Biden’s appointees aim to restore pre-2016 Washington

first_imgEven as #45 continues to bring lawsuits in a desperate attempt to reverse the vote that should eject him from the White House on Jan. 20, the government office controlling expenses released funds allowing President-elect Joe Biden to appoint staff and nominate officials. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signed a petition to stop Biden from appointing ‘deficit hawk’ Bruce Reed as OMB head.Biden’s earliest nominees and first appointments brought few surprises to anyone who has followed his career or listened to his campaign speeches. The records of the cabinet nominees, for example, show that the new administration will attempt to restore the pre-2016 role of U.S. imperialism. Since the decline of U.S. world hegemony has accelerated, they are not likely to succeed.It’s true that the Biden/Harris “team” will look more diverse than #45’s gang. The nominations point to a continuation of Obama administration policies on domestic questions, which were pro-business and anti-immigrant – except for the DACA program.Biden’s foreign policy indicates a renewed attempt to include Washington’s imperialist allies in its plans to maintain control of the world’s resources and the exploitation of workers worldwide. While more consistent than Trump’s policies, the new administration’s goals will be to reconquer areas of the world that had wrested some sovereignty from imperialism during the period from about 1945 to 1991, when the Soviet Union existed.Biden himself, first as a senator from Delaware and later as vice president, supported the wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, which is why his cabinet appointments should be no surprise.Antony Blinken, State DepartmentBiden has nominated Antony Blinken, his longtime aide in the Senate, as secretary of state. According to Politico (Nov. 29), “In his roles in the NSC [National Security Council] under Obama and as deputy secretary of state, Blinken advocated for more robust U.S. involvement in the Syria conflict, and notably broke with his boss, Biden, to support the armed intervention in Libya. He was also a close aide to Biden when the then-senator supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.” Politico says Blinken is a fierce believer in the transatlantic alliance and considers  U.S. leadership in multilateral institutions essential. In 2016 Blinken said, “Put simply, the world is safer for the American people when we have friends, partners and allies.” Translating diplomat-talk into straight talk, this means U.S. imperialism has lost its former predominant position and needs to share some of the pillage with other imperialist powers if it wants to keep the rest of the world subdued. Blinken called Europe “a vital partner” and has dismissed the Trump administration’s plans to remove U.S. troops from Germany, especially because “it weakens NATO, it helps Vladimir Putin, and it harms Germany, our most important ally in Europe.” In other words, he thinks if the U.S. dismisses and disrespects German imperialism, it might push the German government into making deals with Russia.Avril Haines, DNIBiden named Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, as director of national intelligence (DNI). A recent article by CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd described Haines as a reliable expert who wants to “depoliticize intelligence.”  This is in reaction to Trump’s dismissal of intelligence that doesn’t support his choices and his appointment of cronies to top positions in the spy agencies.According to the Nov. 23 New York Times, Haines was “the architect of the Obama administration’s program targeting terrorists with drones, some of which killed civilians.” The Times described her as having lots of experience working with covert programs. Haines also strongly supported Trump’s CIA director, Gina Haspel, who carried out and justified torturing prisoners during interrogation. Revolving doors of the MICThe Trump administration is notorious for using its role running the U.S. to enhance its business opportunities. Democratic Party officials have found a way to gain some of the same advantages in a slightly different way.Blinken was one of the founders of WestExec in 2017, along with Michèle A. Flournoy, who is on Biden’s short list for secretary of defense. WestExec’s website offers “unique geopolitical and policy expertise” to companies seeking to navigate “external factors and relationships that affect businesses” in Washington and around the world. (New York Times Nov. 28.)Haines also has worked as a consultant for WestExec, as do other possible appointees being considered by the Biden administration. One of the companies WestExec had as a client, Shield AI, makes surveillance drones. The same Times article reports on this “revolving door” connecting government appointees with the military-industrial complex.Some of the more progressive elements in the Democratic Party are already raising opposition to these appointments from WestExec. Also, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar have signed a petition calling on Biden not to appoint an old crony, Bruce Reed, to head the the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Under Obama, Reed led demands for cuts in Social Security and Medicare.Another questionable nominee is Alejandro Mayorkas, whom Biden has chosen to head the Department of Homeland Security. This nomination caused a stir in the media, which emphasized Mayorkas’s background as a Latinx immigrant who came to the U.S. as a young child and grew up in Los Angeles.Mayorkas’s Romanian mother took refuge in Cuba soon after World War II. Talking of his father, the owner of a steel wool factory who left Cuba with his family in 1960, “He did not want to raise the family in a communist country. He believed in democracy, and he understood the perils and the challenges of living otherwise.” (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 23)While Mayorkas is expect to play a “centrist” role in the NSA, that statement positions him as a strong anti-communist. Biden also nominated former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen to be secretary of the treasury. Yellen is known to be a “financial hawk” – someone ready at any time to cut social benefits.Many of the other appointees to staff positions that don’t need congressional approval worked in government under the Clinton, Bush or Obama administrations. So far, anyone from the left has been frozen out.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Tom Petty Rushed To Hospital After Heart Attack, Taken Off Life Support

first_imgUPDATE #3: UPDATE: While many major news outlets have announced that Tom Petty has passed away based on a report from CBS News, the LAPD has since announced that they cannot confirm that Petty has died, conflicting the story’s initial source.UPDATE #2: CBS News confirms that Tom Petty passed away today, at the age of 66. UPDATE #1: TMZ: We’re told after Tom Petty got to the hospital he had no brain activity and a decision was made to pull life support.Iconic rock and roll singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tom Petty was reportedly rushed to the hospital last night after he was found unconscious, not breathing, and in full cardiac arrest. Petty’s health scare was first reported by TMZ, who say that the information was confirmed to them by local law enforcement officials.As TMZ reports, “EMTs rushed to his Malibu home and were able to get a pulse. He was rushed to the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and our sources say he was put on life support. Petty’s condition is unknown but was critical from the moment he was found [on Sunday night].”TMZ has also reported having been in touch with numerous people from Petty’s camp, who were “clearly upset but not talking.”Petty, aged 66, broke out as a pop/rock star with his band, The Heartbreakers, following their hit song “Breakdown,” the first of many from Petty and his band over the years.Tom Petty has been touring extensively with The Heartbreakers all year, most recently on September 25th at The Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA.The latest news from CBS Los Angeles states that Petty is currently on life support. Please join us in sending your thoughts and prayers to Tom Petty’s family and friends during this terrible time. We love you, Tom![Cover photo via Billboard]last_img read more

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Women’s Business Owners Network Welcomes New Members

first_imgThe Women Business Owners Network (WBON) welcomes 16 new members.Lisa Dagett, The UPS Store #4618; Linda Doty, Vermont By the Bushel; Sarah Forbes, Sarah Forbes Design; Sue Gillis, Vermont Woman; Bonnie Horsford, Universal Mortgage; Doris Kopp, Granny Blossom’s Specialty Foods & Marketing, Inc; Dr. Maria Kowalchyk-DeVito, De Vito Associates; Joan Lynch, The Inner Garden; Elizabeth Meyer, Child Care Resource; Catherine Miller, Education Consultant; Linda Mirabile, Mirabile Designs; Michelle Parent, Child Care Resource; Joanne Patalano, Eservices of Vermont, Web Designer – Database Developer – Computer Instructor; Cheryl Pickreign, Vermont Economic Development Authority; Pamela Scanlon, Athena Consulting; Emily Stebbins, Stebbins Ink;Womens Business Owners Network (WBON) is a Vermont-based non-profit association for women business owners. Since 1984, WBON has been offering a forum for members to exchange information and resources in an atmosphere of mutual respect.For more information, go to www.wbon.org(link is external) or call 802-363-WBON.last_img read more

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Contactless or not? Credit unions should really give it a thought

first_imgWhen checks were first introduced, experts predicted it was the death of cash. Then came along credit cards, and once again, cash was expected to fizzle out. Then came debit cards, and, unsurprisingly, experts unanimously assumed we’d reached the end of both cash and checks.When Apple Pay initially launched in 2014, it was predicted that mobile pay options, powered by near field communication technology (NFC), would soar and eclipse other types of payments.Yet, cash and checks are still around. Even with Apple Pay, the preponderance of non-cash transactions continues to be handled using plastic cards.Now comes the question of contactless cards – are they a defensive or offensive strategy?Contactless payments pioneered in 2003, but acceptance at the point of sale was not a standard until the mass adoption of EMV cards in 2015. Although most top retailers accept contactless card payments, consumers have yet to fully accept and adopt this new method. Issuers such as Citi, Amex, Chase and Bank of America continue to lead the charge, but we have yet to see the shift in consumer payment methods.While most financial institutions are focused on finding ways to capitalize on NFC, consumers, on the other hand, are in a frenzy to understand the best method to use for their transactions: Should they insert, swipe, hover, or tap?Realizing that mobile pay isn’t going away anytime soon, financial institutions are in a rush to promote contactless cards. They hope that by issuing these cards, they’ll be able to avoid giving away 15 basis points of every credit card transaction and a half cent on every debit card transaction to Apple, or any of the other mobile wallet providers.Credit unions are faced with a tough decision to make – in order to keep their member base active, they have to add NFC. At the same time, however, adding NFC cards will only spread awareness of the ease and speed of contactless payments, ultimately highlighting the attractiveness of the mobile payment experience even more.Credit unions should consider the following points in order to help make their decisions:Evaluate your portfolio usage patterns: What percentage of your member base is using Apple Pay or any other form of mobile payment? What percentage of your transactions are being routed through mobile wallets?Evaluate your portfolio demographics: Not every consumer wants to pay with a mobile device. Apple might consider Apple Pay as the future of transactions, but still didn’t hesitate to release the Apple Card.Educate your Members: Credit unions need to up their marketing efforts to educate their members on the benefits of contactless vs. EMV chip vs. digital wallet if they don’t want to lose to mobile wallet providers.Offer additional enhancements: Although contactless cards are secure, they still don’t offer the same level of security as the fingerprint, facial scan, and two-factor authentication features of mobile payments. To really push contactless cards, credit unions need to provide slick financial management tools that can compete with what mobile wallets offer.Despite the growing popularity of mobile payment options, plastic cards aren’t going away any time soon – as long as they have contactless features, of course. Similar to what we witnessed with the evolution of cash and checks, we’re going to see a shift in the channels or methods Members use to make payments. As with every strategy, Member Experience is essential, and thus payment fragmentation becomes pivotal in educating our members to use the best method of payment. 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Aris Jerahian Aris is the AVP of Card Services at Orange County’s Credit Union.  A payment industry executive with more than 15 years of credit, debit portfolio management, consulting and operational … Web: www.orangecountyscu.org Detailslast_img read more

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America can become its best self. It starts tomorrow.

first_imgOn the other hand, repudiating President Charlottesville and replacing him with a Biden-Harris administration as well as electing a Democratic Senate majority will mark a fundamental shift in the kind of country we will be going forward. We will have a chance—although not a guarantee by any means—to move closer to realizing the ideals of liberty and true equality for every American laid down in the Declaration of Independence. These are the ideals that American activists from a diverse array of backgrounds have long marshaled on behalf of justice.Doing so goes back to Black abolitionist David Walker, who in 1830 called on America: “Hear your languages, proclaimed to the world, July 4th, 1776.” Frederick Douglass in 1852 proclaimed that he drew “encouragement from The Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains.”- Advertisement – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. likewise deployed our founding ideals to lay down a marker in front of hundreds of thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963: “We’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’” In perhaps the most famous section of that speech, he proclaimed: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”In fighting for LGBTQ equality, Harvey Milk echoed these earlier pioneers when he said: “All men are created equal. Now matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.” So did Rep. Barbara Jordan, the first Black woman from the South elected to Congress, who noted, “what the people want is simple. They want an America as good as its promise.” I’ve cited these heroes before, and I’ll keep doing it because they inspire me to fight for the principles they believed in—the principles America must live up to in order to succeed.The impeached president, however, doesn’t care a lick for these principles. He wants to bring us back to a time when we were even further from making them real. He heightens the fears of white Christian Americans about what it would mean if those who are not like them gained an equal share of power. Trump scares his people by pretending these other Americans want some kind of domination over them, when all they seek is merely the measure of full equality promised to all of us.- Advertisement – It comes down a very simple question: Whose America do you want to live in? The America described by Biden, or in Trump’s America, a place where he believes that neo-Nazis who chant “Jews will not replace us” represent “very fine people.”Additionally, as important as the different visions are, the candidates’ differences on policy are equally stark. For starters, Trump will utilize the tax code to send ever more money to the wealthiest, take away health care from tens of millions, make sure millions more are unable to earn a living wage even working full-time, destroy our environment in ways that will be impossible to undo, and block any changes that might be proposed in order to make our law enforcement and justice system treat Americans of every race on equal terms. Oh, and he’ll continue to reject science and needlessly endanger large numbers of Americans during the ongoing pandemic.With Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Democratic majorities in Congress, America will have an opportunity to make real progress on all these fronts and more. We’ll be able to enact structural reforms on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, on statehood for Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—which will not only give the American citizens living in those areas the political rights they should have, but also redress at least some of the imbalance in the Electoral College and the Senate that has allowed Republicans to keep coming in second and yet gain the power that is only supposed to accompany victory.In the last four years, we’ve seen some of the worst of what America is. But now, if we do what we must, if we work to get out the vote and fight to ensure that all the votes are counted, we can give America the chance to become what I hope—what I know—it can be. Then there’s Joe Biden. He understands our founding principles, and the struggle throughout our history between those who want America to achieve them and those on the side of white supremacy and other forms of oppression. The latter are the people Biden’s opponent—the second Confederate president—roots for and wants to honor.Just look at the contrast between their remarks around July 4, when we celebrate and, hopefully, reflect on our country’s core ideals. Trump pretends our country is already perfect, and that those fighting for justice today are waging “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.” Vice President Biden tells a very different story—one that is honest, reflects reality about our past and present, and projects hope for our future.xOur nation was founded on a simple idea: We’re all created equal. We’ve never lived up to it — but we’ve never stopped trying. This Independence Day, let’s not just celebrate those words, let’s commit to finally fulfill them. Happy #FourthOfJuly! pic.twitter.com/1WrATlx8Xl— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 4, 2020- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

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The Africans who helped Liverpool win their first-ever Premier League title

first_imgAfricans have become a very important component for Premier League-winning teams over the last few years.Think Chelsea’s Michael Essien, Man City’s Yaya Toure and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez.New champions, Liverpool are no different, after capturing their first-ever Premier League and their 19th top-flight title last week.They face Manchester City tonight as they look to complete a brilliant season in style.Per usual, there was an especially strong African factor in this historic triumph.Liverpool currently have four African players in their first team, all of whom have played their part in the success, some more than others.Here’s a look at the season so far for those playersMohammed Salah (Egypt)Liverpool’s top scorer this season has continued from where he left off last season. Salah has scored 17 goals in the league and created 7 more for his teammates.Salah has played 27 of Liverpool’s 31 games so far this season; an almost ever-present for the side.His goals have won nine points for the Reds this campaign and his constant threat down their right-hand side creates space for others to exploit.Sadio Mane (Senegal)Sadio Mane is one of the favourites to win PFA Player of the Season this year, and for good reason. Mane has scored 15 goals for the Reds in this campaign. He also has nine assists.Mane’s goals have been responsible for 18 of  Liverpool’s points this season.Like Salah, Mane’s threat down the swings enables other players in the squad to have space to operate more effectively.Naby Keita (Guinea)Naby Keita’s time with Liverpool has been blighted by injury but when he’s been able to play he has still made some impact.Keita has made 11 appearances this season with his goal and assist against Bournemouth in December, serving as his biggest highlight of the season.There’s no doubt he would have made a more significant impact if he had played more.Joel Matip (Cameroon)Joel Matip has had to play second (or maybe even third fiddle) to the centre-back partnerships between Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren or VVD and Joe Gomez.He has still made nine appearances and found the net once -a very important opener against Arsenal back in August.In that time, Liverpool also kept two clean sheets.Like Keita, Matip might not be as central to Liverpool’s success as the Salah and mane but his place in the squad has created some much-needed cover for the Reds this season.last_img read more

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Six bodies recovered from helicopter crash in Hawaii

first_imgHawaii authorities found six of seven passengers onboard a tour helicopter one day after they went missing.  The passengers went missing on Thursday evening off Na PaliCoast on Kauai Island. The search began after the helicopter did not return from an excursion off the Na Pali Coast.According to Solomon Kanoho, battalion chief of the Kauai Fire Department, the search was suspended Friday due to the fog and low visibility.The last contact that anyone had with the helicopter was approximately 4:40 p.m. Thursday when the pilot announced the tour was leaving the Waimea Canyon area. There are no indications of survivors and the names have not yet been released for the bodies that were found.last_img

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PSL Police Investigate Murder at Nursing Home

first_imgPort St. Lucie police are investigating a homicide at Tiffany Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation Center early Sunday morning.Police say a nurse walked past the victim’s room when she noticed an unknown male suspect sitting on top of the victim’s chest, holding a pillow over his face. The nurse immediately called 911 and police arrived to find the patient dead. The unknown male suspect immediately took off running and fled the facility.Police set up a perimeter and searched the area with the K-9 unit. The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office assisted with their aviation unit, but the suspect was not located.last_img

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Broward Officials Announce Plans for New Building at MSD High School

first_imgOfficials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland unveiled on Thursday their plans for a new building to replace Building 12, where 17 people died and another 17 were injured during the February 14, 2018 shooting.According to Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, the building will be ready in August of this year, just in time for the 2020-21 school year.“Our goal is to make our buildings the safest in the country,” he says.Photo courtesy: Broward County School DistrictRuncie adds that there is still no firm date as to when the 1200 building will be demolished. That decision is up to the state attorney, as a result of the pending trial of suspect Nikolas Cruz.“Anything that we do on this campus certainly will require a substantial about of community input and direction,” Runcie explains.He also outlined security updates to all the district’s campuses, including more security guards, more security cameras that live feed video to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, as well as an intercom system that can be heard all over the campuses.last_img read more

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Four Incoming Saint Martin’s Students Selected for Full-Tuition Abbot Scholarships

first_imgFacebook180Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Saint Martin’s UniversityFour incoming Saint Martin’s University students have been named as the second group of recipients of the University’s Abbot Scholarships.The scholarships honor Abbot Oswald Baran, O.S.B., Saint Martin’s first abbot and chancellor, who directed the school from its opening in 1895 until his death in 1928, and Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B., its current abbot and chancellor. They are awarded to seniors graduating from Catholic high schools in Washington who have shown one or more of Saint Martin’s four core values – faith, reason, service and community – in their lives. The scholarships are full-tuition, need-based awards, renewable for four years. Abbot Scholars live on campus and act as leaders within the Saint Martin’s community, providing service to the University through work with Saint Martin’s Admissions, Campus Ministry, Career Development and with faculty members of their choosing.“The Abbot Scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for those who have started their education at a Catholic high school to be able to continue to develop their faith and their commitment at Saint Martin’s,” said Pamela Holsinger-Fuchs, Ph.D., the University’s dean of enrollment. “This is our second cohort and we are excited about what the four will add to our campus. Anyone wanting information about the scholarships for the future should feel free to contact me for additional information.”The Abbot Scholarship recipients for the 2017-2018 academic year are:Esteban Quiyono, Bothell, a graduate of Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett. Esteban has been very involved in Greater Seattle Surf Soccer Club—he has participated as a player, a coach and a referee. He is fluent in French and Spanish, and was a member of the Archbishop Murphy High School Wildcat Band. He plans to take a pre-professional program in medicine.Keyla Cea-Benites, Lacey, a graduate of Pope John Paul II High School in Lacey. Keyla has held the office of secretary for a Hispanic youth group, worked as a child care aid and served as a medical interpreter for a service trip. In high school she was a part of Future Business Leaders of America. She was also a cheerleader. She plans to study psychology.John Sommer, Snohomish, a graduate of Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett. John played football in high school, volunteered at summer camps for youth, served as a student ambassador, and has played the bagpipes for 10 years. He plans to study mechanical engineering.Sarah Zepeda, Pasco, a graduate of Tri-Cities Prep in Pasco. Sarah has been very involved in the performing arts program, started the Dance Club at her high school and works in a local law firm in the summer. She plans to major in English and education.Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic­tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 340 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website.last_img read more

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