On Tuesday, an American, a paragon of virtue, a man who has dedicated his life to public service, a man of unimpeachable status, a man the US citizenry adore and are proud to have represent them on the international stage, a man of whom no evil is ever spoken on Twitter, flew in for a visit to the island of Ireland.
I speak of course of Hunter Biden*. The footage of UK PM Rishi Sunak shaking his hand does actually exist. In my first trawl through the videos of the Bidens’ arrival, I thought the director switched feeds at an inopportune moment. But the moment is there after all. Sunak grins, or maybe winces, and then sets his jaw firmly to do his duty. He was apparently not elbowed out of the way moments earlier by Biden Senior so that the latter could sniff a woman’s hair – a Newsweek fact check confirms it.
But I did not actually want to talk about the initial arrival of our American friends. I wanted to draw attention to the several others. This was spurred because on Friday I happened across a headline notifying me that President Biden had arrived in County Mayo. In the accompanying photograph, Biden is shown stepping off an aircraft. H’mm, I thought. But he already arrived on Tuesday.
Just how many flights has our noble guest taken?
Where is Joe Biden now?
So asked the Irish Mirror. It was an excellent question.
Joe Biden arrived on Tuesday night, touching down at Belfast International Airport in Air Force One shortly after 9.20pm. He was greeted off the tarmac [sic] by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
He was then whisked away in a convoy of dozens of blacked-out cars, many of them bulletproof, to the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast.
It is understood the US Secret Service booked out two full floors at one of the city’s largest hotels for Mr Biden’s entourage, which, when press are included, comes close to 1,000.
From Belfast it was a flight to Dublin, and from there onto the helicopter Marine One for a flight to Louth. Then it was back to Dublin. Then back on Air Force One for a flight to Knock. And then, probably, we assume, straight home back over the Atlantic from there.
As well as The Beast – and his son – Biden brought his emergency backup plane.
It has the call sign GRIM99, and is supposed to be able to survive a nuclear war. Of course, we all have to come down to earth sometimes, even with in-air refuelling.
According to reports, the presidential entourage flies in a couple of 747s (including Air Force One). There are 2-3 C17s to transport the cavalcade, including a couple of copies of The Beast, which comes complete with “a fridge full of blood” – not because the President has any need of it generally – he has been seen in daylight – but in case of emergency. The press and assorted hangers-on go commercial.
The entire operation has quite a “carbon footprint” if one cares about such things. Personally, I don’t. Neither does President Biden.
[THE SOUND OF A NEEDLE BEING DRAGGED OFF A RECORD]
In fact, as most people know, Joe Biden has placed great emphasis on his climate credentials. As soon as the adults were back in charge after what we might call for various reasons the “interregnum”, climate was back on the top of the agenda. I don’t need to list Biden’s achievements in this regard. All I will do here is extract some remarks from Biden’s speech at the former Brayton Point power station last summer.
[BIDEN PRAISES SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE]
BIDEN: And your great former members and one of my dearest friends, John Kerry, who’s doing a great job leading our international — (applause) — Special Presidential Envoy on Climate, traveling the world and talking with an awful lot of people he’s talking into moving more than they’ve been doing.
[SOMETHING ABOUT SHELDON WHITEHOUSE]
BIDEN: I come here today with a message: As President, I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger. And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger.
The health of our citizens and our communities is literally at stake.
The U.N.’s leading international climate scientists called the latest climate report nothing less than, quote, “code red for humanity.” Let me say it again: “Code red for humanity.” It’s not a group of political official — elected officials. These are the scientists.
We see here in America, in red states and blue states, extreme weather events costing $145 billion — $145 billion in damages just last year — more powerful and destructive hurricanes and tornadoes.
I’ve flown over the vast majority of them out west and down in Louisiana, all across America. It’s a — it’s amazing to see.
Ravaging hundred-year-old droughts occurring every few years instead of every hundred years. Wildfires out west that have burned and destroyed more than 5 million acres — everything in its path. That is more land than the entire state of New Jersey, from New York down to the tip of Delaware. It’s amazing. Five million acres.
Our national security is at stake as well. Extreme weather is already damaging our military installations here in the States. And our economy is at risk. So we have to act.
Climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world.
So my message today is this: Since Congress is not acting as it should — and these guys here are, but we’re not getting many Republican votes — this is an emergency. An emergency. And I will — I will look at it that way.
I said last week and I’ll say it again loud and clear: As President, I’ll use my executive powers to combat climate — the climate crisis in the absence of congressional actions, notwithstanding their incredible action. (Applause.)
[VARIOUS RAMBLING COMMENTS ABOUT CONVERTING BRAYTON POINT TO A HUB FOR WIND POWER OR SOMETHING]
BIDEN: And, folks, with American leadership back on climate, I was able to bring more world leaders together than — we got 100 nations together to agree that — at the major conference in Glasgow, England — I mean, Scotland — to change the emissions policies we had.
And when it comes to fighting the climate change — climate change, I will not take no for an answer. I will do everything in my power to clean our air and water, protect our people’s health, to win the clean energy future.
This, again, sounds like hyperbole, but our children and grandchildren are counting on us. Not a joke. Not a joke.
If we don’t keep it below 1.5 degrees Centigrade, we lose it all. We don’t get to turn it around. And the world is counting on us. And this is the United States of America. When we put our hearts and minds to it, there’s not a single thing beyond our capacity — I mean it — when we act together.
And of all things we should be acting together on, it’s climate. It’s climate.
[AFTER A BIT MORE WAFFLING, THE SPEECH DRIBBLES TO A HALT AND THE CROWD, AFTER GLANCING NERVOUSLY AT ONE ANOTHER FOR A FEW MOMENTS, GOES WILD WITH ENTHUSIASTIC APPLAUSE.]
You can read the entirety of the speech here if what you have read so far has inspired you to wonder what other pearls of wisdom the leader of the free world dispensed last July. Personally I find myself giggling when I read it. But perhaps that’s because I need another pill. There’s one for every hour.
*Biden has been accused of improperly disposing of electronic equipment. However, several former intelligence officials pointed out that the story – that Hunter had abandoned a laptop somewhere in Delaware – had all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation. I wonder if they meant hallmarks. Anyway, Biden has said he expects to be cleared of all wrongdoing. Seems to be a safe bet.
Screenshot from this youtube clip.
Jit, it always comes back to this, doesn’t it? I’ll take them seriously when they demonstrate that they – personally, by their actions, not their words – take the so-called climate crisis seriously. As of now, it’s obvious that they don’t.
Talking of actions, Biden has just approved an enormous LNG export project in Alaska only a week or two after giving the go-ahead to the Willow oil field development, also in Alaska.
This was the best bit.
And you know there’s no greater Hunter Biden fan than me.
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A thought occurs. We in the UK apparently have to adopt net zero, even though our doing so will make no difference to the climate, because we have to lead by example. However, the “leader of the free world”, doesn’t have to lead by example, and in fact does quite the opposite (though admittedly if he stopped flying all over the place with a massive entourage, that wouldn’t make any difference to the climate either).
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The simplest aphorisms are often the best.
He doesn’t believe in leading by example and neither should we.
Thanks Mr Hodgson.
Hang on, aren’t we told by various folks that, as a result of Brexit, we are a global laughing stock and have lost all influence in the world? If so, will anyone be influenced by our actions?