Current Events

Monday 6/7/21 last class until Fall
Stuart Bell

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  1. Currently, the Biden justice department has an open appeal of Judge Jackson’s order to release the memo. The memo under appeal would help clarify the reasoning the Trump administration used when Barr declared Trump was innocent of wrongdoing in the Russia investigation. We understand why the Republicans do not want the memo released, but: Why is the Biden administration continuing to hide secret information about the Russia investigation and the Muller findings?
  2. Senator Manchin from West Virginia caucuses with the Democrats giving them slim control of the Senate with a 50/50 tie among the senators and VP Harris breaking the tie for the Democrats. This gives Chuck Schumer the speakership and the Democrats chairmanship of all major committees. This, in turn, gives the Democrats control of all legislation. Senator Manchin opposes the repeal of the filibuster, Voting Rights legislation, most of the Infrastructure Bill, and significant portions of Biden’s ajenda. Should the Democrats “primary” Senator Manchin?  Will this give the West Virginia senate seat to the Republicans? Are the Democrats better off getting little done or having the Republicans in control of the Senate?
  3. Ambassador to Israel. Biden finally nominated Thomas Nides to be the ambassador to Israel. He is a seasoned diplomat and was a former Under Secretary of State under Barack Obama. Have you heard of him? Will he be good for Israel? Is this just a political payback appointment?
  4. What will change in Israel when the new Government takes over for Netahyhew?
  5. Continuing battles over January 6 Commission vs Select Committee. Democrats favor the commission to uncover the “truth” so procedures can be revised to help prevent a recurrence. Why do the Republicans oppose the non-partisan commission in favor of a Democrat-only select committee?
  6. Michael Flynn was asked by an audience member whether a military coup like the one in Myanmar could happen in the United States.  “No reason, I mean, it should happen here,” Can we look forward to another event like January 6? Can it evolve into a coup and result in Trump being regaining the Presidency in August?
  7. Ford had significantly reduced production of their F-150 trucks, idling many workers and closing or scaling back 3 plants. The cause is the severe shortage of chips that run the trucks. These chips are manufactured in Singapore or Taiwan with only a very few made in this country.  Why?
  8. Essentially all COVID masking restrictions have been lifted. People without vaccines are on their honor to wear masks in certain settings. Are you still wearing a mask anyplace? Will you go back to the theater? Take a cruise?Should servers wear masks in restaurants?
  9. More than two dozen Republican governors have chosen to opt out of those enhanced unemployment benefits in an attempt to essentially force people back to work. 559,000 jobs — were added in May, more than  twice the number of jobs added in April. There is no evidence that the states 20 or so Republican states that refused the $300 per week Federal boost had any more jobs added than the more liberal states. Does the Federal unemployment boos of $300/week “force” people to go back to work?  Or, is it something else – childcare? Fear? Changing requirements? slow recovery from Covid?
  10. Florida Governor sued the CDC and HHS to throw out the rules that required cruise lines to have approved health plans before sailing. Cruise lines are “grounded” or moved to other states to avoid DeSantis’ no vaccine passport rule. U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday has directed Florida, the CDC and various industry groups resolve the issue with a mediator by June 1 with the goal of resuming cruising by July. Would you go on a  cruise if everyone had to prove they were vaccinated? Would you leave the cruise for shore excursions? What must happen before you cruise again?
  11. The Florida House has proposed nearly $250 million for Medicaid expansion to cover new mothers and their babies.  The Florida Senate has proposed under $100 million for the same expansion. The House plan will cover at least the first year of a baby’s life while the Senate plan will cover under 6 months. Should healthcare be provided free for babies in the first year of their life?
  12. Arizona is “auditing” the results of the 2020 election in one large, mostly black, county. Republicans in other states, including Pennsylvania, are planning similar audits. There is no “chain-of-custody” control on the ballots and the process is secret. Will most people believe the results? What differences do you expect the audit to make? Will the Republicans give up? Will Trump regain the White House in August as the Republican fringe has announced?
  13. Trump’s new web site/blog was shut down by Trump after only 29 days of operation. Trump complained of low readership. Was the shutdown due to declining enthusiasm among the Trump supporters?
  14. Facebook and Twitter have banned Trump until at least the next election. Is this to help ensure public safety or denying freedom of political speech?
  15. CNN has been losing market share to Fox, the current leader in the cable news race. Why are people choosing Fox over other cable news networks?
  16. Noravax is working of a combined booster for seasonal flu and COVID. Other companies are in various stages of developing a modification to the vaccine to better fight the variants. This is big business. If the COVID vaccine turns into an annual booster, billions are to be made. It is likely Covid and Flu boosters will be required each fall?  Should the Government absorb the costs of an annual COVID booster? How about a combined COVID/Flu booster?
  17. Voting: Over the past several years, every state has phased in Federally required “real ID” cards, typically attached to driver’s licenses and are offered to non-drivers in each state. There ID cards are required by the TSA to fly. Given the funding involved in voter rights (and suppression), why can’t we just help every legal citizen obtain a “real ID” card and accept it as sufficient proof to vote?
  18. Colonial Pipeline, the company that carries Diesel fuel and gasoline from Texas to New York (and every intermediate stop) was shut down due to a cyber attack. How serious were these attacks? Are Russia citizens doing them all? What should be done?
  1. When will our life return to normal?