How does the economy work?
The economy is a system of producing and exchanging goods and services in a society.Continue Reading
ESG Today: Week in Review
This week in ESG news: Biden vetoes Republican anti-ESG resolution; EU proposes “green claims” rules to protect consumers from greenwashing; Kering commits to emissions reduction across value chain; Microsoft signs direct air capture carbon removal deal; BlackRock to continue engaging companies on climate & emissions; Biden announces $250 million for building decarbonization; first-ever zero carbon […]Continue Reading
Tim Draper recommends founders hold ‘at least’ two payrolls ‘worth of cash’ in crypto
American venture capital investor Tim Draper warned business founders to prepare for “more and more” bank failures if the government continues to “print money and whipsaw interest rates.”Continue Reading
SEC targets Coinbase, Do Kwon arrested and FTX sells $95M in Mysten Labs: Hodler’s Digest, March 19-25
Top Stories This Week
Coinbase could face SEC enforcement action for ‘potential violations of securities law’
Crypto exchange Coinbase received a Wells notice from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suggesting an upcoming enforcement action. According to Coinbase, the “legal threat” could potentially target its staking program, listed digital assets, wallet or Coinbase Prime services. The exchange’s chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, said the warning “comes after Coinbase provided multiple proposals to the SEC about registration over the course of months, all of which the SEC ultimately refused to respond to.” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong renewed calls for crypto users to “elect pro-crypto candidates” after the development.
FTX debtors agree to $95M sale of stake in Mysten Labs
As bankruptcy proceedings for FTX move forward, debtors of the defunct crypto exchange have approved an agreement seeking to sell $95 million worth of its preferred stock in Mysten Labs, the company behind the Sui blockchain. Court approval is still pending, as is the potential for other bids on the stocks. In a related headline, FTX is seeking to recover $460 million of allegedly misappropriated customer funds from venture capital firm Modulo Capital, which received a sizeable investment from Alameda Research last year. The investment was reportedly directed by Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces multiple counts in federal court related to alleged fraud during his time as CEO.
Fake employees and social attacks: Crypto recruiting is a minefield
Is the cryptocurrency epicenter moving away from East Asia?
Do Kwon faces fraud charges from US prosecutors hours after arrest
Just hours after being arrested in Montenegro, Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon was charged with eight separate counts by United States prosecutors in New York, including commodities fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud and engage in market manipulation. According to reports, Kwon is also facing criminal charges in Montenegro for allegedly forging travel documents. Prosecutors in South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Kwon in September last year, followed by a red notice listing from Interpol weeks later. The charges laid against him are in relation to his alleged role in the collapse of the $40 billion Terra Luna Classic token and TerraClassicUSD stablecoin in May 2022.
Mastercard to settle transactions for stablecoin wallet in APAC
Mastercard is launching a stablecoin digital wallet integration to allow retail customers in the Asia-Pacific region to spend U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The international payment company plans to convert the USDC stablecoin into fiat and settle on its network by partnering with Australian stablecoin platform Stables. The service will be initially available for users based in Australia before expanding to Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and most of the Asia-Pacific.
Celsius custody account holders can receive 72.5% of their crypto, says bankruptcy judge
The judge overseeing the bankruptcy case for crypto lending firm Celsius Network has approved a settlement plan that allows custody account holders to get back 72.5% of their crypto assets. Holders will have 30 days to review the terms. If they opt in, the assets will be returned in two distributions — 36.25% up front and 36.25% upon plan resolution (or at end of year). The defunct platform announced in February that NovaWulf Digital Management would act as a sponsor for its restructuring plan, claiming that more than 85% of Celsius customers would recover roughly 70% of their crypto..
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $27,157, Ether (ETH) at $1,734 and XRP at $0.41. The total market cap is at $1.15 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.
Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Mask Network (MASK) at 24.22%, Flare (FLR) at 22.23% and XRP (XRP) at 11.89%.The top three altcoin losers of the week are Arbitrum (ARB) at -89.76%, Immutable (IMX) at -25.82% and Toncoin (TON) at -15.12%.For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Thailand’s Crypto Utopia — ‘90% of a cult, without all the weird stuff’
Reformed ‘altcoin slayer’ Eric Wall on shitposting and scaling Ethereum
Most Memorable Quotations
“What is happening in these months is just demonstrating that the Bitcoiners and Bitcoin maxis were right all along.”
Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer of Tether
“It’s not crypto versus Goldman Sachs or crypto versus institutions. It’s a race to who can do crypto better.”
Oliver Linch, CEO of Bittrex
“Stablecoins will play a pivotal role in the new financial system and will be core to bridging the worlds of traditional and decentralized finance.”
Daniel Li, chief operating officer of Stables
“What the central bank digital currency is all about is surveilling Americans and controlling behavior of Americans.”
Ron DeSantis, governor of the U.S. state of Florida
“Bitcoin was designed in reaction to Lehman Brothers in the 2008 crisis. It was designed because you can’t trust central authorities.”
Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger
“We are in serious risk of seeing an entire strategic technology arena slip away from US leadership.”
Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle
Prediction of the Week
Bitcoin likely to outperform all crypto assets following banking crisis, analyst explains
The banking crisis could be the spark that will kick off the next crypto bull run, in which Bitcoin is likely to outperform all other cryptos, according to Mike McGlone, senior commodity strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence.
According to McGlone, the United States Federal Reserve’s unwillingness to ease monetary policy despite the banking crisis is driving the U.S. economy into a recession. This macro environment will ultimately favor Bitcoin, which is going to outperform all other cryptocurrencies.
“The more the Bitcoin can sustain above $25,000, then the more the S&P 500 potentially pressures below 4,000, you’re going to have an indication that Bitcoin is going to take off,” McGlone pointed out. “I think Bitcoin will outperform virtually all cryptos, including Ethereum,” he concluded.
FUD of the Week
US Senator Ted Cruz tries again with new bill to block CBDC
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill to block the Federal Reserve from launching a “direct-to-consumer” central bank digital currency as it “could be used as a financial surveillance tool by the federal government.” According to Cruz, the federal government has “no authority to unilaterally establish” the digital dollar. A similar bill was introduced by Cruz with other senators on March 30, 2022, seeking to prohibit the Fed from issuing a CBDC directly to individuals. Nearly 12 months later, the bill still hasn’t moved past the introduction phase.
Hindenburg Research reports Block short position, claiming fraud facilitation and inflated metrics
A report following a two-year investigation from Hindenburg Research claims digital payments company Block has “systematically taken advantage” of its users, alleging the firm inflated its user metrics and facilitated fraud. According to the report, Block’s practices allowed users to set up fraudulent accounts, catering to many criminals who used the platform to steal funds. Block labeled the report “factually inaccurate and misleading,” declaring it intends to take legal action against the research firm.
European banks head into another weekend of uncertainty as default risks surge
European banks faced another weekend of renewed fears surrounding their future, as shares of Deutsche Bank plunged on the New York Stock Exchange on March 24, after a down day on Frankfurt’s markets. Shares of the German bank were impacted by an increase in the cost of insuring against its potential default risk, with its five-year credit default swaps climbing during the week and closing at 222 basis points on Friday. Fears about European banks are not limited to Deutsche Bank. European shares of Commerzbank, Société Générale, and UBS also fell in European trading.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Best and worst countries for crypto taxes — plus crypto tax tips
Resident tax expert Elias Ahonen looks at the best and worst countries in the world for crypto taxes. Where do the U.S. and U.K. rank?
Creating ‘organic’ generative art from robotic algorithms: Emily Xie, NFT Creator
When creating generative art, the world just disappears for this Harvard graduate living in New York.
US enforcement agencies are turning up the heat on crypto-related crime
Recent high-profile indictments by the Department of Justice and collaborative agencies suggest that the federal government intends to aggressively go after alleged crypto criminals in the United States and abroad.
The most engaging reads in blockchain. Delivered once a
Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.
Hiatus Malware Targets Business Routers
There is a new malware campaign targeting business-grade routers. It is called Hiatus, a complex operation that deploys the HiatusRAT malware. It is a kind of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that cybercriminals use to gain remote control over a target system. Hiatus is the first of its kind. Lumen’s security experts say it has been […]Continue Reading
Clients Raise Concerns With Advisors Over Security of Bank Deposits
Clients are turning to their advisors with questions about the security of their bank deposits as U.S. Senators huddle to find consensus about legislation that would lift the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. cap above $250,000. “There seems to be more commonality about what to do with FDIC than there was four or five days ago,” […]Continue Reading
7 Ways Dating Apps Are Lying To You
https://assets.entrepreneur.com/content/3×2/2000/1679494339-GettyImages-1364024562.jpg Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Dating apps have undoubtedly revolutionized how people find love and connect with others. 3 in 10 US adults say they have used an online dating service (website or app). The convenience and accessibility of dating apps have made it easier for individuals to meet potential partners, […]Continue Reading
Cerebral Data Breach – 3.18 Million Affected
Cerebral, an online platform that offers mental health care services, recently suffered a data breach that may have affected up to 3.18 million users. According to its report, the breach was due to the company’s use of third-party pixel trackers. Cerebral did not say the exact number of users affected. However, the company said it […]Continue Reading
Two Merrill Teams Producing Over $5 Million Combined Jump to Kestra, Stifel
Two Merrill Lynch teams who had generated $5 million in combined revenue have left to sign with independent broker-dealer Kestra Financial in North Carolina and Stifel Financial in Texas. In the larger of the moves, the Buckminster Palmer Group, which a source said had been generating $3 million in annual revenue, signed with Kestra Private […]Continue Reading
Heavy Transport Decarbonization Startup Amogy Raises $139 Million
Transportation decarbonization-focused clean fuel tech startup Amogy announced that it has raised $139 million, with proceeds aimed at funding the commercialization of its emissions-free ammonia-to-power technology. Founded in 2020, Brooklyn, New York-based Amogy offers ammonia-based, emission-free, high energy-density power solutions aimed at enabling the decarbonization of the heavy-duty transportation sector. The company’s technology utilizes liquid […]Continue Reading
New York Governor Unveils Plan To Address Illicit Pot Shops
New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday unveiled new legislation to combat the state’s persistent illicit cannabis operators. The bill, which already has the support of dozens of lawmakers in the New York Senate and State Assembly, also provides increased authority for regulators including the Office of Cannabis Management and the Department of Taxation and Finance to enforce regulations and close stores engaged in illegal cannabis sales.
“Over the past several weeks I have been working with the legislature on new legislation to improve New York’s regulatory structure for cannabis products,” Hochul said in a statement from the governor’s office. “The continued existence of illegal dispensaries is unacceptable, and we need additional enforcement tools to protect New Yorkers from dangerous products and support our equity initiatives.”
New York Legalized Recreational Weed In 2021
New York legalized adult-use cannabis in 2021 and the first recreational marijuana dispensary opened its doors in Manhattan late last year. But so far, only four Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) retailers have opened statewide. Meanwhile, the number of unlicensed pot shops has skyrocketed, prompting operators in the nascent licensed cannabis industry and others to press state officials for action against illicit operators.
Under the proposed legislation announced by Hochul on Wednesday, New York’s tax and cannabis laws would be amended to enable the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), the Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) and local law enforcement agencies to enforce restrictions on unlicensed storefront dispensaries. The legislation does not impose new penalties for cannabis possession for personal use by an individual and does not allow local law enforcement officers to perform marijuana enforcement actions against individuals.
“This legislation, for the first time, would allow OCM and DTF to crack down on unlicensed activity, protect New Yorkers, and ensure the success of new cannabis businesses in New York,” the governor’s office wrote. “The legislation would restructure current illicit cannabis penalties to give DTF peace officers enforcement authority, create a manageable, credible, fair enforcement system, and would impose new penalties for retailers that evade State cannabis taxes.”
The bill clarifies and expands the OCM’s authority to seize illicit cannabis products, establishes summary procedures for the OCM and other governmental entities to shut down unlicensed businesses, and creates a framework for more effective cooperative efforts among agencies.
Violations of the law could lead to fines of $200,000 for illicit cannabis plants or products. The legislation also allows the OCM to fine businesses up to $10,000 per day for engaging in cannabis sales without a license from the state.
Elliot Choi, chief knowledge officer at the cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente LLP, hailed the use of financial penalties instead of jail time to help reign in New York’s illicit cannabis market.
“Governor Hochul’s proposed legislation is very much welcomed as prior efforts to combat the illicit dispensaries haven’t appeared to have much of an impact,” Choi wrote in an email to High Times. “We support the use of fines as opposed to incarceration to avoid recriminalization and a return of anything that resembles the prior failed war on drugs.”
In addition to fines for unlicensed cannabis operators, Choi said that penalizing property owners who rent to unlicensed businesses would also be an appropriate tool for the state’s cannabis regulators and called for an increase in funding for state agencies tasked with controlling underground operators.
“Landlords should not have any incentives to rent to illegal operators and should be financially punished for doing so,” said Choi. “Finally, both the OCM and the Department of Taxation and Finance need additional resources to enforce as the OCM already has enough on their plate getting the regulations finalized and corresponding licenses issued in a timely fashion.”Continue Reading
Medical Cannabis Cultivation Bill Approved in New Hampshire House
House Bill 431 was introduced on Jan. 5, 2023, and has proceeded through numerous sessions and hearings before passing in the House on March 22. If passed, it would allow patients as well as caregivers to cultivate up to three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings at home. Additionally, HB-341 would also increase the number of plants that medical cannabis dispensaries can grow, with 80 mature plants, 160 immature plants, and an endless number of seedlings.
The bill requires that patients report their cultivation to the Department of Health and Human Services, and as a qualifying patient or caregiver, would be protected from arrest by state or local law enforcement or penalty under state or municipal law.
During the hearings that have been conducted so far, two concerns have been discussed, according to Rep. Erica Layon of Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs. “This bill as amended provides a framework for therapeutic cannabis patients or their caregivers to grow cannabis with restrictions. This bill addresses two major problems for this community—access and price,” said Layon during a meeting on March 17. “The closest Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) may be far away and the cost of this product is high. Most therapeutic cannabis patients will continue to purchase their product from ATCs and those who choose to grow their own will be able to purchase seedlings from the ATC or grow from seeds according to their preference. This bill has broad support from stakeholders including patient representatives, ATCs and the department.”
Rep. Wendy Thomas, one of the sponsors of HB-341, tweeted about the bill’s progress so far. “Passed on a voice vote of the Consent Calendar—HB-431—Therapeutic home-grow now moves to the Senate One step closer. Thanks to all of the many advocates who have worked to make this happen. Let us not take our foot off the gas until we get this signed,” she posted on March 22. The bill now heads to the senate for further consideration.
On Twitter, Prime Alternative Treatment Centers Director of Public and Government Relations Matt Simon shared that he believes this is the 11th time that a medical cannabis cultivation bill has passed through the House since 2009. According to Simon, only four of those bills passed through the Senate.
As of January, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s office predicts that cannabis legalization will not reach his desk. “It’s failed in the Senate repeatedly, in both Republican-held years and Democrat-held years,” Sununu’s office said in a statement to New Hampshire Public Radio. “With teen drug use and overdoses on the rise, it is not anticipated that the legislature will see this as a time to ignore the data and move it forward.”
House Bill 360 also recently passed in the House on March 21, which would legalize adult-use cannabis by removing cannabis from the state’s list of banned substances and removing any criminal penalties for cannabis offenses. While cannabis would be legal to possess, cultivate, and purchase, it does not implement any tax or regulation program. It has also moved to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 639 has also been making its way through the House. If passed, it would legalize possession, cannabis sales, and gifting of up to four ounces, create a Liquor and Cannabis Commission to manage industry regulations statewide, implement taxes for cultivators, and much more. The latest hearing was held on March 20.
Rep. Anita Burroughs spoke during a floor debate for HB-639 on Feb. 22, and explained that it is “good legislation that is the result of the goodwill and diligent work of both political parties.” “We can now join other New England states that offer safe, regulated and a profitable cannabis industry to their citizens,” she continued.
Other representatives expressed their excitement when HB-639 passed on Feb. 22. “I cast my vote on cannabis legalization from seat 4-20!” Tweeted Rep. Amanda Bouldin. “We did the damn thing #blazeit” Rep. Jessica Grill shared.Continue Reading
Cro-Mags Show No Mercy!
It was nowhere near show time, and it was readily apparent that trouble was brewing. An Instagram post made by Harley Flanagan, founder of Cro-Mags, inarguably the forefathers of American hardcore, suggested that he had just entered the stinky ole brown eye of cultural division in the United States of America, landing smack dab in a gas station where chicken livers and confederate flags are such hot pieces of redneck commerce that they often receive top billing. It’s not every day that New Yorkers get slapped in the face with racism at the retail level, one as unapologetic and greasy as the fowl organ fare these joints are frying up in the back. Most of us lingering anywhere near the hemorrhoidal itch of the South are, at times, callused to these passive-aggressive tokens of imbecility, but not this multi-racial band from the East coast. If there was an underlying sentiment oozing from Flanagan’s fingertips it was, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Sheeeeiiiit! Conflict was in the air. I could smell it. One wrong move from the chaw-spitting locals and Flannagan, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, would surely snap one of their limbs—a leg perhaps—and have them crying for their mommy in a puddle of urine and axle grease. I just knew by the time they got to Evansville, Indiana to play their show at StageTwo, that bald bastard would be carrying around some hillbilly’s foot on a keychain. The only possible redemption surging from this southern cesspool serving up chitlins to the average fowl-eating fascist, at least judging from the photos Flanagan included in the post, was a Ramones and Led Zeppelin flag flying next to a couple of dreamcatchers near the cash register. Perhaps it was a sign that America’s divisiveness was beginning to narrow, and Flanagan and crew would arrive to their show without incident. It was maybe even just about as promising an omen this nation has seen in a while suggesting that we, as a collective people, might just get along in the end. Sure, the specter of unlicensed band merch wasn’t exactly the hallmark of equality, but it was a start.
Cro-Mags, I was certain, could handle themselves. I, on the other hand, had problems of my own. At the same time Flanagan was staring down a line of ethnocentric wares in one of Tennessee’s seediest pump and dumps, I was in the middle of a pre-show meeting with my photographer and partner, Holly, making sure that she had everything she needed to properly shoot the band’s performance later that night. The conversation, as many of them tend to happen, entailed one of my incessant, borderline lunatic ramblings of logistics and how we needed to enter a transcendental mindset where hack jobs be damned! Meanwhile, Netflix was passively playing in the background. I have a theory that Holly likes to keep some form of noise on at all times just to tune me out during the paranoid madness that rendezvouses at the 11th hour. It’s when I’m most inclined to rag anyone’s nerves—even those who love me. Running interference this time around was YOU—the series about an obsessive bookselling serial killer doing his best to carve out, and quite literally, some semblance of an American family. I wouldn’t even mention such an unimportant detail of what happens in the hours prior to attending a show for the purpose of penning a few words, if not for looking up at one point during our discussion and seeing the lengthy member of a corpse dangling on the goddamned TV.
“What the fu…”
The dead dick quickly caught my attention, not because of the sheer size of it under morgue-frigid conditions, but because it wasn’t at all realistic. “That’s not what a dead dick looks like,” I declared. My spontaneous revelation about the continuity of the corpse cock was welcomed with utter disregard. Holly didn’t bat an eye. It seems not even my dark knowledge of human anatomy could detour her focus of the business at hand. What would, however, I would later find out, is her pre-teen and his borderline criminal aversion to doing homework. Although we were scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. to ride to the venue together—after I, of course, got myself into the appropriate mindset to mingle with a few IPAs and a pull or two of Blue Dream—a missing science assignment would test the permanence of our professionalism. “You’re going to have to go without me,” she texted at 7:30, knowing damn well that such a short notice change of plans, one quite possibly leaving me without a photographer, could cause me to suffer an aneurysm and leave me for dead. “I’ll meet you there, later, though,” read a second text, giving me at least some reassurance that I wouldn’t have to resort to shooting the damn thing with my iPhone.
Photo by Holly Crolley
Having no other choice but to suck it up and go it alone, for a while anyway, I summoned an Uber and made my way, ever-so-anxiously, to the venue without a lensman. No way I was risking the chance of missing a second of the Cro-Mags. This show, for me, was an important one.
Scan the archives of punk rock history and Harley Flanagan, now 56, is there. He’s fucking everywhere.
From the time he was barely old enough to wipe his own ass, Flanagan was rubbing elbows with the elite of New York’s wild and weird. Look, there he is with Andy Warhol and Joe Strummer. Wait, there he is now with Debbie Harry. Flanagan almost ensured his place in the well-chronicled narrative of New York punk, a scene many of us only got to witness thanks to shutterbug documentarians like Bob Gruen, just by refusing to leave. In a lot of ways, his story of hanging out in popular NYC haunts from CBGB’s to Max’s Kansas City at 12-years-old playing drums for his band The Stimulators reads like the script for Forrest Gump. As outsiders, we’re all just that sweet, old lady sitting on the park bench, listening intently, yet skeptical of whether he actually shook hands with President Kennedy or if he’s just making that shit up.
Yet, in Flanagan’s case, it’s all real, every last tale. He was fucking there. Although he’ll be the first to tell you that it all seems like a dream. Albeit one where some of his heroes were there to guide the way. “Not only did [The Clash] play some of the best live shows I ever saw but it’s the reason why I always try to give a moment to every fan I meet,” Flanagan told High Times. “Because I know how much it means to be a young fan and to meet somebody that matters to you. And that is the difference between them treating you with respect, like a human or them being a total rockstar asshole and fucking you off. [The Clash] were so good to me, and I always try to pay that forward. It meant a lot, they were really cool guys, and I will always respect them.”
Yep, there from the days when the first generation of New York punk was captured in black and white, making the transition to the color snapshots of the 80s and 90s, showing up alongside legends such as Henry Rollins, Jeff Hanneman, and halle-fucking-lujah, God himself—Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead. Perhaps part of Flanagan’s longevity over the course of rock ‘n roll history can be credited, at least in part, to his ability to concede to the trumpets when they start to roar. “One time I asked Lemmy how he keeps going with the amount of bullshit you have to eat in this business,” Flanagan recalls. “His response was ‘would you rather be slicing bacon for a living?’ which I remember all the time when I’m not feeling it. The kicker is that he knew I was a vegetarian as well, so it was like ‘would you rather be doing something you really hate to survive?’”
Forgive me if I remember this wrong.
The first time I saw anything about Flanagan and Cro-Mags I think I had just hit puberty. As a young turd growing up in one of those diminutive chicken liver-slinging towns of Southern Indiana, I, like most snot-nose adolescents just learning to jerk off, was still listening to stuff like AC-DC, Hank Williams Jr. and Quiet Riot. Wait, Hank? Yep, even us young metalheads had a little shitkicker in us! We didn’t have any real record stores nearby, so if K-Mart didn’t carry an album in their limited music department, I didn’t have it in my collection. I did, however, regularly loiter in the magazine aisle at my local grocery store, flipping through the latest issues of Hit Parader, Circus, and every other now-defunct music publication trying to find new, up-and-coming bands to devour. In the back pages of one, amidst the typical features on the Motley’s and Ozzie’s, that’s where I first spotted Flanagan. I’d never seen anything like him. Branded with a massive tattoo of a gnarly, fire-breathing Devil across the whole of his chest, his head shaved, scowling like a methed-out madman in front of his less-intimidating bandmates, Flanagan looked like Charles Manson’s younger, meaner brother who had just killed 40 people busting out of a mental institution to start a band. He wasn’t the typical malnourished rockstar that regularly appeared in those pages—scrawny with no muscle definition whatsoever, yet posing like they could whup some serious ass. This dude seemed fit and legitimately unhinged enough to back it up. While the rest of those spandex-wearing wusses were busy cleaning out their parent’s retirement savings trying to make it with their shitty band, Flanagan’s attitude resonated a certain gutter authenticity—starving yet always wired up enough to take it on—whatever that may be. “Holy shit,” I said to a friend of mine who was with me at the time. “Look at this dude.”
The band’s inclusion, if memory serves me correctly, was more or less a blurb about the rise of New York hardcore, and there was no more fitting of a poster child for the movement than Flanagan, I was sure of it. I had no idea what hardcore was at the time. I’d never even heard of Cro-Mags or any other band for that matter, where the buzz-cut, military-style coiffure was part of the official garb. I’m not saying they started bald club, but Cro-Mags was the first band in my purview where they skinned it on back. All the dudes in Metallica, the heaviest, angriest band I had found (and unapologetically worshiped), had unkempt pompadours nearly down to their ass, and to me, a pastoral pipsqueak from Indiana with maybe three pubes swinging from his nuts, they seemed like the kind of guys you’d want in your corner if the shit hit the fan. But the hyperbole of their winces and clenched fisted posture paled in comparison to the probity of Flanagan’s grit and machismo.
He was the real deal.
Photo by Holly Crolley
My best assessment of all this hardcore business was that it meant actually having the cojones to back up whatever piss and vinegar was being sprayed from the stage. Don’t write a check your lyrics can’t cash. Are you going to bark all day little doggy or are you going to dive headfirst into the pit and take an elbow to the jaw? Not just anyone could take the plunge from passivity to pandemonium and make it out alive. Perhaps it was a metaphor for the life that manifested this genre. Maybe that’s how this seemingly deranged skinhead managed to slip through the editorial gatekeepers of a music rag typically catering to glam and hard rock, and his mug, all intense, gnashing teeth, a man who’d inevitably eat your grandmother if she got too close—soul, colostomy bag and all—came to be burned into my impressionable, idiot brain. The Bon Jovi’s and whatever other ineffectual cock rock crooners of the time were forever doomed, in my opinion, and their pouty-lip regime was about to die. It was good riddance as far as I was concerned.
In the following weeks, I made every attempt to get The Age of Quarrel, the band’s debut record, but, as you might have guessed, it was not to be found among K-Mart’s stock. None of my friends owned it either or even knew who the fuck Cro-Mags were, so getting my hands on a shoddy reproduction proved a daunting task. I even tried to convince my mom, who had totally bought in to the scripture according to the PMRC’s satanic panic suicidal revival, to drive me to the nearest city to see if it could be procured from a real record store, but she was hellbent on offering no further contributions to my life of degeneracy. It wasn’t until a few years later (yes, years) that I ran into this guy, all decked out in black wearing a leather jacket with Ed Gein painted on one sleeve and Joey Ramone on the other, who happened to have a copy in his extensive tape collection. “Play this one, play this one,” I demanded. “Oh man, Cro-Mags is a scary band,” he replied.
That’s precisely what I wanted to hear.
From note one, Cro-Mags was the antithesis of what I had come to know as rock ‘n roll, far different than what those heavy drinking, down-picking, chunk-chunkers from the Bay Area were putting out. And the lyrics were more personal, too, like an intimate warning scrawled on the shithouse walls of a sleazy dive bar, letting all of those with piss on their zippers know that they’d better not fuck around. “What does it take to prove you were a fake. I thought so anyway. Won’t show you no mercy today!” Coming from a podunk town where I never fit in, made to feel, oftentimes, as though there was something wrong with me for not subscribing to the livestock-porking life of small-town America, this was deliverance. Not only was the band staffed with an apparent ruffian, a dude who looked a hell of a lot like I felt, but the overall message, in my eyes at least, was one of strength, not taking shit from the feeble hierarchy of imperialistic pecker weeds, never bowing down, and always fighting back, win or lose. Show no mercy at all!
Flannagan, long ago, infiltrated the systemics of a drug-addled rock ‘n roll lineage—one that often claimed to be influenced by punk—respectfully punching his idols in the throat, if for no other reason than to prove it wasn’t enough to get mad for the sake of politics, but you also needed to pick up a tire iron on occasion to get your point across. Cro-Mags was one of the first bands, alongside maybe Black Flag, to inspire a cult of young born-losers to cut their hair, get off the couch and fight—for something, anything that wasn’t complacence. Those who bought in became dangerous to the sheep-lapping from the societal trough. Anyone who didn’t show the kid any respect back in the day would meet the ire of the man—and they’d lose, real fucking bad.
Fast forward to now and all the pseudo tough guys to emerge from Flanagan’s influence in the realm of hardcore and heavy music, many now with beer guts, all bloated relics of a philosophy they were never strong enough to uphold, got squishy. But Flanagan is still hard as nails. He just keeps getting better with age. If you’ve ever found yourself asking why this man is still around, duking it out onstage night after night, it’s because the true primogenitor remains the steeple of his church. And while Flanagan may have partaken in the same narco-lunacy that downed many hags of heavy metal in his formative years, all this iconic monstrosity leans on now for levity is the casual beer and cannabis.
“I don’t drink it every day,” he told me, when asked how he can still enjoy brew and maintain his chiseled physique. “But [cannabis] helps me medicinally and also helps me a little with my head, but I find that smoking fucks my lungs up, so I do take breaks,” he added. “I think the plant itself is amazing. It has so many benefits and can be used in so many ways. I’m glad it is being explored more and more. And I’m glad that people are starting to recognize its value as more than just some stoner hippie drug. I do think too much of anything is not a good thing. But I am definitely a fan. I used to grow. It’s a beautiful plant. It should be respected not demonized.”
Photo by Holly Crolley
At the show…
“Look out!” I shouted, as some scrawny dude came flying at us from the mosh pit over to where we were standing on an upper tier of the venue, knocking Holly, who was too busy adjusting the settings on her camera to see it coming, right to the floor. I saw the impending collision just seconds before impact but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Given the modest task of holding Holly’s beer (so she could fool with the camera) and two of my own, well, my hands were too full to shield her much from the body hurtling at full speed. Not without the two of us wearing enough beer to end up hyperthermal before the end of the night. Not that it mattered in the end. Smaaaaack! As the three soft boys in front of us went down on top of her like a sack of potatoes, so did their beer. Although my photographer had finally arrived it appeared that more trouble was in the wings. The camera was now covered in brew, the lens smudged, maybe even scratched and Cro-Mags were up next. A weaker journalist would have packed it up, sent a scathing message to his editor telling him to ‘fuck the fuck off’ and never spoke of this night again. However, what’s that they say? The show must go on. Shit, and we needed more beer too!
By the time Cro-Mags came out, it appeared as though the stars of rock journalism had finally aligned—if you believe in all that hippie-dippy, cosmotheistic crap. All I know is the man-made camera was finally in working order and my photographer, the trooper that she is, presumably sans concussion yet reeking of overpriced beer, was in the thick of the performance and on a quest to document whatever hairy hell may come. I couldn’t be bothered with logistics anymore, my job would come later. It was out of my hands now—I’d already given it up to whatever snaggletoothed goblin was haunting me from within the ether. Let that bastard sort it out.
The rebellion of my teen years, however, had been unleashed, left to swim in a nostalgic sea of testosterone with that new brute smell. Although I’d been steeped in societal contempt from a young age, Flanagan’s presence suggested that I hadn’t throttled the system hard enough in a long time and, well, that was something that needed to change. I thought about that as I watched him from the sidelines owning the stage, belting out with more conviction than any howling stripling twice his junior. Fuck the new heavy, the glam, modern hardcore and every other genre moving in the direction of the American pussification. It was nights like these, those reminiscent of a day less sensitive, when we on occasion got our noses broken by our friends and laughed about it, that we must ask ourselves: Why can’t we take it back to when we frothed at the mouth like animals? Or was it too late for such sentimentalities? Was this gritting state of ruminatiation everyone’s swan song at this point in time, no matter how heavy the cross they bear?
Cro-Mags mowed through their hour-long set, complete with fan favorites “Hard Times” and “Apocalypse Now”, as though their pre-show ritual included gnawing on an electric fence before bitch slapping it with their wieners. As an official representative of an aging punk culture, one left with only a series of faded tattoos and a certain look in our eyes that tells the tale of the so-called born-losers, those who’ve seen some shit and resolved a long time ago to taking no more, this show was perhaps one of the most monumental I had witnessed in many years. My generation, some fallen to the sag as the decades wane while others discover a rebirth in the second act, is one consisting of diehard fans, and its devotion is worn on our sleeves. We had come up when music was the presence of power, and now we, the same as Flanagan, were proof that not only was old man strength real, but we were going to need it too. Sure, it’s like Flanagan said from the stage in the middle of the show that night, perhaps getting honest with the crowd as penance for a young life gone, at times, unpleasantly awry. We can’t change the past, the violence, our despicable acts, but we can lead today better than the last, and do it with kindness and love. “Life is amazing. It’s absolutely great. I would’ve never guessed I would be alive this long, never mind that I would be living my best life, married to an amazing woman, two grown sons, a killer band, and I’m feeling great,” Flanagan told me. “What else can I possibly want? Life is great. I’m living the dream and enjoying the ride. And whether I’m playing in front of a few hundred people, 50 people or 100,000 or I’m training or whatever else it is I’m doing, I’m loving every minute of it and giving it my all every single time. That’s how I live my life.”Continue Reading
Psychedelic Therapy in Australia Likely To Cost Thousands
Patients in Australia will soon have legal access to the psychedelic drugs psilocybin and MDMA under a plan announced by regulators last month. But with no approved source of the drug available to therapists, patients will likely face bills in the tens of thousands of dollars to obtain the promising treatment.
Last month, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the Australian government’s medicine and therapeutic regulatory agency, announced that qualified psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the psychedelic drugs psilocybin and MDMA for the treatment of certain mental health conditions beginning later this year. But the agency has not approved any products containing the promising psychedelic drugs, leaving mental health professionals to source the drugs themselves. Without a government subsidy to help cover the cost of the medications, psychiatrists estimate that patients will have to pay as much as AU$25,000 (nearly $17,000) and more out of pocket for psychedelic-assisted therapy.
“For the actual patient, it might be $25,000, $30,000 for a treatment,” said Dr. Stephen Bright, a senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University and director of the charity Psychedelic Research In Science & Medicine.
“I honestly don’t think, for the next 12 to 18 months post July 1, that these treatments will be very widely available at all,” he added. “The tight controls of therapy mean there are very few psychologists who put their hand up. There will be a few clinics that open up, but I don’t think we’re going to see the floodgates open.”
Dr. Paul Liknaitzky, the head of the Clinical Psychedelic Lab at Monash University, revealed last month that he and other mental health professionals will be partnering with investors to open a psychedelic-assisted therapy clinic in Melbourne. But training requirements for therapists and detailed guidelines for such therapy have yet to be issued by government regulators.
“There is a lack of detailed clarity from the TGA to help us understand how it’s going to roll out. We are concerned but cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Liknaitzky said that he and his colleagues will help establish protocols that set high standards for ethical and effective psychedelic-assisted therapy. But he warned that the high cost of treatment might make the treatment inaccessible to most Australians.
“Sensible and safe treatment approaches, based on decades of best-practice development, will include considerable screening, psychotherapy and other support. A typical course of treatment, spanning a few months, may be in the order of $25,000, plus or minus $10,000,” he said. “If it turns out to be cost-effective, it will be in the government’s interest to fund it.”
Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Shows Promise
Ongoing research has shown that psilocybin, the primary psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, has the potential to be an effective treatment for several serious mental health conditions, including PTSD, major depressive disorder, anxiety and substance misuse disorders. A study published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was a quick-acting and effective treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder.
Separate research published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer. And in 2021, a study published in the journal NatureMedicine determined that MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, is a highly efficacious and safe treatment for individuals with severe PTSD.
But Professor Chris Langmead of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences says that it is unlikely that public health agencies will cover the cost of such treatment until further research including a cost-benefit analysis has been completed.
“We’re trying to get a groundswell of research and funding so we can do the research, clinical studies and practice rollout [to ensure] that this is not purely a market-led solution where the most disadvantaged populations are missing out,” he said. “The TGA has put Australia at the forefront of the world and we really need to take the opportunity and make the most of it.”
University of Melbourne associate professor Gillinder Bedi said that a shortage of clinical staff trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy will also make the treatment difficult for patients to obtain.
“The infrastructure will get set up. There will be clinics. But the problem is we don’t have staff. People can’t even see psychiatrists under normal conditions,” she said. “If you put two clinical psychologists in a room for eight hours, at a [Medicare] billing rate of $120 an hour – which is not what people charge, they charge $200 to $300 – you have an enormously expensive treatment. I think it could get higher [than $25,000].
“No matter which way you look at it, it will take time away from other treatments and cost a whole bunch of money. It’s unclear who will foot the bill, some organizations are trying to set up philanthropic funding,” Bedi added. “But it’s going to be for people with money, in the initial stages at least.”Continue Reading
BlackRock to Continue Engaging with Companies on Climate Strategy, Emissions Targets
Investment giant BlackRock announced the release of its Engagement Priorities for 2023, outlining the key themes identified by the firm as sources of material risk or opportunity that will form the focus of its engagements with companies this year. The release of the engagement priorities follows several months of pressure BlackRock, who, as the largest […]Continue Reading
Citi Sues Morgan Stanley Wealth Defector Over $636 Million Book
Citigroup Inc. accused a former wealth manager of improperly trying to move client accounts worth $636 million to his new employer, Morgan Stanley. Citi sued Steven I. Taub Thursday in New York state court, alleging he was contacting former clients in violation of a 12-month non-solicitation agreement. According to the suit, Taub, who resigned from […]Continue Reading
IASB Explores Improvements to Climate-Related Disclosure in Financial Statements
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the accounting standards-setting body of the IFRS Foundation, announced today the launch of a new project aimed at exploring potential changes to the requirements by companies to disclose climate-related risks in financial statements. According to the IASB, the new project follows feedback to its recent Agenda Consultation, a public […]Continue Reading
Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Arrested Over Role in Scheme to Steal $13M from Pro Athletes
A barred ex-Morgan Stanley Wealth Management broker was arrested at his home in Chatsworth, California on Thursday for his involvement in a scheme to defraud four professional basketball players of a total of $13 million, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice. Cohen, who gained notoriety after facing a raft of high-dollar customer […]Continue Reading
Biden Announces $250 Million Funding to Decarbonize Federal Buildings
The Biden administration on Thursday announced $250 million in funding through the Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies (AFFECT) program aimed at helping federal agencies to implement and advance net zero building projects. The new funding announcement follows an executive order signed by President Biden in December 2021, outlining a series of goals and initiatives for […]Continue Reading
Steward Adds $2-Million Texas Team from Cambridge
Steward Partners, a hybrid firm based in Washington D.C., has wooed a team of independent brokers generating around $2 million in annual revenue back to their employee broker roots. The Dallas, Texas-based team, who call themselves Prosper Wealth Advisors, left Cambridge Investment Research on March 20 to join Steward’s employee channel, according to a Steward […]Continue Reading