Tony Perkins / January 19, 2022

Greed Between the Lines of NBA’s Politics

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay?”

Two days ago, most people had never heard of Chamath Palihapitiya. Now, the part-owner of the Golden State Warriors is all over social media, representing everything Americans have come to despise about the NBA — its blatant hypocrisy, its spoiled detachment, and heartless opportunism. The billionaire venture capitalist has done us one favor, though. He admits it. When Palihapitiya says he doesn’t give a flying flip about China’s persecuted, we believe him. And we also realize — in a league of phony social justice crusaders — he’s not alone.

The most shocking thing about Palihapitiya’s interview on the “All-In” podcast wasn’t his indifference toward human suffering. It was his brutal honesty about it. “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay?” Palihapitiya told co-host Jason Calacanis. “You bring it up because you care, and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care,” he said bluntly. “And I’m sorry if that’s a hard truth to hear,” he went on, “but every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying…” “That’s disappointing” was all a stunned Calacanis could reply. Look, the former Facebook executive went on, “I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

Which line, the listener is left to wonder? His bottom line? That is, after all, the only thing the NBA seems to care about. While its players walk around in “Justice Now” jerseys and empty “We Are One” slogans, the league is busy charming China, one of the world’s biggest proponents of human slavery. The league moralizes from America’s warm cocoon — while simultaneously raking in the dollars from a communist regime running the largest torture network since the 1930s. Palihapitiya, like so many of the league’s spoiled members, has the luxury of indifference because he has a convenience millions of Uyghurs do not: freedom.

“I care about climate change,” Palihapitiya wanted Calacanis to know. “I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure. But if you ask me do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us.” What he can’t see through his naïve narrowmindedness is that this isn’t just about the Uyghurs. It’s about protecting minorities and letting people be who they are — two things the woke NBA claims to care so much about. Their stories represent the real oppression. The real injustice. The real crisis of human dignity. And the more the woke crowd perpetuates this selfish idea that we can only care about human rights here at home, the less credibility America will have to fight it anywhere.

NBA player Enes Kanter, who’s been openly critical about the league’s cozy arrangement with China, was furious by Palihapitiya’s comments, posting, “When the NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money and business like @chamath… When genocides happen, it is people like this that let it happen. Shame!” Elected officials were uniquely outraged, especially after working for months to crack down on Xinjiang’s forced labor. “NBA takes bold stance: Slavery doesn’t matter. Concentration camps don’t matter. Torture and murder [don’t] matter. ‘We don’t care,’” Ted Cruz blasted back. “ALL that matters to them is more $$ from the [Chinese Communist Party] so [the NBA] can get even richer.”

Even the Warriors tried to distance themselves from Palihapitiya after the story exploded. In an unusually dismissive statement, the team wrote, “As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.”

Finally, the criticism must have gotten to him, and a somewhat chastened Palihapitiya took to Twitter to backtrack. “As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop.”

But his attempts at damage control struck others as especially ironic. “He specifically said in this conversation that if he said he cared, he was lying,” Jim Geraghty pointed out. “He said the ‘hard truth’ is that nobody cares — and what a statement like that means is that Chamath Palihapitiya cannot conceive of anyone else genuinely caring about China’s human-rights record. He thinks everyone else is virtue-signaling, too, and that he’s the only one brave enough to say that China’s ongoing effort to exterminate an entire ethnic group doesn’t really matter that much,” So which Palihapitiya do we believe? The one who ‘isn’t sure China is even a dictatorship?’ Or the one suddenly trying to cover up his vile complacency?

Either way, Geraghty warns, “If a guy like Chamath Palihapitiya [who’s worth more than a billion dollars] can’t afford the consequences of standing up for what’s right, who can? Obviously Palihapitiya can afford the consequences of standing up for what’s right. He just chooses not to…”

Like the rest of corporate America, he sees what he wants to see. While millions of Uyghurs go to bed every night “preparing for death at any moment,” the NBA sits in its self-righteous palace, unmoved by the true stories of gang rape, live organ removal, child sodomy, medieval torture, forced sterilization, and other inhumanities they might decide to care about if they happened 7,000 miles closer. In the meantime, the league has managed to prove one thing to the world: the most dangerous obstacle to human freedom is corporate greed.

Originally published here.

Biden’s Military Retreats into Wokeism

With all of the disruptions to daily life right now, it’s hard to see past America’s own crises. But there’s a lot of volatility outside our borders these days — and very little faith that our president has the strength to confront it. If the United States is hoping for any sense of stability, that has to change — Republicans warn — and fast.

Sidetracked by inflation, shortages, supply chain disruptions, and worker scarcities, most Americans have more than enough to worry about. But the leaders of Russia and China are on the move, and every single one of us should care. Protecting our neighbors’ independence is crucial to our own, experts warn. And as Russian President Vladimir Putin builds up a massive force on the Ukrainian border, leaders like Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) see nothing but danger ahead.

“I was just out there in Kyiv, Ukraine about a month ago, and it’s looking pretty ominous,” the former Army Ranger admitted on “Washington Watch.” “It’s not so much the numbers of troops, but it’s also the types of troops that Putin is putting on the border, many of them from his National Guard, who really are only trained in occupation duty.” Frankly, Waltz said, the Russian leader has a lot of options for hurting Ukraine. They could attack them through cyber means, they could cut off their gas in the middle of winter, or they could invade parts — or all — of their country. “I think an invasion itself is pretty much a slam dunk for [an overwhelming] army that [can outgun] the Ukrainians.” The president needs to get his head in the game and start sending lethal arms now, Waltz insisted.

But what’s in it for America, most people want to know? Why is any of this in our interest now, when we have so many other problems to solve? Well, for starters, Waltz explained, “China is watching, Iran is watching, North Korea is watching. They already saw us abandoned one democracy, even as imperfect as it was in Afghanistan and walk away there. We walk away now and Ukraine, and I truly fear for Israel. I fear for Taiwan. I fear for South Korea. Authoritarianism is on the march, because they smell weakness in this White House, and that’s how that’s how aggressive nations behave. They take advantage of that weakness, and that’s how you lead to global instability that will affect every American.”

As disconnected as the Biden administration has been, even it recognizes the threat here. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is hurrying to Switzerland to meet with his Russian counterparts and try to head off a disastrous fate. Another delegation of U.S. senators also flew to Kyiv to meet with the Ukrainian president. Although the far-Leftists and Republicans rarely have much in common, this is one problem they seem united to solve. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told reporters that their bipartisan delegation wants to send a clear message to the global community: “The United States stands in unwavering support of our Ukrainian partners to defend their sovereignty and in the face of persistent Russian aggression.”

Here at home, Americans have their own beef with the president — but world leaders have to be just as frustrated with Biden’s policies. “I just don’t think we can overstate how Biden’s failed energy policies are playing into this,” Waltz shook his head. “When you crack down on American pipelines, on drilling, on fracking and you move America away from energy independence, you put that demand in the hands of the Russians. We now have Europe more dependent on Russian oil and gas. Putin is flush with cash with the high price of oil, and he now has a pipeline in place the Nord Stream 2 that allows him to bypass Eastern Europe and bypass Ukraine and create a dependency in Western Europe… And don’t think he’ll stop with Ukraine.”

Equally as disturbing, America’s fighting force may not be up to the challenge. Thanks to the woke leadership of the Biden administration, our military has been increasingly hollowed out. Good men and women have either been purged by the “extremist” witch hunt, left the ranks in disgust, or been forced out by the administration’s senseless COVID policy. The stronger and more prepared our military is, the less likely it is we’ll have to use it. To the rest of the world, it’s a deterrent. What we have now are serious liabilities in readiness — and our enemies know it.

“When you have your Secretary of Defense state [that] his number one priority is [eliminating] the ‘growing threat of white supremacy’ (even though there’s no data to back that up) and climate change,” the U.S. is in trouble, Waltz agrees “Meanwhile, the Chinese have a larger navy now than the United States Navy. They’ve launched more into space than the United States [and] the rest of the world combined. We’ve talked about Russia on the march and Iran’s nuclear weapon. So the priorities have been misplaced, number one. And when you couple that with cuts in the budget,” it’s a problem.

The stakes at home are high. We need leaders that recognize the threat and the importance of a military fit to meet it. Let’s hope that’s what we get in November. The rest of the world depends on it.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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