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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 65)

Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

LAS VEGAS ― As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) closed the books on his narrow win in New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, criticism from Nevada’s Culinary Workers Union ― the most powerful labor organization in the state ― marred his victory party.

Union leaders worried that Sanders’ signature policy proposal, Medicare for All, would replace a health plan they fought decades to build in favor of an untested alternative ― and were doing their best to share the concerns with the union’s 60,000 members. 

Over the following days, the policy disagreement escalated into a public dispute as the union reported verbal abuse and doxxing of its leadership by people who described themselves as Sanders supporters. Sanders’ rivals, along with the national media, which often treat unions as an afterthought, were suddenly knee-deep in the minutiae of multi-employer health care plans.

But what got lost in the legitimate discussion of the potential impact of Sanders’ feud with the Culinary is that Nevada’s sizable labor movement is as divided over Sanders’ candidacy as it is about Medicare for All.

And unlike the Culinary, which has chosen not to endorse in the primary, at least one union that is less antagonistic to Medicare for All has jumped into the race. The Clark County Education Association, or CCEA, which represents over 18,000 educators, announced in mid-January that it was endorsing Sanders. 

“We have more labor endorsements than anybody in this campaign,” said Sanders campaign senior adviser Chuck Rocha, referring to the more than two dozen local and international labor unions that have gotten behind Sanders’ bid. “Those are the organizations we’re working really hard to get.” 

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb686230000b50339bfa9 Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at a union-sponsored candidate forum in Las Vegas in August. Although Sanders is a labor ally, Nevada unions are divided on his preesidential bid.

Health Care Experiences Shape Nevada Union Politics

CCEA has some of the qualities that would seem to fit with Sanders’ proposals. As one of the only union locals in the country not affiliated with a state or international labor union, its independence rivals that of the curmudgeonly senator from Vermont. It severed ties with the state affiliate of the National Education Association in April 2018 in a dispute over how its dues were being used ― CCEA President John Vellardita likened the state group to an “ATM machine” ― and has been in a low-level war with the powerful international union ever since.

The key draw for CCEA’s membership was union members’ “trust” in Sanders as a champion of working people, according to Vellardita. And in terms of specific policies, Sanders’ commitment to raising teacher pay to at least $60,000 was also a big selling point, according to Kenny Belknap, a CCEA executive board member and ardent Sanders supporter. 

But crucially, the union is not averse to Medicare for All, because it recognizes that there are limits to what it can achieve through its own negotiating.

“Doc costs, hospital costs, pharmacy costs ― we can try to control or contain or get something out of the employer, but in the end, we’re part of a market,” Vellardita told HuffPost. “What you have today, you may not have tomorrow.”

Vellardita’s logic exemplifies a broader divide within organized labor between unions like his that see their existing health care benefits as precarious and would prefer to free up negotiating power for other priorities, and unions like the Culinary that have more generous health care coverage and treasure gains they have achieved over decades of fighting. 

What you have today, you may not have tomorrow. John Vellardita, president, Clark County Education Association

The Culinary and building trades unions like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which has endorsed Joe Biden and released a video on Wednesday of its members blasting Medicare for All, administer multi-employer health insurance plans known as Taft-Hartley plans. The plans offer unique benefits for union members who may not work at the same job site or hotel for a prolonged period of time, but can stay continuously insured as long as they remain union members. 

In a so-called right-to-work state like Nevada, the plans are also a convenient way for unions to encourage workers, who are not required to pay dues to the union, to do so. It’s undoubtedly part of the reason why the Culinary estimates that its 60,000 dues-paying members make up about 95% of the workers it represents. (CCEA, by contrast, has a membership rate of 65% ― just over 10,000 people.) 

The insurance plans also can be a source of revenue for unions and occasionally, jobs for friends or relatives of union leaders. For example, a report in The American Prospect noted that Bobbette Bond, who is married to D. Taylor, the head of the Culinary’s parent union Unite Here, holds a senior staff position on the Culinary Health Fund. 

In a bid to assuage their concerns, Sanders has promised unions that the health care they would receive under Medicare for All would be at least as generous as their current plans, which typically feature modest out-of-pocket costs for some forms of care. 

He even updated his Medicare for All legislation in August to include a provision allowing unions to go back to the bargaining table to ensure that any savings their employers achieve due to Medicare for All would be returned to unions in the form of pay increases or other concessions.

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb8fe2600000f07b5f743 Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Culinary union members demonstrate outside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in June 2013. The famously militant union is wary of jeopardizing its hard-fought gains.

But Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary, doesn’t buy it. Speaking to reporters after an event at the Culinary union hall on Tuesday featuring Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Argüello-Kline cited the union’s successful 6 1/2-year strike at the Frontier hotel ― one of the longest work stoppages in the country’s history ― to show how hard it has been to win the union’s existing benefits.

Referring to the prospect of the mammoth casinos on the Las Vegas strip bargaining to offset the loss of a health care plan, Argüello-Kline said flatly, “They’re not going to give it to us.”

The CCEA’s Vellardita told HuffPost that he, too, appreciates the health care plan that his union has fought to win, and takes solace in his belief that Sanders will not succeed “overnight” in abolishing private health insurance.

“This requires a multi-year plan,” Vellardita said. (Indeed, even Sanders imagines a four-year transition, though it is likely to take much longer with congressional resistance.)

But others noted that CCEA has been unable to win protections at the bargaining table that are as strong as Medicare for All. Over the years, educators have lamented that the union’s insurance plan, underfunded by the school district, left them with unexpected coverage restrictions and high out-of-pocket costs.

“Their health insurance is a disaster,” said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, one of the state’s few elected officials to endorse Sanders. “That’s a classic case of where Medicare for All will be a huge benefit.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb7722300005b0539bfab Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Alex Wong/Getty Images Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, announced on Feb. 13 that the union would not be endorsing in the presidential primary.

A ‘Class Struggle’ Ideology?

In the course of Sanders’ dispute with the Culinary, other unions revealed they also had a less antagonistic view toward Medicare for All. The heads of Service Employees International Union Local 1107, which represents health care industry workers and civil servants, and the Western States Regional Joint Board, of which the local is a part, issued a statement implicitly condemning the Culinary for framing Medicare for All as an attack on workers’ rights.

“The debate over whether working Americans need Medicare for All or union-negotiated health benefits is a false choice,” SEIU 1107 executive director Vergara-Mactal and the regional board’s Maria Rivera said in a joint statement. “While some working people have good healthcare plans through their jobs, many do not. Access to quality healthcare shouldn’t be based on luck, it should be a right.”

Brian Shepherd, SEIU 1107’s chief of staff, clarified that the union does not have a position on whether Medicare for All is superior to other paths to universal health care coverage. The union simply does not appreciate politicians using their supposed support for unions as a moral shield for their opposition to Medicare for All, he said.

“It really does divide working people when unions are cited as the reason certain candidates don’t support Medicare for All ― or health care for all,” Shepherd said.

Beyond the divergent circumstances that shape the various union perspectives on Medicare for All, and implicitly on Sanders, there are genuine ideological differences that separate more cautious unions like those frightened by Medicare for All from more radical ones that embrace it.

“The vast majority of unions have as one of their goals building up wages, benefits for all working people, but there are some unions that are more attuned to overall class struggle,” said Nathan Ring, a labor attorney based in Las Vegas who represents unions.

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb82a2300008f040bee1a Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Mario Tama/Getty Images Nevadans wait on line to caucus on Tuesday, the last of four early caucus days. Bernie Sanders’ performance in the caucuses is a test of competing unions’ clout in the state.

Which Nevada Union Will Have The Biggest Impact?

Vellardita insisted that the Culinary’s refusal to endorse in the primary is a downward inflection point in its much-vaunted influence in Nevada politics. 

The Culinary “earned a reputation that I’m not sure is up to snuff in today’s election cycle,” he said. “They clearly knew they couldn’t pick a winner.” 

But the Culinary is still advising its members that Sanders, and to a lesser extent Warren, are proposing a health care policy that would jeopardize their union benefits. And CCEA does not have anything close to the Culinary’s voter mobilization operation. 

Vellardita could not refer HuffPost to voter education materials that it has sent to its membership akin to the candidate scorecard distributed by the Culinary. CCEA estimates that some 100 members, including Belknap, canvass regularly for Sanders. The union does not have educator-specific field organizing tactics. Instead, the canvassers participate as ordinary volunteers getting their canvassing material from the Sanders campaign. 

The Culinary really has a history of delivering. Tick Segerblom, Clark County commission

“They just don’t have anything near the influence that Culinary has,” said Segerblom, who estimated that Culinary members typically constitute between 10% and 20% of caucusgoers. “The Culinary really has a history of delivering.”

For its part, SEIU 1107 is incapable of joining CCEA in endorsing Sanders, even if it wanted. The international union of which SEIU 1107 is a part has forbidden its local affiliates from endorsing presidential candidates, absent an endorsement from the international. (Speaking in a personal capacity, Shepherd, the local union’s chief of staff, advertised his decision to caucus for Sanders on Twitter.)

An outstanding question as the caucuses approach on Saturday is the degree to which the Culinary’s skepticism of Medicare for All will meaningfully eat into the support for Sanders, in particular.

At the Culinary union hall event on Tuesday where Klobuchar and Warren spoke, Diana Thomas, a Flamingo employee, said she plans to caucus for Biden.

“I identify with a person who’s for my insurance,” she said.

On the other side of the union hall, where Nevadans were waiting in long lines to caucus early, another union member, Emilio Ruiz, was leaning toward Sanders.

What had he heard about Sanders? “Not much,” Ruiz said. He just liked what he’d read about the Vermont senator. A co-worker spoke highly of him, too.

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

Grandparents of missing Idaho boy urge Lori Vallow to ‘start talking’ following arrest in Hawaii: report

The grandparents of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, one of two missing Idaho children, urged their mother Lori Vallow to “start talking” to authorities after she was arrested Thursday for failing to produce him and Tylee Ryan to child welfare workers last month.

Larry and Kay Woodcock spoke to FOX10 just hours after Lori Vallow, 46, was arrested on charges related to the disappearance of their biological grandson Joshua, 7, and Tylee, 17, who were last seen in September.

REMAINS OF MISSING GEORGIA COLLEGE STUDENT ANITRA GUNN FOUND; BOYFRIEND ARRESTED

“We are very, very happy,” Kay said as her husband Lary added that they are filled with “joy.”

Westlake Legal Group Lori-Vallow-KAUAI-POLICE-DEPT Grandparents of missing Idaho boy urge Lori Vallow to 'start talking' following arrest in Hawaii: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/hawaii fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 3929b8d5-0b59-57ec-8e4e-f9fbd922e1f1

Lori Vallow, 46, is facing two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She was also charged with resisting or obstructing police officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court, among others. (Kaua’i Police Department )

“We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know when,” she continued.

Kaua’i Police announced that Vallow was arrested in Hawaii Thursday on a warrant issued in Madison County, Idaho after she failed to comply with a court order that she produce the missing children no later than Jan. 30.

Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, have been in Hawaii since leaving Idaho in November amid questions from police about the children’s whereabouts. Investigators have said the couple lied about where they were and even their very existence. Daybell allegedly told one person that his wife didn’t have kids while Vallow told someone else her daughter died over a year ago.

Police do not believe that Joshua and Tylee are in Hawaii.

NEW JERSEY PROSECUTORS RELEASE SUICIDE NOTES FROM STEPHANIE PARZE’S EX-BOYFRIEND: ‘I CAN’T DO LIFE IN PRISON’

“You better start talking now and maybe you can save a little year or two off your sentence you’re about to have when you go to court,” Kay Woodcock told FOX10.

“Lori, tell me where the kids are,” her husband added.

Westlake Legal Group Pics Grandparents of missing Idaho boy urge Lori Vallow to 'start talking' following arrest in Hawaii: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/hawaii fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 3929b8d5-0b59-57ec-8e4e-f9fbd922e1f1

Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, are being sought by police in Rexberg, Idaho. Investigators are saying their mother, Lori Daybell, knows what happened to them but refuses to cooperate. (Rexberg Police Department)

Vallow is facing two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She was also charged with resisting or obstructing police officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime and contempt of court, among others.

Daybell has not been charged.

The disappearance of Joshua and Tylee are not the only mysteries surrounding Vallow and Daybell.

Three other people connected with the couple have died in recent months, including Vallow’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow, in July. Her brother, Alex Cox, died in December and Daybell’s former wife, Tammy Daybell, died in October. Her death is under investigation.

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Cox shot and killed Charles Vallow in Arizona and claimed self-defense. He was never arrested. The test results on Tammy Daybell’s remains and on Alex Cox have not yet been released.

Vallow was described by family as a member of a doomsday cult while Daybell is said to have authored religious-themed fiction books about the biblical end-times.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Lori-Vallow-Joshua-Vallow Grandparents of missing Idaho boy urge Lori Vallow to 'start talking' following arrest in Hawaii: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/hawaii fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 3929b8d5-0b59-57ec-8e4e-f9fbd922e1f1   Westlake Legal Group Lori-Vallow-Joshua-Vallow Grandparents of missing Idaho boy urge Lori Vallow to 'start talking' following arrest in Hawaii: report Paulina Dedaj fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/hawaii fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 3929b8d5-0b59-57ec-8e4e-f9fbd922e1f1

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Steve Levy: On stop and frisk, Bloomberg should have stood his ground instead of being inauthentic

Westlake Legal Group image Steve Levy: On stop and frisk, Bloomberg should have stood his ground instead of being inauthentic Steve Levy fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ddc6422c-6dc2-587d-9de2-43f4fae63f3b article

About a year ago, when the Democratic primary was in its infancy, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg took a swing at the pandering former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, for his groveling to the woke crowd. Said the mayor: “Beto — whatever his name is — he’s apologized for being born.” Bloomberg was referring to O’Rourke’s apologetic tone for having been born a privileged white male.

Many moderate Democrats could only hope that a non-politically correct Democrat with a backbone would enter the race, and Bloomberg’s pushback on Beto’s pathetic self-flagellation led many to pray he would be the one. Authenticity would be crucial to winning the nomination, which is why those who tried to reinvent themselves — like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (a former gunslinging border enforcer) — quickly fell to the wayside.

Almost a year later, Bloomberg would enter the race. And what did he do? He immediately adopts the same inauthentic, groveling apology tour that he lambasted O’Rourke for. His greatest successes — the steep reduction in crime and the lifting of school test stores via his taking on the teacher’s unions — were now things of which to be ashamed. An authentic Bloomberg would today be bragging about the success of stop and frisk, with a pitch to frightened minority residents in crime-ridden cities from Chicago to Baltimore that he had a way to reduce the murder rate by tenfold as he and his predecessor former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani had done in the nation’s largest city.

BERNIE SANDERS SLAMS BLOOMBERG, SAYS TRUMP WOULD ‘CHEW HIM UP AND SPIT HIM OUT’

I was born in New York City and raised in its suburbs. In the 70s, 80s and 90s parents would do everything within their power to inhibit their twenty-something child from naively strolling in a park or taking a subway in the wee hours of the night. At the time, the city was a crime-ridden hell zone. There was a perception that major cities had become ungovernable.

Today’s millennials living in New York City have no memory of just how dangerous the city was in those days. They take for granted that since they became adults they were able to ride a subway or walk the streets at 2 a.m. without a second thought. But those of us old enough to remember understand that the bad old days can resurface at any time. In fact, we’re heading there now because of liberal policies ushered in by a socialist mayor, Bill de Blasio, who is undoing the tremendous gains that Giuliani and Bloomberg implemented.

The police chief at the time, William Bratton, implemented the Broken Windows Theory to clamp down on petty crimes in order to preempt the violent felonies that often would be committed by those same perpetrators. Graffiti was prosecuted, as was jumping the subway turnstile or harassing motorists with a dirty squeegee at the entrance of a tunnel.

And of course, stop, question and frisk became the most effective gun control program ever instituted in New York City’s history. Unfortunately, and ironically, Bloomberg inaccurately described the program put in effect by Giuliani. Suspects were originally only stopped upon reasonable suspicion. Thereafter, they were questioned and frisked if there was further suspicion of the individual being armed. A 2015 interview of Bloomberg claiming that young minority men should be “thrown up against the wall” was not only disgusting and unconstitutional but was a distortion of the stop, question and frisk policy first implemented.

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Bloomberg should have held his ground on his previous statement that more police are placed in minority areas because more crime is committed there. He should have been noting that the police were sent there because of the complaints that came from minorities themselves. He was helping the minority community by responding to their needs and preventing the murders of their residents. Approximately nine out of ten victims of shootings in the city were people of color.

Now that many of these proven conservative tactics have been abolished, we have been witnessing an alarming increase in crime in New York City. Violent crime in the city is up by 17% in the first month that a new bail reform measure took effect.  Do Bloomberg and his fellow Democrats believe that minorities are in favor of such lunacy?

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If Bloomberg simply stopped pandering to the woke white voter and the criminal element and instead spoke to the overwhelming number of minorities who are law-abiding and want safe neighborhoods and schools, just like white residents, he would be deemed both more authentic and the problem solver that he professes to be.

Bloomberg should take a lesson from the criticism he laid forth against Beto: live by being overly woke, and die by being overly woke.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM STEVE LEVY

Westlake Legal Group image Steve Levy: On stop and frisk, Bloomberg should have stood his ground instead of being inauthentic Steve Levy fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ddc6422c-6dc2-587d-9de2-43f4fae63f3b article   Westlake Legal Group image Steve Levy: On stop and frisk, Bloomberg should have stood his ground instead of being inauthentic Steve Levy fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/new-york-city fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ddc6422c-6dc2-587d-9de2-43f4fae63f3b article

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

Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

Westlake Legal Group npr-27_slide-f325dc1c042cd1620e0d090e76c612f79c928bf8-s1100-c15 Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

People hand in their ID cards and receive voting papers at the Hoseyniyeh Ershad building in Tehran. Iran is holding important national elections Friday, choosing members of its parliament as well as its Assembly of Experts. Marjan Yazdi for NPR hide caption

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Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

People hand in their ID cards and receive voting papers at the Hoseyniyeh Ershad building in Tehran. Iran is holding important national elections Friday, choosing members of its parliament as well as its Assembly of Experts.

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Iran is holding national elections Friday, as voters choose members of parliament from a list of candidates that was winnowed down to feature hardliners and conservatives. Midterm elections are also being held for the Assembly of Experts, the clerics who have the power to select the country’s supreme leader.

More than 7,000 candidates are standing for election to Iran’s 290-seat parliament. But the government has filled the ballots with hard-liners, after the powerful Guardian Council, which vets all candidates, disqualified thousands of people from running.

More than 15,000 would-be candidates had sought to win a four-year term in parliament, officially called the Islamic Consultative Assembly, or Majlis. Many of those who were disqualified were reformist or moderate candidates. Dozens of them are current members of parliament who are now barred from seeking reelection.

Westlake Legal Group npr-25-1-_slide-7354420038b228692ba12ff26d1f2bbce93e20bd-s1100-c15 Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

The lists of candidates are placed on a board in the middle of Hoseyniye Ershad, one of the main voting locations in Tehran. More than 7,000 candidates are hoping to win spots in Iran’s 290-seat parliament. Marjan Yazdi for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

The lists of candidates are placed on a board in the middle of Hoseyniye Ershad, one of the main voting locations in Tehran. More than 7,000 candidates are hoping to win spots in Iran’s 290-seat parliament.

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

“This weeding out on ideological terms is quite frustrating for Iranian voters here in the capital, especially,” NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports from Tehran. “They’ve long wanted parliament to follow more moderate policies, both at home and abroad.”

Kenyon spoke to young Iranians who said they don’t plan to vote because they don’t believe the candidates would do anything to improve the lives of regular people.

“Unfortunately not,” a 25-year-old man named Qassem told Kenyon outside a café. “Because I don’t see any future in these elections. So because of that, I won’t go.”

In previous parliamentary elections, Iran’s Guardian Council has rejected between 15% and 50% of the candidates who registered, Iran’s government-backed Press TV reports. But it adds that “this year’s purge is probably the biggest since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.”

Iran’s reformers want the country to have a more open society and allow its citizens to have more freedom of expression — and even dissent, Kenyon says.

“Instead, as we saw in November, there was a violent crackdown against demonstrators who were protesting sharp price hikes in essential goods,” he adds.

Westlake Legal Group compositeiran_custom-25025b66f8cc56e01bd0481351fad431f38e081b-s1100-c15 Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

Voting proceeds in the national elections at Razi school in north Tehran. The vote is being watched closely for any insights into how Iranians view their country’s future. Marjan Yazdi for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

Voting proceeds in the national elections at Razi school in north Tehran. The vote is being watched closely for any insights into how Iranians view their country’s future.

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Moderates and hardliners are also divided over the role Iran should play in the Persian Gulf, and what kind of relationship it should have with archrival Saudi Arabia, Kenyon says.

The candidates who were approved to run in Friday’s election had just one week to make their case to the public. Under Iran’s election system, candidates have seven days to campaign. That period ended early Thursday; the country then entered a 24-hour quiet period before polling stations opened Friday morning.

The vote is being watched closely for any insights into how Iranians view their country’s future and whether they want the government to take a more hard-line stance against the U.S. The outcome, and especially voter turnout, also could signal what Iran’s presidential election next year will look like.

Westlake Legal Group npr-8_slide-5b01928ec5b470e4510a7c62adcefa35f3ddc546-s1100-c15 Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

An image of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani stands in the voting area in Razi school in north Tehran. The election is taking place less than two months after the U.S. carried out the targeted killing of the top military leader. Marjan Yazdi for NPR hide caption

toggle caption

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Westlake Legal Group  Iranians Vote In Parliamentary Election, After 1 Week Of Campaigning

An image of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani stands in the voting area in Razi school in north Tehran. The election is taking place less than two months after the U.S. carried out the targeted killing of the top military leader.

Marjan Yazdi for NPR

Even after the election, the legislature will remain under the broader government’s control. As the Islamic Republic News Agency says: “The Majlis has no legal status without the Guardian Council. Any bill passed by the Majlis must be reviewed and approved by the Guardian Council to become law.”

The election is taking place less than two months after the U.S. carried out the targeted drone killing of Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. It’s also Iran’s biggest election since President Trump abandoned an international nuclear deal with Tehran and renewed U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged people to exercise their right to vote Friday, calling election day a national holiday and saying, “Moreover, voting is a religious duty.”

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

Cynthia Nixon bashes Michael Bloomberg’s campaign while championing Bernie Sanders for president

Cynthia Nixon criticized Michael Bloomberg while promoting the candidacy of Bernie Sanders in a lengthy op-ed published earlier this week.

The “Sex and the City” actress and former Democratic candidate for New York governor has been hitting the campaign trail for Sanders in the 2020 presidential election. She penned the article for NBC News following the Democratic debate in Nevada, the first that the former New York City mayor participated in.

Nixon began her op-ed with a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump and the effects of billionaires on politics in general.

‘SEX AND THE CITY’ STAR CYNTHIA NIXON COULD BE NEW YORK’S NEXT GOVERNOR: A LOOK AT HER POLITICAL ACTIVISM

“Trump spoke directly to primarily white working-class voters, and he lied to them. He told them that he felt their pain and was going to fix it. And then he wrapped it all up in a big ugly bow of white supremacy that placed the blame on the ‘other,’” she wrote. “He distracted us from the real problem — which is that billionaires like him have rigged the system to such an obscene degree that the three wealthiest families in America now own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the country combined.”

From there, she noted that the country has changed under Trump, causing her to question why Democrats would accept Bloomberg if they hope to change the direction the current president has taken the country.

Westlake Legal Group RT_CynthiaNixon Cynthia Nixon bashes Michael Bloomberg's campaign while championing Bernie Sanders for president Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4df1251-f077-59f6-bc31-3c6f86b1df3a article

Actress Cynthia Nixon penned an op-ed criticizing the candidacy of Michael Bloomberg. (Reuters)

“Now that Sanders has led the Democratic field to nearly unequivocally assert that, yes, the time for universal health care has come, why are we considering the candidates who are johnny-come-latelys to this position and the baby steppers who are hesitant about implementing it? Why aren’t we all supporting the man who ‘wrote the damn bill?’” she wrote.

CYNTHIA NIXON THINKS IF ‘SEX AND THE CITY’ WERE MADE NOW IT WOULDN’T FEATURE AN ALL-WHITE CAST: ‘GOD FORBID’

Nixon later added: “As our economy skews more and more toward wealthy people and the billionaires who are gorging themselves at the banquet, how can we elect a billionaire and expect him to reorder our country so that it works for everyone?”

The actress-turned-political-candidate went on to note that far too many Democrats seem to be settling for a Bloomberg candidacy despite other front-runners like Sanders promising to address their problems.

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Bloomberg-Dem-Debate-AP Cynthia Nixon bashes Michael Bloomberg's campaign while championing Bernie Sanders for president Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4df1251-f077-59f6-bc31-3c6f86b1df3a article

Actress Cynthia Nixon wrote a scathing rebuke of Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy. (AP Photo/John Locher)

“The mantra we hear out of a panicked Democratic establishment is that we must have ‘unity.’ Unity shouldn’t mean that people who are suffering are told to just shut up and vote Democratic and we’ll get to your problems later,” she explained.

The star concluded her article by once again throwing her full support behind Sanders.

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“We are all desperately worried about finding the candidate who can take out Trump, and some keep making the argument that we must compromise our values and needs to achieve that,” she wrote. “I’ve got good news: With Bernie Sanders, we don’t have to.”

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Westlake Legal Group Cynthia-Nixon Cynthia Nixon bashes Michael Bloomberg's campaign while championing Bernie Sanders for president Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4df1251-f077-59f6-bc31-3c6f86b1df3a article   Westlake Legal Group Cynthia-Nixon Cynthia Nixon bashes Michael Bloomberg's campaign while championing Bernie Sanders for president Tyler McCarthy fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4df1251-f077-59f6-bc31-3c6f86b1df3a article

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Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

LAS VEGAS ― As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) closed the books on his narrow win in New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, criticism from Nevada’s Culinary Workers Union ― the most powerful labor organization in the state ― marred his victory party.

Union leaders worried that Sanders’ signature policy proposal, Medicare for All, would replace a health plan they fought decades to build in favor of an untested alternative ― and were doing their best to share the concerns with the union’s 60,000 members. 

Over the following days, the policy disagreement escalated into a public dispute as the union reported verbal abuse and doxxing of its leadership by people who described themselves as Sanders supporters. Sanders’ rivals, along with the national media, which often treat unions as an afterthought, were suddenly knee-deep in the minutiae of multi-employer health care plans.

But what got lost in the legitimate discussion of the potential impact of Sanders’ feud with the Culinary is that Nevada’s sizable labor movement is as divided over Sanders’ candidacy as it is about Medicare for All.

And unlike the Culinary, which has chosen not to endorse in the primary, at least one union that is less antagonistic to Medicare for All has jumped into the race. The Clark County Education Association, or CCEA, which represents over 18,000 educators, announced in mid-January that it was endorsing Sanders. 

“We have more labor endorsements than anybody in this campaign,” said Sanders campaign senior adviser Chuck Rocha, referring to the more than two dozen local and international labor unions that have gotten behind Sanders’ bid. “Those are the organizations we’re working really hard to get.” 

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb686230000b50339bfa9 Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at a union-sponsored candidate forum in Las Vegas in August. Although Sanders is a labor ally, Nevada unions are divided on his preesidential bid.

Health Care Experiences Shape Nevada Union Politics

CCEA has some of the qualities that would seem to fit with Sanders’ proposals. As one of the only union locals in the country not affiliated with a state or international labor union, its independence rivals that of the curmudgeonly senator from Vermont. It severed ties with the state affiliate of the National Education Association in April 2018 in a dispute over how its dues were being used ― CCEA President John Vellardita likened the state group to an “ATM machine” ― and has been in a low-level war with the powerful international union ever since.

The key draw for CCEA’s membership was union members’ “trust” in Sanders as a champion of working people, according to Vellardita. And in terms of specific policies, Sanders’ commitment to raising teacher pay to at least $60,000 was also a big selling point, according to Kenny Belknap, a CCEA executive board member and ardent Sanders supporter. 

But crucially, the union is not averse to Medicare for All, because it recognizes that there are limits to what it can achieve through its own negotiating.

“Doc costs, hospital costs, pharmacy costs ― we can try to control or contain or get something out of the employer, but in the end, we’re part of a market,” Vellardita told HuffPost. “What you have today, you may not have tomorrow.”

Vellardita’s logic exemplifies a broader divide within organized labor between unions like his that see their existing health care benefits as precarious and would prefer to free up negotiating power for other priorities, and unions like the Culinary that have more generous health care coverage and treasure gains they have achieved over decades of fighting. 

What you have today, you may not have tomorrow. John Vellardita, president, Clark County Education Association

The Culinary and building trades unions like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which has endorsed Joe Biden and released a video on Wednesday of its members blasting Medicare for All, administer multi-employer health insurance plans known as Taft-Hartley plans. The plans offer unique benefits for union members who may not work at the same job site or hotel for a prolonged period of time, but can stay continuously insured as long as they remain union members. 

In a so-called right-to-work state like Nevada, the plans are also a convenient way for unions to encourage workers, who are not required to pay dues to the union, to do so. It’s undoubtedly part of the reason why the Culinary estimates that its 60,000 dues-paying members make up about 95% of the workers it represents. (CCEA, by contrast, has a membership rate of 65% ― just over 10,000 people.) 

The insurance plans also can be a source of revenue for unions and occasionally, jobs for friends or relatives of union leaders. For example, a report in The American Prospect noted that Bobbette Bond, who is married to D. Taylor, the head of the Culinary’s parent union Unite Here, holds a senior staff position on the Culinary Health Fund. 

In a bid to assuage their concerns, Sanders has promised unions that the health care they would receive under Medicare for All would be at least as generous as their current plans, which typically feature modest out-of-pocket costs for some forms of care. 

He even updated his Medicare for All legislation in August to include a provision allowing unions to go back to the bargaining table to ensure that any savings their employers achieve due to Medicare for All would be returned to unions in the form of pay increases or other concessions.

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb8fe2600000f07b5f743 Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Ethan Miller/Getty Images Culinary union members demonstrate outside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in June 2013. The famously militant union is wary of jeopardizing its hard-fought gains.

But Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary, doesn’t buy it. Speaking to reporters after an event at the Culinary union hall on Tuesday featuring Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Argüello-Kline cited the union’s successful 6 1/2-year strike at the Frontier hotel ― one of the longest work stoppages in the country’s history ― to show how hard it has been to win the union’s existing benefits.

Referring to the prospect of the mammoth casinos on the Las Vegas strip bargaining to offset the loss of a health care plan, Argüello-Kline said flatly, “They’re not going to give it to us.”

The CCEA’s Vellardita told HuffPost that he, too, appreciates the health care plan that his union has fought to win, and takes solace in his belief that Sanders will not succeed “overnight” in abolishing private health insurance.

“This requires a multi-year plan,” Vellardita said. (Indeed, even Sanders imagines a four-year transition, though it is likely to take much longer with congressional resistance.)

But others noted that CCEA has been unable to win protections at the bargaining table that are as strong as Medicare for All. Over the years, educators have lamented that the union’s insurance plan, underfunded by the school district, left them with unexpected coverage restrictions and high out-of-pocket costs.

“Their health insurance is a disaster,” said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, one of the state’s few elected officials to endorse Sanders. “That’s a classic case of where Medicare for All will be a huge benefit.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb7722300005b0539bfab Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Alex Wong/Getty Images Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, announced on Feb. 13 that the union would not be endorsing in the presidential primary.

A ‘Class Struggle’ Ideology?

In the course of Sanders’ dispute with the Culinary, other unions revealed they also had a less antagonistic view toward Medicare for All. The heads of Service Employees International Union Local 1107, which represents health care industry workers and civil servants, and the Western States Regional Joint Board, of which the local is a part, issued a statement implicitly condemning the Culinary for framing Medicare for All as an attack on workers’ rights.

“The debate over whether working Americans need Medicare for All or union-negotiated health benefits is a false choice,” SEIU 1107 executive director Vergara-Mactal and the regional board’s Maria Rivera said in a joint statement. “While some working people have good healthcare plans through their jobs, many do not. Access to quality healthcare shouldn’t be based on luck, it should be a right.”

Brian Shepherd, SEIU 1107’s chief of staff, clarified that the union does not have a position on whether Medicare for All is superior to other paths to universal health care coverage. The union simply does not appreciate politicians using their supposed support for unions as a moral shield for their opposition to Medicare for All, he said.

“It really does divide working people when unions are cited as the reason certain candidates don’t support Medicare for All ― or health care for all,” Shepherd said.

Beyond the divergent circumstances that shape the various union perspectives on Medicare for All, and implicitly on Sanders, there are genuine ideological differences that separate more cautious unions like those frightened by Medicare for All from more radical ones that embrace it.

“The vast majority of unions have as one of their goals building up wages, benefits for all working people, but there are some unions that are more attuned to overall class struggle,” said Nathan Ring, a labor attorney based in Las Vegas who represents unions.

Westlake Legal Group 5e4fb82a2300008f040bee1a Why A Major Nevada Union Is Supporting Sanders

Mario Tama/Getty Images Nevadans wait on line to caucus on Tuesday, the last of four early caucus days. Bernie Sanders’ performance in the caucuses is a test of competing unions’ clout in the state.

Which Nevada Union Will Have The Biggest Impact?

Vellardita insisted that the Culinary’s refusal to endorse in the primary is a downward inflection point in its much-vaunted influence in Nevada politics. 

The Culinary “earned a reputation that I’m not sure is up to snuff in today’s election cycle,” he said. “They clearly knew they couldn’t pick a winner.” 

But the Culinary is still advising its members that Sanders, and to a lesser extent Warren, are proposing a health care policy that would jeopardize their union benefits. And CCEA does not have anything close to the Culinary’s voter mobilization operation. 

Vellardita could not refer HuffPost to voter education materials that it has sent to its membership akin to the candidate scorecard distributed by the Culinary. CCEA estimates that some 100 members, including Belknap, canvass regularly for Sanders. The union does not have educator-specific field organizing tactics. Instead, the canvassers participate as ordinary volunteers getting their canvassing material from the Sanders campaign. 

The Culinary really has a history of delivering. Tick Segerblom, Clark County commission

“They just don’t have anything near the influence that Culinary has,” said Segerblom, who estimated that Culinary members typically constitute between 10% and 20% of caucusgoers. “The Culinary really has a history of delivering.”

For its part, SEIU 1107 is incapable of joining CCEA in endorsing Sanders, even if it wanted. The international union of which SEIU 1107 is a part has forbidden its local affiliates from endorsing presidential candidates, absent an endorsement from the international. (Speaking in a personal capacity, Shepherd, the local union’s chief of staff, advertised his decision to caucus for Sanders on Twitter.)

An outstanding question as the caucuses approach on Saturday is the degree to which the Culinary’s skepticism of Medicare for All will meaningfully eat into the support for Sanders, in particular.

At the Culinary union hall event on Tuesday where Klobuchar and Warren spoke, Diana Thomas, a Flamingo employee, said she plans to caucus for Biden.

“I identify with a person who’s for my insurance,” she said.

On the other side of the union hall, where Nevadans were waiting in long lines to caucus early, another union member, Emilio Ruiz, was leaning toward Sanders.

What had he heard about Sanders? “Not much,” Ruiz said. He just liked what he’d read about the Vermont senator. A co-worker spoke highly of him, too.

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Uniting Trumpers, Never Trumpers and Democrats With a New Deputy at the State Dept.

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-biegun1-facebookJumbo Uniting Trumpers, Never Trumpers and Democrats With a New Deputy at the State Dept. United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty State Department Russia North Korea Embargoes and Sanctions Biegun, Stephen E Arms Control and Limitation and Disarmament

WASHINGTON — When Stephen E. Biegun was sworn in as deputy secretary of state, it was in front of an unusual crowd at the State Department — one that included loyalists to President Trump, but also a mix of Never Trumpers and Democrats.

Denis R. McDonough, President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff and deputy national security adviser, was there that day in December. So was John D. Negroponte, a former director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush who in 2016 refused to vote for Mr. Trump. There were career diplomats, congressional officials and national security experts from both parties who had worked with Mr. Biegun in his various roles in the Senate, the National Security Council and Ford Motor.

Which gave rise to some crucial questions: How had Mr. Biegun navigated Trump world to land such a senior position, No. 2 at the State Department? Could he calm a simmering revolt among career State Department employees who have accused Mr. Biegun’s immediate boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of abandoning veteran diplomats and letting the president’s personal political agenda infect foreign policy?

More to the point, would he even survive?

The job is a risk — Washington is full of people who have catapulted from the Trump administration with reputations diminished — but friends say they are betting on Mr. Biegun.

“If anyone can figure out how to navigate it, I think it can be Steve,” said Stephen J. Hadley, Mr. Bush’s second national security adviser.

It helps, friends say, that Mr. Biegun has the even temperament of a man who thrives in the background. Never one to upstage the boss, be it the president or secretary of state, Mr. Biegun is mild-mannered and deferential, the anti-Pompeo.

While Mr. Pompeo is prone to profanity-laced rants, Mr. Biegun is a Republican of another era who projects calm. “He listens,” said Mr. McDonough, who was Mr. Biegun’s Democratic counterpart when the two men served as the chief foreign policy advisers to their parties’ Senate leaders in the mid-2000s.

While Mr. Pompeo has sought to bring back “swagger” to diplomacy, Mr. Biegun is described as a careful negotiator. And while Mr. Pompeo allowed a shadow foreign policy campaign to undermine the United States Embassy in Ukraine, Mr. Biegun has insisted that, in diplomacy, “politics best stop at the water’s edge.”

John R. Beyrle, who was one of Mr. Obama’s ambassadors to Moscow, said that Mr. Pompeo most likely viewed Mr. Biegun as “somebody who could help ameliorate that almost toxic situation” at the State Department.

“So if there is that vacuum or deficit of trust, which I think there is, Steve is well placed to fill it,” said Mr. Beyrle, who worked with Mr. Biegun on the board of the U.S.-Russia Foundation, which promotes entrepreneurship and education with Moscow.

Notably, Mr. Biegun has described Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador in Kyiv who was ordered back to Washington and accused of being disloyal to Mr. Trump, as “a very capable foreign service officer.”

Since first meeting Ms. Yovanovitch years ago, when they were both working on Russia policy, “my esteem has done nothing but grown for her,” Mr. Biegun told senators at his confirmation hearing in November.

Colleagues say the secret to Mr. Biegun’s success, so far, is that he gained the trust of Mr. Trump by enabling the president’s bromance with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. Officials said the president twice considered appointing Mr. Biegun as national security adviser, but made him the chief envoy to North Korea instead. In that job Mr. Biegun has tried to move talks between Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim forward when other administration officials wanted to shut them down.

Mr. Biegun also declined to join the so-called Never Trumper movement in 2016, putting him among a relatively small number of Republicans with high-level foreign policy experience who were not blacklisted by the White House after Mr. Trump won the presidential election.

“He’s friends with Republicans and Democrats, he treats people well, he knows how to operate in Washington, he knows the think tanks, he knows the press, he knows the diplomatic community,” said John B. Bellinger III, the State Department’s former top lawyer who worked with Mr. Biegun on Mr. Bush’s National Security Council.

Born in Detroit to a large family — more than 30 relatives attended his December swearing-in ceremony — Mr. Biegun was in high school in Pontiac, Mich., when a history teacher wrote the word “czar” on the chalkboard in the Cyrillic alphabet. He was immediately fascinated and went on to study Russian at the University of Michigan.

Mr. Biegun lived in Moscow in the early 1990s, when he worked for the International Republican Institute, which promotes democracy with some funding from the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development. But he mostly developed his national security credentials on Capitol Hill — first as a top Republican staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later to Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, then the majority leader — and at the White House as a top aide to Condoleezza Rice, who was the first national security adviser in the Bush administration.

He traveled to Russia as a vice president at Ford, negotiating new business ventures, but also took time off to briefly advise Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008. That position, according to colleagues, revealed his ability to maintain patience under pressure and to avoid a condescending tone — even when having to explain the most basic foreign policy axioms to his boss.

In his new job, Mr. Biegun will also remain the lead negotiator with North Korea — a dual role, he has said, that elevates “the priority on North Korea to the deputy secretary position, and I think that’s very important.”

But the diplomacy has fizzled since Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim abruptly left a summit meeting in Vietnam a year ago, unable to agree on a path for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Critics say the Trump administration was too willing to keep the talks going — and the president too eager to meet with Mr. Kim — even as North Korea was busily building up its arsenal.

Mr. Biegun was not only trying to negotiate with the North Koreans, but he was also engaged in a behind-the-scenes fight with Mr. Trump’s national security adviser at the time, John R. Bolton, who believed Mr. Biegun was pursuing a useless mission.

“This idea that they can be coaxed into giving up” their nuclear program “was flawed from the start,” Mr. Bolton said on Monday in remarks at Duke University.

Still, Joseph Y. Yun, a career diplomat who negotiated with North Korean officials until he retired in March 2018, said Mr. Biegun’s new status could convince Pyongyang that the United States was serious enough about restarting the discussions that it had promoted one of its most senior officials to devote to the details.

“It’s a very good signal to North Korea,’’ said Mr. Yun, who retired in part out of frustration with the State Department’s diminished role in the talks. “This will elevate the negotiations.”

Mr. Biegun’s greatest challenge, however, is the diplomatic morass of Russia and Ukraine.

No one senior official has run the policy since Mr. Bolton left the White House as national security adviser in September, and few have been eager to embrace the portfolio.

But Mr. Biegun has told colleagues he is eager to try to resolve Russia’s undeclared war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The conflict has killed more than 13,000 Ukrainian troops and civilians and threatened Kyiv’s sovereignty since it began in 2014, the same year that Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Ukrainian officials have anxiously looked to Washington for more help as Kyiv broadens talks with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to ratchet back tensions. Mr. Pompeo visited Kyiv last month to signal continued American commitment to Ukraine. But the country’s leaders have not yet been invited to meet with Mr. Trump at the White House, even though the president has been acquitted of impeachment charges that he demanded that Ukraine announce an investigation into his political rivals before releasing security aid for Donbas.

Eric Rubin, a former ambassador to Bulgaria who is now president of the union that represents career diplomats, noted that during his Senate confirmation hearing, Mr. Biegun committed to work “to bridge whatever divides may exist” at the State Department.

“This is not an easy time for our country or our profession,” Mr. Rubin said. “We wish him well.”

Mr. Biegun faces another source of tension with the 2011 New START arms control treaty with Russia, which drove American and Russian nuclear arsenals to their lowest levels in nearly 60 years. The treaty is set to expire in February 2021, and people who have spoken to Mr. Biegun believe he wants to extend it. But Mr. Trump and his aides have signaled repeatedly that they intend to let the treaty expire unless it can be broadened to include other nations with strategic weapons, chiefly China — and the Chinese are not interested.

In his confirmation hearing, Mr. Biegun summed up his approach in a single line that somehow conveyed both optimism for diplomacy and cleareyed realism about the Trump administration’s view of the world, given its “Make America Great Again” mantra.

“I’ve long thought America was great,” Mr. Biegun said.

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Kimberley Strassel: Bloomberg will ensure his own defeat by trying to imitate Sanders

Westlake Legal Group image Kimberley Strassel: Bloomberg will ensure his own defeat by trying to imitate Sanders The Wall Street Journal Kimberley A. Strassel fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc f5ca9caf-02e5-5ef2-9a24-48782b371a63 article

What’s the difference between former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.? That’s the question. On it rests all the prospects for the former New York mayor’s bid for the presidency.

This week marked Bloomberg’s debut on the national stage. Up to now, the Bloomberg campaign has been entirely prepackaged — more than $400 million worth of ads, canned statements and stump speeches in which Bloomberg refuses to answer questions.

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That ended with a Las Vegas beatdown in Wednesday’s debate. As expected, Bloomberg’s opponents laced into him for his wealth, his stop-and-frisk policies as mayor, his attitude toward women, and lawsuits filed against his company alleging sexual harassment. Less expected was that Bloomberg was utterly — painfully — unprepared for the onslaught. He stuttered, barely defended himself, sat meekly as his rivals excoriated him. The mayor several times boasted that he’s the best guy to take on Donald Trump, even as everything he did suggested the opposite.

TRUMP LEADS IN WISCONSIN, TRAILS DEM RIVALS IN OTHER SWING STATES: POLL

Bad as the night was for Mayor Mike, it’s unlikely to prove fatal. His billions will allow him to continue projecting a better image to voters, and there’s another debate next week. It’s not even clear if the predictable attacks against him will resonate.

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For every primary voter turned off by claims that Bloomberg is “buying” an election, another might gravitate to a candidate who promises to spend whatever it takes to beat Trump. For every Democrat offended by Bloomberg’s past comments, another may simply like that he has a record — of running a major corporation and a city — in contrast to a gaggle of professional politicians.

Bloomberg’s bigger problem was the rest of the debate: the times he wasn’t under attack. When he was allowed to speak, he sounded like every other Democrat on the stage.

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Westlake Legal Group image Kimberley Strassel: Bloomberg will ensure his own defeat by trying to imitate Sanders The Wall Street Journal Kimberley A. Strassel fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc f5ca9caf-02e5-5ef2-9a24-48782b371a63 article   Westlake Legal Group image Kimberley Strassel: Bloomberg will ensure his own defeat by trying to imitate Sanders The Wall Street Journal Kimberley A. Strassel fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc f5ca9caf-02e5-5ef2-9a24-48782b371a63 article

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KT McFarland: FBI tried to set me up for ‘perjury trap’ in Trump-Russia probe

Westlake Legal Group KT-MCFAR KT McFarland: FBI tried to set me up for 'perjury trap' in Trump-Russia probe Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 1f2a0444-f7ac-5ab5-8a3c-5a980897f944

Former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland said Friday that the FBI — under the purview of the Mueller investigation — tried to set up her up in a “perjury trap.”

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” with host Brian Kilmeade, McFarland — who served under former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — explained that her life “went to hell” at the beginning of the Russia probe because investigators were convinced she was President Trump‘s to the Russians.

“The FBI showed up at my house unannounced. I was all by myself. They come in and I said, ‘Do I need a lawyer for anything? I have never met with any Russians. I have never dealt with any Russians,'” she explained.

ROGER STONE SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS FOR LYING, WITNESS TAMPERING AS CASE ROILS DOJ

The agents said that while they couldn’t tell her not to get a lawyer, they just wanted a “little bit of information” to help them with the investigation.

“So, I naively went along with it. The whole time they were setting me up for a perjury trap,” she told Kilmeade. “Because Brian, they seized all of my files, my documents, text messages, cell phones from the period I was in government…They had control of them. They wouldn’t let me have control of them.”

However, the search turned out to be fruitless for all parties involved.

“They thought they could pressure me to say, ‘Well, I lied in one of my early talks with you guys when I didn’t have access to my information,'” she mused.

McFarland added that she was questioned about a 90-minute period spent in the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in which she didn’t have any recorded correspondence or conversation in her phone records. That’s when, McFarland said, they asked her whether that was the time she met with Trump to get marching orders.

“I looked at them and I said, ‘No, that was actually when I was having lunch with my husband and I put my cell phone away,’ she recalled. “Look, they had absolutely targeted me for a perjury crime or to link Trump and until I got the best lawyer in the country to come along with me, they really thought they had me.”

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Last week, the Justice Department tapped an outside prosecutor to review Flynn’s case, in which sentencing has been postponed indefinitely. Last month, Flynn and his attorney Sidney Powell moved to withdraw his guilty plea for making false statements to the FBI about his communications with the former Russian ambassador, which stemmed from Mueller’s probe as well.

Flynn’s supporters have insisted he is innocent but was forced to plead guilty when his son was threatened with prosecution and he had exhausted his financial resources.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group KT-MCFAR KT McFarland: FBI tried to set me up for 'perjury trap' in Trump-Russia probe Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 1f2a0444-f7ac-5ab5-8a3c-5a980897f944   Westlake Legal Group KT-MCFAR KT McFarland: FBI tried to set me up for 'perjury trap' in Trump-Russia probe Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/executive/law fox-news/person/robert-mueller fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 1f2a0444-f7ac-5ab5-8a3c-5a980897f944

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David Ortiz says Mike Fiers looks like ‘snitch’ in cheating scandal; pitcher reveals he’s received death threats

David Ortiz ripped Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers on Thursday, saying he looked like a “snitch” for blowing the whistle on the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme late last year.

The former Boston Red Sox great made the remarks at the team’s spring training facility in Florida. He said Fiers should have said something during the 2017 season when he and the Astros won the World Series instead of waiting until he was off the team.

ASTROS NAME BARRED BY LITTLE LEAGUES NEAR WILLIAMSPORT

“I’m mad at this guy, the pitcher who came out talking about it,” Ortiz said, according to ESPN. “And let me tell you why. Oh, after you make your money, after you get your ring, you decide to talk about it. Why don’t you talk about it during the season when it was going on? Why didn’t you say, ‘I don’t want to be no part of it?’ So you look like you’re a snitch. Why you gotta talk about it after? That’s my problem. Why nobody said anything while it was going on?”

Ortiz was also bewildered by the fact that no one came out about the sign-stealing scheme before Fiers talked to The Athletic.

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Westlake Legal Group MLB-David-Ortiz6 David Ortiz says Mike Fiers looks like 'snitch' in cheating scandal; pitcher reveals he's received death threats Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/oakland-athletics fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article ae8beff5-0795-5b10-a5d1-49eeed19f5d7

Former Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz comes onto the field to throw out a ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Boston, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP)

“The Houston Astros, I know they put themselves in a situation and I just still don’t know how come nobody was like, ‘That is wrong.’ I just don’t know how no one say something about it,” Ortiz said. “During, not after. I was in the clubhouse for a long time and never anything like that comes up. Now, they’re going to have to deal with that for a long time because it’s not only a situation that involves players. You’re talking about the whole franchise.”

While Ortiz picked apart Fiers, the current Athletics pitcher revealed he had been receiving death threats over the sign-stealing scandal but said he’s gotten used to it.

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“Whatever, I don’t care. I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before. It’s just another thing on my plate,” Fiers told The San Francisco Chronicle.

He told the newspaper he can’t prepare for whatever is going to happen during the 2020 season, but he was aware he was a part of the problem.

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“I said from the beginning, ‘I’m not away from this. I was part of that team, I was one of those guys,’” he told the Chronicle. “Suspensions, fines — I’m willing to take as much punishment as they do. If they ask me to [return the World Series ring], it’s not the end of the world.”

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Fiers2 David Ortiz says Mike Fiers looks like 'snitch' in cheating scandal; pitcher reveals he's received death threats Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/oakland-athletics fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article ae8beff5-0795-5b10-a5d1-49eeed19f5d7   Westlake Legal Group Mike-Fiers2 David Ortiz says Mike Fiers looks like 'snitch' in cheating scandal; pitcher reveals he's received death threats Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/oakland-athletics fox-news/sports/mlb/houston-astros fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article ae8beff5-0795-5b10-a5d1-49eeed19f5d7

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