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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,796

Journal Archives

Pending home sales continued to rebound across the country in June (for now)

Source: MarketWatch

Once Americans get used to sub-3% rates, they may not continue to drive sales volumes

The index of pending home sales rose 16.6% in June as compared with May, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.

The increase comes after pending home sales experienced the largest monthly rise on record last month, the trade group said.

Compared with a year ago, contract signings were up 6.3%, a sign of how sharply the market has rebounded from its coronavirus-related low.

“It is quite surprising and remarkable that, in the midst of a global pandemic, contract activity for home purchases is higher compared to one year ago,” Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, said in the report. “Consumers are taking advantage of record-low mortgage rates resulting from the Federal Reserve’s maximum liquidity monetary policy.”

Read more: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/pending-home-sales-continued-to-rebound-across-the-country-in-june-for-now-2020-07-29

Florida adds more than 200 coronavirus deaths, a new record

Source: Tampa Bay Times

The state also announced 9,446 cases and close to 600 hospitalizations Wednesday.

Just a day after setting a record-high number of coronavirus deaths, the state surpassed it and added 217 more on Wednesday.

Since March, 6,457 people across the state have died from COVID-19, according to the Florida Department of Health. The weekly death average has continued to rise, reaching 143 people dead a day. Wednesday was the first time the state has announced more than 200 deaths in a 24-hour period.

Florida also logged 9,446 new infections, bringing the total to 451,423 cases since the pandemic began. The positivity rate, or the percentage of positive tests among the tests processed, is about 12 percent for the day.

Hospitalizations increased by 587 admissions, the second highest increase ever reported. The seven-day average of hospitalizations rose to the highest point yet, with 468 admissions a day.

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/07/29/florida-adds-more-than-200-coronavirus-deaths-a-new-record/

'We Are Upholding The Rule Of Law,' Barr Tells Congress While Agents Drag Jerry Nadler Into Van

WASHINGTON—Assuring lawmakers that his department was operating strictly according to the book, Attorney General Bill Barr told Congress during a testimony Tuesday that he only intended to “uphold the rule of law” while federal agents dragged a screaming Jerry Nadler outside into an unmarked van.

“This is standard agency practice that has been in place in administrations long before this one to quiet unrest like what we’re seeing in the Capitol building today,” said Barr after unidentified agents burst into the House Chamber, covered the New York representative’s face with a black bag, zip-tied his hands, and led him to a white federal vehicle awaiting along with Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Pramila Jayapal.

“When you have hundreds of Congress members demonstrating inside the building daily, we need to do something to restore order. Frankly, the resistance like some of these legislators showed in being dragged from this testimony suggests that they do not have peaceful intentions.”

At press time, Mitch McConnell had requested Barr provide immediate testimony to explain why he had not yet also sent in troops to restore order in the unruly Senate chambers.


The Hijacking of Homeland Security

A former leader of the department says Trump is politicizing the agency and putting the nation at risk.

By Michael Chertoff
Mr. Chertoff served as the secretary of homeland security under President George W. Bush.

The Trump administration’s deliberate decision to intervene in the Portland protests with a heavy hand, unconventional means and inflammatory political rhetoric has contributed to growing public distrust — particularly of the Department of Homeland Security.

Critics of the department are now rightly worried that its law enforcement agents might be increasingly deployed by President Trump to score political points, or even interfere with the November election.

These actions, now or into the future, endanger our democracy, and undermine the nation’s safety — by hurting the department’s ability to carry out its core mission of protecting Americans from genuine threats to our security.

Homeland Security was created after the Sept. 11 terror attacks with the goal of unifying the government’s efforts to combat emerging security threats. Over the years, these threats have grown to include not only international and domestic terrorism, but also natural disasters, pandemics and cyberattacks.


Trump calls new Senate GOP coronavirus bill 'semi-irrelevant'

Source: Washington Post

Legislation gets rocky reception as multiple Senate Republicans criticize provisions ranging from stimulus payments to Pentagon spending

President Trump brushed off the new $1 trillion Senate GOP coronavirus legislation as “sort of semi-irrelevant” Tuesday, dismissing its significance just a day after Senate Republican leaders overcame contentious internal divisions to roll it out.

At the Capitol, meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) disavowed a key Trump administration priority in the bill — funding for a new FBI headquarters — while the second-ranking GOP senator suggested that Congress might be unable to make a deal in time to avert the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits on Friday.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Congress might have to pass a stand-alone extension of the unemployment benefits, a piecemeal approach that administration officials have floated but that Senate Republican leaders had avoided publicly embracing before now.

“If things are, the wheels have come off by then, then I think it would probably argue for doing something skinnier or smaller and then, you know, regrouping,” Thune told reporters. “But again, we’ll know a lot more about that in the next few days.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/07/28/gop-bailout-coronavirus/

Politics at the point of a gun

Conservative armed groups move into politics as backlash builds against protests, stay-at-home orders

Before his political awakening this spring, Peter Diaz lived a quiet life near this leafy liberal bastion at the base of the Puget Sound. He ran a tree-trimming service and a business that built office cubicles. He was 37 and had never voted.

Now he has formed his own political party and is the leader of American Wolf, a roving band of civilians who have anointed themselves “peacekeepers” amid months of tense protests over racism and policing. In the name of law and order, members of his informal group have shot paintballs at demonstrators and carry zip ties and bear spray as they look for antifascists. Diaz has done “recon” in Minneapolis and Seattle’s “autonomous zone,” and drove his American Wolf mobile home to Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day with President Trump.

America’s summer of anxiety and rage has swept up men like Diaz, energizing conservatives who are deploying to the front lines of the culture war. Across the country, conservative armed civilians have surged into public view — marching on statehouses, challenging Black Lives Matter protests, chasing Internet rumors — and bringing the threat of lethal force to local politics. Their emergence has prompted congressional hearings on the surge in anti-government militias and domestic extremism and has alarmed researchers who track hate groups.

Unlike the old image of militiamen as fringe elements motivated by a desire to overthrow the federal government, these groups often rally in defense of the president and see themselves as pro-government allies of local law enforcement.

“We’re the silent majority,” Diaz said, standing outside his house with a .45-caliber Remington handgun on his belt. “It’s time to act.”


Bunch of fucking Nazis.

Republicans have long dreamed of turning the culture war into a shooting war.

Bill Barr's election meddling is a total riot

Here comes the caravan!

In 2018, when things were looking grim for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, President Trump conjured a crisis. He declared “an invasion of our country” by Central American migrant caravans full of “stone cold criminals,” “unknown Middle Easterners” and “gang members” who were “putting our country in great danger.”

Trump mobilized 2,100 National Guard members and then, days before the election, 5,200 active-duty U.S. troops. He declared a national emergency and told voters to “blame the Democrats.” The voters didn’t fall for the phony crisis, and the caravan menace fizzled.

Now another electoral reckoning approaches, and Trump is following the same script. This time, he proclaims that “sick and deranged Anarchists & Agitators” in Portland, Ore., and Seattle seek to “destroy our American cities, and worse.”

Instead of using the troops again as his political props, Trump is now mobilizing armed federal police from the Justice and Homeland Security departments — and claiming that “cities would burn” if Democrats won the election.


Americans are suffering. Trump offers them a doctor who warns of sex with demons.

According to the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is “an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of [the] uterus — the endometrium — grows outside [the] uterus.”

Not so, says Stella Immanuel, a Houston pediatrician and spiritual leader of Fire Power Ministries, a pronouncedly non-orthodox church. Endometriosis and other potentially dangerous gynecological conditions are the residue of sexual intercourse with demons, Immanuel teaches. These demons, known as “spirit husbands” and “spirit wives” (you might prefer their pet names: Incubus and Succubus) once walked the Earth in physical form. After they drowned in Noah’s flood, however, they carried on only in non-corporeal form. They visit humans in sexy dreams, which aren’t dreams after all but spirit spouses making a booty call. The demons are responsible not only for diseases of the female reproductive system but also for male impotence, most financial troubles, marital discord and spiritual malaise.

This is not Immanuel’s only diversion from the medical mainstream. She also maintains that alien DNA is a component of some therapeutic drugs and that government scientists are developing a vaccine to prevent religious faith. You can find these and other teachings of hers on YouTube.

Or you can find Immanuel on President Trump’s Twitter feed, where she testifies to the power of hydroxychloroquine (yep! we’re back to that one) to cure covid-19 and assures the public that masks are not important to fighting the pandemic. More than 10 million Americans heard her advice, thanks in part to the president’s amplifying effect, before Facebook took down her page. In response, Immanuel threatened to have Jesus unplug Facebook’s servers.


Someone's been watching too many X-Files episodes.

Pasco deputy under investigation after Instagram post about killing 'Marxist terrorists'

An account linked to Deputy Jesse Francis urged others to take up arms "to defend (President Trump) and the Republic."

A Pasco County Sheriff’s deputy is under internal investigation after the Tampa Bay Times asked questions about his recent Instagram posts, including one calling for people to “defend (President Trump) and the Republic against anarchist/marxist terrorists.”

The posts were made on an Instagram account under the name Chino Wen. A reader who brought the posts to the Times’ attention said it belonged to Deputy Jesse Francis, who also has a Facebook page under the same name. Both pages are public. A background check shows that Francis’ middle name is Wen.

Francis, 41, doesn’t identify himself on either page, but his Facebook page contains several posts about the death of his father, James Blake Francis, in 2018, including a photo album titled “Beloved Father (and Uncle, Brother, Cousin, and Friend to many).” An obituary for the elder Francis identifies Jesse Francis as one of his children.

On Sunday morning, a text post on the Instagram page urged readers to be prepared to take up arms.

“When President Trump gets reelected, be prepared to defend him and the Republic against anarchist/marxist terrorists who are determined to destroy this country,” it reads. “Remember, forcible felonies (arson, felony/aggravated battery, etc) could be responded with and up to deadly use of force in self-defense and defense of others. How prepared are you to defend the Republic and the Constitution of the United States of America?”


The world is realizing the U.S. is no longer committed to basic standards of decency

NOT SO long ago, asylum seekers turned to the United States, seeking refuge from repressive states. Now the United States is one of those repressive states.

That’s the gist of a Canadian federal court ruling, which would scrap a 16-year-old bilateral treaty called the Safe Third Country Agreement, under which Canada and the United States each recognize the other as a safe place to seek refuge. Justice Ann Marie McDonald ruled that Canada’s practice of turning back third-country refugees who try to cross at official points of entry along the U.S.-Canada frontier — on the theory that they have already reached a safe harbor in the United States — no longer makes sense given the atrocious treatment to which they are subjected south of the border. Canada, she wrote, can no longer turn a blind eye to the reality that the United States denies decent and dignified treatment to asylum seekers.

Justice McDonald based her ruling partly on testimony from asylum seekers who described harrowing conditions of confinement in U.S. detention, to which they are automatically taken when turned back by Canada. One of them, a refugee from Ethiopia named Nedira Jemal Mustefa, recounted what she called a “terrifying, isolating and psychologically traumatic” experience at a “freezing” facility where she was held in upstate New York. Other testimony in the Canadian court provided evidence that detainees in U.S. facilities were denied access to counsel, phone calls and translators, and some were subjected to solitary confinement.

The judge found that the “accounts of the detainees demonstrate both physical and psychological suffering because of detention, and a real risk that they will not be able to assert asylum claims” in the United States.

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