According to the new book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Gen. Mark Milleyfelt the need to personally–and secretly–assure his Chinese counterpart that the U.S., regardless of what Demander-in-Chief Trump was blustering and tweeting about, would not attack China. Trump and his GOPster lackeys have now labeled the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs a “traitor.”
He’s not. In a Strangelovian way, he actually had the back of anybody who understandably feared a cataclysmic, worst-case scenario with a raging, unhinged president with access to nuclear codes. But Gen. Milley did have other choices besides blind fealty to an existential threat. He could have made a high-profile resignation—and then lend de facto support for, say, the 25th Amendment that can be invoked to remove a president for disability, including mental imbalance. Perhaps Mike Pence would have agreed by that time.
- Among those cheering loudest for a Trump loss and a Biden win was Europe. Having an unstable, unreliable “America First” United States was hardly in its interest. From the European Union to NATO. So, the election of the geopolitically savvy Joe Biden was very welcome. The post-Trump U.S. was “back.”
But the honeymoon was short-lived. It began with the president’s poorly managed Afghanistan withdrawal. It was not only chaotic, it was without meaningful consultation with England and other European allies who had contributed to the war effort. The Brits, in particular, felt dissed by a close ally.
Then came the unnuanced “pivot to Asia.” The Biden Administration, sans a serious heads-up, announced a new defense strategy against China. This was more than unilateral tariffs. This was an alliance among Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.—or AUKUS. A key element was an American nuclear-powered submarine deal with the Aussies. That meant that Australia’s previous submarine deal with the French—worth $66 billion—was now trashed. France was enraged and embarrassed. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called it a “knife in the back,” and President Emmanuel Macron signed off on the protest-recall of the French ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia. Such diplomatic rebukes are rare and usually reserved for untrustworthy adversaries—not long-time allies. While nobody—other than Hungary’s Viktor Orban—in Europe is nostalgic for Donald Trump, there is no masking the abrupt end of the Biden honeymoon with the Western alliance.
- “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”—President Joe Biden, cutting to the existential chase and calling out the 80 million clueless, arrogant “liberty” hypocrites who haven’t bothered to get a pandemic-mitigating and life-saving shot.
- No, there won’t be a Gov. Larry Elder of California, as unconscionably embarrassing as that would have been, especially in a state that is overwhelmingly Democrat. It also made for some positive optics for President Biden who showed up in person to help the cause.
- About 12.2 million Americans are actively enrolled in medical-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That’s an increase of roughly 20 percent since the end of 2020.
- Sobering reminder: In 2020 Joe Biden won white college graduates by 15 points—but lost whites without college degrees by 32 points.
- Among items included in the $3.5 trillion budget package: a Civilian Climate Corps, patterned after FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps that would hire young people to work on projects to protect communities and the environment. Liberal lawmakers want to fund the program under the umbrella of AmeriCorps, a federally-funded national service program sometimes referred to as the domestic Peace Corps. Hardly surprising that GOPsters have called a new iteration of the CCC a boondoggle that would enable “eco-vigilantes.”
- President Biden will have a big call to make early next year. That’s when the term ends for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell.
- AOC at the Met Gala: It’s a big-ticket night that showcases celebs, influencers and the haute couture crowd. But it’s not the populist context that a non-elite, progressive such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez should want to be on display, even if attired in a floor-length white gown with “Tax The Rich” ironically emblazoned on the back. In short, she looked like she belonged there. Another unforced error for the Party.
- California could prove to be a strategic precursor for the Dems as they prep for 2022. Recall how unrecalled Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke less about California’s improved economy and progressive policies than he did about the gubernatorial implications of right-wing extremist Larry Elder. And then there was the Newsom campaign’s rallying cry: “Don’t DeSantis my California,” which underscored that Flori-duh’s governor was not just a (Trump) flunky, but a helpful Democratic foil.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the world’s three top jailers of journalists: China, Turkey and Egypt.