Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that the recent epidemic of “flash mob” thievery going on in California will inevitably spread around the country.
“This is something now that I really unfortunately think is going to spread,” Ramsey told CNN on Thursday, via Newsweek. “Right now it’s in California, but it will spread, there’s no question about it.”
Ramsey’s comments come after another theft took place Wednesday. Four individuals, believed to be between the ages of 14 and 18, stole $20,000 worth of merchandise from an Apple store in the Santa Rosa Plaza, about 50 miles from San Francisco, The Daily Wire reported. “In a brazen daytime burglary in front of customers and staff, the suspects grabbed over $20,000 worth of merchandise from the store and fled the area in an unknown vehicle,” Santa Rosa police said in a statement.
A mob of five also sacked a Nordstrom luxury outlet in Canoga Park, a town in the Los Angeles area, Wednesday evening. The looters, one of them wearing an orange wig, attacked a security guard with “some kind of chemical” and stole at least seven luxury handbags, The Daily Wire reported.
The San Francisco Bay Area has been the epicenter of the looting sprees in recent days. The Daily Wire reported that a mob of about 80 people attacked another Nordstrom outlet in Walnut Creek, about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco, pepper spraying an employee and physically assaulting two others. Three people were arrested in connection with the robberies, according to local news outlets.
The Walnut Creek robbery was one of three major incidents that took place last weekend. The Daily Wire reported that a mob of people, some of whom were armed with hammers, looted a jewelry store in the city of Hayward, about 35 miles from San Francisco, on Sunday evening. Another mob looted a Louis Vuitton outlet in San Francisco on Friday night, breaking windows and “emptied out” the store. Newsweek reported that a Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent outlet were also robbed last Friday.
Several factors are to blame for the looting spree. Local officials have blamed the spike on California’s Proposition 47, which lessened penalties for shoplifting and raised the threshold for felony shoplifting from $400 to $950. Law enforcement officials told the Daily Mail that the mobs are recruited for up to $1,000 to steal the goods and sell them over the internet.
Ramsey told CNN that he saw the same thing during his tenure as Philadelphia Police commissioner. Groups of up to 20 individuals, mostly young adults, would rush into stores like Macy’s and take what they could before fleeing.
“It was really, really difficult to get a handle on it,” said Ramsey.
“What we found was, one, it was being organized through social media. So one of the things we started doing is paying close attention to social media.”
Ramsey said that just as Philadelphia Police struggled to contain the outbreak of looting in their city, so too would the stores, and California police, struggle to stop further attacks.
“I don’t know what’s driving all this, but it is of concern and it will continue,” Ramsey said. “It is not going to stop anytime soon.”
“This is not shoplifting, this is something far worse than shoplifting,” Ramsey added. “So, there’s a lot that has to be done if we want to get a handle on it.”
Since August, Biden and his top White House officials have repeatedly asked OPEC and Russia for more oil and gas as energy prices have skyrocketed. But oil prices surged again Friday after foreign producers ignored the Biden request.
U.S. crude oil surpassed $80 per barrel while the lead foreign index broke $81 per barrel, both increasing 1.5% today, according to the latest data.
The Middle Eastern cartel Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its Russian counterpart, collectively known as OPEC+, denied the Biden administration’s Thursday request and chose not to alter any previously announced plans.
The Biden Administration’s request to increase productions to boost output and resolve global shortages is futile. Why would they want to do that and cut their profits and assist the United States?
On Tuesday Biden told reporters, “If you take a look at, you know, gas prices and you take a look at oil prices, that is a consequence of, thus far, the refusal of Russia or the OPEC nations to pump more oil.”
According to Reuters, Senior Wall Street energy analyst Edwards Moya said on Thursday, “OPEC+ had an easy and quick meeting Thursday, barely even considering Biden’s repeated requests.” Moya added, “At no point did OPEC+ consider changing their output strategy, which was completely the message they had.”
Republican lawmakers have revved up their attacks on the president’s energy policies, saying his decision to hamstring American oil and gas firms is negatively impacting American Consumers. In fact, about 20 Republican senators wrote to Biden on Friday, urging him to take immediate action to ease the burden on Americans paying more at the pump.
But a separate group of GOP senators released a comprehensive climate action plan on Wednesday countering Democratic climate and prioritizing U.S. energy independence.
The administration has taken steps to increase the hurdles for U.S. producers to increase domestic output. Instead, from day one Biden gave up U.S. energy independence Trump had accomplished, by canceling pipeline contracts and producing contracts of U.S. oil companies.
“There’s nothing that’s becoming more expensive than gasoline today,” house Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said during a recent roundtable on Capitol Hill. “And it doesn’t have to be the case. When gasoline becomes more expensive, the people that it truly hurts are those that are less fortunate.”
President Joe Biden is trying to blame someone else, again, for his mistake. His decision to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and impose a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and water, the president has accused OPEC of being unwilling to significantly ramp up their production of oil.
His idea that Russia and Saudi Arabia and other major producers are not going to pump more oil and reduce their prices due to over production, is ridiculous and a very bad decision. Many OPEC members have shunned Biden’s pleas, and are arguing that they shouldn’t produce oil at a faster rate due to the uncertainties associated with the pandemic, as reported by Al Jazeera.
On Tuesday in Glasgow, Scotland President Joe Biden claimed that gas prices have skyrocketed due to Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refusing to pump more oil.
Biden was at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) when his remarks were in answer to a question he was asked about when Americans could expect to see every day prices coming down, including those of gas.
Biden reiterated his administration’s assertion that the uptick in consumer prices was, first and foremost, due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. “If you take a look at gas prices, that is a consequence of, thus far, the refusal of Russia or the OPEC nations to pump more oil. We’ll see what happens on that score sooner than later.”
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report mid-October, forecasting that American households could see their energy expenditures go up as high as 54% compared to the winter of 2021.
Biden has not acknowledged one time, that when he took office, President Trump had the U.S. free of dependency of any foreign oil for gas or energy.
Supply chain disruptions, a worker shortage and pain at the gasoline pump have made inflation an economic and political problem for the White House.
Oct. 26, 2021Updated 1:44 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — At least once a week, a team of President Biden’s top advisers meet on Zoom to address the nation’s supply chain crisis. They discuss ways to relieve backlogs at America’s ports, ramp up semiconductor production for struggling automakers and swell the ranks of truck drivers.
The conversations are aimed at one goal: taming accelerating price increases that are hurting the economic recovery, unsettling American consumers and denting Mr. Biden’s popularity.
An inflation surge is presenting a fresh challenge for Mr. Biden, who for months insisted that rising prices were a temporary hangover from the pandemic recession and would quickly recede. Instead, the president and his aides are now bracing for high inflation to persist into next year, with Americans continuing to see faster — and sustained — increases in prices for food, gasoline and other consumer goods than at any point this century.
That reality has complicated Mr. Biden’s push for sweeping legislation to boost workers, expand access to education and fight poverty and climate change. And it is dragging on the president’s approval ratings, which could threaten Democrats’ already tenuous hold on Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
Recent polls shows Americans’ concerns over inflation are eroding their economic confidence and dimming their view of Mr. Biden’s performance. National surveys by CNBC and Fox News show a sharp decline in voter ratings of Mr. Biden’s overall performance and his handling of the economy, even though unemployment has fallen quickly on his watch and economic output has strengthened to its fastest rate since Ronald Reagan was president. Voter worry over price increases has jumped in the last month.
Administration officials have responded by framing Mr. Biden’s push for what would be his signature spending bill as an effort to reduce costs that American families face, citing provisions to cap child care costs and expand subsidies for higher education, among other plans. And they have mobilized staff to scour options for unclogging supply chains, bringing more people back into the work force, and reducing food and gasoline costs by promoting more competition in the economy via executive actions.
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“There are distinct challenges from turning the economy back on after the pandemic that we are bringing together state and local officials, the private sector and labor to address — so that prices decrease,” Kate Berner, the White House deputy communications director, said in an interview.
Mr. Biden’s top officials stress that the administration’s policies have helped accelerate America’s economic rebound. Workers are commanding their largest wage gains in two decades. Growth roared back in the first half of the year, fueled by the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill the president signed in March. America’s expansion continues to outpace other wealthy nations around the world.
Inflation and shortages are the downside of that equation. Car prices are elevated as a result of strong demand and a lack of semiconductors. Gasoline has hit its highest cost per gallon in seven years. A shift in consumer preferences and a pandemic crimp in supply chains have delayed shipments of furniture, household appliances and other consumer goods. Millions of Americans, having saved up money from government support through the pandemic, are waiting to return to jobs, driving up labor costs for companies and food prices in many restaurants.
Much of that is beyond Mr. Biden’s control. Inflation has risen in wealthy nations across the globe, as the pandemic has hobbled the movement of goods and component parts between countries. Virus-wary consumers have shifted their spending toward goods rather than services, travel and tourism remain depressed, and energy prices have risen as demand for fuel and electricity has surged amid the resumption of business activity and some weather shocks linked to climate change.
But some economists, including veterans of previous Democratic administrations, say much of Mr. Biden’s inflation struggle is self-inflicted. Lawrence H. Summers is one of those who say the stimulus bill the president signed in March gave too much of a boost to consumer spending, at a time when the supply-chain disruptions have made it hard for Americans to get their hands on the things they want to buy. Mr. Summers, who served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, says inflation now risks spiraling out of control and other Democratic economists agree there are risks.
“The original sin was an oversized American Rescue Plan. It contributed to both higher output but also higher prices,” said Jason Furman, a Harvard economist who chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama.
That has some important Democrats worried about price-related drawbacks from the president’s ambitious spending package, complicating Mr. Biden’s approach.
Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a centrist, has repeatedly cited surging inflation in insisting that Mr. Biden scale back what had been a $3.5 trillion effort to expand the social safety net.
Mr. Biden has tried to make the case that the investments in his spending bill will moderate price increases over time. But he has struggled to identify things he can do right away to ease the pain of high-profile price spikes, like gasoline. Some in his administration have pushed for mobilizing the National Guard to help unclog ports that are stacked with imports waiting to be delivered to consumers around the country. Mr. Biden has raised the possibility of tapping the strategic petroleum reserve to modestly boost oil supplies, or of negotiating with oil producers in the Middle East to ramp up.
During a CNN town hall last week, Mr. Biden conceded the limits of his power, saying, “I don’t have a near-term answer” for bringing down gas prices, which he does not expect to begin dropping until next year.
“I don’t see anything that’s going to happen in the meantime that’s going to significantly reduce gas prices,” he said.
Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury secretary, told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that she expects improvement in the overall inflation rate “by the middle to end of next year, second half of next year.”
With an American public that had gone nearly 40 years without seeing — or worrying — about inflation, the issue provides an opening for the opposition. Republicans have turned price spikes into a weapon against Mr. Biden’s economic policies, warning that more spending would exacerbate the pain for everyday Americans.
“It’s everywhere,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, in an interview. “You can’t live your life without seeing your paycheck buy less.”
White House officials have monitored inflationary pressure for months. They remain convinced, as they were in April, that price increases will not spiral out of control and force abrupt interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve that could slam the brakes on growth.
The president and his top advisers remain confident that price growth will start to fall well before the midterms. They defend the size of the rescue plan and say Americans are focused on inflation right now because the success of the stimulus bill accelerated economic and employment growth and took a larger issue — the availability of jobs for people who want them — off the table.
“It is a highly incomplete view to try to assess the economy, and even people’s views about the economy, by looking at inflation alone,” Jared Bernstein, a member of Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “You also have to appreciate the robustness of the expansion, and how it’s lifting job and earnings opportunities.”
Mr. Bernstein and other advisers say many of the causes of inflation are already improving. They point to calculations by Mark Zandi, a Moody’s Analytics economist, that suggest Americans who have left the labor force will begin flocking back into the job market by December or January, because they will likely have exhausted their savings by then.
The advisers are also continuing to explore more actions they could take, including efforts to increase the number of truck drivers near ports and to force lower prices and more competition in the food industry.
“We are always all in on everything,” Ms. Berner said.
To which many officials add a caveat: Almost anything the White House could do now will take time to push prices down.
As cognitive dissonance goes, this is a classic. President Biden’s explicit policy goal is to reduce U.S. oil and gas production, limiting the global supply of fossil fuels in the name of fighting climate change. Yet his Administration is now imploring the OPEC oil cartel to pump more oil so U.S. gasoline prices don’t rise more than they already have on Mr. Biden’s watch.
Oil prices climbed to a six-year high on Tuesday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia failed to agree on increasing production quotas. Last spring OPEC slashed production quotas after crude prices plunged to $20 per barrel amid economic lockdowns and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
But energy demand has snapped back in much of the world as Covid-19 vaccines roll out, governments ease lockdowns, and freight shipments surge. U.S. petroleum consumption is now roughly where it was at this time in 2019. OPEC estimates that oil demand in industrialized countries will increase by 2.7 million barrels a day this year.
In early June OPEC modestly raised production quotas, but demand is still rebounding faster than supply. The upshot is that crude prices are averaging around $74 a barrel, up 45% or so this year. OPEC countries naturally want to take advantage of the pandemic recovery to boost production and generate more petrodollars to fund their governments.
But a squabble between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over quotas is blocking an agreement, sending U.S. gasoline prices to a near seven-year high. Enter the Biden Administration. A White House spokesperson on Monday said it is urging OPEC and its allies to quickly come up with a compromise “that will allow proposed production increases to move forward.”
The Administration is worried that higher gas prices could undermine Mr. Biden’s climate agenda and spending plans. Republicans have been linking his veto of the Keystone XL pipeline with higher gas prices. The two aren’t directly related. But no Keystone does mean that more crude from Canada and the northern Bakken Shale will have to move by rail to U.S. refiners.
This is contributing to higher freight demand and prices, as well as supply-chain bottlenecks, all of which are adding to inflationary pressure. Consumers feel the pain at the pump and on their utility bills as natural gas and propane prices have also surged. Rising energy costs are also feeding into the higher price of goods more broadly.
Mr. Biden knows surging prices for gas and other goods hurt middle-class Americans and could undermine his Presidency. This is one reason he refused a proposal to pay for the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal by increasing the gas tax.
But note the irony that Mr. Biden is now urging OPEC to open its taps even while his Administration is pursuing policies with the goal of shutting down U.S. oil and natural gas production. His Administration has sought to halt new leases on federal land, suspended leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and is expanding endangered-species protections to limit oil production on private land, among other policies designed to punish fossil fuels.
But reducing U.S. production means reduced global supply even as demand surges. This means more pricing leverage for OPEC and Russia—and for Iran if Mr. Biden lets Tehran escape sanctions on its oil exports as part of a renewed nuclear deal. So Russia and Iran will benefit from Mr. Biden’s fossil-fuel disarmament while Americans pay more for energy.
The way out of such contradictions would be to let U.S. producers respond to higher prices without new political obstacles. He can tell the climate lobby it beats political defeat.
WSJ Opinion: Meet Joe Biden’s New Entitlement State
(PresidentialWire.com)- Are you ready for some Wall Street numbers? Let’s take a look.
Reports suggest that strategists in Wall Street are growing increasingly concerned about President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy, as economic growth begins to slow down and the stock market’s record run looks to be coming to an end.
It was always likely that the stock market would rebound as soon as lockdown ended and COVID restrictions were relaxed, but with the rise of the DELTA variant, massive inflation, and other restrictive policies still causing business uncertainty, it looks like Wall Street has some serious concerns.
Fox Business reports how the benchmark S&P 500 climbed by 20% this year, clocking in 54 record-high closes. The data from Dow Jones Market Data shows that there has not been a 10% pullback in over 369 trading days, which is the longest stretch since the 501 record set between February 2016 and February 2018 – much of that being a result of President Donald Trump’s economic policies.
But according to Adam Sheets, a Morgan Stanley strategist, there is a substantial risk to growth, the legislative agenda, and policy over the next two month.
He said that the global economy bouncing back, combined with President Joe Biden and the Democrats’ massive proposed $3.5 trillion spending spree, could cause U.S. Treasury yields to increase and put massive pressure on growth stocks.
He indicated that if the economy slows down, risk premiums will “look too low versus prior growth scares.”
His comments come as Morgan Stanley economics reduced their tracking estimates for the United States Gross Domestic Product in 2021’s third quarter down from 6.5% to 2.9%.
So, what does this all mean?
Well, President Biden might just have been riding the wave of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, which created a resilient economy that bounced back as soon as lockdown was ended.
And now, Biden is on his own.
We might soon see the result of his economic policies, and Wall Street experts aren’t confident.
SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co will halt operations of its last computer factory in China, the South Korean tech giant said on Saturday, the latest manufacturer to shift production from the world’s second-biggest economy.
Companies are rethinking their production and supply chains amid rising Chinese labour costs, a U.S.-China trade war and the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around half the 1,700 employees on contract at Samsung Electronics Suzhou Computer will be affected, excluding those involved in research and development, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday, citing a notice to Samsung staff.
The factory shipped $4.3 billion worth of goods out of China in 2012, a figure that had sunk to $1 billion by 2018, the Hong Kong newspaper said.
A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment on the factory’s revenue and shipments, or details regarding employees.
“China remains an important market for Samsung and we will continue to provide superior products and services for Chinese consumers,” the company said in a statement.
Samsung shut its last smartphone factory in China last year. Its remaining facilities include two semiconductor manufacturing sites in Suzhou and Xi’an.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by William Mallard)
Trump’s suspension of visas will only prolong the recession. Here’s how to reform them instead.
Google employees stage a walkout at the company’s U.K. headquarters in London on Nov. 1, 2018 over the company’s handling of sexual harassment. TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week that bars hundreds of thousands of foreigners from seeking employment in the United States by suspending new work visas.
The argument against the most significant of these visas, the H-1B, has always been that that they harm employment prospects for Americans and depress wages. Some of the criticism is justified: The H-1B visa, which U.S. technology companies and outsourcing firms use to hire 85,000 new foreign specialists each year, is indeed problematic, because it puts both American and foreign workers at a disadvantage. These visas are the U.S. tech industry’s dirty secret. They tie the foreign workers to their jobs and allow the employer to pay them less than they could be earning—which drives down pay for American workers as well.
But the solution isn’t for government to lock the doors or try to control wages; it is to let competition on the labor market do its magic. The simple fix is to allow H-1B visa holders to work for any employer that pays them the highest wage or for the start-up that offers the most rewarding work.
This is something I have written about a lot, including in a 2012 book titled The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent. I warned then about the deep flaws in U.S. immigration policies and predicted that China and India would greatly benefit from these flaws—and, unfortunately, that prediction was correct. With help from workers who honed their skills in the United States but couldn’t stay, both of those countries have built innovation capabilities that rival the United States’, and both now have many technology start-ups valued in the billions of dollars.
Here is the problem: For decades, the United States has been bringing in large numbers of workers on temporary visas such as the H-1B, but it never increased the numbers of permanent-resident visas (“green cards”) available for those who want to stay. There are 140,000 green cards issued per year to employment-based visa holders, and the law stipulates that each nationality may receive no more than 7 percent of the total number of employment-based green cards. My research team documented in 2007 that this limitation had trapped more than 1 million skilled immigrants and their families in immigration limbo. The Cato Institute found that number to be unchanged in 2020 and forecast that the backlog would increase to 2.4 million by 2030. Today, skilled Indian workers make up 75 percent of the employment-based backlog, and those who recently arrived face a wait of 90 years.
Technically, any H-1B worker can change jobs by filing a petition with the government, and some do take advantage of this rule. But there is a catch: The H-1B visa allows a path to permanent residency only when an employer sponsors a worker. And this is the carrot employers offer, one that most people coming to the United States want. Once they accept this carrot, they are trapped in immigration limbo because they can only change sponsoring employers or take new jobs at their current companies if the new job is in the same category and at the same level as the old one—otherwise they risk losing their status or having to reapply. Most don’t take the risk. Therefore, visa holders shun promotions and changes in their job description, leading to stagnating careers and lower salaries than they could otherwise make.
Opponents of the H-1B visa are correct in claiming that the visa disadvantages American workers, who are effectively competing with bonded labor. To the would-be immigrants, this indentured servitude is compounded by the employment restrictions that their spouses now face once again: The H-4 visas that permit them employment have also been suspended by Trump.
The overall problem could be fixed if the number of permanent-resident visas available for skilled workers was increased and the wait times decreased dramatically. But that is not going to happen in this era of pandemics and xenophobia. The most realistic solution is to untether the visa holder from the hiring company. In other words, allow an employee who enters the country on an H-1B visa and gets an offer of a higher salary to change jobs regardless of the status of his or her green-card application—without cumbersome additional paperwork. This way there’s no cheap labor anymore, and market forces take over. And, of course, the spouses of H-1B workers must not be prevented from working; no civilized society can place such restrictions on a group that is mostly women.
Technology companies don’t propose such a fix because it would cause them to lose power over the employee. Politicians won’t propose such legislation because it is not what tech-industry lobbyists want. Instead, we get a series of convoluted proposals that increase the role of government and disadvantage all workers, both American and foreign—and create the immigrant exodus.
Sadly, there is unemployment in the tech industry, and there are many heart-breaking cases of Americans being displaced by cheap foreign labor. This is not an acceptable situation, and it is why smart immigration reform would fix the salary disadvantage. Having more highly skilled, job-creating immigrants will lead to more innovation and more jobs. It will make the economic pie bigger for everyone.
The key to competitiveness is to allow the tech industry to hire the best talent, no matter where it comes from. The economy thrives on competition of every form, including technology and skill. Attacking immigrants and demanding that companies hire Americans over people who are more skilled, as Trump is doing, is the fastest way to destroy the United States’ remaining competitive advantages—and prolong the recession.
Vivek Wadhwa is a distinguished fellow at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program and co-author of From Incremental to Exponential: How Large Companies Can See the Future and Rethink Innovation, to be published in September. Twitter: @wadhwa
Hersheypark, Hershey Gardens & The Hershey Story do not have a planned opening date Author: Jamie Bittner (FOX43) Published: 6:05 PM EDT May 28, 2020
Dauphin County business owners are preparing to move to the yellow phase Friday as popular tourist destinations like Hersheypark and Hershey Gardens stay closed as leaders wait for the county to move to green.
Hersheypark spokesperson, Quinn Bryner, told FOX by email that the park continues to plan and implement a variety of new safety initiatives as recommended by government agencies and industry organizations that address coronavirus prevention in public places. However, Bryner added it is premature to discuss an opening date as “we understand it would require Dauphin County going green to reopen.”
The yellow phase will allow multiple businesses to reopen in the county. Meantime, Derry Township leaders have been tracking the impact of not only the business closures, but also the area’s major tourist destinations being shut down.
“Real Estate Taxes and Act 511 Taxes comprise 85% of the Township’s total revenues. COVID-19 mitigation efforts will have a significant impact on our Act 511 Taxes, but how widespread? The months of June, July and August will be very telling for the Township,” said Christopher Christman, Derry Township manager to FOX43 by email. “EIT, LST, Amusement tax and Parking tax will all be impacted by the shutdown. The FY2020 budget includes a total of $2.3 million of Amusement and Parking Tax revenue, which has been impacted by Hersheypark’s inability to open during the pandemic.”
Christman said revenues in Derry Township are beginning to show weakness due to the mitigation efforts to control COVID-19, adding, “through the end of April, Act 511 taxes are down approximately 32% from where they were one year ago – all of this is attributable to the COVID-19 virus. I cannot speculate as to when the park might open, but I can say with certainty, the revenue loss thus far this year will not be made up before the end of the fiscal year requiring the Township to find ways to close the revenue gap.” null
A tale of 2 places in the same county: One, preparing to reopen tomorrow in yellow. Another that can’t until the county goes green. How business owners are gearing up to bring in customers tomorrow, even as popular tourist destinations in Hershey stay shut down. WPMT FOX43 at 4 and 5! Knock Knock Boutique Hershey GardensPosted by Jamie Bittner on Thursday, May 28, 2020
Hershey Gardens is also closed until Dauphin County goes green.
“Botanical Gardens are specifically listed as being able to open in the green phase,” sad Amy Zeigler, senior director of Hershey Gardens. Zeigler added museums as well open under the green phase so ‘The Hershey Story’ will also not open Friday. Both the Gardens and the museum are managed by The M.S. Hershey Foundation.
When both Hershey Gardens and ‘The Hershey Story’ open, Zeigler said both locations will have additional safety measures that include a requirement for masks and a touch-less ticket scanning system.
“We will have timed tickets so everyone will have to purchase a ticket online,” said Zeigler. Inside Hershey Gardens, new signs are also on the floor to promote social distancing and plexiglass has been added to the cash registers.
“We’ll have people specifically designated to go around and clean high touch surfaces throughout the day,” said Zeigler. The butterfly atrium will also not be open.
“The only part of the gardens that we open is the outside, but it’s 23 acres as you can see of really fantastic beautiful space,” said Zeigler.
Normally, Zeigler said the Hershey Gardens would see close to 1,000 people per day on the weekends.
“Municipalities across the Commonwealth are all dealing with similar revenue issues in varying degrees, but one thing is for certain that we will all have to make tough choices to close our budget shortfalls,” said Christman.
Meantime Friday, many business owners were busy inside their shops preparing to open their doors once again as Dauphin moves to the ‘yellow phase’ Friday.
“I’m so excited to see people in person and having them shop almost like normal again,” said Emily Drobnock, of Knock Knock Boutique, who also owns Bella Sera on Chocolate Avenue.
Drobonock said both shops are planning extra safety precautions under ‘yellow’ by allowing only 3 customers in at a time.
When asked if she worries about the decrease in foot traffic due to the shutdown of tourist destinations, Drobonock said “obviously tourists are great and we love seeing them. But, the people who we are really craving to see are our local supporters.” Loading … null
A tale of 2 places in the same county: One, preparing to reopen tomorrow in yellow. Another that can't until the county goes green. How business owners are gearing up to bring in customers, even as popular tourist destinations in Hershey stay shut down. @fox43 at 4 and 5! pic.twitter.com/aUnHDNG1Tf
Tens of thousands of users reported they weren’t able to access Amazon on Thursday afternoon, according to Downdetector. Author: TEGNA, Associated Press Published: 4:25 PM EDT May 28, 2020
People across the United States reported having trouble accessing Amazon’s website on Thursday afternoon.
According to Downdetector, a website that monitors website outages, people first started reporting that they were having trouble accessing the website at around 3 p.m. EST. The outage topped out at more than 76,000 reports and seemed to be effecting both desktop and mobile users. null
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that some customers “may have temporarily experienced issues while shopping, however it has now been resolved.”
Amazon has yet to say what caused the brief outage.
The Amazon outage came as many are stuck at home and using the online retail website to order and deliver items during the coronavirus pandemic.
TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods plan to reopen most stores worldwide by end of June
The stores will have new measures in place to protect employees and customers, including requiring workers wear masks. Author: TEGNA Published: 2:18 PM EDT May 28, 2020
As states begin to slowly reopen their economies, businesses are itching to get customers back inside stores.
For TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods shoppers worldwide, that opportunity will arrive quickly.
TJX Companies — the parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods — announced it expected most company stores to be reopened by the end of June. null
“As various states and countries reopen for business, health and safety remain at the forefront of our decision making,” CEO and President of the TJX Companies Ernie Herrman said in a press release. “Although it’s still early and the retail environment remains uncertain, we have been encouraged with the very strong sales we have seen with our initial reopenings.”
According to the company’s most recent fiscal report, as of May 2, more than 1,600 stores had already reopened worldwide.
In addition to U.S. locations, stores located in some Canadian provinces will also reopen. TJX stores in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands and Australia are already fully open.
In total, the company reported having 4,545 stores as of early May.
Stores are taking precautions with requiring all employees to wear masks while working and posting signs indicating customers are also expected to wear masks while shopping. The company also said all associates must do daily health screenings and temperature checks.
The fitting rooms at U.S. stores have also been temporarily closed, and protective shields have been installed at the cash registers.
Governor Wolf says, he will disapprove the resolution. The General Assembly would need a 2/3 majority to override the governor’s disapproval Author: Chelsea Koerbler (FOX43) Published: 5:15 PM EDT May 28, 2020
HARRISBURG, Pa. — There are two resolutions moving through the state house in their respective senate and house chambers. Both resolutions would do the same thing, terminate the COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration issued by Governor Wolf on March 6th.
Republicans, State Rep. Russ Diamond, and State Sen. Doug Mastriano, are sponsors of the resolutions. Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Services Code defines the Governor’s authority to declare a disaster emergency but, the general assembly by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of disaster emergency at any time. Governor Wolf says, he has the power to disapprove the resolution and intends to exercise that power if it does pass with a majority vote. null
“I don’t see by a constitutional democratic perspective why this would make any sense,” said Gov. Wolf. “I do have the power to disapprove and I intend to.”
Sen. Mastriano says, the resolutions would need a two-thirds majority to override Governor Wolf’s disapproval and get the resolution to take effect. Assuming all republicans vote in favor of the resolution, 26 democrats in the house, and six democrats in the senate would need to support it.
“It takes the unilateral power out of the governor’s hand and places it back in the hands of the general assembly,” said Sen. Mastriano. By terminating the declaration, it would get rid of the red, yellow and green phases, and allow Pennsylvanians to make their own decisions on what they feel comfortable doing. “The goal is we take the power out of the governor’s hands and put it back in the people’s hand so they can decide if they want to open up and how to open up and if they do it safely or just go back to normal operations.”
Governor Wolf says, by ending the emergency disaster declaration, the state would lose $1.5 billion dollars in FEMA funding. However, Sen. Mastriano says, the Trump Administration has assured him, the state would not lose that money if these resolutions took effect.
The emergency disaster declaration is set to expire June 4th. Within his powers as Governor, Wolf can either let it expire or extend it. The governor does intend to renew the emergency disaster declaration. His office tells FOX43: null
“The governor’s COVID-19 proclamation not only allows the commonwealth to more quickly procure much-needed resources to assist county emergency management and support our medical professionals and first responders, it makes us eligible for federal reimbursement for associated costs under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. We are still very much in need of federal funding in order to respond to and recover from this pandemic.”https://d-979871345335546688.ampproject.net/2005151844001/frame.html
Don’t try it you will die. This is a common misunderstanding of medical treatments. If I shoot your heart with Epinephrine during a heart attack it may save your life. It may even take a second shot or a third to work. But don’t even consider doing it a 4th time.
You see this is how that drug works. It causes the heart which in a heart attack is already dying for lack of energy to burn through its energy reserves even faster. The few doses work but by the 4th dose the heart has no reserve energy. You couldn’t get it to move if you tried.
All of the “good things” you think are happening with the COVID-19…
Save the USPS Mike Hidalgo started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and 2 others The United States Postal Service employs over 500,000 people and is the #1 employer of veterans. Donald Trump has rejected a bill that would save it from running out of money in September: https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-rejects-bailout-that-included-aid-to-usps-report-says-2020-4 Show those that wish to dismantle and privatize the USPS that we are against letting one of our prize institutions fail. Start a petition of your own This petition starter stood up and took action. Will you do the same? Start a petition Updates 2 minutes ago 50,000 supporters Text USPS to 50409 You can also help by texting, messaging, or tweeting USPS to Resistbot on SMS at 50409, iMessage, F… Mike Hidalgo 3 days ago 3 days ago 250 supporters 3 days ago Mike Hidalgo started this petition Reasons for signing Barbara Wiebelhaus·3 days ago #45 wants USPS to fail so no vote by mail. So, save USPS! 9 · Charles Dylan Comsa·6 hours ago The postal service is vital to rural and indigenous communities and is one of the largest employers of Veterans in the country. Also federally run post is affordable.
Border wall funding, a government shutdown (or a government showdown!), trade relations and tariffs between the U.S. and China, the Fed continuing to raise rates with a teetering stock market — there has been plenty to fret over this holiday season. But something else is happening quietly that is nevertheless one of the most important issues in the history of America.
I am referring to, what I label as, the coming disenfranchisement of our Social Security system, at least as we know it.
Disenfranchisement, quite a stark word, is defined as the state of being deprived of a right or privilege. As a lawyer, I should know better than to use this word in relation to Social Security, since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1960 case Flemming v. Nestor that the receipt of payments from the program was not a“right,” even where a participant had paid into the system for years.
Even so, the reality is that most Americans count on and expect that “their” Social Security, in its present form, will be there for them. But it will not – at least that is what the current math unfortunately tells us.
Make no mistake, Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Even though there is an estimated nearly $3 trillion in the trust fund, this simply reflects accounting entries of the net surpluses the fund has been credited with, plus interest earned, since inception. There is no actual money in the fund, just the special-issue Treasury bonds, which are in fact government IOUs. The real surpluses have been used by the federal government as a funding source of many things.
But no more – the days of surplus payments are over now and under the current system will be for the coming 75 years. For the first time since 1982, this year more benefits will be paid than revenues collected. This is no surprise to the government, as they have projected and forecasted these figures based on our demographics in the annual Trustee Report since 1941.
But as difficult as that is to swallow, that is not the issue I focus on. What consumes me is the much larger problem of what is coming. When you break down the birth rates between 1946 – 1964, you see that births peaked in 1957, followed closely through 1964. This means that about 70 percent of the Boomers have not even begun to retire yet, and beginning in 2022 the bulk of the generation will retire in a five to seven-year succession, one year after the next.
In other words, our system is now approximately 2 full time equivalent payors for every 1 recipient receiving Social Security benefits, 2-to-1, costing us more than we are taking in, and 70 percent of this great generation has yet to even be a recipient in the system. (2018 Trustee report showing 2.8-to-1 includes all workers who worked at all during the year, and is not reflective of true contributors to system.)
Keep in mind that every time a Boomer retires, they are a double negative to the federal budget as they go from being a positive contributor through payroll taxes to no contribution with their retirement (the 1st negative impact) and then they move onto the system as a recipient (the 2nd negative budget impact). The lower birth rates of Gen X and Millennials, comparatively, not including surplus immigration, does not help.
Before he was Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan asked the CBO to analyze these future problems back in 2008. The resulting report was unequivocal. If the benefits paid via Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid remained (at 2008 levels) with the retirement of the Baby Boomers, benefits would have to be cut, taxes would have to go up, or more likely BOTH.
Rock and a hard place
If you are one of those in the camp of “no politician will ever be elected that will cut our Social Security benefits,” as I so frequently hear in my work across the country, let me introduce you to another harsh reality. The timing of the mass retirement of our Boomer generation is colliding with the reality of our federal debt reaching an unsustainable critical mass.
At around $22 trillion and climbing, we will not be able to debt finance these benefits for a sustained time period. Once we hit $30 trillion in total debt, which as forecasted could happen in less than 8 years with the projected $1 trillion annual deficits, interest servicing alone will cost us more per year than we spend on Medicare and the military combined – a simple impossibility for the United States.
Thus, it is clear that the proverbial can cannot be kicked down the road any longer. The road is ending, and the cliff lies dead ahead just like the iceberg did for the Titanic.
We cannot borrow our way out. As I see it, it is a mathematical certainty that benefits will be cut (I believe on some kind of aggressive means tested basis) and taxes will go up (also likely dramatically, according to the math).
And hence the word… the coming “disenfranchisement” of Social Security – Americans being deprived of the privilege of the full benefit payments upon which they were counting. It is no wonder that Congress has expressly reserved the right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of the Act and the U.S. Supreme Court has established that it is not a right. We must wake up and prepare accordingly.
Rebecca Walser is a licensed tax attorney and certified financial planner and author of the book Wealth Unbroken, who specializes in the strategic planning of maximizing lifetime wealth while minimizing tax through her practice, Walser Wealth Management . She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Florida and her Master of Law degree in taxation from New York University. She is a frequent national media contributor.
Environmental organizations see an outpouring of support post-election
By Emma Foehringer Merchant on Nov 28, 2016
Since Election Day, human-rights organizations like Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP have seen their donations spike. “This is the greatest outpouring of support for the ACLU in our nearly 100-year history,” its executive director announced. “Greater than the days after 9/11.”
That goodwill has also spilled over into the coffers — and membership lists — of environmental organizations. While it’s too soon to tell how much green groups will collect in the wake of the election, this month’s flood of support could come as a boon to organizations that usually receive a small portion of philanthropic giving. Environmental and animal welfare groups traditionally rank low on the list of causes Americans donate to. In 2015, they received just 3 percent of total donations, far less than churches, schools, hospitals, even arts and culture.
It seems that President-elect Donald Trump’s promises to overturn Obama-era environmental regulations and ditch an international climate agreement have spurred those angered by election results to vote with their wallets.
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“The incoming administration threatens to roll back environmental protections across the board,” said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in a statement. With renewed support, Van Noppen said, Earthjustice plans to provide a line of defense against these rollbacks, by deepening its legal team and increasing the number of clients it represents — already more than 600 — in legal battles.
Many other environmental organizations are making similar pleas, seeking financial support to fight the Trump administration’s damaging environmental agenda. Every environmental organization Grist contacted said it had seen an increased level of engagement in some way.
The climate action group 350.org has gained tens of thousands of new supporters since Election Day, spokesman Jamie Henn said, and has seen donations surge. The organization’s petition to stop climate denier Myron Ebell from running the Environmental Protection Agency gained over 20,000 signatures in a few days.
Friends of the Earth, too, is raking in money at an unprecedented level: four times faster than before the election, according to development director Peter Stocker. The Sierra Club said it has gained more than 15,000 new monthly donors since the election, double the number that joined during the rest of the calendar year. Earthjustice has seen a 711 percent increase in online donors over last month, and during the week of Nov. 7, the group saw a 707 percent increase in new online donors compared to the same week in 2015.
The Environmental Defense Fund has seen similar upticks. “Without any special prompting from us, people are energized about protecting the progress we’ve made,” membership director Sam Parry said in a statement. “Apparently the sixth stage of grief is activism.”
Those numbers will mean big green groups can widen their campaigns and increase their digital outreach — one Grist editor has received up to four Sierra Club fundraising emails a day since the election — but not everyone in the climate movement is convinced that more money alone will make a difference.
“We need a surge of people into the streets, and the jails,” says Wen Stephenson, author of What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other, a book on climate activism. “We need more resistance camps like at Standing Rock, only everywhere.”
Others in the movement agree that Trump-era environmentalism will need to be an on-the-ground battle, because it will be difficult, if not impossible, to make progress in Washington with a Trump administration and GOP-dominated Congress. “Now that the inside game is so difficult, the outside game is even more important,” said 350.org’s Henn. (Note: 350.org founder Bill McKibben is a member of the Grist board of directors.)
Other green groups are seeing a surge of interest in organizing and direct action, too. Greenpeace cites a boost in calls and emails from people asking what they can do, as well as more people signing up for training.
Stocker, at Friends of the Earth, expects an increase in activists and volunteers at the community level as people reach out to friends, family, and anyone else looking to get involved and work across movements.
“People are telling us that this election shook them to the core,” Stocker said. “Those who had never been to a rally or protest are itching to get out and make their voices heard.”
Is your bank funding the Dakota Access Pipeline? Here’s how to find a new bank.
By Ask Umbra®
Q. Dear Umbra,
I’ve been looking to switch banks for some time and the recent events in North Dakota have made my desire to fire Bank of America all the more urgent. I’m having a hard time finding information about banking institutions that are financially supportive of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible projects — or even banks that aren’t bankrolling dirty energy projects. For someone who is interested in changing banks, but who still needs some of the perks a big bank can offer, what are the best options?
A. Dearest Meredith,
When it comes to banks, we tend to pay the most attention to the stuff that directly affects us: interest rates, overdraft fees, whether or not our local branch gives away free lollipops (or is that just me?). It’s easy to overlook the fact that banks do a lot more than just babysit our hard-earned dollars. They also get their fingers in all kinds of investments and deals, including those that support energy projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline — a 1,172-mile pipeline that would carry oil from North Dakota across four states, and carry a whole lotta polluting and racist baggage too. This controversial project would not be possible without cash from a number of big banks.
So welcome to the latest episode of Big Banks Behaving Badly! You’re right that Bank of America is one of the institutions funding the company that’s building the Dakota Access Pipeline — along with dozens of other banks, including Citibank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase. Environmentalists are targeting those banks and calling on them to halt the funding, and one Norwegian bank is now considering pulling out of the project.
You’re also right that plenty of the biggies support other fossil fuel development projects, from coal mining to deep-water oil drilling. This 2016 report card from the Rainforest Action Network grades the major banks on exactly this, and finds that many of them — including Bank of America — deserve to be sent to summer school.
So if we want our banks to better represent our green values, we know who not to patronize. But who is worthy of handling our stacks? Here are a few options:
Big banks that support renewable energy
The megabanks aren’t exclusively funding fossil fuels; many are also backing solar and wind power projects. Bloomberg has checked into which institutions have been supporting renewables and cutting their own carbon emissions. European banks are leading the way, but JPMorgan Chase cracked the top 10 in 2014. Still, even as Chase and other banks put money into renewables, they continue to show up as bad actors on RAN’s fossil-fuel report card. If money talks, these banks are talking out of both sides of their mouths — so read on for alternatives.
I’m a huge fan of credit unions: They’re nonprofits, they usually offer excellent interest rates and low fees, and they invest in local projects rather than dirty international dealings. I’m not sure what perks you’re looking for, Meredith, but credit unions offer plenty of services just like the Wall Street outfits do — so I encourage you to check out what’s available in your area.
Community development banks
You say “socially responsible projects,” I think “community development bank.” These institutions (which can also be credit unions) might not focus specifically on eco-friendly investments, but they do make a point of serving the financially underserved: local people, institutions, businesses, and nonprofits that might not qualify for loans elsewhere. These aren’t available everywhere (though I did find one in Philly); search here to see if there are options near you.
Best of luck in your quest for a new home for your money! Switching banks takes a little bit of logistical wrangling, but it’s well worth the, er, investment (here are tips and step-by-step directions). And make sure to tell your current institution exactly why you’re bailing. How will things ever get better if the big guys don’t know what they’re doing wrong?
Two powerful Trojan viruses, identified as Gozi ISFB and Nymaim, have been blended together to produce a monster known as GozNym. The program has stolen more than 3 million dollars since it was initially spotted fourteen days ago.
Researchers at IBM’s security division were able to identify the hybrid Trojan, and stated that the Trojan program is presently installed or is working its way through the banking system. The virus can be found in more than 50 percent of the machines present in commercial financial institutions, credit unions, and microfinance banks. As for GozNym, it is—without a doubt—an extremely stealthy Trojan that incorporates the very best of both the Trojans previously mentioned.
Image Source: Security Intelligence – A figure showing the Trojan’s target market, mainly in the United States.
Furthermore, GozNym is primarily being distributed through electronic mails with so-called infected macros that are using…
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard