Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dems' dilemma: What to do with Joe?


A conservative political pundit believes many in the Democratic Party are deeply concerned about Joe Biden's fitness to be president and may take an extraordinary step if he's nominated.

A resurgent Biden scored victories from Texas to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, revitalizing a presidential bid that was teetering on the edge of disaster just days earlier. The Associated Press reports that his victories were powered by Democratic voters who broke his way just days before casting their ballots, resulting in "a wave of late momentum that scrambled the race in a matter of hours."

'Just sad' to listen to Biden

It's no secret that the former vice president has been described as a "gaff machine" over the years. But in recent weeks on the campaign trail, Biden has perhaps brought it to new level – referring to "Super Thursday" instead of "Super Tuesday," stating that 150 million Americans have been killed by "gun violence" since 2007, describing himself as "a candidate for the United States Senate," and bungling an opportunity to recite the preamble to the Declaration of Independence by referring to the "Creator" as "the thing."

Sandy Rios is director of governmental affairs at American Family Association. During a recent appearance on American Family Radio, she presented a possible scenario for a Biden candidacy moving forward.

Sandy Rios"Many people believe – and I'm one of them – that if they can just manipulate things so that Joe wins the nomination … and if they prevent Bernie Sanders from getting it, they will appoint someone like Hillary Clinton as his vice president," she offered. "And then Joe will be sort of pulled aside and he won't really be running things."

She's convinced Biden doesn't have the capacity to meet the rigors of the office. "I think it's pretty obvious that he is not capable anymore – there are just too many mistakes. It's hard to listen to … it's not even funny anymore, it's just sad."

Rios adds: "Honestly, I am not sure what the [Democratic] establishment is going to do about Joe Biden, given his inability to articulate [and] to remember. His stumbling and bumbling are going to become even more apparent on the campaign trail."



Fighting Regulatory Dark Matter

If you’ve spent enough time in a public school or listening to cable news, you are probably convinced to some extent that regulations exist to protect the American citizenry, whether physically or financially. However, if you’ve been paying attention to reality, you will recognize that it is quite the opposite. The regulatory state has been weaponized against everyday Americans.

Thankfully, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), under the leadership of Acting Administrator Russ Vought, is seeking to curb the bureaucratic bullying that happens all too often across the country.

They are seeking to codify two executive orders by the Trump administration that promote transparency. It would limit the use of so-called “guidance documents” in bringing enforcement actions against American citizens. It would also ensure that victims of bureaucratic bullying are given the opportunity to see said documents, be warned beforehand, and have greater standing to challenge any action brought against them.

This is not a result of paranoia about the vast power of the state. This is happening to working men, women, and families across the country to this day.

Andy Johnson owns a small farm in Wyoming with his family. He wanted to build a pond for his four daughters’ horses to drink and graze on their land. Andy and his wife Katie worked with Wyoming engineers to dig out this pond, fill it with filtered water, and create a habitat for various wildlife.

This all seems like a rather idyllic picture of the quintessential American dream. That was, until two years later, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came knocking on their door. They notified the Johnsons that they were in violation of the Clean Water Act - despite clear documentation from the state of Wyoming indicating that they weren’t. The EPA, with its arsenal and all, assured the Johnsons they would be fined $16 million if they did not comply and destroy the pond.

Sadly, the Johnsons do not find themselves alone in this predicament. As documented by Conservative Partnership Institute’s Rachel Bovard, there are a number of similar cases all over America:

In 2007, Mike and Chantell Sackett were threatened by the EPA with $75,000 a day in fines for trying to build a house on their own property, across the road and 500 feet away from Priest Lake in Idaho.

Charles Johnson, a Massachusetts cranberry farmer, spent millions of dollars fighting the agency for 22 years for the right to farm his own land. He finally settled in 2012, at the age of 80.

Kevin Lunny lost his family’s oyster company in California when the Department of the Interior granted itself limitless discretion to reissue the required permit and argued that Lunny didn’t have the right to sue.

In Alaska, the Army Corps of Engineers denied Richard Schok the ability to expand his pipe fabrication business when they claimed that permafrost — the subsurface layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year — was actually a wetland.

There are real victims and real consequences to this bureaucratic bullying. Lifelong unelected bureaucrats are setting traps for the American people and not even giving them the chance to comply or fight back. This is not about protecting anyone or anything.

For too long the federal regulatory state has been giving too much leeway to operate as it pleases anyway. The Trump administration is fighting back and giving the public an opportunity to talk about how this issue can be resolved. OMB has a public comment period open until March 22nd for the public to make their voices heard.

It is time to significantly roll back the regulatory state and put more power and freedom in the hands of everyday Americans. Families trying to find a better way to water their horses are not criminals. It’s time to give folks like them the upper hand.



The Politics of a 'Fear Pandemic'

Democrats are hoping that the COVID-19 threat will be Trump's "Hurricane Katrina." 

Democrat Party leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are in a quandary. They have to decide which of the headline tragedies today make for better political fodder — do they keep feeding the coronavirus fears, or do they put that on pause and politicize the Milwaukee murders in order to advance their gun-confiscation agenda?

Yes, their political modus operandi is just that causticly crass.

It follows the model perfected by Barack Obama and his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who openly declared, “You don’t ever want a good crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” And that is exactly what they did in 2008, when Obama used a pandemic of financial fear as his ticket to the presidency. At the time, even Bill Clinton admitted that the Democrats were responsible for that crisis because they resisted “efforts by Republicans in the Congress … to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” Clinton himself had loosened up those standards 10 years earlier, with disastrous financial consequences but fortuitous political consequences.

My point is not to relitigate how the Democrats used that “fear pandemic” to ensure Obama’s election but to say they are experts at converting tragedy into political triumph. Their current “Hate Trump” platform is constructed on their perennial political foundation of fear, anger, and division.

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, Democrats are scrambling for any “opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” to enable them defeat Donald Trump, especially if they can’t dispense with Bernie Sanders frontrunner status. COVID-19, the scientific term for coronavirus, is providing them an election-year crisis that they won’t let go to waste, especially if it becomes a significant domestic health threat. They see the potential to convert coronavirus into Trump’s “Hurricane Katrina.”

In January, I wrote a comprehensive analysis, “The Flu and You,” putting the potential for a COVID-19 flu pandemic into perspective and offering helpful links on preparedness and response. At that time, the Trump administration was taking significant steps to prevent a viral spread in the U.S.

Monday of this week, reflecting concern about the economic impact of coronavirus, there was a 3.5% equities-market selloff — a bellwether indicator of economic concerns. For the record, there are other factors – equities are likely due a 10-15% correction, and the possibility that Bernie Sanders could somehow win the 2020 presidential election is cause for a lot of concern among businesses and consumers. Responding to the selloff, Nate Jackson provided an update on COVID-19, noting how Schumer and Pelosi had their coronavirus crisis/fear machine at full throttle. Pelosi claims the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion in funding was “long overdue and completely inadequate.” Schumer declared that Trump is “asleep at the wheel.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), promoted a panic narrative that ran contrary to the Trump administration’s measured concern and effort to encourage calm. Messonnier, who is the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (one of the coup co-conspirators), told Leftmedia reporters that the pandemic potential is “bad” and the “disruption to everyday life may be severe.” She declared, “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Let me be clear: Messonnier could be right. COVID-19 is estimated to be much more lethal than the .1% fatality rate of typical flu bugs, which have killed more than 60,000 Americans in a single year.

But her comments were irresponsible and played right into the Demos’ panic narrative — and another market selloff of 3.2%. The selloff continued into Wednesday and is not over. By undermining consumer and business confidence, and thus the equities markets, Democrats are playing politics with the wealth and job stability of all working Americans and their families. Democrats are quietly high-fiving each other in Capitol Hill cloakrooms, knowing that what is bad for America workers is bad for Trump’s reelection prospects.

Messonnier’s dire warnings necessitated an executive press conference Wednesday evening with President Trump and his key administration officials.

Trump announced the appointment of Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar to head the White House coronavirus-containment task force. Trump assured the public, “Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared,” adding the infection rates in the U.S. “may get a little bigger, [or] it may not get bigger at all. … Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.” Of note regarding the “reliability” of reports from China’s communist regime that they are containing the epidemic, Trump said: “If you can count on the reports coming out of China, the spread has gone down.”

Asked if he thought threat had been politically “weaponized” by the CDC and Messonnier, he responded: “No, I don’t think the CDC is at all. … They’re professional. I think they’re beyond that. They want this to go away, they want to do it with as little disruption, and they don’t want to lose life.”

Secretary Azar reiterated Trump’s confidence, but was clear that the threat could shift quickly: “The immediate risk to the American public has been and continues to be low. At the same time, what every one of our experts and leaders have been saying for more than a month now remains true. The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly and we can expect to see more cases in the United States.”

The CDC’s Deputy Director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, added, “We do expect more cases [and] now is the time for businesses, health care systems, universities, and schools to look at their pandemic preparedness plans, dust them off, and make sure that they’re ready.”

For his part, Mike Pence outlined the administration’s response thus far and plans moving forward: “[President Trump] declared a public health emergency. He suspended travel to the United States from China. He initiated quarantine efforts for American citizens returning, and he established the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which has literally met every single day. President Trump has directed me to lead a whole of government approach to address the coronavirus in this country. And I promise you: We will continue to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear to protect the American people… We’re all in this together. This is not the time for partisanship. This president will always put the health and safety of America first.”

As I noted in my COVID-19 analysis last month, for the most current information on the viral threat in the U.S., visit the CDC’s page, “What You Should Know,” which provides updates, preventive measures, travel advice, etc. You can review the CDC’s national pandemic-response plan and basic citizen flu-prevention measures.

And finally, as I noted in “The REAL Pandemic Threat” back in 2006, “Clearly, there are significant pandemic threats posed by viral infections that mutate into much more contagious forms and can spread regionally, nationally, and internationally, causing significant loss of life. The primary defense against such contagions is the capacity to shelter in place. What originates in China or Africa one week can be in your suburb the next.”

For that reason, we developed a comprehensive resource page on Disaster Preparedness Planning, including a Two-Step Individual Readiness Plan and a section on how to shelter in place. We encourage you to visit each of these pages, because national preparedness begins with individual preparedness, and individual preparedness is the firewall against a “fear pandemic.”

Update Elizabeth Warren, a master at politicizing everything, is demanding that funding for the border wall be diverted to combat COVID-19 nationally. But the fact is, our porous southern border is a signifiant entry point for the virus, particularly if there is an outbreak in Central America, sending caravans of “pandemic refugees” north. But more to the point, recently there has been a significant increase of Chinese nationals crossing our the southern border.




VIGILANCE: Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar self-quarantine after exposure to coronavirus patient at CPAC (National Review)

DEPOSE NO MORE: Kamala Harris's ironic endorsement of Joe Biden (Washington Examiner)

"THE RELATIONSHIP IS A VERY GOOD ONE": Trump announces Mark Meadows to replace Mick Mulvaney as White House chief of staff (Fox News)

2020 VISION: Record GOP voting enthusiasm breaks pattern, topping Democrats (Washington Examiner)

"DONE OUR DUTY"? Christopher Steele refuses to cooperate with John Durham review (Washington Examiner)

NINTH CIRCUS: "Remain in Mexico" program blocked by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California and Arizona (The Daily Caller)

WHO'D A THUNK IT? Major crimes in New York City unexpectedly surge after bail-reform law (Hot Air)


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


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