Pro-Tax-Hike Dem Continues To Fail To Pay His Own Taxes

Pro-Tax-Hike Dem Continues To Fail To Pay His Own Taxes

Authored by Jazz Shaw via HotAir (emphasis ours),

(Jake May/The Flint via AP)

The very wealthy Leona Helmsley was once famously quoted as allegedly saying, ‘We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes.’ Now we have a repeat offender in Congress who may have studied Helmsley’s philosophy at some point. The Free Beacon has discovered that Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Matthew Cartwright is once again in trouble for being delinquent on his property taxes. Cartwright and his wife share a condo in Washington and tax records indicate that they owed penalties and interest from 2021 due to being late in paying their taxes. As a Democrat who has repeatedly voted in favor of tax increases, that probably sends a rather poor message to the working-class voters of his district who have to avoid the wrath of a constantly growing army of IRS agents. With the midterms only a few months away and the country in the middle of a recession and skyrocketing prices for just about everything, people may have taxes on their minds when they go to the polls.

Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D., Pa.) was hit with tax penalties for late condo payments in 2021, just three years after facing media scrutiny for repeated tax delinquency.

Cartwright last year owed $436.63 in penalties and interest, stemming from the late property tax payments on his Washington, D.C., condo he shares with his wife, according to D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue records reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

The news could be a problem for the congressman, who is locked in a competitive race against Republican challenger Jim Bognet.

Granted, we’re not talking about a huge sum of money here. Less than 500 dollars in penalties suggests that the Cartwright family probably paid most of their real estate taxes. But when you’re talking about the IRS, “most” isn’t good enough.

Also, this isn’t the first time that Cartwright has been in trouble with the Tax Man over his Washington condo. Back in 2018, he was in somewhat deeper hot water with the city. At that point he had run up a tab of nearly $4,000 in penalties and fees over a five-year period. His opponent in that year’s election ran campaign ads highlighting the situation and nearly unseated him.

Cartwright told reporters at that time that his tax delinquency was simply an “oversight.” He said that being in Congress is “a very busy job that I have and I’m working really hard at it.” That may be true, but do any of you think that the IRS would accept that excuse from you if you fell behind on your taxes? Color me dubious.

Again, this isn’t a huge sum of money we’re talking about and it’s not hard to see how someone might miss a payment here or there. (Doesn’t the congressman make enough money to pay someone to handle his taxes and keep up with these details, though?) But that’s not really the point. If you are one of the people charged with creating and modifying the tax laws that everyone else in the country has to follow, you are obviously going to be under scrutiny to ensure that you follow those laws yourself. A failure to do so produces some of the worst political optics imaginable.

And those optics may be on the congressman’s mind at the moment. He is currently in a tight race to keep his seat in November and it’s one that analysts are rating as a “tossup.” The GOP would dearly love to claw that seat back as they try to retake the majority in the house. And Cartwright’s tax headaches are the last thing his party needs to see right about now.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 19:30

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Visualizing The Top 25 US Newspapers By Daily Circulation

Visualizing The Top 25 US Newspapers By Daily Circulation

A few years ago, you would have unfolded your newspaper and read opinion and analysis like this.

Those days are gone.

As Visual Capitalist’s Avery Koop details below, most people today – more than 8 in 10 Americans – get their news via digital devices, doing their reading on apps, listening to podcasts, or scrolling through social media feeds.

It’s no surprise then that over the last year, only one U.S. newspaper of the top 25 most popular in the country saw positive growth in their daily print circulations.

Based on data from Press Gazette, this visual stacks up the amount of daily newspapers different U.S. publications dole out and how that’s changed year-over-year.

Extra, Extra – Read All About It

The most widely circulated physical newspaper is the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by a long shot – sending out almost 700,000 copies a day. But it is important to note that this number is an 11% decrease since 2021.

These papers, although experiencing negative growth when it comes to print, are still extremely popular and widely-read publications digitally—not only in the U.S., but worldwide. For example, the New York Times reported having reached 9 million subscribers globally earlier this year.

The one paper with increased print circulation was The Villages Daily Sun, which operates out of a retirement community in Florida. Elderly people tend to be the most avid readers of print papers. Another Florida newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, was the worst performer at -26%.

In total, 2,500 U.S. newspapers have shut down since 2005. One-third of American newspapers are expected to be shuttered by 2025. This particularly impacts small communities and leaves many across America in ‘news deserts.’

The decline is relentless. Print papers are losing one out of eight subscribers every year. Their daily circulation, over 63 million at its peak in the 1980s, is now about one-third that size. Over 25% of all American newspapers have died in the past 15 years.

As Charles Lipson observes at, some observers, especially conservative ones, have cast a skeptical eye on this contemporary media landscape and blamed the decline of print publications on “woke” newsrooms. They are mistaking the cart for the horse. It’s true that most newsrooms are woke, woke, woke. So are elite law firms, consulting firms, social media giants, entertainment companies, advertising firms, university faculty, and so on. Their employees, having completed their ideological training at places like Harvard, Brown, and Oberlin, tell us their pronouns in every email and wonder if Bernie Sanders might be too moderate. They dominate today’s journalism, and their dominance is reflected in their papers’ content.

In a country that is evenly split between left and right, that tilt leaves a lot of readers unhappy, and some have undoubtedly dropped their subscriptions. Some papers also died during the pandemic, though most were already facing bleak futures. But the coronavirus and ideological bias are not the main reasons why print papers are on the road to oblivion. They are on that road because technological innovation devastated their old business model.

This technological shift actually encourages newsroom bias. Why? Because, as online sites proliferate, readers can easily gravitate to those that reflect their views. This self-selection reinforces the sites’ incentives to tailor their content to keep those users and attract more like-minded ones.

In this segmented market, with lots of different niches, news organizations pick their target audience. For MSNBC, that audience is progressive. The channel wants to attract more of them, not challenge their views or garner a few conservatives. By contrast, PJ Media is trying to reach more conservatives, not futilely chasing progressives. That’s Marketing 101. The problem for journalism is that this “niche” logic has distorted general-interest papers, like the Los Angeles Times. It gives free rein to ideological bias among reporters and editors, muddling their editorial perspective with “hard news” coverage.

The logic behind this bias is powerful. All of us are attracted to sites that confirm our views and buttress them with friendly content. Social scientists call it “confirmation bias.” Now that we have so many alternative news sources, that bias drives our choices, from CNN to Fox News. And it drives those outlets to produce content their viewers find ideologically appealing, not challenging. There are some exceptions, of course, like RealClearPolitics, which aggregates and produces opinion pieces from left, right, and center and hires reporters to write the news of day straight. But this even-handedness is rare. Most outlets have slipped into comfortable ideological niches.

The result is landscape littered with “news silos,” each appealing to its chosen market segment. The social and political effects are far-reaching. As news consumers, we have more options than ever (good), but we are increasingly insulated from opposing views (bad). The days of general-interest local papers like the Memphis Commercial-Appeal are gone. Those of big-city papers like the Chicago Tribune are fading fast. We are hunkering down in our silos, where never is heard a discouraging word, at least not about “our side.” This insularity is bound to deepen our country’s ideological divide. That’s very bad news indeed.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 19:00

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Former VP Dick Cheney Attacks Trump In Ad For Daughter’s Reelection Campaign

Former VP Dick Cheney Attacks Trump In Ad For Daughter’s Reelection Campaign

Authored by Matthrew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has cut an ad for his daughter’s congressional campaign in Wyoming in which he lashed out at fellow Republicans and called former President Donald Trump a “coward” and a “threat” to the nation.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney appears in an ad for his daughter U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) reelection campaign. (Screen grab from YouTube)

The 60-second campaign ad for the embattled reelection campaign of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was posted on YouTube Aug 4. As of press time, it had just over 259,000 views.

In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump,” Dick Cheney, 81, says while wearing a white cowboy hat in a close-up camera shot. Cheney served as vice president alongside Republican President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009.

“He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him,” Dick Cheney said.

“He is a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down, I think most Republicans know it.”

Cheney said he was “so proud of Liz for standing up for the truth, doing what’s right, honoring her oath to the Constitution when so many in our party are too scared to do so.”

“There is nothing more important she will ever do than lead the effort to make sure Donald Trump is never again near the Oval Office and she will succeed,” he said. His daughter appears at the end of the ad to say she approves of the message.

Liz Cheney has become a lightning rod for criticism in Republican Party circles for her attacks on Trump while serving as vice-chair of the U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 security breach at the U.S. Capitol. The breach delayed the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election by several hours and has been characterized by Trump critics as an insurrection and a coup attempt, a charge Trump and his supporters adamantly deny. Trump supporters have compared the committee’s actions to a witch hunt and a Soviet-era show trial.

Although she traditionally has had a conservative voting record in Congress, Liz Cheney has antagonized Republicans in her home state, where Trump remains popular. She voted to impeach Trump after the security breach and is regularly in the national media spotlight denouncing the former president. The Wyoming Republican Party censured her after the impeachment vote and last fall declared she was no longer a member of the party.

Read more here…

Meanwhile, as the Babylon Bee puts it:

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 18:30

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Entertainment Companies Start Dumping Woke Content As Viewership Tumbles

Entertainment Companies Start Dumping Woke Content As Viewership Tumbles

They’ll never admit to it openly, but getting woke makes companies broke.  Hollywood has been overtly progressive for decades, but this is nothing compared to the social justice invasion since 2016.  After around five years of an unprecedented leftist onslaught on the entertainment industry we are finally starting to see the rampage lose oxygen.  There’s a weakness within woke productions that the alternative media has been pointing out for a long time – They don’t make a profit because they are designed to appease a minority of leftist zennials that don’t have any money.  This is the wrong crowd to rely on for cash flow.     

It is fair to say that the entertainment industry was partially conned.  First, there are those tantalizing ESG loans that can be easily had as long a company loudly declares their fealty to the social justice agenda.  Then, of course, there is the fact that many corporate CEOs and marketing people track Twitter trends with the ignorant assumption that Twitter is actually a reflection of the real world.  The woke mob on Twitter is amplified by the company itself, while most contrary voices are stifled and buried.  Anyone using the Twitter echo chamber as a marketing gauge would be led to believe that leftist ideology is the prevailing ideology of the nation.  It’s not even close.

Some companies are finally realizing this fact and are taking action to reduce their exposure to woke content, or otherwise perish from loss of viewership.  Here’s the thing – Leftists could take over every platform for media distribution (they almost have), but they still can’t force the public to consume woke content.  Eventually, the loss of viewers and profits is going to hurt their bottom line.  

Warner Media (now owned by Discovery) seems to be on the forefront of the purge of leftist content.  Under chief executive David Zaslav, Discovery is aggressively dissecting Warner to understand why a company with so many iconic brands and franchises is continually failing at the box office and on streaming.  Zaslav is now dumping far left content like the poison it is.  

Most notably, Zaslav was behind the torching of news service CNN+ after less than a month of operation when it utterly failed to pull in subscribers.  Now, he has shelved the $100 million ‘Batgirl’ movie, a woke travesty with woke directors which test audiences hated.  He is also reportedly cutting the impending Supergirl movie, which rumors indicate was designed to replace the beloved Superman franchise with a female version played by a race swapped actress of Colombian descent (the original Supergirl is supposed to be white and blonde).      

Another event that shocked leftists was Netflix taking an ax to “First Kill,” a lesbian vampire series that no one asked for and apparently no one watched. 

This was after Netflix canceled a host of woke programming in the past couple of months, including a show called “Anti-Racist Baby” written by well known Critical Race Theory propagandist Ibram X. Kendi, and another animated show called “Q-Force” (Queer Force).

HBO Max recently canceled their “Gordita Chronicles” after only one season; the show based on a Dominican immigrant family heavily pushed leftist narratives of victim group status and depicted America as a racist and oppressive nation.  No mention of the fact that millions of non-white people try to sneak into the US every year even though it is supposedly “bigoted.”

The examples of purged woke programming go on and on.  This is a smart move by the entertainment media as audiences make it clear with their dollars and their viewership that they don’t want to watch leftist garbage.  However, is it too little too late?  

Some companies like Disney have chosen to foolishly double down on woke content (after numerous box office failures) and others like Warner have lost a lot of good will from their customers.  Corporations and marketing people have long sought to entice customers by researching what audiences want.  But, the new model is to simply TELL customers what to buy, and shame audiences into compliance with a product if they don’t like it. Since 2016 the strategy of media has been to ATTACK customers in response to criticism rather than listening and learning.  This hasn’t gone over well.  Today these businesses are paying the price for their trespasses against the free market.  

It is unlikely that they will be able to win back audiences anytime soon, if ever.  

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 18:00

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Dem Congressman’s Aide Caught Impersonating FBI Agent, Violating Gun Law: Court Documents

Dem Congressman’s Aide Caught Impersonating FBI Agent, Violating Gun Law: Court Documents

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) speaks during a press conference in Washington on Jan. 28, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

An aide to a congressman impersonated an FBI agent and openly carried a gun, violating the law in Washington, according to court documents.

Sterling Carter, who worked for Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) at the time, was spotted on Nov. 14, 2020, wearing a black shirt with “Federal Agent” emblazoned across the front and back, and equipped with a full police duty belt that contained handcuffs, a pistol, two magazines, and a radio with an earpiece, according to an affidavit filed by U.S. authorities in District of Columbia court.

When officers approached Carter to figure out his identity, he pointed to a badge on his belt and said that he was with the FBI. When asked for his credentials, Carter said he did not have them on him, and hopped in his vehicle and sped away despite being ordered to stop.

The officers were unable to chase the man down.

Officers and agents with the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI, and the Metropolitan Police Department launched a joint effort to figure out the identity of the man, and eventually confirmed him as Carter through contact with the seller of the t-shirt and the company from which he obtained a custom license plate.

The owner of the property at which Carter resided and neighbors told agents that Carter was seen dressing as a member of law enforcement. However, officers found out that Carter was a staffer for a member of Congress. They also learned he did not have a concealed weapons permit or any other firearm registration certificates.

A search of the residence turned up a Glock 19 semi-automatic firearm, magazines, a holster, cleaning gear, a receipt for siren installation, and an invoice for the shirt.

Carter was given the option to resign or be fired, and he chose to resign, according to the affidavit. According to other documents, he started with the office in August 2019 and stepped down in January 2021.

Carter was arrested on Jan. 29, 2021, and charged with false impersonation of a police officer and carrying a pistol without a license.

In exchange for pleading guilty to the latter charge, the former was dropped.

Carter was held in jail for 81 days during the case.

A Washington judge in July 2021 sentenced him to probation and a suspended jail sentence.

The case was first reported by the Daily Beast.

Schneider’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

2nd Case

A federal case was opened in February after the FBI found Carter had forged Schneider’s signature and given himself temporary raises that yielded him approximately $80,000.

According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, Carter, as director of operations for the congressman, would fill out payroll forms when an employee was given a raise or bonus.

Only Schneider and his chief of staff had the authority to authorize a bonus or a raise.

Carter would fill out one form that reflected a temporary salary increase proportionate to the bonus that was being given, and a second form that returned the employee’s salary to the original level so the bonus wouldn’t turn into a permanent pay raise.

But Carter gave himself an unauthorized bonus and an unauthorized pay increase.

He concealed what he had done by presenting to the chief of staff a spreadsheet containing inaccurate data.

Carter pleaded guilty to the charge, theft of public funds, and faced up to 10 years in prison.

Jail Time

Prosecutors recommended a sentence of 12 to 18 months, saying the offense “constituted a serious breach of the public trust” and such a sentence “can be a warning knell for all those public officials who consider using their position in the government to steal taxpayer dollars from the United States Congress.”

Lawyers for Carter noted his only prior conviction was for carrying a pistol without a license and argued the lack of criminal history outside of that “weighs in favor of a more modest sentence than recommended by the advisory guideline range.”

“It is a property offense. The offense does not involve any violent acts. There is no evidence that any firearms or weapons were employed to accomplish the offense. No physical injuries were sustained by anyone. While these undeniable factors do not absolve Mr. Carter from criminal liability the nature of the offense again favors a modest sentence,” they added.

The defendant moved for a sentence of home confinement.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, sentenced Carter in July to nine months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release. Carter was also ordered to pay $80,491 in restitution.

“We believe the sentence was harsher than necessary,” Robert Jenkins Jr., an attorney representing Carter, told The Epoch Times in an email, adding that Carter’s “conduct warranted punishment his sentence was more severe than many similar defendants in white collar fraud cases.”

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 17:30

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North Korea Willing To Send Russia 100,000 Troops For Ukraine War: Report

North Korea Willing To Send Russia 100,000 Troops For Ukraine War: Report

During six months of war in Ukraine there have been some instances of Russian satellite states providing “volunteer” forces – with Chechens being a foremost reported group of foreign fighters said to be in Ukraine. But Russian state media recently presented the biggest offer of foreign troops yet, reportedly from an unlikely “pariah” nation also long at odds with the United States.

North Korea has said it is willing to send 100,000 “volunteer” troops to help Vladimir Putin execute the ongoing war in Ukraine, Business Insider has reported, citing Channel One Russia. Russian military pundit Igor Korotchenko made the claim to the state broadcaster, saying further that the DPRK military could provide a “wealth of experience with counter-battery warfare.”

Via DPRK state media/Reuters

“If North Korea expresses a desire to meet its international duty to fight against Ukrainian fascism, we should let them,” Korotchenko was also quoted in New York Post as saying.

This comes amid unverified Western media claims that Russia has suffered huge and unexpected numbers of casualties, to the point of being “desperate” – and reportedly being forced to provide abbreviated and ineffective training to new recruits.

For example, this is how The Daily Mail presented the supposed Moscow-Pyongyang deal making for additional troops

A desperate Vladimir Putin is considering turning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for help in his invasion of Ukraine, and is willing to offer energy and grain in return for 100,000 soldiers, according to reports in Russia.

North Korea has made it clear through ‘diplomatic channels’ that as well as providing builders to repair war damage, it is ready to supply a vast fighting force in an attempt to tip the balance in Moscow’s favor, reported Regnum news agency.

They would be deployed to the forces of the separatist pro-Putin Donetsk People’s Republic [DPR] and Luhansk People’s Republic [LPR], both of which Kim has recently recognised as independent countries.

In return, grain and energy would be supplied to Kim’s stricken economy.

The far-fetched sounding reports don’t appear to be sourced at all to North Korean state media itself, however, and the logistical challenge of North Korea actually transporting that many troops to Donbas would make it very unlikely. The “offer” may have been based on mere speculation by the prominent Russian pundit.

The additional challenge to such an immense logistical task – which would also without doubt result in greater ratcheting of sanctions on both countries by the West – would include integrating that many foreign troops within Russian strategy and alongside its units in the middle of an active war, with no prior planning and coordination. 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 17:00

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The Big Green Lie Almost Everyone Claims To Believe

The Big Green Lie Almost Everyone Claims To Believe

Authored by Patricia Adams and Lawrence Solomon via The Epoch Times,

Almost every member of Congress, Democrat or Republican, pays homage to the Big Green Lie. So do all the past and remaining Conservative candidates vying to be prime minister of the UK and every candidate currently vying for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. So does virtually all of the mainstream press. The Big Green Lie—that carbon dioxide is a pollutant—is so pervasive that even those considered skeptics—including right-wing NGOs and pundits—generally adhere to the orthodoxy, differing not in their stated belief that CO2 is a pollutant but only in how calamitous a pollutant it is.

Because everyone now participates in the CO2-emissions-are-bad lie, the debate over climate policy hasn’t been over whether a CO2 problem exists but over how urgently CO2 needs to be addressed, and how it should be addressed. Do we have eight years left before Armageddon becomes inevitable or decades? Do we get off fossil fuels by building nuclear plants or wind turbines? Should we change our lifestyles to need less of everything? Or should we mitigate this evil—the view of those deemed climate minimalists—by shielding our continents from a rising of the oceans by enclosing them behind sea walls?

With almost everyone across the political spectrum publicly agreeing that curbing CO2 is a good thing, the debate has been between those who want to do good quickly by reaching Net Zero in 2040 and sticks in the mud who want to slow down the doing of a good thing. With discourse careening down rabbit holes, almost everyone gets lost pursuing solutions to Alice-in-Wonderland delusions—and wasting trillions of dollars in the process.

Until the 2000s, when climate change was still called global warming and the mainstream media still noticed that none of the myriad predictions of a climate catastrophe were being borne out—the polar caps weren’t melting, Manhattan wasn’t about to be submerged, malaria wasn’t infecting the northern hemisphere—many exposed man-made climate change as a hoax. The leaked Climategate emails revealed how scientists had conspired to “hide the decline” in temperatures that didn’t conform to their models. The claim that 97 percent of scientists supported the global warming theory was exposed as a fraud, as was the claim that the 4,000 scientists associated with the IPCC endorsed its report—those 4,000 hadn’t endorsed it, and most hadn’t even read it but had merely reviewed parts of the report and often disagreed with what they read.

The claim that the “science was settled” on climate change never withstood scrutiny. Scientists around the world signed a series of petitions to dispute that claim. The 2008 Oregon Petition, spearheaded by a former president of the National Academy of Science and championed by Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein’s successor at Princeton and one of the world’s most preeminent scientists, was signed by more than 31,000 scientists and experts who agreed that “the proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. … Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

COP26 President Alok Sharma (C) speaks during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, on Nov. 13, 2021. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

What is settled is the abject failure of the three-decade-long attempt by the bureaucracies of the 195 countries of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to convince anyone other than themselves, a credulous media, and a relatively few gullible people that climate change represents an existential threat. Poll after poll over the decades show the public gives climate change short shrift when asked to rank its importance.

Gallup Poll released this week, which asked Americans, “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” found that climate change didn’t meet its criteria of the many issues worth listing. As Gallup noted, “Many parts of the nation have suffered record heat in recent weeks, and other regions have received record flooding. But a low 3% of Americans mention the weather, the environment or climate change as the nation’s top problem.” So, too, last month, where “just 1 percent of voters in a recent New York Times/Siena College poll named climate change as the most important issue facing the country …. Even among voters under 30, the group thought to be most energized by the issue, that figure was 3 percent.”

Although most elites continue to pay lip service to the urgency of curbing carbon dioxide, their actions belie their words, whether judged by their penchant for private jet travel or their disingenuous commitment to climate-related policies. According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) announcement last week, coal is once again king: Global coal demand this year will “match the annual record set in 2013, and coal demand is likely to increase further next year to a new all-time high.” The IEA’s assessment comports with a worldwide embrace of coal that includes the European Union, until recently the world’s most zealous climate scold. The EU is now walking back its Net Zero commitments.

In some countries, governments are not so much walking back climate policies as unabashedly kicking them out. Calling wind turbines “fans” that harm the environment and cause “visual pollution” without providing much energy, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government will end the subsidies and stop issuing permits for new wind projects. Israel is also set to pull the plug on the country’s wind industry, its environmental protection minister arguing that wind provides a “negligible contribution” to the country’s power system “compared to the potential for harm to nature, which is high.”

Recognizing renewables as economic and environmental boondoggles, as Mexico and Israel have done, is a step toward puncturing the lie that a fuel that emits carbon dioxide can be sensibly replaced. The other shoe to drop is the lie that carbon dioxide-emitting fuels should be replaced.

The fantastical claim that CO2 is a pollutant was cut out of whole cloth. The 2008 statement by the 31,000 experts—that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate” is as true today as it was then, and as it always has been. No scientist anywhere at any time has shown that manmade CO2 emissions—aka nature’s fertilizer—do any harm to anything.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 16:30

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Goldman Warns Oil Is ‘Down But Not Out’: The Good, Bad, & Ugly In The Energy Complex

Goldman Warns Oil Is ‘Down But Not Out’: The Good, Bad, & Ugly In The Energy Complex

Oil prices have tumbled 25% since early June, driven by low trading liquidity and a mounting wall of worries: recession, China’s zero-COVID policy and real estate sector collapse, the US SPR release, and Russian production recovering well above expectations.

However, Goldman’s Damien Courvalin believes that the case for higher oil prices remains strong, even assuming all these negative shocks play out, with the market remaining in a larger deficit than we expected in recent months.

The bullish thesis does though require addressing the huge divergence between Brent prices, which averaged $110/bbl in June-July, and the $160/bbl Brent-equivalent global retail fuel price.

Conceptually, two prices matter for modeling the oil market:

(1) the retail price of fuels paid by consumers as it drives demand elasticity and

(2) the crude price received by producers as it drives supply elasticity.

Up until 2021, retail prices followed a stable relationship to Brent prices but this is no longer the case due to significant distortions to each of the steps required to transform crude oil coming out of the ground into fuels consumed by producers.

Goldman sees three main takeaways from this:

  • The good: retail prices – while not tradable – came in close to our forecasts despite all the current macro uncertainties.

  • The bad: the disconnect between retail and Brent financial prices was much wider than expected, keeping Brent futures well below our forecast.

  • The ugly: our retail price forecast – which proved broadly accurate – did not result in enough demand destruction to end the current, unsustainable deficit.

The much wider than expected gap between Brent physical prices (i.e. Dated Brent, not ICE Brent futures) and global retail fuel prices in Brent-equivalent terms (c.$45/bbl on average in June-July vs. our c.$25/bbl assumption) can be linked to the Russian energy and EU gas crises.

Goldman states that growing lack of financial participation in the commodity futures market helps explain this record wide premium as well as the recent new collapse in Brent prices as well as the current extreme level of crude backwardation.

Market liquidity plumbing new depths…

Courvalin and his team continue to expect that the oil market will remain in unsustainable deficits at current prices.

Balancing the oil market therefore still requires oil demand destruction on top of the ongoing economic slowdown, where we are more cautious than consensus.

This requires a sharp rebound in retail fuel prices – the binding constraint to balancing the oil market – back to $150/bbl Brent equivalent prices, equivalent to US retail gasoline and diesel prices reaching $4.35 and $5.45/gal by 4Q22.

As Goldman concludes, the unprecedented discount of Brent prices, even wider than we expected, can be explained by the worsening Russian energy crisis, as it boosts the costs of transforming crude out of the ground (Brent) into retail pump prices around the world through surging EU gas prices, freight rates, USD and global refining utilization.

While they assume that the exceptional wedge between retail fuel and Brent futures prices will remain wider than previously expected, Goldman still expects that Brent prices will need to rally well above market forwards, with their 3Q-4Q22 forecasts now $110-125/bbl vs. $140-130/bbl previously (with their $125/bbl 2023 forecast unchanged).

Concerns about their bullish view are warranted though – as recession risks are rising – but as Courvalin notes, reported oil demand has held up surprisingly well

Data for our monthly reported demand sample (covering c.81% of global demand for May and 55% for June) shows demand tracking above our expectations following downward revisions in April.

The demand recovery has been led by jet fuel (+1mb/d YoY for the sub-sample), with the expected weakness in gasoline demand (-0.5 mb/d, given higher price elasticity) offset by strength in industrial products potentially being pulled into the power stack.

The prevalence of retail government interventions such as price freezes/controls (such as those in China and India, versus tax holidays in the OECD) continues to shield oil demand more than expected.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 16:00

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Economic Slowdown Now, Recession Coming In 2023

Economic Slowdown Now, Recession Coming In 2023

Authored by Lance Roberts via The Epoch Times,

Economic slowdown but no recession! That message comes from the latest employment report, service sector data, and Federal Reserve.

“We’re not in a recession right now. We do have these two-quarters of negative GDP growth. To some extent, a recession is in the eyes of the beholder. With all the job growth in the first half of the year, it’s hard to say there’s a recession. With a flat unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, it’s hard to say there’s a recession,” stated James Bullard, St. Louis Federal Reserve president.

Such a statement certainly belies much of the economic consensus that two-quarters of negative economic growth constitutes a recession. As shown, the latest GDP report indeed met that measure.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

However, as stated, some indicators suggest the economy is in a slowdown but not yet in a recession. For example, our composite Institute of Supply Management (ISM) survey is still in expansionary territory. Since services make up about 80 percent of the economy today, there is currently support for economic growth. However, the data trend is negative and suggests the view of an economic slowdown.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

Employment also remains extremely strong. With the unemployment rate near historic lows, it suggests there is currently not a recession underway. However, historically low unemployment rates are pre-recessionary and reverse quickly as a recession takes hold.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

While neither measure suggests the economy has entered a recession yet, it does not preclude one from occurring. Many indicators suggest individuals “feel” like the economy is in a recession, such as our composite consumer sentiment index. Historically, a recessionary environment was present when consumer confidence and expectations declined below 80.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

Notably, given short-term economic dynamics, we could see a bump in economic growth owing to back-to-school spending in Q3 and holiday shopping in Q4.

However, I suspect that as the Fed continues its aggressive mission to combat inflationary pressures, a recession in 2023 is likely.

The Fed’s Dilemma

While James Bullard and others currently direct the monetary policy regime, suggesting they can quell inflation with only an economic slowdown, history suggests otherwise. The Fed makes its policy decisions based on lagging economic data.

For example, as noted previously, the Fed is currently basing its ability to continue hiking based on solid employment rates. However, history is clear that as the Federal Reserve hikes rates, there is a point where “something breaks” and low unemployment rates soar higher.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

That breaking point occurs because as the Federal Reserve hikes rates, the real-time economy adjusts to monetary policy changes. However, data such as employment and, importantly, inflation is comprised of data that can take several months to catch up to the actual economy.

Notably, more than 40 percent of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is Home Owners Equivalent Rent. It takes roughly three months for pricing changes to be accurately reflected in the data. As the Fed continues to hike rates to combat inflation, the actual impact on consumers and economic activity is not reflected in CPI on a timely basis. It creates the possibility of the Fed over-tightening monetary policy, turning an economic slowdown into a more severe economic contraction.

Of course, this is precisely what history tells us will happen.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

Monetary supply also tells us the Fed is likely making a mistake with its current aggressive stance on inflation. As discussed recently, inflation is the consequence of restricted supply owing to the economic shutdown and increased demand from “stimulus” checks. The massive surge in M2 money supply has reversed and has about a nine-month lead on inflation.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

While the Fed is hiking rates to quell inflation, the contraction of the money supply is doing the job for them.

Driving With the Rearview Mirror

There is little doubt we are currently amidst an economic slowdown. With the Federal Reserve focused on combating inflationary pressures by tightening monetary policy, thereby slowing economic demand, logic suggests that current economic data trends will continue to decline. Of course, the only difference between an economic slowdown and a recession is whether the readings can remain above zero.

As the Fed continues to hike rates, each hike takes roughly nine months to work its way through the economic system. Therefore, the rate hikes from March 2020 won’t show up in the economic data until December. Likewise, the Fed’s subsequent and more aggressive rate hikes won’t be fully reflected in the economic data until early- to mid-2023. As the Fed hikes at subsequent meetings, those hikes will continue to compound their effect on a highly leveraged consumer with little savings through higher living costs. We have shown previously that the consumer is exceptionally unprepared for such an outcome.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

Given the Fed manages monetary policy in the “rear view” mirror, more real-time economic data suggest the economy is rapidly moving from economic slowdown toward recession. The signals are becoming clearer from inverted yield curves to the six-month rate of change of the Leading Economic Index.

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve, Refinitiv Chart:

The media and the White House will likely proclaim victory by stating the first two quarters of 2022 were not a recession but only an economic slowdown. However, given the lag effect of changes to the money supply and higher interest rates, indicators are pretty clear recession risk is very probable in 2023.

From an investment standpoint, it suggests the current market rally is not the beginning of a new bull market. Instead, investors are likely being lured into the clutches of a bear market rally that will probably have rather disappointing outcomes.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 15:30

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

World Food Prices Crash The Most Since 2008

World Food Prices Crash The Most Since 2008

Central banks and mainstream economists were entirely wrong about the narrative that inflation is “transitory,” but after more than a year of raging inflation to four-decade highs, there are signs that current price spikes are waning. 

One of those price declines is the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) index of world food declined by 8.6% to 140.9 points in July, marking the fourth consecutive month of declines since hitting an all-time high in March. However, the international price of a basket of commonly-traded food commodities is still 13.1% higher than in July 2021. 

As shown below, the UN food index recorded the largest monthly decline since the summer of 2008. 

“The decline in food commodity prices from very high levels is welcome, especially when seen from a food access viewpoint; however, many uncertainties remain, including high fertilizer prices that can impact future production prospects and farmers’ livelihoods, a bleak global economic outlook, and currency movements, all of which pose serious strains for global food security,” said FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero.

Besides slumping food prices, inflation expectations alongside commodity prices (fuel prices) have recently eased and come as recession risks across G10 markets are pulled forward (the US has fallen into a technical recession) as central banks raise interest rates aggressively to fight the inflation storm. 

Tyler Durden
Sun, 08/07/2022 – 15:00

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden