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After twenty years of being in Afghanistan, U.S. President Joe R. Biden has decided to withdraw U.S. troops but will support peace talks between the government and the Taliban. It is reported those talks expected to begin in September as part of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, have made little progress.

The United States officially has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, but there are about 1,000 additional Special Forces personnel in the country.

Mr. Biden has been a critic of America’s presence in Afghanistan, but his concerns were often overruled when he was vice president. Now as U.S. president, he has authority to order an exit; point out that the United States had succeeded in its real task: ousting Al Qaeda and making sure that the country would never again be the launching pad for terrorist attack on the United States, as it was on Sept. 11, 2001.

“We gave that argument a decade, Biden said. “It’s never proved effective. Not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we were down to a few thousand. Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way. U.S. boots on the ground.”

“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for withdrawal, and expecting a different result,” Mr. Biden said.

“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan,” he continued. “Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.

Mr. Biden reflected on how humbling the United States became in achieving objectives cited by the military and other related issues being in Afghanistan— transforming the country into a stable democratically, weaking, the Taliban, fighting corruption and the drug trade which proved to go far beyond the abilities of the United States and its allies or only yielded partial gains in the process.

And, while counting the cost of lives, effort and focus of the nation proved to be staggering as 2,400 American service members had died in Afghanistan. While at Arlington Cemetery, Biden visit the graves of arm servicemen who lost their lives in Afghanistan which at that moment became clear that it was time to bring the war to an end.

President Biden traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to visit the graves of service members who lost their lives in Afghanistan. He said the decision to withdraw American troops was not difficult because it was “absolutely clear” to him that it was time to bring the war to an end.

Biden also experienced first-hand the effects of the war. His son served in a war zone [Iraq] which he rejected the idea that putting soldiers like his son in danger was the only way to achieve the United States goals in places like Afghanistan where U.S. its allies joined efforts to stabilize and modernize the country by rebuilding its military, civil society and infrastructure have largely faltered.

“We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective,” the president said. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.

“We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective,” the president said. “American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American string a troops in Afghanistan indefinitely

Biden recalls other objectives that were added to the mission over the years and that came to justify the continued American military presence that assured an education for girls and opportunity for women, nurturing a sustainable economy and, which led to creating leverage to force the Taliban into peace negotiations.

 

US News

Tue. April, 13, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invites Biden to Address Congress

In a brief letter to President Joe Biden. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited him “to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.”

“Nearly 100 days ago, when you took the oath of office, you pledged in a spirit of great hope that ‘Help is on The Way.’ Now, because of your historic and transformative leadership. Help is Here!” Pelosi wrote in the letter. She continues:

“In the spirit I am writing to invite you to address a joint Session of Congress on Wednesday. April 28, to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment,” Pelosi wrote.

It is accustomed newly inaugurated presidents make their first address to Congress within weeks of taking office though Biden have not done so far due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With most lawmakers and a growing number of staff are now vaccinated, it signals that Congressional leaders feel more confident in gathering large groups in the House Chamber.

The House Speaker had previously cited the need to wait for decisions from the Office of the Attending Physician and House Sergeant at Arms on capacity amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama both gave their first addresses in February of their first years in office.

 

 US News

Sun. April 11, 2021, 9:30 p.m.

After a year of the coronavirus breakouts that has killed millions upon millions of people.  Science researchers and investigators have conducted an in-depth study to track where the virus began.

One of the highest officials of the United States, Secretary of State Anthony Blinked shared his view, concluding China failed to share information and provide access to international public health experts in its early stages of the pandemic fueling a global crisis.

“I think China knows that in the early stages of COVID, it didn’t do what it needed to do,” Blinken said on NBC’s Meet the Press.” “And one result of that failure is that the [virus] got out of hand faster and with, I think, much more egregious results that it might otherwise.”

Blinken said that the pandemic revealed the need for a “stronger global health security system to make sure that this doesn’t happen again” and to ensure the world can mitigate public health crisis. Blinken said the World Health Organization must be strengthened and reformed, and that “China has to play a part in that.”

Indeed, it is crucial that every nation commits to improve global health security system; and to inform and collaborate with the World Health Organization in adopting an ongoing oversight policy that will ensure every country/regions adheres to global health requirements and transparency. A starting point is meeting with nations to discuss Climate Change policy to work on commitment.

 

US News

Sat. April 10, 2021, 10:20 p.m.

At the dawn of a new era–the twenty-first century transformation or translation have taken a much broader perspective and scope. Since its usage in the 1880s, the term “infrastructure” come from French, with infra- meaning “below” and structure meaning “building.” Hence, infrastructure is defined as the foundation upon which the structure of the economy is built, often times quite literally. However, the term infrastructure took on new translation in 1987 when a panel of the U.S. National Research Council adopted the term “public works infrastructure” to refer to functional modes including highways, airports, telecommunications, and water supplies, as well as the combined systems that these elements comprise.

If broken into parts, the infra means “below,” therefore, the infrastructure is the underlying structure of a country and its economy—the fixed installations that it needs in order to function. These include roads bridges, dams, the water and sewer systems, railways and subways airports and harbors which are generally government-built and publicly owned. In certain context, people may use the term as the intellectual infrastructure or the infrastructure of science research.

The Brent Spence Bridge spans the Ohio River and has more than 1 billion in fright passing across it every day. The gridlock has become a constant reminder of unfulfilled promises in the nation’s longest debate on its infrastructure- a promise deferred on needed repairs.

“It’s been battered around by both parties for a long time, but the need is now, said Brad Slabaugh, general manager of Hilltop Companies, a construction firm that sits in the shadow of the bridge. “We had promises from past administrations and we would like to see those promises come through,” Slabaugh said.

 

U.S. News

Wed. April 9, 2021

President Joe Biden’s pitches an ambitious infrastructure proposal which highlights the present conditions of the Brent Spence Bridge. The debate with Republican and Democrats on the U.S. infrastructure with one of the most highly multifunctional bridges in the nation which is a major economic source impacting U.S. supply chain.

Touted as a rare bipartisan opportunity, infrastructure is seldom a top priority for debate in a deeply divided capital.

However, debating from a postmodern perspective, the Brent Spence Bridge, built nearly 60 years ago— considering its economic impact as the gateway [I-75] to the North and South stretching from Miami and Michigan is one of the longest neglected projects in which the Biden administration is taking a new look or perspective using the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan—a broader and bolder plan than past administrations which provide broadband internet within reach for every American, investing $100 billion, $400 billion to increase wages for those who care for the elderly and $45 billion to replace lead pipes. Biden said this week, “To automatically say that the only thing that’s infrastructure is a highway, a bridge or whatever—that’s just not rational. It really isn’t.”

 

US News      Biden makes a pitch to Congress in support of his Skinny Budget Plan

Fri. April 9, 2021, 8:00 p.m.

On Friday, the White House unveiled an early budget proposal. The plan is a glimpse into President Joe Biden’s domestic spending priorities, ramping up spending on education health, and climate initiatives; and military spending would remain relatively flat.

This is Biden’s first budgetary pitch to Congress which can also reshape it in an appropriations process that could possibly take months.

The so-called skinny budget calls for a $118 billion increase in discretionary spending from fiscal year 2021. The type of spending that lawmakers can change from one year to the next. That would be a 16% spending increase from current levels of domestic spending. Programs like Social Security and Medicare are not included but will be part of full spending proposal later in the spring.

The 58-page blueprint includes significant boosts to agencies critical to achieving his domestic priorities such as the Education Department including other increases:

  • Department of Education (+41 % from last year).
  • Department of Commerce (+28%).
  • Department of Health and Human Services (+23).
  • Environmental Protection Agency (+21%).
  • National Science Foundation (+20%).
  • Department of Defense, relatively unchanged from existing levels.

The proposed budget plan also includes $69 billion to expand public housing. It proposes a new medical research [R & D] agency toward curing diseases such as cancer, report from STATS NEWS.

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, acting Office Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said that the current crisis brings “a moment of possibility,” she said. “The upcoming appropriations process is another important opportunity to continue laying a stronger foundation for the future and reversing a legacy of disinvestments of in crucial priorities,” she wrote.

This is sharp break from President Donald Trump’s conservative agenda as his budget plan last year was aimed toward slashing major domestic programs like Medicaid and the size of federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.

As White House prepares to negotiate its multimillion-dollar infrastructure package, and Congress returning to session next week, it is “moment of opportunity” for lawmakers to strike a deal on federal budget before funding expires at the end of September.

 

US News Biden Propose Big Corporations to pay taxes on Earned Revenue

Wed, April 8, 2021, 9:30 p.m.

Big Corporations have maneuvered their way to reduce or avoid paying their tax bills. For some companies like Apple and Bristol Myers Squibb have used such maneuvers by moving their profits offshore. This practice has enriched company accountants as well as their shareholders. As a result, companies are profitable, but have not paid no federal income tax liability to the U.S. Treasury Department.

As it stands the Biden administration is proposing a tax plan that will help raise the revenue to invest in roads, bridges, and water pipes and economic agenda, investments that are so badly needed. The Biden administration aim to raise $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years to help finance the infrastructure proposal. That would include nudging corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% imposing a strict new minimum tax on global profits as well as levying harsh penalties on companies that try to move profits offshore.

Such change would affect 45 corporations according to the Biden’s estimates because it would be limited to companies earning $2 billion or more a year. Companies aren’t going to be able to hide their income in place like Cayman Island and Bermuda in tax haven, ” Biden said Wednesday during his remarks at the White House.  Biden defend his tax increases saying that they are necessary to pay for the infrastructure investments the nation needs to help reduce the federal deficit over the long term.

With the President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, the Biden administration officials say that the law increased the incentives for companies to shift profits to lower-tax countries while reducing tax receipts in the United States to match their lowest level as a share since World War II.

Treasury secretary  said in rolling out the plan, “it would end a global race to the bottom’ of corporate taxation that has been destructive for American economy and its workers. Yellen said, “Our tax revenue are already at their lowest level in generations. If they continue to drop lower, we will have less money to invest in roads, bridges, broadband and R & D.

While the plan is ambitious, it will be a challenge to enact as some of the proposal like certain changes to how global minimum tax is applied to corporate income which could be put in place by the Treasury Department through legislation while most would need the approval of Congress, including increasing the corporate rate.  Considering Democrats’ narrow majority in both Senate and House, the tax rate could drop. Joe Manchin of Virginia a swing vote, said that he prefers a 25% corporate rate. Biden, however, said that he’s willing to negotiate: ” Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain. But, he added, “inaction is not an option.”

 

US News       Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman move into Official Vice-Presidential Residence

Wed. April 7, 2021, 10:00 p.m.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will finally return home–not in the Blair House, but in her 33-room official residence. She will take Marine Two to the Victorian home which has housed vice presidents and their families since the Mondales in the 1970s.

Vice president Harris stopped in Chicago to tour a coronavirus vaccination site before flying on to Washington while Mr. Emhoff visited Washington State. Scheduled improvement delayed the vice president’s move into the Victorian home which involved two months of innovations, including the installation of a new heating and air system, refurbished wooden floors and updated chimney liners, reports from an official of the vice president.  The home features a large veranda, a pool and sunroom that sits on the ground of the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington. The Navy provides funding for most of the structural renovation such as the heating and air conditioning and or refurbishing of floors according to Philip Dufour who served as the home’s manager and social secretary to Vice President Al Gore. It is reported the Navy has awarded contracts worth at least $4.2 million in air conditioning and heating upgrades since 2018.

Payment for preservation of home improvements was funded by the coffers of the Vice President’s Residence Foundation in 1991 after Vice President Dan Quayle initially solicit donations for various home improvements including $130,000 pool, a .gym and a putting green which [then] vice president Biden, former resident said about Mr. Quayle, “He’s my favorite vice president. While Biden acknowledged that he is a fan of the pool, he also said that his granddaughters love it.

The Victorian home has unique foundation and with pieces of artwork, and new drapes [a complimentary portrait of the Vice President] would be an added attraction.  It is was reported, the Bidens painted the dining room the name shade of blue as their home in Delaware, and hung pieces on loan from the National Gallery of Art.

 

Vice President Kamala D. Harris— Tyler Gordon/ Artist

 

The Art Photo of Vice President Kamala Harris [here]

 

 US News    Will Democrats use the budget reconciliation to pass Biden’s Infrastructure Budget Plan?

Tue. April 6, 2021, 11:25p.m.

It seems that Democrats may need to use the budget reconciliation process again. With the ruling from the Senate parliamentarian, Democrats will have more flexibility to pass key components on Biden’ agenda — his infrastructure plan and other domestic priorities to bypass GOP opposition in moving forward with legislation.

Democrats have already used budget reconciliation to push through Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last month. Using budget reconciliation lowers the threshold to advance legislation in the Senate from 60 to 51 votes. In the Senate is an extremely thin majority, a 50-50 split Senate, the tool will allow Democrats to pass bills without GOP support and avoid a filibuster as long as their party remains unified.

Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that the budget resolution from fiscal 2021 which was used in the Covid-19 relief and can be used for another bill according to a statement on Monday evening from an aide of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y.

With the parliamentarian Senate, its role is delivering rulings over Senate procedures, that had played a pivotal role during the reconciliation process in passing the stimulus relief measure which ruled that Democrats couldn’t include a $15 minimum wage increase in the bill.  Republican have yet to weigh in on MacDough’s latest ruling that gives Democrats another opportunity to use the reconciliation process. Democrats acknowledged that” some parameters still needs to be worked out.”

Parliamentarian’s role is to revise budget solutions which may contain budget reconciliation instructions,  This confirms the leader’s interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues according to a statement on Monday evening from Schumer Spokesman.

However, Democrat have not committed to definitely using budget reconciliation for the next big spending package as they assess whether a bipartisan compromise is achievable reiterated by the White House. White House Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the administration is engaging with both parties and will invite back member next week to address infrastructure.

 

US News          Recovering from a Post-Recession-Pandemic crisis

Tue. April 5, 2021, 7:40 p.m.

Welcoming signs of the U.S. recovering from the devastated coronavirus pandemic that caused businesses to shutter across the nation, leaving many Americans in financial crisis. New evidence of the U.S. outperformance appeared Friday as the U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy had gained 916,000 new jobs in March and unemployment rate fell to a post-recession-pandemic low of 6%.

While year 2020 seems to be the darkest winter ever, the economy begin to rebound after American household begin to see some relief, receiving $600 stimulus checks in bank accounts in January. In the month of December alone, the United States imported a record of $221 billion worth of goods: furniture, laptops, and clothing before receiving the second round of $14,000 checks in March.

With a fraught roll out of Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines; an presidential and Vice Presidential inaugurations, Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris along with health officials immediately coordinated an emergency plan to accelerate distribution of the CovId-19 vaccines. After three weeks in office, President Biden promised to the American people within his first 100 days in office he and his health would administer 100 million doses of the vaccine to the Americans. In keeping his promise, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan providing a more generous spending for vaccinations. According to the Washington post, 62.4 million people–18% of the population have been fully vaccinated.  At the end of March, the United States had vaccinated more than twice as large share if its population that gave the U.S. leading edge over the European Union.

Meanwhile, most economists expect China this year to grow at a faster annual rate than the United States. But since the $21 trillion U.S. economy is still significantly larger than China’s measured in dollars, the American contribution to global growth will be slightly larger, according to Oxford Economics.

Predictions by some economists such as Lawrence Summers who was the top economic adviser to President Barack Obama say that too much stimulus aimed to spur the economy could lead to inflationary price spiral. While some predict that strong growth could drive up long-term interest rates which could prompt investors to pull out their money from emergent markets to earn higher interest rate in the U.S. could create larger overflows which would undermine the recovery prospects of the poor and middle-class nations.

However, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March and the $900 billion bill passed in December, will add almost 1.5% to the global economy’s growth rate this year.

Last month, Laurence Boone, OECD chief economist said, “This will not only benefit the U.S. economy, but it will fuel global growth.” The OECD also say the impact if the U.S. government rescue plan will be felt in India, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom Canada and elsewhere. By the end of next year, global output will be $3 trillion larger than it would have been without the new U.S. spending, Boone said.

 

US News

Sun. April 5, 2021, 9:00 p.m.

Johnson & Johnson [J&J] is taking over a Baltimore vaccine production facility, the Emergent BioSolutions Inc. plant that was cited for a major manufacturing error last month. With the help of the Biden administration, J&J announced Saturday that it was assuming full responsibility regarding the manufacturing of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine just days after officials learned the Emergent BioSolutions-Baltimore plant had ruined 15 million doses of another vaccine manufactured by J&J.

The U.S. Health and Human Services [HHS] Department was notified about the contract manufacturer-Emergent BioSolutions accidently mixed up the ingredients from two vaccines which forced delay authorization of the plant’s production lines.

To mitigate the problem, DHHS directed J&J to install a new leadership team to oversee all aspects of production and manufacturing at the Emergent Baltimore facility according to an HHS official familiar with the measure.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration has acknowledged the delay, but said it won’t alter its timeline for when the country will have enough doses for all adults. The Biden team hasn’t disclosed how many doses it would have received this month had the error not occurred. But federal officials are worried that the mix-up will lessen public confidence in the vaccines as there is a deep concern about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid a health scare that has prompted some European countries to restrict its use.

AstaZeneca said in a statement that it would work with the Biden administration to find an alternative site. The Emergent-Maryland company has built a profitable business by teaming up with the federal government primarily by selling its anthrax vaccines to the Strategic National Stockpile.

Reorganization of the Baltimore plant is another setback for the AstraZeneca which like J&J does not yet have the emergency authorization from the FDA for its vaccines. In addition to the two other vaccines authorized for emergency use, Pfizer BioTech and Moderna, it is not clear whether the AstraZeneca vaccines could be cleared in time to meet U.S. needs. However, one of the health officials said that HHSD is discussing working with AstraZeneca to adapt its vaccine to combat new Covid-19 variants. At this time, none of the Johnson and Johnson doses made by Emergent have been released by the F.D.A. for distribution. Dr. Janet Woodcock, the agency acting commissioner said in a statement that the agency “takes its responsibility for helping to ensure the quality of manufacturing of vaccines and other medical products for use during this pandemic very seriously.”

 

US News

Sat. April 3, 2021, 12:40 p.m.

The U.S. is forced to use a different diplomatic policy than used by past administration

It is reported some immigrant rights advocates say it’s partially because Biden and his administration were slower to coalesce behind a clear strategy in the early weeks of his term, with a crucial focus on the coronavirus pandemic and the aid package to help solve it, caused the start of migrants coming to the U.S. While Biden spent [more than] his first two weeks to get his picks [nominees] confirmed for chiefs of White House administration to help in coordinating a [clear] agenda or [strategy] in handling  the influx of young migrants coming to U.S. border, he had immediately focused on setting up logistics and distribution of the coronavirus vaccines; to develop a bipartisan legislation to pass the $1.9 trillion aid package. This entire process consumed considerable time—with the hope of passing with bipartisan support of both chambers.

Some group activists and politicians believe the White House administration needed to be proactive by addressing this issue weeks before the initial influx of migrants coming to the southern border. Executive director of Community Change Action [a progressive grassroots group] Lorella Praeli touted this idea, “The White House needed to be, or should have been more proactive, framing and telling the story three weeks before they really started to do it,” she said.

Frustration is spurring on the Hill about Biden’s continued use of the Trump-era authority—known as Title 42 which expels many migrants who gathered at the border. The White House has told reporters and Hill staff that they have no timeline to stop using the authority.

In such circumstance, the administration has tried to respond quickly by sending delegations to the border, coordinating with some Democrats in border districts as well.

Meanwhile, President Biden announced that he is installing Vice President Kamala Harris to coordinate a diplomatic policy with the North Triangle and Mexico while reversing a Trump-era policy that allowed immigration services to reject applications for asylum due to space unanswered on the applications. Conservatives claim that the reversal of Trump’s policies and Biden’s language could be key to creating the situation at the border. Contrary to what the conservatives claim, immigrant experts say few migrants would make such  a dangerous journey based on who is in the White House.

It is noted that the Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy ended when President Biden took oval office. The policy forced migrants to wait out their claims on the Mexico side of the border in tent camps and reinstated the Central American Minors program allowing children to file asylum claims from their home countries. Despite of increasing number of people encountering at the border, the United States is on pace to act on the influx of migrants coming to the border.

While migrant surges have been a challenge for past administrations, the Obama administration and Trump administration, the Biden administration, however, is facing a much more difficult challenge with the migration at the border. Unlike the Obama administration and Trump administration,  the Biden administration is dealing with the devastation from hurricanes, violence and poverty, it also must deal with the young unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.