The White House announced today that President Biden, eager to get something through the Senate without a long bruising fight, will re-nominate Republican Jerome Powell for a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and will elevate Democrat Lael Brainard to vice chair. Powell is opposed by some prominent Senate Democrats, but supported by many Republicans. And Brainard doesn’t seem to face opposition from Democrats. Both will likely win Senate confirmation.
As you would expect, both Powell and Brainard released thank-you statements about their nomination.
But as you would not expect, fighting inflation was suddenly the number one priority in both their statements – after they’d driven inflation to a three-decade high through record gigantic money printing and interest rate repression, and then had stubbornly brushed off this inflation as something that would quickly go away on its own.
There wasn’t a word in their statements about this inflation being “temporary” or “transitory,” and about the Fed needing to be “patient,” and waiting for it to go away on its own. But inflation was suddenly a real problem that needed to be dealt with.
Powell’s first priority is now to “prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched,” he said: “The unprecedented reopening of the economy, along with the continuing effects of the pandemic, led to supply and demand imbalances, bottlenecks, and a burst of inflation. We know that high inflation takes a toll on families, especially those less able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing, and transportation. We will use our tools both to support the economy and a strong labor market, and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched,” he wrote in his statement.
An investment firm founded by Hunter Biden facilitated a $3.8 billion purchase of an American-owned cobalt mine by a Chinese conglomerate, placing a key resource used in the manufacture of electric car batteries under foreign control, according to the New York Times.
The mine, formerly owned by Freeport-McMoRan and located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was purchased in 2016 after Chinese mining outfit China Molybdenum announced a partnership with the Biden-founded Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) – with the Chinese contributing $2.65 billion and BHR contributing $1.14 billion to buy out a minority stakeholder, Lundin Mining of Canada. The money for Bohai’s share came “entirely from Chinese state-backed companies,” according to the report.
China Molybdenum lined up about $700 million of that total as loans from Chinese state-backed banks, including China Construction Bank. BHR raised the remaining amount from obscure entities with names like Design Time Limited, an offshore company controlled by China Construction’s investment bank, according to the Hong Kong filings.
Before the deal was done, BHR also signed an agreement that allowed China Molybdenum to buy BHR’s share of the mine, which the company did two years later, the filings show. That purchase gave China Molybdenum 80 percent ownership of the mine. (Congo’s state mining enterprise kept a stake for itself.) – NYT
In 2019, when Hunter controlled 10% of the firm through Washington-based Skaneateles, LLC, BHR sold its stake. As the Times notes, Chinese corporate records show Skaneateles is still part owner of BHR, however Biden attorney Chris Clark said that Hunter “no longer holds any interest, directly or indirectly, in either BHR or Skaneateles.”…read more.
Grocers and governments are vowing that B.C.’s food supply chain will stay strong, in the wake of landslides and highway collapses that have strained the province’s supply chain.
Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra told media at an afternoon news conference that the federal and provincial governments have a plan to ensure food security.
“It is a priority for us to ensure that Canadians who are currently stuck, or in the middle of this affected region, don’t have [food] shortages,” Alghabra said.
Highway 7 is partly cleared. That route has so far been open westbound for essential travel, and to assist people stranded in Hope to get to the Lower Mainland. Highway 1, between Hope and Boston Bar, is also open for emergency access. Travel north of Boston Bar remains closed.
Crews are working to remove debris on Highway 3, with that corridor expected to open at some point this weekend, for essential travel only.
Highway 99, between Pemberton and Lillooet, remains closed.
Significant damage has closed Highway 5 – better known as the Coquihalla Highway – and there is no official estimate for when that route could reopen.
Alghabra said that he hopes highways, and rail lines, reopen soon…read more.
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From Amazon to Zoom: An Internet Minute In 2021
In our everyday lives, not much may happen in a minute. But when gauging the depth of internet activity occurring all at once, it can be extraordinary. Today, around five billion internet users exist across the globe.
This annual infographic from Domo captures just how much activity is going on in any given minute, and the amount of data being generated by users. To put it mildly, there’s a lot.
The Internet Minute
At the heart of the world’s digital activity are the everyday services and applications that have become staples in our lives. Collectively, these produce unimaginable quantities of user activity and associated data.
Here are just some of the key figures of what happens in a minute:
- Amazon customers spend $283,000
- 12 million people send an iMessage
- 6 million people shop online
- Instacart users spend $67,000
- Slack users send 148,000 messages
- Microsoft Teams connects 100,000 users
- YouTube users stream 694,000 videos
- Facebook Live receives 44 million views
- Instagram users share 65,000 photos
- Tiktok users watch 167 million videos
As these facts show, Big Tech companies have quite the influence over our lives. That influence is becoming difficult to ignore, and draws increasing media and political attention. And some see this attention as a plausible explanation for why Facebook changed their name—to dissociate from their old one in the process…read more.