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"Greater Idaho" took one step closer to being a real thing this week, as 5 more counties have voted to secede from liberal Oregon in hopes of joining conservative Idaho.

The proposed new border for the Greater Idaho movement would see more than 70% of Oregon's land be incorporated into Idaho. A composite image of Oregon counties seeking to join Idaho. .....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 26th, 2021

"Greater Idaho" took one step closer to being a real thing this week, as 5 counties voted to secede from liberal Oregon in hopes of joining conservative Idaho.

The proposed new border for the Greater Idaho movement would see more than 70% of Oregon's land be incorporated into Idaho. Welcome .....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 25th, 2021

California"s recall election revealed dwindling Democratic support among Latino voters, but experts are mixed on what that means for future elections

Hispanic voters were among those who chose to keep Newsom, a Democrat, in office, but they did so at a smaller margin than in past elections. A guest listens as US President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Latino community leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House August 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images California's September 14 recall election saw Gov. Gavin Newsom retain statewide power with ease. The results show falling Democratic support among Hispanic voters, the state's largest voting bloc. But one expert warned exit polls lack some key nuances when it comes to analyzing the Latino vote. See more stories on Insider's business page. California Gov. Gavin Newsom easily kept his governorship in the September 14 statewide recall election, with several outlets, including Insider, calling the race less than an hour after polls closed across the state.But while Democrats in the solidly blue state are framing the decisive win as a mandate from the state's overwhelmingly liberal base, the voting behavior of a key demographic group has left some members of the party worried. Meanwhile, political junkies have latched on to exit polls and early voting data, hoping the numbers might provide insight into what upcoming elections could hold, not only for California, but for the US broadly. Hispanic voters constitute the largest voting bloc in California, and while they helped Newsom stave off a recall, they did so at a smaller margin than they have voted for Democrats in past elections. That assessment specifically applies to Latino men. According to an NBC News exit poll, Latinos voted in favor of Newsom and against the recall 60% to 40% - a slight decrease from 2018, in which Latino voters elected Newsom with 64% of the vote. The decline is part of a "consistent trend" in diminishing national Democratic support among Latinos, according to Ben Kaplan, CEO of TOP Data, a national political polling agency, who noted the group's dwindling approval began in the 2020 election when Trump overperformed with Latino voters. "An isolated incident, you don't put too much credence in it," he said. "But the trend now is definitely in that direction."The September 14 recall election was an important one, Kaplan argued, as one of the only real-world, post-2020 tests to provide insight into the 2022 midterms, where Latino voters across the country will play a significant role in deciding which party will take control of the HouseThe demographic has long been a reliable bloc of voters for Democrats, but overconfidence among elected officials in Hispanic support could explain the group's early-stage desertion."Anytime one party dominates, there is a tendency to take for granted your support and lump them in a bucket," Kaplan said."No group likes to be taken for granted, so we start seeing movement when that begins to happen," he added. When Newsom's victory looked significantly less certain earlier this summer, polling among Latino voters indicated a fairly even split over whether they wanted to keep the governor or kick him to the curb, Kaplan said. And while the Trumpian behavior of Newsom's main opponent, conservative radio host Larry Elder, helped the Democratic governor recoup the majority of his past Latino support, exit polls suggest his campaign did not succeed in recovering it all."I do think there is a lot of potential here for this to be a kind of new battleground in the state," Kaplan said of the brewing fight over Latinos' loyalty.But exit polls only go so farMuch of the immediate analysis of Latino voters' role in last week's election may be missing the specificity it deserves, according to Dorian Caal, director of civic engagement research at NALEO Education Fund, a nonprofit that supports Latino participation in the political process. "We need to be a lot more nuanced at how we're looking at the Latino vote," Caal said.A necessary first step is acknowledging the limitations of exit polls. Accounting for different methodologies, different elections, and margins of error reveal that Latino voters' support for Newsom in the recall was actually roughly the same as their support for the governor in the 2018 gubernatorial election, Caal said."Nothing really changed," he said. "Especially if we're using the marker of Newsom in 2018 versus the recall, nothing has really changed around the Latino community.""We have to be more cognizant of what the data is telling us," he added.Since the 2020 election, widespread interest in Latino voting habits has grown, playing a role in some of the narratives surrounding the demographic come election time, Caal said. And while understanding the Latino vote is important, doing so shouldn't come at the expense of genuine political engagement."We need to understand the Latino vote," Caal said. "We have to treat it as an important vote in the same way we need to engage the Latino community that has really not been engaged in many states."But Republicans hoping to win over Hispanic voters in the coming years would be wise to avoid Democrats' past mistakes."Politicians forget sometimes that a group isn't one monolithic group that thinks all the same way," Kaplan said. Latino Americans have an array of diverse origins and are continuing to grow more distinct as their share in the US population increases. Their ethnicities, cultural beliefs, and voting patterns vary. As Insider's Havovi Cooper reported following the 2020 election, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Cubans helped secure Florida for Trump, while Mexican-Americans in Arizona played a role in turning the state blue for only the second time since 1948. "We already knew the Latino community was a diverse community, and therefore we have to treat it as such," Caal said. "We have to understand the nuances that exist throughout the country, but also in states, where they can differ wildly."So what do the California recall results tell us about future elections? Not much - yet, according to Caal. As organizations conduct deeper analysis of the results, some key insight into forthcoming elections could eventually emerge, he said. "With future data, we'll see some more nuance," Caal said. "But we won't see dramatic differences."But even with Democrats likely retaining the support of Latinos in 2022, Kaplan warned the party should be wary of a waning depth of affinity among the group."I think what polls sometimes miss is the strength of support," he said. "You could say at a certain point that you support Newsom or the Democrat candidate, but how deep is that support?"Lukewarm Latino support for Newsom likely played a role in the 50-50 polling among Hispanic voters earlier in the summer, Kaplan said, and that ambivalence could factor into elections to come."What this bodes for 2022 and 2024, is that there tends to be Democratic support overall in the Latino community, but it might not be as deep as it once was," Kaplan said. "It's more tangible, it's more mutable, it's more often split."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

Stocks Slip This Week While Waiting for Stimulus

Stocks Slip This Week While Waiting for Stimulus The major indices pulled back this week as the market catches its breath after a record-setting run and wonders when Washington will agree on a stimulus package. The Dow crossed back over 30K on Friday after closing just under that mark yesterday. It gained 0.16% (or about 47 points) to 30,046.37. But the NASDAQ slipped 0.23% (or nearly 28 points) to 12,377.87, while the S&P declined 0.13% to 3663.46. For the week, the S&P was down 1% and the Dow was off 0.6%, which put an end to back-to-back weekly advances. The NASDAQ ended a three-week run by dipping 0.7% over the five days. The Senate passed a one-week government funding extension today, as did the House earlier this week. Assuming President Trump signs the measure, a government shutdown will be averted through Dec. 18. Unfortunately, that’s the only real progress that Capitol Hill has made this week. They appear to agree that something needs to get done while we wait for the vaccines to do their thing, but it’s only talk for now. The market hopes this extension will give them time to make it happen. We’ve been getting signs lately that the renewed restrictions amid rising coronavirus cases is having an economic impact. Most recently, the jobless claims soared past 800K for the first time in nearly two months, while falling well short of expectations and the previous week’s result. On Thursday, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine got one step closer to final approval when an FDA advisory panel recommended it for emergency use. Such news would’ve sent the market through the roof a few weeks ago.   And there’s the problem. All the positive vaccine news has been priced in, though the vaccine itself is still months away from normalizing our lives. In the meantime, the market needs a catalyst to keep moving higher after this record-setting run. Those folks in Washington are the best chance for that catalyst. Let’s hope it gets done next week. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Surprise Trader: Investors have always thought that the rising earnings in the RV space was unsustainable, but Dave believes its part of a paradigm shift. The upcoming quarterly report from Winnebago Industries (WGO) should be the latest example that this space isn’t a flash in the pan brought on by covid. The company has crushed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by double digits in the last two quarters and now has a positive Earnings ESP of 14.89% for the quarter coming before the bell next Friday, December 18. Furthermore, WGO is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a VGM score of “A” that’s part of a space in the top 2% of the Zacks Industry Rank. The editor added WGO on Friday with a 12.5% allocation, while also selling Jack in the Box (JACK) for a 5.8% return in just under a month. Read the full write-up for more. TAZR Trader: The past couple days have been pretty eventful for Inseego (INSG). This small-cap “pioneer” in 5G and intelligent IoT device-to-cloud solutions provider announced that its 5G MiFi M2000 mobile hotspot would now be available in Japan, which gives it a much bigger footprint worldwide. This comes a day after T-Mobile selected this as its first 5G hotspot. INSG soared 12.2% on Friday to become the top-performing stock among all ZU names. Infinera (INFN) also made the Top 5 movers list with a gain of 4.4%.  Value Investor: "Stocks are in a wait-and-see mode as Congress continues to dither about the aid package. "Somehow it managed to pass a 1-week extension on the budget to avoid a government shutdown but it's no closer to a coronavirus agreement even as the Dec 26 deadline for the end to unemployment looms. "There are many who believe they positively won't allow that deadline to pass without passing something, but I would remind you all that many thought the same thing about the late July deadline on the extra $600 a week. "Not only did Congress let the $600 a week expire but they haven't even given it a second thought. "Anything will be possible next week. This stock market will move on the headlines, once again." -- Tracey Ryniec Have a Great Weekend! Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

BTFD Arrives: Futures Rebound, Europe Surges While Asia Slumps On Evergrande Fears

BTFD Arrives: Futures Rebound, Europe Surges While Asia Slumps On Evergrande Fears Even though China was closed for a second day, and even though the Evergrande drama is nowhere closer to a resolution with a bond default imminent and with Beijing mute on how it will resolve the potential "Lehman moment" even as rating agency S&P chimed in saying a default is likely and it does not expect China’s government “to provide any direct support” to the privately owned developer, overnight the BTFD crew emerged in full force, and ramped futures amid growing speculation that Beijing will rescue the troubled developer... Algos about to go on a rampage — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 21, 2021 ... pushing spoos almost 100 points higher from their Monday lows, and European stock were solidly in the green - despite Asian stocks hitting a one-month low - as investors tried to shake off fears of contagion from a potential collapse of China’s Evergrande, although gains were capped by concerns the Federal Reserve could set out a timeline to taper its stimulus at its meeting tomorrow. The dollar dropped from a one-month high, Treasury yields rose and cryptos rebounded from yesterday's rout. To be sure, the "this is not a Lehman moment" crowed was out in full force, as indicated by this note from Mizuho analysts who wrote that “while street wisdom is that Evergrande is not a ‘Lehman risk’, it is by no stretch of the imagination any meaningful comfort. It could end up being China’s proverbial house of cards ... with cross-sector headwinds already felt in materials/commodities.” At 7:00 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were up 34.00 points, or 0.79% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis 110.25 points, or 0.73%, while futures tracking the Dow  jumped 0.97%, a day after the index tumbled 1.8% in its worst day since late-July,  suggesting a rebound in sentiment after concerns about contagion from China Evergrande Group’s upcoming default woes roiled markets Monday. Dip-buyers in the last hour of trading Monday helped the S&P 500 pare some losses, though the index still posted the biggest drop since May. The bounce also came after the S&P 500 dropped substantially below its 50-day moving average - which had served as a resilient floor for the index this year - on Monday, its first major breach in more than six months. Freeport-McMoRan mining stocks higher with a 3% jump, following a 3.2% plunge in the S&P mining index a day earlier as copper prices hit a one-month low. Interest rate-sensitive banking stocks also bounced, tracking a rise in Treasury yields. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: U.S.-listed Chinese stocks start to recover from Monday’s slump in premarket trading as the global selloff moderates. Alibaba (BABA US), Baidu (BIDU US), Nio (NIO US), Tencent Music (TME US)and Bilibili (BILI US) are among the gainers Verrica Pharma (VRCA US) plunges 30% in premarket trading after failing to get FDA approval for VP-102 for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum ReWalk Robotics (RWLK US) shares jump 43% in U.S. premarket trading amid a spike in volume in the stock. Being discussed on StockTwits Aprea Therapeutics gains 21% in U.S. premarket trading after the company reported complete remission in a bladder cancer patient in Phase 1/2 clinical trial of eprenetapopt in combination with pembrolizumab Lennar (LEN US) shares fell 3% in Monday postmarket trading after the homebuilder forecast 4Q new orders below analysts’ consensus hurt by unprecedented supply chain challenges ConocoPhillips (COP US) ticks higher in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to buy Shell’s  Permian Basin assets for $9.5 billion in cash, accelerating the consolidation of the largest U.S. oil patch SmileDirect (SDC US) slightly higher in premarket trading after it said on Monday that it plans to enter France with an initial location in Paris KAR Global (KAR US) shares fell 4.6% in post-market trading on Monday after the company withdrew is full-year financial outlook citing disruption caused by chip shortage Sportradar (SRAD US) shares jumped 4.5% in Monday postmarket trading, after the company said basketball legend Michael Jordan will serve as a special adviser to its board and also increase his investment in the sports betting and entertainment services provider, effective immediately Orbital Energy Group (OEG US) gained 6% postmarket Monday after a unit won a contract  to construct 1,910 miles of rural broadband network in Virginia. Terms were not disclosed “So much of this information is already known that we don’t think it will necessary set off a wave of problems,” John Bilton, head of global multi-asset strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg TV. “I’m more concerned about knock-on sentiment at a time when investor sentiment is a bit fragile. But when we look at the fundamentals -- the general growth, and direction in the wider economy -- we still feel reasonably confident that the situation will right itself.” Aside from worries over Evergrande’s ability to make good on $300 billion of liabilities, investors are also positioning for the two-day Fed meeting starting Tuesday, where policy makers are expected to start laying the groundwork for paring stimulus.  Europe's Stoxx 600 index climbed more than 1%, rebounding from the biggest slump in two months, with energy companies leading the advance and all industry sectors in the green. Royal Dutch Shell rose after the company offered shareholders a payout from the sale of shale oil fields. Universal Music Group BV shares soared in their stock market debut after being spun off from Vivendi SE. European airlines other travel-related stocks rise for a second day following the U.S. decision to soon allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they’re fully vaccinated against Covid-19; British Airways parent IAG soars as much as 6.9%, extending Monday’s 11% jump. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Stagecoach shares jump as much as 24% after the company confirmed it is in takeover talks with peer National Express. Shell climbs as much as 4.4% after selling its Permian Basin assets to ConocoPhillips for $9.5 billion. Bechtle gains as much as 4.3% after UBS initiated coverage at buy. Husqvarna tumbles as much as 9% after the company said it is suing Briggs & Stratton in the U.S. for failing to deliver sufficient lawn mower engines for the 2022 season. Kingfisher slides as much as 6.4% after the DIY retailer posted 1H results and forecast higher profits this fiscal year. The mood was decidedly more sour earlier in the session, when Asian stocks fell for a second day amid continued concerns over China’s property sector, with Japan leading regional declines as the market reopened after a holiday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.5%, headed for its lowest close since Aug. 30, with Alibaba and SoftBank the biggest drags. China Evergrande Group slid deeper in equity and credit markets Tuesday after S&P said the developer is on the brink of default. Markets in China, Taiwan and South Korea were closed for holidays. Worries over contagion risk from the Chinese developer’s debt problems and Beijing’s ongoing crackdowns, combined with concern over Federal Reserve tapering, sent global stocks tumbling Monday. The MSCI All-Country World Index fell 1.6%, the most since July 19. Japan’s stocks joined the selloff Tuesday as investor concerns grew over China’s real-estate sector as well as Federal Reserve tapering, with the Nikkei 225 sliding 2.2% - its biggest drop in three months, catching up with losses in global peers after a holiday - after a four-week rally boosted by expectations for favorable economic policies from a new government. Electronics makers were the biggest drag on the Topix, which declined 1.7%. SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing were the largest contributors to a 2.2% loss in the Nikkei 225. Japanese stocks with high China exposure including Toto and Nippon Paint also dropped. “The outsized reaction in global markets may be a function of having too many uncertainties bunched into this period,” Eugene Leow, a macro strategist at DBS Bank Ltd., wrote in a note. “It probably does not help that risk taking (especially in equities) has gone on for an extended period and may be vulnerable to a correction.” “The proportion of Japan’s exports to China is greater than those to the U.S. or Europe, making it sensitive to any slowdown worries in the Chinese economy,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a senior strategist at Nomura Asset Management in Tokyo. “The stock market has yet to fully price in the possibility of a bankruptcy by Evergrande Group.” The Nikkei 225 has been the best-performing major stock gauge in the world this month, up 6.2%, buoyed by expectations for favorable policies from a new government and an inflow of foreign cash. The Topix is up 5.3% so far in September. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower and the greenback fell versus most of its Group-of-10 peers as a selloff in global stocks over the past two sessions abated; the euro hovered while commodity currencies led by the Norwegian krone were the best performers amid an advance in crude oil prices. Sweden’s krona was little changed after the Riksbank steered clear of signaling any post-pandemic tightening, as it remains unconvinced that a recent surge in inflation will last. The pound bucked a three-day losing streak as global risk appetite revived, while investors look to Thursday’s Bank of England meeting for policy clues. The yen erased earlier gains as signs that risk appetite is stabilizing damped demand for haven assets. At the same time, losses were capped due to uncertainty over China’s handling of the Evergrande debt crisis. In rates, Treasuries were lower, although off worst levels of the day as U.S. stock futures recover around half of Monday’s losses while European equities trade with a strong bid tone. Yields are cheaper by up to 2.5bp across long-end of the curve, steepening 5s30s spread by 1.2bp; 10-year yields around 1.3226%, cheaper by 1.5bp on the day, lagging bunds and gilts by 1bp-2bp. The long-end of the curve lags ahead of $24b 20-year bond reopening. Treasury will auction $24b 20-year bonds in first reopening at 1pm ET; WI yield ~1.82% is below auction stops since January and ~3bp richer than last month’s new-issue result In commodities, crude futures rose, with the front month WTI up 1.5% near $71.50. Brent stalls near $75. Spot gold trades a narrow range near $1,765/oz. Base metals are mostly in the green with LME aluminum the best performer Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases include US housing starts and building permits for August, along with the UK public finances for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos. Otherwise, the General Debate will begin at the UN General Assembly, and the OECD publishes their Interim Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.0% to 4,392.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 459.10 MXAP down 0.5% to 200.25 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 640.31 Nikkei down 2.2% to 29,839.71 Topix down 1.7% to 2,064.55 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 24,221.54 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,613.97 Sensex up 0.4% to 58,751.30 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,273.83 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,140.51 Brent Futures up 1.6% to $75.13/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,761.68 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.19 German 10Y yield fell 5.0 bps to -0.304% Euro little changed at $1.1729 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Lael Brainard is a leading candidate to be the Federal Reserve’s banking watchdog and is also being discussed for more prominent Biden administration appointments, including to replace Fed chairman Jerome Powell and, potentially, for Treasury secretary if Janet Yellen leaves Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will this week face the challenge of convincing investors that plans to scale back asset purchases aren’t a runway to raising interest rates for the first time since 2018 ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos says there is “good news” with respect to the euro-area recovery after a strong development in the second and third quarter The ECB is likely to continue purchasing junk-rated Greek sovereign debt even after the pandemic crisis has passed, according to Governing Council member and Greek central bank chief Yannis Stournaras U.K. government borrowing was well below official forecasts in the first five months of the fiscal year, providing a fillip for Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak as he prepares for a review of tax and spending next month U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warned the next few days will be challenging as the energy crisis deepens, and meat producers struggle with a crunch in carbon dioxide supplies The U.K.’s green bond debut broke demand records for the nation’s debt as investors leaped on the long-anticipated sterling asset. The nation is offering a green bond maturing in 2033 via banks on Tuesday at 7.5 basis points over the June 2032 gilt. It has not given an exact size target for the sale, which has attracted a record of more than 90 billion pounds ($123 billion) in orders Germany cut planned debt sales in the fourth quarter by 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion), suggesting the surge in borrowing triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is receding Contagion from China Evergrande Group has started to engulf even safer debt in Asia, sparking the worst sustained selloff of the securities since April. Premiums on Asian investment-grade dollar bonds widened 2-3 basis points Tuesday, according to credit traders, after a jump of 3.4 basis points on Monday Swiss National Bank policy makers watching the effects of negative interest rates on the economy are worrying about the real-estate bubble that their policy is helping to foster Global central banks need to set out clear strategies for coping with inflation risks as the world economy experiences faster-than-expected cost increases amid an uneven recovery from the pandemic, the OECD said A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded cautiously following the recent downbeat global risk appetite due to Evergrande contagion concerns which resulted in the worst day for Wall Street since May, with the region also contending with holiday-thinned conditions due to the ongoing closures in China, South Korea and Taiwan. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was indecisive with a rebound in the mining-related sectors counterbalanced by underperformance in utilities, financials and tech, while there were also reports that the Byron Bay area in New South Wales will be subject to a seven-day lockdown from this evening. Nikkei 225 (-1.8%) was heavily pressured and relinquished the 30k status as it played catch up to the contagion downturn on return from the extended weekend with recent detrimental currency inflows also contributing to the losses for exporters. Hang Seng (-0.3%) was choppy amid the continued absence of mainland participants with markets second-guessing whether Chinese authorities will intervene in the event of an Evergrande collapse, while shares in the world’s most indebted developer fluctuated and wiped out an early rebound, although affiliate Evergrande Property Services and other property names fared better after Sun Hung Kai disputed reports of China pressuring Hong Kong developers and with Guangzhou R&F Properties boosted by reports major shareholders pledged funds in the Co. which is also selling key assets to Country Garden. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher amid the underperformance in Japanese stocks and with the Japan Securities Dealers Association recently noting that global funds purchased the most ultra-long Japanese bonds since 2014, although upside was limited amid softer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr maturities and with the BoJ kickstarting its two-day policy meeting. Top Asian News Richest Banker Says Evergrande Is China’s ‘Lehman Moment’ Hong Kong Tycoons, Casino Giants Find Respite in Stock Rebound Taliban Add More Male Ministers, Say Will Include Women Later Asian Stocks Drop to Lowest Level This Month; Japan Leads Losses European equities (Stoxx 600 +1.1%) trade on a firmer footing attempting to recoup some of yesterday’s losses with not much in the way of incremental newsflow driving the upside. Despite the attempt to claw back some of the prior session’s lost ground, the Stoxx 600 is still lower by around 1.6% on the week. The Asia-Pac session was one characterised by caution and regional market closures with China remaining away from market. Focus remains on whether Evergrande will meet USD 83mln in interest payments due on Thursday and what actions Chinese authorities could take to limit the contagion from the company in the event of further troubles. Stateside, futures are also on a firmer footing with some slight outperformance in the RTY (+1.2%) vs. peers (ES +0.8%). Again, there is not much in the way of fresh positivity driving the upside and instead gains are likely more a by-product of dip-buying; attention for the US is set to become increasingly geared towards tomorrow’s FOMC policy announcement. Sectors in Europe are firmer across the board with outperformance in Oil & Gas names amid a recovery in the crude complex and gains in Shell (+4.4%) after news that the Co. is to sell its Permian Basin assets to ConocoPhillips (COP) for USD 9.5bln in cash. Other outperforming sectors include Tech, Insurance and Basic Resources. IAG (+4.1%) and Deutsche Lufthansa (+3.8%) both sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 as the Co.’s continue to enjoy the fallout from yesterday’s decision by the US to allow travel from vaccinated EU and UK passengers. Swatch (-0.7%) is lagging in the luxury space following a downgrade at RBC, whilst data showed Swiss watch exports were +11.5% Y/Y in August (prev. 29.1%). Finally, National Express (+7.7%) is reportedly considering a takeover of Stagecoach (+21.4%), which is valued at around GBP 370mln. Top European News U.K. Warns of Challenging Few Days as Energy Crisis Deepens Germany Trims Planned Debt Sales as Pandemic Impact Recedes U.K.’s Green Bond Debut Draws Record Demand of $123 Billion Goldman Plans $1.5 Billion Petershill Partners IPO in London In FX, all the signs are constructive for a classic turnaround Tuesday when it comes to Loonie fortunes as broad risk sentiment improves markedly, WTI consolidates within a firm range around Usd 71/brl compared to yesterday’s sub-Usd 70 low and incoming results from Canada’s general election indicate victory for the incumbent Liberal party that will secure a 3rd term for PM Trudeau. Hence, it’s better the devil you know as such and Usd/Cad retreated further from its stop-induced spike to just pips short of 1.2900 to probe 1.2750 at one stage before bouncing ahead of new house price data for August. Conversely, the Swedish Krona seems somewhat reluctant to get carried away with the much better market mood after the latest Riksbank policy meeting only acknowledged significantly stronger than expected inflation data in passing, and the repo rate path remained rooted to zero percent for the full forecast horizon as a consequence. However, Eur/Sek has slipped back to test 10.1600 bids/support following an initial upturn to almost 10.1800, irrespective of a rise in unemployment. NOK/AUD/NZD - No such qualms for the Norwegian Crown as Brent hovers near the top of a Usd 75.18-74.20/brl band and the Norges Bank is widely, if not universally tipped to become the first major Central Bank to shift into tightening mode on Thursday, with Eur/Nok hugging the base of a 10.1700-10.2430 range. Elsewhere, the Aussie and Kiwi look relieved rather than rejuvenated in their own right given dovish RBA minutes, a deterioration in Westpac’s NZ consumer sentiment and near reversal in credit card spending from 6.9% y/y in July to -6.3% last month. Instead, Aud/Usd and Nzd/Usd have rebounded amidst the recovery in risk appetite that has undermined their US rival to top 0.7380 and 0.7050 respectively at best. GBP/CHF/EUR/JPY/DXY - Sterling is latching on to the ongoing Dollar retracement and more supportive backdrop elsewhere to pare losses under 1.3700, while the Franc continues its revival to 0.9250 or so and almost 1.0850 against the Euro even though the SNB is bound to check its stride at the upcoming policy review, and the single currency is also forming a firmer base above 1.1700 vs the Buck. Indeed, the collective reprieve in all components of the Greenback basket, bar the Yen on diminished safe-haven demand, has pushed the index down to 93.116 from 93.277 at the earlier apex, and Monday’s elevated 93.455 perch, while Usd/Jpy is straddling 109.50 and flanked by decent option expiry interest either side. On that note, 1.4 bn resides at the 109.00 strike and 1.1 bn between 109.60-70, while there is 1.6 bn in Usd/Cad bang on 1.2800. EM - Some respite across the board in wake of yesterday’s mauling at the hands of risk-off positioning in favour of the Usd, while the Czk has also been underpinned by more hawkish CNB commentary as Holub echoes the Governor by advocating a 50 bp hike at the end of September and a further 25-50 bp in November. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer in the European morning post gains in excess of 1.0%, though the benchmarks are off highs after an early foray saw Brent Nov’21 eclipse USD 75.00/bbl, for instance. While there has been newsflow for the complex, mainly from various energy ministers, there hasn’t been much explicitly for crude to change the dial; thus, the benchmarks are seemingly moving in tandem with broader risk sentiment (see equities). In terms of the energy commentary, the Qatar minister said they are not thinking of re-joining OPEC+ while the UAE minister spoke on the gas situation. On this, reports in Russian press suggests that Russia might allow Rosneft to supply 10bcm of gas to Europe per year under an agency agreement with Gazprom “as an experiment”, developments to this will be closely eyed for any indication that it could serve to ease the current gas situation. Looking ahead, we have the weekly private inventory report which is expected to post a headline draw of 2.4mln and draws, albeit of a smaller magnitude, are expected for distillate and gasoline as well. Moving to metals, spot gold is marginally firmer while silver outperforms with base-metals picking up across the board from the poor performance seen yesterday that, for instance, saw LME copper below the USD 9k mark. Note, the action is more of a steadying from yesterday’s downside performance than any notable upside, with the likes of copper well within Monday’s parameters. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Building Permits MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 2.6%, revised 2.3% 8:30am: Aug. Housing Starts MoM, est. 1.0%, prior -7.0% 8:30am: Aug. Building Permits, est. 1.6m, prior 1.64m, revised 1.63m 8:30am: Aug. Housing Starts, est. 1.55m, prior 1.53m 8:30am: 2Q Current Account Balance, est. -$190.8b, prior -$195.7b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Global markets slumped across the board yesterday in what was one of the worst days of the year as an array of concerns about the outlook gathered pace. The crisis at Evergrande and in the Chinese real estate sector was the catalyst most people were talking about, but truth be told, the market rout we’re seeing is reflecting a wider set of risks than just Chinese property, and comes after increasing questions have been asked about whether current valuations could still be justified, with talk of a potential correction picking up. Remember that 68% of respondents to my survey last week (link here) thought they’d be at least a 5% correction in equity markets before year end. So this has been front and centre of people’s mind even if the catalyst hasn’t been clear. We’ve all known about Evergrande’s woes and how big it was for a while but it wasn’t until Friday’s story of the Chinese regulatory crackdown extending into property that crystallised the story into having wider implications. As I noted in my chart of the day yesterday link here Chinese USD HY had been widening aggressively over the last couple of months but IG has been pretty rock solid. There were still no domestic signs of contagion by close of business Friday. However as it stands, there will likely be by the reopening post holidays tomorrow which reflects how quickly the story has evolved even without much new news. Before we get to the latest on this, note that we’ve still got a bumper couple of weeks on the calendar to get through, including the Fed decision tomorrow, which comes just as a potential government shutdown and debt ceiling fight are coming into view, alongside big debates on how much spending the Democrats will actually manage to pass. There has been some respite overnight with S&P 500 futures +0.58% higher and 10y UST yields up +1.5bps to 1.327%. Crude oil prices are also up c. 1%. On Evergrande, S&P Global Ratings has said that the company is on the brink of default and that it’s failure is unlikely to result in a scenario where China will be compelled to step in. The report added that they see China stepping in only if “there is a far-reaching contagion causing multiple major developers to fail and posing systemic risks to the economy.” The Hang Seng (-0.32%) is lower but the Hang Seng Properties index is up (+1.59%) and bouncing off the 5 plus year lows it hit yesterday. Elsewhere the ASX (+0.30%) and India’s Nifty (+0.35%) have also advanced. Chinese and South Korean markets are closed for a holiday but the Nikkei has reopened and is -1.80% and catching down to yesterday’s global move. Looking at yesterday’s moves in more depth, the gathering storm clouds saw the S&P 500 shed -1.70% in its worst day since May 12, with cyclical industries leading the declines and with just 10% of S&P 500 index members gaining. There was a late rally at the end of the US trading session that saw equity indices bounce off their lows, with the S&P 500 (-2.87%) and NASDAQ (-3.42%) both looking like they were going to register their worst days since October 2020 and late-February 2021 respectively. However, yesterday was still the 5th worst day for the S&P 500 in 2021. Reflecting the risk-off tone, small caps suffered in particular with the Russell 2000 falling -2.44%, whilst tech stocks were another underperformer as the NASDAQ lost -2.19% and the FANG+ index of 10 megacap tech firms saw an even bigger -3.16% decline. For Europe it was much the same story, with the STOXX 600 (-1.67%) and other bourses including the DAX (-2.31%) seeing significant losses amidst the cyclical underperformance. It was the STOXX 600’s worst performance since mid-July and the 6th worst day of the year overall. Unsurprisingly, there was also a significant spike in volatility, with the VIX index climbing +4.9pts to 25.7 – its highest closing level since mid-May – after trading above 28.0pts midday. In line with the broader risk-off move, especially sovereign bonds rallied strongly as investors downgraded their assessment of the economic outlook and moved to price out the chances of near-term rate hikes. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr Treasuries had fallen -5.1bps to 1.311%, with lower inflation breakevens (-4.1bps) leading the bulk of the declines. Meanwhile in Europe, yields on 10yr bunds (-4.0bps), OATs (-2.6bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) similarly fell back, although there was a widening in spreads between core and periphery as investors turned more cautious. Elsewhere, commodities took a hit as concerns grew about the economic outlook, with Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (-1.53%) losing ground for a third consecutive session. That said, European natural gas prices (+15.69%) were the massive exception once again, with the latest surge taking them above the peak from last Wednesday, and thus bringing the price gains since the start of August to +84.80%. Here in the UK, Business Secretary Kwarteng said that he didn’t expect an emergency regarding the energy supply, but also said that the government wouldn’t bail out failed companies. Meanwhile, EU transport and energy ministers are set to meet from tomorrow for an informal meeting, at which the massive spike in prices are likely to be discussed. Overnight, we have the first projections of the Canadian federal election with CBC News projecting that the Liberals will win enough seats to form a government for the third time albeit likely a minority government. With the counting still underway, Liberals are currently projected to win 156 seats while Conservatives are projected to win 120 seats. Both the parties are currently projected to win a seat less than last time. The Canadian dollar is up +0.44% overnight as the results remove some election uncertainty. Turning to the pandemic, the main news yesterday was that the US is set to relax its travel rules for foreign arrivals. President Biden announced the move yesterday, mandating that all adult visitors show proof of vaccination before entering the country. Airline stocks outperformed strongly in response, with the S&P 500 airlines (+1.55%) being one of the few industry groups that actually advanced yesterday. Otherwise, we heard from Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine trials on 5-11 year olds had successfully produced an antibody response among that age group. The dose was just a third of that used in those aged 12 and above, and they said they planned to share the data with regulators “as soon as possible”. Furthermore, they said that trials for the younger cohorts (2-5 and 6m-2) are expected as soon as Q4. In Germany, there are just 5 days left until the election now, and the last Insa poll before the vote showed a slight tightening in the race, with the centre-left SPD down a point to 25%, whilst the CDU/CSU bloc were up 1.5 points to 22%. Noticeably, that would also put the race back within the +/- 2.5% margin of error. The Greens were unchanged in third place on 15%. Staying with politics and shifting back to the US, there was news last night that Congressional Democratic leaders are looking to tie the suspension of the US debt ceiling vote to the spending bill that is due by the end of this month. If the spending bill is not enacted it would trigger a government shutdown, and if the debt ceiling is not raised it would cause defaults on federal payments as soon as October. Senate Majority Leader Schumer said the House will pass a spending bill that will fund the government through December 3rd and that the “legislation to avoid a government shutdown will also include a suspension of the debt limit through December 2022.” Republicans may balk at the second measure, given that it would take the issue off the table until after the 2022 midterm elections in November of that year. There wasn’t a great deal of data out yesterday, though German producer price inflation rose to +12.0% in August (vs. +11.1% expected), marking the fastest pace since December 1974. Separately in the US, the NAHB’s housing market index unexpectedly rose to 76 in September (vs. 75 expected), the first monthly increase since April. To the day ahead now, and data releases include US housing starts and building permits for August, along with the UK public finances for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos. Otherwise, the General Debate will begin at the UN General Assembly, and the OECD will be publishing their Interim Economic Outlook. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 07:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

The 6 best treadmills of 2021

An at-home treadmill allows you to improve your cardio, keep fit, and stay healthy. Here are the best treadmills we've tested this year. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Treadmills offer an excellent way to increase or maintain your routine cardio and keep fit. The most important qualities to look for in a treadmill are its power, reliability, and run comfort. Our top pick, the ProForm Pro 2000, features iFit workouts, has a cushioned tread, and easily folds up. Few exercise machines have endured the changing landscape of at-home fitness like the treadmill. Not only do they work well for anyone maintaining cardio fitness but they also help runners prepare for things like 5Ks or half marathons. They can even complement a weekly workout routine, especially for those who don't have time to run outside.Treadmills are also simple to use. You simply run or walk on the belt and a motor moves it under your feet at whatever speed you select. Some offer high-tech features like touchscreen displays and live-streamed classes, while others offer a more basic, just-hop-on-and-run experience.As a frequent gym-goer and the Insider Reviews fitness editor, I've run more miles than I can count on treadmills advanced, basic, or otherwise. For every mile logged on something like NordicTrack's Commercial 2950 or ProForm's Pro 2000, I've logged an equal amount (if not many more) on the standard treadmills found at a local gym - i.e. one without an interactive screen attached to it.I leaned on this experience to comb through and test a number of high-quality treadmills currently available. The following guide features a range of treadmill types at various price points in hopes of helping you find the best option for your fitness needs.You'll also find answers to a selection of treadmill FAQs, as well as some insight into how I tested treadmills featured in this guide. Here are the best treadmills 0f 2021 Best overall: ProForm Pro 2000 TreadmillBest smart treadmill: NordicTrack Commercial 2950Best on a budget: Horizon Fitness T101-04 TreadmillBest upright folding model: LifeSpan TR3000i Folding TreadmillBest compact: Cubii ProBest for quiet workouts: 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill How I test treadmills Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Each treadmill featured in this guide went through a series of extensive tests (i.e. I ran on them a lot) to see how well they compared across these four categories: Performance, features, quality, and value. Here's how the categories specifically factored into which treadmills made the cut:Performance: How a treadmill performs comes down to a few basic aspects, including how comfortable it is to run on (and how shock absorbing it is), if it's able to avoid sounding like you're loudly pounding the ground with each step, what its tread feels like underfoot, and how wide the running area is. Though not all treadmills reliably check each of these boxes, a healthy combination of at least three of those often translates to high quality. Features: Some modern treadmills, like those from NordicTrack or ProForm, feature a built-in interactive screen that streams workouts, tracks output metrics, and improves the treadmill's performance. For models that don't have a screen, I looked at how intuitive it was to increase and decrease the treadmill's speed and whether it offered an incline or decline mode. Even those that aren't decked out with the ability to stream workouts are still feature-heavy enough to warrant a spot in your home gym.Quality: If used often, treadmills can take a consistent beating, mostly due to a runner pounding on it step after step after step. This means the best treadmills should feature a sturdy and durable tread, a high-quality design that won't become compromised even after a full year or more of use, and that features an interface or series of buttons and dials that can avoid popping off or being unusable. Value: The value of a treadmill is less about its sticker price and more so the combination of the three categories above compared to its initial (and sometimes recurring) investment. I factored in everything when selecting treadmills across each featured category and often feel that it's worth it to spend a little more money on a product that's designed to last than to spend less, more often on something inferior.  The best treadmill overall ProForm The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a race-trainers dream that's versatile enough for the casual runner, too. Pros: Good motor, large running belt of 22 by 60 inches, includes both an incline and a decline setting, offers good interval training features, has access to iFit workoutsCons: Customer service may be disappointing if you have problems, very heavy treadmillRunners looking for a treadmill with good all-around training capabilities and a host of useful features will like the reasonably-priced ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill. It has a 3.5-horsepower motor, which allows it to stand up to daily use, and it boasts a belt deck that measures 22 by 60 inches, which is perfect for most runners. When you're training for races with hills, you'll appreciate this treadmill's ability to reach a 15% incline and a 3% decline, which better simulates hills than most other treadmills — it's easy to adjust it both up and down, too, even while running. The ProForm Pro 2000 also has a number of tech features, including a 7-inch screen that streams iFit's interactive workouts, a music port for iPods, and a built-in fan that works well to keep you (somewhat) cool as you run. Its tread features what the brand calls ProShox Cushioning, which is designed to lessen the impact on your feet and knees while running. Though a true, long-term test of this would better judge its viability, even a handful of runs on it showed that this made a difference (even if it was minimal). What truly makes this treadmill stand out is its inclusion of the above-mentioned iFit workouts. Not only are these excellent ways to keep motivated, but the platform offers some genuinely unique workouts. One day you could be running through France and the next through Vietnam. The globe-spanning locales add a level of quality to the workouts you'd have a hard time finding elsewhere.Another perk of the iFit workouts is how the trainers leading the runs entirely control the incline, decline, and speed, allowing you to focus strictly on running. This is something that's incredibly welcome as fumbling with a treadmill's controls while in a full stride isn't always the most fun (and can easily mess with your cadence). The ProForm Pro 2000 comes with one free year of iFit, too, so you won't have to worry about shelling out a monthly payment for at least 12 months.Its price is also in the range of what you'd expect to pay for a full-featured treadmill. Most interactive workout machines run in the $2,000 range, and the fact this undercuts that average by a few hundred dollars makes it an appealing choice for anyone looking to add a treadmill to their home gym. The best smart treadmill NordicTrack NordicTrack's Commercial 2950 is a highly versatile treadmill that offers automatic incline control, an HD 22-inch touchscreen, and a deep library of interactive classes from iFit. Pros: Now features automatically adjusting resistance and speed, the iFit library offers a wide range of in-studio classes and runs through real-world locales, offers Bluetooth connectivity and WiFi supportCons: ExpensiveThe Commercial 2950 treadmill from NordicTrack is one of the most full-featured machines I've tested, coming with everything from automatic incline control and Bluetooth connectivity to Google Maps integration and personalized workout stats. My favorite feature, however, is its access to iFit's expansive library of interactive workouts. With iFit, you're able to run essentially anywhere, yet still from the comfort of your home. The service's roster of trainers offers a wide range of run types that aren't just confined to a studio or their home (where they do film some of the classes). Rather, you could be running through real-world locales that offer a breath of fresh air from standard treadmill routines. I found this to be a welcome deviation from the tediousness of normal running. Though iFit does cost $39 per month, a free year of the service comes standard with the purchase of all new treadmills.In addition to those workouts, the rest of the 2950 is a premium. The automatically adjusting resistance feature mentioned above is a game-changer, and, as the name suggests, allows the trainers to fully control the incline, decline, and speed of the treadmill as you run along. All you have to worry about is just running — which does well to keep you focused and motivated instead of worrying about fumbling with controls. One nitpick could be that the iFit interface can be a little clunky and slow to use sometimes, and the service occasionally crashed mid-workout (though did tend to load right back up in the exact same spot I was running). This didn't happen enough to be concerning, nor did it detract from my overall experience. What holds the 2950 back from nabbing the top spot in this guide is its price, which is roughly double the cost of the ProForm Pro 200. It's hard for treadmills that have as much as the 2950 in terms of features and available workouts to cost much less than $2,500, so this is still a worthwhile investment for anyone who  certainly isn't cheap but few treadmills with this much to offer both in terms of features and available workouts will necessarily be "affordable." Still, it's worth the investment for those who want access to a huge library of interactive classes and a premium-built treadmill.  The best budget treadmill Horizon Fitness Compared to other budget fold-up treadmills, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill has nice features and good performance.Pros: Very good price point for an entry-level treadmill, will save space with a fold-up design, runs quieter than most budget-priced treadmills, works better for walkers and light runnersCons: Only a 55-inch belt length, not really made for high-end running workouts, longevity is questionableSaving space with a fold-up treadmill is a great idea for a lot of people. However, most fold-up treadmills don't offer a lot of power.With those natural limitations of fold-up treadmills in mind, you'll like the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill, which works well for walkers and anyone on a budget (and isn't really made for runners looking for high-end workouts). Think of it as like an entry-level treadmill, or something that can be a complement to a wider range of at-home equipment. It has a 55-inch belt length, a maximum 10 mph speed, and a 2.25-horsepower motor. The T101-04 treadmill is easy to fold up for storage, which is great for anyone with minimal space in their home or apartment.You can't beat the value, too. If you want something simple, straightforward, and cost-effective that has the basic features necessary for just running and walking, the T101-04 from Horizon Fitness is the treadmill you need. The best upright folding treadmill LifeSpan The LifeSpan TR3000i uses an extensive shock absorption system to take some pressure off your joints while running.Pros: Good price for a mid-range treadmill, unit folds up to save storage space, extensive shock absorption system, good feature set versus other models in this price rangeCons: Not really designed for high-end workouts, build quality of treadmill is questionableSome people dislike working out on a treadmill because of the pressure it places on their joints. The LifeSpan TR3000i attempts to alleviate some of this pressure by using a shock absorption system in the treadmill's deck.It has a 20 x 56-inch running surface, 15 incline levels, and a 6-inch LCD screen that shows your time, calories, distance covered, steps, heart rate, speed, and incline. The eight shock absorber elements in the deck ensure that it remains both stable and comfortable to run on. As mentioned on other models, long-term testing would be a better indicator of just how well the shock-absorbing works, but it's easy to notice the difference in the TR3000i compared to others. If you at all have foot, knee, or joint issues, you'll want to at least consider this one when shopping.Beyond its shock-absorbing capabilities, the TR3000i has a number of fun features to give you variety in your workouts, too, including a tablet holder, a USB charging port, and compatibility with iPods. It also has built-in speakers, folds up for easy storage, and physical console buttons that are sometimes easier to use when making adjustments than only relying on the touchscreen. The best compact treadmill Cubii The Cubii Pro is an easy-to-use, under desk exercise machine that's more of an elliptical than a treadmill but still allows you to log some quality cardio no matter if you're sitting down for lunch or powering through a backlog of emails. Pros: Small, easy-to-use machine that delivers an effective cardio workout, has up to eight different resistance settings, offers companion app supportCons: Not strictly a treadmill, might not be as intense for hardcore fitness buffsThough the Cubii Pro isn't exactly a treadmill in the traditional sense (and is more of an elliptical style machine than anything else), its unobtrusive nature makes it a convenient addition to anyone's home gym. The machine simply sits on the floor, be it under a desk, next to a coffee table, or literally anywhere around the house, and lets you pedal away for as long as you like. The machine delivers low-impact cardio that may benefit those unable to run on a treadmill due to sore joints, and its quiet operation even allows it to be used while watching TV, talking on the phone, or listening to music. With eight different levels of resistance, it affords as easy or as difficult a workout as you like, too. A companion smartphone application lets you keep track of all your logged workouts and lets you set weekly and monthly goals or share your progress with friends. The app is also compatible with services like Fitbit or Apple HealthKit, so if you prefer the interface of those, all workout data can easily sync to them.At $349, it's certainly not a drop in the bucket but it is far cheaper than even the budget model on this list. For convenient, low-impact cardio exercise, the Cubii Pro is as versatile and easy to use as it gets.  The best treadmill for quiet workouts 3G Cardio The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers excellent performance and runs quieter than most treadmills.Pros: Strong steel frame that will support a lot of weight, unit runs quieter than most treadmills, large treadmill belt area for tall runners, includes a large motor to compare favorably to gym treadmillsCons: Extremely high price point, very heavy equipment that is difficult to move aroundFew treadmills made for use at home will deliver the kind of quiet performance that the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers. It's made for tall or heavy runners looking for a tough workout, but you'll pay more than $3,000 for the kind of quality that this 3G Cardio unit delivers.It has an Ortho Flex Shock suspension system to minimize the stress of impact for runners, and the 22 by 62-inch platform is perfect for running.The 3G Cardio comes with many pre-programmed workouts and a fitness level test. You have access to speed and elevation settings, heart rate control, and workout customization.  This treadmill also has a 4.0 horsepower motor and 3-inch rollers for great performance.As you would expect with a treadmill with such a high price point, the 3G Cardio Elite consists of thick steel tubing in the frame. It's also rather expensive, so this is really only for serious runners who want a treadmill that will last a lifetime. What treadmills I'm testing next Technogym MyRun ($2,980): Technogym's lineup of cardio machines offers a quality experience on par with the likes of NordicTrack and ProForm, though instead of having iFit workouts, it has its own streaming platform called Technogym Live. The classes on the MyRun tread allow users to run with a trainer, take to a digital beach, or develop a set of goals to work toward. Its full-color display not only streams the content in high-definition but also supplies helpful analytic data that inform how well the workout is going. Matrix Fitness Treadmill TF30 XR ($2,999): A premium-priced treadmill, Matrix Fitness' Treadmill TF30 XR is the entry-level version of the TF30 lineup, but it still offers a quality run experience. This model comes with a built-in screen, speeds up to 12.5 miles per hour, and an incline up to 15%. It also folds up to nearly 90-degrees, making it easy to store. Since I live in a small Brooklyn apartment, this one is very intriguing. Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill ($1,599): Sole's F80 tread looks like some sort of Swiss Army Knife of treadmills, as it has a number of visible bells and whistles. There's an on-board screen that tracks distance run and calories burned (among other stats), handle grips for heart rate monitoring, and a tablet holder (for when you'd rather stream Netflix than watch your mileage slowly tick up). This is close to the kinds of treadmills you'd find at your local gym, so I'm curious as to how it'd function as an at-home option.  FAQs What types of treadmills are there?Basic: The most basic type of treadmill only works for walkers. They will have simple tracking features, such as speed, distance, and time. Most basic units will have a short bed that works better for a walker's stride than for running.And you'll find limited shock absorption features here, which isn't great for runners. Such treadmills will fold up for easy storage (although some more expensive treadmills also can fold up for storage).Mid-range: These treadmills will work for walkers or runners. For walkers, a mid-range treadmill should have longer support arms, allowing you to balance yourself easier. The belt bed will be a bit longer than the basic treadmill but those with longer running strides may still struggle.You'll see better tech features in this price range, including a heart rate monitor worn on the chest or pre-set training programs.Top-end: The highest quality of treadmills will contain long belt beds with good shock absorption, making them perfect for runners. To gain these features, such treadmills rarely will fold up for storage, meaning they require a lot of free space. They will deliver greater maximum speed levels and greater levels of incline, too.These treadmills consist of the highest-quality materials. You'll receive Wi-Fi connectivity and extensive pre-set exercise programs with these models.What are some key treadmill features?Interactive exercise programs: Treadmills may have pre-programmed workouts that can help you with weight loss, cardiovascular performance, speed workouts, or hills training. These programs will allow you to set the length of exercise time, but they will automatically change the speed of the treadmill and the incline to match the parameters of the pre-programmed workout.The ability to incline, decline, and adjust the speed: To help with training for running on hills or for additional calorie burn, the treadmill needs to offer an incline. Most treadmills can reach at least a 12% incline grade. Some treadmills even give you a simulation of running downhill with a decline grade of around 3%.You should be able to adjust the incline, speed, and program in use through the touchscreen monitor. The screen also gives you information on the time elapsed, calories burned, distance traveled, your heart rate, and more. Are there different size treadmill belts?Yes, there are, and it differs for what runners need versus walkers. Runners need a treadmill belt bed of roughly 55-60 inches long, while walkers can use one closer to 45-50 inches long. Taller people will need an even longer belt bed. Remember that the length of the treadmill isn't the same as the length of the bed.The treadmill length (and width, for that matter) must accommodate the base portion of the unit that doesn't move, as well as the bed's motor housing at the front of the unit.A treadmill belt bed should be at least 22 inches wide for runners which provides plenty of space in case you have a misstep. Walkers can successfully use a narrower bed than runners, such as 18 or 20 inches.Are treadmills safe? Many treadmills contain a safety line that hooks into the unit and clips to your shirt. Should you stumble, the safety line disconnects from the treadmill, causing it to shut down immediately. This is a helpful safety feature and it prevents situations where the person using the treadmill falls and gets launched into a wall. It's also recommended that you unplug your treadmill when not in use for added safety. This assures it won't accidentally turn on if a child or pet is around it. Do treadmills have a weight limit? Based on the size of the motor and the shock absorption capabilities, a treadmill may give you a maximum user weight recommendation. You should be able to find this listed in its online user's manual or listed on its specifications sheet.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback Update (1622ET): ACIP has also approved boosters for people aged 18-49 with underlying issues. This vote was 9-6. CDC ACIP BACKS BOOSTER FOR 18-49 WITH UNDERLYING CONDITIONS The next vote should define "at-risk" occupations. * * * Update (1600ET): Despite some disagreement about the necessity of booster shots (which we also saw at the FDA panel''s meeting late last week), the CDC's advisory panel has voted 15-0 and 13-2 to approve authorization for booster jabs for people over 65, and immuno-compromised adults between the ages of 50 to 64. As the CDC's advisory panel prepared to vote on their final set of guidelines for Pfizer booster jabs, some members of the panel have raised more objections to authorizing booster jabs, though they're not the same objections shared by members of the FDA's advisory panel. Members worried that the pandemic would likely be prolonged no matter what thanks to vaccine holdouts. In fact, with so many Americans refusing to get the jab, using booster shots would be tantamount to slapping lipstick on a pig. “My concern is that we’re just going to keep give booster doses to the vaccinated as different variants come onto the scene, and we’re not going to be able to move forward in truly mitigating the pandemic,” Lynn Bahta, a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the Minnesota Department of Health, said. During the meeting, which started earlier, none of the ACIP panelists spoke against recommending boosters for senior citizens, and debate focused on whether a third shot is warranted for younger people at high-risk of severe Covid and if so, how to target them. With more than 30% of the population refusing the jab, "it feels like we are putting lipstick on hogs," said Helen Talbot of Vanderbilt University. "This is not going to solve the pandemic." One participant noted that the data supporting boosters, including real-world evidence from Israel, have relied on shorter term follow-up, meaning the data isn't very credible. But at the very least, one Israeli study has shown that natural immunity is more than 13x more resilient than artificial inoculation. Per CNBC, the vote is still a "a win for President Joe Biden, whose administration has said it wants to give booster shots to all eligible Americans 16 and older as early as this week. While the CDC panel’s recommendation doesn’t give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans." While CNBC may have actually reported that, from what we remember, President Biden initially pushed for boosters for the entire adult population, which provoked a backlash in the scientific community who argued there wasn't enough evidence to approve the boosters, and that they would be put to better use in emerging economies. The panel - officially, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP - has a few more votes to get through, including on whether to extend boosters to other groups including at-risk workers. Dr. Rochelle Walensky visited the panel earlier and acknowledged that while the data wasn't "perfect", "they do offer guidance" about whether to make a decision, she said. *  *  * Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:12.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

S&P, Dow Break Four-Week Losing Streaks

S&P, Dow Break Four-Week Losing Streaks Stocks pulled back on Friday in a session that was jam-packed with several market-moving topics, including the coronavirus, the President and the monthly jobs report. In the end though, the major indices managed to post gains for the full week, which hadn’t been done throughout the rough month of September.   Of course, the big story today was that President Trump and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus. So far, it seems to be a mild case and he will continue to work while in quarantine.   Now, nobody knows how or if this will impact the election right now, nor if it will influence the odds of a stimulus package in the coming days. And that’s the problem; it adds another layer of uncertainty on these important issues. Plus, the news was jarring and added onto fears of a second wave now that the weather will be getting cooler. Remember that the market reacted negatively to rising cases in Europe, so this obviously strikes much closer to home. Nevertheless, the major indices took the news rather well today. The NASDAQ had a sharp decline of 2.22% (or about 250 points) to 11,075.02. However, it still gained 1.5% for its second straight weekly advance. The losses for the other indices were more modest. The S&P was down 0.96% to 3348.42, while the Dow was down by only 0.48% (or about 134 points) to 27,682.81. These indices were up 1.5% and 1.9%, respectively, this week. Those performances finally break four straight weeks of losses throughout September. If it weren’t for the President getting the coronavirus, the big story on Friday would be the Government Employment Situation report. The economy added 661,000 jobs last month, which was below expectations of 800,000 and, therefore, a disappointment after several better-than-expected numbers. But the unemployment rate did decline to 7.9%, which marks the second single-digit rate in a row. Meanwhile, there’s still no agreement in the talks between Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The House Democrats advanced a $2.2 trillion proposal last night, but it’s unlikely to go anywhere in the Senate. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Insider Trader: The rally in Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) continued on Friday, as the home goods retailer added another 9.9% on top of yesterday’s more than 25% surge! Needless to say, it was the top performer once again among all ZU services. The company reported strong quarterly results recently, which included its first comps growth since 2016. BBBY is now up nearly 124% in the portfolio since being added on July 17. The stock is at two-year highs and Tracey is wondering how long this will last. She may take some of this impressive profit off the table on Monday. Counterstrike: "Such confusing action this week. Let's face it, we have a really hard market all of a sudden with all these headlines and uncertainties. As we approach the election, I expect more of the same as October could be a really volatile month." -- Jeremy Mullin Options Trader: "The Employment Report also came out before the open, and that too helped underpin stocks. The headline number showed we gained 661K new jobs in the month of September. That was under the 894K consensus. But a closer look at the numbers shows private payrolls were much stronger at 877K vs. views for 900K. The 'miss' came mostly from the public sector which shed -216K jobs (which included temporary jobs such as census workers, etc.). The unemployment rate, however, dropped more than expected to 7.9% from last month's 8.4% and views for 8.2%. Although, the participation rate dipped as well to 61.4% from 61.7% and views for 61.8%. "All in all, it was a fine report and showed the economy continues to rebound. Even though the rebound in jobs has slowed a bit, we're well above where anybody predicted we'd be 6 months ago. Roughly half of the jobs lost have been regained, and the unemployment rate has been nearly cut in half from its worst levels as well. "The other thing helping stocks come off their lows on Friday was continued hopes for a stimulus bill. That hope was fueled when the Speaker of the House asked the airlines (which had threatened to furlough tens of thousands of workers by week's end), to hold off in doing so as aid for the airline industry was 'imminent'. By the close of trading on Friday, no such deal was available. And nobody knows what the 'imminent' deal would look like. But the word 'imminent' is a powerful word, and one can assume used only with supreme confidence that a deal is indeed coming. We shall see." -- Kevin Matras   Have a Great Weekend! Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Stocks Remained Hot in August

Stocks Remained Hot in August SPECIAL ALERT: The September episode of the Zacks Ultimate Strategy Session will be available for viewing no later than Thursday, September 9. Kevin Matras, Kevin Cook, Daniel Laboe, Dr. John Blank and Sheraz Mian will cover the investment landscape from several angles in this popular event. Don’t miss your chance to hear: ▪ Kevin Cook and John Agree to Disagree on where the S&P 500 will end in 2021 ▪ Kevin Matras answers your questions in Zacks Mailbag ▪ Sheraz and Daniel choose one portfolio to give feedback for improvement ▪ And much more Remember, we need your input. Please submit your questions for Zacks Mailbag and Portfolio Makeover by Thursday morning, September 2. Email now to mailbag@zacks.com. Then log on to Zacks.com and bookmark this page. The last day of August was certainly not representative of the full month. Stocks pulled back from record highs and finished in the red on Tuesday but were solidly higher over the past 31 days. The S&P climbed 2.9% for its seventh straight monthly gain, while the Dow managed to rise 1.2%. The biggest winner in August, though, was easily the NASDAQ, which soared 4% as investors were much kinder to the safe haven of tech as the delta variant complicated the recovery.   “For even greater perspective, since the pandemic lows in late March of last year (that’s 17 months), the S&P has been up in all but 3 of those months. That means the S&P has been up in 14 of the last 17 months. Pretty incredible,” said Kevin Matras in Options Trader. “And with the economy still growing, the jobs market still expanding, and with intertest rates still near zero (and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future), it looks like there’s a lot more upside to go.” But for Tuesday, the S&P slipped 0.13% to 4522.68, while the Dow was off 0.11% (or about 39 points) to 35,360.73. The NASDAQ outperformed its counterparts like it did all month, but still finished in the red by 0.04% (or around 6 points) to 15,259.24. The S&P and NASDAQ had back-to-back record highs coming into the session and have been in the green for seven of the past nine days. Given such success during challenging times, it was no surprise to see stocks take a step back. Of course, it didn’t help that the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index slipped to 133.8 in August, which was well short of expectations at 123 and July’s print of 125.1. The data suggests that the delta variant and rising inflation are impacting consumer decisions. But this is a week full of economic data. The ISM manufacturing and construction spending reports are scheduled for tomorrow. And Wednesday also brings the ADP employment report, which is the precursor for the Government Employment Situation on Friday. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Stocks Under $10: A number of small-cap biotech names are starting to recover after slipping this summer. One of these rebounds is Flexion Therapeutics (FLXN), a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and sells pain therapies. It has one approved drug called Zilretta to treat osteoarthritis pain in the knee. And they’re expanding the use of the drug to other areas of the body, such as the shoulders. FLXN also has other indications in the pipeline. Earnings estimates are on the rise, but the biotech is still not making money yet. However, revenue growth was 82% year over year in the most recent quarter, while price to sales of 2.8x is pretty low for an early stage biotech. Read the full write-up for more. In other news, this portfolio had two of the best performers among all ZU names today as GT Biopharma (GTBP) rose 6.1% and Cross Country Healthcare (CCRN) advanced 5.1%. Surprise Trader: Buying a property is one thing, but maintaining it is something completely different. That’s where a company like ABM Industries (ABM) comes in. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) provides integrated facility solutions, such as janitorial, energy, electrical & lighting, landscape & turf, HVAC and even parking, among many other services. It has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the past four quarters, and now has a positive Earnings ESP of 2.7% for its next report after the bell on Wednesday, September 9. Dave added ABM on Tuesday with a 12.5% allocation, while also selling Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). See the complete commentary for more on today’s action. Insider Trader: It’s been less than a week since Digital Turbine (APPS) was added to the portfolio, but this provider of products and solutions to mobile operators is already a top mover. The stock was easily the best performer among all ZU names on Tuesday by climbing more than 14% after news that it would join the S&P MidCap 400 index. Tracey picked up APPS last Friday after three directors added during August.   Zacks Short Sell List: The portfolio cashed in a double-digit winner on Tuesday while swapping out three positions for this week's adjustment. The stocks that were short-covered today included: • Peloton (PTON, +16.6%) • Autodesk (ADSK, +4.8%) • The AZEK Co. (AZEK) The new buys that replaced these names were: • Intuit (INTU) • JD.com (JD) • StoneCo (STNE) Learn more about this emotion-free portfolio that takes advantage of falling and volatile markets by reading the Short Sell List Trader Guide. Headline Trader: "We are entering the historically weakest month of the year for investments. The S&P 500 has, on average, surrendered about 0.7% of its value in September over the past 4 decades of trading (2019 was no exception with a 4.2% drop). "This doesn't mean that we are guaranteed to lose ground in this upcoming month, but it does raise the odds of a broader market decline. Market participants have been trading on self-fulfilling prophecies since the pandemic began, but will September mark a deviation from this trend?" -- Dan Laboe See You in September, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

"Tired, Divided, & Dejected" Canadians Give Trudeau Liberals Another Minority Government In Election

"Tired, Divided, & Dejected" Canadians Give Trudeau Liberals Another Minority Government In Election Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won another minority government in Canada’s federal elections held amidst the pandemic. The Epoch Times' Isaac Teo reports that while not all ballots are counted yet and mail-in ballots are to be counted in coming days, Liberals secured enough seats to be able to form a minority government, but will remain short of the 170 seats required to form a majority government. The Liberal Party, promising to continue its progressive path on climate action and finishing “the fight against COVID-19,” won or was leading in 156 ridings in the early hours of Tuesday, close to its 155 seats at dissolution. The opposition Conservatives, touting the party’s platform for “Canada’s recovery,” won or were leading in 121 ridings, close to their 119 seats at dissolution. Bloc Québécois, which continued its Quebec-first message throughout the campaign, won or was leading in 27 ridings, close to its 32 seats the party held at dissolution. The NDP, which was competing for the progressive votes with the Liberals and counting on the popularity of leader Jagmeet Singh, won or was leading in 21 ridings, also close to its 24 seats at dissolution. The Greens held on to the two seats they had at dissolution, while leader Annamie Paul failed to win in her riding of Toronto Centre. Long-time Green MP Elizabeth May won in her BC riding while fellow BC Green incumbent Paul Manly lost in his riding, but the loss was offset with Green candidate Mike Morrice winning in the Kitchener Centre riding. Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party didn’t win any seats, including in Bernier’s riding of Beauce in Quebec, which was won by the incumbent Conservative candidate. The party, which had campaigned on upholding personal liberties and fighting for COVID-19 vaccine choice, increased its share of national vote to over 5 percent as of the early hours of Tuesday, up from less than 2 percent in 2019. Throughout the campaign, the Trudeau Liberals had defended their decision to call an election only two years after the last one, when they lost their majority in the 2019 election, saying Canadians needed to decide who will lead the country toward ending the pandemic. Both leaders of the leading parties remained defiant in their post-election speeches, although Trudeau was expecting to win a majority, and Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole to form government. “You are sending us back to work, with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic and to brighter days ahead,” Trudeau said in his victory speech in Montreal. “I see Canadians standing together; together in your determination to end this pandemic, together for real climate action, for $10 a day child care, for homes that are in reach for middle class families, for our shared journey on the path of reconciliation.” Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his family watch early election results in Oshawa, Ont., on Sept. 20, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld) In his concession speech in Oshawa, O’Toole said “Canadians did not give Mr. Trudeau the majority mandate he wanted.” “In fact, Canadians sent him back with another minority at the cost of $600 million and deeper divisions in our great country,” he said. “I challenged the prime minister to put the unity of this country and the well being of its people first and I told him, if he thinks he can threaten Canadians with another election in 18 months, the Conservative Party will be ready.” The final vote count of the election will be announced once the approximately 800,000 mail-in ballots are counted. Counting on those ballots will begin on Tuesday. However, as Cory Morgan writes at The Epoch Times, the biggest losers in the 2021 federal election are Canadians. At a cost of over $600 million dollars and the disruption of our lives for over a month, we find ourselves nearly exactly where we began. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was accused of holding an election about nothing and the results are reflecting that. We are tired, divided, and dejected, and it all appears to have served no purpose. It is astounding how similar the 2021 election results are to the 2019 outcome. While he remains holding a minority government, Trudeau will not need to fear losing a confidence vote any time soon. Even though wasn’t given a clear mandate to govern, Canadians will not put up with being sent to the polls again soon. Trudeau is going to have to consolidate his leadership, though, and quickly. While the Liberal Party remains in power, insiders can’t be happy with the failure to grab a majority government in this election. The blame will fall upon Trudeau and many party members will not want to give him another kick at the electoral cat. While another election may not be immediately imminent, it likely will come within two years. Those within the Liberal Party who want a new leader are going to act to unseat him sooner rather than later. Trudeau will have his hands full keeping his party loyal at bay. Regionally, the nation is as divided as ever. While this election campaign didn’t have as much inter-regional vitriol than past ones have had, the outcome shows a clear regional split within Canada. The prairies went almost entirely Conservative, while the rest of the nation went predominantly Liberal. The Bloc Quebecois remains strong within Quebec, and interior BC has shunned the Liberals. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole held his ground but alienated much of his base as he took on a campaign of compromise in hopes of making a breakthrough in central Canada that never materialized. Small-c conservatives are going to want to move the party back to traditional conservative values while O’Toole’s supporters will want the party to hold the line. Many will be asking what the point of pragmatism was if it didn’t move the dial. As with every other party, the seat count for Jagmeet Singh’s NDP didn’t change much. NDP supporters hoping for a return to the heyday of Jack Layton’s days are surely disappointed but the party held its own. The federal NDP isn’t as inclined to tearing out its own leaders as conservative parties tend to be. Singh may choose to move on or may keep leading. Unlike other leaders, the choice will likely be his. The PPC failed to win a seat and this will make their survival difficult in years to come. They impacted the results but didn’t garner enough votes to be fully blamed for the Liberal victory. They established a solid base of support and surprised the country with their momentum. That said, it is tough to stay in the spotlight without a seat in parliament. Their support is based predominantly on the movement to resist COVID-19 restrictions, and they will need to broaden their appeal beyond that or that support level will become a hard ceiling for them. They made inroads, yet still may not endure as a lasting party. Time will tell. Annamie Paul of the Green Party failed to win her own seat. I suspect that she will step down as leader soon. She was treated terribly by her own party and won’t have the anchor of a seat to secure her position. With a couple of seats in the parliament and an established brand, the Green Party will endure with a new leader and maintain its niche in politics. Elizabeth May won her seat and she has been less than supportive of Paul. Nobody can look at the 2021 election and say that it was a good thing for Canada. There truly was no winner. Every leader is now in a tenuous position within his or her party. No new visions were put forth in the campaign to be embraced or rejected by Canadians. We don’t feel a sense of renewal or new direction, we only feel exhaustion and frustration and it all appears to have been for nothing. The 2021 election will go down as the $600 million dollar stalemate. What a colossal waste of resources, both fiscal and emotional. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 07:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet

30 Facts You Need To Know: A COVID Cribsheet Authored by Kit Knightly via Off-Guardian.org, You asked for it, so we made it. A collection of all the arguments you’ll ever need. We get a lot of e-mails and private messages along these lines “do you have a source for X?” or “can you point me to mask studies?” or “I know I saw a graph for mortality, but I can’t find it anymore”. And we understand, it’s been a long 18 months, and there are so many statistics and numbers to try and keep straight in your head. So, to deal with all these requests, we decided to make a bullet-pointed and sourced list for all the key points. A one-stop-shop. Here are key facts and sources about the alleged “pandemic”, that will help you get a grasp on what has happened to the world since January 2020, and help you enlighten any of your friends who might be still trapped in the New Normal fog: “Covid deaths” – Lockdowns – PCR Tests – “asymptomatic infection” – Ventilators – Masks – Vaccines – Deception & Foreknowledge *  *  * PART I: “COVID DEATHS” & MORTALITY 1. The survival rate of “Covid” is over 99%. Government medical experts went out of their way to underline, from the beginning of the pandemic, that the vast majority of the population are not in any danger from Covid. Almost all studies on the infection-fatality ratio (IFR) of Covid have returned results between 0.04% and 0.5%. Meaning Covid’s survival rate is at least 99.5%. * 2. There has been NO unusual excess mortality. The press has called 2020 the UK’s “deadliest year since world war two”, but this is misleading because it ignores the massive increase in the population since that time. A more reasonable statistical measure of mortality is Age-Standardised Mortality Rate (ASMR): By this measure, 2020 isn’t even the worst year for mortality since 2000, In fact since 1943 only 9 years have been better than 2020. Similarly, in the US the ASMR for 2020 is only at 2004 levels: For a detailed breakdown of how Covid affected mortality across Western Europe and the US click here. What increases in mortality we have seen could be attributable to non-Covid causes [facts 7, 9 & 19]. * 3. “Covid death” counts are artificially inflated. Countries around the globe have been defining a “Covid death” as a “death by any cause within 28/30/60 days of a positive test”. Healthcare officials from Italy, Germany, the UK, US, Northern Ireland and others have all admitted to this practice: Removing any distinction between dying of Covid, and dying of something else after testing positive for Covid will naturally lead to over-counting of “Covid deaths”. British pathologist Dr John Lee was warning of this “substantial over-estimate” as early as last spring. Other mainstream sources have reported it, too. Considering the huge percentage of “asymptomatic” Covid infections [14], the well-known prevalence of serious comorbidities [fact 4] and the potential for false-positive tests [fact 18], this renders the Covid death numbers an extremely unreliable statistic. * 4. The vast majority of covid deaths have serious comorbidities. In March 2020, the Italian government published statistics showing 99.2% of their “Covid deaths” had at least one serious comorbidity. These included cancer, heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure and diabetes (among others). Over 50% of them had three or more serious pre-existing conditions. This pattern has held up in all other countries over the course of the “pandemic”. An October 2020 FOIA request to the UK’s ONS revealed less than 10% of the official “Covid death” count at that time had Covid as the sole cause of death. * 5. Average age of “Covid death” is greater than the average life expectancy. The average age of a “Covid death” in the UK is 82.5 years. In Italy it’s 86. Germany, 83. Switzerland, 86. Canada, 86. The US, 78, Australia, 82. In almost all cases the median age of a “Covid death” is higher than the national life expectancy. As such, for most of the world, the “pandemic” has had little-to-no impact on life expectancy. Contrast this with the Spanish flu, which saw a 28% drop in life expectancy in the US in just over a year. [source] * 6. Covid mortality exactly mirrors the natural mortality curve. Statistical studies from the UK and India have shown that the curve for “Covid death” follows the curve for expected mortality almost exactly: The risk of death “from Covid” follows, almost exactly, your background risk of death in general. The small increase for some of the older age groups can be accounted for by other factors.[facts 7, 9 & 19] * 7. There has been a massive increase in the use of “unlawful” DNRs. Watchdogs and government agencies have reported huge increases in the use of Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) over the last twenty months. In the US, hospitals considered “universal DNRs” for any patient who tested positive for Covid, and whistleblowing nurses have admitted the DNR system was abused in New York. In the UK there was an “unprecdented” rise in “illegal” DNRs for disabled people, GP surgeries sent out letters to non-terminal patients recommending they sign DNR orders, whilst other doctors signed “blanket DNRs” for entire nursing homes. A study done by Sheffield Univerisity found over one-third of all “suspected” Covid patients had a DNR attached to their file within 24 hours of hospital admission. Blanket use of coerced or illegal DNR orders could account for any increases in mortality in 2020/21.[Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART II: LOCKDOWNS 8. Lockdowns do not prevent the spread of disease. There is little to no evidence lockdowns have any impact on limiting “Covid deaths”. If you compare regions that locked down to regions that did not, you can see no pattern at all. “Covid deaths” in Florida (no lockdown) vs California (lockdown) “Covid deaths” in Sweden (no lockdown) vs UK (lockdown) * 9. Lockdowns kill people. There is strong evidence that lockdowns – through social, economic and other public health damage – are deadlier than the “virus”. Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organization special envoy for Covid-19 described lockdowns as a “global catastrophe” in October 2020: We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of the virus[…] it seems we may have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition […] This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe.” A UN report from April 2020 warned of 100,000s of children being killed by the economic impact of lockdowns, while tens of millions more face possible poverty and famine. Unemployment, poverty, suicide, alcoholism, drug use and other social/mental health crises are spiking all over the world. While missed and delayed surgeries and screenings are going to see increased mortality from heart disease, cancer et al. in the near future. The impact of lockdown would account for the small increases in excess mortality [Facts 2 & 6] * 10. Hospitals were never unusually over-burdened. the main argument used to defend lockdowns is that “flattening the curve” would prevent a rapid influx of cases and protect healthcare systems from collapse. But most healthcare systems were never close to collapse at all. In March 2020 it was reported that hospitals in Spain and Italy were over-flowing with patients, but this happens every flu season. In 2017 Spanish hospitals were at 200% capacity, and 2015 saw patients sleeping in corridors. A paper JAMA paper from March 2020 found that Italian hospitals “typically run at 85-90% capacity in the winter months”. In the UK, the NHS is regularly stretched to breaking point over the winter. As part of their Covid policy, the NHS announced in Spring of 2020 that they would be “re-organizing hospital capacity in new ways to treat Covid and non-Covid patients separately” and that “as result hospitals will experience capacity pressures at lower overall occupancy rates than would previously have been the case.” This means they removed thousands of beds. During an alleged deadly pandemic, they reduced the maximum occupancy of hospitals. Despite this, the NHS never felt pressure beyond your typical flu season, and at times actually had 4x more empty beds than normal. In both the UK and US millions were spent on temporary emergency hospitals that were never used. *  *  * PART III: PCR TESTS 11. PCR tests were not designed to diagnose illness. The Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is described in the media as the “gold standard” for Covid diagnosis. But the Nobel Prize-winning inventor of the process never intended it to be used as a diagnostic tool, and said so publicly: PCR is just a process that allows you to make a whole lot of something out of something. It doesn’t tell you that you are sick, or that the thing that you ended up with was going to hurt you or anything like that.” * 12. PCR Tests have a history of being inaccurate and unreliable. The “gold standard” PCR tests for Covid are known to produce a lot of false-positive results, by reacting to DNA material that is not specific to Sars-Cov-2. A Chinese study found the same patient could get two different results from the same test on the same day. In Germany, tests are known to have reacted to common cold viruses. A 2006 study found PCR tests for one virus responded to other viruses too. In 2007, a reliance on PCR tests resulted in an “outbreak” of Whooping Cough that never actually existed. Some tests in the US even reacted to the negative control sample. The late President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, submitted samples goat, pawpaw and motor oil for PCR testing, all came back positive for the virus. As early as February of 2020 experts were admitting the test was unreliable. Dr Wang Cheng, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences told Chinese state television “The accuracy of the tests is only 30-50%”. The Australian government’s own website claimed “There is limited evidence available to assess the accuracy and clinical utility of available COVID-19 tests.” And a Portuguese court ruled that PCR tests were “unreliable” and should not be used for diagnosis. You can read detailed breakdowns of the failings of PCR tests here, here and here. * 13. The CT values of the PCR tests are too high. PCR tests are run in cycles, the number of cycles you use to get your result is known as your “cycle threshold” or CT value. Kary Mullis said: “If you have to go more than 40 cycles[…]there is something seriously wrong with your PCR.” The MIQE PCR guidelines agree, stating: “[CT] values higher than 40 are suspect because of the implied low efficiency and generally should not be reported,” Dr Fauci himself even admitted anything over 35 cycles is almost never culturable. Dr Juliet Morrison, virologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times: Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive…I’m shocked that people would think that 40 [cycles] could represent a positive…A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35″. In the same article Dr Michael Mina, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the limit should be 30, and the author goes on to point out that reducing the CT from 40 to 30 would have reduced “covid cases” in some states by as much as 90%. The CDC’s own data suggests no sample over 33 cycles could be cultured, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says nothing over 30 cycles is likely to be infectious. Despite this, it is known almost all the labs in the US are running their tests at least 37 cycles and sometimes as high as 45. The NHS “standard operating procedure” for PCR tests rules set the limit at 40 cycles. Based on what we know about the CT values, the majority of PCR test results are at best questionable. * 14. The World Health Organization (Twice) Admitted PCR tests produced false positives. In December 2020 WHO put out a briefing memo on the PCR process instructing labs to be wary of high CT values causing false positive results: when specimens return a high Ct value, it means that many cycles were required to detect virus. In some circumstances, the distinction between background noise and actual presence of the target virus is difficult to ascertain. Then, in January 2021, the WHO released another memo, this time warning that “asymptomatic” positive PCR tests should be re-tested because they might be false positives: Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation, a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology. * 15. The scientific basis for Covid tests is questionable. The genome of the Sars-Cov-2 virus was supposedly sequenced by Chinese scientists in December 2019, then published on January 10th 2020. Less than two weeks later, German virologists (Christian Drosten et al.) had allegedly used the genome to create assays for PCR tests. They wrote a paper, Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR, which was submitted for publication on January 21st 2020, and then accepted on January 22nd. Meaning the paper was allegedly “peer-reviewed” in less than 24 hours. A process that typically takes weeks. Since then, a consortium of over forty life scientists has petitioned for the withdrawal of the paper, writing a lengthy report detailing 10 major errors in the paper’s methodology. They have also requested the release of the journal’s peer-review report, to prove the paper really did pass through the peer-review process. The journal has yet to comply. The Corman-Drosten assays are the root of every Covid PCR test in the world. If the paper is questionable, every PCR test is also questionable. *  *  * PART IV: “ASYMPTOMATIC INFECTION” 16. The majority of Covid infections are “asymptomatic”. From as early as March 2020, studies done in Italy were suggesting 50-75% of positive Covid tests had no symptoms. Another UK study from August 2020 found as much as 86% of “Covid patients” experienced no viral symptoms at all. It is literally impossible to tell the difference between an “asymptomatic case” and a false-positive test result. * 17. There is very little evidence supporting the alleged danger of “asymptomatic transmission”. In June 2020, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said: From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” A meta-analysis of Covid studies, published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in December 2020, found that asymptomatic carriers had a less than 1% chance of infecting people within their household. Another study, done on influenza in 2009, found: …limited evidence to suggest the importance of [asymptomatic] transmission. The role of asymptomatic or presymptomatic influenza-infected individuals in disease transmission may have been overestimated…” Given the known flaws of the PCR tests, many “asymptomatic cases” may be false positives.[fact 14] *  *  * PART V: VENTILATORS 18. Ventilation is NOT a treatment for respiratory viruses. Mechanical ventilation is not, and never has been, recommended treatment for respiratory infection of any kind. In the early days of the pandemic, many doctors came forward questioning the use of ventilators to treat “Covid”. Writing in The Spectator, Dr Matt Strauss stated: Ventilators do not cure any disease. They can fill your lungs with air when you find yourself unable to do so yourself. They are associated with lung diseases in the public’s consciousness, but this is not in fact their most common or most appropriate application. German Pulmonologist Dr Thomas Voshaar, chairman of Association of Pneumatological Clinics said: When we read the first studies and reports from China and Italy, we immediately asked ourselves why intubation was so common there. This contradicted our clinical experience with viral pneumonia. Despite this, the WHO, CDC, ECDC and NHS all “recommended” Covid patients be ventilated instead of using non-invasive methods. This was not a medical policy designed to best treat the patients, but rather to reduce the hypothetical spread of Covid by preventing patients from exhaling aerosol droplets. * 19. Ventilators killed people. Putting someone who is suffering from influenza, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or any other condition which restricts breathing or affects the lungs, will not alleviate any of those symptoms. In fact, it will almost certainly make it worse, and will kill many of them. Intubation tubes are a source of potential a infection known as “ventilator-associated pneumonia”, which studies show affects up to 28% of all people put on ventilators, and kills 20-55% of those infected. Mechanical ventilation is also damaging to the physical structure of the lungs, resulting in “ventilator-induced lung injury”, which can dramatically impact quality of life, and even result in death. Experts estimate 40-50% of ventilated patients die, regardless of their disease. Around the world, between 66 and 86% of all “Covid patients” put on ventilators died. According to the “undercover nurse”, ventilators were being used so improperly in New York, they were destroying patients’ lungs: This policy was negligence at best, and potentially deliberate murder at worst. This misuse of ventilators could account for any increase in mortality in 2020/21 [Facts 2 & 6] *  *  * PART VI: MASKS 20. Masks don’t work. At least a dozen scientific studies have shown that masks do nothing to stop the spread of respiratory viruses. One meta-analysis published by the CDC in May 2020 found “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”. Another study with over 8000 subjects found masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” There are literally too many to quote them all, but you can read them: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Or read a summary by SPR here. While some studies have been done claiming to show mask do work for Covid, they are all seriously flawed. One relied on self-reported surveys as data. Another was so badly designed a panel of experts demand it be withdrawn. A third was withdrawn after its predictions proved entirely incorrect. The WHO commissioned their own meta-analysis in the Lancet, but that study looked only at N95 masks and only in hospitals. [For full run down on the bad data in this study click here.] Aside from scientific evidence, there’s plenty of real-world evidence that masks do nothing to halt the spread of disease. For example, North Dakota and South Dakota had near-identical case figures, despite one having a mask-mandate and the other not: In Kansas, counties without mask mandates actually had fewer Covid “cases” than counties with mask mandates. And despite masks being very common in Japan, they had their worst flu outbreak in decades in 2019. * 21. Masks are bad for your health. Wearing a mask for long periods, wearing the same mask more than once, and other aspects of cloth masks can be bad for your health. A long study on the detrimental effects of mask-wearing was recently published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Dr. James Meehan reported in August 2020 he was seeing increases in bacterial pneumonia, fungal infections, facial rashes . Masks are also known to contain plastic microfibers, which damage the lungs when inhaled and may be potentially carcinogenic. Childen wearing masks encourages mouth-breathing, which results in facial deformities. People around the world have passed out due to CO2 poisoning while wearing their masks, and some children in China even suffered sudden cardiac arrest. * 22. Masks are bad for the planet. Millions upon millions of disposable masks have been used per month for over a year. A report from the UN found the Covid19 pandemic will likely result in plastic waste more than doubling in the next few years., and the vast majority of that is face masks. The report goes on to warn these masks (and other medical waste) will clog sewage and irrigation systems, which will have knock on effects on public health, irrigation and agriculture. A study from the University of Swansea found “heavy metals and plastic fibres were released when throw-away masks were submerged in water.” These materials are toxic to both people and wildlife. *  *  * PART VII: VACCINES 23. Covid “vaccines” are totally unprecedented. Before 2020 no successful vaccine against a human coronavirus had ever been developed. Since then we have allegedly made 20 of them in 18 months. Scientists have been trying to develop a SARS and MERS vaccine for years with little success. Some of the failed SARS vaccines actually caused hypersensitivity to the SARS virus. Meaning that vaccinated mice could potentially get the disease more severely than unvaccinated mice. Another attempt caused liver damage in ferrets. While traditional vaccines work by exposing the body to a weakened strain of the microorganism responsible for causing the disease, these new Covid vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines theoretically work by injecting viral mRNA into the body, where it replicates inside your cells and encourages your body to recognise, and make antigens for, the “spike proteins” of the virus. They have been the subject of research since the 1990s, but before 2020 no mRNA vaccine was ever approved for use. * 24. Vaccines do not confer immunity or prevent transmission. It is readily admitted that Covid “vaccines” do not confer immunity from infection and do not prevent you from passing the disease onto others. Indeed, an article in the British Medical Journal highlighted that the vaccine studies were not designed to even try and assess if the “vaccines” limited transmission. The vaccine manufacturers themselves, upon releasing the untested mRNA gene therapies, were quite clear their product’s “efficacy” was based on “reducing the severity of symptoms”. * 25. The vaccines were rushed and have unknown longterm effects. Vaccine development is a slow, laborious process. Usually, from development through testing and finally being approved for public use takes many years. The various vaccines for Covid were all developed and approved in less than a year. Obviously there can be no long-term safety data on chemicals which are less than a year old. Pfizer even admit this is true in the leaked supply contract between the pharmaceutical giant, and the government of Albania: the long-term effects and efficacy of the Vaccine are not currently known and that there may be adverse effects of the Vaccine that are not currently known Further, none of the vaccines have been subject to proper trials. Many of them skipped early-stage trials entirely, and the late-stage human trials have either not been peer-reviewed, have not released their data, will not finish until 2023 or were abandoned after “severe adverse effects”. * 26. Vaccine manufacturers have been granted legal indemnity should they cause harm. The USA’s Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) grants immunity until at least 2024. The EU’s product licensing law does the same, and there are reports of confidential liability clauses in the contracts the EU signed with vaccine manufacturers. The UK went even further, granting permanent legal indemnity to the government, and any employees thereof, for any harm done when a patient is being treated for Covid19 or “suspected Covid19”. Again, the leaked Albanian contract suggests that Pfizer, at least, made this indemnity a standard demand of supplying Covid vaccines: Purchaser hereby agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer […] from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, losses, damages, liabilities, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses *  *  * PART VIII: DECEPTION & FOREKNOWLEDGE 27. The EU was preparing “vaccine passports” at least a YEAR before the pandemic began. Proposed COVID countermeasures, presented to the public as improvised emergency measures, have existed since before the emergence of the disease. Two EU documents published in 2018, the “2018 State of Vaccine Confidence” and a technical report titled “Designing and implementing an immunisation information system” discussed the plausibility of an EU-wide vaccination monitoring system. These documents were combined into the 2019 “Vaccination Roadmap”, which (among other things) established a “feasibility study” on vaccine passports to begin in 2019 and finish in 2021: This report’s final conclusions were released to the public in September 2019, just a month before Event 201 (below). * 28. A “training exercise” predicted the pandemic just weeks before it started. In October 2019 the World Economic Forum and Johns Hopkins University held Event 201. This was a training exercise based on a zoonotic coronavirus starting a worldwide pandemic. The exercise was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI the vaccine alliance. The exercise published its findings and recommendations in November 2019 as a “call to action”. One month later, China recorded their first case of “Covid”. * 29. Since the beginning of 2020, the Flu has “disappeared”. In the United States, since Februart 2020, influenza cases have allegedly dropped by over 98%. It’s not just the US either, globally flu has apparently almost completely disappeared. Meanwhile, a new disease called “Covid”, which has identical symptoms and a similar mortality rate to influenza, is supposedly sweeping the globe. * 30. The elite have made fortunes during the pandemic. Since the beginning of lockdown the wealthiest people have become significantly wealthier. Forbes reported that 40 new billionaires have been created “fighting the coronavirus”, with 9 of them being vaccine manufacturers. Business Insider reported that “billionaires saw their net worth increase by half a trillion dollars” by October 2020. Clearly that number will be even bigger by now. *  *  * These are the vital facts of the pandemic, presented here as a resource to help formulate and support your arguments with friends or strangers. Thanks to all the researchers who have collated and collected this information over the last twenty months, especially Swiss Policy Research. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt18 hr. 37 min. ago

I tried two of the most popular meditation apps, Headspace and Calm, for a week. One app was the clear winner for starting my workday with focus and mindfulness.

Between Headspace and Calm, one meditation app reigned supreme with greater variety, actionable insights, and more to start the day with mindfulness. Jens Kalaene/Picture Alliance via Getty Images Many people swear by meditation to start their days with a moment of mindfulness and clarity. I put the popular meditation apps Headspace and Calm to the test to see which worked better for me. Calm was the clear winner in giving me a better meditation experience to begin my day. Here's why. See more stories on Insider's business page. I've often heard people tout the benefits of meditation, but I'd never tried it myself. Having worked remotely for roughly a year and a half now, like millions of other people, I've settled into a pretty calcified morning routine at home.So I decided to finally give meditation a shot, both to change up my routine a bit and to see if it would give me more focus and clarity throughout the day, as so many people who meditate report feeling. I'd heard good things about Headspace and Calm, which are two of the most popular meditation apps on the market, so I put both apps to the test. After two weeks, one spent using each app, I found that Calm was better by a long shot. Here's how Headspace and Calm stacked up for me: On Day 1 of Headspace, I followed the default morning routine from the "Today" section of the app. Headspace It included three steps: a short breathing exercise, the morning video of the day, and a meditation. The breathing exercise was simple enough: Take a few deep breaths. Headspace Next up on the morning agenda was The Wake Up. Headspace This is Headspace's daily bite-sized video series. Then, I did the third and final step of the morning routine: the daily meditation. Headspace I've listened to several of Headspace's daily meditations since this one, and overall I found them kind of disappointing. Headspace meditations offered much less to keep your attention, so I found my mind frequently wandering off. For example, Headspace's daily meditations don't tend to have things like anecdotes, quotes, or action steps, unlike what Calm offers. (More on that later.)Because there is less variety across the daily meditations, they started to feel very repetitive and monotonous. I started to feel that if I'd done one, I'd done them all. One bright spot, though, was that the app lets you choose between teachers for many meditations, including this one. Headspace I didn't like one teacher over another, but having the option could be useful for those who find they do respond better to one particular teacher's style. You're also able to choose the duration of the daily meditation. This flexibility is probably one of my favorite parts of Headspace, but it doesn't entirely work as advertised. Headspace I expected the duration of the meditation would be exactly three, five, 10, 15, or 20 minutes, depending on what I chose. In the time I've used Headspace so far, though, I've found that the time a meditation actually takes almost never matches the duration you choose. For example, if you select three minutes, the meditation can really end up being nearly five minutes, which is the next duration option. This discrepancy never affected me, but it might affect a Headspace user on a really tight schedule. On Day 2 of Headspace, I checked out what was under the "Meditate" tab of the app. Headspace Even my cursory scroll through the "Beginning meditation" section gave me some valuable information about the different techniques common in many meditations, for example. Throughout the week, I increasingly found that one bright spot of using Headspace is that it's very beginner-friendly. Before long, I had wound up looking at Headspace's course library. Headspace I liked that you can filter your search based on emotions or areas of your life that you'd like to work on; I also appreciated the fact that Headspace has courses for such a wide variety of topics.  Headspace's library is also a great showcase of what I think is one of the app's strongest assets: its look. Headspace Headspace's visuals are clean, colorful, and fairly minimalist. After some digging around, I settled on one of the courses in the "Focus at Work" section: Productivity. Headspace Besides courses, the Focus at Work section also includes single meditations, music designed to promote focus, and animations showing techniques at work for Headspace's cute characters. There's also a small subsection here that's designed to help students. Overall, I was disappointed with the first lesson. Headspace I found that very little of the session was actually specific to productivity and, if you took out those few minutes, you could have easily believed the session was about any number of other topics. To Headspace's credit, I did feel slightly more focused after the session, and I only tried out one of the 10, so I certainly couldn't have expected a miracle from that alone. Also, Headspace often says one of the ways you can improve your meditation is to simply do it over and over again, so repetition is part of the process.Regardless, I found the first lesson nearly indistinguishable from many of the other Headspace courses I went on to try later. I skipped over the "Sleep" tab in the app because my main goal with my meditation experiment was to better start my days, not end them. Headspace However, a quick lookover of the tab shows a variety of options, including wind-down exercises, stories, sleep music tracks, and even soundscapes of things like forests and flowing water. The dark mode was also a nice touch to help prepare your eyes for rest. The following day, I detoured from strict meditations. Headspace At this point, the meditations I'd tried thus far were pretty stationary; you were meant to be sitting still while you followed them. On this day, however, I turned to the "Move" tab on the app to see if something a little more active would help me start my workday better.  I browsed some of Headspace's yoga classes designed to get you up and at it in the mornings. Headspace I ended up trying out a 10-minute class called "Rise and Shine." Headspace Unsurprisingly, this class gave me a bigger burst of energy for the day than did any of the stationary meditations from my previous two days on Headspace.There was also peaceful ambient music in the background that really added to the atmosphere of the video, which somehow succeeded in being both calming and energizing. By Day 4, I had reached the last of the app's tabs: Focus. Headspace I decided to try some of the music intended to promote focus. I should note here that these offerings, as well as some others on different tabs, have since changed in the app. Many of the listings are still there, just under different categories.  As a fan of several of Hans Zimmer's film scores, I decided to give his playlist a listen. Headspace I ended up breezing through the playlist and working the full 85 minutes uninterrupted. I was shocked to see that all that time had passed once the music stopped, and I definitely didn't feel as though I'd been working for as long as I had. Since then, I've come back to this playlist and a few others from the list several times, always to great effect. On my fifth and final day of using Headspace, I stayed on the Focus tab, this time browsing a series of exercises. Headspace I ended up trying a very fitting course aimed at helping you start the day while you're working from home. Headspace While the session was, again, quite repetitive of other meditations I'd previously done on Headspace, it was moderately effective for me in keeping distractions at bay.Overall, my experience with Headspace was decent. My biggest gripe with the app is that too many of its meditations were too similar. This sameness gave me little to look forward to when I opened the app each morning, and it definitely didn't help with keeping my mind on task.Ironically, my favorite parts of the meditation app were the ones that weren't meditation at all; I really enjoyed the active movement sessions and the focus music playlists. Despite its flaws, Headspace is a good place to start for those interested in meditation.  For Week 2 of my meditation experiment, I turned my attention to Calm. Calm When you first open Calm, it asks what goals you'd like to focus on while using the app. I ticked off all of the goals to get a fuller picture of everything the app has to offer. The onboarding also asks what type of clips you'd most like to see when using Calm. Calm Lastly, Calm asks about your level of familiarity with meditation. Calm I liked that the app asked this question, so it can make recommendations with your experience level in mind.  Once I answered these questions, I was shown the home page of the app. Calm The first thing that struck me was the sound in the background. By default, the app plays flowing water sounds while you're in it, though you can turn off the sounds in the settings. I found the sounds to be a really nice, calming addition that helped me start my experience with Calm on the right foot.Visually, I also really liked Calm's deep blue hue compared to Headspace's stark white color. The water sounds continued playing into the first meditation I tried, which was part of the app's everyday series, Daily Calm. Calm It seemed to me that there were longer silences in some of the Calm meditations than the Headspace ones, and I found that the water sounds helped me stay focused on the meditation during these silences rather than having my mind wander.I also liked that this meditation included an anecdote and a quote to illustrate a few points. Simple additions like these made Calm's meditations seem tailored to their themes, and they would have gone a long way in creating more variety among meditations on Headspace.  The next day, I listened to an episode in a different Calm series, the Daily Trip. Calm This installment focused on a message that Headspace and Calm often stress: When you're faced with distractions, it can sometimes be helpful to simply notice they're there, rather than engage or fixate on them. On Day 3, I looked through Calm's catalog of meditations and decided on a series called Mindfulness at Work. Calm The first lesson was called Productivity, just like the series I started on Day 2 of my Headspace week.As with Headspace, a lot of the lesson was spent in silence, focusing on deep breathing and paying attention to what you're feeling one moment at a time. But in the few minutes that the instructor talked about productivity at work, I think Calm won out. Calm's insights seemed to be more specific and more relatable, sending you away with more practicable takeaways for your workday.  On Day 4, I looked through Calm's movement-based sessions. Calm This is one arena where Headspace seems to have Calm beat — Headspace had a far greater variety of sessions focused on getting active. I followed a simple morning stretch exercise. Calm Again, Headspace seemed to edge out Calm in this department. In the Headspace yoga session I did, the instructor did the stretches alongside you. In this Calm session, there was no video component; the instructor verbally walked you through the stretches. On my last day on Calm, I looked through the series that were recommended to me based on the goals I selected when I first downloaded the app. Calm I decided to give the "Improve Focus" series a shot. Calm It included things like master classes, breathing exercises, music playlists, and soundscapes, as well as bite-sized conversations through a series called The Spark. In keeping with my choice on Headspace, I also listened to a few playlists designed to promote focus. Calm I felt just as focused listening to Calm's playlists as I did listening to Headspace's music. However, Calm has a bigger selection of music and a longer roster of big-name artists. Besides focus music, Calm's Sleep Remix series, for example, includes deconstructed, slowed versions of songs from musicians like Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, and Kacey Musgraves. Overall, Calm was the clear winner for me. Calm Calm had more variety across all of its offerings, as well as more relatable and actionable insights in its meditations.Even for the sessions I didn't test on either app, Calm seemed to take the cake. For sleep, for example, Calm has stories read by names like Regé-Jean Page, Matthew McConaughey, Laura Dern, and Harry Styles. Headspace was not without its perks, though. Its flexibility in allowing you to pick your teacher and your meditation duration, for example, was a plus. But when it really comes down to it, I'd go with Calm every time.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt19 hr. 21 min. ago

Hedge Fund Net Leverage At All Time Highs As No Dips Are Sold

Hedge Fund Net Leverage At All Time Highs As No Dips Are Sold Two weeks ago, JPMorgan's prime desk wrote about 2 main themes among the hedge fund community: elevated leverage levels and low exposure to cyclicals/value that tend to do better when rates are rising. However, over the past week, both of these things have come into sharper focus as US equities suffered one of their larger pullbacks in a while and rates globally jumped higher towards the end of this week.  So what has the largest bank's prime brokerage desk seen in the past week?  According to the latest weekly Positioning Intelligence report published by the bank, at a high level, it seems that HFs are not that concerned about the broader market (nor is anyone else for that matter) with the bank finding that over the past few months, there’s been limited willingness to sell dips.  In line with this, the bank saw neutral flows globally over the past week with small buying on Monday, alongside retail BTFDers, even as professional sentiment tracked by AAII turned the most bearish since last October... ... followed by small selling on Thursday.  But more generally, net flows globally have remained neutral to skewed towards buying in the past 2 weeks with Asia the only region to see some selling. Furthermore, as has been the case for much of 2011, net leverage remains near highs with little change in the past few weeks—net at 98th percentile (of all time) across All Strategies. While gross leverage has come down a little to the 76th percentile, that appears to be more derivatives related and there could be an element of Quadruple Witching that might be impacting this as the largest gross leverage reductions were among Multi-Strat funds. According to JPM, one reason why leverage and flows among HFs might be more neutral this month is that performance has held in relatively well MTD: long-short spreads have been improving over the past few months.  Looking at this month, longs are holding up well, while shorts are down in line with the market. This leaves HFs up slightly MTD, according to JPM estimates. Back to the topic of leverage, FINRA just came out with its latest statistics on Margin Debt which showed them at a new ATH. Given it is up almost 60% since the start of 2020, it begs the question Bank of America asked one month ago: should we be concerned? Not surprisingly, JPM dismisses this indicator and thinks "this alone is not something that is concerning when one breaks down the changes and behavior to account for how the market has been performing." Furthermore the JPM prime desk notes that "this appears to be very different from the peaks in 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt rose about 50% faster than the S&P 500 over a 12-month period." Instead, to JPM the recent moves seem more reminiscent to what happened in the early 90s. At a more micro level, cyclicals / value / inflation / travel related stocks have all been doing better recently as COVID are falling once more, some travel restrictions are getting lifted, and rates are rising globally.  In line with this, JPM continued to see buying of NA Financials, something that has been noted over the past few weeks, but this week JPM saw Banks getting bought (vs. more Insurance and Div. Fins in prior weeks).  COVID recovery stocks have also been bought but there’s room for more to go as positioning and valuations remain low in many cases (especially among the US COVID – Domestic Recovery basket, JPAMCRDB).  EMEA Travel & Leisure stocks saw strong buying in the past week as the US prepares to drop its ban for transatlantic travel, and net positioning is getting a bit elevated vs. history; however, EMEA Airlines still has low positioning.  Finally, not everything cyclical is getting bought—HFs have continued to sell Energy into strength - despite the recent surge in oil and all other commodities - and have also sold Materials.  Below we share some more details on each of these core themes Main theme #1: Global Flows and Leverage: HFs Don’t Seem Too Concerned While markets have been volatile over the past week, due to the myriad concerns, HF flows remained quite calm.  The reason is that hedge funds have been reluctant to sell dips and that appeared to be the case again last Fri/this Mon as global flows were quite neutral.  However, at the same time, HFs are also not chase the rally as the JPM Prime net flows were fairly neutral on Wed and skewed towards selling on Thurs when markets rallied back. A notable observation is that there appears to be some strategy differences in the past 2 weeks as Equity L/S and Quant funds have been buyers while Multi-Strats have been net sellers across JPM prime.  The selling among Multi-Strats comes as gross and net leverage have started to pull back from peak levels.  The gross reductions among some Multi-Strat funds have been the main driver of the broader “All Strategies” gross leverage figure lower WoW.  However, net leverage was basically unchanged. Furthermore, it appears derivative positions might be driving some of the changes as notional LMV and SMV increased WoW while delta adjusted LMV and SMV fell.   Among Equity L/S funds, who have been moderate net buyers of equities most days MTD, net leverage actually rose slightly WoW and it’s now at the 93rd %-tile since Mar 2017.   #2:  US Margin Debt: New ATHs at End of Aug…Should We Be Concerned? FINRA just released the latest monthly stats on “Margin Debt” which showed a fairly large increase, following a decrease in July.  As Margin Debt is at new All-Time-Highs and is now up almost 60% since the start of 2020, it’s worth asking -as BofA did one month ago -  if this is something we should be concerned about.   In order to answer this, we’ve looked at the relationship between Margin Debt and the markets over time, augmenting the data FINRA has on it’s website with NYSE Margin Debt data that goes back to 1959.  What this shows is that while there is a very big increase recently, it is 1) in line with the markets and 2) seems to be following the general pattern of the past 60+ years.   Similar to discussions of rate-driven VaR shocks, JPM argues that it’s not so much the level of Margin Debt that one should be focused on, but rather the rate of change. On this point, the bank measured the 12M change in Margin Debt and the S&P 500 over the past ~60 years and what this shows is that there is typically a fairly strong correlation over time. In particular, this correlation has been very strong since the GFC, but there were a couple notable divergences in 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt rose much faster than the market. In its attempt to mitigate concerns about record margin debt, JPM then notes that increases in Margin Debt (i.e. investors taking on more leverage) that exceed the market returns by a wide margin could indicate greater potential for future stress because it might suggest that investors are adding leverage at market highs, but not actually making much money while doing so. Thus, when markets start to pull back, the recent investments start to lose money more quickly than if they had been added when the markets weren’t at highs. Addressing this point, JPM notes that when looking at what’s happened in the past 2 years, we have seen Margin Debt increase faster than the markets on a 12M rolling basis with the difference reaching +28% at its recent high.  However, the recent high in the 12M difference metric was reached in January of this year (perhaps due to the fact that HFs had performed very well in 2020 and had been adding risk throughout 2H20 in particular). Thus, this difference has been falling for much of the past 7 months.  Furthermore, the recent rise follows a period when Margin Debt had generally lagged the market increases; since the start of 2018, margin debt is only up ~40% vs. the S&P up ~70% in price terms. When it looks back even further, JPM notes that there were periods in the 70s-80s when large increases in Margin debt were followed by market weakness, suggesting this isn’t only a 2000 and 2007 phenomenon (left chart below).  Furthermore, one could reasonably ask why the relatively large increase in the early 90s didn’t result in a market pullback.  While there are likely other contributing factors as well, one thing to note about Margin Debt was that it had gone through a period of relatively slower growth in the late 80s, so the rise in the early 90s was somewhat of a “catch-up” period for it.  Similarly, JPM argues that the rise into Jan of this year could also be considered a bit of a “catch-up” period, which appears to be different from 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt was reaching new highs, even when measuring it relative to the S&P changes.   In light of the above it's hardly a surprise that JPM thinks that while there are many potential reasons one could cite for market caution, "the level and changes in Margin Debt do not appear to be setting us up for extreme market drawdowns like we saw in 2000 and 2007." #3:  Reopening/Recovery Trades Back in Focus? With COVID cases appeared to be on the decline globally, and travel restrictions getting lifted in some places, reopening/recovery themes have been more topical as they’ve started to perform better. On the HF side, JPM Prime has seen net buying over the past 2-3 weeks in both the Domestic Recovery basket (JPAMCRDB) and the International Recovery Basket (JPAMCRIB).  Positioning in both groups remains low on a YTD basis and very low on a multi-year basis for the Domestic basket.  In addition, JPM’s U.S. Equity Research Strategist, Dubravko, recently wrote about this in a recent note where he showed that the COVID Recovery – Domestic basket had seen relative valuations fall back to multi-year lows while COVID Beneficiaries were back near highs. In a similar vein, Travel & Leisure stocks have seen strong performance this week in both N. America and EMEA, along with HF buying as the US said it would remove its ban on EU travel for vaccinated passengers starting in November. The recovery in performance, relative to the market, still has more to go before getting back to  where we were earlier this year. In terms of where the recent buying and outperformance leaves HF positioning, net exposures are nearing average levels among US Travel & Leisure stocks, but are a bit closer to highs in EMEA. Where there appears to be more potential upside for positioning in EMEA is among the Airlines stocks where net exposures is still about 1z below average and JPM has yet to see shorts covered in the group, after persistent additions for the past 6 months. Among US stocks, the rise in rates was accompanied by further buying of Inflation Winners and Rising Bond Yield Winners. Despite the recent buying, net exposure to the Inflation winners remains quite low with net exposures about 1 std dev below average and for the Rising Bond Yield Winners, the net exposure is still slightly below average.   Similarly, a couple weeks ago JPM wrote about how positioning and flows in Value vs. Growth had done a “180” in the past few months as Value had underperformed. Perhaps not surprisingly, US Value seems to be getting a revival recently as the Value factor has been bought in the past 2 weeks. This is coming from both Value Longs getting bought and Value Shorts being sold/shorted.  In line with this, Growth stocks have seen some selling. #4:  Performance – HFs Holding Well in Sep With a risk-on backdrop of cyclicals outperforming defensives, small caps rallying, and rising rates this week (Rising Bond Yield Winners up +5% WTD), Hedge Funds find themselves in the rare position of outperforming broader equity market indices MTD. And with WSB's short squeeze hunts fading, shorts are not detracting from performance as they are generally down in-line with the market; whereas, longs have fared better and protected to the downside.  Among Global Equity L/S funds, net returns continue to track positively with gains of +60-70bps MTD, outperforming MSCI ACWI (which is down -1.2%). The long-short spread has continued to improve since mid-August, driven more recently by shorts selling off faster in September than the market (down -1.3% on wgtd avg basis) and longs holding up relatively well (only down -15bps MTD). Non-Equity L/S funds are also up MTD and outperforming global equity indices, up between +30-85bps. In terms of alpha, longs have outperformed shorts throughout most of September (some reversion over the past 2 days). At a regional level, N. America L/S funds are flat to slightly up MTD, up around +0-30bps and are thus outpacing the SPX. The long-short spread has continued to improve steadily since mid-August but slowed yesterday as shorts outperformed. In EMEA, net returns among L/S funds are positive MTD, gaining around +0.5-1.3% and outperforming the headline European index. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 20:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

I finally quit my finance job to become a full-time musician - here"s how I"m making the jump

Dane Drewis tried to become a full-time musician a few years ago but fell back on his finance degree. This time, he's making sure it'll be different. Dane Drewis and his guitar. Dane Drewis Dane Drewis is quitting his finance job to pursue music full-time by treating his music like a business. Drewis treats his music like a business and has mapped out a financial strategy to move forward. He recommends acquiring digital production skills for more control over your music. See more stories on Insider's business page. Sometimes you need a nudge to make a leap of faith. But a pandemic lockdown can do the trick, too. Once music gigs dried up during COVID-19 lockdowns, California musician Dane Drewis decided he would quit his corporate finance job and make the jump from part-time to full-time musician. Drewis, who was most recently the VP of finance at design and technology company 14th Round Inc., has done a lot of jobs in his working career: business, finance, waiting tables, and even running a restaurant that Beyoncé invested in.But that list never included music, until now - and that's because he's decided to treat his music like a business venture, not just a side hobby."I'll be turning 39 soon and I've never made a full commitment with music," Drewis told Insider. "I want to be able to look back and say I went all in with music."Drewis, whose parents are both musicians, fell in love with music in college thanks to late-night jam sessions and endless hours practicing guitar alone in his dorm room. But as he took on a professional career, he didn't have the time or energy to go all in. Despite a comfortable salary at his old job and the flexibility to play music on weekends and during evenings, Drewis felt he had to both answer his passion and stop doing what he didn't enjoy. "Honestly I'm tired of doing spreadsheets all day," Drewis said. "I'm ready to share as much happiness and love as possible through committing myself to music."No more safety netsSeveral years ago, Drewis gave up an attempt at becoming a full-time musician because sleeping in his van and living with fewer comforts took its toll. He couldn't secure enough music work to make ends meet and eventually he had to find a full-time job. "Being that broke is stressful and it makes it really hard to be creative," Drewis explained. This time, Drewis has given himself a runway to launch off of - the security of a roof over his head and a nest egg of savings, as well as a more developed financial strategy as opposed to playing music at casinos, weddings, and small-time gigs for low pay."I've done the whole starving artist thing, but it won't be the same this time," Drewis said. "Less scrambling for cash and more consistent work this time, promotional events. I'm treating this like a real business venture."In his previous attempt, Drewis kept his finance degree front and center as his backup plan. The safety net, he said, is ultimately what prevented him from full dedication. "No backup plan this time around," Drewis said. "Before, I was like, 'I can do finance if I need to.' But this time's different. I know for damn sure I don't want to do finance again. That's what's driving me this time."Leveraging digital skills and a business planTo make the jump to full-time musician, Drewis has revamped his digital skills and has used his education to map out a financial strategy for his music business. He shares music on Instagram and is a verified artist on Spotify.He's invested in learning how to produce his own songs rather than relying on a company to produce his music for him - something essential to maintaining creative freedom, Drewis said. A post shared by Dane Drewis (@danedrewis) "I've put a lot of time into learning the software behind music production, tracking and producing my own songs," Drewis said. "I'm taking control over my recordings for my own work."By producing his own music and working on his own timeline, Drewis aims to create original content on a regular basis. Then, he has plans to build out his music-licensing business to get his songs on television commercials and elsewhere. "Ten years ago, I never treated music like a business," Drewis said. "I just saw myself as a singer. But now I see this as a startup company. I know my revenue and expenses. I have a firm business plan."To younger artists looking to make the leap, Drewis recommends becoming as tech-savvy as possible with music production. "[Digital] skill set is the primary currency today," Drewis said. "You want to be your own artist, you want to be able to translate what's in your mind onto the computer and into people's ears, all while making your music sound exactly how you want it to sound." Drewis recommends becoming proficient at Ableton, a production software, as a way of gaining more autonomy as a musician. These tools allow for greater control and customization, he said. Drewis returned from his first international tour in Germany last week, and he has a slew of shows planned for the coming months. His focus remains on building out his digital presence, filming music videos, and growing his audience."For musicians, a big worry is artistic failure," Drewis said. "But a bigger worry, for me, is wondering if I was good enough to really do this. Now's the time to find out." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

Why The West Can"t Ban Bitcoin The Way China Did

Why The West Can't Ban Bitcoin The Way China Did Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Only a complete “dictatorship of the proletariat” can kill Bitcoin Evergrande is being called China’s “Lehman moment” and overnight the PBC closed the loop on their clampdown on crypto with a total ban on virtual currency transactions. For those paying attention, however, China isn’t just moving against crypto, they’ve been bringing their entire technology sector to heel. They also stated that it is time to redistribute wealth from the top tier of the nations wealth holders to the rest of the peasant class. This isn’t a return to their Communist roots as much as it is a move of self-preservation against rising internal powers. In the words of my friend Charles Hugh Smith via some correspondence we’ve been having this week “Xi has set out to crush the Network State”. I said in my earlier Network State Primer about the coming tension between Nation States and Network States: the former will go down swinging. The power structures of the nation states won’t go gently into the dustbin of history. They will go down swinging, over a transitional era that may span decades or longer, similar to the centuries long tensions between monarchs and the Papacy that shaped the transition from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance. China has decided to make their last stand of the Nation State, now. Here at this moment in time. They will not bail out Evergrande, they will allow their side of the Everything Bubble to pop, and they will use the economic crash to make a final sweep of consolidation of their power. They will make sure their Big Tech knows who is in charge and that it is not them. Over here in the West, recent regulatory jabs at crypto seem almost enfeebled by comparison. The SEC forcing Coinbase to cancel a program they hadn’t launched yet (so it makes no difference to their bottom line), while bickering with the CFTA over who gets to regulate crypto. The subtext to all this is we shall now see, and be forced to choose, a path forward in the digital networked age: Behind door #1 we keep the nation state format of centralized, top down control and escalating interference into both the economic and private lives of its subjects. Behind door #2 is the coming tension between nation states, network states and crypto-claves that I outlined previously. Neither path will produce a serene and stable gilded age. They will both be chaotic and volatile, Fourth Turning style transitions. The former in the course of implementing then maintaining a totalitarian dictatorship by force. The latter in the interplay and jockeying between three disparate organizational dynamics, each with it’s own centre of gravity (power), source of wealth and interdependencies with the others. China may be able to make option #1 work there, at least for awhile, but would a China style technocratic dictatorship actually fly and sustain in the West? At first glance one may think so. The zeitgeist today seems to be one clamouring for authoritarianism and collectivism. But upon deeper examination this may only be the vocal minority of academia, media pundits and Social Justice Inc. The majority of the population may just be keeping silent out of pragmatism and sheer exhaustion from the never-ending elitist sanctimony and cultural Marxism. But the pushback against COVID authoritarianism, now made acute by forced vaccinations and the ongoing threats of never-ending lockdowns may finally be getting hints of non-compliance through to policy-makers in the West. Australia has officially abandoned their Zero Covid policy and vaccine passport mandates are incurring revolts and in some places are abandoned. What would it take for Western governments to ban crypto, reign in ascendant tech platforms and more permanently abrogate all property rights? Western governments would have to go “Full China” My worry under lockdowns was that Western governments pined for China-style autocracy. And let’s call it for what it is: for a couple years since all this started, they certainly tried it. To varying degrees they continue to cling to the hope that they can remain relevant in a 21st century world using technocratic methods developed out of 20th century industrialism. Most policy makers are still trapped in a mindset learned from an era of assembly lines and cubicles. They think the only difference is it’s now digitized. But the more I started thinking about this the more I realized how unlikely this is in the realms of erstwhile liberal democracies. For one thing, decentralized crypto currencies have already changed the game  in the West in a way where there is no going back. It is estimated that by 2024, there will one billion Bitcoin HODLers, and that makes them a real constituancy. Another reason is that we are at least nominally democracies, with elections. That means our societal fabric has a particular architecture very different from China’s. While elections have become largely ceremonial ratifications of homogenous policy tracks, contested between insular factions within political monocultures, they at least show the overlords where the boundaries of their powers are. Take for example the recent Canadian election, where Justin Trudeau’s gambit to secure a majority failed and he’s stuck with another minority government. The rising right-wing PPC party won no seats, and yet, secured 5% of the popular vote, up from 1.62% in 2019, the year that party formed. They blew out the Green Party at 2.6% and who has been around for 35 years. Their performance caused much pearl clutching from the MSM and there will be more going forward, especially should the incumbent government continue with its post-national, woke, collectivist aspirations. The Chinese peoples have never been free. There’s never been a liberty inspired revolution there, only a cultural (Marxist) one. People in China have no constitutionally guaranteed rights, they aren’t even citizens. They’re subjects. They will take it, at least for now, because they’ve always taken it. As Charles put it in his emails to me, their history is replete with “one bloody purge after another, of someone consolidating power and then unleashing a Cultural Revolution to eliminate rivals, etc. If crashing China’s bubble is the nuclear option, Xi is quite confident he can push the pain level to 11 and most will accept it, those who don’t will enjoy treatment as an honorary Uyghur.” That’s not the case here in the West where there have been at least two revolutions fuelled directly out of an impulse for liberty: The French and the American. Even though the former went off the rails a lot quicker than the latter did, it still happened and it is a stark reminder of where things go when wealth inequality gets so out of whack and the elites become so detached from reality (Charles thinks this is where things are headed in the US, he may not be wrong). For cryptos to be hit with a China-style ban, in their entirety here in the West, governments would have to go Full China, complete with total control over every aspect of every citizen’s life (China just set limits on how much time you’re allowed to spend on Tik Tok, they have social credit systems which meter your alcohol consumption, the list goes on and is getting longer). How long would that last here in the West? Either the citizenry would move straight into the final hyper-normalization phase seen in the Soviet Union before it collapsed (paraphrasing: “They pretend to govern us and we pretend to obey”), or, the pitchforks and torches come out almost immediately. Countries break up. Secessionists abound. At least a few people face some Mussolini moments if not full on Storming of the Bastille and a French Revolution style purging of perceived elites. It would get ugly. I’m not saying this is what would happen if Western governments banned crypto, I’m saying it could happen in response to the kind of dictatorship that would have to be imposed in order to ban crypto. That also doesn’t mean that cryptos can’t go “risk off” (to use Charles’ description) for awhile, even in lieu of a ban. Especially if China allows the economic chips to fall as they may and that ripples across the global economy (perhaps China is unleashing yet another global contagion…. on purpose). The way I see it, the tension in liberal democracies between nation states and network states will be played out through their respective monetary systems. The nation state’s fiat money will be digitized into CBDCs, which will be specifically constructed to preclude wealth formation or savings and almost certainly be the rails of Westernized social credit systems, The network state stable coins (like Facebook’s Diem), which may endeavour to extend the lifespan of fiat currencies and fuse with CBDCs And crypto currencies founded on hard money principles that catalyzed the entire decentralized revolution. These will exist out of default because in the absence of total dictatorship and owing to the demands of optionality, capital pools will have to go here (among other places) out of self-preservation. *  *  * I cover this dynamic extensively in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, a long with a tactical focus on publicly traded crypto stocks. Get the overall investment / macro thesis free when you subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list, or try the premium service for a month with our fully refundable trial offer. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

"It"s A Ghost Town" - Shocking Images Show Downtown Chicago "Depressingly" Empty During Day

"It's A Ghost Town" - Shocking Images Show Downtown Chicago "Depressingly" Empty During Day Authored by Mark Glennon via Wirepoints.org, “Have you been downtown lately? It’s nearly empty.” Canal Street We hear comments like that more and more often from alarmed readers in the Chicago area. We see it, too, and it’s worsening. So we’re putting up a few pictures for those who haven’t visited lately, and adding the perspective of one downtown restaurant owner. We took the pictures downtown on Thursday between 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Things seemed to be improving a bit over the summer, but no longer. Is it COVID, crime or the new trend to remote working? The recent surge in COVID began in the first week in July, and that’s undoubtedly a major cause. The trend toward remote work is real and may be permanent. But crime seems to be increasingly on people’s minds. Adams Street I checked in with somebody who is a kind of real time barometer of downtown activity. That’s Jesse Boyle, who owns two restaurants in the Ogilvie Transportation Center – Station Restaurant and Bar and Vinny’s Pizza Bar. Ogilvie is the primary commuter train station in downtown Chicago, so Boyle has a pretty good feel of the pulse of downtown activity. “In the spring and summer I was anticipating things to really come back after Labor Day,” Boyle told me. “I was hearing a lot of companies were scheduling their employee returns for the fall, and my group was excited to get closer to normal,” he says. And he had put his money where his hopes were, completing major renovations. “But there are two things that have converged,” Boyle says, that have set things back. “One is that the Delta variant has taken away a lot of that early enthusiasm for work gatherings and people getting reacquainted.” “A very close second” is crime, as Boyle sees it. “Overall crime is up again, and the stories we’re hearing and reading about suggest that downtown is not as safe as it used to be. It’s confluence of those causes, and whatever else has drained people from downtown, that’s most deadly. You can feel it, and it feeds on itself. “It’s a ghost town feeling that you have just walking down any downtown street,” as Boyle puts it. “It makes you a little uneasy, and it’s kind of shocking to me that we continue to see this for such an extended period. The offices are empty, and the energy is gone.” Jackson Street Boyle went on: It wasn’t like that prior to last year, and I’m hopeful that our city government pulls it together and helps us fix this. I’ve seen a sales dip from July to August, which is unusual.  Things in September continue to be flat or down from August. Just having more people around downtown will make all of us feel better, but at this point I have no sense of direction on when that will happen.  As a business owner this is very dispiriting and depressing. Our hearts are out to Boyle, his employees and all the others like them, in downtown Chicago and all places suffering like it. State Street This cannot go on. Chicago as we’ve known will not survive with as few people downtown as there are. And Illinois cannot survive without Chicago. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 18:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Crypto Industry at the End of Q3 2021: What is Going On?

As we are entering the final quarter of the year, the crypto industry finds itself in an interesting place, not only when it comes to its prices, but also development and some potentially game-changing events. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more There is a lot going on in regards to all fields, sectors, […] As we are entering the final quarter of the year, the crypto industry finds itself in an interesting place, not only when it comes to its prices, but also development and some potentially game-changing events. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more There is a lot going on in regards to all fields, sectors, and aspects of crypto and blockchain, so without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most important developments at this time. Price Performance In terms of price performance and volatility, there was a lot of it this year, and things are taking an interesting turn as we enter into the final act of 2021. Earlier this year, there was a massive rally that brought a lot of cryptos to new all-time highs. Bitcoin, as pretty much everyone is aware, reached an ATH at $64.8k. The rally also allowed many other coins to hit their own new records, but the situation took a turn in mid-May, causing the prices to crash. The crash was quite severe, often reducing the prices by 50%, sometimes even more. However, the situation once again started to take a turn for the better in August and early September, only for a secondary price drop to take place in the second half of the month. At the time of writing, another recovery seems to have started, taking Bitcoin — which previously dropped to $40k — back to mid-$40,000s, currently sitting at $44,706. Ethereum also manages to remain above $3,000 even though it dropped below this level a few times. The rest of the market is mostly following Bitcoin’s lead, with only a handful of coins trying to decouple from the leading cryptocurrency. The DeFi Sector The DeFi sector has continued to thrive in 2021, following up on its explosion which started last year. It saw its own fair share of volatility, but thanks to the fact that many are in it for the long run, price movements did not particularly alter the sentiment around DeFi itself. There has been a noticeable increase of activity on non-Ethereum chains, primarily Binance Smart Chain, Solana, and alike. These projects offer significantly greater speeds than Ethereum, lower transaction fees, greater number of transactions per block, and other advantages that make them more desirable for developers and users alike. Of course, due to DeFi and NFT activity, Ethereum itself made moves to improve conditions on its network, with the biggest change so far being the introduction of the concept of token burning. However, as of yet, the effects have not been impactful enough to truly make a change. One more recent thing regarding DeFi is a growing number of exploits affecting a variety of projects. Hacking attacks against these projects have already resulted in a significant amount being stolen, often involving millions of dollars. NFTs Speaking of major trends, NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, have exploded in 2021, similar to how DeFi exploded in 2020. The NFT sector started attracting everyone, including celebrities, major companies, sports stars, and more. It also spread from Ethereum to every other development platform in the industry, so much so that even Bitcoin — known for being only a distributed ledger, and not a development platform like Ethereum — will soon be getting smart contracts due to Dfinity’s project Internet Computer, and its ambition to include BTC in the growing world of smart contracts. NFTs have been skyrocketing in terms of price, but also creativity. A few examples of some of the more interesting projects include the likes of CowboyZombies, Sneaky Vampire Syndicate, and CrypToadz. CowboyZombies is an upcoming game that features cowboys/cowgirls vs zombies, as the name suggests. The project hired expert developers from all over the world, many of which are quite well-known. It also has a very well designed UI from what can be seen right now, and it will feature 4 types of zombies, as well as 5 different classes of cowboys. In later expansions, the project also plans to introduce new characters. The game will have its own NFTs, as mentioned, and one more feature that makes it stand out is the fact that it is using a Shoot-to-Earn model, rather than Play2Earn, like others before it. Right now, the project’s team is preparing to hold a presale that will take place in early October. So, it is safe to say that we are looking forward to seeing how it performs, given its unique gameplay but familiar elements. Continuing with the theme of the undead, there is also Sneaky Vampire Syndicate — another NFT project that features 8888 unique vampires, professionally designed, and meant to live out their eternity on the blockchain. And, finally, as a change of pace, there is CrypToadz — a project featuring small amphibious creatures that “roam the swampy basin of what was formerly known as Uniswamp.” The project says that it was made with love by a number of skilled developers and artists, and this can really be seen in the design and dedication to creating countless different CrypToadz which make for rather interesting collectibles. Regulations Finally, let’s talk about crypto regulations. In the US, the situation is not looking too different than before, other than the fact that the Biden Administration made a number of changes. The US SEC’s new chair, Gary Gensler, is quite well acquainted with crypto, given that it taught a crypto course. However, he is by no means a crypto proponent, so the industry’s hopes of seeing an ally in him have already been abandoned. Worse still, it is rumored that the Biden administration has nominated a very anti-crypto lawyer to be the next Comptroller of the Currency — Saule Omarova. The only positive thing here is that Omarova is equally against big banks and banking as we know it, meaning that the banking sector is likely to lobby quite strongly against her getting the job. So, while the battle is not yet lost, things are not looking great for the crypto industry in the US. On the bright side, Bitcoin has officially become legal tender in El Salvador, while Cuba made cryptos a legal payment method last week, so the situation in other parts of the world is seemingly improving. Conclusion The crypto industry continues to evolve and develop around the world, and within itself. Some regions are friendlier towards it than others, that much is for certain, but overall, its potential continues to grow. NFT and DeFi sectors are thriving, and while the prices are still struggling to grow, they remain significantly higher than they were prior to the summer of 2020. New opportunities continue to emerge, and so we will continue to carefully monitor it and report on any major occurrences. Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 2:59 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

SCOTT GALLOWAY: Facebook reinforces the power and influence of sociopaths

Years after calling Mark Zuckerberg the most dangerous man in the world, Galloway still thinks Facebook is much more harmful than people realize. Galloways says that firms maintain the DNA of the founder. So, Facebook took on some of the same behaviors as Zuckerberg. Drew Angerer/Getty Images Scott Galloway is a bestselling author and professor of marketing at NYU Stern. The following is a post, republished with permission, that originally ran on his blog, "No Mercy / No Malice." In it, Galloway looks back at a 2019 column in which he says Facebook shows signs of "institutionalized sociopathy." See more stories on Insider's business page. I wrote this two and a half years ago, and believe it still lands.[The following was originally published on May 31, 2019.]There's a firm that's grown faster than any firm to date. Its founder also set the DNA of the firm, but without the benefit of the modulation and self-awareness that come with age. It's in a sector where network effects created a handful of organisms of unprecedented scale. There has never been an organization of this scale and influence, that is more like its founder, than Facebook. I know, you're thinking, "What about the Catholic Church?" Nope. Numerous acts of violence against children, coupled with institutionalized cover-ups, mean the acorn has fallen pretty far from the tree (Jesus).Here's the rub: Mark Zuckerberg is a sociopath, and Facebook has institutionalized sociopathy. To understand sociopaths, according to the quirky psychologist on my new favorite show, "Fleabag," you need to take things away, not add them. There is no empathy, no emotion, nothing. According to a less entertaining, but likely more credible source, Psychology Today:Sociopathy is an informal term that refers to a pattern of antisocial behaviors and attitudes. In the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM), sociopathy is most closely represented by Antisocial Personality Disorder. Outwardly, those described as sociopaths may appear disturbed but can also show signs of caring, sincerity, and trustworthiness. In fact, they are manipulative, often lie, lack empathy, and have a weak conscience that allows them to act recklessly or aggressively, even when they know their behavior is wrong.The above makes for a decent blurb for Zuck for his upcoming 20-year high school reunion. Maybe also something about him learning Mandarin or some such.As firms scale and want to maintain the DNA of the founder, they often assemble employee handbooks, meant to be a Bible for how "we do things at Facebook." My friend John Pinette has joined the firm as global head of communications. I like John, and want to help him be successful. Note: The first part of the previous sentence is true. Scott Galloway Easy squeezy, John. First off, identify what behaviors are not acceptable. Images of Tim Cook (respect for privacy), Marc Benioff (concern for the commonwealth), or Indra Nooyi (empathy) are the kryptonite to Sociobook. These vulnerabilities could inhibit the firm's superpower: making more money while inflicting more damage than any firm in history.Instead, the real North Star at Facebook is simple: understand the behavior of sociopaths. Your team needs to continue to demonstrate and reinforce the following characteristics of how, according to Psychology Today, sociopaths seduce their victims (Congress, regulators, media, citizenry):- False expressions of love- False promises of protection- Fake compatibility (I'm like you)- I'm the real victim (turning things around on accuser)- Fantasy villains (inventing crises you alone can fight)And, of course, no respectable employee manual would be effective without hard examples of the behaviors and characteristics we want to reinforce. In order:False expressions of loveMark Zuckerberg promised love. The key to happiness, and love itself is … connection. Mark set out to "connect the world." Love on a global scale was coming our way. Sheryl positioned herself as the spokesperson and advocate for the world's largest oppressed cohort: women.When people are connected, we can just do some great things. They have the opportunity to get access to jobs, education, health, communications. We have the opportunity to bring the people we care about closer to us. It really makes a big difference. - Mark Zuckerberg, February 2015[Bringing people closer together is so important that] we're going to change Facebook's whole mission to take this on. - Mark Zuckerberg, June 2017False promises of protectionThere are pretty intensive privacy options, people have very good control over who can see their information. - Mark Zuckerberg interview, Harvard Crimson, February 2004I'm committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy. - Mark Zuckerberg, 2011I'm serious about doing what it takes to protect our community. - Mark Zuckerberg, March 2018Your trust is at the core of our service. - Sheryl Sandberg, March 2018On Facebook, everything that you share there you have control over. - Mark Zuckerberg, testimony to Congress, April 2018We don't sell data to anyone … This is the most important principle for Facebook: Every piece of content that you share on Facebook, you own and you have complete control over who sees it, and how you share it, and you can remove it at any time. - Mark Zuckerberg, testimony to Congress, April 2018Every piece of information that Facebook might know about you, you can get rid of all of it. - Mark Zuckerberg, testimony to Congress, April 2018We need to do better. - Sheryl Sandberg, repeatedly, 2018-2019ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, snsFRIEND: what!? how'd you manage that one?ZUCK: people just submitted itZUCK: i don't know whyZUCK: they "trust me"ZUCK: dumb fucks- Mark Zuckerberg conversation with a friend at HarvardFake compatibility (I'm like you)I can relate to this. I started Facebook to connect my college … We were just college kids. But we cared so much about this idea - that all people want to connect. So we just kept pushing forward, day by day, just like you. - Mark Zuckerberg, June 2017Let me fall if I must fall. The one I become will catch me. Slowly. - Sheryl Sandberg in "Option B"I hope you find true meaning, contentment, and passion in your life. I hope you navigate the difficult times and come out with greater strength and resolve. I hope you find whatever balance you seek with your eyes wide open. And I hope that you - yes, you - have the ambition to lean in to your career and run the world. Because the world needs you to change it. - Sheryl Sandberg in "Lean In"What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it? - Sheryl Sandberg in "Lean In"I'm the real victim (turning things around on accuser)This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica, and Facebook. - Mark Zuckerberg on Cambridge Analytica scandal, March 2018Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic. - The New York Times, November 2018Fantasy villains (inventing crises you alone can fight)There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on. - Mark Zuckerberg, Letter to Shareholders, 2012While people are concerned with the size and power of tech companies, there's also a concern in the United States with the size and power of Chinese companies, and the realization that those companies are not going to be broken up. - Sheryl Sandberg describing threat to US posed by Chinese tech firmsSo if I sound as if I am accusing Facebook of becoming the Hulk to Zuck's Dr. Bruce Banner, and giving rise to the supernova skynet of sociopathic behavior, trust your instincts. In "Star Wars," the Sith Lords were all initially benign.Two years ago, in "The Four," I wrote that big tech posed a much larger threat to our society than we believed. One year ago, I said Mr. Zuckerberg was the most dangerous man in the world. Today, I'd ask we imagine a firm made in its founder's image that closely mirrors that person's genius and deficiencies.Antisocial behavior in media is not new, it's just new and (uber-) improved here. The President has a direct line to 68 million people via Twitter. Rupert Murdoch serves right-wing propaganda to his 2.4 million viewers. However, these are mosquito bites compared to the ebola of Sociobook. Sociobook Inc. aims to encrypt, abdicating all responsibility, the communications of 2.7 billion people. The algorithm determining the content this cohort receives (greater than the Southern Hemisphere + India) is controlled by a sociopath, who cannot be removed from his post, and who could be in that role for another 60 years.Imagine.Life is so rich,ScottRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Allstate CHRO details why the insurance leader is betting big on workforce technology

Carrie Blair, the EVP and CHRO of Allstate, told Insider how the insurance leader has calibrated its technological capabilities over the past year. Insider To boost efficiency and in-house capabilities, Allstate has introduced self-service and analytics tools for employees and managers. Allstate Carrie Blair has been EVP and CHRO at Allstate since October 2019. Over the past year, Allstate has been focusing on innovative technology experiences for employees. Blair said she works with the CIO and CFO to prioritize tech investments based on measurable outcomes. This article is part of the "Innovation C-Suite" series about business growth and technology shifts. For Carrie Blair, joining Allstate as the chief human resource officer in October 2019 was a no-brainer. After nearly 15 years in human resources positions at financial services companies, she was ready for a role at an iconic, purpose-driven, optimistic brand. "I can't think of anywhere I've traveled where someone hasn't said, 'Oh, they're the Good Hands people," Blair told Insider. But she was also energized by the idea that Allstate was clearly willing to disrupt and transform the insurance industry, both for consumers and employees. In general, she explained, insurance has fallen behind when it comes to technology innovation, but is catching up fast. Allstate, for example, now uses telematics to assess driving behavior; drones to survey catastrophes; and offers QuickFoto Claim to allow customers to assess car insurance claims for minor vehicle damage. For Allstate's employees, Blair's challenge has been how to prioritize and implement consumer-grade, innovative technology experiences for people inside the company, while still being aggressive with consumer offerings. A new approach to technology and HR"Recently, we've really started taking a look at our entire approach to technology and HR," she said. In the past, for example, the company might have bought tools for talent acquisition, or performance management, but they did not necessarily work well together or across the ecosystem. Now, Allstate's HR organization is working to deploy self-service tools for employees and managers for things that are frequently used or highly repetitive, Blair said, as well as analytics tools that offer them insights about their work patterns. "Every week I get a view that comes into my own personal inbox that tells me how I spent my time last week, how long I was in meetings, how much time I spent collaborating and how much time I had for focused, head-down work," she explained. Another tool offers the organization a full view across the enterprise to understand how and where people are working, which helps inform decisions around real estate in a new, hybrid workplace. For example, the types of collaboration rooms they need and where they should be located. The company has also started using a digital workspace called MURAL. The platform offers a shared digital canvas for visual collaboration, as well as Zoom Rooms, which uses AI-driven face recognition technology to bring hybrid teams, including those together in person, into Zoom meetings. "It creates this level playing field, which stops the in-person group from simply talking to each other and brings remote workers fully into the meeting," she said. All of these tools, she explained, are about testing and learning in the HR space around the most recent technology trends, with a focus on investing in people. "Human capital is always the most important thing," she said. "After all, we don't really produce anything, we deliver services and solutions to customers that depend on people." Technology innovation accelerated by the pandemicThe focus on technology innovation targeting employees was accelerated by the pandemic, said Blair, who began her role at Allstate only six months after COVID-19 shutdowns began. "Our IT team had been investing in our technology stack for a number of years, so we were able to get 95% of our folks working from home within days, around the world," she said. While only 20% of Allstate's workforce worked from home pre-pandemic, she said that under a new hybrid workforce model, that number will permanently rise to over 70%. "We've seen huge increases in applications because of that," Blair said. "It's been a positive outcome that people don't have to be tethered to an office anymore, because we have seen a 30% rise in diverse candidates applying for opportunities, and we can go to markets we never would have been in before." That includes targeting hard-to-find technology talent in places like Miami where Allstate does not have a physical presence, she explained. Blair added that she has worked closely with other C-suite executives, such as the CIO and CFO, around technology innovation, particularly around changing the funding model for technology investments to make sure it focuses on outcomes rather than annual financial cycles. "It will allow us to iterate as we go and get learnings faster," she said. "It also will allow us to put our Allstate hat on and say, 'As we look across the system, what is the best thing for the company?'" Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

China Crypto Crackdown Hits Pre-Markets

Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers "illegal crypto activity," including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. Friday, September 24, 2021Light on new economic data this morning, we nevertheless see a reversal of fortune in market indexes. After flipping a rough start into positive or near-positive gains for the week by Thursday’s close, pre-market futures are back in the red on this final day of trading before the weekend. Almost as if the trading week has been perfectly bookended, the culprit behind the selloff once again appears to be China.The next step the Chinese government has made in cracking down on financial risk-taking has to do with the cryptocurrency market. Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers “illegal crypto activity,” including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. No explicit ban on crypto ownership is part of this new policy, only if you actively do something with your cryptocurrency might you run afoul of new Chinese law.This, of course, follows the news on Monday that China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, was likely to default on a payment this week without the government stepping in to assist the corporation. Evergrande’s interest payment alone came to $83 million, which passed Thursday’s due date and has yet gone unpaid. Subsequent reports this week have explained that Chinese finance officials will bail out the real estate company, which has another 30 days before default.Important as China is — the second-largest economy in the world — to global markets, investors here at home are now recalibrating scenarios by which China continues to a) lock down its economy from outside interests, b) feel a broad hit to internal growth, of which its real estate market is just one of many leveraged extensively, or c) both. In short, whatever moves the Red Dragon makes in the near term, they’re bound to force U.S. markets to account for them.New Home Sales for August are due after today’s open, with seasonally adjusted, annualized units expected to continue its bounce off June lows of 701K. It was 708K in its last read, and this morning’s tally is estimated at 720K. As of January 2021, we were still seeing close to a million new homes sold; this hit a major snag when supply of lumber, copper, etc. became scarce due to pandemic conditions, caused input prices to spike, and finished homes were left unsold at vastly higher prices.Existing Home Sales, released earlier this week, showed results in-line with estimates. From spring through summer, we’ve seen existing home sales pingpong around cycle lows, with August -2% month over month to 5.88 million. Early this year, before supply constraints, etc. we were seeing more than 6.6 million existing homes sold. With pandemic conditions winding down (in certain regions, usually those with high vaccination rates) and commodity availability improving, sales numbers may adjust higher in the months ahead. We’ll see if New Home Sales last month have already begun to get there or not.Questions or comments about this article and/or its author? Click here>> Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Invesco QQQ (QQQ): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY): ETF Research Reports SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA): ETF Research Reports Global X MSCI China Consumer Discretionary ETF (CHIQ): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Volatility Returns on Wall Street: Pre-Markets in Red

Volatility Returns on Wall Street: Pre-Markets in Red. Light on new economic data this morning, we nevertheless see a reversal of fortune in market indexes. After flipping a rough start into positive or near-positive gains for the week by Thursday’s close, pre-market futures are back in the red on this final day of trading before the weekend. Almost as if the trading week has been perfectly bookended, the culprit behind the selloff once again appears to be China.The next step the Chinese government has made in cracking down on financial risk-taking has to do with the cryptocurrency market. Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers “illegal crypto activity,” including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. No explicit ban on crypto ownership is part of this new policy, only if you actively do something with your cryptocurrency might you run afoul of new Chinese law.This, of course, follows the news on Monday that China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, was likely to default on a payment this week without the government stepping in to assist the corporation. Evergrande’s interest payment alone came to $83 million, which passed Thursday’s due date and has yet gone unpaid. Subsequent reports this week have explained that Chinese finance officials will bail out the real estate company, which has another 30 days before default.Important as China is — the second-largest economy in the world — to global markets, investors here at home are now recalibrating scenarios by which China continues to a) lock down its economy from outside interests, b) feel a broad hit to internal growth, of which its real estate market is just one of many leveraged extensively, or c) both. In short, whatever moves the Red Dragon makes in the near term, they’re bound to force U.S. markets to account for them.New Home Sales for August are due after today’s open, with seasonally adjusted, annualized units expected to continue its bounce off June lows of 701K. It was 708K in its last read, and this morning’s tally is estimated at 720K. As of January 2021, we were still seeing close to a million new homes sold; this hit a major snag when supply of lumber, copper, etc. became scarce due to pandemic conditions, caused input prices to spike, and finished homes were left unsold at vastly higher prices.Existing Home Sales, released earlier this week, showed results in-line with estimates. From spring through summer, we’ve seen existing home sales pingpong around cycle lows, with August -2% month over month to 5.88 million. Early this year, before supply constraints, etc. we were seeing more than 6.6 million existing homes sold.With pandemic conditions winding down (in certain regions, usually those with high vaccination rates) and commodity availability improving, sales numbers may adjust higher in the months ahead. We’ll see if New Home Sales last month have already begun to get there or not. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021