Sen. Tim Kaine says most recent version of spending bill is "dead" but "the core of the bill" will likely pass
"Even the White House economist is using the past tense when referring to Build Back Better. It's dead," CBS's Margaret Brennan told Sen. Tim Kaine. Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia campaigns for gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a rally in Richmond, VA on October 23, 2021. (Photo byRyan M. Kelly/AFP/Getty Images Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said there's hope the social and climate spending bill will pass. Kaine said while the current version of the bill is dead, core elements of it may still go through. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has opposed the passing of the bill. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine pushed back on the idea that President Joe Biden's social and climate spending bill is completely "dead."In a CBS "Face the Nation" interview with host Margaret Brennan, Kaine said while the most recent version of the measure is "dead," core elements of the bill could still pass. "Even the White House economist is using the past tense when referring to Build Back Better. It's dead. You don't have the votes in the Senate," Brennan told Kaine. "I don't agree with you, Margaret. You're right that it's dead. The most recent version of it is not going to happen but if you look at the core of the bill, I think the core is education and workforce and things like reduce childcare and education expenses, workforce training, and then support for the workforce in areas like health care," Kaine replied. The social spending bill faced numerous blows to getting passed as Sen. Joe Manchin has blocked support of it. Manchin said he opposed the sprawling $2 trillion legislation, mostly based on opposition to the expanded child tax credit, which provides up to $300 a month per child to most families. Manchin has also opposed the total price tag. Earlier this month, Manchin said he's no longer supporting his proposal of a $1.8 trillion plan after a breakdown in the negotiation process with Biden's administration.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
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.....»»
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.....»»
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.....»»
The behavior of retail traders is becoming a key focus of Wall Street fund managers, as the smart money is now tracking social-media posts to determine the sentiment of the crowd. read more.....»»
Sen. Mitt Romney says Biden was elected "to stop the crazy" and argues that voters weren"t asking him "to transform America"
"Things are not going well," Romney said of Biden's tenure. "And the president needs to stop and reset and say what is it he's trying to accomplish?" Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday said that President Joe Biden was not elected to "transform America." Romney said that people who backed Biden "were looking to get back to normal" and "stop the crazy." The senator said that Biden's latest voting-rights speech was not helpful in forging bipartisanship. Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday dinged President Joe Biden's governing approach, arguing that the veteran Democratic lawmaker was elected to restore a sense of normalcy to government and was not put into office to "transform" the country.During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," the Utah Republican — who was also the party's presidential nominee in 2012 — told host Chuck Todd that Biden has needed to adhere to his commitment to bridge partisan divisions in the country in the wake of the president's fiery voting-rights speech in Atlanta last week."President Biden said he was going to try to unite the country," the senator said. "His comments in Georgia did not suggest he's trying to pull us back together again."He continued: "He's got to recognize that when he was elected, people were not looking for him to transform America. They were looking to get back to normal. To stop the crazy. And it seems like we're continuing to see the kinds of policy and promotions that are not accepted by the American people."Romney's comments mirrored the sentiment of moderate Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, who said last November that voters didn't elect Biden to become the next Franklin D. Roosevelt in pushing for changes in government but to move away from the tumult of the administration of former President Donald Trump.For months, Democrats have sought to enact key voting-rights legislation — namely the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — in the face of the GOP blocking the bills in the Senate, along with opposition to a filibuster carve-out from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.In the evenly-divided Senate, Biden's most ambitious policy items — including the roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better social-spending bill that invests in health care, early education, and climate change — have faced a tough road to passage.Romney, who worked with Biden to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law last November, said that the president should push for a "reset" regarding his presidency, arguing that the Democrat has had "a bad year."The senator pointed to concerns surrounding inflation, the rise in illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border last year, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and logistical issues with Americans accessing COVID-19 testing kits as the Omicron variant spreads throughout the country. "Things are not going well," Romney said. "And the president needs to stop and reset and say what is it he's trying to accomplish?"He continued: "And if it's to try and transform America, he is not going to unite us. Bringing us together means finding a way to work on a bipartisan basis. He had one success, the infrastructure bill, and that was done by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate working together. Build on that kind of success."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Mother gives up baby for adoption and sues sperm donor for $2.8m after he lied about his education, nationality, and wife
The married woman from Tokyo, Japan, who had sex with the sperm donor ten times is now suing for $2.8 million for mental distress. A pregnant stomachGetty Images A woman in Japan has given up her baby to the state's care and filed a lawsuit against the sperm donor. Whilst pregnant, she learned the sperm donor lied about his education, nationality, and marital status. She has filed a 330 million yen ($2.86 million) lawsuit and is suing for emotional distress. A Japanese woman is giving up her child to the state and suing her sperm donor after he lied about his ethnicity and educational background.The woman, in her thirties, who lives in Tokyo with her husband and first-born child, had sex with the sperm donor ten times due to conceive a second child, after it came to light her husband had a hereditary disease, according to the Tokyo Shimbun. The donor told her he was Japanese, single, and a graduate of Kyoto University, one of the best universities in Japan. The woman, who has remained nameless in Japanese news reports, got pregnant in June 2019. However, during her pregnancy, she learned that the donor was, in fact, Chinese, went to a different university and was married. As a result, she decided she no longer wanted the child she had conceived with this man, but it was too late to terminate the pregnancy. After giving birth, she gave the child up to the state and last month filed a 330 million yen ($2.86 million) lawsuit against the sperm donor for emotional distress. Tokyo Shimbun reports that the woman said he tricked her for the sake of sexual gratification.The woman's lawyer spoke to Japanese broadcaster TBS News, stating that she is suffering from intense mental distress and sleep problems due to the sperm donor's misrepresentation. The lawyer said that the lawsuit is a way to prevent similar ordeals from happening in the future, taking aim at the thriving underground sperm donor industry in Japan. There are no laws in Japan to regulate sperm donation. That, and the fact that there is only one official sperm bank in Japan, has created a black market for sperm. Japan's one sperm donation center opened in June 2021, and only 12 hospitals nationwide that carry out artificial insemination procedures, reported The Telegraph. As a result, there is a thriving black market in sperm on social media and 10,000 children have been born from sperm obtained through these unofficial arrangements, according to media reports.The woman's choice to give up the baby has received much criticism, with child welfare worker Mizuho Sasaki telling Vice World News that it is "unacceptable to treat the child like an object, but I think it's better to leave the kid with someone who can be a good foster parent."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Online sleuths identified a Proud Boy at the Capitol riot by matching his face to an old photo of him modeling underwear, report says
A photo of a Proud Boy modeling underwear helped civilian investigators identify the Capitol rioter they dubbed the "RayBanTerrorist," per HuffPost. Alan Fischer is seen at the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.US District Court for the District of Columbia Online sleuths identified a Capitol rioter they dubbed "RayBanTerrorist," per HuffPost. The facial recognition hit led them to old modeling photos of Alan Fischer, 28, from Florida. Fischer was arrested and charged with assaulting federal police officers, among other offenses. A 28-year-old man who is accused of involvement in the January 6 insurrection with the Proud Boys was identified by social media detectives thanks, in part, to a photo of him modeling underwear on a catwalk, according to HuffPost.Alan Fischer III, also known as AJ Fischer, was arrested in Florida on Friday.He is charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding an officer, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and civil disorder, among other offenses, court records show.According to his arrest warrant affidavit, Fischer was seen in footage marching with the Proud Boys on January 6, 2021. Screenshots of videos included show him throwing traffic cones, chairs, and a pole towards a line of police.—#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) May 20, 2021 Social media detectives dubbed the man in the photos as the "RayBanTerrorist," due to the sunglasses he was wearing and set about trying to identify him by name.According to HuffPost, Fischer was no. 222 on the FBI's list of individuals most wanted in connection with the Capitol riot.Fischer had deleted much of his social media, the media outlet said. The online sleuths used facial recognition software to match an image of the so-called "RayBanTerrorist" to an Instagram post of Fischer featured in a local Tampa Bay newspaper.From there, they found more photos of Fischer, across different social media platforms, from during his days working as a model. A post shared by 3BBM (@threebbm) One image shows Fischer, who has distinctive tattoos on his arm, on a catwalk modeling black underwear with a gold pouch. —#SeditionHunters (@SeditionHunters) January 14, 2022Fischer's arms were covered in photos from the Capitol, but HuffPost reported that his tattoos were identifiable in a photo of him with a group of Proud Boys from December 2020.It is not known whether the work of the civilian investigators led directly to Fischer's arrest but, according to court documents, a witness at the Proud Boys' Florida events also helped identify him to them.Investigators were then able to link Fischer to a flight from Tampa to DC on January 4 by using a phone number believed to belong to a current or former girlfriend.Frank W. McDermott, Fischer's attorney, told Insider he was unable to comment on the case.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Trump claims he couldn"t have lost the 2020 presidential election because his Arizona rally boasted thousands of attendees and "had cars that stretch out for 25 miles"
"There's nobody that can see the end of this crowd," Trump told his supporters at a Saturday rally. "That's not somebody that lost an election." Former President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd prior to speaking at a "Save America" rally in Florence, Ariz., on January 15, 2022.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin Former President Trump on Saturday continued to raise doubt on his election loss to President Biden. During an Arizona rally, Trump pointed to the crowd size and heavy traffic to justify his opinion. Trump often uses rally figures to guage electoral success, despite them having no clear connection. Former President Donald Trump on Saturday bragged about the crowd size of an Arizona rally and pointed to heavy traffic leading into the event venue as evidence that he — and not President Joe Biden — won the 2020 election.Nearly a year after Trump departed the White House after losing his reelection bid to Biden, the former president continues to maintain that the election was fraudulent despite there being no evidence of mass irregularities and after repeated court losses by his campaign legal team.During his "Save America" rally in Florence — the first large-scale Trump-helmed public gathering of 2022 — the former commander-in-chief once again called the election "fake" before equating the breadth of his in-person rallies to the presidential election results."A person that comes here ... and has crowds that go further than any eye can see ... there's nobody that can see the end of this crowd," Trump told thousands of cheering supporters.He continued: "And has cars that stretch out for 25 miles. That's not somebody that lost an election, and now because of it, our country is being destroyed."While Trump sported his trademark "Make America Great Again" hat and spoke to roughly 15,000 supporters, per an Arizona Republic estimate, the former president went down a laundry list of grievances with the 2020 election and Biden's presidency, especially as it pertained to the state of the economy and the US-Mexico border.—Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) January 16, 2022The Republic also reported that traffic for the Florence rally "was backed up for more than an hour," with attendees waiting in lines that traversed from the front of the venue to a dirt parking lot.Trump has long equated crowd sizes to electoral support and frequently blasted Biden's scaled-down events during the presidential campaign, linking it to a lack of support for the then-Democratic nominee. Meanwhile, Biden — who had sought to adhere to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic — generally stuck with hosting outdoor events like drive-in rallies.Trump has teased a 2024 presidential run for almost a year, notably at the multiple rallies that he held in support of Republican candidates last year, and during the Saturday event.During a Fox News interview last November, Trump said that a final decision was still up in the air."I am certainly thinking about it and we'll see," he told the outlet at the time. "I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably will announce that after the midterms."Arizona was one of the hardest-fought states of the 2020 presidential election — and the longtime conservative stronghold will be hotly contested again in 2024 as well. Last year, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton in 1996 to win the state's electoral votes, edging out Trump by 10,457 votes out of nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
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.....»»
Dollar Tree customers say the decision to raise most prices to $1.25 left them feeling "sick to their stomachs"
Dollar Tree is attracting criticism from many loyal customers over its price hike. Some shoppers described it as a "calamity" to CNN. A Dollar Tree shopper in California.Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images Dollar Tree has drawn criticism from loyal shoppers following its recent price hikes, per CNN. Some shoppers described themselves as feeling "sick" over the new prices. The discount chain announced at the end of last year that most items would soon cost $1.25. Dollar Tree has drawn criticism from loyal customers over its recent price hike, CNN reported. According to the outlet, shoppers have been using various social-media platforms to express their feelings. One customer said they were "sick to my stomach" over the higher prices. Another referred to the change as a "calamity," per CNN. The discount chain made headlines last year after announcing that most of its $1 items would soon be sold for $1.25. It was the last of the major dollar store chains in the US to stand by its $1 commitment even as investors applied pressure for it to raise prices. Its CEO Michael Witynski said the new prices would allow the company to withstand rising supply chain and labor costs, which were eating into profit margins. But despite the reasoning, many customers remain unhappy.Some, according to CNN, have started calling the chain "$1.25 Tree" and suggested the store should change its name. Dollar Tree did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Leniza Costa, a beauty influencer and frequent customer from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, told the outlet: "I wish they wouldn't have done that because most of their shoppers are people who are not getting paid a lot of money."She added: "This is the worst time to increase the price, when everything else is so much."The chain store's increased prices signal the death of the traditional dollar-store concept in the US, which has existed for decades, Insider's Mary Hanbury reported.After WWII, Dollar Tree kept its prices at $1, unlike most other dollar stores, which hiked prices in line with inflation.At the time of the price-rise announcement, Witynski pledged that they wouldn't go higher than $1.25. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
A former top Obama economist throws cold water on the Biden administration"s favorite inflation argument: "Corporate greed is a bad theory"
Jason Furman also pushed back on Joe Manchin's case that Biden's big bill would worsen inflation, calling it "a bad reason" to oppose the measure. President Joe Biden.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images Jason Furman is among the economists who aren't buying the Biden administration's inflation argument. Biden has asserted that big companies have been making inflation worse by excessively raising prices. Republicans are hitting Biden for rising inflation, posing a fresh political problem for Biden. President Joe Biden has grappled for months soaring inflation under his watch. And as 2022 kicks off, it hasn't fallen as quickly as the administration hoped. White House officials long contended that the spike in consumer prices would be short-lived as the economy rebounded last year, but it hasn't played out like that. A federal report issued Wednesday showed prices rose a still-elevated 7% in December compared to a year ago, the fastest pace in nearly four decades.Supply chains are still broken with consumer demand surging for all types of goods like used cars and groceries. The Biden administration is pinning the blame for rising prices on corporations like meat processors for profiting off the pandemic. But many economists, including one that served in the Obama administration, aren't buying it."Corporate greed is a bad theory of inflation," Jason Furman, a former top economist for President Barack Obama, said in an interview, adding, "I think almost everything other than the Federal Reserve is a sideshow when it comes to the dynamics of inflation."Furman noted that demand outstripping supply is a far more important driver of inflation. "The main reason prices go up is companies are trying to make as much as they can, they just can't make enough to satisfy everything that people want," Furman, now a Harvard University professor, said. "When that happens, prices go up. If they didn't go up, we'd have worse shortages right now."Republicans are hammering Biden for rising prices, which poses a fresh political obstacle as Democrats try to safeguard their narrow Congressional majorities in this year's midterms. A Quinnipiac Poll University poll released Wednesday found that 54% of Americans believe the economy is getting worse."This crushing report shows Democrats' spending has pushed Bidenflation to achieve the highest prices in 40 years, killing family budgets and wiping out three years of wage gains," Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means panel, said in a Wednesday statement after the latest inflation data. The GOP has blamed the $1.9 trillion stimulus law for stoking inflation. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco published in October suggested its effects would be modest and brief. Other indicators like a falling unemployment rate and rising wages reflect an economy that's rebounding.The White House and many Democrats on Capitol Hill have touted the $2 trillion Build Back Better plan as a key measure to hold down everyday costs for Americans, including establishing new prescription drug price controls and new childcare subsidies.But Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia put a dagger into the package last month. Without him, Democrats can't muscle the plan through over unanimous GOP opposition in the 50-50 Senate.Manchin has signaled he won't revisit his position in the near future and has often cited inflation as a reason to pump the brakes on the social and climate spending bill. "Inflation is a concern for every American, especially in West Virginia," Manchin told Insider on Wednesday. "It's hitting us very hard."Furman pushed back against Manchin's argument. "I think inflation is a bad reason to not want to pass Build back Better," Furman said. "It's mostly paid for. It's a medium and long-term agenda and would have a negligible impact on inflation."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Psychedelic beer served at intimate dinner parties helped an ancient empire in the Andes rule for centuries, study finds
According to a new archaeological study, leaders of the Wari empire that ruled Peru added hallucinogenic seeds to beer to sustain political control. An archaeologist excavates for vilca seeds at the Quilcapampa site in Peru.Lisa Milosavljevic/Royal Ontario Museum A team of international archaeologists discovered 16 unground vilca seeds in southern Peru. According to a new study, the hallucinogenic seeds were added to molle beer and served at feasts. The drug-laced beers helped Wari leaders reinforce their power and build a sense of community. Beer laced with hallucinogenic drugs may have helped the rulers of an ancient, pre-Incan empire in South America maintain power for about 400 years, according to new archaeological research.The Wari Empire, which spanned across the highlands of modern-day Peru between circa 600 AD and 1000 AD, likely prospered thanks to the political allegiances forged while consuming the hallucinogenic beverage, the study in the Antiquity journal indicates. The potent mixture — a beer-like drink made from the drupes of molle trees and combined with psychotropic seeds — was likely a staple of intimate feasts that helped foster social relationships and reinforced elite positions in the Wari empire, the research said.An archeologist at the Quilcapampa site in Peru.Lisa Milosavljevic/Royal Ontario Museum."Feasts for millennia were used to cement political control in the Andes," said associate professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto Justin Jennings, who is an author of the study, in an email to Insider."The Wari innovation was to make a special kind of beer that could be linked to Wari statecraft," he added. "One that depended not on the massive festivals that would be recorded later among the Inca but instead on statecraft writ small in the form of something that was akin to a long, boozy, and likely quite a delightful dinner party."An international team of archaeologists from Peru, Canada, and the US came to this conclusion after excavating a site at Quilcapampa in Southern Peru where they discovered 16 vilca seeds.A team of international archaeologists excavated a site at Quilcapampa in Peru.GoogleThe study's authors said the seeds, which usually would have been ground into powder and added to molle beer, appear to have been lost while brewing the unique drink.Vilca seeds are still (rarely) used as a hallucinogen in ancient South America, per National Geographic, and promote an intense out-of-body experience similar to the ayahuasca drug. "It is a powerful drug when inhaled that's use quickly leads to blackout, vomiting, and visions," said one of the study's authors, Justin Jennings, in an email to Insider. "It's not a social drug."But when vilca seeds are combined with molle beer, as the Wari people are believed to have done, Jennings said the drug's impact is weakened and prolonged. "You know where you are and who you are with, but you also know you are not quite in the same place as when the event began," he explained.A vilca seed discovered at the Quilcapampa site in Peru.Lisa Milosavljevic/Royal Ontario Museum.Infusing molle beer made from berries with vilca seeds made for a "smoother, more enduring high" that could be enjoyed "collectively," Jennings said. It created a politically useful sense of "communitas," according to the study.These drug-laced beers also allowed Wari leaders to maintain their heightened status by offering a memorable, communal, and — most importantly — unique hallucinatory feast, the research said. The highly prized vilca seeds were likely an import from the southern coast, Jennings explained. A question that remains, Jennings told Insider, is why the Wari formula was not replicated by the Incan empire. "The beverage was still drunk on rare occasions in the Andes after, but was replaced by the mass production of maize beer," he said. "The Inca built off of other Wari innovations but chose a different path in regards to feasting, beer, and drugs. Why?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Meet a former probation officer who quit after 12 years because the "mental exhaustion and stress" became too much: "I needed to achieve some kind of level of happiness for myself"
Juan Antonio Sorto felt guilty leaving his job for fear of letting down his family. But after joining the Great Resignation, he's never been happier. SrdjanPav/Getty Images Juan Antonio Sorto, 36, worked as a probation officer for 12 years. Last year, the stress became too much, so he quit and joined the Great Resignation. He's fulfilled and happy in a new job, reflecting a trend of Americans looking for more out of their job. "Breaking Bad" helped Juan Antonio Sorto make the decision to quit his job.Sorto kept replaying a line in his head from the 2008 popular crime- and drug-filled show, in which Gustavo "Gus" Fring, played by actor Giancarlo Esposito, said: "A man provides. And he does it even when he's not appreciated, or respected, or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he's a man." As a Latino, Sorto says he could relate. Since birth, he says, Latino culture had instilled in him an ideal to provide for his family, be "the man of the house," and work through difficult circumstances. For all of his life, that's exactly what he's done. After moving to the US from El Salvador at the age of six, Sorto helped raise his younger sister while financially supporting her, his mother, and his grandmother.Juan Antonio Sorto, 36, with his sister and mother.Juan Antonio SortoNow, at the age of 36, things are different. His younger sister graduated from college and is financially independent. This alleviates the pressure on him to remain in the role he's filled for 12 years as a probation officer — even with the "Breaking Bad" scene on repeat in his mind. "Should I just quit my job and go with whatever life hands me, or should I be a man and stick it out no matter what?" Sorto told Insider. "With the 'Great Resignation,' it wasn't just about leaving my job. It was about family responsibility, so there's a sense of guilt there, too."The "Great Resignation" Sorto referred to is the growing trend of Americans quitting their jobs for better conditions. Over 38 million workers have quit their jobs in 2021 for better wages, improved working conditions, and health concerns caused by the pandemic, and the trend isn't showing any signs of slowing down. A year into his new job, Sorto has no regrets."I love the job that I'm at now," Sorto said. "It's the most stabilized and really meaningful job that I've had so far in terms of where I believe my life will be heading after I finish my Ph.D."'I couldn't enjoy my accomplishments because of the stress I was under'It took Sorto two years after graduating with a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice to get a job in that field as a probation officer in 2009. And while he was happy to be putting his degree to use, he said he stayed in the job for the "financial cushion" it provided — but he didn't feel fulfilled.As a probation officer, Sorto was given an intensive caseload in which he supervised domestic violence and sex offenders. The "mental exhaustion and stress" from the job became too much and he had to take a month of mental medical leave at 35."This is the kind of stuff that I would hear people in their sixties and their seventies talking about, but I'm 35 years old and I'm having to go to my doctor and ask for an excuse to leave for a month," Sorto said.As it turns out, that month off was just was Sorto needed. He found a nonprofit job doing community engagement in low-income neighborhoods, inspired by what he described as an impoverished upbringing in El Salvador. It also allowed him to put his Ph.D. in urban planning and community development to use."I couldn't enjoy my accomplishments because of the stress I was under," Sorto said. "I don't consider the past 12 years as a complete waste of time, but I told myself I would never be able to stay in that position without having to reevaluate my happiness every five years."Juan Antonio Sorto, 36, now works in community development.Juan Antonio SortoOver the course of the pandemic, millions of Americans have quit their jobs, and many have done so for the reasons Sorto described. After a record 4.5 million workers quit in November, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Insider's Juliana Kaplan that people are likely making the switch for three main reasons: they want better work, they're worried about COVID-19, and lack of childcare remains an issue for those who do not have remote jobs.It's also a trend that is sweeping social media. The tag #quitmyjob on TikTok is growing in popularity, with users posting about their reasons for participating in the Great Resignation, ranging from burnout to a desire to travel.After making the switch, Sorto said he's mentally in a much better place than he was a year ago. He finally feels like the struggles he had as a first-generation college student were worth it."I needed to achieve some kind of level of happiness for myself," Sorto said. "I was taking care of my family very comfortably, but it wasn't enough for me."Have you quit your job in the pursuit of better conditions? Share your story with Ayelet Sheffey at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Tsunami triggered by a huge volcanic eruption under the Pacific ocean left towns across Tonga damaged, say reports
The Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano eruption has left towns flooded and the capital Nuku'alofa clouded by plumes of thick volcanic ash. The underwater eruption near Tonga has flooded the islandBurak Arik/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Tonga Meteorological Services, Government of Tonga A massive undersea volcano eruption followed by a tsunami left Tonga flooded and covered in ash. No casualties have been reported on the island nation in the south Pacific. Seismologists say this is the biggest eruption from the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano. Tsunami waves have flooded the Pacific island nation of Tonga after an undersea volcano, the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano, erupted 40 miles from the island. Towns are now damaged by seawater, and the capital city Nuku'alofa is covered in 2cm of thick of thick volcanic ash, say reports.Aid agencies said the ash and smoke had prompted authorities to urge Tongans to wear masks and drink bottled water, Sky News reported.There have been no reports of any deaths or injuries. —Anaseini Ulakai (@fineutuvai) January 15, 2022 Dramatic footage on social media shows people scrambling to flee the tsunami as waves crashed ashore and into their homes. One Tongan resident, Mere Taufa, spoke to the New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz and said the eruption hit as her family was preparing for dinner."My first instinct was to take cover under the table. I grabbed my little sister and screamed at my parents and others in the house to do the same."Taufa said that, suddenly, water started filling her home."You could just hear screams everywhere, people screaming for safety, for everyone to get to higher ground," she said.—Jese Tuisinu (@JTuisinu) January 15, 2022 Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that he is "deeply concerned" for the people of Tonga and pledged the USA's support to the Pacific Island Nation. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said that "there's a lot we don't know" about the situation in Tonga, and that the New Zealand airforce will deliver water, food, and medical supplies. A map showing where Tonga is located in the South Pacific.Google Maps/InsiderA map showing where Tonga is located, in relation to the volcano.Google Maps/InsiderShe added that "Communication with Tonga remains very limited. And I know that is causing a huge amount of anxiety for the Tongan community here."She also confirmed that $500,000 NZD ($340,073.13 USD) has been made available for immediate needs in Tonga. The tsunami had an impact across the Pacific rim with high waves reported in Peru, New Zealand, and along the US west coast, as far north as Alaska.The eruption was one of the biggest in Tonga in the past 30 years, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. They added that, during the initial eight-minutes, the explosion was so violent it could be heard as "loud thunder sounds" in Fiji, more than 800km away.Speaking to Sky News, a seismologist at the British geological survey Roger Musson said that the undersea volcano had been active for many years, but that this was the "largest eruption it had produced." "There was an eruption of the same volcano about a year or so ago, but this one is seven times larger, which is really rather big" he added. Satellite images documenting the event showed a violent undersea eruption, with data from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center saying waves of 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) had been detected.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
A year after GameStop, Wall Street is still scared of the power of retail traders — and is tracking them closely
"When the GameStop rally occurred, and hedge funds lost $20 billion, I think it switched the light on," said one executive. The GameStop frenzy, powered by WallStreetBets, unnerved traditional investors in January 2021.Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Wall Street is still wary of the power of retail traders a year after the GameStop frenzy. Investors are following Twitter and Reddit sentiment in an effort to stay ahead of the curve. Trading desks inside top banks such as UBS are also keeping tabs on retail investors' activities. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Almost a year ago, traders up and down Wall Street couldn't believe what they were seeing. The prices of seemingly random unloved stocks were soaring by hundreds of percent, for no good reason.It soon became apparent that retail traders — that is, amateur investors — organizing themselves on the WallStreetBets Reddit forum were behind the huge run-ups. They were gunning for hedge funds that had been wagering against the down-on-their-luck companies, which became known as meme stocks.Video-game store GameStop was at the center of the storm, and its stock rocketed close to 2,000% in a matter of days. It was a disaster for investors betting on a sharp fall in the stock, who quickly racked up losses of around $20 billion. Gabe Plotkin's Melvin Capital hedge fund hasn't recovered since, and it was down 42% in 2021, according to Bloomberg.A year later, Wall Street remains wary of the power of retail traders, who can shift markets in a moment. But it's adapted to the new world, and many pro traders are even copying amateur investors' moves."When the GameStop rally occurred, and hedge funds lost $20 billion, I think it switched the light on among hedge funds, discretionary managers and professional investors that the power base can shift very quickly," Marina Goche, CEO of data company Sentifi, told Insider.Sentifi has just signed a deal to provide "alternative data" to top financial analytics company Morningstar. The company keeps track of hundreds of millions of messages across social media websites like Twitter and Reddit. It's looking for shifts in chatter that can help predict which companies or assets are about to soar or plummet.After GameStop, many pro investors look to Sentifi's data to help manage the risk that their investments are about to fall foul of a retail trading frenzy, Goche said. Hedge funds in particular have been getting in touch.Big players are getting in on the gameYet major players aren't just looking to defend themselves. They also see a chance to make money.At UBS, analysts have been monitoring retail trading activity, and in-house traders have been acting on the information. The investment bank directly tracks retail flows and volumes, analyzes options activity, and follows social-media sentiment to work out what the amateurs are up to."Investors should be paying attention to where that [retail] involvement has had some of the more outsized impacts," Keith Parker, head of US equity strategy at UBS, told Insider."For the most part, retail doesn't impact or traffic in tons of stocks. But the ones that they do, they tend to have pretty outsized influence. And so it does matter at the extremes."Read more: Here's how the world's leading private bankers for the ultra-rich advise a next-gen client base they say is the most aggressive and confident they've seenGoche said Sentifi's customers are interested in harnessing retail-trading momentum. She said Sentifi quickly picked up on Reddit interest in silver in 2021, and that clients jumped in to get ahead of the moves.However, although there were some murmurs throughout 2021, retail traders currently seem unlikely to latch onto another GameStop, AMC or Bed Bath & Beyond.Along with much of the rest of the market, retail investors were pivoting away from more volatile growth companies — think Tesla and Nvidia — toward so-called value stocks towards the end of last year, Parker and his team at UBS found.But Parker said Wall Street shouldn't expect the retail-trading phenomenon to die down any time soon, and suggested more surprises could be on the way. "It's important to track, [but] pretty difficult to predict," he said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
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.....»»
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.....»»
Virginia"s New AG Fires Civil Rights Division, Will Start Prosecuting Cases Dropped By "Social Justice" DAs
Virginia's New AG Fires Civil Rights Division, Will Start Prosecuting Cases Dropped By 'Social Justice' DAs Within hours of taking office, Virginia's newly sworn-in Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) cleaned house - firing dozens of lawyers, including those in the Civil Rights division - and announcing investigations into the Virginia Parole Board and Loudon County Public Schools. "I've been told incoming AG @JasonMiyaresVA just FIRED the entire civil rights division in the Attorney General's office," tweeted VA State Senator Louise Lucas. I've been told incoming AG @JasonMiyaresVA just FIRED the entire civil rights division in the Attorney General's office. My bill helped create and expand the authority that this division uses. — L. Louise Lucas (@SenLouiseLucas) January 14, 2022 According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Miyares notified around 30 staff members they're being let go - including 17 attorneys and 13 staff members. The attorneys include the solicitor general, Herring's deputies, and reportedly Helen Hardiman - an assistant AG who worked on housing discrimination. Miyares, who will take over Democratic AG Mark Herring, campaigned on a promise to pursue legislation that would enable state AGs to circumvent "social justice" attorneys who refuse to vigorously prosecute crimes. As Fox News noted in November, "Under current law, the AG's office can prosecute a case on behalf of a commonwealth's attorney – Virginia's version of a district attorney (DA) – so long as the DA requests it." "George Soros-backed commonwealth’s attorneys are not doing their jobs," said Miyares in May 2021 comments to the Arlington County Republican Committee. Liberal billionaire George Soros has repeatedly poured thousands into prosecutor's races in Virginia. In 2019, Soros provided a significant cash infusion to three winning progressive candidates, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in Arlington County (nearly $1 million from Soros); Buta Biberaj in Loudon County ($850,000 from Soros); and Steve Descano in Fairfax County ($600,000 from Soros). Soros spent about $200,000 in a prosecutor's race in Norfolk this year. His candidate went on to win the race. -Fox News When reached for comment, Miyares spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said: "During the campaign, it was made clear that now Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office," adding "We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past." In a Saturday statement just houtrs after Miyares and GOP Gov. Glenn Younkin were sworn in, he explained why he launched the investigations into the parole board and the school district. "One of the reasons Virginians get so fed up with government is the lack of transparency - and that’s a big issue here," he wrote. "The Virginia Parole Board broke the law when they let out murders, rapists, and cop killers early on their sentences without notifying the victims. Loudoun Country Public Schools covered up a sexual assault on school grounds for political gain, leading to an additional assault of a young girl." Loudoun County became a focal point in Youngkin’s gubernatorial race against former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe following the arrest of a 14-year-old male high school student, who identifies as nonbinary, who has been found guilty of raping a female student in a school bathroom. That student was transferred to another school where he allegedly raped another student and the district has been accused of covering up the crime which resulted in one of the alleged victim's parents being arrested at a school board meeting. The offending student has been placed on the sex offenders registry for life as part of his sentence. -Fox News Meanwhile, within hours of his inauguration, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 11 executive actions - including lifting the mask mandate in Virginia schools, and "ending divisive concepts, including critical race theory, in public education." As Terri Wu via the Epoch Times reports: He also signed an executive directive rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees. The 55-year-old former business executive, in his inauguration speech at Richmond, emphasized a “common path forward” with “our deep and abiding respect for individual freedom.” Youngkin vowed to strengthen and renew the “spirit of Virginia” associated with the history of the state as the home of American democracy. He credited Virginians with the spirit of tenacity, grit, and resilience. Youngkin said he was “ready to lead and serve, starting on day one,” and it would start in the classroom to get Virginia’s children “career and college ready.” The crowd of an estimated size of 6,000 burst into a loud cheer upon hearing from Youngkin that he would “remove politics from the classroom.” “Virginia is open for business,” Youngkin promised to create 400,000 new jobs and 10,000 new startups in the four years of his administration by reducing regulations and increasing job-related training. According to him, residents of the commonwealth will see the “largest tax rebate in Virginia’s history.” In addition, he promised to “fully fund” and “return respect to” law enforcement. ‘Hope’ and ‘Optimism’ Voters echoed the sentiment of “hope” and “optimism” highlighted in Youngkin’s speech. “I’m excited because we have somebody in here who’s willing to fight like we do, just on a higher level,” said Shirley Green, a public relations specialist, while waiting to join the inauguration ceremony. Improving the school system was the first step she wanted the new administration to take. And she was “optimistic” that the Youngkin administration would deliver their campaign promise because of their “humility” and “passion for Virginians.” Green grew up as a Democrat in the District of Columbia metropolitan area but became a conservative 13 years ago. She said she had found the Democratic Party having a different vision than “working for the people.” Shirley Green at the public entrance to the Capitol Square in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 15, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times) “I feel great. It’s a great day for Virginia,” said Joe. He and his wife attended the inauguration ceremony in “Youngkin vests,” the same style of fleece vests Youngkin often wore on his campaign trail. The couple owns a local safety business and prefers not to disclose their names. The previous Virginia administration “didn’t always take in consideration of the people” in its decision-making, said the wife. “Education is the number one concern,” she said, adding that parents among their employees and employees at their client organizations—Republicans, independents, and Democrats—voted for Youngkin “because of their concerns for their families.” Aiden Sheahan and Alyson Bucker with the University of Virginia were among a group of five college students and graduates who also attended the ceremony. They made phone calls and door-to-door visits for the Youngkin campaign. Sheahan said he saw “a lot of optimism” during the campaign; people had hopes that many things, including jobs, the standard of living, and policies, would change with the new governor. The group described the new Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears, a black American who immigrated from Jamaica, as “confident” and “powerful.” “She doesn’t use her skin color, her circumstances, or her identity to promote herself. She used her accomplishments, rather than something she cannot control, to promote herself,” added Matthew Carpenter, a recent college graduate from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Challenges from Day One The former executive who campaigned as a political outsider will face challenges working with a state legislature with divided party control, and some priorities facing deadlocks. The General Assembly session began on Jan. 12, with a newly empowered Republican majority (52–48) in the State House, and a Senate where Democrats still hold a 21–19 majority. In the next 60 days, lawmakers will review and adopt a two-year state budget proposed by former Governor Ralph Northam on Dec. 16. Youngkin has already said “the recognition of the need for tax cuts is understated” in Northam’s plan. The new Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert announced education, inflation, and public safety as Virginia House GOP’s agenda for 2022. By comparison, House Democrats’ “top priority is to protect the advances they made against Republican efforts to roll them back,” in three key areas: supporting public schools, keeping families healthy, and ensuring economic security for all. With a Democrat-controlled House and Senate in the past two years, former Democratic Governor Northam signed into law in 2020 a series of liberal measures, including increased gun control, lifting abortion restrictions, and relaxed voter requirements. “I think we have a Governor-elect who is going to come in and do something about some of our school problems, introduce our freedoms, and be more protective of law enforcement. And I think that gives us a lot of hope,” veteran Republican State Senator Steve Newman told ABC13 a day before the inauguration. An inaugural parade followed the ceremony. On Sunday, the three-day events will close with an open house at the governor’s mansion. Along with Youngkin, Winsome Sears was sworn in on Saturday as the Lieutenant Governor and Jason Miyares as the Attorney General. Sears will hold the tie-breaking vote in the State Senate. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 20:00.....»»
Hospital System Drops Race-Based COVID Treatment Policy After Lawsuit Threats Authored by Rick Moran via PJMedia.com, One of the largest hospital systems in the country is dropping its policy that counted race as a more important factor in determining COVID-19 treatment options than diabetes, obesity, asthma, and hypertension combined. This silliness was allowed at SSM Health, a nominally Catholic health system that operates 23 hospitals across Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. All hospital patients are “scored” as a means of triage in order to give those most in need priority treatment. SSM Health ignored the severity of a patient’s conditions in order to make race a weightier determining factor. Washington Free Beacon: SSM Health, a Catholic health system that operates 23 hospitals across Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, began using the scoring system last year to allocate scarce doses of Regeneron, the antibody cocktail that President Donald Trump credited for his recovery from COVID-19. A patient must score at least 20 points to qualify for the drug. The rubric gives three points to patients with diabetes, one for obesity, one for asthma, and one for hypertension, for a total of six points. Identifying as “Non-White or Hispanic” race, on the other hand, nets a patient seven points, regardless of age or underlying conditions. As an ignorant layman, I would ask why in God’s name this isn’t considered radically unethical. But apparently, unequal outcomes between races trumps ethics and common sense when treating illness. SSM Health gave a statement to the Free Beacon that denied using the race-based scoring system (they stopped using it last year). But they defended the practice anyway, stating that “early versions of risk calculators across the nation appropriately included race and gender criteria based on initial outcomes.” The way the scoring system was used in practice was astonishingly stupid. According to an internal memo obtained by the Free Beacon, the SSM scoring system was “based off the Utah Hospital Association and Utah Health Risk Stratification criteria,” which automatically gave two extra points to minority patients—the same amount as diabetes and obesity. The now-defunct rubric is much more radical, prioritizing healthy minorities over white patients with many of the largest risk factors for COVID-19. A 49-year-old white woman with hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and asthma would only get 19 points under the rubric, just shy of the 20 point threshold for antibody therapy. But a 50-year-old black woman with no underlying health conditions would receive 22 points, making her eligible. Was this really necessary? The radical left talking point is that people of color are dying of COVID-19 more often than white people (“racism,” of course), and unequal outcomes must be addressed in the name of “social justice.” Phooey. And while blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are more likely than whites to be hospitalized for COVID, they are less likely to die of it, according to a recent analysis of 4.3 million patients. Other studies have found that racial disparities in COVID outcomes disappear when researchers control for comorbidities and income. “Black race was not associated with higher in-hospital mortality than white race,” an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded, “after adjustment for differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics on admission.” A study of Maryland and District of Columbia hospitals likewise found no relationship between race and severe disease “after adjustment for clinical factors.” Dan Lennington, a lawyer for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, says, “It’s amazing that we even need to say it, but doctors should treat the individual patient, not the skin color.” Amen to that. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 20:30.....»»