Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

Goldman Senior Executives Are Searching For Ways To Quietly Boost Their Own Pay

Goldman Senior Executives Are Searching For Ways To Quietly Boost Their Own Pay

What’s good for the gander is good for the geese, right?

It seems that way at Goldman Sachs. No sooner do we write about how Goldman Sachs is looking to implement additional paid leave for its rank-and-file employees in order to keep morale up than it was revealed that the company’s bosses are also looking at ways of improving their own yacht collection quality of life. 

In fact, CEO David Solomon and the top brass at the bank are reportedly “searching for ways to juice their own eight-digit pay packages,” Bloomberg reported this week. 

Solomon’s total stake in the company, including unvested stock, is worth about $180 million already the report says. He made $27.5 million his first full year as CEO and the same the next year, in 2020. Solomon also was given a $50 million bonus plan to be split with another employee in October of this year. That off-cycle bonus came as a result of Goldman’s skyrocketing stock price, which is up about 80% since Solomon took over as CEO. 

Pat Scanlan, a spokesman for the bank, told Bloomberg: “We have offered co-investment opportunities for our senior executives that align interests with investors. That the board of directors would explore additional opportunities is hardly surprising.”

One way that Solomon is pushing to boost pay is to expand the allocation of founders’ shares in SPAC deals that the bank partakes in. These requests have reportedly “irritated members of the SPAC team”, as it pins them against Solomon for a share of the projects that they have worked on.

Teams at the bank are reportedly “scrambling to figure out how to structure and disclose the SPAC investment for the NEOs while avoiding the appearance of boosting pay.”

The optics of bonuses when you’re already making tens of millions of dollars per year need to be carefully dealt with. While banks want to raise pay commensurate with other banks in order to retain talent, they have to walk a thin line with public perception. Bloomberg says that the key is to “give the board as much elbow room as possible to grant him more, without making it look like an outsized raise”.

For example, when Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman surprised the market in 2020 by lowering his pay by about 7% due to the pandemic, it caused Goldman to delay its own decision on executive compensation for months.

Top brass at Goldman has also reportedly looked at different ways to increase their share of profits from internal investment vehicles, including whether or not private funds operated by the firm’s merchant bank could pay larger bonuses for senior managers. 

Recall, days ago we wrote how Goldman was also seeking to offer new incentives to its “burnt out” employees. 

The investment bank is going to now be offering “paid leave for pregnancy loss” and is “expanding the amount of time employees can take for bereavement leave,” the report says.

Goldman will also be offering unpaid sabbatical for its long time employees and removing a one year waiting period before matching employee 401(k) contributions.

Goldman’s head of human resources, Bentley de Beyer, told the WSJ: “We wanted to offer a compelling value proposition to current and prospective employees, and wanted to make sure we’re leading, not just competing.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 22:00

Shellenberger: The Real Threat To Banks Isn’t From Climate Change, It’s From Bankers

Shellenberger: The Real Threat To Banks Isn’t From Climate Change, It’s From Bankers

Authored by Michael Shellenberger via substack,

Over the last two years, some of the world’s most powerful and influential bankers and investors have argued that climate change poses a grave threat to financial markets and that nations must switch urgently from using fossil fuels to using renewables.

In 2019, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco warned that climate change could cause banks to stop lending, towns to lose tax revenue, and home values to decline. Last year, 36 pension fund managers representing $1 trillion in assets said climate change “poses a systemic threat to financial markets and the real economy.”

And upon taking office, President Joe Biden warned government agencies that climate change disasters threatened retirement funds, home prices, and the very stability of the financial system.

But a major new staff report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank throws cold water on the over-heated rhetoric coming from activist investors, bankers, and politicians. “How Bad Are Weather Disasters for Banks?” asks the title of the report by three economists. “Not very,” they answer in the first sentence of the abstract.

The reason is because “weather disasters over the last quarter century had insignificant or small effects on U.S. banks’ performance.” The study looked at FEMA-level disasters between 1995 and 2018, at county-level property damage estimates, and the impact on banking revenue.

The New York Fed’s authors only looked at how banks have dealt with disasters in the past, and what they wrote isn’t likely to be the final word on the matter. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and most other scientific bodies predict that many weather events, including hurricanes and floods, which cause the greatest financial damage, are likely to become more extreme in the future, due to climate change.

And in February, The New York Times quoted one of six United States Federal Reserve governors saying, “Financial institutions that do not put in place frameworks to measure, monitor and manage climate-related risks could face outsized losses on climate-sensitive assets caused by environmental shifts.”

But the Fed economists looked separately at the most extreme 10 percent of all disasters and found that banks impacted not only didn’t suffer, “their income increases significantly with exposure,” and that the improved financial performance of banks hit by disasters wasn’t explained by increased federal disaster (FEMA) aid.

In other words, disasters are actually good for banks, since they increase demand for loans. The larger a bank’s exposure to natural disasters, the larger its profits.

Happily, the profits made by banks are trivial compared to rising societal resilience to disasters, which can be seen by the fact that the share of GDP spent on natural disasters has actually declined over the last 30 years.

While scientists expect hurricanes to become five percent more extreme they also expect them to become 25 percent less frequent, and now, new data show global carbon emissions actually declined over the last decade, and thus there is no longer any serious risk of a significant rise in global temperatures.

Banking Against Growth

The real risk to banks and the global economy comes from climate policy, not climate change, particularly efforts to make energy more expensive and less reliable through the greater use of renewables, new taxes, and new regulations.

“For policymakers,” warned the three economists writing for the New York Fed, “our findings suggest that potential transition risks from climate change warrant more attention than physical disaster risks.”

While they may seem like outliers, they are far from alone in expressing their concern. The second half of the quote by the Fed governor about climate change, which was hyped by The New York Times, warned that banks “could face outsized losses” from the “transition to a low-carbon economy.” (My emphasis.)

And, now concern is growing among members of Congress about the dangers of over-relying on weather-dependent energy, with some members citing the New York Fed’s report after The Wall Street Journal editorialized about it last week .

Proof of the threat to the economy from climate policy is the worst global energy crisis in 50 years. Shareholder activists played a significant role in creating it, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, and The Financial Times, by reducing investment in oil and gas production, and causing nations to over-invest in unreliable solar and wind energies, which has driven up energy prices, and contributed significantly to inflation.

And yet a crucial Biden Administration nominee for bank regulation has openly said she would like to bankrupt firms that produce oil and gas, the two fuels whose scarcity is causing the global energy crisis. Progressive academic, Saule Omarova, nominated by Biden, said recently that “we want [oil and gas firms] to go bankrupt” and that “the way we basically get rid of these carbon financiers is we starve them of their source of capital.

Biden nominee Saule Omarova said she wants to bankrupt energy companies

Omarova is not an outlier. The Biden Administration’s Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) is advocating 30 new climate regulations that should be imposed on banking. Many analysts believe the US Securities and Exchange Commission will require new regulations. The goal is to radically alter how America’s banks lend money, the energy sector, and the economy as a whole.

And former Bank of England chief, Mark Carney, co-chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, has organized $130 trillion in investmenand said recently that his investors should expect to make higher, not lower, returns than the market. How? In the exact same way Omarova predicted: by bankrupting some companies, and financing other ones, through government regulations and subsidies.

Former Bank of England head Mark Carney

Carney created the Glasgow Financial Alliance, or GFANZ, with Michael Bloomberg, and they did so under the official seal of the United Nations. “Carney said the alliance will put global finance on a trajectory that ultimately leaves high-carbon assets facing a much bleaker future,” wrote a reporter with Bloomberg. “He also said investors in such products will see the value of their holdings sink.”

What’s going on, exactly? How is it that some of the world’s most powerful bankers, and the politicians they finance, came to support policies that threaten the stability of electrical grids, energy supplies, and thus the global economy itself?

The Unseen Order

Three of the largest donors to climate change causes are billionaire financial titans Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Tom Steyer, all of whom have significant investments in both renewables and fossil fuels.

Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and George Soros

Soros is worth $8 billion and recently made large investments in natural gas firms (EQT) and electric vehicles (Fisker), Bloomberg has a net worth of around $70 billion and has large investments in natural gas and renewables, and much of Steyer’s wealth derives from investments in all three main fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas — as well as renewables.

All three men finance climate activists and politicians, including President Biden, who then seek policies — from $500 billion for renewables and electric vehicles over the next decade to federal control over state energy systems to banking regulations to bankrupt oil and gas companies — which would benefit each of them personally.

Bloomberg gave over $100 million to Sierra Club to lobby to shut down coal plants after he had taken a large stake in its replacement, natural gas, and operates one of the largest news media companies in the world, which publishes articles and sends emails nearly every day reporting that climate change threatens the economy, and that solar panels and wind turbines are the only cost-effective solution.

Soros donates heavily to Center for American Progress, whose founder, John Podesta, was chief of staff to Bill Clinton, campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and who currently runs policy at the Biden White House. So too does Steyer, who funds the climate activist organization founded by New Yorker author Bill McKibben, 350.org, which reported revenues of nearly $20 million in 2018.

The most influential environmental organization among Democrats and the Biden Administration is the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC, which advocated for federal control of state energy markets, the $500 billion for electric cars and renewables, and international carbon markets that would be controlled by the bankers and financiers who also donate to it.

In the 1990s, NRDC helped energy trading company Enron to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to environmental groups. “On environmental stewardship, our experience is that you can trust Enron,” said NRDC’s Ralph Cavanagh in 1997, even though Enron executives at the time were defrauding investors of billions of dollars in an epic criminal conspiracy, which in 2001 bankrupted the company.

From 2009 to 2011, NRDC advocated for and helped write complex cap-and-trade climate legislation that would have created and allowed some of their donors to take advantage of a carbon-trading market worth upwards of $1 trillion.

NRDC created and invested $66 million of its own money in a BlackRock stock fund that invested heavily in natural gas companies, and in 2014 disclosed that it had millions invested in renewable funds.

Former NRDC head, Gina McCarthey, now heads up Biden’s climate policy team, and Biden’s top economic advisor, Brian Deese, last worked at BlackRock, and almost certainly will return at the end of the Biden Administration.

Money buys influence. In 2019, McKibben called Steyer a “climate champ” when Steyer announced he was running for president, adding that Steyer’s “just-released climate policy is damned good!” And in 2020, McKibben wrote an article called, “How Banks Could Bail Us Out of the Climate Crisis,” for The New Yorker, which repeated the claim that extreme weather created by climate change threatens financial interests, and that the way to prevent it is to divert public and private money away from reliable energy sources toward weather-dependent ones.

Forms filed to the Internal Revenue Service by Steyer’s philanthropic organization, the TomKat Charitable Trust, show that it gave McKibben’s climate activist group, 350.org, $250,000 in 2012, 2014, and 2015, and may have given money to 350.org in 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, as well, because 350.org thanked either Steyer’s philanthropy, TomKat Foundation, or his organization, NextGen America, in each of its annual reports since 2013.

At the same time, McKibben’s motivations are plainly spiritual. He claims that various natural disasters are caused by humans, that climate change literally threatens life on Earth, and is thus “greatest challenge humans have ever faced,” a statement so unhinged from reality, considering declining deaths from disasters, declining carbon emissions, and the total absence of any science for such a claim, that it must be considered religious.

McKibben first book about climate change, The End of Nature, explicitly expressed his spiritual views, arguing that, through capitalist industrialization, humankind had lost its connection to nature. “We can no longer imagine that we are part of something larger than ourselves,” he wrote in The End of Nature. “That is what this all boils down to.” Indeed, for William James, the belief in “an unseen order” that we must adjust ourselves to, in order to avoid future punishment, is a defining feature of religion.

Climate change is punishment for our sins against nature — that’s the basic narrative pushed by journalists, climate activists, and their banker sponsors, for 30 years. It has a supernatural element: the belief that natural disasters are getting worse, killing millions, and threatening the economy, when in reality they are getting better, killing fewer, and costing less. And it offers redemption: to avoid punishment we must align our behavior with the unseen order, namely, a new economy controlled by the U.N., bankers, and climate activists. Unfortunately, as is increasingly obvious, the unseen order is parasitical and destructive.

When Nuclear Leads, the Bankers Will Follow

The unseen order of bankers, climate activists, and the news media is so powerful that it is difficult to imagine how it could ever be challenged.

The financial might of the climate lobby covers the wealth not only of billionaires Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg, but also $130 trillion in investment funds, including many of the world’s largest pension funds, such as the one belonging to California public employees. The climate lobby’s political power is equally awesome, covering the entirety of the Democratic Party and a significant portion of the Republican Party, and most center-Left parties in Europe.

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emanuel Macron, and U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm

And all of that is sustained by cultural power, which has led many elites to view climate change as the world’s number one issue, has convinced half of all humans that climate change will make our species extinct, and has served as the apocalyptic foundation for Woke religion.

But serious cracks in the foundation are growing. The global energy crisis has revealed for many around the world the limits of unreliable renewables, with European governments having to subsidize energy to avoid public backlash, President Biden and other heads of state opening up emergency petroleum reserves, and all nations begging OPEC to produce more energy.

The blackouts and rising unreliability of electricity in California, along with the work of the pro-nuclear movement over the last 6 years, has resulted in a growing number of Democrats supporting nuclear energy. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last week publicly urged California Governor Gavin Newsom not to close California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, the signature nuclear plant Environmental Progress has been trying to save since 2016. Democratic support in particular for nuclear is growing.

And alternative media including Substack, podcasts, and social media platforms are increasingly providing a counterweight to the mainstream news media, exposing a huge number of issues that the media got wrong in recent years, and amplifying alternative voices.

Nowhere is the change occurring faster than in Europe, where energy shortages are affecting heating, cooking, and electricity supplies in ways that undermine the legitimacy of the banker-led climate efforts. In Britain, private energy companies have gone bankrupt, forcing the government to bail them out. For-profit energy companies, like banks, ultimately depend on taxpayers, who are also voters.

Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who led her nation’s exit from nuclear energy, acknowledged that Germany had been defeated in its anti-nuclear energy advocacy at the European Union level, and that nuclear would finally be recognized as low-carbon.

And French president Emanuel Macron, under pressure from the political right as voters look to elections next year, gave a passionate speech in favor of nuclear energy last month, announcing $35 billion for new reactors.

As the world returns to nuclear, policymakers, media elites, and climate advocates will be increasingly confronted with the question of why consumers and taxpayers will benefit from a global carbon trading scheme and more weather-dependent renewables, particularly at a time of declining global emissions from the continuing transition from coal to natural gas, reduced deforestation, and increased reforestation.

Simply building more nuclear power plants means there is no climate change justification for weather-dependent renewables, which actually require greater use of natural gas, in order to deal with the high amount of unreliability.

Nuclear power goes with slow and patient capital. The obvious funders of a nuclear expansion in the West would be the pension funds, which need the secure return on investment that major construction and infrastructure projects provide, and which unreliable renewables, as the energy crisis shows, do not.

And though the news media is currently ignoring the New York Fed’s report, reporters will not be able to continue spreading misinformation about climate change indefinitely. Increasingly, they, and thus policymakers and the public, will be forced to confront facts inconvenient to their narrative, including that humans are adapting remarkably well to climate change, that renewables make energy unreliable and expensive, and that only nuclear can achieve sustainability goals of reduced emissions, material throughput, and land use.

As people ask, “How Bad Are Weather Disasters?”, not just for banks, but for all of us, the answer will increasingly come back, “Not very.”

*  *  *

Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,”Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael’s substack here

Donate to Environmental Progress

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 21:30

Biden Infrastructure Bill Includes Passive Monitoring Vehicle “Kill Switch” Mandates For Automakers

Biden Infrastructure Bill Includes Passive Monitoring Vehicle “Kill Switch” Mandates For Automakers

As if the Biden administration wasn’t doing enough to infringe on your civil liberties with lockdowns and vaccine mandates, media reports over the last several days are suggesting that Biden’s new infrastructure bill will also include a mandate for auto manufacturers to install “kill switches” into vehicles.

Former Rep. Bob Barr, writing for The Daily Caller, calls the measure “disturbingly short on details”, but for the fact that the proposed device must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”

Which, of course, is code for some kind of device that is constantly on and monitoring your vehicle – and will likely have the power to shut down your vehicle anytime it wants. 

“This is a disaster in the making, and the fact that the provision made it through the Congress reveals — yet again — how little its members care about the of their constituents,” The Daily Caller writes. 

It appears that in President Biden’s future, not only will you not be in charge of your own personal health decisions, but you also won’t be in charge of whether or not you can fire up your car, which you bought with your hard-earned money, to drive it somewhere, when you deem fit. 

That decision will now “rest in the hands of an algorithm”, the report says. Similar monitoring and control devices have faced constitutional opposition, the report notes, “notably with the 5th Amendment’s right to not self-incriminate, and the 6th Amendment’s right to face one’s accuser.”

Barr concludes: “Unless this regulatory mandate is not quickly removed or defanged by way of an appropriations rider preventing its implementation, the freedom of the open road that individual car ownership brought to the American Dream, will be but another vague memory of an era no longer to be enjoyed by future generations.”

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 21:00

Obituary For Russiagate

Obituary For Russiagate

Authored by Patrick Lawrence via Consortium News,

Russiagate, that fraudulent fable wherein Russian President Vladimir Putin personally subverted American democracy, Russian intelligence pilfered the Democratic Party’s email, and Donald Trump acted at the Kremlin’s behest, is at last dead.

No, nothing sudden. It has been a slow, painful death of the sort this destructive beast richly deserved. But its demise is now definitive — in the courts and on paper. We await the better historians to see this properly into the record.

Three key operatives in the construction of the Russiagate edifice are indicted for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about aspects of the Russiagate tale. The Steele dossier, the document on which much of the case against former President Trump rested, is now exposed as a Nixonesque “dirty trick” authorized and paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Some mainstream newspapers — certainly not all — are busy in their archives, editing out the worst of the falsehoods they reported in 2016 and 2017 as unassailable fact. This is a wholesale collapse now.

TV coverage of 2016 U.S. election results. (U.S. embassy, Kyiv)

There are, as one would expect, those who seem determined to hold out no matter what the factual evidence. These go well beyond MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, whose record I will let speak for itself.

I am thinking of people such as David Corn, the Mother Jones correspondent in Washington, and David Frum, a staff writer at The Atlantic. Both invested big time into the Russiagate junk, and both published books filled with the ridiculous, evidence-free piffle of which it was made.

Corn, Frum and numerous others like them are now industriously throwing good money after bad to go by recent publications. Here is Corn’s latest, and here Frum’s. One finds the same tired combination of presumption, useless innuendo, and spoon-fed, evidence-deficient falsities derived from the intelligence agencies that were key to fomenting the Russiagate hoax. Yes, Messrs. Corn and Frum, it was a hoax.

To these diehards, people such as your columnist, given to rational, disinterested consideration of what is known and what is conjured from thin air, are “denialists.” Strange it is that those denying established facts and truths call those who accept these facts and truths by this name.

But this is a measure of the extent Russiagate has plunged us into Alice–in–Wonderland depths where what is up is down, what is dark is light, what is true is to be buried, what is false is to be held high — where blindness is preferred to sight.

This leads us to the essential question we now face, or one of them. What are the consequences of the Russiagate scam? If it rested on lies start-to-finish, this is not to say it did not exact its price. It did. The price is high, and we are fated to pay it for some time to come.

The Damage Done

An inquiry of this kind must begin with the damage Russiagate has done to the prevalent American consciousness. The last five years have delivered Americans into a culture of unreason of the kind they have been prone to indulging periodically throughout their history. It is made in equal parts of a native insecurity and anxiety, of paranoia and of irrationality.

This is at once a pitiable and dangerous state. All is reduced to the Manichean distinctions characteristic of the old Westerns (not to mention most of the good guys vs. bad guys Dreck that comes out of Hollywood these days). No subtlety of thought survives in the culture of unreason. Public space is populated with poseurs, cutouts, and imposters. Public discourse, with some exceptions, is much of the time not worth bothering with.

Nov. 11, 2017, protest outside the White House, dubbed the “Kremlin Annex.” Wikimedia Commons

To understand this condition, we must recognize it as the work of a diabolic alliance comprised of the Democratic Party’s corrupt leadership, the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies, the national security apparatus and its many appendages, and the media. It is no longer in the slightest objectionable to speak or write of a Deep State that controls this country.

The elite minority this alliance represents derives its power from its claim to speak for the majority — an absolutely classic case of the “soft despotism” Alexis de Tocqueville warned Americans of 190 years ago. Liberal authoritarianism is another name for what has consolidated itself in the years since Democrats, in mid–2016, first raised the phony specter of Russia “hacking” into its mail systems.

In effect, Russiagate has tipped the American polity upside down. It is the illiberal liberals among us, righteous as the old Puritan ministers of New England, who now prosecute a regime of censorship and suppression of dissent that is at least as severe and anti-democratic as what conservatives had going during the Cold War (and in my view worse).

It is they who seek to cow ordinary Americans into the new, weird idolatry of authority, no matter that those to whom the nation is urged to bow are proven liars, law-breakers and propagandists.

Culture of Unreason

There is, of course, the more dangerous world Russiagate has done so much to create. In the culture of unreason, the Deep State has a discouraging record of success in gaining wide public support for any aggressive campaign against any nation or people it wishes to act against. In this dimension, Russiagate has destroyed the Democrats as a party willing to stand against the imperial project in its late phase.

A war with China over the Taiwan question is now spoken of as a logical possibility. Washington is now raising the temperature on the Ukraine–Russia border, just as it did when it cultivated the 2014 coup in Kiev, and this is put across as a Democratic administration’s sound policy. Rampant Russophobia is a direct consequence of the Russiagate ruse, Sinophobia its uglier sibling — uglier for its racist subtext.

We have active subversion operations in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba and Peru, all progressive states in the true meaning of this term, and Democrats of all stripes — including “progressives” with the necessary quotation marks — cheer on every one of them. We cannot view this as distinct from the elevation of institutions dedicated to campaigns of covert subterfuge — chiefly but not only the CIA. — to wholly inappropriate positions of respect.

The damage Russiagate has done to the press … let me rephrase this.  The damage the press has inflicted upon itself in the cause of Russiagate is so extensive it is hard to calculate with any precision. We watch now as their credibility collapses in real time. Those running the mainstream newspapers and networks seem to understand this, as they rush to protect what remains of their reputations with rearguard actions to obscure their grossly irresponsible conduct.

The long list of those who caved to the Russiagate orthodoxy includes some stunning names. Among publications that should have known better we find Mother Jones, The NationThe Intercept, and Democracy Now! Was it conformity, pressure from donors or Democratic Party ventriloquists, or some combination of ideology, ignorance and inexperience that caused them to flip?

The Atlantic, The New Yorker, the major dailies, the networks — they have all sustained one or another degree of discredit, left either to craven rewrites in their archives, denial in the Corn–Frum mode, or silence. None will do: They will never regain lost ground without first acknowledging what they have done, and this appears out of the question.

Resort of Omission

The feature of the corporate-owned press — and the “progressive,” press, as just suggested — that strikes me most now is its resort of omission. Think about it: Lengthy hearings on Capitol Hill, in which leading Democratic Party Russiagaters admit under oath they never had any of the evidence they long claimed, go unreported. The collapse of the Steele dossier goes unreported in The New York Times and other major dailies.

It is but a short step to all else that is newsworthy but left out — the collapse of the case against Julian Assange (against whom the Russiagate frenzy was wielded), the collapse of the chemical weapons case in Syria, all the above-noted covert subversions. It is wholesale dereliction of duty now, and it was Russiagate that licensed this betrayal.

Mainstream media are now approaching that point when they leave out more of the world we live in than they report. This is a losing proposition in the medium term — a desperate, last-ditch strategy to defend a “narrative” that simply no longer holds. I put the acceleration of this trend down to the poisoned information environment Russiagate did so much to engender.

There is a positive dimension to the media’s fate since Russiagate, and regular readers of this column may already guess where I am headed. The disaster Russiagate has proven for the corporate-owned press, the networks, and the “left” — with-quotation-marks — press has landed independent media such as Consortium News with large, new responsibilities, and they have by-and-large risen to the occasion. Their role in keeping the truth of the Russiagate fraud on the table cannot be overstated.

We witness, in effect, an historically significant transformation in how Americans get their news and analysis. This, a gradual process, is an excellent thing. In time, independent media stand to play as important a role in repairing the across-the-board damage of Russiagate as legacy media played in hatching and deepening it.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 20:30

‘Never Seen Anything Like It’: Los Angeles Residents Stunned As Violent Crimes Creep Into Wealthier Communities

‘Never Seen Anything Like It’: Los Angeles Residents Stunned As Violent Crimes Creep Into Wealthier Communities

After two years of rising crime in Los Angeles, residents of upscale neighborhoods are finally starting to freak out after a spate of ‘flash mob‘ lootings at high-end retail stores have been accompanied with a disturbing increase in violent crimes committed in the suburbs, according to the LA Times.

Private security officers guard the Beverly Hills home where Jacqueline Avant, the wife of music producer Clarence Avant, was shot and killed Wednesday. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

 

Crews of burglars publicly smashing their way into Los Angeles’ most exclusive stores. Robbers following their victims, including a star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and a BET host, to their residences. And this week, the fatal shooting of 81-year-old Jacqueline Avant, an admired philanthropist and wife of music legend Clarence Avant, in her Beverly Hills home.

…these incidents have sparked a national conversation and led to local concern about both the crimes themselves and where the outrage over the violence will lead.

“The fact that this has happened, her being shot and killed in her own home, after giving, sharing, and caring for 81 years has shaken the laws of the Universe,” said Oprah Winfrey, expressing grief over Avant’s killing via Twitter. “The world is upside down.”

The Times notes that while overall crime rates within Los Angeles remain far below the notoriously violent 1990s, much of it has been concentrated in poor communities – so it receives virtually no attention. Now that crime has “crept up in wealthier enclaves and thrust its way to the center of public discourse” across the city.

Turning point?

In 2020, polls showed that California voters largely supported criminal justice reform, as well as rolling back tough sentencing laws to reduce prison populations without nary a thought to how it might affect the crime rate. Now, those concerned about crime and blame liberal policies for its rise are growing more vocal.

For others, it’s been a serious wake-up call.

I have never seen anything like it,” said Dominick DeLuca, owner of the Brooklyn Projects skateboard shop on Melrose Avenue where burglaries and robberies have seen a sharp enough spike in recent months that he’s now carrying a gun to work. “In the last two years, I have been broken into three times.”

On Thursday, Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michael Moore advocated for locking offenders up, and questioned several pandemic-related policies that put nonviolent arrestees back on the street without bail.

Moore said arrests had been made in several high-profile “smash-and-grab” burglaries but lamented that the suspects had all been released pending trial. Garcetti said warehousing criminals in jails without rehabilitating them is not a solution, but neither is ceding the streets to repeat offenders.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, whose progressive policies around prosecution and sentencing many blame for the uptick in crime, was notably absent at the press conference but said through his office that he is working closely with law enforcement partners to hold perpetrators accountable for such brazen crimes. -LA Times

According to LAPD data through Nov. 27, property crime is up 2.6% YoY, but is down 6t.6% from 2019, while robberies are up 3.9% YoY and down 13.6% from 2019. Burglaries are down 8.4% from last year and 7.7% from 2019. Car thefts, meanwhile, are up nearly 53% vs. 2019.

The difference? Rich people are now getting hit, so officials are officially concerned.

What’s more, violent crime is way up – with homicides jumping 46.7% and shootings up 51.4% vs. 2019. As of the end of last month, there were 359 homicides year-to-date, compared with 355 in all of 2020. That said 2008 was LA’s deadliest year with 384 homicides.

Read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/04/2021 – 20:00