RFK Jr.’s Independent Run For President Draws GOP Criticism And Silence From National Democrats

Republicans launched an attack on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Monday as the prominent environmental attorney and anti-vaccine activist officially announced his independent bid for the White House. This move has stirred concerns among conservatives that Kennedy, a former Democrat, could siphon votes away from former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election.

The Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign wasted no time in critiquing Kennedy’s liberal background. Meanwhile, national Democrats remained silent on the matter as Kennedy made it clear in a speech in Philadelphia that he was distancing himself from both political parties.
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung issued a statement cautioning voters not to be misled by those who feign conservative values. Cheung described Kennedy’s campaign as a “vanity project for a liberal Kennedy looking to cash in on his family’s name.”

This strong reaction highlights the uncertainty surrounding Kennedy’s much-anticipated decision to run as an independent. While it is likely to impact the 2024 race, which is shaping up to be a rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden, the exact implications remain unclear.

Kennedy, a member of one of the most renowned families in Democratic politics, initially pursued an improbable primary bid and surprisingly held more favorability among Republicans than Democrats. Even Trump himself had expressed his positive opinion of Kennedy just two weeks prior, stating, “I like him a lot. I’ve known him for a long time.”

Both Biden and Trump’s allies had, at times, questioned whether Kennedy would act as a spoiler against their respective candidates. Kennedy acknowledged both sides’ concerns, stating, “The truth is, they’re both right. My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”

Speaking from Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, where America’s founding documents were adopted, Kennedy emphasized his desire to distance himself from either political party. He spoke of a “rising tide of discontent” in the nation and expressed his aim to make a “new declaration of independence” from corporations, the media, and the two major political parties.

Hundreds of supporters, holding signs with slogans like “Declare your independence,” and chanting “RFK, all the way!” were enthusiastic about his decision. His supporters comprised a diverse mix of disillusioned Democrats, Trump voters seeking change, and political outsiders whose beliefs did not align with any single party. They believed that Kennedy could bring them together.

Peter Pantazis, a 40-year-old business owner from Delaware, expressed his optimism, saying, “He’s going to win. I’ve been praying that he’s going to decentralize the campaign, get away from the party system, and actually be the candidate of the people for the people. And that’s what he announced today.”

Brent Snyder, a disabled veteran from south Philadelphia, stated, “The last couple of years I’ve been noticing the Republican Party’s been going a way I didn’t like. Not that I agree with everything that’s happening to Trump, but I think right now he has more baggage than his country needs. The division right now is just terrible. We need someone to bring both sides together to make us work.”

The atmosphere among the crowd was filled with joy, hope, and occasionally, the faint scent of marijuana. Kennedy invoked historical figures like John Adams and George Washington to make a case for unity and warned against the pitfalls of partisan politics.

However, Kennedy’s independent campaign faces significant challenges in competing with the well-funded, experienced campaigns of Trump and Biden. During his announcement, there was a brief delay when he found that his speech was loaded upside-down in the teleprompter.

Kennedy’s decision to run independently comes shortly after progressive activist Cornel West abandoned his Green Party bid in favor of an independent presidential run. Additionally, the centrist group No Labels is actively working to secure ballot access for an unnamed candidate.

Recognizing the risk that Kennedy might draw votes away from Republicans, Trump’s allies have begun circulating opposition research aimed at undermining his support among conservative voters. The Republican National Committee released a fact sheet titled “Radical DEMOCRAT RFK Jr.” that highlighted instances of Kennedy’s support for liberal politicians and ideas, as well as his endorsement of conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 and past election claims.

On the other hand, Biden’s allies have largely dismissed Kennedy’s primary campaign as unserious. When asked for comment before the announcement, a Democratic National Committee spokesman responded with an eye-roll emoji. The DNC declined to comment on Monday.

Four of Kennedy’s eight surviving siblings issued a joint statement denouncing his candidacy, expressing concern about the potential harm it could cause to the country. They emphasized that while Bobby shares their family name, his values, vision, and judgment differ significantly from theirs.
Tony Lyons, co-founder and co-chairman of American Values 2024, a super PAC supporting Kennedy, dismissed these comments as part of a strategy to discredit him. He pointed out that disagreements within families are a natural part of democracy.

While Kennedy has historically identified as a Democrat and often invoked the legacies of his late father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, on the campaign trail, he has also developed relationships with far-right figures in recent years. He appeared on a channel associated with Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and headlined an event on the ReAwaken America Tour, organized by Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Polls indicate that Kennedy is more favorably viewed by Republicans than Democrats. Some far-right conservatives have supported him for his fringe views, including his vocal distrust of COVID-19 vaccines, despite scientific evidence demonstrating their safety and effectiveness in preventing severe disease and death.

Kennedy’s anti-vaccine organization, Children’s Health Defense, is currently involved in a lawsuit against several news organizations, including The Associated Press, alleging antitrust violations related to their actions in countering misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Kennedy had temporarily stepped away from the group upon announcing his presidential run, but he is listed as one of its attorneys in the lawsuit.

America’s National Debt Hits Record $33 Trillion

In September, the gross national debt of the United States reached a staggering $33 trillion, a new record following its previous milestone of $32 trillion earlier in the year. This alarming figure is accompanied by a concerning trend: the U.S. is currently spending more on paying interest on its national debt than on its national defense, as reported by the Treasury’s monthly statement.

The fiscal year up to August saw the Treasury disbursing $807.84 billion in interest payments on its debt securities, while the Department of Defense’s budget for military programs amounted to only $695.44 billion during the same period. This juxtaposition becomes even more significant when considering that the United States outspends every other nation on defense.

The recent years have been marked by significant government spending, leading to a deficit, which occurs when government expenditures exceed tax revenues in a fiscal year. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the approval of several substantial bills, including the American Rescue Plan Act, with a price tag of $1.9 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt ceiling package signed into law in the summer to prevent a national default could reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. However, the Committee for a Responsible Budget (CRFB), a nonprofit organization specializing in federal budget and fiscal matters, suggests that the actual savings could be closer to $1 trillion, depending on “side deals” outside the agreement.

CRFB President Maya MacGuineas emphasized the necessity of addressing healthcare, Social Security, and the tax code to regain control over the national debt.

The government’s borrowing spree in recent years took place during a period of historically low interest rates. However, as interest rates rise and prices continue to climb, the cost of servicing this debt is set to increase. According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, nearly $2 billion is spent daily on interest payments for the national debt.

Furthermore, the government’s substantial debt levels can crowd out other borrowing opportunities in the economy, making it more difficult for corporations to secure loans. As Phillip Braun, a clinical professor of finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, explained, “There’s only so much money in the economy, and so with the government borrowing such large amounts, there’s only so much that people are willing to lend overall in the economy, so it pushes out other types of borrowing.” The government had an opportunity to refinance its debt when interest rates were low, but this opportunity was missed, leading to unnecessarily higher borrowing costs.

Who Owns America’s National Debt?

The national debt in the United States is diverse, similar to having various types of personal debt like credit cards, mortgages, and car payments. The U.S. Department of the Treasury manages the national debt, classifying it into two categories: intragovernmental debt and debt held by the public.

Intragovernmental debt, accounting for approximately $6.8 trillion of the national debt, represents obligations between different government agencies. The larger portion of the debt, around $26.2 trillion, is held by the public. This segment includes ownership by foreign governments, banks, private investors, state and local governments, and the Federal Reserve, primarily in the form of Treasury securities, bills, and bonds.

Foreign governments and private investors are among the most significant holders of public debt, possessing roughly $8 trillion. Approximately 50% of this debt is owned by private and public domestic entities, while the Federal Reserve Bank holds approximately 20%. However, there is a silver lining concerning the debt held by the Federal Reserve.

Phillip Braun explained, “The Federal Reserve owns a lot of government debt. The Treasury does pay interest payments to the Federal Reserve, but then the Federal Reserve turns around and gives it back to the Treasury — that alleviates some of the issues.”

A Warning Signal

Rising interest rates are poised to exacerbate the national debt crisis, complicating the government’s ability to respond to economic slowdowns. Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, warned, “As we have seen with recent growth in inflation and interest rates, the cost of debt can mount suddenly and rapidly. With more than $10 trillion of interest costs over the next decade, this compounding fiscal cycle will only continue to do damage to our kids and grandkids.”

RFK Jr. Announces Independent Run For President

Republicans launched an attack on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Monday as the prominent environmental attorney and anti-vaccine activist officially announced his independent bid for the White House. This move has stirred concerns among conservatives that Kennedy, a former Democrat, could siphon votes away from former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election.

The Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign wasted no time in critiquing Kennedy’s liberal background. Meanwhile, national Democrats remained silent on the matter as Kennedy made it clear in a speech in Philadelphia that he was distancing himself from both political parties.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung issued a statement cautioning voters not to be misled by those who feign conservative values. Cheung described Kennedy’s campaign as a “vanity project for a liberal Kennedy looking to cash in on his family’s name.”

This strong reaction highlights the uncertainty surrounding Kennedy’s much-anticipated decision to run as an independent. While it is likely to impact the 2024 race, which is shaping up to be a rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden, the exact implications remain unclear.

Kennedy, a member of one of the most renowned families in Democratic politics, initially pursued an improbable primary bid and surprisingly held more favorability among Republicans than Democrats. Even Trump himself had expressed his positive opinion of Kennedy just two weeks prior, stating, “I like him a lot. I’ve known him for a long time.”

Both Biden and Trump’s allies had, at times, questioned whether Kennedy would act as a spoiler against their respective candidates. Kennedy acknowledged both sides’ concerns, stating, “The truth is, they’re both right. My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”

Picture: WPTV

Speaking from Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, where America’s founding documents were adopted, Kennedy emphasized his desire to distance himself from either political party. He spoke of a “rising tide of discontent” in the nation and expressed his aim to make a “new declaration of independence” from corporations, the media, and the two major political parties.

Hundreds of supporters, holding signs with slogans like “Declare your independence,” and chanting “RFK, all the way!” were enthusiastic about his decision. His supporters comprised a diverse mix of disillusioned Democrats, Trump voters seeking change, and political outsiders whose beliefs did not align with any single party. They believed that Kennedy could bring them together.

Peter Pantazis, a 40-year-old business owner from Delaware, expressed his optimism, saying, “He’s going to win. I’ve been praying that he’s going to decentralize the campaign, get away from the party system, and actually be the candidate of the people for the people. And that’s what he announced today.”

Brent Snyder, a disabled veteran from south Philadelphia, stated, “The last couple of years I’ve been noticing the Republican Party’s been going a way I didn’t like. Not that I agree with everything that’s happening to Trump, but I think right now he has more baggage than his country needs. The division right now is just terrible. We need someone to bring both sides together to make us work.”

The atmosphere among the crowd was filled with joy, hope, and occasionally, the faint scent of marijuana. Kennedy invoked historical figures like John Adams and George Washington to make a case for unity and warned against the pitfalls of partisan politics.

However, Kennedy’s independent campaign faces significant challenges in competing with the well-funded, experienced campaigns of Trump and Biden. During his announcement, there was a brief delay when he found that his speech was loaded upside-down in the teleprompter.

Kennedy’s decision to run independently comes shortly after progressive activist Cornel West abandoned his Green Party bid in favor of an independent presidential run. Additionally, the centrist group No Labels is actively working to secure ballot access for an unnamed candidate.

Recognizing the risk that Kennedy might draw votes away from Republicans, Trump’s allies have begun circulating opposition research aimed at undermining his support among conservative voters. The Republican National Committee released a fact sheet titled “Radical DEMOCRAT RFK Jr.” that highlighted instances of Kennedy’s support for liberal politicians and ideas, as well as his endorsement of conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 and past election claims.

On the other hand, Biden’s allies have largely dismissed Kennedy’s primary campaign as unserious. When asked for comment before the announcement, a Democratic National Committee spokesman responded with an eye-roll emoji. The DNC declined to comment on Monday.

Four of Kennedy’s eight surviving siblings issued a joint statement denouncing his candidacy, expressing concern about the potential harm it could cause to the country. They emphasized that while Bobby shares their family name, his values, vision, and judgment differ significantly from theirs.

Tony Lyons, co-founder and co-chairman of American Values 2024, a super PAC supporting Kennedy, dismissed these comments as part of a strategy to discredit him. He pointed out that disagreements within families are a natural part of democracy.

While Kennedy has historically identified as a Democrat and often invoked the legacies of his late father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, on the campaign trail, he has also developed relationships with far-right figures in recent years. He appeared on a channel associated with Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and headlined an event on the ReAwaken America Tour, organized by Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Polls indicate that Kennedy is more favorably viewed by Republicans than Democrats. Some far-right conservatives have supported him for his fringe views, including his vocal distrust of COVID-19 vaccines, despite scientific evidence demonstrating their safety and effectiveness in preventing severe disease and death.

Kennedy’s anti-vaccine organization, Children’s Health Defense, is currently involved in a lawsuit against several news organizations, including The Associated Press, alleging antitrust violations related to their actions in countering misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Kennedy had temporarily stepped away from the group upon announcing his presidential run, but he is listed as one of its attorneys in the lawsuit.

Charitable Giving Trends in the United States

Charitable giving is a deeply ingrained tradition in the United States, reflecting a blend of entrepreneurial spirit, social consciousness, and religious values. The Philanthropy Roundtable reports that over 80% of all donations to charities and nonprofit organizations in the US come from individuals, and Americans outpace their European counterparts in giving by a factor of seven. Canadians, often known for their generosity, lag behind, contributing about half as much.

The philanthropic landscape in the US can be attributed to three unique elements:

1.Entrepreneurial Spirit: The American dream is synonymous with achieving success and giving back. Many individuals and corporations consider it a duty to help those less fortunate once they’ve achieved their goals.

2.Social Consciousness: From national organizations like the ACLU to local food banks and disaster relief funds, Americans have a rich tradition of assisting their neighbors in times of need.

3.Religion: The United States remains one of the most religious countries globally, with regular giving to churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other religious institutions forming an integral part of many Americans’ lives.

Now, let’s delve into the details of charitable giving in the US.

Percentage of American Households Engaging in Charitable Giving

The Philanthropy Roundtable reports that 60% of American households engage in charitable giving, reflecting the nation’s commitment to helping those in need.

Trends in Charitable Giving

Even amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, charitable giving in the US continued to follow an upward trajectory. Charity Navigator, a watchdog for charities and nonprofits, notes that since 1977, Americans have increased their giving every year, with a few exceptions in 1987, 2008, and 2009. In this sense, 2020 simply continued the trend of giving more than the previous year.

Religious Giving

Determining which religious group is the most charitable is a complex task due to the diversity of America’s religious makeup. However, recent studies shed some light:

– Jews and Muslims donate more to public society benefit organizations involved in civil rights and social inequalities compared to their Christian and non-Christian counterparts.

– Among Christian groups, Mormons emerge as the most generous, followed by Evangelicals, Protestants, and American Catholics, particularly in the areas of family, children, and human services and causes.

– Jews stand out for their donations to non-Jewish organizations, showcasing the varied giving habits across different beliefs and traditions.

Average Charitable Contributions

The average annual charity donation for Americans in 2020 stood at $737 according to Giving USA. However, this figure can be misleading due to disparities:

– High net worth families donated an average of $29,269.

– For the general population, the average donation was only $2,514.

– The average online donation amounted to $177.

– Non-profit websites received an average of $1.13 from each visitor.

– Many Americans also contribute in-kind donations, such as goods to organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and local charities, as well as food pantries, which are often not monetarily quantified.

Thus, the average charitable contribution varies significantly based on income, donation method, and recipient.

Charitable Giving by Month

December is the peak month for charitable giving, maintaining its status as the preferred time for generosity in both 2019 and 2020. However, there are interesting nuances:

– In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, charitable giving experienced significant declines in March, April, and May, as reported by Nonprofit Source.

– Charities with recurring monthly giving programs receive an average of $52 each month per donor, showing the effectiveness of this approach.

– Donors who set up recurring monthly donations give 42% more than one-time givers, according to Nonprofit Source.

The Psychology of Asking for $19 a Month

Charities often request donations of $19 a month for two key reasons:

1.Psychology: Studies on consumer behavior suggest that prices ending in numbers like 4, 7, and 9 are perceived as more affordable and appealing. Thus, $19 appears more manageable than $20 to potential donors.

2.IRS Requirements: Charities and nonprofits must provide receipts for annual donations totaling $250 or more. Requesting $19 monthly ensures that the yearly total ($228) falls below this threshold, saving time and costs associated with sending receipts.

Charitable Giving Demographics

Understanding the demographics of charitable donors provides valuable insights:

Age Group: The average age of US donors is 64, predominantly representing the Baby Boomer generation.

Geographical Distribution: Utah stands out as the most charitable state in the US, with over half of the top ten states for total giving located in the South. This correlates with the generosity of Mormons and Evangelical Christians, who are among the country’s most significant donors.

Motivations for Charitable Giving

Research has identified seven key reasons why people give to charities:

1.Happiness: Giving triggers the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical in the brain, leading to increased happiness.

2.Empowerment: Donors feel empowered when they witness their contributions directly benefiting their chosen causes.

3.Personal Connection: Many donors have personal or emotional ties to specific charitable causes.

4.Trustworthiness: Donors prefer charities and nonprofits with a track record of tangible impact.

5.Community: Being part of a larger community and making a difference motivates donors across various sectors, from animal welfare to the arts.

6.Awareness: Charities that effectively capture donors’ attention through advertising, social media, or community events tend to receive more support.

7.Tax Benefits: Tax deductions for charitable donations motivate a significant portion of donors, including those with modest incomes.

Charitable Giving by Income Group

A closer look at charitable giving by income brackets reveals some unexpected trends:

  1. Those earning less than $50,000 annually donate a higher percentage of their income to charity.
  2. Conversely, those with incomes ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 give the least in terms of total charitable donations relative to their gross income.

Charitable Giving Across Generations

Let’s delve into the fascinating world of charitable giving across different age groups, from the tech-savvy Millennials to the seasoned members of the Silent Generation.

Millennials: The Tech-Savvy Donors

Millennials, often associated with digital innovation, contribute an average of $481 to charitable causes annually, with a remarkable 84% engaging in philanthropy. They have a strong penchant for online giving, frequently opting for recurring donations, with over 40% setting up monthly deductions from their credit or debit cards. Furthermore, Millennials are avid users of mobile devices, employing phones, tablets, and laptops to research charities, make donations, and advocate for various causes.

The causes that resonate most with Millennials are children’s charities, health and medical nonprofits, local places of worship, and human rights and international affairs groups.

Generation X: Balancing Giving and Volunteering

Generation X, with an average donation of $732 per individual per year, boasts a 59% participation rate in charitable giving. While their donations may be fewer in number compared to Millennials, Gen Xers are more inclined to initiate fundraising campaigns and actively volunteer for charitable endeavors. Email outreach stands out as the most influential method for engaging this generation in philanthropy.

Gen Xers’ charitable preferences align with local social and human services organizations, animal-related causes, children’s charities, and local places of worship.

Baby Boomers: Generosity Knows No Bounds

Baby Boomers exhibit remarkable generosity, averaging $1,212 in annual donations per person. An impressive 72% of the Baby Boomer generation contributes to charitable causes, representing a significant 43% of all yearly donations. Many of these Boomers, who were once 1960s activists, continue to support causes related to social justice, world peace, and environmental issues.

Their charitable support primarily gravitates toward local social services nonprofits, animal organizations, children’s charities, human rights and international affairs, and local places of worship.

The Silent Generation: Quiet Yet Impactful Giving

The Silent Generation, born between 1927 and 1946, donates an average of $1,367 annually per person, with a remarkable 88% of them participating in charitable giving. Despite comprising only 11% of the US population, they contribute a significant 26% of all charitable donations. Their giving preferences lean toward organizations that reach out via direct mail and causes featured in the news.

Silent Generation donations predominantly support veterans’ causes, local social services, emergency and disaster relief efforts, and local places of worship.

Generational Giving Trends in 2020

In 2020, amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, only two sub-sectors of nonprofit organizations witnessed notable growth in donations. Local human and social services organizations experienced a 12% surge in giving, while faith-based giving increased by 3%. Conversely, medical researchers and arts and culture subsectors faced declines in donations.

Medical research may have been affected due to the government’s extensive investments in COVID-19 research, potentially overshadowing other medical causes. Additionally, the dominance of COVID-19 news coverage may have diverted donors’ attention away from other health-related issues. Arts, culture, and humanities groups struggled to raise funds due to the limitations imposed by pandemic-related restrictions.

Religious and Church Charitable Giving

Religious giving holds a significant place in the philanthropic landscape, with all four major generational groups contributing to local places of worship.

Most Charitable Giving by Religion

Jewish individuals top the list, contributing an average of $2,526 annually, followed by Protestants at $1,749, Muslims at $1,178, and Catholics at $1,142. Jewish and Muslim donors often direct their contributions to social and human rights organizations, while Christian giving preferences vary by denomination. Nevertheless, 32% of all donations in the US find their way to local places of worship or faith-based nonprofits.

Average Family Contributions to Local Places of Worship

On average, Americans donate $17 weekly to their local places of worship, but surprisingly, 37% of weekly attendees do not contribute at all. Only 5% of congregants are consistent givers. The average weekly church donation per person has experienced a slight decline, dropping nearly 1% since the Great Depression. During the 1930s, Christians contributed 3.3% of their total income to churches, whereas today’s faithful allocate 2.5%.

An intriguing observation is that 75% of non-religious, non-affiliated Americans engage in charitable giving, with many directing their contributions toward faith-based organizations.

Religious Organizations’ Annual Revenue: A Closer Look

Religious organizations are a significant recipient of monetary donations, with approximately one-third of all annual donations flowing in their direction. In 2020, this amounted to a substantial $128.17 billion, as revealed by an extensive survey of IRS tax returns.

Picture: Giving USA

While religious giving has maintained its stability at around the 30% mark for several years, recent trends suggest potential shifts on the horizon. Religious affiliation and regular attendance have been on a decline, with only 36% of American adults claiming to participate in weekly worship.

Volunteer Fundraising Insights: Statistics, Facts, and Trends

We’ve already established that Baby Boomers tend to be the most active volunteers, but there are other intriguing aspects to consider when it comes to volunteering.

The Volunteer Landscape

In the United States, a remarkable 77.34 million adults, equivalent to 30% of the adult population, engaged in volunteering in 2020. These dedicated individuals collectively contributed over 1.6 billion hours of their time, reflecting the spirit of community service.

Volunteer Time Investment

On average, American volunteers devoted 3.5 hours per week to their chosen causes, resulting in an estimated total value of unpaid labor and services amounting to a staggering $255 billion, as reported by Americorps.

Shifting Volunteer Demographics

Notably, there have been discernible shifts in the demographics of volunteers. In 2020, the typical volunteer was more likely to be:

– Married

– Female

– Aged 35-44

– White

– Possessing higher or secondary education

– A parent with children under 18

However, this trend may not persist, given the influence of the pandemic. The pandemic necessitated adjustments, particularly for working mothers who switched to remote work to accommodate their children’s needs when schools closed. This cohort may have chosen to contribute their available “non-lockdown” time to fulfill community needs and simply to escape their homes. Additionally, older generations of volunteers expressed reduced willingness to volunteer due to COVID-19 health concerns.

Volunteer Fundraising Demographics: Generational Giving Patterns

While Baby Boomers traditionally lead in overall volunteering, in 2020, the younger Gen X and older Millennial mothers emerged as the most active volunteers.

Corporate Giving: A Look into Corporate Generosity

Now, let’s explore corporate philanthropy and what businesses contributed in the previous year.

Average Corporate Contributions

Corporate donations to nonprofit organizations amounted to $24.8 billion in 2020, reflecting a 6% decline, according to Giving USA’s report. Corporate giving closely aligns with pre-tax profits, in contrast to individual giving, which exhibits a stronger correlation with stock market performance. Last year, the stock market thrived while many corporations faced profit reductions due to the pandemic’s economic impact.

Leading Corporate Donors in America

In 2020, Pfizer emerged as the most charitable corporation in the United States, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Completing the list of the top five most generous organizations are:

  1. Pfizer
  2. Gilead Sciences
  3. Merck and Company
  4. Walmart
  5. Google

Corporate Contributions to Religious Organizations

Kroger stands out as Double the Donation Organization’s leading corporation in support of churches and other religious institutions. They generously contribute millions in both monetary funds and products to aid hunger relief, homeless support, and various programs managed by local religious entities.

School Fundraising Statistics: Impact of the Pandemic

In 2020, fundraising for K-12 schools experienced a notable 4.6% decline, as reported by Giving USA. Typically, schools generate approximately $5000 per school each year through fundraising activities. The closure of schools due to the pandemic likely contributed to this decrease in fundraising revenues.

Online Giving Trends: A Digital Perspective on Philanthropy

Online charitable giving experienced substantial growth in 2020, which can largely be attributed to the pandemic’s influence.

Online Charitable Giving Growth

In 2020, every sector witnessed a minimum of a 15% increase in charitable giving compared to previous years, with the overall charitable giving growth rate surging by 20%.

Insights into Giving Tuesday

The popularity of Giving Tuesday has continued to rise since its inception in 2012, with $380 million raised in the most recent year.

Origins of Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday was initiated in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation in New York City. It falls on the first Tuesday following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Online Crowdfunding Insights

Online crowdfunding has become an essential tool for nonprofits, with notable campaigns achieving substantial success.

Notable Crowdfunding Campaigns

Two nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns that achieved significant success were conducted by Save the Children and the American Red Cross, raising $20 million and $4.7 million, respectively.

Key Factors Influencing Crowdfunding Success

Success in crowdfunding campaigns largely depends on several factors, including:

– Extensive sharing on social media, with success rates increasing with the number of social media contacts. For instance, having 10 friends share increases success by 9%, while 100 friends lead to a 20% boost.

– Comprehensive campaign descriptions ranging from 300 to 500 words.

– Regular updates to engage and inform supporters; campaigns with updates every 5 days garner three times more donations.

– The inclusion of videos in campaign appeals, resulting in a 150% increase in donations compared to campaigns without video content.

Global Nonprofit Landscape

The world boasts 1.54 million nonprofits registered with the IRS, as documented by the National Center for Charitable Statistics. This expansive array of organizations offers numerous causes to support.

In Conclusion

Even in a year characterized by unprecedented uncertainty and upheaval like 2020, the spirit of giving has endured and, remarkably, flourished. Americans continued to give, and their generosity seemed to grow even amidst adversity, social unrest, and political divisions.

This enduring generosity reflects a remarkable facet of American society.

Trump’s WH Chief Of Staff John Kelly Confirms Disturbing Stories About Trump

John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff under Donald Trump, has delivered a scathing critique of the ex-president in an exclusive statement to CNN. Kelly chose to set the record straight by confirming, on the record, several troubling accounts of remarks made by Trump behind closed doors, targeting U.S. service members and veterans. Kelly recounted a series of objectionable comments that he personally witnessed Trump make.

When asked to weigh in on his former boss, Kelly responded, “What can I add that has not already been said?” He proceeded to highlight Trump’s derogatory attitudes towards those who serve in the military and veterans. Kelly recalled Trump referring to them as “suckers” and insinuating that there was nothing in it for them. Trump’s reluctance to be seen with military amputees was another point of concern for Kelly. Additionally, Kelly emphasized Trump’s open contempt for Gold Star families during the 2016 campaign and his derogatory comments about fallen heroes.

Picture:CoopWB

Kelly continued to outline his grievances, noting Trump’s lack of honesty on various issues, including the protection of unborn life, women’s rights, minority rights, evangelical Christians, Jews, and the working class. Kelly expressed his belief that Trump had a fundamental misunderstanding of American values and principles. He accused Trump of showing admiration for autocrats and murderous dictators while displaying contempt for democratic institutions, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

In conclusion, Kelly remarked, “There is nothing more that can be said,” before adding, “God help us.”

Kelly’s statement serves as confirmation, on the record, of several details from a 2020 article in The Atlantic by editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg. This includes an incident where Trump, standing at Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 on Memorial Day 2017, questioned, “What was in it for them?” regarding the soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Atlantic article also delved into Trump’s inability to comprehend the respect given to former prisoners of war and those shot down in combat. Trump’s public dismissal of Senator John McCain’s war hero status and his private labeling of McCain and former President George H. W. Bush as “losers” are among the details confirmed by Kelly.

CNN reached out to the Trump campaign for comment, revealing that a former administration official had confirmed details from The Atlantic’s 2020 story without naming Kelly. The Trump campaign responded by attacking the character and credibility of retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, who was not involved in the story. A Trump campaign spokesperson later dismissed Kelly’s statement as “debunked stories.”

Kelly’s statement also sheds light on a story from the book “The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021,” by Susan Glasser and Peter Baker. In this account, Trump expressed his desire to exclude wounded veterans from a military parade planned in his honor. Trump’s reasoning was that their presence did not “look good for me.” Kelly emphasized that wounded veterans are heroes, and their exclusion contradicted societal values.

This revelation aligns with a recent article by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, profiling retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley. The article recounted Trump’s discomfort upon seeing severely wounded Army Captain Luis Avila singing “God Bless America” at an event. Trump’s reaction was, “Why do you bring people like that here? No one wants to see that, the wounded.”

Kelly’s statement also alludes to a comment made by Trump in response to the same article. This article, published in the final days of Trump’s presidency in 2020, detailed how General Milley received intelligence suggesting that the Chinese military was concerned that Trump might order a military strike against them. Acting with authorization from Trump administration officials, Milley reassured his Chinese counterparts that such an attack was not imminent.

In 2021, the revelation of this phone call was first made public in the book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. However, Trump recently commented on his social media platform, characterizing the call as “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.”

When asked about the suggestion that he deserves execution, Milley declined to provide a direct response but emphasized his commitment to upholding the Constitution in an interview with Norah O’Donnell on “60 Minutes.”

Kelly’s statement to CNN follows an interview with former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who was promoting her new book, “Enough.” During the interview, Hutchinson issued a warning to the public, stating that “Donald Trump is the most grave threat we will face to our democracy in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.”

Interestingly, Hutchinson’s book, “Enough,” includes a scene in which she and then-White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin push back against Goldberg’s 2020 story. Griffin had issued a statement to The Atlantic after the story was published, denying its accuracy.

In response to inquiries over the weekend, Griffin remarked, “Despite publicly praising the military and claiming to be the most pro-military president, there’s a demonstrable record of Trump bashing the most decorated service members in our country, from Gen. Mattis to Kelly to Milley, to criticizing the wounded or deceased like John McCain. Donald Trump will fundamentally never understand service the way those who have actually served in uniform will, and it’s one of the countless reasons he’s unfit to be commander in chief.”

It is noteworthy that no other presidential candidate in history has faced such significant criticism from former members of his inner circle. Mark Esper, Trump’s former secretary of defense, conveyed his view to CNN in November 2022, stating, “I think he’s unfit for office. … He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well.”

Similarly, Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr, shared his perspective with CBS in June, characterizing Trump as “a consummate narcissist” who consistently engages in reckless behavior. Barr emphasized that Trump prioritizes his own interests and ego above all else, including the country’s interests, rendering him unfit for leadership.

Congress Dodges Government Shutdown With Last-Minute, Short-Term Deal

In a dramatic twist of events, both the House and Senate successfully passed a measure on Saturday, ensuring that government funding remains in place until mid-November. This timely bipartisan effort materialized after months of fruitless negotiations within a divided Congress, leading many in Washington to brace themselves for an imminent government shutdown.

Had a bill not been passed by midnight, it would have marked the fourth government shutdown in the past decade. This would have dire consequences, affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers and government contractors who would have been left without pay until a resolution was reached. However, as Saturday afternoon progressed, it became evident that both sides were diligently working towards a compromise to avert this crisis. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, despite facing resistance from the far-right faction of his party, made a surprising move by introducing a clean stopgap bill. He understood that the bill could only pass with substantial support from Democratic members of the House.

In McCarthy’s words, “It’s alright if Republicans and Democrats join together to do what is right. If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it. There has to be an adult in the room.” This measure extended government funding for approximately 45 days and included a $16 billion allocation for disaster relief. Notably, it lacked funding for Ukraine, which had faced opposition from many far-right Republicans. Furthermore, it did not incorporate border security provisions, which had been a priority for many House Republicans. Lawmakers pledged to address both of these issues through separate initiatives.

The swift and suspenseful developments on Capitol Hill on Saturday showcased the precarious position of the functioning federal government. Shortly after passing the House, the Senate also approved the measure with a vote of 88 to 9, forwarding the bill to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it before the midnight deadline.

This strategic move appeared to be McCarthy’s last-ditch effort to demonstrate that Republicans were committed to keeping the government operational after their initial attempts to pass their own stopgap bill had failed on Friday. However, it also exposed McCarthy to political risks, as he grapples with ongoing threats from the far-right wing of his party, who have vowed to remove him from the speakership if he collaborates with Democrats on funding. In essence, McCarthy decided to take a gamble on his political future in order to ensure the uninterrupted operation of federal agencies.

With House Republicans facing the challenge of governing with a slim five-seat majority, McCarthy’s leadership is most directly threatened by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and at least four other conservative hardliners. Gaetz remarked, “I’ve said that whether or not Kevin McCarthy faces a motion to vacate is entirely within his control because all he had to do was comply with the agreement that he made with us in January. Putting this bill on the floor and passing it with Democrats would be such an obvious, blatant, and clear violation of that. We would have to deal with it.”

Before the vote, House Republican leadership expressed a sense of inevitability, asserting that they had explored all other options. Dissident conservatives had previously derailed an earlier plan, leaving them with little choice but to pass a bill extending funding at the current annual rate of $1.6 trillion through November 17th. This closely aligned with the Senate’s approach, except for the absence of emergency funds worth $6 billion for Ukraine.

The decision to temporarily exclude Ukraine aid represents a significant setback for the White House and President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky had met with President Biden just a week earlier and had urgently requested new weapons systems, including F-16 fighter jets and longer-range ATACMS missiles. The White House had requested $20.6 billion from Congress to support Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia. A House Democrat revealed that Senate Democrats would initiate efforts to secure supplementary funding for Ukraine as early as the following week.

Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, the sole House Democrat to vote against the short-term measure, cited the absence of Ukraine funding as his reason, stating, “Putin is celebrating. We’ve got 45 days to fix it.” House Democratic leadership emphasized that Ukraine funding remained a top priority, asserting that they expected McCarthy to advance a bill supporting Ukraine for an up-or-down vote when the House reconvened.

McCarthy’s decision to advance the legislation on Saturday marked a significant departure for the Speaker, who had spent months attempting to appease a dissident faction within his party. Despite offering spending bills with substantial cuts and additional restrictions on migrants, he had failed to secure the necessary support from within his caucus. McCarthy expressed his frustration earlier on Saturday, remarking, “I have tried for eight months…I couldn’t get 218 Republicans.”

Picture: Yahoo

Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican and the majority leader, declared that his party would recommence the appropriations process on Monday. They would continue advocating for border security restrictions and spending cuts until the November 17th deadline. Scalise emphasized, “Believe me, this is not the end. This is the beginning of our continued fight to secure our border, to get government spending under control, and to get our economy back on track.”

The drama on Saturday extended to the Democratic side when Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York inadvertently triggered a fire alarm in one of the Capitol office buildings. This prompted a building-wide evacuation at a critical moment when House GOP leadership was scrambling to pass the bill and Democrats were requesting more time to comprehend its contents. Bowman later clarified that it was a mistake, and he was hurrying to secure votes. However, Republican leadership has called for an ethics investigation into the incident, alleging that it was an attempt to delay the vote. Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, also from New York, drafted a resolution to expel Bowman from Congress over the incident.

The passage of this legislation on Saturday concluded a nerve-wracking week in Washington, during which federal agencies prepared for a government shutdown that many believed was imminent. Essential workers, including the armed forces, air traffic controllers, and airport security personnel, faced the grim prospect of working without pay until the standoff was resolved.

While Congress successfully avoided an immediate shutdown, they have essentially deferred their problems to mid-November, when the latest legislation is set to expire. Congress has yet to make significant progress on the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund several federal agencies, raising the possibility that a shutdown could still occur, potentially during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

What Is Next After Speaker Kevin McCarthy Is Ousted As Speaker?

The House of Representatives is entering uncharted territory after a far-right effort to remove fellow Republican Kevin McCarthy from the speakership succeeded thanks to support from Democrats.

A resolution — titled a motion to vacate — from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., passed Tuesday with the support of eight Republicans and all the Democrats present and voting. The vote made McCarthy the first speaker in history to be removed from office, a bitter humiliation that came after less than nine months on the job.

The California Republican told his conference shortly after that he would not run for the job again. It is a stunning outcome in the House that shocked lawmakers of both parties and left them wondering what the future will bring.

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry, now the acting speaker, declared the House in recess until both parties can decide on a path forward. There is no obvious successor to lead the House Republican majority now that McCarthy has opted not to run for the job again.

McHenry will be unable to bring legislation to the floor or take it off. He also does not have the power to issue subpoenas or sign off on any other official House business that would require the approval of the speaker.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The first order of business for McHenry would be to elect a new speaker.

As of now, it is unclear who House Republicans will nominate for the speakership. Some members left the chamber Tuesday determined to renominate McCarthy and vote for him for speaker until it passes. But now that he is out of the running, the path is clear for any Republican to jump in.

Picture : Reuters

Some members, including Gaetz, have been broaching potential consensus candidates like Majority Leader Steve Scalise or Whip Tom Emmer who they see as bringing the conference together. Other names up for discussion include Rep. Kevin Hern, chair of the Republican Study Committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee and a favorite of the right flank of the party.

Once Republicans decide who to nominate for speaker, the House would have to vote as many times as it takes for a candidate to receive the majority of those present and voting for speaker. It can quickly become an arduous exercise, as it did in January when it took McCarthy an unprecedented 15 rounds to win the gavel.

ANOTHER SPEAKER?

Once a speaker candidate has won a majority of the vote, the clerk will announce the results of the election.

During a normal speaker election, which takes place at the start of each Congress, a bipartisan committee, usually consisting of members from the home state of the chosen candidate, will then escort the speaker-elect to the chair on the dais where the oath of office is administered. The oath is identical to the one new members will take once a speaker is chosen.

It is unclear if that is the same process that will be followed in this instance. It is customary for the minority leader to join the successor at the speaker’s chair, where they will pass the gavel as a nod to the potential future working relationship between one party leader and another.

Asian Americans Prioritize Presidential Candidates’ Policy Positions Over Their Racial Identity

Nearly all registered Asian American voters — 97 per cent — say a candidate’s policy positions are more important than their race or ethnicity when deciding whom to vote for, says a new survey.

At the same time, a 68 per cent majority of Asian registered voters say it is extremely or very important to have a national leader who can advance the concerns of the US Asian community, according to the Pew Research Center survey conducted from July 5, 2022 to January 27, 2023.

The findings assume relevance as the 2024 US presidential election approaches with two candidates of Indian ancestry, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, running for the Republican nomination.

The survey — conducted among 7,006 Asian adults living in the US — said Asian Americans continue to be underrepresented among elected officials in the country compared with their share of the country’s population.

As of the beginning of the 118th Congress, 16 House members and two senators claim Asian ancestry.

Asian registered voters tend to prefer the Democratic Party — 62 per cent are Democrats or lean Democratic, while 34 per cent are Republicans leaners.

Issues Asian American voters care most about

About four in 10 registered Asian American voters, or 41 per cent, say inflation is the most important issue facing their local community — by far the most common issue cited during this extended survey period, which ended in January.

Economic inequality (16 per cent) is the second-most mentioned issue, followed by violent crime (11 per cent) and racism (9 per cent).

These concerns follow reports of violence against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Japanese registered voters (28 per cent) are more likely than Chinese (15 per cent) and Indian (13 per cent) voters to view economic inequality as the biggest issue facing their community.

Picture: VOX

Among Indian registered voters, 15 per cent say climate change is the most important issue facing their community. This is higher than the share saying the same among Filipino (7 per cent), Chinese (6 per cent), Japanese (6 per cent) and Vietnamese (5 per cent) voters.

Asian American voters’ views differ by political party

The survey noted that Asian Republican voters are more likely than their Democratic counterparts to view inflation as the most important issue facing the community they live in.

Even so, it is the most cited top issue for both groups.

Asian Democratic voters are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say economic inequality is the biggest issue facing their community.

Economic inequality is the second-most cited issue among Asian Democratic voters.

Among Asian Republican voters, violent crime is the second-most cited issue.

In addition, Asian registered voters born in the US are slightly more likely than immigrants to view economic inequality as the most important issue facing their community.

However, the importance of issues varies less by nativity than by party among Asian Americans. (IANS)

Anxiety grips 69% of Indian students in Canada due to diplomatic row

77 per cent of students who participated in the survey said their parents are “paranoid” or “worried” amid the Indo-Canadian diplomatic row.

Over 100+ Indian students studying across 20+ colleges and universities were surveyed for a recent report, the findings of which say 69 per cent of these students have experienced anxiety amid the ongoing Indo-Canadian diplomatic row.

The participating colleges included York University, Seneca College, Ryerson University, Centennial College, George Brown College, and Carleton University, among others. The survey was conducted by LooneyTooney, a platform assisting newcomers and potential immigrants in Canada to provide a data point to stakeholders like federal/provincial governments, colleges/universities, and locals to be able to take action to reassure the student community, as per a news release.

The survey found that 69 per cent of students experienced anxiety amid the ongoing tensions between the two countries, female students more than males. The anxiety levels were higher among students who have not spent much time in Canada than those who have been in the country longer.

The findings say 32 per cent of students are more worried about their physical safety than before while 77 per cent of students reported their parents are “paranoid” or “worried”. However, the survey also found that overall, students seem to be hoping that the ongoing situation is a temporary setback. 81 per cent of Indian students in Canada have their long-term plans of staying in Canada unchanged while only 9 per cent are considering leaving the country.

LooneyTooney founder Ashish Bhatia said, “Indian students in Canada are a vital bridge for people-to-people contact between the two countries. The students are worried about the short-term implications of the spat on their career and personal plans. Their well-being should be a paramount concern for various stakeholders who should take actions to mitigate the negative impact of current tensions.”

Indian students from the University of Toronto (UofT) participated in the survey as well. Recently, stated that it is fully committed to making the Indian community on its campus feel safe.

“U of T is proud to be home to more than 2,400 international students from India who enrich our classrooms and campus life, and many more students, faculty, staff, librarians, and alumni with ties to that country. We want to assure all impacted members of our community – and in particular international students – that you are welcome here and we are deeply committed to supporting your wellbeing,” read a part of the statement from Joseph Wong, vice-president, International.

Government Shutdown Averted With 45 Days Stopgap-Funding Bill Passage

The U.S. Congress passed a stopgap funding bill late on Saturday, September 30, 2023 with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party’s hardliners for a partisan bill.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the stopgap proposal Saturday morning, a move that came after weeks of infighting among House Republicans and a failed effort to pass a GOP stopgap bill in the chamber. The bill passed the House with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, and it then was sent to the Senate. The final vote was 88 to 9. The House voted 335-91 to fund the government through Nov. 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.

The bill will keep the government open through November 17 and includes natural disaster aid but not additional funding for Ukraine or border security. The Bill will help avoid the federal government’s fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending the bill to President Joe Biden, who signed it into law before the 12:01 a.m on Octpber 1st, 2023.

McCarthy abandoned party hardliners’ insistence that any bill pass the House with only Republican votes, a change that could cause one of his far-right members to try to oust him from his leadership role.

That move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable. A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s 4 million employees would not get paid – whether they were working or not – and also would shutter a range of federal services, from National Parks to financial regulators.

The decision by McCarthy to put a bill on the floor that would win support from Democrats could put his speakership at risk as hardline conservatives continue to threaten a vote to oust him from the top House leadership post.

McCarthy was defiant after the vote, daring his detractors to try to push him out as he argued he did what was needed to govern effectively.

“If somebody wants to make a motion against me, bring it,” McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju at a news conference. “There has to be an adult in the room. I am going to govern with what’s best for this country.”

Federal agencies had already drawn up detailed plans that spell out what services would continue, such as airport screening and border patrols, and what must shut down, including scientific research and nutrition aid to 7 million poor mothers.

“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Democrats have said from the start that the only solution for avoiding a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are glad Speaker McCarthy has finally heeded our message.”

DEMOCRATS CALL IT A WIN

Some 209 Democrats supported the bill, far more than the 126 Republicans who did so, and Democrats described the result as a win.

“Extreme MAGA Republicans have lost, the American people have won,” top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries told reporters ahead of the vote, referring to the “Make America Great Again” slogan used by former President Donald Trump and many hardline Republicans.

Democratic Representative Don Beyer said: “I am relieved that Speaker McCarthy folded and finally allowed a bipartisan vote at the 11th hour on legislation to stop Republicans’ rush to a disastrous shutdown.”

McCarthy’s shift won the support of top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who had backed a similar measure that was moving through the Senate with broad bipartisan support, even though the House version dropped aid for Ukraine.

Democratic Senator Michael Bennett held the bill up for several hours trying to negotiate a deal for further Ukraine aid.

“While I would have preferred to pass a bill now with additional assistance for Ukraine, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, it is easier to help Ukraine with the government open than if it were closed,” Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in a statement.

McCarthy dismissed concerns that hardline Republicans could try to oust him as leader.

“I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” McCarthy told reporters. “And you know what? If I have to risk my job for standing up for the American public, I will do that.”

He said that House Republicans would push ahead with plans to pass more funding bills that would cut spending and include other conservative priorities, such as tighter border controls.

CREDIT CONCERNS

The standoff comes just months after Congress brought the federal government to the brink of defaulting on its $31.4 trillion debt. The drama has raised worries on Wall Street, where the Moody’s ratings agency has warned it could damage U.S. creditworthiness.

Congress typically passes stopgap spending bills to buy more time to negotiate the detailed legislation that sets funding for federal programs.

This year, a group of Republicans has blocked action in the House as they have pressed to tighten immigration and cut spending below levels agreed to in the debt-ceiling standoff in the spring.

The McCarthy-Biden deal that avoided default set a limit of $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2024. House Republicans are demanding a further $120 billion in cuts.

The funding fight focuses on a relatively small slice of the $6.4 trillion U.S. budget for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are not considering cuts to popular benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“We should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis,” Biden said in a statement after the vote. “House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.” (Reuters)

Dianne Feinstein, ‘A Trailblazer In Every Sense Of That Word’

The United States Senate has mourned the loss of one of its most prominent figures, as Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) passed away at her residence in Washington, D.C. at the age of 90. Her death marks the conclusion of a lengthy and illustrious political career that played a crucial role in paving the way for women to attain higher echelons of political authority in the United States.

Senator Feinstein passed away on Thursday night, September 28, 2023 at the age of 90, shortly after casting her final vote, a moment that senators commemorated with heartfelt speeches. Emotions ran high as several senators, standing just a few feet from Feinstein’s Senate desk, which was draped in black and adorned with a crystal vase filled with white flowers, spoke about their esteemed colleague.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) paid tribute to her, saying, “She was smart, she was strong, she was brave, she was compassionate,” his voice occasionally quivering with emotion. He emphasized her “integrity” as the standout quality, describing it as a “diamond” that shone brightly not only in the Senate but also across the nation.

Throughout her career, Senator Feinstein shattered glass ceilings. She was the first woman to represent California in the Senate, the first woman to chair the Senate Judiciary, Rules, and Intelligence Committees, and the first woman to serve as mayor of San Francisco. She was part of the historic 1992 class of women elected to the Senate, often referred to as the “Year of the Woman,” alongside Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.), which increased the number of women in the Senate from two to six. This number later surged to 25 by the start of the 118th Congress, with Feinstein cited as a significant influence.

Picture: The Hill

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) praised Feinstein as a role model and highlighted her ability to foster bipartisan relationships, especially among female senators, both on and off Capitol Hill.

Feinstein also achieved the distinction of being the longest-serving woman in Senate history at the time of her passing, being likened to titanic figures of the Senate such as Senators Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

One of her most notable legislative accomplishments was the passage of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This legislation prohibited the sale and manufacture of assault-style weapons for a decade, despite fierce opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Schumer recalled the NRA’s relentless opposition but praised Feinstein for her unwavering stance against them.

While the ban expired in 2004, a 2020 academic study suggested that the number of mass shootings increased after its lapse. However, the effectiveness of the assault weapons ban remains a subject of contentious debate, and subsequent attempts to pass similar legislation failed, even in the wake of high-profile shootings involving AR-15-style weapons.

Senator Feinstein also played a pivotal role in opposing the U.S. government’s use of torture during the global war on terror that followed the September 11, 2001, attacks. In 2014, she released the Intelligence Committee’s report, which documented the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees, including waterboarding and sleep deprivation. This report raised doubts about the effectiveness of such tactics in gathering intelligence.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) recounted the intense struggle to complete the report, as it faced opposition from the Central Intelligence Agency. Feinstein’s stand against torture techniques earned her praise, with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) commending her for her courage.

Feinstein wasn’t afraid to deviate from her party’s leaders on occasion. In 2009, she broke with party leaders who hesitated to seat Roland Burris (D-Ill.) as Senator Barack Obama’s replacement due to ethical concerns surrounding then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s handling of the appointment. Feinstein argued that refusing to seat Burris would undermine gubernatorial power, a position that may have played a role in preserving California Governor Gavin Newsom’s authority to appoint her successor.

Throughout her career, Feinstein’s tenacity in pursuing policy goals and her ability to withstand political challenges earned her the nickname “Ali and Frazier” alongside Senator Barbara Boxer. Her personal touch and ability to foster camaraderie were also celebrated, with colleagues recalling warm interactions and gestures of kindness, such as ordering a purse for a fellow senator.

Senator Feinstein’s passing marks the end of an era in the Senate, leaving behind a legacy of trailblazing accomplishments and a commitment to integrity and principled leadership that will be remembered for generations to come.

Mark Milley Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Retires

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, retired on Friday with a passionate address that indirectly criticized former President Trump, asserting that the U.S. military’s allegiance isn’t pledged to a “wannabe dictator.”

In the previous week, Trump had accused Milley of “treason” for allegedly conducting back-channel reassurances with his Chinese counterpart towards the end of his tenure, even suggesting the Army general should face execution.

Milley delivered his remarks at a ceremony in Virginia, stating, “We are unique among the world’s militaries. We don’t take an oath to a country. We don’t take an oath to a tribe. We don’t take an oath to a religion. We don’t take an oath to a king, or a queen, or to a tyrant or a dictator.”

He continued, “And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator. We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America — and we’re willing to die to protect it.”

Picture: VOA

Appointed by Trump in 2018, Milley frequently found himself at odds with the former president, notably in the incident involving St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., during the racial injustice protests ignited by George Floyd’s murder in June 2020.

Milley briefly appeared alongside Trump, wearing combat fatigues, as Trump walked to St. John’s for a photo opportunity. Later, the four-star general publicly apologized for creating the perception that the military was involved in domestic politics, expressing regret for his presence — a move that didn’t sit well with Trump.

During that same summer, Milley supported the initiative to rename Army bases bearing the names of Confederate generals, a position that clashed with Trump’s views.

In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, Milley sought to ensure a peaceful transition of power when he assured his Chinese counterpart that the American government had no intentions of initiating hostilities, as documented in the book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.

Following the election, with concerns of a potential coup by Trump, Milley instructed his subordinates not to follow orders from anyone unless he was involved, as reported in “Peril.”

While Trump was not directly mentioned during Friday’s ceremony at Joint Base-Myer Henderson Hall, the speakers lavished praise on Milley for his over four decades of service to the country in the military.

President Biden commended Milley’s invaluable partnership, describing him as “unwavering in the face of danger.” Biden recounted an incident where Milley had run across a bridge laden with mines to prevent two battle tanks from crossing with wounded troops.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin referred to Milley as both a scholar and a warrior, emphasizing his dedication to leading the joint military forces.

The ceremony also featured the swearing-in of the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., formerly the Air Force chief of staff.

5 Takeaways From Another Trump-Free Republican Debate

In the aftermath of the second Republican debate, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida shared his candid assessment of the event while sitting in the spin room with Fox News host Sean Hannity. He remarked, “If I was at home watching that, I would have changed the channel.” The debate unfolded as a meandering and often bewildering spectacle, seemingly validating former President Donald J. Trump’s decision to skip it. Apart from sporadic exceptions, the Republican contenders appeared content to engage in petty disputes among themselves. They largely refrained from delivering significant blows to the dominant front-runner, failing to disrupt the political reality that Mr. Trump continues to overshadow his rivals in national polls.

Here are five key takeaways from the two-hour debate characterized by overlapping conversations, unanswered questions, rehearsed comebacks, and a conspicuous absence of any mention of the legal issues surrounding the favored candidate:

Governor DeSantis of Florida initiated the debate by confronting Mr. Trump on a national stage, asserting, “Donald Trump is missing in action… He should be on this stage tonight. He owes it to you to defend his record where they added $7.8 trillion to the debt. That set the stage for the inflation that we have now.” This direct challenge had been long awaited by some allies and donors. However, as the debate progressed, this statement faded into the background, with candidates mostly choosing to ignore Mr. Trump’s commanding lead.

A pro-Mike Pence super PAC had issued a blunt message to donors before the debate, emphasizing the need to shake up the race. Nevertheless, the debate failed to produce any substantial disruptions, leaving the dynamics of the race largely unaltered. The 91 criminal charges against Mr. Trump went unmentioned, both by the moderators and the candidates ostensibly running against him. While the former president faced more criticism compared to the first debate, the seven candidates onstage spent most of the night engaging in disputes with one another, seemingly vying for the second-place position.

During the debate, Tim Scott directed criticism at Nikki Haley concerning curtains and a gas tax, and Ms. Haley reciprocated by challenging Governor DeSantis on fracking. Vivek Ramaswamy faced scrutiny over his past business dealings with China and was accused by Scott of lacking knowledge about the Constitution. Chris Christie attempted to steer the conversation back towards Mr. Trump, even suggesting at one point that he should be “voted off the island.” However, the overall result was a chaotic and unclear exchange.

Governor DeSantis’s performance aligned with what his supporters had been anticipating. Despite initial criticism from the media about his lack of assertiveness in the first debate, his allies believed it was effective. In this debate, he utilized the sole abortion question of the night to criticize Mr. Trump for his stance on Florida’s restrictive abortion ban. He skillfully sidestepped a question about his previous comments regarding slavery in the state’s curriculum. At the outset, Governor DeSantis appeared confident and in control, mostly avoiding heated arguments. Although he struggled initially to find speaking opportunities, he eventually spoke more than any other candidate. Towards the end, he pushed back against the moderators when they asked candidates to indicate which candidate they would vote “off the island,” deeming the question “disrespectful.”

Despite Governor DeSantis’s assertiveness, his sporadic references to Mr. Trump did little to suggest that he could close the substantial gap between himself and the former president. Shortly after the debate concluded, a senior Trump adviser, Chris LaCivita, called for the cancellation of further debates, indicating that Mr. Trump felt no immediate pressure to enter the debate arena.

Nikki Haley solidified her position at the center stage during the debate. Following her strong performance in the first debate, which had sparked renewed interest from major donors, Ms. Haley appeared comfortable in the spotlight. She took aim at Governor DeSantis and defended herself against attacks from Tim Scott, whom she had appointed to the Senate. She even delivered one of the more memorable lines of the evening, telling Vivek Ramaswamy, “every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber.” Ms. Haley, like Governor DeSantis, took aim at Mr. Trump, suggesting that he had focused on the wrong issues in dealing with China’s growing influence and highlighting areas where he had left America vulnerable. Her rising stature was further confirmed as rivals began to scrutinize elements of her record as governor and United Nations ambassador.

Tim Scott reasserted himself in this debate after fading into the background during the first one. He had experienced a decline in the polls following the initial debate but made a strong comeback. From the beginning of the contest, he actively sought speaking time and integrated his trademark optimism with pointed criticisms directed at both Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley. Notably, he refrained from targeting Mr. Trump. His standout moment came during an exchange with Governor DeSantis on Florida’s curriculum regarding slavery, where he chose to emphasize his life story and emphasize his belief that America is not a racist country.

Vivek Ramaswamy adopted a different approach in this debate compared to the first one. In the prior debate, he gained attention by launching personal attacks on his opponents and accusing them of corruption. However, polling data following the debate did not support the narrative of his victory. Republican voters developed a more negative perception of him, and he struggled in early-state polls compared to his performance in national online polls. Consequently, Ramaswamy adopted a conciliatory tone in this debate, chastising his competitors for attacking each other and repeatedly expressing his respect for them. However, this reinvented persona failed to resonate, as the other candidates at times appeared to bond over their shared disapproval of him. Ms. Haley even elicited laughter from the audience when she remarked that she felt “dumber every time he talked,” while Tim Scott criticized his business ties to China. Overall, aside from the critiques directed at President Biden, the harshest criticisms of the night were aimed at Mr. Ramaswamy.

Vivek Ramaswamy has better chance at presidency against Trump than Nikki Haley:Poll

Ramaswamy has a better chance of winning the primary against Trump as compared to Haley but the results were reversed if the Indian Americans were to contest Biden

The latest Harvard/CAPS Harris Poll, a monthly collaboration between the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard (CAPS) and the Harris Poll and HarrisX, revealed that if it came down to a one-on-one between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy against former President Donald Trump, Ramaswamy had a better chance at winning.

Picture : ABC News

If the Republican party primary is down to two choices, Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, 38 per cent of the respondents said they would vote for the former while 62 per cent  chose Trump. For the same question but with Ramaswamy and Trump as choices, the results were 40 and 60 per cent respectively.

For the same question, Trump held the maximum amount of votes, i.e. 30 per cent, with DeSantis in position two with 7 per cent of the votes, followed by the two Indian American candidates.

The results of Haley and Ramaswamy’s favorability among voters was flipped if they were to compete against President Joe Biden. In head-to-head presidential matchups, Biden would lose the election to Haley by 4 per cent, and Ramaswamy trails behind Biden by 2 per cent, as per poll results.

Vivek Ramaswamy Has Better Chances Than Nikki Haley Against Trump: Polls

Vivek Ramaswamy has a better chance of winning the primary against Trump as compared to Haley but the results were reversed if the Indian Americans were to contest Biden

The latest Harvard/CAPS Harris Poll, a monthly collaboration between the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard (CAPS) and the Harris Poll and HarrisX, revealed that if it came down to a one-on-one between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy against former President Donald Trump, Ramaswamy had a better chance at winning.

If the Republican party primary is down to two choices, Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, 38 per cent of the respondents said they would vote for the former while 62 per cent  chose Trump. For the same question but with Ramaswamy and Trump as choices, the results were 40 and 60 per cent respectively.

Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy.

For the same question, Trump held the maximum number of votes, i.e. 30 per cent, with DeSantis in position two with 7 per cent of the votes, followed by the two Indian American candidates.

The results of Haley and Ramaswamy’s favorability among voters was flipped if they were to compete against President Joe Biden. In head-to-head presidential matchups, Biden would lose the election to Haley by 4 per cent, and Ramaswamy trails behind Biden by 2 per cent, as per poll results.

Biden Trails Haley, Polling Neck-And-Neck With Other Republicans

A recent CNN poll has brought concerning news for the White House and President Biden, with his approval rating at just 39 percent, a little over a year before the next election. In contrast, 61 percent of respondents expressed disapproval of Biden’s job performance, marking a significant drop from his 45 percent approval rating earlier in the year.

One of the standout findings of the poll is that former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the only GOP presidential candidate leading in a hypothetical matchup against Biden. The poll, conducted by SSRS, shows Haley ahead of Biden with 49 percent to 43 percent. Notably, all other major Republican candidates are locked in tight races with the incumbent president.

These results are particularly promising for Nikki Haley, who previously served as the United Nations ambassador under President Trump. She aims to capitalize on her strong showing in the recent GOP presidential debate, hoping to challenge her former boss for the Republican nomination. However, it’s important to note that Haley trails significantly behind Trump in polls of Republican primary voters, highlighting the considerable challenge she faces.

Nonetheless, the CNN poll suggests that she could be a more competitive GOP nominee against Biden in the general election compared to her Republican rivals. This potential advantage may become a key talking point as she campaigns in early primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Other notable GOP candidates also outperformed Biden in the head-to-head polling. Former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott both garnered 46 percent support, while Biden received 44 percent. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie secured 44 percent to Biden’s 42 percent, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tied with Biden, each at 47 percent. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy trailed Biden in a head-to-head matchup, with 45 percent to Biden’s 46 percent. Trump held a slim 1-point lead over Biden, with 47 percent to 46 percent.

When respondents were asked about a potential rematch between Trump and Biden, 47 percent indicated they would choose the former president, while 46 percent favored the current president. A small percentage (5 percent) preferred a different candidate, and 2 percent stated they did not plan to vote. These numbers do not bode well for Biden, as he trails five of the seven GOP candidates in the polling.

One significant concern for voters regarding Biden is his age; he is currently 80 years old and will turn 81 in November. The CNN poll reveals that more than half of Democratic voters surveyed are “seriously concerned” about his age. Approximately 60 percent of Democrats expressed apprehension about Biden’s ability to win the 2024 election if he secures the Democratic nomination. Additionally, 62 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of all respondents expressed serious concerns about Biden completing a second term.

While Biden is virtually certain to secure the Democratic nomination, his weaknesses in this poll are likely to heighten anxieties within the Democratic party regarding his strength as a candidate in the upcoming election. According to the poll, 46 percent of voters believe any Republican presidential nominee would be a better choice than Biden in 2024, while 32 percent believe the sitting president is a better option than any of the GOP hopefuls. In contrast, 44 percent of respondents think any Democratic nominee would be better than Trump, and 38 percent consider the former president superior to any Democratic nominee.

Among Democrats, the poll found that 67 percent would prefer the party to nominate someone other than Biden, a significant increase from the 54 percent who expressed the same sentiment in March. Of those who desire a different candidate, 82 percent did not have a specific individual in mind. Only 1 percent stated they would vote for either of Biden’s 2024 Democratic challengers, Marianne Williamson or Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from August 25 to August 31 among 1,259 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Despite the challenges Biden faces in this poll, he is currently preparing to attend the G20 summit in India and will return to Washington at the beginning of the following week. While the poll results may boost Republican confidence in defeating Biden, they also raise questions among GOP voters about Trump’s viability as a general election candidate in 2024, considering his ongoing legal issues, including federal indictments and state charges.

Joe Biden Expressed Concerns About Human Rights, Free Press With PM Narendra Modi

US President Joe Biden has said that he held “substantial discussions” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on ways to strengthen the Indo-US partnership and thanked him for his leadership and hosting the G20 Summit in New Delhi. Biden told reporters here in the Vietnamese capital that he also raised the importance of respecting human rights with Prime Minister Modi.

Biden, who arrived in New Delhi on his first visit to India as the US President, held wide-ranging talks with Modi and they vowed to “deepen and diversify” the bilateral major defence partnership while welcoming forward movement in India’s procurement of 31 drones and joint development of jet engines.

“I want to once again thank Prime Minister Modi for his leadership and his hospitality and hosting the G20. He and I have had substantial discussions about how we’re going to continue to strengthen the partnership between India and the US building on the Prime Minister’s visit to the White House last June,” Biden said during a press conference here.

“As I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role the civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Modi,” he said.

Picture : ParadePhash

According to the joint statement issued on Friday after Modi and Biden held bilateral talks, “The leaders re-emphasised that the shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, inclusion, pluralism, and equal opportunities for all citizens are critical to the success our countries enjoy and that these values strengthen our relationship.” Biden also talked about the “significant business” he had done in India during the G20 Summit.

“This was an important moment for the United States to demonstrate our global leadership and our commitment to solving the challenges that matter most to people around the world. Investing in inclusive growth and sustainable development, addressing the climate crisis, strengthening food security and education, advancing global health and health security,” he said. “We showed the world the United States is a partner with a positive vision for our shared future,” he added.

On the corridor connecting India to Europe with the Middle East and Israel, he said that are going to open up untold opportunities for transformative economic investment.

He said the “illegal war in Ukraine” was also discussed at the summit and there was sufficient agreement on the need for just and lasting peace.

Responding to questions, President Biden said his goal is to provide stability around the world by building America’s ties with Vietnam and other Asian countries as he insisted that he is not trying to start a “cold war” with China.

“It’s not about containing China. It’s about having a stable base,” said Biden, who is here as Vietnam was elevating the United States to comprehensive strategic partner.

Biden also said that he met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of the G20 in New Delhi and ”talked about stability.” “It wasn’t confrontational at all,” he added.

Biden Arrives In India For G20 Summit

US President Joe Biden will travel to India on Thursday to attend the G20 summit. He will also have a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of the summit, the White House has announced.

India, President of G20, will host global leaders at the summit, which will take place on September 9 and 10 in New Delhi. On Thursday (September 7), the US President will travel to New Delhi to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the White House said in a statement.

On September 8, he will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi. On Saturday and Sunday, Biden will participate in the G20 summit, where the US President and G20 partners will discuss a range of joint efforts to tackle global issues, including clean energy transition and combating climate change.

Picture : The Guardian

They will also discuss ways to mitigate the economic and social impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and increase the capacity of multilateral development banks, including World Bank, to better fight poverty and address global challenges.

The President will participate in the G20 Summit on Saturday and Sunday where he and G20 partners will discuss a range of joint efforts to tackle global issues which include clean energy transition and combating climate change.

They will also mitigate the economic and social impacts of Russia’s war in Ukraine and boost the capacity of multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, to better fight poverty, including by addressing global challenges, the White House said.

“While in New Delhi, the President will also commend Prime Minister Modi’s leadership of the G20 and reaffirm the US commitment to the G20 as the premier forum of economic cooperation, including by hosting it in 2026,” it added.

Earlier, amid the reports of Chinese President Xi Jinping skipping the G20 Summit in New Delhi, Biden had said that he hoped that Xi would attend the meeting in India.

While in New Delhi, the US President will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to the G20 as the premier forum of economic cooperation. The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world’s major developed and developing economies.

The United States will host the summit in 2026.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Surprising Ascent in Republican Politics

Vivek Ramaswamy’s unexpected emergence as a prominent figure within the Republican Party has sent shockwaves through the political landscape. The 38-year-old pharmaceutical executive’s sudden prominence in the GOP presidential primary race has raised eyebrows, especially after his standout performance in a recent debate.

Previously an unexpected contender, Ramaswamy’s surge in popularity has been evident in the polls, where he has begun to surpass the popularity of current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. While DeSantis was once comfortably polling above 35% among voters, his favorability has dwindled in recent times, with numerous polls showing his numbers dipping below 15%. In contrast, Ramaswamy, who announced his presidential candidacy in late February, had started with a modest polling range between 1% and 5%. However, recent polls conducted by Rasmussen Reports and McLaughlin & Associates indicate that his support has soared, with figures reaching as high as 24%, and in some cases, even surpassing DeSantis.

 

Amidst the Battle for Second Place

As DeSantis and Ramaswamy vie for second place in the primary race, the prevailing sentiment is that former President Donald Trump maintains a commanding lead, consistently polling at over 50%. Trump’s resurgence and increasing popularity have been attributed, in part, to his recent legal challenges across four states, which appear to have rallied his base. Furthermore, Trump’s strategic return to social media, now under the name “X” after the rebranding of Twitter, is anticipated to further bolster his polling numbers.

Ramaswamy’s Policy Stances and Their Potential Market Effects

Vivek Ramaswamy’s policy platform is marked by a commitment to reducing government expenditure and regulations. While these policies might not directly impact individual stocks, the broader market indices such as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Stock Exchange tend to respond positively to initiatives aimed at deregulation in specific sectors.

Energy Sectors and Economic Implications

Ramaswamy aligns himself with many GOP candidates in supporting energy solutions rooted in natural resources like oil, coal, nuclear power, and natural gas. This alignment suggests that stocks in these sectors could experience substantial growth under a Ramaswamy presidency. Notable companies poised to benefit include ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Constellation Energy Corp., and NuScale Power Corp.

Cryptocurrency Standpoint and Financial Markets

While Ramaswamy takes a stance against central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), he has emerged as a proponent of Bitcoin. His campaign’s acceptance of donations in Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and other cryptocurrencies reflects his support for the crypto landscape. However, it remains unclear whether he would actively promote policies favoring cryptocurrencies. Ramaswamy’s priority appears to be strengthening the U.S. dollar over Bitcoin, thereby shaping his stance on digital currencies.

Tech Innovation and Startup Ecosystem

Ramaswamy’s focus on innovation, evident in his “America First 2.0” agenda and his background in technology, bodes well for traditional technology stocks. Although companies like Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. have exhibited resilience regardless of the party in power, potential tax incentives for companies moving their operations to the U.S. could enhance their profitability in the long term.

Picture : CNBC

Stimulating innovation and small business growth is anticipated to yield positive outcomes. The venture capital market, which encountered declines exceeding 50% in the U.S. during the first half of 2023, is showing signs of a rebound. Platforms facilitating retail startup investments, like StartEngine and Wefunder, are gradually recovering. The projected positive direction of these sectors is attributed to the potential for deregulation and policies promoting innovation, small businesses, and vocational trades.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s unforeseen prominence in the Republican Party’s presidential primary race has captivated attention. As he competes with Governor Ron DeSantis for second place, both candidates trail behind the frontrunner, former President Donald Trump. Ramaswamy’s policy positions, spanning from deregulation to energy preferences and cryptocurrency viewpoints, hold potential implications for various sectors in the economy and financial markets. His commitment to fostering innovation and supporting small businesses has the potential to reshape multiple facets of the American economic landscape.

Indiaspora’s G20 Forum Focusses On India’s Growth Trajectory

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti highlighted India’s remarkable progress, promoting a cohesive identity within concentric circles and emphasizing the diaspora’s role in fortifying the US-India connection. While participating in the Indiaspora deliberations at the three-day event from August 22-24, 2023, at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, the ambassador advocated addressing the overconcentration of power, fostering a serious approach to bilateral engagement, and acquiring skills, especially in complex domains like semiconductors. 

The G20 Forum by Indiaspora convened influential voices from around the world to deliberate on critical issues encompassing foreign policy, financial inclusion, climate change, gender equality, healthcare, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, sports, and trade and investments, and beyond. See below for a day-by-day summary of the event. 

M R Rangaswami, Founder of Indiaspora, highlighted the far-reaching impact of Indian doctors and academics worldwide, emphasizing the organization’s effort to document the diaspora’s contributions. A pivotal topic was the role of the diaspora during India’s G20 presidency, with Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Chief Coordinator of G20 India, discussing its significance within India’s ‘Amrit Kaal’. 

The discussions extended to philanthropy and its global impact. Atul Keshap, President of USIBC, highlighted the Indian-American community’s growth and influence, while Faizal Kottikollon, founder and chairman of KEF Holdings, shed light on his school’s transformative approach to public education in India and Africa

The event highlighted collaborations between the Indian diaspora and various countries, with representatives from Israel, Canada, Australia, and the UK underscoring the strength of their partnerships. Galvanizing Impact Philanthropy to India was the topic of a fireside  chat featuring strategic philanthropists Deepak Raj and Ashish Dawan. The crucial theme of ethical and responsible giving emerged in discussions, where experts like Aditya Jha, President & CEO, dgMarket International, Shanthini Naidoo, CEO, St. Vincent’s Curran Foundation, and Mittal Gohil, Executive Director of The Desai Foundation, stressed the importance of purpose-driven philanthropy.

Sessions also explored AI’s implications on economic progress and societal needs. Experts like Rohit Jain, CIO, Harvard Business School Alumni Association NC, Jaya Vaidhyanathan, CEO, BCT Digital, and Preetish Nijhawan, General Partner, Cervin Ventures, dissected the nuances of AI’s development, focusing on rational and existential fears, data biases, and the need for inclusive models. The event also celebrated arts and culture with a talk by esteemed Indian music producer, A. R. Rahman, who emphasized the need for infrastructure and spaces to preserve and promote artistic expressions globally. The day offered insightful discussions on diverse topics, showcasing the potential of the Indian diaspora’s engagement for a more interconnected world.

 

The Indiaspora G20 Forum concluded its third day with insightful discussions on various crucial topics. In the panel discussion “From Homelands to Global Markets: Cross-Border Trade & Investment,” experts emphasized the transformative nature of global value chains driven by geopolitical dynamics. The emergence of ASEAN countries and the strategic cooperation between the US, India, Australia, and Japan (the Quad) were highlighted as significant developments. A key focus was on the pivotal role of exports in economic growth and development, as expressed by Indiaspora member and Managing Partner at Celesta Capital, Mr. Arun Kumar, and CEO of the Centre of Australia India Relations, Mr. Tim Thomas.

The event’s subsequent sessions delved into diverse themes. Chairman of the Quad Investors Network at America’s Frontier Fund, Karl Mehta‘s talk emphasized the importance of innovation and investment in critical technologies for the Quad alliance, envisioning it as a hub for cutting-edge advancements. Discussions also centered around digital transformation, with Mr. Vikas Choudhury, President, Reliance Jio and Partner at Pivot Ventures, spotlighting the role of technology in India’s journey toward 2047. Another session, led by Chairman of Panera Brands, Mr. Niren Chaudhary, stressed leadership through resilience and the importance of values and character in shaping individuals’ impact.

The breakout sessions further enriched the dialogue. Unleashing soft power, diplomacy, and cultural capital were highlighted, with insights from Mr. Muktesh Pardeshi, Special Secretary and heads the operations and logistics of India’s G20 Presidency Secretariat, Ms. Anat Bernstein-Reich, CEO at BDO Consulting Israel-India Investment Banking and Business Development and others. The significance of the Indian diaspora in contributing to global goodwill and relationships was underscored. Moreover, discussions on driving knowledge sharing for India’s growth led by Dr. Sudhir Jain, Vice-Chancellor at Banaras Hindu University, and Sunder Ramaswamy, Distinguished International Economist and professor at Middlebury College, emphasized the role of education and collaboration in propelling the nation forward.

The final day included panels on venture capital’s role in inclusive development, with experts like Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman Axilor Ventures and Co-founder Infosys, and Mr. Prashant Pathak, CEO at Ekagrata Inc., discussing the impact of investments on technology development. Another panel addressed innovation, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility, highlighting the potential of these sectors in driving change. Mr. Peyush Bansal, Co-Founder, Chief Executive & People Office, shared his journey with Lenskart and the impact on eye care and awareness. And India’s Finance Secretary Dr. TV Somanathan spoke of the ways in which the diaspora can help India’s surge towards a $10 trillion economy.

Overall, the Indiaspora G20 Forum Day 3 showcased vibrant discussions on trade, innovation, soft power, and societal impact. The forum illuminated the Indian diaspora’s pivotal role in fostering global connections, leveraging technology, and shaping the nation’s growth trajectory. With the spotlight on inclusive development, technology-driven solutions, and sustainable progress, the event underscored the diaspora’s immense potential in shaping India’s future.

Trump’s Mug Shot, The First Ever Of A US President

The world’s seen hundreds of thousands of pictures of Donald Trump. But this one’s different.

In Donald Trump’s mug shot taken at the Fulton County Jail on Thursday, he’s looking straight into the camera. His platinum blonde cotton candy wisp of hair shimmers in the harsh jailhouse lighting. His eyes are locked in a hard stare. His mouth is flattened in a grimace. Instead of smiling like some of his co-defendants, he appears to be scowling.

The mug shot was released by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office roughly an hour after the former President was booked as inmate P01135809 over charges that he illegally schemed to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Trump’s booking in Atlanta is the fourth time he’s faced criminal charges in six months, but the first time his face has been captured for the iconic symbol of a run-in with the law. In previous cases, the courts agreed Trump didn’t need to have a mug shot taken, prompting his campaign to design a fake mug shot, print it on T-shirts and offer them for sale at $36 each in an effort to galvanize his base.

Mug shots have been taken since the 1800s to help authorities identify people accused of a crime if they escape or don’t show up for court, or later, after being convicted and released, to help authorities recapture them if they’re accused of other crimes. Trump’s face is so well known, taking another image of him is hardly necessary, and authorities during his previous appearances agreed to waive the requirement. But not Fulton County, Georgia.

Speaking to reporters at the Atlanta airport after being booked, Trump said that he did “nothing wrong” and called the case a “travesty of justice.” He added: “We have every right to challenge an election we think is dishonest.”

While several of Trump’s Republican rivals for president have criticized the multiple prosecutions against him, they have also acknowledged that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

Trump is the first President to ever pose for a mug shot. The closest history has to offer was the 1872 arrest of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was taken to a local police station in Washington, D.C. for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage. No mug shot was taken in the incident.

Haley Vs. Ramaswamy: For The First Time, 2 Indian-Americans Spar In GOP Debate

For the first time in the history of the US, two Indian-American presidential candidates locked horns over the country’s foreign policy in the Republican party’s first presidential debate.

On Wednesday, Nikki Haley, 51, accused Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, of supporting America’s foreign adversaries and abandoning its friends, and said that her GOP rival lacked foreign policy experience.

Asserting that a win for Russia is a win for China, Haley said that Ukraine is the first line of defence for the US, which Ramaswamy doesn’t understand and wants to handover Kiev to Moscow.

“The problem that Vivek Ramaswamy doesn’t understand is he wants to hand Ukraine to Russia, he wants to let China eat Taiwan, he wants to go and stop funding Israel,” Haley said.

“You don’t do that to friends. What you do instead is you have the backs of your friends,” Hely said even as Ramaswamy interrupted her on and off, calling her accusations false.

Ramaswamy, who was the only presidential candidate to raise hand when Fox News moderators asked who would not keep supporting Ukraine, argued the US should focus on protecting its own border first.

Stating that Haley was “pushing this lie” about him, Ramaswamy accused her of backing Ukraine at the behest of defence contractors. “I wish you well in your future career on the boards of Lockheed (Martin) and Raytheon,” Ramaswamy told Haley.

The youngest presidential-hopeful had recently unveiled his foreign policy vision at the Nixon Presidential Library, which called for less involvement in foreign affairs that do not directly concern the US.

“I do not want to get to the point where we are sending our military resources abroad, when we could be better using them here at home to protect our borders, protect my homeland,” Ramaswamy said at the debate.

Haley said Ramaswamy is choosing Russian President Vladimir Putin who has said that once they take over Ukraine Baltic states are the next.

“That’s a World War we are trying to prevent… You are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country,” Haley blasted Ramaswamy in a heated exchange of words, warning that Ramaswamy’s moves could cost America’s security.

Earlier, another GOP rival Chris Christie tore into Ramaswamy during the debate, calling him an “amateur” Obama, and sounding like a ChatGPT. (IANS)

Republican Presidential Debate Showcases Standout Performances By Vivek & Hailey

The initial Republican presidential debate proved to be a lively event, as eight contenders engaged in heated discussions and exchanges. Despite concerns that the absence of the charismatic showman, Donald Trump, might render the debate dull, it was anything but lackluster.

The group of rivals, assembled in Wisconsin, demonstrated their capacity to generate excitement without relying on Trump’s presence. Within this competitive atmosphere, certain candidates emerged as strong contenders, while others seemed to fade into the background. Here’s an overview of the winners and losers from the debate.

FOX

Vivek Ramaswamy: In a surprising turn of events, a political novice with no prior experience in public office, and who had abstained from voting for presidents from 2004 to 2020, took center stage during the Republican debate. Sporting a wide grin and a sharp wit, Ramaswamy appeared to be the sole candidate genuinely enjoying the proceedings. His lack of political baggage allowed him to deflect criticism from fellow contenders, insinuating that Christie was auditioning for a left-leaning news channel, and Haley’s positions on Ukraine were aimed at securing positions on defense contractor boards.

“I’m the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for,” Ramaswamy boldly asserted during a discussion on climate change, which sparked outrage among his opponents. Ramaswamy consistently positioned himself as an outsider amidst a sea of establishment insiders, championing unconventional views such as advocating Ukraine to cede territory to Russia, deploying military force to secure the US-Mexico border, and prohibiting US firms from engaging with China.

While his stances may diverge significantly from the Republican Party’s mainstream, Ramaswamy proved that even audacious and seemingly impractical policy proposals can garner attention, as demonstrated by Trump in 2016. Despite potential limitations in challenging Trump’s nomination, Ramaswamy’s performance guaranteed his influence in the upcoming months.

Mike Pence: A seasoned politician with a history as a congressman, governor, and vice-president, Pence showcased his remaining political vigor during the debate. Although his presidential campaign has encountered challenges, being disliked by both Trump supporters and critics, his experience on the debate stage served him well. Pence immediately went on the offensive, criticizing Ramaswamy’s inexperience and asserting that “now is not the time for on-the-job training.” He fervently advocated for nationwide abortion restrictions, a stance likely to resonate with evangelical Republicans, who wield significant influence in pivotal states like Iowa and South Carolina.

When the topic shifted to Trump, Pence had the final say, highlighting his prioritization of the Constitution on January 6, 2021, by refusing to overturn the election results as per Trump’s wishes. This stance garnered support from some of his rivals. While Pence’s campaign still faces challenges, his debate performance illustrated why he was once considered a promising presidential candidate among conservative Republicans.

Nikki Haley: The former US ambassador to the UN consistently defies expectations. Never defeated in any race for office, even when facing established Republican contenders for the South Carolina governorship, Haley continued her streak during the debate. She stood out by delivering early and pointed criticisms of both Trump and the Republican Party as a whole.

“Republicans did this to you too,” Haley remarked while discussing the substantial US budget deficit. She emphasized the need to curtail spending and borrowing. \

Turning her attention to the former president, Haley labeled Trump as the “most disliked politician in America,” cautioning that the Republican Party’s fortunes would suffer as a consequence. Haley exhibited her readiness for a fight, engaging in debates with Ramaswamy over continuing US aid to Ukraine and challenging Pence’s calls for a national abortion ban as unrealistic and politically damaging.

Even if she fails to surge ahead in the current race, Haley’s debate performance could position her for future presidential bids in election years not dominated by a former president.

Middle of the Pack

Tim Scott and Chris Christie: Christie adhered to expectations by adopting a confrontational tone, taking jabs at Trump and Ramaswamy while displaying a spirited and combative attitude. Yet, his criticisms of Ramaswamy and his comments about the political neophyte resembling “ChatGPT” failed to resonate with the audience.

Tim Scott’s conciliatory demeanor positioned him above the fray during the most heated exchanges. While this approach may not attract a substantial voter base, it could enhance his prospects as a potential vice-presidential candidate for Trump.

Losers

Ron DeSantis: Initially projected to be a strong contender alongside Trump, the Florida governor’s poll numbers have dwindled since the beginning of the year. DeSantis failed to revitalize his campaign during the debate, remaining largely absent during pivotal moments. While his performance wasn’t disastrous, Ramaswamy overshadowed him, and rivals like Pence and Haley dominated discussions on abortion and US aid to Ukraine. His uncertain footing during discussions about Trump and recent indictments further highlighted his struggles. DeSantis’ inability to close the gap with Trump demonstrated that he has become a marginal player despite past expectations of his prominence within the Republican Party.

Asa Hutchinson and Doug Burgum: Hutchinson barely qualified for the Milwaukee debate, and Burgum secured his position through an unconventional campaign gimmick. Both candidates needed to prove their worth but failed to stand out. Hutchinson’s criticisms of Trump paled in comparison to Christie’s sharper attacks, and Burgum’s modest, small-state conservatism didn’t capture attention. With stricter qualification standards for the next debate, neither candidate demonstrated the necessary support to secure another appearance on the stage.

The Republican presidential debate showcased a dynamic atmosphere with candidates engaging in fervent exchanges. Ramaswamy’s unexpected prominence as a political newcomer, Pence’s revival of vigor, and Haley’s resilience against expectations were notable highlights. Candidates like Christie and Scott occupied the middle ground, while DeSantis, Hutchinson, and Burgum faltered. This debate marked an early juncture in the campaign, offering a glimpse of the evolving landscape of the Republican nomination race.

President Biden To Join G-20 Leaders In India To Address Global Challenges

US President Joe Biden is set to make his way to India from September 7 to 10 to participate in the G-20 Leaders’ Summit, an event aimed at tackling a variety of pressing worldwide issues. During this summit, President Biden will engage with fellow leaders in discussions encompassing critical topics, including the ongoing Ukraine conflict, as revealed by the White House on Tuesday.

The White House disclosed that President Biden plans to commend the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi within the G20 framework. This accolade underscores the significance of India’s role as the host country for the upcoming G20 world leaders’ summit scheduled for September 9 and 10 in New Delhi.

AP

This event is anticipated to bring together a notable assembly of global leaders, marking one of India’s most prominent diplomatic efforts. Having assumed the G20 Presidency on December 1, 2022, India took over this mantle from Indonesia.

At the forthcoming summit, President Biden will be actively engaging with his G20 counterparts in a dialogue aimed at addressing a diverse range of shared challenges. Among these issues, the focus will encompass collaborative efforts towards the clean energy transition, a critical element in the fight against climate change. The G20 partners will also be dedicating discussions to devise strategies for managing the socio-economic repercussions of the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

Highlighting the importance of global financial institutions, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized the intent to bolster the capacity of multilateral development banks, including the renowned World Bank.

The goal is to enhance their effectiveness in eradicating poverty while simultaneously addressing the overarching global issues at hand. The discussions are expected to delve into innovative approaches to harnessing these institutions for tackling the intertwined challenges of poverty and global crisis.

As President Biden makes his presence felt in New Delhi, he will extend appreciation towards Prime Minister Modi for his stewardship of the G20. Furthermore, this visit will serve to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to the G20 as the primary platform for international economic cooperation. An additional testament to this commitment comes in the form of the United States’ decision to host the G20 summit in the year 2026.

In consonance with these developments, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser at the White House, indicated that President Biden’s conversations with his counterparts during the summit sidelines will revolve around several core themes. High on the agenda will be the issue of climate change, reflecting the urgency of global efforts to combat this existential challenge.

Equally pressing is the topic of Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine, a situation that continues to elicit significant international concern. These engagements reaffirm the collective resolve of the G20 nations to collaborate in finding solutions to the world’s most formidable challenges.

President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to India for the G-20 Leaders’ Summit signifies a critical juncture for global diplomacy. The summit’s agenda underscores the importance of united efforts in addressing complex issues such as climate change and the ongoing Ukraine conflict. President Biden’s participation further reinforces the United States’ commitment to the G20 framework as a cornerstone of international cooperation, both through his commendation of Prime Minister Modi’s leadership and the nation’s future role in hosting the summit. The summit serves as a reminder that in a world characterized by interconnected challenges, collaborative endeavors among global leaders remain paramount.

“The Indian Diaspora – A Bridge Between The United States And India”

US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti underscored the Indian diaspora’s unifying strength, urging collective vision and seamless border navigation, described the Indian Diaspora as “A Bridge between the United States and India.”

Garcetti emphasized the deep linkages between India and the United States, highlighting President Biden’s emphasis on India’s importance in the world and expressing his aspiration to live in Bodh Gaya for Buddhist studies, while speaking at the Indiaspora G20 Forum in India’s capital. Garcetti’s remarks further encapsulated the breadth of collaboration between the nations, spanning technology, trade, environment, and space, and the pivotal role of reciprocal investments in driving job creation and mutual development.

“He (President Biden) told me, when he asked me to come here to serve, he said, this is the most important country in the world for me, I think something that no American president has ever uttered in the history of our two countries,” he added.

SA Times

Referencing his early career and his willingness to work closely with India, Garcetti stated “But politics got in the way. I got elected to the student council and I promised I would serve, so my India dream kind of died, or so I thought. But the universe has a curious way of connecting people and dreams. Now suddenly I’m living that dream here when President Biden asked me to consider serving here.”

The US Ambassador said: “From technology to trade, from the environment to women’s empowerment, from small businesses to space, we used to say the sky is the limit, but now that we’re working together in space, not even the sky is the limit. From the seabed to the heavens, the US and India are a force for good and a powerful force to move this world forward.”

Garcetti also pointed at the large population and cited how significant that is. Garcetti said 4 million people represent 1 per cent of the population of America but 6 per cent of the tax base.“ They are 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs.”

The Constitution Bars Trump From Holding Public Office Ever Again

In a landscape where some individuals on the right portray the accountability for the January 6 Capitol riot as merely a partisan dispute, two well-known conservative legal scholars have put forth the argument that the Constitution actually bars former President Trump from holding public office.

Recently, William Baude, a law professor at the University of Chicago, and Michael Stokes Paulsen, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas and both members of the conservative Federalist Society, presented their viewpoint through a law review article. They contend that Trump’s eligibility to hold public office is constitutionally prohibited due to Section Three of the 14th Amendment.

Picture: The UNN

Section Three, also referred to as the Disqualification Clause, stipulates that any government official who swears an oath to protect the Constitution and then participates in or assists an insurrection against the United States is ineligible for office. Only a two-thirds majority from both the House of Representatives and the Senate can take action to remove such a disability.

The argument isn’t surprising given Trump’s actions align with this criterion. All three branches of the government have characterized the attack on the Capitol as an insurrection. Multiple federal judges, bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress, as well as the Jan. 6 House select committee, which comprises members from both parties, have attributed the central cause of the insurrection to Trump.

Baude and Paulsen highlight that “Section Three does not necessitate a prior conviction under criminal law, whether for treason or any other specific offense, as a precondition for its application.” Trump’s indictment on charges related to election activities by special counsel Jack Smith only serves to further strengthen the argument for his constitutional disqualification.

The federal charges leveled against him encompass conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstructing and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiring against rights by seeking to “oppress, threaten or intimidate” individuals in their exercise of the right to vote.

Although Trump’s role in inciting the attack on the Capitol is well-documented, Baude and Paulsen assert that the “full legal implications” of Section Three “have not been fully recognized or enforced.” They underline that the Disqualification Clause is a “binding element of the Constitution, not confined to the Civil War era, and not effectively annulled by amnesty legislation from the 19th century.”

Moreover, the clause is “self-executing, without the necessity of supplementary action by Congress.” According to the professors, Section Three “can and should be upheld by every official, whether at the state or federal level, who assesses qualifications.”

In a notable precedent, last September, three residents of New Mexico, represented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, achieved the first instance in over a century and a half where an elected official was removed from office on the basis of involvement in an insurrection. The court determined that then-New Mexico County Commissioner Couy Griffin had violated Section Three of the 14th Amendment by enlisting individuals for combat in support of Trump’s endeavor to overturn the election on January 6. Griffin’s actions, which included breaching police barricades, contributing to the violent mob’s attack, and facilitating the overwhelming of law enforcement to storm the Capitol, were deemed insurrectionist. This case marked the initial instance at either the federal or state level where the events of January 6 were legally classified as an insurrection.

The court’s decision in Griffin’s case refutes the notion that disqualifying officials under Section Three of the 14th Amendment infringes upon the First Amendment right to protest. Furthermore, the court rejected attempts by Griffin to equate the events of January 6 with the Black Lives Matter protests.

In their article, Baude and Paulsen elucidate that “to the extent of any conflict with prior constitutional rules, Section Three repeals, supersedes, or simply satisfies them,” including “the free speech principles of the First Amendment.”

Most critically, the authors conclude that Section Three encompasses a “wide spectrum of actions against the authority of the constitutional order” and “a broad array of previous offices, including the presidency.” They unequivocally state that Section Three “disqualifies former President Donald Trump, and potentially many others, because of their involvement in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election.”

Irrespective of political affiliation, every president takes an oath to uphold and safeguard the United States Constitution. Applying the Disqualification Clause to an official who violates this oath is an act of devotion to the nation, devoid of partisan motivation. As Baude and Paulsen aptly put it, “Officials must uphold the Constitution because it is the law … Section Three already carries legal weight.”

The Disqualification Clause has already demonstrated its effectiveness in holding individuals accountable for their participation in the insurrection. In the approaching months, it is anticipated that this clause will be employed again to prevent Trump and others from assuming public office.

Is Anyone Having More Fun Running For President Than Vivek Ramaswamy?

Vivek Ramaswamy is currently navigating through the bustling streets of New Hampshire in a crowded Ford Explorer. The Republican contender for the presidential race is managing a whirlwind of campaign stops, engaging in discussions with three journalists while simultaneously conferring with a campaign assistant. During this drive, there’s a brief jolt as the SUV veers onto the highway’s rumble strip, causing Ramaswamy to momentarily startle before promptly resuming his conversation.

In the world of presidential campaigns, the ability to multitask is a necessity – be it handling various tasks while on the move, interacting with constituents, or delivering speeches. However, among the Republican candidates, few exhibit the multitasking prowess of the affluent 38-year-old Ramaswamy. His day has been brimming with activity, starting from his visit to the courthouse in Washington where Donald Trump was to be arraigned, all the way to New Hampshire. Here, he engaged in a lunchtime meet-and-greet and later attended a backyard gathering, addressing attendees and distributing pamphlets outlining his 10 core “truths.” These include statements such as “there are two genders,” “human prosperity depends on fossil fuels,” and “the nuclear family represents the supreme form of governance known to humanity.” During these events, Ramaswamy also shared his plans to dismantle the Department of Education, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, he articulated his intent to take the “America First” approach even further than Trump by reducing support for Ukraine and deploying troops to secure the southern border.

Ramaswamy’s strategy of being present everywhere at once, combined with his knack for conveying provocative anti-establishment views in an amiable manner, has propelled him to a prominent position in the GOP primary. Since officially launching his candidacy in February, Ramaswamy’s pace has been relentless. From shaking hands in New Hampshire to rapping Eminem lyrics in Iowa, from featuring on over 70 podcasts to appearing on a plethora of news programs, and generating a consistent stream of online content, he has outperformed many governors and even a former vice president in the early primary states. This dynamism has led Ramaswamy to secure second or third place in various national polls, garnering attention as a major contender.

Sarah Longwell, a Republican pollster who conducts focus groups with GOP-leaning voters, noted a shift in perception. While previously, Ramaswamy was scarcely mentioned in discussions while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was frequently brought up, the tables have now turned. Longwell views Ramaswamy’s campaign approach as one DeSantis could have adopted. “I think that he has been running the kind of campaign that Ron DeSantis should have run,” Longwell commented on Ramaswamy’s strategy.

However, Ramaswamy’s journey ahead won’t be without challenges. The influence of Trump remains dominant in the race, commanding the support of a majority of primary voters as indicated by recent national polls. Furthermore, Ramaswamy hasn’t yet become a target for his fellow contenders, partly due to not being perceived as a significant threat. While Ramaswamy has made strides in winning over the GOP base, Longwell doesn’t consider him a genuine contender for the GOP nomination. She explains, “He’s not really running as a challenger to Trump. He’s running as somebody who’s trying to elevate his brand, elevate his name ID, and simply become a player in politics.”

In contrast, Ramaswamy asserts his intention to secure victory and categorically rejects the idea of joining a potential second Trump administration. The entrepreneur, who asserts billionaire status, has already injected $15 million of his personal funds into his campaign and is willing to contribute an “unlimited” amount. As the debate stage in Milwaukee awaits him on August 23rd, Ramaswamy and his team anticipate capitalizing on the momentum generated through six months of relentless campaigning. Beyond that point, he envisions transitioning to a more traditional campaign approach involving television advertisements and conventional voter engagement methods. By the time the Iowa caucuses arrive in January, Ramaswamy is confident he will have demonstrated to the Republican electorate what a plausible successor to Trump looks like.

Currently, Vivek Ramaswamy finds himself amid the flurry of activities that have become his signature approach. As we share the car ride through New Hampshire, he reserves the final 10 minutes to collect his thoughts and review his phone. While scrolling through his social media feed, he stumbles upon something intriguing – a post on social media that captures his attention. Specifically, it’s a MSNBC clip featuring Al Sharpton’s commentary on Donald Trump’s legal issues. In the clip, Sharpton raises a rhetorical question, “Can you imagine our reading that James Madison or Thomas Jefferson tried to overthrow the government so they can stay in power?”

Ramaswamy responds to this snippet with a chuckle, his eyes twinkling with an understanding that he can leverage this. He starts by recalling an incident from his college days when he posed a question to Sharpton during a news program. Although he doesn’t recall the specifics of that interaction, he capitalizes on the current moment. As our car nears the upcoming campaign stop in Concord, Ramaswamy plays off Sharpton’s comment and tweets a rejoinder: “It was called the American Revolution. We were successful. We won.” This tweet quickly garners over 2 million views.

Earlier in the day, the scene shifts to Milford, where Ramaswamy addresses a gathering of several dozen people in a local grill. Despite the awkwardness of some attendees eating their lunches while standing, there’s palpable interest in this candidate within the crowded field. Amidst the older, casually dressed voters, Ramaswamy stands out in his suit. He dedicates thirteen minutes to delivering his campaign speech and then devotes almost an hour to answering a diverse range of questions, spanning topics from his plans for national unity to his views on modern monetary theory and strategies to address pedophilia. Following this extensive exchange, he engages with those who have lined up for a photo opportunity.

Ramaswamy’s drive and charisma have deep roots. Born in Cincinnati to Indian immigrant parents who pursued the American Dream, his upbringing significantly influenced his worldview. Despite his parents arriving in the U.S. with limited financial resources, his father found work as an engineer and his mother as a psychiatrist. The values he imbibed were more rooted in culture than politics, he tells me during our time in the SUV. He elaborates, “That was sort of what we cared more about—moral foundations.”

During his teenage years, Ramaswamy began absorbing political insights from various sources. One influence was his conservative Christian piano teacher who admired Ronald Reagan. “She probably influenced me with modes of conservative thought that I probably wouldn’t have thought about in the past,” Ramaswamy reflects. He cites the emphasis on family stability and grounding as perspectives he gained from this exposure.

Despite his polished political demeanor, at the time Vivek Ramaswamy was primarily focused on the business realm. His Harvard years saw the co-founding of Campus Venture Network, an initiative supporting student entrepreneurs, and the launch of a college consulting firm. Graduating in 2007, he joined QVT Financial LP, a hedge fund where he achieved partner status by age 28. Concurrently, he pursued legal education at Yale Law School.

Around this juncture, Ramaswamy acknowledges entertaining fleeting thoughts of entering politics. He recalls, “I considered it briefly, the idea of possibly doing it at some point, when I was in law school.” While some in his circle maintain that he wasn’t deeply inclined toward electoral politics at that time, at least one acquaintance from that era shares that Ramaswamy had contemplated dedicating a decade to building a robust business career before embarking on a political journey. This strategy aimed to achieve success that would allow him to uphold his convictions without being influenced by the donor class.

Notably, Ramaswamy claims to have achieved multi-millionaire status by the time he obtained his J.D. in 2013. In the subsequent year, he founded Roivant Sciences, a drug development company aiming to advance stalled medical treatments. Through one of Roivant’s subsidiaries in 2015, he orchestrated the largest initial public offering in the U.S. biotech industry up to that point. While the Alzheimer’s drug central to this IPO faced setbacks, the company achieved success with other treatments, securing FDA approval for therapies addressing prostate cancer and overactive bladder. In 2016, he earned a place on Forbes’ list of richest entrepreneurs under 40, and his wealth soared.

The year 2020 marked a turning point. Ramaswamy’s discomfort grew as he observed corporate advocacy for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing. He expressed his concerns in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, asserting that business leaders should refrain from influencing America’s societal and cultural values. The pandemic and the racial justice protests of that year further solidified his stance. An associate, Anson Frericks, recalls Ramaswamy’s frustration, noting instances where his board requested him to take positions on contentious issues related to COVID policies and matters stemming from George Floyd’s death.

In 2021, Ramaswamy relinquished his role as CEO of Roivant and published “Woke, Inc.,” a New York Times bestseller. Subsequently, he gained a regular presence on Fox News. He and Frericks established Strive, an asset management firm emphasizing shareholder value over political agendas. Ramaswamy swiftly penned another book, critiquing victimhood mindsets and identity politics. Amidst numerous appearances on cable news, he considered running for Senate in Ohio.

Picture: Vanity Fair

Surprisingly, Ramaswamy announced his candidacy for the presidential race on February 21. His YouTube video launch depicts familiar political-ad visuals, showcasing scenes from a small-town church, workers, families, and children at play. The video transitions into a more critical tone, featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, climate activist Greta Thunberg, and transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. Ramaswamy’s voiceover voice warns against “COVIDism, climatism, and gender ideology.” The voiceover contends, “We hunger to be part of something bigger than ourselves yet we cannot even answer the question of what it means to be an American.”

The same day the video was released, Ramaswamy outlined his campaign themes on Tucker Carlson’s show. He expounded on core American values like meritocracy, self-governance, and free speech while highlighting how division, spurred by the left, has shifted focus to differences. Carlson commended him, stating, “I hope you’ll come back often, ‘cause you are one of the great talkers we’ve ever had.”

In the ensuing weeks, Ramaswamy embraced an inclusive approach to campaigning, engaging with anyone willing to converse, irrespective of potential detractors. Peter Christopher, a New Hampshire business owner attending Ramaswamy’s lunchtime event, expressed admiration: “He has an understanding of our culture today that he’s not afraid to share. And yet, the way he shares it is not in a way that other people have to be wrong.”

Apoorva Ramaswamy, the candidate’s spouse, emphasizes his enthusiasm for engaging with people, especially those holding opposing views. She notes his passion for being challenged and honing his arguments. Their initial meeting occurred in 2011 when he was attending Yale Law School. Apoorva remarks, “He loves being challenged, being forced to hone his arguments and his thought processes. That’s like his favorite hobby.”

Months of traversing the nation to engage with voters have passed, primarily through town hall meetings in early primary states. Ramaswamy ventures into unusual Republican campaign destinations, such as a Black barbershop in Chicago. These unique interactions generate social media buzz and distinguish him within the crowded Republican field. Paul Davis, a college friend maintaining contact throughout the campaign, reflects, “A lot of these candidates are very afraid of talking to the press… and they’re really worried about, ‘Oh, this outlet is biased, and they’re going to spin it this way, or that way, whatever.”

His educational journey brought him to a predominantly Black middle school in Milford, where he found himself among a diverse student body. He has shared an incident from his eighth-grade year when he was pushed down the stairs by another student, leading to surgery. This event marked a turning point as he transitioned to a Jesuit school, St. Xavier High School, where he became one of the few Indian students in a predominantly white class. In his valedictorian speech, he recollected feeling uncertain during freshman year mass, struggling with the lyrics and when to stand or sit. A sophomore religion class broadened his horizons, helping him explore various viewpoints and shape his own perspective. He expressed, “I’ll definitely remember emerging from St. X with a personal faith that was neither Catholic nor strictly Hindu, but was finally something that I could call my own,” addressing his fellow graduates.

Even during his teenage years, Ramaswamy’s warmth and sociability stood out, allowing him to discuss topics like local sports with ease. However, his unique background set him apart. Only recently did his former business partner, Anson Frericks, a friend from St. Xavier, realize he had been mispronouncing Ramaswamy’s first name for two decades. (The correct pronunciation rhymes with “cake.”) When confronted, Ramaswamy explained that as the only Indian student in an all-male Catholic high school, he grew accustomed to responding to whatever name people used. Frericks shared his perspective, saying, “He’s like, ‘Hey, you know, when you’re the only Indian kid at an all-male Catholic high school, you just take whatever you’re called.”

While pursuing a biology degree at Harvard, Ramaswamy engaged in a plethora of extracurricular activities, from playing club tennis to participating in the South Asian Association. He was deeply involved in leadership roles across various organizations and also explored his artistic side under the alias “Da Vek,” dabbling in rap. He held leadership positions in groups like the Harvard Political Union and the Institute for Politics, and he joined the Harvard Republican Club. He recalls, “I mostly, through college, considered myself a libertarian, a pretty staunch libertarian.”

Ramaswamy was unafraid to voice his opinions against prevailing campus liberalism or engage in debates with his right-leaning peers on issues such as Guantanamo prisoners’ treatment. A notable incident took place in 2007 when then-FBI Director Robert Mueller visited campus. Ramaswamy confronted Mueller with questions about external checks on the FBI with regard to civil liberties. Paul Davis, a friend from the same dorm, remarked, “He just kind of said what he thought about different topics, even if it pissed people off.”

During a trip to Las Vegas, Davis recounted an incident at a blackjack table that highlighted Ramaswamy’s pride in his American identity. When asked about his nationality, Ramaswamy responded, “I’m a citizen of the greatest nation on Earth, the United States of America.” This confident response resonated with the others at the table.

Davis likens his friend’s campaign strategy to that of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during his 2020 presidential campaign as the relatively unknown mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He notes that Ramaswamy’s approach is about confidently sharing his story across various platforms, despite the potential for unfavorable coverage. Davis acknowledges that while there may be risks involved, they are worth taking.

Starting in April, Ramaswamy has managed to produce over 50 episodes of a podcast called “The Vivek Show.” He engages in in-depth conversations with individuals from diverse political backgrounds, ranging from right-wing commentators like Glenn Beck to Democrat Tom Wolf, the former Governor of Pennsylvania. During these tapings, he turns off his phone—a rare moment of respite in his busy schedule. A second season of the podcast is set to launch in early fall, featuring interviews with figures like Papa John’s founder John Schnatter and Chaya Raichik, the operator of Libs of TikTok.

Ramaswamy’s political stance often leans hard-right: he advocates for cutting federal regulators, ending affirmative action, and argues that transgender children frequently grapple with unrelated mental health issues. However, he also deviates from the typical Republican mold. Although he personally identifies as “pro-life,” he stands out by not supporting a federal abortion ban. His proposals include banning social media for individuals under 16 and eliminating automatic voting rights for those under 25.

The forthcoming GOP presidential debate will offer a platform to present his views to a broader audience. Tricia McLaughlin, a senior advisor to Ramaswamy, notes that the campaign decided to skip traditional debate preparation in favor of maintaining their hectic travel schedule, which has been instrumental in connecting with voters. McLaughlin emphasizes that the campaign’s philosophy revolves around letting Ramaswamy be authentic.

The question of whether Trump participates in the debate introduces an unpredictable element. Ramaswamy has fervently pledged to pardon the former President, who has reciprocated with effusive praise. However, Trump has indicated that his support may shift if Ramaswamy’s poll numbers approach his own.

Ramaswamy remains optimistic about the future. He envisions a more directed campaign path after the first debate, focusing on the early primary states while incorporating more traditional approaches. As the SUV arrives at his next town-hall venue, Ramaswamy reflects on his connection with ordinary people. He reveals that he doesn’t indulge in lavish vacation homes but instead invests in private jets to save time.

After parting ways, the journalist searches for the mentioned interaction between Ramaswamy and Sharpton. A video from 2003 shows an 18-year-old Ramaswamy wearing a light-blue button-down shirt and a shiny watch, asking the first audience question on “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” He inquires why voters should choose the Democratic candidate with the least political experience. Sharpton responds with confidence, noting his extensive political engagement and social policy work over the past three decades.Ramaswamy listens with a grin, nodding in agreement as Sharpton speaks.

US Congressional Delegation Meets PM Modi, Strengthening Indo-US Ties

A Bipartisan US Congressional delegation in India for the nation’s 77th Independence Day met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 in New Delhi. During the meeting, Modi praised the bipartisan support as key to strengthening the bilateral strategic relationship between the two democracies.

The delegation included US Representative Ro Khanna of California, Democratic co-chair of the India Caucus, Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, Republican co-chair of the India Caucus, as well as Representatives Ed Case, D-Hawaii, Kat Cammack, R-Florida, Deborah Ross, D-North Carolina, Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, Rich McCormick, R-Georgia, and Shri Thanedar, D-Michigan.

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, PM Modi said, “Glad to receive a Congressional delegation from US, including co-chairs of India Caucus in the House of Representatives, Rep. @RoKhanna and Rep. @michaelgwaltz. Strong bipartisan support from the US Congress is instrumental in further elevating India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.”

Picture : New India Abroad

Welcoming the delegation to India, PM Modi conveyed his appreciation for the “consistent and bipartisan support” of the US Congress and highlighted his recent visit. “Prime Minister fondly recalled his historic State Visit to the US in June at the invitation of President Biden during which he had an opportunity to address a Joint Session of the US Congress for a second time,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a press release on Wednesday.

“Prime Minister and the US delegation highlighted that the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership is based on shared democratic values, respect for rule of law and strong people-to-people ties,” the PMO said.

During his June visit to US, PM Modi also attended various events, apart from the address to Congress. He was hosted by Biden as well as First Lady Jill Biden for a state dinner at the White House as well as a State Luncheon by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US Vice President Kamala Harris.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also met US Congressional delegation on August 16, and discussed the transformation underway in India. The two sides exchanged views on advancing the bilateral partnership between India and US. They discussed the global situation and collaboration between India and US on multilateral, regional and global issues.

“A good interaction with US Congressional delegation today. Glad they could join as we celebrated #IndependenceDay. Discussed the transformation underway in India, especially its outcomes of better governance. Shared our aspirations and expectations for Amritkaal. Also exchanged views on our advancing bilateral partnership. Shared perspectives on the global situation and our collaboration on multilateral, regional and global issues,” Minister Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

“Representatives Khanna, Thanedar, Waltz and others are doing a great service to the bilateral relationship in undertaking this visit. The Indian Embassy in Washington, DC and several other stakeholders have been working closely with them to create an impactful itinerary,” says Sanjeev Joshipura, the Washington DC based executive director of Indiaspora.

This historic visit holds symbolic significance, marking the first time Indian American lawmakers are part of a US House delegation to India, highlighting the growing influence of Indian Americans in US politics and their commitment to enhancing bilateral relations.

For Rep. Khanna, this is history coming full circle. His grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar was an Indian freedom fighter who spent four years in jail alongside Gandhi and later was part of India’s first parliament.

“As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, we are proud to lead a bipartisan delegation to India. We will be there to discuss how to strengthen economic and defense ties between our two counties, the oldest and largest democracies,” Khanna said prior ro his visit to India.

“Both of us believe that the U.S. India relationship will be a defining one of the 21st century. India is a key partner in ensuring multipolarity in Asia and the denial of China as a hegemon. We must continue to strive to make progress and build our partnership based on our shared founding values of democracy, freedom of the press and assembly, and human rights. This delegation is a historic opportunity to drive further collaboration and advance shared aims,” Khanna said

Earlier this year, Khanna and Waltz hosted a historic US-India Summit on the Hill featuring panels and remarks from government leaders, experts, and Indian American leaders from across the country.

“His grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar was an Indian freedom fighter who spent four years in jail alongside Gandhi and later was part of India’s first parliament,” the US government said in its press release referring to the history Ro Khanna and his family share with respect to the Indian Freedom struggle.

On his visit to India, Khanna said, “As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, we are proud to lead a bipartisan delegation to India. We will be there to discuss how to strengthen economic and defense ties between our two counties, the oldest and largest democracies.”

Ramaswamy Ties Desantis For Second Place In GOP Primary

Indian American entrepreneur turned politician Vivek Ramaswamy is tied with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)  for second place in the Republican presidential field in a new poll. An Emerson College poll showed DeSantis and Ramaswamy tied at 10 percent each, trailing former President Trump, who leads with 56 percent. DeSantis kept his position in second place from previous polls, but he registered a big drop from the 21 percent he had in June. Ramaswamy rose from just 2 percent then.

According to reports, the poll’s release comes as a leaked memo from the super PAC supporting DeSantis’ candidacy, Never Back Down, urged DeSantis to “take a sledgehammer” to Ramaswamy. Some polling has shown Ramaswamy closing in on DeSantis for second place, and the memo appears to acknowledge a few other candidates also gaining momentum behind the Florida governor.

“Another boring, establishment attack from Super PAC-creation ‘Robot Ron’ who is literally taking lame, pre-programmed attack lines against me for next week’s debate. ‘Hammer Ramaswamy,’” Ramaswamy responded to the memo on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Emerson College Polling Executive Director Spencer Kimball said in a release that Ramaswamy has made improvements in voters with postgraduate degrees, taking 17 percent of that group, and with younger voters, winning 16 percent of those younger than 35.

The release states that DeSantis’s drop is similar to that of Emerson’s New Hampshire poll that showed former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) surpassing DeSantis by 1 point for second place in the state, a statistical tie.

Pollsters also found somewhat more shaky support among DeSantis supporters than among those for Ramaswamy. Almost half of Ramaswamy backers said they will definitely vote for him, while only a third of DeSantis supporters said the same.  Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of Trump supporters said they will definitely vote for the former president.

DeSantis, Ramaswamy and several other GOP presidential candidates will have their clearest opportunity yet to stand out on a national stage at the first Republican primary debate next week, especially with Trump seemingly planning to skip it.

More than 80 percent of Republican primary voters said they plan to watch the debate.  The poll was conducted from Aug. 16 to 17 among 1,000 registered voters, including 465 who said they plan to vote in their state’s Republican primary or caucus. The credibility interval was 3 points.

On the ground, Ramaswamy has styled his politics on the agendas of the two men he hopes to usurp, making his stand against the “woke” ideology of the American left his signature policy issue. “We are in the middle of a national identity crisis,” he says darkly, accusing the country’s elites of metastasizing a “cultural cancer” — particularly when it comes to LGBTQ issues. His message has found an appreciative audience, and his book, “Woke, Inc.,” in which he develops this thesis, is currently near the top of the New York Times list of bestselling nonfiction.

While some candidates are beginning to aim their fire at former president Donald Trump, the 38-year-old Ramaswamy has moved toward the front of the chasing pack by placing himself firmly in the frontrunner’s slipstream. “I think I’m best positioned to advance our America First agenda, take it even further than Trump did, but also unite the country in the process,” the multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur recently told public broadcaster PBS.

Ramaswamy trails Trump by a seemingly unbridgeable gap, but he has spent millions of his own money in his bid to be best placed should the presumptive nominee fall by the wayside amid his growing tangle of legal problems. And the first-time candidate, a father of two young children, has been rewarded with higher poll numbers than most of his more experienced rivals.

A political novice by any measure, Ramaswamy started his campaign with no national profile but has shocked primary watchers by rising to second in the Republican primary field, five months ahead of the first vote in Iowa.

US House Celebrates India’s Independence Day

US lawmakers are celebrating India’s Independence Day in a big way with a House resolution declaring it a National Day of Celebration and a bipartisan group traveling to New Delhi to attend the festivities at historic Red Fort.

The House resolution introduced by a group of lawmakers led by Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar declares India’s Aug 15 Independence Day as the “National Day of Celebration of the World’s Two Largest Democracies.”

Thanedar will also join a bi-partisan Congressional delegation led by Indian American Congressman Ro Khanna and Congressman Michael Waltz going to India to participate in the festivities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on Aug 15.

The House resolution expresses the belief that the strong partnership between the United States and India, rooted in shared democratic values, will continue to advance global democracy and foster peace, stability, and prosperity for all nations.

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Co-sponsored by Buddy Carter and Brad Sharman, the resolution says Modi’s official state visit on June 22, “anchored the two nations in a new level of trust and mutual understanding based on common interests and shared commitments to freedom, democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.”

“Americans with Indian heritage enhance public life in the United States as government officials, military personnel, and law enforcement officers who diligently uphold the principles of the US Constitution and contribute to the enriching diversity of the nation,” it says.

“It is proper and desirable to celebrate with the Indian people, and to reaffirm the democratic principles on which the two nations were born,” the resolution adds.

Meanwhile, the US Congressional delegation led by Khanna and Waltz, co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, will also visit Raj Ghat, a historic memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, according to a media release.

They will meet with business, tech, government, and Bollywood leaders in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi.

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The delegation includes Deborah Ross, Kat Cammack, Jasmine Crockett Rich McCormick and Ed Case. For Khanna, this is history coming full circle. “His grandfather Amarnath Vidyalankar was an Indian freedom fighter who spent four years in jail alongside Gandhi and later was part of India’s first parliament,” the release noted.

“As co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, we are proud to lead a bipartisan delegation to India. We will be there to discuss how to strengthen economic and defense ties between our two counties, the oldest and largest democracies,” Khanna and Waltz stated.

“Both of us believe that the US-India relationship will be a defining one of the 21st century. India is a key partner in ensuring multipolarity in Asia and the denial of China as a hegemon,” they stated.

“We must continue to strive to make progress and build our partnership based on our shared founding values of democracy, freedom of the press and assembly, and human rights. This delegation is a historic opportunity to drive further collaboration and advance shared aims.”

Earlier this year, Khanna and Waltz hosted a historic US-India Summit on the Capitol Hill featuring panels and remarks from government leaders, experts, and Indian-American leaders from across the country.

Khanna, 46, is the second Indian-American after Ami Bera to hold the position of co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans since its inception in 1993.

Trump’s Georgia Election Indictment Highlights Attempts To Illegally Access Voting Equipment

(AP) — A day after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, as the country was still reeling from the violent attempt to halt the transfer of presidential power, a local Republican Party official greeted a group of computer experts outside the election office in a rural county in south Georgia, where they were given access to voting equipment.

Their intent was to copy software and data from the election systems in an attempt to prove claims by President Donald Trump and his allies that voting machines had been rigged to flip the 2020 election to his challenger, Democrat Joe Biden, according to a wide-ranging indictment issued late Monday.

Several of those involved are among the 19 people, including the former president, charged with multiple counts in what Georgia prosecutors describe as a “conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

The charges related to the breach of election equipment in Coffee County highlight that the pressure campaign by the former president and his allies didn’t stop with state officials and lawmakers, but extended all the way down to local government. Relying on Georgia’s racketeering law, the type of prosecution more typically associated with mobsters, the indictment alleges the events in Coffee County were part of a wider effort by Trump associates to illegally access voting equipment in multiple states.

“The one thing that Coffee County shows, and these other counties as well, is that the effort behind Jan. 6 didn’t stop on Jan. 6,” said Lawrence Norden, an election security expert with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law. “The ongoing effort to undermine and sabotage elections has continued.”

The security breach inside the election office in Coffee County, about 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, is among the first known attempts by Trump allies to access voting systems as they sought evidence to back up their unsubstantiated claims that such equipment had manipulated the presidential vote. It was followed a short time later by breaches in three Michigan counties involving some of the same people and again in a western Colorado county that Trump won handily.

While the county-level equipment breaches have raised alarms about election data falling into the wrong hands and prompted two other prosecutions, they were absent from the recent federal indictment of Trump alleging interference in the 2020 election. The Georgia case is the first to argue that the breaches were part of a conspiracy by Trump and his allies to overturn the results.

Four people face six counts related to the breach in Coffee County, including conspiracy to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit computer theft and conspiracy to defraud the state. They are lawyer and Trump ally Sidney Powell, former Coffee County elections director Misty Hampton, former Coffee County GOP Chair Cathy Latham, who also served as a false elector for Trump, and Scott Graham Hall, an Atlanta-area bail bondsman who prosecutors say is associated with longtime Trump adviser David Bossie.

A lawyer for Powell declined comment, while messages seeking responses from the others were not immediately returned.

Although Trump continues to promote his claims about the election, multiple reviews, audits and recounts in the battleground states where he disputes his loss — including in Georgia, which counted the presidential ballots three times — have confirmed Biden’s win. Trump’s claims also were rejected by dozens of judges, including several he appointed. His attorney general and an exhaustive review by The Associated Press found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have changed the results.

After the 2020 election, Trump and Powell pushed various conspiracy theories about voting machines, specifically related to the Dominion Voting Systems equipment used in Georgia. Dominion earlier this year reached a $787 million settlement with Fox News over false claims aired on the network, including by Powell.

Court documents in Georgia show Powell hired a forensic data firm on Dec. 6, 2020, to collect and analyze Dominion equipment in Michigan and elsewhere, and prosecutors allege the breach of election equipment in Coffee County was “subsequently performed under this agreement.”

On Jan. 7, 2021, Hall and employees of the data firm traveled to the election office to copy software and data from voting equipment and were greeted outside by GOP official Latham and then taken on a tour of the office by elections director Hampton, according to the indictment and video surveillance obtained in an unrelated case about Georgia’s electronic voting machines.

Picture: WWNY

Later videos showed Hampton opening the office on Jan. 18, when it was otherwise closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. She allowed in Douglas Logan and Jeff Lenberg, both of whom have been active nationally in efforts to challenge the 2020 election and were part of the effort to examine voting machines in Michigan.

Neither Logan or Lenberg were charged in Monday’s indictment.

Logan’s company, Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based firm with little election experience, was later hired by GOP lawmakers in Arizona to conduct a review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. It ultimately confirmed Biden’s win but claimed to find various irregularities — claims that election experts said were inaccurate, misleading or based on a flawed understanding of the data.

In Coffee County, the men worked late into the evening, returning the following day. Lenberg also was seen at the office on at least three more days later that month, according to information collected in the separate voting machine lawsuit. Hampton resigned soon after their visits amid allegations of fraudulent timesheets.

This week’s indictment also mentions a Dec. 18, 2020, session in the Oval Office, where Trump allies including Powell and Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, proposed ordering the military to seize voting machines and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of voter fraud in Georgia and other battleground states Trump lost.

In Michigan, authorities have charged three people in connection with breaches in three counties, including former Republican state attorney general candidate Matthew DePerno, who along with the others has pleaded not guilty.

So far, the special counsel assigned to the case has not charged any of the employees who handed over the voting equipment nor has he charged those who were asked to analyze them. In a statement, the special counsel said they had been deceived.

With Monday’s indictment, Hampton becomes the second top county election official to be charged in connection with a security breach in their office. The first was Tina Peters, the former clerk in Mesa County, Colorado, who has emerged as a prominent figure among those who say voting machines are rigged. Both are no longer working in elections.

Prosecutors allege Peters and her deputy were part of a “deceptive scheme” to provide unauthorized access to the county’s voting systems during a May 2021 breach that eventually resulted in a copy of the voting system hard drive being posted online.

Weeks afterward, Peters appeared at an event hosted by Trump ally Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO who has been seeking to prove the 2020 election was stolen and has called for a ban on voting machines.

Peters has denied wrongdoing and faces trial later this year, Her deputy pleaded guilty to lesser charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Experts have described the unauthorized Colorado release as serious, saying it could provide a “practice environment” that would allow anyone to probe for vulnerabilities that could be exploited during a future election. Experts also worry it could be used to spread misinformation about voting equipment.

Colorado’s chief election official, Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said accountability is crucial to deterring any future attempts to illegally access voting systems. “We cannot allow election officials to destroy elections from within,” she said.

Articles Of Impeachment Against Joe Biden Introduced In Congress

Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican from Florida, has taken a step ahead of his fellow party members, as he introduced articles of impeachment against President Biden on Friday. While various congressional committees are assembling a multifaceted argument for the removal of President Biden from office, Steube emphasized that the time for action has arrived. He submitted impeachment articles against Biden, alleging that the president had been complicit in his son Hunter’s alleged transgressions and had endeavored to shield him from legal consequences.

Steube declared, “The moment to impeach Joe Biden has long passed. He has eroded the credibility of his position, cast a shadow on the Presidency, breached the trust vested in him as President, and engaged in activities that undermine the authority of the law and justice, all at the expense of the American populace.”

The articles of impeachment filed by Steube encompass four allegations of grave offenses and misdemeanors attributed to Biden. The first charge contends that the president abused the power of his office by purportedly accepting bribes, engaging in extortion under the Hobbs Act, and committing honest services fraud in connection to his official role. These allegations stem from claims of Biden’s involvement in familial business transactions, including allegations that Hunter and James Biden (the president’s brother) attempted to sell access to then-Vice President Biden between 2009 and 2017 in exchange for monetary compensation and business openings from both foreign and domestic business partners.

Rep. James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and a Republican from Kentucky, released a memorandum on Wednesday claiming that foreign payments to the Biden family totaled over $20 million. However, Democrats assert that none of the evidence suggests that President Biden accepted any payments or engaged in misconduct.

The second impeachment article accuses President Biden of obstructing justice, citing testimony from an IRS whistleblower. This testimony asserts that “members of the Biden campaign inappropriately collaborated with officials from the Justice Department (DOJ) to improperly interfere with investigations into potential tax violations involving Hunter Biden.” Both the Justice Department and special counsel David Weiss, who was appointed to investigate Hunter Biden, have denied any interference by the Biden administration in Weiss’ work.

The third and fourth impeachment articles allege that Biden was involved in “fraud” and financed Hunter Biden’s unlawful drug use and interactions with prostitutes, respectively. Steube emphasized, “The evidence continues to accumulate daily – the Biden family has personally profited from Joe’s governmental positions through acts of bribery, intimidation, and deception. Joe Biden should not be permitted to remain in the White House, jeopardizing our nation for personal gain.”

Simultaneously, on the same day, Steube introduced a legislative proposal requiring the Secret Service chief to present a report on the illicit use of controlled substances within the White House. This initiative followed the conclusion of the Secret Service’s investigation into cocaine discovered at the White House the previous month, which failed to identify a suspect. Steube named the proposed legislation the “Helping Understand Narcotics Traces at the Executive Residence (HUNTER) Act.”

Steube stated, “The United States Secret Service (USSS) boasts itself as one of the most elite law enforcement organizations globally. It is wholly unacceptable that the USSS has been unable to determine who was responsible for introducing cocaine into one of the most secure edifices in the world. The American people merit answers. My legislation demands information concerning the closed investigation into the July discovery of cocaine at the White House and concentrates on how Congress can exert oversight to forestall future unauthorized use of controlled substances at the White House.”

Steube’s articles of impeachment have leapfrogged over at least four committee investigations led by GOP members that were exploring avenues for impeaching Biden or his senior officials. The White House has derided suggestions of removing President Biden from his position.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented in July, “We will not delve into the hypothetical intentions or actions of House Republicans. That is their prerogative. Our focus is solely on the tasks at hand. The economic indicators are surpassing economists’ expectations, largely due to the accomplishments of this President. Our emphasis will remain on how we can enhance the lives of Americans, affording them some additional room to breathe.”

Justice Samuel Alito Says Congress Has ‘No Authority’ To Regulate Supreme Court

Justice Samuel Alito said Congress has “no authority” to regulate the Supreme Court in an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s opinion section published Friday, pushing back against Democrats’ attempt to mandate stronger ethics rules.

Alito, one of the high court’s leading conservatives, is just one of multiple justices who have come under recent scrutiny for ethics controversies that have fueled the renewed push.

“I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” Alito told the Journal. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”

Although the Constitution enables Congress to structure the lower federal courts, it explicitly vests judicial power within a singular Supreme Court.

Alito and some legal observers argue that means Congress can’t prescribe certain regulations for the high court without running afoul of separation of powers issues.

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Chief Justice John Roberts has also questioned Congress’s ability to act, but not as definitive as Alito’s new remarks. Many court watchers who disagree with the premise believe that Roberts’ questioning has given fodder to Republican objections.

“I don’t know that any of my colleagues have spoken about it publicly, so I don’t think I should say,” Alito told the paper. “But I think it is something we have all thought about.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) was among the Democrats who rejected Alito’s reasoning, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, “What a surprise, guy who is supposed to enforce checks and balances thinks checks shouldn’t apply to him.”

The piece also revealed Alito’s first public comments on the recent ethics push since he authored an op-ed for the same paper that was shared just before a ProPublica investigation into an undisclosed Alaskan fishing trip the justice accepted in 2008 paid for by a conservative donor was made public. Alito also conducted an interview with the Wall Street Journal in April.

One of the two authors of the piece, David Rivkin, is an attorney for conservative judicial activist Leonard Leo. Rivkin earlier this week penned a letter rebuffing Democratic lawmakers’ request for information about the Alaska trip, which Leo reportedly facilitated, and Rivkin also actively practices before the court. James Taranto, the other author, is the Journal’s editorial features editor.

“I marvel at all the nonsense that has been written about me in the last year,” Alito said.

The revelations about the Alaska trip followed a ProPublica investigation into luxury trips accepted by fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas. The Associated Press later raised concerns about an aide to liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor pushing book sales, and other justices past and present have also faced criticisms for a variety of other ethics dilemmas.

In the wake of the new reports, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to advance a Supreme Court ethics reform bill, though the legislation faces slim odds of passage.

Republicans have portrayed the push as an attempt to tear down the court’s conservative majority, and some have similarly cited constitutional concerns.

Trump Indicted On Jan. 6 Charges

Former President Trump was indicted Tuesday by a Washington grand jury on charges stemming from his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election.

The 45-page indictment from special counsel Jack Smith puts Trump at the center of a lawless campaign to block the transfer of power, charging him with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and other crimes.

At its core, the Justice Department contends Trump embarked on a campaign of “dishonesty, fraud and conceit” to obstruct a “bedrock function” of a democracy — the counting of votes — generating charges for conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

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“Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won,” the indictment states.

“These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false,” it continues. “But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway—to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.”

That lie was the basis for charges on four counts, alleging Trump was the director of a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and was also central to a campaign to block the certification of votes on Jan. 6.

That campaign spurred charges for obstruction of an official proceeding, the same charge brought against many of those who followed Trump’s Jan. 6 rally call for action and later stormed the Capitol in a deadly rampage.

The indictment also says Trump’s violated the rights of millions of Americans to cast a vote for the candidate of their choice, a right enshrined in the Constitution but further protected from “Conspiracy Against Rights.”

The indictment indicates that Trump will be charged alongside six co-conspirators who, though unnamed, point to a series of close advisers to the former president.

The assertion that Trump knew he lost advances the case beyond was what laid out by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — an allegation the panel made but was not fully able to prove.

The indictment breaks down a series of incidents in which allies who either supported Trump or “who personally stood to gain by remaining in office” like Vice President Mike Pence, informed Trump that he had lost the election and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could unwind the results.

“Defendant was notified repeatedly that his claims were untrue — often by the people on whom he relied for candid advice on important matters, and who were best positioned to know the facts — and he deliberately disregarded the Truth,” the indictment states.

Title: From N.P. (Nani Palkhivala) to N.P. (Naipaul, V.S.): Observations through the eyes of an overseas citizen of India

Synopsis: The author, an ophthalmologist who has lived abroad (in England and the USA) longer than in India, has visited India more than 120 times since 1977. Each visit was a working vacation to combat avoidable blindness among Indians, especially children.  He founded “Eye Foundation of America” in 1979 who is active in India and 21 other developing countries.

As an avid reader of non-medical subjects, he discovered the extraordinary books by Nani and also the books by Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul. Nani brought to his readers the best of India and its roots, while also pointing out many shortcomings of present-day India. Naipaul criticizes India (and even its roots) with remarks that are both explosive and cruel.

In spite of their contrasting perspectives, the writings of both N.P. and N.P. contain elements of truth. The author (V.K.R.), while expressing his gratefulness to Mother India for giving him the best medical education almost for free, will attempt to discuss the voluminous historical and philosophical material in these books and to connect them with present-day India.

Finally, the author’s own account, “The Tragedy of Childhood Blindness in India,” illustrates numerous points—the good, the bad, and the ugly—from both Nani and Naipaul.

Vivek Ramaswamy Emerges As A Strong Contender 

Vivek Ramaswamy has emerged as something of a breakout star in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, raising speculation over his future within the party.

Many Republicans have praised the 37-year-old biotech entrepreneur, calling him an effective communicator with an impressive professional resume for a political outsider.

The biotech entrepreneur and author of “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam” is an audience favorite at multicandidate events and has polled well despite not being nationally known when he entered the race.

“Take it from me as a young person — I’m 37 years old. I was born in 1985. I truly hope and pray and believe that my best days may still be ahead of me,” he said at the Faith and Freedom conference in Washington, D.C. in June.

Ramaswamy’s campaign says he met the donor threshold earlier this year. This summer he rolled out “Vivek’s Kitchen Cabinet” to boost his donor numbers even more, by letting fundraisers keep 10% of what they bring in for his campaign.

While there’s heavy scepticism that Ramaswamy will win any of the early-state primaries, many see him as a rising figure within the party’s ranks.

Picture : MediaLite

“I think that his message is resonating well with the Republican activist crowd, and he is being positive enough with regards to [former President] Trump to basically be an alternative without being an anti-Trump guy,” said GOP strategist and former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis.

“I think that resonates with many of the Trump supporters and let’s say soft Trump supporters who would like to move on, but yet see somebody who’s not running kind of on a message of attacking Trump and his legacy,” he added.

Initially considered a long-shot candidate when he launched his campaign in February, the “Woke, Inc.” author entered the race known in part for his staunch opposition to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) policies.

But the political outsider and first millennial to run for president on the GOP side has started to catch some momentum in the GOP primary.

He’s garnered attention for some of his stances and proposals, including pushing every candidate in the GOP primary to commit to pardoning Trump over the Justice Department’s indictment alleging the former president mishandled and obstructed attempts to retrieve classified documents. Other Republican contenders like Perry Johnson have also vowed to pardon the former president.

Earlier this month, Ramaswamy gained some praise after a video went viral of him engaging with a protester who interrupted his Iowa event. After the woman turned to leave after interrupting his remarks, Ramaswamy offered for her to come back to ask a question.

“There is a division in our country and I think people are hungry to start talking openly again, and I think Vivek has a unique skill that he’s able to really lead people and rally people around what this country was founded upon, which is free speech, which is an open debate,” said Ramaswamy campaign senior adviser Tricia McLaughlin.

“I think that’s what not only the GOP electorate is hungry for, but I think independents and even disaffected Democrats,” she added.

National polling, too, suggests voters are starting to give Ramaswamy a serious look.

A RealClearPolitics polling average shows Ramaswamy placing third at 5.4 percent, behind Trump in first place with 52.4 percent and DeSantis at 18.4 percent.

Still, most national polls show the biotech entrepreneur in the single digits compared to Trump, who remains the front-runner in surveys. Some early state polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina show Ramaswamy trailing some of the other GOP candidates, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.).

Republicans also acknowledge more GOP voters will start to tune into the primary around next month’s debate in Milwaukee and note there’s still months to go until the first early states’ primaries.

Not all Republicans are buying the Ramaswamy hype. GOP pollster and consultant Whit Ayres said the GOP millennial is “not a serious contender for the presidency” and waved off Ramaswamy’s recent polling.

“It’s a sign just like Herman Cain caught something in 2011 and Ben Carson caught something in 2015 and Andrew Yang caught something in 2020,” Ayres said, referring to presidential candidates who appeared to have momentum at one point in their primary before sputtering out.

New Hampshire-based strategist Matthew Bartlett similarly suggested that Ramaswamy doesn’t have a viable path to the presidency. Putting it bluntly, Bartlett said, “No one is expecting him to win,” and he said he didn’t see Ramaswamy going after the former president in the primary but was “looking to cozy up to Trump.”

“His campaign was not looking to end up in the Oval Office. His campaign was to promote himself and to some degree, his ideas and articulate that,” he added.

But that hasn’t stopped members of the party from suggesting that Ramaswamy could have a bright future ahead, saying he could run for Senate, be picked for a presidential cabinet position or even selected as someone’s running mate.

“There’s so many people even after the Family Leadership Summit [who] said, ‘Boy, what a young, positive, inspirational guy. He has a bright future. He’d be good in somebody’s cabinet. He might be a vice president,’” explained Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the influential Family Leader in Iowa.

“His biggest hurdle right now is crossing that threshold where people say, ‘No, I think he can be president.’ So he’s gotten a lot of people excited about his candidacy. Now he needs to make that transition: ‘Now they can see me be president,’” he added.

Ramaswamy for his part has previously said he’s not interested in being a vice presidential pick or taking a cabinet position, saying he’d return to the private sector instead if he didn’t win the GOP presidential primary. But his campaign argues he shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I think Vivek has already done what everyone said he couldn’t do. The fact that he is beating … the most former vice president, multiple governors, the former U.N. ambassador, a sitting senator … four or five months ago, no one knew who Vivek Ramaswamy is,” McLaughlin, the senior Ramaswamy campaign adviser, said. “And now he’s third in national polls. That in itself is meteoric.”

Republican strategists, too, say that while Trump is still the front-runner in the primary, a strong showing in Iowa can help galvanize a candidate heading into the next few states.

“I wouldn’t count anyone out that’s coming in the top three in Iowa,” said GOP strategist Alice Stewart, who’s an alum of multiple presidential campaigns. “And the objective of Iowa has never been to choose the party nominee, it’s to winnow the field.”

The Trump Indictment For History To Remember

The criminal indictment of ex-President Donald Trump for his alleged attempts to subvert democracy and incite the Jan. 6, 2021, melee in Washington has been a long time coming. Now that it’s here, two-and-a-half years after a mob listened to Trump, marched about a mile eastward, and ransacked the U.S. Capitol in service of his lies about a stolen 2020 election, it hits a little different than the charges previously brought against Trump.

A federal grand jury on Tuesday charged Trump with an alleged conspiracy to defraud the United States, a conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and a conspiracy against voting rights. The charges are a remarkable escalation of the legal troubles chasing Trump during what he hopes is a brief return to civilian life. Trump, who is running for President again in 2024 and is the runaway front-runner in the Republican field, could face years in prison if convicted. Now Trump has made history once again, becoming a thrice-indicted ex-Commander in Chief. Well, at least if the normal rules of political gravity still matter. History is being made, but not all history is good.

It was a day a lot of the folks who experienced the attack in Washington on Jan. 6 had been seeking for a long time. The wall-to-wall coverage on cable, the constant refreshes of social-media sites, and even the text chains around Capitol Hill all reflected an anxiety that this may be a false start. It will be similar when Trump is due in court on Thursday in D.C.

Picture : Vanity Fair

Politicos of both parties in D.C. watched in horror more than two years ago as a riot descended on Capitol Hill, the mob raiding offices, menacing lawmakers, and fighting hand-to-hand combat with police. The top leadership of both chambers followed evacuation protocols to make sure their branch of government wouldn’t be decapitated. Vice President Mike Pence was pinned down and forced to hide at a loading dock while White House aides unsuccessfully lobbied Trump to direct his legion of followers to stop terrorizing democracy. Partisanship fades when Hill staffers talk about that day, even if many of their bosses have publicly retreated from prior criticism of Trump and sought to shade the painful facts.

The Trump years numbed the country to the word “unprecedented,” amid the constant reverberations of history being made. From the day Trump took office as the only person ever elected to the presidency with zero government or military experience, around every corner came norm-breaking and precedent-smashing. His tweets broke the fourth wall, he was the only President impeached twice, became the first in 150 years to refuse to attend his successor’s inauguration, and his Administration paid so little heed to laws prohibiting politicking on the government dime that he held the Republican convention on the South Lawn of the White House.

Trump’s team has already started telling allies on the Hill that these latest indictments will not matter at all for his reelection hopes. Republicans cite “indictment fatigue,” hoping to plant the idea that voters don’t much care about it and have already accepted that Trump is a bad dude who doesn’t play by the rules. It’s going to be “Old News!” on the socials and “Witch Hunt!” in the hallways. The messaging leaves responsible conservatives squeamish, but they’ll still carry it for fear of being branded insufficiently MAGA, and thus vulnerable in a primary from someone who wears the red hat proudly.

Trump’s past two indictments suggest this one may, perversely, benefit him as well. The aftermath of those charges—totaling at least 78 felony allegations and counting—brought a fundraising boon and a polling surge . That’s right: the self-described billionaire will collect millions in donations from his fans who see the real estate mogul as a victim of a weaponized Justice Department. His best days of fundraising have been his worst ones legally.

It’s worth taking a beat to appreciate how casually we all blew through the phrase “past two indictments” in the previous paragraph. And the fact that a former President now accused of a “conspiracy to defraud the United States” remains the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s re-nomination next year. A thrice-indicted, convicted sexual abuser, alleged election interferer and wealth fabulist is on course to coast to the general election, past capable governors, investors, ambassadors, and even his own former Vice President. Trump could still return to power facing federal charges and, in turn, dodge accountability for any of his alleged misdeeds. (This is why the state-based cases, where Trump will lack pardon powers, may be the real places to watch.)

But that doesn’t mean the next year-plus will be easy for Trump. His troubles are as epic as they are history-making—and, maybeincompatible with his campaign schedule. Trump is due in court in October to answer a $250 million civil lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General on allegations the Trumps falsified business records. He is scheduled to begin a New York County criminal trial in March of next year on 34 charges that he falsified Trump Organization business records to pay off a porn star.

A federal judge ruled on July 19 the case in Manhattan should continue there, and not be moved into the federal track. Trump was arraigned last month on charges he had classified documents at his Florida vacation club and defied subpoenas to return them, a case also brought by special counsel Smith. He pleaded not guilty to 37 charges. Another three were added last week. A trial date could start in May in Florida.

On top of all of this, Trump faces potential criminal charges of election tampering in Georgia for a call asking the state’s balloting chief to change the winner; an indictment has been considered imminent in a county-based case since February, and a new grand jury was seated last week. A decision, it seems, is imminent.

Yet, somehow, there remains a better-than-even-odds chance he squirms out of any consequences, which would leave a lot of the witnesses to the chaos of Jan. 6 deeply skeptical about the evenhandedness of the criminal justice system if not dejected and cynical. After all, a high-wattage series of congressional hearings last year into Trump’s conduct surrounding the riot resulted in a collective shrug, and two impeachment trials—one of which was also about Jan. 6—failed to deliver convictions.

Those earlier indictments cut some parts of Trump’s clout down to size. But those haven’t yet been enough to take him down, because Presidents stand like giants. That may be changing, as instead of standing with Sequoia-like titans like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, the Trump sapling is being cut into a stump. With this latest indictment, which is a federal criminal probe that goes beyond fibbing on tax forms and mishandling spycraft files and includes a bodycount, Trump has few chances to rise to his predecessor’s heights, at least beyond a shady corner of his partisan bonfire. It’s why Tuesday’s indictment is not like the earlier ones: it may be the one cited in the first line of future history books. He may well dodge jail time, but even the one-time most-powerful person on the planet cannot escape the accountability of historians.

56 US Lawmakers Ask Biden Administration to Provide Relief to High-Skilled Visa Holders

Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) led 56 of their colleagues have sent in a bipartisan letter July 28, 2023 to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging the Biden Administration to take executive action to provide relief to high-skilled employment-based visa holders.

Indian immigrants comprise the overwhelming number of H1-B visa holders and applicants.

In their letter, lawmakers request that the Administration mark all dates for the filing of employment-based visa applications in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ published Employment-Based Visa Bulletin as “current.”

Marking all dates as “current” would allow employment-based applications to be filed regardless of applicants’ country-based priority date, which would provide relief to thousands of individuals attempting to legally navigate the U.S. immigration system and could potentially also make some eligible for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to change jobs, start businesses, and travel abroad to visit family without penalty.

“Without this administrative action, which was also used during the administration of President George W. Bush, individuals are left in a constant state of limbo and, in some cases, are punished for utilizing a pathway of legal immigration by being forced to stay with one company or organization due to their green card status,” a press release from Krishnamoorthi’s office said.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to address bureaucratic delays in our legal immigration system that are holding back our economy while leaving so many families in limbo,” Krishnamoorthi is quoted saying in the press release. “By using its authority under existing law, the Administration can ease this burden while strengthening our economy and helping to create jobs.”

“Indiana is home to many hardworking immigrants who are legally working as doctors, engineers, and in other critical professions. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic red tape in our nation’s legal immigration system, they are caught in the visa backlog and don’t have the flexibility to change jobs, start businesses, and travel abroad without penalty. I believe that it’s important for the Administration to act within current law to make it easier for these legal immigrants to navigate our immigration system and continue making a positive contribution to our nation and our economy.” said Dr. Bucshon.

“This commonsense measure proposed in the letter by Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Bucshon would be an absolute game changer to provide basic human rights—such as the ability to change jobs and travel—for nearly 1 million high skilled immigrants whose status in the United States can end at an any moment, and is entirely dependent upon the whims of their employer,” said Aman Kapoor, President of Immigration Voice. “The entire basis for this problem is a discriminatory immigration system that requires Indian nationals to have to wait 200 years for a green card while people from 150 other countries have no wait at all,” Kapoor added.

“While this larger problem cannot be fixed without legislation, our organization of over 100,000 members is absolutely thrilled with the bipartisan effort of Congressmen Krishnamoorthi, Bucshon and 56 other members of Congress to call on the Biden Administration to adopt this change,” calling on the Biden Administration “to do the right thing and heed the call of this rare bipartisan letter and give high-skilled immigrants here for over a decade the same rights to work and travel that people being paroled into the United States for the first time just this week have”.

Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Bucshon were joined on the letter by U.S. Reps. Auchincloss (D-MA), Baird (R-IN), Bera (D-CA), Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Carter (R-GA), Casar (D-TX), Castro (D-TX), Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Chu (D-CA), Crockett (D-TX), Davis (D-IL), Davis (D-NC), Dean (D-PA), Deluzio (D-PA), Dingell (D-MI), Evans (D-PA), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Fletcher (D-TX), Frankel (D-FL), Gimenez (R-FL), Goldman (D-NY), Gomez (D-CA), Harder (D-CA) Houlahan (D-PA), Jackson Lee (D-TX), Jayapal (D-WA), Johnson (D-GA), Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Keating (D-MA), Khanna (D-CA), Kim (D-NJ), Manning (D-NC), McGarvey (D-KY), McGovern (D-MA), Meng (D-NY), Morelle (D-NY), Nadler (D-NY), Pallone (D-NJ), Panetta (D-CA), Phillips (D-MN), Porter (D-CA), Raskin (D-MD), Ross (D-NC), Ruppersberger (D-MD), Salazar (R-FL), Schiff (D-CA), Smith (D-WA), Stanton (D-AZ), Swalwell (D-CA), Thanedar (D-MI), Trahan (D-MA), Trone (D-MD), Velázquez (D-NY), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Wexton (D-VA).

The letter from the U.S. Representatives is available at Krishnamoorthi.house.gov

Indian-American Democrats Support Vivek Ramaswamy Amid Attacks On His Hindu Faith

Indian-American Democrats Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna have come out in support of Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy over an attack on his Hindu faith.  At a public event, Hank Kunneman, the senior pastor of the non-denominational Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha, Nebraska and a televangelist targeted Ramaswamy’s faith in an attempt to prevent people from voting for him.

According to a video posted on Twitter by Right Wing Watch, Kunneman said that as a country, America is in danger. “Listen to me Generation Z, listen to me millennials, those of you who are watching that like this new young guy (Ramaswamy). If he does not serve the Lord Jesus Christ and stand primarily for Judeo-Christian principles, you will have a fight with God.

“You’re gonna have some dude put his hand on something other than the Bible? You’re gonna let him put all of his strange gods up in the White House and we’re just supposed to blink because he understands policies?” Kunneman was heard saying in the video. “Those of you that like this new young guy — if he does not serve the Lord Jesus Christ and stand primarily for Judeo-Christian principles, you will fight with God…”

Reacting to Kunneman’s disparaging comments, Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna said they don’t agree much with Ramaswamy but condemned the “bigoted remarks” against the 37-year-old.

“I don’t agree with @VivekGRamaswamy on much, but one thing is certain: all political parties in America should welcome individuals of all faiths, including Hindus. I condemn the bigoted remarks directed toward Ramaswamy, and I hope that Republican electeds and others do the same,” Krishnamoorthi tweeted on Tuesday.

“I have had spirited disagreements with @VivekGRamaswamy. But this is a disgusting and anti-American attack on his faith. We are a nation of many faiths, & the fact that so many Christian American Republicans are willing to support Vivek speaks to that ideal,” Khanna said in his tweet.

Seen as former President Donald Trump’s supporter, Kunneman calls himself a “prophet” and had said earlier that Trump’s 2020 election loss was God’s way of refuting prophets on Earth.

Ramaswamy was raised by Indian immigrants and is a practicing Hindu, which poses a dilemma for some conservative Christian voters who make up a significant share of the Republican primary electorate and are accustomed to evaluating candidates not just on their policy proposals but also on their biographies and personal beliefs, including religious faith.

“I’m not Christian. I was not raised in a Christian household. But we do share the same Christian values that this nation was founded on,” the Republican presidential hopeful had said in one of his campaign events.

In his address to prospective voters, Ramaswamy often rues that faith, patriotism, hard work and family “have disappeared, only to be replaced by new secular religions in this country”.

In response to a query on faith at a gathering in Nashua, New Hampshire on July 11, Ramaswamy said that the US was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  He clarified, “I am not running to be a pastor-in-chief. I am running to be our commander-in-chief.”

Vivek Ramaswamy And the Christian Language of Hinduism

(RNS) — Like many Republican presidential candidates, Vivek Ramaswamy has been outspoken about the role of faith and society. An enthusiastic second-generation Indian American, Ramaswamy also isn’t shy about talking about his own faith.

“I’m a person of faith. Evangelical Christians across the state are also people of faith,” he said in a July interview with NBC News. “We found commonality in our need to defend religious liberty, to stand for faith and patriotism and stand unapologetically for the fact that we are one nation under God.”

To reach evangelical Christians, the largest religious group skewing Republican, Ramaswamy has affirmed both his Hindu identity and the Judeo-Christian civic religion in which he was raised. Ramaswamy attended Catholic School where he studied the Bible, uniquely positioning him to use both fai

Not everyone is happy with that message. Earlier this week, a conservative pastor went viral for his condemnation of Ramaswamy’s faith.

“If he does not serve the Lord Jesus Christ and stand primarily for Judeo-Christian principles, you will have a fight with God,” said Hank Kunneman, of One Voice Ministries, in a video tweeted by Right Wing Watch on July 24. “You are going to let him put all of his strange gods up in the White House and are we just supposed to blink because he understands policies? No.”

Hindu Americans across the country condemned the pastor’s remarks, including Democratic Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna. The United States-India Relationship Council, a political action committee dedicated to supporting political candidates who are pro-India, released a public statement.

“We need to expose and condemn this bigotry,” said Amit Desai, founder of the PAC. “By doing so, people will get educated.”

The ancient tradition of Sanatana Dharma — more commonly known as Hinduism — has long been misunderstood by unfamiliar audiences, especially in places like the United States, where Christianity predominates.

A tradition that has more than a billion adherents worldwide, Hinduism does not always fit neatly into categories understood by those more familiar with Abrahamic faiths like Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Hindus hold a pluralistic worldview in which many paths exist to experiencing the supreme, eternal spirit of reality known as Brahman.

Brahman, sometimes referred to as God, is a genderless and metaphysical concept, but Hindus believe it manifests itself in the sometimes human-like forms of gods and goddesses. Many Hindus can see the divine revealing itself in the holy people of other religious traditions.

Hindus worship at temples and within their homes to as many murtis as they wish, or embodied forms of God. Families and communities within Hinduism can also have a patron deity, known as an Ishta Devata, that they especially venerate.

To help people from other backgrounds better understand their faith, Ramaswamy, like other American Hindus, has emphasized the elements of Hinduism that relate closely to Christianity — such as a focus on one God that all of humanity shares.

The Hindu American Foundation, the largest nonprofit representing the religious community, has started shifting away from using the word “idol,” instead using “deity,” so as to eliminate the chance of misunderstanding by Christians.

Suhag Shukla, executive director of HAF, says that even though God might not necessarily be the appropriate word to equate to Brahman, saying God is the fastest way to communicate with other faith traditions.

“When your goal is to educate people who are wholly unfamiliar with a tradition or a philosophy or religion, you have to meet them where they are,” said Shukla. “The words that might have some resonance for Christians is a good starting point.”

Anantanand Rambachan, a Hindu theologian and author of “Pathways to Hindu-Christian Dialogue,” says that, while it is not incorrect to say Hindus worship one divine being, practitioners should not shy away from explaining that this one being has infinite names and forms. The faith is neither polytheistic nor monotheistic, he says, but something entirely more complex.

“In communicating our tradition, we should not be afraid to be different,” said Rambachan. “To reduce the murtis (idols) only to a symbol, is not to be faithful to centuries of a very sophisticated theology.”

Back in 2007, as the first non-Christian chair of the Religion Department at St. Olaf College, a Lutheran school in Minnesota, Rambachan faced his share of backlash from critics who insisted he could not serve a largely Christian student body.

“Communicating the Hindu point of view in all of its richness and its integrity is possible, but it takes time,” said Rambachan. “Those who are formed and steeped in an exclusive theological position — it is not easy to open their hearts and minds.”

While Hindus have overwhelmingly voted Democrat, some in the community say they are disappointed with the party for not standing against anti-Hindu hatred they say is rampant.

For Desai, a leader of USIRC, Ramaswamy’s battle against what he calls “woke-ism” and his embracing of young voters is enough to sway his vote. He points to Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of the UK and a member of the Conservative Party, as an example of someone who has held his Hindu faith on unapologetic display.

Hirsh Vardhan Singh Of New Jersey Announces Bid For US President

Filing his candidacy, Hirsh Vardhan Singh, an Aerospace engineer from New Jersey, has become the fourth Indian-American to enter the race for 2024 US Presidential Polls. On Thursday, July 27, 2023, he formally submitted his candidature to the Federal Election Commission.

He is the third Indian American to join numerous Republicans vying for their party’s endorsement to run for President. The other two are former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, Singh posted a video and said he is a “lifelong Republican” and “America First” conservative who worked to restore a conservative wing of the New Jersey Republican Party. In the video, he criticized the “corruption” of Big Tech and pharmaceutical firms, saying they had “relentlessly attacked our freedoms.”

“We need strong leadership to reverse the changes that have occurred in the past few years and restore American values. That is why I have decided to seek the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2024 election for the office of president of the United States,” Singh said in his video, according to The Hill.

With a dozen contenders vying for the Republican nomination, including former president Trump, Singh joins a crowded field.
Singh entered the Republican primaries for New Jersey governor in 2017 and 2021, a House seat in 2018, and the Senate in 2020, but he was unable to secure the party’s nod.

Aerospace engineer Hirsh Vardhan Singh has become the third Indian-American vying for the Republican nomination for the 2024 US presidential race after former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Singh joins a crowded list of Republican candidates vying for presidency, which includes Trump, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governer Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Ramaswamy, Haley, Senator Tim Scott and businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley.

Singh, 38, introduced himself as a lifelong Republican and an “America First constitutional carry and pro-life conservative who helped restore the conservative wing of New Jersey’s Republican Party starting in 2017” in a video message posted on Twitter on Thursday.

He ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in 2020, and the present bid is the fourth time the defense and aerospace industry executive is eyeing public office.

According to Singh, Americans face grave threats from the corruption of both, big tech and big pharma, and in addition, there is an all out attack on American family values, parental rights and open debate.

“While Big Pharma has made massive profits working with the government to compel everyone to take the experimental vaccines, Big Tech has become the Big Brother, who invades our privacy and indulges in censorship of our political and contrarian viewpoints,” her said in an over three-minute-long video.

“We need strong leadership to restore American values. That is why I have decided to seek the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2024 election,” he added.

While praising fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump as the “greatest president of my lifetime”, Singh said that “America needs more”.

“It is time to move past outdated politicians of a bygone era,” Singh said, calling himself the “only pure blood candidate for the President” as he never gave in to the Covid vaccinations. “Even New Jersey’s Democrat Senate President labelled me as ‘Trump on steroids,” he said in his video message.

According to a recent Morning Consult poll, 59 per cent of voters support Trump, 16 per cent would vote for DeSantis, 8 per cent to Ramaswamy, 6 per cent to Pence, and 2 per cent to Scott.

Born to Indian immigrant parents, Singh has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2009. Entering New Jersey politics in 2017 as a candidate for Governor, Singh finished third in the race, securing a meagre 9.8 per cent of the vote share.

He was awarded Aviation Ambassador in 2003 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. (IANS)

Shiva Ayyadurai Announces 2024 U.S. Presidential Bid

The 2024 United States Presidential elections is turning out to be an Indian American affair as tech entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai became the fourth candidate from the community to announce his bid for the country’s top post.  Scientist and entrepreneur, Shiva Ayyadurai is running as an independent candidate.

Announcing his campaign bid recently, the 59-year-old Mumbai-born said he wants to serve America, beyond “Left” and “Right” to deliver solutions people need and deserve.

“I am running for President of the United States of America. We stand at the crossroads where we can either head into a Golden Age or into the Darkness… America becomes great when innovators, entrepreneurs, working people with skills and those committed to using common sense and reason run this country,” Ayyadurai said. “We stand at crossroads where we can either head into a Golden Age or the Darkness. I stand before you as someone who is a personification of the American Dream.”

On his campaign website, Ayyadurai maintained that America becomes great when innovators, entrepreneurs, working people with skills and those committed to using common sense and reason run the country. He added, “The Founders of America were blacksmiths, engineers, soldiers, architects, entrepreneurs, scientists — they worked for a living and produced through their labor, products and services to help other citizens.”

He is now the fourth Indian-American to bid for the US presidency, following Indian-American aerospace engineer Hirsh Vardhan Singh, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

A Fulbright Scholar with four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ayyadurai has started seven hi-tech companies, including EchoMail, CytoSolve, and Systems Health. He is said to have “invented email” at the age of 14. Currently, he serves as the Founder and CEO of CytoSolve, Inc, which is working on discovering cures for major diseases, from pancreatic cancer to Alzheimer’s.

The 59-year-old MIT scholar, who “invented email” when he was just 14, had earlier made headlines when he expressed interest in taking up the position of Twitter’s chief executive officer after Elon Musk said he wishes to step down from the post.

Mumbai-born Ayyadurai is an award-winning scientist and recently invented CytoSolveⓇ, a revolutionary platform for modeling complex biological phenomena, to support the development multi-combination medicines without animal testing. His parents immigrated to the US in 1970, when he was seven years old and settled in Paterson, New Jersey.

The question remains, if a foreign born US citizen is able to run for President’s office!

Vivek Ramaswamy Leans Into His Hindu Faith to Court Christian Voters

This spring, Bristol Smith, a manager at a McDonald’s in Maryville, Tennessee, came across the name Vivek Ramaswamy shortly after the entrepreneur Mr. Ramaswamy announced that he was running for president. Mr. Smith was drawn in. He liked Mr. Ramaswamy’s plan to send the military to the southern border to fight drug cartels and the way he “stands up against the wokeness.” He regarded Mr. Ramaswamy’s insight as a money manager worth countless dollars.

Then, at that point, Mr. Smith, 25, looked for Mr. Ramaswamy’s confidence. Mr. Smith is an evangelical Christian who recently established a modest church at his parents’ house.

He recalled, “I looked up his religion and saw he is Hindu.” I planned to decide in favor of him until that surfaced.” Mr. Smith believes that the nation needs to be “put back under God,” and he doesn’t want to risk it with a non-Christian.

By then, he said, “I got back on President Trump’s train.”

Mr. Ramaswamy, 37, is a practicing Hindu who was brought up in India by immigrants. Some conservative Christian voters, who make up a significant portion of the Republican primary electorate and are accustomed to evaluating candidates not only based on their policy proposals but also on their biographies and personal beliefs, including religious faith, face a dilemma as a result of this.

A candidate’s faith is a sign of a candidate’s values, lifestyle, loyalties, and priorities as a leader for many conservative voters. It’s the classic Sunday morning question about which candidate you’d like to have a beer with most: Who is a good fit for your church?

“It’s another obstacle individuals need to cross to go to him,” Weave Vander Plaats, a powerful fervent forerunner in Iowa, said of Mr. Ramaswamy.

Mr. Vander Plaats as of late had Mr. Ramaswamy’s family over for Sunday dinner at his home, where the feast opened with a request and the perusing of an entry from the Good book. He said that Mr. Ramaswamy’s message aligned with the priorities of many evangelical voters and that he left impressed. He referred to Mr. Ramaswamy’s list of ten fundamental “truths,” the first of which is as follows: God really exists. The subsequent: There are men and women.”)

“I believe he’s truly interfacing with the crowds in Iowa,” said Mr. Vander Plaats, who has not embraced an up-and-comer. ” He is open to more in-depth inquiries. In the most recent national polls, Mr. Ramaswamy receives less than 5% of the vote.

Mr. Ramaswamy has taken the direct approach of addressing the issue and arguing that he shares more similarities with observant Christians than they might think.

“I’m not Christian. In June, he addressed Mr. Vander Plaats in front of a small audience at the Family Leader’s headquarters. “I was not raised in a Christian household.” However, we truly do have the very Christian qualities that this country was established on.”

In a meeting in late June, in the wake of leaving a gathering with a couple dozen ministers in New Hampshire, Mr. Ramaswamy said his confidence instructed him that Jesus was “a child of God, totally.” ( That “a” will be a sharp qualification from the focal Christian conviction that Jesus is the child of God. Many Hindus believe in a plethora of deities, and some even consider Jesus to be a single teacher or god.) Hinduism is a fluid and expansive religion.

Mr. Ramaswamy pointed out that even though he is not a Christian, he openly discusses why belief in God is important, why increasing secularism in the United States is bad for the country, and values like marriage fidelity, duty, religious liberty, and self-sacrifice.

Regarding the theological differences between Hinduism and Christianity, he stated, “I don’t have a quick pitch to say, ‘No, no, that doesn’t matter.'” It’s that I see precisely why that would make a difference to you.”

Mr. Ramaswamy cites Thomas Aquinas and makes references to Bible stories at campaign stops, including the crucifixion of Jesus. He frequently discusses his time spent attending a Cincinnati “Christian school” (Catholic St. Xavier High School). Also, he differentiates “religions like our own,” which have gone the distance, with the contending perspectives of “wokeism, climatism, transgenderism, orientation belief system, Covidism,” as he put it to a group of people in New Hampshire.

The campaign of Mr. Ramaswamy has distributed videos of him responding to a New Hampshire man who asked about his “spiritual beliefs” at a town hall and of a pastor in Iowa comparing him to King David from the Bible. A woman blessed Mr. Ramaswamy in the name of Jesus Christ by placing her hand on his chest in Iowa.

“So be it,” Mr. Ramaswamy said as she closed her request.

Mr. Ramaswamy will be able to win over evangelical primary voters in the crowded Republican field in part because of outside forces. Rather than seeking a “pastor-in-chief,” many conservative voters now say they are looking for someone who shares their political and cultural goals and will fight on their behalf.

“The culture has changed, but theology is important. America has changed,” said David Brody, the boss political expert for the Christian Telecom Organization, who has talked with Mr. Ramaswamy. Mr. Brody stated that the fight against “cultural Marxism” and reversing the course of “a country gone haywire” are currently the most important goals.

He compared evangelical priorities in the Iowa caucuses the following year to those in 2008 and 2012, when conservative Christian candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee won.

Mr. Brody stated, “I don’t buy it at all the lazy narrative that he’s Hindu so he can’t appeal to evangelicals.”

As political divides have widened, theological boundaries have become increasingly muddled. Few temples split nowadays over old discussions like the specific timing of the final days or the job of through and through freedom in salvation. About portion of American Protestants presently say they like to go to a congregation with individuals who share their political perspectives, as per surveying from Lifeway Exploration.

Mr. Ramaswamy’s accentuation on his faith in one God has a long history for Hindus in the US, particularly those addressing white Christian crowds, said Michael Altman, a teacher of strict examinations at the College of Alabama.

Master Vivekananda, who addressed Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, went to considerable lengths to portray his confidence as monotheistic, rather than the generalizations of its devotees as “pagan” polytheists. Although the religion has a number of deities, they are typically subordinate to a single supreme “reality.” Its theology, according to many scholars and Hindus, is too complicated to be classified as either entirely monotheistic or entirely polytheistic.

“The polytheism obstacle is the principal thing that must be tended to” for the majority American Christian crowds, Mr. Altman said. He believes that Mr. Ramaswamy’s argument against “wokeism” is a way to dispel myths that Hinduism is synonymous with yoga, hippies, and vegetarianism.

According to evangelical observers, former President Donald J. Trump paved the way for Republican candidates who weren’t necessarily the kind of people voters would expect to sit next to on Sunday mornings at church. Numerous fervent citizens embraced the rough, threefold wedded gambling club financier not on the grounds that he was one of them but since they accepted he would battle in the public square for their benefit.

Most Indian Americans, including Hindus, are leftists. However, a segment of the population that places a high value on family, marriage, and education presents a chance for conservatives. Mr. Trump celebrated Diwali at the White House while serving as president, and the Republican National Committee introduced a brand-new Republican Hindu and Indian American Coalition in April. When he appeared with President Trump in Houston in 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew a crowd of 50,000 people, making him a well-known figure to a growing group of right-wing Indian Americans. Mr. Ramaswamy talked last year at a celebration coordinated by the conservative U.S. bunch HinduPACT, which is lined up with Mr. Modi’s style of patriotism.

Nikki Haley, one more Indian American competitor in the 2024 essential, has also underlined her experience as the girl of foreigners. However, Ms. Haley converted to Christianity and now attends a large Methodist church in South Carolina, despite the fact that she was raised Sikh. Bobby Jindal, a Republican from Louisiana who ran for president in 2016, was born and raised Hindu, but he has said that he is an “evangelical Catholic.”

Mr. Ramaswamy goes to a similar sanctuary in Dayton, Ohio, that he did as a youngster that his folks actually do.

In 2015, he had his wedding in New York City officiated by one of the priests from the temple. His wife, Dr. Apoorva Ramaswamy, stated that he, his wife, and their two young sons attend the temple on holidays and for special occasions, including the younger son’s first birthday in early July.

Dr. Ramaswamy, who has spoken out about the family’s faith on the campaign trail, stated that serious and nominal adherents to the same faith share more similarities than committed believers from different traditions.

Dr. Ramaswamy stated, “The fact that we are believers, that we have that sense of humility, that we raise our children with true respect, fear, and love of God — that is so much more unifying than the name of the God to whom people pray.”

The inquiry for her significant other’s mission is whether enough Christian citizens will concur.

Ken Bosse, the pastor of New Life Church in Raymond, New Hampshire, said that he is “an extreme follower of Jesus Christ” and that, all things considered, he would rather have a Christian in the White House. But because “we have had some professing Christians in that position who didn’t follow biblical principles,” he would be open to the right candidate who is not a Christian.

Mr. Bosse welcomed Mr. Ramaswamy to convey a concise discourse at his congregation on a Sunday morning in April. He enjoyed the competitor’s accentuation on recovering a positive American personality, he expressed, and on his story as an independent tycoon who is the offspring of workers. Right now, in any case, Mr. Bosse is inclining in the direction of supporting Mr. Trump. (Courtesy: The New York Times)

In Effort to Appeal to Conservative Voters, Vivek Ramaswamy Releases Conservative Pool of Supreme Court Picks

Vivek Ramaswamy, a business visionary running for the Republican presidential nomination, has released a rundown of expected decisions for the U.S. Supreme Court, with an end goal to feature his moderate certifications to early-state citizens who might have one or two serious misgivings of an up-and-comer without a political foundation.

The move reverberations one made by Donald J. Trump in the 2016 official mission, when he was all the while confronting inquiries from Republican electors about his past as a Democrat from New York who had once upheld fetus removal privileges and had showed up additional moderate on specific issues.

The roster includes two senators — Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah — former Solicitor General Paul Clement and a half-dozen of the nation’s most conservative federal appellate court judges. Some of them have worked to limit abortion and transgender rights.

Ramaswamy also named seven judges, from various federal district courts, the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, as a pool from which he would select U.S. circuit court nominees if he is elected.

“We were looking for diversity of vantage points on the Constitution, but without a diversity of commitment to the originalist understanding of the Constitution,” Ramaswamy said in an interview with NBC News.

Ramaswamy’s rundown, detailed prior by Axios, incorporates legal advisers who have controlled on different parts of the Republican culture wars, including strict issues, free discourse, antibody commands and transsexual privileges. In a proclamation, Mr. Ramaswamy looked to differentiate his way to deal with that of President Biden, who promised during his mission to designate the main Person of color to the most noteworthy court, which he did when he named Ketanji Brown Jackson. Mr. Ramaswamy excused that move as “purely skin-deep diversity.”

Ramaswamy stated, “The unwavering dedication to the principles of originalism and commitment to a constitutionalist judicial philosophy is what each of the individuals I would appoint share.” Our courts are the last line of guard against a managerial express that guidelines by fiat, enacts from the seat, smothering opportunity and truth.”

Ramaswamy said he, his staff and what helpers portray as “outsider associations” went over every one of the compositions and choices of the nine appointed authorities on his rundown, zeroing in on originalism — the legal way of thinking that depends on the expressions of the Constitution when it was composed rather than an understanding in light of current perspectives — and a “guarantee to a constitutionalist legal way of thinking.”

In early-state and national polls, Ramaswamy is polling well behind Mr. Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Be that as it may, Mr. Ramaswamy has committed broad opportunity to Iowa, where his rundown of judges for a potential open Supreme Court seat could matter.

His list includes Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas. Mr. Lee was on Mr. Trump’s initial list in 2016. Mr. Cruz has been mentioned on lists of prospective conservative jurists, but his decision to object to certifying the 2020 election’s Electoral College outcome would raise hackles among Democrats, who may cite other objections as well.

Judge James Ho, who serves on the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit, which incorporates Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, is additionally on the rundown. An individual from the moderate Federalist Society and a previous representative for Equity Clarence Thomas, Judge Ho has been a vocal rival of the right to a fetus removal.

Another legal adviser, Judge Lawrence Van Dyke of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, was designated for that situation by Mr. Trump in 2019. At that point, the American Bar Association said in a letter that it had worries that he wouldn’t be reasonable for L.G.B.T.Q. individuals.

Others on the rundown incorporate Appointed authority Lisa Branch, an individual from the Federalist Society who sits on the Court of Allures for the eleventh Circuit; Paul D. Forebearing, a previous specialist general; Judge Thomas M. Hardiman of the Court of Allures for the Third Circuit, who was on Mr. Trump’s underlying short rundown to supplant Equity Antonin Scalia; Judge Justin R. Walker of the Court of Allures for the Locale of Columbia Circuit; and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John K. Bush.

India, US Resolve All 6 Trade Disputes During PM Modi’s State Visit

“The United States and India are pleased to notify the DSB (dispute settlement body), in accordance with Article 3.6 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, that the parties have reached a mutually agreed solution to the matter raised in this dispute,” according to a communication of the WTO dated July 17.

The dispute panel has been urged by the two nations to limit its report to a brief description of the case and information that the two nations have reached a solution.

The exchange question which was settled relates to a protest documented by the US in 2019 against India.

India had forced extra traditions obligations on 28 US items including chickpeas, lentils and apples in reprisal to the US expanding obligations on specific steel and aluminum items.

Against this goal, India would eliminate extra obligations on eight US items, including chickpeas, lentils and apples, which were forced in 2019 because of America’s action to increment taxes on specific steel and aluminum items, government sources said.

Six World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes were settled during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent state visit to the United States, and these retaliatory tariffs on certain US products were lifted.

In 2018, the US forced an import obligation of 25% on steel items and 10 percent on specific aluminum items on grounds of public safety. In reprisal, India in June 2019 forced traditions obligations on 28 American items.

Trump Notified, He is Target in DOJ’s Jan. 6 Investigation

Former President Trump said Tuesday last week that he has been alerted he is a target of the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation focusing on his efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. Trump said he received the “target letter” Sunday evening.

“Deranged Jack Smith, the prosecutor with Joe Biden’s DOJ, sent a letter (again it was Sunday night!) stating that I am a TARGET of the January 6th Grand Jury investigation, and giving me a very short 4 days to report to the Grand Jury, which almost always means an arrest and indictment.”

It had been clear that Trump’s actions would be a central focus of the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, as Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to review the matter last year to determine “whether any person or entity unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power.”

But, as Trump states, receiving a target letter is often a sign someone could soon face charges in a matter where prosecutors have gathered substantial evidence.

Trump pursued a multi-pronged plan to remain in office, turning to the DOJ, state officials and even his own supporters, who ransacked the Capitol after then-Vice President Mike Pence refused Trump’s request to overturn the election results.

It’s unclear what specific charges Trump could face if prosecutors decide to move ahead.

model prosecution memo analyzing publicly available details about the DOJ investigation suggested the former president could face charges on conspiracy to defraud the United States after creating fake electoral certificates that were submitted to Congress.

Creating those fake electoral certificates could also invoke statutes that prohibit obstruction of an official proceeding, a charge also leveled at numerous rioters who entered the building, including members of the Oath Keepers and military and chauvinist group the Proud Boys.

Prosecutors in recent weeks have called a number of Trump allies before the grand jury, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former aide Hope Hicks. Prosecutors reportedly asked questions about whether Trump knew he had lost the election, as demonstrating intent is key for some charges.

An indictment would mark the third time this year Trump has been charged with a crime, and the second time in a matter of months that he would face federal charges. He was charged in Manhattan in April over an alleged hush money scheme to keep quiet an affair, and in June he pleaded not guilty to federal charges over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office. The former president is still under investigation in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. The district attorney leading the investigation has signaled charges could be filed in August.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that the myriad investigations into his conduct are part of an attempt to undermine his 2024 White House bid, pointing to his sizable lead in Republican primary polls, as well as some surveys that have shown him narrowly leading President Biden in a hypothetical rematch.

“THIS WITCH HUNT IS ALL ABOUT ELECTION INTERFERENCE AND A COMPLETE AND TOTAL POLITICAL WEAPONIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT!” Trump said Tuesday. “It is a very sad and dark period for our Nation!”

The Biden White House has been adamant that they have had no contact with the DOJ about cases involving Trump.

In the case over his handling of classified materials, a May 19 letter from the DOJ notified Trump he was a target of the investigation, according to court filings. Trump posted on social media June 8 that he had been indicted.

In this case, however, it appears Trump has been given until Thursday to appear before the grand jury in Washington.

Trump’s office did not immediately respond to questions about whether he will appear before the grand jury — a chance to offer his own evidence in the case — and Smith’s office declined to comment on the matter.

In the halls of Congress, Republicans defended Trump, repeating his claims that he is being unfairly targeted.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who in the days after the Jan. 6 attack said that Trump “bears responsibility” for the riot, sounded a different tune Tuesday morning.

“Recently, President Trump went up in the polls and was actually surpassing President Biden for reelection. So, what do they do now? Weaponize government to go after their No. 1 opponent,” he told reporters. “This is not equal justice. They treat people differently and they go after their adversaries.”

On the day of the insurrection, McCarthy called Trump, pleading with him to make a public statement to call off his supporters, at one point reportedly telling the then-president that “they are trying to fing kill me.” “Yeah, it’s absolute bulls,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said. “This is the only way that the Democrats have to beat President Trump.”

But Democrats argued Trump’s plan to stay in power was an effort to subvert democracy, one that should carry serious consequences.

“A mob of insurrectionists violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th in order to halt the peaceful transfer of power,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter.

“The American people deserve to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called a potential case among the most serious Trump would face.

“If he’ll be facing charges with respect to the Jan. 6 insurrection, those are perhaps the most serious charges,” he said. “If he’s convicted of insurrection, he’s ineligible to ever hold any office of profit or trust under the United States.”

Legal Cases Pending Against Trump

Former President Trump predicted Wednesday that he will soon face arrest and indictment for his role in the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump is basing that assessment on the fact that his attorneys have been informed he is a target of the federal grand jury in Washington, D.C.

If Trump is indeed indicted, it would be the third case in which he has been charged this year. Possible charges loom in a fourth case in Georgia.

Here is a roundup of the legal challenges Trump faces.

New York and the hush money payments

Trump’s first criminal indictment is in many ways the least compelling.

In early April, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg laid out 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.

The charges relate to three stories about Trump’s personal life. The most famous of these centers on porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. A $130,000 deal to buy Daniels’s silence was sealed by Michael Cohen, Trump’s now-estranged attorney, in the closing weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Bragg indictment also encompasses payments made by Trump allies to another woman — former Playboy model Karen McDougal — who alleges she had a sexual relationship with him, and an additional, smaller deal allegedly aimed at silencing a former Trump Tower doorman.

The charges, in simple terms, are that the Trump Organization concealed these hush-money payments in its official business records.

Theoretically, Trump could face a four-year jail sentence on every count, which would make for a maximum sentence of 136 years. However, most legal experts consider it inconceivable the sentence would be anywhere close to that punitive, even if he is found guilty.

Trump has pleaded not guilty. His allies contend that a criminal case would not even have been brought against a private citizen who engaged in the same conduct.

Mar-a-Lago and the classified documents

Trump’s second indictment — and the first to come from special counsel Jack Smith, who is also investigating Jan. 6 — is significantly stronger.

Trump has been charged with 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of making false statements and four additional offenses pertaining to different forms of concealment.

A Trump aide, Walt Nauta, is the co-defendant on five of the charges and has been individually charged for making false statements.

The indictment lays out its case in some detail, with several accompanying photos.

It includes a transcript of a conversation in which Trump appears to acknowledge that at least one document in his possession is “secret information” and “highly confidential.”

There are also allegations that, if true, look like textbook examples of obstruction. The indictment includes an episode where, under subpoena to produce documents, Trump muses as to whether his legal team could simply not “play ball,” or deny he possesses the relevant documents.

There are also allegations that boxes of documents were moved at Trump’s direction, seemingly to hide them from Trump’s own attorney.

The obstruction charge alone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all the charges at a June 13 arraignment in Miami. He has furiously attacked Smith in speeches and on social media, and his legal team has sought to delay a trial until after the 2024 election.

The investigation into Jan. 6

In his Truth Social post Wednesday morning, Trump said that the official notification that he was a target “almost always means an arrest and indictment.”

The former president is correct on that point.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander are among those reported to have testified to the grand jury.

An indictment is expected any day now, and much speculation concerns what the actual charges will be.

Multiple news outlets reported Wednesday that the warning letter mentions federal statutes relating to deprivation of rights, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and tampering with a witness.

The referrals made to the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 late last year also provide some possible clues.

Referrals have no real legal force, but the committee prodded the DOJ to look at possible charges of inciting or aiding an insurrection; obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the United States; and conspiracy to make a false statement.

If charges are indeed pressed, Trump is virtually certain to plead not guilty.

In a second Truth Social post Wednesday, he contended he had “the right to protest an Election that I am fully convinced was Rigged and Stolen.”

The ongoing Georgia probe

Fulton County (Ga.) District Attorney Fani Willis first asked for a grand jury to be empaneled in January 2022. Her request was fulfilled four months later.

Willis’s original request contended that there was a “reasonable probability” that the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia were “subject to possible criminal disruptions.”

Even among Trump loyalists, there has long been trepidation about the Georgia probe.

The main reason is that Trump was recorded during a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) on Jan. 2, 2021.

In that call, Trump — still the president — pressed Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overcome President Biden’s narrow margin of victory in the state. Biden had carried the Peach State by fewer than 12,000 votes.

Trump also warned ominously that Raffensperger could face criminal consequences if he did not comply. Raffensperger later wrote that he construed Trump’s words as “a threat.”

It’s possible, of course, that Willis in the end indicts nobody — or that she indicts Trump allies but not the former president himself.

She has suggested a charging decision will be made by Aug. 18

Ramaswamy Clinches Donor Threshold For First GOP Debate

Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has achieved the necessary donor threshold to qualify for the first GOP debate, his campaign confirmed on Friday. Tricia McLaughlin, a senior adviser on Ramaswamy’s campaign, verified that he had surpassed the required minimum of 40,000 donors, reaching an impressive 65,000 unique donors.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) had outlined specific criteria in June for candidates to participate in the debate. Apart from the donor threshold, candidates must also meet polling requirements. They should have at least 1 percent support in three national polls or 1 percent support in two national polls and one state poll from early primary or caucus states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Ramaswamy’s achievement comes at a time when his campaign is gaining some momentum. Recent polling averages from FiveThirtyEight show him in third place among GOP primary contenders with 6.8 percent support, a remarkable increase of over four points in the last month, placing him comfortably above the RNC’s threshold.

Interestingly, Ramaswamy took the opportunity to criticize the current GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, during a town hall event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This approach is quite different from his previous tactics, as he had largely avoided directly targeting Trump. Ramaswamy argued that Trump’s polarizing nature might hinder the party’s progress, suggesting that a significant portion of the population suffers mentally when he is in office. Despite this criticism, Ramaswamy has shown loyalty to the former president, even supporting him amidst legal challenges, including the potential indictment over the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

As the date of the first GOP debate draws near, Ramaswamy’s rise in the polls may indicate a shift in his campaign strategy. The debate is scheduled for August 23 in Milwaukee and will be moderated by Fox News.

It is evident that Ramaswamy’s ability to secure a substantial number of donors showcases his growing support within the party. His surge in popularity, surpassing the required polling and fundraising benchmarks, positions him as a serious contender for the GOP nomination.

In the upcoming debate, Ramaswamy will have the opportunity to present his ideas and policy proposals to a nationwide audience. This platform could be a game-changer for his campaign, allowing him to introduce himself to a broader audience and potentially increase his support base.

With the debate just a few weeks away, all eyes will be on Ramaswamy and the other candidates vying for the GOP nomination. The dynamics of the race may change as candidates seek to distinguish themselves and articulate their visions for the party’s future.

It’s worth noting that Ramaswamy’s decision to critique Trump directly could be a strategic move to set himself apart from other candidates who have been more cautious in their remarks about the former president. By addressing the potential challenges posed by Trump’s polarizing leadership style, Ramaswamy may be attempting to appeal to a broader segment of the Republican electorate.

The debate itself will be a critical event for Ramaswamy and his fellow candidates. It will offer them the chance to showcase their policy expertise, articulate their stances on various issues, and demonstrate their ability to lead the country effectively.

As the debate approaches, the candidates will likely intensify their campaigning efforts, seeking to secure more donors and improve their polling numbers. The primary race is highly competitive, and each candidate will be striving to make a strong impression on potential voters.

Ramaswamy’s rise in the polls and his qualification for the debate indicate that he is gaining traction and support within the Republican Party. However, the road ahead is challenging, with numerous hurdles to overcome before securing the nomination.

The first GOP debate will be a significant moment in Ramaswamy’s campaign journey. How he performs and how voters respond to his ideas and message will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of his candidacy.

As the date of the debate draws closer, the focus will be on the candidates’ preparations, their debate strategies, and their ability to connect with the American public. The nation will be eagerly watching the event, eager to see which candidate emerges as a front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination.

“Here’s a reality about my friend, Donald Trump,” Ramaswamy said. “I respect what he did, but it’s just a fact, it’s not even his fault — 30 percent of this country becomes psychiatrically ill when he’s in the White House.”

Vivek Ramaswamy’s successful qualification for the first GOP debate by meeting the donor threshold is a noteworthy accomplishment, indicating a growing momentum in his campaign. His rise in the polls and willingness to directly address concerns about Donald Trump’s leadership style suggest a change in campaign strategy. With the debate set to take place in August, Ramaswamy and his fellow candidates will have a crucial opportunity to showcase their visions and positions on the national stage. The debate’s outcome could have a significant impact on the Republican primary race, influencing the direction of Ramaswamy’s candidacy and shaping the competition for the party’s nomination.

US Defence Act Bill Opens Door For Deeper US Cooperation With India

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has put forward a proposal as part of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) to bolster the United States’ defense cooperation with India. This draft legislation, if implemented, would deepen collaboration between the two countries in key areas of defense and security. The SASC has called on the Pentagon to consider India’s eligibility for various security cooperation benefits, recognizing it as a major defense partner.

The proposed NDAA urges the US defense secretary to expand cooperation with India in crucial domains, including artificial intelligence (AI), undersea domain awareness, air combat and support, munitions, and mobility. Additionally, it advocates for joint efforts in counter-terrorism operations, maritime and border security operations, and military intelligence operations to build capacity.

The Senate’s version of the NDAA, though not the final act, carries weight as it enjoys bipartisan support and is based on inputs from the Department of Defense (DOD) as well as the result of increased engagement between the US Congress and India in recent months. High-level diplomatic interactions, such as the visit of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to India, underscore the significance of the partnership between the two nations in the context of competition with China.

The NDAA draft proposes four specific lines of effort to ensure India’s benefits as a major defence partner:

1. “Eligibility for funding to initiate or facilitate cooperative research, development, testing, or evaluation projects” in areas like AI, undersea domain awareness, air combat, munitions, and mobility.

2. “Eligibility to enter into reciprocal agreements with the Department of Defence for the cooperative provision of training” in areas such as counter-terrorism, border security, military intelligence, and cyberspace security.

3. “Eligibility to enter into a memorandum of understanding or other formal agreement with the Department of Defence for conducting cooperative research and development projects on Défense equipment and munitions.”

4. “Eligibility for Indian companies to bid on contracts for the maintenance, repair, or overhaul of DOD equipment located outside the US.”

The proposed legislation also requires the defense secretary to provide a briefing to relevant Senate and House committees on the status of security cooperation activities with India in the specified areas by March 1, 2024.

Sameer Lalwani, an expert on South Asia at the US Institute of Peace, emphasized the significance of this proposed legislation in enhancing the US-India defense relationship. He noted that the legislation moves beyond mere expressions of optimism and offers guidance on specific areas of focus and modalities.

Highlighting the next steps, Lalwani added, “But after assessing India’s eligibility, Congress may then have to tackle potential regulatory or procedural hurdles and appropriate the requisite resources to ensure these efforts of joint research, training, and sustainment remain robust and sustained over time.”

In conclusion, the proposed NDAA reflects the growing importance of the US-India partnership in the defense and security domain. It outlines specific measures to deepen collaboration, emphasizing the need to address challenges and allocate adequate resources for sustained efforts in building capacity and enhancing security cooperation. As the House of Representatives finalizes its version of the NDAA, the proposed legislation sets the stage for further strengthening the defense ties between the two nations in the face of shared regional challenges and interests.

Americans Divided on Supreme Court’s Decisions

Depending on their political affiliation, Americans had a wide range of opinions regarding the most recent decisions made by the Supreme Court, including those that restricted the use of race-based affirmative action in higher education and prevented student loan forgiveness.

New surveying directed by ABC News/Ipsos shows that Americans’ reactions to the High Court have been uneven, with the level of conservatives and free thinkers who view the court’s choices as driven by governmental issues remaining to a great extent unaltered. Meanwhile, Democrats are becoming more and more vocal about their belief that the justices base their decisions on their political opinions rather than the law. While just 33% of conservatives and a big part of free movers say the court leads basically based on hardliner political perspectives, 3/4 of leftists currently have that perspective – – a spike of 20 rate focuses since eighteen months prior when the inquiry was posed to in a January 2022 ABC News/Ipsos survey.

ABC News sought out poll participants to learn more about their perspectives. According to follow-up interviews with poll respondents, there is a high degree of polarization, and opinions within partisan groups are somewhat varied. Individuals from the two players have differing insights about the level of the court’s politicization, whether it involves concern, and the thing to do about it. All respondents requested to be recognized simply by their most memorable names aside from where generally showed.

Conservatives

A solid greater part of conservatives – – around 66%, as indicated by ABC News/Ipsos surveying – – accept that High Court judges pursue their choices based on regulation, not legislative issues.

Asha Urban, who spoke with ABC News earlier this month at a Trump rally in South Carolina, says that the justices are focused on the law. She advised, “Rule on the law, and push other things back to the states that need to be ruled in the states.”

Urban believes that former President Donald Trump’s tenure was marked by the appointment of three Supreme Court justices. She also believes that the Trump-appointed justices are reversing a legacy of politicized rulings prior to his presidency.

She stated, “He campaigned on bringing in conservative judges who would be constitutionalists rather than politicians.” I believe that is what the vast majority of us need.”

Michael, a South Carolina Republican, has a different perspective. He was surprised to learn that Republicans were more likely than Democrats to believe that Supreme Court justices rule based on their personal political views. He is one of about a third of Republicans who believe this.

He jokingly stated, “It distresses me that I might lean toward the Democrats.” He concurs with the court’s new choices on governmental policy regarding minorities in society and understudy loans. In any case, the 74-year-old is worried by the way that the court’s navigation could turn out to be in an exposed fashion political later on – – a pattern he sees as connected with the country’s polarization overall.

He stated, “I’m worried that they’re not following the law.” They weren’t chosen. We have no recourse when a president serves them up—and it’s for life. They can’t be voted out.

Concerns about the direction of the court were expressed by Dwight Edward Allen, a 47-year-old Kentucky man who describes himself as “more of a conservative than a Republican.” While he accepts that the judges pursue sound legitimate choices more often than not, including their new choice with respect to educational loans, he said that the court is turning out to be more political, and explicitly that it is “going in reverse.”

“That is great assuming you’re white or special, yet in the event that you’re simply attempting to scrape by, then, at that point, it’s not,” he said.

Democrats According to ABC News/Ipsos polling, many Democrats view the Supreme Court as an increasingly politicized institution after a year of controversial rulings.

One such Democrat who is concerned about partisanship on the Supreme Court is Natalie. She stated that her upbringing as a Filipina immigrant gave her a profound appreciation for nonpartisan judicial systems and that she is concerned about what she sees as the weakening of democracy in the United States as a whole.

“I know what it’s like to live under a dictatorship because I spent my childhood in the Philippines under martial law. She stated, “I know what it’s like when the politicians in power influence the Supreme Court.”

Natalie said that the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on affirmative action, President Joe Biden’s policy on student loan debt, and abortion show that the court doesn’t always follow the law.

“Experiencing childhood in a nation where we generally admired the majority rule standards of the US, and perceiving how it’s getting disintegrated the present moment, is troubling to me,” she added.

Another Democrat who is concerned about partisanship on the court, Vicki, claims that politics have become more influential on the court in the past year. She shared, “I think that they are more partisan now than they have been in the past.”

Vicki emphasized that justices should adhere to the letter of the law and should not be influenced by political parties or politicians—something that, according to her, has not been the case in recent months.

She stated, “I idealistically believe that they should be ruling based on what is written in the Constitution, rather than what the party supporting the president that appointed them might support.”

According to ABC News/Ipsos polling, independents are roughly evenly divided regarding whether the court rules primarily on the basis of the law.

Greg Freeman, an autonomous, said that albeit the ongoing High Court judges’ decisions convey hardliner inclinations, they are sensible translations of the law.

He stated, “Even though it appears that what they’re doing right now is partisan…” He added, “I think we’re just seeing that the decisions of the court are very reflective of the presidents who nominated them.”

That Freeman still has faith in the Court despite partisanship. The 49-year-old South Carolinian, who asserts that he has major concerns with both political parties, views it as a natural part of a democracy’s power struggles.

“At the point when certain issues were deciphered contrastingly in past High Court decisions, moderates jumped on a ‘liberal’ court. In an email to ABC News, Freeman wrote, “Liberals are railing against a mostly conservative court now that the reverse is arguably true.” Partisanship in the Court is the same old thing, and it has a major impact in how presidents are picked by citizens. Continuously has, consistently will.”

Dan, another California independent, concurred with Freeman’s diagnosis but expressed concern about the trend. He declined to discuss specific cases but stated that he senses that the court has become more political over the past decade. He self-identifies as a swing voter.

“The current court appears to be biased, in my opinion,” he stated. “I’m concerned that the current Supreme Court would change long-term positions.” A decade prior, I could never have said that.”

Dan said that he wouldn’t uphold extending the quantity of judges on the court, an answer that has been proposed by a few Vote based legislators, assuming that the judges were still politically named. However, he expressed broad support for the establishment of term limits for Supreme Court justices and other measures to make the court less partisan.

The Election That Couldn’t Happen in High School

The high school student government vote in the classic 1999 film “Election” has everything: bare desire, crusade banner destroying, voting form control, unfaithfulness and then some Tracy Flick is played by Reese Witherspoon, who can differentiate between “morals” and “ethics” and always raises her hand first in class. Jim McAllister, who has been named teacher of the year three times, is played by Matthew Broderick. He doesn’t like Tracy and gets a popular jock to run against her for student body president.

In any case, what the skilled author Tom Perotta probably couldn’t envision was a political race wherein two disliked competitors get down to business for president. That doesn’t occur in secondary school, even in an ironical film.

While a great deal can occur before the primaries start one year from now, the two driving competitors right now, President Joe Biden and previous President Donald Trump, are both disagreeable with the American public.

Only 41% of Americans, according to a June CNN poll, approve of Biden’s performance. Trump finished his administration in 2021, days after the January 6 US State house revolt, with a typical endorsement rating that was even lower – 39%. 59% of all Americans believe that Trump should end his campaign following his indictment this year on federal charges of mishandling classified documents.

“This puts a lot of Americans in a position they don’t want to be in,” Harry Enten wrote last month. At this point, a historically high percentage of them dislike either man. “A plurality (36%) viewed neither candidate favorably, while 33% viewed Trump favorably and 32% viewed Biden favorably,” according to a CNN poll.

“Even with his mediocre approval ratings,” Biden has advantages over some of his predecessors, according to historian Julian Zelizer. He has “a formidable legislative record,” as he puts it. He can boast of a robust economy with numerous jobs and price stability now that inflation has subsided. But he argued that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s primary challenge must concern the president. Biden also benefits from the specter of a second Trump presidency, which is enough to rally Democrats and scare voters who might otherwise be tempted by a challenger.

Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush are just a few examples from history who lost out in crucial primaries. Large numbers of Biden’s 2020 allies are disappointed with the president, and any assaults Kennedy will release could additionally harm Biden and give an establishment to conservatives to pursue him in the mission,” composed Zelizer. If Biden’s name is not on the ballot, RFK Jr. could even win the New Hampshire primary. The president is in favor of depriving that state of its right to hold the first-in-the-nation primary in favor of South Carolina, which was the state that gave Biden’s 2020 campaign a lot of energy.

Trump Inconveniences

Trump has a sizable lead over his kindred GOP competitors yet faces a remarkable arrangement of legal difficulties originating from his two prosecutions, other forthcoming examinations and common claims. Trump’s opponents, both within and outside the party, have more cause for concern as his MAGA base proclaims its love for the former president.

Consider Sen. Lindsey Graham’s participation in a Trump rally over the weekend. Despite the fact that he was in his home province of South Carolina just miles from his origin, the congressperson was completely booed by Trump’s allies, as Dignitary Obeidallah called attention to.

“While the roasting served as yet another reminder of how some Trump supporters demand absolute loyalty to the former president, I must admit that it was fun to watch Graham bomb with the audience. When Trump said that Graham and everyone else makes a “mistake,” it seemed like the mistake was not being completely loyal to Trump.

Trump has been promoting the idea of “bringing back” retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was pardoned by the former president. “The United States would be in for quite a scary ride if Flynn were to be brought back into a senior national security role in a possible second Trump administration, based on Flynn’s tight embrace of the Christian nationalist right and wild conspiracy theories,” wrote Peter Bergen and Erik German.

Featuring in a “Enliven America Visit,” “Flynn is named, without incongruity, ‘America’s general,’ and, at the occasion we went to in May, America’s general was the certain superstar. Flynn told the crowd, many of whom had paid hundreds of dollars for tickets to the event and the cost of staying at the Trump resort, that there was a conspiracy to take over the world while standing on stage at a podium flanked by jumbotron TVs draped with red Trump flags.

“As per Flynn, this scheme is driven by … the World Financial Discussion,” Bergen and German composed. In recent years, bizarre conspiracy theories have become a hotbed of discussion at the World Economic Forum, which is best known for its annual Davos conference, which brings together CEOs and world leaders.

The Conservative Public Board of trustees requires up-and-comers who partake in its discussions to make a vow that they will uphold the party’s possible candidate, who could be Trump. It’s a serious mix-up, composed Geoff Duncan, a GOPer who previously filled in as lieutenant legislative head of Georgia. The requirement that “every GOP presidential candidate must state, without equivocation, that the 2020 election was not stolen” would be a better policy. No really moving around the issue with a wink and a gesture about ‘worries’ about Coronavirus time strategies making the way for expected extortion… ”

“It’s well beyond time for the Conservative Alliance to show our freedom from previous President Trump. The GOP’s losing streak through the 2018 midterms is a result of his politics, personality, and policies. We must first change our party’s leadership before we can change the direction of our country.

Reverberations From SCOTUS Rulings

The climactic finish to the High Court term kept on resonating the week before. It was just a year prior that the court’s moderate larger part upset Roe v. Swim, a disagreeable move that permitted liberals to score a few major political wins and keep away from a lamentable midterm political race.

The current year’s choices, dismissing governmental policy regarding minorities in society in school confirmations and striking down Biden’s understudy loan pardoning plan, are more averse to assemble electors, contended David Imprint.

David Mark wrote, “Democrats plan to put the Supreme Court on trial in the lead up to the elections in 2024.” However, Democrats face the challenge of the court’s views on the issues pertaining to higher education being more in line with voters’ values than their own. However their political fight intend to defame the High Court has as of recently been to a great extent effective, liberals are ready to make a significant error on the off chance that they expect the current year’s choices will push more individuals against the court and in this way further into Popularity based arms… ”

“Consider that in the country’s transcendent blue stronghold of California, Biden cavorted to triumph against Trump. However, on the same ballot, voters rejected a measure repealing California’s affirmative action ban from 1996 by 57%-43%.

Problem with free speech Kara Alaimo wrote that a Supreme Court decision “that makes it harder to hold people responsible for harassment” got lost in the rush of the end of the term. Online harassment is protected by the First Amendment unless the perpetrator disregards a “substantial risk that his communications would be viewed as threatening violence,” according to the court, which overturned a man’s conviction for stalking and inflicting “emotional distress” on singer Coles Whalen.

“While the court may claim to be defending free speech by ruling that the threats were protected by the First Amendment,” the decision is likely to censor and silence harassment victims.

In court and beyond, “Finding the right balance between free speech and protecting people from abuse is difficult.”

Democrats Push for Passage of Equality Act to Protect LGBTQ+ Community

The Equality Act, which provides legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community, was reintroduced last week Wednesday, according to Democrats in the House and Senate.

During a news conference on Capitol Hill, Democrats joined LGBTQ+ leaders to say that the laws currently in place make that community vulnerable to discrimination in employment and many other areas.

Senate Greater part Pioneer Hurl Schumer, R-N.Y., and House Minority Pioneer Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., vowed to make a solid effort to get the Correspondence Act passed notwithstanding resistance from conservatives.

The Equity Act would revise the Social equality Demonstration of 1964 to broaden securities for instruction, lodging, and work for the LGBTQ+ people group by growing insurances to incorporate sexual direction and orientation character.

As evidence that the Equality Act has a path forward, they cited the Respect for Marriage Act, which enshrined the protection of gay marriage and passed last year with bipartisan support.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., stated, “Progress must not be mistaken for victory.” who once again introduced the bill in the Senate. “[ We should fight] until all Americans have the opportunity of fairness.”

According to Jeffries, the Equality Act has not been modified since it failed to gain traction a year ago. However, the rash of state laws that target the transgender community has contributed to the creation of some momentum in the effort to take action to safeguard the LGBTQ+ community.

“Until we get it over the finish line, the Equality Act is and will continue to be one of our top priorities,” Jeffries stated. Choosing hopefulness over hatred is the purpose of the Equality Act, which seeks to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

Common liberties Mission said 525 bills have been presented by states that have designated the local area and have harmed freedoms. At the news conference, HRC President Kelly Robinson stated that gay, lesbian, and transgender people are subject to different laws than the rest of the country.

According to conservatives, the law would probably violate religious liberties and rights. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said that the bill will be difficult for any GOP member to sign in 2021 because it does not provide enough protections for those with deeply held religious beliefs.

Vivek Ramaswamy Leans Into His Hindu Faith to Court Christian Voters

This spring, Bristol Smith, a manager at a McDonald’s in Maryville, Tennessee, came across the name Vivek Ramaswamy shortly after the entrepreneur Mr. Ramaswamy announced that he was running for president. Mr. Smith was drawn in. He liked Mr. Ramaswamy’s plan to send the military to the southern border to fight drug cartels and the way he “stands up against the wokeness.” He regarded Mr. Ramaswamy’s insight as a money manager worth countless dollars.

Then, at that point, Mr. Smith, 25, looked for Mr. Ramaswamy’s confidence. Mr. Smith is an evangelical Christian who recently established a modest church at his parents’ house.

He recalled, “I looked up his religion and saw he is Hindu.” I planned to decide in favor of him until that surfaced.” Mr. Smith believes that the nation needs to be “put back under God,” and he doesn’t want to risk it with a non-Christian.

By then, he said, “I got back on President Trump’s train.”

Mr. Ramaswamy, 37, is a practicing Hindu who was brought up in India by immigrants. Some conservative Christian voters, who make up a significant portion of the Republican primary electorate and are accustomed to evaluating candidates not only based on their policy proposals but also on their biographies and personal beliefs, including religious faith, face a dilemma as a result of this.

A candidate’s faith is a sign of a candidate’s values, lifestyle, loyalties, and priorities as a leader for many conservative voters. It’s the classic Sunday morning question about which candidate you’d like to have a beer with most: Who is a good fit for your church?

“It’s another obstacle individuals need to cross to go to him,” Weave Vander Plaats, a powerful fervent forerunner in Iowa, said of Mr. Ramaswamy.

Mr. Vander Plaats as of late had Mr. Ramaswamy’s family over for Sunday dinner at his home, where the feast opened with a request and the perusing of an entry from the Good book. He said that Mr. Ramaswamy’s message aligned with the priorities of many evangelical voters and that he left impressed. He referred to Mr. Ramaswamy’s list of ten fundamental “truths,” the first of which is as follows: God really exists. The subsequent: There are men and women.”)

“I believe he’s truly interfacing with the crowds in Iowa,” said Mr. Vander Plaats, who has not embraced an up-and-comer. ” He is open to more in-depth inquiries. In the most recent national polls, Mr. Ramaswamy receives less than 5% of the vote.

Mr. Ramaswamy has taken the direct approach of addressing the issue and arguing that he shares more similarities with observant Christians than they might think.

“I’m not Christian. In June, he addressed Mr. Vander Plaats in front of a small audience at the Family Leader’s headquarters. “I was not raised in a Christian household.” However, we truly do have the very Christian qualities that this country was established on.”

In a meeting in late June, in the wake of leaving a gathering with a couple dozen ministers in New Hampshire, Mr. Ramaswamy said his confidence instructed him that Jesus was “a child of God, totally.” ( That “a” will be a sharp qualification from the focal Christian conviction that Jesus is the child of God. Many Hindus believe in a plethora of deities, and some even consider Jesus to be a single teacher or god.) Hinduism is a fluid and expansive religion.

Mr. Ramaswamy pointed out that even though he is not a Christian, he openly discusses why belief in God is important, why increasing secularism in the United States is bad for the country, and values like marriage fidelity, duty, religious liberty, and self-sacrifice.

Regarding the theological differences between Hinduism and Christianity, he stated, “I don’t have a quick pitch to say, ‘No, no, that doesn’t matter.'” It’s that I see precisely why that would make a difference to you.”

Mr. Ramaswamy cites Thomas Aquinas and makes references to Bible stories at campaign stops, including the crucifixion of Jesus. He frequently discusses his time spent attending a Cincinnati “Christian school” (Catholic St. Xavier High School). Also, he differentiates “religions like our own,” which have gone the distance, with the contending perspectives of “wokeism, climatism, transgenderism, orientation belief system, Covidism,” as he put it to a group of people in New Hampshire.

The campaign of Mr. Ramaswamy has distributed videos of him responding to a New Hampshire man who asked about his “spiritual beliefs” at a town hall and of a pastor in Iowa comparing him to King David from the Bible. A woman blessed Mr. Ramaswamy in the name of Jesus Christ by placing her hand on his chest in Iowa.

“So be it,” Mr. Ramaswamy said as she closed her request.

Mr. Ramaswamy will be able to win over evangelical primary voters in the crowded Republican field in part because of outside forces. Rather than seeking a “pastor-in-chief,” many conservative voters now say they are looking for someone who shares their political and cultural goals and will fight on their behalf.

“The culture has changed, but theology is important. America has changed,” said David Brody, the boss political expert for the Christian Telecom Organization, who has talked with Mr. Ramaswamy. Mr. Brody stated that the fight against “cultural Marxism” and reversing the course of “a country gone haywire” are currently the most important goals.

He compared evangelical priorities in the Iowa caucuses the following year to those in 2008 and 2012, when conservative Christian candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee won.

Mr. Brody stated, “I don’t buy it at all the lazy narrative that he’s Hindu so he can’t appeal to evangelicals.”

As political divides have widened, theological boundaries have become increasingly muddled. Few temples split nowadays over old discussions like the specific timing of the final days or the job of through and through freedom in salvation. About portion of American Protestants presently say they like to go to a congregation with individuals who share their political perspectives, as per surveying from Lifeway Exploration.

Mr. Ramaswamy’s accentuation on his faith in one God has a long history for Hindus in the US, particularly those addressing white Christian crowds, said Michael Altman, a teacher of strict examinations at the College of Alabama.

Master Vivekananda, who addressed Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, went to considerable lengths to portray his confidence as monotheistic, rather than the generalizations of its devotees as “pagan” polytheists. Although the religion has a number of deities, they are typically subordinate to a single supreme “reality.” Its theology, according to many scholars and Hindus, is too complicated to be classified as either entirely monotheistic or entirely polytheistic.

“The polytheism obstacle is the principal thing that must be tended to” for the majority American Christian crowds, Mr. Altman said. He believes that Mr. Ramaswamy’s argument against “wokeism” is a way to dispel myths that Hinduism is synonymous with yoga, hippies, and vegetarianism.

According to evangelical observers, former President Donald J. Trump paved the way for Republican candidates who weren’t necessarily the kind of people voters would expect to sit next to on Sunday mornings at church. Numerous fervent citizens embraced the rough, threefold wedded gambling club financier not on the grounds that he was one of them but since they accepted he would battle in the public square for their benefit.

Most Indian Americans, including Hindus, are leftists. However, a segment of the population that places a high value on family, marriage, and education presents a chance for conservatives. Mr. Trump celebrated Diwali at the White House while serving as president, and the Republican National Committee introduced a brand-new Republican Hindu and Indian American Coalition in April. When he appeared with President Trump in Houston in 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew a crowd of 50,000 people, making him a well-known figure to a growing group of right-wing Indian Americans. Mr. Ramaswamy talked last year at a celebration coordinated by the conservative U.S. bunch HinduPACT, which is lined up with Mr. Modi’s style of patriotism.

Nikki Haley, one more Indian American competitor in the 2024 essential, has also underlined her experience as the girl of foreigners. However, Ms. Haley converted to Christianity and now attends a large Methodist church in South Carolina, despite the fact that she was raised Sikh. Bobby Jindal, a Republican from Louisiana who ran for president in 2016, was born and raised Hindu, but he has said that he is an “evangelical Catholic.”

Mr. Ramaswamy goes to a similar sanctuary in Dayton, Ohio, that he did as a youngster that his folks actually do.

In 2015, he had his wedding in New York City officiated by one of the priests from the temple. His wife, Dr. Apoorva Ramaswamy, stated that he, his wife, and their two young sons attend the temple on holidays and for special occasions, including the younger son’s first birthday in early July.

Dr. Ramaswamy, who has spoken out about the family’s faith on the campaign trail, stated that serious and nominal adherents to the same faith share more similarities than committed believers from different traditions.

Dr. Ramaswamy stated, “The fact that we are believers, that we have that sense of humility, that we raise our children with true respect, fear, and love of God — that is so much more unifying than the name of the God to whom people pray.”

The inquiry for her significant other’s mission is whether enough Christian citizens will concur.

Ken Bosse, the pastor of New Life Church in Raymond, New Hampshire, said that he is “an extreme follower of Jesus Christ” and that, all things considered, he would rather have a Christian in the White House. But because “we have had some professing Christians in that position who didn’t follow biblical principles,” he would be open to the right candidate who is not a Christian.

Mr. Bosse welcomed Mr. Ramaswamy to convey a concise discourse at his congregation on a Sunday morning in April. He enjoyed the competitor’s accentuation on recovering a positive American personality, he expressed, and on his story as an independent tycoon who is the offspring of workers. Right now, in any case, Mr. Bosse is inclining in the direction of supporting Mr. Trump. (Courtesy: The New York Times)

Half Of Americans Say The Best Age For A U.S. President Is In Their 50s

When asked about the ideal age of a president, around half of Americans (49%) say they prefer someone in their 50s, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Another 24% say it’s best for a president to be in their 60s, while 17% say they should be in their 40s.

Just 3% of Americans say they prefer a president to be in their 70s or older. An equally tiny share (3%) say it’s best for a president to be in their 30s. (The minimum age for a presidential candidate is 35.)

The survey asked Americans about the best age for presidents generally. It did not refer to President Joe Biden – at 80, the oldest president in U.S. history – or former President Donald Trump, who is 77.

Age differences in views of the ideal age for a president

Younger adults are more favorable than older Americans toward presidents being in their 30s and 40s. About half (48%) of adults under the age of 30 say it is ideal for a president to be in their 30s or 40s; only 6% of adults over the age of 50 share this view.

By contrast, older adults prefer a president who is in their 60s or older. For example, 41% of adults in their 50s or older say they prefer a president in their 60s or older. Only 11% of adults in their 30s or younger say the same.

Partisan views of the ideal age for a president

Democrats and Republicans have similar views about the best age range for a president.

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are slightly more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners (25% vs. 15%) to prefer presidents in their 30s and 40s, while Republicans are slightly more likely than Democrats to prefer presidents in their 60s or older (32% vs. 24%). However, these minor differences are largely due to the age composition of the parties.

Among Democrats, views on the ideal age range for a president are similar to what they were during the 2020 presidential election cycle. The question was not asked of Republicans in the 2019 survey.

Biden Announces New Plans for Student Loan Forgiveness Under the Higher Education Act

President Biden on Friday reported new activities to offer understudy loan borrowers some pardoning, once again introducing his absolution plan grounded in the Advanced education Act (HEA).

For years, prominent Democrats and advocates for student loans have advocated for using the HEA to alleviate student debt. Proponents of the HEA argue that it grants the education secretary the authority to “compromise, waive, or release” student loans. Before this route can take effect, there will be a period of public comment and notice.

In remarks delivered at the White House on Friday afternoon, he stated, “We need to find a new way, and we’re moving as quickly as we can.”

The organization had tied the understudy obligation alleviation plan — struck somewhere around the High Court — to the public crisis laid out during the Coronavirus general wellbeing emergency, refering to the Advanced education Help Open doors for Understudies (Legends) Act. In the majority opinion that the court issued on Friday morning, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the HEROES Act does not grant the authority.

Biden said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has taken steps to start the rulemaking process, but he didn’t say who would qualify or how much debt relief borrowers would get under his new plan to use the HEA.

Friday marked the beginning of the “negotiated rulemaking” procedure, with the department sending out a notice. The main formal review with regards to this issue will happen July 18 to get input from partners. Although the administration stated that it would make every effort to move “as quickly as possible,” the procedure may proceed smoothly until the end of 2023.

“This understudy obligation help isn’t being carried out consequently. This is a disaster. Debt Collective’s press secretary, Braxton Brewington, stated in response to the announcement, “This will be a bureaucratic nightmare.”

In addition, the president said that the administration will start an “on-ramp” repayment program for borrowers who might miss payments when payments start again this fall. The Education Department will not refer borrowers who miss payments to collection agencies or credit bureaus for a year, so there would be no risk of default or harm to credit ratings.

“In the event that you can take care of your month to month bills you ought to, however in the event that you can’t, assuming you miss installments, this entrance briefly eliminates the danger of default or having your credit hurt,” Biden said.

Understudy obligation installments have been stopped since the pandemic, yet in an arrangement with Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to get an obligation roof understanding, Biden permanently set up the resumption of reimbursements starting in October. At the beginning of September, interest will begin to accrue once more.

More than 40 million borrowers were prevented from receiving loan forgiveness as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, which marked a significant setback for one of the president’s most important campaign promises. Biden’s options for keeping that promise are limited by the decision.

If an individual’s income was less than $125,000, the program, which was announced in August, would have canceled up to $20,000 in loans for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for other borrowers.

Not long after the High Court struck down the president’s understudy loan pardoning plan, the White House said it was ready and that Biden had another activity to carry out.

The White House has been avoiding discussing its “Plan B” for months as student debt relief has been held up in court, prompting this announcement.

Vivek Ramaswamy Supports Ban On Affirmative Action

Indian-American Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, hailed the Supreme Court’s ruling to ban affirmative action at universities and colleges, which allowed educational institutes to admit an increased number of Black, Hispanic, and other minority students on campus. According to the Republican affirmative action is “one of the most disastrous and failed policy experiments of last century.”

Calling affirmative action as “one of the most disastrous and failed policy experiments of last century,” in a tweet Ramaswamy said that it was time to restore “colorblind meritocracy” in America. He also vowed to repeal President Lyndon Johnson’s executive order 11246 which mandated affirmative action in the private sector.

Johnson’s order required federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and treated without bias during employment. According to Ramaswamy, the order was unfair to White Americans and Asian Americans as well as Hispanic and Black Americans who were looked down upon by their colleagues despite having achieved their positions based on merit.

“Everyone loses in the end,” Ramaswamy asserted and pledged that his goal after being elected as President of the U.S. will be to end affirmative action across all spheres of American life.

In another development, a US newspaper editor has apologized to Indian Americans for publishing an “offensive” cartoon that played on stereotypes of the community while trying to criticise Vivek Ramaswamy who is seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

“Racist and hateful ideas, words or images have no place in our publications, much less our society”, Tom Martin, the executive editor of the Quad City Times said in the apology to the community and Ramaswamy published in his paper on Friday.

He said that the cartoonist, Leo Kelly, has been banished from the newspaper.

But Ramaswamy came to the defence of the cartoonist in a letter published in the paper. “Let’s not go further or see people get fired over it; the cartoonist should in no way be ‘cancelled.’ We are all human”, he wrote.

“I’m empathetic to people who make mistakes once in a while”, he wrote while accepting the editor’s apology.

The cartoon sought to show Republicans as bigots with whom Ramaswamy was aligned, but it backfired as it was someone opposed to that party and the candidate who used the anti-Indian epithet.

The Quad-City Times is a regional newspaper based in Davenport, Iowa, which also covers parts of neighbouring Illinois. It is owned by the media company Lee Enterprises which publishes over 70 newspapers across the US, including the Dispatch-Argus, which also published the cartoon.

“We apologise today for letting such an image slip through our editorial process and into our opinion page Wednesday in the form of a political cartoon,” Martin wrote.

He added: “The cartoon, while intended to criticise racist ideas and epithets, uses a phrase that is racist and insensitive to members of our Indian American community.”

The phrase apparently is “Get me a slushee, Apu” that a character in the cartoon is shown shouting at Ramaswamy in an almost empty hall. “Apu Nahasapeemapetilon” runs a store in the popular animated TV cartoon serial, “The Simpsons”, and spoke in an exaggerated Indian accent voiced over by a White American comedian, Hank Azaria.

“Apu” has been turned into a racist taunt used against Indians, especially for bullying school children. The problem was highlighted in a documentary, “The Problem with Apu”, produced by Indian American comedian Hari Kondabolu. Because of protests over the way Apu was presented and how it became a tool for harassment, the character was taken off the show but has returned occasionally with non-speaking background appearances.

Azaria has repeatedly apologized for his role in spreading the stereotype of Indians telling an interviewer, “I did not know any better”.

After the cartoon was published, Ramaswamy tweeted, “It’s sad that this is how the MSM (mainstream media) views Republicans. I’ve met with grassroots conservatives across America & never *once* experienced the kind of bigotry that I regularly see from the Left.”

“Iowa’s @qctimes absolutely has the right to print this, but it’s still shameful”, he added.

Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley, the Indian American candidate for the Republican nomination, along with Tim Scott, an African American senator seeking the nomination have come for intense criticism from Democrats and their supporters who believe that non-Whites should be loyal only to their party. The cartoon sought to convey the idea that Ramaswamy was under bigoted attack by Republicans with the other characters shouting “Muslim” and “Show us your birth certificate” while he greets them saying “Hello, my MAGA friends”. (MAGA standards for Make America Great Again, a rallying cry of former President Donald Trump taken up by the Republican right.)

“It is the dripping disdain from the far left — the elite condescension from the Democrat Party — that we will never escape”, said Emily Compagno, a conservative TV host, referring to the cartoon.

US-India Partnership To Turn Dreams Into Reality: Garcetti

Ambassador Eric Garcetti lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US, emphasizes its potential to strengthen India-US ties and turn dreams into reality

United States Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti spoke about the importance of Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the United States in furthering India-US ties, which he believes have the power to turn dreams into reality.

Speaking at the “Peace, Prosperity, Planet, People : A New Chapter In U.S.-India Relations” event co-organized by the Asia Society Policy Institute and IIT Delhi, Garcetti used the phrase “Sapne sakar karna” (Making dreams into reality). He emphasized the need to work together for peace, prosperity, and the planet with a focus on bolstering bilateral security, promoting freedom, and people-to-people exchanges.

Sharing his experience of the PM’s US visit, the Ambassador said it as a momentous occasion during which he witnessed a profound celebration of the “defining partnership of this century” between the two great democracies.

“I saw history being made and our future framed,” Garcetti said welcoming the slew of joint initiatives announced across various fields which he believed could “change the world.” He highlighted IIT Delhi scholar, Anchal Sharma’s presentation alongside PM Modi and First Lady Jill Biden at the National Science Foundation (NSF), as one of his favorite moments from the visit.

The Ambassador acknowledged the shared dreams and visions of the Indian and American people, emphasizing the desire to leave a positive impact on the world. He highlighted the strong people-to-people ties between the US and India, stating that the Indian diaspora in the US plays a crucial role in fostering friendship and understanding between the two countries. He mentioned several statistics that reflect the close connection between the nations, including the significant number of Indian students studying in the US, the two-way trade volume, and the presence of Indian professionals in key sectors of the US economy.

Garcetti also shed light on the significance of visa policies in the US-India relationship. With over 200,000 Indians studying in the United States, he added, “We set a goal for ourselves to process at least a million visas in 2023, and we’re already more than halfway towards reaching that goal.”

Having completed his studies in India, the Ambassador expressed, “I may not be Indian, but India is a big part of me and has helped shape who I am today.” He went on to share his goal as an Ambassador was to present many more people with similar life-changing experience that he had while in India.

He concluded by stating India and USA are two sides of the same coin, and that he hopes to realize his dream of the countries partnering and bringing transformative changes to challenges together.

Australia Extends Post-Study Work Rights, Work-Hour Cap For Indian Students

Education/Immigration

Starting July 1, 2023, the working hours for international students per fortnight will go up from 40 to 48 hours.

Indian graduates from Australian tertiary institutions will have the opportunity to apply for an eight-year work visa starting July 1, 2023. Additionally, the work-hour limit of 40 hours per fortnight for all international students will go up to 48 hours.  This was done to address workforce shortages, as well as to ensure that student visa holders have enough time to dedicate toward studies while gaining work experience and supporting themselves financially.

The new visa rules are an outcome of a bilateral agreement signed between India and Australia in May 2023. Indian PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM Anthony Albanese signed a migration deal, which included a new pilot program called the Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES). The program was devised to benefit university graduates and early-career professionals, precisely 3,000 of them, to live in Australia for two years without requiring visa sponsorship.

Speaking of eligibility, candidates seeking to apply for the MATES visa must be under the age of 31. They must be pass-outs from recognized Indian universities with specialized degrees in the areas of engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, Agricultural Technology, Renewable Energy, etc. Details regarding fees and visa processing time for MATES are yet to be announced.

Neal Katyal Dubbed ‘National Hero’ After SCOTUS Rejects Independent State Legislature Theory

Indian-American lawyer Neal Katyal earned widespread acclaim for his arguments in of the most important constitutional cases in American history. The US Supreme Court ruled against the contentious Independent State Legislature theory.

The court’s 6-3 decision in the Moore v. Harper case, shut down the theory that gives legislatures unlimited authority to decide the rules for federal elections without interference from state courts.

Katyal, who is being dubbed as a ‘National Hero’ and ‘True Patriot played a significant role in achieving victory as he argued on behalf of voting rights groups Common Cause. He urged the bench to reject the election theory before the 2024 election.

“I am proud to stand with Common Cause, the leading nonpartisan group in our nation devoted to protecting the right to vote. As we argued to the Supreme Court, the independent state legislature theory was contrary to precedent and would have called into question hundreds of state constitutional provisions and decisions. Today’s ruling affirms the crucial role state courts play in overseeing federal elections,” he said.

A former Solicitor General, Katyal has reportedly argued 43 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, with 41 of them in the last decade. He is also a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center where he was one of the youngest professors to have received tenure and a chaired professorship in the university’s history. Additionally, he serves as Faculty Chair of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

Supreme Court Decision On Affirmative Action Matters To You?

Microsoft has added another kind of preparing and affirmation to setup takes advantage of the most recent interest and fervor around man-made intelligence. Part of the organization’s Abilities for Occupations program, the new expert declaration on Generative man-made intelligence will be given to anybody who takes the free classes on artificial intelligence and breezes through the expected test.

Accessible through LinkedIn Learning, the Profession Basics in Generative artificial intelligence program offers a free seminar on generative artificial intelligence, an innovation so named in light of the fact that it can create various types of content. This type of computer based intelligence has made a colossal buzz because of such organizations as OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google sending off their own artificial intelligence chatbots that individuals can use to clarify pressing issues, get data, and make content.

With its recently discovered prominence, artificial intelligence has been saturating more items, administrations, and associations. This shift implies that more laborers should comprehend how to utilize man-made intelligence, an acknowledgment that provoked Microsoft to devise the new testament.

In an article distributed on LinkedIn, Kate Behncken, Corporate VP for Microsoft Philanthropies, called the drive the principal proficient declaration on generative computer based intelligence. Through the five classes, individuals will begin by learning the essential ideas of artificial intelligence and afterward advance into man-made intelligence structures. Passing the appraisal then qualifies somebody for the Vocation Fundamentals testament.

The course incorporates the accompanying individual meetings:

What Is Generative man-made intelligence? – Find out about the nuts and bolts of generative computer based intelligence, including its set of experiences, famous models, how it works, moral ramifications, and substantially more.

Generative simulated intelligence: The Development of Smart Web-based Search – Investigate the qualifications between web crawlers and thinking motors, with an emphasis on learning insightful pursuit procedures in the realm of generative artificial intelligence.

Smoothing out Your Work with Microsoft Bing Visit – Figure out how to use Microsoft Bing Talk to smooth out and mechanize your work.

Morals in the Time of Generative man-made intelligence – Realize the reason why moral contemplations are a basic piece of the generative man-made intelligence creation and organization process and investigate ways of tending to these moral difficulties.

Prologue to Man-made reasoning – Get an improved on outline of the top devices in computerized reasoning.

Presently presented in English, the endorsement will be accessible in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Worked on Chinese, and Japanese before very long. Following Microsoft’s six other Vocation Basics Proficient Authentications in the Abilities for Occupations program, the man-made intelligence classes will be opened and free through 2025.

Past the testament driven preparing in artificial intelligence, Behncken said that Microsoft will start off a tool stash for educators and coaches who give preparing to various individuals and networks. The tool stash will contain downloadable substance for mentors on the viable purposes of artificial intelligence along with a man-made intelligence course intended for teachers.

Besides, Microsoft is sending off several difficulties pointed toward encouraging learning in computer based intelligence.

Beginning July 17, its Acquire simulated intelligence Abilities challenge is intended to show individuals man-made intelligence abilities utilizing Microsoft items. The organization will likewise collaborate with GitHub and data.org on a Generative computer based intelligence Abilities Award challenge, an open award program designed for not-for-profit associations, social undertakings, and instructive or research foundations zeroed in on executing artificial intelligence for generally underestimated populaces all over the planet.

In view of a study for Microsoft’s new Work Pattern List, 62% of the respondents said that they invest a lot of energy looking for data in a regular business day. Furthermore, however close to half said they’re stressed regarding simulated intelligence possibly supplanting their positions, 70% said that they would offload however much work as could reasonably be expected to simulated intelligence to facilitate their jobs.

Without race in the confirmations cycle, Kelly Kill, an associate teacher at Vanderbilt College who concentrates on governmental policy regarding minorities in society, hopes to see universities increment designated enrollment, grow monetary guide including free-school programs, and go test-discretionary, with an end goal to keep up with their ethnic and racial variety.

Yet, she says, “we have nothing that functions as actually at creating and improving racial variety as race-cognizant governmental policy regarding minorities in society. We have north of 20 years of information and examination on that.”

Rep. Rohit Khanna Introduces Bill Limiting SC Judges’ Term

The United States Supreme Court has come under criticism for its partisan views based on its rulings based on ideology, economic status, and who is able to finance Justices and families for their willingness to accept and use sponsors for their luxury trips around the world for Favors and favorable opinions in cases that favor their financiers,

A Majority of the US public and across the globe have lost faith in the Justices of the US Supreme Court, based on their ideology, political orientations, and the money power of their clients.

In this context, following the US Supreme Court’s rejection of President Biden’s student debt relief plan, Representatives Rohit Khanna and Don Beyer reintroduced The Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act of 2021, which seeks to create an 18-year term limit for justices appointed to the court.

According to a release, a recent poll showed that only 37 percent of Americans have confidence in the Supreme Court while 68 percent support term limits for Supreme Court justices. The proposed legislation, which aims to restore judicial independence, states that after their 18-year terms, justices would be allowed to continue their service in lower courts.

Commenting on the bill’s significance, Indian American Representative Ro Khanna said, “Our Founding Fathers intended for lifetime appointments to ensure impartiality. The decision today demonstrates how justices have become partisan and out of step with the American public. I am proud to reintroduce The Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act to implement term limits to rebalance the Court and stop extreme partisanship.”

Rep. Beyer also joined Khanna on stating the implication of the ruling on the student borrowers. “I have long supported reforming the Supreme Court to limit terms to end lifetime tenures and ensure the Court remains a fair and impartial arbiter of justice. Our bill would achieve this and help restore balance to a heavily politicized Court,” he added.

Reps. Barbara Lee, Rashida Tlaib, Adam Schiff, Katie Porter, Sean Casten. and John Garamendi also extended their support in favour of the bill.

President Biden’s Age Emerges as Major Hurdle for Re-election Bid

The most significant obstacle President Biden faces in winning re-election next year appears to be voters’ concerns that he is too old to serve another four-year term.

Biden, at 80 years old, is now the most seasoned individual to act as president, and he would be 86 toward the finish of his subsequent term.

The life span would beat whatever other president who served overwhelmingly. Reagan completed his second term at the age of 77, while Trump, who is favored to win the GOP nomination, completed his first term at the age of 74.

In order to persuade voters that he possesses the mental and physical capacity to run for reelection, Biden has some work to do.

An astounding 68 percent of electors in a new NBC News survey said they stress over Biden’s wellbeing with 55% reflecting “major” concerns.

In a USA Today/Suffolk College survey of leftists and Free movers, 37% say the president’s age made them less inclined to decide in favor of him. According to a third survey conducted by The Economist and YouGov, 45% of independents believe that Biden’s health and age “severely limit his ability to do the job.”

“The president’s age is surely going to be a headwind on his re-appointment crusade. The surveying says as much, and the models will surely continue to come as he is in the public eye,” said Stewart Verdery, who served in previous President George W. Bramble’s organization.

However, Monument Advocacy’s CEO, Verdery, suggested that Biden’s age might not be as important in a general election against Trump, who is 77 years old.

“On the off chance that he were possible going against a cutting edge JFK on a boat, it very well may be a greater amount of an issue. However, “the president’s age may cause swing voters to pause before they still pull the lever for him,” he stated, “as long as his main adversary is in Mar-a-Lago.”

Questions about Biden’s health were pushed back this week by the White House.

“The president — shoot, he voyaged yesterday, he’s voyaging again today. During the midterms, you saw how far he traveled. What’s more, particularly his unfamiliar travel, this is somebody who is unquestionably dynamic as president,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.

In recent speeches, Biden has become increasingly self-deprecating about his age, joking that he is 198, 103, or 110.

He has reportedly sought advice from Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is encouraging him to own his longevity like Harrison Ford and Mick Jagger. He has acknowledged that his age is a concern for some voters.

“Incidentally, I’ve been doing this quite a while. I realize I don’t look that old. I know. I’m somewhat under 103,” Biden said in ongoing comments. ” Yet, in all seriousness … I was a really strong congressperson.”

In any case, the 80-year-old president’s age is likewise now something that persists into all that he does, putting a physical or verbal stagger under an alternate sort of magnifying lens.

At the point when he stumbled and fell at an occasion recently, there were stresses over his wellbeing. To his political enemies, it was proof of his delicate state, regardless of whether a more youthful man could likewise have stumbled.

Biden, who has a long history of making false statements, mistook Ukraine for Iraq twice on Monday night and Tuesday.

These errors are used by opponents as evidence that Biden has fallen behind and should not run for a second term.

Conservative official competitor Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in a meeting with Fox News this week, said he thinks California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is “moving behind the scenes,” and it would be intriguing to perceive how things work out “on the off chance that Biden doesn’t conclusively make it.”

“They would have a genuine comedian show in the event that Biden couldn’t make it,” he added. His remarks reverberation individual conservative official applicant Nikki Haley, who said in April that Biden is probably not going to “make it” to 86.

A few political examiners think the GOP is behaving recklessly in pursuing Biden’s age, regardless of whether it is an issue for certain electors. According to them, it might enrage older voters.

“You can call attention to it, however you would rather not incline in that frame of mind here,” said GOP specialist Doug Heye. ” Tone is significant here. You can discuss botches that he’s made, etc. However, if you go over the top, you run the risk of being attacked, particularly by older voters.

Jim Kessler, chief VP for strategy for the Majority rule think tank Third Way, said the best thing for the White House to do is center around the president’s achievements.

“They can make a counterargument, which is that his experience has had the effect. And what he has accomplished over the past two and a half years is close to a biblical miracle, if you look at it,” he stated. Like, nobody thought the quantity of bipartisan bills passed the last Congress was conceivable. What’s more, it worked out. He outsmarted Vladimir Putin.”

Biden’s use of a CPAP machine to improve his sleep quality was confirmed this week by the White House after reporters noticed lines on his face.

Republicans say that Trump has an advantage over Biden because of his apparent energy, even though he is close to 80.

If they win the debate and nominations for their respective parties, Heye stated, voters will eventually be able to compare the two.

Democrats are ignoring the verbal gaffes, pointing out that they also occurred when Biden was younger.

“President Biden’s age has been an issue since before the 2020 political race, and he’s been famous for making blunders the majority of his political vocation. “There really isn’t much new here,” a supporter of Biden stated.

Biden faces different difficulties, including the economy and child Tracker Biden’s legitimate issues, which have drawn GOP examination. His lower approval ratings, which have remained around 40%, are also due to these factors.

In any case, many see age as an issue where Biden will by and by need to demonstrate something to the electorate.

“The No. Regardless of where I am, one thing I hear about Biden is his age. Furthermore, that is valid for individuals who like them. That is valid individuals who could do without him,” Heye said. ” Therefore, he has a real issue there.”

Modi Visit Fuels Concerns Biden Putting Human Rights On Back Burner

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit is fueling concerns from activist groups that the Biden administration is putting human rights on the back burner.

During the visit, President Biden held back from public criticism of Modi’s handling of human rights and democratic values — issues that led a handful of progressive lawmakers to boycott his speech to a joint address to Congress.

The president, instead, rolled out the red carpet for Modi with a celebratory welcome and hug, a 21-gun salute and a state dinner with notable White House guests, a charm offensive underscoring India’s economic and foreign policy importance to the United States.

Biden had previously come under criticism last July for a fist bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a visit to Jeddah that advocates argue effectively ignored the Saudi government’s human rights abuses.

White House officials contend that tough conversations with allies behind closed doors — including Modi — are more productive than grandstanding and scolding in public.

“The prime minister and I had a good discussion about democratic values. … We’re straightforward with each other, and — and we respect each other,” Biden said during a press conference alongside Modi at the White House on Thursday.

But critics say that puts little pressure on governments and leaders like Modi to actually deliver on reforms.

The Indian leader in particular is criticized for failing to counter anti-Muslim hate and is cracking down on civil liberties and press freedoms — issues that strike at the core of respect for democratic governments.

“I would argue that the administration needs to be more explicit about backsliding allies, practically recommitting themselves to fundamental freedoms and the respect for human rights as the basis for an evolving global order,” said Tess McEnery, who previously served as Biden’s director for democracy and human rights at the National Security Council.

During his campaign, Biden put human rights at the center of his foreign policy messaging and identified strengthening democracy — at home and abroad — as key to pushing back against autocratic governments such as Russia and China.

Yet in pushing back on Russia and China, the U.S. also needs allies. And that has complicated efforts with human rights.

The White House sees India as an indispensable partner in its strategy with China; its population of 1.4 billion people is the only market that can compete with Beijing’s.

India represents a needed partner in the administration’s efforts to diversify supply chains away from China for critical materials such as semiconductors and rare earth minerals that are the building blocks of those technologies.

Modi recognized the power that India holds during his address to Congress on Thursday. “When defense and aerospace in India grow, industries in the states of Washington, Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania thrive. … When Indians fly more, a single order for aircrafts creates more than a million jobs in 44 states in America,” he said. “When an American phone maker invests in India, it creates an entire ecosystem of jobs and opportunities in both countries.”

The most robust applause from Congress came when Modi said the U.S. was one of India’s “most important defense partners” — an important statement given American efforts to turn New Delhi away from its reliance on on Russia’s defense industry and have it serve a bulwark against China’s growing military.

Being hospitable to Modi also has its domestic political benefits.

The U.S. is home to a more than an Indian-American community of more than 4.5 million people — a key voting bloc that the president hopes to hold onto ahead of what is likely to be a fraught 2024 presidential election.

“I think that President Biden is eager not to cede any of the, kind of, Indian-American community vote to the Republican Party,” said Daniel Markey, senior adviser on South Asia at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are largely united in supporting a robust U.S. and Indian partnership. A bipartisan and bicameral grouping introduced legislation Thursday to fast-track weapons sales to India in recognition of Modi’s visit.

And while more than 70 House and Senate lawmakers raised concerns over Modi’s human rights record in a letter to Biden ahead of the visit, only a little more than a handful of progressive Democratic lawmakers boycotted the prime minister’s speech.

“We are told that we must now turn a blind eye to the repression because of foreign policy concerns, even though human rights are supposed to be at the center of our foreign policy,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said during a policy briefing she hosted with human rights advocates after Modi’s address, which she boycotted.

Among the most pressing criticisms against Modi’s rule is the criminal conviction against Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, who was sentenced to two years in prison for negatively using Modi’s surname during a political rally in 2019.

Advocates have also warned about freedom of speech and press freedoms in India in the wake of a tax raid on the offices of the BBC in India in March, and cases of journalists being jailed.

Freedom House, a nongovernmental organization that tracks democratic freedoms globally, rated India as “partly free” in its Freedom in the World report for 2023. The group claimed Modi’s government and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party “has presided over discriminatory policies and a rise in persecution affecting the Muslim population.”

“The constitution guarantees civil liberties including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but harassment of journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and other government critics has increased significantly under Modi,” the group wrote.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, argued that a balance can be met between calling out human rights concerns while also supporting the U.S.-Indian relationship.

“It’s because we value our friendship with the Indian people that we also have to speak the truth about human rights abuses in India that are ongoing, well-documented by credible observers and deeply troubling,” he said at the policy briefing hosted by Omar.

“We don’t raise these issues to discredit India,” he continued. “We raise them because we know from our own experience that if human rights problems are not confronted and resolved, they will fester and deepen and undermine a country’s promise.”

Markey, of the USIP, said the Biden administration prepared for blowback over the decision to keep criticisms against Modi in private, but added that its excessive references to sharing appreciation for democratic governance did itself no favors.

“I think they went even farther than maybe they needed to do, for Indian consumption,” he said.  “They leaned into the shared-democracy issue, rather than pulling back from it,” Markey added. “They gave a lot of ammunition to those who would suggest that this is just pure hypocrisy at this point, rather than kind of edging around it.”

McEnery, who is now the executive director of the Project on Middle East Democracy, said the Biden administration needs to elevate defending democracy and human rights to an “interest” more than a value.

That would mean doing trade and economic deals centered on good governance principles, she said, or reforming arms and security relationships based on human rights.

“I saw this firsthand a lot, where many good, hard-working people inside every arm of the U.S. government, including the National Security Council, tried to make the case for democracy and human rights as a vital national security interest,” she said. “And I would see that shot down time and again by others throughout the government.”

Modi’s State Visit To US: Warm Welcome and Key Agreements Strengthen Bilateral Ties

Lawmakers expressed a warm reception as Prime Minister Modi addressed the House Chamber, with applause and a standing ovation. The Washington Post highlighted the grandeur of the state dinner held at the White House, featuring a photograph of Prime Minister Modi alongside President Biden and the Bidens. However, the accompanying article pointed out that the event lacked genuine enthusiasm.

The New York Times featured a front-page photograph of Prime Minister Modi greeting US lawmakers with a traditional ‘Namaste’ during his address to the US Congress. The caption noted that Modi deliberately avoided mentioning the names of Russia and China. Inside the newspaper, there was extensive coverage of the visit, including a photograph of President Biden placing his hand on Modi’s shoulder as they observed the ceremonial guard of honor, with the Washington Monument in the background. The report highlighted the joint initiatives in various fields, such as telecommunications, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence, which symbolized the deepening ties between the two nations.

The Financial Times captured a photograph of both leaders standing for the national anthems on the South Lawn of the White House. The caption emphasized the commitment to a “defining” relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. The report on the second page elaborated on the technology and defense agreements signed during the visit, which included the purchase of US spy drones. The FT report also highlighted the US’s strategic intent to strengthen its alliance with India and engage allies and partners in countering China.

In a separate article titled “US, India announce agreements on technology, defense,” it was reported that both President Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced significant agreements. Among them was a joint venture to manufacture GE fighter jet engines in India and efforts to secure supply chains for crucial technologies like microchips. The article emphasized the importance of these agreements in enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Overall, the media coverage reflected the ceremonial aspects of the state visit, with grand gestures and elaborate dinners. The agreements signed between the US and India in areas like defense, technology, and space cooperation demonstrated the intention to strengthen ties and foster a strategic partnership.

Indian Prime Minister’s Visit to Washington Signals New Era in US-India Relations

The recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington has ushered in a new era in the relationship between the United States and India. During his visit, Modi successfully advanced a seemingly strong bond between the world’s oldest and the world’s largest democracies, emphasizing cooperation on various fronts such as investment and trade. However, despite the fruitful discussions, Modi stopped short of explicitly endorsing a formal alliance or taking a stance on pressing global issues like the conflict between Ukraine and Russia or the longstanding border disputes between India and China.

This outcome is likely to result in a complex and ambivalent relationship, characterized by ongoing discussions and negotiations on trade, investment, and diplomatic and military priorities. While there may be occasional challenges and disagreements, Modi’s visit to Washington was undoubtedly a highlight that sets the tone for the near future. President Biden encapsulated the positive atmosphere during a state dinner at the White House, raising a toast to “Two great nations, two great friends, and two great powers.” In response, Modi lauded the India-America relationship, stating, “You are soft-spoken, but when it comes to action, you are very strong.”

Despite the cordial exchanges, Modi carefully maintained India’s historic position of neutrality in the power dynamics of Asia. While highlighting the close ties between India and the United States across various domains, he tactfully indicated that India would not abandon its reliance on Russia for defense equipment, including fighter planes. In his address to a joint session of Congress, Modi emphasized, “Today India and the U.S. are working together in space and the seas, in science and semiconductors,” underscoring the vast potential for cooperation. Throughout his three-day visit, tangible agreements were reached between Indians and Americans, spanning areas such as jet engines and supply chains.

President Biden, mindful of India’s relationship with Russia, focused on the overall potential of the India-American partnership, emphasizing their collective efforts in unlocking a shared future. Following their one-on-one conversation at the White House, Biden expressed optimism, stating, “Together we’re unlocking the shared future.” Both leaders, while celebrating the progress made, carefully navigated the complexities of global alliances and India’s strategic considerations, signaling that the path ahead for US-India relations will continue to be nuanced and multifaceted.

Biden emphasized the growing defense partnership and economic ties between India and America, stating, “We are growing our defense partnership with more exercises, and trade between our countries has doubled over the past decade.” Additionally, Indian firms were announced to be making significant investments totaling over $2 billion.

Addressing the sensitive issue of human rights, both Biden and Modi approached it with subtlety, taking into account the criticisms raised against Modi’s past. Biden acknowledged the value of universal human rights, highlighting that Indian-Americans of various faiths and backgrounds were pursuing the American dream.

Modi, while discussing the importance of negotiations and diplomacy for peace, aimed to reassure skeptics about India’s commitment to democracy and equal treatment of its citizens, irrespective of religious, cultural, or linguistic differences. He firmly stated, “Democracy is in our DNA, democracy is in our spirit, democracy runs in our veins. Democracy can deliver. There is no space for discrimination.”

Despite accusations of intimidation, political repression, and censorship of opposition parties and journalists during Modi’s tenure, he passionately defended Indian democracy in his speech to Congress. However, several members, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib, boycotted his speech, criticizing Modi’s human rights record.

Modi, while emphasizing the shared values between India and the United States, described India as the “mother of democracy” and highlighted the country’s diversity. He focused on projecting himself as a unifying figure leading India towards a peaceful path in a turbulent world, calling for dialogue and diplomacy to prevent bloodshed and suffering.

Notably absent from Modi’s remarks were explicit mentions of India’s caste differences, poverty, economic disparities, or the ongoing border clashes with China in the Himalayas. While he acknowledged “dark clouds of confrontation” hanging over the Indo-Pacific, he emphasized the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, free from strategic leveraging of power and the need to combat terrorism.

Modi’s speeches aimed to present a unified vision based on the bond between India and America as imperfect democracies, evoking emotional responses and applause in Congress and the White House. He expressed optimism, stating, “We come from different histories, but we are united by a common vision. Democracy will shine brighter, and the world will be a better place.”

Biden emphasized the strengthening defense partnership and economic ties, saying, “We are growing our defense partnership with more exercises, and trade between our countries has doubled over the past decade.”

Modi defended Indian democracy, stating, “Democracy is in our DNA, democracy is in our spirit, democracy runs in our veins. Democracy can deliver. There is no space for discrimination.”

Modi highlighted the shared values between India and the United States, declaring, “We come from different histories, but we are united by a common vision. Democracy will shine brighter, and the world will be a better place.”

U.S -India Ties Represent The ‘Defining Partnership Of This Century: Modi During Address To US Congress

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a rousing welcome as he delivered a speech to Congress on Thursday, June 22, 203 celebrating the growing ties and shared ambitions of the world’s two largest democracies.

Modi made the rare address to a joint meeting of Congress on the same day President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hosted him for a state dinner, an honor reserved for the closest allies of the U.S.

Picture : TheUNN

“Now, when our era is at a crossroads, I am here to speak about our calling for this century,” Modi told lawmakers, drawing applause in the House chamber. “I can relate to the battles of passion, persuasion and policy. I can understand the debate of ideas and ideology. But I am delighted to see you come together today to celebrate the bond between the world’s two great democracies: India and the United States. I agree with President Biden that this is a defining partnership of this century,” he said. “Because it serves a larger purpose. Democracy, demography and destiny give us that purpose.”

While Modi has faced criticism from some U.S. lawmakers and advocates over human rights and his country’s reluctance to break with Russia in its war in Ukraine, the Biden administration and leaders of both major parties are unified in their belief that India is a vital ally for Washington’s top foreign policy goal — containing the rise of China — and a partner on defense, technology and energy.

Modi — who has dealt with violent clashes with China on the border it shares with India — visited at a time of rising U.S.-China tensions. “The dark clouds of coercion and confrontation are casting their shadow in the Indo-Pacific,” he told Congress. “The stability of the region has become one of the central concerns of our partnership. We share a vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

Picture : TheUNN

“Now, the United States has become one of our most important defense partners,” he said to a standing ovation from lawmakers. Modi alluded to the “millions” of Americans of Indian origin, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who sat on the dais with him alongside House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Others in attendance were Indian American members of Congress such as the Progressive Caucus chair, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a Biden surrogate; and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., the ranking member of the House’s select committee on China.

Before the speech, Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, the co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, introduced a bill to add India to the list of favored nations for U.S. arm sales under the Arms Export Control Act, alongside NATO members and Australia, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and South Korea.

“In the face of rising global authoritarianism, it is more important than ever for our countries — as the world’s two largest democracies — to respect and reaffirm the shared values that are the foundation of both of our countries, and to bolster democracy, universal human rights, tolerance and pluralism, and equal opportunity for all citizens,” Warner said in a statement.

Part of their goal is to cultivate closer U.S.-India ties that would help New Delhi break its dependence on Moscow for military equipment. The senators hope to add it to the annual defense authorization bill.

“We need to continue to encourage India to align itself with the democracies in the world and not the autocracies,” Cornyn said. “And obviously, history is a big influence here, because since — what, 1947? — the United States has been more aligned with Pakistan, and India was then forced in the arms of Russia. And obviously, they’re very dependent, still, on Russian weapons.”

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, called on Biden to “prioritize the elimination of India’s significant barriers to U.S. trade and investment on the Indian subcontinent.”

The invitation for Modi to speak on Capitol Hill was signed by the top Democrat and the top Republican in both the House and the Senate, who mounted a show of bipartisanship to praise “the enduring friendship between the United States and India.”

Modi told the Congress members who gave multiple standing ovations: “Today, we stand at a new dawn in our relationship that will not only shape the destiny of our two nations, but also that of the world.”

Trump’s Motive for Retaining Classified Documents Remains a Mystery

Despite the comprehensive evidence presented in the 38-count indictment accusing former President Donald J. Trump of retaining hundreds of classified documents and subsequently obstructing the government’s attempts to recover them, one enigma persists: what motivated him to seize these materials and fiercely resist relinquishing them?

The rationale behind Trump’s possession of thousands of presidential records, including over 300 classified documents, at his Mar-a-Lago residence and exclusive club in Palm Beach, Florida, is not explicitly discussed in the 49-page indictment filed last Thursday in Miami. The charges do not imply that Trump had an overarching objective beyond simply owning the items.

Although determining a motive might be advantageous for prosecutors if Trump stands trial, it may not be essential for establishing the legal foundation of the case against him. Nevertheless, the reason behind Trump’s retention of a vast array of highly confidential documents and his alleged efforts to avoid returning them remains unresolved, even after nearly 15 months of investigation by the Justice Department.

The indictment does provide some clues. It details how Trump, who often seeks retributionagainst those he perceives as adversaries, brandished a classified “plan of attack” against Iran during a meeting in July 2021 at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey. He did this to refute criticism from Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a recording of the meeting, Trump can be heard shuffling papers and informing those present that the document substantiated his position in the disagreement with General Milley, stating, “This totally wins my case, you know.”

Other instances in the indictment depict an aide referring to the materials Trump transported in boxes as “his papers,” suggesting that he was reluctant to relinquish the privileges associated with the nation’s highest office. Similarly, the indictment portrays Trump as attempting to prevent a lawyer he hired to search Mar-a-Lago for any remaining classified materials from examining the records he stored there. Trump is quoted as saying, “I don’t want anybody looking through my boxes,” indicating a sense of personal ownership over the materials.

This feeling of ownership was so strong that his aides, as shown in text messages included in the indictment, were clearly apprehensive about moving the items too far from him. Numerous former aides and advisors to Trump have long argued that he kept the sensitive records because he regarded them as “mine” and enjoyed collecting trophies to display, regardless of their form.

Trump’s penchant for showcasing various prizes is well-documented. As a businessman and playboy in Manhattan, he sought to be seen with attractive women, purchased the Plaza Hotel as a “toy” for his then-wife Ivana, and accumulated high-end trinkets to flaunt to visitors in his office. During his presidency, he treated the nation’s secrets similarly, sharing classified information with Russian officials in 2017 and posting a classified photo on Twitter in 2019.

Throughout the case investigation, special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors took actions suggesting a search for motive. They subpoenaed information about the Trump Organization’s business dealings with seven foreign countries starting in 2017, seemingly aiming to determine if any documents could have been used to support his international ventures. However, the indictment makes no mention of Trump utilizing the documents for business purposes.

Chris Christie, a former friend and adversary of Trump, proposed a straightforward explanation last year, stating, “I think it’s much more likely they’re a trophy that he walks around and says, look, I’ve got this.” Christie believes Trump is unable to accept that he is no longer president and uses these documents as a way to maintain some of the trappings of his former position. This may also explain why Trump had a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk installed in his Mar-a-Lago office. Christie concludes, “All the rest of those things are things that are assuaging, you know, his disappointment and his disbelief that he’s not the president anymore.”

US-India Partnership Strengthened by Geopolitical Concerns and Tech Collaboration

In 2006, then-Senator Joe Biden expressed his hope that by 2020, India and the United States would become “the two closest nations in the world.” Although this dream has not yet been fully realized, Biden is taking significant steps to strengthen the bond between the two countries, particularly in economic and military spheres, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares for a visit next week.

The US capital is set to welcome Modi with a state dinner, marking the third such event hosted by the Biden administration following the visits of French President Emmanuel Macron and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol within the last year. In addition, Modi is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress for the second time during his tenure as India’s prime minister.

More than just symbolic gestures, the US aims to further integrate India into its manufacturing and defense sectors, while simultaneously reducing India’s reliance on Russian military resources and US supply chain dependence on China. Though official announcements have yet to be made, several agreements concerning semiconductor chips and fighter jet engines have been anticipated for some time, supported by recent visits from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to New Delhi. This week, reports emerged of a deal for India to purchase over two dozen American drones.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s ambassador to Washington, spoke of the upcoming visit, stating that “the ceremonial and substantive parts of the visit will fully complement each other and will be unparalleled.” While the India-US relationship has experienced its share of challenges, both nations are increasingly focusing on technology as a key area for collaboration. Sandhu emphasized that tech serves as “the master key to unlock the real potential in the relationship.”

In preparation for this partnership, officials from both countries have been working on various initiatives, including iCET (initiative on critical and emerging technology), which was launched in January by Sullivan and his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval. This initiative promotes cooperation in fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, space exploration, semiconductors, and defense technology. Notably, progress has been made with regard to semiconductors and defense technology, including a bilateral semiconductor supply chain partnership signed by US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in March, as well as the India-US Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) announced during Austin’s visit to New Delhi earlier this month.

Significant advancements are anticipated in the defense sector, particularly if recent talks on joint production of jet engines, long-range artillery, and military vehicles come to fruition during Modi’s visit. Rudra Chaudhuri, director of New Delhi-based think tank Carnegie India, noted that this collaboration represents “genuine tech transfer,” making it “a big deal.”

In some respects, this partnership presents an opportunity for a strategic alliance. With approximately half of India’s military equipment originating from Russia, New Delhi has been seeking to diversify its supply sources for years. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has intensified this need, providing Washington with an opening to further develop defense ties with India. Aparna Pande, director of the India Initiative at the Hudson Institute, explained that “this is one chance where if India can be weaned away because of a lack of supply parts, problematic equipment, or Russia getting closer to China, [you can] maybe convince India to purchase more from the United States and U.S. partners and allies.”

The growing mutual concern over China’s influence has brought Washington and New Delhi closer together. India’s relationship with China soured earlier and more dramatically due to border conflicts and a subsequent purge of Chinese technology, including the infamous TikTok ban. Furthermore, China’s naval expansion into the Indian Ocean has alarmed India and emphasized the importance of the Quad group of countries.

As the world’s most populous country, India presents an attractive alternative to China for global tech supply chains. With a large and young labor force, skilled engineers, and relatively low manufacturing costs, India is well-positioned to replace China in many aspects. The “Make in India” program, championed by Prime Minister Modi, offers tax incentives to further boost the country’s manufacturing capabilities. While economic factors once dictated the landscape of global technology production, geopolitics now play a crucial role.

Mukesh Aghi, CEO of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, highlights the shift: “There’s a sense of Balkanization taking place” in global tech supply chains, adding that “geopolitical stress points are driving the tech agenda.” However, challenges remain, such as India’s history of protectionism and bureaucratic red tape, which have hindered the development of manufacturing infrastructure required to compete with China.

Despite these obstacles, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi continue to foster a positive atmosphere for collaboration. Atul Keshap, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council, notes, “The two governments tried for a long time to figure out what government-to-government interaction would look like, and now I think they’re realizing the value of letting the private sector collaborate.”

Nonetheless, this newfound partnership may come at the expense of addressing concerns about the state of democracy in India. The Biden administration has been increasingly hesitant to publicly criticize Modi’s restrictions on free speech and violence against minorities. Aparna Pande, director of the India Initiative at the Hudson Institute, explains, “There is a desire to emphasize the strategic and the national security imperative over the domestic imperative.” In the current context, she says, “India is important, and so what the U.S. is preferring to do is convey a lot of what it wants to say in private and not in public.”

After Trump Is Arraigned, What Happens Next?

Former President Donald Trump appeared somber and quiet in a Miami courtroom, hands clasped and leaning back in his chair at times, speaking aloud only to utter the words “not guilty” to 37 federal counts stemming from his handling of classified documents on Tuesday, June 13th, 2023, marking the first time in US history that a former president will face criminal charges.

Astoundingly, it was the second time in three months that Trump has been indicted. Trump also faces criminal charges in a New York state court where he pleaded not guilty in April to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. In addition, he still faces investigations surrounding attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and the special counsel’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

This marks the first instance of a former president facing federal charges. Among the charges are a violation of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, destruction or falsification of records, conspiracy, and false statements, as confirmed by Trump’s attorney, Jim Trusty, on CNN.

The investigation focuses on Trump’s management of classified documents brought to his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort after leaving the White House in 2021 and any possible obstruction or government attempts to retrieve the material. Trump announced on Truth Social that he was informed of the indictment by the Justice Department and is “summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM.” He referred to the situation as the “Boxes Hoax.”

This federal indictment marks the second time Trump has faced criminal charges this year, following the Manhattan district attorney’s 34-count charge against him for falsifying business in April. However, the special counsel’s indictment signifies a new and more dangerous legal stage for the former president, who is running for office again in 2024 while dealing with criminal charges in two jurisdictions and two ongoing investigations into his conduct.

The charges come seven months after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel, in response to Trump announcing his presidential run, to maintain the investigation’s independence from the Biden Justice Department. Trump now faces federal charges from the special counsel while attempting to defeat President Joe Biden in the upcoming election. The White House declined to comment on the situation Thursday evening.

Trump has consistently criticized the special counsel investigation and other inquiries into his conduct as politically motivated. He maintains that any criminal charges will not hinder his 2024 campaign. In a four-minute video released on Thursday, Trump reiterated past claims, stating that the Justice Department is being weaponized and investigations into him are “election interference.” He insisted, “I am an innocent man. I did nothing wrong.”

CNN sources revealed that Trump and his team pre-recorded the video response before the Justice Department officially informed him of the indictment, as initially reported by The New York Times.

Throughout his personal, professional, and political life, Trump has largely evaded legal consequences. He has settled several private civil lawsuits over the years and resolved disputes involving the Trump Organization. As president, he was impeached twice by the Democrat-led House but avoided conviction by the Senate.

However, after leaving office, Justice Department criminal investigations into the retention of classified information at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and his attempts to overturn the 2020 election cast a shadow over him. Smith’s ongoing investigation into the January 6 events and efforts to overturn the election further darkens this cloud.

In addition to the Manhattan district attorney’s April indictment, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to announce in August whether her investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia will result in any charges.

Trump’s congressional allies swiftly rallied to his defense on social media, just as they had done when he was indicted in New York in April. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted that it was “a dark day for the United States of America.” House GOP conference chairwoman Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, said in a statement, “The radical Far Left will stop at nothing to interfere with the 2024 election in order to prop up the catastrophic presidency and desperate campaign of Joe Biden.” House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, tweeted, “Sad day for America. God Bless President Trump.”

Several Democrats who investigated Trump during his presidency claimed that the indictment demonstrated that no one is above the law. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who led the House’s first impeachment of Trump in 2019, wrote, “Trump’s apparent indictment on multiple charges arising from his retention of classified materials is another affirmation of the rule of law. For four years, he acted like he was above the law. But he should be treated like any other lawbreaker. And today, he has been.”

The Justice Department’s inquiry into Trump’s handling of documents from his time in office came to light in August when FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, seizing thousands of documents, including around 100 marked as classified. The Trump Organization was also subpoenaed for surveillance footage from the resort. Prosecutors were investigating potential criminal mishandling of national security information and obstruction of justice.

The DOJ previously claimed that classified documents were “likely concealed and removed” from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago in an effort to “obstruct” the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s possible mishandling of classified materials. After Trump returned 15 boxes of materials to the National Archives in January, the Justice Department subpoenaed him in May for any remaining classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump was indicted last week on 37 counts related to more than 100 classified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago in August. The charges include willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Trump surrendered to authorities at the federal courthouse in Miami. He pleaded not guilty and left the courthouse roughly two hours later. At his initial court appearance, Trump was represented by attorney Todd Blanche and former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise.

Trump signed a bond document that prohibits him from discussing his case with certain witnesses — an unusual anti-witness-tampering provision added by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman that the prosecution had not sought.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Goodman presided over the arraignment, but the case will be overseen by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who ruled in Trump’s favor in an earlier dispute in the investigation.

Later that night, Trump in a speech to his supporters claimed that according to the Presidential Records Act, “I was supposed to negotiate with NARA, which is exactly what I was doing until Mar-a-Lago was raided by FBI agents.”

The National Archives and Records Administration said in a news release last week that the Presidential Records Act “requires that all records created by Presidents (and Vice-Presidents) be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) at the end of their administrations” and that outgoing presidents are required to separate personal documents from presidential records before they leave office.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon, whom Trump appointed in 2019, is reportedly overseeing the case for now. She previously appointed a special master to examine the documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago last year at the Trump team’s request, and was criticized for delivering Trump several perplexing legal wins in the first phase of the documents case proceedings.

In the days since his indictment, Trump has indicated on his social network Truth Social that he intends to fight the charges, calling them the product of a political “witch hunt” and an attempt to interfere with the 2024 election.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed 61% believe the federal charges “related to Trump’s handling of classified documents are serious.” By contrast, pollsters found that just 52% of those surveyed in April said the same about a New York grand jury indictment against Trump on charges stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn actress in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

Special counsel Jack Smith, who brought the charges, says he’s seeking a “speedy trial,” “consistent with the public interest and the rights of the accused.” But “speedy” in the federal justice system is a relative term. It may be months before Trump’s trial begins.

So, what comes next after Trump’s arraignment, where the former president pleaded “not guilty” to more than three dozen federal charges, including willful retention of classified information and obstruction of justice, over his handling of classified documents post-presidency?

Biden Signs Debt Ceiling Bill, Averting Government Shut Down

President Joe Biden on Saturday, June 3rd signed the debt ceiling bill, a capstone to months of negotiations that pushed the U.S. to the brink of default. Biden signed H.R. 3746, the “Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023,” two days before Monday’s default deadline, on which the U.S. would run out of cash to pay its bills, according to a White House release.

Biden thanked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “for their partnership.” Biden tweeted: “I just signed into law a bipartisan budget agreement that prevents a first-ever default while reducing the deficit, safeguarding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and fulfilling our scared obligation to our veterans. Now, we continue the work of building the strongest economy in the world.”

The House of Representatives and the Senate passed the legislation this week after Biden and House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement following tense negotiations.

The Treasury Department had warned it would be unable to pay all its bills on Monday if Congress had failed to act by then.

Biden, who had experienced the 2011 debt limit crisis, refused to make any concessions for what he considered Congress’s basic duty. However, McCarthy, encouraged by conservatives seeking significant changes to federal spending, was determined to use the nation’s borrowing power as leverage, even if it risked pushing the U.S. towards default.

The ensuing events demonstrated how two influential figures in Washington, both of whom believe in the importance of personal connections despite not having a strong relationship themselves, managed to prevent an unprecedented default that could have seriously damaged the economy and carried unpredictable political repercussions.

However, the standoff was primarily provoked by Republicans who believed that threatening the debt limit was necessary to curb federal spending. Despite a decisive 314-117 House vote and a 63-36 Senate vote, this episode has put McCarthy’s speakership to the test and challenged his capacity to control his party’s rebellious far-right faction.

“IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ENDGAME”

McCarthy now feels empowered and remains undaunted. Reflecting on his election as speaker after the House passed the debt limit package, he mentioned his arduous journey to secure the gavel in January. He stated, “Every question you gave me (was), what could we survive, what could we even do? I told you then, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

This narrative of the prolonged process through which Washington resolved the debt limit crisis is based on interviews with legislators, senior White House officials, and high-ranking congressional aides, some of whom requested anonymity to disclose private negotiation details.

Key to overcoming the obstacles were Biden and McCarthy’s five negotiators, who brought policy expertise to the table and received full support from their leaders. Republicans particularly appreciated the involvement of presidential counselor Steve Ricchetti, who speaks on behalf of Biden like no one else, and Shalanda Young, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget, who gained invaluable experience as a respected senior congressional aide overseeing the intricate annual appropriations process.

Young and Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, one of McCarthy’s negotiators, developed such a close rapport that they phoned each other every morning during their respective day care drop-offs. Additionally, Young and the other GOP negotiator, Rep. Garret Graves, playfully debated who had the better gumbo recipe while discussing the debt limit during a White House celebration for the national champion Louisiana State University women’s basketball team.

The five negotiators – Graves, McHenry, Ricchetti, Young, and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell – convened daily in an elegant office on the Capitol’s first floor, adorned with frescoes by 19th-century muralist Constantino Brumidi. In these meetings, they focused intently on priorities and non-negotiables to determine how they could reach an agreement.

HITTING PAUSE AND A ‘BACKWARD’ PROPOSAL

By May 19, the negotiations were becoming shaky. Republicans grew impatient as the White House seemed unwilling to compromise on reducing federal spending, which was a non-negotiable demand for the GOP.

During a morning meeting that Friday, White House officials urged McHenry and Graves to present a formal proposal. However, the frustrated Republicans opted to go public instead. They informed reporters that the talks had temporarily halted. As he hurried through the Capitol, Graves said, “We decided to press pause because it’s just not productive.” He later explained that he and McHenry were tired of playing games.

Tensions didn’t subside. When negotiations resumed that night, McHenry and Graves presented a new proposal that not only revived numerous rejected provisions from the GOP’s debt limit bill but also incorporated the House Republicans’ border-security bill. A White House official labeled the proposal “regressive.”

The White House expressed its own frustrations as the discussions seemed to be faltering, starting with a lengthy statement from communications director Ben LaBolt and followed by Biden’s comments at a press conference in Hiroshima, Japan, where he was attending a summit of leading democracies. The president stated, “Now it’s time for the other side to move their extreme positions. Because much of what they’ve already proposed is simply, quite frankly, unacceptable.”

HOPE, LONG HOURS, AND GUMMY WORMS

Despite the escalating public rhetoric, there were indications that the talks were improving. Biden called McCarthy from Air Force One as he left Japan, and the speaker appeared more hopeful than he had been in days. Fueled by coffee, gummy worms, and burritos, negotiators worked exhausting hours, primarily at the Capitol but once at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where they enjoyed Call Your Mother bagel sandwiches provided by White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients.

One session lasted until 2:30 a.m., and Graves showed reporters an app tracking his sleep, revealing an average of three hours per night during the final stretch. McCarthy sent lawmakers home over Memorial Day weekend, which McHenry believed was helpful. He said, “The tone of the White House negotiators became much more serious and much more grounded in the realities they were going to have to accept.”

PROMOTING THE AGREEMENT

On May 27, Biden and McCarthy announced a deal in principle and began the task of convincing others. The night before the vote, McCarthy assembled House Republicans in the Capitol’s basement, provided pizza, and explained the bill while challenging Freedom Caucus members to use the same aggressive language they had employed at an earlier news conference. By the meeting’s end, it was evident that McCarthy had quelled the rebellion.

Meanwhile, the White House had its work cut out for them in appeasing rank-and-file Democrats. Biden and McCarthy displayed contrasting styles throughout the negotiations, with the speaker discussing the debt limit talks openly and frequently, while the president remained quiet, wary of jeopardizing the deal before it was finalized.

Biden had been privately addressing his party’s concerns even as the agreement was being finalized. After the Congressional Progressive Caucus criticized the few known details, particularly regarding stricter requirements for federal safety-net programs, Rep. Pramila Jayapal received a call from Biden. He assured her that his negotiators were working diligently to minimize the Republican-drafted changes to food stamp and cash assistance programs.

In a statement after the vote, Biden expressed gratitude and relief, saying, “This budget agreement is a bipartisan compromise. Neither side got everything it wanted. That’s the responsibility of governing.”

Rahul Gandhi Asserts United Opposition Will Defeat BJP In 2024 Elections

Amid growing concerns over the state of Indian democracy, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed journalists at the National Press Club in Washington. Gandhi emphasized that India’s democracy is a global public good, and its collapse would have severe ramifications for the rest of the world. He noted that it is the responsibility of Indians to safeguard their democracy but added that the international community should also play a role in preventing its collapse. During the one-hour-long interaction, he addressed various issues ranging from India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war, the BJP’s politics of hate, and the effort to build a united opposition before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi asserted that a united opposition would defeat the BJP on its own. He also expressed confidence that the BJP would be decimated in the next three or four Assembly elections. When asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming state visit to the United States, Gandhi declined to prejudge the matter, but emphasized the importance of the relationship between the two countries.

With regards to the Congress’s stance on India’s relationship with Russia, Gandhi made it clear that his party’s position would be very similar to the BJP. He reiterated that it was his party’s responsibility to fight the battle for democracy in India and to prevent a slide into authoritarianism. “Indian democracy is a global public good,” he said, “because India is large enough that a collapse in democracy in India will affect…will have an impact on the world.”

On countering the BJP’s propaganda going into the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, Gandhi admitted that his party had been struggling before but insisted that the Bharat Jodo Yatra had completely changed the narrative. He claimed that the BJP had done everything to stop the yatra from succeeding but that he resonated with the people, even those from the BJP, adding that he had received positive comments from a BJP spokesperson.

Addressing his recent disqualification as an MP, Gandhi claimed that it came days after he criticized the Adani Group. However, he reiterated that it was a “gift” to serve the people and that the Congress was committed to fighting the battle for democracy in India.

The interaction between Gandhi and the journalists led to sparring between Congress and BJP, with the ruling party accusing Gandhi of calling M.A. Jinnah’s Muslim League a secular party. However, the Congress hit back by accusing the BJP of peddling fake news and clarifying that their leader’s comment was about the Indian Union Muslim League, their ally in Kerala.

At a dinner meet hosted by Indian-American businessman Frank Islam, Gandhi expressed his confidence that the next three or four elections that the Congress would fight directly with the BJP would see the ruling party decimated. He noted that while the BJP has the instruments of noise, the majority of the Indian population does not support them.

Gandhi’s remarks underline the importance of Indian democracy not only for Indians but for the rest of the world. He emphasizes the need to fight the battle for democracy, prevent a slide into authoritarianism, and build a united opposition to defeat the BJP in future elections. Despite the BJP’s propaganda, Gandhi claims confidence in the Congress’s ability to resonate with the people and ultimately triumph at the ballot box.

Rahul Gandhi Praises Indian Diaspora For Holding Up Tricolor In America

Former president of the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, during his address to the Indian diaspora at an event in California, the first stop of his U.S. visit, lauded the Indian diaspora for being ambassadors of the country and urged Indian students in United States to return to the country.

The United States and India need to work towards a vision, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said during a conversation themed on ‘The New Global Equilibrium’ hosted by the Center on Democracy, Development & the Rule of Law, Stanford University at CEMEX Auditorium on May 31.

Praising the Indian American community Gandhi said, “We think of our country, you are all our ambassadors. When America says Indian people are extremely intelligent, Indian people are masters of IT, Indian people are respectful – all these ideas that have come, they’ve come because of you, your actions, and your behavior. So, I thank you very much for that.”

“Thank you very much for holding up the Indian flag in America, showing the American people what it means to be Indian, respecting them, respecting their culture, learning from them, and also allowing them to learn from you. You make us all proud,” he added.

Responding to a question from a UC Berkeley student, who asked Gandhi to say a few words to the youth who hesitate to go back home at a time when the India’s youth and the wrestlers were being treated in an “undignified” manner, Gandhi said, “As a young person, your country needs you. Your skills and your energy will be very useful to your country so if you feel like going back, do go back and help out.”

Elaborating on the situation in India, Gandhi told the audience that what they see on the news from India is far away from the truth. “India is not what the media shows. The media likes to show, you know, a particular narrative. It likes to promote a particular narrative. That is actually not what is going on in India. It was very clear to me in the yatra.”

The former member of parliament also spoke at length of his experience during the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the reason behind it. He stressed that India’s strength stems from its diversity and the only way to combat hate in the society is through love and affection. Gandhi also informed the gathering on his party’s stance on various political issues in India.

The session was moderated by CDDRL-affiliated scholar Dinsha Mistree. Gandhi said, “We have a population that is more than ready to work very hard. You have the technology, you have Silicon Valley. These two things need to be brought together, but it needs a vision. It needs to spark action. US and India need to work together towards this vision,” he added.

He added, “If you look at India as a manufacturing hub, it is dropping. Unemployment is rising. These are directly connected. It’s a hard thing to do. It’s much harder for the West to do it than for us. But, it needs to be done.” Gandhi is in the US on a week-long tour during which he is scheduled to meet the Indian diaspora, academics, students, entrepreneurs and think tanks. He landed in San Francisco on May 30, and was in Washington, DC and New York as well. His visit concluded on June 4.

Narendra Modi To Address Joint Session of U.S. Congress

During his upcoming state visit to the United States, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress on June 22. The bipartisan invitation was extended by the leaders of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, who have asked Mr. Modi to discuss his vision for India’s future as well as the global challenges confronting both nations.

This will not be the first time Mr. Modi addresses the U.S. legislative bodies; he previously did so in June 2016 during an earlier trip to Washington. The current invitation was co-signed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Republican), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

The letter from the U.S. lawmakers states, “Your historic address to a Joint Meeting of Congress seven years ago left a lasting impression and greatly deepened the friendship between the United States and India.” They also emphasize that the growing bilateral partnership is based on the two countries’ “shared values and commitment to global peace and prosperity.”

The letter expresses the lawmakers’ eagerness to continue collaborating, saying, “We look forward to continuing to work together to build a brighter future for our countries and for the world.”

Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes Sentenced to 18 Years for Seditious Conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol Attack

Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers, has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, after being convicted of seditious conspiracy. This sentence is the longest imposed on any Jan. 6 defendant to date. During his sentencing, Rhodes delivered a politically-charged speech claiming that he was a “political prisoner.” However, the judge disagreed, stating that Rhodes’ actions led to his criminal convictions. Judge Amit Mehta further highlighted that Rhodes poses a continuing threat to the country, the republic, and the fabric of democracy. Rhodes was found guilty of seditious conspiracy in November alongside Kelly Meggs, a fellow Oath Keepers member.

Rhodes’ pre-attack message, “They won’t fear us until we come with rifles in hand,” and his statement after the attack, where he expressed regret for not bringing rifles, were produced in court during his trial. He even wrote in a message before Jan. 6, “On the 6th, they are going to put the final nail in the coffin of this Republic, unless we fight our way out. With Trump (preferably) or without him, we have no choice.” At the Olive Garden restaurant in Virginia after the attack, Rhodes met with other Oath Keepers and celebrated their actions, writing, “Patriots, it was a long day but a day when patriots began to stand.”

Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit during his sentencing, Rhodes claimed that the only crime he committed was opposing those who are “destroying our country.” Yet, Judge Mehta emphasized that Rhodes’ criminal convictions were based on his actions before, during, and after Jan. 6 and not his beliefs or political affiliations. Mehta also rejected Rhodes’ argument that he was a “political prisoner,” stating, “You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes.”

Meggs, another Oath Keepers member who was convicted of seditious conspiracy alongside Rhodes, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. Mehta noted that Meggs did not pose the same continuing threat as Rhodes and that a shorter sentence was more appropriate. At the hearing, Meggs expressed regret for his actions and apologized to his family.

Rhodes and Meggs were tried alongside Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson, and Thomas Caldwell, who were convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, but not seditious conspiracy. Watkins and Harrelson will receive their sentences on Friday. Rhodes took the stand and distanced himself from the other Oath Keepers, stating that he believed that the storming of the Capitol was a foolish act. However, government messages showed that Rhodes viewed Jan. 6 as the last opportunity to prevent a government takeover.

Prior to Rhodes’ and Meggs’ sentencing, Peter Schwartz, who assaulted officers during the Capitol attack, was sentenced to just over 14 years in prison. Schwartz had 38 prior convictions. The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol sparked outrage across the United States and prompted numerous investigations, arrests, and convictions. According to the Department of Justice, over 600 people have been charged in connection with the attack.

High-Income Earners Struggle with Pay check-to-Pay check

Despite a slight easing in inflation, a considerable number of consumers continue to feel the pinch. The proportion of adults who feel financially stretched remained nearly constant at 61% as of April, as per a recent LendingClub report.

Interestingly, the report reveals that high-income earners are experiencing increased pressure. Among those with six-figure incomes, 49% now live paycheck to paycheck, up from 42% last year. On the other hand, individuals earning less than $100,000 saw either a steady percentage or a decline in those living paycheck to paycheck during the same period.

Your financial status might be influenced by where you reside

Anuj Nayar, LendingClub’s Financial Health Officer, explains that “a $100,000 income may not stretch that far” depending on your location. A separate study by SmartAsset examined how far a six-figure salary stretches in the 25 largest cities in the United States. In New York City, for instance, $100,000 is equivalent to just $35,791 after accounting for taxes and the high cost of living.

In contrast, a $100,000 salary goes much further in Memphis, equating to approximately $86,444 thanks to a lower cost of living and no state income tax. LendingClub found that 69% of city dwellers live paycheck to paycheck, which is 25% more than their suburban counterparts. Nayar highlights, “where you live appears to be almost equally important in factoring whether a consumer is living paycheck to paycheck.”

Rising mortgage rates, home prices, and rents in many cities across the country contribute to these financial challenges, as evidenced by the latest data from rental listings site Rent.com. As of the previous month, 29 of the 50 most populous U.S. cities registered year-over-year rent increases.

Jon Leckie, a researcher for Rent.com, notes that compared to two years ago, rents have surged by over 16%—equivalent to a $275 hike in monthly rent bills. He adds, “That kind of growth over such a short period of time is going to put a lot of pressure on pocket books.”

Escaping the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle

It can be challenging, especially for high earners and city dwellers who often fall victim to “lifestyle creep,” according to Carolyn McClanahan, CFP and founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.

As people’s incomes increase, their spending habits tend to follow suit, particularly when it comes to dining out, using food delivery services like DoorDash, and subscribing to additional services. McClanahan warns that it’s easy to “fall into the trap of too much convenience spending.”

To overcome this cycle, McClanahan, who is also a member of CNBC’s Advisor Council, recommends evaluating convenience spending and identifying areas that don’t bring value. She advises, “the first thing to do is look at convenience spending and figure out ways to cut the spending that is not bringing them value.” Redirect the money saved from cutting unnecessary expenses towards building an emergency fund.

Once you’ve accumulated three to six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund, shift your focus to saving for other financial goals.

Biden Leads Democratic Primary Contenders

As President Joe Biden gears up for a potential second term, he enjoys a significant lead over his declared Democratic challengers. However, a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS reveals that his declining favorability ratings and the perception that his reelection would be detrimental to the nation could pose difficulties.

Only 33% of Americans believe that a Biden victory in 2024 would signify progress or triumph. The poll also highlights a drop in favorable opinions of Biden, from 42% in December to 35% currently. Furthermore, an earlier release of the same poll showed Biden’s presidential approval rating at a meager 40%, one of the lowest for a first-term president since Dwight Eisenhower at this stage in their tenure.

Within the Democratic party, 60% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters support Biden as the frontrunner for next year’s Democratic nomination, while 20% favor activist and lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and 8% support author Marianne Williamson. Another 8% would back an unspecified “someone else.”

The majority of Biden’s primary supporters are unwavering, with 58% stating they will definitely support him, while 42% admit they could change their minds. In contrast, only 19% of those backing other candidates are firmly committed, with 81% open to changing their minds.

The poll indicates that Biden is likely to gain the support of most Democratic-aligned voters in 2024, with only 14% saying they wouldn’t back him in the primary and 7% stating they definitely wouldn’t support him in November 2024 if he secures the party’s nomination.

However, the results suggest that Biden may struggle to retain Democratic-aligned White non-college voters in the general election next year, as 16% say they definitely won’t support him in November 2024, compared to just 1% of White Democratic-aligned voters with college degrees and 5% of Democratic-aligned voters of color.

Biden’s vulnerabilities in the nomination race primarily lie among Democratic-leaning independents (40% support him for the nomination, compared to 67% among self-identified Democrats) and younger voters (49% under 45 years old support him, as opposed to 68% of those aged 45 or older).

A majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters would consider supporting either Kennedy (64% support or would consider him) or Williamson (53% back her or would consider her), but few seem deeply committed to either candidate.

Among those open to considering Kennedy, 20% cite his connection to the Kennedy family as the main reason, with one respondent stating, “I liked his dad (RFK) and his uncle (JFK) a lot. I would hope he has a similar mindset.” Many are simply curious and want to learn more about him, with 17% saying they don’t know enough to rule him out and 10% claiming they are open-minded and would consider any candidate. Some would back any Democrat (10%) or anyone who is not Trump (5%). Only 12% say they would consider him due to their support for his views or policies, and 4% specifically mention his environmental policy stances.

Of those who would consider Williamson, nearly 3 in 10 (28%) say they don’t know enough about her, 16% would consider her because she’s a Democrat, 8% would consider any candidate or are open-minded, and 9% view her as an alternative to Biden. One respondent said, “She is better than Joe Biden. I haven’t heard of her though.” Another 10% desire a female candidate, and 12% support her views or policies. One person commented, “She may not have a great political resume but she cares about important issues.”

The majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters do believe it’s likely that Biden will become the party’s candidate, with 55% saying it’s extremely or very likely, 28% deeming it somewhat likely, 11% considering it not too likely, and a mere 5% believing it’s not at all likely.

Securing public support for a second term might be an uphill battle for President Joe Biden. A significant 66% of Americans believe that a Biden victory would result in a setback or disaster for the country. In comparison, former President Donald Trump’s prospects appear slightly better, with 43% considering a Trump win as a triumph or step forward and 56% seeing it as a disaster or setback. Both candidates receive similar percentages regarding the perception of their victory as disastrous (44% for Trump and 41% for Biden). Among independents, 45% view a Trump win as disastrous, while 35% hold the same opinion for a Biden win.

The overarching negativity towards Biden can be attributed to a more pessimistic outlook among his party members compared to the optimism Trump enjoys from Republicans. A substantial 82% of Democrats perceive a Trump victory as disastrous, whereas 83% of Republicans feel the same about a Biden win. However, 85% of Republicans consider a Trump win a triumph or step forward, compared to 73% of Democrats expressing the same sentiment for Biden.

One advantage that Biden held over Trump in the 2020 election – a stronger favorability rating – may have dissipated. The poll reveals that 35% of Americans have a favorable view of Biden, while 57% have an unfavorable one, which is strikingly similar to Trump’s figures. Biden’s positive ratings have dropped from 42% in December, and among independents, his favorability has declined from 35% to 26%.

Biden’s ratings are significantly more negative than those of the three living Democratic past presidents. Barack Obama is the most positively viewed of all the living presidents tested in the poll, with 57% holding a favorable view and 35% an unfavorable one. Public opinion on Jimmy Carter is also positive, with 43% favorable and 21% unfavorable, while 36% are unsure or unable to rate him. Bill Clinton’s ratings are evenly split, with 41% expressing a favorable view and 42% an unfavorable one.

The CNN Poll, conducted by SSRS from May 17-20, included a random national sample of 1,227 adults drawn from a probability-based panel, featuring 432 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote. Surveys were administered either online or via telephone with a live interviewer. The full sample results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 points, while the margin of sampling error for Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters is 6.2 points.

Debt Ceiling Bill Passed

The House has passed the debt ceiling bill, allowing the US economy a breather until January 2025. Lawmakers approved the rule just days before June 5, the day Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. could plunge into default if the borrowing limit is not raised.

The tally at the governing rule vote to take the Bill to the full House to vote on the Bill was 241 to 187, with 29 Republicans voting “no” and 52 Democrats voting “yes.” Passage of the rule clears the way for a final House vote on the debt ceiling bill.

Rules are typically supported by just the majority party and opposed by the minority, but in this case, Democrats had to cross the aisle to get the rule across the finish line. The GOP defections exposed deep divisions within the House Republican conference.

Democratic leaders instructed their members to let Republicans put up their votes for the rule first, in a strategy for the Democrats: Let Republicans sweat and show how many defections GOP leaders had.

President Joe Biden and Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy reached a spending deal over the weekend to raise the debt limit. The House is expected to vote on the bill later today.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Wednesday that he hopes the chamber will finish voting on the debt ceiling agreement tomorrow or Friday.

Still, the timeframe to get the bill passed through both chambers of Congress and signed into law is extremely tight.

While rules votes are typically a partisan, mundane and entirely predictable part of the legislative process, Wednesday’s vote bucked all three trends when more than two dozen Republicans opposed the measure as a last-gasp opportunity to defeat the underlying debt ceiling bill.

And after hanging back, more than 50 Democrats bucked convention to deliver the last-minute votes to push the rule over the finish line.

Before the vote closed, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) held up a green card in an apparent signal of approval for his members to change their votes and help Republicans pass the rule. Democratic members flooded the Well of the House to manually change their votes after voting electronically — though Jeffries remained a ‘nay.’

A number of the Democrats who ultimately voted for the rule are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a coalition of bipartisan lawmakers that prides itself on finding common ground.

“We were ready, we had the conversation earlier today — if necessary to be ready to activate and that’s exactly what we did,” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), a member of the caucus, told reporters after the rule vote.

“I typically wouldn’t vote for this type of rule,” he later added. “But this is, as I said earlier, this is an extraordinary day, extraordinary measure and required extraordinary consideration.”

The proposal then moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is fighting to pass it before week’s end.

The debt limit bill — titled the Fiscal Accountability Act — came together after more than a week of high-stakes negotiations between emissaries tapped by Biden and McCarthy.

The legislation, which stretches 99 pages, suspends the debt limit until Jan. 1, 2025, implements some spending caps over the next two years, beefs up work requirements for federal assistance programs and claws back billions of dollars of unspent COVID-19 funds, among other provisions.

The agreement would keep nondefense spending roughly flat in the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1% the following year, as well as suspend the debt limit until January 2025 — past the next presidential election.

For the next fiscal year, the bill matches Biden’s proposed defense budget of $886 billion and allots $704 billion for nondefense spending.

The bill also requires Congress to approve 12 annual spending bills or face a snapback to spending limits from the previous year, which would mean a 1% cut.

The legislation aims to limit federal budget growth to 1% for the next six years, but that provision would not be enforceable starting in 2025.

Overall, the Congressional Budget Office projected Tuesday that the bill would reduce budget deficits by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

Lawmakers are racing against the clock to avert a catastrophic default ahead of June 5, the day the Treasury Department has said it will no longer be able to pay all of the nation’s obligations in full and on time.

India’s Response to U.S. State Department Report on Religious Freedom

The government’s response to the U.S. State Department’s report on religious freedoms in India and other nations was not entirely unexpected. Released by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the report highlights numerous incidents that have raised concerns about the ongoing targeting of religious minorities. It also records instances of hate speech by various leaders, including members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Following the report, a senior official cited the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s ranking of India as eighth out of 162 countries in terms of the risk of “mass killing” – a grave accusation. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson dismissed the report as being founded on “misinformation and flawed understanding” and characterized the official’s comments as “motivated and biased.”

India’s rejection of the report aligns with its previous reactions to similar reports from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the U.S. State Department, which have become increasingly critical of the country. These reports note that senior U.S. officials have repeatedly urged New Delhi to denounce religious violence and hate speech, suggesting that their efforts have been unsuccessful. In response, the MEA has stated that it “values” its partnership with the U.S. and engages in “frank exchanges.”

Although the government’s current response is firm, it is not as severe as its reaction to a comparable report in June last year, when the MEA accused the U.S. government of pandering to “vote bank politics.” The timing of this report – just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the G-7 summit in Japan and ahead of Modi’s state visit to the U.S. in June – may be a factor in the government’s more measured response. Additionally, the government might appreciate that despite its strong criticism, the State Department has not labeled India as a “Country of Particular Concern,” as the USCIRF has frequently recommended.

Considering the consistent reporting on religious persecution in India by the U.S. government, New Delhi may want to address these allegations more proactively and produce its own report on the country’s state of religious freedom as a counter-argument. As Prime Minister Modi noted in a letter to a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, the world is attracted to India due to the “natural and instinctive love” Indians have for diversity. The government must develop more comprehensive strategies to refute unfounded and inaccurate challenges to India’s reputation and make improvements in areas where shortcomings are identified.

US Calls Out Attacks And Home Demolitions Of Minorities In India

The US State Department on Monday noted “targeted attacks” on minorities, “home demolitions” and hate speeches against Muslims in India among threats facing religious freedom around the world.

The State Department outlined in great detail “numerous reports during the year of violence by law enforcement authorities against members of religious minorities in multiple states” in India in its 2022 annual report on the state of freedom of religion around the world.

The report was released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken who noted both progress and “continuation, and in some instances, the rise of very troubling trends”.

Previewing the report earlier, a senior State Department official told reporters that regarding India the document outlined “continued targeted attacks against religious communities, including Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindu Dalits, and indigenous communities; dehumanizing rhetoric, including open calls for genocide against Muslims; lynching and other hate-fueled violence, attacks on houses of worship and home demolitions, and in some cases impunity and even clemency for those who’ve engaged in attacks on religious minorities – we’re also continuing to see, at the state level, some restrictions on religious attire”.

Rashad Hussain, the Ambassador at Large at the State Department for International Religious Freedom, cited the Hardwar speeches of December 2021 as particularly problematic.

“In India, legal advocates and faith leaders from across the country’s diverse religious communities condemned a case of extreme hate speech against Muslims in the city of Hardwar, calling for the country to uphold its historical traditions of pluralism and tolerance,” he said at the release of the report.

He was referring to a three-day meeting called the Dharma Sansad in December 2021, where speakers called for people to take up arms against Muslims.

A case was registered by the Uttarakhand police against the organiser. The other countries mentioned by Hussain were Russia, China, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia.

The State Department’s annual report has been critical of the state of religious freedom in India before, and, based on local news reports and accounts from civil society, it has listed instances and cases over the years.

India has rejected these unsolicited observations and remarks before and in recent years questioned America’s right to stand in judgment on other countries.

The US Commission on International Freedom have been far more critical of India and has recommended to the State Department to designate India as a “country of particular concerns” four times. But the State Department has not taken up its suggestion yet. These designations are to be announced later in the year. (IANS)

Durham’s Report Claims FBI Lacked “Actual Evidence” To Investigate Trump’s 2016 Campaign

In a recently released report, U.S. Special Counsel John Durham stated that the FBI had no “actual evidence” to investigate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and relied excessively on information provided by Trump’s political adversaries. The 306-page report marks the end of a four-year investigation into possible missteps by the FBI during its early “Crossfire Hurricane” inquiry into potential contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Durham found that prior to initiating Crossfire Hurricane, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies did not have any solid evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

He also claimed that the FBI handled the 2016 Trump investigation differently from other politically sensitive inquiries, such as those involving Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Durham wrote, “The Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.”

In response to the report, the FBI stated that it has already implemented numerous corrective actions for some time. Meanwhile, Durham’s findings may serve as political ammunition for Trump, who is planning to run for re-election in 2024 despite facing criminal charges in New York and two federal investigations by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

However, Durham’s investigation has had limited impact, as both defendants he attempted to prosecute in 2022 were acquitted by separate juries.

Durham’s report echoes many concerns raised by the Justice Department’s inspector general regarding the FBI’s process for applying to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for wiretap applications.

Durham’s report states: “Senior FBI personnel displayed a serious lack of analytical rigor towards the information that they received, especially information from politically affiliated persons and entities.”

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis Officially Launches Presidential Run In 2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis formally announced on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 that he is running for president in 2024. “Well, I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback,” he said during an event with Twitter owner Elon Musk on the site’s audio platform. “But we know our country’s going in the wrong direction. We see it with our own eyes. And we feel it in our bones.”

“We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years,” DeSantis said on Twitter, in a chat withElon Musk and their mutual ally, David Sacks, a venture capitalist. “The tired dogmas of the past are inadequate for a vibrant future.”

Earlier Wednesday, ahead of the event with Musk, DeSantis also filed with the Federal Election Commission. It makes official a decision that was widely expected since November when DeSantis won reelection in resounding fashion and captured the attention of a party longing to turn the page from recent defeats. He steps into the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination later than other contenders and having failed to freeze more still from jumping in, but is better funded, better known and polling higher than all but one: Donald Trump.

The former president has treated DeSantis, whom he once endorsed for Florida governor, as his top foe for months, assailing him regularly on social media and in interviews. A super PAC aligned with Trump has spent millions attacking DeSantis on national television, setting expectations for a bruising primary between the two former allies.

To overcome Trump, DeSantis will need to convince Republican voters he is best positioned to take on President Joe Biden next November. That will likely involve winning over conservatives who may still look back fondly on Trump’s presidency while also coalescing support among Republicans eager for new blood to lead the party.

DeSantis, 44, has spent months laying the groundwork to make that case. He has traveled the country extensively, styling himself as a leader in the right’s culture wars and presenting a new vision for a Republican Party that uses elected powers to punish political opponents and force conservative orthodoxy on institutions and businesses. Working with his state’s GOP-controlled legislature, DeSantis has stacked up multiple policy victories – including banning abortion after six weeks, eliminating permits to carry a concealed gun in public, enacting a universal school voucher law and targeting access to transgender health care – all of which will serve as a platform as he launches his campaign.

“I think that (DeSantis) and former President Donald Trump, they have a lot in common, which they don’t want to hear, but I think it’s the truth,” Wisconsin voter Steve Frazier said after DeSantis spoke at a recent GOP dinner in Marathon County. “Unfortunately, they’re running possibly for the same office, and that’s a conflict for people like myself, in that we may have two very, very qualified men running for the same position.”

DeSantis has continued to generate headlines for his yearlong fight with Disney, his state’s most iconic business and a vital economic engine, over a new law that bans certain instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. After Disney put out a statement opposing the measure, DeSantis plotted a takeover of the special taxing district that allowed the entertainment giant to build its iconic theme park empire in Central Florida.

The move put Florida businesses on notice and alarmed even some in the GOP, who questioned whether elected executives should use state power to punish a company. Undeterred, DeSantis has made his clash with Disney a central part of his political story, devoting an entire chapter of his recent memoir to the saga. Disney has sued DeSantis, accusing the governor of weaponizing his political power to punish the company for exercising its free speech rights, while DeSantis has vowed not to cave.

Though eager to take on private businesses, reporters and sometimes his own party, DeSantis has largely avoided directly confronting Trump. Instead, he has opted for more subtle comparisons between their tenures in office. He has maligned the lack of action during Trump’s first four years while listing off his own accomplishments as governor. He regularly touts the lack of “drama” and “leaks” in his administration, a clear jab at the chaos that often engulfed the Trump White House.

“If I were to run, I’m running against Biden,” DeSantis said in a recent interview with British television host Piers Morgan.

That same day, though, DeSantis seemed to poke fun at Trump over his alleged affair with an adult film star that is at the heart of a Manhattan district attorney’s case against the former president.

“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star,” he said at a news conference. To many, DeSantis had signaled he was ready to mix it up with Trump. But a week later, as Trump was indicted, DeSantis backed off and instead criticized the prosecutor who filed the charges.

The walk back was illustrative of Republican struggles to challenge Trump head-on that date back to the 2016 presidential primary. The former president’s GOP rivals have often opted instead to target the contender perceived as the biggest threat to overcoming Trump: DeSantis. Already, 2024 hopefuls such as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have lobbed attacks at the Florida governor with more frequency than they have criticized Trump.

“The subject of most of the attacks at the first debate are going to be DeSantis, not Trump,” said Alex Conant, a veteran of several presidential campaigns. Conant is familiar with what it is like to be running behind Trump. He advised Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in 2016 and watched as the Florida Republican faced arrows from the rest of the GOP field in a debate leading up to the New Hampshire primary. Rubio never recovered. DeSantis’ team, Conant said, needs “to be eyes-wide-open that he’s going to be targeted at every moment of the first debate.”

DeSantis will have more resources than most to weather those attacks. A super PAC supporting his political ambitions, Never Back Down, had already raised $30 million in its first month after launching and has spent millions boosting DeSantis and responding to negative ads from Trump allies in early primary states. He has more than $85 million parked in a state political committee that his team has for more than a year planned to shift into a federal committee – possibly Never Back Down – though some campaign finance watchdogs have suggested that plan would run afoul of the law.

DeSantis, for a time, was also a favorite among the deep-pocketed Republican donors who have soured on Trump and are ready to finance an alternative. However, that support has somewhat cooled of late, with several key financiers expressing reservations about DeSantis. His hard turn right, his antagonistic feud with Disney and perceived personality faults have caused some to look for others to get behind.

Thomas Peterffy, a billionaire businessman who has donated $570,000 to DeSantis’ political committee over the years, recently told the Financial Times that he and other GOP donors were turned off by DeSantis’ stance on “abortion and book banning” and were “holding our powder dry.” DeSantis has championed a new state law that requires approval of books in classroom libraries and makes it easier for the public to flag schoolbooks to be pulled for review.

However, without another major Trump alternative emerging, DeSantis allies remain convinced that Republican donors ready to move on from the former president will ultimately get behind the Florida governor.

“There’s a broad acceptance that this is really settling into a two-person race, and there is a lot of personal appreciation for President Trump but realistic understanding he does not have the best chance to beat Biden,” former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, founder of the Never Back Down super PAC, told CNN in March. “He does not have the best chance to win the Senate and keep the House as demonstrated by history.”

The Deadline Looms For Debt Ceiling

The US federal government is on the brink of being unable to make debt payments, and it’s up to Congress to vote on raising the nation’s borrowing cap, also known as the debt limit. However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden are currently at odds over Republican demands to link the debt limit to spending caps and other policy requirements. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has cautioned that the country could exhaust its borrowing authority by June 1, leaving little time for negotiators to reach a consensus.

In a recent meeting with McCarthy, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Biden aimed to find a way forward. Although they didn’t reach an agreement, staff-level discussions continue in an attempt to avert default.

Debt ceiling

You might have some questions about the debt ceiling and the ongoing debate. The debt ceiling, or debt limit, is a restriction on the amount of debt the federal government can accumulate. As Jason Furman, a former economic advisor to President Obama and current economics professor at Harvard, explains, “It used to be that every time you did a Treasury auction where you borrowed, Congress would pass a new law just for that one auction.” However, in 1917, during World War I, Congress opted for a more streamlined approach, allowing the government to borrow up to a specified amount before needing to request an increase. Since 1960, Congress has raised or suspended the debt limit 78 times, according to the Treasury Department.

How do experts know when the government has really run out of funds?

Picture : NBC

Experts determine when the government is nearing its funding limit by examining expected tax revenue, the timing of those payments arriving in Treasury accounts, and scheduled debt payments. This analysis helps establish a timeframe, referred to as an X-Date, when the debt authority might be depleted.

Nonetheless, the Treasury Department has several options, known as extraordinary measures, to prevent default. These measures involve reallocating investments and using accounting techniques to redistribute funds. The federal government technically reached the debt limit in January, but these extraordinary measures have maintained payment flows since then. While experts cannot pinpoint an exact date for when funds will be exhausted, they can estimate a general range, which currently falls between early June and potentially as late as July or August.

Why is there a fight over it?

Debt has generally been viewed unfavorably in American politics, and lawmakers often hesitate to be seen as endorsing more federal borrowing or spending. Additionally, they tend to attach unrelated priorities to must-pass legislation, making the debt limit a prime target for political disputes.

As Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, explains, “Everybody uses [bills to increase] the debt ceiling for their favorite policies.” The real issue arises when discussions about defaulting become more serious. Historically, votes to raise the debt limit were relatively uneventful; however, the situation changed in 2011 when the US came dangerously close to default.

Mark Zandi, an analyst at Moody’s Analytics, notes that while there have been previous political battles over the debt, none were as risky or significant as the 2011 conflict. At that time, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama were in a standoff over spending. Republicans demanded deep spending cuts and caps on future spending growth, while Obama insisted on raising the debt limit without any extraneous policies – a clean increase.

Ultimately, Congress reached an agreement to increase the debt limit along with caps on future spending, but not before Standard & Poor’s downgraded the nation’s debt for the first time in history. Today’s situation bears a striking resemblance to the 2011 political struggle, raising serious concerns about the possibility of a default.

What could happen if it’s not raised?

If the debt ceiling is not raised, the Treasury Department would be unable to fulfill its due payments, resulting in a default. This would occur regardless of the type or size of the missed payment.

Some Republicans have proposed a system called payment prioritization, in which certain debts are selected for repayment. However, this would require Congress to pass new legislation, which is politically improbable. Moreover, most experts believe that implementing such a system could be practically unfeasible, and it is not currently being considered as a serious solution.

Has the U.S. ever failed to make these debt payments?

No, the U.S. has never failed to make its debt payments. This reliability is a significant reason why the federal government can easily sell Treasury bonds to investors worldwide and why the U.S. dollar is one of the most trusted currencies.

As MacGuineas points out, “Treasuries are the debt vehicle that are most trusted in the entire world, even if there is an economic crisis that originated in the U.S., people come and buy treasuries because they trust them.” If that trust is jeopardized due to a default or missed interest payment, the U.S. would likely struggle to regain its previous status as the world’s most trusted debtor.

Would capping or cutting spending now resolve the problem?

No, capping or cutting spending now would not resolve the problem, as the debt limit pertains to money already spent due to laws previously passed by Congress. Furman emphasizes that “this borrowing isn’t some unilateral thing that President Biden wants to do… It is in order to accomplish what Congress told him to accomplish.”

Some of the current debt accumulation even results from laws enacted under former presidents, such as Donald Trump. Spending caps and other changes proposed by House Republicans are separate policies designed to address future debt accumulation rather than the immediate need to raise the debt limit.

What else could be affected by a default?

The possibility of a U.S. default may result in a domino effect of negative outcomes across the worldwide financial landscape. The nation’s credit rating could suffer long-term damage, diminishing the value of U.S. treasuries and making it a less attractive investment destination. MacGuineas expressed deep concern, stating, “I am truly concerned there is an actual chance of default and that is so dangerous and such a sign that the U.S. is not able to govern itself in a way that is functioning.”

Zandi cautioned that the fallout might extend beyond merely investment and borrowing rates. He advised, “Don’t worry about your stock portfolio, worry about your job,” emphasizing the potential loss of employment and increased unemployment rates. He added, “This will certainly push us and, you know, it’s going to be about layoffs. Stock portfolios will be the least of people’s worries.”

Furman compared the potential crisis to the 2008 financial meltdown caused by Lehman Brothers Bank’s collapse, suggesting it could be even more severe. “It could be worse than Lehman Brothers, where everyone basically demands their money back because they don’t believe the collateral anymore,” he explained. “And you have the equivalent of a run on the global financial system.”

Is default the same thing as a shutdown?

Default and shutdown are not the same thing. A government shutdown transpires when Congress does not pass annual spending bills before the fiscal year concludes on September 30. Although these two matters may be connected at times, this is because legislators have, on occasion, deliberately synchronized the debt limit extension with the end of the fiscal year to prompt more comprehensive spending debates in conjunction with debt authorization.

Are there other ways this problem could be fixed, aside from just increasing the debt limit?

Apart from merely raising the debt limit, there are alternative solutions to address the issue, as the existing process is widely considered ineffective. MacGuineas from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget believes that while Congress should reassess debt and spending priorities, the current debt limit mechanism fails to compel them to make decisions. She stated, “The debt ceiling is a terrible way to try to impose fiscal responsibility,” describing it as a “dumb approach.”

Instead, MacGuineas proposes a system where the debt limit is increased in line with the passage of legislation by Congress. Some economists have even suggested eliminating the debt limit entirely.

Other less conventional ideas involve minting a $1 trillion platinum coin to cover the debt or elevating the limit to such an extent that subsequent debates would be postponed for years or even decades.

US Health Care System Fails to Meet Needs Of 70% of Adults

A staggering 70% of US adults believe the health care system fails to address their needs in at least one aspect, as revealed by recent data from the Harris Poll, obtained exclusively by TIME.

Although the US spends more per capita on health care than any other affluent nation, it lags behind in terms of life expectancy and various health outcomes. The Harris Poll survey, carried out between February and March 2023 and commissioned by the American Academy of Physician Associates, indicates that patient satisfaction is also being negatively impacted by the exorbitant costs, lack of accessibility, and convoluted logistics associated with US medical care.

When questioned about their personal grievances with the medical system, many respondents cited similar issues. A mere 27% of those surveyed claimed the US medical system fulfilled all their needs, while the remaining participants voiced concerns regarding appointment wait times (31% of respondents), high costs (26%), insurance coverage limitations (23%), and inadequate emphasis on preventive care and wellness (19%).More than a fifth of people surveyed said they don’t see a single health care provider on a regular basis, and 44% said they’d skipped or delayed needed care in the past two years.

Despite these challenges, the survey also highlighted potential areas for improvement and progress. Over 75% of respondents acknowledged that providers collaborate with them to enhance their health, while more than 70% expressed a desire for stronger relationships with their providers. Furthermore, over 65% believed their health would improve if they consistently worked with a trusted provider. These responses imply that Americans haven’t entirely lost faith in the system, even in the face of their frustrations.

A Biden-Trump Faceoff In 2024 Wouldn’t Be The First Presidential Rematch

While it’s still very early, there’s at least a chance that the 2024 presidential election could look a lot like the 2020 presidential election. President Joe Biden recently confirmed that he’s seeking a second term, and his predecessor and 2020 opponent, former President Donald Trump, already had launched his campaign to reclaim the White House.

For several decades now, neither major political party has been keen on giving unsuccessful nominees a second bite of the apple. The last time that happened was in 1968, when Republicans chose Richard Nixon, who had lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960.

But that hasn’t always been the case. Should a Biden-Trump sequel come about, it would be the seventh presidential rematch in U.S. history, and the first since the 1950s. In the first four rematches, the outcome was different the second time around; in the most recent two, the outcomes were the same as the first match-up.

Here’s a look at the presidential rematches the country has experienced so far, and the varying political contexts in which they came about:

The country’s first actively contested presidential elections proved conclusively that the Constitution’s elaborate mechanism for electing presidents wouldn’t work once parties were added to the mix.

Originally, each presidential elector cast two ballots, with the candidate receiving the most becoming president and the runner-up becoming vice president. This worked fine the first two elections, when George Washington and John Adams were the clear favorites. But in 1796, when the Federalist Party backed Adams for the presidency and the Democratic-Republican Party supported Thomas Jefferson, the system’s flaws quickly became apparent.

In order to elect their preferred pair as president and vice president, both parties tried to arrange for a few of their electors to either cast only one ballot or vote for someone other than their party’s intended running mate (Thomas Pinckney for the Federalists, Aaron Burr for the Democratic-Republicans). In theory, that would ensure that the intended two men came out on top and in the right order. In practice, in an era of slow communications over great distances, such plans would have been difficult to pull off even if the parties were united and firmly disciplined.

Which they weren’t. Neither the Federalists nor the Democratic-Republicans were fully sold on their respective tickets. (Alexander Hamilton, for one, worked secretly to get some Federalist electors from Southern states to withhold their votes for Adams, in hopes of boosting Pinckney into the top spot – a ploy which backfired when New England Federalists found out about it and refused to cast ballots for Pinckney.) And the electors were free to disregard their party’s “official” picks and cast their two votes however they wished, so long as one went to someone from a state other than their own.

The end result was, as historian Gordon Wood called it, “a confused and chaotic affair.” Although records are incomplete, at least nine electors voted for Jefferson and Pinckney. One voted for Adams and Jefferson. Two cast votes for Washington, who had made it clear he didn’t want the job any longer. In all, 13 men received at least one electoral vote. Adams squeaked out a win, but Jefferson came in second and took the vice presidency.

Adams and Jefferson faced each other again in 1800, and the results were almost as chaotic. This time Jefferson and Burr defeated Adams’ ticket, but because all their electors voted for both of them (rather than a few abstaining or voting for someone else), they tied for first place. That meant the outgoing House of Representatives – still controlled by Federalists, whose candidates had lost the election – got to decide whether Jefferson or Burr would be the next president. The House deadlocked for a week and slogged through 35 ballots before finally choosing Jefferson on the 36th. Before the next election, the 12th Amendment was ratified to require separate balloting for president and vice president – and, it was hoped, to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

John Quincy Adams vs. Andrew Jackson, 1824 and 1828

But the new system wasn’t foolproof either, as the four-sided election of 1824 demonstrated. By that time the Democratic-Republicans, who’d won every election since 1800 and driven the Federalists into near-oblivion, had splintered into rival factions. No fewer than five prominent public figures sought the presidency in 1824: Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, former Gen. Andrew Jackson, House Speaker Henry Clay, Treasury Secretary William H. Crawford and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun (though he eventually decided to stand for vice president instead). When the dust settled, no one had come close to winning a majority of either the popular or electoral votes.

That sent the election to the House again, which had to choose from among the top three vote-getters. Clay, who had been eliminated, used his influence to swing the vote in Adams’ favor; soon after, Adams appointed Clay as secretary of state. That in turn touched off furious charges by Jackson and his supporters that the two men had conspired in a “corrupt bargain” and effectively launched Jackson’s 1828 campaign.

Jacksonians spent four years attacking Adams and building a new party, the Democrats, to take him on. In 1828, Jackson won clear popular- and electoral-vote victories, and he went on to serve two terms as president.

Van Buren, Jackson’s vice president and one of the main architects of the Democratic Party, ran for the top job himself in 1836. But opponents of the Jackson-Van Buren administration were coming together into a new national party: the Whig Party.

The Whigs were still a work in progress in 1836, and Van Buren ended up facing multiple “opposition” candidates who ran in different states. The most successful, retired Gen. William Henry Harrison, carried seven states and won 37% of the popular vote. Although Van Buren won the presidency, Harrison’s performance brought him renewed prominence.

By 1839, the Whigs were organized enough to hold a national convention, which nominated Harrison for the following year’s election. Van Buren’s popularity, meanwhile, had plunged due to the Panic of 1837 and the perception that he was an effete, out-of-touch aristocrat. After a campaign marked by such innovations as sloganeering, mass rallies, image-creation and what today we would call PR stunts, Harrison won the popular vote by 6 percentage points and beat Van Buren decisively in the Electoral College.

Grover Cleveland vs. Benjamin Harrison, 1888 and 1892

In 1884, Democrat Cleveland had broken the Republicans’ 24-year lock on the presidency and was widely praised as honest, thrifty and hardworking. But he was vulnerable, having alienated many important industries by advocating for lower tariffs. Republicans, who favored high “protective” tariffs, nominated Harrison, who had an impressive pedigree (as William Henry Harrison’s grandson), a Civil War record that made him popular with veterans (Cleveland had hired a substitute to serve in his place), and was from the swing state of Indiana. Even though Cleveland outpolled him in the popular vote, Harrison prevailed in the Electoral College.

As Cleveland left the White House, his wife reportedly told the staff to “take good care of all the furniture and ornaments in the house … for I want to find everything just as it is now when we come back again four years from today.” Although Cleveland stayed out of politics at first, by 1891 he was openly criticizing the Harrison administration and the Republican-controlled Congress for raising tariff rates and increasing the money supply by coining more silver dollars. The following year, Cleveland easily won renomination, defeated Harrison and, as Mrs. Cleveland had predicted, returned to the White House.

William McKinley vs. William Jennings Bryan, 1896 and 1900

Shortly after Cleveland’s reelection, the U.S. economy plunged into a deep depression. That, along with labor unrest and continuing agitation over monetary policy, turned Cleveland’s own party against him. In 1896, the Democrats turned to Bryan, a forceful opponent of the gold standard and advocate of the “free and unlimited coinage of silver,” which he claimed would aid debt-ridden farmers and working people by inflating the money supply.

The Republicans nominated Ohio Gov. William McKinley, a business-oriented conservative who favored high tariffs and the gold standard, which he called “sound money.” McKinley’s campaign raised unprecedented sums from big corporations and used it to forge a coalition of industrial workers and urban dwellers (especially immigrants) in the Northeast and Midwest.

Despite traveling thousands of miles and giving hundreds of speeches, Bryan came up short in both the popular and electoral votes. But he came close enough that he had no real opposition for the Democratic nomination in 1900, when he faced McKinley again.

By then the free-silver issue had receded somewhat, while questions of American imperialism (exemplified by the Spanish-American War and the annexation of Hawaii) came more to the fore. But with the war over and the U.S. economy booming, McKinley won a slightly higher share of the popular vote than he had in 1896, and flipped six states that Bryan had carried four years earlier (while Bryan flipped only one).

Eisenhower, who had led the Allied armies to victory in Europe during World War II, was so popular that both major parties spawned “Draft Eisenhower” movements. Eisenhower eventually declared himself a Republican and won a closely contested battle for the GOP nomination. The Democrats, who had no obvious front-runner after then-President Harry Truman took himself out of the race, eventually nominated Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson.

Eisenhower, though a political newcomer, proved to be a formidable campaigner, attacking the Democrats over “Korea, Communism and corruption.” He ended up taking 55% of the popular vote in 1952, winning all but nine states.

Four years later, with the Korean War over and the U.S. economy booming, Eisenhower faced no opposition within his party for another term. Stevenson, however, had to fend off several challengers before securing his renomination. For all that, Stevenson had even less success against Eisenhower his second time around: The incumbent president rolled to victory with 57% of the popular vote and the electoral votes of all but seven states.

Bera, Khanna And Pureval Named Biden-Harris Campaign Advisors

The three Indian Americans will play a significant role in mobilizing support for the Biden-Harris campaign among the Indian-American community.

Two Indian-American Congressmen, Ami Bera and Ro Khanna, along with Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, are among the 50 members appointed to the National Advisory Board announced by the Biden-Harris Campaign for the 2024 elections

Picture : American Bazaar

The board, which will be chaired by former House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, is aimed at building on and expanding the winning coalition that propelled President Biden to the White House in 2020. As per an official statement, the board members will be involved in consistent media interviews, supporting fundraising initiatives and events, utilizing their networks and platforms to increase the reach of the campaign’s message to voters, and directly interacting with voters through grassroots activities and events in crucial states where the election is closely contested.

Bera, who is the longest-serving Indian-American in the US Congress, and Khanna, who is co-chair of the Congressional India Caucus, are both influential voices in the Indian-American community. Pureval, who is the first-ever Indian-American and Tibetan-American to be elected as Mayor of a city in Ohio, brings a unique perspective to the board. The three Indian-American leaders are expected to play a significant role in mobilizing support for the Biden-Harris campaign among the Indian-American community.

How America Sustains High Deficits Without Economic Collapse

The United States has consistently maintained a high trade deficit for decades, raising questions about how the country manages to avoid economic repercussions that typically accompany such imbalances. This article delves into the factors that enable the US to sustain these high deficits without experiencing financial collapse.

Picture : The Blance

One of the primary reasons the US can maintain high trade deficits is the dominance of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Central banks across the globe hold their foreign exchange reserves in dollars, contributing to the currency’s stability and demand. This status allows the US to run persistent trade deficits without causing a depreciation in its currency value.

Another factor that enables the US to support high trade deficits is the inflow of foreign investments. International investors view the US as a safe haven for their capital due to the country’s strong and stable economy. These investments help finance the trade deficit by providing an influx of foreign funds, which offsets the negative effects of the deficit on the US economy.

The US economy is driven primarily by domestic consumption, which accounts for approximately 70% of its GDP. This strong demand for goods and services helps offset the trade deficit by creating a robust market for imports. As a result, the US can continue importing goods from other countries without significantly harming its own industries.

The US is a global leader in innovation and technological advancements, which contribute to the country’s overall economic strength. These innovations attract foreign investments and facilitate the export of high-value goods and services, such as software, pharmaceutical products, and aerospace technology. This, in turn, helps to mitigate the impact of the trade deficit on the US economy.

The US government’s fiscal policies also play a role in managing the trade deficit. By implementing policies that promote economic growth, the government can stimulate demand for goods and services. Additionally, the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policies influence interest rates and the money supply, which can impact the trade deficit indirectly.

Despite maintaining a high trade deficit, the United States has managed to avoid the economic pitfalls often associated with such imbalances. Factors such as the US dollar’s status as a global reserve currency, foreign investment, strong domestic demand, innovation, and government fiscal policies all contribute to the country’s ability to sustain these deficits. However, it is essential to continue monitoring the trade deficit and its potential long-term impacts on the US economy.

US Silence About Modi Regime’s Persecution Of Minorities Condemned

On Capitol Hill this Tuesday, US officials convened for a congressional briefing to discuss the persecution of religious minorities under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. The conversation also touched on the State Department’s decision not to follow the United States Commission on International Freedom’s (USCIRF) recommendation that India be labeled a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) – the highest warning issued against nations guilty of persecuting religious minorities.

Picture : Financial Times

The briefing, co-organized by various religious, interfaith, and human rights organizations including the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Hindus For Human Rights (HFHR), Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), and others, featured talks from former USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza, Indian human rights activist Dr. Sandeep Pandey, Former U.S. Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, and Reverend Bryan Nerren, an American Christian pastor who was imprisoned in India for seven months. Representatives from IAMC, HFHR, and SALDEF also addressed the gathering.

In her concluding remarks, Nadine Maenza directly linked recent episodes of religious violence to the discourse, policies, and climate of complicity fostered by PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“An entire Indian state is burning,” Maenza said, alluding to the recent violent confrontations between Hindus and Christians in Manipur, India, which led to numerous churches being set ablaze. “Due to the growing influence of the BJP’s Hindu supremacist rhetoric, Manipur’s Hindu population has turned against the already vulnerable Christian tribal population. It is quite literally the BJP’s fault that 60 people are now dead, 200 are wounded, and 35,000 are displaced.”

Maenza strongly rebuked US officials who have praised the Modi government, specifically mentioning Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu for their commendation of Modi’s “visionary” leadership and assertion that India’s “free press really works,” respectively.

Citing Raimondo and Lu’s comments, Maenza questioned, “Modi is no visionary, and under his control, freedoms for the Indian people have plummeted. How does this charade benefit anyone? Do we want to see the eruption of yet another refugee crisis? Are we alright with India compromising the entire region’s stability by allowing such widespread internal violence?” Maenza highlighted India’s significant drop in ranking on Reporters Without Borders’ annual Press Freedom Index.

Dr. Sandeep Pandey, a Ramon Magsaysay award recipient, often referred to as Asia’s Nobel Prize, presented a comprehensive overview of the economic, political, civil rights, and democratic setbacks brought about by the Modi administration.

Contradicting the positive Western perspective on India’s economic growth, Pandey stated, “The Indian economy is in shambles. India’s 1% population owns 40.5% of wealth. Whereas only 3% of wealth trickled down to the bottom 50% of the population over the nine-year period from 2012 to 2021.” He explained how Modi’s crony capitalist policies have facilitated the disproportionate accumulation of wealth by Gautam Adani, the infamous industrialist and financial criminal.

Regarding criminal justice, Pandey illustrated the religious bias that has nearly obliterated the Indian judiciary. “Your religion decides how the state will deal with you. If you are a Hindu, and especially if you are aligned with the ruling party, then irrespective of how egregious the crime is, you will be released. If you are a Muslim, you will be convicted even if you are innocent. A death sentence is what they want,” he said.

Pandey highlighted the release of 11 Hindu supremacist men who had raped Bilkis Bano during the Gujarat Pogrom and the subsequent acquittal of convicted mass murderer and Hindu supremacist Babu Bajrangi. In contrast, he emphasized the prison sentences handed to Muslim activists who opposed the violently discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act.

Reverend Bryan Nerren, an American Christian who operated a charity that helped poor children of all faiths in India for nearly two decades, was imprisoned in India after being targeted by police. He described in harrowing detail his experience being imprisoned and the reasons behind it. “Most of you probably never had the opportunity to visit an Indian prison, much less be an Indian prisoner. But I have, and it was because I answered three questions wrong. I’m a Christian. I’ll meet with Christians, and I’ll help Christians,” Nerren said.

Despite never having converted any Indian or Nepalese people, Nerren was given a seven-year prison sentence. A BJP official informed Nerren that he was being arrested for his faith, at the order of higher-ups within the party, and that he was being made into an example to other Christians and religious minorities. “We’re going to see to it that you spend the next seven years in prison for what you’re doing. We are going to stop Western people, especially you Christians, from coming here and lying to the poor children that they can have hope. I hope you die in prison. Here’s what you need to understand about the India of today. In the short future, every person in this country will be Hindu. They will leave the country, or we’re going to eliminate them. And I think you understand what eliminate means,” the BJP official said.

The Trump administration initially refused to negotiate for Nerren’s release, seemingly prioritizing a weapons deal with India over the rights of an American citizen. This highlights how shortsighted economic concerns continue to triumph over the pursuit of long-term stability and the commitment to upholding human rights in U.S. relations with India. “The Biden administration’s refusal to hold the Modi government accountable boils down to the market potential that India presents. The administration is sacrificing human rights at the altar of a more profitable relationship with India,” said HFHR Policy Director Ria Chakrabartty. Chakrabartty outlined various concrete policies Congress members can pursue to pressure the Executive to change its stance toward India, including making military aid to India conditional on improving its human rights policies, aggressive letter-writing campaigns, and interventions in the budgetary process.

Former U.S. Ambassador Islam Siddiqui suggested that the US can easily maintain its trade relations with India while publicly condemning its human rights record. He pointed out how the US continues to maintain economic ties with Saudi Arabia while also speaking out against it in public and designating it a Country of Particular Concern. However, Siddiqui cautioned against putting too much faith in Modi’s leadership capabilities, saying, “It’s a bad bet to bet on Modi as a reliable partner. India can’t rise if all its minorities — 350,000,000 Christians and Hindu, Delhi and Adivasis — are put down. They all must rise.”

SALDEF Policy Manager Jyot Singh highlighted how the Modi regime’s policies have profoundly affected Sikh Americans. Referring to the Modi government’s decision to cut off internet access in Punjab in their attempt to capture one political dissident, Singh said, “Modi’s government cut off the internet for 27 million people. Without homelines, they were cut off from the world and their families in the US. They could not communicate with their loved ones. None of this is acceptable in a country that enjoys an allyship with the global north and calls itself a democracy.”

IAMC Executive Director Rasheed Ahmed connected violence in India to Hindu supremacist group activities within the U.S. “Elected officials here on Capitol Hill have received funding from donors connected with India’s most notorious Hindu supremacist paramilitary group, the RSS, and their goal is to ensure that the United States looks away from the atrocities committed by the Modi regime,”

Trump Leads Hypothetical 2024 Election Rematch against Biden, Poll Shows

Former President Donald Trump is leading over President Joe Biden by three points in a hypothetical 2024 rematch, according to a recent poll released by Emerson College. Forty-four percent of the respondents said they would support Trump in the 2024 presidential election, compared to the 41 percent who said they would back Biden. Meanwhile, 10 percent of those surveyed stated they would support someone else, while 4 percent remained undecided. This is a reversal from Emerson’s previous national poll in November, which showed Biden with a 4-point lead over Trump, 45 percent to 41 percent.

Despite falling behind Trump in a hypothetical match-up, Biden’s approval rating increased by 5 points in Tuesday’s poll, increasing from 39 percent in November to 44 percent in January. A rematch between the two 2020 opponents seems possible, as the majority of both Democrats and Republicans said in the Emerson poll that they would support Biden and Trump as their respective party nominees.

According to the poll, 58 percent of Democratic primary or caucus voters stated that they believe Biden should be the Democratic nominee, while 55 percent of Republicans think Trump should be their nominee. Trump holds a significant 26-point lead over his closest potential primary competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. However, DeSantis has slightly gained on Trump since Emerson’s November poll, increasing his support by 4 percentage points.

Trump is the only candidate to have officially launched a 2024 bid so far, after announcing his campaign just one week after the midterm elections in November. Biden is reportedly preparing to launch his reelection campaign in the coming weeks, as multiple sources have told The Hill earlier this month.

The Emerson College poll was conducted from January 19 to 21, among 1,015 registered voters, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Trump Found Liable For Defamation In Civil Lawsuit Over Sexual Abuse Allegations

Former President Donald Trump has been found liable for sexual abuse in a civil lawsuit on Tuesday. The case involved allegations that he raped a magazine columnist in a department-store dressing room nearly 30 years ago. The panel rejected the more serious allegation of rape but found him liable for defaming the victim and awarded her $5 million in damages. E. Jean Carroll, now 79, testified that Trump assaulted her in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman in 1996 after a chance encounter in the luxury department store across the street from Trump Tower. She is one of more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual assault or harassment, and she went public with her allegation that Trump raped her in a memoir published in 2019.

Trump, 76, did not attend the trial in federal court in Manhattan, and his defense called no witnesses at the trial. He has insisted that he never met Carroll and dismissed her as a “nut job” who fabricated the story to gin up sales of her book. The judge had instructed the jury that it could consider whether the encounter amounted to rape or to a less serious form of assault, such as forcible touching or abuse. The defamation claim stemmed from dismissive comments Trump made about Carroll on social media, calling her claims a “hoax” and “con job.”

“I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace—a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time!” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social after the verdict. He has said he would appeal any verdict finding him culpable and awarding damages.

The legal standard for liability in a civil lawsuit is lower than in a criminal case. In a civil suit, liability only requires proving something likely occurred, whereas in a criminal matter, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Trump has not been convicted of any crime.

The verdict is the latest in a string of legal issues weighing on Trump. In April, he was indicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records in relation to hush-money payments to women shopping stories of having had affairs with him. Trump pleaded not guilty. He is also under investigation for alleged election tampering in Georgia. Meanwhile, a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department is investigating Trump’s possession of classified documents at his home in Florida, as well as whether he bears responsibility for helping foment the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters who falsely believed he had won reelection in 2020.

The #MeToo movement took center stage in the trial, as it was the first time a former U.S. president has been sued for sexual assault. According to Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, the jury’s decision marks a turning point for women who are survivors of sexual violence. “This case has moved the needle on how we talk about and think about sexual assault as survivors know it and as the law has struggled to recognize it. It is a brave thing to stand up and have your voice heard,” she said.

Meanwhile, Trump’s legal team expressed disappointment in the verdict, maintaining the former president’s innocence. “We strongly disagree with the decision and will be appealing,” the team said in a statement.

The verdict is expected to have political implications, as Trump has repeatedly suggested he will run for president again in 2024. Whether or not this verdict is a disqualifying factor for his next presidential run remains to be seen.

Judge Rules Trump Is Not Immune From Jean Carroll’s Lawsuit

On Sunday, May 8, a federal judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll accusing former President Donald Trump of defamation. Carroll had accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and then defaming her by publicly denying the alleged assault and claiming that she had made it up to sell books. Trump had also insulted Carroll’s looks, suggesting that he would not have sexually assaulted her because she was not his type.

Carroll sued Trump in 2019 for defamation, but Trump had argued that he was immune from such lawsuits because he had made the allegedly defamatory remarks while he was president. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had also intervened in the case, arguing that Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied the alleged assault and that the federal government should replace Trump as the defendant in the case. However, the DOJ under President Joe Biden reversed its position and declined to defend Trump in court, allowing Carroll’s lawsuit to proceed.

In her ruling, Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed with Trump’s argument that he was immune from lawsuits over his official duties as president, and therefore the lawsuit must be dismissed. Kaplan rejected Carroll’s argument that Trump’s alleged defamation was not part of his official duties, noting that Trump’s denial of the alleged assault was made in response to media inquiries about his fitness for office, and therefore was related to his duties as president.

Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement that she planned to appeal the ruling, arguing that it was wrong as a matter of law and contrary to the facts of the case. Kaplan also criticized the DOJ for changing its position on the case, saying that it had failed to uphold the rule of law and had undermined the rights of sexual assault survivors.

The ruling is a setback for Carroll and other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, as it effectively shields Trump from accountability for his alleged actions and statements. It is also a blow to the #MeToo movement and efforts to hold powerful men accountable for sexual harassment and assault. However, some legal experts say that the ruling was based on narrow and technical legal grounds, and that it may not have broader implications for other cases or investigations involving Trump.

In conclusion, the federal judge’s decision to dismiss E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump is a setback for her and other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. The ruling was based on Trump’s argument that he was immune from lawsuits over his official duties as president, and the judge agreed with him. The ruling may be appealed, but for now, it effectively shields Trump from accountability for his alleged actions and statements.

In CNN Town Hall, Trump’s Hold On Conservative Voters Highlighted

Former President Donald Trump received a positive response from his supporters when he spoke at a CNN town hall on Wednesday. Trump mocked a woman who accused him of rape, defended his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and expressed pleasure in terminating Roe v. Wade, which drew the loudest applause from the audience. While these actions might hurt his chances with key groups of voters like women, suburbanites, and independents, it significantly highlights his ability to maintain a grip on conservative voters who will ultimately influence the GOP presidential nomination.

Trump’s rivals for the nomination will ultimately find it challenging to face the former president. During the town hall, Trump successfully converted his political disadvantages into jokes and applause-worthy points for the GOP base. The morning after the event, Republican critics of Trump openly admitted their inability to prevent him from clinching the nomination. “I don’t know how anybody beats him,” Senator Lindsey Graham explained on Fox News. Given his strong connection with conservative voters already, it seems Trump is in an excellent position to win the nomination.

Trump’s Republican opponents have been unsuccessful in their attempts to criticize his most controversial actions, indicating the challenge they will confront in their primary run-ins with the former president. Early public polling implies that Trump is the overwhelming frontrunner, with potential competitors afraid to alienate conservative voters by speaking up.

Notably, none of the possible GOP candidates in the 2024 presidential race have focused on Trump’s legal difficulties, despite a jury this week holding him responsible for sexual assault and defamation against an advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll. There was little reaction to the verdict from Trump’s Republican rivals. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who intends to challenge Trump in the 2024 Republican primary, appeared to dismiss any emphasis on the sexual assault verdict in a recent NBC interview, claiming it is a distraction from important issues such as the economy and public safety.

When questioned if he was comfortable having someone liable for sexual assault as president, Pence replied, “I would tell you in my four and a half years serving alongside the president, I never heard or observed behavior of that nature.” This approach is also echoed in events such as the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, with Trump’s opponents unwilling to criticize or comment on the violence for fear of harming their prospects with conservative voters.

Despite facing peril on various fronts, former President Trump’s hold on the Republican Party remains strong, as he continues to enjoy support from the conservative base and is the leading candidate for the GOP nomination. Republican leaders recognize that one point of vulnerability for Trump could be his electability. Despite Trump’s popularity with the conservative base, there are concerns among the broader electorate, particularly women, independents, and college-educated suburban voters, who consider Trump and his politics toxic.

Although this has been the consensus view among party leaders, this has changed in recent weeks, with the Republican Party rallying behind Trump over new legal problems. Though former Vice President Pence has criticized Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Republican presidential candidates have been mostly quiet on his legal troubles. While Trump’s support among conservative voters remains strong, his unpopularity among moderates and independents could be his Achilles heel in the presidential race.

Despite the potential electability concerns that various Republicans have raised about Former President Trump and his chances of winning the 2024 presidential election, it is unclear whether these concerns alone will be sufficient to dislodge him from his position as the frontrunner in the Republican primary. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has recently criticized Trump and released a memo warning of the disastrous implications for the Republican Party if Trump were to become its nominee.

According to Chris Wilson, head of data for the “Never Back Down” PAC, Trump’s nomination could result in ideological extremism that would alienate non-Republicans and lead to a loss of feasible senate and house seats in a general election. Nonetheless, Trump continues to maintain his strong standing with the Republican base. In contrast, former Democratic President Joe Biden, who is eager for a rematch, has launched a political attack against Trump, releasing a video in response to his remarks during the CNN town hall, which described Jan. 6 as a “beautiful day.”

While some Republicans, such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former Representative Liz Cheney have attempted to cast Trump in a negative light, it remains uncertain if these efforts will be enough to hurt his chances of winning the Republican nomination.

Regardless, Trump appears unconcerned by potential political liabilities ahead of 2024, even suggesting that he may pardon many of his supporters who were convicted of criminal charges after the deadly Capitol insurrection. “Many of them are just great people”, said Trump.

Family Of Slain Indian-American Woman Raise Money To Fight Gun Violence

The family members of a 33 year-old Indian-American woman, who was allegedly shot at and killed by her husband last month, are raising money to help prevent gun violence.

Nabaruna Karmakar, an engineer by profession, was found with two gunshot wounds after officers arrived at her home in Morrisville, North Carolina, responding to a 911 call, police said.

Karmakar’s husband Michael Aaron Matthews, who placed the 911 call to report a purported double suicide, was been arrested and charged for shooting and killing his wife at their home on April 14.

Despite the report of a double suicide, Karmakar was the only person hit by gunfire at the scene, and police believe she was murdered, the People reported.

The fundraiser set up by the victim’s family has so far raised close to $10,882.

“We are all deeply saddened by the death of Nabaruna Karmakar, a beautiful girl with a smart mind whose life was claimed by gun violence. Hoping there will be no more victims, Naba’s family is raising money to benefit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund,” the GoFundMe page read.

Formed in 2013, the non-profit organization advocates for gun violence prevention, according to its website.

Indians working and living in the US have not been spared from the scourge of gun violence, with Aishwarya Thatikonda from Telangana being the latest victim.

The first four months of gun violence in 2023 as of May 1, saw 5,971 deaths, 11,035 injuries, 184 mass shootings and 290 children shot, according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive.

Prior to her death, Karmakar worked in research at the SAS Institute and earned master’s and doctorate degrees in industrial engineering from North Carolina State University, the People reported.

The motive for the murder is yet to be ascertained with police officials carrying out further investigations into the case.

Matthews appeared before a court on April 17 where the judge announced that he would remain locked up without bond for the time being.

If convicted of the murder, Matthews could face the death penalty or life in prison.

Mortal remains of 27-year-old Aishwarya Thatikonda, who was killed in a mass shooting at a mall in the United states on May 6, have been brought home.

The body arrived at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad late Wednesday and the last rites will be performed Thursday.

The woman engineer from Hyderabad was among nine persons killed in a mass shooting at a mall near Dallas.

Aishwarya and eight others were killed when a gunman opened fire at Allen Premium Outlets mall in Allen near Dallas in Texas State.

Her Indian friend was also injured. A total of seven persons were wounded in the incident.

A resident of Saroornagar area in Hyderabad, Aishwarya was working as project manager in a company called Perfect General Contractors LLC in Texas.

Her father Narsi Reddy works as a judge in Rangareddy district court. The family was planning to leave for the US to bring the mortal remains. However, Telugu Association of North America (TANA) made the arrangements to send the body in coordination with various agencies.

Aishwarya, who obtained a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Osmania University, did her MS in construction management from Eastern Michigan University.

Biden Invites Modi For Official State Visit

To mark the deepening partnership between the United States and India, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state visit at the White House on June 22, 2023.

This will be Modi’s first-ever state dinner at the White House, and Biden’s third state dinner for world leaders, coming after the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol in April 2023, and President of France, Emmanuel Macron in December 2022. The last state dinner for an Indian Head of Government was hosted by President Barack Obama in November 2009 for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Republic of India for an Official State Visit to the United States, which will include a state dinner, on June 22, 2023,” the White House Press Officer Karine Jean Pierre announced May 10.

“The upcoming visit will affirm the deep and close partnership between the United States and India and the warm bonds of family and friendship that link Americans and Indians together,” Jean Pierre said.

While this is not Prime Minister Modi’s first trip to the White House, an official state visit goes beyond every-day diplomacy, in displaying the pomp and circumstance as well as depth and significance of a bilateral relationship.

And this is a time when the bilateral relationship is at its height in terms of expanding the reach to the Indo-Pacific. And like all past visits, US-India relations have always had challenges that require a public face and a private negotiation, this time with Ukraine and the Russian invasion and India’s domestic politics, moving simultaneously with increased defense and national security collaboration.

Both Biden and Modi have met not just as part of The Quad for Indo-Pacific at the White House, but they’ve been together and other forums be it in East Asia or Europe. And top officials and lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, from both administrations have been meeting on a regular basis both in Washington and New Delhi, some for their own agendas and constituencies in US, and others for ironing out the nitty gritty of defense, trade, visa, Russia, and even rights issues.

President Biden has probably the highest number of Indian-American appointees and nominees during his three years in office than any previous administration. But the most difficult appointment to push through was that of an Ambassador to India, a position that lay vacant until recently when Ambassador Eric Garcetti was finally cleared by the US Senate.

“The visit will strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific and our shared resolve to elevate our strategic technology partnership, including in defense, clean energy, and space,” the spokesperson said.

“The leaders will discuss ways to further expand our educational exchanges and people-to-people ties, as well as our work together to confront common challenges from climate change, to workforce development and health security,” Jean Pierre added.

However, during a press briefing the same day, questions about whether human rights would be discussed when the two leaders meet. Jean-Pierre told reporters Biden believes “this is an important relationship that we need to continue and build on as it relates to human rights.”

New Delhi called it a ‘historic visit’ which “offers a valuable opportunity for India and the US to further deepen a comprehensive and forward-looking global strategic partnership.”

India’s Ministry of External Affairs put out a statement echoing Washington’s views about the June 22 visit. “The visit will underscore the growing importance of the strategic partnership between India and the United States as the two nations collaborate across numerous sectors,” the MEA statement said.

“The leaders will have the opportunity to review strong bilateral cooperation in various areas of mutual interest, including technology, trade, industry, education, research, clean energy, defense, security, healthcare, and deepening people-to-people connections,” the Government of India said.

“Prime Minister Modi and President Biden will also explore ways to strengthen India-US collaboration in pluri-lateral and multilateral fora, including in the G20. They would reflect on their shared vision for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific and discuss opportunities to expand and consolidate the Quad engagement,” MEA added.

US experts monitoring US-India relations are confident that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will be “really productive and positive.” They believe the visit will highlight the growing strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific, progress in defense and security areas, and foresee advancement in the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) dialogue.  However, they say progress in commercial engagement is still “lagging” but are confident that the Russia-Ukraine war will not overshadow this important visit.

(President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced the U.S.-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) in May 2022, and it was launched Jan. 31, 2023, with the express objective “to elevate and expand our strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of our two countries.”)

Modi visited the White House in September 2021 to attend the Quad Summit, where the Indian Prime Minister along with Biden, Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, and Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga reviewed progress about their “Commitments to advance our shared and positive agenda for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

In a statement, the White House said the visit would strengthen the shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific and the desire to elevate the bilateral strategic technology partnership, including in defense, clean energy, and space.

“I would say the security relationship between our governments is moving along at a pretty good pace – between operations and between attempts to find new ways to share defense technology,” Richard Rossow, senior adviser and Chair in US-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told News India Times. He emphasized that both governments would work towards strongly advancing iCET.

“I do hope they find interesting ways to further deepen the commercial relationship. The numbers are pretty good, but so far, our governments haven’t really found useful ways to try to accelerate commercial engagement,” Rossow said. “They have a tough time resolving small problems,” he contended. “So hopefully, at least in commercial areas that have strategic significance, we can begin to see real tangible progress, following the national security advisors visit in January…commercial is lagging a bit, but I know that’ll be highlighted in the visit.”

“It shows the importance that the Biden administration attaches to its relationship with India,” Lisa Curtis, senior fellow and director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, told News India Times, reflecting on the implications of the visit.

“This will be a great opportunity to expand on iCET, that was launched by the National Security Advisors in January to discuss mutual concerns on how to deal with a rising China,” Curtis added. She termed Modi’s state visit “very significant,” as such visits are not accorded to every leader.

Curtis foresees there will be progress on the iCET dialogue and went on to say, “It is really important because of the US-China competition and the race to gain a technological edge right now. So, iCET really shows that the US is interested in working closely with India on creating resilient supply chains when it comes to critical and emerging technologies,” while adding “And it also shows the importance of India having the defense capabilities it needs to defend itself and in particular to face down any Chinese aggression at the border.”

About security partnerships, Curtis pointed out “India really has not made a major defense purchase from the United States since President Trump visited India over three years ago when they made the major helicopter purchase from the United States. So, I think the expectation is that we might see something on the defense and security side, come to fruition.”

Rossow and Curtis both noted that Biden and Modi would meet at the Quad Summit later this month in Sydney, and again in September in New Delhi for the G20 Leaders’ Summit. They emphasized that continued engagement is vital for US-India relations.

Curtis recalled that Modi’s visit was preceded by important visits by US-Indo-Pacific partners since January, including Prime Minister of Japan, Kishida Fumio, President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, and President of Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “Now with India, it sort of taps off this very momentous six months, the US really operationalizing Indo-Pacific policy and strategy with all these important partners and of course India is certainly one of those.”

Regarding the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on US-India relations, Rossow said “It will be brought up. I’m sure that we’d love to see India’s position stiffen a little bit more on Russia’s invasion. If you look at some of the numbers, India’s trade with Russia and imports from Russia have really been spiking. So, India is providing, a critical economic lifeline to Russia during this war period. And I’m sure it’ll get raised but it won’t be the focus of the visit. It’ll be a talking point…”

Touching upon the Russia-Ukraine war, Curtis said, “I think the US has been willing to set aside the differences with India over Russia, in order to really maximize the potential of the relationship and build on the strategic convergences that are there which is in promoting a free open rules based Indo-Pacific,” adding that this is one of the top priorities of US, and India is an integral part in fulfilling that vision.

Curtis, acknowledged that there are some areas of tension in the US-India trade relationship, but believes that the positive aspects of the partnership outweigh the negative. She noted that during the Trump administration, there was an excessive focus on the trade differences between the two countries, but the Biden administration seems to be prioritizing the broader strategic relationship and cooperation in the free and open Indo-Pacific region. Although trade will still be discussed, Curtis doesn’t think it will be as prominent as it was during the previous administration.

Biden Faces Legal Risks, Financial Peril With 14th Amendment

The extraordinary measure of President Biden invoking the 14th Amendment to prevent a national default could potentially result in legal ambiguity surrounding the already delicate financial system. Markets are worried about a possible default, which might occur as early as June 1 if Biden and legislators fail to reach an agreement. However, if the president were to take unilateral action, the financial system could suffer, with the risk of a default being entangled in legal disputes.

On Tuesday, President Biden acknowledged that discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of invoking the 14th Amendment to avoid a default, but added, “I don’t think that solves our problem now. I think that only solves your problem if, once the court has ruled that it does apply for future endeavors.” If he were to act on his own, Biden might face lawsuits from Treasury bondholders waiting for debt payments from the US. Additionally, Republican lawmakers could sue the president, claiming that he violated Congress’s authority over federal spending and taxation by disregarding the debt limit.

Legal questions loom over strategy

The legal debate centers on a clause stating that the US sovereign debt “shall not be questioned.” This amendment was adopted after the Civil War, and the relevant section pertains to suppressing future insurrections. Nevertheless, some legal experts believe it also grants the president authority to instruct the Treasury to continue borrowing money and disregard the debt limit.

David Super, a constitutional law expert at Georgetown University, said that if the president deems the debt limit unconstitutional, he can invoke the 14th Amendment. However, he cautioned about the severe consequences of such an unprecedented move. “Given how polarized the country is and how determined the Republicans are to use the debt limit for extortion, they surely would arrange for somebody to sue,” Super mentioned.

He added that if someone with standing to sue were found, “the courts could determine whether the president’s determination is correct and could conceivably order him to cease making payments.” However, this would be a monumental decision and likely wouldn’t happen quickly.

Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar at George Washington University, warned that “any litigation would come with potentially high political and legal costs.” He explained that “the House has the constitutional control of the purse and is using that authority to seek budget cuts in future expenditures, including some not previously approved by Congress.”

Senior White House officials reportedly consider the notion of Biden acting unilaterally as a last-resort emergency measure. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cautioned that invoking the 14th Amendment to avoid a default could spark a “constitutional crisis.”

This situation places the Biden administration in a legal predicament. The debt limit seems to conflict with both the 14th Amendment and laws requiring the federal government to make specific expenditures, such as Social Security payments. Although other ideas, like minting a trillion-dollar coin, have been suggested, Biden has publicly dismissed them.

Financial fallout

The Biden administration is considering all potential options to avert a disastrous default, which could undermine global confidence in US debt, increase borrowing costs for Americans, and cause millions of job losses, as per Moody’s Analytics analysis. The US Treasury market serves as the foundation of the financial system since all assets are compared to historically risk-free Treasury bonds.

However, experts warn that utilizing the 14th Amendment—where the Treasury Department continues to issue debt beyond the statutory limit—poses its own risks to financial stability. During an extended period of legal uncertainty, buyers might perceive newly-issued Treasury bonds as riskier or illegitimate, potentially causing interest rates to skyrocket. Long-term political instability could also drive investors away from the US market, experts noted.

If a court issued an injunction preventing the federal government from issuing new debt or invalidating bonds issued after the limit was breached, the nation could fall into default anyway. “One of the great virtues of US government debt is that there’s no credit risk. If that debt is invalidated, suddenly you’ve introduced it,” said Brian Knight, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

On the other hand, some experts believe that if the Treasury Department were allowed to issue debts beyond the limit, it would find plenty of buyers interested in securing higher interest rates until the crisis is resolved. “The debt that would be issued to bridge this period would end up being very, very short-term debt,” said Daniel Alpert, managing partner of Westwood Capital. “First, you’ll see a spike in rates, but when people actually start getting paid, that will calm down.”

The financial system is still recovering from three of the four largest bank collapses in US history. Banks are holding massive unrealized losses on Treasury bonds that lost value when the Federal Reserve aggressively increased interest rates. Opponents of the debt limit view the 14th Amendment as a long-term solution to credit risk that arises every time the GOP threatens to block an increase. Prominent bankers, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, have called on Congress to abolish the debt ceiling.

The constitutionality of the debt limit has not been challenged in court until recently. On Monday, the National Association of Government Employees sued to end the debt limit, stating that the statute grants the president “unchecked discretion to cancel or curtail the operations of government approved by Congress without the approval of Congress.” The union, representing 75,000 federal government workers, cited the 14th Amendment in its complaint. “This litigation is both an effort to protect our members from illegal furloughs and to correct an unconstitutional statute that frequently creates uncertainty and anxiety for millions of Americans,” said David Holway, the union’s president, in a statement. The lawsuit targets Biden and Yellen. If a court ruled in the union’s favor, the Biden administration could simply choose not to appeal, according to legal experts.

Eric Garcetti Presents Credentials To President Of India

Eric Garcetti, the United States Ambassador to India presented his credentials to the President of India, Droupadi Murmu during an official ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 11, 2023.

According to the U.S. Embassy in India, Garcetti will officially begin his duties as Ambassador and make his first trips to Mumbai and Ahmedabad in the coming week. The embassy also posted a new video introducing the new ambassador to the people of India on Twitter.

Speaking of the new role, the Ambassador said, “It was an honor to present my credentials to the President, and it’s an honor to be back in India at such an exciting and historic time in the U.S.-India relationship.  I look forward to working with the Indian people to raise our partnership to new heights.”

Garcetti, the former Mayor of Los Angeles, was appointed to the top diplomatic post by President Biden in July 2021 and confirmed in March 2023. According to the embassy, the ambassador has studied Hindi and Indian culture and history while pursuing his degree at Columbia College.

Billionaire Republican Donor Pays Tuition Fees For US Supreme Court Justice’s Grandnephew

Billionaire Republican donor, Harlan Crow, paid the tuition fees for the grandnephew of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according to a new report by non-profit news organisation ProPublica. Crow claimed to have paid fees for pupils in the past from his own personal funds. This follows ProPublica’s revelation last month of Crow treating Justice Thomas and his wife to lavish holidays. The report prompted calls for ethics and disclosures to be reviewed by America’s top court. While Supreme Court justices are required to annually disclose gifts, Justice Thomas did not publicly declare the tuition fees paid for Mark Martin, who he has raised as his son since the age of six. Martin neither knew that Crow paid his tuition fees, nor declared them himself.

According to the report, Crow also paid for Martin’s tuition at Randolph-Macon Academy, a Virginia day and boarding school attended before and after Hidden Lake Academy. It is uncertain how much Crow paid in total. It is public knowledge that tuition and boarding fees at Randolph-Macon Academy are $43,873 annually.

Harlan Crow, through his office, did not directly address the payment of Martin’s tuition but stated that he has always believed in the importance of quality education and has been passionate about giving back to the less fortunate. “It’s disappointing that those with partisan political interests would try to turn helping at-risk youth with tuition assistance into something nefarious or political.”

Mark Paoletta, a friend of Justice Thomas and former official in Donald Trump’s administration, defended the Supreme Court Justice by arguing that he did not have to report Martin’s tuition under a 1978 law that requires judges to disclose gifts to a “son, daughter, stepson or stepdaughter.” Paoletta stated, “Harlan Crow’s tuition payments made directly to these schools on behalf of Justice Thomas’s great nephew did not constitute a reportable gift. Justice Thomas never asked Harlan Crow to pay for his great nephew’s tuition.” He described ProPublica’s report as “malicious” and an attempt “to manufacture a scandal about Justice Thomas”.

This new report, coupled with last month’s revelation, has increased scrutiny on ethics and disclosures at the US Supreme Court. Democratic senators have called for an investigation into Justice Thomas while some Republican senators have accused their colleagues of targeting the nation’s highest court for political reasons. At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, lawmakers were divided on whether Supreme Court ethics rules should be reformed. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin argued that ethical standards for Supreme Court justices are too lenient. He argued that judges and other public officials in lower offices are held to a higher standard. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham claimed that the left is attempting to delegitimise the court. The Supreme Court currently has a 6-3 conservative majority.

Justice Thomas has not commented on the ProPublica report at this time. A statement by Thomas in response to last month’s report stated that he had sought guidance on whether to report gifts from friends such as Crow from colleagues in the judiciary. He was told that “personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable.” Thomas describes Crow and his wife Kathy Crow as long-time friends of over 25 years.

Rep. Ro Khanna Says, White House Staff ‘Overprotects’ President Biden

According to Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the White House staff is “overprotecting” President Biden, and he believes that more public appearances and press conferences would benefit the president. In an interview with “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News, Khanna stated, “I think he’s actually really good. I think his staff overprotects him… Put him out there in a press conference. Who cares if someone makes a gaffe? Every person makes a gaffe in conversations. Let’s see the authentic President Biden.” Khanna praised Biden for being an empathetic person and said that more exposure would only improve his public image.

Biden faced some criticism after a photo of him holding a card with a reporter’s information and the outline of their question during a press conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol went viral online. However, the White House denied that Biden was given any questions in advance, and Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained that it is “entirely normal” for the president to be briefed on “the issues we expect” reporters might ask about, but he does not receive specific questions beforehand.

Opponents of Biden have raised concerns about his age and mental acuity as he seeks reelection for a second term. Biden, who is currently 80 years old, would be 86 at the end of his second term if reelected. However, Khanna believes that age will not be a significant factor in the 2024 race and that Biden is open to addressing it. Khanna added that Republicans would be making a “huge mistake” if they focus the 2024 race on Biden’s age. “Elections aren’t about the candidates,” Khanna said. “They’re about the American people.”

Warnings Of Potential Cash Shortage By June 1st, If Debt Ceiling Not Raised

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has issued a warning that the United States could run out of cash by 1 June if Congress fails to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. The country reaching the debt ceiling means the government would be unable to borrow any further money. On Monday, Yellen urged Congress to act quickly to address the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. In response, President Joe Biden has called a meeting of congressional leaders to discuss the issue on May 9th.

The debt ceiling has been raised, extended, or revised 78 times since 1960. However, in this instance, House Republicans are demanding drastic spending cuts and a reversal of some aspects of President Biden’s agenda, including his student loan forgiveness program and green energy tax credits, in exchange for votes to raise the debt ceiling. This has resulted in objections from Democrats in the Senate and from President Biden himself, who stated last week that the issue is “not negotiable.”

The president is coming under increasing pressure from business groups, including the US Chamber of Congress, to discuss Republican proposals. A default, which would be the first in US history, could disrupt global financial markets and damage trust in the US as a global business partner. Experts have warned that it could also lead to a recession and rising unemployment. It would also mean that the US would be unable to borrow money to pay the salaries of government employees and military personnel, social security checks, or other obligations such as defense contractor payments.

In addition, even weather forecasts could be impacted, as many rely on data from the federally-funded National Weather Service. In a letter to members of Congress, Yellen stated that “We have learned from past debt limit impasses that waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States.”

Yellen added that it is impossible to know for sure when exactly the US will run out of cash. Her announcement came on the same day as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that there is a “significantly greater risk that the Treasury will run out of funds in early June.” The CBO report said that “The projected exhaustion date remains uncertain, however, because the timing and amount of revenue collections and outlays over the coming weeks are difficult to predict.”

The Treasury plans to increase borrowing through the end of the quarter ending in June, totalling about $726 billion – about $449 billion more than projected earlier this year. Officials have said that this is partly due to lower-than-expected income tax receipts, higher government spending, and a beginning-of-quarter cash balance that was lower than anticipated.

In a joint statement, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said that the US “does not have the luxury of waiting until June 1 to come together, pass a clean bill to avoid a default and prevent catastrophic consequences for our economy and millions of American families.” The statement also accused Republicans of attempting to impose their “radical agenda” on America.

On the Republican side, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused President Biden of “refusing to do his job” and “threatening to bumble our nation into its first-ever default.” He further stated that “The clock is ticking… The Senate and the President need to get to work — and soon.”

In another letter sent to members of Congress in January, Yellen stated that the Treasury Department had begun “extraordinary measures” to avoid a government default. It is important to resolve this issue as soon as possible to avoid negative consequences for the US economy and its citizens.

President Biden Praises VP Kamala Harris Ahead Of 2024 Campaign

President Biden has come to the defence of Vice President Kamala Harris, claiming that she has not received the recognition she deserves. In a recent interview with MSNBC, Biden stated that “Vice President Harris hasn’t gotten the credit she deserves…she was an attorney general in the state of California. She has been a United States senator.” Biden went on to call the Vice President “very, very good” and expressed concerns that she has not received enough attention for her hard work.

This sentiment was echoed by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who stated on ABC’s “This Week” that Harris has struggled to receive positive press coverage and credit for her work. He emphasized that she is ready to run and be president if necessary and that both he and President Biden have great confidence in her abilities.

Harris has been playing a significant role in President Biden’s administration, with many speculating that she will be a key figure in the 2024 reelection campaign. There have been concerns raised about Biden’s age, and Harris has been touted as a potential successor. Acknowledging those speculations, Biden himself said that while he is “more experienced than anybody who’s ever run for the office,” he recognizes that Harris is a vital member of his team.

Harris’s record as attorney general and senator of California has been widely lauded. During her time as attorney general, she became known for her efforts to combat human trafficking and reduce recidivism. As a senator, she was an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform and a champion for women’s rights. Her presence and work have been noted by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Despite her impressive resume, Harris has faced criticism from some quarters, including suggestions that she received special treatment during her political career because of her ethnicity and gender. However, her supporters argue that these criticisms are baseless and that Harris has earned her place on the national stage through her hard work and dedication.

Moving forward, it seems likely that Harris will continue to play an instrumental role in President Biden’s administration, with many hoping that her influence will continue to grow. She has proven herself to be a hardworking and passionate public servant, and while she may not have received the recognition she deserves thus far, it seems clear that she is a force to be reckoned with. As President Biden himself noted, “I think I’ve proven myself to be honorable, as well as effective. And so has Kamala Harris.”

Americans Express Not Enthused Over Prospects of Biden-Trump Rematch in 2024

President Biden is reportedly set to announce his reelection campaign early next week, but many Americans express exhaustion over the prospect of a 2024 rematch between Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. The survey of 1,530 U.S. adults, conducted from April 14 to 17, found that 38% chose exhaustion out of eight emotions when considering another Biden-Trump campaign. Among registered voters, the number was even higher at 44%. No other sentiment managed to break the 30% mark among all Americans.

A Biden-Trump rematch would be the first general election for president since 1892 to feature the incumbent and his defeated predecessor competing as major-party nominees. Moreover, it would be the first White House race in U.S. history in which one candidate is facing indictment and possible criminal prosecution for conspiring to overturn his prior loss. Such factors naturally trigger fatigue and anxiety among voters.

However, voters are not as pessimistic about a Biden-Trump sequel as they were a few months ago. In December, a nearly a third of them (32%) told Yahoo News and YouGov that “if Joe Biden and Donald Trump run against each other for president again in 2024,” the result would be either “the worst thing that could happen” (15%) or “mostly bad” (17%); only 23% said it would be “mostly good” (11%) or “the best thing that could happen” (12%). Now, a negative view accounts for 29%, while 26% express a positive view. About 3 in 10 continue to say it’s “a mix of good and bad.” Positive views have increased since December among both Republicans (33%, up from 30%) and Democrats (24%, up from 17%).

In contrast, Republicans express hope (+20), excitement (+10), and pride (+5) at higher rates than Democrats. Much of the liberal aversion to another Biden-Trump contest likely reflects the former president’s staggering unpopularity among Democrats, with a full 68% of them expressing “very unfavourable” opinions of him. Yet Democrats’ overall negativity also underscores their unease about Biden. While they overwhelmingly approve (80%) of his performance in office, anxiety about Biden’s status as the oldest president in U.S. history—80 years old—seems to dampen confidence in his candidacy.

Republicans are more likely to see a rematch positively than negatively, while Democrats are more likely to see a rematch negatively than positively. Exhaustion, for example, is more prevalent among Democrats (44%) than Republicans (26%) by an 18 percentage-point margin, and fear (+12 for Democrats), sadness (+15), and anger (+9) are more common on the left as well.

Asked in June 2020 how concerned they were “about Joe Biden’s health and mental acuity,” just 28% of Democrats said they were either somewhat (10%) or very concerned (18%); the other 72% said they were either slightly (28%) or not at all concerned (44%). Over two and a half years later, however, the combined percentage of somewhat or very concerned Democrats has risen to about 40%, while the combined percentage who were slightly or not at all concerned has fallen by the same amount, to about 60%, according to a late February Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Overall, nearly 7 in 10 voters (68%) said in February that Biden would be “too old for another term,” with more Democrats agreeing (48%) than disagreeing (34%).

Despite Biden’s approval rating remaining below 50% among all Americans, it is now at its highest level (44%) since September 2021 (up from about 40% for much of 2022). His approval rating on the economy (at 40%) is now 4 points higher than it was in early February, while his approval rating on inflation (36%) increased by 5 points over the same period. And he performs three or four points better on each of those measures among registered voters.

Biden’s approval numbers are still lower than the White House would like them to be, but current trend lines favor the president over his recently indicted predecessor. In a general election matchup, Biden now leads Trump by a four-point margin (46% to 42%) among registered voters, up from a two-point lead the previous month.

In conclusion, Americans express exhaustion over the prospect of a 2024 rematch between Biden and Trump, but they are not as pessimistic as they were a few months ago. While some Republicans hope for a rematch, some Democrats feel anxious about Biden’s age and health. Biden’s approval rating on the economy and inflation has improved, and he enjoys a four-point lead over Trump in a general election matchup among registered voters.

US Supreme Court Allows Abortion Drug For Now

The US Supreme Court has decided to maintain women’s access to a drug commonly used in abortions, rejecting lower-court restrictions while a lawsuit continues. The drug in question is mifepristone, which is used in combination with misoprostol in more than half of all abortions in the US. The drug has been approved for use in the country since 2000, with more than five million people having used it. The justices granted emergency requests from the Biden administration and Danco Laboratories, which makes mifepristone. They are appealing a lower court ruling that would roll back Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the drug. Two of the nine justices voted to allow restrictions to take effect, with Justice Samuel Alito issuing a four-page dissent. The next stop for the case is at the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which has set arguments for May 17.

The challenge to mifepristone is the first abortion controversy to reach the Supreme Court since its conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade 10 months ago and allowed more than a dozen states to effectively ban abortion outright. Even with their court victory, abortion opponents returned to federal court with a new target: medication abortions, which make up more than half of all abortions in the US. Women seeking to end their pregnancies in the first 10 weeks without more invasive surgical abortion can take mifepristone along with misoprostol.

The FDA has eased the terms of mifepristone’s use over the years, including allowing it to be sent through the mail in states that allow access. The abortion opponents filed suit in Texas in November, asserting that the FDA’s original approval of mifepristone 23 years ago and subsequent changes were flawed. They won a ruling on April 7 by US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, revoking FDA approval of mifepristone. The judge gave the Biden administration and Danco Laboratories a week to appeal and seek to keep his ruling on hold. Responding to a quick appeal, two more Trump appointees on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the FDA’s original approval would stand for now.

Their ruling would have effectively nullified changes made by the FDA starting in 2016, including extending from seven to 10 weeks of pregnancy when mifepristone can be safely used. The court also would have halted sending the drug in the mail or dispensing it as a generic, and patients who seek it would have had to make three in-person visits with a doctor. Women also might have been required to take a higher dosage of the drug than the FDA says is necessary. The administration and Danco have said that chaos would ensue if those restrictions were to take effect while the case proceeds. Potentially adding to the confusion, a federal judge in Washington has ordered the FDA to preserve access to mifepristone under the current rules in 17 Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia that filed a separate lawsuit.

President Joe Biden praised the high court for keeping mifepristone available while the court fight continues. “The stakes could not be higher for women across America. I will continue to fight politically-driven attacks on women’s health. But let’s be clear — the American people must continue to use their vote as their voice, and elect a Congress who will pass a law restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade,” he said in a statement.

The justices weighed arguments that allowing restrictions contained in lower-court rulings to take effect would severely disrupt the availability of mifepristone. Alito questioned the argument that chaos would result, saying the administration “has not dispelled doubts that it would even obey an unfavorable order in

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