WILL BE BACK LIVE MONDAY!
"Everyone has their price. What's surprising is...how low it is" -- Napoleon
“The big question is whether all this government spending has produced any significant bang for the buck. The answer is no,” said Izumi, senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute and author of Choosing Diversity: How Charter Schools Promote Diverse Learning Models and Meet the Diverse Needs of Parents and Children, and the co-author along with Wenyuan Wu and McKenzie Richards of the new book, The Great Parent Revolt: How Parents and Grassroots Leaders Are Fighting Critical Race Theory in America’s Schools.
“While government spending burgeoned, student achievement plummeted, children’s mental health suffered and schools became more dangerous, which is an outcome that demands a better solution such as giving parents greater educational choice,” Izumi said.
Izumi said the poor performance of California’s public schools is so bad that students are just not showing up for class.
“The Los Angeles Times has reported that California parents are pulling their children out of school ‘because they’ve lost confidence in the education system’s ability to meet their needs.’”
The "winter of discontent" that has been sweeping across Europe has now escalated into a "spring of discontent," with strikes and protests set to spread from France, Greece, and other surrounding countries to Germany.
According to Reuters, Germany's Verdi union and the railway and transport union EVG are preparing to unleash paralyzing strikes on the country's airports and railways next Monday.
Verdi is negotiating for 2.5 million public sector workers, including ones at airports and other public transport hubs. The union has demanded higher wages due to persistent inflation pressures. EVG is negotiating for 230,000 employees at railway company Deutsche Bahn and bus companies.
Poland has long criticized Hungary for its neutrality in the war in Ukraine and its calls to end sanctions on Russia, but despite the Polish government’s tough rhetoric, billions in exports continue to flow from Poland to Russia
Data from Eurostat shows that Polish exports to Russia fell sharply in the first half of 2022, only to begin to rise again in the second half of the year. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Poland exported €1.2 billion worth of goods to Russia. Although this represented a fall of 44 percent over 2021, it was a marked improvement on the second and third quarters of the year, according to Polish news outlet Forsal.
After initially falling to €300 million in March and €200 million in April, exports to Russia are recovering and are now regularly above €300 million per month.
The total value of Polish exports to Russia for 2022 was €4.7 billion. That means that Poland was the third-biggest EU exporter to Russia. Only Germany and Italy exported more.
German newspaper Die Welt claims in an opinion piece that Turkey and Hungary should not be trusted within the NATO alliance. The paper writes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to block Sweden’s NATO accession, and Hungary wants EU money in exchange for approving the membership of both nations.
The author of the piece, Clemens Wergin, also claims that both nations have developed “unseemly” ties to Russia and then asks whether NATO should even share sensitive data with both countries.
“And in their turn toward authoritarianism, Ankara and Budapest have also distanced themselves significantly from the community of values for which NATO stands. The alliance is therefore well advised to treat both as partners with reservation. This should include, for example, no longer necessarily sharing certain sensitive data with Turkey and Hungary within NATO,” Wergin writes.
In an op-ed titled "The Age of AI has begun" on "The Blog of Bill Gates," Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates discussed the upcoming paradigm shift in technology. Having been instrumental in developing personal computers several decades ago, the billionaire seems to know a thing or two about technological innovation. He believes that OpenAI's language generation artificial intelligence tools will be at the forefront of the next technological revolution.
Gates wrote, "I've seen two demonstrations of technology that struck me as revolutionary."
"The first time was in 1980, when I was introduced to a graphical user interface—the forerunner of every modern operating system, including Windows," he said.
Gates said the second big surprise came last year with the impressive advancement in OpenAI's ChatGPT.
"The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone," he said. "It will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care, and communicate with each other."
In bucolic Indiana, Pennsylvania, residents have started an “It’s a Wonderful Life Festival.”
The town’s Christmas celebration commemorates both favorite son Jimmy Stewart, who starred in the iconic movie, and the story’s message of redemption and hope.
In the film, a bank run threatens to devastate an affordable-housing business run by George Bailey, Stewart’s character. The Great Depression has come to Bedford Falls. With over 9,000 banks failing during that period, bank runs were common.
For nearly 100 years since that fictional Beaver Falls bank run, the federal government has insured bank depositors for the purpose of stopping bank runs, which have historically triggered economic depressions. That decision was part of a sweeping political movement in response to the financial crisis of the 1930s: the New Deal.
Could a political movement arise from the recent failure of Silicon Valley Bank, which collapsed in mere hours? That question may be best answered by looking to the distant past.
The latest Gallup poll reveals that President Biden's standing on six major issues vs. his two predecessors is not great. See below for his Biden scores when it comes to; the economy, immigration, foreign affairs in general, and relations with Russia and China. A sixth chart compares Biden and Trump on the pandemic response.
Biden’s latest job approval rating on the economy is about halfway between the worst ratings Trump and Obama each received. Both of his predecessors’ low points on the economy came toward the beginning of their presidencies, after which they saw strong improvement. This holds out some hope for Biden that he could follow a similar trajectory. Indeed, his 34% rating in February is slightly improved from his own low point of 31% in August 2022.
Trump announced on social media this past weekend saying he believes he’ll be arrested soon in connection to District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe into whether he was involved in allegedly making hush money payments to during the 2016 campaign. Unnamed sources have also told news outlets that the former president may be indicted, but Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Dershowitz, an attorney who has represented controversial clients including O.J. Simpson and Jim Bakker, told Newsmax that he believes Trump will be indicted in New York City because of what he described as an unfair legal system in the Democrat-dominated city. But if Trump is convicted and sentenced to a prison term, the U.S. Constitution will allow him to serve in that capacity.
Bill Gates is becoming a menace.
He will not leave us alone.
And he’s learned all the wrong lessons from Covid.
At this point he is worse than merely clueless. As one of the world’s 10 richest men and controller of a $50 billion charitable honeypot, Gates has the power to drive public health policy in dangerous directions.
He appears hellbent on doing so.
Gates is obsessed with the risk of future pandemics. Never mind that in the century following the 1918-19 flu pandemic, HIV was the only new infectious disease to cause significant societal disruption.
The pink-haired woman said her name was Chelsie. She also dropped regular hints about her chosen profession.
“She implied over the course of getting to know her that she was a sex worker,” said Jon Christiansen, Samantha’s husband and another co-founder of the Chinook Center.
“I think somebody else had told me that, and I just was like, ‘Oh, OK. That makes sense,’” said Autum Carter-Wallace, an activist in Colorado Springs. “I never questioned it.”
But Chelsie’s identity was as fake as her long pink hair. The young woman, whose real name is April Rogers, is a detective at the Colorado Springs Police Department. The FBI enlisted her to infiltrate and spy on racial justice groups during the summer of 2020.
The bank crisis, Fed and macro continue to lead the market in a daily rollercoaster, and while that won't change for at least a few days, Goldman's consumer retail trader Scott Feiler notes in his trading note today, there are some notable things to highlight in consumer...
1. First signs of a notable low-income slowdown?:
Feiler notes that investors have been bearish consumers for much of the year, even before the issues with the banks: he writes that "we had heard COST and VISA talk to modest deceleration in February (100-200 bps), but nothing precipitous. The big question has been whether anyone has seen a more worrisome slowdown with tax refunds (down double-digits y/y) and SNAP reductions (end of February) more front and center."
Well, according to the Goldman trader, we got that answer this morning from CTRN (Citi trends): it is an apparel store that caters to the low-income consumer. They guided 1Q sales to be down low double-digits vs Consensus +2%. This does not seem like conservatism like some other below consensus 1Q guides, as they explicitly said 1Q is off to a slow start. They said that given the macro-economic environment, they expect low income families, the bulk of their customer base, to remain under pressure in 1H.
Ukraine appears willing to engage China in mediation efforts to end the war, at a moment China's Xi Jinping is in Moscow discussing Beijing's own 12-point peace plan. With the main part of talks with Putin having been concluded as of Tuesday night, there's been no breakthrough among the "friends" to come of it thus far.
"We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when they are ready for that in the West and in Kyiv. However, so far we see no such readiness from their side," Putin said, laying blame on the Ukrainians.
On Monday, state Senator Scott Wiener (CA-11), a Democrat representing San Francisco, “A DeSantis-style bill was just introduced in CA to require teachers/counselors to inform parents if a kid id's as a gender not on birth certificate. Even if the kid isn't ready to come out to their parents. Even if ratting the kid out risks violence at home. Nope, not in CA.”
The relationship between parent and child is important; trust is vital. This politician apparently has no problem helping schools keep secrets from parents and using the law to do it.
Unfortunately, Wiener had become outraged and gotten his facts wrong. The author of the bill he was referring to tweeted later in the thread and explained the legislation for all on Twitter to see.
Bill Essayli, (CA-63), a Republican representative representing the Sacramento area explained his legislation.
“I just introduced a bill #AB1314 which will require schools to notify parents when a student is actively identifying by a different gender. Unfortunately, this bill is necessary because schools are instructing teachers to conceal this information from parents.
In late February 2003 I could no longer hope against hope that war against Iraq could be avoided. This was beyond sad – beyond frustrating. It was unnecessary, and “the consequences were likely to be catastrophic.” I needed to take a time-out for a rigorous swim during the “adult hour” at the local high school pool; a promising way to put the coming carnage out of my mind by putting the rest of my body through its paces.
It was there it happened. Post-swim, I stood, buck naked, in the large shower room feeling as though my body and mind could indeed hang in there together; Suddenly, my blood pressure went sky high, and I found my training in nonviolence put to the test as never before. Who struts into the shower room but Kenneth Adelman, privileged protégé and egger-on of then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board then headed by the infamous Richard Perle.
Still ringing in my ears was a benighted but highly mischievous op-ed Adelman had written a year earlier blithely claiming that “demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.” So, when I saw him, I came close to losing it: “You and your neocon friends are going to get a lot of people killed, not only kids that don’t look like your kids, but American kids as well.” I then added a more colloquial, two-word expression for male bovine excrement to describe his “cakewalk” forecast. (In the heat of the moment it escaped me that nonviolent action includes forgoing such expletives, but I am not contrite. As for Cakewalker Adelman, he walked abruptly to his locker and was quickly gone.)
The US Army has officially opened its first permanent military garrison on NATO’s “eastern flank” in a ceremony on Tuesday.
Stretching from the Baltics to the Black Sea, the eastern portion of the North Atlantic bloc is made up of eight nations – all former members of the USSR or Warsaw Pact. The US Army’s V Corps will now have a lasting presence at Camp Kosciuszko in Poland.
The V Corps’ commanding general, Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, explained the garrison showed that Washington is deepening its military commitments in Eastern Europe. “The relationship of the US and Poland serves as an example of the deepening ties throughout the alliance,” he said, adding “today’s activation ceremony is a tangible reminder of the growth in our relationship.”
The United Nations estimates that 43,000 Somalis starved to death last year. At least half of those who died are said to have been children less than five years old. The Horn of Africa nation is suffering from a drought as well as a US military campaign targeting the insurgent group al-Shabaab.
At the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, he ordered the withdrawal of all American troops from Somalia. After taking office, President Joe Biden ordered soldiers to return to Somalia, provided millions in military assistance to Mogadishu, and increased drone strikes in the country. Meanwhile, at the beginning of 2022, the UN reported over 1 million Somalis will suffer from acute malnutrition because of a drought.
In a joint statement from the Somali government, the UN and World Health Organization stated the death toll could have been much worse and warned 2023 could see tens of thousands of people starve to death. “These estimates suggest that although famine has been averted, for now the crisis is far from over,” the joint statement said.
In March of 2003, the United States launched an illegal war of aggression against Iraq.
The US regime promoted that illegal war of aggression, starting well in advance, through the manufacture and repetition of falsehoods for the purpose of cultivating fear over non-existent threats, and loathing over nonexistent connections between the Iraqi regime an the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.
In the execution of that illegal war of aggression, thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died.
Twenty years later, none of the American culprits in that deadly deception operation have been brought to justice. Some – for example, secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and secretary of state Colin Powell – have since died. Others – for example, president George W. Bush, and national security advisor Condoleeza Rice – remain not just alive and at large, but even prominent, influential, and widely respected.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies aren’t responding to requests for comment about the role their institutions played in making the case for war in Iraq.
Moreover, it appears they’ve taken steps to remove evidence of their actions from the Internet or outright deny the actions they took in 2002.
FDD was founded in April 2001 as EMET (Hebrew for “truth”) “to provide education to enhance Israel’s image in North America and the public’s understanding of issues affecting Israeli-Arab relations.” Clifford May, its founder, quickly went about pushing for war. In April 2002, he described Iran and Iraq as “terrorist-sponsoring regimes attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction.”
And in January 2002, May wrote, “That Saddam still has weapons of mass destruction cannot be seriously doubted,” in National Review Online.
Both articles are no longer visible on FDD’s website, although they are available on other sites. FDD didn’t just serve as a home base for numerous advocates for the Iraq War, the group took institutional positions advancing false intelligence about Iraq’s alleged WMDs.
The US State Department's annual human rights report has deferred to the Israeli government's version of events on the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and did not mention the death of a US citizen who died after being arrested by Israeli forces last year.
The report, released on Monday, did not label the journalist's death as an extrajudicial or arbitrary killing, only noting it under its section on freedom of expression.
Last May, Israeli forces shot and killed Abu Akleh during an Israeli raid on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Her death sparked Palestinian outrage and widespread international condemnation.
Britain and Israel will sign an agreement aimed at deepening technology, trade, and security ties over the next seven years when UK foreign minister James Cleverly meets his Israeli counterpart in London on Tuesday, The New Arab reported.
The decision comes despite a political crisis engulfing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial overhaul, and the continued persecution and oppression of Palestinians in occupied territories.
Israel’s Eli Cohen is visiting London to sign the new roadmap for relations with Britain.
“Our roadmap will allow us to fully take advantage of the opportunities in areas of mutual interest, including tech, trade and security,” Cleverly said in a statement ahead of the visit.
Ethiopia’s government has accused the United States of taking a “partisan” approach by alleging that its forces, and Eritrean troops, had committed war crimes during the two-year conflict in Tigray.
“The US statement is inflammatory,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, a day after Washington accused all parties to the conflict of committing war crimes but singled out Ethiopian, Eritrean and regional Amhara forces for crimes against humanity, without mentioning forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Later on Tuesday, Eritrea’s foreign ministry said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and defamatory” and constituted a “continuation of unwarranted hostility and demonisation that US administrations have pursued against Eritrea since 2009 to advance their ulterior political agendas.”
Donald Trump has told advisers that he wants to be handcuffed when he makes an appearance in court, if he is indicted by a Manhattan grand jury for his role in paying hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels, multiple sources close to the former president have said.
The former president has reasoned that since he would need to go to the courthouse and surrender himself to authorities for fingerprinting and a mug shot anyway, the sources said, he might as well turn everything into a “spectacle”.
That is the apocalyptic vision put forward by expert Charles Dunst in his new book Defeating the Dictators as he warns that democracy is now in a fight with autocracy for control of the future, and is in danger of losing unless it rapidly gets its act together.
In his new book, expert Charles Dunst warns that democracy is now in a fight with autocracy for control of the future. Pictured: China's president Xi Jinping (left) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (right) share a toast during their meeting in Moscow on Tuesday
But victory will not belong to whoever has the biggest army, he argues. It will be won by whoever can prove their system works best.
In his doomsday vision, America loses to China not because it lacks weapons - but because it lacks conviction in its own way of life.
The author's warning comes as China's President Xi Jinping delivered a chilling warning to the West, telling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that 'change is coming' in an ominous parting message as he left Moscow on Wednesday night.