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SEPTEMBER 22-23,  2023

THE BIDEN COLLAPSE?  One consistent factor in the early presidential polls being taken is the weakness of Joe Biden.  There may be a "wanting of Biden" in some groups, but it is hard to find.  The new, detailed, Washington Post poll gives a good picture of the extent of President Biden's political decline.  From ABC News: 

President Joe Biden's job approval rating is 19 points underwater, his ratings for handling the economy and immigration are at career lows. A record number of Americans say they've become worse off under his presidency, three-quarters say he's too old for another term and Donald Trump is looking better in retrospect -- all severe challenges for Biden in his reelection campaign ahead.

Forty-four percent of Americans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they've gotten worse off financially under Biden's presidency, the most for any president in ABC/Post polls since 1986. Just 37% approve of his job performance, while 56% disapprove. Still fewer approve of Biden's performance on the economy, 30%.

On handling immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Biden's rating is even lower, with 23% approval. In terms of intensity of sentiment, 20% strongly approve of his work overall, while 45% strongly disapprove. And the 74% who say he's too old for a second term is up 6 percentage points since May. Views that Trump is too old also are up, but to 50% in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Such is down-on-Biden sentiment that if a government shutdown occurs at month's end, 40% say they'd chiefly blame him and the Democrats in Congress, versus 33% who'd pin it on the Republicans in Congress -- even given the GOP infighting behind the budget impasse.

What is equally remarkable is the new standing for Donald Trump.

Trump, for his part, has improved in retrospect. When he reluctantly left office in January 2021, 38% approved of his work as president, essentially the same as Biden's rating now. But currently, looking back, 48% say they approve of Trump's performance when he was in office -- matching his peak as president. Essentially as many -- 49% -- now disapprove, down from 60% when he left the White House.

Comparison with Biden may be a factor. Among the 56% of Americans who disapprove of Biden's work in office, a wide 75% say that, looking back, they approve of Trump.

COMMENT:  Again, as we always say, polls are snapshots in time.  But many of the snapshots are starting to say the same thing, that the public would prefer someone else to be the Democratic presidential nominee.  Inevitably, we get the feeling that, if Biden wins the general election, it won't be because of any love for him, but only because of a new dislike for Trump.

There is no joy in our current politics.  Where are the heroes?

September 23, 2023       Permalink


THE DISGRACE:  They used to call Baltimore "charm city."  They used to note that Baltimore was where "The Star Spangled Banner" was written.  Baltimore was important.

Now Baltimore is known for something else, and it doesn't say "charm."  It is symbolic of what is happening in many other American cities.  From FoxBaltimore.com: 

BALTIMORE (WBFF) — The latest round of state test results is raising alarm in Baltimore City Schools. Project Baltimore found that 40% of Baltimore City high schools, where the state exam was given, did not have any students score "proficient" in math. Not one student.

“This is educational homicide,” said Jason Rodriguez, deputy director of People Empowered by the Struggle, a Baltimore-based nonprofit.

In 2021, the group held rallies calling on Baltimore City Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises to resign over low test scores, falling graduation rates, and a lack of transparency. Now, after seeing what Project Baltimore discovered, Rodriguez is renewing those calls.

“There is no excuse,” he said. “We have a system that's just running rogue, and it starts at the top.”

Fox45 obtained unredacted state test results for every school in Baltimore City through a source within the school system, and the results are hard to believe.

Students took the tests in the spring of 2023, just a few months ago. Project Baltimore found 13 Baltimore City high schools where not one student who took the state math test scored "proficient" in math. Not one student.

In total, students at 33 Baltimore City high schools took the state math exam last spring. Project Baltimore did not include Eager Street Academy in our analysis because it’s located in the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Of the 32 high schools remaining, if 13 had zero students test proficient, that means 40% of Baltimore City high schools could not produce a single student doing math at grade level. The list of 13 schools includes some of Baltimore’s most well-known high schools, including Patterson High School, Frederick Douglass, and Reginald F. Lewis.

COMMENT:  What is remarkable is that results similar to this are found in many urban school systems, and yet there is so little sense of alarm.  We recall Daniel Patrick Moynihan's phrase, "defining deviancy down."  Basically, society responds to failure by conveniently lowering standards, thus making failure acceptable.  And who leads that lowering of standards?  Why, it's usually educators and politicians, and sometimes even misguided parents, who don't want children to be seen as failing.  In the end, that's cruel to those very children.

 

No high standards, no high achievement.  And no future.

September 23, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 20-21,  2023

MORE BIDEN EMBARRASSMENT.  This has got to stop.  He's the chief of state, and he can't get through a brief meeting.  From the New York Post: 

Another day, another slip-up.

President Biden on Thursday expressed his admiration for the “Congressional Black Caucus” during a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in his latest head-scratching moment.

The gaffe came as he delivered a speech in Washington at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 46th Annual Gala. 

Biden, 80, celebrated gala award recipient Sister Norma Pimental, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, right before the blunder. 

“I know Sister Norma lives the lessons nuns taught me growing up. Lessons based on the Gospel of Matthew: feed the hungry, care for the sick, welcome strangers,” the president said. “They echo what my dad taught me, and I mean this sincerely, my dad used to say, ‘Everyone, everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.’” 

“The Congressional Black Caucus embodies all those values,” he added, without stopping to correct himself. 

Biden’s latest verbal mistake comes a week after he was ripped for inferring that African American and Hispanic workers don’t have “high school diplomas.”

“We’ve seen record lows in unemployment particularly — and I’ve focused on this my whole career — particularly for African Americans and Hispanic workers and veterans, you know, the workers without high school diplomas,” he said during an event at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland last week.

Biden boasted Thursday about the number of Hispanic members in his Cabinet and took credit for “record low” Latino unemployment and other economic gains in the Hispanic community under his watch. 

He also accused Republicans of “gutting the immigration system” during former President Donald Trump’s time in office and continuing to “undermine our border security today, blocking bipartisan reform.”

Biden looked over to both sides of the stage after concluding his remarks, and he put his palms up as he appeared to ask someone off camera for directions on which way to exit the stage.

Nearly two-thirds of Hispanic voters –  60% – disapprove of Biden’s job performance as president, according to a June Pew Research poll.

COMMENT:  He also insulted the president of Brazil by walking off after a press conference without shaking his hand. 

It just isn't funny anymore.  It is likely that the president's condition will get worse, not better.  Under any reasonable circumstances, a patriotic president as impaired as Biden would step down, or at least pledge not to run for the presidency again.  But the prospect of Vice President Kamala Harris moving to the presidency has given Biden plenty of cover.  Harris makes Biden look like Abraham Lincoln. 

But I do wonder whether Biden will suffer a huge personal setback, and will be forced out of the race, creating a crisis for his party and his country. 

Next year will not be a dull election year.

September 21, 2023       Permalink

 

A SHARP WARNING.  One of the things we like to do at Urgent Agenda is to direct our readers' attention to things they might otherwise not notice.  Well, here's one of them.  President Roosevelt called America the "arsenal of democracy."  It turns out that the arsenal, the backbone of our defense, has gotten several coatings of rust.  We are not prepared for a sustained conflict, and our enemies know it.  From the New York Post: 

WASHINGTON – As defense manufacturers struggle to keep up with the Pentagon’s needs and the threat from China grows, the chairman of a key House subcommittee told industry leaders Wednesday to shift from the current peacetime production pace and get on a “war footing.”

“In my opinion, we have not mobilized to prevent a war in the Pacific,” Cyber, Information Technologies and Innovation subcommittee head Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) said. “We have not moved to maximum production rates of long-range precision fires.”

Hindered by the after-effects of slowed production during the COVID-19 pandemic and the task of keeping Ukraine stocked with the systems they need to fight off Russia, the defense base has been unable even to refill the Pentagon’s dwindling weapons stockpiles, let alone produce new defense capabilities.

With 10 days left of the 2023 fiscal year, the Pentagon has failed to spend its entire weapons and development budget largely because the defense industry’s slowed production rate left it unable to fulfill the orders, according to Gallagher.

“In one week, $11 billion of previously appropriated defense money – previous year’s money we’ve already given to the Defense Department – is going to evaporate [and] will turn into a pumpkin on midnight on September 30,” he said, referencing the expiration of prior unspent funds with the coming of the new fiscal year.

The hearing came one week after Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall gave a sobering speech in which he said China is rapidly galvanizing its military in preparation for a potential conflict.

“The intelligence couldn’t be clearer. China is preparing for war, and specifically for a war with the United States,” Gallagher said, paraphrasing Kendall. “If we took this warning from the secretary of the Air Force seriously, and thereby got serious about preventing a war with China, preventing World War III, we would immediately shift the Pentagon away from a posture optimized for peacetime efficiency and onto a war footing.”

“We would embrace that basic paradox,” he added, “that to avoid a war we have to adopt a war footing.”

Warning that a war with China “has the potential to make previous world wars look restrained in comparison,” Gallagher asked representatives from Anduril Industries, Saildrone, Inc. and defense industry powerhouse Lockheed Martin how the government can help allay issues causing the slow production pace.

“Tell us … what we need to do to fix this problem; what we need to do to turbocharge our innovation enterprise in defense; what we need to do to defibrillate a sclerotic defense industrial base and thereby prevent war – which is the business we are all in,” he said. “We cannot keep wasting time.”

It’s not a new problem; Gallagher said he’d been discussing the issue for years with military and industry leaders. But the matter is becoming more urgent as China grows and revolutionizes its military.

COMMENT:  A thoughtful man with a serious message.  We saw in World War II what lack of preparedness did to us.  We pledged that we would learn our lesson.  But World War II is now ancient history, and the lesson is being forgotten.  Indeed, we have a young generation that probably doesn't know when World War II was fought. 

We are lacking in the kind of trusted leadership that could lead us out of this potential nightmare.  That could be our undoing. 

September 21, 2023       Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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