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June 2, 2021: Cyberattack Closes Beef Plants; Trump Back to Rallies; Biden Pitches Global Tax Hike

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Last time it was an oil pipeline, this time it’s meat processors. Another cyberattack has thrown global commerce into chaos.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is getting ready to make his return to the rally circuit, on behalf of loyal Republican candidates in several states. We knew this day would come, but for decency’s sake, we wish it could’ve waited a while longer.

And lastly, President Joe Biden is on the diplomatic circuit trying to persuade other countries to raise taxes on multinational corporations. The basic idea is, if everyone does it at once, there will be nowhere for the tax dodgers to hide.


Hold the beef. No, really. The beef is on hold until further notice. Bloomberg News reports that a cyberattack on JBS, the largest meat producer globally, has forced the shutdown of some of world’s largest slaughterhouses. There are signs that the closures are spreading. JBS’s five biggest beef plants in the US – which handle twenty three thousand cattle a day – have halted processing following a weekend attack on the company’s networks. Those outages alone have wiped out nearly a fifth of America’s production. Slaughter operations across Australia were also down. One of Canada’s largest beef plants was idled. But it’s unclear exactly how many plants globally have been affected by the attack. The prospect of more extensive shutdowns is already upending agricultural markets and raising concerns about food security as hackers increasingly target critical infrastructure.

Bloomberg says the White House has offered assistance to JBS. The company notified the Biden administration on Sunday of a cyberattack from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. Biden has directed the administration to mitigate the impact on the meat supply. Any substantial disruption in meat processing would further stoke mounting political concerns about the concentration of the meat industry. Four giant companies control more than eighty percent of US beef processing. Rural lawmakers recently pressed the Justice Department for action on an anti-trust investigation of the beef industry launched last year. There’s nothing like a massive ransomware attack to bring home the dangers of unchecked corporate consolidation! At least some cows are happy.

Trump To Hold Rallies Again

Did you miss him? Neither did we. NBC News reports that Donald Trump returns to the electoral battlefield Saturday as the marquee speaker at the North Carolina Republican Party’s state convention. He plans to follow up with several more rallies in June and July to keep his base engaged in the 2022 midterms and give him the option of seeking the presidency again in 2024. While his schedule isn't set, his coming stops are likely to include efforts to help Ohio congressional candidate Max Miller, a former White House aide looking to win a primary against Representative Anthony Gonzales, who voted to impeach Trump; Jody Hice, who is trying to unseat fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger as Georgia secretary of state, after Raffensperger defied Trump; and Alabama Senate candidate Mo Brooks.

Democrats are also looking ahead to the midterms. Politico reports that with their fragile House majority on the line, many Democrats are imploring their colleagues not to take the bait after last November’s referendum on Trump ended up costing their party a dozen seats. Instead, those Democrats are eager to deploy a policy-heavy playbook to help stave off a potential midterm whipping. Some in the party are contending that their midterm strategy should resemble that of 2018 – when their party netted forty seats to wrest back the majority. That year, Democratic candidates pummeled their GOP opponents on health care, rather than Trump, and it worked. Besides, Donald Trump won’t be the ballot – and Joe Biden’s honeymoon will be long over.

Biden Pitches Global Tax Hike

This look at a possible global corporate tax crackdown comes from the Washington Post. Finance ministers from Group of Seven nations meeting in London on Friday are expected to back President Biden’s call for a global minimum tax on corporate profits. The new minimum tax is designed to halt a cycle of corporate tax-cutting that has sapped government revenue around the globe. Biden catalyzed the debate in late May by proposing a worldwide minimum tax of at least fifteen percent, which was lower than many tax specialists had expected. If he can secure agreement from the world’s leading democracies, it could produce the most significant global tax shift in decades. Putting a floor beneath multinationals’ tax bills in other countries would help the president raise the corporate rate at home to twenty eight percent.

The Post says that along with opposition from corporate lobbyists, additional obstacles loom, including objections from low-tax countries such as Ireland, as well as likely noncompliance from China and Russia. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the goal is to make sure multinationals are paying their fair share. The president also aims to shrink the role that tax calculations play in corporate investment decisions. Even without action by other nations, the Biden administration expects to reap more than $533 billion over the next decade by reducing incentives for US corporations to shift assets abroad. Corporate taxes could always be higher, but it took generations for them to get so low. This is welcome news.


The New York Times reports that the the Biden administration yesterday suspended oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were issued in the waning days of the Trump administration. Arctic tribal leaders who have protested oil drilling praised the move. Let’s hope the new rule sticks around longer than the next presidential election.

Politico reports that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday signed into law a policy banning transgender athletes from playing girls and women’s sports. Democrats disavow the policy, claiming it’s unwarranted, fuels transphobia and discriminates against transgender students. Of course, for Republicans like DeSantis, those are the selling points.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the state of Arizona is preparing to execute inmates on death row using Zyklon B, the same gas used by the Nazis in death camp gas chambers. The Arizona corrections department has spent more than $2,000 on the ingredients required to make the deadly gas. The Republican-controlled state has not carried out any executions since 2014, but they are now working towards reinstating capital punishment. Yikes.

CNN reports that Nike and other major sponsors have come out in support of tennis star Naomi Osaka following her decision to withdraw from the French Open. Announcing her decision to withdraw, she revealed that she has suffered long bouts of depression since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018. It’s quite a moment of visibility and acceptance for everyone suffering from mental illness. Which, in pandemic times, is pretty much everyone.


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WRITER - Corey Pein

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