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"If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." -- George Washington
ON MONDAY, California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the Biden administration’s decision to intervene on behalf of Silicon Valley Bank’s clients after the bank was taken over by the FDIC on Friday amid a bank run. The White House “acted swiftly and decisively to protect the American economy and strengthen public confidence in our banking system,” Newsom said in a statement. What Newsom didn’t mention is that it also protected his own companies if they held over $250,000 in deposits.
CADE, Odette, and PlumpJack, three wineries owned by Newsom, are listed as clients of SVB on the bank’s website. Newsom also maintained personal accounts at SVB for years, according to a longtime former employee of Newsom’s who handled his finances, and who requested anonymity to avoid professional reprisal.
“Governor Newsom’s business and financial holdings are held and managed by a blind trust, as they have been since he was first elected governor in 2018,” Nathan Click, a spokesperson for Newsom, told The Intercept in an email.
The crisis of American national power has begun. America’s economy is tipping over, and Western financial markets are quietly panicking. Imperiled by rising interest rates, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries are losing their value. The market’s proverbial “vibes”—feelings, emotions, beliefs, and psychological penchants—suggest a dark turn is underway inside the American economy.
American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance. The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.
Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources. While Russia’s implementation of attrition warfare worked brilliantly, Russia mobilized its reserves of men and equipment to field a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.
A growing number of students who finished high school during the pandemic are choosing not to go to college, with many opting to join the workforce or enroll in trade programs.
“Pfizer Inc. and Seagen Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Pfizer will acquire Seagen, a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops and commercializes transformative cancer medicines, for $229 in cash per Seagen share for a total enterprise value of $43 billion,” Pfizer said in a statement.
Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto accused the Russian mercenary Wagner Group of facilitating the increase in migration reported this year from Africa to Europe...
Russian mercenaries are responsible for a surge in illegal immigration into Europe and are engaging in “hybrid warfare” against countries supporting Ukraine in the ongoing conflict, Italy’s Defense Minister Guido Crosetto has claimed.
Speaking on Monday, the Italian minister claimed the Russian Wagner Group, which operates in several African countries and holds considerable political influence, has been facilitating an increase in illegal immigration across the Mediterranean into Italy.
“I think it is now safe to say that the exponential increase in the migratory phenomenon departing from African shores is also, to a not insignificant extent, part of a clear strategy of hybrid warfare that the Wagner division is implementing, using its considerable weight in some African countries,” Crosetto said.
The chemical disaster that hit East Palestine, Ohio, due to a Norfolk Southern train derailment has essentially evaporated from the news…especially in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.
Personally, I find it very troubling that bank executive concerns emanating from California and New York received immediate attention and promises of massive fiscal assistance. In contrast, the good people of Ohio had to wait weeks for a press conference.
So, I thought I would look at the response’s status and the consequences of the chemical contamination that spread due to the choice to do a controlled burn of the chemicals being shipped in the train that derailed.
On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern:
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a 58-count civil lawsuit in federal court today seeking to hold Norfolk Southern financially responsible for the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine that caused the release of over 1 million gallons of hazardous chemicals, “recklessly endangering” both the health of area residents and Ohio’s natural resources.
“Ohio shouldn’t have to bear the tremendous financial burden of Norfolk Southern’s glaring negligence,” AG Yost said. “The fallout from this highly preventable incident may continue for years to come, and there’s still so much we don’t know about the long-term effects on our air, water and soil.”
On Monday, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill that would forbid public universities across the state from providing financial support to programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) or Critical Race Theory (CRT).
As Just The News reports, the bill now heads to the Florida State Senate for a vote, which may occur as soon as Wednesday. The bill declares that public universities are prohibited from donating to or otherwise financially supporting “any programs or campus activities that espouse diversity, equity, or inclusion or Critical Race Theory rhetoric.”
“A state university is prohibited from using diversity, equity, and inclusion statements, Critical Race Theory rhetoric, or other forms of political identity filters as part of the hiring process, including as part of applications for employment, promotion and tenure, conditions of employment, or reviewing qualifications for employment,” the bill states.
At least two of the banks that collapsed over the weekend had previously been two of the biggest advocates for easing regulatory rules on the banking industry.
According to The Hill, both Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and the New York-based Signature Bank had lobbied for a 2018 bill called the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which ultimately became law. The law made the banks and other banks of their size and caliber exempt from stringent stress testing and capital requirements that had previously been implemented in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
The bill had passed through Congress with bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. It dictated that banks worth $250 billion or less in assets were not “systemically important,” and thus made them immune from strict oversight reviews conducted by the Federal Reserve.
he Australian Senate is infested with pro-Ukrainian foreign influence. Senators are pushing for more Australian involvement in war against Russia. Liberal, Labor, Nationals & Greens all blindly support more weapons, money and troops for Zelensky. There is no opposition in tr senate, no discussion, no debate, no scrutiny and no questioning the decisions to send Australia to war.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced the opening of two more emergency migrant shelters as the southern border crisis continues to stretch the city’s resources.
The shelters will house up to 1,200 single men and one will be located in the vacant Candler Tower office building in Times Square, which used to be one of the most profitable 24-hour McDonald’s restaurants in the country. The second location is a six-story commercial building at 455 Jefferson St in Brooklyn. Of the 103 emergency shelters already in use, only one is in hotels across the five boroughs. The city has estimated to spend $4.2 billion on the migrant crisis by mid-next year.
The announcement comes as the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office faces a backlog of processing migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. The office is fully booked through October 2032, as the Post revealed, the lengthiest backlog of any ICE office in the U.S., which raises concerns that migrants without valid asylum claims could choose New York City to avoid facing an immigration judge for as long as possible.
Vast quantities of lies from top U.S. government officials led up to the Iraq invasion. Now, marking its 20th anniversary, the same media outlets that eagerly boosted those lies are offering retrospectives. Don't expect them to shed light on the most difficult truths, including their own complicity in pushing for war.
What propelled the United States to start the war on Iraq in March 2003 were dynamics of media and politics that are still very much with us today. Soon after 9/11, one of the rhetorical whips brandished by President George W. Bush was an unequivocal assertion while speaking to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001: "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Thrown down, that gauntlet received adulation and scant criticism in the United States. Mainstream media and members of Congress were almost all enthralled with a Manichean worldview that has evolved and persisted.
Update(1510ET): After nearly two hours since the story first broke in international press, the Kremlin has issued its version of events concerning the US drone crash in the Black Sea Tuesday. The Russian Defense Ministry said nothing about the Pentagon's allegations that a Russian Su-27 aircraft dumped fuel on the MQ-9 drone, but instead blamed the pair of Russian jets' erratic maneuvering for the collision.
"US drone MQ-9 fell into the Black Sea on Tuesday morning due to its own sharp maneuvering, Russian fighters did not come into contact with it and did not use weapons, the Russian Defense Ministry said," according to Russian media. The statement is as follows [emphasis ours]:
"As a result of sharp maneuvering around 09:30 Moscow time [06:30 GMT], unmanned aerial vehicle MQ-9 went into an uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface. The Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons, did not come into contact with the unmanned aerial vehicle and returned safely to their home airfield" the ministry said.
At a moment Western officials and even some mainstream media are beginning to express doubt over Ukraine's ability to push Russian forces back, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will likely enter the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has issued his sharpest criticisms yet of America's role in the Ukraine war, calling it fundamentally a "territorial dispute" which the US should stay out of.
The statements came as part of his response to a questionnaire issued to possible 2024 presidential candidates by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. The questionnaire asked whether protecting Ukraine should be part of US "vital national interests". DeSantis ripped Biden's policy as a virtual "blank check" which serves to erode US interests and "distracts" from what should be more pressing priorities.
He stressed that the United States government "cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland" - which also echoes the scathing critiques of a small cadre of GOP Congressional members like Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Auto dealerships are encountering a major problem where auction (wholesale) prices are increasing while real book values stagnate, squeezing profitability.
To make sense of this, auto-guru CarDealershipGuy expanded on our tweet, pointing out that Manheim wholesale auto prices are re-accelerating while other indexes tracking prices were flat.
Here's what was revealed in the conversation as per the auto expert:
The US government may have made tens of millions of dollars in duplicate payments for virus research at the Wuhan Institute for Virology, according to a review of government records by a former federal investigator, CBS News reports.
"What I've found so far is evidence that points to double billing, potential theft of government funds. It is concerning, especially since it involves dangerous pathogens and risky research," said Diane Cutler, whose services were engaged by Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall.
Cutler has more than 20 years of experience investigating healthcare fraud and white-collar crime, an her conclusions spring from her review of over 50,000 documents relating to US grants that financed coronavirus research in China.
But the most outrageous portion of the Democratic Party’s report came in a section claiming that, because the agents were not really whistleblowers, and therefore really just expressing their opinion, they were not covered. “No law,” they wrote, “protects witnesses who speak to congress under these circumstances.”
The Whistleblower Protection Act specifically and the First Amendment generally come to mind, but not to this Committee office.
The style of the new anti-speech Democrat is clear: define all government critics as lacking standing to criticize, impugn their prior opinions and associations, imply that all their beliefs are conspiracy theory, define their lack of faith in the FBI’s judgment as treasonous, and declare their motivation to be financial. Lastly, when they invoke common constitutional rights, make a note that their activities exist in an uncovered carve-out.
This is the playbook, and we all better get used to it.
All a journalist has to do is read the documents and report their content. And yet, somehow, most legacy media journalists are apparently unable to gain awareness of and report what is immediately at hand.
Take the 2015 paper published by UNC Chapel Hill Professor Ralph Baric et al. titled A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence. As the authors (including Zhengli-Li Shi at the Wuhan Institute of Virology) state in their abstract:
Here we examine the disease potential of a SARS-like virus, SHC014-CoV, which is currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations1. Using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system2, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild-type backbone can efficiently use multiple orthologs of the SARS receptor human angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2), replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV.
Yesterday I wrote about the possible end of the Bay Area Rapid Transit train system (BART). Ridership on BART trains dropped dramatically during the pandemic and hasn’t recovered to even half of pre-pandemic levels. That puts the Bay Area in a financial bind with just two possible outcomes. Either the state of California steps up with hundreds of millions of dollars per year to subsidize the system or BART will have to dramatically scale back operations, shutting down entire lines, closing stops laying off most workers and reducing train service to once an hour.
Today the LA Times published a story which reads like a follow-up. It turns out LA’s metro rail system, which was never terribly popular, has also lost most of its riders. And the Times suggests the reasons aren’t limited to fewer people working in offices downtown. People are avoiding the metro because it has been overrun with homeless drug addicts.
That’s a whale of an economy you’ve got there, Brandon. The good news is swirling like…well…Ty*D*Bol. It sure seems you and your team are the only ones missing the picture.
None of this is news to any of us, no matter how you insist it’s not happening or better than it was.
CNBC host Jim Cramer just can’t stop saying dumb things. The Mad Money personality is now claiming the recent banking fiasco in the past week means brighter days are ahead for the Federal Reserve in its fight against inflation.
Cramer apparently hadn’t learned from the mockery he received for his horrific February call that Silicon Valley Bank was a buy at $320 a share before the stock collapsed a month later.
During the March 14 edition of his CNBC show, Cramer fawned about how he had been a big “supporter of Jay Powell, our Fed Chief” — the same person who tried to hoodwink Americans for months into believing that the inflation crisis his institution’s policies helped instigate was transitory. “I have been with him the whole way in his quest to beat back inflation because that’s how you destroy the power of the savings of the working person,” Cramer proclaimed.
Then came Cramer’s hot take, and it was a doozy: “Until last week’s banking fiasco, I think Jay Powell was losing the war against inflation. Losing it!” Cramer slammed his signature buzzer for emphasis. “But the collapse of some highly visible banks, the fallout that could cause the folding of a great number of startups and” the general uneasiness in the economy meant the Fed plane “is on the cusp of a soft, safe landing.”
Leonardo da Vinci, the painter of the "Mona Lisa" and a symbol of the Renaissance, was only half-Italian, his mother a slave from the Caucasus, new research revealed on Tuesday.
Da Vinci's mother had long been thought a Tuscan peasant, but University of Naples professor Carlo Vecce, a specialist in the Old Master, believes the truth is more complicated.
"Leonardo's mother was a Circassian slave... taken from her home in the Caucasus Mountains, sold and resold several times in Constantinople, then Venice, before arriving in Florence," he told AFP at the launch of a new book.
In the Italian city, she met a young notary, Piero (Peter) da Vinci, "and their son was called Leonardo".
The findings of Vecce, who has spent decades studying da Vinci and curating his works, are based on Florence city archives.
San Francisco residents lined up at a city board meeting last night to share their full-throated support of a wide-eyed reparations plan that would award every black resident $5million, wipe their personal debt, guarantee $97,000 incomes for 250 years and $1 homes.
But no one at the emotional meeting - where residents burst into song and begged to be made 'whole' - asked how the struggling, debt-addled city might pay for it.
Reparations are being considered in various Democratic cities around America as a means of providing compensation to the descendants of enslaved African-Americans.
Occasionally, big media institutions still do valuable reporting.
As you’ll recall, the prestige press humiliated themselves back in January when the story first broke about how five black Memphis policemen beat a black motorist to death. The media’s initial response was heavy on explaining over and over that white people were still to blame…for reasons.
But now the Washington Post has paid for former sports reporter Robert Klemko, who looks like he is about one-fourth black, to talk to nine old-time cops who served at the Memphis police academy about what has gone wrong with the new generation.
Are they wholly trustworthy? Perhaps not (office politics are endlessly complex), but what they say makes a lot of sense.
As with most patterns in human society, their explanation involves both nature (Memphis has been scraping the bottom of the barrel harder when hiring cops) and nurture (its police academy has been made easier in order to not flunk out its new recruits, who are more fragile: mentally, emotionally, and ethically):
Payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years and homes in San Francisco for just $1 a family.
These were some of the more than 100 recommendations made by a city-appointed reparations committee tasked with the thorny question of how to atone for centuries of slavery and systemic racism. And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hearing the report for the first time Tuesday voiced enthusiastic support for the ideas listed, with some saying money should not stop the city from doing the right thing.
Silicon Valley Bank might have been able to make good on $74 million promised to customers had it not pledged the money to leftist causes.
According to a new database by the conservative Claremont Institute, the collapsed bank donated or pledged to donate nearly $74 million to groups related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, told The Federalist that SVB’s failure on the heels of its left-wing activism “is yet another indication that SVB was focused on woke virtue signaling instead of protecting their customers’ deposits.”