WILL BE BACK LIVE MONDAY!
"Gold is a pretty metal, soft and easy to work with for artists and with come interesting electrical properties, but otherwise rather useless other than as a symbol of wealth and power. If an alien race wanted to conquer the Earth (although one has to wonder what there could possibly be here on Earth worth the trouble) all they would have to do is start handing out 500 pounds of gold to every living human being and the financial/political foundations of our civilization would crumble overnight. I am not convinced that would be a bad thing in the long term" -- Michael Rivero
In spite of the financial market losses and crashes of 2022, government agencies kept assuring us that the banking system was in good shape. Until it wasn’t. Then they were citing “systemic risk” as the reason for a bailout. Surprised again!
The Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed on March 10 with great fanfare, as befitted the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. It failed, it turns out, with the balance sheet mistake of borrowing very short and investing very long, a mistake so elementary as to display remarkable financial incompetence.
SVB’s failure was preceded by the collapse of Silvergate Bank, and followed by the failure of Signature Bank (the third largest bank failure), by lines of customers making withdrawals from First Republic Bank, and pressure on banks known to have large unrealized losses on their investments. As always happens in a banking crisis, the government intervened. In this case, it guaranteed the uninsured deposits at the failed banks—and presumably all banks—and created a special Federal Reserve loan facility backed by the U.S. Treasury that will lend on an under-collateralized basis to banks which have large market value losses on their bonds and mortgage-backed securities.
Major vaccine companies are preparing avian flu vaccines if the H5N1 virus that has killed millions of animals mutates to infect humans.
Vaccine makers GSK, Moderna, and CSL Seqirus have begun developing new human shots to target the rapidly spreading strain of the virus. Others such as Sanofi have vaccines for H5N1 virus in stock that could serve as a base for producing shots tailored to the currently circulating strain.
Epidemiologists maintain that the risk to humans is low, but the specter of another pandemic upending hundreds of millions of lives worldwide has kicked scientific investigation into high gear.
What in the world was she thinking? When a bailout was hastily arranged for uninsured depositors at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, the implication was that the same thing would be done for uninsured depositors at any other banks that failed. But now U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is telling us that is not actually what will happen. She just admitted that depositors at a failed bank will only be protected if officials determine that a “failure to protect uninsured depositors would create systemic risk and significant economic and financial consequences”. So that means that depositors at big banks are likely to be protected and that depositors at small banks are much less likely to be protected. In other words, Janet Yellen just poured lighter fluid on every small bank in America.
"So I've seen rumors swirl," DeSantis said. "I have not seen any facts yet, and so I don't know what's gonna happen. But I do know this, the Manhattan District Attorney is a Soros-funded prosecutor. And so he, like other Soros-funded prosecutors, they weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety."
"He has downgraded over 50% of the felonies to misdemeanors," DeSantis continued. "He says he doesn't want to even have jail time for the vast, vast majority of crimes. And what we've seen in Manhattan is we've seen the crime rate go up and we've seen citizens become less safe."
"And so you're talking about this situation with, and look, I don't know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair," he added. "I just, I can't speak to that, but what I can speak to is that if you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction, and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to try to use something about porn star 'hush money' payments, you know, that's an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office.'
President Vladimir Putin said Monday that deepening ties between Russia and Africa was a key goal for the Kremlin, as Moscow seeks to expand its influence on the continent.
He added that Russia would continue supplying the continent with grain if Moscow exits a landmark agreement with Ukraine to allow exports from the country's Black Sea ports.
"Let me emphasize that our country has always given — and will continue to give — priority to cooperation with African states," Putin said in a televised address at a conference on Russian-African relations.
The White House will take a preemptive shot at Republicans on the federal budget this week, rolling out a blistering five-point critique of a plan by the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The Biden administration — still waiting for Republicans' official budget plan for fiscal 2024 — is trying to gain a tactical advantage in the upcoming budget talks by casting a proposal by three dozen GOP hardliners as a "five-alarm fire" for Americans.
Bloomberg reported that Amazon sent an internal email notifying its employees about an upcoming wave of layoffs, which is part of the company's continuing strategy to reduce costs amid mounting macroeconomic uncertainty.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy reportedly told employees that an additional 9,000 people would be laid off in the coming weeks.
Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy announced the cuts internally Monday, saying they would occur in the coming weeks and primarily affect Amazon Web Services, human resources, advertising and the Twitch livestreaming service groups. --Bloomberg
For Vladimir Putin, the state visit to Russia by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which begins on Monday, provides a giant morale boost and a chance to showcase the much-vaunted new world order that the Russian leader believes he is forging through his war on Ukraine — in which the United States and NATO can no longer dictate anything to anyone.
Xi’s visit to Russia, just after cementing his precedent-breaking third term in power, brings together two men who have positioned themselves as leaders for life — and it sets the scene for global confrontation, with Beijing willing to use its partnership with Moscow to counter Washington, even if that means granting tacit approval to Putin’s brutal, destabilizing war.
“The grim outlook in China is that we are entering this era of confrontation with the U.S., the gloves are off, and Russia is an asset and a partner in this struggle,” said Alexander Gabuev, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
It remains to be seen whether this confrontation will heat up, pushing three nuclear powers to the brink of World War III, or merely marks the opening chords of Cold War 2.0. But Xi’s visit shows sides being taken, with China, Russia and Iran lining up against the United States, Britain and other NATO allies — in a competition for global influence and for alliances with nations such as South Africa and Saudi Arabia, which seem ambivalent but up for grabs.
Matthew Morales boarded the Metro Red Line at MacArthur Park as classical music blared over the station loudspeakers.
It was rush hour on a Tuesday afternoon, and Morales made his way to a back corner seat and unfolded a tiny piece of foil with several blue shards of fentanyl. As the train started west, he heated the aluminum with a lighter and sucked in the smoke through a pipe fashioned from a ballpoint pen.
Doors opened and closed. A few passengers filed in and out. A grain of the opioid fell to the floor. He concentrated on trying to pick it up, then lost track, as his body went limp. His shoulders slumped and he slowly keeled forward.
By the time the train arrived at the Wilshire/Western station, Morales, 29, was doubled over and near motionless, his hand on the floor. The train operator walked out of the cabin, barely glancing at him as she passed — as if she encountered such scenes all the time.
After agreeing with Saudi Arabia in December to buy its oil for Chinese yuan instead of just US dollars, while at the same time Russia is successfully cooperating with Saudi Arabia and Iran in the oil sector, Beijing is helping a historic reconciliation between the two major Muslim countries. Chinese efforts are all the more impressive when considering the persistent efforts of the US to cause conflict between the two countries instead of reconciliation.
It is hoped that reconciliation will lead to a huge blow to the hegemony of the US dollar. In Beijing on March 17, following negotiations in Iraq and Oman during the previous two years, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia announced an agreement which includes the restoration of diplomatic relations, a confirmation of respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs, and agreements on security, economy, trade, investment, science and culture.
In short, with the mediation of China, the two regional powers, often framed as having a Sunni-Shi’a rivalry, made it official that they are embarking on a new path of improving relations instead of further spoiling them for the sake of serving Western interests that are contrary to the interests of the Islamic World.
Big Four firm KPMG was the auditor for SVB and Signature Bank. It recently gave these companies clean bills of health in their 10K filings. Two weeks later, SVB became the second largest bank in US history to fail and Signature Bank the 3rd largest bank in history to fail.
Update(1017ET): What's being described as an initial, informal meeting between Presidents Xi and Putin is underway at the Kremlin. While the expected cordialities and expressions of closer relations were exchange, among the most notable early statements came from Putin, who said he's "open" to peace talks with Ukraine and China's mediation efforts.
"We have a lot of joint tasks, goals," Putin told his Chinese counterpart while also congratulating him on re-election as the head of the Chinese state for a third 5-year term. Xi in return said "Russia succeeded in promoting prosperity under Putin’s leadership." Putin further expressed that "we will discuss your initiative [on Ukraine] which we view with respect."
"We are open for a negotiating process on Ukraine," the Russian leader added. He noted to Xi that "we have looked at your proposals for the resolution of the Ukraine conflict" and previewed that "we will discuss this question."
Many Americans say it’s the biggest problem our country faces today: the fentanyl plague, which has already taken thousands of American lives.
Concerned citizens also believe the Biden administration hasn’t done enough to combat the epidemic, which critics say has exploded due to a seemingly endless border crisis.
But one border state has just taken action — and it should save many lives.
Texas is always on the frontlines of the illegal immigration battle, as they share a border with Mexico. The Lone Star State sees the worst of the crisis, and they’ve called it an “invasion” more than once.
That’s why Governor Greg Abbott and other lawmakers have taken matters into their own hands. If the federal government won’t protect us, Texas will.
The Manhattan district attorney supposedly preparing to arrest Donald Trump for allegedly hiding hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels received $1million from a political action committee funded by billionaire George Soros.
Alvin Bragg, who was elected Manhattan DA in November 2021, had been involved in numerous investigations into Trump and his family before being sworn in last year, even bragging he had sued Trump 'more than 100 times' while serving in the NY Attorney General's Office.
While campaigning to become the next Manhattan DA, he received more than $1million in support from the Color Of Change PAC, a racial justice group which receives funding from Soros, a Hungarian-born billionaire financier-turned American mega donor.
“JPMorgan, the world’s largest bank by market capitalization, was Epstein’s bank of choice between 1998 and 2013, well after Epstein’s Florida prosecution for soliciting prostitution with a minor. That relationship has been under a newfound spotlight after Epstein survivors and the Virgin Islands sued JPMorgan Chase late last year, claiming that it ‘facilitated, sustained and concealed’ Epstein’s abuse,” the outlet added.
JPMorgan has denied the allegations from the U.S. Virgin Islands and filed a counteroffensive against Staley, claiming he “concealed his personal activities” with Epstein.
Staley and Epstein exchanged roughly 1,000 emails between 2008 and 2012. Newly unsealed information reveals an odd exchange between Staley and Epstein, where they make references to Disney characters, according to Fox News.
“These women were trafficked and abused during different intervals between at least 2003 and July 2019, when Epstein was arrested and jailed, and these women received payments, typically multiple payments, between 2003 and 2013 in excess of $1 million collectively,” according to the unsealed passages.
Whether or not Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg really is about to arrest Trump this week, as has been reported, over trumped-up hush-money charges relating to a one-time assignation 17 years ago with porn star Stormy Daniels, Friday’s leak from the court could not have come at a better time for President Biden.
The story that the first former president in American history would be charged with a crime, fingerprinted, put in a holding cell and maybe even perp-walked to humiliate him before the world is a dream come true for salivating Trump-haters.
But, more significantly, the story took the spotlight off the bombshell bank records released the previous day by the House Oversight Committee, showing $1,065,000 had been funneled from a Chinese energy company, through Biden intimate Rob Walker, to four immediate family members of Joe Biden: his son Hunter, brother James, and Hallie Biden, the widow of his late son Beau, who also is Hunter’s former lover.
Also listed as a recipient of the Chinese money, which was doled out to the four Bidens in regular small increments between March 6 and May 18, 2017, was an as-yet-unidentified family member, listed only on bank wires as “Biden.”
Vice President Kamala Harris is preparing to campaign extensively when President Biden launches his much-anticipated re-election bid, despite concerns in the Democratic Party that her performance in office, criticized by some as uneven, has made her a liability.
Ms. Harris plans to visit urban centers of swing states to persuade Black voters, young people and other liberal constituencies to re-elect Mr. Biden, according to people familiar with discussions about her campaign efforts. She will lead the administration’s advocacy for abortion rights, tout the administration’s climate investments and echo Mr. Biden’s pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security.
Joe’s shared some questionable content on Twitter —and was checked by the community.
According to a Fox News report, President Joe Biden shared a dubious “fact” on Twitter about how much America’s billionaires pay in taxes —and Twitter was having none of it.
“Look, I think you should be able to be a billionaire if you can earn it, but just pay your fair share,” Biden’s tweet read. “I think you ought to pay a minimum tax of 25%. It’s about basic fairness.”
Community notes flew in with this helpful gem: “This is incorrect. Avg income tax rate in 2020 was 13.6%. Top 1% of taxpayers paid a 25.99% avg rate, more than eight times higher than the 3.1% avg rate paid by the bottom half of taxpayers. It increased from 20.1%/2019 to 22.2%/2020”
Additionally, the world’s richest man and Twitter CEO himself, Elon Musk, weighed in on the claim, saying “I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average! I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022. @CommunityNotes, is the 3% number cited above accurate?”