• "When did this happen to us? When did housing turn into a commodity? Why is housing being traded on the stock market? How is it that a public good is being used to make such astronomical profits?"

    -Said by a Berlin resident who didn't move out of an apartment building, although they want him to move out (as every other tenant already has) to make room for them to demolish the building and build new apartments. He received threats and had his car set on fire, reportedly.

    Rents have skyrocketed as global investments have poured into Berlin real estate.

    A recent large referendum had 57% vote in favor of (who? the State? the city?) buying out companies who hold more than 3000 units. ("The most successful referendum in Berlin's history")

    There's a line in Article 15 in the German Constitution that says property can be expropriated when it's for the public good. (There are lots of other options to fix the problem besides expropriation, however.)

    It's a pattern that exists in most European cities. Demolishing old buildings and building new ones. Prices rising. Long term residents left with not much choice but to move elsewhere.

    How can we contrast 'a public good being turned into a commodity' with having enough money to satisfy the market and the possibility of lack of such money being treated as sufficient excuse to seize property without consent (which, you could argue, is frequently done by governments during land development)?

  • Trust in gov linked to vaccination levels

    Russia, despite having a vaccine earlier, has only 33% vaccination.

    Or does it have something to do with public information about the nationalist approach to a vaccine.

    Reportedly, you can buy a vaccine passport in Russia online for 70Euros, and it doesn't matter if you got the vaccine for real.

    In the US, govt decisions about medicines is being framed in light of incentives. For example, the new Merck Molnupiravir costs $17 to produce and the US is paying $700 a course for it. Expected revenue for Merck this year is $7b.

    The Bill and Melinda gates foundation gave BBC Media Action $1.6m this year. Why?

    In India, the Indian Bar is taking a head of the WHO to court, alleging the WHO give false medical info.

    Another question in the US/West. Early in the Pandemic, the government made decisions based on input from their scientists. The govt thereby thought they were following the science, but was the science correct? Did the chief science officers get it wrong? or what happened there? (Note that even as a layman, during the first week or two of the Pandemic in late Feb 2019, there was data available showing where the virus came from, how it spread, etc., which the government's positions seemed to disagree with, and my guess at the time was that if govt officials were actually motivated to public welfare, they understood from data they had and I didn't but could guess at, that even if they told their populations to treat it seriously and restrict contagion risks, their population wouldn't have obeyed).
  • Fed still saying inflation is transitory

    ... despite, many say, many indicators like rising house prices, rents, wages.

    "Yes, you need to fight the Fed," Komal Sri Kumar said this week, which is the opposite of what most stock investors say and have been saying since the Pandemic. "Because the Fed cannot win at all times.

    "We have had times in history when the Fed goes to extremes, it doesn't anticipate what is going to happen, and then the whole thing fails.

    "One example was effort to keep interest rates, bond yields under control during the 1940s, early 50s, and it just collapsed.

    "2008, Fed did not foresee the crisis."

    Many countries have been hiking rates but not in the developed world.

  • "New greed is actually insecurity and envy - Josh Brown

    "... very distinct to this moment."

    "Different kinds of greed"

    "Just watching 22 year olds, who don't know anything, become billionaires overnight. That's killing people, from a sentiment standpoint."

    "Middle-aged people who are watching this circus going on outside their window, and I think it's making them almost consider buying weapons."

    "I think that colors a lot of the market commentary, and now everything 'is a bubble.'"

    "People looking at their portfolio, taking huge bets."

    "It's 'Where do I stand?'"

  • "For Chile's largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, this is the latest chapter in a 500 year conflict for control of their ancestral land.

    "In the late 1800's, the Chilean state took away most of it and gave it to Chilean and European farmers, plunging the Mapuche's into poverty until this day. Now younger, more radical Mapuche's are taking up arms to expel forestry companies and large land owners.

    "Highways are no longer safe. Countless agricultural equipment has been destroyed. While Mapuche communities take over land.

    "A Chilean farmer was the latest to die after his house was set ablaze by an armed group."

    This was how AJ reported it.

    Chile has declared a state of emergency.
  • Biden's approval rating down

    Around 35%. Particularly low among independents and women, who were both part of how he got elected.
  • US citizens increasingly think 'democracy' under threat

    Over 70% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats think 'democracy' is serious under threat.
  • Trump signs deal to publish Truth Social

    A social media platform to combat the tyranny of Big Tech.

    He was banned from Twitter and Facebook after the Capitol Riots / "Insurrection".

    He signed with Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC). It's stock was up like 350% for the day, and up another 40% by 8pm.

  • "I'm not willing to say that all corporations are autocratic, but certainly they do not have their own rule of law or social contract with the citizens.

    "Increasingly the US is becomming a hybrid system, where if you exist in the physical world you have laws that apply to you and you have a judiciary that metes out whether it's being broken by the US government that you vote for, or vote against, but you're part of that process.

    "Where in the digital world, the virtual world, which is increasingly a large part of the economy, increasingly a large part of our social interactions, where we get information from, increasingly a large part even of our personal and national security, actually the government doesn't exercise sovereignty over that space. These corporations do. And the rules that the corporations apply to those virtual spaces are determined by those coprations. ... a radically different place than we've ever existed before, either as citizens or consumers." - Ian Bremmer

  • Bitcoin ETF

    The first one the SEC let pass. Gensler hinted he's more comfortable with trading on an regulated futures exchanges like NYSE (where the Bitcoin ETF 'Proshares,' BITO, owned by ProFunds Group [$58b under management] is listed) than on Binance and that type of exchange.

    BITO is not based on actual Bitcoin, but rather on futures contracts, and filed under mutual funds rules that provide significant investor protections, according to SEC. The product already exists, and this is just a repackaging, and if something goes wrong the SEC knows how to deal with it and knows how to intervene.

    The futures in BITO are a bet on the price of bitcoin, without having to actually store bitcoin, so there's no risk of theft of coins or loss of passwords. If bitcoin goes down in price, your money goes to pay those who took the other side of the bet.

    The risk is taken by the arbitrageur who holds bitcoins he buys for full price plus a margin of 1/3rd. Ie a bitcoin which costs $60k means $80k for him. They do this because they charge for this service.

    The return for you of buying BITO is less than buying Bitcoin. It will tend to trade about 8% above the price of bitcoin. (Right now this premium is about 15%.) The ETF's management fee is about 1%.

    So why is this product even necessary? Some experts say 'institutional money.' Boomer investors who will never get a crypto wallet even if it's easy to do, but who have money to invest and want to put it in bitcoin. Josh Brown recently said Chicago investment culture is such that they would approve an ETF for anything as long as they thought people would put their money into it, or something like that.

    Bitcoin up steadily over the past months from it's 25k low (or 30 I forget) and is now at $55k (up several percent since BITO dropped).

  • Some restaurants using robots because they can't get workers

    In the US, 75 or 80% percent of restaurants are understaffed.


    Flippy-2 robot makes deep fried wings. The restaurants are looking at unlocking capacity: faster food for guests. Doing less desirable, more dangerous tasks. Costs now about $3000 per month (I don't know what that means exactly).

    Matri-D by Richtech delivers plates of food to tables. It's basically a robotic food tray. Costs up to $20k. Can serve more tables, customers get food faster, no tips.

    An Australian delivery robot delivers food from a mall to houses within a half a mile.

  • Record visitors to national parks

    Overcrowded. Waits of up to 4 hours to enter certain trails.

  • Colin Powell, 'first black Secretary of State' who worked for Bush White House, died

    ... just a few months after Rumsfeld. Powell was 84.

    According to people commenting on posts about him, he'll be most remembered for lying the US into its war against Iraq, and for 'regime change.' People called him war criminal.

    Here is a piece about him:

    Colin Powell, creator of the viral anti-war meme featuring himself holding a stage prop while lying to the United Nations about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, has died at the age of 84.

    Over the years Powell’s meme has been an invaluable asset for opponents of western military interventionism and critics of U.S. propaganda narratives about empire-targeted nations, serving as a single-image debunk of any assertion that it is sensible to trust the claims U.S. officials make about any government that Washington doesn’t like.

    Note that as effective as visual propaganda is in its message, it is also very effective the other way once it's meaning has been redefined.

  • A British politician was stabbed to death

    The killing has been announced as motivated by 'terrorism.'

  • "I don't know why or how everybody got this ... sensitive,"

    Chapelle said at a recent show, commenting on 'cancel culture.'

    I haven't read anything on the morphology of it, either.
  • Moscow uses facial recognition for payments on the metro

    Ostensibly they are using it to give passengers the option to pay that way. Their face is tied to their credit card in this optional system, and they can pay for their trips that way.

    15k people volunteered to test the system before it was made public this week.

    To do facepay, you have to stop in front of the camera for a second before entering the train gates.

    Moscow has over 200k facial recognition cameras.They were used earlier this year in the arrests of demonstrators at opposition protests.

  • Joe Rogan had Sanjay Gupta on and pressed him on CNN's 'journalism'

    Because CNN (Gupta is a star 'medical professional' on that channel) reported on Rogan taking 'horse medicine' and painting it pretty negative, and putting a yellow filter on the video they used of Rogan (to make him look worse). Guptra tried to change the subject several times, but Rogan pressed him in a guyish way, and was pretty good at it.

    It made waves and headlines on Republican media and YouTubers.

  • 6% increase in social security benefits

    Highest increase in 40 years.

    Based on cost of living adjustment (COLA), based on actual government-reported inflation numbers. Retirees need the increase. The average check is going up about $100. Most people receive about $1200 a month on this.

    Ie, inflation. A 2% increase is considered to be high.

    6% is a non-sustainable number.

  • Several sectors in US seeing worker strikes

    Entertainment, health care, UAW.

  • Jerusalema

    A pop phenomenon. There's a song called Jerusalema, a gospel-influenced house song by South African producer  Master KG and performed by singer-songwriter Nomcebo, and people all around the world in groups or singles are making dance videos to it. I think it might be mostly a TikTok thing. Shows African dancers pretty nicely.

  • Great Resignation, a term coined for all the people quitting in the Western world

    Shocks, like that experienced by basically everyone over the past year or two, often cause people to reassess the things they're doing with their lives. Burnout is another thing cited (at places like hospitals).
  • Pentagon's first chief software officer resigned last month saying China will dominate US in AI and bioengineering tech

    Nicholas Chaillan, age 37. He said he thought it was already a done deal and that the US would have no competitive chance in 15-20 years.

    He said many government departments in the US were run by people who weren't really experts in that field. He also criticized Google-like tech giants for not wanting to cooperate with the USgov over ethics issues.

    US SoD wants a $1.5b investment to develop AI faster.

  • Netherlands struggles with drug mafia threats

    Earlier this year, a journalist covering the 'Mocro Mafia' trial of 17 members was killed. Now the PM of the country has to step up his security following threats.

    "This is completely undermining our rule of law, which has led many Dutch people to be terrified..." one of their suits said at Congress.

    Analysts drew comparisons with other drug cartel leaders, like ones in days gone by in Latin America: "It's them showing how powerful they are... saying, 'Look, we are even considering doing this.' The threats to (PM) Rutte show that in a way the Netherlands is descending into a narcostate. Not in the sense of that we have a lot of corruption at government level, or that police are crooked, but in the sense that organized crime is so big."

    Drugs in this story means cocaine and MDMA/ecstasy. These are the two drugs that follow at a distance marijuana as the most popular recreational substances there. Drug use is concentrated among young adults age 15-34.

  • 3d printed gun inventor dies of heart attack at age 28, days after his house was raided by police

    He invented and publicized a totally 3d printed gun (unlike previous/other ones that required purchase of a bolt or magazine to be bought the old fashioned way). Every part of it except the barrel, which could be made at home as well. His gun was called FGC-9 ('fuck gun control 9mm').

    He was raided after financial companies reported his unusual purchased to law enforcement, reportedly.

    Many raised questions about his death, having occurred so soon after a raid by a force related to those who probably investigated and confirmed the normalness of his death (they reported he had a heart defect), combined with his age.

    However, 1 in 5 heart attacks are now for people under age 40. That means 0.3% of people between 20 and 40 have heart attacks. However, the average age for a first heart attack is 65 for men and 72 for women.

    Note, though, that having a heart attack is not the same as dying from a heart attack, I don't think, anyway. I didn't see stats for dying of heart attack under age 30.
    Quotes said by the guy, JStark, on YouTube: "There are certain circumstances in our life that are unfortunate, and which make living kind of painful, and sometimes I do not have anything to look forward to. But with me, I have nothing to lose. And to accept the risk to be able to die at any time basically. Live free or die. These are not empty words.  ... We do not want harm for anyone. We want everyone to live peacefully amongst each other. And we want people to have the freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. If that's too politically extreme for you, fuck yourself."
  • Bow and arrow attack in Norway left some dead, others wounded

    First question that arises in my (everyone's?) mind: Was it a Muslim extremist or an anti-immigration native extremist?

  • China making more moves toward unification with Taiwan

    Last week China flew a bunch of war jets over Taiwan.

    Xi made new comments China would unify with Taiwan, the day before Taiwan's national day. In the past, Xi has threatened he might take Taiwan by force, but the recent statements were considered to be much softer than that.

    One way to view Taiwan is as another province like those that have already been returned to China (Hong Kong and Macao in the 90s). A breakaway province.

  • French forces prepare to close bases in Mali

  • Nickel-based cathode has higher energy density for longrange vehicles, for Tesla

    Standard-range vehicles and stationary storage will move to iron-based battery cathodes, Musk thinks. He thinks the majority of batteries in the future will be iron-based, so there won't be any shortage. It's just a question of making the equipment to process the iron into a cell and then into a pack.

    Nickel isn't rare, but there's about 10-100x as much iron as nickel.

    (Cobalt-based for phones and laptops.)

    Lithium makes up about 2% or so of a battery cell, but lithium is also not rare (basically its a salt, and there's a little bit everywhere).

  • "If Nicolai Tesla applied at Tesla today, would we even give him an interview?"

    Musk said this was something he thought about sometimes, when considering hiring engineers, or just good people to work at his company. He said he wasn't sure they would.

    "Just three bullet points. Like evidence of exceptional ability. And if you say 'Wow' if you read those three bullet points, that should be the approach." He said this about looking for people.

  • Used fast fashion, low quality, doesn't find a market when it arrives in Africa

    15m items of used clothing arrive in just Ghana every week, sent from the first world. Lots of people go through this clothing to sell it in used clothing stores. More and more of what arrives is 'fast fashion,' which is low quality and doesn't last long.

    There are fields of garbage that include a lot of this clothing (estimated 40% of used clothing that arrives in Ghana goes there).

  • Women not really going back to work as much as expected

    Many commenters said things like 'businesses should do more' to try to get women to go to work.

    There was also talk about childcare as a way to make it easier for women to go to work.

    Reportedly, lot of families also want to keep homeschooling their children rather than send them back to school.

    Reports didn't really give an any numbers.

  • EU majority vote against mass surveillance through facial recognition

    ... such as that used by police. It's called 'biometric surveillance.'

    It's not a law against, that they voted for. It's more of a statement against the idea.

  • "The global financial system needs legally stable tax-neutral jurisdictions in order to facilitate international business transactions, which in no way dodge any taxes." - Patrick Boyle, talking about offshore tax havens like BVI and Caymans, in light of the Pandora Papers.

    Governments like the US gov also use them, for investment like in the TARP program, which helped bring liquidity to the markets after the Global Financial Crisis.
  • Pandora Papers

    (Filed under ¿Journalism? rather than under Journalism)

    Many many documents were leaked, not showing illegal activity or wrongdoing, but simply how wealthy people move money and make purchases.

    Things like photos of homes that the owners wanted to keep private were shown. Anyone wanting to rob them can say "Thanks."

    People like Ringo Star are in it. Everyone knows he's rich, knows how he made money, and he's not suspected of wrongdoing.

    Types of documents in the leaks: passports, bank statements, tax declarations, company and corp records, real estate contracts and due diligence questionnaires.

    The way this data data was taken from lawyers offices and financial firms was most likely illegal, it is considered.

    The org that published (or gave to 600 journalists to pick through) the leak was the ICJ.

  • China's risk in thinking about conquering Taiwan

    Fairly risk averse gov. Potential of losing is quite deterrent.

    Not much war experience, even to take on the Taiwanese.

    US and Japan are close. India and US are closer than before, increasingly seen as an ally. Aukus and Quad alliances. China increasingly isolated. What diplomatic options?

    Xi's foreign policy is not considered a success over the past 10 years.

  • India's coal

    Coal is 70% of India's energy mix (most mined domestically).

    India keeps adding lower and middle class energy consumers, who are buying goods like fans, lights, and TVs.

    Mines were flooded recently by monsoon rains.

    There is only a few days of coal stores. But it doesn't look like there will be a power outage.

    It's more a fear for businesses than homes.

    India has some solar, but solar outputs are reportedly declining.

  • Energy crisis in Europe?

    Some (especially Northwestern like Austria and Germany) nations keep low stocks of natgas, buying is on spot. These will drive the price up.

    This is based on capacity and ability to stock up over the past summer.

    Exposure to spot market rates.

    Asia is winning bidding wars with Europe for cargos.

    There is a question whether Russia really can deliver as much as it says it will. Russia is also looking to fill up its own storage.

    Spain suggested to the EU a shared reserve of energy for emergencies.

  • At some point, Chinese crackdown on companies will be more or less finished, and from that point there will be a more stable operating environment for a lot of companies.

    The next catalyst for Chinese stocks.

    CCP wants to see 'no further monopolistic behavior.'

  • Fantasia, a second big Chinese real estate firm, missed a big key payment
  • China power crunch

    As China came out of the pandemic, the economy recovered fast, which led to energy demand, which led to really rapid production of coal, which led to some mining examples. As a result, the gov put some safetly regulations on, which constrained coal mining production this year. Prices went up.

    Over the summer, local officials were really conscious of these issues and tried to coordinate with power companies to make sure power supply and demand would be balanced. But in September, demand was higher than expected.

    Also, wind and hydro were lower than expected in some areas.

    In some areas also, local officals were not meeting their energy intensity targets.

    This led to the CCP unilaterally deciding to cut power supply to certain sectors of the economy.

    At the heart of it is really 'local officials' decisions,' it was said.

    (Coal has been the best performing commodity this year price wise.)

  • "It started with Alex Jones. This is nothing new. And I think Alex Jones was the test case to see who you can silence under the pretext of 'protecting,' and they got away with it with Alex Jones, and it's only escalated since then." - David Freiheit

  • Bigtech's tobacco moment?

    This parallel has been drawn (Sen. Blumenthal)
    Because of the company research documents. Tobacco's docs showed they knew about the health affects. Facebook also.
  • Putin assured EU he has all the natgas they want

    Europeans pay 5x what Americans pay for natgas.

  • Facebook rough week

    They had a 'whistleblower' tell news orgs that Facebook knows it's platforms (especially Insta) 'hurt' people by harming their self esteem or self image (girls with body image). The platforms went down for hours that day, causing people to go in droves to other platforms to try to communicate, which brought down the other platforms, too.

    Is there any difference from this Facebook news and what beauty (for both women and men) magazines have always done?
    To sensible people this might seem like a non-issue, or at least nothing previously unknown, but the stock is down like 15% from its high.
  • Tesla ordered to pay $137M to ex-worker over hostile work environment

    He was an elevator operator who said someone or people did racial abuse to him.
    What percentage of people would you guess would willingly have someone do racial abuse to them for even $137?
  • Stagflation?

    CEOs are planning for supply chain disruptions in 2022 also, which means they are starting to worry about maintaining output levels even though demand is there (ie profits lost not just deferred).
  • People now seeing inflation as not going down. US, UK, Germany.
  • "Companies feel more confident to increase prices because prices are going up everywhere."

    Mohamed El-Erian, on inflation being seen now as not so transitory.
  • "We do know that the immunity after vaccination is better than the immunity after natural infection"

    ... is what the FDA has been saying, which seems to contradict evidence and the opinion of experts. Unless 'better' in this sentence means something other than 'more effective.'

    They say 'it appears ... that natural infection provides immunity, but that immunity is seemingly not as strong and may not be as long lasting as that provided by the vaccine.'

    They say that 'generally the immunity after natural infection tends to wane after about 90 days.' Also contradicts science.

    It also contradicts the position of the UK and Israeli data.

  • Threat of attack on international money transfers cited by investor

    I forget who it was.
  • China banned crypto, nomatter where trading takes place

    US regulators are also looking at doing something. Notably DeFi (Gensler).

    China is experiencing energy shortages (Goldman downgraded China's growth forecast for this), and it might last months.

    Still, any Chinese with a wallet could trade on permissionless decentralized exchanges where there is no KYC.

    There are also VPNs and many Chinese live and work overseas where it could be impossible to prevent their trading crypto.

  • AI is second-biggest threat to civilization, said Elon Musk, arguably the world's biggest robot maker

    We should have a regulatory agency to oversee AI safety, he said, but there isn't anything like that right now and that type of thing takes governments years to do.

    He said he didn't really know what to do about it.

    (His biggest threat was population collapse.)

  • WIll general purpose blockchains that have greater utility eclipse finished products like bitcoin?

    This question was posed by an Indian-looking fellow at Codecon (who didn't give his name), to Elon Musk.

  • "Possibly the single greatest risk to human civilization is the rapidly diminishing growth rate. And the facts are out there for anyone to look at. But a lot of people are still stuck with Paul Illick's book Population Bomb, and it's like, uh, that was a long time ago. That is not the case today. And there was a massive notch in demographics last year because the growth rate plummeted, and also this year." - Elon Musk at CodeCon 2021 (September)

  • US schools: Conflict over masks and vaccines

    Lots of disagreement in meetings and signs being put up, and some low-key violence like grabbing phones, as well as 'threats of violence' and letters to government.

    In a letter to the president, the National School Boards Assoc Pres Viola Garcia went somewhat nuclear, straight to 'terrorism:'

    "As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes," she wrote.

  • US home sales have turned negative

    Tight supply pushed prices up. Sales of homes under $250k fell compared with a year ago, although those over $1m rose 40%.

    First time buyers are having a hard time with higher prices. Home prices are up 20% over the past year. Median price is $356k (I think). First time home buyers are half the percentage of the market they used to be. Sticker shock?

    Fed is doing this, according to Josh Brown, with 'mindless asset purchases,' like mortgage bonds of $40b a month, harming the first time buyer.

    If rates rise further, which is speculated, it might slow home buying even more. Some experts think this will affect second house buys and more expensive house buys, rather than first home buys, because Americans still seem to like the idea of owning a home and putting their money into this investment, whereas people who already have a house will be less likely to buy a different one.
  • Northwestern U facing calls to completely abolish Greek life

    ... Two students at a two different frat houses said they were drugged. A spokesperson for the frat house AEPi said, "Our understanding is that the people responsible ARE NOT and HAVE NEVER been members of AEPi."

    A few years ago that frat house was suspended for a year because they gave alcohol to people under age 21, reportedly.

    One student said, "It's really important to believe the victims ..."

  • Amazon introduces a spy device on wheels for people's homes

    ... called Astro. It's Alexa on wheels. It's designed to look small and cute.

    It can play movies, do video calls.

  • Turkey Technofest

    Main things: killer drones, fighter jets, EVs, guns, helicopters, biotech, AI.

    At the podium, the chief tech officer said they were holding the festival 'in order not to be condemned to a world constructed by brutal capitalist technology monopolies, we must fill our sails with our own wind of transformation, and the direction of our civilizational values." Turkey's shifting away from importing tech.

    The initiative should generate a lot of cash for Turkey. Last year, Turkey's defence tech got $2.3b. People suggested if Turkey continues along its current tech development path, it might become home to the largest aerospace festival, and maybe even a world leader in the sector.
  • About 100 OnlyFans accounts made over $1m each, reportedly

    What is missing in the societies where the clients come from?

    Users pay $5 for a monthly subscription to any given account, and pay tips up to I think $100, in order to sort of be friends with an attractive person. Accounts make content and personalized content.

    The UK company is worth about $10b, it's estimated.

  • Jack Ma's companies lost like $800b in a year, reportedly

  • Murders up 30% in US in 2020

    ... according to the FBI's annual report. Largest increase since the report started in the 60s.
  • R. Kelly found guilty

    Groupies going backstage and getting the performer's number and hooking up were recast by the court/media as victims being groomed. Kelly's wife, a person he loved, was also treated as a crime.

    It was reported as a victory for the MeToo movement.

  • US economy start of October

    Wages going higher, lots of jobs offered (11m openings), savings still high, retail sales very strong, resurgence (V-shaped) in manufacturing which is barely below pre-pandemic.

    General mills expects 7-8% inflation for fiscal 2022.

    Investor confidence high. Yield curve steepening.
    Preparing for tapering and rate increases.

    Labor and supply chain issues have both worsened. No one knows when supply chain issues will be fixed. But they will eventually (after 2022?) be fixed, although wages are 70% of company costs, so it might be different there. Wages and rent.

    The economy is very strong. Profits are high and growing. Profits get recycled into capital expenditure and hiring. The Fed is still acomodative.
    It's considered likely the US will get infrastructure.

    Manufacturers (like Ford) saying US needs to start making chips and minerals like cobalt locally. A local supply chain that's circular.

    Consumer confidence is lowest since Feb.

    Real yields are rising, which is typically a sign of real growth.
  • Some scientific organizations now will censor themselves on anything that gives offense to others

    Reportedly, the Royal Society of Chemistry issued a letter to its editors to keep from publishing offensive content, which included the words, 'we bear in mind that it is the perception of the recipient that we should consider, regardless of the author's intention' and that they should look for anything that could potentially cause offense.

    They explicitly say what is offensive content: 'Any content that could reasonably offend someone on the basis of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religeous or political beliefs, marital or parental status, physical features, national origin, social status, or disability.'

  • San Jose police officer quits to speak out against vaccine mandate

    "When we received a email saying that you're gonna have a vaccine by a certain date or face discipline up to and including termination, I took it as a threat. Because I don't plan to be vaccinated. And I decided to turn in my badge so I could speak up cause others can't for fear of losing their job," David Gutierrez told Fox News.

    In Gutierrez's case, he didn't want to put the thing in his body for religious reasons.

  • Report shows CIA had made plans that included options to kill Assange in the embassy in London

    In 2017 the CIA under Pompeo (although the report showed the plans predated Pompeo although he pushed it forward) and the Trump Admin did some work making possible plans to kidnap and possibly kill Assange.

    The following statement can be attributed to Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) executive director Trevor Timm:

    “The CIA is a disgrace. The fact that it contemplated and engaged in so many illegal acts against WikiLeaks, its associates, and even other award-winning journalists is an outright scandal that should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department. The Biden Administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately. The case already threatens the rights of countless reporters. These new revelations, which involve a shocking disregard of the law, are truly beyond the pale.”

    Trump, as everyone knows, called Assange a hero when he was running for pres, and people looked for him to pardon Assange before he left the White House, but he didn't, although he pardoned other people.

    The US has been trying to have Assange extradited from England to the US for trial, and now people are asking if a nation can legally extradite someone if they had made plans to possibly kill them. Experts say the UK could continue without paying attention to this all, because it's considering on very narrow grands the legitimacy of the US's appeal merits.

    According to YahooNews, the some Obama officials looking at reclassifying Assange and related journalists Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras (who were working on the Snowden documents at the time), as 'information brokers,' which would allow the government to get around a lot of legal guidelines they're expected to follow which prevented them from mounting various types of offensives against the journalists.

    A random commenter on this story wrote, "CIA wanted to assassinate a journalist? They're no better than the Saudi's with Jamal Khashoggi if that's the case. DISGUSTING!"

    Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent at YahooNews

    #YahooNews #Assange #US #FPF
  • Nicaragua elections, US interference?

    According to Jill Clark-Gollub (Activist with Friends of Latin America), Ortega, who was elected in 2006 after 16 years of the kind of government the US wanted, will easily win the upcoming election in Nicaragua since he has 2 to 1 support, so the US actions there, according to leaks from the US embassy in Managua, is another coup attempt. Since Ortega is the democratically popular leader, the US will try to delegitimize the election, she said.

    US is conducting economic warfare as part of its democracy promotion/meddling/regime change, according to Clark-Gollub. The Nica Act had the US veto projects and loans from multi-lat institutions and aid since 2018. However, the US did send aid during the pandemic (although less than Nica's neighbors). The US sanctions target the whole of government, so how can the minister of health import medicines? The sanctions also target the police and army and the entire Sandanista political party FSLN (2.1 card carrying members of Nicaragua's 6.5m people, although their families would also be affected more or less directly by the sanctions).

  • Cloning camels

    ... in desert Middle East continues to be popular. Cloning biofactories can't keep up with demand. People are making exact copies of their favorite camels.

    Camels are used for races and beauty pageants there.

    The first one was cloned in 2009.

  • Hostage diplomacy worked for China

    ... The Huawei exec who's been under house arrest in Vancouver for a couple years on request by America (they said she bypassed their embargo on Iran, I think, and wanted her deported to the US. She's been arguing against deportation from Canada since then).

    Shortly after the exec's detention, China detained two Canadians, saying they were spying. (It sounds like they were never charged, just detained until now).

    Shortly after the exec recently made a deal with the US and was released by Canada to return to China, China released the two Canadian men.

    "Because it was so blatently a form of hostage diplomacy I think people are going to start thinking about how they deal with China. ... a major emerging power that doesn't really follow international law, so there's a lot of implications that need to be addressed." - Clifford Coonan

  • China told local governments to prepare for fallout from Evergrande

    They're tasked with things like preparing to take over and continue building projects, monitoring civilian protests, and paying migrant worker salaries who are working on Evergrande projects.
  • Way more $ going to investing into startups recently

    Usually in a recession businesses are shut down, and don't open.

    Startups have tons of money now, hundreds of millions or billions, and this can be contrasted to startups in previous decades which had a million or a few million. Well capitalized, competing warchests of cash.
    Thousands of companies, in competition with each other, who are in no rush to turn profitable. They can try 5 or 6 things before they need to have a success.
  • Retail sales, which are 30% of GDP, down

    Economic optimism in a recent survey went down 14% in a month (considered significant for a month over month).

    Retail sales in July were 17% above Feb 2020. Growing 3x their normal rate, because govt spending all this money, and now that is over.

    The consumer is 70% of GDP.

  • Fed whispered the word 'taper' this week.

    Investing talkers seem to be wanting a taper already. Just throwing money at people.
  • Bonds are being sold just on stability

    No longer stability and growth. No longer a source of income.

    People are kind of scared.

    - Jenny Harrington
  • "The next recession will be caused by the stock market"

    "That happened in 2000. There was nothing else. It was the stock market."

    "The economy is no longer big enough to offset whatever the Fed is doing and whatever the stock market is doing."

    - Josh Brown on The Compound, Sept 24 2021

  • Rayban changes leading design into 'waycreepers'?

    It's been reported Rayban has licensed or partnered or something with fb to put camera's in their most iconic line.

    So now are we going to be looking for this design to spot people creeping on public locations?

    The last time a large glasses-camera attempt was made was a few years ago. It was Google Glass. What ended it was when a wearer (you might imagine that people interested in buying these products correlate somewhat with people who don't respect the public privacy of others) was punched for wearing them somewhere. Whether for the pr or whatever that might follow this, the project was turned down or off. Will we see the same thing here, to end the current movement towards spying on all public life?

  • Biden mentions ' relentless diplomacy' after 'relentless war' in Afghanistan, at UN meeting

    ... amid a speech full of platitudes about the most common topics. He also mentioned 'human rights' and the UN Charter, which might make some viewers at home laugh. The US targets and goals he mentioned were the same as the past eras, and with the same language of urgency (in allying with the US?).

    He mentioned "leading the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future for ALL people. Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past we are fixing our eyes on [?Will we get something new or specific here? Nope.] devoting our resources to the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future." Climate, pandemic, global power dynamics, trade, cyber, 'the threat of terrorism as it stands today,' were what he mentioned.

  • Evergrande crisis causes global markets to drop a bit

    China's second largest property developer (and world's most indebted one, with $300b in liabilities after years of borrowing for funding of rapid growth amid recent real estate frenzy). Seems the company is insolvent. But some analysits say it might be 'too big to fail' because a failure would undermine the CCP's stability.

    Evergrande's been trying to sell properties for 25% off to deleverage. So much property on the market to sell off quickly is maybe not great for the Chinese property market. There are other companies in the same position as Evergrande as well.

    CCP signaling there won't be a bailout, but as mentioned above this might not be possible because the company accounts for something like 2-3% of China's GDP. Because the majority of financial institutions involved are state-owned, China might use these to do a bailout without appearing to do so directly. However, the CCP seems to want to change the problem they have in their housing market: for years, people have bought homes as investments, and just left them empty, not even renting them out, to keep their quality for some future resell at at a profit, because values have gone up so much in recent years and were expected to continue. This means that the economy gets no real value from the production of these homes. So the CCP wants to move away from unproductive growth to real growth. You might see here why the CCP might be willing to let Evergrande fail so that the traditional moral hazard in the market is reduced. However, real growth alone wouldn't be enough to generate the economic activity for China to hit its GDP growth targets. The way China hits its targets is malinvestment by the real estate sector and local governments building unnecessary infrastructure. The government does more malinvestment when the economy slows down and reduces it at other times. It fills the gap.

    (Malinvestment refers to ... from the 90s until mid-2000s, Chinese debt funded necessary and productive investment, which means the return on these investments grew faster than the debt did. The investments boosted the economy more than the cost of the debt. After the mid-2000s, debt began to rise faster than GDP, ie the cost of the debt was greater than the returns on investing it.)

    People referring to the Lehman collapse (filed for bankruptcy Sept 2008), but China has the advantage of having seen America go through that and how the AIG bailout was unfair to the taxpayer.

    Evergrande also is different in that it has wealth management unit, so depositors are earning interest, but now Evergrande is trying to offer them property (not good property, but things like parking spaces in ghost cities, since all the good stuff they had which could be sold has been sold or pledged against specific debts) if they want.

    In China, some protests on the streets. Some are by employees who haven't been paid.

    Investing experts have said that although this is just now a big global story moving markets, it's been known for a long time. Commodities were ahead, with iron ore halving since July, for example. China's share of commodities consumption globally is somewhere between 40 and 70% of global supply (20% of global supply just to Chinese real estate).

    $310b in obligations globally owed by Evergrande. They have a crucial payment on their offshore bonds in a few days, and people think they might miss it. This debt is held in large amounts by Ashmore Group, BlackRock, UBS, and HSBC, among others, lots in bonds held in vehicles that focus on riskier EM or Asian credits.

    A risk is that if all these property owners cut their prices, it will affect also mortgages, and could cause a chain reaction. Late payments of this size could trigger cross-defaults.

    Evergrande also has a business model where it relies on customers paying for properties before construction (which this finances). Hundreds of thousands of Chinese have put down downpayments for things that possibly might not now be built.

    Real estate is responsible for 30% of China's economic output.

    Real estate investment is a large part of investment for Chinese people, due to the expectation values will continue to rise as dramatically as they have done in the past decades. It's been reported that houses costs about 45x average annual income, which is very high globally. Part of the interest in investing in property is due to lack of options in that country, where there tend to be significant levels of scams, and Chinese businesses haven't panned out as great places to invest either. There's also a social pressure to own a house in China. Chinese men reportedly can't get find a wife without having a house.

    If Evergrande isn't bailed out and Chinese are caused by their government to rethink property values, it would change the values of loans on the books currently, since they were all (last 30 years of loans) based on assumptions about how the government support them rather than on the borrowers ability to pay back.

    Most of Evergrande's debt is held in China which people think can absorb the loss, and the overseas debt is trading currently at about 30c on the dollar (US denominated debt at around 80c). Some think the CCP might cause Evergrande to pay back Chinese lenders first (there will just be more political will to pay the small wealth management investors in China than foreign lenders, regardless of seniority and capital structure), but that would cause an interesting situation where Chinese companies seeking outside investors going forward might not have as easy a time.

    S&P was down like 1.5% the day the news hit.

    Another issue is that while the Chinese have allowed the CCP to rule authoritarianly, they may be less likely to support the CCP if the country is no longer growing and making people all more wealthy. Combined with slowing population growth. Also, while Chinese exports continue to increase, this is due not to genuine productive potential, but rather to the price growth of commodities, it has been said.

  • US, UK, Aus form new military pact

    Basically in preparation for a possible war with China, and we might suppose the MIC.

    There has been 'increased tension' between Aus and China recently.

    France quite upset and vocal about being left out. China made the usual critical statements.

    Aus will get a nuclear capable submarine fleet with US/UK tech.

    NATO is maybe not as popular an idea as it once was (if ever), with members making further pacts among themselves and competing in military business matters.

  • France recalls ambassadors from Aus and US over submarine deal

    They also cancelled a gala to celebrate France-US relations, and is now reportedly trying to convince other EU countries to pull out of talks with Aus over a proposed free trade agreement.

    The original 2016 deal for 12 French subs was to be estimated $25b, which grew incrementally, finally to $90b, and was behind schedule. $300b would have been the total cost including maintenance for subs not ready till between 2035 - 2050, and there are questions how outdated they might be then.

    Something about China stepping up aggression in the oceans, and Aus looking at buying from the US/UK.

  • US deporting the 10k Haitian immigrants in Texas

    ... on direct flights to Port au Prince. The task of rounding them up is with the border patrol in large part. Photos of them on horseback with some kind of whip have been viral images.

    "We do not know who are the smugglers or who are the migrants," said the Border Patrol Chief.

    The government is deporting 'single adults' while allowing families and children to stay for their trials.

  • China, famous 'MeToo' case thrown out

    3 years ago, a TV station employee alleged a prominent TV host groped her and used force to kiss her when she was an intern under him. She sued him for damages, and he countersued for damage of his reputation.

    The trial she initiated ended today with the finding that she had not shown enough evidence to prove her boss had done so. The accused was not 'even' required to come to court to testify. Some feminists and others considered the trial something of a Chinese MeToo thing.

    The woman, Zhou Xiaoxuan, said it was worth it either way, and she knew the outcome could have gone either way. "I am very honored to have gone through this together with everyone.'

    She will appeal, she said.

  • Dan Ellsberg interviewed by Tutsi Gabbard (US Rep Hawaii)

    (In 2019 or 2020)

    "I was the first person charged under the charges he [Assange I think he's talking about] is now facing. But I was charged as a source, and there wasn't one for 10 years after that. ... and then 3 and 9 and 1 other. There were 3 cases and then 9 under Obama. They were all either plea bargains or won in court. It's never gone to the Supreme Court.

    "Mainly they were sources like me, and they were using the Espionage Act, which was designed for spies, and has no provision in it for pleading any public interest. You can't argue in court. I wasn't allowed to speak in court to answer the question--I spoke for four and a half days--but I wasn't allowed to answer the question, 'Why did you copy the Pentagon Papers?'

    "So my lawyer, a consitution lawyer, said, 'Your honor, I've never heard of a case where the defendant was not allowed to tell the jury why he did what he did,' and Judge Burns said, 'Well, you're hearing one now,' and that's been true of every case since then..

    "So you can't get a fair trial as a whistleblower. ... you can't say anything about what the impact has been, whether there was harm, what you wanted to accomplish.

    "But it was never meant to be an official secrets act, a British type official secret s act. ... and in fact they said at the time, in 1917 when they passed this, we don't want an official secret act. The question was could you use it against a source like me. Well, that never had been done since 1917. So it was an experiment with me.

    ... But the new thing about this [Assange] is that it's the first time a journalist has been tried as a defendent, and that makes it into a full British official secrets act.

    "So it's not even just that he can't argue motives effectively, as a journalist he should not be ... it's always been clear to papers that sources, like me, should not be tried under the Espionage Act where they can't plead public interest at all. But the newspapers never got behind us very much.
  • 13k Haitian migrants cross border into small town in Texas

    A few more thousand might still arrive. The town has only about 3x that many people itself. They're cooking food to feed the large group (mostly Haitians). They're living under a bridge. Looked like it was mostly black men, but there were a few black women and little children in there. It seems reporters were not allowed near them.

    Haiti is in a significant crisis right now (still).

    Losers from the we win while you lose strategy?

  • College hookup tactics

    ... were studied recently. Talking about college men and women seeking short term relationships.

    For men, the top tactics were dancing with their partner, conversing with her, texting her, and getting drunk. For women, the tactics were dancing with their partner, texting him, flirting with him, and touching him.

    Want to Hookup?: Sex Differences in Short-term Mate Attraction Tactics | SpringerLink 
  • Trump interview, talks about 'surviving' in role of president

    He was asked in an interview with FoxNews this month what was hard about being pres. He said:

    "Well, I had 2 forms of presidency. Number 1 I had to run the country, work on the world, and do things. In the other one I had to survive. The survival was much tougher, because I had fake Muller people coming after me, I had 19 really haters after me. I had every form of law enforcement after me. It started from the day I came down the escalator. It never stops. I had every prosecutor after me. They're looking at deals I did years and years ago. I forgot about them. ... But if you don't survive, you can't do a good job in terms of running."

    "... with Pelosi and Schumer and all of them. That was probably the toughest. Far tougher than a lot of world leaders."
  • Mammoths again?

    ... they went extinct 4000 years ago. A biosci firm, Colossal, plans to use crispr to put them in the arctic again to help counter the effects of the climate crisis by reverting the ecosystem there.

    They'll insert DNA sequences collected over the years into the genome of Asian elephants (99.6% DNA similarity).

    They raised $15m.

    Other scientists doubted an ecosystem could be redone, especially by just putting some mammoths in it again.

  • China's regulations versus celebrities

    In May 2021, fans of an idol threw away 270k cartons of milk because they were buying the QR code on the carton to 'cheer on their favorite trainee' for an idol group ("the milk incident"). The milk waste was taken seriously, partially in light of the CCP's Food Waste Prohibition Law. After this incident, China's National Cyber Info Office (CAC) said idol fandom would become regulated heavily for irrational behavior. "Irrational celebrity worship."

    Weibo has deleted countless posts and closed real and fake accounts for idol fan clubs online. They banned the BTS  fan page (maybe the biggest K boyband currently) for 60 days and then banned 21 other fan groups for a month).

    China used to post a lot of idol fan rankings, and Chinese spend a lot of money to support (sometimes smaller) celebrities. There are paid voting programs, but these have all been banned now.

    Tencent (largest music platform in China) banned accounts from buying the same album or single more than once.

    Chinese people paid $8m last year for K-pop (digital music only, or including merch?), the highest amount from China, reportedly. Total K-pop exports rose 3.6-fold yoy to $26m. This is considered by the CCP to be a trivial use of citizens' interest and money. China says this is a problem, a sick 'fan circle' that has become too prominent, with various fan bases abusing and slandering each other, engaging in 'malicious marketing,' and forcing fans, including young people, to raise funds to support the stars or would-be stars. A Chinese spokesperson put it that all this "seriously hinders the healthy development of the entertainment industry."

    Another related issue is big famous celebrities who China sees as having "excessive incomes" or "false political positions," as well as non-masculine men. Some celebrities (who have passports from other countries) have said they'll give up their foreign passports. (I'm not clear on exactly what the issue is and which passport they said they'd give up.)

    The K-pop style of attractiveness is considered to be imasculine, and China said they'll establish a correct beauty standard for Chinese as well, reportedly. Cosmetics will be among the things focused on. Many reality talent shows were banned for reasons in this vein of central planning. Effeminate boy bands are prohibited from being on idol talent shows.

    Should we expect a somewhat extreme manifestation of the androgenous sexy "forbidden boy" style type we saw in America between the 50's and maybe 80s?

    Another issue is celebrities who have caused controversy by committing immoral acts. Recently, Chinese stars have been in the news for sexual incidents, drugs, and tax fraud. One star published photos or something on his repeated visits to Japan's Yasukuni Shrine and was boycotted (by the Chinese public?).

    I also read passing mention of 'foreplay programs.' What is that?

  • China's cultural rules 2021

    Most recently TV talent shows have been banned and TV broadcasters aren't allowed to promote 'effeminate looking men' (K-pop issue). Actors accused of tax evasion and misbehavior have had their work taken off line.

    Minors are allowed to play video games even less than before.

    Tencent and NetEase Games have to remove content that promotes 'incorrect values' like money worship.

    Rideshare company Didi had to be removed from the domenstic app stores for illegally collecting and using personal info.

    The multi-billion dollar private tutoring industry has been banned from making profit or raising capital.

    Some celebrity fan clubs have been banned for promoting 'chaotic culture.'

    One commenter harkened to Xi's 2014 comments on Beijing Forum of Literature Arts where he spoke of 'the good, the true, the beautiful' as the essential values that China needs to cultivate. She said actors and other public figures have greater social obligations to set examples for the moral direction of the society. That celebrities are important not only because the produce excellent works and very entertaining shows but the government has expectations of them as a person.

    Some say that the CCP does not think of these popular apps that just do things like ride hailing or sharing social media posts as real technology, so they're not important to China in terms of being part of the 'tech sector.' Instead, China considers tech to be things like semiconductors, chips, 5G (hard tech).

  • Some say US is behind Guinea coup

    ... because Green Berets have been in Guinea since mid-July training a group of 100 Guineans in a special forces unit led by Colonel Doumbouya, a Guinean and French citizen who'd served in the Foreign Legion. Doumbouya is currently the leader of Guinea.

    The US gov initially downplayed involvement but after a phone vidoe came out on Social the US confirmed some parts but denied it implied support for the coup.

    There have been about 80 successful coups in sub-Saharan Africa in the past 40 years, some say.

    A tweet by someone: