September 24, 2021
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." 
Galatians 5:1
Market Recap

For the week, the DJIA was up 213.12 points, or 0.6%, to 34,798. The S&P 500 rose 22.49 points, or 0.5%, to 4,455.48. The Nasdaq was nearly flat, up 3.73 points, or 0.02%, to 15,047.70.

Investors are fixated this week on the Federal Reserve's policy meeting as the U.S. central bank approaches the final quarter of the year, when it is expected to begin paring back its unprecedented level of bond.

The Federal Reserve now says its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases are on the way out as the U.S. economy improves despite the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. home sales fell slightly more than expected in August as supply remained tight, but there are signs that the sharp acceleration in house prices and the COVID-19 pandemic-fueled demand have probably run their course. Still the housing market remains hot.

U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in August, likely boosted by an easing in lumber prices, though land and labor shortages remain challenges.

U.S. household wealth jumped to a new high of $141.7 trillion at the end of June, a report from the Federal Reserve showed on Thursday, boosted by stock market gains and a pandemic-induced real-estate boom.

The U.S. current account deficit increased to a 14-year high in the second quarter as businesses boosted imports to replenish depleted inventories amid robust consumer spending.

US initial jobless claims rose to 351,000 in the employment survey week ended Sept. 18 from an upwardly revised 335,000 level in the previous week, compared with expectations for a decrease to 320,000 in survey of analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. business activity expanded at its slowest pace in a year in September amid relentless supply constraints and peaking demand, in line with expectations for a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the third quarter.

Manufacturing activity in the US Midwest unexpectedly fell in September as companies continued to experience rising input prices and disruptions in their supply chain. The decline contrasts with sharp increases in the regional manufacturing sector released by the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve banks.

Borrowings by U.S. companies for capital investments rose 21% in August from a year earlier, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell opened the door to tougher regulations as renomination decision looms.

The Federal Reserve said at its monthly meeting that it expects to soon begin tapering off monthly bond purchases begun early in the pandemic and signaled that an interest-rate hike could come as soon as next year.

The top two Democrats in the U.S. Congress on Thursday said they had reached a deal to pay for President Joe Biden's sweeping social agenda.

Gold prices fell to the lowest in six weeks on Thursday despite a falling U.S. dollar as bond yields rose after the Federal Reserve issued a hawkish outlook following the end of its monthly meeting.

Friday Recap: A Volatile Week, Wall Street Ends Near Even

Stocks fell sharply at the start of the week due to concerns over a default by China's Evergrande and its potential risk to global financial markets and also ahead of the Wednesday's Federal Reserve statement.
US stock futures were lower Friday as traders continued to monitor developments surrounding China's embattled property giant Evergrande.
The Dow and S&P 500 were little changed in Friday afternoon trading following a two-day rally, with a downbeat sales forecast from Nike offsetting gains in financial and energy shares.
Shares of cryptocurrency-related firms Coinbase Global, MicroStrategy Inc, Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Group fell after China's central bank put a ban on crypto trading and mining.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.31-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
Facebook and Tesla were the biggest boosts to the S&P 500 among individual names, although energy led gains among sectors.
Gold edged higher on Friday, even as bond yields rose for a second day after the Federal Reserve this week said it will soon begin tapering off monthly bond purchases and said it could raise interest rates next year. Platinum and Silver both slipped.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33.18 points, or 0.1%, to 34,798.00, the S&P 500 gained 6.50 points, or 0.15%, to 4,455.48 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.545 points, or 0.03%, to 15,047.699.
For the week, the DJIA was up 213.12 points, or 0.6%, to 34,798. The S&P 500 rose 22.49 points, or 0.5%, to 4,455.48. The Nasdaq was nearly flat, up 3.73 points, or 0.02%, to 15,047.70.

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Could the Chinese Evergrande Disaster Spill into the Broader Economy? [Op-Ed]
So many ‘brilliant’ analysts on Wall Street are simply accepting whatever the Chinese government says about their economic growth and stability.
Dan Celia, President and CEO of FISM Inc.

Chinese property developer, Evergrande, missed a Thursday deadline to make an $83.5 million payment and their silence on the matter has left global investors wondering what lies ahead. In addition, Evergrande’s electric car unit warned on Friday that it faces an uncertain future unless it gets a swift injection of cash, the clearest sign yet that the property developer’s liquidity crisis is worsening in other parts of its business.
Chinese authorities told officials to prepare for the indebtedness of the developing firm. The firm is referred to as a “company in China.” They are not just a company in China. Like all Chinese companies, they are a communist-ruled company, owned by the Chinese Communist party. They are essentially filing for bankruptcy, although they refer to it as a “restructuring.” In reality, the company will just cease to exist. 
Countless investors will be hurt by this. We’re talking about an impact that could be as much as $400 billion dollars. We don’t know yet the full extent of this storm and we most likely never will. The spillover effect and how it will impact, maybe even some American banks, will likely be covered…(READ MORE)
Pfizer BioNTech Seek COVID-19 Vaccine Approval for 5-11 Year Olds
Vaccinating children is part of a larger push to reach herd immunity, which can also be obtained through natural immunity.

Lauren Dempsey, FISM News
MS in Biomedicine and Law, RN
On Monday, Pfizer announced that it will be seeking FDA approval for the COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5-11. The Pfizer vaccine is currently being administered under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in individuals aged 12-15, as well as for six month booster shots in those aged 65 and older or those that are immunocompromised.

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine only has full FDA approval for use in individuals aged 16 and older.
But what’s the difference between full FDA approval and an EUA and why does it matter?

While clinical data that indicates treatments or medications are safe and effective are important in approval, an EUA is significantly different from FDA approval. This is because it is held to a lower standard…(READ MORE)
Haitian Migrants Being Released into America Amidst Chaotic Expulsion Effort
On Sunday, the US began employing expulsion flights, returning Haitian migrants to their home country.
Michael Cardinal, FISM News
Border officials have released hundreds to thousands of Haitians into the U.S. despite President Biden’s orders to the contrary according to a report from the AP.

According to two anonymous border officials, a “very, very large” number of migrants sleeping beneath the bridge in Del Rio, Texas are being allowed to enter the country with a notice to return to the border in 60 days. This goes against the White House’s previous statements that the Haitians would instead be flown back to Haiti.

Independent journalist Ali Bradley shared images of Haitians who were being flown to various locations across the U.S. yesterday…(READ MORE)
Ex-Border Patrol Chief: Biden 'Created the Current Border Crisis'
 a request that they exercise their “oversight responsibility and convene hearings to ensure that Congress and the American people have access to the truth.”
Samuel Case, FISM News
Just one month after retiring, President Joe Biden’s first Border Patrol Chief, Rodney S. Scott, wrote a strong letter to Senate leaders, warning that the “U.S. Border Patrol is rapidly losing the situational awareness required to know who and what is entering our Homeland.” The 29-year law enforcement officer chose to retire after being given a directed reassignment letter by the Biden administration earlier in the summer.

In Scott’s letter to the senators, obtained by Just the News, the Trump appointed border patrol chief said that Biden’s inauguration brought with it an “unprecedented seismic shift in border security and immigration policy,” that “created the current border crisis.”

Scott said that under Biden “common sense border security recommendations from experienced career professionals are being ignored and stymied…(READ MORE)

Taliban Denies ISIS-K and Al Qaeda Presence in Afghanistan Days after Bombings
ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for suicide bombings at the Kabul airport during the U.S. evacuation on August 27...

Ian Patrick, FISM News
The Islamic State said they were responsible for a string of bombings in eastern Afghanistan that targeted members of the ruling Taliban group. Days after the event, however, the Taliban denied that neither ISIS-K nor al Qaeda maintain a presence within the nation.

On Saturday and Sunday, the eastern city of Jalalabad was hit with a series of bombs that killed at least three and wounded twenty more, according to sources reported by Reuters. The Islamic State claimed the bombings shortly afterwards and claimed that they had killed or wounded over 35 Taliban members. At the time, the Taliban had no comment on the events.

Yet just two days after the most recent attacks, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that there was no evidence of an al Qaeda presence…(READ MORE)

26 Republican Governors Request Meeting with Biden on Border Crisis
The governors also expressed concerns that “approximately 9,700 illegal apprehensions have prior criminal convictions,” and that “cartels and traffickers...
Samuel Case, FISM News
Over two dozen Republican governors are requesting to meet with President Joe Biden to address their concerns over the ongoing crisis at the border. The request comes as the U.S. works round the clock to deport nearly 15,000 Haitian migrants camping under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

The 26 governors signed a letter demanding a meeting with Biden to “bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders.” The letter is signed by both conservative hardliners, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and moderates like Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio.

“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis…(READ MORE)

Update from Christians in Afghanistan - Taliban Committing Mass Killings
International Christian Concern (ICC) added to Eubank’s testimony last week regarding the danger facing Christians in the region…
Seth Udinski, FISM News
The situation in Afghanistan continues to develop, and in many cases, it is only getting worse. Over the weekend, a Christian missionary in the region released an update claiming Taliban officials are committing mass killings against anyone they deem as a potential threat to their rule. This places Christians in the region, many of whom converted from Islam, in extreme danger.

David Eubank, former Special Forces Officer in the United States Army, is a Christian missionary in the country. He gave an update in an interview with CBN News, saying Taliban warlords are killing dozens of people at one time. He further explained that these executions are happening all throughout the country.

They are hunting down people right now, trying to get all the names of anyone they perceive as an enemy…(READ MORE)
Lawmakers Storm Out of High-Level Afghanistan Briefing
McCaul indicated that some of the Americans still trapped are in the military and said he has been contacted by Texans whose military family members are still in the country.  
Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
A high-level and confidential Biden Administration briefing on Afghanistan turned contentious Thursday as a group of lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, left in anger.
CNN, which cited three sources who each confirmed the story, reports the blowup occurred after officials from the State Department, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and Office of the Director of National Security did not provide answers to “basic” questions. 
Key among the lawmakers’ concerns was an accounting for the exact number of Americans still in Afghanistan, a number that State Department officials were unable to provide. The State Department has consistently estimated the number of Americans in Afghanistan is 100 but, as CNN reported, the State Department continued to use this estimate even after about 75 American citizens were extracted…(READ MORE)
Biden Seeks to Double Refugee Limit
The news comes amidst pressure from both sides of the aisle as to what Biden’s plan is to deal with Afghans seeking asylum...
Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
On Monday, the Biden Administration urged Congress to increase the total number of refugees the United States will accept in Fiscal Year 2022.

At present, the number of refugees is capped at 62,500, and the President wishes for that to be raised to 125,000 next year. In May Biden had raised the number of refugees to its current number from the historically low 15,000 limit set by President Trump.

The proposed change comes in the wake of the recent arrival Afghan refugees, as well as what the Biden Administration referred to in a statement from U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price as “humanitarian crises around...(READ MORE)
Pelosi and Schumer Stage Showdown with Republicans over Debt Ceiling
In combining these two priorities they have challenged Republicans to a standoff over the debt ceiling.
Michael Cardinal, FISM News
On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced their plan to bring a bill to Congress that would partner a suspension of the debt ceiling with a spending bill that is needed to avoid a government shutdown.

Their statement initially reads that they would be passing a bill to ensure that would temporarily avoid a shutdown:

This week, the House of Representatives will pass legislation to fund the government through December of this year to avoid a needless government shutdown that would harm American families and our economic recovery before the September 30th deadline. Both Republicans and Democrats have priorities they want to see addressed in the regular order appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2022, and an extension of government funding through December will provide…(READ MORE)
Republicans and Democrats Clash Over Stop-Gap Funding Bill; Removal of Iron Dome Defense Funds
Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin also criticized this removal of the Israeli defense system funds...
Lauren Moye, FISM News
House Democrats passed a two-pronged stop-gap funding bill on Wednesday without gaining a single Republican vote. The bill, designed to prevent a government shutdown, also includes a suspension of the U.S. debt limit through December 2022.

With a Sept. 30 deadline approaching, the stopgap portion of the bill would allow federal agencies to be funded after Oct. 1. On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer jointly released a statement announcing the bill:

This week, the House of Representatives will pass legislation to fund the government through December of this year.…(READ MORE)

Australia Sees Three Days of Anti-Lockdown Protests
Earlier this month, FISM News reported that Australia was considering implementing an app to track individuals required to quarantine...
Samuel Case, FISM News
Over 200 individuals were arrested in Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday on the third consecutive day of ant-lockdown / ant-vaccine mandate protests after a two-week closure of building sites was enacted. The protests resulted in two injured officers, as the crowd engaged in riotous behaviors, such as hurling objects, including golf balls, batteries, and bottles at law enforcement.

Australia has enacted some the farthest reaching lock-down measures in the West. In major cities, citizens are subject to a stay at home order and are banned from interacting with people outside their home…(READ MORE)
House Democrats Advance Bill Which Would Drastically Expand Abortions
…intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy—cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.
Ian Patrick, FISM News
Earlier this month, Texas took a stand against abortion by enacting a law known as the Texas Heartbeat Law which bans abortions in the state after a heartbeat can be heard. In a desperate attempt to combat the pro-life push, Democrats in the House of Representatives advanced a bill on Tuesday that would expand abortions beyond what is provided in Roe v. Wade.

Known as the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” the bill aims to maintain the “right” for women to abort infants as given in Roe, while also removing certain restrictions and limitations...(READ MORE)
House Republicans Investigate Afghanistan Aid Due to Hostage Payment Concern
However, concern remains that any aid will place the lives of American citizens who remain in Afghanistan in danger.
Lauren Moye, FISM News
House Republicans voiced concerns on Thursday that recently pledged aid to Afghanistan may effectively be a ransom payment for the lives of American citizens who still remain in the country. These representatives wrote in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken:

We have serious concerns about negotiations with the Taliban leading to the payment of ransom – whether marketed as humanitarian assistance or sanctions relief – which will give the Taliban resources that could be used to attack the United States or our allies.

Lawmakers requested that Blinken reveal if easing sanctions had any connection to securing safe passage…(READ HERE)

Climbing COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Death Toll; How Concerned Should Americans Be?
…it is acceptable to list COVID-19 as the cause of death for any death that can be attributed to COVID-19 or a death where COVID-19 is probable or presumed.
Lauren Dempsey, FISM News
MS in Biomedicine and Law, RN
In March of 2020 the Trump Administration announced a campaign to combat COVID-19. Americans were told that lockdowns were the key to flatten the curve and slowing the spread of the virus. This was essential in preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with critically ill and dying COVID-19 patients which would put excessive strain on the healthcare system.

This week the United Sates COVID-19 death toll surpassed 663,000 deaths, which was significant in that it reportedly accounted for .2% of the American population. But how significant is this number?

study published in 2021, gathered information from the National Center for Health Statistics which showed…(READ MORE)
White House Redistributing COVID-19 Treatment, Harming Mostly Red States
...created some uproar as many see this as the federal government specifically targeting states run by Republican governors…
Ian Patrick, FISM News
As the White House propels its COVID-19 vaccination effort through a sweeping mandate, it is also getting involved in the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments.

In his highly controversial announcement on September 9, President Biden said the government would be mandating that all private businesses with 100 employees or more require proof of vaccination or weekly negative COVID-19 tests to operate. Part of his plan also included an increase in “the average pace of shipment across the country of free monoclonal antibody treatments by another 50 percent.”

According to FISM News’ Lauren Dempsey, monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 “are an imitation of the body’s natural ability…(READ MORE)
Tensions Cool Between US and France
The recent row between the United States and France, the latter of whom criticized the AUKUS agreement as too focused on U.S. desires…  
Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke over the phone Wednesday and appear to have worked out their differences over the AUKUS agreement.

In a joint statement, the White House confirmed that President Biden had requested the call with Macron, who last week recalled France’s ambassadors from both the U.S. and Australia when those nations entered into a trilateral naval agreement with the United Kingdom. Macron will send his ambassador back to the U.S. next week.

Much of the angst between the two world leaders stemmed from the fact that France had sought its own agreement with Australia and wanted, at minimum, to have been included in whatever agreement the other Western powers crafted as a means of mitigating China’s influence…(READ MORE)
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