Today’s top Black Friday 2022 deals: Apple, Dyson and more

Want more deals? Visit CNN Underscored’s Guide to Black Friday for wall-to-wall coverage of the best discounts to be found during the biggest shopping event of the year.

Keeping track of all the incredible Black Friday deals popping up is a full-time job in and of itself — in fact, it’s our full-time job! While you get your shopping on, the Underscored team will be keeping track of all the deals you need to know about on the web, and here, we’ll be calling out our 10 favorites for each day leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This post will be your guide to the best of the best, the most impressive savings on the most coveted items.

The LG C2 OLED is one of our favorite TVs, offering incredible picture quality and a snappy interface. It’s currently at its lowest price yet.

One of the best deals on Dyson you’ll see all day, you can get the Dyson V8, plus a fluffy cleaning head for hard floors and three extra cleaning accessories that’ll make this your new favorite toy.

The AirPods Pro 2 are our favorite Apple earbuds, thanks to their stellar noise cancellation and controls, and they’re currently at their lowest-ever price.

Smart garage controllers give you an easy way to double-check the door or remotely close it via your smartphone or smart home setup. Our editors’ favorite model, the Chamberlain MyQ, is an excellent value for a gadget that’ll give you reliable peace of mind.

With two hours of battery life, customizable speed, an ergonomic handle and four easy-to-clean attachments, this massage gun is ideal for the average user. Get it now for more than $100 off, its all-time low price.

If you prefer a bowl-lift mixer because it feels sturdier, the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series is a solid upgrade option from the Artisan series. It has a bigger stainless steel bowl and a more powerful motor that can handle bigger batches and recipes.

The Beats Fit Pro blend all of the AirPods Pro’s best features with a stylish, secure and workout-friendly design. With a great discount and Underscored’s seal of approval, why not try them out?

Brighten your smile in no time with this set of Crest Whitestrips — this pack includes 22 treatments plus a bonus 1 Hour Express treatment to last you a year or more.

The improved Thermapen One was the fastest and most accurate thermometer we tested, and had the easiest-to-read display. If you’re serious about your cooking, then it’s worth the (newly lowered) price.

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Lakers’ Patrick Beverley suspended three games for shove


Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard Patrick Beverley has been suspended for three games for knocking Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton to the court during a game Tuesday, NBA officials have announced.

“The suspension was based in part on Beverley’s history of unsportsmanlike acts,” the NBA said in a news release Thursday night.

Tha Lakers are scheduled to play at San Antonio on Friday night.

Beverly’s shove came with 3:55 left in the game, which Phoenix led at the time 106-96. After Los Angeles guard Austin Reaves went to the floor, Ayton walked over and stood above the Lakers’ guard. Beverly rushed across the floor and knocked Ayton down with his left shoulder and arm.

Beverley was assessed a technical foul and ejected.

Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns is restrained after being pushed to the court Tuesday.

“At the end of the day I’m not mad at him. He’s there protecting his teammate,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said after the game. “I’m sure he’ll probably go through some type of consequence for that. But at the end of the day that’s who we have to be, is Lakers. We’ve got to be together.”

The Lakers lost 115-105. The 17-time NBA champions are 5-11 this season.

This is Beverley’s 11th NBA season. Before joining the Lakers this year, he played five seasons with the Houston Rockets, four with the Los Angeles Clippers and one with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He has been suspended for shoving an opponent before. During the Western Conference finals in July 2021, Beverely, then with the Clippers, pushed Phoenix’s Chris Paul in the back with two hands during a stoppage in play. He missed the first game of the next season while with Minnesota.

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Exclusive: Musk’s SpaceX says it can no longer pay for critical satellite services in Ukraine, asks Pentagon to pick up the tab


Since they first started arriving in Ukraine last spring, the Starlink satellite internet terminals made by Elon Musk’s SpaceX have been a vital source of communication for Ukraine’s military, allowing it to fight and stay connected even as cellular phone and internet networks have been destroyed in its war with Russia.

So far roughly 20,000 Starlink satellite units have been donated to Ukraine, with Musk tweeting on Friday the “operation has cost SpaceX $80 million and will exceed $100 million by the end of the year.”

But those charitable contributions could be coming to an end, as SpaceX has warned the Pentagon that it may stop funding the service in Ukraine unless the US military kicks in tens of millions of dollars per month.

Documents obtained by CNN show that last month Musk’s SpaceX sent a letter to the Pentagon saying it can no longer continue to fund the Starlink service as it has. The letter also requested that the Pentagon take over funding for Ukraine’s government and military use of Starlink, which SpaceX claims would cost more than $120 million for the rest of the year and could cost close to $400 million for the next 12 months.

“We are not in a position to further donate terminals to Ukraine, or fund the existing terminals for an indefinite period of time,” SpaceX’s director of government sales wrote to the Pentagon in the September letter.

Among the SpaceX documents sent to the Pentagon and seen by CNN is a previously unreported direct request made to Musk in July by the Ukrainian military’s commanding general, General Valerii Zaluzhniy, for almost 8,000 more Starlink terminals.

In a separate cover letter to the Pentagon, an outside consultant working for SpaceX wrote, “SpaceX faces terribly difficult decisions here. I do not think they have the financial ability to provide any additional terminals or service as requested by General Zaluzhniy.”

The documents, which have not been previously reported, provide a rare breakdown of SpaceX’s own internal numbers on Starlink, detailing the costs and payments associated with the thousands of terminals in Ukraine. They also shed new light on behind-the-scenes negotiations that have provided millions of dollars in communications hardware and services to Ukraine at little cost to Kyiv.

The Pentagon confirmed they received correspondence from SpaceX about the funding of the Starlink satellite communications product in Ukraine, a statement from Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Friday.

Earlier in the day, Singh confirmed the Pentagon had been in communication with SpaceX but did not say whether it was over the funding of the Starlink satellite communication product.

Musk on Friday said that in asking the Pentagon to pick up the bill for Starlink in Ukraine, he was following the advice of a Ukrainian diplomat who responded to Musk’s Ukraine peace plan earlier this month, before the letter was sent to the Pentagon, with: “F*** off.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, responded earlier this month to Musk’s claimed peace plan for Russia’s Ukraine war by saying: “F*** off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk.”

“We’re just following his recommendation,” Musk said on Friday, responding to a tweet that referenced CNN’s reporting and Melnyk’s comments, even though the letter SpaceX sent to the Pentagon was sent before the Twitter exchange.

The letters come amid recent reports of wide-ranging Starlink outages as Ukrainian troops attempt to retake ground occupied by Russia in the eastern and southern parts of the country.

Sources familiar with the outages said they suddenly affected the entire frontline as it stood on September 30. “That has affected every effort of the Ukrainians to push past that front,” said one person familiar with the outages who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations. “Starlink is the main way units on the battlefield have to communicate.”

This photograph taken on September 25 shows an antenna of the Starlink satellite-based broadband system donated by US tech billionaire Elon Musk in Izyum, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

There was no warning to Ukrainian forces, a second person said, adding that now when Ukraine liberates an area a request has to be made for Starlink services to be turned on.

The Financial Times first reported the outages which resulted in a “catastrophic” loss of communication, a senior Ukrainian official said. In a tweet responding to the article, Musk didn’t dispute the outage, saying that what is happening on the battlefield is classified.

SpaceX’s suggestion it will stop funding Starlink also comes amid rising concern in Ukraine over Musk’s allegiance. Musk recently tweeted a controversial peace plan that would have Ukraine give up Crimea and control over the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky raised the question of who Musk sides with, he responded that he “still very much support[s] Ukraine” but fears “massive escalation.”

Musk also argued privately last month that Ukraine doesn’t want peace negotiations right now and that if they went along with his plan, “Russia would accept those terms,” according to a person who heard them.

“Ukraine knows that its current government and wartime efforts are totally dependent on Starlink,” the person familiar with the discussions said. “The decision to keep Starlink running or not rests entirely in the hands of one man. That’s Elon Musk. He hasn’t been elected, no one decided to give him that power. He has it because of the technology and the company he built.”

On Tuesday Musk denied a report he has spoken to Putin directly about Ukraine. On Thursday, when a Ukrainian minister tweeted that Starlink is essential to Ukraine’s infrastructure, Musk replied: “You’re most welcome. Glad to support Ukraine.”

More than seven months into the war, it’s hard to overstate the impact Starlink has had in Ukraine. The government in Kyiv, Ukrainian troops as well and NGOs and civilians have relied on the nimble, compact and easy-to-use units created by SpaceX. It’s not only used for voice and electronic communication but to help fly drones and send back video to correct artillery fire.

CNN has seen it used at numerous Ukrainian bases.

Elon Musk pauses and looks down as he speaks during a press conference at SpaceX's Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas on February 10, 2022.

“Starlink has been absolutely essential because the Russians have targeted the Ukrainian communications infrastructure,” said Dimitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a think tank. “Without that they’d be really operating in the blind in many cases.”

Though Musk has received widespread acclaim and thanks for responding to requests for Starlink service to Ukraine right as the war was starting, in reality, the vast majority of the 20,000 terminals have received full or partial funding from outside sources, including the US government, the UK and Poland, according to the SpaceX letter to the Pentagon.

SpaceX’s request that the US military foot the bill has rankled top brass at the Pentagon, with one senior defense official telling CNN that SpaceX has “the gall to look like heroes” while having others pay so much and now presenting them with a bill for tens of millions per month.

According to the SpaceX figures shared with the Pentagon, about 85% of the 20,000 terminals in Ukraine were paid – or partially paid – for by countries like the US and Poland or other entities. Those entities also paid for about 30% of the internet connectivity, which SpaceX says costs $4,500 each month per unit for the most advanced service. (Over the weekend, Musk tweeted there are around 25,000 terminals in Ukraine.)

In his July letter to Musk, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, Gen. Zaluzhniy, praised the Starlink units’ “exceptional utility” and said some 4,000 terminals had been deployed by the military. However, around 500 terminals per month are destroyed in the fighting, Zaluzhniy said, before asking for 6,200 more terminals for the Ukrainian military and intelligence services and 500 per month going forward to offset the losses.

SpaceX said they responded by asking Zaluzhniy to instead take up his request to the Department of Defense.

On September 8, the senior director of government sales for SpaceX wrote the Pentagon saying the costs have gotten too high, approaching $100 million. The official asked the Department of Defense to pick up Ukraine’s new request as well as ongoing service costs, totaling $124 million for the remainder of 2022.

Those costs, according to the senior defense official, would reach almost $380 million for a full year.

SpaceX declined repeated requests for comment on both the outages and their recent request to the Pentagon. A lawyer for Musk did not reply to a request for comment. Defense Department spokesman Bob Ditchey told CNN, “The Department continues to work with industry to explore solutions for Ukraine’s armed forces as they repel Russia’s brutal and unprovoked aggression. We do not have anything else to add at this time.”

Early US support for Starlink came via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which according to the Washington Post spent roughly $3 million on hardware and services in Ukraine. The largest single contributor of terminals, according to the newly obtained documents, is Poland with payment for almost 9,000 individual terminals.

US Pentagon in Washington DC building looking down aerial view from above

The US has provided almost 1,700 terminals. Other contributors include the UK, NGOs and crowdfunding.

The far more expensive part, however, is the ongoing connectivity. SpaceX says it has paid for about 70% of the service provided to Ukraine and claims to have offered that highest level – $4,500 a month – to all terminals in Ukraine despite the majority only having signed on for the cheaper $500 per month service.

The terminals themselves cost $1500 and $2500 for the two models sent to Ukraine, the documents say, while consumer models on Starlink’s website are far cheaper and service in Ukraine is just $60 per month.

That’s just 1.3% of the service rate SpaceX says it needs the Pentagon to start paying.

“You could say he’s trying to get money from the government or just trying to say ‘I don’t want to be part of this anymore,’” said the person familiar with Ukraine’s requests for Starlink. Given the recent outages and Musk’s reputation for being unpredictable, “Feelings are running really high on the Ukrainian side,” this person said.

Musk is the biggest shareholder of the privately-held SpaceX. In May, SpaceX disclosed that its valuation had risen to $127 billion and it has raised $2 billion this year, CNBC reported.

Last week, Musk faced a barrage of criticism on Twitter – including from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – after presenting in a series of tweets his peace plan to end the war. It would include giving Crimea to Russia and re-do referenda, supervised by the United Nations this time, in the four regions Russia recently illegally annexed.

It echoed comments he’d made last month at an exclusive closed-door conference in Aspen, Colorado called “The Weekend,” at which Musk told a room full of attendees that Ukraine should seek peace now because they’ve had recent victories.

“This is the time to do it. They don’t want to do it, that’s for sure. But this is the time to do it,” he said, according to a person in the room. “Everyone wants to seek peace when they’re losing but they don’t want to seek peace when they’re winning. For now.”

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DeSantis migrant relocation program planned to transport ‘100 or more’ to Delaware, Illinois, documents obtained by CNN show


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ migrant relocation program planned to transport “approximately 100 or more” migrants to Delaware and Illinois between September 19 and October 3, according to documents obtained by CNN through a public records request.

The documents are memos sent to the Florida Department of Transportation’s state purchasing administrator from James Montgomerie, the CEO of Vertol Systems Company Inc., the company that Florida contracted to arrange transport for the migrants.

The memo explicitly states that Vertol Systems would provide the services to transport the migrants, “from Florida.”

Two “projects” were planned, according to a September 15 memo. “Project 2” would transport “up to fifty” migrants to Delaware; “project 3” would transport “up to fifty” migrants to Illinois.

Both projects were scheduled to take place between September 19 and October 3.

A second memo, dated September 16, combined the projects into one and estimated their cost as $950,000.

The memo also said the migrants could be transported to a “proximate northeastern state designated by FDOT based on extant conditions.”

CNN reached out to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for comment but did not immediately receive a response. A spokesperson for Delaware Gov. John Carney said he had no comment.

Vertol Systems was paid $1.6 million by the state of Florida, including a payment of $950,000.

The flights to Delaware and Illinois never happened. However, flight plans were filed with the FAA that indicated there was a second set of flights planned from San Antonio to Delaware.

A third memo, dated October 8, notes that Vertol extended the project dates to December 1, meaning that the flights could still take place.

On September 14, two planes picked up 48 migrants from San Antonio, Texas, and transported them to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The flights, paid for by the state of Florida, temporarily stopped to refuel in Crestview, Florida, and the Carolinas.

DeSantis has tried to sidestep criticism of the flights, saying they were necessary to stop the flow of migrants at the source before they came to Florida.

“If you can do it at the source and divert to sanctuary jurisdictions, the chance they end up in Florida is much less,” DeSantis told reporters in September.

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7 best AirPods Pro 2 cases in 2022

Apple’s $249 AirPods Pro 2 haven’t been out for long, but we’re already seeing cases that are designed to help protect the new charging case, all while still letting you take advantage of the new lanyard loop and speaker.

Apple made it possible to locate your second-generation AirPods Pro if you lose the wireless earbuds themselves, the charging case or both, but protecting your purchase from accidental drops and scratches is still up to you.

Below you’ll find our top picks for cases to help you keep your AirPods Pro safe and sounding good as well as a bonus lanyard pick so that you never lose your new buds.

$29.99 $18.99 at Amazon

Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case

Spigen’s AirPods Pro 2 Ultra Hybrid case is completely clear and comes with a circular carabiner for easy attachment to your belt loop or a hook inside your backpack. There’s still a cutout for the new lanyard loop on the AirPods Pro 2 case, and according to Spigen’s website, the case will still work with wireless chargers.

$18.99 at Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor Case

Looking for something a little more rugged than the Ultra Hybrid? The Spigen Rugged Armor AirPods Pro case looks a lot like Spigen’s Rugged Armor case for the iPhone 14, only smaller. The Rugged Armor comes in black and has a matching carabiner. The case is a combination of plastic and silicon that should bring more than enough protection to your AirPods Pro.

From $29.90 at Dbrand

Dbrand Grip Case

Dbrand is known primarily for its skins that offer minimal protection but plenty of personalization. However, Dbrand’s AirPods Pro 2 case looks amazing. It has military-grade impact resistance but isn’t overly bulky, and comes with something that every AirPods Pro case should have: a built-in removal tool. I’m always afraid I’m going to break the case, my AirPods or both when trying to take a case off. Oh, and you can still pick your own design to spice up the case’s look.

$24.95 at Speck

Speck Presidio Clear Case

Speck’s Presidio Clear case will ensure you can still see your engraved AirPods Pro charging case while still adding a layer of protection. Don’t bother with getting your own lanyard for the new charging case, as Speck didn’t provide a cutout for it. However, there’s a clip on the case that you can use in its place.

$24.95 at Speck

Speck Presidio with Soft-Touch Coating Case

The Speck Presidio case with a soft-touch coating comes in black, although the listing calls it black with bright silver. Nonetheless, the exterior of the case has a coating that makes it smooth and soft to the touch. One downside is that it appears the case doesn’t have a cutout for the charging case’s lanyard loop, but it does include a carabiner of its own that should suffice.

$15.99 at Amazon

Elago Clear Case

For something that’s even more affordable, check out the Elago Clear Case. For $16, you’ll get the clear case and an adhesive strip that’s used to hold the top of the case to your AirPods Pro’s charging case. It’s a minimal case that will definitely get the job done, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

$12.95 at Apple

Incase Lanyard

Apple only lists a single accessory for the second-generation AirPods Pro on its website, and it’s not a case. Instead, it’s the Incase Lanyard that looks like a fantastic option to keep your AirPods Pro connected to your backpack or just give you something to hold onto during a workout. The clip-on the lanyard makes it easy to attach the lanyard to things like a belt loop or backpack and then remove it without much fuss. If you don’t get a case (or are using a model with a cutout like the Spigen and Elago options above), the lanyard is a wise choice.

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Anticipatory Grief – All There Is with Anderson Cooper

I spent much of this past weekend, as usual, in my basement, going through boxes from my mom’s apartment. Saturday night, when my kids were asleep, I decided to try and wade through as much stuff as I could. I started around 8:30 p.m. and when I next looked at my phone it was almost 1 a.m.. I try to stop on a high note too, when I found a bunch of my mom’s paintbrushes, I called it a night. They’re probably the things that remind me of her the most. They smell like turpentine and paint. It’s the smell of every studio she ever had. And I just think it’s amazing how a smell can bring you back and bring you to tears. In the same box. I found a picture of a birthday party for my brother Carter. He was maybe four years old. He and my mom are in the foreground of the photo, but in the background there’s this blurry image of one of the most important people in my life. Though I’ve never really talked much about her publicly.

Her name is May McLinden. She hated being photographed, so there aren’t a ton of pictures of her. Mae was my nanny from the time I was born till I was about 15. But she was much more than that. She was a mom to me, as important to me as my mom and my dad. And she still is. Even though she died after a ten year struggle with dementia in 2014. May was from Scotland, near Glasgow. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, but she was funny and loving and our bond was extraordinary. She lived with us and after my dad died, she was the person I could depend on more than anyone. May took care of me when I was little, but she’s also the one who taught me to take care of myself, to not sit around, to make decisions, and to make things happen. As a kid, every night before I fell asleep, I would pray that one day I would make enough money to take care of May and get her a house and take her on trips to places that she always wanted to visit. As often happens with parents nannies. My mom was hurt by the closeness of my relationship with May, and one day she fired her without any warning. I came home and May was packing her things, trying not to cry in front of me. It was awful. May was 60 years old and I was her son. She was a mom to me, and there was nothing she or I could do.

May and I remained extremely close for the next 32 years of her life. We met for meals. We talked on the phone. Eventually, she retired and moved back to Scotland. When I started to earn some money, we took trips together to Los Angeles, Edinburgh, Rome. Over the years, I saved up to surprise her with a house of her own. But by the time I could do it, May had begun to decline. When she was around 80, her hearing got a lot worse than it already had been, and phone calls became difficult. I’d ask May how she was, but she usually dismissed my questions, preferring instead to hear about what I was doing, what my friends, many of whom she knew, were up to. If I was happy, May was happy, and I wanted to make her happy more than anything else in the world. May started mentioning occasionally that she was taking care of a baby. She had nieces and nephews, and I figured as one of their grandkids, but I didn’t ask more. Then a couple of weeks went by and I couldn’t reach her on the phone. I got in touch with a local minister and asked him to check on her. He did, and he called me back and told me that May had been found wandering on the street, disoriented. She was clutching a small ceramic dog wrapped in a blanket. Turns out that was the child she’d been telling me about. The one she said she’d been caring for. The dog was a present I’d given her for her birthday when I was maybe 12 years old.

“There’s one more thing,” the minister told me, “The dog she was holding, the one she thought was a child. She thought it was you.” I flew to Scotland and found May in a hospital. Her sister and I were able to connect and eventually we got her place in a really nice nursing home, a private room where she ended up living the last ten years of her life. The staff would tell me that May talked about me all the time. Her room was filled with my pictures, little things I’d given her over the years, cards and drawings I’d made for her. One time when I visited, there was a new nurse and she asked me, “Is she your mum?” “Yes.” I said, “Yes, she is.” Watching her decline. Watching all the dreams I’d had of giving her a house or having her live with me when I had kids one day. Watching all that disappear was- it was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was a different kind of grief. Different than my mom. Different than my dad. My brother. After a time, May stopped speaking words. When I’d visit, she still knew who I was, but she’d open her mouth. And the only sound that came out was a single note, like she was singing. Ahhhh. Ahhhh.

Eventually that stopped as well. I got to see her shortly before she died. By then, she’d retreated deep inside herself. Her eyes were shut, her hands curled tight into balls. I sat with her, holding her, and I thanked her as I had a thousand times over the years. And I told her again what I told her every night before I went to bed and every time I talked to her on the phone, I told her I loved her. May McLinden died February 6, 2014, at the age of 92. Her death didn’t make headlines. The world kept spinning. But for me, on that day, it stopped. Of all the people in my family who I’ve lost, I continue to talk with May the most. When I hold my sons, when I dress them, when I put them in their cribs and it gives them goodnight. It’s her hands holding them. It’s her eyes. I see them through and I can feel her beaming with joy. May McLinden came into my life and showed me what love is, and that is what she has become in me. This is all there is.

My guest today knows all about losing people to dementia. Her name is Kirsten Johnson. She’s a filmmaker. Kirsten’s mom, Katie Jo, died in 2007 after seven year struggle with Alzheimer’s. Now, Kirsten’s father, DIck Johnson, has dementia. I read something Kirsten said about how she believes it’s never too late to get to know someone you love more deeply, even if they’re already gone. And I found that really intriguing. Kirsten is already grieving, anticipating the loss of her father, but she wanted to figure out a way to celebrate his life and get closer to him. And she ended up making a movie with him. This is Kirsten in the film.

So just the idea that I might ever lose this man is too much to bear. He’s my dad. But now it’s upon us. The beginning of his disappearance. And we’re not accepting it. He’s a psychiatrist. I’m a camera person. I suggested we make a movie about him dying. He said yes.

The film is poignant and profound, but it’s also funny and totally unexpected. You can watch it on Netflix. It’s called Dick Johnson Is Dead. Now, I just want to point out her dad is not dead. In fact, we’ll talk with him in this interview, but I’ll explain the film title later. One of the things I heard you say is that the pandemic has opened every human up to the experience of anticipatory grief. And I hadn’t really thought a lot about anticipatory grief, but I think it’s a good term. You said we don’t know how much we’re going to lose and we’re afraid of how much we’re going to lose. And if you love a person with a degenerative disease, you have a great deal of experience with anticipatory grief.

Yeah. So, I mean, I didn’t know the term anticipatory grief before my mom got Alzheimer’s, but it’s this this crazy feeling of imagining the person dead while they’re in front of you and then all the feelings that that brings. There’s a lot of guilt in it. There’s a lot of just confusion in it because it’s almost sort of unbearable. The fact that they’re not quite themselves already and then the fact that it’s going to get worse, it’s like you’re on quicksand or something. In some ways, like I was completely blindsided by the possibility that my mom gets sick and dies. Like what? This isn’t supposed to happen. And then I was double what with my dad. Like, no way. There’s no way he’s getting dementia. There’s no way he’s dying. I’ve done it once. I’m done.

You’ve said that you’re in this strange place and mourning him, who he was. Talking about your father while he’s still alive. Can you talk about that kind of limbo space?

Yeah. Yeah, well, I mean, I would say where I really enjoyed my relationship with my father throughout my life was that he was a person who just, like, met me with respect and curiosity always. Right. So that was something I really loved and needed, you know, because my dad, we could sort of grapple with the difficult stuff of life together. So when he started to get dementia, I was like, I am losing that. And suddenly I was the one who had perspective. And he wasn’t, you know, he had lost his context. And then it was slipping around, right? Like sometimes we really could get into it and have this amazing conversation and then all of a sudden, boom, the sentence would repeat, and I would realize, like, he’d lost the thread. So that kind of limbo, it’s just disorienting. One of the classic stories I tell is him waking up in the middle of the night extremely worried that a patient is downstairs. And I can’t convince him logically that the patient is not there. So then I go downstairs with him. Then what happens? He looks around, he’s like, There’s no patient. And he’s like, Oh, you were right. And then he says, It must be incredibly difficult to watch your father lose his mind.

Wow. Oh. So he’s had the self-awareness of what was happening to him

Yes. That would go in and out. But when it was in, you know, it’s like a knife in your heart.

Your mother did not have that self-awareness.

She- she did not know she was losing her mind.

My name’s Johnson. What’s my first name? I give you a hint? I’m your daughter.

I feel such tenderness for both of us in that moment. Like, I’m just like, Come on, Mom. Like, you got to know who I am. And the look in her eyes. Like she knows she’s being asked that and that she doesn’t know the answer. And then she’s sort of like, you know, tries to search around and be like, you’re a Johnson, right? And it’s like, yeah. But I mean, I’m just in that limbo of like, there’s still got to be some part of you who knows me.

We still need things from our parents, some understanding, some peace of love, whatever it is. There never comes a time when you don’t sort of hope, I think. Unless you’ve had a terrible relationship with the parent, you don’t sort of hope that even in their decline that they can still be there for you.

Mhm. Totally. What I find fascinating is. My mom is so present with me, absolutely. You know, I was riding up here on the bicycle and I was just, like thinking of her and, you know, by some pictures of her. And you’ve said her name and I’ve heard her voice and I’m gesticulating and I can see my mother’s hands making these movements. That thing of me keeping an ongoing relationship with her is part of why I took the opportunity with my dad, because I just felt like, Oh, I get it because of my mom’s death. I get it. That parent is going to stay in my life. On and on and on. They are not ending and it’s revelatory in all kinds of ways.

Your mom’s name was Katie Jo, which I love that name. And this idea, though, that you just said, I think it’s so important and I’d read a quote that you said, which, frankly, when I read this quote, I this is what made me really want to talk to you. You said, even though it doesn’t seem possible, you can always get to know another person differently than you think you can, even if they’re already dead, whether it’s through someone who knew them, finding something they wrote, etc., it’s never too late to get to know someone differently and even more deeply. We let the idea of death trap us, but we don’t have to. I literally sat down and thought about that for a long time when I when I read that and I really hope it’s true.

From my experience, it is absolutely true for me. And a couple of things like hearing that read back to me. One thing that’s missing in that is that we, because we change, we have new capacity to know the person. So, you know, one thing is like age, right? But to go through experience, right? So I am the mother of ten year olds right now. When I am the mother of teenagers, I will again understand my mother differently. And, you know, so that’s something for people who are parents. But then, you know, the experience of. Breaking through some creative obstacle and, you know, doing something really difficult and realizing that was the struggle your mother was in.

So to feel things as a human then allows you to imagine. What is your dad feel in that moment? What did your mom feel to lose her 50 year old husband that has, like, all kinds of new feeling for you when you think about who your mom was and right. And you can only do that now.

It’s so interesting because I hadn’t thought of it until I read that quote and and what you’re saying. But I think part of the reason I’m having so much trouble going through all my mom’s stuff, which is also my dad’s stuff and my brother’s stuff, is that I’m seeing them all through the eyes of the age I was, you know, I’m seeing my dad through the eyes of a ten year old kid and seeing my brother kind of through the, you know, the eyes of a 21 year old. That’s how old I was when he died and sort of seeing it just through that limited lens. It’s hard to kind of let go of things like I just found a box of my dad’s belts, like groovy belts from the seventies that I would never in a million years wear. And I remember him wearing them. But, you know, what do I do with them? My mom would always talk about how over the years, over her life, her relationship with her mother changed and her relationship with her aunt who had custody of her in her teenage years. And she came to see them in different ways as she grew. My mom would replay scenarios she had had with her mother, with her aunt, with other people in her life. And I never quite understood it while she was talking about it. But I, I get it now and I get what you’re saying about it.

You know, I would say in some sense, what you experienced was so acutely painful and bewildering, both for your dad’s death and for your brother’s death, that, like you were in states of shock. And I can imagine that feels like dangerous or impossible to like, approach or shift. And if you look at it too much or get too close to it, that that that crystalline thing might shatter.

Right? Whereas, you know, I mean, I think for me, I was devastated by my mother’s death. I was 41 years old. Right. I hadn’t had children yet. I was furious that it was happening, but it was in some kind of natural order of things. Right. And I had life experience and maturity, so. I could start to play with that set of feelings and who I was at that time and think about it. But there was so much pain in that process that by the time I got to that situation with my dad, I was like, Oh, can’t I do creative play that’s fun, that’s funny, that’s irreverent? So, I mean, I just had I just had like, this vision of, like, you could do tons of things with those belts. You know what I mean? Like, obviously you could photograph those belts, but, like, what if you, like, made some weird thing with them? You know what I mean? Like, what if you played with those belts as opposed to, you know, sort of are entombed by them? Right. Right. But I, I have so much sort of like respect and I would, again, say the word tenderness for that like ten year old child, that 21 year old young man is like, oh, you got nailed. And on a certain level, it’s like, why go near any of that again, is the feeling. But you already have that feeling. That feeling’s not going away. Right. So. So. So that maybe there’s space, which is the space I found with my dad.

You and I did something. Similarly, we both made films about our parents in anticipation of- of their death. I made a documentary with my mom for HBO called Nothing Left Unsaid, and we ended up writing a book also called The Rainbow Comes and Goes. And it was this project to just have a year long conversation talking about all this stuff I had questions about. And I’m so glad I did that and have that. And you decided to make a film about your dad’s decline. So I want to play a little bit of sound from the film Dick Johnson Is Dead, because it gets to something I always find awkward, which has been situations where somebody has died. What do you say?

What can you say when you’ve lost a best friend? Or a mother. Or your best friend and your father. All I know is that Dick Johnson is dead. And all I want to say is long live Dick Johnson.

I know you weren’t speaking in this context, but I love the idea. And I’ve been thinking about this ever since of like what if after one said, you know, I’m so sorry for your loss, which sounds so cliche and I keep coming back to it because I am so sorry for your loss, but I love that idea of saying like, long live Dick Johnson, you know.

Long live Gloria Vanderbilt. Right. I mean, I think you do need permission to say something like that to someone. Right.

Right. I wouldn’t throw it. It’s too startling for a lot of you know.

But on a certain level that change up. Yeah. That like you don’t have permission, but you’re like affirming something who, you know, that’s like, that’s really crazy territory.

You know, in Ukraine famously now, people know this when people greet each other now. One person says, Long live Ukraine. And the response to that is long live the heroes. And it’s somewhat of a controversial phrase because it was used by nationalists during the Second World War. But it is to me, such a powerful exchange that people in Ukraine, in the midst of war, have. It comes to mind when-

-Because there’s something about it that’s so affirming and and also empowering and the passing of strength and determination.

Right. This is what we’re this is what we’re fighting for. Yeah. To be alive and to be not forgotten.

Kirsten’s film Dick Johnson Is Dead, follows her dad as he moves in with her after having to retire as a psychiatrist because of his dementia. It’s a documentary, but it’s also got a series of really funny staged events, and I know this is going to sound weird, but she films her dad getting killed in a bunch of totally unexpected and kind of hilarious ways. In one scene, he’s killed by a falling air conditioner.

Clip from Dick Johnson Is Dead


She kills me multiple times and I come back to life. It’s Groundhog Day all over again. The resurrected dad. The ressurected dad haha.

And I got to say, I. I dreaded watching the movie. I did not want to watch it. I didn’t know anything about you, but I sort of read a synopsis, and I just didn’t get it. I thought, I don’t get this. It’s so I just don’t get this.

Were you offended by the idea?

No, I wasn’t offended. I just did not understand it.

And then I watched it and I loved it. And I loved from the first moment when you killed your father with an air conditioner, which is an odd sentence to say, but I got it. And then to see him get up, I understood then what you were doing, which I didn’t understand before. And then the um I don’t know why I’m-

The scene where you had your dad’s funeral in your family’s church and his loved ones, people who knew him his entire life came and spoke and said what they would say at his funeral, and he was able to watch it while he was still present. I just thought, what a gift to have given your dad and to have given the people in that room and yourself. One woman stood up at the funeral and said, I might have been crying when I wrote it down, so it’s always hard for me to read. She said, As long as my memory lives, the memory of him will live in me.

You know, I was like, I can’t even believe she’s saying this right now. Like, it’s just killing me. I just I mean, is this grief stuff crazy, Anderson? Like, it’s just the way it hits you. Just like the last two days. I’m just, like, all of a sudden, like. Just, like, start crying for no reason. Like, out of the like the way it hits us. Blindsides us. And that feeling. Oh, you have it all the time when someone has dementia because you, like, think, you know it’s happening and then boom. So that mechanism was like, we got to build this into the movie, right? Like, I’m going to blindside you even if you know I’m going to kill my dad, if you know I’m going to kill him with the air conditioner.

Maybe just explain, first of all, the idea behind repeatedly killing your dad.

Yeah, well, I don’t even know if I totally get it, but the impulses behind making this movie sort of came in these weird waves. Like one. I had a dream that this man in the casket sat up and he said, I’m Dick Johnson. I’m not dead yet. So, like, I felt urgency. And then I had this idea about doing the funeral that came out of the blue from that dream of that person sitting up. And then I was just like, Oh, we’re going to make a funny movie. And I didn’t even know where that came from in me. And I was like, I’m going to kill my dad over and over till he really dies for real. And I was you know.

Just to be clear, in the film, it’s not you killing your dad. It’s it’s-

Good point. Good point. I mean, I mean, the idea was that my-

-Father dies accidentally.

In a number of over-the-top ways.

In a number of over the top ways. And honestly, I mean, one of the like painful and crazy things about this is when I had this idea, I really imagine these super over-the-top deaths for him. I literally wanted to put him on an ice floe and float him out into the Arctic. I wanted to catch him on fire. So I was like thinking like these big stunts, like big movie stunts.

I heard you wanted to get Jackie Chan involved.

Oh, my God, I totally you know, I went to Hong Kong. I met this incredible stunt person who knew Jackie. I was, like, working on getting Jackie, but one like the minute we tried to work with, you know, a stunt person, we realized my dad is, like, barely capable of stepping off the sidewalk. I cannot put him on an ice floe by himself. But two finally, it dawned on me, it’s like if he dies, he can come back to life. You know, I come from Seventh Day Adventist people, so I’ve got like the deep Christian myth in me that, like, Jesus got killed and he came back to life.

That’s what I felt. I felt the joy each time he was resurrected. I mean, I there was the shock of the air conditioner falling on him on the street. And then you maintain on the shot and then you see people coming in like taking the plastic air conditioner off and picking him up. And you feel this joy and that when he listens to his own funeral and he hears all the extraordinary things people are saying and through tears, they’re speaking.

Clip from Dick Johnson Is Dead


See you later, Dick.

And then he comes out and he walks down the aisle and people are standing and applauding him. I mean.

What would you ask for? What more can you ask for? And so I was thinking about like how this line between life and death is like you can observe life, you can only imagine death. And then this thought like, oh, cinema, cinema can like do this like wind, rewind play thing where it’s- where we can go to the edge of death and then come back again. So there was this sort of freedom of it’s okay to imagine my father being killed by an air conditioner dropping on his head. He thinks that’s funny.

Well, it’s also okay to, in the midst of sadness and loss, you know, to laugh and to have things which bring joy and happiness and and humor. I laughed so much with my mom in the last two weeks of her life. I’ve said this before. I- by recording her laughing, I discovered for the first time that my ridiculous, girlish giggle is the exact same giggle that she had. And I never knew why I laughed this way. And it was only after hearing the clips again that I realized, Oh my God, that’s my mom’s laugh.

I love that you have the same giggle. You know, my kids and I were recently reminiscing about when we were coming up with stunts for Dick Johnson Is Dead. We would have these crazy conversations at the dinner table sometimes out in public. Me, my kids, my dad is like, how are we going to kill dad? And the kids recently brought up, remember that couple who was eavesdropping on us? It’s just like, who are you people?

That is like, I’m building something with my kids around a new way to be around death that it’s not only something that you have to be respectful, hallowed, grieving, sad. It’s also like grief can also be playfulness. Grief can be invention.

And their name can be spoken without the heaviness of that grief.

Which is hard. I mean, it sometimes takes time.

I want to play another thing you said. It’s about brief moments of joy from the film. Dick Johnson Is Dead.

Clip from Dick Johnson Is Dead


It would be so easy if loving only gave us the beautiful. But what loving demands is that we face the fear of losing each other. That when it gets messy, we hold each other close. And when we can, we defiantly celebrate our brief moments of joy.

That’s probably another reason you made this film, and it’s one of the reasons I did that project with my mom was to collaborate with my kids and my mom, you collaborate with your dad and spend time with them on something that was about them and honoring them and to be with them and also share them with so many other people. It’s like when I walked in the room, one of the first things I said to you is, I love your dad and I feel like I know your dad. And you know that woman who stood up and said, As long as my memory lives, the memory of him will be in me. I now have Dick Johnson in my head, hopefully for as long as I have memory.

Clip from Dick Johnson Is Dead


Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I- I mean, I can’t even tell you. How crazy is that? How crazy is that? That, like, I could transfer Dick Johnson to you makes me so crazy happy. But, you know, when I came in here and we were talking earlier, like I wanted you to tell me about Gordon Parks. Right. And Gordon Parks is-

Gordon Parks, by the way, is a legendary filmmaker, poet, writer, photographer, first African-American photographer for Life magazine, first Black director in Hollywood to make a major Hollywood picture. He directed Shaft. And he was a lifelong friend of my mom’s.

An epic human who I turned to over and over again to help me question understand, think about like, what am I doing with a camera? What does it mean? What does this work mean? Right. And Gordon Parks is so alive for me. We can reach across time and space. You and me. And I can give you Dick Johnson and you can give me Gordon Parks. Right. And I think that’s the thing about being alive. Is that we’re carrying like this multitude of people with us. And some of those people are like ancestors who didn’t get a chance to leave anything behind. No stuff, no creative work. They just survived. But somehow they gave us life, right? And then other people, you know, are literally like your mother’s, like the 20th century. You’re dealing with the entire 20th century in American history. Right? It’s a big deal. It’s a lot there. And then you have all the part of it that’s personal and abstract and your own and private, and you don’t want to share it with anybody. And you’re grappling with, how do I get to be just me and do what I want to do or what, you know, sort of obligation do I have to that legacy?

My legacy is an entirely different one. And I would say, like every human’s equally as rich and full and complicated, and yet there’s less evidence of it.

And, you know, I think in some ways, like, some of this stuff is so emotionally hard that we forget that our creative spirit can, like, find a new way. So I think that’s the thing that I’m advocating here is like invent new games with these people. And, you know, at a certain point, like, we got to live with the living. Right. Like you and I know, like we spent a lot of time on our parents. We spent a lot of time on the dead ones. You know, we should totally call my dad. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah, we should totally call him because he’s still alive. We can call him. Mm hmm. And you know that feeling? It’s like you’re like, I got my phone, the numbers in it, but the person is never going to pick up again.

I think of him I was like, let’s call him.

God, it’s making me teary eyed. Just that thought of like-

Yeah. Yeah. Because I still see my mom’s number in my phone, and it’s- it’s so strange. It’s startling.

Yeah, let’s call him. I got to. I turned off my phone. So we got to.

Here’s the thing. I have no idea what my dad’s going to say, but I’m not afraid of that because I did bottle the essence of Dick Johnson.

Right, you know who my dad is, so even if my dad says something crazy, I’m okay with that.

Good evening. How may help you.

Hey, it’s Kirsten calling.

Oh, my gosh. Kirsten, it said CNN- we were like who knows us from CNN?

Well, I’m actually sitting here with Anderson Cooper talking to him about dad. And so-

Oh really? Oh, my goodness. Oh, um, hello Anderson Cooper, so nice to meet you. I watch CNN all the time.

Oh, that’s so nice, you’re the one. I appreciate it. I- thank you, thank you so much for what you do. You help so many people.

Oh, my goodness. My pleasure. Dr. Johnson you’re not going to believe this.

You know, I am in New York City, and I’m in the CNN building, and I’m here with a great journalist named Anderson Cooper.

You’re having a good time, aren’t you?

I am having a good time. What do you have for dinner, my friend?

Yeah, I know. Did they give you any ice cream?

No ice cream. That’s so wrong.

Right. Right. You got that right, my dear.

We were just saying with Anderson how cool it is to be able to call you.

Yeah, this is pretty good. This is a good connection.

It is. It feels like you’re right here with us, is what it feels like.

You’re in New York City, huh?

Not walking the streets. I’m sitting in a- I’m sitting in a gray room with microphones, and I’m talking to a journalist named Anderson Cooper.

Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of him.

I know. Isn’t that cool? Well, he-

You know what he said about you? He said, I love Dick Johnson.

He did! Yeah. He saw our movie, and he was like, I like that guy.

Yeah. What do you say? Do you say you love me?

I love you so much. I will love you forever and ever. And as you know, you are the best father in the world. So it’s easy to love you.

Thank you, sweetie. I love you dearly.

I love you dearly too. Okay. Bye.

Yeah, but you know what I don’t do? I cannot call every day. Guts me.

It’s really hard. Yeah, because he’ll get on for, like, a minute or two and then, like- he’ll just say over and over, I just want you to know that I love you.

And it’s just like. Like that’s literally, like, the best thing a parent could say to you. And yet, if it’s the only thing a parent is saying to you, it’s just like, okay. Like, my heart is now, like, ripped out of my chest, laying on the table at a certain point, you know? You can’t tap into that every day you know, which I think is our challenge with grief. Right. Like, you circle around it. You- you go back in, you go back out like, you know, and I could it would-

You have to kind of face it when you can face it and put it aside when you need to because you need to a lot.

I mean, if I’m somebody sitting listening to this who has a loved one who they have not sat down and recorded, I would urge them to do this immediately.

Because they’re such- you have no idea the ripple effects of hearing somebody’s voice after they’re gone or your children who aren’t even born yet, how they will feel. And anybody can do that with anybody they love.

They can. But I still would say like a camera or a recording device brings death into the room because it brings the future into the room. So if you were a child saying, I want to sit down with you, my parent, and ask you questions, the implicit thing is because you’re not going to be here someday.

And I think that’s hard. And I think that’s why in so many ways, people get intimidated.

Yeah. For anybody listening who is facing a situation with a parent and dementia or just any kind of loss. Do you have any advice?

You- I mean, it’s not advice. I’m just going to say I’m going to affirm to you, you can make something new with them.

With the person you’ve lost or are losing.

Yeah. Make something new with them. Surprise yourself. So I think, like, that thing of, like trying to keep getting the old thing from a person that you can’t get, like if you’re knocking your head against a wall. Step away, like just turn in a different direction.

Even if they’re already gone.

Even if they’re already gone. I’m asking myself this from- with my mom. Like, what new direction can I go in with my mom right now?

It’s so interesting because my mom, toward the end of her life, told me that toward the end of her life, her relationship with her aunt completely changed. Her aunt was dead. You know, long- decades. But she saw her aunt differently. She saw her aunt through much more sympathetic eyes and was from reading some old letters that I had found in storage that I showed to her. And it’s exactly what you said. It was doing something new with somebody who had been dead for more than 50 years.

Yeah, it’s really- I learned a lot.

Oh, my God. Me too. Is it helpful?

Yeah, it was helpful to me.

And that means so much to me.

I just want to reiterate one of the things that Kirsten said, she talked about not letting death trap us in terms of our relationships with someone who’s died, as she said, that parent or that person is going to stay on in your life. They are not ending and you can still get to know them more deeply. That’s how I feel about my former nanny, May McLinden. I’m getting to know her more now through the feelings I have caring for my kids. And, and that feels good. Long live May McLinden. And that’s all there is for this episode.

Next week, I talk with someone who I’ve always admired, but now that I actually know her, I love her. She’s a remarkable artist, composer, Laurie Anderson, if you don’t know who she is, you should just Google her now because she’s kind of just she’s extraordinary. Her husband is a rock legend, Lou Reed. He died ten years ago, and Laurie and I talk about grief and loss and what she believes happens when someone we love dies.

I think people turn into other things. They turn into music, sometimes they turn into- sometimes a hobby. I think I was mentioning once when I was coming into Prague that I saw oh, Vassilav Havel International Airport and Havel was a friend of ours. And I thought, how did he turn into an airport? Well, people do, they turn into other things. They turn into ideas, they turn into, uh, often into love, you know, of like, wow, I loved my grandma and so much, she was so sweet. And then that love is inside you. So that that’s it. That’s the monument of that person.

All there is with Anderson Cooper is a production of CNN Audio. The Producers are Rachel Cohn, Audrey Horowitz and Charis Satchell. Felicia Patinkin is the Supervising Producer and Megan Marcus is Executive Producer, mixing and sound design by Francisco Monroy. Our technical director is Dan Dzula, artwork designed by Nichole Pesaru and James Andrest. With support from: Charlie Moore, Jessica Ciancimino, Chip Gray Grabow, Steve Kiehl, Anissa Gray, Tameeka Ballance-Kolasny, Lindsay Abrams, Alex McCall and Lisa Namerow.

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China’s economy is ‘in deep trouble’ as Xi heads to Communist Party congress

Hong Kong
CNN Business

When Xi Jinping came to power a decade ago, China had just overtaken Japan to become the world’s second largest economy.

It has grown at a phenomenal pace since then. With an average annual growth rate of 6.7% since 2012, China has seen one of the fastest sustained expansions for a major economy in history. In 2021, its GDP hit nearly $18 trillion, constituting 18.4% of the global economy, according to the World Bank.

China’s rapid technological advances have also made it a strategic threat to the United States and its allies. It’s steadily pushing American rivals out of long-held leadership positions in sectors ranging from 5G technology to artificial intelligence.

Until recently, some economists were predicting that China would become the world’s biggest economy by 2030, unseating the United States. Now, the situation looks much less promising.

As Xi prepares for his second decade in power, he faces mounting economic challenges, including an unhappy middle-class. If he is not able to bring the economy back on track, China faces slowing innovation and productivity, along with rising social discontent.

“For 30 years, China was on a path that gave people great hope,” said Doug Guthrie, the director of China Initiatives at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, adding that the country is “in deep trouble right now.”

Hostesses stand near images showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition highlighting Xi's years as leader, as part of the upcoming 20th Party Congress, on October 12, 2022 in Beijing, China.

While Xi is one of the most powerful leaders China and its ruling Communist Party have seen, some experts say that he can’t claim credit for the country’s astonishing progress.

“Xi’s leadership is not causal for China’s economic rise,” said Sonja Opper, a professor at Bocconi University in Italy who studies China’s economy. “Xi was able to capitalize on an ongoing entrepreneurial movement and rapid development of a private [sector] economy prior leaders had unleashed,” she added.

Rather, in recent years, Xi’s policies have caused some massive headaches in China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives for a reception at the Great Hall of the People on the eve of the Chinese National Day in Beijing, China September 30, 2022.

A sweeping crackdown by Beijing on the country’s private sector, that began in late 2020, and its unwavering commitment to a zero-Covid policy, have hit the economy and job market hard.

“If anything, Xi’s leadership may have dampened some of the country’s growth dynamic,” Opper said.

More than $1 trillion has been wiped off the market value of Alibaba and Tencent — the crown jewels of China’s tech industry — over the last two years. Sales growth in the sector has slowed, and

tens of thousands of employees
have been laid off, leading to record youth unemployment.

The property sector has also been bludgeoned, hitting some of the country’s biggest home developers. The collapse in real estate — which accounts for as much as 30% of GDP — has triggered widespread and rare dissent among the middle class.

Thousands of angry homebuyers refused to pay their mortgages on stalled projects, fueling fears of systemic financial risks and forcing authorities to pressure banks and developers to defuse the unrest. That wasn’t the only demonstration of discontent this year.

In July, Chinese authorities violently dispersed a peaceful protest by hundreds of depositors, who were demanding their life savings back from rural banks that had frozen millions of dollars worth of deposits. The banking scandal not only threatened the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of customers but also highlighted the deteriorating financial health of China’s smaller banks.

“Many middle-class people are disappointed in the recent economic performance and disillusioned with Xi’s rule,” said David Dollar, a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution.

According to analysts, the vulnerabilities in the financial system are a result of the country’s unfettered debt-fuelled expansion in the previous decade, and the model needs to change.

“China’s growth during Xi’s decade in power is attributable mainly to the general economic approach adopted by his predecessors, which focused on rapid expansion through investment, manufacturing, and trade,” said Neil Thomas, a senior analyst for China and Northeast Asia at Eurasia Group.

“But this model had reached a point of significantly diminishing returns and was increasing economic inequality, financial debt, and environmental damage,” he said.

While Xi is trying to change that model, he is not going about it the right way, experts said, and is risking the future of China’s businesses with tighter state controls.

The 69-year old leader launched his crackdown to rein in the “disorderly” private businesses that were growing too powerful. He also wants to redistribute wealth in the society, under his “common prosperity” goal.

Xi hopes for a “new normal,” where consumption and services become more important drivers of expansion than investments and exports.

But, so far, these measures have pushed the Chinese economy into one of its worst economic crises in four decades.

Shoppers walk through Taikoo Li Village Mall in Sanlitun in Beijing, China, on Monday, May 30, 2022.

The International Monetary Fund recently cut its forecast for China’s growth to 3.2% this year, representing a sharp slowdown from 8.1% in 2021. That would be the country’s second lowest growth rate in 46 years, better only than 2020 when the initial coronavirus outbreak pummeled the economy.

Under Xi, China has not only become more insular, but has also seen the fraying of US-China relations. His refusal to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and China’s recent aggression towards Taiwan, could alienate the country even further from Washington and its allies.

Analysts say the current problems don’t yet pose a major threat to Xi’s rule. He is expected to secure an unprecedented third term in power at the Communist Party Congress that begins on Sunday. Priorities presented at the congress will also set China’s trajectory for the next five years or even longer.

“It would likely take an economic catastrophe on the scale of the Great Depression to create levels of social discontent and popular protest that might pose a threat to Communist Party rule,” said Thomas from Eurasia Group.

“Moreover, growth is not the only source of legitimacy and support for the Communist Party, and Xi has increasingly burnished the Communist Party’s nationalist credentials to appeal to patriotism as well as pocketbooks,” he added.

But to get China back to high growth and innovation, Xi may have to bring back market-oriented reforms.

“If he was smart, he would liberalize things quickly in his third term,” said Guthrie.

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‘Yellowstone’ cast members to saddle up for special Ride to the Polls


Two “Yellowstone” cast members are teaming up with other celebrities for a good cause on horseback.

Piper Perabo and Mo Brings Plenty will join Loren Anthony (“Dexter: New Blood”), Ryan Begay (“Breaking Bad”) and Nicole Kang (“Batwoman”) will saddle up to increase voter awareness as part of a Ride to the Polls effort led by the organizations Harness and Protect the Sacred.

The Solidarity Trail Ride will take place October 15 in Monument Valley, Arizona.

Mo Brings Plenty in

“It is critical in our country that we shift the national narrative to center the rights and voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities,” America Ferrera, who with Ryan Piers Williams and Wilmer Valderrama founded Harness, told CNN in an email interview. “We all need to do what we can to increase turnout of these voters, especially those who live in rural and disenfranchised communities. With many systems of our democracy under attack, Harness is committed to help protect the right to vote for all Americans and do so using the strengths we know we have through storytelling and culturally competent on-the-ground organizing.”

The event is an expansion of an effort started by Allie Young, the organizer of Ride to the Polls and founder of Protect the Sacred.

Two years ago, Young rallied with leaders in the Navajo Nation for a 20-mile horseback ride to lead Diné voters polling locations, an ode to their ancestors who rode for hours to cast their votes.

“I launched Ride to the Polls in 2020, hoping to reach young people in my community who weren’t motivated to vote for good reason,” she told CNN. “I don’t think it’s just the Native community that feels this way. I think BIPOC communities, disenfranchised communities, across the country feel like they’re not sure what to trust anymore. I think there’s a lot of people who are feeling really fatigued by general get out the vote type of messaging.”

Citizens of Navajo Nation riding to the polls to cast their ballots.

The feedback she got in 2020, Young said, reflected a sentiment of general disappointment in “a system that was not designed for us.”

“And I (was) like, ‘I’m there with you.’ But when we participate, our vote is powerful,” she said.

Young and Harness’s drive to do more Ride to the Polls events was done with that in mind.

“When our ancestors – whether it’s in the Indigenous community, the Black community, the Latinx community – we’ve all come from these histories where our ancestors had to fight for our existence today,” Young said. “That’s the message I want to spread as we expand – our power and our resiliency. When we come together as communities and we stand up how powerful we actually are.”

Another event leading up to midterm elections will take place in San Antonio and be called Quince to the Polls. On October 29, young girls celebrating their Quinceañeras will use the celebration as a chance to encourage their families and communities to participate in early voting and on voting day. A Skate to the Polls event was held back in August.

Saturday’s event in Arizona will culminate at the Kayenta Rodeo Grounds, where there will be a panel discussion on voting as well as information about polling locations, food and music.

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Kansas City, Missouri School District considers plan to close 10 schools

With too many buildings and not enough students to fill them, Kansas City Public Schools administrators are considering a plan to close 10 of the district’s schools.The idea behind the Blueprint 2030 plan would be to consolidate resources to give students a better academic and extracurricular experience.The plan would be done in phases over the course of the next several years with two high schools and eight elementary schools closing.”There’s a lot of discomfort in this, and I think it’s discomfort for all parts of the community, even as administrators. This is challenging for us to do,” said Dr. Jennifer Collier, interim KCPS superintendent.One of the first schools scheduled to close under the plan is Central High School. Rebuilt in the 1990s, Central’s building has enough space for 1,200 students. However, currently there are about 400 students enrolled there.Under the proposal, Central would close at the end of the school year. Remaining students would then attend Southeast High School.”I think that is very horrible,” said Da-Nearle Clarke, Central Class of 2011.The Eagles football team is scheduled to play its homecoming game in what could be the team’s last season.”It would be it’d be a tragedy. The Kansas City Chiefs helped build the football field,” said John Robinson, Central Class of 1976.”It’s going to be a tough one. But I don’t want to see this school closed no more than anybody else,” said Pat Clarke, Oak Park Neighborhood Association president.Central has a long history in Kansas City.The school opened in 1884 at 11th and Locust.Construction started at Central’s current location at Linwood and Indiana in 1912.The third and current building at that location was built in the 1990s.Central’s website boasts of “a large, one-acre field house, Greek-style theatre, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and state-of-the-art classrooms.”Additionally, Central’s alumni include Olympic sprinter Muna Lee, baseball Hall-of-Famer Casey Stengel and the legendary Walt Disney.”Yes, Central is a school that is rich in history and tradition. And I’m sure that was disheartening for those who are part of that community and those who are alumni,” Collier said.She also said KCPS consultants said even though Central’s building is one of the newer ones in the school system’s aging inventory, there are some major infrastructure concerns with Central.But Robinson opposes the plan to close the school.”This should be the jewel of the school system right here,” he said.Community input is part of the Blueprint 2030 process.The first time the public will have an opportunity to express opinions will be Monday at Southeast Community Center, 3400 East 63rd Street in Kansas City.The KCPS School Board is expected to make a final decision on Blueprint 2030 in December.

With too many buildings and not enough students to fill them, Kansas City Public Schools administrators are considering a plan to close 10 of the district’s schools.

The idea behind the Blueprint 2030 plan would be to consolidate resources to give students a better academic and extracurricular experience.

The plan would be done in phases over the course of the next several years with two high schools and eight elementary schools closing.

“There’s a lot of discomfort in this, and I think it’s discomfort for all parts of the community, even as administrators. This is challenging for us to do,” said Dr. Jennifer Collier, interim KCPS superintendent.

One of the first schools scheduled to close under the plan is Central High School. Rebuilt in the 1990s, Central’s building has enough space for 1,200 students. However, currently there are about 400 students enrolled there.

Under the proposal, Central would close at the end of the school year. Remaining students would then attend Southeast High School.

“I think that is very horrible,” said Da-Nearle Clarke, Central Class of 2011.

The Eagles football team is scheduled to play its homecoming game in what could be the team’s last season.

“It would be it’d be a tragedy. The Kansas City Chiefs helped build the football field,” said John Robinson, Central Class of 1976.

“It’s going to be a tough one. But I don’t want to see this school closed no more than anybody else,” said Pat Clarke, Oak Park Neighborhood Association president.

Central has a long history in Kansas City.

The school opened in 1884 at 11th and Locust.

Construction started at Central’s current location at Linwood and Indiana in 1912.

The third and current building at that location was built in the 1990s.

Central’s website boasts of “a large, one-acre field house, Greek-style theatre, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and state-of-the-art classrooms.”

Additionally, Central’s alumni include Olympic sprinter Muna Lee, baseball Hall-of-Famer Casey Stengel and the legendary Walt Disney.

“Yes, Central is a school that is rich in history and tradition. And I’m sure that was disheartening for those who are part of that community and those who are alumni,” Collier said.

She also said KCPS consultants said even though Central’s building is one of the newer ones in the school system’s aging inventory, there are some major infrastructure concerns with Central.

But Robinson opposes the plan to close the school.

“This should be the jewel of the school system right here,” he said.

Community input is part of the Blueprint 2030 process.

The first time the public will have an opportunity to express opinions will be Monday at Southeast Community Center, 3400 East 63rd Street in Kansas City.

The KCPS School Board is expected to make a final decision on Blueprint 2030 in December.

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