Today's RBN show will be a rebroadcast!
"I can think of no human activity more pointless than to murder each other over myths and legends." -- Michael Rivero
Britain's government borrowed more than expected in February, official data showed on Tuesday, but finance minister Jeremy Hunt may still hope that falling energy costs and inflation will offer leeway later this year for a pre-election tax cut.
The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, was 16.7 billion pounds ($20.4 billion) last month, the largest February deficit since monthly records began in 1993.
The reading was above all predictions in a Reuters poll of economists, which had a median forecast for 11.4 billion pounds in borrowing.
Iowa Republicans have recently been accused of pursuing an agenda that includes a costly school choice bill and legislation targeting the LGBTQ community.
In a hit piece published Monday, The Washington Post referred to Iowa as the "Florida of the North without the beaches” due to these policies. Statehouse reporters have derided this remark.
Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, has been profiled in the article as a "culture warrior," with her policies on gun rights, school choice, and abortion access receiving particular attention. The Post argued a connection drawn between the "Don't say gay" protestors in Iowa and Florida.
Ransomware groups are pulling no punches in their attempts to force compromised organizations to pay up. A report released Tuesday by Unit 42, a Palo Alto Networks threat intelligence team, found that attackers are increasingly harassing victims and associated parties to make sure their ransom demands are met.
For its new 2023 Ransomware and Extortion Threat Report, Unit 42 analyzed approximately 1,000 incidents that the team investigated between May 2021 and October 2022. Around 100 cases were analyzed for insight into ransomware and extortion negotiations. Most of the cases were based in the U.S., but the observed cybercriminals conducted attacks against businesses and organizations around the world.
By the end of 2022, harassment was a factor in 20% of the ransomware cases investigated by Unit 42, a significant jump from less than 1% in mid 2021.
A black NYC subway passenger was filmed hurling vile racist abuse at a white couple and their toddler son.
Disturbing footage shows the terrified couple and their toddler sitting on the moving train as the man, standing opposite them wearing a black hat, headphones and holding a Target bag, is seen screaming at them for no apparent reason on Monday.
The unnamed assailant's abuse became increasingly unhinged despite his victims' attempts to ignore them, and he ended up screaming in their faces while insulting their child.
'Take em' back to Europe ya'll...gay a** gorilla ... shut up... I don't care about your ugly a** kids and your race...shut up ... f*****g plastic a** body... I don't care about you ... you white monkey,' he spews as he inches closer.
One “conspiracy theory” we didn’t discuss on the show—but which I have covered in my radio broadcasts—is the 1980 October Surprise act of treason that overthrew Jimmy Carter and put Reagan and Bush I in the White House. Specifically, I have interviewed Reagan White House whistleblower Barbara Honegger and historian Gary Sick, authors of the two books, both entitled October Surprise, that broke the story. This is one of those conspiracy theories that has been rated by cognoscenti as “obviously true, at least in its broad outlines” for several decades.
The New York Times used to disagree. America’s newspaper of record has long lumped October Surprise alongside all the other “conspiracy theories” it rails against: JFK, RFK, MLK, 9/11, the Franklin Scandal, Vietnam POWs, CIA drug dealing, election theft, Hunter’s laptop, Epstein didn’t kill himself, the COVID bio-attack, and other obvious truths that the Gray Lady thinks aren’t fit to print.
But yesterday, everything changed: The New York Times ran a story admitting that the gist of October Surprise has turned out to be true.
The pharmaceutical company Moderna, which has already received over $10 billion in taxpayer funds for the development of its COVID-19 vaccine, could receive even more public money at the request of the Biden Administration.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, lawyers with the Department of Justice (DOJ) offered in court filings last month to “relieve” Moderna of any liabilities it may face as the result of a lawsuit claiming that the company has not paid licensing fees for the technology it utilized to develop its vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus.
Moderna’s lawyers have claimed that, since the creation of the vaccine was part of the federal government’s plan known as “Operation Warp Speed,” the government should have to pay for any legal settlement. Lawyers with the Biden DOJ ultimately agreed with this sentiment, saying that any financial burden should “transfer” to the federal government.
Amiddle school in Boston, Massachusetts is facing backlash from parents after students were made to participate in a survey about their “gender identity” and sexual activity.
The New York Post reports that the incident took place at Eliot K-8 Innovation School. Last Thursday, school principal Traci Griffith sent an email to all parents stating that she had received “many concerns” about the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey.”
The survey was given to students in the 6th and 7th grades, and featured 54 questions in total. Administered by Boston Public Schools, the questions focused on such topics as “transgenderism,” suicide, bullying, drug use, sexual activity, weight, and exercise.
One of the survey’s top questions reads: “A transgender person is someone who does not feel the same inside as the sex they were born with. Are you transgender?” Another question asked students if they have “ever participated in oral sex,” while another asked if they have “seriously thought” about committing suicide.
The latest report by the House Judiciary Committee declares that there was “no legitimate basis” for the Biden Administration’s efforts to label parents protesting at school board meetings as domestic terrorists and place them under federal investigation.
As reported by Fox News, the Judiciary Committee and its new subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government have completed an interim staff report on the matter of the federal government’s handling of parents’ rights groups, who were “voicing concerns about controversial curricula and education-related policies.”
“From the initial set of material produced in response to the subpoenas, it is apparent that the Biden administration misused federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources for political purposes,” the committee’s report declares. The committee has already subpoenaed several key figures in the scandal, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and several members of the National School Boards Association (NSBA).
“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.