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On the roster: New hires in May dent sky-high jobless rate - Biden: ‘15 - 20 percent’ of Americans ‘not very good people’ - Cotton gets boost for 2024 from NYT - Grassroots opposition
NEW HIRES IN MAY DENT SKY-HIGH JOBLESS RATE
Fox Business: “The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 13.3 percent in May, down from a record high in April, indicating the nation's economy is recovering faster than expected from the coronavirus lockdown. The Labor Department said in its Friday report that employers added a stunning 2.5 million jobs in May -- the biggest increase on record. The economy shed a combined 22.1 million jobs in April and March, meaning there are an estimated 21 million Americans currently out of work. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected the report, conducted in mid-May, to show that unemployment rose to 19.8 percent in May and that employers shed 8 million jobs. If the expectation had been accurate, it would have been the worst figure since the Great Depression. … The jobless rate dropped from 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest level ever since record-keeping began in 1948. The surprise decline, combined with the surge in jobs, suggests the worst is over for the nation's economy as states ease stay-at-home guidelines and businesses bring back staff.”
Buuuuuuttttt... - NYT: “The job market halted its pandemic-induced collapse in May as employers brought back millions of workers and the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined. … [Employers] added 2.5 million jobs in May, the Labor Department said Friday, defying economists’ expectations of further losses and offering hope that the rebound from the pandemic-induced economic crisis could be faster than forecast. … Still, economists warn that it will take far longer for the economy to climb out of the hole than it did to fall into it. Job openings have begun to rise but remain far below normal levels. Millions more people have been laid off in the weeks since the data released Friday was collected in mid-May. And the trillions of dollars in government assistance that have helped keep the economy on life support may be nearing their end.”
Trump raises expectations for speed, strength of recovery - Fox News: “President Trump declared Friday that jobs are coming back on the heels of a surprise labor report that may indicate the start of an economic recovery amid historic job losses, as he also upped his demands on states to lift lingering coronavirus-related lockdowns. ‘We're bringing our jobs back,’ Trump said during upbeat remarks to members of the media in the Rose Garden. ‘We're gonna be back there. I think we're actually going to be back there higher next year than ever before.’ He added, in reference to predictions that the economy could eventually bounce back to where it was before the pandemic: ‘We've been talking about a 'V.' This is far better than a 'V.' This is a rocketship.’”
Gains could derail next stimulus plan - Forbes: “As lawmakers struggle to reach an agreement over extending the CARES Act’s emergency benefits, a much-better-than-expected May jobs report (the U.S. gained 2.5 million jobs last month rather than the 9 million losses economists were predicting) has the potential to derail the next round of federal rescue legislation. … Congress has already passed four major pieces of rescue legislation in three distinct phases; the largest and most comprehensive was the $2.2 trillions CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump at the end of March. Lawmakers have yet to agree on phase 4 of the federal rescue efforts—Democrats are pushing for more immediate rescue spending while Republicans, wary of running up the national deficit, have advocated for waiting to see how existing stimulus spending shakes out in the economy. There is now concern among lawmakers that Friday’s positive numbers … will erode enthusiasm for another big relief package.”
THE RULEBOOK: POTOMAC PEEPS
“It ought also to be remembered that the citizens who inhabit the country at and near the seat of government will, in all questions that affect the general liberty and prosperity, have the same interest with those who are at a distance, and that they will stand ready to sound the alarm when necessary, and to point out the actors in any pernicious project.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 84
TIME OUT: UM, NO
Smithsonian: “Cicadas have a longstanding reputation as loud, swarming pests that keep obnoxiously particular schedules. In the United States, they got a bad rap from the beginning, as early colonists misidentified these clouds of emerging cicadas as locusts. … That impression has been a lasting one: a group of cicadas is still referred to as a plague or a cloud. … Chris Simon, an entomologist with more than 40 years of experience working with cicadas, says that feeling has changed—somewhat. ‘Some people freak out,’ she says. ‘But the other half...they take their kids out, they go watch [periodical cicadas] come out of their shells. They think it’s amazing.’ As another group of cicadas awakens in some U.S. states this spring, experts still have much to learn about them. What we do know, however, is that they are delightfully weird, and researchers across the sciences are studying these creatures to answer big human challenges.”
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PRESIDENTIAL POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (103 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15)
Lean R/Likely R: (186 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
[Full rankings here.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 42 percent
Average disapproval: 54 percent
Net Score: -12 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 3.6 points
[Average includes: IBD: 42% approve - 52% disapprove; CBS News: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; ABC News/WaPo: 45% approve - 53% disapprove; American Research Group: 40% approve - 57% disapprove.]
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BIDEN: ‘15 - 20 PERCENT’ OF AMERICANS ‘NOT VERY GOOD PEOPLE’
Bloomberg: “Presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Thursday that 10 to 15% of Americans are ‘not very good people.’ The remarks came when he was taking part in an online forum with black supporters, moderated by the actor Don Cheadle, that discussed racial relations in the aftermath of the death in police custody of George Floyd, an African American in Minneapolis. The former vice president said that President Donald Trump has been a divisive leader who brings out the worst in people, and that ‘the vast majority’ of Americans are decent and want to make the country a better place. But, he added, ‘there are probably anywhere from 10 to 15% of the people out there that are just not very good people.’”
Dems ready plan to roll back legal protections for police - Roll Call: “House and Senate Democrats, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, will announce a legislative initiative Monday to end law enforcement practices of racial profiling and excessive use of force that have plagued the black community for decades, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Pelosi said during her weekly press conference Thursday that Democrats plan not only to address problems black Americans face with police brutality and racial profiling in the legislation that will be announced Monday, but they also want to separately address health, environmental, economic and educational inequalities. … Pelosi did not offer many specifics about what will be in the legislative proposal, opting to save that for Monday's announcement. But one detail she revealed is that the measure would end ‘qualified immunity,’ a legal doctrine that shields government officials like police from being sued over actions performed on the job.”
Some health officials now say protesting outranks virus suppression - Politico: “For months, public health experts have urged Americans to take every precaution to stop the spread of Covid-19—stay at home, steer clear of friends and extended family, and absolutely avoid large gatherings. Now some of those experts are broadcasting a new message: It’s time to get out of the house and join the mass protests against racism. ‘We should always evaluate the risks and benefits of efforts to control the virus,’ Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, tweeted on Tuesday. ‘In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.’ … It’s a message echoed by media outlets and some of the most prominent public health experts in America, like former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden, who loudly warned against efforts to rush reopening but is now supportive of mass protests.”
Texas Republican leaders pressured to resign over racist posts - Texas Tribune: “Republican leaders in five Texas counties shared racist Facebook posts, some of which also floated conspiracy theories, leading Gov. Greg Abbott to call for two of them to resign. Abbott and other top Texas Republicans called for the resignation of the GOP chairs in Bexar and Nueces counties after they shared on social media a conspiracy theory that Floyd's death was a ‘staged event,’ apparently to gin up opposition to President Donald Trump. … Meanwhile, the GOP chairman-elect in Harris County, Keith Nielsen, posted an image on Facebook earlier this week that showed a Martin Luther King Jr. quote — ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ — on a background with a banana.”
Feds nab right wingers for plotting to start riots - NY Post: “A trio of right-wing extremists with military backgrounds have been busted for plotting riots at George Floyd protests in Las Vegas — part of a plan to overthrow the government, according to federal prosecutors. Army reservist Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, former Navy man Stephen T. Parshall, 35, and former Air Force man William L. Loomis, 40, were being held on $1 million bond each on terrorism-related charges. The trio were part of the ‘boogaloo’ movement, ‘a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war and/or fall of civilization,’ prosecutors said in a release. They initially planned to hijack coronavirus lockdown rallies, with an armed Lynam telling an informant they ‘wanted to violently overthrow the United States government,’ a criminal complaint says. The group then focused on mass protests over Floyd’s death during his arrest in Minneapolis, saying they wanted to ‘incite chaos and possibly a riot,’ the complaint says.”
COTTON GETS BOOST FOR 2024 FROM NYT
AP: “Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton has risen to the ranks of potential 2024 Republican presidential contenders by making all the right enemies. By lining up behind President Donald Trump’s law-and-order recipe for controlling civic unrest, he’s making even more. ‘One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers,’ the 43-year-old Arkansan wrote this week in a New York Times opinion column. That infuriated Democrats and liberals, whom he swiped at by writing that protests rocking cities are ‘carnivals for the thrill-seeking rich as well as other criminal elements.’ For good measure, he tweeted Thursday that ‘liberal arts professors’ won’t have to ‘live with the consequences of chaos and destruction.’ Later Thursday, after the Times released a statement saying Cotton’s essay did not meet its standards, he accused it of ‘surrendering to the mindless woke mob.’”
Trump agrees to send troops away - NYT: “President Trump agreed on Thursday to begin sending home 82nd Airborne Division troops he had ordered to Washington, temporarily easing a contentious standoff with the Pentagon over the role of the armed forces in quelling protests that have broken out across the nation. None of the active-duty forces ever actually deployed in Washington, instead remaining on alert outside the city while National Guard troops took up position near the White House and elsewhere around town. But they became caught up in a confrontation pitting a commander in chief intent on demonstrating strength in the face of street demonstrations versus a military command resistant to being drawn into domestic law enforcement or election year politics. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper initially tried to send home a small portion of the 1,600 active-duty troops on Wednesday, only to have Mr. Trump order him to reverse course during an angry meeting. The president finally acquiesced on Thursday, according to an administration official who asked not to be named discussing internal deliberations, but it did not appear the two men spoke directly.”
Twitter v. Trump feud continues - Variety: “A video posted by Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign — decrying civil unrest in the wake of the killing of George Floyd — was removed Thursday by Twitter, citing a copyright-infringement claim. A June 3 tweet by the @TeamTrump account with the video now displays the message: 'This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.' Twitter confirmed it received a DMCA takedown request from the owner of one of the images included in the video but the company did not specify who that was. The video, titled ‘Healing, Not Hatred,’ remains available on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. The 3:45-minute video comprises a clip of a Trump speech in which he says Floyd’s death was a ‘grave tragedy’ that ‘should never have happened.’ The campaign video includes numerous images and video clips, showing memorials to Floyd and crowds of protesters, as well as rioters committing acts of vandalism.”
WSJ Editorial Board: ‘The Revenge of Jim Mattis’ - WSJ: “Every President has breakups with advisers, but Mr. Trump has gone through them like an assembly line. His demand for personal loyalty and his thin skin clash with people who care about larger causes and have strong views. Mr. Trump’s habit of blaming others for policy decisions or events that go wrong also builds resentment. This was bound to boomerang as he ran for re-election, and so it is.”
Trump scraps weekend golf trip - Politico: “President Donald Trump has canceled an expected trip to his resort in Bedminster, N.J., this weekend amid the ongoing nationwide protests. Instead, Trump will fly to Maine on Friday to visit a manufacturer of medical swabs used in coronavirus testing before returning back to Washington. ‘The president’s looking forward to another working weekend,’ said a senior administration official. Trump had been planning to travel this weekend to his resort for his first overnight trip since the coronavirus outbreak in March, according to two Republicans familiar with his plans. But since he made those plans, thousands of Americans, including some just outside the White House... Small protests sometimes take place near Bedminster when the president travels there, but Trump's aides were bracing for larger ones this weekend.”
IS CHARLOTTE STILL HOSTING THE RNC CONVENTION?
Charlotte Observer: “A day after President Trump vowed to move the Republican National Convention, Charlotte’s city attorney said Wednesday the city is still ‘moving forward as if the convention will be in Charlotte.’ ‘We do need to clarify the intentions of the RNC in terms of exactly what they plan on doing here in Charlotte,’ City Attorney Patrick Baker told reporters. ‘Right now, as of this very moment, all the parties are moving forward as if the RNC will be in Charlotte. But . . . what the convention actually looks like could change, but we’re moving forward.’ Baker said he’s talking to GOP and convention officials Thursday. ‘We need to hear from the RNC in very plain terms what their expectations are as it relates to fulfilling their obligations under the contract,’ he said. Baker’s comments came a day after Trump tweeted that because Gov. Roy Cooper can’t guarantee full attendance at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center, ‘we are now forced to seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention.’ The four-day event is scheduled to start Aug. 24.”
RNC looks far and wide for city to host ‘portions’ - Fox News: “Republican Party officials are in the process of scouting at least nine cities across at least six states as the party scrambles to find a new location to host portions of this summer's Republican National Convention. As Fox News reported earlier this week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is moving toward holding the official business of its quadrennial presidential nominating convention in the original host city of Charlotte, N.C. – and the main celebrations in another city. An RNC official confirmed to Fox News that visits by scouting teams are underway, saying ‘if they aren’t already on the ground, they’ll be visiting in the coming days.’ And the list of cities in contention has grown in the past couple of days. It now includes Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa in Florida; Atlanta and Savannah in Georgia; Nashville, Tenn.; Dallas, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Las Vegas, Nev.”
Trump campaign video removed for violating NASA rules - NYT
Trump vows to travel to Alaska two years from now to campaign against Murkowski - Politico
“Needed protecting. Looters were flag burning. RIP George Floyd.” – A handwritten, anonymous note that was returned with an American flag from a World War II Navy ship from City Hall in Reno, Nev. Over the weekend when people broke into the building during protests, they set fires and took items. This prompted an anonymous citizen to take the flag, held in a display box on the first floor of the building, for safekeeping.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Tune in this weekend as Mr. Sunday sits down with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen (Ret) and Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz Mohamed El-Erian. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Your ‘Terribly Shallow’ opinion piece made for a very interesting read. Good food for thought. But I would counter that while we can learn from history, we can’t change history. And continued finger pointing tends to be non-productive. (All cops and whites are not racist, just as all blacks are not gang bangers. Blanket accusations don’t reflect reality and only create barriers.) I’ve seen substantial improvement in race relations in my 70 years, yet more still needs to be done. I’m seeing value in constructive dialogue that identifies current issues and how to best move forward with long term solutions. We need to consider that some areas have more problems to address than others, or the problems may be different, so one size will not fit all yet there may be common issues at the core. Find programs that work and expand them. Think outside the box. But do it with a realistic, targeted approach that is intended to improve that situation, not become a hammer applied broadly where a lighter touch would be more appropriate, because that hammer is too often met with resistance. … A major hurdle to overcome is the appalling partisan vitriol dividing the nation, and too often vitriol also flows regarding racial and other issues. Solutions are much easier to find when people treat others with respect. And all people respecting all others is the ultimate solution. Perhaps the most important step is for the adults to take a breath and start teaching our next generations to respect others, and to value civility and actually listening to others. Lead by example, find that common ground to build on, and we can solve many problems. Sorry this got so long. The 2 cents from a grandma tired of all the solvable unresolved problems ended up being at least a nickel.” – Jorene Downs, Exeter, Calif.
[Ed. note: Ms. Downs, we would have given you at least $1.50’s worth if you’d have needed it. You are so, so right. We cannot hate our way out of this. There’s only one thing that will work, the only thing that ever really works: love. Thank you for making your deposit here.]
“I love reading your comments but let’s face facts. Today’s politicians lack spine and morals. Voter ID is racist despite the fact you have to have an ID to buy cigarettes, beer, get on an airplane. Conservatives are racist except most of the injustice happens in Democratic run cities and states. Law and order is fine unless you are prosecuting the rioters and looters. Abortions are essential services but cancer treatment and joint replacements were not. Now the Governor of Virginia is going to rewrite history to pander to his base by taking down statues of Robert E. Lee and other confederate generals. The point is that the Democratic Party is a party with no morals and the Republican Party is a party with no spine. Trump may be rough and tumble but the fact that he makes the politicians of both parties mad is wonderful. He says what a lot of us have been saying for years. The entrenched politicians and bureaucrats, regardless of their affiliation, are running our beautiful country into the ground while they pad their wallets.” – Michael Johnson, Fairfield Glade, Tenn.
[Ed. note: Other readers may not know about your community, but I have been there -- a beautiful ridgetop spot about halfway between Knoxville and Nashville. While I acknowledge that a retirement community that is 99 percent white in East Tennessee is not liable to be a hotbed of ideological diversity, surely you know some Democrats. You may even be related to some Democrats, or have worked with some or even worshipped with some. If you don’t, that’s the first thing at the top of your to-do list. Get to know someone with whom you disagree. Seek them out if need be. Listen to what they have to say. Learn to see them as something other than a nameless partisan. If you do have Democrats in your life, ask yourself, “Are these people with ‘no morals’?” What you will find, I hope, are people who want the same things you do for your country, but just have different -- maybe even diametrically opposed -- views on how to go about doing that. If you continue to start with the assumption that the other side is insincere and motivated by wickedness, how will you ever know when you are wrong? To what standard will you hold yourself and those whom you support?]
“Why do you think mono-causality is so prevalent in our current politics? So often I see a person point out a true fact, and then twist it in some perverse way to make it seem like if this one fact is true, then the entire other side must be wrong. Or not only wrong, but actually corrupt and sometimes evil. Is mono-causality so prevalent just because it’s easy? Because it requires little thinking beyond the surface? Because it’s a cheap way to score political points? I suspect all of that is true. But I wonder if it’s always been this way. Have our politics historically been dominated by people thinking only at the surface level? …” – Kane Kyle, Columbus, Ohio
[Ed. note: As you might suppose, there are a LOT of reasons why American politics today has become the Manichean slag heap it has. But let’s look at just one for a second. Buddhists work to extend the time between stimulus and emotional response. Or, as your mother put it, count to 10 before you respond. There are a lot of good reasons for this, chiefly that even a small amount of time can help our rational minds disambiguate between meaningless provocation and matters of importance. How many times in your life have you said something in anger, self-pity or excitement that you regretted? What if, though, you couldn’t say afterwards “I’m sorry. I was emotional at the time and didn’t mean what I said.” What if you had to dig in and defend your outburst as if it were the Alamo? That would be politics in the age of instant provocations and responses. It’s like ping-pong for moral imbeciles. The pace of news and events is certainly part of that problem, but I tend to think that social media has been a terrible intensifier. We get buckets of information turned over on our heads all day every day and then desperate souls go sifting through the mess to try to find things to react to -- to perform about -- on social media. As soon as folks issue their “official” position, they tend to find it very hard to climb down from. We only vote every other year, so there should be plenty of time built in for people to process events and make decisions about how to cast their ballots. But for those people still in the Soylent Green factory of Twitter and Facebook, every day is election day. Every day demands a new position or a defense of an old one. There is no time to think deeply or reason when you are at war. Someone forwarded what Mark Sadd, a friend and former colleague dear to me, wrote about his decision to quit the outrage mill: “Twitter is a cancer on congenial society and a pox on public discourse. It corrodes the soul. Save yourself.” I could not have said it better.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
Sky News: “[Australian] Prime Minister Scott Morrison's press conference was interrupted this morning by a man telling him and members of the press to get off his newly reseeded grass. Mr Morrison was in the byelection battleground electorate of Eden Monaro, [pitching] the government's [$479 million] HomeBuilder scheme when a local resident called out to MPs and media to move off his lawn. ‘Can everyone get off the grass please,’ he said. ‘Hey guys, I've just reseeded that.’ The Prime Minister apologised, instructing the press to move forward off the grass before offering the man a sheepish thumbs up and carrying on with the press conference.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“It is time to reclaim the notion of color blindness before it is too late. … America could then rededicate itself to Martin Luther King Jr.’s proposition that Americans be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Dec. 31, 1990.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.