Uber and Lyft: The Good, Bad and Future News About Their Services

BAD NEWS

First Does Uber and Lyft reduce traffic?  The answer is a firm No.

In dense parts of cities, studies claim a 62% increase in congested cities like San Francisco vs 22% without them. The study claimed the ride sharing apps “are clogging roads and siphoning people from mass transit.” Surprisingly, in the more local neighbors they barely made and stastistical difference.  In Denver it was claimed Uber and Lyft added 83% more driver miles than models not having them available.

Brexit: Fourth Time Lucky?

The Brexit deal nobody likes is back, and characteristically, there’s something in it for everyone to hate. A ten-point plan presented to MPs by Prime Minister Theresa May contained many of the same promises and compromises she had previously offered. Vague language about “alternative arrangements” and “keeping Northern Ireland aligned” aren’t any more likely to win over Conservative Brexiteers, or her Democratic Unionist partners, than they were before. At least one item, per The Guardian, seemed placed for no other reason than to round the list up to ten.

Is Polling Broken? Australian Miss Continues Losing Streak

At around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night on Australia’s east coast, Antony Green, chief elections analyst at the ABC, made his announcement to a half-stunned, half-delirious nation. “At this stage, we think the Morrison Government has been reelected.” Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative Coalition, widely expected to lose to Bill Shorten’s Labor Party after six turbulent years (and three Prime Ministers), instead won a majority government in the House of Representatives. For Labor, it was a crushing and baffling defeat in an election many thought un-losable. For the polling industry, however, the Coalition’s triumph was catastrophic, the latest high-profile miss over an abysmal and embarrassing three-year span.

Google, Chip Manufacturers Join Huawei Ban

Tech giant Google suspended all business requiring the transfer of hardware, software, and technical services with Chinese firm Huawei, Reuters reported on Sunday. New Huawei smartphones will lose access to popular Google apps, like YouTube and Maps, as well as security updates. Those publicly available, via open source licensing, would not appear to be affected. The move comes days after the Trump administration blacklisted Huawei, prohibiting American firms from trading with the company without a license.

Russia Scandal Brings Down Government in Austria

“Enough is enough!” Those were all the words necessary Saturday for Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to explain why he was taking the country to early elections. His center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) would be pulling out of a governing coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ). “I am not in politics to hold this office,” the Chancellor said in his announcement, “but to work for our beautiful country.” The President, Alexander Van der Bellen, has not yet set a date for the election, but condemned the “bold disrespect to the citizens of our country” which precipitated it.

Trump Lifts Steel & Aluminum Tariffs, Urges Ratification of USMCA

It was good news all around on Friday, as President Trump announced a deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico.  The tariffs had been a major obstacle to passing the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement, which would replace NAFTA.  In fact, Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) had warned Trump in April that the deal would be dead unless they were removed.  The U.S. will drop the metals tariffs within two days, and Canada and Mexico will do likewise with their retaliatory tariffs.

Biden Leads Trump by 29 points in Favorability/Unfavorability Polls

Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is on top of the world right now. The polling world.

The question is can he hold his top position for 16 months?  The hard negative campaigning against him hasn’t really started yet. According to Gallup (May 15th), 53 percent of the public has a favorable opinion of Biden, compared to only 35 percent with a negative opinion. That’s an 18 point favorability spread.  President Donald Trump currently has a 42.1 favorable rating and 53.4 unfavorable rating giving him an 11.3 point negative rating.

As the Prime Ministership Turns: Australians Vote Saturday for Even More Change

Australians will be voting for a new Parliament, and possibly, their fourth Prime Minister in six years this weekend. Liberal incumbent Scott Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten have been neck and neck throughout the campaign. However, Aussies don’t seem to like either one of them, with up to a quarter unable to state a preference in the polls. Yet, voting is compulsory Down Under, so they’ll have to vote for one of them.

Australians go to the polls much more often than in other Westminster democracies, at every three years. Still, the frequent changes in party and national leadership have made the country something of an international joke.

Madonna Visits the Kabballah City of Safed

Madonna arrived in Israel early this week to perform at the Eurovision Festival in Tel Aviv. After two back to back concerts, she wrapped her tour with a visit Thursday night to Safed tomb of the holy saint the Arizal. Many years ago she became interested in Kabbalah Jewish mysticism.

The Arizal Rabbi Isaac Luria lived in the city of Safed in the 1500s where he became famous as a teacher of Jewish Mysticism.  Safed is located near the village of Meron where is buried Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai the author of the Zohar. The Zohar was discovered in Spain in the 13th Century and dates back to the period in Jewish history shortly after the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem about 70 CE.

The Bitcoin Rally Up 132% Year-to-date. Why?

With the launch of several new products, Bitcoin future contacts hit a new high in future volumes.  This is the same Bitcoin that in November of 2018 had us asking Where is the Bitcoin Bottom?

Even though on a technical basis it appeared ready for a bounce, the news for Bitcoin has just been getting better as more and more large American companies become involved.

Here are some reasons why Bitcoin is having a great 2019:

Trump Declares Emergency, Blacklists Huawei

President Trump used an executive order Wednesday to declare a national emergency over threats to American technology. The move prohibits American companies from using telecom services solely owned, controlled, or directed by a foreign adversary. The order also “delegates authority to the Secretary of Commerce,” Wilbur Ross, “to prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.” The move clears the way for a ban on Huawei, China’s controversial telecom giant.

Elizabeth Warren Goes to War Against Fox News for Inviting Her to a Televised Town Hall

If Trump can call CNN, MSNBC, and others news outlets fake news, Elizabeth Warren Senator (D) now demonstrated she could be on the same warpath calling Fox News a Hate-for-profit Racket.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted that she rejected an invitation from Fox News to participate in a town hall with the network. She denounced Fox News as a “hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists.”

Who Will Be in the Next Democratic Cabinet?

Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) announced his run for the presidency on Tuesday. He did so without the endorsement of Montana’s Democratic Senator, Jon Tester, and while struggling to name an accomplishment he was most proud of in his six years as governor. Democrats had hoped he would run against Montana’s other Senator, Steve Daines (R-MT), and are reportedly still pleading with him to change his mind.

Gov. Bullock is now the 22nd candidate to announce a run for the Democratic pennant, with more possibly on the way. Not all of them can be the nominee, and with several potential candidates currently polling at 0%, it’s questionable how many of them really want to be.

With Southern Border Family Units Up 400% ~ Biden Wants Healthcare for Immigrants ~ Trump Wants More US Control and Accountability

The US Southern Border with Mexico has seen 531,478 apprehension from October to April 2019, compared to 288,612 during the same time period in 2018–that’s an 84% increase.

There were 109,144 migrants encountered in April at the Southern Border, the highest since 2007, or 12 years.  Using nominal seasonal normality Princeton Policy Advisors predicts that 2019 Southern Apprehensions will double from 2018, and reach the highest level since 2006.

More People Died from Islamic Terrorism in 2019 than in the 9/11 Attacks

So far in 2019 there has been 3,541 deaths due to Islamic Terrorist.  On September 11, 2001 two Jet planes crashed into the each of the two Twin Towers in New York City, a jet flew into the Pentagon. and one more crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing a total 2,996 people. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,403.

Deaths by radical terrorist in 2019, even though we are less than halfway through the year, are on track to reach about 7,000.

Decision Season Starts at the Supreme Court

Late spring is decision season on the Supreme Court, and for judicial watchers, Monday morning did not disappoint. The Court issued three decisions, on seemingly minor issues, which could have larger reverberations across the country. If tradition is any guide, more contentious and newsworthy decisions await in mid-June.

In the decision you had to search legal blogs to find, the Court unanimously expanded the time available to private parties to bring whistleblower suits under the False Claims Act. In Cochise Consultancy Inc. v. United States, the Court ruled that such a party, called a relator, could rely on a second statute of limitations in a suit in which the U.S. has declined to intervene.

Is Facebook Too Powerful?

It was another wild week for Facebook. Dueling editorials in The New York Times debated the social network’s very existence. The right is still in an uproar over Facebook’s censorship of conservative viewpoints, users and scientific issues. Meanwhile, on the left, the website— or is it a utility?— has become a campaign issue on its own. Differing Democrats have begun to split on whether stringent regulation of the tech giant will be sufficient, or whether Facebook has become too big to allow to survive.

On Thursday, Chris Hughes tore in to his co-creation, and co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, in The Times. “Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered,” he said. This, Hughes argues, gives Zuckerberg “unilateral control over speech.

Donovan Flanigan and Other French Rappers Hacked

Online security is one of the biggest problems in our modern age. Large attacks on famous individuals and corporations just highlight the gravity of the problem. On April 27th, 2019 there was a massive cyber attack on several high ranking members in the French Rap Industry. This cyber attack was orchestrated towards Donovan Flanigan, Mouir Ben Chettouh, and approximately a dozen others members of the french rap community.

This widespread hacking event has been shown be several sources to be orchestrated by a group of hackers in the Middle East. Specifically, the rappers were notified that it originated from the urban center of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

South African Elections Roundup: Reduced Majority, Surprising Results

By Friday, the Independent Electoral Commission had finished counting the ballots in South Africa’s sixth general election since the end of Apartheid. As expected, the African National Congress extended their quarter-century in power with a substantial, yet reduced, majority. What was not expected was both the extent of their reduction, and the subpar performance of at least one opposition party. The new National Assembly will present a fresh set of challenges to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his reform agenda.

Duterte’s Slate a Cinch in Philippine Midterms

More than 61 million voters will decide over 18,000 national and local offices, up for grabs in Monday’s midterm elections in the Philippines. The contests will serve as a referendum on the current president and his policies. President Rodrigo Duterte is widely expected to pass his first test. A victory could allow the popular populist to expand his control over the country and further tilt it toward China.

All 305 seats are up for grabs in the House of Representatives, increased from 297. Duterte’s PDP-Laban party holds 115 seats. His allies in the Coalition for Change add another 135. Duterte’s thumping majority isn’t under threat or likely to change. The House typically supports popular presidents, and at around 80% in the latest polls, Duterte certainly is.

Trump Campaign Update: More Talk Than Action on His Big 3 Issues

Trump has been focusing on three major issues during the last few days: immigration, tariffs, and infrastructure. Of those issues, infrastructure is the one that seems at least a bit refreshing. The last time Trump really made infrastructure a major focus was during his 2016 campaign.

During that campaign Trump compared U.S. infrastructure to that of “a third world country.” His promise to rebuild and reinvest in the country’s infrastructure was something that excited and pleased many Americans.

Islamic Terrorists Kill 3,458 So Far in 2019

The number of targeted attacks by extreme Islamic terrorists in 2019 just keep growing. There were 615 Islamic attacks in 38 countries in which 3,458 people were killed and 3,896 were injured so far this year. That works out to nearly 27 people killed per day (down from over 30 per day a week ago) and over four attacks per day.

This week’s two biggest attacks were both in Afghanistan. A suicide bomber plowed into a police station, killing 20. The next day, the Taliban storm a checkpoint and massacred twenty local soldiers.

North Korea: Is a Deal Still Possible?

It’s never good when North Korea is in the news. On Thursday, the Hermit Kingdom launched two short-range ballistic missiles in to the Sea of Japan. The pair were similar to one the DPRK test-fired on Friday. Later that day, American authorities seized a coal ship used by North Korea for sanction-busting.

The missile tests were the first by North Korea in more than 500 days. Yet, the self-imposed moratorium on long-range testing remains. The state media, whose prophesies of mass annihilation and lakes of fire normally rival that of any shortwave radio preacher, assured the world that nothing was amiss.

Premier League: It’s Manchester City (2-17) and Liverpool (7-1) for the Title Sunday

Trump’s Tax Transcripts: “The Biggest Loser” or No Story?

On Tuesday, The New York Times published an investigation detailing ten years worth of figures it had obtained from President Trump’s tax returns. The paper claimed the previously unrevealed numbers came from IRS tax transcripts, and someone who had legal access to them. The story provided the latest flare up in the political tug of war between the Democratic House and the GOP White House.

The Times claimed their report painted a far bleaker picture of Trump’s finances, between 1985 and 1994, than even he led on. Trump’s core businesses reported $1.17 billion in losses during the period.

A Summer Skin Masterclass

How are your summer vacation plans shaping up? Are you headed down the shore or the mountains, booking a music festival, or will a picnic in your favorite park on sunny weekends fill the dog days this year?

Whichever way you choose to spend them, summer days are spent outside, and with temperatures set to roar, stocking up on hats and sunscreen is fast becoming only half the story in the fight against aging and overexposure to UV rays. There is new science dawning on invigorating DNA damage, so for this Summer Skin Master Class, we need to dive in deeper… and go cellular.

A Trip to Israel May Change Your Life

The trip to Israel is called by many people Pilgrimage.  Israel and Jerusalem are connected to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  There are many things to do before Pilgrimage spiritual preparations for the journey.  After making these preparation, while making these preparations the time may come to book a ticket with a specific route.

There is a goal in Judaism to rebuild the holy temple in Jerusalem.  What remains from the Holy Temple is just a wall called the Wailing Wall and in the back of this wall is a mosque where is claimed to be the rock of foundation of the temple and the place of ascension of Mohammed.

US and China Trade: The Stakes Are Rising

On Sunday, President Trump tweeted an escalation to his trade war with China, warning tariffs would more than double, from 10% to 25%. By Tuesday, stocks were sent tumbling, and companies scrambling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 472 points Tuesday, it’s worst day in four months. Grain futures hit their lowest mark in more than 40 years. Companies weren’t given much in the way of warning, with tariffs due to increase Friday. They’ll have to decide whether to eat the tariffs themselves or pass the costs on to consumers.

Trump’s escalation comes amid a five-month truce between the world’s two biggest economies, and as the U.S. and China appeared close to a deal. However, Administration officials say China has been backtracking from earlier commitments. In a Washington Post op-ed, former chief strategist Steve Bannon urged the president to “follow his instincts and not soften his stance against the greatest existential threat ever faced by the United States.” Trade advisor Peter Navarro, and others, see no deal as preferable to any deal, and some fear the president will cave, again.

French Rappers To Fight in the Octagon

French Rap is one of the largest music markets in the entire world, leading the charts in France and much of Africa. Two of the largest faces in the industry have announced they will face each other in the MMA Octagon. Ellie “Booba” Yaffa is a French Rapper who is from Algerian, French, and Chinese ancestry. He is marveled by many to be the most famous and influential rapper in all of France. One of the leading French Rappers following “Booba” is a rapper by the name of Okou”Kaaris”Gnakouri , who is originally from the Ivory Coast in Africa. Booba challenged Kaaris to a fight in the Octagon over Christmas, after much back and forth or Social Media, they have decided to fight towards the end of 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

“Or Else What?” The Limits of Checks and Balances

America’s founding fathers were wise in many respects. They were revolutionary in setting up a republic, based on the separation of powers and a system of checks and balances. One even presciently warned against the mischief of factions. What they did not foresee was two nationalized factions paralyzing government, a viable means of resolving disputes between elections, and an answer to “or else what?” should one branch refuse to comply with the demands of the other.

Biden Maintains 20 Point Lead Over Dem Rivals

Vice President Joe Biden (D) continues to lead all rivals for the Democratic nomination by a wide margin. The only other candidate with double digit support is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (D), and Biden leads him by 20 points.

Biden also leads in a head-to-head match up with President Donald Trump in the key Electoral College states of Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Trump leads Biden in North Carolina. The men are tied in Arizona. However, it’s worth remembering that nearly every pollster was wrong about the 2016 presidential outcome.

South Africans Go to the Polls This Week; a Majority Will Stay Away

In political science, a democratic transition is said to have been completed once at least two parties win elections. If that’s the case, the end of Apartheid twenty-five years ago merely marked the replacement of one dominant-party state by another. Since vanquishing the National Party— and white minority rule— in 1994, the African National Congress has won five consecutive elections, and governed alone. On Wednesday, the ANC will make it six in a row, and a full term for South Africa’s new President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Israel and Gaza Reach Cease Fire

Another flare up between Israel and Hamas began unexpectedly over the weekend.  While Jews in the south were praying in the Synagogue on Saturday morning (the day of the Sabbath) suddenly there were sirens.  The people interrupted their prayers and ran into bomb shelters. Officially another battle began between Israel and Gaza.  The war continued until 4:30 on Monday morning.

Nearly 700 rockets were fired from Gaza and four Israelis were killed.  Most of the missiles aimed at Israel population centers were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.  Very few made clean hits into Israeli populated areas in the south including Beer Sheva, Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon, Sederot, Nitivot, Ofakim and Israel settlements in the south.

It’s Complicated: Facebook’s Relationship With Civil Society

Facebook made headlines Thursday, banning several media personalities from their social media platforms, calling them “dangerous.”  That is, multiple media outlets reported the bans before they actually took place.  Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Nehlen, Louis Farrakhan, Paul Joseph Watson, and Infowars creator Alex Jones still had control of their Facebook and Instagram accounts several hours after their bans were reported by the press.

Infowars’ status as a proscribed entity seems particularly unique.  In a move usually reserved for terrorist organizations, all official and unofficial pages and content has been removed.  Infowars content posted by ordinary users will be removed.  Repeat violators of this policy will themselves be banned.

Trump’s 2020 Campaign Update: The $30 Million Man

Trump has proved to be one of the most effective campaigners the country has seen in a while. Trump’s aggressive and slightly unorthodox campaign strategy netted him the election in 2016, and as candidates begin collecting donations and holding rallies for their 2020 run against him, Trump’s proving he is as effective as ever.

The Trump campaign has raised more money than any other candidate (over $30 million), dominated the news cycle, and energized hundreds of thousands of voters at rallies.

UK Local Elections: All Politics is Brexit

In a possible dress rehearsal for European elections later this month, British voters took out their frustrations on the two major parties in local elections on Thursday.  Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives got the worst of it, losing some 1,300 city councilors, and more than 40 councils, compared to their 2015 figures.  Labour fared no better, dropping about 80 councilors, and losing control of a half-dozen city councils.  For good measure, even pro-Brexit UKIP, big winners four years ago, lost almost all their seats Thursday night.

Is Elizabeth Warren Making a Presidential Move?

Our article on April 27 had Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) on April 27 fifth among Democratic primary candidates at 6.3%. Today the Real Clear Politics Poll has her in third place at 8.8%.  It appears she flipped places with Senator Kamala Harris (D) who was in 3rd who is now polling in 5th during the same time frame.

Warren, out of the vast number of candidates running for president in 2020, has the most ideas and is the most policy driven–such as breaking up Big Tech and protecting public lands. She appears to be the Democratic Party’s  “academia candidate.”

No Holds BARRed on Capitol Hill

It’s been an eventful week, to say the least, for U.S. Attorney General William Barr. On Tuesday, special counsel Robert Mueller was revealed to have sent Barr a letter strongly objecting to the AG’s characterization of the report’s findings. The next day, Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the report. By Thursday, the Attorney General skipped his scheduled hearing before the House Judiciary Committee over a disagreement about whether staff, rather than elected members, could question him.

Islamic Terrorists Kill 3,237 So Far in 2019

The number of targeted attacks by extreme Islamic terrorists in 2019 is staggering. There were 569 Islamic attacks in 37 countries in which 3,237 people were killed and 3,689 were injured so far this year  That works out to over 30 people killed per day and almost five attacks per day.

This week’s major news story and largest attack was a Boko Haram attack on a Nigerian Kuda-Kaya Village. That Boko Haram extremists killed at least 25 people who were returning home from a wedding celebration.

Spanish Socialists Win Most Seats, Growing Nationalist Party Makes Historic Gains

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) won the most seats in Sunday’s national election and must now assemble a governing coalition.

This week’s results were a first test for Sanchez who assumed leadership during a coalition restructuring last year. He now expects his increased legitimacy to help him pass social and political reforms.

Kentucky Derby: Omaha Beach (4-1) Scratched, Scrambling Odds

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel – May 2, 2019

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel is celebrated a week before Israel Independence Day.  This year it falls out on Thursday, May 2.  Every Human being suffered from the wrath of Hitler.  Six million Jews were killed in concentration camps in Europe and over forty million people died in World War II.

In and around 1941 Hitler officially declared his desire to exterminate all the Jews.  He already had this plan many years before.

Flamengo: More Than Just a Sports Club

Rio football club Flamengo became 2019’s Campeão Carioca crowned team, winning against Vasco da Gama 2-0 on Sunday, April 21st. Flamengo won earlier against them 2-0, so the team could have lost 0-1 to Vasco and still been crowned. Yet, the team never slowed, bringing their overall total to 4-0 and dominantly grabbing their record 35th Campeonato Championship.

It was a solid comeback after last year when Vasco won the professional soccer championship final against Flamengo.

Know Why?

YouTube Missteps Have Cost Google Billions

Google Alphabet had over $77 billion in market capitalization vanish and they are blaming YouTube.

A  Bloomberg report showed that for years YouTube and Google/YouTube staff looked the other way as workers had knowledge that misinformation and meanness on the YouTube website was growing over time.  It’s being reported that Google new of these trends and employees were told not to rock the boat.

Find Over 6.7% YTM with Tenneco Inc., Bonds Mature December 2024

This week, Durig Capital takes a look at an industrial designer, manufacturer and marketer of aftermarket parts for light vehicles, commercial trucks and other industrial uses. Tenneco Inc. recently posted a fantastic fourth quarter and full year results in large part due to its recent acquisition of Federal-Mogul. Highlights include:

Later this year, Tenneco will create two separate, market leading companies from its acquisition of Federal-Mogul.  Federal-Mogul brings strong brands, products and capabilities that are complementary to Tenneco’s portfolio. Creating two new product focused companies with stronger product portfolios will allow each of them to move faster in executing on their specific growth priorities.

Ways to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

Your health is a beautiful but intrinsically complex machine, one cog out of order can have a cascading ill effect. Here are four areas to look at when trying to improve your mental and physical health.

Exercise

Your body is full of muscles that need to be trained to work optimally. According to the Mayo Clinic, a person should get just over two hours of aerobic activity a week. 30 minutes of running or speed walking should suffice.

Who Will Lead the Cloud Revolution: Microsoft or Amazon?

The cloud wars are becoming a duopoly with Microsoft operating their Azure division and Amazon offering the public their Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Amazon has first leader advantages and works in the fastest growing part of the cloud where they focus more on start ups. Amazon advertises heavily to make sure people know it’s a lower cost provider. The AWS business segment has been growing at an annual rate of 43-55% for the last three years and grew 41% last quarter alone.  This is Amazon’s largest margin business.