The Full Belmonte, 1/21/2021
100% Pure News. Distilled.
“It’s official: Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States. He urged Americans to put aside their differences, saying, “We must end this uncivil war.” Meanwhile, Kamala Harris made history as the first woman, Black American, and person of Indian descent to become vice president. Catch up on the biggest moments from the inauguration here.” APPLE NEWS SPOTLIGHT
“President Biden was sworn in Wednesday and made an inaugural address that called for unity. Biden didn't sugarcoat the hurdles to bringing Americans together, and he leaned in to the challenges the U.S. faces, as he sees it. Here are six takeaways from the inauguration.” Read more at NPR
“Speeches of unity, social distancing and lots of fancy coats: President Joe Biden’s inauguration had it all. Though without the typical crowds or the presence of the outgoing President (Donald Trump left for Florida before the pomp and circumstance), Biden’s inauguration had all the hallmarks of the tradition. He and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in just before noon ET. Biden delivered an inaugural address promising to stand for all Americans, even those who don't like him. He and Harris then mingled with former presidential families and outgoing VP Mike Pence. They listened to patriotic performances by singers and a poet and participated in a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery. Harris later swore in three new Democratic senators, including two from Georgia whose victories sealed the slight Democratic power advantage in the chamber. White House press secretary Jen Psaki laid out new expectations for the media, vowing transparency and honesty. Around the world, leaders welcomed the new Commander in Chief, with the European Commission President calling it a ‘new dawn in America.’" Read more at CNN
“Joe Biden has marked the start of his presidency by signing a flurry of executive orders on a suite of issues, including Covid-19, the environment, immigration and ethics.
Some of the executive actions undo significant actions from Donald Trump’s administration, including halting the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, and ending the declaration of a national emergency used to justify funding construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
He also signed an order allowing the United States to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and end the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census data used to determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.
The president also moved quickly to address Covid-19, signing orders to mandate mask wearing and social distancing in federal buildings and lands and to create a position of a Covid-19 response coordinator.
In other moves, Biden also revoked the permit granted for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and instructed all executive agencies to review executive actions that were ‘damaging to the environment, [or] unsupported by the best available science.’ Biden also ordered all executive branch employees to sign an ethics pledge and placed limits on their ability to lobby the government while he is in office. The new president also ordered federal agencies to review equity in their existing policies and come up with a plan in 200 days to address inequality in them.” Read more at The Guardian
“The monumental scale of the problems facing President Joe Biden’s new administration have been reinforced by Thursday’s new employment numbers confirming that he’s inherited the worst-performing jobs market of any new president in modern U.S. history. According to the Washington Post, some 900,000 people filed new unemployment claims during Donald Trump’s last week in office. The latest figures show that the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 6.7 percent and there are nearly 10 million fewer people with jobs now than at the start of last year, before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy. Before March, the highest number of new unemployment claims ever filed in a week stood at 695,000—it’s yet to fall below that figure during the pandemic.” Read more at Daily Beast
GENEVA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - “The United States under President Joe Biden intends to join the COVAX vaccine facility that aims to deliver vaccines to poor countries, his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci told the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday.
‘President Biden will issue a directive later today which will include the intent of the United States to join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development,’ Fauci told the WHO executive board. The United States will remain a member of the WHO, he said. Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump halted funding to the WHO, where the United States is the largest donor, and announced a process to withdraw from the agency in July 2021. Read at Reuters
“Shortly after President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, sharp-eyed Internet users noticed several major changes on the executive branch's official website. Among them: a new feature allowing users to include their pronouns when submitting contact forms and a relaunch of the Spanish-language website.” Read more at NPR
“We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
We, who hope to see the liberation dreams of our ancestors come to light, have fought for our lives and the promise of democracy to see tyranny unseated. As we tuned into the inauguration of President Biden, it was National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman who soothed our souls.
Reading “The Hill We Climb,” she gave us a forever spiritual to sing. A poem for us. And that passage, about being a Black girl whose bloodlines still ripple in the pipeline wave of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, was not just her self-reflection. It was as much about Gorman as it was all Black girls who dream big and now find themselves closer to those dreams. It was as much about those girls as it was about Kamala Harris, who dreamed of being president and now finds herself serving alongside one as Madam Vice President.” Read more at Boston Globe
“President-elect Joe Biden, on his first day in office Wednesday after taking the Oath of Office, is set to sign an executive order directing federal agencies across the board to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling against anti-LGBTQ discrimination under federal law.” Read more at Washington Blade
“A new rule that would fine members who do not follow new security protocols, including walking through a metal detector, will be up for a House vote Thursday. The rule, proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot, would impose fines of $5,000 for a first time offense and $10,000 for a second, as some House Republicans openly defied the metal detectors placed outside the House chamber in the days that followed the riot. Among the House Republicans who balked at the new requirement is Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. Boebert has bragged about her desire to carry her firearms around Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill.” Read more at USA Today
“Riley June Williams, the 22-year-old Pennsylvania woman the FBI is investigating for allegedly stealing a laptop from Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office at the U.S. Capitol to sell to Russia, is being held in county jail in Harrisburg. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson said he will consider bail for Williams and plans to conduct a preliminary hearing Thursday. Williams already has been charged with trespassing as well as violent entry of the Capitol and disorderly conduct Jan. 6, both misdemeanors, but federal authorities are preparing two new felony charges of stealing government property and aiding and abetting, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian T. Haugsby told Carlson. Haugsby argued Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, saying she might flee or try to obstruct justice.” Read more at USA Today
“Thousands of student debtors have launched a campaign urging Joe Biden to enact full student loan cancellation within the first 100 days of his presidency.
The Debt Collective, which has more than 9,300 members, has tapped 100 debtors to be a part of the ‘the Biden Jubilee 100’ – 100 people going on a debt strike, one representing each day during Biden’s first 100 days. Many have over $100,000 of student debt.” Read more at The Guardian
“SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Twitter has locked the account of China’s U.S. embassy for a tweet that defended China’s policy towards Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, which the U.S. social media platform said violated its stand against ‘dehumanizing’ people.’” Read at Reuters
“President Biden will keep Christopher Wray in place as FBI director, according to two people familiar with the matter. Wray has led the FBI since 2017 and has about six years remaining in his 10-year term.” Read at Wall Street Journal
“With a historic vote in the Illinois general assembly on 13 January, Illinois is poised to become the first state in the country to end the use of wealth-based pre-trial detention.” Read more at The Guardian
“At least 43 people have died and another 10 were rescued after a boat carrying West African migrants capsized yesterday off the Libyan coast. The tragedy marks the first known migrant shipwreck of 2021. Hundreds of people lost their lives in such shipwrecks last year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Central Mediterranean crossings such as this week’s were the most deadly. The pandemic has only worsened the crisis, as more people are fleeing from economically devastated areas.” Read more at CNN
“Alexey Navalny, the staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was poisoned months ago and is now detained near Moscow, has released a large-scale investigation into the President’s wealth. The report from Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation contains allegations of vast corruption schemes related to a sprawling palace they say belongs to Putin. The estate is estimated to be worth around $1.4 billion, and the report details convoluted and corrupt ways they say Putin has financed the property and his general wealth. A spokesperson for the Russian President says Putin does not own the property and called the allegations an ‘old story.’” Read more at CNN
“Purple — a blend of red and blue — was the color of the day. (It’s also one of the signature colors of the suffragists.) Vice President Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton all wore variations of the color.” Read more at New York Times
“Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, as well as Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, wore American designers. Harris’s outfit was designed by Christopher John Rogers, the latest Black designer whose clothes she has spotlighted.” Read more at New York Times
Bernie Sanders at yesterday’s inauguration.Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders and his mittens became a meme. They are Vermont-made, and he wore them on the campaign trail, Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed News wrote.
“The Senate confirmed Avril Haines to be the director of national intelligence. She was Biden’s first cabinet nominee to receive a vote.” Read more at New York Times
“The Washington Post got a peek at how Biden has redecorated the Oval Office, from bringing back Bill Clinton’s drapes to installing a big portrait of Franklin Roosevelt, a president who steered the nation through multiple crises.” Read more at New York Times
“Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend and Katy Perry — singing ‘Firework’ to actual fireworks over the Mall — were among those who performed at a celebration to mark the day.” Read more at New York Times
“Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group loyal to Trump, are calling him “weak,” as more of them face charges over storming the Capitol.” Read more at New York Times
“Antifascist and racial-justice protesters in Portland, Ore., and in Seattlesmashed windows, marched through the streets and burned an American flag, saying that the Biden administration ‘won’t save us.’” Read more at New York Times
“Several species of salmon in the Pacific Northwest are ‘on the brink of extinction,’ partly as a result of climate change.” Read more at New York Times
“A U.S. woman living in Bali praised the Indonesian island as ‘queer friendly.’ In response, the authorities deported her for ‘spreading information that could unsettle the public.’” Read more at New York Times
“Lives Lived: Margo St. James was one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for sex workers, devoting her life to decriminalizing prostitution and destigmatizing its practitioners. She called her organization COYOTE (for Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). She died at 83.” Read more at New York Times
“Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Biden's economy, Dion Rabouin writes in Axios Markets:
They sold gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders.
They bought gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.
What we're watching: Additional Biden economic orders could include a campaign proposal to provide $15,000 in tax credits to first-time homebuyers, according to Jaret Seiberg of Cowen Washington Research Group.
Our thought bubble: Such a policy would pour gasoline on the already blazing housing market, as record-low mortgage rates have already brought down the monthly cost of homeownership significantly.
For first-time buyers who only need to put down 3% on a conventional mortgage, $15,000 would provide the down payment to purchase a $500,000 home.” Read at Axios