The Real Covid Failure

Source: The Wall Street Journal
by Holman W Jenkins, Jr.

“You didn’t think any question related to Covid would be settled in the recent congressional grilling of Anthony Fauci and you were right. That’s why the episode came and went from your news feed with barely a ripple. Here’s the story that needs to be fleshed out. Covid was a superfast spreader compared with the ordinary flu or even the novel pandemic flu that afflicts mankind once or twice a century. Its superfast spread had a particular outcome in Wuhan, Northern Italy and New York City, where the virus spread unrecognized for weeks and severe cases, though a small percentage of the total, reached a critical mass that overwhelmed hospitals. Where communities anticipated the virus and people made small adjustments, these catastrophes weren’t repeated.” (06/18/24)

Uncontrolled Spending on Nukes and War in Ukraine — The Tory-Labour Election Pact

by Ian Proud

“On 12 April, Keir Starmer announced that Labour would commit to increase UK defense spending to 2.5%. While the Conservative Party has been talking up the need to increase defense spending to 2.5% of GDP for some time, Rishi Sunak made his formal announcement on 24 April. On the eve of Rishi’s reveal, the UK Defense Journal declared ‘Britain to boost defense spending due to threat from Russia!’ Out of the blue, spending 2.5% of GDP on defense had become a joint Tory-Labour commitment. For voters, at a time of an ongoing proxy war in Ukraine, Israeli atrocities in Gaza and growing fear of China, spending an extra 0.5% of GDP on defense a headline grabber. But why is there no debate between the two main political parties in the UK general election campaign about foreign, security and defense policy?” (06/19/24)

The Road to Neo-Feudalism

Source: Quillette
by Joel Kotkin

“For middle- and working-class people across the developed world, home ownership has served as a primary driver of upward mobility. But in a growing number of places, this aspiration is being systematically undermined with grave implications for liberal democracy, the economy, and even fertility.” (06/19/24)

Let’s Organize for an Anti-US War Machine Summer

Source: Common Dreams
by Zishun Ning & Audrey Hui

“The movement against the continued Palestinian genocide in Gaza has sparked protests and encampments in colleges across the country and beyond. Local governments, such as the New York City government, collude with universities like Columbia, NYU, and CUNY to criminalize students for speaking out against the U.S. war machine by brutalizing peaceful protests. But this crackdown has only drawn more sympathy from people across the city and nation. Meanwhile, New York Mayor Eric Adams, who takes cues from billionaires and big real estate, tries to divide students from the rest of the community, portraying students as ‘antisemetic’ and supporters as ‘outside agitators.'” (06/19/24)

The Unreported Irony of Hunter Biden’s Conviction

Source: CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff

“It has gone largely, if not completely, unremarked in all the verbiage spun out by the 24-hour news cycle in the US media that the law under which the president’s son, Hunter Biden was convicted on three felony counts, was something pushed by his own dad, Joe Biden as part of his effort to ‘lock up drug users’ for lengthy terms in 1994. It’s no secret that Papa Biden, as a Senator and chair of the Senate Judicial Committee, teamed up with President Bill Clinton in a deliberate strategy of passing a get-tough-on-crime bill, undermining habeas corpus, making the death penalty tougher to appeal, and contriving to pile on years of jail time when offenses could be linked to one’s drug use in order to lock up low-level drug users and other perps — mostly nonwhite — for serious time behind bars.” (06/19/24)

First presidential debate: “Let’s get ready to mumble!”

Source: Orange County Register
by Ron Hart

“A rarity happens next week: a presidential debate before either party’s convention. Trump probably should not have agreed to the unusual CNN debate this early. If Biden melts down or freezes up, Dems have time to replace him before their official nomination in Chicago. I would have waited, but where there is a camera and a national audience, you will have a Trump. … Trump did have one poignant request: that both he and Biden be drug tested before the debate. I disagree, because if they make those two aged men tinkle in a bottle before the event, the debate would be delayed for an hour to get measurable levels. One could argue these two geezers should just argue in the balcony seats at The Muppet Theater instead.” (06/19/24)

The US Has No Viable Iran Policy

Source: The American Conservative
by Eldar Mamedov

“Six years after President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the JCPOA, and almost four since his successor failed to rejoin it, the United States still has no viable Iran policy. If the metric of success is defined by denying Iran nuclear weapons capability, then the policy has been a failure: Iran’s nuclear program is steadily advancing. … Western efforts at isolating Iran are faltering. A far better course of action for the U.S. would be to rejoin the JCPOA or negotiate a realistic alternative agreement based on the same premises — curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.” (06/19/24)

You can’t explain away Biden’s Juneteenth moment

Source: Washington Examiner
by Byron York

“The White House and its media allies are in full defensive mode over videos of President Joe Biden appearing to freeze, or zone out, or something, at three recent public events. … The three incidents are Biden’s June 6 appearance at D-Day anniversary ceremonies in Normandy, France, his June 10 appearance at a White House Juneteenth concert, and his June 15 appearance at a celebrity-filled Hollywood fundraiser. In the D-Day matter, Biden seemed to wander away from a group of leaders watching a skydiving exhibition. There is no doubt he seemed a bit disconnected, but on the other hand, there were skydivers landing all around the group, and Biden appeared to be interested in greeting some of them who were a little removed from the leaders’ group. So maybe that is all Biden was doing, in his slow and somewhat out-of-it way.” (06/19/24)

The Switzerland Summit: Peace Through Delusion

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Brad Pearce

“Ukraine has been at war for over ten years, and even the political establishment wipeout in the European elections has not managed to shock the Western ruling class back into coherence. Nothing could provide a clearer example of their clownish nature than the recent ‘Peace Conference’ in Switzerland where Russia was not invited, China did not attend, and meaningful negotiation with Russia was taken off the table before it began. Ukraine’s now-illegitimate President Volodymyr Zelensky continues in his maximalist war aims of insisting that Ukraine return to its 1991 borders even though that no one believes Russia will give up Crimea under any circumstances, or for that matter that any substantial portion of Crimea’s population wants to be part of Ukraine.” (06/19/24)

In 1858, Lincoln made a mistake. President Biden, don’t make the same one.

Source: Washington Post
by Francis S Barry

“President Biden’s recent speech in Normandy, highlighting the choice the world faces between democracy and autocracy, underscored what has been clear since he kicked off his reelection campaign in January: He is running as a democrat as much as a Democrat. Can he turn the election into a referendum on democracy — and win? The answer might depend on whether he learns from a political blunder made by the man he often lionizes: Abraham Lincoln.” (06/19/24)