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ECONOMY

Oct 04 09:47

China steps up efforts to ring-fence Evergrande, not save it

As China Evergrande Group edges closer to a massive restructuring, Beijing has stepped up efforts to limit the fallout, signalling it is willing to prop up healthy developers, home owners and the real estate market at the expense of global bond holders.

In the last week alone, the Chinese authorities have dispatched top financial regulators to nudge the country's massive banks to ease credit for home buyers and support the property sector. They also bought out part of Evergrande's stake in a struggling bank to limit contagion.

The central bank, meanwhile, pumped 460 billion yuan (S$97 billion) into the system over a five-day stretch to ease liquidity.

The moves underscore that China will do everything it can to ring-fence Evergrande, while showing little interest in a direct bailout of the developer that has roiled global markets for weeks.

Oct 04 08:11

Pandora papers: biggest ever leak of offshore data exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful

Millions of documents reveal offshore deals and assets of more than 100 billionaires, 30 world leaders and 300 public officials

The secret deals and hidden assets of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people have been revealed in the biggest trove of leaked offshore data in history.

Branded the Pandora papers, the cache includes 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

They expose the secret offshore affairs of 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state. They also shine a light on the secret finances of more than 300 other public officials such as government ministers, judges, mayors and military generals in more than 90 countries.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The Australian tax authority has launched an investigation, not into the tax evasion revealed in the Pandora Papers, but the identity of the leaker!

Oct 04 08:08

DeBlasio Has ONLY One Regret As NYC Mayor

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday his greatest failure as a mayor has been the homelessness distress that troubled the city for the past eight years.

De Blasio, who presided over an increase in homelessness in New York that mirrored those of other big cities throughout the United States, said the rise was the "greatest disappointment" of his eight-year tenure, which will end when the term-limited mayor leaves office at the end of this year.

“The thing I’ve struggled with and we finally are making some profound progress, but it’s homelessness,” de Blasio said Friday morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe. “I’m happy to say that after some absolute early misunderstandings and missteps on my part, that I’ve owned up to, we’ve found some strategies that are working much better to get people off the streets. Our shelter population has gone down greatly. It’s much lower than when I took office.”

Oct 04 07:54

Economic TAILSPIN? THIS may be why The Fed stopped publishing GDP reports

Oct 04 07:46

Pelosi Admits Defeat On The Infrastructure Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attracted up the white flag Friday evening, admitting that "more time is needed" to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that is one of the pillars of President Biden's agenda, after previously pledging to pass the measure this week.

While Pelosi had promised moderate House Democrats the infrastructure bill would be on the floor, progressives threatened to sink it unless it was coupled with a $3.5 trillion spending measure, recognized as the Build Back Better Act, that covers a mixture of social welfare programs.

Oct 04 07:40

Progressives Blink First, Offer To Cut Spending Short To Reduce $3.5 Trillion Plan

House progressives have just become the first to blink in a congressional standoff with Senate moderates over the price tag on the Biden administration's massive domestic agenda - and are now open to scaling back programs by attaching expiration dates, rather than them be permanent according to Bloomberg.

"One of the ideas out there is to fully fund what we can fully fund, but instead of funding it for 10 years, fund it for five years," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a statement to CBS's "Face the Nation."

Oct 04 07:39

Silicon Metal's 300% Price Surge Throws Another Wrench In Global Supply Chains

Leading producers of silicon metal in China have been forced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to reduce production by 90% below August levels from September through December amid a nationwide power crunch. Production declines may spark tighter supplies in the metal, threatening everything from computer chips to solar panels to medical implants to concrete to glass to automobile parts, furthermore throwing another wrench in chaotic global supply chains.

Bloomberg data shows silicon metal prices have jumped more than 350% since the beginning of July. This comes as power supply disruptions have become more intense over the last couple of months as CCP curbs power to energy-intensive industries because lower than the expected output at power plants has strained the country's grid.

Oct 04 07:35

DHL Joins Rivals FedEx And UPS In Raising Shipping Rates Amid Inflationary Woes

DHL Express joins rivals FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. in raising freight rates for customers, which begs the question: Is inflation structural in nature rather than "transitory"?

Effective Jan. 1, DHL will increase freight rates by 5.9%, or about the exact rate FedEx announced last week.

"You have general inflation; We've got to cover for that," Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas, told WSJ. He said other costs for increasing capacity, such as planes, trucks, and facilities, are becoming more expensive.

DHL Express announced the increase on Friday and said it would apply to U.S. account holders shipping to or from the 220 countries and territories. It was only last week when FedEx and UPS stated they would increase freight rates. Both companies called today's environment "challenging" as costs rose.

Oct 04 07:26

Hollywood Stageworkers Consider First Strike In History In Threat To "Cripple" Content Studios

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, one of Hollywood's most prominent unions, is eyeing a strike.

In what could be a massive blow to movie and TV studios, many of whom are still trying to deal with fallout from the pandemic, the union's leaders have hit an impasse while seeking shorter working hours as part of a new contract, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

The request has been in response to longer hours that have become the norm since Covid shut down a large portion of the industry.

The union has a membership of about 60,000, most of whom are based in Los Angeles. They are threatening to walk off the job, should the union's leadership - which is countrywide - decide. This means that a strike would affect studios across the U.S., not just in Los Angeles.

In total, 1 million jobs "directly tied to film and TV production" could be affected.

Oct 04 07:25

The Next "Lehman Moment" - Will China Try To Create A Dangerous Diversion?

The happy talk out of Wall Street would have you believe that the Evergrande financial collapse in China is under control and that responsible parties have taken steps to avoid a “Lehman moment” in Chinese capital markets.

Almost everything about that narrative is factually wrong. It’s Wall Street happy talk at its finest, assuring investors that things are under control while the smart money runs for the hills. Something closer to the truth was reported the same day in The Wall Street Journal. Here’s their summary:

Chinese authorities are asking local governments to prepare for the potential downfall of China Evergrande Group, according to officials familiar with the discussions, signaling a reluctance to bail out the debt-saddled property developer while bracing for any economic and social fallout from the company’s travails…

Oct 04 07:24

Hedge Fund CIO: China's Attempt To Crush Digital Assets Has Backfired Spectacularly

The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency. 59.2% of all official foreign exchange reserves are held as US dollars. 20.5% are euros. 5.8% are Japanese yen. 4.8% are British pounds sterling. 2.6% are Chinese renminbi -- slightly more than the 2.2% of reserves held in Canadian dollars. 1.8% are Australian dollars. The remaining few percent are various other small currencies that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Swiss francs would be an example. Some reserves are held in gold. Someday, there will be digital asset reserves too.

Oct 04 07:23

Government Debt Is Taxation Without Representation

With Thursday’s passage of a continuing resolution that funds government operations until December 3rd, Congress dodged one fiscal cliff, but a bigger one looms ahead. The federal government has maxed out its credit, and if Congress doesn’t raise the statutory debt ceiling by October 18, the Treasury won’t be able to cover all of Uncle Sam’s obligations.

With Democrats controlling the House, Senate and White House, Republicans have declared they’re leaving it entirely up to the Democrats to raise the ceiling through the budget reconciliation process. Democratic leaders and their media allies claim that would be too complex, time-consuming and risky.

However, if past experience is a reliable guide, we can expect a couple weeks of harsh rhetoric, media hype and hand-wringing that culminate in the debt ceiling being modified for the 99th time in its 104-year history.

Oct 04 06:43

“Big Money” and the “Water Barons”: A New Water Source That Could Make Drought a Thing of the Past

Lack of fresh water is now a global crisis. Water shortages mean food shortages, with hunger creating death tolls substantially exceeding those of the current Covid-19 crisis. According to the United Nations, some 800 million people are without clean water, and 40% of the world’s population is impacted by drought. By one measure, almost 100 percent of the Western United States is currently in drought, setting an all-time 122-year record. Meanwhile, local “water wars” rage, with states, cities and whole countries battling each other for scarce water resources.

The ideal solution would be new water flows to add to the hydrologic cycle, and promising new scientific discoveries and technologies are holding out that possibility.

Oct 04 06:41

The Mainstream Media Says “We Can Expect To See A Shortage Of Canned Foods” During The Holiday Season

Now even the mainstream media is admitting that the shortages are going to get even worse. Earlier this year, the talking heads on television were assuring all of us that the U.S. economy would be “booming” by the end of 2021, but obviously that hasn’t happened. Instead, we are facing growing shortages and rampant inflation. In fact, one measure of inflation just hit the highest level in nearly 40 years. But of more immediate concern is the fact that shortages are intensifying all over the nation. We have never seen anything like this before, and the mainstream media is openly telling us that the worst is yet to come. For example, the following comes from an Axios article entitled “The great holiday shortage”…

Oct 04 06:31

“Programmable Digital Currency”: The Next Stage of the New Normal?

Building on the bitcoin model, central banks are planning to produce their own “digital currencies”. Removing any and all remaining privacy, granting total control over every transaction, even limiting what ordinary people are allowed to spend their money on.

From the moment bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies first emerged, sold as an independent and alternative medium of exchange outside the financial status quo, it was only a matter of time before the new alternative would be absorbed, modified and redeployed in service of the state.

Enter “Central Bank Digital Currencies”: the mainstream answer to bitcoin.

For those who have never heard of them, “Central Bank Digital Currencies” (CBDCs) are exactly what they sound like, digitized versions of the pound/dollar/euro etc. issued by central banks.

Oct 04 06:13

Pandora Papers

The Pandora Papers is the biggest trove of leaked offshore data, comprising 11.9 million files "exposing" the alleged secret wealth and dealings of the world's richest and most powerful. The documents were released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Oct 04 06:12

Soros-Funded Group Releases 'Pandora Papers' Allegedly Exposing 'Offshore Secrets' of World Leaders

Journalists claimed that the leaked documents from 14 offshore companies unveiled "how the rule of law has been bent and broken around the world by a system of financial secrecy enabled by the U.S. and other wealthy nations".

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has released the Pandora Papers, the largest trove of leaked offshore data, accusing world leaders, businessmen, and celebrities of engaging in offshore activities.

The consortium, which receives general support funding from the Open Society Foundations, founded by Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, claims that the just-published documents represent "the most expansive exposé of financial secrecy yet".

According to the ICIJ, the investigation involved more than 650 journalists from 117 countries. It reportedly includes 11.9 million leaked files "covering every corner of the globe".

Oct 04 05:53

Give Britain a pay rise! Boris blames fuel and food shortages crippling UK on low wages and warns that Christmas could be affected

The Prime Minister urged bosses yesterday to give Britain a pay rise – as he warned the era of importing cheap foreign labour was over.

Boris Johnson said low wages were playing a key role in the crippling shortages affecting everything from fuel supplies to supermarket shelves.

And he acknowledged for the first time that supply problems could continue right up to Christmas.

Oct 04 05:44

United States Postal Service suspends mail deliveries to New Zealand

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has suspended mail deliveries to New Zealand due to an unavailability of transportation.

The USPS said on its website that it was temporarily suspending international mail acceptance for a number of destinations.

It said this was due to "impacts related to the Covid-19 pandemic and other unrelated service disruptions".

New Zealand and 21 other countries were listed as being suspended due to "unavailability of transportation".

Australia and Samoa were also among the suspended destinations.

The USPS asked customers to "please refrain from mailing items addressed to the countries listed here, until further notice".

Oct 03 13:12

Inflation-Loving Governments Are Now Blaming Private Businesses for Inflation

By Daniel Lacalle

Monetary history shows that policymakers always resort to the same excuses when it comes to printing money and monetary mismanagement: first, say there is no inflation; second, say it is transitory; third, blame businesses; fourth, blame consumers for overspending; and finally present themselves as the “solution” with price controls, which ultimately devastates the economy...

Oct 03 08:08

Banks Around World Are Suffering Big Outages, Leaving Millions Of Customers In Lurch At Worst Possible Time

Twenty banks (some suffering repeated outages), six countries (one in lockdown), five continents, tens of millions of unhappy customers.

There’s never a good time for your bank’s IT system to go down. But few can be worse than in the middle of a lockdown. It’s difficult to leave home, your local branch may not be open, and as a result you are more reliant than ever on digital banking services. In New Zealand, now in its seventh week of nationwide lockdown, one of the country’s largest lenders, Kiwibank, went down on Tuesday, leaving many of its customers in the lurch. It is one of a string of IT outages the bank has suffered over the past three weeks, after a DDoS attack on New Zealand’s third largest Internet provider caused IT crashes at a number of lenders, including Commonwealth Bank and Anz Bank.

Oct 03 07:09

Chinese Supply Chain Issue Might Cancel Holiday Season

Electricity customers across China were ordered to spend periods of the last few weeks in the dark as utilities cut out the lights to handle vital power shortages.

The fallouts are starting to estimate additional barriers to a global economic recovery, with the interruptions to the world's second-largest economy required to boost prices and aggregate current supply chain issues.

Oct 03 06:38

No Economy Can Recover From This

Oct 02 19:24

Will Price Inflation Prick The Stock Bubble?

Oct 02 08:38

Inflation Hits 30-Year High According to This Key Metric

By Brad Polumbo

Left-leaning media coverage has in recent weeks pushed the narrative that inflation is fading. But shocking new inflation numbers released today blow that media spin to smithereens.

The Labor Department just released the latest Personal Consumption Expenditures index (PCE), which is the Federal Reserve’s preferred metric for monitoring inflation. It shows a 4.3 percent rise in consumer prices from August 2020 to August 2021, with prices rising 0.4 percent last month alone. That’s the biggest annual surge recorded since January 1991—roughly three decades ago.

Even when factoring out volatile food and energy prices, the PCE still shows a 0.3 percent monthly rise in consumer prices and a 3.6 percent year-over-year increase. That’s the highest on that metric since May 1991!...

Oct 02 07:19

The Problem with the Current Economic System

Oct 02 06:53

Jim Rickards: The Next “Lehman Moment”

Oct 02 06:47

A New Water Source That Could Make Drought a Thing of the Past

Lack of fresh water is now a global crisis. Water shortages mean food shortages, with hunger creating death tolls substantially exceeding those of the current Covid-19 crisis. According to the United Nations, some 800 million people are without clean water, and 40% of the world’s population is impacted by drought. By one measure, almost 100 percent of the Western United States is currently in drought, setting an all-time 122-year record. Meanwhile, local “water wars” rage, with states, cities and whole countries battling each other for scarce water resources.

The ideal solution would be new water flows to add to the hydrologic cycle, and promising new scientific discoveries and technologies are holding out that possibility.

Oct 02 06:39

Amazing: Segerblom says $3 billion tax increase would be ‘meaningless’ for average individual

Are you concerned about rising gas prices? Sen. Tick Segerblom doesn't appear to be — in fact, he wants to substantially increase Nevada's gas tax. And he thinks that tax increase would be "meaningless" for the average consumer.

Meaningless? Does he know any average or poor consumers?

The Las Vegas Democrat (Segerblom) said the timetable (for Project Neon) can be cut in half if his Senate Bill 377 becomes law. The bill would impose a 2 cent-per-gallon gasoline tax increase per year for 10 years. The tax, now 52.2 cents per gallon, would rise to 72.2 cents by the end of the decade. …

Segerblom said the new tax was “meaningless” for the average consumer and would bring in $3 billion over 10 years.

Segerblom doesn't just want to increase the gas tax by 2 cents a gallon. He wants to increase the gas tax by 2 cents per gallon each year for 10 years, a 20-cent increase in total.

Oct 02 06:31

4 Creative Ways Venezuelans Survived the Economic Collapse

How will you survive when the economy comes crashing down? Perhaps you can find some inspiration in the creative ways these Venezuelans survived their own economic collapse.

Oct 02 06:30

We're F*ked: The Next Economic Scapegoat

Oct 02 05:57

Ingraham: This is 'moronic in the short and long term'

Oct 02 03:34

Shipping workers warn of imminent global transport systems collapse

A global transport systems collapse looms due to the lingering impacts of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In an open letter, a coalition of unions that represent shipping workers across the globe warns of the imminent collapse as fragmented and inconsistent pandemic restrictions around the world toss international shipping into chaos. -- The shipping workers write: “We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies.

Oct 01 20:31

Brooklyn Grange: World’s Largest Rooftop Farm

By Neenah Payne

Brooklyn Grange in New York City is the largest rooftop farm in the world. The 2016 book "The Farm on the Roof: What Brooklyn Grange Taught Us About Entrepreneurship, Community, and Growing a Sustainable Business" tells the story of its founding and operation.

It is a commercial-scale urban farming business, which has expanded to 2.5 acres spanning two roofs and has now begun a new project at the Jacob Javits Center...

Oct 01 10:59

Santa's sleigh is looking emptier. Fewer toys, higher prices loom for holiday season

If Santa is reading this, his sleigh and reindeer are urgently needed for help.

Toy-makers are warning of emptier shelves and pricier toys this holiday season. Their supplies are ensnarled in an unprecedented shipping crisis — floating traffic jams of container ships wallowing near key U.S. ports.

When Curtis McGill helped launch a small Texas toy company, he did not picture himself in this boat: up all night bidding eye-popping sums of money for space on a trans-Pacific ship.

Most American toys come from China, and usually that trip lasts about a month. Now it's taking two, three, even four months. That means fewer trips, and with a time crunch for the holidays, containers for shipping have become both expensive and elusive.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I will mention this to Santa when I see him! :)

Oct 01 10:12

London’s Blueprint For Technocracy

By Matt

Last week we covered Telosa, a technocratic metropolis slated to be home to 5 million people by 2060. Previously, we’ve investigated plans to turn Nevada into a hub of technocracy. These stories need telling but if we only look into the future we can miss sight of the fact that the technocratic city is already here.

For better or worse, London has long been considered one of the world’s great cities. It has produced many of the world’s great artists, writers, and thinkers. Many of the world’s most renowned museums are here, housing priceless historical artifacts and works of art. London’s palaces, parks, gardens, and squares make it an architect’s playground.

Oct 01 08:29

Consequences of America outsourcing its manufacturing base to China manifest as Beijing cuts off electricity to production factories

What would happen if the country where most of America’s manufacturing base was outsourced back in the days of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were to shut off the industrial power supply? The world is about to find out.

China, reports indicate, has slashed the electricity supply to 16 of its 31 provincial jurisdictions in recent days. Many of these jurisdictions are factory-heavy, meaning everything that has a “Made in China” label slapped on it is now at risk of seeing shortages.

Beijing has suddenly decided that the energy it has been using for decades to power all of the world’s outsourced manufacturing is “unclean” and must be limited. This has created waves of rolling blackouts that are interfering with production at a time when the supply chain is already suffering due to Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions.

Oct 01 08:15

United Airlines to fire nearly 600 workers for refusing to get COVID-19 jabs

United was the first American carrier to institute a vaccine mandate for all of its domestic employees. They were given a deadline of September 27 to upload proof of their inoculation or face termination by October 2, while those who refuse to get it were terminated outright.

Although airline executives have said that more than 99 percent of their domestic employees did get vaccinated, the rest will be parting ways with the company. Staff who did not comply with the mandate span various roles, including pilots, mechanics and flight attendants.

A memo sent to employees this week stated: “For the less than 1 [percent] of people who decided to not get vaccinated, we’ll unfortunately begin the process of separation from the airline per our policy.”

Oct 01 07:29

Raising the debt ceiling again.

Oct 01 07:04

How Can Houses Be Unaffordable AND Booming?

Oct 01 06:20

The Recent Oil Price Rally Can’t Be Justified

After a fairytale run that saw Brent temporarily cross the magical $80/bbl mark for the first time in three years, the crude rally has taken a breather thanks to a surprise build in crude inventories. On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a build in crude oil inventories of 4.127 million barrels for the week ending September 24, contrary to analysts’ consensus of a loss of 2.33 million barrels. API had reported a draw in oil inventories of 6.108 million barrels in the previous week, well above expectations of a draw of 2.40 million barrels.

Nevertheless, Brent settled at USD 78.17/bbl on 30th September for a w/w gain of USD 4.25/bbl, while WTI for November delivery rose USD 4.11/bbl w/w to USD 74.25/bbl.

Oct 01 06:18

Dallas Fed President Kaplan Was Making Bold, Market-Moving Statements to Media During 2020 Crisis; the Same Year He Traded Tens of Millions of Dollars in Stocks and S&P 500 Futures

Last year, during the worst health crisis in more than a hundred years in the United States, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan was frequently throwing gasoline on the fire in broadcast and print media interviews. Also in 2020, Kaplan was trading in and out of S&P 500 futures, a sophisticated instrument used by hedge funds to time the market and/or short the market. The Dallas Fed will not say if Kaplan engaged in shorting the market during a national health crisis. (Shorting means to place a bearish bet that the market or a security will fall in value.)

Kaplan gave a total of 68 interviews with the press in 2020, an eyebrow raising number for a man also trading S&P 500 futures.

Twice in the span of six days in May of 2020, Kaplan predicted that unemployment was going to surge to 20 percent. That’s a very bold and very bearish call. According to the Congressional Research Service, the maximum unemployment rate in 2020 topped out at 14.8 percent in April.

Oct 01 05:11

Biden Has Big Plans That Involve YOUR Bank

Wyoming Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis tore into Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen on Tuesday for her backing of a Biden proposal to ask banks to hand over transaction data over $600 on individual bank accounts.

'Banks do not work for the IRS,' Lummis announced. 'This is an invasion of privacy. Wyoming's people literally will find alternatives to traditional banks just to thwart IRS access to their personal information, not because they're trying to hide anything, but because they are not willing to share everything.'

Oct 01 04:48

Is Defaulting on the Debt the Moral Thing to Do?

The US is in the midst of yet another “debate” over the debt ceiling. In the twenty-first century, this is a ritual that Washington politicos and journalists go through every few years when the prospect of default and government shutdown is used as a way to hold Americans hostage until they cave to demands for more debt and deficit spending. I won’t bore you with the details of which politicians are voting against a higher debt ceiling this time around. Outside a tiny handful of principled eccentrics of the Ron Paul variety, virtually everyone in Washington favors more deficit spending. The fact that the leadership from one of the parties currently pretends to oppose higher debt levels tells us nothing about what the regime really wants.

Oct 01 04:43

Congress Passes Bill to Avert Shutdown in Bipartisan Vote

Senate Republicans joined with Democrats on Sept. 30 to pass stopgap legislation to fund the government through December, averting a government shutdown set to begin in the early hours of Oct. 1. The House later aligned with the Senate, voting 254–175 to avert a government shutdown.

However, the measure fails to address the debt ceiling, which Republicans have said they won’t vote to raise.

On Sept. 27, Republicans showed solidarity against a bill that would have raised the debt ceiling, voting 50–49 to block debate on the bill.

Oct 01 04:41

Biden Meets With Democrat Holdouts To Secure Votes For $3.5 Trillion 'Human Infrastructure' Bill

President Joe Biden has scheduled meetings Tuesday with two Senate holdouts within his own party as part of a last-minute bid to secure support for a $3.5 trillion social spending plan.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., are openly opposed to the package out of concern for its hefty price tag and questions about how it will be paid for.

Biden will hold separate talks with the senators to try and assuage their concerns about the package. Their votes are especially critical in the evenly divided Senate where the president cannot afford any "No" votes from his party if it hopes to pass the bill by means of budget reconciliation.

A CNN correspondent tweeted that Sinema did not take questions after leaving the White House. Manchin will meet with Biden in the afternoon, according to a Washington Post report.

Sep 30 19:53

How US Techno-nationalism Spawned a Global Electronic Kraken

By Mathew Maavak

We may have enjoyed a more equitable and decentralized international system today if not for US intervention on behalf of Microsoft. Big Tech thereafter ushered in a series of techno-social function creeps at the expense of fundamental freedoms.

It was the 1980s. A resurgent Japan was colonizing one civilian market after another through sheer diligence and ingenuity. In terms of quantity and quality, Japanese manufacturers were bankrupting a variety of industrial strongholds, ranging from Swiss watchmakers to US auto giants to Indian textile plants. Whether they be school stationeries, household appliances or nylon saris, quality-with-affordability could only be Made in Japan. America was particularly in deep trouble...

Sep 30 13:37

$54,000 Bill for COVID Test Didn’t Include E.R. Facility Fee

By B.N. Frank

Some businesses have used COVID-19 to their advantage. This includes labs and medical facilities. Crazy-high COVID test related bills have been reported since last year. This one may be the craziest one so far...

Sep 30 12:34

Costco limiting consumer purchases of essential items like toilet paper as supply line collapse accelerates

Membership-only retail chain Costco said on Thursday that it was bringing back limits on purchasing key items such as toilet paper, bath tissues, bottled water and cleaning supplies to prevent hoarding amid another surge of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

Sep 30 10:45

America's Economic Recovery Gets A Punch In The Gut

A group of business economists' trust in the U.S. economy is fading, a drop inspired by the possibility of a new, vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant.

A survey published Monday by the National Association for Business Economics shows that its members assume the economy to grow 5.6% this year – down distinctly from their previous estimate of 6.5%. The respondents projected the economy will grow by 3.5% in 2022.

"NABE Outlook survey panelists have moderated their expectations about the prospects for economic growth in 2021 since May," said David Altig, president-elect of the NABE and the director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Sep 30 10:44

UK Wants China Out Of Nuclear Power Project

The UK is ousting China's CGN from the Sizewell C nuclear power plant project, the Financial Times reported, adding that the options for the 20-percent stake that the Chinese company holds in the project will be sold to institutional investors or floated on the stock market.

Reports of the UK government's intention to remove the Chinese state-owned company from the nuclear power project first emerged in July, also by the Financial Times, which at the time wrote that the plan was to cut off CGN from all nuclear power projects in the UK amid a cooling off between the two countries that also saw the UK force China's Huawei out of its 5G network.

The growing animosity of the UK towards China came amid China's quashing of dissenters in Hong Kong, allegations of repressions against Muslim minorities such as the Uyghurs, and a growing concern—not only in the UK—that reliance on Chinese technology threatens the security of other countries' supply chains and critical infrastructure.

Sep 30 10:43

Rapid Demand Recovery Hints At Even Higher Oil Prices

Brent prices hit a three-year high at $80 a barrel early on Tuesday, driven by recovering demand and a global energy supply crisis pushing up the use of oil and prices of fossil fuel commodities. The rally to $80—the first time Brent Crude prices have exceeded this mark since September 2018—may have legs for further upsides, analysts say.

Oil demand globally is recovering from the summer Delta variant spike faster than some observers had expected. Soaring prices of natural gas and coal in Europe and Asia are forcing more gas-to-oil switching at power generating units globally, further pushing up demand for oil.

Sep 30 10:24

Pelosi blasted for repeating Biden talking point that $3.5 trillion bill will cost 'zero'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., became the latest prominent Democrat on Wednesday to declare the $3.5-trillion spending plan pushed by the Biden White House would cost "zero" dollars.

"It's not about a dollar amount," she told reporters. "The dollar amount, as the president said, is zero. This bill will be paid for."

Republicans have ripped Build Back Better, a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, as a massive social policy bill that "ultimately provides benefits to wealthy liberal elites at the expense of working-class families." Moderate Democrats, like Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., have also raised concerns about the reconciliation package.

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