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Biden battles on – Trump Turmoil deepens

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As Washington prepares to take its summer break, President Biden continues to battle on the policy and program fronts he has led since Inauguration Day

On his agenda?

  • Ending the pandemic
  • Restoring the economy
  • Pursuing voting rights
  • Social equity
  • Racial justice
  • Gun control
  • Confronting climate change
  • And restoring America’s leadership in the world

In each area, there is progress – and challenges

With 70% of Americans now vaccinated, the Delta strain is hurting, with infections accelerating to significant levels – but the vaccines work. 

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated

of the 164 million Americans who are inoculated, 99.9% have not tested positive for Covid

Fewer people still are hospitalized or dead.

The renewed push to get as many as possible protected is now being augmented by mandates from governments and businesses that their employees are to get the jabs as a condition of employment.  (This may prove ultimately to be the key for the last mile of protection here in Australia.)

What about the economy?

Employment is up, the economy is growing at over 6%, and wages are increasing, with $15 per hour the new norm in many businesses.

Child poverty is being cut in half, but employment is still not back at pre-Covid levels. Millions who are behind in their rent face possible eviction in the coming weeks.

While Biden has campaigned strongly on protecting voting rights, ending police violence, gun control, greater access to education and tackling global warming, no legislation on those fronts has yet been enacted. 

On a foreign front – under Biden’s leadership, America is absolutely back with US alliances strong across Europe and Asia

U.S President Joe Biden, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talk during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/Pool Photo via AP)

However, there is turmoil in Afghanistan, prospects have dimmed for a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia are testy, tensions with China are as intense as ever, and there is no dialogue with North Korea.

In Washington, the toughest tests of Biden’s legislative program are pending right now 

He is applying all the lessons learned from his and President Obama’s first term in working his Democrats and those Republicans who are willing to win his policies on infrastructure, education, climate, and health care. 

Biden knows that his presidency is in the balance.

As Biden battles on, the man he defeated, Donald Trump, continues to spread turmoil and division.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Trump will not countenance any blame or responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – an attack intended to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. 

Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, and especially the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, upended the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to examine the threat to democracy posed by Trump.  

Trump is determined to remain a potent force in the party, and the decider of its future. 

He has raised more money this year than anyone else – over $100 million – and supplicants journey to his homes to pay tribute and seek favour.  

Trump is hardly invincible. There are chinks in his cladding.  His preferred candidate for a House seat in Texas lost to another Republican Trump declined to endorse. 

Damning notes from the Justice Department show Trump’s intense pressure on the Acting Attorney General to declare the election corrupt; he refused.

The Biden Justice Department has ruled that Trump’s tax returns have to be turned over to Congress.  Trump attacked the Republicans supporting the bipartisan infrastructure deal with Biden – but the agreement is holding.

In this Washington summer, Biden is steady at the helm, but the waters are choppy.  And Trump keeps making waves whenever he plunges into the pool.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Big tech caught in political drama

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Nine Google employees were escorted out of company offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, following a sit-in protest against a cloud contract with Israel’s government.

The protest in Sunnyvale targeted Thomas Kurian’s office, CEO of Google’s cloud division, while in New York, it occupied a common area on the tenth floor.

Videos showed Google security staff and local police involved in the removal. Four workers in New York and five in Sunnyvale were reportedly detained, but details of any charges remain unverified.

 

The protest aimed to pressure Google to drop a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract known as Project Nimbus, citing concerns about its involvement with the Israel Defense Forces.

The protesters included software engineers and activists from groups opposing tech contracts with Israel. This incident reflects ongoing activism within tech companies regarding political issues, such as Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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Antitrust concerns arise for streaming sports venture

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U.S. lawmakers Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro expressed competition concerns regarding the planned sports streaming joint venture involving Walt Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros Discovery.

They addressed these concerns in a letter to the CEOs of the media companies, questioning the impact on access, competition, and choice in the sports streaming market.

Voicing apprehension about potential consumer price hikes and unfair licensing terms for sports leagues and distributors, they requested responses by April 30, urging the companies to also send their replies to the Department of Justice.

Despite the companies’ announcement in February of launching a joint sports streaming service in the autumn to attract younger viewers, the deal faces DOJ scrutiny and an antitrust lawsuit from FuboTV. While Disney and Warner Bros remained silent on the matter, Fox declined to comment.

The joint venture encompasses a broad range of professional and collegiate sports rights, including NFL, NBA, MLB, FIFA World Cup, and college competitions, offering non-exclusive access to sports networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and TNT via a new streaming app.

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Trump trial: will the jury selection impact the trial’s outcome?

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The Trump hush money trial has progressed with the selection of the first seven jurors, marking a significant step in the legal proceedings.

  • Seven jurors were selected

  • Defense and prosecution lawyers questioned potential jurors for impartiality

  • The judge warned lawyers he would not tolerate disruptions after he said Former US President Donald Trump audibly muttered during a prospective juror’s questioning

The selection of jurors is a crucial step in ensuring a fair trial, as they will ultimately decide Formers US President Donald Trump’s fate in this legal battle, as reported by Reuters.

The process of jury selection involves careful vetting of potential jurors to ensure impartiality and fairness.

Each juror’s background, beliefs, and potential biases are scrutinised to ensure they can render an impartial verdict based solely on the evidence presented in court.

With seven jurors already chosen, the selection process is expected to continue as both the prosecution and defence seek individuals who can objectively weigh the evidence.

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