The moneymen behind Robert Kennedy Jr.’s political breakthrough
As the 2024 election heats up, President Biden faces a constant thorn in the side. It’s Robert Kennedy Jr., scion of the Democratic dynasty. He promotes a series of fringe theories and boasts surprisingly persistent poll numbers.
The Times notes that Mr. Kennedy has attracted support from various political outsiders. But perhaps his strongest base is a group of financial and tech moguls, including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who gave him money and, perhaps more importantly, exposure. gave.
Kennedy talks about many of their interests. This includes things like cryptocurrencies. He speaks at industry conferences and accepts Bitcoin for campaign donations. Kennedy also incorporates some of his favorite podcasts where he speaks with popular hosts like Joe Rogan and the venture capitalists behind the show All In.
and, support KennedyDorsey, who is also a major proponent of Bitcoin, referred to the candidate’s criticism of government censorship.
But Kennedy’s strongest allure may be his iconoclasm. In particular, there is a willingness to challenge institutional thinking on issues such as the benefits of vaccines. (which results in YouTube removes Kennedy interview Because it encouraged misinformation about vaccines. )
“He’s less intelligent and I think he’s the Democratic version of Donald Trump,” said Arch Venture Partners investor Robert Nelsen. We are attracting protest votes,” he said. told KFF Health News.
Wealthy supporters gave him money and airtime. Celebrities including Elon Musk and investor David Sachs forced into public debate In a dispute between Mr. Kennedy and vaccine researcher Peter Hotez, Mr. Logan criticized Mr. Logan’s decision to force candidates to spout unsubstantiated conspiracy theories on the show.
Mr. Sachs and “All In” co-hosts Jason Karakanis and Chamas Palihapitiya also put Mr. Kennedy on the podcast, saying that he “willingly participate in lively discussions” and “shatter all these power structures.” ” he praised Kennedy. Sachs and Palihapitiya interviewing Kennedy with Musk at a Twitter Space event Held a fundraiser For him this month, according to CNBC, Raised $500,000.
Meanwhile, entrepreneur Mark Gorton helped found the Kennedy-focused PAC, which raised at least $5.7 million, according to its leaders. And CNBC reported that investor Omid Malik will host a $6,600 per capita fundraiser in the Hamptons for Kennedy next month.
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Smoke from wildfires in Canada threatens US cities again. New York City and other Northeastern regions are facing a resurgence of dangerous air quality after Midwestern cities like Chicago were swept up in white smoke. Mayors have warned residents to take precautions, raising the possibility of further disruption to outdoor activities and businesses.
The Kremlin moves to seize the empire of the Wagner Group. Russian officials told leaders of countries such as Syria and the Central African Republic where the mercenary group operated that the Russian government said: Assuming activities there. Meanwhile, the top Russian generals, who had prior knowledge of the Wagner Group’s short-lived rebellion, reportedly detained.
Nvidia has warned against further U.S. curbs on AI chip exports. The CFO of the semiconductor giant said it would take additional steps. Restrict sales to China A decline in chips for artificial intelligence systems could “perpetually cost American companies a loss of opportunity” in key markets. Nvidia’s shares fell yesterday after The Wall Street Journal reported on the White House’s deliberations on new export controls.
Aspartame will reportedly be declared “possibly carcinogenic”. The World Health Organization is due to announce next month that it is one of the world’s most popular artificial sweeteners. can cause cancer, according to Reuters. Aspartame is used in countless products, including diet sodas, chewing gum, and candy.
The fate of Microsoft’s big deal may soon be decided
Yesterday was the day of a landmark lawsuit surrounding the FTC’s efforts to block Microsoft’s $70 billion acquisition of video game giant Activision Blizzard, and three key figures testified. Bobby Kotik, Activision’s leader. And Jim Ryan, who heads up Sony’s PlayStation division (and showed the proof in video).
If the presiding judge agrees to stay the deal, as the FTC is seeking, the deal with Microsoft would likely end. But if she doesn’t, the agency may withdraw its objection.
Nadella and Kotik said the deal won’t hurt consumers. Microsoft chiefs have reiterated that top titles like Call of Duty are not limited to the company’s Xbox platform. “If it were up to me, I would want to do away with all the ‘console monopoly’,” Nadella said, blaming Sony for maintaining that business model.
Kotik agreed, saying, “If you remove the game from one platform, there will be an uprising.” (That said, Ryan testified that he was worried PlayStation would receive a “degraded” version of Call of Duty if the deal went through.)
But testimony suggests that Microsoft doesn’t hate proprietary things. The company’s head of games, Phil Spencer, confirmed that the company had discussed removing other Activision games from the PlayStation.
The FTC tried to highlight the inconsistencies in Microsoft’s lawsuit, That included Nadella boasting about the latest Xbox console sales, even though Spencer said the platform was “not a robust business.” The agency’s attorneys also told investors that the cloud gaming startup was “one of the big bets that is paying off,” even though Nadella downplayed the market’s importance in court. said, he pointed out.
a A decision is expected as early as Monday. To the point, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corey looked skeptical Part of the FTC question. Historically, the FTC withdrew its opposition to the deal if it lost the injunction.
If that happens, the final hurdle for Microsoft could be an appeal of the UK regulator’s decision to block the deal, making it an even tougher battle.
Central bankers warn about inflation
Two big themes emerged at this week’s meeting of central bank governors in Portugal. That is, with inflation still high, policymakers are far from completing rate hikes, and it is not yet clear how far they will go.
Important data on inflation will be released tomorrow. The Department of Commerce will release its Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) report at 8:30 am ET, hours after the release of the Eurozone’s Flash Consumer Price Index.
Both reports are expected to show headline inflation declining. But prices are still well above policymakers’ target of 2%. Fed Chairman Jay Powell said yesterday that “core” inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, probably won’t reach that level until 2025.
That forces the Fed to manipulate interest rates. Powell added that the Fed could raise rates at successive meetings and keep them at “restrictive” levels for some time. Talking about cut He said “We’re far from there,” he said, adding, “That’s not what we’re thinking right now.”
Futures markets seemed to get that message this morning, betting on another rate hike this year and pushing down expectations for rate cuts until 2024.
Good news: They, including Mr. Powell and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, said a strong labor market is keeping their country out of recession for now.
What to see tomorrow: Economists expect the “major” PCE to fall to 3.8% in May, the lowest in two years. However, ‘core’ PCE reached 4.7% and is expected to tell a different story. A possible silver lining: Some economists expect used-car prices and rents to start falling this summer.
Inflation is accelerating in Europe. Prices are expected to rise 5.7% year-over-year, according to the company’s CPI data. ECB President Christine Lagarde has warned that inflation is starting to take hold in all layers of the economy. Her antidote to that is that more rate hikes are on the table.
— Lower transaction value According to Bloomberg, it was announced in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year. High inflation, funding pressures and geopolitical tensions have slowed activity, and a decline in mergers, acquisitions and IPOs has made it one of the worst times to close deals in a decade.
How strong are the national banks really?
The Fed yesterday issued a certificate of soundness to the nation’s largest bank, months after the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank sparked panic among smaller US financial institutions. But regulators warned that recently completed stress tests are just one way to assess stability and that other risks may still pose a threat.
What our tests found: The country’s 23 largest banks could survive a 40% drop in commercial real estate prices and $541 billion in losses, a major concern for lenders today. It will also be able to cope with soaring unemployment and plummeting housing prices.
The investigation began well before the SVB troubles in March, but regulators are investigating whether eight banks heavily involved in trading can withstand a sudden panic in stocks, bonds and other financial markets. bottom.
Bank investors were keenly watching the test, That’s because good earnings mean lenders are more likely to get lower capital requirements, which means they can buy back more shares or pay higher dividends.
Banks are expected to announce new capital requirements tomorrow along with changes to payments to investors.
But regulators warned that stress tests are not the final say on banks’ health. “This stress test is just one way of measuring the strength of that,” said Michael Burr, the Fed’s chief bank supervisor.
Regulators are still reviewing the rules. In addition to tightening supervision, authorities are expected to tighten capital requirements, including for smaller lenders. That said, even if SVB had undergone this year’s inspection, the Financial Times noted: may have passed yet.
Other banking news: Bank of America continues to do more $100 billion paper loss Much more associated with distressed bond trading than its competitors.
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Top news publishers, including The New York Times, reportedly Founding of the Union To address the impact of artificial intelligence on the industry. (WSJ)
“How easy is it to fool an AI detection tool?” (New York Times)
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