Until recently, staffing shortages at Biggby Coffee were so severe that many of the chain’s 300-plus stores had to close early some days, or in some cases not open at all. But while hiring remains a challenge, the pressure has begun to ease, said Mike McFall, the company’s co-founder and co-chief executive. One franchisee recently told him that 22 of his 25 locations were fully staffed and that only one was experiencing a severe shortage.

“We are definitely feeling the burden is lifting in terms of getting people to take the job,” Mr. McFall said. “We’re getting more applications, we’re getting more people through training now.”

The shift is a welcome one for business owners like Mr. McFall. He said franchisees have had to raise wages 50 percent or more to attract and retain workers — a cost increase they have offset by raising prices.

“The expectation by the consumer is that you are raising prices, and so if you don’t take advantage of that moment, you are going to be in a pickle,” he said, referring to the pressure to increase wages. “So you manage it by raising prices.”

So far, Mr. McFall said, higher prices haven’t deterred customers. Still, he said, the period of severe staffing shortages is not without its costs. He has seen a loss in sales, as well as a loss of efficiency and experienced workers. That will take time to rebuild, he said.

“When we were in crisis, it was all we were focused on,” he said. “So now that it feels like the crisis is mitigating, that it’s getting a little better, we can now begin to focus on the culture in the stores and try to build that up again.”


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China’s ‘Absurd’ Covid Propaganda Stirs Rebellion

“We have won the great battle against Covid!”

“History will remember those who contributed!”

“Extinguish every outbreak!”

These are among the many battle-style slogans that Beijing has unleashed to rally support around its top-down, zero-tolerance coronavirus policies.

China is now one of the last places on earth trying to eliminate Covid-19, and the Communist Party has relied heavily on propaganda to justify increasingly long lockdowns and burdensome testing requirements that can sometimes lead to three tests a week.

The barrage of messages — online and on television, loudspeakers and social platforms — has become so overbearing that some citizens say it has drowned out their frustrations, downplayed the reality of the country’s tough coronavirus rules and, occasionally, bordered on the absurd.

citywide lockdown in Shanghai this spring, Jason Xue had no more food left in his fridge. Yet when he clicked on the government’s social media account, he noticed that a top city official had vowed to “make every possible endeavor” to address food shortages.

Government assistance didn’t show up until four weeks later, Mr. Xue said.

“I was extremely angry, panicked and despairing,” said Mr. Xue, who works for a financial communications firm. He eventually turned to neighbors for help. “The propaganda was resolute and decisive, but it was different from the reality that we didn’t even know whether we could have the next meal.”

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has made controlling the virus a “top political priority.” Thousands of state media outlets and social media accounts have echoed Beijing’s “zero Covid” policy and praised the sacrifice of workers trying to control Covid-19.

at least 120 Covid-related propaganda phrases have been created since the beginning of the pandemic.

blocking them from seeking safety.

Videos of the episode were posted online and quickly deleted by censors, who said people should “at least bring masks before escaping from buildings,” even when an earthquake is “highly destructive.”

For some, the video was a reminder of how the government had used the pandemic to tighten its grip on their private lives, telling them when they can leave their apartments, what kind of food they can buy and what hospitals they can enter.

Kong Lingwanyu, a 22-year-old marketing intern in Shanghai, was upset that officials used the phrase “unless necessary” when describing restrictions around things like leaving the home, dining out or gathering with others.

Ms. Kong said a local official responsible for carrying out coronavirus policies had told her that she should not “buy unnecessary food.” She said she asked the official what standards the government used to determine what kind of food was necessary.

“Who are you to decide the ‘necessity’ for others?” she said. “It’s totally absurd and nonsense.”

On state television, Beijing’s “nine storm fortification actions” around the pandemic are frequently repeated to keep people in line with Covid policies. The nine actions are: neighborhood lockdowns, mass testing, contact tracing, disinfection, quarantine centers, increased health care capacity, traditional Chinese medicine, screening of neighborhoods and prevention of local transmission.

Yang Xiao, a 33-year-old cinematographer in Shanghai who was confined to his apartment for two months during a lockdown this year, had grown tired of them all.

“With the Covid control, propaganda and state power expanded and occupied all aspects of our life,” he said in a phone interview. Day after day, Mr. Yang heard loudspeakers in his neighborhood repeatedly broadcasting a notice for P.C.R. testing. He said the announcements had disturbed his sleep at night and woke him up at dawn.

“Our life was dictated and disciplined by propaganda and state power,” he said.

To communicate his frustrations, Mr. Yang selected 600 common Chinese propaganda phrases, such as “core awareness,” “obey the overall situation” and “the supremacy of nationhood.” He gave each phrase a number and then put the numbers into Google’s Random Generator, a program that scrambles data.

He ended up with senseless phrases such as “detect citizens’ life and death line,” “strictly implement functions” and “specialize overall plans without slack.” Then he used a voice program to read the phrases aloud and played the audio on a loudspeaker in his neighborhood.

No one seemed to notice the five minutes of computer-generated nonsense.

When Mr. Yang uploaded a video of the scene online, however, more than 1.3 million people viewed it. Many praised the way he used government language as satire. Chinese propaganda was “too absurd to be criticized using logic,” Mr. Yang said. “I simulated the discourse like a mirror, reflecting its own absurdity.”

His video was taken down by censors.

Mr. Yang added that he hoped to inspire others to speak out against China’s Covid policies and its use of propaganda in the pandemic. He wasn’t the only Shanghai resident to rebel when the city was locked down.

In June, dozens of residents protested against the police and Covid control workers who installed chain-link fences around neighborhood apartments. When a protester was shoved into a police car and taken away, one man shouted: “Freedom! Equality! Justice! Rule of law!” Those words would be familiar to most Chinese citizens: They are commonly cited by state media as core socialist values under Mr. Xi.


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KTNV: More Latinos Are Becoming Homeowners, But Roadblocks Remain

By Tricia Kean

September 19, 2022

More than 650,000 Latinos became homeowners nationwide from 2019 to 2021and now over half of all Latino-Americans own a home.

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — 700,000 Latinos live in Clark County, and many of them are buying homes. In fact, a recent report by the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals says Latinos across the country are buying homes more than ever before.

Today, nearly half of all Hispanics are homeowners. But are they buying in Las Vegas?

“I for sure wanted to have at least three bedrooms in the house,” Hugo Organista told KTNV.

He bought a home last November. Organista says he came to Las Vegas after struggling to find something in the Phoenix area.

“(I) realized that I probably wasn’t going to get what I wanted and placed four offers on a house there, got beat out by a cash buyer every time,” Organista said.

Fortunately, he was able to scoop up a move-in-ready house near Boulder Highway and Tropicana Avenue. It’s a dream the Mexican native says he still can’t believe.

“When my family came here, we were eating pizza on the floor. We didn’t even have enough for a dining room table,” Organista said.

Organista said he was able to buy a home at a young age thanks to his mom. He credits her with teaching him how to work hard, save money and pay bills on time.

“You know, like she would drag me down to JC Penney’s to go make a cash payment for her credit card because she didn’t want it to be late. So, I kind of grew up with that in mind,” he said.


In the Latino community, Organista isn’t alone. More than 650,000 Latinos became homeowners nationwide from 2019 to 2021. A lot of them are buying in the Las Vegas valley, says Myra Rivera, with the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

“(In) 2021, we went up a little bit over 48 percent in Latino households, and that’s projected to continue to go up,” Rivera said. “I think in the last few years that I’ve been in business, and also just looking at the stats, those numbers have been increasing every single year.”

In fact, as of 2021, more than 40% of Hispanic adults 45 years old and younger are mortgage ready.

“And in the next few years, we’re going to see a lot of those Latinos come into the market because now they’re ready. Their next step is finding a home,” Rivera said.

Many interested homebuyers are looking here in Las Vegas because they want new construction, Rivera added.


“We get people from California coming in, used to the older homes, and they see Vegas homes mostly in the 2000s and they’re like, Oh, wow, this is new,” says Rivera.

Rivera admits it’s still a tough market for some Hispanic families. Many still struggle with poor credit and are looking for homes at a lower price point.

“Latino households usually are larger. They have a lot of kids or their parents living with them. So, they need at least 3 to 5 bedrooms. Finding a house that’s 3 to 5 bedrooms in that little price point… is sometimes a little difficult,” says Rivera.

But Rivera is happy to see the situation is improving. She says many younger Latinos see the benefits to buying versus renting.

“You’re starting to see the next generations or the next one in the family is buying younger or they’re upgrading sooner… They see it as ‘I’m investing, I’m upgrading. My family needs it.’ They’re not scared of the process,” says Rivera.

Organista says it’s encouraging to hear Latinos his age and younger are learning, anything is possible.

“It’s a testament to what happens when we start to tackle systematic injustices… Knowledge is like step number one. That’s like half the battle. Then the other half of that is actually putting it into practice,” says Organista.

This story was originally published by Tricia Kean on ktnv.com.

: newsy.com


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Shock Waves Hit the Global Economy, Posing Grave Risk to Europe

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the continuing effects of the pandemic have hobbled countries around the globe, but the relentless series of crises has hit Europe the hardest, causing the steepest jump in energy prices, some of the highest inflation rates and the biggest risk of recession.

The fallout from the war is menacing the continent with what some fear could become its most challenging economic and financial crisis in decades.

While growth is slowing worldwide, “in Europe it’s altogether more serious because it’s driven by a more fundamental deterioration,” said Neil Shearing, group chief economist at Capital Economics. Real incomes and living standards are falling, he added. “Europe and Britain are just worse off.”

eightfold increase in natural gas prices since the war began presents a historic threat to Europe’s industrial might, living standards, and social peace and cohesion. Plans for factory closings, rolling blackouts and rationing are being drawn up in case of severe shortages this winter.

China, a powerful engine of global growth and a major market for European exports like cars, machinery and food, is facing its own set of problems. Beijing’s policy of continuing to freeze all activity during Covid-19 outbreaks has repeatedly paralyzed large swaths of the economy and added to worldwide supply chain disruptions. In the last few weeks alone, dozens of cities and more than 300 million people have been under full or partial lockdowns. Extreme heat and drought have hamstrung hydropower generation, forcing additional factory closings and rolling blackouts.

refusing to pay their mortgages because they have lost confidence that developers will ever deliver their unfinished housing units. Trade with the rest of the world took a hit in August, and overall economic growth, although likely to outrun rates in the United States and Europe, looks as if it will slip to its slowest pace in a decade this year. The prospect has prompted China’s central bank to cut interest rates in hopes of stimulating the economy.

“The global economy is undoubtedly slowing,” said Gregory Daco, chief economist at the global consulting firm EY- Parthenon, but it’s “happening at different speeds.”

In other parts of the world, countries that are able to supply vital materials and goods — particularly energy producers in the Middle East and North Africa — are seeing windfall gains.

And India and Indonesia are growing at unexpectedly fast paces as domestic demand increases and multinational companies look to vary their supply chains. Vietnam, too, is benefiting as manufacturers switch operations to its shores.

head-spinning energy bills this winter ratcheted up this week after Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, declared it would not resume the flow of natural gas through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline until Europe lifted Ukraine-related sanctions.

Daily average electricity prices in Western Europe have reached record levels, according to Rystad Energy, surging past 600 euros ($599) per megawatt-hour in Germany and €700 in France, with peak-hour rates as high as €1,500.

In the Czech Republic, roughly 70,000 angry protesters, many with links to far-right groups, gathered in Wenceslas Square in Prague this past weekend to demonstrate against soaring energy bills.

The German, French and Finnish governments have already stepped in to save domestic power companies from bankruptcy. Even so, Uniper, which is based in Germany and one of Europe’s largest natural gas buyers and suppliers, said last week that it was losing more than €100 million a day because of the rise in prices.

International Monetary Fund this week to issue a proposal to reform the European Union’s framework for government public spending and deficits.

caps blunt the incentive to reduce energy consumption — the chief goal in a world of shortages.

Central banks in the West are expected to keep raising interest rates to make borrowing more expensive and force down inflation. On Thursday, the European Central Bank raised interest rates by three-quarters of a point, matching its biggest increase ever. The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to do the same when it meets this month. The Bank of England has taken a similar position.

The worry is that the vigorous push to bring down prices will plunge economies into recessions. Higher interest rates alone won’t bring down the price of oil and gas — except by crashing economies so much that demand is severely reduced. Many analysts are already predicting a recession in Germany, Italy and the rest of the eurozone before the end of the year. For poor and emerging countries, higher interest rates mean more debt and less money to spend on the most vulnerable.

“I think we’re living through the biggest development disaster in history, with more people being pushed more quickly into dire poverty than has every happened before,” said Mr. Goldin, the Oxford professor. “It’s a particularly perilous time for the world economy.”


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President Biden To Help Unveil Obama White House Portraits

President Biden will be the rare president to host a former boss for the unveiling; he was Obama’s vice president.

It’s been more than a decade since President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, welcomed back George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, for the unveiling of their White House portraits, part of a beloved Washington tradition that for decades managed to transcend partisan politics.

President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are set to revive that ritual — after an awkward and anomalous gap in the Trump years — when they host the Obamas on Wednesday for the big reveal of their portraits in front of scores of friends, family and staff.

The Obama paintings will not look like any in the White House portrait collection to which they will be added: They were America’s first Black president and first lady.

The ceremony will also mark Michelle Obama’s first visit to the White House since Obama’s presidency ended in January 2017, and only the second visit for Barack Obama. He was at the White House in April to mark the 12th anniversary of the health care law he signed in 2010.

Portrait ceremonies often give past presidents an opportunity to showcase their comedic timing.

“I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the White House collection. It now starts and ends with a George W,” Bush quipped at his ceremony in 2012.

Bill Clinton joked in 2004 that “most of the time, till you get your picture hung like this, the only artists that draw you are cartoonists.”

Recent tradition, no matter the party affiliation, has had the current president genially hosting his immediate predecessor for the unveiling — as Clinton did for George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush did for Clinton and Obama did for the younger Bush.

Then there was an unexplained pause when Donald Trump did not host Obama.

Two spokespeople for Trump did not respond to emailed requests for comment on the lack of a ceremony for Obama, and whether artists are working on portraits of Trump and former first lady Melania Trump.

The White House portrait collection starts with George Washington, America’s first president. Congress bought his portrait.

Other portraits of early presidents and first ladies often came to the White House as gifts. Since the middle of the last century, the White House Historical Association has paid for the paintings.

The first portraits financed by the association were of Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, and John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, said Stewart McLaurin, president of the private, nonprofit organization established by first lady Kennedy.

Before presidents and first ladies leave office, the association explains the portrait process. The former president and first lady choose the artist or artists, and offer guidance on how they want to be portrayed.

“It really involves how that president and first lady see themselves,” McLaurin said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The collection includes an iconic, full-length portrait of Washington that adorns the East Room. It is the only item still in the White House that was in the executive mansion in November 1800 when John Adams and Abigail Adams became the first president and first lady to live in the White House.

Years later, first lady Dolley Madison saved Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Washington from almost certain ruin. She had White House staff take it out of the city before advancing British forces burned the mansion in 1814. The painting was held in storage until the White House was rebuilt.

President and first lady portraits are seen by millions of White House visitors, though not all are on display. Some are undergoing conservation or are in storage.

Those that are on display line hallways and rooms in public areas of the mansion, such as the Ground Floor and its Vermeil and China Rooms, and the State Floor one level above, which has the famous Green, Blue and Red Rooms, the East Room and State Dining Room.

Portraits of Mamie Eisenhower, Pat Nixon, Lady Bird Johnson and Lou Henry Hoover grace the Vermeil Room, along with a full-length image of Jacqueline Kennedy. Michelle Obama’s portrait likely will join Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush along the Ground Floor hallway.

The State Floor hallway one floor above features recent presidents: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Gerald Ford’s portrait and the likeness of Richard Nixon — the only president to resign from office — are on view on the Grand Staircase leading to the private living quarters on the second floor.

Past presidents’ images move around the White House, depending on their standing with the current occupants. Ronald Reagan, for example, moved Thomas Jefferson and Harry S. Truman out of the Cabinet Room and swapped in Dwight Eisenhower and Calvin Coolidge.

In the Clinton era, portraits of Richard Nixon and Reagan, idols of the Republican Party, lost their showcase spot in the Grand Foyer and were replaced with pictures of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Truman, heroes of the Democrats. Nancy Reagan temporarily moved Eleanor Roosevelt to a place of prominence in the East Room in 1984 to mark the centennial of her birth.

One of the most prominent spots for a portrait is above the mantle in the State Dining Room and it has been occupied for decades by a painting of a seated Abraham Lincoln, hand supporting his chin. It was placed there by Franklin Roosevelt.

Bill Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s portraits hang on opposing walls in the Grand Foyer.

Clinton’s would be relocated to make room for Barack Obama’s if the White House sticks to tradition and keeps the two most recent Oval Office occupants there, McLaurin said.

“That’s up to the White House, to the curators,” he said.

The association, which is funded through private donations and the sale of books and an annual White House Christmas ornament, keeps the portrait price well below market value because of the “extraordinary honor” an artist derives from having “their work of art hanging perpetually in the White House,” McLaurin said.

Details about the Obamas’ portraits will stay under wraps until Wednesday.

President Biden will be the rare president to host a former boss for the unveiling; he was Obama’s vice president. George H.W. Bush, who held Ronald Reagan’s ceremony, was Reagan’s No. 2.

Betty Monkman, a former White House curator, said during a 2017 podcast for the White House Historical Association that the ceremony is a “statement of generosity” by the president and first lady. “It’s a very warm, lovely moment.”

The White House portraits are one of two sets of portraits of presidents and first ladies. The National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian museum, maintains its own collection and those portraits are unveiled before the White House pair. The Obamas unveiled their museum portraits in February 2018.

Linda St. Thomas, chief spokesperson for the Smithsonian Institution, said in an email that a $650,000 donation in July from Save America, Trump’s political action committee, was earmarked for the couple’s museum portraits. Two artists have been commissioned, one for each painting, and work has begun, St. Thomas said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

: newsy.com


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How Bach Parties Turned Into A Vacation

Bachelorette parties are starting to become more popular, leading more businesses to profit off of these celebrations.

A tradition that used to only last one evening has turned into its own vacation — bachelorette and bachelor parties.   

As social media has gained popularity, experts say these bach parties, as they’re commonly known, may have become a bigger and bigger deal thanks to the growing need for everything to be “Instagrammable.” 

According to data from The Bach, a popular app for bachelorette party planning, 42% of survey respondents planned to attend two or more bachelorette or bachelor parties in 2021. The average party spent $5,500-$7,000 in total on their trip. 

77% of people surveyed said they rented a home for their party. These are typically big groups of about 10 people, and half of travelers said they planned on spending $250 or more on housing each.  

Then there’s also all the other spending. From dining at local restaurants to shopping at local stores, these parties can be pricey. They can also include things like private chefs and transportainment — like party buses, pedal pubs and booze cruises.  

Newsy hit the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, the number one bach party destination, to speak with transportainment companies. They’ve experienced a lot of growth in recent years.  

Companies we spoke with said bachelor and bachelorette parties have been coming here for a while. But as Nashville has become a more popular bach party destination, these transportainment companies have really taken off. Honky Tonk Party Express was one of the first bus companies in Nashville and they operate 38 buses. 

Grant Rosenblatt is the owner of Honky Tonk Party Express.  

“We do 1,800 bachelorette individuals a weekend individual that equates any party comes between 12 and a half is a rough average per group,” Rosenblatt said. “There are other party buses and other in other cities like your Miamis or Austins, but there’s nothing that’s quite where this open air experience is. And when our company started in 2016, there was nothing like that in the country. Now, since then, it’s became so popular that other cities are emulating it.”

While many cities struggled with tourism throughout the pandemic, bach parties provided a boost to local economies. For instance, data from The Bach shows that in 2021, 13,000 bach parties were hosted in Nashville, and this year, 31,000 are planned there. The more parties, the more people are spending money in these cities. The Extreme Experience in Nashville actually launched during the pandemic. 

Parris McKinney Jr. is the owner of Extreme Experience.

“Extreme is designed to have your own club on the bus. So, as you say, you have a lounge. You have your bar and you have your dance floor. So, I came up with the concept as to, you know, you’re more safe on here than you are out there,” McKinney said.  

These types of activities got so popular, Nashville has worked on adding new regulations for these companies, like applying for permits and allowing alcohol only on enclosed vehicles, after complaints from local residents that some visitors were getting out of hand. 

Scottsdale, Arizona, is another popular destination to go to for these kinds of parties. It jumped from number five to number two on the bach travel trends report. 

We spoke with bachelorette party planning companies that offer services like decorating rental properties with popular themes, creating itineraries and stocking the fridge.  

Scottsdale Bachelorette is one of them. Casey Hohman started it in 2018 as a side hustle, but last year it became profitable enough to become his full-time gig.  

“Throughout the pandemic, you know, Arizona was one of the states and Scottsdale was one of those cities where there weren’t a lot of restrictions when it came to nightlife, when it came to restaurants, mask mandates, things like that. So, a lot of people actually detoured their bachelorette parties from other cities like Vegas and Florida to Scottsdale,” Hohman said. “This year we already have over 750 parties booked for this year and that’s up from about 300 last year. So, we’re thinking we’re probably going to end up tripling the business this year, just in one year, which is pretty awesome.”

Most parties come Thursday through Sunday. Scottsdale Bachelorette sees about 20 to 30 a week with services that cost anywhere from $800 to $1000.  

Girl About Town is another bachelorette party planning company in Scottsdale that sees about the same number of parties per week and with services that range from $175 to $2000. Meghan Alfonso, the founder of the company, says they, too, are benefiting from the increased popularity of bach parties in the city.  

“We already hit our goal or our last shared goal now. So, we already have had 400 plus parties that have come through right now, which is July, the end of July. And so, it’s just wild how fast the city has grown as well as how many people want to come here for their bachelorette. And so, each year we’re just anticipating almost double,” Alfonso said. 

There are also other cities on the list that are up and coming. Girl About Town has expanded their business to some of them, and is looking to continue expanding into more. 

“We’re also in New Orleans and Denver. And so, we have two girls that are in Denver that work it together. And then we have another girl in New Orleans who just does it by herself,” Alfonso said. 

Bachelor parties do come through some of these popular cities, too, but experts say they don’t tend to have all the decorations and services that bachelorette parties have.  

A survey from Savings.com found that bachelor party guests tend to spend more on activities like golf or sporting events. These groups also tend to go to far-away places, making their costs of airfare higher.

“I think just in general, the wedding industry has really grown from just the wedding to all these other things that happened before that. I think bridal showers have gotten bigger, engagement parties have gotten bigger. Even if you look at like gender reveal party that didn’t exist before, you know, and now that’s like a big party. So, I think, especially post-pandemic and, just thinking about what a special time this is, people are extending that party from just the wedding to all these other fun things that they can do leading up to it,” Hohman said. 

: newsy.com


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Final Public Jan 6. Hearing Focused On Trump’s Actions During Riot

Testimony from former aides weaved the timeline together, which was also illustrated by new interviews and never-before-seen photo and video evidence.

This morning, the January 6th select committee says it’s continuing its investigation after wrapping up its last public hearing in this series.  

The main focus of the latest hearing was what then-President Donald Trump doing in the White House while hundreds of his supporters violently pushed past police officers to storm the Capitol. 

“President Trump did not fail to act during the 187 minutes between leaving the ellipse and telling the mob to go home. He chose not to act,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger said during the hearing.

Lawmakers broke down – minute by minute – what happened during the three hours that, they say, President Trump was “derelict in his duties…” as the attack unfolded. 

“Rather than uphold his duty to the constitution, President Trump allowed the mob to achieve the delay that he hoped would keep him in power,” Rep. Elaine Luria said. 

The timeline began just after 1 p.m. ET. 

President Trump was wrapping up a speech at the ellipse, during which he told the crowd to head to the capitol. 

From there, the panel says the president retired to his dining room for hours. 

He watched coverage of the attack on Fox News; He made phone calls to senators to try and delay the certification of the 2020 election; But no real effort to end the violence, even at the expense of his own vice president. 

Testimony from former White House Deputy Press Sec. Sarah Matthews and former Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger helped weave the extensive timeline together. 

“I’ve seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. They truly latch onto every word and every tweet that he says,” Matthews said. “And so, I think that in that moment, for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence, it was him pouring gasoline on the fire.”

The timeline was further illustrated by new interviews and never-before-seen photo and video evidence. 

“The members of the V.P. detail at this time, were starting to fear for their own lives,” a White House security official said during an interview. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of very personal calls over the radio, so it was disturbing.”

Perhaps some of the most compelling footage was outtakes from President Trump’s address to the nation the day after the insurrection. 

“And to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said during the address. “You do not represent our movement, you do not represent our country. And if you broke the law… can’t say that. I already said, ‘You will pay.'” 

As the committee prepares its final report on what happened that day, Rep. Kinzinger made a promise. 

“When we present our full findings, we will recommend changes to laws and policies to guard against another Jan. 6,” he said. “The reason that’s imperative is that the forces Donald Trump ignited that day, have not gone away.”

The hearing marked the eighth time the committee has met to present evidence surrounding the U.S. Capitol insurrection. 

Chair Benny Thompson, who attended virtually after contracting COVID, promised more to come. 

The committee is planning to hold additional hearings in September.

: newsy.com


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Jan. 6 Hearing Probes Trump Actions As Capitol Was Attacked

The Jan. 6 committee held its second prime-time hearing on the Capitol attack Thursday night, putting close scrutiny on Donald Trump’s actions.

Despite desperate pleas from aides, allies, Republican congressional leaders and even his family, Donald Trump refused to call off the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol, instead “pouring gasoline on the fire” by aggressively tweeting his false claims of a stolen election and telling the crowd of supporters in a video address how special they were.

The next day, he declared anew, “I don’t want to say the election is over.” That was in a previously unaired outtake of a speech he was to give, shown at Thursday night’s prime-time hearing of the House investigating committee.

The committee documented how for some 187 minutes, from the time Trump left a rally stage sending his supporters to the Capitol to the time he ultimately appeared in the Rose Garden video, nothing could move the defeated president, who watched the violence unfold on TV.

Even a statement prepared for Trump to deliver — which said, “I am asking you to leave the Capitol Hill region NOW and go home in a peaceful way.” — could not be delivered as written, without Trump editing it to repeat his baseless claims of voter fraud that sparked the deadly assault. “So go home,” he did say, adding, “We love you. You’re very special. … I know how you feel.”

He also had wanted to include language about pardoning the rioters in that speech, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified previously.

“President Trump didn’t fail to act,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a fellow Republican but frequent Trump critic who flew fighter jets in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He chose not to act.”

Plunging into its second prime-time hearing on the Capitol attack, the committee aimed to show a “minute by minute” accounting of Trump’s actions that fateful day, how he summoned the crowd to Washington with his false claims of a stolen election and then dispatched them to fight for his presidency.

With the Capitol siege raging, Trump poured “gasoline on the fire” by tweeting condemnation of Mike Pence’s refusal to go along with his plan to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, former aides told the Jan. 6 investigating committee in a prime-time hearing Thursday night.

Two Trump aides resigned on the spot.

“I thought that Jan. 6 2021, was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” said former White House aide Sarah Matthews testifying before the panel. “And President Trump was treating it as a celebratory occasion. So it just further cemented my decision to resign.”

The committee played audio of Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reacting with surprise to the former president’s reaction to the attack.

“You’re the commander-in-chief. You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America. And there’s Nothing? No call? Nothing Zero?” he said.

Earlier, an irate Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol after his supporters had stormed the building, well aware of the deadly attack, but then returned to the White House and did nothing to call off the violence, despite appeals from family and close adviser,, witnesses testified.

At the Capitol, the mob was chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” testified Matt Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser for Trump, as Trump tweeted his condemnation of his vice president.

Meanwhile, recordings of Secret Service radio transmissions revealed agents asking for messages to be relayed telling their families goodbye.

Pottinger said that when he saw Trump’s tweet he immediately decided to resign, as did former White House aide Matthews, who said she was a lifelong Republican but could not go along with what was going on. She was the witness who called the tweet “pouring gasoline on the fire.”

The hearing aimed to show a “minute by minute” accounting of Trump’s actions that day and how rather than stop the violence, he watched it all unfold on television at the White House.

“He refused to do what every American president must,” said Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the panel’s Republican vice chair.

“And for hours, Donald Trump chose not to answer the pleas from Congress, from his own party and from all across our nation, to do what is required,” she said.

An irate Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol after the supporters he sent laid siege, well aware of the deadly attack and that some in the mob were armed but refusing to call it off as they fought to reverse his election defeat, witnesses told the committee.

Trump had dispatched the crowd to Capitol Hill in heated rally remarks at the Ellipse behind the White House, and “within 15 minutes of leaving the stage, President Trump knew that the Capitol was besieged and under attack,” said committee member Elaine Luria, D-Va.

She said the panel had received testimony the confirming the powerful previous account of former White House aide Hutchinson of an altercation involving Trump as he insisted the Secret Service drive him to the Capitol.

Among the witnesses testifying Thursday in a recorded video was retired District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Mark Robinson who told the committee that Trump was well aware of the number of weapons in the crowd of his supporters but wanted to go regardless.

“The only description that I received was that the president was upset, and that he was adamant about going to the Capitol and that there was a heated discussion about that,” Robinson said.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, appearing virtually as he self-isolates with COVID-19, opened Thursday’s hearing saying Trump as president did “everything in his power to overturn the election” he lost to Joe Biden, including before and during the deadly Capitol attack.

“He lied, he bullied, he betrayed his oath,” charged Thompson, D-Miss.

After months of work and weeks of hearings, Cheney said “the dam has begun to break” on revealing what happened that day, at the White House as well as in the violence at the Capitol.

This was probably the last hearing of the summer, but the panel said they will resume in September as more witnesses and information emerges.

“Our investigation goes forward,” said Thompson testifying remotely as he isolates after testing positive for COVID-19. “There needs to be accountability.”

The hearing room was packed, including with several police officers who fought off the mob that day. The panel is arguing that the defeated president’s lies about a stolen election and attempts to overturn Biden’s election victory fueled the attack and have left the United States facing enduring questions about the resiliency of its democracy.

Ahead of the hearing, the committee released a video of four former White House aides — press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, security aide Gen. Keith Kellogg, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and executive assistant to the president Molly Michael — testifying that Trump was in the private dining room with the TV on as the violence unfolded.

Some Cabinet members were so alarmed they discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

While the committee cannot make criminal charges, the Justice Department is monitoring its work.

So far, more than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 330 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. Of the more than 200 defendants to be sentenced, approximately 100 received terms of imprisonment.

No former president has ever been federally prosecuted by the Justice Department.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that Jan. 6 is “the most wide-ranging investigation and the most important investigation that the Justice Department has ever entered into.”

Five people died that day as Trump supporters battled the police in gory hand-to-hand combat to storm the Capitol. One officer has testified that she was “slipping in other people’s blood” as they tried to hold back the mob. One Trump supporter was shot and killed by police.

“The president didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television during this time frame,” Kinzinger said.

This despite countless pleas from Trump’s aides and allies, including his daughter Ivanka Trump and Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to previous testimony and text messages the committee has obtained.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. 

: newsy.com


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What’s Tanking American Confidence In The Economy?

People expect inflation to keep climbing over the next year, along with their mortgage interest rates, monthly expenses, and taxes.

The warnings are all over the internet. And so are the jokes.  

But for a lot of Americans, the economic crisis is no laughing matter.  

In mid-June, consumer confidence saw its biggest drop in nearly five months, according to an Ipsos-Forbes Advisor survey. 

The “overall confidence index” fell below 50 points for the first time since President Joe Biden took office. 

And that was before the Federal Reserve announced its largest rate hike in nearly 30 years as it tries to get inflation under control. 

The U.S. labor market is stable, with two jobs open for each person looking. Stimulus money and pandemic-era saving also means many families have strong cash reserves. 

But still — consumer confidence is down in nearly every area compared to earlier surveys. 

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are uncomfortable making major purchases.  

And less than half of Americans feel confident about job security, with more people knowing someone who has or will lose work because of the state of the economy.  

Ipsos found fewer Americans feel like they can confidently invest in their future with interest rates affecting retirement savings. 

And there are signs low confidence is sticking around.  

A majority expect inflation to keep climbing over the next year, along with their mortgage interest rates, monthly expenses, and taxes. Only 21 percent think their income will go up to match rising costs. 

And warnings about an impending recession aren’t calming fears. 

Strategists from JP Morgan Chase believe there’s an 85 percent chance of a recession. And nearly seven out of ten economists expect a recession in the next year. 

Financial experts understand why confidence in the economy is low. But they warn that how consumers react to rising costs is critical in avoiding an economic slowdown.  

Because if everyone is stocking up on goods out of fear they’ll be more expensive in the future, inflation will spike even faster. 

That’s why the Fed raises interests rates: to get people to even out spending.  

There are already signs it’s working. Retail sales slowed in May for the first time all year. Americans are also pulling back on dining out, traveling and other services, according to an analysis from Barclays. 

But raising interest rates is a delicate balancing act: Spend too much, and inflation hikes even more. Spend too little and it’ll land us in a recession. 

The White House has admitted navigating the country out of this economic turmoil won’t be easy. But economists say there are things you can do to ride out the storm. 

Once inflation is back under control, interest rates will likely fall.  

That’ll make housing more affordable, bring down the price at the pump and hopefully make it less costly to put food on the table.

: newsy.com


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Rent Prices Continue To Rise Across The Country

Supply chain issues, delays in the construction pipeline and an increase in material costs have led to housing and rental shortages.

Gas, groceries and now rent — surging rent prices are at an all-time high. June saw the biggest monthly increase in 36 years.

Las Vegas resident Hope Gallegos and her husband have a studio apartment.  

“It’s not even a one bedroom. It’s a 400-square-foot studio so as soon as you walk in, you’re walking into a bedroom and, supposedly, a dining area and small kitchen and a bathroom,” she said. “When we first moved in, our contract was $856 and then soon as the renewal is coming, September, we got a notice that it will go to $1,200.” 

Nationally, rent has increased across the board. The latest Labor Department Consumer Price Index report found the rent index rose 0.8% in June over the previous month. Year to year, rent is up 5.6%. 

Gallegos has seen the impact firsthand. 

“Usually it’s $20, $50 and it goes on year after year, but $300 dollars for 400 square feet, no washer no dryer, no security? No,” she said. 

Senior Housing Economist Chris Salviati of the online marketplace Apartment List says the hikes have been going on for a while.  

“It isn’t necessarily surprising,” he said. “We’ve been seeing in our rent index — rent has been increasing really rapidly over the course of the past year and a half.”

What’s behind the the skyrocketing cost of rent? Salviati says there’s a really strong demand for rentals but there aren’t that many units available or being built. Apartment List has seen a dip in new rental listings. 

“Before the pandemic, a vacancy rate around 6% to 7% was sort of normal,” he said. “And now we’re seeing it down around 5%. And that has eased a little bit, but it fell as low as 4%.” 

Supply chain issues, delays in the construction pipeline and an increase in material costs have led to housing and rental shortages. Some potential first time buyers are also delaying purchasing a home, with mortgage interest rates high and fewer choices. 

In New York City, rent for a one bedroom averages nearly $2,100, which is about a 27% increase from last year. And Chicago’s rent bumped up about 10% while San Francisco saw a 7.6% increase. 

Some renters are renewing leases even with steep increases because it may be cheaper to stay put. Others, like Joceline Malinconico of Boynton Beach, Florida, are discovering the cost of relocating. 

“It was in the same community and it costs $1,200 just to move down the block, basically,” she said.

On average, moving costs are 9% higher this year, according to hire a helper. Still, there may be hope. Experts predict that while rents will continue to increase, they’ll be at a much slower pace.  

“Based on our data, we are going to see things start to cool off in the CPI in the coming months, but that will probably be, you know, maybe sometime in the fall,” Salviati said.

: newsy.com


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