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RCW2014

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Hometown: Michigan
Current location: Lower mid-Michigan
Member since: Tue May 13, 2014, 05:11 PM
Number of posts: 20,894

Journal Archives

Pending Home Sales Tumble As Supply Crisis Worsens

* The pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors dropped 0.8 percent month-to-month and is now 1.7 percent lower than May 2016.
* The inventory crisis is worst on the low end of the market, where demand is highest.

Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
2 Hours Ago

Fewer buyers signed contracts to buy existing homes in May, likely because they can't find or afford what they want.

The pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors dropped 0.8 percent month-to-month and is now 1.7 percent lower than May 2016. Expectations had been for a slight gain, but even April's reading was revised lower.

"Monthly closings have recently been oscillating back and forth, but this third consecutive decline in contract activity implies a possible topping off in sales," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. "Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast."

The number of home sales that closed this spring were slightly higher than a year ago, but the lack of listings clearly held the market back. The supply of homes for sale at the end of May was down more than 8 percent from a year ago, and homes that were listed sold at the fastest rate on record.

more...

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/28/pending-home-sales-tumble-as-supply-crisis-hits-sales.html

ABC Settles Suit Over What It Had Called 'pink Slime

by Tom Kludt @tomkludt June 28, 2017: 11:40 AM ET
pink slime trial
After three weeks of trial in a South Dakota courtroom, ABC and Beef Products Inc. reached a settlement in a defamation lawsuit over a series of news reports on the meat producer's use of lean, finely textured beef product -- sometimes referred to by its detractors as "pink slime."

"ABC has reached an amicable resolution of its dispute with the makers of 'lean finely textured beef,'" the network said in a statement.

The South Dakota-based BPI sued ABC for more than $1 billion over reports that originally aired in 2012, alleging that the coverage severely hurt its business. In the reports, ABC explained that the product was not unsafe to eat, but that BPI did not label when it was included in its beef.

Dan Webb, an attorney for BPI, told CNNMoney his clients were "extraordinarily pleased to have reached a settlement."

more...

http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/28/media/abc-bpi-settlement/index.html

Companies Struggle To Recover After Massive Cyberattack With Ransom Demands

By David Filipov, Andrew Roth and Ellen Nakashima June 28 at 10:54 AM

MOSCOW — Companies worldwide struggled to recover Wednesday after a wave of powerful cyberattacks crippled computer systems in Europe, Asia and the United States with a virus similar to the global ransomware assault in May that infected computers.

Researchers at Kaspersky Lab in Russia said Wednesday that a regional Ukrainian website was hacked and used to distribute the ransomware, which attacked around 2,000 users across the globe.

The company said that its preliminary findings suggest the malware is a new kind of ransomware not seen before, not a variant of the Petya ransomware, as other cybersecurity researchers had suggested. It named the malware *ExPetr*, adding that while “it has several strings similar to Petya, it possesses entirely different functionality.”

Kaspersky estimated that more than 2,000 attacks were carried out — 60 percent of them in Ukraine and 30 percent in Russia. Among the targets was Russia’s largest oil company.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “no serious problems” had occurred as a result of the cyberattacks. Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, Peskov also said he had no accurate information on the origin of the attacks.

more...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/companies-struggle-to-recover-after-massive-cyberattack-with-ransom-demands/2017/06/28/4e9e8fbe-5bd5-11e7-8e2f-ef443171f6bd_story.html?utm_term=.78bb6f9c3ffb

Iran Accuses US Of 'Brazen' Plan To Change Its Government

Jun 27, 11:00 PM EDT
By EDITH M. LEDERER
Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Iran is accusing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of "a brazen interventionist plan" to change the current government that violates international law and the U.N. Charter.

Iran's U.N. Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Tuesday that Tillerson's comments are also "a flagrant violation" of the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the United States pledged "not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs."

Tillerson said in a June 14 hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the 2018 State Department budget that U.S. policy is to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons "and work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government."

"Those elements are there, certainly as we know," he said.

Kohshroo said Iran expects all countries to condemn "such grotesque policy statements and advise the government of the United States to act responsibly and to adhere to the principles of the (U.N.) Charter and international law."

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http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/UN_UNITED_NATIONS_IRAN_UNITED_STATES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-27-23-00-45

Retracted CNN Story A Boon For President At War With Media



By DAVID BAUDER

NEW YORK (AP) -- For a president seemingly at perpetual war with "fake news," the resignation of three CNN journalists over a retracted story about a Donald Trump Russian connection is a gift from the political gods when the struggling effort to pass a health bill dominates the headlines.

The White House quickly took advantage Tuesday with blistering presidential tweets and a media scolding at the afternoon press briefing. Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe piled on by releasing a video with a CNN producer caught on camera talking about the network's Russia coverage being ratings-driven.

CNN late Monday accepted the resignations of journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau and Lex Haris over last week's web story about Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci's pre-inaugural meeting with the head of a Russian investment fund. The network retracted the story on Friday and apologized to Scaramucci.

Trump has been unhappy with CNN since he was a candidate, and has been particularly annoyed by its reporting on connections with Russia. The misstep on a relatively minor story - it was never mentioned on any of CNN's television networks - left some White House staff members jubilant, believing it handed them a new talking point to use as a cudgel against mainstream media organizations they feel are largely biased against them.

That happened quickly Tuesday when Sarah Huckabee Sanders called on a Breitbart News reporter for the first question of the White House briefing. It was about CNN.

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http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TV_CNN_RETRACTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-27-18-53-09

White House Says Syrias Assad Preparing Another Chemical Attack, Warns Of Heavy Penalty

By Abby Phillip and Dan Lamothe June 26 at 10:20 PM

The White House issued an ominous warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday night, pledging that his regime would pay a "heavy price" if it carried out another chemical attack this year.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the United States had detected evidence of preparations for a chemical attack, similar to the preparations that occurred before an attack in April.

"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children," Spicer said in the statement. "The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

"As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," he continued. "If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."

more...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/06/26/white-house-says-syrias-assad-preparing-another-chemical-attack-warns-of-heavy-penalty/?utm_term=.e4813d3083ff

Hard to say what to believe here. Don't trust any of them...

Asylum Seekers In Canada Who Fled Trump Now Trapped In Legal Limbo

By Anna Mehler Paperny and Rod Nickel
Reuters June 26, 2017

TORONTO/WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Thousands of people who fled to Canada to escape President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal migrants have become trapped in legal limbo because of an overburdened refugee system, struggling to find work, permanent housing or enroll their children in schools.

Refugee claims are taking longer to be completed than at any time in the past five years, according to previously unpublished Immigration and Refugee Board data provided to Reuters. Those wait times are set to grow longer after the IRB in April allocated “up to half” of its 127 tribunal members to focus on old cases. The number of delayed hearings more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 and is on track to increase again this year.

Hearings are crucial to establishing a claimant’s legal status in Canada. Without that status, they struggle to convince employers to hire them or landlords to rent to them. Claimants cannot access loans or student financial aid, or update academic or professional credentials to meet Canadian standards.

Canada's refugee system was struggling to process thousands of applications even before 3,500 asylum seekers began crossing the U.S. border on foot in January. It lacks the manpower to complete security screenings for claimants and hear cases in a timely manner. Often there are not enough tribunal members to decide cases or interpreters to attend hearings, the IRB said.

More than 4,500 hearings scheduled in the first four months of 2017 were canceled, according to the IRB data.

more...

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/asylum-seekers-canada-fled-trump-now-trapped-legal-101501170.html

The Passing of the Pelosi Era

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In the first round of the special election for the House seat in Georgia’s Sixth District, 30-year-old Jon Ossoff swept 48 percent. He more than doubled the vote of his closest GOP rival, Karen Handel.

A Peach State pickup for the Democrats and a huge humiliation for President Trump seemed at hand.

But in Tuesday’s final round, Ossoff, after the most costly House race in history, got 48 percent again, and lost. If Democratic donors are grabbing pitchforks, who can blame them?

And what was Karen Handel’s cutting issue?

Ossoff lived two miles outside the district and represented the values of the Democratic minority leader, whom he would vote to make the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

The Pelosi factor has been a drag on Democrats in all four of the special elections the party has lost since Trump’s November triumph.

Prediction: Democrats will not go into the 2018 Congressional elections with San Fran Nan as the party’s face and future. No way. As President Kennedy said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

Post-Trump, it is hard to see Republicans returning to NAFTA-GATT free-trade globalism, open borders, mass immigration or Bushite crusades for democracy. A cold realism about America’s limited power and potential to change the world has settled in.

And just as Trump put Bush-Romney Republicanism into the dumpster in the 2016 primaries, Hillary Clinton’s defeat, followed by losses in four straight special elections, portend a passing of the guard in the Democratic Party.

So where is the party going?

Clearly, the energy and fire are on the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren left. Moreover, the crudity of party chair Tom Perez’s attacks on Trump and the GOP, being echoed now by Democratic members of Congress, suggest that the new stridency to rally the angry left is gaining converts.

Trump’s rough rhetoric, which brought out the alienated working class in the ten of thousands to his rallies, is being emulated by “progressives” — imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.

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Nor is this unusual. After narrow presidential defeats, major parties have often taken a hard turn back toward their base.

After Richard Nixon lost narrowly to JFK in 1960, the Republican right blamed his “me-too” campaign, rose up and nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964. A choice, not an echo.

After Hubert Humphrey lost narrowly to Nixon in 1968, the Democratic Party took a sharp turn to the left in 1972 and nominated George McGovern.

A 21st-century variant of McGovernism seems be in the cards for Democrats today. The salient positions of the party have less to do with bread-and-butter issues than identity politics, issues of race, gender, morality, culture, ethnicity and class.

Same-sex marriage, abortion rights, sanctuary cities, Black Lives Matter, racist cops, La Raza, bathroom rights, tearing down Confederate statues, renaming streets, buildings and bridges to remove any association with slave-owners or segregationists, putting sacred tribal lands ahead of pipelines, and erasing the name of the Washington Redskins.

The Democrats’ economic agenda?

Free tuition for college kids, forgiveness of student loan debt, sticking it to Wall Street and the 1 percent, and bailing out Puerto Rico.

And impeachment — though a yearlong FBI investigation has failed to find any Trump-Kremlin collusion to dethrone Debbie Wasserman Schultz or expose the debate-question shenanigans of Donna Brazile.

And where are the Democratic successes since Obamacare?

The cities where crime is surging, Baltimore and Chicago, have been run for decades by Democrats. The worst-run state in the nation, Illinois, has long been dominated by Democratic legislators.

The crisis of the old order is apparent as well across the pond.

Jeremy Corbyn, a Bernie Sanders radical socialist, led his party to major gains in the recent parliamentary elections, as Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May saw her majority wiped out and faces the same seditionist grumbling as Nancy Pelosi.

Western elites are celebrating the victory of Emmanuel Macron, the “youngest French President since Napoleon,” who defeated Marine Le Pen by a ratio of almost 2-to-1 and whose new party, En Marche! (In Motion!), captured the Assembly. But the celebrating seems premature.

For the first time in the history of De Gaulle’s Fifth Republic, neither the center-left Socialists nor center-right Republicans, the parties that have ruled France for 60 years, made it into the finals in a presidential election.

And while the first round of that election saw the ruling Socialist Party’s candidate run fifth, with 6 percent, the votes of the rightist Le Pen and far left-Communist Jean-Luc Melenchon together topped 40 percent. It is the flanks of European politics that seem still to be hard and growing, and the center that seems shaky and imperiled.

Moreover, Macron faces daunting problems. Unemployment is nearly 10 percent, with youth unemployment twice that. Terrorist attacks from within Muslim communities continue to rise, as do the number of boats of Third Worlders migrating from across the Med.

Can anyone believe that, as these trends continue, Europeans will continue to back centrist policies and moderate politicians to deal with them?

Dream on. That is not the history of Europe.

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http://buchanan.org/blog/passing-pelosi-era-127255

BMW Adding 1,000 Jobs At South Carolina Plant

* BMW will add 1,000 jobs and invest $600 million in its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
* The investments will boost annual production to as many as 450,000 vehicles.
* The facility is already the company's largest final assembly plant in the world and had employed more than 9,000.

Phil LeBeau | @Lebeaucarnews
6 Hours Ago

BMW's biggest plant in the world is about to get a little bigger.

The German automaker said Monday it will add another 1,000 jobs and invest $600 million in the plant as part of a plan to boost annual production to as many 450,000 vehicles.

"It's a great day for us here in Spartanburg and South Carolina and for the BMW group," said Harald Krueger, chairman of BMW. "The workforce will be well above 10,000 people, which is, in my view, clearly a symbol of success."

BMW's facility in Spartanburg is already the company's largest final assembly plant in the world, employing more than 9,000 workers and building more than 411,000 SUVs and crossovers last year.

Krueger marked the 25th anniversary of announcing plans to build the South Carolina plant by unveiling the newest version of the X3 crossover utility vehicle.

more...

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/26/bmw-adding-1000-jobs-at-south-carolina-plant.html

Rabbi, Several Others Arrested In Public Benefits Fraud Case

Jun 26, 1:48 PM EDT
By DAVID PORTER
Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey rabbi and his wife and three other couples defrauded state and federal public assistance programs out of more than $1 million by underreporting their incomes, according to criminal complaints released Monday.

One of the couples continued to receive Medicaid assistance for their children despite making more than $1 million in both 2012 and 2013, according to one criminal complaint.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said more arrests are expected as a result of the investigation centered on Lakewood, a town near central New Jersey's shore that is home to a large and growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Rabbi Zalmen Sorotzkin, of Congregation Lutzk in Lakewood, and his wife, Tzipporah, were charged with collecting more than $338,000 in benefits prosecutors said they weren't entitled to. They were charged in state court along with Mordechai and Jocheved Breskin, who prosecutors said collected more than $585,000 in benefits.

more...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_RABBI_BENEFITS_FRAUD_CHARGES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-26-13-48-45
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