Cover for No Agenda Show 1537: Dig Up Canada!
March 12th • 2h 57m

1537: Dig Up Canada!

Shownotes

Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

SVB
CBDC FDIC BOTG
I listen to pretty much every episode (okay okay sometimes I drop off at the donation break) and I don't remember any clips from the FDIC meeting in January. Happy to clip it, but wanted to check if it was done to not reduplicate effort.
You have been circling the target for months now, but in case you haven't connected the final dots, here is how the reset will be orchestrated. Bank bail-ins will be used in conjunction with the FDIC to institute the CBDC.
A massive banking collapse will occur (could be now with Silicon Valley Bank, but I think it will happen after peace in Ukraine) and wipe out liquidity. Bail-ins will be used to draw DDA funds from everyone covered by FDIC (under $250k) and give liquidity to the corporate markets. FDIC doesn't have nearly enough cash on hand to cover these deposits, so the Fed will issue the new Fedcoin which will be distributed by the FDIC to all covered accounts.
90% of Americans will go to bed with dollars in their bank accounts and wake up with Fedcoin in their accounts the next morning.
Climate Change
BLM LGBBTQQIAAPK+ Noodle Boy
China
Great Reset
Bat vs Lab
COVID isn't real BOTG
COVID non sequitur
You almost got there before Normie JCD got butthurt. COVID does not exist. I would refer you to the work by David Crowe for a detailed breakdown, but my own personal reason for believing this is simple. At the outset of the pandemic I researched the false positive rate of the influenza PCR test at 45 cycles. The FPR was ~15%. Throughout the pandemic I monitored positivity rates across the country. The average positivity rate hovered between 10% and 15% at 45 cycles. This was all false positives across the board. This whole lab leak story is a psyop to keep people afraid of COVID. It is a limited hangout. Fauci will be sacrificed to keep people convinced that COVID is real and dangerous, and make Pfizer loads more money on vaccines and therapeutics. The instant kickback you got from JCD is pretty much what I experience whenever I try to make this argument in the normie sphere. The conditioning is very strong.
Prime Time Takedown
MIC
Big Pharma
Online Therapy, woke agenda BOTG
ITM Adam,
You mentioned online tele-health services and I wanted to pass along. My wife is a certified MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) for the State of California. Along with her Master’s in psychology she had to have 3,000 client hours before she could take the State exam for her licensure so no small feat.
Since 2020 many therapy companies have popped up like Better Help, Cerebral (which you’ve spoken about) and one called “Grow”. My wife has decided to be a 1099 which involves much more hands on effort such as becoming credentialed to take different insurances, each application being around $140 but also allows maximum independence.
HOWEVER, a corporate therapy company like “Grow” will almost immediately credential a therapist with up to 14 different insurance companies at no cost, almost no wait time to the therapist and find clients for them as incentive to join BUT in exchange they have oversight over their profile and decide what clients to give the therapist.
When my wife looked at “Grow”, they have a preferred pronoun entry for the therapist profile. BIG red flag pointing to corporate therapy being very woke and it only increasing.
It dawned on me how coupled with the 2020 mental onslaught and extreme woke ideology pushing of gender, climate, etc. these companies can be used to push agendas directly through the therapist into the clients with ease. Seeing the therapists my wife graduated with, many are woke, many went along with the Covid narrative and go along with gender ideology. I’m proud to say my wife was and is the exception.
In this day and age where having a therapist and being on medication is in vogue with young people, online corporate therapy seems to be in lockstep as a clever, titanic, woke agenda-pushing machine.
TYFYC,
Zack
Weight Loss Drugs - Boots on the ground report
I am over fifty and, for numerous reasons, can’t lose weight the way I used to. My last physical had me as pre-diabetes. i.e. I have to make a change, or I will have type 2 diabetes.
My wife and I started using Mojurno (Like Ozempic) for weight loss, and I lost twenty pounds in the first month. The cost is about Three Hundred dollars for 4 shots. They are taken weekly. The diabetes version is about One thousand a month and sold in specialized injectors.
For me, it was a simple choice, do this now or have to do it later with diabetes.
We can afford to do this, in fact, the amount we spend is saved in not eating out.
With these drugs, your appetite drips, and you really don’t want to eat all that much.
This class of drug has been used in Hollywood and by the elites for decades it is finally available to those of us in the upper middle class.
I wish it were cheaper or covered by insurance, but it is not right now.
If I were blessed with great self-control of my eating I would not be in this situation. I am a realist.
Lee
Out There
Ukraine vs Russia
STORIES
Wall Street Braces for the Next Silicon Valley Bank - WSJ
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 16:07
Shares of regional banks tumble amid concern that SVB's collapse is only the beginning
March 12, 2023 5:31 am ETInvestors were worried that the fastest interest-rate increases in decades meant that something in the economy might break.
Last week, it did. Now, investors are asking: What else might crack?
On Friday, Silicon Valley Bank was shut down after getting hit by a run on its deposits, the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history. The fallout...
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Investors were worried that the fastest interest-rate increases in decades meant that something in the economy might break.
Last week, it did. Now, investors are asking: What else might crack?
On Friday, Silicon Valley Bank was shut down after getting hit by a run on its deposits, the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history. The fallout has jolted Wall Street, heightening fears that a year of rapidly tightening financial conditions is finally hitting home for the financial sector and beyond.
The bank collapse, the largest since the 2008 financial crisis, helped send the S&P 500 down 3.3% over the final two trading days of the week. Traders began to speculate about what other fast-growing banks might be hurt and whether the troubles might encourage the Federal Reserve to pause, or even halt, its yearlong effort to slow inflation by raising interest rates.
''I think this could be the first cockroach in the cellar,'' said Fredric Russell, chief executive of Fredric E. Russell Investment Management Co. in Tulsa, Okla. ''Banks get thrown into the dark pool of complacency, and then they lower their quality standards.''
On Thursday, clients pulled $42 billion in deposits from Silicon Valley Bank, according to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, leading to a negative cash balance of $958 million. On Wednesday, a public filing from the company had shown $169 billion in deposits and roughly $180 billion of available liquidity to stem potential outflows.
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Banks, especially the largest, are much better capitalized than they were heading into the 2008 financial crisis. Still, some investors worry that the problems now slamming a few regional banks could affect the whole industry.
Adding to the stress, a major cryptocurrency declined sharply over the weekend following the disclosure that its operator, Circle Internet Financial Ltd., had $3.3 billion tied up in Silicon Valley Bank.
USD Coin fell below 87 cents on Saturday morning, according to data from CoinDesk. The virtual currency, known as a stablecoin, is designed to trade at $1. Its decline echoes a crucial point in the 2008 financial crisis when a money-market fund widely treated as cash-equivalent ''broke the buck'' in the wake of the failure of Lehman Brothers.
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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures depositors with up to $250,000 in cash at a bank. Depositors with more than that at Silicon Valley Bank will get receivership certificates for their uninsured balances, the FDIC said, meaning they might not get all of their money out soon.
''The big question is whether the FDIC and Fed make the uninsured depositors whole'--or at least close to whole,'' said Bob Elliott, co-founder and chief investment officer of the asset manager Unlimited. ''If the resolution of SVB Financial isn't handled well, there's a systemic risk that uninsured depositors will flee small banks.''
As of the end of last year, Silicon Valley Bank had an estimated $151 billion in uninsured deposits, according to the annual report of SVB Financial Group, its parent company. First Republic Bank , another major regional bank, had roughly $120 billion, and Signature Bank had around $80 billion of uninsured deposits.
Silicon Valley Bank's failure hit not just its depositors and investors but also its customers. The businesses financed by Silicon Valley Bank for years now look riskier. Shares of the home-solar installer Sunrun Inc., for example, fell 12% on Friday. The streaming platform Roku Inc. said about $487 million of its $1.9 billion in cash was at SVB as of Friday. Roku said in a filing that it doesn't know how much it will be able to recover.
The payroll company Rippling was unable to complete some payroll runs on Friday, its chief executive, Parker Conrad, said on Twitter. The company has shifted its business to
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JPMorgan ChaseThere are major differences between the current stress in the banking sector and the financial crisis of more than a decade ago.
Silicon Valley Bank ran into trouble in part by investing heavily in government bonds and agency-backed mortgage securities, which have declined in value as the Fed has raised interest rates.
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Those bonds, however, are essentially guaranteed to be paid back in full at maturity, making them worlds apart from the complex credit instruments tied to riskier mortgages that helped fell financial institutions in the late 2000s.
Far from shunning Treasurys on Friday, investors flocked to them, betting that the problems in the banking sector could slow economic growth and eventually lead to lower interest rates. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which falls when the price rises, logged its third-largest single-day decline of the past decade, according to Tradeweb.
The Silicon Valley Bank crisis interrupted investors' preoccupation with the Fed's yearlong struggle to control surging inflation. Last week started with investors firmly focused on Fed rate increases and Fed Chair Jerome Powell's testimony to Congress, which began Tuesday. Then, late Wednesday, the crypto-focused bank Silvergate Capital Corp. said it would voluntarily shut down, and Silicon Valley Bank said it needed to raise emergency cash.
Investors quickly grew concerned that other banks might be prone to similar, speedy downfalls. The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index fell 16% for the week, its worst performance since the onset of Covid-19 in March 2020.
In the tumult, the worst-hit banks have been those with overextended loan books tied to riskier assets such as real-estate mortgages, or sensitive customer bases prone to pulling out cash. Investors fear that the Fed's tightening will continue to bruise the real-estate sector, while long-dated bond books suffer most from rate increases.
Trading in several bank stocks, including First Republic, Signature, Western Alliance Bancorp and PacWest Bancorp , was briefly halted Friday.
Signature's 23% loss on Friday was its worst day on record, and Signature and First Republic clocked their worst weeks on record, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Citizens Financial Group Inc., Comerica Inc., Fifth Third Bancorp , Zions Bancorp and Charles Schwab Corp. each shed more than 15% last week.
The Fed has been focused on controlling inflation, but the events of last week led officials to think about another of the central bank's core mandates: financial stability. As of Thursday, weeks of hot economic data had suggested that the Fed might raise rates by 0.5 percentage point at its meeting later this month and continue to tighten policy until 2024. On Friday, traders revised wagers to bet on a lower peak for interest rates and a rate cut later this year.
Some investors were surprised by how quickly SVB swung from seeking additional funding on Wednesday to out-and-out failure by Friday.
''This kind of shocked me,'' said Buzzy Geduld, chief executive of the hedge fund Cougar Capital. ''I would have guessed they would have been able to raise the money that they apparently needed, but obviously, when they looked under the hood, it was a lot worse than anyone anticipated.''
Still, Mr. Geduld said the SVB fallout hasn't considerably altered his view of the banking sector, because SVB's difficulties sprang from its specific exposure to startups and venture capital.
''We still like the regional banks,'' he said.
One rattling aspect of SVB's collapse was that many analysts didn't see it coming. Of 22 analysts covering the company, the average price target was around $262 a share, according to FactSet.
The stock closed Thursday at $106.04 before regulators took the reins Friday morning.
'--Sam Goldfarb contributed to this article.
Write to Eric Wallerstein at eric.wallerstein@wsj.com, Matt Grossman at matt.grossman@wsj.com and Gregory Zuckerman at Gregory.Zuckerman@wsj.com
March Madness, Vasectomies Are an Unlikely Pairing Filling Urology Offices - WSJ
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 16:06
Clinics market procedure so recovery time allows guilt-free TV viewing
March 12, 2023 5:34 am ETMarch is a special time for college basketball fans, who kick back on the couch for days to watch the two-week NCAA tournament known as March Madness.
It also has become a shining moment for some urologists, who see the games as a perfect time to peddle vasectomies.
The idea of pairing male family planning with March Madness appears to have...
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March is a special time for college basketball fans, who kick back on the couch for days to watch the two-week NCAA tournament known as March Madness.
It also has become a shining moment for some urologists, who see the games as a perfect time to peddle vasectomies.
The idea of pairing male family planning with March Madness appears to have started in 2008, when the Oregon Urology Institute decided that the games were an ideal distraction for men recovering from the sterilization surgery.
Fifteen years later, ''Vas Madness'' specials are increasingly common throughout the country, with university-run clinics and other large providers offering vasectomies paired with basketball-themed swag'--and usually a bag of frozen peas, legumes whose malleability makes them superior to ice packs for soothing particularly sensitive areas.
''Ready to sit this one out on the sidelines?'' reads an ad from one Missouri clinic advertising Vas Madness. ''Recover on the couch, glued to the TV, guilt-free, under doctor's orders,'' promises another from a Philadelphia practice.
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Terry FitzPatrick, administrator of the Oregon Urology Institute, said he was looking for a way to link vasectomies to big-ticket sporting events when he settled on the National Collegiate Athletic Association's tournament to reach his target audience. He worked with a local ad agency, and they dubbed the promotion ''Snip City,'' after the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers' longtime catchphrase ''Rip City.''
Other urology clinics have seized on the marketing play.
Akron-based Summa Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in Ohio, is running its seventh annual Vas Madness campaign this year. Over the next few weeks, urologists there will perform more than 150 vasectomies, a procedure that involves snipping and cauterizing the vas deferens, far above the typical volume of about 15, said Dr. Kevin Spear, chair of the urology department.
When University of Utah Health launched its Vas Madness promotion in 2015, it saw the number of vasectomies bounce to 53 from 8 the year before, says Lori Williams,
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associate director of marketing.
''As a healthcare system, it's fun to do something different, instead of, 'Ugh, do you need a breast cancer screening, oh, go get your mammogram,''' Ms. Williams said.
The swag accompanying the annual ''benchwarmer pass'' special at Ogden Clinic in northern Utah has included branded sweat bands, fleece blankets and, one year, a shot at two tickets to the tournament itself.
In Medford, Ore., the T-shirts doctors and staff sport during ''Snip Madness'' at Rogue Valley Urology have gained something of a cult following, says clinic administrator Jennifer Adams. ''Make this March a slam dunk with a snip to your junk,'' the staff shirts say.
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Edward Sankey, a 43-year-old storage facility manager in Gold Hill, Ore., says seeing Rogue Valley Urology's ads on Facebook gave him the nudge he needed to schedule an appointment. He has four children, the youngest of whom is 10, and will soon welcome his third grandchild.
By the time he called the clinic this past January, all the prime appointments had been snagged. He had to settle for April Fools' Day, though it's still technically part of the promotional period.
''I can't wait to wear the shirt,'' he says. ''That's just an added bonus.''
During the two weekends the clinic runs the promotion, the staff orders pizza and keep waiting room TVs tuned to the games. ''It's just fun. The staff absolutely love it. The men love it,'' Ms. Adams said.
A local radio station asks listeners to nominate candidates for a chance to win a complimentary spot in the clinic's Snip Madness bracket. Once, the lucky winner even got snipped live on-air, a stunt that was never repeated.
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Dr. Patrick Davol, who performs as many as 20 procedures a day during the promotional event, has a playlist that includes ''Big Balls'' by AC/DC and '80s pop anthem ''Do You Really Want To Hurt Me.'' Patients are sent on their way with a care package that includes a referee whistle and a can of Vas Deferens, a dark Belgian ale inspired by a local microbrewer's own vasectomy.
For Indianapolis native and insurance broker Dylan Melling, 33, getting a vasectomy during March Madness last year made perfect sense. He and his wife, Ashlee, had decided they were done having biological children after she had difficult pregnancies.
''We would have been watching eight to 10 hours of basketball a day anyway,'' adds Mr. Melling, a lifelong fan of the Hoosiers, the men's basketball team at Indiana University.
Not everyone is on board. In 2021, lawyers for the NCAA successfully went after a Virginia clinic for trying to register the term ''Vasectomy Mayhem,'' a play on an alternate nickname for the tournament, citing the ''likelihood of confusion'' between the tournament's brand and the clinic.
''We don't currently have an official urologist of the NCAA tournament,'' says Doug Masters, who represented the NCAA in the case. But that doesn't preclude the league from having one in the future.
Write to Christine Mai-Duc at christine.maiduc@wsj.com
Venture investors vow to work with Silicon Valley Bank if new owner found
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 16:03
A sign hangs at Silicon Valley Banks headquarters in Santa Clara, California on March 10, 2023.
Noah Berger | AFP | Getty Images
More than three hundred venture capital firms have signed a joint statement vowing to do business again with Silicon Valley Bank if it is "purchased and appropriately capitalized," after the financial institution failed on Friday.
Regulators shuttered SVB and seized its deposits on Friday following a run on the bank on Thursday.
Preceding the bank's failure, SVB CEO Greg Becker had announced a sudden need to raise $2.25 billion to shore up the financial institution's balance sheet overnight on Wednesday. A dramatic wave of deposit withdrawals followed on Thursday.
Shares in the bank plummeted and triggered a trading halt on Friday before the California state regulators took over.
The SVB failure marks the largest in U.S. banking since the 2008 financial crisis and the second-largest ever.
Some venture firms withdrew their own money and instructed their portfolio companies to withdraw their deposits from SVB before the run. Reportedly Founders Fund, USV and Coatue were among those to do so.
Other venture investors lamented that directives from influential firms, even if prudent in a way, contributed to the run on a bank that had been a long-trusted financial partner to tech startups and firms that invest in them for decades.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will cover up to $250,000 per depositor and may be able to begin paying depositors under that cap as early as Monday. It remains to be seen, however, what portion of the deposits on SVB's balance sheet will see a full or partial recovery, and whether there is an immediate buyer poised to acquire the bank's operations.
In 2008, JPMorgan Chase acquired Washington Mutual Bank in a transaction facilitated by the FDIC.
As CNBC has reported, big names in tech and finance have been calling for the federal government to take dramatic actions to protect depositors who were not under the $250,000 insured cap. Their main concern is that a failure to protect deposits over $250,000 could cause a loss of faith in other mid-sized banks.
Venture firms including Accel, Cowboy Ventures, Greylock, Lux Capital, and Sequoia were among the 325 firms who had signed the letter as of Saturday evening in California, expressing a willingness to work again with SVB under new ownership.
The joint statement was shared by many individual venture capitalists on social networks following the bank failure. It said:
Silicon Valley Bank has been a trusted and long-time partner to the venture capital industry and our founders. For forty years, it has been an important platform that played a pivotal role in serving the startup community and supporting the innovation economy in the US.
The events that unfolded over the past 48 hours have been deeply disappointing and concerning. In the event that SVB were to be purchased and appropriately capitalized, we would be strongly supportive and encourage our portfolio companies to resume their banking relationship with them."
Read the statement and the full list of investors expressing support for SVB.
Silvergate Waves the White Flag - Swan Bitcoin
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 15:53
Over the last year, the Federal Reserve has undergone one of the fastest rate hiking cycles in its history. As rates have soared and the proverbial tide has gone out, many companies in the broader cryptocurrency industry were discovered to be swimming naked. One by one, we've seen cryptocurrency companies like FTX, Voyager, BlockFi, Genesis, Celsius, and Three Arrows Capital shut their doors. Some of these firms were woefully mismanaged as they overextended themselves in the ultra-low interest rate environment, while others were revealed as outright frauds.
The crypto contagion moved up to the banking sector this week when crypto-friendly bank, Silvergate Capital, announced it will voluntarily liquidate and provide full repayment of all deposits.
Silvergate is the latest victim of the contagion that began last spring with the collapse of the algorithmic stablecoin Terra Luna as the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates. This news comes during a broader cross-agency regulatory crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry that began in earnest after the collapse of FTX.
Silvergate was a relatively small bank that rose to prominence over the years as one of the primary banks serving the cryptocurrency industry. In the last 5 years, it saw its deposits explode upwards as it seized the opportunity during the cryptocurrency bubble fueled by ultra-low interest rates, peaking at over $14 billion in December 2021.
Silvergate continued to grow rapidly after it launched its Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), which allowed for 24/7 real-time, settlement of digital assets between investors and crypto exchanges. The SEN platform grew to become a critical piece of infrastructure for the broader cryptocurrency industry.
The graphic below highlights how the SEN platform served as the central plumbing of the industry, connecting many of the largest cryptocurrency firms in the broader crypto ecosystem.
Silvergate specifically catered its business to the digital asset industry, and as of September 30th, 2022, 90% of its overall deposit base came from crypto firms. Some of these clients included now-bankrupt firms such as BlockFi and FTX.
To give you an idea of Silvergate's relationship with the crypto industry, below is a quote from disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried gushing about Silvergate in Congressional testimony last year,
''Life as a crypto firm can be divided up into before Silvergate and after Silvergate'...It's hard to overstate how much it revolutionized banking for blockchain companies.'' '-- Sam Bankman-Fried
As the crypto bubble popped at the end of 2021, interest in crypto started to wane and clients started to leave Silvergate. This trend only worsened when large firms began to blow up left and right. As a result, Silvergate experienced a significant outflow of deposits and revenues.
In its Q4 financial statement, Silvergate wrote,
''During the fourth quarter of 2022, the digital asset industry experienced a transformational shift, with significant overleverage in the industry-leading to several high-profile bankruptcies. These dynamics created a crisis of confidence across the ecosystem and led many industry participants to shift to a 'risk off' position across digital asset trading platforms. In turn, the Company saw significant outflows of deposits during the quarter and took several actions to maintain cash liquidity.''
This drop in business activity can be observed in the decline in usage of the SEN platform. SEN platform volumes were down 47% in the fourth quarter compared to the fourth quarter of the year prior. On top of that, digital asset customers started to leave the bank in droves. Sivergate had 1,620 digital asset customers on December 31, 2021, compared to just 1,381 a year later.
This trend accelerated rapidly in Q4, as Silvergate clients rushed for the exits as they feared for the bank's future as it came under scrutiny from regulators and politicians in the aftermath of FTX.
In December 2022, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator John Kennedy, and Congressman Roger Marshall penned a letter to Silvergate CEO Alan Lane asking for information about Silvergate's operations, stating, ''The public is owed a full accounting of the financial activities that may have led to the loss of billions in customer assets, and any role that Silvergate may have played in these losses.''
During Q3, the average digital asset customer deposits stood at $12 billion, during Q4, that number stood at $7.3 billion, down 39%.
Below are charts that show how the digital currency deposits of SIlvergate and Signature, another popular crypto-bank, fell off a cliff in Q4. Silvergate's digital currency deposits fell a whopping 68% Q/Q in Q4.
The problem here is that a majority of Silvergate's deposit base came from digital asset customers. This deposit base is extremely volatile and is tied to the market sentiment of the broader digital asset industry. When the prices fall, these clients lose interest and withdraw their funds, which requires Silvergate to repay those deposits. It makes for an unstable, volatile source of funding that can disappear rapidly.
This is what the FDIC, OCC, and Fed were warning about in a recent rare joint statement when they urged banks to apply effective risk management when dealing with deposits linked to crypto entities. They stated, ''Significant volatility in crypto-asset markets, the effects of which include potential impacts on deposit flows associated with crypto-asset companies.''
To prepare for this scenario, Silvergate invested most of its funds in long-duration mortgage-back securities and Treasury bonds. It bought a majority of these bonds before the Federal Reserve went on its hiking tirade when interest rates were low.
As the Fed raised interest rates, the value of Silvergate's bond holdings plunged, eroding the value of the bank's assets. The catch here is that, per accounting rules, Silvergate didn't have to mark their bond holdings to market (at the current market price) so long as they held their bonds to maturity. However, when depositors started to flee the bank, Silvergate was forced to sell these bond holdings to meet the withdrawals.
When this happened, Silvergate had to mark to market all the bonds on its balance sheet and report a realized loss. This ate int the bank's equity, which only spooked clients more, leading to more withdrawals. A classic bank run ensued.
Suddenly, Silvergate was left in a liquidity crisis as it tried to meet withdrawals by selling its bond positions that were underwater due to the rising rate environment. Silvergate sold its bond positions at a large loss to fund withdrawals, inflicting a $1 billion hole in its earnings at the end of 2022.
This is the problem entities run into when they borrow short and lend long. There was an interest rate mismatch where Silvergate owed money to depositors who wanted to withdraw their money now, but they had their assets in long-duration bonds that they couldn't afford to sell without marking a large loss on their balance sheet.
These developments made Silvergate's stock a prime target for short sellers. According to S3 partners, its stock became the most shorted U.S. stock, with open short interest estimated to be at 22.6 million shares, or 82% of float.
Silvergate's stock price is now down -82.7% over the last month alone.
Now that Silvergate has declared that it will wind down its operations, this has caused Senator Elizabeth Warren to come out of the woodwork and claim that this was a result of ''crypto risk.''
But to call the fall of Silvergate a result of ''crypto risk'' is missing the big picture. In fact, Silvergate should be applauded for winding down operations in an orderly fashion that will make all depositors whole. This was a classic example of what can happen when banks do not have the assets on hand to fund withdrawals. This is what can happen with any fractionally reserved bank in the event of a bank run, regardless of if the bank was dealing with the cryptocurrency industry or not.CEO of Custodia Bank, Caitlin Long explains this well in the tweet below.
This Silvergate development highlights a bigger risk within the banking sector as a whole. FDIC-insured banks are currently sitting on massive unrealized losses as their bond holdings have lost a significant amount of value as interest rates have soared.
Below shows that there are currently over $600 billion in unrealized losses held by FDIC-insured banks today, mostly consisting of bonds that are deeply underwater.
This dynamic of the wide difference between the bonds' book values and market values is not isolated to crypto banks like Silvergate. This became evident when the 16th largest commercial bank, Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group experienced a similar problem and saw its stock drop -35% on Thursday after it lost $1.8 billion selling $21 billion worth of bonds to fund withdrawals.
Shares of SVB were halted Friday morning as the shares sold off another -65% overnight as the bank desperately attempted to raise capital. Later that morning, it was announced that the bank would be closed and regulators would take control of its deposits.
The bank failure of Silicon Valley Bank marks the second-largest bank failure in history and the largest bank failure since the Global Financial Crisis.
All of SVB's deposits that are <$250,000 are insured by the FDIC, but it is estimated that over $150 billion, around 97% of its deposits, are uninsured, given that many of SVB's customers are technology companies.
This could pose a big problem to the thousands of companies that banked with SVB when it comes to their ability to make payroll over the next several weeks. We have not seen the end of this story.
On Friday morning, fear continued to spread to other regional banks such as First Republic Bank, PacWest Bancorp, and Western Alliance Bancorp as their share prices plummeted and were eventually halted by authorities.
The contagion in the financial industry was not just isolated to smaller regional banks. The four major U.S. banks lost an estimated $52 billion in market value on Thursday alone.
This carnage in the banking industry comes after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before Congress earlier in the week stating that it is likely that the Fed will need to raise rates higher and hold them for longer.
Powell said, ''The ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated. If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we're prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes.''
After Powell's hawkish testimony, the market gave a 65% chance that the Fed would hike rates another 0.50% at the next FOMC meeting. Last month, this probability was only around 10%.
However, given the recent turmoil in the banking industry, the odds of a 50 bps rate hike have declined. Many analysts have speculated that the Fed would eventually have to stop hiking interest rates to battle inflation ''when something breaks.'' Thursday was the first sign that there might be some cracks forming in the financial system due to this new high-interest rate environment.
If there is one thing that the Federal Reserve likes to bail out, it's banks. Could this turmoil in the banking sector be the start of something bigger that could force the Fed Pivot that so many market participants have longed for?
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen certainly seemed concerned about these recent developments. In a testimony today before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, she stated that the Treasury Department is ''monitoring a few banks amid SVB Financial's funding woes, ''
For this contagion to become systemic, either a lot more smaller banks would need to come under duress or a systemically important financial institution would have to come under pressure. One such large financial institution to keep an eye on is Credit Suisse, which has also seen deposits run out its door in record numbers.
Clients pulled around $120 billion in deposits from Credit Suisse in the last three months alone, and the bank reported a $1.3 billion loss in Q4 of 2022. The health of this large, important European bank is something to keep an eye on in the months to come.
The large U.S. banks are in a very different situation compared to Credit Suisse. Every year the Fed conducts a rigorous stress test to assess how these banks would perform under periods of distress. The scenario tested late last year was the unemployment rate peaking at 10%, real GDP declining by more than 3.5%, and steep declines in asset prices across stocks, bonds, and real estate. The results of the stress test showed that these large banks had sufficient capital to withstand these hypothetical adverse conditions.
Large U.S. banks have built up a large capital buffer due to regulations passed in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, but small banks are not as protected. Their reserves continue to get drained, putting them at increased risk.
Deposits continue to flee these small banks, in part, because clients can now obtain higher interest rates in money market funds and treasury bills compared to the low rates of interest in deposit accounts. Small bank funding continues to dry up just as their bond portfolios have lost value as the Fed has hiked interest rates, a toxic combination for these institutions. We will be monitoring the banking sector closely in the coming weeks.
As the bank stocks sold off, so did Bitcoin, with Bitcoin falling -10.6% in the last 5 trading days.
All of these developments across the broader banking industry highlight the need for investors to own an asset that has no counterparty risk in these uncertain times. We saw in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 how quickly counterparty risk can spread in the highly interconnected traditional financial system during a credit crisis. It's important for investors to protect themselves against this risk.
When an investor holds bitcoin in self-custody, there is no person or entity they have to trust to gain access to their savings. Bitcoin is sound money that you own when you hold your own private keys. No trust is required.
Bitcoin's short-term price will continue to fluctuate with the global macroeconomic landscape and with changes in monetary and fiscal policy. But long-term, Bitcoin's lack of counterparty risk is one reason why it remains an attractive asset to own in a diversified portfolio during these uncertain times.
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Thoughts on Bitcoin from the Swan team and friends.
One of Silicon Valley's top banks fails; assets are seized | AP News
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 15:48
NEW YORK (AP) '-- Regulators rushed Friday to seize the assets of one of Silicon Valley's top banks, marking the largest failure of a U.S. financial institution since the height of the financial crisis almost 15 years ago.
Silicon Valley Bank, the nation's 16th-largest bank, failed after depositors hurried to withdraw money this week amid anxiety over the bank's health. It was the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history after the collapse of Washington Mutual in 2008.
The bank served mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies, including some of the industry's best-known brands.
''This is an extinction-level event for startups,'' said Garry Tan, CEO of Y Combinator, a startup incubator that launched Airbnb, DoorDash and Dropbox and has referred hundreds of entrepreneurs to the bank.
''I literally have been hearing from hundreds of our founders asking for help on how they can get through this. They are asking, 'Do I have to furlough my workers?'''
There appeared to be little chance of the chaos spreading in the broader banking sector, as it did in the months leading up to the Great Recession. The biggest banks '-- those most likely to cause an economic meltdown '-- have healthy balance sheets and plenty of capital.
Nearly half of the U.S. technology and health care companies that went public last year after getting early funding from venture capital firms were Silicon Valley Bank customers, according to the bank's website.
The bank also boasted of its connections to leading tech companies such as Shopify, ZipRecruiter and one of the top venture capital firms, Andreesson Horowitz.
Tan estimated that nearly one-third of Y Combinator's startups will not be able to make payroll at some point in the next month if they cannot access their money.
Internet TV provider Roku was among casualties of the bank collapse. It said in a regulatory filing Friday that about 26% of its cash '-- $487 million '-- was deposited at Silicon Valley Bank.
Roku said its deposits with SVB were largely uninsured and it didn't know ''to what extent'' it would be able to recover them.
As part of the seizure, California bank regulators and the FDIC transferred the bank's assets to a newly created institution '-- the Deposit Insurance Bank of Santa Clara. The new bank will start paying out insured deposits on Monday. Then the FDIC and California regulators plan to sell off the rest of the assets to make other depositors whole.
There was unease in the banking sector all week, with shares tumbling by double digits. Then news of Silicon Valley Bank's distress pushed shares of almost all financial institutions even lower Friday.
The failure arrived with incredible speed. Some industry analysts suggested Friday that the bank was still a good company and a wise investment. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley Bank executives were trying to raise capital and find additional investors. However, trading in the bank's shares was halted before stock market's opening bell due to extreme volatility.
Shortly before noon, the FDIC moved to shutter the bank. Notably, the agency did not wait until the close of business, which is the typical approach. The FDIC could not immediately find a buyer for the bank's assets, signaling how fast depositors cashed out.
The White House said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was ''watching closely.'' The administration sought to reassure the public that the banking system is much healthier than during the Great Recession.
''Our banking system is in a fundamentally different place than it was, you know, a decade ago,'' said Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. ''The reforms that were put in place back then really provide the kind of resilience that we'd like to see.''
In 2007, the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression rippled across the globe after mortgage-backed securities tied to ill-advised housing loans collapsed in value. The panic on Wall Street led to the demise of Lehman Brothers, a firm founded in 1847. Because major banks had extensive exposure to one another, the crisis led to a cascading breakdown in the global financial system, putting millions out of work.
At the time of its failure, Silicon Valley Bank, which is based in Santa Clara, California, had $209 billion in total assets, the FDIC said. It was unclear how many of its deposits were above the $250,000 insurance limit, but previous regulatory reports showed that lots of accounts exceeded that amount.
The bank announced plans Thursday to raise up to $1.75 billion in order to strengthen its capital position. That sent investors scurrying and shares plunged 60%. They tumbled lower still Friday before the opening of the Nasdaq, where the bank's shares were traded.
As its name implied, Silicon Valley Bank was a major financial conduit between the technology sector, startups and tech workers. It was seen as good business sense to develop a relationship with the bank if a startup founder wanted to find new investors or go public.
Conceived in 1983 by co-founders Bill Biggerstaff and Robert Medearis during a poker game, the bank leveraged its Silicon Valley roots to become a financial cornerstone in the tech industry.
Bill Tyler, director of operations for TWG Supply in Grapevine, Texas, said he first realized something was wrong when his employees texted him at 6:30 a.m. Friday to complain that they did not receive their paychecks.
TWG, which has just 18 employees, had already sent the money for the checks to a payroll services provider that used Silicon Valley Bank. Tyler was scrambling to figure out how to pay his workers.
''We're waiting on roughly $27,000,'' he said. ''It's already not a timely payment. It's already an uncomfortable position. I don't want to ask any employees, to say, 'Hey, can you wait until mid-next week to get paid?'''
Silicon Valley Bank's ties to the tech sector added to its troubles. Technology stocks have been hit hard in the past 18 months after a growth surge during the pandemic, and layoffs have spread throughout the industry. Venture capital funding has also been declining.
At the same time, the bank was hit hard by the Federal Reserve's fight against inflation and an aggressive series of interest rate hikes to cool the economy.
As the Fed raises its benchmark interest rate, the value of generally stable bonds starts to fall. That is not typically a problem, but when depositors grow anxious and begin withdrawing their money, banks sometimes have to sell those bonds before they mature to cover the exodus.
That is exactly what happened to Silicon Valley Bank, which had to sell $21 billion in highly liquid assets to cover the sudden withdrawals. It took a $1.8 billion loss on that sale.
Ashley Tyrner, CEO of FarmboxRx, said she had spoken to several friends whose businesses are backed by venture capital. She described them as being ''beside themselves'' over the bank's failure. Tyrner's chief operating officer tried to withdraw her company's funds on Thursday but failed to do so in time.
''One friend said they couldn't make payroll today and cried when they had to inform 200 employees because of this issue,'' Tyrner said.
___
This story has been edited to correct Bill Tyler's title.
___
Associated Press Writers Michael Liedtke, Cora Lewis and Matt O'Brien, Frank Bajak and Barbara Ortutay contributed to this story.
Ed Dowd: "Remain Calm'...The World Is Not Ending. Just Changing."
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 15:45
''Prominent venture capitalists advised their tech startups to withdraw money from Silicon Valley Bank, while mega institutions such as JP Morgan Chase & Co sought to convince some SVB customers to move their funds Thursday by touting the safety of their assets.
''Let us get this straight: the largest US commercial bank was actively soliciting the clients of one of its biggest competitors, and the 16th largest US bank, knowing full well deposit flight would almost certainly lead to the collapse of a bank which courtesy of fractional reserve banking, had only modest cash to satisfy deposit demands: certainly not enough to meet $42 billion in deposit outflows.
''Of course, Jamie, who has suddenly emerged as a key figure in the Jeff Epstein scandal alongside Jes Staley, [brother of Peter Staley] knows this, and would be delighted with an outcome that kills two birds with one stone: take his name off the front pages and also make JP Morgan even bigger. Actually three birds: remember it was JPM that started that "Not QE" Fed liquidity injection in Sept 2019 when the bank "suddenly" found itself reserve constrained. We doubt that JPM would mind greatly if Powell ended his rate hikes and eased/launched QE as a result of a bank crisis, a bank crisis that Jamie helped precipitate.
''And while we wait to see if Dimon's participation in the Epstein scandal will now fade from media coverage, and whether Powell will launch QE, we know one thing for sure: JPM was a clear and immediate benefactor of SIVB's collapse because in a day when everything crashed, JPM stock was one of the handful that were up.'' '--Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge Zero Hedge coverage.
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Russia exporting diesel to Saudi via ship-to-ship loadings-traders, Refinitiv data | Reuters
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 14:31
*This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine
MOSCOW, March 10 (Reuters) - Russia is ramping up its diesel supplies to Saudi Arabia using ship-to-ship (STS) loadings in addition to direct supplies, market sources said and Refinitiv data showed.
Exporters of Russian diesel are trying STS to save on new longer and therefore costly routes after a full EU embargo on Russian oil products was imposed on Feb. 5. They are switching Russian diesel exports to Africa and Asia instead of adjacent European countries.
In February, Russia began direct diesel exports to Saudi Arabia, sending about 190,000 tonnes to the ports of Ras Tanura and Jeddah.
STS loadings help to shorten the routes and could save time by going through the Suez Canal, one trader said.
According to Refinitiv shipping data, about 99,000 tonnes of diesel from two cargoes loaded in February in the Baltic port of Primorsk - Agios Nikolaos and Mandala - were transferred ship-to-ship near Kalamata port to the tanker Dimitri, which is heading to the port of Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia.
Another 30,000 tonnes of gasoil from the tanker Butterfly loaded in the Russian Black Sea port Tuapse were co-loaded on STS near Kalamata port on the tanker Aether, which is already discharged in the port Jizan.
Russian diesel shipped to Saudi Arabia is most likely to be refined in Saudi Arabia and re-exported, market sources said. (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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Audit of Apple's Diversity Policies Demanded by Shareholders - The National Center
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 14:26
Washington, D.C./Cupertino, CA '' Today shareholder activists will challenge Apple's corporate leadership to show the value of their woke Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) policies.
During the company's annual shareholder meeting, Ethan Peck, an associate with the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project (FEP), will present a shareholder proposal requesting that Apple conduct an audit of its Inclusion and Diversity initiatives (or DEI, as it is commonly called), and make these findings public.
Apple's leaders are advising investors to vote against FEP's proposal, citing their own ongoing civil rights audit being conducted by former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder. They also claim their DEI approach is valid because it is ''based on the United Nations' Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as feedback from civil and human rights organizations and other stakeholders.''
FEP's Proposal 5, and Apple's response to it, can be read on page 79 of Apple's proxy statement by clicking here.
Through FEP's proposal, Apple has an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of its progressive policies and the value they offer for shareholders of Apple's nearly 16 billion outstanding shares.
Ethan Peck
''Apple does in fact take DEI seriously. But that is exactly the problem, because although DEI sounds so benign, in a very Orwellian sense, it translates to the opposite,'' Peck said. ''DEI is overtly bigoted against men, white people and straight people by falsely assuming that they are inherently '-- and irredeemably '-- racist and sexist oppressors.''
''However, these initiatives are also bigoted against women, blacks, LGBT people, people with disabilities and other racial minorities by wrongly assuming that they're inherently powerless victims who can't succeed on their own,'' Peck added. ''No matter the justification, it's wrong to discriminate on the basis of race, sex and orientation, and according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it's also illegal.''
Apple's annual shareholder meeting will be held virtually on Friday, March 10 at 12PM ET.
About
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Contributions are tax-deductible and may be earmarked for the Free Enterprise Project. Sign up for email updates at https://nationalcenter.org/subscribe/.
Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.
Silicon Valley Bank had NO head of 'risk assessment' for nine months before it collapsed | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 14:16
Collapsed lender Silicon Valley Bank operated without a chief risk officer between April 2022 and January 2023 while the operation's United Kingdom-based CRO stands accused of prioritizing pro-diversity initiatives over her actual role.
This revelation comes after the firm became the largest bank to collapse since the 2008 financial crisis - disclosing a $1.8 billion loss in its finances.
SVB's former head of risk, Laura Izurieta, who formerly performed a similar role for Capital One, left the bank in April 2022. She wasn't replaced until January 2023 when the bank hired Kim Olson, formerly of Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui.
The bank announced Olson's hiring in January with a press release saying she brought 'thirty years of financial services experience.'
Silicon Valley Bank's Chief Risk Officer Kim Olson assumed her position in January 2023
Jay Ersapah describes herself as a 'queer person of color from a working-class background'
'SVB has an impressive track record of sound growth and remaining true to its strategy of serving the innovation economy. I am excited to lead SVB's outstanding risk management team and continue to build SVB's risk management framework and capabilities in this important next chapter of the firm's trajectory,' Olson said at the time.
The bank's CEO Greg Becker credited Olson's 'deep and multi-faceted financial services experience as a senior risk leader and former regulator and bank supervisor positions her perfectly to actively manage SVB's financial and non-financial risks.'
The bank's website says that the CRO at the bank reports to a seven-person committee made up of board members and the CEO.
Meanwhile, Jay Ersapah,
who acts as CRO for the bank in Europe, Africa and the Middle East and who describes herself as a 'queer person of color from a working-class background' - organized a host of
LGBTQ initiatives including a month-long Pride campaign and implemented 'safe space' catch-ups for staff. In a corporate video published just nine months ago, she said she 'could not be prouder' to work for SVB serving 'underrepresented entrepreneurs.'
Professional network Outstanding listed Ersapah as a top 100 LGTBQ Future Leader.
'Jay is a leading figure for the bank's awareness activities including being a panelist at the SVB's Global Pride townhall to share her experiences as a lesbian of color, moderating SVB's EMEA Pride townhall and was instrumental in initiating the organization's first ever global "safe space catch-up", supporting employees in sharing their experiences of coming out,' her bio on the Outstanding website states.
It adds that she is 'allies' with gay rights charity Stonewall and had authored numerous articles to promote LGBTQ awareness.
These included 'Lesbian Visibility Day and Trans Awareness week.'
Separately she was also praised in a Facebook post by the group 'Diversity Role Models,' a charity which campaigns against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in UK schools.
In a corporate document for the bank she said: '"You can't be what you can't see" has always been a quote that stuck with me.
'As a queer person of color and a first generation immigrant from a working class background, there were not many role models for me to 'see' growing up.
'I feel privileged to help spread awareness of lived queer experiences, partner with charitable organizations, and above all create a sense of community for our LGBTQ+ employees and allies.'
Ersapah hails from the UK where she studied an undergraduate Economics degree at the University of Warwick.
She has worked for several high-profile names in the finance sector including Citi, Barclays and consultancy firm Deloitte, according to her Linkedin profile.
She describes herself as having 'proven competency in demanding roles.'
Her profile also boasts of her 'interpersonal skills,' 'growth mindset' and ability to lead 'high-performing teams.'
Last year she featured in a corporate SVB video which purported its pro-LGBTQ credentials.
'We proactively make it our mission at SVB to ensure that our clients, employees and partners feel listened to and that their voices matter.
'From funding underrepresented entrepreneurs to having multiple employee resource groups, I could not be prouder of working for a company like SVB.'
This weekend critics hit out as Ersapah's apparent preoccupation with LGBTQ issues.
One Facebook user, Paul Tucker, wrote: 'The [SVB] Board of Directors is filled with diversity hires who are there because of their woke credentials.
'They all have pronouns in their bios, which are filled with corporate newspeak.
'The Head of Financial Risk and Model Risk Management was this nutbag: Jay Ersapah.
'This is what happens when you allow people to manage your money based on woke principles instead of on their actual skill and competence.
'I hope the depositors at this failed bank enjoy all of that diversity, because diversity is your strength, eh?'
He signed off the post: 'Get woke, go broke.'
Another Twitter user said: ' Head of Financial Risk at SVB Jay Ersapah might've been busy with more important projects at the bank, such as LGBTQ issues, rather than assessing risk.'
Panic rocked the financial sector Friday after the sudden collapse of SVB.
The bank was sensationally shut down by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation which placed its remaining assets under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's control.
The crisis was sparked after it disclosed a $1.8 billion loss on its bold holdings this week.
CEO Greg Becker had urged investors on a Thursday conference call to 'stay calm' and not 'panic.'
Greg Becker, president of SVB, lobbied Congress in 2015 to lessen the oversight on his bank
But it caused jittery clients to withdraw large balances to avoid any losses.
Deposits up to $250,000 are protected by federal law - but anyone with larger sums tied up now faces loses their money.
Dozens of customers were yesterday filmed lining up outside a branch to withdraw whatever cash they had to get out ahead of the fall-out.
Meanwhile police were called to the bank's headquarters after a group of disgruntled tech founders turned up on the doorstep.
ULEZ cameras vandalised amid growing backlash at Sadiq Khan's planned expansion of the zone | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 13:50
Newly installed ULEZ cameras are vandalised with wires cut and lenses painted black amid growing backlash at Sadiq Khan's planned expansion of the zoneFour cameras in Abbey Wood, Greenwich vandalised amid ULEZ opposition ANPR cameras had wires cut and lenses painted black to obstruct their view Comes as opposition to Sadiq Khan's planned expansion of the ULEZ zone grows By Gemma Parry
Published: 15:19 EDT, 9 March 2023 | Updated: 22:43 EDT, 9 March 2023
Newly-installed ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) cameras in south London have been vandalised as the backlash to the planned expansion of the zone continues to grow.
Four cameras in Abbey Wood, Greenwich, were photographed with their wires cute and lenses painted black as the level of opposition of Sadiq Khan's planned expansion of the ULEZ zone grows, with politicians and campaigners urging him to change his mind.
The London Mayor has said the expansion, set to take place to cover the whole of the capital from August 29, is aimed at reducing the amount of air pollution in London.
The damaged Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera's belong to Transport for London (TfL), and are set to monitor the ULEZ zone.
It comes after an increase of similar instances in the capital, with an extra 300 ANPR cameras recently installed. A further 2,750 will be installed by the official launch date.
Newly-installed ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) cameras in south London have been vandalised
Four cameras in Abbey Wood, Greenwich, were photographed with their wires cute and lenses painted black as the level of opposition of Sadiq Khan's planned expansion of the ULEZ zone grows
Other images have emerged online, showing cameras ripped from their perch and thrown on the ground
Photographs have emerged of a camera in west Sutton, which also had its wires cut, and another in Catford, Lewisham, with a lens painted black in a bid to obstruct its view. Others also show cameras ripped from their perch and thrown on the ground.
Despite the camera's being installed at a rapid pace in most areas, they have not yet been put in place in Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon, whose councils are looking to challenge the mayor in court over the proposals.
Currently, the ULEZ is limited to an area within the north and south Circular roads. Drivers who do not meet minimum emissions standards are charged a £12.50 daily fee for entering the zone. The expansion means this area will be wider.
Londoners can apply for a means-tested grant of up to £2,000 to scrap their non ULEZ-compliant cars or motorcycles. But the decision to push ahead with the expansion during the cost-of-living crisis has been met with outrage
It comes after Honslow council was accused of hypocrisy after backing the expansion - then asking for an exemption for its own 400 vehicles.
Hounslow council deputy leader Katherine Dunne wrote to the London mayor last summer raising concerns that it would not be able to make all its vehicles ULEZ compliant by the August 2023 deadline.
The council is one of 16 outer London boroughs that have supported the mayor's plans to expand the zone, and already has 37 ULEZ cameras installed on its streets.
Photographs have emerged of a camera in west Sutton which had its wires cut
Currently, the ULEZ is limited to an area within the north and south Circular roads
The London Mayor has said the expansion, set to take place to cover the whole of the capital from August 29, is aimed at reducing the amount of air pollution in London
But failing to meet the compliance rules would place further pressure on the authority's budgets, Miss Dunne argued.
Mr Khan has been facing staunch criticism recently over branding some ULEZ opponents as 'far-right' and 'Covid deniers'.
During a heated People's Question Time in Ealing, west London last week, he said: 'Let's be frank, let's call a spade a spade... some of those outside are part of the far-Right, some are Covid deniers, some are vaccine deniers and some are Tories.'
It also emerged that the mayor has asked Transport for London to look into using ULEZ cameras to charge car users in a 'pay-as-you-drive' scheme in the capital.
Inside One of the World's Biggest Green Hydrogen Projects - The New York Times
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 05:07
For eons this has been a quiet, unremarkable place. Thousands of square miles of flat land covered in shrubs and red dirt. The sun is withering and the wind blows hard.
It is exactly those features that qualify this remote parcel of the Australian Outback for an imminent transformation. A consortium of energy companies led by BP plans to cover an expanse of land eight times as large as New York City with as many as 1,743 wind turbines, each nearly as tall as the Empire State Building, along with 10 million or so solar panels and more than a thousand miles of access roads to connect them all.
But none of the 26 gigawatts of energy the site expects to produce, equivalent to a third of what Australia's grid currently requires, will go toward public use. Instead, it will be used to manufacture a novel kind of industrial fuel: green hydrogen.
This patch of desert, more than 100 miles from the nearest town, sits next to the biggest problem that green hydrogen could help solve: vast iron ore mines that are full of machines powered by immense amounts of dirty fossil fuels. Three of the world's four biggest ore miners operate dozens of mines here.
Proponents hope green hydrogen will clean up not only mining but other industries by replacing fossil fuel use in steel making, shipping, cement and elsewhere.
Green hydrogen is made by using renewable electricity to split water's molecules. (Currently most hydrogen is made by using natural gas, a fossil fuel.) The hydrogen is then burned to power vehicles or do other work. Because burning hydrogen emits only water vapor, green hydrogen avoids carbon dioxide emissions from beginning to end.
In the Pilbara region of Western Australia, and in dozens of spots around the globe endowed with abundant wind and sun, investors see an opportunity to generate renewable electricity so cheaply that using it to make green hydrogen becomes economical. Even if only some of the projects come to fruition, vast stretches of land would be duly transformed.
AUSTRALIA
A solar and wind hub built
by BP would be eight
times as large as New
York City. Dozens more
are planned worldwide.
Port Hedland
Western Australia is the world's largest iron ore exporter; it provides 38 percent of the global supply.
ROADS
RAIL
IRON ORE MINES
Christmas Creek
50 miles
AUSTRALIA
A solar and wind hub built
by BP would be eight
times as large as New
York City. Dozens more
are planned worldwide.
Port Hedland
Western Australia is
the world's largest
iron ore exporter; it
provides 38 percent
of the global supply.
ROADS
RAIL
IRON ORE MINES
Christmas Creek
50 miles
AUSTRALIA
A solar and wind hub built
by BP would be eight
times as large as New
York City. Dozens more
are planned worldwide.
Western Australia is
the world's largest
iron ore exporter; it
provides 38 percent
of the global supply.
ROADS
RAIL
IRON ORE MINES
Christmas Creek
50 miles
Green Energy Hub Planned in Mine Country
Green Energy Hub Planned in Mine Country
AUSTRALIA
A solar and wind hub built
by BP would be eight
times as large as New
York City. Dozens more
are planned worldwide.
Western Australia is
the world's largest
iron ore exporter; it
provides 38 percent
of the global supply.
ROADS
RAIL
IRON ORE MINES
Christmas Creek
50 miles
The project is one example of a global gamble, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, being made by investors including some of the most polluting industries in the world.
Last year, government subsidies sped up action in the European Union, India, Australia, the United States and elsewhere. The Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration's landmark climate legislation, aims to drive the domestic cost of green hydrogen down to a quarter of what it is now in less than a decade through tax incentives and $9.5 billion in grants.
''We are about to jump from the starting blocks,'' said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, who once led Germany's biggest renewable energy company and now runs BP's gas and low-carbon operations. ''I think hydrogen will grow even faster than wind and solar have.''
Not everyone sees it that way. Challenges loom on every level, from molecular to geopolitical.
Some energy experts say green hydrogen's business rationale is mostly hype. Doubters accuse its champions of self-interest or even self-delusion. Others see hydrogen as diverting crucial investment away from surer emissions-reduction technologies, presenting a threat to climate action.
Still, if the rosiest projections hold, green hydrogen in heavy industry could reduce global carbon emissions by 5 percent, if not two or three times that. In those scenarios, which are far from certain, hydrogen plays a crucial role in limiting global warming.
Understand the Latest News on Climate Change
Card 1 of 5California's forests. A warming climate has left a fifth of the conifer forests that blanket California's Sierra Nevada stranded in habitats that no longer suit them, according to a new study. In these ''zombie forests,'' older, well-established trees still tower overhead, but few young trees have been able to take root because the climate has become too hot and dry for them to thrive.
A climate-proof refuge. Hundreds of people from states vulnerable to climate change are relocating to the industrial town of Duluth in Minnesota. They are drawn to the area by its ample supply of freshwater, as well as its location '-- buffered from sea-level rise in the Upper Midwest '-- and temperatures, which run mild in the summer and colder than cold in the winter.
Protecting ocean life. After two decades of planning and talks, a significant majority of nations agreed on language for a historic United Nations treaty that would protect ocean biodiversity. The agreement, which still has a way to go before it can take effect, comes as marine life faces threats from climate change, overfishing and seabed mining.
A new water crisis. The Salton Sea, California's largest lake, relies on runoff from cropland to stay full. But as farmers face water cuts due to drought and an ever drier Colorado River, that vast body of water and the area surrounding it stand to lose.
Malaria in Africa. A new study estimates that mosquitoes that transmit malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have gradually moved to higher elevations and away from the Equator over the past century. Researchers argue that the shifts could be caused by warming temperatures and may explain why malaria's reach has expanded over time.
Fatih Birol, the Turkish economist who leads the International Energy Agency, said he seldom meets people who don't find green hydrogen alluring, with its elegant elementality. His organization forecasts that green hydrogen will fulfill 10 percent of global energy needs by 2050.
He said the agency's expectations were based on the fact that, if the world wants to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, ''so much green hydrogen needs to be part of the game.''
Image A railway for hauling iron ore in Western Australia. Image Ore departs from Port Hedland for coal-burning steel mills across East Asia. Image Sunset in an area set aside by the Western Australian government for a green hydrogen hub. A 'Monstrous Challenge'For green hydrogen to have a substantial climate impact, its most essential use will be in steel making, a sprawling industry that produces nearly a tenth of global carbon dioxide emissions, more than all the world's cars.
In climate lingo, steel emissions are ''hard to abate.'' Blast furnaces, freight trains, cargo ships and the gargantuan trucks used in mining require heavy fuels like coal and oil. Even if they could be electrified (and, as a practical matter, today many can't be) they would strain grids enormously.
Day and night, two-mile-long ore trains, weighing more than 90 million pounds, depart Christmas Creek for Port Hedland. From the port, an endless stream of cargo ships (once again, burning heavy fuel) sail for East Asia, where ore becomes steel in coal-burning mills.
Nearly 40 percent of the world's iron ore comes from the Pilbara. Wherever you are, when you look out at the world, some of what you see is likely born of materials mined in and around Christmas Creek.
It wouldn't be an overstatement to call the mine's owner, Andrew Forrest, the most bullish of hydrogen's backers. When he said two years ago that he was going to rapidly switch the mining operations of his company, Fortescue Metals Group, to running fully on electric batteries, green hydrogen and green ammonia, a fuel derived from hydrogen, he was ''met with mirth,'' he said recently.
''Back then there was a distinct, visible horizon of disbelief that the world could actually change,'' said Mr. Forrest, who is also one of the richest people in the world. He's adamant that there's a market, even if others see folly.
Both Fortescue and BP envision themselves as vying for the lead in green hydrogen and have announced plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in projects across dozens of countries beyond Australia, from Oman to Mauritania to Brazil and the United States. Those would still account for only a smidgen of the hundreds of millions of tons the I.E.A. and others say would be needed to create a market in which green hydrogen was cheap enough that steel and concrete makers were convinced to convert their operations.
Even though both companies are hugely profitable, Australia's government has made hundreds of millions of dollars available to them through subsidies and land allocations over the past two years, mostly in Western Australia, which is six times the size of California but has only 2 million people.
''Diesel has had 120 years to become plentiful and affordable,'' said Jim Herring, who oversees Fortescue's green industry development. ''We want to scale hydrogen up in a tenth of that time. It's a monstrous challenge, honestly.''
The 'Absolute Zero' Problem
Image Iron ore on the way to Port Hedland.To liquefy hydrogen for shipping, it must be chilled to negative 252.87 degrees Celsius, just shy of absolute zero, the theoretical temperature at which atoms are completely still. Hydrogen is also very flammable, making storage difficult.
They're just two of many obstacles.
Some doubts come from hydrogen's advocates themselves. ''The economics of shipping aren't looking good,'' said Alan Finkel, the architect of Australia's hydrogen subsidies. ''I was na¯ve, I think, in the past to see export being the main demand driver,'' he said in a recent interview. Instead, ''There's a lot of sense in 'use it where you make it,' and Australia is really ideally set up for that,'' he said.
Some are even more skeptical.
Saul Griffith, a prominent inventor in renewable energy who started his career at an Australian steel mill, doesn't see a big role for green hydrogen. To replace fossil fuels, he said, ''the electricity you use to make it would have to be ridiculously cheap. And if you have that, why use it to make hydrogen?''
He calls it ''not a fuel that will save the world.'' Better to spend the money, he and others argue, on reducing renewable electricity costs so that nearly everything can be electrified.
Image A Fortescue electrolyzer, used to break water down into hydrogen and oxygen. Image A rendering of a future BP hydrogen production facility. Image An electric battery prototype for a Fortescue ore-hauling truck.Mr. Forrest says skeptics simply lack scientific knowledge. Fortescue, he said, will mix hydrogen with carbon dioxide so it is similar enough in consistency to liquefied natural gas that it can be transported in the same tankers.
''It's is as simple as it sounds,'' he said.
Mr. Forrest said he believed that, by decade's end, he would save his shareholders at least $1 billion a year by converting mining operations to green hydrogen, and that his company would ultimately produce hydrogen at dozens of sites worldwide. BP says it will be exporting large quantities of green hydrogen and ammonia by then, too.
The interest taken in hydrogen by oil and gas companies concerns some climate activists. While BP, for instance, has presented green hydrogen as part of its pivot toward cleaner energy, the company this year scaled back plans to phase down oil and gas production over the coming decades amid record industrywide profits.
Energy companies already produce most of the world's hydrogen fuel, but make it from natural gas, which is, of course, a fossil fuel. Some, including BP, stand to receive federal subsidies in the United States because the company plans to capture the carbon and store it rather than release it.
This is called ''blue hydrogen,'' and some critics consider it a loophole in the Biden legislation that incentivizes fossil fuel production.
Ms. Dotzenrath said opposing blue hydrogen amounted to letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. ''That's absolutely nonsense,'' she said. ''It's ultimately all about the carbon intensity.''
But in Australia, at least, BP's green hydrogen investments are pushing ahead.
One of the impediments to huge green hydrogen projects is the short supply of electrolyzers, the machines that use electricity to split water molecules apart, isolating the hydrogen.
One issue is that China, which produces most of the world's solar panels, wind turbines and renewable energy tech, hasn't embraced electrolyzer production. Analysts said there was a shrewd calculus to that: China is heavily invested in coal, and much of that is tied to steel and cement production.
''It's still a question: Will China go all in on hydrogen?'' said Marina Domingues, a clean technology analyst at Rystad Energy.
Despite the challenges, dozens of countries are betting on green hydrogen. Last year, Spain, Portugal and France agreed to build an undersea hydrogen pipeline by 2030 that would eventually supply the rest of Europe. Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, which import nearly all their energy, have also said hydrogen will be key to becoming carbon neutral economies.
And Fortescue, for its part, is going into the business of making electrolyzers. This month in Australia it is opening its first factory, the world's biggest.
The 'Champagne' of Energy Image A solar farm that generates electricity for the Christmas Creek mine. For Fortescue, the math is simple. Every year, each of its mines in the Pilbara expands outward at least a couple miles. While the company is developing 15-ton batteries to replace the diesel engines on some of its ore haulers, the mine at Christmas Creek, for instance, is already too sprawling for total reliance on batteries: New, battery-powered haulers just won't have the range for the mines' farthest reaches.
Fortescue expects 70 percent of its fleet to be running on batteries a decade from now '-- some powered by a mobile, 40-ton charger mounted on a vehicle resembling a military tank. But the rest would run on hydrogen or ammonia, replacing the billion-odd liters of diesel Fortescue uses annually.
BP is taking a more measured approach. Many of its global projects aim to produce blue hydrogen, which is cheaper, for now. Its green hydrogen projects in Australia, including the repurposed refinery near Perth, will come online in stages over a decade or longer.
Nevertheless BP, too, sees an inevitable shift toward green hydrogen driven by increasingly stringent regulations in the United States, European Union, Japan and South Korea.
In an ''accelerated scenario'' that envisions more ambitious emissions-reduction targets set by the nations of the world, BP predicts that, by 2050, green and blue hydrogen will be the predominant fuels in steel production in those countries and will also account for between 10 and 30 percent of fuel in aviation and between 30 and 55 percent in shipping.
''Hydrogen,'' Ms. Dotzenrath said, ''is the champagne of the energy transition.''
Silicon Valley Bank failure has investors calling for government aid
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 03:36
Employees stand outside of the shuttered Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) headquarters on March 10, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Big names in Silicon Valley and the finance sector are calling publicly for the federal government to push another bank to assume Silicon Valley Bank's assets and obligations after the financial institution failed on Friday.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will cover up to $250,000 per depositor and may be able to begin paying those depositors as early as Monday.
But the vast majority of SVB's customers were businesses that had more than that on deposit at the bank. As of December, more than 95% of the bank's deposits were uninsured, according to regulatory filings. Many of these depositors are startups, and many are concerned that they will not be able to make payroll this month, which in turn could spark a wide wave of failures and layoffs in the tech industry.
Investors are concerned that these failures could reduce confidence in the banking sector, particularly mid-sized banks with under $250 billion in deposits. These banks are not deemed "too big to fail" and do not have to undergo regular stress tests or other safety valve measures passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Venture capitalist and former tech CEO David Sacks called for the federal government to push another bank to buy SVB's assets, writing on Twitter, "Where is Powell? Where is Yellen? Stop this crisis NOW. Announce that all depositors will be safe. Place SVB with a Top 4 bank. Do this before Monday open or there will be contagion and the crisis will spread."
VC Mark Suster agreed, tweeting, "I suspect this is what they're working on. I expect statements by Sunday. We'll see. I sure hope so or Monday will be brutal."
Investor Bill Ackman made a similar argument in a lengthy tweet, writing, "The gov't has about 48 hours to fix a-soon-to-be-irreversible mistake. By allowing @SVB_Financial to fail without protecting all depositors, the world has woken up to what an uninsured deposit is '-- an unsecured illiquid claim on a failed bank. Absent @jpmorgan @citi or @BankofAmerica acquiring SVB before the open on Monday, a prospect I believe to be unlikely, or the gov't guaranteeing all of SVB's deposits, the giant sucking sound you will hear will be the withdrawal of substantially all uninsured deposits from all but the 'systemically important banks' (SIBs)."
Benchmark partner Eric Vishria wrote, "If SVB depositors aren't made whole, then corporate boards will have to insist their companies use two or more of the BIG four banks exclusively. Which will crush smaller banks. AND make the too big to fail problem way worse."
Since its founding almost 40 years ago, SVB had become a centerpiece of finance in the tech industry, particularly for startups and the VCs who invest in them. The firm was known for extending banking services to early-stage startups which would have struggled to get banking services elsewhere before generating stable cash flow. But the firm itself faced cashflow problems this year as startup financing dried up and its own assets were locked down in long-term bonds.
The company surprised investors on Wednesday with news that it needed to raise $2.25 billion to shore up its balance sheet, and that it had sold all its available-for-sale bonds at a $1.8 billion loss. Reassurances from the bank's executives were not enough to stop a run, and depositors withdrew more than $42 billion by the end of the day Thursday, setting up the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history.
Many in the tech community blamed VCs for spurring the run, as many told their portfolio companies to put their money into safer places after SVB's Wednesday announcement.
"This was a hysteria-induced bank run caused by VCs," Ryan Falvey, a fintech investor at Restive Ventures, told CNBC on Friday. "This is going to go down as one of the ultimate cases of an industry cutting its nose off to spite its face."
Observers are calling out the irony as some VCs with notoriously libertarian free-market attitudes are are now calling for a bailout. For instance, reactions to Sacks' tweet included statements like "Excuse me, sir. Suddenly the government is the answer?!?" and "We capitalists want socialism!"
Some politicians opposed any bailout, with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., tweeting, "If there is an effort to use taxpayer money to bail out Silicon Valley Bank, the American people can count on the fact that I will be there leading the fight against it."
But financier and former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci argued, "It isn't a political decision to bailout SVB. Don't make the Lehman mistake. It isn't about rich or poor of who benefits, it's about stopping contagion and protecting the system. Make depositors whole or expect lots of tragic unintended consequences."
'-- Hugh Son and Ari Levy contributed to this story.
Silicon Valley Bank chief pressed Congress to weaken risk regulations | Banking | The Guardian
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 03:11
This story was first published in the Lever
Eight years before the second-largest bank failure in American history occurred this week, the bank's president personally pressed Congress to reduce scrutiny of his financial institution, citing the ''low risk profile of our activities and business model'', according to federal records reviewed by the Lever.
Three years later '' after the bank spent more than half a million dollars on federal lobbying '' lawmakers obliged.
On Friday, California regulators shut down the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a top lender to venture capital firms and tech startups, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took it over, following a bank run by its customers. The bank reportedly did not have a chief risk officer in the months leading up to the collapse, while more than 90% of its deposits were not insured.
In 2015, SVB President Greg Becker submitted a statement to a Senate panel pushing legislators to exempt more banks '' including his own '' from new regulations passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite warnings from some senators, Becker's lobbying effort was ultimately successful.
Touting ''SVB's deep understanding of the markets it serves, our strong risk management practices'', Becker argued that his bank would soon reach $50bn in assets, which under the law would trigger ''enhanced prudential standards'', including more stringent regulations, stress tests and capital requirements for his and other similarly sized banks.
In his testimony, Becker insisted that $250bn was a more appropriate threshold.
''Without such changes, SVB likely will need to divert significant resources from providing financing to job-creating companies in the innovation economy to complying with enhanced prudential standards and other requirements,'' said Becker, who reportedly sold $3.6m of his own stock two weeks ago, in the lead-up to the bank's collapse. ''Given the low risk profile of our activities and business model, such a result would stifle our ability to provide credit to our clients without any meaningful corresponding reduction in risk.''
Two months later, SVB added the former Obama treasury department official Mary Miller to its board, noting she had previously helped oversee ''financial regulatory reforms''.
Around that time, federal disclosure records show the bank was lobbying lawmakers on ''financial regulatory reform'' and the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act of 2015 '' a bill that was the precursor to legislation ultimately signed by President Donald Trump that increased the regulatory threshold for stronger stress tests to $250bn.
Trump signed the bill despite a report from Democrats on Congress's joint economic committee warning that under the new law, SVB and other banks of its size ''would no longer be subject to nearly any enhanced regulations''.
The bill was supported in the Senate by 50 Republicans and 17 Democrats, including the Democratic Virginia Senator Mark Warner, for whom Becker held a fundraiser at his Menlo Park, California, home in 2016, according to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation and OpenSecrets. The bank's political action committee also donated a total of $10,000 to Warner's campaigns in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles.
In 2019, when the Federal Reserve proposed regulations implementing the deregulatory law, financial watchdogs warned that its regulations on Category IV institutions '' as SVB was later classified due to its size and other risk factors '' were far too weak.
''The proposal to significantly weaken enhanced prudential standards for Category IV firms could be disastrous,'' Better Markets, a non-profit advocating for stricter financial regulations, wrote in a comment on the Federal Reserve's proposal. ''Moreover, these are not small or insignificant firms. Recall that the smallest among this class of banks is over twice the size of the $50bn banks that automatically required enhanced prudential regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act as originally enacted.''
The final rule guaranteed that Category IV institutions are ''not required to conduct and publicly report the results of a company-run stress test'' and ''reduces the required minimum frequency of liquidity stress tests and granularity of certain liquidity risk-management requirements'', according to Federal Reserve officials at the time.
In 2021, SVB passed the threshold of $100bn under management, triggering some additional scrutiny as a Category IV bank but remaining exempt from the more frequent and detailed analyses that regulators perform to determine whether banks above $250bn of assets have sufficient capital to withstand a crisis.
A press release on Friday from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation noted that as of December 2022, SVB had $209bn in assets under management '' keeping it below the $250bn threshold for which the bank had lobbied.
SVB is the biggest bank to collapse since Washington Mutual failed in 2008 during the financial crisis, and the second-biggest bank failure in US history.
Before Becker's 2015 push, SVB had pressed Federal Reserve officials to limit regulatory scrutiny of mid-sized banks, arguing that ''we are very concerned that the regulatory requirements for covered companies will end up trickling down to smaller financial institutions''.
In 2019, Becker was elected to serve on the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Becker left the board on Friday.
Silicon Valley Bank: Climate tech's go-to banker collapses - Heatmap News
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 00:20
The United States witnessed its largest bank failure since 2008 on Friday, as Silicon Valley Bank ran out of cash and was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
True to its name, the bank was central to the technology ecosystem and Northern California economy; it claimed half of the country's venture-backed startups as customers.
But what hasn't received as much attention is that Silicon Valley Bank was particularly important to the climate-tech sector.
''Silicon Valley Bank was an integral part of the early-stage climate tech community and I hope that they survive in some form to continue that role,'' Gabriel Kra, a managing director at Prelude Ventures, told me on Friday.
Silicon Valley Bank served as a banker to dozens of climate and energy-tech companies, holding their cash on a day-to-day basis and issuing billions of dollars in loans in support of the type of large-scale, one-off projects that are essential to the sector.
The bank's website bragged about its particular support of solar, hydrogen, and energy-storage companies. It provided more than half a billion dollars in revolving credit to Sunrun, the country's largest residential solar company. (Sunrun did not respond to a request for comment by press time.)
And more than 60 percent of community solar financing nationwide involved SVB in some capacity, the bank claimed on its website.
The bank also published influential annual reports on the climate-tech sector, and it sponsored events for climate VCs and startups '-- including one at the Lake Tahoe Ritz Carlton as recently as last week.
''They were careful, thoughtful, and willing lenders to early-stage companies,'' Kra said. ''As a bank, they were focused on that segment of the ecosystem and they understood the risks they were taking more than a bank that wasn't focused.''
As news of the bank's downfall spread, at least one venture firm extended emergency support so that companies could still pay their employees.
''The downfall of SVB will launch a thousand tweet threads, but right now our focus is securing payrolls for the Lowercarbon portfolio companies whose cash is tied up so they can keep up their planet-healing work,'' Clay Dumas, a founding partner at Lowercarbon Capital, a climate-focused venture fund, told me in an email.
SVB's collapse ''has consumed the time of every founder I know for the last 36 hours,'' Tim Latimer, the CEO of Fervo Energy, a geothermal company based in Texas and California, said on Twitter in a response to this story.
The bank's recent problems weren't connected to its climate-tech or startup lending, although they did stem from its broad lack of diversification away from the startup sector and Bay Area economy. In 2020 and 2021, the bank's clients had more cash than they knew what to do with, and the bank chose to buy bonds and other securities to earn a higher yield on deposits. But over the past few months, as startups and the tech sector writ large faced a choppier economy, many of its depositors withdrew their money '-- and the bank had to sell its assets, which had lost value.
Because of its large number of corporate clients, most of its clients kept balances at the bank in excess of the $250,000 in deposit insurance provided by the federal government. That means many startups are now stuck in a potentially months-long line to get their money back '-- if they get it at all.
''Startups need cash '-- they're not run in the same way that Fortune 500 companies are run,'' Kra said. ''Losing access to their cash balance for potentially several months can have catastrophic effects. And a small portion of companies in the space are probably looking at that possibility and figuring out how to avoid it.''
This article was updated at 11:35 PM EST on Friday to incorporate new details and quotes.
Sorry Silicon Valley: SVB's Collapse Is Not a Big Deal - Revolver News
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 22:41
guest post by Jeremiah Jackson
In a world in which finance has become dizzyingly complex and specialties have grown ever narrower, it is refreshing to observe a classic bank run in the form of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse.
You're thinking of this place all wrong, as if I had the money back in a safe. Your money's in Web3 innovations, it's in startups empowering women pic.twitter.com/opG2XXSfFu
'-- Delicious Tacos (@Delicious_Tacos) March 10, 2023
SVB is a holding company containing a broker-dealer and a bank. Only the banking component appears to have failed. This is the second largest bank failure in U.S. history, and in a weakening economy, panic has set in.­­ SVB's downturn coincided with widespread decline in banking stocks and for good reason. Around half of all VC-backed startups do business with SVB. It is a critical player in biotech, cybersecurity, and social media, but really the name says it all: it was the most important publicly traded bank specializing in Silicon Valley. SVB was so ubiquitous that startups were encouraged or felt pressure to work with the bank to gain access to venture capital.
A classic bank has short-term deposits and long-term assets. Depositors loan their money to the bank for an interest rate payment. That bank loans that money to fund useful projects that earn a higher interest rate payment. As long as the depositors do not withdraw their funds, the bank earns a profit. The deposits are liabilities to the bank and the loans are assets to the bank. Almost every single bank in the world uses ''fractional reserve banking'' in which only a fraction of cash deposits are retained in the bank at a given point in time. If enough depositors withdraw their funding at once, then the bank collapses. If key depositors withdraw their funds from the bank, that can scare other depositors into withdrawing their money from the bank, ultimately resulting in a state regulator to call in the bank and call in the FDIC.
The possibility of a crisis in which a long-term depositor withdraws his or her funds, causing other depositors to withdraw their funds for rational reasons, motivates deposit bank tax and sometimes taxpayer-backed insurance in neoclassical finance. In fact, the U.S. government follows the recommendations of neoclassical finance via the FDIC, perhaps the most efficient government agency. In a bank run, the FDIC closes the bank, insures all deposits under $250,000 via the taxpayers, and attempts to find a buyer. If a buyer is found, that buyer takes on all the insured deposits. Often, but not always, the buyer will take on a fraction of the uninsured deposits as well. The FDIC attempts to minimize liquidation costs and allows firms to The entire process usually takes less than 72 hours. A bank is closed on a Friday and reopened on a Monday. In some cases, it is reopened on a Saturday. Most bank employees are fired in the best case and in almost all cases the management is replaced.
All this is likely to have happened to SVB within days after article is posted. Why is SVB important? Unlike Lehman brothers, SVB is not an investment bank and not a key financial intermediary. SVB has concentrated exposure to the U.S. tech sector, but its role in the global financial system appears to be limited to perhaps India. Remember how I said that the FDIC insured up to $250,000? Well, anything beyond that is given priority in payout (so that uninsured depositors are paid before bondholders and equity holders), but no guarantee. SVB likely banked with high net worth individuals and companies so that the average uninsured asset holdings by venture capitalists far exceed what the FDIC will guarantee. The FDIC seizing a bank so rapidly in midday is unusual because it normally takes a month or so to market a bank of this size. As usual, uninsured depositors will likely get receivership certificates which pay dividends over time with a delay and probably a haircut (i.e. not paid in full and certainly not in present value terms). If no buyer is found, then you can count on an equity market fall on Monday. All the assets will be auctioned off, which is a process that will take a while.
So, why not worry? One reason not to worry is that how a bank fails matters. The simplest analysis divides banking bankruptcies into two types: insolvency and illiquidity-driven bankruptcies. An insolvency bankruptcy occurs when a bank's assets are simply less than the present value of their costs. The bank's assets must be sold, and '' in a laissez-faire world '' someone holding the bank's liabilities must take a loss. Legal codes in the U.S. (and for most of the planet) specify a priority of who takes losses first: shareholders, equity holders, and depositors is the usual order. In the classic, illiquidity-driven bankruptcy, a bank's assets present values are greater than the present values of its liabilities. Instead, the bank simply cannot pay out its short-term liabilities because its assets are tied up in longer-term assets. ''Maturity mismatch'' is when the maturity of the liabilities, i.e. when payments are due, is shorter than the maturity of the assets. Without another source of low-cost financing to close the gap between liabilities due today and your income tomorrow, you are broke.
This is most likely how SVB went broke. What happened? The best explanation appears to be given by Jamie Quint and the Financial Times. An inflow of cash fueled by the Treasury and low Fed rates caused a flood of deposits into SVB, which tripled in nominal terms. SVB could not figure out how to create high yield assets with the inflows. Thus, SVB wound up purchasing low-yield, long-duration, relatively safe mortgage backed securities that were intended to be held to maturity (HTM).
On the liabilities side, SVB was holding huge fractions of its deposits from small to midsize VCs and startups. These depositors are cash intensive and need regular capital injections to make payroll and capital expenditure payments: compared to retail banking, SVB's depositors probably had far higher turnover and interest rate sensitivity. For the banker, these types of accounts are relatively expensive to maintain. If interest rates remained low at a few percent, then they would have made a small profit on their holdings. As it happened, the Fed raised rates. This had two effects: first, SVB's bank account yields needed to rise, which they did and the market value of SVB's recently purchased MBS's fell. The bonds comprised 56% of SVB's portfolio creating the classic maturity mismatch scenario. This scenario, in turn, caused SVB to attempt to raise low-cost funding, which in turn raised the alarm at Thiel enterprises. Already, this is a stark contrast with Lehman brothers, in which subprime, riskier mortgage backed securities ensured that the firm was closer to the insolvent side of the spectrum (although even there, all secured creditors received complete remuneration).
Although SVB is classified as a systematically important financial institution, if SVB's 10-K's are reported accurately, then there is little systemic risk even in the fire sale scenario. The FDIC is almost certainly scrambling now to find one or two firms interested in buying out SVB. A firm like J.P. Morgan could build considerable goodwill with the Fed and Treasury by doing so, because such a move has the potential save regulators and finance ministry civil servants much headache. Elon Musk has also reportedly expressed interest. In any case, it is common for uninsured depositors to be paid off as they are just behind insured depositors as the highest priority in a bankruptcy. SVB is a minor player in investment banking and has a weak role as a financial intermediary in most of the economy outside Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley will take a large hit. Some startups will be dissolved. Innovation will slow down in the short-term. However, as long as the technologies deployed by the startups have positive returns, they are likely to be rediscovered and redeployed in fairly short order.
Jeremiah Jackson (pseudonym) is a former official of the US Department of Treasury
House votes down Gaetz bill to withdraw troops from Syria
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 19:59
WASHINGTON '-- The House voted 103-321 on Wednesday against pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, rejecting a war powers resolution to do so introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz.
The Republican from Florida used expedited procedures laid out under the War Powers Act to force a floor vote on the bill, which would have required the Biden administration to withdraw the approximately 900 troops stationed in Syria within six months. Democrats from the Congressional Progressive Caucus joined libertarian and America First-aligned Republicans in rallying behind the Gaetz resolution but fell short of the votes needed to pass it amid opposition from leaders in both parties.
''Congress has never authorized the use of military force in Syria,'' Gaetz said in a statement upon introducing the bill last month. ''The United States is currently not in a war with or against Syria, so why are we conducting dangerous military operations there? President [Joe] Biden must remove all U.S. armed forces from Syria.''
The Defense Department first deployed troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State group in 2014. That conflict also saw the return of U.S. forces to Iraq. U.S. troops have remained stationed in both countries under a 2001 military authorization, which Congress passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to target al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
Four presidents have since used the 2001 military authorization to justify at least 41 military operations in at least 19 countries across the globe.
Since the territorial defeat of the so-called ISIS caliphate, the U.S. Defense Department has kept troops stationed in both Syria and Iraq. In Syria, they remain split in the northeast '-- where they aid the Kurdish-majority administration's fight against ISIS sleeper cells '-- and the southeast garrison of al-Tanf, which has become a frequent target of attack for Iran-backed militias.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Fla., and ranking member Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., both argued the U.S. troop presence in Syria is legal under the 2001 AUMF and urged their colleagues to vote against the Gaetz resolution.
''Even though ISIS no longer controls significant territory, there are still tens of thousands of hardened terrorist fighters in Iraq and Syria who are hellbent on establishing their terror state,'' McCaul argued ahead of the vote.
House lawmakers also voted down 155-273 a National Defense Authorization Act amendment last year from Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., that would have required Biden to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria if Congress does not pass an authorization specifically for that mission. (The House rejected a similar Bowman amendment in 2021.)
Former President Donald Trump partially withdrew U.S. troops from the Syrian-Turkish border in 2019, paving the way for Ankara to launch a ground offensive against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has shown interest in launching another offensive into northeast Syria, repeatedly issuing threats until the devastating earthquake last month that killed thousands in both countries.
But Gaetz indicated he was not worried that pulling U.S. troops out of the area would greenlight another Turkish offensive against the Syrian Kurds.
''I don't believe that our presence is deterring much of anything,'' Gaetz told Defense News last week. ''I think that it's a risk of us escalating the conflict.''
Gaetz's office noted he filed the bill after U.S. Central Command, which oversees Middle East military operations, disclosed that four service members were wounded in a raid against a senior ISIS official, Hamza al-Homsi.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley visited U.S. forces stationed in Syria on Saturday. Milley's trip prompted protest from both the Syrian Foreign Affairs Ministry in Damascus and Gaetz, who accused him of trying to ''justify America's continued involvement in a Middle Eastern civil war.''
Separately on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Iraq, where he vowed that U.S. troops would remain in the country at the invitation of Baghdad.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also advanced legislation on Wednesday that would repeal the 1991 and 2002 Iraq War authorizations. However, those repeals would not result in the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq, since they are stationed there under the 2001 authorization.
Bryant Harris is the Congress reporter for Defense News. He has covered U.S. foreign policy, national security, international affairs and politics in Washington since 2014. He has also written for Foreign Policy, Al-Monitor, Al Jazeera English and IPS News.
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Was Silicon Valley Bank Really Unique, And Who Is Next | ZeroHedge
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 19:45
Now that Silicon Valley Bank, or SVB, has been liquidated in a shockingly short time (it was almost $300 just earlier this week), the post-mortems can begin, starting with the most important question, one which we discussed extensively earlier: is SVB unique or are its problems about to spread to other banks.
Perhaps the most unique feature of SIVB, as we touched upon earlier, is the bank's securities exposure: of the bank's total $212 billion in assets, $120 billion are securities (of which most or $57.7BN are Held to Maturity (HTM) Mortgage Backed Securities and another $10.5BN are CMO, while $26BN are Available for Sale with $16BN in TSYs).
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SITREP 3/8/23: Southern Advances Amid Prigozhin's Momentous Speech
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 18:28
Let's start off today with one important thing that's been in need of clearing up. A lot of Western press still mindlessly parrots the trope about Russia's so-called 'frozen funds' and how 'devastating' this is supposed to be for Russia's economy. At this point, they're grasping at straws because they have very little ammunition left in the barrel for pushing the false narrative that Russia has been gravely affected by the 'war.'
In a previous article, I've already covered that the notorious '300b' of frozen Russian funds was a desperate canard, and in fact Dmitry Medvedev himself glibly revealed that Russia has equally seized 300b of Western assets as well. We won't get into the exact details, as you can read them here in this report , though I'll repost the quote once again:
However, at the time of that writing, perhaps some readers were understandably dubious'--after all, we've been so inured by MSM to take their anti-Russian reportage at face-value and always doubt the extent and potency of Russia's own repartees.
But now, a recent rash of corroborating reports has hit the wires that confirm the validity of Medvedev's statement. Bloomberg published (and quickly retracted, most likely due to internal blowback) a piece grudgingly bemoaning that they in fact can't find these so-called 'seized Russian funds.'
Now, the West continues to lament how well Russia is recovering economically from the minimal constraints incurred from the various 'sanctions'.
Yesterday's DailyMail article whinged about how British citizens are forced to ration their food amid unprecedentedly empty supermarket shelves, while equivalent Russian cities are 'groaning beneath the weight' of their bountiful food surpluses.
This emblematic snapshot highlights the startling disparity.
What's more, the scenes are a reversal of 40 years ago, when many of us watched pitiful TV footage of Russians under the Communist regime queuing for staples such as bread and eggs.
Cue the irony and schadenfreude.
The article is full of guffaw-inducing snippets, as the psychosis of Western Russophobia is slowly eroded by the harsh truth.
Residents of Perm, and elsewhere in Russia, have plenty of cheap food. Low-cost energy in the gas-rich nation means vegetables can be grown in hot houses throughout the bitter winter. Russia is also able to import large quantities of fruit from sympathetic countries, such as Iran, enjoying warmer climates.
Nor is there anxiety over heating homes, while filling cars with plentiful cheap petrol or diesel is a breeze.
Well, hey'--remember when Biden mocked the potential for Russian/Chinese/Iranian rapprochement and partnership ? Now the hens are coming home to roost, after years of the West's self-inflictedly lunacy.
All this, of course, makes you wonder who is winning the economic war . From Perm, John told us: 'I have seen with my own eyes that sanctions are not hurting Russia. People on the street hardly notice anything. The shops are full of everything they want or need .
Can their tears get any more delicious than that?
Now onto more pressing matters:
It continues to appear that Wagner's Prigozhin is the ultimate troll. The pattern many are starting to notice is that, as soon as he complains, feigning some sort of massive problems, Wagner in fact subsequently spurs into a string of large gains.
And once again it has happened. Only days after some new 'controversy' surrounding Prigozhin, followed by more complaints and 'rumors' of everything from Wagner needing to 'pull out' or retreat, to ammunition shortages, to fears of being 'flanked' by a new AFU counter-attack, suddenly Wagner has in fact surged forward with such ferocity that even Stoltenberg appears to have finally caved in, gasping that Bakhmut may now fall 'within days':
Bakhmut, after all, may fall in the next few days, - NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg According to him, if this happens, it will not necessarily reflect a turning point in the war. "This only underlines that we should not underestimate Russia," the Secretary General added.
And this is mere days after MSM propagated the laughable story that Russian troops are 'fighting with shovels'.
Bakhmut appears to be rapidly collapsing, with Wagner incursions being reported deep into the southern part and now even cross-river in the north.
The above map shows where fighting is being reported, which is already on the 'western' portion of the city across the Bakhmutovka River. For now there were rumors it is merely Russian 'DRG' (forward sabotage/spotters), but it hasn't been fully confirmed yet.
Here's a wider view, showing where fighting has been reported past the river's median line. And everything east of the river has reportedly now fallen for definite. Large southern incursions can also be seen:
Granular look at the southern advance into Sobachevka District.
An AFU soldier reportedly told AFP the following:
''Bakhmut will fall,'' a Ukrainian tank operator told AFP in the town of Chasov Yar, about 10 km (six miles) west of Artyomovsk. ''We are almost encircled. The units are progressively retreating in small groups.''
Some people have complained that the battle of Bakhmut is taking a 'long time'. If one has ever actually followed military conflicts before, one would know that city sieges are never quick work'--lest you count the fraudulent 'Iraq War', where US feigned glory after paying off all the Iraqi generals to surrender.
The Siege of Sarajevo infamously lasted four years:
''It was three times longer than the Battle of Stalingrad , more than a year longer than the siege of Leningrad , and was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare . [5]''
The Battle of Aleppo in Syria likewise spanned four plus years. In the current SMO, major city battles thus far average about two to three months each. Mariupol began in earnest in about early March and ran to mid May, although everything but Azovstal was cinched up by late April or so.
With the now redirected Mariupol forces sent to help the Severodonetsk-Lisichansk agglomerate, that large battle took from about early May to early July. Izyum took about one month, although admittedly it's a much smaller town.
And while Wagner was nipping at the feet of Bakhmut since late last year, they were only marginally engaged at the very northeastern peripheries, in the famous Patrice Lumumba District, while the rest of the forces to the north and south were still wrangling with Soledar, etc., in order to first bring the contact line up to the Bakhmut city limits themselves. That didn't actually happen until mid-January or so of this year. So Bakhmut does appear to be falling fairly well into the two-ish month timeline for larger city sieges, if you count the battle's opening from the point when all the forces actually engaged its limits on all sides, rather than when Wagner was merely locally skirmishing on one small road in the northeast.
Also, one should view these videos to truly appreciate what it means to have full 'fire-control' over every road in and out of Bakhmut. The scale of the absolute carnage currently being inflicted on the AFU logistics in and out of the city is breathtaking to behold:
Video 1Video 2Video 3Video 4Video 5
There are reports of mass abandonment of AFU heavy equipment because only the dirt backroads are now usable, and they're already very muddy. Everything is being abandoned, and what isn't'--is being summarily destroyed by artillery.
In the southern direction, Russian forces once more began to advance in Avdeevka, pushing towards Krasnogorovka (Krasnohorivka'--note: I sometimes will write the Ukrainian spelling of a town for the purpose of being able to find it on Google Maps and elsewhere, for those interested in 'following along', since these towns exclusively appear under the Ukrainian names there).
And in the south, they secured two important hills north of Vodyane, incrementally closing the pincer.
As can be seen by this best map , Russian forces appear to be slowly working toward an envelopment / boiler around Avdeevka. Huge progress is not to be necessarily expected here yet , as this area has the oldest and deepest fortifications as the frontline here has not moved since 2014. Several interviews with Russian commanders attest to the area being covered with reinforced-concrete fortifications, huge underground tunnels/depots/stockpiles, and extremely fortified trenches.
Contrast that with an area like Bakhmut which has only recently seen the frontline move there, which means they don't have nearly the time to indurate such hardened facilities.
Which brings us to the next point: several leading figures from both sides are now issuing calls of alarm that'--should Bakhmut fall'--the flat, unfortified terrain to the west will provide free, open passage for Russian forces to steam through the rest of Donbass.
Both CNN and Kyiv Independent have released interviews with Zelensky himself stating this:
''We understand that after Bakhmut they could go further. They could go to Kramatorsk, they could go to Slavyansk, it would be [an] open road for the Russians after Bakhmut to other towns in Ukraine, in the Donetsk direction.''
Zelensky suggested that if the city falls to Russian forces, it will help ''mobilize their society'' and bolster domestic support for the Russian army.
And with that in mind, a new defensive line is being prepared along the Toresk-Konstantinovka-Kramatorsk-Slavyansk line, where reportedly upwards of 12 brigades are already making preparations.
Prigozhin by the way himself gave a rousing speech from the famed T-34-85 monument at the center of Bakhmut. It's a must-listen and can be heard here . ( alternative link for those for whom Bitchute doesn't work )
In the speech he references the above point about having 'open terrain' after Bakhmut falls, and states that the best trained and armed Russian troops have not yet even entered combat, and seems to hint at the fact that the major Russian operations will begin after the fall of Bakhmut.
To briefly cover a few of the other developments:
Most have seen by now that the US is throwing Ukraine under the bus for the Nordstream job. The only logical reason could be because so much investigative time has already elapsed that there's a critical mass of pressure for the West to report something, otherwise the longer they wait the more suspicious it looks.
Thus it seems they bit the bullet and pinned it on Ukraine. Of course, the Sy Hersh expos(C) likely lit a quite uncomfortable fire under them as well, forcing their hand.
MoA covered this with much more detail than I'm able to so I'd suggest his report for the nitty gritty. The only real thing I have to add is the following rhetorical question: how exactly does this 'revelation' help the West if they are basically admitting that Ukraine committed a terrorist attack against Germany'--which is not only one of their top supporters, but is the key linchpin country to this entire conflict.
As far as I can see, this has placed them between scylla and charybdis'--on one hand, if you let the public believe that US was responsible, it damages US-German relations. But on the other, if you throw Ukraine under the bus, it damages Ukraine-German relations (and many German tabloids have already begun poking fun), at a critical time when German Leopards are supposed to provide the crux of Ukraine's upcoming 'victory'. Not only the tanks Germany itself is supplying, but the other countries supplying them had to first get permission from Germany to do so.
Of course, as per usual, it seems the elites are trying to 'have their cake and eat it too'. By playing the 'middle path' they believe they can blame it not on 'Ukraine' proper, but rather on some vague 'pro-Ukrainian group''--whatever that's supposed to mean. This is the typical plausible deniability tactic used by the CIA in every single terror action, including the recent attack on the Russian village of Suchany, where they ostensibly claimed some defector Russian legion committed the acts.
As a quick digression on that incident'-- here's a very interesting interview with one of the participants of that terror attack on the Russian village last week: https://wartranslated.com/statement-by-an-alleged-participant-of-the-2-march-bryansk-incident/
He states that they trained and prepared intensely for over a month to carry out the attack. Quite sad that over 80 specially trained men could only manage to trek 200 meters into Russian territory to kill a few civilians and call that an accomplishment.
The last item I wanted to cover is the announcement by unnamed officials that Ukraine has in fact already taken delivery of the JDAMs I wrote at length about here .
And on the heels of that, new footage has emerged which is claimed to show the first usage of a JDAM-ER against Russian positions:
Alternative link here .
However, the devil is always in the details. After a long expository fluff piece extolling the virtues of the bomb, at the very end nearly in fine print, they write:
"Hecker also stressed that the total number of JDAM-ERs that Ukraine currently has is limited. " They have enough to do a couple of strikes ," he said.
(Cue Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song).
The video seen above appears to show a strike viewed from a Russian position which produces a sizable shock-wave, which would perhaps point to something like a JDAM. The only problem is, it's hitting an empty hill several kilometers away from the position. So either the JDAM's accuracy is about as oversold as Biden's mental competency, or there's something we're really missing here.
Of course, the UA twittersphere claims this strike was on a 'Russian trench position'. But it's a tad odd that it's being viewed by another Russian trench position with binoculars. Do Russian forces typically build two opposing trenches directly across from each other? Verdict: likely more nothingburger propaganda as usual.
That's not to mention the fact that also at the very tail end of the article, they sneak in a last few sour bits that perfectly correlates to what I described at length in my article about the JDAMs usage:
The head of USAFE did acknowledge that the circumstances the Ukrainian Air Force is currently facing could prevent JDAM-ERs from being used out to their full range.
So firstly, here they're admitting that the Ukrainian airforce likely won't be able to use the bombs to their full range'--for the very reasons we outlined, which is that you'd need to loft them from 35,000ft which puts you squarely in Russian S-400 crosshairs.
And:
"I don't want to get into the exact tactics... but obviously, the lower you are, and the further away from the surface to air missiles that can detect you because of the curvature of the earth" affect how far the bomb can travel, Gen. Hecker explained. "There are tactics where you can go in low and do some things... and get back."
The General here thinks he's being slick, and discussing some oracular secret. ''There are tactics where you can go in low'....and do some things .'' He winks and nudges smarmily, so full of himself, as if us lowly peons couldn't possibly fathom the quite academically mundane trick. But of course, the reality of it is, he's demurring not because he fears revealing a secret that could put Ukrainian planes in jeopardy, but rather because he's afraid to reveal the truth about how useless such a tactic would be against Russian AD. We won't go through all the number-crunching again'--you can reference my previous mentioned article'--but suffice it to say, it's greatly in the general's interest to not reveal that the Ukrainian plane would have to spend a whopping 2-3 minutes or more in the absolute kill-zone of Russian AD just to loft that bomb to 'max range'. Hell, in that time the S-400 op can take a bathroom break, come back, and still have plenty of time to blast the plane out of the sky.
For whoever's interested though, the article does provide the best full JDAM demonstration I've seen:
Lastly, I wanted to share a very interesting image. This is a photo of one of the destroyed Russian BMP-3's in the Ugledar direction, which hit a mine. Many people have discussed the problems around Ugledar, and have went off on wild fancies about all sorts of things they know very little about.
But take an extremely close look at the photo. Zoom into the ground as much as you can. What do you see?
Look at the vast amount of TM-62 mines embedded into the ground like they'd been drizzled from a saltshaker. It's just to give you an idea of how utterly mined all the approaches to Ugledar, and many other places in Ukraine are. I don't think most people can quite appropriately appreciate just how dense the minefields are. Videos like these can only provide a bare glimpse of the vast amount of mines the AFU has at its disposal.
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All travelers to the UK will need digital pre-authorization from 2024
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 18:19
Airline passengers in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport in London, UK, on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The U.K. will require all visa-exempt travelers to apply for digital travel authorization before entering the country, in a move regarded as the biggest shake-up of its border force rules in decades.
People holding passports that currently arrive in the country without pre-vetting '-- including European Union citizens and U.S., Canadian, Japanese, Australian, New Zealand and other nationals '-- will all need to apply and pay for Electronic Travel Authorisation. The scheme is set to be fully rolled out by the end of 2024.
British and Irish passport-holders, people with U.K. settled status and those with "permission to live, work or study" will be exempt from the scheme.
The government says the ETA scheme will strengthen border security and is comparable to that used by countries such as the U.S. and Canada. The U.K. has previously said that under current rules it does not have wholly accurate data on the number of people entering and leaving the country.
The cost of the ETA has not been confirmed but it is expected to be in a similar range to those schemes. The U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization costs $21.
The European Union is set to launch its own digital travel authorization scheme, called ETIAS, for visa-exempt nationals in 2024. It will enable travel within 30 countries.
Travelers from some countries are set to gain smoother access to the U.K. The scheme will launch for Qatari citizens in November when it will replace the Electronic Visa Waiver Scheme, and expand to Jordanian citizens in February 2024.
However, it will mark a significant change for many frequent travelers from Europe and elsewhere who do not currently need pre-approval.
Applications will be made online or via an app. Those with biometric passports will scan them using their phone, and may also need to take a "dynamic selfie," involving movement, to submit an image of their face. They will also answer a set of questions.
Their application will be automatically processed, with a decision given within three days. Some applications will be processed more quickly. If approved, the ETA will be valid for multiple visits over two years.
Nationals currently able to use e-passport gates on arrival into the U.K. will continue to be able to do so with an ETA.
Anyone arriving at the U.K. border by air or rail without an ETA will be turned away, including if they arrive via Ireland but are not Irish or British citizens.
The government has previously said it expects to handle 30 million ETA applications a year.
It is understood the U.K. has ambitions to eventually require all travelers to submit fingerprint biometrics ahead of travel and is working on a scheme that would see this submitted by smartphone.
New NASA map details 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses in the US
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 17:14
Using observations from different NASA missions, this map shows where the Moon's shadow will cross the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse. The map was developed by NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) in collaboration with the NASA Heliophysics Activation Team (NASA HEAT), part of NASA's Science Activation portfolio. Credit: NASA/Scientific Visualization Studio/Michala Garrison; eclipse calculations by Ernie Wright, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Where will you be for the 2023 and 2024 solar eclipses in the United States?
NASA has released a new map that could help you decide.
Based on observations from several NASA missions, the map details the path of the Moon's shadow as it crosses the contiguous U.S. during the annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023, and total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.
These dark paths across the continent show where observers will need to be to see the "ring of fire" when the Moon blocks all but the outer edge of the Sun during the annular eclipse, and the ghostly-white outer atmosphere of the Sun (the corona) when the Moon completely blocks the Sun's disk during the total eclipse.
Outside those paths, the map also shows where and how much the Sun will be partially eclipsed by the Moon. On both dates, all 48 contiguous states in the U.S. will experience at least a partial solar eclipse (as will Mexico and most of Canada).
Reading the mapOn NASA's new eclipse map, the paths for the annular eclipse and total eclipse appear as dark bands across the U.S.
Anyone located in the annular eclipse path, from Oregon to Texas, will have a chance to see the annular eclipse if the skies are clear. Anyone located in the total eclipse path, from Texas to Maine, will have a chance to see the total eclipse, weather permitting.
Inside those dark paths are oval shapes with times inside them (yellow ovals for the annular eclipse, purple ovals for the total eclipse). Those ovals show the shape of the Moon's shadow cast on Earth's surface at the times shown. People in the areas inside the ovals will see the annular eclipse or total eclipse at that time.
For locations close to the center of the paths, the annular eclipse or total eclipse will last longer than those near the outer edges of the path. Inside each path are white lines that indicate how long annularity or totality will last. For the annular eclipse path, you can find labels (ranging from 3 to 4.5 minutes) near the Nevada-Utah border in the north and between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas, in the south. For the total eclipse path, you can find labels near Presque Isle, Maine, in the north, and between the 2:20 and 2:25 p.m. CST ovals in Mexico in the south.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Viewers in locations outside the paths will not experience a total solar eclipse or annular eclipse, but they may still see a partial eclipse. Lines running parallel to each path indicate how much of the Sun will become covered by the Moon during the partial eclipse. For the annular eclipse, these lines appear faint yellow. For the total eclipse, they're faint purple. Percentage labels for the annular eclipse lines appear along the left and top edges of the map. The percentage labels for the total eclipse appear along the bottom and right edges of the map. (Tip: The percentages appear at the same angles as the lines.)
Neither eclipse will be contained to the contiguous U.S., though. In the lower right corner of the NASA map, a globe shows the full paths for both eclipses. The annular eclipse (in yellow and black) extends into Mexico, Central America, and South America. The total eclipse (in purple and black) also crosses Mexico and northeastern Canada. Shaded bands (yellow for the annular eclipse and purple for the total eclipse) also show where a partial eclipse can be seen. For example, in October 2023, southeastern Alaska will experience a partial eclipse, while Hawaii will have a chance to see a partial eclipse in April 2024.
Making the mapMichala Garrison, a member of the Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, applied her background in geography and cartography to design the map, incorporating information from a variety of NASA sources.
Earth elevation information came from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, while maps of the Moon's shape were supplied by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The positions of the sun, moon, and Earth were found using software and data from NASA's Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility. Garrison's SVS colleague, Ernie Wright, used all of this information to calculate the location and shape of the Moon's shadow.
NASA's Blue Marble'--a global mosaic of satellite images assembled by the NASA Earth Observatory team'--provided color for the land. And one particularly unique feature Garrison thought to add along the path of the 2024 total eclipse was nighttime imagery of Earth from NASA's Black Marble'--which shows city lights on the night side of the planet as imaged by the Suomi NPP spacecraft.
One of Garrison's goals for the map was to inspire people to get to the paths of the annular and total eclipses, which she didn't do the last time the Moon's shadow crossed the continental U.S.
"In 2017, I was in Maryland, so I still got to see a little bit, because I was in a partial eclipse," she said. "But I didn't really know any of this back then. This does make me want to go to, say, Albuquerque in 2023. And then in 2024 to go more south."
Garrison worked through many revisions to try to make the map both aesthetic and practical, to help people both inside and outside the paths to plan their eclipse experience.
"It took a lot of trial and error. I wanted it to be useful to the reader but not overwhelming'--and still be a pretty product to look at to catch people's eye."
Provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Scrutiny Falls on Circle's USDC Stablecoin Cash Reserves at Failed Silicon Valley Bank
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 17:11
Jenny Johnson
President and CEO
Franklin Templeton
Jenny will discuss developing crypto-linked investment products in a bear market, the mood among her clients and her lon...
Jenny Johnson
President and CEO
Franklin Templeton
Jenny will discuss developing crypto-linked investment products in a bear market, the mood among her clients and her lon...
Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.
Jenny Johnson
President and CEO
Franklin Templeton
Jenny will discuss developing crypto-linked investment products in a bear market, the mood among her clients and her lon...
Jenny Johnson
President and CEO
Franklin Templeton
Jenny will discuss developing crypto-linked investment products in a bear market, the mood among her clients and her lon...
U.S.-based stablecoin issuer Circle held a part of its USDC stablecoin's cash reserves at Silicon Valley Bank as of Jan. 17, according to the firm's latest attestation.
USDC is the second-largest stablecoin on the market, with a $43 billion circulating supply that is fully backed by government bonds and cash-like assets.
According to Circle's January reserve report, the firm held some $9.88 billion of cash deposited at regulated banks to back USDC's value. According to Circle's website on March 10, cash deposits in the reserves amounted to $11.1 billion.
USDC's banking partners included Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the California-based bank that was taken over by regulators and shut down on Friday.
The full list of banks that held cash for Circle's USDC are Bank of New York Mellon, Citizens Trust Bank, Customers Bank, New York Community Bank (a division of Flagstar Bank, N.A.), Signature Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Silvergate Bank. Circle also keeps some part of USDC reserves in a dedicated BlackRock fund.
Circle said last week it had cut ties with Silvergate Bank, the crypto-friendly bank that halted operations and said it would ''voluntarily liquidate'' its assets earlier this week.
Signature Bank's holding company's (SI) shares have dropped 12% on the news about SVB's shutdown. Signature said in December that it would reduce deposits tied to crypto firms by as much as $10 billion.
Circle spokesperson said late Friday that SBV was one of the six banks that the firm used "for managing the approximately 25% portion of USDC reserves held in cash."
"While we await clarity on how the FDIC receivership of Silicon Valley Bank will impact its depositors, Circle and USDC continue to operate normally," according to the statement.
Simon Dixon, CEO of online investment platform BnkToTheFuture, tweeted that Circle's chief executive Jeremy Allaire said the firm held "most of their cash is in BNY Melon," while sharing a screenshot from March 2. BnkToTheFuture is an investor and shareholder in Circle.
The recent failure of crypto- and tech-focused banks investors has rattled investors, causing crypto markets to crash. Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell below the psychologically important $20,000 level, the lowest since January.
UPDATE (Mar. 10, 20:20 UTC): Adds comment from Simon Dixon, CEO of BnkToTheFuture, investor in Circle.
UPDATE (Mar. 11, 01:05 UTC): Adds comment from Circle spokesperson. Adds latest data about USDC reserves in cash.
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Mental health startup exposes the personal data of more than 3 million people | CNN Politics
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 16:55
Washington CNN '--
A mental health startup exposed the personal data of as many as 3.1 million people online. In some cases, possibly sensitive information on mental health treatment was leaked, according to a company statement and a Department of Health and Human services filing.
Cerebral, a California-based firm that connects people suffering from anxiety and depression with mental health professionals via video calls, said it discovered the ''inadvertent'' data exposure more than three years after it started using ''pixels'' '' a common method that companies and advertisers use to track user behavior for marketing purposes.
The company determined in January that tracking pixels had been sharing client and user data to ''third-party platforms'' and ''subcontractors'' that it didn't name, according to a privacy notice near the bottom of its website.
Cerebral said it was unaware of any misuse of the protected health information that was disclosed. But privacy advocates have for years warned that such data troves can be used to aggressively market products at consumers and infringe on their privacy.
Some of the data potentially exposed in the Cerebral breach includes answers to online ''self-assessments'' about mental health that Cerebral asks prospective clients to fill out. That can include questions on whether someone is experiencing panic attacks, abusing alcohol or has a personality disorder, CNN's review of the online assessments found.
Cerebral said in a statement to CNN on Friday that it was ''committed to correcting historical errors and leading the industry in privacy standards moving forward.''
Cerebral notified the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which said in a filing this month that the breach affects over 3.1 million users. The department investigates potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a law that requires medical providers to safeguard patient data.
Rachel Seeger, a spokesperson for the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said the office typically ''does not comment on open or potential investigations.''
Cerebral said in its public statement that it had disabled the tracking pixels on its platforms and stopped sharing data with subcontractors ''not able to meet all HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] requirements.''
''It is important to note that Cerebral never impermissibly transmitted clinician generated notes or clinician communications,'' the company told CNN.
Cerebral spokesperson Chris Savarese did not respond to emailed questions about which and how many platforms and contractors to which the company disclosed the client health information.
Some analysts argue that the broader market for data tracking tools is out of control. A group of conservative Catholics has spent millions of dollars to buy mobile data that identified priests who used gay dating and hookup apps, the Washington Post reported this week.
Andrea Downing, who has done extensive research on pixel tracking and privacy, said patients are often unaware of how much personal data health care startups collect and potentially transmit to other parties.
''What is in the fine print or the details of how data is being shared for advertising is not apparent to us when we're going through the trauma of a diagnosis and seeking knowledge,'' said Downing, who is co-founder of Light Collective, a digital rights nonprofit.
''The only thing that is incentivizing change right now is the threat of liability,'' Downing told CNN.
Fluoride Lawsuit Against EPA Prompts Pending Release Of Potentially Damaging Report | ZeroHedge
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 16:54
Authored by Christy Prais via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to oppose and delay a lawsuit filed against them by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) to ban the use of fluoride in public water supplies in the United States.
The case has revealed government attempts to limit available evidence and avoid having the facts of water fluoridation reviewed in court. A spokesperson with FAN told The Epoch Times in an email, ''this represents a major reversal in the federal agencies' position, and will ensure that the public has access to these critical documents that would have otherwise remained buried forever. ''
Fluoride exposure has been linked to an increased risk of hypothyroidism in pregnant women and brain-based disorders in their offspring. There are also findings that higher fluoride exposure is associated with reduced IQ in children.
From Petition to LawsuitThe lawsuit began in 2017 after a petition filed in November 2016 called on the EPA to ''protect the public and susceptible subpopulations from the neurotoxic risks of fluoride by banning the addition of fluoridation chemicals to water.''
The petition referenced more than 2,500 pages of scientific documentation detailing the risks of water fluoridation to human health, including more than 180 published studies showing fluoride is linked to reduced IQ and neurotoxic harm.
In its Feb. 27, 2017 response, the EPA claimed the petition had failed to ''set forth a scientifically defensible basis to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride,'' and denied the claim.
The Toxic Substances Control Act passed in 2016 includes statutes that provide citizens the ability to challenge an EPA denial in federal court. Thus, in 2017, FAN, Food & Water Watch, and Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit against the EPA challenging the denial.
...
Government Agency Interference Internal CDC emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by plaintiff attorney Michael Connett showed discussion and comments related to the NTP's unreleased Fluoride Toxicity Report.
The emails seem to indicate the NTP report was not made public due to interference from Levine and Tabak.
One email from the CDC dated June 3, 2022, specifically stated, ''ASH [Assistant Secretary of Health] Levine has put the report on hold until further notice.''
In the submitted notice Connett stated , ''These emails confirm that the NTP considered the May 2022 monograph to be the NTP's final report. They also confirm that the CDC was opposed to the NTP releasing the report, and that leadership at the top levels of the Department of Health and Human Services intervened to stop the report from being released.''
Harmful Effects of FluorideIn the past, fluoridation chemicals were obtained from the wet scrubbing systems of the phosphate fertilizer industry and added to many public water supplies in the United States to reduce tooth decay. It is now recognized by dental researchers that fluoride's primary benefit comes from topical application and does not need to be swallowed to prevent tooth decay.
The FAN states that ''in recent years, however, an increasing number of water departments have begun purchasing their fluoride chemicals from China. Based on recent incidents, it appears that the quality control of the Chinese chemicals is even more lax, and variable, than the U.S.-produced chemicals.''
The NTP's 2019 Systematic Review of Fluoride Exposure and Neurodevelopment and Cognitive Health Effects concluded that '' '... fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans.'' They state that ''This conclusion is based on a consistent pattern of findings in human studies across several different populations showing that higher fluoride exposure is associated with decreased IQ or other cognitive impairments in children.''
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Oumuamua: It Came From Another Solar System - The New York Times
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 16:41
Out There
A piece of an extrasolar Pluto may have passed through our cosmic neighborhood, a new study suggests.
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A recently released artist's concept of Oumuamua. An early rendition imagined the object as a cigar-shaped rock and gained widespread circulation, but some astronomers have suggested that it could be shaped like a pancake. Credit... William Hartmann Published March 23, 2021 Updated Sept. 30, 2021
One of the great shaggy-dog mysteries of the sky continues to mesmerize astronomers. That would be the nature of a strange interloper, Oumuamua, that came zooming through the solar system in 2017. Interstellar comet? Cosmic iceberg? Alien space wreck?
This week two astronomers from Arizona State University, Alan Jackson and Steven Desch, offered the most solid explanation yet: Oumuamua was a chip off a faraway planet belonging to another star. Long ago, a collision with an asteroid broke it off and sent it careering through space.
''This research is exciting in that we've probably resolved the mystery of what Oumuamua is, and we can reasonably identify it as a chunk of an 'exo-Pluto,' a Pluto-like planet in another solar system,'' Dr. Desch said in a statement released by the American Geophysical Union. ''Until now, we've had no way to know if other solar systems have Pluto-like planets, but now we have seen a chunk of one pass by Earth.''
They announced their results at a meeting of the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference on March 17 and in a pair of papers in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
The operative words are ''probably resolved.'' Although astronomers agree that the new model could answer some questions about the mystery flyby, many more remain in motion.
''What makes Oumuamua both interesting and frustrating is that none of the theories are a slam-dunk,'' said Gregory Laughlin, an astronomer at Yale who has studied Oumuamua.
Astronomers in Hawaii, patrolling for killer asteroids and other flashes in the night with the Pan-STARRS1 telescope on Maui, first spotted this mystery object speeding away from the sun at 50 miles per second on Oct. 19, 2017. They called it Oumuamua '-- Hawaiian for ''scout'' or ''messenger.'' But what was the message?
The trajectory of the object indicated that it had come from outside the solar system and that after a brief buzz past the inner worlds of our system it was bound for deep space. By the time it was noticed, it had already passed Earth. Astronomers concluded from the variations in its brightness that it was a tumbling object, longer than it was wide.
Astronomers had long thought than an orphan comet might be the first interstellar visitor to our region because comets, residing in distant clouds, are easily detached from their home stars. Oumuamua did not have a tail, however, or the gaseous cloud that forms around a comet nucleus, so it was tentatively identified as a wandering asteroid.
An artist's conception of a reddish, cigar-shaped rock gained widespread circulation. Some astronomers have suggested that it could be shaped like a pancake.
But when Oumuamua was on the way out of the solar system, it sped up. Comets often act this way, as they are given a kick from jets of evaporating gas on their surfaces. So perhaps it was a comet after all '-- but a weird one. An illustration accompanying Dr. Jackson and Dr. Desch's result shows it looking like a cracker or even a flying cow chip.
The mystery deepened in 2018 with the discovery of 2I/Borisov, another interstellar interloper that behaved more like an ordinary comet.
Theories and models abounded in the literature. Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard, rode onto the best-seller list earlier this year with a book, ''Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,'' arguing that Oumuamua was an alien space vessel of some kind, and scolding the astronomical community for not thinking more outside the box about extraterrestrial life. The object's imputed shape, he said, could be perfectly consistent with that of a light sail of the type that Dr. Loeb and his colleagues, in an ambitious project called Breakthrough Starshot, hope to send to Alpha Centauri sometime this century.
But an international team of comet experts writing in Nature Astronomy in 2019 under the name of The Oumuamua ISSI Team concluded that all the data were consistent with ''a purely natural origin'' for Oumuamua.
Last year Dr. Laughlin of Yale and his student Darryl Seligman, now at the University of Chicago, suggested that Oumuamua was a primordial iceberg of hydrogen that had formed in the dark, cold center of a molecular cloud, one of the vast assemblages of primordial gas that give rise to stars.
The problem was that it was hard to explain how the hydrogen, which freezes at a temperature around 3 degrees Kelvin, barely above absolute zero, would stay frozen on the long trip from its birth to here.
Inspired by the hydrogen ice idea, Dr. Jackson and Dr. Desch investigated other kinds of icebergs that might fill the bill. They finally hit on nitrogen.
''We've never seen any examples of hydrogen ice in nature,'' Dr. Desch said in an email. But when the New Horizons spacecraft went past the previously unexplored Pluto in 2015, it found a world awash in nitrogen glaciers.
''Oumuamua was small, about half as long as a city block and only as thick as a three-story building, but it was very shiny,'' they wrote in one of their papers. ''The shininess is about the same as the surfaces of Pluto and Triton, which are also covered in nitrogen ice.'' Triton is a moon of Neptune.
In the scenario favored by Dr. Desch and Dr. Jackson, the nascent Oumuamua was knocked from a Pluto-like object that was circling a distant star some half-billion years ago. It would have originally been roundish, but as it traveled through space it was carved away by cosmic rays.
By the time it entered our solar system in 1995 or so, it had lost half its original mass, according to their model. During its passage around the sun it likely melted to a sliver, like a bar of soap in the shower, the researchers say. Only 10 percent would have remained by the time it left the solar system, boosted by the rocketlike effect of evaporating nitrogen.
Nitrogen sublimates at about 25 degrees Kelvin, Dr. Desch said: ''We calculate that Oumuamua reached temperatures in the 45 to 50 K range while it rounded the sun, so it was sublimating nitrogen gas like crazy, hence the strong mass loss.''
He and Dr. Jackson concluded in their paper: ''A key advantage of the proposal we advance here of a nitrogen ice fragment is that it can simultaneously explain all of the important observational characteristics of Oumuamua, and that material of this composition is found in the solar system. We therefore conclude that Oumuamua is an example of an uncommon but certainly not exotic object: a fragment of a differentiated Pluto-like planet from another stellar system.''
Of course, that's not the end of the story.
In an email Dr. Loeb complained, among other things, that if Oumuamua was made of nitrogen it should also contain carbon (which was not detected by the Spitzer Space Telescope), because both nitrogen and carbon are produced together by a thermonuclear carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle in stars.
Dr. Desch responded in an email: ''Spoken like a cosmologist!'' He went on to note that planets have ways of sifting and separating the elements they were born with. Otherwise Earth's atmosphere, which is 79 percent nitrogen, should be several percent carbon instead of one-tenth of 1 percent carbon. Or, as another astronomer pointed out, the Great Lakes would all be full of sparkling water.
Dr. Desch noted, moreover, that the reddish color of Oumuamua is an exact match to the redness of the ice on Pluto, which is 0.1 percent carbon, in the form of methane.
Another issue is statistics. How is it that these cosmic icebergs are so common '-- more than 50 trillion per cubic light-year of space, according to a calculation by Dr. Laughlin '-- that the Pan-STARRS project would have discovered one after just five years of searching?
''That puts a lot of pressure on the galaxy to manufacture exo-Plutos,'' Dr. Laughlin said.
If so, Oumuamua was just the tip of an unsuspected iceberg, so to speak, which is exactly what Dr. Desch and Dr. Jackson contend.
A lot of things get ejected from planetary systems, Dr. Desch pointed out; older papers assumed that these would be as big as comets, and so predicted them in much lower numbers. But if they are smaller, Dr. Desch added, there would be many more fragments flying out, so something like Oumuamua would not necessarily be an anomaly.
''So far we've seen one N2 ice fragment and one comet among the interstellar objects,'' he wrote in an email. ''Small-number statistics doesn't get much smaller than that.'' Those numbers were about what is expected, according to their calculations, he said: ''Maybe we got a little lucky to see one so quickly, but it's not a fluke or anything. This is a common object to be entering our solar system.''
If more are out there to be seen, they should soon be detectable by the Vera Rubin Observatory, a giant telescope in Chile that will start stalking the sky later this decade.
Other astronomers have suggested a different creation mechanics, in which a distant planet passing close to its star is torn apart by tidal forces. This would result in fragments even more oblong, closer in resemblance to a cigar than a cookie, casting doubt on the nitrogen ice theory, Dr. Laughlin said. That is a controversy that could be resolved by better images, if and when the next interstellar interloper comes by.
But as Dr. Laughlin said, nature might have the last laugh. ''Given the rule of thumb that 99 percent of one's own cool ideas tend not to work out,'' he said, ''I think the smart money is on another object with Oumuamua's characteristic weirdnesses never again being observed.''
Pentagon UFO chief says alien mothership in our solar system possible
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 16:40
(Canva via Getty)There is a possibility that extraterrestrial motherships and smaller probes may be visiting planets in our solar system, the head of the Pentagon's unidentified aerial phenomena research office noted in a report draft shared Tuesday.
''[A]n artificial interstellar object could potentially be a parent craft that releases many small probes during its close passage to Earth, an operational construct not too dissimilar from NASA missions,'' Sean Kirkpatrick, director of the Pentagon's All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, wrote in a research report co-authored by Abraham Loeb, chairman of Harvard University's astronomy department.
Kirkpatrick, who was appointed as director of the AARO when it was founded in July 2022, previously served as the chief scientist at the Defense Intelligence Agency's Missile and Space Intelligence Center. The AARO was established to investigate unidentified ''objects of interest'' around military installations, according to a Pentagon press release.
Loeb, on the other hand, gained notoriety when he proposed our solar system had been traversed by its first extrasolar visitor in October 2017. At that time, the PanSTARRS telescope in Hawaii detected an object moving at a speed that caused some scientists to suggest that it originated outside our system. The object's orbit also hinted at other forces besides the sun's gravitational pull influencing its movement.
Scientists dubbed the object ''Oumuamua,'' the Hawaiian term for ''scout,'' which Kirkpatrick and Loeb offer in their research paper as an example of a possible mothership with probe capabilities.
''With proper design, these tiny probes would reach the Earth or other solar system planets for exploration, as the parent craft passes by within a fraction of the Earth-Sun separation '-- just like 'Oumuamua' did,'' the authors explained. ''Astronomers would not be able to notice the spray of mini-probes because they do not reflect enough sunlight for existing survey telescopes to notice them.''
The research paper '-- titled ''Physical Constraints on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena'' '-- comes following a month of intense scrutiny of unidentified flying objects, a stirring trend ignited when a Chinese spy balloon captivated the nation by drifting across U.S. airspace. Three additional unidentified objects were subsequently found.
On Feb. 16, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and 12 other senators sent a letter to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stacey Dixon calling for full funding for the AARO. The Biden administration's previous funding request for fiscal year 2023 failed to fund anything beyond the office's basic operating expenses, the lawmakers argued.
''AARO provides the opportunity to integrate and resolve threats and hazards to the U.S., while also offering increased transparency to the American people and reducing the stigma,'' the lawmakers' letter stated. ''AARO's success will depend on robust funding for its activities and cooperation between the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.''
Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.
Zamone ''Z'' Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.
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Highly Intelligent Super Pigs Are Invading America: Details
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 16:38
A special breed of hybrid super pigs from Canada have started to travel south into the northern United States. The pigs pose a threat to native wildlife and may prove tough to eradicate. The spread of the pigs has only increased in recent years. A hybrid breed of super pigs'--a mix of a domestic pig and a wild boar'--is running wild in Canada. And now they have their sights set on the United States.
Originally crossbred to help farmed pigs grow larger and tolerate the cold temperatures of Canada, a drop in the market about two decades ago led some farmers to let their hybrid pigs run free. Now they're running very free, according to Field and Stream. The super pigs are coming south, likely heading to Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan.
The problem? The super pigs are proving hard to eradicate.
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''That they can survive in such a cold climate is one of the big surprises of this issue,'' Ryan Brook, leader of the University of Saskatchewan's Canadian Wild Pig Research Project, tells Field and Stream.
The cold-hardiness of the hybrid pigs means they survive well. That means other native species don't. Brook elaborates:
''Wild hogs feed on anything. They gobble up tons and tons of goslings and ducklings in the spring. They can take down a whitetail deer, even an adult. Originally, it was like 'wow, this is something we can hunt.' But it's become clear that they're threatening our whitetail deer, elk, and especially, waterfowl. Not to mention the crop damage. The downsides outweigh any benefit wild hogs may have as a huntable species.'' ðŸ'§ To always be in the know, sign up for our newsletter
The super pigs have already traversed across the international border, dipping into at least North Dakota. So, expect an even greater occurrence as the hybrid population only grows. Like on public transit, if you see something, say something. The Squeal on Pigs website makes that even easier.
The super pigs have become adept at fending off recreational hunters, sometimes with entire sounders (the term for a group of pigs, generally led by mature sows) turning nocturnal to avoid the hunting. Other times the sounders will disperse, making them harder to locate, or change their patterns and retreat to forests or wetlands.
The best strategy at reining in the super pigs has been employing the Judas Pig concept, which straps a GPS collar onto a pig to lead game officials to other pigs. Deception may be our only hope.
Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. He covers stadiums, sneakers, gear, infrastructure, and more for a variety of publications, including Popular Mechanics. His favorite interviews have included sit-downs with Roger Federer in Switzerland, Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, and Tinker Hatfield in Portland.
Amsterdam, Sick of Partying Tourists, Says 'Stay Away' - WSJ
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 15:35
Popular European destination is taking steps to discourage visitors interested in cannabis, Red Light District
March 10, 2023 10:00 am ETAmsterdam has a message for tourists who want to party hard while visiting the city: Stay away.
The Netherlands' capital plans to launch a deterrence campaign later this month aimed at tourists who go wild during their visits. In addition to new ads, the city has proposed rules in its infamous Red Light District, such as a ban on smoking marijuana in the street, earlier weekend closing times for bars, clubs and sex-work establishments and reduced alcohol sales.
Amsterdam's...
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Amsterdam has a message for tourists who want to party hard while visiting the city: Stay away.
The Netherlands' capital plans to launch a deterrence campaign later this month aimed at tourists who go wild during their visits. In addition to new ads, the city has proposed rules in its infamous Red Light District, such as a ban on smoking marijuana in the street, earlier weekend closing times for bars, clubs and sex-work establishments and reduced alcohol sales.
Amsterdam's liberal rules for drugs and prostitution have long attracted travelers looking to let loose, but officials say they are taking it too far and harming the quality of life for residents.
Many places are redefining what role they want tourism to play as travel demand soars and people want to knock destinations off their bucket lists. In 2020, the government overseeing Spanish islands including Ibiza introduced restrictions on happy hour, and prohibited pub crawls and party boats in certain areas in response to bad behavior by intoxicated partyers.
''It comes down to: Can cities ultimately choose their visitors?'' says Peter Jordan, head of insights at Toposophy, a European agency that advises on destination management. The company has previously worked with Amsterdam's tourism marketing agency.
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A tourist magnetLocals in Amsterdam had been concerned about the number of tourists before the pandemic, tourism officials say. The city is home to about 920,000 residents, and hosted more than 21 million overnight visitors in 2019, according to a tourism plan from the city. It hosted another 15.7 million overnight stays in 2022, according to Statistics Netherlands.
A number of European airports, including Amsterdam's Schiphol, have struggled to meet the surging demand.
The city's visitor forecast predicts that more than 18 million people will visit Amsterdam this year. The city council decided in 2021 that additional measures should be put in place to manage visitation if the number of overnight stays exceeded that number.
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Amsterdam's leaders assessed city policies during the pandemic, when tourism dropped off, according to city documents. They also discussed the effect of tourism on the housing market and quality of life for people who live in the city center.
''Tourists are still welcome but our hospitality can no longer be at the detriment of our inhabitants' quality of life and mobility,'' the city's tourism plan says.
A city government spokeswoman declined to comment about the campaign beyond the existing public materials.
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One of the most public measures is an ad campaign dubbed Stay Away, meant to deter visitors who come for the sole purpose of drinking, doing drugs or having sex.
In the past, the city tried to urge good behavior with Enjoy and Respect, a motto and media campaign. Stay Away takes a more blunt approach.
The campaign runs the risk of creating the opposite of its intended effect, says Stephen Hodes, a retired tourism official who previously served as a New York-based director of the Netherlands board of tourism.
''If you have any idea how the human brain works, one thing that doesn't work is saying don't come and drink and smoke in Amsterdam because you will not be welcome,'' he says. ''That is an invitation to come for young people.''
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Ryan Danabie is head of sales for Fun Amsterdam, an event-planning company that organizes stag parties, pub crawls and beer-bike tours. The company has started focusing more on corporate groups, but doesn't plan to move away from its other offerings, he says. Mr. Danabie expects this year to be the busiest yet.
''We want people to have fun and enjoy themselves, but in a controlled way,'' he says.
Amsterdam's government has proposed relocating legal prostitution from its Red Light District and dispersing tourists to other parts of the city. It is also considering restrictions on short-term rentals to battle rising housing costs.
The new restrictions on bars and marijuana smoking are likely to kick in beginning mid-May, a city government spokeswoman says.
Focus on the airportSchiphol is a top European hub. But the problem of crowding extends beyond international visitors, says Roy Tomassen, general manager of Amsterdam's Conservatorium Hotel. Dutch locals also like to visit, he says.
Mr. Hodes says tourist volume, not behavior in the Red Light District, is the biggest issue. He supports big and politically contentious changes to tackle visitor numbers. That includes preventing a second airport for low-cost carriers outside the city from opening'--it is scheduled to open in 2024 but faces legal challenges'--and restricting the number of cruise passengers permitted to disembark.
The Dutch government is capping flights at Schiphol to 460,000 a year starting in November, down from the previous annual limit of 500,000, for environmental reasons. Several airlines, including Delta, are suing the government over the cap.
Unlike Amsterdam, Ibiza doesn't want to discourage revelers from visiting, tourism officials say. It just wants them to behave better. But if you ask tourists to describe Ibiza in one or two words, they will likely say ''party'' or ''nightlife,'' says Juan Miguel Costa, the island's director of tourism.
''This is a stereotype that hides the other faces of the island,'' he says.
Ibiza is more heavily promoting other offerings, including its status as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Tourism officials and marketers predict continued challenges in managing visitation numbers as travel becomes more accessible.
''The world is traveling and we ain't seen anything yet,'' says Mr. Hodes, the retired tourism official.
Write to Allison Pohle at allison.pohle@wsj.com
Join Bobby Kennedy
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 15:32
Freedom FirstRobert F. Kennedy, Jr. has spent his life fighting for American democracy and the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. He has battled against corporate greed and government corruption to protect our children, our health, our livelihoods, our environment, and above all, our freedom.
With integrity, courage, and self-sacrifice, he has led Americans in an ennobling fight to restore our country as the exemplary nation, and to end the toxic polarization that divides us and enriches the elites.
His steely character and unique history fighting crooked bureaucracies make Bobby the only person who can bridge the divide and fix our country.
Let Bobby know you want to see his leadership in the White House.
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A key metric for assessing the feasibility of running is the ability to sign up volunteers and raise funds. Please show your support for his run by texting Bobby at (202) 932-7525, and consider making a donation below.
America faces many challenges, but every solution begins with freedom.
Together we can reunite America, becoming, finally, that shining city on the hill, "where justice flows down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream."
Join Bobby's movement for a free and fair America for allYou are vital to Bobby's decision to run. Contribute your thoughts below to help him make this crucial choice.
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Iran and Saudi Arabia agree to restore relations | News | Al Jazeera
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 15:30
Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies within two months, according to Iranian and Saudi state media.
The agreement was reached on Friday during talks in Beijing.
Iranian state media posted images and video of Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, with Saudi national security adviser Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban and Wang Yi, China's most senior diplomat.
''After implementing the decision, the foreign ministers of both nations will meet to prepare for an exchange of ambassadors,'' Iranian state television said.
In the footage aired by Iranian media, Wang offered ''whole-hearted congratulations'' on the two countries' ''wisdom''.
''Both sides have displayed sincerity,'' he said. ''China fully supports this agreement.''
The Saudi Press Agency confirmed the agreement when it also published the joint statement from Saudi Arabia and Iran, which said the two countries had agreed to respect state sovereignty and not interfere in each other's internal affairs.
The statement also said Riyadh and Tehran had agreed to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001.
Joint Trilateral Statement by the Kingdom of #Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of #Iran, and the People's Republic of #China. pic.twitter.com/MyMkcGK2s0
'-- Foreign Ministry 🇸ðŸ‡... (@KSAmofaEN) March 10, 2023
Riyadh, Tehran and Beijing ''expressed their keenness to exert all efforts towards enhancing regional and international peace and security,'' the statement said.
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency quoted Shamkhani as calling the talks in Beijing ''clear, transparent, comprehensive and constructive''.
''Removing misunderstandings and the future-oriented views in relations between Tehran and Riyadh will definitely lead to improving regional stability and security as well as increasing cooperation among Persian Gulf nations and the world of Islam for managing current challenges,'' Shamkhani was quoted as saying.
Wang said China will continue to play a constructive role in handling hotspot issues and demonstrate responsibility as a major nation.
As a ''good-faith'' and ''reliable'' mediator, China has faithfully fulfilled its duties as a host for dialogue, he said.
Tensions have long been high between the regional rivals.
Riyadh broke off ties with Tehran in 2016 after protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran. Saudi Arabia had executed a prominent Shia Muslim scholar days earlier, triggering the demonstrations.
Shia-majority Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia support rival sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East, including in Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are backed by Tehran and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government.
But both sides have recently sought to improve ties.
The two sides agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after years of tensions [Nournews via AP Photo]''In the last couple of years, there had been meetings between Saudi and Iranian officials in Baghdad,'' Al Jazeera's Ali Hashem said while reporting from Tehran. ''The Iraqis started mediation talks back in 2021. Everything stopped during the Iraqi elections of 2021.''
''There was no news coming out after five rounds of talks,'' he said. ''Security-level meetings took place in Oman too. Those were mainly concentrated on the situation in Yemen.''
Besides the war in Yemen, Iran and Saudi Arabia also are on rival sides in Lebanon and Syria. Improved relations between Tehran and Riyadh, therefore, could have an effect on politics across the Middle East.
''The security situation in the region, like in Yemen and Lebanon, deteriorates and suffers when these two countries have differences,'' Hashem said.
''With this deal, it is possible that we might start to see compromises in these countries,'' he said. ''This deal can lead to the creation of a better security situation in the region. They have a lot of leverage in these countries.''
Adnan Tabatabai '' CEO of the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient, a Germany-based think tank '' told Al Jazeera that China has a big interest in not seeing the regional security situation ''descend into chaos'', such as ''in 2019, when the waterways of Hormuz were the sites of different explosions and attacks''.
''There are inherent interests for the Chinese to try and use the leverage that they have towards both Tehran and Riyadh to make some efforts to balance these relations and finalise what the Iraqis and Omanis had in fact started,'' Tabatabai said.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Beijing last month, and Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Riyadh in December to attend meetings with oil-rich Gulf Arab nations crucial to China's energy supplies. China is a top purchaser of Saudi oil.
A White House National Security Council spokesperson said the United States is aware of reports that Iran and Saudi Arabia have resumed diplomatic relations but referred further details to the Saudis.
''Generally speaking, we welcome any efforts to help end the war in Yemen and de-escalate tensions in the Middle East region,'' the spokesperson told the Reuters news agency. ''De-escalation and diplomacy together with deterrence are key pillars of the policy President [Joe] Biden outlined during his visit to the region last year.''
Referring to the US playing no role in this agreement, Tabatabai said it has been common to hear anti-American sentiments in Iran but ''from at least the fall of 2019 onwards, there is also some disappointment and some increasing scepticism inside Saudi Arabia towards the role of the US in that region.
''The security umbrella is no longer an actual idea that the US was supposed to build for Saudi Arabia and its allies, so there was a need also sensed in Saudi Arabia to think in a different way about how it can secure its territory, borders and interests.''
Silvergate Waves the White Flag - Swan Bitcoin
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 15:25
Over the last year, the Federal Reserve has undergone one of the fastest rate hiking cycles in its history. As rates have soared and the proverbial tide has gone out, many companies in the broader cryptocurrency industry were discovered to be swimming naked. One by one, we've seen cryptocurrency companies like FTX, Voyager, BlockFi, Genesis, Celsius, and Three Arrows Capital shut their doors. Some of these firms were woefully mismanaged as they overextended themselves in the ultra-low interest rate environment, while others were revealed as outright frauds.
The crypto contagion moved up to the banking sector this week when crypto-friendly bank, Silvergate Capital, announced it will voluntarily liquidate and provide full repayment of all deposits.
Silvergate is the latest victim of the contagion that began last spring with the collapse of the algorithmic stablecoin Terra Luna as the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates. This news comes during a broader cross-agency regulatory crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry that began in earnest after the collapse of FTX.
Silvergate was a relatively small bank that rose to prominence over the years as one of the primary banks serving the cryptocurrency industry. In the last 5 years, it saw its deposits explode upwards as it seized the opportunity during the cryptocurrency bubble fueled by ultra-low interest rates, peaking at over $14 billion in December 2021.
Silvergate continued to grow rapidly after it launched its Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), which allowed for 24/7 real-time, settlement of digital assets between investors and crypto exchanges. The SEN platform grew to become a critical piece of infrastructure for the broader cryptocurrency industry.
The graphic below highlights how the SEN platform served as the central plumbing of the industry, connecting many of the largest cryptocurrency firms in the broader crypto ecosystem.
Silvergate specifically catered its business to the digital asset industry, and as of September 30th, 2022, 90% of its overall deposit base came from crypto firms. Some of these clients included now-bankrupt firms such as BlockFi and FTX.
To give you an idea of Silvergate's relationship with the crypto industry, below is a quote from disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried gushing about Silvergate in Congressional testimony last year,
''Life as a crypto firm can be divided up into before Silvergate and after Silvergate'...It's hard to overstate how much it revolutionized banking for blockchain companies.'' '-- Sam Bankman-Fried
As the crypto bubble popped at the end of 2021, interest in crypto started to wane and clients started to leave Silvergate. This trend only worsened when large firms began to blow up left and right. As a result, Silvergate experienced a significant outflow of deposits and revenues.
In its Q4 financial statement, Silvergate wrote,
''During the fourth quarter of 2022, the digital asset industry experienced a transformational shift, with significant overleverage in the industry-leading to several high-profile bankruptcies. These dynamics created a crisis of confidence across the ecosystem and led many industry participants to shift to a 'risk off' position across digital asset trading platforms. In turn, the Company saw significant outflows of deposits during the quarter and took several actions to maintain cash liquidity.''
This drop in business activity can be observed in the decline in usage of the SEN platform. SEN platform volumes were down 47% in the fourth quarter compared to the fourth quarter of the year prior. On top of that, digital asset customers started to leave the bank in droves. Sivergate had 1,620 digital asset customers on December 31, 2021, compared to just 1,381 a year later.
This trend accelerated rapidly in Q4, as Silvergate clients rushed for the exits as they feared for the bank's future as it came under scrutiny from regulators and politicians in the aftermath of FTX.
In December 2022, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator John Kennedy, and Congressman Roger Marshall penned a letter to Silvergate CEO Alan Lane asking for information about Silvergate's operations, stating, ''The public is owed a full accounting of the financial activities that may have led to the loss of billions in customer assets, and any role that Silvergate may have played in these losses.''
During Q3, the average digital asset customer deposits stood at $12 billion, during Q4, that number stood at $7.3 billion, down 39%.
Below are charts that show how the digital currency deposits of SIlvergate and Signature, another popular crypto-bank, fell off a cliff in Q4. Silvergate's digital currency deposits fell a whopping 68% Q/Q in Q4.
The problem here is that a majority of Silvergate's deposit base came from digital asset customers. This deposit base is extremely volatile and is tied to the market sentiment of the broader digital asset industry. When the prices fall, these clients lose interest and withdraw their funds, which requires Silvergate to repay those deposits. It makes for an unstable, volatile source of funding that can disappear rapidly.
This is what the FDIC, OCC, and Fed were warning about in a recent rare joint statement when they urged banks to apply effective risk management when dealing with deposits linked to crypto entities. They stated, ''Significant volatility in crypto-asset markets, the effects of which include potential impacts on deposit flows associated with crypto-asset companies.''
To prepare for this scenario, Silvergate invested most of its funds in long-duration mortgage-back securities and Treasury bonds. It bought a majority of these bonds before the Federal Reserve went on its hiking tirade when interest rates were low.
As the Fed raised interest rates, the value of Silvergate's bond holdings plunged, eroding the value of the bank's assets. The catch here is that, per accounting rules, Silvergate didn't have to mark their bond holdings to market (at the current market price) so long as they held their bonds to maturity. However, when depositors started to flee the bank, Silvergate was forced to sell these bond holdings to meet the withdrawals.
When this happened, Silvergate had to mark to market all the bonds on its balance sheet and report a realized loss. This ate int the bank's equity, which only spooked clients more, leading to more withdrawals. A classic bank run ensued.
Suddenly, Silvergate was left in a liquidity crisis as it tried to meet withdrawals by selling its bond positions that were underwater due to the rising rate environment. Silvergate sold its bond positions at a large loss to fund withdrawals, inflicting a $1 billion hole in its earnings at the end of 2022.
This is the problem entities run into when they borrow short and lend long. There was an interest rate mismatch where Silvergate owed money to depositors who wanted to withdraw their money now, but they had their assets in long-duration bonds that they couldn't afford to sell without marking a large loss on their balance sheet.
These developments made Silvergate's stock a prime target for short sellers. According to S3 partners, its stock became the most shorted U.S. stock, with open short interest estimated to be at 22.6 million shares, or 82% of float.
Silvergate's stock price is now down -82.7% over the last month alone.
Now that Silvergate has declared that it will wind down its operations, this has caused Senator Elizabeth Warren to come out of the woodwork and claim that this was a result of ''crypto risk.''
But to call the fall of Silvergate a result of ''crypto risk'' is missing the big picture. In fact, Silvergate should be applauded for winding down operations in an orderly fashion that will make all depositors whole. This was a classic example of what can happen when banks do not have the assets on hand to fund withdrawals. This is what can happen with any fractionally reserved bank in the event of a bank run, regardless of if the bank was dealing with the cryptocurrency industry or not.CEO of Custodia Bank, Caitlin Long explains this well in the tweet below.
This Silvergate development highlights a bigger risk within the banking sector as a whole. FDIC-insured banks are currently sitting on massive unrealized losses as their bond holdings have lost a significant amount of value as interest rates have soared.
Below shows that there are currently over $600 billion in unrealized losses held by FDIC-insured banks today, mostly consisting of bonds that are deeply underwater.
This dynamic of the wide difference between the bonds' book values and market values is not isolated to crypto banks like Silvergate. This became evident when the 16th largest commercial bank, Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group experienced a similar problem and saw its stock drop -35% on Thursday after it lost $1.8 billion selling $21 billion worth of bonds to fund withdrawals.
Shares of SVB were halted Friday morning as the shares sold off another -65% overnight as the bank desperately attempted to raise capital. Later that morning, it was announced that the bank would be closed and regulators would take control of its deposits.
The bank failure of Silicon Valley Bank marks the second-largest bank failure in history and the largest bank failure since the Global Financial Crisis.
All of SVB's deposits that are <$250,000 are insured by the FDIC, but it is estimated that over $150 billion, around 97% of its deposits, are uninsured, given that many of SVB's customers are technology companies.
This could pose a big problem to the thousands of companies that banked with SVB when it comes to their ability to make payroll over the next several weeks. We have not seen the end of this story.
On Friday morning, fear continued to spread to other regional banks such as First Republic Bank, PacWest Bancorp, and Western Alliance Bancorp as their share prices plummeted and were eventually halted by authorities.
The contagion in the financial industry was not just isolated to smaller regional banks. The four major U.S. banks lost an estimated $52 billion in market value on Thursday alone.
This carnage in the banking industry comes after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before Congress earlier in the week stating that it is likely that the Fed will need to raise rates higher and hold them for longer.
Powell said, ''The ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated. If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we're prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes.''
After Powell's hawkish testimony, the market gave a 65% chance that the Fed would hike rates another 0.50% at the next FOMC meeting. Last month, this probability was only around 10%.
However, given the recent turmoil in the banking industry, the odds of a 50 bps rate hike have declined. Many analysts have speculated that the Fed would eventually have to stop hiking interest rates to battle inflation ''when something breaks.'' Thursday was the first sign that there might be some cracks forming in the financial system due to this new high-interest rate environment.
If there is one thing that the Federal Reserve likes to bail out, it's banks. Could this turmoil in the banking sector be the start of something bigger that could force the Fed Pivot that so many market participants have longed for?
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen certainly seemed concerned about these recent developments. In a testimony today before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, she stated that the Treasury Department is ''monitoring a few banks amid SVB Financial's funding woes, ''
For this contagion to become systemic, either a lot more smaller banks would need to come under duress or a systemically important financial institution would have to come under pressure. One such large financial institution to keep an eye on is Credit Suisse, which has also seen deposits run out its door in record numbers.
Clients pulled around $120 billion in deposits from Credit Suisse in the last three months alone, and the bank reported a $1.3 billion loss in Q4 of 2022. The health of this large, important European bank is something to keep an eye on in the months to come.
The large U.S. banks are in a very different situation compared to Credit Suisse. Every year the Fed conducts a rigorous stress test to assess how these banks would perform under periods of distress. The scenario tested late last year was the unemployment rate peaking at 10%, real GDP declining by more than 3.5%, and steep declines in asset prices across stocks, bonds, and real estate. The results of the stress test showed that these large banks had sufficient capital to withstand these hypothetical adverse conditions.
Large U.S. banks have built up a large capital buffer due to regulations passed in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, but small banks are not as protected. Their reserves continue to get drained, putting them at increased risk.
Deposits continue to flee these small banks, in part, because clients can now obtain higher interest rates in money market funds and treasury bills compared to the low rates of interest in deposit accounts. Small bank funding continues to dry up just as their bond portfolios have lost value as the Fed has hiked interest rates, a toxic combination for these institutions. We will be monitoring the banking sector closely in the coming weeks.
As the bank stocks sold off, so did Bitcoin, with Bitcoin falling -10.6% in the last 5 trading days.
All of these developments across the broader banking industry highlight the need for investors to own an asset that has no counterparty risk in these uncertain times. We saw in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 how quickly counterparty risk can spread in the highly interconnected traditional financial system during a credit crisis. It's important for investors to protect themselves against this risk.
When an investor holds bitcoin in self-custody, there is no person or entity they have to trust to gain access to their savings. Bitcoin is sound money that you own when you hold your own private keys. No trust is required.
Bitcoin's short-term price will continue to fluctuate with the global macroeconomic landscape and with changes in monetary and fiscal policy. But long-term, Bitcoin's lack of counterparty risk is one reason why it remains an attractive asset to own in a diversified portfolio during these uncertain times.
Swan IRA '-- Real Bitcoin, No Taxes*Hold your IRA with the most trusted name in Bitcoin.
Sam Callahan is the Lead Analyst at Swan Bitcoin. He graduated from Indiana University with degrees in Biology and Physics before turning his attention towards the markets. He writes the popular ''Running the Numbers'' section in the monthly Swan Private Insight Report. Sam's analysis is frequently shared across social media, and he's been a guest on popular podcasts such as The Investor's Podcast and the Stephan Livera Podcast.
Thoughts on Bitcoin from the Swan team and friends.
Ed Dowd: "Remain Calm'...The World Is Not Ending. Just Changing."
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 15:20
''Prominent venture capitalists advised their tech startups to withdraw money from Silicon Valley Bank, while mega institutions such as JP Morgan Chase & Co sought to convince some SVB customers to move their funds Thursday by touting the safety of their assets.
''Let us get this straight: the largest US commercial bank was actively soliciting the clients of one of its biggest competitors, and the 16th largest US bank, knowing full well deposit flight would almost certainly lead to the collapse of a bank which courtesy of fractional reserve banking, had only modest cash to satisfy deposit demands: certainly not enough to meet $42 billion in deposit outflows.
''Of course, Jamie, who has suddenly emerged as a key figure in the Jeff Epstein scandal alongside Jes Staley, [brother of Peter Staley] knows this, and would be delighted with an outcome that kills two birds with one stone: take his name off the front pages and also make JP Morgan even bigger. Actually three birds: remember it was JPM that started that "Not QE" Fed liquidity injection in Sept 2019 when the bank "suddenly" found itself reserve constrained. We doubt that JPM would mind greatly if Powell ended his rate hikes and eased/launched QE as a result of a bank crisis, a bank crisis that Jamie helped precipitate.
''And while we wait to see if Dimon's participation in the Epstein scandal will now fade from media coverage, and whether Powell will launch QE, we know one thing for sure: JPM was a clear and immediate benefactor of SIVB's collapse because in a day when everything crashed, JPM stock was one of the handful that were up.'' '--Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge Zero Hedge coverage.
One of Silicon Valley's top banks fails; assets are seized | AP News
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 15:09
NEW YORK (AP) '-- Regulators rushed Friday to seize the assets of one of Silicon Valley's top banks, marking the largest failure of a U.S. financial institution since the height of the financial crisis almost 15 years ago.
Silicon Valley Bank, the nation's 16th-largest bank, failed after depositors hurried to withdraw money this week amid anxiety over the bank's health. It was the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history after the collapse of Washington Mutual in 2008.
The bank served mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies, including some of the industry's best-known brands.
''This is an extinction-level event for startups,'' said Garry Tan, CEO of Y Combinator, a startup incubator that launched Airbnb, DoorDash and Dropbox and has referred hundreds of entrepreneurs to the bank.
''I literally have been hearing from hundreds of our founders asking for help on how they can get through this. They are asking, 'Do I have to furlough my workers?'''
There appeared to be little chance of the chaos spreading in the broader banking sector, as it did in the months leading up to the Great Recession. The biggest banks '-- those most likely to cause an economic meltdown '-- have healthy balance sheets and plenty of capital.
Nearly half of the U.S. technology and health care companies that went public last year after getting early funding from venture capital firms were Silicon Valley Bank customers, according to the bank's website.
The bank also boasted of its connections to leading tech companies such as Shopify, ZipRecruiter and one of the top venture capital firms, Andreesson Horowitz.
Tan estimated that nearly one-third of Y Combinator's startups will not be able to make payroll at some point in the next month if they cannot access their money.
Internet TV provider Roku was among casualties of the bank collapse. It said in a regulatory filing Friday that about 26% of its cash '-- $487 million '-- was deposited at Silicon Valley Bank.
Roku said its deposits with SVB were largely uninsured and it didn't know ''to what extent'' it would be able to recover them.
As part of the seizure, California bank regulators and the FDIC transferred the bank's assets to a newly created institution '-- the Deposit Insurance Bank of Santa Clara. The new bank will start paying out insured deposits on Monday. Then the FDIC and California regulators plan to sell off the rest of the assets to make other depositors whole.
There was unease in the banking sector all week, with shares tumbling by double digits. Then news of Silicon Valley Bank's distress pushed shares of almost all financial institutions even lower Friday.
The failure arrived with incredible speed. Some industry analysts suggested Friday that the bank was still a good company and a wise investment. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley Bank executives were trying to raise capital and find additional investors. However, trading in the bank's shares was halted before stock market's opening bell due to extreme volatility.
Shortly before noon, the FDIC moved to shutter the bank. Notably, the agency did not wait until the close of business, which is the typical approach. The FDIC could not immediately find a buyer for the bank's assets, signaling how fast depositors cashed out.
The White House said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was ''watching closely.'' The administration sought to reassure the public that the banking system is much healthier than during the Great Recession.
''Our banking system is in a fundamentally different place than it was, you know, a decade ago,'' said Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. ''The reforms that were put in place back then really provide the kind of resilience that we'd like to see.''
In 2007, the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression rippled across the globe after mortgage-backed securities tied to ill-advised housing loans collapsed in value. The panic on Wall Street led to the demise of Lehman Brothers, a firm founded in 1847. Because major banks had extensive exposure to one another, the crisis led to a cascading breakdown in the global financial system, putting millions out of work.
At the time of its failure, Silicon Valley Bank, which is based in Santa Clara, California, had $209 billion in total assets, the FDIC said. It was unclear how many of its deposits were above the $250,000 insurance limit, but previous regulatory reports showed that lots of accounts exceeded that amount.
The bank announced plans Thursday to raise up to $1.75 billion in order to strengthen its capital position. That sent investors scurrying and shares plunged 60%. They tumbled lower still Friday before the opening of the Nasdaq, where the bank's shares were traded.
As its name implied, Silicon Valley Bank was a major financial conduit between the technology sector, startups and tech workers. It was seen as good business sense to develop a relationship with the bank if a startup founder wanted to find new investors or go public.
Conceived in 1983 by co-founders Bill Biggerstaff and Robert Medearis during a poker game, the bank leveraged its Silicon Valley roots to become a financial cornerstone in the tech industry.
Bill Tyler, the CEO of TWG Supply in Grapevine, Texas, said he first realized something was wrong when his employees texted him at 6:30 a.m. Friday to complain that they did not receive their paychecks.
TWG, which has just 18 employees, had already sent the money for the checks to a payroll services provider that used Silicon Valley Bank. Tyler was scrambling to figure out how to pay his workers.
''We're waiting on roughly $27,000,'' he said. ''It's already not a timely payment. It's already an uncomfortable position. I don't want to ask any employees, to say, 'Hey, can you wait until mid-next week to get paid?'''
Silicon Valley Bank's ties to the tech sector added to its troubles. Technology stocks have been hit hard in the past 18 months after a growth surge during the pandemic, and layoffs have spread throughout the industry. Venture capital funding has also been declining.
At the same time, the bank was hit hard by the Federal Reserve's fight against inflation and an aggressive series of interest rate hikes to cool the economy.
As the Fed raises its benchmark interest rate, the value of generally stable bonds starts to fall. That is not typically a problem, but when depositors grow anxious and begin withdrawing their money, banks sometimes have to sell those bonds before they mature to cover the exodus.
That is exactly what happened to Silicon Valley Bank, which had to sell $21 billion in highly liquid assets to cover the sudden withdrawals. It took a $1.8 billion loss on that sale.
Ashley Tyrner, CEO of FarmboxRx, said she had spoken to several friends whose businesses are backed by venture capital. She described them as being ''beside themselves'' over the bank's failure. Tyrner's chief operating officer tried to withdraw her company's funds on Thursday but failed to do so in time.
''One friend said they couldn't make payroll today and cried when they had to inform 200 employees because of this issue,'' Tyrner said.
___
Associated Press Writers Michael Liedtke, Cora Lewis and Matt O'Brien, Frank Bajak and Barbara Ortutay contributed to this story.
Opinion | Silicon Valley Bank Feels the Toll of the Fed's Inflation Fight - The New York Times
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 14:16
If you're wondering why Silicon Valley Bank, one of the biggest lenders to tech start-ups, had to be taken over Friday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, one good place to look is the Federal Reserve.
The Fed has raised interest rates extremely rapidly over the past year to squelch inflation. So thanks to the Fed, banks are having to pay much higher rates on their deposits and other liabilities. But they're not earning much more on their assets, which include the loans they make and the Treasury bonds they purchase.
The real problem, though, for banks '-- not just Silicon Valley Bank '-- is not so much the higher rates as the rapidity of their increase.
Here's a professor from Silicon Valley '-- Darrell Duffie, a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business '-- to explain the crunch: ''Normally interest rates go up really slowly and depositors hardly notice that they're not getting a very good rate relative to market rates.''
Slowly moving, inattentive depositors leave their money in low- or zero-yielding deposits, making the banks very happy, Duffie explained. And when interest rates rise slowly, banks have plenty of time to replace low-yielding assets with higher-yielding ones.
Not now though, Duffie told me. ''This time has been quite different because the Fed has raised rates very sharply,'' he said. ''And it's still raising.''
He's right: The top end of the target range for the federal funds rate has zoomed from 0.25 percent a year ago to 4.75 percent now, and most forecasters expect the Fed to increase it an additional half a percentage point or three-quarters of a percentage point in coming months. For speed, that rivals the bursts of rate increases by the Fed from 1979 to 1981 under Paul Volcker.
So banks are paying much more to borrow but haven't been able to increase the yields on their assets. For example, they can charge more for new loans, but they're stuck earning low rates on the vastly larger number of loans they issued in the past.
It's actually worse than that. To raise cash for withdrawals, banks are having to sell Treasury bonds whose market value has plummeted because of the Fed's rate-raising campaign. (Bonds, which have fixed interest rates, become less valuable when new bonds come out that pay higher rates.)
Why Silicon Valley Bank, though? What made it especially vulnerable? One reason is that many of its loans are in the tech sector, which as you may have heard is hurting. Another, perhaps more important reason is that it relies heavily on deposits from institutions rather than individuals.
The people who run companies, investment funds and other institutions are always looking for the highest yield they can earn, so they're quick to yank money from a bank and put it in, say, a money-market fund. Also, institutions will rush to pull their money out of a bank if they think it might go bust. Even if they're convinced that the bank is solvent, they might take their money out because they fear others will pull their money out.
That's a classic bank run. True, institutions' deposits are protected by the F.D.I.C., but only up to $250,000, which is meaninglessly small for them. Before the F.D.I.C. takeover, Sunny Juneja, founder of Canopy Analytics, a Bay Area start-up focused on real estate technology, told The Times that he was ''doing everything I can'' to yank his money out of Silicon Valley Bank: Although the bank had been a good partner, he saw no upside to staying and no downside to leaving.
Silicon Valley Bank is ''the slowest antelope in the pack,'' Anil Kashyap, a professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, told me.
Stock prices of some other regional banks have fallen as well. In contrast, the nation's biggest banks '-- Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo '-- have held up better because they rely more heavily on small individual depositors who pay less attention and move their money more slowly.
Anat Admati, a colleague of Duffie at Stanford, told me that banks would be less vulnerable to runs if they had thicker safety cushions of equity. That would mean less borrowing for any given level of assets, so that even if those assets lost a lot of value, they'd still be worth more than the liabilities.
The big question now, for markets and regulators, is whether many other banks are about to falter. To prevent a cascading financial crisis, the F.D.I.C. could insure all of banks' liabilities, including all deposits without limit, as it did during the global financial crisis. But taxpayers wouldn't like bailing out banks and their big depositors from their bad decisions. ''Being so heavily indebted, banks always want to benefit from magnified upside (juiced by leverage) and leave downside to others,'' Admati wrote in an email.
Besides, Kashyap said, ''I don't think that the banks that are essential to the health of the economy are anywhere close to insolvent. The regulators care about the system, not any particular bank. Maybe this wakes everybody up.''
Or maybe if more banks get in trouble, the Fed might slow down its pace of rate increases. Until now it's been watching for signs that higher rates were affecting the nonfinancial parts of the economy. Somewhat surprisingly, the job market has held up well: On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that payrolls grew by 311,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate edged up, but only to 3.6 percent, still very low by historical standards.
The Fed chair, Jerome Powell, and his fellow rate setters will surely be asked about how their policies are affecting banks in the weeks to come.
The Readers WriteInteresting newsletter on student loan forgiveness, but I believe the real problem is the obscene interest rates, particularly for loans taken out when interest rates were at historic lows. Why should someone have been able to take out a personal line of credit for $100,000 (which can be discharged in bankruptcy, while student loans cannot) for under 3 percent with the freedom to do whatever they want with the money, while someone who takes out student loans to attend, say, a state law school is stuck paying 7 percent or higher on federal loans? These are personal examples (I went to U.C.L.A. School of Law and it was worth it). If student loan interest rates were lower I bet more people would be motivated to pay them off! And we would show that we actually value education in this country.
Mariah VolkPalo Alto, Calif.
You quoted Chief Justice John Roberts asking why the government should forgive a student loan but not the loan of an 18-year-old who borrowed to start a lawn service. A partial answer to Justice Roberts's questions is that the lawn service person can get a discharge in bankruptcy. Making it easier to discharge a student loan in bankruptcy would be fairer than the Biden plan, but, of course, that would require legislation and the legislation is impossible.
John CramerLiverpool, Pa.
The colleges and universities are the primary beneficiaries here. Just make them co-sign the loans!
Grey WinfieldHickory, N.C.
Quote of the Day''Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said: 'One can't believe impossible things.'
'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!'''
'-- Lewis Carroll, ''Through the Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found There'' (1871); Project Gutenberg edition (2021)
Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country by William Greider | Goodreads
Fri, 10 Mar 2023 19:22
40 reviews 4 followers
September 21, 2012 Warning....you will gain nothing from this review.This is a book that exposed my cerebral limitations and I am not going to blame Greider for it. I forced myself to read every page...kind of like (I assume here...one look at me and you will know that I don't force myself to run long distances!!!) a marathon runner. For me, it became a test of endurance..."finish the tome" I chanted to myself! Why? In the final analysis... For the sake of finishing. I kept waiting for the fog to clear, for the "secret" of the temple to be revealed to me. When I finally read the last page, I was convinced of one thing only....I don't know what the Fed is doing or why I should care. Again...not Grieder's fault...you can't blame Grieder for my lack of understanding. I will say this....it seems that the Fed has been as dazed and confused (at times) as I was when I finished this book. Economics and Physics....reading in these realms is bad for my self esteem....I am truly bothered by my limitations. A humbling experience to say the least. My apologies for this..."review?". It offers no insight because I am in over my head here. I've read other of Greider's books...and they were more within my grasp. He is, obviously, a powerful thinker...wish I could have hung with him on this one.
1,916 reviews 349 followers
May 3, 2009 It's always fun to observe values changing over time, depending on the needs of society. William Greider, in Secrets of the Temple, a history of the Federal Reserve System, relates how usury was once considered a heinous offense against the church. There are perhaps a dozen clear prohibitions against charging interest in the Bible. It was considered an immoral way to make money, as it resulted from no work. The wealthy had an obligation to help those less fortunate, without profiting from their generosity. In fact, until the late Middle Ages, anyone charging interest would be immediately excommunicated.Capitalism, which required capital to create wealth, changed the church's values. The rise of Protestantism further weakened the traditional stance of the church against usury. But it wasn't until the 1970s, with the inflationary pressures on interest rates that states were forced to repeal usury laws, laws which had been enacted to actually legitimize charging interest and to control "excessive interest." Interestingly, Islamic countries have had to deal with this issue in a different way. The Koran is equally strict in its prohibition against charging interest, and this was considered a serious impediment to the rise of capitalism in the Middle East. They get around the uncompromising religious prohibition by creating a risk-sharing environment. Both "partners" in a venture share in profit or loss, just not equally. Bankers routinely consult religious advisors to make sure no profits could be considered "interest" earned on the money used in the venture.
74 reviews
May 11, 2009 I slogged through most of the 700 dense pages (not including appendix). This could have easily been two books: one about the history of the Federal Reserve and its place in the financial and political history of the US, and another book about the story of Paul Volker as head of the Fed during the Carter and Reagan years. For the most part this is a fascinating book especially in light of the current financial situation. The really intriguing aspect of the book is the author's assertion that the Fed is a parallel political power that can determine the economic climate and direction of the country in spite of what our elected bodies and presidents want. The reason for this is the almost total lack of knowledge of economics and the workings of the Fed by the general public and, more importantly, almost all elected officials. He uses the Volker scenario to drive this point home.
finance 450 reviews 81 followers
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May 5, 2021
"In the magnificent boardroom of the Federal Reserve, the chairman listened to the farm representatives argue for easier money, for lower interest rates and an end to the price deflation. His response chilled them.'Look,' Volcker said [to the Congressmen], 'your constituents are unhappy, mine aren't'"This book primarily focuses on Paul Volcker's time as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, from his time of appointment under Carter, to the end of his term under Reagan. In short, it is about Volcker's war on inflation after the "stagflation" decade of the 1970s. Though "Secrets of the Temple" was written 30 years ago, there are many familiar strokes in these 700-odd pages. After all, it was this period which was to see the Democratic Party moving away from its former position as the party of ideals which had a vision for the future. A harmony of ignorance of monetary matters and embarrassment at inflation which caused the weakening of the U.S. dollar in world markets during the Carter administration was to set the stage for Volcker's stone-cold monetarism'--In Greider's own words,
"Liberalism, it seemed, was turned upside down. Every important aspect of the 1980 legislation'--repealing usury laws, authorizing interest on checking accounts, abolishing rate ceilings'--involved the same exchange. The Democratic Party was abandoning the egalitarian agenda that it had embraced for nearly fifty years. [...] The party of liberalism, one could say, was apologizing for inflation. The Democrats were offering redress to those who had been hurt most, the owners of financial wealth, large or small, whose assets were eroded by nearly fifteen years of price inflation.
[...]
The financial deregulation legislation proved to be an appropriate prelude to the 1980s. What Democrats had begun reluctantly, a new Republican Administration would continue with relish."
The abandonment of the Keynesian model for a Friedmanesque one played out in devastating ways. While low unemployment had been a focus of the Keynesian model (for, low unemployment meant more purchasing power) it could not accommodate or make sense of high unemployment coupled with inflation. Basically, Keynesian policy could easily expand purchasing power, but couldn't contract it. As a result, unless the nation found itself in a war, it was difficult to increase taxes. This left only the decrease in public expenditures. As a result, Volcker's policies would not have such an emphasis on the unemployed or on a broad base of purchasing power. Instead, what mattered was money, growth, sheer transaction, abstract exchange. After all, it seemed that any emphasis on social responsibility involved falling back on track to rampant inflation. Under such a program things like unemployment not only did not necessarily hurt, but helped increase nominal GDP in many cases'--after all, a surplus of labor would force wages down...
In essentials, Volker's Fed was less concerned with the well-being of Americans and more concerned with the reputation of the Fed and its influence on America's role in global finance which, in turn, would inspire confidence in the markets. In Volcker's world, all that mattered was the favor of big money, a constituency whose favor he felt the Fed needed to gain after 15 years of non-stop inflation. Yet, from here on, things begin to sound very familiar'--
"When these bankers urged the Fed to tighten its money control, to tolerate high rates and recession, and, above all, to ignore the inevitable "political" complaints from other interests, they were in fact arguing for the policy that would enhance their own profits."
From its inception, Federal Reserve was *meant* to have a "disinterested" attitude towards politics. Surely, we can all agree that assuming a bracketed stance towards politics and society is at best naive, and at worst, deliberately masks manipulation... Contrary to the disinterested posture of the Fed, it usually found no reason to get tough with banks unless a "general political climate" would support such action'--and getting tough usually amounted to no more than a shake of the finger.
Though many who pushed for a stable currency would evoke the image of the elderly saver whose savings had been diminished by rising runaway inflation, it was relatively easy to find a holder of a large accumulation of wealth behind this image who was perturbed by lesser returns on their financial assets. Or, as Greider says, "Their loss amounted to this: their financial wealth did not breed still more wealth as fast as it would have if money's value had been stable." Not really such a wellspring of pity, I must say.
Not to mention Congress usually had no idea what the Fed was actually trying to accomplish, especially under the Regan Administration who seemed to want two fundamentally irreconcilable things at once'--tighter money and faster economic growth... or vast increases in military spending coupled with tax cuts. Clearly, such an administration was a little confused as to what it really wanted in real terms... And of course, we could always count on Congress to retreat from the showman-style confrontation with the Fed after a cycle of "bad times" had come to an end. Essentially, Congress did not and does not wish to fundamentally change a damn thing, just get reelected.
In can be argued back and forth whether certain times called for a tightening or easing of money, but to me it seems the true problem was a lack of regulation. Aggressive lending to third world countries was never stopped by the Fed. Instead, the 70s saw banks castigating the Fed for not tightening money, while adding to the dangerous and untenable buildup of world debt. This played out very badly in the 80s after Volcker actually *did* become tight with money after 1979 to combat inflation. The example of Penn Square, a small bank in Oklahoma whose network of risky lending during the 70s was so vast, it nearly took down Mexico's economy with it, and most certainly led to the insolvency of an even larger bank, Continental Illinois, who was forced to write off more than 500 Million in loans from Penn Square. The book is rife with such mind-splitting shenanigans, essentially the result of a small, well endowed group of people wanting more things all at once.
Meanwhile, a stronger dollar as a result of Volcker's tightening made U.S. exports proportionately more expensive for overseas customers, while simultaneously making foreign imports cheaper for the U.S. buyer. Oftentimes, the Fed (and the U.S government) seeks out to coddle the interests of the wealthy for the sake of a pale stability over against the quality of life of its own citizens. During Volcker's term, finance received inordinate protection from harm while the productive economy and export markets were allowed to tank. Indeed, Greider points out the the imbalance was so great that America, "the most abundant farm country in the world" would become a net importer of agricultural products by the year 1986. In short, Volcker's guidance saw America shift from a producing nation whose policies favored income equality, to a nation of finance, where income inequality would begin grow larger and larger...
These are but a few pieces to a complicated puzzle which I still have not grasped in its entirety, I am sure. Greider's history is fascinating'--and I am not someone who is usually thrilled by books which discuss economics in such brutal terms! Usually, I need some esoteric philosophy//poetic license to distract me from the dryness of it all. Though Greider is most definitely not radical by any stretch of the imagination, (his advocation of an "activist money policy" which would counteract things like deflation and contraction during recession doesn't seem to me to nearly go far enough...) 'Secrets of the Temple' is still a great way to begin to understand the strange and unique power of the Federal Reserve.
economics historical non-fiction 10 reviews 3 followers
January 8, 2023 Very educational. Although this 700 page book could have been 400, it was useful to be soaked in the internal machinations of the Volcker Fed just to get a feel for the way decisions were made. Even though there is little monetary theory to take away from this book, I feel like it taught me some valuable lessons about how governments and national economic systems are set up.It's quite remarkable, in a bad way, what sorts of people are making these inscrutable money decisions, and the patterns those decisions give rise to. One pattern the author argues quite convincingly for is that the Federal Reserve System was (and probably still is) almost entirely accountable to the wealth interests of the creditor class of the economy, and quite callously uninterested in the human plight of the debtor class.
187 reviews 9 followers
February 10, 2010 Weighing in at 717 pages, not counting reference notes or appendices, "Secrets of the Temple" is part history, part sociological text, part political narrative, and part economic analysis, and it succeeds, to a greater or lesser degree, in all these tasks. It focuses on the history of the Fed during the reign of Paul Volcker, using this as a focal point to reference a more extended history of both the Fed and the overall economy of America.As a whole, this is interesting stuff, and I learned a lot from reading it. The fact this rather complex tome, which interweaves a series of narratives and a wealth of source material with fairly sophisticated economic theory, was a best seller back in 1987 shows how far the intellectual capabilities of the average American reader have fallen in just 23 years. If an historical analysis of the Fed were to become a best seller today, it would almost undoubtedly involve half-backed conspiracy theories, be affiliated with a political campaign, or be promoted by a blowhard on cable TV. The good news is that, while so much of what the unwashed masses are offered these days is half-witted bullshit, you can still get get Greider's comparatively thoughtful text at your local bookstore.
My one caveat is that, while the history here is well-argued and researched, the same cannot be said for Greider's solutions, which boil down to typical lefty claptrap about govermental mandates for full employment, augmented by the forming of coalitions demanding the reinflation of prices, as a way to curtail the power of the Fed.
461 reviews 5 followers
September 10, 2016 In the first 2/3 of this book, Greider set the scene for the economic unfolding of the 1980s. He explained the forces in the economy that led to the need for the central bank, and reviewed economic and financial development up until that time. A significant conclusion was that confidence in fiat money was important, and growth would be difficult without it.Then the second 2/3 of the book was a ridiculous and tedious tail chasing, criticizing every Fed decision from the alternate point of view, with zero consistency. However, because the Fed generally pursued a tight policy, Greider's net criticism was that this tightness, while eliminating inflationary pressure, led to maintenance of financial values at the expense of no longer using inflation as a means of ameliorating debt by the "borrowing class.", as if economics were a zero sum game. The Fed had to make a choice between a stable currency that increased confidence and provided a backdrop for growth and an inflationary currency that acted as a continual transfer of wealth from lenders to borrowers but generally inhibited investment. Could have been said so much more briefly, and much better supported, instead of repeating the same unsupported point ad nauseam.
It's quaint what they considered a large deficit way back in the 1980s.
business 339 reviews 19 followers
November 19, 2013 Lately the drums have begun to sound again, the war drums against the supposed evils embodied by the Federal Reserve system. Ron Paul and his band of followers have called for the disbandment of the system. In this excellent work, Greider examines the Federal Reserve, its origins and history and how it does business, all against the backdrop of perhaps the most turbulent period of the recent history of the Federal Reserve - the stag-flation period of the late 1970s and early 1980s.The Fed began as a Progressive innovation masterminded by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 as a guard against bank failures and a way to stabilize the supply of currency in the economy. Since then, the Fed has played a tremendous role in the US government's efforts to stabilize the economy. The Fed's ability to control the key Federal Reserve interest rate is a very important way to control the money supply. This allows the Fed to make more money available to the economy to allow businesses to expand in times of recession, while also allowing the money supply to dry up during periods of inflation. The Fed has also backed the legitimacy of American banks by allowing stressed banks to draw on cash supplies in times of bank runs.
In "Secrets of the Temple", Greider focuses on Paul Volcker, the man who chaired the Fed during the critical years in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the economy was gripped by a recession that caused unemployment to surge to over 10% while inflation simulataneously increased to the point where prices were increasing at a rate of over 12% per year. Greider examines Volcker's personality, his economic policies and his willingness to entertain new policies based on the economic school of University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman. He looked at the political aspects of the fight against stagflation that culminated in the 1980 election and the defeat of President Jimmy Carter. And he examines how the economy recovered from the recession in the years of the first term of President Ronald Reagan.
Greider does a good job at examining all aspects of the economy and not just those controlled by the Fed. His narrative is lively and interesting despite the fact that this book is about economics. While "Secrets of the Temple" is probably not entirely accessible to readers who are not trained in economic theory, it is a very interesting background to the Fed which should be read by anyone with an interest in monetary theory and economics. I would highly recommend this book for any readers with these interests.
business-economics Author 2 books 18 followers
August 5, 2011 While researching Far From The War I wanted a good book about the Federal Reserve, one that would give a lot of detail, show some of the inside baseball, without being conspiratorial. Thankfully, the title sounds a lot more conspiratorial than the content within.I wanted something credible and scholarly -- this fit the bill perfectly. Learned a ton of how the Fed works and in particular about how Reagan used the Fed to deflect blame for the recession -- wait two recessions -- that happened during his first term.
I can see this book as a gateway to conspiratorial thinking however, as the documented truth is often scary enough.
research-books 1,178 reviews 19 followers
January 21, 2009 O.K., so I only read 1/2 of it. I did learn some interesting things about how the Fed controls our economy through manipulation of the money supply. I didn't like the way the information was presented. It kept jumping back and forth through different periods of history, which made it difficult to follow.
nonfiction 51 reviews 6 followers
September 13, 2007 A very good attempt at explaining the mechanics of controlling the capital of an empire of capitalism. Complicated and eye opening.
non-fiction September 3, 2021 The book title is a put off to serious readers. Don't let it be. Someone grossly mistitled this book. The author does occasionally offer somewhat provocative historical commentary, but nothing remotely close to the sensational quality of the title.I will write further after I finish this great book, but having read 583 pages, I am satisfied I can "authoritatively" comment. The subject should be boring but the book is not. Having said that, it is a tome. There is a lot here. The other qualification is that we live in a political economy. I am sure that a better educated reader could dissuade me from the author's economic conclusions. Facts don't tell lies, but they do tell stories, and writers do direct the plots. On the whole I agree with the author but I am not always sure that I would if I studied the subject further.
Having lived through this period, even having met Paul Volker, I am in a position to correct the author if he strays too far into interpretation. I don't think he does. I think this is an admirable rendition of the history, and I think this account of the 70's and 80's could could provide a solid foundation for understanding the monetary challenges of today, which I deem to be considerable.
Update: This is not a perfect book. There is a lecturing aspect to it, at times, and there is an expressed concern that the Federal Reserve, and the banking system, and the government, often times work together, and not to the benefit of the working man. There is a constant tension between capital and labor in our economy and the author uses the Federal Reserve to explore this topic. But importantly, he succeeds in giving a good history lesson before the lecture.
148 reviews
May 19, 2020 An absolute tome of a book on a topic few know much about: the undermining of the economy through the push for deflation by the Volcker Fed.Under the assumption that inflation must be stopped at all costs, Volcker institutes almost usurious interest rates. Greider doesn't hold many punches back in criticizing the catastrophic affects of the policy. But it's not all Volcker, it just seems like almost everybody was on board that this was the way to go. Reagan demanded it. Same with various senators. Friedman demanded monetarism.
But so many people were just wrong. Painfully wrong. Even as the cause of inflation--the Vietnam War--goes unspoken. And the high interest rates and strong dollar demolishes US industry, benefits international finance. It sets the stage for the junk bond crisis. Punishes agriculture, enables vulture capitalism.
But some balked. Kudlow comes off as prescient when he calls the forecasts "complete garbage." Eventually Friedman admits his models didn't really predict what he thought they would.
Really the book could have been trimmed down, but hard to criticize what is otherwise an essential history.
65 reviews
June 18, 2018 A long read, the author gives a more detailed view of the mechanics of the American economy, the players, the manipulators. Working through from the formation of the Federal Reserve, the crash of 1929 up until the crash of 1987, the delicate dance between inflation and the fiscal wellness of consumers is revealed. Greider illustrated how the American capitalist model works, and doesn't work. As someone I know has said before, "it's working as well as it should". The revelation of having to have 'x' amount of people unemployed at pretty much any given time, the issue of living wages, versus low wages, debt to income ratios, the wealth all reverting to the top and how that is truly unsustainable in a consumerist society. An interesting introduction to economics and capitalism in the United States and how it has and does affect other nations, I would recommend it. It's a long read, but it's also insightful and I'm still mentally re-ordering some of the things I read to apply them to the world I live in now.
economics general-history non-fiction 56 reviews
November 10, 2019 A brilliant book. Amazing reporting, great historical context. I'd been meaning to read this for about 20 years and finally made it happen. What is starkly evident is that in 1987 Greider'--who in 1981 managed to get David Stockman to straight-up admit that Reaganomics was a total fraud'--understood what the conservative program portended for America's future better than anybody else at the time, and far better than most people today. Reading how dead-on he called it today is pretty depressing. His point that 1870s-1890s protest parties far better understood the politics of money than 20th'--and certainly 21st'--century Americans is hard to argue. I hate to make common cause with the Federal Reserve paranoiac conspiracy theorists, but Greider's account does suggest the Modern Monetary Theory people are not nearly as ''out there'' as the usual suspects insist.
Read
July 16, 2020
This was a surprisingly good read. One reviewer said something along the lines of them being surprised that a book which covers such a large amount of rather difficult economic theory managed to be a best seller when it came out, and I have to say that I agree. Most of this material is at least on par with undergraduate level economic theory: supply and demand, inflation, currency exchange rates, interest rates, international debt, etc. All of this weaved into a text that has a very thorough grasp of the workings of the political system.
economics political-science May 17, 2020 I would give this book a much higher review if the editor had only done his job. The book is way to long at somewhere around 700 pages. The material and subject was excellent. It may have been hard to make it half that length, but certainly more appropriate. The author goes on for pages on something that could have been covered in sentences or at most, paragraphs.I am glad I stuck it out and read the whole thing.
31 reviews 1 follower
July 20, 2021 "Secrets of the Temple" is an interesting book written by a very good writer, William Greider. Although it was published more than 20 years ago, he makes points that are somewhat relevant today. The book is largely about the Federal Reserve Board (or "FED") under chairman Paul Volcker from 1979 to 1987 although there is a good deal of history on the FED prior to Volcker's appointment as chairman by President Jimmy Carter.
September 24, 2019 Very long.I didn't appreciate his musings on how he felt Monitorism was like a religion and how Sigmund Freud had theories connecting money with poop.I did appreciate the historical narrative parts of the book but he approached the story from different angles in different chapters which made it very difficult for me to keep the timeline straight.
history August 3, 2021 Tedious but important.I remember being told that people who talk about the Fed are insane.The Fed runs a super boring "education" program. Insane and boring are the Fed's defenses. It has been enough.Would like to do a chapter by chapter review with others.
513 reviews 7 followers
August 3, 2022 755å¤šé çšæªç‰(C)èŠæ›¸æ–°æç¾Žå'‹è¯æº–æ'ƒçšç§å¯†¼åªæ'‰è‹±æ–‡ç‰¼‰åå¤šå¹´å‰æ‘就開始自問¼šç‚ºä½•å¤®èŒå¯ä>>¥å°éŒ¼ŸèŒæ‘不可ä>>¥¼Ÿé麼多年æ²'人問央èŒçšåæ"•æ§¼æ‘å‘é‚把央èŒç¸½è£ç•¶ç¥žäºº¼å…¶å¯...ä>>–å‘ç'Ÿçšå¾åžƒå'¾¼æ¬ŠåŠ›å·...å"ä¸å‹å'‹å®¶çšå‘½é‹åå¤šå¹´å‰é–‹å§‹å°ç¾å'¨¼Œæ‘å‘少數çšäººçŸ¥é'聯準æ'ƒä¸æ‡‰è(C)²å­å'¨¼Œç¾Žå'‹è¯æº–æ'ƒå…¶å¯...æ¯ä¸ƒå®¶éŠèŒç§äººè¨>>冊¼Œä½ å‘知é'嗎¼Ÿ¼æ‡‰è(C)²è...æŠŠé些央èŒç¸½è£æŠ'åŽ>>é—'¼è¨>>¼šä½ è²·æ子åŸéŒè...æ'‰æ'--ä'¼Œé ­æ¬¾ç­‰'...但æ子é‚不æ¯ä½ 皼›èŒå¤®èŒæ²'æ'‰æ'--ä'就可ä>>¥å°éŒ¼ç--¨é>>ƒé‡‘來æ'--ä'å'¨å°¼å…‹æ£®å°±å>>é¤æŽ‰äº†'...¼‰æ'¬äººæ¯å¸Œæ'›åä½åŽ>>æ'胼Œæ'ç´æ‰æ'‰ä¸å‡åå¹¾å¹´å‰¼Œå¤®èŒçšç§å¯†æ‰'開é世界ä¸å‡çšè¬Šè¨10/10
57 reviews 1 follower
December 9, 2019 A must read and not just for people who like tin foil!!!
September 12, 2021 One of the most important books written about economics ever. A must read for every citizen.
January 27, 2022 A good read about how the American middle class was financially ruined.
70 reviews 2 followers
December 6, 2022 Very worthy of reading. But the book is really long, and the latter part becomes repetitive. I'd give this book a 4-stars if the author had managed to shorten the book to half of the current length.
1,123 reviews 59 followers
January 5, 2023 arguably a more important (and, alas, certainly more boring) book than caro's the power broker, if only because greider describes the single most important economic adjustment in the history of the US economy: the paul volcker-era "triumph of money/finance" in the early Reagan administration. a masterwork i spent nearly eight years reading across hundreds (thousands?) of visits to the upstairs toilet.
favorites 29 reviews 1 follower
November 21, 2007 I didn't finish this because I had to return it to the library, but here's what I learned:1. Over time, money has become less tied to anything real or practical, BUT it has always ultimately been based on agreement between people about value. For example, when money was cattle, people agreed that the value of a service or whatever was so many cattle and not more or less.
2. The gold standard did not guarantee price or economic stability. The value of gold and silver always fluctuated based on how much of each was being mined, and while their value in comparison to each other was supposed to be stable based on this ancient alchemical relationship, in reality that changed a lot too.
3. During the Civil War, Lincoln issued "greenbacks" for the first time in US history. This was money not based on gold, backed solely by gov't promise. This caused a boom, because there was more money available for people to start or expand businesses. After the war, gov't went back to the gold standard, causing massive deflation, hitting farmers hard. Also, because the gold standard limited the amount of money available, frontier banks did not always have enough cash reserves to back loans farmers asked for seasonally, as well as their deposits. This caused 'bank runs" - when rumors flew that a bank was running out of cash, people raced to withdraw their money so they wouldn't lose it when the bank failed. Farmers organized the Populist movement, which wanted gov't to go back to greenbacks and abandon the gold standard. They called for an "elastic currency," which would make credit available when it was needed, rather than being tied to gold markets. They demanded democratic control of money, thru elected gov't. They were scorned as hicks by the East Coast banking industry, who saw a threat to their control over money. Wm. Jennings Bryan was kind of Populist, but watered down.
4. The Federal Reserve System started because of the problems the Populists identified. It wasn't born from their movement, but gov't and East Coast bankers eventually figured out that an elastic currency was necessary to create more stability in the economy (because credit demands are seasonal). The big NY banks used to cooperate (under JP Morgan's leadership) to bail out failing banks, but around the 1900s, this happened a lot and they even had to bail out the gov't. Eventually they realized they needed elastic currency. The Fed was a compromise between private banking interests and public democratic interests. The privates made out way better. The Fed is HIGHLY anti-democratic - its structure is based on distrusting public opinion about monetary policy. Its culture tries to maintain the "mystique of central banking," the attitude that these things are too complicated for normal people to understand. The Fed is not "privately owned," though part of its governance comes from private banking. It is protected from gov't oversight by the length of its governors' terms and by the freedom they have to determine monetary policy. Basically, it's like the gov't said, "We appoint you to do this job, but we won't tell you how to do it or hold you accountable for how you do it."
5. The Fed controls how much money/credit there is by adjusting interest rates and by buying and selling gov't securities. Money is created and destroyed simply by entering and erasing numbers in an electronic ledger. One Fed chairman described the Fed's role as "leaning against the wind" -- the Fed should moderate growth and contraction in the economy by adjusting monetary policy to slow speculative investing or to boost flagging investment. An important question that doesn't get addressed directly is who benefits? The US has 2 classes - creditors and debtors. Inflation actually aids debtors, as long as wages rise at the same or higher rate, because loans they take out during an inflationary period, they pay back in depreciated dollars.
That's all I can remember now.
money Read
December 9, 2022
a bit long for someone with a modern attention span, but overall much more interesting and well researched than the conspiracy theory type title would suggest
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Fri, 10 Mar 2023 16:55
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Bank Stocks Plummet as Bank Runs in the U.S. Gain Momentum at Federally-Insured, Non-Traditional Banks
Fri, 10 Mar 2023 15:11
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: March 10, 2023 ~
If you keep a diary or news journal, be sure to write down March 9, 2023 as the day that a full-blown bank run began at non-traditional banks in the U.S.
Bank depositors were already nervous after federally-insured Silvergate Bank (ticker SI) announced on Wednesday evening that it was closing and liquidating. Its publicly-traded stock had already lost over 90 percent of its market value over the prior 12 months at that point.
Silvergate had made the fatal decision several years ago to become the go-to bank for crypto companies, including scandalized Sam Bankman-Fried's collapsed house of frauds, FTX and Alameda Research. As details of its questionable activities related to Bankman-Fried's enterprises emerged, 68 percent of its deposits related to crypto companies took flight in just the last quarter of 2022. After Silvergate confirmed in an SEC filing on March 1 that an investigation of its conduct was underway at the U.S. Department of Justice, and that it had doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern, its fate was sealed.
Now, for the second time in less than two weeks, depositors are panicking over the fate of another federally-insured bank. This time it's Silicon Valley Bank (ticker for holding company is SIVB) which, like Silvergate Bank, had become a go-to bank for a special niche customer. Instead of crypto, its niche was venture capital outfits and private equity firms.
Silicon Valley Bank is not a small bank. According to its regulatory filings, as of December 31 it held $161.4 billion in domestic deposits and $13.9 billion in foreign deposits.
The bank panicked investors and depositors alike on Wednesday when it said it would issue $2.25 billion more in stock (thus diluting other stockholders) and that it had taken a $1.8 billion loss on substantially all of its available-for-sale bonds. The stock price reacted by plummeting yesterday, closing down 60.41 percent in one trading session. In premarket trading this morning, the shares were down another 40 percent at one point.
As for the potential for a continuance of a depositor run this morning, the bank is likely feeling the pain from the following paragraph that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last night:
''Garry Tan, president of the startup incubator Y Combinator, posted this internal message to founders in the program: 'We have no specific knowledge of what's happening at SVB. But anytime you hear problems of solvency in any bank, and it can be deemed credible, you should take it seriously and prioritize the interests of your startup by not exposing yourself to more than $250K of exposure there. As always, your startup dies when you run out of money for whatever reason.' ''
The figure, $250,000, refers to the amount of federal deposit insurance per depositor, per insured bank.
Unfortunately, the bank panic spread quickly yesterday to other banks '' both large and small. PacWest Bancorp (ticker PACW) lost 25.45 percent of its market value by the closing bell yesterday while First Republic Bank (ticker FRC) fell by 16.51 percent. Mega banks on Wall Street were also not immune to the fallout: Bank of America (ticker BAC) lost 6.20 percent while the largest bank in the U.S., JPMorgan Chase (ticker JPM) '' which is also battling lawsuits and escalating press about its ties to deceased child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein '' fell by 5.41 percent.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), whose Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF), has to make good on deposits at insured U.S. banks in the event of a bank failure, noted in February that unrealized losses at U.S. banks for bond holdings totaled $620 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of last year. When interest rates rise, as they have dramatically over the past year, the current market value of bonds issued at lower locked-in interest rates fall. That is typically not a problem for banks '' unless there is a stampede by depositors to get their money out of the bank and the bank is forced to sell the bonds at a loss to raise liquidity.
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VIDEO - (5) White House Reacts To Warnings About Potential Russia Plot To Take Over Moldova: 'Deeply Concerning' - YouTube
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 16:40
VIDEO - (6) Liz Churchill on Twitter: "''I want people to read Executive Order 14067'...it went into effect December 13, 2022'...there are Corporations and elements of the U.S. Government are already beta-testing Central Bank Digital Currency'...'' -LTG Mi
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 15:00
Liz Churchill : ''I want people to read Executive Order 14067'...it went into effect December 13, 2022'...there are Corporations and eleme'... https://t.co/FxCqQ2UjXo
Sun Mar 12 03:52:55 +0000 2023
Yeshua, Prince of Peace (I AM / Messiah ) : @liz_churchill8 @elonmusk @joerogan @patrickbetdavid @rustyrockets @jordanbpeterson
Sun Mar 12 14:52:30 +0000 2023
Joseph Malloy : @liz_churchill8 https://t.co/c1TEqcx0OC
Sun Mar 12 14:43:23 +0000 2023
TheLoneSheWolf : @liz_churchill8 Oh it's coming. We're the last country behind on the plan's timeline.
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VIDEO - Kristi Noem Sends Warning About State Level Effort to Redefine Currency, Same Legislation Currently Hitting 20 States - The Last Refuge
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 14:56
South Dakota Governor Krisi Noem appeared on Tucker Carlson's television broadcast last night to send a warning to fellow governors. According to the background story, the South Dakota legislature passed a bill redefining currency and creating rules for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that would block all other digital currencies from being used in the state. Governor Noem vetoed the bill.
When asked why her legislature would do this, Noem responded the state politicians likely did not read the bill as it was constructed by lobbyists. Noem is exactly correct and hits on a subject we have discussed here frequently {GO DEEP}. However, one of the more alarming aspects to Noem's discussion of the issue is that around 20 other states are considering similar legislation. WATCH:
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VIDEO - Regulators urged to find Silicon Valley Bank buyer as industry frets about fallout | Reuters
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 14:55
NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Some financial industry executives and investors were growing increasingly concerned on Saturday that the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank could have a domino effect on other U.S. regional banks if regulators did not find a buyer over the weekend to protect uninsured deposits.
Startup-focused lender SVB Financial Group (SIVB.O) became the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis on Friday, roiling markets and leaving billions of dollars belonging to companies and investors stranded.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which was appointed receiver, was trying to find another bank over the weekend that was willing to merge with Silicon Valley Bank, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Reuters was unable to determine whether a deal was forthcoming.
Some industry executives said such a deal would be sizeable for any bank and would likely require regulators to give special guarantees and make other allowances for any buyer.
Latest UpdatesView 2 more stories
With $209 billion in assets, the Santa Clara, California based lender was the 16th largest U.S. bank, making the list of potential buyers who could pull off a deal over a weekend relatively short, they said on condition of anonymity because the situation is in flux.
The U.S. Federal Reserve and the FDIC were weighing the creation of a fund that would allow regulators to backstop more deposits at banks that run into trouble, Bloomberg reported.
Regulators discussed the new special vehicle in conversations with banking executives and hoped such a measure would reassure depositors and help contain any panic, the report said.
However, it was not clear if regulators would have political support to throw a lifeline to the bank, which catered to Silicon Valley startups and investors.
The Fed and FDIC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House said on Saturday that President Joe Biden had spoken with California Governor Gavin Newsom about the bank and efforts to address the situation.
"Everyone is working with FDIC to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible," Newsom said on Saturday.
SPOTLIGHT ON OTHER BANKSSome analysts and prominent investors warned that without a resolution by Monday, other banks could come under pressure if people worried about their deposits.
"The good news is it is unlikely an SVB-style bankruptcy will extend to the large banks," risk and financial advisory firm Kroll said in a research note.
However, small community banks could face issues and the risk is "much higher if uninsured depositors of SVB aren't made whole and have to take a haircut on their deposits," Kroll added.
A man puts a sign on the door of the Silicon Valley Bank as an onlooker watches at the bank's headquarters in Santa Clara, California, U.S. March 10, 2023. REUTERS/Nathan FrandinoSilicon Valley Bank had an unusually high level of deposits that were not covered by the FDIC's guarantees, which are capped at $250,000.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman said in a tweet on Saturday that failure to protect all depositors could lead to the withdrawal of uninsured deposits from other institutions as well.
"These withdrawals will drain liquidity from community, regional and other banks and begin the destruction of these important institutions," Ackman warned.
Kyle Bass, founder and chief investment officer of Hayman Capital Management, told Reuters that the Fed needed to "arrange a marriage" for SVB by Sunday evening, before markets opened in Asia.
"And they've got to assure depositors that they will be paid in full because of this merger, and restore stability in the banking system," he added.
Regional and smaller bank shares were hit hard on Friday. The S&P 500 regional banks index (.SPLRCBNKS) dropped 4.3%, bringing its loss for the week to 18%, its worst week since 2009.
Signature Bank (SBNY.O) dropped about 23%, while San Francisco-based First Republic Bank (FRC.N) fell 15%. Western Alliance Bancorp (WAL.N) tumbled 21% and PacWest Bancorp (PACW.O) dropped 38% after those stocks were halted several times due to volatility. Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) slumped more than 11%.
Signature Bank, First Republic Bank, PacWest Bank and Charles Schwab did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Western Alliance Bank declined to comment.
Some banks could look to preemptively raise capital to fortify their balance sheets or try to strike deals of their own, industry executives said.
When IndyMac and Washington Mutual collapsed in 2008, the FDIC found other firms to take on the assets and keep deposits intact. If no buyer is found for SVB, uninsured depositors will probably be left with a portion of whatever funds the FDIC can raise selling off the bank's assets.
GLOBAL DOMINOESIn the UK, where SVB has a local subsidiary, finance minister Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday he was working with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England to "avoid or minimise damage" resulting from the chaos that has engulfed the lender.
"We've been working at pace over the weekend, through the night," Hunt told Sky News. "We will bring forward very soon plans to make sure people are able to meet their cashflow requirements to pay their staff."
More than 250 UK tech firm executives signed a letter addressed to Hunt on Saturday calling for government intervention, a copy seen by Reuters shows.
Advisory firm Rothschild & Co is exploring options for Silicon Valley Bank UK Limited as insolvency looms, two people familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Saturday. The BoE has said it is seeking a court order to place the UK arm into an insolvency procedure.
Some experts, however, see the fallout from the latest collapse as limited.
"We do not see this as the start of a broader threat to the safety and soundness of the banking system," TD Cowen analyst Jaret Seiberg said on Friday. "Silicon Valley had a unique business model that was less dependent on retail deposits than a traditional bank."
Reporting by Lananh Nguyen, Paritosh Bansal, Tatiana Bautzer, Nupur Anand and Ira Iosebashvili in New York and by Pete Schroeder and Jason Lange in Washington, Kanjyik Ghosh and Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru and by Andrew MacAskill, William Schomberg, Amy-Jo Crowley and Pablo Mayo in London; Writing by Megan Davies; Editing by Jamie Freed
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
VIDEO - Geert Wilders: "The real aim here is to get rid of our farmers"
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VIDEO - Nearly a third of teen girls say they have seriously considered suicide, CDC survey shows - CBS News
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 14:19
CDC sees rise in hopelessness in teen girls
CDC sees alarming rise in violence, sadness in teen girls 05:40 Around 1 in 3 high school girls in the U.S. have seriously considered attempting suicide, according to new results from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey from 2021, up from less than a fifth of teen girls in 2011. And more than half of teen girls, 57%, reported feeling "persistently sad or hopeless" '-- a record high number.
By contrast, 14% of high school boys told the 2021 survey that they had seriously considered attempting suicide, up from 13% in 2011.
The statistics are among several mental health trends in high schoolers that have worsened most among girls over the past decade, according to data from the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey published Monday.
Overall, 22% of high schoolers said they have considered suicide. That is somewhat better than the 29% when the CDC first began its biennial survey in the 1990s, but is an increase from the record low 13.8% tallied in 2009.
"While much attention has been given to the youth mental health crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic, YRBS data have shown that many measures were moving in the wrong direction before the pandemic. These data show the mental health crisis among young people continues," Kathleen Ethier, director of the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, told reporters Monday.
The CDC says gaps persist between boys and girls among several trends.
In the survey, 17% of teen girls say they were bullied at school, compared to 13% of boys; 20% of girls say they were bullied over social media, nearly double the 11% of boys. And 18% of girls say they have faced sexual violence over the past year, versus 5% of boys.
When asked about substance abuse, girls had often ranked better or around the same compared to boys over the past decade.
But as of 2021, teen girls are now more likely than boys to have drunk alcohol (27% of high school girls compared to 19% of high school boys), used marijuana (18% of girls versus 14% of boys), used e-cigarettes (21% of girls versus 15% of boys), or misused prescription opioids (15% of girls versus 10% of boys).
"These data show a distressing picture. America's teen girls are engulfed in a growing wave of sadness, violence and trauma. Over the past decade, teens, especially girls, have experienced dramatic increases in experiences of violence and poor mental health," the CDC's chief medical officer Dr. Debra Houry said.
The survey also found disparities among students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning or another non-heterosexual identity.
"Close to 70% of LGBQ+ students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year and more than 50% had poor mental health during the past 30 days. Almost 25% attempted suicide during the past year," the report states. It also notes they are "significantly more likely" than other peers to experience violence.
While many of the trends have substantially worsened over the past decade, the report's authors do point out that a handful of indicators are now moving "in the right direction."
The share of high school students who say they are sexually active or have already had more than four partners has fallen. Just 6% overall have had four or more partners in 2021, down from 15% in 2011.
Several overall rates of substance use have also declined since 2011 among high schoolers.
Just 23% of high schoolers overall had drunk alcohol in the 2021 survey, compared to 39% in 2011; 16% had used marijuana, down from 23%; and 13% had ever used illicit drugs like cocaine or heroin, compared to 19%.
More results from the CDC's school-based survey are expected to be released in April, which also spans other issues like diet and exercise. A total of 17,508 questionnaires were completed across 152 private and public schools around the country.
The agency said the findings underscore a need for more investment in strategies schools can employ to intervene in worsening mental health trends.
"Schools are on the frontlines of the mental health crisis, and they must be equipped with the proven tools that help students thrive," Houry said.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.''10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email info@nami.org.
Trending News
In: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health Suicide Alexander TinCBS News reporter covering public health and the pandemic.
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VIDEO - (1) Dr. Benjamin Braddock on Twitter: "White women on tik tok are reporting that the crank isn't hitting like it used to https://t.co/q0wMvDuZQA" / Twitter
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 13:15
Dr. Benjamin Braddock : White women on tik tok are reporting that the crank isn't hitting like it used to https://t.co/46TzeDhQQe'... https://t.co/46TzeDhQQe
Sat Mar 11 19:55:44 +0000 2023
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wake up people : @GraduatedBen Ya wonder why there's a major mental health problem here. Everyone's on speed.
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William McGirt Tracker : @GraduatedBen These people are pathetic
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jonathan handsome : @GraduatedBen white women think theyre too boujee for good ol meth
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Mrs Least of your problems : @GraduatedBen What's really weird is announcing that you're out of crystal meth on TikTok.
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VIDEO - unusual_whales on Twitter: "Silicon Valley Bank's CEO, Greg Becker, reportedly sent this to employees after the collapse of the bank. "My unfair ask is can you guys just hang around, try to support each other, try to support our clients... which
Sun, 12 Mar 2023 04:04
unusual_whales : Silicon Valley Bank's CEO, Greg Becker, reportedly sent this to employees after the collapse of the bank."My unfa'... https://t.co/zFfsw4jtMF
Sat Mar 11 23:09:52 +0000 2023
BoTscho : @unusual_whales @SilverChiquitaa "Right after you and the other execs pay back your v recent bonuses. Ok bye bye" would be my answer.
Sun Mar 12 04:04:23 +0000 2023
Carlsbadbugkila ' : @unusual_whales https://t.co/IuSZ5VhTCu
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VIDEO - Biden is Now Considering Vaccinations for Millions of Chickens
Sat, 11 Mar 2023 18:20
New reports indicate the White House may soon consider launching a mass bird flu vaccine campaign to protect America's chickens from the H5N1 virus outbreak. Reports estimate that approximately 60 million birds in the US and 200 million globally have already been culled to prevent the spread of the virus.
Related: Biden Admin Looking to Block Up to Half of Gas Stoves in U.S.
Price of chicken and eggs has skyrocketedThis has caused a sharp rise in the prices of chicken and eggs since early 2022. Nonetheless, there is a concern that this virus could spread to humans if it acquires dangerous mutations.
Infection rates remain high, and the H5N1 virus has already been found in other mammals like minks, sea lions, and foxes.
White House officials have told the New York Times that President Joe Biden is open to implementing a national avian flu vaccine rollout to curb the virus spread.
(C) DepositPhotos New reports indicate the White House may soon consider launching a mass bird flu vaccine campaign to protect America's chickens from the H5N1 virus outbreak. However, it remains to be seen how many birds would be targeted, given that around 10 billion chickens are raised yearly in America solely for meat production.
Last month, an 11-year-old girl in Cambodia passed away due to the virus, while her father also tested positive. Both cases had an older clade of the H5N1 virus not linked to the current global outbreak.
Both father and daughter were believed to have been infected by a bird. These cases highlight the risk of zoonotic spillover -- when viruses spread from animals to humans.
Experts caution that vaccination of the US's tens of millions of domesticated poultry could take years and raise several other issues. The rollout of a vaccine could severely disrupt trade and make it more difficult to determine which birds have contracted an infection.
Related: A Strong Hint That Biden Will Run in 2024 from His Wife
Researchers continue working on a vaccineAt the Pirbright Institute in the UK, scientists are developing an improved shot that involves labeling flu virus proteins with a marker to make them easier for antigen-presenting cells (APCs) to capture.
This produces faster and stronger immune responses against bird flu strains compared to inactivated virus vaccines which are currently the standard practice.
Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine researchers are working on an avian flu vaccine using particles even smaller than human hair-thickness that send pathogen-like signals to cells for protection.
USDA approval could be granted if an updated shot proves effective, followed by a comprehensive vaccination campaign to reach the affected poultry industry.
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The Ron Paul Liberty Report
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On Tuesday the New York Times published an incendiary story - based on anonymous Biden Administration officials - that the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines was carried out not by the US military, as Seymour Hersh has discovered, but rather by Ukrainian forces not associated with President Zelensky. Why put out such a transparently bogus counter-narrative? Many reasons. Also today: more revelations about Fauci's malfeasance come out in House Covid hearings. Finally - what does yesterday's Syria vote mean?
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