THE COLUMN: Invasion of the Body-and-Soul Snatchers

Elon Musk, after me the foremost scourge of Twitter, is much in the news these days. Not only for his high-stakes poker game against the unworthy likes of Parag Agrawal—an Indian immigrant with a bad attitude toward the First Amendment, doing the job (with a handsome pay package) that Americans just won't do—but for his direct challenge to the Wokerati whose private preserve Twitter, Disney, Netflix, and just about every other aspect of the culture have become. Naturally, the eccentric multi-billionaire immediately came "under fire," as the gun-shy media likes to say, for past sins real or imagined, and immediately turned the tables on his accuser in a way that even Bill Clinton never dared to do.

But as we've all learned over the past several decades, truth is irrelevant to the Leftist project, whose two-step program for fundamental transformation goes like this. First, posit a counter-factual. Second, act on it as if it were true while browbeating the bejesus out of your opponents. Lately, it doesn't matter how counter-factual or, indeed, utterly ridiculous it is: men can get pregnant, police should be defunded, and the "right" to an abortion can be found in the Constitution. The Hive Mind pushes these precepts and many more, and if you don't agree, then the only explanation is that you're some sort of racist or bigot, now the dirtiest words in the English language. There is no longer any such thing as dispassion, and the time for debate, disagreement, and rational discussion is over. Get with the program, comrade.

Run! It's Dave Chappelle!

This is what happens when everything—sex, race, sports, politics, music, culture, pancake mix, butter, baby formula, religion, the nation-state, your Aunt Hilda—becomes political. Musk has, correctly, described such conformity as the "woke mind virus." Such a state of affairs is in fact the end-state of "progressive" cultural-Marxist thinking, which has substituted the permanent imposition of political correctness in place of what economic Marxism had initially anticipated, which in the words of Friedrich Engels was the "withering away" of the State itself. 

The first act by virtue of which the State really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society – the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society – this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The State is not ‘abolished.’ It dies out.

Wrong again, Freddy! What the Marxists discovered after they sandbagged the first, anti-Tsarist Russian Revolution and replaced it with their own, is that the State and its coerced minions in private enterprise come in very handy if you're a power-mad atheist bent on cultural destruction and your own supreme power. It took 75 years of Soviet communist rule, the blunt-force application of a central-European anti-capitalist philosophy promulgated by a malevolent hobo and his rich benefactor, for the Russian people to learn the partial error of their ways. In the meantime, the State never died out.

The "withering away" of the State is in fact the last thing the Left wants, especially as the Great Reset dawns in Davos. Oh, the nation-state can go once they have captured its armed forces; after all, such outmoded concepts as a "nation" only encourage such nasty concepts as nationalism, which must be stamped out by any means necessary. The communist Left didn't win its prolonged struggle with its former ally, National Socialist Germany, to countenance allegiance to something at once both higher and baser than the abstract ideal of International Socialism. That the version the Left is currently trying to impose upon us looks much more like the fascism of the Nazis than the communism of Stalin is left unremarked. But hey—omelets and eggs.

Which brings us back to Wokism -- now, amazingly, suffering a series of defeats as the Zeitgeist turns. In Florida, the thrashing of the Walt Disney Company by Gov. Ron DeSantis—the next GOP candidate for president, if the Republicans have any sense— vividly demonstrated how far the force of will, painfully applied, and an absolute refusal to accept their literally insane premises can go toward reversing the course of degenerate political correctness. DeSantis has shown that one arrogant corporation's "progressivism" is another man's sexual perversion, and that decent folks draw the line at the grooming of their defenseless children by those who can't reproduce any other way, whether by the House of Mouse or proselytizing operatives working within the taxpayer-supported public-school systems. The withering State is not so much fun when it's punching back, is it?

The quick rout of the Ministry of Truth under its nasty Gauleiterin, Nina Jankowicz, was also an encouraging sign, although technically the "Disinformation Governance Board" is only "suspended" pending an assessment by two of the most dedicated statists in recent history, Michael Chertoff and Jamie Gorelick. Naturally, the lickspittle media is furious: "The fate of the board is yet more proof that efforts to combat even clearly threatening disinformation will always be ripe targets for the purveyors of disinformation, and officials should have better anticipated and handled this obvious dynamic," huffed the once-respected Columbia Journalism Review, echoing the anti-freedom sentiments of Walter Lippmann in his 1922 treatise, Public Opinion.

Careful! It might be Nina Jankowicz!

Even more fun has been the collapse of Netflix, a company that is living proof of Erick Hoffer's maxim that "every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket." What started as a way to make movies available to everybody for a small subscription price turned into a market-cornering monstrosity and ultimately into the woke "Streaming Service," which sought to replace the studios as the principal financier and greenlighter of motion pictures. It borrowed a fortune, produced next to nothing of value, drove good scripts out of the market, and has damn near destroyed the picture business by replacing professionalism with aspirationalism.

Faced with a subscriber exodus, a shareholders' lawsuit, and a loss of some $200 billion in market capitalization, and finally paying the financial penalty for trying to force endless remakes of Moonlight and other woke sermons down everyone's throat, Netflix has suddenly had an attitude adjustment: 

More significantly, the document adds a new directive for employees to act with fiscal responsibility — a change that comes as Netflix in Q1 saw its first decline in subscribers in more than a decade. The updated Netflix Culture memo also includes a new section called “Artistic Expression,” explaining that the streamer will not “censor specific artists or voices” even if employees consider the content “harmful,” and bluntly states, “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

And then there's Nancy Pelosi and her effective excommunication from the Catholic Church. Who says there's no good news? Would that Robinette—just banned from entering Russia— could be next. 

Still, in the aftermath of the Great Covid Panic of 2019-22, the American economy continues to crater. Soaring gas prices at the pump, occasioned by Biden's cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline and all the anti-energy policies that have since followed, are only the most outward manifestation of the rot at the heart of the American experiment. Not just content with your body, the spirit-sapping demons unleashed by the Frankfurt School hunger for your soul as well. They want their passionate desire to kill children in the womb to remain uncensured by society and have not only protested but threatened violent riots should the Supreme Court stick to its convictions and overturn the moral enormity of Roe v. Wade this term. 

Just close your eyes and everything will be all right.

The stock market also recently has had one of its worst weeks ever, and polls show most Americans have utterly lost confidence in the Biden administration. Even worse, Biden's crack foreign-policy team is now encouraging historically neutral Finland to join a superfluous and outmoded NATO and thus fall under the alliance's Article 5 provision of "collective defense" should the Finns, as they often do, get into a spat with the bear next door. For those scoring at home, this is essentially how World War One started, but who reads history any more?

To add insult to injury, the country and its nursing moms are suffering through an absolutely predictable, government-created shortage of baby formula, apparently on the moral principle that if you can kill babies in the womb right up to the moment of birth, you might as well go the extra mile and starve them to death after they're born. In a reversal of the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift, airmen from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany have shipped over pallets of Nestle Health Science Alfamino Infant and Alfamino Junior formula: Operation Fly Formula.

The formula shortage will eventually ease. But something else will take its place. The litany of potential disasters under Joe Biden is endless, each baleful new development replicating like the pod people of Don Siegel's classic 1956 film, sucking the life out of human beings and institutions, absorbing mind and memory, and leaving nothing but husks behind. They never stop, they never sleep, they never quit.

You wanted "malaise," America? You "voted" for it—and you got it

By the way, have you heard about monkeypox? Not a worry for you, you say? After all, "most initial cases of monkeypox have been among gay or bisexual men who have had sex with other males." Silly fellow. The Disinformation Governance Board, currently disguised as a giant watermelon, would like a word with you. As Kevin McCarthy (the actor, not the politician) warns at the end of Body Snatchers: "You're next!

Biden's Energy Schizphrenia Deepens

The Biden Administration’s poor public approval ratings ultimately derives from the fact that Biden and his team cannot escape the dilemma that sound policy and politics is at odds with the “Progressive” fundamentalism that controls the Democratic Party today. At nearly every turn, however, Progressive dogma wins out.

Two recent decisions make this problem evident. First is the decision to appeal U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling striking down the federal mask mandate. By all accounts the Biden White House debated about whether to appeal the ruling, sending mixed signals that they might let the ruling stand. At length the administration decided to appeal the ruling, though it did so behind the skirts of the Centers for Disease Control, pretending that they have an obligation to uphold the legal prerogatives of the CDC.

The face of the CDC: Rochelle Walensky

The only surprise is that the White House debated at all, and it is significant that the Justice Department isn’t taking the typical step of requesting a stay of Judge Mizelle’s ruling pending an appeals court hearing, which would cause the mask mandate to snap back into place immediately. The White House surely took in the spontaneous scenes of celebration on airplanes and elsewhere at the liberation from masks, which have become the MAGA hat for Progressives. Democratic campaign strategists have been warning for months that the lockdown-uber-alles policy of the Branch-Covidians is increasingly unpopular with core Democratic constituencies, especially suburban moms.

So why did the White House not take the convenient offramp that Judge Mizelle provided? Answer: the imperatives of the Administrative State took precedence. It is crucial that the legal authority to impose mandates and other controls through the CDC be preserved, even if the White House decides that we can let the mask mandate lapse.

It could turn out worse. Cynical operatives in the White House might welcome an appeals ruling that upholds Judge Mizelle because it will allow Democrats to demand from Congress what I have been expecting from the beginning of Covid—the establishment of a new cabinet-level agency, a Department of Pandemic Planning and Prevention, with broad new regulatory powers beyond the CDC’s wildest imagination. The model here is the Department of Homeland Security, the bureaucratic mistake the Bush Administration foolishly embraced in 2002. In other words, the White House decision to appeal the ruling might not be as politically dumb as it seems.

The second significant White House decision was rolling back President Trump’s long-overdue reforms of the review process of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This is the statute that anchors the environmental review and litigation process that the Left has used for decades to slow or block development of all kinds. NEPA and similar state-level laws are a major reason infrastructure projects of all kinds in the U.S. are way more expensive to build—if they are built at all—than in any other major industrialized nation.

The surprise is that it took the Biden White House 15 months to rescind Trump’s changes. You’d have thought Biden would have done this on January 20 of last year, with the same pen he used to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. One reason for the hesitation is that smarter environmentalists (I know, that’s an oxymoron in most cases) have come to understand that while the longstanding environmental review process has been an essential tool to block domestic energy development and infrastructure, it has become an impediment to many of the infrastructure needs of their “green” energy dreams. In many cases local environmental NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) activists have abused the NEPA process to block new wind and solar power projects, as well as the transmission lines necessary to make these green projects feasible at all.

Biden to America: Drop Dead.

Ezra Klein noted this problem in the New York Times last month: “They are, too often, powerful allies of an intolerable status quo, rendering government plodding and ineffectual and making it almost impossible to build green infrastructure at the speed we need. . . Too many of the tactics and strategies and statutes are designed to stop transformational or even incremental projects from happening.” Even Jerry Brown came to recognize this problem in California, calling on the state legislature in his last term in office to reform California’s version of NEPA known as CEQA. Naturally the state legislature, which was considerably to the left of Jerry Brown if you can imagine, declined to do so.

 The Biden White House did deliver one surprise, however. Its new budget proposal earmarks $6 billion to keep open several nuclear power plants currently scheduled to shut down soon. Someone seems awake enough to understand that if you seriously want to decarbonize our energy supply, you need to keep nuclear power prominently in the mix.  Better than a fresh round of subsidies, however, it would be better to remove existing mandates and subsidies for wind and solar power that make nuclear power unprofitable in the marketplace.

This move will not sit well with environmental fundamentalists who refuse to accept nuclear power, no matter how panicked they are about climate change. There are rumors that Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under Obama and now Biden’s principal “climate adviser,” may resign from her post out of unhappiness at Biden’s purported backsliding on climate, even though Biden’s announcements of support for more domestic oil and natural gas production are mostly hollow rhetoric. Biden’s incoherence on energy simply cannot be masked.

Great Moments in Schadenfreude

Democrats’ Energy Spousal-Abuse Syndrome

Listening to Democrats suddenly begging the oil and gas industry to increase domestic output resembles nothing so much as the serial spouse-abuser who promises to be good, only to resume their abuse as soon as the cops leave, all the while pining to shower their cheap mistresses (in this case solar and wind energy) with ever more expensive gifts.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, to whom Donald Trump’s famous epithet “low-energy” applies better and more literally than to any other target, is begging the oil and gas industry to ignore the administration’s repeated assaults, and to carry on as if Trump was still in office:

We are on war footing. That means [crude oil] releases from the strategic reserves all around the world. And that means you producing more right now if and when you can. I hope your investors are saying this to you as well. In this moment of crisis, we need more supply. [Emphasis added].

Would those be the same investors that the Biden administration and woke capitalists like Black Rock’s Larry Fink are trying to intimidate from investing in fossil fuel production? The same companies for whom the Biden regime has sought to raise the cost of capital (with partial success already) through administrative harassment, such as setting the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission after them? The same industry whose viability the Biden administration’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is trying to hobble with restrictions on new oil and gas pipelines? Never mind proposed or half-built pipelines such as the Keystone XL.

Granholm: Big Nurse is not happy.

There are ongoing efforts to shut down existing pipelines such as Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline under a small stretch of Lake Michigan that transports more than 500,000 barrels of Canadian oil and petroleum products a day to the U.S. A court has temporarily stopped Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s attempt to close Line 5, and FERC has abruptly halted its anti-pipeline rulemaking. But the crazed anti-pipeline activists will be back. The Biden administration is “studying” the issue, which means attempting to find another means to shut down Line 5, and FERC will surely return to its strangulating ways.

Asking the oil and gas industry to produce more oil while preventing new pipeline construction and shutting down existing pipelines is like asking the auto industry to produce more cars and trucks while tearing up existing roads and prohibiting new ones.

Unknown to most consumers, pipelines are the most versatile part of the energy supply chain, as they transport much more than crude oil between refineries. They can transport a wide variety of distillate products in addition to crude oil—propane in the particular case of Michigan’s Line 5—which adds to the overall resiliency and adaptability to consumer and industrial needs from the energy sector; Line 5 provides over half of the propane supply to propane-dependent parts of rural Michigan, for example. Non-pipeline transport, chiefly trains or trucks, is more expensive and difficult to secure.

Still other administration actions display its fundamental hostility to domestic oil and gas production. The Interior Department is dragging its feet on new required five-year plan for oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Due in June, the plan is far behind schedule, and in the absence of the new plan no new leases can be processed. (Needless to say, Interior’s plans for offshore wind power leases are breezing through the department’s review process very quickly).

On the surface a neutral observer might think the Biden administration’s current energy policy is schizophrenic. It is actually mendacious, and rests on a cynical calculation that both the oil and gas industry and finance capitalists won’t play along in the long run. The great irony of America’s self-inflicted energy disaster is that profits for incumbent oil and gas producers are soaring, as are their stock prices. So naturally Democrats are going back to the Jimmy Carter playbook and demanding a “windfall profits tax” on current energy producers. In other words, please produce more, but don’t expect to get to keep any profits from expanded activity!

"Windfall profits" tax, anyone?

Oil and natural gas, like real estate, have been prone to boom and bust periods for more than 50 years, as large global price epicycles have delivered fat profits in boom times and inflicted severe pain during recessions and cycles of overproduction. Following the most recent wave of bankruptcies in oil and gas over the last decade, the domestic industry and its investors have at last become more disciplined about production and investment strategies. Neither producers nor investors are likely to be taken in by the administration’s temporary relief of the government boot on their neck. They know that once the current “crisis” has passed, the beatings will resume.

The last missing piece of this maddening puzzle brings us back to the opening analogy of oil and gas as the abused spouse of American industry. The oil and gas industry, with precious few exceptions such as Chris Wright, founder and CEO of the comparatively small Liberty Oilfield Services, does not defend itself against the green onslaught. Most of the oil and gas majors implicitly apologize for providing a product everyone uses, and promise to “do better” (that is, go out of business slowly) just as the abused spouse will internalize blame for the bruises her husband inflicts.

Not since Mobil Oil’s Herb Schmertz (ironically a liberal Democrat most of his life) fought back against the left in his famous “advertorials” in leading news publications in the 1970s and 1980s has the petroleum industry made a sustained defense of itself. A major oil company that tried this today would likely face an internal revolt from its woke millennial staff in the HR and public-relations departments. But until and unless the petroleum industry stands up for itself again, the abuse at the hands of the left will intensify until they are beaten out of existence.

News from the Dakotas: 'He Does Not Care'

From Fox News comes this report of the economic consequences of Joe Biden's decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline on Day One of his administration. It's not long, just three minutes, but well worth your time. Elections have consequences, as they say—and some of those consequences are disastrous.

"He's been one disaster after another," says one man.

"I can't stand him," remarks one woman. "We definitely need a change, one year in" says another.

"He's killed our economy."

Watch and weep:

We Used to Be Energy Independent: What Happened?

While responding to reporters about Russia’s incursion into Ukraine two weeks ago, President Biden committed that his administration was using every tool at its disposal to protect American businesses and consumers from rising prices at the gas pump. “I will do everything in my power to limit the pain that the American people are feeling at the gas pump.”

This would’ve been spectacularly good news for every American and the larger economy were it actually true. But as one considers the U.S.’s current energy policy, implemented when Biden took office, it is clear that Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine will end up delivering precisely what the Biden administration itself has been working so furiously to achieve over the last year: higher domestic energy prices. Putin has inadvertently become the scapegoat and gift the Biden administration desperately needs to explain away increasing domestic energy prices that began at least eight months before Putin ever stepped foot on the stage in Ukraine.

When the Biden Administration took office, it unleashed a dangerous “Mandate and Moratorium” strategy, a green jihad of sorts against the U.S. energy sector. The strategy was simple-- create supply constraints for domestic oil and gas producers by dismantling distribution systems, tightening regulations, and suspending leases and permits, therefore impacting future drilling activity. Co-conspirators like Black Rock’s, Larry Fink, then jumped in by urging institutional divestment from the oil and gas sector and wielding a pseudo-sophisticated set of investments standards known as environment, social and governance  (ESG). The strategy was topped off with the complicity of social media and tech’s intolerance for a diversity of ideas, ensuring Americans couldn’t discuss the flawed energy policy, let alone dissent from it.

How much longer can this go on?

Biden’s anti-oil strategy has necessarily created a dangerous dependence on foreign producers, such as Russia. Higher prices for oil and gas, in the Biden narrative, deliver greater price parity with alternative energy sources like wind and solar, a "reality" toward which this administration demands American consumers must move. To the administration, economic "pain at the pump" has been its objective since taking office and is considered a positive turn of events. National security, food security, and economic security were never part of their calculus.

While announcing a suspension of the importation of Russian oil and gas yesterday, the administration is merely planning to swap one U.S. adversary with others, including Iran and Venezuela, both sidekicks of Russia. In all cases, the Biden strategy is to import oil and gas from anti-democratic, totalitarian regimes instead of relying upon the American energy sector to close the supply-and-demand gap that currently exists.

These adversaries of American democracy will use the funds received through Biden’s oil purchases to harm the country and our allies. The U.S. buys oil from our Russian-backed adversaries. Russian-backed adversaries use those proceeds to attack the U.S. America buys more oil and gas from Russian-backed adversaries… and so it goes. While on this merry-go-round of madness, the administration needs to consider the threat that walking away from domestic energy independence represents to the nation's short and long-term economic vitality and security.

But how did the U.S. get into this desperate position, when as recently as 2020 the U.S. was energy independent? What did the Biden administration do when it entered office that Congress should now seek to undo in the face of higher prices that began over eight months ago?

I did what?

From its first moments in office, the administration has sought to destroy the U.S. energy sector by using administrative rules and orders that circumvent Congress, and therefore the need to garner political consensus. The administration has aggressively hidden behind regulatory edicts at various federal agencies rather than defend their energy strategy publicly. Such tactics represent an overreach of the executive branch that has now exposed our nation to threats from foreign actors intending to dismantle western democracies. Congress must assert its power by requiring congressional ratification of all new regulations annually.

By destroying our energy independence, the administration also weakens the middle class and establishes a permanent underclass, reliant on government handouts and blocked from the opportunity and privilege that historically has been a beacon to the world. Guided by bad ideas, the administration has sought to diminish our economic security, food security, and energy security, while insisting it has the interest of America at heart. But consider the changes for which the Biden administration is directly responsible since taking office:

Say it ain't so, Joe.

The Biden “Moratorium and Mandate” energy policy was foisted upon the country with a sophomoric and malignant understanding of economics and a bias toward using alternative-energy sources exclusively. Without consideration for the actual role oil and gas plays economically and geo-politically, the Biden administration now seems willing to bet the well-being and future of America on a campaign slogan.

In the meantime, you're paying for it at the pump.

THE COLUMN: 'Events, Dear Boy, Events'

And so, just like that, Covid hysteria has suddenly receded, the manifest limitations of "green energy" have revealed themselves, and "gun control" suddenly doesn't seem so urgent in light of plucky little Ukraine's citizen-soldiers. Inflation is soaring, pocketbook issues are back on the table, and the outbreak of a real shooting war in the Ukraine, in which people are fighting and dying, has suddenly yanked the word "catastrophic" back from the realm of mental illness and into reality. As the late British prime minister Harold Macmillan is supposed to have replied when asked what was his greatest challenge: "Events, dear boy, events."

Amazing what happens when reality bites. The small stuff, the transient concerns, the self-indulgence in lunacy and cultural suicide suddenly slips away, revealing bedrock truths beneath. The prolonged propaganda assault by the national media, led by the unabashedly racialist New York Times, on the traditions and institutions of this country has screeched to a halt as people stare in disbelief at supermarket receipts and gas pump prices and watch the shelling of Kiev on their televisions. Perhaps now words like "assault" and "hostile environment" won't be thrown around with such gay abandon:

So much for the dreaded "assault" rifles, which now seem to have some usefulness after all. Note as well that these "assault" rifles aren't firing themselves, but are instead wielded by responsible adults in an actual hostile environment in defense of their lives, their families, and their homelands—exactly the conditions under which the Congress and the several states ratified the second amendment.

Vladimir Putin's aims have been clear for decades to anyone who knew anything about Russian history. Raised in the Soviet Union, he regarded the collapse of his country as a great tragedy, but he is not trying to restore anything like the U.S.S.R. Rather, his ambition is to reanimate the Rodina of Tsar Alexander, the scourge of Napoleon who also played a large part in the formation of modern Europe at the Congress of Vienna. To that end, he has cemented an alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church—the historic soul and animating spirit of the country—which forms, along with the coterie of gangsters that emerged from the ruins of the KGB, his power base.

He's long had his eyes on Kiev, in many ways the heart of Mother Russia but unfortunately for him occupied by his Slavic cousins, the Ukrainians who, having experienced the Soviet Union, have little desire to re-unite. Like Poland, Ukraine lives in a bad neighborhood between two ugly neighbors, Germany and Russia , one in which the borders keep switching around. But the foolish American notion of pushing the moribund corpse of NATO eastward, into Albania, Bulgaria, and the Baltics has been seen by Putin and the Russians as both a humiliation and a provocation.

"Climate change," too, has been back-benched for a while. Not a peep out of the usual suspects complaining about all the carbon emissions from the land and air power unleashed on the Ukraine by Putin and the sorry shambles of the once-formidable Red Army as their genuine assault on a neighboring sovereign nation has seemed to sputter. But never fear, intrepid eco-warriors such as John "Mr. 16 Weeks in Nam" Kerry, who racked up more medals-per-hour than Audie Murphy, are here to keep the focus where it belongs:

And to think that this man was almost president of the United States. Then again, an even bigger fool currently sits in the Oval Office. Like Kerry, Joe Biden is a lifelong government functionary with no real-world experience but a huge chip on his shoulder over what he perceives as non-recognition of his genius. Biden is that Irish archetype, the braggart on the far barstool mouthing off and trying to provoke the real men of the community into taking a poke at him. The more they ignore him, the angrier he gets. Until reality slaps him in the face.

What is Biden to make, then, of his abysmal approval ratings, his demolition of the American economy in order to satisfy his "green" saboteur/enablers, and his consummate ineptitude at handling the levers of government except signing "executive orders" shoved under this nose by chief of staff Ron Klain. With his first act in office, the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, Biden suddenly threw the booming Trump economy into reverse without even hitting the clutch, causing the engine to conk out. By choking off energy supplies—the lifeblood of the economy—in order to appease the Luddite god of the malevolent Greens, Biden has now been reduced to begging other countries, including Russia, into selling us oil. How's that for diplomacy?

All but the most demented Democrats, however, hate personal privation, so now of course there are calls to restart the pipeline again. Forget the former fretting over the environment and "public health"—the all-purpose excuse for punitive fascism these days. Ah, but how some outfit calling itself the "Natural Resources Defense Council" crowed just thirteen months ago:

The takedown of the notorious Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline will go down as one of this generation’s most monumental environmental victories. After more than 10 years of tenacious protests, drawn-out legal battles, and flip-flopping executive orders spanning three presidential administrations, the Keystone XL pipeline is now gone for good. The project’s corporate backer—the Canadian energy infrastructure company TC Energy—officially abandoned the project in June 2021 following President Joe Biden’s denial of a key permit on his first day in office. But the path to victory wasn’t always clear.

Many had hoped that the disastrous project was finally done for in November 2015, when the Obama administration vetoed the pipeline—acknowledging its pervasive threats to climate, ecosystems, drinking water sources, and public health. But immediately after taking office, President Donald Trump brought the zombie project back to life, along with the legal battles against it. By the time President Biden took office in 2021, ready to fulfill his campaign promise to revoke the cross-border permit, the dirty energy pipeline had become one of the foremost climate controversies of our time.

That was then, this is now:

Friday, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) called on the Biden administration to immediately restart the Keystone XL pipeline project. “President Biden set us on a dangerous path when he decided to kill the Keystone XL pipeline on Day One in office. What’s happening in Russia and Europe is a stark reminder of the need to support American energy development, not hinder it. Energy security is national security, and a global energy dominant America is a safer world. Biden must restart the Keystone XL pipeline now.”

A spokesperson for Montana’s other U.S. senator, Jon Tester (D-Montana), said, “Senator Tester was Montana’s leading champion for the Keystone Pipeline for more than a decade, and he was bitterly disappointed when the project was canceled. Senator Tester will continue to work aggressively to support responsible natural resource development that will create good-paying Montana jobs, secure our energy independence, and defend our national security.”

This push from Daines comes as oil prices jumped to $100 a barrel this week, as tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine.

Which brings us to the latest, highly politicized "thinking" on the Left regarding the prolonged and by now thoroughly tiresome Covid hoax. Via the power of the media, a standard coronavirus (akin to the flu) with a 99 percent survival rate, and which claimed the majority of its victims from the ranks of the elderly and the morbidly obese, was transformed into the Black Death, and unleashed an army of meddlesome, fearful Karens upon the nation. Now that the transparent falsity of the claims the government made for the virus and for the efficacy of the vaccines is beginning to sink in, suddenly the "science" is not so settled after all, and maybe it's time we—you guessed it—declared victory and pulled out.

These are addressed to a man who just two months ago gleefully threatened a winter of "severe illness and death" on the unvaccinated. Instead, predictably, now that Heisenberg has left the building Covid has essentially vanished. But for the past two years, we had the luxury of obsessing about a passing illness that posed almost no danger to most of us, but did hand the government the tools to lock us down, create health passports, restrict the free movement of peoples, and abrogate the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.

And whaddya know? No more mask mandates on Capitol Hill for Brandon's big State of the Union speech tomorrow night!

The US Capitol's attending physician said Sunday that masks will be optional on Capitol Hill starting Monday, just a day before President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union address in the House chamber. Citing new guidance from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Brian P. Monahan said in a memo that "individuals may choose to mask at any time, but it is no longer a requirement."

"New guidance." Thanks, but Real Americans have had just about enough of governmental "guidance." A bright shining lie, as I wrote in these pages not long ago. You know they're just itching to do it again, but we need to make one thing perfectly clear: no more "mandates," ever.

Even Saturday Night Live is making fun of them. So you know this prank is running out of steam.

"There is a great deal of ruin in a nation," observed Adam Smith in the 18th century. But how much ruin, exactly? Russia is testing that proposition now, and the United States under Biden is not far behind. Events, dear boy, events.