on it again. And then, maybe, there was … an accident? Labs can function for decades and often store samples for just as long. In 2014, six old vials of freeze-dried variola virus, which causes smallpox, were uncovered in a lab in Maryland, US; though the samples dated back to the 1950s, they still tested positive for variola DNA. Some viruses and microbes are disturbingly resilient. It sounded crazy but once you get into a mindset it becomes easy to connect things that are unrelated. You begin to see a pattern that is only there because of your own starting bias. And my starting bias was that it was odd for a spillover event, from animals to humans, to take off in people so immediately and spectacularly – in a city with a biolab. One standout molecular feature of the virus was a region in the genome sequence called a furin cleavage site, which enhances infectivity. This novel virus, spreading like wildfire, seemed almost designed to infect human cells…. The idea that an unnatural, highly contagious pathogen could have been unleashed, either by accident or design, catapulted me into a world that I had barely navigated before. This issue needed urgent attention from scientists – but it was also the territory of the security and intelligence services…. When I told Eliza about the suspicions over the origins of the new coronavirus, she advised that everyone involved in the delicate conversations should raise our guard, security-wise. We should use different phones; avoid putting things in emails; and ditch our normal email addresses and phone contacts. Keep in mind, we are talking here about the last week of January. The top experts in the world were living in fear that this was actually a lab leak and perhaps a deliberate one. This consumed them completely, knowing full well that if this were true, we could see something close to a world war developing. And then the question comes up concerning responsibility.  Let’s move to the next chapter: The next day, I contacted Tony Fauci about the rumours over the origins of the virus and asked him to speak with Kristian Andersen at Scripps. We agreed that a bunch of specialists needed to urgently look into it. We needed to know if this virus came from nature or was a product of deliberate nurture, followed by either accidental or intentional release from the BSL-4 lab based at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  Depending on what the experts thought, Tony added, the FBI and MI5 would need to be told. I remember becoming a little nervous about my own personal safety around this time. I don’t really know what I was scared of. But extreme stress is not conducive to thinking rationally or behaving logically. I was exhausted from living in two parallel universes – my day-to-day life at Wellcome in London, and then going back home to Oxford and having these clandestine conversations at night with people on opposite sides of the world.  Eddie in Sydney would be working when Kristian in California was asleep, and vice versa. I didn’t just feel as if I was working a 24-hour day – I really was. On top of that, we were getting phonecalls through the night from all over the world. Christiane was loosely keeping a diary and recorded 17 calls in one night. It’s hard to come off nocturnal calls about the possibility of a lab leak and go back to bed.  I’d never had trouble sleeping before, something that comes from spending a career working as a doctor in critical care and medicine. But the situation with this new virus and the dark question marks over its origins felt emotionally overwhelming. None of us knew what was going to happen but things had already escalated into an international emergency. On top of that, just a few of us – Eddie, Kristian, Tony and I – were now privy to sensitive information that, if proved to be true, might set off a whole series of events that would be far bigger than any of us. It felt as if a storm was gathering, of forces beyond anything I had experienced and over which none of us had any control. Well, there we go. Was there ever a doubt that Fauci and so on were consumed by fear that this was a lab leak from their own colleagues and friends in Wuhan? Has he denied this? I’m not sure but this account from Farrar is pretty extraordinary proof that discovering the virus’s origins was the major concern from these official and influential scientists for the last part of January through February. Rather than thinking about things such as “How can we help doctors deal with patients?” and “Who is vulnerable to this virus and what should we say about that?”, they were consumed by discovering the origin of the virus and hiding from the public what they were doing.  Again, I am not interpreting things here. I’m only quoting what Farrar says in his own book. He reports that the experts he consulted were 80% sure it had come from a lab. They all scheduled an online meeting for February 1, 2020.  Patrick Vallance informed the intelligence agencies of the suspicions; Eddie did the same in Australia. Tony Fauci copied in Francis Collins, who heads the US National Institutes of Health (the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which Tony heads, is part of the NIH). Tony and Francis understood the extreme sensitivity of what was being suggested,… The next day I gathered everyone’s thoughts, including people like Michael Farzan, and emailed Tony and Francis: “On a spectrum if 0 is nature and 100 is release – I am honestly at 50! My guess is that this will remain grey, unless there is access to the Wuhan lab – and I suspect that is unlikely!” These discussions and investigations continue for the whole month of February. This explains so much about why health officials in so many countries were entering into panic mode rather than calmly addressing an emerging problem in public health. They spent all their energies on discerning the origin of the virus. Were they worried that they would be implicated due to financial ties? I don’t really know and Farrar doesn’t go into that.  Regardless, it took them a full month before this small group finally came out with what appeared to be a definitive paper appearing in Nature: The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2. The date it appeared was March 17, 2020. That was the day following the announcement of lockdowns in the US. We now know that the paper was written as early as February 4, and went through many drafts over the coming weeks, including edits by Anthony Fauci himself. That paper has since been debated very extensively. It was hardly the last word.  What strikes me most in retrospect concerning the idea of the lab leak is the following. During the most critical weeks leading up to the obvious spread of the virus all over the Northeast of the U.S., leading to incredible carnage in nursing homes due to egregious policies that failed to protect the vulnerable and even deliberately infected them, public health officials in the US and UK were consumed not with a proper health response but with fear of dealing with the probability that this virus was man-made in China.  They deliberated in secret. They used burner phones. They spoke only to their trusted colleagues. This went on for more than a month from late January 2020 to early March. Whether this virus originated as a lab leak or not in this case is not so much the issue; there is no question that Farrar, Collins, Fauci, and company all believed that it was likely and even probable, and they spent their time and energies plotting the spin. This fear consumed them entirely at the very moment when their job was to be thinking of the best public-health response.  Maybe their time should have been about telling the truth as they knew it? Explaining how to deal rationally with the coming virus? Helping people who are vulnerable protect themselves while explaining to everyone else that there is no point in panicking?  Instead, in the midst of the panic they both felt and then projected to the public, they urged and got lockdowns of the world’s economy, a policy response never before attempted on this scale in response to a virus. The virus did what the virus does, and all we are left with are the breathtaking results of the pandemic response: economic carnage, cultural destruction, large amounts of unnecessary death, and an incredible paper trail of incompetence, fear, secrecy, plotting, and neglect of genuine health concerns.  Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Tesla reportedly told a law firm to fire an attorney who was involved in the SEC"s Elon Musk probe or risk losing the company"s business

The law firm refused, and Tesla has acted to replace it or hire additional counsel, while SpaceX stopped using it for regulatory work, per WSJ. Elon Musk.Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images Tesla told law firm Cooley LLP last year to fire an attorney involved in the SEC's Elon Musk probe or lose the car maker's business, The Wall Street Journal reported. The attorney had interviewed Musk as part of the probe into his 2018 tweet about having funding to take Tesla private. Cooley refused, and Tesla started acting to replace the firm or add other counsel, per WSJ. Tesla threatened to withhold business from a law firm if it didn't fire an attorney involved in an SEC probe of CEO Elon Musk, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.A lawyer for Tesla told the law firm, Cooley LLP, late last year to terminate the attorney, who had been brought onboard for their experience with securities litigation and enforcement, according to the Journal. The attorney didn't have a hand in Cooley's work for Tesla, but had interviewed Musk during the SEC's investigation into his 2018 tweet saying he had obtained funding to take the company private.Musk ultimately reached a settlement with the agency that required him and Tesla to each pay a $20 million fine. The settlement also required Musk to step down as Tesla's chairman of the board for three years.The Cooley attorney wasn't fired and is still an associate there, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.But Tesla has replaced Cooley as counsel, or hired additional counsel, in several cases since December, according to the Journal, which cited legal documents.Meanwhile, SpaceX, which Musk also runs, stopped enlisting Cooley for regulatory work, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.Tesla, SpaceX, and Musk didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Supermarkets Slash Hours As Workers Call Out Sick; Store Shelves Remain Bare

Supermarkets Slash Hours As Workers Call Out Sick; Store Shelves Remain Bare Labor shortages at supermarkets across the country have increased in recent weeks as the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to spread. Workers are calling sick, and there are not enough cashiers, baggers, and stockers, forcing some supermarket chains to slash hours of operations. Compounding labor woes, supply chains are still severely snarled as food shortages are being reported nationwide.  WSJ reports supermarkets are having difficulty staying open as workers call out sick because of infection. Some grocers are frantically hiring new employees, using temporary employment agencies, and overworking current staff to keep stores from shuttering.  The seven-store supermarket chain Stew Leonard's in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey had 200 employees in quarantine or isolation as of last Thursday despite a 90% employee-vaccination rate. This represents about 7% of all employees.  "We sort of feel like we've got to buckle down for round two," Chief Executive Stew Leonard Jr. said, adding that the loss of employees to infections has hampered operations.  American supermarket chain Giant Eagle Inc. which operates 470 stores, has avoided closing locations amid the omicron surge by adjusting hours of operations. The company's chief compliance officer, Vic Vercammen, said the company had seen a spike in workers calling sick because of infection.  Across Alabama and Georgia, Piggly Wiggly stores are overscheduling workers and using temporary work agencies to keep store shelves stocked as staffing woes developed this year because of the omicron spread. Operations have been affected, and store hours have been reduced in some locations.  In the Southeast, Harris Teeter supermarkets, owned by Kroger Co., will close one hour earlier, effective Monday, so that employees can restock shelves due to the loss of stockers.  Staffing shortages also impacted Fresh Encounter Inc., a 100-store supermarket chain based in Ohio. The chain is now closing at 10 pm local time versus 24 hours a day.  Michael Needler Jr., the chain's chief executive of Fresh Encounter, said, "the staffing situation started out very tenuous. Layering in Omicron vacancies on top of that makes it very, very stressful."  On top of staffing issues, supply-chain bottlenecks are plaguing supermarkets, resulting in bare shelves across the country.  Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 16:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Democrats Moving Away From Lockdown Restrictions Over Fears Of Being Crushed Politically

Democrats Moving Away From Lockdown Restrictions Over Fears Of Being Crushed Politically.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Leaked Fauci Financials Expose How Millionaire Doctor Profited From Pandemic

Leaked Fauci Financials Expose How Millionaire Doctor Profited From Pandemic.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Liquidity"s​ ​Effect​ ​On​ ​Volatility

Liquidity's​ ​Effect​ ​On​ ​Volatility By Macro Ops Substack The​ ​proper​ ​way​ ​to​ ​analyze​ ​potential​ ​volatility​ ​conditions​ ​looks​ ​something​ ​like​ ​the​ ​picture​ ​below:  Current​ ​events​ ​and​ ​macro​ ​news​ ​come​ ​AFTER​ ​liquidity. If​ ​markets​ ​have​ ​loose​ ​liquidity​ ​conditions,​ ​no​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​Trump​ ​tweets​ ​or​ ​White​ ​House shakeups​ ​will​ ​cause​ ​volatility. And​ ​if​ ​liquidity​ ​conditions​ ​are​ ​tight,​ ​no​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​good​ ​news​ ​can​ ​save​ ​markets​ ​from volatility.​  This ​ makes​ ​ intuitive​ ​ sense​ ​ when​ ​ ​you ​ look​ at how ​liquidity ​ impacts market​ ​ microstructure.​ Every​ ​market,​ ​whether​ ​it​ ​be ​ FX,​ bonds,​ commodities,​ ​or stock, has​ an order book with bids and offers that​ looks​ something​ like​ ​this:  It’s​ ​just​ ​a​ ​bunch​ ​of​ ​buyers​ ​and​ ​sellers​ ​displaying​ ​how​ ​much​ ​they’re​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​transact​ ​and​ ​at what ​ price.​ When​ ​financial​ ​conditions​ ​are​ ​loose,​ ​with​ ​high​ ​liquidity,​ ​everyone​ ​has​ ​a​ ​bunch​ ​of​ ​cash​ ​and​ ​credit they​ ​need​ ​to​ ​put​ ​to​ ​work.​ ​All​ ​this​ ​demand​ ​flows​ ​into​ ​the​ ​market​ ​and​ ​stacks​ ​up​ ​the​ ​order​ ​book which compresses prices.​ A​ ​liquid​ ​order​ ​book​ ​looks​ ​something​ ​like​ ​this:  The​ ​difference​ ​between​ ​the​ ​bid​ ​and​ ​the​ ​offer ​ is​ ​ tight and there’s a​ lot​ of size at​ ​ each price level.​ Price​ ​will​ ​bounce​ ​around​ ​in​ ​a​ ​modest​ ​range​ ​because the order​ ​book​  ​can​ easily absorb any​ incoming​ ​orders.  A​ ​liquid​ ​market​ ​translates​ ​into​ ​lower​ ​volatility​.  The​ ​opposite​ ​happens​ ​when​ financial​ ​ ​conditions​ ​are​ tight​ ​​and​ ​the​ ​system​ ​is​ ​illiquid.​ ​Investors are no longer​ lined up to buy financial​ assets.​ They​ ​don’t​​ ​have​ ​the​ ​cash​ ​or​ ​credit​ ​available.  During​ ​illiquid​ ​times​ ​the​ ​order​ ​book​ ​looks​ ​something​ ​like​ ​this:  So​ ​not​ ​only​ ​are​ ​buyers​ ​and​ ​sellers​ ​farther​ ​apart,​ ​they​ ​have​ ​less​ ​to​ ​buy​ ​and​ ​sell.​ ​Price​ ​will oscillate​ ​wildly​ ​between​ ​all​ ​these​ ​different​ values ​because ​there’s​​ ​not​ ​much​ ​here​ ​to​ absorb​​ ​new orders coming into the market.​               An​ ​illiquid​ ​market​ ​translates​ ​into​ ​higher​ ​volatility​. This​ ​connection​ ​between​ ​liquidity​ ​and​ ​market​ ​microstructure​ ​is​ ​why​ ​we​ ​see​ ​moves​ ​in​ ​volatility follow ​liquidity​ so​ ​closely.​               Higher​ ​black​ ​line​ ​=​ ​tighter​ ​liquidity​ ​conditions. The​ ​last​ ​time​ ​liquidity​ ​conditions​ ​tightened​ was ​in​ ​2014 ​and​​ ​into​ ​2015.​ ​During​ ​this​ ​time​ ​the​ ​Fed was ​ winding down its​ QE​ ​​program​ ​—​ ​sucking ​​liquidity​ right​​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ system.​ The​ ​stock​ ​market​ ​struggled,​ ​the​ ​dollar​ ​strengthened,​ ​commodities​ ​dropped,​ ​and​ ​as​ ​you​ ​can​ ​see in ​ the​ ​ ​chart​ ​above, the VIX popped.​ It​ ​popped​ ​primarily​ ​due​ ​to​ ​tightening​ ​liquidity conditions​.  Since​ ​then​ ​the​ ​market​ ​has​ ​adjusted​ ​to​ ​the​ ​absence​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Fed’s​ ​bond​ ​purchases.​ ​Liquidity conditions​ ​have​ ​improved​ ​ ​and​ ​VIX​ ​responded​ ​by​ ​embarking​ ​on​ ​a​ ​sustained​ ​downtrend throughout​ ​all​ ​of​ ​2016​ ​and​ ​now​ ​into​ ​2017. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 15:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Japan Faces Three Meter High Tsunami Threat After Undersea Volcano Eruption In South Pacific

Japan Faces Three Meter High Tsunami Threat After Undersea Volcano Eruption In South Pacific.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Manhattan Apartments With Doorman Soar To New Record High

Manhattan Apartments With Doorman Soar To New Record High What's stunning is that median apartment rents in Manhattan are back to pre-pandemic highs. Rents for apartments with door attendants soared to a new record high while ones without door attendants are still below 2019 levels. Some argue New York City's most expensive borough is back, but the "back-to-work" barometer tells a different story.  Appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate released a new report Thursday that highlighted median rent in the borough increased 16% to $3,475 in December compared to a year ago. The rents are back to levels last seen right before the pandemic crash.  The overall increase in rents was primarily due to a sizeable increase for apartment buildings with a doorman, which climbed 23% to a staggering $4,298 (a new record high). In comparison, buildings without doorkeepers rose 7.8% to $2,695 (still below 2019 levels).  Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said demand for luxury buildings is a prime example of polarization in the market, with prices for apartment buildings without a doorman still lagging pre-pandemic levels.  Rental inventory is tight for luxury buildings as landlords slashed generous concessions. Inventory has plunged 81% from a year ago in December, and the vacancy rate is 1.7%. There was also a 39% plunge in new leases for the month.  Miller said, "the market is coming off of unsustainable activity levels and trending toward more sustainable patterns in the coming months. Omicron is in the mix for sure, just slowing down activity too."  Meanwhile, Kastle Systems, whose electronic access systems secure thousands of office buildings across NYC, showed only 17% of workers were back at their desks in early January, compared with 37% on Dec. 2. Omicron has certainly impacted back-to-work as employers have recently sent workers home.  Still, the good news is that Morgan Stanley has called the top on Omicron, and it could peak in the next month. So maybe soaring rental demand is workers returning to the city with the hopes the virus pandemic will end this year.  Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 15:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

The estranged wife of indicted leader of Oath Keepers tells CNN he is a "dangerous man" and "complete sociopath"

The wife of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes said she was relieved that he has been indicted as she "lived in fear" of him showing up at her house. Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, has been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol riot.Aaron C. Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, was charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol riot. His estranged wife Tasha Adams said that he is a "complete sociopath." Adams said that she felt Rhodes was personally dangerous to her and her family, and also to the country. The estranged wife of Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right group Oath Keepers, said he is a "complete sociopath."Rhodes' wife Tasha Adams made the comments in an interview with CNN on Friday, a day after Rhodes was charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol riot.Insider's Oma Seddiq and Sonam Sheth wrote that it's the most significant arrest yet and marks the first time that federal prosecutors have brought sedition charges in connection to the Justice Department's sprawling investigation into the deadly January 6, 2021, Capitol siege.Adams said she was relieved to hear he was indicted, as she "lived in fear" of him showing up at her house."Knowing we were safe and my kids were safe and my kids' school doesn't have to worry, that was a relief I didn't know existed," she said.Adams told CNN host John Berman that she felt Rhodes was dangerous to her and her family, and the country."He is very dangerous. He lives very much in his own head," Adams said on CNN."He sees himself as a great leader. He almost has his own mythology of himself and I think he almost made it come true, seeing himself as some sort of figure in history, and it sort of happened.""He's a complete sociopath. He does not feel empathy for anyone around him at all," she added.Tasha Adams and Stewart Rhodes' divorce has been pending for more than three years.In April of last year, Adams set up a GoFundMe page asking for $30,000 in donations to fund their divorce."Though I can't talk about the details of my marriage here, I can tell you that it was likely about exactly what you're picturing, but probably quite a bit weirder," Adams wrote on the GoFundMe page.She also wrote that the process of divorcing her husband was difficult as he was someone who "commands their own private army."Rhodes, an Army veteran, founded the Oath Keepers in 2019. The far-right group recruits active and former military and law enforcement officers who swear an oath to defend the US Constitution.His arrest on Thursday marked the first time that federal prosecutors have brought sedition charges in connection to the events of January 6.Rhodes has said he was at the Capitol that day but did not enter the building, according to The Washington Post.Tasha Adams told CNN that she has been talking to the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, and said that she believed her husband "planned it very carefully."She said that she believed Rhodes had been calculating in his decision to not enter the Capitol building so that he would not be implicated."I see his fingerprints all over it," she said.Adams and Rhodes, who met in Las Vegas, married in 1994 and have six children together, according to Buzzfeed News.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Hamas claims it discovered a dolphin assassin sent by Israel. Experts say it"s plausible, but more likely propaganda.

A spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas in Gaza, claimed in a video that Israel trained a dolphin to kill Palestinian frogmen. A Hamas spokesperson released a video saying the militant group had discovered an Israeli killer dolphin.Hamas, Getty Images Hamas claims to have discovered a dolphin fitted with a gun-like device off the coast of the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the militant group alleged that Israel had trained it to target Palestinian combat divers. Experts told Insider that the claim should be viewed skeptically, even though dolphins are sometimes used by the military. A spokesman for the Palestinian Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed in a video on Monday that the militant group had discovered an Israeli assassin dolphin off the coast of the Gaza Strip.—Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) January 10, 2022The spokesperson alleged that Israel's military had trained the dolphin to chase and kill Hamas's frogmen, per the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds.The spokesman said that one Hamas fighter, Israel killed during the conflict in May, found a gun-like device attached to the aquatic mammal, The Jerusalem Post reported. He did not specify when the operation took place.Hamas claims to have found a gun-like device on the beak of a dolphin.Al-Qassam Brigades, HamasExperts told Insider that while dolphins can and have been used for military exercises, this most recent claim of a sea-faring assassin should be viewed with skepticism."Hamas has definitely put out a lot of propaganda and, if you like, not entirely honest media in the past," said HI Sutton, a defense analyst who writes for the US Naval Institute during an interview with Insider. "So there's always a chance that it's made up."'There's a propaganda war going on'Gervase Philips, a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, whose research focuses on animals in human conflict, told Insider he agrees."My own position is that, theoretically, this is possible, but I am very, very skeptical," he told Insider. "There's a propaganda war going on," Phillips said, agreeing with the notion that Hamas's claim should be questioned.This isn't the first time that Hamas has accused Israel of using dolphins to target them, offering scant evidence to back the claims.In 2015, it claimed to have captured a dolphin being used as an Israeli spy. Per Al-Quds, it was reportedly equipped with a spy camera and turned into a "murderer" by Israeli security forces. No photographic evidence of the alleged marine secret agent was ever released, according to BBC News.Other Arab nations have also accused Israel of using animals to target enemies. Hezbollah in Lebanon claimed to have captured Israeli spying eagles. In 2012, Sudan accused Israel of sending a vulture capable of espionage into the country.And in 2010, an Egyptian lawmaker proliferated a claim that Mossad was responsible for several shark attacks that occurred off the coast of the Sharm el-Sheikh resort.But while animal-related conspiracy theories about Israel might sound fantastical, it is a fact that some nations have used marine mammals in warfare.The US Navy has a marine mammal programThe US and Russian militaries have, historically, trained sea creatures. Little is known about the Soviet-era or modern Russian program, Phillips said, leading to "all kinds of rumors circulating," but the existence of the US Navy Marine Mammal (NMMP) Program is well-publicized.After the program became de-classified in the early 1990s, the public learned that the NMMP trains bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions to perform protection, mine detection, and object recovery. The US Navy insists that it has never trained marine mammals to attack people or ships because dolphins cannot discern between enemy and friendly vessels or divers.Phillips added that it is "impractical" — and potentially "catastrophic" — to use dolphins in murder missions because they have minds of their own."Behavioral scientists have this tendency to talk of animals as programmable platforms as if they were machines or a form of AI," he told Insider. "But they are not artificial — they are sentient creatures with a will of their own and there is always an element of the unpredictable about them."Sutton said that while the dolphins are unlikely to be doing the killing themselves, it is "not that far-fetched" to suggest that militaries could be using them to attach markers to targets with a view to them being captured or taken out by humans.The gun-like device, which the Hamas spokesperson showed in the video, is more likely "a marker buoy," said Sutton, but could also be "a pinger or an acoustic device.HI Sutton's model of the alleged gun-like device on a dolphin.HI Sutton, Covert ShoresIsrael has not publicly disclosed whether it has a marine mammal military program. The Israel Defense Forces did not respond to Insider's request for comment on the existence of the program or the alleged discovery of a killer dolphin.—Israel ישראל (@Israel) January 12, 2022But a tweet shared Wednesday on Israel's official Twitter account appears to make light of the situation. The tweet consisted solely of eight dolphin emojis.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

FedEx wants to put anti-missile lasers on some of its planes

The technology would directs infrared laser energy that disrupts heat-seeking missiles' ability to track an aircraft. Fedex DC-10Carlos Yudica/Shutterstock FedEx is looking to install anti-missile lasers on some of its jets, according to a proposal it sent to the FAA. The request, submitted for government approval back in 2019, is atypical for commercial and civilian planes. The FAA will hear public comment for 45 days before making its decision on allowing FedEx to adapt the tech. FedEx is looking to outfit some cargo planes with a unique protective measure — anti-missile laser technology.The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) said in a filing on Friday it is currently reviewing a request from FedEx to add infrared laser technology to some aircraft. The technology is designed to project a laser outside the plane that counters and disrupts a missile's heat-seeking capabilities."In recent years, in several incidents abroad, civilian aircraft were fired upon by man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS)," the FAA document reads. "This has led several companies to design and adapt systems like a laser-based missile-defense system for installation on civilian aircraft, to protect those aircraft against heat-seeking missiles."In 2003, a surface-to-air missile hit the left wing of an Airbus A330 operating for DHL just after takeoff from Baghdad, Iraq, but crew were able to escape unharmed. In 2014, a missile attack took out a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, killing 298 passengers.According to the filing, the tech will be adapted onto the Airbus Model A321-200 — a twin-engine, transportation jet with seating for 220 passengers. FedEx operates the worlds largest cargo air fleet, with more than 650 total planes, but it currently does not own or operate any A321-200 aircraft. FedEx did not respond to Insider's request for comment.The feature, which the FAA document described as "novel" and "unusual," is not typically seen on non-military aircraft. The FAA's current design standards are not able to accommodate this technology, the filing also said, and the agency has no basis to determine whether the system will perform as intended. "Infrared laser energy can pose a hazard to persons on the aircraft, on the ground, and another aircraft," the filing also said, citing several adverse affects on flight personnel and airport equipment. "The risk is high because infrared light is invisible to the human eye."Though the FAA and Department of Transportation made the filing public on Friday, the proposal was originally submitted by FedEx in October 2019."With the modifications on [the aircraft], the FAA keeps careful track of anything that is done to a jet that might impact its flight characteristics," said Richard Aboulafia, a managing director at Aerospace consulting firm AeroDynamic Advisory. FedEx could be looking at this as a one-off experiment, purchasing an A321 and testing the technology to see if it wants to add it to more of the company's fleet, Aboulafia told Insider. The company could also be planning on purchasing some A321 planes as part of a civil reserve aircraft fleet that the military could employ in hostile territories, he added.The US government and other civilian American airlines have looked into adding their similar countermeasures to civilian flights for nearly two decades, though high cost and low risk of domestic missile attacks eventually dissuaded them.Aviation regulators will spend 45 days hearing public comment it approves the infrared laser system.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Virginia"s 74th governor, reinvigorating Republicans after years of statewide losses

The governor — a political newcomer — led a successful statewide GOP ticket that includes Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares. Gov. Glenn Youngkin gives his inaugural speech at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on January 15, 2022.AP Photo/Julio Cortez Republican Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia's 74th governor on Saturday. Youngkin, a former private-equity executive, defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in November. The governor will face divided government, with a GOP-led House and a Democratic-controlled Senate. Glenn Youngkin was inaugurated as Virginia's 74th governor on Saturday, becoming the first Republican to occupy the Executive Mansion since 2014 and reinvigorating a state GOP that had suffered years of statewide losses.Youngkin — a 55-year-old former private-equity executive and first-time political candidate — took the oath of office on the south Portico of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond after defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe last November."No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor," Youngkin said during his speech, where he reaffirmed his commitment to eliminate the grocery tax and empower parents of public school students, issues that he ran on heavily during his campaign.He succeeded former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who was term-limited and ineligible to run for reelection.The newly-installed governor led a sweep of Republican statewide offices — with Winsome Sears becoming the Commonwealth's first Black female lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares as the first Latino attorney general in Virginia history — in a state that in recent years has leaned toward the Democratic Party.Before the 2021 fall elections, Republicans had not won a statewide election in the Commonwealth since 2009, when former state attorney general and then-gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell led the party to landslide victories up and down the ballot.Last year, the GOP faced a much different political landscape.The party ceded its majority in the House of Delegates in 2019 as Democrats reaffirmed their ascendancy in the state's suburban areas, which had long helped the GOP maintain power in the state legislature.In the 2020 election, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden easily defeated then-President Donald Trump by a 10-point margin (54%-44%) in Virginia, fueled by the Republican commander-in-chief's massive unpopularity in the Commonwealth's fast-growing suburban areas.Spectators watch the gubernatorial swearing-in of Glenn Youngkin at the State Capitol in Richmond.AP Photo/Julio CortezWhile many observers expected McAuliffe to cruise to victory against a Trumpian challenger last year, Republicans chose to nominate Youngkin — a relative unknown in most state political circles — in a ranked-choice voting system.Realizing that a full embrace of Trump's brand of politics was not politically tenable in blue-trending Virginia, Youngkin ran a race focused on education and the economy in an effort to to peel off swing voters who had fueled Democratic gains in the state. It worked.His strategy involved running against the teaching of critical race theory to students, despite the discipline not being instructed to children in the Commonwealth's K-12 public schools.Critical race theorists have examined how America's history of racism continue to reverberate through laws and policies that exist today, and Republicans — energized by Youngkin's new administration — are planning to employ it as a wedge issue in the 2022 midterm elections.Despite Republican exuberance about their newfound power in the state, they will face divided government. While Republicans were able to recapture the House of Delegates last fall, they control the chamber by a narrow 52-48 edge — and Democrats still control the state Senate, albeit by a slender 21-19 margin.And while Youngkin has named several prominent Virginians to his administration, tapping former US Office of Personnel Management director and ex-Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James as the next secretary of the commonwealth, along with former state attorney general Richard Cullen as his counselor, the governor hit a speedbump with legislative Democrats in naming former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler as the Commonwealth's secretary of natural resources.Wheeler, who led the EPA under Trump, has received a torrent of criticism from Democrats for his environmental policies, including the repeal of water protections that were implemented during the administration of former President Barack Obama.However, in a recent interview with Central Virginia-based VPM, Youngkin continued to back Wheeler, who will need to be confirmed by both houses of the Virginia legislature."Andrew is going to be on the Glenn Youngkin team," the governor said. "He is incredibly qualified."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Kamala Harris team looking to reboot her political trajectory after first-year stumbles: report

After having a schedule that featured a limited number of interviews, Vice President Harris has had a stronger media presence in recent weeks. Vice President Kamala Harris.SARAHBETH MANEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Advisors to Harris are seeking to reset her political trajectory, per a Washington Post report. Harris, the first female vice president, has endured a wave of reports about office dysfunction. In recent weeks, Harris has been a more visible presence at major events with President Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris' political team has put into place a number of changes in a concerted effort to boost her public reception and political future after hitting some turbulence in her first year in office, according to The Washington Post.Harris, a former California state attorney general and US senator, has had a meteoric rise on the national political scene, moving into the Naval Observatory only four years after she walked into the Senate Chamber in 2017.However, months after taking office last January, she faced a series of media reports about dysfunction in her office, coupled with news of stagnant approval ratings, which advisors and supporters feel have dampened the fortunes of the first female, first Black, and first Indian American vice president in American history.Now — nearly one year after the inauguration — there's a major effort for a successful reset by Harris' team.The vice president has brought on Jamal Simmons, a longtime Democratic analyst who been a staple on cable news programs, to become her communications director at a time when many have said her office has lacked consistent messaging on her duties and accomplishments.After stepping back from attending large events alongside President Joe Biden, Harris has become a more visible presence, as was evidenced at the signing of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in November and their joint appearance in Atlanta on Tuesday where they both pushed for the passage of voting-rights legislation that has stalled in Congress.And after having a schedule that featured a limited number of interviews with media figures, Harris has had a stronger television presence in recent weeks.As Democrats face political headwinds in maintaining their congressional majorities in 2022, the vice president is also set to become a familiar presence on the campaign trail — a relief to many who want to see her engaged with voters ahead of an expected 2024 Biden reelection campaign and a potential presidential run in 2028.This week's voting-rights speech in Atlanta was a harbinger of what will be a more substantive influence on public policy from Harris, especially for issues that are being closely watched by the American public.Before Biden spoke in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — key pieces of legislation that the party hopes to pass in the face of near-certain Republican filibusters in the Senate — Harris remarked on the bills and introduced the president."Years from now, our children and our grandchildren, they will ask us about this moment," she said during her speech. "They will look back on this time, and they will ask us not about how we felt — they will ask us what did we do."She continued: "We cannot tell them that we let a Senate rule stand in the way of our most fundamental freedom.  Instead, let us tell them that we stood together as people of conscience and courage."However, several challenges remain for the vice president as advisors seek to jumpstart her role.Vice President Kamala Harris speaks in front of President Joe Biden advocating for the passage of voting-rights legislation at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University on January 11, 2022.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky'She can't own voting rights'Harris has not yet announced a replacement for Symone Sanders, her former senior advisor and chief spokesperson who left the role in late December and was recently named as the host of a new weekend show on MSNBC.Last year, after Harris was tapped to focus on the causes of migration from Northern Triangle countries, Republicans lodged a series of attacks about the sharp increase in illegal border crossings and repeatedly asked her to visit the US-Mexico border. When the vice president traveled to El Paso, many Republicans still criticized her for not coming to the region sooner.A testy exchange with NBC's Lester Holt over visiting the border led some in the Biden administration to be "quietly perplexed" by her response — in which she also stated that she had not been to Europe as vice president — according to a CNN report.After the NBC interview, Harris reportedly viewed such engagements with caution and is attempting to put aside her previously "defensive posture," according to the Post report.While the vice president granted an interview with NBC's Craig Melvin earlier this week and forcefully advocated for the administration's voting-rights push in a manner that was pleasing to many Democrats, she was also grilled about the timetable for COVID-19 tests, which have been in short supply across the country with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.The Biden administration plans to make 500 million free tests available to Americans in the coming weeks. When asked if the tests could have been distributed sooner, Harris responded: "We are doing it."And some Harris backers are exasperated that Biden has given Harris thorny issues like immigration and voting rights, which will require a Herculean effort and a near-perfect set of circumstances to enact visible progress.Also, unlike Biden, Harris assumed the vice presidency without decades on Capitol Hill, lacking the contacts and deep relationships that her boss cultivated during his 36-year tenure representing Delaware in the Senate.According to the Post report, aides said that it has been hard for Harris to debunk the narrative that she is a difficult employer, especially with articles that have mentioned everything from "soul-destroying criticism" to longtime supporters feeling restricted in their access to the vice president.The New York Times reported last month that Harris privately told allies that she felt as though her media coverage would be "different" if she were a white male, noting her trailblazing status in the role and the high expectations that often come with such a distinction.Donna Brazile, a former chair of the Democratic National Committee and the campaign manager for former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, said that the issues tasked to Harris are complicated and can't be fit into a set timetable."She can't own voting rights. No one can own a century-long struggle that has defined the country," Brazile told The Post. "This is a huge assignment. It took a civil war, and then later a civil rights movement, to get us to where we stood prior to 2020. And it's going to take a lot more to get us further."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News