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Biden’s ‘crisis’ crisis and other commentary

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Biden’s ‘crisis’ crisis and other commentary

From the right: Biden’s ‘Crisis’ Crisis

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claims President Biden didn’t mean to describe the border crisis as “a crisis,” yet that’s precisely the term he used, notes the Washington Examiner’s Byron York. This shows how “determined the Biden White House is to deny that there is a crisis on the border.” And it’s clear why: It’s “a crisis of Biden’s own making.” This White House “has no problem at all talking about crises, as long as it can blame them on other people.” Indeed, Psaki & Co. use the word “virtually every day”: the “climate crisis,” the gun-violence “crisis,” the “child-care crisis created by COVID-19,” the “maternal-health crisis.” They’re “happy to talk about crises — as long as they haven’t been created by Team Biden itself.”

Pandemic journal: The Feds’ Foolish J&J Pause

The feds’ Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause “will cost American lives,” fumes Marc A. Thiessen at The Washington Post, but “their deaths do not factor” into bureaucrats’ calculations “because no one will ever know the names of those who perished” from being denied the vaccine — while health officials “are held to account” for those who die from it. “These perverse incentives are costing lives.” Brown University’s Ashish Jha calculates “each unvaccinated day the risk of death is 1 in 100,000. The risk of death after taking the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by contrast, is 1 in 7.4 million.” Because COVID can cause blood clots, even the possible J&J side effect of causing clots doesn’t hurt your chances. But politicians only jump on bureaucrats for wrongly approving drugs, not delaying needed ones.

From the left: Listen to the Workers

Workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Ala., warehouse “voted by a margin of more than two to one not to join a union,” and pro-labor groups “should be listening to the message,” advises ex-Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at Bloomberg Opinion. “Workers are better positioned to assess their own employment situation than elected officials in Washington, or anyone else for that matter,” and those at Amazon failed to see the value of paying union dues. Instead of coming up with “a more attractive deal,” unions have simply “rejected the result and attacked the process.” A competition between management and unions would benefit Amazon employees, but for now, the company seems to be offering them “what the union could not: a better deal.”

Social-media watch: Twitter’s Silence on LeBron

At the Daily Caller, Mary Margaret Olohan reports that Twitter won’t say whether LA Lakers star LeBron James violated its terms of service by tweeting “YOU’RE NEXT” along with a picture of the cop who shot Ma’Khia Bryant as she tried to stab another teen. Twitter forbids users from targeting and harassing people or inciting others to do so, but the company didn’t respond to a query before James deleted the tweet, then later claimed its “teams do not evaluate Tweets that have been removed.” Meanwhile, Twitter itself “sparked a backlash through its description of Bryant’s death” on Wednesday “that made no mention of the fact that Bryant had a knife and was attempting to stab another black woman.”

Libertarian: Enough Hygiene Theater

The 9/11 attacks gave us security theater, “and now we have pandemic hygiene theater to give uninformed people a false sense of control and sustain their fear,” scoffs Veronique de Rugy at Reason. Consider the endless wiping down of surfaces at restaurants and other public businesses, a relic of our early misunderstanding of the virus. Or temperature checks of schoolchildren, though Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted last August “checks ‘are notoriously inaccurate’ ” and “up to 40 percent of Americans with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.” Some of these behaviors may merely seem silly. “But hygiene theater has huge costs and wastes precious resources. It also keeps Americans unjustifiably scared,” while pushing the delusion of “a world free of risks.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Opinion

Jeff Bezos exposed as the king of fake news

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Jeff Bezos exposed as the king of fake news

Wow: It now looks like Jeff Bezos and his damage-control team just made up not one but two whole stories to deflect coverage of his affair with a then-married woman: one, a claim that the Saudis had hacked his phone to get telling texts and revealing photos; two, charges that the National Enquirer tried to blackmail him into halting his investigation into how the shots had leaked.

Eventually, the world learned that the guy who sold the info to the Enquirer was Bezos’ girlfriend’s brother, a Hollywood press agent — no hacking required and nothing to make the Enquirer fear any “investigation.”

Brad Stone’s new book, “Amazon Unbound,” excerpted for Bloomberg News, details how a consulting firm helped the Amazon CEO assemble his false counterstory, which relied on the suggestion that he’d been targeted because his Washington Post was so critical of both the Saudi regime and then-President Donald Trump — and allowed him to reveal the affair himself while pretending he was being heroic by refusing to be blackmailed.

Pretty masterful while it lasted . . . except that the owner of The Washington Post (“Democracy dies in darkness” is its self-righteous Bezos-era motto) now stands exposed as a cynical purveyor of fake news who even tried to frame a media outlet to protect his own image.

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Opinion

No ethics needed for President Biden’s best buddies

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No ethics needed for President Biden’s best buddies

Packing his administration with Big Labor operatives matters more to President Joe Biden than his own much-ballyhooed ethics rules, and he’s not even embarrassed about it.

With great fanfare his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order mandating that all his appointees “in every executive agency” sign an “ethics pledge” that “contractually committed” them to refraining from participating “in any particular matter on which” they lobbied, along with “the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls,” for two years. They also couldn’t “seek or accept employment with any executive agency with respect to which” they lobbied for two years.

The media touted this “revolving-door ban” as far tougher than the Obama and Trump rules. Oops: It turns out Team Biden is handing out truckloads of ethics waivers to labor-union veterans.

The latest winner is Celeste Drake, Biden’s pick to head his new Made in America Office. Ethics restrictions that would have stopped her from communicating with previous employers the AFL-CIO and the Directors Guild of America won’t apply, Axios reports. “The successful accomplishment” of her “mission” requires “extensive, open and collaborative communications” between her office and Big Labor, a White House lawyer claimed in a disclosure memo.

In March, Team Biden waived rules for the Office of Personnel Management’s new director of intergovernmental affairs, Alethea Predeoux. Her work as the head lobbyist for the American Federation of Government Employees should have precluded her from any job at OPM.

Biden has given union hacks senior posts in the departments of Labor, Homeland Security and Education, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (Not to mention letting the American Federation of Teachers dictate language to the Centers for Disease Control for its guidelines on school reopenings.)

And of course his larger agenda is one long union giveaway, from overturning state right-to-work laws to dumping trillions subsidizing and creating new unionized jobs.

Responding to the Axios report, a White House flack declared, “President Biden has stood strong for unions throughout his career, and he’s proud to have leading labor voices in the White House and throughout his administration helping to enact that agenda.”

In other words, ethics rules don’t apply to his besties.

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Opinion

I lived through NYC’s bad old days and know Eric Adams can get it back on track

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I lived through NYC's bad old days and know Eric Adams can get it back on track

Most of the mayoral candidates running in New York’s June 22 Democratic primary don’t seem to notice: The city is slipping back to the bad old days of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is the exception.

I was New York City Council president at that time; then-NYPD Sgt. Eric Adams used to come into my office to talk to me about the city, safety and crime, seniors and New York’s economic problems.

New York City was facing widespread lawlessness. Crime statistics were shooting up. Folks were fleeing the city. Seniors did not feel safe. Houses and apartments sold at bargain rates. Black and brown communities were suffering. The economy was down. The problems were endless.

Eric and I talked about crime, about increasing the police force and about the economy. He was worried about the city and its future.

Here we are again, 30 years later. And the choice we make for mayor will determine the future of New York.

Back then, Eric was smart, complicated and always thinking outside the box. He still is. Which is why I am going to vote for him: Eric Adams is the candidate who is going to move New York City ahead on the right trajectory. 

We cannot allow New York to once again become a city saturated with fear, insists Adams. At the same time, he notes, we face “a crisis of confidence in our police.” I agree: We can’t be asked to stand against the police; we must be for a better police force.

Some of the Democratic candidates talk about reducing the force. Yet Adams knows that if you don’t have a strong police force and a strong presence in every community, you’re not going to have a safe, strong city where jobs can come back for everyone.

He envisions a police force that connects precincts to the people and empowers communities to have a say in their precinct leadership. He’ll require the NYPD to keep lists of cops with records of complaints and violent incidents.

Meanwhile, the recent surge in shootings is frightening our seniors, our middle class and black and brown communities. Tourists don’t feel safe. Whether the shooting is in Times Square, Brownsville or Fordham Plaza, it must stop. Seniors are afraid to walk the streets in the middle of the day. Stray bullets are killing people.

Adams has the knowledge and the courage to staunch this spike. He believes New York’s economy will grow when the streets are safe. Small businesses can’t make a comeback until the streets are filled with employees.

Last Sunday, my good friend John Catsimatidis interviewed the beep on his radio show. Adams stressed that he’s concerned wealthy New Yorkers are leaving the city and believes a cleaner, safer New York would help keep them here.

“I don’t join the chorus that tells the 65,000 New Yorkers that are paying 51 percent of our income tax and are only 2 percent of our income-tax filers, I don’t join in the chorus that states, ‘So what if they leave?’” explained Adams. “I am just the opposite; I join the chorus that tells them, ‘We need you here.’”

Again, I fully agree. New York City is now in fierce competition with Florida and Texas to keep our financial leaders in the Big Apple. Florida’s cities are relatively new and clean — and they’re courting New Yorkers aggressively.

COVID-19 has driven many of our residents south, in search of more open space and sunshine. We’re in a really tough fight to keep these leaders of our economy here in New York, when other cities are offering them attractive alternatives and Zoom makes it possible to work from home.

I frequently run into folks who remember my investigation of nursing-home abuses and my advocacy for seniors and senior-citizen centers. When we talk about the mayor’s race they say, “We need a tough mayor who is going to stop crime and get the city on the right track.” They’re right. And that’s precisely why I’m endorsing Eric Adams for mayor.

Andrew Stein (D) was president of the New York City Council from 1986 to 1994.

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