HOME DEPOT RAISING WAGES

HOME DEPOT RAISING WAGES

Home Depot boosts staff pay by $1 billion after uninterrupted sales surge

HOME DEPOT RAISING WAGES AFTER BANNER QUARTER

Home Depot Inc HD.N said on Tuesday it will spend about $1 billion more on employees’ wages annually as the home improvement chain benefits from a sustained surge in demand for tools and building materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home Depot’s blue-chip stock, up 28% this year, fell 2.5% in early trading, despite the company beating quarterly sales and profit estimates.

Demand for home improvement products have remained elevated since coronavirus lockdowns started in March, as Americans spending more time at home due to limited options for travel or leisure activities use their discretionary income on minor home remodeling and repair work.

The heavy activity has, however, also led Home Depot to spend $1.7 billion in temporary pay and benefits for staff working through the health crisis. The company said on Tuesday it will change some of those benefits to permanent wage increases for frontline hourly employees.

A strengthening U.S. housing market, owed in part to record low mortgage rates, also encouraged customers to invest more in their homes, Home Depot said, signaling strong sales in the holiday season.

Business has been unaffected by spiking virus cases, the company said, a day after it agreed to buy HD Supply Holdings HDS.O in a deal valued at about $8 billion.

The company posted a 24.1% rise in same-store sales for the third quarter ended Nov. 1, beating analysts’ average estimate of a 14.8% increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Home Depot earned $3.18 per share on net sales of $33.54 billion, while analysts had expected a profit of $3.06 per share on net sales of $32.04 billion.


US REMOVING TROOPS IN MIDDLE EAST

US REMOVING TROOPS IN MIDDLE EAST

US announces further drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq before Biden takes office

US REMOVING TROOPS IN MIDDLE EAST BY JANUARY

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller announced Tuesday that the US will withdraw thousands more US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by Jan 15, 2021 — just days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, confirming plans first reported by CNN on Monday.

Miller said the withdrawal of 2,500 troops from both countries “does not equate change” to US policies or objectives.

Currently there are approximately 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 troops in Iraq.

A senior defense official said the announcement is “consistent” with what President Donald Trump has publicly announced earlier this year and is “consistent with his promise to the American People.”

A series of sweeping changes at the Pentagon last week that started with the firing of Defense Secretary of Mark Esper saw Trump loyalists installed in influential. Knowledgeable sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper last week that the White House-directed purge at the Defense Department may have been motivated by the fact that Esper and his team were pushing back on a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan, which would be carried out before the required conditions on the ground were met.

A COLLABERATIVE DECISION

The senior defense official claimed that “there is no reduction in capability” as a result of the drawdown, calling the reduction a “collaborative” decision while refusing to address a recent Pentagon memo that said conditions on the ground in Afghanistan did not warrant additional drawdowns.

Prior to his firing, Esper sent a classified memo to the White House asserting that it was the unanimous recommendation of the chain of command that the US not draw down its troop presence in Afghanistan any further until conditions were met, sources familiar with the memo tell CNN.

The assessment from the chain of command — Esper, US Central Command leader Marine Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie and commander of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan Gen. Austin Miller — stated that the necessary conditions had not been met. Others agreed, sources have told CNN.

Earlier on Tuesday, a newly released report from the Pentagon inspector general said the terrorist group al Qaeda is supportive of the Trump administration’s plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as well the US agreement with the Taliban, adding that the Taliban carried out attacks on US and coalition personnel since it was signed.

“The DIA reported that al-Qaeda leaders support the agreement because it does not require the Taliban to publicly renounce al-Qaeda and the deal includes a timeline for the United States and coalition forces to withdraw—accomplishing one of al-Qaeda’s main goals,” the report said, referring to the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.


 

DEMOCRATS DESPERATE FOR GEORGIA

DEMOCRATS DESPERATE FOR GEORGIA

DEMOCRATS DESPERATE FOR GEORGIA TO GET CONTROL

A host of California residents and California-based political organizations are prepared to descend on Georgia to campaign for two Democratic U.S. Senate candidates whose victory would have profound implications for the direction of the country.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Democrats in the Golden State have been hounding political organizers with questions about how they can travel to Georgia to volunteer for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

Georgia Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate Raphael Warnock, left, and Jon Ossoff, right, gesture toward a crowd during a campaign rally on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Marietta, Ga.  (AP)

Ossof is running against Republican Sen. David Perdue and Warnock is running against incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Both races went to a Jan. 5 runoff election after no candidate won a majority in the November election.

DEMOCRATS TRYING TIP THE BALANCE OF POWER

The current balance of power for the incoming Senate is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means that Democrats must win both of Georgia’s runoff elections to make it a 50-50 Senate, in which Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber.

The runoff election has fired up Democrats from out of state. According to campaign finance data, more than 83% of funds for Ossof’s campaign came from outside Georgia, as did nearly 80% of funds for Warnock’s fall campaign.

Flip the West, a California-based organization “dedicated to harnessing grassroots power to help Democrats take back the U.S. Senate, has filled up more than 7,500 phone bank shifts for making calls to Georgia, according to the Chronicle. Additionally, more than 16,000 volunteers have signed up to send postcards to Georgia voters reminding them to vote in the runoff election.

Ronnie Cohen, the organization’s executive director, told the outlet that the number of volunteers “is unprecedented for us.”

“Often you have to nudge people to phone bank. It just shows the passion people have for this,” she said.

MANY WILLING TO MOVE TO GEORGIA

Others are prepared to physically travel to Georgia. Manny Yekutiel, a political activist who owns a civic engagement space in San Francisco’s Mission District, said he has been bombarded with calls asking him: “When do I move to Georgia? Where can I stay? Should I get a block of hotel rooms?”

Among the most high-profile people who said they were moving to Georgia just to vote in the election is former Democratic Presidential nominee Andrew Yang.

“Great news #yanggang – Evenlyn and I are moving to Georgia to help @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock win!” Yang tweeted earlier this month. “This is our only chance to clear Mitch out of the way and help Joe and Kamala get things done in the next 4 years.”

The vast number of people who said they were willing to move to Georgia just so they can vote in the runoff election has prompted state officials to push back on the idea.

THERE ARE SOME LAWS PREVENTING THAT MOVE

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, cautioned during a press conference last week that doing so would violate state law.

“In order to be able to register to vote in Georgia, you have to be a Georgia resident,” he said. “That means you have to believe you are staying in Georgia.”

Those who try to vote in Georgia while merely visiting the state may face felony charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.”

DAWG SAYS: THE QUEST FOR TOTAL CONTROL IN WASHINGTON IS OBSESSIVE.


BIDEN CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON TRUMP SUPPORTERS

BIDEN CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON TRUMP SUPPORTERS

Biden denounces ‘all acts of violence’ after attacks on Trump supporters at MAGA rally; Pelosi silent – Biden spokesman adds that he condemns ‘repugnant displays of white supremacy’
Denies Antifa organization exists

BIDEN CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON TRUMP SUPPORTERS

President-elect Joe Biden denounced “all acts of violence” in a statement to Fox News after attacks on President Trump’s supporters at the so-called Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

“President-elect Biden continues to denounce all acts of violence,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said Monday, although he did not name Antifa or Black Lives Matter.

“Likewise, he also condemns the repugnant displays of white supremacy that were made in Washington, DC this weekend,” Bates continued, citing a sign displayed at the march that read “Coming for Blacks and Indians first welcome to the New World Order.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “denounces all acts of violence,” a Schumer spokesperson told Fox News.

PELOSI REFUSE TO RETURN CALLS

Fox News’ inquiry about violence against Trump supporters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not returned.

Trump campaign spokesperson Erin Perrine had called on Biden to condemn the violence on FOX Business’ “Varney & Co.”

“It’s egregious to see that kind of violence break out against really peaceful individuals who were in D.C. to show support for President Trump,” Perrine said Monday morning. “Unfortunately, this is not the first time this kind of violent attack has happened against Trump supporters. I remember back in New Hampshire in the primaries when a 16-year-old boy was punched in the face for standing there wearing a MAGA hat.”

Several thousand Trump supporters took part in the march, which attracted numerous counter protesters. After night fell, the relatively peaceful demonstrations in Washington turned from tense to violent.

Multiple confrontations appeared later in the day as small groups of Trump supporters attempted to enter the area around Black Lives Matter Plaza, about a block from the White House, where several hundred anti-Trump demonstrators had gathered.

TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE ASSAULTED AND HARRASSED

In a pattern that kept repeating itself, those Trump supporters who approached the area were harassed, doused with water and saw their MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags snatched and burned, amid cheers.

The Daily Caller’s Matt Miller posted video of a “melee” involving the far-right Proud Boys and Antifa.

Conservative commentator Candace Owens shared footage of two Trump supporters, a young man and a young woman, being rushed by counterprotesters in Washington, D.C.

“Black Lives Matter and Antifa represent the absolute vermin of our society,” Owens wrote on Twitter. “They were created as the marxist foot soldiers of the Democrat Party and given a pass by the leftist-controlled media. Pray for this young woman who was attacked.”‘

Biden and Trump had a heated exchange about Antifa during the presidential debate in September.

BIDEN STILL DENIES ANTIFA

“Antifa is an idea, not an organization,” Biden said.

Trump fired back: “Oh, you got to be kidding.”

Biden’s statement to Fox News is in line with previous statements condemning violence of any kind. In a September TV interview, he condemned Antifa and violence “across the board.” He made similar statements after the killing of Jacob Blake and after a grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case.


CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS TRAVEL TO HAWAII

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS TRAVEL TO HAWAII

California lawmakers take trip to Hawaii amid COVID surge, travel advisory

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS TRAVEL TO HAWAII FOR FUN

COVID-19 has squashed most holiday and vacation plans this year amid travel restrictions and quarantine recommendations to slow the spread of the virus.

Yet some California lawmakers have traveled to Maui this week for the California Independent Voter Project’s annual policy conference.

A San Diego-based group that works to empower “nonpartisan voters and promote nonpartisan election reform through initiatives,” the project’s summit has historically offered a chance for lawmakers, lobbyists and industry representatives to rub elbows over cocktails while discussing policy under the Hawaiian sun.

Amid a surge in new coronavirus cases that’s skyrocketed California’s positivity rate to 5% over seven days, the state on Monday issued another firm warning against non-essential and out-of-state traveling.

The Department of Public Health has also recommended anyone traveling into California from another part of the country or internationally to quarantine for two weeks. Hawaii requires travelers to either isolate for 14 days upon entrance into the state, or prove they’ve had a negative COVID-19 test result within the last 72 hours.

50 PARTICIPANTS ON TRIP

Dan Howle, chairman and executive director for the Independent Voter Project, said about 50 participants are in Hawaii this week, a third of its normal size, including fewer than 20 legislators from multiple states. Howle declined to say how many California lawmakers are in attendance, but said both Democrats and Republicans are participating in the four-day conference that started Monday.

Howle said the organization has been working for months with the hotel, which hosts the summit each year, to make sure the event was as safe as possible and in accordance with Hawaii’s stringent COVID-19 guidelines. Attendees are wearing masks, adhering to food and drink regulations and physically distancing from others.

A worker for Fairmont Kea Lani, the southwest coast resort with rates into the hundreds of dollars that’s hosting the summit, confirmed that participants had to show proof of a negative test result before they attended any events or wandered through the hotel. Anyone who did not have the test results available yet was required to quarantine.

According to the resort’s website, all guests are required to wear face coverings while in public spaces and asked to maintain social distancing. Temperature checks “may also be required.”

“Nobody has been walking around without masks. They’re not complaining about it,” Howle said. “Of course, they’re in Maui.”

PEOPLE ARE ENCOURAGED BUT NOT REQUIRED TO QUARINTINE UPON RETURN

Participants are also being encouraged, Howle said, to quarantine when they return back home, and to get tested for COVID-19 five days later.

“If it does not come back negative, notify us so we can notify the hotel, the airlines and everyone in that stream,” he said.

The Hawaii trip follows on the heels of backlash over Gov. Gavin Newsom attending a friend and political adviser’s 50th birthday party at a Napa County restaurant called French Laundry, known for its expensive meals.

Newsom apologized following the San Francisco Chronicle’s report of the Nov. 6 party, and reiterated his regret Monday during a press conference.

“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said. “The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradictory, and I’ve got to own that, so I’m going to apologize to you.”

THEY ARE THERE TO LEARN HOW TO REOPEN

Faced with questions on the public policy benefit of a trip to Hawaii for a four-day event amid the nation’s worst COVID-19 surge, Howle also said participants are learning about how to reopen the economy safely, especially within the hotel and services sector.

“There’s a lot of different ideas about how we can get people’s businesses (open), about starting the process of bringing people back to some semblance of normal,” Howle said. “And because we have this long relationship with the hotel we agreed, let’s give this a try.”

DAWG SAYS: NO THANKSGIVING ALLOWED, NO SINGING ALLOWED, IF COMING INTO THE STATE YOU HAVE TO SELF QUARANTINE. TRAVEL ADVISORIES. BUT THE ARROGANT LAWMAKERS DECIDE TO GO ON A SUPER PREADER EVENT FOR 50 PEOPLE ON THE TAXPAYER DIME. I JUST KEEP SHAKING MY HEAD.

IT IS NOT ALWAYS DOING WHAT IS RIGHT, SOMETIMES IT IS THE APPEARANCE OF DOING WHAT IS RIGHT. ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY

HERE IS THE ENTIRE LIST OF MANDATES BY THE GOVERNOR: