Category Archives: The Left

Biden’s Saudi Arabia Visit Was Worse Than an Embarrassment

WSJ, 7/19/2022: Biden’s Saudi Arabia Visit Was Worse Than an Embarrassment – WSJ

Meetings between leaders of important nations are usually worthwhile even if they yield no immediate results. But there are exceptions. One was Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 Munich meeting with Hitler. Another: President Biden’s sit-down with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last week.

The president’s 24 hours in Jeddah were dominated by photos of his fist bump with the de facto leader of a kingdom Mr. Biden had labeled a pariah. Things went downhill from there. Mr. Biden insisted that, in front of the entire U.S. and Saudi delegations, he had labeled the crown prince the killer of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir was quick to say he didn’t recall hearing that. When Mr. Biden was asked if the foreign minister was telling the truth, he said no—implying that a key Saudi official was a liar. Even the New York Times questioned if Mr. Biden’s account was accurate, noting that he has a history of describing events other meeting participants don’t recall.

So much for rebuilding U.S.-Saudi cooperation, which was Mr. Biden’s goal. This trip was worse than a missed opportunity. It damaged U.S. security interests in the Middle East by highlighting to the world that neither Saudi Arabia nor other Gulf states trust the U.S. enough to make any sacrifices to renew badly frayed relations. In a speech to Arab leaders, the president proclaimed: “We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.”

That fell on doubting ears from a man they watched walk away from Afghanistan. The United Arab Emirates promptly announced its effort to return an ambassador to Tehran and resolve differences diplomatically. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud contradicted Mr. Biden’s claims of enhancing Saudi-Israel relations, and reiterated that any increased oil production won’t be a Saudi decision but one by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Plus, which includes Russia. That’s a not-so-subtle way of saying Saudi will maintain its warming relations with Vladimir Putin regardless of what the U.S. thinks.

In short, the president walked away with no progress—not only on oil, but on peace in Yemen, confronting Iran and everything else. That failure was compounded by the risible way the White House handled the visit. The White House staffer who thought a banal buddy-to-buddy fist bump was preferable to a customary formal handshake should be fired. It had nothing to do with Covid; the president shook hands with other Saudis and also, earlier, with Israelis and Palestinians. If he thought that forgoing a handshake would appease anti-Saudi critics in his own party, he was wrong. Rep. Adam Schiff blasted the fist bump as “visible proof of the continuing grip oil rich autocrats have on U.S. foreign policy.”

It’s easy to blame the press for emphasizing these embarrassments, and Mr. Biden did. But without any substance to report, it’s hardly surprising that reporters focused on the spectacle of Mr. Biden squirming uncomfortably in the bed he had made with his earlier bravado about punishing Crown Prince Mohammed. And the president couldn’t have expected them to be fooled by White House efforts to tout as breakthroughs incremental changes in Saudi-Israeli overflight arrangements or a long-agreed transfer of two tiny islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia with Israel’s blessings.

Mr. Biden went to the region at a moment when the world faces enormous economic and security risks. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing food shortages and price increases that will only worsen as Ukraine’s inability to export its grain and plant a new crop ripples across the world. Destabilizing migration flows from poor countries in Africa and the Mideast such as Egypt, which depend heavily on Ukrainian wheat, will follow. Inflation, already a world-wide problem, seems sure to get worse unless China’s economic slowdown produces a global recession, something that will hurt every nation including the U.S.

Hanging over all of this is Mr. Putin’s continued nuclear threat. Daily the risk grows that Russia’s ally in Tehran will complete its own bomb. International experts believe Iran already has enough enriched uranium to build at least one bomb. Mr. Biden and Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid pledged again that Iran will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. “The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table,” Mr. Lapid said. But Mr. Biden hasn’t done that. For 18 months he has begged Tehran to forgo nuclear weapons while turning a blind eye to its violation of economic sanctions, its mischief in neighboring nations, and its support of Houthi rebel attacks on Saudi Arabia. He affirmed on this trip he’ll keep chasing that chimera of negotiations.

His determination to conciliate an implacable foe is another similarity to Chamberlain. Let’s hope it doesn’t produce a similar result in a year.

Ms. House, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, is author of “On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines—and Future.”

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C&C.  Natural immunity. move to center. inflation.

Source:  Coffee & Covid ☙ Wednesday, July 20, 2022 ☙ HYDRATE

🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞

💉 A peer-reviewed study comparing jabbed versus natural immunity published in April but just updated. It’s titled, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Naturally Acquired Immunity versus Vaccine-induced Immunity, Reinfections versus Breakthrough Infections: A Retrospective Cohort Study.”

The researchers found this startling difference: jabbed people were THIRTEEN TIMES more likely to catch Covid after being jabbed than unjabbed people were likely to get reinfected. Even more significantly, it found when jabbed people did have breakthroughs, they were SEVEN times more likely to get a SERIOUS case of covid than the unjabbed people who did get a second infection.

In other words, it’s working great!

They reached this logical and unsurprising conclusion: “Naturally acquired immunity confers stronger protection against infection and symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant … compared to … vaccine-induced immunity.”

Because it shows that the breakthrough infections are MORE likely to be symptomatic, this is a great study to give whiny jab-lovers who argue that “it was never supposed to stop infections, only serious illness or death.”

Now … explain to me again: why should people take the risks of the jab after already having recovered from covid?

💉 According to superstar “Team Reality” contributor Justin Hart, the CDC’s newly-released county-level covid data showed that counties with mandatory stay-at-home orders performed no better, or even worse, than counties without lockdown orders:

Too bad it took them so long to release this data. It might have been helpful last year.

💉 The little country of Brunei currently holds the winning slot in the competition for highest covid case rate in the world.

Brunei was late to the party. It was doing great before it started jabbing people. By the time its first wave came along, Brunei had “fully” jabbed 91% of its population; and just before the most recent wave started, they’d boosted 64%.

But it would have been so much worse!

🍺 It’s been super hot in Great Britain, and to help the New York Post ran a practical story yesterday headlined, “Beer Could Help You Survive a Heatwave, Doctor Says.” If I’m connecting the dots right, that means beer prevents blood clots. Up to two pints of beer can provide more hydration than dehydration, explained the Post.

The paper admitted that NORMALLY alcohol isn’t recommended for hydration. Not normally. But in this kind of emergency, people may need to make certain exceptions. So.

Okay, granted, it’s a silly suggestion; leave it to the Brits to work a pint or two into the mix. But the idea of drinking fermented hops for hydration is 1,000% more practical than anything the climate maniacs have come up with. And beer doesn’t destroy your economy or lead to mass starvation. A couple pints of beer doesn’t hurt anybody.

Just saying!

🔥 It’s come to this: The Economist’s newest issue bears an alarming cover screaming, “Wake up, Democrats!” Inside, the main article’s headline insists, “The Democrats Need to Wake Up and Stop Pandering to Their Extremes.”

What? STOP pandering to the extremes? It’s more likely Joe Biden will solve the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture before he has breakfast this morning at around 11:30.

Early in the article, the marxist rag slyly praises itself: “This newspaper does not usually hand out advice to political parties, but…” Haha, we get it, Economist. You’re not biased. Not usually. But you just can’t stop yourself, this time.

The article begins noting that NOBODY wants approval ratings like Joe Biden’s approval ratings, which it calls “the lowest approval rating of any incumbent since the 1950s.” In other words, at this point Biden has beaten Jimmy Carter in the race for most worst. He’s competing with Nixon now.

Now think about this for a second: Joe was the democrats’ BEST candidate in 2020. Kind of makes the Economist’s point, doesn’t it?

Anyway, the Economist explained that America’s democracy is sick. Sick, like it has a bad case of covid. Democracy is so sick it’s practically on the ventilator now, according to the magazine. So the Economist wants democrats to cut it with all the kooky talk. People might get the wrong idea:

Fringe and sometimes dotty ideas have crept into Democratic rhetoric, peaking in the feverish summer of 2020 with a movement to ‘defund the police’, abolish immigration enforcement, shun capitalism, relabel women as birthing people and inject ‘anti-racism’ into the classroom… Republican attacks on Democrats as out-of-touch socialists ring true to many voters in the centre.

That is 100% accurate. Now take a look at the Economist’s prescription for curing America’s democracy and saving the soul of the nation:

Moving towards the centre ground would not just be a shrewd political tactic, it could also be the beginning of a cure for American democracy… Standing up to the ideologues of the left will require grit, but if Mr Biden truly wants to save the soul of the nation he will have to start with the soul of his own party.

In other words, Democrats have gotten SO kooky that it appalls even the Economist. To be honest, most C&Cers would agree that leftwing radicalism is what’s making America sick, at least in part. But what’s surprising is that the Economist agrees with us — after all, it suggests dems should move toward the center to cure democracy?

What the Economist is really saying is that the DEMOCRAT PARTY is sick, soul sick, infected with radical leftwing ideology, and that is making democracy sick too. Obviously the Economist won’t convince the gerontocrats running the party — Biden chief among them — that they should change ANYTHING. The Economist knows this, it was firing a warning shot, intended to wake up its center-left readers.

I’m surprised they didn’t also weave a suggestion for a pint or two in there somewhere.

🔥 People, PLEASE. Because of you, tireless fact-checking website Snopes was forced to debunk ANOTHER insane right-wing conspiracy theory yesterday. Fortunately, its indefatigable editors are up to the job, and alertly sprang into action almost immediately after the story went viral.

An article published on Snopes’ website yesterday bears the headline, “‘Brandon Falls’ Added to Google Maps to Mock Biden’s Bike Fall.” I checked, and apparently Google has taken it down, but here’s an archival screen grab in all its disrespectful glory:

I would be remiss if I didn’t make it clear: Snopes wants you to know that Brandon Falls is NOT a historic landmark, not REALLY. It’s kind of just a prank. So don’t make any big travel plans or anything.

Virtue-signaling scolds on Twitter think it’s terrible — just terrible — that people are tricking Google into making fun of our 96-year-old White House resident for having an accident than could happen to anybody. It’s EASY to fall off a motionless bicycle, even with one foot on the ground. You just lean over far enough and plop! And, it is NOT an analogy to anything either. The fall wasn’t an analogy OR a metaphor.

🔥 The UK is right ahead of the U.S. in its inflation curve at a reported 9.4%, but one economist interviewed said it is really closer to 20% there.

If you’ve been govern shopping lately you know it feels like 20% inflation here in the U.S., too. Thanks, covid experts!

🔥 You can add Argentina to the lengthening list of countries suffering from massive protests over economic dislocations — economic dislocations sprouting from bad governance. Inflation in Argentina is at an astounding 64%.

Have you ever seen anything like this? In country after country, monstrous protests involving regular blue-collar folks like farmers and truckers are breaking out all over the world — all at the same time. You could write a thousand articles about the phenomenon. Where are the media reports of all these immense protests around the world? What about the trends? What about what it all says about government? Where are all the breathless interviews asking the protestors to explain how they feel and what they want?

People aren’t happy. It’s like peace is being taken from the Earth or something. And the media is utterly useless, just garbage.

📉 For some reason, even though barrel prices are up, the price of gas at the pump here in the U.S. is down -$0.50 cents from the peak, about a -10% drop. At a recent press conference with Biden’s economy czar, Jared Bernstein, reporters seemed somewhat skeptical the trend would continue. They pressed Bernstein about when he said last year that “inflation will be transitory,” and asked why they should believe him now.

Bernstein responded arguing that — and I am not making this up — the economy is actually booming. “If you look at the strength of the current economy, if you look at the strength of the labor market, if you look at the strength of consumer spending, you would conclude that where we are right now remains solidly within expansion,” the delusional bureaucrat claimed.

Bernstein’s two examples don’t prove his point. When you flood the money supply, consumer spending will appear robust, especially when measured in tinydollars. Those dollars have to go somewhere. And since wages are “sticky” — always slow to adjust to inflation — employees are cheaper than they used to be, so employment isn’t showing the pain, not yet. It’s basic economics.

Plus, gas remains over $2 higher than when Biden moved into the White House. Just saying.

🔥 Across the Atlantic, Europe waits anxiously to find out if the Russians will turn the NordStream-1 gas pipeline back on tomorrow after 10 days of “routine maintenance.” European officials are arguing about the scope of sanctions. Russia has hinted that, even after resuming gas shipment through the pipeline, the amount will probably be “reduced.” Smallified. Shrunk.

Putin is blaming the reductions on the difficulty of getting replacement parts to keep everything working properly, because sanctions. So. In other words, the Russians are sandbagging the Europeans. Gasbagging.

The EU is circulating a draft plan calling for member countries to fight Russian tactics by just using less gas. You didn’t need all that gas anyways. The plan allows for mandates that would require automatic cuts if 15% reduction goals aren’t met.

More mandates! And more sacrifices. Is it just me, or does it seem like they only have one way to handle every problem? They never saw a mandate they didn’t immediately fall in love with.

🦸‍♂️ Governor DeSantis awarded a $6.5 million grant to create “civics academies” at three state colleges in Florida. The colleges will partner with local school districts, teaching high schoolers skills useful for public service careers, like working in a state agency or the county government.

I have mixed feelings about it. Generally I prefer less government. But clearly, conservatives need to start training more of our smart young folks how to participate in government. I think what DeSantis is doing is a small start to building an alternative to the World Economic Forum’s young global leaders training programs.

I mean, if that failed engineer and moronic numbskull Sergeant Schultz, I mean Klaus Schwab, can do it, why can’t we?

DeSantis, leading again.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! I’ll see ya’ll back here tomorrow morning for a fresh cup.

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If you can’t pass legislation. . .

WSJ, 7/20/22: The ‘Beast Mode’ Presidency?

Democrats denounced Donald Trump as a dictator for invoking emergency powers to build his border wall after he was blocked in Congress. Well, now they’re demanding that President Biden declare climate change a national emergency to advance their anti-carbon agenda that Congress won’t pass. Apparently dictators are in the eye of the beholder.

Progressives are furious at West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin for scuttling a big climate spending bill. “With legislative climate options now closed, it’s now time for executive Beast Mode,” Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted last week. And now the White House is leaking that the President may declare a national climate emergency as soon as this week.

This would be an even greater abuse of power than Mr. Trump’s repurposing of military funds for the border wall. We criticized Mr. Trump at the time and warned that a Democratic President might use the precedent to declare a climate emergency. And here we are.

***

While a President may sometimes need to act with dispatch during an emergency, climate change isn’t close to such an event. Climate change is neither sudden nor unexpected. The world has warmed by 1.1 degree Celsius since the late 19th century, and the pace of future warming is uncertain and depends on multiple variables.

But that isn’t stopping progressives from demanding that Mr. Biden roll over the Constitution’s separation of powers. One irony is that Congress passed the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to limit abuses of executive power. The law requires the President to activate his powers under one of 130 or so statutes that authorize emergency actions.

Here are some of the ways progressives now want Mr. Biden to impose his climate agenda without democratic assent:

Halt oil exports. A 2015 legislative compromise by Barack Obama and Paul Ryan lifted the decades-old ban on crude exports in return for extending green-energy tax credits. This helped unleash U.S. oil production, especially in the Permian basin.

Progressives want to end shale fracking. But banning U.S. exports would drive up global oil prices, and the U.S. would still have to import refined products and crude to meet demand. In the name of meeting a climate emergency, they’d create a bigger energy emergency.

Stop oil and gas drilling in the outer continental shelf. Mr. Biden has already imposed a de facto moratorium on new offshore leases, but progressives want him to suspend existing leases. This would reduce U.S. production by about 1.8 million barrels a day—about two to three times as much as Russian output has declined owing to Western sanctions.

Progressives want Mr. Biden to self-sanction the U.S. oil and gas industry while they prod him to lift sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. Canceling active leases would abrogate contracts and presumably require compensation, which would require money from Congress.

Use the Defense Production Act to build green energy. This Cold War-era law lets the President marshall domestic industry for national security. Mr. Biden has already invoked the DPA to boost manufacturing of solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and heat pumps.

While Mr. Biden could try to command manufacturers to make more green products, logistical snags would abound. Auto makers couldn’t easily convert factories into making solar panels or even electric vehicles. A shortage of critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium would also limit production, and it takes years to develop new mines.

Repurpose funds as Mr. Trump did.The climate left wants Mr. Biden to use funds for disaster relief or military construction to build green energy systems. Americans whose homes are destroyed in wildfires or hurricanes won’t be happy if Mr. Biden raids disaster funds to build solar plants.

***

The most serious harm with all this would be to the rule of law. The Supreme Court in its landmark Youngstown Steel (1952) decision blocked Harry Truman’s attempt to nationalize steel mills during the Korean War. Justice Robert Jackson famously explained in his concurrence that a President’s authority is “at its maximum” when he “acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress,” while it’s weaker when acting “in the absence of a congressional grant or denial of authority.”

Declaring a climate emergency would flagrantly circumvent Congress. The President may do it anyway. But thanks to the High Court’s recent West Virginia v. EPA decision, lower courts will be well-equipped to decapitate the executive beast.

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