Groundhog Day

Maybe you felt the same way. You keep hearing about “Systemic Racism” but aren’t sure what it is. When in doubt, Google. The search pointed to Wikipedia, which uses the term interchangeably with “Institutional Racism,” defined “as a form of racism embedded through laws and regulations within society or an organization. It can lead to discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.” This got me thinking. 

In the 1950s and ’60s, we worked hard to change the nation’s laws and regulations to ensure everyone their constitutional rights. We have mainly been successful. Most of the present-day problems reside at a more local level. For instance, criminal justice, policing, and prosecution are State and local issues. Education is always a local affair. Even housing and healthcare problems originate at the local level.  

Political power at the local level is how we fix local problems. If there is racism in our local institutions, let’s get oppressed to the polls and throw the bums out. 

Never have people had greater access to the polls. Blacks in many states of the old south vote in more significant percentages than whites. Nothing is standing between Blacks joining like-minded people to form coalitions to achieve the law enforcement and education to improve lives.

In fact, blacks have formed ruling coalitions with others in almost all locales they live. Blacks are almost uniformly governed by the political party they overwhelmingly give their votes. These local governments also control the zoning that dictates the affordability of housing.

 The paradox is institutions some Black’s claim are racist are controlled by the very same people they voted into office. Walt Kelly’s Pogo would understand. He proclaimed, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” 

If you don’t like your local criminal justice system, prosecutors and police departments vote for candidates with a different approach. Maybe they belong to another party. Continuing to vote for Democrats means supporting other party pillars such as the public sector unions. Bad teachers and cops often remain employed due to the protections afforded by their unions. Achieving a workable balance is in large part stumbles over the bad cop problem. Poor areas need more policing, but not by repressive bad cops.

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It Gets Worse

The Biden administration continues its downward momentum. Mirroring its failure to maintain the previous policies on our Southern Border, it reversed strong support for Israel and its Arab neighbors. Iran was boxed in by sanctions and widening Arab-Israeli cooperation. The Abraham Accords promised peace among the historic enemies. Since taking control, Biden seeks to revive the Obama-Iran nuclear accord with its potential economic relief for Iran. He pointedly put off calling the Israeli Prime Minister. He restored financial aid to the Palestinians. These actions encouraged Iran and its allies at the expense of Israel and the Arabs, resulting in rockets and bombs falling on the Israel-Gaza border. Just as a crisis replaced calm on our Southern Border, we added a Middle East conflict. The Biden administration’s motto must be “so much tranquility to upset, so little time.” 

We are living in a sea of help-wanted signs. Over 8 million unfilled jobs nationwide, but no one is showing up. If you can make as much or more with Biden’s enhanced unemployment payments, why work? Many Red states are cutting off the benefits, so we’ll see if more people show up for jobs in those states. These are Red states with schools open, so parents don’t have to stay home with the kids. A rise in employment in these states will prove what a poor policy the payments are.

However, the administration has doubled down with cash child benefits sent out monthly starting in July. Instead of waiting for the tax rebate., it’ll send regular cash payments. With more cash, there will be even less need to find a job. Fewer workers mean shortages and higher prices.

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Dogma Over Reason

In my 2/8/21 post, I advised, “Do What You do Best.” Biden had run a quiet middle ground campaign with the central theme of “I’m not Trump.” Rather than rock the boat, build on what is in place. Operation Warp Speed promised to deliver Herd Immunity by the end of spring, if not sooner. As more people become vaccinated, the economy continues to open leading to a boom. The fourth quarter ’20 numbers showed we were already moving up. The Israeli-Arab Alliances are offsetting Iran in the Middle East. Our Southern Border was relatively quiet. China is a problem, but they know we are taking a much stricter attitude towards them. Giving the Ukrainians effective weapons stabilized that front. Continue what’s in place and add an excellent bipartisan infrastructure bill and bask in the results. Instead, Biden proposed colossal spending on virtually all of the far left’s dream list and undoing everything Trump accomplished.

Instead of realizing while many people have a personal distaste for the former President, they weren’t against his policies and actions. There is a good reason for this; many of the Trump policies worked. The Biden administration instead adopted the attitude if Trump did it, the policy or action must be evil and undone. Even if left in place policies such as Warp Speed and the economy, there could be no acknowledgment of the previous Administration. Border accords ditched, cozying up to Iran, and mixed signals to Russia and China replaced Trump’s policies and actions. In the last post, I made these points to show Biden’s first 100 Days unnecessarily disastrous.

The media has done its best to shield the President from his failures. However, reality has a way of breaking into the light. The recent job report illuminates the Administration’s missteps. Instead of the expected million jobs filled, only 266,000 more went to work. How could this be when everywhere you look, there is help wanted signs? The three reasons given are fear of Covid, schools still not full time, enhanced unemployment pay makes work unattractive, or some combination of the three. All these trace back to the Biden administration. A fully vaccinated President surrounded by masked vaccinated people still wears a mask inside or outside. Dr. Anthony Fauci, his chief medical advisor, wears two masks. The perceived message is no matter what we say, maybe these vaccines don’t work.

Go back to last summer when the Trump Administration told us schools were safe to open. Faced with solid data from Presidential medical policy advisor Dr. Scott Atlas, the CDC concurred. Some states, such a Florida, followed the science and opened in the fall, saving the school year. Unfortunately, many failed to provide in-person education. Even today, up to 40% of schools don’t offer full-time in-person schooling. Instead of using the bully pulpit to help the kids, the Biden Administration bowed to the teacher’s unions. With so many children stuck at home, for many parents returning to work isn’t an option.

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Can We Afford Another 100 Days?

With everyone chiming in on Biden’s first 100 days, I thought I’d add my 2 cents. In the March posts “The Dog Ate Biden’s Homework” and “Maybe Everyone Doesn’t Love Biden,” I made clear where Biden was failing. This post is mainly an update. 

With 53-54% approval, Biden isn’t doing exceptionally well. Given the overwhelmingly favorable media, one would think he would be scoring better. The reluctance of people to share their beliefs today warrants a healthy skepticism towards any poll. Recent poor poll performance reinforces caution. Republicans, independents, and even moderate Democrats are wary of speaking up. Left-wing Democrats are eager to share. This circumstance may make Biden think he’s doing better than he is.  

The President’s highest marks are on handling Covid and the economy. As I have pointed out, both were healing before Biden took office. Unless Biden screwed things up, we were already on our way.

Based on information widely available online, I predicted US herd immunity in the spring. This calculation wasn’t complicated, given the two already approved vaccine shots contracted delivery dates. Add the other warp-speed vaccines would likely come online, and those immune naturally you have an easy forecast

If we had the vaccines, I always figured out that the states would get in the arms of an anxiously waiting populous. As I pointed out in the earlier posts, the Biden team never understood Project Warp-Speed. How else could they have promised 100 million shots in the first 100 days when anybody with minor math skills knew this was far below what was already baked in under Trump.

The Israeli experience can give us insight. Leading the world in vaccinations, they experienced things first. They found once the majority anxiously desiring the vaccine is satisfied, addressing the remaining young or skeptical is paramount. They took a very positive “carrot and stick” path with their Green Pass. Get the shots and enjoy fun things such as rock concerts or sports. Don’t get jabbed, and you can forget doing all sorts of things. 

The Biden administration and its media allies instead adopted a strangely negative vaccine attitude. Instead of emphasizing how getting the shots returns your life to normal, they are downbeat. Wear your masks everywhere, even when vaccinated. Fauci is anticipating wearing them into 2022. HHS Secretary Rochelle Walensky added her thoughts, ” I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.”

Biden’s media allies echoed the negative. When millions of Americans had received the vaccines, the CDC told us how many of them got Covid; CNN headlined the story, “So far, 5,800 fully vaccinated people have caught Covid anyway in the US.” NBC echoed, “CDC: 5,800 ‘breakthrough infections’ in fully vaccinated people.” Why get the vaccine if you’re still likely to get Covid? However, science site ars Technica reported the same information, “99.992% of the fully vaccinated people have dodged Covid, CDC data shows.” The administration did nothing to correct the CNN-NBC slant. Which headline makes you want to get jabbed?

The administration claims Trump supporters are prominent among the reluctant. If so, why put Dr. Fauci out as your prime salesman. He may be a demigod to the left but is for good reasons (see my post “Rising to the Level of his Incompetence 2/21) distrusted on the right. 

If this wasn’t bad enough, a tiny amount of blood clots showing up after J & J shots caused the government to pause the vaccine’s use. The UK faced a similar problem with the AstraZeneca vaccine and looked at the risk-reward data, only added a warning label. Predictably, we have greater hesitantly not only towards J & J but the other vaccines as well. All this has resulted in a sharp falloff in our vaccination rate: 

As I said, the Biden administration could only screw things up, and apparently, they have. This vaccine slowdown could diminish our rapid economic recovery. The 6.4% first-quarter GDP growth built on solid 4th quarter 2020 gains. The Biden administration wasn’t around long enough to impact the numbers, but its actions since they took power could harm or even derail the recovery. The reopening of the economy with pent-up spending started mainly in the Red states and is now is spreading to finally opening up Biden Blue States. Continued progress putting Covid under control is essential to continued success.

Further dangers to the economy have arisen out of the Biden administration’s other actions. By extending generous unemployment benefits, many potential hires are refusing to return to the workforce. They’re receiving more than businesses can offer. Just look around, and you’ll find a sea of help-wanted signs. I get emails begging me to come to work from a wide variety of enterprises. Without workers, we can’t continue to grow.  

Some people would love to go back to work, but they have school-age kids at home. Biden’s promises to reopen the schools have fallen flat. At least 1/3 of our schools aren’t fully open. Unless they’re available, five days a week, employment for some isn’t an option. 

Sharply rising wages could bring out applicants, but that adds to inflationary pressures. Those pressures are already surfacing. You probably noticed this at the gas pump or the grocery store. Looking for housing or to making your existing property better, and you have sticker-shock. Prices are already rising, and Biden throws a $1.9 Trillion log on the fire. Remember, this is the only Biden economic legislation and not signed till the second week in March. No effect on the excellent first-quarter numbers whatsoever. So much for the “Biden Boom.” Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve may consider raising interest rates or allow high inflation due to wild spending. Looking back at the 1970s, neither was pleasant.

Incredibly, Biden isn’t satisfied. He wants to spend trillions more on “infrastructure.” Anything you think of qualifies. The odd thing is our infrastructure isn’t anywhere as inadequate as advertised. Among large nations, we’re near the top. Why not a much smaller bi-partisan, mainly user paid-for proposal?

Rather than contributing to the vaccine-driven recovery, Biden is in danger of mucking everything up. So much for his supposed strong points. On the other hand, the crisis at the border is of his own making. Worse, he seems to have no idea how to get things under control. Try as they might, the media can no longer ignore the crisis.

Overseas, the outlook is even grimmer. Warning shots fired at swarming Iranian warships, Russians mobilizing on Ukraine’s border, China invades Taiwan’s airspace regularly, and nobody is following the US lead on anything. Maybe the administration can buy some goodwill by giving up our tens of millions of AstraZeneca doses. Better late than never.

Look around and see if we are less divided than before the election. If anything, we’re even more divided. Joe seems to want to change our institutions to favor the Democrats forever. Nothing is more dangerous than a mediocre politician with delusions of grandeur. So much for Joe the Unifier.

The Biden first 100 days makes me fearful for the next 100 days and our future.  

Our charts show our slipping vaccine performance, but for now still declining Covid:

Before You Leave Home

Comments by tfjp on the last post are worthy of discussion. Rather than a simple reply, the vaccine-proof controversy needs more deliberation. A mobile proof of immunity is often if somewhat inaccurately, referred to as a vaccine passport. The idea has stirred up a lot of resistance across the nation. Indeed, the concept of a passport conjures up the idea of all sorts of fears of government interference and knowledge of your personal information. I share these concerns. Nowhere in the post”Getting Out Of Jail,” did I advocate for the U.S. government to issue a single form of immunity proof and make it mandatory to show it to participate in life. The hope was to voluntarily get people together and agree on a single standard of proof.

The point is made we already have the proof of vaccination. Those little white paper CDC cards we received when we got our shots show it to anybody needing to know. The cards are flimsy but no different from Social Security or Medicare Cards. To preserve them, take the card to Staples or OfficeMax for free laminating. Problem solved.

We discussed what day to take our cards for laminating as we did with our Medicare cards, but I got a news alert; Phizer says we will likely need a booster shot. No problem, we have empty lines on our cards. Just add the booster info. Not possible on a laminated card. Hoping a CDC that designed these flimsy cards will develop a system of issuing new cards showing your vaccine history to replace your now useless card is truly an act of faith. Better not to mess with your card.

Perhaps a real-life example of travel in the Covid Era will illustrate the problems. For the last two years, we’ve had cruises to Iceland canceled because of the Pandemic. We noticed recently, Iceland is open for visiting for those with proof of Covid Immunity. At present, they will accept our CDC cards. Sounds great. Now we have to get there from Phoenix. The rule is to get on a plane; you need a negative Covid test. Checking with American Airlines, they recommended a quick turnaround $119 test. Be sure to start the process at least five days before the flight. When you get to the airport, you’ll wait in line to check test info. 

The lines could be shorter or avoided if we emulated TSA Pre-Check for those with proof of immunity. American suggests the Verifly App. to upload your test info. It could help with American Airlines and some other Airlines, but at present vaccine, proof doesn’t work getting you on a plane. At the moment, it only shows Covid Test results. However, if rules are changed to accept evidence of immunity along with e of test results, the app can do it. After all, why do the immune need a covid test?

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