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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 226)

Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America’s job creators as well as our workforce

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987129884001_5987125022001-vs Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America's job creators as well as our workforce Sally Pipes fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/us/economy fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 429b250d-1cd7-5e0c-982e-0de70c7cf4be

.Ask Americans what Labor Day means, and they’ll likely say it marks the end of summer. One last chance to wear white and go for a swim before the pool is drained.

But as its name suggests, Labor Day was established to celebrate labor –- organized labor, to be more specific.

The idea for the holiday is often attributed to Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor – the precursor to today’s AFL-CIO. McGuire proposed establishing a holiday to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

BRADLEY BLAKEMAN: LABOR UNIONS AND MEMBERS SHOULD SUPPORT REPUBLICANS – DEMS TAKE WORKERS FOR GRANTED

He has a point. So today, let’s honor the people responsible for that grandeur – namely, the profit-seeking entrepreneurs and business people who make our economy hum.

Since its inception, Labor Day has steadily shifted away from the more radical side of the labor movement.

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When President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, it was the result of the AFL’s lobbying efforts. The union spent years working to make Labor Day a more moderate and popular alternative to May Day, which had become synonymous with radicalism and riots.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Labor Day becoming a national holiday. What better way to mark the occasion than by embracing the holiday’s moderate roots – and celebrating the pursuit of profit, alongside the dignity of work?

After all, profit allows businesses to create and sustain the jobs that Labor Day celebrates.

Consider that in 2018, corporate profits rose 7.8 percent, compared to 3.2 percent in 2017. Last year, companies added about 200,000 jobs per month, up from 179,000 in 2017. This past April, average hourly earnings were 3.2 percent higher than the year before. Unemployment hit a 50-year low the following month.

American workers are better off when companies are thriving.  A steady stream of profits is far more effective at delivering wage growth, job security, and employee satisfaction than even the toughest union negotiator.

Since the mid-20th century, wage growth has helped propel Americans into higher income brackets. In fact, the middle class is actually shrinking, because an increasing number of people are making too much money to be considered middle class anymore.

Despite this progress, businesses leaders are reluctant to embrace the role that profit-seeking plays in improving society.

People like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are apologizing for their success and calling for higher taxes. Just last month, nearly 200 CEOs from the Business Roundtable resolved that companies should focus more on helping society and less on generating profits for shareholders.

Businesses can most effectively serve workers and society by making money. Profit is patriotic.

Consider the impact the Great Recessions had on workers.

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Employers laid off about 1.5 million workers in 2008 as companies declared bankruptcy and shut down. Unsurprisingly, a Gallup poll conducted the next year found that 31 percent of workers were worried about getting laid off.

Close to 60 percent thought it was unlikely they would be able to find “a job as good as the one they had” if they were laid off, according to a 2010 poll.

Compare that to 2016, when the recession had ended and business was booming. Only 19 percent of workers were worried about getting laid off, according to Gallup. Over 60 percent thought it was likely that they could find a good job if they were.

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Similarly, a 2017 Pew poll found that half of workers thought “there were plenty of jobs available in their community,” up from just 10 percent in 2010.

American workers are better off when companies are thriving. A steady stream of profits is far more effective at delivering wage growth, job security and employee satisfaction than even the toughest union negotiator.

This Labor Day, let’s celebrate the pursuit of profit alongside workers. There’s plenty of room at the barbecue.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY SALLY PIPES

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987129884001_5987125022001-vs Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America's job creators as well as our workforce Sally Pipes fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/us/economy fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 429b250d-1cd7-5e0c-982e-0de70c7cf4be   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5987129884001_5987125022001-vs Sally Pipes: This Labor Day, celebrate America's job creators as well as our workforce Sally Pipes fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/us/economy fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/politics fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 429b250d-1cd7-5e0c-982e-0de70c7cf4be

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

ALTAMIRA, Brazil ― The first signs of the fires arrived in Belem, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, early last Friday afternoon, when thick plumes of black smoke suddenly darkened a sunny day.

The blazes had started hundreds of miles to the south in Altamira, a sprawling  and sparsely populated municipality where rampant deforestation has erased vast stretches of the Amazon rainforest at a faster rate than anywhere else in Brazil.  

Nearly a decade ago, Altamira sat at the center of another major environmental dispute, over the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon River. The dam led to a boom in construction and the area’s population, but indigenous tribes, environmental groups and scientists warned that Altamira would one day become ground zero in an Amazonian crisis. 

Now, the black sky blanketing Belem seemed like the surest sign that day had arrived. 

As the smoke cleared, an even uglier picture came into view. Corruption and environmental indifference have eroded the government regulatory agencies in charge of protecting the forest, and the recent outbreak of fires has exposed a “collapsed” state incapable of preventing such blazes and responding to them once they occur. 

“It’s no use coming with a plane to put out the fire,” said Thais Santi, a federal public prosecutor for Altamira. The problems, she said, are much larger than anyone wants to admit. “The city has experienced a population boom. It has doubled in size. But the state has not [kept up].”

Years Of Warnings 

Westlake Legal Group 5d6987c8250000550000ddfc How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

Paulo Santos / Reuters The view of an area due to be flooded by the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Pimental, near Altamira in Pará state, in November 2013. Environmentalists and indigenous tribes warned that the dam would wreak havoc to the Amazonian region.

The bulk of the blame for the Amazon fires has fallen on right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has used the first year of his presidency to roll back environmental regulations, gut agencies charged with protecting the Amazon, and target the indigenous populations who live in and protect the forest. 

His administration, meanwhile, has been slow to react to the blazes and has instead blamed the international community for stoking “hysteria,” as his ambassador to the United States suggested this week.

But the environmental problems in Altamira started long before Bolsonaro. 

In the early 2000s, Brazil’s leftist governments toughened environmental regulations and strengthened enforcement of laws meant to protect the Amazon, with dramatic results. Even as the Brazilian economy boomed, Brazil slashed its rate of deforestation by 70 percent and reduced carbon emissions faster, and more, than any country in the world.

But the thirst for energy in a rapidly growing country remained strong, and the same governments that made protecting the Amazon a priority also approved Belo Monte, a massive new hydroelectric dam project along the Xingu River in Altamira. 

At the time, environmental groups and indigenous activists warned that the dam project “would divert the flow of the Xingu River and devastate an extensive area of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, threatening the survival of indigenous peoples,” as the nonprofit group Amazon Watch said in 2012, when the project was approved. 

Construction on the dam displaced between 20,000 and 50,000 residents, according to various estimates, and cut off the Xingu’s waters from indigenous and other local populations that depended on it. Belo Monte also prompted new infrastructure projects meant to service the dam and the surrounding areas, which in turn led to increased deforestation of the Amazon ― including on protected indigenous lands.

“It was the biggest human rights violation I ever imagined,” Santi said. 

Government officials and lawmakers who approved the project have been accused of bribery and environmental agencies signed off on the dam despite an incomplete environmental impact assessment. Meanwhile, activists have said the construction consortium that built the dam has failed to live up to promises it made to protect the environment, indigenous tribes and other local residents who opposed its construction. 

Belo Monte’s construction drew tens of thousands of workers and new residents to the area ― in just two years, Altamira’s population exploded from 100,000 to 160,000. It transformed the city, and to many local officials, the dam is a sign of the sort of economic boom development can bring to poor, underserved regions like Altamira.  

Westlake Legal Group 5d69872f3b00004a00cabe5b How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

Nacho Doce / Reuters A fire burns a tract of Amazon jungle as it is cleared by loggers and farmers near Altamira, Brazil, August 27, 2019.

But many of the worst fears about the dam’s destructive environmental effects have come true, and to Santi, there are clear links between the Belo Monte-driven population boom and increased environmental destruction.

“Belo Monte brought more people [and] made the area more attractive, better known, and easier to access,” Santi said. “The pressure on indigenous lands has increased a lot.”

The deforestation rate jumped 15% in 2009, as the dam project neared approval, and Altamira has been home to the Amazon’s highest rate of deforestation for seven consecutive years.

Belo Monte has changed the flow of the Xingu River in a way that has devastated local fish populations, according to studies.

Fights between illegal land-grabbers and local and indigenous populations have spiked, according to residents and human rights activists who for years have attempted to draw attention to the destruction of protected forest lands in Altamira. Already-rising rates of deforestation have skyrocketed this year, as Bolsonaro has rolled back environmental regulations and signaled to ranchers, farmers, and Brazil’s influential agribusiness industry that he will not enforce the rules that do exist. Besides Altamira, no municipality in Brazil has experienced a more dramatic increase in the number of felled trees so far in 2019. From January to July, according to official statistics, it lost 297 square kilometers of forest ― an area larger than the state of São Paulo.

Altamira’s growth stressed existing government agencies and crime spiked: The number of homicides rose from 79 in 2012 to nearly 150 in 2017, according to government statistics. In July, 57 inmates died at a prison facility in Altamira when clashing gangs sparked a riot, a problem many experts attributed to Brazil’s mass incarceration crisis, overburdened institutions and the urban poverty and marginalization that resulted from the dam project, especially when construction ended and many of the jobs evaporated.

Brazil’s federal police have tried to keep up with the rising rates of deforestation: As of Aug. 27, they have launched 157 environmental investigations in Altamira so far this year, up from just 67 throughout all of 2018. But overall, enforcement has dropped. The number of fines the Brazilian government issued over the first eight months of Bolsonaro’s presidency decreased by nearly a third from a year ago, while the number of fires in the Amazon increased by 84 percent.

On Aug. 5, ranchers and farmers in the Amazon launched a “Day of Fire,” which they had organized on WhatsApp. The plan was simple: To celebrate Bolsonaro’s gutting of environmental regulations, they set fire to the forest, flaunting the lack of oversight and repercussions. There have been more than 2,200 fires set in Altamira so far in August, a staggering 794% increase from a year ago, according to official statistics.

Bolsonaro’s effort to roll back environmental rules “has caused a dramatic increase in deforestation in that area,” a top Brazilian environmental official told Reuters this week.

The demonstration didn’t just torch the Amazon ― it also exposed how frail the government’s ability to combat illegal deforestation in Altamira can be even when local enforcement agencies try to do their jobs: State authorities in Pará said they had warned the federal government about the plans to torch forests in the area, but received no response. 

Years of inadequate funding, meanwhile, had left state and federal agencies that operate in the area understaffed and overwhelmed even before the sharp uptick in deforestation. 

In Altamira, the agencies responsible for year-round environmental inspections have few employees: There are just three employees from the federal environmental agency and two from the land reform and use department.

Altamira’s federal highway police force ― which is charged with stopping smugglers of illegally deforested timber and other products ― is similarly threadbare.

“Ideally, we would have at least four people present each day at our checkpoint, due to the harsh conditions we face here, including danger to our security,” highway officer Ítalo Carneiro said. 

But instead, they usually work in pairs. That, Carneiro said, has left police largely incapable of adequately confronting the dozens of smugglers transporting illegal timber out of the forest, especially when those smugglers are armed. That’s assuming the police even spot the smugglers at all: Illegal loggers hoping to move their cargo to the cities and ports on the northeastern coast of Brazil often have no trouble avoiding police checkpoints ― and any potential punishment ― at all. And although police are familiar with the alternative routes the smugglers use, understaffing prevents them from conducting operations and covering enough area to put a dent in the practice. 

“When there are only three of us here [at the checkpoint],” Carneiro said, “one of us stays here, which is a danger in itself in this region, and two go out on the operation. We never go out alone.”

A ‘Hurried And Confused’ Response

Westlake Legal Group 5d698827250000550000ddfd How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

Adriano Machado / Reuters Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, on August 28.

Bolsonaro has fired back at his international critics, including French President Emmanuel Macron, and said that Brazil is the victim of an international conspiracy to violate its sovereignty and take away its control of the Amazon.

The president and his cabinet members have insisted that Brazil is on top of everything.

“Much has been said about the situation being out of control. It really isn’t,” Defense Minister Fernando Azevado e Silva said this week. “The situation isn’t simple, but it’s under control and is improving considerably.”

On the ground in Altamira, it is clear that the years of indifference have now given way to a frenzied and inadequate response.

Bolsonaro this week sent national public security forces to states that need help fighting the outbreak of fires, including Pará. Reinforcements arrived to Altamira soon after.

But Mario Sergio Nery, the federal police chief in Altamira, described Bolsonaro’s efforts to send national forces to the Amazon region as “hurried and confused.” Authorities there still don’t have the equipment they need to fight the fires, Nery said. 

“It looks like something done for show,” Nery said. “I’ve never seen any actual work done like this. They’ve sent manpower over, but there’s nothing for them to use.” 

Officials from various government agencies have held meetings all week, and attempted to form a strategy for securing the forest and holding illegal loggers accountable. But there is still no logistical plan for combating the fires, officials told HuffPost Brazil. Any actual work toward limiting the blaze won’t start until at least Monday, an official from the 51st Forest Infantry Battalion in Altamira said.

The federal police in the area launched an investigation into the “Day of Fire” this week, and National Justice Minister Sergio Moro promised to make it a priority. The government, meanwhile, banned the setting of new fires for 60 days.

But Altamira is a vast municipality that covers more than 60,000 square miles, and its infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the population boom. Poor roads and unpaved highways mean a trip 750 miles to the south, to the center of the fires, can take as long as two days. And it remains unclear whether the Brazilian government’s response will be aggressive enough to make up for the problems authorities in Altamira have faced for so long.

“Traveling in the region requires time, personnel and equipment,” Nery, the police chief, said. “We don’t have the resources required in this region.”

Débora Álvares reported from Altamira, Brazil. Travis Waldron reported from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

ALTAMIRA, Brazil ― The first signs of the fires arrived in Belem, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará, early last Friday afternoon, when thick plumes of black smoke suddenly darkened a sunny day.

The blazes had started hundreds of miles to the south in Altamira, a sprawling  and sparsely populated municipality where rampant deforestation has erased vast stretches of the Amazon rainforest at a faster rate than anywhere else in Brazil.  

Nearly a decade ago, Altamira sat at the center of another major environmental dispute, over the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon River. The dam led to a boom in construction and the area’s population, but indigenous tribes, environmental groups and scientists warned that Altamira would one day become ground zero in an Amazonian crisis. 

Now, the black sky blanketing Belem seemed like the surest sign that day had arrived. 

As the smoke cleared, an even uglier picture came into view. Corruption and environmental indifference have eroded the government regulatory agencies in charge of protecting the forest, and the recent outbreak of fires has exposed a “collapsed” state incapable of preventing such blazes and responding to them once they occur. 

“It’s no use coming with a plane to put out the fire,” said Thais Santi, a federal public prosecutor for Altamira. The problems, she said, are much larger than anyone wants to admit. “The city has experienced a population boom. It has doubled in size. But the state has not [kept up].”

Years Of Warnings 

Westlake Legal Group 5d6987c8250000550000ddfc How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

Paulo Santos / Reuters The view of an area due to be flooded by the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Pimental, near Altamira in Pará state, in November 2013. Environmentalists and indigenous tribes warned that the dam would wreak havoc to the Amazonian region.

The bulk of the blame for the Amazon fires has fallen on right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has used the first year of his presidency to roll back environmental regulations, gut agencies charged with protecting the Amazon, and target the indigenous populations who live in and protect the forest. 

His administration, meanwhile, has been slow to react to the blazes and has instead blamed the international community for stoking “hysteria,” as his ambassador to the United States suggested this week.

But the environmental problems in Altamira started long before Bolsonaro. 

In the early 2000s, Brazil’s leftist governments toughened environmental regulations and strengthened enforcement of laws meant to protect the Amazon, with dramatic results. Even as the Brazilian economy boomed, Brazil slashed its rate of deforestation by 70 percent and reduced carbon emissions faster, and more, than any country in the world.

But the thirst for energy in a rapidly growing country remained strong, and the same governments that made protecting the Amazon a priority also approved Belo Monte, a massive new hydroelectric dam project along the Xingu River in Altamira. 

At the time, environmental groups and indigenous activists warned that the dam project “would divert the flow of the Xingu River and devastate an extensive area of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, threatening the survival of indigenous peoples,” as the nonprofit group Amazon Watch said in 2012, when the project was approved. 

Construction on the dam displaced between 20,000 and 50,000 residents, according to various estimates, and cut off the Xingu’s waters from indigenous and other local populations that depended on it. Belo Monte also prompted new infrastructure projects meant to service the dam and the surrounding areas, which in turn led to increased deforestation of the Amazon ― including on protected indigenous lands.

“It was the biggest human rights violation I ever imagined,” Santi said. 

Government officials and lawmakers who approved the project have been accused of bribery and environmental agencies signed off on the dam despite an incomplete environmental impact assessment. Meanwhile, activists have said the construction consortium that built the dam has failed to live up to promises it made to protect the environment, indigenous tribes and other local residents who opposed its construction. 

Belo Monte’s construction drew tens of thousands of workers and new residents to the area ― in just two years, Altamira’s population exploded from 100,000 to 160,000. It transformed the city, and to many local officials, the dam is a sign of the sort of economic boom development can bring to poor, underserved regions like Altamira.  

Westlake Legal Group 5d69872f3b00004a00cabe5b How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

Nacho Doce / Reuters A fire burns a tract of Amazon jungle as it is cleared by loggers and farmers near Altamira, Brazil, August 27, 2019.

But many of the worst fears about the dam’s destructive environmental effects have come true, and to Santi, there are clear links between the Belo Monte-driven population boom and increased environmental destruction.

“Belo Monte brought more people [and] made the area more attractive, better known, and easier to access,” Santi said. “The pressure on indigenous lands has increased a lot.”

The deforestation rate jumped 15% in 2009, as the dam project neared approval, and Altamira has been home to the Amazon’s highest rate of deforestation for seven consecutive years.

Belo Monte has changed the flow of the Xingu River in a way that has devastated local fish populations, according to studies.

Fights between illegal land-grabbers and local and indigenous populations have spiked, according to residents and human rights activists who for years have attempted to draw attention to the destruction of protected forest lands in Altamira. Already-rising rates of deforestation have skyrocketed this year, as Bolsonaro has rolled back environmental regulations and signaled to ranchers, farmers, and Brazil’s influential agribusiness industry that he will not enforce the rules that do exist. Besides Altamira, no municipality in Brazil has experienced a more dramatic increase in the number of felled trees so far in 2019. From January to July, according to official statistics, it lost 297 square kilometers of forest ― an area larger than the state of São Paulo.

Altamira’s growth stressed existing government agencies and crime spiked: The number of homicides rose from 79 in 2012 to nearly 150 in 2017, according to government statistics. In July, 57 inmates died at a prison facility in Altamira when clashing gangs sparked a riot, a problem many experts attributed to Brazil’s mass incarceration crisis, overburdened institutions and the urban poverty and marginalization that resulted from the dam project, especially when construction ended and many of the jobs evaporated.

Brazil’s federal police have tried to keep up with the rising rates of deforestation: As of Aug. 27, they have launched 157 environmental investigations in Altamira so far this year, up from just 67 throughout all of 2018. But overall, enforcement has dropped. The number of fines the Brazilian government issued over the first eight months of Bolsonaro’s presidency decreased by nearly a third from a year ago, while the number of fires in the Amazon increased by 84 percent.

On Aug. 5, ranchers and farmers in the Amazon launched a “Day of Fire,” which they had organized on WhatsApp. The plan was simple: To celebrate Bolsonaro’s gutting of environmental regulations, they set fire to the forest, flaunting the lack of oversight and repercussions. There have been more than 2,200 fires set in Altamira so far in August, a staggering 794% increase from a year ago, according to official statistics.

Bolsonaro’s effort to roll back environmental rules “has caused a dramatic increase in deforestation in that area,” a top Brazilian environmental official told Reuters this week.

The demonstration didn’t just torch the Amazon ― it also exposed how frail the government’s ability to combat illegal deforestation in Altamira can be even when local enforcement agencies try to do their jobs: State authorities in Pará said they had warned the federal government about the plans to torch forests in the area, but received no response. 

Years of inadequate funding, meanwhile, had left state and federal agencies that operate in the area understaffed and overwhelmed even before the sharp uptick in deforestation. 

In Altamira, the agencies responsible for year-round environmental inspections have few employees: There are just three employees from the federal environmental agency and two from the land reform and use department.

Altamira’s federal highway police force ― which is charged with stopping smugglers of illegally deforested timber and other products ― is similarly threadbare.

“Ideally, we would have at least four people present each day at our checkpoint, due to the harsh conditions we face here, including danger to our security,” highway officer Ítalo Carneiro said. 

But instead, they usually work in pairs. That, Carneiro said, has left police largely incapable of adequately confronting the dozens of smugglers transporting illegal timber out of the forest, especially when those smugglers are armed. That’s assuming the police even spot the smugglers at all: Illegal loggers hoping to move their cargo to the cities and ports on the northeastern coast of Brazil often have no trouble avoiding police checkpoints ― and any potential punishment ― at all. And although police are familiar with the alternative routes the smugglers use, understaffing prevents them from conducting operations and covering enough area to put a dent in the practice. 

“When there are only three of us here [at the checkpoint],” Carneiro said, “one of us stays here, which is a danger in itself in this region, and two go out on the operation. We never go out alone.”

A ‘Hurried And Confused’ Response

Westlake Legal Group 5d698827250000550000ddfd How This Brazilian City Became Ground Zero For The Amazon’s Deforestation Crisis

Adriano Machado / Reuters Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, on August 28.

Bolsonaro has fired back at his international critics, including French President Emmanuel Macron, and said that Brazil is the victim of an international conspiracy to violate its sovereignty and take away its control of the Amazon.

The president and his cabinet members have insisted that Brazil is on top of everything.

“Much has been said about the situation being out of control. It really isn’t,” Defense Minister Fernando Azevado e Silva said this week. “The situation isn’t simple, but it’s under control and is improving considerably.”

On the ground in Altamira, it is clear that the years of indifference have now given way to a frenzied and inadequate response.

Bolsonaro this week sent national public security forces to states that need help fighting the outbreak of fires, including Pará. Reinforcements arrived to Altamira soon after.

But Mario Sergio Nery, the federal police chief in Altamira, described Bolsonaro’s efforts to send national forces to the Amazon region as “hurried and confused.” Authorities there still don’t have the equipment they need to fight the fires, Nery said. 

“It looks like something done for show,” Nery said. “I’ve never seen any actual work done like this. They’ve sent manpower over, but there’s nothing for them to use.” 

Officials from various government agencies have held meetings all week, and attempted to form a strategy for securing the forest and holding illegal loggers accountable. But there is still no logistical plan for combating the fires, officials told HuffPost Brazil. Any actual work toward limiting the blaze won’t start until at least Monday, an official from the 51st Forest Infantry Battalion in Altamira said.

The federal police in the area launched an investigation into the “Day of Fire” this week, and National Justice Minister Sergio Moro promised to make it a priority. The government, meanwhile, banned the setting of new fires for 60 days.

But Altamira is a vast municipality that covers more than 60,000 square miles, and its infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the population boom. Poor roads and unpaved highways mean a trip 750 miles to the south, to the center of the fires, can take as long as two days. And it remains unclear whether the Brazilian government’s response will be aggressive enough to make up for the problems authorities in Altamira have faced for so long.

“Traveling in the region requires time, personnel and equipment,” Nery, the police chief, said. “We don’t have the resources required in this region.”

Débora Álvares reported from Altamira, Brazil. Travis Waldron reported from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

FRIGHTENING VIDEO: Family, others appear to take cover during Texas shooting

Westlake Legal Group fb-still-2 FRIGHTENING VIDEO: Family, others appear to take cover during Texas shooting fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio ba2fb918-966c-55d0-9c6b-4edc33de65e1 article

A frightening video posted on Facebook shows what appears to be family members and others desperately trying to protect themselves during Saturday’s deadly shooting rampage in West Texas.

The video, which lasts less than a minute, is posted under the name Antonio Orozco Garcia. It is titled “Dios mio por favor protegenos” (“My God, please protect us”).

AT LEAST 24 SHOT, 5 KILLED IN WEST TEXAS RAMPAGE, OFFICIAL SAYS; SUSPECT DEAD

The location appeared to be an empty lot near the Odessa, Texas, movie theater where police ultimately killed the suspect, the Dallas Morning News reported.

In the video, a man is heard telling others, “Get down! Get down! I got you, I got you.” A couple of women are seen trying to cover young children as they all lie on the ground.

When the first shots are fired, children immediately scream in terror. The man then tries to console others, including crying children, as gunshots are heard in the distance.

“Who’s shooting, Dad?” a child is heard asking.

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“It’s OK, it’s OK. You’re going to be OK,” the man tries to reassure the group. He then shouts to individuals, asking if they are OK.

No one in the video appears to have gotten injured but the video ends abruptly. The fate of the people appearing in it remained unclear.

Westlake Legal Group fb-still-2 FRIGHTENING VIDEO: Family, others appear to take cover during Texas shooting fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio ba2fb918-966c-55d0-9c6b-4edc33de65e1 article   Westlake Legal Group fb-still-2 FRIGHTENING VIDEO: Family, others appear to take cover during Texas shooting fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/mass-murder fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio ba2fb918-966c-55d0-9c6b-4edc33de65e1 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Newt Gingrich: Mike Rowe has incredible Labor Day insights on the importance of labor and American workers

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Rowe-headshot Newt Gingrich: Mike Rowe has incredible Labor Day insights on the importance of labor and American workers Newt Gingrich fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 46c750bb-1626-5225-a71e-3129726d8c49

I am particularly excited this Labor Day weekend to share with you my conversation with someone who has come to personify the work ethic, the legitimacy of work, and the need for everyone to understand and appreciate that labor itself (and the people who do it) are critical to our society.

I’m talking about Mike Rowe, who was host of the Discovery Channel’s hit show “Dirty Jobs” and now hosts the podcast “The Way I Heard It.”

Mike is a busy man. He also runs a foundation – the Mike Rowe Works Foundation, to provide scholarships to students entering the skilled trades. And he has just written a book, which is also called “The Way I Heard It.”

So I was honored this week to have him on “Newt’s World” to talk with me about his personal story of how becoming reconnected with work and skilled labor changed his life forever.

MIKE ROWE URGES BUSINESS OWNERS TO HIRE VETERANS: ‘THERE’S NO GOOD REASON NOT TO’

When Mike was young, he idolized his grandfather, who was a master tradesman. As Mike told me, his grandfather could build a house without blueprints and fix or create virtually anything.

Mike grew up believing that he, too, would grow up to build things and follow his family trade. However, as he put it, “the handy gene is recessive.” When he reached his early 20s, Mike realized he did not have the natural talent required to do what his grandfather did, and so he went to community college, university, and later entered the media/entertainment industry.

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However, a single call from his mother concerning his grandfather’s health changed Mike’s life in fundamental ways and set him on his current course. It still colors nearly everything he does.

I hope you will listen to this week’s episode, because Mike shared with me the touching story about how “Dirty Jobs” came into existence. It was initially Mike’s homage to his grandfather, but it turned into a profound and deep respect for all people who work hard every day to help our civilization function.

But this was just one story that Mike shared with me. He also talked about his high school chorus teacher (who was also a Golden Gloves boxer) who cured Mike of a stutter by forcing him to audition for theater. He told me how that ultimately led him to fake his way into the Baltimore Opera (yes, Mike also sings opera).

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This was one of the most fascinating episodes I have recorded. Mike was incredibly candid, and we had an interesting conversation about how we as a society have lost our connection with skilled labor and trades.

Labor Day is the perfect time for us to reflect and join Mike’s effort to reconnect and fix our relationship with work. It’s also the perfect day to pause and appreciate the millions of people who get up every day to keep America (and the world) running.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM NEWT GINGRICH

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Rowe-headshot Newt Gingrich: Mike Rowe has incredible Labor Day insights on the importance of labor and American workers Newt Gingrich fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 46c750bb-1626-5225-a71e-3129726d8c49   Westlake Legal Group Mike-Rowe-headshot Newt Gingrich: Mike Rowe has incredible Labor Day insights on the importance of labor and American workers Newt Gingrich fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/economy/labor-unions fox-news/us/economy fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 46c750bb-1626-5225-a71e-3129726d8c49

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Was a Six-Woman Field Too Big for a Feminist Message?

We just need more women.

Through Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina and Michele Bachmann, that’s the argument that strategists, political scientists and pollsters focusing on female candidates make about the race for the White House.

More women means less attention on pantsuits and more on political strategy. More women means a candidate is judged on her merits, not as a human proxy for more than 50 percent of the population. More women makes it easier for every woman running.

In the 2020 presidential primary, six women mounted campaigns and the field finally had more than enough women to assemble a basketball team — or to minimize the use of sports metaphors in politics, if they so chose. But the first to drop out? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who attempted to distinguish her candidacy by offering the most outspokenly feminist message of the field.

Of course, there are many explanations for why Ms. Gillibrand’s candidacy failed to catch fire. Like the majority of the primary contenders, she struggled to overcome campaign cash woes and strategic miscalculations, and with breaking from the pack.

But her fiercely feminist message, according to those who study women in politics, offered a powerful test case of the different ways women can run for president, and of the obstacles they continue to face — even in a field crowded with female contenders.

More female candidates in a race can help voters see women as viable political leaders without making any one campaign a referendum on gender equity. A bigger field also means that an explicitly feminist case may struggle to break through, because other choices abound.

“We know that women do believe women candidates represent them better than men and the amazing thing about this cycle is how many choices there are,” said Lauren Leader, head of women’s civic group All In Together, and who has known Ms. Gillibrand for nearly a decade. “But that meant it was harder for Kirsten. She doesn’t automatically stand out as the feminist icon in this race when there are so many other women.”

While Mrs. Clinton negotiated how best to talk about gender for much of her time in public life, all of the major female candidates in 2020 have embraced, to varying degrees, putting their experience as a woman in politics at the center of their appeal to voters. When Senator Elizabeth Warren released a proposal for universal child care in February, she discussed the policy in the context of her own personal history. “I remember how hard it was to find affordable and high-quality child care when I was a working mom with two little ones,” she wrote in a Medium post.

In May, Senator Kamala Harris announced an initiative to close the gender pay gap, grabbing headlines on a signature issue of Ms. Gillibrand’s. On the campaign trail, she describes being asked about “women’s issues:” “I’d look at them and say I’m so glad you want to talk about the economy,” she said, at a campaign event in South Carolina earlier this summer. “Women’s issues are everyone’s issues and all issues are women’s issues.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159211158_bbfe66e3-3cdc-4083-8542-02a60c94815b-articleLarge Was a Six-Woman Field Too Big for a Feminist Message? Women's Rights Women and Girls Warren, Elizabeth Presidential Election of 2020 Klobuchar, Amy Gillibrand, Kirsten E Franken, Al Emily's List discrimination Clinton, Hillary Rodham

Senator Kamala Harris announced an initiative to close the gender pay gap in May.CreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times

And Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota talks openly about the double-bind of being a woman in politics. “You also have to show you can do tough jobs and then people say you’re too tough. Like you can’t win, right? But you, again, have to just deal with that,” she said, in a May interview with Pod Save America.

Ms. Gillibrand distinguished herself by running on what she called a “women plus” campaign platform. She announced her candidacy with a focus on her family, saying that as a mother of young children she would fight just as hard for other people’s kids, too. Her campaign logo was Barbie pink, and her slogan — “brave wins” — a reference to a children’s book she wrote profiling famous suffragists.

In May, Ms. Gillibrand went to Atlanta for an event on abortion rights, telling a reporter that she was going “to lead the fight against these unbelievable, draconian inhumane abortion bans.” During the Democratic primary debates, she proactively brought up topics relating to issues like gender dynamics and reproductive rights, more than nearly all the other candidates, according to an analysis by the Women and Politics Institute at American University and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which studies and supports women in politics.

Those moments and others like them, when she leaned the most into her feminist credentials, were the times when her campaign got the most traction, say strategists and those who study women and political power.

“The question is, how do you break through in this environment?” said the Democratic operative Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications at Emily’s List. “What Kirsten Gillibrand showed is speaking directly to women’s issues and women’s voters might get you a little breakthrough.”

Tresa Undem, a pollster who specializes in surveys on gender issues, said that discussions of fairness and power carry more political currency than they used to just a few years ago. Voters have started using terms like misogyny and patriarchy in focus groups — words Ms. Undem never heard mentioned until Donald Trump won the White House.

Even so, she notes, Ms. Gillibrand’s message was not enough to distinguish her beyond the audience of the activists, strategists and political junkies covering every twist of the primary race.

“We all see her as the woman candidate but she’s not really because they’re all talking about these issues,” Ms. Undem said. “Just take abortion; every single candidate is against the Hyde amendment.”

Some of the explanation for how her campaign unfolded clearly rests with Ms. Gillibrand, who struggled to connect with a broad enough range of voters. Her efforts in the second debate to seize the spotlight by challenging former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. over his position on a child care tax credit in 1981 failed to gain as much traction as earlier attacks on his record by Ms. Harris did.

“Gillibrand really pushed the Brave Wins message which was a little bit hard to get your head around. People didn’t totally understand what that meant,” Ms. Leader said.

While the other women in the race, like Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren, overcame early attacks on their character, some suggest Ms. Gillibrand struggled to push back against charges that she is too politically calculating — a reputation that tends to be deployed more negatively toward female politicians than their male colleagues.

“She’s always been political astute,” said Kelly Dittmar, a Rutgers University professor who studies female candidates. “One of the criticisms that I think is in fact imbued with sexism is that she’s too ambitious and too calculating.”

On one issue, Ms. Gillibrand did stand out — to her detriment: Al Franken. Ms. Gillibrand faced persistent questions about her position on her former Senate colleague, who retired in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. While Ms. Warren and Ms. Harris also called for Mr. Franken to step down — a fact often mentioned by Ms. Gillibrand’s frustrated aides — Ms. Gillibrand moved first, awarding herself the credit, and the blame, for the caucus-wide call.

Renee Bracey Sherman, a reproductive rights activist, recounted seeing Ms. Gillibrand address a group at The Wing, an all-female social club, in June 2018, and feeling horrified when the first question asked was about her decision to push for Mr. Franken’s resignation.

“They tried to blame her for something a man did,” said Ms. Sherman, who has donated to Ms. Gillibrand, Ms. Warren and Ms. Harris. “Even in a feminist women-centric space she’s getting asked about that.”

When Senator Elizabeth Warren released a proposal for universal child care in February, she discussed the policy in the context of her own experience.CreditDustin Chambers for The New York Times

That Mr. Franken appeared to be a factor in Ms. Gillibrand’s campaign shows how female candidates can still face serious backlash for attacking high-profile men.

“The gender power dynamics don’t change completely simply because there are more women there,” Professor Dittmar said. “Women who challenge the power of well-liked men are not rewarded for it.” Ms. Gillibrand’s run, she added, might make that easier for the female candidates of the future. “It takes the Gillibrands of the world, who are willing to take some of this flak, to make it easier for the women who come after them.”

That may be how the Gillibrand campaign views things too.

“We put the civil rights of women front and center and never backed down,” Ms. Gillibrand said in a video announcing her decision to drop out of the race. “We have moved the needle.”

She bowed out when she realized it was time, an effort to preserve her political brand for future campaigns.

“We’ve learned that in a lot of ways women running for president behave a lot like men running for president,” said Jennifer Lawless, an expert on gender and politics at the University of Virginia. “She was just as credible as some of these other guys, but this was a bad year to not be Joe Biden.”

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Polish people hold deep affection for Americans, but not necessarily Trump

WARSAW, Poland – Jacek Szemplinski, like many of his countrymen, has a soft spot in his heart for Americans. He sees them as straight-talkers and practical people who use simple words to express big ideas.

But the Polish businessman has a more complicated view of President Donald Trump, who he regards as “a strong man” and “a fighter” but who he also fears is playing a dangerous game by waging a trade war with China.

“I have doubts about him,” Szemplinski said, pausing during a stroll through a downtown park in the Polish capital Saturday morning.

For Polish people who already harbored suspicions of the American president, Trump further fueled their skepticism when he announced abruptly Thursday that he was canceling a two-day trip to Poland so he could remain in the United States and monitor Hurricane Dorian, which is barreling toward the East Coast.

In his place, Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived in Warsaw on Sunday morning. Pence will attend services commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II and a series of meetings on Sunday and Monday, including a bilateral discussion with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Trump and Poland:Donald Trump canceling Poland trip as Hurricane Dorian barrels toward Florida

Westlake Legal Group  Polish people hold deep affection for Americans, but not necessarily Trump

Szemplinski and other Poles don’t buy Trump’s explanation for pulling out of the trip.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do about the storm,” said Antoni Kwiatkowski, a music student who questioned Trump’s rationale for staying home.

“I don’t believe this storm is the real reason” for Trump canceling, Szemplinski agreed. “I think Trump doesn’t like somebody. I don’t know who. But he doesn’t like somebody.”

Westlake Legal Group  Polish people hold deep affection for Americans, but not necessarily Trump

Though they may not always agree with the American president, the Polish people historically have held a sincere fondness for Americans and a deep respect for the presidency itself.

“Poland has been for a long time one of the most pro-American countries in Europe, if not the world,” said Daniel Fried, who served as U.S. ambassador to Poland for more than two years under former President Bill Clinton.

More:France’s Emmanuel Macron hopes to set up meeting between Donald Trump and Iran in ‘coming weeks’

“The Polish people have looked at the United States as their benefactor, their ally,” Fried said. “And they think, with some basis, that the United States is one of the early sponsors of their regaining their independence in 1918.”

Last summer, an outdoor photo exhibit in downtown Warsaw paid tribute to former President Woodrow Wilson and American diplomat Edward Mandell House – a close Wilson adviser known as “Colonel House,” even though he had no military background – for embracing and facilitating the cause of Polish independence.

“Nobody remembers that in the United States, outside of people who know the history,” Fried said. But, “the Poles have never forgotten.”

The U.S.-Polish relationship goes back even further and can be traced to the American Revolution, when Polish Colonel Casimir Pulaski fought the British alongside George Washington, said Heather Conley, an expert on European affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Our country is enriched by a strong Polish-American community, and we see Poland’s return to independence and American support for the Solidarity movement as a shared success,” Conley said. “They are a strong ally and partner to the U.S. In other words, this relationship transcends any one particular U.S. president.”

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Westlake Legal Group  Polish people hold deep affection for Americans, but not necessarily Trump

Poland’s nationalist, right-wing government has embraced Trump and welcomed him enthusiastically during his first trip to Warsaw in 2017. The ruling party shares the president’s hard-line views on immigration and, like Trump, has often found itself in conflict with the rest of the European Union.

For his part, Trump has been eager to strengthen ties with the Polish government, which is looking to spend billions of dollars to buy F-35 jets and other weaponry from the United States as it seeks the establishment of a permanent U.S. military base in Poland.

During Pence’s visit to Warsaw, the two countries also are expected to sign a deal calling for them to work together to improve the security of Poland’s 5G telecommunications system as the Trump administration tries to counter the influence of the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.

Madeleine Westerhout:Trump warns aide Madeleine Westerhout has a ‘fully enforceable confidentiality agreement’

But the Polish government’s affinity for the American leader isn’t necessarily shared by the Polish people, who, like the rest of Europe, are curious about, yet divided over, his presidency.

“Donald Trump – he’s very crazy,” said Michal Capucino, a restaurant worker biking in the shadow of the Palace of Culture and Science, a gigantic tower that Joseph Stalin considered his gift to the Polish people, who now regard it as a symbol of Soviet domination.

Kwiatkowski, the music student, said he dislikes Trump’s “extreme politics” and “ultra-dominating behavior.”

But Weronika Harutivnian, a bakery worker visiting relatives in Warsaw, said Trump has “a strong hand” and knows how to solve problems.

“People say he’s not a good president, but to me, he’s very good and he knows what to do,” she said.

For many Poles, “he makes us want to go to America,” she said.

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Westlake Legal Group  Polish people hold deep affection for Americans, but not necessarily Trump

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WATCH: Deputies spring bear cub from dumpster after mama bear, other cub fall short

Westlake Legal Group BEAR-CUB WATCH: Deputies spring bear cub from dumpster after mama bear, other cub fall short fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc Brie Stimson article 77de4aae-a1a8-5080-83a2-96e9dd71beb0

How do you rescue a bear cub that’s trapped in a dumpster? Very carefully.

In a scene worthy of a cartoon, sheriff’s deputies in California used a ladder to free a curious cub that tumbled into a trash receptacle near Lake Tahoe early Tuesday morning — after the cub’s sibling and mother failed in their attempts to help it get out.

Video tweeted by the sheriff’s department shows the sibling cub standing on top of its mother’s back, in a bid to reach the trapped bear.

Placer County sheriff’s deputies responded after a King’s Beach motel reported the situation.

GIRL APOLOGIZES TO NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOR TAKING A ROCK HOME, SENDS ADORABLE LETTER

The deputies lifted the dumpster’s lid and placed a ladder inside while the cub’s mother and sibling waited behind a tree.

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The trapped cub was soon able to climb up the ladder and run immediately to its family.

Westlake Legal Group BEAR-CUB WATCH: Deputies spring bear cub from dumpster after mama bear, other cub fall short fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc Brie Stimson article 77de4aae-a1a8-5080-83a2-96e9dd71beb0   Westlake Legal Group BEAR-CUB WATCH: Deputies spring bear cub from dumpster after mama bear, other cub fall short fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/great-outdoors fnc Brie Stimson article 77de4aae-a1a8-5080-83a2-96e9dd71beb0

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Costco selling ‘magnificent’ 72-pound cheese wheel for $900

If you’re charmed by parm, Costo’s latest outlandishly oversized item may seem too gouda brie true – but it’s the real deal.

In recent days, the superstore has made headlines for selling a whopping 72-pound wheel of parmigiano reggiano cheese.

According to the store’s online listing, each hefty block produced by the store’s Kirkland Signature brand is “aged 24 months” and “imported from Italy.”

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Westlake Legal Group costco-cheese-1-COSTCO Costco selling 'magnificent' 72-pound cheese wheel for $900 Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f5c4a9f9-570e-5e5a-987b-66653800bba2 article

In recent days, the superstore has made headlines for selling a whopping 72-pound wheel of parmigiano reggiano cheese, pictured. (Costco)

Though the economic practicality of the product may overwhelm even the most seasoned of home cooks, Costco has made the math easy by detailing that each pound comes out to $12.50.

As is to be expected in all matters of cheese, reviewers on Costco’s official listing page had a whole lot to say about the charming hunk of parm.

“Bought this as a surprise for my son’s wedding reception (he is a fiend for the stuff). With the help of YouTube instructions and the proper tools and his good buddy, he and his brother cracked open the Parm in front of family and friends, to great applause and cheers,” one commenter gushed. “It was fun to watch and actually quite beautiful! The cheese is magnificent; fragrant and delicious.”

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<img src="https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2019/08/640/320/costco-cheese-2-COSTCO.jpg?ve=1&tl=1" alt="
As is to be expected in all matters of cheese, reviewers on Costco’s official listing page had a whole lot to say about the charming hunk of parm.”>

<br data-cke-eol=”1″> As is to be expected in all matters of cheese, reviewers on Costco’s official listing page had a whole lot to say about the charming hunk of parm. (Costco)

Others, meanwhile, were more skeptical.

“Not sure this is the real thing,” one critic countered. “That said, it’s not bad and I’ve used it in alfredo sauce with great success.”

“Got this as a gift, what the heck am I supposed to do with all this cheese!?” another asked.

Interested shoppers, take heed – due to the product’s perishable nature and weekend transit schedules, the parmigiano reggiano wheel only ships out between Mondays and Wednesdays.

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Westlake Legal Group costco-cheese-1-COSTCO Costco selling 'magnificent' 72-pound cheese wheel for $900 Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f5c4a9f9-570e-5e5a-987b-66653800bba2 article   Westlake Legal Group costco-cheese-1-COSTCO Costco selling 'magnificent' 72-pound cheese wheel for $900 Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle fox-news/food-drink/food/shopping fox-news/food-drink fox news fnc/food-drink fnc f5c4a9f9-570e-5e5a-987b-66653800bba2 article

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Trump is raising your taxes today

Westlake Legal Group 2a8Edvx66x12iGOuovhj295y9DfwRyz4D1gXCa1ktxo Trump is raising your taxes today r/politics

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