The Big Story
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a “super bad feeling” about the economy, he told executives at the electric car company Thursday, adding his name to the growing chorus of financial elites who say the United States is on the brink of a severe economic downturn. Goldman Sachs President John Waldron told investors that the confluence of inflation hitting a 40-year high, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and monetary policy from the Federal Reserve has created “among—if not the most—complex, dynamic environments I’ve ever seen in my career.” Waldron assured investors he wouldn’t use any weather analogies in his remarks, a joking reference to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s warning Wednesday that the U.S. economy is headed for “a hurricane” and that the only question was whether “it’s a minor one or Superstorm Sandy.” Cryptocurrency markets, which are supposed to offer a hedge against the value of the dollar and might be expected to provide some shelter from the storm, are in trouble too. On Thursday, the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, an industry leader, announced in a blog post that it would be extending a hiring freeze and rescinding some accepted job offers to people recently hired by the company. Also Thursday, the crypto exchange Gemini, owned by the brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, informed employees that they were “in the contraction phase that is settling into a period of stasis—what our industry refers to as ‘crypto winter.’” As part of their plan to make it through the winter, the brothers announced that they would be laying off 10% of Gemini’s staff. In his letter sent the same day, Musk suggested cutting 10% of his company’s staff. The dire predictions of the past week come after Deutsche Bank’s April forecast of a “major recession” in late 2023 or early 2024.
Read it here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fink-dimon-and-musk-have-the-blues-and-one-forecaster-says-theyre-not-gloomy-enough-11654253440
In The Back Pages: Your Weekend Reads
→ On the 100th day of the war in Ukraine, a contingent of outnumbered Ukrainian troops continue to hold out in Severodonetsk, a key industrial city in the eastern Donbas region where Russian forces are making steady advances. After Ukraine’s stunning victories early on—successfully repelling Russia’s advances on the capital, Kyiv, and inflicting heavy casualties on Russian forces—the war has entered a new phase on the Eastern Steppe and plains, where Russia’s advantages in size and long-range artillery are proving decisive. For now.
→ After more than three months of virtually unquestioned support for Ukraine, the blank check from Congress may be coming to an end. “The U.S. government is sending billions in humanitarian, economic, and military assistance to help the Ukrainian people overcome Putin’s brutal war, and the American people expect strong oversight by Congress and full accounting from the Department of Defense,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in a statement. This comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have grown concerned about the lack of transparency into how the billions of dollars are being spent. Some senators, including Rand Paul (R-KY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), voted against the $40 billion aid bill that Biden approved in May, arguing that it included “no meaningful oversight,” as Hawley said.
→ Sheryl Sandberg’s unexpected departure from Meta is looking like an evasive maneuver. Sandberg was the subject of both an internal investigation by the company, formerly known as Facebook, and an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, according to an article published by the Journal Thursday night, hours after she announced her departure. The former chief operating officer, who spent 14 years at the company and became famous for authoring the definitive text of corporatist feminism, Lean In, once “pressed a U.K. tabloid to shelve an article about her former boyfriend, Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive Bobby Kotick, and a 2014 temporary restraining order against him,” according to the Journal. Separately, Sandberg was being investigated by Meta for activities including her alleged “use of corporate resources to help plan her coming wedding.”
Read it here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-sheryl-sandberg-quit-facebook-meta-11654215712
→ QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You will not stop us from advancing the Protecting Our Kids Act today. You will not stop us from passing it in the House next week, and you will not stop us. If the filibuster obstructs us, we will abolish it. If the Supreme Court objects, we will expand it. And we will not rest until we have taken weapons of war out of circulation in our communities.”
—Rep. Mondaire Jones, a Democrat from New York, on Thursday in a congressional hearing on gun control
→ The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office has seen “an exodus of prosecutors,” which is creating an enormous backlog and forcing inexperienced prosecutors to try cases they lack the experience to prosecute successfully. As prosecutors head out, the charges keep coming, with the homicide rate in Baltimore now standing at roughly 10 times the national average. This has left homicide unit prosecutors with almost 30 cases each. “There’s entire states that don’t have that many homicide cases,” Lisa Goldberg, who recently retired after working as a prosecutor in the State’s Attorney’s Office for 31 years, told The Baltimore Banner. The departures from the office are not limited to prosecutors but are staff-wide, from assistants to clerks and secretaries, with the outgoing employees complaining of everything from pay cuts to salary stagnation.
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→ As enrollment rates at colleges and universities across the country continue to plummet, it seems the students are not the only ones who want out. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, professors have been calling it quits—not just adjunct professors, but even those fortunate few who make tenure. “We have become accustomed to the exodus of graduate students, postdocs, and adjuncts, but before COVID-19, it was still possible to see tenured and tenure-track faculty members as relatively immune from the stresses of working in higher ed,” writes Joshua Dolezal, a tenured professor who quit his position teaching literature last year and who recently wrote about that decision in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “No more.” These departures will come as good news, however, to university officials and accountants. “For universities facing tight budgets, some degree of attrition can be a boon,” writes Dolezal. “Voluntary resignations may mean that administrators can avoid axing tenured faculty positions.” Bring on the adjuncts, then, or better yet, try what UCLA did earlier this year: listing a teaching job that requires a doctorate and substantial experience and offers no compensation whatsoever.
Read More: https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-big-quit
→ Do countries with more abortion restrictions see fewer abortions? Today’s map of the day offers a global look at how abortion laws track with abortion rates. One key takeaway: “We found that in countries where abortion is legal—and available to women on request—9 out of 10 abortions happen safely,” according to Dr. Bela Ganatra, who leads the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion Unit at the World Health Organization. “But if you look at countries where abortions are most restricted, then only 1 out of 4 abortions happens safely.”
→ While the federal government’s Disinformation Governance Board was thankfully put on “pause” before it got the chance to spy on American citizens, local and state officials are now creating their own programs for countering false election claims. Connecticut is looking to hire someone for $150,000 a year “to comb fringe sites like 4chan, far-right social networks like Gettr and Rumble, and mainstream social media sites to root out early misinformation narratives about voting before they go viral, and then urge the companies to remove or flag the posts that contain false information,” according to The New York Times. Other states, such as Colorado, are hiring cybersecurity experts, while California is bringing together the righteous power of the Department of Homeland Security and academics “to look for patterns of misinformation across the internet.” The government teaming up with academics and law enforcement officials to monitor social media certainly sounds like the best way to restore Americans’ faith in our democratic institutions.
Read More: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/31/technology/misinformation-sheriff-election-midterms.html
→ If only we hadn’t defunded the misinformation police in the United States, they’d be kicking down the doors of The Washington Post right now. On Friday the Post appears to have secretly edited an article by disinformation reporter Taylor Lorenz by removing claims that Lorenz had reached out to YouTube creators for comment on a story about the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial after those creators denied having ever been contacted. That comes after another stealth-editing job on Thursday in which the paper removed a reference to the race of the Tulsa hospital shooter in an article about the incident—a decision made without any notice to Post readers. On its own, the decision to exclude mention of the shooter’s race in an incident with no apparent political motivation seems justifiable. However, it fits a pattern of legacy media institutions only emphasizing the race of shooters who are white and fit into pre-established narratives about the racial dimension of mass shootings.
Additional reporting and writing provided by The Scroll’s associate editor, David Sugarman
Your Weekend Reads
- Former Oakland public school teacher Alex Gutentag, who established herself over the past two years as one of the premier chroniclers of COVID-19 hysteria in the United States, examines how the history of pandemic education policy is now being rewritten. As the evidence showing the damage done to children has become incontrovertible, establishment figures have attempted to deflect responsibility for those outcomes. Gutentag isn’t having it.
As the severity of these repercussions comes to light, some outlets—notably those that most aggressively advocated for lockdowns and masking—have been eager to suggest that we are now aware of the overwhelmingly negative consequences of these policies thanks to “new research” that has only just become available to fair-minded people, who can therefore be forgiven for having adopted the course they did. But to many doctors and scientists, the damage to kids caused by COVID-19 panic was neither inevitable nor surprising. Rather, it was the result of the public health establishment’s conscious choice to eschew rational cost-benefit analysis in favor of pet cultural theories and political gamesmanship. For those who applied the scientific method to the available evidence, the consequences were already clear just a few weeks into the pandemic.
It was clear already in the spring of 2020 that the risk of severe COVID-19 for children was far lower than the risk posed by long-term school closures. Children were shown to be less efficient spreaders of COVID-19 than adults, negating the argument that they would become unique vectors of disease and endanger their teachers or the adults with whom they lived. “That meant that schools are special,” Dr. Bhattacharya said. “They’re not this dangerous environment that people envision them to be.” When Sweden kept schools open for children up to age 16 without masks in the spring of 2020, for example, not a single child died, and teachers were not at elevated risk for severe COVID-19.
Read it here:
- Lest anyone mistake the fact that former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann was found not guilty earlier this week on charges of making a false statement to the FBI, leading to a more general vindication of the Clinton camp’s actions in 2016, The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel offers a useful reminder about what the trial unearthed.
Mr. Sussmann was acquitted Tuesday of lying to the FBI, but not before the Durham team revealed the Clinton campaign’s work in 2016 to use both the FBI and the media to smear Donald Trump. The campaign relied on outside techies for false accusations of Trump links to Russia’s Alfa Bank, which Mr. Sussmann fed to the FBI. Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele separately funneled their infamous dossier to the Bureau. Then the Clinton team shopped the dirt to the media, using the fact of FBI investigations as proof it deserved coverage …
And then there’s this:
One trial revelation was that Rodney Joffe—the tech executive who used privileged access to nonproprietary data to create the Alfa claims—was a confidential human source for the FBI in 2016. Yet Mr. Joffe, according to testimony, didn’t take his accusations to his regular handler. He instead gave them to … Mr. Sussmann, a lawyer in private practice whose clients included Mrs. Clinton.
Why? Mr. Sussmann was tight with the FBI. So tight that according to trial evidence, the bureau in 2016 allowed him to edit the draft of one of its press releases. Mr. Sussmann was even on a first-name basis with then-FBI general counsel James Baker. He was able to text his “friend” (Mr. Baker’s description of their relationship) and score a meeting the next day. He assured “Jim” he didn’t need a badge to get in the building—he already had one. All this allowed Mr. Sussmann (who later sought to recruit Mr. Baker to his firm, Perkins Coie) to avoid the pesky agents and questions that would accompany any average Joe trying to sell the FBI on wild claims …
The trial environment was no less intimate. Judge Christopher Cooper worked with Mr. Sussmann at the Clinton Justice Department in the 1990s. Merrick Garland, today attorney general, officiated at the judge’s marriage to Amy Jeffress, an Obama Justice Department official and now a private lawyer representing former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. And on and on the special circles go, down to the judge’s refusal to grant prosecutors’ request to dismiss a juror who admitted her daughter is on the same crew team as Mr. Sussmann’s child.
Read it here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/john-durham-vs-the-beltway-swamp-dossier-clinton-fbi-trial-expose-politics-11654207276
- Not many Western analysts can pepper their comments on the war in Ukraine with reminiscences of personal conversations they had with Vladimir Putin, but Harald Malmgren is the exception.
Over the past three months, I have spent many long evenings rethinking my conversations with Putin, seven years before he became president of the new Republic of Russia. During those meetings in St. Petersburg, he reminisced about his boyhood, camping and hunting in nearby Estonia. I remember thinking that he must have read a KGB briefing on my recent marriage to an Estonian woman. He said that he knew my wife and I had visited the country in 1988, just after I had been a guest of Soviet President Gromyko as part of a UN-sponsored gathering of former heads of governments …
Putin talked at length about the historic tragedy of the collapse of the Soviet Union but also added that the Soviet Bloc was the wrong model for what Russia needed. He made an impassioned explanation that what Russia really needed was a new Peter the Great. He talked almost lovingly about Peter’s attempts to upgrade Russia’s institutions and education system from 1682 to 1725. He argued that after the total collapse of the USSR, it had become necessary to rebuild a Greater Russia under the leadership of a new version of Peter.
Read it here:https://unherd.com/2022/06/putins-war-is-just-beginning/
Is this real? Tablet has a comment section? I suggest you remove it. One of my joys of reading Tablet is that I concentrate on what the writer is saying rather than my response. There's enough tabloid stuff out ...
Congressman Jones illustrates what is wrong with radical woke Democrats