Gleanings & Observations

Border guards reported 200,000 encounters with migrants on our southern border in July. The total number of Afghan allies who will gain entry to the U.S. is estimated at only 60,000, about one-third  of southern border encounters in the single month of July.

Republican critics of the administration voted against $1.5 billion to help the Afghans resettlement but are criticizing Biden for not bringing in more. Democrats hope the obloquy heaped on them for the waves crossing the southern border will not be repeated “particularly because of the different nature of the two groups.” They did not list the differences, although one is that the Afghans are being vaccinated and many of the illegal border-crossers are not.

Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow announced that the managers of its massive endowment fund will continue to “reduce its exposure to fossil fuels”.

Arizona state treasurer Kimberly Yee announced that the state is divesting all investments in Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, pursuant to a state law that prohibits Arizona from investing in businesses that participate in boycotts of Israel.

Different deployments of financial muscle reflecting different concerns.

The New York Times reports that the Taliban have imposed complete censorship on all media, closed most girls’ schools, insisted that women wear burqas at demonstrations organized to show support for the Muslim attackers on the anniversary of 9/11, and formed a government that excludes women and ethnic groups.

Senior U.S. diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis called for the   unfreezing of Taliban assets by the U.S. and other countries, “giving the Taliban a chance to demonstrate flexibility and a will to do things differently this time, most notably from human rights, gender, and counterterrorism perspective.” The UN has rounded up $1 billion in aid following Taliban promises. “We are committed to all rights of women, rights of minorities and principles of freedom of expression.” In writing. All OK then.

The triumph of hope over experience.

The house for which Al Capone paid $40,000 in 1928, and in which he died, is for sale for $16.9 million in its current condition reports the NYT.

Assuming that, if alive, the crime king would pay capital gains taxes at the rates being proposed by House Democrats – failure to do so in his time made him a rent-free guest of the federal government – he would write a check for well over $4 million, leaving him (call it) $13 million to invest in his various enterprises, none of which would have added to recorded GDP.

Democratic progressives, who might have defunded machine-gun-toting FBI cop Eliot Ness to free funds for use by social workers who would persuade Capone of the error of his ways, surely would have had as their first priority correcting the defects in American law by raising the capital gains tax or the wealth tax they hope to levy.

In an effort to end the war in Yemen between Iran-backed Houthis and Saudi Arabia, the Biden administration cut off arm sales to our ally, Saudi Arabia. And urged the Houthis to come to a UN negotiating table.

Houthi attacks followed, which Secretary of State Blinken called “unacceptable… we again call on the Houthis to uphold a ceasefire and engage in negotiations under UN auspices.” More attacks, some 240 in all reports the WSJ. Houthis now “must” negotiate says Blinken.

Or face the threat of another press release of the sort that has cowed the Taliban.

Top scientists at the FDA have turned thumbs-down on booster shots for most Americans. It concedes that the waning efficacy of the original shots will expose them to becoming sick, but not very. More important, the decision pleases the WHO, which says equity requires the vaccines be used to protect people worldwide rather than to protect Americans from contracting the Delta variant.

America has already donated 100 million doses to 60 countries.

FDA scientists receive their salaries from American taxpayers, who provide it and the CDC with annual budgets totaling more than $20 billion and who financed the research that produced the vaccines in record time.