Archive for the ‘Biden, Joe’ Category

Biden promises “an incredible transition” from fossil fuels…

May 25, 2022

Translation: Suck it up and pay at the pumps.
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Let’s go to the verbatim:

When it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.

Here’s the video:

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Gotta love it when Biden goes off the teleprompter and blurts the truth.

> What most people surmised: not only does he not care about the spike in energy costs, his handlers have convinced him that it’s a good thing since it’ll force people to buy $60k EVs, ride “safe” subways, and lace-up their walking shoes.

> The cost is certain and immediate — especially to lower and middle-class Americans — and the hypothetical benefits are disputable and, at best, decades off.

See 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change … and Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

> But, it’s worth the certain pain since “we’ll be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”

> Biden’s caveat: “GOD WILLING”

================

That makes me feel a lot better, Joe.

Musk tags Biden: “Anchorman”

May 19, 2022

It would be funny if it weren’t so true … and so sad.
==============

Remember when Trump tagged Jeb Bush as being “low energy”?

Those 2 words effectively ended Bush’s well-funded, well-staffed run for the presidency.

That gets us to Musk’s musings about Biden.

In less then a minute, Musk shredded Biden … saying out loud what we’ve all been thinking.

Referencing  the classic comedy “Anchorman”, Musk opined that the real president is whoever loads the teleprompter … in effect, labeling Biden as “Anchorman”.

Flashback: In “Anchorman”, Will Ferrell plays Ron Burgundy –  a buffoonish. clueless TV newsman — who simply reads whatever shows up on his teleprompter … with often shockingly  hilarious results.

Here’s the 1-minute clip … well worth watching.

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Musk’s shots-across-the-bow:

  • “It’s hard to tell what Biden is doing to be totally frank.”
  • “The real president is whoever controls the teleprompter. The path to power is the path to the teleprompter.”
  • “I do feel like if somebody were to accidentally lean on the teleprompter, it’s going to be like ‘Anchorman.’
  • “Biden is being held captive by the “Squad”, unions and trial lawyers — unlike Barack Obama, who was quite reasonable”
  • “The Trump administration, leaving Trump aside, there were a lot of people in his administration who were effective at getting things done.”
  • Biden’s administration, doesn’t seem to get a lot done. It doesn’t seem to have the drive to just get stuff done. That’s my impression.”

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Musk’s observations are an “Emperor’s new clothes” moment.

Next time you see Biden at a podium or on the fake oval office set, just think of Ron Burgundy.

Then, things will make a lot more sense.

Elon may have rung a bell that can’t be unrung…

=============

Again, the 1-minute clip is well worth watching.

Fail: Getting reimbursed for Covid in-home test kits…

May 2, 2022

But President Biden promised…
=============

Flashback to January when Covid was running rampant.

Belatedly (as usual), President Biden announced a 2-pronged “bold” program to get “free” Covid testing kits into the homes of all Americans.

Prong #1: Distribute 500 million testing kits via the USPS.

Prong #2: Require all insurance companies to reimburse for kits purchased at retail.

===============

We previously posted about #1 — the “free” test kits that Joe was going to send right to my mailbox.

For the gory details, see:

Here comes the USPS … with 500 million free test kits

Hey Joe, Where are my test kits?

Joe says my free test kits are in the mail…

In a nutshell…

At the time time of Joe’s announcement (mid- January), nasty cold & flu symptoms were hitting my family. We wanted to test for Covid but didn’t want to stand in a line with other potentially contagious people.

On the first possible day (Jan.18), I ordered our gov’t supplied test kits … promised delivery in 7 to 10 days.

They finally arrived in mid-February, long after our family symptoms had passed …and as the Covid rampage was starting to wane.

But…

============

Being a belt & suspenders kinda guy,  I backstopped Joe’s mail program with prong #2 and bought some test kits at Costco … expecting, since Joe promised, that I’d be reimbursed by one of my 3 health insurers (Medicare, Blue Cross & Shield, UHC – Rx).

The good news: the Costco supplied test kits arrived in the mail a day or 2 later.

The rest of the program (the reimbursement part) was, as I largely expected, a complete train wreck.

Let me explain…

(more…)

Manchin for President?

April 20, 2022

Conspiracy scenarios to shelve Sleepy Joe.
=============

This headline caught my eye:

image

According to CNBC:

A group of his bipartisan donors have privately said they hope Manchin changes parties and runs for president as a Republican against Biden in 2024.

Some of the donors, who once supported Trump, look at Manchin and his stances against some of his party’s policies as someone who could successfully run in a Republican primary and then possibly defeat Biden.

Hmm.

A couple hurdles: (1) Winning the GOP primary (against, say, Trump or DeSantis) and (2) Facing a more formidable Dem candidate than Old Joe if he was the GOP candidate (though I can’t think of one off the top-of-my mind).

OK, scratch that idea.

=============

Here’s a quicker path to the Presidency for Manchin:

1. GOP takes the House and Senate in November.

2. Dems throw Harris under the bus … She graciously resigns as VP and takes a cushy position as Ambassador to Slobovia (Note: Would have to promise her that she wouldn’t have to really go there or do any work) … or give her a lifetime appointment as a Federal judge in California (Note: Try to contain the damage there).

3. Biden’s puppeteers cajole him to nominate Manchin to replace Harris as VP … GOP majority Congress approves the pick.

4. Biden gets slapped with the 25th Amendment (Note: odds are good that he wouldn’t have seen that coming in the prior steps)

5. Senator Manchin becomes President Manchin.

6. President Manchin nominates another moderate Dem (again, I can’t think of one off the top of my head) to re-fill his vacated VP slot.

7. Manchin runs against DeSantis in 2024 … best candidate wins.

==============

OK, there’s no chance of either scenario materializing … but, you gotta give me credit for creativity and admit that it would be fun to watch.

WSJ: The global elite has an unhealthy obsession with climate change.

April 18, 2022

And, the “fixation” has consequences.
=============

For a long time, I’ve been lukewarm on the climate control hysteria … and recently, I’ve argued that Putin’s nukes pose a more likely (and timely) existential risk than climate change

See: 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change and Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

On cue, the WSJ published a great minds, same track opinion piece:

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Russia’s invasion should be a wake-up call that war is still a serious danger that requires democratic nations’ attention.

Nuclear weapons — not climate change — are posing the biggest risk of literal mutually assured destruction in half a century.

More broadly they opine:

There are many serious threats in the world today.

But most won’t get the attention they deserve until the political classes drop their hyperbole about climate change

It should be treated like what it actually is — only one of the many problems to be solved in the 21st century.

in the world’s poorest countries, the international community’s focus on putting up solar panels coexists with a woeful underinvestment in solutions to massive existing problems.

Beyond the nuclear geopolitical threats are infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria that kill millions; malnutrition that afflicts almost a billion people; and more than three billion lack access to any form of reliable energy.

Couldn’t have said it better…

Biden channels Meatloaf (again)…

April 14, 2022

He did it again in this week’s Iowa speech

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Shades of the late, great Meatloaf…

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Everybody remembers the Meatloaf classic, right?

The tease:” I would do anything for love”

The punch line”: “But I won’t do that !”

If you need a a refresher or just want to kick back and
listen to an all- time great song, clock here

image
click to listen

==============

Biden (and Psaki) have appropriated a variant of the Meatloaf classic.

Now, every time Joe steps behind the podium, he squints and reads a version of:

Gas prices are high and are going to go higher because of Putin.

I feel your pain and, rest assured, I will use all the tools available to minimize the prices at the pump.

Anything” in Biden-speak includes plays at the margin like temporarily waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax, releasing some of the strategic oil reserves and diluting gas with corn mash (aka ethanol).

Reading between the lines is the punch line “But I won’t do that.”

What are the won’t-do-thats?

Well, for openers there are:

  • Buildout the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Enable aggressive fracking (again)
  • Re-open drilling in the Alaskan ANWR Region
  • Fast track off-shore licensing
  • Permanently disable the Nord Stream pipelines (both the NS1 that’s in operation and the NS2 that’s awaiting for final approval)

Those are moves that stand a chance of moderating inflation pressures in the U.S., slowing the flow of oil profits to Putin, providing some oil & LNG to Russian-dependent European countries and restoring. U.S. energy independence.

But, of course, Biden “… won’t do that”

The AOC “squad” and the climate control zealots won’t let him.

Too bad…

WaPo perplexed by Hunter Biden cover-up … say, what?

April 6, 2022

Paper mulls: Why was the Hunter Biden story buried in the run-up to the 2020 election?
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Duh!

Let’s recap the story…

In October 2020 (i.e. a month before the election), the NY Post broke a story that a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden had surfaced which contained emails and other documentation that Hunter had “earned” millions of dollars by trading on his father’s name and political clout … with the Ukrainians and Chinese.

The story was conveniently ignored or dismissed by Biden-supporting media (i.e. all but the NY Post and Fox) as “Russian misinformation”.

A couple dozen “intelligence officials”  lent credence to the disinformation claim in an open letter …   though many of them admitted they had no evidence of Russian involvement.

So, the story was effectively blacked out … Twitter banned the NY Post and squashed posts that referenced the laptop story … Facebook’s algorithms buried the story.

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But, last month — a year and a half after the NYP’s story broke — the New York Times published an article indicating that they had confirmed that the laptop story was essentially true … and that there was hard evidence that Hunter had been profiting by trading on his father’s position as then-VP.

Holy Smokes, Batman … America’s self-proclaimed newspaper of record says there’s fire under the smoke.

Following the Times’ authentication, the Washington Post apparently felt some need to dig into the story and “discovered” evidence of Hunter’s misdeeds.

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Apparently, those revelations stirred some ethical angst at WaPo … whose editors wrote a mea culpa of sorts:

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A “reckoning”?

The editorial fessed that the essence of the laptop story was true … but, it threw shade, arguing that Joe was oblivious to Hunter’s alleged misdeeds … and, articulated a journalistic dilemma:

The lesson learned from 2016 was evidently to err on the side of setting aside questionable material in the heat of a political campaign.

The lesson learned from 2020 may well be that there’s also a danger of suppressing accurate and relevant stories.

Who could have ever imagined that suppressing accurate and relevant stories might pose a danger?

What kind of danger?

Tilting an election to the media’s candidate of choice? Away from a candidate that they loathed?

==============

For the record

After the election, Democrats who voted for Biden were polled.

> More than 1/3 (36%) said that they didn’t know about the Hunter laptop and his influence peddling

> Of the “know nothings” about 1 in 8 (12.7%) said that they “would not have voted for Joe Biden had they known this story”.

> Doing the math, that means that 4.6% of all Democrats wouldn’t have voted for Biden if  they were aware of the story

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Remind me: What was Biden’s margin of victory in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin?

And WaPo — channeling George Costanza — asks: Was it wrong to to bury a story that might have turned an election?

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

March 24, 2022

Putin is the clear & present danger … so, unleash our oil & gas industry, Joe.
=============

Business leaders are now pushing Biden for an “Energy Marshall Plan” … to mobilize U.S. oil & gas companies for energy independence and export capacity.

Here’s what they’re thinking…

Analytically speaking, risk assessment boils down to a couple of decision criteria:

> How immediate is the threat?

> How severe are the potential consequences?

> How likely are the consequences?

> How might mitigation change the odds?

Applying these risk assessment criteria, the answer to the headlined question is pretty clear (to me).

Putin is demonstrably a clear, present, proven and potentially nuclear danger.

Just turn on your TV to watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Putin is maniacal (and probably crazy), determined and has planet-destroying nuclear weapons that he might use if he’s cornered.

The climate change threat is murky (sorry, but the science is even more unsettled than it is on Covid) and prospective (decades off) … with asserted and uncertain long-term consequences.

Bottom line: If the choice is binary, Putin must be stopped ASAP.

If the Putin and climate threats need to be “balanced”, then the scale should be tilted to stopping Putin.

Putin is clearly the more immediate threat.

Climate control can wait.

Let’s go through the decision criteria…

=============

THREAT ASSESSMENT

Immediacy 

The Putin threat is happening now.  Just turn on your TV right and watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Even climate control zealots concede that its potential “existential threat” from climate change is decades away.

=============

Severity

Climate control zealots say that, unchecked by draconian mitigation, the planet will be a degree or two warmer in 50 years … and that’s enough to end life as we know it.

Let’s assume that’s true.

Some might argue that the Putin threat is localized and contained.

The Ukraine invasion is tragic and sad, but c’mon man, it’s just Ukraine.

Once Putin gets to the Polish border, the U.N. and NATO will stop him in his tracks.

Might be true.

But, what if Putin is, in fact, crazy and, when cornered, he starts lobbing nukes.

Suddenly, we’re looking at a level of global destruction that gives climate change a run for its money.

==============

Likelihood

So, what is the likelihood that climate change puts planetary existence at risk?

Sure, clean energy beats dirty energy and a green mindset makes sense.

But, the case for climate change ending the planet’s existence is a reach.

It is disputable whether the “data is clear” and that “the science is settled” on the consequences of climate change.

For details, see 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change

Personally, I’d score the likelihood of Putin unleashing planet-destroying nukes higher than a climate existential threat.

Update: Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a dire appeal for help as Russia’s attacks across the country intensified and the Russians set afire the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

In Zelensky’s words: “The end of the world has arrived.” 

=============

Mitigation

This is where things get dicey.

I’m confident that the U.S. will become increasingly green.

That’s a good thing.

I believe that American ingenuity and technology will — sometime and somehow over the next 50 years — provide game-changing climate control remedies.

But, as Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, has warned

Some ecologists and politicians urge for a hasty energy transition, yet it requires an unrealistically fast launch of renewable energy sources and faces issues with storage, ensuring reliability and stability of power generation. WSJ

And, to this point, climate control initiatives in the U.S. and Europe have largely been virtue signaling … outsourcing fossil fuel production to other countries (most notably Russia!) … putting the U.S. and Europe in a vulnerable security position.

Question: Is Russian oil cleaner than U.S. or Canadian oil?

Answer: Nope!

So, the pivotal question is how to “mitigate” the Putin threat.

Well, maybe Putin can be jawboned and shunned … and will come to his senses and rein in  his destructive tendencies.

My opinion: Odds of that are essentially zero.

Maybe the rational Russian people will rise up and take him out.

I’m betting the under on that one, too

Let’s try diplomacy.

How’s then been working out?

Not to worry, NATO will ultimately use military force to contain the Putin risk at the Polish border.

English translation: NATO nations will encourage the U.S. to kick Putin’s ass when the time comes

Military containment might be doable … but, at a high cost with the incumbent risk that a crazy Putin starts a nuclear war.

=============

So what to do?

Oh yeah, there are other Putin-mitigating options.

How about draining his war-mongering financial resources with sanctions?

In logic-speak: necessary but not sufficient … especially since the current sanctions explicitly rule out any transactions related to the flow of Russian oil.

According to Biden’s Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh:

“To be clear, our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world” Source

Say, what?

Bottom line: The only non-military way to cripple Putin’s war mongering is to use U.S. oil & gas production as a geo-political strategic tool … the geo-political strategic tool!

As one right-leaning pundit puts it:

Putin’s power comes from money, most of Putin’s money comes from oil and gas.

It stands to reason that if you’re trying to punish him, hitting him in the wallet is the most effective way to do it.

So why would our President specifically exempt what is the best, most effective, and really only significant way to hurt Putin in way that might impact his behavior?

Of course, there’s an explanation…

Biden is boxed by his party’s far left climate control zealots.

Nonetheless, as we’ve said before:

It’s time to reprioritize energy security and independence by unleashing U.S. oil & gas production!

He has to do an objective risk assessment (see above), stiff-arm his parity’s uber-left loons, restore U.S. energy superiority by unleashing our oil & gas industry.

It’s as simple as that!

 

Is Europe toast?

March 22, 2022

Putin’s Ukraine invasion has forced a long overdue realization that reality bites.
=============

Western European NATO nations have dug themselves into two very deep holes.

First, they have green-thought themselves into energy dependence on Russia … largely by declaring nuclear and non-Russian fossil fuels to be existential threats.

Second, they have de-prioritized security and grossly underspent on their own defense … apparently assuming that Putin’s Russia and China were just misunderstood nice guys … and that, worst case, the U.S. would swoop in and save them (again).

Brings to mind an old saying regarding the French: “We’ve saved their asses twice and they still haven’t forgiven us.”

=============

Let’s take first things first…

Regarding the European energy hole, Kimberly Strassel wrote in the WSJ:

The Europeans have embraced the climate religion with a fervor to rival Bernie Sanders.

Yet Mr. Putin’s shocking violence in Ukraine — his willingness to wield energy as a weapon — sobered the Continent overnight.

No one is giving up on renewables, but nobody is any longer pretending they are the basis of energy reliability or security.

Fossil fuels will remain for decades a currency of global power, and Russia’s invasion highlights the stupidity of being broke.

Strassel offers evidence that European nations seem to have gotten the message:

Germany’s is stockpiling coal and expediting terminals for liquefied natural gas.

Europe is working to get more gas through pipelines from Norway and Azerbaijan.

Poland plans new nuclear plants.

The U.K. may restart onshore fracking and ramp up North Sea drilling.

Norway plans to expand Arctic exploration.

Of course, Europe would now be willing to replace all of their Russian oil & gas with U.S. produced oil & gas … but, Joe says “no”

Apparently, he still hasn’t gotten the message … .

See: Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

But, Biden does seem to eventually follow Europe’s leads — albeit with a frustratingly long time-delay — so there’s still faint hope.

Dilbert asks: "Who wants a bully in the White House?"

March 14, 2022

Is it really better to have a groveler-in-chief dealing with our adversaries?
============

Over the weekend, Bill Maher made news by asking a simple question:

image

Maher’s question reminded me of the above headlined post from the  HomaFiles archives, circa 2016 …

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During the 2016 Presidential campaign, cartoonist Scott Adams hit the nail on the head on his Dilbert blog

Adams observed that, during the campaign, Hillary’s constant refrain was that we can’t have a loose cannon bully in the White House.

Of course, Dems and their media friends kept that notion front-burnered during the campaign.

clip_image002

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Adams cut to the chase on on “Dangerous Trump”:

(more…)

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

March 4, 2022

Putin is the clear & present danger … so, unleash our oil & gas industry, Joe.
=============

Analytically speaking, risk assessment boils down to a couple of decision criteria:

> How immediate is the threat?

> How severe are the potential consequences?

> How likely are the consequences?

> How might mitigation change the odds?

Applying these risk assessment criteria, the answer to the headlined question is pretty clear (to me).

Putin is demonstrably a clear, present, proven and potentially nuclear danger.

Just turn on your TV to watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Putin is maniacal (and probably crazy), determined and has planet-destroying nuclear weapons that he might use if he’s cornered.

The climate change threat is murky (sorry, but the science is even more unsettled than it is on Covid) and prospective (decades off) … with asserted and uncertain long-term consequences.

Bottom line: If the choice is binary, Putin must be stopped ASAP.

If the Putin and climate threats need to be “balanced”, then the scale should be tilted to stopping Putin.

Putin is clearly the more immediate threat.

Climate control can wait.

Let’s go through the decision criteria…

=============

THREAT ASSESSMENT

Immediacy 

The Putin threat is happening now.  Just turn on your TV right and watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Even climate control zealots concede that its potential “existential threat” from climate change is decades away.

=============

Severity

Climate control zealots say that, unchecked by draconian mitigation, the planet will be a degree or two warmer in 50 years … and that’s enough to end life as we know it.

Let’s assume that’s true.

Some might argue that the Putin threat is localized and contained.

The Ukraine invasion is tragic and sad, but c’mon man, it’s just Ukraine.

Once Putin gets to the Polish border, the U.N. and NATO will stop him in his tracks.

Might be true.

But, what if Putin is, in fact, crazy and, when cornered, he starts lobbing nukes.

Suddenly, we’re looking at a level of global destruction that gives climate change a run for its money.

==============

Likelihood

So, what is the likelihood that climate change puts planetary existence at risk?

Sure, clean energy beats dirty energy and a green mindset makes sense.

But, the case for climate change ending the planet’s existence is a reach.

It is disputable whether the “data is clear” and that “the science is settled” on the consequences of climate change.

For details, see 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change

Personally, I’d score the likelihood of Putin unleashing planet-destroying nukes higher than a climate existential threat.

Update: Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a dire appeal for help as Russia’s attacks across the country intensified and the Russians set afire the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

In Zelensky’s words: “The end of the world has arrived.” 

=============

Mitigation

This is where things get dicey.

I’m confident that the U.S. will become increasingly green.

That’s a good thing.

I believe that American ingenuity and technology will — sometime and somehow over the next 50 years — provide game-changing climate control remedies.

But, as Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, has warned

Some ecologists and politicians urge for a hasty energy transition, yet it requires an unrealistically fast launch of renewable energy sources and faces issues with storage, ensuring reliability and stability of power generation. WSJ

And, to this point, climate control initiatives in the U.S. and Europe have largely been virtue signaling … outsourcing fossil fuel production to other countries (most notably Russia!) … putting the U.S. and Europe in a vulnerable security position.

Question: Is Russian oil cleaner than U.S. or Canadian oil?

Answer: Nope!

So, the pivotal question is how to “mitigate” the Putin threat.

Well, maybe Putin can be jawboned and shunned … and will come to his senses and rein in  his destructive tendencies.

My opinion: Odds of that are essentially zero.

Maybe the rational Russian people will rise up and take him out.

I’m betting the under on that one, too

Let’s try diplomacy.

How’s then been working out?

Not to worry, NATO will ultimately use military force to contain the Putin risk at the Polish border.

English translation: NATO nations will encourage the U.S. to kick Putin’s ass when the time comes

Military containment might be doable … but, at a high cost with the incumbent risk that a crazy Putin starts a nuclear war.

=============

So what to do?

Oh yeah, there are other Putin-mitigating options.

How about draining his war-mongering financial resources with sanctions?

In logic-speak: necessary but not sufficient … especially since the current sanctions explicitly rule out any transactions related to the flow of Russian oil.

According to Biden’s Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh:

“To be clear, our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world” Source

Say, what?

Bottom line: The only non-military way to cripple Putin’s war mongering is to use U.S. oil & gas production as a geo-political strategic tool … the geo-political strategic tool!

As one right-leaning pundit puts it:

Putin’s power comes from money, most of Putin’s money comes from oil and gas.

It stands to reason that if you’re trying to punish him, hitting him in the wallet is the most effective way to do it.

So why would our President specifically exempt what is the best, most effective, and really only significant way to hurt Putin in way that might impact his behavior?

Of course, there’s an explanation…

Biden is boxed by his party’s far left climate control zealots.

Nonetheless, as we’ve said before:

It’s time to reprioritize energy security and independence by unleashing U.S. oil & gas production!

He has to do an objective risk assessment (see above), stiff-arm his parity’s uber-left loons, restore U.S. energy superiority by unleashing our oil & gas industry.

It’s as simple as that!

 

Biden: “Next week, you can order more free Covid test kits”

March 3, 2022

During his SOTU address, Biden made another game-changing announcement:

Starting next week, we can all order another set of “free” Covid tests at COVIDtests.gov

Hmm.

You may remember my whining that the ones I ordered — when Omicron was raging — took several weeks to arrive … after Omicron peaked and stated to ebb.

A friend of mine ordered on the first day (Jan. 18) and received her’s on Monday … just as she was following CDC guidance and ditching her mask.

Omicron is pretty much in the history books, so why is Biden offering free tests now?

It’s not because a new variant has been ID’ed that might spread wildly.

If there were such a variant, the CDC wouldn’t have “guided” us to ditch our masks, right?

So, what’s up?

Simple: OVERSTOCK.

The original Biden offering was 500 million test kits.

Turns out that take-up has been low.

To date, folks have only ordered about 1/2 of the 500 million tests.

So basically, Biden is running a clearance sale to get rid of the inventory he’s holding for a product that he’s giving away for free.

Reminds me of the Mr. Pillow guy…

=============

P.S. Have you tried to get reimbursed for a store bought test kit?

Joe promised that insurance companies would reimburse for them.

I’ve got Medicare, a Supplement and an Rx plan.

So far, all 3 are claiming that it’s the other guy’s responsibility.

Apparently they didn’t get Joe’s memo.

I’ll keep you posted…

Biden: Staying the course after a successful first year … say, what?

March 2, 2022

One chart continues to say it all…
=============

In case you missed it, Biden’ SOTU wasn’t a “reset” … it was a serving of refried beans.

  • Rooting for the Ukrainians … from the sidelines
  • Reaffirmed the sagacity of diplomatically “leading from behind” … despite the brutal outcomes
  • Determined to kill oil & gas … unless it’s produced in Russia and fuels Putin’s atrocities
  • Asserted that inflation is caused by greedy companies … certainly not out-of-control spending and constraints on energy production
  • Still wants to throw more money at more things.

In other words: same old, same old.

=============

Raises an obvious question:

Is Biden unaware that the dogs aren’t eating the dog food?

Current RCP poll-of-polls says that less than 30% of the country thinks that Joe is taking the country in the right direction.

image

Time for a “reset”?

No way, it’s time to stay the course…

Yipes!

==============

P.S. Did you notice?

> Biden’s didn’t showcase his chief political scientist, Anthony Fauci at his SOTU speech.

> In a passionate call to support Ukraine, mistakenly referred to Ukrainians as “Iranians.”

For the record, I thought that he said “Uraniums”.

Supporters are claiming that the gaffe is attributable to his childhood stutter. Axios

 

Biden: “As promised, I crushed the virus … and you can take your masks off”

March 1, 2022

Will he dare to say that?
==============

It’s ok to cheer on the latter point.

Miraculously, the science changed last week … and the CDC was able to issue new guidance that let’s most people (including school kids!) to toss their masks.

About a year late and, coincidentally, just in time for Biden’s SOTU address.

Whatever.

Let’s cheer the revised guidance!

==============

But, what about the broader claim: “I crushed the virus”?

Remember when Biden taunted that Trump was responsible for all the Covid deaths while he was president?

Soon America will have accumulated 1 million Covid-tagged deaths … currently at 973.119 and counting.

I doubt that Biden will point out that the majority of the deaths have happened under his watch … despite Trump handing him 2 approved vaccines that were in production and ready for distribution.

image

=============

And, I doubt that Biden will mention CNN’s headline:

image

Point-of-fact, almost 1,500 people are still succoring to Covid-tagged deaths each day … many because Biden had put the development and distribution of therapeutic drugs on the back-burner.

==============

And, I doubt that he’ll mention that his CDC was forced to admit that it had been hiding data on Covid hospitalizations, vaccine effectiveness and breakthrough infections … politically fearing that the information might be “misinterpreted” by non-government scientists … and the public at large.

image

============

Finally, I doubt that that Biden will spotlight the Johns Hopkins study that concluded:

Lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality.

But, they imposed enormous economic and social costs.

==============

Bottom line: We’re finally at a good spot on Covid … but I’ll cringe if Biden claims that he “crushed the virus”.

We’ll see if “Straight- shooting” Joe shoots straight on this one.

Greater threat to the planet: Putin or climate change?

February 28, 2022

Putin is the clear & present danger … so, unleash our oil & gas industry, Joe.
=============

Analytically speaking, risk assessment boils down to a couple of decision criteria:

> How immediate is the threat?

> How severe are the potential consequences?

> How likely are the consequences?

> How might mitigation change the odds?

Applying these risk assessment criteria, the answer to the headlined question is pretty clear (to me).

Putin is demonstrably a clear, present, proven and potentially nuclear danger.

Just turn on your TV to watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

He’s maniacal (and probably crazy), determined and has planet-destroying nuclear weapons that he might use if he’s cornered.

The climate change threat is murky and prospective (decades off) … with uncertain but potentially severe consequences.

Bottom line: If the choice is binary, Putin must be stopped ASAP.

If the threats need to be “balanced”, then the scale should be tilted to stopping Putin.

Putin is clearly the more immediate threat.

Climate control can wait.

Let’s go through the decision criteria…

=============

THREAT ASSESSMENT

Immediacy 

The Putin threat is happening now.  Just turn on your TV right now and watch the slaughter of innocent people and the destruction of a nation and a culture.

Even climate control zealots concede that its potential “existential threat” is decades away.

=============

Severity

Climate control zealots say that, unchecked by draconian mitigation, the planet will be a degree or two warmer in 50 years … and that’s enough to end life as we know it.

Let’s assume that’s true.

Some might argue that the Putin threat is localized and contained..

The Ukraine invasion is tragic and sad, but c’mon man, it’s just Ukraine.

Once Putin gets to the Polish border, the U.N. and NATO will stop him in his tracks.

Might be true.

But, what if Putin is, in fact, crazy and, when cornered, he starts lobbing nukes.

Suddenly, we’re looking at a level of global destruction that gives climate change a run for its money.

==============

Likelihood

So, what is the likelihood that planetary existence at risk?

Sure, clean energy beats dirty energy and a green mindset makes sense.

But, the case for climate change ending the planet’s existence is a reach.

It is disputable whether the “data is clear” and  “the science is settled” on the consequences of climate change.

For details, see 16 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change

Personally, I’d score the likelihood of Putin unleashing planet-destroying nukes higher than a climate existential threat.

=============

Mitigation

This is where things get dicey.

I’m confident that the U.S. will become increasing green.

That’s a good thing.

I believe that American ingenuity and technology will — sometime and somehow over the next 50 years — provide game-changing climate control remedies.

But, as Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, has warned

Some ecologists and politicians urge for a hasty energy transition, yet it requires an unrealistically fast launch of renewable energy sources and faces issues with storage, ensuring reliability and stability of power generation. WSJ

And, to this point, climate control initiatives in the U.S. and Europe have largely been virtue signaling … outsourcing fossil fuel production to other countries (including Russia!) … leaving the U.S. and Europe vulnerable.

So, the pivotal question is how to “mitigate” the Putin threat.

Well, maybe Putin will come to his senses and self-control his destructive tendencies.

Odds of that are essentially zero,

Maybe the rational Russian people will rise up and take him out.

I’m betting the under on that one, too

Let’s try diplomacy.

How’s then been working out?

Not to worry, NATO will ultimately use military force to contain the Putin risk.

English translation: NATO nations will encourage the U.S. to kick Putin’s ass.

Military containment might be doable … but, at a high cost with the incumbent risk that a crazy Putin starts a nuclear war.

=============

So what to do?

Oh yeah, there are other Putin-mitigating options.

How about draining his war-mongering financial resources with sanctions?

In logic-speak: necessary but not sufficient … especially since the current sanctions explicitly rule out any transactions related to the flow of Russian oil.

According to Biden’s Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh:

“To be clear, our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world” Source

Say, what?

Bottom line: The only non-lethal way  to cripple Putin’s war mongering is to use U.S. oil & gas production as a geo-political strategic tool … the geo-political strategic tool!

As one right-leaning pundit puts it:

Putin’s power comes from money, most of Putin’s money comes from oil and gas.

It stands to reason that if you’re trying to punish him, hitting him in the wallet is the most effective way to do it.

So why would our President specifically exempt what is the best, most effective, and really only significant way to hurt Putin in way that might impact his behavior?

Of course, there’s an explanation…

Biden is boxed by his party’s far left climate control zealots.

Nonetheless, as we’ve said before:

Biden’s only realistic option is to reverse his dumbest decisions.

He has to do an objective risk assessment (see above), stiff-arm his parity’s uber-left loons, restore U.S. energy superiority by unleashing our oil & gas industry.

It’s as simple as that!

News flash: Putin puts his nuclear forces “on alert”.

February 27, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised statement today that he was ordering Russia’s nuclear  forces on alert.

According to Axios:

  • This is the second time Putin has alluded to Russia’s nuclear arsenal while effectively warning the West to back off.
  • In a statement at the onset of the invasion, Putin said anyone who tried to “hinder us” would face “such consequences that you have never encountered in your history.”
  • Fear of a standoff between nuclear powers is a large part of the reason the U.S. and its NATO allies have been so adamant that they will not send troops to Ukraine.

C’mon, Joe. It’s “game on”.

Unleash our oil & gas industry to stop funding Putin’s aggression (and slow the rate of inflation here at home).

For background (and data), see:

Biden’s only realistic option: reverse his dumbest decisions and…

Biden channels Meatloaf: He will do anything to curb inflation (but he won’t pump oil)

One cartoon says it all … with only one inaccuracy.

February 25, 2022

image

The inaccuracy: In real life, Putin’s playing 3-dimensional chess.

=============

Thanks to KZ for the feed

Biden channels Meatloaf …

February 24, 2022

… and I wish he’d stop doing it!
=============

Everybody remembers the Meatloaf classic, right?

The tease:” I would do anything for love”

The punch line”: “But I won’t do that !”

If you need a a refresher or just want to kick back and
listen to an all- time great song, clock here

image
click to listen

==============

Biden (and Psaki) have appropriated a variant of the Meatloaf classic.

Now, every time Joe steps behind the podium, he squints and reads a version of:

Gas prices are high and are going to go higher because of Putin.

I feel your pain and, rest assured, I will use all the tools available to minimize the prices at the pump.

Anything” in Biden-speak includes plays at the margin like temporarily waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax … and releasing some of the strategic oil reserves.

Reading between the lines is the punch line “But I won’t do that.”

What are the won’t-do-thats?

Well, for openers there are:

  • Buildout the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Enable aggressive fracking (again)
  • Re-open drilling in the Alaskan ANWR Region
  • Fast track off-shore licensing
  • Permanently disable the Nord Stream pipelines (both the NS1 that’s in operation and the NS2 that’s awaiting for final approval)

Those are moves that stand a chance of moderating inflation pressures in the U.S., slowing the flow of oil profits to Putin, providing some oil & LNG to Russian-dependent European countries and restoring. U.S. energy independence.

But, of course, Biden “… won’t do that”

The AOC “squad” and the climate control zealots won’t let him.

Too bad…

So, was Biden planning to give away “free” crack pipes or not?

February 14, 2022

What if a fact-checker’s “mostly false” is itself “mostly false”?
==============

You just can’t make this stuff up…

Last week a bruhaha broke out when right-leaning media reported:

image

Of course, Jen “Bagdad Bob” Psaki ran to the press room podium to declare that the reports were completely false … fabricated by right-wing conspiracy theorists.

So, Snopes had to step in and do a dispute-resolving fact-check:

image

The bold summary rating: MOSTLY FALSE.

But, Snope’s own fine print doesn’t seem to match their conclusions for the 2 central questions:

1. Were crack pipes part of the program?

2. Were they included as an “equity measure”?

Specifically, Snope’s original fact-check said:

It’s true that the grant description required the provision of harm reduction supplies and listed “safe smoking kits” as an example.

But, those kits constituted just one of several sub-components of an even longer list of requirements for grant recipients.

“Crack pipes” were actually only a very small part of the program.

=============

The grant’s purpose was, quite logically, to reduce harm and infection among existing drug users.

The provision of safer smoking supplies did not have as its primary purpose advancing the cause of racial equity.

However, the grant description did state that priority would be given to applicants who serve communities that are historically underserved.

In other words, the grant’s terms encouraged recipients to advance racial equity while working for harm reduction, not the other way round.

That’s a crucial distinction which many outlets got wrong.

To summarize Snope’s own findings: Crack pipes were in the program and racial equity was an objective.

So, Snope’s “mostly false” headline is itself somewhere between “totally false” or, at best, “mostly false”.

=============

Subsequently, HHS issued a “clarification” that crack pipes would be explicitly excluded from the program … and both Psaki and Snopes started brushing off questions as “outdated”.

==============

Another aspect of the program was questioned by the always-on-target Babylon Bee:

image

The Bee’s punch line:

“If you won’t inject yourself with an experimental vaccine then you can’t be trusted to use anything but black tar heroin,” said Psaki. “No safe zones for crack cocaine until we’re sure you’re not going to infect others with a mild disease.”

I’ll go with the Bee’s account…

=============
Hat tip to SMH for feeding the Snope’s fact check.

Quick: What, if anything, has Biden done as president that you approve of?

February 11, 2022

If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone.
=============

And, that’s from a CNN poll, the results of which CNN’s John King calls “stunning”.

Specifically, the CNN “screen crawl” below reads:

56% of Americans say “nothing” when asked what President Biden has done that they approve of”

image

And, digging into the poll’s “internals”, another 9% answered that question: “Don’t know”.

That bumps the question’s zilch number to 65%.

Said differently, that says that only about 1 in 3 came up with something that Joe did that they approve of.

And what did they approve of?

You guessed it…

About half of the folks who came up with something said some variant of “free money”:

image

Predictably, CNN’s King chalks the poll’s results up to “messaging” issues in communicating the “legitimate successes of the Biden administration” … but, he didn’t delineate what those successes might be.

Either he is in the group that can’t name a success … or he was afraid that the cameraman would burst out laughing during the live shot if he shilled an answer.

=============

Memo to John King

In Marketing 101 lingo, the dogs just aren’t eating the dog food.

Or more accurately, most of the dogs are puking it up…

WaPo piles on: “Weak, old, wishy-washy, incoherent, lazy, needs a nap”

January 31, 2022

Yipes! When the obvious becomes evident to the Washington Post, you’re in deep yogurt.
==============

The news isn’t so much in the details … it’s  that the obvious has become evident to the Washington Post … and that paper published it … signaling to readers that it’s ok to jump ship.

The fodder for the story was research on “suburban women swing voters” conducted by a Democratic pollster “on behalf of several liberal organizations”.

=============

Here are my Cliff’s notes on WaPo’s article The Long Slide:

> “Almost nobody voted for Biden — they voted against the other guy.”

> Biden presented himself as an antidote to his predecessor, offering the promise of “strong, steady, stable leadership”.

> But a cascade of crises have badly eroded Biden’s image of restoring calm.

> “He’s always hoping for best but failing to plan for the worst.”

> The administration has repeatedly underestimated the magnitude of the nation’s challenges, including failing to anticipate the  coronavirus variants, supply chain disruptions and persistent inflation.

> The president and his team have stumbled in offering a clear and reassuring message, unable to convince many Americans that they understand their travails or that better days are ahead.

> Biden often looks callous, uncaring, incompetent, and failing in a key moments of leadership.

Ouch!

==============

So, what’s team Biden doing about it?

In a word: “Denial”

According to administration operatives:

> The strategy for the year ahead is the same formula we followed for the past year, which is keep working, keep getting things done, keep moving the ball downfield.”

> We’ve got to make people see that “President Biden inherited an epic mess from his predecessor and deserves credit for a range of victories”

> We have to convey that “President Biden is somebody who thinks about what they’re worried about every single day when he wakes up and walks into the Oval Office, and is doing everything in his power to make their lives better.”

In other words, it’s not the product it’s the communication.

At least one White House operative — said Jen O’Malley Dillon, a deputy White House chief of staff — opinds:

It’s important to take stock of where we’ve come and where we are.

This isn’t a time to, you know, spike the football.

Message to Jen: Maybe it is time to quit fumbling the football…

Biden: “The unemployment rate is way down to 3.9%”

January 26, 2022

… that is, when you take the 2.3 million who left the work force out of the calculation.
==============

Today, let’s take a 3rd whack at Biden’s economic bravado.

True, the unemployment rate is down to 3.9%.

image

And, that’s a big decline from the 14.7% unemployment rate during the most intense Covid lockdown period.

But, it’s still .4 percentage points higher than the 3.5% pre-Covid unemployment rate.

=============

And, the current unemployment rate is understated since about 2.3 million people have left the labor force … and aren’t counted in the unemployment rate calculation.

image

=============

Combining the current unemployment rate (3.9%) and the number of people who have left the workforce (2.3 million), current employment is only 149 million … about 3.6 million lower than pre-Covid employment.

image

Bottom line: To stay grounded when the statistical shells start moving,  total employment  is the number to focus on …

Biden: “Wages are finally increasing.”

January 25, 2022

Not “real” wages, Joe!
=============

Yesterday, we data-tested Biden’s claim that he “created 6 million new jobs more jobs in one year than any time before.”

The fundamental conclusion: They’re not new jobs.  They’re just old jobs that are being re-filled as lockdowns end and the economy re-opens.

The fun conclusion: By Biden’s measure of job creation, Trump, in his last 6 months,  “created” jobs at a rate 4 times Biden’s rate.

The metric to watch: How many people are employed … and, we’re still 3.7 million jobs below pre-Covid employment levels.

=============

Wage Gains

Today, let’s look at Biden 2nd most touted claim: “Workers are getting raises. Wages are (finally) going up.”

Let’s unpack that claim…

According WaPo, channeling BLS numbers, nominal average hourly wages did rise  4.7% last year.

But, “real” wages — adjusted for inflation, fell 2.4%.

image

Note that:

> During the Obama years, nominal wages (the blue line) were flat … and real wages dipped below the “stay-even” with inflation line

> During the Trump years, nominal wages increased at a slow but steady rate … and real wages stayed above the stay-even line.

> During Biden’s year, nominal wages did increase (by 4.7%), but raging (non-transitory!) inflation more than ate up the gain … so real rages dropped far below the stay-even line (by 2.4%)

So what?

In plain English, according to an NBC poll, over 60% of Americans do not think that their family income is keeping up with the cost of living.

image

Also, according to the NBC poll:

“Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.”

Coincidence?

Redefining “invasion”…

January 20, 2022

… and other head-scratchers from Biden’s presser.
==============

Glutton for punishment,  I watched all 2-hours of Biden’s press conference …

Here are a few more of my takeaways…

> Biden redefined “invasion”, coining a new phrase “minor (territorial) incursions” … which many observers interpreted as green-lighting Putin to breach the Ukraine border.

Shades of the domestic version: “mostly peaceful protests” that cause billions of dollars of damage without prosecution.

==============

> Biden praised U.S. technology and science (with no shout-out for Trump’s Op Warp Speed) for fast development of covid vaccines … but added that he (Biden) did the hard part: “getting shots into arms”.

Further, he said that his highest Covid priority for a return to normalcy is to vaccinate the rest of the world 

==============

> He condemned GOP senators for voting as a bloc … because they’re afraid of retribution by Trump.

On the split screen, Dems were threatening to primary Manchin & Sinema for breaking with the Dem bloc on the filibuster and BBB.

==============

> He warned that the 2022 mid-terms might be illegitimate if his voting rights bill isn’t passed.

Moments earlier, he touted the record-setting voter turnout in 2020  … non-sequitur?

Isn’t it wrong to question the legitimacy of elections?

==============

> He asserted that retail shelves are 89% full … only down 1% from a year ago

Generalizing from our past week of shopping: no bread, milk or produce on the shelves, empty sections of  OTC cold and flu medicines and, of course, no covid test kits.

=============

> He conceded that he might have been a month late igniting the push for in-home covid tests … who would have known?

Vanity Fair reported that in January 2021, the incoming Biden Administration was “handed” a national rapid-testing strategy … positioning  rapid testing as the most powerful tool to reduce transmission and case counts.

Then, on October 22, a group of COVID-19 testing experts presented the Biden administration with a detailed strategy for overhauling America’s approach to testing … by putting rapid at-home COVID-19 testing into the hands of average citizens, allowing them to screen themselves in real time and thereby help reduce transmission.

Hmm…

Who would have known?

Biden: “Best 1st year ever … my team is competent … full steam ahead”

January 20, 2022

Begala: “Not bad leaders, bad followers”
=============

Anybody who was hoping for retrospective humility, a course correction, an olive branch or a good old fashioned house cleaning was probably disappointed by Biden’s press conference yesterday.

Instead, he went full Begala, adopting the view that: “Democrats’ Problem ‘Is Not That They Have Bad Leaders. They Have Bad Followers’.

Joe’s view:

  1. He was dealt a bad hand
  2. Not lurching left
  3. No mistakes, no apologies
  4. I didn’t say what I said
  5. Exceeded expectations, great progress
  6. Best presidential first year ever
  7. Entire team doing a good job
  8. Has an agenda, GOP doesn’t
  9. Heading in the right direction
  10. Blame Covid, “Big meat” and Trump
  11. People just need to be informed
  12. The polls are wrong

Oh, my…

For the record:

In the latest RCP poll-of-polls. only 27.6% of Americans think that he country is moving in the right direction…

image

And, in this week’s Morning Consult poll, half of self-identified independents gave Biden either a “D” or an “F” grade for his first year performance.

So much for data-driven…

============

P.S. Best news for GOP…

Biden said: “I’ll be hitting the campaign trail to support Democratic candidates in the mid-term elections.”

Biden: “Lack of competition is exploitation”

January 10, 2022

Does the principle apply to education too, Joe … or just “big meat”?
=============

This week, Biden lashed out at “big meat” … blaming his policy-induced inflation on greedy meat purveyors … and flag-poling a broad theme: “Capitalism without competition is exploitation”.

As an academically-degreed economist, I agree that a condition for “perfectly efficient markets” is the presence of numerous direct and indirect competitors and product substitutes.

But, I think industry concentration is a lame excuse for the current skyrocketing inflation.

Industry consolidation hasn’t changed materially over the past, say, 5 years … and inflation was minimal in the 4 years preceding 2021.

That suggests that there are “root causes” other than industry concentration.

Catch my drift?

=============

My question:

Isn’t Biden’s condition for “market efficiency” generalizable to, say, education?

Even the NY Times concedes that “Many schools have still not returned to normal, worsening learning loss and social isolation.”

Why is it that many schools have not returned to in-person learning?

Simple explanation: Urban teachers’ unions in several cities are continuing to use their collective (and concentrated) clout to stiff-arm in-person classes.

Besides the well-publicized Chicago bruhaha, “closings are taking place in Atlanta, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Newark and several New York City suburbs, among other places.” NYT

The unions collective and concentrated actions are also a violation of economists’ “efficient markets” criteria” … causing havoc.

So, it seems logically consistent in principle to declare:

“Education without competition is exploitation”

President Biden may have inadvertently handed school choice advocates a resonating rallying cry for the 2022 mid-term elections.

============

P.S. For an analysis of the real root causes of meat price increases, see WSJ: Meatpackers Are Biden’s Latest Inflation Scapegoat

Biden’s Christmas rally fizzles…

January 5, 2022

In the run-up to Christmas, as retailers deftly managed through supply chain logjams and Santa fully loaded his sleigh with enough presents to keep kids smiling, Biden’s job approval numbers improved a bit … peaking at 44% approval, 50% disapproval.

Then came omicron and the test kit shortage … and the worm turned again.

According to the RCP poll-of-polls, Biden is now almost 12 percentage points under water …  42.3% approve of his job performance, 53.9% disapprove.

For the record, the 53.9% disapproval is the highest that Biden has earned up to this point in his administration.

image

=============

Drilling down, according to a recent CNBC/Change Research poll, Biden is deeply underwater on all queried issue areas.

He scores best (err, make that least bad) on Infrastructure (17 points underwater) and COVID (minus 19 and falling fast).

He scores worst on Price of everyday goods (48 points underwater), Immigration (minus 46) and Family economics (minus 40).

image

==============

Taking another cut at the data, Change Research (CNBC’s polling partner), scores a “Kitchen Table Report Card” by asking people:

Imagine you could grade the Biden Administration’s handling of issues impacting the economy.

How would you grade the Biden Administration’s handling of each of these issues?

> Republicans given Biden straight Fs

> Dems give him a mix of Bs and Cs … averaging out to B- / C+

> Independents give him straight Ds

image

=============

Just for the record…

On the CNBC poll, Biden scores 38% favorable, 56% unfavorable on personal favorability.

On that same measure, in that same poll, Trump scored 38% favorable, 55% unfavorable.

Hmm.

Is $3 trillion statistically different from zero?

December 13, 2021

Dems say the social spending bill is free, but the CBO now disagrees.
=============

Biden’s selling proposition for his social spending program: It won’t cost a dime.

Manchin says that he’ll vote against it if it costs more than $1.75 trillion.

The bill that Congress passed is loaded with accounting gimmicks … mostly pretending that expensive programs will be terminated after one or two years … rather than becoming permanent spending fixtures.

Well, end of last week, the CBO released an estimate that de-gimmicks the BBB bill to estimate the real cost of the program.

Budgetary Effects of Making Specified Policies in the Build Back Better Act Permanent (cbo.gov)

And the answer is: $3 trillion … which certainly doesn’t qualify as rounding error … or statistical insignificance.

image

=============

According to the CBO analysis, three line items alone account for over $2.5 trillion in spending:

Pretending that the child tax credit and child care programs terminate in 2022 and 2027, respectively … and, raising the State & Local Tax Deduction limit from $10,000 to $80,000.

In total, the top 7 line items account for over $3.3 trillion in spending … up $2.5 trillion from the gimmicky bill, as passed by Congress.

image

=============

As the WSJ points out:

All of this gives Mr. Manchin, and other Democrats hiding behind his skepticism, ample ammunition to call the whole thing off.

If this bill passes, they’ll own all of the deficits, debt and inflation that result.

That said, I’m betting under on Manchin having the ‘nads to vote no on BBB.

Putting Biden’s approval slide in context…

December 1, 2021

How does he rack up versus Obama & Trump?
=============

Earlier this week, we posted some results from a 130,000 person survey done by a polling company called Civiqs.

The poll centered on the question: Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Joe Biden is doing as president?

Consistent with other recent polls, Civiqs found that at the national level a majority disapproves of the job Biden is doing .. and his job approval is underwater (or, “upside down”) by 16 percentage points …  and he’s underwater in all but 5 states.

A couple or readers opined: “Yeah, but Trump was worse”.

As evidence, one reader linked me to a Statista recap chart.

image

Fair enough…

> Biden started out at about 57% approval … and has already fallen 24  percentage points to 43%

> Trump was slower out of the gates with about 45% approval … and, to a  comparable time point in his term of ofice, he dropped about 7 percentage points to 38%

> For reference. Obama started out at a sky high 67% approval … and slid about 16 percentage points to 51%.

Bottom line: Trump certainly didn’t get a honeymoon period … his “opposition” was entrenched from the get-go … so, his 7-point performance slide was less than Obama’s 16 point drop or Biden’s 24 point slide.

That said, it’s true that Biden is outscoring Trump 43% to 38% ten months into their presidencies.

But…

=============

Taking a longer-run view, note that Trump rallied from his 38% low to almost 50% … as the economy grew, the Southern border was contained and the Middle East stabilized.

image

Then, Covid hit our shores and Trump’s approval plummeted back down to about 35%.

The question of today: Has Biden’s slump bottomed out?

If so, will his performance earn him the same approval  trajectory that Trump enjoyed pre-Covid?

I’m betting the under on that one.

=============
Thanks to JD for raising the question and feeding me the Statista lead.

Biden slipping among key constituencies and swing voters…

November 30, 2021

Independents, suburban women and even the “well educated” are jumping ship.
=============

Yesterday, we posted some results from a 130,000 person survey done by a polling company called Civiqs.

The poll centered on the question: Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Joe Biden is doing as president?

Consistent with other recent polls, Civiqs found that at the national level a majority disapproves of the job Biden is doing .. and his job approval is underwater (or, “upside down”) by 16 percentage points.

Digging deeper, his job approval number is only above water in 5 Dem-heavy states … and only a (slim) majority in 2 of them —  Hawaii & Vermont.

And, digging even deeper into the poll’s “internals” …

=============

Education

> A majority of respondents  with less than a post-graduate degree disapprove of Biden’s job performance

> Post-grads are evenly split (43% to 43%) on Biden’s job approval.  That’s reported to be a big approval drop.

image

==============

Gender

> Only about 1/3 of males and females approve of the job that Biden is doing.

> Said differently, Biden is losing one of the constituencies that propelled him to victory: Trump-hating Suburban Women.

image

==============

Party Affiliation

> Predictably, GOP disapproval of Biden’s job performance is near-unanimous.

> A majority of Dems still approve … but even that number has fallen to near 50-50

> Most significant: Only 1 in 5 Independents approve of Biden’s job performance.

image

==============

The bottom line:

It looks like Biden’s  “I’m not Trump’ selling proposition is being dwarfed by his actual job performance … and voters are catching a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

I don’t think that there’s a vaccine for that…

Joe offered thanks to Dem-heavy Hawaii & Vermont…

November 29, 2021

They’re the only 2 states where even a slim majority  approve of  his  job  performance
=============

Let’s start at the top …

A polling company called Civiqs surveyed over 130,000 people on the question: Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Joe Biden is doing as president?

Consistent with other recent polls, Civiqs found — at the aggregate level — that (a) a majority disapprove of the job Biden is doing, and (b) his job approval is underwater (or, “upside down”) by 16 percentage points with 37% approving and 53% disapproving.

That’s not new news.

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But, since Civiq’s sample size is so large, it’s able to slice & dice the data by it’s component parts.

That’s where the news is.

For example, at the state level:

> Hawaii & Vermont are the only 2 states where even a slim majority  approve of  Biden’s  job  performance

> His job approval number is only above water in 3 other Dem-heavy states: Maryland (48% to 41%), (Massachusetts (48% to 40%), California (46%42%)

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On the flip-side:

> More than 2 out of 3 residents in 10 states disapprove of Biden’s job approval.

In 4 states, more than 70% disapprove of his job performance: West Virginia (76%), Wyoming (73%), North Dakota (71%), and Oklahoma (71%)

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Glub-blub-glub

> Biden’s job approval is underwater by more than 25 percentage points 25 states

His job approval is most underwater in West Virginia (57%), Wyoming (73%), Oklahoma (49%) and North Dakota (48%).

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Find your state on the heat map below:

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Are nuns doing “God’s work” … or “aiding & abetting” illegal activities?

November 23, 2021

That’s a thorny question to consider!
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A couple of weeks ago, the NY Post broke the story that “planeloads of underage migrants were being flown secretly into suburban New York in an effort by President Biden’s administration to quietly resettle them across the region.”

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When questioned by reporters, press secretary Psaki confirmed the New York Post’s reporting that the Biden administration has been quietly flying underage illegal immigrants from the border to New York.  Source 

Note: Psaki’s only pushback was whether a 4:30 a.m. flight arrival was technically “in the dead of the night” or “early morning”.

Generally, the Post’s revelation didn’t surprise me.

What caught my eye was the identification of one of the  administration’s partners in the activity.

==============

Specifically, the Post reported:

A source familiar with the operation at the Westchester airport said the underage migrants are bused to locations including the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, upstate Newburgh, and Bridgeport and Danbury in Connecticut.

One of the destinations is the campus of a nonprofit sponsored by an order of Catholic nuns that has a contract to supply the federal government with residential services for “immigrant youth .. who are the victims of societal problems.”

An order of Catholic nuns with a government contract?

Say, what?

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The plot thickens

This week Rep. Lance Gooden (R, Texas)  made public information that he received from a whistleblower.

The whistleblower claimed that some non-profits in San Diego were running a secretive and organized effort to bring migrants into the country and then arrange for them to be transported around the country. Source

Rep. Gooden’s office claims that  they received an information packet from the whistleblower — the same one that is given to the illegal migrants.

It contains flight information, copies of the Notice to Appear from CBP, a list of pro bono legal service providers, maps of major U.S. cities, and information on how to enroll children into public schools.

The packet also contains a letter for migrants to present to TSA officials. The letter asks that the illegal migrants be allowed to board flight without the identification documents that TSA usually requires.

When contacted, TSA official said that the letters are “very convincing” so the migrants are passed through the checkpoints and  are often accommodated with early 

Checking into the matter, Gooden discovered both Catholic Charities of San Diego and the Jewish Family Association as two examples of non-profits participating in the operation.

And, he pointed to AT&T, Bank of America, and the federal government as sources of funding to these organizations.

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Government contracts and “laundered” corporate donations to well-intended religious service providers who help resettle illegal immigrants.

Does all of this sound kosher?

I leave it to you to decide:

Are the nuns doing “God’s work” … or  “aiding & abetting” illegal activities?

 

MUST READ: About the 25th amendment…

November 22, 2021

There are implications beyond the prospect of Kamala’s ascendency to the Presidency.
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Biden’s job approval is crashing and a majority think that he’s either incompetent or cognitively challenged (or both).

Harris’ job approval is even worse … below 30%.

So, there’s some chatter in the halls wondering what if Biden is removed from office via the 25th amendment .. or that the glaringly ineffective Harris is pushed to resign for “personal reasons”.

Cutting to the chase, here’s how the 25th amendment works…

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The Constitution

There are 4 sections to the 25th Amendment.

We’ll skip Sections 3 and 4 which deal with the political processes and focus on the core ramifications.

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Here’s how Sections 1 & 2 work

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Nixon, Agnew, Ford & Rockefeller

In 1972, Nixon was elected president and his running mate, Spiro Agnew was elected vice president.

In 1973, Agnew was investigated “on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax fraud” … he pleaded no contest to a single felony charge of tax evasion and resigned from office.

President Nixon nominated Gerald Ford to be the new vice president pursuant to Section 2. Ford was confirmed by both the Senate and the House. by a wide majority

In 1974, Nixon resigned and Ford became president under Section 1.

The office of vice president was thus again vacant.

Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, former New York governor, for the vice presidency. Rockefeller was confirmed by a majority of both the Senate and House.

Tidbit: Ford, who was defeated by Carter in 1976, is the only president to have been elected neither president nor vice president.

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So, what if?

Now, let’s pretend that the Dems invoke the 25th Amendment on Biden and prevail.

Vice President Harris becomes President Harris… and the VP position becomes vacant.

OK, so Harris nominates somebody to be VP.

Here’s where things get interesting…

Keep in mind that the Senate is split 50-50.

Now, when there’s a tie, VP Harris steps in to break the tie and Dems prevail.

But, if the 25th were invoked and Harris ascended to the Presidency, there would be no tie-breaking VP.

Section 2 calls for a majority … a tie isn’t good enough.

Hmmm

So, the GOP could stonewall any nomination that Harris puts forward … and in the process, deny Dems a majority vote on any issue.

Take for example, the Biden’s $3.5 trillion (now claimed to be $1.75 trillion) “Make America Sweden” Bill (aka the BBB human infrastructure bill).

The GOP could block it without even needing Mancin or Senema to vote against it.

Double hmmm.

More generally, invoking the 25th would potentially stop the Dem’s socialist agenda in its tracks.

Suddenly, the thought of President Harris doesn’t sound so bad…

WH: Just ignore the CBO score on the social spending & climate control bill …

November 19, 2021

Maybe they should since ObamaCare has been TWICE as expensive as its CBO estimate.
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Let’s start with the recent headline…

image
Source

The details:

President Biden’s pledge to completely pay for his $1.85 trillion social coverage and climate control spending bundle relies upon largely on having a beefed-up Internal Revenue Service crack down on tax evaders, which the White Home says will increase lots of of billions of {dollars} in income.

However the CBO is estimating that the I.R.S. proposal would yield far lower than what the White Home was relying on to assist pay for its invoice — about $120 billion over a decade versus the $400 billion that the administration is relying on.

That’s a $280 billion shortfall … statistically significant, for sure.

In response…

Senior administration officers (and Speaker Pelosi are urging lawmakers to ignore the CBO evaluation.

They say the CBO is being overly conservative in its calculations, failing to correctly credit score the return on funding of further I.R.S. sources and overlooking the deterrent results {that an extra aggressive tax assortment company would have on tax cheats.

That’s one approach: Just ignore the CBO scoring.

Former Pres. Obama took a different approach ObamaCare was in a similar predicament…

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Flashback to 2009

You may remember that, in the stretch run, ObamaCare was running into some headwinds.

Republican Scott Brown was elected to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Brown  was seated as the 41st GOP senator, providing the GOP with the opportunity to filibuster the bill.

And, Obama got some bad news in a preliminary report from the CBO.

CBO Director Elmendorf pronounced the ObamaCare plan to be massively expensive and incapable of lowering future health care costs. Source

Rather than tell Congress to just ignore the CBO findings, Obama invited Elmendorf to the White House for a chat.

Following the meeting, a more  “enlightened”  CBO revised its projections … painting a more favorable picture of ObamaCare economics.

Republicans complained that Obama may have used the visit to pressure Elmendorf to change his stance.

You think?

The revised numbers provided John McCain (R, Arizona) with sufficient “cover” to vote to  end the Republicans’ filibuster.

And, as they say, the rest is all history…

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P.S. As it turns out, the CBO grossly underestimated to cost of ObamaCare. For details, see:

Get out your wallet: CBO says ObamaCare to cost twice the original estimates.

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Breaking news: The “Final” CBO Score

According to the WSJ:

The CBO found that the bill would contribute $367 billion to the deficit over 10 years.

Democrats have argued that revenue not captured in the CBO score shows that the bill is more than fully paid for.

For technical reasons, the CBO’s bottom line doesn’t include$207 billion in revenue that the scorekeeper estimates would result from pouring roughly $80 billion into tax-enforcement efforts at the Internal Revenue Service.

Adding that revenue to the CBO’s other estimates would make the bill’s 10-year deficit about $160 billion.

The Biden administration says its IRS spending would generate $480 billion, not $207 billion.

Arithmetic note: The difference between $480 and $207 is $273 billion.  That number is what’s called “statistically significant”.

WaPo: “Biden approval hits new low as economic discontent rises”

November 15, 2021

And, that’s the most favorable headline the Post could muster.
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It has been a tough week for the Washington Post.

First, confronted with facts to the contrary, the paper “amended” at least a dozen of its reports on the infamous Trump-disparaging “Steele Dossier. With some initial indictments, special counsel John Durham traced the fictional Russia-Trump collusion  directly  back to Clinton Campaign operatives.

Second, reporting results from  the most recent its most recent ABC-WaPo poll, the most favorable headline it could conjure for   was : “Biden approval hits new low as economic discontent rises”,

We’ll get back to that poll later … but let’s start with the big picture: the latest RCP poll-of-polls.

image

Note Biden’s steadily increasing job disapproval over the past couple of months … and the disapproval surge in recent weeks.

Biden now stands at 42% approval, 52.7% disapproval … putting him “underwater” by 10.7 percentage points.

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The ABC-WaPo poll is right in line with the average of other polls.

ABC-WaPo puts Biden’s overall job performance at a new low (for that poll): with 53% disapproving … and 41% approving (down 11 percentage points since spring).

That puts Biden a whopping 12 percentage points underwater.

It gets worse…

Only 35% of Independents approve of Biden’s job performance …  58% disapprove … putting Biden 23 percentage points underwater.

Digging a little deeper…

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Registered Voters

Narrowing the  poll’s sample from “all adults” (the left data column) to “registered voters” (the right data column). Biden’s job approval drops to 38% (from 41%) and his disapproval swells to 57% (from 52%) … putting him 19 percentage points underwater.

And…

Among the registered voters who expressed “strong” points-of-view, 19% “strongly approved” of Biden’s job performance;  48% “strongly disapproved” … pitting Old Joe 29 percentage points underwater.

image

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Battleground Contagion

Biden’s poor job approval appears contagious….

ABC-WaPo did a deep dive in 8 states that are expected to have highly competitive Senate races — four currently held by Democrats, four by Republicans. Source

In these states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — Biden’s overall job approval rating is 33% (compared with 43% elsewhere).

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Generic Ballot

ABC-WaPo asked respondents: For whom would you vote today  in your congressional district — a Democratic candidate or a Republican candidate?

Among all registered voters in the poll, 51% expressed support for a generic Republican candidate, 41%. In 2018, Dems had a 53$ to 45% advantage.

Compared to 2018, Republicans gained ground in all major voting blocs (the far right data column below).

Most notably, Independents swung 30 points .. from 52-42 Democratic to 50-32 Republican.

And, while Dems continue to hold a 15 point advantage among Hispanics, their advantage  is down 40 points from 2018.

image

Even the WaPo has to concede that Biden’s fall from voters’ grace is of “historic proportions”.

More: Before you get too excited about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill …

November 9, 2021

WSJ: Strong leadership will be essential to ensure the projects are completed on time and on budget.
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Yesterday we tried to rein in infrastructure bill excitement since:

  • Less than half of the trillion dollars is going to roads, bridges, electrical grid and other “hard” infrastructure
  • Save for Eisenhower’s interstate highways and Kennedy’s moon landing, the Federal government’s recent track record on big projects  is less than stellar. Think: “shovel ready”, “cash for clunkers”. Solyndra and the SoCal-to-Vegas bullet train

On cue, the WSJ ran a Harvard prof’s op-ed: “Don’t Let the Infrastructure Bill Become a Boondoggle”.

The article highlighted the infrastructure’ bill’s size and complexity, its political overtones … and the need for strong managerial leadership.

Here’s a condensed version…

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An Analogy

Boston’s Big Dig highway project began in 1991.

It was supposed to have been completed in 1998 at a cost of $2.8 billion.

Instead, it wasn’t finished until 2007, and the total cost (including debt financing) has been estimated at around $23 billion.

The project improved Boston, but its legacy was tarnished by waste, corruption, design flaws and poor execution

Once Pres. Biden signs the bill into law, the true work of fixing our infrastructure will begin.

The bill could easily lead to out-of-control costs, blown deadlines, and both real and metaphorical bridges to nowhere.

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The Infrastructure Bill

At more than $1 trillion, the size and complexity of the infrastructure bill guarantee that it will be difficult to implement.

The plan will involve nearly every corner of the often unwieldy government bureaucracy.

Large-scale projects inevitably provoke battles for funding and cause confusion over who is doing what to carry out the plan and time-wasting arguments over jurisdiction.

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The Need for Leadership

Successfully enacting the provisions of the infrastructure bill requires leaders who can:

  • Break tasks down into deliverable items
  • Create teams with clear responsibilities
  • Establish milestones and measures
  • Hold people accountable

Biden will probably appoint a series of czars to oversee different parts of the bill.

He needs to resist appointing political leaders who lack experience managing large bureaucratic organizations..

President Biden must assemble a great team of leaders.

==============

Color me pessimistic

Keep in mind :

> 55% of Americans say the Biden administration is not “competent in running the government.” Source

> There’s just cause for the rating: the border, the Afghan withdrawal, the snarled supply chain, soaring energy costs, etc.

> Biden has already assembled a team that can’t shoot straight:

  • Harris … who has done such a great job as Border Czar
  • Buttiigieg … when he makes it into the office
  • Raimondo … who says there’s nothing that can be done to unjam the supply chain
  • Granholm (who laughs off our surging gas prices)?

In the sage words of former President Obama: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f–k things up.”

Biden touts:“America is back on the world stage” but …

November 1, 2021

A couple pictures are worth thousands of  words to the contrary…

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First, let’s set a benchmark.

At the end of G20 Summits, there’s a group photo (aka. “family picture”) taken of the attending world leaders.

Below is the family pic from the 2018 G20.

Note the guy in the red tie (circled in yellow).

Yep, that’s President Trump standing in the front row, close to the middle.

Keep that image top of mind.

image

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Now, lets fast forward to this year, 2021.

image

Note the open spot in the front row near the middle (the yellow box).

Hmmm.

Now, note the “world leader” standing to the far left in the photo (red arrow and circle)

Who can that be?

Let’s zoom in.

image

OMG: It’s President Joe Biden.

> Distanced from the “power center” of the front row.

> Appropriately positioned at the far left in the picture.

> Literally separated from the pack of other world leaders … barely even on the world stage

Joe may think that he’s led America back, but world leaders may be sending another message:

Sometimes, it’s better to be respected (feared?) than it is to be liked (being pushed around while handing out freshly printed, borrowed dollars).

Hmm.

Biden: “Say goodbye to your cars”

October 22, 2021

Shades of Hillary’s promise to “put coal miners out of business”
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First, some history…

In her book, “What Happened“, Hillary Clinton wrote that her biggest regret from her ill-fated presidential campaign was saying she would “put coal miners out of business.”

Clinton made the remark during a town hall in March 2016 when she touted her plan to replace fossil-fuel-based energy production with renewable alternatives.

The remark sparked a backlash against Clinton and haunted her throughout the campaign when it was widely interpreted as her being  non-empathetic to  the suffering of white working-class Americans with a particular focus on struggling coal miners.

She later lost every county in West Virginia — the country’s premier coal-mining state.  Source

Will history repeat?

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In a speech this week in Scranton, Biden tried to rally support for his Build Back Better Human Infrastructure Plan.

Included in the proposed $3.5 trillion  bill are climate change provisions intended to curtail fossil-fuel-based energy usage.

Sound familiar?

As part of that program, Biden told the audience: “Here’s the deal”…

“We will take, literally, millions of automobiles off the road. Off the road.”

image

No joke, not kidding, the God’s truth, etc.

That may resonate among elite urbanites and folks in the Acela corridor… but, I’m not so sure that the idea (threat?) will play well in Middle America, rural communities (or even Scranton) … or among suburban soccer parents and people whose livelihood  depends on their cars & trucks.

Of course, Joe doesn’t have to worry about re-election but, with his job approval dipping below 40%, I wouldn’t think that poking folks in the eye is a way to win back love…

Shocker: Biden polls even with Trump…

October 21, 2021

… on favorability and head-to-head electability.
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According to the latest Quinnipiac poll

Biden’s job approval seems to have leveled off at a low level:

> 20% strongly approve (down 18 percentage points from Inauguration Day)

> 45% strongly disapprove (up 13 percentage points from Inauguration Day)

> Putting Biden currently underwater by 25 percentage points points.

image

Drilling down…

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Biden Competence

> A majority (55%) think that Biden is not competent to do the job

> 2 out of 3 Independents think that Biden is not competent to do the job

image

Hmm…

But at least he’s honest and and a nice guy, right?

Not exactly…

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Biden Honesty

> Only 42% think that Biden is honest; majority of those with an opinion think he’s not honest.

> 57% of Independents think he’s not honest.

image

OK, he’s not competent nor honest, but he’s a nice guy, right?

What?

==============

Biden “Favorability”

Quinnipiac asked: Is your opinion of Joe Biden favorable, unfavorable?

Apparently, “nice guy” (if true) doesn’t neutralize low scores on competence and honesty.

> Only 40% view Biden favorably (down 14 percentage points since Inauguration Day)

> 50% view him unfavorably (up 12 percentage points since Inauguration Day)

> Putting Biden’s current favorability score underwater by 10 percentage points).

image

If that isn’t bad enough…

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Trump’s Current “Favorability”

Here’s the ho-hum-crasher from the same Quinnipiac poll:

> Trump’s current favorability score is 41% (1 percentage point higher than Biden’s

> 52% view Trump unfavorably (only 2 percentage points more than Biden

> So, call it a tie … with both having majority unfavorable ratings

image

So, a broadly despised, mean tweeting, media pummeled, twice-impeached one-term president is viewed as warmly (or coldly) after nine months than the guy who was elected to replace him.

Can it be?

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Better Off or Worse Off?

Quinnipiac also asked a variant of the question that Ronald Reagan popularized:

Overall, do you think that the country is better off or worse off today than it was a year ago?

Keep in mind, that a year ago, we were pre-vaccine and largely shutdown economically and socially.

And, the answer is:

> A majority (52%) thinks that the country is worse off now than a year ago

> There’s near-unanimity among Republicans (94%) that the country is worse off

> Only 74% of Dems think that the country is better off now than a year ago … not fully offsetting the strong Republican view.

> Most telling, 56% of Independents (many of whom voted for Biden) think that the country is worse off now .image

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Trump vs. Biden

To add a punctuation point to these survey results…

Pollsters from Grinnell (College) & Selzer Consulting conclude, based on their most recent survey:

> “If the 2024 presidential election were held today, the same percentage of likely voters would vote for former President Donald Trump (40%) as President Biden (40%)

> Among Independents, if a Trump – Biden election were held today, our poll shows former President Trump winning that group 45% to 28%.”

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The pieces all seem to tie together, folks.

“Gamechanger”: Biden coaxes LA ports to work nights & weekends…

October 14, 2021

Why weren’t they doing that already?
================

Let’s set the stage:

The ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S.

As of this Monday, there were 62 ships berthed at the two ports and 81 waiting to dock and unload, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

No question, the LA ports are a bottleneck in the U.S. supply chain.

So, after “months of negotiations with unions and local politicos”, President Biden flipped on his teleprompter and read to the nation:

image

And, Biden boasted that the action is a “gamechanger” … and praised his crack team and his union vote-getters for their months of hard work making this bold action happen.

My initial reaction: Are you kidding me?

The broader consensus:

image

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Laggards playing catch-up

For openers, I was surprised that they’d been only doing two 8-hour shifts a day … Monday through Friday … no weekends.

Here’s my “anchoring point”…

One of my neighbors is a longshoreman at the Port of Baltimore.

He may be the hardest working guy I’ve ever met … always on call, lots of night shifts and 16 hour days, rugged physical work.

When I ask him why, his simple reply: “Gotta get the ships unloaded”.

I assumed that he was representative of all longshoremen.

Silly me.

To that point, WaPo reports  that “the extended hours the administration is touting represent something less than the full around-the-clock operations that are typical of the world’s most advanced cargo-moving facilities.”

But, not to worry.

“Leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have agreed to work longer hours, provided individual terminal operators pay up.”

And, it only took Team Biden a few months to get them to that point.

My question: Given Joe’s proclivities, why didn’t he just mandate 24/7 months ago?

Obvious answer: The International Longshore and Warehouse Union

Say no more…

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Moving the mongoose thru the python

Port operators say that “operational details are being discussed and still need to be worked out with the supply chain stakeholders.”

English translation:

“Similar delays await freight once it reaches the shore, where docks, rail yards and warehouses are jammed with goods” and truckers are few and far between.

Until the “labor force participation rate” bumps up, specifically for truckers, the problem will persist.

“All you do is move the logjam from sea to shore – and that can potentially make matters worse.”

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Getting FedEx, Walmart & Home Depot off their asses

This is downright laughable!

Biden is even claiming credit for getting Walmart, Home Depot, etc. to start working 24/7.

What the hell does he think they’ve been doing since the dawn of creation. It’s their lifeblood.

All of those operations have business models that move goods 24/7.

For example: Ian Jefferies, president of the American Railroad Association says indignantly:

“Major railroads “have long been 24/7 operations.”
==============

Role Modeling

Biden says that:

“The giant companies will set an example that will spur others to follow.”

But, he didn’t personally commit to working full days or weekends … and, of course, he didn’t take questions.

============

My questions::

Do Joe and his crack team of amateurs have any idea how the economy works?

I’m betting the under on that one.

Where are the “exceptionally successful” military logistics forces?

If they’re so good, shouldn’t they be working this problem?

And, can you imagine if these sluggards had been in charge of vaccine development?

We wouldn’t be tussling over vax mandates now … because we wouldn’t have any vaccines.

Heaven help us…

Uh-oh, Joe: Majority think you’re incompetent…

October 11, 2021

… and your  job approval goes further underwater.
==============

Let’s start with the RCP poll-of-polls

> 43.3% approve of the job Joe’s doing …   52 disapprove … putting him underwater by 8.7 percentage points.

> Half of the polls have him underwater by double digits … only the Dem-dependable Reuters poll has him close to even

image

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The right-leaning Trafalgar Group has Biden’s job approval underwater by 16.4 percentage points (39.6% approve. 56.0% disapprove)…

… and puts his strong job approval underwater by a whopping 26.7 percentage points (fewer than 1 in 4 strongly approve of the job he’s doing, more than 1/2 strongly disapprove)

image

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Drilling down, a new (left-leaning) Quinnipiac poll says it all…

image

Some details  from the Quinnipiac poll…

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Biden Job Approval

> Majority (53%) disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president.

> 60% of Independents disapprove

> 2 out of 3 Blacks still approve of the job Biden is doing, but

> Biden’s job approval has dropped 22 points among  Black Americans since April (according to the AP-NORC poll)

image

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Biden ”Strong” Job Approval

> Overall, consistent with the Trafalgar poll, Biden is underwater by 25 percentage points on strong job approval (or disapproval)

> Biden is underwater by 35 percentage points among Independents

> Biden is underwater by 23 percentage points among Hispanics

image

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Direction of Country

> Almost half (48%) are very dissatisfied with the direction of the country.

> Majority (54%) of Independents are very dissatisfied with the direction of the country

image

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Biden Competence

> As headlined, a majority (55%) think that Biden is not competent to do the job

> 2 out of 3 Independents think that Biden is not competent to do the job

image

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Biden Honesty

> Only 42% think that Biden is honest; majority of those with an opinion think he’s not honest.

> 57% of Independents think he’s not honest.

image

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Quinnipiac’s overall conclusion

image

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Hardly a mandate for transformational change, right?

Pew: Majority disapprove of Joe’s job performance…

September 28, 2021

… and don’t think that he’s “mentally sharp”
=============
The latest Pew poll pegs Biden’s job approval underwater by 9 percentage points … 45% approve of the job he’s doing; 53% disapprove.

image

Those results are consistent with most other recent polls … and, aren’t really new news any more.

=============

What is new news is Pew’s diagnostic drill down.

First is the public’s confidence in Biden’s handling specific hot issues.

Joe scores highest on his handling of the pandemic … a narrow majority (51% to 49%) have confidence in his handling of the pandemic.

But, those confidence levels are waning … and, even on the pandemic, he’s 9 percentage points underwater looking at the net of  “strong opinions” (“very confident” minus “not at all confident”)

image

Biden’s worst scores are on unity: “bringing the country closer together”.

In that area, Biden is a whopping 32 points under water in total … and 28 points underwater among those with strong opinions.

In the middle, Joe is substantially underwater on economic policy, foreign policy, use of military force and immigration policy

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Pew also drilled down on Biden’s personal characteristics.

Biden scores highest on “stands up for what he believes in” and “cares about ordinary people”.

He breaks about even on honesty … and is marginally underwater on “good role model” and “takes responsibility”.

image

The ho-hum crasher (i.e. that which can be counted on to catch a crowd’s attention) is Biden’s score on “mentally sharp”.

On mental sharpness, Joe is 13 percentage points underwater in total (43% to 56%) … and, among strong opinionators, he’s 21 points underwater (14% “very well” to 35% “not at all well”)

Ouch.

============

So, in summary:

Pew agrees that a majority disapproves of the job Biden is doing … especially on bringing the country together … and, Pew reports that a majority question his decision-making and his mental sharpness.

Except for that, how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?

Uh-oh: Joe’s job approval hits the Mendoza Line…

September 21, 2021

And, his usually reliable media is now openly questioning his competence.
===============

First, an explanation of the metric:

The Mendoza Line is an expression in baseball deriving from the name of shortstop Mario Mendoza, whose low batting average is taken to define the threshold of incompetent hitting.

This is often thought of as the threshold below which a player’s presence on a Major League Baseball team cannot be justified.

The term has come to be used in other contexts when one is so incompetent in one key skill that other skills cannot compensate for that deficiency.

In baseball, it’s dropping below a .200 batting average.

A presidential variant: A majority disapproving of job performance.

Well, Biden has hit the presidential Mendoza line in RCP’s poll-of polls … that’s not a single poll, it’s the composite of 8 politically balanced polls.

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Note that the disapproval line had been increasing by about 1% each month until the Afghan fiasco … then it jumped about 4 percentage points during the botched withdrawal (despite ample air cover being provided by prevailing Bide-leaning media) … and is now trending at about a point a month again.

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A harbinger that the trend is likely to continue (or accelerate) is a recap by Townhall.com:

Across networks on Sunday morning, mainstream network anchors, panels, and reporters didn’t hold back in their criticism of President Biden’s ailing performance amid multiple crises at home and around the world, tempering their normally lavish praise to point out there are serious concerns over how the country is being run and Biden’s competency..

Some specifics offered up  to support the point:

  • NBC’s Chuck Todd: “It’s been a rough six weeks and it seems as if it’s only getting worse.”
  • ABC’s Martha Radatz: “”What he has done so far, hasn’t really worked”.
  • CBS’s David Martin: “Biden says  the U.S. is going to prevent any any reconstitution of Al Qaeda with surveillance conducted from outside the country, drones flying over the horizon  from outside the country… and that they will be able to detect a plot in the works and then be able to disrupt it with a drone strike. But you have to say that the mistake made in Kabul is not an encouraging precedent”.
  • ABC’s Jonathan Karl: “Biden’s credibility on COVID has been what has driven his level of his popularity … and we’ve seen it eroded over the past several weeks.”

More generally, NBC’s Todd observed:

Biden’s  got a pretty big credibility crisis on his hands because all of these problems in some ways, showed up after he said something basically the exact opposite.

He said that the Afghanistan withdrawal wasn’t going to be messy, that it wasn’t going to look like Saigon.

On booster shots, he came out and essentially said eight months and even indicated maybe we should start it as soon as five months. 

Now we’re not sure if anybody under 65 is going to get a booster shot.

Of course the border, he said things were under control.

It’s pretty clear we have a bigger problem now than we’ve had in years and his policies have turned into becoming a magnet.

He’s got credibility issues on the world stage to make sure people still view America as not just a stable democracy but a competent leader of the free world right now

Whoa, Nellie.

Losing Chuck Todd is an indication that Biden might be facing another contagion…

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But, as a friend likes to ask: Who are the 46% who think Biden’s doing a good job?

Maybe they put a ceiling on his disapproval numbers…

Will Biden’s vax mandates be strangled by the “cobra effect”?

September 14, 2021

Hospitals are already losing nurses who refuse to get vaccinated … retailers and restaurants, too.
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A couple of weeks again, Houston Methodist Hospital enforced its vaccine mandate and fired  150 unvaccinated medical workers.

Then came the Delta variant and …

“An internal memo at Houston Methodist Hospital said it ‘is struggling with staffing as the numbers of our COVID-19 patients rise” Source

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More recently …

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Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, NY, will temporarily stop delivering babies, after maternity-ward employees quit rather than be forced to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Hospital officials say: “If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Source

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As Gomer Pyle would say: “surprise, Surprise, SURPRISE”.

Behavioral scientists call it the “Cobra Effect

The Cobra Effect causes unintended consequences.

Long ago, colonial India was being over-run by cobra snakes.

The government offered citizens a bounty for each dead cobra that they turned in

Initially, the cobra population declined.

But, citizens started breeding cobras to sustain their stream of cobra bounties.

And, the cobra population grew. Source

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The lesson to be learned:

Every governmental decision brings about consequences, intended ones and unintended ones.

When hospital administrators in Texas an NY complied with government directives (i.e. mandates) — get vaccinated or lose your job — their goal was to increase vaccination rates of hospital staff.

The unintended consequence was a shortage of nurses and other hospital workers during a deadly pandemic. Source

These days, practically every hospital, restaurant, store or delivery service is reporting a shortage of workers.

Biden’s mandate — to fire unvaccinated workers if they don’t get vaccinated — is absolutely certain to intensify the labor shortage.

Some workers will choose to give up their jobs and rather than get vaccinated.

Others will quit “big company” jobs and seek employment with an “under 100” company (or the USPS) which aren’t covered by the vaccine mandate.

Whether right or wrong, that’s their decision to make.

Trust the behavioral economists on this one.

Hadn’t Biden already mandated that Federal employees get vaccinated?

September 10, 2021

Apparently not since he mandated them again yesterday…
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I’m officially confused…

More than a month ago, Biden mandated that all Federal employees get vaccinated or be subjected to weekly covid tests … or else?

At the time, I (sarcastically) applauded the the move.

See: Covid: Finally, a Biden mandate that I like…

The essence of my cynical support:

> I recognized that a couple of Biden’s core constituencies (think: unions and minorities) would be spotlighted

> I assumed widespread non-compliance and hoped that the “or else” would cut the government payroll.

But, in late August, I asked:

So, how’s the federal employees’ vaccine mandate going?

Since “the most transparent Administration ever” hadn’t released any numbers showing progress, I assumed: “not so good”

Well, I got my answer yesterday when Biden announced a beefed-up vaccine mandate for Feral employees.

According to press secretary Psaki:

The mandate for federal workers is an especially assertive move by the president.

Aside from some religious and disability exemptions, the vast majority of federal workers would be subject to a 75-day grace period for receiving a vaccine.

If workers decline to receive shots in that time frame, they will “go through the standard H.R. process,” which includes progressive disciplinary action.

Hmm.

So the “vast majority” of Federal employees must comply by sometime in December.

If they don’t they go through the “standard H.R. process” … which I assume takes months or years … pushing enforcement into 2022.

By then, hopefully covid will finally be under control.

So, the non-compliers will be fired some time in the future for not getting vaccinated against a virus that’s no longer a major health crisis.

Double hmmm.

Seems like Biden’s new & improved mandate is less than meets the eye, right?

So, why do it?

Simple.

It’s merely window dressing for Biden’s attempt to force the vaccination burden on companies … making companies  enforce vaccination mandates or get fined.

Ah, politics.

Buyer’s Remorse: 20% of Biden voters admit regret…

September 8, 2021

According to  RCP … the percentage of Americans who think that the country is moving in the wrong direction has increased from 50% to 60% in the past 10 days … only 30% think that the country is moving in the right direction.

And, according to YouGov. only 19% of Independents think the country is moving in the right direction … and only 58% of the people who voted for Biden think that the country is moving in the right direction.

So, it’s not surprising that in the latest Zogby poll, 1 in 5 Biden voters admitted to regretting their vote for Sleepy Joe.

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Drilling down…

Among the sub-groups that regret their votes more than the average:

  • Cryptocurrency holders (44%)
  • Middle aged voters aged 30-49 (30%)
  • Hispanics (33%)
  • Republicans (29%)
  • Weekly Amazon shoppers (29%)
  • Urban voters (28%)
  • Younger voters aged 18-29 (27%)
  • African Americans (25%)

Zogby notes that this poll taken before the Afghan withdrawal fiasco.

So, Zogby concludes:

“One gets the sense that Biden’s ship is sinking fast, and Biden might not have any lifeboats aboard to save him”

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Addressing the exasperated the mean-tweet-haters who voted for Biden, the WSJ’s Holman Jenkins opines::

Admit it: You didn’t vote for him, yet his absence hasn’t solved any problem.

America doesn’t feel noticeably less chaotic with him out of the picture.

COVID is resurging, inflation is rampant, Putin is winning (Nord Stream pipeline, halt of weapon sales to Ukraine, pleas for more oil, ransomware victories). citizens were left behind in Taliban country, allies have lost faith.

A big price for eliminating the mean tweets.

Uh-oh, Joe: You’re underwater and sinking…

September 7, 2021

And, the disapprovers have the strongest feelings.
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For openers, according to RCP’s latest poll-of-polls:

> 45.6% of American adults approve of the job that Biden is doing … an all-time low

> 49.1% disapprove … putting Biden 3.5 percentage points underwater on net total approval

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Digging deeper: According to the most recent Washington Post poll:

Back in April, Biden’s net strong approval (a measure of intensity) was essentially a push … … 34% strongly approved,  35% strongly disapproved.

Now, Biden’s net strong approval is underwater by 17 points … 25% strongly approve,  42% strongly disapprove. 

The 16 percentage points slide in  Biden’s net strong approval  since April is evenly divided between a 9 point slip among strong approvers … and a 7 point increase in strong disapprovers.

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Consistent with WaPo’s numbers, the left-leaning YouGov poll puts Biden’s net strong approval 15 points underwater.

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Digging still deeper into the YouGov poll’s internals…

> Blacks’ net strong approval — while still high at 22% — has dropped 7 percentage points in 10 days

> GOP strong disapproval increased to 80% … and net strong disapproval increased by 4 percentage points to 77%

> While Dems’ net strong approval is still a sky high 48% … strong approval has dropped below 50%’  Said differently, less than half of Dems strongly approve of the job that Biden is doing

> Most indicative politically, Independents’ net strong disapproval increased by 8 percentage points to 31%

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Good luck, Joe.

Biden: “Whether it’s true or not … change the perception. ”

September 1, 2021

Makes Trump’s Ukraine call look “perfect”.
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Last night, Reuters — based on a  leaked audio tape and a written transcript of a July 23 phone call between Biden and Afghan Pres. Ghani– reported that:

“In the last call between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Afghanistan counterpart before the Taliban seized control of the country, the leaders discussed military aid, political strategy and messaging tactics.”

Specifically, Ghani told Biden:

Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis.

Biden tried to prop Ghani up with talking points:

You clearly have the best military, you have 300,000 well-armed forces versus 70-80,000 and they’re clearly capable of fighting well, we will continue to provide close air support, if we know what the plan is and what we are doing.

Then, Biden “asked for the order”:

I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban.

The perception around the world is that this is looking like a losing proposition.

And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.

Whether it’s true or not?

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The takeaways:

> Ghani warned that the situation was dire: “A full scale invasion”.

> Biden promised “close air support” … which could only be done from Bagram .

> Biden told the Afghan Pres. to lie, if necessary: “Whether it is true or not”

Let’s see how the White House and Biden-friendly media wiggle out of this one.

The end of American exceptionalism ?

August 27, 2021

 

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Biden press conference August 27, 2021

Seriously, who’s calling the shots?

August 27, 2021

During Biden’s press conference he alerted reporters:

“Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list. The first person I was instructed to call on was Kelly O’Donnell from NBC.”

That revelation set off a tweet-storm asking who is “they”, why is Biden acting as a willing puppet and why isn’t there broader concern.

Biden reads dutifully from the teleprompter that he’s making the decisions and that he accepts the responsibility.

Does anybody really believe that?

Wouldn’t you like to know who’s really pulling the strings?

Maybe some day they’ll be outted .. but, I’m betting the under.


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