Beltway Insider: Biden, SOTU, GOP Reply, Newsom/CA UI, COVID/Vaccine Totals, India, Israel, Michael Collins

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President Joseph Biden spoke to allies, friends, and the population, this week, in his first State of the Union speech as he addressed the victories won during his first hundred days and the work still to be completed.

The President's job approval rating, according to the website fivethirtyeight.com, for the period ending May 2, 2021, increased by 0.2% to 54.0% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness decreased by 0.2% percentage points to 41.1%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated weekly.


Beltway Insider: Biden, Justice, Climate, COVID/Vaccine Totals, India, Armenia, MARS, Walter Mondale


Biden State of the Union

President Joseph Biden addressed the people of the United States in a socially distance chamber for his first State of the Union Address, calling out an historic first for the United States by addressing Madam Vice President Kamala Harris and Madam Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, sitting behind him.

Beginning with the vaccination victories, which would not have been possible with Operation Warp Speed and the efforts of the previous administration, the worst pandemic in more than a century while not completely subdued is clearly more under control and herd immunity can be attained, America is slowly reopening.

"That's why I proposed the American Jobs Plan, a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.  This is the largest jobs plan since World War Two. It creates jobs to upgrade our transportation infrastructure; jobs modernizing our roads, bridges, highways; jobs building ports and airports, rail corridors, transit lines. It creates jobs, building a modern power grid.  Our grids are vulnerable to storms, hacks, catastrophic failures with tragic results. The American Jobs Plan will put engineers and construction workers to work building more energy-efficient buildings and homes.  Electrical workers, IBEW members, installing 500,000 charging stations along our highways so we can own so we can own the electric car market. There is simply no reason why the blades for wind turbines can't be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing.  No reason.  None.  So, folks, there's no reason why American workers can't lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries. We have this capacity. We have the brightest, best-trained people in the world," President Biden said (from transcripts provided by the White House).

Rare Earth Elements and China's Stranglehold

China continues to have a knee to the neck of the United States when it comes to rare earth elements, which are integral to the manufacture of wind turbines, electric cars, and essentially every high technology device, including smart phones, digital cameras, computer hard disks, fluorescent and light-emitting-diode (LED) lights, flat screen televisions, computer monitors, and electronic displays.

Even as Mountain Pass, California holds a large and minable deposit, the environmental destruction resulting from mining rare earth elements is akin to Three Mile Island radioactive waste disaster.

"A half century of rare earths mining and processing has "severely damaged surface vegetation, caused soil erosion, pollution, and acidification, and reduced or even eliminated food crop output," the council reported, adding that Chinese rare earths plants typically produce wastewater with a "high concentration" of radioactive residues," reported Yale University.


Human Trafficking Ring Busted in Houston


GOP State of the Union Response

Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only African American republican senator delivered the official Republican rebuttal to President Biden's State of the Union address.

Beginning with the hot button issue of race Scott, whose name has been touted as a potential Republican Presidential candidate, answered the president's remarks on race and America's clear history of suppression and racial injustice.

"Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country," Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, said in the televised GOP rebuttal to Biden's speech. "It's backwards to fight discrimination with different types of discrimination. And it's wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present," reported The Washington Post.

Race and Sexual Violence

Of course, American's understand race is not the only dividing line in justice, sexual assault which is more pervasive than official numbers represent and clearly an issue that is never addressed crosses all demographic lines.

California Governor Facing Recall

California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who may end up being another casualty of the pandemic, received notification this week the campaign to remove him from office had reached the necessary 1.5million signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

"Organizers have touted the campaign as a nonpartisan movement, comprised of Californians across the political and geographical spectrum, but certain areas of the state played a more significant role in reaching the signature threshold than others. Data from the Secretary of State's office show counties in the northeastern part of the state had the highest percentage of registered voters who signed the petition, with the greatest participation, 19.1%, coming from Amador County, just east of Sacramento, reported The Sacramento Bee.

Touted as a Republican leaning effort, many California's have deep concerns over the liberal policies which have disturbed the entire state. Coupled with the mismanagement over the pandemic, as a limited bio-weapon disaster protocol should have been in place, and especially the debacle in the Unemployment Insurance division, and a myriad of other issues the Governor may, in fact, be fighting for his job come November 2021.

Possible Candidates

TV Reality Star, Olympian and transgender advocate, Caitlyn Jenner, nee Bruce Jenner, has already announced her intent to run for the state's top job. With the seventh largest budget in the world, the possibility of former President Donald Trump jumping into the fray to offer the state a fix along with the opportunity for unlimited national publicity before he announces his 2024 run for the presidency is possible.


World News: Joe Biden, The Unexpected Troublemaker


California's northern counties campaigned effectively with Amador county providing the most signatures on the recall ballot and Los Angeles County provided the highest number of valid signatures. The limelight, and celebrity pull may in fact touch a growing support for the only declared candidate. Signatories have until June 8, 2021 to remove their signatures should they chose.

California Unemployment Insurance Debacle

California's Unemployment Insurance has sunk to new lows as they suspend benefits in an attempt to force workers with low weekly benefits back to the job market to drive down the unemployment numbers in California and provide a platform to the struggling Newsom as he fights to keep his job.

A recipient of California Unemployment Benefits spoke with Haute-Lifestyle.com on the condition of anonymity explaining, "My weekly benefit is $238.00. I am on extension. My previous benefit year ended, I filed a new claim, was required to verify my identity through ID.me which I did. I received a text notice (on April 10) the EDD would file a PEUC claim, I received a Tier II determination. I certified for benefits for weeks 3/28 and 04/03. The benefits were classified as "Not Paid." For every week since I have not even received certification forms. I received a second UI benefit year with a new lower weekly benefit rate of $128 and still no certification forms so I can file to receive benefits."

The claimant went on to explain he sent two message each day to the EDD for more than 15 days and received no response. Phone calls are automatically dropped, and his mixed earner wages were not even considered during the new benefit year.

While the EDD UI system has been notoriously unprepared and shockingly mismanaged suspending benefits is a new low. Without weekly certification forms those recipients not receiving the benefits are essentially non-existent in the system which drives down the unemployment numbers.

With the state reopening, and media outlets such as NBC repeatedly highlighting segments of business owners complaining about UI benefits providing employees close to a living wage with the boosted benefits and employers refusing, in some states, to offer a living wage, California's UI has begun to use an abuse tactic, withholding, to force the most vulnerable in the system, those who receive low weekly benefit rates to work in the unskilled labor market.

The apparent suspension of benefits, with no certification forms, certainly give the appearance of manipulation to drive down the states and nation's unemployment by targeting the low weekly benefit recipients and suspending the benefits to force them to return to low level positions.

Vaccine Totals

Globally the vaccine total distribution has increased by more than 120million over the past week. That daily distribution rate fell by 1million.

Bloomberg.com has built a vaccine tracker which can be seen here. "More than 1.15 billion doses have been administered across 174 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 21.1 million doses a day."

"In the U.S., the latest vaccination rate is 2,546,144 doses per day, on average. At this pace, it will take another 3 months to cover 75% of the population," reported Bloomberg.com.

Coronavirus Totals

While the infection rates of the coronavirus have continued to decline around the world. A new strain, a mutation, has created global concern for leaders around the world are determining the best direction for the protection of the population. The importance of maintaining personal protective practices is imperative to controlling the spread.


State Department Releases COVID Report


For the week ending May 2, 2021, coronavirus cases globally increased by 6,262,700 new confirmed cases, bringing the total of confirmed cases worldwide to 152,347,200 people with a total worldwide death toll of 3,194,600 deaths, a weekly death rate increase of 100,000. (Data from The New York Times).

COVID US Totals

Infections rates in the United States are also on the rise. For the week ending May 2, 2021, the total confirmed cases rose to 32,419,500 people with new confirmed cases increasing by 349,500 with an average of 49,928 cases daily over a seven-day period. The coronavirus has claimed 576,300 total deaths, adding 4,900 more deaths to the total of lives lost due to the coronavirus. (Data from The New York Times).

India's COVID Total

The coronavirus in India with a population of more than 1.3 billion has now become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. With a national positivity rate falling just below 30% for the first time since April, the silent killer is running rampant through the densely populated areas and being carried to remote corners as city dwellers flee to escape.

The Biden Administration has responded to this crisis two-fold, firstly to protect American citizens and the spread of the coronavirus within homeland borders all flights from India will be banned beginning May 4, 2021.

Secondly, the Biden Administration has committed to sending more than $100million in much needed supplies to combat the spread of the virus. From oxygen, ventilators and personal protective equipment to all Astra-Zeneca vaccine making supplies and Rapid testing units which are all expected to begin arriving in India this week.

Israeli Religious Celebration Ends in Death

A religious ceremony in the Mount Meron, a peak in the Upper Galilee region in northwestern Israel, drew thousands of ultra-orthodox Jews and ended in disaster when the only exit, a slippery tunnel, became a death trap as some attending slipped and fell causing panic and a stampede.

"Forty-five ultra-Orthodox Jews were killed, many of them students, and another 150 injured during a holiday celebration in northern Israel that had attracted more than 100,000 people to the largest event since Israel began easing its coronavirus restrictions this spring. At least five of the deceased were American," reported The Washington Post.

The tunnel other exits were blocked by local police, and years of complaints regarding the safety of the tunnel had gone unheeded. The unanswered questions, including the violations of coronavirus limits, mask-less attendees, as well as the decades of safety violations in this tunnel which officials have deemed a death trap in the making, have yet to be addressed as the task of burying the dead and coping with the loss replaced the celebration.


Perseverance Lands Safely on Mars


Apollo Astronaut Michael Collins Dies

Apollo Astronaut Michal Collins, the third man controlling the Apollo 11 mission while his colleagues walked on the moon, died this week after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 90.

While many remember the words of Neil Armstrong when he stepped onto the moon's surface on July 24, 1969, few remember the man behind the wheel as Apollo 11, the ride home for Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin circled the dark side of the moon.

"Michael Collins lived a life of service to our country. From his time in the Air Force, to his career with NASA, to his service at the State Department, to his leadership of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; Michael Collins both wrote and helped tell the story of our nation's remarkable accomplishments in space. He may not have received equal glory, but he was an equal partner, reminding our nation about the importance of collaboration in service of great goals," The White House press secretary wrote in a released statement.

"The nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins. As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module – some called him 'the loneliest man in history' – while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot. Michael remained a tireless promoter of space. 'Exploration is not a choice, really, it's an imperative,' he said. Intensely thoughtful about his experience in orbit, he added, 'What would be worth recording is what kind of civilization we Earthlings created and whether or not we ventured out into other parts of the galaxy," NASA.gov said in a released press statement.

For more information on President Joe Biden www.whitehouse.gov.

Sources: Various © Articles covered by Copyright protection

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