A year ago, President Donald Trump staged an Independence Day double-header: July 3, at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and July 4, at the White House in Washington.
This time last year…
The country was in crisis, the suffering immense. 130,000 Americans had died of Covid. America was in recession, with real unemployment over 15%. George Floyd had been murdered a few weeks earlier. The national mood was bleak; the outlook from the President was ugly.
With the sculptures of four of America’s greatest presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln – looking down on him, Trump was moved to deliver these words:
The next night, at the White House, Trump left no room for misunderstanding: “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and the people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
Trump, along with his wife, his son and most of this senior staff, would go on to contract Covid, engage in the most disgraceful presidential debate ever with Joe Biden, and lose the election in November – a defeat he has never accepted or acknowledged.
Over 450,000 more Americans would die in the pandemic. A Trump-incited mob would attack the Capitol to try to stop the certification of the presidential election.
That was then.
What has changed one year on?
Today, President Biden is celebrating July 4 with the theme “America’s Back Together.”
The pandemic is not yet defeated but is well past peak. Close to 70% of Americans have received at least one vaccine jab. Unemployment has fallen below 6%; 3 million jobs have been created since Biden took office; and economic growth is projected at over 7% — faster than at any time since Ronald Reagan was president.
The country is not united – far from it
Politics are terribly polarized. Democrats control the House of Representatives with a 4-vote margin (out of 435) and the Senate by one vote (50-50 plus the Vice President. Bipartisanship has failed on voting rights, gun control, immigration reform.
There is a deal with 10 Senate Republicans on infrastructure to rebuild the country – but we do not know if that agreement will hold.
And yet, there is a quiet mood in the country that things are better, and some hope is warranted. 50 million Americans on the road this holiday weekend. Day-to-day life is back to more normal rhythms. Schools are open.
The troops are coming home from Afghanistan. Biden is well received by allies around the world. He likes to say, “America is back.”
The President today preaches unity, not hate. When tragedy strikes, as it has in Florida, he is the Empathizer-In-Chief. Healing at home. Leadership abroad.
A profoundly different Fourth of July.
Travel bubble bursts between Australia and NZ
New Zealand has suspended its travel bubble with Australia
The nation has halted its travel bubble arrangements for at least eight weeks as Australia continues to battle against the delta variant of COVID-19.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern fronted the media and stated that “the Delta variant has materially changed the risk profile”.
From 11:59pm tonight, Australians will be unable to travel to New Zealand on a quarantine-free flight
This restriction will be in place for at least the next eight weeks.
The trans-tasman route is already closed to travellers flying into New Zealand from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia as those states battle COVID-19 outbreaks.
Constant disruption to trans-Tasman travel bubble
Flights to New Zealand inside the bubble have been paused and restarted as different Australian states have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks.
“For the next seven days, we will have managed return flights for New Zealanders from all states and territories.
“National emergency” – Sydney in crisis as COVID cases rise
Sydney has declared a national emergency as COVID-19 cases rise across the Australian city
Sydney and the state of New South Wales is calling on the Australian Federal Government to “refocus the national vaccination strategy”.
As the delta variant of the virus spreads throughout the city, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her government have declared a national emergency.
New South Wales Government officials say that the spreading of the virus is “threatening the safety of other states.”
They’ve encouraged people in virus-ravaged south-western and western Sydney to urgently “do their duty” and get vaccinated against coronavirus.
The Premier has stressed the importance of getting vaccinated as NSW records its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases today.
Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant says Australia urgently needs to “correct the mythology about AstraZeneca”.
“There is no doubt that if we want to contain this virus and stop it seeping out to other parts of Greater Sydney, stop it impacting our freedom and our economy, but also stop it spreading to other states, we need to have a discussion about refocusing the national vaccination strategy,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
The issue will be addressed at today’s National Cabinet, she said.
At least 53 of today’s NSW cases were infectious in the community
Is a $52 billion boost enough to end a global chip shortage?
As the race to combat the global chip shortage continues the Biden administration is big to end the crisis
US President Joe Biden is preparing to spend $52 billion to boost the worsening shortage of semiconductor chips.
The White House is still waiting for congressional approval on the big spend but is pushing ahead with plans of how to invest the money wisely.
The Commerce Secretary says America “needs to incentivise the manufacturing of chips” if the country wants the crisis to end.
She added that officials have been speaking with the impacted industries on a daily basis which has helped address the shortage from the ground up.
Whilst there have been reports that the sector is gradually improving, but the car manufacturing sector may still be impacted by delays.
Biden recently called for Semiconductor chips to be produced locally in the US, but this company is ignoring his plea.
Construction will begin on the $4 billion Asian plant in 2023. This goes against the Biden administration’s wishes to return chip manufacturing to American soil.
The company will join rivals including ‘Samsung’ and ‘Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’ which are all also trying to address the current chip shortage.
The President has been under increasing pressure to secure a constant supply of this crucial tech that is used in so many modern devices.
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