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Category: topSource: washpostDec 4th, 2021

Top Republicans called January 6 a "failed insurrection" while some blamed Trump. Here"s where 5 of them stand a year later.

Over the course of the last year, several top Republicans have changed their tune on Trump and his responsibility for the January 6 attack. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia speaks during a joint session of Congress in the early hours of January 7, 2021.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images In the wake of the January 6 attack, top Republican figures condemned the attack and blamed Trump. But in the year since, several have changed their tune, shifting blame elsewhere or seeking to move on. Here's what Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Mike Pence, Lindsey Graham, and Nikki Haley have all said. One year ago, a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the Capitol, halting the counting of the country's electoral votes while imperiling the safety of members of Congress, congressional staff, and others who were working in the building on that day.In the immediate wake of the attack, Republican leaders were nearly unanimous in expressing their horror at an unprecedented assault on an institution central to American democracy. Many blamed Trump for inciting the attack, some floated the prospect of censuring the former president, and others questioned his future in the party.Trump was impeached by the House for inciting the insurrection, but then acquitted by the Senate. Still, 10 Republican House members voted to impeach and 7 Republican senators voted to convict, joining with every Democrat in the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history.But in the year since, Republicans have gradually changed their tune as both political expediency and the the continued grip of former president on the party have coaxed many to minimize the events of that day.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellSen. Mitch McConnell, then still the majority leader, walks through the Rotunda towards the House Chamber on January 6, 2021.Cheriss May/Getty ImagesWhile McConnell has not contradicted his initial declaration that Trump bears responsibility for the assault on the Capitol, he has changed his mind more than once about the effort to investigate the attack and has expressed an openness to supporting Trump again in 2024.January 6, following the assault on the Capitol:"This failed attempt to obstruct the Congress, this failed insurrection, only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our Republic."January 19, ahead of Biden's inauguration:"This mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people."February 13, after the Senate acquitted Trump during his 2nd impeachment:"Former President Trump's actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty... There is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day."February 25, on whether he would support Trump in 2024 if he were the Republican nominee:"The nominee of the party? Absolutely."May 27, as the Senate voted on a bipartisan January 6 commission:"There is no new fact about that day that we need the Democrats' extraneous 'commission' to uncover." December 16, in an interview:"I think that what they're seeking to find out is something the public needs to know," he said, referring to the January 6 select committee.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy addresses the House Chamber on January 6, 2021.Amanda Voisard - Pool/Getty ImagesIn the year since the attack, McCarthy has gone from directly blaming Trump and his movement for the attack to shifting some of the blame onto congressional Democrats, calling attention to security measures at the Capitol rather than the root causes of the assault.January 11, in a phone call with then-President Trump:"It's not Antifa, it's MAGA. I know. I was there."January 13, as the House debated impeaching Trump:"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters." McCarthy also floated censuring Trump.January 21, speaking with reporters about the Capitol riot:"I don't believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally."July 21, at a press conference:"We will run our own investigation" into law enforcement failures at the Capitol.January 2, 2022, in a letter to House Republican colleagues:"Unfortunately, one year later, the majority party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was left so unprepared and what must be done to ensure it never happens again. Instead, they are using it as a partisan political weapon to further divide our country."Former Vice President Mike PenceFormer Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the House Chamber following the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesPence — a stated target of some of the January 6 rioters — has remained largely quiet since the end of Trump's term, seeking not to cross the former president as he reportedly lays the groundwork for a future presidential run. Even after attending Biden's inauguration without Trump, Pence still has not publicly blamed Trump for the violence of that day.March 3, in an op-ed for The Daily Signal:"The tragic events of Jan. 6—the most significant being the loss of life and violence at our nation's Capitol—also deprived the American people of a substantive discussion in Congress about election integrity in America."June 24, in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:"The truth is there is almost no idea more un-American than the idea that one person could choose the president. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone." September 12, speaking to a woman impersonating a Capitol rioter:"I love your heart, thank you."October 5, in an interview on Sean Hannity's Fox News show:"I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration's failed agenda by focusing on one day in January. They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020."December 1, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network:"I'm not going to allow the Democrats or the national media to use one tragic day in January to demean the intentions of 74 million people who stood with us in our cause."Sen. Lindsey GrahamSen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on January 7, 2021.Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty ImagesGraham has remained steadfast in his denunciation of the attack on the Capitol, as well as the folly of Trump's push to overturn the election results. But he has also been steadfast in his commitment to maintaining a relationship with the former President.January 6, referring to the effort to overturn the election:"Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way, oh my god, I hate it. From my point of view, he's been a consequential president... all I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. I've tried to be helpful."January 7, the day after the riot:"It breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, were to allow yesterday to happen, and it will be a major part of his presidency. It was a self-inflicted wound. It was going too far."February, regarding Trump's future in the party:"He was successful for conservatism and people appreciate his fighting spirit, he's going to dominate the party for years to come. The way I look at it, there is no way we can achieve our goals without Trump."August, in an interview with the New York Times:"That was taken as, 'I'm out, count me out,' that somehow, you know, that I'm done with the president," he said. "No! What I was trying to say to my colleagues and to the country was, 'This process has come to a conclusion.'Former UN Ambassador Nikki HaleyFormer UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at the Republican National Convention on August 24, 2020.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesHaley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, moved quickly to denounce the former President in the wake of January 6 but has since rapidly pivoted away from that position. She is a rumored 2024 presidential candidate, but has indicated that she would not seek to challenge the former president for the nomination.January 7, the day after the riot, in a speech to the Republican National Committee:"He was badly wrong with his words yesterday. And it wasn't just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history."January 26, on Fox News, regarding impeachment:"They beat him up before he got into office. They are beating him up after he leaves office... I mean, at some point, I mean, give the man a break. I mean, move on."February, in an interview with Politico:"He's not going to run for federal office again," she said of Trump. "I don't think he can. He's fallen so far.""He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him. And we can't let that ever happen again."April 21, after declaring that she would support Trump if he ran in 2024:"I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it," she added. "That's something that we will have a conversation about, at some point."October 5, in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:"We need him in the Republican Party. I don't want us to go back to the days before Trump."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 6th, 2022

Kelly® Reports Third-Quarter 2021 Earnings and Announces Dividend

Financial Highlights Q3 revenue up 15.1%; 14.5% in constant currency Q3 operating earnings of $9.0 million; up from a loss a year ago and up 25.9% on an adjusted basis Q3 earnings per share of $0.87 up from $0.42 a year ago; adjusted EPS of $0.25 compared to $0.29 TROY, Mich., Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kelly® (Nasdaq: KELYA, KELYB), a leading specialty talent solutions provider, today announced results for the third quarter of 2021. Peter Quigley, president and chief executive officer, announced revenue for the third quarter of 2021 totaled $1.2 billion, a 15.1% increase compared to the corresponding quarter of 2020. Revenue improved year-over-year in the quarter reflecting increased customer demand compared to the COVID-19-impacted prior year period. Earnings from operations in the third quarter of 2021 totaled $9.0 million, compared to a loss of $2.4 million reported in the third quarter of 2020. Included in the third quarter of 2020 was a $9.5 million charge related to a customer dispute in Mexico. On an adjusted basis, earnings from operations improved 25.9%. Diluted earnings per share in the third quarter of 2021 were $0.87 compared to $0.42 per share in the third quarter of 2020. Included in the earnings per share is a non-cash gain per share, net of tax, on Kelly's investment in Persol Holdings common stock of $0.62 in the third quarter of 2021 and $0.29 in the third quarter of 2020. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share were $0.25 in the third quarter of 2021 compared to $0.29 in the corresponding quarter of 2020. "We're pleased that all five of our specialty operating segments delivered organic year-over-year gains in the third quarter, contributing to solid revenue and GP dollar growth for the company," said Quigley, who noted that Kelly has already begun taking actions to better leverage top-line growth heading into 2022. "Demand for our solutions is strong, and we're finding innovative ways to connect talent and clients in a tight labor market. We're confident that Kelly's specialty strategy will continue to deliver top and bottom-line growth throughout the recovery and into the post-COVID environment." Kelly also reported that on November 10, its board of directors declared a dividend of $0.05 per share. The dividend is payable on December 8, 2021, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on November 24, 2021. In conjunction with its third-quarter earnings release, Kelly has published a financial presentation on the Investor Relations page of its public website and will host a conference call at 9 a.m. ET on November 10 to review the results and answer questions. The call may be accessed in one of the following ways: Via the Internet:Kellyservices.com Via the Telephone (877) 692-8955 (toll free) or (234) 720-6979 (caller paid)Enter access code 5728672After the prompt, please enter "#" A recording of the conference call will be available after 2:30 p.m. ET on November 10, 2021, at (866) 207-1041 (toll-free) and (402) 970-0847 (caller-paid). The access code is 2025741#. The recording will also be available at kellyservices.com during this period. This release contains statements that are forward looking in nature and, accordingly, are subject to risks and uncertainties. These factors include, but are not limited to, changing market and economic conditions, the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, competitive market pressures including pricing and technology introductions and disruptions, disruption in the labor market and weakened demand for human capital resulting from technological advances, competition law risks, the impact of changes in laws and regulations (including federal, state and international tax laws), unexpected changes in claim trends on workers' compensation, unemployment, disability and medical benefit plans, or the risk of additional tax liabilities in excess of our estimates, our ability to achieve our business strategy, our ability to successfully develop new service offerings, material changes in demand from or loss of large corporate customers as well as changes in their buying practices, risks particular to doing business with government or government contractors, the risk of damage to our brand, our exposure to risks associated with services outside traditional staffing, including business process outsourcing, services of licensed professionals and services connecting talent to independent work, our increasing dependency on third parties for the execution of critical functions, our ability to effectively implement and manage our information technology strategy, the risks associated with past and future acquisitions, including risk of related impairment of goodwill and intangible assets, exposure to risks associated with investments in equity affiliates including PersolKelly Pte. Ltd., risks associated with conducting business in foreign countries, including foreign currency fluctuations, the exposure to potential market and currency exchange risks relating to our investment in Persol Holdings, risks associated with violations of anti-corruption, trade protection and other laws and regulations, availability of qualified full-time employees, availability of temporary workers with appropriate skills required by customers, liabilities for employment-related claims and losses, including class action lawsuits and collective actions, our ability to sustain critical business applications through our key data centers, risks arising from failure to preserve the privacy of information entrusted to us or to meet our obligations under global privacy laws, the risk of cyberattacks or other breaches of network or information technology security, our ability to realize value from our tax credit and net operating loss carryforwards, our ability to maintain specified financial covenants in our bank facilities to continue to access credit markets, and other risks, uncertainties and factors discussed in this release and in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ materially from any forward-looking statements contained herein, and we undertake no duty to update any forward-looking statement to conform the statement to actual results or changes in the Company's expectations. About Kelly® Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:KELYA, KELYB)) connects talented people to companies in need of their skills in areas including Science, Engineering, Education, Office, Contact Center, Light Industrial, and more. We're always thinking about what's next in the evolving world of work, and we help people ditch the script on old ways of thinking and embrace the value of all workstyles in the workplace. We directly employ nearly 370,000 people around the world, and we connect thousands more with work through our global network of talent suppliers and partners in our outsourcing and consulting practice. Revenue in 2020 was $4.5 billion. Visit kellyservices.com and let us help with what's next for you. MEDIA CONTACT:     ANALYST CONTACT: Jane Stehney     James Polehna (248) 765-6864     (248) 244-4586 stehnja@kellyservices.com     james.polehna@kellyservices.com KELLY SERVICES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS FOR THE 13 WEEKS ENDED OCTOBER 3, 2021 AND SEPTEMBER 27, 2020 (UNAUDITED) (In millions of dollars except per share data)                 %   CC %     2021   2020   Change   Change   Change                       Revenue from services $ 1,195.4     $ 1,038.2     $ 157.2     15.1 %   14.5 %                       Cost of services   966.5       847.2       119.3     14.1                             Gross profit   228.9       191.0       37.9     19.8     19.2                         Selling, general and administrative expenses   219.9       193.4       26.5     13.7     13.2                         Earnings (loss) from operations   9.0       (2.4 )     11.4     NM                             Gain (loss) on investment in Persol Holdings   35.5       16.8       18.7     112.0                             Other income (expense), net   (0.3 )     (0.7 )     0.4     50.1                             Earnings (loss) before taxes and equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliate   44.2       13.7       30.5     222.8                             Income tax expense (benefit)   11.1       (1.2 )     12.3     NM                             Net earnings (loss) before equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliate   33.1       14.9       18.2     122.4                             Equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliate   1.7       1.8       (0.1 )   (3.6 )                           Net earnings (loss) $ 34.8     $ 16.7     $ 18.1     108.9                             Basic earnings (loss) per share $ 0.87     $ 0.42     $ 0.45     107.1       Diluted earnings (loss) per share $ 0.87     $ 0.42     $ 0.45     107.1                                                   STATISTICS:                                           Permanent placement revenue (included in revenue from services) $ 19.7     $ 9.1     $ 10.6     118.0 %   116.6 %                       Gross profit rate   19.2 %     18.4 %     0.8  pts.                               Conversion rate   3.9 %     (1.3 )%     5.2  pts.                               Adjusted EBITDA $ 17.3     $ 13.2     $ 4.1           Adjusted EBITDA margin   1.4 %     1.3 %     0.1  pts.                               Effective income tax rate   25.2 %     (8.5 )%     33.7  pts.                               Average number of shares outstanding (millions):                     Basic   39.4       39.3                 Diluted   39.5       39.4                 KELLY SERVICES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS FOR THE 39 WEEKS ENDED OCTOBER 3, 2021 AND SEPTEMBER 27, 2020 (UNAUDITED) (In millions of dollars except per share data)                 %   CC %     2021   2020   Change   Change   Change                       Revenue from services $ 3,659.4     $ 3,274.6     $ 384.8     11.8 %   10.3 %                       Cost of services   2,986.2       2,671.1       315.1     11.8                             Gross profit   673.2       603.5       69.7     11.5     10.1                         Selling, general and administrative expenses   639.9       591.0       48.9     8.3     7.0                         Goodwill impairment charge   —       147.7       (147.7 )   NM                               Gain on sale of assets   —       (32.1 )     32.1     NM                               Earnings (loss) from operations   33.3       (103.1 )     136.4     NM                               Gain (loss) on investment in Persol Holdings   71.8       (31.4 )     103.2     NM                             Other income (expense), net   (4.0 )     3.6       (7.6 )   (211.5 )                           Earnings (loss) before taxes and equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliate   101.1       (130.9 )     232.0     NM                               Income tax expense (benefit)   19.0       (36.5 )     55.5     152.0                               Net earnings (loss) before equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliate   82.1       (94.4 )     176.5     NM                               Equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliate   2.3       (1.0 )     3.3     NM                               Net earnings (loss) $ 84.4     $ (95.4 )   $ 179.8     NM                               Basic earnings (loss) per share $ 2.12     $ (2.43 )   $ 4.55     NM       Diluted earnings (loss) per share $ 2.12     $ (2.43 )   $ 4.55     NM                                                   STATISTICS:                                           Permanent placement revenue (included in revenue from services) $ 54.3     $ 28.9     $ 25.4     87.8 %   84.5 %                       Gross profit rate   18.4 %     18.4 %     —  pts.                               Conversion rate   4.9 %     (17.1 )%     22.0  pts.                               Adjusted EBITDA $ 56.4     $ 48.6     $ 7.8           Adjusted EBITDA margin   1.5 %     1.5 %     —  pts.                               Effective income tax rate   18.8 %     27.9 %     (9.1 ) pts.                               Average number of shares outstanding (millions):                     Basic   39.4       39.3                 Diluted   39.5       39.3                 KELLY SERVICES, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES RESULTS OF OPERATIONS BY SEGMENT (UNAUDITED) (In millions of dollars)                         Third Quarter                                   %   CC %     2021     2020   Change   Change Professional & Industrial                   Revenue from services $ 452.6     $ 446.5     1.4 %   1.0 % Gross profit   76.6       77.1     (0.5 )   (0.9 ) SG&A expenses excluding restructuring charges   69.4       65.4     6.2     5.9   Restructuring charges   —       (0.1 )   NM     NM   Total SG&A expenses   69.4       65.3     6.2     5.9   Earnings (loss) from operations   7.2       11.8     (38.1 )       Earnings (loss) from operations excluding restructuring charges   7.2       11.7     (38.1 )                               Gross profit rate   16.9 %     17.3 %   (0.4 ) pts.                               Science, Engineering & Technology                       Revenue from services $ 306.2     $ 244.0     25.5 %   25.3 % Gross profit   68.1       50.7     34.5     34.4   SG&A expenses excluding restructuring charges   48.4       31.3     54.8     54.6   Restructuring charges   —       —     NM     NM   Total SG&A expenses   48.4       31.3     54.8     54.6   Earnings (loss) from operations   19.7       19.4     1.7       Earnings (loss) from operations excluding restructuring charges   19.7       19.4     1.7                           Gross profit rate   22.3 %     20.8 %   1.5  pts.                         Education                   Revenue from services $ 66.6     $ 27.5     142.1 %   142.1 % Gross profit   10.0       4.1     139.7     139.7   SG&A expenses excluding restructuring charges   17.0       11.6     45.9     45.9   Restructuring charges   —       —     NM     NM   Total SG&A expenses   17.0       11.6     46.1     46.1   Earnings (loss) from operations   (7.0 )     (7.5 )   6.6       Earnings (loss) from operations excluding restructuring charges   (7.0 )     (7.5 )   6.7                           Gross profit rate   15.1 %     15.2 %   (0.1 ) pts.                         Outsourcing & Consulting                   Revenue from services $ 113.4     $ 87.9     29.1 %   28.6 % Gross profit   37.3       29.1     27.9     26.9   SG&A expenses excluding restructuring charges   30.7       25.4     20.5     19.8   Restructuring charges   —       —     NM     NM   Total SG&A expenses   30.7       25.4     20.5     19.7   Earnings (loss) from operations  .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 10th, 2021

I"m a winter-storm meteorologist. I sometimes work 12-hour days and sleep in the office - here"s what my job is like.

"It's not unheard of to see colleagues come to work with an overnight bag," said AccuWeather's Brian Wimer, who's been in the field for 40 years. Brian Wimer. Courtesy of Brian Wimer Brian Wimer is a senior meteorologist and manager of snow-warning services for AccuWeather. For the past 40 years, he's tracked snowstorms and helped schools, businesses, and locals prepare. This is his story and what his job is like, as told to freelancer Robin Madell. This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Brian Wimer, a senior meteorologist and manager of snow-warning services for AccuWeather based in State College, Pennsylvania, where he's worked for the past 40 years. It has been edited for length and clarity.I attended Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a BS in meteorology. Some people in the field continue their education in graduate school but many, like me, move into a career with a bachelor's degree. The pay within the field of meteorology varies greatly depending on the job you're in. TV meteorologists in large cities are among the highest-paying jobs in the field.While my typical workday is around eight hours long, days leading up to a major winter storm can be 10 or 12 hours long Brian Wimer. Courtesy of Brian Wimer It's not unheard of to see colleagues come to work with an overnight bag.While days forecasting big storms are the busiest and most hectic, forecasting and following these storms is exciting and is what led us to become meteorologists. An analogy would be a football team that gets amped up when they play the best team in the league - with all the challenges and energy that brings.During a big storm, we work together to share the latest pieces of information, constantly looking for things that may be changing with the storm and discussing whether we need to adjust our forecast for any location.We're all completely devoted to our mission of keeping people, communities, and businesses safe and protected, and these moments are legendary and seared into our memories and make for great "war stories" over the course of the years. My colleagues and I all have great respect for one another and enjoy our common bond to help people make the best weather-impacted decisions.During the day, there's a great deal of collaboration with other forecasters in both State College, Pennsylvania - where AccuWeather was founded in 1962 and where our global headquarters remains - and Wichita, Kansas, where we have an experienced team of storm-warning meteorologists in our Extreme Weather Center, which provides forecasts to our AccuWeather for business clients.On a typical winter day, the first thing I do is look at what areas a storm may impact Brian Wimer at work at AccuWeather. Courtesy of Brian Wimer This is not only in the next couple of days, but also looking out six to eight days in the future.Once we identify a storm, part of my day is to proactively send alerts and warnings to customers with details on what they can expect from the storm in their location. We send these out mostly via email, text message, and posted on a web portal for customer access.Another part is doing telephone briefings for our business clients and media. These can be one-on-one calls or sometimes conference calls with hundreds of people, explaining details of the approaching storm and answering questions.We partner with TV stations and provide briefings and forecasts for their on-air meteorologists and broadcasters. In many cases, the TV meteorologist prepares their own forecast but is interested in gaining insight and information from the AccuWeather team, which can often give them an edge on their competition.We also do live radio reports on numerous radio stations across the country and perform interviews with media outlets on the impact from the storm and provide preparedness tips.Each storm has unique aspects that we focus on predicting ahead of timeAt the beginning of the day, the first thing we do is look at the current weather conditions, accessing our database of reports from around the world, including data from surface stations, upper-air balloons, satellite images, and radar. This includes temperature, moisture, wind, and where it is raining or snowing.Then, we look at a large variety of forecast models that provide insight into what will happen over the coming hours and days. We also factor in our experience and what we recall happening in similar situations in the past. Putting this all together and discussing possibilities with other forecasters, we come up with a forecast of how a storm will behave, including how much it may strengthen (and how quickly) and what direction and speed it will move.Another concern is high snowfall rates. Even a storm producing moderate total snow accumulation can become very problematic if there's a period of heavy snowfall. When snowfall rates reach or exceed one inch per hour, it becomes very challenging for road crews to stay ahead of the storm and keep the roads in good condition. These are the kinds of details we dig into and provide that make us valued by our clients and consumers.We work with a variety of customers that winter storms affect differentlyAmong them are school districts and universities, who rely on our forecasts to decide whether to cancel or delay classes and also plan snow removal. They can call us and ask questions to get the latest update just prior to their decision.Departments of Transportation use AccuWeather forecasts to plan their snow-removal operations, including staff scheduling. They don't want to have staff idly waiting too long prior to the start of a winter weather event. In some cases, they're required via contracts with employee unions to provide a minimum amount of advance notice if overtime is involved. Prior to making these decisions, DOTs can talk to us, ask questions, and get a sense of our confidence level in our forecast.Private businesses, manufacturing plants, medical centers, and utilities are interested in receiving advance notice of storms that can disrupt activities, which can result in lives lost, injuries, or the loss of millions of dollars due to interrupted business operations. Retail enterprises are another type of client. They're interested in storm impacts on not only their physical locations, but also on their supply chains.While snow can disrupt normal business activities, some customers look forward to snow, and it's good for their business. Private contractors clear snow from parking lots and rely on winter storms for income. Ski resorts are another example of a business type that relies on plenty of snow or conversely needs to be aware when they must manufacture snow in order to meet the needs of their customers.One of the most memorable and exciting winter storms in my career was one in March 1993 known as the 'Storm of the Century' I slept in the office, as did a few other forecasters, partly because I was working long hours but also because roads became impassable and I couldn't drive home anyway.This was very notable for dumping over a foot of snow over a large area from northern Alabama to Quebec, Canada. It also produced damaging wind gusts and flooding along the west coast of Florida.I recall when a radio client informed us of a listener who heard the AccuWeather forecast that a dangerous blizzard was approaching while he was in his car. He pulled over and waited at a library for the storm to pass and was so appreciative of the forecast, he contacted the radio station to let them know, and they in turn shared their gratitude with us. Those moments are so very rewarding.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 9th, 2021

American Defense Policy After Twenty Years Of War

American Defense Policy After Twenty Years Of War Authored by Jim Webb via NationalInterest.org, America has always been a place where the abrasion of continuous debate eventually produces creative solutions. Let’s agree on those solutions, and make the next twenty years a time of clear purpose and affirmative global leadership. The American scorecard for foreign policy achievements over the past twenty years is, frankly, pretty dismal. And without talking our way all around the globe, it’s clear that the most dismal score goes to the stupidest mistakes. We fought one war that we never should have fought and another war whose objectives grew so out of control that no amount of battlefield proficiency could overcome the naïve mission creep of the political and military leadership at the top that was defining what our troops were supposed to do. So, let me start with a couple of quotes from two pieces I wrote, one at the beginning of this twenty-year period and the other at the end.   On September 4, 2002, five months before the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Iraq, I wrote the following as part of a larger editorial for the Washington Post, warning that an invasion would be a strategic blunder: Nations such as China can only view the prospect of an American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall. Indeed, if one gives the Chinese credit for having a long-term strategy — and those who love to quote Sun Tzu might consider his nationality — it lends credence to their insistent cultivation of the Muslim world. An “American war” with the Muslims, occupying the very seat of their civilization, would allow the Chinese to isolate the United States diplomatically as they furthered their own ambitions in South and Southeast Asia. Almost exactly nineteen years later as the military planners serving the Biden Administration executed a shamefully incompetent final withdrawal from Afghanistan, I wrote the following for The National Interest, excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, in a piece entitled “Requiem for an Avoidable Disaster:”  …the war that we began was not the same war that we are finally bringing to an end. When we went into Afghanistan in 2001 our national concern was to eliminate terrorist entities who desired to attack us. The common understanding at the time was that we would operate with maneuver elements capable of attacking and neutralizing terrorist entities. It was never to occupy territory with permanent bases or to attempt to change the societal and governmental structure of the Afghan people. This “mission creep” began after a few years of successful operations and was obvious in 2004 when I was in the country as an embed journalist. The change in mission eventually increased our troop presence tenfold and sent our forces on an impossible political journey that no amount of military success could overcome. Why did all this happen? And how can we rectify the damage that has been done to the institutions that were involved, and to our international credibility? There’s an old saying that “success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan.” In this case, there were two entirely different categories of orphans, some of whom were not touched personally or even professionally, and some who gave up lives, limbs, and emotional health. For the policymakers in Washington, these were wars to be remotely managed inside the guide rails of theoretical national strategy and uncontrolled financial planning. As with so many other drawn-out military commitments with vaguely defined and often changing objectives, America’s diplomatic credibility steadily decreased while the price tag rose through the roof, into trillions of dollars and thousands of combat deaths. There is no way around the reality that these hand-selected policymakers, military and civilian alike, failed the country, even as many of them were being lionized in the media and offered lucrative post-retirement positions in the private sector. Their immediate strategic goals, vague as they were from the outset, were not accomplished. The larger necessity of meeting global challenges, and particularly China’s determined expansion, was put on the back burner as our operational and diplomatic capabilities were diverted into a constantly quarreling region with the deserved reputation of being the “Graveyard of Empires.” In the context of history, the human cost on the battlefield as viewed by those at the top was manageably small, and carried out by an all-volunteer military. Indeed, despite the length of twenty years of war and many ferocious engagements, the overall casualty numbers were historically low. DOD reports the total number of American military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over twenty years as 7,074, of which 5,474 were killed in action. This twenty-year number was about the same as six months of American casualties during any one of the peak years of fighting in Vietnam. Emotionally, although there was much sympathy and respect for our soldiers we were not really a nation in a fully engaged war. As the wars continued, life in America went on without disruption. A very small percentage of the country was at human or even family risk. The wars did not interfere on a national scale with the lives of those who chose not to serve. The economy was largely good. In places like my home state of Virginia it absolutely boomed with tens of billions of dollars going to Virginia-based programs in the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. This societal disconnect gave the policymakers great latitude in the manner in which they ran the wars. It also resulted in very little congressional oversight, either in operational concepts or in much-need scrutiny of DOD and State Department management and budgets. Powerpoint presentations replaced vigorous discussion. Serious introspection by Pentagon staff members gave way to bland reports from Beltway Bandit consultants hired to provide answers to questions asked during committee hearings. An “Overseas Contingency Fund” with billions of unlabeled dollars allowed military leaders to fund programs that were never directly authorized or specifically appropriated by Congress. To be blunt, the Pentagon and the Joint commands were basically making their own rules, and to hell with everybody else. This was not the Congress in which I had worked as a full committee counsel during the Carter Administration. Nor was it the Pentagon in which I had served as an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan. At the other end of the pipeline, it was different. For those who did serve, and especially for those who served in ground combat units and in special operations, being thrown into the middle of a region where violence and bitter retribution is the norm was often a life-altering experience. Repetitive combat tours pulled them away from home, from family, and from the normal routines of their peers again and again, creating burnout from unresolved personal issues of stress and readjustment to civilian life. So-called “stop loss” programs kept many soldiers on active duty after their initial terms of service were supposed to end, a policy that brought the not-unreal slogan that stop-loss was, in reality, nothing more than a back-door version of the draft: We have you. And we are going to keep you until we no longer need you. The traditional policy of allowing troops a two-to-one ratio of “dwell time” at home between deployments was repeatedly shortened until, for the Army, the ratio was less than one-to-one, requiring soldiers to return to combat for fifteen months with only twelve months at home to recuperate, refurbish, and retrain. Those who left the military after one enlistment rather than choosing a career were largely ignored by commands that provided little post-military guidance and sent battle-weary young soldiers home without much more than a goodbye. But along the way, as with those who have served our country in uniform in every other war, our young military did the job that they were sent to do, no matter the overall wisdom of the mission itself. With respect to these capable and dedicated young Americans who stepped forward to serve, I feel fortunate to have been able to play a part in making sure that the public was aware of the contributions they made, and to put into place policies that recognized and properly rewarded their service. And as a writer, journalist and later a Senator I was able to use whatever pulpit was available in order to emphasize that our greatest strategic challenges were not in the places where our elites had decided to invest our people and our national treasure, and to call for the country’s leadership to cease its unfortunate obsession with a region that has never needed a permanent American ground presence as a means of mediating, much less resolving, its centuries-old conflicts. You don’t take out a hornet’s nest by sitting on top of it. We’re smarter than that, and also more capable.   In addition to working on strongly felt issues such as economic fairness and criminal justice reform, once I was elected to the Senate I took a two-pronged approach to resolving the mess that had been made in our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first involved our larger strategic interests. I immediately gained a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two years later was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. From our immediate office, I designed a staff—and a legislative approach—that would energetically re-emphasize our commitment to relations in East Asia, and recruited good people to carry out that approach. My mission to my staff was that we were going to work to invigorate American relations in East Asia, particularly in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, and we were going to open up Burma to the outside world. We did more than talk about this, averaging three intense trips every year where I was able to meet with top leaders in those countries as well as almost every other country in ASEAN. Barack Obama later announced a similar policy after he was elected two years later, calling it the “Pivot to Asia.” Unfortunately, his administration’s approach skirted the largest issue in the region by avoiding any major confrontations with China. The pivot was largely abandoned at a crucial period in 2012 after China claimed sovereignty over a two million square kilometer area of the South China Sea, and began militarizing numerous contested islands claimed by several other countries. The Obama administration declined to criticize China’s actions, saying that the United States would not take a position on sovereignty issues. Quite obviously, not taking a position in this matter was defaulting to China’s aggressive acts. I responded by introducing a Senate resolution condemning any use of military force in the resolution of sovereignty issues in the South China Sea, which passed with a unanimous vote. The second involved the day-to-day manner in which our wars were being fought, and the way that our younger military people were being treated by those at the top. I participated in numerous hearings on all aspects from my seats on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, becoming even more concerned about the lack of serious congressional oversight. During one Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-invasion reconstruction efforts, an assistant secretary of state testified that the United States had spent 32 billion dollars on different smaller-scale projects.  I asked him to provide me and the committee a complete list of every project, as well as the cost. That was in 2007. I’m still waiting for his answer. This was clearly not the way things worked when I was a counsel in the House, where such requests were often answered within a day or two, from information that had already been compiled. In fact, the lack of an answer, despite follow-up calls from my staff, followed a broader pattern that had evolved after 9/11 when vague answers and delayed responses had become the norm, a deliberate and increasingly routine snub of the Congress by higher-level members of the executive branch. Take your choice. This was either incompetent leadership or deliberate obstruction. If the congressional liaisons from DOD were able to provide specific, complicated data within a day or two in 1977, certainly the computers of 2007 were capable of doing so after thirty years of technological progress. I responded by co-authoring legislation along with Senator Claire McCaskill that created the Wartime Contracts Commission, modeled after the Truman Commission of World War Two. After three years of investigations, the commission’s final report estimated that due to major failures in our contracting system the United States had squandered up to 60 billion dollars through contract waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the commission lacked subpoena power or criminal jurisdiction over actions taken in the past, but it certainly got the attention of would-be fraudsters, led to better record-keeping, improved the oversight process, and put a marker down for contracts from that point forward.   Having grown up in the military, and serving as an infantry Marine in Vietnam, and with a son who had left college to enlist in the Marine Corps infantry and fought in Ramadi, Iraq during one of the worst periods in that war, I seized the opportunity – and undertook the obligation – to properly reward the contributions of those who had stepped forward to serve. Immediately after I won the election to the Senate, and two months before actually being sworn in, I sat down with the Senate legislative counsel and drafted the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Having spent four years as a full committee counsel on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, my legislative model was the GI Bill that had been given to our World War Two veterans, the most generous GI Bill in history up to that time: pay for the veteran’s tuition and fees, buy the books, and provide a monthly living stipend. For every tax dollar that was spent on the World War Two GI bill, our treasury received eight dollars in tax remunerations from veterans who had gone on to successful lives. By contrast, the Vietnam Era GI Bill had provided only a monthly payment that in almost every case was far less than the costs of higher education, beginning in 1966 at a paltry rate of 50 dollars a month and ending in the early 1970s at $340 a month. I introduced the Post-9/11 GI Bill on my first day as a Senator. I put together a bipartisan leadership team—two Republicans, John Warner and Chuck Hagel; two Democrats, Frank Lautenberg and myself; two of them World War Two veterans, and two of them Vietnam veterans. Sixteen months later in a modern-day Congressional miracle, the bill became law, ironically over the strong opposition of the Bush Administration to the very end. The White House and the Pentagon claimed that such a generous bill would affect retention, causing too many people to leave the military. The obvious but implicit message was, Don’t treat them too good; they’ll leave. This position was taken by general officers who were going to receive a couple of hundred thousand dollars every year in military retirement when they themselves decided to leave. Having spent five years in the Pentagon and being intimately familiar with manpower issues, I held a completely different belief, that the generosity of the new GI Bill would enhance enlistments and help broaden the base of our overall military. In a back-handed compliment, at least in my view, I was not invited to the White House for the ceremony when the President signed the bill. But to date, millions of post-9/11 veterans have used this Bill, which is beyond cavil the most generous GI Bill in history. It has created opportunities and empowered the careers of people who are now making their way into positions of leadership and influence throughout the country. Shortly after I introduced the GI Bill, I introduced legislation to mandate a proper ratio for dwell time between overseas deployments. The legislation would have required that military members not be returned to combat unless they had been home for at least the amount of time that they had previously been gone. This was not unreasonable. A two-to-one ratio was a simple formula that reflected traditional rotation cycles. With the continuous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan it had fallen to less than one-to-one, which meant that for years our soldiers would be gone longer than they were at home, and when they were at home they would be spending much of their time getting ready to go back. This reality was clearly affecting not only morale but also the potential for long-term emotional difficulties such as post-traumatic stress. Predictably, the White House and the Pentagon opposed the legislation. Some claimed that I had designed it with a hidden agenda to slow down the war in Iraq. Others, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, claimed that the legislation was unconstitutional, that Congress could not intervene in the operational tempo of the military since the President was the Commander in Chief. But a precedent was already set. During the Korean War, Congress had ceased the deployment of soldiers who were being sent to the war zone without proper training by mandating that no military members could be deployed overseas unless they had spent 120 days on active duty. If the military leaders weren’t going to take care of their people, it was only right that Congress should set proper boundaries. The Republicans filibustered the legislation, which then required sixty votes for passage. Although the bill twice received a fifty-six vote majority, with several Republican votes for passage, we did not break the filibuster.  But we did put the issue of dwell time firmly before Congress and the public, and the two-to-one deployment cycle eventually became the express goal inside the Department of Defense. All of that is history. I put it before you as something of a template to show the patterns that evolved and have continued over the past twenty years, as well as evidence that strong and informed leadership in Congress can turn things around. In many ways, this dislocation is between those who make policy—including military leaders—and those who carry it out. It continues due to the group mentality of a foreign policy aristocracy seeking common agreement rather than original thought. And it has exacerbated this ever-growing dislocation by freezing out those who are not, basically, in the club because their thinking does not fit the usual mantra and their ideas threaten the prevailing orthodoxy. We need these other voices. There are lessons to be learned and unavoidable questions that need to be answered at every level. Some involve the articulation of our national security objectives and how we define national strategy. Some involve when and how we should use the military for operational missions in harm’s way. And some involve the actual makeup of these military missions, from their remote or covert or overt nature, and if deployed in large numbers how large that footprint should be, and what portion should consist of military contractors along the lines of the past twenty years. And for those who want to repair the damage, it challenges us to find clear ways where we can move forward. Who do we hold accountable for the random and often changing strategic mistakes that have damaged our strength and our reputation? How do we move forward in the way we articulate and implement our national strategy here at home? How do we regain our respect in the international community, both among our friends who need us, and from potential adversaries who pray every day that America will lose its willpower, that we would be so overcome by military failures abroad and turbulence at home that the nation itself will atrophy and descend into the ranks of an also-ran, second-rate power?   We should begin with a vigorous and open discussion about the makeup, power, and influence of America’s massive defense establishment. And here I’m talking about the highest levels of our uniformed military, the civilian government officials, the powerful defense corporations, the numerous think tanks funded heavily by the defense industry, the hugely influential lobbying organizations, and—if not at the bottom, certainly in the bullseye of the efforts of all of these entities—the authorizing and appropriating committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. Couple that with the media of all sorts, particularly the huge growth of the internet and social media, and one can see how complicated the debate over any controversial issue can become. We were warned about this, sixty years ago, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his well-remembered speech about the “military / industrial complex.” The speech was the president’s carefully placed farewell message to the American people, made just three days before he left office. His words resonate, symbolic in their timing as his final shot across the bow, and coming as they did from this former five-star general who knew the military with a completeness that no other American president could ever match. After commenting that in the aftermath of World War Two the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience,” Eisenhower expressed his concern about the “total influence – economic, political, even spiritual” of this new reality “in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”   The outgoing, immensely popular President then bluntly called out the members of his own professional culture—the military itself—and the bond its top leaders were increasingly forming with America’s defense corporations. “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military / industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Looking at the decades following his speech and particularly the past twenty years, I believe President Eisenhower would be amazed at how massively this military-industrial complex has grown, how entangled the relationships between the military and the industrial complex have become, and how much it has affected the career paths of civilian “experts,” as well as the positions taken by many senior flag officers facing retirement. Lucrative civilian careers have been made through the “revolving doors” of serving for a few years in appointed posts in the Departments of Defense and State, or by working on committee staffs in the Congress, then rotating over the space of many years in and out of government into the defense-oriented industry and in the ever more influential think tanks, some of them heavily funded by corporations with major financial interests in defense contracts. The number of people involved in such revolving doors and the amount of money flowing back and forth would have stunned the understanding of people in Eisenhower’s era. Likewise, many military officers have made similar career moves, taking advantage of skills and relationships that were developed while on active duty. Those in uniform and others who work in the area of national defense regularly comment about the potential for conflicts of interest among the most senior flag officers as they carry out their final active duty positions before retiring and prepare for their next career in the civilian world. Critical issues ranging from the procurement of weapons systems to carrying out politically sensitive military operations often comprise the way in which potential civilian employers decide on the next chapter in their lives. A hand played well can bring large financial benefits. A hand played poorly can result in media stigma or even being relieved of their duties, and a beach house in Tarpon Springs. As with other areas of public service, it would be useful for Congress to examine the firewalls in place in order to maintain the vitally important separation of the military, on the one side, and the industrial complex on the other, just as President Dwight Eisenhower so prophetically pointed out sixty years ago. Dwight Eisenhower would have liked General Robert Barrow, the twenty-seventh commandant of the Marine Corps. His leadership example personally inspired me, both during and after my service in the Corps. We had many personal discussions over the years, until he passed away in 2008. He was a great combat leader. He mastered guerrilla warfare while fighting Japanese units alongside Chinese soldiers in World War Two. In the Korean War, he received the Navy Cross, our country’s second-highest award, for extraordinary heroism as a company commander during the historic breakout from the Chosin Reservoir. And in Vietnam, he was known as one of the war’s finest regimental commanders. He knew war, he knew loyalty, and he knew his Marines. General Barrow was fond of emphasizing that moral courage was often harder, and more exemplary, than physical courage. On matters of principle, he would not bend. During one difficult period when he was dealing with serious issues in the political process, the four-star Commandant calmly pointed out to me that his obligation was to run the Marine Corps “the same way a good company commander runs his rifle company: I’ll do the best job I know how to do, and if you don’t like what I’m doing, then fire me.” It is rare these days to see such leaders wearing the stars of a general or an admiral. And thinking of President Eisenhower’s prescient warnings about what he termed the “the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals,” I have no doubt that he and General Barrow shared the same concerns. General Barrow held another firm belief. Having served as Commandant of the Marine Corps, he believed it would soil the dignity of that office by trading on its credibility for financial gain through banging on doors in Washington as a lobbyist or serving as a board member giving a defense-related corporation his prized insider’s advice on how to sell their product. The Japanese have a saying that “life is a generation, but reputation is forever.” And General Barrow’s pristine motivation will forever preserve his honor. I grew up in the military. I know the price that families must pay when their fathers or now even their mothers are continuously deployed, because I lived it as a very young boy. My father, a pilot who flew B-17s and B-29s in World War Two and cargo planes in the Berlin Airlift, was continually deployed either overseas or on bases with no family housing, at one point for more than three years. I know the demands and yet the honor of leading infantry Marines in combat and then spending years in and out of the hospital after being wounded. I know what it is like to be a father with a son deployed in a very bad place as an enlisted infantry Marine. And most of all I know the pride that comes from being able to say for the rest of my life that when my country called, I was there, and I took care of my people. My other major point today is that our top leaders in all sectors of national defense need to get going and develop a clearly articulated foreign policy. We have lost twenty years, unfortunately fulfilling the prediction that I made in the Washington Post five months before the invasion of Iraq that “Nations such as China can only view the prospect of an American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall.” And for China, indeed it was. It’s ironic that we are now hearing frantic warnings from our uniformed leaders about China’s determined expansionism, both military and economic, and particularly about how recent reports of Chinese technological leaps might be something of a new “Sputnik” moment where America has been caught off-guard and now must rush to catch up. Too bad they weren’t following this as these policies and technological improvements were developed by the Chinese over at least the past two decades, while our focus remained intently on the never-ending and never-resolved brawls in the Middle East. The very people who now are wringing their hands and calling for a full-fledged effort to counter such threats are the same people who should have been warning the nation of their possibility ten or even twenty years ago. So, ask yourself: If things go wrong, who then shall we blame? Much of the world is now uneasy with China’s unremitting aggression on its home turf in Asia. Over the past decade, China has been calling its own shots, rejecting international law and public opinion while flexing its muscle to signal its view that it will soon replace the United States as the region’s dominant military, diplomatic and economic power. Beijing has taken down Hong Kong’s democracy movement; started military spats with India; disrupted life for tens of millions by damming the headwaters of the Mekong River; conducted what our government now deems a campaign of genocide against Muslim Uighurs; escalated tensions with Japan over the Senkaku Islands; consolidated its illegal occupation and militarization of islands in the South China Sea; and made repeated bellicose gestures designed to test the international community’s resistance to “unifying” the “renegade province” of Taiwan. China’s military is expanding and modernizing and its Navy is becoming not only technological but global. While we expended a huge portion of our human capital, emotional energy, and national treasure on two wars, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has had a major economic impact in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and with individual governments on other continents. In Africa, whose population has quadrupled since 1970 and which counts only one of the world’s top thirty countries in Gross National Product, more than forty countries have signed on to China’s BRI. Let’s get going. We have alliances to enhance, and extensive national security interests to protect. We need to address these issues immediately and with clarity. America has always been a place where the abrasion of continuous debate eventually produces creative solutions. Eventually is now. Let’s agree on those solutions, and make the next twenty years a time of clear purpose and affirmative global leadership. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

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

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

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

11 Oath Keepers Charged With Seditious Conspiracy To Prevent Transfer Of Power On Jan. 6

11 Oath Keepers Charged With Seditious Conspiracy To Prevent Transfer Of Power On Jan. 6 Authored by Joseph Hanneman via The Epoch Times, Eleven members of the Oath Keepers, including the group’s founder Stewart Rhodes, were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for an alleged “seditious conspiracy” to attack the U.S. Capitol and prevent the certification of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election. The indictment, returned Jan. 12 and unsealed Thursday, brings the first Jan. 6 charges for Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56, of Granbury, Texas; and Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, Arizona. Rhodes faces a count of seditious conspiracy and four other charges from Jan. 6. Vallejo is charged with seditious conspiracy and three other counts. It is the first federal indictment alleging seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6, a charge that upon conviction carries a maximum prison term of 20 years. Rhodes is the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, a nationwide group of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders who aim to defend and preserve constitutional rights, based on the oath they took to defend the United States from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The indictment includes new charges against nine previously charged Jan. 6 defendants: Thomas Caldwell, 67, of Berryville, Virginia; Joseph Hackett, 51, of Sarasota, Florida; Kenneth Harrelson, 41, of Titusville, Florida; Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama; Kelly Meggs, 52, of Dunnellon, Florida; Roberto Minuta, 37, of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel, 44, of Punta Gorda, Florida; Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia; and Jessica Watkins, 39, of Woodstock, Ohio. In addition to their previous charges, the defendants are charged with seditious conspiracy and other Jan. 6 offenses. Among the charges spread across the 11 defendants are destruction of government property, civil disorder, tampering with documents or proceedings, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, the indictment said. Protesters walk around in the Rotunda after breaching the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) Jonathon Moseley, a Washington D.C. attorney who represents Kelly Meggs in his criminal case and Stewart Rhodes in his upcoming appearance before the select Jan. 6 committee, blasted the indictment as a publicity ploy. “This is just a public relations gloss on the existing facts,” Moseley told The Epoch Times in a statement. “Faced with criticism from leading Democrats for not supporting their leftist narrative, the prosecutors have just slapped a new label on the false allegations already made. But I see no facts that would support the new charges.” “Furthermore, the U.S. Attorney and his prosecutors know that they are lying. They have known since March to May 2021 that every allegation they are making is a lie,” Moseley said. “We have the documents. We have the proof. They know that we know that this prosecution is a total lie. And yet they are forging ahead with prosecutorial misconduct.” William Miller, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, declined comment on Moseley’s assertions. “We typically do not comment on cases beyond what is stated or filed in court,” Miller said. Eight other Oath Keepers previously charged in the sweeping Jan. 6 investigation are defendants in two related cases, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. In one of those cases, charges were leveled against James Beeks, 49, of Orlando, Florida; Donovan Crowl, 51, of Cable, Ohio; William Isaacs, 22, of Kissimmee, Florida; Connie Meggs, 60, of Dunnellon, Florida; Sandra Parker, 63, of Morrow, Ohio; Bernie Parker, 71, of Morrow, Ohio; and Laura Steele, 53, of Thomasville, North Carolina. The third case involves charges against Jonathan Walden, 57, of Birmingham, Alabama. The 19 defendants named in the three indictments are charged with corruptly obstructing an official proceeding. Eighteen of the 19 defendants face charges of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiring to prevent an officer of the United States from discharging a duty. Eleven of the 19 are charged with seditious conspiracy. The first indictment charges that following the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election, Rhodes conspired with the other defendants to “oppose by force” the transfer of presidential power from Donald J. Trump to Joseph Biden Jr. The group communicated using encrypted messenger applications to lay out plans to travel to Washington D.C. for the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College votes. A mob clashes with law enforcement officers outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images) Rhodes and several co-conspirators planned to bring weapons to support the operation, the indictment charges. Others were organized into teams that were trained in paramilitary tactics. The groups planned to bring gear that included knives, batons, camouflaged uniforms, tactical vests with protective plates, helmets, eye protection, and radio equipment. According to the Department of Justice summary of the alleged conspiracy, at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6—30 minutes after protesters and rioters breached the Capitol building—a group of Oath Keepers marched in a “stack” formation up the Capitol’s east steps and “joined a mob and made their way into the Capitol.” A stack is a military-style tactical formation used to breach buildings. Later, a second group made another stack formation, marched from the west to the east side of the Capitol, up the stairs, and into the building, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Other Oath Keepers remained outside the city in “quick-reaction force” (QRF) teams, “ready to transport firearms and other weapons into Washington D.C. in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power,” the DOJ statement said. Moseley alleged the indictment is nothing more than a restatement of previous charges. “I look forward to drinks on Kelly Meggs’ new yacht after the civil lawsuits for malicious prosecution,” he said. Moseley said he was on the phone with Rhodes discussing his upcoming appearance before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol when the FBI called Rhodes. “He patched me in on the call and I identified myself as his lawyer. The FBI special agent said they were outside and he needed to come out with his hands up and be arrested,” Moseley told The Epoch Times. Moseley said he stayed on the line for 10 minutes “before they hung up the phone.” Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 13th, 2022

Kyle Bass Believes Fed Will Be Forced To Abandon Hiking Rates As Stocks Crash

Kyle Bass Believes Fed Will Be Forced To Abandon Hiking Rates As Stocks Crash During an interview with CNBC Thursday afternoon, Hayman Capital founder Kyle Bass joined Jeffrey Gundlach and other astute observers of the market by postulating that the Fed won't be able to succeed with its planned 4 interest-rate hikes by the end of the year. "Gundlach said that the Fed could get to 1.5% on the Fed funds rate, which might happen in the next 12 to 18 months. But that would trigger a recession," he said. But by the time the Fed gets to the second hike, markets will tank, forcing the central bank to backtrack. Kyle Bass agrees with Gundlach (and the market): "The Fed can't raise rates more than a 100-125 bps before they have to stop" — zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 13, 2022 Speaking during his first CNBC interview of the year, Bass argued that there's a "huge mismatch, I think, between policy and reality...when you look at the reality of hydrocarbon demand...the reality is that...we've been pulling CapEx out of the oil patch because we so desperately want to switch to alternative energy. The problem is you can't just turn off hydrocarbons. It takes 40 or 50 years to switch fuel sources," Bass explained. And as the global economy shakes off the impact of the pandemic, Bass predicted that "the same forces that applied to bring oil below zero [back in April 2020] will apply on the upside. We will get the world reopened by the middle of the year...you can't just flip on an oil well...the only people funding the oil patch are family offices." As demand for oil intensifies,  the dynamic will send prices on front-month contracts "well above" $100/barrel", Bass projected. "There are so few people out there funding CapEx...if we reopen, you're going to see numbers that people aren't ready for." Bass's interlocutors then opted to switch gears with some questions about China. After Wilfred Frost gently accused Bass of being a China bear, Bass insisted that he considers himself a "China realist" before launching into a discussion of China's real-estate market. As many investors may have learned from all the reporting about Evergrande and other deeply indebted China developers in recent months, roughly one-third of China's economy is driven by real estate. The surge in prices has contributed to China's demographic nightmare, Bass said. "...the average birth rate of women in China fell below 1.2...you had an aggressive population decline because men can't afford to buy homes because they're priced at 20x to 30x their annual income." This has become a problem for China's leaders. "Xi needs real estate prices down and he needs them to stay down," Bass said. As for those who are betting on a bounce in Chinese stocks, Bass characterized this as "a fool's game." As for whether or not he'd ever invest in Chinese stocks again, Bass replied: "Fool me once but you're not going to fool me twice...I feel like people who are investing in Chinese equities are breaking their fiduciary duty to their investors." Circling back to a discussion about the Fed, Bass pointed to Goldman's call for 4 hikes this year. When the Fed does deliver on the rate hikes it has led the market to expect, "the curve is going to flatten, the long end of the curve will invert and the Fed" will likely need to throw it in reverse. "My personal view is they can't raise short rates more than 100-125 basis points before they have to stop," Bass said. Once this happens, a recession in the US will likely follow. "I think they're going to have to back away from that plan once they start hiking...that's my view. With all this in mind, "there's no way the stock market goes up this year and it probably goes down pretty aggressively," Bass concluded. And once the Fed starts hiking rates, this, compounded by surging oil prices "will compound people's inflation problems." And that is already very modestly bring priced in... March rate-hike odds are rising to cycle highs but the odds of 4 rate-hikes by year-end are sliding... So, after more than a decade of easy money policies, 2022 is shaping up to be a difficult year for American consumers. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/13/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 13th, 2022

Allison (ALSN) Teams Up With Autotech, Hits Delivery Milestone

Allison's (ALSN) pledge to invest $15 million in Autotech opens it up to VC expertise and offers direct exposure to startups. It also completes the 2 millionth delivery of 1000/2000 Series. Allison Transmission Holdings ALSN recently pledged a $15 million investment in Autotech Ventures, a venture capital (VC) firm, paving the way for the next frontier of mobility.Per the joint venture, Autotech will provide Allison with direct exposure to relevant startups, VC expertise and high-tech companies in strategic areas of the transportation industry. The partnership is also in sync with Allison’s mission to advance its propulsion solutions in the dynamic and cut-throat vehicle industry.Based in Silicon Valley, Autotech invests in and provides consulting services to early-stage transport technology startups with key focus on connectivity, autonomy, sharing, electrification and digitization in the transport tech space. Autotech’s tech scouting, tech absorption and team development capabilities will benefit Allison and elevate its research and business development capabilities. By leveraging Autotech’s solid ground through the investment, ALSN is poised to diversify its portfolio and deliver brand value and efficient, next-generation propulsion solutions to its customers.In another important development, Allison recently hit a landmark by completing the delivery of its 2 millionth 1000 Series and 2000 Series, remaining focused on its vision to provide reliable, durable transmissions for light and medium-duty commercial vehicles. The milestone unit was delivered to Penske Truck Leasing, a leading global transportation services provider.Both 1000 and 2000 series are widely popular in communities, from being used in ambulances to school buses to municipal and distribution and delivery trucks that support essential and critical businesses. Allison is confident that the landmark delivery will go a long way in testifying its commitment to high-quality propulsion solutions.Allison’s shares have lost 9.4% over the past year compared with the industry’s 37.3% decline. The company has an expected earnings growth rate of 26.2% for the current year.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Key PicksCurrently, Allison carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).Better-ranked players in the auto space include Genuine Parts GPC, Fox Factory Holdings FOXF and Ford Motors F, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) currently. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Genuine Parts has an expected earnings growth rate of 11% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings for the current year has been revised around 2.2% upward over the past 60 days.Genuine Parts’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. GPC pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16%, on average. Its shares have gained 32.4% over a year.Fox Factory has an expected earnings growth rate of 14% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has been revised around 0.2% upward over the past 60 days.Fox Factory’s bottom line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. FOXF delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 16%, on average. The stock has rallied 22.5% over a year.Ford has an expected earnings growth rate of 2.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current-year earnings has been revised around 2.7% upward over the past 60 days.Ford’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the trailing four quarters. F pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 335.6%, on average. The stock has also rallied 140.6% over a year. Bitcoin, Like the Internet Itself, Could Change Everything Blockchain and cryptocurrency has sparked one of the most exciting discussion topics of a generation. Some call it the “Internet of Money” and predict it could change the way money works forever. If true, it could do to banks what Netflix did to Blockbuster and Amazon did to Sears. Experts agree we’re still in the early stages of this technology, and as it grows, it will create several investing opportunities. Zacks’ has just revealed 3 companies that can help investors capitalize on the explosive profit potential of Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies with significantly less volatility than buying them directly. See 3 crypto-related stocks now >>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 Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report Genuine Parts Company (GPC): Free Stock Analysis Report Allison Transmission Holdings, Inc. (ALSN): Free Stock Analysis Report Fox Factory Holding Corp. (FOXF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 13th, 2022

Omicron Absenteeism Poses Fresh Test to U.S. Economic Strength

Several economists began the new year by downgrading their first-quarter forecasts With the omicron wave of the pandemic rapidly spreading across the U.S., the robust economic recovery is facing a new threat that policymakers have little control over: people calling in sick. What started as a series of holiday flight cancellations as pilots and other staff fell ill or were forced into quarantine is becoming a reality in factories, grocery stores and ports and again testing supply chains. The widespread absenteeism is already constraining output, and several economists began the new year by downgrading their first-quarter forecasts. Even if the hit is temporary, as most anticipate, the disruptions and closures are likely to slow the fragile rebound in some sectors and weigh on businesses’ future plans. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “You just don’t know when it’s going to hit you,” said James Beall, chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-area Ledo Pizza chain. On any given day last week, at least three of the company’s 110 locations were closed and as many as five were operating on reduced hours. “Our new normal is turning into another new normal.” Just how bad or enduring the omicron toll will be may take weeks to determine. The December jobs report released Friday, showing an unemployment rate at a fresh pandemic low of 3.9%, relied on data gathered mostly before the variant spread. Even the January numbers, due Feb. 4, are unlikely to reflect the entirety of the impact, which is more likely to be measured in lost output due to sick days than lost jobs. Nick Bunker, chief economist at online job-listing firm Indeed Inc., likens the impact of omicron to the blizzard of 1978, which dumped as much as four feet of snow on his native New England in less than 36 hours and yielded weeks of disruption but also a rapid recovery. Only unlike the blizzard and even previous waves of Covid-19, the variant has quickly become a national event, with new cases reaching as many as 1 million a day last week. That means “this big, very, very large sharp shock to the economy and the labor market specifically. But then the hope is that, like a storm, it ends and then there’s a return to prior trends,” Bunker said. “Things are only likely to get worse in the near term,” he wrote in a note to clients. Moreover, “the conventional wisdom that omicron presents no threat to the economy may prove too sanguine.” ‘Unprecedented’ Sick Days Staff shortages have continued to disrupt airlines, with Alaska Airlines saying that an “unprecedented” number of workers calling in sick caused it to cancel 10% of its flights for the rest of January. The real question for the industry is whether it will cause carriers to slow planned 2022 growth if it continues into February and beyond, said Conor Cunningham, an analyst with MKM Partners. “My expectation has been that other airlines will need to slow growth,” Cunningham said. Some hospitals are at a breaking point, dealing with more sick or exposed workers than at the worst of the pandemic. “We’ve had more staff out because they’ve tested positive and have contracted Covid than we did at the very beginning,” said Lynda Shrock, vice president of human resources at Logansport Memorial Hospital in Logansport, Indiana. Store Closures On Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, luxury retailers Gucci, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton have all reported cases among staff, according to Los Angeles County’s public list of workplace outbreaks. Walmart Inc. has closed at least 60 of its U.S. stores for deep cleanings. Apple Inc. locations have been shut temporarily in dozens of places from Alabama to Florida and New York. At West Coast ports, already facing logjams of imports, 160 longshoremen tested positive on Wednesday alone, said James McKenna, president of the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates labor agreements for 70 companies at 29 ports on the coast. That number understates the disruption. Hundreds more dock workers are staying home due to contact tracing, or awaiting tests, McKenna said. The backlogs of ships off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest, are growing again, McKenna said. “This new variant is so transmittable that it has changed the game,” he said. In the auto sector, union officials and company representatives said the increase in sick days hasn’t affected production at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV, owner of the Jeep and Ram brands. It may just be a matter time. In a call with reporters on Friday, Scott Keogh, chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG’s U.S. unit, said he was “100%” certain that the industry was about to face production disruptions due to omicron. “There is no flexible new normal” for assembling a car. While economists and investors expect the impact to be short-lived, its magnitude may be sizable. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, cut his first-quarter prediction for annualized gross domestic production to close to 2%, down from about 5%. But he also raised his forecast for the second quarter, saying businesses and the economy are better prepared to face this new wave. “I don’t expect the virus to sustainably subtract from economic growth on net this year,” Zandi said. Though omicron could, he said, affect how the Federal Reserve views the recovery and when it acts to raise rates. Restaurants Struggle The variant is another blow to industries like hospitality that were struggling to come back to pre-pandemic employment levels, said Jerry Nickelsburg, faculty director of UCLA Anderson Forecast. That in turn will have a longer effect on growth because “those sectors will not recover as fast as we previously thought”. Marshall Weston, president and chief executive officer of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said he had spent the week fielding calls from members who were closing their doors for good. “The recovery for restaurants appears to be going in reverse rather than moving forward,” Weston said. At Ledo Pizza in the D.C. area, CEO Beall is determined to keep a company his grandfather started in 1955 alive. He employs 1,300 fewer people than before Covid-19 and has adapted by using more automated online systems to field takeout orders and by simplifying the menu to ease the burden of kitchen staff. He’s also dealing with staff shortages at suppliers that have only gotten worse with omicron. That means getting smaller amounts of ingredients like mozzarella sticks and waiting longer to get them. “We’ve seen a lot of in 66 years,” Beall said. “But this is definitely different.” –With assistance from Joe Deaux, Leslie Patton, Gabrielle Coppola, Deena Shanker, Carey Goldberg, Justin Bachman, John Tozzi, David Welch, Keith Naughton and Augusta Saraiva......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 13th, 2022

COVID-positive nurses say they"re being pressured to work while sick, and they"re petrified of infecting patients

"I can't afford to have a day off and not get paid for it," one nurse told Insider. "But I don't want to get someone sick. I'd never forgive myself." Four nurses told Insider their hospitals are pressuring them to come into work shortly after testing positive for COVID-19.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images A handful of nurses are using TikTok to call out hospitals pressuring them to come to work with COVID-19. Four nurses across the US told Insider they had been told to come into work while sick or risk losing pay. Some nurses said they're close to quitting after nearly two years of long hours and heightened verbal and physical abuse. What was once an ill-advised practice is now becoming a common request across US hospitals: Healthcare workers are being asked to treat patients while sick with COVID-19.In a TikTok video now viewed more than 7.2 million times, April Lynn, an ICU nurse, claimed her hospital cleared her to return to work five days after testing positive for COVID-19, despite still having a cough and severe fatigue. (Lynn did not respond to Insider's request for comment.)Four other nurses told Insider that, in the last week or so, they've been instructed to come into work with symptomatic COVID-19, or risk losing pay or receiving a formal warning. The nurses said hospital administrators are pointing to new federal emergency guidance that allows healthcare workers to shorten isolation periods as a way to mitigate widespread staffing shortages. "After almost two years of having to deal with this and having such a high stress job, this is kind of like a kick in the face," labor and delivery nurse Rachel Pokriva, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, told Insider. Pokriva is due to return to work on Thursday at St. Joseph East in Lexington, Kentucky, despite still suffering intense nausea and fatigue.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's emergency guidance, released on December 23, healthcare workers can return to work five to seven days after testing positive for COVID-19. Isolation time can also be cut shorter than seven days with a negative test "if there are staffing shortages," the CDC stated.CDC director Rochelle WalenskyJ. Scott Applewhite-Pool/via Getty ImagesMany US hospitals reported severe staffing shortages in December as COVID-19 cases began to rise. A combination of burnout from unsupportive work environments and trauma from treating COVID-19 patients is fueling the exodus, nurses told Insider. Just this week, a memo from Rhode Island's Department of Health said nursing home staff could still go to work after testing positive for COVID-19 in the event of a staffing crisis."It just stinks of staffing shortage more than scientific proof that we're not spreading COVID after five days," Pokriva said.Nurses who takes sick days risk missed wages or a formal warmingIn the past, if Pokriva were this ill, the hospital would have allowed her to take the week off and count it as a single absence, she said. When she called in sick on Monday, after testing positive for COVID-19, she had already run through the gamut of COVID-19 symptoms: headache, congestion, body aches, cough, and a 102-degree fever.But a new policy at St. Joseph East states that employees must return to work five days after a positive test or the first sign of symptoms, unless their condition gets worse. Symptoms that qualify for time off must be "true" COVID symptoms, the hospital said: a fever, new cough, or shortness of breath."Other mild/moderate symptoms (runny nose, headache, fatigue, etc.) should be viewed separately from the true COVID symptoms when returning the employees/contractors to work," according to the policy, which was reviewed by Insider.  Taking the day off would likely count as a "write-up," or unexcused absence, and potentially result in a verbal warning, Pokriva said. Too many warnings might ultimately lead to termination, an outcome Pokriva never worried about before during her 12 years at St. Joseph East.A spokesperson for the hospital told Insider that St. Joseph follows the official CDC guidance."Clinical staffing is a challenge in hospitals across the country right now, and that has been exacerbated by COVID-19," the spokesperson said, adding: "We continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated and following all the safety guidelines, including masking, from the CDC, to stem the spread of COVID and lessen the burden on hospitals and healthcare workers."Three other nurses across the US, who spoke to Insider on the condition of some degree of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, said they had been told to come into work while sick with COVID-19 or risk losing pay. Some hospitals said COVID-positive nurses can come to work to help with staffing shortages.AP Photo/Steven Senne"I'm in the ER and it's very physically exhausting and demanding. I can barely make it through putting towels in the dryer without having to take my inhaler," an emergency nurse in Florida told Insider. She is still struggling with breathing and fatigue more than 10 days since her symptoms started, and seven days since a positive COVID-19 test. She said her manager told her to protect others by wearing an N95 mask on the job. But a thick, tight mask is beyond uncomfortable when she's congested or short of breath, the nurse said."I pray that I don't have to work a code or do chest compressions because I don't want to fail my patient in delivering poor CPR because I'm barely able to breathe myself," the Florida nurse added.It's also unrealistic to assume that masks can be worn every second of a shift."Eventually you might want a glass of water or something like that and what are you supposed to do?" Elizabeth, a certified nursing assistant, who said she's bound by similar rules in Wisconsin, told Insider. Elizabeth, who asked to omit her last name, hasn't tested positive for COVID-19 since the policy went into place, but she's unsure what to do if she does. "I'm not protecting anybody by going to work with COVID," she said.Nurses worry they're risking their patients' healthCOVID-positive nurses said they're fearful of infecting others, given the harrowing losses they've witnessed over the course of the pandemic."I can't afford to have a day off and not get paid for it," Abby, another nurse at St. Joseph East who asked to omit her last name, told Insider. "But I don't want to get someone sick. I'd never forgive myself.""We've had a lot of tragedies happen because of COVID in our ward with moms and babies," she added. "It's not something I want to risk for a patient at any time."Pokriva said she wonders whether patients would even feel comfortable seeking care from a hospital where the nurses are ill."Would you want to come in and have a baby and know that your nurse has COVID?" Pokriva said. "What are our patients thinking about all this?"Some nurses say they're on the verge of quittingOne emergency room nurse in the mid-Atlantic region worked a 12-hour shift on Christmas. Still, she was denied overtime and holiday pay after calling out sick with COVID-19 around New Years, she said.The nurse was already "at her wits end" with burnout and exhaustion in October, she said. Like many healthcare workers, she had endured growing amounts of verbal and physical abuse over the past few months. She's only staying in her job for financial reasons, she said, and thinks about quitting "everyday." Research finds trauma from treating COVID-19 patients is contributing to burnout and fueling the healthcare exodus.Win McNamee/Getty Images"I chose to be a nurse and I regret it," the nurse said. "Don't go into healthcare. Because we're replaceable, we're expendable." The one-two punch of low wages and abuse during the pandemic was enough to make Elizabeth drop out of nursing school."My heart's not in it anymore," she said, adding, "We went from being heroes to being worse than dirt. I don't understand how that can happen in the course of a year."Pokriva said the pandemic was a "breaking point" for many nurses who loved their profession, but couldn't stomach the long hours anymore. The new return-to-worry policy exploits the loyalty that nurses have to their colleagues and patients, she added. "Administration has us in this really unique position because nurses, by nature of who we are, will push ourselves to the limit for the greater good," Pokriva said. "That's why we signed up for this. So I am certain that I'll go back to work on Thursday."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 6th, 2022

A DC police officer gives a full account of battling insurrectionists on January 6: "It was like guerrilla warfare"

"We were surrounded," the Metropolitan Police Department officer told Insider exclusively about the January 6 Capitol attack. "There was going to be no way to retreat from this." Violent Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.Photo by /John Minchillo/ AP A Metropolitan Police Department officer found himself battling an angry pro-Trump mob on January 6. As police tried to fend off the attackers, officers were hit with batons, clubs, and bear spray. "We were surrounded," the officer told Insider. "There was going to be no way to retreat from this." A well-timed jet of bear spray knocked out an officer in the Metropolitan Police Department on January 6 as a violent mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol and overpowered security.The police officer spoke out in an exclusive interview with Insider in October on the mentally, physically, and emotionally-draining ordeal. Insider granted them anonymity to speak candidly on the details of the insurrection, while MPD has barred its officers from talking publicly about the attack, as part of an oral history of the January 6 attack. This interview has been condensed for brevity and clarity. Insider: What's the first thing you remember about that morning? Metropolitan Police officer: Throwing all of our gear into the vans. There was just a standard briefing. "This is what we got coming. This is what we expect." Most of the day was just people walking by saying, "Hello we support you." And "We're not like Antifa." And I'm like, yeah, yeah. If you really supported us, you'd just go home.When Trump's speech ended people just started marching towards the Capitol. We thought nothing of it. We didn't have the big picture. We start hearing things come over the radio. People yelling about how there was an angry crowd starting to form at the Capitol. So we got ordered to collect ourselves in a nearby location, pick up our gear and get over there.Insider: Does that mean armor, batons, big guns, and all that?Metropolitan Police officer: No. We just put on, essentially, football helmets and gear. Like extra padding. And we started making our way to the Capitol.We started to notice dense crowds in front of the place. And people started yelling at us. "Cowards! Traitors!" And people were saying "We're here for you. We're here to support you. But you're not supporting us!" Then somebody got a little aggressive and the shoving started. Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty'I felt the line start to collapse'People are yelling and screaming. Trying to grab those bicycle rack-looking things that had been used as barriers. People were starting to get pepper-sprayed. And it was starting to slowly ratchet up towards real-life violence. We try to reason with one or two of them. But at this point it just kind of goes out the window. There's no real talking to these people. They were there on a mission to make themselves known. And it was mostly white men. Probably 28 to 50 was the average age. During that time, I had to come off the line like four or five times. Probably because I got misted with pepper spray. There was a bunch of Capitol Police officers who weren't in riot gear, and they were running back and forth from inside the building carrying bottles of water. And we were just dousing our eyes. So it was just like you'd fall out, you'd go back, you'd fall out, and you'd go back. Just trying to keep everything going. Finally, on like the last time that I pulled back, I realized, you know, I got this gas mask on my side here. I should just put this on. That would be a great idea. That's what happens when you get a second to think. As I start to put it on, I see smoke. A second later, it comes flying by me. You get that sweet metallic taste of tear gas in your throat and you know, it's done.  At that point, I felt the line start to collapse. It really looked like you were looking at an old-fashioned battlefield. We're right in front of that little tunnel where the president walks out to give the inauguration speech. And I'm looking out at this crowd and I'm just like, "Oh, shit. That's a lot of pissed off people." And it didn't register directly, but you could just feel it. We were surrounded. There was going to be no way to retreat from this. It was then the order was given for us to pull back inside the building. And I was one of maybe the last 10 to go back inside. And for a moment there, we got to take a breath. Next thing you know, we start hearing pounding. And I'm like, "No, this is the Capitol building. They've got, like, bulletproof glass or shatterproof glass or something like that." Then I start hearing cracking sounds. And then one of the lieutenants was yelling, trying to give us a pep talk. "We're not going to lose the US Capitol today." But no one can hear them above the craziness. And I heard someone yell, "I need a riot shield at the front."So I grabbed one of the heavy-duty, thick, plastic, Capitol Police riot shields lined up along the edge of the wall inside the hallway that you know, people must have just put down or abandoned. So we went forward.A window at the US Capitol building broken during the 6 January 2021 siege by supporters of US President Donald Trump.Photo by Dmitry KirsanovbackslashTASS via Getty ImagesShattered glassI hear the glass shatter and I see somebody step in. And then more people start coming in. And we're sitting there with our shields, next to each other. Four guys on the front line with our shields, trying to hold these people back. And I yell something like, "Get the fuck out of here!" And they're smacking the officers. I got pushed in between the door frame, the wall, and the metal detector. Then guys wearing tactical gear start mixing in or standing on top of one another, smacking people with their batons and stuff like that. You had people wearing body armor and balaclavas over their faces. You had people wearing t-shirts. People wearing just normal everyday clothes. —Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) October 26, 2021 So you had people mixed in the crowd who were trying to be decent. They were out there to yell and get their point across. But they weren't trying to hurt anybody. At the same time, they were there on federal property. It just makes them less guilty than the ones that were being violent.There were all sorts of makeshift weapons. A lot of it was PVC pipe. Some flagpoles. There was homemade bear spray. There was regular bear spray. Some of the stuff had been taken from us. They were ripping our shields away from us. It was like guerilla warfare. One of our leaders yelled to stop using pepper spray because all it was going to do was get the rest of us messed up. During that time we had people asking us if we needed to take a break. Everybody was like, 'We're not taking a break. We're not quitting." Insider: Were you just running on adrenaline at this point? Metropolitan Police officer: Oh, yeah. I was gassed out within 10 minutes. Literally just standing there being pushed from behind, and pushing the people in front of you, and pushing the crowd. Ten minutes of that and you're pretty much done. It just doesn't register anymore. You're tired. But everybody else is tired, too. I took a break for like 3 minutes. And then a lieutenant came by and said, "Hey, I know you guys are tired but we need you back on the line. It's getting rough again." Police use tear gas around Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters riot and breached security on January 6, 2021.Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images'You couldn't breathe' They had plenty of fresh bodies. We didn't. So we would tucker them out. Or spray them. And they would pull off. Next thing you know, we had more protesters, rioters, insurrectionists in front of us. At one point, I'm next to my squad sergeant and I can see his face. It was beet red. I told one of the officers that he needed to get off the line because I could see that he was almost looking like he was drowsy. You know, he was just getting burned out.I know we had an officer who was struggling in a lot of pain. We kind of made a V so that the people in the center could trade out, and people could move forward and take his spot. At that point, someone threw a smoke grenade. I was looking for it on the ground, trying to put it out. By the time I had moved all the trash and debris around, the smoke grenade just burned away. It was so densely packed you couldn't move your arms around. You couldn't breathe. —Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) October 26, 2021 I heard some of the protesters yelling, "Hey, I can't breathe." And all I'm thinking is, "Then why the fuck are you here?" I know a lot of people said in the news that, you know, we could have been more forceful, more violent. I went the entire summer of the George Floyd riots, the Black Lives Matter protests without hitting a single person. I used more force that day than I'd used in the previous year. If we had gone lethal, that crowd would have gone from just hostile to murderous. There were a couple thousand people in the crowd. We were just an obstacle in their path. Near the end of my time in that tunnel, I was yelling, "Where the hell's the National Guard?" All I know is we're all tired as hell, but we're still holding. I don't know if you know how gas masks work, but ours have just one air filter on the left side. Somebody pushed up against me. And that mask filter got pushed up against the inside of my chin. It's like putting your head in a sealed container and trying to breathe. There's no air in there. It's a panic moment. I managed to get my right hand out from between me and another person, and I ripped my mask off. No sooner do I do that — like literally, 3 seconds later — I see this stream of white liquid, almost like a Super Soaker, come out of the dark and hit me right in the face. I knew I was done at that point. Because it was just pain. It was bear spray.  I had to close my eyes and I yelled to the guys around me, "I can't see, I can't see." I was out of commission. This was burning hellfire. It's like having a first-degree burn on your face and then sticking your head in an oven. I couldn't see a damn thing. Capitol Police officers receive medical attention after clashes with the pro-Trump mob that breached security and attacked them on, January 6, 2021.Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesBattered police officers just staring off into spaceSomeone escorted me up to the Crypt. And we were all just sitting there. Like after a football game. Where all the players are just sitting in the locker room, just staring off into space. I remember walking around. I went up to the Senate and was taking pictures. I took some pictures of the offices and I could see all the damage on the inside of the building. I had to keep moving, because every time I stopped, I would start sweating. Every time you start sweating, it reactivates the OC spray, so I've got to keep the air flowing over my face. Otherwise, it just keeps burning. I heard that they had cleared out the west side. So I went out to go see. I could see Virginia state police, Maryland police, a couple of other law enforcement agencies, you know, moving through the Capitol in SWAT formation. I was like, "Thank you, guys. Thank you for coming. Thanks for backing us up." I started to see the National Guard. Then I went out and I saw the aftermath. There's debris everywhere. There was lighter fluid on the ground. I spotted someone's pants. And on the belt loop was a large Buck knife. There's just trash everywhere. And intermixed between it was baseball bats. Billy clubs. Backpacks full of first aid kits. Just a bunch of Amazon tactical gear. These guys had gotten all their gear off of Amazon. Back inside, I saw some janitors walking around, already cleaning up. I saw some Capitol Hill maintenance workers already doing measurements for the broken doors and the glass. Like they were kicked into overdrive. The grounds had literally just been cleared. Then we all formed up in a line and just started talking to our supervisors. They had us answering if we were injured. If we had used force. And I'm like, "Yeah, I might have whacked a couple of people with my baton." Some guy said, "I punched somebody in the face." We had to report all of that so that it could be investigated later on. Police officers look at the mess left after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.Photo acquired by Insider.Continued health effects from January chemicalsInsider: Did you get punched? Metropolitan Police officer: No, I didn't. But I saw plenty of guys get hit with things. Essentially, even if we weren't injured, we were walking wounded. I call it the OC hangover. Literally, your whole body is drained and aches after being exposed to OC and CS gas. You see, CS gas isn't really a gas. It's more like a powder that becomes aerosolized. And that's all over everything that we own — to this day.  Whenever I have to put on our riot gear, I still get reactivation from the OC or the CS gas. You'll hear guys, to this day, sneezing in the locker room because they were putting on their gear and there was still residual CS powder on it. I remember, as we were leaving the Capitol, anybody who was like, injured-injured got into another van and went straight to the hospital. I know my sergeant had a concussion. Another officer fucked up his knee and didn't come back until like a month or two ago. Another sergeant literally, like the fingernail on his finger got ripped off, or something like that. And they put duct tape on it and he had to go to the hospital. After that, we drove our vans to the DC Convention Center. We parked underneath the overpass where the two parts of the convention center are linked. The fire department came by and just hosed down all of our gear. To this day, I'm still getting burned from stuff on it.We didn't get out until really late. They still had us on standby because they don't know if they still need you. So, I think we were on for like 18 hours at that point.Insider: Did you ever get a chance to call your family?Metropolitan Police officer: When I stepped away I sent my mom a text message saying, "Bad. But safe." And she was like "WTF?"I only had enough time to call one person. So I called my wife. I told her that, you know, "It's rough out here. They're trying to overrun the Capitol. But I'm okay. Can you call my mom and let her know I'm okay?"It was the craziest situation I've ever been in. This story was first published on October 27, 2021, as part of Insider's oral history on the January 6 Capitol attack with accounts from 34 people. Read other related stories here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

A Midwestern grocery chain is rolling out its own armed security force to act as a "visual deterrent" to retail crime

Hy-Vee's new retail security team will be staffed largely with former law enforcement officers who may be equipped with tasers and pistols. AP/Nati Harnik Hy-Vee, a grocery chain with more than 285 stores, is rolling out a new retail security team. The company said the team will be largely staffed with former law enforcement officers. Hy-Vee's head of security said the squads will act as a "visual deterrent" to criminal activity. A Midwestern grocery chain is taking a more direct approach to dealing with retail crime.Like many stores, Hy-Vee has typically relied on a combination of third-party contractors and off-duty law enforcement to provide security protection at its stores.But last week, the company announced that it will bring those efforts in-house with a new team composed largely of former law enforcement officers, some of whom will be armed with tasers, pistols, and bullet-proof vests."We're really a visual deterrent to criminal activity and violence," Hy-Vee's head of security, Jamie Sipes told Missouri television station KY3. "We're there to be an extension of our legendary customer service within Hy-Vee to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees."In a statement, the company said the members of its security team will be specially trained to "defuse situations" and "equipped to protect" customers and employees. Video provided by the company showed how the officers uniforms and equipment would look.The move comes amid a season of headline-grabbing robberies by swarms of suspects, and growing alarm calls from retailers. The National Retail Federation estimates that shoplifting and theft costs retailers about 0.7% of sales per year.Calculating Hy-Vee's annual sales of more than $12 billion with the NRF's average suggests that retail theft could cost the company $84 million per year. Hy-Vee did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Sipes told KY3 that not every store will have an officer from his team on site, and that the program will begin rolling out first at those stores that are currently using third-party contractors or off-duty police."Hy-Vee has a strong history of doing anything for our customers," Jeremy Gosch, Hy-Vee's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. "These officers will be held to that same standard."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Eynat Guez, Ceo Of Papaya Global On Her Vision For Global Workforce Management

Eynat Guez founded Papaya Global in 2016, when the concept of remote working was relatively in its infancy, seeing the need of companies to automate their global payroll. The COVID-19 pandemic brought growth on a whole new scale, with companies rushing to shift to a remote work footing but with little idea as to how […] Eynat Guez founded Papaya Global in 2016, when the concept of remote working was relatively in its infancy, seeing the need of companies to automate their global payroll. The COVID-19 pandemic brought growth on a whole new scale, with companies rushing to shift to a remote work footing but with little idea as to how to efficiently manage such a payroll. 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 Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger 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); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more We spoke to Guez to learn about how she and all the Papaya Global team stepped up to the plate and took advantage of the opportunity in the pandemic crisis. How did COVID-19 affect your company? What were the biggest struggles you experienced during the pandemic? My company, Papaya Global, had entered a state of rapid growth just as the pandemic arrived. We had to hire, onboard, and train many new employees in different countries and different time zones, all remotely. The challenge there isn’t so much on a process level. We worked out all the details quickly. What’s hard is building a company culture when people have virtually no interaction with most of their new colleagues. After three years when everyone knew just about everyone at the company, we suddenly found ourselves in a situation where a third to half of the workforce never met at all. What made it possible to bring people together was the fact that we had put a set of values into practice at an early stage. People knew what we stood for when they joined, and we were adamant about applying our values equally for everyone, regardless of location, seniority, or gender. That transparency gave people something to grasp onto as a link to the company and the rest of the workforce. One of the most important things we did in this period was to take the whole company and their families to the Maldives for a 5 day off-site. People had been stuck inside for various lockdowns at that point and really needed to get away. So, the off site lets people decompress in a beautiful, low stress environment while spending some casual time together. We saw a massive improvement in collaboration when we got back. For me, the lesson is clear: there are lots of good things about remote work, but the magic happens face-to-face. The pandemic saw a huge shift to remote work. How did Papaya Global play a part in that shift? The trend towards remote work and distributed workplaces was already gaining momentum before the pandemic arrived. We started Papaya Global in 2016 to help companies hire and pay people in different countries in full compliance. Companies with different degrees of remote work were among our first clients. Of course, the practice jumped tremendously with the pandemic because companies that never considered remote work as an option suddenly found themselves with no other option if they wanted to continue operations. Those companies – the ones pushed into remote work rather than having chosen it – weren’t really prepared for all the complexity. The Papaya Platform was just what these companies needed to make sure their entire workforce was paid compliantly no matter where they were. One of the biggest lessons of the pandemic was the importance of technology, especially automation. We saw it first-hand at Papaya Global. Companies were calling us in a panic because they didn’t know how they would meet their payroll, especially in the beginning when the disruption was most intense. An automated payroll will function under any disruption, but manual processes are dependent on people being available to do their jobs. We keep hearing about the “great resignation.” As a people management platform, how is Papaya Global experiencing that trend, and how do you help companies deal with it? I’ve heard all about ‘The Great Resignation’ but I haven’t seen it at all at Papaya. Our retention rate is 94%, and for a startup in the volatile hi-tech industry, that’s a very high number. We’re still hiring at a high rate, and the people who are coming in are extremely motivated. We haven’t seen it with our clients either, and since we charge by the payroll, a large resignation would impact us directly. I think there are many causes for this dissatisfaction. People might love their work but feel disconnected from their companies. Remote work can potentially cause this kind of disconnection, if they have no inner sense of the company. Companies need to be aware of their culture now more than ever. It’s what I call the company DNA. Companies need to honor and cultivate their DNA, which is generally set by the founders and top leadership as an extension of who they are as people and as managers. There are no “best practices” for developing an organization’s DNA but it’s crucial for long-term health. When you have people who work at the company but aren’t part of the company, that’s one of the worst things that can happen, especially for a startup. As a workforce management platform, we place tremendous importance on the employee experience. It can be as simple as making a global org chart accessible to people to build a sense of unity. A lot of it comes from the benefits package a company offers. We advocate a set of global benefits – benefits packages that are the same for people no matter where they work. It gives a sense of fairness and equality. We also advise clients not to give allowances for benefits, but to give the benefit itself. Don’t give an employee $100 for health care and make them go out and sign up themselves. Sign them up to the company plan. It’s a small thing but it tells people you are looking after them. Companies also need to think about things like global equity – giving equity to people abroad just as they would people hired locally. It’s a massive headache with all the legal issues involved, but it has all the advantages that local equity has on the people who get it. What do you think the workforce of the future will look like? Will companies continue to outsource to consultants and gig workers, or do you envisage a backlash beginning at some point? There is a trend in government to protect worker rights, and I think it’s pointing the world of work in the right direction. There will always be a role for independents and consultants, but it will be limited. Companies that want to grow can’t rely on temporary contractors. They need a permanent workforce they can rely on. A company that has zero or nearly zero employees and lots of contractors needs to be very careful about misclassification. It’s also a company culture that might not attract the top talent. There are so many options for companies to hire people with or without a legal entity today, that there is no reason not to give their employees full rights and benefits. Any company can hire through an Employer of Record. It’s not a long-term solution in most cases, but it allows companies to hire with an eye towards the future. What about the employees’ side of things? Do you think the workers of the late 2020s will prefer to be freelancers and small agencies, with more freedom but fewer benefits, or will people want to go back to classic salaried employment models? There is really no reason why employees can’t have the freedom they want and still get all the benefits and labor protection they deserve. We are seeing it today with remote work. People are demanding freedom and flexibility within the context of their jobs and the technology tools are all in place to give it to them. More tools haven’t been invented yet. Employers have to be willing to show flexibility as well, but the rewards can be enormous. You get a loyal workforce that knows you are willing to meet them halfway on what they want. The more of a sense of partnership that can be built between the company and employees, the more both sides have to gain from it. The office-free business: in your opinion, is that an efficient way to keep down costs, or a recipe for chaos? There are companies that have done it and have been very successful, but they put a great deal of thought into how to make it work and planned tremendously. They have hundreds of employees across the world, and each one is paid in compliance with all tax codes and labor laws. I think it’s possible to do it well, but it takes a lot of work. In our experience with Papaya, whenever we have a cluster of employees in one area, they ask us to open an office. The combination of having an office for part of the week and working remotely for part of the week – the hybrid model – seems to be the best of all worlds. People get both flexibility and structure. And they spend some time together. I personally feel that it's important that people have personal interactions. We used to be able to take that for granted, that we would meet with people directly. It’s really about connecting people and creating a cohesive group. It’s not the same over screens. Just on a practical level, it’s challenging because people are in many different time zones. As a woman and a mother working in tech, do you see the compensation and benefits models becoming more supportive towards parents with careers? What changes are taking place right now which give you hope — or perhaps, make you feel despair? In 2021, I became the first woman to lead a unicorn in Israel – one of the biggest ecosystems for hi-tech innovation in the world. On one hand, that shows progress in that I broke through what was previously a glass ceiling. On the other, I saw first-hand how far the industry has to go. I negotiated the funding round that gave Papaya Global the billion-dollar valuation while I was pregnant with my third child, and we closed the deal two weeks after I gave birth. The negotiations took place over Zoom because of the pandemic. I don’t think our partners even knew I was pregnant. About a year earlier, I was pregnant with my second child and we were talking to investors about a B round of funding. Those negotiations took place in person, and I could just feel the air leave the room when I walked in, visibly pregnant. So, speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that women can do anything, and no one can tell me or any other woman that we shouldn’t be leaders or CEOs or anything else. It’s our choice, and it’s time that we took what belongs to us. But there are numerous biases and obstacles women face every day that still hold many women back. I know it, I felt it, and I’m proud to say that I was able to succeed anyway. One of the most pervasive myths that many women face is the ideal of Wonder Woman, the woman who has it all – a career, a family, a life where every minute is accounted for AND an abundance of leisure time to devote to interests, hobbies, and causes. I found that it’s not so important to be a wonder woman. I am who I am, and that’s been enough for everyone. Updated on Jan 3, 2022, 12:08 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: valuewalkJan 3rd, 2022

Fearless Supply Chain Predictions: Here"s What Will Happen in 2022

Goodbye, 2021. Hello, 2022. What do you have in store for us? More supply chain issues? More port congestion? More driver issues? More topsy-turvy developments?  Probably a little bit of everything, according to FreightWaves writers. We asked our people on the front lines to look into the 2022 crystal ball and offer up predictions on their respective beats. It promises to again be a newsworthy year in the freight industry, which took center stage on many of the nightly newscasts in 2021. TRUCKS by Alan Adler Electric trucks will become a bigger part of manufacturing in 2022, but the semiconductor shortage that has hampered automotive and commercial vehicle production for months will remain. For how long is the question. Autonomous trucks will stay top of mind as the first on-highway driverless pilots are examined and replicated and increased high-definition mapping expands the territory autonomous trucks can cover with safety drivers on board. DRIVERS by John Kingston The biggest development in the issue of worker classification in 2022 may get pushed to 2023. If it doesn't, it will have enormous ramifications. What the ever-changing legal landscape for worker classification is waiting on is a resolution to the question of whether California's AB5 independent contractor law can be applied to trucking. How AB5 would affect trucking in the Golden State is the subject of much debate, but the mere fact that some observers think it would just about kill the IC model in the state indicates its importance. For two years now, an injunction handed down at the start of 2020 has blocked its implementation because a lower federal court judge concluded AB5 conflicted with a 1990s federal law known as the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. That lower court ruling was reversed by an appellate court in April but the injunction stayed in place while the California Trucking Association, which brought the original lawsuit, pursued an appeal that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. SCOTUS then asked the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in. There's no deadline on when the solicitor general needs to respond to the court. And there's no deadline on when SCOTUS needs to hand down its rule. One scenario has the ruling not coming until after the court session begins in October, meaning the resolution may wait for another year. If the appellate court decision is overturned, and AB5's definition of independent contractors becomes law for the trucking sector, the changes in business models in the state could be sweeping. Exactly what companies will do remains uncertain. But the status quo could not hold. Two other significant developments regarding the status of independent contractors — like truck owner-operators — are on the horizon for 2022.  One is expected to be the Biden administration's proposal for a new federal rule defining independent contractors. A Trump administration rule implemented just before President Biden was sworn into office was withdrawn. Whatever rule is implemented, it will impact policies at the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. Another key development on the question of independent contractor definition will appear on the ballot in Massachusetts in November. That state will vote on whether to implement its version of the California referendum, Prop 22, that sought to keep gig drivers such as those who work for Uber as independent contractors. Prop 22 in California was in direct reaction to AB5. But even in California, a state court has ruled that Prop 22 was unconstitutional, throwing that guideline into doubt as well. 2021 review: John Kingston wraps up the year in oil and trucking on his Drilling Deep podcast FINANCE by Todd Maiden Truckload carriers will likely see a continuation of current trends through the first half of 2022. Volumes will be up against tough comps, but historically low inventories remain supportive of demand, at least in the first quarter or two.  However, the strength of the consumer will be tested without the aid of government stimulus. Rates will move higher again as driver demographics and extended tractor delivery schedules remain a headwind to capacity. The early consensus call is for spot rates to cool in the second or third quarter, with contractual rates up by a high-single-digit percentage for the full year. Rate increases are expected to more than offset cost inflation, driving modest margin improvement. The improvements appear to be built into 2022 earnings expectations, which are higher again.  How the year shakes out will ultimately depend on when the cycle starts to decline and will most likely be directly correlated with a softening in consumer spending. The end of this trucking cycle will not be tied to an influx of capacity, which has ended many cycles in the past. Many analysts are pointing to the second half for a cycle downturn, which is also the period that contains the most formidable comps to 2021. Deal flow in the trucking space was ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJan 3rd, 2022

Agnico Eagle (AEM) Provides Update on Nunavut Operations

Agnico Eagle (AEM) decides to immediately send home the Nunavut-based workforce from the Meliadine, Meadowbank and Hope Bay operations as well as its Nunavut exploration projects. Agnico Eagle Mines Limited AEM recently announced an update linked to the hike in COVID-19 cases at its Nunavut operations. There have been a total of 13 tentative cases at its Meliadine, Meadowbank and Hope Bay operations since Dec 18, 2021. The company, along with Nunavut public health authorities, made a decision to immediately send home the Nunavut-based workforce (Nunavummiut) from the Meliadine, Meadowbank and Hope Bay operations as well as its Nunavut exploration projects.Agnico Eagle gradually reduced the remaining workforce and activity levels at Nunavut. Due to the reduction, the company expects production to be minimal over this period. It is also reassessing current protocols in preparation for a resumption of activities expected in early 2022.The health and safety measures set by the company since the start of the pandemic have remained in place at its Nunavut operations. It is undertaking precautionary steps to further protect the continued health of its Nunavut workforce and local residents in the communities in which it operates due to the increased spread and transmissibility of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.All Nunavummiut workers, presently on site, will be sent home and those that are currently off-site will not return to work at this time for a period of at least three weeks. These employees will continue to receive their remuneration during this period.The company will discuss the implementation of similar measures for its Nunavummiut workforce with its Nunavut contractors. It has also increased testing protocols at all its Nunavut operations for remaining workers.Shares of Agnico Eagle have declined 25.4% in the past year compared with a 13.3% fall of the industry.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe company, in its last earnings call, stated that it expects gold production for 2021 to be 2,047,500 ounces. It also projects total cash costs per ounce of $700-$750 and AISC of $950-$1,000 per ounce for 2021.The forecast for 2021 capital expenditures is roughly $803 million.Zacks Rank & Key PicksAgnico Eagle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks from the basic materials space are Nutrien Ltd. NTR, The Chemours Company CC and AdvanSix Inc. ASIX.Nutrien has an expected earnings growth rate of 233.3% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NTR’s current-year earnings has been revised 16.3% upward in the past 60 days.Nutrien beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 73.5%, on average. The stock has rallied 55% in a year. NTR currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Chemours has an expected earnings growth rate of 104% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CC’s earnings for the current year has been revised 10% upward in the past 60 days.Chemours beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in the last four quarters. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 34.2%, on average. It has rallied 33.8% in a year. CC currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.AdvanSix has a projected earnings growth rate of 194.5% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ASIX’s earnings for the current year has been revised 5.9% upward in the past 60 days.AdvanSix beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 46.9%. ASIX has rallied 135.7% in a year. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (AEM): Free Stock Analysis Report The Chemours Company (CC): Free Stock Analysis Report AdvanSix (ASIX): Free Stock Analysis Report Nutrien Ltd. (NTR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 2nd, 2022

In just a year, designer Kingsley Gbadegesin launched a six-figure, genderless fashion line seen on TV shows, magazine covers, and Lil Nas X

Gbadegesin took his unemployment check, mixed it with his savings, and launched his eponymous fashion line during the pandemic. Kingsley Gbadegesin had to call four times before he could finally reach someone a the unemployment office — he then took that check and combined it with his savings to launch this line.Kingsley Gbadegesin K.NGSLEY is a genderless fashion label launched by Kingsley Gbadegesin. A year after its launch, it's snapped up celebrity clients and a Teen Vogue cover.  This is part of Insider's entrepreneur series Star, Rising, which highlights early entrepreneurs. Name: Kingsley GbadegesinAge: 28Location: Brooklyn, New YorkBusiness: A genderless clothing line that celebrates Black, queer, femme bodies.Backstory: Despite his decade of fashion experience, Kingsley Gbadegesin found himself filing for unemployment last year as creative jobs began to dry up. Meanwhile, the pandemic was ravaging communities, and Black Lives Matter protests were sweeping the nation.Gbadegesin decided to take his fashion experience, his leftover money, and new free time to launch what first started as a small project, and soon became a full-fledged fashion brand that highlights and caters to the Black and LGBTQ communities. Product imagery of KINGSLEYKingsley GbadegesinSo, in September 2020, he launched the K.NGSLEY fashion label, becoming one of more than 4 million Americans who started a business last year. The US fashion industry, though it took a hit last year, is still worth more than $360 billion.Kingsley began by selling tank tops, before expanding into accessories and shoes. "It's important for people to feel like they're a part of the conversation and seen," Gbadegesin told Insider. "I want all types of people and body types to feel that they too are deserving to feel like 'the girl.' You have the right to feel like your most authentic self." Growth: Since its launch, the brand has netted six figures in revenue, according to documents seen by Insider. It has nearly 16,000 followers on Instagram and has worked with high-profile names, such as HBO Max for its ballroom competition show "Legendary," which saw K.NGSLEY gift tanks to the cast and crew of the show. "It was a full-circle moment," Gbadegesin said. "Ballroom has been a huge part of my life since I was 15." Celebs such as beauty influencer Bretman Rock, pop star Lil Nas X, actress Issa Rae (on her HBO show "Insecure"), and Zaya Wade, daughter of Dwyane Wade, have been spotted wearing the label. This September, Natalia Bryant, daughter of the late Kobe Bryant, wore a K.NGSLEY cardigan on her cover of Teen Vogue.The brand has also made donations to organizations such as Princess Janae Place, which helps members of the trans community find safe housing.Product imagery of KINGSLEYKingsley GbadegesinBefore K.NGSLEY: Gbadegesin operated his own sales and marketing firm where he planned private events and campaigns for fashion brands such as Alexa Chung and Giorgio Armani. Challenges: Finding more capital to expand the business has been hard, Gbadegesin said, especially in the midst of a pandemic."Taking risks on talent and people I want to work with to create K.NGSLEY is how you can say I'm overcoming those challenges," he said. "Investing in people whose work and talent I love is what I believe will help continue fostering our growth." Business advice: "Pur your damn ego aside," Gbadegesin said. "Ask for help. Slide into your heroes' DMs and ask for advice, support, or coffee."He added that it's important to stay consistent and vigilant and to not bend under pressure. "It's also OK if you say no to opportunities that are not right for you," he said. "That is what makes way for the yesses that matter." Product imagery of KINGSLEYKingsley GbadegesinBusiness mentor: Gbadegesin says Stacie Henderson, US Head of Ecommerce, Digital & Marketing at luxury shoe company TODS, reminded him that presentation is half the battle when it comes to running a fashion business, and that preparation is key. Meanwhile, Nesli Danisman, president of fashion consultancy Angora Group, told him "even when you don't know what you're doing, you're still doing, and that is all that counts."Why now is the best time to start a business: "It takes risk, it takes guts, and I say do it," Gbadegesin said. "The best bet you can ever make is on yourself." On hiring: Right now, Gbadegesin is the only one full-time at the company, though he works with nine independent contractors and four factories. Next year, he hopes to expand his full-time team. On managing burnout: Gbadegesin says he is working on ways to better manage his mental health."I've never climbed a mountain, but believe me, I know how it feels," he said. "If you don't take time for yourself, your body will."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 1st, 2022

Stockman: "Patriotic Duty" My Eye

Stockman: 'Patriotic Duty' My Eye Authored by David Stockman via The Brownstone Institute, Rough Rider Teddy must be rolling in his grave as he looks down upon these poseurs gathered in the Roosevelt room. For crying out loud, every one of them is double vaxxed and totally boosted. And they have issued orders to force the same upon more than 130 million of their countrymen—allegedly to prevent the latter from becoming walking vectors of disease and killers of their neighbors. Yet if the Vaxx is actually a spread stopper, why do they sit there in their masks? What’s the need to protect Biden from Fauci when the sainted doctor is armed to the teeth with vaxxed-in antibodies? And why is Biden festooned with the medical equivalent of Depends when he’s already got the accident-prevention protection of the Vaxx? Or does he? That is to say, if it doesn’t work to stop the spread, the benefit is only private and not public and hence there is no earthly reason for mandating it against the will of millions of citizens who fear that the risks outweigh the benefits. And if it does stop the spread—despite the manifest evidence to the contrary—-why all the face mask virtue signalling on live TV? In short, this “photo op” is worth a thousand words. It’s a live action illustration of what’s been wrong since the beginning in March 2020. Namely, the predicate that one-size-fits all social control mechanisms—lockdowns, closures, distancing, masking, vaxxing—must be preemptively and harshly employed by arms of the state in order to stop the spread of an aerosolized airborne virus which cannot be seen and cannot be stopped. Indeed, the latest argument for mandatory vaxxing—-that it prevents not transmission and infection but just a serious course of the disease—makes the picture patently absurd. What are these cats afraid of then? The real contagion at loose in the world—especially among the western nations which noisily congratulate themselves as model liberal democracies to be emulated by the more benighted nations inhabiting the purported darker corners of the planet—is a virulent outbreak of statist authoritarianism.  That is, a definitely not Black Plague virus of the type that has challenged mankind o’er the ages has become a universal excuse for the wholesale cancellation of civil liberties and property rights like never before—even in times of world war. Take the pathetic case of the United Kingdom. It is governed by a Conservative Party that’s traitorous to the cause of liberty and led by an unkempt Donald Trump wanna be who has assaulted the essence of liberal democracy to such a sweeping extent that his most authoritarian predecessors  (i.e. Winston Churchill, among others) scarcely dreamed of it and the Donald himself couldn’t hold a candle to it. BoJo, in fact, is right now hauling out all the tools of public health authoritarianism in response to what amounts to a run-of-the-mill winter flu among the British population. And that latter proposition is not debatable. Not when you compare the peak January data, when virtually no one was vaccinated compared to 80% of adult Brits today, with the 7-day rolling averages through last week. Thus, The case rate last week was 1,138 per million or 30% higher than the 875 per million recorded at the January 2021 peaks, but– The death rate last week of 1.64 per million was down by a god-is-apparently-smiling 91% compared to the 18.21 rate at the January 2021 peak. Of course, peek under the covers and what you have is the same old, same old. Not only is the Omicron variant far more transmissible and massively less lethal than earlier variants–for the inherent reasons that sensible virologists and epidemiologists have explained ad infinitum—but the propaganda contagion of the state’s Virus Patrol appears to be even more virulent. That is to say, as the government, the BBC, the Guardian and their mass media ilk have stirred the fear pot one more time, the UK testing rate has also skyrocketed and is now well more than double the rate of last January at the previous winter season peak. Thus: Alas, the public health machinery has so effectively stirred the fear quotient among the populace that the positivity rate has fallen dramatically. Compared to a 10.8% rate in January 2021, the current rate is just 6.0%. Obviously, what is happening is that more and more asymptomatic and completely healthy well people are getting tested in response to the drumbeat, which testing surge has generated the predictable wave of new “cases” and new measures of propaganda and control from the Virus Patrol. And remember, folks, the UK is allegedly governed by “conservatives”, which gets us to what’s coming down the pike from Sleepy Joe and the crypto-socialists who actually move his lips. As we learned, they are fixing to launch a massive new round of free stuff—this time in the form of 500 million home testing kits to be mailed out to Americans just like so many unrequested mail-in ballots, meaning that we have surely come full circle: Until March 2020 under the prior regime of private medical practice based on doctor-driven testing and treatments tailored to one-at-a-time patients, we are now to have the equivalent of a one-size-fits-all testing regime, delivered by the government-run post office! As it happens, however, America has already done nearly 800 million tests, yet has some of the worst WITH-Covid mortality statistics in the western world. So we are at a complete loss to comprehend how more government-mediated “testing” will accomplish anything constructive. Then again, the chart below tells you everything you need to know. Despite all the panic in New York City and other hotbeds of Blue State orthodoxy, the American public is not panicking enough to keep the Virus Patrol in business. As of the latest 7-day data, the US testing rate is 3,380 per million (= 1,000X the per 1,000 rate shown in the chart below). Now, that’s actually down by 40% from the 5,670 rate per million at the January 2021 peak, and, even more to the point, it’s just 18% of the 18,810 rate now being posted among the semi-hysterical population of the UK. To be sure, even at the more modest US testing rate rate shown below, the positivity rate has fallen from 13.3% during last January’s peak to just 10.8% at present. Therefore, to keep the scam going the US needs at hell of a lot more testing—especially in the Red states—in order to get a lot more cases. As it is, last week’s US case rate of 365 per million was down 52% from the peak January rate of 757per million, and can’t hold a candle to the Brits. The latter currently are lugging a case rate of the aforementioned 1,138 per million or 3.1X the current US rate. If we were of the tinfoil hat wearing persuasion we’d be inclined to think that Biden’s minions are trying to goose the Red States into a testing and cases panic in order to keep the faltering argument for his misbegotten vaxx mandates alive. Indeed, why on this day is there another fusillade of fear and admonition streaming from the presidential bully pulpit when we are dealing with a variant that has so far produced only one-death and a 1.7% hospitalization rate among the infected (compared to 19% at the comparable stage of Delta) in largely unvaccinated South Africa (26%), where it apparently originated? As to the surge of US cases—again largely asymptomatic or just mildly ill—where’s the beef that justifies another presidential call to arms? As dramatized by the chart below, the 7-day case rate in the US as of December 20 was just 420 per million. That was still well below the 495 per million rate reported on September 3rd and far, far below the 757 per million rate reported at last January’s peak. As for South Africa, which brought us this latest Covid brouhaha, it basically says to America’s authoritarians in government and Karens on the streets “oh, just shut up and sit down!” Here’s the current South Africa data and it reminds once again that Biden’s teleprompter scripters have no idea what they are talking about. Between November 11 and December 19, the case rate in South Africa exploded from less than 5 per million to 388 per million or by 85X. Meanwhile, the death rate has barely budged from 0.48 per million to 0.55 per million. That is to say, it was a rounding error before and remains one now. At the end of the day, of course, there is no case for mandates on anything—from lockdowns to masking and vaxxing—because the Covid just isn’t the Black Plague. After 22 months of counting every death in America with the remotest Covid connection—including postmortem testing of the human residue of motorcycle crashes—the annualized mortality rate for the population under 50 years of age is about 500 per million—-the same figure as for traffic accidents and other unintentional injuries. That is to say, for the 211 million Americans who are not in the higher risk, immune system compromised older population, the Covid risk is the same as the risks inherent in everyday modern life that we have long ago learned to live with. Alternatively, for the population under 65 years of age, the survival rate for the estimated 110 million Americans (40%) in that cohort who have contracted the virus since day one (i.e. February 2020) is 99.87%; and if you take the healthy sub-population without significant underlying comorbidities, the risk of death is virtually nil. So here we are with another public hysteria, fueled by another speech from the White House, promising yet another mobilization of the public health apparatus of the state, including use of the defense production act to commandeer the manufacture of hundreds of millions—nay, billions before its over—of test kits that will only fuel the hysteria. That’s pretty scary. And even more so is Biden’s renewed attack on the 60 million unclean Americans—overwhelmingly in the younger, low risk cohorts—who have exercised their constitutional liberty and have chosen not to take the jab: Biden sought to draw a clear contrast when describing how the omicron surge will affect the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated, issuing a dire warning to 60 million unvaccinated Americans. “How concerned should you be about omicron, which is now the dominant variant in this country and it happened so quickly. The answer is straightforward: If you’re not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned……Omicron is serious, potentially deadly business for unvaccinated people,” Biden said Sorry, Joe. But it’s none of your business what people chose to do about a vaccine that does not stop transmission and infection from this latest mutation; and it is most certainly not the “patriotic duty” of Americans who think the risks are not worth the benefits to take the jab on your say so. In a word, we are in the midst of the greatest and most fraught science experiment of all time, starting with the attempt to completely reconstruct all patterns of normal interaction, the closing of vast institutions on grounds that they are not essential, and now ending with more than 11 billion shots having been administered already around the world.  The private benefit of the vaccination for the elderly holds up but rather than even acknowledge the rapidly fading risk/reward equation for much of the population—most especially the children—the powers that be trotted out a teleprompter reader in his dotage to stoke the public hysteria. The only real patriotic duty under these circumstances, of course, is to adopt the words of the other Joe from West Virginia and utter a loud “I’m a no!” when it comes to Biden’s mandates. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/25/2021 - 22:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 25th, 2021

TikTok Moderators Sue After Being "Traumatized" By Content

TikTok Moderators Sue After Being "Traumatized" By Content Back in July, a band of former Facebook content moderators rebelled against Zuck & Co., proclaiming that they would seek to invalidate NDAs that Facebook forces all its content moderators to sign so they don't squeal to the press about the freakshow of mayhem and debauchery that they're subjected to every day while reviewing flagged content that can include depictions of sexual abuse, violence, murder torture and mayhem (remember the Christchurch video?) and - of course - politically incorrect content and news stories, often with a conservative slant. "No NDA can lawfully prevent us from speaking out about our working conditions," the FB workers said at the time. While TikTok has become most closely associated with teenage wannabe prostitutes shaking their assets for views, there are other indications that the Chinese-designed app might be intentionally working to corrupt the youth of America. As we reported, the app has already been slammed for feeding depictions of drug use, sex, porn, kinks and other topics that might unsettle parents to children as young as 13. All the while, Beijing has limited use of the Chinese version of the app to just 40 minutes a week for the youth of China. Now, fresh off TikTok being named the most dominant social media platform of the year, it appears their content moderators have learned from their comrades at Facebook - comrades, who, lets remember, technically worked for third-party contractors whom FB hires to handle the content moderation - that they might be able to make a quick buck by suing the social media giants for psychic damage accrued while performing content moderation duties, often while working as contractors with little job security and few benefits. To wit, the Verge reported that a TikTok content mod named Candie Frazier has filed a class-action lawsuit in the California Central District Court alleging that TikTok-owner ByteDance and its contractors "failed to meet industry standards intended to mitigate the harms of content moderation. These include offering moderators more frequent breaks, psychological support, and technical safeguards like blurring or reducing the resolution of videos. TikTok and its contractors closely monitor the time moderators spend moderating videos, effectively forcing workers to keep their eyes on an overwhelming orgy of debauchery for long hours with few breaks. This has led to workers being "traumatized" by the content they're supposed to be moderating, according to the lawsuit. In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in the California Central District Court, Candie Frazier says she spent 12 hours a day moderating videos uploaded to TikTok for a third-party contracting firm named Telus International. In that time, Frazier says she witnessed “thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence,” including mass shootings, child rape, animal mutilation, cannibalism, gang murder, and genocide. Frazier says that in order to deal with the huge volume of content uploaded to TikTok daily, she and her fellow moderators had to watch between three and ten videos simultaneously, with new videos loaded in at least every 25 seconds. Moderators are only allowed to take one 15 minute break in the first four hours of their shift, and then additional 15 minute breaks every two hours afterwards. The lawsuit says ByteDance monitors performance closely and “heavily punishes any time taken away from watching graphic videos.” […] As a result of her work, Frazier says she has suffered “severe psychological trauma including depression and symptoms associated with anxiety and PTSD.” The lawsuit says Frazier has “trouble sleeping and when she does sleep, she has horrific nightmares. She often lays awake at night trying to go to sleep, replaying videos that she has seen in her mind. She has severe and debilitating panic attacks.” Frazier claims in her suit that she has screened videos involving freakish cannibalism, crushed heads, school shootings, suicides, and even a fatal fall from a building, complete with audio. Content moderators are critical to helping some of the world's most profitable companies continue to stay in business. Frazier's lawsuit was filed by the Cali-based Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which previously filed a similar lawsuit back in 2018 against Facebook on behalf of moderators. That case resulted in a $52M settlement paid by the social media giant. So, it looks like Frazier has picked well. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/25/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 25th, 2021

A "populist" Senate candidate wants to ban members of Congress from holding and trading stocks — and throw them in jail if they don"t comply

Missouri Democrat Lucas Kunce is making a proposed ban on congressional stock-trading a major part of his campaign to win in deep-red Missouri. Lucas Kunce is running for Senate in Missouri on a "populist" platform.Courtesy/Lucas Kunce for Missouri Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Lucas Kunce wants to ban members of congress from trading stocks. "The rules are harsher for you, me, and Martha Stewart... than they are for the Speaker of the House," he says. Kunce spoke with Insider about why he believes the issue can help him win votes in deep-red Missouri. When Lucas Kunce heard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's rejection of a proposed ban on members of Congress and their spouses from trading stocks, he was incensed."That person is supposed to represent all of us. They're supposed to take care of us. They're supposed to legislate for America," Kunce  told Insider in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "They're supposed to make things better for the everyday American, and instead, they're legislating for their stock portfolio."In a recent appearance on MSNBC, he compared her response to Insider's question about the issue — "we have a free-market economy," she said last week — to the infamous "let them eat cake" remark misattributed to French monarch Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution.—Lucas Kunce (@LucasKunceMO) December 18, 2021 Kunce, like the Speaker of the House, is a Democrat. But unlike Pelosi, the former Marine officer and Pentagon official prefers to call himself a "populist" and hopes to win a Senate election next year in Missouri, a state where former President Donald Trump prevailed by over 15 points in 2020."Populism is empowering normal everyday people against elites and trying to change a system that's rigged," he said. "Just because some fakers have come in and stolen the label, divided everyday people, and used them to get power for themselves — rather than power for all of us — doesn't mean that I'm going to give up on that idea."Given the political landscape of Missouri, Kunce is not especially fond of discussing party labels. "It's not a left-right campaign, it's a top-bottom campaign," he says.But he does point to the recent statewide Democratic campaigns of former Secretary of State Jason Kander in 2016 and State Auditor Nicole Galloway in 2018 as evidence that he can win. "People in Missouri, they just want you to show them something real," said Kunce.Fresh off a stint at the American Economic Liberties Project — an antitrust nonprofit that seeks to "challenge monopolies' dominance over markets and society" — Kunce is running a Senate campaign centered on addressing monopoly power, lowering the costs of prescription drugs, getting tough on China, and passing a "Marshall Plan for the Midwest" designed to mirror nation-building efforts in the post-war landscapes of Iraq, Afghanistan, and late-1940s Europe.He also touts a number of ethics reforms, including the abolition of corporate PACs, a ban on family members of senators and representatives from working as lobbyists, and of course, forbidding members of Congress and their spouses from owning stocks."This is insider trading," he said. "They have access to information that other people just don't have. I mean, this is why everybody hates Congress, right?"Insider's "Conflicted Congress" investigation found that 52 members of Congress (and counting) and nearly 200 senior congressional staffers have violated the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) Act, a bill that banned insider training and requires disclosures of stock transactions within 45 days.'No one believes anything anymore'House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended congressional stock-trading when asked by Insider last week. “We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”Elizabeth Frantz/ReutersKunce says that banning congressional stock trading "goes right to the heart of" his campaign message. "They make decisions for their campaign funders, for their stock portfolios, and they will literally strip our communities from parts in order to do it," he says, referencing political contributions and stock investments in the same breath. Kunce also argued that congressmembers' stock portfolios represented a key point of leverage for companies over Congress."You've got people connected with defense contractors and defense lobbyists, funding campaigns and portfolios," said Kunce, who has also written about the perils of monopoly power in the national security space. "One of the ways they control the markets is by controlling the politicians."He also says that the current disclosure-focused approach to this ethics issue is insufficient, referencing an Insider article that called the disclosure-focused STOCK Act "toothless."Members of Congress, Kunce says, should be jailed if they're found to be in violation of the act."If you had information like that, and you did what these members of Congress are doing, you would end up in jail," he said."The rules are harsher for you, me, and Martha Stewart — that's the one that everybody knows, right? — than they are for the Speaker of the House.""If there's no teeth to it, then people can just ignore it," he declares. "This isn't like a complicated thing, right?"And while some members of Congress and candidates alike have proposed requiring the use of blind trusts — an account where independent financial experts manage assets instead of the owner — as a solution to the problem, Kunce says they're merely a "political ploy.""Okay, so if I have a privately held coal company, when that goes into blind trust, I'm going to forget that I have that?" he asked, making a clear reference to a recent Washington Post investigation of Sen. Joe Manchin's blind trust. "I'm just gonna develop amnesia?"He ultimately condemned blind trusts as a "dog and pony show solution just like the STOCK Act" while expressing an openness to other proposals floated by House Democrats. "Yeah, that seems fine," Kunce said when asked about members investing in index funds.Beyond individual conflicts of interests arising from member's stock holdings, Kunce says the practice is simply bad for American institutions."There's this very deep lack of trust in our systems, in our institutions, because they've had such deep institutional and systematic dishonesty for so long," he said. "No one believes anything anymore."A tough path to the SenateFormer Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri near the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO on May 17, 2018.AP Photo/Jeff RobersonIt is at this point that Kunce turns his fire upon Missouri Republicans, including one of his potential opponents.A lack of trust in institutions "lets people like Josh Hawley or Eric Greitens come in and just say whatever they want, peddle whatever bullshit they've got," he said, referring to the state's junior senior and former governor, who's now a top contender for the Republican nomination for US Senate.Polling released by National Journal and conducted this month by a pro-Greitens super PAC found that the former governor bests his GOP primary foes in favorability rating among Republican voters.The same poll also found that Greitens leads Kunce by a 34-25 margin, though with 40% of voters remaining undecided.Kunce has explicitly compared Greitens to former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, the 2012 Republican Senate nominee whose "legitimate rape" comments sunk his campaign against former Sen. Claire McCaskill. And Greitens, in addition to the infamous "revenge porn" scandal that ended his governorship, has been hit with 2 separate ethics complaints in recent months accusing him of illegally spending $100,000 on his Senate campaign."I mean, I'm not surprised," Kunce says of the ethics complaints. He added that some Greitens' backers "see his lack of morals and his unethical behavior as a feature rather than as a bug."Reached for comment, Greitens campaign manager Dylan Johnson said the former governor was "the only America First candidate in this race" and that Kunce "should stop worrying about other campaigns and focus on getting his own off of life support."But before Kunce can take on Greitens — whose potential general election candidacy is reportedly feared by top Republicans and former state party chairs alike — he must prevail over his several primary opponents, including former state Sen. Scott Sifton. According to recent reports, he's begun to lead the pack in fundraising."Missourians want to fundamentally change who has power in the country," Kunce said, touting recent ballot measures where Missourians have chosen to increased the minimum wage, legalize medical marijuana, expand Medicaid, and blocking a right-to-work law."They want a good candidate who will fight for them, and that's what I'm offering."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 23rd, 2021

A "populist" Senate candidate wants to ban members of congress from holding and trading stocks — and throw them in jail if they don"t comply

Missouri Democrat Lucas Kunce is making a proposed ban on congressional stock-trading a major part of his campaign to win in deep-red Missouri. Lucas Kunce is running for Senate in Missouri on a "populist" platform.Courtesy/Lucas Kunce for Missouri Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Lucas Kunce wants to ban members of congress from trading stocks. "The rules are harsher for you, me, and Martha Stewart... than they are for the Speaker of the House," he says. Kunce spoke with Insider about why he believes the issue can help him win votes in deep-red Missouri. When Lucas Kunce heard House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's rejection of a proposed ban on members of congress and their spouses from trading stocks, he was incensed."That person is supposed to represent all of us. They're supposed to take care of us. They're supposed to legislate for America," Kunce  told Insider in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "They're supposed to make things better for the everyday American, and instead, they're legislating for their stock portfolio."In a recent appearance on MSNBC, he compared her response to Insider's question about the issue — "we have a free-market economy," she said last week — to the infamous "let them eat cake" remark misattributed to French monarch Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution.—Lucas Kunce (@LucasKunceMO) December 18, 2021 Kunce, like the Speaker of the House, is a Democrat. But unlike Pelosi, the former Marine officer and Pentagon official prefers to call himself a "populist" and hopes to win a Senate election next year in Missouri, a state where former President Donald Trump prevailed by over 15 points in 2020."Populism is empowering normal everyday people against elites and trying to change a system that's rigged," he said. "Just because some fakers have come in and stolen the label, divided everyday people, and used them to get power for themselves — rather than power for all of us — doesn't mean that I'm going to give up on that idea."Given the political landscape of Missouri, Kunce is not especially fond of discussing party labels. "It's not a left-right campaign, it's a top-bottom campaign," he says.But he does point to the recent statewide Democratic campaigns of former Secretary of State Jason Kander in 2016 and State Auditor Nicole Galloway in 2018 as evidence that he can win. "People in Missouri, they just want you to show them something real," said Kunce.Fresh off a stint at the American Economic Liberties Project — an antitrust nonprofit that seeks to "challenge monopolies' dominance over markets and society" — Kunce is running a Senate campaign centered on addressing monopoly power, lowering the costs of prescription drugs, getting tough on China, and passing a "Marshall Plan for the Midwest" designed to mirror nation-building efforts in the post-war landscapes of Iraq, Afghanistan, and late-1940s Europe.He also touts a number of ethics reforms, including the abolition of corporate PACs, a ban on family members of senators and representatives from working as lobbyists, and of course, forbidding members of congress and their spouses from owning stocks."This is insider trading," he said. "They have access to information that other people just don't have. I mean, this is why everybody hates Congress, right?"Insider's "Conflicted Congress" investigation found that 52 members of congress (and counting) and nearly 200 senior congressional staffers have violated the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) Act, a bill that banned insider training and requires disclosures of stock transactions within 45 days.'No one believes anything anymore'House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended congressional stock-trading when asked by Insider last week. “We are a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that.”Elizabeth Frantz/ReutersKunce says that banning congressional stock trading "goes right to the heart of" his campaign message. "They make decisions for their campaign funders, for their stock portfolios, and they will literally strip our communities from parts in order to do it," he says, referencing political contributions and stock investments in the same breath. Kunce also argued that congressmembers' stock portfolios represented a key point of leverage for companies over Congress."You've got people connected with defense contractors and defense lobbyists, funding campaigns and portfolios," said Kunce, who has also written about the perils of monopoly power in the national security space. "One of the ways they control the markets is by controlling the politicians."He also says that the current disclosure-focused approach to this ethics issue is insufficient, referencing an Insider article that called the disclosure-focused STOCK Act "toothless."Members of congress, Kunce says, should be jailed if they're found to be in violation of the act."If you had information like that, and you did what these members of Congress are doing, you would end up in jail," he said."The rules are harsher for you, me, and Martha Stewart — that's the one that everybody knows, right? — than they are for the Speaker of the House.""If there's no teeth to it, then people can just ignore it," he declares. "This isn't like a complicated thing, right?"And while some members of congress and candidates alike have proposed requiring the use of blind trusts — an account where independent financial experts manage assets instead of the owner — as a solution to the problem, Kunce says they're merely a "political ploy.""Okay, so if I have a privately held coal company, when that goes into blind trust, I'm going to forget that I have that?" he asked, making a clear reference to a recent Washington Post investigation of Sen. Joe Manchin's blind trust. "I'm just gonna develop amnesia?"He ultimately condemned blind trusts as a "dog and pony show solution just like the STOCK Act" while expressing an openness to other proposals floated by House Democrats. "Yeah, that seems fine," Kunce said when asked about members investing in index funds.Beyond individual conflicts of interests arising from member's stock holdings, Kunce says the practice is simply bad for American institutions."There's this very deep lack of trust in our systems, in our institutions, because they've had such deep institutional and systematic dishonesty for so long," he said. "No one believes anything anymore."A tough path to the SenateFormer Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri near the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO on May 17, 2018.AP Photo/Jeff RobersonIt is at this point that Kunce turns his fire upon Missouri Republicans, including one of his potential opponents.A lack of trust in institutions "lets people like Josh Hawley or Eric Greitens come in and just say whatever they want, peddle whatever bullshit they've got," he said, referring to the state's junior senior and former governor, who's now a top contender for the Republican nomination for US Senate.Polling released by National Journal and conducted this month by a pro-Greitens super PAC found that the former governor bests his GOP primary foes in favorability rating among Republican voters.The same poll also found that Greitens leads Kunce by a 34-25 margin, though with 40% of voters remaining undecided.Kunce has explicitly compared Greitens to former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, the 2012 Republican Senate nominee whose "legitimate rape" comments sunk his campaign against former Sen. Claire McCaskill. And Greitens, in addition to the infamous "revenge porn" scandal that ended his governorship, has been hit with 2 separate ethics complaints in recent months accusing him of illegally spending $100,000 on his Senate campaign."I mean, I'm not surprised," Kunce says of the ethics complaints. He added that some Greitens' backers "see his lack of morals and his unethical behavior as a feature rather than as a bug."Reached for comment, Greitens campaign manager Dylan Johnson said the former governor was "the only America First candidate in this race" and that Kunce "should stop worrying about other campaigns and focus on getting his own off of life support."But before Kunce can take on Greitens — whose potential general election candidacy is reportedly feared by top Republicans and former state party chairs alike — he must prevail over his several primary opponents, including former state Sen. Scott Sifton. According to recent reports, he's begun to lead the pack in fundraising."Missourians want to fundamentally change who has power in the country," Kunce said, touting recent ballot measures where Missourians have chosen to increased the minimum wage, legalize medical marijuana, expand Medicaid, and blocking a right-to-work law."They want a good candidate who will fight for them, and that's what I'm offering."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 23rd, 2021