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California officials reject subsidies for Musk"s SpaceX over Tesla spat

A California state panel on Friday rejected a request from Elon Musk's SpaceX for $655,500 in state job and training funds, citing the chief executive's recent threats to move Tesla, the electric carmaker that he also runs, out of the state......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

COP-Out? World"s Largest Polluter Won"t Attend Climate Summit, Kerry Pessimistic On Progress

COP-Out? World's Largest Polluter Won't Attend Climate Summit, Kerry Pessimistic On Progress Update: As if to confirm the shitshow we expected below, just two weeks before a crucial summit in Rome, Bloomberg reports that the world’s major economies are gridlocked in their efforts to agree concrete steps to tackle climate change. Preparatory talks between G-20 officials this week failed to end in an agreement to reduce coal subsidies and curb methane emissions. There wasn’t even a consensus on striving toward net-zero emissions and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels, according to three people familiar with the matter. China and India, two of the world’s biggest emitters and largest coal users, have failed to submit updated climate pledges. One person described the negotiating round as a disaster. Are they all suddenly realizing at once - amid the glorious FUBAR situation occurring in global energy markets - that their goals are a) infeasible, b) a giant waste of time and money without China's firm commitmentm and c) will create social unrest and lead to them losing their political power. *  *  * The imminent COP26 Climate Summit - heralded with the mighty goal of 2050 net-zero emissions - looks like being a giant nothing-burger (vegan of course). According to the study co-authored by a former Obama admin climate policy official, energy modelers and emissions experts (just go with it), China is now responsible for 27% of total global emissions - more than the combined total produced by the United States (11%), India (6.6%) and the 27 EU member nations together (6.4%). In fact, as we have noted previously, China's emissions exceed those of the United States and the rest of the developed world combined... In 2019, China’s emissions not only eclipsed that of the US—the world’s second-largest emitter at 11% of the global total—but also, for the first time, surpassed the emissions of all developed countries combined (Figure 2). When added together, GHG emissions from all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as all 27 EU member states, reached 14,057 MMt CO2e in 2019, about 36 MMt CO2e short of China’s total. -Rhodium Group So it makes you wonder just what can be achieved given that Chinese officials have informed G-20 envoys that Xi does not currently plan to attend a summit in Italy later this month in person, and diplomats have said that means he’s unlikely to go to COP26 either. Which is quite a change from his previous "commitment": "We must be committed to multilateralism," Xi has said in the recent past. "China looks forward to working with the international community, including the United States, to jointly advance global environmental governance." With China in the middle of a serious energy crisis that sees it ramping up its coal production to meet energy demand (sending Thermal Coal prices to the moon), we suspect Xi is missing the Glasgow trip to focus on putting "China first"... Finally, we note that even Bloomberg is admitting that in an interview with AP, US Climate Envoy John Kerry has already downplayed hopes of success, saying nations could fall short of a new agreement on more aggressive action on global warming. Specifically, he warned that two weeks of talks could end with countries still short of the emissions targets set by those pushing for more action on climate change. “We will hopefully be moving very close to that,” he was quoted as saying. “Though there will be a gap and … we’ve got to be honest about the gap, and we have to use the gap as further motivation to continue to accelerate as fast as we can.” Greta is going to be so mad at you!! Lauri Myllyvirta (lead analyst at @CREACleanAir) explains why in the following Twitter thread... If your theory of how we're going to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees was that Xi is going to fly to Glasgow, strike a deal with OECD countries where everyone commits to 1.5-degree compatible emissions pathways, and flies home, I have bad news for you. Continued growth in China's CO2 emissions until late in the decade is absolutely not acceptable, and that needs to be made clear to Chinese negotiators. But China was never going to "cave" and commit to an earlier peaking date in Glasgow than pledged by Xi. It will take a lot more pressure and coaxing and leverage than offering a photo-op in Glasgow to change the mind of Chinese decision-makers. And however much leverage you bring to bear, that's going to be one factor at most alongside domestic considerations. Also anyone decrying China not going substantially further needs to ask "were we prepared to go much further as a part of a deal" and/or "does our own current commitment rank much higher on the scale of fair and equitable effort than China's". I want the whole climate problem to be sorted at least as much as the next guy, but it's going to be a long slog. In the past year and a bit, we've had China, South Korea, Japan, EU, UK, US commit to carbon neutrality. That's not enough but it's progress. Consolidate that, get holdout countries to pledge something comparable, make clear that's not yet enough, call it a year. We look forward to hearing from Larry Fink and the rest of the China apologists to explain just how committed to ESG etc China is after this. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 16:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt13 hr. 21 min. ago

A Republican group is putting up gigantic billboards to remind Trump that he lost

This move comes as a separate group, the Renew America Movement, endorsed 21 Democrats and prominent anti-Trump Republicans running in risky midterm races. A group of Republican officials is launching an anti-Trump campaign to call for an end to vote audits. Twitter/ AccountableGOP A Republican group is putting up billboards to remind former President Trump that he lost the 2020 election. The first billboard is up in Times Square, and reads "Trump lost. No more 'audits.'" The group plans to run these billboards in states where Trump is calling for vote audits. A group of Republicans is putting up billboards across America to remind former President Donald Trump that he lost last year's election, starting with a gigantic display in Times Square. The Republicans for Voting Rights group tweeted a photo of the New York City billboard on October 14, which read: "TRUMP LOST. NO MORE 'AUDITS.'" There are currently 36 "Trump Lost" billboards across nine states according to a map posted on the Republicans for Voting Rights website, -The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) October 13, 2021 "Republicans for Voting Rights is launching a quarter-million-dollar billboard campaign across the country to call on state lawmakers to reject frivolous audits of the 2020 election results," read a statement by the group. According to its website, RVR is a group of eight Republicans, including Olivia Troye, a former aide to Mike Pence, and Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee."The billboard will run in ​​major markets in states where there's discussion about an audit of the 2020 election, including Georgia, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Arizona, as well as New York City's Times Square," added the group in its statement. There have been calls for vote audits even in Florida and Texas, states that Trump won. Most recently, the GOP-led audit of the vote count in Maricopa County confirmed President Joe Biden won the election and resulted in Trump losing 261 votes. However, Trump has continued to falsely claim the GOP audit uncovered "undeniable evidence" of fraud. This billboard campaign appears to be the latest salvo fired by anti-Trump Republicans in a bid to loosen the former president's hold on power over the GOP. Just this week, GOP officials penned an op-ed in The New York Times urging Republican voters to back Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections to save the Republican party from 'pro-Trump extremists.' The Times op-ed was written by Miles Taylor, a Trump-era Department of Homeland Security chief of staff, and Christine Todd Whitman, a former Republican governor of New Jersey. In 2020, Taylor revealed himself to be the anonymous author behind a 2018 op-ed article in The Times describing a "resistance" of Trump administration officials working to quell what he called the former president's "worst inclinations."Taylor continues to pursue the cause to weaken Trump's influence on the GOP. This week, the Renew America Movement (RAM), a group that Taylor co-founded, endorsed 21 Democrats and prominent Republicans running in risky midterm races. The candidates included Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Maine Rep. Jared Golden, and known anti-Trump GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

Pence"s former chief of staff says "there were no safeguards" to how the White House was run leading up to January 6

"Those people giving [Trump] really, really bad advice were given carte blanche access to the president," Marc Short told author David Drucker. Vice President Mike Pence speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony and meeting with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti in the Oval Office of the White House on September 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images Pence's ex-chief of staff says there were "no safeguards" in the White House ahead of January 6. "Unfortunately, I think the president had some really, really bad advice," Marc Short told journalist David Drucker. Short spoke to Drucker for his forthcoming book "In Trump's Shadow" on the future of the GOP. Former Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff says there were "no safeguards" in the White House leading up to the January 6 insurrection as Trump repeatedly received bad advice about the results of the 2020 election.Marc Short, Pence's longtime right-hand man, spoke to Washington Examiner journalist and author David Drucker for Drucker's forthcoming book "In Trump's Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP," a copy of which Insider obtained ahead of its October 19 publication by Twelve Books. "Unfortunately, I think the president had some really, really bad advice," Short told Drucker. "The way the White House was structured at that point was that those people giving that really, really bad advice were given carte blanche access to the president, and I think there were no safeguards in the way the White House was being run at that point." While Short didn't name names, previously reporting n books like Wolff's "Landslide" and Michael Bender's "Frankly We Did Win This Election" detailed the vacuum of advisers in the White House. By January 6, Wolff wrote in his book, many administration officials and White House staffers had quit or distanced themselves from the action.They left only a small circle of aides who were still involved in Trump's day-to-day activities. The White House counsel's office being largely checked out left Rudy Giuliani as Trump's main legal confidante, and created an opening for conspiracy theorists like lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to get Trump's ear and promote conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged.Giuliani, in particular, became obsessed and fixated on the idea that Pence, in his ceremonial role facilitating the counting of Electoral College votes on January 6, could somehow preclude Congress from affirming President Joe Biden's election victory. The conspiracy theory culminated in a legally dubious memo from legal scholar John Eastman."We researched all of those, and I think very fastidiously wanted to be respectful of new perspectives that we were brought, but always felt strongly that no limited-government conservative would ever advocate that one person could unilaterally choose what electors to accept or reject," Short told Drucker. Giuliani and Powell have faced real-world consequences within the legal profession for using the courts to propagate those lies, and all three are being sued for defamation for $1.2 billion each by Dominion Voting Systems for baselessly claiming the company's voting machines were central to a ploy to steal the election. Drucker details how years before the insurrection Pence remained unfailingly loyal to Trump while carving out a high degree of independence and autonomy from the president behind the scenes. That including serving as the White House's point person for corporate leaders and lobbyists, and building up his own political operation, including his own PAC, with his own advisers outside the confines of the West Wing's operations. Ironically, Drucker argues, Trump throwing Pence under the bus and publicly breaking with him over the former VP's refusal may end up boosting Pence's standing and prospects in 2024. Trump denouncing Pence, Drucker writes, was the necessary clean break that will allow Pence to occupy his own distinct lane in 2024. "Pence was always going to have to untether himself from Trump, eventually. January 6 accomplished that. In the process, it saved the vice president from having to manufacture independence from Trump," Drucker wrote. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Hunter Biden"s art gallery arrangement is "whacko," according to ethics law expert

"It leaves, frankly, the Biden administration wide open to concerns that people are going to buy influence," Professor Kathleen Clark told Politico. Hunter Biden Kris Connor/WireImage A law professor and ethics expert says the nature of Hunter Biden's art sales are "whacko." "It's bizarre that that's the solution that they came upon," Kathleen Clark told Politico. Experts are criticizing the gallery and White House's attempts to insulate the art sales from undue influence. Legal ethics expert Kathleen Clark, a professor at Washington University School of Law, told Politico Magazine that the Hunter Biden's arrangement to sell his paintings is "whacko," adding to the criticism that the White House faces from experts over Hunter's high-priced art sales. White House officials came to an unprecedented agreement with the New York City gallery housing Hunter's art that allows President Joe Biden's eldest son, to earn a living from his art while, in theory, not knowing who buys his paintings. The arrangement is an effort to offset concerns about a conflict of interest posed by powerful people who might want to exert influence over the White House through his son's art. But government ethics and legal experts like Clark, an expert in government ethics, are crying foul, compounding the scrutiny Hunter has faced over his business dealings during his father's 2020 campaign and presidency. "It leaves, frankly, the Biden administration wide open to concerns that people are going to buy influence by buying Hunter Biden's paintings at what might be inflated prices," Clark told Politico's Ben Schreckinger. "The idea of keeping the identity of the buyers secret or the price secret is no way to protect the public interest or ensure public confidence that there isn't corruption going on. It's bizarre that that's the solution that they came upon."Hunter took up painting as a hobby during his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and found refuge in art while he was at the center of the 2019 impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, he told The New York Times in 2020.Under the terms of the arrangement, first reported by the Washington Post in July, the gallery owner Georges Bergès said he'll set the prices of the art himself, won't disclose who bids on and purchases the paintings, and will reject offers that seem too high to just be for the art alone. The hefty prices of Hunter's art only add to the scrutiny. Bergès predicted the individual pieces of art could go for anywhere from $75,000 to $500,000 each, eye-poppingly high prices for a new artist on the scene like Hunter.The often-secretive nature of art purchases and the difficulty of comprehensively tracing who buys and sells expensive artwork doesn't entirely preclude someone who wants to exert influence over the Biden White House from trying to do so by buying or expressing interest in the art. Vice President Joe Biden (R) speaks as his son, Hunter Biden, looks on at the World Food Program USA's Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA And subsequent events have also shown how difficult it is, in practice, to separate the art from the (famous and politically connected) artist. At a recent pop-up showing his art at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, where he lives, Hunter mingled with potential buyers and wealthy power players including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is Biden's nominee for US Ambassador to India, former Stockton, California mayor Michael Tubbs, singer Moby, and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, CNN reported. The outlet previously reported that Hunter would not discuss possible sales and only his "creative process." Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, told CNN that Hunter's appearance nevertheless "undermined the White House's early claims that neither he, nor the White House, would know who bought his art.""The silver lining to this dark cloud is now the rest of us also know the universe of who might be interested in buying the paintings - which will make it easier to track if those people are attempting to curry favor with the White House through the President's son," she said. Richard Painter, the former top White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, told The Washington Post in July that the whole thing is "a really bad idea," saying, "The initial reaction a lot of people are going to have is that he's capitalizing on being the son of a president and wants people to give him a lot of money."Painter subsequently told CNN after the gallery show that "this secrecy thing never was going to work," saying the White House should have taken a much stricter approach from the beginning, if not banning Hunter from making so much money off his art altogether. "Plan B would be to find out who these buyers are and to keep them as far away from the executive branch as possible. And you would not have prospective ambassador nominee showing the art gallery," he said of Garcetti's presence. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who previously said that Hunter "has the right to pursue an artistic career, just like any child of a president has the right to pursue a career," reiterated the terms of the agreement and deflected questions about the showing itself at her October 6 briefing. "I'd refer you to the gallerist for questions about the event, as well as the representatives for Mr. Garcetti in terms of his attendance," she said. Another legal ethics expert, George Washington University Law School's Jessica Tillipman, told Politico Magazine that the White House had "botched" the entire arrangement. "Now, he's privately meeting with potential buyers and quote unquote he's never going to know [if they then made a purchase] because he's just outsourced the ethics function to this art dealer, and we're supposed to just rely on that?" she said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

FBI director Chris Wray privately told Adam Schiff that he would resign if he "ever felt the need to do something that wasn"t right" under Trump: book

"I had warned him about how many good people the president had chewed up and spat out," Schiff wrote in his memoir. "I don't need this job," Wray said. FBI director Christopher Wray testifies during a hearing about 'worldwide threats to the homeland' in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 17, 2020. John McDonnell/Reuters Chris Wray told Rep. Adam Schiff that he would resign before doing "something that wasn't right." Schiff writes in his memoir that Wray made this assurance during one of their first meetings. "I don't need this job," Wray told Schiff, according to Schiff's account in "Midnight in Washington." Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, told Rep. Adam Schiff that he would resign from his post under then-President Donald Trump before doing "something that wasn't right," Schiff writes in his new memoir, "Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could.""In one of our first meetings, I had warned him about how many good people the president had chewed up and spat out," Schiff writes. "I don't need this job," Wray told Schiff, according to Schiff's account. "And I would leave it before I ever felt the need to do something that wasn't right." Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, is complimentary of Wray, describing him as "one of the few remaining agency heads appointed by Trump who was still willing to speak truth to power" under the last administration. Schiff's meeting with Wray likely occured shortly after Trump appointed Wray to lead the FBI in June 2017. The California congressman writes that he "admired" how Wray "defended the men and women of the bureau, answered questions in a straightforward manner, and never dissembled." "He didn't go out of his way to contradict the president, but he nonetheless maintained a high level of integrity," Schiff added of Wray. Trump appointed Wray just months into his presidency after firing former FBI director James Comey. Wray previously worked in private practice and as an assistant attorney general leading the criminal division of the Department of Justice under former President George W. Bush. Wray has served as FBI director since August 2017. Trump publicly criticized Wray on several occasions, including when he said in 2019 that the director was "wrong" to request that public officials and members of political campaigns should inform the FBI if they're contacted by a foreign country - or someone acting on behalf of a foreign nation - about efforts to interfere in a US election. Trump insisted in 2019 that he wouldn't necessarily tell the FBI if foreign governments offered information about his political opponents.Last year, Trump publicly mused about firing Wray after the FBI director said the agency hadn't found any evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, which Trump still falsely claims he won. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

With Flood Insurance Overhaul, Industry Hopes for Minimal Disruption

Flood insurance rates skyrocketing by 1,000% overnight. Property values plummeting in coastal communities as markets dry up. And buyers obliviously drawn into purchases before being slammed with enormous, rapidly increasing premiums. These are the fears that have echoed around the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) massive overhaul of its flood insurance arm, the National Flood […] The post With Flood Insurance Overhaul, Industry Hopes for Minimal Disruption appeared first on RISMedia. Flood insurance rates skyrocketing by 1,000% overnight. Property values plummeting in coastal communities as markets dry up. And buyers obliviously drawn into purchases before being slammed with enormous, rapidly increasing premiums. These are the fears that have echoed around the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) massive overhaul of its flood insurance arm, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Dubbed “Risk Rating 2.0,” the changes went into effect Oct.1, and policymakers are saying it is the biggest single adjustment to how the federal government manages flood insurance in at least 50 years. But are any of these fears grounded in reality? What, if anything, should professionals in the real estate industry be concerned about? Nothing catastrophic, according to agents and experts. Though due to the complex and sprawling nature of the new rules, it remains impossible to fully predict long-term ramifications. Most are expecting some (maybe significant) short-term bumpiness, but not a dramatic collapse of markets, as both agents and homeowners adjust to what amounts to a complete rewrite of flood insurance policy across the country. “It’s a transformational change in the program,” says Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Flood Plain Managers (ASFPM), a non-profit that has lobbied in support of Risk Rating 2.0. “We have been supportive of this notion that people are finally able to get and understand their full risk rates, because that then drives behaviors and actions. “We think that is hugely important.” What Is Risk Rating 2.0? At an essential level, Risk Rating 2.0 is completely changing how properties are assessed for flood risk, relying less on broadly drawn (and often outdated) flood maps and instead making an actuarial calculation for every individual property. This is meant to give a more realistic picture of flood risk to homeowners and homebuyers, as well as distributing the cost burden more equitably between high-risk and low-risk properties. A vast majority of policyholders will see only a modest increase in their premiums in the first year of the new program, according to FEMA—less than $10 a month. About a quarter of people will actually see decreased premiums. Also important, the program sets a cap on the maximum a homeowner will pay for a premium at just about $12,000 annually, with rates established for a full year. This is in contrast to previous rules, which effectively allowed premiums to rise indefinitely based on risk and flooding events with rates that could change at a moment’s notice. Those who will see an increase still have the relief of a previously approved rule that prevents premiums going up by more than 18% in most cases (25% in some rarer circumstances). But there is no limit on how many annual increases a property will experience, meaning a homeowner might see a small bump to their premium annually for several years, with bigger increases concentrated in later years. FEMA has made it clear it will continue to evaluate risk and also that the $12,000 cap could change. New policies are reflecting the Risk Rating 2.0 changes as of Oct. 1, while current policyholders will not see updated numbers on their renewals until after April of next year. Policyholders can still transfer their policies to a new owner, maintaining any discounts they have, according to FEMA. Where the Land Meets the Sea Cyndee Haydon has a front-row seat to any kind of flood-related issue in real estate. Working for independent brokerage Future Home Realty on the perennially hurricane-prone Florida coast, she herself lives “on a peninsula on a peninsula.” The name of her team—”Sandbars to Sunsets”—aptly describes her market on the state’s gulf coast, which includes a scintillating strip of vacation beaches home to celebrities like NFL superstar Tom Brady and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. Haydon says that Risk Rating 2.0 is fundamentally a good thing—creating more equity, resiliency, certainty and scientific underpinnings for flood insurance. “Common sense tells you that there’s a lot of logic [in the new system],” she says. Because of government subsidies, homeowners and homebuyers did not actually know the true actuarial costs of insuring a given property with the NFIP until now. Though congress tried to eliminate those subsidies in 2012 (with the program around $20 billion in the red), elected officials and advocates balked as insurance costs ballooned for property owners, threatening to push people out of their homes. Haydon says only about 0.2% of policyholders in Florida would eventually end up at the top rate of $12,000. Even for those markets that will be hit the hardest though, she argues that the most important thing for the real estate industry is transparency—something that Risk Rating 2.0 has promised, though not yet proved it will deliver. Essentially, if people are going to choose to live—or not live—in a flood-prone area, they should do so with both eyes open, Haydon says. “I do think that there’s various decisions that people make, but they will be wiser now,” she says. “I think consumers may get better long-term options that they can evaluate in that process…in my perception, in many places people will understand the real cost of ownership and be able to make better informed decisions.” Somewhat surprisingly, the state that will experience the highest proportion of what FEMA calls “substantive” first-year premium increases (more than $20 per month) is not Florida, and is not located anywhere in the hurricane-prone southeast. In the small New England state of Connecticut, Michael Barbaro is a broker and also president of the state’s consolidated MLS system, SmartMLS. He says he is not sure why his state is bearing such a heavy burden in Risk Rating 2.0, though he speculated that two large storms—Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012—probably figured into the calculation. In the short term, Barbaro says he is most worried about the fact that right now, as Risk Rating 2.0 goes into effect, the new insurance adjustments remain opaque and the specific policy changes are not being fully explained. “What has the most significant impact on the real estate market at any one time is uncertainty,” says Barbaro. “Without certainty and until there is certainty in the market—and it’s not based on some table, it’s actually what the prices are going to be—I fear we’ll see the same impact we saw [in 2012].” Ideally, flood insurance quotes will be delivered quickly and with at least some idea of the reasoning behind the underlying actuarial calculation, Barbaro says—something real estate agents cannot do themselves, and must depend on the insurance industry to provide to clients. Both Haydon and Barbaro refer to that 2012 legislation, which was known as the Biggert-Waters Act, with distaste. Though again, the goal of that policy change was well-intended and necessary, they say that a lack of good communication, and the suddenness in which property owners were swamped with huge new premiums, rocked markets. “For the longest period of time after [Hurricanes] Sandy and Irene, people were calling up and just saying, ‘Is this property in a flood zone?’ And if it was, they were just hanging up the phone,” says Barbaro. Haydon says she hopes now, in 2021, people are more aware of flooding issues after years of increasingly severe weather events, and will not be surprised by flood danger reflected in their insurance premiums. She adds that the overall state of the economy and housing is more likely to allow people flexibility in their living choices compared to 2012. “I can’t think of a better time for a homeowner to have more options. And so what’s really been lacking has been information,” she says. “REALTORS® and our code of ethics are really about standing up for the consumer to have the information to make good decisions.” Though Haydon says she has had occasional clients who have simply walked away from the idea of living in flood-prone areas, she does not expect towns and regions like hers to suffer too much in the long-term. “We’re going to be figuring this stuff out,” she says. The Big Picture Real estate agents and other stakeholders are not particularly worried that Risk Rating 2.0 will cause the same major problems that Biggert-Waters did a decade ago. Though the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) lobbied in favor of Biggert-Waters (and has also supported Risk Rating 2.0), changes in both the new policy’s language and implementation, as well as the larger resiliency landscape seem designed to avoid a repeat of 2012. NAR’s support spokesperson Tori Syrek tells RISMedia that Risk Rating 2.0 fixes the problems of Biggert-Waters, which the organization says was flawed from the beginning. “We did not know that FEMA was using a 50-year-old rating methodology and only one or two pieces of information in a zone to rate each and every property in [Biggert-Waters],” Syrek says. “This resulted in untenable and scientifically un-defensible outcomes.” Risk Rating 2.0 evolved with support from an NAR-convened insurance committee, which Syrek says worked closely with FEMA to develop the “state-of-the-art system” utilizing the input of flood experts and other scientists. The $12,000 cap and the continuation of the max 18% annual increase in premiums will certainly help people adjust to the changes with a “glidepath,” according to Berginnis. Still, over the longer term, there are even more potential supports that will allow property owners to increase the flood resilience of their homes—and likely offset their insurance costs at the same time. “I don’t know if it’s serendipity right now, but we potentially have a once in a lifetime surge of mitigation funding that’s coming out of FEMA that can actually help property owners do something about that risk,” he says. The federal government has already earmarked just under $3.5 billion through an initiative called the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which is meant to fortify regions against all kinds of natural disasters. The “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation bill proposed by Democrats in Congress contains an additional $1 billion meant for disaster preparedness, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill allocates another $3.5 billion specifically for highest-risk or repeatedly flooding properties. Berginnis calls this investment—much of which is at least partially facilitated through various COVID disaster declarations—a “historic” opportunity to prepare for future flooding. If both bills pass, the total monies available to potentially help homeowners do things like lift their homes, fix grading issues or even fully rebuild structures would reach about $8 billion. “The timing couldn’t be better,” Berginnis says. But like the short-term effects of the changes, much of the specifics around these grants remain unknown. Much of the $8 billion would be distributed to state and local governments, which would then have some discretion on how to allocate and prioritize them, Berginnis says. Other chunks of money are directly administered by FEMA, and recently those grants have gone to larger projects—though they could theoretically be directed toward individual homeowners or properties according to Berginnis. Additionally, federal elected officials have proposed means-tested financial assistance to help lower-income property owners with premiums—something Berginnis says has been popular across the political and geographic spectrum. “Now Congress has just gotta get the job done,” he says. Buyers and Sellers Barbaro is less optimistic than some, at least in the short term. Recent transactions his company is involved in have already hit hiccups, he says. A relatively modest, inland multifamily home Barbaro just sold was quoted as needing $8,700 in flood insurance right off the bat. That might not have had anything to do with Risk Rating 2.0, he posited, but because no one has been able to say for certain, buyers are getting skittish. “When people get scared and they have uncertainty in the real estate market, they react pretty quickly—particularly the negative things,” he says. In Florida, Haydon compares adjustments in the real estate market to computer programmers bug-testing code in software that has already been released—adjusting on the fly as they encounter problems. She credits FEMA with taking a slower approach, and NAR for putting out plenty of guidance for REALTORS® so this process can happen as painlessly as possible. “We’ve been out in front…trying to educate our members to be able to communicate to the consumer in a way that gets in the facts,” she says. Regular, damaging hurricanes have not consistently driven people away from certain neighborhoods or towns in Florida, Haydon points out, positing that some consumers will always be willing to take on flood risk. But apart from wealthier homeowners whose insurance premiums are a relatively small portion of their incomes, Barbaro cautions that policymakers need to adjust to protect the little guy—those who might have smaller, older homes that they inherited or purchased decades ago at a lower price point. “These families can no longer keep that property,” he says. But he also agrees that communication is probably the most important way to protect markets in the short-term. He says he can see a scenario where disruptions are mitigated—maybe even limited to a few months between now and April 2022 when Risk Rating 2.0 is applied to policy renewals. “This one appears to have more certainty in the policies,” he says. “This one is much more organized, much more well-thought out. So I think if there is any disruption, my hope is that it’s going to [last] a much shorter period of time.” Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post With Flood Insurance Overhaul, Industry Hopes for Minimal Disruption appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 11th, 2021

Tesla’s HQ Move To Austin, Inspired By California Democrat Tweet

According to the CEO of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), a “F–k Elon Musk” tweet by a Democrat in 2020 inspired him to move the company’s headquarters from Freemont, California, to Austin, Texas. Musk made the revelation during a meeting with shareholders Thursday. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Moving Elsewhere According to Fox Business, […] According to the CEO of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), a “F–k Elon Musk” tweet by a Democrat in 2020 inspired him to move the company’s headquarters from Freemont, California, to Austin, Texas. Musk made the revelation during a meeting with shareholders Thursday. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Moving Elsewhere According to Fox Business, Musk also cited affordability, space, and convenience as further reasons to make the move, and was also outspoken about the company’s intention to expand in the California area. Tesla’s news website Tesmanian.com had posted an article with the headline “Tesla Moved its HQ to Texas Following Explicit Offer from California Assemblywoman.” On Friday, in response to the piece, Musk asserted: “Exactly.” In May last year, Covid restrictions in the state forced Tesla to shut down operations, which Musk deemed as “fascist.” California Democrat assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez hit back with harsh words by tweeting on May 9, “F--k Elon Musk.” As Fox Business reports, she unleashed an attack on Musk and his handling of the pandemic, and also disapproved how Musk used billions of dollars in government subsidies to fund Tesla. On the same day of the initial tweet, Gonzalez wrote: “California has highly subsidized a company that has always disregarded worker safety & well-being, has engaged in union busting & bullies public servants.” Not A Good Neighbor Lorena Gonzalez continued: “I probably could’ve expressed my frustration in a less aggressive way. Of course, no one would’ve cared if I tweeted that.” “And, the deaths from Covid-19 in California are disproportionately Latino. Our communities have been the hardest hit. By far. Maybe that’s why we take the public health officials’ warning and directions so seriously,” she asserted back then. On Saturday, via Twitter, Gonzalez stuck to those statements while reminiscing how Elon Musk got hold of taxpayer money from government subsidies to develop his businesses while disapproving the COVID-19 restrictions implemented in California. At a Wall Street Journal summit in December last year, Musk said Tesla and SpaceX were the last remaining car manufacturer and aerospace company respectively, operating in the state. Since SpaceX is “not deserving of taxpayer’s dollars” in the eyes of the Teamsters union, prompted California officials to prevent the company from securing $655,500 in worker training subsidies. Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families. Updated on Oct 11, 2021, 10:05 am (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: valuewalkOct 11th, 2021

A Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona governor is claiming that the January 6 Capitol rioters were "invited in by Capitol Police"

Trump's pick for Arizona Gov. Kari Lake parroted a debunked claim at the former president's Iowa rally, saying the Capitol rioters were "invited in." Kari Lake is running for Arizona Gov. in the state's 2022 gubernatorial race. Brandon Bell/Getty Images Kari Lake, Trump's pick for Arizona governor, claimed that the Capitol rioters were "invited in by Capitol Police." Lake is one of the candidates running in the 2022 gubernatorial election in Arizona. She received Trump's endorsement after she suggested that he be added to Mount Rushmore. A Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona governor claimed that the Capitol rioters were "invited in by Capitol Police," appearing to push an unproven narrative that the riot was nonviolent."They haven't been charged with a crime, and they were invited in by Capitol Police," Kari Lake said during an interview with conservative news network RSBN at former President Donald Trump's Oct. 10 rally in Des Moines, Iowa.The US Capitol Police Force was criticized for its handling of the Capitol riot after some officers were seen posing with rioters for selfies and moving barricades aside for the mob to move forward.However, there is plenty of footage and records of officers' injuries to show how violent the breach of the Capitol building was. During a July 27 House select committee on Jan. 6, several Capitol officers testified to the racism and physical harm they experienced during the Jan. 6 riot.According to the DOJ, more than 1,000 assaults were committed against police officers. However, conservative figures have repeatedly minimized the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. In May, Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde likened the Capitol rioters to tourists. And in September, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn said in an interview that the rioters mainly were "normal people" who were "kind of wandering in."At press time, 671 people have been charged with crimes in connection with the Capitol insurrection. Lake did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. Lake is a former TV anchor who Trump endorsed after she called for his face to be added to Mount Rushmore. Separately, Lake also said she would not have certified the 2020 election results, and has echoed Trump's baseless claims of election fraud. Lake won Trump's favor when she called for him to be added to Mount Rushmore. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty "Considering how much already at the time information we had about serious irregularities and problems with the election, I would not have certified it right then," Lake said in an interview with right-wing news outlet One American News Network. There is no evidence that the Arizona election results were unfairly skewed in favor of President Joe Biden. Arizona GOP officials testified before Congress on October 7 that Biden won "free, fair, and accurate elections," per the results of a Republican-driven vote audit in Maricopa County. However, Trump has continued to falsely claim the audit uncovered "undeniable evidence" of fraud. In his endorsement of Lake, Trump wrote that "few can take on the Fake News Media like Kari," adding that she would make the "MAGA movement very proud." Trump also took the opportunity to hit out at Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey during his endorsement of Lake's candidacy, saying Lake "will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey - won't even be a contest!"Ducey lost favor with the former president when he certified the state's election results while appearing to reject an incoming call from Trump. Ducey later tweeted on December 1 that all 15 counties had certified their results and that Arizona wasn't going to "disenfranchise any voter""That's the law. I've sworn an oath to uphold it, and I take my responsibility seriously," Ducey tweeted.Ducey will not be running for re-election in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election due to term limits. Lake is currently up against four other candidates for the GOP nomination. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

Top Stories this AM: AOC goes after Manchin on spending bill; Google and YouTube cutting off climate change deniers; answers about Pfizer"s longterm effectiveness

The current iteration of the Build Back Better bill includes an expanded child tax credit, paid family medical leave, and subsidies for child care. But Manchin has argued that Dems should only pick one to include. Good morning and welcome to your weekday morning roundup of the top stories you need to know.For more daily and weekly briefings, sign up for our newsletters here.What's going on today: Waning influence? Trump urged GOP Senators to vote "no" on raising the debt ceiling. 11 including Mitch McConnell ignored him and voted to pave the way for passage. Some Senate Republicans broke with Trump to help Democrats clear a procedural vote paving the way for final passage.AOC goes for Joe's jugular. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams Joe Manchin's demands to cut working family policies from final spending bill. "Ah yes, the Conservative Dem position: 'You can either feed your kid, recover from your c-section, or have childcare so you can go to work - but not all three,'" Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.GOP comes clean to Congress about Arizona. Arizona Republicans testified before Congress that Biden won "free, fair, and accurate elections" in Maricopa County. One of the GOP officials told the House that lawmakers being unwilling to accept accurate election results are a "threat to our democracy."A teacher is out over "field slave" comment. A North Carolina teacher resigned after word spread that she told Black students that without the Constitution, they would be her "field slaves." The Winterville Charter Academy in North Carolina has come under fire from parents and students who allege that the school permitted racist behavior.No more monetizing misinformation. Google and YouTube say they will cut off climate-change deniers from being able to monetize their content and display ads. The company will be using a mix of algorithms and human review to enforce its new monetization policy later this year.Two new studies shed light on Pfizer vax's longterm effectiveness. Pfizer's COVID-19 immunity protection diminishes after 2 months, and it can reach as low as 20% after 4 months: studies. Studies found Pfizer is much less effective at defending against COVID-19 infection after a few months, but its protection against hospitalization and death is still high.We regret to inform you QAnon is still at it. QAnon circles are spreading a conspiracy theory about photos of Biden's White House staging area, claiming it's proof that he's a fake president. The conspiracy theory that the White House created a fake set for President Joe Biden to get his booster shot has been debunked by Politifact.That's all for now. See you Monday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 8th, 2021

It looks like Elon Musk may move Tesla"s headquarters to Austin

Tesla's latest two press releases came from Austin, and its shareholder meeting is taking place there on Thursday. Elon Musk with Texas Governor Greg Abbot. Gov. Abbott via Facebook Tesla could be moving its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas. The company's shareholder meeting is taking place there on Thursday. Tesla CEO Elon Musk moved to Texas last year and relocated his foundation there. See more stories on Insider's business page. Tesla could be leaving its longtime Silicon Valley home for Austin, Texas, a city that has attracted a flood of tech companies and remote workers over the last year and a half. The automaker's annual shareholder meeting on Thursday is taking place not in the Bay Area as usual, but in the Texas capitol. It's the latest sign that after moving much of his life and business to the Lone Star State, Tesla CEO Elon Musk may be moving Tesla's headquarters there as well. Tesla did not return Insider's request for comment. Following a very public spat with local public health officials over coronavirus restrictions that forced Tesla's Fremont factory to close temporarily, Musk said in May 2020 that he would move Tesla's "HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately." Tesla is currently headquartered in Palo Alto, California. That summer, Tesla chose Austin as the site for its next US manufacturing plant, which is under construction and is set to begin building Model Y cars at scale in 2022. Tesla says it will eventually build the Cybertruck pickup and Semi tractor-trailer there. In October 2020, Musk relocated his charitable foundation to Texas, Bloomberg first reported. And in December, Musk announced that he had moved to the state, later saying he lives in a $50,000 home in Boca Chica, Texas, the location of SpaceX's launch site. (Musk is also the founder and CEO of SpaceX.) Tesla's two latest press releases in late September and early October came from Austin rather than Palo Alto, perhaps indicating that an official exit from California is imminent or has already happened. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

Amazon"s delivery empire has won a record-breaking $650 million in tax breaks from local and state governments so far this year, a report says

One county official told the Financial Times that Amazon's methods for gaining a $150 million tax incentive were "not a good-faith effort." A worker packs a customer order at the 750,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Romeoville, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images Amazon has won $669 million in tax breaks since the beginning of this year, watchdog data shows. These breaks, from local and state governments, are mostly to encourage Amazon to expand delivery locally. One county official said Amazon acted in bad faith when it won $150 million in incentives. See more stories on Insider's business page. Amazon has won more tax incentives from local and state US authorities to expand its delivery network in 2021 than ever before, according to data gathered by economic development watchdog Good Jobs First and reported by The Financial Times.Per Good Jobs First's data, Amazon has won at least $669 million in subsidies from local and state governments since the beginning of 2021. All the subsidies were to help the retail giant build out its one-day or same-day delivery networks locally, except for $21 million tax credits for the company's filming division Amazon Studios.Per The FT, this is the most tax incentives Amazon has won in any single calendar year to expand its delivery network since Good Jobs First started collecting the data in 2000.The watchdog estimated that Amazon had received at least $4.1 billion in incentives since 2000. Amazon received $750 million in 2019 to build its new headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Kasia Tarczynska, research analyst at Good Jobs First, told the FT she had hoped the economic impact of the pandemic would mean local authorities spending less money enticing big companies like Amazon into their areas."I was hopeful public officials would step back and say: 'We're in such a difficult situation, we have to stop subsidizing very wealthy companies'," Tarczynska said, adding, "Unfortunately, it's the opposite."Tarczynska also said Amazon should stop pursuing incentives.Jay Popli, a board member for Monroe County, New York, told the FT that Amazon had acted in bad faith when it obtained $150 million in incentives over 15 years from the county in April this year.Part of the deal was that Amazon would only hire local workers from nine nearby counties to construct the new project, Popli said. Amazon agreed, but after the incentive was granted, it pushed for a waiver saying it wasn't possible to comply with the provision while completing the project on schedule, Popli told the FT."It was just not a good-faith effort," Popli told the FT. Amazon declined to comment on its deal with Monroe County when contacted by the FT.Amazon acknowledged to the FT that it had gone ahead with a recent plan in Fort Wayne, Indiana, despite officials denying it an additional $7.3 million in tax incentives.Amazon did not immediately reply when contacted by Insider for comment on the data, but in a statement to the FT, an Amazon spokesperson said it was eligible for tax incentives."These incentives are typically available to any firm that meets the criteria and companies do not receive a penny until after they have created jobs and made capital investments," the spokesperson said."In 2020 alone, Amazon invested $150 billion in the US, opened more than 100 sites and created more than 400,000 jobs across more than 40 states," they added.Amazon has been criticized in the past for its dealings with state governments. In September 2017, the company started courting local governments with the offer of building its second headquarters, HQ2. In November 2018, it picked two sites, Queens, New York, and Arlington, Virginia - but canceled its plans for HQ2 in New York in February 2019.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

Legal experts demand ethics investigation into Trump lawyer who proposed "coup cloaked in legal language"

John Eastman drafted a six-page memo that argued former Vice President Mike Pence could effectively overturn the results of the 2020 election. Chapman University law professor John Eastman, next to U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, gestures as he speaks while Trump supporters gather ahead of his speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg John Eastman is a senior fellow at the conservative Claremont Institute. Prior to January 6, he drafted memos to justify overturning the 2020 election results. See more stories on Insider's business page. A bipartisan group of legal experts has written to the California State Bar to demand that an ethics investigation be opened into a conservative lawyer who advised the Trump administration on how to overturn the results of the 2020 election.In a six-page memo obtained by Insider last week, John Eastman, a senior fellow at The Claremont Institute, argued that Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject votes for President Joe Biden and secure a second term for former President Donald Trump - what constitutional law expert Kermit Roosevelt termed "a proposed coup cloaked in legal language."In offering that advise to Trump's legal team, some believe Eastman violated his professional responsibilities as an attorney."Lawyers, particularly those who represent elected and appointed officials, have a solemn duty to the public to advise their clients within the four corners of the law, and to ensure that they do not allow themselves to become the tools by which those officials seek to undermine democratic governance," states a complaint filed by the States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan group that advocates for election integrity.In particular, the complaint notes that Eastman "assisted in Mr. Trump's dangerous efforts to prevent or disrupt the counting of electoral votes" and urged former Vice President Pence "to violate his legal obligations."Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who served in the cabinet of the Bush administration, said the complaint was an effort to ensure "democracy prevails even in the face of unprecedented disinformation and attempts to overturn a free, fair election.""It is essential that policymakers and legal experts from both sides of the aisle stand up and fight against these anti-democratic actions taken by John Eastman and his peers," Whitman said in a statement.Eastman asserted that the complaint is "politically motivated" and told Insider he looks forward to "responding in full" if it advances.Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

Biden Trade Rep Vows To Chart "New Course" On Trade With China While Copying Trump Playbook

Biden Trade Rep Vows To Chart "New Course" On Trade With China While Copying Trump Playbook Update (1025ET): Effectively confirming that President Biden is copying his entire China policy from his predecessor, President Trump, while feebly trying to pass it off as his own, President Biden's US Trade Rep, Katherine Tai, laid out her plans to confront her Chinese counterparts about their adherence (or lack thereof) to the "Part 1" Trade deal negotiated by President Trump, before laying out a history of anti-competitive state-direction and subsidization in China's economy that has helped to gut American manufacturing and other industries as well. After explaining how China undermined the American steel industry, destroying productivity and jobs, while citing semiconductors as the next target for state-directed development (benefitted, undoubtedly, by all the technology they can steal). Other industries from semiconductors to even agriculture, have also been impacted. Per Tai, Beijing has already spent $150 billion in subsidies on this. "These efforts have reinforced a zero-sum environment where China's success has come at the expense of other economies in the US," Tai said, sounding an awful lot like her predecessor, Robert Lighthizer. "This is why we need to take a new, and pragmatic approach to dealing with China...as our economic relationship with China evolves, so too should our tactics to defend our interests." "Our strategy must address these concerns while also being flexible and agile that may confront future challenges from China that might arise," she added. As for the upcoming round of virtual talks, Tai said "in the coming days I intend to have frank discussions with my counterpart in China. They will include the Phase 1 agreement...I am committed to working through the many challenges ahead in this bilateral process in order to deliver meaningful results." As for whether she intends to launch a Section 301 investigation into whether the Chinese have been violating their promises made in the Phase 1 deal, Tai wouldn't confirm. Ultimately, the US is seeking to negotiate with Beijing about its industrial anti-competitive policies, but Tai said the Biden Admin's goal is "not to inflame trade tensions with China." Being a dutiful bureaucrat, Tai stopped to plug her boss's domestic agenda, saying "China has been investing in their infrastructure for decades, if we are going to compete we need to make similar investments at home." Ultimately, Tai says, the US will also work with its economic "partners" to help force China to abandon its anti-competitive, economically destructive practices. However... "Above all else, we must defend, to the hilt our economic interests and that means taking ll steps necessary to protect ourselves through the waves of damage over the years via unfair competition." "We must chart a new course to change the dynamic of our bilateral trade relationship." "And we will work with partners to strengthen rules for global trade." She continued. "There is a future where all of us in the global economy can grow and succeed, where prosperity is inclusive within our own borders, and across those borders too. The path we have been on, did not take us there." Whether there's any reason to hope for this, we simply can't say. Asking China to abandon its state-directed model of capitalism is certainly a tall order. Also, this new approach to China shouldn't be credited to Biden: Rising up to confront China was likely one of the key critical issues that set Trump apart and above during the 2016 campaign. And his trade negotiations with the Chinese took up nearly half of his first term. After taking a potshot at Trump, Tai's partner in the dialogue,  Bill Reinsch, Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business at CSIS, asked: "Can China be changed, or are we going to spend the next decade doing the impossible?" Before answering, Tai acknowledged that Trump deserves some credit here: "I don't think it's fair to say that I have characterized the last administration's policies as 'failed'..." Reinsch then followed up: "So basically, you're here to to enforce what Trump negotiated, right?" Tai admitted "that is the starting point, because that is the structure and that is the architecture of the trade relationship we have right now." Moving on to a discussion of the upcoming talks with her counterparts in Beijing, Tai acknowledged that per the Phase 1 agreement, "there are things that they committed to that they have not done." Finding out why those promises haven't been kept will be key. "I think we have to have really honest conversations with China about all of the elements of the Phase 1 agreement. These are commitments China made, and commitments that workers in certain sectors have worked to. "We will have to address where the relationship goes from the starting point." Somebody should probably tell her...when it comes to commitments related to state subsidies, cyber-espionage and other intrusions, Beijing doesn't exactly have a great track record. But at least she's willing to admit here that there's little possibility of the two sides starting negotiations on a second part of the trade framework. * * * As we previewed a few days ago, President Biden's US Trade Representative Katherine Tai is preparing to deliver a major speech outlining the Biden Administration's policies and diplomatic priorities regarding its relationship with China. The speech will be held ahead of talks where, Tai has said, she will confront the Chinese about promises from the "Phase 1" trade deal that allegedly haven't been kept. According to Reuters, Tai is expected to criticize China for not meeting its commitments and for abusing "global trading norms": "For too long, China's lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world." She also is expected to say that China made promises to American industries, especially agriculture, and that they must be kept. Tai is also expected to say that she intends to have 'frank conversations' with her counterpart in China. "That will include discussion over China's performance under the Phase One Agreement and we will also directly engage with China on its industrial policies." Tai will not rule out the use of any trade tools, to bring China into compliance with the deal, officials said, but did not offer a time frame for such actions. The deal is scheduled to expire at the end of 2021. She's also expected to pursue a virtual meeting with Chinese VP Liu He to discuss the trade deal "soon". Right now, the administration doesn't plan to try to pursue negotiations of a "Phase 2" deal. Readers can watch live below: Here's a description of the event, courtesy of CSIS: We are pleased to welcome Ambassador Katherine Tai, U.S. Trade Representative, to CSIS for a conversation on the Biden-Harris Administration’s trade agenda. Ambassador Tai previously served as Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director for the House Ways and Means Committee in the United States Congress. In this capacity, she played an important role in shaping U.S. trade law, negotiations strategies, and bilateral and multilateral agreements. As U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Tai serves as the president’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. She is responsible for developing U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries. Ambassador Tai will deliver a speech outlining the Biden-Harris Administration’s approach to the bilateral trade relationship with China. Following the speech, Ambassador Tai will participate in a conversation with Bill Reinsch, Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business at CSIS, followed by audience Q&A. We hope you will be able to join us for an engaging and informative discussion. * * * Finally, Rabobank's analysts had this to say: "And so back to Tai and either a US signal of détente and can-kicking, or of disengagement and ‘Yes, we can’ kicking. Politico suggests we should buckle up, with Tai telling them: "I would say that the 301 tariffs are a tool for creating the kind of effective policies, and [are] something for us to build on and to use in terms of defending to the hilt the interests of the American economy, the American worker and American businesses and our farmers, too." "She also challenges the notion that tariffs are ultimately paid by American consumers, saying it’s a more complicated calculation than many suggest. Now *there* is a kick to the guts of the neoclassical trade consensus!" Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 10:57.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 4th, 2021

Elon Musk keeps attacking Jeff Bezos over the billionaires" rival space companies. Here"s a history of the Tesla CEO"s weirdest beefs, including with Azealia Banks and Pablo Escobar"s brother.

Musk has got into spats and even long-running feuds with an eclectic bunch of people, often over his preferred medium of Twitter. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a history of strange spats. Getty Images Elon Musk has a habit of getting into bizarre fights. Recently he's been attacking Jeff Bezos over the billionaires' rival space companies. Bezos is one of an eclectic bunch of people Musk has feuded with, including rapper Azealia Banks. See more stories on Insider's business page. Elon Musk has a serious combative streak.The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is famously unpredictable as chief executives go, a personality trait which has sometimes landed him in trouble - particularly with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.But Musk's combative side doesn't just express itself in skirmishes with government bodies. The Tesla billionaire has ended up in bizarre spats with a strange array of people - from fellow billionaires to artists to rescue divers - and often via his preferred medium of Twitter.Recently, he has repeatedly attacked Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose space exploration company Blue Origin has been a thorn in the side of Musk's rival company SpaceX.The twists and turns in the stories of Musk's various battles are often baffling, and it can be hard to remember all the different ways Musk has squared up to various public figures and regular citizens.We've catalogued his weirdest fights. In May 2020 Musk challenged Alameda County officials to arrest him for reopening the Tesla factory during the coronavirus pandemic. AP Photo Reports surfaced in May 2020 that Tesla was asking workers in its California factory to return to work despite Alameda County's shelter-in-place order forbidding the factory from re-opening as only essential businesses are allowed to operate in California due to the coronavirus pandemic.Musk confirmed the reports on May 11 in a tweet. "Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules, I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me." Tesla threatened to sue Alameda County. The view of Tesla Inc's US vehicle factory in Fremont, California Reuters Tesla's suit hinged around the fact that California Gov. Gavin Newsom said manufacturers in the state would be allowed to reopen, but Alameda County extended its shelter-in-place order only allowing essential businesses to open.Tesla's suit argued that Alameda County's forced shutdown ignored an order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom allowing businesses from "16 crucial infrastructure industries" to remain open, one of which is transportation.The fight prompted Musk to leave California altogether. "Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA," Musk tweeted in May 2020.This prompted California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to tweet: "F--- Elon Musk."Musk confirmed in December 2020 he had moved to Texas. Alameda County gave the Tesla factory the go-ahead to reopen on May 13, 2020. Alameda County officials said on May 13 Tesla would be allowed to reopen its Fremont factory so long as it implemented robust safety plans for its workers, and a Tesla executive sent a letter to employees saying it would resume "full production" the following week.Tesla dropped its lawsuit against Alameda County the same week it resumed production. Musk picked numerous fights over the severity of the coronavirus. Elon Musk speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention Center on March 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images Musk has consistently espoused the theory that the threat posed by the coronavirus is overblown, and tweeted misinformation about the virus including that children are "basically immune."He has also been openly hostile towards state lockdowns, calling them "fascist," and questioned the official death count as it includes people with underlying health conditions.As Business Insider's Dave Mosher and Aylin Woodward write, Musk's rhetoric is dangerously misguided. Scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests lockdowns help curb the spread of the virus and slow the death rate, and underlying health conditions make people more vulnerable to the virus, and so should not be discounted from death tolls. Musk's frustrations were tied to Tesla's fortunes. A worker descends from the top deck of a car carrier trailer carrying Tesla electric vehicles at Tesla's primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was defying local officials' coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions by reopening the plant in Fremont, California on May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam Musk said during Tesla's Q1 2020 earnings call that the forced closure of the Tesla factory posed a "serious risk" to business."I should say we are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk," Musk said.During the same call, Musk went on a tirade against lockdowns in general. "I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights. That's my opinion, and breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country — what the f---. Excuse me, the outrage. It's just outrage," Musk said. In 2018 Musk called a complete stranger "pedo guy." British caver Vernon Unsworth looks to Tham Luang cave complex during a search for members of an under-16 soccer team and their coach, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 27, 2018 REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun Vernon Unsworth is a British diver who participated in the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in June 2018. It was a difficult, complex operation and the boys were successfully rescued after being trapped for 17 days by international divers and Thai Navy SEALs. Unsworth, an experienced cave explorer, was asked by Thai officials to aid in the rescue.He had never met Elon Musk, but would go on to spend most of 2019 locked in a legal battle with the Tesla billionaire.Musk had inserted himself into the Thai rescue operation and offered to build a mini-submarine to fetch the boys. The idea never materialized.Unsworth was asked about Musk's submarine in an interview with CNN, and described it in unflattering terms, describing it as a PR stunt. He added that Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts."That angered Musk, who subsequently wrote a post on Twitter calling Unsworth a "pedo guy." When a Twitter user challenged him over it, he replied "bet ya a signed dollar it's true."His remarks immediately triggered headlines around the world, despite the fact he provided no proof for the "pedo" claim. Musk doubled down on the allegation by emailing BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac and calling Vernon Unsworth a "child rapist", with no evidence. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Censured by critics for using the slur, Musk deleted his tweet and apologised, but he didn't leave it there. A month later he responded to a Twitter user who criticised him. "You don't think it's strange he hasn't sued me? He was offered free legal services," Musk tweeted, referring to Unsworth.Then in September 2018, he doubled down. BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac emailed Musk asking for comment on a legal threat made by Unsworth's lawyer. Musk replied, suggesting Unsworth was a "child rapist" and "I hope he fucking sues me." Musk prefaced the email to Mac with "off the record," but the journalist had never agreed to go off the record, and published the entire exchange. Documents later revealed Musk called himself a "fucking idiot" for sending the email to Mac in the first place.A few weeks after Mac's article was published Unsworth sued Musk for defamation. Court filings revealed Musk hired a detective to investigate Unsworth - but the PI turned out to be a conman. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens to engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel at Block 37 during a news conference on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Joshua Lott/Getty Images The case threw up some bizarre findings.Court filings revealed that Musk paid a man named James Higgins-Howard $50,000 to investigate Unsworth and relay reports to Musk's family office.Higgins-Howard emailed Musk out of the blue following the initial "pedo guy" tweet to offer his services as a private detective. "You may want to dig deep into Mr. Unsworth['s] past to prepare for his defamation claim," Higgins-Howard wrote, adding "no smoke without fire!"Higgins-Howard didn't find any evidence, however, and BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac later reported that the would-be PI had previously been convicted of fraud. Musk admitted in a deposition that he later realised Higgins-Howard was "just taking us for a ride."In depositions Musk has also argued that by calling Unsworth "pedo guy" he wasn't literally accusing him of being a pedophile because the term was used to be synonymous with "creepy old man" when he was growing up in South Africa. He also claimed he was genuinely worried Unsworth could be "another Jeffrey Epstein."The trial began on December 3, 2019.   On December 6, 2019, Elon Musk won the defamation case. Elon Musk arriving at court in California. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill After a four-day trial in California, the jury found Musk not guilty of defamation.The jury took less than half an hour to reach their decision, which reportedly hinged on the fact that Musk did not identify Unsworth in his tweet, according to the Times of London.The foreman also said that Unsworth's lawyers had made the case too emotive. "The failure probably happened because they didn't focus on the tweets... I think they tried to get our emotions involved in it. In a court of law you have to prove your case, which they did not prove," said foreman Joshua Jones, per The Guardian."My faith in humanity is restored," Musk said following the verdict.Unsworth's lawyer Lin Wood said in a tweet that his team would "explore legal options" for challenging the verdict.  In June 2018, Musk took a liking to some farting unicorn art but didn't pay for it, leading to a copyright dispute with a potter. Tom Edwards' farting unicorn mug. Tom Edwards, Wallyware  Musk locked horns with another unlikely member of the public in June 2018.Colorado-based potter Tom Edwards caught Musk's attention with a mug. The mug carried a painting of a unicorn farting rainbows to power an electric car. Musk tweeted a picture of a mug in February 2017 calling it "maybe my favorite mug ever." Two months later friends of Edwards' told him they had seen the same farting unicorn image used as an icon on Tesla screens, and the image was later used on Tesla's company Christmas cards.The Christmas card spurred Edwards into action. "I decided to make it my New Year's resolution to pursue getting compensation, because artists are always seeing their work just taken, and it happens all the time," he told Insider in June 2018.In later-deleted tweets Musk attacked Edwards, saying taking legal action would be "kinda lame.""If anything, this attention increased his mug sales," he said. Musk also claimed (also in subsequently deleted tweets) to have offered to pay for the work twice. Edwards said he'd had no contact from Musk or Tesla at that point. Despite Musk's protestations, the two eventually settled. Brendan McDermid/Reuters A month after the farting unicorn argument erupted on Twitter, Musk and Edwards came to a settlement. The terms of the settlement were not made public, but Edwards posted on his blog that it "resolves our issues in a way that everyone feels good about.""It's clear there were some misunderstandings that led to this escalating, but I'm just glad that everything has been cleared up," he added.Musk for his part tweeted a link to the blog accompanied by three emojis: a unicorn, a gust of wind, and a peace symbol.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 21, 2018  Azealia Banks waded into Tesla's regulatory troubles in August 2018. Rapper Azealia Banks became embroiled in Elon Musk's infamous "funding secured" saga. Getty On August 7, 2018, Elon Musk sent his infamous "funding secured" tweet, in which he claimed to be taking Tesla private at $420 a share.Tesla did not go private, and Musk landed himself with a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the tweet. He lost his position as chairman of Tesla's board, leading to long-running bad blood with the agency.It triggered another unlikely feud with rapper Azealia Banks.A week after Musk sent his fateful Tweet, Banks wrote on her Instagram that she had been at Musk's house at the time when he'd sent it. She had visited to collaborate with Musk's then-partner Grimes (real name Claire Boucher), and claimed she had been annoyed when the crisis caused by "funding secured" dominated Grimes' time."I waited around all weekend while grimes coddled her boyfriend," Banks wrote, and compared the weekend to the horror film "Get Out.""I saw him in the kitchen tucking his tail in between his legs scrounging for investors to cover his ass after that tweet," Banks told Insider at the time.   Banks accused Musk of taking her phone. Getty Images On August 20, Banks was back on Instagram, tagging Elon Musk. Banks posted "@elonmusk you need to contact me. ASAP." and "I need my phone back now.  @elonmusk," on her Instagram story — she later deleted the posts.Banks then shared a screenshot with Insider that appeared to show a text from Grimes saying the choice of share price ($420) was a weed reference. "He just got into weed cuz of me and he's super entertained by 420 so when he decided to take the stock private he calculated it was worth 419$ so he rounded up to 420 for a laugh and now the sec is investigating him for fraud," the text read.Musk told The New York Times that he rounded up the price because $420 had better "karma" than $419, and denied using weed. Musk didn't really respond publicly to Banks except to say he had never met her. Reuters / Rebecca Cook Musk told Gizmodo that he hadn't met Banks "or communicated with her in any way," but confirmed to the New York Times that he had seen her at his house."I saw her on Friday morning, for two seconds at about a 30-foot distance as she was leaving the house... I'd just finished working out. She was not within hearing range. I didn't even realize who it was. That's literally the only time I've ever laid eyes on her," he told the Times. The Banks-Musk feud dragged on for months after the story blew up. Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic In January 2019, a court granted a motion to subpoena Banks, Grimes, and publications including Insider.In July 2021 Grimes posted in a Discord chat that she'd written a song, called "100% Tragedy," which was about "having to defeat Azealia Banks when she tried to destroy my life."Musk announced in September 2021 that he and Grimes had broken up after three years together. Banks responded to the news on her Instagram, saying: "Ok girl, can we finally make those darn songs now that apartheid Clyde is out of the way?"The nickname "Apartheid Clyde" is an apparent reference to Musk's South African upbringing. Musk was accused of stealing an idea from Pablo Escobar's brother in July 2019. Roberto Escobar (left). YouTube Musk ended up in a spat with Roberto Escobar, brother of deceased Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, over an accusation of intellectual property theft.TMZ first reported that Escobar had accused Musk of stealing his idea for a flamethrower when Musk's venture The Boring Company announced its "Not-A-Flamethrower" flamethrower in January 2018, beating Escobar's own flamethrower to market.Escobar claimed to TMZ that one of Musk's engineers had stolen the idea while visiting an Escobar family compound in 2017. "It's not a flamethrower, Mr. Escobar." iJustine/YouTube/Joe Rogan Experience Elon Musk responded to the story in classic Muskian style — on Twitter.Musk tweeted a link to the TMZ story accompanied by the words, "It's not a Flamethrower, Mr. Escobar," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the device's name.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2019In a follow-up tweet he added he stole the idea from the comedy movie "Spaceballs." Musk has traded jibes with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about which parts of space to conquer. Jeff Bezos unveils Blue Moon, a lunar lander designed by his spaceflight company, Blue Origin, on May 9, 2019. Blue Origin Jeff Bezos owns a space exploration company called Blue Origin, a rival to Musk's own space exploration company SpaceX.Bezos and Musk have sporadically interacted about their companies' successes, sometimes applauding each other, but more often locking antlers.When Blue Origin unveiled its new lunar lander Blue Moon in May 2019 Bezos reportedly took a swipe at SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars during his presentation, saying that the moon was a much more realistic prospect. According to Bloomberg, Bezos showed a slide with a picture of Mars accompanied by the labels "Round-trip on the order of years" and "No real-time communication."Musk responded by mocking the lander's name."Competition is good. Results in a better outcome for all... But putting the word "Blue" on a ball is questionable branding," Musk said in a pair of tweets on May 10, 2019. Musk also called Bezos a "copycat" over his plan to launch thousands of satellites. Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters In April 2019, Amazon announced its plan to launch 3,236 satellites with the aim of providing broadband to communities without high-speed internet, nicknamed Project Kuiper.The project bears some resemblance to a SpaceX project called Starlink, which won FCC approval in November 2018 to launch almost 12,000 satellites into orbit. CNBC also reported that Amazon hired a former SpaceX executive to head up Kuiper.After news of Project Kuiper broke, Musk tagged Bezos and tweeted the word "copy" followed by a cat emoji.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2019Bezos did not respond.  Musk tweeted in June 2020 that Amazon should be broken up after it de-listed a book written by a coronavirus skeptic. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais When Amazon's Direct Kindle Service refused to publish a book called "Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns," it caught Musk's eye.The author of the book, Alex Berenson, is a former New York Times reporter who has written claiming the threat posed by the coronavirus has been overblown.Musk, who has also been vocal in his opinion that the virus was not dangerous enough to warrant lockdown measures (despite evidence to the contrary) spotted a tweet by Berenson presenting the email he got from Amazon saying his book did not comply with its guidelines."This is insane @JeffBezos. Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!" Musk tweeted.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 4, 2020 Amazon later confirmed to Business Insider the book had been removed in error and would be reinstated.  In mid-2021 Musk started attacking Bezos repeatedly claiming the Amazon founder retired so he could sue SpaceX. Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos (left) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Axel Springer On August 26, Elon Musk tweeted saying Bezos had "retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX."Musk repeated the joke on September 1, and during an interview at the Code Conference on September 28 said he can't "sue your way to the moon."These attacks were prompted by both Amazon and Blue Origin mounting challenges against SpaceX.Amazon filed a protest letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in August 2021 urging it to block SpaceX's Starlink from putting up more satellites.Blue Origin also sued NASA in August after the agency granted an exclusive moon-lander contract to SpaceX.While Bezos tends not to engage personally in his feud with Musk, Amazon and Blue Origin have openly criticized Musk's companies. Amazon sent an unprompted 13-page list to The Verge of all the legal actions SpaceX has taken stretching back as far as 2004, claiming it showed SpaceX is just as litigious as itself. In a complaint submitted to the FCC on September 8 Amazon also said: "The conduct of SpaceX and other Musk-led companies makes their view plain: rules are for other people, and those who insist upon or even simply request compliance are deserving of derision and ad hominem attacks." Musk has a long-running animosity towards David Einhorn, a billionaire short seller he loves sending short shorts to. Greenlight Capital president David Einhorn. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Musk has a pretty well-documented hatred for short sellers, tweeting in October 2018 "what they do should be illegal."One short seller, in particular, has drawn Musk's ire. David Einhorn is president of Greenlight Capital, and is typically pretty scathing in his notes about Tesla and Musk.When Einhorn blamed Tesla's good performance in the first half of 2018 for denting Greenlight's hedge fund, Elon Musk promised to send him a box of "short shorts" — and he followed through.—David Einhorn (@davidein) August 10, 2018In November 2019, Musk renewed the offer of short shorts after Einhorn published a damning note on Tesla's Q3 results, drawing attention to a shareholder's lawsuit against Tesla, which alleges that Musk acquired his cousin's company SolarCity at an inflated value to bail it out.Musk posted an incredibly sarcastic note on Twitter following Einhorn's letter, addressing him as "Mr. Unicorn." Einhorn is German for unicorn. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 1st, 2021

China Panics: Beijing Orders Energy Firms To "Secure Supplies At All Costs"

China Panics: Beijing Orders Energy Firms To "Secure Supplies At All Costs" China is officially panicking. Now that the global energy crisis has slammed China's economy, leading to the first contractionary PMI since March 2020 as a result of widespread shutdowns of factory and manufacturing, not to mention hundreds of millions of Chinese residents suffering from periodic blackouts, Bloomberg reports that China’s central government officials "ordered the country’s top state-owned energy companies to secure supplies for this winter at all costs." Translation: Beijing is no longer willing to risk social anger and going forward China will be subsidizing coil and nat gas, which will lead to even higher prices, which will lead to even higher prices for other "substitute" commodities such as oil, which is why oil surged on the news. The news follows a report on Wednesday that China will allow soaring coal prices to be passed on to factories in electricity prices. But prepare for a surge in PPI, which will likely not be allowed to be passed on to CPI due to ‘common prosperity’. Which logically means margin collapse, and shutting down – so even more structural shortages. Unless we get state subsidies of some sort, or differential pricing for the foreign and domestic market. There used to be a name for that kind of economy. Wall Street used to pretend it didn’t like it. According to Bloomberg, the order came directly from Vice Premier Han Zheng, who supervises the nation’s energy sector and industrial production, and was delivered during an emergency meeting earlier this week with officials from Beijing’s state-owned assets regulator and economic planning agency. The bottom line, according to Bloomberg sources, is that "blackouts won’t be tolerated." Which simply means that the supply chain bottlenecks are about to get even worse since China will muscle in even more aggressively for what little coal and LNG supply there is. It is unclear if it also means that Beijing is about to give up on its laughable pursuit of decarbonization. The emergency meeting underscores the critical situation in China. A severe energy shortage crisis has gripped the country, and several regions have had to curtail power to its industrial sector and some residential areas have even faced sudden blackouts. Ironically, as discussed yesterday, China's electricity crisis is caused by an unprecedented coal shortage, so unless Beijing is willing to rollback on its carbon crackdown, expect Beijing's panic to only lead to much higher prices while therma power output continues to soar, mocking China's "green" virtue signaling. Meanwhile, Bloomberg notes that in a sign of how worried Chinese officials are, "Premier Li Keqiang vowed overnight that every effort will be taken to maintain economic growth. China will ensure the needs of basic livelihoods are met and will keep industrial and supply chains stable, Li was cited as saying by China National radio during a meeting with foreign diplomats Thursday." The bottom line is that China finally hit the limit of how much slowdown it is willing to tolerate and Beijing is about to unleash a monetary and fiscal stimulus tsunami. It also means that commodity prices are about to absolutely insane this winter. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 14:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

China Panics: Beijing Orders Energy Firms To "Secure Supplies At All Costs"; Oil Soars

China Panics: Beijing Orders Energy Firms To "Secure Supplies At All Costs"; Oil Soars China is officially panicking. Now that the global energy crisis has slammed China's economy, leading to the first contractionary PMI since March 2020 as a result of widespread shutdowns of factory and manufacturing, not to mention hundreds of millions of Chinese residents suffering from periodic blackouts, Bloomberg reports that China’s central government officials "ordered the country’s top state-owned energy companies to secure supplies for this winter at all costs." Translation: Beijing is no longer willing to risk social anger and going forward China will be subsidizing coil and nat gas, which will lead to even higher prices, which will lead to even higher prices for other "substitute" commodities such as oil, which is why oil surged on the news. The news follows a report on Wednesday that China will allow soaring coal prices to be passed on to factories in electricity prices. But prepare for a surge in PPI, which will likely not be allowed to be passed on to CPI due to ‘common prosperity’. Which logically means margin collapse, and shutting down – so even more structural shortages. Unless we get state subsidies of some sort, or differential pricing for the foreign and domestic market. There used to be a name for that kind of economy. Wall Street used to pretend it didn’t like it. According to Bloomberg, the order came directly from Vice Premier Han Zheng, who supervises the nation’s energy sector and industrial production, and was delivered during an emergency meeting earlier this week with officials from Beijing’s state-owned assets regulator and economic planning agency. The bottom line, according to Bloomberg sources, is that "blackouts won’t be tolerated." Which simply means that the supply chain bottlenecks are about to get even worse since China will muscle in even more aggressively for what little coal and LNG supply there is. It is unclear if it also means that Beijing is about to give up on its laughable pursuit of decarbonization. The emergency meeting underscores the critical situation in China. A severe energy shortage crisis has gripped the country, and several regions have had to curtail power to its industrial sector and some residential areas have even faced sudden blackouts. In a sign of how worried Chinese officials are, Premier Li Keqiang vowed overnight that every effort will be taken to maintain economic growth. China will ensure the needs of basic livelihoods are met and will keep industrial and supply chains stable, Li was cited as saying by China National radio during a meeting with foreign diplomats Thursday. The bottom line is that China finally hit the limit of how much slowdown it is willing to tolerate and Beijing is about to unleash a monetary and fiscal stimulus tsunami. It also means that commodity prices are about to absolutely insane this winter. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 11:23.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

President Biden"s New Plan To Tackle Rising Food Prices

President Biden's New Plan To Tackle Rising Food Prices Authored by MN Gordon via EconomicPrism.com, Watch it slipWatch it slideI bet $10 on the losing horseFeel the gripOf my brideWatch me do it again Where’s my dinner?! – Short Lip Fuser, Rocket from the Crypt Empty Stomachs Evergrande’s going down.  And it’s taking the life savings of countless good people down with it. But while Evergrande’s going down.  Food prices are going up.  Moreover, they’re going up a lot. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), global food prices were up nearly 33 percent year over year in August.  Vegetable oil, grains, and meat all cost more.  Unfortunately, rising food prices – and empty stomachs – often presage social chaos and revolution. If you recall, a decade ago food inflation triggered the Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.  And food shortages were commonplace in Communist Romania in the 1980s.  That was before the country’s dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown, tried by a kangaroo court, lined up against a wall, and executed by firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989. Rare is the revolution ignited by a populace with a full stomach.  Historically, surges against an oppressive regime are sparked by a steep and extended rise in food prices. Leading up to the French Revolution, for example, famines were frequent.  In one instance, when Louis XVI’s clueless wife, Marie Antoinette, learned the peasants had no bread, she remarked, “let them eat cake.” What followed were the Flour War riots.  Not long after that, Louis XVI’s head rolled off the guillotine chopping block.  Then things really got bad. The Reign of Terror, led by the woke Jacobins, reigned over the land.  And the assignat currency, backed by land seized from the Catholic Church, blew up in a destructive episode of hyperinflation.  Before it was over Napoleon had channeled the discontent of a generation into a damaging misadventure to invade all of Europe. If only there had been a little more bread to go around. “I Don’t Eat Bread” When adjusted for inflation and annualized, the cost of food is higher than nearly anytime in the past six decades, according to FAO data.  Alastair Smith, senior teaching fellow in global sustainable development at Warwick University in the United Kingdom, recently noted: “Food is more expensive today than it has been for the vast majority of modern recorded history.” Governments officials from Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Romania, India, Turkey, Russia, and many more, are working overtime to somehow combat the menace of rising food prices.  Price controls, export taxes, fines, subsidies, trade restrictions…you name it. With a little luck, these efforts will support lower prices in the short-term.  But these failed policies always make things worse in the long-term.  When government officials artificially set the price of something below what it costs to produce they guarantee that supply will disappear. The Prime Minister of Romania, Florin Citu, is taking a more pragmatic approach.  He’s determined to avoid Ceausescu fate.  Thus, he wants to reduce his country’s dependence on imported processed foods.  He thinks this will reduce costs and narrow the trade deficit. We wish him well.  When recently asked about the rising cost of a loaf of bread, he remarked: “I don’t eat bread.” Does he eat cake? Yet it’s not just developing countries that are feeling the pinch… In the United Kingdom, for example, rising natural gas prices are threatening the food supply.  Several fertilizer plants in the UK have had to suspend operations because of soaring natural gas prices.  And now carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fertilizer production, is in short supply. Carbon dioxide, if you didn’t know, is used to stun chickens and pigs before slaughter, and for packaging and dry ice to keep meats frozen during delivery.  Without carbon dioxide, the food supply chain breaks.  Already, deliveries of frozen food to customers have been halted. Who would have thought that carbon dioxide, something world improvers consider a poisonous greenhouse gas, was so valuable? President Biden’s New Plan to Tackle Rising Food Prices Here in the USA rising food prices have Whitehouse staffers working overtime too.  Their primary purpose at this point is to assign blame to someone else. Government lockdowns and the resulting supply chain breaks and labor shortages are mysteriously overlooked as causes of rising food prices.  The creation of upwards of $4 trillion in printing press money is largely ignored…other than noting that government stimulus kept per capita demand for meat steady. No, in the eyes of Whitehouse staffers the government can do no wrong.  Instead, these scholarly elites have come up with a real boogeyman for people to rail against.  In their very own Whitehouse blog – chock-full of bar charts, line graphs, and infographics – their culprit is explicitly identified. According to President Biden’s underlings, rising food prices in America are the direct result of “pandemic profiteering” by the four large meat processing companies.  Here’s their rationale: “Four large conglomerates overwhelmingly control meat supply chains, driving down earnings for farmers while driving up prices for consumers.  The meatpacking industry buys cattle, hogs, and chickens from farmers and ranchers, processes it, and then sells beef, pork, and poultry on to retailers like grocery stores.  The industry is highly consolidated, and serves as a key choke point in the supply chain. “That consolidation gives these middlemen the power to squeeze both consumers and farmers and ranchers.  There’s a long history of these giant meat processors making more and more, while families pay more at the grocery store and farmers and ranchers earn less for their products.  Absent this corporate consolidation, prices would be lower for consumers and fairer for farmers and ranchers.” To be clear, we have little inside knowledge of the meat processing industry.  From what we can tell it’s likely just as corrupt and crooked as the banking industry, the auto industry, the oil industry, the retail industry, the healthcare industry, the high-tech industry, the mining industry, the entertainment industry, and every other industry out there. Quite frankly, there’s no industry left that hasn’t been spoiled and besmirched by one fraud or another.  But no industry is more crooked than the U.S. government.  And like most policy reports outlining the case for ramping up government intervention, the argument is incomplete. Do the authors know why the meat processing industry consolidated in the first place?  Do the authors really know that absent consolidation prices would be lower for consumers? In truth, they care little about the answer to these questions.  What they care about is that consolidation in the meat processing industry makes a good story for why food prices are rising.  What’s more, this story provides justification for the government to spend gobs of money that isn’t theirs for the noble purpose of making the world a more comfortable and agreeable place. Per the Whitehouse blog: “As we restart the world’s largest economy and make great strides in the economic recovery, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to restarting right for the American people—consumers and producers alike—by transforming the food system.  This is a pivotal moment of opportunity to build back a better food system that is fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient.” Hence, President Biden proposes to tackle the meat processing industry head on.  He plans to funnel $1.4 billion in COVID-19 pandemic stimulus money to small meat producers and workers.  He promises to “crack down on illegal price fixing.”  He’s also formed a new White House Competition Council to “make the food system fairer and more equitable.” Without question, anyone with half their marbles already knows how this story ends… Government intervention discourages production, inflates prices, and, if pushed far enough, leads to empty shelves at the supermarket.  After that, it leads to empty stomachs…and the social chaos that follows. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Academia Is Establishing A Permanent Surveillance Bureaucracy That Will Soon Govern The Rest Of The Country

Academia Is Establishing A Permanent Surveillance Bureaucracy That Will Soon Govern The Rest Of The Country Authored by Michael Tracey via Substack, Having now received a tsunami of messages from people across the US (and a few internationally) about the surveillance regimes being permanently installed at their educational institutions — in contravention of earlier assurances that the current academic year would mark a long-awaited “return to normalcy,” thanks to the onset of mass vaccination - there are a few conclusions to draw. First: unless and until COVID “cases” are abandoned as a metric by which policy action is presumptively dictated, these institutions are destined to continue flailing from irrational measure to irrational measure for the foreseeable future. Just turn your gaze over to one of America’s most hallowed pedagogical grounds: As of September 17, Columbia University has newly forbidden students from hosting guests, visiting residence halls other than their own, and gathering with more than ten people. The stated rationale for these restrictions? Administrators have extrapolated from the “contact tracing” data they’ve compulsorily seized that a recent increase in viral transmission is attributable to “students socializing unmasked at gatherings in residence halls and at off-campus apartments, bars, and restaurants.” (Socializing at apartments, bars, and restaurants in the middle of Manhattan — gee, I can’t imagine anything more heinous.) Just like Connecticut College and so many other institutions I’ve been taking flurries of messages about, Columbia has already mandated vaccination for all students, faculty, and staff, and is approaching 100% compliance. But as has now been made abundantly clear, for many people in positions of bureaucratic authority, universal vaccination was never going to be sufficient for a transition away from the “Permanent Emergency” mode of COVID exegetical theology. The perverse incentives are easy to grasp. These administrators have so much invested in the infrastructure of “case” detection they’ve constructed over the past year and a half — not to mention the wider ideological project of “stopping the spread” at all costs — that it’s impossible to imagine conditions under which they’d voluntarily move to dismantle the surveillance systems over which they preside. And not just because the new powers conferred by this infrastructure — the ability to micromanage the private lives of young adults, track and adjudicate the propriety of their movements, etc. — is probably creepily intoxicating on a level these administrators may not be overtly conscious of, and in any event would almost certainly never publicly admit. No, the infrastructure won’t be dismantled any time soon because doing so would also require accepting a major paradigm shift in how COVID is understood. And for certain segments of society, that whole system of thought is just too all-consuming. Benign instances of transmission — i.e. transmission that results in no severe disease, which is almost invariably the case with vaccinated young adults at astronomically low risk from COVID — would have to stop being portrayed as alarming “outbreaks,” necessitating a never-ending stream of frenzied Zoom strategy meetings and swift, all-hands-on-decks interventionist tactics. The very word outbreak would also probably have to be ditched, given its alarmist connotations. I would suggest instead that outbreak be applied to these frantic upswells of bureaucratic overreaction. Perhaps the epidemiological origins of this diseased mentality could be “contact traced.” Why should anyone be alarmed by an alleged “outbreak” of overwhelmingly asymptomatic or mild “cases” among a population of healthy vaccinated undergrads — “cases” which would never have been detected at all if not for the superfluous “surveillance testing” structures that these institutions require students submit to? And before anyone chimes in with the standard “because they can transmit to others” response: the “others” they’re surrounded by have had the opportunity to get vaccinated at no cost for the past eight months. Even the US prestige media is beginning to reject the utility of using “cases” as a benchmark for anything of consequence, so you’d think college administrators would eventually follow suit, but a combination of bureaucratic inertia and weirdly flamboyant zeal appears to be preventing that from happening. Having read way too much administrative jargon recently, there are a number of obnoxious rhetorical strategies they employ to engender acceptance of edicts that more and more people seem to recognize are wildly, overbearingly arbitrary. “We all have to hold each other accountable,” these administrators will often pronounce, or some variation thereof, which ironically shields them from accountability for their own capricious and intrusive actions. Their orders are often cloyingly filled with artificial appeals to “the community,” which raises the question of who elected these surveillers and snoops to be spokespersons for “the community,” and how they even define “communities,” which seem to contain growing segments of unwilling inhabitants. One key thing to know is that despite their pretension of acting at the direction of “expert” epidemiologists and public health officials, the day-to-day decisions about practical implementation at these places often come down to the individual discretion of officials who in no sane world would ever be deferred to on questions of infectious disease protocol, or really anything else of significance. The latest restrictions at Columbia were promulgated by the “Dean of Undergraduate Student Life,” one of those titles which you know must encompass a whole slew of useless, indecipherable makework — and now tends to include a never-ending cycle of COVID monitoring. In her official bio, Dean Cristen Scully Kromm of Columbia is described as having an esteemed background in something called “residence life and leadership oversight.” I don’t know about you, but I can think of few things more unappealing than to have my personal activity surveilled by official busybodies who have dedicated their careers to learning the majesties of “leadership oversight,” which sounds like a field invented specifically for people who actually enjoy receiving LinkedIn emails. Thanks to my trusty network of informants, I was able to listen in on a Zoom meeting held Sunday night by Dean Victor Arcelus, the chief COVID decider at my old stomping grounds of Connecticut College. I apologize again for the unrelenting focus on this obscure liberal arts college in southeastern Connecticut, but it’s just become irresistible. Dean Arcelus convened a panel of all his subordinate Deans involved in the crafting of COVID rules; studying the credentials of these people sure is fascinating.  One member of the ad hoc infectious disease task force, Ariella Rabin Rotramel, currently serves as the College’s “Interim Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion,” and is also Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies, with a specialty in “Queer Theory and Activism.” Here is Rotramel answering a Zoom question from an anonymous student: I’m sure they is a lovely person, but it’s unclear why Rotramel should be endowed with authority to issue virology-related policy pronouncements. Either way, they gave some indication that they is perhaps not up for the task, describing the whole situation as “exhausting” — that familiar exasperated rallying cry of activists demanding acquiescence.  Demonstrating his unparalleled leadership abilities, however, Dean Arcelus stated that he was “quite disappointed” at reports that parties had been rudely held this past weekend at an on-campus residential facility. “There will be conduct consequences,” he warned. “Suspension is most definitely on the table.” Though the most extreme variation of the Australia-style lockdown had been lifted just hours after my visit last week, students are still being ordered not to partake in normal social gatherings such as parties (gasp) or going to bars (gasp). “If you have parties, if you go to the bars, you’re not going to be able to have everything else,” the Dean exhorted, threatening that those who misbehave could prompt a return to lockdown for everybody. However, he did leave a glimmer of hope, enticing students that “if we were able to see that you all were actually being really good” about acceding to his prohibitions, then “things could potentially change.” “The power in preventing this from happening again is in you and in holding each other accountable,” Dean Arcelus continued. There’s that ubiquitous feature of the contemporary college administrator jargon — presumably tailored to the sensibilities of “accountability”-minded young adults. Again with the added irony that these invocations of “accountability” serve to deflect scrutiny from those who wield the real decision-making power. In the name of “accountability,” students become scapegoats for the irrational policy choices of the people actually in charge. “Accountability” is usually also demanded on behalf of some imagined “community,” so you are not to comply solely at the behest of Dean Arcelus, but rather at the behest of some diffused assemblage of individuals who are claimed to represent a unified community. There’s always this incredibly annoying pretense that bureaucratic operatives and public health “experts” are alone the most exalted guardians of “community safety,” and if you don’t agree with them on moral, practical, or epidemiological grounds, you are a menace. “Moving forward, none of you should be OK with people not having a mask on inside, or not having it properly worn,” the Dean inveighed, again appealing to the shockingly pervasive snitch culture being fertilized at this and other academic institutions. Deans at Georgetown University and the University of Southern California have also been sending out these imperious injunctions for students to rat out the alleged violators among them, or as USC Law School Andrew T. Guzman put it in that typically manipulative style: “non-compliant members of our community.” What’s a “non-compliant member” of the USC “community,” exactly? Someone who engages in unsanctioned indoor “hydration.” No, I’m not kidding. Do you find any of this arbitrary or ridiculous? Tough luck. Because nowadays all public and private officials apparently have to do is incant the magic word “Delta,” and people whose dictates about proper interpersonal behavior would otherwise be ignored are suddenly imbued with this awesome, unchallengeable power. Their decrees must be obeyed, preferably with effusions of gratitude. Forcing masks on crying two-year-olds? “Delta.” Forbidden to remove your mask for a few seconds in order to take a sip of water at USC, even as a lavish and unmasked Emmys extravaganza just took place right down the road? “Delta.” Shutting down a special needs school in East Harlem less than a week into the academic year? “Delta.” Concerned about the privacy implications of being made to walk around with your health information stored on mandatory smartphone apps, as is the current policy at the University of Michigan, and being made to display this information on command? “Delta.” Also, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Delta. For all his foibles, at least Dean Arcelus nicely encapsulates the mindset which is now running rampant at major US educational institutions — the same institutions producing the graduates who will soon be governing the rest of the country. At the disciplinary Zoom meeting, the good Dean admitted: “I know all of us thought, going into getting vaccinated in April and May, we thought that we would be able to come back to campus and live campus differently [sic] having been vaccinated… But as I’ve said multiple times now, the Delta Variant just presents a whole new level of challenge to us. And that’s why we can’t do what we thought we were going to be able to do back when we got vaccinated in April and May.” Well, there you have it. Vaccination was never the gateway to normalcy it was presented to be, and the only option is apparently to instate “Permanent Emergency” protocols with no cognizable “off-ramp” in sight, as a Duke University “expert” helpfully conceded this week. Reneging on these prior assurances is portrayed as some inherently unavoidable fait accompli, rather than a conscious policy choice undertaken to the exclusion of other vastly more sensible options. Choosing another option would mean re-assessing the underlying logic of constantly surveilling a 99% vaccinated population of healthy young adults with these increasingly dubious “tests,” and gathering their private data so as to opine about the permissibility of their social activities. College administrators are totally committed — politically, professionally, metaphysically — to that logic. There’s also an entire financial infrastructure that’s been erected to sustain the endless provision of nonsensical testing services. Ultimately, these officials can’t or won’t extricate themselves from the scolding surveillance paradigm — and why would they? That would entail the relinquishment of power.  Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 00:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

McConnell"s Senate GOP is about to vote for a US default. Here"s what the debt ceiling is - and why it"s so dangerous.

Senate Republicans are on the verge of blocking a debt limit hike. The stakes are incredibly high, but lawmakers are at an impasse. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. AP/Andrew Harnik Congress is sparring again over raising the debt ceiling. The economy's fate hangs in the balance. The ceiling caps how much the government can borrow, but it's turned into a political weapon. Here's what the debt ceiling is and why it's so dangerous for the US economy. See more stories on Insider's business page. Senate Republicans are on the precipice of voting for America to default on its debt, a step that could eventually plunge the US into recession.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is spearheading the effort to reject a measure that cleared the House along party-lines last week to raise what's known as the debt ceiling. They want Democrats to address it on their own, and the Democrats reject that because both parties racked up the federal debt.If that sounds familiar, you already know a fair deal about the "debt ceiling." If it doesn't, you don't know that every so often, Congress has to ask itself permission to pay America's bills, and roughly half of it usually doesn't want to. That's the "ceiling" that has to be raised.In other words, each party is waiting for the other to blink first.Experts say a federal default could cause upheaval that reverberates through the economy in the form of job losses, abrupt cuts to Social Security payments, and American troops missing out on scheduled paychecks. Behind America's ever-growing debt pileThe federal government relies on debt. It regularly spends more than it raises in taxes. To cover that cost, the Treasury Department borrows cash by auctioning bonds. That's why the government's debt pile exceeds $28 trillion.The debt ceiling was introduced in 1917 to encourage the government to slow its borrowing. Reaching the limit forces one of two outcomes. Congress could raise the ceiling or temporarily suspend it and punt the problem into the future. Or the government could default on its debt.Over the past 50 years, the government has raised it 57 times. It's not hard to understand why. Defaulting on government debt could drag the country into an economic recession. Spending on critical programs would freeze. The dollar's strength would likely plummet. And financial markets would slide into uncharted territory as investors brace for an unprecedented economic catastrophe.There's an even greater risk. The dollar is the world's reserve currency, meaning other governments depend on it holding its worth. A default on US government debt would dramatically shake that confidence. The dollar's value could plummet as the world financial system prices in a dollar that isn't reliable - or seeks an alternative.The US has avoided this for as long as the debt ceiling has existed, but as it has steadily climbed higher, it's served more as a political weapon than a true threshold. Democrats and Republicans have both sparred over raising the ceiling, and their latest spat is no different.The latest battle over borrowingMcConnell has repeatedly said Senate Republicans won't vote to lift the limit, adding on Monday that "Democrats do not need our help." It's reminiscent of a 2011 showdown between House Republicans and the Obama administration that prompted tumult in financial markets and led to the first downgrade of the nation's credit rating.Other Republican lawmakers have said that raising the ceiling would open the door for Democrats to pass their $3.5 trillion spending plan.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said Republicans are more to blame for the debt issue. Raising the debt limit is also about dealing with past spending both parties racked up during the Trump administration, they said.Under President Donald Trump, GOP lawmakers drove the deficit sharply higher with their 2017 tax cuts and early COVID-19 rescue package by nearly $8 trillion. Lifting the limit, Democrats say, lets the government pay the bills for those policies.Pelosi and Schumer hope to pass legislation that will fund the government through December, but that's perhaps a choice they shouldn't have to make.Eliminating the limit is the "obvious solution" to avoiding periodic debt scares, David Kelly, the chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, said in a recent note. There's no evidence that the ceiling slows the growth of government debt, the very task it was created for in the first place. Instead of repeatedly voting for temporary fixes, Congress can do away with the limit and focus more on crafting a sustainable budget, Kelly said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 27th, 2021

Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, "Unexpected" Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is "New Normal"

Millions Of Chinese Residents Lose Power After Widespread, "Unexpected" Blackouts; Power Company Warns This Is "New Normal" Just yesterday we warned that a "Power Supply Shock Looms" as the energy crisis gripping Europe - and especially the UK - was set to hammer China, and just a few hours later we see this in practice as residents in three north-east Chinese provinces experienced unannounced power cuts as the electricity shortage which initially hit factories spreads to homes. People living in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces complained on social media about the lack of heating, and lifts and traffic lights not working. Northeast China's Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province has been through a sudden and unexpected power curb. Meanwhile, dozens of provinces across the country are also facing power curb due to govt's pursuit to cut carbon emission even though the supply for coal remain adequate. pic.twitter.com/cX2h0x6s8Q — Source Beijing (@SourceBeijing) September 26, 2021 Local media in China - which is highly dependent on coal for power - said the cause was a surge in coal prices leading to short supply. As shown in the chart below, Chinese thermal coal futures have more than doubled in price in the past year. There are several reasons for the surge in thermal coal, among them already extremely tight energy supply globally (that's already seen chaos engulf markets in Europe); the sharp economic rebound from COVID lockdowns that has boosted demand from households and businesses; a warm summer which led to extreme air condition consumption across China; the escalating trade spat with Australia which had depressed the coal trade and Chinese power companies ramping up power purchases to ensure winter coal supply. Then there is Beijing's pursuit of curbing carbon emissions - Xi Jinping wants to ensure blue skies at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February, showing the international community that he's serious about de-carbonizing the economy - that has led to artificial bottlenecks in the coal supply chain. Whatever the reason, it's just getting started: as BBC reported, one power company said it expected the power cuts to last until spring next year, and that unexpected outages would become "the new normal." Its post, however, was later deleted. At first, the energy shortage affected factories and manufacturers across the country, many of whom have had to curb or stop production in recent weeks. In the city of Dongguan, a major manufacturing hub near Hong Kong, a shoe factory that employs 300 workers rented a generator last week for $10,000 a month to ensure that work could continue. Between the rental costs and the diesel fuel for powering it, electricity is now twice as expensive as when the factory was simply tapping the grid. “This year is the worst year since we opened the factory nearly 20 years ago,” said Jack Tang, the factory’s general manager. Economists predicted that production interruptions at Chinese factories would make it harder for many stores in the West to restock empty shelves and could contribute to inflation in the coming months. Three publicly traded Taiwanese electronics companies, including two suppliers to Apple and one to Tesla, issued statements on Sunday night warning that their factories were among those affected. Apple had no immediate comment, while Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. But over the weekend residents in some cities saw their power cut intermittently as well, with the hashtag "North-east electricity cuts" and other related phrases trending on Twitter-like social media platform Weibo. The extent of the blackouts is not yet clear, but nearly 100 million people live in the three provinces. In Liaoning province, a factory where ventilators suddenly stopped working had to send 23 staff to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. There were also reports of some who were taken to hospital after they used stoves in poorly-ventilated rooms for heating, and people living in high-rise buildings who had to climb up and down dozens of flights of stairs as their lifts were not functioning. Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several months, though it later withdrew the advice. One video circulating on Chinese media showed cars travelling on one side of a busy highway in Shenyang in complete darkness, as traffic lights and streetlights were switched off. City authorities told The Beijing News outlet that they were seeing a "massive" shortage of power. Social media posts from the affected region said the situation was similar to living in neighboring North Korea. The Jilin provincial government said efforts were being made to source more coal from Inner Mongolia to address the coal shortage. As noted previously, power restrictions are already in place for factories in 10 other provinces, including manufacturing bases Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu. Of course, a key culprit behind China's shocking blackouts is Xi Jinping's recent pledge that his country will reach peak carbon emissions within nine years. As a reminder, two-thirds of China’s electricity comes from burning coal, which Beijing is trying to curb to address climate change. While coal prices have surged along with demand, because the government keeps electricity prices low, particularly in residential areas, usage by homes and businesses has climbed regardless. Faced with losing more money with each additional ton of coal they burn, some power plants have closed for maintenance in recent weeks, saying that this was needed for safety reasons. Many other power plants have been operating below full capacity, and have been leery of increasing generation when that would mean losing more money, said Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Energy Policy Studies at Xiamen University. “If those guys produce more, it has a huge impact on electricity demand,” Professor Lin said, adding that China’s economic minders would order those three industrial users to ease back. Meanwhile, even as it cracks down on conventional fossil fuels, China still does not have a credible alternative "green" source of energy. Adding insult to injury, various regions have been criticized by the government for failing to make energy reduction targets, putting pressure on local officials not to expand power consumption, the BBC's Stephen McDonell reports. And while the blackouts starting to hit household power usage are at most an inconvenience, if one which may soon result in even more civil unrest if these are not contained, a bigger worry is that the already snarled supply chains could get even more broken, leading to even greater supply-disruption driven inflation. As Source Beijing reports, several chip packaging service providers of Intel and Qualcomm were told to shut down factories in Jiangsu province for several days amid what could be the worst power shortage in years. The blackout is expected to affect global semiconductor supplies - which as everyone knows are already highly challenged - if the power cuts extend during winter. The NYT confirms as much, writing today that the electricity shortage is starting to make supply chain problems worse. The sudden restart of the world economy has led to shortages of key components like computer chips and has helped provoke a mix-up in global shipping lines, putting in the wrong places too many containers and the ships that carry them. Nationwide power shortages have prompted economists to reduce their estimates for China’s growth this year. Nomura, a Japanese financial institution, cut its forecast for economic expansion in the last three months of this year to 3 percent, from 4.4 percent. It is not clear how long the power crunch will last. Experts in China predicted that officials would compensate by steering electricity away from energy-intensive heavy industries like steel, cement and aluminum, and said that might fix the problem. State Grid, the government-run power distributor, said in a statement on Monday that it would guarantee supplies “and resolutely maintain the bottom line of people’s livelihoods, development and safety.” Maybe China should just blame bitcoin miners for the crisis to avoid public anger... alas, it can't do that since it already banned them and drove most of its technological innovators out of the country. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 27th, 2021