I learned from Hurricane Katrina that preventing and meeting disasters require values like excellence, resilience, civility and unity.
Biden announces COVID vaccine mandates for businesses, federal workers
The president unveiled a new “six-pronged strategy” to contain COVID-19 in the U.S with the growing threat of the Delta variant.
Staff Video, USA TODAY
Once again, we’ve seen that killer storms, like killer viruses, don’t discriminate based on political party. It’s time we stop the endless partisan feuding and fighting tearing us apart and defend ourselves against these deadly threats as a united people.
Hurricane Ida and the tornadoes and torrential rains it spawned killed more than 80 people in eight states. More than 400,000 homes and businesses in my home state of Louisiana, where Ida made landfall, remained without electricity last week, nine days after the storm. And the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 650,000 people in the United States.
There is no question that human-caused climate change is making hurricanes develop with greater force. There is also no question that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, that more pandemics will follow, that safe and effective vaccines are the best way to protect us, and that masks are needed when infections are rampant.
So why are we fighting with each other when we should be fighting climate change, improving our infrastructure and fighting the coronavirus?
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Growing up on the Gulf Coast near New Orleans, I lived through multiple hurricanes – Betsy, Camille, Frederic and more — and saw the havoc, chaos, destruction and death such storms bring. As a young girl, I saw “The Wizard of Oz” as a horror movie because of the roaring winds that carried Dorothy into the unknown.
Sixteen years to the day before Ida struck, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in a far-worse disaster, causing more than 1,800 deaths and an estimated $125 billion in damage as levees broke in New Orleans.
Every member of my large extended family was displaced by Katrina. Some of my relatives lost their homes. Most rebuilt. A few began new lives in other states. Thankfully, none lost their lives.
Even worse than Katrina, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, killed nearly 3,000 people.
Bipartisan effort to rebuild
There are lessons from our recovery from Katrina and the 9/11 attacks that we should apply today in our fight against climate change and COVID-19.
Led by President George W. Bush, members of Congress from both parties united to approve $14.6 billion to redesign and rebuild the levee system in the New Orleans area — and when Ida hit, the levees held. The Army Corps of Engineers will ask for an additional $3.2 billion to make further improvements to the levees, and I hope the request will win bipartisan support as well.
Americans also united behind President Bush to strengthen our defenses against terrorism and depose the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which gave harbor to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. President Barack Obama approved the raid by Navy SEALs that cornered and killed bin Laden in 2011.
There has not been a major terrorist attack against our homeland since the horror of 9/11 – good news both parties can take credit for.
U.S. forces exited Afghanistan at the end of August under a deal negotiated by the Trump administration and carried out by the Biden administration. Regrettably, the Taliban are back in power, but they have pledged not to again allow Afghanistan to become a launching pad for international terrorism and to improve their treatment of women and girls. Only time will tell whether they stick to their pledges.
Crisis should bring us together
Moments of crisis like the 9/11 attacks, deadly storms caused by climate change, and pandemics can shape a nation for the better, or they can spiral out of control from hyperpartisan criticism and infighting.
If we apply the lessons of our successful response to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, we can take the steps necessary to fight climate change, rebuild our infrastructure nationwide as we rebuilt Louisiana’s levies, and get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Getting this done will require enacting the $1 trillion bipartisan traditional infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate. Congress should also enact the broader $3.5 trillion human infrastructure and jobs plan President Biden has proposed. And an overwhelming number of Americans need to get vaccinated against COVID.
I’ve spent my life working to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans. But after Katrina struck, I didn’t attack President Bush for the disaster that hit on his watch. Instead, I spoke with him and asked: “Mr. President, how can I help you?”
“Civility,” Bush said. He was right.
Several weeks after Katrina, Democratic Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco asked me to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Authority board as an unpaid lobbyist to Congress to seek funds for rebuilding. I took the assignment, and would have done so just as enthusiastically if asked by a Republican governor.
I learned from Katrina that preventing and meeting disasters require core values like excellence, resilience, civility and unity. Unity flows from civility.
In a column I wrote 16 years ago after Hurricane Katrina, I said: “Unity springs from mutual respect, from setting aside the blame game and working, in good faith and trust, with one another.” Those words remain just as true today.
Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, an ABC News contributor, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy at Howard University. She previously served as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee and of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute, and managed the Gore campaign in 2000.
Politics Briefing: Quebec introduces legislation to ban pandemic-related protests near hospitals, other facilities – The Globe and Mail
Quebec’s Premier says he is taking a cautious approach to proceeding with legislation to outlaw COVID-19-related protests within 50 metres of hospitals, vaccination sites and testing centres, among other facilities.
“It’s never easy to say you cannot go on the street,” Premier François Legault told a news conference on Thursday, responding to a media question about why he had decided to proceed now with Bill 105.
The legislation, with details on prospective fines, was tabled Thursday by the province’s Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault in response to recent anti-vaccine protests outside such facilities.
“It’s not something that you can do every day. You have to be careful. We want to make sure that people will not win, trying to say that the law is unacceptable, and we cannot enforce it,” said Mr. Legault.
“We wanted to do it correctly and I think that also we need to have the support of all the other parties, and I think that it’s the right time.”
Provisions of the bill will cease to have effect when the public health emergency declared in March, 2020, ends.
More details on the legislation here.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
TRUDEAU FACES CABINET CHALLENGES – Justin Trudeau will have to contend with the defeat of three female cabinet ministers as he crafts his senior leadership team in what’s expected to be a quick return to governing. Two senior government officials told The Globe and Mail Mr. Trudeau will outline his government’s next steps once Elections Canada has finalized the seat counts, which could be as early as Thursday. Story here.
QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT O’TOOLE LEADERSHIP – In the first public challenge to Erin O’Toole from within his own ranks, a member of the Conservative Party’s national council says the Tory Leader should face an accelerated leadership review for “betraying” members during the election campaign.
LIMITED DIVERSITY IN TORY CAUCUS – CBC has crunched the the numbers, and concluded that the vast majority of the MPs making up the new Conservative caucus — nearly 95 per cent — are white, even as the country’s racial makeup is diversifying. Before this election, 9 per cent of Tory MPs were BIPOC. Story here,
LPC CANDIDATE ACCUSED OF TAKING RIVAL PAMPHLET – A Calgary resident says he has doorbell security camera footage showing Liberal candidate George Chahal, the night before the election, approach his house in the Calgary Skyview riding and remove an opponent’s campaign flyer before replacing it with one of his own. He posted the footage to Facebook, which has now received thousands of views. Story here.
FORMER LPC CANDIDATE TO SERVE AS INDEPENDENT – Kevin Vuong, who won the Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York as a Liberal candidate, said he will serve as an Independent MP, days after his party said he will not sit as a member of the caucus. Story here.
TWITTER BERNIER BAN – Twitter restricted People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier’s account, preventing him from posting any new messages for 12 hours after he used the platform to encourage his supporters to “play dirty” with journalists covering his campaign. From CBC. Story here.
KENNEY FENDS OFF LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE – Jason Kenney appears to have quelled another challenge from within his own caucus. A non-confidence vote against the Alberta Premier was withdrawn on Wednesday, but he committed to an earlier-than-planned leadership review, to be held well in advance of Alberta’s 2023 general election. Don Braid of The Calgary Herald writes here on how Mr. Kenney survived this fight against his leadership.
NEW CHARGES AGAINST FORMER SNC-LAVALIN EXECS – SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and two of its former executives are facing new criminal charges related to a bridge contract in Montreal nearly 20 years ago, plunging the Canadian engineering giant into another legal maelstrom as it tries to rebuild its business after years of crisis. Story here.
FORD LOOKING FOR CHILDCARE DEAL – Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants to make a child-care deal with the federal government. The province has acknowledged it was in discussions with Ottawa about a potential agreement into the last hours before the federal election was called in August.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
“Private meetings,” according to an advisory from the Prime Minister’s Office.
No schedules released for party leaders.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on whether this is the end of majority governments in Canada: “But in Canada, for one reason or another, the grip of two-party politics has been broken – irrevocably, it seems. As a result, something else that is not supposed to happen under first past the post has been happening, with remarkable frequency: minority governments. This is not just the second straight federal election to produce a Parliament without a majority party: it is the fifth in the past seven, 11th in the past 22.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail) on why, if any federal leader should be stepping down, it’s the likeable Jagmeet Singh: ‘Strange business, politics. While a bit short of a majority, Justin Trudeau wins a third successive election by a large margin in the seat count. Yet some critics say he should be put out to pasture. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh suffered a drubbing in the 2019 election, losing almost half his party’s seats. With much higher expectations, he did badly again in Monday’s vote, electing (pending mail-in vote counts) only one more member. Yet hardly anyone says a word.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on why the knives are out for Erin O’Toole, but not Jagmeet Singh: “Theoretically, Mr. O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh should be in the same boat. Both failed to channel national frustration over a pandemic election call and turn it into material support; both delivered underwhelming results. But Mr. Singh, who led a campaign that saw the party claim 25 seats as of this writing – just one more than it held before – doesn’t appear to be in immediate jeopardy of losing his job. The saga of former NDP leader Tom Mulcair, who was turfed by his party when the NDP won 44 seats in 2015 (that is, about 75 per cent better than it did on Monday), offers an explanation for why.”
Jen Gerson (Maclean’s) on why Tories should not “do that stupid thing” they’re thinking of doing: “If you dump your affable, moderate, centrist leader at the first opportunity because he didn’t crack the 905 on his first try, and you replace him with someone who will chase Maxime Bernier’s vanishing social movement like a labradoodle running after the wheels of a mail truck, you will wind up confirming every extant fear and stereotype this crowd already holds about you and your party.”
Steve Paikin (TVO) on advice for Justin Trudeau, inspired by the political experiences of former Ontario premier Bill Davis: “I think if Davis were still alive, he’d tell the current Prime Minister: “A lot of people are underestimating you right now. They think you’re damaged because you called this snap election, and it didn’t work out as you’d hoped. Well, I’ve been there. My advice, Prime Minister, is to reach out. Be more collegial and less ideological and adversarial. Establish a good working relationship with your opponents.”
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Japan’s ruling party puts legacy of Abenomics in focus.
Japan’s widening wealth gap has emerged as a key issue in a ruling party leadership contest that will decide who becomes the next prime minister, with candidates forced to reassess the legacy of former premier Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” policies.
Under Abenomics, a mix of expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and a growth strategy deployed by Abe in 2013, share prices and corporate profits boomed, but a government survey published earlier this year showed households hardly benefited.
Mindful of the flaws of Abenomics, frontrunners in the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership race – vaccination minister Taro Kono and former foreign minister Fumio Kishida – have pledged to focus more on boosting household wealth.
“What’s important is to deliver the benefits of economic growth to a wider population,” Kishida said on Thursday. “We must create a virtual cycle of growth and distribution.”
But the candidates are thin on details over how to do this with Japan’s economic policy toolkit depleted by years of massive monetary and fiscal stimulus.
Kono calls for rewarding companies that boost wages with a cut in corporate tax, while Kishida wants to expand Japan’s middle class with targeted payouts to low-income households.
The winner of the LDP leadership vote on Sept. 29 is assured of becoming Japan’s next prime minister because of the party’s parliamentary majority. Two women – Sanae Takaichi, 60, a former internal affairs minister, and Seiko Noda, 61, a former minister for gender equality – are the other candidates in a four-way race.
Parliament is expected to convene on Oct. 4 to vote for a successor to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who announced his decision to quit less than a year after taking over from Abe.
A government survey, conducted once every five years and released in February, has drawn increasing attention to trends in inequality during Abe’s time.
Shigeto Nagai, head of Japan economics at Oxford Economics, said the survey revealed “the stark failure of Abenomics to boost household wealth through asset price growth.”
Average wealth among households fell by 3.5% from 2014 to 2019 with only the top 10% wealthiest enjoying an increase, according to a survey conducted once every five years.
Japanese households’ traditional aversion to risk meant they did not benefit from the stock market rally, with the balance of their financial assets down 8.1% in the five years from 2014, the survey showed.
“We think the new premier will need to consider the failures of Abenomics and recognize the myth that reflation policies relying on aggressive monetary easing will not solve all Japan’s problems without tackling endemic structural issues,” Nagai said.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda defended Abenomics and said the pandemic, not slow wage growth, was mainly to blame for sluggish consumption.
“Unlike in the United States and Europe, Japanese firms protected jobs even when the pandemic hit,” Kuroda said when asked why the trickle-down to households has been weak.
“Wage growth has been fairly modest, but that’s not the main reason consumption is weak,” he told a briefing on Wednesday. “As the pandemic subsides, consumption will likely strengthen.”
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
Politics Podcast: FiveThirtyEight Goes To Canada And Germany – FiveThirtyEight
On Monday, Canadians granted Justin Trudeau a third term as Prime Minister but did not give his party a majority in Parliament. Germany will have an election on Sunday to determine who will be the next Chancellor now that Angela Merkel is stepping down after sixteen years in power. In this installment of the Politics podcast, polling analyst and writer at The Writ, Éric Grenier along with FiveThirtyEight’s Kaleigh Rogers come on to discuss the outcome of the Canadian election. Later, Politico Intelligence Analyst and co-founder of Poll of Polls Cornelius Hirsch and Berlin-based journalist and Politico Europe contributor Emily Schultheis join to talk about how the race is playing out in Germany.
You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.
The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.
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