Discussion thread

September 12, 2021 • 12:15 pm

It’s going to be a busy week as I prepare to go to Boston, contemplate a book proposal (mine), read over the near-final version of Matthew’s new book (it’s very, very good), and try to keep up business here. As for the latter, there’s simply not much to write about that intrigues me, and I have nothing to say that you can’t read elsewhere. Yes, everyone is going through tough times, what with a worldwide pandemic, the mess in Afghanistan and its effect on the Afghan people, racial unrest in America, Biden catching flak from even the Democrats, Wokeness burrowing in everywhere, American states enacting unconstitutional abortion laws to be enforced by vigilantes, schools on the verge of virtual learning again, and so on.

Given that many of us have become relatively isolated during the pandemic, and the fact that humans are social creatures, that creates yet another anxiety that compounds this bad time.

Let’s talk, though we don’t have to beef or kvetch about any of the above.  I’ll throw out a few questions, but you can bring up whatever’s on your mind. Remember, be civil, even if you disagree vehemently with someone.

Nearly everyone agrees that Biden is a damn sight better than Trump as President. But is he performing as you expected? (He promised “bipartisanship”, but that’s not on, and probably not his fault.) Did he take a bad hit with the chaotic exit from Afghanistan? Is he even trying to be bipartisan, and is that a worthwhile goal?

Will Biden run again in 2024? He seems to me to be getting a bit wobbly (he’s 78 now, and would be 80 if he runs again).

And what about Kamala Harris? The VP is traditionally the next candidate after the incumbent President is out, but we haven’t heard much from her. She’s always there standing behind Biden during his announcements, but what has she done? She was given a big job—handling the situation at the southern border with Mexico—but I don’t think she’s done squat. Will she even be a valid candidate if Biden bows out in the next election? If not, who’s a good choice?

Do you think Trump will run again?

What will our relationship be with the Taliban, now that they’re in charge in Afghanistan? Will they foment terror against the U.S., or will they, hoping for economic perks, be “nicer”. (As you know I think that they, being Islamists, won’t change a bit, for they’re wedded to their religious dictates.)

Will they approve booster shots for Pfizer and Moderna? If so, will you get one?  What about the idea that we should sacrifice our third shots for people in poorer countries where very few people have been vaccinated?

Finally, are we going to see more school closures this fall and winter?

That’s just off the top of my head, and th- th- that’s all, folks!

94 thoughts on “Discussion thread

  1. Not sure if we can pin Afghanistan withdrawal entirely on him, but for the moment the buck does stop at his table. Taliban’s start hasn’t been great. Not one woman in the cabinet, woman civil service staff being told to stay away from office. It may all be downhill from here.

    1. The Taliban put out this statement with regard to women attending University and College:

      “All female students, teachers, and staff must wear an Islamic abaya robe and niqab that covers the hair, body, and most of the face, according to the extensive document issued by the Taliban-run Education Ministry on September 5. The garments must be black, the text added, and women must also wear gloves to ensure their hands are covered.

      Classes must also be segregated by gender — or at least divided by a curtain — according to the order, which added that female students must be taught only by other women. But it added, though, that “elderly men” of good character could fill in if there were no female teachers.”

      So, that will be comfortable while you are trying to learn and take notes. Gloves for fuck’s sake!

      1. according to the order, which added that female students must be taught only by other women. But it added, though, that “elderly men” of good character could fill in if there were no female teachers.”

        If only De Sade were still with us. . .

      2. According to the BBC:

        Some have suggested that the new rules will exclude women from education because the universities do not have the resources to provide separate classes. However, Mr Haqqani insisted there are enough female teachers and that where they are not available alternatives will be found.

        “It all depends on the university’s capacity,” he said. “We can also use male teachers to teach from behind a curtain, or use technology.”

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-58537081

        Far from ideal, but hopefully not the end of women’s education?

        1. Many like France (and UN I think) have given up on the Taliban since all they promised turned out to be lies. No minority representation, no free passage out of Afghanistan, no women education (protesters being whipped and the journalists covering them as well), no women at workplaces, …

      3. One of the things the Abrahamic religions have in common is a fear of women’s sexuality (though Islam is, for now, by far the worst offender).

        In a sense, I can understand this; women’s sexuality is powerful force. But so, too, is the Banzai Pipeline. Better to grab a board and ride the wave, instead of fecklessly trying to control and cabin it.

  2. I’m very unimpressed with Kamela Harris. She strikes me as not very bright with an absence of backbone. I’d like to see either Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar run. Buttigieg lacked experience last time and Klobuchar is smart and crosses the aisle and gets things done.

    I saw that Chris Christie is making noises about running. I’d like to see him on the GOP ticket. He definitely faltered during Bridegate but overall I think he’s quite bright and and not afraid to make tough decisions.

    1. I have no doubt that Kamala Harris is smarter than you or I, but I don’t think her political instincts are good, and she hasn’t accomplished anything of note. Even with a bump from being VP, I don’t think she comes out of the Democratic primaries with a nomination.

    2. Amy Klobuchar is whip-smart. (I’m not sure she has the stage presence to win the White House.)

      I remember an interview I heard, last AK was running for Senate, of a old woman in rural Minnesota who had always voted republican. She said, more or less: ‘She can stand up there and speak intelligently for 45 minutes without notes or prompter. I’m voting for her.’

  3. Saying Biden is responsible for Afghanistan is about like saying Nixon was responsible for Vietnam. Actually it would be a lot closer to name Nixon for his part in Vietnam. The cost of all our undeclared wars from Vietnam forward would be almost impossible to add. If we just concentrate on the latest and longest, Afghanistan, the estimate is something over 2 trillion dollars. I run into people all the time today that remain ignorant even about Vietnam and that was a long time ago. I registered for the draft during that conflict in early 1968. I did that because the law required it. If you actually want to learn something about Afghanistan I recommend you read the Afghanistan Papers, copyright 2021. I won’t spoil it for you but just list one event that you probably do not know.

    In December of 2001, a conference was held in Bonn, Germany to establish a governance plan on Afghanistan. The United Nations held this with a group of Afghan power brokers, diplomats from the U.S., centrial asia, and Europe. Hamid Karzai was named as interim leader but not much came of this meeting because of one thing. The Taliban was not invited. So you see, early in this conflict the time arrived to end it, more or less but stupidity prevented this happening just as it did for the next 20 years.

    1. I don’t think a comparison of Biden to Nixon is apt, Randy. Nixon snaked LBJ’s peace deal in Paris just ahead of the ’68 election, through the bad good offices of Madame Chenault’s intercession with the South Vietnamese government, resulting in the names of 26,000 more US GIs being etched into a black granite wall in Washington, DC, and untold millions of killed and maimed Southeast Asians.

      1. Yes Ken, I am well aware. I was not specifically comparing Biden to Nixon – Just the idea of who was to blame for the war or getting out. That is what seems to be giving so many heart burn about Biden. As if there was a good way to end a war….there is not. As I have mentioned before, I don’t know of any war we lost where we got out nice and clean. It sure did not happen in Vietnam.

  4. Very impressed with Biden’s foreign policy. The MSM has really become a reliable barometer, any time the pan something, 99% likely to be a good decision, every time they promote something, its usually something so stupid that a psychopath like Pol Pot had to discontinue it.

    I can’t believe the coverage on Afghanistan, it was W.’s mess, the fact that we had troops there for 20 years means whatever was supposed to happen didn’t (e.g. failed using military force to freeze an unsustainable status quo), and getting out of any country is a mess. We should be grateful that there haven’t been more causalities.

    On the MSM, its fun to see people like Wolfowitz predicting China sailing into the ME because of the pull out (even if they don’t have a blue water navy). As if its that hard to look up how many air craft carriers China has. . .

  5. “Nearly everyone agrees that Biden is a damn sight better than Trump as President. ”

    Really? Most Republicans would disagree.

          1. According to that reliable source Wikipedia (!)

            The comic was started in Newcastle upon Tyne in December 1979 by Chris Donald, who produced the comic from his bedroom in his parents’ Jesmond home with help from his brother Simon and friend Jim Brownlow. Donald himself cannot remember exactly where the name of the magazine comes from. The most he can remember is: at the time, he needed to come up with a proper name for it, and he considered the word “Viz” a very easy word to write/remember, as it consisted of three letters which are easily made with straight lines.

            Bizarrely, shortly afterwards I once worked at a software company that had a very similar name for almost the exact same reasons.

            Customers who bought the ’80s packages VizaWrite and VizaStar in the PC version and were unhappy with the technical support, the blame is very likely mine! Though the British author Tom Sharpe was extremely satisfied with the service he obtained from my colleague; the boss, however, insisted that he returned the generous gratuity on the basis that “Tom Sharpe is mad and might use it against us!”

            Tom Sharpe, whose oeuvre has something of a certain overlap with that of Viz, is very sadly missed. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Sharpe

              1. The others are recommended, too. Although there are some very common themes. For example, condoms appear frequently – in exploding ostriches in the work that you mention, in an exploding Cambridge college in.Porterhouse Blue, and as a very uncomfortable means of revenge in The Throwback!

              2. On second thoughts, the exploding ostriches might be in Indecent Exposure the sequel to Riotous Assembly. (It’s been a while since I’ve read Sharpe’s works…)

              3. When I was clerking for a federal judge, a fellow clerk’s husband (who was a reporter for a local newspaper and the author of a couple books) gave me Riotous Assembly at a poker game, saying he knew it was the kinda book I’d dig.

                As soon as I finished it, I liked it so much I planned to dive right into Indecent Exposure, but, somehow, life got in the way of my reading. That happens a lot, dammit.

                I don’t recall condoms or exploding ostriches from Riotous Assembly, but I do remember the skintight latex outfits. 🙂

              4. “Porterhouse Blue”:

                “He might not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but by god he’ll die with one!”

                David Jason has been great—in more than just that.

  6. I’m a dedicated watcher of Fareed Zakaria’s GPS show on CNN. This morning’s show included a part about the significance of the Taliban declaring China as their most important partner. This is a bit surprising considering China’s treatment of the Uyghurs who are primarily Muslim. Fareed made the case that this is because the Taliban don’t have many friends among Muslim states and that they intend to model their authoritarian state after China’s.

    This segued into a discussion of how much progress has been made in the Muslim world. While Bin Laden wanted to establish Muslim caliphates everywhere, he and his ilk have lost that argument with the Muslim world, which has made it clear that they prefer the openness of the West over theocracy. I’m not sure how much that’s true but it would be nice if it is. Unfortunately, most of their leaders are still not ideal but now the people are sure what they want.

    1. The problem with democracy in the ME is that the Arab street is Anti-Israel, and if we are being honest, basically hardcore Anti-Semitic. Anyone coming to power with popular backing is going to have to come out against Israel and much of American foreign policy, so America loves democracy, until it actually starts to happen, and then we back a strong man.

      On top of that, you have so many sects and ethnicities, and everyone is afraid of the other guys, so its very hard to have political stability without the military stepping in to keep the X’s from killing the Y’s at the polling stations. That being said, Islamism is pretty exhausted at this time, few are envisioning the Caliphate. Its a hard one from the Western perspective, democracy undermines foreign policy objectives, Islamists pushing jihad at home and abroad, and the Arab nationalists being cozy with the Russians. The Americans have always viewed the Shiites as bad news, either as crypto-communists or crypto-Iranian or both. Before 9-11, there was a lot of talk about Sunni “moderates” but a lot less after 9-11.

    2. … Taliban declaring China as their most important partner. This is a bit surprising …

      Necessity makes strange bedfellows.

  7. I got the J&J one’n’done. I’m planning to get a booster, when one becomes available — though I would forgo it, if it means someone in a poorer country not having to go completely unvaccinated.

  8. H.L. Mencken was mentioned in your last post. One hundred years ago he said:
    “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last,
    and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”
    We had in the previous administration ,a “downright moron” and if some or many in the “land reach their hearts desire” we could have him again.
    There are pages online of Mencken’s quotes, as pithy and relevant now as when he battered them out on his typewriter a century and more ago. .

    1. “The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

      — H. L. Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920

  9. As you may know by now, Biden has gotten much the same sentiment abroad as Trump of ‘putting US first’. Potato, potatoe.

    The upshot seems to be that US internal voices has repeated what was said in 2001, that it should have been a juridical process to put the ~100 Al Qaeda terrorists before a court (if possible). Not a war that left 100,000s dead, modernized the Taliban weaponry and raised many terrorist groups around the world.

    US has apparently learned a lesson at long last and visibly abdicates as self proclaimed superpower and ‘world police’. (If it ever was, see above on the abdication of jurisprudence.) Maybe now the world can continue undisturbed on the downward trajectory of ever less violence that has been a hallmark of the last few decades.

    1. The problem is if the US is not going to be the world police, who will? I can tell you that China would love to fill that void and personally I’d rather it were the US.

  10. I would say that Biden is performing exactly as well as I thought he would.

    With regard to Trump, I think he will run if he is physically capable. At his age a couple years can mean the difference between robustness and frailty. Personally, I would prefer he not run. While I do not think he is a fascist, he entirely lacks the skills to be an effective President. He is also extremely polarizing, although I doubt the Progressive establishment will spare their brickbats for any Republican at this point.

    Frankly, I am in despair for the state of the nation, and wonder if we will be able to get through the 2022 and 2024 elections without civil war. If god is out there, I can only hope that he truly does protect fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.

    1. “While I do not think he is a fascist, he entirely lacks the skills to be an effective President. He is also extremely polarizing …..”

      But he’s not the worst US president ever, a racist, a woman-hater, a disabled-sneerer, a democracy-destroyer, a crook, a liar, a criminal, a mass murderer, …??? Lack of skill is the basic problem, is it? His heart’s in the right place, is it?

      1. I agree, Peter, that the overriding reason why it would be disaster if there were a second Trump term is because he is rotten to the core in all of the ways you outline. On top of that it is fair to add that he does not even have the merit of being a competent administrator. Four more years of his corrupt narcissism in the White House would be extremely damaging to the US and to the rest of the World.

  11. The BBC news had a segment on 9/11 yesterday and they showed part of the commemoration in New York. My mother pointed out that the president twenty years ago when it happened is younger than the president now.

    Biden is too old now, never mind 2024.

    1. Trump appears to be preparing to run – presumably because he hopes that the wheels of justice are too slow to prevent him regaining protection from the law?

      1. Trump does appear to be running. If he does, it will spark an interesting battle within the GOP. Those that want to run in his place will find it hard to back Trump. If they say anything against Trump, Trump will pound them mercilessly and probably end their political careers. On the other hand, Trump is already a loser and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t gained since November 2020. Polls will show mediocre to poor numbers for him which will produce calls for someone else to run.

        This will end up pushing the GOP to put all their eggs in the Big Lie/voter disenfranchisment basket. They won’t have a winning candidate so they’ll try to cheat. They’ll try really hard but it will hopefully fall short. It’ll definitely be nasty.

        1. The only time in US history when a Party has been foolish enough to run a candidate who had twice lost the popular vote was when Democrats nominated William Jennings Bryan for a third time in 1908 (and Bryan came a hell of a lot closer in both his early tries than did Trump).

          Then again, the foolishness today of what was once the Grand Old Party is inestimable.

          1. The estimable Henry Clay ran three times for president and never received a majority of the popular vote. In 1824, he received 13.0%; in 1832 37.4%; and 48.1% in 1844. He came very close to winning in 1844. Politics was very different from today in the first half of the nineteenth century.

            Of course, there were several minor candidates who ran more than three times. The most noted is Eugene V. Debs He ran five times.

            1. I was referring to candidates nominated by a major party. I should have made that more express.

              Debs ran as a socialist, of course. And Clay, I believe, ran as a candidate for at least two different parties, one of them the Whigs.

        2. The California branch of the “pro-life” party (except when it comes to Covid-19, healthcare in general, etc.) is already going the election “fraud” route in the gubernatorial recall campaign. If we don’t win, it means fraud.
          And don’t count on their falling short in other states. New laws in some states will make it easier for GOP legislatures or governors (bye-bye, Brad Raffensperger) to get the results they want after the fact.

          1. What really bothers me about the GOP’s plan to dispute every election they lose is the fact that their voters seem to be in on the game. It won’t matter how many court cases they lose, they’ll still maintain that it wasn’t a fair election. It should have turned into a joke by now but it is anything but.

            1. The GOP has become a party of nihilists, in thrall to a sociopath, with no regard for majority-rule democracy, only for clinging to power in the face of its ever-shrinking demographic base.

        3. Given Trump’s tried and tested technique of finding damaging nicknames or epithets for his political opponents and repeating them over and over, I would suggest that those who wish to oppose him in any future campaign should never utter his name without the word ‘loser’ attached.

      2. Trump’s preparing to run (or at least play-acting at it) so as to remain as close to the center of attention as possible.

        1. He can’t help himself. I think he can relate to what Lady Gaga says

          I live for the applause, applause, applause
          I live for the applause-plause, live for the applause-plause, live for the-
          Way that you cheer and scream for me
          The applause, applause, applause

          1. I’d certainly vote for Gaga over Trump — early and often, as we registered Democrats are wont to do (just ask any Trump cultist).

      3. Let him run. If he gets nominated, the Dems will have him for breakfast. If he doesn’t get nominated, a sizeable proportion of Trumpets may choose not to support the GOP candidate.

        We can only hope.

        1. EXACTLY! Trump’s continuing to sow chaos in the Republican Party is the best help
          we can hope for in the project of generating an alternative to the Republican Party.

        2. Well, of course, it also depends on who the Democrats put up. Biden can’t do another term, and Harris couldn’t get a vote before she was VP. Sanders will be too old. I wouldn’t assume that next time it will be enough for the candidate just to not be Trump.

          1. Nah, what they’d have to do is win at least 47% of the vote (something Trump couldn’t do in two tries), and spread it out over the right states to win the anachronistic, cockamamie electoral college.

            If the Republicans run Trump again, it’ll be the first time in US history a Party has nominated a candidate it knows can’t possibly win the popular vote, on the longshot chance that he’ll eek out a victory in the EC (something that’s been accomplished just five time in the nation’s 59 presidential elections, and never by the same person twice).

            1. In 2016 (I worked for HR Clinton) I wondered/worried if Trump would loose the popular vote but still win the presidency, like 2000. Then I thought, just by the math…. nah. No way.
              ————————–
              Also, remember pretty much every war (all the losing ones which is all of them nearly) was started by a Republican, and the 2008 crash was enabled by the de-regulation of Wall St. by them as well.
              ————————-
              I hope JAC’s stomach ache is better now.
              🙂

              D.A.
              NYC
              (fmr Wall Streeter)

              1. I recall in 2016 when it looked like Trump was going to lose the general election to Hillary he claimed that the vote would be rigged against him. Even before that, in the first contest of the 2016 presidential primary season — the Iowa caucuses — Trump claimed he lost only because of fraud by Ted Cruz.

                The guy’s got one move. He thinks his followers will buy his claims, however ludicrous they may be. So far, unfortunately, he’s been right.

    2. “Biden is too old now..” Evidence? Had any of the others been the candidate, they (and all the rest us in the world) would likely have the wonderful Drumpf again.

  12. The BBC Radio 4 programme More or Less is always an entertaining look at numbers in the news. According to the programme’s webpage, this week it crunches the statistics about:

    Should we be worried that the protection against Covid-19 provided by the vaccines is going down? This worrying idea has been in the news recently, partly because of reports out of Israel. Last winter, Israel was one of the first to embark on a large scale vaccination programme of its citizens. But several months on, it’s now seen a sharp rise in the numbers of cases and hospitalisations. Which does raise a worrying thought: is the vaccine’s effect fading?

    Could it really be the case that eating a hot dog takes 36 minutes from your life? That’s a claim that’s made headlines across the world.

    The Bank of England holds 35% of Government debt. Who owns the other 65%? We failed to tell listeners last week. We put that right.

    Has the UK spent more on Test and Trace than on its operations in Afghanistan? We look into this claim and answer other questions from our listeners about the numbers in the news about Afghanistan.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000zdtc

  13. Any Californian readers have any anxiety about the Newsom recall? I’ve been reading “it’s all about Trump” but recent polls show Newsom will remain as governor. At the same time, many who want to recall supposedly will vote in-person. It would be a tragedy if California got someone like Elders.

    1. I’m not a Californian and don’t profess to understand the issues at stake here. Larry Elder seems a fairly unsavoury dude [ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Elder#Political_positions ], not least his attitude towards women, Trump, science, climate change, Covid-19… (possibly these views are related?) Does he really stand a chance? (His personal life doesn’t look too pretty, either.) Has Newsom done anything that deserves the recall or is it all party political? Apologies for my ignorance.

      1. From what I can tell, it’s all politically motivated. The Trump cultists in California are against his Covid-19 safety measures (’cause, you know, it’s a hoax). I thought he had some accomplishments in other areas, but I’m not a Californian either, and don’t really follow their politics. But, yeah, that Elder guy is a horrible person- he’s also the mentor of Trump’s white supremacist aid Steven Miller.

    2. I live in California. Polling has to be really wrong for him to be recalled, is my current understanding. Newsom is slick and glib but imo lackluster in terms of accomplishment, particularly with regard to the environment (which is my single-issue). Newsom gets hammered daily by the blowhards on LA AM radio, mostly about COVID-related stuff and the homeless problem (which really is a huge–and complex–problem here).There is a pretty balanced summary of his record as governer here: https://calmatters.org/explainers/newsom-recall-report-card/

      All that said, any of the plausible alternatives would be far worse. Elder is dangerous. Last time we did this California ended up with the Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, so who knows.

      [The election materials were hilarious. I think there are 46 candidates, including Angelyne, Caitlyn Jenner, Chauncey “Slim” Killens, and Nickolas Wildstar. One guy’s official candidate statement was ‘Google me’. Another one’s was ‘Can you dig it?’]

  14. Biden did get the COVID relief bill through, that’s something. And there is a huge bipartisan infrastructure bill that hopefully makes its way to his desk at the end of the month. That bill is very popular among both Democrats and Republicans and passing it would be quite the achievement. He just has to wrangle Pelosi a bit more.

    1. And I like how he is going hard on vaccination. I think Canada could take some pointers. Some provinces require mandatory vaccinations, some are nuts and have pretended things are normal now as hospitals become overwhelmed.

      1. However the US/Canada difference in vaccination rates is about 15%, IIRC. And with the ‘exponential’ nature of virus spread versus suppression, Canada is approximately doing 8 times better than US when you look at # covid deaths in the past 7 days per million population. The 15% is almost certainly by far the biggest reason for the staggering difference between those latter numbers.

        With a daughter just returning to Saskatchewan from Ontario today, I can certainly appreciate your fact about the differences between Canuck provinces.

  15. I dearly hope neither DJT or Biden run again, they are both far too old, and either of them dying in office— by any means— will set off chaos and conspiracy theories.

    If Kamala runs she will be the recipient of the best (worst) the American Republican Taliban has to offer: the hatred of a woman running (HRC), and and a darker skin (BO). The far right hate machine has been doing this since she was picked for VP.

    Is it wrong of me to hope the duplicitous, cowardly Republican party shreds itself to death seeking the blessing of Tr*mp? He’ll give them nothing in return, except maybe the chance for another riot and insurrection. Running or not, his supporters are clearly up for another chance at mayhem if he but gives them the word to ‘take our country back.’

  16. Nearly everyone agrees that Biden is a damn sight better than Trump as President. But is he performing as you expected?
    Sort of. Many early moves were too woke for me. But; He’s NOT Voldemort; and that’s a GREAT start.

    (He promised “bipartisanship”, but that’s not on, and probably not his fault.) Did he take a bad hit with the chaotic exit from Afghanistan?
    Yes. Might cost the Dems the POTUS in 2024.

    Is he even trying to be bipartisan, and is that a worthwhile goal?
    Kind of; and yes (despite the opposition)

    Will Biden run again in 2024? He seems to me to be getting a bit wobbly (he’s 78 now, and would be 80 if he runs again).
    No.

    And what about Kamala Harris?
    Yes, she will run.

    The VP is traditionally the next candidate after the incumbent President is out, but we haven’t heard much from her. She’s always there standing behind Biden during his announcements, but what has she done?
    Not very much, as far as I can see; but she was given a lot of wide-ranging responsibilities. Probably the Latin America effort is the most significant.

    She was given a big job—handling the situation at the southern border with Mexico—but I don’t think she’s done squat. Will she even be a valid candidate if Biden bows out in the next election? If not, who’s a good choice?

    Do you think Trump will run again?
    Yes. (Listen to Andrew Sullivan’s most recent podcast with Michael Wolff.) Voldemort still thinks he won the last election.

    What will our relationship be with the Taliban, now that they’re in charge in Afghanistan? Will they foment terror against the U.S., or will they, hoping for economic perks, be “nicer”. (As you know I think that they, being Islamists, won’t change a bit, for they’re wedded to their religious dictates.)
    Distant coexistence, very similar to our relationship with Iran.

    Will they approve booster shots for Pfizer and Moderna? If so, will you get one? What about the idea that we should sacrifice our third shots for people in poorer countries where very few people have been vaccinated?
    Yes. Yes. No: Pfizer and Moderna are not practical for developing countries do to the storage and logistics/management challenges. Help them get J&J or one of the others.

    Finally, are we going to see more school closures this fall and winter?
    Yes.

    The TX anti-abortion law will be successfully challenged in court, the first time a suit is brought against someone under it. The person bringing the suit has no standing, no loss. Leaving aside completely the “fetal heartbeat” (approx. 6-week fuse), which is ridiculous on medical grounds. Basically, the whole thing is an insane legal cock-up.

  17. It’s easy to repeat the mantra ‘Biden is too old’, as several above have, so I’m replying in general. But tell me: Exactly which of his actions or inactions so far are unfortunate and a result of this elderliness? Let’s hear it. In some cases it might be worth comparison with something similar by the considerably younger Bush from 2000 to 2008, just to see how a doddering 78-year old is deficient as president.

    As a Canuck, perhaps it’s not so much my business to be going on about another country’s politics. However, at least in general and not bragging about my own awareness of the outside world, and if such a comparison is possible, I’d be inclined to think that the average Canadian is more aware of actual facts, as opposed for example to conspiratorial bullshit, about US federal politics, than is the average USian.

    And even MSNBC and CNN need no end of often dubious nonsense to keep viewers glued for their advertisers, nonsense produced by celebrity motor mouths for the most part.

    Or is it ‘too old merely because that age will stop ignorant voters from voting for him again’?

    I’ve overdone my bit to get the responses up to Jerry’s 100!

  18. Why is Kamala Harris any more boring and unaccomplished than any other VP we have had? And why are the Taliban worse than the rest of the Muslim world which commits honor killings, child marriages and hangings of gays and apostates as a matter of daily life? Over a thousand honor killings a year take place in Pakistan (which we should have invaded instead of Afghanistan since they are all foaming at the mouth fanatics in the biggest failed state in history). Uighurs by the tens of thousands are in concentration camps and Myanmar murders their Muslims without a second look.
    Drug gangs take over Mexico and much of Colombia. Russia is a gangsters’ paradise. Yet we conduct normal diplomatic relations with all these known killers and psychopaths. Compared to them our country is paradise…except for the wokesters, witch hunters, black avengers and terrified liberals who want to shred our constitution so we can have a pseudo Marxist revolution with whites as
    slaves and heterosexuals as outcasts. Oh and dont forget the religious fundamentalists who really think there are floating invisible entities up in the stratosphere that deserve worship. Or the anti vaxxers and anti science morons. We will survive some of these but will democracy? Will the republic survive? And if it does, will it be the government we want? Take full measure of the leaders of your movement or trend or opinion. Keep an eagle key on those who profess freedom and liberalism, on left or right. And speak out, loudly.

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