In his excellent daily newsletter, Mark Halperin today posits that the purpose of Joe Biden’s UFO speech is to distract from speculation around his physical exam at Walter Reed Hospital.

Hmm. Which story is the better distraction here? Is it safer for Biden to face questions about American fighter jets shooting down mystery objects than questions about his suspect fitness? It’s arguable. But does either topic qualify as a distraction?  They’re both matters of the gravest importance to the security of the United States. Which is why we’re going to be told that there’s nothing to worry about in either case.

As Halperin writes, Biden “is scheduled for a physical on Thursday that, let’s be honest, will almost certainly not yield an honest account in the memo released by his doctor.” And the current buzzword on the objects that caused American jet fighters for the first time in history to fire live rounds over our skies is “benign.” “The intelligence community is considering as a leading explanation,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby, “that these could just be balloons tied to some commercial or benign purpose.”

We’re probably never going to find out much about either Biden’s health or the shot-down aircraft. As a country, we’ve lost the ability to get to the bottom of things.

Sometimes it’s because we don’t want to. The memo on Biden’s health won’t be honest because there’s a network of Democratic operatives and partisan media committed to being dishonest about the obvious fact that Joe Biden isn’t operating at peak form. There’s evidence of this nearly every day. Yesterday, Biden referred to Wes Moore, Maryland’s first black governor, as a “boy.” If you think he said this because he’s racist, you’re missing the point. He said it because he’s not sharp enough to realize that it makes him sound racist. Today isn’t over yet, but with Biden giving a public address, there’s sure to be something.

Sometimes we don’t get to the bottom of things because we don’t have a clue what we’re doing. Here’s the New York Times on the latest developments regarding the downed post-balloon objects: “Some senior officials said that based on preliminary work, they believe the three objects were likely designed for scientific or weather research and had ceased to function, becoming akin to airborne trash.”

Preliminary work? What preliminary work? Nothing has been recovered yet. And no one has come forward to say, “Hey, you shot down my dilapidated UFO.” There’s no new information here. There’s only new spin. The preliminary work they’re talking about amounts to fighter pilots describing vaguely and confusingly the contour and size of the things they shot down. One reportedly seemed octagonal, another cylindrical. “I wouldn’t really call it a balloon … I don’t know what … I can see it outside with my eyes,” said one of the Lake Huron pilots. “Looks like something … there’s some kind of object that’s distended… it’s hard to tell, it’s pretty small.” Another pilot involved in the incident later said, “I’m gonna call it a balloon.” This isn’t intelligence analysis. It’s what we do when we ascribe meaning to the shapes of clouds.

The answers are at the bottom of Lake Huron and scattered over the northern coast of Alaska and the Yukon. And who knows if we’ll ever retrieve them.

This is how things have been functioning for a while. In many cases, bias and incompetence come together to leave us in the dark. Any word on who leaked Justice Alito’s draft opinion on Dobbs? Oh, that’s right, the Supreme Court gave up looking. How about the origins of Covid? In May 2021, Biden ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the matter and bring back their findings in 90 days. Josh Rogin reported on those findings in the Washington Post later that year: “The summary says, four intelligence community elements believe ‘with low confidence,’ the outbreak occurred naturally, up from two in May. One agency still maintains, ‘with moderate confidence,’ that a lab accident was to blame. We don’t know which agency arrived at this assessment — the FBI, perhaps, or maybe the Defense Intelligence Agency? It doesn’t matter. The bottom line is, our spies have no idea what happened in Wuhan.” And the journal Nature recently reported that the World Health Organization is no longer on the case. Wouldn’t want to upset the Chinese.

When you don’t have answers, everything is reduced to a mere distraction—from national-security scares to the president’s health—because when you don’t have answers, there’s nothing to act on, no way to make sense of events. So we move on to the next bottomless story.

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