Good Caturday to you on this Saturday, Sepember 9, 2023, and shabbos for all Israeli cats. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a sensible question for Andrzej:
Hili: When did cats domesticate humans?A: As soon as humans stopped drifting from place to place.
Hili: Kiedy ludzie zostali udomowieni przez koty?Ja: Jak tylko ludzie przestali się włóczyć z miejsca na miejsce.
*In his Weekly Dish column, Andrew Sullivan argues that “It’s time for Biden to leave the stage.” Alas, ’tis true, but who will enter left? A few excerpts:
Every time you see Biden walk, he seems, well, in his eighties: he’s slow, careful, stilted. Every time you hear him speak, he’s also just a little off, eyes now barely visible in the ancient, botoxed, fillered face, words often slurred, a ghostly white mane peeking over his collar in the back, occasionally rallying to the point, or strangely loud-whispering. My old friend Joe Klein wrote this week:
He seemed so old. His eyes were slits, he turned the pages of his very prepared remarks haltingly. He slurred his words, slightly. His physical condition overwhelmed the message. He assayed passion in a few closing sentences about the racist murders in Jacksonville, but it wasn’t passion that came across — it was the attempt to convey passion.
This is the man the Democratic Party says will be fully able to function as president for five more years through the age of 86. No one rooted in human reality believes it, or should believe it.
In the latest brutal polling, 49 percent of Democrats say Biden is too old for reelection. An additional 20 percent said their “biggest concern” is either: his “mental competence, sharpness, senility,” his “health,” his “stamina” or his “risk of dying.” So in fact, nearly 70 percent of his own party thinks his age is a serious concern. Overall, only one in four Americans believe he has the “stamina and sharpness” to serve as president, and 67 percent of his own party want someone else to run in 2024.
. . . Yes, Trump is almost as old as Biden. But he has the energy and stamina and obsessiveness of the truly mentally ill. I started to read his interview this week with Hugh Hewitt, and yes, it was a festival of delusion and lies and occasional decent points. But what struck me also was the zeal, untempered by time, the persistent, angry passion, the untiring drive to regain power. He is not what he was, and, appearances to the contrary, is mortal. But up against Biden, he seems like raw energy.
But then the obvious question arises:
“But who else?” the Democrats say. I don’t know. But that’s what primaries are for. Harris is an obvious non-starter, which goes a long way to explaining why we’re stuck where we are. But there’s no reason she couldn’t throw her hat in the ring (and Biden should stay strictly neutral). RFK Jr is another non-starter, but look how he far he gone despite being completely bonkers. Even Marianne Williamson has polled as high as nine percent. There are plenty of popular Dem governors — Polis, Shapiro, Newsom, Whitmer, Pritzker, and Moore come to mind. Senators Warren, Klobuchar or Booker could run again, as could Buttigieg. Others will emerge. Yes, there’s a risk in Biden pulling an LBJ. But there’s a risk with him in staying in place, as all the energy propels Trump back to power.
This is wishful thinking. Whitmer or Mayor Pete appeal to me (Pritker, unhealthily obese, runs the chance of dying in office, and he’s too woke). There is no Democratic candidate that can, at least now, credibly challenge Trump. Biden did his part, says Sullivan, in saving us from Trump:
Biden was elected as a means to check Trump; the logic of his presidency was always that the old man would get us back to normal; and that argument makes much more sense for a one-term presidency. And what an atmosphere-changing gesture than relinquishing power voluntarily when so many are clinging to it with arthritic fingers.
If we elect Biden (and I will vote for him if he runs), we face the serious possibility of either a President with crippling dementia or, perhaps worse, President Kamala Harris, a do-nothing disaster. I don’t know what the solution is, but finding some dark-horse Democratic candidate seems like a bad one.
BTW, here, from FiveThirtyEight, is a plot of Biden’s approval ratings over the past several years:
*Donald Trump plays Jesus Christ again. Yes, he’s always pretended to be America’s savior, but it’s getting worse, according to this NYT piece. For with indictments comes martyrdom.
Appearing at a large-scale event for the first time since he stood for a mug shot in Georgia late last month, Mr. Trump acknowledged that his circumstances had changed. Yet he referred to the four criminal cases against him proudly — and as an applause line.
“I’m being indicted for you,” Mr. Trump, the front-runner in the G.O.P. presidential primary race, said to the audience. “That’s not part of the job description,” he added, “but I’m being indicted for you.”
Hallelujah! He’s taken on our sins: he’s being indicted so we don’t have to be!
Mr. Trump, too, marveled that his poll numbers in the primary had seemed to rise after his indictments. “I’m the only person in the history of politics who has been indicted whose poll numbers went up,” he said.
Still, polls have shown that a majority of Americans believe his criminal cases were warranted, and some Republicans worry that the 91 total charges against him could hurt him in the general election. Mr. Trump’s legal issues could also create logistical and financial challenges that could make it difficult for him to campaign effectively.
But, as Andrew Sullivan noted above, everyone still regards Trump as an extremely formidable candidate for next year’s election.
*The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration apparently violated the Constitution by censoring some companies from publishing political material, particularly on Covid. But the ruling Federal Appellate Court, a conservative one covering Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, also cut back restrictions imposed by a lower court.
. . . Doughty’s decision had affected a wide range of government departments and agencies, and imposed 10 specific prohibitions on government officials. The appeals court threw out nine of those and modified the 10th to limit it to efforts to “coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech.”
The 5th Circuit panel also limited the government institutions affected by its ruling to the White House, the surgeon general’s office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI. It removed restrictions Doughty had imposed on the departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services and on agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The 5th Circuit found that those agencies had not coerced the social media companies to moderate their sites.
*Speaking of agéd political candidates, Nellie Bowles’s weekly news report at The Free Press, “TGIF: Free the elders!“, deals with the issue. As usual, I’ll steal three items.
→ You choose between old or crooked: You’ll be shocked to know that a lot of Americans associate Biden with the words old, outdated, aging, and Trump with corrupt, criminal, crooked. And they associate Nellie Bowles with smart, talented,and prettier in person. Weird!
About three-quarters of voters in fact think Biden is too old to run, according to the WSJ, and his support among minority voters continues to erode.How do Republicans do against Biden in a matchup? Biden and Trump are tied neck and neck. But Nikki Haley is beating Biden handily! Haley hive rise up! Now, this poll also says Mike Pence would win, and I know for a fact that only seven people would vote for Mike Pence, so make of it what you will.
Anyway, we all know how the Republican primary will work: all these men and Nikki Haley will fight for months in elaborate televised debates, each dutifully reported on and parsed for meaning, and it won’t matter because Trump’s getting the nom. But just for fun, just to live the lie for a little longer:
Nikki Fricking Haley! My kishkes!
→ Mr. Adams, this is a Sanctuary City: Mayor Eric Adams said this week that the migrant crisis will “destroy” New York City. With estimates that the city’s services for migrants could cost about $12 billion over three years, Adams said: “I’m gonna tell you something, New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I didn’t see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this.” Watch it here.
The American left has never come up with a solution to the very basic conundrum that they want open borders but also robust social services. Up until now, the conflict has never come to a head because folks could just point at Trump or at Southern politicians and talk about how racist those Republicans are to enforce the border. But now it’s Biden. And now immigrants are coming en masse to New York City, asking about those robust social services. And now someone actually has to do the math.
→ Salman Rushdie’s attacker getting treated with kid gloves: Sure, a crazy jihadi ran onstage and stabbed Salman Rushdie, who lost an eye. But have you considered that the Biden administration really wants to make a deal with Iran? And so maybe Rushdie is being a little dramatic—did he really need both eyes? This is a real quote from Jason Schmidt, the district attorney overseeing the case, arguing that some of the prosecution depends on Biden’s Iran agenda:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, I know, they are engaged in their own investigation and, you know, potential prosecution, and they’ve been looking at this as well. I do think it does have political considerations and recognizing, for instance, that the Biden government is trying to negotiate with Iran now to kind of bring them back into a nuclear treaty. I understand that there’s a lot of considerations here that, you know, that are way outside my paygrade.
The obsession with Iran, with pleasing them and with turning them into an ally, is one of the creepiest and most underreported stories of this White House.
Amen to that. A bad misstep on not just Biden’s administration, but Obama’s as well.
*Your Caturday felid was sent by Anna from Melbourne, and is a video from Tommy Brennan called: “AI David Attenborough narrates a documentary about my cat.”
There’s a demonstration against the government in Tel Aviv tonight, with rumors that there may be violence. Despite that, I still want to do, as it’s part of my education in Israel.