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HomeSmart Hires New Broker of Record for Texas

HomeSmart recently announced that Kelly Snodgrass has joined the corporate leadership team as the broker of record for the state of Texas following a decade in the industry. Snodgrass will serve Texas agents and consumers, expanding the nation’s seventh-largest brokerage into Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine and the surrounding Metroplex areas. The Texas market, according […] The post HomeSmart Hires New Broker of Record for Texas appeared first on RISMedia. HomeSmart recently announced that Kelly Snodgrass has joined the corporate leadership team as the broker of record for the state of Texas following a decade in the industry. Snodgrass will serve Texas agents and consumers, expanding the nation’s seventh-largest brokerage into Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine and the surrounding Metroplex areas. The Texas market, according to Snodgrass, is facing a significant inventory challenge, with about half as many active listings than normal for this time of year. “The number of active REALTORS® far exceeds the number of active listings currently. While things have slowed down in regard to wild sales prices over list price with full appraisal waivers and all listings receiving high numbers of multiple offers, buyers are still limited in the numbers of homes available at any given time,” she tells RISMedia. “In previous low-inventory markets, agents and buyers turned to new construction. Unfortunately, new construction is experiencing extremely low inventory as well, suffering from rising costs, lack of supplies and materials and labor shortages.” However, she adds that there has been an increase in international transactions and large companies moving their corporate headquarters to the state. “This gives agents and broker associates the unique ability to expand their lead sources and databases organically. Investors are coming from all over the world, as well as individuals moving across the country,” says Snodgrass. “Both of these situations have had the potential to bring new, repeat and referral business to agents across the state. International real estate in Texas is so important that both Texas REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® have dedicated time and resources to help educate Texas REALTORS® on the topic and its significance.” Before joining HomeSmart, Snodgrass worked as broker of record, broker support and broker associate during her real estate career. She received her broker license in January of 2017, after nearly five years of working as a producing agent. “Immediately upon meeting Kelly, we knew she was just the person to expand HomeSmart further across Texas,” said Michael Swope, chief revenue officer at HomeSmart, in a statement. “She has a pulse on the market there and knows what agents want and need from their brokerage. Paired with HomeSmart’s systems, we believe she will offer a valuable brokerage experience for all Texas-based agents.” “My motto is, ‘People first, the money will follow,’ and that’s what HomeSmart is all about,” said Snodgrass in a statement. “After speaking with team members at HomeSmart and learning about the values of the organization, I realized how much more I could be offering the agents in my area. HomeSmart is agent-centric and focused on making the process better and easier for all. That’s what I’ve been trying to do from the start, but now I’m empowered by HomeSmart’s agent-first culture, tools and service teams to make that happen.” “HomeSmart offers so many resources and services to agents that don’t exist elsewhere,” Snodgrass added. “Support is key to agent success. It’s refreshing to be part of a brokerage that encourages agent phone calls and doesn’t build barriers between those who need assistance and those who have the answers.” Snodgrass says that HomeSmart’s culture is what drew her to the company. “It is a culture that I have not experienced elsewhere; inside the industry or not. I have a deep passion to grow this culture here in Texas with like-minded individuals that have the passion to serve others,” she says. “Bringing agents together is fun and working to grow the community and comradery throughout Texas is a driving passion.” For more information, please visit www.homesmart.com. The post HomeSmart Hires New Broker of Record for Texas appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 8th, 2021

The Great Realignment: Countless More Americans Will Be Moving From Blue States To Red States In 2022

The Great Realignment: Countless More Americans Will Be Moving From Blue States To Red States In 2022 Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog, We are rapidly becoming two very different nations with two very different cultures.  At one time we truly were the “United” States of America, but now we have been split into two opposing camps that deeply hate one another.  As a result, in recent years we have watched millions of Americans relocate for ideological reasons.  This has caused “red states” to become even redder and “blue states” to become even bluer.  At this point, there are just a handful of “purple states”, and it is in those states where our presidential elections are determined.  It is really not healthy for just a few states like Pennsylvania and Michigan to have such power, but that is a topic for another article.  In this article, I want to discuss why the mass exodus from blue states to red states is actually going to accelerate in 2022. Right now, there is no issue in the United States that is more divisive than the COVID vaccine. Most conservatives want to be able to have the freedom to choose whether to take the injections or not, while many on the left want to use the power of government to compel people to get injected. It has truly been frightening to watch many on the left embrace authoritarianism so eagerly, and many leftist politicians just continue to tighten down the screws. For example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just decided to impose a very strict vaccine mandate on all private employers in his entire city… Mayor Bill de Blasio announced what he called a first-in-the-nation vaccine mandate for private companies Monday. He said the combination of the Omicron variant and holiday gatherings forced him to take “bold” steps. He’s giving businesses just three weeks to make sure their workers are vaccinated. If you don’t get the jab, you won’t be allowed to keep your job. There will not be a “testing option” under this new mandate, and so anyone that refuses to comply will be kicked to the curb two days after Christmas… De Blasio said the city will release specific rules on Dec. 15, before the mandate takes effect Dec. 27. He said it will apply to in-person employees, but would not provide any details about enforcement. He also said there will not be a weekly testing option. This is complete and utter lunacy, but of course we are witnessing lots of that in blue states these days. We are being told that this new mandate will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses, and that means that vast numbers of New Yorkers will soon be forced to search for greener pastures. One of them is a woman named Cynthia.  She told a reporter that this mandate gave her yet another reason “to get the hell out of New York”… Cynthia, an employee at a Midtown marketing firm who refused to share her last name due to fear of blowback, told the Post that the new requirement is ‘another reason’ to leave the city. ‘Just terrific. Bill de Blasio just gave me another reason I need to get the hell out of New York, or at least find a job that lets me work remotely,’ she said. Where will thousands upon thousands of displaced New Yorkers like Cynthia go? One conservative member of Congress that represents New York fears that many of them will head to “the free state of Florida”… ‘Mayor de Blasio can’t leave fast enough. He has crushed small business, the economy and quality of life. How many more New Yorkers does he want to see move to the free state of Florida?’ said US Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn. So New York is going to get even bluer in 2022, and Florida will be getting even redder. Down in Massachusetts, hundreds of hospital workers were just ruthlessly canned because they refused to comply with a vaccine mandate… About 200 UMass Memorial Health employees are out of a job because they missed the health care system’s COVID vaccination deadline. UMass Memorial announced the mandate over the summer with a deadline to get vaccinated or receive an exemption by November 1. Employees were let go on December 1 if they did not get the vaccine. Many of those displaced health workers aren’t going to be able to find similar work in Massachusetts, and so they will head to red states. As for UMass Memorial Health, I am not sure exactly what they plan to do.  You can’t just pull people off the streets to be medical professionals.  They will probably be short-handed for a long time to come, and that is just going to hurt the people that they are supposed to be serving. In Oregon, a different sort of mandate has people thinking that it may be time to relocate. If you can believe it, officials in Oregon are actually thinking of making their indoor mask mandate permanent… The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) assembled a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) earlier this week to address a permanent indoor mask mandate in the state. Oregon is one of a few states that still retain one nearly two years into the pandemic. The committee included several community stakeholders, including representatives from the hospitality industry, the business sector, and faith communities, according to local ABC affiliate KATU. I cannot understand why any rational decision maker would want to do such a thing, but apparently they are quite serious. There are a whole lot of very conservative people that live in eastern Oregon, and I think that even more of them are going to be moving over the border into Idaho in 2022. Before I end this article, I want to mention what Canada has just done. Beginning November 30th, all unvaccinated individuals are now banned from using any form of public transportation… In Canada, any travelers older than 12 years old must show proof of full vaccination to take any form of public transportation including domestic and international flights as well as trains. “Starting November 30 at 3:01 am EST, vaccination will be required for travel within and to depart Canada,” the Candian travel website states. “A valid COVID-19 molecular test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to vaccination unless you’re eligible for one of the limited exemptions.” Trudeau and his minions have completely gone off the deep end, and I feel so sorry for freedom-loving Canadians that are deeply suffering under his regime. Of course the Biden administration is considering something similar for domestic travel inside the United States. Let us hope that they never pull the trigger on such a move. All over the globe we are seeing governments become more authoritarian, and that certainly sets the stage for some of the things that I warned about in my latest book. Here in the U.S., countless numbers of freedom-loving Americans are fleeing to red states as they seek to escape the oppression that they have been experiencing in blue states. Unfortunately, blue state tyrants have no intention of backing down, and this is going to create a tremendous amount of tension in our nation as we head into 2022 and beyond. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/07/2021 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 8th, 2021

Mark Meadows accuses former Defense Secretary Mark Esper of being "the culprit" in major leaks to the press

Meadows — who has described revelations in his own book as "fake news" — writes at length about his distrust of top military officials. Former US Defence Secretary Mark Esper.AFP via Getty Images Mark Meadows, Trump's former WH Chief of Staff, addresses leaks in his new book. He describes the Trump White House as "worse than the whispers and leaks had suggested." Meadows accuses former Defense Secretary Mark Esper as "the culprit" behind major leaks. In his new book, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows accuses former Defense Secretary Mark Esper as the source of several major leaks from inside the administration."In the months to come, I would find out that the situation in the White House was worse than the whispers and leaks had suggested," Meadows writes in "The Chief's Chief," released on Tuesday. "There was covert insubordination and a stunning lack of coordination—not to mention that every few hours, there seemed to be a major leak to the press."Meadows — who has described revelations in his own book regarding Trump's COVID diagnosis as "fake news" — writes at length about his distrust of top military officials, and describes Esper as a leaker shortly after introducing him in the early stages."No matter what anyone said, generals were politicians at heart, and the generals around President Trump were clearly swinging toward the radical left," Meadows writes. "I had been in several meetings where secret details had leaked to the press, and it was clear that Mark Esper was the culprit."Meadows does not specify what kind of "secret" information he believes Esper leaked, or if it was classified. He also doesn't present any evidence to back up his claims.Under the Espionage Act 0f 1917, leaking classified information is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.Representatives for Epirus, an aerospace technology company where Esper is a board member, did not return Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.Instead of elaborating on Esper's alleged leaking or providing any further details, Meadows uses his introduction of Esper and other top military officials for a segue on "woke" generals."But there was another battle coming between President Trump and his newly 'woke' military advisors, and it had nothing to do with funding," Meadows writes, alluding to the military operating as a so-called deep state thwarting Trump's will.Esper, for his part, also wrote a tell-all book about his time in the Trump administration. In it, he recounts preventing Trump from sending the National Guard "with rifles and bayonets" from cracking down on anti-racism protests across the country in the summer of 2020.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 7th, 2021

Facing The Chasm: The Future Of Bitcoin And The Metaverse

Facing The Chasm: The Future Of Bitcoin And The Metaverse Authored by Sebastian Bunney via BitcoinMagazine.com, Bitcoin will play a pivotal role in the transfer of information from the physical realm to the digital... We tend to think of the world as the past, present and future, and as these distinguished moments in time. However, we intuitively know that this is not the case. Instead, we are always in a state of flux, this slow progressive evolution in order to suit humanity’s growing needs, knowledge and demands. However, with change comes adjustment, and what we are facing right now is an adjustment to the digital realm, the world of Bitcoin and our digital identity: a crossing of the chasm, a state of change away from the physical realm of traditional finance, legacy structures and the world as we know it. This article is meant to highlight some of these critical hurdles brought up by Raoul Pal and Robert Breedlove in an effort to get the collective consciousness thinking about how we can transition to this digital realm with minimal volatility and entropy. WHERE DO WE START? One thing Raoul and Breedlove bring up many times throughout the talk is the metaverse. Therefore, let’s first ensure we are on the same page when it comes to the metaverse. We often hear the metaverse is the future; however, what most deep down the rabbit hole may argue is that the metaverse has been blossoming into existence since the birth of the internet. However, we are only just starting to define it now. Let’s go deeper ... Most of us tend to interpret the metaverse as this digital environment where we hang out in a virtual world- the world Mark Zuckerberg is pushing with his Facebook ads, i.e., Meta. But, I would argue that the metaverse is not this virtual world that it is made out to be, but rather a digital interface to one’s digital self. It is our digital identity where we interact with our online social community, manage our digital possessions and store our digital wealth, to name a few aspects which are currently easy to identify. With that being said, this osmosis into the metaverse is not a movement of people away from the physical world into the digital world, but rather a transfer of wealth and identity from the physical realm to the digital realm. Although many people already do and will continue to spend time in digital worlds in video games and social platforms, most of us will still very much be rooted in the physical world for the time being. Building on this idea, what will happen to physical assets? An asset’s value is subjective and is worth something usually because it provides value to us in some way or another. At the moment, our physical assets offer greater perceived value than our digital assets. This explains the discrepancy between the value of physical versus digital assets globally, e.g., real estate is worth over $300 trillion while the complete cryptocurrency market cap sits at $2.5 trillion (recently as high as $3 trillion). The question now is, how does this value shift over into the metaverse? This, I believe, is a demographic shift. As our population ages, those in earlier generations with limited exposure to the digital realm (i.e., digital identity, digital assets or digital possessions), will slowly bequeath their wealth to their offspring, which will find greater value as technology evolves in the metaverse. However, it should be noted that you will find utility and value in different areas and offerings within the metaverse depending on your age, values, interests, gender and location. Some people may choose to stay primarily in the physical world if the metaverse doesn’t seem to provide ample value to them. Others may dive in headfirst. Where are we now? We are currently in a state of limbo, one toe in the digital plane and the rest of the body out. Most of us have exposure to the metaverse when it comes to our digital identity, but only a handful of us find greater value in digital assets over physical assets, although this is quickly changing. However, as we see greater adoption, we will also encounter greater hurdles (technological, political, financial etc.). Taking this into account, this shift towards the metaverse isn’t something that will happen overnight. As previously mentioned, it is a generational demographic shift that has been underway since the invention of the internet. The transition from handwritten letters to email and social media was just the start. Now we should continue to see the transition of wealth, jobs, and identities to the digital plane. When can we safely say the metaverse is our reality? Just like inflation impacts everyone differently, as it is dependent on your consumption habits, what you classify as the metaverse is unique to you. There are many ways to measure your presence in the metaverse, i.e., by time, wealth, reputation, interests, job, hobbies or knowledge. With that in mind, some people may argue that we are already in the metaverse due to the amount of time we spend engrossed in technology. On the other hand, others may say we haven’t reached that inflection point just yet, or that the metaverse will become our reality when: We spend more time connected to the digital realm than the physical realm When digital wealth surpasses physical wealth When we’re able to vote for our politicians in this digital world When the majority of jobs are in the digital plane When we can digitally upload one’s consciousness ...and some will say the metaverse will never become our reality. My personal belief is that the metaverse is supplemental to our physical existence, and it is not one or the other. The metaverse eases our physical existence by dematerializing our limitations and constraints, such as distance, time, aging, wealth, connection, etc. However, there is and will continue to be an abundance of value in the physical world. But ultimately, this decision of whether we are or aren’t or what is versus what isn’t the metaverse is not for me to decide. I’ll pass that one onto you. Opinions aside, although the definition of what constitutes the metaverse may be subjective, what's not so subjective is that we are and will continue to face hurdles as we see greater adoption. THE CHASM Every new technology has to “cross the chasm” to reach mainstream adoption (the chasm is detailed in the image above). During this crossing of the chasm, we see creative destruction take hold, where legacy systems collapse and new technology changes the way we interact with the world. All new technology has some form of disruption. It’s just that some technology is more disruptive than others. Source With the introduction of the digital camera, we witnessed the dismantling and disruption of the traditional film market. But from this, we saw the boon of photography and documentation. However, when it comes to cryptocurrencies, we have only just started to scratch the surface of what is possible. Here is an example of some of the sectors this new technology has the potential to disrupt: The financial system (banking, remittances, micropayments, credit markets, to name a few) Social media and digital interaction The internet (our digital footprint) Voting Insurance From everything mentioned so far, it should be evident that we are in the middle of a major global state change, a transfer of identity, wealth, possessions and interactions from the physical realm into the digital realm. As Raoul and Robert eloquently explain, with this state of change in place, we have to overcome some major hurdles. We need to ensure we are heading in the right direction collectively. Therefore, we should ask ourselves, how do we get there safely, without a consolidation of power or the crippling of our economy? These are a few key questions we have to figure out before conquering the chasm of adoption. Let’s touch on a few key hurdles we have to face: TRANSACTION If an asset, such as bitcoin, is our primary currency and store of value and it is wildly outperforming the majority of other investment opportunities, then we will be disincentivized to transact and spend with it. Yes, there will be occasions here and there, but in general, the majority of the world we know will be starved of capital. This will push central banks to intervene and over-regulate in order to stop this capital flight from traditional assets to digital assets, but in doing so, it’ll only lock people into our failing system, delaying the inevitable and amplifying its negative effects down the line. Eventually, if we can predominately move across into the digital realm, this problem of capital flight will be solved. At this point, bitcoin will reach market saturation, similar to gold today, where it protects purchasing power but is no longer an asymmetric bet on technology and a failure of the current system. But in the interim, how do we take advantage of bitcoin’s positive properties while also promoting the exchange of bitcoin between one another? TAXATION In the short term, if we were to see a seismic shift of capital away from traditional assets and into digital assets, this starvation of capital from traditional assets would create sizable losses. Suppose traditional assets start facing major losses, while at the same time, there is a lack of transacting in digital assets, creating a reduction in realized gains; then we’d have a problem on our hands. We could see a significant decrease in capital gain revenue and an increase in capital losses, further eroding the tax base. This could push policymakers to implement overbearing regulation, resulting in measures such as taxation on unrealized gains. This would stifle the prosperity in the metaverse and limit the transition of individuals to the digital realm. In the long term, if we embrace a currency such as bitcoin as a legal tender: 1. The government will no longer receive capital gains tax from any appreciation in the value of bitcoin. This would be in line with the fact that a country’s legal tender is not subject to taxation if/when it appreciates/depreciates. 2. We live in an inherently deflationary world, whereby technological advancement allows us to get more for less. Over time this advancement increases productivity and efficiency, causing the cost of goods, services and assets to decline slowly. However, this is only possible under a currency with a fixed money supply (such as bitcoin). The lack of monetary expansion causing dilution would allow the currency to capture these technological gains. This may sound positive; however over time, most assets may decline in price, resulting in increased capital losses, reducing tax revenue. With that being said, one could argue that by adopting a currency such as bitcoin, the government will no longer be spending in a currency that loses purchasing power one day to the next. Therefore, all tax revenue will go further, making up for this reduction in tax revenue. If that is the case, then this may all come out in the wash. However, we should still be conscious of these potential taxation issues. With that in mind, how do we ensure that assets such as bitcoin are taxed appropriately, but as not to restrict their potential as a solution to our fragile system? And, how do we take into account an increase in capital losses? SUPPORT We are in the middle of one of the biggest revolutions in human history, and alongside this revolution, we face an assortment of immense deflationary forces such as: Demographics (an aging population with limited purchasing power) Our major debt burden consuming productive capital Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robots consuming jobs Competition in the workforce due to overcrowding of what jobs remain Currency debasement, destroying our purchasing power Monetary intervention suppressing interest rates and traditional asset returns Capital flight into the digital realm putting strain on the traditional system As these forces become more pervasive, it becomes harder and harder for the lower- and middle-income segments of the population to survive. This is a big issue! The majority of the population is under immense pressure as they are being squeezed from all angles. How do we give them a voice, meet their needs and stop them from revolting? One potential option Raoul proposes is embracing central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), allowing easier implementation of fiscal stimulus such as universal basic income (UBI). By doing so, we could redirect the flow of the capital away from asset owners and into the hands of the most at-risk individuals. This will aid in bridging the gap between the physical and the digital realm for the lower- and middle-wealth percentiles, allowing them to support themselves as these deflationary pressures take hold. My worry with this view is that CBDCs have the potential to give governments globally immense power and control. If this power is used in the ways mentioned above, then I am all for it. However, if CBDCs are used with the interests of the few in mind, this will only further consolidate wealth and power and could potentially end this utopian decentralized vision of the metaverse. Therefore, is there a way to implement CBDCs but somehow define the boundaries for which they can be used, preventing misuse and the centralization of power? However, regardless of which route we chose to bridge the chasm, Raoul does bring up a good point: if we are able to transition over to a decentralized metaverse and democratize this incredible technological boon in productivity and innovation, then we may be able to implement a natural form of UBI, where we could monetize our own digital identity. Although this is currently not possible, as our online corporations’ current structure is to capitalize off of our data by monetizing our every move, a decentralized metaverse shifts this power and revenue generation into the hands of the user. DECENTRALIZATION As technology advances, we are and will continue to see robots and AI replacing our jobs. Additionally, as energy costs slowly trend to near zero, we should see the cost of living slowly decline. Adding in the fact that we are witnessing a giant demographic shift where people have fewer children due to the costly environment we live in, this should cause gross domestic product (GDP) per capita to skyrocket. This could mean we are about to face one of the most productive periods in human history. However, with costs slowly working their way to near zero and jobs being replaced by technology, resulting in more time on our hands, will this considerable increase in productivity bring about: 1. A decentralized open-source world where we push for equality of opportunity and where technology is shared freely? If so, this could result in a renaissance period with a focus on culture, art, and science leading to immense prosperity, innovation, and growth; Or, 2. A darker, more centralized productivity boon where the vast majority of the patents pertaining to this powerful technology that now governs our lives is under the control of a few key players? In this case, we would most likely see significant poverty and some of humanity’s more challenging times ahead due to the centralization of power and wealth. On top of all that, we are currently seeing major global exploitation of our digital identities. Not only are we seeing our online data being used in for-profit activities, but we are also seeing targeted media leading to psychological manipulation allowing these large monopolistic entities to sway the population. Unfortunately, with everything mentioned above, the free market isn’t going to solve these hurdles we face in the way we want. It is going to solve them with the total accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few. Therefore, what can we do to ensure this powerful technology of the future is in the hands of the people while also promoting the continuation of free markets? With all that being said, how we approach these tough questions will define our future. Will crossing the chasm result in a: a) Decentralized Metaverse? This would be a bright future where creative destruction is encouraged: Where there is a dispersion of power within a decentralized metaverse, brought about by rules and regulations that prevent the destruction and manipulation of the free markets, all while suppressing the overbearing powers of monopolies that asphyxiate competition. It should be noted that we may still have nation-state fiat currencies, but globally, we’d embrace an immutable decentralized asset as our world reserve currency. This would lower the cost of living and democratize technology and finance, reducing wealth inequality. But more importantly, it would restrict the centralization of power with a technology that complements our deflationary world. b) Centralized Metaverse? This would look similar to the current state of play, where a handful of large corporations have overwhelming control over our data and access to vast sums of capital, allowing them to lobby, protect their interests, and influence politics. In addition to the suppression of creative destruction, will we follow in China’s footsteps and see the rise of CBDCs and social credit scores? This would give the government unfettered access to all our personal data, laying the foundation for the destruction of free markets and suppression of capital flows into any technology that poses a threat to the government’s power. Or will we walk the middle ground just like we have done many times throughout history, experiencing a give-and-take between centralization and decentralization? CONCLUSION We tend to think that when new technologies, — such as Bitcoin and the metaverse — appear, we all jump on board, and everything is hunky-dory. However, the reality is, if certain events had not happened the way they did, we might not have many of the innovations and advancements we see today. These technologies don’t just appear. They are years in the making, a culmination of previous technological progress and human endeavours. They emerge from our experiences, needs and desires, and they are a byproduct of decisions we made ten, fifty, one hundred years ago. With this in mind, coming together as a collective, and understanding the unintended consequences of our choices will help guide us in making more efficient and productive decisions for the future. The future is bright … if we make it. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 7th, 2021

Transcript: John Doerr

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: John Doerr appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have, yes, an extra special guest, John Doerr of the famed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins is here to discuss all things venture capital and climate related. He has a new book out that’s really quite interesting. We talk about everything from crypto to Tesla to beyond me, to all of the opportunities that exist in order to help moderate and reduce carbon in the atmosphere and the potential climate crisis that awaits us if we don’t change our ways. So, Doerr is a venture capitalist. He invests money in order to generate a return. These aren’t just finger-wagging-be-green-for-green sake. He describes their venture fund which they put nearly a billion dollars into it 10 years ago and now, it’s worth over three billion. That’s how successful the returns have been. He describes the climate crisis as a multitrillion dollar opportunity. Yes, we need to do something in order to make sure we leave our children and grandchildren a habitable Earth. At the same time, there is a massive opportunity in everything from food to electrical grid, to transportation, on and on and on. It really is quite fascinating somebody like him sees the world from both perspectives, from the, hey, we want to make sure we have a habitable place to live but he can’t take off his VC hat and he sees just massive opportunities to do well by doing good. Really, a fascinating conversation. With no further ado, my interview with Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is John Doerr. He is the famed venture capitalists known for his work at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The venture capital firm operates 32 funds. They’ve made more than 675 investments, including such early-stage funding for companies like Google, Twitter, Amazon and too many others to list. Doerr still holds a substantial stake in his initial investment in Google. His most recent book is “Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving our Climate Crisis Now.” John Doerr, welcome to Bloomberg. JOHN DOERR, CHAIRMAN, KLEINER PERKINS: It’s thrilled to be here with you, Barry. Thank you. RITHOLTZ: And I’m thrilled to talk to you. Let’s go back to the early parts of your career before we start to get current. You originally joined Intel because you couldn’t land a gig as a venture capitalist. Tell us a little bit about that. DOERR: I came to Silicon Valley with no job, no place to live and incidentally, no girlfriend. The lady I’ve been dating decided I was too persistent and dumped me. So, I — my real goal was to win my way back into her heart and to join with some friends to start a company. I wanted to start a company and I heard that venture capital had something to do with that. So, I cold called all the venture capitalists and some of them returned my call in the mid-70s and they looked at my experience and uniformly included that I should go get a real job. That was their advice. I remember Dick Gramley (ph) said, we just backed a small new chip company called Intel, why don’t you interview for a job there, and I did. And lo and behold, unbeknownst to me, my former girlfriend, Ann Howland, now Ann Howland Doerr, has gotten a job at Intel. I got a job there and when I arrived that first summer day, I was surprised to see her there and she was not happy to see me. So, it took the rest of the summer to put our relationship back together again. But I love Intel, it was a dynamic place. They just invented the microprocessor and I’ve seriously considered abandoning my graduate education in business as it turns out to just stay at Intel. But I returned there after graduating and worked for, I guess, four or five years helping democratize computing as to get microprocessors used in everything from traffic lights to defibrillators, to nuclear resonance magnetic imaging systems, and it was all because I wanted to be part of new rapidly growing companies. RITHOLTZ: How did you work your way from Intel to venture investing? How did you find your way to Kleiner Perkins? DOERR: I got a phone call one day from a friend who said, hey, John, I just finished interviewing for job at a venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It sounded to me like a law firm. I really didn’t know them. But he said, you should go interview there because what they want to add to their team is someone younger professional with a strong technical background, a good network in Silicon Valley, and a passion for startups. I think you and they would make a great fit. So, I didn’t — they ran an ad actually in the “Wall Street Journal” for this position which I didn’t see. But I called up, I interviewed and got a job there as an entry level professional, a gofer, I did everything. I carried people’s bags. I read business plans. But there was one important condition that I had and that is I made them promise that they would back me with my friends in starting a company. I went to work there because, honestly, I wasn’t interested in venture capital. I wanted to be an early ’80s entrepreneur. And they had — they agreed to that and pointed out that they had backed other young partners at Kleiner in writing business plans. Bob Swanson had written a business plan for Genentech that led to the whole biotech industry and Jimmy Treybig had done the same thing with Tandem Computers. My current partner, Brook Byers as the young partner at Kleiner wrote the business plan for hybrid tech. So, Eugene Kleiner and Tom Perkins were unusual and I’d even say mythic or epic figures in that they had technical backgrounds. They started their own companies and they felt that was part of what their venture capital firm ought to do. RITHOLTZ: So, here’s the key question, how come you never left Kleiner Perkins? Why didn’t you launch your own startup? DOERR: Well, I did. They backed me in doing it. The first was one called Silicon Compilers. I became the full-time CEO and founder of that with a Cal Tech professor, Carver Mead. RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: Then as I worked with companies like Compaq, Sun Microsystems, they were growing really rapidly, I realized I was not at all qualified to advise these entrepreneurs. So, I took another 18-month leave of absence from Kleiner to run the desktop division of Sun and almost left Kleiner permanently to do that. But Ann and I wanted to start a family and she said, you know, you’re doing this Sun thing and keeping involved in Kleiner, it’s just not going to work, we have to make some choices here. And so, I left my operating role at Sun. But never gave up an interest in starting new companies and did that again at a later time with a company called @Home. You may remember that they … RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: … standardized and commercialized the cable modem to access the Internet. Before the @Home venture, access to the Internet was really very slow and cable modem swept the United States and our company was key in making that happen. RITHOLTZ: So, I like this quote from you, “If you can’t invent the future, the next best thing is to fund it.” And so, I guess that helps to explain your move from Sun over back to Kleiner Perkins. DOERR: Exactly. It was Alan Kay, the Chief Scientist at Apple, who said the best way to predict the future is to invent it and while I’ve made some inventions, they’re modest, my better fortune has been to find amazing entrepreneurs, identify them and then help fund and accelerate their success. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. Amazon, Netscape, Applied Materials, Citrix, Intuit, Genentech, EA Sports, Compaq, Slack, Uber, Square, Spotify, Robinhood, that is just an amazing, amazing list of startups that you guys were fairly early investors in. Any of them stand out as uniquely memorable to you? DOERR: Well, two of the standouts got to be Amazon and Google, now, Alphabet, because, what are they, they’re two of the four or five most valuable companies in the world and I think both of them have profoundly changed the way that we live, communicate, educate, inform, conduct commerce, see the world. They both — what they both have in common is exceptional founders and really strong management teams who have a sense of urgency and a focus on either large new markets or large existing markets that deserved and have benefited from disruption. So, I remember when I was first offered a position at Kleiner Perkins, I told them that I thought it was kind of unfair that they would pay me to do the job. I would pay them for the privilege of working with these amazing entrepreneurs and founders. RITHOLTZ: So, when you’re thinking about putting money into the Amazon in the mid ’90s or Google in the late ’90s, at any point in that process, are you thinking, sure, these can become $2 trillion companies soon? DOERR: Well, I had no really good idea how big they could be. So, I put the question to Jeff Bezos and his response was, well, John, I don’t know but we’re going to get big fast. At that time, I kicked up something of a firestorm by proclaiming that the Internet had been under hyped and it might be the largest legal creation of wealth in our lifetimes. But I was more clear and explicit with Larry Page when I met with him and Sergey and I asked Larry, how big Google would get. I’ll never forget this, Barry. He responded to me without missing a beat, 10 billion, and I said, just to test myself, I said, surely, you mean market capitalization, don’t you, and he said, no, John, I mean revenues. We’re just beginning in the field of search and you cannot imagine how much better it’s going to get over time. And sure enough, he was, he was more than right. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, let’s talk a bit about Google. You are known for introducing to both Larry and Sergey your concept of, OKRs, objectives and key results. What was the impact of that on Google? How did they respond to your suggestion on come up with objectives and come up with ways to measure your progress? DOERR: So, for everyone in your audience, objectives and key results or OKRs is a goalsetting system that Andy Grove invented at Intel and that’s because in the semiconductor industry, I’m a refugee from the semiconductor industry, you got to get tens of thousands of people to get lines that are a millionth of a meter, one micron wide, exactly right or nothing works, the chips fail. So, you need exceptional discipline, attention to detail, focus and execution. And so, Andy came up with the system. I was so enamored of it. When I left Intel, I took it everywhere I went from nonprofits to startups to large companies. The Gates Foundation in the nearly days, for example, how — they were — I mean, they were a very large nonprofit startup and an important one for the planet. So, I took Andy Grove’s system to Larry and Sergey, the founders of Google, in the very early days and I went through it with them and at the end of it asked them, so, guys, what you think, would you use this in growing Google, and Larry was — had no comment whatsoever. But Sergey, he was more like brilliant. I’d like to tell you, Barry, that he said, we love this, we’re going to adopt it wholeheartedly. Well, the truth of the matter is what he said was, we don’t have any better way to manage this Google company. So, we’ll give it a try, which I took as a ringing endorsement because what’s happened since then to this day, every Googler, every quarter, writes down her objectives and key results and publishes them for the entire company to see and interestingly, they never leaked. So, there’s 140,000 Googlers who are doing this four times a year. They’re graded. But at the end of each quarter, they’re swept aside because they’re not used for bonuses or promotions. They serve a higher purpose and that’s a collective social contract to get everybody focused and aligned and committed in tracking their progress to stretch for almost impossible to achieve goals. And I’m telling you this story because the same system that Andy Grove invented has now spread pretty broadly through the technology and other sectors of the economy and it’s at the heart of this plan that we have called speed and scale to deal with climate crisis. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. I want to stick with some of the early investments that you made and ask a really broad general question, how likely is it that a company you made in early stage investment in ends up looking like the company you thought you were investing in, meaning, how often do companies iterate or pivot into something totally different from what you thought you were getting involved with? DOERR: Well, I was going to say not often if it’s totally different. But if it’s meaningfully different, that happens all the time. And that’s why in the venture capital work that we do, it’s so important to back — to find fund and build a relationship with the right people because the people and the quality of the team is going to affect how they pivot, how they adapt their business plan to changing markets, changing technologies, changing opportunities. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. So, you mentioned Amazon and Google as just uniquely memorable startups. What about some memorable ones that you thought would work out that didn’t or I know VCs love to talk about look how silly we are, we had an opportunity to invest in X and we passed and now X is fabulously successful, what stands out in that space? DOERR: Well, the standout in that space is the bad decision we made to invest in Fisker instead of in Tesla and at that time, they had similar strategies, which was to enter the electric vehicle market with high-end luxury, pretty expensive car and then to drive the cost of that vehicle down over time. Both companies were struggling to raise money. One of them had experienced executive from the automobile industry, fundamentally a designer by the name of Henrik Fisker as its founder and CEO. The other had Elon Musk who had no automobile industry experience but was determined to reinvent every part of the automotive car doing it more as a machine to run software than a collection of subsystems procured from the automobile industry. We made the wrong call and the rest is history. RITHOLTZ: That Fisker, that first Fisker car was just a gorgeous design and at that time, Tesla was taking old Lotus convertibles and filling them with laptop batteries. Between the two, it’s pretty easy to see how the Fisker opportunity really looked more intriguing than Tesla did way back when. How typical is that for the world of venture? DOERR: It happens all the time. RITHOLTZ: All the time. DOERR: That’s what makes the job of finding funding and accelerating the success of entrepreneurs hard. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, there was just a new report that came out. It said, renewable energy in the U.S. has quadrupled over the past decade. So, we’re all good, right? There’s nothing else to worry about with the climate? DOERR: I wish that was true. I came to this project, this passion back in 2006 when Al Gore’s movie, you remember “An Inconvenient Truth” appeared. RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: And I took my family and friends to see it and we came back for a dinner conversation and went around the table to see what people thought. When it came turn for my 16-year-old daughter Mary Doerr, she said, I’m scared and I’m angry. She said, dad, your generation created this problem, you better fix it. And, Barry, I was speechless, I had no idea what to say. So, I set out with partners at Kleiner Perkins to understand the extent of the climate crisis, even hired Al Gore as a partner and over time, over three funds, invested a third up to a half of the funds, total about $1 billion in some 70 climate ventures, most of which failed and, in fact, it’s hard, it’s very hard to grow a climate tech or green tech venture. It’s pretty lonely in the early days of doing that. And we almost lost all of our investments but we stood by these entrepreneurs and they produced companies like Beyond Meat or Enphase or the NEST smart thermostats and today are worth some $3 billion. But that was then, this is now. I think what’s important about now is we need way greater ambition and speed to avert catastrophic, irreversible climate crisis. I mean, the evidence is all around us. We’ve got devastating hurricanes and floods and wildfires and 10 million climate refugees. The IPCC says that if we don’t reduce our carbon emissions by 2030 by 55 percent, we will see global warming overshoot by more than 2°C, nearly 4°F. And the Paris accords, which were agreed to in 2015, if we were achieving them, it would still cause us to land at around 2°C. The bad news is we’re not close to achieving any of those goals. So, the latest report from the UN said this is a code red problem and I also see all problems as opportunities. Barry, I think this is going to be the greatest opportunity, human opportunity, social opportunity, economic opportunity for the 21st century. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about that opportunity. You talked in the book about cutting emissions in half by 2030 and net zero by 2050 and you referenced six main areas of attack, transportation, the electrical grid, food, protecting nature, cleaning up industry, and then removing carbon from the atmosphere. Let’s talk a little bit about each of those because they’re all quite fascinating. We were talking about Tesla, how quickly do we think that we’re going to be past internal combustion engines with a fully electrified transportation network? DOERR: Well, that’s a great question and we can — I want to put this in context. Every year, we dump 59 gigatons of carbon, greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere as if it’s some kind of free and open sewer. And so, the book and the research behind it has built a plan in electrifying transportation and the other five for which each of the objectives has three to five key results. These are Andy Grove Intel style, very measurable specific steps in transportation. It says that electric vehicles will achieve parity, price performance parity with combustion engines in the U.S. by 2024. It says one of two new personal vehicles purchased worldwide are electric vehicles by 2030. So, what I’m trying to say is this is a global plan. RITHOLTZ: Right. DOERR: We’ve seen some nations of the world, some states like California say they’re going to ban the sale of internal combustion vehicles. And there’s also key results for buses, for trucks, for miles driven, for airplanes and maritime and this whole plan is available for free. You can download it at the website speedandscale.com. So, it’s pragmatic, it’s ambitious, it’s almost unachievable. It’s a total of 55 key results for the world, numeric time bound, and we’ve got to get after them all at once. We can’t take turns. We’re not going to achieve all of these, Barry. It’s — but if we fall short on one, we can make ground faster in others. Now, I don’t want to intimidate people by how big — how tall an order this is. The book also includes 35 stories from entrepreneurs and policymakers and leaders and innovators, leaders of indigenous tribes that describe in their own words their struggle, their successes, their journey to change the world. One of my favorites is of a cross-country team who got together to petition their school district to go to cleaner busses. They were sick and tired of running behind diesel buses with polluted air and it shows that something that I deeply believe and that is we’re fast running out of time. And so, yes, we need individuals to take individual action to eat less meat, use photovoltaic solar and buy an electric vehicle if you can afford it. But I’ve really written this book for the leader inside of everyone, their inner leader, and that’s their ability to influence others to act as a group like this cross-country team of runners in Maryland who got their school district to adopt electric buses. What the book shows is that we can get this job done but, as I said, we’re fast running out of time. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about — by the way, the bus discussions in the book are quite fascinating not just because China leapt out to a big lead and have been very aggressively replacing diesel buses with electric buses but you helped fund an entrepreneur in the U.S. that’s gone around and has done a great job getting cities to purchase electric buses. The transportation grid is clearly an issue but as you point out, that’s only six gigatons. A bigger issue is the grid, the electric grid, which produces 21 gigatons of emissions. Tell us about what we need to do to decarbonize the electrical grid. DOERR: 100%, you’re right. If we move to electric vehicles but we still use coal to generate electricity, we won’t have reduced emissions. And the biggest opportunity is to decarbonize the grid and that’s to take today’s 24 gigatons of emissions mostly from goal, also natural gas to generate electricity. Take that 24 down to three gigatons. So, the first key result, the biggest of them, is to get 50 percent of our electricity from zero emission sources globally by 2025 and get it down to 38 percent — get a 90 percent by 2035. That would save us 16.5 gigatons. Simply put, we need to move to renewable sources like wind and solar and invest in longer-term durable storage so that we have reliable energy when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about that battery technology a little bit. We’ve seen a series of incremental improvements over time but nothing has been like an order of magnitude improvement. Will we be able to get there soon enough? Do we need a Manhattan project for batteries or are all those incremental improvements compounding and we’ll get there eventually? DOERR: Much of the improvement that is needed in all of these technologies is lowering their costs. And so, batteries today are still too expensive for electric vehicles in India and in China. They’re barely affordable in the U.S. marketplace. RITHOLTZ: Right. DOERR: And so, the book tells the story of QuantumScape, I’ll disclose, a public company that I’ve invested in and served on the board of, an entrepreneur by the name of Jagdeep Singh and he is going for a quantum improvement in batteries to more than double their energy density. The energy density of a battery is how much energy you’ll get out of it for a pound of weight of a battery and it’s especially important in electric vehicles because the most expensive part of the vehicle is the battery and it’s the heaviest part and you got use energy to move the weight around. So, if you double the energy density of a battery, you can get a three or four times systems improvement in the vehicle itself. I’m not expecting, I don’t think anyone is forecasting an order of magnitude improvement. We’ve seen considerable lowering costs of batteries over time. But the QuantumScape innovation, which is an all solid-state battery, would be a genuine breakthrough. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about food, another key source of emissions. How can we become more efficient in growing the food affecting the menu of what we eat and reducing enough food waste to make a difference? DOERR: There’s three big things t to do about food. The first is to reduce the meat and dairies in our diet and I’m not saying cut them out entirely but to replace some of that with delicious, healthy plant-based proteins. And the book tells a story of Beyond Meat and the crusade of its founder. He struggled and mortgaged his house to lead the revolution in plant-based protein. It turns out that there’s a billion cows on the planet. The book tells you their story as well. If they were a nation, it would be the third largest country in terms of the emissions. The second big thing to do about food is to reduce food waste. Globally, 30 percent of the food that we produce is wasted and taking some straightforward measures we think that can be reduced. Our goal is to reduce it to 10 percent of the food that we produce, particularly when you consider the population will grow to 10 billion by the end of the century. Finally, we got to get more efficient with how we grow food and we can, for example, apply fertilizer much more precisely with new technologies. All in all, the food sector is a way for us to reduce nine gigatons of emissions to two gigatons by 2050 or a net gain of seven out of the 59 gigatons that we got to drive to zero. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about beef and agriculture generally. But let’s talk about commercial fishing, what’s the impact of our fishing practices on the health of the oceans and its ability to absorb carbon and reflect heat? DOERR: Well, over fishing together with over drilling and over development have released huge amounts of carbon from the ocean floor and life and if we prevented the destruction of mangroves and other ocean life, we could prevent a gigaton of emissions from entering the atmosphere every year. Our plan calls to eliminate deep sea bottom trawling, which is an especially destructive practice. Bottom trawling releases one and a half gigatons of CO2 equivalent emissions. It also calls for increasing the protection of oceans to 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050. I want to call out, this is an area of climate ambition that Walmart is staking out an important and powerful leadership position. Not only that they said they’re going to have their supply chain be carbon neutral by 2040 but they are going to preserve, protect millions of acres of land and ocean water in the effort to become the first scale regenerative company. RITHOLTZ: Really, really interesting. So, very often, the average person listening to a conversation like this thinks, well, what can I do, I’m just one person. What’s the balance of responsibility between individuals on one side and government and institutions on the other? DOERR: We need all the forces in our economy, in our society to come together and work on this. We need innovators. We need entrepreneurs. We need policymakers. We need investors. We need to hear more from impassioned youth. In 2018, Greta Thunberg was a single high school student skipping school on Fridays. A year later, in 2019, in December, she organized a million-person march in a hundred cities around the world and specifically, she made the climate crisis atop two voting issue in the nations in Europe. Barry, it is not a top voting issue in the U.S. It is not a top issue in China or even in India. So, we have work to do and that’s one of our accelerants, the ways we get all this done faster and that’s to turn movements into specific actions. We really need individuals to lead others in powerful ways. That’s, for example, employees, pushing your employers to make net-zero commitment or shareholders and investors demanding changes in the board rooms. It turns out that changing the lightbulbs and eating less meat is important but we’ve got to go further. We’ve got to change our laws or even our lawmakers in order to avert this climate crisis. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. I want to talk about some of the things you’ve said in the book that apply everywhere but are especially applicable to the climate crisis. Let’s start with, quote, “It seems every dozen years we witness magical ever-exponentially larger waves of innovation.” So, let’s start first with climate, how and where are those waves of innovation coming that’ll help ameliorate the climate crisis? DOERR: Well, the innovations are happening on many fronts, the material sciences, electrochemistry, biology. The opportunity that the climate transition to a clean energy the economy represents is the largest of our lifetime. It’s a bigger mobilization than even the effort of the allies to defeat the Nazi Axis in World War II. You’ll remember then, we shut down for four years all manufacturing of automobiles and appliances and instead, created 268,000 fighter aircrafts, 20,000 battleships. It was a monumental effort dealing with an existential threat. And that same level of innovation and ambition is required to win in this climate campaign. Other areas of breakthroughs or innovations, I’m even becoming a believer that we’ll see nuclear fusion. That’s the kind of clean energy that comes from the sun, practical within a decade. Concrete and steel that’s carbon free, long duration storage, the opportunities to reimagine and reinvent how we create, share, transmit and use energy in every facet of our lives is as big an opportunity as we’ll see in our lifetime. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay focused on that opportunity for a minute. This isn’t a charity or a foundation that’s doing this for free. When we look around, there are actual venture investments that you’ve been making successfully. So, you past on Tesla but somebody put money into Tesla. Wind turbines, solar, Beyond Meat is now public company. You are an early investor into that. You’re looking at this as more than just, hey, we have to do this in order to make sure that we don’t have a runaway greenhouse effect and Earth turns into Venus and becomes uninhabitable. But there are also very legitimate economic opportunities here also. Expound on those a little bit. DOERR: Well, there’s no better example than Tesla which had gone from a struggling company reliant on loans, thank you, United States taxpayers, to the sought most valuable company in the world. And by some measures, Elon Musk is the most — is the richest individual in the world. He took on huge risks and he delivered for his customers and shareholders, his country and his planet. And the best of the work that Elon has done is inspire, perhaps, through fear but certainly by example the rest of the automobile industry to accelerate their shift to clean and electric vehicles. So, this is, how I like to say, the mother of all markets. It’s a monster market. Batteries alone, the batteries to move from internal combustion vehicles to electric vehicles, are estimated to be $400 billion per year, Barry, for 20 years. We are going to — we must recreate all the infrastructure that we use to power out planet. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about something we haven’t gotten to when we were talking about those larger waves of innovation. Lots of folks are excited about blockchain and crypto and Web 3.0. But when we look at things like Bitcoin, it’s a big energy hog, how do we reconcile all the wealth that’s being created there with its massive electricity consumption? DOERR: Its electricity consumption is sustainable and so, we’re going to have to move to clean Bitcoin, green Bitcoin and we’ll get there by regulation, if not, by other market forces I would predict. Today, I believe that Bitcoin uses as much energy as the entire nation of Sweden. So, Bitcoin, I believe, is here to stay but it — we can’t fuel it through dirty electricity. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned concrete earlier and I also read in the book that you want to end single-use plastics. What does the world of material science promised us for replacing things in those spaces? How do you replace concrete? How do you replace single-use plastic? DOERR: Concrete is probably the hardest problem of all because in the production of the concrete, you almost must create carbon emissions. We can reduce the energy use to make concrete. There are some concrete innovations that absorb the CO2 into the material. But that’s an area where we need more innovation. What was your second area? RITHOLTZ: Single-use plastics. DOERR: Single-use plastics. The plan calls for the banning and really the replacement of single-use plastics. The banning of single-use plastics and in general to replace plastics with compostable materials that can be recycled and I am confident that with investment and entrepreneurial work, we can get that done. RITHOLTZ: So, we haven’t really talked about pulling carbon out of the atmosphere. I get the sense from some people that they’re expecting some technological magic bullet that’s going to solve climate change. Tell us about how we can remove carbon from the atmosphere and is there a magic bullet coming. DOERR: The speed and scale plan calls for us to remove 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year. I emphasize remove. This will be gigatons of CO2 emissions that we were not able to eliminate, we were not able to cut, we were not able to slash. They’ll be some uses of aviation fuel as an example or other stubborn carbon. Two approaches to this, one of which is to innovate around nature-based ways of removing CO2. For example, growing greater kelp forest in the oceans. But the other that has captured a lot of attention is called direct air capture or that’s engineered removal of carbon. Think of them as kind of mechanical trees and this technology works today but only at small scale. It sucks the CO2 out of the air. It requires a lot of electricity in order to do that. And so, it’s very expensive today, some $600 per ton. If we’ve got to remove five gigatons per year at $600 per ton, that’s $3 trillion a year and it’s hard to see how that’s affordable. So, entrepreneurs are hard at work to lower those costs and I hope they do. RITHOLTZ: So, there’s a quote I like from another venture capitalist who said venture capital properly deployed can solve the biggest problems, filling the void left by shrinking scientific ambitions of governments, foundations and international organizations. What are your thoughts on that approach? How crucial is venture capital to our future and can it replace these other entities? DOERR: Venture capital is crucial and it’s stepping up to the challenge. There will be an estimated $30 billion invested venture capital in climate technologies this year. Our plan calls for 50 billion this year. But venture capital is not going to get this job done on its own. We need government-funded research and development to grow in the U.S. alone to 40 billion a year. Other countries have got to triple their funding. We need project financing. We need philanthropic investing. Jeff Bezos’ commitment of $10 billion to the Bezos Earth Fund is the largest philanthropic commitment to climate crisis that we’ve ever witnessed or enjoyed. There’s really four accelerators that will get this job done. One of them is investing. Another is innovation, the work of entrepreneurs. But I think the hardest are going to be to turn our movements into actions so we get the politics and the policy correct because it’s going to take a massive, collective, coordinated effort to achieve our ultimate OKR and that’s to take 59 gigatons of emissions to net zero by 2050. RITHOLTZ: That’s an ambitious target and if we miss that target, what are the ramifications? DOERR: We’ll leave our kids and our grandkids an uninhabitable planet. We’ll see the Arctic sea ice surely melts away. We’ll have — estimates are up to a billion climate refugees. There’s 10 million of them already. Hundreds of millions of people will starve. It’s unthinkable. And so, we must get this done. RITHOLTZ: So, let me turn this back to what’s going on in the world of venture now. When the early decades of you work at Kleiner Perkins was into a very friendly IPO market, how much does timing matter broadly, meaning, hey, if there’s an exit available, if there’s a big IPO market that makes it more likely people are going to invest in these companies and have a successful exit. Tell us a little bit about timing. DOERR: Well, investors, myself included, will stop at nothing to copy success. So, the timing of today’s markets for climate technologies whether it’s Tesla or Rivian or better batteries or Beyond Meat, it’s good and I would say in the long run, it’s going to continue to be good because the size of the markets and the need, the economic need, the opportunity, and the planetary pressures. RITHOLTZ: So, if a younger venture capitalist or a newfound venture fund came to you and ask for advice, what would you tell them about this opportunity? DOERR: There’s so many different venture firms and strategies. I would say to them that this is the greatest opportunity with 21st century that they should be strategic about their contribution. Is it to work with early-stage entrepreneurs and removing technical risks or at the other extreme, is it to be smart and sharp about project financing? But the overall costs of the transition from a dirty fossil economy to a clean new energy economy is $4 trillion per year, per year. That sounds like a big number until you compare it with the cost of dirty energy, the social cost, the disruption, the premature deaths. One in five deaths are premature due to carbon pollution. Those come in at about $10 billion per year. So, it’s literally cheaper to save the Earth than it is to ruin it. RITHOLTZ: And there’s just seems to be endless amounts of cash pouring into the venture capital sector. Arguably, it’s never been higher. What are your thoughts on this? Does it worry you? What’s the driver of all this money sloshing around? DOERR: Some people say that we’re experiencing a bubble, a bubble in fintech or Bitcoin or climate technologies. I see it very differently. I think it’s a boom and historically, whether it was the advent of transcontinental railroads or the automobiles, we saw booms which led to full employment, overinvestment, rapid innovation. And, no, not all those car companies survive. But I think the same will be true of the other fields of innovation. I think one of the things that gives me great hope is the power of human ingenuity. We got ourselves into these specs and, Barry, I’m betting, we’re going to figure our way out. RITHOLTZ: So, what do you say to people who sort of posture Silicon Valley’s best days are behind it? Do you have a response to any of those folks? DOERR: I think they’re wrong. I think provided we deal with this existential threat, the climate crisis, and that is not guaranteed, but provided we do that and we get a 50% reduction in the next decade, I think we’re on track for a wonderful, prosperous, healthy planet. RITHOLTZ: Can I tell you and I should have mentioned this earlier but I read a ton of books for the show and I found the book really quite fascinating and it’s pretty obvious to me that an engineer was behind this. There’s just a lot of great slides and charts and graphs and it’s not just all texts. Parts of it are narrative and parts of it are historical and it reminds me of a well-made slide deck. So, nice job on the book. DOERR: Well, thanks for sharing that. I want to send you a bound version of the book if you’ll email me your physical mailing address. There’s one other thing — other story I might tell you about the book. RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: I was talking the other day with a reader, a mom who told me that every night, she takes two or three pages of the book and she reads them together with her daughter and then they talk about together what that means for the world her daughter is going to inherit, and I thought, wow, that’s the use of the book I never imagined and one that I’m honestly proud of. RITHOLTZ: How — it looks like this was the work of a lot of different people. How did you end up researching and writing this? DOERR: We talked to hundred different leaders in the field, policymakers, researchers, modelers, activists and from those, selected some 35 stories. We ended up with a thousand different data points that we needed to verify and collected those into 500 end notes, which are in the book. And I did it with an amazing small team of three or four on research and writing stuf. I’m an engineer as you know and so I’m not so good with words and I had the benefit of a writing team that helped make this much more readable. RITHOLTZ: Well, it shows, you can see the book is a fast read. I sat down with a bunch of stickies and highlighter and found myself just plowing through chapter after chapter. It was a relatively quick read and very easy to put down and then pick back up again. Each chapter is very distinct and you’ve really laid out a plan to prevent climate catastrophe from taking place. So, thank you for that. DOERR: One thing I want to make sure your audience know is this, they can get a free infographic, it’s a single poster-sized piece of paper that has on both sides of it all the objectives, all the key results, all the measures. And it’s reassuring for people who are fearful that there is a plan and that if we do these things, we can find a way to a habitable planet. That’s what we’ve got to do. RITHOLTZ: So, I know I only have you for a limited amount of time. Let me jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of my guests starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days, give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime or whatever podcast you’re listening to. DOERR: So, I haven’t had time for streaming on Netflix. I’ve been doing research, reading books and papers on the climate crisis itself. But getting this word out, I’ve listened to a — I’ve started listening to a couple of new podcast, John Heilemann’s Hell & High Water … RITHOLTZ: Sure. DOERR: … and Tim Ferriss Show, both of which, I think, have a distinctive imprint from their hosts (ph). RITHOLTZ: Tell us about your mentors who helped to shape your career. DOERR: So, the biggest influence on my life was my dad Lou Doerr, an engineer, entrepreneur and hero and I’ve been blessed by a number of mentors, perhaps most notable of them, Andy Grove, and what I learned from him at Intel prompted me to write a first book called “Measure What Matters” and that tells stories of a dozen different organizations using OKRs, which is what then I applied to the climate crisis. I would tell you Al Gore is a hero of mine. He’s wonderfully resolute man who’s impassioned, effective and funny. He and I talked regularly about the climate crisis. RITHOLTZ: Tell us about some of your favorite books, what are your all-time favorites and what are you reading right now. DOERR: So, my current reading, no surprise, is largely around the climate crisis. I love Elizabeth Colbert’s “Under a White Sky” which described climate futures. And two other books are “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates, very accessible book, and a profile — a new profile of Winston Churchill called “The splendid and the Vile.” RITHOLTZ: Two good recommendations. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who wanted to pursue a career in venture investing? DOERR: I would say to her gain experience as an entrepreneur. I’d repeat the advice that I was given early in my career which was go get a real job in a real growing tech company and sharpen your skills in the real hard world of business economics and then take that experience to help other entrepreneurs succeed. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture investing today that you wish you knew 40 years ago? DOERR: I wish I knew 40 years ago how important the team is, the leadership of the team, the recruiting of the team, the growing of the team because in the end, it’s more than large market, it’s more than compelling technologies. It’s teams who know how to execute well. RITHOLTZ: Really, really fascinating stuff. Thanks, John, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with John Doerr. He is a partner at famed venture firm Kleiner Perkins and the author of the new book, “Speed and Scale: An Action Plan for Solving our Climate Crisis Now.” If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out all of our previous discussions. You can find those wherever you find your favorite podcast, iTunes, Spotify, Acast, wherever. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reads @ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter, @Ritholtz. I would be remiss if I do not thank our crack staff that helps with these conversations together each week, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager, Paris Wald is our producer, I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: John Doerr appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 6th, 2021

Biden says he"s "tired of trickle-down" economics but his party is showering private equity firms with big Trump-era tax breaks in numerous states

The WSJ reports that 20 states have measures to bypass a Trump-era tax on the wealthy. It's the kind of "trickle-down" economics Biden often decries. President Joe Biden.Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images Democrats at the state level are making it harder for Biden to roll back "trickle-down economics." The Wall Street Journal reports that 20 states set up measures to bypass a Trump-era tax on wealthy. Since the 1980s Reagan era, trickle down has held that "job creators" at the top should pay less in taxes. President Joe Biden keeps saying he's "tired of trickle-down" economics, but his party is making it harder to roll back a legacy of tax cuts for rich people stretching back many years.Congressional Democrats are in the midst of sketching out a proposal to provide relief from the $10,000 limit on the state and local taxes taxpayers are able to deduct from their federal bill (SALT). Republicans put the cap in place as a way to help finance their 2017 tax law, and the measure hit wealthier taxpayers in high-tax states particularly hard — just the kind of highly educated and high-earning urban and suburban demographic that often votes Democratic.Perhaps for this reason, lawmakers at the state level have been busy designing paths for business owners to bypass the $10,000 cap. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that 20 states, including the deep-blue California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois, have approved some alternatives.There is no record of President Ronald Reagan ever using the term "trickle down," per Investopedia, which also notes that he embodied it in practice by reducing taxes on the wealthy, in the hopes that the benefits would "trickle down" in the form of increased business activity.The Journal's reporting shows that at the state level, trickle down is alive and well."This is becoming the thing the cool kids are doing, if you're a state," Howard Gleckman, a senior Tax Policy Center fellow, told the Journal. "With state assistance, this is a classic case of business self-help in figuring out a way around this."Some law firms and private equity firms are taking advantage of the workaround, such as Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Cerberus Capital Management, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Neither firm immediately responded to Insider's request for comment.The provision varies across states, but typically, taxes are levied on certain businesses equivalent to that of their owners. They're deducted and the rest of the income goes to owners, the Journal reported. State laws then provide relief to income tax obligations that's separate from business income, so it's not subject to the SALT cap.Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are struggling to achieve a compromise on SALT, which could hobble their goal of approving Biden's $2 trillion social spending plan by Christmas. Any rollback is bound to disproportionately benefit wealthier Americans who are better positioned to take advantage of the deduction.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2021

Escobar: Russia Is Primed For A Persian Gulf Security "Makeover"

Escobar: Russia Is Primed For A Persian Gulf Security 'Makeover' Authored by Pepe Escobar via TheCradle.co, It’s impossible to understand the resumption of the JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna without considering the serious inner turbulence of the Biden administration. Everyone and his neighbor are aware of Tehran’s straightforward expectations: all sanctions – no exceptions – must be removed in a verifiable manner. Only then will the Islamic Republic reverse what it terms ‘remedial measures,’ that is, ramping up its nuclear program to match each new American ‘punishment.’ The reason Washington isn’t tabling a similarly transparent position is because its economic circumstances are, bizarrely, far more convoluted than Iran’s under sanctions. Joe Biden is now facing a hard domestic reality: if his financial team raises interest rates, the stock market will crash and the US will be plunged into deep economic distress. Panicked Democrats are even considering the possibility of allowing Biden’s own impeachment by a Republican majority in the next Congress over the Hunter Biden scandal. According to a top, non-partisan US national security source, there are three things the Democrats think they can do to delay the final reckoning: First, sell some of the stock in the Strategic Oil Reserve in coordination with its allies to drive oil prices down and lower inflation. Second, ‘encourage’ Beijing to devalue the yuan, thus making Chinese imports cheaper in the US, “even if that materially increases the US trade deficit. They are offering trading the Trump tariff in exchange.” Assuming this would happen, and that’s a major if, it would in practice have a double effect, lowering prices by 25 percent on Chinese imports in tandem with the currency depreciation. Third, “they plan to make a deal with Iran no matter what, to allow their oil to re-enter the market, driving down the oil price.” This would imply the current negotiations in Vienna reaching a swift conclusion, because “they need a deal quickly. They are desperate.” There is no evidence whatsoever that the team actually running the Biden administration will be able to pull off points two and three; not when the realities of Cold War 2.0 against China and bipartisan Iranophobia are considered. Still, the only issue that really worries the Democratic leadership, according to the intel source, is to have the three strategies get them through the mid-term elections. Afterwards, they may be able to raise interest rates and allow themselves time for some stabilization before the 2024 presidential ballot. So how are US allies reacting to it? Quite intriguing movements are in the cards. When in doubt, go multilateral Less than two weeks ago in Riyadh, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in a joint meeting with France, Germany and the UK, plus Egypt and Jordan, told the US Iran envoy Robert Malley that for all practical purposes, they want the new JCPOA round to succeed. A joint statement, shared by Europeans and Arabs, noted “a return to mutual compliance with the [nuclear deal] would benefit the entire Middle East, allow for more regional partnerships and economic exchange, with long-lasting implications for growth and the well-being of all people there, including in Iran.” This is far from implying a better understanding of Iran’s position. It reveals, in fact, the predominant GCC mindset ruled by fear: something must be done to tame Iran, accused of nefarious “recent activities” such as hijacking oil tankers and attacking US soldiers in Iraq. So this is what the GCC is volunteering to the Americans. Now compare it with what the Russians are proposing to several protagonists across West Asia. Essentially, Moscow is reviving the Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region, an idea that has been simmering since the 1990s. Here is what the concept is all about. So if the US administration’s reasoning is predictably short-term – we need Iranian oil back in the market – the Russian vision points to systemic change. The Collective Security Concept calls for true multilateralism – not exactly Washington’s cup of tea – and “the adherence of all states to international law, the fundamental provisions of the UN Charter and the resolutions of the UN Security Council.” All that is in direct contrast with the imperial “rules-based international order.” It’s too far-fetched to assume that Russian diplomacy per se is about to accomplish a miracle: an entente cordiale between Tehran and Riyadh. Yet there’s already tangible progress, for instance, between Iran and the UAE. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri held a “cordial meeting” in Dubai with Anwar Gargash, senior adviser to UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. According to Bagheri, they “agreed to open a new page in Iran-UAE relations.” Geopolitically, Russia holds the definitive ace: it maintains good relationships with all actors in the Persian Gulf and beyond, talks to all of them frequently, and is widely respected as a mediator by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, and other GCC members. Russia also offers the world’s most competitive and cutting edge military hardware to underpin the security needs of all the parties. And then there’s the overarching, new geopolitical reality. Russia and Iran are forging a strengthened strategic partnership, not only geopolitical but also geoeconomic, fully aligned to the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasian Partnership – and also demonstrated by Moscow’s support for Iran’s recent ascension to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the only West Asian state to be admitted thus far. Furthermore, three years ago Iran launched its own regional security framework proposal for the region called HOPE (the Hormuz Peace Endeavor) with the intent to convene all eight littoral states of the Persian Gulf (including Iraq) to address and resolve the vital issues of cooperation, security, and freedom of navigation. The Iranian plan didn’t get far off the ground. While Iran suffers from adversarial relations with some of its intended audience, Russia carries none of that baggage. The $5.4 trillion game And that brings us to the essential Pipelineistan angle, which in the Russia–Iran case revolves around the new, multi-trillion dollar Chalous gas field in the Caspian Sea. A recent sensationalist take painted Chalous as enabling Russia to “secure control over the European energy market.” That’s hardly the story. Chalous, in fact, will enable Iran  – with Russian input – to become a major gas exporter to Europe, something that Brussels evidently relishes. The head of Iran’s KEPCO, Ali Osouli, expects a “new gas hub to be formed in the north to let the country supply 20 percent of Europe’s gas needs.” According to Russia’s Transneft, Chalous alone could supply as much as 52 percent of natural gas needs of the whole EU for the next 20 years. Chalous is quite something: a twin-field site, separated by roughly nine kilometers, the second-largest natural gas block in the Caspian Sea, just behind Alborz. It may hold gas reserves equivalent to one-fourth of the immense South Pars gas field, placing it as the 10th largest gas reserves in the world. Chalous happens to be a graphic case of Russia-Iran-China (RIC) geoeconomic cooperation. Proverbial western speculative spin rushed to proclaim the 20-year gas deal as a setback for Iran. The final breakdown, not fully confirmed, is 40 percent for Gazprom and Transneft, 28 percent for China’s CNPC and CNOOC, and 25 percent for Iran’s KEPCO. Moscow sources confirm Gazprom will manage the whole project. Transneft will be in charge of transportation, CNPC is involved in financing and banking facilities, and CNOOC will be in charge of infrastructure and engineering. The whole Chalous site has been estimated to be worth a staggering  $5.4 trillion. Iran could not possibly have the funds to tackle such a massive enterprise by itself. What is definitely established is that Gazprom offered KEPCO all the necessary technology in exploration and development of Chalous, coupled with additional financing, in return for a generous deal. Crucially, Moscow also reiterated its full support for Tehran’s position during the current JCPOA round in Vienna, as well as in other Iran-related issues reaching the UN Security Council. The fine print on all key Chalous aspects may be revealed in time. It’s a de facto geopolitical/geoeconomic win-win-win for the Russia, Iran, China strategic partnership. And it reaches way beyond the famous “20-year agreement” on petrochemicals and weapons sales clinched by Moscow and Tehran way back in 2001, in a Kremlin ceremony when President Putin hosted then Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. There’s no two ways about it. If there is one country with the necessary clout, tools, sweeteners and relationships in place to nudge the Persian Gulf into a new security paradigm, it is Russia – with China not far behind. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

Avoid AMC Entertainment; Metaverse Real Estate Selling Like Hotcakes

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors suggesting to avoid AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC); investors snap up metaverse real estate in a virtual land boom; Scott Galloway: Inflated. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Avoid AMC Entertainment 1) The 25 stocks in my “Short Squeeze Bubble Basket” that I identified in my January 27 […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors suggesting to avoid AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC); investors snap up metaverse real estate in a virtual land boom; Scott Galloway: Inflated. 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 Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton 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 Avoid AMC Entertainment 1) The 25 stocks in my "Short Squeeze Bubble Basket" that I identified in my January 27 e-mail have declined by an average of 34%, while the S&P 500 Index has risen by 22% – 56 points of underperformance. However, one notable exception is the largest movie theater operator in the world, AMC Entertainment (AMC), which is up 52% since then. So am I throwing in the towel and admitting a mistake? Heck no! This article is a good summary of why AMC continues to be among my least favorite stocks: Movie theaters must 'urgently' rethink the experience, a study says. Excerpt: About 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer buying tickets. Some of them, roughly 8%, have likely been lost forever. To win back the rest, multiplex owners must "urgently" rethink pricing and customer perks in addition to focusing on coronavirus safety. Those were some of the takeaways from a new study on the state of the American movie theater business, which was troubled before the pandemic – attendance declining, streaming services proliferating – and has struggled to rebound from coronavirus-forced closings in 2020. Over the weekend, ticket sales in the United States and Canada stood at roughly $96 million, compared to $181 million over the same period in 2019. I, for one, have yet to return to a movie theater, even as pretty much every other aspect of my life has gone back to normal (sporting events, Broadway shows, etc.). I was actually planning to see the new movie about Venus and Serena Williams' father, King Richard, but then saw it was released simultaneously on HBO Max, so my wife and I just watched it at home (and loved it). This new development is very bad news for AMC... Investors Snap Up Metaverse Real Estate 2) I'm no longer in the short-selling business (thank goodness!), but if I were, I'd feel perfectly comfortable shorting AMC, especially now that it's already been pumped to the moon by the Reddit speculators and subsequently crashed (it's down nearly 60% from its all-time high on June 2). While, as we've seen, it could trade anywhere in the short term. At the end of the day, its stock will ultimately be valued on the performance of the underlying business, which I believe will be dreadful relative to the expectations built into its current $15 billion market cap and $24 billion enterprise value. I don't even think the company is worth $9 billion in net debt, meaning the stock will eventually be worthless. But as an old-school value guy, I take zero comfort in evaluating things like cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens ("NFTs"), and the latest craze, buying real estate in the metaverse. I'm not making this up – here are two recent in-depth articles about it in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, respectively: a) Metaverse Real Estate Piles Up Record Sales in Sandbox and Other Virtual Realms. Excerpt: The latest hot real estate market isn't on the scenic coasts or in balmy Sunbelt cities. It's in the metaverse, where gamers are flocking, and digital property sales are setting new records. A growing number of investment firms are acquiring digital land in worlds such as the Sandbox and Decentraland, where players simulate real-life pursuits, from shopping to attending a concert. They are betting that individuals and companies will spend money to use virtual homes and retail space and that the value of properties will increase as more people join the worlds. b) Investors Snap Up Metaverse Real Estate in a Virtual Land Boom. Excerpt: Investors were watching, too. Preparing for a digital land boom that appears just months away, they are snapping up concert venues, shopping malls, and other properties in the metaverse. Interest in this digital universe skyrocketed last month when Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be known as Meta, an effort to capitalize on the digital frontier. The global market for goods and services in the metaverse will soon be worth $1 trillion, according to the digital currency investor Grayscale. My knee-jerk, old-school-value-guy reaction is that this is an obvious and ridiculous bubble, but I've been humbled too many times to have any conviction in that judgment. So I'm just going to defer to my colleagues Enrique Abeyta and Gabe Marshank, who have already done a deep dive into the metaverse. In fact, they recommended one of the leading companies in the space, Roblox Corp (NYSE:RBLX), to their Empire Elite Growth subscribers in September, and it's already up 38%. (Click here for a free trial to Empire Elite Growth.) Scott Galloway On Inflation 3) Run, don't walk, to read NYU professor Scott Galloway's latest column, Inflated. It's the essay of the year, I think. It should be required reading for everyone interested in our higher education system, starting with college administrators. Excerpts: In 1980 a gallon of gasoline cost $1.19. Today it's $3.41, a 2.7% annual increase. But undergraduate tuition has risen nearly 3 times as fast: 6.7% a year at public colleges, for an increase of nearly 1,400%. The greatest assault on middle-class America's prosperity may be the relentless, four-decade-long inflation in higher education. Student loan debt ($1.7 trillion) is now greater than credit card debt. And that doesn't account for the busted 401(k)s, second mortgages, and general financial oppression [that] me and my colleagues have levied on lower- and middle-income households. The number of Americans who have more than $100,000 in student debt is greater than the population of Utah. This sustained inflation has been devastating for lower- and middle-income households. Higher education's ability to soak America is a function of limiting the supply of freshman seats at our best universities in concert with the continued fetishization of their brands. We can scale Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), Facebook (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) by 25% to 60% per annum, but we can't seem to bust above 1% per year at our great public universities. The top 200 schools in America educate only 10% of college attendees. And these universities raise prices in perfect lockstep, miraculously, resulting in millions of kids who get arbitraged to mediocre universities but pay an elite price. It's a cartel enforced by the accreditation organizations, institutions who are as corrupt as the NCAA... minus the charm. Acceptance rates have plummeted, turning senior spring from a time of optimism and opportunity to one of anguish and sacrifice. Kids are still getting into college (total enrollment has kept pace with the growth in graduating seniors), but more and more are shuffled down to lower-tier schools that charge a top-tier price for a credential worth far less. College deans boast about low admissions rates. But if you accept five of every 100 applications, that's not a 5% admission rate. It's a 95% rejection rate. This is un-American. Rejectionism is cloaked in progressive policies. It's true that the student body at these institutions is more diverse than it was 40 years ago. And that's great. But it's not an excuse for maintaining a rejectionist posture. The mission is to expand opportunity, not reallocate elites. Bigotry is prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular group. Haven't we in higher education become bigoted against unremarkable kids from lower- and middle-income households? I love his personal story at the end – it was a similar story for my mom, the daughter of a Seattle fireman, who graduated from the University of Washington in 1962: The best things in my life – kids who made the head's list this semester, a supportive mate, and financial security that (generally) enables me to do whatever I want, whenever I want – are a function of one thing: 74. Specifically, in the 80s, UCLA had an acceptance rate of 74%. I (no joke) had to apply twice. I was the first person on either side of my family to graduate from high school, much less get to attend amazing institutions for undergraduate and graduate degrees. The cost? $7,000 (total) in tuition for a BA and an MBA. In addition, I was presented this opportunity as a function of being good, not great... much less remarkable. Higher ed catalyzed an upward spiral of prosperity for me and my family that's been good for the commonwealth – we love America and are good citizens. Today the acceptance rate at UCLA is 12%. Since I graduated, the number of graduating high school seniors in California has grown nearly twice as fast as the number of undergraduate seats at UCLA. To its credit, the UC system has announced plans to add 20,000 more seats to the system by 2030. At night, alone with the dogs, I hear voices. (No shit.) Not strange voices like the dogs telling me to head to Kroger's in my underwear. But the voices of millions of kids who have one question: "Boss, you got yours, where is mine? When do I get my shot?" America is not about making the children of rich people and the remarkable billionaires but giving everyone a shot at being a millionaire and/or making a contribution. American higher ed has become un-American. We need to fall back in love with the unremarkables and return to America. Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. Updated on Dec 3, 2021, 3:13 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: valuewalkDec 4th, 2021

The Upshots Of The New Housing Bubble Fiasco

The Upshots Of The New Housing Bubble Fiasco Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com, “The free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America.” - Senator Jim Bunning, September 19, 2008 House Prices Go Vertical The epic housing bubble and bust in the mid-to-late-2000s was dreadfully disruptive for many Americans.  Some never recovered.  Now the central planners have done it again… On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released its U.S. House Price Index (HPI) for September.  According to the FHFA HPI, U.S. house prices rose 18.5 percent from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021. By comparison, consumer prices have increased 6.2 from a year ago.  That’s running hot!  But 6.2 percent consumer price inflation is nothing.  House prices have inflated nearly 3 times as much over this same period. Here in the Los Angeles Basin, for example, things are so out of whack you have to be rich to afford a 1,200 square foot fixer upper in a modest area.  Yet the clever fellows in Washington have just the solution. Massive house price inflation has prompted the FHFA, and the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) it regulates, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to jack up the limits of government backed loans to nearly a million bucks in some areas. Specifically, the baseline conforming loan limit for 2022 will be $647,000, up nearly $100,000 from last year.  In higher cost areas, conforming loans are 150 percent of baseline – or $970,800.  What gives? If you recall, ultra-low interest rates courtesy of the Federal Reserve following the dot com bubble and bust provided the initial gas for the 2000s housing bubble.  However, the housing bubble was really inflated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The GSEs relaxed lending standards and, thus, funneled a seemingly endless supply of credit to the mortgage market. The stated objective of these GSEs was to make housing affordable for Americans.  But their efforts did the exact opposite. The GSEs puffed up the housing bubble to a place where average Americans had no hope of ever being able to afford a place of their own.  Then, when the pool of suckers dried up, about the time rampant fraud and abuse cracked the credit market, people got destroyed. If you also recall, it wasn’t until credit markets froze over like the Alaskan tundra in late 2008 that the Fed first executed the radical monetary policies of quantitative easing (QE).  To be clear, QE had nothing to do with the last housing bubble; ultra-low interest rates and GSE intervention did the trick on their own.  QE came after. But now, in the current housing bubble incarnation, the Fed’s been buying $40 billion in mortgage backed securities per month since June 2020.  Is there any question why house prices have gone vertical over this time? The Fed is now tapering back its mortgage and treasury purchases.  This comes too little too late.  And with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now jacking up their conforming loan limits, house prices could really jump off the charts. We’ll have more on the current intervention efforts of these GSEs in just a moment.  But first, to fully appreciate what they are up to, we must revisit the not too distant past… Socialized Losses A moral hazard is the idea that a person or party shielded from risk will behave differently than if they were fully exposed to the risk.  A person who has automobile theft insurance, for instance, may be less careful about securing their car because the financial consequence of a stolen car would be endured by the insurance company. Financial bail-outs, of both lenders and borrowers, by governments, central bankers, or other institutions, produce moral hazards; they encourage risky lending and risky speculation in the future because borrowers and lenders believe they will not carry the full burden of losses. Do you remember the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s? The U.S. Government picked up the tab –  about $125 billion (a hefty amount at the time) – when over 1,000 savings and loan institutions failed.  What you may not know is the seeds of crisis were propagated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression when he established the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) and the Federal Saving and Loan Insurance Company (FSLIC). From then on, borrowers and bank lenders no longer had concern for losses – for they would be covered by the government.  The Savings and Loan crisis confirmed this, and further propagated the moral hazard culminating in the subprime lending meltdown. Obama’s big bank bailout of 2008-09 socialized the losses.  Then the Fed’s QE and ultra-low interest rates furthered the moral hazard.  These are now the origins of the current housing and mortgage market bubble…and future bust. By guaranteeing mortgage securities up to nearly $1 million in some areas the government encourages risky lending by banks and speculation by investors.  Banks are less prudent about who they loan money to because the loans will be securitized and sold to investors.  Similarly, investors speculate on these securities because they are guaranteed by the government. Once again, the government is promoting a “heads, I win…tails, you lose” milieu where banks and investors reap big profits taking on big risks and where the losses are socialized by tax payers.  It also sets the stage for massive grift… The Anatomy of a Swindler FDR – the thirty-second U.S. President – was responsible for setting up Fannie Mae.  But another FDR – Franklin Delano Raines – was responsible for running it into the ground. The son of a Seattle janitor, FDR grew up knowing what it was like to have not.  He concluded at a young age it was better to have. Yet it was while mixing with Ivy Leaguers at Harvard University and Harvard Law School where he really refined his thinking.  He came to believe the government should be responsible for supplying the have nots with tax payer sponsored philanthropy. FDR came out of school with the wide eyed ambition of a lab rat.  He was determined to sniff out his way to wealth…and once and for all, find that ever illusive cheese at the end of the maze. The first corner he peered around smelled remarkably prospective.  But he came up empty.  Three years in the Carter Administration didn’t offer the compensation he’d dreamed of. To have was better, remember.  The next corner FDR peered around was much more lucrative.  He did an 11 year stint at an investment bank. But it was in 1991 when FDR got his big break.  For it was then that he became Fannie Mae’s Vice Chairman.  And it was then that he garnered hands on access to muck with the lives of millions.  Still, he wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. To learn such tips and tricks, FDR studied one of the true masters of our time…Bill Clinton.  From 1996 to 1998, he was the Clinton Administration’s Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.  There he discovered you must have a vision…a mission…a delusion that is so grand and so absurd, the world will love you for it. One evening, in the autumn of 1997, it came to him in a flash.  Staring deep into the pot of his chicken soup, just as it approached boil, he hallucinated an image of a house.  Suddenly a small part of the grey matter of his brain opened up… For where Hoover had foreseen a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, FDR now foresaw much, much more.  A chicken and a car were not good enough.  In FDR’s world, everyone should also get a house with a pot to cook the chicken in and a garage to park the car in.  And he knew just how to give it to them. Yet best of all, FDR also knew he could become remarkably rich pawning houses to the downtrodden.  So in 1999, he returned to Fannie Mae as CEO and got to work on his master plan… Fraudulent Earnings Statements It was a pretty simple four point plan… If low interest rates make housing more affordable, then even lower interest rates make housing even more affordable. So, too, if 20 percent down put housing out of reach for some, then 10 percent down was better. And zero percent down was optimal. Similarly, if a borrower’s credit score doesn’t meet the requisite credit standard, just relax the standard. And lastly, if a borrower’s income is too low to qualify for a loan, just let them state what ever income it is that they must have to get the loan. With the ground rules in place by 1999, FDR began the pilot program that would ultimately ruin the finances of the western world.  It involved issuing bank loans to low to moderate income earners, and to ease credit requirements on loans that Fannie Mae purchased from banks. FDR promoted the program stating that it would allow consumers who were, “A notch below what our current underwriting has required,” get a home. Here’s how it worked… Banks made loans to people to buy houses they really couldn’t afford.  Fannie Mae bought the bad loans and bundled them together with good ones as mortgage backed securities.  Wall Street then bought these mortgage backed securities, rated them AAA, and then sold them the world over…taking a nice cut for their services. FDR had a heavy hand in the action too.  By overstating earnings, and shifting losses, he pocketed the large bonuses a janitor’s son could only dream of.  According to a September 19, 2008 article by Jonah Goldberg, titled, Washington Brewed the Poison, FDR “…made $52 million of his $90 million compensation package thanks in part to fraudulent earnings statements.” Efforts to reform the scheme were stopped by the Democrats in Congress, who weren’t ready to give up the gravy train of money that flowed from Fannie Mae to their campaigns.   “Barack Obama, the Senate’s second-greatest recipient of donations from Fannie and Freddie after [Christopher] Dodd, did nothing.” Now, just 13 years later, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at it again… Here We Go Again On June 23, 2021, in Collins v. Yellen, the Supreme Court decided the President could remove the FHFA director without cause.  The next day, President Biden replaced Trump’s director of the FHFA, Mark Calabria, with a temporary appointment. FHFA, as noted above, regulates government-backed housing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Prior to getting his pink slip, Calabria had been working to reduce the harm these GSEs could do to the economy. Biden’s replacement immediately reversed course, reinstituting the social engineering policies that brought down the housing market in 2008.  Acting Director Sandra Thomas: “There is a widespread lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color.  It is FHFA’s duty through our regulated entities to ensure that all Americans have equal access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.”  One could mistake these words for those of Franklin Delano Raines.  Certainly, the madness it fosters will be Raines like.  The Wall Street Journal reports: “The problem the [Biden] administration sees is that housing and rental prices are too high.  The fact that the administration’s own policies have caused an inflationary trend in housing along with food, energy and gasoline, among others, is no deterrent. “[…] the administration wants people who would otherwise rent to become homeowners.  These young families would take on the risk and the burden of a mortgage, which the government—through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—will make much cheaper.  Investors, of course, will buy these risky mortgages from Fannie and Freddie because they are backed by the government.  “Here we go again.  The only difference between what the administration is proposing, and what brought about the 2008 financial crisis is that the economy is already in an inflationary period, induced by the administration’s other policies.  This will make homeownership even riskier.  In addition, Fannie and Freddie will be buying mortgages of up to $1 million, instead of $450,000. “But the government’s lower underwriting standards drive down standards for private lenders, too.  Banks and other mortgage lenders—if they want to stay in the business—have to offer their mortgages on similar terms.  People who own homes then dive into the market to take advantage of the low down payments, and housing prices rise even faster. This encourages cash-out mortgages, in which homeowners reduce the equity in their homes, sometimes to buy a boat.  “The process goes on for years until prices are so high that sales growth falls and homeowners can’t sell their homes to pay off their mortgages.  Housing prices then collapse, mortgages go unpaid.  Banks, other lenders, and even Fannie and Freddie incur losses and another financial crisis begins.” But wait, there’s more… The Upshots of the New Housing Bubble Fiasco House prices are already in bubble territory in many places across the county.  At these prices, who’s buying? Wall Street.  Pension funds.  BlackRock Inc.  And many, many others… Institutional investors have securitized the residential real estate market.  Hundreds of firms are competing with regular house buyers.  They’re also bidding up house prices. Invitation Homes, for example, is a publicly traded company that was spun off from BlackRock in 2017.  Invitation Homes gets billion dollar loans at interest rates around 1.4 percent – about half the rate of what regular house buyers get.  Often times they just pay in cash. According to a recent SEC disclosure, Invitation Homes’ portfolio of houses is worth $16 billion.  The company collects about $1.9 billion in rent per year.  Thus it takes only about eight years of rental payments to pay back a typical house that Invitation Homes has bought. Invitation Homes now owns over 80,000 rental houses and has a market capitalization of $24.6 billion.  The company has deep pockets.  Regular house buyers cannot compete. No doubt, this is an ugly situation.  The ugliness hasn’t been created by institutional investors.  They’re merely scratching for yield in a world where capital markets have been destroyed by the Fed.  Of course, there’s no situation that’s too ugly for Washington to not make even uglier. According to a recent White House fact sheet: “As supply constraints have intensified, large investors have stepped up their real-estate purchases, including of single-family homes in urban and suburban areas. […].  Large investor purchases of single-family homes and conversion into rental properties speeds the transition of neighborhoods from homeownership to rental and drives up home prices for lower cost homes, making it harder for aspiring first-time and first-generation home buyers, among others, to buy a home. […] “President Biden is committed to using every tool available in government to produce more affordable housing supply as quickly as possible, and to make supply available to families in need of affordable, quality housing – rather than to large investors.” This logic validates FHFA jacking up the limits for conforming loans.  Indeed, the clever fellows in Washington want to make housing more affordable by allowing more and more people to take on massive subsidized mortgages.  The logic makes perfect sense…so long as you have the intelligence of a box of rocks. We all know where this goes.  We all know where this leads. First time house buyers, competing with institutional investors, will use the government’s relaxed lending standards to chase prices higher and higher.  Then, once the mortgage market is sufficiently riddled with fraud and corruption and tens of millions of Americans are tied into loans they cannot repay, the impossible will happen… House prices will go down! …along with the hopes and dreams of those that got sucked into this wickedness. Sandra Thomas will be flummoxed.  Congress will socialize the losses once again.  And populace rage will be channeled into some new Occupy Wall Street movement.  Then things will really get ugly. These – and many more – are the upshots of the new housing bubble fiasco. Tyler Durden Sat, 12/04/2021 - 09:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 4th, 2021

Pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood shared a screenshot on Telegram that he says proves Tucker Carlson and Hunter Biden have a "buddy-buddy" relationship

Wood's unredacted and unverified screenshots, posted to Telegram, appear to show Carlson thanking Biden for penning a college reference letter for his son Buckley. Pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood (middle) made a bombshell info-drop on Thursday, releasing a screenshot which he claims is proof that Tucker Carlson (left) and Hunter Biden (right) have a "buddy buddy" relationship behind the scenes.Janos Kummer/Getty Images; Ben Margot/AP Photo; Handout/DNCC via Getty Images Wood posted a screenshot that appears to show a friendship between Tucker Carlson and Hunter Biden.   In a separate Telegram message, Wood claimed Carlson and Biden have a "buddy-buddy" relationship. The screenshot has not been independently verified by Carlson or Biden.  Trump-allied lawyer Lin Wood claims that Fox host Tucker Carlson and Hunter Biden have a "buddy-buddy" relationship and posted what he claims is a conversation between the two as proof. While it's unclear who originally posted the email exchange between Biden and Carlson, Wood uploaded the unredacted and unverified screenshot to his Telegram channel on Thursday night, which appears to detail a chain of emails between Biden and Carlson from November 2014.Neither Carlson nor Biden have confirmed the authenticity of the messages. In the exchange, Carlson appears to thank Biden for penning a reference letter to Georgetown University — which Biden attended — for his son, Buckley. "Hunter! I can't thank you enough for writing that letter to Georgetown on Buckley's behalf. So nice of you. I know it'll help," read a message that, per the screenshot, appeared to be sent from Carlson's personal Gmail account on November 12, 2014. "Hope you're great and we can all get dinner soon. Tucker," the email continued. Wood's screenshot of the email chain also shows what appears to be a response from Biden a day later, which read: "Hey buddy — I need Buckley's CV if you have one handy. Thanks." To that message, Carlson appears to respond: "Of course. Getting on a plane now but I'll ask Susie to send it right away. Thanks again. It's really nice of you to do this." Buckley Carlson did not go to Georgetown University, but instead studied government and political science at the University of Virginia and graduated in 2019.However, Carlson's behind-the-scenes friendliness with Biden does not appear to gel with statements he has made about the latter. In April of this year, Carlson made the baseless claim that Biden watches child pornography. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Carlson also launched attacks on Biden, calling the president's son a "fallen man."It is unclear where Wood received such a screenshot, and he did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Carlson and Biden's representatives have also been contacted for comment. In Wood's Telegram message chain, he appeared to attribute the revealing of the screenshot to his prior threats to sue Carlson, who he this week accused of being part of an extensive deep-state operation. "Oh, and when I sue Tucker Carlson and Fox and take Old Tucker Boy's sworn testimony upon cross examination, I will be sure to ask him ALL about his 'buddy-buddy' relationship of years with HUNTER BIDEN!!!" Wood wrote on Telegram on Thursday. "Wonder if Tucker will be a 'ghost' no show for his deposition like some other false accusers have been in recent months. Some people hate to face the truth. Especially under penalty of perjury," Wood wrote. "Watch it happen. I will keep you posted!!!"Wood has been increasingly embroiled in a war with other far-right figures over the last weeks. Last month, Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old acquitted of first-degree homicide in the Kenosha shootings, sat down for an interview with Carlson and blasted Wood, claiming that the lawyer purposefully kept him in jail for months. Wood this week also hit out at "Stop the Steal," accusing the pro-Trump cause — known for pushing the former president's baseless election fraud claims — of being a deep-state campaign. Separately, Wood has been feuding with Georgia lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene, telling Insider in October that he and Greene were no longer "aligned" in trying to overturn the 2020 election results.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Party City consolidates tri-state operation with 200,000 s/f HQ move from NY to NJ

Signature Acquisitions has signed a full-building lease with Party City Holdings, Inc. at 100 Tice Boulevard, a 208,911 s/f Class-A office building in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The building will become Party City’s new global headquarters beginning in 2022. Ben Brenner of Cushman & Wakefield and Harlan Hollander of Savills represented... The post Party City consolidates tri-state operation with 200,000 s/f HQ move from NY to NJ appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Signature Acquisitions has signed a full-building lease with Party City Holdings, Inc. at 100 Tice Boulevard, a 208,911 s/f Class-A office building in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The building will become Party City’s new global headquarters beginning in 2022. Ben Brenner of Cushman & Wakefield and Harlan Hollander of Savills represented Party City and Joe Sarno, Sr., Jon Meisel and Jeff Babikian of CBRE represented Signature Acquisitions in the transaction. Originally founded in East Hanover, N.J. Party City is the largest retailer of party goods in the United States, Canada and Mexico. For many years, the company’s headquarters operations were spread across two offices in Rockaway and Elmsford, N.Y. As the company sought to consolidate its headquarters operations, Woodcliff Lake and the surrounding Upper Parkway submarket’s strong underlying fundamentals made it stand out among competing areas in N.J. and N.Y. 100 TICE BOULEVARD Historically home to many Fortune 500 companies and currently housing headquarters locations for KPMG, BMW and Benjamin Moore as well as a diverse slate of residential, retail and entertainment options, the area is quickly emerging as one New Jersey’s most in-demand mixed-use submarkets. With its move to 100 Tice Boulevard, Party City will be able to move its headquarters to one location in the Tri-State area and tap into the dynamism of the surrounding area as it looks to attract and retain top talent in the years ahead.  Located less than one mile from the Garden State Parkway and five miles from Interstates 87 and 287 in the prestigious borough of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., 100 Tice Boulevard is a three-story, 208,911 s/f Class-A office building that was acquired by Signature Acquisitions in 2019. The building’s proximity to the N.J./N.Y. border provides the company’s current employees with added convenience and accessibility while expanding its reach to attract additional top talent. Party City will take advantage of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA) Emerge program award to fund major capital improvements at the building that will create a collaborative workplace geared to the needs of the growing company and its employee base.  The Emerge Program awards are calculated on an annual per job basis, with base credits for new jobs ranging between $500-$4,000 per job depending on project location and other aspects of the project. “Our focus on acquiring best-in-class suburban office spaces and maintaining them to the highest standards has consistently created one-of-a-kind corporate destinations geared towards the needs of companies today,” said Rich Travaglini, Senior Vice President/Director of Leasing for Signature Acquisitions. “Party City’s return to New Jersey exemplifies our portfolio’s continued deep appeal to a wide range of companies hoping to tap into all that makes the Tri-State area unique. We welcome Party City back to Garden State and we look forward to working with them to create a dynamic workplace that will foster the collaboration and creativity necessary for continued growth.” The post Party City consolidates tri-state operation with 200,000 s/f HQ move from NY to NJ appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyDec 2nd, 2021

D.R. Horton wins $83.5M land auction near Taiwan Semiconductor site in Phoenix

With deep pockets, this publicly-traded homebuilder has been ferociously gobbling up state land around Phoenix. This time, the homebuilder was the successful bidder for land near the new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. plant in north Phoenix......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 1st, 2021

Here are the winner and the 5 finalists for the 2021 Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious book awards

Need more books to add to your reading list? The 2021 Booker Prize winner — and shortlist finalists — are great additions. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.2021's Booker Prize recipient is "The Promise" by Damon Galgut. Keep reading below to see all of this year's finalists.Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider This year's Booker Prize recipient is "The Promise" by Damon Galgut. Below, you'll find the 6 books on the Booker shortlist, and the original Booker Prize longlist here. Need more book recommendations? Find the National Book Award shortlist here. After months of reading and rereading submissions, the Booker Prize Foundation awarded Damon Galgut's "The Promise" — which dissects the downfall of a white South African family — the prestigious 2021 Booker Prize. The Booker Prize's six 2021 finalists (listed below) included poet Patricia Lockwood, whose fragmentary debut novel, "No One Is Talking About This," is partially written in internet lingo (we're fans); Nadifa Mohamed, whose book "The Fortune Men" follows a man in danger of being wrongfully convicted of murder in Wales; and Anuk Arudpragasam, whose novel "A Passage North" examines human longing against the backdrop of Sri Lanka's 30-year civil war.  Some of the buzziest titles of the year made the longlist and not the shortlist, such as "Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro, a former recipient of both the Booker and Nobel Prize.The winner and shortlist finalists of the 2021 Booker Prize:Descriptions provided by Amazon and edited for length and clarity. Winner: "The Promise" by Damon GalgutAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23"The Promise" charts the crash and burn of a white South African family living on a farm outside Pretoria. The Swarts are gathering for Ma's funeral. The younger generation, Anton and Amor, detest everything the family stands for — not least the failed promise to the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. After years of service, Salome was promised her own house, her own land... yet somehow, as each decade passes, that promise remains unfulfilled.The narrator's eye shifts and blinks — moving fluidly between characters, flying into their dreams — deliciously lethal in its observation. And as the country moves from old deep divisions to its new so-called fairer society, the lost promise of more than just one family hovers behind the novel's title."A Passage North" by Anuk ArudpragasamAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.99"A Passage North" begins with a message from out of the blue: a telephone call informing Krishan that his grandmother's caretaker, Rani, has died under unexpected circumstances — found at the bottom of a well in her village in the north, her neck broken by the fall. The news arrives on the heels of an email from Anjum, an impassioned yet aloof activist Krishnan fell in love with years before while living in Delhi, stirring old memories and desires from a world he left behind. As Krishan makes the long journey by train from Colombo into the war-torn Northern Province for Rani's funeral, so begins an astonishing passage into the innermost reaches of a country. At once a powerful meditation on absence and longing, as well as an unsparing account of the legacy of Sri Lanka's 30-year civil war, this procession to a pyre "at the end of the earth" lays bare the imprints of an island's past, the unattainable distances between who we are and what we seek.Written with precision and grace, Arudpragasam's masterful novel is an attempt to come to terms with life in the wake of devastation, and a poignant memorial for those lost and those still alive."No One Is Talking About This" by Patricia LockwoodAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.89As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. She is overwhelmed by navigating the new language and etiquette of what she terms "the portal," where she grapples with an unshakable conviction that a vast chorus of voices is now dictating her thoughts. When existential threats — from climate change and economic precariousness to the rise of an unnamed dictator and an epidemic of loneliness — begin to loom, she posts her way deeper into the portal's void. Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: "Something has gone wrong," and "How soon can you get here?" As real life and its stakes collide with the increasingly absurd antics of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy, and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary.Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, "No One Is Talking About This" is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature."The Fortune Men" by Nadifa MohamedAmazonAvailable on Amazon from $14.99Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen, and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, some-time petty thief. He is many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer. So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed, and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. It is true that he has been getting into trouble more often since his Welsh wife Laura left him. But Mahmood is secure in his innocence in a country where, he thinks, justice is served.It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of freedom dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a terrifying fight for his life — against conspiracy, prejudice, and the inhumanity of the state. And, under the shadow of the hangman's noose, he begins to realize that the truth may not be enough to save him."Bewilderment" by Richard PowersAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $22.49The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He's also about to be expelled from third grade for smashing his friend in the face. As his son grows more troubled, Theo hopes to keep him off psychoactive drugs. He learns of an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster Robin's emotional control, one that involves training the boy on the recorded patterns of his mother's brain.With its soaring descriptions of the natural world, its tantalizing vision of life beyond, and its account of a father and son's ferocious love, "Bewilderment" marks Richard Powers' most intimate and moving novel. At its heart lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet?"Great Circle" by Maggie ShipsteadAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There — after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in biplanes — Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At 14, she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian's own story, as the two women's fates — and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times — collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, "Great Circle" is a monumental work of art and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021

"Perfect Storm"

"Perfect Storm" Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone.” Did you feel markets judder when Powell spoke? The mood has changed as markets wake up to the danger Central Banks might just start doing their jobs. As Winter begins, Europe faces a bleak energy crisis of its own making. My solution? Buy a generator! Today marks the first day of meteorological winter, and the first day of Advent – which means its ok to quietly hum Christmas songs in the office, although the Lapland convention on Christmas dictates loud Xmas jumpers remain verboten till after the ides of the month. As your December First advent surprise from the virtual Blain’s Morning Porridge Advent Calendar, enjoy this virtual Tunnocks Caramel Wafer – Scotland’s National Biscuit.. Mmmmm, they’re delicious… Lots to talk about this morning as Powell shifts the rules, bond markets get the heebie-jeebies, transitory inflation is consigned to junkpile, and markets wake up to the threat Central Banks might just start doing their jobs… A deep judder just ran down the spine of the market…. But first… It’s the first day of winter, and surprisingly in this year of climate noise, extreme events and erratic weather patterns, its 0.4 degrees colder than the average of the last decade. That, of course is terrible news for the whole of Europe. The outlook from the UK Met Office is for a wet and windy early December with possible wintery spells, before it becomes more settled around Christmas with fog and frost. Again, terrible news.. (We pay attention to the Met Office because grousing about the weather is about the UK’s only definable social skill, and the Met Office has got the biggest computers…) Why such bad news? Cold winter days mean increased energy demand… Gas prices have never been so high, supply has never been so limited, and the sources of power are looking strained. I’ve been checking out the prices of generators – they are not cheap (even more so if you want them to cut in automatically), but they are distinctly preferable to the prospect of freezing to death through the festive jollities.. The big problem for Europe this year has been Wind. Governments have bet the shop on Wind as the simple, reliable, dependable, cheap source of renewable power over the last decade. We’ve seen our mountains sprout forests of turbines, and our oceans are now jagged with wind generators. Problem is… Europe has had a very unwindy year. Some estimates are 60% less wind than normal. I’ve experienced that personally sailing this year – half a dozen regatta days where racing has been abandoned due to zero wind. Boats trying to race across the Atlantic in the “Transat” race have found little or no wind. And if it has not been “light and sh*te” as sailors say, it’s been blowing “Half-Pelicans” (apparently a Danish expression), or “dogs off chains”. Storm Arwen last week caused spectacular damage across the UK, but produced limited power – wind generators can’t cope with storms. It means Europe is going to suffer a serious energy crisis this winter. We’ve nobody to blame but ourselves. The politicians will blame Putin for using Europe’s energy crisis to threaten us, but who allowed Europe’s energy sovereignty to get to this perilous stage? The UK once held a massive Gas stockpile – but the largest facility at Rough in the North Sea was allowed to run down and close on the basis it would be cheaper not to repair it, and secure spot supplies on the global gas market. Do you feel an “doh” moment coming on? UK Govt minister Kwasi Kwarteng recently said he has no concerns about blackouts this winter – 50% of our needs come from domestic production, and 30% from Norway. When a minister says our energy supplies are secure.. well that’s why I’m buying a generator and a week’s supply of Diesel to run it. Basically, the UK has a strategic gas reserve on hand of a couple of days. If things get dicey this winter.. that generator will look a really smart idea. Across Europe Gas reserves are around 70% of normal levels. Spot demand will depend entirely how Russia plays. Putin doesn’t need Europe to buy – he’s got a ready market in China (where state industries and power companies have been specifically instructed to secure energy supplies of gas and oil at “any cost”.) Of course… if governments had woken up and smelt the coffee a few decades ago.. we’d now have modern Nuclear power stations on line – taking our base energy level up into the 60% non-fossil range. We’d have the luxury of unreliable renewables like Wind and Solar providing maybe 10% base load, and be reaping the rewards of years of development into reliable renewables like efficient heat pumps, tidal and hydro power and geothermal. We’d have a vibrant coal mining sector, producing the best metallurgical coal on the planet to make the premium steels that would be used to re-infrastucture our energy rich economy, and to build the next generation of fusion reactors.. We’d have invested in a diverse range of non-fossil, renewable power to ensure the resilience of the economy. Gas and oil power would be a memory… STOP.. NO MORE DREAMING. The die is cast. It’s going to be a cold, miserable winter… Meanwhile.. back in the USA Jay Powell has dumped “transitory”. Inflation is expect to linger into “next year”. I am sending him one of my coveted “No Sh*t Sherlock” awards. His response will be a Hawkish early taper/reduction of the asset-purchase programme, which will be announced at the Dec 14-15 Fed Meeting. Surging inflation, the new Omicron variant threat, higher rates and central banks waking up to reality – no wonder markets cratered yesterday. Reality sucks and it bites. Witness carnage in bonds yesterday and illiquidity as markets went offered only. Its only just beginning – bond traders will be weighing up increased credit risks stemming from higher debt costs, the prospects of a renewed economic shut down on the Omicron variant, sustained supply chain dislocation, and falling corporate earnings as taxes and rates rise..  When bonds crash… in Bonds there is Truth.. “Perfect storm” is a massively overused metaphor, but this might be it coming. Watch this space. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 09:31.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Watch Live: Powell, Yellen Return To Capitol Hill For 2nd Day Of CARES Act Testimony

Watch Live: Powell, Yellen Return To Capitol Hill For 2nd Day Of CARES Act Testimony Newly re-nominated Fed Chairman Jerome Powell surprised markets on Tuesday when he affirmed that it was "time to retire" the word "transitory" while also conceding that he and his fellow senior Fed policymakers would consider ending the central bank's monthly asset purchases a few months sooner than previously believed. Powell's comments during the Q&A overshadowed virtually every other aspect of yesterday's CARES Act testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, where Powell was joined by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Today, the Treasury head and Fed chief will join the House Financial Services Committee for the second part of the testimony mandated by the COVID bailout law signed by President Trump during the spring of 2020. Just like yesterday's testimony, the hearing is set to begin at 1000ET. The committee is led by Chairwoman Maxine Waters, the prickly House Dem from LA who made headlines for clashing with Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin during his routine appearances before her committee. As the world waits to hear more from President Biden about the US's new strategy for curbing omicron, readers can hear more about the Fed's and the Treasury's plans for handling omicron, as well as the Treasury's hopes for raising the debt ceiling before it runs out of dollars, below: Their prepared testimony can be found below. First, Yellen's prepared remarks. Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Toomey, members of the Committee: It is a pleasure to testify today. November has been a very significant month for our economy, and Congress is a large part of the reason why. Our economy has needed updated roads, ports, and broadband networks for many years now, and I am very grateful that on the night of November 5, members of both parties came together to pass the largest infrastructure package in American history. November 5th, it turned out, was a particularly consequential day because earlier that morning we received a very favorable jobs report– 531,000 jobs added. It’s never wise to make too much of one piece of economic data, but in this case, it was an addition to a mounting body of evidence that points to a clear conclusion: Our economic recovery is on track. We’re averaging half a million new jobs per month since January. GDP now exceeds its pre-pandemic levels. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, and our economy is on pace to reach full employment two years faster than the Congressional Budget Office had estimated. Of course, the progress of our economic recovery can’t be separated from our progress against the pandemic, and I know that we’re all following the news about the Omicron variant. As the President said yesterday, we’re still waiting for more data, but what remains true is that our best protection against the virus is the vaccine. People should get vaccinated and boosted. At this point, I am confident that our recovery remains strong and is even quite remarkable when put it in context. We should not forget that last winter, there was a risk that our economy was going to slip into a prolonged recession, and there is an alternate reality where, right now, millions more people cannot find a job or are losing the roofs over their heads. It’s clear that what has separated us from that counterfactual are the bold relief measures Congress has enacted during the crisis: the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act. And it is not just the passage of these laws that has made the difference, but their effective implementation. Treasury, as you know, was tasked with administering a large portion of the relief funds provided by Congress under those bills. During our last quarterly hearing, I spoke extensively about the state and local relief program, but I wanted to update you on some other measures. First, the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit has been sent out every month since July, putting about $77 billion in the pockets of families of more than 61 million children. Families are using these funds for essential needs like food, and in fact, according to the Census Bureau, food insecurity among families with children dropped 24 percent after the July payments, which is a profound economic and moral victory for the country. Meanwhile, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has significantly expanded, providing muchneeded assistance to over 2 million households. This assistance has helped keep eviction rates below prepandemic levels. This month, we also released guidelines for the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative program, which will provide targeted lending and investments that will help small businesses grow and create well-paying jobs. As consequential as November was, December promises to be more so. There are two decisions facing Congress that could send our economy in very different directions. The first is the debt limit. I cannot overstate how critical it is that Congress address this issue. America must pay its bills on time and in full. If we do not, we will eviscerate our current recovery. In a matter of days, the majority of Americans would suffer financial pain as critical payments, like Social Security checks and military paychecks, would not reach their bank accounts, and that would likely be followed by a deep recession. The second action involves the Build Back Better legislation. I applaud the House for passing the bill and am hopeful that the Senate will soon follow. Build Back Better is the right economic decision for many reasons. It will, for example, end the childcare crisis in this country, letting parents return to work. These investments, we expect, will lead to a GDP increase over the long-term without increasing the national debt or deficit by a dollar. In fact, the offsets in these bills mean they actually reduce annual deficits over time. Thanks to your work, we’ve ensured that America will recover from this pandemic. Now, with this bill, we have the chance to ensure America thrives in a post-pandemic world. With that, I’m happy to take your questions. And Powell's: Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Toomey, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. The economy has continued to strengthen. The rise in Delta variant cases temporarily slowed progress this past summer, restraining previously rapid growth in household and business spending, intensifying supply chain disruptions, and, in some cases, keeping people from returning to work or looking for a job. Fiscal and monetary policy and the healthy financial positions of households and businesses continue to support aggregate demand. Recent data suggest that the post-September decline in cases corresponded to a pickup in economic growth. Gross domestic product appears on track to grow about 5 percent in 2021, the fastest pace in many years. As with overall economic activity, conditions in the labor market have continued to improve. The Delta variant contributed to slower job growth this summer, as factors related to the pandemic, such as caregiving needs and fears of the virus, kept some people out of the labor force despite strong demand for workers. Nonetheless, October saw job growth of 531,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, indicating a rebound in the pace of labor market improvement. There is still ground to cover to reach maximum employment for both employment and labor force participation, and we expect progress to continue. The economic downturn has not fallen equally, and those least able to shoulder the burden have been the hardest hit. In particular, despite progress, joblessness continues to fall disproportionately on African Americans and Hispanics. Pandemic-related supply and demand imbalances have contributed to notable price increases in some areas. Supply chain problems have made it difficult for producers to meet strong demand, particularly for goods. Increases in energy prices and rents are also pushing inflation upward. As a result, overall inflation is running well above our 2 percent longer-run goal, with the price index for personal consumption expenditures up 5 percent over the 12 months ending in October. Most forecasters, including at the Fed, continue to expect that inflation will move down significantly over the next year as supply and demand imbalances abate. It is difficult to predict the persistence and effects of supply constraints, but it now appears that factors pushing inflation upward will linger well into next year. In addition, with the rapid improvement in the labor market, slack is diminishing, and wages are rising at a brisk pace. We understand that high inflation imposes significant burdens, especially on those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation. We are committed to our price-stability goal. We will use our tools both to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched. The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation. Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people's willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions. To conclude, we understand that our actions affect communities, families, and businesses across the country. Everything we do is in service to our public mission. We at the Fed will do everything we can to support a full recovery in employment and achieve our price-stability goal. Thank you. I look forward to your questions. The big question now: will Powell sound dovish, or hawkish, under questioning? What's more, investors should be on the lookout for Yellen's comments on the debt ceiling - particularly anything she says about the timing for when the Treasury might run out of funds. Fed watchers will be on the lookout for any more clues about the Fed's thinking on the pace of tightening monetary policy by shrinking its balance sheet and raising interest rates  Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 09:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Warmongers Would Let Ukraine Become World War III

Warmongers Would Let Ukraine Become World War III Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog, They just won't let it go. It seems many of the so-called "warmongers" are hellbent on turning Ukraine into a major war whether the countries involved want it or not. History shows what has become known as "proxy wars" create profits for companies manufacturing weapons. The cost, of course, is then pawned off on taxpayers and a public preoccupied with personal concerns. Such talk of war is probably viewed as a blessing by President Biden and a White House that has been battered with bad press. The proof that Ukraine is unlikely to go quietly into the night is reinforced by a slew of news stories over the last few days. It includes items such as the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is warning of "unusual Russian military activity" near the nation's borders and in the annexed peninsula of Crimea or that Canada is now considering larger deployments to Ukraine. Nothing ramps up the hype like the headline, "Ukraine fears that Russia may be preparing to invade." Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine's defense intelligence agency, said last weekend. He went on to say that Russia had more than 92,000 troops amassed at the border and could attack as early as the end of January. In reaction, not only is Canada looking at deploying hundreds of additional troops to support the Canadian soldiers already in Ukraine on a training mission, it is considering redeploying some of the CF-18 fighter jets currently based in Romania. NATO Has Slowly Expanded Towards Russia I stand with those arguing this has little to do with Russia taking over the world or Ukraine's national sovereignty. It is about money, energy, and power. Several years ago I wrote a piece that urged America to stay out of a war in Ukraine. It also warned of the major advantage Putin held by having a huge well-armed army just across the Ukrainian border and that any army cobbled together to face him would most likely be unenthusiastic and politically troubled. Another reason provoking Russia is a horrible idea is that it creates the potential the current "minor skirmish" could explode into World War III with nuclear bombs entering the mix. When President Obama was in office he pulled out all the stops to paint Putin with a brush dipped in all the bad colors. Every Sunday in interview after interview Washington experts were paraded across the screens of the talk shows denouncing Putin as a "thug and a bully." This description of the former KGB officer is so ingrained in their repertoire that they seldom describe him in any other terms unless it is to add the words "dangerous or menace" to highlight the fact we should all be afraid. Clearly, the U.S. establishment loathes Putin and constantly paints him as an aggressor, a tyrant, and a killer that invaded and occupied Crimea. The fact is, it is NATO that has slowly been expanding towards Russia since Putin took power in late 1999.  In 1999, Russia was defenseless, bankrupt, and being carved up by a group stealing its resources in collusion with America. Putin changed that and resurrected the crumbling empire once again into a nation-state with coherence and purpose. Putin is credited with halting the theft of his country’s wealth by the plutocracy and restoring Russia's military strength. Putin's biggest sin may be that with blunt rhetoric he refused to accept for Russia a subservient role in an American-run world under a system drawn up by foreign politicians and business leaders. The fact is many Russians credit him with saving Russia. Today, after two decades in power, Putin’s approval rating exceeds that of many Western leaders. Ukrainian Soldiers Killed In An Unwinnable War Reports from the front in Ukraine are often buried or hidden from public view but they appear to confirm that Ukrainian troops are being sent into a meat grinder.  Putting more weapons into the hands of those unmotivated to fight for their corrupt state is merely adding fuel to this fire and doing more harm than good. Again, remember Ukraine is a financially failed state and while we can point to its potential, its massive oil and gas reserves by all rights should belong to the Ukrainian people. The IMF, however, points out that Kiev needs billions in loans and grants just to stabilize its economy after more than twenty years of massive levels of corruption. This debt and the deep, deep hole Ukraine dug itself into after a series of bad governments ran the country after it became independent of the Soviet Union. The euro-zone currently faces a lot of problems without jumping into a proxy war against rebels in Ukraine. I use the term proxy because without the money and backing of outsiders things would most likely go quiet. The failed and bankrupt country of Ukraine would most likely break into two parts with the eastern half and its people who share strong ties with Russia aligning itself with that country and Kiev, and the western-oriented portion of the country drifting towards stronger ties to the euro-zone. What is the big problem with such a solution? A great deal if you ask those in Washington that are pushing for more intervention in Ukraine. As to what motivates their desire to turn the area into a giant killing field several possibilities exist but it is mostly money and profit. War In Ukraine Is About Money, Energy, And Power! Foreign policy has often been used as a tool to advance national interest which is often dictated by economics. When it comes to the economy, energy is often considered the blood from which all strength flows and in the case of Europe the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline designed to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany remains a bone of contention. Several European countries see the pipeline as being designed to increase their energy reliance on Moscow. Those opposed to the pipeline continue to argue that "Gazprom" is not only a gas company but a platform for Russian coercion and another tool for Russia to pressure European countries. Under a provision in the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the U.S. State Department has even threatened European corporations with ties to the pipeline on the grounds that "the project undermines energy security in Europe". To confuse the issue and muddy the waters great efforts have been made at high levels by those advocating military action to paint Russia as an aggressor. These forces aided by the media continue to link Russia's move into the majority ethnic-Russian Crimea region as a violation of Ukraine's sovereign border. The whole argument of sovereign borders is a little gem promoted by those in power, these borders are a creation of man and not visible to the birds flying above. This is an argument of convenience that masks deeper issues and the difference between "terrorist" and "freedom fighters" often depends on a person's point of view. In this case, it is clearly the new American-backed government in Kiev that is pushing to bring the eastern part of Ukraine back into the fold. Adding Ukraine to NATO and the EU is a long-held dream of neocons like Victoria Nuland and neoliberals like Biden. This is also important to those supporting the World Economic Forum’s desire to expand the EU and encircle Russia.  Putin has long been a thorn in the side of the NWO gang. After entering office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed Decree No. 117/2021 activating the Ukraine Army to recapture and re-unify with Ukraine, the autonomous region of Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol. This was in total conflict with his promise to end the now nearly seven-year-long war in eastern Ukraine that played a central role in his election in 2019. This indicates Zelensky has continued to subordinate his government’s policies to the US and NATO.   What this boils down to is that American companies want to sell and supply Europe with Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and they seem willing to start a war to make it happen. Whether it is for profit or to minimize the threat of natural gas shipments to Europe being cut off and used as a key weapon in Russia’s political arsenal we cannot ignore the idea more is at play here than just doing the "right thing".  Many people in the "Tin Foil Hat" community have gone so far as to indicate they feel that America and elements of the CIA were involved or had a part in the overthrow of the former corrupt Ukraine government and its replacement with another corrupt but more pro Europe regime. At the time even America's Vice President, Joe Biden, saw his son join the board of a private Ukrainian oil and natural gas company. We should assume not only those involved in selling energy to Europe will profit from stopping the flow of energy from Russia but also the military-industrial complex stands to gain.Without a war, the odds of U.S. LNG significantly displacing Russian natural gas shipped by pipeline are slim. Piped gas sells at a large discount to LNG, which must be cooled to liquid form, shipped overseas, and turned back into its gaseous form. Poland recently received its first shipment of U.S. LNG last month from what is currently the only export facility in the lower 48 states. While LNG trade between the United States and Europe would help reduce the U.S. trade deficit it also stands to improve energy security among the European countries by giving them an alternative to Russian gas.  Still, it is not a cure-all, Russia can easily cut prices and adjust terms to maintain its dominant position in the European gas market and European countries are likely to continue buying most of their gas from the lowest-cost supplier. Bottom-line, Russia has traditionally been the major supplier of European gas. But it charges high prices, often in the form of long-term contracts linked to the price of oil. The overwhelming dependence on Russian gas leaves European countries from a national security standpoint vulnerable to a cutoff of crucial natural gas supplies.  This would be devastating to their economies at any time but even more so in the depths of winter. For these reasons, it makes sense for Europe to consider alternative supplies and open its doors to U.S. LNG. Regardless of the politics at play, danger lurks from flooding Ukraine with weapons, and using the people of Ukraine as pawns in this high-stakes game violates all standards of human decency. Americans should also be aware that our current policy drives Russia towards the East and into the open arms of China. This creates even more problems long-term than it solves short-term and borders on the edge of insanity. Upping tensions in the area is the fact the Kerch Strait Bridge, also known as the Crimean Bridge, is now a target that Russia will make every effort to protect. Comprised of a pair of Russian-constructed parallel bridges it spans the Strait of Kerch between the Taman Peninsula and the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea. The bridge complex provides for both road and rail traffic and has a length of 19 km. This makes it the longest bridge Russia has ever built. The war in Ukraine has not developed organically but appears to be the product of meddling. It could be argued that Biden is pushing for more military action to cover up the corruption and sins of his family that occurred in Ukraine. Mercenaries and money from America appear to be backing and propping up Kiev with America acting as the "champion" for this failed bankrupt country.  The best way for the West and Kiev to prove they are on the right path is by letting the eastern part of the country secede and then making Kiev a center of economic and democratic success.  Since the latest ceasefire agreement in the war in Donbas was implemented in July 2020, it appears the situation has not grown worse. This indicates rocking the boat is a bad idea. We can only hope those monitoring the recent events in Ukraine saying this will someday be looked back upon as the beginning of World War III are wrong. Some war game players have indicated that China could use a larger war in Ukraine to rapidly move on Taiwan. After our experiences in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, I'm forced to wonder what these fools are getting us into? *  *  * Footnote; The following link takes you to a YouTube video of what is labeled "Insane Ukraine Fighting." It is roughly an hour of idiots firing in the air and wasting ammo, and that is the current war. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Calls on NAR to Remove Member for Alleged Hate Speech

The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is asking the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the Montana Association of REALTORS®, the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® and Windermere Real Estate to disassociate themselves from a Missoula REALTOR® based on what it says are discriminatory actions. According to reports, the incident took place this past June when Missoula, Montana-area […] The post LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Calls on NAR to Remove Member for Alleged Hate Speech appeared first on RISMedia. The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is asking the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the Montana Association of REALTORS®, the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® and Windermere Real Estate to disassociate themselves from a Missoula REALTOR® based on what it says are discriminatory actions. According to reports, the incident took place this past June when Missoula, Montana-area pastor and part-time real estate agent Brandon Huber withdrew his church from a food-assistance program that distributed fliers promoting PRIDE week and LGBTQ rights, saying it was contrary to the church’s biblical doctrine. A member of the public later filed a complaint against Huber to the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® citing a violation of the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics. Since then, Huber, facing the ethics complaint for engaging in “hate speech,” has filed suit to void the REALTORS® ethics rule, saying it’s too vague to be enforced, and that it discriminates against Huber for exercising his religious beliefs. The lawsuit states Huber could be fined $5,000 by the REALTORS® group and barred from using its multiple listing service, making it virtually impossible for him to continue as an agent. The organization has ordered Huber to attend an ethics hearing, which is scheduled for Dec. 2. According to reports earlier this month, the organization was not commenting on the lawsuit. Regarding the complaint, Huber’s attorney, Matthew Monforton, stated, “The REALTORS®’ hate-speech rule is intended to purge Christians from the real estate business. If you are a Christian who believes the way that tens of millions of American Christians do that homosexuality is wrong, there is simply no way that you can participate as a REALTOR®, with the kind of hate-speech prohibition that exists.” He later told Billings-based radio station KBUL that “we need all hands on deck here. And…if we don’t stand up to this, the LGBT woke mafia is going to come after all of us.” In response, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Chief Executive Officer Ryan Weyandt and National President John Thorpe sent a letter on Nov. 17 to newly installed NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith regarding what it says is “Huber’s discriminatory actions and his attorney’s hateful comments against the LGBTQ+ community.” “While the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance greatly appreciates the ongoing support from NAR, numerous state, regional and local REALTOR® associations and the industry’s increasing work to welcome diversity, equity and inclusion, moments like these demand action,” Weyandt said in a statement. “The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance has an obligation to ensure that our community is protected from any forms of discrimination committed within the housing industry. It is our belief that Huber’s behavior, along with the comments from his attorney, should not be treated lightly and represent a clear violation of the Code of Ethics. They warrant Huber’s immediate removal as a REALTOR® and membership of all related REALTOR® groups. We have also encouraged Windermere Real Estate to end its affiliation with him.” Smith responded to Weyandt and Thorpe’s letter writing, in part: “The National Association of REALTORS® has a deep commitment to non-discrimination, and we take any alleged violation of the Code of Ethics very seriously. Article 10 in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of REALTORS®, and specifically Standard of Practice 10-5, is designed to achieve this commitment. “As you know, to uphold our aims, we rely on the National Association’s longstanding and well-established governance process for handling such allegations when a complaint has been filed. The authority to enforce the Code is specifically delegated to local and state REALTOR® associations acting through their Grievance Committee and Hearing Panels, who thoroughly review all such matters. In this case, the local association’s grievance committee initiated a hearing process based on the allegations. All hearings are held in a manner which is fair to all parties, and care is taken to ensure that the rights and interests of all parties are protected.” Weyandt, Thorpe and Smith pointed to NAR’s Code of Ethics, which governs approximately 1.5 million REALTORS® and has several passages that prohibit discrimination including: “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.” “REALTORS® must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs” against members of those protected classes.” “We have obviously supported NAR’s mission to remove discrimination for our industry,” Weyandt said. “It is a tall order yet NAR, with more than 1.5 million members, has the size, scope and stature to make a difference in our society. When a REALTOR® chooses to openly and repeatedly express negative views on the LGBTQ+ community, or any other diverse sector, we do not believe they should have the right to be a member. It’s that simple.” LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance launched in June 2020 and has grown to become one of the largest LGBTQ+ and ally trade groups in the nation with nearly 2,000 members. Stay tuned to RISMedia for updates. This is a developing story. The post LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance Calls on NAR to Remove Member for Alleged Hate Speech appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 30th, 2021

Powell, Yellen Weigh In On Omicron, Debt Ceiling During Senate CARES Act Testimony

Powell, Yellen Weigh In On Omicron, Debt Ceiling During Senate CARES Act Testimony With the new year just weeks away, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, part of routine testimony required by the CARES act. Just two weeks ago, investors could be forgiven for writing off Tuesday's testimony as a likely snoozefest now that Powell has been nominated for his second term as Fed chairman. But over the last week, the emergence of the omicron variant has (according to some) thrown the recovery timeline out of whack. After the release of Powell's prepared remarks last night, markets eagerly priced in a more dovish outlook at the Fed. But hours later, warnings from Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel sent markets back into turmoil, as investors struggled to decide who to trust more: the "science" (ie trial data which haven't yet been gathered or released), or the authoritative executives who have been talking their book this entire time (whether the market realizes that or not is unclear). In yet another indication of just how confused Wall Street has become, Deutsche Bank described Powell's prepared testimony as "hawkish", an assessment that we (and plenty of investors, judging by the market reaction) would strongly disagree with. Although DB specifies that the only hawkish aspects of Powell's statement pertained to inflation. We would agree with DB that nobody cares much about the pair's prepared remarks. The "real fireworks" - as DB put it - will likely land during the Q&A, where Powell and Yellen will be grilled by Senators of both parties. Fed Chair Powell set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 15:00 London time, where he may well be asked about whether the Fed plans to accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases although it’s hard to believe he’ll go too far with any guidance with the Omicron uncertainty. The Chair’s brief planned testimony was published on the Fed’s website last night. It struck a slightly more hawkish tone on inflation, noting that the Fed’s forecast was for elevated inflation to persist well into next year and recognition that high inflation imposes burdens on those least able to handle them. On omicron, the testimony predictably stated it posed risks that could slow the economy’s progress, but tellingly on the inflation front, it could intensify supply chain disruptions. The real fireworks will almost certainly come in the question and answer portion of the testimony. Keep in mind: regardless of what Moderna CEO Bancel says, only a tiny minority on Wall Street actually expect omicron to be a major issue a few weeks from now. In other news, concerns about the next debt ceiling fight, which will kick into high gear in the coming days, is already creating kinks in the US Treasury Bill Curve. But that still presents some difficulties for the central bank as it weighs whether to continue tapering asset purchases, as well as what it should signal regarding the pace of rate hikes. Read Yellen's prepared remarks, released Tuesday morning: Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Toomey, members of the Committee: It is a pleasure to testify today. November has been a very significant month for our economy, and Congress is a large part of the reason why. Our economy has needed updated roads, ports, and broadband networks for many years now, and I am very grateful that on the night of November 5, members of both parties came together to pass the largest infrastructure package in American history. November 5th, it turned out, was a particularly consequential day because earlier that morning we received a very favorable jobs report– 531,000 jobs added. It’s never wise to make too much of one piece of economic data, but in this case, it was an addition to a mounting body of evidence that points to a clear conclusion: Our economic recovery is on track. We’re averaging half a million new jobs per month since January. GDP now exceeds its pre-pandemic levels. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, and our economy is on pace to reach full employment two years faster than the Congressional Budget Office had estimated. Of course, the progress of our economic recovery can’t be separated from our progress against the pandemic, and I know that we’re all following the news about the Omicron variant. As the President said yesterday, we’re still waiting for more data, but what remains true is that our best protection against the virus is the vaccine. People should get vaccinated and boosted. At this point, I am confident that our recovery remains strong and is even quite remarkable when put it in context. We should not forget that last winter, there was a risk that our economy was going to slip into a prolonged recession, and there is an alternate reality where, right now, millions more people cannot find a job or are losing the roofs over their heads. It’s clear that what has separated us from that counterfactual are the bold relief measures Congress has enacted during the crisis: the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act. And it is not just the passage of these laws that has made the difference, but their effective implementation. Treasury, as you know, was tasked with administering a large portion of the relief funds provided by Congress under those bills. During our last quarterly hearing, I spoke extensively about the state and local relief program, but I wanted to update you on some other measures. First, the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit has been sent out every month since July, putting about $77 billion in the pockets of families of more than 61 million children. Families are using these funds for essential needs like food, and in fact, according to the Census Bureau, food insecurity among families with children dropped 24 percent after the July payments, which is a profound economic and moral victory for the country. Meanwhile, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has significantly expanded, providing muchneeded assistance to over 2 million households. This assistance has helped keep eviction rates below prepandemic levels. This month, we also released guidelines for the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative program, which will provide targeted lending and investments that will help small businesses grow and create well-paying jobs. As consequential as November was, December promises to be more so. There are two decisions facing Congress that could send our economy in very different directions. The first is the debt limit. I cannot overstate how critical it is that Congress address this issue. America must pay its bills on time and in full. If we do not, we will eviscerate our current recovery. In a matter of days, the majority of Americans would suffer financial pain as critical payments, like Social Security checks and military paychecks, would not reach their bank accounts, and that would likely be followed by a deep recession. The second action involves the Build Back Better legislation. I applaud the House for passing the bill and am hopeful that the Senate will soon follow. Build Back Better is the right economic decision for many reasons. It will, for example, end the childcare crisis in this country, letting parents return to work. These investments, we expect, will lead to a GDP increase over the long-term without increasing the national debt or deficit by a dollar. In fact, the offsets in these bills mean they actually reduce annual deficits over time. Thanks to your work, we’ve ensured that America will recover from this pandemic. Now, with this bill, we have the chance to ensure America thrives in a post-pandemic world. With that, I’m happy to take your questions. And readers can find Powell's prepared remarks, first released last night, below: Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Toomey, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. The economy has continued to strengthen. The rise in Delta variant cases temporarily slowed progress this past summer, restraining previously rapid growth in household and business spending, intensifying supply chain disruptions, and, in some cases, keeping people from returning to work or looking for a job. Fiscal and monetary policy and the healthy financial positions of households and businesses continue to support aggregate demand. Recent data suggest that the post-September decline in cases corresponded to a pickup in economic growth. Gross domestic product appears on track to grow about 5 percent in 2021, the fastest pace in many years. As with overall economic activity, conditions in the labor market have continued to improve. The Delta variant contributed to slower job growth this summer, as factors related to the pandemic, such as caregiving needs and fears of the virus, kept some people out of the labor force despite strong demand for workers. Nonetheless, October saw job growth of 531,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, indicating a rebound in the pace of labor market improvement. There is still ground to cover to reach maximum employment for both employment and labor force participation, and we expect progress to continue. The economic downturn has not fallen equally, and those least able to shoulder the burden have been the hardest hit. In particular, despite progress, joblessness continues to fall disproportionately on African Americans and Hispanics. Pandemic-related supply and demand imbalances have contributed to notable price increases in some areas. Supply chain problems have made it difficult for producers to meet strong demand, particularly for goods. Increases in energy prices and rents are also pushing inflation upward. As a result, overall inflation is running well above our 2 percent longer-run goal, with the price index for personal consumption expenditures up 5 percent over the 12 months ending in October. Most forecasters, including at the Fed, continue to expect that inflation will move down significantly over the next year as supply and demand imbalances abate. It is difficult to predict the persistence and effects of supply constraints, but it now appears that factors pushing inflation upward will linger well into next year. In addition, with the rapid improvement in the labor market, slack is diminishing, and wages are rising at a brisk pace. We understand that high inflation imposes significant burdens, especially on those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation. We are committed to our price-stability goal. We will use our tools both to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched. The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation. Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people's willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions. To conclude, we understand that our actions affect communities, families, and businesses across the country. Everything we do is in service to our public mission. We at the Fed will do everything we can to support a full recovery in employment and achieve our price-stability goal. Thank you. I look forward to your questions. The big question now: will Powell sound dovish, or hawkish, under questioning? What's more, investors should be on the lookout for Yellen's comments on the debt ceiling - particularly anything she says about the timing for when the Treasury might run out of funds. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:56.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Watch Live: Powell, Yellen Weigh In On Omicron, Debt Ceiling During Senate CARES Act Testimony

Watch Live: Powell, Yellen Weigh In On Omicron, Debt Ceiling During Senate CARES Act Testimony With the new year just weeks away, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, part of routine testimony required by the CARES act. Just two weeks ago, investors could be forgiven for writing off Tuesday's testimony as a likely snoozefest now that Powell has been nominated for his second term as Fed chairman. But over the last week, the emergence of the omicron variant has (according to some) thrown the recovery timeline out of whack. After the release of Powell's prepared remarks last night, markets eagerly priced in a more dovish outlook at the Fed. But hours later, warnings from Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel sent markets back into turmoil, as investors struggled to decide who to trust more: the "science" (ie trial data which haven't yet been gathered or released), or the authoritative executives who have been talking their book this entire time (whether the market realizes that or not is unclear). In yet another indication of just how confused Wall Street has become, Deutsche Bank described Powell's prepared testimony as "hawkish", an assessment that we (and plenty of investors, judging by the market reaction) would strongly disagree with. Although DB specifies that the only hawkish aspects of Powell's statement pertained to inflation. We would agree with DB that nobody cares much about the pair's prepared remarks. The "real fireworks" - as DB put it - will likely land during the Q&A, where Powell and Yellen will be grilled by Senators of both parties. Fed Chair Powell set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 15:00 London time, where he may well be asked about whether the Fed plans to accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases although it’s hard to believe he’ll go too far with any guidance with the Omicron uncertainty. The Chair’s brief planned testimony was published on the Fed’s website last night. It struck a slightly more hawkish tone on inflation, noting that the Fed’s forecast was for elevated inflation to persist well into next year and recognition that high inflation imposes burdens on those least able to handle them. On omicron, the testimony predictably stated it posed risks that could slow the economy’s progress, but tellingly on the inflation front, it could intensify supply chain disruptions. The real fireworks will almost certainly come in the question and answer portion of the testimony. Keep in mind: regardless of what Moderna CEO Bancel says, only a tiny minority on Wall Street actually expect omicron to be a major issue a few weeks from now. In other news, concerns about the next debt ceiling fight, which will kick into high gear in the coming days, is already creating kinks in the US Treasury Bill Curve. But that still presents some difficulties for the central bank as it weighs whether to continue tapering asset purchases, as well as what it should signal regarding the pace of rate hikes. Read Yellen's prepared remarks, released Tuesday morning: Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Toomey, members of the Committee: It is a pleasure to testify today. November has been a very significant month for our economy, and Congress is a large part of the reason why. Our economy has needed updated roads, ports, and broadband networks for many years now, and I am very grateful that on the night of November 5, members of both parties came together to pass the largest infrastructure package in American history. November 5th, it turned out, was a particularly consequential day because earlier that morning we received a very favorable jobs report– 531,000 jobs added. It’s never wise to make too much of one piece of economic data, but in this case, it was an addition to a mounting body of evidence that points to a clear conclusion: Our economic recovery is on track. We’re averaging half a million new jobs per month since January. GDP now exceeds its pre-pandemic levels. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, and our economy is on pace to reach full employment two years faster than the Congressional Budget Office had estimated. Of course, the progress of our economic recovery can’t be separated from our progress against the pandemic, and I know that we’re all following the news about the Omicron variant. As the President said yesterday, we’re still waiting for more data, but what remains true is that our best protection against the virus is the vaccine. People should get vaccinated and boosted. At this point, I am confident that our recovery remains strong and is even quite remarkable when put it in context. We should not forget that last winter, there was a risk that our economy was going to slip into a prolonged recession, and there is an alternate reality where, right now, millions more people cannot find a job or are losing the roofs over their heads. It’s clear that what has separated us from that counterfactual are the bold relief measures Congress has enacted during the crisis: the CARES Act, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, and the American Rescue Plan Act. And it is not just the passage of these laws that has made the difference, but their effective implementation. Treasury, as you know, was tasked with administering a large portion of the relief funds provided by Congress under those bills. During our last quarterly hearing, I spoke extensively about the state and local relief program, but I wanted to update you on some other measures. First, the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit has been sent out every month since July, putting about $77 billion in the pockets of families of more than 61 million children. Families are using these funds for essential needs like food, and in fact, according to the Census Bureau, food insecurity among families with children dropped 24 percent after the July payments, which is a profound economic and moral victory for the country. Meanwhile, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has significantly expanded, providing muchneeded assistance to over 2 million households. This assistance has helped keep eviction rates below prepandemic levels. This month, we also released guidelines for the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative program, which will provide targeted lending and investments that will help small businesses grow and create well-paying jobs. As consequential as November was, December promises to be more so. There are two decisions facing Congress that could send our economy in very different directions. The first is the debt limit. I cannot overstate how critical it is that Congress address this issue. America must pay its bills on time and in full. If we do not, we will eviscerate our current recovery. In a matter of days, the majority of Americans would suffer financial pain as critical payments, like Social Security checks and military paychecks, would not reach their bank accounts, and that would likely be followed by a deep recession. The second action involves the Build Back Better legislation. I applaud the House for passing the bill and am hopeful that the Senate will soon follow. Build Back Better is the right economic decision for many reasons. It will, for example, end the childcare crisis in this country, letting parents return to work. These investments, we expect, will lead to a GDP increase over the long-term without increasing the national debt or deficit by a dollar. In fact, the offsets in these bills mean they actually reduce annual deficits over time. Thanks to your work, we’ve ensured that America will recover from this pandemic. Now, with this bill, we have the chance to ensure America thrives in a post-pandemic world. With that, I’m happy to take your questions. And readers can find Powell's prepared remarks, first released last night, below: Chairman Brown, Ranking Member Toomey, and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. The economy has continued to strengthen. The rise in Delta variant cases temporarily slowed progress this past summer, restraining previously rapid growth in household and business spending, intensifying supply chain disruptions, and, in some cases, keeping people from returning to work or looking for a job. Fiscal and monetary policy and the healthy financial positions of households and businesses continue to support aggregate demand. Recent data suggest that the post-September decline in cases corresponded to a pickup in economic growth. Gross domestic product appears on track to grow about 5 percent in 2021, the fastest pace in many years. As with overall economic activity, conditions in the labor market have continued to improve. The Delta variant contributed to slower job growth this summer, as factors related to the pandemic, such as caregiving needs and fears of the virus, kept some people out of the labor force despite strong demand for workers. Nonetheless, October saw job growth of 531,000, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, indicating a rebound in the pace of labor market improvement. There is still ground to cover to reach maximum employment for both employment and labor force participation, and we expect progress to continue. The economic downturn has not fallen equally, and those least able to shoulder the burden have been the hardest hit. In particular, despite progress, joblessness continues to fall disproportionately on African Americans and Hispanics. Pandemic-related supply and demand imbalances have contributed to notable price increases in some areas. Supply chain problems have made it difficult for producers to meet strong demand, particularly for goods. Increases in energy prices and rents are also pushing inflation upward. As a result, overall inflation is running well above our 2 percent longer-run goal, with the price index for personal consumption expenditures up 5 percent over the 12 months ending in October. Most forecasters, including at the Fed, continue to expect that inflation will move down significantly over the next year as supply and demand imbalances abate. It is difficult to predict the persistence and effects of supply constraints, but it now appears that factors pushing inflation upward will linger well into next year. In addition, with the rapid improvement in the labor market, slack is diminishing, and wages are rising at a brisk pace. We understand that high inflation imposes significant burdens, especially on those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation. We are committed to our price-stability goal. We will use our tools both to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched. The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation. Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people's willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions. To conclude, we understand that our actions affect communities, families, and businesses across the country. Everything we do is in service to our public mission. We at the Fed will do everything we can to support a full recovery in employment and achieve our price-stability goal. Thank you. I look forward to your questions. The big question now: will Powell sound dovish, or hawkish, under questioning? What's more, investors should be on the lookout for Yellen's comments on the debt ceiling - particularly anything she says about the timing for when the Treasury might run out of funds. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:56.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Teacher Unions, Parents Gird For 2022 Battles

Teacher Unions, Parents Gird For 2022 Battles Authored by Susan Crabtree via RealClearPolitics.com, Over the last year, school board meetings have become ground zero for the country’s culture wars as irate parents have showed up in droves to decry school COVID closures, mask mandates, and critical race theory, as well as transgender policies. After political analysts credited a parental uprising with helping Republican political newcomer Glenn Youngkin capture the Virginia governorship this month, these fights show no sign of easing. Both major political parties are already gearing up for next year’s midterm elections with Republicans sensing an advantage and Democrats digging in to defend beleaguered school boards, teacher unions, and the progressive policies they hold dear. This week, conservative parents and their supporters are expressing new outrage over news that the FBI is placing “threat tags” on individuals accused of harassing or trying to intimidate school board members and teachers. For months, disgruntled parents have angrily targeted school board trustees for recalls across the nation, regularly denouncing union control of the schools as the crux of the problem. Recall attempts against school board trustees have tripled in 2021, targeting at least 216 officials, according to Ballotpedia. But in at least one school district in Southern California, parents are warning their like-minded revolutionaries across the nation to be careful what they wish for and to get ready for a tough fight ahead. After gaining majority control of the local school board, they found themselves on the other side of the firing line with teacher unions vigorously targeting their trustee allies. A local affiliate of the California Teachers Association has spent months this year trying to wrest back control of the school board after some of its trustees successfully fought alongside parents to reopen schools earlier this year. The union’s actions, while flying below the national radar, were unusually aggressive.  They included spending up to $60,000 in union funds on a private firm to collect recall signatures against one trustee; successfully recalling the only African American on the board; and hiring a private investigator to follow the school board president home from meetings in an effort to challenge her residency within the district. Why is the union so focused on regaining control of this particular school board? For local parents, it’s no mystery. The answer is the ripple effect of pandemic politics. Frustrated by coronavirus lockdowns, a group of parents in North County San Diego founded an association and sued the state to overturn pandemic rules limiting the number of days of in-person learning or completely blocking some schools from reopening at all. In mid-March, San Diego Superior Court Judge Cynthia Freeland ruled in the association’s favor, prohibiting the state from enforcing its restrictions, which she agreed were “arbitrary,” interfered with school districts’ reopening plans for in-person instruction and denied children’s “fundamental right to basic education equality.” Moreover, in the absence of a contrary ruling by a higher court, the judge’s decision applied to the entire state, sending a clear message to the CTA (the biggest statewide union) and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration that their guidelines weren’t mandates and they must allow school districts to reopen more rapidly. The San Dieguito Union High School District, a high-performing area with 13,000 students and 600 teachers, had scheduled school re-openings for January 2021 but reversed course when the union sued in December to block that action. School board Trustee Michael Allman, who was elected to the board last fall, was the lone dissenting vote. Allman’s outspoken opposition won strong support from local parents organizing on a Facebook forum, a group that quickly grew to more than 2,000 supporters. Other board members, including President Maureen “Mo” Muir, had also started pushing back against COVID school closures. The San Dieguito Faculty Association, the local CTA affiliate, launched a recall campaign against Allman just five months into his four-year term. The union accused Allman, a former energy company executive, of violating the district’s code of conduct, charges he denies and that he believes arose from a public war of words over schools’ pandemic policies taking place on social media sites. The SDFA a few months ago gave itself permission to spend up to $60,000 hiring a private firm to gather 5,000 signatures needed to recall Allman. At least $14,500 of that came directly from the CTA. Yet, even with the private help, the union recently gave up and the recall failed to qualify. Allman had fought back, spending nearly all of his free time going door to door defending himself. He said he heard from supporters that recall signature gatherers were falsely accusing him of being under criminal investigation, among other “outlandish lies,” so he sent a cease-and-desist letter to SDFA President Duncan Brown. He says he’s still considering filing a defamation suit. “It’s hard to beat the unions. I prevailed because I have the support of parents who are speaking up like never before,” Allman said in an interview. “Put yourself in my shoes. Teachers are spreading lies about me in the community, so I went door-to-door with parents to say, ‘Hey, I’m a good guy, and I support parents.’” He says he had a roughly 50% conversion rate of area residents who said they had already signed the recall petition. (State rules allow for the rescinding of signatures.) But the SDFA, again with significant CTA help, successfully forced a special election for another seat on the school board, which was held by Ty Hume, the only African American member of the all-white panel. Hume, a businessman and openly declared independent, had been appointed after a union-backed trustee resigned earlier this year. Hume’s appointment gave non-union-aligned members a three-to-two majority on the board. The SDFA took issue with Hume’s appointment, arguing that voters should have had a say in his election. His opponents produced the necessary signatures to rescind the appointment and call a special election, costing the district up to $500,000 to hold. But the gambit worked: Hume was defeated by union-backed candidate Julie Bronstein, who out-fundraised him with donations from the SDFA, another public employee union, as well as the local congressman, Rep. Scott Peters. In a more bizarre twist, the same union hired a private investigator to follow Mo Muir home to see whether she was in fact living in the district she represented, as required by law. The private eye determined that the board president was renting out her home, which was up for sale, leading the local teacher union president to file a complaint with the district attorney. But Muir explained that she was spending time at the home of her elderly mother-in-law in Lake Tahoe during the height of the pandemic lockdowns. She sold her home but rented another within the district boundaries. The district attorney has yet to take any action; a spokeswoman said the office has a policy of declining to say whether it’s involved in an investigation. Brown declined an RCP interview request but provided a lengthy written statement, arguing that “democracy prevailed” because the union successfully ousted Hume, whom the board had appointed, and allowed residents to elect Bronstein, who won with nearly 60% of the vote. “While our efforts to recall Michael Allman did not result in activating a special election … we have been successful in highlighting Allman’s abuses of office to the broader community,” Brown said. He noted that the effort collected more than 4,000 signatures while thousands of other district residents “have been made aware of the dysfunction of our school board majority.” Brown didn’t respond to an RCP request to outline Allman’s “abuses of office” and whether he or anyone else in the union is responsible for the false information Allman says was circulating about him.  “SDFA will continue to stand for our students, our educators and our community,” he said. Area parents’ groups privately warn of a greater union backlash to come if reform groups successfully recall and replace school board trustees in large numbers across the country. Yet this is precisely what conservative groups are pledging to do nationally, although competing with the unions’ massive organization and deep pockets is a tall order for the newly energized patchwork of parents’ groups. A national group called 1776 Action, which promotes teaching children a traditional appreciation of America’s founding, is asking candidates and elected officials to sign a pledge calling for the restoration of an “honest, patriotic education.” The group is a conservative response to the New York Times’ 1619 project, which frames all of U.S. history through the prism of slavery. “2021 is really going to sort of be seen as kind of a canary in the coal mine of what’s coming down the pike next year and into the future,” Adam Waldeck, the group’s president, recently told the Associated Press. “This will be the year that I think primarily parents stand up and say, ‘You know, we have a voice, too.’ And I think it’s going to be overwhelming.” Kimberly Fletcher, the president and founder of Moms for America, another group organized to fight for school reopenings and against CRT and other liberal education policies, recently protested at the headquarters of the National School Boards Association in Alexandria, Va. Her organization, along with numerous other voices on the right, denounced a letter the NSBA sent to the Biden administration urging it to treat complaints aimed at school boards and teachers as possible acts of “domestic terrorism.” After a nationwide uproar, the group rescinded the letter and apologized to its members. Fletcher says she views the outsized role fed up parents played in the Virginia governor’s race as a “precursor of what’s to come” in the 2022 midterms. “I have been saying for years that the moment that moms find out what’s going on behind closed doors in our schools, there’s going to be a national revolt, and that’s exactly what’s going on,” she said. “We’re just getting started.”   In recent months, she said several members of her group have been running for spots on school boards and winning in places such as Texas and Idaho, as well as the swing states of Pennsylvania and Colorado. The moms group is providing training sessions for prospective board candidates and for newly elected trustees, which, Fletcher argued, is far more powerful than trying to compete dollar-to-dollar with unions. “Here’s the beauty of it — when you’re fighting for parents’ rights, you don’t need a lot of money to win,” she argued. “It’s a matter of principle.” Still, the well-oiled teacher union machine can be formidable, especially in more liberal areas of the country. While angry parents helped fuel Youngkin’s win in purple Virginia on Nov. 2, the same day the entire Denver school board flipped from trustees supported by education reform organizations to union-backed candidates. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021