This Week’s Under-reported News Summary – Dec. 23, 2020

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • The West Sahara is Trump’s parting gift to Morocco
  • Biden's pick for agriculture secretary is what's wrong with Democratic Party
  • JPMorgan Chase wrongfully charges 170,000 customers overdraft fees

• With a single tweet, President Donald Trump upended 30 years of diplomacy when he recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Trump agreed to reverse decades of U.S. policy, in exchange for Moroccan King Mohammed IV agreeing to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. For years, Morocco maintained friendly, but unofficial relations with Israel.

(“Trump’s Parting Gift to Morocco,” Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2020; “US Recognition of Morocco’s Claim Over Disputed Region Threatens More Tension,” Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2020)

• As President-elect Joe Biden names members of his Cabinet, he announced that Tom Vilsack, a dairy industry lobbyist and former Agriculture Secretary will run the new administration’s Department of Agriculture.  In the process, Biden passed over African-American Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, the choice of progressives, who instead was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

(“Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary Is Everything That’s Wrong With the Democratic Party,” Intercept, Dec. 11 2020)

• ProPublica reports federal bank regulators gave JPMorgan Chase a slap on the wrist for overcharging 170,000 bank customers due to a software glitch. Instead of imposing any fines on the nation’s most powerful bank, regulators in the Office of Comptroller of the Currency simply filed a letter of reprimand in JPMorgan’s confidential file.

(“JPMorgan Chase Bank Wrongly Charged 170,000 Customers Overdraft Fees. Federal Regulators Refused to Penalize It.” ProPublica, Dec. 14, 2020)

This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.

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