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Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 10,635

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How the U.S. dollar's 'almost silent slide' is juicing the stock-market rally

ICE U.S. Dollar Index down nearly 6% from March pandemic panic peak

Investors might not have noticed it amid all the excitement, but a stealthy slide by the U.S. dollar should get some of the credit for the stock market’s stunning rally.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, a measure of the U.S. currency against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.3% Friday to 96.70, but remained on track for a 1.4% weekly decline. The index had traded at a more-than-three-year high near 103 in mid-March as the panic created by the COVID-19 pandemic created a global scramble for dollars. The index has retreated around 5.9% from that peak, leaving it up around 0.6% for the year to date.

“There were plenty of distractions last month but the almost silent slide in the greenback must go down as one of the most unremarked devaluations in history,” wrote Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies, in a Wednesday note.

A weaker dollar is often welcome news for U.S. equities, as it makes exports of U.S. good cheaper to foreign buyers. But thanks to the dollar’s role as the international reserve currency, It can also be a boon for global growth, particularly since its run-up came as companies around the world drew down credit lines in an effort to hoard dollars, boosting funding costs. The Federal Reserve responded by expanding existing swap lines with major central banks and opening new swap lines with others, while taking additional steps to meet dollar demand.


Florida Sets New Single-Day Record for Coronavirus Cases Since Reopening Economy

Source: Newsweek

Florida Sets New Single-Day Record for Coronavirus Cases Since Reopening Economy, Over 4,000 in Three Days

On Friday, Florida's Department of Health reported a new single day record for coronavirus cases since the state began reopening.

According to the department, there were at least 1,495 new cases reported as of Friday, which brings Florida's total number to over 61,000. There were also at least 53 new deaths reported, increasing the state's total number to at least 2,660.

The number of cases reported on Friday marked a new single-day high number of cases since Florida implemented phase one of its reopening plan on May 18. The previous single-day high was on April 17, when the department reported at least 1,416 new cases.

In addition to hitting a single-day record, Florida has also seen a spike in the number of cases over the past three days. According to the state's department of health, there have been at least 4,231 new cases in the past three days, with 1,317 on Wednesday; 1,419 on Thursday; and now 1,495 on Friday.

Read more: https://www.newsweek.com/florida-sets-new-single-day-record-coronavirus-cases-since-reopening-economy-over-4000-three-1509055

Well...who'da thunk?

Grounded! Army Immediately Suspended Helo Crew That Buzzed DC Protesters

The crew of the helicopter that buzzed protestors in D.C. Monday night was grounded immediately after the incident, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said on Friday.

McCarthy announced that a 15-6 investigation was being conducted, which examines violations of Army regulations or standards, according to multiple news outlets covering the Pentagon.

Army investigators will provide an “interim update” of the probe later on Friday, according to a tweet from Politico’s Lara Seligman.

The D.C National Guard UH-72 Lakota helicopter – with a red cross marking – that flew low over protestors in Washington made waves not only through the downwash of its rotor blades but in the shock it provoked among those with military and helicopter experience.


Rise of carbon dioxide unabated

Seasonal peak reaches 417 parts per million at Mauna Loa observatory

Atmospheric carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory reached a seasonal peak of 417.1 parts per million for 2020 in May, the highest monthly reading ever recorded, scientists from NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego announced today.

This year’s peak value was 2.4 parts per million (ppm) higher than the 2019 peak of 414.7 ppm recorded in May 2019. NOAA scientists reported a May average of 417.1 ppm. Scripps scientists reported an May average of 417.2 ppm. Monthly carbon dioxide (CO2) values at Mauna Loa first breached the 400 ppm threshold in 2014, and are now at levels not experienced by the atmosphere in several million years.

“Progress in emissions reductions is not visible in the CO2 record,” said Pieter Tans, senior scientist with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory. ”We continue to commit our planet - for centuries or longer - to more global heating, sea level rise, and extreme weather events every year.” If humans were to suddenly stop emitting CO2, it would take thousands of years for our CO2 emissions so far to be absorbed into the deep ocean and atmospheric CO2 to return to pre-industrial levels.

The rate of increase during 2020 does not appear to reflect reduction in pollution emissions due to the sharp, worldwide economic slowdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The reason is that the drop in emissions would need to be large enough to stand out from natural CO2 variability, caused by how plants and soils respond to seasonal and annual variations of temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc. These natural variations are large, and so far the emissions reductions associated with COVID19 do not stand out. If emissions reductions of 20 to 30 percent were sustained for six to 12 months, then the rate of increase of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa would be slowed.


Donald Trump Is No Richard Nixon

He — and his party — are much, much worse.

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters, killing four. The 50th anniversary of the Kent State massacre passed with little notice in a nation preoccupied with Covid-19 — but now, suddenly, echoes of the Nixon era are everywhere. And Donald Trump seems to be deliberately invoking Nixon’s legacy, tweeting out “LAW & ORDER!” in the apparent hope that it will magically rescue his political fortunes.

And given Trump’s determination to put troops in the streets of America’s cities, it’s quite likely that innocent civilians will be shot at some point.

But Donald Trump isn’t Richard Nixon — he’s much, much worse. And America 2020 isn’t America 1970: We’re a better nation in many ways, but our democracy is far more fragile thanks to the utter corruption of the Republican Party.

The Trump-Nixon comparisons are obvious. Like Nixon, Trump has exploited white backlash for political gain. Like Nixon, Trump evidently believes that laws apply only to the little people.


Trump's claim that he's done more for black Americans than any president since Lincoln

“My Admin has done more for the Black Community than any President since Abraham Lincoln. Passed Opportunity Zones with @SenatorTimScott, guaranteed funding for HBCU’s, School Choice, passed Criminal Justice Reform, lowest Black unemployment, poverty, and crime rates in history.”

— President Trump, in a tweet, June 2, 2020

“My administration is delivering for African Americans like never before. No President has done more for our black community.”

— Trump, in a campaign rally, March 2

Depending on the day, President Trump likes to declare he has done more for African Americans than any other president — or, he might concede, since Abraham Lincoln. Five times since the start of the year Trump has asserted this, so it’s clear we need to address it in detail.

In his most recent tweet, Trump pointed to specific achievements to bolster his claim, so we will see how this stands up to the work of previous presidents.


Trump said 'we can't do social distancing' at convention as he made personal appeal to governor

President Trump made his demands for the planned Republican National Convention in Charlotte quite clear to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who had balked at agreeing to a mass gathering of tens of thousands of delegates, allies and media.

In a Friday phone call, Trump told the Democratic governor he would accept his party’s nomination in an arena filled with cheering supporters, coronavirus pandemic or not.

He pulled from his own history, citing the June 2015 event at which he announced his candidacy for president after gliding into the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.

“Since the day I came down the escalator, I’ve never had an empty seat and I find the biggest stadiums,” he told Cooper on Friday, according to two people familiar with the call who requested anonymity to share its contents. “I don’t want to be sitting in a place that’s 50 percent empty,” Trump said.


So there you have it. Trump is more concerned about the visuals of a half-empty auditorium instead of the health of Republican conventioneers.

People are sawing through and climbing over Trump's border wall

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has asked contractors for help making President Trump’s border wall more difficult to climb over and cut through, an acknowledgment that the design currently being installed across hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico boundary remains vulnerable.

The new request for information notice that CBP posted gives federal contractors until June 12 to suggest new anti-breaching and anti-climbing technology and tools, while also inviting proposals for “private party construction” that would allow investors and activists to acquire land, build a barrier on it and sell the whole thing to the government.

Trump continues to campaign for reelection on a promise to complete nearly 500 miles of new barrier along the border with Mexico by the end of 2020, but administration officials have scaled back that goal in recent weeks. The president has ceased promoting the $15 billion barrier as “impenetrable” in the months since The Washington Post reported smuggling crews have been sawing through new sections of the structure using inexpensive power tools.

In a statement, CBP officials said their new request for information — first reported by the KJZZ Fronteras Desk in Arizona — does not amount to an admission that the current design is inadequate or flawed.


Before he crossed Trump, these Republicans were effusive over Mattis

Former defense secretary Jim Mattis’s unequivocal rebuke of President Trump is significant not just because of his standing in the U.S. military, but because he’s so revered among Republicans. Mattis was an unconventional choice for Trump’s first defense secretary, but one that was lauded by Republican lawmakers.

After Trump nominated him, Congress even passed legislation to allow Mattis to serve — current law requires the head of the Pentagon to be a civilian for at least seven years; Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general and head of U.S. Central Command, had been out of military service for only three. Led by Republicans, Congress gave Mattis an exception.

Then Mattis sailed through his confirmation hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee. It was then led by the late senator John McCain of Arizona, who was a big fan of Mattis. But other Republicans described Mattis in a way that made it seem like they thought he could do no wrong.

"I’ve been honored to have known you for 30 years,” said Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) at the hearing. “I’m so excited that you’re willing to do this.”


Trump is uniting Americans -- against him

The first time I witnessed the use of tear gas and brutal force against lawful, peaceful protesters was in Chile during the reign of military dictator Augusto Pinochet. The shocking abuse of state power we saw near the White House on Monday reminded me of that place and time — and made clear the peril we now face.

Pinochet had seized power in 1973 in a bloody U.S.-backed coup. In 1988, believing himself invincible, he called for a plebiscite to give him eight more years in power. I covered the run-up to that vote. And when those calling on Chileans to vote “no” held rallies, Pinochet’s goon squads inevitably found or invented some reason to disperse the crowds with overwhelming force. The worst kind of tear gas, I discovered the hard way, was some concoction the strongman had bought from the apartheid government in South Africa.

That sort of thing doesn’t happen here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Except this week, in Lafayette Square.

After mounted police, flash-bang explosives, rubber bullets and tear gas had cleared a path for him, President Trump preened and strutted to his Dear Leader photo op like a wannabe Pinochet, trailed by his wannabe junta — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Attorney General William P. Barr, daughter Ivanka Trump and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was, absurdly, wearing camouflage fatigues as though he were in Baghdad or Kabul, not downtown Washington.

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