Today on Seculo, Putin and Biden targeting journalists. Keeping you informed and engaged. Now, more than ever, this is Seculo. We want to hear from you. Share and post your comments or call 1-800-684-3110. And now your host, Jordan Seculo. Hey, welcome to Seculo.
We are taking your calls to 1-800-684-3110. You heard that right. Both Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden and his administration are targeting journalists, American journalists. In Russia, an American Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovic, was arrested in Russia about 800 miles east of Moscow, accused of espionage. He's been ordered to be held in custody, pretrial custody, until at least May 29th.
So a long time just there. And he could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Now you contrast that move by Vladimir Putin, a dictator, with the move by President Biden's IRS to show up at Matt Taibbi's door when he is before the weaponization of the government committee that Jim Jordan chairs. And he's testifying about the Twitter files and the IRS shows up at his house.
And they say, you know what, since you weren't here, we'll show up on Monday. That is intimidation and targeting of journalists. And when did we see this? Not under the Trump administration. Donald Trump called them names and called them fake news, but he didn't send law enforcement to their houses.
You can get into a back and forth, especially the United States of America, with journalists and say, I think you're reporting the wrong news. That's one thing. You know who else did this, though? Was Barack Obama.
James Rosen is the perfect example, but we can go through others where they were tapping their phones, tapping their mom's phones. There has been this move by leftist, this leftist authoritarian bureaucratic move. And then how do you criticize Putin when you're doing it in your own country? Yeah, I think that when you see it twice, like you said, you see it from Putin, it's kind of expected.
You're like, I hate this. And the fact that we've done this to a United States. It's horrible, but it is sort of, look, we saw it in the Ukraine as well. We've seen journalists get locked up. It's not necessarily not in the right. It's not necessarily not in the realm of what they do in that area of the world. Don't like it.
I think it's horrible. And look, I think if we did the same and we pushed for Britney Griner to get released, we got to be doing the same for for this. On the flip side, you have what's happened to Matt Taibbi, who, again, a journalist who up until a couple of years ago was a hero to the left, was a one of Rolling Stone's big war journalism. Not exactly someone, especially during the Bush years, was like one of the more critical and was one of those voices for Rolling Stone magazine. He gets flipped, you know, when it comes to the Russia investigation, he realizes there's no proof in it. He says there's no proof here, that this is probably a hoax. Gets essentially fired with, you know, in a nice way from Rolling Stone and takes it to himself, becomes an independent journalist.
I'm a subscriber, as I've said before. And yeah, he goes up because he was part of the Twitter files with Barry Weiss and with Shellenberger. That day, the IRS shows up at his door.
You know, unrelated. And let's remember what they were exposing in those Twitter files was how members of Congress like Adam Schiff were going to Twitter and asking him to ban people. Ban people, remove content from individuals, for people that were making jokes. I mean, that was one of the big ones is if someone and you see this every election. People who make the joke, that's like, hey, remember, Republicans vote on Tuesday, Democrats vote on Wednesday. Oh, they were trying to go after voter fraud. Yeah, it was multiple people that got banned on Twitter for that, an obvious joke, a joke that you see all the time on social media.
It's funny. But no, of course, those were the people that were targeted, individuals who were literally creating satire. We know that became a no no on Twitter for a long time.
Thankfully, that has been fixed and eradicated, but are rectified. But this is where it's at. You have journalists who are just trying to do their job, who don't want to reveal their sources. You also have that during the Matt Taibbi thing where they were trying to push and push him to reveal his sources and not respecting that First Amendment right to not have to do that. I want to take your calls on this because we're supposed to be that beacon of freedom to say we don't this is the country.
We don't do that. And yet when they arrest one of our journalists in Russia and accuse them of espionage, you know, it's bogus. They're going to point to what we're doing. They're going to say, well, you send your federal agents to the doors of journalists. What's the difference? So what's what's the difference? We have a problem with one with an American journalist. You have a problem with your own journalists who are Americans, too.
And we have the Constitution here that they don't have. I want to take your calls on it. One hundred six, eight, four, thirty, which and also victory in the House of Representatives to report. We come back through ACLJ action. The over twelve thousand of you that sent letters to members of Congress. Be right back on secular.
Get your calls in one eight hundred six, eight, four thirty one ten. Welcome back to secular as we get into this attack on journalists that we're seeing not just in Russia, where this horrendous arrest and of this Wall Street Journal reporter who's been there since twenty nineteen, has been reporting on Russia and again, this Wall Street Journal putting out the news was eight hundred miles from Moscow, gets picked up at a restaurant and charged with espionage. He'll now be held in pretrial detention at least until May twenty ninth. He's facing charges that have a prison sentence up to 20 years.
But here's what makes it more difficult to call for his release, which, of course, we're going to do and fight for the ACLJ. And you would hope that the Biden administration does, too. They're targeting journalists here.
They did it under the Obama administration and they're doing it again under the Biden administration. And this time it's Matt Taibbi, who is in no way some conservative journalist. He is a he's a he's a journalist that likes to expose the truth about, I'd say, the powerful. Yeah, he's become a more of a free speech activist over the last few years, as he saw sort of get tighter and tighter on them as someone who was a very mainstream journalist.
I worked all around the world and spent time there. But yeah, certainly more of his views. He's probably considered like a Bill Maher Democrat at this point. You know, someone who is probably socially pretty liberal, but sees this sort of chaos that's surrounding journalism. It's certainly one to speak out against it. I put Elon Musk in that category as well. You're not talking about someone who was it was Obama.
Voter was never the person who was the, you know, the savior of the right by any means. But as someone who is very passionate about First Amendment protection and rules and to make sure that, yeah, as long as it's not inciting hate and violence, that we should be able to have this discussion. No, this is not this is this is Matt Taibbi doing a reporting on congressmen and women asking for Americans to be censored on Twitter. And they don't. And then the IRS shows up at his door.
And John Kirby got asked about this yesterday. Why is the IRS showing up at the door of people who are testifying before Congress about members of Congress doing something which is, even if it's not illegal what they did, it is certainly worth the public knowing that they take these actions to know this about Adam Schiff and those other members of Congress. That they went to their they and their staffs went to the lengths of going after individual Americans with very small profiles and say, you need to remove this person, take this person down, take this tweet down, take this message down, ban them outright, please. And of course, these companies get this. They're regulated by the government and they don't know what to do. Are they supposed to take the people down? Are they not supposed to? What's going to happen if you don't do what Adam Schiff says? Is he going to come after you? Yeah, it's your boss. Yeah, I mean, it's very bizarre.
Feels like your boss. Yeah, I mean, it puts you in a difficult situation. So here's how John Kirby, I mean, we were the guys who fought back against the IRS Tea Party targeting. And we got Lois Lerner out of the government and we got, you know, those groups also received financial victories in court as well.
But as we see, it's cyclical in the United States of America when they come back into power. That's their favorite government agency to use to target Americans because they know everyone gets afraid when the IRS shows up at your door unannounced. So they get asked directly about it at the White House by two. On press freedom, the journalist Matt Taibbi this week said that the IRS visited his home on the same day as he testified to a House select subcommittee on the alleged weaponization of government. Taibbi worked on the Twitter files project that revealed government cooperation with Twitter to censor this favorite speech.
President Biden said just now at the pro-democracy gathering that we should have, quote, be better protecting activists and journalists from cyber threats, harassment and abuse. There, of course, been domestic issues with the U.S. treatment of journalists, as a colleague in our sixth row could attest. But I was wondering if you could respond to this Taibbi visit by the IRS and say whether this is part of a campaign to harass or intimidate them related to this journalism. I'm afraid I'm going to have to refer you to the IRS. Good answer.
You know, refer you to the IRS. Again, that's exactly what Obama played to. He gaslighted America. He said it wasn't happening. They get up and they say, there's nothing to see here. Then we go to court.
Oh, there's a lot to see here. There was a totally coordinated effort to shut down a grassroots political movement in America with the constitutional right to organize grassroots politically because it was a grassroots threat to the Obama administration because of what happened in the midterms there where they lost both the House and the Senate because of the Tea Party engaging new voters. And we saw MAGA engaging new voters. They want to shut down MAGA. Then they see social media as their place to organize, not our place. So what do they have to do, Logan, on social media is kick us out because it's even why they're very nervous about banning TikTok is because they think, well, that could affect our ability to win. And by the way, it absolutely would because that's one of the biggest places because conservatives don't really market on TikTok for obvious reasons.
It would exist. And a lot of people who do these kind of broadcasts are on TikTok. They know if they get banned. That was a huge, huge way that they didn't have the red wave that was expected, I think, was they were marketing directly to a younger group of people who are on TikTok.
And they know if it goes away, that could be bad for them. That's why they were so subset with Elon Musk coming in. Why? Because Twitter was a liberal cesspool. And then all of a sudden it kind of went back a little bit to how it used to be. But you're still seeing people even as of the last couple of days, you know, big celebrities and stuff know also saying we're done with Twitter.
We're leaving. It's all that's happening because, look, Elon, love him or not, has definitely pulled some really interesting moves in terms of disrupting social media and disrupting one of the biggest players. Yeah, absolutely. And you look, I don't think there could be a situation like what's happening with Rumble right now that we're on. Without obviously some of the censorship that came from YouTube, but also the fact that they're doing real deals with big players in in the world, not just in sort of this thin conservatism, which is very cool, because now you actually are starting to build legitimate platforms, not even alternative platforms.
Rumble is just a different place to get your video content. I think that's going to be where the change comes to social media. It's not like, oh, well, I'm on a I'm on this, you know, even the truth social, which is good. It has its place in there, but it will never be a mainstream way of communicating that does reach both sides.
It's run by Donald Trump. Like there's no way around it where you have a rumble which could put on Russell Brand to get out on Steven Crowder. And they're both going to come out from a very different point of view. Sure, it may lean one way or the other, but they're also going to put on. Here's a kid playing Fortnite for three hours.
It's going to have a million views. Yeah, it's still doing that. Again, not an alternative source. It's just another option.
That's what we got to work on. And another legitimate option. And, you know, I think that Joy on Rumble said, you know, it looks like the ACLU will have to take the IRS back to court. Why do you think they want to hire eighty seven thousand new agents for eighty billion dollars?
It's exactly this to come after Middle America. They are not hiring. And again, there's been some Congress in the House has put a stop to some of that. It is definitely slowed down because of the appropriations that are necessary. So the Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent that money from going out the door to hire those IRS agents, because they're not going to they're not targeting the rich. They're not targeting the top one percent. They're targeting people who are make their wages based off tips. They're making the Uber drivers, the Lyft drivers, the delivery people.
The five hundred dollar people on PayPal. People make under one hundred thousand dollars a year who they want to target. And again, because they need more revenue to fund their government programs, which, again, are not benefiting those folks. But who do they benefit from those government programs? They bail out the rich when S.S.V.B. fails at issues like that, where we're all going to pay more bank fees because of the bailouts of people who had three hundred million dollars in a bank that failed. Right.
Absolutely. And it all turns back on to us because then it costs more to do banking. And then we have to figure out what we're going to do legally. And as she said, you know, it looks like the IRS is going to have to go back to court with the ACLU.
A.C.L.J. and they hire eighty thousand new agents. Well, we need your support to help combat that. Because this is it's always a changing fight. It's the same fight in one sense, but they're going to be more.
Listen, we caught him the one time. So they're going to it's going to be more difficult. It's going to be tougher because they figured out, OK, don't do what we did last time because, you know, A.C.L.J. was able to expose that real quickly and beat us in court. They lost their jobs and people lost their careers at the IRS. And then they had to pay fines as well.
A court ordered fines. But so they don't want to do that again. So they're going to get more sophisticated in the way they come after us. But at the end of the day, if we fight back, we win. The law, the difference between the arrest of the journalist in Russia and the intimidation of Matt Taibbi by the Biden administration and the IRS is that in America, if he fights back, he will win in court.
Right. In Russia, you will not. The difference is we still have another place to rely on.
We don't just have to hope for a prisoner swap in the United States. We know that if we fight back and we have to fight back because the moment you stop fighting back, you start losing. You will start losing because you've got to continue to show them we are not going to accept this to any journalist.
I don't care if I agree with all their positions or not. It is unacceptable because it violates our basic First Amendment rights. And remember, we've seen an attack by these liberals saying the problem with America is that we have a First Amendment that allows free speech. The problem with America is that we have a First Amendment that allows a free press. This is a problem because the government then can't do whatever it wants and censor whatever it wants. But, you know, we have more sound on this, too. Janet Yellen was asked about it.
We'll play it when we come back for the break. I mean, this is, again, it's IRS Part 2 happening right in front of you. And you can make that contrast to, well, we're going to be highly critical of Putin for what he did to an American journalist, rightfully so. We've also got to be highly critical of what our own government is doing to journalists here in the United States of America.
And you can do that and still be a patriotic American and say that your government is doing the wrong thing. Support the work of the ACLJ. We have a matching challenge that goes to the end of this month, and we are just a day away from the end of this month, where you double the impact of your donation.
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Your call is at 1-800-684-3110. A victory to announce. And I want to thank those of you who signed on here and utilized that ACLJ action tool to stop the war on American energy. HR1 passed the House of Representatives just before we went on the air today. 12,774 of you took action there in 24 hours to lower American energy costs, get us back to a country that actually exports energy rather than having to import it, which will bring costs down here, but also gives us a lot more power when we're dealing with the rest of the world. Now, you'll say, but the Senate's going to be tough.
It absolutely will be. But let's push to get Mitch McConnell to fight as hard as they can to put this on the floor of the Senate, because we're in an election season. And let's get those Democrats to vote. Do they really want us to keep paying higher gas prices and having to import fossil fuel from countries that are our enemies and countries that are far less good about how they environmentally obtain these energy sources? We're the best at it.
Some of these countries are the worst offenders, and yet we're importing from there, and their prices are still remaining very, very high. So again, thank you. There's another ACLJ action, though, that we want to report here. This was really interesting. You were kind of walking me through it this morning, and Will, our executive producer, is walking me through.
I was like, wait, what is this? So the Office of Personnel Management, which falls under the White House, but this is the office that kind of oversees federal government hiring, has rules, of course, for who is suitable to apply to become a federal employee. Fair enough. Right. So it used to be, number seven on that, with specific factors they would look at, was were you knowingly or willfully engaging in acts or activity designed to overthrow the U.S. government by force? No one really had an issue with that.
If you were by force trying to overthrow the U.S. government, you might not be someone who is eligible to be a federal employee, and they could exclude you that way. Now they want to add four more provisions. Here's the first one. See if you notice the difference. It's supposed to mimic the one I just read. Remember the word by force in that one. Knowing engagement in an act or activity with the purpose of overthrowing federal, state, local, or tribal government.
Notice what language is it there? Yeah, period. That's it. By force.
That doesn't include by force. Well, when we campaign against Joe Biden, are we engaging in activity to overthrow the federal government? In some ways you could... You could at least broadly interpret. I could make the argument that you are. Absolutely. I think that's the main thing is if the fact that you could have that discussion and interpret it that way says that this discussion is going to come up.
Especially when... If you're running a campaign against your local, which is noticed here, school board. Yeah. Are you trying to overthrow the local school board? Yes.
Because you're trying to put in new people. Yeah. Well, yeah, it sounds like a dictatorship.
It sounds like someone who can forcibly keep themselves in office. And look, you may say, oh, this is a bit broad. Well, they removed the violent language from this. We understand that that would have been fine. The original... By force ends up not leaving this vague gray area. Right. This put a vagueness in it that can be interpreted way too many ways by the wrong people. But it goes on.
How about this? Attempt to indoctrinate another person to incite action in furtherance of just an illegal act. They don't even define what illegal acts are. Just illegal acts.
Yeah. And again, that changes all the time because we have laws going in and out of Congress all the time. So again, too vague. Active membership or leadership in a group with knowledge of its unlawful aim. But remember, if you go to number seven and you're part of a political movement trying to beat an incumbent candidate, are you then guilty of number 10? Membership in a group that is knowingly violating the aim. And of course, number 12 is violent conduct.
Of course, that's fine. Yeah. But those don't... When you work all this together, we're saying you cannot be this vague. And I think we just quickly showed you how this could be interpreted to shut you out of government by being opposed to specific incumbent politicians.
Yeah. And what I like is that they... This seems to happen when these situations... It's almost as if they put these new changes in effect, thinking they're never going to lose, that it can never be used against them as well. It's not like there are people who will not then misinterpret this or interpret this differently on the other side if you start doing it. It's like impeachment.
Once you open the door to impeachment being a bit commercialized, if you will, when it becomes a little less impactful, all of a sudden that door can never be closed again because now all of a sudden impeachment is a political statement. If this happens one way, you're sure it's going to happen the next time and you're going to flip it on them. So they don't think that far ahead. And we are saying that's ridiculous. And that's why the ACLJ action has a way you can get involved. That's right. And Will, our producer, pointed out, could a parent advocate for a different school board and work for the post office?
I could argue under this position for the Biden administration. If I was in their shoes and say, no, they can't, because they're attempting to overthrow a government agency, a local. And they say local. Yeah, local's in there. State is in here. So it's not just federal.
It's local and state. I mean, they're going down to the municipality level, the school board level. And they may come back and say, well, that's not what we intended.
We mean violent overthrow of the actual government itself. Then put that in there. Then put that in there.
Put that in writing. Because that's what was in there before. Why did you take that out?
Why did you need to make this change? It was so clear before that one sentence. Exactly. There's a reason that those words were removed. It's so you can't exclude people who protest.
Yeah. And you will have brought up also, you could use this against pro-life activists in states where where abortion is still legal or is legal. Saying, oh, because one of them is an act of forced violence, intimidation or coercion. Yeah, coercion.
With the purpose of denying another individual a free access or free exercise of rights under the U.S. Constitution or any state constitution. You're in a state that does allow abortion and many are doing this under their state constitutions. And you are you are advising someone not to get an abortion. You're counseling them. And say, hey, there's other options available. You don't have to do this horrible thing.
You're taking of a life and we will provide an ultrasound so you can see this life. You're now not eligible to be a federal government employee because you're coercing. I mean, there's already hardly any conservatives in the federal government left. Where they are, though, we have to think about federal government a little bit more broadly.
Your post office. Yeah. You know, you're you're a lot of your Social Security Administration in your state. Yeah, I mean, there's people. We think Washington, D.C. bureaucrat. You think of the top.
That's very liberal. There's a lot of top top people. There's a lot of people, you know, who are working off people work in court. Federal courts work in security. You know, there's a lot of people doing that. Clerks in the courts. Right, exactly. So it's not just that court reporters. I mean, it's hundreds of thousands of conservatives, probably, if we're really being honest.
Sure. When we talk about how the bureaucrats are 99 percent Democrat, we're talking about Washington, D.C., typically. That's where that survey is done. It is not done out in the post office. Your your local post office or your local federal court and district court or circuit.
You might have a circuit court in your city. So, again, this idea that they feel like they've got to target us this way because they want us out of the government. They want to turn the bureaucracy of Washington, D.C. into the bureaucracy of your state, which is 100 percent in line with only a leftist position. So they want to exclude you from even applying for a job because you might be pro-life, because you might be opposed to the incumbent President or an incumbent governor or an incumbent school board member, or you might show up at a protest. And they tried to pull this without anyone paying attention.
We're not letting that happen. So you go to ACLJAction.org now, you are able to submit opposition to this rule change. So the ACLJ will submit its own on behalf of all of its members.
That is on Monday. But you can do your own. So you go to ACLJAction.org. We want you to take action right now, because this is, again, a very dangerous language change they hope you aren't paying attention to. And you should not be excluded from applying for a federal government job because you're not supporting Joe Biden for reelection or you want to remove a school board member through the electoral process. Or you're telling someone maybe there's a life means something and that you don't want your that you'd be considered coercing now about life. So there's so much.
The conservatives need not apply rule at ACLJAction.org. Keeping you informed and engaged now more than ever. This is Seculo, and now your host, Jordan Seculo. We've had tragedies this week in our home state of Tennessee, and there's been another tragedy, and I just want to acknowledge it on the air because the brave men and women who serve our country deserve that acknowledgement. And it also shows you that even when they are not overseas in a conflict zone, their training is very dangerous.
Two Black Hawk helicopters out of Fort Campbell in the 101st Airborne, which is the Army's only airborne division, the two Black Hawk helicopters, one carrying five servicemen and women, other four collided in a night trading exercise. All nine service members have been killed. Fort Campbell is both in Kentucky and Tennessee, so it affects those of us in Tennessee and Kentucky right on the border. And those nine service members killed in this trading accident, they will do reports on why did this happen and how did this occur. And it's a reminder that those brave men and women who serve our country, Logan, even when they're trading, their life is at risk.
Yeah, absolutely. And we'll have on actually later on today on Secular Brothers podcast, we'll have Tulsi Gabbard on live in studio. She's here in Nashville, so we're going to have a discussion with her, and I'm sure this is something that we could address as well. She's an active service member, and we could just say, talk a little bit about that in that situation. So I'm sure we'll address that later, but obviously our thoughts and prayers to everyone who is in Fort Campbell and the families of really still, even though it was a tragic accident, these heroes, these fallen heroes.
Yes. And to me, it's just, I want to remind people that when you volunteer to serve and the training alone at that high level of preparedness can become life-threatening in itself. And in this case, unfortunately, we've lost nine brave men and women service members who were these two Blackhawks collided in another tragedy, hitting the state of Tennessee back to back this week. So continue to pray for our state too, our home state, because this affects husbands and wives as well who live in the state. Going back a little to what we were just discussing though, because we're talking about this big issue is the idea that we're here, why do we continue to fight? Why does Tulsi Gabbard, who's been very critical of the military decisions by politicians still serve in our US military? I think it goes back to that bigger issue. Why do we fight against this hiring move to try and say conservatives need not apply?
Yeah. I mean, I think certainly if this rule is to apply to the military, she would certainly be disqualified as someone who has spoke out actively, not actually against, but against some of the policies that we put in place and some of the warmongering that has happened over the years. And the idea is that you could be highly critical of political leaders in your country and still be highly patriotic. And that you can still see that there's a lot of problems in our country, but that it's a country still worth saving and worth fighting to save. Because we talk about religious liberty worldwide, we're the beacon of hope for religious liberty. There's issues here all the time. And that's why you fight, but you want to be that beacon of hope.
America is the place you're supposed to be able to go to have that religious freedom and freedom of speech. So when we talk about all these issues and they're tough and they're hard at the shooting this week and all of it that we're having to process, it's a country worth fighting for still. It's an idea that's still worth fighting for.
It's not the politicians who are worth fighting for. And it's an idea that's still coming into its own. It's an idea that's only a few hundred years old at this point. That's what we talked to Tulsi about. It's a concept.
Feeling comfortable being both highly critical of the government, but also working inside the government. If you ever visit, go around the world, you go to Europe, you go to these places, they start showing you places and buildings that are from 500, from different areas. You go to these places, they're still active. These are active buildings that maybe a Starbucks in from the year 1200. This is where the Romans occupied what is now England.
Right. It's a little different than our country, which is not that old, a couple hundred years old at this point, and it's still actively pursuing the concept of America. And we are seeing that play out this week in full effect, whether it was the shooting here and the way the religion plays into that, or whether it's a situation where journalists are being captured or are being intimidated. All of these things are really for us to continue the fight to save the concept of America, which is, as you said, a better place. There's no DNA that would ever say you are American. What makes you American is your belief and your structure and what we think about as a country.
You do a 23andMe, it's not going to show up and say American, but you know in your heart when you are. We'll be right back. All right, welcome back to Secule and take your calls, your comments, 1-800-6431-10. Of course, we always ask you if you're watching the broadcast, Rubble is our preferred place for you to watch, but if you're on YouTube and Facebook as well, share it, follow us on Rubble.
Again, so you get the updates, you know when we go live, which usually is that noon Eastern time hour, but is also if there's breaking news and something else occurs and we're at the office and being able to get into the studios, you'd still get those alerts as well. And I think we're getting into that time period. These are getting kind of wild, to say the least. We've been seeing that in our own state this week where we've got both the military accident, taking the lives of nine service members last night and the horrible shooting, school shooting at Covenant Christian here in Nashville. And so we're dealing with a lot.
It's one of those time periods too when you start seeing the administration going into a political season, they get more political, so the IRS starts showing up at journalists' doors and knocking on their doors. But we also want to talk about the economy because we have been focused on some of these other issues. And there's a new economic report out today on the GDP.
We're bringing in Harry Hutchinson, who's our director of policy, who's really an economic expert. We saw, Harry, the GDP grew at 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022. That's despite pressure from rising interest rates.
What does that actually mean for our listeners? Well, it means that we are facing a muddled economy. And by muddled, I mean, yes, the economy is still growing, yes, jobs are still being filled, but the labor force participation rate is going up in part because people are finding it difficult to pay their bills. The current inflation rate is around 6%.
The economy grew by roughly 2.6% on an annual basis. But the economy also faces headwinds, headwinds from higher fed interest rate hikes. It faces headwinds because construction is likely to decline somewhat for the first time in 11 years, for instance, housing prices have fallen year over year. So there are some issues, but it's not all bad news is the way I would summarize it. I think that's, people are looking for that hope too. They know they're not going to agree with the Biden administration economic policies, but sometimes those economic policies finally have to face reality. And we were talking about the interest rate hikes. The Fed is considering potentially, and the way they're portraying it is one more. So not these endless, potentially they may be done with these endless interest rate hikes, which I think would be very welcome to a lot of our listeners out there who have maybe tried to not be able to purchase a home or have had to rethink loans, and loans especially that weren't locked in. There were floating rates who seen maybe their mortgages double in the past months. Even the Federal Reserve who thought that was the way out of whatever economic issue we're in is rethinking whether or not continuing to raise interest rates is the right move.
I think that's precisely accurate. It's important to keep in mind that if the Fed continues to raise interest rates, particularly at a half point or three quarters of a point a month, guess what will happen? It will crater the economy and it may induce more bank failures. We've seen the fallout, if you will, from the Silicon Valley bank and the takeover of Signature Bank.
We've seen rumbles at First Republic Bank in San Francisco. Credit Suisse was taken over by UBS. And so there are plenty of problems in the economy if we look out. And so I would encourage the Fed to be very cautious about continuing to raise interest rates.
I mean, you brought this up here because I think it's important for people to understand. We saw that banking crisis start occurring and then the news has kind of slowed down on that, at least what's being reported in just mainstream news outlets. It doesn't seem like it's quite as scary as it might have sounded two weeks ago or a week and a half ago. At the same time, though, if interest rates, they have to even think twice about raising it another quarter point because you think that alone could put more banks at risk.
I think it would. And it's important to keep in mind that there's a major academic study out on the Social Science Research Network, which claims that hundreds of banks are at risk and $300 billion worth of deposits are at risk and the risk will rise if interest rates go up. Keep in mind, there are a huge number of uninsured depositors who have huge amounts of money in many of these banks.
And when they hear a whiff of bad news, their instinct is to go pull that money out. And we live in an era in which we have fractional banking. What does fractional banking mean? It means that the banks do not hold reserves for all of their depositors. And so what depositors are, if you will, banking on is good management, good regulation, and the fact that the banks will not fail. There's one further complication that I need to mention and that is woke banking is a problem. What do I mean by woke banking?
I mean what Janet Yellen has suggested. She claims that climate change is an existential threat to banking in America. Now that is a nonsensical claim, but if you look at the Silicon Valley Bank, guess what? They made a huge number of high risk loans to venture capital firms invested in climate change initiatives. When many of those initiatives are about as successful as Solyndra was under the Obama administration, that company failed. You know, Logan, I think again, for our listeners, the economic, I mean, it's number one issue to everybody.
You've got to be able to pay your bills to be able to fund your church, the ACLJ, to be able to write those donations. And you've got to know, kind of be able to predict a little. People need that kind of ability to say, finally, is this administration admitting, which it looks like they might be, that what their strategy was not working. Yeah, I think hopefully it is. And like you said, hopefully there's some sort of comfort that could come over people in terms of financial security as well, because that's something that is going to be a huge issue. I think it should be a huge issue going into the next election.
Usually it's the number one issue. Economy usually is. I feel like less is the, are the banks crumbling? Less is, is the money in my bank safe? That's the, that's even a question I don't think most people have even asked of themselves. Like I'm talking about like normal, all of us normally, if you're not in the financial thing. Yeah.
In the last two weeks we all went, okay, hold on. That's something we need to be discussing as a sort of the, the chaos sort of surrounded some of those banks. Interesting. The white house has put out a statement. I want to contrast the two of what we've been talking about today, how the Biden administration has been going after us journalists. The, the, from a Korea jump here on the arrest of the wall street journal, American wall street journal, a journalist in Russia. So we're deeply concerned by the troubling reports that Evan gurkovich and American citizen has been detained in Russia.
Last night, the white house and state department officials spoke with the, the wall street journal and his employer. The administration has been in contact with his family and the state department has been in direct contact with the Russian government on this matter to try and secure his, it gets a consular access to him while he is in prison. This is the part that I think is, is kind of, again, where they, you can't have this one way or the other. The targeting of American citizens by the Russian government is unacceptable. We condemn the detention of Mr. Gurkovich in the strongest terms, but this is the key. We also condemn the Russian government's continued targeting and repression of journalists and freedom of the press. Logan, they are doing that in our own country. Exactly. White house is condemning Russia who might be more extreme in their targeting and repression. But let me tell you something, the IRS showing up at your door while you're testifying before Congress about members of Congress doing bad work, taking bad actions is pretty darn intimidating.
Yeah. And if you're an independent journalist, you're a guy at this point, relying on paid subscribers who are paying like me, $5 a month to be a part of your sub stack so you can read and listen to a podcast from a certain point of view and they demonize even that. They demonize the concept when he was in that hearing that you're telling me, you put this on whatever you call this on your sub stack and almost made it feel like it's some fringe right wing site where all of us know what it is. It's just a subscription based blog essentially in a place to post your podcast. It's just a holding place so you don't have to create your own infrastructure. I don't know if it's a liberal or conservative or whatever, all it is, it's just a platform to have a subscription through. It's nothing crazy, but it's mainly for the written word.
A lot of it is for writing. It shakes up journalism. They don't like that.
It makes people mad. It's like, you're getting news from the, no one's vetting this. Well, he's a pretty respected guy. So if you trust him, you sign up. If you don't, you don't have to write.
I think that that's a, an important part of that puzzle, which is they don't like that as well. As you said that, that all of these people, whether that's who's on YouTube, whether that's who's on rumble, whether that is through sub stack, it started with people like grid Greenwald who said, I don't need, I don't even need to be associated with anybody. If you trust me, you trust me.
If you don't, you don't. There it is. Yeah.
I'm going to put the information. Yeah. Like vocally Democrats. Yeah. Definitely.
I mean, Shellenberger is liberal in that political sense. I would say a Taibi is probably now on the fence, maybe just because of recent events. Yeah.
He's probably rethinking. Yeah. I think that, but definitely someone who's more socially liberal, but also not afraid to have it in line. They're not like straight in line. They're not like Republican party members that way. They're like Elon. Yeah. Again.
And we're starting to see a lot of, or those people interested in Republican candidates. It's kind of like, we're going to talk about it totally happened because he said the Russia investigation was a hoax. From the beginning. Because he said that they tried to destroy his life and they keep trying it over and over again. You know what happens? The star keeps rising.
His name becomes bigger and bigger. Now it's all of a sudden, not the nerds like me, the red rolling stone in the nineties. Now all of a sudden it's everyone. Support the work of the ACLJ. Our matching challenge. It ends tomorrow at midnight. Double the impact your donation. Donate today. That's one eight hundred six eight, four, three, one one zero.
I want to play sound. This is from a Congressman, Jim Jordan on this IRS targeting of Matt Taibbi. I mean, so while they're condemning Russia, rightfully so, by the way, I'm not saying that that's again, they shouldn't be doing that. But in Korean, John Pierce written statements says we condemn the Russian government's continued targeting repression of journalists and freedom of the press. While the Biden administration is is you could say the Biden administration continues to target and repress journalists and freedom in the United States. Certainly freedom of the press. Listen to Congressman Jim Jordan.
I think the context is important. Remember, the day before Mr. Taibbi testifies, we all learned that the FTC sent a letter to Twitter asking Twitter, who are the journalists you're talking to named Mr. Taibbi personally. The very next day he testifies and Democrat members of the committee ask him, who are your sources?
Give us your sources. A direct attack on the First Amendment. And while they're asking those questions, the IRS is at his door. And think about what it meant to him personally, because they leave a note and they said, don't worry, we'll get back with you on Monday.
Holy cow. This is the IRS. They fear this agency and they leave a note saying, we'll get back with you on Monday.
What that means for a normal person who has to go through that. So this is why we want to know what's going on. And frankly, we want to know, is there a chance this is one of those new 87,000 IRS agents that the 80 billion dollars was supposed to finance and hire?
I don't know, but we want to get answers to those questions. I will say, Congressman Jordan, now chairman of the judiciary committee and chairman of that special committee on the weaponization of the federal government, was in the trenches with us in the target of the IRS by conservative groups. And in his letter to Janet Yellen as a committee chairman, he writes that the committee, remember, they don't have to go through a FOIA process.
They can just demand the information as a congressional committee because they have oversight and the power of the person. All documents and communications referring or relating to, I just can't believe I'm reading this again because of the flashback to the Obama news. All documents and communications referring or relating to the IRS's field visit to the residence of Matthew Taibbi on March 9th, 2023. All documents and communications between or among the IRS treasury department and any other executive branch entity, White House, DOJ, referring or relating, or FBI, to Matthew Taibbi.
And number three, all documents and communications sit or receive by the revenue officer referring to or relating to Matthew Taibbi, and they've said you only have until April 10th to provide those documents. So we know they'll fight back against this, but ultimately here, we actually, there's been that change because we're starting to see the fruits of what it meant to get back the House of Representatives, Logan, because we don't have to fight alone at the ACLJ. We have allies on the inside like Jim Jordan. Yeah, absolutely. And that's why we say support the work of the ACLJ during these critical times.
And we are at the end of our matching challenge, I mean, tomorrow is it. So we want you to go online right now, go to ACLJ.org, support the work of the ACLJ. All donations are doubled, so you can do that and reach out. Yeah. Again, I will take your calls as well. 1-800-6-8-4-3110. Yeah.
That's 1-800-6-8-4-3-1-1-0. We go back to the Matthew Taibbi situation. I think that to me is a big one because it's not unlike the Russia investigation where they start, what they'll say about him is that he has some ties. I guarantee you they'll, they start having that conversation because he lived in Russia. He did live in Russia for many years. He was a reporter for the Moscow Times, as a lot of people did, by the way, in the nineties. He got arrested.
He was also a reporter for the Moscow Times. Yeah. So he was, he was, yeah.
Didn't even put that together until right now. A lot of people did that because it was just opening and we all wanted to learn. It was cool. It was cool to go into Russia. He also played professional baseball, I think, in Russia. Like he had a lot of interesting things that happened in his life. And then before becoming a part of this, and again, what though ended his, his kind of mainstream career was not saying I support Donald Trump, he was actively, I think, opposed to Donald Trump as President.
But he said the, I mean, he wrote a book called The Insane Clown President about Donald Trump, but specifically said, hey, the Russia interference in the 2016 election didn't happen. See, I use this as a point to prove who we are versus who they are. We are defenders of the ideals of our country. They are defenders of their political views.
We defend Matt Taibbi just as much as we would defend the Tea Party. Right. Yeah. Like I said, I read his work before this.
I did not agree with most of it. He was not a political threat to them before. Now he is. Right. So he's now on the enemy list and that's how they interpret who gets constitutional rights.
Are you one of their friends? We get constitutional rights. Are you one of their enemies? I will start infringing on your constitutional rights. That's the dangerous part of this idea that you're unpatriotic if you criticize the government. That's not unpatriotic. In fact, that's patriotic because you want to keep the ideals that make America the place that people are willing to wade through the Rio Grande River to get to, you know, as much as we are against the porous border. You still want to be that country that people are willing to risk it all, spend all of the money they can save just to try and get there because when you're that country, you're probably also the most powerful country in the world. And all that starts going the other way though. And when Iran thinks, you know what, we can start shooting at US troops again.
You got to question. And then Chinese decisions, the Saudis having to make an agreement with Iran. I don't think the Saudis wanted to have to make an agreement with Iran. They're diametrically opposed on many issues, including core religious issues, but they felt like it was in their national security interest to partner with Iran because the US doesn't have their back anymore.
Yeah. Or it's Russia and China coming together. Again, like I said, they don't necessarily have those religious connections by any means. You can probably put Vladimir Putin's religious beliefs that many have said are pretty hardcore versus what they do in China and say, well, those are diametrically opposed, but again, creating this sort of, you don't want to say the new axis of evil, but it's what it feels like. Well, their first attempt here is whether they're enemies of our friend situation is they think they're in a moment where they could take down the US, not necessarily destroy the country as a whole, but as the superpower, that the world will no longer see us as number one.
We'd still be important and influential, but we wouldn't be number one anymore. And they do that when our banks start failing. And when they see crisis in America, they see the school shootings, they see all these issues we're facing. And they say, you know what, and confusion about when we do get involved militarily, when we don't. Do we have troops in Syria? Yeah, we do.
We didn't even know about that. And they're getting shot at by Iranians. We got the balloons flying over our head, spying on us, and we don't shoot it down until after it's done its spy mission. So you have to put all of this goes in together as a reason why to fight. You don't have to say that Vladimir Putin is good to say that Biden is bad. You could say both are doing bad things, and one walks right into their propaganda. The Chinese talk about how the school shootings, they use that as propaganda. The Russians use what will happen to Matt Taibbi as propaganda to say, you're going to tell us we got to release this journalist who we believe is a spy, and you're sending your IRS agents to harass journalists in your own country.
What's the difference? What's going to be the spin? Like you said, these things become stories. We heard that from Mike Pompeo yesterday.
Yeah. That you're going to use things like what happened here in Nashville. Oh, they've watched our domestic news club. And then that becomes the story, which is, again, you don't want this as your government. You don't want true democracy. You don't want to live in the United States.
No. Kids get shot at school. You don't want to live in the United States. They don't have free journalism either. They're just lying. They treat their journalists just like, well, we do our worst, because they're supposed to be guaranteeing these rights. So what we have to fight for is the rights we're guaranteed, the rights that are worth dying for.
It's not the politicians who are dying for, or the political parties who are dying for. It's the rights. It's the idea. It's also this idea that you have to keep working on.
It's never perfect. You want to get as perfect as you can, so you can be critical and patriotic. Support the work of the ACLJ at ACLJ.org. These attacks on the freedom of speech, the attack on your freedom to oppose political candidates and apply for a job. Donate today. Double the impact of your donation at ACLJ.org. We'll talk to you tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-03 07:42:08 / 2023-04-03 08:04:03 / 22