Buttigieg’s flight gets cancelled, so he threatens to essentially nationalize airlines and “force” them to hire more workers

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WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Saturday, June 18th, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced that the federal government may move forward and take action against U.S. airlines on behalf of customers, stating that the feds have the power to “force” airlines to hire more workers.

Fox News reported that travel disruptions have become more commonplace since the coronavirus pandemic. Many Americans have endured delays, cancelations, and other travel complications during the pandemic as well as after many of the pandemic-related travel restrictions were lifted.

Buttigieg had his own flight recently canceled, which forced him to drive from Washington to New York. Following that incident, he said his department has the “authority to enforce action against airlines” that “do not sufficiently maintain consumer-protected standards,” which would require them to hire more staff.

On Saturday, June 19th, in an interview with the Associated Press, Buttigieg said in a statement:

“This is happening to a lot of people and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering.”

He made these comments just a few days after his virtual meeting with airline executives, which took place on Thursday, June 16th. Buttigieg also said that his office would wait to see how airlines handle the influx of travel associated with summer and the Fourth of July holiday.

During his meeting with the executives, he encouraged them to stress-test their travel capabilities to avoid another repeat of Memorial Day, which was filled with flight disruptions.

The airline executives confirmed that they would take the necessary steps to increase their service. On Saturday, June 18th, he said:

“Now, we’re going to see how those steps measure up.”

According to a report from NPR, airlines have been struggling to meet the huge surge in air travel demand for this summer. Staffing shortages, especially among pilots, has left many airlines with little wiggle room when problems arise, especially in bad weather. Buttigieg told NPR:

“These airlines have gotten a lot of public support to try to keep the system resilient. And now we’re looking to them to make sure that their operations are reliable and importantly that when there is a disruption or delay … they get somebody on the phone and get that customer service to help work through it.”

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Axios reported that as of June 18th, more than 2,900 U.S. flights were delayed and 760 were canceled altogether. Those disruptions came on the heels of 8,940 flight delays and 1,470 cancellations on Friday, June 17th.

Many travelers faced similar issues around Memorial Day when more than 2,800 flights were canceled during the holiday weekend.

Buttigieg said that airline executives assured him that their companies are attempting to hire and train new pilots and other workers to meet the high demand. They also said they are hiring more customer service representatives to help passengers rebook canceled flights or issue refunds for them.

The government could levy fines against the airlines, but those have typically been small. In 2021, Air Canada had to pay a $2 million fine because it did not refund passengers quickly enough.

Buttigieg’s department also oversees the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has also faced staffing shortages. The FAA said it would hire additional staff to increase its customer service.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said that it plans to increase the number of security screeners at select airports so that checkpoint lines are less egregious.

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Sen. Cruz: Biden administration has “secret assessment” of Iran’s nuclear program, but refuses to share it with the public

May 7th, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.- According to a report from the Daily Wire, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that the Biden administration has a “secret assessment” of Iran’s nuclear program that they are allegedly hiding from the public.

Cruz made the statement during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying that the secret assessment allegedly shows a point at which pursuing a deal with Iran would be meaningless. When speaking to Deputy Secretary of State Brian McKeon, Cruz said:

“Last week in this committee, I discussed the IRGC terrorism sanctions with Secretary Blinken and he said that dismantling some sanctions would be worth it because the deal has benefits that will meaningfully rollback Iran’s nuclear program.”

He added:

“I want to ask you about those benefits because I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think you do either. Since President Biden was elected, Iran has made enormous, unprecedented progress on its nuclear program, including enriching uranium to 60 percent, deploying advanced centrifuges, and acquiring significant knowledge.”

He continued:

“Now, the Biden administration has a secret assessment that says there is a point after which the nuclear progress would make the deal meaningless.

Secretary Blinken has referenced that point in public numerous times since last year, but you have never revealed to this committee what that point is publicly. Administration officials have told this committee in classified briefings what your assessment is, but again, it has been kept from the public.”

Committee Chairman Bob Menendez noted in a statement, which Cruz highlighted during the meeting:

“We are told by the administration that if the negotiations didn’t conclude by the end of February, that in fact, the time that would be lost, and what we would gain would be a very little importance or value to us. Now, it’s the end of April. So if the end of February wasn’t going to buy us what we need, certainly the end of April is not there.”

When asked if the State Department would make the assessment public, McKeon claimed that he did not work on the issue and that he did not have an answer. He also said that he guessed nothing would be forthcoming “in the near term.” Cruz said:

“That is entirely consistent with everything I have heard and seen. So my question is, does the State Department intend to make your internal assessment public?”

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According to a report from Politico, on Wednesday, May 4th, a bipartisan super-majority of senators voted to endorse a Republican-led measure stating that any nuclear agreement with Tehran should also address Iran’s support for terrorism in the region.

The Republican-led measure also stated that the U.S. should not lift sanctions on an elite branch of the Iranian military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Lawmakers from both parties said it was a warning shot to Biden’s negotiating team, who allegedly have all but acknowledged in private that an agreement that goes beyond curtailing Iran’s nuclear program is no longer possible.

The vote on May 4th was the first time lawmakers were forced to go on record about the key sticking points in the Biden administration’s year-long efforts to revive a nuclear agreement with Iran. When asked why he supported the measure, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said:

“We want a longer and stronger deal. [I want] the best deal possible that secures the region and prevents Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

Republicans said that the vote was a clear sign that Biden and his negotiators, who have been warning lawmakers that Iran is closer than ever to producing enough material for a nuclear bomb, are headed for defeat. Cruz said:

“They’re so desperate for a deal that they’ve been willing to concede almost anything. This deal is a terrible deal and I think it is important to get every senator on-record where they stand.”

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Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy and slashes millions of acres that would have been eligible for oil drilling in Alaska

April 26th, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Monday, April 25th, the Biden administration reversed a Trump-era plan that would have allowed the federal government to lease more than two-thirds of the country’s largest acreage of public land to oil and gas drilling.

According to reports, this decisions returns to an Obama-era administration plan that allows fossil fuel extraction in up to 25 percent of the reserve, compared to the Trump administration’s effort to open up 82 percent of the land to drilling.

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision will shrink the amount of land available for lease in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), which is a nearly 23 million acre region that is home to wildlife like caribou and polar bears.

In January, the BLM had announced its review of the 2020 Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the area and on Monday, April 25th, the Department of Interior signed a new Record of Decision (ROD) to guide the management of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

When the Biden administration first indicated that it was considering reversing the Trump-era policy, it sparked outrage from Alaska’s congressional delegation. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a news release back in January:

“Sweeping restrictions like this, which are being imposed even as the Biden administration implores OPEC+ to produce more oil – demonstrate everything that is wrong with its energy policies.”

The move allegedly comes after the number of oil and gas permits approved by the BLM for drilling on public lands declined to its lowest number under the Biden administration. According to the BLM, the reserve generated more than $56 million in oil and gas lease revenue in 2019.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil and gas production on the reserve also has the potential to release over 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is roughly equivalent to the amount of carbon released in the entire country in 2019.

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The decision made on Monday, April 25th, ensures that the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska will be managed consistent with the 2013 IAP, while adding more protective lease stipulations and operating procedures for threatened and endangered species.

Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the Biden administration’s reversal is not enough to address the climate crisis and end new fossil fuel extraction. She said in a statement:

“More Arctic drilling also means more oil spills, more polluted communities and more harm to polar bears and other vulnerable wildlife. Biden officials can and must use their power to help us avoid disastrous climate change and support the transition to a just, renewable economy.”

According to reports, the 2013 IPA that was crafted by the Obama administration, is especially protective of Teshekpuk Lake, which is home to important shorebird like loons and caribou.

While the Trump administration’s plan called for allowing oil development in most of the NPR-A, it also had leasing restrictions aimed at, among other things, reducing the impact on the land surface and limiting activity during certain seasons.

The NPR-A is roughly the size of Indiana and is the country’s largest unit of public land. Several environmental groups prefer to call it the Western Arctic.

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Report: Biden administration opposes ban on Russian oil, but wants world to reduce its reliance on it

March 6th, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden wants the U.S. and other countries to reduce their consumption of oil and gas in order to “punish” Russian President Vladimir Putin.

However, Biden also does not want an outright ban of Russian oil and gas, despite calls from both Democrats and Republicans to do so.

Breitbart News reported that several senators and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want a ban on Russian energy import:

“There is growing support from Congress in a ban on oil imports from Russia.

“Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Jon Tester (D-MT) announced legislation on Thursday that would ban Russian energy imports.

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also endorsed the idea during her press conference on Thursday.

‘‘I’m all for that — ban it,’ she said. ‘Ban the oil coming from Russia.’”

The same report also noted that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden and his administration were not interested in banning imports of oil from Russia because reducing the supply would only increase prices and enrich the Russians.

Psaki lectured reporters at her daily briefing, reminding everyone that Europe and the U.S. simply need to reduce their consumption of oil:

“What this is all a reminder of in the president’s view is our need to reduce our reliance on oil. The Europeans need to do that. We need to do that.”

When asked about how much Russian oil is imported, Psaki tried to downplay the amount, even though Breitbart News reported that imports of crude oil to the U.S. have doubled from a year ago.

 

Psaki claimed:

“It’s only about ten percent of what we’re importing.”

She also said the White House was looking for actions that maximize the impact on President Putin, but minimize it for the American people.

Psaki pointed out that there is no “strategic interest” in the reduction of Russian oil and gas:

“We don’t have a strategic interest in reducing the global supply of energy.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday mimicked the same line of thinking during an interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

During the interview, Blinken said the U.S. is “looking” at banning Russian oil nearly two weeks after Putin invaded Ukraine.

Blinken suggested to Todd that the U.S. would not unilaterally make a decision to ban Russian oil. He told Todd:

“We are looking, uh, again as we speak, in coordination with allies and partners, at this prospect of banning [Russian] oil imports.”

https://twitter.com/1BuvNews/status/1500578638370066436

When Todd pushed back and asked if a unilateral decision would be made by the U.S. to ban Russian oil and gas, Blinken responded vaguely, using the terms coordination and coordinating four times:

“A hallmark of everything we’ve done to date has been this coordination with allies and partners.

“We are much more effective across the board when we’re doing things together, uh, in as close to coordination as possible.

“There are instances where, uh, we each do something a little bit different, but it complements, uh, the whole.

“So, in the first instance, uh, we want to make sure that we’re acting in coordination.

“I’m not going to rule out taking action one way or another, uh, irrespective of what they do, but everything we’ve done — the approach starts with coordinating with allies and partners.”

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Despite no ban on Russian oil and gas, the Biden administration and European governments are trying to impose sanctions on Russia to force it to end its attack against Ukraine.

So far, sanctions against Russia appear to be hurting innocent civilians instead of the Russian government.

New York Times reported:

“The harsh penalties — which have hammered the ruble, shut down Russia’s stock market and prompted bank runs — contradict previous declarations by U.S. officials that they would refrain from inflicting pain on ordinary Russians.

“‘We target them carefully to avoid even the appearance of targeting the average Russian civilian,’ Daleep Singh, the deputy national security adviser for international economics, said at a White House briefing last month.

“The escalation in sanctions this week has occurred much faster than many officials had anticipated, largely because European leaders have embraced the most aggressive measures proposed by Washington, U.S. officials said.

“With Russia’s economy crumbling, major companies — AppleBoeing and Shell among them — are suspending or exiting operations in the country.

“The Biden administration said on Thursday that it would not offer sanctions relief amid Mr. Putin’s increasingly brutal offensive.”

The goal is to instigate anger amongst Russians and to foment street protests, New York Times reported:

“The thinking among some U.S. and European officials is that Mr. Putin might stop the war if enough streets and enough tycoons turn on him.

“Other U.S. officials emphasize the goals of punishment and future deterrence, saying that the carcass of the Russian economy will serve as a visible consequence of Mr. Putin’s actions and a warning for other aggressors.”

New York Times further reported:

“But Russia’s $1.5 trillion economy is the world’s 11th largest. No countries have tried pushing an economy of that size to the brink of collapse, with unknown consequences for the world.

“And the actions of the United States and Europe could pave the way for a new type of great-power conflict in the future.

“The moves have also ignited questions in Washington and in European capitals over whether cascading events in Russia could lead to ‘regime change,’ or rulership collapse, which President Biden and European leaders are careful to avoid mentioning.

“‘This isn’t the Russian people’s war,’ Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in a news conference on Wednesday. But, he added, ‘the Russian people will suffer the consequences of their leaders’ choices.’

“‘The economic costs that we’ve been forced to impose on Russia are not aimed at you,’ he said. ‘They are aimed at compelling your government to stop its actions, to stop its aggression.’”

The sanctions are affecting the poorest to the richest. New York Times reported:

“The harshest sanctions by far are ones that prevent the Central Bank of Russia from tapping into much of its $643 billion in foreign currency reserves, which has led to a steep drop in the value of the ruble.

“Panic has set in across Russia. Citizens are scrambling to withdraw money from banks, preferably in dollars, and some are fleeing the country.

“The United States and Europe also announced new sanctions this week against oligarchs with close ties to Mr. Putin.

“Officials are moving to seize their houses, yachts and private jets around the world.

“French officials on Thursday snatched the superyacht of Igor Sechin, the chief executive of Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant.” 

Earlier this week, global payment processors, such as PayPal, American Express, Visa and Mastercard, shut down their services in Russia after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on companies to halt all business in Russia during a video call with U.S. lawmakers.

The fallout from companies suspending their services in Russia is that Russian citizens are now being financially impacted as they are expelled from the Western financial system.

The move has caused Russia to get closer to China, which has drawn mixed reviews.

ZeroHedge reported:

Reuters has confirmed this development, writing that ‘several Russian banks said on Sunday they would soon start issuing cards using the Chinese UnionPay card operator’s system coupled with Russia’s own Mir network, after Visa and MasterCard said they were suspending operations in Russia.’

“State-owned UnionPay is the provider of most card payments in China.

“Announcements regarding the switch to UnionPay came on Sunday from Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, as well as Alfa Bank and Tinkoff. 

“As Bloomberg adds, the move could allow Russians to make some payments overseas, with UnionPay operating in 180 countries and regions.

“Visa and Mastercard said that any transactions initiated with their cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country from March 10. 

“The Bank of Russia is also temporarily reducing the amount of information commercial banks are required to publish in an effort to limit the risks from international sanctions.

“Starting with statements for February, banks will no longer have to release accounts prepared to national standards or make any additional disclosures on their websites, the central bank said in a statement.

“The central bank of Russia advised its citizens to use cash abroad.

“It said Mir cards could also be used in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”

https://twitter.com/WallStreetSilv/status/1500513772816973825

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently appeared to suggest via his Twitter post on March 3 that Putin needs to be assassinated:

“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.

“The only people who can fix this are the Russian people.

“Easy to say, hard to do. 

“Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness you need to step up to the plate.”

Graham also recently said on Fox News:

“The best way for this to end is having Eliot Ness or Wyatt Earp in Russia, the Russian Spring, so to speak, where people rise up and take him down.”

Graham added:

“So, I’m hoping somebody in Russia will understand that he’s destroying Russia, and you need to take this guy out by any means possible.”

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