Joe Biden says US recession ‘is not inevitable’ despite rampant inflation – live | US politics


Joe Biden is warning Americans that the fight against inflation is “going to be a haul”, and that relief for soaring prices of goods, services and especially gasoline is unlikely to be immediate.

But the president, speaking in Tokyo earlier today as he launched a new trade deal with 12 Indo-Pacific nations, told reporters that he doesn’t believe a recession is “inevitable”.

Biden is acutely aware that the inflation crisis is uppermost in voters’ minds ahead of November’s midterm elections. There was little comfort for him in a bleak new CBS poll released Monday that finds 69% of the country thinks the economy is bad, and 77% saying they’re “pessimistic” about the cost of goods and services in the coming months.

“This is going to be a haul. This is going to take some time,” Biden told reporters in Tokyo. In response to a reporter’s question specifically about a recession, Biden said he did not think it was “inevitable”.

With his own approval ratings at the lowest point of his presidency, Biden is under pressure to try to reverse the situation and avoid Democrats losing control of one, or both chambers of Congress ion November’s midterms.

That he is focused on the crisis back home while on tour in Asia would appear to back up his assertion last week that inflation was his “top domestic priority”.

Critics have been quick to point out that, last summer, Biden and acolytes including treasury secretary Janet Yellen were insistent that high inflation would likely only be temporary.

But it has continued to spiral, with the annual inflation rate still close to a 40-year high according to figures earlier this month.

My colleague Lauren Gambino has this look at how the president is attempting to tackle inflation as the clock runs down on the midterms. The message for voters seems to be that if you think things are bad now, Republicans at the wheel would be much worse:

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

The fate of millions of women and American families hangs in the balance next month as we await the final ruling from the US Supreme Court in a pivotal case out of Mississippi, Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health that includes a request for the historic abortion decision Roe v Wade to be struck down in its entirety.

And millions of words have already been written about this, especially since the unprecedented leak in early May, via Politico, of the draft opinion written by hyper-conservative associate justice Samuel Alito and joined by four other right-leaning justices to give a super-majority in favor of overturning the national right to an abortion in the US.

Here is the latest, very striking cover of New York Magazine.

The Supreme Court will likely overturn Roe v. Wade, and the legal right to abortion will disappear in half the U.S. Abortion itself will not — and never has.

In our new issue, we’ve compiled a practical guide to accessing an abortion, today and tomorrow https://t.co/RCi5xrH6T6 pic.twitter.com/8OmdsKUdjc

— New York Magazine (@NYMag) May 23, 2022

In warrior journalism mode, the magazine has an extraordinary article and interactive, noting:

“The legal right to abortion is likely to disappear in half the country in a matter of weeks. Abortion itself, and the need for it, will not, and never has. The question is what it will cost medically, financially — and criminally……

“…..What we’re offering here is not medical advice but a pathway to understanding your options and liabilities with a comprehensive guide to getting an abortion in the U.S. now. It will be regularly updated online to bring you the information you need.”

You can read the magazine article, buy its The Cut section, here.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

On the subject of coronavirus and especially for all our blog readers who are missing Donald Trump not being on Twitter, here is the former president’s latest splurge on his little platform, Truth Social.

Meanwhile on Truth Social this morning, Trump is slamming Dr. Birx and her scarf collection. Birx just came out with a book about the WH Covid response and talks about issues with Trump during the pandemic, like his comment about injecting bleach. pic.twitter.com/PIOOq4MRY9

— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) May 23, 2022

This recalls a tragic episode all around. Many look back at the moment they wish then-White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx had leapt out of her seat in 2020 and, physically if necessary, gagged or hustled Trump off the media briefing stage to stop him suggesting to Americans that perhaps things like sunlight and bleach taken “inside” the body could get rid of Covid-19. Or at least emphatically contradicted him at the podium.

Last month Birx told ABC that the whole debacle was “a tragedy on many levels” as she was talking about the book she has out about her role during the pandemic, when she resorted to driving all around the country talking to state and local officials about how to curb the raging virus spread.

Here’s the response to Trump’s latest words, from conservative commentator Alyssa Farah Griffin.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

US Senator Jeff Merkley has announced he has contracted the coronavirus. The Oregon Democrat attributed the mildness of his current symptoms to the fact that he is fully vaccinated and boosted.

He urged everyone in the US to get similarly protected and warned, on Twitter: “Covid is still among us.”

The US pushed through the world’s most successful program to develop vaccines against Covid in record time, approving the first safe and effective dose for emergency use in December, 2020, less than a year into the pandemic.

Unfortunately, the country also has lost a million people to the virus, more than any other nation on record.

The New York Times noted, using Australia as an example, that: “If the United States had the same Covid death rate as Australia, about 900,000 lives would have been saved.” The article noted a number of characteristic that influenced this number, including socio-political factors such as people’s collective trust in institutions and each other.

Facebook founder Zuckerberg sued over data ‘harvesting’

Dominic Rushe

Dominic Rushe

Washington DC’s attorney general has sued Mark Zuckerberg, seeking to hold the Facebook co-founder personally responsible for his alleged role in allowing the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal data of millions of Americans during the 2016 election cycle.

The suit, filed in the capital by the District of Columbia attorney general, Karl Racine, alleges that Zuckerberg directly participated in policies that allowed Cambridge Analytica to unknowingly gather the personal data of US voters in an attempt to help Donald Trump’s election campaign.

“This unprecedented security breach exposed tens of millions of Americans’ personal information, and Mr Zuckerberg’s policies enabled a multi-year effort to mislead users about the extent of Facebook’s wrongful conduct,” Racine said in a news release.

NEW: We’re suing Mark Zuckerberg for his role in Facebook’s misleading privacy practices and failure to protect millions of users’ data.

Our investigation shows extensive evidence that Zuckerberg was personally involved in failures that led to the Cambridge Analytica incident.

— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) May 23, 2022

Washington DC’s attorney general has sued Mark Zuckerberg, seeking to hold the Facebook co-founder personally responsible for his alleged role in allowing the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal data of millions of Americans during the 2016 election cycle.

The suit, filed in the capital by the District of Columbia attorney general, Karl Racine, alleges that Zuckerberg directly participated in policies that allowed Cambridge Analytica to unknowingly gather the personal data of US voters in an attempt to help Donald Trump’s election campaign.

“This unprecedented security breach exposed tens of millions of Americans’ personal information, and Mr Zuckerberg’s policies enabled a multi-year effort to mislead users about the extent of Facebook’s wrongful conduct,” Racine said in a news release.

“This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including chief executives, will be held accountable for their actions.”

Meta declined to comment.

Racine has previously sued Facebook’s parent company, Meta, under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The act makes individuals responsible for violations if they knew about them at the time.

The suit against Zuckerberg is based on hundreds of thousands of documents, including depositions from employees and whistleblowers, that have been collected as part of its ongoing litigation against Meta.

“Since filing our landmark lawsuit against Facebook, my office has fought tooth and nail against the company’s characteristic efforts to resist producing documents and otherwise thwart our suit. We continue to persist and have followed the evidence right to Mr Zuckerberg,” said Racine.

Read the full story:

A firearms “buyback” hosted by California’s Sacramento police department to get weapons off the streets proved so popular that it ran out of money within 45 minutes, The Hill reports.

Cops said they recovered 134 firearms during the weekend gas-for-guns buyback that offered a $50 gas gift card per weapon turned in. The event was scheduled to run five hours, but supplies of the gift cards didn’t last even one, and it closed down after four.

Among the guns received were at least one assault weapon, numerous components for “ghost guns” and multiple illegally configured firearms, police said in a Facebook statement on Sunday.

Police chief Kathy Lester said: “I truly believe violent crime prevention is a shared responsibility and today’s overwhelming community participation is evidence of the success we can achieve together”.

Due to overwhelming response, we have exhausted our supply of gift cards for today’s gun exchange. We will still be accepting firearms but unfortunately we will not be providing gift cards from this point on. This event will be ending one hour early and will run until 4 p.m. pic.twitter.com/o9u7EohLXX

— Sacramento Police (@SacPolice) May 21, 2022

Read more about the scourge of California’s “ghost gun” plague here:

Starbucks is joining the exodus of western companies from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Reuters is reporting.

The company will exit the Russian market after nearly 15 years as the Seattle-based coffee chain closes its 130 stores operated by its licensee Alshaya Group. It has almost 2,000 employees in the country.

Starbucks’ decision to wind down its operation in Russia is different to the approach some other foreign companies have taken, Reuters says.

McDonald’s last week said it was selling its restaurants in Russia to local licensee Alexander Govor to be rebranded under a new name, but will retain its trademarks, while French carmaker Renault is selling its majority stake in Russia’s biggest vehicle manufacturer with an option to buy back the stake.

Other western companies, including Imperial Brands and Shell, are cutting ties with the Russia market by agreeing to sell their assets in the country or handing them over to local managers.

Alexandra Villarreal

The Guardian’s Alexandra Villarreal reports from Texas on the battle between a mainstream Democrat and progressive challenger that could shape the party’s approach to midterm elections in the state:

Two nearly identical text boxes appear on the respective campaign websites for Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros, the Democrats locked in a heated primary runoff to represent south Texas in Congress.

Cuellar’s text box warns voters that Cisneros “would defund the police and border patrol”, which “would make us less safe and wreck our local economy”. Cisneros, in turn, blasts Cuellar for opposing “women’s right to choose” amid a nationwide crackdown on reproductive care.

Jessica Cisneros.
Jessica Cisneros. Photograph: Reuters

The parallel advisories read like shorthand for the battle that’s brewing among Democrats in Texas, where centrist incumbents like Cuellar are facing a mushrooming cohort of young and progressive voters frustrated by the status quo.

“I want people to take away from what we’re doing … people-power – people – can go toe-to-toe with any kind of corporate special interest,” Cisneros told the Guardian. “And that we still have power over what we want our future and our narrative to be here in Texas, despite all odds.”

Texas-28 is a heavily gerrymandered, predominantly Latino congressional district that rides the US-Mexico border, including the city of Laredo, before sprawling across south-central Texas to reach into San Antonio. During the primary election in March, voters there were so split that barely a thousand votes divided Cuellar from Cisneros, while neither candidate received the majority they needed to win.

Now, the runoff on 24 May has come to represent not only a race for the coveted congressional seat, but also a referendum on the future of Democratic politics in Texas and nationally.

Read the full story:

Pfizer: Covid-19 vaccine ‘safe and effective’ for under-5s

Approval of a Covid-19 vaccine for children younger than five appears closer after Pfizer-BioNTech said Monday that a clinical trial showed three low doses generated a strong immune response, and was safe and well-tolerated.

The companies said they plan to soon ask global regulators to authorize the shot for the age group, children for whom no vaccine is currently approved in most of the world, Reuters reports. Submission of data to the US food and drug administration (FDA) should come later this week.

The trial involved giving 1,678 children ages six months to under five years smaller doses of the vaccine than given to older children and adults.

“The study suggests that a low 3mg dose of our vaccine, carefully selected based on tolerability data, provides young children with a high level of protection against the recent Covid-19 strains,” BioNTech’s chief executive, Ugur Sahin, said in a statement.

Vaccine take up in the US for the five to 11 age group is still at a worryingly low level, officials say, fueling fears of a summer surge of coronavirus cases among children.

The FDA and federal centers for disease control and prevention signed off on booster shots for those children earlier this month.

It could be seen as proof that Donald Trump’s popularity among Republicans is on the wane, or you could take it as a worthless straw poll of a few hundred already skewed voters. But either way, the former president finished second to Florida governor Ron DeSantis in a survey of Wisconsin Republicans as to who they want as their party’s 2024 presidential nominee.

Ron DeSantis.
Ron DeSantis. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The result, a 122-104 win for DeSantis over Trump in a poll of 325 Republican activists at the Wisconsin state party’s weekend convention, reported by wispolitics.com, is hardly scientific proof of anything.

But it does confirm the perception of DeSantis, who has signed into law a raft of “culture war” legislation in his state in recent weeks, as a rising star in Republican circles.

The one-time Trump protégé, who faces a reelection fight as Florida’s governor in November, has long been considered a likely 2024 presidential contender.

His recent policy “wins”, such as the “don’t say gay” bill outlawing classroom discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation, and the “racist” gerrymandering of Florida’s congressional maps has won him support from deep within Trump’s Maga base.

In the Wisconsin poll of 2024 favorites, the only other politician to reach double figures was Nikki Haley, with a distant 24 votes.

STRAW POLL NEWS: Wisconsin GOP activists are split on Donald Trump running for president in ’24.

Even with him in the mix, @RonDeSantisFL was backed by a plurality of party activists who voted in the @wispolitics straw polls.

See the full results:https://t.co/z80adZyizc

— JR Ross (@jrrosswrites) May 21, 2022

Hugo Lowell

The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is expected to stage six public hearings in June on how Donald Trump and some allies broke the law as they sought to overturn the 2020 election results, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.

The hearings are set to be a pivotal political moment for the country as the panel aims to publicly outline the potentially unlawful schemes that tried to keep the former president in office despite his defeat at the hands of Joe Biden.

According to a draft schedule reviewed by the Guardian, the select committee intends to hold six hearings, with the first and last in prime time, where its lawyers will run through how Trump’s schemes took shape before the election and culminated with the Capitol attack.

Bennie Thompson.
Bennie Thompson. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

“We want to paint a picture as clear as possible as to what occurred,” the chairman of the select committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, recently told reporters. “The public needs to know what to think. We just have to show clearly what happened on January 6.”

The select committee has already alleged that Trump violated multiple federal laws to overturn the 2020 election, including obstructing Congress and defrauding the United States. But the hearings are where the panel intends to show how they reached those conclusions.

According to the draft schedule, the June public hearings will explore Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, starting and ending with prime-time hearings at 8pm on the 9th and the 23rd. In between, the panel will hold 10am hearings on the 13th, 15th, 16th and 21st.

The select committee appears to be planning for the hearings to be extensive affairs. The prime-time hearings are currently scheduled to last between 1.5 and 2 hours and the morning hearings between 2 and 2.5 hours.

A select committee member will lead each of the hearings, the sources said, but top investigative lawyers who are intimately familiar with the material will primarily conduct the questioning of witnesses to keep testimony tightly on track.

Read the full story:

Joe Biden is warning Americans that the fight against inflation is “going to be a haul”, and that relief for soaring prices of goods, services and especially gasoline is unlikely to be immediate.

But the president, speaking in Tokyo earlier today as he launched a new trade deal with 12 Indo-Pacific nations, told reporters that he doesn’t believe a recession is “inevitable”.

Biden is acutely aware that the inflation crisis is uppermost in voters’ minds ahead of November’s midterm elections. There was little comfort for him in a bleak new CBS poll released Monday that finds 69% of the country thinks the economy is bad, and 77% saying they’re “pessimistic” about the cost of goods and services in the coming months.

“This is going to be a haul. This is going to take some time,” Biden told reporters in Tokyo. In response to a reporter’s question specifically about a recession, Biden said he did not think it was “inevitable”.

With his own approval ratings at the lowest point of his presidency, Biden is under pressure to try to reverse the situation and avoid Democrats losing control of one, or both chambers of Congress ion November’s midterms.

That he is focused on the crisis back home while on tour in Asia would appear to back up his assertion last week that inflation was his “top domestic priority”.

Critics have been quick to point out that, last summer, Biden and acolytes including treasury secretary Janet Yellen were insistent that high inflation would likely only be temporary.

But it has continued to spiral, with the annual inflation rate still close to a 40-year high according to figures earlier this month.

My colleague Lauren Gambino has this look at how the president is attempting to tackle inflation as the clock runs down on the midterms. The message for voters seems to be that if you think things are bad now, Republicans at the wheel would be much worse:

Good morning! Welcome to a new week, and Monday’s US politics blog.

Joe Biden is in Japan, but has his attention focused on a crisis back home, claiming that a recession in the US “is not inevitable”.

That’s despite raging inflation, runaway gas prices and a particularly despondent new CBS poll that finds 69% of the country thinks the economy is bad, and 77% saying they’re “pessimistic” about the cost of goods and services in the coming months.

If there’s one thing Biden doesn’t have, of course, it’s time, with November’s midterm elections looming fast and the president’s personal approval ratings below 40%. We’ll take a look at his plans to try to reverse a desperate situation a little later in today’s blog.

Here’s what else is happening:

  • The 6 January House panel investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his election defeat to Joe Biden will hold six public hearings next month to lay out the former president’s illegal scheming to remain in power.
  • The US Senate convenes later today, and Democrats in the chamber are moving towards a vote on Thursday on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act approved by the House last week in the aftermath of the massacre of 10 Black people by an alleged white supremacist in Buffalo, New York.
  • Today should have seen the end of the Trump-era Title 42 immigration policy halting refugees at the southern border because of Covid-19, but a federal judge blocked the Biden administration on Friday. The justice department is appealing the move.
  • Title 42 is also standing in the way of a Covid-19 relief package making any headway in Congress. Republicans won’t budge on approving a deal to fund vaccines, tests and treatments without a vote to keep the immigration policy in place, despite a sharp recent rise in cases.
  • We’re expecting one or more more minor rulings from the US supreme court today, ahead of what will be the blockbuster decision of the session in the coming weeks: whether the panel overturns the 1973 Roe v Wade protecting abortion rights.
  • It’s the final day of campaigning in Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas ahead of tomorrow’s primaries. Former vice-president Mike Pence will rally in Kennesaw tonight for Republican Georgia governor Brian Kemp, whom Pence’s former boss Donald Trump wants to take down for rejecting his election lies.





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