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Fresh evidence is emerging of the GOP’s strategy of mayhem heading into next year’s midterm elections under the defining influence of Trump

Fresh evidence is emerging of the GOP’s strategy of mayhem heading into next year’s midterm elections under the defining influence of Donald Trump.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, whose demagoguery is tolerated by GOP leaders, is at the center of a new storm over her allusions to Nazism. A leaked video shows Texas’ Rep. Chip Roy prescribing Washington chaos as the GOP seeks to destroy Joe Biden’s presidency and win back the chamber. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is meanwhile working out how to derail the Democratic-led committee that will look into the January 6 insurrection — putting the party’s idol, Trump, above American democracy. And the California Republican is amplifying claims by Fox host Tucker Carlson that he’s being spied on by government eavesdroppers.
All this came on a day when the former President launched a dubious lawsuit claiming infringement of his First Amendment rights by social media companies that banned him for inciting violence and spewing democracy-tarnishing misinformation.
The latest churn in the GOP circus is confirming the party, in the House at least, as almost exclusively a force of grievance and spectacle in Trump’s image, rather than a serious legislating force or even conventional opposition. The impression was already fostered by House Republicans’ efforts to shield the ex-President and rewrite history over the mob assault on Congress by his supporters.
This deepening reality is likely to ensure a brutal period in Washington ahead of next year’s midterms and confirm the truism that in the country’s current estrangement, there is almost no window for serious governing between elections. The partisanship at all costs could be especially perilous in a coming fight later this year over raising the government’s borrowing limit that could put the national credit rating at risk.

A challenge and an opening for Biden

The tumult in the House — which is only exacerbating the boiling rage stirred among Trump voters by his election fraud lies — poses both challenges and openings for Biden’s administration. It also could influence the climate in which moderate Republican senators are trying to work with the White House to pass a bipartisan infrastructure deal.
Against the raging inferno in the conservative half of the country, Biden is conducting a remarkably conventional presidency, trying to restore traditional expectations of the office crushed by Trump.
He forged an infrastructure deal. He’s made several recent visits to swing districts in swing states to push his agenda and the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. And he’s targeting the political center ground in the suburbs that got him elected — even to the frustration of his liberal allies.
So far it’s working for the President. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll put his approval rating at 50%, a decent return given the nation’s polarization. And 60% of Americans approved of his pandemic management.
Worsening signs of extremism by House Republicans could play into the President’s self-styling as a moderate voice for national unity and common ground — underscored again by his appeals for Americans to buckle down together to eradicate Covid-19 during the Independence Day weekend. They could also scare off moderate voters who, along with African Americans, were critical to him winning last November.
But the GOPs radicalism might also embolden progressives who think him naive to try to work with Republicans. And with the GOP favored to win the House next year, given history’s frequent curse of first-term presidents in midterm elections, Biden will face fresh pressure to convince moderate Democrats to abolish the Senate filibuster in order to enable an expansive liberal agenda.

Chaos and obstruction may reign

The Republican Party’s policy of obstruction in the House came into closer focus on Wednesday in a video that depicts Roy relishing the controversy over a multitrillion-dollar spending bill that Democrats want to pass alongside the infrastructure measure in order to coax progressives to vote for the compromise.
“I actually say, thank the Lord. Eighteen more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done. That’s what we want,” Roy is heard saying on the video distributed by a Democratic activist.
The comments dismayed traditionalists — and likely those Americans who believe members of Congress are sent to Washington to do the people’s business. Yet they are hardly surprising, since they mirror other rhetoric by senior Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — about their desire to thwart Biden’s presidency.
Sure, the disclosure is coming at a time of national crisis with 600,000 Americans dead in a pandemic that has yet to be defeated and that might be mitigated with unity. But it can’t come as a surprise to anyone who watched the civic splintering in Washington and the GOP’s full-on embrace of Trump’s politics of grievance and destruction.
Roy’s response to the controversy was instructive. He doubled down in a combative statement, saying he would “fight with every ounce of my being to stop the radical left — and weak Republicans” to help achieve a GOP victory in the midterms. His welcoming of the fight reflected that it may help Roy, who while a staunch conservative has not always pleased Trump and could face a primary challenge from an opponent loyal to the former President.
In itself, the Texas congressman is not doing anything out of bounds. It’s perfectly legitimate for an elected member of Congress to try to block the successes of an opposition majority and president. Fighting liberal legislation on taxes, social policy and in other areas is likely exactly what Roy’s constituents had in mind when they sent him to Washington.
Still, the sole aspiration of thwarting governance does offer a damning commentary of the country’s fractured politics.

McCarthy’s midterm strategy

McCarthy, since walking back his initial criticism of Trump over the Capitol insurrection, has anchored his midterm election strategy on the former President. Viewed in isolation, it’s a probably a smart bet. Blanket opposition by House Republicans puts extreme pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to maintain her very thin majority for significant legislation in a party that is itself split between more moderate Democrats and activist progressives on the left. Still, it’s possible that some Republicans could peel off, even in the House, and back the infrastructure stand-alone package.
Republicans already have an advantage in November 2022 because of redistricting that is likely to give them a handful of safe seats. And the key to winning will be stoking fury among Trump’s base to ensure a strong GOP turnout.
So McCarthy’s tactics might be politically shrewd, though they will dismay old-school conservatives wedded to the party’s previous values. After all, the GOP once claimed to have made the world safe for democracy by winning a Cold War against communism.
McCarthy’s tolerance for Greene, however, is beyond transactional and is a sinister tale of the GOP’s modern character.
The Trump-supporting first-term lawmaker and conspiracy theorist caused new outrage with a tweet that compared the Biden administration’s teams offering vaccinations to Nazi-era “brown shirts” militia who helped pave Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. The fresh outburst of offensive, anti-Semitic rhetoric from Greene underscored the impunity with which the GOP regards political extremism after allowing itself to become a channel for White nationalist sentiment during Trump’s presidency. And it came only weeks after a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington prompted Greene to apologize for comparing mask wearing to the Nazi pogrom against Jews.
CNN reported on Wednesday that McCarthy is working out how to staff Republican spots on the House Select Committee on the insurrection. While he is contemplating placing Trump allies on the panel — who would be able to politicize and disrupt its hearings — some allies believe he should also choose a more pragmatic voice, perhaps including a lawmaker who voted to certify the 2020 presidential election, CNN’s Melanie Zanona reported.
But there is no doubting the House minority leader’s wish to play to a radical crowd. On Wednesday afternoon he issued a statement offering the credibility of his office to Carlson’s claims that he was being spied upon the National Security Agency on the orders of the Biden administration, for which the bombastic TV host has not produced any evidence.
“Our liberties are preserved by the Constitution, the document creating the freest country in the world,” McCarthy said in a statement lent irony by his unwillingness to censure Trump’s continuing assault on US founding values.
It was yet another moment when it was hard to identify the dividing line between the Republican Party and conservative propaganda media.

Author: Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
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Ireland next! EU warned Irexit emerging as 'credible' future prospect – Brussels on alert

The EU has told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the bloc is ready to act “firmly and resolutely” to ensure the UK respects its commitments in the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK is unilaterally planning to extend a “grace period” to allow Northern Irish shops to continue selling chilled meats, including sausages and mince, from Britain once it expires at the end of June. However, last week, the European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said they would “not be shy” in taking action to ensure that the UK abides by its international commitments.

The UK angered Brussels in recent months by unilaterally extending grace periods in the protocol on supermarket goods and parcels.

Mr Sefcovic added: “Unfortunately, we see numerous and fundamental gaps in the UK’s implementation – even though the protocol entered into force over 17 months ago.

“Mutually agreed compliance paths, with concrete deadlines and milestones for the UK to fulfil its existing obligations, would therefore be an important stepping stone – and, I believe, a credible outcome of this joint committee,” Sefcovic added.

“If this does not happen, and if the UK takes further unilateral action over the coming weeks, the EU will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations.”

In a recent report, though, Ray Bassett, the former Irish ambassador to Canada, warned Brussels that its behaviour could be making the case for an Irish Brexit stronger.

He explained: “Many in the Republic understand this and it is clear that the situation calls for direct talks between Dublin and London to sort out this local issue, with flexibility on all sides. Co-operation on an overhaul of the protocol could be the catalyst for a reset of Irish/British relations. That, however, is something that the EU will never countenance.

“Perhaps this would matter less if the EU was taking Dublin’s other interests more seriously, yet Brussels has time and again proved a poor partner.”

Mr Bassett noted Ireland, just like the UK, has extensive and rich fishing grounds and under the Common Fisheries Policy, the local fishing fleet is only allocated 15.5 percent of the stocks in Irish waters.

JUST IN: UK used EU membership as ‘excuse’ not to invest in British industry

This was partially compensated for by quotas inside UK waters but after Brexit, the Commission imposed very large cuts on the Irish allocation in the British maritime area, the largest cuts of any EU nation.

He added: “The interests of France, Spain and the Netherlands clearly trumped those of the Irish.”

Mr Bassett concluded in his piece for Briefings for Britain: “Ireland’s two main trading partners are the UK and the USA, with total non-EU trade accounting for well over 60 percent, by far the highest percentage of any EU country.

“The US and the UK are the largest overseas investors in Ireland and between them they receive the bulk of Ireland’s growing external investment. Ireland is part of the Anglosphere of English-speaking countries.

“There are other developments inside the EU which are not to the Irish public’s taste. The growing demand, especially by Germany, for a common foreign policy based on majority voting in the European Council, a push for greater militarisation of the EU, and Ireland’s growing net contribution to the EU budget will all place a strain on the traditional Irish pro-EU sentiment.

“These changes could yet cause an eventual rupture with Brussels. Irexit may be emerging as a credible prospect in the future.”

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Johnson’s trade adviser Shanker Singham echoed Mr Bassett’s claims as he insisted the level of trust between Ireland and Brussels was never going to be the same after the EU’s blunder earlier this year.

At the end of January, the EU said it would be triggering an emergency provision in the Brexit deal to control COVID-19 vaccine exports, including the possible introduction of checks at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland to prevent shipments entering the UK.

The move was immediately met with fierce condemnation from London, Belfast, and Dublin and the EU performed a swift U-turn.

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Mr Singham explained: “It was a spectacular blunder. It is quite hard to imagine doing anything worse than this.

“And the speed, in which they said they can under certain circumstances put a border on the island without consulting anyone…

“Well, it has without a doubt affected their relationship with Ireland significantly.”

The trade expert added: “The Irish government must be highly suspicious of anything the EU is doing or saying now.

“Because if I were them, I wouldn’t think the EU has necessarily my best interests at heart.

“Obviously, the EU has 27 member states with their own interests… so the notion that they would privilege the Irish has never made much sense.

“But it has now made the Irish understand they are not a priority in respect to the EU.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

Biden budget request calls for major investments in cybersecurity, emerging technologies

President Biden[1] called for over $ 1.3 billion in cybersecurity funds as part of his proposed budget request sent to Congress on Friday, along with major investments in emerging technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence. 

The budget proposal was submitted in the wake of two of the largest cyber espionage attacks in U.S. history, including what has become known as the SolarWinds hack, which likely involved Russian hackers and compromised at least nine federal agencies and 100 private-sector groups. 

In an effort to combat these rising threats, Biden requested a budget increase of $ 110 million for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with $ 20 million to establish a “cyber response and recovery fund” at the Department of Homeland Security.

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CISA is one of the key federal groups leading the response to both the SolarWinds hack and recently uncovered vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server, which allowed at least one state-sponsored Chinese hacking group to access thousands of businesses.

CISA was previously given $ 650 million in the recently approved COVID-19 relief bill, an amount that CISA leadership described as a “down payment” to meet its needs[2]

“This funding would allow CISA to enhance its cybersecurity tools, hire highly qualified experts, and obtain support services to protect and defend Federal information technology systems,” Biden’s budget proposal, submitted to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget, reads. 

Additionally, the budget proposal recommends $ 500 million for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) at the General Services Administration in order to strengthen federal cybersecurity and replace aging systems, and allocates $ 750 million for reserve funds to strengthen agency information security.

The funds would be in addition to $ 1 billion recently allocated to the TMF program by the COVID-19 relief package. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the significant cyber incident impacting agencies through products such as SolarWinds, continue to highlight the urgent need to modernize Federal technology, with particular emphasis on mission essential systems and citizen-facing digital services,” the proposal reads. 

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Biden also proposed extensive investments in emerging technologies, including through proposing the establishment of a directorate for technology, innovation and partnerships at the National Science Foundation. The organization would prioritize research and developments in fields including quantum computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and cybersecurity. 

Biden last week called for the establishment of the technology-focused directorate by including $ 50 billion to fund the organization in his proposed infrastructure package.[3]

The Commerce Department’s research and development around emerging technologies was also prioritized in the budget proposal. 

The budget proposes increasing the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Science and Technology’s (NIST) annual appropriations by $ 128 million to further drive research and innovation around emerging technologies. 

Additionally, it would give the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) $ 39 million to help spur development and deployment of broadband and 5G wireless technologies.

The funding proposal comes amid growing bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for investment in cybersecurity and emerging technologies, particularly in the face of threats from Russian and China.

The Biden administration has teased several measures it intends to take in responding to recent cyber espionage incidents, including an upcoming executive order meant to strengthen federal cybersecurity. A more specific response to Russia for its alleged involvement in the SolarWinds attack will also be announced in “weeks, not months” to come, according to White House officials.

References

  1. ^ Biden (thehill.com)
  2. ^ “down payment” to meet its needs (thehill.com)
  3. ^ including $ 50 billion (thehill.com)

[email protected] (Maggie Miller)

Emerging COVID-19 success story: Germany’s push to maintain progress

  • Institutional affiliations:
    (i) Robert Koch Institute
    (ii) Health Protection Authority, City of Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main
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  • Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: Chronik der bisherigen Maßnahmen [Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: chronology of measures taken]. German Federal Ministry of Health. https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/en/coronavirus/chronologie-coronavirus.html.[75] Accessed June 5, 2020.
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  • Lu G, Razum O, Jahn A, et al. COVID-19 in Germany and China: mitigation versus elimination strategy. Global Health Action. 2021;14(1):1875601. https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2021.1875601[79]
  • All visualizations, data, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license[80]. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.

    The data produced by third parties and made available by Our World in Data is subject to the license terms from the original third-party authors. We will always indicate the original source of the data in our documentation, so you should always check the license of any such third-party data before use and redistribution.

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    Guest Authors

    Biden infrastructure proposal prioritizes funds for emerging technologies

    President Biden[1]’s newly unveiled infrastructure proposal includes billions of dollars in proposed funding to invest in “technologies of the future,” with a particular focus on ensuring the U.S. can compete on the global stage against countries such as China. 

    The proposed investment package, which totals[2] around $ 2.25 trillion, proposes that over $ 180 billion be set aside for enhancing research and development of new and emerging technologies, along with addressing racial and gender inequalities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. 

    “President Biden is calling on Congress to make smart investments in research and development, manufacturing and regional economic development, and in workforce development to give our workers and companies the tools and training they need to compete on the global stage,” the plan released by the White House reads. 

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    The plan includes asking Congress to appropriate $ 50 billion to allow the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a technology directorate, which would research issues including semiconductors, biotechnology and advanced computing. 

    “We are one of the few major economies whose public investments in research and development have declined as a percent of GDP in the past 25 years,” the proposal reads. “Countries like China are investing aggressively in R&D, and China now ranks number two in the world in R&D expenditures.

    “In order to win the 21st century economy, President Biden believes America must get back to investing in the researchers, laboratories, and universities across our nation,” it adds.

    In addition, Biden asked Congress to provide $ 30 billion to spur research and development in rural areas and job growth, along with $ 40 billion for upgrading research facilities and infrastructure nationwide. Half of the $ 40 billion will be reserved for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other minority institutions, along with funding for a national climate lab at an HBCU. 

    Biden proposed an additional $ 55 billion for ensuring the U.S. can lead on climate science research and development, and $ 25 billion to prioritize research and development efforts at HBCUs, such as through the creation of 200 centers of excellence for research efforts at HBCUs and other minority institutions.  

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    The plan comes amid intense bipartisan focus on Capitol Hill around funding research and development around emerging technologies in order to compete with China. 

    Biden’s proposed $ 50 million for the National Science Foundation is half of what Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIntercept bureau chief on Democrats’ efforts on minimum wage: ‘Might as well go for it’ Schumer kicks into reelection mode The disgrace that was the Biden press conference MORE[4][5][6][7][8][3] (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Defense: Congress looks to rein in Biden’s war powers | Diversity chief at Special Operations Command reassigned during probe into social media posts Congress looks to rein in Biden’s war powers House panel advances bill to repeal 2002 war authorization MORE[10][11][12][13][14][9] (R-Ind.) proposed last year in the bipartisan Endless Frontiers Act. [15]

    The legislation is at the core of Schumer’s renewed effort to compete with China, with the Senate leader announcing last month that he had directed all relevant Senate committee chairs to begin work on a legislative proposal around enhancing U.S. technology efforts. [16]

    While several leading Republicans criticized the overall package on Wednesday, Schumer said in a statement that he “looks forward to working with President Biden to pass a big, bold plan that will drive America forward for decades to come.”

    [email protected] (Maggie Miller)