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I Didn't Expect Biden's First Big Screw-Up to Make Him Look Both Mendacious and Cruel

Charles P. Pierce
·7-min read
Photo credit: Andrew Harnik - Getty Images
Photo credit: Andrew Harnik - Getty Images

Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week By The Blog’s Favourite Living Canadian)

I knew that, sooner or later, the president would screw something up. (They all do.) But I didn’t anticipate that he would do so in a fashion that would make him look both mendacious and cruel. From the Washington Post:

Biden plans to keep the refugee cap at 15,000, according to the official. That figure is a historic low set by then-President Donald Trump last fall. Earlier this year, Biden had proposed to Congress lifting the cap to 62,500. He has pledged to raise it to 125,000 for the following fiscal year, which begins in October.

“This is incredibly disappointing. The U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world and we can’t do better?” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

The least objectionable element in this sad episode is that the president is reneging on a campaign promise. After all, he can still boost the cap later in his term, although his having surrendered on the issue this time around weakens his bargaining position in the future. What is really galling is that the administration is accepting—and, thereby endorsing—an immigration cap that arose out of the xenophobia and white supremacist polices of the previous administration*. I wouldn’t drink out of the same water fountain as Stephen Miller, let alone sign aboard his immigration policies. What could this president possibly be thinking?

Just from the elbows, I think this administration got caught flat-footed in two areas: the number of unaccompanied minors at the border and, more important, I think, its sudden salience as a Republican attack line and as a bone on which the media can chew. It was the first serious political peril the administration has faced since it took office, and I don’t think anyone was ready for it. Which is no excuse. This is just plain, ordinary cowardice. We had a right to expect better.

I don’t want to alarm anyone unnecessarily, but there are some people in the Congress who are completely bananas. Punchbowl News, the new shebeen launched by Jake Sherman and Amanda Palmer, formerly of Politico, called the attention of tout les Toobz to something called the America First Caucus, which announced its founding principles on Friday, and which is the most openly nativist mainstream American political operation since Charles Lindbergh went to that big Bund meeting in the sky. I know it will shock you to learn that this little bit of goose-stepping is the product of the fevered brains of people like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who has nothing better to do, and Congressman Paul Gosar, whose family members make attack ads for anyone who runs against him. The platform, as announced on Friday, is guaranteed to put the Horst in anyone's Wessel.

An important distinction between post-1965 immigrants and previous waves of settlers is that previous cohorts were more educated, earned higher wages, and did not have an expansive welfare state to fall back on when they could not make it in America and thus did not stay in the country at the expense of the native-born.

I think Daniel Day-Lewis said this in Gangs of New York.

The increased consolidation of educational spending came with it the ability for powerful left-wing special interest groups to redirect the focus away from preparing future generations of national talent to progressive indoctrination and enrichment of an out-of-control elite oligarchy. Even worse, our education has worked to actively undermine pride in America’s great history and is actively hostile to the civic and cultural assimilation necessary for a strong nation.

I blame fluoride in the water myself. And the rap music.

The America First Caucus recognizes that our country is more than a mass of consumers or a series of abstract ideas. America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.

And the kitty goes screeching out of the burlap. First of all, we’re not all of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of anything. (Gosar certainly isn’t. I’m not sure about MTG. She might be from Triskelion.) I myself am Hiberno-Norman, descendant of the people who kicked the crap out of both the Angles and the Saxons behind William the Conqueror. Second, you’re all nutty as fox squirrels. And third, you’re all dumb as sacks of hair. Yeesh.

Photo credit: Bill Clark - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bill Clark - Getty Images

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Anytime” (Lulu and the Broadsides): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.

Weekly Visit To The Pathé Archives: Here, from 1901, is the funeral of Queen Victoria. A lot of dudes in really big hats and, for a while there, I thought they’d forgotten the old girl back on the Isle of Wight. But she finally shows up at the end of the parade. History is so cool.

Couple of stories to make you say, “Am I a different species of primate from these people? God, I hope so.” First, as The Guardian reports, a number of our law-enforcement professionals have a sweet-tooth for teenage gunmen on the prowl.

The breach, shared with journalists by transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, revealed the details of some donors who had previously attempted to conceal their identities using GiveSendGo’s anonymity feature, but whose identifying details the website preserved. The beneficiaries of donations from public officials include Kyle Rittenhouse, who stands accused of murdering two leftwing protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. Rittenhouse traveled from neighboring Illinois to, by his own account, offer armed protection to businesses during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Rittenhouse, who became a cause célèbre across conservative media throughout late 2020, and was even supported by then president Donald Trump, held a fundraiser on GiveSendGo billed as a contribution to his legal defense. According to data from the site, he raised $586,940 between 27 August last year and 7 January.

And then we return to our favorite lump of batshit, MTG, and her faithful sidekick, Lauren Boebert, who were the only two members of the House to vote against reauthorizing the National Marrow Donor Program. Why? Nobody fcking knows. Maybe they just vote against anything with “National” in its name. Hey, you two. Even Anglo-Saxons need bone marrow sometimes.

Is it a good day for dinosaur news, San Jose Mercury-News? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!

A new study out Thursday from paleontologists at the University of California, Berkeley estimates about 20,000 T.rexes were alive at one time, roaming a range that is now the West Coast of North America, from Southern Canada through the Rocky Mountains and California to New Mexico. The long-extinct meat-eater was around for a long time, living 68 million to 66 million years ago. The scientists estimated they spanned 127,000 generations as the world’s apex predator. The study’s mind-boggling conclusion: Over their entire reign, roughly 2.5 billion individual T.rexes lived on Earth.

First of all, how great is it that there are people out there trying to get a head-count of a species that’s been extinct for millennia? Second, 20,000 T-Rexes at a time? Glorioski, that’s a lot of short-armed apex predators.

In the most recent study, the UC scientists calculated that each generation lasted about 19 years, and that the average population density was about 1 for every 100 square kilometers. Put another way, that’s about one T.rex for every 25,000 acres. Looked at through a modern view, that means that at any time during the Upper Cretaceous period, when they lived, an area the size of San Francisco would have had one T.rex gobbling up the local plant-eating dinosaurs.

It was a hard-knock life for the local hadrosaurs, I’ll bet. Many of them didn’t live long, but they lived then to make us happy now.

I’ll be back on Monday to talk about what the Anglo-Saxons have been up to. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, wear the damn mask, and get the damn shots.

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