Uber To Record Audio During Rides Amid Spate Of Sexual Assaults

Uber To Record Audio During Rides Amid Spate Of Sexual Assaults

Uber is planning recording audio from rides in the United States as part of a new security initiative, amid rising safety concerns over drivers who have sexually assaulted passengers, according to the Washington Post.

The new feature, which will be piloted in Mexico and Brazil next month, will let users opt-in to active an audio recording on any trip or all trips, according to internal communications leaked to the Post. Where available, passengers would be given a blanket warning that trips may be recorded, and that the feature will be active in their market. Neither riders or drivers will be able to listen to the audio.

The on-trip audio recording is the latest safety-oriented change the app is making amid a push to reduce violence, unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior in its rides. Uber has added features such as in-app 911, along with automatic safety check-ins when trips veer off course as part of its Safety Toolkit.

Uber said that in the upcoming pilot, drivers can set the feature to automatically record all trips. For riders to record, they have to activate the feature through the Safety Toolkit, which becomes available before they get into the car. Drivers and passengers’ recordings are placed in their trip history in case they decide to report the incident later. –Washington Post

When the trip ends, the user will be asked if everything is okay and be able to report a safety incident and submit the audio recording to Uber with a few taps,” reads an email written by an Uber executive. “The encrypted audio file is sent to Uber’s customer support agents who will use it to better understand an incident and take the appropriate action.”

The company plans to test it in the U.S. “soon,” according to the email, but the timeline for rolling it out is still unclear and may be difficult. “Laws in the United States around consent to being recorded can vary from state to state, but we hope to be able to make this available nationally,” the email said.

In an interview with The Post, Sachin Kansal, Uber’s head of safety products, said the feature is expected to help prove the truth of what happened on a ride, allowing the company to take decisive action.

“We have taken a position that whenever you are in an Uber, the feeling that we want both parties to have is ‘the lights are on.’” he added. “That leads to safer interaction on the platform.” –Washington Post

Uber has come under fire for numerous allegations of physical assaults, rapes, sexual assault and sexual harassment – with some riders and drivers complaining that the company has been slow to respond to allegations or hasn’t taken them seriously enough, chalking disputes up to a ‘he said, she said’ situation.

In April, a Washington DC woman sued Uber for negligence and consumer protection violations after she was raped by one of the ride-hailing company’s drivers, Raul E. Rodriguez Vasquez. DNA evidence linked him to the assault, and he pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse.

In 2018, CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers over a four-year period. And according to The Verge, at least 31 drivers have been convicted of crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape.

The Post, meanwhile, reports that Uber’s internal safety division – the Special Investigations Unit, primarily exists to shield the company from liability when such issues arise.

That said, the new feature also raises concerns over privacy – as well as the potential to run afoul of various state wiretapping and eavesdropping laws aimed at protecting people from being recorded without their consent.

Albert Gidari, consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said Uber runs the risk of violating those laws. What the company does with those communications is irrelevant to that conversation, he said. (Uber said its encrypted audio files would be password-protected for security.)

Uber needs to show the passengers and driver “expected they would be recorded or could be recorded in the vehicle,” he said. “Absent that the fact — that it’s an encrypted file is a meaningless safeguard.”

Further complicating the issue is the myriad situations that could occur in an Uber, where the ride may be just a passenger and a driver or a group of passengers such as on a pooled ride. There could also be a sleeping or intoxicated passenger. –Washington Post

“You might have the drunk passed out in the back — you might have the additional rider who might understand it,” said Gidari. “Either party can invoke it, but how can the other parties know what’s happening?”

Last year Uber and Lyft suspended a driver who was covertly live-streaming passengers’ trips.

“If someone is already uncomfortable and they start the audio recording, we don’t want there to be any escalation of that particular situation,” said Kansal.


Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 – 15:50

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/33aKLcl Tyler Durden

Wanted: A Dem Presidential Candidate Who Defends Individualism, Capitalism, Non-Interventionism

Tonight’s Democratic debate will showcase attacks on South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttiegieg, who has surged in early state polls over the past month, achieving frontrunner status in Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.)—whose momentum has stalled after finally explaining how she was going to pay for her Medicare for All plan—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii), and Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) will all be gunning for Mayor Pete, and it should be fun and interesting to see how the 37-year-old military vet and former McKinsey consultant holds up under it all.

The Democratic nomination is still completely up for grabs, which helps explain why near-zero-chance characters such as former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are testing the waters. Here we are, a year out from a general election against the least-popular president in recent memory, and the Dems look poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So much so, in fact, that former Pres. Barack Obama has stepped out of an Andy Thomas painting to implore his party to nominate a centrist who might actually be able to win. (Go here for details on how to watch the debate on cable or online.)

But as someone who is socially tolerant and fiscally responsible, tonight’s debate will mostly be about what’s not on stage: A candidate who robustly champions what Reason celebrates as “a world of expanding choice—in lifestyles, identities, goods, work arrangements, and more,” and pushes back against “busybodies, elites, and gatekeepers who insist on how other people should live their lives.” My vote, along with the votes of one-third of the electorate, is up for grabs. According to The New York Times, 32 percent of Americans have said they will “definitely” vote for President Trump and 33 percent have said they will vote for whomever the Democrats nominate. But there is nobody in the Democratic field who comes close enough to libertarian preferences toward the size, scope, and spending of government to win me over at this point. Rather than promising to be the second coming of FDR, they should seriously think about what it would take to win my vote and people who think like me.

Which is not to say certain positions taking root among Democratic Party elites aren’t consistent with a libertarian perspective. With the exception of Biden and possible candidate Bloomberg, all the Democrats have signed off on pot legalization and at least a few have nodded toward the decriminalization of sex work, the abolition of cash bail, criminal justice reform, ending civil asset forfeiture, and other longstanding libertarian hobby horses. When it comes to foreign policy, most are non-interventionist (Tulsi Gabbard is particularly outspoken on this issue), though Joe Biden, who still leads in the national polls, is a tried-and-true hawk, and the relative inexperience or silence of the others is worrying (the military-industrial complex routinely rolls whoever is in the White House). These are not small wins, especially since Donald Trump basically supports the same agenda. The president has already signed the most-significant federal criminal-justice-reform law in recent memory and, as a candidate, promised that he would sign legislation turning marijuana’s status over to the states (something Hillary Clinton refused to do).

Unfortunately, the Democratic candidates have all pledged to spend vast amounts of new money and to institute massive new regulations or create new bureaucracies to further their vision of the good society. Warren is the exemplar on this score, extruding new policies costing trillions of dollars on an almost daily basis, as if it’s a bodily function. She’ll pay for her version of Medicare for All, plus free college, reparations for gay couples who couldn’t take tax deductions when same-sex marriage was banned, and much more with a wealth tax and a host of other new levies that somehow never touch the sacrosanct “middle class” (now defined as anyone making less than a billion dollars a year). Never mind that her plans are likely unconstitutional and incapable of raising the trillions of dollars needed to pay for such largess. Arguably more troubling, Warren has also promised to break up companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and anyone else she thinks is too big or contravenes her personal sense of right and wrong.

In calling for huge amounts of new spending and regulation, Warren is joined even by supposedly forward-looking, business-savvy candidates such as Andrew Yang, whose 21st-century cabinet would include a Department of the Attention Economy, which would dictate policy and business strategy to social media companies. Each of the Democratic candidates also supports some version of The Green New Deal, which uses environmental end-of-days hysteria to sell every jobs, housing, and health care plan floated by progressives over the past 50 years.

Just a few decades ago, the future was supposed to be about radically decentralizing power to “end users” in distributed networks. That dream is almost completely missing from any of the Democrats’ platforms. In highly attenuated form, it flickers on in Andrew Yang’s unaffordable universal basic income plan, which would gift unrestricted cash grants to every American adult. It lives on, too, barely, in Cory Booker’s tepid support for charter schools, but the big idea of giving individuals more freedom in how to run their lives and businesses has taken a back seat to command-and-control policies that give a bigger-and-bigger federal government more say in every decision we might make.

Of course, neither Donald Trump nor the Republicans offer much to libertarians, despite historical reliance on libertrarian rhetoric about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and nominal support for minimal government. In fact, under Trump, the GOP has become the party of trade barriers and immigration restriction while continuing to load up on debt and deficits. Such policies work against, if not completely negate, whatever successful deregulation and tax reform has happened. Whether he realizes it or not, the president is acting like the Hickey character in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, shredding all our illusions by forcing us to confront the vast gap between our rhetorical dreams and lived realities. Certainly, he’s revealed that Republicans, who couldn’t stop talking (rightly) about the negative effects of debt and executive branch overreach during Obama’s tenure, to be unprincipled worshippers of power.

If The New York Times is right, Trump and whatever Democrat ends up with the brass ring next spring can bank on one-third of the electorate. What of the remaining 33 percent? Many, maybe most, will doubtless be swayed by the literal and figurative handouts each side will offer: Here’s free healthcare, free college, free birth control, free whatever. Vote for me. Here’s more money if you have kids or own a house. Here’s a way of pissing off coastal elites, of keeping factory jobs in the country and of keeping economic refugees from “shithole countries” out. Vote for me. Politics isn’t that complicated, it’s a tawdry slow dance between self-enrichment and contempt for the other side.

But then there are the libertarians among us, whom many insist simply don’t exist. Yet according to Cato’s polling director, Emily Ekins, somewhere between 7 percent and 22 percent of American voters can legitimately be called libertarian in that they broadly support economic freedom, civil liberties, and lifestyle pluralism. Only one of the last five presidential elections was decided by more than 7 percentage points of the popular vote, suggesting that libertarians can provide the winning edge even if we only exist in numbers to the low end of Ekins’ assay. In fact, in 2016, the Libertarian Party (LP) candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, pulled 3.3 percent of the popular vote, or more than the 2.1 percent margin between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Unless independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan jumps into the LP race, the party’s nominee is likely to be a virtual unknown almost certainly incapable of replicating Johnson’s haul of nearly 4.5 million votes. Most of those votes, like mine, are up for grabs.

It’s a lark, of course, to dream that any of the candidates on tonight’s stage will start talking libertarian-friendly lines about economic freedom and individualism, just as it’s nuts to expect Donald Trump to reverse himself about the ease and efficacy of trade wars and tariffs. But come the general election, my vote—and that of between 7 percent and 22 percent of the electorate—will still be in play and waiting to be won by a candidate who defends or at least pays respect to economic and civil liberties, individualism and free speech, and what Reason dubs “free minds and free markets.” The wooing of the libertarian vote, if it’s going to happen at all on the Democratic side, starts tonight.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/2KEX8qi
via IFTTT

Wanted: A Dem Presidential Candidate Who Defends Individualism, Capitalism, Non-Interventionism

Tonight’s Democratic debate will showcase attacks on South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttiegieg, who has surged in early state polls over the past month, achieving frontrunner status in Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.)—whose momentum has stalled after finally explaining how she was going to pay for her Medicare for All plan—Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii), and Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) will all be gunning for Mayor Pete, and it should be fun and interesting to see how the 37-year-old military vet and former McKinsey consultant holds up under it all.

The Democratic nomination is still completely up for grabs, which helps explain why near-zero-chance characters such as former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are testing the waters. Here we are, a year out from a general election against the least-popular president in recent memory, and the Dems look poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So much so, in fact, that former Pres. Barack Obama has stepped out of an Andy Thomas painting to implore his party to nominate a centrist who might actually be able to win. (Go here for details on how to watch the debate on cable or online.)

But as someone who is socially tolerant and fiscally responsible, tonight’s debate will mostly be about what’s not on stage: A candidate who robustly champions what Reason celebrates as “a world of expanding choice—in lifestyles, identities, goods, work arrangements, and more,” and pushes back against “busybodies, elites, and gatekeepers who insist on how other people should live their lives.” My vote, along with the votes of one-third of the electorate, is up for grabs. According to The New York Times, 32 percent of Americans have said they will “definitely” vote for President Trump and 33 percent have said they will vote for whomever the Democrats nominate. But there is nobody in the Democratic field who comes close enough to libertarian preferences toward the size, scope, and spending of government to win me over at this point. Rather than promising to be the second coming of FDR, they should seriously think about what it would take to win my vote and people who think like me.

Which is not to say certain positions taking root among Democratic Party elites aren’t consistent with a libertarian perspective. With the exception of Biden and possible candidate Bloomberg, all the Democrats have signed off on pot legalization and at least a few have nodded toward the decriminalization of sex work, the abolition of cash bail, criminal justice reform, ending civil asset forfeiture, and other longstanding libertarian hobby horses. When it comes to foreign policy, most are non-interventionist (Tulsi Gabbard is particularly outspoken on this issue), though Joe Biden, who still leads in the national polls, is a tried-and-true hawk, and the relative inexperience or silence of the others is worrying (the military-industrial complex routinely rolls whoever is in the White House). These are not small wins, especially since Donald Trump basically supports the same agenda. The president has already signed the most-significant federal criminal-justice-reform law in recent memory and, as a candidate, promised that he would sign legislation turning marijuana’s status over to the states (something Hillary Clinton refused to do).

Unfortunately, the Democratic candidates have all pledged to spend vast amounts of new money and to institute massive new regulations or create new bureaucracies to further their vision of the good society. Warren is the exemplar on this score, extruding new policies costing trillions of dollars on an almost daily basis, as if it’s a bodily function. She’ll pay for her version of Medicare for All, plus free college, reparations for gay couples who couldn’t take tax deductions when same-sex marriage was banned, and much more with a wealth tax and a host of other new levies that somehow never touch the sacrosanct “middle class” (now defined as anyone making less than a billion dollars a year). Never mind that her plans are likely unconstitutional and incapable of raising the trillions of dollars needed to pay for such largess. Arguably more troubling, Warren has also promised to break up companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and anyone else she thinks is too big or contravenes her personal sense of right and wrong.

In calling for huge amounts of new spending and regulation, Warren is joined even by supposedly forward-looking, business-savvy candidates such as Andrew Yang, whose 21st-century cabinet would include a Department of the Attention Economy, which would dictate policy and business strategy to social media companies. Each of the Democratic candidates also supports some version of The Green New Deal, which uses environmental end-of-days hysteria to sell every jobs, housing, and health care plan floated by progressives over the past 50 years.

Just a few decades ago, the future was supposed to be about radically decentralizing power to “end users” in distributed networks. That dream is almost completely missing from any of the Democrats’ platforms. In highly attenuated form, it flickers on in Andrew Yang’s unaffordable universal basic income plan, which would gift unrestricted cash grants to every American adult. It lives on, too, barely, in Cory Booker’s tepid support for charter schools, but the big idea of giving individuals more freedom in how to run their lives and businesses has taken a back seat to command-and-control policies that give a bigger-and-bigger federal government more say in every decision we might make.

Of course, neither Donald Trump nor the Republicans offer much to libertarians, despite historical reliance on libertrarian rhetoric about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and nominal support for minimal government. In fact, under Trump, the GOP has become the party of trade barriers and immigration restriction while continuing to load up on debt and deficits. Such policies work against, if not completely negate, whatever successful deregulation and tax reform has happened. Whether he realizes it or not, the president is acting like the Hickey character in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, shredding all our illusions by forcing us to confront the vast gap between our rhetorical dreams and lived realities. Certainly, he’s revealed that Republicans, who couldn’t stop talking (rightly) about the negative effects of debt and executive branch overreach during Obama’s tenure, to be unprincipled worshippers of power.

If The New York Times is right, Trump and whatever Democrat ends up with the brass ring next spring can bank on one-third of the electorate. What of the remaining 33 percent? Many, maybe most, will doubtless be swayed by the literal and figurative handouts each side will offer: Here’s free healthcare, free college, free birth control, free whatever. Vote for me. Here’s more money if you have kids or own a house. Here’s a way of pissing off coastal elites, of keeping factory jobs in the country and of keeping economic refugees from “shithole countries” out. Vote for me. Politics isn’t that complicated, it’s a tawdry slow dance between self-enrichment and contempt for the other side.

But then there are the libertarians among us, whom many insist simply don’t exist. Yet according to Cato’s polling director, Emily Ekins, somewhere between 7 percent and 22 percent of American voters can legitimately be called libertarian in that they broadly support economic freedom, civil liberties, and lifestyle pluralism. Only one of the last five presidential elections was decided by more than 7 percentage points of the popular vote, suggesting that libertarians can provide the winning edge even if we only exist in numbers to the low end of Ekins’ assay. In fact, in 2016, the Libertarian Party (LP) candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, pulled 3.3 percent of the popular vote, or more than the 2.1 percent margin between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Unless independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan jumps into the LP race, the party’s nominee is likely to be a virtual unknown almost certainly incapable of replicating Johnson’s haul of nearly 4.5 million votes. Most of those votes, like mine, are up for grabs.

It’s a lark, of course, to dream that any of the candidates on tonight’s stage will start talking libertarian-friendly lines about economic freedom and individualism, just as it’s nuts to expect Donald Trump to reverse himself about the ease and efficacy of trade wars and tariffs. But come the general election, my vote—and that of between 7 percent and 22 percent of the electorate—will still be in play and waiting to be won by a candidate who defends or at least pays respect to economic and civil liberties, individualism and free speech, and what Reason dubs “free minds and free markets.” The wooing of the libertarian vote, if it’s going to happen at all on the Democratic side, starts tonight.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/2KEX8qi
via IFTTT

US Relations With China Were Just Destroyed, And Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

US Relations With China Were Just Destroyed, And Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

Our relationship with China just went from bad to worse, and most Americans don’t even realize that we just witnessed one of the most critical foreign policy decisions of this century. The U.S. Senate just unanimously passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”, and the Chinese are absolutely seething with anger. Violent protests have been rocking Hong Kong for months, and the Chinese have repeatedly accused the United States of being behind the protests. Whether that is true or not, the U.S. Senate has openly sided with the protesters by passing this bill, and there is no turning back now.

The protesters in Hong Kong have been waving American flags, singing our national anthem and they have made it exceedingly clear that they want independence from China. And all of us should certainly be able to understand why they would want that, because China is a deeply tyrannical regime. But to the Chinese government, this move by the U.S. Senate is essentially an assault on China itself. They are going to argue that the U.S. is inciting a revolution in Hong Kong, and after what the Senate has just done it will be very difficult to claim that is not true.

The Chinese take matters of internal security very seriously, and the status of Hong Kong is one of those issues that they are super sensitive about. China will never, ever compromise when it comes to Hong Kong, and if the U.S. keeps pushing this issue it could literally take us to the brink of a military conflict.

And you can forget about a comprehensive trade agreement ever happening. Even if a Democrat is elected in 2020, that Democrat is going to back what the Senate just did. That is why it was such a major deal that this bill passed by unanimous consent. It sent a message to the Chinese that Republicans and Democrats are united on this issue and that the next election is not going to change anything.

And the trade deal that President Trump was trying to put together was already on exceedingly shaky ground. “Phase one” was extremely limited, nothing was ever put in writing, and nothing was ever signed. And in recent days it became quite clear that both sides couldn’t even agree about what “phase one” was supposed to cover

A spokesperson for China’s Commerce Ministry said earlier this month that both countries had agreed to cancel some existing tariffs simultaneously. Trump later said that he had not agreed to scrap the tariffs, lowering hopes for a deal.

“They’d like to have a rollback. I haven’t agreed to anything,” the president said.

On Tuesday, Trump was visibly frustrated by how things are going with China, and he publicly warned the Chinese that he could soon “raise the tariffs even higher”

President Donald Trump threatened higher tariffs on Chinese goods if that country does not make a deal on trade.

The comments came during a meeting with the president’s Cabinet on Tuesday. The U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have been locked in an apparent stalemate in trade negotiations that have lasted nearly two years.

“If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher,” Trump said in the meeting.

Unfortunately, raising tariffs isn’t going to fix anything at this point.

In fact, Trump can raise tariffs until the cows come home but it isn’t going to cause the Chinese to budge.

That is because on Tuesday evening everything changed.

When they passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” by unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate essentially doused our relationship with China with kerosene and set it on fire. The following comes from Zero Hedge

In a widely anticipated move, just after 6pm ET on Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill, S.1838, showing support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong by requiring an annual review of whether the city is sufficiently autonomous from Beijing to justify its special trading status. In doing so, the Senate has delivered a warning to China against a violent suppression of the demonstrations, a stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s near-silence on the issue, the result of a behind the scenes agreement whereby China would allow the S&P to rise indefinitely as long as Trump kept his mouth shut.

As we reported last week, the vote marks the most aggressively diplomatic challenge to the government in Beijing just as the US and China seek to close the “Phase 1” of their agreement to end their trade war. The Senate measure would require annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to assess the extent to which China has chipped away the city’s autonomy; in light of recent events, Hong Kong would not pass. It’s unclear what would happen next.

I am finding it difficult to find the words to describe what this means to the Chinese.

We have deeply insulted their national honor, and our relationship with them will never be the same again.

Many will debate whether standing up to China on this issue was the right thing to do, but in this article I am trying to get you to understand that there will be severe consequences for what the U.S. Senate just did.

There isn’t going to be a comprehensive trade deal, the global economy is going to suffer greatly, and the Chinese now consider us to be their primary global adversary.

Shortly after the Senate passed the bill, a strongly worded statement was released by the Chinese government. The following excerpt comes from the first two paragraphs of that statement

On November 19th, the US Senate passed the “Hong Kong Bill of Rights on Human Rights and Democracy.” The bill disregards the facts, confuses right and wrong, violates the axioms, plays with double standards, openly intervenes in Hong Kong affairs, interferes in China’s internal affairs, and seriously violates the basic norms of international law and international relations. The Chinese side strongly condemns and resolutely opposes this.

In the past five months, the persistent violent criminal acts in Hong Kong have seriously jeopardized the safety of the public’s life and property, seriously trampled on the rule of law and social order, seriously undermined Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and seriously challenged the bottom line of the “one country, two systems” principle. At present, what Hong Kong faces is not the so-called human rights and democracy issues, but the issue of ending the storms, maintaining the rule of law and restoring order as soon as possible. The Chinese central government will continue to firmly support the Hong Kong SAR Government in its administration of the law, firmly support the Hong Kong police in law enforcement, and firmly support the Hong Kong Judiciary in punishing violent criminals in accordance with the law, protecting the lives and property of Hong Kong residents and maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

For a long time I have been warning that U.S. relations with China would greatly deteriorate, and this is the biggest blow that we have seen yet.

The U.S. and China are now enemies, and ultimately that is going to result in a tremendous amount of pain for the entire planet.


Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 – 15:35

Tags

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2KEWAAK Tyler Durden

Oil’s Most Legendary Trader And Permabull Turns Bearish

Oil’s Most Legendary Trader And Permabull Turns Bearish

For virtually all of his career, legendary oil trader Andy Hall was a permabull when it comes to the price of oil.



Andy Hall Photo: Bloomberg

While that served him well for much of the past three decades as oil prices rose alongside China’s ascent and relentless demand for crude, resulting in a personal fortune and making Hall one of the richest and most successful commodity traders in the world, it also was the reason for his demise, when after several years of declining oil prices following the OPEC near collapse on Thanksgiving Day 2014, Hall – who was unwilling to change his bullish outlook – was forced to shutter his Astenbeck hedge fund for good in 2017, “a capitulation of one of the best-known figures in the commodities world” according to Bloomberg.

Since then Hall has kept a low profile, but he finally emerged last week in New York… as an oil bear, and instead of seeing relentless oil price growth coupled with the occasional fling in “peak oil”, now predicts the biggest shift yet in the global market: the end of demand growth.

There’s a non-zero chance that by 2030, we will see a plateauing or decline in global oil consumption,” the former hedge fund manager told at an industry event in New York which was organized by Orbital Insight and RBC Capital Markets, and quoted by Bloomberg. “It’ll happen because of technology, electric cars, renewable energy.”

“Oil demand has grown exponentially since the end of World War II,” Hall said at the event,. “It was just a given that oil consumption would grow from here to eternity. Except we knew logically that couldn’t happen.”

The long-term implications for the price of oil are obvious.

Hall’s revised view is hardly original, echoing a recent warning from the International Energy Agency according to which global oil consumption will plateau in about a decade. The prospect of “peak demand” would end an expansion that dominated the past century and comes as investors and governments face pressure to move away from fossil-fuel-based economies.

The notable shift from “peak oil” to “peak demand” comes even as new oil supplies from places like Brazil, Norway and Guyana soar, while US shale production has helped US oil production hit an all time high and make the country energy independent.

It comes amid growing concerns from the oil and gas industry that it’s running up against a shift in energy consumption. That transition will increasingly limit its ability to make ends meet, with some shale firms and oil-service providers already struggling or going under, according to both Bloomberg and a recent lengthy report from Bloomberg.

Speaking later in an interview with Bloomberg, Hall said that solar and wind energy are already cheaper than coal.

“If the world fully transitions to renewable energy, what is the role of a fossil fuel company?” he said. “I think renewables is the new oil.”

Hall also quoted Sheikh Ahmad Zaki Yamani, the former Saudi Arabian oil minister who famously said that the Stone Age didn’t come to an end for lack of stones, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.

Global benchmark Brent crude traded at around $62 a barrel. While prices are up about 16% this year, they are still well below lofty highs above $100 from earlier this decade.

“Could we see $100 oil again? Absolutely,” Hall told Bloomberg News. “That would only be temporary and hasten the ultimate demise.”


Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 – 15:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/2r9HcFW Tyler Durden

Fed Reveals When The Next Repo Crisis May Strike

Fed Reveals When The Next Repo Crisis May Strike

As part of today’s FOMC Minutes, the Fed also released the minutes from the October 4 ad hoc unscheduled video conference during which the FOMC agreed to unexpectedly launch POMO, reversing almost two years of QT, in order to address the crisis in the repo market by boosting the Fed’s balance sheet permanently and restoring the level of Fed reserves to their “early September level.”

What it revealed was interesting.

First, the minutes disclosed what the FOMC believes prompted the spike in repo rates in mid-September, noting that “the staff reviewed recent developments in money markets and the effect of the Desk’s continued offering of overnight and term repo operations.” Then, according to staff analysis and market commentary, it concluded that “many factors contributed to the  funding stresses that  emerged in mid-September. In particular, financial institutions’ internal risk limits and balance sheet costs may have slowed the distribution of liquidity across the system at a time when reserves had dropped sharply and Treasury issuance was elevated.”

In other words, what happened in September, when the overnight G/C repo rate exploded to 10% is that it was a little bit of everything. It also means that it was nobody’s fault because it was, by definition, everyone’s fault.

In any case, after agreeing that that preserving “control over the federal funds rate was a priority and that recent money market developments suggested it was appropriate to consider steps at this time to maintain a level of reserves” participants “expressed support for a plan to purchase Treasury bills into the second quarter of 2020 and to
continue conducting overnight and term repo operations at least through January of next year.”

Specifically, and as noted previously, the FOMC supported conducting operations “to maintain reserve balances around the level that prevailed in early September” while others were even more aggressive and “suggested moving to an even higher level of reserves to provide an extra buffer and greater assurance of control over the federal funds rate.”

There was another interesting discussion topic: how quickly should the Fed’s balance sheet rise:

In discussing the pace of Treasury bill purchases, many participants supported a relatively rapid pace to boost reserve levels quickly, while others supported a more moderate pace of purchases. Participants generally judged that Treasury bill purchases and the associated increase in reserves would, over time, result in a gradual reduction in the need for repo operations.

We now know that the pace of purchases is $60 billion and together with the Fed’s various repo operations, the Fed’s balance sheet has increased by $285 billion in the past 8 weeks, the fastest expansion on record, surpassing QE1, QE2 and QE3. Just remember: it’s not QE!

A notable discussion took place over whether the Fed could stop pretending that it is not engaging in QE – just because it is merely monetizing T-Bills – and could expand to coupons:

A few participants indicated that purchasing Treasury notes and bonds with limited remaining maturities could also be considered as a way to boost reserves, particularly if the Federal Reserve faced constraints on the pace at which it could purchase Treasury bills.

One month ago, we said that it is only a matter of time before the Fed start monetizing 2 Year Notes, and we are happy to see that this has already been discussed by the Fed.

Another interesting point had to do with the seemingly panicked rush by the Fed to launch POMO. After all, recall that even Goldman expected the rollout of bond purchases to take place in November, after the October 31 meeting. Well, it appears that at least a “couple” of FOMC members were just as concerned by what message such a rushed rollout would send:

Most participants preferred not to wait until the October 29–30 FOMC meeting to issue a public statement regarding the planned Treasury bill purchases and repo operations. They noted that releasing a statement before the October 29–30 FOMC meeting would help reinforce the point that these actions were technical and not intended to affect the stance of policy. In addition, a few participants remarked that an earlier release would allow the Desk to begin boosting the level of reserves sooner.

A couple of participants, however, wanted to wait until the October 29–30 FOMC meeting to announce the plan so as not to surprise market participants or lead them to infer that the Committee regarded the situation as dire and thus requiring immediate action.

“Dire” and “requiring immediate action.” Got it.

Finally, as most money-market and Fed watchers expect the next repo crisis to take place around year end, the FOMC did not disagree but also noted that “money market pressures” could erupt in April 2020, around tax season:

Although money market conditions had since improved, market participants expressed uncertainty about how funding market conditions may evolve over coming months, especially around year-end. Further out, the April 2020 tax season, with  associated reductions in reserves around that time, was viewed as another point at which money market pressures could emerge.

One last point: the FOMC did mention that a Standing Repo Facility – i.e., unlimited QE for anyone and everyone who requests it – remains very much in the works:

Participants discussed longer-term issues that the Committee might want to study once the near-term plan was in place. In particular, many participants mentioned that the Committee may want to continue its previous discussion of a standing repo  facility as a part of the long-run implementation framework. Almost all of these participants noted that such a facility was an  option to provide a backstop to buffer shocks that could adversely affect policy implementation, and several of these  participants mentioned the potential for the facility to support banks’ liquidity risk management while reducing the demand for reserves. 

Other participants, instead, highlighted that policy implementation had worked well with larger quantities of reserves and focused their discussion on actions to firmly establish an ample supply of reserves over the longer run.

In any case, a decision on a SRF will only be made in the future, as “a number of participants noted that a discussion of a broader range of factors that affect the level and volatility of reserves may be appropriate at a future meeting.”


Tyler Durden

Wed, 11/20/2019 – 15:02

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/347J1lb Tyler Durden

Tennessee Court Refuses To Test DNA Evidence That Could Exonerate a Man the State Already Executed

A technicality in the law stands in the way of a daughter’s attempt to prove that the state of Tennessee put her innocent father to death.

Sedley Alley was convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of Marine Cpl. Suzanne M. Collins. Collins was jogging in a park near a naval base in Millington when she was abducted. Three witnesses said her abductor was driving a brown station wagon. Alley drove a similar vehicle. He was pulled over and told naval security that he was driving around town and drinking beer the night of the abduction.

Alley was brought in for questioning on the naval base. When the questioning was completed, Alley started his vehicle so he could leave. The witnesses, who happened to be present, said the sound of his car matched the sound of the perpetrator’s vehicle.

Collins’ mutilated body was discovered the next day and law enforcement arrested Alley.

The Commercial Appeal has more details on Alley’s case.

Alley confessed to the murder and led police to the crime scene. However, there are several problems with the state’s case. The Innocence Project, a civil liberties group, now believes Alley was coerced into making a false confession by the police. An expert would later testify that police tainted Alley’s confession by telling him non-public details about the crime.

The group also notes inconsistencies with the evidence used to convict Alley. The witness description of the suspect did not match Alley’s features. Alley’s supposed recollection of the crime also did not match up with the details uncovered by investigators. In fact, he repeatedly said that he did not remember committing the crime.

Alley was executed by lethal injection in June 2006. April Alley, his daughter, is now working with the Innocence Project to clear her father’s name posthumously.

The Innocence Project has called for testing physical evidence from the case, which includes red underwear believed to be owned by the assailant and stains on Collins’ shirt and bra. The group received information about another possible suspect: a man who attended the same training school as Collins. They believe that this man, most recently indicted for homicide and rape in St. Louis, is a serial offender.

In May, April Alley and the Innocence Project filed a petition with the Criminal Court for Shelby County in Memphis, asking the state to DNA test the evidence in her father’s case. The petition also asked Gov. Bill Lee (R) to use executive authority to order testing.

On Monday, Judge Paula Skahan dismissed the petition.

Skahan’s opinion says that April Alley “does not have standing” as Alley’s estate to file a petition for post-conviction DNA testing of evidence held by the state. Skahan’s decision rests on Tennessee’s Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001, which merely allows “a person convicted of and sentenced for the commission of first-degree murder” to file a petition of this nature.

The cruel irony of this legal predicament is that Alley, who is deceased because of the state’s actions, is the only person who has the authority to file a petition asking the state to test the evidence that could exonerate him.

Worse, as the Innocence Project petition explains, Alley previously sought post-conviction testing under the act and was denied due to “a now-reversed and clearly incorrect interpretation” of the 2001 law, which was not cleared up by the Tennessee Supreme Court until 2011.

“I’m heartbroken. Frankly, I’m numb. I’m very grateful for all who have supported me in this effort to find the truth. We will see this through to the end, no matter what it takes,” April Alley said in response to the ruling.

The Innocence Project wrote in a statement that it has “already filed a notice of appeal.” The group criticized Skahan’s ruling, saying, “The petition simply asks for testing of available DNA evidence, which could be done within 30 to 60 days. It will now take months, if not years, to go through the courts to finally get to the truth in this matter.”

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/35mdk88
via IFTTT

Giving Government Vast Snooping Authority Is One Thing Democrats and Republicans Both Like

Are you thoroughly invested in the impeachment drama? Do you thrill to the clash of good guys and villains in the ring of democracy, with the fate of the republic as the prize?

Have fun with that. There’s a good case to be made that all this political heat and light is little more than professional wrestling for flabby people. If Democrats really feared Donald Trump’s exercise of the powers of the presidency, why would they propose extending the surveillance powers of the controversial Patriot Act?

Buried on the next-to-last page of the Continuing Appropriations Act, meant to keep the government’s lights on and dated yesterday, is the following language:

Section  102(b)(1)  of  the  USA  PATRIOT  Improvement  and  Reauthorization  Act  of  2005  (50  U.S.C.  101805  note)  is  amended  by  striking  “December  15,  2019”  and inserting “March 15, 2020”.

This relatively innocuous language pushes back the sunset provision of the Patriot Act by three months, leaving its vast powers in the hands of a president who Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden charges with “failure to uphold basic democratic principles,” who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused of “alarming connections and conduct with Russia” and, joined by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, says is making an attempt to “shred the Constitution.”

Many Democrats flat-out call Trump a “traitor.”

If you take those comments seriously, that’s a hell of a guy to trust with the powers granted by the Patriot Act. And frightening powers they are.

“The USA PATRIOT Act broadly expands law enforcement’s surveillance and investigative powers and represents one of the most significant threats to civil liberties, privacy, and democratic traditions in US history,” notes the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The law “eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused,” the group adds.

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees, calling the Patriot Act “an overnight revision of the nation’s surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers like judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court.”

Passed in the panic-stricken wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act was basically a dusted-off wish-list of surveillance-state powers drafted after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Although the bill failed, at first, to gain congressional approval, it sat ready and waiting for the right set of circumstances to come along. That happened as America watched buildings burn and fellow citizens die six years later. Even in that environment of fear, lawmakers included a sunset provision in the Patriot Act, meaning it would expire after four years. With some changes, it was reauthorized in 2005, 2011, and 2015.

The alleged authorship of the original surveillance proposal provides a helpful hint as to why Democrats might be so eager to extend expansive surveillance power, even for a president they say they despise: They had a hand in its creation.

“I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing,” then-future veep and perennial presidential wannabe Joe Biden boasted to The New Republic in 2008. “And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill.”

Whether or not Biden really authored what became the Patriot Act, he and many of his fellow Democrats certainly take pride of ownership and show plenty of enthusiasm for its powers. The 2011 and 2015 reauthorizations occurred under Democratic President Barack Obama, with Biden as vice president.

The Trump administration also favors reauthorization of the Patriot Act, including a dropped provision allowing the National Security Agency to gain access to records of Americans’ communications. That part had been somewhat defanged under the Obama administration amidst public uproar over revelations of domestic surveillance by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Biden, as vice president, threatened countries that considered offering asylum to Snowden—another feather in his surveillance-state cap.

The Democratic Party, by and large, seems to be right there with Biden. This year’s proposed reauthorization of the Patriot Act isn’t exactly a one-off; last year, donkey party leaders kneecapped an effort in the House by dissident libertarian-leaning Republicans and liberal Democrats to roll back some of the more intrusive elements of the Patriot Act.

“It became quickly apparent that leading Democrats intended to side with Trump and against those within their own party who favored imposing safeguards on the Trump administration’s ability to engage in domestic surveillance,” The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald wrote at the time. “The most bizarre aspect of this spectacle was that the Democrats who most aggressively defended Trump’s version of the surveillance bill—the Democrats most eager to preserve Trump’s spying powers as virtually limitless—were the very same Democratic House members who have become media stars this year by flamboyantly denouncing Trump as a treasonous, lawless despot in front of every television camera they could find.”

When the 2018 surveillance reform measure was defeated, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who now leads the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, gloated that Congress had avoided “a crippling requirement in national security and terrorism cases.”

Like I said, it’s professional wrestling for flabby people. When it counts—with civil liberties and the (un)trustworthiness of the state to handle its dangerous toys—there’s little to distinguish leading Democrats from leading Republicans. Their major real disagreement is over who should be in charge of misusing and abusing those excessive powers. Ultimately, though, Democrats are happy to keep the surveillance state up and running and in the hands of a president they denounce as dangerous.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/2KD1LBk
via IFTTT

Tennessee Court Refuses To Test DNA Evidence That Could Exonerate a Man the State Already Executed

A technicality in the law stands in the way of a daughter’s attempt to prove that the state of Tennessee put her innocent father to death.

Sedley Alley was convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of Marine Cpl. Suzanne M. Collins. Collins was jogging in a park near a naval base in Millington when she was abducted. Three witnesses said her abductor was driving a brown station wagon. Alley drove a similar vehicle. He was pulled over and told naval security that he was driving around town and drinking beer the night of the abduction.

Alley was brought in for questioning on the naval base. When the questioning was completed, Alley started his vehicle so he could leave. The witnesses, who happened to be present, said the sound of his car matched the sound of the perpetrator’s vehicle.

Collins’ mutilated body was discovered the next day and law enforcement arrested Alley.

The Commercial Appeal has more details on Alley’s case.

Alley confessed to the murder and led police to the crime scene. However, there are several problems with the state’s case. The Innocence Project, a civil liberties group, now believes Alley was coerced into making a false confession by the police. An expert would later testify that police tainted Alley’s confession by telling him non-public details about the crime.

The group also notes inconsistencies with the evidence used to convict Alley. The witness description of the suspect did not match Alley’s features. Alley’s supposed recollection of the crime also did not match up with the details uncovered by investigators. In fact, he repeatedly said that he did not remember committing the crime.

Alley was executed by lethal injection in June 2006. April Alley, his daughter, is now working with the Innocence Project to clear her father’s name posthumously.

The Innocence Project has called for testing physical evidence from the case, which includes red underwear believed to be owned by the assailant and stains on Collins’ shirt and bra. The group received information about another possible suspect: a man who attended the same training school as Collins. They believe that this man, most recently indicted for homicide and rape in St. Louis, is a serial offender.

In May, April Alley and the Innocence Project filed a petition with the Criminal Court for Shelby County in Memphis, asking the state to DNA test the evidence in her father’s case. The petition also asked Gov. Bill Lee (R) to use executive authority to order testing.

On Monday, Judge Paula Skahan dismissed the petition.

Skahan’s opinion says that April Alley “does not have standing” as Alley’s estate to file a petition for post-conviction DNA testing of evidence held by the state. Skahan’s decision rests on Tennessee’s Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001, which merely allows “a person convicted of and sentenced for the commission of first-degree murder” to file a petition of this nature.

The cruel irony of this legal predicament is that Alley, who is deceased because of the state’s actions, is the only person who has the authority to file a petition asking the state to test the evidence that could exonerate him.

Worse, as the Innocence Project petition explains, Alley previously sought post-conviction testing under the act and was denied due to “a now-reversed and clearly incorrect interpretation” of the 2001 law, which was not cleared up by the Tennessee Supreme Court until 2011.

“I’m heartbroken. Frankly, I’m numb. I’m very grateful for all who have supported me in this effort to find the truth. We will see this through to the end, no matter what it takes,” April Alley said in response to the ruling.

The Innocence Project wrote in a statement that it has “already filed a notice of appeal.” The group criticized Skahan’s ruling, saying, “The petition simply asks for testing of available DNA evidence, which could be done within 30 to 60 days. It will now take months, if not years, to go through the courts to finally get to the truth in this matter.”

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/35mdk88
via IFTTT

Giving Government Vast Snooping Authority Is One Thing Democrats and Republicans Both Like

Are you thoroughly invested in the impeachment drama? Do you thrill to the clash of good guys and villains in the ring of democracy, with the fate of the republic as the prize?

Have fun with that. There’s a good case to be made that all this political heat and light is little more than professional wrestling for flabby people. If Democrats really feared Donald Trump’s exercise of the powers of the presidency, why would they propose extending the surveillance powers of the controversial Patriot Act?

Buried on the next-to-last page of the Continuing Appropriations Act, meant to keep the government’s lights on and dated yesterday, is the following language:

Section  102(b)(1)  of  the  USA  PATRIOT  Improvement  and  Reauthorization  Act  of  2005  (50  U.S.C.  101805  note)  is  amended  by  striking  “December  15,  2019”  and inserting “March 15, 2020”.

This relatively innocuous language pushes back the sunset provision of the Patriot Act by three months, leaving its vast powers in the hands of a president who Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden charges with “failure to uphold basic democratic principles,” who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused of “alarming connections and conduct with Russia” and, joined by Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, says is making an attempt to “shred the Constitution.”

Many Democrats flat-out call Trump a “traitor.”

If you take those comments seriously, that’s a hell of a guy to trust with the powers granted by the Patriot Act. And frightening powers they are.

“The USA PATRIOT Act broadly expands law enforcement’s surveillance and investigative powers and represents one of the most significant threats to civil liberties, privacy, and democratic traditions in US history,” notes the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The law “eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused,” the group adds.

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees, calling the Patriot Act “an overnight revision of the nation’s surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers like judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court.”

Passed in the panic-stricken wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act was basically a dusted-off wish-list of surveillance-state powers drafted after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Although the bill failed, at first, to gain congressional approval, it sat ready and waiting for the right set of circumstances to come along. That happened as America watched buildings burn and fellow citizens die six years later. Even in that environment of fear, lawmakers included a sunset provision in the Patriot Act, meaning it would expire after four years. With some changes, it was reauthorized in 2005, 2011, and 2015.

The alleged authorship of the original surveillance proposal provides a helpful hint as to why Democrats might be so eager to extend expansive surveillance power, even for a president they say they despise: They had a hand in its creation.

“I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing,” then-future veep and perennial presidential wannabe Joe Biden boasted to The New Republic in 2008. “And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill.”

Whether or not Biden really authored what became the Patriot Act, he and many of his fellow Democrats certainly take pride of ownership and show plenty of enthusiasm for its powers. The 2011 and 2015 reauthorizations occurred under Democratic President Barack Obama, with Biden as vice president.

The Trump administration also favors reauthorization of the Patriot Act, including a dropped provision allowing the National Security Agency to gain access to records of Americans’ communications. That part had been somewhat defanged under the Obama administration amidst public uproar over revelations of domestic surveillance by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Biden, as vice president, threatened countries that considered offering asylum to Snowden—another feather in his surveillance-state cap.

The Democratic Party, by and large, seems to be right there with Biden. This year’s proposed reauthorization of the Patriot Act isn’t exactly a one-off; last year, donkey party leaders kneecapped an effort in the House by dissident libertarian-leaning Republicans and liberal Democrats to roll back some of the more intrusive elements of the Patriot Act.

“It became quickly apparent that leading Democrats intended to side with Trump and against those within their own party who favored imposing safeguards on the Trump administration’s ability to engage in domestic surveillance,” The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald wrote at the time. “The most bizarre aspect of this spectacle was that the Democrats who most aggressively defended Trump’s version of the surveillance bill—the Democrats most eager to preserve Trump’s spying powers as virtually limitless—were the very same Democratic House members who have become media stars this year by flamboyantly denouncing Trump as a treasonous, lawless despot in front of every television camera they could find.”

When the 2018 surveillance reform measure was defeated, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who now leads the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, gloated that Congress had avoided “a crippling requirement in national security and terrorism cases.”

Like I said, it’s professional wrestling for flabby people. When it counts—with civil liberties and the (un)trustworthiness of the state to handle its dangerous toys—there’s little to distinguish leading Democrats from leading Republicans. Their major real disagreement is over who should be in charge of misusing and abusing those excessive powers. Ultimately, though, Democrats are happy to keep the surveillance state up and running and in the hands of a president they denounce as dangerous.

from Latest – Reason.com https://ift.tt/2KD1LBk
via IFTTT