New York Times: “In many urban and suburban communities, Covid continues to plummet. The rate of new daily cases has fallen below three per 100,000 residents in large cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington. As a point of comparison, the national rate of new daily cases peaked last winter above 75 per 100,000 people.”
“But in less populated areas — which tend to be more politically conservative and skeptical of vaccines — the virus is now surging, largely from the contagious Delta variant. The states with the worst outbreaks are Arkansas and Missouri (each with more than 16 new daily cases per 100,000 people) followed by Florida (10), Nevada (10), Wyoming (nine) and Utah (eight).”
The Delta variant is now the dominant version of COVID-19 in the United States, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Axios reports.
President Biden will outline several strategies to convince more Americans to become vaccinated against the coronavirus, including “door-to-door outreach” in targeted communities and stepped-up efforts to get vaccines to primary care doctors and pediatricians who can encourage adolescents to get vaccinated as they head back to school or get ready for fall sports, the Washington Post reports.
Punchbowl News: “With the Covid pandemic slowly receding, President Joe Biden has been traveling to Democratic swing and Republican-held districts. That trend will continue today when Biden visits Crystal Lake, Ill., represented by Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood, a constant target of the NRCC and the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House GOP super PAC. In fact, Crystal Lake is, as the Chicago Sun Times puts it, ‘one of the redder parts of one of the bluest states in the nation.’”
“This is a marked change from former President Donald Trump, who mostly reveled in visiting deep red districts. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet wrote this morning that Illinois Democrats — including those aligned with Underwood — were surprised at Biden’s visit at this point in the political cycle.”
“We’ll be very interested to see how involved the president is in the midterm elections. Biden has traditionally been a sought-after surrogate in tough districts — especially during his time in the White House and early in the Trump administration. But he’s the president now and carries the load of the entirety of the Democratic agenda. The midterms are basically a referendum on him. Barack Obama wasn’t a regular presence in swing districts after 2010.”
New York Times: “Three months after its passage, cash is starting to flow — $194 billion so far, according to the Treasury Department — and officials are devoting funds to a range of efforts, including keeping public service workers on the payroll, helping the fishing industry, improving broadband access and aiding the homeless.”
“The local decisions are taking on greater national urgency as the Biden administration negotiates with Republicans in Congress over a bipartisan infrastructure package. Some Republican lawmakers want money from previous relief packages to be repurposed to pay for infrastructure, arguing that many states are in far better financial shape than expected and the money should be put to better use.”
“The administration, sensitive to those concerns, has begun bending the program’s rules to allow the money to be spent even more broadly.”
Former President Donald Trump, who has complained about censorship by social media giants, plans to announce class action lawsuits today against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Axios reports.
Said Trump: “We’re going to hold big tech very accountable.” One reason the lawsuits are doomed to fail is that both were filed in Florida. Facebook’s terms of service require that “any claim, cause of action, or dispute you have against us” be filed in federal court in northern California or San Mateo County state court.
Similarly, Twitter’s terms of service require that “all disputes related to these Terms or the Services will be brought solely in the federal or state courts located in San Francisco County.”
While you may regularly skip past these terms of service when using a website, courts generally enforce them. If Trump’s lawsuits were serious, he would have filed these cases in California. But the best evidence that these are unserious lawsuits is that Trump is already fundraising off them.
CNN: “Amid mounting concern about a fresh wave of pro-Trump violence in August, more than a dozen current and former Capitol Police officers tell CNN that not nearly enough has been done to address the security failures exposed by the January 6 attack on the US Capitol six months ago.”
“Morale remains low among Capitol Police officers, who say they’re stuck working longer hours amid dwindling ranks. More than 75 officers have left since January 6, at a rate of about three per week.”
Vice News says reporters aren’t adapting well either: “Some reporters who were there won’t go back into the building. A number have sought therapy to deal with the trauma. One longtime Capitol Hill reporter opted for early retirement shortly after living through the riot. Many still aren’t sleeping well.”
“After storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, a Northern Virginia man began forming his own militia-like group in the D.C. suburbs and building up a supply of explosives under the guise of a Bible study group,” the Washington Post reports.
“Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) has asked to be dismissed from a federal lawsuit alleging that he incited the Jan. 6 mob assault on the U.S. Capitol, claiming that he can’t be held liable because was acting as a federal employee while challenging the 2020 election results in a fiery speech just before the riots began,” the Washington Post reports.
Associated Press: “Congressional leaders are working intensely to try to resume public tours at the Capitol in some form, but any reopening probably will come with new protocols for health and safety for the millions of annual visitors, 535 lawmakers and thousands of staff and crew that work under the dome and its surrounding campus.”
Politico: “Among McCarthy members who have already lived through two Trump impeachments, some want the GOP leader to pick fighters skilled enough to withstand a months-long bombardment from Democrats trying to use the select committee to spotlight the former president’s role in the deadly Capitol attack led by his supporters.”
“But the House Republicans most eager to serve on the Jan. 6 panel are the party’s firebrands, more practiced at crafting viral clips of verbal attacks than they are at making a sustained, credible case against top Democratic oversight practitioners. That leaves McCarthy with the tricky task of tapping the right mix of select committee appointments — and the Republicans he picks must be prepared to go toe to toe with one of their own.”
Associated Press: “With virtually no votes to spare and saber rattling by both Democratic factions, leaders are finding their search for middle ground arduous — even though the president’s push for infrastructure projects and family-centered initiatives is his top domestic priority.”
“In a procession of meetings with White House officials and congressional budget writers, progressives have insisted that the emerging measures be big and aggressive, while moderates want them to be far more modest.”
Said House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY): “We’re all Joe Manchin right now.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) was caught on a hidden video dismissing any chance of bipartisanship: “Our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022 and then get in here and lead… 18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done. That’s what we want.”
Foreign Affairs: “In 2018, motivated by national security concerns, the Trump administration launched a trade and tech war with China that jolted the entire globalized semiconductor supply chain. The fiasco contributed to the current shortages, hurting American businesses and workers. Now, the Biden administration must pick up the pieces.”
“In its first five months, the Biden administration has laid the groundwork for a more resilient semiconductor supply chain. Discarding the nationalistic policies that got the United States into this mess, the Biden administration has reached agreements at summits with Japan, South Korea, and the European Union to cooperate on a new semiconductor strategy.”
“With their overarching goal now set, Washington and its partners must turn to the hard work of hammering out the details. Only then will they be able to protect their national security and stave off another economic crisis.”
“The U.S. Commerce Department released a report this week on proposed auto tariffs that the Trump administration refused to make public,” Bloomberg reports.
“The report outlines Trump’s intention to charge tariffs on vehicle and auto-parts imports because they were deemed a national-security threat.”
Said Sen.Pat Toomey (R-PA): “A quick glance confirms what we expected: The justification for these tariffs was so entirely unfounded that even the authors were too embarrassed to let it see the light of day.”
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at home by an unidentified group of armed people late Tuesday, the AP reports.
“President Biden’s $200 billion proposal to expand publicly funded prekindergarten through a program that requires buy-in and funds from states is facing questions from Republicans over how it will be implemented,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“While many Republican leaders support public prekindergarten, some have expressed skepticism about what role the federal government should play in funding it and what strings will come with the money.”
Said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “It sounds to me like they want to hijack the state and local governments entirely and operate everything out of Washington, D.C.”
On a visit to Europe to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war, Donald Trump insisted to his then chief of staff, John Kelly: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things,” the Guardian reports.
The remark is reported in a new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election, which says Trump made the remark during an impromptu history lesson in which Kelly “reminded the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and “connected the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities.”
Michael Wolff reports in his new book, Landslide, that former President Donald Trump considered issuing a pardon to Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell shortly before leaving office, Insider reports.
Trump supposedly took a “sudden interest” in Maxwell’s case and asked: “Has she said anything about me? Is she going to talk? Will she roll on anybody?”
Meanwhile, “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Tuesday used a Nazi-era comparison in opposing the Biden administration’s push to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, calling the individuals leading those efforts ‘medical brown shirts,’” the Washington Post reports.
“Members of the paramilitary organization that helped Hitler and the Nazi Party rise to power were known as ‘brownshirts.’”
“Greene’s remarks, made in a tweet, came weeks after she visited the Holocaust Museum and apologized for previously comparing coronavirus face-mask policies to the Nazi practice of labeling Jews with Star of David badges.”
Mary Trump told The New Abnormal podcast that Ivanka Trump is “much less likely to stay loyal” to her father than Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg.
Mary Trump referred to New York Times reporting indicating that Ivanka Trump had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” while she was an executive for the Trump Organization and that this information could be used to turn her against her father.
The Grio: “Biden is said to be ‘frustrated’ over what some call the collapse of the current police reform negotiations and a stall on voting rights legislation on Capitol Hill. Sources inside the Biden-Harris administration, however, say the White House is closely watching the movement and anticipating positive outcomes in present negotiations in hopes that the legislative packages will be passed.”
“Sources also note that Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, given the evenly divided Senate, holds the keys as to whether voting rights and police reform will succeed or fail in the upper chamber.”
The answer is no.
“Russian government hackers breached the computer systems of the Republican National Committee last week, around the time a Russia-linked criminal group unleashed a massive ransomware attack,” Bloomberg reports.
“It’s not known what data the hackers viewed or stole, if anything. An RNC spokesman on Tuesday denied its systems were breached.”
The computer code behind the massive ransomware attack by the Russian-speaking hacking ring REvil was written so that the malware avoids systems that primarily use Russian or related languages, NBC News reports.
New York Times: “The newest attacks appeared to cross many lines that Mr. Biden has said he would no longer tolerate. On the campaign trail last year, he put Russia ‘on notice’ that, as president, he would respond aggressively to counter any interference in American elections. Then in April, he called Mr. Putin to warn him about impending economic sanctions in response to the SolarWinds breach.”
“The issue has become so urgent that it has begun shifting the negotiations between Washington and Moscow, raising the control of digital weapons to a level of urgency previously seen largely in nuclear arms control negotiations.”
Hobby Lobby took out a full page ad in several newspapers over the holiday weekend suggesting that the United States should be led only by Christians.
A sample of nearly 1,500 female Ivy League students was asked whether they would ever date a Trump supporter and only 6% said yes, National Review reports.
U.S. employers posted a record-high number of open jobs for the second straight month as a rapidly rebounding economy generates intense demand for workers, the Associated Press reports. It’s the highest number of open jobs since records began in December 2000.
The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” on Gallup’s Live Evaluation Index reached 59.2% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement.
A new study in Iceland found that cutting worker hours without slashing their pay showed no negative impact on productivity.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has included voting restrictions, critical race theory, and rules for transgender student athletes for the agenda of the special legislative session that begins on Thursday, the Texas Tribune reports.
Abbott is clearly worried about his new far-right primary challenger.
Axios: “Fewer Americans are trying to get out of jury duty, and legal experts say this may reflect people’s growing desire to combat systemic racism.”
“Historically, as many as one in four U.S. adults who are called for jury duty seek to be excused, citing hardships. But now, that number has shrunk to around only 5%-10%.”