‘Smart’ Gun Mocked After Demonstration Fail

‘Smart’ Gun Mocked After Demonstration Fail

Smart guns are being pushed in mainstream media to prevent unauthorized people from firing guns in the hopes of preventing mass shootings. 

Biometric recognition technology using fingerprints and or RFID technology is used to activate the high-tech pistols. 

However, as outlined by the pro-gun website Bearing Arms, smart guns aren’t so smart after a possible demonstration failure.

Smart guns could be prone to reliability issues in life in death situations. 

* * * 

Submitted by Bearing Arms

Over the last week or so, so-called smart guns have been everywhere in the mainstream media. In the Second Amendment community, there’s been a ton of talk about them as well. Especially since we all know it’s just a matter of time before lawmakers try to mandate smart guns as the only guns.

However, there are problems with these kinds of firearms. We all know it. I’ve talked about a few of them.

One of the big ones is reliability. The more whizzbangs you put in a device, the higher the likelihood of failure becomes.

Firearms are a technology that has more than a century of development. While there are tweaks here and there, the core of a semi-automatic firearm hasn’t changed all that much. As a result, it’s reliable.

Smart guns don’t have that. What makes them “smart” is a technology that exists elsewhere, but also has problems just about everywhere.

And, as John Boch over at The Truth About Guns notes, it seems they can’t even handle the “gun” part that well, either.

Last week, we lambasted reports of a new “smart gun” that Reuters raved about in a glowing “exclusive.” Reuters reporter Daniel Trotta wrote that the third-generation prototype fired “without issue” during a live-fire demonstration for investors and the media.

Now though, additional footage of the event has since surfaced that shows the LodeStar Works gun couldn’t manage to fire two rounds without an issue during one of the exercises.

Whoops.

Here’s another recording that is embeddable from a local TV reporter. It shows the LodeStar not-so-smart gun can’t even fire two rounds back-to-back.

We can clearly see the shooter state he’s going to fire two rounds. He fires one, then pulls the trigger several more times, only the weapon does fire.

Yeah, that’s the reliability thing we were talking about.

The truth of the matter is that smart guns aren’t ready for prime time. Not by a mile. But, companies working on them know they can gin up publicity–and likely some degree of investment–by sending out a few press releases and telling the media about how awesome their new firearms are.

Yet I have yet to see one of these smart gun folks who is actually a gun person. They seem to generally be technology people who decide to build a smart gun, rather than a gun person who wants to build one.

Of course, gun folks know that there’s not really much of a market for these kinds of guns. We’ve heard about them for years. They’re always just around the corner, and yet absolutely no one seems the least bit interested in them. I have yet to find a gun person who is excited by the concept, though some such as myself are ambivalent about the technology itself. Others, however, are downright hostile to it, mostly because they figure someone will try to mandate them for everyone.

Luckily for those folks, smart guns look like they’re at least another decade out at a minimum.

If these companies think they’ve got something, they need to stop turning to the anti-gun mainstream media and start looking at the gun media instead. Let us test and evaluate the weapons. We’ll tell you if they’re ready or not.

I’m not holding my breath on that, though.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 20:40

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/32oH6ND Tyler Durden

Don’t Believe The Democrats’ “Medical Bankruptcy” Narrative

Don’t Believe The Democrats’ “Medical Bankruptcy” Narrative

Authored by Sally C. Pipes via RealClear Health (emphasis ours),

Americans collectively have about $140 billion in outstanding medical debts, according to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Alyssa Keown/Battle Creek Enquirer via AP

Those hefty bills are driving many people into bankruptcy – at least according to prominent progressives. Left-wing leaders have long stoked fears of “medical bankruptcy” to boost support for government-run, single-payer healthcare.

During his last run for president, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declared that enormous medical bills force a staggering 500,000 people to declare bankruptcy each year – a fact that, if true, would justify drastic reforms to the healthcare system.

But the dystopian portrait painted by Sanders and his allies doesn’t reflect reality. Medical bills can certainly be onerous to many families. But they’re rarely the sole, or even the main, cause of personal bankruptcies.

Sanders based his numbers on a 2019 editorial published by the American Journal of Public Health. The authors conducted a study in which about two-thirds of the 700,000 debtors surveyed said medical expenses contributed “somewhat” or “very much” to their bankruptcy.

That’s not exactly a direct, causal relationship. A more accurate conclusion would be that medical expenses played a role in families’ deteriorating finances.

Often, the main cause of bankruptcy isn’t a surge in debt – it’s a precipitous drop in income. Someone diagnosed with cancer may certainly face burdensome medical bills. But the far bigger threat to one’s finances comes from no longer being able to work full-time – or at all – during a treatment regimen.

Other research confirms that healthcare bills alone rarely drive people into bankruptcy. A 2018 study in the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the percentage of people with medical bills who went bankrupt, rather than how many bankruptcy filings included some level of medical debt. The study concluded that medical bankruptcies, specifically those caused by hospitalization, make up just 4% of all bankruptcies.

Facts like these haven’t slowed the push for single payer. Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, seized upon the JAMA study’s $140 billion statistic soon after it was published, tweeting that the solution was Medicare for All.

The thinking goes that enrolling most Americans in a fully government-run healthcare system funded by tax dollars – rather than the current mix of public and private money – will prevent people from going bankrupt.

But once again, the math doesn’t check out. Government-sponsored, single-payer healthcare isn’t “free.” It’s funded by enormous, broad-based taxes on businesses and workers alike. Those taxes constrain economic growth and, by definition, leave people with less cash on hand to meet their other financial obligations.

Consider Canada, which has a single-payer system revered by American progressives. A family making the average income of 75,300 Canadian dollars – about US$59,700 – pays $6,500 in taxes just to cover its share of the national health insurance tab, according to a September 2021 report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank. An average family of four pays an estimated $15,039 in healthcare taxes. Those figures are on top of all the other taxes Canadians pay to support everything from education to national defense.

Canadians pay a higher share of their total compensation to the government than Americans, according to OECD data.

That explains, in part, why Canadians declare bankruptcy at higher rates than their U.S. counterparts. In 2019 – the year before the pandemic and its ensuing flood of stimulus programs caused a marked decrease in bankruptcies in both countries – about 137,000 Canadians sought protection from insolvency, out of a total population of almost 38 million, a rate of 3.6 bankruptcies per 1,000 residents.

That same year, slightly more than 770,000 Americans declared bankruptcy, out of a total population of 329 million at the time – a rate of 2.3 bankruptcies per 1,000 residents.

Medical bills don’t cause nearly as many bankruptcies as progressive lawmakers want people to believe. And single payer certainly wouldn’t prevent people from going insolvent.

Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Healthcare Policy at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is False Premise, False Promise: The Disastrous Reality of Medicare for All (Encounter 2020). Follow her on Twitter @sallypipes.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 20:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3IsHn1s Tyler Durden

10 Travel Destinations For Post-Pandemic Life

10 Travel Destinations For Post-Pandemic Life

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans decimated the tourism industry, and international air travel initially fell by as much as 98%.

Almost two years later, travel is finally back on the table, though there are many restrictions to consider. Regardless, a survey conducted in September 2021 found that, as things revert to normalcy, 82% of Americans are looking forward to international travel more than anything else.

To give inspiration for your next vacation (whenever that may be), Visual Capitalist’s Marcus Lu created this infographic listing the 10 most visited countries in 2019, as well as three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.

Bon Voyage

Here were the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by their number of international arrivals.

*Estimate | Source: World Bank

France was the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned sights, including the Arc de Triomphe and Louvre Museum.

The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s, and honors those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.

The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its giant glass pyramid. The museum houses over 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Art isn’t the only thing that France has to offer. The country has a reputation for culinary excellence, and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most out of any country. Japan comes in at second, with 413.

While You’re There…

After seeing the sights in Paris, you may want to consider a visit to Spain. The country is the southern neighbor of France and is known for its beautiful villages and beaches.

One of its most impressive sights is the Sagrada Familia, a massive 440,000 square feet church which began construction in 1882, and is still being worked on today (139 years in the making). The video below shows the structure’s striking evolution.

At a height of 172 meters, the Sagrada Familia is approximately 52 stories tall.

Another popular spot is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain that is famous for its robust nightlife scene. The island is frequently mentioned in pop culture—Netflix released an adventure/romance movie titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of Mike Posner’s song I Took a Pill in Ibiza has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.

Beaches Galore

If you’re looking for something outside of Europe, consider Mexico or Thailand, which are the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer hot weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.

If you need even more convincing, check out these links:

Expect Turbulence

Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year by international tourists. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), this spending accounted for an impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.

Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 dealt a serious blow to the industry, reducing its share of global GDP to 5.5%, and wiping out an estimated 62 million jobs. While the WTCC believes these jobs could return by 2022, the emerging Omicron variant has already prompted many countries to tighten restrictions once again.

To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of where you’re heading.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 20:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3GVWQXd Tyler Durden

“Unseemly”: NPR Refuses To Correct Story After Supreme Court Deems It False

“Unseemly”: NPR Refuses To Correct Story After Supreme Court Deems It False

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

National Public Radio (NPR) is refusing to correct a story that was challenged by a trio of Supreme Court justices, triggering a flood of criticism.

Citing anonymous sources, reporter Nina Totenberg said Chief Justice John Roberts “asked the other justices to mask up,” or wear masks, because Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressed concerns for her safety amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Totenberg said that because Justice Neil Gorsuch refused the request—Gorsuch has not worn a mask on the bench recently—Sotomayor began attending oral arguments from her chambers.

In rare public statements a day later, all three justices responded to the report.

Sotomayor and Gorsuch said Sotomayor did not ask Gorsuch to wear a mask, adding that “while we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends.”

Even worse for NPR, which is partially funded by taxpayer money, Roberts said separately that “I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench.”

Despite the direct challenges to the story, though, NPR has not issued a correction.

“The chief justice issued a statement saying he ‘did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other justice to wear a mask on the bench’. The NPR report said the chief justice’s ask to the justices had come ‘in some form.’ NPR stands by its reporting,” Totenberg wrote in a follow-up story.

Ask and requests are synonyms that mean essentially the same thing.

The only change to the initial piece was hyperlinking to the new one.

An NPR spokesman told The Epoch Times via email that the outlet “continues to stand by Nina Totenberg’s reporting.”

Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University, said that the decision not to correct the story means NPR is calling the justices liars, “which, frankly, comes off as unseemly.”

“The justices have made a public statement and, if NPR wants to dispute it, they need to do more to provide context and even identify their source. The general public knows NPR is a largely agenda-driven news outlet, and they will lose in a credibility contest with Supreme Court justices,” he added.

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photograph at the Supreme Court in Washington on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images)

The NPR spokesman and Totenberg declined to answer or did not respond to several sets of questions, including whether any other NPR employees verified the sources cited by Totenberg, who was fired from the National Observer for plagiarism.

While Totenberg said Roberts “asked” other justices to wear masks in her story, during an appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” prior to the justices’ statements, she said Roberts “suggested” that the other justices don face coverings.

NPR’s public editor, Kelly McBride, said that the different descriptions mean the story “merits a clarification, but not a correction.”

“After talking to Totenberg and reading all justices’ statements, I believe her reporting was solid, but her word choice was misleading,” she wrote.

The reporter told McBride that she did not know how Roberts allegedly conveyed what she claimed he did.

“In the absence of a clarification, NPR risks losing credibility with audience members who see the plainly worded statement from Roberts and are forced to go back to NPR’s story and reconcile the nuances of the verb ‘asked’ when in fact, it’s not a nuanced word,” McBride said.

Readers and listeners have apparently contacted the outlet expressing concern over what happened.

“In order for the story to be true as NPR first reported, Roberts would’ve had to have asked ‘in some form,’ but he said he didn’t, full stop,” one said.

Joe Concha, a media critic at The Hill, wrote on Twitter that “NPR couldn’t have handled this any worse,” linking to McBride’s piece.

The Society of Professional Journalists says ethical journalism should be “accurate and fair” and recommends reporters largely stick to sources that are clearly identified. Reporters should also “respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity, and fairness,” the group said, adding that mistakes should be acknowledged and corrected promptly and corrections and clarifications should be explained, “carefully and clearly.”

Totenberg later spoke to the Daily Beast, criticizing McBride for the column.

“She can write any [expletive] thing she wants, whether or not I think it’s true. She’s not clarifying anything!” the reporter said

“I haven’t even looked at it, and I don’t care to look at it because I report to the news division, she does not report to the news division.”

Responding to Justice Roberts’ direct challenge to her reporting, she claimed that “I did not say that he requested that people do anything, but ‘in some form’ did.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 19:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3qRYUdr Tyler Durden

Americans Are Forming Tenant Unions In Backlash Against Corporate Landlords

Americans Are Forming Tenant Unions In Backlash Against Corporate Landlords

The resurgent American labor movement is coming for America’s landlords.

Perhaps taking a cue from the warehouse workers, digital-media employees and Starbucks baristas who have waged high-profile unionization drives over the past year or so, it appears tenants across the nation are forming “tenant unions” to gain leverage over their landlords, with many rebelling against corporate landlords in particular, according to a report from WSJ.

That’s a problem for Blackstone and the other private equity giants that found an opportunity in the pandemic-inspired housing market frenzy. While tenant unions have existed in some form for over a century, WSJ says that – particularly in high-cost cities like NYC and San Francisco – the organizations are seeing a resurgence.

Hundreds of new tenant unions have been formed during the pandemic, estimated Katie Goldstein, director of housing campaigns for the Center for Popular Democracy. The progressive organization with 50 affiliate groups across the country is one of a handful of activist networks advising tenant unions.

WSJ’s reporter even confirmed that the increase was indeed happening with landlord trade organizations, which responded that many of the new organizations only have a few members.

But before mom-and-pop landlords start to panic, these tenant ‘associations’ actually have little legal power or standing. Unfortunately (for landlords), some progressive lawmakers are talking about maybe trying to change that.

Some lawmakers in San Francisco, responding in part to tenant complaints, said they plan to consider this year a proposal to force city landlords to meet with tenant unions. The proposal would impose temporary rent reductions on landlords that fail to do so.

Then again, some people who spoke with WSJ shared stories about how tenants unions did help them avoid an eviction when a new corporate landlord took over.

Alicia Roberts spent years living at the Paradise Apartments in St. Petersburg, Fla. When Paradise sold to a new landlord in April, she expected a new stove. Instead, she missed a rent payment and got an eviction notice.

Not long after she was told to leave, she joined the St. Petersburg Tenants Union…

[…]

If it wasn’t for the union, Ms. Roberts said, “I’d probably be gone.”

If nothing else, the trend is a symptom of a hard fact of life. Because the reality is, even before the latest inflationary wave, many American workers have been struggling with the consequences of stagnant wages and rising rents, health-care costs and tuition inflation, much of which amazingly escaped the notice of the CPI numbers for years.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 19:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3KyJimQ Tyler Durden

Wife Stands Off With Hospital To Keep Her Husband Alive, And Wins

Wife Stands Off With Hospital To Keep Her Husband Alive, And Wins

Authored by Matt McGregor via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Sentiments expressed in random phone calls for Anne Quiner as her husband Scott lay in a hospital bed breathing through a ventilator ranged from “I hope your husband dies a vegetable” followed by a litter of profanity, to “he should have taken the vaccine; I hope he dies,” before hanging up.


Anne and Scott Quiner at Gooseberry Falls State Park in 2018. (Courtesy of Anne Quiner)

While not the traditional Hallmark expressions for one to get well soon, Quiner said it was a feeling shared among some of the doctors at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, where Scott had been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications in November.

In one recorded phone call with Dr. Linda Soucie in which Quiner was fighting to keep Scott on the ventilator, Soucie told Quiner, “Unfortunately, if we could turn back time and he had gotten the vaccine, then he wouldn’t be here,” just after Soucie had told Quiner, “After three years, I think we’ve gotten pretty good at determining who’s going to make it and who’s not, and unfortunately Scott’s in that range of the group that is not going to make it.”

In a recorded conference call, doctors told Quiner that they would be taking Scott off the ventilator on Jan. 13 because he would not recover due to what they said were his “destroyed lungs from COVID pneumonia,” and that their attempts at decreasing sedation only caused him pain.

Quiner told The Epoch Times that her petitions for alternative treatments, as well as to keep Scott on the ventilator, had been met with contempt.

With doctors determined to take Scott off the ventilator, Quiner sought legal counsel.

Making It Out Alive

Marjorie Holsten, Quiner’s attorney, told The Epoch Times that she filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that prevented the hospital from taking Scott off the ventilator.

Mercy Hospital then hired its own law firm that objected to the temporary restraining order on the basis that Holsten and Quiner’s position isn’t “supported by medical science.”

Because of this, the hospital requested that the court issue an order authorizing the hospital to take Scott off the ventilator.

The judge sided with Holsten, issuing the order based on the standard that irreparable harm would result if not issued, which Holsten said was easy to establish because if Scott had been taken off, he would have died.

On Jan. 15, Scott was transferred out of Mercy Hospital and taken to an undisclosed hospital in Texas, where Holsten said the doctors have reported Scott to be malnourished, having lost 30 pounds underweight, and dehydrated.

Both Holsten and Quiner said doctors in Texas were “horrified” by Scott’s condition when he arrived.

“One doctor said he didn’t know how Scott made it out of that hospital alive,” Quiner said. “He looked at his chart and said, ‘I can’t believe the heavy, sedating drugs they put him on.’”

The hospital was following a rigid late-treatment COVID protocol that has “very likely killed many people,” Holsten said.

Mercy Hospital is a part of the Allina Health hospital system.

When reached for comment on Scott’s treatment, a spokesperson for Allina Health told The Epoch Times that Allina Health “has great confidence in the exceptional care provided to our patients, which is administered according to evidence-based practices by our talented and compassionate medical teams. Due to patient privacy, we cannot comment on care provided to specific patients,” and that the hospital system wished “the patient and his family well.”

Currently, Holsten said Scott is “making tremendous progress.”

“Yesterday, Scott started following the doctor’s hands with his eyes, and now he’s blinking in response to questions,” Holsten said. “He was able to nod his head and move his legs for the nurse.”

The ordeal became a manifestation of Quiner’s biggest fear in taking Scott to the hospital after his symptoms worsened, Quiner said.

Since the beginning of COVID-19, rumors of neglectful treatment of COVID patients in hospitals fueled by financial incentives have circulated.

‘It’s a Bounty on People’s Lives’

Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist and immunologist who has contributed to mRNA vaccine technology, said in a December 2021 interview on The Joe Rogan Experience said that the financial incentives aren’t rumors.

“The numbers are quite large,” Malone told Rogan. “There’s something like a $3,000 basically death benefit to a hospital if it can be claimed to be COVID. There’s a financial incentive to call somebody COVID positive.

The hospitals receive a bonus, Malone added, from the government if someone is hospitalized and able to be declared COVID positive.

“They also receive a bonus—I think the total is something like $30,000 in incentive—if somebody gets put on the vent,” Malone said. “Then they get a bonus, if somebody is declared dead with COVID.”

It was Stew Peters, a podcaster on The Stew Peters Show, that broke Quiner’s story and garnered audience support that facilitated Scott’s release.

After sending the two recordings Quiner made of her conversations with her doctors to her patient advocate and Minnesota State Rep. Shane Mekeland, they both then contacted Peters who Quiner said called her “right away.”

“He told me, ‘If you don’t get social media involved and get this viral, they will kill your husband and you won’t have any say in it at all,’”
Quiner said. “That’s when Stew got me on his show and within moments the hospital got like 300,000 phone calls. They had to shut their phone lines down.”

Quiner said it was Peters and his audience that were responsible “for helping me save my husband’s life.”

“Without their taking action, Scott would have died,” Quiner said.

At one point, there were so many phone calls that Quiner said the hospital began denying that Scott was a patient there.

“Our audience flooded the hospital and Frederickson & Byron Law Firm (the firm that represents Mercy Hospital) with calls, making them all
aware that the world was watching,” Peters told The Epoch Times.

The Stew Peters Show put a team together that included Attorney Thomas Renz and coordinated with a doctor to take Scott’s case and the hospital
where Scott was transferred.

On the Stew Peters Show, Dr. Lee Vliet, president and chief executive officer for the physician-founded Truth for Health, a nonprofit that has promoted early COVID treatment to keep people out of hospitals, said the CARES Act has documented hospital incentive payments.

Hospital administrators know that they will be extra for doing the PCR tests and positive test results,” Vliet said. “A COVID diagnosis means admission to the hospital. On admission, there is an incentive payment. Use of remdesivir provides a 20 percent bonus payment from our government to the hospital on the entire hospital bill for that COVID patient.

The use of remdesivir gives the hospital a 20 percent bonus payment from Medicare instead of other medicines, such as ivermectin, Vliet said.

“It’s a bounty on people’s lives, basically, to use remdesivir and prevent access to other medications such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin,” Vliet said.

She echoed Malone’s statement on hospital incentives for putting a patient on a ventilator and declaring a patient deceased from COVID.

In addition, she said the coroner gets a financial incentive for a COVID diagnosis.

She added that medical practices are paid more under Medicare and Medicaid services based on a higher percentage of their patients being vaccinated.

On average, she said, it has been calculated that hospitals receive a bonus of $100,000 minimum for every COVID patient who has the elements of COVID diagnosis with remdesivir and ventilator treatment before a COVID cause of death.

Vliet cites her research in an editorial in the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons titled, “Biden’s Bounty on Your Life: Hospitals’ Incentive Payments for COVID-19.”

‘She Just Wants to Keep Her Husband Alive’

Married 35 years with three children, Quiner and Scott have been through much together, she said, and in these last few months, Quiner has faced some of the hardest parts without him.

After 14 years, amid fighting to keep her husband alive, Quiner had to put their dog Toby down earlier in January because he could no longer walk.

“One morning I got up and he could not get up at all,” Quiner said.

Quiner has been verbally attacked not just through phone calls but through news and social media, platforms her children warned she avoid.

“My family told me not to even go on to Twitter because I didn’t want to read what they were writing about me,” Quiner said.

Still, Holsten said Quiner continues to fight.

“She’s a trooper, and she hasn’t sought any of this,” Holsten said. “She just wants to keep her husband alive.”

On his transfer to Texas, Quiner said she’s relieved.

“That’s the first thing I felt,” Quiner said, “relief that he’s out of that hospital and in safe care.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 18:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/32ow0It Tyler Durden

Seeing Red: Is The Heydey Of Pandemic Stocks Over?

Seeing Red: Is The Heydey Of Pandemic Stocks Over?

The stock market, and the stocks that flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, are off to a rough start in 2022. As Visual Capitalist’s Jenna Ross points out, if you’ve been watching your investment accounts, chances are you’ve been seeing a lot of red. Shaken by the uncertainty of a pandemic recovery and future interest rate hikes, investors have been selling off their stocks.

This market selloff—which occurs when investors sell a large volume of securities in a short period of time, leading to a rapid decline in price—has investors concerned. In fact, search interest for the term “selloff” recently reached peak interest of 100.

Which stocks were the hardest hit, and how much are their prices down so far this year?

The Lackluster Returns of Pandemic Stocks

Pandemic stocks and tech-centric companies have suffered the most. Here’s a closer look at the year-to-date price returns for select stocks.

Netflix fueled the selloff after it reported disappointing subscriber growth. The company added 8.28 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, which is less than the 8.5 million it added in the fourth quarter of 2020. It also projects to have slower year-over-year subscriber growth in the near term, citing competition from other streaming companies.

Meanwhile, Coinbase stock lost nearly a quarter of its value so far this year. As the price of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have plummeted, investors worry Coinbase will see lower trading volume and therefore lower fees.

The contagion also spread to other pandemic stocks, such as Zoom and DocuSign, as investors began to doubt the staying power of stay-at-home stocks.

Following the Herd

While investor exuberance drove many of these stocks up last year, 2022 is beginning to paint a different picture.

Investors are worried that rising rates will negatively impact high-growth stocks, because it means it’s more expensive to borrow money. Not only that, but they also may see Netflix’s growth as harbinger of things to come for other pandemic stocks.

The psychology of the market cycle also plays a role—amid these fears, investors have adopted a herd mentality and begun selling their shares in droves.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 18:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3GVrf8j Tyler Durden

Unmask America

Unmask America

Authored by Jeff Deist via The Mises Institute,

Enough is enough. It is time to stop wearing masks, or at the very least to eliminate mask mandates in all settings. 

This is especially urgent for children in schools and universities, who suffer the effects of masks for long hours each day despite being at exceedingly low risk for death or serious illness from covid.

We have a responsibility, once and for all, to reject the ludicrous, ever-shifting narratives underpinning masks as effective impediments to the spread of covid infections.

Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus

– former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams in February 2020. 

The story changed from “masks don’t work,” to “masks may work,” to “masks work and you must wear one.” Now the narrative switches yet again: “cloth masks don’t work, so you should wear a surgical or ‘well-fitted’ mask,” or even wear two!

Note that even as covid evolves into a less dangerous omicron variant, we are supposed to increase the hysteria level by wearing masks intended for surgeons maintaining a sterile environment over open wounds. We are told this by the same political, medical, and media figures who have been “frequently wrong but never in doubt” about all things covid over the past two long years. And they spoke with just as much bogus certainty then as they do now.

Perversely, the Biden administration recently ordered 400 million surgical N95 masks for distribution across the country. Since N95 masks are considered disposable, and meant to be worn at most perhaps 40 hours, it is unclear what happens in a week or two when 330 million Americans run out of their “free” personal protective equipment.

The UK has sensibly ended its mask mandates, both in public places (offices and other workplaces, bars, restaurants, sporting events, theaters) and thankfully schools. One young university student broke down in tears at the news, lamenting the inhumanity of her experience over the past two years. As British Health secretary Savid Javid stated, “We must learn to live with covid in the same way we live with flu.”

Amen.

The arguments against masks are straightforward.

  • Masks don’t work. Or at least cloth masks don’t.

Even the CDC now admits what Dr. Anthony Fauci told the world in February 2020: cloth masks don’t work and there is no reason to wear one: 

“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you.”

I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location.

CNN’s dubious medical expert Dr. Lena Wen, previously an uber-masker, now tells us cloth masks are “little more than facial decorations. And heroic skeptic Dr. Jay Bhattacharya cites both a Danish study and a Bangladeshi study which found cloth masks show little efficacy in preventing covid. 

Are we seriously prepared to wear tight and uncomfortable surgical masks all day to evade omicron?

  • Masks are filthy.

Humans lungs and our respiratory system are designed to inhale nitrogen and oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is literally a waste product, removed from the blood via our lungs. Masks may not trap injurious levels of carbon dioxide against our nose and mouth, but they certainly get filthy very quickly unless changed constantly. They also encourage mouth breathing, which can cause “mask mouth” symptoms including acne, bad breath, tender gums, and lip irritation.

Why would we ever interfere with natural breathing unless we felt sick, displayed symptoms, and were worried about infecting others? And in that case, why not just stay home?

  • Masks are dehumanizing.

Humans communicate verbally and nonverbally, and masks impede both forms. Masks muffle and distort our words. Our facial expressions are important cues to everyone around us; without those cues communication and understanding suffer. Infants and toddlers may be most affected, as a lack of facial engagement with parents and loved ones impedes the human connections and attachments formed during childhood.

Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the symbolic effects when millions of Americans dutifully wear masks based on flimsy evidence provided by deeply unimpressive people. Facelessness–the lack of individual identity, personality, and looks– is inherently dehumanizing and dystopian. Like prison or military uniforms, masks reduce our personal characteristics. Mask are muzzles, symbols of rote acquiescence to an ugly new normal nobody asked for or voted for.

  • Risk is inevitable.

Risk is omnipresent, and heavily subjective (e.g., covid risk varies enormously with age and comorbidities). Nobody has a right to force interventions like masks onto others, just as nobody has a right to a hypothetical germ-free landscape. Exhalation is not aggression, short of purposefully attempting to sicken others. People wearing masks arguably shed slightly fewer covid virus particles than those not, but this does not justify banning the latter from public life. As always, the overwhelming burden of justification for any intervention—including mask mandates—must rest on those proposing it, not those opposing it. 

In sum, Americans are not children. Tradeoffs are part of every policy, whether government officials admit this or not. We know how to coexist with flu, just as we live with countless bacteria and viruses in our environment. We will similarly coexist with covid. The goal is not to eliminate germs, and zero covid is an absurdity. A healthy immune system, built up through diet, exercise, and sunlight will always be the best frontline defense against communicable disease. But diet, exercise, and sunlight cannot be outsourced to health officials or mandated by politicians.

Whatever slight benefits masks may provide are a matter for individuals to decide for themselves. People who feel sick with symptoms should stay home. We can all wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Otherwise it is time for Americans to assert themselves against the dubious claims and non-existent legality of government covid measures. 

It is time to get back to normal life, and that starts with visible human faces.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 17:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3nRrfyq Tyler Durden

Here Comes The Pivot: JPM Sees Sharp Slowdown In US Economy, “No Further Hawish Developments From The Fed”

Here Comes The Pivot: JPM Sees Sharp Slowdown In US Economy, “No Further Hawish Developments From The Fed”

For much of the past month we have been warning that as the broader investing public has been fascinated by the mounting speculation that the Fed will hike 4 times (or even “six or seven” times, thank you Jamie Dimon) and commence shrinking its balance sheet, the US economy had quietly hit a major air pocket  and – whether due to Omicron or because the vast majority of US consumers are once again tapped out (see more below) – US GDP growth is now rapidly collapsing and may turn negative as soon as this or next quarter as the US economy contracts for the first time since the covid shutdowns in Q1/Q2 2020.

Throw in the lack of a new Biden stimulus (BBB is dead as a doornail, courtesy of Manchin), and soaring gas prices (Goldman, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America all see Brent hitting triple digits in the near term, while a Russia-Ukraine war would send oil to $150 and crash the global economy), and we are willing to go on the record that a recession before the November midterms is virtually assured.

But while this is obviously a wildly contrarian view for now, especially with the labor market still supposedly helplessly backlogged with a near record number of job openings coupled with still soaring inflation, others are starting to notice…

… and so is the bond market, which traditionally is the first to sniff out major market inflection points, and which after surging to multi-year highs earlier this week, yields have suddenly slumped.

Nowhere is it clearer what is coming than in the ongoing collapse in the yield curve which at the fulcrum 5s30s, is just 30bps away from where the Fed was when it ended its tightening cycle in 2018.

So it was with some surprise that we were reading the latest big bank weekly reports where precisely this slowdown is being increasingly flagged. Consider the following from JPMorgan’s latest Fixed Income Strategy note by Jay Barry (available to professional subs), who writes that JPMorgan’s Economic Activity Surprise Index (EASI) “has swung sharply into negative territory in recent weeks, indicating data have underperformed relative to consensus expectations.”

This was punctuated by the December retail sales data, as the important control group fell 3.1% over the month (consensus: 0.0%).

The weakness in data, JPM explains for the benefit of the Fed which in hopes of recovering its “credibility” after destroying it in 2021 when it said inflation was transitory and is now scrambling to fix its error is now willing to crash the market just to reduce aggregate demand, “indicates consumption should moderate in 1Q22.” And since consumption accounts for 70% of US GDP, guess what that does to overall US growth?

Or don’t guess and read what JPM now expects: “we forecast growth decelerated from a 7.0% q/q saar in 4Q21 to a trend like 1.5% in 1Q22.” It’s not just retail sales, however, or that recent Empire Fed Manufacturing Survey, which just suffered its 3rd biggest monthly drop in history (with only March and April 2020 worse)…

… more locally, initial claims surged 55k to 286k in the week ending January 15, their third straight increase and the highest weekly reading since October.

And while the seasonal volatility in claims around the new year could be amplifying the rise, this was the survey week for the January employment report and presages a much weaker payroll growth this month. In fact, as we discussed in our December jobs report commentary, it is now likely that January payrolls will be negative.

Of course, one can blame the Omicron spike in December for much of this slowdown, and many do – especially those who confused the surge in inflation in 2021 as a “transitory” phenomenon – and are now using covid as a smokescreen to argue that the current slowdown is transitory, but the reality is that there is much more to the current sharp slowdown, and Bank of America’s  Michael Hartnett put it best on Friday when he said that the “End of Pandemic = US Consumer Recession” (more here).

Here is the punchline of what the BofA CIO said: “retail sales 22% above pre-COVID levels…

…payrolls up 18mn from lows, inflation annualizing 9%, real earnings falling a recessionary 2.4%, stimulus payments to US households evaporating from $2.8tn in 21 to $660bn in 2022, with no buffer from excess US savings (savings rate = 6.9%, lower than 7.7% in 2019 & and the rich hoard the savings), and record $40bn MoM jump in borrowing in Nov’21

… “shows US consumer now starting to feel the pinch.”

Alongside the realization that an exit from covid means the US is entering a consumer recession, comes Hartnett’s admission that any Fed hiking cycle will be short (it not sweet) and will be followed by easing as soon as 2023!.  Indeed, according to Hartnett, while the broader economy certainly needs more hikes to contain inflation, it will take far fewer rate hikes to crash markets, because “when stocks, credit & housing markets have been conditioned for indefinite continuation of “Lowest Rates in 5000 Years” might only take a couple of rate hikes to cause an event (own volatility)”.

And since Wall Street always leads Main Street (sorry peasants), it is Hartnett’s view that the current “rates shock” is grounds for an imminent “recession fear”, and as noted above, the Fed hiking into a slowdown guarantees not only an economic a recession but also a market crisis.

The only question at this point is when will the Fed realize that it can’t possibly hike rates enough to offset the surge in inflation which incidentally is not demand driven, but is due to continued supply constraints, over which the Fed has no power!

Which is why JPMorgan’s economists go on a limb and perhaps seeking to assure markets, write that “next week’s FOMC meeting will not present the case for further hawkish developments”…. and “is only likely to ratify expectations next week and not surprise market participants with another hawkish pivot.”

Putting it all together is Goldman Sachs, which agrees with JPMorgan that there will be no hawkish surprises from the Fed, and wrote on Friday that if anything, the Fed will be more dovish than expected, and as such Goldman sees “the conditions in place for a large cover rally into and around the FED next week and when month-end new capital comes back into the equity markets, with corporates dry powder.”

Of course, there is always the risk that Joe Biden, now beyond dazed and confused and terrified of the upcoming Democratic implosion after the Nov midterms…

… does not realize how devastating a market crash will be for the US economy where financial assets are now 6.3x greater than GDP…

… and will order Powell to keep hiking and tightening just to break inflation’s back (as discussed above, and as Blackrock also noted recently, the Fed is completely powerless to halt supply-driven inflation), even if it means the destruction of the entire wealth effect that the Fed spent the past 13 years trying to create. In that case, all bets are off.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 17:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3qQfRoq Tyler Durden

Bulls & Bears Collide In Crypto-Land: Hot-Hands Versus HODLers

Bulls & Bears Collide In Crypto-Land: Hot-Hands Versus HODLers

Bears are on the hunt for Bitcoin HODLers profits, whilst supply dynamics approach a new equilibrium, and derivative markets remain heated…

Amid the “fear and panic” in the crypto markets, as Bitcoin drops 50% from all-time-highs, Glassnode.com’s ‘Permabull Nino’  details the current uncertainty that overhangs the Bitcoin market, and the psychology of its participants attempting to regain their footing in the following areas:

  • HODLer profits sitting at key historical levels, and the overall observable investor response

  • Zoomed out supply dynamics and spending behavior among short-term and long-term holders, and what it indicates about investor sentiment in the medium to long term

  • Derivative activity, and what it can imply about shorter term expectations towards Bitcoin price action

HODLers Profits Under Siege

The Bitcoin price is currently trading down ~50% from the ATH set in November 2021. As the drawdown worsens, an increasingly significant volume of BTC supply has fallen into an unrealized loss. Approximately 5.7 million BTC are now underwater (~30% of circulating supply).

As the bears apply pressure to the in-profit cohort of holders, Bitcoin bulls are defending a historically significant level of the Percent of Supply in Profit metric. This magnitude of ‘top heavy supply’ was defended in two instances in the last few years:

  • May 2020 – July 2020, the quiet recovery period following the extreme move downwards from Covid-related panic.

  • May 2021 – July 2021, the choppy and accumulative period following a historical deleveraging event.

The reaction from this level will likely provide insight into the medium term direction of the Bitcoin market. Further weakness may motivate these underwater sellers to finally capitulate, whereas a strong bullish impulse may offer much needed psychological relief, and put more coins back into an unrealized profit.

Live Chart

We can establish an appreciation of market-wide psychology by observing who is parting ways with their coins, and why and when these spends are taking place. The Percent of Transfer Volume in Profit chart displays the proportion of coins spent on-chain that were last moved at lower prices, as a gauge for macro fear and greed.

  • Percent of Transfer Volume in Profit > 65% signals that a large amount of coins are being spent in profit. This historically occurs during bullish impulses, as holders take advantage of market strength.

  • Percent of Transfer Volume in Profit < 40% signals that on-chain volumes are dominated by coins acquired at higher prices. This historically occurs in market downtrends and especially capitulation events.

The sell-off this week saw less than 40% of spent volume in profit, reaching levels that historically coincide with capitulation events. Past instances at this level have preceded a bullish reversal, and a period of general risk-on behaviour.

Live Chart

The low levels of profitable coin spends is also evident in the Realized Profit chart, which shows the profitability of BTC moved, on a USD basis. In-profit holders are displaying a notable unwillingness to spend coins, with consistent Realized Profit values below $1 Billion/day. In the face of tumultuous and unconvincing price action, this signals that this cohort of holders are patiently waiting for higher prices to spend their respective supply.

Climbing realized profits, especially above the $1 Billion level and accompanied by positive price performance, signals demand absorption of coins, and is a metric to watch in the coming weeks.

Live Chart

Meanwhile, Realized Losses remain elevated and trending higher, as underwater holders spend coins that were acquired near the market top through October and November.

On average, daily Realized Loss values are ~$750 Million/day, behavior that is comparable to the May – July 2021 capitulation lows. The consistency of large loss realization events is indicative of uneasiness within the market, however also reflects an estimate of demand inflows to absorb these spent coins.

Sustained periods of large realized loss does put the onus on the bulls to prove sufficient demand support. A macro decline in realized loss values would be a more encouraging signal for the bulls, as it provides an early indication of sell-side exhaustion.

Live Chart

The stalemate at play between price action, Realized Profits, and Realized Losses is visible in the 28-day Market Realized Gradient (MRG), which compares the momentum in Market Cap (speculative value) versus the Realized Cap (real capital inflows).

  • Positive values signal that a bull trend is in tact, and upwards momentum in spot markets is growing.

  • Negative values signal that a bear trend is in play, and momentum favors the bears.

  • Large values signal that Bitcoin is possibly overbought (positive) or oversold (negative), as market valuation deviates from more fundamental capital inflows or outflows, respectively.

The MRG trend and values indicate that current market pricing is nearing a point of equilibrium with capital inflows, with a month’s long bullish divergence developing. A firm break above zero would signal a bullish reversal is in play, whilst a break down would suggest momentum is accelerating to the downside.

Live Workbench Chart

Cohorts and Psychology

We can also analyse the psychology and spending behaviour of both Short-Term Holders (STH) and Long-Term Holders (LTH) by looking at changes in their respective Realized Caps and supply dynamics.

The following metric is calculated as the difference between the daily change of LTH and STH realized caps. Interpretation is as follows:

  • Negative Values (red) signal that the STH Realized Cap is increasing more on a daily basis than the LTH Realized Cap. This occurs during bull runs when long term holders distribute supply into new holders.

  • Positive Values (green) signal that the LTH Realized Cap is increasing more on a daily basis than the STH Realized Cap, which occurs during bearish accumulation markets as STH activity decreases, and unspent coins mature into the LTH cohort.

Values currently sit near zero with a general trend to the upside, indicative of a softening of distribution by LTHs, the market reaching a new equilibrium, and a potential reversal into accumulation. Note however, that the process of establishing similar market equilibrium and possible macro bottoms has historically taken several months to resolve.

Live Workbench Chart

The modest distribution of coins from LTHs to STHs is reflected in the Total Supply Held metric, as the net volume of coins held by the STH cohort has increased in recent months.

The supply held by this cohort sits at ~3 Million BTC, a relative historical low, and a level that signifies a transition into a HODLer dominated market. This has been in effect since the May 2021 deleveraging event. Low STH supply levels are typical of bearish trends, as old coins remain dormant, and younger coins are slowly accumulated by high conviction buyers.

Live Chart

Next we turn to the Realized Cap HODL Waves, which reflects the breakdown of the Realized Cap by coin age, and cost basis. The chart below has been filtered for coins younger than 3 months to further highlight the forces at play within the shorter term holder cohort.

Generally speaking, lower values in this metric speak to a bearish trend where old coins are dormant, and young coins are gradually accumulated and taken off market.

At present, around 40% of the Realized Cap is held in coins under 3mths old, owned by buyers entering near the market top, or during the present correction. The 1-3m band is expanding and a constructive view would see these coins continue to mature into the 3m+ band, creating a net decline in young coins. A more bearish observation would be if older coins start being spent, causing these bands to swell, and signifying an additional influx of liquid supply that must be absorbed.

Live Chart

Derivatives Fireworks on the Horizon

Amidst downwards pressure in Bitcoin holder profitability but yet favorable medium to long term supply dynamics, futures markets remain a powder keg for short term volatility with Perpetual Futures Open Interest at ~250k BTC – a historically elevated level.

Since April 2021, this has paired with large pivots in price action as the risk for a short or long squeeze increases, resolved in market wide deleveraging events.

Live Chart

Alongside high open interest, funding rates this week moved into negative territory, indicating that shorts were increasingly hungry for leverage. As perpetual swap markets were pushed below spot prices, it does add further bias towards a potential oversupply of short positions in close proximity to the current price.

Live Chart

In addition to large outstanding open interest, and negative funding rates, trading volume continues to drip lower, currently around $30B per day. This is coincident with levels in December 2020, and reflects a marked reduction from the 2021 bull market highs, hitting well above $70B/day. Should a deleveraging event occur, thinner trading volumes may accentuate the impact.

Live Chart

As Open Interest continues charging for a big move, funding rates drop, and futures volumes contract, Crypto-Margined Open Interest continues its march downwards versus Cash-Margined Open Interest.

With only 40% of Open Interest sitting in Crypto-Margined products and in a convincing downtrend since May 2021, Cash-Margined Futures data becomes increasingly higher signal and worthy of more market participants’ attention. Note that this trend is primarily driven by a relative reduction in crypto-margin on Binance, Bybit, Huobi and OKEx exchanges.

Live Chart

In summary, there is evidence that the market is reaching some form of price and momentum equilibrium, within what is a broader bearish market structure. Bitcoin bears certainly have the upper hand, however modest bullish divergences are appearing across a number of on-chain metrics and indicators. Coupled with elevated future open interest, and a bias that appears to be a short heavy market, a risk of a deleveraging to the upside remains on the table.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 01/22/2022 – 16:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3GTqegN Tyler Durden