Advertisements


Is Masking Kids At School Working?

Is Masking Kids At School Working? Authored by Ian Miller and Michael Betrus via The Brownstone Institute, Kids in California, New York, Illinois and a number of other states are required to wear face masks every day at school. Nearly 40% of school children nationwide are required to do so. Other states leave it up to local rules, which means about half the kids in the country are wearing face masks every day, social distancing, eating lunch outside, and performing athletics in masks.  Close to 30% of all schools are legally prevented from implementing mandates, or face pending legal challenges to restrictions, which means few in those states are imposing restrictions like we saw in 2020-2021. Below are those states with and without face mask requirements in schools. There are two things that would almost assuredly amaze most parents across the country. Many parents in states like California or Illinois with mask mandates would likely be shocked how normal school protocols are in Texas, Florida, Utah, Iowa and other states shown in dark green or orange. Those with school-aged children in the green states would be stunned to learn that those in blue are requiring kids to wear face masks in school, socially distance, and eat outside in the cold or rain. Some universities are requiring students to wear masks while on campus, even outdoors, including the University of Southern California and the University of Arizona. COVID-19 is currently surging all over the country. Fortunately, a combination of a less lethal variant, recovered immunity and vaccinations are preventing many from the highly serious conditions we have seen in the past. You can see below that positive tests have skyrocketed over the past few weeks. Why so many people who aren’t sick are waiting in long lines and panicking to buy at-home tests is the subject for another article, but it’s clear that millions are currently contracting COVID-19: In looking at the grouping of the states (CA/OR/WA/IL/NY/DE/MA/CT/NJ/MD/NV/NM/VA/RI) with required masking in schools compared to those without mask mandates (UT/FL/AZ/TX/OK/MO/IA/AR/TN/SC), where very few students are wearing them, we see nearly identical trends, and those with little to no masking have lower current case rates:  The proportion of pediatric positive tests is similar in all parts of the country right now, about 20% of all positive tests across the three 0-17 age groups shown below. This is about the same regardless of weather (seasonality) or restrictions: It made us wonder. Are the school restrictions in some states working? It’s not about cases; cases are really a product of community spread and how much testing we do. It is about sickness. Are more kids getting hospitalized for or with COVID-19 in the states with normal school protocols than those requiring face masks? We reached out to Josh Stevenson (@ifihadastick on Twitter), who has repeatedly produced amazing data analysis throughout the pandemic. Below is what he uncovered. This is an original compilation you won’t see anywhere else. For the states requiring masks, COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations are averaging 4.23 per 100,000 kids: For the states not allowing face mask mandates (or close to not requiring), COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations are averaging 4.90 per 100,000 kids: The hospitalization rate is nearly identical. There is no discernible difference between outcomes of infection or hospitalization for kids in communities where face masks are required in school and those where face coverings are optional. Kids should be in school with normal protocols. They should be in class without masks, without plexiglass dividers, socializing while they eat lunch and participating in sports without face masks. Logic clearly tells us this, and this data overwhelmingly proves there is no health benefit to requiring kids to wear face masks in school. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Crypto Options Suggest Bitcoin Bottom Is In As Hash Rate Hits Record High

Crypto Options Suggest Bitcoin Bottom Is In As Hash Rate Hits Record High.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Glenn Greenwald Exposes Deep State Effort To Stop Trump Pardoning Edward Snowden And Julian Assange

Glenn Greenwald Exposes Deep State Effort To Stop Trump Pardoning Edward Snowden And Julian Assange Authored by Adam Dick via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, There was much speculation toward the end of Donald Trump’s term as president of the United States that Trump would pardon Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, or both of these men who were responsible for exposing vast amounts of wrongdoing by the US government. But, it did not come to pass. Why? Glenn Greenwald, who played a key role in helping Snowden expose information about the US government’s mass surveillance programs and who advocated in public and behind the scenes that Trump pardon both men, has some interesting thoughts about that. The reason Trump failed to issue a pardon for either Snowden or Assange centers on the deep state trying to protect itself by placing Trump in jeopardy, suggested Greenwald last week in an episode of his System Update show. In a written introduction for the episode, Greenwald notes that Trump, while president, had both “raised the possibility that he might pardon Snowden” and was “actively considering a pardon for Assange.” Greenwald, in the introduction, zeros in on a recent interview of Trump by Candace Owens. In the interview, Trump stated he came “very close” to pardoning one of them but did not ultimately do so. Why? Trump said the reason was because Trump “was too nice” to issue the pardon. Greenwald isn’t buying that explanation. He writes: The question that obviously emerges from that answer: too nice to whom? To the U.S. security services — the CIA, NSA and FBI — which had spent four years doing everything possible to sabotage and undermine Trump and his presidency with their concoction of Russiagate and other leaks of false accusations to their corporate media allies? Too nice to the war-mongering servants of the military-industrial complex in the establishment wings of both parties who were the allies of those security services in attempting to derail Trump's America First foreign policy agenda? Too nice to John Brennan, James Clapper and Susan Rice, the Obama-era security officials most eager to see both Assange and Snowden rot in prison for life because they exposed Obama's spying crimes and the Democrats’ corruption in 2016? Trump's “I'm too nice” explanation is, shall we say, less than persuasive. In the System Update episode, Greenwald further explains that Trump’s enmity toward these deep state forces that helped lead Greenwald and many other individuals to think that Trump may issue the pardons: Now the argument for why President Trump not only should have pardoned Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, but why some of us believed there was a chance that he could didn't rely on the benevolence of President Trump. It relied on the fact that he knew better than anybody how deceitful and abusive and dangerous these agencies are. The agencies that were exposed by Snowden and Assange and the ones that were demanding that they be imprisoned forever. He knew, as well as anybody, the treachery and the illegal interference in our domestic politics because he was one of their targets. Yet, the pardons did not materialize. Why? Greenwald states that Greenwald “knew that Trump wanted to pardon Edward Snowden and had strongly considered pardoning Julian Assange.” But, continues Greenwald, Trump “got scared into pardoning neither of them for reasons I'm about to explain to you.” Greenwald then argues that ultimately Trump gave in to deep state pressure applied through Republican Senators’ threat to convict Trump on the impeachment brought against him in his final weeks in office. Says Greenwald: They were making very clear to him explicitly clear Republican senators like Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell that if you do any of those things that you are considering doing, pardoning Assange and Snowden, declassifying JFK files, declassifying other secrets that should have been declassified long ago because they're from decades old treachery on the part of the US government, we will vote to impeach you. They had this leverage the sword of Damocles hanging over his head…. “This is the story of why the deep state yet again got its way,” concludes Greenwald in his System Update episode, “even with a person in the White House who knows firsthand just how evil and destructive and toxic they are.” Watch the System Update episode, and read the introduction and transcript, here. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 18:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must?

Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must? Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, This gives an extreme advantage to those few who move first, long before they must. The financial advantage for first movers is equally extreme. Moving is a difficult decision, so we hesitate. But when the window to do so closes, it's too late. We always think we have all the time in the world to ponder, calculate and explore, and then things change and the options we once had are gone for good. Moving to a new locale is difficult for those of us who are well-established in the place we call home. Add in a house we love, jobs/work, kids in school, a parent living with us and all the emotional attachments to friends, extended family, colleagues and favorite haunts, and for many (and likely most) people, moving is out of the question. Many of us have fond memories of moving when we were in our late teens or early 20s--everything we owned fit in the backseat and trunk of a beaten up old car, and off we went. Once you put down roots in a home, work/enterprise, schools, neighborhood and networks, it's a herculean task to move. Moving to another state or province isn't just a matter of the physical movement of possessions and buying / renting a new dwelling, itself an arduous process; the transfer of medical and auto insurance, finding new dentists and doctors, opening local bank/credit union accounts, obtaining local business licenses and a staggering list of institutions and enterprises that require an address change is complicated and time-consuming. Knowing this, I don't ask this question lightly: Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must? The question is consequential because the window in which we still have options can slam shut with little warning. The origin of the question will be visible to those who have read my blog posts in 2021 on systemic fragility, our dependence on long, brittle supply chains, the vulnerabilities created by these dependencies and my polite (I hope) suggestions to fashion not just a Plan B for temporary disruptions but a Plan C for permanent disruptions. My new book Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States is a result of realities few are willing to face: the extreme inequality we now have in the U.S. leads to social collapse. That's the lesson of history. So to believe as if collapse is impossible is to ignore the evidence that social collapse is inevitable when inequality reaches extremes. Human and nature dynamics (HANDY): Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies. Social collapse has consequences, and so we have to ask: where do we want to be in the vast human herd when social order unravels? My new book also addresses the transition that's obvious but easily denied: we've transitioned from an era of abundance to an era of scarcity. There are many historical examples of what happens as scarcity diminishes living standards and puts increasing stress on individuals, families, communities and nations. There are ways to adapt to scarcity (that's the point of my book) but nation-states and the elites who run them are optimized for abundance, not scarcity, so they lack the means to adapt to scarcity. Their default setting to is keep pursuing a return to higher consumption ("growth") by increasingly extreme means--for example, printing trillions of dollars and giving it to wealthy elites and corporations, and printing additional trillions to give away as bread and circuses (stimulus) to the masses. There is no historical evidence that this vast, endless creation of currency is consequence-free or successful. This delusional pursuit of endless "growth" that is no longer possible due to resource depletion and soaring costs of extraction, transport, etc. also leads to collapse. This is the modern-day equivalent of squandering the last resources available on ever-more elaborate (and completely unproductive) temples in the hopes of appeasing the gods of "growth." As I also detail in the book, the status quo is fantastically wasteful and ineffective. It now takes 20-25 years to build a single bridge or tunnel, and each project is billions of dollars over budget, yet we're assured that the entire nation will seamlessly and painlessly transition away from hydrocarbon fuels to alternative energy in 20-25 years. Never mind that this would require building a new nuclear plant or equivalent every month for the next 20 years; skeptics are just naysayers. While a successful transition to a degrowth economy and society is certainly physically possible, the current status quo lacks the will, structure, leadership or desire to manage such a transition. While no one is entirely independent of long supply chains and energy-intensive industrial economies, the lower one's dependency and one's exposure to the risks of social disorder, the better off one will be. Put another way, the greater one's self-reliance and independence from global supply chains, the lower the impact should things break down. The closer one is to local sources of energy, fresh water, food, etc., the lower the likelihood of losing all access to these essentials. The wealthiest few hedge their risks by having one or more homes they can escape to if urban life breaks down. When risks rise, the wealthy start buying rural homes sight unseen for double the price locals paid a few months earlier. Here's the problem: roughly 81% of Americans live in urban zones (270 million people), and around 19% (60 million people) live in rural areas. About 31% of urban residents live in dense urban cores, about 25% live in suburban counties and the remaining 24% live in urban clusters and metropolitan areas--smaller cities, etc. Rural regions have plenty of land but relatively few dwellings due to the low population density. Much of the land is owned by government agencies, corporations or large landowners, so a relatively small percentage is available for housing. Many rural economies have stagnated for decades, so the housing stock has not grown by much and older homes have deteriorated due to being abandoned or poorly maintained. Few building contractors survived the stagnation and so finding crews to build a new home is also non-trivial. So when the wealthiest few rush out to buy second or third homes in desirable rural areas in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, etc., they find a very restricted supply of homes available. This generates a bidding war for the relatively few homes considered acceptable and prices skyrocket, pricing out locals who soon resent the wealthy newcomers' financial power and fear the inevitable rise of the political and commercial power their wealth can buy. (Cough, billgates, cough.) At present, few anticipate urban America becoming a dicey place to live and own a home. But inequality and the hollowing out of the economy by globalization and financialization has left cities entirely dependent on diesel fueled trucks to deliver virtually everything. This is also true of rural communities, of course, but some rural areas still produce energy and food, and given the lower population density, these communities are less dependent on global supply chains and are therefore more self-sufficient. Rural households have more opportunities to raise animals, grow vegetables, etc., and more opportunities to have supportive relationships with neighbors who actually produce something tangible and essential. Dependence is a matter of scale: if you can get by on 5 gallons of gasoline a month, you're much more likely to put your hands on enough fuel to get by than if you need a minimum of 50 gallons of fuel to survive. The same is true of food, fresh water and other essentials: the less you need, the more you supply yourself, the lower your vulnerability to supply disruptions. Lower population densities lend themselves to greater self-sufficiency / resilience and to community cohesion. Roving mobs are less likely to form simply because the low density makes such mobs difficult to assemble. As I explain in my book, social cohesion is a combination of civic virtue, shared purpose, agency (having a stake in the local economy and a say in decisions which affect everyone) and moral legitimacy, i.e. a community that isn't divided into a self-serving elite that owns the vast majority of the wealth, capital and political power and a relatively powerless majority (i.e. debt-serfs and tax donkeys). In my analysis, social cohesion in most urban zones has already eroded to the point of no return. The tattered remnants will crumble with one swift kick. The conventional view is the urban populace will continue to grow at the expense of rural regions, a trend that's been in place for hundreds of years. But this trend exactly parallels the rise of hydrocarbon energy. Large cities existed long before hydrocarbon energy, but these cities arose and fell depending on the availability of essential resources within reach. Imperial Rome, for example, likely had 1 million residents at the apex of its power, residents who were largely dependent on grain grown in North African colonies and shipped across the Mediterranean to Rome's port of Ostia. Once those wheat-exporting colonies were lost, Rome's population fell precipitously, reaching a nadir of perhaps 10,000 residents living amidst the ruins of a once great metropolis. More recently, economic and social shifts hollowed out many city cores in the 1970s as residents and jobs moved to the suburbs. A reversal of this trend in favor of small cities/towns and rural areas may already be gathering momentum under the radar. All this is abstract until the attractions of city living fade and economic vitality declines to the point of civic and financial bankruptcy. Cities have cycles of expansion, decay and decline just like societies and economies, and it behooves us to monitor the fragility, dependency and risk of the place we inhabit. At nadirs, homes and buildings that were once worth a fortune are abandoned, or their value drops to a fraction of its former value. Putting these dynamics together, the problem boils down to a systemic scarcity of housing in attractive, productive rural towns and regions and a massive oversupply of urban residents who may decide to move once urban zones unravel. Let's assume that a mere 5% of urban residents decamp for rural regions. Given that there are about 130 million households in the U.S. and 81% of that total is 105 million households, 5% is 5.25 million households. Given that the number of rural communities that have all the desirable characteristics is not that large, we can estimate that it might be difficult for even 500,000 urban households to relocate to their first choice, never mind 5 million. This gives an extreme advantage to those few who move first, long before they must. The financial advantage for first movers is equally extreme, as they can still sell their urban homes for a great deal more money than they will fetch once conditions deteriorate. (The value of homes can drop to zero, as Detroit has shown.) Those few who decide to join the early movers even though the difficulties are many have all the advantages. Those who wait until conditions slip off a cliff may find their once valuable home has lost most or all of its value and the communities they would have chosen are out of reach financially. Most people reckon they have plenty of time to act--decades, or at least many years. The problem with systemic fragility was aptly described by Seneca: "Increases are of sluggish growth but the way to ruin is rapid." My own expectation is a self-reinforcing unraveling that gathers momentum to breaking points by 2024-25, only a few years away. Rather than fix the systemic problems of inequality and scarcity, the status quo's expedient fixes (printing trillions out of thin air and hoping there will be no adverse consequences from distributing free money to financiers and bread and circuses) will only accelerate the unraveling. There may not be as much time as we think. New readers pondering these dynamics may find value in one of the more widely read of my essays, The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States (June 27, 2008) which discusses the importance of being a helpful and productive member of a tight-knit community and the futility of having an isolated "bug-out" cabin as Plan C. The vista of solid ground stretching endlessly to the horizon may turn out to be a mirage, and the cliff edge is closer than we imagine. *  *  * This essay was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and free website.. My new book is now available at a 20% discount this month: Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $8.95, print $20). If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 11:31.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Tesla Reportedly Asked Its Law Firm To Fire An Attorney Who Formerly Worked At The SEC

Tesla Reportedly Asked Its Law Firm To Fire An Attorney Who Formerly Worked At The SEC The Elon Musk regulatory saga plays on... The latest chapter in the story came this weekend when it was reported that a lawyer for Tesla once asked a law firm to fire one of its attorneys in order to keep doing business with Tesla. The attorney that Tesla wanted fired was a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who interviewed Elon Musk as part of the SEC's 2018 probe into Tesla, according to CNBC.  The 2018 investigation infamously led to a settlement wherein Musk and Tesla had to pay a $20 million fine each and wherein Musk had to step down as Tesla's chairman.  The firm, Cooley LLP, did not fire the lawyer.  As a result, Tesla has since moved to replace Cooley as counsel and SpaceX has also stopped working with the firm. Meanwhile, Tesla turned around and hired David Misler, a former trial attorney for the SEC, as its managing counsel.  The revelation comes just days after Musk was named Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2021.  "The richest man in the world does not own a house and has recently been selling off his fortune," Time crowed about Musk last month in their reasoning, talking about him "selling off his fortune" like he's giving away his money instead of cashing out of mysteriously overpriced Tesla stock. "He tosses satellites into orbit and harnesses the sun; he drives a car he created that uses no gas and barely needs a driver," Time wrote. Apparently, Time also didn't catch any recent videos of Teslas on Autopilot. Nor do they seem to understand that Tesla - speaking of regulators - is also in the midst of a sprawling 750,000+ vehicle federal investigation into Autopilot by the NHTSA.  But we digress... Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 12:01.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

Kremlin Alludes To "Possibility" Of Weapons Deployment To Ukraine

Kremlin Alludes To "Possibility" Of Weapons Deployment To Ukraine.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 16th, 2022Related News

We tried to get free at-home COVID tests on the first day they became available. We were not successful.

On January 15, insurance companies began covering tests sold at "preferred" pharmacies, but many of them don't have any tests in stock. "Save your receipt" is what the cashiers told us at Walgreens. Some insurance companies are partnering with "preferred" pharmacies to offer home test kits at no upfront cost.Aria Bendix, Hilary Brueck / Insider On Saturday, insurance companies were slated to start reimbursing at-home COVID-19 test kits — 8 tests per customer per month. We checked out how it worked in California and New York and found many pharmacies didn't have any tests in stock. The 2 stores that had tests didn't reimburse on the spot. On Saturday, the US government began requiring private insurance companies to cover the cost of 8 home COVID-19 test kits per person per month. But that doesn't mean you can necessarily pop down to your nearest pharmacy and get 8 free tests to go.We visited two pharmacies in New York and four in California on Saturday, and got different results at every place we went.We were unable to get any tests paid for upfront through our insurer, and ended up having to submit requests for reimbursement through the mail. "Preferred" pharmacies aren't supposed to charge upfront, but we were out of luck When the Department of Health and Human Services announced the new requirement on Monday, it stressed that the new rule "incentivizes insurers to cover these costs up front," so that consumers don't have to pay for their tests out of pocket. Instead, insurers are setting up some programs that allow people to get the over-the-counter tests directly through "preferred" pharmacies "with no out-of-pocket costs.""Most consumers with private health coverage can go online or to a pharmacy or store, buy a test, and either get it paid for up front by their health plan, or get reimbursed for the cost by submitting a claim to their plan," HHS said. The reality is that insurance companies may only have one "preferred" retailer at which you can receive free test kits with no out of pocket costs. Or, they may have none. For example, United Healthcare, the largest insurance company in the US, only reimburses tests upfront at Walmart Pharmacies. If you don't live near a Walmart Pharmacy, or decide to shop somewhere else, you have to pay for the test kit upfront, save your receipt, and submit it for reimbursement. The maximum allowed reimbursement is $12 per test ($24 for a 2-pack). But at two Walmart Pharmacies in California, the pharmacists weren't aware that a reimbursement program for United-insured customers existed. One of the pharmacists said the store's COVID-19 rapid tests had been sold out for weeks. The other store hadn't received any rapid test shipments in days. Anthem, another large US insurer, is allowing some members to order tests kits directly through their website, at no cost. But as for the federal reimbursement program, the company says its still "finalizing" the plans.Save your receiptInsurance is supposed to reimburse 8 tests a month starting Saturday, but it appears not to be an on-the-spot system.Hilary Brueck/InsiderJust one pharmacy that Insider visited on Saturday had heard of the federal reimbursement program.At a local, independent pharmacy in Brooklyn, the pharmacist said he was aware that the program was starting today, but had recieved no guidance or information about it, and was planning to inquire with insurance companies next week as to whether any might cover the tests upfront for their members at his store.A Duane Reade/Walgreens in New York recommended saving your receipt and submitting it to insurance.At a Walgreens in Orange County, California, the pharmacist recommended calling your insurance company. (The pharmacy had posted a sign saying at-home COVID-19 tests were out-of-stock, but a worker managed to find a handful of FlowFlex tests behind the counter. The tests are in such short supply that customers were limited to two per person.)An employee at a CVS in Orange County wasn't sure how to reimburse at-home tests, either. The store had a supply of 300 rapids tests as of 8 a.m. local time this morning, she said, but the tests had sold out within the hour. The store also hadn't received a shipment of Abbott's BinaxNOW, one of the most widely available rapid tests in the US, in roughly a month, the employee said. The real way to get a free test kitThe reporter at a Walmart in Orange County, California.Aria Bendix/Business InsiderIf you don't live near a "preferred" pharmacy and don't want to pay out of pocket for a test kit, there is a federal website coming online next Wednesday, COVIDtest.gov, which will send people free test kits through the mail.Households will be able to order up to 4 COVID-19 tests kits each, but beware they may take 1-2 weeks to be delivered, so it's best to order ahead.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Martin Luther King Jr."s family calls on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to "ensure that the Jim Crow filibuster does not stand in the way" of voting rights

In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Sinema reaffirmed her support for the filibuster, posing a roadblock to Democrats' voting rights legislation. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., arrives for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee markup in Dirksen Building on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images Relatives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched Saturday in Arizona.  They marched in support of expanding voting rights, a priority of Democrats.  Martin Luther King III called on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema "to urgently pass federal voting rights legislation." Family members of the civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.'s organized in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday to call on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to support efforts to expand voting rights.Martin Luther King III, the late civil rights leader's eldest son, was joined Saturday by his wife, Arndrea Waters King, and by his daughter, Yolanda Renee King. Several prominent lawmakers were also in attendance, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, and Rep. Joyce Beatty, an Ohio Democrat who serves as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, according to a press release from Deliver for Voting Rights."Arizona, in one sense, is near ground zero, I say near because unfortunately, there are 19 states that have passed regressive laws, including our own state of Georgia," King III told MSNBC's Vaughn Hillyard on Saturday ahead of the rally.He added: "And we believe that as it relates to getting this, these bills passed, that Senator Sinema has been one of the challenges. And so it made sense to come to Arizona. Some regressive laws, we feel, have been put in place that make it harder for people to vote."Ahead of the march Saturday, King III in a press release said the Saturday event was organized "to call on Senator Sinema to urgently pass federal voting rights legislation and ensure that the Jim Crow filibuster does not stand in the way," The Hill reported.After speeches, the King family led a march through the city of Phoenix, CNN journalist Sara Boxer reported on Twitter.—Sarah Boxer (@Sarah_Boxer) January 15, 2022 As Insider previously reported, Sinema, a Democrat representing Arizona, on Thursday took to the Senate floor reaffirmed her support for her support of the 60-vote threshold and her opposition to making changes to the Senate rules on a party-line basis.Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have called for the elimination of the filibuster to allow Democrats, who hold a narrow majority in the Senate, to pass key legislative priorities — like the expansion of voting rights — without interference from members of the GOP.House Democrats this week passed a pair of bills to advance voting rights. One of the bills is a sweeping voting-rights and democracy-reform bill while the other aims to refortify parts of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down or weakened by federal courts, Insider previously reported."These bills help treat the symptoms of the disease, but they do not fully address the disease itself," Sinema said on Thursday. "And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country. The debate over the Senate's 60-vote threshold shines a light on our broader challenges." King III earlier this week said history would remember Sinema "unkindly," Insider previously reported. "While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her 'optimism,' Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote," said Martin Luther King III in a statement. "She's siding with the legacy of Bull Connor and George Wallace instead of the legacy of my father and all those who fought to make real our democracy."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

British Government Used "Propagandistic" Fear Tactics To Scare Public Into Mass Compliance

British Government Used "Propagandistic" Fear Tactics To Scare Public Into Mass Compliance.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

The Great Omicron Sickout: Millions Of Unwell Americans Causing "Hellacious" Worker Shortages

The Great Omicron Sickout: Millions Of Unwell Americans Causing "Hellacious" Worker Shortages Record spikes in Covid-19 Omicron cases across the country are causing a nationwide worker "sickout," as businesses from airlines to grocery stores are suffering from disruptions, even though the new variant is markedly far less severe - yet far more transmissible - than prior strains. According to Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, the past few weeks have been "hellacious," adding that around 10% of his workforce, or 8,000 of his employees, have contracted the virus in the past month. The shortages contributed to over 2,200 canceled Delta flights since December 24. Although a precise count of the number of employees who are out sick or quarantining is hard to come by, about 5 million Americans could be isolating due to COVID-19 at the peak of Omicron, according to Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. That could reflect about 2% of the nation's workforce forced to stay home due to illness, he added. Some employers report taking a harder hit. Stew Leonard Jr., chief executive of supermarket chain Stew Leonard's, said about 8% of his staff was out sick or quarantining last week. That affects what shoppers find on store shelves. -CBS News "That's the highest we've ever had," said Leonard Jr. "What we are doing is the same as every other business — you have to limit your product line." "Like I talked with my bakery director, and she said, 'I make a great crumb cake, and I also make a great apple crumb cake, but when I'm short on people I'm not able to make the apple crumb cake.' You'll get crumb cake, just not the apple crumb cake." As we noted earlier this month, Omicron poses a major risk to Fed confidence about reaching maximum employment relatively soon. It's even more obvious now that the CDC's revised December quarantine guidance from 10 days to 5 days (as long as symptoms aren't getting worse) was likely to grapple with Omicron's impending wave of sick-outs. TD's Priya Misra predicted the pain - writing that the near certainty of the first rate hike in March is "very aggressive," adding that "the spike in infections should have a modest negative impact on the economy, and signs of slowing Q1 growth could be enough for the market to push out the start of the hiking cycle. This should help pull 2y yields lower in the near-term." And as BofA chief economis Ethan Harris pointed out, "the challenge with Omicron is the dramatically higher case load, adding that a quick back of the envelope calculation illustrates the kind of labor shortages this could trigger. Suppose that every infected person on average causes themselves and two other people to quarantine for five days. That means at the peak of omicron wave 30mn (= 2mn * 3 * 5) could be quarantined per day. Of course, many of these people either don’t work or can work from home. Roughly half of the population work and among them, according to a Gallup poll, about 30% always work in person. This suggests that 4.2 million (= 30 mil * 0.5 * 0.3) in-person workers per day will be absent due to quarantining. This number could be too high or too low, but a multi-million number seems very likely. As we wrote at the time: "These calculations underscore not only that the US labor market problem is about to get much, much worse, but that the well-advertised worker shortages in the airline industry are not an isolated problem. Generally speaking these absences will not show up in official estimates of labor supply—if you are home sick, you are still employed. Nonetheless, they add (temporarily) to the record 11 million job openings." At present, Covid cases are averaging nearly 1 million per day nationally based on a seven-day moving average reported by CBS News - the highest number since the pandemic began. The number is undoubtedly higher, of course, as milder Omicron symptoms combined with a shortage of testing means that cases are potentially vastly understated. That said, deaths have continued to remain remarkably low. Last week, one CEO of a consumer packaged goods company said that they were cutting production lines by 20% to adjust to the high numbers of absent workers, according to Consumer Brands Association spokeswoman, Andrea Woods, citing an off-the-record call. About 75% of consumer packaged goods companies in a recent survey said they had experienced an increase in absenteeism due to positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to someone with the virus, Woods added. -CBS News "We are still dealing with a massive driver shortage — 80,000 and counting — with one truck available for every 16 loads. Omicron only intensifies that problem," said Woods. "Absenteeism in warehouses is resulting in late shipments, and retailers don't have the employee base to restock shelves." That said, Omicron worker shortages may be over as quickly as they began... Jan. 13. Lower again pic.twitter.com/HngIA1SUfT — tae kim (@firstadopter) January 15, 2022 Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Teachers Across France Stage Mass Walkout Over Govt"s Ever-Changing COVID-19 Rules

Teachers Across France Stage Mass Walkout Over Govt's Ever-Changing COVID-19 Rules Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times, Teachers across France staged a mass walkout this week in protest over the government’s ever-changing COVID-19 rules for those working in the education sector which they say fail to protect both staff and students. The French Ministry of Education estimated that around 31 percent of all school teachers across the country took part in the strike on Thursday, 38 percent of whom worked in primary schools and nearly 24 percent in secondary schools. A statement from the Mayor of Paris’ office said that in the capital city, roughly 58 percent of the teaching staff took part in the strike, and around 200 schools were forced to close, although trade and teachers unions put those figures much higher, at 75 percent. The protests came as teachers across France are growing increasingly frustrated with the government’s ever-changing policies regarding the pandemic which has seen testing rules for children changed several times since the start of this year alone, oftentimes at the very last minute. On top of that, educators say the government’s approach to the pandemic is failing to protect children or ensure replacement cover for teachers who are falling ill with the coronavirus. Unions are also calling on the government to provide more protective FFP2 face masks for staff as well as carbon dioxide monitors in classrooms so that they can ensure that they are sufficiently ventilated, as per The Guardian. A protestor holds a placard reading “Exhausted directress” during a demonstration called by teachers’ unions to denounce new government measures against COVID-19, in Marseille, southern France, on Jan. 13, 2022. (Clement Mahoudeau/AFP via Getty Images) Despite a surge in virus cases in schools across France, which have reached record highs of close to 370,000 new daily cases, the government has so far kept classes open and required all pupils in contact with an infected person to get tested three times. “We had reached such a level of exasperation, tiredness, and anger that we didn’t have any other option but to organize a strike to send a strong message to the government,” union leader Elisabeth Allain-Moreno said. On Monday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the rules were changing yet again, telling  TV station France 2 that students would now be required to take three self-administered COVID-19 at home, which will be free, as opposed to having PCR or antigen tests and then two self-administered tests on day two and day four. “This will have an effect on the queues [outside pharmacies],” Castex said. Teachers and school personnel march during a demonstration called by teachers’ unions to denounce new government measures against COVID-19, in Marseille, southern France, on Jan. 13, 2022. (Clement Mahoudeau/AFP via Getty Images) But on Thursday, Snuipp-F.S.U., a leading union of elementary school personnel, criticized the government for allegedly updating the rules via the media as opposed to informing teachers beforehand. “The prime minister’s televised speech ignoring the demands of personnel has once again demonstrated government contempt amplifying their anger and their mobilization,” SUNipp-FSU said. “Once again, the protocol relief is announced in the media, and staff in schools must respond from this morning to family questions without any official instructions.” The union stressed that the mass protests were not “a strike against the virus” but illustrated the growing frustrations among teachers, noting that the lack of replacements for sick teachers is adding extra pressure on the education system. “Not only does the current protocol fail to protect students, staff, and their families but it also completely disorganizes the school,” SUNipp-FSU said. “Under current conditions, students cannot learn correctly.” France has seen dozens of protests in recent months over the strict measures that have been put in place across the nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has enforced a health pass, meaning that people have to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter restaurants, cafes, and bars, visit cinemas and use inter-regional trains. A waiter wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus serves customers at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, on July 12, 2021. (Michel Euler/AP Photo) However, the government wants to enact a law by the middle of this month which would drop that health pass and stop unvaccinated people from being able to enter hospitality venues, essentially banning unvaccinated people from public life. President Emmanuel Macron has been outspoken about his thoughts on those who refuse to get vaccinated and promised to make their lives miserable, which sparked backlash across the nation. “I’m not for pissing off the French … Now the unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so, we’re going to keep doing it, until the end. This is the strategy,” Macron said during an interview with Le Parisien earlier this month. Macron added that while he “won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison”, he “will make their lives more complicated and encourage people who refuse to get vaccinated to do so by “limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life.” “So we need to tell them—from Jan. 15, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema,” he said. France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world, with more than 90 percent of people aged 12 and older being fully vaccinated. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 10:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

South Dakota rapper charged in Capitol attack allgedly posted music video with footage from the riot: "I"m ready for war"

In one of his videos the rapper chanted, "Buck em all, fuck em all, it's a lost cause now" over footage from the Capitol insurrection. FBI A South Dakota rapper was charged with entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021, per the Associated Press. Billy Knutson posted a music video with footage from the attack on his YouTube page. "Buck em all, fuck em all, it's a lost cause now," he raps in the video. A South Dakota man charged in connection with the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot posted a music video rapping about the attack, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Billy Knutson was charged with four counts — including entering a restricted building and engaging in disruptive conduct in the Capitol building — according to a criminal complaint.Knutson's YouTube account, "Playboy The Beast - Official," contains several videos disparaging election results and endorsing right-wing ideologies, federal authorities allege in the complaint.In one video — "Patriots: Message To The World" — posted on April 30, 2021, the rapper chanted, "Buck em all, fuck em all, it's a lost cause now" over footage from the Capitol insurrection and with shots of him at a veterans memorial in North Carolina, per the criminal complaint.Knutson gives an ultimatum to police officers in his rap: "Are you gon' ride out with the people who really ridin' with you — all the law-abiding citizens out here backin' the blue — or the ones that wish you death and want to defund you?"The rapper said in the music video — which has more than 60,000 views — that he misses his freedom and that he's "ready for war." "We tried to be peaceful, did everything right. Several hundred rallies, didn't start a single fight, while BLM & Antifa out here lootin' every night — burnin' down entire cities, no law and order in sight," Knutson said in the music video. According to the FBI, Knutson was seen on video surveillance entering the Capitol through a broken window.Knutson will make a court appearance on January 20, according to court documents. It's unclear if he will plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A federal public defender for Knutson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.The breach on the Capitol last year stalled the vote-certification process of the 2020 presidential election for four hours. At least 753 people have been charged with involvement in the attack so far. The House of Representatives convened a bipartisan select committee to investigate the attack.The attack on the Capitol resulted in five deaths and hundreds of injuries.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

Conservative news channel One America News Network is losing its biggest TV provider

The satellite television provider is the network's biggest distributor and has aired the right-wing news channel since April 2017. A reporter with One America News Network works at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia.Drew Angerer/Getty Images DirecTV is dropping One America News from its service, a spokesperson for the TV provider confirmed. DirecTV is the network's biggest distributor and has aired the right-wing news channel since April 2017. OAN became known for being pro-Trump and spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and the 2020 election. DirecTV is dropping conservative media channel One America News Network from its selection of channels, a DirecTV spokesperson confirmed to Insider.The satellite television provider is the network's biggest distributor and has aired the right-wing news channel since April 2017.The provider is also dropping OAN's sister network — A Wealth of Entertainment — which are both subsidiaries of Herring Networks. "We informed Herring Networks that, following a routine internal review, we do not plan to enter into a new contract when our current agreement expires," a DirecTV spokesperson told Insider over email.Bloomberg first reported Friday that DirecTV would not renew its contract with Herring Networks after April. One America News also appears on TV provider Verizon Fios, online streaming service KlowdTV, and other smaller distributors, according to the network's website.OAN's YouTube channel was suspended in November 2020 for spreading misinformation on COVID-19, according to CBS News.The network became known for being pro-Trump and spreading misinformation, particularly on the election and the ongoing pandemic.Former President Donald Trump once called the channel one of his favorites, according to Bloomberg, and tweeted about it in 2020: "This is why @FoxNews daytime and weekend daytime have lost their ratings... Many great alternatives are forming & exist. Try @OANN & @newsmax, among others!"OANN and AWE did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

A misleading claim that the government is going to stop tracking COVID-19 deaths is going viral — even though it isn"t true

"You will be seeing *exactly the same death counts* you saw before unless you're a very specialized data analyst," one data journalist said. A medical worker in full PPE reads a message on a computer screen while with a patient who has covid-19 in a negative pressure room in the ICU ward at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on January 4, 2022.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images A viral claim falsely said the US government was no longer tracking COVID-19 deaths. In reality, HHS is no longer asking hospitals to report COVID-19 deaths. Most COVID-19 death counts rely on data from the CDC and local or state agencies, not HHS. A claim that the US government is going to stop tracking COVID-19 deaths is false, despite the fact that it's been reshared thousands of times on Twitter."BREAKING," one viral tweet said. "US Government to end daily COVID death reporting."The tweet then said the US Department of Health and Human Services will no longer require hospitals to report daily COVID-19 deaths to the agency. That part is true, according to guidance recently issued by HHS, but it does not affect the daily COVID-19 death counts that the vast majority of people have been consulting throughout the pandemic.Still, nearly 3,000 people had retweeted the tweet as of Friday evening. The tweet also racked up concerned replies, including one that said, "The US government doesn't want us to know how many of us are dying," which recieved more than 1,500 likes.Another popular reply said: "'If you don't test, there's fewer cases' has morphed into the even more horrible monstrosity of 'if you don't report deaths, they're not happening.'"Epidemiologists and data journalists on Twitter chimed in to debunk the claim that the US was no longer tracking deaths."Seriously this is so misleading, please stop spreading it," Erin Kissane, who cofounded The Atlantic's COVID Tracking Project, said in a tweet.Kissane said the daily death counts most people are following, like the one maintained by The New York Times, do not rely on or use data from HHS. She said those counts use data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or from local and state health authorities directly."You will be seeing *exactly the same death counts* you saw before unless you're a very specialized data analyst," Kissane said.Justin Feldman, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, also tweeted that the change in HHS data "doesn't affect the real-time covid death data that most of us ever see."Feldman said COVID-19 deaths are generally recorded when a death investigator, like a coroner or medical examiner, or sometimes a healthcare provider, reports it to the state's vital statistics office. The offices then report their numbers to the CDC, the media, and often on public-facing websites. He said this is where The Times' count comes from."It's also important to note that looking at covid deaths that occur in hospitals alone provides an incomplete picture. In 2020, about a third of covid deaths happened in places other than hospitals," Feldman added.He also said it's possible there are downsides to this change in HHS guidance to hospitals, but that it's not what some think it is.One physician, Dr. Jorge Caballero, said in a tweet the HHS data of in-hospital COVID-19 deaths provides "a surveillance indicator for US health care system stress, capacity, capability, and/or patient safety." He added that he didn't understand why HHS would stop requiring hospitals to report the data.HHS did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 15th, 2022Related News

UK In Crisis: Should COVID Claim Another Victim While Self-Righteous Wrath Sets The Tone?

UK In Crisis: Should COVID Claim Another Victim While Self-Righteous Wrath Sets The Tone? Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive.” Boris apologised – but is it too late? Resolving the innumerable crises facing the UK requires political focus, and less of the politically expedient indignation being displayed in parliament. It won’t make anything better, threatens further destabilisation, and diminish the UK’s global competitiveness..   The objective of the Morning Porridge is to connect the dots on markets – so let me ask the most pertinent question today: Would you be a buyer of UK plc? Probably not. The optics from Westminster look terrible. The prospects for the nation look even worse. Its situation normal: FUBAR! Coronavirus was a terrible and tragic event for innumerable families. Many people are justifiably angry having watched from afar as loved ones died alone. Yet, the events in parliament yesterday were a masterpiece of staged-managed faux indignation. The self-appointed Covid Truth and Reconciliation Committee has a whole list of names pricked, queued for the tumbril, and a terminal appointment on the Tower’s chopping board – like that is going to change anything… The problem is such grandstanding while the government is on the ropes doesn’t achieve much – except make a bad situation worse. While Boris flounders, we can forget any meaningful effort to deal with the impact of soaring Energy prices on consumers, addressing the insatiable appetite of the NHS for more and more cash to do less and less, and as for the perceived benefits of Brexit? Well, that’s a boat that’s already sailed…. None of the critical crises blighting an increasingly dysfunctional Blighty look likely to be fixed as government lurches from crisis to catastrophe. Every politician is looking to their own survival or advancement. Prime Minister in Waiting, Rishi Sunak, made sure he was out of London and singularly failed to post support for the PM. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives wisely put the boot in with the first call to resign – knowing Scots will love him for it. Et tu Brute? As new Tory MP spilloried the prime minister in the hope they might be able to hold on to “Red Wall” seats, something extraordinary happened in Parliament yesterday: Labour party leader Sir Kier Starmer looked almost competent and actually scored some telling blows. The latest polls say Labour is leading the Tories. There was a time that would have caused me to rejoice – but now? Years of Tory rule has shown them mired in scandal, disregard for rules, and arrogance. But Labour shows little sign of a becoming a credible government. Unless Boris goes against his grain and gives up, the reality is little is likely to change in the short-term. Next week we’ll see a civil servant’s report into the Tory Covid Parties. It might say a few damning things, apologies will be made, and that that will be it. What happens next will be “interesting”. It’s likely the government will lurch on from crisis to crisis for another 3 years. Boris may or may not fall. Who would really want to take on the reins of power ahead of local elections in May (where the Tories will be spanked), ahead of massive energy bills in Q2 (when the Tories will be blamed), and the possibility inflation plunges the UK into a stagflationary recession later this year? Who knows? Maybe Boris will remain – and maybe have learnt a lesson. Yet, improbable as it may seem, this morning I feel deeply sorry for Boris. Who would have thought a lifelong Labour voter like myself would ever say it… Whenever the opportunity presented itself, I’ve never hesitated to do Boris down, to lambast him for all his innumerable faults, and to repeatedly call him out for the way he’s diminished the office of Prime Minister. Boris makes us look stupid and that does not make Britain a better place.. But this business of the “summer party” at Downing Street? Come on. Is it worth breaking the nation on? Let it rest… Take off the Covid Indignation Goggles and think about it. The email sent to the 100 Downing Street Staff is entitled: Socially distanced drinks. It specifically says: “this evening”, “in the garden” and “bring your own booze”… That is not a planned party designed to mock the populace. I can pretty much imagine how it happened. Right through the pandemic staff worked around the clock in the complex of offices beneath the Downing Street residences. On a warm, balmy May evening.. probably as they were discussing easing covid restrictions, someone thought: “it’s a lovely evening… what’s wrong with a little Distanced Social moment with colleagues in the large spacious gardens out the back.” – the same guys they’d been sitting next to all day every day. Tell me you would not have done it yourself? We were all depressed about Covid Lockdowns back in May 2020 – and we all remember how wonderful the weather was as we celebrated VE Day. It cheered us up as we struggled with lockdown, doing our part by not mixing with strangers. And I am sure the majority of the staff who gathered 2 meters from each other in the Downing Street Garden felt the same way that day after work drinking the prosecco they’d bought from the newsagent next to Westminster tube station. I was probably that same week when my wife and I, and our son snuck out on my boat and spent a night moored up on a river elsewhere – out of sight and mind. It was maybe the same week I shared cheeky lagers sitting on the shore after I ran into a chum who works for a major institution while out for a walk. We all kept our moment very quiet and low-key, concerned some Corona-Nazi would report us, or create a stink. Worse things were done during the Pandemic. There was an almighty scandal in our village when a bunch of yummy-mummies managed to get themselves and their partners vaccinated right at the start of the programme – ahead of everyone else. If they’d kept it quiet no one would care, but they boasted about it. They were foolish to brag, but they were hardly evil incarnate – which is how Boris is now being painted. Lest we forget, Boris had a pretty bad time with Covid himself. Yes – Boris should have known better than to go to the “socially distanced gathering”, yes, he probably should have stopped it. But if we really want to hang and quarter Boris the Buffoon.. then stop and ask… “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” Boris is a complete Richard, but he’s what we’ve got… Have you looked at the alternatives? Sunak lacks experience, and there are questions to be asked. Javid is highly competent, but could he win? If not, and you really, really feel the need to hang Boris, I have one thing to say to you:  Yes, Prime Minister Gove..  Please…. No.. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 03:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 14th, 2022Related News

American Diplomats In Geneva, Paris Fall Victim To "Havana Syndrome"

American Diplomats In Geneva, Paris Fall Victim To "Havana Syndrome" More cases of 'Havana Syndrome' have just been reported at American embassies in Geneva and Paris, WSJ reports. Officials employed at both facilities have been afflicted by the neurological attacks, and at least one victim was evacuated back to the US for treatment. Like most prior reports on Havana Syndrome attacks, this one comes with a significant delay: the attacks were first reported internally last summer, and quickly made their way to the State Department back in Washington. At least three cases of the syndrome were reported in Geneva, and there was at least one in Paris, WSJ said, bringing the total number of Havana Syndrome victims to close to 200. While the Biden Administration's State Department insists on calling the attacks "anomalous health incidents," the CIA doesn't mince words. The "attacks" continue to befuddle America's best analysts. Nobody has a clear idea of what's causing them, or who might be behind it. Scientists have blamed crickets in Havana, and - as we mentioned above - those dastardly Russians. Yet, five years after the attacks started, the US appears no closer to the truth. These attacks began back in 2016 and 2017 when American and Canadian diplomats first reported symptoms while working at the American embassy in Havana. The first reports of the attacks didn't reach the press until months later. The State Department refused to comment on the latest attacks. But back in November, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the administration was "intently focused" on getting to the bottom of these incidents. His comments came after VP Kamala Harris had a flight to Vietnam delayed after an alleged incident of the mysterious syndrome. Havana Syndrome, which has alternatively been blamed on crickets, and Russia, is a mysterious phenomenon that has afflicted personnel - both spies and legitimate diplomats, according to media reports - at embassies around the world, including Cuba, China, Vietnam, Western Europe, South America and elsewhere. Symptoms include dizziness, cognitive difficulties, tinnitus, vertigo and trouble seeing, hearing and with balance. Elsewhere in Europe, cases have been reported in Serbia, Germany and Austria. The attacks have inflicted "profound" physiological and psychological harm to the victims, who have described hearing loss, debilitating headaches, and even some lasting brain damage, for those who have been targeted in these attacks. The Biden Administration has place a new man in charge of solving the mystery: Jonathan Moore, a career diplomat, was named the new head of the State Department's Health Incident Response task force back in November. Diplomats around the world better hope he's up to the job, because if this keeps up, working in an American embassy will become one of the world's most dangerous professions. And let's not forget: many of those who have been targeted were spies working not for the State Department, but the CIA. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 02:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 14th, 2022Related News

Did Chicago Punish Car Dealership Rocked By $1 Million Theft After Lightfoot Called Owner An "Idiot"?

Did Chicago Punish Car Dealership Rocked By $1 Million Theft After Lightfoot Called Owner An "Idiot"? Is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot using her office to enact political retribution against her critics within the city? It's starting to seem that way. Chicago's crime problem went from bad to worse last year as the city reported the most murders in a single year during any time in the last quarter century. But it's not just the violence that's becoming an impediment to businesses and real-estate values: thefts and robberies are also causing immense economic harm. Take the example of Gold Coast Exotic Motors. The car dealership doubles as a purveyor of high-priced jewelry. But on Dec. 11, the business was robbed and merchandise worth more than $1MM was taken. The merchandise taken included 8 luxury watches, according to the Daily Mail. Gold Coast's owner, Joe Perillo, met with Mayor Lightfoot in the days after the robbery. However, according to sources who were at the meeting, Mayor Lightfoot allegedly stormed out calling Perillo an "idiot" after he criticized her handling of crime as mayor, as well as her appointment of District Attorney Kim Foxx. Thefts in the city surged 51% last year. "It's only a fool who keeps doing things the same way and expects different results. If the Mayor and Kim Foxx don't do anything to get control of this, it's not going to get better. It's going to get worse," Perillo told local TV stations. "If they don't do anything about this, they're going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy's. They're losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store,' he added. Video of the robbery at Gold Coast was shared by the Daily Mail. Perillo said in an interview that the crooks were clearly well prepared. It took them only 30 seconds to pull off the heist. No arrests have been made, and police are still investigating. Lightfoot herself said: "It's not acceptable. We're aggressively going after these folks. I'm confident that we will find them. And fundamentally we've got to send a message that if you do this, you're gonna be held accountable." Unfortunately for Perillo, Lightfoot apparently didn't feel moved to spare his business from receiving a handful of expensive fines, which just so happened to be levied after the confrontation between Perillo and Lightfoot at his business. The city slapped Perillo's business with four tickets for six violations on Dec. 17. Two of the violations and one of the tickets were health-related. The citations were for employees and a customer not wearing face masks, "storing, receiving, possessing, selling nineteen bottles of liquor," and for "interfering with or obstructing the commissioner's designee in the performance of duties." That's just what Perillo's business needs right now. And unfortunately for Lightfoot, the notion that the citations were handed out as an act of revenge is all too believable following her latest skirmish with the Chicago Teacher's Union. Critics have blamed Lightfoot for dragging out the conflict for personal reasons, angered by the fact that the CTU didn't simply yield to her demands. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 21:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 13th, 2022Related News

Florida Family Fighting For Ivermectin: Appeals Court Expedites Case

Florida Family Fighting For Ivermectin: Appeals Court Expedites Case Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Florida’s First District Court of Appeal has expedited the process to decide a lawsuit filed by the family of a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator at a Jacksonville hospital. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against taking ivermectin for COVID-19, because it is "horse medication." However, ivermectin packaged for human use (as shown here) has been widely prescribed for decades for a range of maladies, including for treatment of lice, other parasites and viruses. (Nanette Holt/The Epoch Times) Attorneys for Mayo Clinic Florida have until 10 a.m. Jan. 13 to respond to the appeal filed by the family of 70-year-old Daniel Pisano. Then the family’s attorneys will have until Jan. 14 to file additional arguments. At that time, a three-panel judge could be appointed to decide the case. Mayo Clinic has said Pisano, who has been on a ventilator 22 days, has a slim chance of survival. But an outside doctor, who is not affiliated with Mayo Clinic, testified in an emergency hearing Dec. 30 that there’s still a good chance to save him—although there’s no time to delay, the physician said. Chris and Lauren Pisano (R) were elated when his parents Daniel and Claudia decided to move from North Carolina to Florida in early December, and bought a lot where they planned to build a home nearby to be close to their only two grandsons. (Courtesy of Chris Pisano) In a desperate attempt to save their loved one, the Pisano family has begged Mayo Clinic to try a protocol widely used by independent physicians around the country and developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance. Mayo Clinic officials have refused and attorneys have fought the family’s wishes vigorously in court. Claudia Pisano, Daniel Pisano’s wife of 51 years, and their son, Chris, have power of attorney and legally have the right to ask for the treatment of their choice, their attorneys have argued. But Daniel Pisano is declining fast and running out of time, they say. The family’s trusted doctor, Dr. Eduardo Balbona of Jacksonville, testified that in order to save him the hospital must quickly allow treatment—with ivermectin and other drugs and supplements—he’s used to help dozens of critically ill COVID-19 patients recover. Being on the ventilator is doing harm to Pisano and other patients fighting COVID-19, Balbona testified. After considering the testimony in the three-hour hearing, Judge Marianne Aho, of Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, denied the family’s plea to force Mayo Clinic doctors to step aside and let Balbona treat their dying loved one. Aho wrote, “An individual’s right to privacy is one of self-determination, the right to accept or refuse. It is not a right to demand a particular treatment. It is not a right to substitute one’s judgment as to which treatments must be made available by others. There is no right, constitutional or otherwise, of a patient to substitute one’s judgment for a medical professional.” The family disagrees saying the Florida Patient’s Bill of Rights gives them the right to choose between treatment options and they’ve offered to release Mayo Clinic from all liability in following through with that care. They filed an appeal Jan. 9. After Mayo Clinic submits a response by Jan. 13, attorneys for the family will have until 3 p.m. on Jan. 14 to add to their arguments. Meanwhile, on Jan. 12 Daniel Pisano clung to life in a drug-induced coma, on a ventilator, and on his sixth day of dialysis for kidneys that have shut down. Doctors monitoring his chart for the family through an online portal say his lab work suggests internal bleeding, says attorney Nick Whitney, of the AndersonGlenn law firm in Jacksonville. For days, Chris and Claudia Pisano have begged Mayo Clinic to do a CT scan to identify the cause of the bleeding. “Mayo has refused, saying the CT scan is not medically appropriate,” Whitney says. Mayo Clinic officials have not responded to requests for comment. Attorneys for the hospital have asked for their filings in the case be sealed from pubic view, citing privacy concerns. The Mayo Clinic logo at Mayo Clinic Square, Minneapolis, Minn., on June 24, 2018. (Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons) The family’s search to find a hospital able to take Daniel Pisano has led only to dead-ends, Whitney said. Still the Pisanos hope to continue raising money through donations to keep their legal fight going and to be able to pay$40,000 to $50,000 for air ambulance transport. As of Jan. 12, 142 donors had given more than $28,000 toward the effort. Since news of the case began spreading other families facing similar heartbreak have reached out to Whitney and to Jeff Childers, of Childers Law in Gainesville, another attorney on the Pisano legal team. And on Jan. 12, a patient was driving from Chicago to Florida to meet with Balbona. Whitney said it’s not easy for patients to find a doctor like Balbona willing to step up and make an alternative treatment plan for a patient hospitalized with COVID-19. And that’s the first step, he’s told those who have contacted him. Families desperate for help say they don’t know where to turn, he said. When they reach out for help through independent doctors, they’re told that the person can’t take on more cases, he added. “The bottleneck, in my opinion, is that physicians who are willing to do this are overwhelmed,” Whitney said. “There’s a need for intensive care physicians to come forward and say they’re willing to treat with ivermectin.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has posted strict warnings against using ivermectin to treat COVID-19. More than 90 peer-reviewed studies have been published, which supporters say demonstrates the drug’s efficacy at treating patients suffering from COVID-19. Claudia Pisano is fighting to try to save the life of her husband of 51 years, Daniel, by asking a judge to order Mayo Clinic to allow treatment with ivermectin. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano) Part of the frustration families face when they’re seeking alternative treatments for COVID-19 surrounds the Right to Try Act signed into law May 30, 2018. It gives patients access to some unapproved treatments, if they have been diagnosed with life-threatening diseases or conditions, have tried all approved treatment options, and are unable to participate in a clinical trial to access certain unapproved treatments, according to the FDA. But ivermectin and other drugs used as part of the FLCCC protocol for treating COVID-19 have already been approved by the FDA for some uses, so they don’t qualify to be used under the Right to Try Act. “Right to Try only applies to experimental medications,” says Childers. “It says nothing about FDA-approved meds like fluvoxamine, ivermectin, or hydroxychloroquine.” The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit American academic medical center employing more than 4,500 physicians and scientists and 58,400 other staff members across campuses in Florida, Minnesota, and Arizona. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 21:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 13th, 2022Related News

Retail Sales Preview: A Drop To End The Year, And It"s All Downhill From Here

Retail Sales Preview: A Drop To End The Year, And It's All Downhill From Here Now that even Blackrock is echoing our warning that central banks - powerless to fight supply-driven inflation - could hike right into a recession and beyond, the next question is what is the best leading or coincident indicator showing the state of the US economy. A good place to start is spending of the US consumer, responsible for 70% of US GDP, and a good indicator of that is retail sales, the same retail sales that have been running some 22% above trend from pre-covid levels even as payrolls remain dismally lower. Conveniently we get the next retail sales report tomorrow morning, where consensus expects to see sequential growth if modestly slowing, with the December print up just 0.1% down from a 0.3% increase in the previous month , and a 0.3% increase in core retail sales. Unfortunately for the Fed, and all those expecting the current burst of artificial, stimmy-driven growth to continue, the latest credit and debit card spending data from Bank of America suggest a far bigger slowdown in December retail sales: as summarized in the chart below, actual data shows a -1.3% drop in retail sales, a -1.6% drop in retail sales ex autos, and a -2.0% drop in retail sales ex-autos and gas. Another way of visualizing BofA card spending data overlaid with the Census Bureau's retail sales. Here is how BofA economist Anna Zhou described the latest retail sales dynamics: December sales were weighed down by the pulled forward holiday shopping, which was then negatively impacted in the SA process due to the large seasonal factors. Indeed, as shown in the chart below, December has the highest seasonal adjustment factor, meaning that while unadjusted data is likely to show a big drop, the final number will be all about what adjustment factor is used by the Census Bureau. Taking a step back, BofA writes that total card spending, measured by aggregated BAC credit and debit cards, increased an average of 19.5% on a 2-yr basis over the 8-weeks ending Jan 1st, in keeping with the top chart. Naturally, rising omicron cases continue to weigh on services spending. On a 2-yr basis, airlines spending dropped to -32%, the lowest since mid-Sep 2021. This was driven by a steep slowdown in spending at US carriers. Entertainment services spending also slipped further although restaurants spending rebounded slightly on a 2-yr basis. Meanwhile, although the pulled forward holiday shopping lowered the 2-yr %change of total card spending toward year end (15.0% for the 7-days ending Jan 1), the BofA economist notes that consumers likely "remained robust during the season finale of a strong year of spending." And indeed, while spending on goods remains solid, consumers are pulling back on services spending due to the surge in COVID cases. To wit, total airline spending contracted by 23% on a 2-yr basis for the 7-days ending Jan 1, the lowest reading since Oct 5 ‘21. BofA also saw a big pick up in refunds from US carriers during the last week of Dec, which likely reflects significant flight cancellations due to COVID-related staff shortages and severe weather. Broken down by major category on a sequential basis, we find the biggest increase in gas and lodging spending, offset by a sharp drop in spending on furniture, clothing and airlines. On a 2-year basis, big increases were observed in furniture spending (which however has tempered in recent months), gas and general merchandise, while declines in airlines and department store spending persist. A regional snapshot shows a relatively uniform distribution of spending across the US. Total spending broken down by major MSA also shows generally consistent patterns with the exception of Seattle where spending appears to have hit a brick wall into the new year. Interestingly, international spending seems to be less impacted as the share of brick and mortar retail spending done abroad surged to 1.3% during the last week of Dec, just shy of the 1.5% in 2019. Lastly, the BAC Holiday Sales Measure showed that holiday sales grew 11.7% yoy for the month of Nov and Dec combined, a far more muted pace of spending compared to mid and late-November In other words, while December spending will likely see a sequential slowdown largely due to Omicron, outsized seasonal adjustment factors may mitigate the decline. The bigger question is when will we start seeing a secular decline in spending, especially among the lower-income group. And indeed, this may already be the case: as the next chart shows, spending by the low income group (.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 13th, 2022Related News

Revenue At Goldman"s Commodity Desk Soars To Highest In A Decade, Setting Up Partners For Massive Bonuses

Revenue At Goldman's Commodity Desk Soars To Highest In A Decade, Setting Up Partners For Massive Bonuses It wasn't that long ago that many wondered if Goldman's commodity desk - once among the most powerful and profitable on Wall Street - would be quietly shut down as a result of sliding profits. Indeed, as we reported at the time, after a 75% plunge in commodity revenue at the vampire squid, which hit an all time low of less than $300 million in the year that saw the longest stretch of single-digit VIX prints on record, the future for Goldman's commodity team was bleak. GOLDMAN COMMODITY REVENUE SAID TO DROP 75% TO LOWEST ON RECORD: BBG — zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 16, 2018 So fast forward to today when we once again get a reminder of Goldman's striking ability to reinvent (and reinvigorate) itself, with Bloomberg reporting today that revenue at Goldman's commodity desk shot past $2.2 billion in the final months of 2021, "topping a windfall it generated in 2020 for its strongest performance in a decade" and adding credence to the revival of the trading desk which a decade ago regularly generated more than $3 billion in revenue. As Bloomberg details, Goldman’s energy traders have thrived on the wild ride of the post-covid era: "profiting in the months after outbreaks began as oil prices turned negative for the first time ever, and then benefiting again from power grid failures in the U.S. and the frenzied moves in European markets at the end of last year." The miraculous rebound means that Ed Emerson, the head of the desk who stuck around as peers and supportive bosses left before its turnaround, will be among the highest-paid partners at Goldman with a year end-bonus that could be in the tens of millions in a year of record profits for Goldman when some of the firm’s top performers will surpass $30 million, more than what the bank's CEO has earned in recent years. To be sure, Goldman's favorable view of commodities is hardly a surprise: the bank's in-house analyst Jeff Currie has been pounding the table with his view that dislocations around the world will create a commodities “supercycle” that lasts a decade (he rose to fame after predicting the China-driven boom of the 2000s and that decade’s surge in oil prices above $100 a barrel). Just this morning he published another note predicting that commodities are set for another year of outperformance. Whether he is right or not remains to be seen, but Currie's contagious commodities euphoria underscores a key shift on Wall Street: after years of malaise, commodities are once again drawing interest and investment as prices surge (especially when covered in a nice, fake ESG wrapper). To be sure the commodities unit had played starring roles in Goldman’s ups and downs for decades, ever since as Bloomberg reminds us, a broker in that business - J. Aron & Co. - enlisted the investment bank’s help to sell itself at the start of the 1980s. Goldman, spotting an opportunity to expand, offered to be the buyer, a transaction which paved the way for a group of commodities executives who would eventually run trading, investment management, human resources and even the whole company, with Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn rising to CEO and president and running the bank for decades. Indeed, it was Blankfein’s support for the commodities business that helped spare it from being dismantled during the industry’s long slump in the past decade. Here Bloomberg reports that as Blankfein prepared to hand off his CEO title in 2018, he unsuccessfully tried to persuade Isabelle Ealet to delay her exit as co-head of trading until the commodities desk, which she previously ran. And while other veterans of the group also headed for the exits as well, with Goldman's commodity co-chiefs departing within a matter of months, Ed Emerson, 45, found himself holding the top seat alone in 2019, right before the market’s turn. The Argentina-born, polo-playing Brit is described by colleagues as protective of his staff but also unerringly commercial -- a compliment in some Wall Street circles that emphasizes a focus on profits over niceties. In internal discussions, he’s known to relentlessly argue his views and sometimes butt heads with bosses. As Bloomberg reports, Emerson rose up through oil trading during an era of spectacular profits in the 2000s, a time when Goldman’s name commanded undisputed respect in those markets. His fate of Goldman's commodity desk was far less certain under Blankfein's successor, David Solomon who is a product of Goldman's dealmaking tradition not its trading group. When the veteran dealmaker took over from Blankfein in 2018, the team of colleagues David Solomon elevated sweated over the capital allocated to commodities, the paltry revenue it was generating and the miserable return on equity that might antagonize shareholders. It got so scary that several months in, Goldman's then new President John Waldron tried to reassure the commodities group that the firm wasn’t getting out of the business. Meanwhile, Emerson and senior executives campaigned to keep the core of its operations intact, making the case that its best years came in moments of tumult. Part of the idea was that if activity resumed, Goldman could be better positioned than rivals to capitalize. He was right, and while the ax never swung, the business instead found ways to cut costs and expand electronification, using a service dubbed e-Aron in an ode to the group’s roots. By 2019, the desk was on steadier footing. And then came Covid-19 when the bank thrived amid swings in oil and precious metals, especially with so many of its competitors lacking talent and depth in their own trading groups to satisfy frentic customers. Then last year, Goldman navigated turmoil in gas and power trading, capitalizing on price spikes in Europe that hurt many big energy consumers. And as Goldman's commodity group enjoyed a renaissance, the bank's shares soared 45% last year, their best annual performance since their post-crisis rebound in 2009 as the bank and its investment banks saw their earnings soar in the past two years, driven by flurries of investor trading and corporate dealmaking. Looking ahead, many expect a far more muted environment for Wall Street, but even if markets normalize and revenue from commodities shrinks anew, the Goldman commodity team has once again cemented itself as an integral part of the bank's trading arm. Whether that means that oil will surpass $100/barrell as the bank's clients follow Goldman's research analysts' bullish forecasts, remains to be seen. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 15:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: NYTJan 13th, 2022Related News