Joe biden

Former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Says, “We Are Using the Ukrainians as Our Proxy Forces”

At the end of March, Biden caused a minor incident when he declared that Putin “cannot remain in power”. Now he’s asking the U.S. Congress for another $33 billion to support Ukraine, including $20 billion in military aid. That’s on top of $3 billion in military aid the U.S. has already sent since February.

To put the $23 billion number in perspective, it’s bigger than the annual military budget of Spain, Brazil or Turkey. In fact, only 15 countries in the entire world spend more than $23 billion a year on defence. Famously defence-minded Israel spends a ‘mere’ $24 billion.

As I noted in a previous post, there’s lots of evidence the U.S. actually wanted a war with Russia – notwithstanding the tendency of some commentators to dismiss this claim as ‘Russian propaganda’.

Indeed, Congressman Adam Schiff couldn’t have been much clearer when he stated on the floor of the U.S. Senate, “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.” (That was in January of 2020 during Trump’s impeachment trial.)

London Calling

In this a special Easter weekend edition of London Calling, James and I talk about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s unwelcome intervention in the immigration debate, the Church of England’s refusal to ordain Calvin Robinson, QPR’s games on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday, James’s hesitation about embracing the ‘chem trails’ conspiracy theory, Joe Biden’s imaginary friend, the sinking of the Moskva and whether the war in Ukraine is going well or badly for Putin (James thinks it’s “running on rails”; and, in Culture Corner, the BBC’s Platinum Jubilee Reading List, Slow Horses, Operation Mincemeat, Flying Colours and The Ship.

Click here to listen to the episode and click here to subscribe on iTunes.

Stop Press: If anyone would like to attend the Delingpod Live in which James will interview Maajid Nawaz on stage, click here.

Why Boris Has Gone Gaga For ‘Build Back Better’

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We’re publishing a guest post by an academic economist about why Boris, who used to be a borderline climate change sceptic, has passionately embraced a ‘Net Zero’ agenda. Could it be because he wants to curry favour with Joe Biden?

Many of his supporters are dismayed that Boris Johnson seems to be buying in so deeply to the hardcore green agenda. This is doubly so when we consider how this agenda might overlap with the powers the Government has accrued over the course of repeated lockdowns. You need not be a full-throated believer in the coming Great Reset to see that green activists are angling to leverage these new powers to impose their radical program on the population.

Those that are dismayed by this latest evolution of Johnson’s politics have been scrambling for an answer. Johnson does not personally seem like an enthusiast for hard green policies. Yes, he used to bike around London as mayor – but this hardly indicated that he was interested in the more totalitarian aspects of the green agenda.

Some have turned to the influence of Johnson’s latest wife: Carrie Symonds. The profile fits. Symonds seems like a squishy ‘right-thinking’ London liberal with an instinct finely-tuned to get as close to power as possible. Sorry Boris, but she probably did not marry you for your looks or your dependability.

In what follows I am not dismissing this personal dimension but think that it needs to be viewed in a broader context. Johnson may bend to Carrie’s will behind closed doors, but this cannot explain why the whole Tory Party has painted itself green.

Biden Vaccine Mandate Will Fine Businesses $14,000 for Each Unvaccinated Employee

From January 4th, U.S. businesses which hire more than 100 employees will have to ensure that their workforce is fully jabbed (any which remain unvaccinated will have to do weekly Covid tests), or face close to $14,000 in fines. The mandate will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) through usual workplace inspections, with repeat offenders at risk of being punished by a staggering $136,532 fine. The Mail has more.

Workers who fall under Biden’s order will need to receive their final dose – or only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – by January 4th of the new year, the official said. After that date, employers will need to implement at least weekly Covid testing for those who aren’t fully vaccinated.

Enforcement of the rule, an official said on a background call Wednesday evening, will be just as that of any other rule, which includes inspections to check for compliance. 

Red states are likely to rebuke the new rule, and it is currently unclear how the Federal Government will grapple with that if they try not to comply.

A fact sheet of the new rule from the White House Thursday morning states OSHA is “making clear that their new rules pre-empt any inconsistent state or local laws, including laws that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, masks, or testing”.

Republicans are furious over the new rule. 

“Our economy is crumbling, and President Biden is doing everything in his power to make it worse”, Senator Marsha Blackburn said in a statement. “While businesses scramble to fill the 10.4 million open jobs in our country, Biden’s vaccine mandate will push even more Americans out of the workforce”.

She also tweeted Thursday morning: “Joe Biden is firing essential workers.”

Republican Representative Jody Hice of Georgia insisted to the Mail: “No American should be forced to choose between putting food on their tables or receiving a vaccine.”

GOP Representative Byron Donalds of Florida told the Mail: “Despite the Democrats’ shellacking this week, the Biden administration is pressing on with their unconstitutional mandate requiring private businesses to mandate vaccination to avoid fines up to $1 million”

“Americans from southwest Florida and all across the nation will have to choose between food on the table or taking a shot they feel they do not need”, he lamented. “This tyrannical mandate is a gross infringement of medical privacy and the individual rights of every American and won’t hold water in the judicial system”.

The stringent new guidelines have been put in place amid widespread backlash to mandates, including bids from Republicans to overturn it to keep people in their jobs, fears of staff shortages and first responders in major cities being turned away from work. 

Vaccine mandates have already been put in place in many cities across the country.

Worth reading in full.

Cop26 Proves that for the Billionaire Class and their Political Bag-Carriers, Virtue-Signalling is More Important than Being Virtuous

I’ve written a piece for Mail+ about the galactic levels of hypocrisy being exhibited by the billionaires, politicians and celebrities attending COP26. Here is an extract.

If hypocrisy were a type of fuel, the 20,000 attendees at Cop26 in Glasgow would have solved the climate crisis at a stroke.

Yesterday, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos flew in to Glasgow in his £4 8million Gulfstream jet, leading a 400-strong parade of private aircraft transporting billionaires to the climate conference.

The jets, which included one carrying Prince Charles and his entourage from Rome, will disgorge more carbon into the atmosphere in a few days than 1600 Scots burn through in a year.

And the reason these plutocrats are flying in to Glasgow, of course, is to wag their fingers at ordinary people, insisting we reduce our carbon emissions or face the wrath of the next generation.

“It’s one minute to midnight,” Boris Johnson warned, neglecting to mention that he has taken more than 20 private flights since becoming Prime Minister.

I would say this means irony is dead, but climate change hypocrisy is a bit like the Black Knight in Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Every time you think these rich and powerful do-gooders have inflicted a mortal wound on their moral credibility, they carry on as if nothing has happened.

Perhaps the ultimate example of these double standards is Sky chief executive Dana Strong. The broadcaster is one of the main sponsors of Cop26 and Ms Strong has not been shy about lecturing her rivals for not doing enough to promote the green agenda.

So is she leading by example? Not exactly.

For the first six months of her term as chief executive, Dana Strong ‘commuted’ to Sky’s London headquarters from her home in Philadelphia via private jet. That meant she completed the 7,000-mile round trip multiple times before she relocated to London in June.

Worth reading in full.

Biden Administration Telling U.S. States to Prepare to Vaccinate Children as Young as Five against Covid Next Month

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet decided whether to authorise the emergency use of the Pfizer Covid vaccine in children aged five-11, but reports suggest the Biden Government is already quietly telling states to prepare to begin jab roll-outs for this age group as early as next month. MailOnline has the story.

Recently, Pfizer submitted an application [to] the FDA to expand emergency use of its Covid vaccine to include kids between ages five and 11. 

An unnamed White House official told NBC News that the Federal Government has been telling state governors that it anticipates the authorisation will come in the next few weeks, as soon as early November. 

What’s more, an official in the Department of Health and Human Services told the news outlet that [the] Biden administration has already purchased 65 million pediatric doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

That’s more than the two doses needed to fully vaccinate the 29 million children in the U.S. who would now become eligible.

According to clinicaltrials.gov, Pfizer’s study in younger children worked similarly to the way it did in older children and adults. …

[But] unlike the larger clinical trial conducted in adults, the pediatric trial did not measure efficacy by comparing the number of Covid cases among the vaccine group to the number in the placebo group.

Instead, scientists looked at levels of neutralising antibodies in young vaccine recipients and compared the levels to those seen in adults.

The companies expect data on how well the vaccine works in children between ages two and five and between six months and two years of age by the end of the year. …

Because of this low risk of severe illness, polls have shown that many parents are not inclined to vaccinate their children.

A July 2021 survey, conducted by CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine last month, found that 39% of parents said their children [had] already gotten a coronavirus shot.

However, 40% of parents also said it was “unlikely” that their children would be getting vaccinated.

Worth reading in full.

Biden Administration Plans to Increase Fines on Companies with Unvaccinated Employees

Through a provision attached to the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending bill, the Biden administration is attempting to increase the financial penalty tenfold for companies which continue to employ unvaccinated citizens. Due to previous emergency legislation, Federal law identifies the spread of Covid as a workplace hazard, allowing President Biden to become further unimpeded in his task of fully vaccinating the American workforce if the provision passes both chambers of Congress. MailOnline has the story. 

The increased fines on employers could go as high as $70,000 for serious infractions, and $700,000 for wilful or repeated violations – a sum which can be applied to each instance of a violation rather than a total limit.  

If enacted into law, the fines could rapidly bankrupt companies whose employees are not vaccinated, in effect forcing businesses to comply with Biden’s inoculation drive. 

It comes after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an emergency Covid rule in the Federal Register this summer, which added Covid to a list of possible workplace hazards for healthcare employment.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet announced when the House will vote on the reconciliation bill that includes the new vaccine enforcement mechanism. 

On Thursday September 9th, Biden announced that companies with 100 or more employees must ensure every worker is either fully vaccinated or gets tested at least once a week, or face fines of thousands of dollars.

He also demanded that all workers in healthcare settings that receive Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement – roughly 17 million people – must get vaccinated, and signed an executive order requiring all federal workers and contractors to get vaccinated.

Now, the raise in fines included in the new bill formulates the latest part of the President’s drive to get 100 million employees across the federal government and private sector vaccinated. 

Any business that violates the rule can already face substantial fines of up to $14,000 per incident, but the legislation that has been included in the new $3.5 trillion bill could raise the fines for non-compliance 10 times higher, with a limit of up to $700,000 for each “wilful” or “repeated” violation according to Forbes. 

Worth reading in full.

Biden Accuses 70 Million Unvaccinated Americans of Slowing Economic Recovery

President Joe Biden has doubled down on his claim that unvaccinated Americans are “creating unease in our economy and around our kitchen tables“, saying that the 70 million people who haven’t been ‘jabbed’ are slowing down the country’s economic recovery. To resolve this ‘problem’, he will “[move] forward with vaccination requirements wherever I can”. CNBC has the story.

Biden’s comments came hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved distributing Pfizer’s booster shots to roughly 60 million Americans.

“The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing,” Biden said in addressing the nation, noting that three-fourths of those eligible have gotten at least one shot. He criticised the more than 70 million people who haven’t yet started the vaccination process. “And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine with false information the fight against Covid. This is totally unacceptable.”

Economists have lower expectations for the back half of the year following a string of disappointing economic reports. The U.S. economy added just 235,000 jobs in August, well short of expectations for a 720,000 gain from economists polled by Dow Jones. This week, the Federal Reserve forecast 2021 GDP to rise at a 5.9% annual pace, down from its previous forecast of 7% growth. …

Even though the CDC reports that 55% of the U.S. population has been fully immunised against Covid, Biden said the remaining unvaccinated people are hindering economic growth, costing jobs and putting unnecessary strain on the health-care system.

Biden issued sweeping new vaccine mandates on September 9th affecting private businesses and federal employees. Government staff and contractors are required to immunise against Covid with no alternative for testing, while any company with over 100 personnel must implement vaccine mandates that include medical and religious exemptions.

The requirements will cover two-thirds of all workers nationwide, Biden said, noting that 92% of the country’s active-duty service members have been inoculated. He mandated the shots for the military on August 9th.

Worth reading in full.

President Biden Tells Republican Governors Threatening Legal Action Over Vaccine Mandates: “Have at It”

Covid vaccine mandates will not be imposed on millions of U.S. federal workers and contractors without a fight from a growing list of Republican Party Governors who are threatening lawsuits. But President Joe Biden doesn’t seem to mind the prospect of legal challenges, telling his critics: “Have at it.” The Independent has the story.

The administration is gearing up for another major clash between federal and state rule. But while many details about the rules remain unknown, Biden appears to be on firm legal ground to issue the directive in the name of protecting employee safety, according to several experts interviewed by the Associated Press

“My bet is that with respect to that statutory authority, they’re on pretty strong footing given the evidence strongly suggesting… the degree of risk that (unvaccinated individuals) pose, not only to themselves but also unto others,” said University of Connecticut Law Professor Sachin Pandya.

Republicans swiftly denounced the mandate that could impact 100 million Americans as government overreach and vowed to sue, and private employers who resist the requirements may do so as well. Texas Govenor Greg Abbott called it an “assault on private businesses” while Govenor Henry McMaster promised to “fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian”. The Republican National Committee has also said it will sue the administration “to protect Americans and their liberties”. …

The White House is gearing up for legal challenges and believes that even if some of the mandates are tossed out, millions of Americans will get a shot because of the new requirements…

Biden is putting enforcement in the hands of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is drafting a rule “over the coming weeks”, Jeffrey Zients, the White House Covid Response Coordinator, said Friday. He warned that “if a workplace refuses to follow the standard, the OSHA fines could be quite significant“.

Courts have upheld vaccination requirements as a condition of employment, both before the pandemic – in challenges brought by health care workers – and since the Covid outbreak, said Lindsay Wiley, Director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University Washington College of Law.

Where Biden’s vaccine requirements could be more open to attack is over questions of whether the administration followed the proper process to implement them, she said.

“The argument that mandatory vaccination impermissibly infringes on bodily autonomy or medical decision making, those arguments have not been successful and I don’t expect that to change,” Wiley said. “I think the challenges that are harder to predict the outcome of are going to be the ones that are really sort of the boring challenges about whether they followed the right process.”

Worth reading in full.

Covid Vaccine Could Become Mandatory for Troops in U.S. Military

U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to recommend that vaccination against Covid should be mandated for all 1.3 million active-duty military troops, with the final decision lying with President Joe Biden. The shift in position is believed to have occurred because of fears over the Delta variant. The New York Times has the story.

Biden announced last week that all federal employees and on-site contractors must be vaccinated against Covid, or be required to submit to regular testing and other measures. The requirement extended to the 766,372 civilians working for the Defense Department, but not active-duty service members.

That could soon change, administration and military officials said on Tuesday. Austin, who recently returned to the United States from a trip to Asia, has asked the military services to report on how and when they would go about putting a mandate in place. Mr Austin has previously said that he would not be comfortable with a mandate until the vaccines are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but officials and executives across the board are rethinking their position as the Delta variant surges.

The FDA plans to fully approve the Pfizer Covid vaccine, one of the most widely used vaccinations, by early next month, people familiar with the effort have said. The move will lead to more vaccination mandates across the country, but officials say Mr Austin is not expected to wait for final approval before making his recommendation. …

About 64% of active-duty military members are fully vaccinated, above the 60% of Americans over 18 who are fully vaccinated. But for the military, the rate is unacceptably low, raising issues of readiness should cases rise among service members. It is also difficult to deploy troops who have not been vaccinated to countries with stringent local restrictions.

Beyond readiness, a big part of the push for a mandate for the military centers on the belief that service members could set an example for their families and friends in states where vaccine hesitancy has been higher.

“When people see that these guys got the vaccine and nothing happened to them, that could be decisive,” said Dr Ezekiel J Emanuel, a Bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who advised Mr Biden during his transition.

“People admire our military,” he said. “They can serve as a positive example.”

Worth reading in full.