Consumer prices hit 41-year-high, Biden going on a trip, and more….
By Team DML
Today is April 12 and I am Dennis Michael Lynch. Below are my opinions on the stories grabbing headlines this morning. I hope you share this briefing as doing so will make you the smartest person in the room, in my opinion.
1 – Consumer prices rose 8.5% in March, slightly hotter than expected and the highest since 1981
CNBC reports: Prices that consumers pay on everyday items surged in March to their highest levels since the early days of the Reagan administration, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday.
The consumer price index, which measures a wide-ranging basket of goods and services, jumped 8.5% from a year ago on an unadjusted basis, above even the already elevated Dow Jones estimate for 8.4%.
Excluding food and energy, the CPI increased 6.5%, in line with the expectation.
The data reflected price increases not seen in the U.S. since the stagflation days of the late 1970s and early ’80s. March’s headline reading in fact was the highest since December 1981. Core inflation was the hottest since August 1982.
Due to the surge in inflation, real earnings, despite rising 5.6% from a year ago, still weren’t keeping pace with the cost of living. Real average hourly earnings posted a seasonally adjusted 0.8% decline for the month, according to a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
DML: 80 million people really voted for this?
2 – Biden to announce authorization of E15 gasoline in an effort to increase US fuel supply, reduce gas prices
Fox Business reports: President Biden on Tuesday is set to announce that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow E15 gasoline—gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend—to be sold in the United States this summer in an effort to expand Americans’ access to affordable fuel supply amid the surge in gas prices across the nation.
The EPA is set to issue a national, emergency waiver. Without the action, the White House said E15 cannot be used in most of the country from June 1 to September 15. The EPA is expected to take final action to issue the emergency waiver closer to June 1.
E15 is currently offered at 2,300 gas stations in the country, where administration officials say it can serve as an “important and more affordable source of fuel.”
The waiver is set to help increase fuel supplies, give consumers more choice to get lower prices, and offer savings to American families, the White House said. According to the White House, at current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average.
The White House also said Biden has put forward “concrete steps” to promote “real independence” from fossil fuels by working to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
DML: And Biden is flying off to IOWA to make this announcement. Burning jet fuel to make an announcement on gas prices. Don’t worry, you’re paying for it.
3 – Putin purges 150 intelligence agents for Ukraine failures
Washington Examiner reports: Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed about 150 Federal Security Bureau officers, sending some to prison, since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, according to a report on Monday.
The expelled officers are all members of the Fifth Service division of the FSB, responsible for counterintelligence in the countries of the former Soviet Union, such as Ukraine. Putin’s purge reportedly includes the former head of the Fifth Service, Sergei Beseda, who has been sent to a Moscow prison after being placed on house arrest last month.
“I can say that although a significant number of them have not been arrested, they will no longer work for the FSB,” Christo Grozev, executive director of the investigative outlet Bellingcat, said on a YouTube channel about the dismissals and arrests of Russian intelligence agents.
Beseda, 68, was imprisoned for “reporting false information to the Kremlin about the real situation in Ukraine before the invasion,” said Grozev, who reported the mass purge taking place at the Kremlin.
DML: Today, Putin tried to justify his invasion of Ukraine with the following excuses:
– “the main goal is to help people”
– “we were forced to do it”
– “we couldn’t put up with it any longer”
– “a clash was inevitable”
– “it was just a matter of time”
– “we didn’t have a choice, this was the right thing to do”
4 – How Spotify Is Pushing To Abolish Police and Prisons
The Free Beacon reports: A Spotify original podcast featuring Black Lives Matter cofounder and “trained Marxist” Patrisse Cullors calls for abolishing police and prisons, labels America a “white supremacist” state, and contends that the severely mentally ill are actually “shamans” and “spiritual guides.”
Spotify launched Abolition X, which “focuses on alternatives to police, jails, and punishment,” in February. And while the podcast is chock-full of anti-police and anti-prison rhetoric, it “isn’t just about getting rid of police and prisons,” Spotify said in a press release. Indeed, hosts Vic Mensa, Indigo Mateo, and Richie Reseda—and their guests—often wade into other topics.
One episode, for example, says gender is merely “an expression.” “Gender is, like, swag, you know?” says Reseda, a convicted felon who pleaded guilty to two armed robberies in 2011. “For real, gender is literally a way of expressing one’s self. Like, that’s really all it is.” Another episode on mental health featuring Cullors encourages listeners to microdose mushrooms, calls former president Ronald Reagan “Satan,” and even labels bipolar and schizophrenic people as “shamans” whom we “throw … away” because “they don’t serve capitalism.”
Conversations on gender and mental health aside, Abolition X‘s bread and butter consists of discussions centered on dismantling America’s police and prisons. In Cullors’s Feb. 15 episode, the hosts open the show by explicitly calling to “replace police and prisons” with “mental health care.” Reseda later argues that “people who break the law” do not have a “moral problem” that requires criminal justice. Instead, the host says, people commit crimes solely due to “a health problem they’re having” that requires treatment. Mensa goes on to contend that those mental health issues exist as a byproduct of America’s status as an “uber-capitalist, white supremacist, violent-ass state.”
Cullors’s musings on the podcast include similar denunciations of capitalism. At one point, the BLM cofounder argues that in a “capitalist world,” the “self doesn’t exist for black women,” because they “are at service to everybody.”
5 – University to host racially segregated ‘listening sessions’ with students
Fox News reports: A Christian university in Indiana is moving forward with racially segregated “listening sessions” where students can share their experiences following a survey about racism on campus despite ongoing criticism.
The sessions at Anderson University, 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis, will be broken up in two on Tuesday for students of color and two more on April 19 for White students, according to notice from the school’s Racial Equity Task Force, which organized the listening groups first reported by the Chalkboard Review.
The in-person events were scheduled after students took an inclusivity survey about their experiences regarding race on campus. They will speak with moderators who will share their feedback with the task force.
DML: This is racist!