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Biden warns the Trump administration is endangering national security in the transition period

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

President-elect Joe Biden made it clear Monday that his incoming administration will be operating from a disadvantage on day one if the Trump administration didn’t start cooperating immediately.

“From some agencies, our team received exemplary cooperation … from others, most notable, the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department,” Biden said in remarks delivered after a briefing with his national security and foreign policy advisers.

“Right now, as our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the hand-off between administrations,” Biden said. “My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies.”

He then added, “We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch up that our adversaries may try to exploit.”

Biden then called out the current administration for their “irresponsibility” in protecting the nation.

“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” he said. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility. Rebuilding the full set of our instruments of foreign policy and national security is a key challenge that the Vice President-elect Harris and I will face upon taking office, starting with our diplomacy.”

Watch the video below.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Laid-off worker says the new coronavirus relief bill is 'almost insulting'

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

After threatening to veto the coronavirus relief package that Congress recently passed, President Donald Trump relented and signed the bill over the weekend. Matthew Cox, an Indianapolis-based worker who has been slammed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed the bill during a CNN appearance on Monday — and told host Brooke Baldwin that it doesn’t do nearly enough to help someone in his position.

Trump implied he might veto the bill and said its direct payments of $600 per person were insufficient; the president wanted $2,000. And while Democratic leaders in Congress would have preferred $2,000, they agreed to $600 because congressional Republicans refused to increase the amount. In addition to that $600 direct payment, the bill includes $300 per week in jobless benefits, as well as additional funds to businesses and specific government programs.

Baldwin noted that Cox has been “unemployed since August” apart from some food delivery work and “lost his job and his savings after the pandemic hit.” Cox had been living in South Florida, where he was making $90,000 per year as a manager in the service industry. But after losing his job, he moved to Indianapolis because the cost of living is lower and his wife’s family lives there.

Cox told Baldwin, “It’s been hard. It’s been real hard. After things happened, I had to come home. I went through my entire 401(k). I went through everything I had.”

When Baldwin asked Cox to weigh in on the coronavirus relief bill that Trump has signed, he told the CNN host, “With what’s going on, honestly, it’s a kick in the pants….. We looked at $600 again — that’s really not going to help anybody. It’s kind of almost insulting…. For those of us who are making less money or no money, it doesn’t really do a whole lot for us.”

Cox, who has two children, added that he had been doing some deliveries for the food delivery service DoorDash — and his wife has been receiving disability funds. Cox said he has been making about $300 per week compared to the 90K he was making before the pandemic.

“I’ve had to borrow money from my family,” Cox told Baldwin. “I’ve …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The 'moderate' rot at the top of the Democratic Party

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Common Dreams

Sometimes a couple of nominations convey an incoming president’s basic mindset and worldview. That’s how it seems with Joe Biden’s choices to run the Office of Management and Budget and the State Department.

For OMB director, Biden selected corporate centrist Neera Tanden, whose Center for American Progress thrives on the largesse of wealthy donors representing powerful corporate interests. Tanden has been a notably scornful foe of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing; former Sanders speechwriter David Sirota calls her “the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States.” Who better to oversee the budget of the U.S. government?

For Secretary of State, Biden chose his longtime top foreign-policy adviser, whose frequent support for U.S. warfare included pushing for the disastrous 2011 military intervention in Libya. Antony Blinken is a revolving-door pro who has combined his record of war boosterism with entrepreneurial zeal to personally profit from influence-peddling for weapons sales to the Pentagon. Who better to oversee diplomacy for the U.S. government?

“With few exceptions, Biden’s current policy positions are destructively corporate, deferential to obscene concentrations of wealth, woefully inadequate for meeting human needs, and zealously militaristic.”Standard news coverage tells us that Tanden and Blinken are “moderates.” But what’s so moderate about being on the take from rich beneficiaries of corporate America while opposing proposals that would curb their profits in order to reduce income inequality and advance social justice? What’s so moderate about serving the military-industrial complex while advocating for massive “defense” spending and what amounts to endless war?

Unless they fail to get Senate confirmation, Tanden and Blinken will shape future history in major ways.

As OMB director, Tanden would head what the Washington Post describes as “the nerve center of the federal government, executing the annual spending plan, setting fiscal and personnel policy for agencies, and overseeing the regulatory process across the executive branch.”

Blinken is ready to be the administration’s most influential figure on foreign policy, bolstered by his longstanding close ties with Biden. As staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden chaired the panel’s mid-2002 crucial sham hearings on scenarios for invading Iraq, Blinken helped grease the skids for the catastrophic invasion.

Overall, purported “moderates” Tanden and Blinken have benefited from favorable mass-media coverage since their nominations were announced several weeks ago. Most …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Republican congressmen go to war with each other over Trump's bogus fraud claims

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

Far-right Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama has joined President Donald Trump in refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect and pushing debunked claims of voter fraud. But another Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, is slamming Brooks’ voter fraud claims as nonsense, sparking a feud between the two GOP congressmen.

Kinzinger, according to Newsweek’s Jason Lemon, “has suggested that those backing the president’s conspiracy theories are doing so to raise money and garner more attention on social media” — and Kinzinger has dismissed the voter fraud claims as a “scam.”

When Brooks appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” on Monday morning, he accused the Illinois Republican of being soft on voter fraud.

“If he would do his homework,” Brooks told the “Fox and Friends” hosts, “he would understand the evidence is overwhelming. He can either surrender to the people who support voter fraud, election theft — or he can fight for his country on this particular issue.”

In truth, the wild claims Trump and his allies have pushed to back up the assertion that the election was stolen have been repeatedly debunked.

Brooks, on “Fox and Friends,” claimed that “dozens” of House Republicans might join him in objecting to the Electoral College results when Congress meets for a joint session on January 6.

“There are dozens in the House of Representatives who have reached that conclusion, as I have. We’re going to sponsor and co-sponsor objections to the Electoral College vote returns of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and maybe more depending on where we collectively want to go,” the Alabama lawmaker said.

Lemon, however, notes, “In order for the objections to be considered, a Republican senator must also sign on to a written objection. Although the effort is widely expected to fail, several GOP senators have suggested they may be open to supporting objections.”

Kinzinger, in contrast to Brooks, acknowledges Biden as the United States’ legitimate president-elect and has said that there is no proof of the type of widespread voter fraud that Brooks alleges. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Kinzinger stressed, “I grew up as a Republican because I believe in smaller …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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This Walter Reed doctor was ousted after criticizing Trump: 'I regret nothing'

December 28, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh

An emergency room physician at Walter Reed Medical Center said he has no regrets after being ousted from his position following his public criticism of President Donald Trump’s bizarre joyride while hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Dr. James Phillips, who worked at Walter Reed during Trump’s hospitalization at the medical center in October, slammed the president for driving in a car with Secret Service agents to greet supporters while he was sick.

“Every single person…in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater,” Phillips tweeted in October before removing the post. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”

“That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack,” he added in another tweet. “The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.”

He later upped his criticism in an interview with NBC News, arguing that the president sent a message to “people who are sick that it’s okay to go out.”

“The reality is that this was a dangerous move,” he said. “There is no medical benefit for this to have taken place. It violates CDC guidelines that come from the president’s own administration.”

Phillips, the chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, was removed from Walter Reed’s schedule beginning in January earlier this month, according to CBS News.

On Sunday, Phillips seemed to suggest his ouster was politically motivated.

“Today, I worked my final shift at Walter Reed ER,” he tweeted. “I will miss the patients and my military and civilian coworkers – they have been overwhelmingly supportive. I’m honored to have worked there and I look forward to new opportunities. I stand by my words, and I regret nothing.”

Officials at Walter Reed told CBS News that the hospital did not make the decision to remove Phillips from the schedule and said it “provides requirements for contract positions” and “schedules are determined by the contractor.”

Phillips’ contractor, GW Medical Faculty Associates, did not say whether it removed him from the Walter Reed schedule.

“While we cannot comment on the scheduling assignments of our providers, we can confirm that he continues to be employed at the GW Medical Faculty …read more

Source: ALTERNET