American respect for its military is plummeting. It has dropped by 30 points in the past five years in surveys conducted by the Reagan Foundation. In their less than half of respondents have a great deal of trust and confidence in America’s military. Unless both civilian and military leaders take corrective actions to repair the breach, this will impede recruiting, diminish unit cohesion, and damage the bond between the military and the public it serves.
As concerning as the drop itself is the reason. 62 percent of respondents said they were losing trust and confidence because the military leadership is becoming overly politicized. Nor is the attitude partisan: 60 percent of Democrats gave that answer, as did 60 percent of Independents and 65 percent of Republicans. Only 35 percent of respondents expressed confidence in the military’s ability to act in a professional and nonpolitical manner.
If America wants to retain a military that recruits from all parts of the citizenry and brings them together into an effective fighting force, it should both correct that public perception and better insulate the military from being a pawn in partisan political disputes. This will require more discipline from military leaders and greater recognition by politicians of the damage they are doing to our national security by castigating the professionalism and non-partisan commitment of America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their leaders. Military leaders should stick to the core functions of the profession and master saying “that’s a more appropriate question for the secretary of defense.” Politicians should stop hiding behind uniforms when enacting unpopular policies, and expend their efforts on passing relevant legislation in areas urgently in need of attention.
The Reagan Foundation’s findings are at strong variance with how the military views itself. America’s military believes it is a paragon of non-partisan professionalism, and works hard to inculcate that attitude through professional military education. Military about veteran political activism reflecting on the active-duty force. But they don’t believe public concerns about politicization of the military are affecting the force. Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, that “I don’t see and hear a conversation or an impact of woke-ism in the rank and file, at all.” The Army’s head of recruiting believes the concerns are having on Americans’ willingness to serve.
But there have been a number of developments over the past several decades that have contributed to the perception of the military’s politicization. Veterans’ endorsement of presidential candidates has been an escalating arms race since retired Marine Commandant Paul X. Kelly endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980. Presidential campaigns now routinely roll out lists of hundreds of retired flag officers and include uniformed military in campaign ads. The Bush administration left it to the military to persuade Congress to support the Iraq surge. In 2016, retired Gen. John Allen spoke at the Democratic National Convention to endorse the Democratic candidate while, in a more egregious move, retired Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn led chants of “lock her up” at the Republican National Convention.
Furthermore, Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both nominated record numbers of high-ranking veterans into senior civilian appointments. Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden nominated a recently retired veteran to be secretary of defense. More recently, Biden as he gave a highly political speech about the threat to democracy in the country. All of these actions are shaping public perceptions of the military as a partisan political force.
Some active-duty military leaders have also increasingly engaged in political acts. In particular, the serving chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff marched with the president in battle dress through a public square that had been forcibly cleared during the 2020 social justice protests. Gen. Mark Milley admirably , but is likely to be what most in the public remember long after. Milley has leaned into other political controversies too: offering his view of during Congressional hearings and virtually every journalist’s account of the Trump administration in order to cast himself as the savior of the republic.
Milley’s supporters may argue he was defending the civilian secretary, or that as a soldier and hockey player he couldn’t be expected to sit on the sidelines. But the civilian secretary of defense does not require protecting by his military subordinates. Political fights are properly the province of civilian appointees. And you don’t just get the upside of playing politics. If you’re going to act like a hockey player, you’re going to get hit in the mouth with a puck from time to time. Milley clumsily engaging on political topics has made it fair game for Congress to press him and other military leaders — including every flag officer that is put forward for three-star promotion — on political issues.
Congress should resist that temptation, however. Republicans in the House of Representatives are frothing at the mouth for the chance to drag Milley up to testify, an extended repeat of the disgraceful spectacle last year of representatives accusing him of Repeating that political theater would be a terrible thing to do both to America’s security and civil-military relations. The overwhelming majority of the military — including and especially its leadership — are to be left out of the febrile partisan politics of the moment. For the good of the country, politicians should heed that plea.
The main driver of declining confidence in America’s military leaders is the relentless hectoring of them on political issues by politicians. It is politicians who serve up the circumstances, whether it’s the Trump White House orchestrating Lafayette Square, the Biden White House setting marines to flank the president during a political speech, or congressmen and congresswomen scoring political points by dragging uniforms into the political arena.
Instead of continuing to prosecute those polarizing issues or turning Milley on a spit over a fire, Congress could instead take steps that actually support the men and women in uniform. If Congress is alarmed about the state of our military, they should pass the National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations bills on time. They should rigorously question whether the Biden defense budget is adequate to carry out the president’s national security strategy. They could also reform acquisition processes to draw tech talent into the defense enterprise and confirm or deny appointees in a timely manner so elected leaders have staff in place. There is serious work to be done to defend America. Politicizing the military will make it weaker — not stronger.
BALTIC EXCHANGE WEEKLY MARKET REPORT
The Capesize timecharter average (5TC) lost more than 50% of its value since the middle of last week. The spot rates in both basins continued their descent throughout the week after the lunar New Year holidays. The 5TC closed the week at US$4,433, which reached its lowest level in five months and lower by over US$1,200 compared with the same period last year. Both the Brazil to Qingdao run and the west Australia to Qingdao run diminished in contrast to the end of January 2022, settling at US$16.883 and US$6.30 respectively on Friday. Despite oversupplied tonnage across the board, some observations suggested owners had started to resist with anticipation that perhaps the market was finding a floor.
Despite something of a midweek push from first-half February grain demand ex NCSA, it returned an uninspiring week. Quelled by various holidays in Asia, market values eroded further with minimal support seen throughout. However, the week ends on a slightly optimistic note. Transatlantic activity was slow all week and despite some talk that a floor may have been found, committed and ballaster tonnage continued to underpin rates. The standout rate on fronthaul trips was an 82,000-dwt delivery Continent via NC South America redelivery Singapore-Japan at US$18,250. Asia made for a tediously slow first half of the week, but activity appears to have picked up slightly in the past couple of days and there is talk here of a floor being found. It was a flat week in the FFA market, but it did appear to have lent some support to period appetite. Deals reported included an 81,000-dwt achieving US$14,500 levels for one year.
A rather stagnant week with the Atlantic generally lacking fresh enquiry. Due to the Lunar New Year holidays in Asia, rates struggled to gain much uplift. Pressure remained from key areas in the Atlantic as prompt tonnage remained relatively abundant. In contrast, positive sentiment returned to Southeast Asia with better levels of enquiry. However, this was tempered by a lack of fresh enquiry further north. This lead to tonnage open there to secure employment further south. In the Atlantic, a 56,000-dwt fixed delivery Aratu for a trip to Algeria at US$10,000. Elsewhere, a 63,000-dwt fixed delivery US Gulf trip to the Far East at US$16,500. From Asia, a 61,000-dwt open Singapore fixed a trip via Indonesia redelivery China at US$9,100. A little more activity surfaced from the Indian Ocean and a 61,000-dwt fixed delivery Port Elizabeth to the Far East at US$14,000 plus US$150,000 ballast bonus. With the return to work for many it will be interesting to see the direction of travel in the upcoming week.
With many celebrating Lunar New Year, activity was limited in Asia. However, some regions of the Atlantic were showing signs of resistance to further reductions. A 34,000-dwt was rumoured to have been fixed for a trip from Necochea to Atlantic Columbia at US$10,250. Meanwhile, a 34,000-dwt fixed from Klaipeda to Morocco with an intended cargo of grains at US$7,250. A 40,000-dwt was rumoured to have been placed on subjects for a trip from Santos to West Coast South America in the mid teens, but further details had yet to emerge. In Asia, a 35,000-dwt was rumoured to have been placed on subjects for a trip Chiba via South Australia to East Coast India at US$6,000 whilst a 38,000-dwt fixed from Singapore via Australia to Singapore – Japan Range in the low US$6,000s. A 38,000-dwt fixed from CJK to South East Asia with an intended cargo of steels in the low US$5,000s
All vessel sizes have been continually pushed down this week in the Middle East Gulf despite activity levels looking better. TC1 has come down 16.25 points to WS110.63 with a vessel widely reported on subs at WS110 at the time of writing. Likewise, a trip west on TC20 has haemorrhaged US$320,000 down to US$3,190,000. The LR1s have not felt the pressure as much at their larger counterparts. TC5, despite losing 6.43 points this week, has stayed above the WS130 mark. A voyage west on TC8 has remained in the US$2,800,000 range. The MRs in the region, which were doing well to be resolute, finally succumbed this week and TC17 had a 54.29 point chunk taken out of it to take the index down to WS195.
West of Suez, LR2s have remained soft this week. TC15 lost US$200,000 and is currently pegged at US$2,783,333 taking the TCE for this run into negative. TC16 has clung on in the mid WS130s all week.
MRs on the UK-Continent have been continually tested down this week and vessel supply has heavily outweighed demand – including vessels ballasting away from the USA. TC2 dropped 49.16 points to WS150.56 and TC19 similarly shed 57.86 points to WS160.71.
Mediterranean Handymax vessels have continued to tick up this week, up and over the WS200 mark to WS201.56 at present. In North west Europe, after bottoming out at WS150, TC23 has returned back to just under the WS160 mark.
In the Americas, the lid has been kept firmly on top of freight rates. TC14 has dipped down to WS77.08 (-2.92) and unfortunately a round-trip TCE for this run is in negative figures at the moment. TC18 has held stable, only losing an incremental 2.5 points to WS135. A widely reported charter to the Caribbean at US$450,000 has pushed the TC21 index down towards this level and its currently pegged at US$453,333.
The VLCC market remained relatively static on the face of it this week. This was due mainly to the Lunar New Year holiday neutralising any enquiry and fixture volume, except for the US Gulf to China route. 270,000mt Middle East Gulf to China market saw a very slight increase of one point to WS47.73, which shows an actual drop of about US$400 per day with a TCE of US$17,900 basis the Baltic Exchange’s vessel description. The rate for 280,000mt Middle East Gulf to US Gulf (via the cape/cape routing) is assessed at an unmoved WS35.
In the Atlantic markets the rate for 260,000mt West Africa/China continued to be valued at between WS50-51 (a round-trip TCE of about US$22,300 per day, which is US$2000 per day less than a week ago). The rate for 270,000mt US Gulf/China fell by over US$258,000 to just above US$7.861 million (US$24,100 per day round trip TCE).
The Suezmax market was mostly steady this week. The rate for 135,000mt CPC/Augusta eased two points to just above the WS200 mark (a round-trip TCE of about US$112,500 per day). In West Africa, for the 130,000mt Nigeria/Rotterdam voyage, rates remained flat at the WS124-125 level (a daily round trip TCE of US$51,400, which is US$1000 per day less than a week ago). In the Middle East the rate for 140,000mt Basra/Lavera dropped three points to WS67.
In the North Sea market, rates for the 80,000mt Hound Point/Wilhelmshaven route dropped about three points to the WS160-161 region (a round-trip daily TCE of US$55,800). In the Mediterranean, the rate for 80,000mt Ceyhan/Lavera tumbled about 36 points to a little above WS222 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$80,000).
Across the Atlantic, a tonnage availability build-up has caused rates to fall in the Stateside Aframax market. The rate for 70,000mt East Coast Mexico/US Gulf shed about 50 points to WS150 (about US$32,400 per day round-trip TCE). Meanwhile, the 70,000mt Covenas/US Gulf has fallen about 44 points to a fraction below WS140 (a daily round-trip TCE of US$26,000). For the Transatlantic route of 70,000mt US Gulf/Rotterdam, rates were reduced by 23.5 points to WS152 (showing a round trip TCE of US$32,400 per day).
There has been little to note with the Spot LNG market. Some enquiry is reported, but there is more focus on period. This trickles down into the subletting, with ships showing availability for multi-month periods, but with little interest for single voyages. As a result, rates continue to fall. However, they are beginning to settle with all three routes starting to produce a baseline of what owners would likely accept for a theoretical spot voyage. BLNG1g shed US$5,183 to close at US$74,334. In the Atlantic both BLNG2g and BLNG3g fell between US$2,300-US$3,300 to close at US$55,708 and US$71,404 respectively.
The mainstay for LNG vessel owners remains period with interest for multi month/ multi-year deals the main course for the market. Current estimations for a 174k 2-Stroke vsl with 0.085% boil off and delivery one month ahead: US$177,000 for 12 months, and US$165,250 for three years.
What a difference a week can make. It had look that amid planned maintenance in the AG, reduced volumes would hamper any rate growth. But with an increase of US$16.572 on BLPG1 over the week this wasn’t to be. Levels are still to recover all the losses made over the last few weeks. However, sentiment is improving and with BLPG1 now at US$75.143 – and the West market moving upwards as well as tighter tonnage – the possibility of Eastern positioned vessels ballasting across becomes more likely. This will steady the footing of the rising rates.
The West market has seen a big shift over the week with over US$15 gained for BLPG3, where we now publish at US$126. At the start of the week with fixtures concluded even US$20 lower than last publication there hadn’t been much expectation of a rise. After one vessel was fixed away for 15-16 March loading Houston-Chiba at US$122 on Wednesday, a flurry of fixtures that followed tightened the list. Finding available tonnage for early March fixing is now difficult. This is now driving sentiment and owners’ expectations. And, with BLPG2 published at US$70.6 (a rise of US$10.6 from the start of the week), all three routes for LPG have seen good gains.
Chutes & Ladders—Express Scripts gets new president; GE Healthcare names CTO
Tenet Health and its subsidiaries Conifer Health Solutions and United Surgical Partners International (USPI) announced key leadership changes.
Deepali Narula has been promoted to chief operating officer of Conifer. Deepali was previously senior vice president of HRCM operations, where she converted operations and established new capabilities that allowed several of Conifer’s recent commercial successes. Bryan Forry has been promoted to chief financial officer of Conifer. Maggie Gill, Matthew Stone and Nicholas Tejeda have all been tapped as group presidents of the company’s hospital segment.
Tenet Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Cancelmi and President and CEO of Conifer Health Solutions Roger Davis shared their plans to retire at the end of 2023 and the end of the first quarter in 2023, respectively. National searches for their replacements are ongoing.
President and CEO of USPI Brett Brodnax also voiced his plans to retire at the end of the year. Andy Johnston has returned to USPI as its chief administrative officer with his promotion to Brodnax’s position being anticipated.
Tenet Health also announced that it expects to exceed the midpoint of its adjusted EBITDA outlook range.
Trusted Health, a labor marketplace for healthcare professionals, welcomed Kate Kline as president.
Kline most recently held the position of president at ZocDoc, where she grew the company’s healthcare provider network by 50% during her tenure. Previously, she spent 14 years at a consulting firm focused on healthcare, Advisory Board Company, where she held the position of executive vice president of consulting and management.
Kline’s primary goal in the position will be to progress the company’s go-to-market strategy for its Trusted Works platform, according to a company press release. She will work to bring clinical workforce management to health systems in order to match clinicians to the ideal role. One of such health systems where the platform has already been implemented is Missouri-based Mercy, comprised of 45 hospitals in four states employing over 40,000 employees. The system reported saving $5 million within the first months of systemwide implementation of Mercy Works On Demand.
Kline’s hiring follows that of Trusted’s first chief financial officer, Beatrice Pang, in 2022.
Taha Kass-Hout, M.D., has been named as GE Healthcare’s first chief technology officer.
The recently spun out company announced the hire within days of opening business. Kass-Hout will work across the entire company to expand its clinical research and innovation efforts while building out its digital platforms and digital and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Kass-Hout spent the last six years at Amazon where he served as vice president of machine learning and chief medical officer for Amazon and its web services cloud computing offshoot. While in the position, he helped develop the Amazon Lab COVID-19 testing initiative, Amazon HealthLake data storage service and Amazon Omics analytics service for sequencing data, among other projects.
He also boasts two appointments at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration. From 2009 to 2013, he served as director of health informatics solutions and operations at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Evernorth, the health services business of Cigna, promoted Adam Kautzner to president of Express Scripts.
Kautzner filled the role of senior vice president of supply chain where he led pharmaceutical and retail network contracting, retail network contracting and drug sourcing for Express Scripts Pharmacy and Accredo Pharmacy. Also at the pharmacy benefits manager, he has worked as chief pharma trade relations officer and vice president of supply chain product and strategy.
Kautzner follows Amy Bricker, who has been with the PBM for almost a decade. Bricker helped direct the company’s supply chain in previous positions at Express Scripts
and was named regional vice president of account management at Walgreens. She was also named a Fierce Healthcare Woman of Influence.
Express Scripts announced in early December that it would be adding biosimilars to its largest formularies as preferred products to treat inflammatory conditions.
> Oak Street Health announced the appointment of Deb Edberg, M.D., as the primary care provider’s first chief wellness officer.
> The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute tapped Julie Panepinto, M.D., a pediatric hematologist, for the role of director of the division of blood diseases and resources.
> Greenphire welcomed Owen Newman as the chief financial officer of the clinical trial financial process automation company.
> Capital Caring Health, a Falls Church, Virginia-based provider, is pleased to announce Melissa “Missy” Ring as its newest chief of compliance and quality.
> Morehouse School of Medicine has named Walter Douglas as executive vice president of operations and business affairs.
> Compile unveiled Norman Pai as head of sales, Ruth Berkowitz as chief marketing officer and Jayant (Jay) Sood as head of finance of the life sciences company.
> FTI Consulting announced the appointment of Juan Montanez as a senior managing director and Cindy Ward as a managing director within the firm’s health solutions practice.
> Norwest, a venture capital growth equity firm, hired Irem Rami as the principal of the healthcare investment team.
> University of Vermont Health Network promoted Lori Boisjoli to the roles of senior vice president and chief information officer.
> Found, a weight care platform, added Dianna Budgeon as executive vice president and head of clinical operations.
> Trinitas Regional Medical Center announced that Gary S. Horan will be retiring from his position as president and CEO.
> Accra, a nonprofit organization providing individualized home care services to people with disabilities and older adults throughout Minnesota, promoted Timothy Jones to chief technology officer.
> Transcarent, a healthcare platform for employers, has unveiled Janine Gianfredi as chief marketing officer.
> Dartmouth Health named Jennifer Gilkie as chief marketing officer.
> Hospital for Special Surgery welcomed Tara McCoy as chief executive officer of HSS Florida.
> CalvertHealth promoted Melissa Hall to the position of chief nursing officer.
Applying for FEMA assistance after flooding, 2 skiers hurt in Tahoe avalanche Google lays off 12K workers
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Affected by flooding in San Joaquin County? Here’s how to apply for FEMA assistance | The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, added San Joaquin County to its major disaster declaration for the State of California, now allowing individuals and households in the county to apply for financial help and direct services. This comes after floodwaters devastated parts of the county, such as Acampo and Woodbridge, by damaging homes and flooding streets this week. Read more here.
Carjacker kills 2 women in south Sacramento collision near Florin Road, officials say | Two women are dead after a man in a stolen SUV ran a red light and crashed into them, Sacramento officials said. That man, who was later found to be under the influence, was arrested while he was trying to steal another vehicle. Read more here.
2 skiers hurt in backcountry avalanche near Tahoe resort | Two backcountry skiers were sent to nearby hospitals Thursday in an avalanche outside the boundaries of a Lake Tahoe ski resort. Both skiers were transported to area hospitals for treatment of unknown injuries suffered near Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California. There was no immediate word on their condition. Read more here.
GoldenSky organizers excited to expand Sacramento country music festival | The lineup for the GoldenSky Country Music Festival, one of Sacramento’s newest — and already buzzing — music festivals, is out and organizers are already energized for the October event. The event debuted last October, bringing roughly 50,000 people to Discovery Park for two days of music, organizers said. Read more here.
‘The country is here for you’: President Biden vows to help California rebuild after storms | President Joe Biden said after touring California storm damage by air and on foot Thursday that the federal government is committed to helping the state recover from mudslides, flooding and other impacts. Read more here.
Google cutting 12,000 jobs as tech industry layoffs widen | Google is laying off 12,000 workers, becoming the latest tech company to trim staff after rapid expansions during the COVID-19 pandemic have worn off. CEO Sundar Pichai shared the news Friday in an email to staff at the Silicon Valley giant that was also posted on the company’s news blog. “Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth,” Pichai wrote. “To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.” Read more here.
T-Mobile says data on 37 million customers stolen | U.S. wireless network T-Mobile says hackers have stolen data on 37 million customers. It says the breach occurred in late November and was discovered Jan. 5. The company said Thursday in a regulatory filing that the unidentified intruder obtained data, including addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth. T-Mobile said the exposed data did not include bank account or credit card information, Social Security numbers or other IDs or passwords. Read more here.
President Biden on classified docs discovery: ‘There’s no there there’ | A frustrated President Joe Biden said Thursday there is “no there there” when he was persistently questioned about the discovery of classified documents and official records at his home and former office. “We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said to reporters who questioned him during a tour of the damage from storms in California. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.”
Read more here.
Supreme Court says it hasn’t found abortion opinion leaker, but investigation continues | Eight months, 126 formal interviews and a 23-page report later, the Supreme Court said it has failed to discover who leaked a draft of the court’s opinion overturning abortion rights. The report released by the court Thursday is the apparent culmination of an investigation ordered by Chief Justice John Roberts a day after the May leak of the draft to Politico. At the time, Roberts called the leak an “egregious breach of trust.” The leak touched off protests at justices’ homes and raised concerns about their security. And it came more than a month before the final opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was released and the court formally announced it was overturning Roe v. Wade. Read more here.
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