“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- 4.8 Million Jobs, the USMCA, and the 2020 Election
- Removing Rushmore
- China Subjugates Hong Kong
- NBA Ups the Ante on Virtue Signaling
- An American Story
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Democrats and their Leftmedia publicists really do not want the American economy to improve — at least not until Joe Biden (or his running mate in his stead) is ensconced in the Oval Office on January 20, 2021. Thus even with another record-breaking jobs report, the Associated Press is still playing Eeyore, running this headline earlier this morning: “A predicted surge in US job growth for June might not last.” Gotta keep that skyrocketing consumer confidence tamped down.
Once the incredibly great news exceeded expectations, that headline became a rather pedestrian treatment of it: “US adds 4.8 million jobs as unemployment falls to 11.1%.” Then the AP edited the good news out entirely, leaving only the utterly dour: “US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway.”
In a sense, the pessimism is understandable. “The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession,” the AP reports, while noting that spiking coronavirus cases and moves to reshutter some businesses will indeed stall a recovery. The economy is certainly not out of the proverbial woods yet, and if governors insist on closing businesses again rather than taking other mitigating efforts, we may collectively take one step forward and two steps back.
Enter President Donald Trump and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which took effect yesterday. As we have noted before, the USMCA serves to keep one of Trump’s campaign promises by improving trade relations with Canada and Mexico. The USMCA is not quite the wholesale replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as the president often claims. Nor was NAFTA a “disaster” or the “worst trade deal ever made,” as he decries. But the USMCA is a general improvement and modernization of the 1994 deal that should help create more American jobs.
“The USMCA is a big deal,” says Reason’s Eric Boehm. “Canada and Mexico are the top recipients of U.S. exports. The United States imports more goods from those two countries than anywhere else except China. The deal will affect more than $1 trillion in annual trade between the U.S. and its two neighbors.”
And as Trump declared, “Manufacturing looks like it’s ready to take off to a level that it’s never been. A lot of that has to do with our trade policy, because we’re bringing manufacturing back to our country.” He has made that a priority like few recent presidents, and, broadly speaking, his economic and regulatory policies deserve credit for why our economy was able to sustain the body blow of the coronavirus pandemic.
In any case, the economic choice this November is clear. One party wants to prolong and deepen a recession and then tax, spend, and regulate our way out of it. The president and his party, by contrast, want to keep America great by preserving lower taxes, less regulation, and Liberty itself.
Two Days Left
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How might we go about removing Mount Rushmore?
Would we do it Taliban-like, with cannons? Would the atmosphere be festive, with the gathered masses dancing around and shrieking with joy at each salvo, like they did when the statues came crashing down? Or would our National Park Service oversee a more “respectful” removal, with scaffolding from which to slowly, gently, somberly sand away George Washington’s 21-foot-long nose and then go from there?
We ask because what was once a world-famous American icon and a must-see destination for American families has fallen out of favor with the hard Left. And the hard Left has been on a roll of late. In a since-deleted tweet, even the supposedly more moderate Democrat Party itself said President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Rushmore was “glorifying white supremacy.”
Amid this kind of rabble-rousing rhetoric, how long will it be before we wake up one morning to see that a streak of red paint has defiled this glorious monument? Security has been tightened in recent years, and that’s good. But Greenpeace activists did get up there about a decade ago to unfurl a “climate change” banner.
Always eager to kick our country when it’s down, The New York Times weighed in yesterday with its own bit of sanctimony. “Native Americans have long criticized the sculpture,” said the Times, “in part because it was built on what had been Indigenous land. And more recently, amid a nationwide movement against racism that has toppled statues commemorating Confederate generals and other historical figures, some activists have called for Mount Rushmore to close.”
Taking up the guilt-by-association line of attack, the Times then went after Mt. Rushmore’s sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, and his connection to our nation’s largest bas-relief sculpture, the Stone Mountain work memorializing Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis. Mr. Borglum was guilty of cavorting with Klansmen, according to the Times. Oh, and anti-Semitism.
Unfortunately for the Times, its own “journalists” have a bit of a checkered history. As The Daily Wire reports, the Times was inundated with gentle reminders. Here’s one: “In 1851,” tweeted PragerU, “@nytimes founding editor Henry Jarvis Raymond published an editorial in which he supported a slaveowner’s legal right to recover his escaped slaves.” And here’s another, from Andrew Klavan: “The @nytimes, a #formernewspaper, was built on land that belonged to the Canarsee tribe and covered up both the Holocaust and the Communist starvation of millions.” Clearly, two can play the Times’s game.
Social scientist Eric Kaufmann recently wrote about the defection of the Left, about its renunciation of so many of our distinctly American institutions. When he asked a group of 870 folks who consider themselves either “liberal” or “very liberal” whether Mount Rushmore should be destroyed, 44% of the liberal group agreed, as did 58% of the very liberal group. So that’s what we’re up against.
As for this ongoing effort by the Left to unravel the very fabric of our nation — and the need for the rest of us to draw a line in the sand — perhaps a brief tweet from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said it best: “If we give this mob an inch, they’ll take a mile.”
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) legislature effectively eliminated Hong Kong’s legal autonomy this week, stripping the island’s 7.5 million residents of their freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. China’s new national-security law effectively removes Hong Kong’s autonomy, paving the way for communist subjugation and the instillation of Beijing’s authoritarian tyranny.
In typical propaganda fashion, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, a Beijing puppet, ridiculously asserted that the new law “only targets an extremely small minority of offenders while the life and property as well as various legitimate basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of citizens will be protected.”
The Wall Street Journal reports, “The legislation also outlaws secessionism, subversion, ‘terrorist activities’ and ‘collusion’ with foreign forces, all defined so broadly that nearly anything but unconditional obedience to Beijing may be deemed illegal. It also forbids ‘provoking by unlawful means hatred among Hong Kong residents towards the Central People’s Government or the Government of the Region, which is likely to cause serious consequences.’ The maximum punishment is life in prison.” Tellingly, and in Nancy Pelosi’s fashion, Beijing passed the new law before anyone in Hong Kong had a chance to even read it.
Another target of the law is foreigners. No longer will journalists, human-rights activists, or businessmen enjoy protection under Hong Kong’s now-eliminated free-speech rights. Communist authorities will now go after foreigners who run afoul of the CCP’s tight thought control.
Now Taiwan finds itself squarely in China’s crosshairs, as CCP leader Xi Jinping has increasingly ramped up pressure on the island nation in his bid to eventually draw it into the mainland’s fold. In fact, Beijing not-so-subtly warned Taiwan against supporting Hong Kong’s people, alluding to a Chinese military intervention as a possible outcome. At least it should now be crystal clear — if it wasn’t already — that Taiwan cannot trust any of Beijing’s assurances.
As Americans celebrate our nation’s birth this weekend, let us take time to reflect on just how blessed and special our nation really is. Let Hong Kong serve as a sober warning not to take Liberty for granted, and let us commit ourselves to stand up and to fight against those who would seek to destroy it.
In what might be the wokest expression of the woke politics being thrust into every aspect of American life, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), working in conjunction with sportswear giant Nike, have reportedly reached an agreement that will allow players to replace their last names on the back of their jerseys with statements about “social justice.”
“We’re just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out,” Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, president of the NBPA, told ESPN. “People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.”
And while Paul insists players who would rather use their jerseys to raise awareness for other causes or charities not connected to “social justice” will also be accepted, who’s kidding whom? The likelihood of any deviation from progressive orthodoxy is virtually nil. Moreover, this conglomeration of hypocrites, phonies, and useful idiots already made it clear that some social justice issues are “more equal” than others when Daryl Morey, general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, who tweeted support for the Hong Kong protesters standing against the Chinese government, was pressured by the league to retract his statement — lest it offend communist thugs.
Those communist thugs have now made good on their threat to take over Hong Kong, courtesy of a broad new “security” law that criminalizes exactly the same kind of dissent NBA players will embrace when their seasons restarts July 30 in Orlando, Florida. Dissent that inevitably buys into the narrative that America is a systemically racist nation, with an unforgivable legacy of slavery that demands reparations.
Yet once again, China gets a free pass, despite the reality that as many as 3.8 million people there live in slave-like conditions, according to the Global Slavery Index.
As for Nike, an investigation by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) alleges that China’s Uighur minority is making shoes for the company in factory conditions that “strongly suggest” forced labor. The ASPI further alleges this effort represents “a new phase in China’s social re-engineering campaign targeting minority citizens” pointing to a “state-sponsored labour transfer scheme that is tainting the global supply chain.” According to Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, the study’s lead author, “The Chinese government is now exporting the punitive culture and ethos of Xinjiang’s ‘reeducation camps’ to factories across China.”
When Nike was asked about the arrangement? “We are committed to upholding international labor standards globally,” said Nike spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John, adding that its suppliers are “strictly prohibited from using any type of prison, forced, bonded or indentured labor.”
Nike’s shoes are manufactured at the Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. It has been a Nike supplier for more than three decades, producing eight million pairs of footwear per year. According to Kim Jae-min, chief executive of Taekwang, the factory’s South Korean parent company, 600 Uighurs were among 7,100 workers at the plant, and they are there to “offset the local labor shortage, due to increasing number of competing industries for workers in our area.”
Not quite. “Everyone knows they didn’t come here of their own free will,” a fruit vendor in the city told The Washington Post. “They were brought here.”
Thus an obvious question arises: How, exactly, does Nike ensure its products are not produced by forced labor? The bet here is the answer is as simple and damning as accepting the assurances of those in charge, rather than conducting an independent investigation. “Taekwang did not respond to questions about whether the Uighurs were forced to work in the factory under threat of reeducation,” The Washington Post reported.
Perhaps wokeness is selective.
In fact it is. “The guys I talked to were definitely excited,” Paul said. “The reason I’m passionate and excited about it is that it gives a voice to the voiceless. It also gives guys a chance to shine a light on something they are passionate about. Otherwise, they may not have been given a chance to express themselves.”
As weeks of unrelenting protests amply indicate, Americans who champion progressive dogma are not even remotely voiceless, and NBA players and coaches have never refrained from expressing their animus toward America and President Donald Trump. Moreover, the same NBA-NBPA-Nike nexus that wants to “shine a light” on our nation’s shortcomings will conspicuously ignore a Chinese government in charge of what is arguably the most racist nation on earth.
In 2019, former Fox Sports journalist Jason Whitlock explained what this entire charade is really all about. “The NBA answers to Nike,” Whitlock stated. “Nike is a $40 billion business. The NBA is an $8 billion business. President Obama, the basketball President, friendly relationship with the NBA, went to Nike’s headquarters to announce his defense of the TPP.”
Whitlock is referring to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade deal that went down in flames when it became apparent that it was far more about serving a globalist agenda than America itself. Tellingly in 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump rightly (if viscerally) likened it to “a rape of our country.”
Thus, NBA wokeness is a response to “a President that won’t cooperate with what Nike wants done,” Whitlock added. “Nike is using the NBA and its leverage over the NBA to go after this guy because they disagree with him about his policies as it relates to trade in China. It’s very simple.”
Less than a year later, this unholy alliance is upping the ante, and fans who simply wish to watch basketball played at a professional level will be forced to endure progressive proselytizing as part of the package. Proselytizing that will also include the league painting “Black Lives Matter” on the sidelines of all three arenas the league will use for the resumption of the 2019-20 season. One comment on Twitter put this contemptible virtue signaling in the proper perspective: “Great so this isn’t the National Basketball Association anymore it’s the ‘Athletic Activists Association’ lmao.”
There is potential for twisted humor to be found here, as one need only imagine the absurdity of the (ahem) color commentary part of an NBA broadcast if an announcer used what is printed on a player’s jersey in lieu of his name to describe that player. To wit:
“Pigs in a Blanket” drives down the lane, and quickly dishes off to “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” who head fakes before tossing a pass to “Check Your Privilege.” Long shot from the corner … score!
Tragically, reality intrudes. “NBA games will be 94-feet, divisive political rallies,” Whitlock stated regarding this latest development. Toward what end? He says, “We’re going to see a bunch of players far more concerned with building a social media following in China than building a fanbase here in America.”
In other words, despite all the proselytizing, posturing, posing, and pompousness — it’s still all about the money.
This story is an American story. On Monday, Janis Shinwari officially became an American as he took his U.S. citizenship oath. Shinwari’s American journey began in the country of his birth, Afghanistan, he where lived up until his recent immigration to the U.S. Following the U.S. declaring war on the Taliban in 2001, Shinwari began working with American troops as a combat translator, a role he held for eight years. During that time he was constantly under threats from Taliban militants for his collaboration with Americans. Shinwari revealed, “I was always scared that if they caught me they would kill me.”
Beyond serving as a translator, Shinwari is also credited with saving the lives of five American soldiers in 2008 during an ambush in Ghanzi Province. Upon seeing two militants sneak up on the Americans, Shinwari rushed forward and opened fire, killing the two jihadis just as they were poised to attack. Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli observed, “During his service, he saved the lives of five American soldiers. That is not something many people can say.”
Matt Zeller, one of the U.S. soldiers saved by Shinwari’s actions that day, called it “the worst firefight of my life. I ran out of grenades. I was literally counting my bullets, and I remember thinking we might not make it out of this one alive.” Zeller expressed his deep gratitude to his now-close friend Shinwari, noting, “He provided me the gift of life. I didn’t even know his name. … He’s the real veteran in the room — not me.”
In 2013, Shinwari along with his family moved to America, where he and Zeller set up a nonprofit, No One Left Behind, which seeks to help those interpreters, who helped U.S. troops, gain entry into the U.S. “This is our responsibility that we should keep our promise,” explained Shinwari. “We promise these gentlemen in Afghanistan that if you serve for two years, you are eligible for a U.S. visa.”
Commenting on his new American citizenship status, Shinwari stated, “The best part is you’re safe. You don’t have to worry. You can sleep well. Once you are here, you’re free.” Welcome to America!
More Great Analysis
Green Apology Draws Fire from the Cancel Crowd — the latest from Harold Hutchison.
Douglas Andrews explains The New Anti-Nationalism of the Left and what we can do about it.
J. Adams Clymer advises that rather than succumb to worry or fear, we celebrate An Independent Independence Day.
Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column
Read ‘You Know You’re on the Right Side of History When…’. When will the Democrat Party disband, given it was (and remains) the party of slavery and black oppression?
If you’d like to receive Alexander’s Column by email every Wednesday, update your subscription here.
Above the Fold
“Seattle police have retaken the East Precinct stationhouse after clearing out the protest area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP, making more than a dozen arrests after Mayor Jenny Durkan declared the gathering an unlawful assembly following two fatal shootings,” Fox News reports. Or as the satirical Genesius Times puts it, “Seattle bullies knock down little kids’ fort, take all their soy milk.”
According to National Review: “President Trump wants to send Americans another round of coronavirus relief checks, saying in a Wednesday interview that he supports ‘larger numbers than the Democrats’ but stressed ‘it has to be done properly.’ … Trump also suggested that he opposed continuing boosted unemployment benefits that were included in the CARES Act in March, calling them ‘a disincentive to work.’”
Business & Economy
Record jobs gain of 4.8 million in June smashes expectations; unemployment rate falls to 11.1% (CNBC)
Consumer confidence jumps most since 2011 as the economy reopens (Business Insider)
Trump’s North American trade deal (USMCA) gets underway (Politico)
Record-shattering surge in gun background checks as BLM, 2020 election, virus boost sales (Washington Examiner)
Government & Politics
Republican senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday (The Hill)
New York Times joins DNC in criticism of Mount Rushmore (The Washington Free Beacon)
Twitter removes Trump meme over copyright complaint from The New York Times (Washington Examiner)
Joe Biden pulls together hundreds of lawyers as a bulwark against election trickery (Reuters) (“Of course. You can’t steal an election without attorneys.” —Keith Koffler)
SCOTUS study: Networks spent 25 minutes extolling Democrat wins, zero for GOP wins (NewsBusters)
Culture & Heartland
Statues of Christopher Columbus and Stonewall Jackson taken down in (ahem) Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia, respectively; Abraham Lincoln statue to be removed in Boston (The Daily Wire)
Richmond mayor uses emergency powers to immediately remove all Confederate statues (The Daily Caller)
Change.org defends “white lives don’t matter” professor: Website deletes petition calling on Cambridge University to fire English prof (The Washington Free Beacon)
White liberals can make $12,000 a day on “white privilege” (The Federalist)
San Francisco police will stop releasing mugshots of people arrested to “stop perpetuating racial stereotypes” (UK Daily Mail)
A new study finds that fencing along the southern border has deterred illegal immigration (National Review)
For years, Afghan contractor handed out Russian cash to kill Americans (The New York Times)
Hair weaves from Chinese prison camps seized in New York (AP)
The Latest on COVID-19
Arizona, California, and Texas record deadliest days in weeks as cases surge (Washington Examiner)
Alabama students throwing “COVID parties” to see who gets infected (ABC News)
Russians vote to allow Putin’s rule to extend for 16 more years (New York Post)
Detroit removes thousands of dead registrants from voter rolls (The Washington Free Beacon)
Investigator: Rayshard Brooks would’ve been charged on 10 counts (Hot Air)
FBI arrests Jeffrey Epstein friend Ghislaine Maxwell in sex-trafficking probe (CNBC)
Policy: Promises made, promises kept on USMCA (GOP)
Policy: Why the U.S. and UK must stand up to China (National Review)
Humor: Democrats prepare to celebrate Dependence Day (Genesius Times)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Will St. Louis ‘Ken & Karen’ Be Charged? — Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner appears to be following the playbook of Atlanta DA Paul Howard.
I’m a Conservative. And I’ve Had ENOUGH. — DC-turned-Texas resident Sydney Watson with a heart-to-heart denunciation of radical leftism and passive attitudes.
Humor: How Social-Distancing Rules Are Created — If the rules seem arbitrary and capricious, that’s because … well, some of them are.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Observations: “The product of the woke crusade will not be a less racist America but a more polarized one. That’s because the woke crusade is not truly about reducing racism; it is about attacking fundamental institutions, American history and our very culture of rights. All the things we share must be eviscerated. So we will share nothing. And then the true ugliness begins.” —Ben Shapiro
Upright: “Public employee unions shield public servants from the public they are supposed to serve. Police unions enable and protect the very behavior we want to stop. Maybe disproportionate union contributions to Democrats conveniently produce a blind eye. Sure, it’s time for answers and actions. But there can be neither without honesty. And, unfortunately, Democrats’ lust for power far exceeds their interest in pursuing honest solutions to our problems.” —Star Parker
Braying jackass: “I’ll read my daily briefings.” —Joe Biden (“Ah, but will he remember what he has read?” —Jim Geraghty)
Friendly fire: “I don’t know what [less NYPD funding] means. What does that mean? Does this mean I am less safe? Where did you take the billion dollars from? Does it mean I am more safe? Does it have any effect on police abuse? I don’t know what it means.” —New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Village idiot: “Just when you thought the news couldn’t get more depressing…8.3 million guns have been sold in the United States since March, meaning 2020 is on course to be the biggest year for gun sales in American history.” —Piers Morgan (“It’s the exact opposite of depressing. It’s one of the few bright spots in this whole mess that is the current state of America.” —Allie Beth Stuckey)
And last… “The Right is losing the culture war because it is not fighting a culture war. The Right fights in the culture by electing Republicans. But culture is the ship upon which we sit; the politicians we elect are the deck chairs.” —Ben Shapiro
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis