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Elon Musk Reacts To Border Crisis, Says Lacking Media Attention "Strange"

Elon Musk Reacts To Border Crisis, Says Lacking Media Attention 'Strange' Authored by Gary Bai via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reacting to the recording-breaking number of illegal immigrants walking through the Southern border. The world’s richest person was replying to reporting from Fox News’s Bill Melugin, who posted on Twitter drone footage of a group of hundreds of illegal immigrants crossing the Southern border at Eagle Pass, Texas, into the United States. In his post, Melugin cited Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics showing border agents to have encountered 400,000 illegal immigrants so far in the Del Rio sector in Fiscal Year 2022 (since October 2021), a number that is already more than double the total number of encounters from Fiscal Year 2021. This number does not include “get-aways”—illegal crossers who evaded apprehension. 400k from one border crossing in less than a year? — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2022 Strange that this receives very little attention in the media — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2022 “Strange that this receives very little attention in the media,” Musk wrote in response to Melugin on Aug. 14. Musk, a self-portrayed political moderate and a design engineer by trade, has shared his perspective with his 100 million-plus following on a wide range of issues beyond cars and rockets. The billionaire’s comments on the border crisis, for example, were the latest in his series of criticism of the current administration and the Democratic Party in general; others include his comments on the influence of labor unions on the Democratic party, the Spygate collusion scandal involving Clinton-affiliated Democrats, and the Biden White House’s alleged sidelining of Tesla’s role in the electric vehicle market. The Bigger Picture The backstory to the exchange between Musk and Melugin features an ever increasing surge in illegal immigration, overextended Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources, and an administration that actively strives to undo Trump-era “America First” immigration policies. Eagle Pass is only one of the regions along the Southwest border where hundreds of illegal immigrants pour into the United States. From the beginning of Fiscal Year 2022 on Oct. 1, 2021, to early August this year, border patrol agents apprehended 1.8 million illegal crossers. That’s more than the population of Phoenix, Arizona, the fifth-most populous city in the country, and about 40 percent higher than the total number of apprehensions in the previous fiscal year. BORDER: Border Patrol agents organize hundreds of illegal immigrants who have streamed across the border from Mexico near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20. pic.twitter.com/ftZyyhfTc0 — Charlotte Cuthbertson (@charlottecuthbo) May 21, 2022 The head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), meanwhile, insists that the border is secure, while the Biden administration is kept busy by legal disputes with border states on key Trump migration policies. One of the policies that the Biden administration began pulling back—following a Supreme Court decision that ruled in its favor—was the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required non-Mexican migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico for processing. Meanwhile, the Biden administration will continue to enforce the Trump-era immigration and public health policy known as Title 42, a policy instated as a COVID-19 countermeasure that allowed the United States to quickly expel migrants who unlawfully entered the United States and bypassed health screening in the process. A judge blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to lift Title 42 in May. A Border Patrol agent organizes a large group of illegal immigrants near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times) Another legal battle that will be consequential to border security will play out in the Supreme Court in the fourth quarter of this year, when the highest court will hear a case on whether Biden’s immigration enforcement guidelines constitute executive agency overreach. In July, the Supreme Court allowed a federal judge in Texas to block the Biden administration’s immigration guidelines that, according to the border states’ prosecutors, limit the ability of border agents to detain and deport illegal aliens. “The Biden Admin’s border record is an absolute failure,” Chad Wolf, former Acting DHS Secretary under the Trump Administration, wrote on Twitter on Aug. 17, following reports of anonymous CBP sources saying that a record-setting 2 million illegal crossers were apprehended since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2022. “I encourage Republicans next year to enact strong oversight in this area – specifically how DHS leadership executed an intentional plan to endanger migrants and American communities by refusing to enforce the law,” Wolf wrote. Tyler Durden Fri, 08/19/2022 - 11:35.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 19th, 2022

How a well-meaning tech solution for Ukraine almost became a "Craigslist for pedophiles"

How UkraineTakeShelter earned the ire of the Internet. A family is seen boarding a train in Ukraine that's heading west into Poland on March 10, 2022.Alan Chin for Insider UkraineTakeShelter aimed to connect refugees from Ukraine with individuals who could house them.  It attracted criticism for lax security procedures. One data security expert called it 'Craigslist for pedophiles.' Here's how the scandal played out, according to the site's creator Avi Schiffman.  Avi Schiffman first decided he needed to do something about the crisis in Ukraine on February 28 while attending a protest in San Diego's Balboa Park. The 19-year-old student had studied at Harvard but dropped out. Schiffman, who was in town to visit a friend, was among hundreds of people protesting Russian president Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine four days earlier, but felt powerless by simply protesting.Instead, he felt the need to act. He had developed a following on social media after building one of the first and largest coronavirus tracking websites in January 2020 while a high school senior. The site, claims Schiffman, has hundreds of millions of users. And he had similarly lofty goals for the Ukraine situation."I thought I could do something more global to help hundreds of millions of people around eastern and western Europe, rather than just a few hundred people in San Diego," he says. He returned to the home he was staying in that night and researched the situation more. He saw millions of refugees were fleeing Ukraine "and ending up in neighboring countries like Poland, Moldova, Germany et cetera." (Germany does not border Ukraine.) He also investigated how Ukrainian refugees were seeking shelter when they arrived in those countries, including a network of ad hoc Facebook groups, and found it lacking. "I felt what was in place for those refugees to find available hosts was just not going to scale to millions and millions of refugees," he says.He came up with the concept that would eventually become UkraineTakeShelter, but initially decided he was too busy to do it. Yet the worry niggled at him. Later that night, he couldn't sleep, so tweeted a message saying it would be a "cool idea" to launch a site matching Ukrainian refugees to hosts. Within an hour, he tweeted again to say he was developing it.Within a few hours he had sketched out the basic structure of the website, then called his friend from Harvard, Marco Burstein, a web developer. "We didn't sleep for like three days," Schiffman says. "We did nothing except work on this website." UkraineTakeShelter launched on March 2. Schiffman tweeted about the site, He emailed more than 150 Ukrainian and Polish news outlets, and messaged the admins of various Facebook pages set up to support refugees. Only one replied.So Schiffman turned to the US media that had covered his Covid tracking website. Finally, things took off. The initial coverage was largely positive: 'Harvard student launches a website to help connect refugees seeking a home with those who can provide it'. But the reality was more complicated.Among data security researchers and academics who work on refugee issues, there was more skepticism and people wondered if Schiffman, while well-intentioned, was in over his head. On social media, threads appeared that pointed out the site for its lax attitude to vetting potential hosts, and alleged breaches of European data protection law. Schiffman claims he's resolved some of those issues by talking to those who posted the critiques. "I've been in contact with a lot of the critics, such as Kasia — I don't know how to pronounce her name — Chojecka and Bill Fitzgerald and a few others, like Maciej Kawecki," whose name Schiffman also struggled to pronounce. "I've had amazing conversations with all of them," he says. "I'm listening to the responses, and I took action."Aboard a train from Lviv, Ukraine, onto Poland on March 10, 2022.Alan Chin for InsiderYet the development of the site belies a naivety that can be dangerous. "We like the idea of a simple fix for things that we don't fully understand," Angelika Strohmayer, senior lecturer at Northumbria University, UK, whose research focuses on supporting marginalized individuals, tells Insider. "And if we don't fully understand them, we think they're easy to fix. If it were so easy to solve refugee crises as an app connecting individual people, we wouldn't have multiple refugee crises across the world right now."Daragh O Brien, the managing director of Irish data protection consultancy Castlebridge, and data management lecturer at University College Dublin's Sutherland School of Law, says his reaction was "horrified." "I described it to my university class as Craigslist for pedophiles," O Brien says. "That's what they've created — without any vetting. All they have in terms of verification is that they know it's a real person, not a spoof profile. You do not know that the person is safe."O Brien, who has decades of experience working with NGOs, child protection agencies, and dealing with survivors of sexual abuse, admires their eagerness, but worries it could cause more harm than good. "I'm not dissing or dismissing the human motive of wanting to help, and to bring skills to the table to help," he says. "But you need to understand the problem you are solving first otherwise you will just make things worse."Schiffman thinks that people have got his intentions behind UkraineTakeShelter wrong. "I'm not making any money off this website at all," he says. "In fact, I'm massively losing money working on the website." He also, unprompted, says the site wasn't designed to gain media attention for himself. As for what he got wrong? "Look, I definitely agree I should have had a better verification system in place at the start," he says. "But the way I see it is, it's better late than never to add these features."When asked about the security concerns by Insider, Schiffman explained the methods he deployed to prevent hackers taking down the website, including working with cybersecurity experts. He explained, to a technology journalist of a decade's standing, about DDoS protection, "which is a very common hack you may have heard of." He also introduced anti-bot and anti-spam mechanisms to the site. But while Schiffman was preoccupied with trolls and spam listings, those with expertise in the field were worried more about whether vulnerable individuals fleeing their country were safe to use the site, and whether the people offering shelter were people who wouldn't exploit their vulnerability. A mother arrives with her children from Ukraine at Przemysl railway station in Poland on March 16, 2022.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesWhen asked about whether he had contacted NGOs that specialize in refugee resettlement, Schiffman says "It's very hard to get the attention of those major groups." Instead, he talked to admins of Facebook pages running informal resettlement schemes.Schiffman admits that some of the criticism about safeguarding issues is well-placed. "For sure, when I launched this website, there should have been more systems in place for verifying hosts," he says. "The goal of the website was really to make it scalable to millions and millions of refugees. And it's a hard balance between safety and security, while also efficiency and scale, of course."He's since implemented more identity verification systems, which run criminal background checks, and verifying users with photographs that are cross-checked against official databases. "All that kind of stuff is really expensive on the server side, and it's not something I could afford at the start." Schiffman estimates he's spent $10,000 of his own money setting up the site and integrating security checks. "I just realized it's such a drastic need, but it has been something I've been working on. I just wanted to get it out as soon as possible," he says. "So I'm figuring out a lot of these concerns."'Move fast and break things'The missteps that some have pointed out in Schiffman's creation of UkraineTakeShelter have played out before when tech and the humanitarian sectors combine, says Reem Talhouk, who studies how technology and international development interconnect. "It really stems from the notion of Silicon Valley, and that we can design technologies out of things and out of crises," says Talhouk, vice chancellor's research fellow at Northumbria University, UK. "That narrative has been propagated by extensive funding and investment and hackathons in Ivy League universities for students to address migration or refugee issues." Harvard held their first-of-its-kind refugee hackathon in response to the Syrian Civil War in 2016.Schiffman says that the Harvard connection has been used to unfairly malign him and his efforts. "People are so obsessed with shitting on Harvard," he says. "But I'm not even a student there." (The UkraineTakeShelter website says it "was developed by two Harvard students.") Schiffman, who had been studying neuroscience and philosophy, says he dropped out because of the cost — $54,768 for the tuition alone — and because of its "structured environment." He's currently taking time off in Barcelona, Spain, while he decides whether to return. Burstein is still at Harvard, and deep into midterms, Schiffman says.Yet Talhouk has real-world experience of students emailing her after receiving funding for a project at a hackathon that they subsequently realize replicates pre-existing technology — or that ends up being harder than they expect — asking her to help. A Ukrainian child is seen crying in his mother's arms as they arrive at the transit point of Palanca, Moldova, on March 12, 2022Matteo Placucci/NurPhoto via Getty Images"There's an element of propagating the narrative that anyone who has a technology background can design a technology that works to address the crisis, or the issue," she says. "And this does combine with the white savior complex and all that comes mixed into that to result in these things happening and propagating themselves."O Brien points out that the startup mentality of "move fast and break things" doesn't work when talking about human beings. "There's middle class exceptionalism, tech bro exceptionalism, and American exceptionalism," he says.He says a similar dynamic was at work when Elon Musk decided independently to build a submarine to try and rescue a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave in 2018, rather than supporting the ongoing rescue efforts on the ground. (The submarine was delivered, but was deemed wholly unsuitable by rescuers and called a PR stunt; Musk subsequently called one of the rescuers "pedo guy" for daring to criticize his efforts.)"This is not a situation where you build the aircraft while you're flying," O Brien says. "This is not a situation where you launch something that is half-baked. This is a situation where you pick up the phone and ask your local branch of the Red Cross: 'Can you put us in contact with someone who is dealing with this?' So you understand what the requirements are."Those who have experience supporting displaced and marginalized individuals still think there was a better solution from the start. "As a tech worker, if you want to help, give money to organizations that know what they're doing," says Strohmayer. "Give your skills to organizations who need them. You don't need to work on your own passion project. In crisis situations, we need things that work quickly."Schiffman says he can "definitely" see why the critics threw brickbats at the site. "I honestly was just trying to move fast and get this website out there as soon as possible," he says. "And overall, like 99% of people are good." By the end of March, he aims to completely overhaul the platform so that none of the current listings on the platform will be there. "Hopefully by the end of the month, I'll just be lifting from housing platforms and verified NGOs," he says. "Instead of trying to be like Airbnb, the way the platform currently is, it is moving to be more like Kayak. And that's going great."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMar 25th, 2022

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." — Bob Seely, Tory MP. "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement." — Richard Whitman, professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent. "Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means." — The Economist. "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." — Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department. "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force.... Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." — Brooks Tigner, analyst, Atlantic Council. European federalists seeking to transform the 27-member European Union into a European superstate — a so-called United States of Europe — have revived a decades-old proposal to build a European army. The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Macron claims that Europe needs its own military because, according to him, the United States is no longer a reliable ally. He cites as examples: U.S. President Joe Biden's precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan; the growing pressure on Europe to take sides with the United States on China; and France's exclusion from a new security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. Still others are opposed to creating a parallel structure to NATO that could undermine the transatlantic alliance. A common EU army appears to be a long way from becoming reality. A logical course of action would be for EU member states (which comprise 21 of the 30 members of NATO) to honor past pledges to increase defense spending as part of their contribution to the transatlantic alliance. That, however, would fly in the face of the folie de grandeur — the delusions of grandeur — of European federalists who want to transform the EU into a major geopolitical power. Pictured: Soldiers of the Franco-German brigade, a military unit founded in 1989, jointly consisting of units from the French Army and German Army. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Strategic Autonomy The term "strategic autonomy" in European discussions on defense has been in use since at least December 2013, when the European Council, the EU's governing body comprised of the leaders of the 27 EU member states, called for the EU to improve its defense industrial base. In June 2016, the term appeared in the EU's security strategy. The document — "A Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy" — was said to "nurture the ambition of strategic autonomy" for the European Union. "An appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy," it stated, "is important for Europe's ability to promote peace and security within and beyond its borders." In recent years, the concept of "strategic autonomy" has taken on far broader significance: the idea now means that the EU should become a sovereign power that is militarily, economically, and technologically independent from the United States. EU observer Dave Keating noted: "The Brussels buzzword is now 'strategic autonomy,' an effort to wrestle the word 'sovereignty' away from nationalists and make the case that only a strong EU can make Europeans truly sovereign in relation to Russia, China, and the United States." European federalists increasingly have called for building an autonomous EU military force: March 8, 2015. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Jean-Claude Juncker, then the president of the European Commission, the EU's administrative arm, declared that the European Union needed its own army because it was not "taken entirely seriously" on the international stage. The proposal was flatly rejected by the British government, which at the time was still an EU member: "Our position is crystal clear that defense is a national — not an EU — responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army." September 26, 2017. President Macron, in a major speech at Sorbonne University, called for a joint EU defense force as part of his vision for the future of the bloc: "Europe needs to establish a common intervention force, a common defense budget and a common doctrine for action." November 6, 2018. Macron, marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War 1, warned that Europe cannot be protected without a "true, European army." He added: "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America." November 13, 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Macron's calls for a European army: "The times when we could rely on others are over. This means nothing less than for us Europeans to take our destiny in our own hands if we want to survive as a Union.... We have to create a European intervention unit with which Europe can act on the ground where necessary. We have taken major steps in the field of military cooperation; this is good and largely supported in this house. But I also have to say, seeing the developments of the recent years, that we have to work on a vision to establish a real European army one day." September 10, 2019. During her first press conference as the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who has long called for a "United States of Europe," said that she will lead a "geopolitical Commission" aimed at boosting the EU's role on the world stage. She did not offer many details other than a vaguely worded pledge that the European Union would "be the guardian of multilateralism." November 7, 2019. President Macron, in an interview with the London-based magazine, The Economist, declared that NATO was "brain dead" and warned that European countries can no longer rely on the United States for defense. Europe, he said, stands on "the edge of a precipice" and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power and regain "military sovereignty" or otherwise "we will no longer be in control of our destiny." Macron criticized U.S. President Donald J. Trump because he "doesn't share our idea of the European project." Chancellor Merkel said Macron "used drastic words — that is not my view of co-operation in NATO." November 26, 2019. France and Germany announced the "Conference on the Future of Europe," a two-year post-Brexit soul-searching exercise aimed at reforming the EU to make it "more united and sovereign." June 17, 2020. The European Council tasked the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, with drafting a written "Strategic Compass." The document should have three main purposes: 1) to formulate the EU's first common threat analysis; 2) to strengthen the EU's security and defense role; and 3) to offer political guidance for future military planning processes. The Strategic Compass, aimed at harmonizing the perception of threats and risks within the EU, is to be presented in November 2021, debated by EU leaders in December 2021, and approved in March 2022. December 3, 2020. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in blog post, "Why European Strategic Autonomy Matters," wrote: "It is difficult to claim to be a 'political union' able to act as a 'global player' and as a 'geopolitical Commission' without being 'autonomous.'" He described "strategic autonomy" as a long-term process intended to ensure that Europeans "increasingly take charge of themselves." May 5, 2021. Fourteen EU countries — Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain — called for the creation of a so-called EU First Entry Force consisting of 5,000 troops with air, land and sea capabilities. August 29, 2021. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said that the moment had come to establish an EU expeditionary force — a "First Entry Force" — to compensate for U.S. "disengagement" from international affairs. A senior EU diplomat, speaking to the Guardian newspaper, asked: "We have been here before — which leader is going to allow their nationals to be killed in the name of the EU? What problem is this reaction force meant to solve? Does Borrell seriously entertain the idea the EU would be able to step into the void the US left?" September 15, 2021. In her annual State of the Union speech delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen urged greater military independence from the United States. "Europe can — and clearly should — be able and willing to do more on its own," she said. She called for a "European Defense Union" but admitted the "lack of political will" to "build the foundation for collective decision-making." October 2, 2021. European Council President Charles Michel, speaking at an award ceremony of the International Charlemagne Prize, declared that "2022 will be the year of European defense." October 5-6, 2021. At an EU Summit in Slovenia, EU member states were so divided on the issue of strategic autonomy that the topic was not even included in the summit's final declaration. To create the illusion of consensus, Michel issued an "oral conclusion" of the summit: "To become more effective and assertive on the international stage, the European Union needs to increase its capacity to act autonomously." A History of Failure The debate over building a European army has been going on since the end of World War 2. In 1950, France proposed creating a common army to protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union without having to rearm Germany. A treaty creating the so-called European Defense Community was signed in 1952, but it was never ratified by the French Parliament due to concerns that France would lose its sovereignty to a multilateral decision-making body. In the late 1990s, after the EU and its member states failed to prevent a decade of bloodletting in the Yugoslav Wars, and after the United States intervened, European leaders called for the creation of a European Rapid Reaction Force capable of acting in future crises. In 2007, after years of debate, the EU established two so-called EU battlegroups consisting of 1,500 troops each to respond to crises, but due to intra-European disputes over financing and deployment, they have never been used. The European Union is now calling for the battlegroups to be rebranded as a "First Entry Force" comprised of 5,000 troops. It remains unclear why EU leaders think the latter will achieve what the former could not. In any event, a force that small is nowhere near enough to give the EU "strategic autonomy" from the United States. Over the decades, the European quest for "strategic autonomy" has resulted in dozens of summits, declarations, concept papers, reports, institutions, terms and acronyms, including: Petersberg Declaration; St. Malo Declaration; Berlin Plus Agreement; Franco-German Brigade; German-Netherlands Corps; Belgian-Dutch Naval Cooperation Accord; European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP); Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP); Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP); Headline Goals; EU Battlegroups; European Gendarmerie Force; European Rapid Operational Force (EUROFOR); European Maritime Force; Eurocorps; Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF); Entente frugale; European Defense Agency; European Security Strategy; European Intervention Initiative (EI2); EUFOR; European Command and Control (C2); European Union Military Committee (EUMC); European Union Military Staff (EUMS); Joint Support Coordination Cell (JSCC); Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC); Political and Security Committee (PSC); Politico-Military Group (PMG); European Defense Fund; Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD); and the EU's ongoing "Strategic Compass" process, among many others. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in a recent opinion article published by Politico, concluded that "illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end." She added: "Europeans will not be able to replace America's crucial role as a security provider. We have to acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent." Lack of Capabilities An important obstacle to building a European army is the reluctance of EU governments to invest in defense. At the 2014 Wales Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, allies agreed to spend a minimum of 2% percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending. In 2020, only nine of NATO's 21 European members honored their pledges, according to data supplied by NATO. Germany — the biggest economy in the EU and the fourth-biggest in the world — spent only 1.53% of GDP on defense in 2020. That represents an increase of less than 0.5% of GDP since 2015. France, the EU's second-biggest economy, spent 2.01% of GDP on defense in 2020, an increase of only 0.3% of GDP since 2015. Italy, the EU's third-biggest economy, spent 1.41% of GDP on defense in 2020, while Spain, the EU's fourth-biggest economy, spent a mere 1.02% of GDP on defense in 2020, according to NATO data. The numbers show that defense spending is not a priority in most European countries. The German armed forces (the Bundeswehr) are in an especially sad state of disrepair. A damning report published by the German Parliament in January 2019 found that critical equipment was scarce and that readiness and recruitment were at all-time lows. "No matter where you look, there's dysfunction," said a high-ranking German officer stationed at Bundeswehr headquarters in Berlin. A May 2018 report by the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that only four of Germany's 128 Eurofighter jets were combat ready. Germany's obligation to NATO requires it to have at least 80 combat-ready jets for crisis situations. At the end of 2017, not one of the German Air Force's 14 large transport planes was available for deployment due to a lack of maintenance, according to the German Parliament. In October 2017, a spokesman for the German Navy said that all six of Germany's submarines were in the dock for repairs. In February 2015, Germany's defense ministry admitted that its forces were so under-equipped that they had to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise in Norway. Much of the blame falls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During her 16 years in office, she has been content to free-ride on the U.S. defense umbrella. Also to blame is Ursula von der Leyen, who was German defense minister between 2014 and 2019, before she was promoted to lead the European Commission, and who now wants to build a European army. As German defense minister, von der Leyen was plagued by scandals and accused of cronyism, mismanagement and nepotism. EU affairs analyst Matthew Karnitschnig quipped: "With Merkel on her way out, fixing the Bundeswehr will likely be up to her successor. Until then, plans for a 'European Army' that includes Germany have about as much chance of getting off the ground as the German Air Force." France, which has just under 300,000 active-duty personnel, has the largest military in Europe. Still, it remains a regional power, not a global one. In September 2021, the RAND Corporation, in a major study — "A Strong Ally Stretched Thin: An Overview of France's Defense Capabilities from a Burdensharing Perspective" — concluded that the French military suffers many shortcomings that render as "limited" its capacity to sustain a high-end, conventional conflict. The French Army "faces a challenge with respect to readiness, owing to past budget cuts and austerity measures, a small number of weapon systems, and the burden of sustaining ongoing overseas operations," according to RAND. The French Air Force "suffers from limited capacity" and "severely lacks strategic airlift." The French Navy, which has only one aircraft carrier, like France's other services, "has issues with readiness, and munitions stocks reportedly are low," according to RAND. The report's takeaway is that the French military would require decades of preparation and massive budget increases to realistically form the basis for a European army. Poland, which is opposed to a European army because it would "weaken" the armies of NATO's member states, plans to double the size of its armed forces to 250,000 soldiers and 50,000 reserves. The expansion, announced on October 26, would make the Polish military the second-largest in Europe, ahead of that of the United Kingdom. In January 2020, Poland signed a contract worth $4.6 billion to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. In October 2018, Belgium signed a $4.5 billion deal to purchase 34 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. "The offer from the Americans was the best in all our seven evaluation criteria," Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput wrote on Twitter. "The decision is a setback for Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, who are behind the Eurofighter program, and also means the rejection of an informal French offer to sell Belgium the Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation," according to Reuters. This implies that in the future the Belgian and Polish militaries will be further integrated with the United States and NATO rather than with a hypothetical European army. Macron's Motives One of the most vocal champions of the idea of a European army is French President Emmanuel Macron. He must know that an independent EU military remains only a distant possibility, despite his describing the NATO alliance as "brain dead." As German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to retire, it appears that much of Macron's posturing on European "strategic autonomy" is part of a French nationalist campaign strategy aimed at presenting France as a great power that dominates the European Union. Macron seems to be trying to appeal to French voters while carving out a role for himself to replace Merkel as the new leader of Europe. Macron, who has yet to declare his candidacy, faces reelection in April 2022. Currently he is the clear first-round front-runner at 24%, according to recent polls cited by Politico. His main rivals are two nationalists: Marine Le Pen of the right-leaning National Rally party, and Éric Zemmour, a French essayist and media personality. Macron has been calling for a European army for several years, but his professed aspiration for "strategic autonomy" shifted into high gear after U.S. President Donald J. Trump threatened to withdraw from NATO if European member states refused to pay their fair share. Trump's warning, which appears to have been more of a bluff than a real threat, prompted many European countries to increase their defense spending, even if most are still below the agreed-upon threshold of 2% of GDP. Macron subsequently was dealt a humiliating blow by the Biden administration. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a new tripartite strategic alliance aimed at countering China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, the so-called AUKUS agreement does not include any member state of the European Union, which was completely left in the dark about the new alliance. AUKUS was announced on September 15, just hours before the EU unveiled its much-hyped "Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific." The EU had been hoping that its new plan would highlight its "strategic autonomy" from the United States in the Pacific region. Instead, the EU was eclipsed by AUKUS and exposed as a paper tiger. Adding insult to injury, Australia announced that as part of the AUKUS deal, it had cancelled a multi-billion-dollar submarine contract — once dubbed the "contract of the century" — under which France was to supply Australia with 12 diesel-powered submarines. Instead, Australia said that it would be buying nuclear submarines from the United States. France has reacted angrily to its change of fortunes. French Foreign Minister called AUKUS a "stab in the back." The French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, said that Australia's decision to cancel the submarine deal was akin to "treason." The French government claimed that the Australian decision caught Paris by surprise, but the subsequent leak of a text message between Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that Macron knew well in advance that Australia was planning to cancel the contract. The AUKUS humiliation set Macron into a rage and appears to be fueling his increasingly frenzied calls for "strategic autonomy." An advisor to Macron said: "We could turn a blind eye and act as if nothing had happened. We think that would be a mistake for all Europeans. There really is an opportunity here." So far, however, only Italy and Greece have come out in support of Macron's calls for an autonomous EU military force. In September 2021, France and Greece signed a new defense and security agreement in which France pledged to provide military assistance to Greece in the event of an attack by a third country, even if such a country, Turkey, is a member of NATO. Macron said the deal, worth $3 billion to France, was a "milestone" in European defense because it strengthened the EU's "strategic autonomy." Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis described the Greek-French defense deal "a first step towards the strategic autonomy of Europe." But some in the EU were skeptical of the deal and are concerned it will only serve to inflame tensions between Greece and Turkey. "It is a bit bizarre to say the pact contributes to European sovereignty," an unnamed EU diplomat told Politico. "By all accounts, this is a traditional 19th-century defense pact between two European powers." Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, in an interview with the Danish newspaper Politiken, said that Macron was escalating his dispute with the United States way out of proportion: "I think it is important to say, in relation to the discussions that are taking place right now in Europe, that I experience U.S. President Joe Biden as being very loyal to the transatlantic alliance. "I think in general that one should refrain from lifting some specific challenges, which will always exist between allies, up to a level where they are not supposed to be. I really, really want to warn against this." Meanwhile, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, on September 22 reported that Macron had offered to put France's seat on the United Nations Security Council "at the disposal of the European Union" if its governments back Macron's plans for an EU army. The French Presidency later denied the report: "Contrary to the assertions reported this morning, no, France has not offered to leave its seat on the United Nations Security Council. It belongs to France, and it will remain so." France assumes the EU's six-month rotating presidency on January 1, 2022. During that time, Macron is sure to continue pushing for "strategic autonomy" from the United States, including at a "Summit on European Defense" scheduled for the first half of 2022. Select Commentary Analysts James Jay Carafano and Stefano Graziosi, in an essay, "Europe's Strategic Autonomy Fallacy," wrote: "Strategic autonomy might sound empowering, but it remains little more than a distraction and irritant to the transatlantic community and the real issues. European nations need more national defense capacity. Europe needs a strong, innovative, and productive defense industrial base, and Europeans need to take collective security and its role in a Europe whole, free, prosperous and at peace seriously. These problems can be better addressed by building the militaries the Europeans need than the fantasies Brussels wants." A senior Tory MP, Bob Seely, warned: "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." EU affairs expert Dave Keating noted: "The problem is that while leaders like Macron have tasked the Commission to make the EU more geopolitically strong, he and others still refuse to give the Commission the tools that would make it strong. For the last decade, the European Council has consistently opposed measures that would strengthen the Commission, because it would mean diluting the power of national governments.... "EU national leaders are all well aware of the need for Europe to speak with one voice if it ever wants to be taken seriously on the global stage. But their natural instinct to preserve their own power gets in the way of achieving this goal." In an interview with France 24, the French state-owned television network, Richard Whitman, a professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, said: "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement. Nobody in the EU has ever been able to come up with a decision-making arrangement that takes national divides into account while facilitating expeditious decision-making; it's either the lowest common denominator or grand rhetorical comments tied to absurd propositions. Military action is politically defensible only when taken by national leaders and parliaments — and it's difficult to see that being worked around." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead noted that the entire premise of European leaders that the United States was "disengaging" from international affairs was based on a "significant misunderstanding." He wrote: "Many Europeans, including some seasoned observers of the trans-Atlantic scene, believe that if the U.S. sees the Indo-Pacific as the primary focus of its foreign policy, it must be writing off the rest of the world. These observers look at the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and imagine that this is the kind of headlong retreat they can expect from America in Europe and the Middle East. "This is unlikely. American interests are global, and American presidents, like it or not, can't confine their attention to a single world theater." Polish analyst Łukasz Maślanka tweeted that the French arguments for "strategic autonomy" from the United States are lacking in substance: "French reports from the European Council summit in Slovenia assess Macron's chances of convincing Europeans to EU defense. A critical tone prevails against the reluctant Balts and Poles who still stubbornly believe in NATO despite the U.S.'s allegedly inevitable withdrawal from Europe. "However, it is French observers who lack lucidity: the U.S. presence in Central Europe has been growing, not diminishing in recent years. It is many times greater not only than what France currently delivers, but what it could ever deliver. "Finally, if the U.S. really did intend to turn its back on Europe, the dismay in Paris would be no less than in Warsaw. It's harmful to drive something that can finally become a self-fulfilling prophecy." The London-based magazine, The Economist, wrote that Europeans feel "unnerved" by Macron's push for "strategic autonomy" from the United States: "Most of them, especially those near the Russian border, are happy to rely on America's security guarantee. Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means. Low odds, however, seldom deter Mr. Macron. After the latest snub, the unhugged French president will doubtless conclude that he has little choice but to keep trying." John Krieger, writing for the UK-based The Spectator, noted: "Given that Emmanuel Macron has nailed his colors to the mast on driving European integration deeper, a refusal by European member states to follow suit would be embarrassing and not a good omen for his forthcoming presidency of the EU in January." Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department said: "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." Analyst Brooks Tigner, writing for the Atlantic Council, concluded: "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force. "Those differences boil down to some of the most mundane things such as soldiers' rights. Strong unions representing military personnel in rich Scandinavian countries, for instance, ensure that their soldiers enjoy levels of physical comfort, hardship pay, and access to medical care that their equivalents in poorer southern EU countries can only dream of for an exercise, much less an actual operation. Whose union rules would govern a common European army? And how would that be financed? "The differences are even sharper at the strategic level when it comes to intelligence. As a whole, the EU countries (and those of NATO as well) do not trust one another with sensitive information: it is parceled out very parsimoniously from one capital to a few trusted others. It would never work for a truly common army. Changing that alone via twenty-five-way trust for intelligence-sharing within PESCO would take years and years. Some deem it impossible. "Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." Tyler Durden Sat, 11/13/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 13th, 2021

Ron DeSantis" Martha"s Vineyard stunt gives Republicans the midterm fight they crave and takes focus off Trump 2024 and abortion rights, GOP operatives say

Democrats have been feeling more confident about their midterm prospects, but they have a polling deficit on immigration that's now leading the news cycle. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at the Horsepower Ranch in Geneva. DeSantis faces former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for the general election for Florida Governor in November.Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Polling shows voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on immigration and border security. DeSantis' political stunt in Martha's Vineyard rocketed the issues to front-page news ahead of the midterms. Republicans welcome the change of topic from abortion and Trump.  When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis orchestrated flights sending migrants and asylum seekers from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, many observers saw a stunt aimed at raising the Republican's political profile ahead of a potential 2024 White House run. But according to GOP operatives, the move also gave Republicans running for Congress the opportunity to home in on illegal immigration and border security, topics they've clamored to put at the center of this fall's midterm elections.DeSantis' timing is ideal for Republicans and allows the governor to continue casting himself as a national GOP leader that others in the party will follow.Since August, Democrats have been feeling more optimistic about their forthcoming chances in the November midterms thanks to legislative wins in Congress, decreasing gas prices, and the threat of a GOP push for a nationwide abortion ban. They've also been able to keep the spotlight on former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly teased a 2024 White House run, is the subject of an FBI investigation over classified documents, and faces a $250 million fraud lawsuit. Last week, however, DeSantis threw a wrench into the political conversation by taking a page out of Trump's 2016 campaign playbook. The flights carrying migrants injected immigration into the national discussion, forcing the White House to respond. While DeSantis' actions face a legal challenge and were viewed by critics as a cruel stunt that misled vulnerable people, congressional Republicans openly welcomed that DeSantis highlighted the issue.Republicans would prefer to keep voters focused on issues where they poll well, including on economic issues, crime, immigration, and border security."Democrats are desperately trying to make abortion, Trump, and 2024 the issue," Saul Anuzis, managing partner of Coast to Coast Strategies, LLC, a political consulting firm, told Insider. "The challenge is that the other issues are real and affect folks daily.""The polling is on the Republican's side," Anuzis added. "They just have to stay on message and not get distracted."Republicans already knew they held an advantage on these issues even before the Martha's Vineyard controversy. Since March 2021, the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans in US House races, has sent 357 emails about "Biden's Border Crisis" to reporters. But DeSantis' Martha's Vineyard flights brought renewed interest to the matter, said a Republican familiar with House races who asked not to be named in order to speak candidly. "It's brought a lot of attention to the border crisis that had been lost," the person said. To top it all off, Republicans are closely watching trends that show Democrats are seeing a decline in support from Hispanic voters. Given all this, there's really no downside to DeSantis stirring the pot on immigration, former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Insider in an email. "People who think our border policy is a disaster support what he did — and all states should, in fact, bear the brunt of current immigration policy," Mulvaney said. "People who like the policy as is hate DeSantis anyway," he added. But there's been one notable exception among prominent Republicans. Trump's son-in-law and former White House advisor, Jared Kushner, criticized DeSantis' move this week, telling Fox News he was "very troubled" that "human beings" are "being used as political pawns." Kushner's remarks offer further evidence that Trump sees DeSantis' attention-grabbing stunt as a threat to his potential 2024 re-election bid. Local resident Rosemarie Aguero distributes pizzas to a group of Venezuelan Migrants from the back of her pickup truck across from the Migrant Resource Center on September 19, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. The City of San Antonio Migrant Resource Center is the origin place of two planeloads of mostly Venezuelan migrants who were sent via Florida to Martha's Vineyard by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty ImagesRepublicans play up illegal immigration issueCongressional Republicans have welcomed the shift in the national conversation to immigration and border security. The topics could stay in the headlines for weeks if DeSantis follows through on comments he has made publicly about sending migrants to President Joe Biden's home state of Delaware. The governor's actions allowed Republicans to highlight that 2 million people have been caught entering the US illegally this fiscal year. Republicans also criticized Vice President Kamala Harris' comments in a September 11 NBC Meet the Press interview, in which she said the border was "secure." Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who worked under Trump, said he'd encouraged Republicans in Congress to go to the border so that it would receive more media coverage. But DeSantis and GOP Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas' actions moving migrants "worked" to finally draw attention to the issue, he said. "No one would cover this issue until he did it," Sean Spicer, who now hosts the Spicer & Co. political talk show on Newsmax, said of DeSantis. "On my show, we cover it almost nightly." Republicans in Congress have pushed the matter further.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he agreed with DeSantis' actions and used his floor speech to blast Democrats over illegal immigration. The National Republican Senatorial Committee this week tied record-high border apprehensions to the policies of Biden and Sen. John Kelly of Arizona, a Democrat they're trying to unseat in November. Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also are dropping charges of hypocrisy. They've accused liberal cities of being supportive of permissive immigration policies while not facing the same humanitarian and national security struggles as border towns, which provide aid to thousands of migrants arriving monthly.They've pointed to comments from Democratic officials who've said cities are overwhelmed after Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey bused migrants to New York and Washington, DC."For so many folks on the left, sanctuary cities and welcoming illegal immigrants is a bumper sticker," Spicer said. "They have no idea the reality of it."The party frequently accuses Biden of not doing enough to help. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has responded that if governors "truly care about border security" they should have encouraged GOP senators to vote in favor of Biden's request for Homeland Security funding.DeSantis has publicly urged Biden to reinstitute a Trump-era policy that forced asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are pending, and told Republicans to run on immigration during a rally in Wisconsin on Sunday.That appears to be the plan. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's GOP agenda published Wednesday, called the "Commitment to America," prominently proposed stricter immigration measures including a requirement to show legal residency in order to work. Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Republican Conference, held a press conference Monday highlighting an NBC News poll that included findings about voters gravitating toward Republicans on the topic of immigration and border security.DeSantis is up for reelection in Florida and it's not yet clear what effect his Martha's Vineyard actions will have on his campaign. On Wednesday, Democratic gubernatorial challenger Charlie Crist accused DeSantis of trying to "draw attention away" from Florida's 15-week abortion ban, which doesn't include exemptions for rape or incest. "His inhumanity is now comparable to his inhumanity and lack of respect for women," Crist said. As for the future of the White House, DeSantis's migrant trafficking lawsuit would be unlikely to do any lasting damage to the party or DeSantis' suspected presidential ambitions because 2024 is still very far off, predicted Jeff Grappone, a GOP strategist at political consulting firm Rokk Solutions. "We're not even to the opening gate of the 2024 race yet," Grappone told Insider. "When the universe of candidates is known, we'll have a better sense of how particular issues will impact Republican fortunes in 2024."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2022

A New “TrumpLaw” May Be Taking Hold

A New “TrumpLaw” May Be Taking Hold; But Only at Mar-a-Lago and With Trump Judges An Alternative Version Of TrumpLaw WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 13, 2022) – An alternative version or definition of “TrumpLaw” may be taking hold, at least at Mar-a-Lago and with Trump judges, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who helped call […] A New “TrumpLaw” May Be Taking Hold; But Only at Mar-a-Lago and With Trump Judges An Alternative Version Of TrumpLaw WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 13, 2022) – An alternative version or definition of “TrumpLaw” may be taking hold, at least at Mar-a-Lago and with Trump judges, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who helped call attention to the original version of TrumpLaw which was coined and used during President Donald Trump’s early days in office. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   In both usages it refers to lawless actions by judges, motivated by strong personal feelings for or against Trump, rather than by legal precedent and ordinary judicial restraint. Originally used to describe the tendency of many judges - those opposed to Trump and his unusual if not outrageous actions - to bend the law as far as possible to thwart him and his proposals. The term TrumpLaw is now beginning to be used as a criticism of Trump-appointed judges, including Judge Aileen Cannon who seems to be bending the law to favor the person who appointed her to the bench. Here's how Banzhaf first explained the original use of the word. There was growing concern and recognition - even among Trump detractors, and liberal papers such as the New York Times - that courts appeared to be adopting a new jurisprudence called "TrumpLaw" aimed uniquely at this President. A method of judging cases which is aimed specifically at countering some of the practices of President Trump, even if this development means creating new legal principles and/or overlooking (or at least minimizing) other established ones. Even more alarming is that even those in favor of this new approach to deciding cases appeared concerned not only that it will extend too far and possibly hobble his successor, but that the new legal principles being developed could create precedents which would carry over and adversely affect other presidents, and even agency heads, in the future. For example, the New York Times described this new TrumpLaw method of deciding cases as "a set of restrictions on presidential action that only apply to Donald Trump. This president cannot do things that would be perfectly legal if any other president did them, under this standard, because the courts will rule against his past demagogy rather than the policies themselves." While hardly in favor of the President's so-called Muslim bans, the Times was nevertheless worried that the various court decisions staying the bans establish "a precedent that would further politicize an already-partisan judiciary, by licensing judges to constantly look beyond the law for excuses to rule against politicians (liberal or conservative) they dislike." David French of the National Review, who has been described as a NeverTrumper, nevertheless warned early on about this "strange madness [which] is gripping the federal judiciary. It is in the process of crafting a new standard of judicial review, one that does violence to existing precedent, good sense, and even national security for the sake of defeating Donald Trump." A Radical Departure From Existing Law In his words, "when existing precedent either doesn't apply or cuts against the overriding demand to stop Trump, then it's up to the court to yank that law out of context, misinterpret it, and then functionally rewrite it to reach the 'right' result'." "An otherwise lawful order is unlawful only because Donald Trump issued it... All this adds up to TrumpLaw, the assertion by the federal judiciary of the legal authority to stop Trump." Law Professor Paul Horwitz defines it as "about lower courts developing a form of what some critics call 'TrumpLaw,' law responding to and designed especially for the Trump administration" and "may be seen as a radical departure from existing law and in effect a lawless set of actions." He writes that in some instances "it constitutes utter resistance to the Trump administration and its policies," although "one might argue that the worse and more dangerous the administration's actions are, the more necessary it is to resist them per se." Attorney Scott Greenfield argued regarding TrumpLaw that: "the exercise of authority going forward will be subject to judicial approval of the president's 'bona fide' intent behind facially constitutional exercises of authority. Every act, every burp, despite its being completely within a president's power, will be subject to a judge's post hoc approval of her underlying intentions. All one would need to stop the president from doing her job is a district court judge who finds her secret, hidden purposes improper. And by improper, it means different than the judge's sensibilities." Law Professor Todd Henderson sums it up simply: "This is @realDonaldTrump-specific law, which is lawless." The new definition of TrumpLaw which is now emerging was recently described on Yahoo this way. "Trump gets legal advice from people like [Trump attorney Alina Habba who opined that the crimes of espionage and obstruction of justice were "mundane."] They practice TrumpLaw, which is a variety of alternative law" [perhaps somewhat like "alternative facts"]. "Unfortunately, it is not recognized outside of Trump resort properties and the Tucker Carlson show." The respected legal website, AboveTheLaw, reported that even former Attorney General Bill Barr, who was appointed by Trump and strongly supported him, has been "repeatedly telling Fox News viewers that the screaming from Trumpland is utter bullshit." He also called it "a crock of shit." The majority of legal scholars seemingly agree that Judge Cannon has bent the law, perhaps even beyond its breaking point, to support and protect Trump; perhaps because of her admiration for him, arguably coupled with a feeling that he is being unfairly picked upon. For example, Paul Rosenzweig, a Department of Homeland Security official under former President George W. Bush, said: “I think it’s a corrupt decision. I think it is a special law just for Donald Trump by a Trump appointee, and it is unmoored from precedent, insupportable in law, will not be approved of by anybody who isn’t a Trump fanatic.” Similarly, Bradley Moss, a lawyer who specializes in national security issues, said that Cannon's decision is “not well-founded in any law or legal theory.” Tim O’Brien, author of TrumpNation, says that Cannon's decision "reeks of politics. . . . Does this send a signal to other Trump appointees that you should carry the bag for your handler? . . . if the last term at the Supreme Court and indeed Cannon’s baffling new order mean anything, they signify that in this new age of legal Calvinball, one side invents new “rules” and then the other scrambles to try to play by them.” Others call the decision "untethered to the law,” "utterly lawless," “a political conclusion in search of a legal rationale,” “deeply problematic,” “laughably bad," and even "lawless partisan hackery." Slate notes that the new TrumpLaw - the practice of favoring and trying to protect Trump at all costs - is probably not confined to this individual judge. It said: "So the problem is not just the extreme and heinous flaws in Cannon’s ruling. It’s also the Trump-shaped world in which Cannon operates, with impunity, which we will all have to endure for the foreseeable future. It’s the brutal reality that we may face a steady stream of depraved decisions like Cannon’s for the rest of our lives. And the pain of hearing from every quarter that nothing can be done to remedy it" - because Trump appointed such a large number of federal judges, including appellate judges, and they all serve for life, Banzhaf adds. As another headline explains, "Trump-Appointed Judge Provides Further Proof That Donald Trump Is Above the Law." Infecting Other Judges A detailed report on how TrumpLaw appears to already be infecting other Trump judges has just be provided in Politico's "TRUMP JUDGES ARE ON A TEAR - The Former President's Appointees to the Bench Have Been More Partisan and Often Rule in Trump's Favor." The piece provides the following examples: A Trump appointee in Arkansas ruled in February that the Voting Rights Act can’t be enforced by private individuals or groups, despite more than five decades of such litigation. Another Trump appointee in Florida canceled scheduled arguments in a challenge to the federal mandate for mask use in transportation, then rushed out a decision striking down the requirement just days before it was set to expire. Also in May, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from lifting pandemic-related immigration restrictions which Trump had imposed in 2020. A Trump appointee in North Carolina shut down state-level proceedings to disqualify Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) from reelection on account of his support for efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. [reversed] A Trump-appointed judge in Louisiana issued a highly unusual ruling last week requiring President Joe Biden’s White House to turn over communications with social media companies about alleged objectionable content. Judge Trevor McFadden delivered the lone acquittal of a Jan. 6 defendant, seeing it plausible that he believed police had authorized him to enter and remain in the Capitol. Judge Carl Nichols became the lone judge in the district to rule that obstruction charges facing several defendants should be thrown out. The Politico piece raised this provocative question: "Those envelope-pushing rulings have fueled questions about whether Trump’s judicial picks are more conservative or more partisan than those of previous Republican presidents and whether decades of unorthodox decrees from those judicial picks lie ahead." It also quoted Prof Banzhaf, reporting: "But even some scholars who criticized that trend as establishing a unique kind of 'TrumpLaw,' now say the term can be applied to some of the recent rulings favoring Trump’s legal positions. 'This stuff is completely way out and, unfortunately, Cannon has tended to go along with it,' said George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf. 'She’s applying a kind of reverse TrumpLaw: anything Trump wants, I’ll take the most ridiculous argument and I’ll fly with it.'” But judges should not bend or corrupt the law to punish or protect any person, even former president Trump, argues Banzhaf, who notes that those who in the past may have approved of a special corrupting brand of law and legal reasoning to punish Trump [the original TrumpLaw] may be hard pressed to complain now when other judges similarly adopt a special corrupting brand of law and legal reasoning to protect him [the new TrumpLaw]......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 13th, 2022

The Twitter Whistleblower Needs You to Trust Him

An exclusive interview with Twitter whistleblower Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko, the famous hacker fighting a messy battle with the platform Peiter Zatko, the Twitter whistle-blower, is a black belt in jiu-jitsu. The day before his complaint against the social media company was published, Zatko was sitting in his lawyer’s office in Washington, scrolling through his camera roll to find a photo of his legs locked around someone’s neck. The move is called a side-triangle. It’s totally safe, he says, because the opponent will black out before a lack of blood flow to the brain can cause any lasting damage. One of the things Zatko likes about the martial art, he explains, is that it’s less about brute strength than finding creative ways to maneuver your opponent into a weaker position. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] That talent translates to cybersecurity. In Nov. 2020, Zatko, the hacker known as “Mudge,” was hired as Twitter’s security lead, with a global remit to fix gaping vulnerabilities in one of the world’s most important communications platforms. But 14 months later, he was fired. Six months after that, he filed a sweeping whistle-blower complaint that paints a damning portrait of a company in crisis. In an 84-page complaint to federal regulatory agencies and the Department of Justice, which was first reported by the Washington Post and CNN and which TIME obtained from a congressional source, he describes Twitter as crippled by rudderless and dishonest leadership, beset by “egregious” privacy and security flaws, tainted by foreign influence, a danger to national security, and susceptible even to total collapse. Zatko says he felt an ethical duty to come forward. “Being a public whistle-blower is the last resort, something that I would only ever do after I had exhausted all other means,” he told TIME in a lengthy interview on Aug. 22. “It is not an easy path, but I view it as continuing to help improve the place where I was employed.” Twitter quickly hit back. Zatko was fired for “ineffective leadership and poor performance,” CEO Parag Agrawal wrote in an email to employees, calling the disclosures a “false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and presented out of context. “Mudge was accountable for many aspects of this work that he is now inaccurately portraying more than six months after his termination,” Agrawal said. The story of how a top Twitter official turned whistle-blower is not a straightforward saga. In more than a dozen interviews with Zatko’s friends, family, and current and former colleagues, the portrait that emerges is more complicated. Eight current and former Twitter employees, who spoke with TIME on condition of anonymity in order to discuss issues they were not authorized to speak publicly about, said that many aspects of Zatko’s disclosures rang true to their experience, particularly his allegations of security deficiencies and shortcomings in company leadership. Some of the same sources, many of whom professed to like and admire Zatko, suggested that various allegations were misleading, overblown, or lacking context—in part because Zatko was straying into areas of the company into which he had only basic insight. Read More: ‘Egregious Deficiencies,’ Bots, and Foreign Agents: The Biggest Allegations From the Twitter Whistle-Blower Zatko’s allegations have emerged at a pivotal moment for Twitter, which is locked in a legal battle over an agreement to sell the company to Elon Musk. That makes the accuracy and credibility of Zatko’s claims a multibillion-dollar issue, and the object of considerable debate by his former colleagues. “Is Mudge generally correct? Yes,” says one current Twitter employee who worked with Zatko. “Where he is correct is that Twitter has absolutely been negligent in creating the appropriate security infrastructure for a company that has the level of impact it has … Is Mudge wrong about lots of things? Also yes. I think there’s a lot of sour grapes.” Zatko had come from a long line of jobs where he had free rein to tear up organizational structures and prioritize security above all else. But at Twitter, current and former colleagues say, he found himself in a different environment: navigating tense internal politics at a corporation bent on boosting revenue, without support from his superiors. Some employees caught up in the tumult perceived Zatko to be a figure hired by then CEO Jack Dorsey for publicity reasons, stepping on the toes of qualified colleagues with more institutional knowledge. Technically brilliant and morally rigid, Zatko was an iconoclast stepping into a corporate bureaucracy. “It’s like asking a doctor who’s been trained to do brain surgery to suddenly become a podiatrist,” says a former Twitter colleague. The polarized reactions to Zatko’s disclosures illustrate just how atypical a tech whistle-blower he is. Last year, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, disclosed tens of thousands of pages of internal company documents that revealed a company prioritizing profits over user safety. But readers didn’t have to take Haugen’s word for it; they could read the words of Facebook’s own safety teams. Zatko is different. As a former senior executive, he had a bird’s-eye view into Twitter’s decisionmaking, ultimately responsible for hundreds of staff in some of Twitter’s most high-priority work streams. But he didn’t release the same breadth of documentation as Haugen; while Zatko supplied some exhibits to support his claims, including internal emails, his partially redacted disclosures rely largely on his own credibility as one of the most celebrated figures in cybersecurity. He is implicitly asking the public to trust that his version of events is the correct one, and that Twitter is lying. Zatko may lose money by coming forward. Half of his compensation at Twitter was in cash, but the rest came in stock, says John Tye of the law firm Whistleblower Aid, which is representing Zatko. The value of those shares dropped by about 9% when news of Zatko’s allegations broke. Tye insists Zatko’s motivations are rooted in a desire to see the company succeed in the long term, not his own financial self-interest. The fate of Twitter’s stock price may be just the first of a cascading series of consequences from Zatko’s disclosures. His contention that Twitter has a bigger bot problem than executives admit may prevent them from forcing completion of the Musk deal. Tye says that his client prefers Twitter to remain a public company, for the public good. “We have concerns if the SEC were to lose jurisdiction if the company goes private, because there’s one less law-enforcement lever,” Tye says. “That’s a problem for accountability.” Zatko told TIME he has never met Musk and did not provide any information to him in advance of his disclosures becoming public knowledge. Zatko’s allegations could ripple out even further, in Washington and beyond. On Sept. 13, he is set to testify in Congress about the allegations, which could spur investigations by the SEC and FTC. That could in turn further erode public faith in social media companies generally, as they face escalating questions about their influence on politics and society, as well as global efforts to rein them in. All of which means the question of what kind of whistle-blower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko is has consequences well beyond Twitter’s future. In his Twitter profile picture, Zatko has flowing, shoulder-length brown hair, with a ring of light hovering above his head like a halo. But it’s been more than two decades since he traded this long-haired look—“hacker Jesus,” his wife Sarah Zatko jokes—for a clean-cut mien befitting a man who’s done tours at the highest levels of government. As Zatko sat down for his interview with TIME on the eve of the allegations becoming public, he sported a crisp goatee flecked with gray, wired spectacles, and a lapel pin depicting the logo of his lawyers, Whistleblower Aid. The profile picture is no accident. Zatko cites his famous work in the 1990s as both the defining era of his life and the grounding for his present morality. “I always ask myself: What would the Mudge of the late ‘90s think about what I’m doing now?” he says of his decision to blow the whistle on Twitter. “I want to make sure I haven’t lost that drive, that my ethics are still just as strong, that I’m fighting for people just as hard.” Dina Litovsky for TIMESarah Zatko at home on Aug. 23, 2022 Zatko is both attuned to and skilled at nurturing the mythology surrounding him. When he was a toddler, his father hung over his crib a mobile made of circuit boards. “He wanted me not to be afraid of technology,” he said in a 2011 interview with a trade magazine. He says he began hacking at the age of 5, picking locks and reverse-engineering computer games with his dad on a late-1970s Apple II computer to get around copyright protections. As a teenager, he spent his time surfing ARPANET, the predecessor to the modern internet, along with the bulletin boards where communities of online hackers were taking shape. Growing up in Alabama and Pennsylvania in the 1980s, his childhood heroes were the social activist Abbie Hoffman and the musician Frank Zappa. Zatko studied the guitar and the violin, and chose music over computer science, attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduating, he split his time between playing at clubs with his progressive metal band Raymaker, part-time tech-support work, and working with a high-profile hacker “think tank” called the L0pht (pronounced Loft) to expose corporate security flaws. He would soon become its most prominent member and went on to join a hacking cooperative known as the Cult of the Dead Cow. At the L0pht, Zatko pioneered a strategy of publicly embarrassing companies that refused to patch vulnerabilities that he and his fellow hackers had flagged to them. His biggest nemesis in the 1990s was Microsoft. When Zatko and his colleagues showed it was possible to insert malicious code to run secretly on any machine, Microsoft ignored it. So the L0pht released a user-friendly tool that allowed anybody to break into Windows users’ personal accounts, reasoning that it was the only way to force the company to finally fix its vulnerabilities. It worked. Today, Zatko says, Microsoft has one of the most advanced security programs in the world. Still, “responsible disclosure,” as the tactic of public embarrassment became known, is a bit of a misnomer. Criminals could use the hacking program he released to crack passwords in less than 24 hours, enabling them to steal credit-card or medical data from innocent users using unpatched machines. Zatko says that he thought “long and hard” before deciding that releasing the tool was the only way to make Microsoft change its ways and protect its users, even if some people got hurt in the short term. “Dishonesty is definitely something that frustrates him,” says his wife Sarah, a former mathematician at the National Security Agency. “It doesn’t mean he’s always trying to make a big public fuss, because if you can get things fixed … through proper channels it’s always easier on everybody. But if that’s not possible, there’s always this fallback.” Zatko and other members of the L0pht agreed to testify about internet security on Capitol Hill in May 1998. In the congressional hearing room, they were identified on their placards only by their hacker names. Zatko sat in the center of the group of seven hackers and did most of the talking. Even then, he flashed a flair for the dramatic, getting lawmakers’ attention by infamously claiming he could take down the internet in 30 minutes. “How can we be expected to protect the system and the network,” Zatko asked the assembled Senators, “when all of the seven individuals seated before you can tear down the foundation that the network was built upon?” Douglas Graham—Congressional Quarterly/Getty ImagesComputer hackers from the L0pht testify before a Senate Governmental Affairs hearing on government computer security on May 19, 1998 Still in his 20s, he began to work as an unofficial adviser on internet-security issues to Richard Clarke, who would become the cybersecurity czar for three different U.S. Presidents. A photo from 2000 shows Zatko at the first White House meeting on cybersecurity, talking to then President Bill Clinton. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, cybersecurity suddenly became an urgent part of counterterrorism strategy. Bad actors and “spam gangs” run out of Russia and Eastern Europe were releasing viruses and other malware, wreaking havoc on systems unprepared to counter them. Zatko began advising U.S. intelligence agencies and the military for free. Zatko was shaken by what he uncovered when he started digging. “I started to figure out numerous ways of knocking the financial sector down,” he says. “It just started to dawn on me that I, as an individual actor, could wreak serious havoc. And this is shortly after 9/11.” He had a bad reaction to drugs that his psychiatrist prescribed to deal with his rising anxiety, which only made things worse. It took a long time for him to emotionally recover. “Every security professional has the moment where they have started to learn enough about the field that all of a sudden they have this existential crisis,” says Zatko’s wife Sarah. “Then you either become [nihilistic] and everything’s hopeless, or else you have to figure out a way to get past it and try to fix your corner of things.” Out of his rut and adopting that new mindset, Zatko was tapped in 2010 to lead cybersecurity efforts at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). “I didn’t go there because I thought it was cool. I didn’t go there because I wanted to be a part of the government,” he told the audience at the DEF CON hacker conference in 2013. “I actually went there because I thought they and other parts of government had kind of lost their way, and I had an opportunity to go in and fix it.” One of his first moves was bringing in hackers and forcing career officials at the military office to spend three days in a conference room with them, says Renee Rush, a U.S. Air Force veteran who worked with him at the agency. “Mudge could go anywhere and get a big paycheck,” Rush says, “but you’ll never find him in a job that doesn’t have a distinctive mission.” AlamyPresident Clinton meets with technology leaders, including Peiter “ Zatko’s sense of principle has a way of engendering loyalty among his many mentees, both inside and outside his field. Ryan Hall, a champion mixed martial artist, became close friends with Zatko after Zatko joined Hall’s gym in Arlington, Va., in 2010 to practice jiu-jitsu. He recalls seeing Zatko at a coffee shop a block from the gym, sporting jeans and a T-shirt, surrounded by men in well-cut suits. “Peiter has very little time for moral waffling,” Hall says. After 3½ years, Zatko left DARPA for stints doing security research at Google and the payment processor Stripe. He cast both as companies that took security advice seriously. “The executives actually back security and let us do things differently (otherwise I wouldn’t be there!),” he tweeted approvingly in 2018 while at Stripe. Over the years, internet security has grown more complicated as its impact expands beyond scams, cyberattacks, and corporate or government security hacks. Zatko publicly expressed his frustration that veteran security experts’ advice was being ignored in the lead-up to the 2016 election. The Democratic National Committee reached out to him for help to improve its network and information security, but even his most basic suggestions were considered too “annoying,” he said. “DNC creates Cybersecurity board made up of well-meaning people with no cybersecurity expertise,” he tweeted in August 2016. “Your move Russia…” Four years later, after the Trump era showed just how essential the security of social media platforms was for safeguarding democracy, Zatko was sitting in his home office in New Jersey. The room is in an extension with no central heating or cooling system. In the winter, it is warmed by “way too many” computer cores—over 100, he estimates. It’s a messy space, with dog-eared textbooks strewn across the floor and framed letters of praise from national security luminaries on the walls. Zatko’s phone rang. On the other end was Dorsey. The man who had co-founded Twitter addressed him as Mudge, and told Zatko the hacker’s work during the 1990s was one of the reasons he pursued a tech career. “That just blew my mind,” Zatko recalls. “I’m talking to the guy who created, let’s face it, a platform that is critical worldwide. It influences governments, social change, it is the perception many people have of the world. And he was telling me that he was interested in me.” Zatko eventually decided to accept the unorthodox job Dorsey was offering, overseeing Twitter’s entire security operations, both data and physical. Zatko saw the protection of a platform as influential as Twitter as perhaps his most effective way to “make a dent in the universe”—a personal motto originating from his time at the L0pht. The move was hailed by experts as a sign of Twitter’s serious commitment to fixing long-standing security issues. As one security analyst put it, “A rare moment of cybersecurity sunshine where it seems the right person is put in the lead on addressing a major issue.” Twitter needed him. The company was reeling from one of the most embarrassing incidents in its 16-year history. In July 2020, a trio that included two teenagers used extremely basic phishing methods to gain access to the accounts of Twitter employees. They were then able to send tweets from the accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and a slew of other blue-checked accounts, setting up a scam that netted them over $100,000 in Bitcoin. The incident was hardly the company’s first major security lapse. The year before, the U.S. government had accused two Twitter employees of being moles for the Saudi Arabian government. This month, one of them was found guilty in federal court. Back in 2011, the FTC had filed a complaint against Twitter for failing to protect consumer information. That complaint was supposed to result in Twitter implementing a robust security program resistant to cyberattacks. Yet the success of the July 2020 hackers showed how vulnerable the platform remained. “While Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Meta consistently put out new features to help people protect their accounts and information, Twitter’s focus seemed to be a bit stale,” says Runa Sandvik, a privacy and security researcher. “It’s unclear what Twitter was doing in that space, if anything at all.” Zatko’s whistle-blower complaint says he expected to spend the remainder of his career working at Twitter. But it quickly became apparent that the company was “a decade behind” its competitors, he wrote in a staff memo included in the disclosures. Teams fighting bots were understaffed and overworked, he alleges, and internal security measures Twitter promised to develop in the wake of the 2011 FTC mandate had yet to be rolled out. Zatko’s complaint claims that a serious security breach was occurring at Twitter on average every week. Read More: What the Twitter Whistle-blower Disclosure Means for Elon Musk. On Jan. 6, 2021, Zatko was watching the Capitol insurrection unfold online and asked a Twitter engineering executive to curtail employees’ access to internal systems. He learned that too many employees had irrevocable access. One rogue engineer with the right system privileges could have sabotaged the platform, sowing misinformation and discord, Zatko alleges in his disclosure. Zatko tried to patch these holes. He shuttered several existing security and privacy programs in favor of a new department, optimistically named Confidence. He drew up a three-year plan to improve defense efforts and measure spam bots, which he alleges were running rampant and unchecked across the platform. According to his disclosure, he was met with continual pushback at senior levels of the company, and when it came to security issues, he says, “deliberate ignorance” was the norm. Some product managers were “encouraged” to override security and privacy issues in order to release new products more quickly, his complaint alleges. Current and former Twitter employees who spoke with TIME corroborated the general sweep of Zatko’s allegations that Twitter often prioritized profit over security. “Unless you can make a compelling trade-off argument for why improved security or privacy will benefit the business more than their cost,” says one former Twitter employee, “it’s very hard to enforce change.” Zatko’s complaint adds that his efforts to inform Twitter’s board about various security issues were met with alarm or anger, and that at least twice he was asked by executives to withhold information from the board. Twitter declined multiple requests from TIME to address specific parts of Zatko’s allegations. In his email dated Aug. 23, Agrawal said Zatko’s disclosures as a whole had many inaccuracies in them. Meanwhile, Dorsey, the man who Zatko thought would be his main ally, was increasingly absent and unfocused, Zatko’s disclosure says. A representative for Dorsey’s company, Block, did not respond to a request for comment for this story. The situation began to come to a head in November 2021, when Dorsey resigned. His replacement was Agrawal, who had formerly been the most senior executive in charge of security issues before Zatko arrived. Tensions between the two quickly escalated. Zatko says in his disclosures that he became concerned that Agrawal was going to use the first board meeting of his tenure to diminish the severity of security issues. He wrote to Agrawal on Dec. 15, arguing that there were “numerous, and some significant, misrepresentations” in materials for an upcoming presentation, according to emails contained in the complaint. Agrawal brushed him off, Zatko’s complaint alleges, and the next day, the documents were presented at a high-level Risk Committee board meeting. In a Jan. 4, 2022, email to Agrawal, Zatko called the documents “at worst fraudulent,” and wrote, “I was hired to achieve certain goals and to fix problems here at Twitter. In order to do that, we need to recognize the actual state of affairs at the company.” A few days later, Agrawal wrote back to Zatko, saying that the company had launched an internal investigation into Zatko’s allegations of “fraud.” Zatko was asked for a detailed report to back up his claims, which he began to pull together. Less than two weeks later, before he was able to file the report, he was fired. Zatko retained Whistleblower Aid on March 17, a month before Musk offered to buy Twitter. He concluded he had no choice but to blow the whistle. “Change sometimes requires, you know, kicking the hornet’s nest a little bit,” he says. “Ethically and morally, I had to pursue this.” In interviews, current and former Twitter officials had differing perspectives on Zatko’s allegations. Several said that Zatko was right about many things, including data-management issues, chaotic leadership, and platform vulnerabilities. But some felt he mischaracterized or exaggerated certain details in the disclosure, particularly when it came to issues that he himself did not work on. “He didn’t know what was happening with the bots stuff,” says a current employee who worked with Zatko. “That did not fall under his security purview.” Zatko’s attorneys dispute this, arguing that he did in fact have insight into and authority over the bots issue as the ultimate supervisor of Twitter Services, which oversees global content moderation at scale. The disagreement can be chalked up to Twitter’s messy organizational structure, in which different arms of the company have competing claims to ownership of the bots issue. Hannah McKay—AFP/Getty ImagesJack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter, testifies remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “ Other parts of Zatko’s disclosures simply pit his word against Twitter’s. One of his most explosive claims is that Twitter “knowingly” hired “agents” of the Indian government. Because of access privileges afforded to many Twitter employees, Zatko says in his disclosure, these alleged agents could access sensitive user data. The hires came at a time when the Indian government was bristling at Twitter’s refusal to identify details about people using the platform to criticize the nation’s ruling party. Zatko had direct responsibility for the physical security of employees at Twitter, and would likely have been directly briefed on alleged espionage efforts. The disclosures state that Zatko has given more details about this incident to the Department of Justice and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Twitter declined multiple requests from TIME to address Zatko’s claims about Indian agents on the record. One person with direct knowledge of Twitter’s internal affairs in India told TIME they had no knowledge of the supposed agent, but said they would not be surprised if the Indian government had at least tried to covertly appoint an agent to Twitter’s payroll, similar to the Saudi case. Some of Zatko’s other claims strike experts as overstated. His disclosure argues that Twitter’s failure to own the rights to training data of machine-learning models constitutes “fraud,” for example. That shortcoming is an industry-wide practice, according to two former Twitter employees and others familiar with industry standards. As the pushback mounts, Zatko tells TIME he stands by his allegations and for legal reasons is unable to talk about his time at Twitter beyond what’s in the disclosures. “I was aware of the most common tactics that would happen, that there would be attempts to character assassinate me or make things personal—anything that would distract from the data and the problem at hand,” Zatko says. While Zatko describes his decision to go public in idealistic terms, the timing of the disclosures is notable. The trial to decide whether Musk must go through with his initial agreement to buy Twitter is set to start in Delaware on Oct. 17. Zatko inserts himself into this battle from the opening pages of his disclosure, claiming that Twitter is “lying about bots to Elon Musk.” Zatko may be drawn directly into the court case: Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, tells TIME his team has subpoenaed Zatko, although Zatko’s lawyers say he has received no such subpoena. Two legal experts say they’re skeptical Zatko’s claims will have a major impact on the lawsuit. He provides scant new information about spam bots, and what he does claim about them has little to do with the merger agreement. Ann Lipton, a law professor at Tulane University, says that Zatko’s claims that Twitter lied in its SEC filings will be hard to prove. “When a disgruntled employee disagrees with management decisions,” Lipton says, “that’s frequently not taken as a sufficient basis for treating an SEC filing as false.” “The question ultimately boils down to the credibility of the assertions made by the whistle-blower, and that is usually determined by the existence of hard evidence,” says Howard Fischer, a former SEC attorney. “Twitter’s real regulatory risk lies in whether or not the documentary evidence, and not the potentially self-serving statements of a former employee, shows knowing or reckless misleading of regulators or investors in public filings and statements.” Greg Kahn for TIMEZatko attending meetings in Washington on Aug. 23, 2022 The disclosures could have other long-lasting financial and political ramifications. The company’s stock price dropped by around 9% in the wake of the disclosures’ publication. The same day, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Democratic Representative Frank Pallone announced they were investigating Zatko’s claims, with Pallone calling for “the need to pass comprehensive privacy legislation.” Zatko’s allegations have demoralized Twitter employees, some current staffers say, and may exacerbate a brain drain at a company that has lost many of its leaders and significantly slowed its spending while in Musk-induced limbo. Twitter still has a significant impact on elections and political discourse around the world, and those who are still working on its security and privacy teams will “have to work three or four times harder,” says a former Twitter employee. Knowing that his actions would cause corporate chaos and catalyze government investigations, Zatko says he made his decision with one goal in mind: to make Twitter, and thus the world, safer. Although right now the public can only take him at his word, that may not hold true for long. When he testifies before Congress in September, Zatko—who refused to discuss the meat of his complaint in his interview with TIME—will have the legal cover to expand on the allegations, potentially revealing new and damaging details about what happened within Twitter. Zatko is not the youthful star hacker he used to be. Two days before his interview with TIME, he broke a toe while sparring with a jiu-jitsu opponent, an accident he chalks up in part to partial paralysis of his back, which he says his doctor told him has been brought on by the stress of the past few months. Injury, however, may be necessary if you’re going to engage in the fight. “If you’re just reacting to what an adversary is doing, they’re the ones that are moving you around and manipulating you,” he says. “That’s all too common in this industry.” —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein, Nik Popli, Simmone Shah, and Julia Zorthian.....»»

Category: topSource: timeAug 25th, 2022

Elon Musk Reacts To Border Crisis, Says Lacking Media Attention "Strange"

Elon Musk Reacts To Border Crisis, Says Lacking Media Attention 'Strange' Authored by Gary Bai via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Tesla CEO Elon Musk is reacting to the recording-breaking number of illegal immigrants walking through the Southern border. The world’s richest person was replying to reporting from Fox News’s Bill Melugin, who posted on Twitter drone footage of a group of hundreds of illegal immigrants crossing the Southern border at Eagle Pass, Texas, into the United States. In his post, Melugin cited Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics showing border agents to have encountered 400,000 illegal immigrants so far in the Del Rio sector in Fiscal Year 2022 (since October 2021), a number that is already more than double the total number of encounters from Fiscal Year 2021. This number does not include “get-aways”—illegal crossers who evaded apprehension. 400k from one border crossing in less than a year? — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2022 Strange that this receives very little attention in the media — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2022 “Strange that this receives very little attention in the media,” Musk wrote in response to Melugin on Aug. 14. Musk, a self-portrayed political moderate and a design engineer by trade, has shared his perspective with his 100 million-plus following on a wide range of issues beyond cars and rockets. The billionaire’s comments on the border crisis, for example, were the latest in his series of criticism of the current administration and the Democratic Party in general; others include his comments on the influence of labor unions on the Democratic party, the Spygate collusion scandal involving Clinton-affiliated Democrats, and the Biden White House’s alleged sidelining of Tesla’s role in the electric vehicle market. The Bigger Picture The backstory to the exchange between Musk and Melugin features an ever increasing surge in illegal immigration, overextended Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) resources, and an administration that actively strives to undo Trump-era “America First” immigration policies. Eagle Pass is only one of the regions along the Southwest border where hundreds of illegal immigrants pour into the United States. From the beginning of Fiscal Year 2022 on Oct. 1, 2021, to early August this year, border patrol agents apprehended 1.8 million illegal crossers. That’s more than the population of Phoenix, Arizona, the fifth-most populous city in the country, and about 40 percent higher than the total number of apprehensions in the previous fiscal year. BORDER: Border Patrol agents organize hundreds of illegal immigrants who have streamed across the border from Mexico near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20. pic.twitter.com/ftZyyhfTc0 — Charlotte Cuthbertson (@charlottecuthbo) May 21, 2022 The head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), meanwhile, insists that the border is secure, while the Biden administration is kept busy by legal disputes with border states on key Trump migration policies. One of the policies that the Biden administration began pulling back—following a Supreme Court decision that ruled in its favor—was the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which required non-Mexican migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico for processing. Meanwhile, the Biden administration will continue to enforce the Trump-era immigration and public health policy known as Title 42, a policy instated as a COVID-19 countermeasure that allowed the United States to quickly expel migrants who unlawfully entered the United States and bypassed health screening in the process. A judge blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to lift Title 42 in May. A Border Patrol agent organizes a large group of illegal immigrants near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times) Another legal battle that will be consequential to border security will play out in the Supreme Court in the fourth quarter of this year, when the highest court will hear a case on whether Biden’s immigration enforcement guidelines constitute executive agency overreach. In July, the Supreme Court allowed a federal judge in Texas to block the Biden administration’s immigration guidelines that, according to the border states’ prosecutors, limit the ability of border agents to detain and deport illegal aliens. “The Biden Admin’s border record is an absolute failure,” Chad Wolf, former Acting DHS Secretary under the Trump Administration, wrote on Twitter on Aug. 17, following reports of anonymous CBP sources saying that a record-setting 2 million illegal crossers were apprehended since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2022. “I encourage Republicans next year to enact strong oversight in this area – specifically how DHS leadership executed an intentional plan to endanger migrants and American communities by refusing to enforce the law,” Wolf wrote. Tyler Durden Fri, 08/19/2022 - 11:35.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 19th, 2022

Climate Concerns and Air Travel Chaos Are Reviving Europe’s Overnight Trains. Here’s What It’s Like On Board

Climate concerns and travel chaos are souring Europeans on flying. Can overnight train travel go the distance? On a sweltering Sunday evening in late July, Klaydy Buchsbaum boarded a train bound for Vienna at Paris’s Gare de l’Est, slid open the door to compartment 412, tossed her hat onto the upper bunk for her overnight journey and got down to the serious work of maneuvering her oversized lavender suitcase into place. “Flights were so expensive, and with all the chaos in flying right now, I didn’t want to get stuck in an airport somewhere. And I didn’t want my bag to get lost,” she said. With a final push, she wedged the behemoth beneath her seat. “As my husband always says, I’m not the kind of person who travels with just a small carry-on.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This summer’s air travel chaos has added another reason why a growing number of European travelers are opting for the rails. But a key factor—and the one behind a number of public and private initiatives to bring back overnight trains—is concern over climate change. Journeys by rail can emit as little as one fifth the greenhouse gasses as flights, which is why railway companies, national governments and E.U. bodies cite reducing emissions as a reason for re-establishing a network of overnight medium-distance rail lines that once connected the continent. Yet for all the demand and effort, those initiatives still have a long way to go. Read More: Why Air Travel Is Hell This Summer Europe’s night train network began eroding in the 1990s. As low-cost airlines like easyJet and Ryanair emerged, demand for overnight trains evaporated. By 2019, both Germany and Switzerland had sold off or shut down their night connections altogether, and the total number of passenger night trains in Europe had decreased from around 1,200 per week in 2001 to about 450. The dismantling made it difficult for even the most determined passenger to book a cross-continental ticket; today anyone hoping to travel by train from, say, Copenhagen to Barcelona, would have to cobble together their own ticket by navigating a bewildering thicket of national timetables and websites, and then change trains anywhere from three to eight times along the two-day journey. One national company has begun in recent years to take steps to revive overnight trains. Citing growing concern about climate change, Austria’s state-owned railway ÖBB bought up some of the old international lines in 2016 and began launching overnight journeys at a rate of about one per year. The Paris-Vienna Nightjet began running in December 2021. In 2019, those efforts got an important boost when flygskam—the Swedish word for “flight shame”—burst into public consciousness around the world, thanks to activist Greta Thunberg. And they swelled again this summer when widespread staff shortages resulted in a turbulent season of canceled flights and lost luggage. “Before corona, we were always full during summer months and during weekends and that was it,” says Bernhard Rieder, director of media relations for ÖBB. “This year, from Easter, we’ve been completely full on all lines every day. We get a lot of complaints from people who say ‘we hardly have a chance to get a seat or a bed’.” Some start-ups have been paying attention. In 2019, growing criticism over carbon-spewing flights coupled with the lack of convenient cross-border rail options, prompted businessmen Adrien Aumont and Romain Payet to found Midnight Trains. It’s a private company that, when it is up and running, promises to connect 10 European cities from its hub in Paris with transport that is more like a hotel on rails than a traditional night train. “This is a product that hasn’t been reinvented for the last 20 to 30 years,” says Payet. “So we started working together on how to reinvent the night train to make it the most sustainable and comfortable way to travel across Europe.” Christian Charisius—Picture-Alliance/dpa/APA compartment on the Nightjet train that operates on the Vienna/Innsbruck to Hamburg route, July 11, 2022. When Midnight Trains launches its first line in 2024, there will be easy online booking and refunds, a dining car serving recipes designed by a Michelin-starred chef and a range of accommodations—all of them private and outfitted with real beds and linens. Read More: Going on Vacation This Summer? Welcome to the ‘Revenge Travel’ Economy There are complications for both public and private night train initiatives. Prices are one: in late July, a one-way Paris-Vienna Nightjet ticket for a berth in a four- or six-person couchette cost around 154 euros (the exact costs vary by date and amenities), which was slightly more than plane tickets at that point. Part of the discrepancy is a disadvantage built into the European pricing structure: airline tickets are exempt from VAT but rail ones are not. And of course, a rail journey is significantly longer. Passengers boarding the Nightjet avoid the schlep to an airport and snaking security lines. But the trip from Paris to Vienna still takes 14 hours versus 2.5 by plane. Some of that is down to rail traffic that forces trains to sit idle—sometimes for as long as 45 minutes—on the tracks. “People have this perception that the tracks are empty, but that’s not true,” says ÖBB’s Rieder. At night, the tracks are crowded with slow freight trains, which makes competition fierce to get a spot on the tracks. There are also technical and juridical reasons for the frequent delays. The specifications of engine cars still vary from country to country and therefore often need to be changed at border crossings due to different power supplies and safety regulations. Once the trains stop, authorities frequently use the opportunity to board and inspect passenger passports—even within the border-free Schengen area that covers some 26 European countries. “We’re trying to buy locomotives that will be interoperable between countries so we don’t have to stop at the border, but the manufacturers are saying they won’t have those ready until 2026 or ‘27,” says Payet from Midnight Trains. Meanwhile, the company is also working on a system that would allow passengers to upload identity documents before traveling, just as airlines do. Many of these issues are addressed in the European Commission’s Action Plan that was approved at the end of 2021. It calls for the introduction of a Europe-wide ticketing system that would allow passengers to easily piece together international trips, infrastructure investments that would remove the need for locomotive changes at the border and a reconsideration of VAT charges. But even the target adoption date of the end of this year for the digital booking system has already been pushed back into the second half of 2023. “It’s not something that’s easy,” says Adalbert Jahnz, European Commission spokesperson for transport. “We’ve got 25 networks on the European level, which are pretty complex.” Jahnz says the E.U. has made headway by directing 50 billion euros of its COVID-19 recovery funds to rail and passing legislation that creates Europe-level certification for rail infrastructure. Meanwhile, the E.U.’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 55% by 2030, and reaching the more ambitious target of net zero by 2050, has been a boon for rail. During the pandemic, France and Austria made bailout money to their respective national airlines contingent on phasing out domestic flights under three hours, and since then, France has outright banned short haul flights if rail or bus alternatives exist. The energy crisis has also provided a boost: this summer, Germany reduced all domestic rail tickets to 9 euros for 3 months, while Spain made regional and commuter trains free between June and August. Yet from the rail companies point of view, huge obstacles remain to meeting Europeans’ demand for rail travel, and the greatest is the lack of carriages—what the rail industry calls “rolling stock”—as the relatively few remaining manufacturers grapple with increased demand. “There are no new cars or even used cars available on the market,” says ÖBB’s Rieder. “In 2018, we ordered 33 complete new train sets. And they won’t be delivered until the middle of next year.” The shortage of rolling stock helps explain why Midnight Trains won’t debut its first line, which Payet expects to be from Paris to northern Italy, until the second half of 2024. “When you look at the manufacturing sector, all of the big ones have backlogs for the next 10 years just from the national companies,” says Payet. “And if you’re a small, private company trying to get in [to the industry], they basically tell you, we’re full until 2028.” The lack of new carriages also explains why certain amenities that could make overnight trains more appealing to travelers, like WiFi and plentiful electrical outlets, are missing on the Nightjet. Most of the cars are now 25 or 30 years old. But Buchsmann, who enjoyed the simple breakfast that attendants bring to each passenger and liked having the chance to socialize over wine with the other women in her all-female compartment aboard, says she would eagerly take the Paris-Vienna Nightjet again. Still, she admits, she didn’t sleep all that well. “The beds were a little hard,” she says. A couple of compartments away on the Nightjet, Jean-Baptiste Fouvry also had a relatively sleepless journey. On his way to a professional conference in Vienna, the 32-year-old had opted for a seat instead of a berth, and spent the night upright with five others in a crowded compartment. As an environmentally-conscious scientist at Paris’ Institute of Astrophysics, he still didn’t regret his decision to travel by train. “If you care about climate change,” he says in reference to the journey, “it’s not sufficiently horrible enough not to do.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeAug 16th, 2022

Futures Flat As Crushing 37bps Curve Inversion Screams Recession

Futures Flat As Crushing 37bps Curve Inversion Screams Recession US futures are mixed on Thursday, first trading in the red, then turning green before moving unchanged, as investors shrugged off growth warnings from the bond market while Taiwan war fears faded further despite drills launched by China overnight. Oil bounced back from the lowest level in almost six months. Contracts on the S&P 500 were flat while Nasdaq futures were modestly green, suggesting the tech-heavy Nasdaq will extend an advance of 19% from its June 16 low on the back of a massive CTA, buyback and retail-driven buying frenzy. In premarket trading, Alibaba gained 3.4% after reporting revenue for the first quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Adjusted earnings per American depositary receipt also topped expectations. Altice USA shares jumped 5% after the cable television provider reported second-quarter results and announced it received inquiries for its Suddenlink assets. US-listed Chinese tech stocks including JD.com, Pinduoduo and Baidu rise in premarket trading Thursday as Alibaba shares jump 3.9% after reporting better-than-expected revenue in the first quarter. Here are some other notable premarket movers: AMTD Idea (AMTD) shares slump 11.5% putting the Hong-Kong based financial services firm on track to slump for a second straight day after a wild 237% jump earlier this week. Eli Lilly (LLY) falls 2% after the company cut its adjusted earnings per share forecast for the full year. Equinox Gold Corp. (EQX) slides 2.5% after reporting second quarter results that missed consensus analyst estimates for revenue and posted a loss per share, and announced a CEO change. Fastly Inc. (FSLY) shares are down 7% after the infrastructure software company reported second quarter revenue that beat expectations. Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI) shares plunge 5% after the company lowered its full-year revenue and Ebitda outlook, citing “current economic conditions.”. Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Cowen, with analyst Oliver Chen saying a “weakening and inflationary consumer backdrop” could drive EPS downside. Shares decline 3%. Pacific Biosciences (PACB) 2Q results look broadly in line but guidance has been cut significantly, albeit this is not a major surprise, analysts say. Shares down 4% in US premarket trading. Revolve Group Inc. (RVLV) shares are down 13% after the e-commerce fashion company reported quarterly net sales and earnings per share that fell short of analysts’ expectations. Skillz (SKLZ) shares tumble 11.6% after the mobile games platform operator cut its full-year guidance for revenue, with Citi noting that revenue and user metrics disappointed. Under Armour (UAA) is downgraded to neutral from outperform at Baird, which says its view of the athletic-wear retailer’s near-term prospects has “deteriorated materially” over the past two quarters, and faces further pressure from an uncertain macroeconomic environment. The stock declines 0.5% in premarkettrading. Yellow Corp. (YELL) shares jump 37% after the logistics company reported earnings per share for the second quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. So far US stocks have proven resilient to heightened bond market anxiety and an inverted Treasury yield curve flashing warnings on economic risks, as the S&P 500 climbs back toward the highest level in two months ignoring the screaming recession warning from the 2s10s curve which is now 37bps inverted. But a global wave of monetary tightening risks upending those gains. The Bank of England unleashed its first half-point hike since 1995 in an effort to control inflation, joining some 70 other institutions around the world moving rates up in outsized steps. “There’s an intense tug-of-war happening in the economy and markets,” said Dan Suzuki, deputy chief investment officer at Richard Bernstein Advisors. “On one side, you have a narrative that reasonable growth is going to support continued inflation pressure and keep the Fed hiking. The other narrative is that slowing growth is going to ease inflation and allow the Fed to stop hiking.” Meanwhile, US-China tension remains among the uncertainties clouding the outlook. Taiwan braced for the Chinese military to start firing in exercises being held around the island in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit. Here are the latest headlines surrounding Taiwan/Pelosi: China's Taiwan Affairs Office said the Taiwan issue is not a regional issue but is a China internal affairs issue, while it added that punishment of pro-Taiwan independence diehards and external forces is reasonable and lawful. Taiwan's Defence Ministry said unidentified aircraft which were likely drones, flew above Kinmen Islands on Wednesday night, while the military fired flares to drive away the aircraft, according to Reuters. Taiwan's Defence Ministry said troops will continue to reinforce alertness level and are carrying out daily training as usual, while the military will react appropriately to an enemy situation and safeguard national security and sovereignty, according to Reuters. ASEAN Foreign Ministers are concerned about international and regional volatility and are concerned volatility could lead to a miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts, and unpredictable consequences among major powers, according to Reuters. US House Speaker Pelosi plans to visit an inter-Korean border area jointly controlled by the American-led UN Command and North Korea, according to a South Korean official cited by Reuters. China's PLA has added an additional zone for its military exercise encircling Taiwan starting Thursday, exercises have been extended until Monday at 10:00, via dwnews' Yang citing Taiwan's port authority. Now seven zones around Taiwan. Gains in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index were led by retailers, leisure and technology firms, alongside an advance in shares of Chinese tech companies.  Among individual stock moves, Glencore Plc shares fell as much as 2% as its capital return plans overshadowed solid first-half results. Ubisoft shares surged as much as 21% after Tencent reached out to Ubisoft’s founding Guillemot family and expressed interest in increasing its stake, according to Reuters. Here are the most notable European movers: Rolls-Royce drops as much as 12% in London. Jefferies highlights that 1H adjusted Ebit came in 24% below consensus, is disappointed Civil margin “once stripped of a number of one-offs, remains well below breakeven.” SES shares drop as much as 10%, the most intraday since April 2020, as some analysts raised doubts about a potential combination with Intelsat after the FT reported deal talks between the two companies. Ambu falls as much as 16%, the most intraday since May 6, after the company slashed its organic revenue forecast for the full year and said it will cut about 200 jobs from its global workforce. Lufthansa gains as much as 7.4% after the airline forecast a “significant increase” in earnings in the third quarter compared to the second and provided a clearer outlook for full-year profit, predicting adjusted Ebit of more than EU500m. Next shares climb as much as 3.2% after the UK apparel retailer reported better-than-expected 2Q sales and raised its profit outlook for the year. Adidas shares gain as much as 4.4% after the German sportswear company reported 2Q results that were largely in line with expectations, following last week’s profit warning. Merck KGaA shares rise as much as 1.7% after the German pharmaceutical group’s 2Q report showed stable growth for its Life Science division despite abating Covid-19 tailwinds, with Jefferies saying it sends a “positive message” for the rest of 2022. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rebounded as easing tensions over Taiwan and overnight gains on the Nasdaq fueled a rally in Chinese tech shares ahead of key earnings reports. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.5%, set for its first gain in three sessions. Alibaba, which is scheduled to release earnings later Thursday, and e-commerce peers Meituan and JD.com helped boost the Hang Seng Tech Index as much as 3.4%, most in more than a month. Other benchmarks in Hong Kong and South Korea’s tech-heavy Kosdaq were among the region’s outperformers.  “Hong Kong stock markets are getting re-rated after seeing the risk-off mood due to Taiwan tensions, as there were no military conflicts,” said Xuehua Cui, a China equity analyst at Meritz Securities in Seoul.  US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left Taiwan after reaffirming US support for the democratically elected government in Taipei. China responded with trade curbs and military drills.  Elsewhere in Asia, the main Philippine index reached its highest since June 10 on foreign inflows. Asia’s key stock benchmark has rebounded from its July low, but its recent recovery has been lagging behind US peers amid a property crisis in China and heightened geopolitical risks. Japanese equities erased earlier gains and slipped as Toyota announced first-quarter earnings that missed estimates and as investors continue to evaluate corporate earnings both domestically and abroad.  The Topix Index was virtually unchanged at 1,930.73 with Toyota Motor leading declines as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 0.7% to 27,932.20. Toyota Motor shares dropped during market hours as the automaker reported disappointing first quarter earnings and kept its conservative outlook for the current year. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,198 rose and 849 fell, while 123 were unchanged. “Toyota Motor’s financial results confirmed that the impact of high raw material and fuel prices was strong enough to offset the effects of the weak yen,” said Shuji Hosoi, an analyst at Daiwa Securities. “The fact that the company didn’t change its full-year operating income forecast negatively impacted the markets, which had been expecting an upward revision.” India’s Sensex index snapped a six-session rally, dragged by Reliance Industries and leading lenders, on risk-aversion ahead of a monetary-policy announcement on Friday.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.1% to 58,298.80, in Mumbai, after paring decline of as much as 1.3% in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index was flat. Both gauges posted early gains and appeared headed for their longest winning streaks since October 2021, but reversed course.  “The sudden drop in indexes is most likely led by ‘basket selling’ from foreign portfolio investors ahead of the central bank’s rate decision on Friday,” said Abhay Agarwal, a fund manager at Piper Serica Advisors. “Stocks have gained for six straight sessions and investors may want to reap gains ahead of a major policy event.” Reliance Industries fell 1.3%, while State Bank of India and Axis Bank led declines among lenders.  Economists expect the Reserve Bank of India to raise rates for a third consecutive time on Friday but remain divided on the level of the hike aimed at fighting inflation and supporting a weakening currency.  Of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 17 rose and 13 fell. Both of India’s equity benchmarks had gained least 5.5% in previous six sessions driven by $1.7 billion of net purchases by foreigners since the end of June amid signs that inflationary pressures are cooling.  Eight of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined on Thursday. A measure of telecom stocks was the worst performer among the sectoral measures. In FX,  the dollar consolidated as traders awaited US payrolls data due later in the day for clues on the pace of future Federal Reserve rate hikes. Sterling tumbled after the BOE delivered its biggest rate hike in 27 years, pushing rates up by 50bps, however it also warned of a devastating stagflation, hiking its inflation forecast to 13.3% in October even as it predicted a harrowing 5-quarter long recession. In rates, Treasuries were moderately cheaper across the curve - which continues to invert deeply with the 2s10s now -37bps, the biggest yield curve inversion since 2000 as traders increased wagers on Federal Reserve rate hikes ahead of Friday’s US jobs data - as US stock futures added to Wednesday’s gains.  The US 10-year yield dropping to 2.70% as Federal Reserve officials indicated they were resolute on aggressive hikes to cool inflation, dashing market hopes they were ready to embark on a shallower rate path. Treasuries offered little initial reaction to Bank of England decision to hike rates 50bp in an 8-1 vote while warning of a 5 quarter-long recession. Front-end yields cheaper by ~2bp on the day, flattening 2s10s and 5s30s spreads by ~1.5bp and ~0.5bp; 10-year yields around 2.71% trade cheaper by 5bp vs bunds.  European long-end bonds nudged higher. In the UK, focus is on the Bank of England’s rate decision, with a majority of economists anticipating a 50-basis-point hike. In commodities, oil drifted 0.2% lower to trade at the $90 level as investors weighed weaker US gasoline demand and rising inventories against a token supply increase from OPEC+. Spot gold rises roughly $20 to trade near $1,787/oz. Base metals are mixed; LME lead falls 1.1% while LME zinc gains 1.2%. Bitcoin slips back below the USD 23k mark but remains in relative proximity to the level in a tight range. Looking to the day ahead now and we have US June trade balance and Initial Jobless Claims, Germany June factory orders, July construction PMI, UK July new car registrations, construction PMI, Canada June building permits and international merchandise trade. Earnings will include Alibaba, Eli Lilly, Toyota, ICE, ConocoPhillips, Bayer, Glencore, Cigna, Rolls-Royce, adidas, Cheniere, DBS, Apollo, Lyft, Expedia, Deutsche Lufthansa, Warner Bros Discovery, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, DoorDash, Atlassian, Amgen, Block, EOG, Kellogg and AMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,153.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 439.32 MXAP up 0.4% to 159.68 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 521.36 Nikkei up 0.7% to 27,932.20 Topix little changed at 1,930.73 Hang Seng Index up 2.1% to 20,174.04 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,189.04 Sensex down 0.6% to 57,993.23 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 6,974.93 Kospi up 0.5% to 2,473.11 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.89% Euro up 0.1% to $1.0178 Brent Futures little changed at $96.78/bbl Brent Futures little changed at $96.75/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,773.19 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.13% to 106.37 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China’s military fired missiles into the sea on Thursday in live-fire military exercises around the island in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit, even as Taipei played down the impact on flights and shipping. The Bank of England on Thursday is expected to push through the biggest interest-rate increase in 27 years despite growing risks of a recession. European stocks edged higher on Thursday as investors continued to weigh the path of corporate earnings, while attention turned to the Bank of England’s policy decision later in the day. The dollar is close to a 20-year high, despite talk of its inevitable demise. While reluctant to add another article that ends up in traders’ trash cans, current pricing is extreme. Asia’s emerging economies are drawing on large foreign exchange reserves to help prop up their currencies rather than going all-out with interest-rate hikes. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were firmer as the positive momentum rolled over from global peers. ASX 200 was kept afloat by tech after similar outperformance of the sector stateside. Nikkei 225 briefly reclaimed the 28k level amid recent JPY weakness and as the earnings deluge continued. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp conformed to the heightened risk appetite with firm gains in tech including Alibaba ahead of its earnings and with Hong Kong set to provide HKD 2k in consumption vouchers from Sunday. Top Asian News   China’s Yiwu city will conduct mass testing and China's Sanya city is on lockdown amid a COVID flare-up, according to state media. China Cancels Japan Meeting Over G-7 Criticism of Taiwan Drills SoftBank Raises $22 Billion Through Alibaba Derivatives: FT China State-Backed Builder’s Dollar Bonds Slump as Worries Mount Tiger Global Fund Halves Stake in India Food Platform Zomato Additional Share Sales Break Asia’s Usual Summer Lull: ECM Watch Li Ka-shing’s CK to Sell AMTD Stake After Unit Soars 14,000% European bourses are firmer across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.9%, with the general tone constructive though the FTSE 100 lags pre-BoE amid GBP strength. Stateside, US futures have lifted from initial rangebound action, ES +0.3%, with specific newsflow limited pre-data/Fed speak Top European News Next Raises Profit Outlook as Hot Spell Spurs Fashion Buying French Tech Startup Back Market Said to Start Early IPO Prep Goldman, Bernstein Strategists Say Stocks Rally Can Fizzle Out European Retailers Outperform, Fueled by Zalando Relief Rally Czech Finance Minister Attending Central Bank’s Rate Meeting Credit Agricole’s Investment Bank Drives Earnings Beat FX DXY remains subdued in early European trade following a relatively contained APAC session; fresh session lows are seen heading into the US entrance. GBP/USD and EUR/USD are currently buoyed, but seemingly more as a function of the Dollar with the former gearing up for the BoE. A mixed session thus far for the non-US Dollars, with the Antipodeans leading the charge whilst the Loonie remained suppressed by crude prices. JPY resides as the current G10 laggard with recent Fed rhetoric fuelling a retracement of last week’s USD/JPY downside. Fixed Income Core consolidation after recent rampant upward move, knife-edge BoE looms; Bund Sep'22 towards mid-point of a +100 tick range. USTs are following suit with the yield curve flattening modestly but generally quite contained ahead of Mester (2022 voter, Hawk) who has provided commentary recently. Pre-BoE Gilts are supported, but in narrower parameters than EGB peers, as participants look for clarity on the 25/50bp debate as pricing implies a 90% chance of 50bp and circa. 150bp total by end-2022. Commodities Crude consolidates and moves with broader sentiment post-OPEC & pre-JCPOA. Currently, benchmarks are firmer by circa. USD 1.00bbl and towards the top-end of relatively/comparably narrow ranges. Saudi Arabia OSPs (Sep) vs Oman/Dubai average: Arab Light to Asia at USD +9.80/bbl (exp. 9.80-11.10/bbl), according to Reuters sources. Spot gold is bid and benefitting from a USD pullback that has sent the yellow-metal above the 50-DMA at best; base metals somewhat mixed. US Event Calendar 07:30: July Challenger Job Cuts YoY, prior 58.8% 08:30: June Trade Balance, est. -$80b, prior -$85.5b 08:30: July Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 256,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.38m, prior 1.36m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap One thing we can say for sure is that August hasn’t been dull so far and we’ve only had three days. This is all before the biggest BoE hike for 27 years (50bps) likely today, and then US payrolls tomorrow. Indeed, there have been some remarkable ranges in treasuries so far in the three days of August. In just over 24 hours from mid-afternoon London time on Tuesday, 2yr US yields moved from 2.83% to 3.18%, 5yrs from 2.58% to 2.96% and 10yrs from 2.52% to 2.83%. These all marked the high points as the three closed at 3.07% (+1.4bps on the day), 2.83% (-2.4bps) and 2.71% (-4.5bps) respectively, 11bps to 13bps off their intra-day highs immediately after a strong US services ISM yesterday. This led to a big curve flattening as 2s10s closed c.6bps lower at -36bps. This morning in Asia, treasury yields are pretty much unchanged. If that wasn’t enough, the Nasdaq 100 (+2.73%) surged to finish the day at a level last seen on May 4th leaving a strong S&P 500 (+1.59%) slightly behind. The narratives at the moment are struggling to be consistent though as equities have recently rallied on weaker growth that has been seen as helping to limit how far the Fed can hike. However yesterday equities rallied on stronger economic data regardless of the potential Fed impact. Discretionary (+2.52%), IT (+2.69%) and communications stocks (+2.48%) were the major drivers of the S&P. The broad rally lifted 79% of benchmark’s members with energy (-2.97%) being the only sector to close in the red as oil plummeted. Speaking of which, although the OPEC+ agreed to increase its September output by 100k bpd, way below the July and August increases north of 600k, crude’s short-lived almost +3% gain unwound fairly quickly, with both WTI (-3.87%) and Brent (-3.60%) weaker on lower US gasoline demand as consumers seem to be driving less. Oil is very slightly higher in Asia. In terms of earnings, Moderna (+16%), PayPal (+9.25%) and CVS (+6.3%) were among top performers in the S&P 500 after a combination of upbeat results and perhaps more importantly buy back announcements. Another interesting snippet from this earnings season came when Bloomberg reported that Meta is looking for a potential debut in bond markets. News of debt sales by Apple and Intel already came through earlier this week as well, supporting narratives of resilience in corporate debt markets. Dissecting the data, just before the ISM services was released, we got a slight upward revision for the US services PMI (47.3 vs 47.0) but the real surprise was the ISM services index itself. The print showed an unexpected expansion from 55.3 in June to 56.7 last month, the highest since April, while the median Bloomberg estimate stood at 53.5. The employment index also improved to 49.1 from 47.4 and business activity and new orders indicators were the highest since January, while prices paid plunged from 80.1 to 72.3. Another strong reading came from June factory orders that increased +2.0% (vs +1.2% expected), up from May’s revised reading of +1.8% (from +1.6% previously). This data dovetailed with comments from a list of Fed speakers over the last 24 hours, including Bullard, Daly, Barkin and Kashkari, all saying that the central bank is not close to finishing its work and markets shouldn’t expect a quick reversal to cuts. This all supports our view that the US isn’t in recession yet. As we’ve said many times before we think it’s almost inevitable it does go into one within say 12 months but that we still might need the lagged impact of an aggressive (but necessary) series of rate hikes first to get us there. The risks to this view in terms of an earlier recession would probably be due to a sudden self fulfilling loss of confidence as everyone talks about imminent recession risk, or if financial conditions dramatically collapse. To be fair the latter was very worrying by mid-June but we’ve seen a tremendous loosening since. Over to Asia and the strong gains in US equities are echoing in Asia with all the key markets trading higher. As I type, the Hang Seng (+1.78%) is leading the way across the region helped by gains in Chinese technology companies with shares of Alibaba climbing around +5.0% ahead of its earnings results later today. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.54%), and the Kospi (+0.36%) are trading higher in early trade. Over in Mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (+0.15%) and the CSI (+0.40%) are both trading in the green. Outside of Asia, stock futures in the US are pausing for breath with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.10%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.20%) moving slightly lower. Early morning data showed that Australia’s trade balance swelled to a record high of A$17.67bn in June (v/s A$14.0bn expected) from A$15.97bn in May driven by strong prices of key exports from grains to metals and gold. Elsewhere, although Pelosi left Taiwan yesterday without incident, remember that China will start 4 days of military drills today around the island. So be prepared for headlines to come through. Back to yesterday and European shares rallied but missed the main part of the US climb with the STOXX 600 closing with a +0.51% advance for the day after a steady march higher throughout the session. It was an across-the-board rally led by IT (+2.78%), financials (+1.60%) and discretionary (+1.52%) stocks. The few sectors in the red - utilities (-0.94%), healthcare (-0.92%) and communications (-0.35%) - were left behind by a risk-on mood. Speaking of European utilities, it is a sector that has faced challenges not only amid the Russian gas story but also the extreme heat in Europe. Our European economists cover implications of the drought-driven low water levels for the German economy here. As a reminder, it was an important topic back in 2018 but today’s situation with gas supplies reinforces its effect given coal plants’ reliance on waterways for supplies. Linked in, yesterday’s announcement by Uniper about potentially limiting output at a coal plant in Germany sent gas futures in New York up by almost +10%, with contracts holding on to a +7.71% gain by the close of US markets. Other companies depend on water traffic too and water-intensive industries are likely to get affected as well. Earlier this week EDF has warned about potential further nuclear power cuts as river water, used for plant cooling, becomes too warm. Expect this to be an increasingly pertinent and market-moving issue across industries. Diving back into market movements, the bullish sentiment in European stocks was strong enough to overpower surging yields. In Germany the belly of the curve surged, with 5y yields (+7.6bps) racing ahead of both the front end (+6.9bps) and the 10y (+5.6bps) that was mainly upheld by higher breakevens (+6.1bps). While a similar story was seen in France (OATs +3.4bps), Italy stood out with an across the curve decline in yields. 2s10s still flattened as the 2y yield (-1.5ps) fell by less than the 10y (-4.1bps). We should note that US yields rallied 7-8bps after Europe closed. Central banks and yields will be in focus today as well since today’s BoE’s meeting will likely be top of the list in terms of events for European markets and our UK economists expect the Bank to hike by +50bps (taking the Bank Rate to 1.75%). Their full preview is here. This hike would imply the largest single Bank Rate increase since 1995 and come amid the 9.4% CPI print for June, a 40-year high. They also updated their growth outlook for the country yesterday (link here) and now expect the economy to contract in Q4-22 and Q1-23 in a short and mild technical recession. Gilts behaved similar to other European bond markets yesterday, with the 2y yield (+7.1bps) rising by more than the 10y (+4.4bps) but both lagging the 5y (+9.0bps). Staying with Europe and briefly returning to yesterday’s other data releases, Germany’s exports accelerated to +4.5% in June, way ahead of the +1.0% median estimate on Bloomberg’s and May’s revised +1.3% (from -0.5% previously). Imports came in softer than expected, however, slowing to just +0.2% (+1.3% expected). Elsewhere, Eurozone’s retail sales contracted -3.7% yoy in June, missing estimates of -1.7%. The PPI accelerated to a monthly gain of +1.1% in June relative to the prior +0.5% (revised from +0.7%). To the day ahead now and we have US June trade balance, Germany June factory orders, July construction PMI, UK July new car registrations, construction PMI, Canada June building permits and international merchandise trade. Earnings will include Alibaba, Eli Lilly, Toyota, ICE, ConocoPhillips, Bayer, Glencore, Cigna, Rolls-Royce, adidas, Cheniere, DBS, Apollo, Lyft, Expedia, Deutsche Lufthansa, Warner Bros Discovery, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, DoorDash, Atlassian, Amgen, Block, EOG, Kellogg and AMC. Tyler Durden Thu, 08/04/2022 - 08:25.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 4th, 2022

How To Approach Potential Acquirers

Excerpted from EXIT PATH: How to Win the Startup End Game by Touraj Parang, pp. 173-183 (McGraw Hill, August 2022). If you suspect that some of your key stakeholders, such as major investors, board members, or members of your leadership team, would not be supportive of a sale, that could be a good reason to delay initiating acquisition talks […] Excerpted from EXIT PATH: How to Win the Startup End Game by Touraj Parang, pp. 173-183 (McGraw Hill, August 2022). If you suspect that some of your key stakeholders, such as major investors, board members, or members of your leadership team, would not be supportive of a sale, that could be a good reason to delay initiating acquisition talks until you have had sufficient time to bring those parties further along on the journey. Although unanimous agreement may not always be possible, you do want to minimize the risk of insiders sabotaging your prospects or halting your momentum when you need it most. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   A while ago, a company that I had advised sent me a request to sign off on their sale documentation as a shareholder, which they needed within the next 24 hours. I had not received any updates or news from this startup for years. This sudden rush request caught me and most of their other shareholders by surprise. By the time that CEO was able to schedule one-on-one discussions with numerous confused shareholders to explain the situation and own up to past communication shortcomings, they were weeks past the deadline to respond to their acquisition offer and lost their momentum with the interested acquirer. Breaking The News As you know by now, an acquisition doesn’t spontaneously materialize when you put willing buyers and sellers in the same physical or virtual conference room. The $150 billion US investment banking industry and thousands of brokers and dealmakers would not have existed otherwise. Those intermediaries and market makers serve important and critical roles in bringing buyers and sellers together and ensuring that deals get done. But you don’t need or want an intermediary to start the sale process for you. You can, and should, do much of the initial advocacy and break the news yourself as you are the best spokesperson for your startup. However, to capitalize on your leverage and drive toward a transaction on the best possible terms, you need to have a catalyst for the acquisition discussions. That initial approach and the way you inform your potential acquirers about your interest to sell will set the tone, and can even determine the outcome, of your exit. Consider Your Message and Its Potential Side Effects Once you make the decision to sell your startup, carefully consider what you would like to convey to your counterparts. Of course you want to impress upon them that you are open to selling your startup. But, and as importantly, you want to indicate that this window of opportunity is not open forever. The news of this development would, of course, be considered a significant inflection point for your startup by anyone who finds out about it. As such, you want to minimize any collateral damage or unintended consequences that may result from it. You don’t want to come across as either desperate or pushy, which could undermine your leverage or put your counterparts on the defensive, respectively. I have been involved in situations when the sudden news of a startup’s interest in a sale caused me, on the acquirer side, to suspend any further conversations around a commercial relationship with that startup on the suspicion that the startup could be running out of funds or facing some other trouble. I don’t think I am unique in lacking enthusiasm for reaching out and catching what I suspect to be a falling knife. Mind and Mine the Feelings There are, as you know, no sidewalk signs, virtual banners, or the startup equivalent of an online dating profile that would announce your willingness to sell your startup to the world. But even if there were such means available to you, I would strongly caution against using them, at least not as your initial move. That’s because, in the M&A world, buyers are a sensitive breed and often mirror your feelings about them. So, if you approach them with indifference, which these impersonal methods would convey, don’t be at all surprised when you get the same treatment reciprocated. Despite their sometimes stoic veneer, acquirers are just as governed by their emotions as the rest of us. They would seldom seriously pursue a deal unless on a deep, emotional level they actually felt good about doing so. And how do you get a buyer to feel good about pursuing your startup? By convincing that buyer that there is a genuine interest by you to sell to that particular buyer. Yes, acquirers yearn to feel special too. But there is more to it: you want to eliminate any suspicion that you may be using an acquirer to get a better deal from someone else or that you are not serious about a sale. Without that basic level of conviction, few buyers would commit the requisite mindshare and resources to pursuing a major strategic transaction with you. To convey your genuine interest to an acquirer, you need to share why you think a sale to that particular acquirer makes sense. Do your homework about the acquirer and uncover areas of strategic overlap and operational synergies. Use your potential champions and established contacts within each potential acquirer to validate your assumptions and hypotheses. Although each startup-acquirer pairing can have its unique reasons for being desirable, here are some of the common strategic rationales for a sale that may hold true in your case as well: Gaining broader access to market and customers through the acquirer’s marketing channels and customer funnels Building a superior product by combining complementary technical expertise and financial resources of the two organizations Reducing end-customer costs or expanding profit margins through elimination of redundant operating expenses between the two organizations Improving customer experience or the value of an offering by bringing together siloed networks of users or suppliers Providing broader opportunities for professional and personal growth to employees who join the acquirer Specifics will matter a lot. The more compelling your reason, the more a buyer would feel that you are interested in joining forces with them; which would then encourage them to spend time, attention, and resources on exploring a potential transaction with you and to stretch beyond their comfort zone (be it around valuation metrics, terms, or operational requirements) to make it happen. Put the “Why” Before the “How” As mentioned earlier, you should always lead your strategic discussions with high-level goals. The time to have the big-picture conversation with a buyer is long before there is any mention of valuation or specific terms of a deal. In fact, you should best postpone the latter until after you receive a term sheet from them. You want to ensure that the buyer fully understands why you are interested in selling to them and appreciates the outcome you would like to achieve. The deal terms would then become details of how you could get to that ultimate objective. By prioritizing communication of your strategic interest and mission-driven motivation to a buyer, you maximize the chances of that buyer empathizing with you and putting their best foot forward during the negotiations. Don’t Play Games In M&A only interest invites interest, not aloofness or indifference. Since you want your potential acquirers to be very much attracted to your startup, make sure you do your part to convince them of your interest in them. There may come a time to play hard to get, but save that for much later. In the beginning, you want to ensure that a foundational level of mutual interest is firmly established. Understandably, expressing your genuine interest in selling to a particular acquirer doesn’t guarantee that they will immediately turn around and put an offer on the table. It just gives you the best chance of that potential acquirer taking you seriously. Whether it is a priority for them, and if so, whether they are ready and able to pursue a transaction, is a very different story, and something that is beyond your control. Have the Right Opening Before I share my preferred approach to starting the acquisition talk in the remainder of this chapter, let’s consider some of the most common ways sellers start their acquisition talks with potential acquirers: A phone call or email from the founder or CEO announcing that the startup’s board or controlling shareholders want to sell the company, wondering whether the acquirer would like to hear the pitch due to significant strategic alignment between the companies; A variation of the above, except that the stated reason for the call is receipt of an unsolicited offer to buy the startup, inviting the acquirer to participate in what is to become a competitive process; or A variation of either of the above, but this time using an intermediary, such as investment banker, investor, or advisor. While all such approaches deliver the key messages you would want to communicate to a potential acquirer to start the serious acquisition talks (conveying actionability, urgency, and strategic interest), I would strongly urge you not to adopt them. Here is why. The Perils of a Direct Approach None of the successful acquisitions I have been involved in started with the seller directly announcing their intent to sell their startup. Instead, in all those deals the buyers were the ones on the hunt and pleading the case that a sale makes mutual sense. Those startups were bought, not sold. The problem with the common, direct approaches mentioned above is that each catches most acquirers off guard and puts them in an awkward, reactive posture. Often acquirers on the receiving end of such propositions feel that they are being sold and put on the spot, which causes them to instinctively put up their mental guards. Perhaps it is a result of years of suffering from spammers and telemarketers, or because of some deeper, evolutionary origin, but I have yet to meet anyone who welcomes unsolicited sales pitches with excitement and open arms. And there is the element of buyer timing that your approach needs to navigate. Clearly it is not just your timing, as the seller, that determines the pace of a transaction. Every buyer has their own universe of fire drills, emergencies, and resource constraints to contend with. So even if an acquirer is or would be genuinely interested in buying your startup, it is unlikely they have spare resources available to immediately jump into action and make a run for your company at the moment you hit them with the news of your desire to sell. Contrary to the popular saying, a “will” does not lead to a “way” in M&A; even when there is a will, you still need to find a way to get the deal done. On many occasions, I have had to walk away as an acquirer from transactions that made perfectly good sense on a spreadsheet or slide deck due to a lack of resources to actually do the deal. Those resources span across business enablement functions of HR, IT, accounting, tax, and finance, who would be critical for conducting diligence and handling post-transaction integration tasks. If you convey your interest and urgency to sell at a time when potential acquirers don’t have the internal bandwidth and readiness to go through with it, that leaves you and your relationship with those parties in a quite awkward and uncertain state. Those acquirers would either immediately bow out or try to delay and drag out a potential transaction until their resources become available, neither of which would be a particularly favorable outcome for you. And recall that the perceived future uncertainty about the faith of your startup would likely cause many potential acquirers to throttle back or even hit full stop on any existing strategic activities with you until your sale process has concluded. Your lack of perfect timing for announcing your sale process may very well end up destroying the goodwill you had worked so hard to cultivate and nourish with some of those acquirers. So, what we have here is a perfect dilemma: telling your acquirer directly that you are for sale makes them either defensive or evasive. But they would not lean into trying to buy you unless they thought you would genuinely be interested in selling to them. The good news is that there is actually a way out of this particular predicament. And it has everything to do with how you communicate your willingness to sell. If you do it right, you can manage to convince your potential buyers you are open to a sale and have the truly interested parties pursue you when they are able to consummate a transaction. What you want to accomplish is to have the acquirers realize you are open to a sale without putting them on the spot or exerting timing pressure on them when they may not be ready or able to go through with a transaction. To do this, you have to inject a lot more subtlety into your approach. The Power of an Indirect Approach My preferred approach may best be referred to as inception, borrowing from Christopher Nolan’s science fiction action classic by that name. And don’t worry if you have not seen the movie. Most of us, by the time we are toddlers, clue into the magical powers of inception and start using it on our parents, siblings, and peers. Here is a case in point. For years, our young daughters shared a constant stream of cute puppy pictures with my wife and me, with the obvious goal of getting us interested in adopting one. They didn’t harass us with incessant requests to adopt a pet. Instead, every now and then they would giggle and come and share a little photo or video of a puppy they found online that they considered super cute or funny. That was inception at work. Our daughters didn’t put us on the defensive with this approach and didn’t risk losing face if our answer to their request was negative. In fact, they knew our answer was no. Yet, they gently turned up the dial on our interest and left it up to us to decide when the right moment to cave in was. And after years of patience, they finally got the answer they were hoping for when we decided to adopt a puppy at the end of last year. Inception is all about influencing others’ decisions through subtle messages. Our hints and suggestions can plant ideas in others’ minds so that they draw the ultimate conclusions we aim for. This eliminates much of the defensiveness and pushback a more direct approach typically results in, while preserving the relationship if the timing or level of interest for a positive response to the request is not quite there yet. Using inception as your opener for the acquisition talk would mean that instead of surprising a strategic partner with the news that you have started a process to sell your company, you find subtle alternatives that communicate your willingness to entertain strategic alternatives for the future of your startup, which could very well include an acquisition. You can leverage your board or another objective set of circumstances as a conversation opener and a way to raise the possibility of a potential sale. For example, if your investors have been involved with your startup for longer than five years, you could confide in your counterpart that you are starting to get pressure from your investors to think harder about the strategic prospects for the company including exploring alternative paths to accelerate your roadmap progress. For a more direct approach that also signals your commitment to the partnership you could, for instance, point out that you believe there is tremendous synergy between the two companies and wanted to see whether there are ways to become further integrated and work closer together to capitalize on the opportunity. What you say and to whom will depend on the specific circumstances and particular aspects of your partnership, but what is important is to try to test the waters without applying pressure and escalating the discussions prematurely. One problem with indirect and subtle hints, though, is that the subtlety may be lost on your counterparts. They may not fully grasp that you are signaling a genuine interest to sell, or even if they get that you are open to a sale, they may not sense your timing or the urgency associated with it. As a result, they may soon forget about what transpired as they move on to more urgent matters. Although there may very well be others, there is one piece of information that I have found to effectively signal a company’s desire for sale while implying in a nonthreatening way that the window of opportunity is time bound. That information is news about the prospect of an upcoming financing round. Sometimes entrepreneurs convey that information to their network of strategic partners as a way to explore their interest in participating in the round or just simply as a courtesy FYI. Regardless of the initial reason, many of the acquisitions I have been involved in heated up soon after a potential acquirer found out that the target was looking to raise a new round of funding. Announcing the start of your fundraising process is particularly impactful because it suggests both actionability and urgency. It is as close as it comes to a magical wand you can wield to spur an acquirer to action, especially if you combine it with an invitation for the acquirer to participate due to strategic fit. This is, for instance, what entrepreneur Subbu Rama did when he approached his startup BitFusion’s strategic partner VMware with an invitation to invest. VMware instead acquired his startup within months thereafter. If, as a buyer, I am interested and able to pursue a target, there is no better time to do so than before it raises a new round. That is because getting the deal done at that time typically allows the acquirer to buy a target at a more reasonable price than after a new round is raised. New investors would demand a higher price than the valuation they just invested in, rationally expecting a return on their investment and would potentially block any deal in the short term as they may have other strategic aspirations for the company. Moreover, the pressure an acquirer feels to act in connection with a fundraising activity is more forgiving and less threatening compared with the pressure that the news of a sale process entails. Fundraising can take six to nine months, and therefore acquirers generally feel that they have more time to navigate and pull the requisite resources together to make a deal happen, whereas a sale process is usually assumed to be on a much shorter time frame. As a result, upon hearing the funding news, interested acquirers jump into action and try to make a case for the entrepreneur to consider a sale instead, whereas they typically go on the defensive and freeze up when they find out that a potential target is actively pursuing a sale. The reason acquirers feel particularly emboldened to initiate acquisition discussions when you approach them with your fundraising plans is that they rightfully assume that any startup raising money would be genuinely interested in a sale. That logic is simple: whoever is raising a new round is selling somewhere from 10 percent to 50 percent of their startup and therefore should also be open to considering a sale of up to 100 percent of the startup if the price is right. At the very least, fundraising activity gives an acquirer the permission to openly inquire whether an entrepreneur would be willing to entertain an acquisition as an alternative to getting further diluted and thus extending the time to a potential exit by several years. And for you as the seller, having to go second means that you enjoy the enviable leverage of a company that is being pursued. This is why breaking the news of an upcoming financing is a fantastic catalyst for acquisition discussions. Use it well by timing it right. As a testament to the inception power of such news, it is remarkable that to this date, I don’t really know whether those targets who have approached me on the acquirer side with such news intended for it to precipitate an acquisition discussion or not. All I know is that in cases where we did have the readiness and desire to pursue an acquisition, we did. So, in the opening gambit of the M&A chess game, you want to neither be white (where you make the first move) nor black (where you react to the other side’s first move). You want to be gray! That is, you want the other side to make a move only when you are ready for their move and nudge them to do so. But what if sharing the news of your upcoming financing doesn’t elicit a reaction? That is, what if after sharing the news about your fundraising with your potential acquirers, you don’t see any change in their approach or meaningful attempts to persuade you to consider a sale? To me, that would indicate that you either don’t have the right set of acquirers at the table or that either the timing is not right for them, or you haven’t painted a compelling enough picture for the strategic potential of an acquisition to pique their interest. Of course, you can still try the direct methods mentioned above as a final effort, but know that the chances for a successful outcome at that point would be quite low. Updated on Aug 2, 2022, 4:46 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkAug 3rd, 2022

"What Happens Next? Nobody Knows – But It Doesn’t Look Good At All"

"What Happens Next? Nobody Knows – But It Doesn’t Look Good At All" By Michael Every of Rabobank Dire Straits So, there is no longer any Nancy Drew Mystery. US House Speaker Pelosi will be in Taiwan today, says Bloomberg; she will meet with President Tsai Ing-Wen on Wednesday, says the Financial Times. That is no real surprise given Pelosi’s track record --she visited Tiananmen Square in 1989 and was arrested and detained-- and given going was the better geostrategic damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t choice. What happens next? Nobody knows – but it doesn’t look good at all. Let’s unpack why. First, those who have kept their heads in the sand are forced to wake up and smell the deeply unpleasant coffee. There has been a lot of that in 2022. There is *a lot* more to come yet, e.g., “There are no war risks over Taiwan.” No, there always were. Until the geopolitics is resolved (how?), there always will be. “Markets are wrong to link Russia-Ukraine to China-Taiwan.” Because I don’t want to have to shift more of my portfolio or supply chain. “Markets haven’t moved yet.” As I said around 24 hours ago in a work chat, they will as soon as Pelosi arrives or confirms she will arrive. And here we are. Second, those who were aware of the above issues but were out of the news loop are having to play rapid catch-up. That apparently includes US Secretary of State Blinken, who stated, “We don’t know if Speaker Pelosi plans to visit Taiwan or not.” Is the White House also in the dark? Third, we have to consider who is responsible for driving this crisis. On one hand, the US. If Pelosi wanted to visit Taiwan, she could have just turned up, giving China no time to object, and no rope to hang itself with over its public framing of the issue. The White House could also have blocked Pelosi logistically, not constitutionally. Was this a screw up, or a deliberate ratcheting up of tensions? Hard to say, as this administration blows hot and cold. It has been flirting with removing China tariffs for absolutely zero quid pro quo. At the same time, it is talking about ‘friend-shoring’ from China; backing the Quad; and AUKUS; and a G7 rival to China’s BRI; and a new Indo-Pacific trade bloc to exclude China; and the Blue Pacific Act to push back against China; and the new I2U2 group to draw India into the Middle East as a counterweight to China. Plus, the open threats of what happens if China helps Russia in Ukraine, and President Biden publicly promising to defend Taiwan if it is attacked, which has had to be walked back by the White House each time. On the other hand, China. It knows the US sends senior officials to Taiwan all the time. It knows US marines have been training Taiwanese troops. It knows the US sells weapons to Taiwan. It knows the US just re-pledged its commitment to the “One China” policy. It knows that President Biden opposes Taiwanese independence – yet Beijing is now saying that a Pelosi Taiwan visit undermines that critical independence redline, which everyone takes as a trigger for action. Equally, China knows if it makes a huge fuss, the US then cannot back down. So why is it making so much more a mountain out of a Pelosi-sized molehill? Is it all about the November Party Congress? Does that constrain Xi – or actually free him to act more aggressively on many fronts? Keep that framing in mind as we lastly consider what might happen next. “China won’t act militarily because its economy is in trouble,” as I heard yesterday. Which, historically, can also mean the complete opposite. Especially when foreign-policy messaging --“Don’t say we didn’t warn you!”-- is the same as before wars vs. India and Vietnam, and when that parallel is underlined in English for the China experts who can’t read Chinese or its history. Also consider that Chinese public opinion appears firmly in favour of a strong nationalistic response to the US ‘provocation’. I just got a message from a China-following friend with close contacts on the mainland who track local social media: “The smell of war is so potent.” Back to the US side: “We will not take the bait or engage in sabre-rattling,” says the White House press secretary. “ At the same time, we will not be intimidated.” That smells too. So, buckle up, buckaroos. In short, much more volatility potentially lies ahead this week: yields will likely go lower; stocks may try to use that as an excuse to bounce higher – unless they have any direct or indirect China linkage, which means just about everyone in the US; safe haven FX will get more safe-haven-y. And anyone using Chinese supply chains arguably has even more need to consider not doing so as soon as possible. Moreover, volatility will likely last far longer than this week, even if the attention span for many in markets won’t. Indeed, the Pelosi visit risks rapidly metastasizing into a Fourth Taiwan Strait crisis. For those who think Taiwan is Thailand, the First Taiwan Strait Crisis (1954-55) saw open fighting between the mainland and Taiwan, and China only backed down after US nuclear brinksmanship. The Second Crisis (1958) saw another round of fighting, and again there were risks of nuclear escalation before China backed down. The Third Crisis (1995-96) saw China lobbing missiles, and the US sent an aircraft carrier to force China to back down. What is the resolution to a Fourth Crisis against a much stronger China demanding Taiwan return to the mainland and threatening force to achieve it? US aircraft carriers no longer seem to intimidate,… so nuclear escalation? Or the threat of economic warfare? If so, from which side? This is like Russia-Ukraine and the Northern Ireland-Irish border rolled into one: an intractable problem that has no good solution once key political compromises are deliberately taken off the table. The only question is whether we get a Russia-Ukraine or a UK-EU style ‘resolution’ in the short and long term. Or what colour sand you want to put your head into to ignore this uncomfortable fact and keep trading regardless. Meanwhile, things are also far from happy in the general world economy – but again, that doesn’t mean worse things can’t happen just because it will ruin your August holiday. German retail sales just collapsed the most on record, down 9.4% y-o-y in value terms and 8.8% m-o-m in volume terms. If sustained, that isn’t a recession, but a depression. The EU manufacturing PMI saw a sub-50 reading again, and while the US ISM survey rose to 52.5, prices paid collapsed to 60 from 74.3, and the gap between new orders (48) and soaring inventories was even more worrying. Indeed, the Atlanta Fed is close to showing the US is on the cusp of three consecutive quarters of negative growth: Paul Krugman will then explain (via fax) that this still isn’t a recession, and it still doesn’t matter if it is. Relatedly, I just looked back at a New York Times Magazine article (‘On Language’) from 1982, which seems a very different time, world, and media. It notes: “[In 1977] When Alfred Kahn, Jimmy Carter's chief inflation fighter, used the politically taboo word ''depression'' in a statement from the White House, the economist was pounced upon by assorted communicators and soothing-sayers; as a result, the hapless but happy man pledged to substitute the word ''banana'' for ''depression'' in any future economic message. Here we are, five years later, and many people fear a deep, full-fledged banana. In fact, some who write about the economy… have broken the taboo: We are witnessing a boom in the outspoken usage of the word ''depression.''… This unabashed public use of the dirtiest word in economics led to its prompt adoption by the media… The tossing about of such a word is both political and linguistic news. When the word was flung at Franklin Roosevelt during the mid-1930's, he waggled a finger at opponents and told them not to speak of rope in the house of a man who had been hanged: ''If I were a Republican leader speaking to a mixed audience, the last word in the whole dictionary that I think I would use is that word 'depression.' '' About that time, ''recession'' came into being, replacing the odious ''depression,'' a word that Henry Vansittart first applied to a slowdown in 1793, and that Aldous Huxley resuscitated in 1934. Prof. John Kenneth Galbraith informs me that the word first used widely in this regard was ''panic''; Karl Marx later preferred ''crisis''; ultimately, a much softer term --''depression''-- was chosen, so as not to panic the crisis-prone. However, the euphemism ''depression'' came to be remembered as the moniker for the terrible times it described, and thereby gained a fearsomeness of its own. ''A depression,'' says Dr. Galbraith, ''is something that in social memory has taken on the dimension of a disaster.'' Since then, hard times have been euphemized as ''rolling readjustments,'' ''crabwise movements'' and ''extended seasonal slumps,'' but it seemed that linguistic order was just around the corner when the National Bureau of Economic Research defined a recession as ''a recurring period of decline in total output, income, employment and trade, usually lasting from six months to a year and marked by widespread contractions in many sectors of the economy.'' Journalistic shorthand reduced that definition to ''a two-quarter decline in gross national product.'' And then it all went bananas again. Indeed, some are trying to sell what is happening now as a “transition”. Can we perhaps all agree Dire Straits summarises all of our collective global problems and leave it at that? Tyler Durden Tue, 08/02/2022 - 10:45.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 2nd, 2022

Look Ahead To FTSE 350, Other Companies Reporting & Economic Events From 18 – 22 July 2022

Subscriber outlook is more important than ever at Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX). Difficult times for Royal Mail PLC (LON:RMG) but increased automation should help. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is hoping to rebound after missing production expectations. Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) reports off the back of raising fresh capital from investors. Netflix, Q2 Results, Tuesday 19 July Sophie […] Subscriber outlook is more important than ever at Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX). Difficult times for Royal Mail PLC (LON:RMG) but increased automation should help. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is hoping to rebound after missing production expectations. Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO) reports off the back of raising fresh capital from investors. Netflix, Q2 Results, Tuesday 19 July Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst: “There’s a lot riding on Netflix’s results. The market has not taken kindly to its downgrading of subscriber targets, and a further disappointing show is likely to result in another severe revaluation of the group’s value. As a reminder, last quarter, Netflix new subscribers declined by 200,000 and said it expects a further 2.0m drop in the current quarter. .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 Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Attracting and keeping subscribers isn’t just difficult because of heightened competition in the streaming space, but because of the ongoing surge of inflation. Household budgets are under real strain across the world, meaning TV subscriptions could be rubbed off monthly outgoings. Away from the core metric of subscriber numbers and predictions, there will be a watch on Netflix’s content spend. It takes big bucks to stay ahead in this sector, and it will be interesting to see how Netflix is handling the balancing act of being financially responsible and spending enough to create content that keeps customers.” Royal Mail, Q1 Trading Statement, Wednesday 20 July Susannah Streeter, Senior investment and markets analyst: “Royal Mail made a rapid recovery in 2021 but its share price has been under significant pressure to the extent that it exited the FTSE 100 at the last reshuffle.  Strike action is the latest problem to rear its head, with managers walking out in a row over pay. This is set to exacerbate the worries about inflation, which are weighing on the stock, with the company warning that stamp prices may have to rise again as it faces a raft of higher prices from energy to labour costs. However, again, increased automation should help it weather the storm. Royal Mail’s strong pandemic performance appears to have become unstuck with parcel numbers on the decline. But although volumes have fallen from last year's highs, they crucially appear to be rebasing at a much higher level than pre-pandemic. Royal Mail’s accelerated modernisation drive has also been boosting profitability and the move to greater automation should make the company more flexible to deal with peaks and troughs of demand going forward.” Tesla, Q2 Results, Wednesday 20 July Matt Britzman, Equity Analyst: “There has already been a glimpse of what’s to come in next week’s second quarter earnings, with an update on production and delivery volumes earlier in July. Despite June being the highest production month in Tesla’s history, volumes missed analyst expectations and marked the first time in 10 quarters that quarter to quarter deliveries fell. Ongoing supply chain issues and factory shutdowns have continued to hinder the group’s ability to ramp up scale. In China, operations at the Shanghai factory were impacted by fresh bouts of Covid restrictions. Also new factories in Texas and Berlin battle with soaring costs as they struggle to ramp up production. The outlook for the second half of the year will be watched closely. Bringing new factories up to production levels that support profits is key, and it’ll be interesting to hear whether the group’s target of making 1.5m cars this year remains intact.” Ocado Group, Half Year Results, Thursday 21 July Matt Britzman, Equity Analyst: “Having tapped investors for just shy of £600m last month, there’s pressure to deliver some positive news on new partner sign-ups for Ocado Solutions. It’s all well and good having the most advanced robots flying around fulfilment centres, but further progress is needed on sign-ups sooner rather than later. Close attention will be paid to guidance on capital expenditure. Building out new customer fulfilment centres isn’t cheap and keeping costs in check is key. Management guided to around £800m at the start of the year – it will be interesting to see if that’s intact. The Retail arm, jointly owned with M&S, expects to see further impact on sales from the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Last we heard, new customers were coming onboard but average basket size was declining as shoppers ordered one or two less items. That, coupled with growing cost pressures put the Retail arm under pressure. The group’s expecting low single digit cash profit (EBITDA) margin.“ 18-Jul No FTSE 350 Reporters 19-Jul BHP Full Year Operational Review Netflix* Q2 Results 20-Jul Liontrust Asset Management Q1 Trading Statement Antofagasta Production Report Centamin Half Year Results Royal Mail* Q1 Trading Statement Tesla* Q2 Results 21-Jul 3i Group Q1 Trading Statement AJ Bell Q3 Trading Statement Anglo American Q2 Production Report Brewin Dolphin Q3 Trading Statement Britvic Q3 Trading Statement Close Brothers Q4 Trading Statement Diploma Q3 Trading Statement Dunelm Q4 Trading Statement Euromoney Institutional Investor Q3 Trading Statement Frasers Group* Q2 Trading Statement Howden Joinery Half Year Results IG Group Full Year Results Intermediate Capital Group Q1 Trading Statement Moneysupermarket Group Half Year Results Ocado Group* Half Year Results QinetiQ Trading Statement SSE* Q1 Trading Statement Workspace Group Q1 Trading Statement 22-Jul Beazley Half Year Results JTC Trading Statement Verizon* Q2 Results About Hargreaves Lansdown Over 1.7 million clients trust us with £132.3 billion (as at 30 April 2022), making us the UK’s number one platform for private investors. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Jul 14, 2022, 2:37 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJul 14th, 2022

Do You Have Enough For Emergencies?

You slide into the front seat of your car and put the key into the ignition. You turn the key, and you hear the engine sputter. You try again, and it still won’t start — your engine is stalled. You need to get a tow truck to bring your car to a mechanic for repairs. […] You slide into the front seat of your car and put the key into the ignition. You turn the key, and you hear the engine sputter. You try again, and it still won’t start — your engine is stalled. You need to get a tow truck to bring your car to a mechanic for repairs. You finish washing the last dish after dinner. You pull the plug from the kitchen sink to let the soapy water go down the drain, but the water doesn’t disappear. The kitchen sink is clogged. You need to call a plumbing company to come over and clear the drain. .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 Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio 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); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Your dog burrowed into your garbage can when you weren’t paying attention and ate something strange. They’re getting sick, and you’re starting to panic. You need to rush them to a veterinary clinic for treatment right away. These are just some examples of emergency expenses that can surface out of the blue. Are you financially prepared to handle them? Americans And Emergency Savings A small emergency expense, like a car repair or veterinary visit, can cause considerable financial trouble for a lot of Americans. According to research from the Federal Reserve, only 68% of adults could cover a hypothetical expense of $400 using cash or an equivalent — this includes personal savings or credit that can be paid off by the next statement. The remaining 32% of adults could not handle the expense. They responded to the survey by stating they would have to borrow funds or sell something in order to cover the expense — or worse, they would do nothing at all. This means that over a quarter of respondents would be put into a difficult financial situation over $400. If you’re one of the 32% of adults who can’t handle a $400 expense, you need to start setting aside savings to avoid jumping into financial instability. Even if you’re one of the 68% that can manage the small expense, you should add to your stash of personal savings — after all, there are plenty of emergencies that cost more than $400 to resolve. You need to build an emergency fund. What Is An Emergency Fund? An emergency fund is a reserve of personal savings specifically meant for unplanned, urgent expenses. The moment that an unplanned, urgent expense crops up, you can withdraw the necessary savings from your emergency fund and pay for it. Withdrawing from your savings should have no impact on your monthly budget. You should still be able to cover essentials like your mortgage payments and your utility bills as normal. You can also use an emergency fund to cover budgetary expenses in times of financial instability. Many Americans had to depend on their emergency funds during the COVID-19 pandemic because they lost their jobs or had their regular hours cut. They used their savings to supplement their incomes and pay for essentials until they got back on their feet — or at the very least, received financial aid from the government. How Can You Start an Emergency Fund? Start a Budget The first thing you need to do is to put together a personal budget. If you split expenses with a housemate or partner, then you should put together a household budget with them. When you’re building your new budget, determine how much money you can safely put toward your emergency fund every month. If the amount you can afford to dedicate to these savings seems too low, try to shrink or eliminate some variable expenses to increase the size of your contributions. What variable expenses should you shrink? One of the best personal budgeting tips for beginners is to get control over your food spending. You can shrink this variable expense by using coupons when you go grocery shopping, bringing homemade lunches to work and minimizing your takeout orders. These simple habits will give you plenty of savings for your emergency fund. Another example of a variable expense you can shrink is transportation. For instance, if you pay for taxis or rideshare services (Uber, LYFT, etc.) on a regular basis, you can save money by using public transportation to get around instead. A bus ticket will cost a lot less than any ride you order through an app. Open an Account The next step is to open a savings account to store your emergency fund. Don’t put it into an existing savings account that already has an alternative purpose (for example, a college savings fund). It will be easier to track and grow your emergency savings when they’re isolated. Ideally, you should store your emergency fund inside of a high-yield savings account. A high-yield savings account has a higher interest rate than a standard savings account, which should help the contents of your fund automatically grow over time. High-yield savings accounts often come with a minimum balance requirement. If your account balance goes below that minimum, you may collect fees until you cross that threshold. Going below the minimum might also invalidate the account’s interest rate. You should only sign on for this account when you’re confident you can meet these requirements. Automate Contributions Finally, you should automate your emergency fund contributions. Set automatic transfers between your checking account and savings account. With this small step, you can guarantee that you never forget to deposit your budgeted savings into your emergency fund. It will continue to grow every month. How Much Should You Save? At first, you should try to save between $1000-$2000 inside your emergency fund. This should help you cover small emergency expenses, like car repairs and home repairs, immediately. After saving this much, you can finally join the 68% of American adults who can handle a $400 emergency expense without borrowing funds or selling something. That should provide a modest amount of relief. Don’t stop adding savings to your emergency fund after hitting that goal. Many financial experts recommend that you save between three to six months of expenses inside your fund. This substantial amount of savings should help you supplement your income in times of financial instability. If you lose your job, cut your hours or become too sick to work, you can use your emergency fund to cover your usual expenses for several months. Are There Alternatives? An emergency fund is the best way to manage unplanned, urgent expenses. Since it’s composed of your own savings, you don’t have to jump through any hoops to make withdrawals, and you don’t have to follow a repayment plan. However, you should have some alternative safety nets to help you cover expenses when your emergency fund is shallow. A credit card can be a strong safety net, as long as the current balance is nowhere near the set limit. You could charge the emergency expense to your credit card right away and then steadily pay down the balance later. A personal line of credit is another alternative that you could use for emergencies. Request a withdrawal within your credit limit. If that request is approved, use the borrowed funds to cover the urgent expense. Afterward, you can focus on making repayments and replenishing your line of credit’s balance. You should have at least one safety net set up for emergencies. Without a safety net, a single $400 expense could send you into a panic. Updated on Jun 28, 2022, 1:49 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJun 28th, 2022

Bank Of England Announces 25bps Interest Rate Hike – Commentary

In light of today’s decision from the Bank of England to hike interest rates by 25bps, below are comments from Giles Coghlan (HYCM), Jatin Ondhia (Shojin) and Gemma Boothroyd (Freetrade) reacting to the news. Bank Of England Announces Rate Hike Giles Coghlan, Chief Analyst at HYCM said: “Today, the Bank of England has held its […] In light of today’s decision from the Bank of England to hike interest rates by 25bps, below are comments from Giles Coghlan (HYCM), Jatin Ondhia (Shojin) and Gemma Boothroyd (Freetrade) reacting to the news. Bank Of England Announces Rate Hike Giles Coghlan, Chief Analyst at HYCM said: “Today, the Bank of England has held its nerve with a dovish 25bps hike, in light of slowing growth and the prospects of a negative 2023 GDP. Prior to the announcement, the most recent surge in inflation from the U.S. had caught the attention of short-term interest rate markets (STIR) for the BoE this week, with analysts pricing in a 71% chance of a 50bps hike in the run up to the announcement. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more “On this occasion, however, the central bank has opted to resist temptation. Faced with mixed signals from the U.K. economy, the Monetary Policy Committee has had to weigh a tight labour market, the cost-of-living crisis and surging energy prices against Government intervention with fiscal stimulus. With the threat of triggering Article 16 also looming in the backdrop, policymakers clearly want to avoid hitting the brakes too hard on an economy that is already stalling of its own accord. Traders and investors should watch for GBP weakness and a potential rate cut in 2023.” Jatin Ondhia, CEO of Shojin: “Today’s decision is no surprise; the Bank of England’s dovish stance is expected as its battle with runaway inflation is only just beginning. In reality, the question right now is how much higher will interest rates go? "Given the current macroeconomic challenges, it is imperative that investors monitor how different markets and assets are faring, rethinking their strategies accordingly. Diversification and agility could prove key in navigating this testing climate, and it should be expected that most resilient markets - such as real estate - will continue to attract investor demand, particularly among those seeking relatively safe options that stand a chance of keeping pace with inflation." Freetrade analyst Gemma Boothroyd said: "The market saw this one coming. Even before the rate rise, UK banks had a skip in their step earlier in the week.  After all, they’re the ones primed to benefit here but selectivity is the name of the game now more than ever. UK banks were not created equal and those with huge mortgage books will start to look very different from trading-heavy firms. Mortgage lenders will raise rates, making buying a home more expensive. That’s bad news for Britons looking to get a leg up on the property ladder, but good news for the banks’ coffers. Renters might see their monthly payments taken up a notch. If a landlord can legally raise rent, they probably will. As for credit card payments, interest charges could get bumped up too. It may be a few payment cycles before that happens though, and you would be informed if it did. The rate rise will ripple through the market, hitting firms with differing intensities. We’ve already seen companies in growth mode take a share price hit as lofty valuations look even harder to justify amid rising rates. Now, the sting will probably be felt among even the reasonably priced companies. We’ve been here before. And if you have a long-term investment horizon, this is a storm a diversified portfolio should be able to weather. Lower-priced shares for good companies might be a good buying opportunity. That’s especially the case in the UK, where shares are trading at valuations well below those across the pond. So it’s not all bad news. There’s an opportunity to take advantage of a drop in the market if you have a long-term outlook for your investments. That’s not to say every share price fall should be seen as a deal, but it’s worth keeping a keen eye out for the companies seemingly being unfairly punished." Updated on Jun 16, 2022, 12:36 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJun 16th, 2022

March On Vulture Funds: Activists Storm Paul Singer And Steven Tananbaum’s Notorious Vulture Hedge Funds

The march comes just as Sri Lanka faces the holdout problem and stalled restructuring negotiations from creditors. March On Vulture Funds New York, NY – This morning, activist and protestors stormed the lobby of Elliott Management, the infamous vulture fund owned by Paul Singer that has for decades used predatory practices to hold vulnerable nations hostage […] The march comes just as Sri Lanka faces the holdout problem and stalled restructuring negotiations from creditors. March On Vulture Funds New York, NY – This morning, activist and protestors stormed the lobby of Elliott Management, the infamous vulture fund owned by Paul Singer that has for decades used predatory practices to hold vulnerable nations hostage in order to fill their pockets. Activists and protestors from The Center for Popular Democracy, New York Communities for Change, Churches for United Housing, Strong Economy for All, and Hedge Clippers joined together outside of Elliott Management and marched towards GoldenTree Asset Management, whose multi-billionaire owner Steven Tananbaum is best known for the economic collapse of Puerto Rico. These ‘vulture capitalist’ hedge funds have exemplified the vulture fund playbook that contributed to the economic collapses of nations like Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, among others. 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The action comes as restructuring guru Buchheit warns that Sri Lanka might be the next nation to face the holdout problem – a tactic used by vulture hedge funds that allow a minority of the bondholders to refuse fair negotiations during the debt restructuring process. The holdout problem is one of the issues that would be addressed by the bill packaged that is being proposed by the Not A Game coalition. The large coalition of activists and lawmakers that form the Not A Game, Its People campaign were joined by a traditional Afro-Puerto Rican drumming band and wielded a life-size vulture puppet. They chanted that these hedge funds must take, “Not a Penny More” from suffering nations, calling attention to the vile, predatory actions they have committed. Organizers called on New York State to utilize its power to change the rules by which these vulture funds operate in conjunction with a recent public comment from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director who agreed with the urgency in the matter. New York has long been known as a safe haven for a plethora of immigrant communities. However, New York State leadership has prioritized the interests of billionaires over those of communities whose home countries are being devastated by this predatory behavior. The “Not a Game” coalition’s New York legislative package, including the Model Law introduced by Senator Rivera and Assemblymember Davila and the Champerty Doctrine Reform, would create an orderly process for restructuring these countries’ unsustainable debt and show New York communities that their voices are being heard. Quotes And Media From The Event “New York is home to millions of immigrants, including Puerto Ricans and Ecuadorians who are directly impacted by vulture funds like Steven Tananbaum of GoldenTree Investment and Paul Singer of Elliott Management. Their vulture behavior is destroying the lives of our families and the wellbeing of our communities. This is not a game, we are people,” said Jesus Gonzalez, National Organizer at Center for Popular Democracy. “These vulture funds call themselves financial activists, but what that really means is that they are predators. They’re activists in closing schools all over the world, they’re activists in shutting down hospitals. They are vultures. The bottom feeders of capitalism,” said Alicé Nascimiento from New York Communities for Change. “Right now, Sri Lanka is in the biggest economic crisis since the 1940s. They have no fuel and no medicine. People are taking to the streets. This is when people like Paul Singer swoop in. Sri Lanka is coming forward to creditors trying to negotiate. Vultures like Paul Singer absolutely refuse, using the money that would feed their children to line his pockets. All of this is legal, because he has changed New York law to make it so. What we’re doing here is saying enough is enough.” “I want to be clear, this isn’t about attacking rich people just because they’re billionaires and we are not. This isn’t about people that have given back and care about humanity. This is about billionaires that have made their wealth through vulture hedge funds. These billionaires do not give a shit about human life. We’re asking other millionaires to be on the line with the people, to show that we have representation of wealthy people that do care about people. It’s about responsibility to humanity to allow people to live and let live,” said José “Dr. Drum” Ortiz from Bomba Yo. “From his palatial apartment on Park Avenue, Paul Singer works every day to kill poor people all around the world to make himself rich. The hedge funds in this building are attacking people all over the world, in Guatemala, in Puerto Rico, in Ecuador, to make themselves rich. This is what’s happening in this building right here,” said Michael Kink, Executive Director of Strong Economy for All. “They close our schools, they close our hospitals, they take the food from starving children to pay off their bonds and their hedge funds. That’s why we’re here to march on them and to change the laws of the state of New York.” “A few months ago I moved to Puerto Rico because, as a Puerto Rican woman, I thought I could not do justice to this campaign unless I experienced every single thing my people go through.  What I learned is that we are resilient. We hold our heads high. We help one another. People like Paul Singer, all of these wall street guys should feel ashamed that they have taken from an island that has never done anything to get things to where they all are now. I have nothing against billionaires, but I have a real problem with the way they’re going about it. This needs to stop,” said Gina de Jesus, representative from New York Communities for Change (NYCC). “They have the power to change the lives of the people, but they choose to have money in their pocket. They’re closing schools, they’re closing hospitals. There is no working stability in Puerto Rico. Working people should be able to survive, to put food on the table. These vulture funds are taking advantage of the misery of the countries and benefiting from it. We are coming together to prevent this from happening to other countries in the world,” said Maria, member of New York Communities for Change (NYCC).  About the “Not a Game” Campaign The “Not a Game” campaign was created by a coalition of New York and Puerto Rico-based organizations and groups in an effort to pass New York State legislation that holds vulture hedge funds accountable for their predatory practices. www.notagameitspeople.org. Updated on Jun 8, 2022, 5:27 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJun 8th, 2022

Comedians Can"t Quit Trump

Comedians Can't Quit Trump Authored by Christian Toto via RealClear Politics (emphasis ours), Yes, the real estate mogul no longer calls the White House home, but chances are you’ll hear Donald Trump jokes in any given late-night monologue. And they’ll draw satirical blood. That’s all well and good, but Trump no longer lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and he can’t even steer all his favorite GOP candidates to victory these days. There’s a ready Trump replacement for Colbert and Co., a politician who might be commander in chief should the current occupant’s health falter. So far, mainstream comics won’t lay a glove on her despite enough material to fill a year’s worth of monologues. Maybe two. Meet Vice President Kamala Harris. The 57-year-old Californian has only been in office a little more than a year, and already she’s amassed a treasure trove of mockable moments. Cackles. Gaffes. Empty results. Calamitous polling numbers. Emotionally distressed ex-staffers. And a new gold standard for political word salad. So where are the jokes? Of course, these same satirists should be tweaking President Biden, who also suffers from horrific polling numbers and his own gaffe-tastic spells. Harris still represents a unique satirical target, a chance to make the vice presidency part of the comic fabric. Again. Veeps aren’t prime fodder for political comics, at least on paper. They’re second in command and serve in a ceremonial capacity, for the most part, meaning comics would rather target the boss instead. But they can still draw comedic attention when they step out of line. Just ask Dan Quayle. George H.W. Bush’s sidekick got punished by comedians for his perceived lack of intelligence. Quayle didn’t help himself, uttering absurd lines like, “The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation’s history. I mean in this century’s history. But we all lived in this century. I didn’t live in this century.” These things aren’t always fair – and wouldn’t be for Kamala Harris if anyone dared tease her. Quayle’s infamous misspelling of “potato” at a 1992 school appearance, for instance, was prompted by an erroneous cue card given to him by a teacher. Nonetheless, it became his comedy anchor. You can’t blame comedians for teeing off on that gaffe. Comedians got an early start on Quayle quips. David Letterman devoted six “Top Ten” lists to him during the 1988 election cycle on his NBC showcase. Quayle, he noted, “would not seem like a brainy egghead when visiting the nation’s injured professional wrestlers.” Jay Leno, filling in for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” compared Quayle to his VP competition, Lloyd Bentsen, saying the former had two pluses over the older man – “a blow dryer and a pulse.” Late night hosts also targeted the vice president mercilessly during the Trump years. Vice President Mike Pence made headlines for revealing he doesn’t spend time alone with any woman other than his wife. Comedians pounced, and seized, turning him into the ultimate square. Comedians even channeled Pence’s COVID-19 vaccine injection for a skit mocking both him and President Trump. We can’t forget the fly that invaded Pence’s follicular airspace in the 2020 vice presidential debate. Earlier this year, the host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” mocked Pence by bringing up notes Trump took during his time in office. “I know it wasn’t intentional,” Kimmel said. “But a blank space between two parentheses is the most perfect description of Mike Pence I’ve ever seen. It should be on his Christmas cards.” Even The Onion poked serial fun at Biden when he served under President Barack Obama. They wrote the book on the subject – “The President of Vice: The Autobiography of Joe Biden.” Why poke fun at Harris, the first female vice president and a person of color? The real question is, “Why not?” – especially since her public persona all but demands a satirical scorching. Her scattershot speeches routinely go viral on social media, with “amateur” comics doing the work Team Late Night won’t do. Here’s her TED talk touting high-speed Internet: So, when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time in terms of what we need to do to lay these wires, what we need to do to create these jobs … And there is such great significance to the passage of time when we think about a day in the life of our children and what that means to the future of our nation, depending on whether or not they have the resources they need to achieve their God-given talent. Just an awkward moment? It happens to the smoothest politicians, right? There’s more. Here’s Harris addressing Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness earlier this year: We also recognized, just as it has been in the United States, for Jamaica, one of the issues that has been presented as an issue that is economic in the way its impact has been the pandemic … So to that end, we are announcing today also that we will assist Jamaica in COVID recovery by assisting in terms of the recovery efforts in Jamaica that have been essential to I believe what is necessary to strengthen not only the issue of public health, but also the economy. Harris also stumbles during softball interviews, be it with MSNBC’s Joy Reid or NBC’s Lester Holt. She gaffed her way through one Holt Q&A by insisting (three times) that she had been to the southern border only to have that position gently corrected. Her response was to lash out at Holt and conjure up a bizarre non sequitur. “And I haven’t been to Europe,” she said. “And I mean, I don't understand the point that you're making … I'm not discounting the importance of the border.” Last year, she offered this oddball homily during an appearance in France: “We must together. Work together. To see where we are. Where we are headed, where we are going and our vision for where we should be. But also see it as a moment to, yes. Together, address the challenges and to work on the opportunities that are presented by this moment.” “Every time she speaks, it’s like watching Wile E. Coyote’s feet keep spinning madly even after he’s run off the cliff,” NY Post columnist Kyle Smith quipped. And he’s not a professional comedian. Her most recent word salad entrée? A plea to work together on the environment’s behalf. Our world is more interconnected and interdependent. That is especially true when it comes to the climate crisis, which is why we will work together, and continue to work together, to address these issues, to tackle these challenges, and to work together as we continue to work operating from the new norms, rules, and agreements, that we will convene to work together on to galvanize global action. With that I thank you all. This is a matter of urgent priority for all of us and I know we will work on this together. Writing word salad sketches could be a snap for random YouTube creators, let alone seasoned late-night scribes. Need more Harris fodder? Her staff defections are so common it’s yet another comic through-line to throw on the already massive pile. One unnamed ex-staffer said Harris underlings endure a “constant amount of soul-destroying criticism.” And then there’s that cackle. Harris laughs at inappropriate times, a troubling tic for any politician. She even chuckled over a question regarding Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. It makes imitating her a snap, but has Maya Rudolph even attempted Harris’ signature quirk? Rudolph has played Harris sparingly on NBC’s left-leaning “Saturday Night Live” over the years, but those appearances have mostly disappeared since Harris became vice president. They also avoid her flaws. A March 2021 SNL skit found Rudolph, as Harris, hosting a unity Seder dinner. The jokes landed against her guests, including SNL players as Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green. Trump made political humor so much easier. Some could argue too easy, given the lazy jabs at his “orange” skin and curious ‘do. Harris isn’t Trump, but she’s tailor-made for comic vivisections. Harris jokes might help late-night comics bolster their ratings. A Rasmussen Reports survey shows “54% do not believe the former California senator is qualified to be president.” Her overall polling numbers remain weak, meaning comedians risk little for targeting her with their barbs. It’s one reason Greg Gutfeld shocked late night last year by rising to the top of the ratings heap. The Fox News star regularly mocks Harris from his popular perch, eclipsing iconic shows like “The Tonight Show” in the ratings race. “She is truly a national treasure, if by treasure, you mean, embarrassment,” Gutfeld said recently.  What does Harris have to do to get Comedy, Inc.’s attention? Then again, maybe their relative silence is based in fear, not punchlines. A silly Twitter jab at the vice president cost one conservative talker her gig. So is it any wonder that Jimmy Kimmel has defended, not mocked, Harris’ poor poll numbers by playing two cards – racism and sexism? Kimmel quipped, “I think I know why Kamala's ratings are low, besides sexism and racism, which are the obvious ones. It's because whenever she's next to Joe Biden, standing near or behind him, she looks like an assassin.” Does he want to break his own rules by giving her a good-natured ribbing? Does he fear the consequences? Comedians may be more worried about their next paycheck than about stepping on comedy’s vice presidential third rail. Christian Toto is the author of “Virtue Bombs: How Hollywood Got Woke and Lost Its Soul.” Tyler Durden Tue, 06/07/2022 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 7th, 2022

Will The Midterms Be Biden"s Last Hurrah?

Will The Midterms Be Biden's Last Hurrah? Authored by Pat Buchanan, For half a decade now, America’s media elite have been obsessed with former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s conversion to Trumpism. Press and TV are daily consumed with his actions and prospects and the future of the party he captured in 2016. Perhaps it is time to consider the prospects of President Joe Biden and the political future of his embattled presidency. What are the odds that Biden, like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama before him, will run again in 2024, win reelection, serve out a second term and transfer his office to the 47th president on Jan. 20, 2029? My guess: The odds of that happening are roughly the same as the odds that last-minute entry Rich Strike would win the Kentucky Derby, as he left the starting gate at Churchill Downs at 80-1. Consider the first hurdle Biden faces on the way to renomination in 2024 — the midterm elections five months off. Since the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 reached record highs in January, both have seen eight weeks of wipeouts of trillions of dollars in value as we approached bear-market territory by the end of last week. Stock portfolios, pensions and retirement benefit plans have been gutted. These massive market losses are also a lead indicator pointing to a recession right ahead, just as voters pass judgment on a Democratic Party that controls the White House and both houses of Congress. But even before we reach recession, Americans have already been living with a Biden inflation of 8% that has lasted for months and affected all the necessities of normal life, such as groceries and gasoline. And the worst seems yet to come. The Federal Reserve has reversed course from its easy money days and begun to raise interest rates to squeeze the Biden inflation out of the economy. What lies ahead may remind people who were around then of Jimmy Carter’s “stagflation,” where interest rates hit 21% to kill an inflation that reached 13%. As for the crisis on the southern border, it is deeper than ever. Some 234,000 migrants were caught illegally entering the U.S. in April alone, with thousands of others evading any contact with U.S. authorities. This is an invasion rate of some 3 million illegal migrants a year. Shootings, killings, carjackings, criminal assaults, and smash-and-grab robberies in record numbers are the subject of our nightly news. And the latest national polls suggest the country is holding Biden responsible. The president’s approval rating is down to 39%, and only 1 in 3 Americans think he is doing a good job handling the economy and that the nation is headed in the right direction. Now the omicron variant of COVID-19 is making a comeback; infections are again over 100,000 a day. Biden might find consolation from how his predecessors overcame midterm defeats. Clinton in 1994 lost 54 House seats and won reelection easily in 1996. Obama lost 63 House seats in 2010 to come back and win handily over Mitt Romney in 2012. Why cannot Biden ride out the anticipated storm in this year’s midterms and come back to win election in 2024, as did Clinton and Obama? Age has something to do with it. Clinton was 50 in his reelection year 1996. Obama was 51 in his reelection year 2012. And both were at the peak of their political powers. Biden, on election day 2024, will be two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday. Should he serve out a second term, he would not leave the White House until he had turned 86. Biden has been America’s oldest president since the day he took office. Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers wrote of “energy in the executive” as being an indispensable attribute of good government. Does Biden, with his shuffling gait, regular gaffes, and physical and cognitive decline manifest that attribute of which Hamilton wrote? The likely scenario for Biden? His party sustains a crushing defeat in November comparable to what Clinton and Obama suffered. But the party does not immediately rally around Biden as present and future leader, as it did with Clinton and Obama. Critics inside the Democratic coalition begin to blame Biden for the loss. Ambitious Democrats, sensing disaster if Biden tops the ticket in 2024, begin to call for him to stand down and give way to a younger candidate, a new face, in 2024. One or two progressives declare for president, and the pressure builds on Biden to avoid a personal and political humiliation in the 2024 primaries by standing down, as Harry Truman did in 1952 and Lyndon Johnson did in 1968. By early 2023, Biden will have adopted the line that dealing with the challenge of China and Russia and, at the same time, coping with recession and inflation require his full attention. And these preclude a national political campaign for reelection. And then President Joe Biden announces he will not run again. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/27/2022 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 27th, 2022

Survey – Only 3 Out Of 10 Retirees Not Worrid About Inflation On Their Savings. 70% Running Out

How worried are you about inflation? ‌You probably have a positive outlook about retiring comfortably if you’re in the majority of Americans. Those are the results of the 32nd annual Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research in January, polling 2,677 workers and retirees. Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, […] How worried are you about inflation? ‌You probably have a positive outlook about retiring comfortably if you’re in the majority of Americans. Those are the results of the 32nd annual Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research in January, polling 2,677 workers and retirees. .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 Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio 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); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more “Even with the concerns of the pandemic and rising prices, overall, American workers and retirees still feel positive about their retirements,” said Craig Copeland, director of wealth benefits research at EBRI. Results of the 2022 survey are nearly unchanged from the 2021 survey, with nearly 7 out of 10 workers reporting they are “somewhat confident” about retirement savings — ‌with nearly one-third reporting they are “very confident.” According to the survey, about 8 out of 10 retirees believe they can survive their golden years comfortably. ‌However, the pandemic ‌dampened optimism for a third of workers and a quarter‌ ‌of‌ ‌retirees. “The Americans who are more likely to feel that their futures appear grim since the pandemic are those who were already pessimistic about their futures, due to lower incomes, problems with debt or lower health status,” said Copeland. It’s not surprising that inflation and rising expenses are workers’ and retirees’ top concerns when it comes to retiring. ‌In‌ ‌fact, according to recent Fidelity data, 71% of Americans are concerned about inflation impacting their retirement readiness. And, for good reason. Why Inflation Has You Worried About Retirement From food to housing, everything is becoming more expensive. ‌A measure of price increases, the Consumer Price Index, rose 8.3% from a year earlier in April 2022. In addition to the findings from Fidelity, Pew Research reports that 70% of Americans ‌see inflation as “a very big problem” for the country. “Meanwhile, some older adults are choosing to put off retiring,” writes Michelle Fox for CNBC. “Thirteen percent of Gen Xers and baby boomers said they’ve postponed or considered delaying plans to leave the workforce because of rising costs, a survey from the Nationwide Retirement Institute found.” An unstable stock market could also make those saving for retirement rethink their investment strategies. ‌In addition, higher inflation could erode the value of Social Security checks, pension payments,‌ ‌and‌ ‌401(k)‌ ‌savings. It’s no secret that even in normal times, retirees who are preparing for retirement or who have already retired are concerned‌ ‌about‌ ‌running‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌money. Inflation only amplifies those concerns. ‌Regardless of how well people plan, inflation is an uncontrollable variable that makes retirement planning difficult. Quite simply, inflation is the nemesis of fixed incomes. But, there are ways to protect your retirement savings from inflations. How to Fight Back Against Inflation and Make Your Money Last in Retirement Adjust for inflation. Those with steady wages might not feel the effect of inflation when they’re working, notes Cameron Huddleston for GoBanking Rates. ‌As such, inflation might not affect your retirement savings plan. “On average in the USA, we see that the prices of goods and services rise by 3% per year,” said Michael Hardy, a certified financial planner and vice president at Mollot & Hardy in Amherst, New York. “This means that over a 20-year time period, your $100,000 of retirement savings will likely be worth 60% less in terms of buying power 60% less.” For those who failed to factor inflation into their retirement calculations, they may need to spend more than they‌ ‌‌‌estimated “I find that most people fail to account for this change and it ends up costing them dearly years later,” Harday said. Along with saving more to prepare for inflation, delaying your Social Security benefits may also be an option. ‌ When you wait until 70 to claim Social Security, you can maximize your benefits. ‌The Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living adjustment, which is an inflation-adjustment for benefits, will also be applied to your bigger monthly check. “Now a greater proportion of your income will be inflation-adjusted,” said Dave Littell, professor emeritus of taxation at The American College. Keep calm and invest on. The level of inflation is the highest ‌ since the 1980s. ‌Higher inflation rates could quickly drop or be a longer term problem.‌Higher inflation rates could quickly drop or be a longer term problem. “Retirees are in a tough spot,” Darrell Pacheco, a certified financial planner in Charlottesville, Va., who runs a business helping employees make better financial decisions, told NPR. ‌According to him, people are scared by all the attention paid to inflation. “And when it comes to folks and their money, we know that high anxiety usually tends to lead us to make bad decisions,” he says. ‌ For example, panicking and dumping stocks. “Your best hedge against inflation is to remain invested,” Pacheco says. “Period.” Why? ‌Compared to bonds, stocks have a much higher rate of return over time. ‌Although U.S. stocks have fallen some lately, they’re still up over 10% from a year ago and a lot more since then. When it comes to retirement savings and investments, Pacheco says, “stick with your plan.” Are you unsure of whether you‌ ‌invested‌ ‌properly? ‌Investing should consist of a broad mix of investments appropriate for each individual’s age, says Pacheco. ‌Investing in target date funds is one way to make that happen.‌ Investing in target date funds is one way to make that happen. As you age, these may become less risky and can have low fees. “Target date funds are incredible vehicles … one of the best vehicles ever created,” Pacheco explains. “For many investors, that actually is a great all-in-one option.” Other investment options? Treasury inflation-protected securities. They’ll keep up‌ ‌with‌ ‌inflation. ‌ You can also hedge against inflation with real estate, commodities, and precious metals. Adopt a sustainable withdrawal rate mentality. In retirement, the sustainable withdrawal rate reflects the estimated percent of savings that you can withdraw annually‌ ‌without‌ ‌running‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌money, explains Fidelity. By looking at history and simulating multiple outcomes, the experts at Fidelity came to the following conclusion. ‌Ideally, you should withdraw no more than 4% to 5% of your savings in the first year of retirement, and then adjust the amount every year for inflation. This should help to ensure that you are able to cover a consistent amount of expenses in retirement (i.e., it should work 90% of the time). It’s possible for your situation to differ. ‌ If you plan to travel extensively in retirement, you might withdraw more when you are young, and less when you are older. ‌In addition, there are factors outside of your control, such as how long you live, inflation, and the long-term return on ‌ ‌markets. However, this 4%-to-5% range can serve as a handy guideline when‌ ‌planning. Here’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌hypothetical‌ ‌example. ‌A 67-year-old man retires with $500,000 in retirement funds. ‌Each year, he withdraws 4%, or $20,000. ‌As he plans to withdraw an equivalent amount of inflation-adjusted savings over the remainder of his retirement, this $20,000 sets his baseline. His annual increase is based on inflation–regardless of how the market performs or what his investments are worth. Don’t keep too much cash on hand. For everyday expenses, emergencies, and large purchases, we all need cash on hand. ‌Cash, however, might not be the best long-term investment, especially when inflation is skyhigh. ‌With each passing year, inflation reduces the amount of goods and services you can buy with your money. Consider investing some of the extra cash you have in long-term investments that will ensure your buying power over the long run. ‌A good rule of thumb is to keep 3 to 6 months’‌ ‌worth‌ ‌of‌ ‌expenses‌ ‌in‌ ‌an emergency‌ ‌fund. ‌However, if you have more saved up, you’re probably better off investing‌ ‌it in something like Series I savings bonds. The U.S. government sells and backs I bonds, which have never defaulted. ‌It is impossible to lose money on I bonds unless the government collapses. In addition, Series I bonds keep up with inflation. For example, in November 2021, the Treasury announced an astounding 7.12% interest rate through April 2022. ‌These investments have never shown such high rates for this period. ‌To put that in perspective, almost all high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit pay less than 1.5% annual interest. ‌ The problem? We don’t know if I bonds will continue to pay‌ ‌7%‌ ‌after‌ ‌April. ‌After all, every six months, interest rates are adjusted for inflation. ‌As a result, they may rise or fall. Aim to get out‌ ‌of‌ ‌debt. Inflation in real estate taxes is a major concern for many investors. ‌However, it should actually ‌be‌ ‌‌‌rising debt loads. ‌An unprecedented number of older Americans still owe money on their mortgages, credit cards, and even ‌student‌ ‌loans. ‌The ‌Government Accountability Office found that the proportion of older households with debt increased from 58 percent in 1989 to 71 percent in 2016. There was also a substantial increase in the median amount of debt for older households with debt in 2016 ($55,300 in real 2016 dollars) compared with 1989 ($18,900). As a result, the share of older households with credit card, mortgage, and student loan debt was significantly higher in 2016 compared with ‌1989. When inflation rises, this debt will become even more of a financial burden. ‌Also, if it’s adjustable rate debt, such as a mortgage, that isn’t on a fixed rate-any inflation could be devastating. As such, anyone who is worried about late-life inflation should pay off their debt as soon as possible. Some suggestions include; You can pay off your loan faster if you make extra payments consistently. For instance, paying more than the minimum payment due or making multiple payments a month. Paying off your most expensive debt first. ‌If you do so, you reduce the amount of interest you pay and your total debt decreases. Alternatively, consider the snowball method. If you start with the smallest balance, you’re going to pay that off first, then roll the payment onto your next smallest balance, etc. You may be able to pay off your debt more quickly by refinancing to a shorter term. You may be able to repay debt faster if you consolidate high-interest rate loans or credit card balances into one loan with lower interest rates. Consider healthcare costs. “Medical care is one of those things that doesn’t really seem to go on sale – ever see a 2-for-1 offer on X-rays?,” asks the Marcus by Goldman Sachs team. ‌As we age, health care costs become a more important expense to consider when it comes to retirement, since the more money we spend on health care, the more we cost. Aside from taking up more of our budgets, medical costs generally tend to increase. ‌According to Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed health policy journal, health costs will increase by 4.1% on average between 2021 and 2023, not just for ‌older‌ ‌Americans. ‌This doesn’t even account for‌ ‌inflation. It may be possible to mitigate the impact health care has on your retirement funds with a little planning. Contrary to investing, where you aim to maximize returns, health care strategies are more about finding ways to save money outright (for example, by opening a health savings account) or get help with paying for health care, like ‌Medicare. The following are some considerations: If you have an HSA, maximize your contributions. You can use a Health Savings Account to set aside money for health care expenses in retirement, though it is not an inflation hedge. ‌Withdrawals from HSAs are tax-free as long as they’re used for approved medical‌ ‌expenses. ‌For singles with a high-deductible health plan in 2021, you can contribute $3,600 ($3,650 in 2022); for families, $7,200 ($7,300 in 2022). Stay on top of Medicare. You can enroll in Medicare after you‌ ‌turn‌ ‌65. ‌The plan can be combined with other medical insurance. ‌If you wait to enroll, you may have to pay higher premiums. Before you retire, consider long-term care insurance (or an alternative). There’s no direct way to stop inflation. However, it can help stretch your hard-earned dollars. A long-term health insurance policy covers care for the elderly, like adult daycare or assisted living facilities. Take advantage of‌ ‌annuity-based‌ ‌products. “One of the biggest misconceptions many people have is that retirement simply means living off of their pension, Social Security, or retirement savings,” states Pierre Raymond, a 25-year veteran of the Financial Services industry . “While this may be the case for a minority of people, the latter reveals that some Americans have still not placed any stress on their financial future when they reach the age of retirement.” In order to make things easier, some retirees may invest in various stocks and portfolios or consider taking out annuities that will provide them with monthly payments throughout their entire ‌lives. It isn’t as farfetched as it was a few years ago to find investment and savings products. “Companies and platforms such as Due have changed the game completely, making it easier, and more secure for any person to invest in their retirement,” adds Raymond. With Due, individuals can decide how much money they’re willing to invest (as it requires a lump sum and monthly payments), what their monthly installment will be, and the better you plan, the higher your monthly payout will be. “While annuities may have not been very popular over the last few years, baby boomers, and now millennials are understanding how they can grow their wealth with the help of annuity products,” he says. Put off major purchases. Jay Zigmont, a CFP and founder of Mississippi-based financial firm Live, Learn, Plan, says to put off major purchases now, especially on a new car. “If your car works and gets you to” point A to B,” then stick with it,” he says. Consumer price index data shows that new car prices inched upward 11.1% last year, even though auto loan rates are low. ‌Over the past year, used cars have seen their inflation rate rise by 31.4%. ‌Zigmont‌ ‌suggests that car prices are getting out of touch with reality, and consumers ought to ask themselves if they truly need a new car. “Try paying for a complete detailing of your car and it will feel new to you without the sticker shock,” he suggests. Rather than shopping around for another lease when a car lease is about to expire, financial planner Chris Diodato suggests purchasing the car. ‌According to Diodato, a CFP and founder of Florida-based WELLth Financial Planning, the initial lease contracts indicate purchase prices far below current resale values. Keep bringing home the bacon. How can you conserve‌ ‌your‌ ‌capital? ‌Continue to earn money. ‌In the end, every dollar you earn in retirement is a dollar you won’t need‌ ‌to‌ ‌withdraw. However, that does not mean you have to stay in your 9-to-5 job you’ve been hoping to quit as soon as possible. Maybe you could get back on your hours and work part-time. If you’re already retired, you could make money as a consultant, freelancer, or join the gig economy. If you have grandkids, you could offer to babysit. Speak with a professional‌ ‌financial‌ ‌planner. Having a financial professional by your side can help you prepare a good strategy and test out possible‌ ‌scenarios. They can also help you update your plan on a regular basis to reflect changes to the market and your goals. Lastly, there isn’t enough serious discussion about changing inflation expectations among financial planners. Take retirement seriously and don’t let complacency creep in.‌ ‌If you want to have a successful retirement, revise your assumptions and get the right guidance. Frequently Asked Questions What is inflation? When our money loses its purchasing power, we’re experiencing inflation. ‌Inflation occurs when product and service prices increase. For‌ ‌example,‌ ‌a‌ ‌gallon‌ ‌of‌ ‌gas‌ ‌now tops $4; last year it cost around $3. In other words, filling your gas tank has been more expensive. Economies refer to the “inflation rate.” ‌This is the rate at which the cost of various consumer goods increases. ‌We have had an inflation rate of about 3% for the last 20 years. Inflation in the United States was 8.3% for the 12 months ended April 2022, down from 8.5% the previous year, based on Labor Department data published May 11. What causes inflation? It’s easy to divide inflation into two types: demand-pull inflation ‌and cost-push‌ ‌inflation. ‌These phrases may sound strange to you. But, they reflect experiences that many of us have experienced. In a cost-push, prices rise when costs go up, like wages or materials. ‌As a result of these higher costs, prices go up, which adds to‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ ‌of‌ ‌living. Consumers have resilient interest in a particular service or good, which generates demand-pull inflation. Various factors may contribute to such a demand, such as a low unemployment rate, a high savings rate, or a high level of consumer‌ ‌confidence. ‌As demand for products increases, companies produce more to keep up, which, in turn, could result in price increases and product shortages. How much money can inflation cost retirees? It is astonishing how much inflation can cost retirees in terms of actual dollars. Over a period of 20 years, LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute calculated the effect of inflation on the average Social Security benefit. ‌One percent inflation could wipe out $34,406 in retirees’ benefits, according to the research. ‌In the event of a 3% increase in inflation, the shortfall would amount to‌ ‌more‌ ‌than $117,000 What can retirees do to mitigate inflation’s impact? There are ways to minimize the impact of inflation on your retirement, despite the fact that you can’t directly alter it. A logical start would be to cut costs on housing, for example. ‌The cost of property taxes, utilities, homeowners insurance, and maintenance gets cheaper when you move from a large to a smaller house. And, that’s true even if you’ve paid off your mortgage. Additionally, you should add investments to your portfolio that are likely to rise in value over time. ‌For instance, a real estate investment trust (REIT). Or, stock in the energy sector. These will likely increase in value along with inflation. And, it’s better to balance stocks with bonds. The reason is that they tend to have better returns. How worried should I be about inflation? “First, keep in mind that inflation is why we invest,” writes Doug Ewing for Nationwide. “While you may feel caught off guard by the recent price surge, by investing in the stock market you’ve already been preparing for this very moment.” ‌The annual US inflation rate was 3.25% from 1914 to 2022. ‌From 1926 to 2021, the S&P 500® Index has averaged 10.49% annual returns. “By staying invested over the long term, you haven’t just been keeping up with inflation, you’ve been building wealth.” You should also know that economists have studied the relationship between inflation and stock market returns for a long time. “While many have concluded that inflation has a net negative impact on the markets, there does not appear to be a clear correlation between inflation and market returns,” adds Ewing. “Historically, periods of high inflation have seen both positive and negative stock market returns.” ‌Many‌ ‌factors‌ ‌affect stock market performance, including inflation. On top of that, retirement spending often decreases. The fall in spending is so steep that even with inflation people spend less. As such, if you’ve taken the steps listed above, inflation should not deplete your savings. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine, Finance Expert by Time and Annuity Expert by Nasdaq. He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on May 27, 2022, 3:04 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 27th, 2022

Revered Journalist Michael Owhoko Shares Valuable Journalism Lessons

Over the past year since the duration of the pandemic, a lot of things about the world had started to change, especially the world of media. Journalism has been affected a lot in the past year. With news about COVID-19 coming in from all places, it became an immense responsibility for journalists to figure out […] Over the past year since the duration of the pandemic, a lot of things about the world had started to change, especially the world of media. Journalism has been affected a lot in the past year. With news about COVID-19 coming in from all places, it became an immense responsibility for journalists to figure out how to relay the news to the general public. 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The change that came about from this experience was one that only future journalists were able to comprehend, and only the best of them were able to execute them effectively - like Michael Owhoko. As a highly acclaimed Nigerian journalist, media, and public relations practitioner, Michael Owhoko is one of the few people who know exactly how the world of journalism works. After graduating, he began to take on his career professionally in 1989, where he was recruited as a Staff Reporter at a weekly newspaper. In 1991, he decided to join the Nationwide Merchant Bank. He served in various departments and then moved on to Financial Telegraph on the Energy Desk before proceeding to The Diet. After that, he made his way to the Daily Times of Nigeria as the Energy Editor of the Business Times, where he spent his days writing about energy-related editorials and contributed to a series of articles and stories that served as a source of research materials for the oil and gas industry. As his work began to attract the attention of the public, he was reached out by the Managing Director of Gaslink Nigeria Limited, who invited him to join the company as the Head of the Public Relations Department. He agreed in 2001 and began to work at the management level and as the organization's spokesman who held responsibility for media, community, government, and public relations matters. Additionally, he also contributed to the commissioning and completion of the Ikeja 1B Gas Distribution Project, where he was even awarded a certificate of merit in 2002. Moreover, Owhoko was also appointed to the Council of Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), an International Gas Union (IGU) affiliate, as a Publicity Secretary. During his tenure, he began the publication of a bi-annual gas journal, the Nigerian Gas, and was the pioneer editor of the magazine. In 2018 and 2020, he was appointed by the association to a three-person electoral committee to conduct the credible election of officers into the association's council. As someone who has spent many years in the media world, learning the ins and outs of journalism, no one better than him can offer you the insight you need to learn about the lessons journalists are incorporating into their work. Starting Small The CNN and New York Times gigs do not come overnight. Some of the most beginner journalism jobs can be found in most small towns and at small publications. So be prepared to start out small. However, the advantage of starting out small is that you have the opportunity to try many different things - and as with anything, the ideal way to become a great journalist is to simply go ahead and do it. Consider contacting your local newspaper about internship or freelance opportunities. There might be cases where you will be doing some unpaid gigs, but they can go a long way in helping you build your portfolio. Reading the Room This is a known fact, but it has become more crucial than ever before. Journalists need to become even more careful about when it is the right time to pitch a story or make any public announcements, especially when the whole world is dealing with a crisis. With new information popping up about the pandemic every day, any other news can significantly cause social unrest, causing newsrooms and staff to be stretched thin with all of their hands on deck to control the situation. Additionally, any new product or event news might be ignored and seen as insensitive during such a crisis. Hence, reading the room allows you to take the time to see how likely are people willing to see the news and if the news will deliver the results you were hoping for when released to the public. Pitching Stories With a Broader Impact The only way your news will impact a broader audience is if it is community-serving. Focus on ideas that have an immense impact on a larger population instead of a narrow topic that only benefits your company. Start looking for innovation and solutions that are centered around helping the community and the general public. Working With The Right Tools From video to slide shows and databases to interactive graphics, journalists around the world have to work on all diverse ranges of media. As such, there are many tools already available for one person to become an expert at anything they try their hand at. For that, you will need some working knowledge of the capabilities you have to develop other skills. Plus, it is also essential to surround yourself with people similar to yourself with whom you can share your knowledge and skills in the field. And since there are various areas of expertise, joining a society or a group can help you meet up with professionals who are experts in their own journalism area who might be willing to share valuable information with you. Knowing Your Way Around City Hall When it comes to working on any topic in journalism, you are bound to have your fair share of meeting up with the police, courts, and various government agencies. When you are starting out, you will have some trouble navigating your way around the ins and outs of the Electoral College, but over time, you will learn to know the basics. Updated on May 23, 2022, 11:38 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: valuewalkMay 23rd, 2022

Live updates: Pennsylvania"s GOP Senate primary is going down to the wire

Senate seats in contention, Rep. Madison Cawthorn loses in North Carolina and a GOP face-off in Pennsylvania to run for US Senate. North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in a primary on Tuesday.Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Insider live blog for the May 17 primaries.Key Senate and House races remain too close to callFormer President Donald Trump poses for photos with David McCormick at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Mehmet Oz speaks at a town hall-style event at the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pa.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster and AP Photo/Marc LevySeveral races are still neck-and-neck as of Wednesday morning, including the high-profile Republican Pennsylvania Senate contest, where just 0.19 percentage points separate Dr. Mehmet Oz from David McCormick with thousands of absentee ballots left to be counted. Meanwhile in the House, progressive candidates are potentially on the verge of scoring two big wins, with Jamie McLeod-Skinner on track to knock out centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon's 5th District and progressive Summer Lee leading her main rival Steve Irwin by 446 votes in the open race for the Pittsburgh-based 12th Congressional District.  -Grace Panetta Pennsylvania remains unsettled as election night draws to a closeGREENSBURG, PA - Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally.Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesDr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick remain in neck-and-neck contention for the GOP nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania with less than half a percentage point separating the two frontrunners by late Tuesday night, meaning the race may not be called until Wednesday. More votes are still left to be counted in counties were Oz has been performing well, and a ballot printing error in Lancaster County that will require workers to manually recreate and re-scan 16,000 absentee ballots over the next few days will also potentially slow down the counting if the race remains this close. -Grace Panetta Lamb reportedly concedes Pennsylvania Senate primaryConor Lamb.Brendan McDermid/ReutersRep. Conor Lamb has conceded Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary, Politico's Holly Otterbein reports.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to win the contest, per Decision Desk HQ. As of 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Fetterman was running ahead of Lamb by more than 32 percentage points.We still don't know who the Republican nominee is and may not find that out tonight. Either way, the general election could decide which party will control the Senate. — By Brent D. GriffithsPolls close, wrapping up an evening of primariesIdaho Gov. Brad Little.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesPolls are closed everywhere in the country, wrapping up an evening of primaries in states all over the US. The final results will come in Idaho, which just closed its last polls, and Oregon, which votes entirely by mail. The final race that will determine former President Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican party is in Idaho. There, Incumbent Gov. Brad Little is facing a primary challenge from his own Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, whom Trump endorsed. Oregon has an open primary for governor after the current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, is term limited out. US House seats are also up for grabs, with tensions growing between centrist and progressive Democrats in the House. Follow along to see the results of the races for gubernatorial nominations and congressional seats in Oregon, and for the governor's race in Idaho. - Kimberly Leonard Meet the man who just took down Rep. Madison CawthornChuck Edwards, a North Carolina state senator, defeated freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Tuesday.Camila DeChalus/InsiderTake a look at this Insider profile of state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the Republican who just unseated Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.Senior Reporter Camila DeChalus traveled to Hendersonville and spoke with the state senator in May to learn more about the rising star in North Carolina. She found the antithesis of Cawthorn in Edwards: a candidate lacking his rival's hyperbolic bravado and a scant social media presence.When DeChalus asked about Cawthorn's plethora of recent controversies, Edwards told her that "it's obvious that he [Cawthorn] got caught up in political stardom and turned his back on the people in these mountains."He said that his "qualms with Madison Cawthorn are based on his performance and his poor attendance record in Congress."— By Madison HallBiden lauds Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate nominationPresident Joe Biden hadn't said anything about the Pennsylvania Senate race — until John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Joe Biden finally has something to say about Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to be the Democratic Party's nominee in what will be one of the nation's closest watched Senate races, Decision Desk HQ projects.Unlike his predecessor, Biden loathes to weigh in on contested party primaries. It didn't help matters that the Delawarian president who never forgets his Scranton roots encountered a race with three big names in Pennsylvania politics: Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state-Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta.Lamb and Kenyatta were close Biden allies. Biden bestowed one of his highest compliments on Lamb, saying that the young former Marine reminded him of his son Beau Biden when Lamb's 2018 special election attracted national attention. While Kenyatta was a key Biden surrogate and was among a group of rising stars that spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention's keynote address."Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November," Biden said in a statement.— By Brent D. GriffithsA legislative leader and TikTok star is headed to Congress from KentuckyMorgan McGarvey, Kentucky's state Senate minority leader, is a TikTok star.Timothy D. Easley/AP PhotoKentucky's state Senate minority leader Morgan McGarvey, who won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth in the safely Democratic, Louisville-based 3rd Congressional District, will also bring some TikTok starpower to Congress. McGarvey and his colleague, Sen. Reginald Thomas, currently boast nearly 130,000 followers on the @kysenatedems account. That's where the two use TikTok trends to document their daily lives in the state legislature and the woes of being in the superminority, including a video of Thomas doing the "Rick & Morty" trend in front of the state Senate chamber that eaned 5.7 million views.McGarvey is likely to also be in the minority in Congress, but at least he can give his colleagues some TikTok pointers. -Grace Panetta Rep. Madison Cawthorn losesRep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.House Television via APControversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to lose his re-election campaign in the face of fierce opposition from his fellow North Carolina Republicans.State-Sen. Chuck Edwards is projected to win the race, per Decision Desk HQ. Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Edwards, a sign of just how much fellow elected Republicans rebelled against Cawthorn.Cawthorn courted controversy even before his election. But the 26-year-old finally hit a nerve on Capitol Hill when he suggested on a podcast that there were illicit sex and drug-filled parties in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Tillis came off the sidelines and pushed hard for Edwards' campaign. And the rest is now history.— Brent D. GriffithsNorth Carolina GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd and Donald Trump.Chris Seward/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Rep. Ted Budd was likely crucial in helping the two-term lawmaker clinch the GOP nomination for US Senate on Tuesday, despite a crowded field of contenders. But Budd too has been decidedly Trumpian in the types of legislation he has introduced while in Congress. In April, for example, he introduced the Build the Wall Now Act to have the federal government continue constructing the border wall between the US and Mexico that was started under Trump and that President Joe Biden paused by executive order. Budd also introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, which would allow people to sue cities if someone unauthorized to be living in the US committed a crime against them. While in office, Trump targeted sanctuary cities that are often led by Democrats and that sheltered migrants against federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. On education, Budd introduced a bill to recreate Trump's 1776 Commission, which was disbanded under Biden. Members of the conservative commission had created a 45-page document that aimed to promote a "patriotic education," and was intended as a rebuttal to the New York Times' 1619 Project. Budd's Freedom from Regulations Act, introduced in 2021, echoed a Trump-era executive order that called for trashing two regulations every time the administration created a new one. — Kimberly LeonardClay Aiken on track to lose, Decision Desk HQ projectsAmerican Idol star Clay Aiken is headed for defeat in his race for a US House seat in North Carolina.Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesClay Aiken is currently running third in the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. State-Sen. Valerie Foushee is already projected to have won the nomination. Long-time incumbent Rep. David Price, a Democrat, previously announced his retirement after over 30 years in Congress.Aiken won his party's 2014 nomination but later lost the general election to then-Rep. Renee Ellmers. The 2003 American Idol runner-up decided to give it another go this cycle.Since American Idol, Aiken launched a private foundation and starred on Broadway in the Monty Python-inspired "Spamalot."Daily Kos Elections joked on Twitter that now it can no longer be said that Aiken finishes second in everything. Outside of elections, Aiken finished as the runner-up on 2012's edition of the Celebrity Apprentice when it was still hosted by then-future President Donald Trump.— Brent D. GriffithsDoug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, is the Republican nominee for governor.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano is the winner of the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, according to DDHQ and Insider.— Madison HallFetterman's turn in the Insider spotlightJohn Fetterman on the Senate campaign trial in May 2022.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoCheck out this Insider profile of John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Pennsylvania. In November 2020, Insider's Charles Davis interviewed Fetterman about his journey from being largely apolitical, to being elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005, to being branded a rising Democratic star.Fetterman told Insider that he doesn't think that Democrats can't reach Trump voters. "If we're going to reverse the fortunes of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions, [we need to be] reinvesting and acknowledging that these places deserve to be championed," Fetterman said."There's certainly unreachable people," he said. "I think it's people reacting to a level of authenticity or rawness. You're not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama to Donald Trump."— Sarah GrayMehmet Oz: Not in it for the moneyMehmet Oz would earn $174,000 if he becomes a US senator.Matt Rourke/APIf Donald Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz win's tonight's US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, then defeats the Democratic nominee in November, he'll earn a standard congressional salary, which today stands at $174,000.Not bad, no, but it's peanuts compared to what he's been making in the private sector — or perhaps pistachios, given that Oz scored a cool $125,000 for a one-day speech to the American Pistachio Growers Association in March 2020, according a federal financial disclosure Oz submitted to the Senate in April.For hosting quiz show Jeopardy! during a two-week stint in late March and early April 2021, Oz earned $268,701, records show.And that's all before you consider his former day job: Oz reported earning more than $7 million from "income derived from ownership interest in Oz Media LLL through Oz Property Holdings." He also received a $2 million salary for hosting the "Dr. Oz Show."Oz is also an active stock trader, reporting sizeable investments in companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, among several dozen others. — Dave LevinthalFetterman wins Pennsylvania Democratic senator nominationJohn Fetterman, left, is the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania US Senate seat.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoJohn Fetterman is the winner of the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's US Senate seat. That's the call from Insider and DDHQ. Fetterman, currently the state's lieutenant governor, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Fetterman is currently recovering from a recent stroke and announced on Tuesday that he had received a pacemaker implant.A pricey house race to watch near Pittsburgh: PA-12Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee in her bid to win the nomination for the state's 12th congressional district.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoWith the retirement of GOP Rep. Fred Keller, this district outside of Pittsburgh in the Susquehanna Valley is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats.It's also a race that was looking pretty stale until the past few weeks. The frontrunner, state Rep. Summer Lee, has endorsements from Emily's List and Justice Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently stumped for her and she seemed to have everything going in her favor until a ton of money started pouring into the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, most commonly referred to as AIPAC, has been funding ads through a new Super PAC called the United Democracy Project for Lee's opponent, Steve Irwin. Lee would be the latest in a new generation of Democrats in Washington with positions further to the left than most of the caucus, as well as more critical views of Israel. Should Irwin pull out a victory, his surge couldn't have been hurt by the AIPAC ad spree, but Lee remains the favorite. The Republican primary has been more quiet, with Michael Doyle — unrelated to retiring Rep. Mike Doyle — running unopposed.— Jake LahutPennsylvania's US Senate race is stupid expensivePennsylvania Republican Senate Candidate Mehmet OzAlexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesThe government of Erie, Pennsylvania, population 94,831, forecasts that it'll bring in about $95.7 million worth of revenue during 2022.Pennsylvania's US Senate race, meanwhile, is on pace to bring in twice that — maybe even more — en route to competing for the crown of the year's most expensive political race.As of April 27, the race had already attracted more than $68.3 million in contributions, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.There are two overriding reasons for this. First, both the Republican and Democratic primaries are highly competitive. They feature multiple candidates — David McCormick, Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette on the right, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb on the left. More candidates + more competition = more, more, more money.Second, McCormick and Oz are extremely wealthy. Both have pumped millions of dollars of their personal money into the race, with Oz alone accounting for more than $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. McCormick, at $11 million, isn't far behind.Tonight's winners will then have nearly six months to slug each other ahead of November's general election. National party committees and super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will almost assuredly supplement the candidates' own fundraising efforts with tens of millions of more dollars.— Dave LevinthalPolls in Pennsylvania closed at 8 p.m. ET.InsiderFollow along to see the results for the Republican and Democratic  candidates for governor, the US Senate, House from the Keystone State.Madison Cawthorn's cryptic crypto play may have violated the STOCK ActMadison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, on August 26, 2020.2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via ReutersRep. Madison Cawthorn has plenty of problems — ones involving guns, money, cocaine orgies, and a nude video, to name four.One that's flying a bit below the radar, but still serious: he may have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not publicly reporting his stated purchase in a cryptocurrency named for an anti-Joe Biden slogan.Per federal law, Cawthorn had 45-days to formally disclose details about his crypto play. But as of this evening, Cawthorn had done no such thing, and his campaign and congressional office have not responded to Insider's questions as to why.Failure to properly report such financial transactions can result in a fine administered by Congress, or in extreme cases, a referral to the Department of Justice.— Dave LevinthalTed Budd wins GOP Primary for open Senate seatFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris SewardRepublican Ted Budd will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a crucial open US Senate seat in North Carolina, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Budd is a Republican congressman who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, and easily cleared a field of GOP opponents. Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is hoping to flip control of the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.Mayoral MayhemCharlotte, NCShutterstockA Republican hasn't been the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Four Republican candidates are hoping to change that, including Bill Dieruf, the current mayor of Jeffersontown, a nearby suburb. The current mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, Linda Gorton, is running for reelection. Gorton's opponents recently chided her at a public forum over housing costs and crime rates. She countered by noting that she rose to the occasion when challenges surfaced in Lexington during her time in office, particularly during the pandemic.In Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles is vying for another term in office. Lyles became the first Black mayor in Charlotte history in 2017 after unseating the incumbent mayor. She's facing off against three other Democratic candidates tonight.You can check out and follow the three mayoral primaries here.—Madison HallJohn Fetterman gets pacemakerIn this Sept. 21, 2018 photo, former Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in PhiladelphiaAP Photo/Matt RourkePennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman "just completed a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator," his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "The procedure began at 3:15 pm, John was released at 5:56 pm, and he has been given the all-clear that it was successful. He is resting at the hospital and recovering well. John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery."Fetterman, who is running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in tonight's Democratic primary, suffered a stroke last week.— Dave LevinthalResults just beginning to trickle in in KentuckyHouse Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks with reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/APPolls closed in Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and the results are beginning to come in. See results for the Senate, House and state legislative primaries here, and results for the mayoral elections in Louisville and Lexington here.The most notable primary race of the night is the Democratic primary in Kentucky's Third District to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John YarmuthA slew of Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination for the mayor's office in Louisville to replace term-limited outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer. Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton is also seeking reelection to the mayor's office in Lexington, Kentucky in a nonpartisan primary. Democrats love Republican primaries — for fundraisingDemocratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DCCC Chair, at a press conference on Capitol HillBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rarely immune to hyperbole or breathlessness. So it should perhaps come as little surprise how much the party's campaign arm for US House races is leveraging today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania to raise cash for itself."Trump has already helped make J.D. Vance the Republican nominee in the critical Ohio Senate race. Now, he's scheming to do the same with Dr. Oz in the ultimate swing state of Pennsylvania … please understand: If Trump is able to pack Congress with his top loyalists, it could pave the way for his return to the White House," the DCCC wrote supporters.It continues: "And at this dire moment, you have two options: OPTION 1: Ignore our urgent pleas, delete this email, and watch while Trump destroys our House Majority and Democratic Trifecta with his dangerous followers. OPTION 2: Step up with a powerful grassroots gift before midnight to stop Trump's power-hungry schemes and protect our Democratic House."  — Dave LevinthalTight gubernatorial primary races in the Beaver State- Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor, poses for photos in Columbia Park in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 18, 2022. Oregon's primary elections are Tuesday, May 17, 2022.AP Photo/Sara Cline, fileDemocratic Gov. Kate Brown is finishing up her second term in office and cannot run again. After 35 straight years of having a Democrat as governor, Republicans in Oregon are hoping this is their year to regain executive power, but must figure out their nominee from a slate of 19 candidates led by former state Rep. Christine Drazan and businessman Bob Tiernan. With Brown term-limited, she leaves behind a wide-open Democratic field with 15 candidates. Two notable leaders on the Democratic ticket include Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and former House Speaker Tina Kotek.The list of Democratic primary contenders used to be longer — former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof left his job to explore running for office in October 2021. Oregon's Supreme Court ultimately ruled in February that he couldn't be on the ballot, citing his failure to meet the three-year residency requirement to qualify.— Madison HallEmbattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn fights for a second term after a slew of scandalsU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally on April 9, 2022, in Selma, NC.Chris Seward/APCawthorn catapulted into rising star status in the GOP when he was elected to Congress from North Carolina's 11th District in 2020 at age 25. But a series of ethics troubles, and explosive comments have infuriated his GOP colleagues and spurred some to openly root for his ouster, as Michael Kruse recently dug into for Politico Magazine. Our Camila DeChalus reported from Hendersonville earlier this month on Cawthorn's leading primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, voters' mixed feelings about Cawthorn's scandals, and the former volunteers who have buyer's remorse. A split field of seven primary challengers could help Cawthorn squeak by to reelection, but he could head to a July 26 runoff if no one gets about 30% of the vote. — Grace PanettaWould you pay $1 million out-of-pocket for a US Senate seat?McCormick received more than $70 million in discretionary awards connected to a Bridgewater Associates plan.Divorce agreement between David McCormick and Amy RichardsonAs C. Ryan Barber and Adam Wren reported earlier this year, divorce documents obtained by Insider indicate that Republican US Senate candidate David McCormick could face such a situation — if he's first able to survive his Pennsylvania primary battle against Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette.As Barber and Wren wrote: "McCormick's divorce agreement includes a clause stipulating that he would pay his ex-wife $1 million if he voluntarily left his lucrative position at Bridgewater Associates for the 'public domain.' The agreement between McCormick and his ex-wife, Amy Richardson, defined 'public domain' as employment in 'any government entity' and required him to pay the seven-figure sum in a pair of $500,000 installments in the first two years of any full-time public sector job.Once the frontrunner, McCormick has slipped in the polls of late and could conceivably finish third. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, the longtime television show host, while Barnette has surged as a MAGA-friendly alternative to both Oz and McCormick. — Dave LevinthalOz, Barnette, and McCormick jockey in a close race in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge in Warminster, Pennsylvania.Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesWe went to Pennsylvania earlier this month and found a lot of Trump voters who were pretty unhappy with Dr. Mehmet Oz as the former president's endorsement. Kathy Barnette has had an impressive surge late in the race, but the conservative author's background is now the subject of considerable scrutiny and has some Republicans worried she'd get beat by the Democrats should she make it to the November general election. No doubt, a victory for Barnette would be a big shock. But she's been within striking distance in all the latest polls. The candidate hoping to get a bump from undecideds is former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who has picked up endorsements from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.– Jake LahutRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 18th, 2022

Live updates: Rep. Madison Cawthorn dramatically loses seat as Pennsylvania and North Carolina ballots are counted

Senate seats in contention, Rep. Madison Cawthorn loses in North Carolina and a GOP face-off in Pennsylvania to run for US Senate. North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in a primary on Tuesday.Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Insider live blog for the May 17 primaries.Polls close, wrapping up an evening of primariesIdaho Gov. Brad Little.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesPolls are closed everywhere in the country, wrapping up an evening of primaries in states all over the US. The final results will come in Idaho, which just closed its last polls, and Oregon, which votes entirely by mail. The final race that will determine former President Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican party is in Idaho. There, Incumbent Gov. Brad Little is facing a primary challenge from his own Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, whom Trump endorsed. Oregon has an open primary for governor after the current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, is term limited out. US House seats are also up for grabs, with tensions growing between centrist and progressive Democrats in the House. Follow along to see the results of the races for gubernatorial nominations and congressional seats in Oregon, and for the governor's race in Idaho. - Kimberly Leonard Meet the man who just took down Rep. Madison CawthornChuck Edwards, a North Carolina state senator, defeated freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Tuesday.Camila DeChalus/InsiderTake a look at this Insider profile of state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the Republican who just unseated Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.Senior Reporter Camila DeChalus traveled to Hendersonville and spoke with the state senator in May to learn more about the rising star in North Carolina. She found the antithesis of Cawthorn in Edwards: a candidate lacking his rival's hyperbolic bravado and a scant social media presence.When DeChalus asked about Cawthorn's plethora of recent controversies, Edwards told her that "it's obvious that he [Cawthorn] got caught up in political stardom and turned his back on the people in these mountains."He said that his "qualms with Madison Cawthorn are based on his performance and his poor attendance record in Congress."— By Madison HallBiden lauds Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate nominationPresident Joe Biden hadn't said anything about the Pennsylvania Senate race — until John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Joe Biden finally has something to say about Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to be the Democratic Party's nominee in what will be one of the nation's closest watched Senate races, Decision Desk HQ projects.Unlike his predecessor, Biden loathes to weigh in on contested party primaries. It didn't help matters that the Delawarian president who never forgets his Scranton roots encountered a race with three big names in Pennsylvania politics: Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state-Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta.Lamb and Kenyatta were close Biden allies. Biden bestowed one of his highest compliments on Lamb, saying that the young former Marine reminded him of his son Beau Biden when Lamb's 2018 special election attracted national attention. While Kenyatta was a key Biden surrogate and was among a group of rising stars that spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention's keynote address."Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November," Biden said in a statement.— By Brent D. GriffithsA legislative leader and TikTok star is headed to Congress from KentuckyMorgan McGarvey, Kentucky's state Senate minority leader, is a TikTok star.Timothy D. Easley/AP PhotoKentucky's state Senate minority leader Morgan McGarvey, who won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth in the safely Democratic, Louisville-based 3rd Congressional District, will also bring some TikTok starpower to Congress. McGarvey and his colleague, Sen. Reginald Thomas, currently boast nearly 130,000 followers on the @kysenatedems account. That's where the two use TikTok trends to document their daily lives in the state legislature and the woes of being in the superminority, including a video of Thomas doing the "Rick & Morty" trend in front of the state Senate chamber that eaned 5.7 million views.McGarvey is likely to also be in the minority in Congress, but at least he can give his colleagues some TikTok pointers. -Grace Panetta Rep. Madison Cawthorn losesRep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.House Television via APControversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to lose his re-election campaign in the face of fierce opposition from his fellow North Carolina Republicans.State-Sen. Chuck Edwards is projected to win the race, per Decision Desk HQ. Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Edwards, a sign of just how much fellow elected Republicans rebelled against Cawthorn.Cawthorn courted controversy even before his election. But the 26-year-old finally hit a nerve on Capitol Hill when he suggested on a podcast that there were illicit sex and drug-filled parties in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Tillis came off the sidelines and pushed hard for Edwards' campaign. And the rest is now history.— Brent D. GriffithsNorth Carolina GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd and Donald Trump.Chris Seward/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Rep. Ted Budd was likely crucial in helping the two-term lawmaker clinch the GOP nomination for US Senate on Tuesday, despite a crowded field of contenders. But Budd too has been decidedly Trumpian in the types of legislation he has introduced while in Congress. In April, for example, he introduced the Build the Wall Now Act to have the federal government continue constructing the border wall between the US and Mexico that was started under Trump and that President Joe Biden paused by executive order. Budd also introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, which would allow people to sue cities if someone unauthorized to be living in the US committed a crime against them. While in office, Trump targeted sanctuary cities that are often led by Democrats and that sheltered migrants against federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. On education, Budd introduced a bill to recreate Trump's 1776 Commission, which was disbanded under Biden. Members of the conservative commission had created a 45-page document that aimed to promote a "patriotic education," and was intended as a rebuttal to the New York Times' 1619 Project. Budd's Freedom from Regulations Act, introduced in 2021, echoed a Trump-era executive order that called for trashing two regulations every time the administration created a new one. — Kimberly LeonardClay Aiken on track to lose, Decision Desk HQ projectsAmerican Idol star Clay Aiken is headed for defeat in his race for a US House seat in North Carolina.Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesClay Aiken is currently running third in the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. State-Sen. Valerie Foushee is already projected to have won the nomination. Long-time incumbent Rep. David Price, a Democrat, previously announced his retirement after over 30 years in Congress.Aiken won his party's 2014 nomination but later lost the general election to then-Rep. Renee Ellmers. The 2003 American Idol runner-up decided to give it another go this cycle.Since American Idol, Aiken launched a private foundation and starred on Broadway in the Monty Python-inspired "Spamalot."Daily Kos Elections joked on Twitter that now it can no longer be said that Aiken finishes second in everything. Outside of elections, Aiken finished as the runner-up on 2012's edition of the Celebrity Apprentice when it was still hosted by then-future President Donald Trump.— Brent D. GriffithsDoug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, is the Republican nominee for governor.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano is the winner of the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, according to DDHQ and Insider.— Madison HallFetterman's turn in the Insider spotlightJohn Fetterman on the Senate campaign trial in May 2022.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoCheck out this Insider profile of John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Pennsylvania. In November 2020, Insider's Charles Davis interviewed Fetterman about his journey from being largely apolitical, to being elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005, to being branded a rising Democratic star.Fetterman told Insider that he doesn't think that Democrats can't reach Trump voters. "If we're going to reverse the fortunes of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions, [we need to be] reinvesting and acknowledging that these places deserve to be championed," Fetterman said."There's certainly unreachable people," he said. "I think it's people reacting to a level of authenticity or rawness. You're not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama to Donald Trump."— Sarah GrayMehmet Oz: Not in it for the moneyMehmet Oz would earn $174,000 if he becomes a US senator.Matt Rourke/APIf Donald Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz win's tonight's US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, then defeats the Democratic nominee in November, he'll earn a standard congressional salary, which today stands at $174,000.Not bad, no, but it's peanuts compared to what he's been making in the private sector — or perhaps pistachios, given that Oz scored a cool $125,000 for a one-day speech to the American Pistachio Growers Association in March 2020, according a federal financial disclosure Oz submitted to the Senate in April.For hosting quiz show Jeopardy! during a two-week stint in late March and early April 2021, Oz earned $268,701, records show.And that's all before you consider his former day job: Oz reported earning more than $7 million from "income derived from ownership interest in Oz Media LLL through Oz Property Holdings." He also received a $2 million salary for hosting the "Dr. Oz Show."Oz is also an active stock trader, reporting sizeable investments in companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, among several dozen others. — Dave LevinthalFetterman wins Pennsylvania Democratic senator nominationJohn Fetterman, left, is the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania US Senate seat.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoJohn Fetterman is the winner of the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's US Senate seat. That's the call from Insider and DDHQ. Fetterman, currently the state's lieutenant governor, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Fetterman is currently recovering from a recent stroke and announced on Tuesday that he had received a pacemaker implant.A pricey house race to watch near Pittsburgh: PA-12Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee in her bid to win the nomination for the state's 12th congressional district.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoWith the retirement of GOP Rep. Fred Keller, this district outside of Pittsburgh in the Susquehanna Valley is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats.It's also a race that was looking pretty stale until the past few weeks. The frontrunner, state Rep. Summer Lee, has endorsements from Emily's List and Justice Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently stumped for her and she seemed to have everything going in her favor until a ton of money started pouring into the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, most commonly referred to as AIPAC, has been funding ads through a new Super PAC called the United Democracy Project for Lee's opponent, Steve Irwin. Lee would be the latest in a new generation of Democrats in Washington with positions further to the left than most of the caucus, as well as more critical views of Israel. Should Irwin pull out a victory, his surge couldn't have been hurt by the AIPAC ad spree, but Lee remains the favorite. The Republican primary has been more quiet, with Michael Doyle — unrelated to retiring Rep. Mike Doyle — running unopposed.— Jake LahutPennsylvania's US Senate race is stupid expensivePennsylvania Republican Senate Candidate Mehmet OzAlexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesThe government of Erie, Pennsylvania, population 94,831, forecasts that it'll bring in about $95.7 million worth of revenue during 2022.Pennsylvania's US Senate race, meanwhile, is on pace to bring in twice that — maybe even more — en route to competing for the crown of the year's most expensive political race.As of April 27, the race had already attracted more than $68.3 million in contributions, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.There are two overriding reasons for this. First, both the Republican and Democratic primaries are highly competitive. They feature multiple candidates — David McCormick, Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette on the right, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb on the left. More candidates + more competition = more, more, more money.Second, McCormick and Oz are extremely wealthy. Both have pumped millions of dollars of their personal money into the race, with Oz alone accounting for more than $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. McCormick, at $11 million, isn't far behind.Tonight's winners will then have nearly six months to slug each other ahead of November's general election. National party committees and super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will almost assuredly supplement the candidates' own fundraising efforts with tens of millions of more dollars.— Dave LevinthalPolls in Pennsylvania closed at 8 p.m. ET.InsiderFollow along to see the results for the Republican and Democratic  candidates for governor, the US Senate, House from the Keystone State.Madison Cawthorn's cryptic crypto play may have violated the STOCK ActMadison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, on August 26, 2020.2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via ReutersRep. Madison Cawthorn has plenty of problems — ones involving guns, money, cocaine orgies, and a nude video, to name four.One that's flying a bit below the radar, but still serious: he may have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not publicly reporting his stated purchase in a cryptocurrency named for an anti-Joe Biden slogan.Per federal law, Cawthorn had 45-days to formally disclose details about his crypto play. But as of this evening, Cawthorn had done no such thing, and his campaign and congressional office have not responded to Insider's questions as to why.Failure to properly report such financial transactions can result in a fine administered by Congress, or in extreme cases, a referral to the Department of Justice.— Dave LevinthalTed Budd wins GOP Primary for open Senate seatFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris SewardRepublican Ted Budd will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a crucial open US Senate seat in North Carolina, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Budd is a Republican congressman who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, and easily cleared a field of GOP opponents. Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is hoping to flip control of the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.Mayoral MayhemCharlotte, NCShutterstockA Republican hasn't been the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Four Republican candidates are hoping to change that, including Bill Dieruf, the current mayor of Jeffersontown, a nearby suburb. The current mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, Linda Gorton, is running for reelection. Gorton's opponents recently chided her at a public forum over housing costs and crime rates. She countered by noting that she rose to the occasion when challenges surfaced in Lexington during her time in office, particularly during the pandemic.In Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles is vying for another term in office. Lyles became the first Black mayor in Charlotte history in 2017 after unseating the incumbent mayor. She's facing off against three other Democratic candidates tonight.You can check out and follow the three mayoral primaries here.—Madison HallJohn Fetterman gets pacemakerIn this Sept. 21, 2018 photo, former Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in PhiladelphiaAP Photo/Matt RourkePennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman "just completed a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator," his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "The procedure began at 3:15 pm, John was released at 5:56 pm, and he has been given the all-clear that it was successful. He is resting at the hospital and recovering well. John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery."Fetterman, who is running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in tonight's Democratic primary, suffered a stroke last week.— Dave LevinthalResults just beginning to trickle in in KentuckyHouse Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks with reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/APPolls closed in Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and the results are beginning to come in. See results for the Senate, House and state legislative primaries here, and results for the mayoral elections in Louisville and Lexington here.The most notable primary race of the night is the Democratic primary in Kentucky's Third District to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John YarmuthA slew of Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination for the mayor's office in Louisville to replace term-limited outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer. Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton is also seeking reelection to the mayor's office in Lexington, Kentucky in a nonpartisan primary. Democrats love Republican primaries — for fundraisingDemocratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DCCC Chair, at a press conference on Capitol HillBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rarely immune to hyperbole or breathlessness. So it should perhaps come as little surprise how much the party's campaign arm for US House races is leveraging today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania to raise cash for itself."Trump has already helped make J.D. Vance the Republican nominee in the critical Ohio Senate race. Now, he's scheming to do the same with Dr. Oz in the ultimate swing state of Pennsylvania … please understand: If Trump is able to pack Congress with his top loyalists, it could pave the way for his return to the White House," the DCCC wrote supporters.It continues: "And at this dire moment, you have two options: OPTION 1: Ignore our urgent pleas, delete this email, and watch while Trump destroys our House Majority and Democratic Trifecta with his dangerous followers. OPTION 2: Step up with a powerful grassroots gift before midnight to stop Trump's power-hungry schemes and protect our Democratic House."  — Dave LevinthalTight gubernatorial primary races in the Beaver State- Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor, poses for photos in Columbia Park in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 18, 2022. Oregon's primary elections are Tuesday, May 17, 2022.AP Photo/Sara Cline, fileDemocratic Gov. Kate Brown is finishing up her second term in office and cannot run again. After 35 straight years of having a Democrat as governor, Republicans in Oregon are hoping this is their year to regain executive power, but must figure out their nominee from a slate of 19 candidates led by former state Rep. Christine Drazan and businessman Bob Tiernan. With Brown term-limited, she leaves behind a wide-open Democratic field with 15 candidates. Two notable leaders on the Democratic ticket include Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and former House Speaker Tina Kotek.The list of Democratic primary contenders used to be longer — former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof left his job to explore running for office in October 2021. Oregon's Supreme Court ultimately ruled in February that he couldn't be on the ballot, citing his failure to meet the three-year residency requirement to qualify.— Madison HallEmbattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn fights for a second term after a slew of scandalsU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally on April 9, 2022, in Selma, NC.Chris Seward/APCawthorn catapulted into rising star status in the GOP when he was elected to Congress from North Carolina's 11th District in 2020 at age 25. But a series of ethics troubles, and explosive comments have infuriated his GOP colleagues and spurred some to openly root for his ouster, as Michael Kruse recently dug into for Politico Magazine. Our Camila DeChalus reported from Hendersonville earlier this month on Cawthorn's leading primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, voters' mixed feelings about Cawthorn's scandals, and the former volunteers who have buyer's remorse. A split field of seven primary challengers could help Cawthorn squeak by to reelection, but he could head to a July 26 runoff if no one gets about 30% of the vote. — Grace PanettaWould you pay $1 million out-of-pocket for a US Senate seat?McCormick received more than $70 million in discretionary awards connected to a Bridgewater Associates plan.Divorce agreement between David McCormick and Amy RichardsonAs C. Ryan Barber and Adam Wren reported earlier this year, divorce documents obtained by Insider indicate that Republican US Senate candidate David McCormick could face such a situation — if he's first able to survive his Pennsylvania primary battle against Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette.As Barber and Wren wrote: "McCormick's divorce agreement includes a clause stipulating that he would pay his ex-wife $1 million if he voluntarily left his lucrative position at Bridgewater Associates for the 'public domain.' The agreement between McCormick and his ex-wife, Amy Richardson, defined 'public domain' as employment in 'any government entity' and required him to pay the seven-figure sum in a pair of $500,000 installments in the first two years of any full-time public sector job.Once the frontrunner, McCormick has slipped in the polls of late and could conceivably finish third. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, the longtime television show host, while Barnette has surged as a MAGA-friendly alternative to both Oz and McCormick. — Dave LevinthalOz, Barnette, and McCormick jockey in a close race in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge in Warminster, Pennsylvania.Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesWe went to Pennsylvania earlier this month and found a lot of Trump voters who were pretty unhappy with Dr. Mehmet Oz as the former president's endorsement. Kathy Barnette has had an impressive surge late in the race, but the conservative author's background is now the subject of considerable scrutiny and has some Republicans worried she'd get beat by the Democrats should she make it to the November general election. No doubt, a victory for Barnette would be a big shock. But she's been within striking distance in all the latest polls. The candidate hoping to get a bump from undecideds is former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who has picked up endorsements from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.– Jake LahutRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022