Thursday, March 16, 2023

Last Call For The Revenge Of 2008, Con't

Add First Republic Bank to the growing list of financial institutions getting bailed out as the contamination for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank spreads.
A group of financial institutions has agreed to deposit $30 billion in First Republic Bank in what’s meant to be a sign of confidence in the banking system, the banks announced Thursday afternoon.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase will contribute about $5 billion apiece, while Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will deposit around $2.5 billion, the banks said in a news release. Truist, PNC, U.S. Bancorp, State Street and Bank of New York Mellon will deposit about $1 billion each.

“This action by America’s largest banks reflects their confidence in First Republic and in banks of all sizes, and it demonstrates their overall commitment to helping banks serve their customers and communities,” the group said in a statement.

The deposits would be obligated to stay at First Republic for at least 120 days, sources told CNBC’s David Faber. Regional bank stocks initially fell on Thursday but reversed higher after reports from Faber and others about the development of the deposit plan.

The news comes after First Republic’s stock has been pummeled in recent days, sparked by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last Friday and Signature Bank over the weekend. Both of those banks had a high number of uninsured deposits, as did First Republic, leading to concern that customers would pull their money out. The new deposits from the major banks are uninsured.

First Republic’s stock, which closed at $115 per share on March 8, traded below $20 at one point Thursday. The stock was halted repeatedly during the session and rose to $40 per share at one point, up more than 20% on the day.
These banks are saving First Republic for their own good, they are a competitor. They're not even doing it to save their own skin to try to halt the chaos. No, they're doing it because the Biden administration gave them something in return, and that's going to be the White House dropping their insistence on stopping "junk fees" on US bank account holders. 

I guarantee you that the Junk Fee Prevention Act is now going to die a quiet death in the weeks ahead.


Ron's Gone Wrong, Historical Revisionism Edition

We've already had the fight in Florida over math textbooks containing "Critical Race Theory", but that was the undercard. The main event is Florida approving social studies texbooks for next fall, and that fight will go to the heart of American history and Black history as a part of it...or not a part at all.
In the last few months, as part of the review process, a small army of state experts, teachers, parents and political activists have combed thousands of pages of text — not only evaluating academic content, but also flagging anything that could hint, for instance, at critical race theory.

A prominent conservative education group, whose members volunteered to review textbooks, objected to a slew of them, accusing publishers of “promoting their bias.” At least two publishers declined to participate altogether.

And in a sign of how fraught the political landscape has become, one publisher created multiple versions of its social studies material, softening or eliminating references to race — even in the story of Rosa Parks — as it sought to gain approval in Florida.

“Normally, a state adoption is a pretty boring process that a few of us care about, but there are a lot of people watching this because the stakes are so high,” said Jeff Livingston, a former publishing executive who is now an education consultant.

It is unclear which social studies textbooks will be approved in Florida, or how the chosen materials might address issues of race in history. The state is expected to announce its textbook decisions in the coming weeks.

The Florida Department of Education, which mandates the teaching of Black history, emphasized that the requirements were recently expanded, including to ensure students understood “the ramifications of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on individual freedoms.”

But Mr. DeSantis, a top Republican 2024 presidential prospect, also signed a law last year known as the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, which prohibits instruction that would compel students to feel responsibility, guilt or anguish for what other members of their race did in the past, among other limits.

The state’s guidelines for evaluating textbooks targets “critical race theory,” a graduate-level academic theory that rarely appears in younger grades but has become a catchall to some conservatives; and “social emotional learning,” an approach that tries to help students develop positive mind-sets and that is viewed by the DeSantis administration as extraneous to core academics.

Florida — along with California and Texas — is a major market for school textbook publishing, a $4.8 billion industry.

It is among more than a dozen states that approve textbooks, rather than leaving decisions only to local school districts. Every few years, Florida reviews textbooks for a particular subject and puts out a list that districts can choose from. (Districts also have some discretion to choose their own materials.)

Because state approval can be lucrative, publishers have often quietly catered to the biggest markets, adjusting content for their local needs and political leanings.
So we have actual American history, and the sanitized, "race-friendly" version of American history, protecting students from history that might make them ask questions about the past, present, and future of America. 

We can't have that in Florida. We're raising good little kids who toe the line and don't ask questions at all.

Only the state-approved Black history matters here.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Florida students.

Orange Meltdown, Peaches And Dreams Edition

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports from the special grand jury investigating Donald Trump and his slate of alternate electors in Georgia, interviewing five of the jurors on the eight-month investigation where security was not just the major goal, it was the only one.
The bomb-sniffing dog was new. The special grand jurors investigating interference in Georgia’s 2020 elections hadn’t before seen that level of security on the third floor of the Fulton County courthouse where they had been meeting in secret for nearly eight months.

Oh, God, I hope it doesn’t find anything, one juror recalled thinking as the German Shepherd inspected the room. “It was unexpected. We were not warned of that,” she said.

The reason for the heightened surveillance was the day’s star witness: Michael Flynn, former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. An election denier who suggested martial law should be imposed to seize voting machines in Georgia and other swing states where Trump lost, Flynn had only agreed to appear after being compelled to by two courts in his home state of Florida.

Fulton law enforcement was taking no chances on that unseasonably warm December day, concerned about who might turn up to protect Flynn, a prominent figure among far-right, conspiracy theorist and Christian nationalist groups. Outside, on the courthouse steps, sheriffs’ deputies and marshals carrying automatic weapons kept watch.

No bomb was found. Flynn, who was ultimately the last witness jurors heard testimony from, went on to assert his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer many of prosecutors’ questions.

But the experience brought home to some jurors just how important and consequential their work could be.

In an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, five of the 23 special grand jurors recounted what it was like to be a pivotal — but anonymous — part of one of the most momentous criminal investigations in U.S. history; one which could lead to indictments of former President Donald Trump and his allies.

“One of the most important things we’ll be a part of in our life was this eight month process that we did,” one juror told the AJC. It was “incredibly important to get it right.”

Over two hours, in a windowless conference room, the jurors shared never-before-heard details about their experiences serving on the panel, which met in private, often three times a week.

They described a process that was by turns fascinating, tedious and emotionally wrenching. One juror said she would cry in her car at the end of the day after hearing from witnesses whose lives had been upended by disinformation and claims of election fraud.

For months, they were unable to talk to friends, family members and co-workers about what they were doing. They said the overall panel was diverse, with different races, economic backgrounds and political viewpoints represented.

Many emerged with heightened respect for election workers and others who kept the state’s voting integrity intact.
Now let's remember that Georgia Republicans in the state legislature are scrambling to pass legislation that would allow lawmakers to dismiss DA Fani Willis and scrap this investigation entirely, and you see just what level of corruption Republicans are neck-deep in here in the Peach State. 

Oh, and Fani Willis's office apparently has yet another phone call recording of Trump pushing Georgia's House Speaker for a special session to overturn the election there.

The recording adds to what’s known about the pressure campaign by Trump and his allies on Georgia officials. It’s the third audio recording of the former president’s phone calls to Georgia officials that is known to exist.

The special grand jury recently concluded its work and recommended multiple indictments, according to the foreperson who has spoken out publicly. Now it’s up to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to make charging decisions.

Ralston, who died last year, described his December 2020 call with Trump during an interview the following day.

Trump “would like a special session of the Georgia General Assembly,” Ralston said. “He’s been clear on that before, and he was clear on that in the phone conversation yesterday. You know I shared with him my belief that based on the understanding I have of Georgia law that it was going to be very much an uphill battle.”

According to the Georgia Constitution, not only can the governor convene a special session, the General Assembly can call itself into a special session, though that requires the signatures of 3/5 of the Georgia House.

Former US Sen. David Perdue, a staunch Trump ally from Georgia, also requested a special session be convened during a meeting in December 2020 at Truist Park, where the Atlanta Braves play. Gov. Brian Kemp, Perdue and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the state’s other US senator at the time, and their aides attended.
We may really see Trump indicted later this year.
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