🇺🇸 Another Acronym

Plus, a wild weekend on Wall Street

The Flag

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Good morning, and happy Monday! We’re going to start the week with a quote. Try this one on for size: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” - here’s who said it. Make it a good one!

Plus, talk about a wild weekend on Wall Street. We're going to have a full breakdown of the Silicon Valley Bank debacle tomorrow, but in the meantime here's the latest from CNBC

Also, today’s sponsor, Arch, is the most secure way to borrow against alternative assets


FLAG POLLS

🟰 Monday, March 6, President Biden Job Approval: Approve 45, Disapprove 45 (IBD/TIPP)

📈 Friday, March 10, President Biden Job Approval: Approve 50, Disapprove 49 (Rasmussen Reports)

📉 Monday, March 6, Direction of Country: Approve 38, Disapprove 55 (Rasmussen Reports)

📉 Thursday, March 9, President Biden Job Approval: Approve 49, Disapprove 50 (Rasmussen Reports)


TRENDING

Left: Political Theater Surrounds the Debt Ceiling Debate Robert Reich, The Guardian

Left: GOP's 'Weaponization' Subcommittee Is Imploding Hayes Brown, MSNBC

Left: Government Does a Bad Job Assessing Toxic Exposures Brad Miller, American Prospect

Right: The Nonresponsive Response to Tucker Carlson Chris Bray, Firebrand

Right: Americans Need To Reassess Their Leadership George O'Neill, American Conservative

Right: Three Officers Getting Shot Not on Front Page of LA Times Jack Dunphy, PJM


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QUICK CLICKS

SVB Contagion Concern, Suspect Smuggling, Will Smith Roasted

Economy: US government moves to stop potential banking crisis (AP) + Silicon Valley Bank gave company-wide bonuses hours before it collapsed: report (Fox Business)

World: Mexico too dangerous for spring break, Texas officials say (BBC)

US: Mike Pence: history will hold Donald Trump accountable over Capitol attack (The Guardian)

World: North Korea fires 2 missiles from submarine, state media reports (CNN)

US: At least eight dead in San Diego after suspected smuggling boats capsize, authorities say (NBC News)

US: Chaos erupts as over 1000 migrants rush border crossing to get into the US (Fox News)

Hollywood: Jimmy Kimmel Roasts Will Smith Slap in Oscars Monologue: ‘If Anyone Commits an Act of Violence, You Will Be Awarded Best Actor’ (Variety)


ESG

Another Acronym 

President Biden has vowed to use his veto power after the US Senate overturned a rule his administration put into place that urged retirement funds to consider ESG (environmental, social, governance) factors when evaluating investments. This would mark Biden’s first time using his veto power.

Reporting from the RightSenate kills Biden ESG investment rule in stunning rebuke (Fox News)

Reporting from the LeftSenate votes to overturn Biden administration retirement investment rule Republicans decry as 'woke' (CNN)

From the Flag: More right-leaning opinions consider ESG to be misguided and part of the “woke” agenda that puts arbitrary factors over things fund managers typically consider. But the other side sees it as an important part of fighting climate change and social injustice. Here’s more from both sides.


LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Republicans’ Cynical Move Is a Green Thumb in the Eye of Investors

  • The existing rule doesn’t require fund managers to consider ESG factors, it simply gives them the option.
  • Asset managers know it’s vital for their research to go deeper than just company performance, making ESG factors important.
  • It’s true that ESG has shortcomings – it allows companies to engage in “greenwashing,” in an attempt to bolster their image.

“Republicans Ought to Be All for ESG” US Senator Chuck Schumer, Wall Street Journal Opinion: “ESG opponents are trying to turn it into a dirty acronym… They call ESG wokeness. They call it a cult. They call it an incursion into free markets. We’ve heard it all before. I say ESG is just common sense. Republicans conveniently ignore something very important: America’s most successful asset managers and financial institutions have used ESG factors to minimize risk and maximize their clients’ returns. In fact, according to McKinsey, more than 90% of S&P 500 companies publish ESG reports today. … Nothing in the Labor Department rule imposes a mandate. It simply states that if fiduciaries wish to consider ESG factors—and if their methods are shown to be prudent—they are free to do so. Nothing more, nothing less. The present rule gives investment managers an option. The Republican rule, on the other hand, ties investors’ hands.”

“Joe Biden’s ESG rule is sound risk management” Editorial Board, Financial Times: “A US presidential veto of congressional legislation is a big moment. … Cue brickbats from opponents of ESG over Biden supposedly imposing ‘woke capitalism’. But the rule only permits, but does not compel, managers to take ESG into account — and the president is defending sound investment principles. … The ESG industry remains flawed. It lacks clearly defined standards of measurement and performance, opening the door to ‘greenwashing’ and other cynical practices. Compelling money managers to be bound by its dictates would be misguided. The White House rule contains no compulsion, however. It merely allows fiduciaries to take ESG considerations into account as part of a prudent strategy. And asset managers increasingly realize that earning the best returns, and avoiding losses, means considering all risks and externalities related to any investment. Company values can be affected by more than just financial performance.”

One more opinion piece from the LeftI'm a Progressive. Republicans Are Right About ESG Robert Reich, Newsweek Opinion


RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Follow the Money: This Isn’t About Morality, or the Environment

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer counts BlackRock among his donors, a top proponent of ESG investments.
  • Leftist lawmakers like Senator Schumer argue the White House’s rule would limit choice, but it’s really aimed at boosting ESG.
  • Transforming private finance into a vehicle for progressive causes puts retirement savings at risk for people of limited means.

“Here’s The Lawmaker Who Accepts More BlackRock Money Than Any Other Member Of Congress” Ben Zeisloft, Daily Wire: “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) accepted more donations in the last election cycle from BlackRock and individuals affiliated with the firm than any other member of Congress. The connection between the lawmaker and the asset management company was noted by the American Accountability Foundation, a non-profit government oversight and research organization, after Schumer rebuked efforts to scrap a Labor Department rule that would allow retirement fiduciaries to allocate funds in accordance with (ESG) … BlackRock is a leading proponent of the ESG movement, which critics say mingles political and social causes such as decreasing carbon emissions and achieving racial diversity in a manner that compromises or distracts from profitability. … (Its) assets under management declined from $10 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $8.6 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2022… Executives introduced the first mass layoffs at BlackRock in four years.”

“Biden, Schumer are using ESG to come after your retirement savings and bipartisan efforts won't stop them” Andy Puzder, Fox Business Opinion: “Schumer deceptively claims that Republican opposition to this ESG is really an attack on ‘free markets.’ Rest assured – Schumer knows this argument is false. Whether the effort to nullify this ESG rule succeeds or fails, investors will be free to invest their own monies in any manner they choose, to support any cause they choose, or simply to generate a return. The bipartisan effort to nullify the rule would only prevent progressives from conscripting other peoples’ money to advance their leftist political goals. Democrats also claim their ESG rule is necessary to clarify a Trump-era rule… that those managing retirement assets must do so ‘for the exclusive purpose’ of providing financial benefits to retirees. … But according to Biden’s Labor Department, the Trump rule had a ‘chilling effect’ on consideration of (ESG).”

One more opinion piece from the RightBiden’s ESG Extortion Rightly Rebuked by Congress Noah Rothman, National Review


FLAG THIS

Majority Say Business and Politics Don’t Mix

Polling conducted in early February found 79% of voters say they are “more likely” to do business with a company if it remained politically neutral and tolerated divergent viewpoints.

Just 1 in 10 said those stances would make them less likely to do business with such a company.

Independent voters said they preferred a politically neutral and ideologically tolerant company 77.1% of the time (Convention of States/Trafalgar Group).


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WATERCOOLER

K-9 Corps, Doorbell Privacy Loophole, Denmark’s Cinnamon Tradition for the Unmarried

On March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K-9 Corps.”

Politico: The privacy loophole in your doorbell

WIRED: This Algorithm Could Ruin Your Life

Insider: A National Geographic photographer gave me 4 tips for taking better pictures with my phone. I tried them and the results blew me away.

Today I Learned if you're unmarried when you turn 25 in Denmark, it is customary for your friends and family to cover you in cinnamon.