September 22, 2021

IT DOES SEEM FATAL: The FBI’s Incurable Rot. “The bureau is an institution with no shame, no remorse, and no accountability. There’s no fix for that.”

Well, there is. But it’s ugly.

September 21, 2021

GOOD: Politico: Biden’s domestic agenda near collapse — and Dems know it.

I THINK BILL LEE IS WRONG ABOUT THIS: Tennessee Follows Federal Guidance, Recommends Vaccinated Don’t Get Monoclonal Antibodies.

One of Helen’s friends who was vaccinated nonetheless got Covid at a small party — where everyone vaccinated contracted Covid, but the friend who had actually had it escaped unscathed — and became sick enough to be hospitalized. She got the antibodies and went from deathly ill to fine in short order.

UPDATE: Some in the comments are confused. It was a party where everyone but one persons was vaccinated. All the vaccinated people got Covid. One of them was hospitalized and might have died but for the antibodies. The non-vaccinated one who had had Covid was protected by natural immunity.

FOLLOW THE SCIENCE! NO, NOT THAT SCIENCE! Heads Explode Over Florida’s New Surgeon General.

Has anyone noticed that Ron DeSantis is basically operating as a sort of shadow counter-president?

Plus: “Meanwhile, the media have decided that a bunch of know-nothing journalism majors have more knowledge of COVID than a tenured professor who got his medical degree from Harvard.” Credentials really matter, except when the narrative is in peril.

LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD: Break Up Big Tech? Luigi Zingales, a University of Chicago economist, offers City Journal’s Allison Shrager some suggestions for reforming the FAANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google).

While I wouldn’t go as far as breaking the FAANGs up, there is one thing I’d love to see. Why can’t I have software that monitors both Signal and WhatsApp and can receive and send data to both at the same time? In 2008, a company called Power Ventures did just that, but Facebook sued the hell out of it and established a principle in U.S. courts that if I give you my Facebook log-in credentials and you download data with my consent, then you are committing a federal crime and should go to jail. I think this is crazy, and it’s one of many legal issues making solutions difficult.

Another thing he’d like to see:

First, we should separate the editorial role from the sharing role. In the editorial role, where there are no network externalities, we can have competition. I can have a University of Chicago editor, and another person could have Jacobin as editor. Newspapers can redefine their role as editors. I could subscribe to the Wall Street Journal editorial-selection services: the Wall Street Journal would edit and select from the web the articles or tweets I want to read. For example, I hate it when people talk about their lives on Twitter; other people love that. There should be free competition on curating these information feeds.

By contrast, the sharing function (which benefits from network externalities) should be considered a common carrier, with the restrictions typical of a common carrier, including universal service. Everyone should be allowed to post on Facebook, unless she violates the law.

In the same way, the sharing function of Facebook should retain protection from legal liability, while the editorial function should not. Think about Reddit. You can write posts on Reddit, and Reddit doesn’t promote those posts, so Reddit should be free from editorial liability. The moment Twitter or Facebook choose what post to promote to keep users more engaged, they become editors and should be liable for content.

Read the whole thing.

OPEN THREAD: I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping.

BIDEN VOTERS POSTING THEIR L’S ONLINE:

● Shot: It Took Biden 48 Years to Be President and 8 Months To F*** It Up.

—Matt Lewis, The Daily Beast, today.

● Chaser: This Virginia Conservative Republican Is Ridin’ With Biden.

—Matt Lewis, The Daily Beast, March 4th, 2020.

● Hangover: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.”

—Barack Obama, as quoted by the Politico, August 8, 2020

(A quote that’s missing from Lewis’ latest article.)

DON’T GET COCKY: As Biden’s Presidency Crumbles, Democrats in Congress Lose Hope.

Related: The Biden administration: lying with impunity.

So what are the lies for, if not to persuade? They are meant to give the already-convinced – the Democratic rank-and-file voter – their ready-made excuses for not paying attention to whatever objections the right may make or point out. The Democratic voter can shrug off any concerns they themselves may have, too, in a shallow and facile way. They also give the many pundits on the left their talking points, and if the talking heads on TV and the columnists hammer them home enough, the repetition makes the lies sound more like truths. After all, if all these smart people agree, who is the listener to differ?

Lastly, these lies have a function that is similar to what was going on with the Soviets – the lie as mockery and insult and sadistic tease. In that regard, obvious lying is a feature, not a bug, and it helps that the lie is absurd. It’s a show of power meant for the opposition to view, a way to say, “we can state any stupidity we want as truth, things both you and I know are ridiculous, and will we say it with a straight face to illustrate the extent of our power over you. We don’t have to pretend to make sense. We’re in control and you’re not. We are laughing at you.”

That’s the point we have reached.

They’re also designed to get (P)resident Biden past each horrendous news cycle, to give his operatives with bylines something to justify his administration’s disasters du jour.

Evergreen:


THE NEW SPACE RACE: NASA plans to send lunar rover to Nobile region of moon’s South Pole.

NOW OUT FROM FRANK MINITER: The Deep State Revolution. I’ve read it and blurbed it (follow the link to see my blurb) and it’s good.

RULES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal Celebrates Birthday Maskless After Bashing Anti-Maskers.

Earlier: Rule-Breaking Elites Let the Mask Slip On COVID Protocols: “Historians looking back at this period in our history may well come to regard this week as the moment the dam began to crack. It is tough during the best of times for America’s elites to make demands, but, when the citizenry turns on its TV sets and sees the very people who have been lecturing it begin to cavort around without a care, the project becomes ineluctably futile. Of all the ills in all the world, duplicity is the hardest to recover from. And, despite the best efforts of our feckless smart set, there can be no herd immunity from its effects.”

KAROL MARKOWICZ: The Carmine’s COVID altercation was preventable but I predict we’ll see more of this.

To eat inside a restaurant in New York, a diner has to present their vaccination card and an accompanying identification. Last week, a hostess had to deny service to unvaccinated patrons and violence ensued.

Three women visiting New York from Texas had an alleged altercation with the hostess because she would not seat some of their friends who were unable to present a vaccination card. The women were arrested and charged with assault and criminal mischief.

They deserve what they get.

But what occurred was extremely predictable and preventable. And it will happen again. Obviously a hostess at a restaurant should not have to require personal medical information for a visitor.

“Also on Monday, Black Lives Matters protesters descended on Carmine’s to protest what they say was discrimination by the restaurant,” Markowicz adds.

Which is “Why Bill de Blasio’s COVID Passport Edict Is About to Backfire Hard,” Matt Vespa wrote at Townhall earlier today:

Black Americans remain the demographic that’s least likely to be vaccinated in the city. I’m just shocked it took this long for the liberals to shoot themselves in the foot on this one. Why would Mayor Bill de Blasio pass such a racist edict? You think you know someone, huh? No, but seriously, he chucked this boomerang and it’s about to break his face. So much for being part of those BLM murals over the summer, huh, Bill?

Perhaps though, America’s Newspaper of Record provides a solution that de Blasio will approve: New York Restaurant Adds Voting Booth So They Can Allow People In Without ID.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Men caught smuggling KFC into lockdown-hit Auckland.

Via Jesse Kelly who tweets, “I can’t tell you how much this story has rocked me. I had such cool plans for the black market. I was gonna be a gun runner or an ocean smuggler. (I’ve read enough pirate books. Pretty much an expert.) But now, I think I need to be the guy who can get you fried chicken.”

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: AOC, ‘Squad’ force House Dems to spike $1B for Israel’s Iron Dome from spending bill.

K-12 UPDATE: The Exploitation of Young Minds: How indoctrination shortchanges K-12 students.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A year of committed exercise in middle age reversed worrisome heart stiffness.

LOCKDOWN DAMAGE: ‘Staggering’ Doubling of Type 2 Diabetes in Kids During Pandemic.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Maspeth HS diplomas ‘not worth the paper’ they’re printed on.

Maspeth High School created fake classes, awarded bogus credits, and fixed grades to push students to graduate — “even if the diploma was not worth the paper on which it was printed,” an explosive investigative report charges.

Principal Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir demanded that teachers pass students no matter how little they learned, says the 32-page report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, Anastasia Coleman.

“I don’t care if a kid shows up at 7:44 and you dismiss at 7:45 — it’s your job to give that kid credit,” the principal is quoted as telling a teacher.

Abdul-Mutakabbir told the teacher he would give the lagging student a diploma “not worth the paper on which it was printed” and let him “have fun working at Taco Bell,” the report says.

The teacher “felt threatened and changed each student’s failing grade to a passing one.”

The SCI report confirms a series of Post exposes in 2019 describing a culture of cheating in which students could skip classes and do little or no work, but still pass.

We’re really seeing just how little public schools have to do with learning. And how little they care.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Why Bill de Blasio’s COVID Passport Edict Is About to Backfire Hard.

In New York City, you need your photo ID and a vaccination card to enter these locations. The liberal self-own here is just epic. Photo identification is Jim Crow 2.0, but it’s okay for COVID vaccination status. It’s mind-blowing how liberals so expertly dice their talking points into sashimi. For Carmine’s, they’re about to be besieged by Black Lives Matter activists after a hostess and black patrons from Texas were involved in an altercation when proof of vaccination status was refused by the diners. Racial slurs were allegedly hurled at the black patrons. We’ll see about that, but the fact that BLM is coming to the Big Apple to protest the racist COVID passport ordinance is just as entertaining as it is predictable…

* * * * * * * *

Black Americans remain the demographic that’s least likely to be vaccinated in the city. I’m just shocked it took this long for the liberals to shoot themselves in the foot on this one. Why would Mayor Bill de Blasio pass such a racist edict? You think you know someone, huh? No, but seriously, he chucked this boomerang and it’s about to break his face. So much for being part of those BLM murals over the summer, huh, Bill?

As Glenn wrote yesterday:

Now in NYC you’ve got a vaccination-passport requirement that disproportionately affects black people, who are much less likely to get vaccinated than whites and asians, and you’re surprised that the response is violent? Once you teach people that it’s okay to be violent if they feel mistreated, you don’t get to choose when they feel mistreated.

Meanwhile, I understand there’s already a war among NYC progressives, as blacks and hispanics hate all the Covid security theater, while the white Karen wing of the party is loving it. I’m hoping for a war of mutual destruction. Hey, maybe Curtis Sliwa can make it to the mayoralty after all!

Insert Henry Kissinger Iran-Iraq war quote here.

HOWARD HUSOCK: It’s mental health, stupid: How Team Biden misunderstands homeless crisis.

BYRON YORK: Democrats panic.

There is a method in Senate rules for getting around a filibuster and passing a bill with a simple majority, or even a tie, plus the vice president. It is called reconciliation. The problem for Democrats is that it can only be used a limited number of times, usually once a year, and it must only be done with a budget bill — the idea being that a minority should not be able to use the filibuster to keep Congress from passing a budget for the U.S. government. To be included in a reconciliation measure, a proposal must be “germane” to the budget. It can’t be just any policy whim. It must have a real budgetary effect.

But Democrats had an idea. We don’t have enough votes to break the filibuster or to pass big parts of our agenda, they reasoned, so let’s just throw everything into one gigantic budget reconciliation bill. We can even throw immigration reform in there! Sure, that’s not what reconciliation is for. But let’s just do it. We can get around the filibuster and pass a New Deal-sized bill without even controlling a majority of seats in the Senate.

Put the idea in the category of too clever by half. Some Democratic centrists in both the House and Senate are uncomfortable with the $3.5 trillion figure, especially with inflation plaguing the U.S. economy. The Senate parliamentarian blocked the effort to put immigration reform in the reconciliation bill. Several Democratic senators have their doubts about getting rid of the filibuster. They don’t agree on climate measures. There is a fight coming over the debt ceiling. Amid all those Democratic disagreements, all of a sudden, the super-clever, let’s-put-it-all-in-one-big-bill-Republicans-can’t-stop plan looks very vulnerable.

Which is why we’re also seeing headlines such as this: Democrats tie government funding to debt bill, GOP digs in.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he’s not about to help pay off past debts when Biden is about to pile on more with a “reckless” tax and spending package.

“Since Democrats decided to go it alone, they will not get Senate Republicans’ help with raising the debt limit. I’ve explained this clearly and consistently for over two months,” McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor.

Old and busted: Republicans pounce and seize. The new hotness? Republicans dig in!

 

REVIEW: Colt Anaconda Revolver.

FEDERALISM: As Biden Continues to Foment Border Crisis, Governors Step Up.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE:

Yes, it’s creepy and wrong — and it’s Politico and Comcast approved:

And it’s Nation magazine approved as well:

You may not be interested in the Gleichschaltung, but the Gleichschaltung is interested in you (and your kids).

UPDATE: Saving Your Child From The Village. “It used to be that it takes a village to save a child. Now, you have to work hard to save your child from the village.”

(Updated and bumped.)

AND SO IT BEGINS: The Commission on Civil Rights released a report last week that asserts women are 50% more likely to die as a result of childbirth today than they were a generation ago. In my dissent, I explained why that assertion is false. Nevertheless it is being repeated in the press (as this item from the Tampa Bay Times shows). I guess it’s now officially a meme.

Here’s the weird part: At the bottom of the Tampa Bay Times piece, it says, “The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg provides partial funding for Times stories on equity. It does not select story topics and is not involved in the reporting or editing.” What the heck is that? Are progressive 501(c)(3)s really funding “stories on equity” in supposedly independent newspapers? What would happen if a newspaper announced that a conservative foundation was funding “stories on the plight of working whites”?

AJ KAUFMAN: Biden Claims He’s ‘Prioritized Rebuilding Our Alliances’ at Debut UN Speech. “The unilateral retreat last month from ‘America’s longest war’ and its horrific aftermath gave Beijing an opportunity to produce an unholy alliance with the Taliban.”

IN THE MAIL: Love & Aliens: The Abnormally Normal Life of Claire Sullivan.

PLANTS AS RECHARGEABLE LIGHTS: What will they think of next? I can hear the neighbors complaining about not being able to sleep at night because of the bright plants.

RIP: Angelo Codevilla, R.I.P.

Codevilla, the historian of spycraft and powerful analyst of American political and social trends, has died. It is difficult for many commentators to see beyond the current news cycle. But Codevilla, because he could see America as it is presently, could also see into the future. Here in National Review in 2009, he predicted a populist-type figure, one that could unite the “Country Party,” could eventually come to lead the Republicans.

Far be it from me to suggest that Sarah Palin should be or is likely to be our next president. She has not shown the excellence of cognition or of judgment that would recommend her ahead of other possible candidates, nor does her path to the presidency look easy.

But as the nation celebrates the anniversary of the revolution of 1776, every presidential hopeful should realize that in the next election Sarah Palin — or someone like her — could be the vehicle for another revolution. The distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, are being overshadowed by that between what we might call the “Court party” — made up of the well-connected, the people who feel represented by mainstream politicians who argue over how many trillions should be spent on reforming American society, who see themselves as potters of the great American clay — and the “Country party” — the many more who are tired of being treated as clay.

Read the whole thing.

SOME PEOPLE SEE BLUE ORIGIN BEHIND THIS: NASA to split leadership of its human spaceflight program. “As part of the reorganization, the agency’s current leader of all human spaceflight activities, Kathy Lueders, will see her duties pared back. NASA has also brought back a former senior manager, Jim Free, to serve as a program leader. . . . Lueders, by most accounts, has done a commendable job in recent years. Under her leadership, NASA and SpaceX managed to push the commercial crew program safely over the finish line, with Crew Dragon now flying operational missions to the International Space Station. She has also managed to steer the Artemis program forward, selecting SpaceX to build a Human Landing System in April and persisting with that decision despite an uproar in Congress and a lawsuit by another lander bidder, Blue Origin.”

Flashback: NASA’s bold bet on Starship for the Moon may change spaceflight forever. “When NASA astronauts return to the Moon in a few years, they will do so inside a lander that dwarfs that of the Apollo era. SpaceX’s Starship vehicle measures 50 meters from its nose cone to landing legs. By contrast, the cramped Lunar Module that carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin down to the Moon in 1969 stood just 7 meters tall. This is but one of many genuinely shocking aspects of NASA’s decision a week ago to award SpaceX—and only SpaceX—a contract to develop, test, and fly two missions to the lunar surface. The second flight, which will carry astronauts to the Moon, could launch as early as 2024.”

I’M DUBIOUS, BUT BETTING AGAINST TESLA IS RISKY: Solar and Battery Companies Rattle Utility Powerhouses. How serious a threat to power companies is Tesla’s sweeping, distributed “Energy Plan”?

On the other hand, betting against solar has been awfully safe for the last several decades.

THE L.A. TIMES KEEPS ROCKIN’! Threats against members of Congress are skyrocketing. It’s changing the job.

Four years of Trump’s divisive and racist rhetoric played a role, they say, emboldening people to say things publicly that they might have grumbled about privately in the past.

It’s also a side effect of growing partisanship and declining civility. Members have contributed to the problem by sometimes encouraging their supporters to harass political rivals. And activists find it more acceptable to confront lawmakers, not just at town halls but at the officials’ homes or as they eat in restaurants.

Some threats have escalated into violent physical attacks.

Before Jan. 6, there was the 2017 shooting of Republican members of Congress and staffers at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, and the 2011 shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a constituent event.

The surge in threats has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2016, Capitol Police investigated 902 threats, former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said in a June 2017 letter to the Federal Election Commission. By 2018, there were 5,206 threats, and by 2020, there were 8,613, according to Capitol Police figures provided to The Times.

Exit quote: “Experts blame much of the increase on social media and cable news, and how easy it has become to threaten members of Congress behind the anonymity of the internet.”

It’s certainly a newsworthy topic, and as the above quoted passage illustrates, the L.A. Times tries to maintain the thinest veneer of objectivity. But it’s tough to take an article on threats to politicians seriously when it comes from a newspaper that just smeared the first black candidate for governor of California as “the Black face of white supremacy. You’ve been warned,” compared him to David Duke and the Klan— and downplayed the physical attack that he received.

THEY SHOULD GO BACK TO BUILDING NUKE PLANTS: Energy Crisis Hits Europe With Natural Gas Prices Rising a Whopping 250 Percent.

FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists find a new way to reverse immune suppression in tumors.

DON’T GET COCKY: Democrats’ dwindling 2022 map. “Democrats are trying to unseat only about half as many Republican House members next year as they did in 2020, trimming their target list from 39 to 21.”

RIP: Sarah Dash, of ‘Lady Marmalade’ fame with Patti LaBelle, dead at 76. “Dash, co-founder of the legendary pop and R&B trio Labelle with Patti LaBelle and a respected session vocalist with Keith Richards, died Monday.”

Here’s Dash singing “Gimme Shelter” with Richards in Chicago in 1993:

THE NEW SPACE RACE: NASA plans to send lunar rover to Nobile region of moon’s South Pole.

JUST OUT: THE LARGEST COLLEGE FREE SPEECH POLL IN HISTORY, PLUS CAMPUS-SPECIFIC RANKINGS. Where does your school rank in the 2021 College Free Speech Rankings? #1 or #154?

Some topline bad news: 61% of college students oppose allowing campus speakers who say COVID lockdowns infringed on our personal liberties. 1 in 4 might use violence to stop a speech. But individual campuses can be very different.

PRIORITIES: No Room in Joe Biden’s America for Persecuted Christian Refugees.

ONE SMALL RAY OF HOPE: Liberal Minister who called Taliban her ‘brothers’ loses seat in Peterborough-Kawartha.

READER RECOMMENDATION:3×5 First Navy Jack Sticker 3-Pack Dont Tread on Me Sticker.

CRISIS BY DESIGN:

● Shot: “The Biden administration will require all international travelers coming into the United States to be fully vaccinated and tested for Covid-19 under a new system that will open up air travel to vaccinated foreign nationals from dozens of countries for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.”

—NBC News, yesterday.

● Chaser: Biden sidesteps question on justification for letting unvaccinated migrants into US.

—Fox News, August 3rd.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR WEEKLY INSANITY WRAP: Media Drives #WhipGate Fake News About Border Guards Whipping Haitians.

Plus:

  • Doctors treating sick people is so passé
  • So are colleges that prepare young people for the real world
  • Reconciliation madness, however, is the new hotness

So much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

‘WHAT???!!! NO!!! REALLY?’ Looks like there may have been something to that Hunter Biden laptop story after all: “Oh nothing. Just Politico casually confirming the Hunter Biden laptop story.”

R.I.P. ANGELO CODEVILLA. I’ve now heard from two reliable sources that he died last night after a traffic accident. I don’t know any more at this point. I’ll repeat what I said earlier: His piece on America’s ruling class is the best article on American politics this century.

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER TERM FOR PRIME MINISTER ZOOLANDER: Canada election: Trudeau stays in power but Liberals fall short of majority.

UPDATE: Trudeau wanted a strong mandate to take the country on a drastic turn to the left. He didn’t get one. “In the six years of his government, Trudeau has distracted the country with a ludicrously alarmist view of climate change and a preposterously self-important notion of how much difference Canada, with its minuscule carbon footprint and generally high ecological standards, can make. To this end he has persecuted Canada’s greatest industry (oil and gas) unmercifully and driven large sections of Western Canada to contemplate the possible deliverance of separation.”

CHAIN OF COMMAND: General Milley Often Went Rogue.

A witness from inside the administration has suggested that rogue behavior wasn’t abnormal for Milley.

E. Casey Wardynski, a former assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, claimed that Milley — who, according to the book, “Peril,” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, called his Chinese counterpart twice to tell him that the US would not attack Beijing — routinely violated the bounds of his authority.

Wardynski said Milley and chief of staff of the US Army Gen. James McConville engaged in a “pattern of behavior” to thwart President Donald Trump.

Wardynski also called Milley a bully who had no intention of supporting the president.

Milley’s job is to give advice and follow orders — not behave like the Woke version of a four-star Hollywood heavy.

YOU STAY CLASSY, JEN: Psaki Invokes Biden’s ‘Personal’ Losses After Botched Airstrike Killed Seven Kids.

ON LOSING A BELOVED PET: Twister, RIP, and what it all means.

COMING SOON: In Trump Time: A Journal of America’s Plague Year.

WELL, HE’S GOT US THERE. “Early this year, when Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. took down former U.S. President Donald Trump’s accounts, Mr. Xi saw yet another sign America’s economic system was flawed—it let big business dictate what a political leader should do or say—officials familiar with his views said.” (Sorry it’s from a paywalled Journal story.) I’d call that a flaw in our political system – nobody has yet explained to me how anyone will believe we had a free and fair election if one candidate were to end up locked out of social media during the campaign – but it’s definitely a flaw.

As for the economic policy described here – “‘Xi does think he’s moving to a new kind of system that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,’ said Barry Naughton, a China economy expert at the University of California, San Diego. ‘I call it a government-steered economy'” – I am pretty sure it did exist, and it was called national socialism. As with all command economies, it will ultimately flop.

THOSE AT THE TOP OF THE HIERARCHY WANT TO MAKE DAMN SURE YOU KNOW IT: The COVID Hierarchy Is A Power Hierarchy And Everyone Knows It. “So confident are they in this power, they flaunt it on national television. They don’t fear the unwashed masses. What are they going to do, stop watching the Emmys? (Done.) Refuse service work in states like New York and California? Elect Republicans where there are none?”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: ‘Action could be taken’ against students using wrong pronouns at PPU.

NOW OUT FROM GEORGE WILL: American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020. We had a delightful lunch in Georgetown almost exactly 5 years ago, but his instincts utterly betrayed him regarding the Trump presidency.

FLASHBACK: Angelo Codevilla: America’s Ruling Class. Probably the single most insightful piece on American society written in this century.

A VERY PUBLIC EDUCATION: Students Protesting Severe Bullying, Suicides Hit With Mass Retaliation by New York School District. “Students walked out of class on Friday and held a protest in support of students who are facing cyberbullying and other incidents of bullying in school, including by teachers, they say. The district locked the children out of the school and refused to allow them transportation home, leading parents to scramble to find them safe rides home.”

WE WERE PROMISED BETTER RELATIONS WITH OUR ALLIES: The NATO Glue Has Gone.

THE VACCINE SEEMS TO BE UNDERPERFORMING:

Amid persistent concerns that the protection offered by COVID-19 vaccines may be waning, a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that America’s workhorse shot is significantly less effective at preventing severe cases of disease over the long term than many experts had realized.

Data collected from 18 states between March and August suggest the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces the risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 by 91% in the first four months after receiving the second dose. Beyond 120 days, however, that vaccine efficacy drops to 77%.

Meanwhile, Moderna’s vaccine was 93% effective at reducing the short-term risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and remained 92% effective after 120 days.

Overall, 54% of fully vaccinated Americans have been immunized with the Pfizer shot.

Of course, for most people the risk of being hospitalized with Covid is very small anyway.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN: To bail out or not to bail out: China’s Evergrande dilemma.

The Evergrande Group, one of China’s biggest real-estate developers, owes more than $300 billion to a number of lenders. Its interest liabilities are rising by an average of $28 million daily. On Thursday, Sep. 23, alone, the company needs to pay around $120 million as interest payments to bondholders.

If Evergrande begins to default, it will present the Chinese government with a dilemma. Should the company be bailed out, or should it be allowed to fail?

The markets are worried about the contagion effect that an Evergrande collapse will have on the economy; comparisons to the 2008 insolvency of Lehman Brothers, and the financial meltdown that ensued, have already been aired. There’s no good time for an economic crisis, but a particularly bad time for one is when the world is already in the grip of a pandemic.

If Evergrande does go into a bankruptcy court and has its debt restructured, its investors will all take significant haircuts on what they’re owed. But according to the so-called “seniority waterfall”—the pecking order in which creditors get paid—the Chinese government itself makes money first, since state-owned banks are among Evergrande’s biggest creditors.

Developing…

IF WE TAXED STUPIDITY, HOGG WOULD BE IN THE POORHOUSE:

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEFING: LOL — Beto O’Rourke Wants to Be Embarrassed Again. “Way back in the day, Beto would have been laughed off of the political stage. The 21st-century mainstream media is so riddled with leftist bias, however, that he’s kept in the national conversation. The MSM hacks actually believe this guy is smart.”

Well, to them he might be.

THE MARTIN CENTER INTERVIEWS WENYUAN WU: Wenyuan is the Executive Director of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (I am Executive VP.) CFER Foundation is the organization that grew out of the 2020 campaign to defeat Proposition 16.

COME SEE THE RACISM INHERENT IN THE LEFTISM: Dropping SAT helps whites, hurts Asians. “Asian students outscore whites by 100 points on the SAT, and the gap is growing, writes Jay Caspian Kang in the New York Times. So who benefits when colleges drop the SAT and ACT for admissions? Is it blacks and Hispanics? Or is it white students, who’ll find it easier to compete with high-scoring Asians?”

PROJECT VERITAS EXPOSES insider doubts about the Covid vaccine.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Only Nine Months In And The Biden Presidency Has Failed Spectacularly.

YEP: Emmys takeaway: ‘Masks are for peasants’. “This is the tale of two emerging societies in America: those who have to obey coronavirus restrictions and those who don’t. And guess which category you fit.”

Related:

MARK JUDGE: Rubin Is Not Good for the Jennifers: The WaPo NeverTrump columnist is a sexist stereotype, come to life. “Jennifer Rubin is not an ideologue. She is an emotive teenager. A Marxist, for instance, is someone with a deadly serious worldview. Rubin, the Washington Post columnist, is a middle-schooler picking her favorite and most hated boy bands.”

Plus: “The irony of Resistance is that Rubin attempts to celebrate women while depicting them as emotive, irrational and dangerous to democracy.”

MISSING IN ACTION: VP and ‘border czar’ Harris AWOL in Texas to watch football, appear on The View.

WHO ARE ILLEGALS GOING TO BELIEVE, MAYORKAS OR THEIR OWN LYIN’ EYES? DHS Secretary Mayorkas in Del Rio, Texas: ‘Our Border Is Not Open.’

BAD THINGS COME IN THREES: Beto III: The Betoing. “Spider-man 3. Aliens 3. Godfather Part III. Very rarely is the third installment in a series the best. What brings this to mind is word that Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, hot off losing a senate race and a Presidential primary, has decided to run for governor of Texas.”

PJ MEDIA VIP ROUNDUP: Don’t forget that VODKAPUNDIT promo code if you’ve been thinking of joining us.

Matt Margolis: Trump Is Reportedly Trying to Oust McConnell From GOP Leadership. Is This a Good Idea?

AJ Kaufman: Ilhan Omar Demands Democrats Disobey Senate Parliamentarian on Immigration. “This ruling by the parliamentarian, is only a recommendation. @SenSchumer and the @WhiteHouse can and should ignore it.”

Yours Truly (Plus the Missus): Cocktails with VodkaPundit: The Perfect Margarita. “I spent years futzing around with various ingredients and ratios, and the final result is so simple and so tasty that I don’t hesitate at all calling this margarita ‘perfect.'”

September 20, 2021

SUPERFICIALLY SHE LOOKS GOOD, BUT SHE SEEMS SQUISHY IN PRACTICE: WILL GOV. NOEM FIX THE SOUTH DAKOTA TEACHING STANDARDS FIASCO?

OUR LOSER RULERS:

HOW THE FAKE NEWS GETS MADE: Border Patrol Debunks the Fake ‘Whipping’ Haitians Story but Media Doesn’t Care About the Truth.

OPEN THREAD: Hey, hey, hey — whatcha got to say?

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Joe Biden Is Out of His Depth.

That inventory of leftwing wish-list items—a package that is known more for its price tag than for any of its actual aims—is still being negotiated among Senate Democrats, and the prospects of its passage through an evenly divided Senate are bleak. Inexplicably, House progressives appear to believe that holding Joe Biden’s chief domestic priority captive will convince their party’s genuine moderates to give in to their demands.

Few seem to believe that this threat is genuine; it’s one thing to issue an ultimatum, but it’s quite another to follow through with it and suffer the consequences. But progressives have lined up behind this power play, and they have not budged since they initially issued this challenge over the summer. And given the narrowness of the Democratic majority, even a handful of defections could imperil the infrastructure bill—or, worse, force Nancy Pelosi to rely on Republican votes to pass the president’s chief priority.

The question is: Why is Joe Biden letting this happen? He could use the power of the presidency to marginalize his party’s restive progressive flank today if he so chose. If taking to the podium and forcing the Democrats who are holding his agenda hostage to explain their rationale isn’t Biden’s style, he could use his authority to convince, cajole, or compel progressives to get on board. That kind of deal-making is, after all, what America thought it was getting when it elected a “deal maker.” But Joe Biden is not doing any of that. We’re left to conclude that he either has no interest in these, the messier aspects of his job, or that he fundamentally agrees more with progressives than the moderates who helped produce a bipartisan hard infrastructure bill in the first place.

Curiously, the trunalimunumaprzure option isn’t explored by the above article.

Earlier: Staffers Trying to Build ‘Wall’ to Stop People From Seeing What a Mess Biden Is.

THE NEW SPACE RACE: China moon rock studies include fusion energy analysis, volcanic history. “Several science institutions in China are now studying rocks collected from the moon by the Chang’e 5 mission for research that includes evaluating the material as a potential source of fusion power. . . . The Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology is now studying a 50-milligram sample of lunar rocks to look for an isotope called helium-3. Helium-3 has been promoted as a potential fuel in future nuclear fusion power plants. While extremely rare on Earth, helium-3 is thought to be more abundant on the moon, with the isotope delivered into the unprotected lunar surface by the solar wind, a constant stream of material flowing off the sun and across the solar system.”

RULE-BREAKING ELITES LET THE MASK SLIP ON COVID PROTOCOLS:

Remember all those saccharine paeans to the common good? Those Pecksniffian appeals to do the “right thing”? Those badgering reminders that “we’re in this together”? Yeah, those couldn’t outlast a single letterpressed invitation to the Met. In one hand, our elite class had its longstanding message that masking is crucially important; in the other, it had the chance to go to a really lush party. And the party won in a landslide.

Not for everyone, of course. That would have been gauche. No, the party won for the sort of people who were invited to the party. The staff? They were masked up to the eyeballs, because these days you just can’t be too careful around people carrying trays.

In San Francisco over the weekend, Mayor London Breed explained that the video of her enjoying herself maskless at a jazz club doesn’t count when you really think about it, because, unlike you, she is really into music. “My drink was sitting at the table,” Breed said when pushed on the matter, and “I got up and started dancing because I was feeling the spirit and I wasn’t thinking about a mask.” Which is an absolutely spiffing excuse if one assumes that the mayor of San Francisco is alone among her fellow citizens in desiring to spend her evenings without a large piece of cloth strapped across her face. Exonerating herself further, Mayor Breed suggested that “we don’t need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should or shouldn’t be doing.” Which, again, is a ripping justification if we assume that everyone else in San Francisco is just dying for close supervision.

Related exit question: “Simply put, if we empower the government to police our intimate behavior, we shouldn’t fool ourselves—the elite will never have to play by the rules like everyone else. And if elite celebrities and politicians get to live their lives unrestrained, why shouldn’t we all?”

UNEXPECTEDLY: The Biden presidency is in free-fall.

This is not a joke. It’s not an overreaction. It’s not about Biden’s opponents pouncing or seizing. Biden’s presidency has a very real chance of completely foundering within its first year. After a promising start where he inherited a vaccination process that was already in progress, albeit briefly, under Trump, his vaccine strategy has stalled to the point of him now demanding mandates on private businesses, a step he assured the electorate he would not take. Last Friday, an FDA panel bucked Biden’s booster rollout program, which was slated to begin this week.

That was one of many self-inflicted wounds that Biden suffered at the end of last week as he took off for the Delaware coast for a long weekend of bike-riding and ignoring reporters. In the span of that single afternoon, the Pentagon also revealed that a retaliatory drone strike for the deaths of 13 US service-members at Kabul airport did not kill any Isis-K terrorists, as Biden and his State Department had claimed, but instead killed an innocent US-linked aid worker, as well as seven children. Neither Biden nor his press secretary Jen Psaki have answered questions on this matter. Their strategic silence is all we need to evaluate how they think this looks – and they are correct.

Along with the self-imposed Afghanistan debacle, which has created an enormous refugee crisis in a foreign region, Biden has caused another one on our southern border. Drone footage and photos splashed all over social media this weekend showed thousands of migrants, some believed to be Haitian, crossing the Rio Grande river into Del Rio, Texas, unabated. They had to be corralled under the Del Rio Bridge, with several even crafting makeshift tents and shelters.

How bad is the Biden (p)residency right now? It’s come to this: Poll: Biden Underwater By 19 Points in Texas…Among Hispanics.

Perhaps America’s Newspaper of Record offers an explanation as to how we’ve gotten here: 4D Chess: Trump Reveals He Let Biden Win So His Presidency Would Look Amazing By Comparison.

 

I’VE SEEN THE LOCKDOWNS AND THE DAMAGE DONE:

FASTER, PLEASE: Bacteriophage and Antibiotic Combined to Fight Drug-Resistant Infection.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Is the Coronavirus Stronger Than White Guilt? We’re about to find out:

Presto! In the blink of an eye, this story just magically transformed from “Stupid Anti-Vax Texans Literally Punch Science in the Face” to “Black Women in NYC Restaurant Latest Victims of Racial Profiling.” (Remember that Starbucks incident? Remember how the whole company shut down for an entire afternoon to do “anti-racial bias” training?)

And if those dueling narratives aren’t confusing enough for the average liberal mind, it gets even better: The hostess is Asian. So, here’s yet another victim of the anti-Asian violence we’ve been hearing about for the past 18 months. #StopAsianHate, anyone?

Anyone? Hello?

No, that’s not the narrative this time. Which is what this is all about: narratives, not facts.

Earlier: “Now in NYC you’ve got a vaccination-passport requirement that disproportionately affects black people, who are much less likely to get vaccinated than whites and Asians, and you’re surprised that the response is violent? Once you teach people that it’s okay to be violent if they feel mistreated, you don’t get to choose when they feel mistreated.”

 

 

ANALYSIS: TRUE.

IT’S SEPSIS AWARENESS MONTH: What to Know About Treating Sepsis. “Nearly 270,000 people in the U.S. die each year as a result of sepsis, and one-third of people who die in a hospital have sepsis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Flashback: Sepsis causes more deaths worldwide than previously thought.

Related: Vitamin C infusion may reduce sepsis death risk. It sounds like this is just vitamin C, not the vitamin and steroids cocktail that has been so successful elsewhere.

Neither of these is mentioned in the not-very-informative article linked at the top.

WHEN POLITICAL PORN EXCEEDS ITS SHELF LIFE: The Handmaid’s Tale Sets Record for Most Emmy Losses in a Season.

EVERYTHING IS GOING SWIMMINGLY:

GLENN GREENWALD: The Indictment of Hillary Clinton’s Lawyer is an Indictment of the Russiagate Wing of U.S. Media.

It has long been known that the Trump/Alfa-Bank story was a fraud. A report issued in December, 2019 by the DOJ’s Inspector General revealed that “the FBI investigated whether there were cyber links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, but concluded by early February, 2017 that there were no such links.” Special Counsel Robert Mueller thought so little of this alleged plot that he did not even bother to mention it in his comprehensive final report, which admitted that “the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Even the more anti-Trump Senate Intelligence Committee report acknowledged that, while unable to explain the data, “the Committee did not find the DNS activity reflected the existence of covert communication between Alfa Bank and Trump Organization personnel.”

Despite all this, this fraud — one of so many that formed the Russiagate scandal — played a significant role in shaping media coverage of the 2016 election. Spurred on by Hillary Clinton herself, the liberal sector of the corporate media used this fake claim to bolster their narrative that Trump and the Russians were secretly in cahoots. And the story of how they spread this disinformation involves not just the potential criminality outlined in this indictment of Hillary’s lawyer but, even more seriously, a rotted and deeply corrupted media.

More like this, please.

DON’T RAISE THE RIVER, LOWER THE BRIDGE: Low achievement? Dump the tests. “We’ve been denouncing and canceling the metrics by which achievement (and its shortfalls and gaps) have long been monitored, declaring that tests are racist, barring their use for admission to selective schools and colleges, and curbing their use as outcome measures (e.g., states scrapping end-of-course exams) without substituting any other indicators of achievement.”

MORE COVID-19 HYPOCRISY: San Francisco Mayor London Breed Partied Maskless at a Jazz Club.

The video makes it look like a really hopping time. But notice that there isn’t a mask in sight, even though Breed’s own COVID-19 orders require bar, restaurant, and club customers to wear masks when not actively eating or drinking. A local news channel asked Breed about this, and here’s what she said:

No, I’m not going to sip and put my mask on, sip and put my mask on, sip and put my mask on, eat and put my mask on. While I’m eating, and I’m drinking, I’m going to keep my mask off,” Breed said.

In response to getting up and dancing without the mask on while at the Black Cat, she said she was sitting at her table with her drink but got up to dance because she was “feeling the spirit” and she “wasn’t thinking about a mask, I was thinking about having a good time, and in the process, I was following the health order.”

Breed is right: It is ridiculous to require vaccinated people to mask up under such circumstances. But the obvious solution here would be to rescind the mandate. Breed shouldn’t have to follow it, because no one should have to follow it.

“Feeling the spirit” and “thinking about having a good time, and in the process, I was following the health order,” should be every vaccinated person’s cri de coeur when the mask nazis come in 2021.

Flashback: The rich and powerful thrived as the rest of us suffered in the year of lockdowns.

ACTUAL REPORTING FROM ED MORRISSEY: Sussmann indictment: “Bizarre coda,” or harbinger of deep-state exposure?

This isn’t just a game of “telephone” gone wrong, as McQuade later argues. It smells of a deliberate political dirty trick that worked far too well, tying the nation up for two years in a pointless hysteria over supposed Russian collusion. The allegation that Sussmann deliberately lied points to a larger argument that the Clinton campaign and DNC may have cooked the whole thing up — perhaps with the participation of the FBI, or at least a handful of its agents.

Well, and the whole 7th floor, probably. Plus:

It might get even worse than that. Over the weekend, I spoke with a senior Trump administration official with access to intelligence regarding the significance of the Sussmann indictment. He pointed to House Intelligence Committee transcripts declassified in a fight between the White House and Adam Schiff last year. Pay attention to those transcripts, the former official advised, because those made it clear that the FBI knew the Alfa Bank theory was nonsense — but used it to push forward nonetheless on the Russia-collusion theory. That was one reason Schiff tried to stop declassification of the transcripts, and those are the reason that Durham could get the grand jury indictment on Sussmann at all. Some of the agents that worked with Sussmann remain in the bureau, he also said, and that will go to McCarthy’s larger point about the “deep state” and the effort to push Trump out of office. There may also be a broader scope involving former officials in the Obama administration regarding politicization of intelligence, a few of whom have returned in the Biden administration — notably in the State Department. Stay tuned.

Clearly, more is happening than a mop-up for Durham.

Stay tuned. Lots of heads should roll for this deliberate partisan assault on an American election result.

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