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Biden Declares The COVID Pandemic “Is Over” Despite Continued Use In Policies & Programs

Biden Declares The COVID Pandemic "Is Over" Despite Continued Use In Policies & Programs

About a year and a half too late to the game,…

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Biden Declares The COVID Pandemic "Is Over" Despite Continued Use In Policies & Programs

About a year and a half too late to the game, Joe Biden finally admitted in a Sunday broadcast interview with 60 Minutes that the covid pandemic is over, stating:

“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over. if you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”   

Apparently, in the ever teetering mind of Joe Biden the prevalence of masks was a measure of the prevalence of covid.  Of course, this all depends on where in the US or the world you have been living.  In red states, masks have been gone for around two years with the majority of people not wearing them. And despite the predictions (and fantasies) of many on the political left, conservatives were not dropping dead in the streets; far from it.  

In fact, red states that ended shutdowns and mandates well ahead of blue states enjoyed far superior economic recovery including superior job and business recovery numbers, and virtually no difference in terms of death and infection rates occurred.  In fact, studies now show that there was little to no positive effect made by the covid lockdowns and the usefulness of mask mandates is also in question. 

Furthermore, infection and fatality rates for covid began to drop long before the covid mRNA vaccines were introduced widely to the public.  The facts and the science show that covid stopped being a major threat not long after it spread to the US.  The official median IFR (Infection Fatality Rate) according to dozens of peer reviewed studies stands at mere 0.23%.  Meaning, over 99.7% of the population is not under threat from covid.    

The lockdowns didn't work, but they weren't needed.  The mask mandates didn't work, but they weren't needed.  And, the rates started dropping dramatically for the original covid strains before even 5% of the US population was vaccinated.  All in all, every single government policy that interfered in the lives and freedoms of millions of people ended up being pointless.

 

Biden's recent declaration means nothing, because he is in no position to determine the current state of the pandemic.  The American people already did that, and we declared the thing over a long time ago.  

Immediately after Biden’s remarks, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie insisted that the administration should now relinquish all the emergency powers it has grabbed by hyping the threat of the virus.

“If ‘the pandemic is over’ as Biden says, then all of the President’s emergency powers predicated on a pandemic, all COVID vax mandates, the emergency powers of every governor, Emergency Use Authorizations, and the PREP act should all be voided tomorrow,” said Massie.

Additionally, as Jonathan Turley so coherently explains, the President's sudden announcement that the pandemic “is over” may have taken some people by surprise, including Administration lawyers still using the pandemic as a basis for policies and programs.  This includes a major appellate case this week.

The Administration relied on the pandemic to justify the massive loan forgiveness program at a cost of as much as $1 trillion. The move will be the subject of challenges and defended under the HEROES Act of 2003 as tied to a national emergency, ”when significant actions with potentially far-reaching consequences are often required.”

The pandemic is also being used by states continued crackdowns on those who refuse to get vaccines. New York is moving to fire hundreds of teachers and school administrators.

Private companies like T-Mobile are also moving this month to fire unvaccinated workers.

The President also heralded the removal of masks recently despite the continues requirement for some schools and other locations under pandemic rules (including at my own George Washington University). While at the Detroit Auto Show,  Biden declared “If you notice, no one’s wearing a mask, everybody seems to be in pretty good shape.”

Biden’s statement on the end of the pandemic is likely to be cited in a variety of briefs in cases challenging emergency powers and policies used by the Administration. It was just a year ago, in September 2021, that the President imposes such rules to “ensur[e] the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service.” President Biden announced a similar requirement for federal civilian employees. Exec. Order No. 14,043, 86 Fed. Reg. 50,989 (Sept. 14, 2021).

One such example could be the appeal now being considered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The issue of the sweeping pandemic authority being claimed by the Biden Administration is now going before the full court in an en banc rehearing.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown previously issued a nationwide injunction against the vaccination mandate in January. That was stayed and has resulted in a series of conflicted moves on appeal.

Yet, the Justice Department is still citing the pandemic authority and insisting that “if an employee chooses not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (and is ineligible for an exception), he simply may no longer be permitted to continue in federal employment, just as an employee would be subject to termination if she chose to stop performing her job or chose to violate workplace policies.”

Here is one such recent brief: DOJ Fifth Circuit brief

Now the President is declaring that the pandemic is over as the Justice Department is defending pandemic policies in various courts. Even if one were to argue that the policy should be reviewed as supported at the time, the continued viability of the policy can now be questioned in light of the President’s own statements. The President’s comments also highlight the fluidity of pandemic policies. While we often look to the CDC on such status statements, it is the President who ultimately decides federal policies on pandemic measures.

If the pandemic “is over,” some may question the continued uncertain status of military personnel and federal employees on vaccine status as well as lingering mask mandates being used in some states and by certain businesses.

What we must never forget, however, is how close we came to full-on medical authoritarianism under the supervision of the Biden Administration and men like Anthony Fauci.  Numerous agenda driven institutions also pushed hard for the erasure of our freedoms, declaring that we would “never go back to normal again” and that personal liberties had to be sacrificed under the new pandemic construct.   

If Biden's vaccine passport executive orders had been enforced instead of blocked, rest assured the US would be like China is today – Still dragging out the lockdowns and pretending covid is an ongoing threat.  Anyone refusing to vaccinate would have been denied employment and participation in the general economy, essentially starved into compliance or compelled to join black market systems and become criminals.  Millions of citizens stood against these orders and won the day, but now we have to reverse course and ensure such an attempt to dismantle our rights never happens again.  

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/19/2022 - 08:32

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Government

Biden’s Secret Promise To OPEC Backfires: Shellenberger

Biden’s Secret Promise To OPEC Backfires: Shellenberger

Submitted by Michael Shellenberger,

In early September, United States Secretary of…

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Biden's Secret Promise To OPEC Backfires: Shellenberger

Submitted by Michael Shellenberger,

In early September, United States Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, told Reuters that President Joe Biden was considering extending the release of oil from America’s emergency stockpiles, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), through October, and thus beyond the date when the program had been set to end. But then, a few hours later, an official with the Department of Energy called Reuters and contradicted Granholm, saying that the White House was not, in fact, considering more SPR releases. Five days later, the White House said it was considering refilling the SPR, thereby proposing to do the exact opposite of what Granholm had proposed.

The hand of Russia's President Vladimir Putin (right) is now strengthened within the OPEC+ cartel controlled by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left), which today decided to cut production by 2 million barrels.

The confusion around the Biden administration’s petroleum policy was cleared up yesterday after a senior official revealed that the White House had made a secret offer to buy up to 200 million barrels of OPEC+ oil to replenish the SPR in exchange for OPEC+ not cutting oil production. The official said the White House wanted to reassure OPEC+ that the US “won’t leave them hanging dry.” The fact that this offer was made through the White House, not the Department of Energy, may explain why a representative of the Department called Reuters to take back the remarks of Granholm, who has shown herself to be out-of-the-loop, and at a loss for words, relating to key administration decisions relating to oil and gas production.

The revelation poses political risks for Democrats who, in the spring of 2020, killed a proposal by President Donald Trump to replenish the SPR with oil from American producers, not OPEC+ ones, and at a price of $24 a barrel, not the $80 a barrel that the Biden White House promised to OPEC+. At the time, Trump was seeking to stabilize the American oil industry after the Covid-19 pandemic massively reduced oil demand. Trump and Congressional Republicans proposed spending $3 billion to fill the SPR. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer successfully defeated the proposal, and later bragged that his party had blocked a “bailout for big oil.”

Even normally strong boosters of the Biden White House viewed the Democrats’ opposition to refilling the SPR as a major blunder. “That decision,” noted Bloomberg, “effectively cost the US billions in potential profits and meant Biden had tens of millions of fewer barrels at his disposal with which to counter price surges.” Moreover, observed Bloomberg, it will take significantly more oil today to fill the SPR than it would have two years ago. In spring 2020, the SPR contained 634 million barrels out of a capacity of 727 million. Now, the reserve is below 442 million barrels, its lowest level in 38 years.

The decision looks even worse in light of the decision by OPEC+ today to cut production, which will increase oil prices. The Biden administration in recent days has been pulling out the stops trying to persuade Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members, a group that includes Russia, to maintain today’s levels of oil production. Last Friday, the Biden administration sought a 45-day delay in a civil court proceeding over whether Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should have sovereign immunity for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, for which bin Salman has taken responsibility.

The behavior by the Biden White House displays a willingness to sacrifice America’s commitment to human rights for the president’s short-term political needs. Instead of pleading with OPEC+ to maintain or increase high levels of oil production, the Biden administration could have simply allowed for expanded domestic oil production. Instead, Biden has issued fewer leases for on-shore and off-shore oil production than any president since World War II. As such, the pleadings by Biden and administration officials have backfired. The perception of the U.S. in the minds of OPEC+ members has weakened while the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin has strengthened.

Why is that? Why did the Biden administration decide to spend so much political capital trying, and failing, to get Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ members to expand production when it could have simply expanded oil production domestically? What, exactly, is going on?

President Joe Biden greets the Saudi Crown Prince on July 15, 2022.

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Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 22:20

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Government

What Really Divides America

What Really Divides America

Authored by Joel Kotkin via UnHerd.com,

The Midterms aren’t a battle between good and evil…

Reading the…

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What Really Divides America

Authored by Joel Kotkin via UnHerd.com,

The Midterms aren't a battle between good and evil...

Reading the mainstream media, one would be forgiven for believing that the upcoming midterms are part of a Manichaean struggle for the soul of democracy, pitting righteous progressives against the authoritarian “ultra-MAGA” hordes. The truth is nothing of the sort. Even today, the vast majority of Americans are moderate and pragmatic, with fewer than 20% combined for those identifying as either “very conservative” or “very liberal”. The apocalyptic ideological struggle envisioned by the country’s elites has little to do with how most Americans actually live and think. For most people, it is not ideology but the powerful forces of class, race, and geography that determine their political allegiances — and how they will vote come November.

Of course, it is the business of both party elites — and their media allies — to make the country seem more divided than it is. To avoid talking about the lousy economy, Democrats have sought to make the election about abortion and the alleged “threat to democracy” posed by “extremist” Republicans. But recent polls suggest that voters are still more concerned with economic issues than abortion. The warnings about extremism, meanwhile, are tough to take seriously, given that Democrats spent some $53 million to boost far-Right candidates in Republican primaries.

Republicans are contributing to the problem in their own way, too. Rather than offering any substantive governing vision of their own, they assume that voters will be repelled by unpopular progressive policies such as defunding the police, encouraging nearly unlimited illegal immigration, and promoting sexual and gender “fluidity” to schoolchildren. They ignore, of course, the fact that their own embrace of fundamentalist morality on abortion is also widely rejected by the populace. And even Right-leaning voters may doubt the sanity of some of the GOP’s eccentric candidates this November.

In short, both major parties stoke polarisation, the primary beneficiaries of which are those parties’ own political machines. But most Americans broadly want the same things: safety, economic security, a post-pandemic return to normalcy, and an end to dependence on China. Their divisions are based not so much on ideology but on the real circumstances of their everyday life.

The most critical, yet least appreciated, of these circumstances is class. America has long been celebrated as the “land of opportunity”, yet for working and middle-class people in particular, opportunity is increasingly to come by. With inflation elevated and a recession seemingly on the horizon, pocketbook issues are likely to become even more important in the coming months. According to a NBC News poll, for instance, nearly two-thirds of Americans say their pay check is falling behind the cost of living, and the Republicans hold a 19-point advantage over the Democrats on the economy.

A downturn could also benefit the Left eventually. As the American Prospect points out, proletarianised members of the middle class are increasingly shopping at the dollar stores that formerly served working and welfare populations. Labour, a critical component of the Democratic coalition, could be on the verge of a generational surge, with unionisation spreading to fast food retailers, Amazon warehouses, and Starbucks.

To take advantage of a resurgent labour movement, however, Democrats will have to move away from what Democratic strategist James Carville scathingly calls  “faculty lounge politics”: namely, their obsession with gender, race, and especially climate. For instance, by demanding “net zero” emissions on a tight deadline, without developing the natural gas and nuclear production needed to meet the country’s energy needs, progressives run the risk of inadvertently undermining the American economy. Ill-advised green policies will be particularly devastating for the once heavily Democratic workers involved in material production sectors like energy, agriculture, manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics.

To win in the coming election and beyond, Democrats need to focus instead on basic economic concerns such as higher wages, affordable housing, and improved education. They also need to address the roughly half of all small businesses reporting that inflation could force them into bankruptcy. Some progressives believe that climate change will doom the Republicans, but this is wishful thinking. According to Gallup, barely 3% of voters name environmental issues as their top concern.

Racial divides are also important — though not in the way that media hysterics about “white supremacy” would lead you to believe. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s decision to fly undocumented immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard was undoubtedly a political stunt, and one arguably in poor taste. But it succeeded in its main goal: highlighting the enormous divide between the border states affected by illegal immigration and the bastions of white progressivism who tend to favour it.

Under Biden, the Democrats have essentially embraced “open borders” — illegal crossings are at record levels, and few of the migrants who make it across the border are ever required to leave. This policy reflects a deep-seated belief among elite Democrats that a more diverse, less white population works to their political favour. Whether they are right to think so, however, is far from clear. Black people still overwhelmingly back the Democrats, but Asians (the fastest-growing minority) and Latinos (the largest) are more evenly divided, and have been drifting toward the Republicans in recent years.

Here, too, class is a key factor. Many middle and upper-class minorities are on board with the Democrats’ anti-racist agenda. But many working-class Hispanics and Asians have more basic concerns. After all,  notes former Democratic Strategist Ruy Teixiera, these are the people most affected by inflation, rising crime, poor schools, and threats to their livelihoods posed by draconian green policies.

Culture too plays a role. Immigrants, according to one recent survey, are twice as conservative in their social views than the general public and much more so than second generation populations of their own ethnicity. Like most Americans, they largely reject the identity politics central to the current Democratic belief system. Immigrants and other minorities also tend to be both more religious than whites; new sex education standards have provoked opposition from the Latino, Asian, African American and Muslim communities.

The final dividing line is geography, always a critical factor in American politics. For decades, the country seemed to become dominated by the great metropolitan areas of the coasts, with their tech and finance-led economies. But even before the pandemic, the coastal centres were losing their demographic and economic momentum and seeing their political influence fade. In 1960, for example, New York boasted more electoral votes than Texas and Florida combined. Today, both have more electoral votes than the Empire State. Last year, New York, California, and Illinois lost more people to outmigration than any other states. The greatest gains were in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina. These states are high-growth, fertile, and lean toward the GOP.Likewise, regional trends suggest that elections will be decided in lower density areas; suburbs alone are  home to at least 40% of all House seats. Some of these voters may be refugees from blue areas who still favour the Democrats. But lower-density areas, which also tend to have the highest fertility rates, tend to be dominated by family concerns like inflation, public education and safety, issues that for now favour Republicans.

Put the battle between Good and Evil to one side. It is these three factors — class, race, geography — that will shape the outcome of the midterms, whatever the media says. The endless kabuki theatre pitting Trump and his minions against Democrats may delight and enrage America’s elites — but for the American people, it is still material concerns that matter.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 21:40

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International

Switzerland, Not USA, Is The ‘Most Innovative’ Country In The World

Switzerland, Not USA, Is The ‘Most Innovative’ Country In The World

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released its 2022…

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Switzerland, Not USA, Is The 'Most Innovative' Country In The World

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released its 2022 Global Innovation Index. It evaluated innovation levels across 132 economies focusing on a long list of criteria such as human capital, institutions, technology and creative output as well as market and business sophistication, among others.

The 2022 index has found that innovation is still blossoming in some sectors despite the global economic slowdown and coronavirus pandemic, especially in industries to do with public health and the environment.

As Statista's Katharina Buchholz reports, Switzerland topped the rankings with a score of 64.6 out of 100, the 12th time it has been named the world leader in innovation. The United States come second while the Sweden rounds off the top three.

You will find more infographics at Statista

One of the biggest winners of the ranking was South Korea, which climbed up from rank 10 in 2020 to rank 6 in 2022.

China is now the world's 11th most innovative nation, up from rank 14 in 2020 and 2019 and rank 17 in 2018.

China was also named the most innovative upper middle-income country ahead of Bulgaria (overall rank 35), while India (overall rank 40) came first for lower middle-income countries, followed by Vietnam (overall rank 48).

Notably, China is now on a par with the United States in terms of the number of top 100 Science & Technology clusters

Finally, WIPO notes that on the one hand, science and innovation investments continued to surge in 2021, performing strongly even at the height of a once in a century pandemic. On the other hand, even as the pandemic recedes, storm clouds remain overhead, with increasing supply-chain, energy, trade and geopolitical stresses.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 20:40

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