Posts Tagged ‘Biden’

Willie Wilson billboard in 2016 on Chicago’s West Side

By John Ruberry

“Since the 1930s the technique of buying votes with the voters’ own money has been expanded to an extent undreamed of by earlier politicians.” Milton Friedman.

“But it can also be said that the social largesse of the boss system, the food, coal, clothing, and jobs provided for the needy, was there when it counted–with no delay and no paperwork–for those loyal to the system.” David McCullough, at the opening of the PBS American Experience documentary, “The Last Boss.”

Democratic politics has gone from handing out free stuff, ploys used by machine politicians including James M. Curley of Boston and Richard J. Daley of Chicago, to handing out free stuff again. In between, the social programs created Franklin D. Roosevelt, proved to be a better and more popular distributor of goodies. Daley, unlike most of the other big city bosses, adopted to the times a bit; he was able to siphon a generous chunk of the funds from Lyndon B. Johnson’s Model Cities boondoggle, for instance. 

Last month President Joe Biden, like a Democratic boss of old, in a legally tenuous move, announced that he would forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in student loan debt. That debt of course won’t disappear, federal taxpayers will get stuck with the tab.

You’ve heard about Dr. Jill Biden. The first lady uses that title because she has doctorate in education. Chicago has millionaire businessman Dr. Willie Wilson, who according to ABC Chicago, “is the recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Chicago Baptist Institute International, Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Swisher Bible College and a Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College.” I haven’t heard of those schools either.

Wilson is a political gadfly. He has run for mayor of Chicago three times, including his current attempt at the office, as well as for US senator and president. But he is best known as a man who gives away stuff, through his foundation, of groceries, PPE masks, groceries, and gasoline. The local media falls for his ploy–and to be fair, they have been placed in a trap, as their audience likes freebies. Who doesn’t?

Oh, Wilson favors slavery reparations.

Laura Washington, a far-left columnist for the Chicago Tribune, rightly condemned the “Willie Wilsonization of politics” in a column ironically published two days before Biden announced his student loan debt forgiveness plan. And she didn’t stop with Wilson. First up was Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

From that Trib column, paid registration may by required:

Thanks to an “avalanche” of federal stimulus funds, Lightfoot is “running for reelection armed with a seemingly bottomless gift bag of giveaways that includes everything from gas cards, Ventra cards, bicycles, locks and helmets to more than $1,000-per-household in rebates to defray the cost of security cameras, outdoor motion sensor lighting, cloud storage and GPS trackers to hunt down vehicles in the event of an auto theft or carjacking,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported in June. 

Lightfoot’s “Chicago Moves,” is the city’s $12 million transit response to skyrocketing fuel costs and inflation. It will distribute up to 50,000 prepaid $150 gas cards and 100,000 prepaid $50 transit cards to Chicago residents. 

Earlier this year, Lightfoot pushed through a controversial guaranteed income program for low-income families. The pilot program will provide no-strings-attached $500 payments to 5,000 Chicago families per month for a year. The recipients were chosen through a lottery system.

For months, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is running for reelection in the Nov. 8 election, has ballyhooed a $1.8 billion tax relief plan in his campaign ads. It provides short-term tax reductions and freezes on purchases of gas, groceries and school supplies.

Pritzker’s “tax cuts” are quite dishonest. His gasoline tax reduction only delays a mandated tax hike–Illinoisans pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation–until, how convenient, after Election Day. Gas station owners are required to post signs touting Pritzker’s tax “cut.” Those who refuse face a $500-a-day fine. The grocery tax “cut,” which also comes with a requirement that grocers post signage about it, although non-compliant grocers don’t face face a fine for refusing to obey. Next year, when presumably Pritzker has been sworn in for a second term, the grocery taxes return.

Because of unfunded public worker pension debt, both Chicago and Illinois face enormous fiscal challenges. In regards to those pensions, Lightfoot and Pritzker are doing what their predecessors have done worst–kicking the can down the road.

Amazingly, Pritzker is considering a presidential run. His chances of winning are dismal, I offer the reasons why here. But if Pritzker somehow succeeds in 2024, imagine all of the vote-buying possibilities for him! He already has the physique of Santa Claus. On the other hand, Christmas comes just once a year. The federal government is with us every day.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Monday is the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul, the second-most ignominious event America endured in my lifetime, only the fall of Saigon was worse.

A month prior the more recent debacle, Joe Biden had this to say, “There’s going to be no circumstance where you’re going to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.” That did happen–and of course the two black eyes for America are quite comparable.

Biden did what he, well, sort of, does best. He blamed Donald Trump for the Taliban victory. True, Biden inherited the agreement engineered by Trump–not a treaty, but an agreement–for the United States military to depart Afghanistan last year. And Biden didn’t even hold to Trump’s agreement, he postponed the withdrawal of US troops from May 1 to the ominous date of September 11. Because of the rout of the Afghan government forces by the Taliban, we were gone in late August–but after the tragic murder by terrorists of 13 members our military. 

What a mess. 

Who was fired after Afghanistan fell? Not the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley (a Trump appointee), not secretary of State Anthony Blinken, not secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

No one.

A humiliation.

Milley, in a closed door meeting shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine, testified that Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, could fall within three days after hostilities broke out

Yes, he’s really a general.

As the Taliban mopped up in Afghanistan, Biden assured Americans that al Qaeda was gone from there. But a few weeks ago the leader of the terror group, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was living in Kabul. That is, until an American drone strike killed him.

Last year there was a supply-chain crisis. What member of the Biden cabinet should have been answerable for that? Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of Transportation, who we learned–only after the media came looking for him–was on paternity leave as the supply-chain crisis unfolded

To be fair, Biden’s Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, recently admitted she was wrong when she said last year that inflation was “transitory.” But like Buttigieg, she’s still on the job. 

Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Secretary, claims our southern border is secure. (Insert the Kevin Bacon Animal House “all is well” meme here.) Mayorkas is a DC swamp critter that Biden seemingly found by looking for him under rocks. Yeah, I know, Mayorkas is simply following Biden’s far-left policy of open borders. And Jennifer Granholm, leading the Department of Energy, is kowtowing to the anti-energy zealotry of the extreme left. They are still on the job too.

Trump was a great steward of the American economy and he didn’t involve America in any new wars. And as a businessman he knew sometimes people have fired, his most prominent dismissals were his secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and James Comey, the director of the FBI. Sadly, Trump botched the appointment of Comey’s replacement by naming Christopher Wray to that post.

Last month in this space I wrote that Biden’s attorney, general, Merrick Garland, was America’s worst AG since Harry M. Daugherty, a prominent member of Warren G. Harding’s corrupt “Ohio Gang.” I was wrong. After last week’s unprecedented raid on the home of a former president, Garland, the progenitor of our politicized two-tiered justice system, is worse. 

Then again, “Moderate Merrick,” like Mayorkas and Granholm, is another clerk just taking orders. 

Biden, a failed president who is clearly suffering from cognitive decline, can turn things around, a little bit, with one big firing.

Himself.

His vice president, Kamala Harris, could be a slightly better president. Biden dramatically lowered the standard.

Perhaps Harris can write some pink slips.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Outside of sheer incompetence, a theme has emerged from the Joe Biden administration. When they need help, the White House calls on people they deem to be experts. 

Here’s a dirty secret of politics, or if your prefer, of advancing a preferred narrative. Anyone can find an “expert,” more on them in a bit, to support any opinion. It works in journalism too, the media wing of the Democrat Party.

When the discovery of the Hunter Biden laptop was revealed by the New York Post nearly two years ago–the mainstream media, social media, and of course the Biden campaign immediately moved to denounce it. The casus belli for journalists, Facebook, Twitter, and the like–Biden brought this up in a presidential debate–was that its emergence three weeks before Election Day in 2020 had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” according to 51 former national security experts, led by James Clapper, a director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama. Every one of these “experts” either lied, signed on to something they knew little about, or just simply wanted to do whatever it took to prevent the reelection of Donald J. Trump. 

Eighteen months later, the New York Times admitted Hunter’s laptop, which provided voluminous evidence of his influence peddling centered on his being the son of a powerful politician, was authentic. The 51 experts can expect subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee next year, assuming the Republicans take control of the House. Every one of these “experts” should have their security clearances permanently revoked.

Biden of course won the election. As a result of his policies, such as cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking new permits for drilling on federal land, gasoline prices soared and remain high. Although the economy was well into recovery mode two years ago, Biden signed into law the unfunded American Rescue Plan. Many experts at the time claimed it would not fuel inflation. They were wrong. Just as those national security “experts” were wrong on Hunter’s laptop. 

When inflation began its ascent, the White House cited 15 Nobel laureates in economics who said that Biden’s Build Back Better bill, enacted in late 2021, would not fuel inflation. They were wrong too. Inflation is now at levels not seen since the early 1980s. Last year Biden and other “experts” were saying inflation was “transitory.” Liberals reading this post will blame inflation on the War in Ukraine, you know, “Putin’s price hike.” Sure, the war likely has an effect on inflation, but the scourge was with us before Russia’s invasion Ukraine. 

Build Back Better was originally part of a much larger bill, the green energy stuff was split off and later discarded after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he wouldn’t support it. Well, Build Back Better Part Two is back, laughably renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. And to bolster its support, the Biden White House has–are you ready?–called on experts, this time, four former Democratic Treasury secretaries and one Republican, who claim, among other things, that the Inflation Reduction Act will “fight inflation” One of those ex-Treasury secretaries is Larry Summers, who warned last year the Biden White House, “We’re taking very substantial risks on the inflation side.” 

A good journalist would track down Summers and ask him specifics on why this bill really will fight inflation.

Earlier I mentioned that journalists have a role in advancing political narratives. For example, at Forbes, Rhett Buttle offers a slobbering French kiss of propaganda, which is accompanied by this headline, “Experts Agree: The Inflation Reduction Act Accomplishes A Lot For Small Business And Working Families.” While late in the piece Buttle manages to write about the bill, “some who represent select corporate interests in Washington don’t completely agree” with the hype. But if Buttle was truly a journalist, he would have tracked down opponents of the Inflation Reduction Act and presented a balanced article.

Then again, real journalism is dead. Twenty years ago such a piece as the one written by Buttle would contain the sub-headline, “news analysis,” assuming a magazine like Forbes would even publish it. I took some journalism classes at the University of Illinois. If I turned in such an article for an assignment, a professor would have deservedly given me an “F,” enhanced by this underlined comment written in red ink, “This garbage reads like a press release.”

But Biden’s new batch of experts have spoken: The Inflation Reduction Act, which the Senate will vote on Sunday afternoon, will “fight inflation.”

Watch your wallet. Watch the cash in it lose its value.

Disclosure: This blog post should be classified as “news analysis.”

UPDATE 5:15pm EDT: The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“The fliparoo theory of PolitiFact is now confirmed,” Dan Bongino said early in his July 28 podcast, “The fliparoo theory is this: If a fact-checker, airquotes, PolitiFact, says something is true it is probably false. If PolitiFact says something is false it’s probably true.”

Which means, of course, that we are now in a recession. PolitiFact, in a piece written by propagandist Louis Jacobson entitled, “No, the White House didn’t change the definition of ‘recession,'” he fact-checked a claim that originally came from an Instagram post. In seemingly 10,000 words, meant to overwhelm low-information voters, Jacobson ruled that statement false.

Jacobson is wrong, he’s gaslighting us. We are in a recession.

And Jacobson is not alone.

The Biden White House, led by the embarrassment of a press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has been redefining “recession” for at least a week. For decades, the generally accepted definition of a recession has been two successive months of negative GDP growth. In the first quarter of 2022, the American economy shrank by 1.4 percent, and it contracted by 0.9 percent in the second quarter. These are facts. 

“However, the two-quarter threshold cited in the Instagram post has never been official,” Jacobson said in his so-called fact-check. “It’s more like a rough guide,” he continued, “one piece of a complicated puzzle.” Translation: the wise and oh-so-brilliant Jacobson is right, and you are a semi-literate yokel for accepting the commonly agreed upon description of a recession. 

In another overly long fact-check, Newsweek’s Tom Norton, another hack apologist, also ruled “false” the claim that the Biden White House is redefining what a recession is. “Furthermore, the White House website doesn’t have a dictionary or catalog of all political terminology and jargon it uses (that is the case for other governments, such as those of the UK and Canada, too),” Norton offered. 

Wow. I’m convinced. Not.

In Norton’s Newsweak–or is it Newspeak?— fact-check, Norton quotes Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, who, by the way, was wrong about inflation being “transitory,” that it is really up to a secretive private organization to determine a recession. Who knew? “There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks at a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession,” she revealed.

Another fact-check fabulist, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, appears to be on vacation so he hasn’t weighed in on the leftist-induced recession debate. Three years ago, while fact-checking Donald Trump, Kessler wrote, “A recession is two quarters of negative economic growth.” But Joe Biden wasn’t president then.

Another prominent (along the lines of someone having an ugly prominent nose) fact-checker, USA Today, also hasn’t recently given its opinion on what a recession really is. Oh, what’s this? In a 2020 fact-check USA Today informed us, “A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of declining GDP, or gross domestic product, a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced during a specific time period.”

But on the other hand, Snopes is bowing to the Democrat Party mantra about recessions. Referring to a couple of social media messages, “The tweets quoted above may give readers the misleading impression that the Biden administration literally tried to revise the criteria economists use to determine when a recession has occurred. But that was not the case,” Bethania Palma chimes in for Snopes.

It is the case. Snopes is lying.

Here are some media talking heads talking not too long ago, based on who I see here and the chyrons, using the classical definition of a recession, in a montage compiled by the Media Research Center. You know the, you know the thing, as Biden likes to say, two consecutive quarters of declining GDP growth. C’mon man!

But, assuming briefly we are not in a recession when will we be in one? The Biden administration won’t say. Is it a recession when we have three successive quarters of declining growth? Four? Five-and-a-half?

Or will it be a recession only when there is a Republican president?

Dan Bongino is right. The fliparoo theory of “fact-checkers” is now confirmed. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.