September 28, 2021

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, Oktoberfest Edition.

HANNAH COX: Healthcare Provisions in the Budget Reconciliation Bill Aren’t Meant to Add Up. “Here’s the reality. Democrats want a single-payer system, and they aren’t going to stop until they get it. A single-payer system is just a better word for a government monopoly over healthcare.”

Nothing that’s happened with this pandemic has made me want the government to play a bigger role in health care.

OPEN THREAD: I once owned that exact The Loop shirt. Journey to the stars, rock & roll guitars.

WATCH: THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE END GOAL OF “ANTI-RACISM:” “‘The United States of America needs to cease to exist.’ You’ll notice she has the same crazy-eyed glee as all the other woke disciples when talking about stuff like this.”

UNPRODUCTIVE PARASITE HAS VIEWS: UN secretary-general criticizes “billionaires joyriding to space.”

If you’re actually worried about people losing trust in governments and institutions, the source of the problem is much closer to home.

Plus, note the views of an Earth Sciences professor who cares so much about the planet he flew all the way to France to tell us:

Another panelist was also critical. “If it was up to me, I would use all the financial resources they’re spending for other purposes,” said Drew Shindell, professor of earth science at Duke University who does research in climate science. “I don’t think it’s a particularly valuable use of time and effort. It does help drive the market for access to space, so not entirely a bad thing.”

“I would be happy if those people also, say, donated the equivalent price of a ticket to space, to something about the environment, for example,” he added, appearing in person on the panel in Toulouse, France.

I would be happy if people like Drew Shindell vowed to do all conference by Zoom from now on, using the financial resources saved to save the planet.

“YOU CAN AVOID REALITY, BUT YOU CANNOT AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES OF AVOIDING REALITY:” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Refuses to Acknowledge Economic Reality Because She Thinks It’s Mean.

PORT OF LOS ANGELES DEMANDS MORE FEDERAL FUNDING AS CARGO BACKLOG LOOMS: “No sooner did we write about the fact that the ports of LA and Long Beach still won’t work round-the-clock shifts despite a massive backlog than the Port of Los Angeles is said to have asked for more federal funding.”

GOOD: Anti-seizure medication improves cognitive function in some Alzheimer’s patients.

FASTER, PLEASE: Power of stem cells harnessed to create cartilage tissue.

TWO BIDEN ADMINISTRATIONS IN ONE! Are we in a pandemic or not?

No one has done more to undermine the Biden administration’s vaccination strategy than Joe Biden. From his confusion over when to wear a mask and when not to wear a mask, to the lack of press conferences, on through the Delta variant, we arrive at Biden’s biggest optics crisis yet: 15,000 migrants flooding the southern border under a Del Rio, Texas, bridge in temperatures reaching 100 degrees.

Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed last week that his department’s border officials did not test the some 12,000 to 15,000 migrants for COVID. He did say that some had fallen ill, but would not elaborate further. While appearing on Fox News Sunday, he told Chris Wallace that at least 12,000 of those same migrants were released into the country with a notice to appear in court, which is sure to be ignored by the majority of them, if history is any guide.

So to recap, thousands of migrants, who were not tested for COVID, and not vaccinated to anyone’s knowledge, were just released into the US and are most likely destined for urban city environments. This has been met with sympathetic shrugs from reporters, who have also made a point of highlighting when every mother or father of three who rejects the vaccine dies from COVID.

The public is catching on to the schizophrenic Biden Covid response: Axios Poll: Majority of Public Now Distrusts Biden to Provide Accurate Information on Covid, Too. “Covid had been the one area where Biden still had positive job approval.”

UPDATE:

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? FBI: Violent Crime Increased 5.2% in 2020, the First Increase in Four Years.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT? Establishment Tries to Hide Likelihood That Cringe Fauci Film Has Been a Complete Flop. “Despite the documentary being released in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, D.C., and New Orleans on September 10, the likes of RottenTomatoes.com, Boxoffice Pro, IMDB.com, and BoxOfficeMojo.com have published no information about ticket sales or earnings data.”

ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT’S ME, KATHY: Hochul’s New Religion: God Gave Us the Vaccines, and He Wants Us to Be Vaccinated.

OOPS: Ford Mustang Mach-E Recalled for Windshield and Sunroof Issues.

ABOLISH THE FBI AND TAKE THE TAPES: Gaetz, Greene call on FBI to release 14,000 hours of footage from Jan 6.

DOES HOCHUL TALK TO GOD ON HER CELL? The Lid’s Jeff Dunetz wonders exactly how the New York governor communicates with the Almighty.

DAVID SOLWAY: Kamala Harris: A Representative Figure and a Harbinger of Catastrophe.

AND NOW THIS: Power Outages Hit China, Threatening the Economy and Christmas.

GENERALS CONTRADICT BIDEN: We told him to leave 2,500 troops in place in Afghanistan. “Time to play another round of ‘Is Biden senile or just a liar?’”

AI RESEARCH HITS A WALL: Deep Learning’s Diminishing Returns: The cost of improvement is becoming unsustainable.

JOHN NOLTE: No Time to Die Director Smears Sean Connery’s Bond as Rapist.

The scene this goddamn simpleton is talking about is in Thunderball, where Connery’s Bond is recovering at some sort of rest spa and seduces a luscious therapist into a tryst.

It’s not rape. It’s nothing close to rape. It’s doesn’t even graze rape. What it is is a complicated, adult, nuanced, and sexy seduction. And it is also a seduction that’s making a much larger social point.

Bond and the therapist obviously want one another, and the only reason she’s all “No, no, no” is because having sex with the customers is just not done. So this scene is not about James Bond forcing a woman to have sex with him. It’s about what much of the sixties was about, and that’s overcoming your sexual inhibitions.

Bond isn’t raping this woman. He’s not forcing himself on her. He’s sexually liberating her.

No, really, he is.

Dummies.

Are people really this stupid?

Or are they so insecure and neurotic, so desperate for approval that they just spout these simplistic moral bromides that make Joe McCarthy look like Timothy Leary?

The makers of the James Bond films have been trying to get back to the Connery days since The Spy Who Loved Me. Those films are considered the gold standard of the Bond franchise. Why on earth would the director of its latest chapter trash the man who started it all?

Flashback: License To Killjoy. Can James Bond survive the #MeToo era?

WELL, HE DID: In Sworn Testimony, Generals Accuse Biden of Lying About Afghan Pullout.

ANNOYINGLY, THIS ARTICLE DOESN’T SAY WHICH WAY: Sunlight exposure guidelines may need to be revised, researchers warn. From this I infer that the recommendation is probably to get more sun, and that they’re afraid to say that in this news account. But I could be wrong.

NOW POPULAR: Think While It’s Still Legal T-Shirt.

FALSE NARRATIVES DON’T JUST ESTABLISH THEMSELVES, YOU KNOW: Twitter Censors Daily Signal Video About Border Patrol on Horseback.

OLD AND BUSTED: Joe Biden: I’m going to ‘shut down the virus’, not the US.

—The Grauniad, October 23, 2020.

The New Hotness? Mayorkas: Hey, that surge in Delta COVID-19 variant was totally unexpected at the border.

—Karen Townsend, Hot Air, today.

Allowing the surge at the border is also at odds of Biden’s message yesterday on vaccinations: Back To Normal? Biden Wants 97% Of The Country Vaccinated.

I’VE SEEN THE LOCKDOWNS AND THE DAMAGE DONE: Isolation during pandemic caused people to think less about future, other people. A little part of it in everyone. And every Karen’s like a setting sun. . .

BYRON YORK: The Democratic cave begins.

Reports say she will allow the House to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday. The reason is that the $3.5 trillion bill has just not come together in the Senate. No one seems to know what Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will vote for, and without all 50 Democratic senators on board, the bill will go nowhere. At the very least, it will take a while to do.

Meanwhile, the $1.1 trillion traditional infrastructure bill has been passed by the Senate. All the House has to do is vote on it. Lawmakers can pass it anytime and send it to the president’s desk for signature. And they will do so; there is no way in the world Democrats will just leave $1.1 trillion sitting on the table. And why keep waiting for a $3.5 trillion pie-in-the-sky bill that might or might not happen and in any event will involve more infighting among Democrats? Pass the $1.1 trillion now. Take the win.

That is what Pelosi is doing. But of course, taking the win is actually a cave for Pelosi in the sense that she vowed not to do it this way and has now surrendered to the so-called centrists in her party — and to common sense. So now, when the House passes the bill, and Biden signs it, Democrats can go back to fighting among themselves about the $3.5 trillion.

Before that, though, Congress has to pass a bill to keep the government funded, and then, after that, a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. That’s where Pelosi (and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer) face some tough choices.

I dunno — a trillion here, and a trillion there, and sooner or later, you’re talking about real money.

BOOK RECOMENDATION: Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training.

SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Study: Young boys who play sports less likely to have anxiety, depression.

POSTMODERN DEMS: The ‘comfort the comfortable’ coalition.

Last Wednesday, I saw a friend walking his dog in the late morning on Capitol Hill, attired in shorts and flip-flops. “Nice suit,” he said to me as we crossed paths. “Yep,” I said. “Busy week at work.” He laughed. “I am at work now.”

I don’t know my friend’s politics, but I assume he is part of the Comfort the Comfortable Coalition, that group of upper-middle-class urban professionals who the Democrats seem most interested in pleasing this election cycle.

Finley Peter Dunne, the noted scribe of the early 20th century, described his mission in life as comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. The Democrats seem much more interested in comforting the comfortable, those ascendant progressives who drive most policy decisions in their now fragile coalition.

Read the whole thing.

JUST NBC THE HYPOCRISY: Chuck Todd, Glaring Conflict of Interest, Moderating 2nd Virginia Governor Debate. “The Virginia gubernatorial candidates engage in their second debate tonight on WRC, the local NBC station in Washington. The moderator is Chuck Todd. That’s an interesting choice, since Chuck’s wife Kristian Denny has been active in advising and donating to Democratic candidates in Virginia.”

I THINK THIS IS CORRECT: NEPA Does Not Apply in Outer Space, Argues TechFreedom in Amicus Brief.

SpaceX is seeking to become the first company to provide widespread, low-latency, reasonably priced, direct-to-consumer satellite broadband. In the order at issue here, the FCC granted SpaceX’s request to move some previously licensed satellites to a lower orbit. On appeal, a rival satellite broadband company contends that the FCC’s order failed to comply with NEPA, a procedural statute that requires the government to assess the environmental impact of “major actions”—defined broadly to include many permit approvals. Both the FCC and SpaceX contend that the FCC satisfied the statute’s requirements.

TechFreedom’s brief argues that whether the order complies with NEPA is irrelevant, because NEPA does not apply in the first place.

“American law is presumed to apply only where America is sovereign,” said James E. Dunstan, TechFreedom’s General Counsel. “America is not the sovereign of space. On the contrary, our nation has little control over what other countries do on the final frontier. Indeed, if we were to smother our satellite companies in procedural red tape, nothing would stop other nations, such as China, from steaming ahead with their own broadband satellite constellations, with far less concern for the space environment.”

“Absent a clear signal from Congress, therefore, NEPA does not apply in space,” Dunstan continued, “yet NEPA contains no such signal. On the contrary, the law says that it applies only to the ‘human environment’ and the ‘biosphere.’ The absence of a clear reference to space is especially telling when you consider the year NEPA was passed—1970. It was the height of the Space Race. We had just joined the Outer Space Treaty and landed on the Moon. Never in American history has Congress been more aware of outer space—but NEPA makes no mention of it.”

More spacefaring and less lawfaring please. The brief is here.

GOD AND MAN AT ALBANY:

Watch: NY Gov. Kathy Hochul Proclaims Unvaccinated People ‘Aren’t Listening to God.’

COVID-19 vaccines are ‘from God to us,’ N.Y. governor tells Brooklyn megachurch.

New York Gov. Hochul tells Christian worshippers: ‘God wants you to be vaccinated.’

NY Gov. Hochul says vaccines are ‘from God,’ sends out her own ‘apostles’ to push jabs.

I prefer American socialists to be a bit more secular. And as Jim Geraghty notes, “At this hour, despite the governor declaring that everyone in the state must listen to God and do as God wants, there is no complaint from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.”

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR WEEKLY INSANITY WRAP: Jen Psaki Is the Stupidest Person in the World (Or Hopes You Are).

Plus:

  • Vanilla Ice is going to save the planet (really)
  • Thanks, Madam Speaker! Introducing outsider-insider trading
  • Shoplifting gang caught on video but not by Chicago police

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

JOE BIDEN’S RETURN TO COMPETENT GOVERNANCE: AUKUS Reverberations. “Whatever the broader strategic merits of the pact, AUKUS demonstrates a distinct American inability to manage a coherent anti-Chinese coalition.”

No, it’s a distinctly Biden Administration inability.

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

Matt Margolis: Joe Biden Moves the Goal Posts on Herd Immunity. “On Monday, Joe Biden made the stunning claim that nearly 100 percent of Americans need to be vaccinated before our country can return to normal.”

Stacey Lennox: Prevent the Next Pandemic, Part 3: Depose Drs. Peter Daszak and Ralph Baric. “No one should diminish the fact that Dr. Peter Daszak from EcoAlliance and a team of researchers planned to shoo a bunch of chimeric viruses into a bat cave. However, the role of another American, Dr. Raplh Baric, is often overlooked in the discussions surrounding the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

Yours Truly: Follow the Science: Eat, Drink, and Be Dairy. “The Swedes — hot on their own heels for having some of the best national COVID-19 outcomes despite no lockdowns or mask mandates — have done it again.”

WHY ARE LEFTY-DOMINATED INSTITUTIONS SUCH CESSPITS OF ANTISEMITISM? Majority of Jewish college students feel unsafe on campus, poll finds.

RE-FUND THE POLICE: The FBI Has Released 2020 Crime — And the Murder Rate Increase Will Shock You.

WARM UP THE AIRBRUSHES, COMRADES: Penn removes suffragette’s name from ‘feminist’ center to prioritize ‘inclusiveness’.

IN FAIRNESS, THE PRESIDENT IS SAYING THE SAME THING; OTOH, HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A *FACT-CHECKER,* AND THE IDEA THAT $3.5 TRILLION IN SPENDING ISN’T A COST IS AN EGREGIOUS ORWELLIAN LIE:

DON’T TRUST CHINA. CHINA IS ASSHOLE: Did China Just Steal $31 Billion From Alibaba and Tencent Shareholders?

This year, China’s leaders have embarked on an aggressive campaign to rein in its technology giants to promote more “common prosperity,” in a bid to reverse the wealth inequality rising in China’s economy.

Recently, China’s two biggest companies, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent (OTC:TCEHY), announced large RMB100 billion ($15.5 billion) social equity funds, aimed at addressing many of Beijing’s concerns. These funds are meant to help underdeveloped areas and industries, but with an uncertain financial payoff. While the companies touted both funds as voluntary, the timing and size does seem to indicate that both were the result of pressure from China’s Communist Party.

So, should shareholders in these stocks view the new funds as a “theft” of their investment, and should it make them worried about further actions?

But did China’s big guy get his ten percent?

FAR MORE ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACKS: Joseph Simonson of the Washington Free Beacon takes a look at the data and concludes that if you are Jewish, you are far more likely to be the victim of a hate crime in America than if you are Asian, Muslim or a transgender.

“While the media and politicians have focused on an increase of domestic hate crime attacks against Asians — a trend that has also been the centerpiece of Chinese Communist Party propaganda operations — the FBI recorded just 274 total incidents in 2020. Americans who identify as Asian make up roughly 7 percent of the U.S. population. Jews, who make up just 1.75 percent of the population, are more than twice as likely to experience hate crimes as Asian Americans,” Simonson notes.

KEVIN DOWNEY JR: No Racism? No Problem! College Racial Hoaxes Are Back.

THE ATLANTIC: Facebook is acting like a hostile foreign power; it’s time we treated it that way. “Perhaps Americans have become so cynical that they have given up on defending their freedom from surveillance, manipulation, and exploitation. But if Russia or China were taking the exact same actions to undermine democracy, Americans would surely feel differently. Seeing Facebook as a hostile foreign power could force people to acknowledge what they’re participating in, and what they’re giving up, when they log in. In the end it doesn’t really matter what Facebook is; it matters what Facebook is doing.”

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Hitting Back at the Democrats’ Corrupt Media Enablers. “As Biden and Co. continue to ruin everything they touch, the media will only get worse, giving a pass to the administration’s ceaseless tragedy of errors. The White House will continue to not only show no compunction about lying but feel comfortable doubling down on those lies.”

As Glenn advised the press last night, “If you don’t want people to think of you as garbage, stop being garbage.”

AWAKE BUT NOT WOKE? Rihanna pummeled for white women in braids, takes anti-censorship stand.

Related:

Sean Wilentz, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna: People are waking up to what’s going on all over.

JOEL KOTKIN: Never Going Back: What if they Opened the Office and Nobody Came? “Things could get ugly as some $2 trillion in commercial real estate debt becomes due by 2025, particularly in large, transit dependent central business districts, reflecting in part reluctance among commuters to ride public conveyances. This is a world-wide phenomenon—occurring in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, London, and other financial centers—and accompanied by a marked decline in business travel, with conventions and meetings particularly devastated. . . . Demographer Wendell Cox shows that, despite the considerable spread to less crowded areas over the past year, areas with the highest urban densities, in spite of their lockdowns, have experienced two times or more overall adjusted Covid fatalities, after more than one year of draconian social distancing regulationsthat eliminated much of downtown employment and cut mass transit use by up to 90 percent. Car-dominated places, where people can more easily afford space, have lower infection and fatality rates; if other pandemics follow, as many suspect, memories of the recent hegira will remain.”

Flashback: Coronavirus lessons on density, mass transit, bureaucracy and censorship: They kill. Plus: “Much of the fight against the coronavirus has also involved a fight against bureaucrats dead set on making things worse.”

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: About 100 Americans Still Trying To Leave Afghanistan, Official Says.

That’s roughly double the number of Americans held hostage by Iran in 1979. But now the press downplays anything that makes Joe Biden’s shambolic administration look bad, which means nearly everything.

COLLUSION: Lawmakers Demand DOJ Explain Dropping of Cases Against Chinese Researchers Accused of Hiding Military Ties. “Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain why prosecutors have dropped a series of cases connected with the Justice Department’s (DOJ) clampdown on Chinese espionage.”

ANOTHER 11-MINUTE, SUBORBITAL JOYRIDE: Blue Origin NS-18 launch date and first space crew revealed.

ICYMI: Sean Wilentz Fires Back on the 1619 Project and the Climate of Anti-History.

Sean Wilentz is a proud liberal and sometimes a hard-edged Democratic partisan. But he is also a distinguished Princeton University historian whose academic work is broadly respected across the political spectrum. That has not stopped some progressives from attacking his work for reasons more of politics than scholarship — specifically, for the sin of writing the book No Property in Man, which argues that the Constitution was shaped in good part by Founding-era resistance to empowering, entrenching, or even naming slavery. He has recently found himself in their crosshairs for his vocal criticism — along with that of other leading liberal historians — of aspects of the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project.

In a thoughtful but unsparing essay titled “The 1619 Project and Living in Truth” in the Czech historical journal Opera Historica, Wilentz has fired another salvo against the 1619 Project, its editor and lead essayist Nikole Hannah-Jones, Times Magazine editor in chief Jake Silverstein, and more broadly, the intellectual climate of “anti-racist” politics that produce warped history while intimidating serious scholars into silence. Wilentz is scathing on Hannah-Jones’s preposterous and unsupported claim, in the lead essay, that “one of the primary reasons” for the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence was American colonial fear that the British would restrict or abolish slavery. . . .

Wilentz notes that he believed, naïvely, that the Times Magazine would correct the record without much difficulty if approached by distinguished historians with the truth on their side. But, of course, that misunderstands both the narrative goals of the 1619 Project and the power of Hannah-Jones (backed by devotees of that narrative) within the Times organization, a subject Wilentz touches upon. That narrative, which is a classic of the critical race theory approach to history, needed the American Founding to be irredeemably corrupted by racism and slavery as its core purposes; thus, even though Hannah-Jones’s essay would read perfectly well without the discussion of the Revolution at all, it was intolerable to her and her aims to amend that conclusion. And her power in the organization meant that, if never admitting error on this point was important to her, it would be important to Silverstein, truth be damned. Critics were there to be silenced or dismissed, not engaged in respectful debate. Wilentz repeatedly reminds his Czech readers of parallels to this approach that they know only too well.

As I say, the history that is increasingly being taught in American “educational” institutions is the kind of history that a conqueror would impose on a defeated people to break their will.

AT 91, Clint Eastwood is still the man.

September 27, 2021

THE MOVEMENT SPREADS: There’s now a “Fuck Joe Biden” flag for sale.

WELL SAID:

MARK JUDGE: Is Anita Hill a Worse Lawyer Than Michael Avenatti? “In an excerpt in The Atlantic, Hill defends Christine Blasey Ford. Hill’s is a poor argument that, like recent efforts by Jennifer Rubin, could set back the cause of women fighting to prevent sexual assault. Hill substitutes emotion for reason. She ignores facts or offers partial truths. Hill’s performance is not only unconvincing, it is damaging to the very cause she champions.”

Or purports to.

FIRST SIRHAN SIRHAN, NOW THIS: John Hinckley, Who Shot President Reagan, Wins Unconditional Release.

Hmm. As Biden grows more and more embarrassing, assassins are suddenly being released from prison. I’m just saying. . .

THE PRESS LIES FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION. THEY OPENLY REGARD THAT AS THEIR JOB. Latest Media Lie: Border Patrol Agents “Charged at” Those Poor Illegal Aliens.

It seems like a bad idea for the president of the United States, in the middle of an unprecedented crisis at our southern border, to alienate the very men and women on the front lines of that crisis. That’s because Joe Biden is an endless font of bad ideas. The worse the idea, the greater his investment. So when it was time for ol’ Joe to badmouth his own people to save his ass, he really went for it.

That’s what you get for doing your job in Biden’s America.

And he’s getting plenty of help from our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters in the media. First they spread the lie, which Biden repeated, that Border Patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants. Here’s what actually happened. . . .

That’s it. That’s what all the fuss is about. There was no whipping. Nobody got whipped.

But everybody has already decided those agents did something wrong, up to and including the president and vice president of the United States. They can’t all just get un-outraged about it. And they certainly can’t admit they were wrong.

So now we see this sort of framing from the press. . . .

It’s one thing when the media misses a key detail, or mishears a quote, or otherwise craps the bed. That’s just reporters screwing up. But this whole “whipping” thing is a deliberate lie. And now that the lie has been exposed, the media is workshopping alternate lies to replace it. It’s all garbage. Those Border Patrol agents did nothing wrong.

Advice to the press: If you don’t want people to think of you as garbage, stop being garbage.

Meanwhile, the Democrats don’t seem very bright here. On the one hand, they act sometimes as if they’re deliberately provoking a civil war. On the other they’re alienating everyone — police, the military, the Border Patrol, whatever — that might physically take their side if a civil war happens. See, when you want to establish a police state, you generally want the police to be on your side, not — as reportedly happened in Knoxville today — high-fiving a guy running around with a Trump flag. Just saying.

OPEN THREAD: You’re in the driver’s seat now.

VIDEO: The Babylon Bee’s Side-Splitting Parody of the FBI.

IT’S PROBABLY SAFER THAN MANY OTHER EXTREME SPORTS: Do space tourists really understand the risk they’re taking?

THE MAGICAL MYSTERY TRUNALIMUNUMAPRZURE: Joe Biden’s history tour from hell — from 1970s gas lines to the 1918 pandemic, where will the President take us next?

The first stop was the late 1970s. This came back in spring after a ransomware attack on a major American pipeline resulted in a gasoline shortage that sent lines at gas stations snaking around the block. Throw in inflation as the economy began to reopen, and Biden suddenly looked a lot like Jimmy Carter, only without the beer deregulation and awesome stories about homicidal rabbits. Instead, this exhibit was all animatronic Karens filling Tupperware with regular unleaded while glowering at the unmasked mom headed into the grocery store to buy $4 milk.

The next stop was the autumn of 1918, hospitals filled to capacity, portentous static over the CNN wireless. The Spanish flu killed millions of people, but it wasn’t until the second wave in the fall that its true lethality was brought to bear. And while the delta variant hasn’t been quite so devastating, sheer exhaustion with this pandemic has nonetheless forced a comparison. Hot Vax Summer has been canceled. One in 500 Americans has now died from COVID. This is the part of the tour where Biden gets punchy and starts shouting ‘come on, man!’ in the direction of perceived vaccine skeptics.

And then it’s on to the third exhibit, Saigon circa Gerald Ford by way of Afghanistan. Here, docent Biden’s defensiveness only increases. Just how in the hell was he supposed to know that Afghanistan would fall apart?! Other than, you know, the endless intelligence reports over the eight months that he had to plan and coordinate our withdrawal? Cut to the passengers looking leerily at the emergency exit and contemplating a duck and roll.

* * * * * * * *

The risk isn’t so much that America is going to come apart tomorrow. It’s that Biden will prove one of those weak placeholder leaders — cheers again, Jimmy Carter! — who fails to sufficiently grapple with the issues of his time. So it is that we enter the last room on the tour, a dark tunnel where trippy images flash on the walls: Americans trapped in Afghanistan, Haitians squatting at the border, immigration agents on horseback, anti-vaccine protesters, Frenchmen in berets shaking their fists.

Suddenly, for just an instant, docent Biden looks more like Charon at the ferry helm. The President’s flashes from the past are just that, flashes. It’s his inability to meet the challenges of the present that’s far more ominous.

The seemingly omnipresent “F*** Joe Biden” chants sure has powerful sense of ’60s and ’70s deja vu as well.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: What Happened in 1971? Edward Snowden and Jack Dorsey Want to Know.

Did you catch that last part? Though citizens couldn’t exchange paper money for gold, foreign governments could. So the US dollar was still tethered to gold, which the US promised to redeem at an exchange rate of $35 per ounce. This meant the US couldn’t inflate the money supply without depleting its gold reserves.

Unfortunately, however, the US did inflate its currency, in large part to finance the escalating costs of the Vietnam War and LBJ’s Great Society. This is one reason, Newman explains, that the US depleted roughly 55 percent of its gold stock from the 1950s to 1971.

In that year—1971—facing depleted gold reserves and a dollar facing increasing inflationary pressure from government expenses, Nixon made a critical decision: he “temporarily” paused gold redemption.

Nixon’s move was not temporary, however.

In her 2019 book, Great Society, Amity Shlaes wrote:

Nixon and Connally would now present a policy package containing most of or all their ideas, a package so sudden and revolutionary, like Nixon’s decision to go to China, that it outclassed either the New Frontier or the Great Society for sheer drama. Shultz and Connally got in the spirit. “I think it’s the biggest thing in economic policy since World War II,” Shultz concluded, accurately enough. Nixon had always known he could out-Kennedy Kennedy and out-Johnson Johnson, and now he was going to do it.

And we’ve all paid the price ever since. Exit quote: “Monetary policy may be confusing and some may find it dull—though I no longer do. But one thing is clear: it’s monumentally important.”

NOW THERE’S NO MORE OAK OPPRESSION. FOR THEY PASSED A NOBLE LAW, AND THE TREES ARE ALL KEPT EQUAL — BY HATCHET, AXE, AND SAW: $3.5T spending package includes big money for ‘tree equity,’ bias training and more.

Among the most contentious provisions, the bill gives a substantial funding boost to the Internal Revenue Service, which stands to gain an additional $78.94 billion over the next 10 years. The money would help the IRS strengthen tax enforcement activities, expand audits and modernize its technology. An additional $410 million would go to IRS oversight.

Democrats also are putting equity at the center of the bill. The Agriculture Committee has earmarked $3 billion for a tree-planting program “with a priority for projects that increase tree equity.” The legislation dishes out another $4 billion for “neighborhood access and equity grants.” Meanwhile, its “electric vehicle charging equity program” comes with a $1 billion price tag.

The bill generally doesn’t elaborate on the meaning of equity in this context, though American Forests defines “tree equity,” for example, as a tree-planting program that “identifies the cities that can gain the most significant health, economic and climate benefits by increasing tree canopy in places of high need.”

The legislation would add billions of dollars in climate change funding, starting with the “Civilian Climate Corps,” which would get at least $7.5 billion across multiple committee budgets. The organization, which President Biden has placed at the top of his climate wishlist, would employ thousands of young people to carry out conservation and climate change-related projects on public lands.

But what on earth is “tree equity?” Here’s a word salad of an article from June that tries to explain it: Finally Quantified: Tree Equity Has an Impact on Poorer Neighborhoods.

The effects of the decades-long systematic denial of mortgages to people of color, called redlining, are undeniably visible across the country. One effect has been the persistence of poverty in predominantly Black communities across the United States. Another is a distinct lack of tree cover in these communities. For the first time, the inequality in neighborhood vegetation has been quantified through the Tree Equity Score, developed by the nonprofit conservation organization American Forests.

Assessing nearly 500 municipalities representing more than 70 percent of the U.S. population, staff at American Forests found that neighborhoods consisting mostly of people of color have an average of one-third less tree canopy than majority white communities.

What’s the issue with tree equity, or lack thereof?

The prevailing problem with having too few trees in an urban area is the heat. Some neighborhoods have so much exposed concrete absorbing sunshine that they become heat islands, which can be up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than nearby areas with natural cover. One study found that urban heat islands can experience warming up to twice as strong as that caused by global warming.

In the face of elevating heat, the Tree Equity Score opens new opportunities for effective planting. Its tally puts an exact number on the trees needed to achieve equity amongst neighborhoods, leading to better health and livability. American Forests has calculated a total of 522 million trees needed nationwide, but not planted just anywhere. The online, publicly-accessible map shows exactly where cities need to plant trees — the goal, after all, is community uplift through equity.

“We don’t just need more trees in America’s cities. We need tree equity,” Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests, told Fast Company.

Not surprisingly, Twitter users had loads of fun dunking on the phrase “tree equity” this afternoon. Exit quote: “Spending $3B on ‘tree equity’ is really the perfect encapsulation of Democrats in 2021.”

WHITHER TARTARIA? At Astral Codex Ten, Scott Alexander writes:

Imagine a postapocalyptic world. Beside the ruined buildings of our own civilization – St. Peter’s Basilica, the Taj Mahal, those really great Art Deco skyscrapers – dwell savages in mud huts. The savages see the buildings every day, but they never compose legends about how they were built by the gods in a lost golden age. No, they say they themselves could totally build things just as good or better. They just choose to build mud huts instead, because they’re more stylish.

This is the setup for my all-time favorite conspiracy theory, Tartaria. Its true believers say we are those savages. We live in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, Art Deco skyscrapers, etc. But our buildings look like this:

[Snipped – a photo of  a very 1970s-looking modern campus box, with the caption, “The headquarters of Google, one of the richest corporations in the world. A third-rate 1500s merchant would be ashamed to live anywhere as bare.” — Ed.]

So (continues the conspiracy) probably we suffered some kind of apocalypse a hundred-ish years ago. Our elites are keeping it quiet, and have altered the records, but they haven’t been able to destroy all the buildings of the lost world. Their cover story is that technology and wealth level haven’t regressed or anything, those kinds of buildings have just “gone out of style”.

People say that conspiracy theories are sometimes sublimated expressions of critiques of our society. No mystery what this one is criticizing. Some people don’t like modern architecture. How many? I sometimes see claims like “nobody really likes it”, and certainly it feels intuitively incontrovertible to me that the older stuff is more beautiful. But I know some people who claim to genuinely like the modern style. Are the modern-is-obviously-worse folks just over-updating on their own preferences?

The best source I can find for this is a National Civic Art Society survey, which finds Americans prefer traditional/classical buildings to modern ones by about 70% to 30% (regardless of political affiliation!). In a poll of America’s favorite architecture, 76% of buildings selected were traditional/classical (establishment architects said the poll was invalid, because you can’t judge buildings by pictures). A study of courthouse architecture determined that “[our] findings agree with consistent findings that architects misjudge public likely public impressions of a design, and that most non-architects dislike “modern” design and have done so for almost a century.”

Yet 92% of new federal government buildings are modern. So I think there’s a genuine mystery to be explained here: if people prefer traditional architecture by a large margin, how come we’ve stopped producing it?

Read the whole thing, which reads like an extension of Tom Wolfe’s 1981 book, From Bauhaus to Our House. As Wolfe wrote:

The compounds—whether the Cubists, Fauvists, Futurists, or Secessionists—had a natural tendency to be esoteric, to generate theories and forms that would baffle the bourgeoisie. The most perfect device, they soon discovered, was painting, composing, designing in code. The peculiar genius of the early Cubists, such as Braque and Picasso, was not in creating “new ways of seeing” but in creating visual codes for the esoteric theories of their compound. For example, the Cubist technique of painting a face in cartoon profile, with both eyes on the same side of the nose, illustrated two theories: (1) the theory of flatness, derived from Braque’s notion that a painting was nothing more than a certain arrangement of colors and forms on a flat surface; and (2) the theory of simultaneity, derived from discoveries in the new field of stereoptics indicating that a person sees an object from two angles simultaneously. In music, Arnold Schoenberg began experiments in mathematically coded music that proved baffling to most other composers, let alone the bourgeoisie—and were all the more irresistible for it, in the new age of art compound.

Composers, artists, or architects in a compound began to have the instincts of the medieval clergy, much of whose activity was devoted exclusively to separating itself from the mob. For mob, substitute bourgeoisie—and here you have the spirit of avant-gardism in the twentieth century. Once inside a compound, an artist became part of a clerisy, to use an old term for an intelligentsia with clerical presumptions.

Alexander asks, “92% of new federal government buildings are modern. So I think there’s a genuine mystery to be explained here: if people prefer traditional architecture by a large margin, how come we’ve stopped producing it?”

Hey, the previous president tried to right this aesthetic debacle, but in late February, as the Politico noted, “Biden tosses Trump’s classical architecture order:”

Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to favor classical architecture got the ax on Wednesday as part of a sweeping scrapping of Trump-era executive orders by President Joe Biden.

Trump’s executive order in December, titled “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture,” disparaged the modernist architectural styles of some federal buildings as “ugly” and a jarring contrast with local architectural styles. The Trump administration hailed Greco-Roman-inspired buildings as an important homage to democracy in antiquity.

The executive order, signed in the final moments of the Trump presidency, promptly met condemnation from architects as aesthetically myopic, though it had relatively weak enforcement. The order only placed a preference for classical styles in future buildings and did not outright ban brutalism.

The lede of the article was “Brutalists, rejoice!”

Rejoice in stylish, handsome buildings that look like this:

Headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, The J. Edgar Hoover Building at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 23, 2017. Construction finished in September 1975, and President Gerald Ford dedicated the structure on September 30, 1975. (AP Photo/NewsBase)

Because Trump despised brutalism, knowing that the vast majority of the public did as well , and because the media moved in a reflexive lockstep against him, he had Slate defending Brutalism with this classic 2018 moment: “Of Course Trump Hates Brutalism — Buildings like the FBI headquarters are everything Trump is not.”

I’m not sure how he ever recovered from that comparison.

STARLINK UPDATE: Here’s what I got just now, pretty typical:

Generally, speeds have been pretty stable — sometimes a bit higher than this, up to about 300mbps plus a little occasionally, seldom below 120mbps though occasionally dipping down to 60-70 in a storm. Upload speeds seem to have been edging up, and ping times edging down overall, probably because of increasing numbers of satellites.

Overall, much better performance than my wired Comcast/Xfiniti service, though certainly not as good as you’d get with a fiber connection. On the other hand, won’t go out when someone digs up the fiber (as happened to a friend of mine the other day) and won’t go out in a blackout extended enough to outlast the battery backups in the various cable-system electronics.

It’s really designed for rural customers, of course, who can’t get fiber or cable. I’m just in on the beta test because it’s cool.

PROFESSOR CARRINGTON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Official Sources Warn a Geomagnetic Storm Is Imminent, So Get Ready For Auroras.

THE VIRTUE SIGNAL GAME SEEMS MORE LIKE REALITY THAN A GAME: You can still get all the games on sale here. They make fun gifts for those in your life who would get the humor or maybe even better for those who don’t.

GOOD ADVICE:

NEWS FROM 1982: Smoke from nuclear war would trigger massive climate change.

DON SURBER: The End Game of the Election Audits. “The audits are not going to overturn the 2020 election. We all know this. But this is not about 2020. It is about 2024.”

HMM: Allergic stimulation activates mast cell precursor cells. “Mast cell precursors are extremely rare in healthy individuals, but their frequency increases during inflammation, which later causes an increase in mature mast cells. It is well documented that mast cells increase with many types of inflammatory diseases.”

GOOD NEWS FOR MY INDUSTRY: The Fall 2022 Law School Admissions Season Opens With A Bang: Applicants Are Up 15%.

THEY’RE NOT JUST TOOLS OF THE REGIME, THEY’RE ALSO JUST TOOLS: WaPo Tries a Bogus Peter Doocy Narrative to Deflect from CNN’s Shameful Cuomo Media Scandal.

IT’S ON: John Stossel Suing Facebook Fact-Checkers for Defamation.

TRUST BUT VERIFY: Function-Checking Your Guns.

I LOVE THIS COUNTRY: The ‘F*** Joe Biden’ Chant Is EVERYWHERE.

GIULIANI’S NEW YORK IS DEAD; DEMOCRATS KILLED IT: ‘City of the Walking Dead:’ Junkies shoot up in broad daylight in Midtown.

HMM: Study: Insulin resistance doubles risk for depression, even without diabetes.

You know what fights insulin resistance? Weight training.

IT WAS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE WOULD BE NO MATH: Biden Bizarrely (and Falsely) Claims His $3.5 Trillion Spending Agenda Has a Price Tag of ‘Zero.’

DON’T GET COCKY: Odds for a Republican Takeover of the Senate Keep Getting Better. “A more fired-up Republican base has already coalesced behind Herschel Walker and the crossover vote favors him, as well.”

ROLLING BACK THE WOKE IDIOCY, ONE STATUE AT A TIME: The “Forward!” statue — photographed by me, yesterday — is back in its place of honor at the State Street corner of the Wisconsin Capitol Square.

Related: The statue of Hans Christian Heg, restored to its place of honor at the Wisconsin Capitol.

It’s nice to see this idiocy undone, but it’s disgraceful that it was allowed to reign at all.

STRAY VOLTAGE: Latest Media Lie: Border Patrol Agents “Charged at” Those Poor Illegal Aliens.

It’s one thing when the media misses a key detail, or mishears a quote, or otherwise craps the bed. That’s just reporters screwing up. But this whole “whipping” thing is a deliberate lie. And now that the lie has been exposed, the media is workshopping alternate lies to replace it. It’s all garbage. Those Border Patrol agents did nothing wrong.

If you tell the truth about Hunter Biden’s laptop, you get banned by Silicon Valley. If you lie about the Border Patrol, you get quoted by the president.

If politicians and “journalists” will lie about what you’ve seen with your own eyes, what else will they lie about? An entire generation has been taught there’s no such thing as objective reality, and this is what happens when they enter the workforce.

Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

 

THIS IS COOL: SpaceX satellite signals used like GPS to pinpoint location on Earth.

MEDIA FINALLY NAILS BIDEN ADMIN ON FALSE CBP STORY, ASKS WHY THEY DON’T HAVE WALL:

Mayorkas finally got a rather obvious and long overdue question from the media. Fox’s Chris Wallace asked him why weren’t they building a wall to stop an obvious stream of people crossing, as happened in Del Rio? Suddenly, Wallace realized when he saw the pictures, how the wall can have great utility.

“It is the policy of this administration: we do not agree with the building of the wall,” Mayorkas said. “The law provides that individuals can make a claim for humanitarian relief. That is actually one of our proudest traditions.”

Apparently entering illegally is a “proud tradition” to the Biden administration.

As David Frum tweeted in 2018 regarding the left hurling the F-bomb at the Trump administration, “If liberals insist that enforcing borders is a job only fascists will do, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won’t.” And American voters on the right have gotten used to be called fascists at election time for over 70 years. (By those wishing to impose socialism on a national scale, curiously enough.)

“It is the policy of this administration: we do not agree with the building of the wall,” might be very good GOP soundbite material for the midterms and/or the presidential election cycle.

PLAYING BY THE LEFT’S NEW RULES: FedEx Driver Announces He Won’t Deliver to People Supporting Biden or BLM in Viral TikTok Video.

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING: John Hinckley, Who Shot President Reagan, to Be Granted Unconditional Release. “The Justice Department agreed to a settlement but will monitor Hinckley for nine months to ensure he remains mentally stable, as he will be living on his own for the first time in about 40 years and because one of his primary doctors is set to retire and dissolve Hinckley’s therapy group. The department said it would file a motion with the court before June if it had new concerns, according to NPR.”

I’D LIKE TO DRIVE AROUND THE COUNTRY in a GM Futurliner.

UM…: Chernobyl’s Blown Up Reactor 4 Just Woke Up. “Scientists don’t understand why.”

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