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Trump’s Navy Secretary nominee jumps ship — a week after saying he wouldn’t

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Pres. Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Navy, investment manager Philip Bilden, announced Sunday that he is withdrawing from the nomination — a week after insisting that he was taking the job.

Politico reported that Bilden is the second Trump appointee to drop out after finding himself “unable to untangle his financial investments in the vetting process.”

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“Mr. Philip Bilden has informed me that he has come to the difficult decision to withdraw from consideration to be secretary of the Navy,” said a statement from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “This was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests.”

Pres. Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Army, billionaire investment banker Vincent Viola, withdrew from his nomination process when the Office of Government Ethics found an insurmountable number of potential conflicts between the Army’s best interests and Viola’s personal enrichment.

Bilden — a former military intelligence officer — recently retired from Hong Kong-based global private equity investment firm HarbourVest.

“I informed secretary of Defense Mattis with regret that I respectfully withdraw from consideration as Nominee for the 76th secretary of the Navy,” said Bilden in a statement. “I fully support the President’s agenda and the Secretary’s leadership to modernize and rebuild our Navy and Marine Corps, and I will continue to support their efforts outside of the Department of the Navy.”

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“However,” he said, “after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests.”

Rumors swirled last weekend that Bilden was about to jump ship, but both the Pentagon and White House issued strenuous denials.

Trump’s first choice for national security adviser, Gen. Mike Flynn was forced to step down after revelations about his efforts to conceal improper conversations with Russian officials came to light.

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The president’s next choice for Flynn’s job, Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, flatly turned the administration down, calling the proposition of working for Trump’s chaotic, neophyte White House “a sh*t sandwich.”

Last weekend, Gen. Barry McCaffrey said that among the men and women qualified to accept jobs in the Trump administration, there is deep reluctance to sign on and risk tarnishing one’s career. That, combined with Trump’s many grudges against Washington officials, has slowed the administration’s hiring and appointment process to a crawl.


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US ‘lies’ slammed after Mike Pompeo blames Iran for drone attacks without proof

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Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi forcefully rejected Sunday unsubstantiated charges by by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) regarding the recent drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations.

“It has been around 5 years that the Saudi-led coalition has kept the flames of war alive in the region by repeatedly launching aggression against Yemen and committing different types of war crimes, and the Yemenis have also shown that they are standing up to war and aggression,” Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said in a statement.

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Why are college students so stressed out? It’s not because they’re ‘snowflakes’

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Across the country, college classes are well underway, the excitement of the start of the year is waning and student stress is on the rise. Frantic calls home and panicked visits to student health services will start to dramatically increase. And before long, parents and observers will start wondering what is wrong with these kids. Why can’t they handle the pressures of college and just pull it together?

College student stress is nothing new. Anxieties over homesickness, social pressures, challenging course loads and more have been a common feature of the U.S. college experience for decades. But, without question, student stress levels and psychological distress are measurably worse than before. According to a national study published earlier this year in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, major depression among young adults (18-25) rose 63 percent between 2009 and 2017. They also report that the rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017.

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Kaiser healthcare workers plan for nation’s largest strike since 1997

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More than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente emergency medical technicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other staffers are threatening to walk out of work next month, in what could be the nation's largest strike since 1997.

The authorization to strike, approved by 98% of the union members who voted, does not mean a walk out will happen, but it does allow union leaders to call one as early as Oct. 1, giving them leverage ahead of negotiations with the California-based health care giant. Kaiser Permanente, comprised of 39 hospitals and nearly 700 medical officers, serves more than 12 million members in seven states across the country.

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