Daily Archives: May 17, 2019

    Trader Peter Tuchman gestures as he talks on the phone following the resumption of trading following a several hour long stoppage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., July 8, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

    (Reuters) – U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday, following a three-day run of gains, as trade worries returned after Chinese media took a hard stance on the tariff dispute between the United States and China.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 142.73 points, or 0.55%, at the open to 25,719.95. The S&P 500 opened lower by 17.72 points, or 0.62%, at 2,858.60. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 69.01 points, or 0.87%, to 7,829.03 at the opening bell.

     

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has shown surprising strength in the first three weeks of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, prompting a persistent question: Can anyone stop him?

      Biden holds a significant lead in opinion polls over the 23 other Democratic contenders. Republican President Donald Trump is treating him like his top threat in 2020.

      Ahead of his formal campaign kickoff on Saturday at an outdoor rally in Philadelphia, Biden, 76, has seemingly put to rest doubts about his age and his ability to raise money as well as questions over whether he is out of step with the Democratic Party.

      “The rest of the race now revolves around Joe Biden,” said Joe Trippi, a longtime Democratic operative who is not aligned with the campaign.

      But traps may lie ahead. The first major opportunity for Biden’s competitors to dent his lead comes next month in the first of a dozen Democratic presidential debates.

      Biden could find himself as the leading target of attacks, particularly from progressives. He also has a history of gaffes, something that could be problematic in the national spotlight.

      “I’ve long said Joe Biden’s best days will be the beginning of this campaign,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Democracy for America.

      According to Real Clear Politics, Biden is backed by about 40% of the Democratic electorate on average in opinion polls, giving him more than a 20 percentage-point lead over his nearest challenger, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

      Experienced presidential strategists told Reuters that while they expect some other Democrats to eventually become top contenders, Biden’s strength is likely sustainable.

      They cited two main factors: The massive Democratic field makes it difficult for any one candidate to stand out, and voters tend to be risk-averse when seeking a candidate to topple a sitting president.

      FAR AFIELD

      In recent elections, early front-runners such as Democrat Al Gore, himself a former vice president, in 2000 and Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 largely kept a lock on the nomination, despite some bumps along the way.

      In 2008, Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton was overtaken by Barack Obama to secure the nomination, but Obama took advantage of a relatively small field to steadily amass support as the top alternative to Clinton. When Clinton ran again in 2016, Sanders tried to do the same thing with a similarly small field and almost succeeded.

      That becomes exponentially harder with the 2020 scrum, with its 20-plus candidates all vying for attention and money. Trippi said more than a dozen Democrats trying to challenge Biden have consulted Trippi on strategy.

      “I’ve told every single one of them that Joe Biden is going to be more formidable than they thought, and it was going to be tough for anyone to emerge from this field,” he said.

      Biden also is aided by the perception among some voters that he may be a safer choice to take on Trump than a less-known politician.

      In the 2004 primary, Democrat John Kerry, a longtime party fixture with a strong national-security background, used that argument to wrest the nomination from Howard Dean, like Sanders an upstart progressive from Vermont.

      Robert Shrum, Kerry’s top strategist at the time, said Democrats began to panic at the thought of running Dean against Republican President George W. Bush.

      Which candidate could beat Bush became “the defining question,” Shrum said.

      AVOIDING LANDMINES

      Shrum cautioned, however, the 2020 race could still shift. Biden would be the oldest president ever elected, and he will need to “seem vigorous and energetic” at the debates, Shrum said.

      “This is a dynamic process,” Shrum said. “It is not frozen in amber. A lot depends on his conduct.”

      Biden, who spent 40 years in the U.S. Senate and two terms as Obama’s vice president, must also defend his record to progressive voters who view him as too moderate.

      In the past week alone, Biden has been challenged over his stance on combating climate change and his support for the 1990s crime bill, which is viewed by critics as leading to mass incarceration of African-Americans.

      “When we get to that whites-of-their-eyes stage of the campaign and candidates realize the only way to improve their market share is to take Biden head-on, that’s when the real test begins,” said Kevin Madden, a former top aide to Romney.

      Those tensions within the party could lead to some tough stretches for Biden, despite his current position. In 2012, Romney was the early front-runner, only to yield to challengers such as Rick Perry and Rick Santorum at different times before finally re-asserting himself as the favorite.

      Madden said Romney’s campaign made hats with the slogan “The Long Slog” for a reason.

      “No one is going to give you the nomination,” he said, “and every other candidate has a plan to take it away from you.”

      Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Osterman

        WILMINGTON, Del (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to divert more than $6 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico will face its first test in court on Friday, when states and advocacy groups are expected to ask a federal judge to block the funding.

        At the center of Friday’s hearing is the question of the president’s authority to construct a wall using funds that Congress declined to approve for the amount he requested.

        In February, Congress approved $1.375 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeast Texas, well short of Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build border walls in Arizona and New Mexico as well as Texas.

        To obtain the additional money, Trump declared a national emergency and diverted $601 million from a Treasury forfeiture fund, $3.6 billion from military construction and $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counterdrug programs.

        “Congress’s refusal to fund President Trump’s wall isn’t an emergency, it’s democracy,” said a statement from Dror Ladin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents plaintiffs in the case.

        The Trump administration argues the plaintiffs have not shown any injury caused by the funding decisions and that existing law gives it the leeway to redirect the money for such purposes as “an unforeseen military requirement” or a “law enforcement activity.”

        Trump made a border wall the center of his 2016 campaign for president, when he said Mexico would pay for construction. That pledge went nowhere, and Trump also hit resistance in Congress even as apprehensions of migrants by border agents hit a decade high as of April.

        The plaintiffs in Friday’s hearing include 20 states, the Sierra Club environmental group and the Southern Border Communities Coalition, which advocates for immigrants. They argued in court papers that the administration has violated the separation of power principle of the U.S. Constitution, among other claims.

        The plaintiffs also said wall construction would harm the environment and the wildlife habitats for such creatures as Gila monsters and the Mexican wolf.

        The diversion of Treasury forfeiture funds would undermine state law enforcement, they argued. New York state, for example, has used forfeiture funds to buy bullet-proof vests and naloxone, a drug that counters opioid overdoses.

        Although it is not a plaintiff, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives plans to argue in support of the plaintiffs at the hearing. The House called the diversion of funds a “flagrant disregard for the bedrock principle” that Congress controls federal spending.

        The hearing comes the same week that Trump has outlined proposals to beef up security along the southwest border and shift immigration policy to favor well-educated English speakers over a system that emphasizes uniting families.

        Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

        Buffalo, NY– Erie County Department of Health, Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, Medaille Veterinary Technology, and the S.P.C.A. Encourages residents to take advantage of an upcoming Erie County Health Department Free Rabies Clinic. The Rabies Clinic will be held at the Broadway Market, 999 Broadway, Buffalo NY 14212 on Wednesday May 29, 2019 from 4 pm-7 pm.  The clinic will be conducted on the first floor of the parking ramp and will offer free rabies shots for dogs, cats and ferrets. Please bring pets on a leash or in a carrier, and if possible, please bring a copy of your pet’s vaccination record. The City of Buffalo Clerk’s Office will also be on site conducting Dog Licensing.

        Please be advised that:

        • Pets must be at least three months of age to receive a rabies vaccination
        • Proof of previous rabies vaccination must be provided to receive a three-year shot; otherwise a one year shot will be issued
        • No person shall be allowed to have more than three pets in line at one time
        • Pets must be on a leash or in a carrier

        Free Rabies Clinics are offered in association with the Erie County Department of Health, Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society, Medaille Veterinary Technology, and the S.P.C.A. Serving Erie County.

        CITY OF BUFFALO

        REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS AND PROPOSAL

        City of Buffalo and Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency- Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning

        HUD 5-YEAR Consolidated Plan

        The City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency is seeking qualification statements and proposals from interested firms to provide consultation, development and submission of its 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan. Consolidated plans must be in compliance with all associated federal laws and regulatory requirements. The city intends to submit the Consolidated Plan to HUD by July 22, 2020. Proposals must be submitted as a pdf attachment emailed to Ms. Hall, and must not exceed 20 pages and 10mb, as larger attachments will not make it past the city’s firewall. Ms. Hall must receive your proposal no later than 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 2, 2019. The city encourages minority and women-owned business enterprises to submit proposals. No firm or person will be discriminated against on the grounds of race, color, national origin or any other protected class. RFQ/RFP submission instructions may be found at: https://www.buffalony.gov/bids.aspx

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