Advertisements



Poll: Nearly Half Of Young People Won"t Spend $10 Monthly On Climate Action

Poll: Nearly Half Of Young People Won't Spend $10 Monthly On Climate Action Radical climate change warriors in the White House have made it their mission to destroy the fossil fuel industry (and with that goes the economy) but also brainwash as many youth into believing there's an imminent climate emergency. However, a new poll shows young people are unwilling to make even the slightest financial sacrifice, not even the cost of one avocado and toast sandwich per month, for 'green' causes, and perhaps this underscores that the youth are merely serial virtue signallers.  The Daily Mail obtained a copy of a new survey commissioned by CRC Research for the 85 Fund. It reveals that fewer than half of the respondents aged 18-34 will spend $10 monthly to combat climate.  Less than half (45%) of the youngest crop of voters aged 18-34 would be willing to spend $10 or less per month to combat climate change, according to a recent survey by CRC Research for 85 Fund obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com. And one out of five (20%) in the same age bracket responded that they would not pay anything at all, according to the poll results. DailyMail said respondents aged 25-34 were very similar to the 18-34 age group, an indication the Biden administration's propaganda campaign to push climate anxiety amongst the youngest generations is failing. If the administration continues pushing such a radical agenda - they risk falling out of touch with average working-class folks.  The CRC also showed how young people are vocal about climate change but fail to spend their own money fixing it. This could be due to an era of failed Bidenomics as the inflation monster crushes households.  "Despite claims they are leading the charge on climate change, it turns out young people are actually just sheep in wolves clothing. They demand 'climate action,' but demand someone else pay for it," said Steve Milloy, a lawyer who served under the Trump administration.  Milloy continued: "They disguise their rank hypocrisy by posturing as 'climate activists.' Their refusal to put their money where their mouths are just underscores how unserious they are as citizens and voters."  Tyler Durden Tue, 03/05/2024 - 02:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE2 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

Resveratrol: A Powerful Polyphenol That Slows Cellular Aging

Resveratrol: A Powerful Polyphenol That Slows Cellular Aging Authored by Allison DeMajistre via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Resveratrol is one of the most studied natural polyphenol compounds and is found in the skins and seeds of red and purple grapes, berries, peanuts, and pistachios. (DIVA.photo/Shutterstock) When plants face constant environmental stress such as from fungus, drought, ultraviolet radiation, and insect infestation, their intrinsic defense mechanism is to produce polyphenols. Resveratrol was isolated by a Japanese scientist in 1939 from the roots of the white hellebore plant. It gained attention in 1992 when researchers suggested that this component found in red wine had cardioprotective qualities that might explain the “French paradox,” the observation that the French drink a lot of red wine and have low rates of heart disease despite a high-fat diet. Since then, resveratrol has been studied more broadly and has shown tremendous protective potential at the cellular level. “The in vitro and in vivo studies point to the exact mechanisms of how it works in terms of being cardioprotective, cancer preventative, cancer therapeutic, neuroprotective, helpful in people who are obese, [helpful for] glucose metabolism, anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant,” Dr. Nathan Goodyear, a medical doctor and integrative cancer expert, told The Epoch Times. (Illustration by The Epoch Times) Longevity and Disease Prevention Research has shown that calorie restriction can delay or prevent many age-related diseases and extend lifespan, and resveratrol can mimic the action of calorie restriction. Although calorie restriction has many benefits, including increased insulin sensitivity and improved overall metabolic health, most people don’t want to spend the day counting calories or fasting. Resveratrol mimics calorie restriction by activating signaling proteins called sirtuins, which can regulate inflammation, repair DNA, promote insulin sensitivity, and help form neurons in the brain. These proteins are also associated with healthy aging and longevity. “The sirtuin system is a complex regulatory process involving seven sirtuin genes expressed in multiple tissues,” registered dietician nutritionist Kelsey Costa told The Epoch Times by email. Silent information regulator 1 (SIRT1) is one of the seven sirtuin genes activated by resveratrol. It promotes longevity through metabolic processes such as insulin release, lipid mobilization, and healthy stress response. A review published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that people who had fasted for one week had a twofold increase in the SIRT1 gene in their fat cells. The review also mentioned studies involving resveratrol and the activation of SIRT1 that showed a 70 percent increase in yeast lifespan, life-extending potential in worms and flies, and an increase in the survival of obese middle-aged mice. “SIRT1 is abundant in the blood vessel system, plays a crucial role in creating and growing new blood vessels, and is significantly stimulated by resveratrol,” Ms. Costa said. “Ultimately, sirtuin genes create proteins that affect heart-related functions like growing new blood vessels, decreasing hypertension, and preventing atherosclerosis, which provides a plausible explanation for resveratrol’s diverse health benefits.” Cardiovascular Benefits Cardiovascular disease is primarily the result of a chronic low-grade inflammatory condition that can cause atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and heart failure. A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis of six randomized controlled studies concluded that “resveratrol can be used as a potential treatment in patients with [cardiovascular disease] by reducing inflammatory conditions.” It is also a potent vasodilator that releases nitric oxide and lowers blood pressure. According to Ms. Costa, “resveratrol decreases the serum concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are critical compounds involved in the body’s inflammatory response, suggesting resveratrol may be beneficial as an adjuvant therapy for chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease.” Most studies have been performed in the lab or on animals and show the positive effects of resveratrol on the heart, prompting several randomized controlled trials in humans over the past decade to determine if the same benefits apply to both healthy and chronically ill humans. The results in humans have been variable, possibly due to inconsistent protocols and doses of resveratrol. Yet many studies have shown positive effects on coronary artery disease, including decreased arterial stiffness, hypertension, inflammation, and cholesterol. Dr. Goodyear believes resveratrol can also protect the heart from certain types of chemotherapy that may damage it. “Although we primarily use natural and holistic treatments for cancer, we will use some conventional therapies, including chemotherapy,” he said. “If we ever use a low-dose form of chemotherapy with a potential impact on the heart or kidneys, resveratrol can be added in to protect these patients.” May Regulate the Gut Microbiome The gut microbiome, a community of trillions of microorganisms living in the digestive tract, is believed by many to be the most critical factor in overall health. It consists of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes; when they live in concord in the gut, all body systems work harmoniously. But when those microorganisms are unhealthy and unbalanced, it can lead to several acute and chronic illnesses, including gastrointestinal problems, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. Recent research suggests that resveratrol’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other beneficial properties can help regulate the microbiome and protect the intestinal tract from inflammation and impending disease. While researchers are still investigating resveratrol and its role in regulating overall health through the gut microbiome, they believe it can protect the intestines by strengthening the tight junctions of the intestinal wall. A strong intestinal barrier helps with nutrient absorption and prevents a “leaky gut,” which allows bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to pass through and enter the bloodstream. Resveratrol’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can also prevent pathogenic bacteria and fungi from growing inside the intestine and increase immune cells to ward off possible diseases further, including many types of cancer. May Suppress Cancer Cells In 1997, researchers found that resveratrol prevented cancer cell growth on the skin of mice. Since then, an overwhelming number of studies have focused on resveratrol’s anti-cancer properties. Resveratrol affects cancer at different stages, from initiation to progression, through various signaling pathways regulating cell growth, cell destruction, inflammation, metastasis, and the development of new blood vessels. An interesting aspect of resveratrol is that it can protect normal cells while causing cancer cell death. Researchers have also found that lower concentrations of resveratrol can increase the expression of cell survival proteins, while higher concentrations stimulate cancer cell death. A 2015 study suggests that resveratrol may inhibit the growth of gastric cancer cells and induce programmed death of potentially cancerous cells. Human gastric cancer cells were injected into mice, and resveratrol was injected near the tumor cells, significantly inhibiting their growth. The researchers suggested that even though resveratrol’s bioavailability is low in humans and it’s quickly processed and excreted by the body, it has metabolites, or byproducts, that may continue to have beneficial effects. Another study found that resveratrol may help actinic keratosis—rough, scaly patches of skin that are potentially cancerous. Studies have shown that resveratrol can target the p53-mediated pathway to induce apoptosis, inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells. Tumor suppressor p53 is a crucial protein involved in DNA repair and apoptosis (cancer cell death). Even in tumor-suppressor p53 mutations where cancers don’t respond well to chemotherapy, resveratrol treatment was found to stop cell growth in cervical cancer. It was also shown to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth and induce apoptosis by inhibiting a major protein signaling pathway. Clinical trials involving resveratrol and other cancers, including colon and liver cancers, are ongoing and continue to have encouraging results. Resveratrol may also be chemoprotective, meaning that it may protect healthy cells from damage during chemotherapy treatment. In lab studies, resveratrol demonstrates several mechanisms that induce programmed cell death in several cancer lines and shows clear anti-cancer effects. Since natural resveratrol has clear drawbacks because of its limited bioavailability, there is interest in the development of resveratrol derivatives. Dr. Goodyear told The Epoch Times that despite the limited studies, there are advances in solving resveratrol’s problems with administration and bioavailability. Still, more studies are needed that look specifically at women with breast cancer, men with prostate cancer, people with cardiovascular disease, or those who have had a stroke. “The problem with that is it takes time and money,” he said. “Most people who have a lot of interest in these natural therapies unfortunately don’t have the money to put into the large clinical trials we need to solve the limitations.” May Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Unlike other antioxidants, resveratrol has the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Studies are ongoing, and researchers believe there is tremendous potential for resveratrol to become a viable therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Five of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s disease progression have shown potential for control with targeted resveratrol treatment. These include protein misfolding, cellular metabolism, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and telomere shortening. Synoptic view of the overlap between aging, and thus Alzheimer's disease, hallmarks, and the molecular targets of resveratrol. (Source: López-Otín et al., 2013) Protein Misfolding Proteins can’t work effectively when they aren’t in the correct formation. The protein misfolding in Alzheimer’s disease involves accumulating abnormally folded beta-amyloid and tau proteins. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit beta-amyloid malformation by decreasing its production through sirtuin pathways. It interferes with the amyloid pathway via its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and reduces amyloid plaque production of free radicals and neuroinflammation. Although the effects of misfolded tau proteins aren’t as widely studied as beta-amyloid proteins, resveratrol’s activation of SIRT1 and the following mechanisms can reduce tau levels and improve cognitive function. Cellular Metabolism Researchers have found that fasting can benefit cognitive performance and Alzheimer’s disease prevention by releasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which regulates cellular processes involved in normal brain function; reduced levels are often associated with degenerative brain disorders. Just as resveratrol can benefit the heart by mimicking calorie restriction through the expression of SIRT1, it can also improve cognition by enhancing mitochondrial function, helping to boost the destruction of free radicals that promote cognitive decline. Inflammation Localized inflammation and microglia, the immune cells of the brain that regulate the brain’s response to illness through inflammation, contribute to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in the brain. Reducing this brain inflammation appears to be effective in slowing and even modifying the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in animal models. Although the mechanism is still unclear, laboratory and animal studies have shown that resveratrol effectively reduces neuroinflammation. Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Free Radicals Mitochondria are called the “powerhouse of the cell” for good reason. Their primary function is to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the prime cellular energy source essential for muscle contraction, cell membrane potential, maintaining the proper electrical pathways between cells, and overall cellular metabolism. Healthy mitochondria have antioxidant defense mechanisms that protect cells from free radicals that damage cells and lead to aging and disease. Mitochondria’s control over apoptosis (programmed cell death) is crucial for eliminating damaged or malfunctioning cells that may contribute to neurodegeneration. Brain cells (neurons) have high energy requirements and contain thousands of mitochondria to generate ATP to maintain cellular metabolism and keep the brain working properly. An alteration in the mitochondrial function of neurons can start a cascade of cellular damage by inhibiting neuronal defense against free radical production. As neurons are damaged and begin to die, progression into the early stages of Alzheimer’s begins. Resveratrol can counteract free radical production by activating a pathway involving the SIRT1 protein and boosting mitochondrial energy and efficiency. Telomere Shortening Telomeres are the repetitive DNA sequences on the end of chromosomes that act as protective caps, preventing the loss of fundamental genetic information as cells divide. Every time cells divide, telomeres become shorter and shorter. Eventually, when they are so small and can no longer divide, they die. Although inevitable and part of aging, protecting telomeres from becoming reduced prematurely promotes more youthful cells and prevents age-related diseases. Shortened telomeres play a significant role in Alzheimer’s by increasing the potential for DNA damage, cellular dysfunction and impaired regeneration, neuroinflammation, and eventual neuronal death. Polyphenols such as resveratrol preserve telomere length, promoting the expression of necessary enzymes within the brain that help maintain telomeres. Resveratrol activates a SIRT1 pathway to protect DNA from free radical damage. May Increase Insulin Sensitivity Increasing evidence suggests that oxidative stress plays a critical role in diabetes progression. Resveratrol’s potent antioxidant properties and ability to activate sirtuins, particularly SIRT1, make it a potential candidate for targeting the underlying cellular abnormalities of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic disease. Studies have found that resveratrol can safely reduce the chronic inflammatory properties often associated with obesity while restoring insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammatory injury to blood vessels, and attenuating oxidative stress on the pancreas as insulin levels increase. These studies also show that resveratrol can help save pancreatic beta cells and improve glucose tolerance with SIRT1 activation. Clinical studies lasting from four weeks to one year revealed that supplementing with grape extract and resveratrol for one year had beneficial effects on Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Resveratrol supplementation for more than 45 days lowered blood pressure, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, and insulin resistance, and even improved HDL “good” cholesterol levels. May Relieve Joint Pain Resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to slow down or stop the degeneration of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis Resveratrol has shown the potential to mediate pathways and enzymes that can inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules in the body. Its antioxidant properties can also help protect joints from rheumatoid arthritis-related oxidative stress. One study found resveratrol effective when used in combination with methotrexate, a traditional medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, showing a synergy between the two therapeutics. Osteoarthritis A recent study suggests that resveratrol can potentially prevent and treat knee osteoarthritis (KOA) by reducing inflammation, apoptosis, and cartilage degeneration. The study concluded that resveratrol will become an alternative therapy for preventing and treating KOA. A 90-day pilot study of 110 men and women with KOA treated with both meloxicam, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, and resveratrol significantly reduced knee pain. The levels of inflammatory biomarkers in their blood were also reduced considerably compared to the placebo group. The researchers suggested resveratrol may be an effective adjunct supplement for patients taking meloxicam for KOA. Potential Risks “While resveratrol has been linked to various health benefits, it’s important to consider potential risks and adverse outcomes,” Ms. Costa said. “At high doses, resveratrol has been reported to have toxic effects, cause gastrointestinal issues, and interfere with certain enzymes, which can lead to interactions with other drugs.” Potential medication interactions include anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs since resveratrol may cause clotting and, therefore, may be contraindicated. It’s best to consult a physician before taking resveratrol to determine the proper dosing and potential drug interactions. Overall, resveratrol’s adverse effects have been minor, and many studies have established that resveratrol is well-tolerated and safe for humans, though dosing levels remain inconclusive. The Bottom Line Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that has shown tremendous promise across extensive clinical studies in lab animals and humans, yet there’s much to learn about its potential in preventing and treating future chronic health conditions. For instance, there is no established therapeutic dosage of resveratrol. According to Ms. Costa, “The dose of resveratrol administered in research studies is much higher than what one would typically consume in a daily diet or from drinking red wine and seems to have a more pronounced effect when taken as a daily supplement.” Much of the research to date has been in animals and test tubes using higher levels of resveratrol than found in a normal diet. These studies have led to significant progress in identifying its mechanisms of action and how it translates into various health benefits. However, further human studies are needed to confirm its efficacy, potential adverse effects, and the dose–effect relationship. “When you look at resveratrol broadly, it’s super exciting, and there is so much we don’t understand about it,” Dr. Goodyear said. “I think there is no doubt resveratrol will positively impact a wide spectrum of diseases preventatively and in targeted treatments.” Tyler Durden Tue, 03/05/2024 - 03:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE2 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

These Four Themes Will Define The Next Decade

These Four Themes Will Define The Next Decade Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via Substack, Morgan Stanley recently came out with their 3 Themes that will impact markets for many years: longevity, AI tech diffusion, and decarbonization, i.e. the transition from hydrocarbon fuels to so-called "green energy." That's the status quo: everything's great! Pills that cost $1,000 a month will make us live longer, AI will increase corporate profits (which is the entire point of the economy, of course) and those who invest in the "green energy" transition will be rewarded with fabulous wealth. That all sounds peachy, but the real world will be defined by four much different themes: sclerosis, dysfunction, debt saturation and power asymmetry. 1. Sclerosis: the same old nodes of power cling onto power and so nothing changes because nothing can change: those in power must maintain or expand their power, regardless of what comes along, and that sclerosis is the systemic problem that cannot be resolved. 2. Dysfunction: nothing works due to the consequences of sclerosis: those who cling to power do so by eliminating every dynamic of open, self-correcting systems: they get rid of competition (every sector is dominated by monopolies, cartels or state-cartels), they get rid of transparency (information asymmetry is how they maintain power) and they have a lock on regulatory complexity / capture: first jump through all these hoops and maybe we'll let you propose some worthless policy tweak that leaves our power intact. Or we'll co-opt you by inviting you to become one of our flunkies, PR flacks, factotums, enforcers, lackeys, etc. In a system rigged to maximize the profit and power of the few at the expense of the many, nothing works because the system is no longer capable of self-correction. 3. Debt saturation: 15 years of expanding credit has created the illusion we can pay for everything, no matter how costly, from future earnings, basically forever. So we need trillions to transition to "green energy," no problem, we'll borrow it. We need more trillions to pay for an aging, increasingly sickly populace, no problem, we'll borrow it. We need to borrow more trillions to fund all the status quo grift and graft, no problem, we'll borrow it. And since we can pin interest rates to zero forever, we can borrow whatever tiny sums we need to pay the interest on hundreds of trillions in new debt, no problem. Except for one little dynamic called debt saturation: future earnings are not guaranteed, and at some point the income cannot sustain both the eternally expanding consumer and state spending needed to keep the Waste Is Growth Landfill Economy from imploding and the rising debt service on the ballooning debt. We can afford only one: either borrow and spend to keep the Waste Is Growth Landfill Economy humming, or we can devote that income to servicing rising debt. We can't do both, so one or the other will collapse: either consumer/state borrowing and spending or the Palace of Debt. This reality increases risk, and capital eventually demands a real return. Interest rates can't stay at zero, so the costs of servicing the soaring debt rises rapidly. At the same time, the immense expansion of credit--money borrowed from future income to be spent today--generates inflation, as the flood of credit needed to keep a sclerotic, dysfunctional status quo afloat outpaces the value being generated by all the trillions being borrowed and blown. No one at the trough of "free money" will give up their place, and so the system is rigged to fail: we have to keep borrowing trillions to keep all the incumbents, entrenched interests and those collecting benefits happy, but as interest payments rise, we need to borrow more trillions just to pay the interest. And so on, in a self-reinforcing feedback loop. 4. Power asymmetry is my term for the structural inequality and bondage that characterize the global status quo. The many have very little power over anything, while the few hoard the power to make sure they keep what they have and to protect their perquisites from competing elites and populist movements. Debt serfdom is a good example of bondage--you need to borrow to live--and power asymmetry: debt-serfs have essentially zero power in the economy, society or the sclerotic systems of governance. No amount of AI or new technology will change any of this, because all those tools serve those already in power. In effect, AI and all other new technologies simply serve to solidify power asymmetry and thus sclerosis and dysfunction. And since the system demands "free money" borrowed from the future to keep everyone at the trough happy, it also guarantees debt saturation, which eventually triggers a phase change much like liquid water (liquidity) suddenly freezing into ice. Everyone at the trough believes that the transition from liquid water (free flowing credit) to ice cannot possibly happen. So when it happens, everyone will be surprised. What do you mean, there are limits? New podcast Vision Series: AI Job Challenges and Trends (34:54 min) Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE5 hr. 23 min. ago Related News

China Sets Economic Growth Target At Around 5% This Year, Will Boost Defense Spending By 7.2%

China Sets Economic Growth Target At Around 5% This Year, Will Boost Defense Spending By 7.2% China will target economic growth of "around 5%" this year as it works to transform its development model (read magically grow while aggressively deleveraging), curb industrial overcapacity (read build less ghost cities while trying to contain the fallout from the biggest real estate crisis in history), defuse property sector risks (read transfer ownership from countless insolvent property developers to the state while encouraging foreign investment) and cut wasteful spending by local governments (read limit corruption in a country where 1 out of every 3 yuan is embezzled, stolen or otherwise vaporized), Premier Li Qiang said on Tuesday according to Reuters. China’s premier Li Qiang is set to deliver his first ‘work report’ to the annual session of the National People’s Congress Li delivered his maiden work report at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's rubber-stamp legislature, in the cavernous Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. The growth target - already the lwoest in decades - was identical to last year's but analysts warned that it would be harder to achieve this year than in 2023, when growth was flattered by a low base during the pandemic, and will require stronger government stimulus for China to reach it, as the economy remains reliant on state investments in infrastructure that have led to a mountain of municipal debt. Almost all of the 27 economists polled by Bloomberg before the National People’s Congress expected Beijing to announce a growth target similar to last year. Economists polled in a separate, broader survey, however, said the economy would likely grow at a more realistic 4.6% in 2024. “It’s what the Communist Party thinks is needed to keep the Chinese economy going and account for needs like employment,” Chong Ja Ian, an associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, said of the GDP goal for 2024. Investors are watching this year’s “Two Sessions” of the National People’s Congress, the country’s parliament, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the top advisory body, for clues as to how dictator Xi plans to tackle the slowing economy. The premier’s work report, delivered to the NPC’s nearly 3,000 delegates in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, is the keynote speech of the Two Sessions, laying out the party’s most important annual economic goals and setting the tone for policymakers for the rest of the year. “We expect a moderate level of policy support, but given a less favourable base effect, pervasively downbeat sentiment, and property market weakness remaining an overhang, reaching 5 per cent growth this year may be more difficult,” ING greater China chief economist Lynn Song said in a note ahead of the work report. An aborted COVID recovery in the past year has laid bare China's deep structural imbalances, from weak household consumption to increasingly lower returns on investment and a collapse in loan demand, prompting calls for a new development model. A property crisis, deepening deflation, a stock market rout, mounting local government debt woes and a surge in protests by angry Chines workers have increased the pressure on China's leaders to respond to these calls. "We should not lose sight of worst-case scenarios and should be well prepared for all risks and challenges," Li said. "In particular, we must push ahead with transforming the growth model, making structural adjustments, improving quality, and enhancing performance." There were no immediate details on the changes China intended to implement. In setting the growth target, policymakers "have taken into account the need to boost employment and incomes and prevent and defuse risks," Li said, adding China intended to have a "proactive" fiscal stance and "prudent" monetary policy. China plans to run a budget deficit of 3% of economic output, down from a revised 3.8% last year. While generally in line with expectations, the country's stock market observers were likely hoping for "an increase in the official fiscal deficit for any clues on policy support for property and other parts of the economy,” said Derek Tay, head of investments at Kamet Capital Partners, adding that China still has other fiscal tools to work with. But, as reported in late 2023, it plans to issue 1 trillion yuan ($139 billion) in special ultra-long term treasury bonds, which are not included in the budget. That said, the impact of such debt on growth would be modest at best: China needs trillions (in USD) in new debt to kick start to languishing and deflating economy. While the stimulus target is the same as last year, the central government special bond issuance was new compared with a year earlier. Beijing also plans to boost defense spending by 7.2%, well above the country's economic growth target of around 5%. The pace of military expansion matches the spending budgeted under former Premier Li Keqiang's watch last year. This marks the third year in a row of military expansion above 7%, even as the economy continues to slow down. China trails only the U.S. in military spending and has been beefing up its armed forces amid tensions with the U.S. and the West. President Xi Jinping has emphasized the significance of preparing for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Liberation Army in 2027. The details of the defense budget expansion were not available, but the focus is understood to be on catching up with the U.S. while filling the gap in nuclear capabilities by enhancing other conventional weaponry. it also wasn't clear if China plans on invading Taiwan this year or will once again kick this particular start to WW3 to next year. The special bond issuance quota for local governments was set at 3.9 trillion yuan, versus 3.8 trillion yuan in 2023. China also set the consumer inflation target at 3% and aims to create over 12 million urban jobs this year, keeping the jobless rate at around 5.5%. Meanwhile, it remains unclear what China's all-important youth unemployment is - the data was suspended for reporting when it hit a record over 20% and has since been restored in a several adjusted format which nobody trusts. "The Chinese government does not want to stimulate the economy too much, ... and also wants to keep leverage relatively low," said Xia Qingjie, economics professor at Peking University. The budget deficit target can be adjusted later this year, if needed, Xia added. According to Paul Pong, managing director at Pegasus Fund Managers, for China to achieve 5% economic growth this year forceful measures focused on boosting consumption will be needed as the property sector becomes a smaller driver of growth, with electric vehicles, sportswear and healthcare sectors are among the areas that might benefit most. To achieve the 5% growth target, China will need to take measures to ease developers’ financing stress to avoid any unfinished homes. Sentiment remains weak, especially among foreign investors, given the property problems in China. Analysts expect China to lower its annual growth ambitions in the future. The International Monetary Fund projects China's economic growth at 4.6% this year, declining further in the medium term to about 3.5% in 2028. Li also said, that China will continue to pour resources into tech innovation and advanced manufacturing, in line with President Xi Jinping's push for "new productive forces." Some analysts have criticized this policy, however, saying it exacerbates industrial overcapacity, deepens deflation and heightens trade tensions with the West. At the same time, reform advocates, worried about record low consumer confidence and plunging investor and business sentiment, want China to return to a path of pro-market policies and boost household demand. The NPC is not the traditional venue for sharp policy shifts, which are usually reserved for events known as plenums, held by the Communist Party between its once-every-five-year congresses. One such plenum was initially expected in the final months of 2023. While it could still take place later this year, the fact that it has not yet been scheduled has fuelled investor concerns over policy inaction. The extent to which China’s economic expansion is reached or spread across the entire economy is increasingly difficult to ascertain independently given greater restrictions on data accessibility, said Chong Ja Ian, an associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, said of the GDP goal for 2024. As noted earlier, China also abruptly scrapped a three-decade tradition for the premier to hold a press conference at the NPC, fanning fears about opaque policymaking. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 22:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE5 hr. 23 min. ago Related News

US Profits Outshine Europe By The Most Since 2020

US Profits Outshine Europe By The Most Since 2020 By Sagarika Jaisinghani, Bloomberg Markets Live reporter and strategist Europe Inc. just reported its worst earnings season relative to the US in three years, according to data from JPMorgan. And worst yet, strategists are bracing for more pain before recovery starts. Profits of Stoxx Europe 600 firms are estimated to have dropped 11% in the fourth quarter, 2 percentage points more than analysts expected, the research shows. The decline is driven by sputtering economies — with both Germany and the UK in recession — as well as underwhelming growth in China, a key market for European companies. The development marks a stark contrast to Corporate America, where the latest earnings grew by a better-than-expected 8%, data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence show. That’s mainly thanks to the seven-largest stocks though, most of them tech. Without them, the rest of the S&P 500 saw a 1.6% drop in profits — still outperforming Europe. Fund managers and strategists aren’t fully convinced about an imminent recovery for European earnings, given the continent’s economic malaise, the bleak outlook for commodity prices and lack of AI darlings akin to Nvidia. While Europe has AI beneficiaries such as ASML, ASM International and BE Semiconductor, their performance has lagged well behind Nvidia. Data from BI shows S&P 500 profits are expected to rise 8.4% this year compared with a 4.4% increase in Europe. A Citigroup index shows analysts are bearish, with earnings downgrades consistently outnumbering upgrades in the past five months. Still, Citi strategist Beata Manthey says the pessimism may have gone too far. “The silver lining for Europe is that US earnings are priced for perfection,” Manthey says. “In Europe, investors are pricing in flat earnings growth. That lowers the bar for earnings beats,” especially if local economies or China deliver a “positive surprise.” Signs of an improvement in the macro outlook are already showing up in the performance of cyclical stocks, which are more sensitive than their defensive peers to economic growth. Analysts are raising profit estimates for cyclicals at a faster clip than for defensives as business activity ticks up, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Barclays strategist Emmanuel Cau is also optimistic that an improving business cycle will feed a broader equity rally. “Soft data” such as manufacturing and services sector activity tend to be a good leading indicator for future earnings growth, Cau says, and they’re signaling a nascent rebound. “Investors are paying up ahead for potential EPS recovery later,” he says. Fund managers in a recent Bank of America survey were broadly cautious, with about 54% of participants seeing downside for European EPS in the coming months. Still, that number is down from 75% in January and 88% in December. Hopes are also growing that luxury goods makers — which depend on China for a significant share of revenue — will revive along with demand from the world’s second-biggest economy. Resilient earnings at LVMH have fueled a 27% surge in the MSCI Europe Textiles Apparel & Luxury Goods Index the since mid-January. “We agree that the first quarter is likely to be challenging with double-digit negative earnings growth,” Deutsche Bank strategist Maximilian Uleer says. But he expects a “pronounced” recovery in the second half of the year against the backdrop of global economic growth. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE5 hr. 23 min. ago Related News

Fed Bubble Ignites "Great Retirement" Wave As Baby Boomers Party Like It 1999

Fed Bubble Ignites "Great Retirement" Wave As Baby Boomers Party Like It 1999 As the Magnificent 7 tech stocks and home prices grind higher, there has been a massive surge in the number of Americans taking early retirement. Bloomberg has coined this phenomenon the "Great Retirement Boom." A model designed by economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows the US has around 2.7 million more retirees than initially forecasted.  Source: Bloomberg Notice that the number of retirees in the US has surged beyond expectations. Source: Bloomberg This trend emerges as retirement savers pile into tech stocks (we've asked: Is this a good idea?).  A recent Bloomberg Markets Live Pulse survey showed about half of the retirement savers were buying stocks as a direct response to soaring prices - far surpassing the 6% who said they had added the traditional inflation hedges.  The latest expectations for interest-rate cuts from the Fed this year have fueled the artificial intelligence bubble - with signs of Dot Com lurking in markets.  Or 1930s... Maybe it's different this time.  According to Bloomberg, soaring stocks are already "convincing those already retired they needn't return to the workforce."  Unless the Fed is committed to a never-ending program of zero interest rates and quantitative easing... Then, retirement savers have nothing to worry about. However, when the financial elites prick the bubbles through a prolonged tightening cycle, we'll see some those retirees return to the workforce as Walmart greeters.  Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE5 hr. 23 min. ago Related News

Argentina"s President Javier Milei Suspends State-Run Leftist News Agency For "Propaganda""

Argentina's President Javier Milei Suspends State-Run Leftist News Agency For 'Propaganda'' The chainsaw-wielding Argentine president Javier Milei has consolidated eighteen government ministries into nine, fired 5,000 government workers, devalued the peso near market rates, and introduced economic reforms to overhaul the faltering economy after a series of devastating financial crises.  The latest fat Milei has trimmed from the bloated government's books is the largest and most prestigious news agency in Argentina, Telam. The state-run media outlet has served as a mouthpiece of "propaganda" for previous progressive administrations.  On Monday morning, Telam's website was shut down. The current message on the media outlet's website reads: "Page under reconstruction. The page you are trying to view is under reconstruction."  The eight-decade news organization, with over 800 staff, is the latest casualty of Milei's drive to shake up the prior corrupt progressive government. He told lawmakers last Friday about his plans to shutter the media outlet as part of a wave of reforms targeting public bodies that he warns are "covert propaganda ministry."  "We will close the news agency Télam, which has been used as a Kirchnerist propaganda agency for the last decades," Milei told lawmakers, referring to former president Cristina Kirchner.  And, of course, US legacy media outlets were unhappy about Milei's move.  Reuters cited the Buenos Aires Press Union, which wrote on X:  "It is a blow against democracy and freedom of expression, and that is why we are going to defend it." The libertarian and self-described "anarcho-capitalist" understands the government shouldn't have a monopoly on the so-called 'free press'. The president is also ridding the government of dangerous 'collectivist experiments' such as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

How The Government Used "Track F" To Fund Censorship Tools: Report

How The Government Used 'Track F' To Fund Censorship Tools: Report Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Officials from the National Science Foundation tried to conceal the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars on research and development for artificial intelligence tools used to censor political speech and influence the outcome of elections, according to a new congressional report. (Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images, Shutterstock, NFS) The report looking into the National Science Foundation (NSF) is the latest addition to a growing body of evidence that critics claim shows federal officials—especially at the FBI and the CIA—are creating a “censorship-industrial complex” to monitor American public expression and suppress speech disfavored by the government. “In the name of combatting alleged misinformation regarding COVID-19 and the 2020 election, NSF has been issuing multimillion-dollar grants to university and nonprofit research teams,” states the report by the House Judiciary Committee and its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. “The purpose of these taxpayer-funded projects is to develop AI-powered censorship and propaganda tools that can be used by governments and Big Tech to shape public opinion by restricting certain viewpoints or promoting others.” The report also described, based on previously unknown documents, elaborate efforts by NSF officials to cover up the true purposes of the research. The efforts included tracking public criticism of the foundation’s work by conservative journalists and legal scholars. The NSF also developed a media strategy “that considered blacklisting certain American media outlets because they were scrutinizing NSF’s funding of censorship and propaganda tools,” the report said. NSF Responds In a statement to The Epoch Times, an NSF spokesman categorically rejected the report’s allegations. “NSF does not engage in censorship and has no role in content policies or regulations. Per statute and guidance from Congress, we have made investments in research to help understand communications technologies that allow for things like deep fakes and how people interact with them,” the spokesman said. “We know our adversaries are already using these technologies against us in multiple ways. We know that scammers are using these techniques on unsuspecting victims. It is in this nation’s national and economic security interest to understand how these tools are being used and how people are responding so we can provide options for ways we can improve safety for all.” The spokesman also denied that NSF ever sought to conceal its investments in the so-called Track F program, and that the foundation does not follow the policy regarding media that was outlined in the documents discovered by the committee. Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast, testifies before a Senate committee during a hearing on artificial intelligence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 10, 2024. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images) Track F Program Funding The $39 million Track F Program is the heart of the congressional report’s analysis of a systematic federal effort to replace human “disinformation” monitors with AI-driven digital systems that are capable of vastly more comprehensive monitoring and censoring. “The NSF-funded projects threaten to help create a censorship regime that could significantly impede the fundamental First Amendment rights of millions of Americans, and potentially do so in a manner that is instantaneous and largely invisible to its victims,” the congressional report warned. During NSF’s solicitation and sifting of dozens of bids it received in response to its request for proposals, a University of Michigan team, with its “WiseDex” tool, pitched federal officials on enabling the government “to externalize the difficult responsibility of censorship.” The Michigan team was one of four Track F funding recipients spotlighted by the congressional report. A total of 12 recipients were involved in Track F funding and activities. The second of the four spotlighted teams is from Meedan, a San Francisco-based group that describes itself as “a global technology not-for-profit that builds software and programmatic initiatives to strengthen journalism, digital literacy, and accessibility of information online and off. We develop open-source tools for creating and sharing context on digital media through annotation, verification, archival, and translation.” In fact, according to the congressional report, Meedan’s Co-Insights Program uses AI to identify and counter “misinformation” on a massive scale. In one illustration that the group provided to NSF in its funding pitch, was to “crawl” more than 750,000 blogs and media articles on a daily basis for misinformation and fact-checking on themes such as “undermining trust in mainstream media,” “fear-mongering and anti-Black narratives,” and “weakening political participation.” The Co-Insights Program, according to the congressional report, was “part of a much larger, long-term goal by the nonprofit. As [Scott] Hale, the director of research at Meedan, explained in an email to NSF, in his ‘dream world,’ Big Tech would collect all of the censored content to enable ‘disinformation’ researchers to use that data to create ‘automated detection’ to censor any similar speech automatically.” Lexi Sturdy works in Facebook's 'war room,' during a media demonstration in Menlo Park, Calif., Oct. 17, 2018. (Noah Berger/AFP via Getty Images) The third spotlighted team is from the University of Wisconsin and its CourseCorrect tool that received $5.75 million in NSF funding “to develop a tool to ‘empower efforts by journalists, developers, and citizens to fact-check delegitimizing information’ about ‘election integrity and vaccine efficacy’ on social media.” The tool “would allow ‘fact-checkers to perform rapid-cycle testing of fact-checking messages and monitor their real-time performance among online communities at-risk of misinformation exposure,’” the congressional report said. ‘Effective Interventions’ to Educate Americans The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team that developed its “Search Lit” tool with government funding was the fourth of the highlighted NSF grant recipients. Officials with NSF asked the MIT team “to develop ‘effective interventions’ to educate Americans—specifically, those that the MIT researchers alleged ’may be more vulnerable to misinformation campaigns’—on how to discern fact from fiction online. “In particular, the MIT team believed that conservatives, minorities, and veterans were uniquely incapable of assessing the veracity of content online,” the congressional report noted. “In order to build a ’more digitally discerning public,' the Search Lit team proposed developing tools that could support the government’s viewpoint on COVID-19 public health measures and the 2020 election.” In a study by one of the MIT team’s members, people who hold as sacred certain texts and documents, most notably the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, were described as “‘often focused on reading a wide array of primary sources, and performing their own synthesis,’ further alleging that, ‘unlike expert lateral readers,’ the conservative respondents made ‘no such effort’ to “eliminate bias that might skew results from search terms.” Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

Former Twitter CEO, Three Other Fired Officials, Sue Musk For $128 Million In Severance

Former Twitter CEO, Three Other Fired Officials, Sue Musk For $128 Million In Severance Instead of giving him a medal for demonstrating that their censoring, woke, CIA-controlled bloated media platform can operate with 80% less diversity hires and can actually grow much faster when stripped of its unbearable propaganda, four ex-Twitter executives, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, sued X (f/k/a Twitter) company owner Elon Musk for allegedly stiffing them on more than $128 million in severance payments after they were ousted from the company. The former top officials, many of whom were fired for cause within seconds of Musk "letting that sink in" to the then-Twitter San Francisco office,  said Musk showed “special ire” toward them after he took over the social-media platform in 2022, publicly vowing to withhold their severance to recoup about $200 million from the $44 billion deal, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in northern California. Twitter, which Musk renamed X, has been accused in several suits of numerous labor and workplace violations, including failing to pay severance to thousands of Twitter workers whose only job apparently was to censor their own users, and who were laid off in the minutes and months after the takeover. The company also was accused in a raft of suits of failing to pay millions owed to vendors and landlords while purportedly trying to stay financially solvent. “Under Musk’s control, Twitter has become a scofflaw, stiffing employees, landlords, vendors, and others. Musk doesn’t pay his bills, believes the rules don’t apply to him, and uses his wealth and power to run roughshod over anyone who disagrees with him,” lawyers for Agrawal and the other ex-executives said in the 38-page complaint. It was unclear if they were transcribing what the CIA told them to say as had been the case customary for years, or if they actually had an original thought for once. As soon as he took over Twitter, Musk fired several other top-ranking executives in addition to Agrawal: Vijaya Gadde, who was the company’s top censorship officer and also pretended to be in charge of legal and policy; Ned Segal, the chief financial officer; and Sean Edgett, Twitter’s general counsel. They were all fired for cause, and were deemed unsurprising at the time: after all the entire former Twitter management team was captured by the deep state, a bunch of clueless pawns meant to keep Twitter a venue where a small number of very vocal liberals and socialists could pretend they were the vast majority of the country, when in reality they were just a handful of useless socialists. Each of the four executives was due to receive substantial payouts as part of Musk’s agreement to buy the company, which included language that would expedite the their unvested stock awards. Agrawal alone was set to get roughly $50 million in severance payouts, however Musk managed to short-circuit the process by firing Agrawal for cause with minutes to spare before the contracts became enforceable. In early December, X failed in court-ordered mediation to resolve claims by thousands of former Twitter employees who say they were cheated of severance pay. Also in December, San Francisco judge rejected X’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by employees claiming they were denied 2022 bonuses, despite being promised in the months leading up to Musk’s acquisition that they’d be paid 50% of their target amounts. The lawsuit is below. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 22:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 27 min. ago Related News

Netanyahu Fuming Over Rival Cabinet Minister"s Rogue Trip To White House, Capitol Hill

Netanyahu Fuming Over Rival Cabinet Minister's Rogue Trip To White House, Capitol Hill In a episode that underscores the tensions straining Israel's wartime unity government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly irate over a senior cabinet minister's unauthorized trip to Washington this week to meet with US officials.  Benny Gantz, a relative centrist and one of Netanyahu's principal political rivals, arrived in Washington on Sunday afternoon. He's slated to meet on Monday with Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. On Tuesday, he'll talk with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and he will also meet senior Congressional leaders during his stay. There's some possibility that President Biden will opt to join one of the White House sessions, sources tell Israeli outlet Ynet News.  The first Netanyahu heard of the trip was when Gantz called him on Friday to spring the news and ask for Netanyahu's input about what to communicate to American officials, the Times of Israel reports. The call grew heated, with Netanyahu scolding Gantz, and telling him that "The State of Israel has only one prime minister."    If a new election were held, Gantz (left) would likely replace Netanyahu as prime minister (Reuters via BBC) The prime minister's office doesn't consider Gantz's trip to be an official one, since it's happening without Netanyahu's permissions. Consistent with that view, Netanyahu ordered Israel's US ambassador, Michael Herzog, to refrain from providing any assistance to Gantz during his visit. He also blocked government financing of Gantz's travel, which will take him to the United Kingdom next.  Four days after the Oct. 7 Hamas invasion of southern Israel, Gantz joined Netanyahu in forming an emergency unity government. Nearly five months into the war, Netanyahu is embattled and deeply unpopular. Many Israelis say he's to blame for the Israel Defense Forces being caught off-guard by the Hamas attack. Families of Israelis taken hostage have mounted protests demanding Netanyahu approve a prisoner swap.  A February poll found that, were an election to be held, an opposition block anchored by Gantz's National Unity party would clobber Netanyahu's far right coalition -- by a 75- to 45-seat margin in the Knesset.  That makes Gantz a seeming prime minister-in-waiting, which helps explain why his self-initiated trip to Washington would leave Netanyahu fuming.   Gantz previously served as chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces and later, minister of defense (IDF photo) Netanyahu returned to the prime minister's office last January by assembling a coalition of religious and ultra-nationalist extremists unlike any seen in the country's history. With many Democrats angry over Biden's backing of Israel's retaliatory destruction in Gaza and the resulting humanitarian catastrophe, the White House would clearly prefer to deal with a more centrist, Gantz-led government. In late February, Biden fired a shot during a late-night television appearance: “Israel has had the overwhelming support of the vast majority of nations. If it keeps this up with this incredibly conservative government they have, and [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben Gvir and others… they’re going to lose support from around the world, and that is not in Israel’s interest." Over the weekend, Israel opted out of sending a delegation to ceasefire discussions in Cairo, sharply contradicting rosy White House statements that Israel had already "basically accepted" a six week ceasefire proposal in Gaza.  While in DC, Gantz will also meet with leaders of AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The enormously influential group acts as a de facto lobbying arm of the Israeli government, but without having to register its members as agents of a foreign government, as would otherwise be required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  On Sunday, Politico reported that AIPAC unveiled a $100 million war chest it will use in America's 2024 elections to defeat candidates of either party who are guilty of not backing Israel to extent AIPAC finds acceptable.   Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

One Bank Asks "Could A Central Bank Somewhere Be Buying Crypto Assets?"

One Bank Asks "Could A Central Bank Somewhere Be Buying Crypto Assets?" By Benjamin Picton of Rabobank We're going to build a (tariff) wall... Crude oil prices spiked on Friday evening following news that OPEC+ and Russia will extend production cuts through to June of this year. Brent closed 2% higher at $83.55/bbl, which means that prices have now risen by more than $6/bbl since the start of the year. Gold also caught a bid on Friday night to close the week at $2,082/ounce. This followed weaker than expected ISM survey data out on the United States that saw 2-year yields fall 9bps to 4.53% and the S&P500 hit fresh all-time-highs. Meanwhile, the Bitcoin surge continues apace after prices for ‘digital gold’ finished the week slightly above $62,500. Judging from the price action last week, the everything rally remains resilient to the effects of monetary tightening. Have we sprung a monetary leak somewhere that is providing mysterious liquidity into markets? Or is this all just a huge lag effect as the Covid-era torrents of easy money continue to wash through the economy and the US deficit remains close to 6.5% of GDP? Whatever the case, some of the moves are very interesting. News has emerged of a crypto whale dubbed ‘Mr 100’ who has been quietly accumulating a $3.1bn stash of Bitcoin. Decrypt.co reports that the mysterious whale is unlikely to be US-domiciled, and unlikely to be one of the new Bitcoin ETF operators since those have already disclosed their blockchain addresses. Could a central bank somewhere be buying crypto assets? There is plenty on the calendar this week for markets to digest, but of particular interest is the National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The meeting begins on Tuesday and will include an updated growth target for the Chinese economy. Last year’s ‘modest’ 5% target was exceeded by two-tenths of a percentage point after helpful base effects and data revisions helped the economy over the line. The speculation is that the CCP will again set 5% as the official goal, although our own China watcher, Teeuwe Mevissen, expects growth of just 4.6% in the Middle Kingdom this year. In the United States we have the non-farm payrolls report at the end of the week, but on a longer view the possibility of universal tariffs will have much more structural bearing on who produces  what and where, and for how much, and to be sold to who. This Daily last week canvased the possibility of outright bans on Chinese auto imports into the United States as the Biden White House attempts to outbid Donald Trump on America First protectionism. Trump’s threats of 10% universal tariffs, with tariffs of 60% or more on Chinese goods, would be certainly be a big structural change that, in our view, could reignite inflation. It also (by design) poses risks to the Chinese growth model. With real-estate and infrastructure investment already reeling from heavy debt loads, a loss of confidence and Xi Xinping’s Common Prosperity initiatives to rein-in speculation on house prices, the China model will be even more reliant on production and exports. It’s worth asking the question whether that can still work in a world where the world’s biggest market is potentially slapping a 60% tax on your exports. Of course, Chinese goods could flow into other markets like Europe, but if the Trump tariffs are enacted it would take all of 5 minutes before European leaders follow suit in an effort to protect their own sputtering industry from Chinese competition. So where does this leave China? The worst case would be massive oversupply, deflation and economic depression as China fails to escape the Middle Income Trap. The alternative might be economic reorganization away from a production-led economy toward a more balanced growth model that emphasises internal consumption. Such a reorganization would also start to address one of the major (but not the only) impediment to the adoption of CNY as a reserve currency: China’s enormous trade surplus, but it would stand at odds with Xi Xinping thought that sees consumerism as decadent and production as virtuous. That’s a vicious circle to square, but if it is to ever happen, we should expect to see early signs this week. This week will be important for other reasons. We are now one week out from the date at which the Fed will cease issuing new loans under the BTFP program. Regular readers will remember that this was the liquidity facility put in place during the mini banking crisis last year. Under the terms of the program, the Fed accepts collateral from the banking system while paying out the par value (!) of the securities in cash. Questions remain over what will happen to US regional banks with a large share of commercial real estate loans on the balance sheet (many due for refinance shortly!) once the banking system can no longer pretend that those loans are not underwater. It may be the case that the Fed had hoped that they would be cutting rates by now and the capitalisation rates on commercial real estate would look less bad as a result. Unfortunately, last week’s PCE data did little too further the case for imminent cuts. PCE rose by 0.3% in January, but if you move the decimal a couple of places it becomes obvious how close we came to a 0.4% reading instead. One Swallow does not make a summer, but the January PCE result marks a substantial acceleration compared to December, November and October. That’s despite being helped by lower fuel prices that are unlikely to be replicated in February. The +0.4% core reading was the highest since January of last year, and the +0.6% services ex housing and energy reading was the highest since December of 2021. In Europe last week the inflation story was similar. Eurozone preliminary CPI for February rose at the fastest pace since April last year. It was up 0.6% m-o-m, which translates to a 2.6% y-o-y figure. That was a little below the 2.8% figure for January but higher than the consensus estimate of 2.5%. The core reading printed at 3.1% versus an analyst consensus of 2.9%. So the direction is right, but progress is slow, and as our Head of Macro Research, Elwin de Groot, pointed out in a piece last week, the Red Sea shipping disruptions could pose a substantial upside risk to Eurozone price pressures. So, for the moment at least we have encountered a bump in the road back to low and stable inflation. Central banks ought to be cognizant of the risks in cutting rates while loads of asset classes are already making new highs every other day, and the spectre of geopolitics looms as a potential spoiler for markets that think only in terms of free-flowing trade and capital. In a world of rapid change, the ability to think outside accepted paradigms is becoming more and more important. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 17:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

US New-Home Listings Jump Most In Three Years

US New-Home Listings Jump Most In Three Years The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is edging closer to 7%, having stayed below 6.6% since May 2023. With mortgage rates remaining high, we ask this very simple question: Will the high rate environment deter homebuyers from listing their homes as the spring home-buying season fast approaches?  Let's take a look at the latest inventory data from residential real estate brokerage Redfin, which shows new home listings jumped 13% year-over-year for the four weeks ending Feb. 25, the most significant increase in three years.  "Total inventory is also improving: Active listings are flat from a year ago, marking the first time in nine months the total number of homes for sale hasn't declined," the report said.  The increase in new listings is a welcoming sign as 2023 headwinds in the housing market will persist this year. This includes elevated mortgage rates, an affordability crisis, and record-low housing stock - this makes for a perfect unaffordability recipe.  The good news is buyers are getting more homes to choose from despite elevated housing costs. As of Feb., the average homebuyer's mortgage payment was around $2,671, just $47 shy of last October's record high.  In a separate report, the real estate news website HousingWire noted: "Inventory is very seasonal, and we are about to start our seasonal increase in inventory. But even before that seasonal boost, we are showing year-over-year growth in inventory despite higher rates. Most home sellers are buyers of homes, so the action we are seeing this year is a healthy step in the right direction to get more balance in the housing market."  Another report from Realtor.com also showed an increase in housing inventory for the week ending Feb. 24:  "Active inventory increased, with for-sale homes 17.8% above year ago levels. For a 16th straight week, active listings registered above prior year level, which means that today's home shoppers see more for-sale homes. In fact, the January Realtor.com Housing Trends Report showed that 2024 had the most abundant level of inventory in the most recent four years. Nevertheless, the number of homes on the market is still down nearly 40% compared to what was typical in 2017 to 2019." Meanwhile, new home sales in January disappointed as mortgage rates are back on the rise. We shared with readers last month that new home supply ticked higher.  The increase in housing supply might indicate a slower rise in home prices this year compared to recent years.  Chief economist at First American Financial Corporation Mark Fleming recently noted a "flat stretch" for home prices is ahead: "If the 2020-2021 housing market was too hot, then the 2023 market was probably too cold, but 2024 won't yet be just right."  The problem with the housing market is that if rates cool too quickly, it could ignite another buying wave. So if rates bounced between 6.5% - 7%, inventories could continue building, pressuring prices lower.  Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 18:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

Israel"s Manpower Crisis Worsens As Wave Of Resignations Hits Army

Israel"s Manpower Crisis Worsens As Wave Of Resignations Hits Army.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

"Ever-More Opaque" China Scraps Premier"s Briefing, Ending 30-Year Tradition

"Ever-More Opaque" China Scraps Premier"s Briefing, Ending 30-Year Tradition.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

The Complete Graphic History Of "Bitcoin Is A Bubble"

The Complete Graphic History Of "Bitcoin Is A Bubble" Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Courtesy of Establishment Shills, Central Banksters… and goldbugs It’s that time again, when Bitcoin is about to embark on a string of fresh all-time highs, triggering the mainstream pundit class into public displays of denial and angst. Just in case you may think “It’s a bubble” and “Tulips, backed by nothing” is a next-level, unique argument that no Bitcoiners have ever heard before, we humbly present, the history of “Bitcoin is a Bubble” in graphic terms, going back over a decade. 2013 Cycle We start in 2013 when The Economist magazine declared Bitcoin to be a bubble in November as BTC cracked the $1,000 handle for the first time – they also declared “Bitcoin is expensive” and looking like a bubble earlier that year, in March 19, 2013 – when the Bitcoin spot price was… $59. 2017 Cycle The next cycle peaked out in 2017 and by January, 2018 had plummeted all the way down to the $10,000 / BTC area, it prompted the New York Times to eulogize those foolish investors who tried to glom onto the phenom… “Remember Bitcoin? Some Investors Might Want to Forget” on December 28, 2018 – when the Bitcoin price was $3,653.13/BTC. Even by this very next cycle, 2013 looked like a rounding error. You’ll never guess what happened next… 2021 cycle One of the staunchest sound-money advocates in the world became one of the most vociferous critics of Bitcoin ever seen on social media. None other than Peter Schiff went all-in on being a no-coiner, which, as a long-time gold investor myself, I found puzzling. It may be understandable that one may prefer precious metals to Bitcoin, or even eschew the latter if it was outside of their wheelhouse. But for a professional investor and capital allocator to be so opposed to Bitcoin, while incessantly employing the most uninformed objections to it (“backed by nothing”) belies a willful ignorance that would be extremely distressing to find in one’s financial advisor. I’ve said it before: nobody who actually rolls up their sleeves and does the work on “why Bitcoin” ever comes out the other end saying “tulips, backed by nothing”. They may still say it’s not for them, but they won’t say that.  Honourable Mention We could never run out of fodder for establishment shills of the Cantillionaire class who either loathe Bitcoin because of what it represents (a threat to their position and power), or lower order sycophants who don’t understand it, because in true Upton Sinclair fashion, their livelihoods depend on them not understanding it. Paul Krugman (an example of the latter) declaring “Bitcoin is Evil” (2013) and “has no use case” (2018)) World Economic Forum – who declared that Bitcoin would consume all the world’s electricity by 2020 (update: it didn’t). Most recently, the ECB put out a piece echoing the same old, tired objections… backed by nothing… intrinsic value zero *yawn*, calling it “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. And of course, Jim Cramer’s legendary call in late January… “Bitcoin’s new theme is number go down”. Bang on. — Mark Jeftovic, The ₿itcoin Capitalist (@StuntPope) March 4, 2024 Where are we today? So with Bitcoin on the cusp of racking up another all-time high, the first of this cycle – call it The 2025 Cycle – are we at the top? Google trends seems to indicate we are nowhere close to a manic peak… Doesn't much look like a cycle-top, either... pic.twitter.com/FH84IGDmTW — Mark Jeftovic, The ₿itcoin Capitalist (@StuntPope) March 4, 2024 Which means all the inflows into ETFs right now are probably mostly institutional. What is most surprising to me on this cycle (my fourth Bitcoin cycle since becoming orange-pilled in 2013) is how fast it is unfolding this time. The milestones this year: ✔️ Bitcoin recapturing the $1 trillion market cap ✔️ Bitcoin hitting new all-time-highs in other currencies ✔️ Bitcoin cracking $60K USD for the setup to new all-time highs A new all-time high before the Bitcoin halving event in April seems baked-in (hell, it may happen before I get this post published) – and the next major milestone after that will be the $100K USD per BTC mark. Seems hard to think that won’t happen this year either. Is it too late? As a glimmering awareness that Bitcoin didn’t die on the last cycle begins to elbow its way into public consciousness – people may think they’ve missed the boat on this, but what I still look at is the relative size of the global bond market – about $150 trillion of “return free risk” vs Bitcoin, still only at just over a $1 trillion. From The Crypto Capitalist Manifesto My base case is that the destruction of the current, fiat-based global monetary system will result in a bond exodus – and that “conventional wisdom” now includes a small allocation to Bitcoin – at least 1% – possibly 3% to 5%. When you consider that 70% of all Bitcoin hasn’t moved in over a year – even in the face of this latest run, we’re going to have anywhere between $1.5 and $7.5 trillion coming into Bitcoin over the next few years, and competing for about 30% to, call it 50% of the total supply. What will that do to the spot price? Here’s Tuur Demester on Marty Bent’s TFTC making a cogent case for $1 million Bitcoin. We’ll just have to wait and see... *  *  * Get on the Bombthrower mailing list here and receive a free copy of The Crypto Capitalist Manifesto, which outlined all this. However, by the time you read this it may already be too late to sign up for The Bitcoin Capitalist Letter: new subscriptions will be closed once Bitcoin hits a new all-time high. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

More Than $11 Million In Fentanyl Pills Seized In Massive Bust At U.S./Mexico Border

More Than $11 Million In Fentanyl Pills Seized In Massive Bust At U.S./Mexico Border U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBP) at the San Ysidro Port of Entry made a massive bust over the weekend, discovering more than $11 million of blue fentanyl pills concealed in a car on Sunday.  At the San Ysidro POE around 8PM on Sunday night, a K-9 unit encountered a "37-year-old man driving a 2008 sedan applying for admission into the United States from Mexico," a release from Customs and Border Patrol revealed over the weekend.  The K-9 unit alerted for drugs near the glove compartment and the vehicle was referred for further inspection, at which point "CBP officers extracted a total of 100 packages containing blue pills concealed within the vehicle’s dashboard and within the front passenger seats". The release noted that the pills were tested and found to be fentanyl. Investigators ultimately uncovered approximately 561,000 tablets, weighing in at 123.6 pounds, with an estimated street value of around $11.22 million. Mariza Marin, Port Director for the San Ysidro Port of Entry, commented: “Fentanyl is a very lethal drug that continues to be encountered along our southern border. I’m very proud of the exceptional work by our officers who skillfully interdict illicit narcotics on a daily basis.” The individual was placed under the supervision of Homeland Security Investigations for additional scrutiny. CBP officers confiscated both the drugs and the vehicle involved. This confiscation is a component of Operation Apollo, a collaborative regional initiative that unites federal, state, and local agencies in the fight against the menace posed by fentanyl and other illegal synthetic drugs. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

"Nothing Will Make Sense To You Unless You Accept That The 2020 Election Was Stolen..."

"Nothing Will Make Sense To You Unless You Accept That The 2020 Election Was Stolen..." Submitted by Drew Allen, During the debut of his new Saturday show on the General Michael Flynn-backed Patriot TV, Drew Allen - host of the Drew Allen Show - opened by claiming the Democrats stole the 2020 election. “They cheated!” Allen says plainly. Allen, of course, isn’t the first to say it. While the claim isn’t novel, his explanation is—and brilliant too.  Allen says: “I want you to listen very carefully. This is very, very important. In fact, it’s the key to understanding the world that we’re living in right now in the United States of America. Nothing that is happening can make sense to you unless you understand one thing. And this is something that you are forbidden from believing. Alright, this is the key to everything. Are you ready? The Democrats stole the 2020 election. They cheated! Alright, if you believe that, you can understand what’s going on. You have a lens to comprehend the world that we’re living in—the insanity. But if you don’t believe it, nothing makes sense.” Allen explains that when the Democrats started prosecuting Trump, “what they thought was gonna happen is that the American people were going to abandon Trump.” He points out that “…it didn’t. It had the opposite impact. It backfired on them. What actually happened was Donald Trump’s poll numbers improved. Improved! So they didn’t know what to do. They had to double down on that strategy.” “They want a Richard Nixon situation,” Allen points out “and it didn’t happen. They cannot fathom that Trump is still standing.” Allen plays a clip of Democrat lawyer Marc Elias to prove his point. In the clip Elias says: “how they decided that the candidate who is going to be best as their standard bearer is Donald Trump, is not just sickening from a standpoint of American politics, but is actually baffling from a matter of partisan strategy. I mean, it is hard to imagine a worse candidate for them to put forward, a candidate with more vulnerabilities than Donald Trump. The fact that the Republican Party itself is unwilling to just say he is out of bounds, he is too toxic, and he will not be out standard bearer…” Allen points out: “You hear what he’s saying there right? He wants to choose our candidate…in his opinion he cannot comprehend how the American people, the Republican voter has not ditched Trump. They do not want to face Trump in 2024 because why? Because they stole 2020 and they’re worried about 2024 again.” Allen goes on to explain how the latest Democrat Party meltdown over the Supreme Court taking up the Trump immunity appeal proves his point beyond doubt.  “The Hill, Fortune Magazine, Axios, NBC, they all had these polls that got them giddy with excitement…for example an NBC news poll recently it showed that former President Donald Trump uh leading current President Joe Biden by 5 points among registered voters, well, when the surveys final question re-asks voters what their ballot choice would be if Trump is found guilty and convicted of a felony this year Biden narrowly pulls ahead of Trump.” “So they were banking on what?” Patriot TV host Allen asks. “Getting a conviction of Trump because they believe, because their pollsters told them that one of their paths to victory was dependent, perhaps their only path to victory apart from cheating…their success in 2024 was heavily dependent upon getting a conviction. And so with the Supreme Court coming in and basically ensuring that no conviction was going to happen before November they’re losing their minds because why? They stole 2020 and they don’t believe they can beat Trump in 2024. See it’s making so much sense now right?” The Drew Allen Show is the most exciting new addition to Patriot TV and a new episode will air each Saturday. Allen is also the author of America’s Last Stand: Will You Vote to Save or Destroy America in 2024?, a new book lauded as a sequel to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Watch the episode here. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 19:43.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

The Nuclear Boom Is Here: Uranium Projects Jump Back On Line As Price Soars

The Nuclear Boom Is Here: Uranium Projects Jump Back On Line As Price Soars It's been a long time coming, but the bulls are finally back in uranium. And with them comes the restart of multiple uranium projects that have been taken offline in the years while the commodity slouched in price.  We have long stated here on Zero Hedge that nuclear power is an obvious win/win: it's clean, it's safe, it provides robust power and, most importantly to our liberal friends, it has minimal emissions. So why isn't it more prominent? In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, uranium mining in the United States, particularly in Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, and Utah, experienced a significant downturn. This decline wasn't helped by uranium prices plummeting and nations such as Germany and Japan moving away from nuclear energy. However, as global efforts to reduce emissions renew interest in nuclear power, and as leading uranium producers face challenges in meeting demand, prices for the metal have risen sharply, a new Bloomberg report says. This resurgence in prices is offering previously unprofitable American uranium mines an opportunity to re-enter the market and address the supply shortfall. According to the report, as the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada's annual meeting takes place in Toronto, attracting thousands from the mining industry, uranium will be a key focus. With participants including major uranium firms like Denison Mines Corp., Fission Uranium Corp., and IsoEnergy Ltd., the event highlights the growing importance of uranium in the context of climate change and nuclear power. The International Atomic Energy Agency predicts a significant rise in uranium demand, foreseeing a need for over 100,000 metric tons annually by 2040, necessitating a near doubling of current mining and processing efforts. Scott Melbye, executive vice president of Texas-based Uranium Energy Corp. said: “We’re in an old-fashioned, plain-and-simple supply squeeze. Demand is increasing again, with new reactors coming online.” John Ciampagli, Chief Executive Officer of Sprott Asset Management added: “The industry is clearly trying to respond with smaller mines reopening, but when you have a mine that hasn’t operated for that long, it’s obviously not very substantive.” Cameco has resumed operations at MacArthur River and Key Lake, the world's largest high-grade uranium mine and mill in Saskatchewan, Canada, after halting from 2018 to 2021 due to poor market conditions.  The reopening of U.S. mines signifies a comeback for an industry that nearly vanished five years ago, with production plummeting to 174,000 pounds in 2019 from a peak of 44 million pounds in 1980. This decline was accompanied by increased reliance on uranium imports from nations such as Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Amid geopolitical tensions, particularly sanctions on Russia after its 2022 invasion of Ukraine affecting uranium shipments from Kazakhstan, the U.S. is motivated by both supply security and political reasons to boost its uranium production. The Uranium Producers of America suggests the U.S. will need to open 8 to 10 major new mines within the next decade to meet demand. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 20:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

Amid Debate Over Rail Safety Concerns, Another Norfolk Southern Train Derails

Amid Debate Over Rail Safety Concerns, Another Norfolk Southern Train Derails By John Kingston of FreightWaves With a Norfolk Southern derailment in Pennsylvania on Saturday that sent diesel fuel into a Lehigh Valley River, the already heated battle over control of the railroad with safety issues as a backdrop got even hotter.  The derailment came after two days of charges, countercharges and missives flying back and forth over the safety records of both Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, with leading government officials that regulate the rails leveling separate heavy criticism at the two companies.  And while it hasn’t yet provoked any government response, the issue of safety and levels of employment could also be triggered by Friday’s news that BNSF had implemented a significant number of furloughs.  In the proxy battle roiling Norfolk Southern, the activist investor group Ancora is recommending the replacement of eight new directors to the Norfolk Southern board. It also wants to replace CEO Alan Shaw with former UPS executive Jim Barber and name Jamie Boychuk, a former executive at CSX, to replace current COO Paul Duncan. That fight now has the Pennsylvania derailment as part of the battle, and Ancora wasted no time Saturday coming out with a statement over the incident. “Our proposed slate and management team are unanimous in their view that Norfolk Southern must become a safer and more reliable railroad before it can ever reach its full potential,” Ancora said in the statement. “Following this latest derailment, we call for the immediate termination of CEO Alan Shaw and stand ready to engage with the Company about an orderly reconstitution of the Board and a transition to capable management with a track record of actually delivering on safety commitments.” The statement went on to say that “an incident like this, which is drawing national news coverage and resulting in more embarrassment for the railroad, should put an end to the Board’s unsustainable efforts to save a tainted CEO with no long-term future.3 How can anyone defend this?” What happened? According to news reports, the derailment took place in Lower Saucon Township, which is near the Allentown-Bethlehem area. There were no reports of injuries, although diesel fuel being carried in a tank car did spill, there were no reports of contamination or evacuations. Plastic pellets also spilled, according to the news reports.  In a statement provided to FreightWaves on Sunday, a spokesperson said: “Norfolk Southern crews and contractors remain at the derailment site. Members of the NTSB have arrived and are investigating. Once they have completed their investigation of the scene, we will continue with site cleanup and begin work to restore the track. The area where the locomotives were in the water will remain contained with booms until any residual sheen has been removed.” Saturday’s derailment comes after two days of back-and-forth over two of the U.S.-based Class 1 railroads that left heads spinning. The scorecard for the criticism and the responses went like this: — Martin Oberman, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board, ripped into Ancora Associates for its proxy battle over Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) railroad. Oberman spoke to the Southeast Association of Rail Shippers 2024 Spring Meeting in Atlanta on Thursday, where he said Ancora “has nothing to say about what it could do better” than current management in running Norfolk Southern, adding, “I think we can assume that if Ancora succeeds in its bid to control NS, its next move will be to put the Brooklyn Bridge on the market.” Ancora didn’t have any public response to Oberman’s comments, but on Friday, it sent a letter to the Norfolk Southern board, just a few days after the railroad released its 2024 proxy statement. The proxy revealed that in 2023 — the year when Norfolk Southern labored under the fallout from the derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — NS CEO Alan Shaw had total compensation of $13.41 million, compared to $9.78 million a year before. — The second blast from a government official aimed at a railroad came from Amit Bose, the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. In a letter addressed to UP CEO Jim Vena, Bose criticized recent furloughs implemented at Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP). “It is imperative that UP prioritizes safety above all else and takes immediate steps to address this issue, an issue disproportionately affecting UP workers since your railroad continues to furlough employees at a rate, based on available data, far outpacing that of any of your Class I peers.” Bose wrote. — Union Pacific quickly responded to Bose’s comments with a letter from Vena, which said the FRA head was portraying an “inaccurate correlation between natural workforce fluctuations and safety.” Oberman was harsh in his assessment of Ancora’s motives. “Several weeks ago, Ancora wrote me a letter,” Oberman said, according to a transcript released by the STB. “The essence of their message was that they had taken a $1 billion dollar stake in NS in order for it — quote — ‘to become a safer railroad.’ Really? What hedge fund raises $1 billion to promote safety anywhere?” Oberman, as he has done before, criticized railroad focus on its operating ratio (OR), with the STB head expressing concern that a goal to reduce OR can come at the expense of both safety and performance.  “Ancora principally and repeatedly focuses on a rapid lowering of the OR to drive cash payouts and raise its stock price, harshly criticizing present NS management for not making a lower OR the objective,” Oberman said. “We now know that this is wrong-headed thinking. Making OR the corporate objective is what led to elimination of thousands of workers which caused the service crisis.”  The reference to the service crisis was from earlier in his speech when he recapped STB actions to force service improvements during the enormous system backups of 2022.  Ancora’s Friday letter was addressed to Amy Miles, the non-executive chair of the NS board.  The letter said that Ancora — which as an activist investor has previously trained its sights on Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) and C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ: CHRW) — said Shaw has “presided over industry-worst operating results, sustained share price underperformance and an ineffective and tone-deaf response to the preventable derailment in East Palestine.” It said Anchor had “offered viable solutions in the form of exceptional people with a strategic vision.” Norfolk Southern’s stock price in the last 52 weeks is up about 14%. During that time, its fierce rival for business east of the Mississippi, CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), is up about 23.7% while Union Pacific is up 21.5%. Focusing in on Shaw’s pay package from 2023 On the issue of Shaw’s pay, the Ancora letter said shareholders were “baffled” at the decision to give the CEO a raise in the same year as the East Palestine derailment and the fallout from it.  “We challenge the Board’s determination that it had to adjust executive compensation in 2023 to ‘retain key talent,’” Ancora said, quoting a board statement. “We do not see how the Board could have actually viewed Mr. Shaw as a flight risk. In addition to being a more than 30-year insider at Norfolk Southern, he was a relatively new, unproven CEO off to an extremely rocky start. The fact that this decision was made suggests deference to management and a lack of respect for shareholders and stakeholders.” UP furloughs at issue In the back-and-forth surrounding Union Pacific, Bose said UP’s decision to furlough some worker is a sign that the railroad “has again chosen to prioritize cost-cutting measures over ensuring safe operations, jeopardizing the well-being of both UP’s workers and the public.” “Furloughing maintenance of equipment workers puts a strain on workers across the railroad, leading to fatigue and potential errors that could have severe ramifications for both workers and the public,” Bose wrote.  In a letter signed by Vena, UP responded to Bose’s criticism with several key rebuttals. — It cited several statistical points about derailments, that “serious” derailments were down 26% in 2023 from 2019 levels, track-related derailments had declined 28% in the past 10 years, and that UP had recorded an 8.7% improvement in mainline derailments in 2023 versus 2021. The Vena letter said “fluctuations in workforce needs are a natural component of operating the railroad … normal, cyclical and vary from year to year based on business needs, capital projects and weather.” To support its criticism that Bose was not making distinctions among types of workers and railroad needs, Vena’s response said the Bose letter “combines different types of workers (Mechanical employees and Engineering employees) and work done on the railroad (equipment maintenance and capital projects), and therefore paints an incorrect and incomplete picture of the natural role workforce fluctuations play in operating a railroad year-round.” “We’ve already begun seeing an increase in demand and have more employees working in January and February of this year,” Vena wrote. The letter also said workers impacted by furloughs and layoffs can apply for other positions at Union Pacific.  Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 20:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News

Wall Street Scrambles To Abandon DEI As "Legal Assaults" Mount

Wall Street Scrambles To Abandon DEI As "Legal Assaults" Mount We've been stating for months that both the DEI and ESG gravy trains on Wall Street are finally coming to an unceremonious end. Who would have guessed the profit motive would be incompatible with mindless, unproductive virtue signaling and reverse racism?  The pushback on DEI has been immense, with entire universities and corporations slashing their DEI departments. Subha Barry, former head of diversity at Merrill Lynch, told Bloomberg this weekend: “We’re past the peak.” The report highlighted yet another shift on Wall Street, wherein programs open to people of color and women are "now open to all". Imagine that... For example, Goldman Sachs has adjusted its “Possibilities Summit,” previously exclusive to Black college students, to now welcome White students as well. Bank of America Corp. has expanded its internal programs, initially aimed at women and minorities, to include all employees. Furthermore, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. has been advised by legal counsel to reevaluate and potentially eliminate strict diversity metrics from its workforce evaluations, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Executives at major banks, including Goldman Sachs, publicly affirm their commitment to diversity, despite acknowledging privately the challenges posed by a growing campaign against DEI initiatives led by figures like Elon Musk and Bill Ackman, the report says. Efforts to recruit diverse talent through programs for women and minorities are being reassessed, along with other diversity measures within corporations. Bloomberg says the shift is notable compared to the ambitious diversity pledges made by CEOs following George Floyd's murder in 2020. Almost as if it was just mindless lip service to silence the 'woke mob'... The recent Supreme Court decision against affirmative action in colleges has intensified legal challenges to corporate diversity efforts, with banks wary of becoming lawsuit targets over claims of reverse discrimination, the report says.  "The legal assault on corporate diversity initiatives is gathering steam" after the Supreme Court's rejection of affirmative action at colleges, the report says.   While black people make up about 14% of the total population, their representation in the senior roles at banks like Citi, JP Morgan and Goldman remains 8.7%, 5% and 3.7%, respectively, the note says. However, these figures have grown significantly since 2019: Several other financial institutions, including the Bank of New York and Bank of America are subtly altering their approaches to diversity and inclusion initiatives. These changes range from modifying executive compensation linked to diversity progress, adjusting the language around D&I goals, reconsidering certain mentorship programs, and adapting recruitment strategies to avoid explicit references to race and gender. Despite these adjustments, spokespeople for these banks assert their continued commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace. And, nonetheless, industry consultants (whose meaningless careers and paychecks rely solely on racial division and DEI initiatives to begin with) and some financial executives still emphasize the importance of persevering with D&I efforts, despite these internal and external pressures. Industry consultant Duarte McCarthy told Bloomberg: “We’re not suggesting that things stop because there’s this fear factor. But rather, take a look.” Ana Duarte McCarthy, former chief diversity officer at Citigroup concluded: “We’re at an interesting inflection point.”  Yeah, the kind of inflection point that is going to see a lot of former "Chief Diversity Officers" scrambling through LinkedIn and updating their resumes... Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 20:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: ZEROHEDGE8 hr. 59 min. ago Related News