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- We have the first signs of pushback against Sam Altman’s global scheme to create a digital currency tied to a biometric digital ID. But the resistance is not coming from America or Europe.
- Big-box electronics retailer Best Buy finds itself under fire after a whistleblower reveals the company bars white people from a managerial training program.
- More turmoil in the meat industry as both Tyson and Smithfield announce they are closing dozens of meat-processing plants across the United States. We’ll tell you the reason.
- A judge comes down hard against Southwest Airlines after it violates court orders by continuing to discriminate against a pro-life flight attendant.
- And Joe Biden’s energy secretary gets caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Imagine that, a Biden appointee profiting off of her position!
All these stories and more when the Worldview Financial Report begins, right now!
Good evening and welcome to the Worldview Financial Report.
The Kenyan Ministry of the Interior last week suspended the controversial tech firm WorldCoin and any similar entities from operating in the country.
Co-founded by OpenAI’s Sam Altman, WorldCoin offers free crypto tokens worth roughly $50 to people willing to have their eyeballs scanned by a device called the Orb.
A statement issued last week from the Ministry of Interior reads as follows:
“Relevant security, financial services and data protection agencies have commenced inquiries and investigations to establish the authenticity and legality of the aforesaid activities, the safety and protection of the data being harvested, and how the harvesters intend to use the data.”
Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua was enraged over the technology, saying in a statement: “Let us support the stoppage of Kenyans being used as guinea pigs and their data being harvested.
“You have to ask yourself why your eyes are being scanned and information gathered. What does it mean and what will it mean to you and your offspring?”
Another Cabinet Secretary, Kithure Kindiki, assured citizens that the government would undertake all measures to ensure public safety and the integrity of financial transactions involving so many citizens, according to Kenyans.co.ke.
Further, appropriate action will be taken on any natural or juristic person who furthers, aids, abets or otherwise engages in or is connected with the activities until the government deems WorldCoin is safe.
Following the directive, police officers were deployed to disperse hundreds lining up in Nairobi for the exercise.
That said, WorldCoin technically hasn’t broken any Kenyan laws – which, we imagine, is one of the reasons it was rolled out there.
In response to the ban, WorldCoin co-founder Alex Blania claimed that the company’s intentions are above board. He stated:
“Tools for Humanity (TFH) has paused World ID verifications in Kenya as we continue to work with local regulators to address their questions. We apologize to everyone in Kenya for the delay.”
Big-box electronics retailer Best Buy is under fire after it was revealed that a company leadership-training program specifically bars white people from participating.
Details of the discriminatory program caused outrage on social media after they were leaked by James O’Keefe’s new watchdog group OMG.
WATCH VIDEO (clip first 2:31)
The retailer is now being hit with fierce criticism and calls for boycotts.
Best Buy has been a “woke” company for many years. It supported the BLM riots in 2020 and has a history of catering to the gay mafia. Kudos to James O’Keefe for bringing attention to this latest indignity.
Reuters reports that Tyson Foods is shutting down four more chicken plants - in Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri - to cut costs, a blow to small communities in the U.S. heartland that depend on the meatpacker for nearly 3,000 jobs.
The company, which reaped big profits as meat prices soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now adjusting to a decline and to slowing demand for some products. Tyson closed two other chicken plants, in Arkansas and Virginia, with almost 1,700 employees this year, and has also laid off corporate employees.
The decision by Tyson, the largest U.S. meat producer by sales, to shutter facilities surprised and saddened local officials, who said the four plants have been fixtures for more than 50 years.
Tyson said it will move the work done at the closing plants - located in North Little Rock, Arkansas; Corydon, Indiana; Dexter, Missouri; and Noel, Missouri - to newer facilities closer to its customers. The plants are slated to close in late 2023 or early 2024, according to Tyson.
The four facilities account for about 10% of Tyson's chicken-slaughter capacity, Chief Financial Officer John R. Tyson told analysts on a call.
The company employs roughly 1,500 workers at the facility in Noel, tucked in Missouri's southwest corner, Mayor Terry Lance said. The city's total population is about 2,100 people.
“It's going to impact the city pretty hard,” Lance said.
About 683 people work at the facility in Dexter, a city with a population of about 8,000, City Administrator David Wyman said. Wyman said he hopes to connect workers with other local employers so they do not leave town.
“People need a job and those jobs are now not here,” Wyman added.
Tyson's decision has already put on hold Dexter's planning for a new wastewater treatment plant that could cost $18 million, Wyman said. The city had been working on the project with plant management, Wyman added.
The closure also affects about 29 local farmers who own chicken houses to supply the facility, along with grain growers who produce chicken feed, Wyman said.
Tyson declined to say how many plant employees will be affected. It said it will help relocate workers and encouraged them to apply for other positions at Tyson.
“These moves are difficult certainly,” CFO Tyson said in an interview. “For the long term of Tyson, this is a move that should allow us to be better, more efficient and serve our customers better.”
CEO Donnie King said on the call with analysts that the plants are typically smaller and “in need of major capital to make them viable.”
Local officials said the latest closures affect about 300 plant workers in North Little Rock and more than 500 jobs in Corydon, Indiana.
In another blow to the U.S. meat industry, MSN reports that the world’s largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, which is owned by a Hong Kong firm that answers to the Chinese Communist Party, is closing 35 hog farms in Missouri.
According to data from the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the sites slated for shutdowns include 13 in Newtown, 12 in Lucerne, and 10 in Princeton. Another 92 employees will be laid off in October.
Smithfield is owned by Hong Kong’s WH Group.
The U.S. meat industry has struggled to afford higher feed and labor costs while Americans grapple with escalated food prices, decreasing demand for pork and poultry.
How interesting that just as Americans and Westerners are being priced out of the market for pork and chicken, and meat-processing plants are closing down in droves, the FDA has just last month approved a version of fake lab-grown chicken, cultured from animal cells and produced on a 3D printer. But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.
Southwest Airlines must take an eight-hour course on religious freedom from a prominent Christian legal group, a federal judge ruled on Monday.
Judge Brantley Starr ordered Southwest to pay for the travel, meals, and training for a representative of Alliance Defending Freedom to come to Texas and instruct the company’s attorneys on religious freedom. The order comes after Southwest violated prior court rulings relating to its discrimination against pro-life flight attendant Charlene Carter.
The pro-life flight attendant won a $5.1 million lawsuit in July 2022 after she contended that the airline and the Transportation Workers Union of America violated her rights by firing her after she objected to the union’s use of employee dues to donate to the pro-abortion Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
Judge Starr wrote:
“The Court ordered Carter reinstated, enjoined Southwest from discriminating against the religious beliefs of its flight attendants, and ordered Southwest to notify its flight attendants of Title VII’s prohibition on religious discrimination.”
But Southwest did not follow all of the requirements.
The court required Southwest to inform its flight attendants that the company “may not discriminate against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs” but instead told them it “does not discriminate,” implying that Carter’s claims were wrong and contradicting the court.
Southwest also “failed to mention Title VII” in its memo and wrongly said “its employees must abide by the types of policies over which Southwest fired Carter and that it believed its firing of Carter was justified because of those policies,” according to Starr.
The judge wrote:
“It’s hard to see how Southwest could have violated the notice requirement more,” Starr wrote. He gave a fictional account of Genesis to make his point. “After God told Adam, ‘[Y]ou must not eat from the tree [in the middle of the garden],’ imagine Adam telling God, ‘I do not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden’ — while an apple core rests at his feet.”
He then ruled that Southwest’s speech and actions toward employees demonstrate a chronic failure to understand the role of federal protections for religious freedom, and “the Court concludes that training on religious freedom for three lawyers at Southwest the Court finds responsible is the least restrictive means of achieving compliance with the Court’s order. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has conducted such training in the past, and the Court deems that appropriate here.”
Southwest must transport ADF’s representative to Dallas and be responsible for any of their food, accommodation, or other travel expenses, the judge ruled.
Starr also ordered Southwest to tell its employees in specific language that the company erred in its initial message, stating: “Under Title VII, Southwest may not discriminate against Southwest flight attendants for their religious practices and beliefs, including—but not limited to—those expressed on social media and those concerning abortion.”
Just the News reports that U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm sold her holdings worth $1.6 million in the electric bus company Proterra in May 2021 shortly after President Joe Biden made a virtual visit to the company and long before it declared bankruptcy.
Granholm, a former attorney general and two-term governor of Michigan, became a member of the company's board of directors in March 30, 2017 and remained so while she was nominated. She resigned from the position after she was confirmed as Secretary, subject to an ethics agreement dated Jan. 16, 2021.
Senate Republicans had advocated for the sale of her energy-related stocks, saying that the holdings violated her ethics agreement as U.S. energy secretary.
As recently as June 2023, Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, called on Department of Energy Inspector General Teri Donaldson to investigate Granholm's financial holdings.
Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect The Public's Trust and described by pro-Biden critics as a “thorn in the side of the Biden Administration,” argued the sale of the holdings is an example of the Biden administration's ethics issues.
“She served on the board of Proterra until she was confirmed as secretary and then she inexplicably held on to stock options, as you mentioned, for an extended period of time, even until really the media pressure became too great, apparently, for her to be able to continue before she finally did sell those,” he told Just the News. “And meanwhile, the Biden administration, President Joe Biden, Vice President Harris, they were promoting the company. I believe the CEO made visits to the White House. It really, at that time, it really did not look good from an ethical perspective.”
In February 2023, Biden appointed Proterra CEO Gareth Joyce to the White House Export Council.
Political commentator Erick Erickson wrote on Twitter that Granholm “should thank the GOP for pushing her to sell her stock.”
The Republican Party tweeted about the bankruptcy, connecting it to Biden's energy policies.
“The 'Bidenomics' model: Biden promotes a 'green' company linked to his energy secretary, his energy secretary is exposed and cashes out, and then about two years later, the company files for bankruptcy,” the GOP tweeted. “That’s what happened with the electric bus company Proterra.”
The Internal Revenue Service cannot locate thousands of microfilm cartridges containing millions of sensitive individual and business tax account records, according to a watchdog report.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a report released Tuesday that the IRS cannot account for microfilm cartridges — which contain backups of tax records as required under federal law — from fiscal 2010 that were originally stored at a processing center in Fresno, California.
The cartridges were meant to be among other records that were shipped to another processing center in Kansas City last February after the California location closed.
The watchdog also found seven empty boxes, which could hold up to 168 cartridges total, at the Ogden Tax Processing Center in Utah. Ogden personnel did not know where the missing cartridges were.
More than 4,000 cartridges containing business tax account information from fiscal 2018 and 4,500 cartridges containing individual tax account information from fiscal 2019 also could not be accounted for at the Kansas City facility, according to the report, which noted:
“The personal taxpayer and tax information included on these backup cartridges is key information that can be used to commit tax refund fraud identity theft.”
Tuesday’s report also found that the microfilm cartridges at the Ogden center are not being “adequately safeguarded to limit access” to the sensitive information they contain and that all three tax processing centers continued to store cartridges past their proper retention date.
The backup cartridges are meant to be destroyed after 30 years for individual tax records and 75 years for business tax records.
The Hallmark Media CEO who prioritized “diverse and inclusive storylines and characters” in Hallmark Channel movies is stepping down.
On Tuesday, Hallmark Media announced that Wonya Lucas will be stepping down from her role as CEO at the end of the year. Though she will no longer serve as CEO, she will remain a member of the Hallmark Media board of directors.
She said in a statement:
“I am honored to have led this company and am tremendously proud of the progress we’ve made by creating an evolved entertainment experience that inspires meaningful, emotionally connected moments for our audiences. My passion for the Hallmark brand has grown in deeply rewarding ways and will remain paramount as I continue to help guide Hallmark Media’s future in a more strategically focused capacity.”
In reporting on Lucas' forthcoming departure, several outlets made repeated references to Lucas' emphasis on diversity. The Hollywood Reporter described Lucas as “the executive who helped usher in a more diverse Hallmark Channel” that “better reflects society” by including LGBTQ characters.
The L.A. Times gushed, “Lucas was praised for expanding diversity on Hallmark projects, which had long been criticized for being predominantly white and straight.”
In a statement expressing support for Lucas and her legacy as CEO, Hallmark Media mentioned the same theme, claiming that Lucas “helped to build a more solid foundation for the business through broadened storytelling with more diverse and inclusive storylines and characters.”
And, indeed, Lucas, the niece of Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron, rose to the executive position in 2020 after Hallmark faced heavy criticism for canceling — then apologizing and reinstating —an ad for a wedding planning company featuring a same-sex couple. Bill Abbott, who was CEO at the time and who launched the Hallmark Channel in 2004, soon afterward resigned after decades with the company.
Zero Hedge reports that as of June 30, the Fed found total household debt increased by $16 billion in the second quarter of 2023, and credit card debt alone hit $1 trillion for the first time ever.
Total outstanding consumer debt now stands at $17 trillion and has increased by $2.9 trillion since the end of 2019, right before Covid hit.
Taking a closer look at some of the types of consumer credit balances:
- Credit card balances increased by $45 billion, a 4.6% quarterly increase, and stood at $1.03 trillion, a record high.
- Auto loan balances increased by $20 billion, continuing the upward trajectory that has been in place since 2011.
- Student loan balances declined by $35 billion. Student loan balances now stand at $1.57 trillion.
- Other balances, which include retail cards and other consumer loans, increased by $15 billion.
- In total, non-housing debt balances grew by $45 billion.
Finally tonight, central banks continue to go on a gold-buying binge.
We know Russia, India and China have all been buying up gold for many months. But the latest report comes out of Poland, whose national bank has increased its gold supply by 2.3 million ounces since the start of the year.
Remix News reports that the National Bank of Poland (NBP) increased its gold reserves for the fourth consecutive month in July as the country continues to aggressively stockpile the precious metal.
According to calculations by the DGP newspaper, 720,000 ounces of gold were bought last month, valued at about $1.4 billion. This is more than in any of the previous three months. The paper estimated that the total gold reserves held by the Polish central bank have increased to 9.6 million ounces, or nearly 300 tons.
Since the beginning of the year, the NBP has increased its gold supply by 2.3 million ounces. Before starting his second term as the president of the NBP, Adam Glapiński announced that he would increase gold reserves by 100 tons. With this year’s purchases, he has already fulfilled over two-thirds of that promise.
Monetary gold held by the NBP was valued at $18.8 billion at the end of July. It accounted for 10.4 percent of the central bank’s official reserve assets.
That does it for this edition of the Worldview Financial Report. Thanks for tuning in, and for supporting this viewer-supported broadcast.
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