Another Misnamed Bill

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill. Just as the Covid Relief Bill was not about Covid relief, the infrastructure bill is not about infrastructure.

The article quotes The Wall Street Journals description of the bill:

Most Americans think of infrastructure as roads, highways, bridges and other traditional public works. That’s why it polls well, and every President has supported more of it.

Yet this accounts for a mere $115 billion of Mr. Biden’s proposal. There’s another $25 billion for airports and $17 billion for ports and waterways that also fill a public purpose. The rest of the $620 billion earmarked for “transportation” are subsidies for green energy and payouts to unions for the jobs his climate regulation will kill. This is really a plan to build government back bigger than it has ever been.

The magnitude of spending is something to behold. There’s $85 billion for mass transit plus $80 billion for Amtrak, which is on top of the $70 billion that Congress appropriated for mass transit in three Covid spending bills. The money is essentially a bailout for unions, whose generous pay and benefits have captured funds meant for subway and rail repairs. …

Note the political irony of all this. Mr. Biden says “public investment” has fallen as a share of the economy since the 1960s, and he has a point. But the main reason is that government spending on social welfare, entitlements and public unions have squeezed out public works. Now he’s redefining social welfare as public works to drive more social-welfare spending, which will further crowd out money for public works and government R&D to compete against China.

Essentially the bill is a place to park all of the legislation the Democrats want passed, but know won’t pass if correctly named.

The article concludes:

That’s not an accident. That’s by design. Rather than stick to real infrastructure needs, Biden wants to use this bait-and-switch to aggrandize power within the Beltway and make everyone more dependent on grants from lawmakers. It is precisely on the same curve as Biden’s entire political career, including his record on honesty and transparency.

Never read the titles of bills–they never tell the truth!

The Control Tightens

Hot Air posted an article today about something called the “Excelsior Pass” which will be making its debut in New York shortly.

The article reports:

We were warned at the beginning of the month that New York State was working to implement a system of immunity passports for people who wish to reenter most “normal” aspects of society. The state had clearly made up its mind already and had people working on the project because the “Excelsior Pass” is already in production and will be required for many social activities starting on April 2nd. Large venues in New York City are already using it, but most other “arts, entertainment and event venues” will require the pass shortly thereafter. People who have either been vaccinated or have received a negative COVID test in the previous few days will be able to obtain the pass, which can either be printed out on paper or displayed via an app on your phone. (New York Post)

The article also notes:

The first thing to point out here is that New York State has thus far vaccinated roughly half of its eligible citizens. That means that the other half of the state will now be shut out of nearly all nonessential activities unless they can find someplace to be tested and “verified” every few days. And if you think this only applies to things like basketball games, guess again. The state has specifically listed wedding receptions as events that will require a scanner at the door and an immunity passport to gain entrance. As of this morning, CNN is saying that 14.7 percent of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated at this point, so the disparity is vastly greater if a plan like this shows up at the national level.

While it won’t be part of the initial rollout, large retail chains and even grocery stores are reportedly studying how this system could be put into effect at their establishments. You can’t be barred from shopping for food and other essentials entirely, but some stores are considering setting up separate entrances for those with and without the passport or having some shopping hours restricted for only those who pass muster.

I’ve gone through the Post’s “explainer” of how the system operates and I don’t see any exceptions listed for people with comorbidities or other underlying conditions that could lead their doctors to recommend that they avoid the vaccine. So if you either choose not to be vaccinated or are medically disqualified from receiving it, at least in New York, you will officially be a second-class citizen on April 2nd. Without the pass, you will be part of a new class of pariahs who are barred from mingling with the new, upper class of people with immunity, or those who purchase a few days of “normalcy” by showing a negative COVID test result.

How long before this insanity begins in every state?

You Can Fool Some Of The People Some Of The Time…

Hot Air reported yesterday that recent polls show that H.R. 1 is losing support among Americans.

The article reports:

Both House and Senate Democrats seemed to enjoy talking about how “popular” the COVID relief bill was every time a camera was pointed at them. (“Free money” seems to have that effect on people.) If they are so concerned about popularity polls when it comes to legislation, I wonder what they’re going to be saying about HR1, the “For the People Act.” Earlier this week we looked at one brutal poll showing that large majorities of people are opposed to some of the central provisions of the bill, including restrictions on voter ID laws and the continued expansion of mail-in ballots. Close on the heels of that survey, we now have a second poll from Scott Rasmussen and FreedomWorks on the same subject and the news for the Democrats isn’t getting any better. It seems that the more people learn about HR1, the less they like it. And this isn’t indicative of any partisan divide. Even Democratic voters are giving these proposals a major thumbs down. (Washington Examiner)

…In a new FreedomWorks/Scott Rasmussen survey provided exclusively to Secrets, 85% of registered voters said it is common sense to require photo identification to get a ballot. A previous survey from the unaffiliated Rasmussen Reports found 75% back photo ID.

But even more, 72% told FreedomWorks that photo ID laws boost their confidence in elections, and 52% believe it would reduce fraud.

The article concludes:

The widespread use of mail-in ballots and how they are handled also has large portions of the populace feeling uneasy. HR1 would require states to accept mail-in ballots up to ten days after the election. But 73% of the people surveyed said they believe that ballots should arrive by election day. As far as the HR1 requirement to mail out a ballot to every voter, 63% panned that idea, saying ballots should only be mailed to those who request them.

After all of the chaos surrounding the 2020 election and the mountains of mail-in ballots that election officials in most states were clearly not ready to deal with, is anyone surprised? Nobody wants to go through that again, but the Democrats are working overtime to make that a permanent fixture of American elections. In states that don’t put in any serious effort to clean up their voter rolls, those mass mailings led to any number of problems. That’s probably why a majority of respondents (57%) said they would “strongly favor” a law requiring states’ voter rolls to be regularly cleaned up.

Perhaps the most disturbing figure to come out of this poll is the one showing that 43% of the people surveyed had never even heard of HR1. The Democrats are trying to ram this through and the media is totally failing to educate voters on the specifics inside the bill. And if they manage to pass it, it will require the GOP to move mountains to undo the damage if and when they come back into power.

H.R.1 is not a stop toward election integrity and needs to fail miserably when voted on in the Senate. The “For the People Act of 2021” could be better described as the federalize election fraud act of 2021.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Yesterday The American Thinker reported that the Biden administration has instituted a program that provides free free flights for illegal immigrants to their destination of choice. Paid for by the American taxpayer of course.

The article quotes a report from Hot Air:

Since January, according to the Washington Post, “the number of [illegal immigrant] minors in federal custody has more than tripled to 7,000” and that Health and Human Services has instructed ICE to “purchase airplane tickets and cover other transportation costs for minors whose relatives are already living in the United States.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is “getting ICE to help transport migrants northward so they can be processed and released.”

So what is this about? If Americans don’t see the number of illegal aliens massing at the border, they may not realize the enormity of the problem we are currently having with border security because of changes to the law that the Biden administration has made.

The article at Hot Air also notes:

I hope Mayorkas is at least negotiating a discount price on those airline tickets. The Trump administration purchased discounted tickets when it deported illegal migrants back to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The idea is to move them away from the border and further north, into other states for processing and release. Biden is moving a catch and release mandate outside of Texas as border towns are complaining of increased burdens of accomodating increasing numbers of illegal migrants, often just released into towns and cities without the ability to take care of themselves

Mexicans and Central Americans know that Joe Biden is not serious about border security. He is bending over backward to promote open borders. Human trafficking will flourish and coyotes will reap the financial rewards of exploiting desperate people. They’ve been told that unaccompanied minors will be taken care of and families often send them ahead, expecting them not to be turned away. By releasing them further into the country, just to ease crowding at the border, the possibility that they go to people with less than good intentions increases.

The current Biden administration policy on border security poses a risk to Americans. Unfortunately, it make take an act of terrorism or a gang attack on Americans for voters to realize that.

 

Pettiness On Parade

The cancel culture’s attack on President Trump has soared to new heights since he left office. We have reached the point where in some circles it is probably a crime to mention his name in any positive way. This is not only ridiculous, it is not helpful in building unity in America. Half of the country (at least) voted for President Trump. Those in the media might do well to remember that.

Hot Air posted an article today that illustrates how ridiculous things have gotten.

The article reports:

We learned last month that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was cooking up a plan to cancel all of the Trump organization’s contracts with the city. Those contracts involve the operation of a golf course, the carousel in Central Park and two skating rinks. The contracts were set to expire in April anyway, but apparently, the city’s showboating mayor couldn’t wait that long. It was just announced that de Blasio wants the Trump-owned operations shut down and moved out by February 26. (In one week.) That means that operations will end tomorrow to give them time to pack everything up. So any children showing up to go skating this week will find the rinks closed for business.

First we keep the children out of school, then we deny them outdoor recreation, and then we wonder why they might be depressed.

The article continues:

This pathetic move by de Blasio is being done for partisan political reasons and he’s not even trying to hide it. One of his spokespeople said three weeks ago that “Trump has been impeached from operating the ice rink.”

Like a bad dart player who always misses the bullseye, Bill de Blasio has misfired yet again and hit the wrong target. He’s not doing all that much “punishing” of the Trump organization because they were going to be out in less than ten weeks anyway. But in his haste to generate another headline as a hero of the #RESISTANCE, the Mayor shut down the skating operations without having anyone lined up to take over and run them. So the rest of the skating season in Central Park has been “canceled” rather than Donald Trump.

As we discussed here when Bill’s plan was originally announced, Hizzoner has probably set the city up for some legal and financial problems while simultaneously icing out anyone who enjoys skating. Eric Trump had already made it clear that he would be going to court if de Blasio made good on his threat and terminated the contract early.

The Mayor claims that the contracts contain a provision allowing for early cancellation if the contractor is found to be engaged in “illegal activity.” The entire basis for his claim of illegal activity is the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill. But Donald Trump hasn’t been convicted of any crime related to that, nor even charged in a court of law. (Impeachment doesn’t count and he wasn’t convicted in that “court” either.) On top of that, Trump doesn’t personally operate the division of the company that runs the skating rinks. His son does.

The article notes that if Eric Trump sues the city and wins, the taxpayers will be on the hook for the damages. New York City has paid a high price for electing Mayor de Blasio, and it appears that the price is about to go higher.

 

Did He Mean To Say That?

Hot Air posted an article today about a recent comment made by President Biden.

The article notes:

By this point in the day, surely somebody on Joe Biden’s staff is suggesting that maybe town halls and public speaking appearances really aren’t such a great idea for the new President. The list of zingers from last night’s CNN town hall just keeps on coming, with none of them painting Uncle Joe in a very good light. During this exchange with Anderson Cooper, Biden is attempting to explain some of the problems being encountered while trying to get everyone vaccinated. One issue is the online registration process to request a vaccine. There have clearly been problems with some of the registration systems, but what prompted Biden to suddenly veer off the script and say that minorities, in particular, can’t figure the system out is a total mystery.

I realize that there is still a great deal of poverty in America. However, I also believe that the definition of poverty has changed over the years. At least 90 percent of Americans under the age of 40 are very conversant with electronics, the Internet, working their way through a website, playing video games, etc. Aside from the racial connotations of this ignorant remark, I think the remark also indicates a lack of knowledge of American culture and society. Yes, there are senior citizens (not only in poverty areas) who struggle with the Internet, but that is not a racial issue. Unfortunately, President Biden framed the issue in racial terms. That was not necessary.

The article continues:

The other portion is, a lot of people don’t know how to register. Not everybody in the community, in the Hispanic and African-American community particularly, and in rural areas that are distant or inner-city districts, know how to use, know how to get online to determine how to get in line for that COVID vaccination at the Walgreens.”

Do we really need to say it for the umpteenth time here today? Can you imagine the response if Donald Trump had ever said that? Or any Republican, really. The cries of racism would be echoing from the ceilings of every newsroom in the country. Aren’t statements like that pretty much defined as being racist or did all of those rules go out the window on January 20th?

Perhaps even more amazing was the way Anderson Cooper was willing to stand there on stage, nodding his head and acting as if this was the most normal thing in the world. I’ve had CNN on (muted) all morning while working and unless I missed it, none of their talking heads have brought this up for criticism or discussion. I think we’ve gone to the other side of the rainbow, Dorthy.

For a President who claims to be focused on the ‘systematic racism in America’, this was truly an ignorant remark.

False Claims To Calm The Masses

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about some recent claims made by John Kerry, President Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate. For the moment I am going to overlook the irony of a special presidential envoy for climate with a private jet and a yacht and focus on recent statements John Kerry made.

The article notes that The Washington Post gave John Kerry two Pinocchios for his recent claims about the new jobs that will be created in the solar industry.

The Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler noted some of John Kerry’s recent remarks:

“You look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest-growing job in the United States before covid was solar power technician. The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice. And similarly, you have the second-fastest-growing job pre-covid was wind turbine technician.”

— John F. Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, in remarks at the White House, Jan. 27, 2021

“Before covid, the fastest-growing job in the United States of America was solar panel technician, and the second-fastest-growing job was wind turbine technician.”

— Kerry, remarks on MSNBC, Jan. 28

However, Mr. Kessler points out that the numbers just don’t add up:

Wind turbine jobs are projected to go up by 4,300, from 7,000 to 11,300 in 10 years. The solar installer jobs are projected to go up 6,100, from 12,000 to 18,100. That’s a total increase of just 10,400 jobs — leaving 40,000 coal workers still toiling in the mines.

…BLS has a convenient list of the 30 occupations with the most projected job growth. No. 1 is home health and personal-care aides — with a projected gain of nearly 1.2 million jobs. Nurse practitioners show up in 13th place. But wind and solar jobs don’t make the cut at all.

In fact, when we tried to find solar and wind on another BLS list — jobs ranked by projected annual openings through 2029 — we had to scroll past about 600 occupations before we landed on solar installers, with an average of 2,300 openings a year. Wind turbine jobs, with a projected average of 1,300 openings a year, was even further down the list.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

Obama, Kerry, and Biden had eight years to prove the assertion that massive government subsidies in renewable energy would pay off with “millions” of green-tech jobs.  Remind us again how many wind and solar installer jobs America currently has 12 years after the massive Porkulus bill?

The most significant lie here isn’t Kerry’s statistical claims. It’s that this administration cares one whit about energy-sector jobs while they take every step they can to destroy them without viable employment or energy options.

That’s where we are, folks!

Just Amazing

We heard a lot from Congressional Democrats that President Trump did not act fast enough to provide the coronavirus relief that was needed to save small businesses. That means that now that Democrats have control of all three branches of government, we can expect swift action, right? Well, not so fast.

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article with the following headline, “Wait, what happened to “no time to waste” on “immediate relief”? Dems to send Biden a COVID relief bill in … March.”

The article reports:

…The Biden administration has already sent its proposal to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Supposedly, that’s part of their ready on Day One agenda. Not that it had to be, since we just passed a trillion-dollar relief package less than four weeks ago. However, Democrats ever since have complained that it was insufficient, and those insufficiencies amounted to a crisis.

CNet followed up this morning by reading tea leaves in Schumer’s floor speech yesterday. What has become a “little clearer,” as CNet puts it, are Schumer’s priorities — and right now Donald Trump is Priority One:

Now that Joe Biden has been officially sworn in as US president, his framework for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package has taken on a new, official gravity. When could it pass, and when could the IRS send the third stimulus check, which Biden has proposed for up to $1,400 per qualified adult? The answers became a little clearer on Tuesday, after incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reaffirmed his agenda for the new Senate.

“Over the next several weeks, the Senate must accomplish three essential items: A second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The confirmation of President Biden’s cabinet and other key officials. And legislation to provide much-needed, almost desperately needed COVID relief,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. …

Right now, Biden’s stimulus proposal is just that — a framework. It will have to begin to transforming into a law, with all the legal language that can come under extraordinary scrutiny and debate. We know that Biden’s first 10 days in office will focus on a raft of executive actions. Biden can’t send stimulus checks by executive order.

According to a Jan. 19 newsletter from Punchbowl News, a Capitol Hill-based publication founded in January by former Politico journalists: “House Democrats now tell us they are aiming to pass Joe Biden’s massive Covid relief package by late February or early March, according to multiple sources involved in the effort.”

So it’s more important to impeach a President who is no longer in office than to provide relief for Americans dealing with the coronavirus. Way to go, Democrats. If 2022 is an honest election, many of you may be looking for jobs in 2023.

Ruining Education Even In Private Schools

In many areas of America, private schools are still doing in-person learning while public schools are on either mixed schedules or total remote learning. A few public schools are doing in-person learning, but they seem to be a minority. Unfortunately this will create a major divide in American society in five to ten years. Children that are learning remotely are failing at a much higher rate than those that are learning in person. There is also the issue of children that may not have access to the broadband they need for remote learning. The school shutdowns have done a major disservice to our children. Private schools have been there for some children to fill the gap, but not everyone can afford private school.

Meanwhile a private school in New York City has decided to make some changes that are not sitting well with some of the parents of the students. Today, Hot Air posted an article about The Dalton School, an expensive private academy on Manhattan’s posh Upper East Side.

The article reports:

The school counts many celebrities and other famous folks among its almuni, including Anderson Cooper and Christian Slater. Parents who manage to land their children in the college prep academy shell out more than $50K per year for the honor. But now they’re running into a bit of a problem. The school is experiencing what the New York Post describes as an “uproar” after a number of faculty members signed off on an antiracism manifesto” that includes a list of demands for the school to meet so they can combat systemic racism or whatever else they’re complaining about. And many of the parents aren’t having it.

The article includes the list of demands:

So what has everyone so up in arms? The list of “demands” from the teachers who signed the manifesto aren’t simply decrying what they perceive as raism. They’re looking to overturn the entire social order of the school. Some of the bullet points seem fairly reasonable, such as ensuring a more diverse hiring policy and expanding the curriculum to cover a more inclusive range of subjects. But some of the others are simply out of this world. Here are a few of the lowlights:

    • Hiring 12 full-time diversity officers, and multiple psychologists to support students “coping with race-based traumatic stress.”
    • Paying the student debt of black staffers upon hiring them.
    • Requiring courses that focus on “Black liberation” and “challenges to white supremacy.”
    • Abolishing high-level academic courses by 2023 if the performance of black students is not on par with non-blacks.
    • Donating 50 percent of all fundraising dollars to NYC public schools if Dalton is not representative of the city in terms of gender, race, socioeconomic background, and immigration status by 2025.

Hiring dozens of “diversity officers” and psychologists should drive up the tuition a good twenty percent or more. I wonder how well that will go over? But that’s hardly the worst of it.

There are a few things here that stand out. It seems a little unfair to pay the student debt of black staffers and not white staffers. If both groups are paid the same salary, why should one group get an extra benefit? Isn’t that racist? I particularly like the idea of abolishing high-level academic course if the performance of the black students is not up to the performance of the other students? Don’t people send their children to private school to take these advanced courses? Even public schools have not abolished advanced placement courses, although I should be careful not to give them any ideas.

The article concludes:

Small wonder that some of the parents are already bailing out. And as they leave, the school will be losing even more of the revenue they would need to meet this list of demands. If enough of them vote with their feet, the school won’t be able to cover its costs and none of them will have a job. Wouldn’t that just be a shame?

Would you pay 50k a year for that?

 

The Lies You Hear…

Hot Air posted an article today about two of the lies told today on NBC’s Meet the Press by Chuck Todd. He was interviewing Dr. Deborah Birx.

The article reports:

Todd outdid himself Sunday morning, though, when he said that it must be hard for public health officials to get the general public to abide by their recommendations on mitigating the spread of the virus. He clearly blames non-Democrat Americans and President Trump for the pandemic. He declared, “Half the country is not paying attention.” ” President Trump ignores coronavirus.” Fact check: neither of those statements is true.

The fact that Todd thinks half of the country – Trump voters – aren’t even paying attention to the coronavirus pandemic would be laughable if it was not so outright crazy. Everyone is paying attention. People act according to the risks they feel are involved. We can talk about people who do and don’t take the precautions recommended by health care professionals but if someone isn’t wearing a face mask in public, for example, it means they think masks are not useful in stopping the spread of the virus. It does not mean that person is oblivious to the fact that we are living in the time of a pandemic. There are plenty of hypocrites on the Democrat side of the political aisle that are not as vigilant about social distancing and face masks as health professionals would like to see. Look no further than at the halls of Congress where members walk the hallways maskless or stand side by side to talk to each other. Are they not paying attention?

The article notes the impact of President Trump’s policies:

President Trump is now credited with enabling the single most historic vaccine development program ever. Operation Warp Speed’s success is undeniable. The true denial being shown by the Democrat side of the aisle is giving credit to Trump for Operation Warp Speed. He recruited companies to manufacture and distribute PPE and he provided financial assistance to medical companies to produce a vaccine. He’s applied pressure to corporate leaders to work together in both vaccine development and in distribution once they are available. Trump was ridiculed by the left for imposing a travel ban from China and then Europe at the very beginning of the spread of the pandemic into the United States. Joe Biden called him a racist and xenophobe. Trump put Vice-President Mike Pence in charge of a White House coronavirus task force last January which brought in experts who are still working together today. People may argue about the President’s handling of communication or his own decision to mostly not wear face masks but to say he ignores the coronavirus is a lie.

The article concludes:

Vaccines are coming. In the meantime, it is just as wrong for media personalities like Chuck Todd to blame Trump and Trump voters for the coronavirus as it is for Democrat elected officials, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, to blame President Trump personally for coronavirus deaths.

If you are still believing the lies told by the mainstream media, it is not wonder you dislike President Trump. How do you think the vaccine was created so quickly? How do you think the red tape was cut?

 

There Goes My Mink Coat

Hot Air posted an article today about a problem Denmark is having with minks. The problem is serious. As a result of this problem, the country is about to exterminate around 17 million minks–every mink in the country. So what is going on?

The article reports:

As if you didn’t have enough to worry about already, right? This startling bit of news comes to us from Denmark, home to the world’s largest center of mink farming. But they’ll be losing that title shortly, at least for a while. Scientists there have found that the farm population of minks has become infected with a mutated version of the novel coronavirus. What’s worse is that this strain is probably resistant to any vaccines currently in development. And to top it all off, the mutated virus has already made the jump to at least a dozen human beings. As a result, they’re about to exterminate every mink in the country, numbering around 17 million of them.

…The medical community is trying to help keep people calm as they sort this out. Doctors in Denmark are saying that this mutation “hits all the scary buttons” but it’s not as terrible as it may sound. Okay, but it’s still pretty bad. Let’s consider that the virus didn’t show up there until a little more than eight months ago, it’s already made the jump from people to minks, mutated, and jumped back again. And the new mutation appears to be at least as contagious as the previous editions, if not more so. Add to that the belief that the vaccines we’re all waiting for probably won’t provide much protection and that sounds an awful lot like a bad situation.

Another pothole in the road that is 2020.

These Are Not The Remarks Of A Rational Person

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some recent comments by Keith Olbermann. Aside from the total lack of civility shown in the comments, the remarks are not something a rational person would say.

The article has a screen capture of a recent tweet:

What would be the legal justification for prosecuting the people mentioned in the Tweet? Would it be simply because he does not agree with him? Is that acceptable in a free society with a First Amendment?

The article notes:

What he thinks she may have done to warrant prosecution escapes me and I’m too lazy to watch his full-length rant about it. Presumably it has to do with her participation in the suspected superspreader event at the White House two weeks ago. Admittedly, it was not a good look for our next justice to be gladhanding the throng of (mostly) far less respectable characters around her sans mask and social-distancing. (Right, I know, she was probably immune because she’d had COVID before, but still. Set an example.) But even a mask nag like me considers banishment from society a bit steep penalty-wise for bad pandemic practices.

A year in the pen should be punishment enough. Maybe Olby could talk me into two.

Seriously, though: Can you imagine what political commentary will sound like the week before the election when this is what it sounds like now? What unexplored depths of mania will be plumbed as our country’s garbage punditocracy spins itself up into a tornado of anxiety, egged on the whole way by the commander-in-chief? By November 3rd Olbermann will be reading from the Necronomicon to try to send Trump back to the dimension he came from.

Keith Olbermann has the right to his opinion. However, I don’t think his rant is helpful to America’s current political climate.

 

Did Sweden Get It Right?

Hot Air posted an article today about the way that Sweden dealt with the coronavirus. From the start, they followed a different path than much of the world.

The article reports:

In the global battle against the pandemic, few countries drew as much scrutiny and frequent criticism as Sweden during the early days. While the United States and most of Europe shut down their economies and put everyone on lockdown, the Swedes largely went about their business with no mandates for the wearing of masks or prohibitions on public gatherings. Sweden initially experienced a surge of novel coronavirus cases as compared to its neighbors. And then it felt like we stopped hearing about them quite so much. So what’s been going on?

As this report from the Associated Press indicates, what’s been going on has largely been… not much, at least in terms of the virus. Sweden only made slight modifications to its policies after the initial surge, but largely stuck with the herd immunity strategy. And now, just as much of Europe is experiencing a second surge in cases, Sweden has some of the lowest numbers in all of Europe. So did their herd immunity strategy actually work?

The Associated Press reports:

Now, as infection numbers surge again in much of Europe, the country of 10 million people has some of the lowest numbers of new coronavirus cases — and only 14 virus patients in intensive care.

Whether Sweden’s strategy is succeeding, however, is still very uncertain.

Its health authorities, and in particular chief epidemiologist Dr. Anders Tegnell, keep repeating a familiar warning: It’s too early to tell, and all countries are in a different phase of the pandemic.

The article at Hot Air continues:

Among Sweden’s population of ten million, they currently have a total of 14 people in ICU beds fighting COVID. In the past two weeks, they have reported 30.3 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. By comparison, Spain is at 292.2 and France reports 172.1. That’s a rather startling difference.

The article concludes with some interesting speculation:

This should leave us to wonder if that wasn’t the ideal solution from the beginning. If we had locked down the nursing homes and provided relief to everyone over the age of 55 so they could stay home, along with anyone with a doctor’s note saying they had underlying respiratory or immune system issues, could we have just left the rest of the economy running? The idea of requiring a doctor’s note wouldn’t be any big deal. Most employers do that already for many Human Resources functions, including the use of sick time for more than a day or two. Further, the death toll in New York City wouldn’t have been anywhere near what we saw were it not for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s disastrous order forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients and forbidding the screening of new residents.

What would our current death toll be today if we had followed that path? The vast, vast majority of healthy people under the age of 55 who contract the virus still come out the other side alive and without any serious, permanent health issues. There are some who are hit very hard to be sure, but the same can be said for other diseases that we live with (or, in some cases, don’t) every year. We’ll have to wait until the second wave has finished washing over Europe to be sure, but it’s starting to look as if the Swedes were onto something all along.

We can’t turn back the clock, but we can keep this in mind in dealing with future diseases.

The Push Toward Mail-In Voting

As has been said multiple times before, mail-in voting is different from absentee voting. Mail-in voting generally does not have the controls that absentee voting has to prevent voter fraud. There are court cases in various states right now to push for mail-in voting. One of those states is Texas.

On Friday, Hot Air reported the following:

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a lower court’s preliminary ruling that would have required the State of Texas to expand mail-in voting to all eligible registered voters. The Texas Democrat Party claimed that denying universal mail-in voting in Texas is age discrimination.

Texas allows mail-in voting for voters who are age 65 or older, voters who will be out of the county during the voting period, disabled or ill voters, and people incarcerated but eligible to vote. Absentee voting is allowed, as in other states. For absentee voting, a voter has to request a ballot. Democrats want to move to universal voting by mail, with registered voters receiving a ballot by mail automatically, without the step of requesting one.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court didn’t agree with the Democrats:

The 5th Circuit’s majority said the state’s law did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on age discrimination because it merely conferred an extra benefit on older residents, rather than limiting the right to vote for younger Texans.

“A law that makes it easier for others to vote does not abridge any person’s right to vote,” the majority wrote.

The article concludes:

The age discrimination part of this lawsuit is clearly malarkey. Democrats are just throwing everything against the wall in hopes that something will stick so that universal mail-in voting will come into play in Texas. The court rightly points out that no such argument can be made. If people can go shop at Walmart or a grocery store, they can go vote in person.

The lawsuit now goes back to the court of U.S. District Judge Fred Biery. In May, he ruled that all Texans can vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. In June, however, the 5th Circuit blasted his ruling and blocked it. Biery is a Clinton appointee. It will fall upon Biery now to rule on the remaining issues in the lawsuit, including whether or not the Texas restrictions on mail-in voting violate equal protection guarantees.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a brief statement – “I am pleased that the 5th Circuit correctly upheld Texas’s vote-by-mail laws, and I commend the court for concluding that Texas’s decision to allow elderly voters to vote by mail does not violate the 26th Amendment.”

Stay tuned. This fight is ongoing in many states.

Some Background On A Story Getting Twisted

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about Melania Trump’s renovations to the Rose Garden. One might think that we could at least agree on a renovation to something that is more than fifty years old. I guess not.

The article notes all of the criticism of the renovation, but it also explains some of the reasoning behind the renovation.

The article reports:

Granted, I’m no gardening expert but I think the rose garden looks nice. Last month Melania announced that she was taking on the project. The renovations were long overdue, as it turns out, because of drainage problems and inaccessibility to disabled people. By adding technical updates, future presidents will be able to better use the space to broadcast events and presidential addresses.

I thought we were all in favor of making areas more accessible to disabled people. I would also like to note that the renovations were paid for by private donations–taxpayer money was not used.

The article notes:

The flowers in the garden are largely pastels, which are favored by the first lady, including taller white roses, which were in honor of the first papal visit to the White House by Pope John Paul II in 1979. A diamond-like shape of boxwoods was also added, while about a dozen crabapple trees were removed and will be replanted elsewhere on the grounds.

Moreover, a seating area on the east side of the garden — used at times by presidents for lunch and other meetings — has been removed and will be replaced by a yet-to-be-announced art installation.

The most visually striking change to the garden was the addition of a 3-foot-wide limestone walking path bordering the central lawn. Less noticeable changes include improved drainage and infrastructure and making the garden more accessible for people with disabilities. Audiovisual, broadcasting and other technical fixes are part of the plan, too.

“Protecting the historic integrity of the White House landscape is a considerable responsibility, and we will fulfill our duty as custodians of the public trust,” Melania Trump wrote in a report released when the renovations were announced.

Please note that the crabapple trees will be replanted on the White House grounds.

The criticism falls a bit flat when you understand the need to fix the drainage and the accessibility of the Rose Garden, but I guess Trump Derangement Syndrome also applies to Melania Trump. That’s sad.

When The Media Breaks The Law

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the latest chapter in the saga of Nick Sandmann and the settlements reached with CNN and The Washington Post.

The article notes:

The first rule of Settlement Club is that you don’t talk about Settlement Club. And the second rule of Settlement Club — ah, heck, the first fifty rules of Settlement Club is that you don’t talk about settlements in lawsuits with mutual gag rules in place. Apparently that didn’t sink in at CNN or the Washington Post after both media outlets decided to quietly end the litigation brought by Nicholas Sandmann. Their employees went on social media attempting to spin the settlement and suggest that Sandmann only got a minimal payment to shut him up.

Big mistake, Sandmann attorney Lin Wood made clear almost immediately. “I know how to deal with liars,” Wood tweeted, and warned that new lawsuits would be filed unless “heads rolled” at both outlets:

…This started with speculation that Sandmann had indeed gotten paid nothing more than “nuisance value.” Law & Crime wrote a pretty comprehensive overview of the social-media discussion of that premise after some attorneys unconnected to the case tried to read the tea leaves from various announcements in both cases. It’s worth reading, at least for the legal theories behind the speculation. That included a rather anodyne statement from Wood expressing his opinion that the speculation was “uninformed, errant nonsense,” but added that “questions about confidentiality and the timing of the settlement will have to be directed to others.” Wood didn’t threaten anyone over the speculation — because they were not party to the confidentiality agreement, and neither was Law & Crime.

That isn’t the case with Stelter, Rangappa, and Zak. They work for the respondents in these lawsuits and act as their agents. As soon as they published and expanded on the speculation, they characterized the settlement in terms their employer specifically agreed not to do. Not only does that open up new avenues for Sandmann against the Post and CNN, it might allow Wood to add the three as respondents in a new libel/defamation action.

This may seem like a minor thing, but it is important that both parties act in accordance with the agreement they signed. I can understand why CNN and The Washington Post would want people to think that the settlement was small–they want to discourage future lawsuits. I can understand why Lin Wood would want to give the impression of a large settlement–it might discourage future character assassination of innocent people by the media.

Stay tuned. There may be more coming.

Some Common Sense From The Minneapolis City Council

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about a recent decision by the Minneapolis City Council.

The article reports:

Give credit where due for thinking outside of the box, I guess, although this idea belongs in a box … buried under the St. Anthony Falls. In the Minneapolis city council’s haste to prove it doesn’t need a professional and trained police force to keep the peace, they nearly decided to pay ad hoc bands of armed citizens to patrol the streets. Only late inquiries about this proposal from city residents and local media managed to change their minds:

The Minneapolis City Council briefly considered diverting money from police to citizen patrols, with the council’s public safety chairwoman suggesting an armed group as one that could potentially benefit.

During a budget meeting last week, Council Member Alondra Cano proposed cutting $500,000 from the Minneapolis Police Department for the citizen groups.

She described it as an effort to “respond to the hundreds of people who have formed their own community safety patrol systems to keep their blocks and their neighborhoods safe in this time of deep transition.”

She and nine of her colleagues voted in favor of adding the provision to the 2020 budget. On Wednesday, after residents and reporters contacted city officials seeking details about the proposal, the council walked it back.

Common sense made a brief appearance in the Minneapolis City Council.

The article concludes:

The Star Tribune notes that the city council seems to be out of rational ideas about how to make their no-policy fantasy into reality, which is how vigilantism nearly got a $500,000 grant and endorsement:

The change reveals how the City Council is struggling to come up with alternatives to the Minneapolis Police Department, even as a majority has vowed to end it. Council members and city staffers have, at times, found themselves unclear about what various proposals mean, even after they have voted on them.

In other words, the city council is completely incompetent, and now obviously so. This would qualify as satire if not for the lives that have already been lost and the lives that will be lost in the near future due to their failures to perform their basic duties as public officials. The city council is responsible for the police department and its performance, but they do not want Minneapolis residents to realize that. Instead, they want to pretend that a modern city of 425,000-plus residents don’t need law enforcement, mainly because they want to abdicate their own responsibilities for managing it.

Minneapolis is a home-rule charter city, so the state doesn’t have too many options in dealing with this disaster. The city’s voters will have to act to put an end to the circus they elected. In the meantime, the cities around them will have to deal with the fallout — and business owners will start looking elsewhere for better environments in which to operate.

This is the reason voting matters. The only way to improve the government of Minneapolis is to vote for people who actually understand how to make things better. The current city council obviously does not.

The Problem With Mail-In Voting

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about the recent primary in New York State. The primary was held on June 23. All voters had until May 29 to register online, in person at a local board of elections, or by mailing in a voter registration form.

The article reports:

How badly has the state of New York handled its vote-by-mail primary? Only today did the Associated Press make the call on the race in NY-16, concluding three weeks after the election that Rep. Eliot Engel lost to his primary challenger, progressive insurgent Jamaal Bowman — by sixteen points. It took that long to get through enough of the mail-in ballots and navigate the opaque reporting on the count for the AP to reach a firm conclusion in a landslide for Bowman.

That race is no fluke, either. The New York Times reports that some races have only a handful of ballots counted, and that outcomes of many of the primary contests have yet to be determined, more than three weeks after the election day. This portends disaster in November, the Times warns:

More than three weeks after the New York primaries, election officials have not yet counted an untold number of mail-in absentee ballots, leaving numerous closely watched races unresolved, including three key Democratic congressional contests.

The absentee ballot count — greatly inflated this year because the state expanded the vote-by-mail option because of the coronavirus pandemic — has been painstakingly slow, and hard to track, with no running account of the vote totals available.

In some cases, the tiny number of ballots counted has bordered on the absurd: In the 12th Congressional District, where Representative Carolyn B. Maloney is fighting for her political life against her challenger, Suraj Patel, only 800 of some 65,000 absentee ballots had been tabulated as of Wednesday, according to Mr. Patel, though thousands had been disqualified. …

The delays in New York’s primaries raise huge concerns about how the state will handle the general election in November, and may offer a cautionary note for other states as they weigh whether to embrace, and how to implement, a vote-by-mail system because of the pandemic.

Most voter fraud occurs in absentee ballots or mail-in ballots. This is the place where ballot harvesting occurs–a person can go into a nursing home, get people with limited cognitive ability to sign a ballot, and fill out the ballot themselves and turn it in. Ballots can be stolen from mailboxes, filled out, and turned in. It is a nightmare to anyone who wants an honest election.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

The vote-by-mail system, however, truly is a disaster, and not just over security concerns. The timelines in our Constitution are too tight for the kinds of delays seen in this year’s primaries. We are at risk of being without a legitimate Congress as well as a legitimate president by the time the deadlines for both are reached. The only way to ensure that we can meet those deadlines is to vote in person by paper ballots utilizing optical-scan technology for fast and accurate counts. The delay from a relative small number of contests in that system where absentee ballots could make the difference will be easy to absorb, but we can’t wait several weeks to confirm outcomes in races with double-digit in-person vote gaps.

Stop pretending this is a Trump problem. This is an electoral legitimacy problem in more than one aspect, and it’s time we treated it as such. If we can go to Walmart in this pandemic, we certainly can figure out how to vote in person to choose this country’s leadership.

Saving Money By Refusing To Support Organizations That Don’t Do Their Job

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The article reports:

The Trump administration is withdrawing the United States from the World Health Organization. The administration submitted a letter to the UN but the letter itself hasn’t been made public yet. The Washington Post reports that the U.S. needs to give a year’s notice before withdrawing.

…WHO really has favored China’s version of events during the pandemic. Just last month the AP published a story revealing that China was aware early on that China was slow-walking information about the virus. Just a few days ago WHO revised its official timeline about when China notified it about the existence of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

We’re only hearing the very start of this now. It appears congressional Democrats are going to attempt to get involved in this decision. At a minimum they are going to try to drive a few new cycles off it. Get ready to hear the phrase “in the midst of a pandemic” 10,000 times.

The WHO (like the rest of the United Nations) has become political, ineffective, and unnecessarily expensive.

On May 20, 2019, The New York Post reported:

The World Health Organization spent nearly $192 million on travel expenses last year, with staffers sometimes breaking the agency’s own rules by traveling in business class, booking expensive last-minute tickets and traveling without the required approvals, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The abuses could spook potential donors and partners as the organization begins its week-long annual meeting Monday in Geneva, seeking increased support to fight a devastating outbreak of Ebola in Congo and other deadly diseases including polio, malaria and measles.

The nearly $192 million is down 4 percent from 2017, when the agency pledged to rein in travel abuses following an AP investigation.

The WHO has lost its way as an organization helping the world fight health issues. The coronavirus revealed the WHO as simply a mouthpiece for Chinese propaganda that allowed the virus to become a pandemic. We would have been better off following our own instincts than listening to the WHO. Remember, the WHO complained when President Trump shut down air travel from China to America. That alone saved thousands of lives. The WHO opposed it. That tells us all we need to know. It is past time to leave the WHO. I am sorry that we are required to wait a year to actually do it.

The Latest Scandal

“Sharpiegate” has arrived. Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about the latest dumb attack on First Lady Melania Trump.

The article includes screenshots of some tweets criticizing the dress that the First Lady was wearing during the celebration at Mount Rushmore.

The article includes the actual story behind the dress:

The dress was a creation of young fashion students in college. The dress is called Dancing Girls Dress.

It seems however that Alexander McQueen have gone above and beyond with introducing new initiatives to keep the fashion community connected during lockdown. Their recently introduced #McQueenCreators project has been as massive success on social media, bringing the fashion family together under one hypothetical McQueen shaped roof.

A sense on community is something that has always been close to the heart of the house. For their SS20 collection the McQueen team worked alongside Central Saint Martin’s MA students and The Stitch School to create the Dancing Girls Print, a print now synonymous with the collection as a whole and emblematic of McQueen’s commitment to collaboration.

Continuous, spontaneous sketches of dancing girls were created in a life-drawing class held at the educational space at the Alexander McQueen London flagship store last year.

This dress has a greater meaning. Every single member of the team contributed to the embroidery by hand on this dress becoming a true symbol of what the brand stands for. Alexander McQueen aims to nurture and contribute to the success of young designers and creatives, and this sense of community that went towards one single dress proves this.

The article concludes:

I’ll end with this tidbit – another Trump supporter reminds us of a former First Lady’s fashion choices.

Melania Trump is the best-dressed First Lady this country has ever had, whether you like her or not. She represents the United States well. She has surpassed the gold standard of fashionable First Ladies, Jackie Kennedy, much to the left’s dismay. Best of all, we aren’t talking about First Gentleman fashion and Bill Clinton.

If nothing else, this episode shows the political left’s desperation to find something to criticize. As the country rebounds from the economic impact of the coronavirus and begins to move forward again, it’s simply becoming more difficult to grouse.

The Satellite Tells The Real Story

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about a recent explosion in Iran. The Iranian government claimed that the explosion that rattled nearby Tehran on Friday took place in a civilian area of Parchin and not at their secret nuclear-weapons research or missile research facilities. They even supplied photos of a burnt industrial gas tank, photos which turned out to be not entirely convincing.

The article reports:

An explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday.

What exploded in the incident early Friday that sent a massive fireball into the sky near Tehran remains unclear, as does the cause of the blast.

The unusual response of the Iranian government in the aftermath of the explosion, however, underscores the sensitive nature of an area near where international inspectors believe the Islamic Republic conducted high-explosive tests two decades ago for nuclear weapon triggers.

…Western analysts viewing the European Commission satellite photos believe that the explosion took place in a missile-building or missile-assembly area underground. The Iranians have moved a substantial part of their missile program underground over the years to hide it from these same kinds of satellites, but intelligence agencies have a pretty good idea where those locations are and what the Iranians are doing with them.

Still, the missiles aren’t a secret themselves; the Iranians openly brag about their capabilities, even to the point of photoshopping to make them look even more impressive. Why not just tell the truth, if this was an industrial accident? Perhaps because it wasn’t an industrial accident. Iran’s militias in Syria have come under attack by air over the last 24 hours, with Israel being suspected of launching the strikes:

The article concludes:

This brings us back to Parchin and Iran’s missile production and development. Right now, Iran has the missile technology to target Israel, but not a nuclear warhead to put on one of them — we think, anyway. Israel might have decided to slow down their missile production with an act of sabotage at Parchin, perhaps in part just to demonstrate they can do it. Iran has spent the last few years creeping up on Israel via the civil war in Syria, and Israel might have just delivered a kidney punch in return.

That might be why Iran isn’t too keen on admitting that they have holes in their security, let alone have suffered a setback on military production. Theocratic tyrannies don’t last long when their subjects realize their incompetence, and this one’s already on thin ice after shooting down a Ukrainian passenger flight a few months ago. Or so we hope.

Israel (and a number of Arab countries in the Middle East) have a vested interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power with missiles and warheads. Iran has made known its ambitions to create a caliphate in the area. Missiles and warheads would probably make that possible. Israel will do all it can to prevent that.

Protection For Me, But Not For Thee

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about a recent move by the Minneapolis City Council. The article reports that yesterday the council voted unanimously to pursue a still-ambiguous plan to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a more politically correct “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.” However, there are some problems with that vote.

The article reports:

The council voted unanimously to advance a proposal that would create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention. Within that, the city could create a division that includes “licensed peace officers,” though it would not be required to do so.

It’s unclear how many, if any, officers would continue to be employed by the city if the proposal passes.

Council Member Cam Gordon said it’s consistent with the pledge from council members to fundamentally alter local policing in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis officers.

“Those things that we called the police department are gone,” Gordon said. “Certainly, there is a provision in here that would allow this council or future councils to maintain a Division of Law Enforcement Services, but I think what we need to do is have that possibility there and talk to people about what the future should look like.”

The article explains the problem with that vote:

Maybe we should know what the “future” looks like before changing the present. The city council can’t actually change the present anyway, thanks to a city charter that requires them to maintain a police department with precise staffing levels. The best they can do under the charter is impose a cut of around 20%, but even that would fall afoul of the collective bargaining agreement with the police union. (Agreements negotiated and signed by a succession of progressive city councils, I might add here.) That makes yesterday’s vote an exercise in pusillanimity; there’s no cost to it at all.

It gets worse:

The City of Minneapolis is spending $4,500 a day for private security for three council members who have received threats following the police killing of George Floyd, FOX 9 has learned.

A city spokesperson said the private security details have cost the city $63,000 over the past three weeks.

The three council members who have the security detail – Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8), and Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4), and Alondra Cano (Ward 9)– have been outspoken proponents of defunding the Minneapolis Police Department.

So while the Council votes to get rid of the police department as it currently exists, the City is paying for private security for three council members. Protection for me, but not for thee. These are the people the voters of Minneapolis elected. I think it might be time to unelect them. We need to remember that the voters have the power to determine leadership. In 2018, the turnout of registered Minneapolis voters was 76%. That is a solid turnout. The voters need to learn to make better choices.

When Science Becomes Political

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article titled, “Here’s three examples of why public trust in the scientific community is waning.” Taken together, these examples illustrate how ridiculous some members of the ‘scientific community’ have become in their statements against President Trump and in their support of all things of the political left.

The first example:

The protests over the death of George Floyd have brought to the surface a good example of why so many in the general public no longer trust what public health professionals are saying about the coronavirus pandemic. The information being given to us is confusing and ever-changing. Now the information is being filtered through the lens of social justice activism.

…An open letter signed by 1,300 epidemiologists and public health experts says that “protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.” These professionals specifically say that their support of racial injustice protests does not mean they endorse other gatherings – you know, like protests about stay-at-home orders. The open letter actually says that “COVID-19 among black patients is yet another lethal manifestation of white supremacy.” Wow. Take that, white people.

The second example:

Example two is one of the scientists from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). They, too, have written a letter. Scientists from the philanthropic organization funded by Zuckerberg but separate from Facebook are none too pleased that the evil Orange Man is allowed to post freely on Facebook without censorship. They long for some authoritarian action (stricter policy enforcement) to be taken against the President of the United States because he spreads “inaccurate information and incendiary language contrary to CZI’s mission to “build a healthier, just, and more inclusive future.”

The third example:

A third example comes from Dr. Fauci and the CDC. Separately they have sent messages that large protests will likely produce a spike in coronavirus cases. Fauci said Friday that protests are “the perfect set-up” for spreading COVID-19. Fauci was sure to put into his warning that the protesters have a constitutional right to do so “because the reasons for demonstrating are valid.” Thanks, Doc. Validity doesn’t override the danger to the public though, does it? Also, he mentions that tear gas and pepper spray make people cough and sneeze, thus increasing the possibility of transmitting the virus.

Somehow I seem to remember that there were a lot of people very concerned when business owners were protesting. There were some serious questions asked about whether the pandemic overrode constitutional rights. It seems as if those questions have disappeared now that the political left is protesting (rioting and looting).

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There are a lot of details that are very interesting.

I think all of us are beginning to wonder if we can trust anyone who claims to be an expert.

It Begins Again

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about what is currently happening in Hong Kong.

The article reports:

When we were discussing China’s new “national security” law for Hong Kong yesterday, it was noted that pro-democracy advocates were already railing against the betrayal of the promises China made when taking over control of the city from Great Britain. Protests were planned, but pro-Beijing lawmakers were warning that any sort of public demonstrations could be dealt with harshly. Well, that took all of one day to come to pass. Despite concerns about a new wave of coronavirus infections, demonstrators took to the streets and were quickly met by police forces firing tear gas canisters indiscriminately into the crowds at a large shopping center. And then the arrests began.

…Tam Tak-chi, one of the city’s most well-known democracy advocates, was arrested shortly after the protests began. He had previously predicted that he would be detained if China moved forward with its new legislation and it turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. He was charged with holding “an unauthorized assembly.”

The article concludes:

In that sense, much of the “freedom” enjoyed by Hong Kong since 1997 has largely been illusory anyway. China regularly intervenes in local elections if the residents begin electing too many people with crazy ideas about freedom and democracy. The top leadership positions, currently exemplified by Carrie Lam, are always held by pro-Beijing politicians who take their marching orders from the CCP. People have regularly been arrested in Hong Kong for demonstrating, giving speeches or contacting foreign media outlets, things that people in free nations simply take for granted.

Up until now, a certain amount of demonstrating and chatter about democracy has been allowed, apparently just to humor the locals. But now it appears that China isn’t going to even bother providing a fig leaf to the 1997 agreement they entered into. They’re probably sure that they can get away with it because nobody is going to risk going to war with them or attempt any sort of direct military intervention right on China’s doorstep to free Hong Kong’s citizens. And while it’s sad to say, they’re probably right.

This was predictable. I don’t know if the outcome would have been any different had the British not signed the treaty with China. However, we need to learn from what we are watching–China is not a reliable partner in any treaty. On May 5th, I posted an article citing a provision in the recent trade agreement (signed before the coronavirus outbreak in America) that says if there is a natural occurring disaster, the two parties will renegotiate. This is another example of the fact that China, under communism, is not willing to play fair on the international stage. Best wishes to the people of Hong Kong. I am not optimistic about your future.

Another Broken Promise By China

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about what is about to happen in Hong Kong. As you may remember, the agreement between China and Britain in 1997 stated that China would respect Hong Kong’s independence for the next 50 years. Well, fifty years sure went by fast.

The article reports:

You may recall that the months of protests in Hong Kong were prompted by an attempt to introduce a new law which might have made it possible for China to extradite people to the mainland for trial. That proposal was eventually withdrawn because of the protests. This time China is simply holding the vote in a place where protests won’t matter. And China is using the authoritarian’s favorite gimmick, claiming opposition to the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong isn’t home-grown but based on collusion with “external forces.”

In a clear effort to head off international concerns, China’s Foreign Ministry sent a letter on Thursday night to ambassadors posted to Beijing, urging them to support the legislation and laying out the government’s position.

“The opposition in Hong Kong have long colluded with external forces to carry out acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and destruction against the Chinese mainland,” the letter stated.

American Senators are aware of what is going on. The article notes:

Senators Rubio, Risch, and Gardner also released a joint statement:

“Reports that the CCP will introduce legislation implementing Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law at this week’s National People’s Congress indicate Beijing will begin an unprecedented assault against Hong Kong’s autonomy. The Basic Law states clearly that the authority to advance Article 23 legislation rests with the executive and legislative branches of the Hong Kong government, and not with Beijing. The Chinese government is once again breaking its promises to the people of Hong Kong and the international community.

“This comes on the heels of a series of other serious blows to Hong Kong’s self-rule in recent weeks, including the advocacy of a law criminalizing disrespect of the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China and pressure on Hong Kong’s legislature that led to the sidelining of pro-democracy legislators.

“The United States will stand resolute in its support of the Hong Kong people. These developments are of grave concern to the United States, and could lead to a significant reassessment on U.S. policy towards Hong Kong.”

China is looking for a way to distract the global community from the Chinese responsibility for the coronavirus. If they can end freedom in Hong Kong at the same time, that’s a side benefit for them. This action should lead to a strong response from western countries. I am not sure it will–but it should. China needs to keep its promise.