February 2023


All the Steps and Procedures Involved in Car Shipping

Car shipping, also known as auto transport, is the process of moving a vehicle from one location to another. It can be a complicated process, but it is often necessary when moving to a new location or buying a car from a different region.

The following are the steps and procedures involved in car transporting:

Choose a car shipping company

Start by researching and comparing car shipping companies to find one that suits your needs. Consider factors like reputation, price offered, and the services offered. Look for a company that is licensed and insured, with a good reputation and positive customer reviews.

Request a quote

Once you have chosen a car shipping company, request a quote. The quote will typically include the cost of shipping, the estimated delivery time, and the services included in the price. Make sure you understand all the fees and services included in the quote.

Choose your shipping options

To ship your car, you have got 2 main options:

  • Open transport
  • Enclosed transport.

Open transport is cheaper but exposes the car to the elements, while enclosed transport offers more protection, but is more expensive. Select your option that fits well all your needs and budget.

Prepare your car

Before the car is shipped, you should prepare it for transport. This includes removing any personal items from the car, disabling any alarmpppppp, and making sure the car is in good working condition.

Schedule the pick-up

Once you have chosen your shipping options and prepared your car, schedule the pick-up time and location with the car shipping company. Make sure to provide accurate information about the pick-up location and contact information.

Inspect the car

When the car is picked up, inspect it thoroughly and document any existing damage. This will help you to make a claim if the car is damaged during transport. Take photos of the car from different angles and note any scratches, dents, or other damage.

Track the shipment

During transport, you can track the shipment of your car online or through the car shipping company. This will give you an idea of when the car will arrive at its destination.

Make sure you have the contact information of the carrier in case you need to communicate with them during the transport.

Receive the car

When the car arrives at its destination, inspect it again for any damage that may have occurred during transport. If there is any damage, document it and file a claim with the car shipping company.

Check the car thoroughly for any scratches, dents, or other damage that was not present before shipping.

Pay the balance

After the car has been delivered, you will need to pay the balance of the shipping cost. Most car shipping companies require payment in full at the time of delivery, so make sure you have the funds available to pay the carrier.

Leave a review

After the car has been delivered and you have paid the balance, take a few minutes to leave a review for the car shipping company. This will help other people who are looking for car shipping services to make an informed decision, and will also provide valuable feedback to the company.

read more

House GOP sets its expectations low for McCarthy-Biden debt meeting


But the GOP is also entertaining hope that the president shows a shred of openness to taking its demands seriously, even as very few of its members specify what they want Biden to negotiate on. A rare Republican with a concrete proposal was Texas Rep. Chip Roy, who on Tuesday called directly for federal spending caps.

“It’s a lot of work. We got to do it. We’re in a big hole because of irresponsibility on both sides of the aisle,” said Roy, who has also specified that the cuts shouldn’t touch the Pentagon’s budget or programs like Medicare or Social Security. “But there is a path, and we ought to sit down and figure it out.”

That growing fiscal slash-and-burn pressure from the GOP’s right flank leaves both parties in a state of high-stakes uncertainty as Congress veers towards a summertime cliff that draws parallels to the Obama administration’s flirtation with debt calamity more than a decade ago. And this time around, Biden’s lead negotiating partner won’t be his generational counterpart Mitch McConnell but the younger speaker from California, who brings a more Trump-friendly conservatism and less predictable style to the table.

McCarthy will also be speaking for a conference where fiscal hawks hold significant sway and spending caps are gaining momentum as a proposed solution. That outcome would be similar to the 2011 debt limit standoff, which ended with Congress enacting strict spending limits that technically lasted a decade, but were waived more times than not.

“I think the first thing [Biden] should do, especially as president of the United States, is say he’s willing to sit down and find a common ground and negotiate together,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday morning when asked what he would need to see from Biden to consider the meeting a success.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) put it more simply: “It would be awesome if the president would admit he is going to negotiate. That would be awesome.”

But GOP members are still fiercely split over major issues like whether to slash the Pentagon’s budget or touch entitlement programs, and broad domestic spending cuts could prove problematic for more moderate, electorally vulnerable members.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), another conservative who supports limits on domestic spending, said of Biden: “He wants to do a free debt ceiling. And I don’t think that’s what the American people want.”

The first step this time, as House Republicans see it, is for Biden to acknowledge to their leader that the U.S. needs to start chipping away at the nation’s rising borrowing bills. While GOP leaders have agreed to look at capping spending at fiscal 2022 levels in future spending bills, there’s been little open discussion about whether those demands would carry into the debt conversations.

“We can’t even talk about it without the president and Democrats coming to the table,” said House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas).

Democrats, meanwhile, are looking for their own concessions. Biden plans to seek a commitment from McCarthy that the U.S. will never default on its financial obligations, according to a White House memo released earlier Tuesday. Administration officials also said they plan to unveil their proposed budget for the coming fiscal year on March 9, demanding that House GOP leaders reveal their own blueprint detailing their vision for spending cuts.

Some Senate Democrats have said they’re willing to discuss government funding as part of the annual appropriations process, but not while using the nation’s borrowing limit as a bargaining chip.

“There shouldn’t be a negotiation about whether or not we pay our bills,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a member of the chamber’s Democratic leadership. “If they want to talk about next year’s budget, certainly that’s a legitimate thing. But we don’t negotiate to pay our bills.”

Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), however, has said it would be a mistake for the White House not to negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling. Manchin met with McCarthy last week, after which he said the GOP leader agreed not to cut Medicare and Social Security.

“I think those two can get something done,” Manchin said Monday night of the president and House GOP leader. “I really feel confident about that.”

Unlike some House Republicans, though, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said he hopes Biden will entertain changes to ensure the long-term solvency of programs like Social Security and Medicare, which “are both headed for bankruptcy.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to cut programs, but it does mean that you’ve got to make reforms … that will translate into making those programs more sustainable for the long term,” Thune said Tuesday. “If you take that off the table in these negotiations, it does obviously limit the amount of the budget that you can address.”

More than a decade ago, then-Vice President Biden and Senate GOP leader McConnell successfully hashed out a spending caps deal to stave off a market-rattling default. But this time, McConnell has said McCarthy should take the lead, arguing that nothing would get through the Democratic-led Senate if it can’t pass the Republican-led House.

McConnell said Tuesday that the 2011 deal was successful when it came to restricting spending in the short-term, but it squeezed defense funding too much.

“We’re all behind Kevin and wishing him well in negotiations,” McConnell said.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), a senior party appropriator, said Biden will ultimately have to negotiate with the GOP to stave off a debt default that — in Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s recent words — could result in a “global financial crisis.”

“No one holds all the cards,” Fleischmann said.

Jennifer Scholtes and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.


Source link

read more

Nikki Haley poised to enter 2024 presidential race


Haley’s expected announcement represents a turnabout: Haley declared in 2021 that she wouldn’t run for president if Trump did. But Haley telegraphed her change of plans in an interview with Fox News earlier this month, saying, “It’s bigger than one person. And when you’re looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change. I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C.”

Trump has already started making light of the shift, pointing out to reporters over the weekend that she had previously said she would defer to him.

Haley, whose parents were Indian immigrants, has long been seen as a prospective presidential candidate. After serving in the South Carolina legislature, Haley spent six years as governor. In 2017, Trump picked her to join his Cabinet. After serving two years on the job, she launched a political nonprofit that served to promote her policies and, later, a political action committee that allowed her to support endorsed candidates.

The PAC, Stand for America, also helped fund Haley’s travel to early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where she stumped for local candidates.

Haley’s decision to launch her campaign in her native South Carolina highlights how critical the early-voting state is to her prospects — and several other candidates. Haley could face competition from another home-state contender, Sen. Tim Scott, who is also considering a bid. Haley appointed Scott to the Senate in 2012. He has since won elections to two full terms.

Trump, who won South Carolina’s 2016 GOP primary, also appears to be focusing on the state, having made an appearance in Columbia, S.C. over the weekend. The former president has received the endorsements of Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Henry McMaster, both of whom are longtime allies.

Haley stared down Trump during a congressional primary contest in South Carolina last year, when Haley put her political muscle behind GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, who faced a Trump-backed primary challenge from Katie Arrington. Mace went on to win the primary for the Charleston-area seat handily.


Source link

read more

Britain’s semiconductor plan goes AWOL as US and EU splash billions – POLITICO


Press play to listen to this article

Voiced by artificial intelligence.

LONDON — As nations around the world scramble to secure crucial semiconductor supply chains over fears about relations with China, the U.K. is falling behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the world’s heavy reliance on Taiwan and China for the most advanced chips, which power everything from iPhones to advanced weapons. For the past two years, and amid mounting fears China could kick off a new global security crisis by invading Taiwan, Britain’s government has been readying a plan to diversify supply chains for key components and boost domestic production.

Yet according to people close to the strategy, the U.K.’s still-unseen plan — which missed its publication deadline last fall — has suffered from internal disconnect and government disarray, setting the country behind its global allies in a crucial race to become more self-reliant.

A lack of experience and joined-up policy-making in Whitehall, a period of intense political upheaval in Downing Street, and new U.S. controls on the export of advanced chips to China, have collectively stymied the U.K.’s efforts to develop its own coherent plan.

The way the strategy has been developed so far “is a mistake,” said a former senior Downing Street official.

Falling behind

During the pandemic, demand for semiconductors outstripped supply as consumers flocked to sort their home working setups. That led to major chip shortages — soon compounded by China’s tough “zero-COVID” policy. 

Since a semiconductor fabrication plant is so technologically complex — a single laser in a chip lithography system of German firm Trumpf has 457,000 component parts — concentrating manufacturing in a few companies helped the industry innovate in the past.

But everything changed when COVID-19 struck.

“Governments suddenly woke up to the fact that — ‘hang on a second, these semiconductor things are quite important, and they all seem to be concentrated in a small number of places,’” said a senior British semiconductor industry executive.

Beijing’s launch of a hypersonic missile in 2021 also sent shivers through the Pentagon over China’s increasing ability to develop advanced AI-powered weapons. And Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to geopolitical uncertainty, upping the pressure on governments to onshore manufacturers and reduce reliance on potential conflict hotspots like Taiwan.

Against this backdrop, many of the U.K.’s allies are investing billions in domestic manufacturing.

The Biden administration’s CHIPS Act, passed last summer, offers $52 billion in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. The EU has its own €43 billion plan to subsidize production — although its own stance is not without critics. Emerging producers like India, Vietnam, Singapore and Japan are also making headway in their own multi-billion-dollar efforts to foster domestic manufacturing.

US President Joe Biden | Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Now the U.K. government is under mounting pressure to show its own hand. In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak first reported by the Times and also obtained by POLITICO, Britain’s semiconductor sector said its “confidence in the government’s ability to address the vital importance of the industry is steadily declining with each month of inaction.”

That followed the leak of an early copy of the U.K.’s semiconductor strategy, reported on by Bloomberg, warning that Britain’s over-dependence on Taiwan for its semiconductor foundries makes it vulnerable to any invasion of the island nation by China.  

Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory, makes more than 90 percent of the world’s advanced chips, with its Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) vital to the manufacture of British-designed semiconductors.

U.S. and EU action has already tempted TSMC to begin building new plants and foundries in Arizona and Germany.

“We critically depend on companies like TSMC,” said the industry executive quoted above. “It would be catastrophic for Western economies if they couldn’t get access to the leading-edge semiconductors any more.”

Whitehall at war

Yet there are concerns both inside and outside the British government that key Whitehall departments whose input on the strategy could be crucial are being left out in the cold.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is preparing the U.K.’s plan and, according to observers, has fiercely maintained ownership of the project. DCMS is one of the smallest departments in Whitehall, and is nicknamed the ‘Ministry of Fun’ due to its oversight of sports and leisure, as well as issues related to tech.

“In other countries, semiconductor policies are the product of multiple players,” said Paul Triolo, a senior vice president at U.S.-based strategy firm ASG. This includes “legislative support for funding major subsidies packages, commercial and trade departments, R&D agencies, and high-level strategic policy bodies tasked with things like improving supply chain resilience,” he said.

“You need all elements of the U.K.’s capabilities. You need the diplomatic services, the security services. You need everyone working together on this,” said the former Downing Street official quoted above. “There are huge national security aspects to this.”

Referring to lower-level civil servants, the same person said that relying on “a few ‘Grade 6’ officials in DCMS — officials that don’t see the wider picture, or who don’t have either capability or knowledge,” is a mistake. 

For its part, DCMS rejected the suggestion it is too closely guarding the plan, with a spokesperson saying the ministry is “working closely with industry experts and other government departments … so we can protect and grow our domestic sector and ensure greater supply chain resilience.”

The spokesperson said the strategy “will be published as soon as possible.”

But businesses keen for sight of the plan remain unconvinced the U.K. has the right team in place for the job.

Key Whitehall personnel who had been involved in project have now changed, the executive cited earlier said, and few of those writing the strategy “have much of a background in the industry, or much first-hand experience.”

Progress was also sidetracked last year by lengthy deliberations over whether the U.K. should block the sale of Newport Wafer Fab, Britain’s biggest semiconductor plant, to Chinese-owned Nexperia on national security grounds, according to two people directly involved in the strategy. The government eventually announced it would block the sale in November.

And while a draft of the plan existed last year, it never progressed to the all-important ministerial “write-around” process — which gives departments across Whitehall the chance to scrutinize and comment upon proposals.

Waiting for budget day

Two people familiar with current discussions about the strategy said ministers are now aiming to make their plan public in the run-up to, or around, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s March 15 budget statement, although they stressed that timing could still change.

Leaked details of the strategy indicate the government will set aside £1 billion to support chip makers. Further leaks indicate this will be used as seed money for startups, and for boosting existing firms and delivering new incentives for investors.

U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt | Leon Neal/Getty Images

There is wrangling with the Treasury and other departments over the size of these subsidies. Experts also say it is unlikely to be ‘new’ money but diverted from other departments’ budgets.

“We’ll just have to wait for something more substantial,” said a spokesperson from one semiconductor firm commenting on the pre-strategy leaks.

But as the U.K. procrastinates, key British-linked firms are already being hit by the United States’ own fast-evolving semiconductor strategy. U.S. rules brought in last October — and beefed up in recent days by an agreement with the Netherlands — are preventing some firms from selling the most advanced chip designs and manufacturing equipment to China.

British-headquartered, Japanese-owned firm ARM — the crown jewel of Britain’s semiconductor industry, which sells some designs to smartphone manufacturers in China — is already seeing limits on what it can export. Other British firms like Graphcore, which develops chips for AI and machine learning, are feeling the pinch too.

“The U.K. needs to — at pace — understand what it wants its role to be in the industries that will define the future economy,” said Andy Burwell, director for international trade at business lobbying group the CBI.

Where do we go from here?

There are serious doubts both inside and outside government about whether Britain’s long-awaited plan can really get to the heart of what is a complex global challenge — and opinion is divided on whether aping the U.S. and EU’s subsidy packages is either possible or even desirable for the U.K.

A former senior government figure who worked on semiconductor policy said that while the U.K. definitely needs a “more coherent worked-out plan,” publishing a formal strategy may actually just reveal how “complicated, messy and beyond our control” the issue really is.

“It’s not that it is problematic that we don’t have a strategy,” they said. “It’s problematic that whatever strategy we have is not going to be revolutionary.” They described the idea of a “boosterish” multi-billion-pound investment in Britain’s own fabricator industry as “pie in the sky.”

The former Downing Street official said Britain should instead be seeking to work “in collaboration” with EU and U.S. partners, and must be “careful to avoid” a subsidy war with allies.

The opposition Labour Party, hot favorites to form the next government after an expected 2024 election, takes a similar view. “It’s not the case that the U.K. can do this on its own,” Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said recently, urging ministers to team up with the EU to secure its supply of semiconductors.

One area where some experts believe the U.K. may be able to carve out a competitive advantage, however, is in the design of advanced semiconductors.

“The U.K. would probably be best placed to pursue support for start-up semiconductor design firms such as Graphcore,” said ASG’s Triolo, “and provide support for expansion of capacity at the existing small number of companies manufacturing at more mature nodes” such as Nexperia’s Newport Wafer Fab.

Ministers launched a research project in December aimed at tapping into the U.K. semiconductor sector’s existing strength in design. The government has so far poured £800 million into compound semiconductor research through universities, according to a recent report by the House of Commons business committee.

But the same group of MPs wants more action to support advanced chip design. Burwell at the CBI business group said the U.K. government must start “working alongside industry, rather than the government basically developing a strategy and then coming to industry afterwards.”

Right now the government is “out there a bit struggling to see what levers they have to pull,” said the senior semiconductor executive quoted earlier.

Under World Trade Organization rules, governments are allowed to subsidize their semiconductor manufacturing capabilities, the executive pointed out. “The U.S. is doing it. Europe’s doing it. Taiwan does it. We should do it too.”

Cristina Gallardo contributed reporting.


Source link

read more

Ohio Woman Who Lost Teeth From Domestic Abuse Claims She Had To Quit Sheetz Job Over Unfair ‘Smile Policy’


The usually-well-liked convenience store Sheetz is catching heat for getting rid of an employee who apparently violated their “smile policy” after she says she lost her teeth in an awful domestic attack by her ex-husband!

Rose Marie Counts took to Facebook earlier this month to recount a bad experience she had as a (former) employee at a Sheetz store in Circleville, Ohio. She claims she lost her teeth after her abusive ex-husband knocked them out during a domestic incident. But when she showed up to work as a customer service clerk at the small-town convenience store, she was called in by her boss over it!

Related: Joe Rogan’s Dad And Sister ‘Have Proof’ He LIED About Domestic Abuse Accusations!

In the Facebook post, Counts explained what happened once she got into the store:

“I was asked to come to the office at work. I was nervous I have only been with the company for about a month. When I walked in the office the manager had the company policy pulled up to were it talks about employees appearances. I was informed that policy states all Sheetz employees must have and remain with a perfect beautiful warm welcoming smile. If you are an employee with this company and you break a tooth you have 90 days to have it fixed.”


She went on to explain how her teeth have been an issue for a while — even before she was hired by the store. Still, Sheetz apparently balked that her insurance company wouldn’t pay for temporary dentures until the swelling in her mouth could go down enough to fill in with permanent teeth:

“When I was hired I had no upper teeth. My lower teeth is scheduled to be removed. My insurance will pay for my permanent dentures but they will not pay for a temporary denture. Due to swelling that occurs when teeth are pulled my insurance will not pay for me to have the temporary denture they look at it as a waste of money.”

Then, Counts explained how Sheetz’s “smile policy” strictly defined her look as “unbeautiful.” Thus, she was suddenly unworthy of working in a customer-facing role in the convenience store.

She wrote:

“And even though I am good at my job I can no longer be a frontline employee with the company because of my smile. The company defines my smile as unbeautiful because I still have work that needs to be done on them. So I went to work today and I left work today crying. Why did I leave crying? Because I left my job that I loved that I enjoyed I was happy to be there. But to get told based on my looks that my job is in jeopardy. And that maybe I should fill out paperwork and maybe the company will help me if I tell them my story. They might let me borrow the money to have a temporary denture for me to pay them back the thousands of dollars that it took to buy them.”


According to Insider, Sheetz’s so-called “smile policy” is as follows:

“Applicants with obvious missing, broken, or badly discolored teeth (unrelated to a disability) are not qualified for employment with Sheetz. Sheetz believes that an employee’s smile during interactions with customers and coworkers is critical to creating the sense of hospitality in our stores that we strive for.”

Clearly, Counts has issue with that policy — especially since her teeth were mangled in an alleged domestic abuse incident that she could not control or avoid.

Related: Matt Altman Is REALLY Trying To Erase Domestic Violence Incident With His Wife!

Along with her Facebook post, Counts also came with the receipts. She shared an audio clip of a meeting with her boss, in which the superior explained the “smile policy.” Counts, who is now in a new relationship according to the New York Post, could be heard in the audio clip telling her manager:

“This company has no idea what I’ve been through. I lost these front teeth because my ex-husband headbutted me because I forgot to turn the hall light out. It’s legit, it’s a bad experience that happened in my life that I’m still trying to…”

At that point, she trailed off, and could be heard getting noticeably emotional. The manager responded “that’s fine,” and said she was “so sorry” about Counts’ situation.

Then, the boss said she had been hearing “wonderful things” from customers about Rose Marie. However, the smile policy was a hard-and-fast rule within the company. Frustrated that her toothless smile didn’t meet Sheetz’s expectations, Counts replied:

“I feel like my job performance should be enough. I don’t feel like I should have to justify myself because of my looks.”

Counts then told her boss she would “have to seek other employment” because she no longer wanted to be associated with the convenience store brand. The manager answered:

“That’s understandable. I really am sorry that that’s the way you feel about us.”


On Tuesday, the New York Post reached out to Sheetz’s corporate offices about the incident. The company’s PR manager Nick Ruffner responded with a statement:

“[Sheetz’s] intent has always been to help her and to determine which of our assistance programs may apply to her situation. Our hearts go out to Rose. … Rose is a valued asset to the Sheetz family and we look forward to continuing this conversation with her.”

That’s it??

Ruffner also confirmed Sheetz is reviewing its “smile policy” after receiving complaints from staffers at its other locations. The brand has 650 stores across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.

The PR flack concluded with an explanation about the company’s sudden choice to review policy:

“[This incident] has prompted a more specific review to ensure our policies are aligned with Sheetz’s commitment to foster a culture of respect. While we have a personal appearance policy that includes dental health, we provide accommodations to the policy that are granted for medical, cultural, and religious reasons. At Sheetz, it is important that we honor and recognize our employees’ diverse experiences, individual identities, and unique perspectives.”

OK… Let’s just hope something good comes from this. Nobody should lose their job because they were abused!!

You can see Rose Marie’s original post over on Facebook HERE.

Reactions, Perezcious readers??

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to

[Image via Rose Marie Counts/Facebook/Sheetz/YouTube]


Source link

read more

Vladimir Putin is not mad, just ‘radically rational,’ says former French president – POLITICO


Press play to listen to this article

Voiced by artificial intelligence.

PARIS — Vladimir Putin is a “radically rational” leader who is betting that Western countries will grow tired of backing Ukraine and agree a negotiated end to the conflict that will be favorable to Russia, former French President François Hollande told POLITICO.

Hollande, who served from 2012 to 2017, has plenty of first-hand experience with Putin. He led negotiations with the Russian leader, along with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under the so-called Normandy format in 2014 after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine and supported pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region.

But those efforts at dialogue proved fruitless, exposing Putin as a leader who only understands strength and casting doubt on all later attempts at talks — including a controversial solo effort led by current French President Emmanuel Macron, Hollande said in an interview at his Paris office.

“He [Putin] is a radically rational person, or a rationally radical person, as you like,” said the former French leader, when asked if Putin could seek to widen the conflict beyond Ukraine. “He’s got his own reasoning and within that framework, he’s ready to use force. He’s only able to understand the [power] dynamic that we’re able to set up against him.”

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Hollande added that Putin would seek to “consolidate his gains to stabilize the conflict, hoping that public opinion will get tired and that Europeans will fear escalation in order to bring up at that stage the prospect of a negotiation.”

But unlike when he was in power and Paris and Berlin led talks with Putin, this time the job of mediating is likely to fall to Turkey or China — “which won’t be reassuring for anyone,” Hollande said.

Macron, who served as Hollande’s economy minister before leaving his government and going on to win the presidency in 2017, has tried his own hand at diplomacy with Russia, holding numerous one-on-one calls with Putin both before and after his invasion of Ukraine.

But the outreach didn’t yield any clear results, prompting criticism from Ukraine and Eastern Europeans who also objected to Macron saying that Russia would require “security guarantees” after the war is over. 

Hollande stopped short of criticizing his successor over the Putin outreach. It made sense to speak with Putin before the invasion to “deprive him of any arguments or pretexts,” he said. But after a “brief period of uncertainty” following the invasion, “the question [about the utility of dialogue] was unfortunately settled.”

Frustration with France and Germany’s leadership, or lack thereof, during the Ukraine war has bolstered arguments that power in Europe is moving eastward into the hands of countries like Poland, which have been most forthright in supporting Ukraine. 

But Hollande wasn’t convinced, arguing that northern and eastern countries are casting in their lot with the United States at their own risk. “These countries, essentially the Baltics, the Scandinavians, are essentially tied to the United States. They see American protection as a shield.” 

Former French President François Hollande | Antonio Cotrim/EFE via EPA

“Until today,” he continued, U.S. President Joe Biden has shown “exemplary solidarity and lived up to his role in the transatlantic alliance perfectly. But tomorrow, with a different American president and a more isolationist Congress, or at least less keen on spending, will the United States have the same attitude?”

“We must convince our partners that the European Union is about principles and political values. We should not deviate from them, but the partnership can also offer precious, and solid, security guarantees,” Hollande added.

Throwing shade

Hollande was one of France’s most unpopular presidents while in office, with approval ratings in the low single digits. But he has enjoyed something of a revival since leaving the Elysée and is now the country’s second-most popular politician behind former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, five spots ahead of Macron — in keeping with the adage that the French prefer their leaders when they are safely out of office.

His time in office was racked with crises. In addition to failed diplomacy over Ukraine, Hollande led France’s response to a series of terrorist attacks, presided over Europe’s sovereign debt crisis with Merkel, and faced massive street protests against labor reforms.

On that last point, Macron is now feeling some of the heat that Hollande felt during the last months of his presidency. More than a million French citizens have joined marches against a planned pension system reform, and further strikes are planned. Hollande criticized the reform plans, which would raise the age of retirement to 64, as poorly planned.

“Did the president choose the right time? Given the succession of crises and with elevated inflation, the French want to be reassured. Did the government propose the right reform? I don’t think so either — it’s seen as unfair and brutal,” said Hollande. “But now that a parliamentary process has been set into motion, the executive will have to strike a compromise or take the risk of going all the way and raising the level of anger.”

A notable difference between him and Macron is the quality of the Franco-German relationship. While Hollande and Merkel took pains to showcase a form of political friendship, the two sides have been plainly at odds under Macron — prompting a carefully-worded warning from the former commander-in-chief.

Former French President Francois Hollande with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel | Thierry Chesnot/Getty images

“In these moments when everything is being redefined, the Franco-German couple is the indispensable core that ensures the EU’s cohesion. But it needs to redefine the contributions of both parties and set new goals — including European defense,” said Hollande.

“It’s not about seeing one another more frequently, or speaking more plainly, but taking the new situation into account because if that work isn’t done, and if that political foundation isn’t secure, and if misunderstandings persist, it’s not just a bilateral disagreement between France and Germany that we’ll have, but a stalled European Union,” he said, adding that he “hoped” a recent Franco-German summit had “cleared up misunderstandings.”

The socialist leader also had some choice words for Macron over the way he’s trying to rally Europeans around a robust response to Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers major subsidies to American green industry. Several EU countries have come out against plans, touted by Paris, to create a “Buy European Act” and raise new money to support EU industries.

During a joint press conference on Monday, Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed to disagree on the EU’s response.

“On the IRA, France is discovering that its partners are, for the most part, liberal governments. When you tell the Dutch or the Scandinavians hear about direct aid [for companies], they hear something that goes against not just the spirit, but also the letter of the treaties,” Hollande said.

Another issue rattling European politics lately is the Qatargate corruption scandal, in which current and former MEPs as well as lobbyists are accused of taking cash in exchange for influencing the European Parliament’s work in favor of Qatar and Morocco. 

Hollande recalled that his own administration had been hit by a scandal when his budget minister was found to be lying about Swiss bank accounts he’d failed to disclose from tax authorities. The scandal led to Hollande establishing the Haute autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique — an independent authority that audits public officials and has the power to refer any misdeeds to a prosecutor.

Now would be a good time for the EU to follow that example and establish an independent ethics body of its own, Hollande said.

“I think it’s a good institution that would have a role to play in Brussels,” he said. “Some countries will be totally in favor because integrity and transparency are part of their basic values. Others, like Poland and Hungary, will see a challenge to their sovereignty.”


Source link

read more

Trump committee burns through cash in early months, new filings show


Despite those high expenses, the fundraising committee — which had money in the bank going into December — still distributed significant funds to Trump’s campaign committee, enabling him to pay staff and fund a variety of campaign initiatives over the holidays.

But the high costs of fundraising are an ominous sign, as the early days of campaigns are often a time for candidates to reap easy cash from enthusiastic donors.

Trump has significant fundraising work to do ahead of what could be a grueling election cycle. His campaign reported only $3 million in cash on hand, compared to more than $19 million that his campaign had at the same time in the 2020 election cycle. Four years ago, the then-president also did not have a competitive primary approaching.

The former president’s fundraising numbers would still be enviable for many candidates. December is typically a slow fundraising month, and the fundraising committee raised more than $15 million in October and November, mostly before Trump’s presidential campaign launched. Declining rates of return on digital fundraising is a problem that has plagued many candidates. But Trump was once considered the exception to his party’s digital fundraising woes, as he raised record sums online during the 2020 election cycle and continued raising large amounts of money after he left office in 2021.

“President Trump has raised $21.3 million in the last quarter, proving that he is an unstoppable force that continues to dominate politics,” said Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign. “The campaign built out a second-to-none operation both on the national level and in early states since announcing. The President will wage an aggressive and fully-funded campaign to take our country back from Joe Biden and Democrats who seek to destroy our country.”

Trump will still benefit from significant outside money. A super PAC backing him, MAGA Inc., reported having $54 million in cash on hand at the end of 2022 and will likely look to target potential GOP primary opponents in advertising — a costly part of any campaign.

Overall, Trump’s fundraising committee spent over $250,000 on top political consultants and staff, while his campaign spent another more than $330,000 on staff and consultants. And the filings give some clues as to who exactly is working with Trump in the early days of his campaign. Aides say Trump’s 2024 operation, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla., not far from Trump’s Mar-a-lago club, is expected to be scrappier than the large 2020 campaign based at a high rise in Virginia.

Over $50,000 went towards paying advisers like Boris Epshteyn and Christina Bobb, who have assisted the former president on his numerous legal cases. The fundraising arm also paid longtime Trump aides like Lynne Patton, who has worked closely with the Trump family for years and was with Trump since his first campaign, and Dan Scavino, Trump’s director of social media in the White House who will continue that work on the campaign.

Other aides included in the filing include Margo Martin, who worked for Trump in the White House and has continued to be a press and communications aide for his reelect, Liz (Harrington) Shrew, a spokeswoman for Trump who frequently appears on right-wing media, Justin Caporale, a Melania Trump aide-turned-operations adviser, and Danny Tiso, a press lead for the campaign.

Vincent Haley and Ross Worthington, Trump’s top policy advisers and speechwriters who worked with him in the White House, are on the campaign payroll. And so are two of the people frequently at Trump’s side: Natalie Harp, the young OAN anchor-turned-aide, and Walt Nauta, Trump’s former military aide in the White House who moved down to Florida to continue to work for Trump and found himself at the center of Trump’s Mar-a-lago document drama.

Other major campaign expenses in December included $67,000 spent at Mar-a-Lago and a $5,000 donation to the Republican Party of Iowa.


Source link

read more

Joe Rogan’s Dad & Sister ‘Have Proof’ He LIED About Domestic Abuse Accusations!


[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Joe Rogan‘s dad is calling out the popular podcaster over long-standing claims about supposed domestic abuse during his childhood.

The Joe Rogan Experience host has gone on record several times over the last decade-plus to discuss the experiences he had as a young child in New Jersey. But now, those claims are being denied by Joe Rogan Sr. — and the 81-year-old wants to talk to his estranged son about the situation.

Related: Joe Rogan Says We Should VOTE REPUBLICAN Because…

So, first, some background. Several times on the JRE podcast and other public forums, the Fear Factor alum has spoken about awful events growing up in New Jersey in his dad’s home. Joe has described his biological father as a “very, very violent guy” and has told stories about the elder allegedly attacking people when he was just a small boy.

In one podcast clip from eleven years ago, Joe said:

“All my damaged s**t came from my real father before I was seven. My real father was crazy. He was like a psychotic person. He beat the f**k out of my mother, he beat the f**k out of my cousin.”

You can watch that decade-old comment and the entire conversation clip (below):

Several times in the years since making those claims, Joe’s father Joe Sr. has denied them. Last September, he notably denied ever abusing Joe’s mother or anyone else in his life. But the accusations have persisted. And now Joe Sr. is taking to TikTok to comment on the claims directly to the public.

In a new video posted to the social media network on Monday evening, Joe Sr. and his daughter, Bridget Rogan Carselda, spoke up about the domestic violence and abuse allegations. The octogenarian was clearly enraged about his estranged son’s claims, and said this to lead off the video:

“You lied about me. Your father! If you lied about your father, you’d… give up the world. I’m tired of it, Joe. I’ve had enough. If you can’t talk to me, face to face, you’re a punk-ass. That’s all you are.”


Joe Sr. continued:

“You’ve got all the money and everything. But you know what you don’t have? You don’t have no heart. And I’m going to tell you something else you don’t have: you ain’t got two balls. You don’t want to talk to your father because you couldn’t handle me. … You owe me a big apology.”


At that point, Bridget jumped in to comment on Joe and his mother leaving Joe Sr. when the future comedian was just seven years old. Thus, she said, Joe never really knew the whole story about his father:

“Joe, you were taken away at a very young age, OK? Unfortunately, you did not grow up with the man that we were fortunate enough to grow up with. That my kids were fortunate enough to grow up with.”

Bridget continued:

“I’m sorry that all this happened to you. From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry, because you will never know what you have missed out on in life.”

Joe Sr. jumped back in later in the video. Angered at how his estranged son has characterized him — and his community — the elder Rogan slammed a comment his famous son made about the Italian-American community where he was raised:

“You said the Italians in North Jersey are psychotic? Joe, I’m 81 years old, I’ve never met a psychotic Italian. … It’s about time you become a man, Joe, and get to reality. You were wrong. You lied. We all know you lied.”

Then, Bridget cryptically warned that her family had receipts that would make the feud “really ugly” if they chose to release the info:

“I love when I see the comments. ‘They just want the money, they just want the money bag.’ I have a box. Pandora’s box. And if I open it, Joe, things would get really ugly. But see, we don’t roll that way. Us psychopaths from New Jersey, we don’t roll that way.”


Joe Sr. continued by trying to bait Joe into meeting him face-to-face for a talk:

“Joe, in front of everybody, I’m looking at you, I’m pointing at you. Come here, sit down, and me and you talk, that’s it. I won’t tell nobody what was said. I’m a stand-up guy. I ain’t like you, making up stories so I can make money. I don’t do that s**t. Especially family. I don’t do that. But I’m going to tell you something, Joe. Before you go here, and you come and sit, do me a favor: go buy that set of balls.”

Then, Bridget explained why she and her father chose to go public with their accusations.

Related: Joe Rogan Addresses COVID Stance And N-Word Scandal In Divisive Standup Set

The younger Joe won’t respond to them, she said, so they decided to take things to social media to draw attention:

“The thing about our family is that we’re very, very close. No matter what goes on in our family, it always stays within our family. This whole Joe thing is something very new to us. This is the only way to respond to him. We’ve contacted him privately. He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say. He doesn’t want to hear the truth.”

She went on:

“But here’s the thing: when you make an accusation, you have to back it up with proof. And when there’s no proof, there’s no truth to what you’re saying. We have a box full of truth, Joe. We have proof from the attorney general’s office. We have proof from the police department. We have proof from legal cases. Whatever you said, ‘my father is a psychopath, my father beat children, my father beat women, my father beat your mother,’ we have proof, Joe, that it never happened. Real proof. Legal proof. Where’s your proof?”

So much drama!!

You can watch the Rogan fam’s full video (below):


Joe Rogans dad and sister tell the truth….the proof is in the box! #regret #joerogan #italian #newjersey #truth #foryou #CapCut

♬ original sound – FIGHT LIFE ACADEMY

Like we’ve already said up top… Yikes! Lots of anger here. Clearly, this resentment and drama has been brewing on all sides for a long, long time. Will anything come from it this time around, tho?

Share your reaction to everything down in the comments (below)…

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to

[Image via Powerful JRE/YouTube/Fight Life Academy/TikTok]


Source link

read more

Record oil earnings fuel California backlash against industry profits


The timing is important. Oil companies are rolling out earnings announcements as lawmakers in California are poised to hold hearings on a Newsom proposal to cap profit margins — an idea he floated last year as pump prices in California rose to the highest in the nation even as the cost of a barrel of oil dropped around the world.

Meanwhile, the price of gas in California is inching up again — reaching an average $4.55 per gallon in the state this week, up 10 cents from a week ago, according to AAA figures.

Even though Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, the governor’s assault on oil profits faces an uncertain fate. The industry wields considerable influence and some lawmakers see it as a misguided approach in a state where gas consumption is already starting to fall with the transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Newsom’s proposal, which state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) is steering through the Legislature, would target California refineries. It still lacks the most critical detail: the amount of profit that would generate a penalty.

But Newsom’s continued messaging, along with a recent surge in local advertising from both sides of the issue, suggest a battle is brewing — even if major players in the Legislature are keeping quiet so far.

“We are continuing to review the proposal, and on anything this big, there will be a thorough vetting,” state Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said in an emailed statement. “One thing that’s already clear is that Californians are tired of paying high prices at the fuel pump. Gouging Californians will not be tolerated.”

Chevron, Marathon Petroleum, Phillips 66 and Valero — four of the five big companies with refineries in California — each released annual earnings in recent days, setting new records with a combined $74 billion in profits for 2022. The companies are projecting another strong performance this year. The fifth major refiner reports next month.

Oil industry executives are pleased with their results after a tumultuous period caused in large part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s good that markets have calmed,” Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said during a Friday earnings call. “I mean the high prices really were creating a lot of stresses out there that are not good.”

Executives also said they expect oil supplies to remain limited, a big factor in higher prices.

“We believe that the current supply constraints and growing demand will support strong margins in 2023,” Marathon Petroleum Corp. CEO Mike Hennigan said in a Tuesday earnings call.

Supply constraints also spotlight a concern oil industry lobbyists and executives have expressed regarding a profit margin cap: They say it could lead to supply shortages that caused long gas station lines, and deep political pain, for former presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

Oil industry representatives have accused Newsom of being more interested in scoring political points than targeting the factors that increase prices at gas stations. They say he should look at other factors in higher prices, including retail competition and state taxes.

“The governor’s tax is targeted at the industry as a punishment, not as a way to lower costs for consumers,” said Western States Petroleum Association spokesperson Kevin Slagle.

Newsom has consistently rejected the industry’s arguments as “lies” and promised to hold the companies accountable.

His proposal is welcome even among people in oil-producing Kern County, said Cesar Aguirre, director of the local branch of the Central California Environmental Justice Network.

Even though the industry provides jobs, people in Kern see the proposed penalty as a way to address not just gas prices but other concerns such as contamination from wells, Aguirre said.

“We can hold them responsible, we can hold them accountable,” he said.


Source link

read more
1 2 3
Page 1 of 3