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Buchanan: The Message From Ukraine – Nukes Do Deter

Buchanan: The Message From Ukraine – Nukes Do Deter

Authored by Pat Buchanan,

When he arrived at Christ the Savior Cathedral to pay his respects…

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Buchanan: The Message From Ukraine - Nukes Do Deter

Authored by Pat Buchanan,

When he arrived at Christ the Savior Cathedral to pay his respects to the ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who had died of COVID-19, Russian President Vladimir Putin carried a clutch of red roses.

The man beside him was carrying a briefcase.

That briefcase appeared to be Russia’s version of the “football” that is carried by a military aide to U.S. presidents and contains the codes for launching strategic nuclear weapons.

French King Louis XIV had stamped upon his cannon the inscription, “Ultima Ratio Regum” — The Last Argument of Kings.

In our era, nuclear weapons are the ultima ratio of nation-states. And what Putin was saying with his briefcase-carrying aide beside him was that, rather than accept defeat and humiliation in the Ukraine war, he may resort to the use of tactical atomic weapons.

And Putin is not the only one reminding us of the utility of having nuclear weapons and the folly of giving them up.

In 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved into 15 nations, a newly independent Ukraine controlled its own large arsenal of nuclear weapons.

At the behest of the United States and in return for U.S. security guarantees, Kyiv gave them up and sent them all back to Russia.

Ukraine is living today with the consequences of that decision.

It is a victim of aggression by Russia, while the U.S. is inhibited in what it will do to assist Kyiv by an awareness that Russia has hundreds of tactical nuclear weapons, which Putin has signaled that, in the event of a true “existential” crisis, he may use.

Ukraine is in its present crisis because Moscow has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, while Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in the 1990s.

The world is surely taking note of this fact.

South Korea relies on U.S. nuclear weapons to deter a nuclear-armed North Korea. Seoul also relies on the U.S. to retaliate against the North for any first use of nukes against the South.

And the issue is not an academic one.

Last week, Pyongyang warned that in the event of a clash with the South, its nuclear weapons would be used “at the outset of war.”

Seoul must today be observing Ukraine with some intensity. For there the U.S. is carefully calibrating whether the weapons they send to help Ukraine fight for its national existence violate a Moscow red line.

Could South Korea expect similar U.S. caution as to what weapons it would use in defending the country from a nuclear-armed North?

According to one U.S. poll, 71% of all South Koreans support the acquisition of their own arsenal of nuclear weapons.

China, too, has been observing how the United States has been inhibited by Russia’s nuclear arsenal in deciding which weapons to send, and which not to send, to Ukraine.

In Beijing, this question is surely being debated:

If the Americans, who have no treaty commitment to defend Ukraine, are inhibited by the threat of war with a nuclear-armed Russia into limiting their military aid to Ukraine, will the Americans be similarly intimidated by a nuclear-armed China — from going to war for Taiwan?

China may soon be testing U.S. resolve in the Taiwan Strait. For, like Ukraine, Taiwan has no treaty alliance obligating the United States to defend it.

In East Asia, the nations most hostile to us and our allies — Russia, China, North Korea — all have nuclear weapons. But none of our friends and allies in East Asia — Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Australia — have nuclear weapons. All rely on us for nuclear deterrence.

Observing the restrictions we have put on military aid to Ukraine, what must they be thinking now?

Consider the Middle East.

Iran is currently renegotiating a return to the nuclear arms deal of 2015. Under that agreement, Iran was granted relief from sanctions and a return to the world economy. In return, Tehran pledged not to test or acquire nuclear weapons and to open its nuclear facilities to inspection to show it was complying with the treaty.

Why has Iran, which has the ability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade but has never done so, forgone the testing and the building of nuclear weapons?

Iran appears to have concluded that its security would be more imperiled than enhanced if it sought to test a nuclear device preparatory to building a bomb.

A nuclear weapons test, if successful, would bring to Iran the possibility of war with a nuclear-armed Israel, as well as the potential destruction of all of its nuclear sites by the United States.

If Iran built a bomb, the Turks and Saudis might soon follow, and the ayatollah’s Iran would be less secure than it is today. Iran’s Persians, after all, are a minority in an Arab-dominated Middle East, and Iran’s Shia are but a fraction of the numbers of the Sunni Arab population.

What the Ukraine war has demonstrated is the vulnerability of not having nukes.

Taiwan and South Korea, especially, should take note.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 22:05

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Why Is The VIX So Low? A Surprising Answer Emerges In The Market’s Microstructure

Why Is The VIX So Low? A Surprising Answer Emerges In The Market’s Microstructure

One of the most frequent questions tossed around Wall Street…

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Why Is The VIX So Low? A Surprising Answer Emerges In The Market's Microstructure

One of the most frequent questions tossed around Wall Street trading desks (and strip clubs), and which was duly covered by Bloomberg recently in "Fear Has Gone Missing in Wall Street’s Slow-Motion Bear Market", is why despite the crushing bear market and the coming recession, does the VIX refuse to rise sustainably above 30, or in other words, why is the VIX so low?

As Goldman's Rocky Fishman wrote in a recent note "Option Markets Take the SPX Bear Market in Stride" (available to professional subs), "one of the most popular questions we have received is why the VIX hasn't surpassed its March peak (36) despite the SPX being lower than it was in March and realized vol being higher than it was in March."

Here, Fishman notes that implied volatility was unusually high in March, and the current VIX level (29) is only slightly low for the current level of realized vol. Furthermore, a VIX around 30 typically happens with the 5Y CDX HY spread above 600, and although it has risen steadily it's currently in the mid 500's.

Meanwhile, even as the VIX has fallen moderately since late April, both vol risk premium and skew have both fallen dramatically.

Picking up on this quandary, overnight JMorgan also joined the discussion with its analyst Peng Cheng laying out his own thoughts on why the VIX remains so low (note is also available to professional subs), and similar to Goldman notes that the current bear market, despite being deeper in magnitude, has produced VIX levels well below the peak observed during previous market sell-offs:

However, unlike Goldman which mostly analyzes the VIX in the context of a macro framework, JPM's Cheng offers observations based on his analysis of market microstructure in both equity and options markets.

Cheng starts with the previously noted low realized volatility: as the JPM strategist writes, YTD, the SPX realized vol, measured on a close to close basis, is only 25.5, which means that delta-hedged put options would have lost money in the gamma component. From a technical perspective, JPM believes that return volatility is dampened by a lack of intraday price momentum and increasingly frequent occurrences of intraday price reversal. As seen in the next chart, intraday reversal has only started to become noticeable in the last two years. Prior to that, intraday momentum was the dominant market behavior.

This diminishing intraday price momentum has had a non-trivial impact on realized volatility, according to JPM which estimates that if the intraday return correlation remained the same as pre-pandemic, YTD volatility would be close to 28.8, or 3.3 vol points higher than realized.

As an aside, those asking for the reason behind this change in intraday patterns in the last couple of years, Cheng notes that "this is a complex topic" but in short, his view is that it is a result of 1) crowding in intraday momentum trading strategies and 2) a potential shift in option gamma dynamics as discussed below.

Supply/demand of S&P 500 options: Although the estimation of market level option gamma profile is highly dependent on many factors, including assumptions on open interest, OTC options, and leveraged ETFs, etc., in a report published earlier this year, JPM's quants presented a more dynamic estimation of the gamma profile by using tick level data. Specifically, they assigned directions to SPX and SPY option trades based on their distance to the best bid/offer at the tick level, rather than the constant assumption of investors being outright long puts and short calls. The updated results are shown below.

Tha chart shows that starting in 2020, the put gamma imbalance has fallen meaningfully. This is the result of investors’ changing preference from buying outright puts to put spreads for protection, in JPM's view. And year to date, the decline in gamma demand has not improved. Moreover, and echoing what we have said on several recent occasions, JPM notes that judging from the outright negative put gamma imbalance in early 2022, it appears that investors have been monetizing hedges that had been held since 2021 - note the consistently positive and relatively elevated put gamma imbalance throughout 2021, which suggests that protections were put on during this period.

More in the full note available to pro subs

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 15:05

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Dr. Stephen Kingsmore receives prestigious Precision Medicine World Conference 2022 Luminary Award

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – June 29, 2022 – Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine® (RCIGM) today announced that Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, President…

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – June 29, 2022 – Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine® (RCIGM) today announced that Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, President and CEO, was presented with the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2022 Luminary Award at this year’s conference in the Silicon Valley region of California for his innovation in rapid neonatal molecular diagnoses using whole-genome sequencing.

Credit: Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – June 29, 2022 – Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine® (RCIGM) today announced that Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, President and CEO, was presented with the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2022 Luminary Award at this year’s conference in the Silicon Valley region of California for his innovation in rapid neonatal molecular diagnoses using whole-genome sequencing.

The Luminary Award recognizes the recent contributions of prominent figures who have accelerated precision medicine into the clinic. Additional PMWC 2022 honorees included Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer, for his extraordinary achievement in leading the record-time development of a vaccine and antiviral drug against the coronavirus and Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna, for overseeing R&D of the first antiviral synthetic mRNA vaccines ever created, including the one against COVID-19.

“I am honored to receive this award and be among this extraordinary group of past and present recipients focused on the clinical adoption of precision medicine,” said Dr. Kingsmore. “At RCIGM, we are transforming pediatric healthcare through the power of Rapid Precision Medicine™ by offering the fastest delivery of rapid Whole Genome Sequencing™ to enable prompt diagnosis and targeted treatment of critically ill newborns and children in intensive care. We know that time matters – a fast, molecular diagnosis can make the difference between improved outcomes and a lifetime of disability, or even life itself.”

Dr. Kingsmore leads a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, physicians, genetic counselors, software engineers and bioinformaticians who are pioneering the use of rWGS® to enable precise diagnoses for critically ill newborns. In 2021, he led the RCIGM team to set a new record of 13.5 hours for achieving the fastest molecular diagnosis using rWGS, breaking his previous 2018 world record of 19.5 hours. 

PMWC is the largest and original annual conference dedicated to precision medicine. PMWC’s mission is to bring together recognized leaders, top global researchers and medical professionals, and innovators across healthcare and biotechnology sectors to showcase practical content that helps close the knowledge gap between different sectors, thereby catalyzing cross-functional fertilization and collaboration in an effort to accelerate the development and spread of precision medicine.

Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine

Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine is transforming neonatal and pediatric health care by harnessing the power of Rapid Precision Medicine™ to improve the lives of children and families facing rare genetic disease. Founded by Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center, the Institute offers the fastest delivery of rapid Whole Genome Sequencing™ to enable prompt diagnosis and targeted treatment of critically ill newborns and children in intensive care. The Institute now provides clinical genomic diagnostic services for a growing network of more than 70 children’s hospitals. The vision is for this life-changing technology to become standard of care and enable clinicians nationwide to provide rapid, personalized care. Learn more about the non-profit Institute at RadyGenomics.org. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:

Ben Metcalf
bmetcalf@rchsd.org
+1 (619) 822-8593
 


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Fauci Suffers “Much Worse” COVID Symptoms After ‘Paxlovid Rebound’

Fauci Suffers "Much Worse" COVID Symptoms After ‘Paxlovid Rebound’

Fully-vaxx’d and double-boosted mask-admirer Anthony Fauci is suffering.

Two…

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Fauci Suffers "Much Worse" COVID Symptoms After 'Paxlovid Rebound'

Fully-vaxx'd and double-boosted mask-admirer Anthony Fauci is suffering.

Two weeks ago, we reported that President Biden's chief medical adviser had COVID.

The 81-year-old reportedly had 'mild symptoms' and of course he 'said the words'...

Of course, Fauci followed the CDC guidelines and ingested the government-blessed treatment - Paxlovid - due to his age and possible risks from the virus.

So, that should have been it right?

But no. During an event at Foreign Policy’s Global Health Forum, Fauci admitted he had not had a good experience:

“After I finished the five days of Paxlovid, I reverted to negative on an antigen test for three days in a row,” Fauci said Tuesday .

“And then on the fourth day, just to be absolutely certain, I tested myself again. I reverted back to positive.”

Interestingly, Fauci admitted:

"...this is becoming more and more typical based on more clinical studies..."

As Bloomberg reports, large numbers of patients have reported the phenomenon, often called Covid rebound or Paxlovid rebound, of returning symptoms after taking a full course of Pfizer’s drug.

While Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourlasaid in May that doctors could prescribe a second course of treatment to such patients, US drug regulators have said there’s no evidence that a repeat will help.

However, Fauci said he started taking a second course of Paxlovid after experiencing symptoms “much worse than in the first go around.”

Now near completion of the five-day oral treatment, he said he was still enduring symptoms but felt “reasonably good.”

Finally, as we reported less than two weeks ago, Pfizer stopped enrolling in a clinical trial for Paxlovid for standard-risk COVID-19 patients after the latest results suggested the drug did not reduce symptoms or hospitalizations and deaths to a statistically significant degree.

Watch the full interview below: (forward to around 5:26:00):

Not exactly encouraging news...

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 11:45

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