Defend Taiwan

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

We are coming off a debacle departure from a country in which we were entangled for 20 years. There are many Americans that look skeptically at entering another country to defend it against evil forces. In this case, we have a mostly different situation. It is imperative for us and our allies that we defend Taiwan.

Americans have recently been left with a cynical attitude due to our military actions. We entered a country (Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the Trio) with a just cause and it turned into quicksand. We arm and train the local population to defend itself against the enemy (Viet Cong, ISIS, and Taliban), and as soon as we depart the local forces fall apart thereby wasting everything for which we were fought. Taiwan is not that.

Taiwan is a democracy and wants to remain a free and independent country. Despite exertions by Xi Jinping (head dictatorial authoritarian), the fact that Taiwan is part of China is a stretch.  After thousands of years of existence, it became part of China in 1683 and remained so only until 1895 when taken over by Japan which controlled the island until 1945. From there it was part of China for four years until becoming a free independent country in 1949. 

The current population consists of Taiwanese (almost all born on the island) in a free country, and they want to keep it that way. They have seen what the Chinese did to Hong Kong and the agreement that they have cheated on and they want no part of China. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Taiwan is six times that of China on a per capita basis. We can easily see why China wants Taiwan. It is clear why Taiwan does not want to become part of China. Why would any country want to join with another country where they would lose their freedom and become incontrovertibly poorer?

Another distinction between Taiwan and the Trio of policy failures was the enormous corruption in these countries. We sent our money over to the three countries and it disappeared into wasted projects and Swiss bank accounts. Taiwan is a country low in corruption. On scales used to judge this they are 28th in the world, just below the US at 25th. China on the other hand is ranked 78th

Another distinction is it was clearly questionable how much the people in the Trio liked us. Taiwanese love us and know their future is dependent on us helping to keep them independent.

The bigger picture begins with the fact Taiwan does not need our money. They can support themselves.  They have their own defense forces. They have their own army, navy, marines, and air force consisting of 165,000 active personnel with 1,655,000 reserves. 

So why do they need our military support?  The answer is easy: They are facing a behemoth of a country that is led by a diabolical dictator which has an active military over ten times the size of Taiwan’s.  Xi is hell bent on taking over Taiwan and converting the twenty-four million Taiwanese people into his economic slaves. 

Since he has already usurped Hong Kong against the signed treaty and has his sights set on swallowing up Taiwan, what makes anyone think he will stop there? The Philippines is right next door. 22.6% of Malaysia are people of Chinese descent. Over seven million people in Indonesia are of Chinese descent. People like Xi (Putin) are excellent at making up excuses for taking over other countries.

What is the United States’ self-interest in defending Taiwan? Other than maintaining one of the world’s free democracies – a lot. Taiwan is the U.S.’s ninth-largest trading partner and our largest microchip supplier. Taiwan produces 63% of the world’s semiconductors, a market China has tried to enter but made little progress. Taiwan freely and willingly trades with us. Everything we obtain from China is subject to a dictatorial bureaucracy that could be cut off at any time. Taiwan would not do such and we certainly do not have to make contingencies for such.

We need to sign a mutual defense pact with Taiwan incorporating Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, The Philippines, and Viet Nam into the pact as a minimum. We need to send immediately at least 5,000 troops to the island along with another 5,000 troops from the allies who all have a self-interest in defending Taiwan. That should be a start to tone down China’s bellicose actions. We currently have an estimated 55,000 troops in Japan and 28,500 in South Korea.We could draw from there or we could and should augment that with fresh forces in Taiwan. We should base some of our Air Force there and we would not have to build an air base. Taiwan is a first world country.

The time to act is now. We must show China they cannot and will not run over our allies. We cannot act like paper tigers. We have some forces in Taiwan now. We can defer China from their action of taking over Taiwan by force. Xi may want to take on Taiwan, but he certainly is not going to take on America and its allies.

I will paraphrase Richard Nixon during the Israeli Yom Kippur war: “Ship them what they need and keep on shipping them until we are out.” That is how paramount defending Taiwan is to the United States, Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world. There is no time to waste.

 

 

Arizona Legislation Would Require Schools Teach ‘anti-communist’ Civics Curriculum

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Editors’ Note: The exchange between two Arizona legislators at the end of the following article encapsulates the major divide in America today. The (Democrat) left’s Marxist socialist ideology currently being forced without a mandate through Congress and the Executive branch, trumpeted by a corrupted and state-acting media and enabled by public school and higher education indoctrination throughout the land is diametrically opposed to our liberty, our natural rights and our history as a Judeo-Christian nation with a Constitution that established the individual citizen as the sovereign and a country governed by consent of the people for the first time in world history. We are now seeing restrictions of liberty everywhere, growth of a police state and an explosion of crime and chaos on American streets. The ingredients for a radical departure toward a statist model of governance with inordinate police power enabled by the pandemic and the highly questionable 2020 election results should concern every informed citizen who values the liberty we have and the America we love. On this Thanksgiving in 2021 let us recommit to the great gift we have been granted over two centuries ago and which must be defended against tyranny and loss by every generation and every American patriot.

 

Two Arizona Republicans whose families fled communist countries want schools in the state to teach about the evils of the political philosophy.

State Rep. Quang Nguyen, R-Prescott, announced Tuesday his plan to file legislation he said would strengthen civics instruction and civics literacy education for Arizona’s K-12 students.

Nguyen’s family fled communist Vietnam.

“This is very personal to me, as someone who has survived a communist war,” Nguyen said. “I have lost very close family members to the evil ideology of communism. I know what it feels to lose a nation to communism and that’s why I do not want my fellow Arizonans to ever go through what I have.”

“It is up to us to ensure that future generations have an honest understanding of what communism truly is and the horrors it has produced for mankind. Otherwise, it is likely to be repeated. The victims and survivors of communism deserve to have their voice heard.”

House Majority Leader Ben Toma’s family fled communist-run Romania. Toma, a Peoria Republican, is co-sponsoring the legislation with Nguyen.

“I believe in America and its cornerstone principles of liberty, freedom, and democracy,” he said. “I also believe that we have a solemn obligation to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Toma said the legislation strengthens a student’s foundation in civic literacy and understanding of what makes America exceptional, and how it stands in stark contrast to communism and totalitarianism.

Nguyen’s bill would require the state academic standards in social studies to be retooled to include discussion of “political ideologies that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States.”

Similar legislation was debated as the previous legislative session came to a close in June but failed to make it to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk.

Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, said during previous debate white nationalism is more dangerous of an ideology than communism. Nguyen had a candid response.

“White nationalism didn’t drown 250,000 Vietnamese in the South China Sea,” he said.

*****

This article was published on November 23, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Why There is a Civic and Moral Duty to Oppose Tyrannical Bureaucracies

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

The searing Russian novel Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is one of the greatest examinations of totalitarianism ever written. Based on his experiences under Stalin, Grossman depicts how humanity withers under tyranny. Grossman’s book is not a dystopian novel, yet few books better teach how force is used to control a population by not only restricting liberty but also exploiting weaknesses in human nature.

Along a flank of the Stalingrad front, two colonels talk about the terrible impact of bureaucrats and bureaucracy. One colonel tells this story:

There was an infantry detachment that had been surrounded. The men had nothing to eat. A squadron was ordered to drop them some food by parachute. And then the quartermaster refused to issue the food. He said he needed a signature on the delivery slip and how could the men down below sign for what had been dropped by parachute? And he wouldn’t budge. Finally he received an order from above.

The other colonel says, “Bureaucracy can be much more terrifying than that.” He then shares this story:

Remember the order: ‘Not one step back’? There was one place where the Germans were mowing our men down by the hundred. All we needed to do was withdraw over the brow of the hill. Strategically, it would have made no difference – and we’d have saved our men and equipment. But the orders were “Not one step back.” And so the men perished and their equipment was destroyed.

The conversation continues, and then Grossman has one colonel deliver the punchline: “What’s really terrifying is when you realize that bureaucracy isn’t simply a growth on the body of the State. If it were only that, it could be cut off. No, bureaucracy is the very essence of the State.”

The forces making bureaucracy arbitrary, capricious, and impervious to reason—”the very essence of the State”—are the same in America as they were in Grossman’s Soviet Union. We all have our stories of bureaucratic indifference; and now during Covid, indifference has become cruel. Just ask the relatives of former Governor Cuomo’s nursing home victims or the former “health angels” who gained natural immunity and now face termination for refusing the vaccine mandate.

In his book Bureaucracy, Ludwig von Mises explains, “The ultimate basis of an all-around bureaucratic system is violence.” As for the bureaucrats making the rules, Mises observes, “He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.”

Today, has Grossman’s World War II “not one step back” become “if it saves one life?”

Egyppius is a pseudonymous critic of Covid policies. He recently explored how the “not one step back” mindset has shaped Covid policy:

All containment policies, since March 2020, flow from two fundamental premises, that together form a Pandemic Doctrine: 1) All pandemic infections are regrettable and to be prevented. 2) It is possible to control pandemics via social or medical technology.” “Before 2020, nobody anywhere believed either of these things—not despite, but because of long experience with semi-regular pandemic influenza outbreaks.

Egyppius explores the motives of the “autonomous undirected actions of a million nameless, faceless bureaucrats, which nobody can any longer control:”

Everything since then, has been the autonomous force of the Pandemic Doctrine and its terrible demands. As containment policies have failed, one after the other, they have left a vortex of disconfirmed expectancy in their wake, turning early political and bureaucratic advocates of containment into truly deranged zealots. The policies themselves, though they are articles of faith, have little or no real-world effect, and this has had curious consequences. It became important for all countries to do as many useless things as possible, and more or less the same useless things as everyone else. Bureaucracies that rejected a specific measure risked being blamed for whatever happened next. And without controls, the failure of containment could be rewritten always and forever as success: ‘Imagine how many more deaths we would have had, if we never locked down.

San Francisco bureaucrats demand that 5-year-old children be vaccinated in order to be admitted to indoor places. Will parents of tall 4-year-old children have to carry birth certificates to prove that their child isn’t five? School bureaucrats demand special needs children with breathing issues be placed in plexiglass cubicles.

On a Federal level, OSHA bureaucrats issue rules that contain a new cadre of inspectors empowered to level $13,600 per worker fines for those firms violating vaccine mandates; mandates that do nothing to control the spread of Covid.

As essential services continue to deteriorate and shelves continue to empty, will bureaucrats change their guidelines? Egyppius predicts the Covid totalitarian toothpaste “will never go back in the tube.”

Faced with this illiberal onslaught from politicians and bureaucrats, it seems there is little we can do but weep in despair. After all, you might reason, what can one person do? Mises is clear: such a defeatist mindset forfeits your civic duties.

Bureaucracy was written in 1944, and of course, Mises had nothing to say about the Covid bureaucracy. However, his advice on opposing the socialist bureaucracy is applicable today.

Lesson 1: Oppose bureaucrats with vigor but avoid name-calling.

Mises explored the “propaganda trick” of those promoting socialism in Western countries. Promoters of socialism “extol the blessings which socialism has in store for mankind… [but] they have never attempted to prove their fallacious dogmas or still less to refute the objections raised by the economists.” Instead, they “call their adversaries names and… cast suspicion upon their motives.”

Today, politicians and bureaucrats use the same strategy to besmirch opponents of failed Covid policies. Has anything changed since Mises observed, “The average citizen cannot see through these stratagems?”

If you are swayed by propaganda that encourages us vs them name-calling, you are being manipulated to turn towards the darkest corners of your mind.

Lesson 2: Encourage others to broaden their reading and listening beyond the orthodoxy.

To combat socialism, Mises recommended economic studies as a civic duty. One does not have to become an economist to see through propaganda. Mises explains,

Only a man conversant with the main problems of economics is in a position to form an independent opinion on the problems involved. All the others are merely repeating what they have picked up by the way. They are an easy prey to demagogic swindlers and idiotic quacks. Their gullibility is the most serious menace to the preservation of democracy and to Western civilization.

Mises clarified, “The aim of the popularization of economic studies is not to make every man an economist. The idea is to equip the citizen for his civic functions in community life.” “It is hopeless,” Mises warned, “to stop the trend toward bureaucratization by the mere expression of indignation and by a nostalgic glorification of the good old times.”

Applying this lesson today, you don’t have to be a physician or epidemiologist to become conversant with basic Covid issues. Official propaganda might claim this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, that natural immunity doesn’t exist, and your 5-year-old child urgently needs a Covid vaccination, but you can look at the evidence for yourself.

Lesson 3: Oppose all censorship

Propaganda, Mises alerts us, “is one of the worst evils of bureaucracy.” Propaganda is full of “lies, fallacies, and superstitions.” Mises adds these prescient words: “The liars must be afraid of truth and are therefore driven to suppress its pronouncement… Lenin and Hitler knew very well why they abolished freedom of thought, speech, and the press, and why they closed the frontiers of their countries to any import of ideas from abroad.”

No matter where you stand on a Covid issue, freedom and scientific progress depend on your opposition to the censorship of opposing views. Censors in America are not driven by better motivations than Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. Censors want to abolish critical thinking and pave the way for the imposition, without opposition, of any program they deem necessary.

Lesson 4: Oppose rule by elites

If Covid bureaucrats have run wild, “gullible citizenry” is to blame: “The plain citizens are mistaken in complaining that the bureaucrats have arrogated powers; they themselves and their mandatories have abandoned their sovereignty. Their ignorance of fundamental problems of economics has made the professional specialists supreme.” Mises warned against rule by elite “experts:”

But democracy becomes impracticable if the eminent citizens, the intellectual leaders of the community, are not in a position to form their own opinion on the basic social, economic, and political principles of policies. If the citizens are under the intellectual hegemony of the bureaucratic professionals, society breaks up into two castes: the ruling professionals, the Brahmins, and the gullible citizenry. Then despotism emerges, whatever the wording of constitutions and laws may be.

Mises ends his book with this instruction:

How can people determine their own affairs if they are too indifferent to gain through their own thinking an independent judgment on fundamental political and economic problems? Democracy is not a good that people can enjoy without trouble. It is, on the contrary, a treasure that must be daily defended and conquered anew by strenuous effort.

Watching CNN or Fox and then repeating “They say…” is not the strenuous effort Mises suggested. Mises would warn against dismissing brave voices diligently questioning the orthodoxy. Entrepreneur Steve Kirsch is just one example of a courageous voice who some would dismiss as not being a trained health professional. You can come to a different conclusion.

If we have a civic duty to learn about immunity, pandemics, and health, we also have an equally important moral duty.

Lesson 5: We have a moral duty to see the humanity in others

Recently I was speaking to a physician friend whose politics are progressive but who sees himself as holding liberal values. I mentioned how disturbed I was about the ongoing demonization by bureaucrats and politicians of those who have chosen not to be vaccinated. The physician said this is indeed regrettable, but he chastised me: “I must understand the context, those doing the demonization are trying to save lives.” Although this doctor himself had suffered a significant vaccine injury from the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, he then recited the bureaucratic propaganda for current vaccine policies. To keep his standing in the medical community, he carefully weighs the dangers to his career of stepping too far away from the official narrative. He cares about patients, yet the ties of his medical tribe compromise his judgment.

If you say I must feed my family, I cannot oppose mandates; no one will fault you. If you say, I have no time to study the issue and make my own judgment, you can still take a moral stand against coercing and demonizing others. You can stand for the humanity in each person and eschew tribal hatreds. There is no need to harass others by cooperating with petty bureaucrats.

In his best-known work, I and Thou, the Vienna-born philosopher Martin Buber observed two fundamental ways of seeing the world: “I-Thou” or “I-It.” Through the “I-It” lens, others are seen as less than us, either as objects who help us or obstacles that get in our way. Tribalism, at its core, looks at the world through “I-It” eyes.

In the great Russian novel, The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky tells of Fyodor Pavlovitch, who desires to “revenge himself on everyone for his own unseemliness.” Pavlovitch remembers being asked, “Why do you hate so and so, so much?” Pavlovitch had responded, “I’ll tell you. He has done me no harm. But I played him a dirty trick, and ever since I have hated him.”

Today, those we once called angels, health care professionals, airline employees, first responders, grocery store cashiers who served us while others worked at home over Zoom are having “dirty tricks” played against them. If they refuse mandates, they are fired.

It is human nature to experience dissonance when we behave poorly. Notice a moment when you catch yourself seeing the world through “I-It” eyes, when you have failed to see the humanity in another. In the next moment, you may notice there is an itch you need to scratch. The itch is a felt need to justify your “I-It” thinking. You may relieve the itch by cheering at a propagandistic pronouncement portraying the unvaccinated as a threat to you. Phew, you may think, I’m not really a bad person; I’m just defending myself against those who would harm me. In justifying “I-It” thinking, moral duty is abandoned.

We are now at a crossroads. How will we resolve our dissonance when we fail to see the humanity in others? One path is to scratch the need to feel innocent and virtuous. As Dostoevsky explained, we tend to become outraged at those we have harmed.

The other path is to resolve our dissonance by looking at our actions without justifying our actions. In that space, clarity and moral courage arise. Our civic and moral duty requires us to resist all inhumane demonizers professing that there is only one true way and that they are the keepers of that way.

In his seminal work, Human Action, Mises wrote, “A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society.”

In the spirit of Mises, I offer this: A society that embraces coerced medical choices has chosen a path away from social cooperation and towards the disintegration of society.

*****

This article was published on November 20, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The American Institute for Economic Research.

BLM: America’s Homegrown Marxism

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

A new book exposes the ideological wellsprings of the Black Lives Matter movement.

BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution, by Mike Gonzalez (Encounter Books, 2021), 234 pages.

A running joke on the climate-skeptic right depicts environmentalists as political watermelons—green on the outside, red on the inside. After the rampant rioting and looting of two summers ago that used George Floyd’s death as a pretext, it’s high time the culprits got their own fruit analogy. Per Mike Gonzalez’s latest book, BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution (2021), the namesake group resembles a fig—black on the outside, red on the inside. For all its outward pretension of caring for the plight of black Americans, the movement’s inner drive has proven to be the overhaul of American society along Marxist lines.

Much like his prior bestseller The Plot to Change America (2020), Gonzalez’s book argues the simple point that today’s far-left social movements didn’t come out of anywhere—they’ve only been portrayed as such by a pliant media. For the lay observer, Black Lives Matter (BLM) may seem like a discrete response to the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and George Floyd, one limited to advocating for the rooting out of racial inequities from policing and the criminal justice system. Gonzalez proves beyond doubt that this is not the case. BLM is but the latest iteration of a long effort, first undertaken by the Soviet Union, to whip up racial animus and urban unrest for the benefit of Marxist causes. “Behind the prison and police reform façade,” he writes, “lies a deep ideological commitment to abandoning our free-market and liberal democratic system and to remaking America along Marxist lines.” The reason this effort has fared far better than in the 1920s and 1960s is owed to the media’s refusal to cover these groups critically and to the state of ritualistic self-flagellation into which the liberal establishment has been cowed since the killing of George Floyd.

But BLM can’t be reduced to its interpretation of the Founding, lest we overlook the forward-looking elements of its ideology. Gonzalez proceeds to sketch a history of the links between communism and parts of the African American community beginning in the mid-19th century, when the Marxist objection to American capitalism wasn’t so much slavery as wage slavery—namely, industrial employment. As soon as it formed, the Soviet Union began its own efforts to convert black Americans to communism through figures from the so-called Harlem Renaissance of black letters, such as Lanston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois and Claude McKay. The Soviets’ ambition to destabilize America by setting up “a separate Negro state” from which to launch a revolution across the rest of the country, however, did not align with Marcus Garvey, the leader of the separatist, pan-Africanist wing of the black movement working towards a similar end. In fact, Garvey would remain a staunch anti-communist all his life. “Though black intellectuals may have fallen for the siren song of communism,” Gonzalez writes, “rank and file black Americans saw through Moscow’s actions and said no, thanks.”

But the mix of Marxism and racial identitarianism would come to a head in the 1960s, when “the core principle of the civil rights era—that discrimination on the basis of race was evil—was almost instantly reversed.” A new generation of black leaders including Malcolm X, Stokey Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Assata Shakur would break with the civil rights movement’s incrementalist methods and color-blind policies, instead deeming white Americans—and thus America at large—inherently evil. This, in Gonzalez’s telling, is precisely the generation that trained, groomed, and eventually passed the torch to today’s BLM leaders, people such as Opal Tometi, Patrice Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Melina Abdullah. “Even before they created the hashtag expression #BlackLivesMatter in 2013 that later became an empire of revolutionary organizations around the world,” Gonzalez writes, “they belonged or associated with an interlacing web of socialist groups that have been trying to overthrow the American system for decades.”

Since emerging as an online rallying cry in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, BLM has been beefed up with considerable organizing muscle through the creation of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and BLM Global Network Foundation, “both radical, anti-capitalist organizations that seek a root-and-branch change of the way the U.S. is constituted.” In 2020, this network was further ramped up through the creation of a SuperPAC—meaning that BLM can fund candidates and lobby for bills—all thanks to the support of an interlocking web of philanthropic organizations—George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Susan Rosenberg’s Thousand Currents, Drummond Pike’s Tides Foundation, and the Buffett family’s NoVo Foundation. Through its lobbying of Congress and its funding of soft-on-crime district attorney races, BLM has been able to pressure the FBI out of investigating violence committed by what it calls Black Identity Extremists (BIEs), and effectively lessen the punishment for the lawlessness that dovetails with BLM.

For depicting such a despairing phenomenon, the book ends on a remarkably hopeful note. Gonzalez hopes that the moral panic about the state of America’s race relations that so bedevils our elites can be stemmed and eventually rolled back through a combination of reasoned reforms making police departments more accountable, cold-headed books like his proving that the impression of a “carceral state” up against black Americans is an illusion, and the kind of civil courage on display in the grassroots effort to stop critical race theory continuing. Thirty years ago, America led the world’s defeat of communism. With enough facts and spine, its homegrown variant can be defeated again.

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This article was published on November 13, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The American Conservative.

Whistleblower Videos Capture Pennsylvania Election Officials Destroying Evidence

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

A complaint alleges Pennslyvania election officials were tearing tapes ‘into pieces and placing … them into the trash stating they will have a campfire to burn the data.’

Several residents of Delaware County Pennsylvania filed a sprawling lawsuit Thursday against the former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, Delaware County, the Delaware County Board of Elections, and more than a dozen individual election officials. The lawsuit followed Wednesday’s night release of videotapes taken by a whistleblower capturing concerning behavior by several election officials in the Keystone state.

A source familiar with the lawsuit provided access to the tapes, noting the then-unnamed whistleblower had come forward with video evidence purporting to show Delaware County, Pennsylvania election officials destroying records from the November 2020 general election. The videos were also filed with the complaint and a bevy of exhibits the plaintiffs maintain support the allegations contained in their 91-page complaint.

The complaint, filed by Delaware County residents, Ruth Moton, Leah Hoopes, Gregory Stenstrom, as well as the Friends of Ruth Motion campaign, prevented both detailed alleged violations of state election law during the November 2020 election and claims of a conspiracy after the election to hide the numerous problems and illegalities that occurred during the last presidential election.

While the minutia of the election law recited in the complaint may escape the public’s notice, allegations that the defendants conspired to destroy or alter election data, materials, and equipment, “to prevent the discovery of the fraudulent results of the November 3, 2020 election, and the violation of various state and federal election laws,” when coupled with the videos, may finally awaken the sleeping masses to the cause of election integrity.

A May 21, 2021 request for 2020 election data and information submitted to Delaware County under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law served as an impetus for the alleged conspiracy and cover-up, as the complaint told the story.

A week later after the Right to Know request, a conversation is captured between two individuals, identified by those with knowledge of the lawsuit, as James Allen, the Director of Election Operations for Delaware County, and Jim Savage, identified by Delaware County’s directory as the Chief Custodian/Voting Machine Warehouse Supervisor.

In that video provided to The Federalist, Allen is heard telling Savage, “Then get rid of the pads and the second scanners.”

“We can’t talk about it anymore,” Savage replies, with Allen questioning, “Why?” “It’s a felony,” Allen countered.

The complaint added more texture to this video, alleging that Savage then “encouraged a private conversation to continue the conversation of the removal of the pads and scanners due to other Delaware County employees and [contract employee] Regina Miller,” being present.

The following month the whistleblower filmed a conversation she had with another Delaware County official, James Ziegelhoffer, according to a source with knowledge of the lawsuit. Ziegelhoffer, also known as Ziggy, held the position of “Judge of Election” for the Western Precinct in the Media Borough.

This tape purports to capture Ziggy saying, “What we have here . . . is evidence. Right? Let them figure that out.”

The whistleblower interjects, “Yes, but what I don’t understand and this makes — honestly this makes me nervous. Is why tapes were being thrown away?”

Ziggy begins to deny the claim, “No, no tapes were,” when the Whistleblower cuts him off:

“No, you guys have been throwing away tapes … so what tapes are you throwing away? Like why?”

“They’re all unidentifiable,” he counters before the whistleblower interrupts again:

“But it’s been that way since the November elections, so why would you throw anything away. Because you have to save it for 22 months,” the unnamed source is heard saying in the video, a reference to federal retention mandates.

“Yes there are tapes that are being tossed,” Ziggy finally acknowledges, but adds, “but they are of no audit value.”

A third video appears filmed in the same large room and captures a man identified by individuals with knowledge of the lawsuit as a Delaware County lawyer, Tom Gallager. As Gallager tears the tapes from the voting machines and discards them, the whistleblower can be heard asking: “Tom, why do you have to rip it up? Makes you feel better?”

“At this point,” Gallager replies, “I don’t want anybody to pick it up, and thinking we threw stuff away.”

“We’re gonna have a little campfire going,” Ziggy adds.

Several allegations in the complaint mesh with this video as well, with the plaintiffs alleging Delaware County layer, Tom Gallagher, and Ziegelhofer “set up a long table full of November 3, 2020, election data, and selectively destroyed the machines/proof tapes along with other November 3, 2020 records by tearing it into pieces and placing [it] into the trash stating they will have a campfire to burn the data.”

“Regina Miller became nervous” the complaint continues, alleging that Miller “informed the pair that they were violating numerous state and federal laws.” According to the complaint, Ziegelhoffer justified his actions by claiming “there was no audit value” to the November 3, 2020, election data.

Miller, who was a contract employee with Monarch Staffing, also claimed that in July of 2021, Allen threatened to consider a complaint taken to anyone else but him, as a “second and final violation of chain of command.” The complaint further alleged that Savage “told Regina Miller that he would have someone killed if he was ever betrayed by someone at work and described a story that he heard regarding someone from the county that someone “ratted on.”

Attempts to speak with Allen proved unsuccessful, with an administrative assistant stating he was in a meeting, but agreeing to convey my media request to him. Allen did not return my call. A call to Savage went unanswered and the County also ignored requests for comments from the gentlemen along with Gallager and Ziegelhoffer.

After detailing the purported violations of election law and the alleged destruction of election records and the claimed conspiracy, the complaint presented five legal theories for recovery, with Count I for common law fraud, Count II for fraudulent misrepresentation, Count III for negligent misrepresentation, Count IV for a claim for common law quo warranto, which apparently is a Pennsylvania claim for fraud related to elections and Count V for Mandamus and Equitable Relief.

While, if true, the allegations seem to scream of violations of the law, none of the claims alleged seem a close fit to the facts proffered to the court in the complaint. Also troubling is grasping the remedy the plaintiffs seek.

Typically money damages are awarded for fraud, but how do you monetize the harm to a voter when he is disenfranchised by election officials who counted illegal or fraudulent votes? Similarly, what court order (or mandamus) or other injunction could make the plaintiffs whole again.

The litigation, however, may have served another purpose: To highlight what the plaintiffs believe were widespread violations of state and federal election law and to expose the alleged conspiracy to cover up those problems, and thereby prevent a repeat in future elections.

Still, the videos may not be enough for those so blinded by their distaste for Trump that they cannot see the real threat to our democracy: elections without integrity and an electorate unable to trust the official outcome.

*****

This article was published on November 19, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

The Bush Family Affair With China

Estimated Reading Time: 22 minutes

From H.W. sitting down with Mao in 1975 to Neil Bush shipping off millions of masks to China last year.

 

This decision has not come easily. Those were the foreboding words of Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, Texas, as he gathered with other city officials before TV cameras on March 11, 2020. Local stations broke into daytime programming with the news everyone was dreading.

Turner coughed and announced that he was signing a public health emergency declaration. “In the best interest of the health and safety of the people, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which we all deeply love, is canceled.” The annual event had come to symbolize Texas culture as much as Mardi Gras defines New Orleans. The reason for closing it was the outbreak of Covid-19, Turner said.

News accounts said the virus that originated in China had arrived in the Lone Star State. A few hours after Turner’s declaration, the Houston metro area of more than seven million people ground to a halt, along with the rest of the country.

Watching the shutdown was 65-year-old Houstonian Neil M. Bush, scion of a family with deep roots in Texas. Son and brother to two U.S. presidents, Neil chairs the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations, a 501c3 organization named for his late father, the 41st president, who was, in Neil’s words, “a huge believer in the importance of the bilateral relationship between China and the U.S.”

The purpose of the foundation, Neil said, was “to get Americans to change their negative views” of China and recognize the country’s “natural kindness and gift giving.”

As the group’s leader, Neil had inside information on what was happening in China. During the last four decades, he had traveled to the country more than 150 times. Before most Americans ever heard the words “Covid-19,” Neil received reports that people in China were dying from a mysterious virus. To try to control it, the Chinese government ordered its citizens to wear medical face masks when they went outside.

There were few places in the U.S. that still made masks and other protective gear. China produced 20 million masks each day.

In early February 2020, the Bush Foundation found two million masks close to home, in Mexico. They persuaded Chubb and Walmart to pay for the masks, and FedEx flew them without charge to China, even though the bulk of the world’s masks were already made there.

As Houston and the rest of the country locked down in mid-March, Neil was acutely aware of something that made him, and the Bush family, unique: a decades-long devotion to work in China.

Following Turner’s address, doctors interviewed on TV said the virus would kill millions across the planet.

Spindly and resembling his father in his awkward mannerisms, Neil Bush introduces himself in speeches, “I’m Neil Bush, the favorite son of George and Barbara Bush,” a quip that usually generates uncomfortable laughter. Both his parents died seven months apart in 2018 and their deaths left him raw. When talking about them, he often tears up.

For three years before their deaths, Neil and the rest of the Bushes anguished over the family legacy. After President George H.W. Bush’s reelection loss in 1992 and President George W. Bush’s disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq, the family’s political reputation was shattered. Even Barbara Bush seemed eager to call it quits. “There are other people out there that are very qualified,” she said on Today in 2013. “We’ve had enough Bushes.”

Neil’s brother, the former governor Jeb Bush of Florida, tried to resurrect the family business by launching a campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2015. His placards read “JEB!” but any enthusiasm that may have existed died on June 15 of that year with a buzzsaw aimed right at the Bushes and the policies they championed.

Donald Trump lambasted military interventionism and “free trade” with China in his campaign for president. He also did something unthinkable to other Republican candidates: held former President George W. Bush to account for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

“When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time,” Trump said in an interview he gave to Bloomberg TV in 2015.

He also assailed decades of rotten trade deals, culminating with China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, a watershed move that was encouraged by Bush 43. The result was that thousands of factories in the U.S. closed. Many of them moved to China.

On a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Jeb said his father grew so angry watching Trump’s critiques that he threw his shoes at the TV set.

Maureen Dowd always said the Bushes suffered from daddy issues. Maybe what made them so angry about Trump was that he sounded a lot like their patriarch, Prescott Sheldon Bush, the Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut from 1952 until 1963. “I was never a free trader,” the old man said in an oral history in 1966. “I never felt that we could abolish tariffs and do away with all protective devices, because we would have been flooded with imports which would have hurt our economy, hurt our defense posture, and I felt that these things had to be done gradually, selectively.”

The most important theme in Trump’s campaign and later presidency was China, how it was set on dominating and controlling the United States. For years, Trump had called China “our biggest long-term challenge.” He charged that Democrats and Republicans, and especially the Bushes, had disregarded China’s bad behavior so they could gain access to Chinese markets.

Trump also said, “Obama bowed to China and allowed them to steal our future.” He emphasized China’s currency manipulation and its theft of intellectual property. “Those who pretend China is our friend are either naïve, incompetent or both. The Chinese can be reined in easily—we are their biggest customer. All we need is a president willing to stand up, not bow down to China.”

In June 2020, William P. Barr, who had served as attorney general for H.W. from 1991 to 1993 and was now Trump’s attorney general, delivered a speech where he declared that the U.S.’s response to the global ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party was “the most important issue for our nation and the world in the 21st century.” Barr also accused China of engaging in industrial espionage, cyberattacks, and extortion.

“As the pandemic spread around the world, the PRC hoarded the masks for itself, blocking producers, including American companies, from exporting them to other countries that needed them,” Barr said. “It then attempted to exploit the shortage for propaganda purposes, shipping limited quantities of often defective equipment and requiring foreign leaders to publicly thank Beijing for these shipments.”

It was a remarkable address coming from someone who had been an integral part of an administration that made trade and cooperation with China a centerpiece. The attorney general’s warnings were echoed in major speeches by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and even FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Maybe the biggest thing Trump did as president was apply tariffs on imported goods from China, measures President Joe Biden has kept in place. Because these transformations were such a departure from Bush family policies, they made a future for them in national politics difficult.

In December 2019, Neil’s 33-year-old son, Pierce Mallon Bush, announced a surprise run for U.S. Congress from Texas’s 22nd District. He decided to eschew his family’s policies and instead campaign on Trump’s, including tightening the border.

Pierce Bush lost the GOP primary. Republicans chose Sheriff Troy Nehls of Fort Bend County, who also campaigned on Trump’s issues—“Standing with President Trump” read a banner on his website. Two days after winning, the sheriff removed the pro-Trump banner. He still went on to beat the Democrat in the general by almost 29,000 votes.

* * *

Neil Bush struggled for decades to find his footing. The media took note of him when he was just 26, but only because he happened to be friends with Scott Hinckley, brother of the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Neil and Scott had planned to have dinner together in Denver on March 31, 1981, the day John Hinckley shot Reagan and three others in Washington. During ABC TV’s live coverage of the assassination attempt, correspondent Steven Greer reported glibly, “Their plans have been canceled.”

By the early 1990s, Neil’s image had grown even more dubious. Democrats and the media made him the face of the savings and loan meltdown. His story was featured on the cover of Playboy in June 1991: “HOW NEIL BUSH WENT ASTRAY.” The tagline: “Running with the biggest rats of the S&L mess, the president’s son became the poster boy of bunko banking.”

“I was never accused of anything illegal, and yet I would be confronted by people, ‘You should be thrown in jail.’ I remember going to Washington and there were ‘Jail Neil Bush’ signs pasted on the telephone poles. It hurt me business-wise for a long time,” he said.

Neil found his destiny with China, a country integral to the Bush family since President Richard M. Nixon appointed ex-congressman George H.W. Bush as ambassador to the United Nations in 1971. (Nixon told his aide Bob Haldeman, “Bush will do anything for the cause.”)

On October 25, 1971, the U.N. voted to admit the People’s Republic of China and expel Taiwan. U.N. Secretary General U Thant asked all members to “endorse the tremendous step forward” and “set aside suspicion and bitterness.” Neil, then 16, was in New York visiting his parents.

“The first thing [dad] did when the Chinese delegation arrived was invite them to a lunch at my grandmother’s home in Connecticut to show kind of American hospitality, to welcome them with open arms,” Neil said, choking up. “From that point on, his first real contact with Chinese leaders, my dad has had an affection for the Chinese people and has high aspirations for how our two great countries should be working together.”

After Watergate, President Gerald Ford huddled with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about prospects for H.W. They thought he would make a good ambassador because he was easy to control. Ford offered the embassy in London or Paris. Bush didn’t want to pay what it would cost a diplomat to entertain in those cities, so he counteroffered with China instead, where the U.S. didn’t have an embassy but needed an “envoy.” Ford accepted and appointed Bush as head of the United States Liaison Office in Peking (now Beijing). Bush concluded that the experts on China knew just about as much as he did, so he did little to prepare for the job.

The post made H.W. into Washington’s chief representative in China. He held the job for 15 months, and the tenure appears to have had the largest role in forming his view of diplomacy.

Bush pedaled around Peking on a bicycle. He also kept a diary on a tape recorder. Much of it is about his dog, C. Fred; eating Chinese food (“They must have put something stimulating in the food, I couldn’t sleep all night”); and trying to “win over” the Chinese people and officials. Kissinger told him that goal was pointless. Still, Bush tried to organize cocktails, dinners, sightseeing. “My hyper-adrenaline, political instincts tell me that the fun of this job is going to be to try to do more, make more contacts… it will be fun trying,” he recorded.

When Kissinger visited in 1975, he took Bush and another diplomat, Winston Lord, with him to pay their respects to 81-year-old Mao Zedong. Mao seemed ancient and was surrounded by medical devices. He grunted a few formalities. When they tried to broach an issue of Sino-American relations, the old commie waved it away. “Fang go pi,” he muttered. Translation: “dog fart.” Toward the end of the meeting, Mao managed to get out a few words. “God blesses you, not us,” he said. “God does not like us because I am a militant warlord, also a communist. No, he doesn’t like me… He likes you three.”

Bush still didn’t get the communist machinations swirling around him, nor did he understand the general upheaval under way in the country. “I wish I could tell what China’s real interest is,” he said into his recorder. He also never seemed to grasp that it was dangerous for the Chinese if they socialized with him, that the government would penalize them for befriending an American.

To keep control, Kissinger cut H.W. out of the foreign service loop, a strategy that became obvious to Bush. Rather than learning about the surrender of the Vietnamese countryside through the State Department, Bush overheard chatter at an embassy drinking party.

“I clearly feel we are not fully clued in by Washington,” Bush said into his tape recorder. “I am just not going to worry about Kissinger’s peculiar style of operation, where he holds all the cards up against his chest and refuses to clue people in on what is really happening.”

Most of the time, Bush just seemed bewildered. “It’s difficult to define our function here,” he said on the tape.

After relocating to Houston, Neil Bush found there were investments to be made, enterprises to start. China seemed a good fit. Government officials there also wanted prominent Americans, and they fêted this son and brother to presidents when he visited.

Neil immersed himself in Asian business enterprises. SingHaiyi Group Ltd., a property development and management company based in Singapore, made Neil chairman. Executives wanted to invest in the U.S., and through what Neil calls “a networking of mine,” they found projects.

One was the Tri-County Mall in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wives of Neil’s friends recommended he purchase and redevelop it. “I said, ‘It must be in a good neighborhood if my friends are coming here,’” he told WCPO-TV in 2013.

Neil did well. He moved into a house across from his parents in Tanglewood, a Houston neighborhood where they’d lived since the 1960s.

Neil described his approach to life when he appeared on All the Best, a podcast hosted by George H.W. Bush’s grandson, Sam LeBlond, who is also Neil’s nephew. In a November 2019 episode, “The Meaning of Service,” Sam asked, “Can you give me more insight into your professional roles? How do you find time to do it all?”

Neil said, “I’ve found that the busier that you are, the more fun you have and the more you get done.” Neil went on to say that his real passion is leading the “Bush legacy movements.”

This must be quite a job because there are more than half a dozen such organizations. The George W. Bush Presidential Center’s motto is “World changers shaped here.” The George W. Bush Institute goes by “Shaping global leadership for future generations.” Points of Light is about “creating a global culture of volunteering” with a “global network” in 38 countries. (At a rally in Montana in 2018, Trump mocked Peggy Noonan’s famous phrase. “Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? And it was put out by a Republican, wasn’t it? I know one thing, ‘Make America Great Again’ we understand. ‘Putting America First’ we understand.”)

The boards of directors for the “Bush legacy movements” are peppered with executives from Google, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, General Motors, Disney Parks, MoneyGram, and other major corporations.

As the initial strains of the novel coronavirus were swirling around Wuhan, unknown to the rest of the world, Neil said on Sam’s podcast: “I’m the chairman of the George H.W. Bush Foundation for China relations, which is kind of a controversial situation right now given the hostility that Americans have towards China. Dad believed strongly that China should be an ally, dealing with our world’s biggest global challenges.”

When I lived in Washington, columnist Bob Novak schooled me on where George H.W. Bush stood when he announced he was running for president in 1980. Bob covered the campaign and said Bush hadn’t been elected to anything except two terms as a congressman from Houston more than a decade earlier. Nor had he run for anything since losing his second Senate race nine years earlier. Bob said any future Bush had in politics depended on an appointment by a Republican president.

That appointment came at the GOP convention in Detroit. After Ronald Reagan’s nomination was assured, he considered selecting former President Ford as his running mate. But when Ford gave an interview to Walter Cronkite in the CBS convention booth and said that if Reagan chose him, they would go to Washington as co-presidents, Reagan went in a different direction and named Bush as his V.P.

When I worked as an intern in former President Reagan’s personal office in Century City in 1991, it was rare to hear a mention of Bush, including by Reagan himself. An exception came in an interview Reagan gave to a former assistant, Martin Anderson, who asked about his vice president. “Would it be fair to say, given the extraordinary number of meetings, private one-on-ones with the vice president, that looking back on it he was probably your main advisor?”

Reagan answered, “I think he recognized his position as such that he didn’t attempt to volunteer something and say, ‘You ought to be doing…’ No, he wouldn’t do that at all.”

“But if you asked for his advice, he certainly would have.”

“Yes. But I always noticed—did you ever notice?—that in the cabinet meetings, in there with everyone else there, he never, never spoke up? He’d answer a question directly if I asked him.”

I recall stories about the weekly lunches Bush had with Reagan in the White House. Reagan loved practical jokes, especially when the vice president was the butt. On one such occasion, Reagan announced to Bush, “We really must isolate the things that America makes in the world and what we do best.” Bush nodded agreement. Reagan said, “For instance, condoms. Condoms are the thing that America makes that are best.” Bush said, “I didn’t know that.” Reagan said, “Yeah, that’s why at the end of each condom it has this huge ‘MADE IN THE USA’ printed on it.” Bush said, “I didn’t know that.” Reagan replied, “Well, George, you have to unroll them all the way to see it.”

When Bush ran for president again in 1988, he listened to his longtime friend and advisor James A. Baker III, who realized that the path to victory was campaigning on the idea of a continuation of a successful two-term Reagan presidency. “We wanted it to be about the same issues that the Reagan-Bush administration had been pursuing,” Baker said in an oral history. “We wanted it to be about lower taxes. We wanted it to be about strong defense.”

But over the course of George H.W. Bush’s presidential term, he sent us to war in the Persian Gulf, raised taxes, and pushed for “free trade,” including with China. He said that “the more economic contact we have with China, the more they are going to see the fruits of market economies.” That philosophy didn’t seem to work very well when, after the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square, Bush called his “old friend” Deng Xiaoping to lodge a protest. Deng refused to take his call.

Still, in 1990, Bush said, “The whole fact that we’ve had economic involvement with China has moved China more toward reform than if we hadn’t had it.”

In July 1991, the National Victory Celebration Parade was held in Washington. Some 800,000 people turned out to cheer for the troops returning from Desert Storm. President Bush appeared to salute them and celebrate. According to polls, almost 89 percent of the American people approved of the job Bush was doing.

By the time he traveled to Los Angeles for the opening of the Reagan Library in November 1991, the country had grown weary. Factories were closing. There was a recession. A few weeks later, Pat Buchanan went to New Hampshire to challenge Bush for the Republican nomination.

“He is yesterday, and we are tomorrow,” Buchanan said. “He is a globalist, and we are nationalists. He believes in some Pax Universalis; we believe in the Old Republic. He would put Americans’ wealth and power at the service of some vague New World Order; we will put America first.”

In the presidential debate on October 11, 1992, Bill Clinton accused Bush of coddling tyrants. “I think it is a mistake for us to do what this [Bush] administration did when all those kids went out there carrying the Statue of Liberty in Tiananmen Square.” It was still fresh in the public’s mind.

Clinton continued: “Mr. Bush sent two people in secret to toast the Chinese leaders and basically tell them not to worry about it. They rewarded him by opening negotiations with Iran to transfer nuclear technology. That was their response to that sort of action… I would be firm. I would say, ‘If you want to continue Most Favored Nations status for your government-owned industries as well as your private ones, observe human rights in the future. Open your society. Recognize the legitimacy of those kids that were carrying the Statue of Liberty.’”

Bush gave a garbled reply, “Governor Clinton’s philosophy is to isolate China. He says don’t do it, but the policies he’s expounding of putting conditions on MFN and kind of humiliating them is now the way you make the kind of progress we are getting… We are the ones that have lowered the barrier to products with [U.S. Trade Representative] Carla Hill’s negotiation.”

You can see why Bush lost.

A decade later, H.W.’s national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft, who delivered that infamous toast to the Chinese, admitted, “I do have a regret about the trip to China in December of 1989, where I was, in effect, sandbagged by the Chinese. That’s a personal regret… It certainly didn’t help the view of the Bush administration and the way we were treating China.”

By the time of the election, just 37 percent of the country approved of Bush. A spectacular fall, the lowest number for an incumbent president since William Howard Taft in 1912.

About 20 years ago, I became friends with a man who helped run the Communist Party on the West Coast, a very successful screenwriter named Richard Collins. He lived in Brentwood, used Brooks Brothers diaries, and produced the TV series Remington Steele, but at one time he oversaw one of the most ambitious communist operations in the world. He showed me how the communist business model hasn’t changed for a century. The party uses whatever is the technology of the day, Collins said, but the basic plan for expansion is the same as it was in the time of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sees himself as Stalin’s successor, delivered a speech in which he talked about the importance of influencing and shaping the world. All the Chinese Communist functionaries were present for Xi’s address: the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Propaganda Department, the Political-Legal Commission, the People’s Liberation Army, the Organization Department, and—essential to Xi’s overarching goal—the United Front Work Department, which is tasked with “managing relations with non-CCP elites and organizations with social, commercial, or academic influence inside and outside China.”

Collins told me how he and other party officials would establish a “front,” an organization whose membership is made up of non-communists (with a few exceptions) and their goal would be to pursue an objective which, on the surface, has no obvious relationship to communism itself.

The members become convinced they are serving U.S. interests by advocating “harmony” and “cooperation” between the U.S. and the communist country. In the case of the Chinese Communist Party, these apparent purposes help with its networking. They create “linkages” which can then be exploited by targeting individuals for grooming. Collins said the party leaders loved deploying psychological methods. They’d reassure the people in the front group that they were working for the “greater good,” praise their work as brilliant when it was hackery, and give them promotions and money. The front group would help advance the real communist objective, without the supporters aware they were spreading the communist party’s messages and extending its influence.

For the Chinese Communists, sympathizers are vital. These people are non-communists who are opposed to certain features of communism but believe it’s permissible to associate with them to advance “causes.” Collins said that the sympathizers are always naïve dreamers: If I’m tolerant and understanding, the communists will abandon their brutality, dictatorship, and deception. They think the Communist Party will become a benign, worthy movement. No more murdering Nobel Peace Prize laureates. They think involvement in a communist country’s markets will do magical things.

For decades, people at the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation, and Cato Institute believed this about China. In some ways, that belief was understandable, because their dreams came true in Korea and Taiwan. Both countries were run by dictators, then they “democratized” and became free and peaceful. But if you looked at China and understood its history, it was obvious it was going to be different.

“The FBI was all over the catastrophe. They busted in on a meeting. They were up the ass of the whole thing.” I’m listening to Joshua Eisenman, a professor of U.S.-China relations at Notre Dame who used to teach at the University of Texas at Austin. He’s telling me a fantastic story about the time the Chinese Communist Party tried to take over part of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. His first indication that something was up came when he and other scholars went to China for a conference in 2017.

The group’s host was a former U.S. foreign service employee, David J. Firestein. For several years beginning in the late 1990s, Firestein, who is fluent in Chinese and Russian, worked various positions in embassies in Beijing and Moscow. He also taught a course on political consulting at Moscow State University. Now Firestein was working for the EastWest Institute, a think tank, and promising to bring millions to UT to underwrite a new China Public Policy Center at the LBJ School.

During meetings in China, Eisenman says he detected a “lickspittle nature” to the events. Critiques of the Chinese government were always vague and never unpacked. He asked Firestein, “Why are we pulling punches? Why are we not engaging?”

“I was used to working at the American Foreign Policy Council, where exchanges were robust,” he recalls. “We were honest. We were bringing important people together and letting them speak forthrightly. The lack of this during the UT trip made me ask Firestein, what is going on?”

Firestein told him. His benefactor was something called the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). Eisenman recognized it as a Chinese Communist Party front that operates in the U.S. It is led by Tung Chee-haw, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a self-described United Front Organization. In fact, CUSEF is registered in the U.S. as an “agent of a foreign principal.”

The Chinese government didn’t want disagreements; in fact, the goal was to build more entities at UT focused on U.S.-China “cooperation.” Lectures about what China may be doing wrong aren’t on the agenda, Firestein said.

That’s when Eisenman realized that Firestein’s project at UT wouldn’t permit anyone to ever go off script because the Chinese communists were paying for it, as part of Xi’s influence operation. The center had to be in the interests of China.

“We have an obligation to the truth,” Eisenman said. “Things shouldn’t be sugarcoated. The goal should be to introduce China as it is, not China as China would like for us to see them. That’s our obligation. I was clear with Firestein that I wasn’t going to stand by and allow him to use these Communist Party funds at this public university. I have to teach my students in an objective fashion.”

Eisenman alerted then-dean Angela Evans and other senior faculty by email and then in person when he returned to campus in the fall. Soon Firestein attracted the attention of the Texas congressional delegation in Washington. FBI agents came to campus to question professors, Evans, and UT president Gregory L. Fenves.

Fenves canceled Firestein’s plan. “The University will not accept programmatic funding from CUSEF,” he wrote in January 2018. “Neither will we accept any funds for travel, student exchanges, or other initiatives from the organization… We must ensure that the receipt of outside funding does not create potential conflicts of interest or place limits on academic freedom and the robust exchange of ideas. I am concerned about this if we were to accept funding from CUSEF.”

It wasn’t a total loss for Firestein, though. He’d already hooked up with Neil Bush.

In the wake of President Trump’s meeting with Xi at the G20 summit in Japan in June 2019, Neil Bush appeared at what he called a “deeply urgent and important gathering” at the Auberge Discovery Bay Hotel in Hong Kong. It was a conference co-sponsored by CUSEF, the same group that tried to embed itself at UT, and another front operation, the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. Among the other Americans participating were chairman of the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner; former White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, William Daley; and president of the China Center at the U.S. Chamber, Jeremie Waterman.

The lectern wobbled as Neil stood behind it, and music continued over him as he started to deliver his keynote. Neil said that his foundation was “gearing up to do great work” and that it was “run so ably by a real China expert, David Firestein.” From the audience, Firestein nodded with approval.

For the most part, Neil’s speech was his usual patter—“Dad often stated that the U.S.-China relationship was the most important bilateral relationship in the world… China has benefited consumers with lower cost, high-quality goods”—but about five minutes in, Neil’s speech took a bizarre turn. He said he had just returned from a family trip to Croatia where he’d been “in full vacation mode.” One evening, his “quite astute” son-in-law asked about China. “Fueled by some wine,” Neil said, the discussion during the family trip turned heated.

Hard as it may be to believe, Neil then proceeded to describe the most damning criticisms of China, in the voice of his son-in-law. The treatment of ethnic minorities. Use of facial recognition techniques that keep tabs on citizens. The plan for big data to give individuals a social credit rating designed to control behavior. Use of intrusive Big Brother tactics, including monitoring social media to crack down on government critics.

Neil said his son-in-law called China “nefarious” and “aggressive” and said the country sought to dominate the world. “I still love the boy,” Neil remarked, “but he even compared authoritarian rule of China to that of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Hitler in Nazi Germany. I almost flew out of my seat at this point.”

We don’t know what Neil said to his son-in-law that night on the family vacation. But his words about him at the communist-funded conference aren’t in doubt. He then proceeded to throw his son-in-law under the proverbial bus in front of the comrades.

“Clearly the wine was speaking,” Neil said. “My son-in-law has never been to China. His facts and assumptions are clearly flawed and based on half-truths or all-out fake news. His views show just how hysterical and challenging the times are. My son-in-law and many Americans only know what they hear.”

He closed his speech by imploring, “Those who believe the U.S. and China ought to work together need to find our voices… I advise my American friends not to meddle too much in the internal affairs of China.” He urged the U.S. and China to “collaborate.” He also said the U.S. and China “must set parameters to address the proliferation of fake news and to control other aspects of the cloud and internet and many others.”

In the most devastating time of the pandemic, when the U.S. and the rest of the world became desperate for medical face masks, Neil Bush realized that his sending two million masks to China in early February 2020 might be too much of a tell. In April, the Bush Foundation contacted Houston’s Mayor Turner with the news that it was going to donate 35,000 masks to the city. On April 27, 2020, Turner called a press conference for “a special, appreciative announcement.” From behind the same lectern where he announced the shutdown, Turner, who this time appeared masked, informed the public of the “generous donation from the Bush Foundation and our friends in China.”

Turner then introduced Neil Bush, who was also wearing a mask. “My father advocated for closer ties between China and the U.S. for years,” he said. “When China was going through the peak of the coronavirus, the Bush-China Foundation found sponsors and sent desperately needed supplies from Mexico to China. This is what Americans do.” Bush concluded, “China continues to be a reliable trading partner for our country during this time of need.”

For months, I asked Neil Bush if he would meet or talk on the phone. I wanted to ask him how he thought Covid-19 would impact U.S.-China relations. I was curious what he had to say about the role the Chinese Communist Party played in the way the virus was handled in China. About the Xinjiang internment camps where an estimated million Uyghurs are being “reeducated.” What can be done about the Chinese communists harvesting the organs of religious minorities? I wondered what blame he thinks the Communist Party deserves. When Neil refused to meet or talk, I even sent him my questions, hopeful I’d get written replies. His assistant said in the end he just didn’t have time.

I also tried to get Firestein on the phone, to no avail. He emailed: “Many thanks for reaching out; much appreciated. Alas, the timing is problematic for me; I’m in the midst of a heavy travel period and don’t really have any additional bandwidth over the next couple of weeks… this is probably the busiest time of year for us. I do greatly appreciate your contacting me; thank you again and all the best with this article.”

I tried former president George W. Bush to see what he has to say about the work of the Bush-China Foundation but he, too, was busy.

With all the flash and pizzazz one would expect of a high-school A.V. club circa 1995, the video begins with a woman speaking too closely into a microphone. She introduces the man who is sitting in the spartan studio, Dr. Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalization. “Live from Beijing,” the program (now posted to YouTube) is part of the center’s “Global Dialogue Series.”

Appearing through videoconferencing are Neil Bush, “a very distinguished guest,” and David Firestein, “a very old friend of China and a senior China hand.” Their faces are often too close to the screen. It’s not unlike zooming with your grandparent. “You do such wonderful work bringing ideas and helping inform the public,” Dr. Huiyao says to them.

For close to two hours, with some 200,000 viewers watching live, according to Dr. Huiyao, Bush and Firestein hit all the usual talking points. Firestein attacks Trump for “racially charged and racist rhetoric.” He says, “The language matters, the communication matters, and boy, what I wouldn’t give to have a way of thinking about communication and thinking about bringing people together of the type we saw under the presidency of George H.W. Bush. To his credit, Joe Biden has banned [racist] language in the White House… I think we’re getting back to norms that were established under many presidents.”

Firestein also urges the U.S. to reopen the Chinese consulate in Houston, desist from efforts to shut down Confucius Institutes, and pursue trade and investment with China.

About an hour into the program, Neil launches into a monologue on the origin of Covid-19. “Who cares where it originated?” he says. “Whether it originated in a lab, or from a bat, or from the United States—wherever it originated, who cares?… Throw away the crazy conspiracy theories and just assume that there was an origin of some kind. It doesn’t matter where it originated. Let’s deal with it together.”

Still curious about the masks the Bush Foundation sent to China and where they fit in with the whole scheme, I called Peter Navarro, who at the time the masks were sent was assistant to the president and director of trade and manufacturing policy in the White House. He is also tough as nails on the China issue.

Do you know anything about Neil Bush sending two million masks to China when we needed them? I asked.

“No, I don’t,” Navarro said. “But what I do know is that the Bush family, and that person, should be registered foreign agents for the Chinese Communist Party. He’s the Republican equivalent of Hunter Biden who basically sold out the country and traded off their famous fathers’ names. This happened because it’s part of the Chinese Communist Party game plan, their strategy. It’s either money pots or honey pots. With honey pots, it’s like Eric Swalwell—he’s sleeping with a Chinese spy and she gets information from him. With Neil Bush and Hunter Biden, it’s the money pot. The Chinese Communist Party, that’s what they do. They co-opt our politicians.”

U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao meet with the press after their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People November 20, 2005 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Adrian Bradshaw-Pool/Getty Images)
Nobody wants to air the family laundry if they don’t have to. Given that, it’s easy to see why George W. Bush feels more comfortable talking about his hobby of painting portraits of immigrants, as he did last summer on C-SPAN when he was interviewed by his daughter Barbara. Or why, on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he stood up at Shanksville where one of the hijacked planes crashed and compared the terrorists who killed 2,977 Americans to Trump supporters. It’s important for the Bushes to change the subject.

Reflecting on the four decades of Bushes in China and what it has wrought, and the $5 million or so the Bush-China Foundation gets from a Chinese Communist Party front, I was reminded of the remark W. made after he listened to Donald Trump’s inaugural address in 2017. In the speech where Trump said, “Washington flourished but the people did not share its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.” In the words of W., “That was some weird shit.” 

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This article was published on November 1, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The American Conservative.

Stock Market Leverage Spikes, Margin Debt Up 42% YoY. Fed Warns about High Leverage Ratio of “Younger Retail Investors”

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Potentially Destabilizing Outcome could emerge if elevated risk appetite among retail investors retreats rapidly.” But what the heck.

Only part of the leverage in the stock market is tracked and disclosed on a monthly basis. Much of the leverage happens in the shadows, including Securities Based Lending (SBA) that banks may or may not disclose on a quarterly or annual basis; leverage at the institutional level such as with hedge funds, an $8.5 trillion industry; and leverage associated with options and other equities-based derivatives.

It’s only when something blows up that we can see tidbits of this leverage emerge in all its splendor, such as when Archegos imploded earlier this year.

The only leverage data we do get on a monthly basis is margin debt at brokers, reported by FINRA. And we got another doozie: Stock market margin debt spiked by $33 billion in October from September to another all-time high of $936 billion, up by $277 billion, or by 42%, from a year ago, and up by 67% from October 2019

The increase in margin debt has become a huge outlier, compared to prior years, with margin debt ballooning by 42% year-over-year and by 66% in two years, summarized by this chart of year-over-year changes, with the period since March 2020 in red:

This type of stock market leverage doesn’t predict when the market will crater. What it does predict is that when this market is going down hard enough, it will trigger massive bouts of forced selling as margin calls are going out, and leveraged investors have to sell stocks to pay down their margin debt, which then pushes down prices further, which then triggers more forced selling, and more fears of forced selling, as portfolios are being liquidated, thereby accelerating the swoon.

This is why leverage is a risk to financial stability. And why the Fed keeps talking about leverage in its Financial Stability Reports.

But apparently no one at the top of the Fed – least of all Powell and the other members of the FOMC – ever reads these Financial Stability Reports because the FOMC, out of the other side of its mouth keeps encouraging ever more leverage with its interest rate repression and money printing.

Margin debt is the big accelerator on the way up, as borrowed money enters the market and creates new buying pressure.

And margin debt is the big accelerator on the way down, as this borrowed money gets drawn out of the market and vanishes by paying off debts, thereby creating selling pressure.

High levels of stock market leverage are one of the preconditions for a massive sell-off. It’s hard to have a massive sell-off without a lot of leverage.

In its Financial Stability Report, released this month, the Fed is particularly warning about high leverage among young stock market investors.

“The median leverage ratios of younger retail investors are more than double those of all investors, leaving these investors potentially more vulnerable to large swings in stock prices, as they have a larger debt service burden,” the Fed said in the report.

“Moreover, this vulnerability is amplified, as investors are now increasingly using options, which can often boost leverage and amplify losses,” it said.

High leverage is a sign of high and growing “risk appetite,” as the Fed calls it. And concerning the risk appetite of these investors, and their reliance on social media, the report warns:

“A potentially destabilizing outcome could emerge if elevated risk appetite among retail investors retreats rapidly to more moderate levels,” the Fed said…..

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Continue reading this article, published November 18, 2021 at Wolf Street.

 

Western Companies Must Stop Helping China Become A Military Powerhouse

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Since U.S. companies prioritize profit over national security, stopping their assistance to the Chinese military requires market-oriented solutions in addition to legislation. 

The U.S. Department of Defense recently released its annual report on China’s military power, which shows that China’s military has made astounding advancements to “modernize its capabilities and improve its proficiencies across all warfare domains” in a relatively short period. The report also made it clear that one of the main objectives of the Chinese military’s modernization is to fight and win wars “against a strong enemy,” a not-so-subtle reference to the United States.

The most significant advancement of the Chinese military is its navy, which was almost non-existent four decades ago and now is the largest in the world, “with an overall battle force of approximately 355 ships and submarines, including approximately more than 145 major surface combatants.” By contrast, the U.S. Navy has a battle force of 293 ships as of early 2020. The DOD report also highlights that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has heavily invested in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

The PLA’s goal is to “make weapons systems and military operations more networked and autonomous” and change “the future of warfare faster than expected.” Some military experts believe China is already surging ahead of the United States in the arms race for AI.

How did the PLA manage to modernize at such an astonishing speed? Besides heavy investment from the Chinese government, western companies have played a crucial role. Here are three examples.

German Engines Powered the Chinese Navy

German media recently disclosed that several types of Chinese navy warships are “powered by engines that were either developed or built by German manufacturers.” MTU, one of the German manufacturers, “was a regular supplier of engines for Luyang III class missile destroyers through a licensed production plant in China.” Luyang-class destroyers are equipped with state-of-art weapons systems and can launch land-attack cruise missiles, long-range surface-to-air missiles, and anti-submarine missiles.

Additionally, MTU supplied “engines that were used in China’s Song-class submarines.” A strong navy has enabled China to expand its territorial claim in the South China Sea, intimidate neighboring countries, disrupt standard commercial and exploration activities, and strengthen its ability to invade Taiwan.

MTU insists it didn’t directly supply the Chinese navy with its engines. It simply engaged in commercial transactions with Chinese companies that are supposedly purchasing its engines for civilian usage. However, MTU engines are so-called dual-use technologies that don’t require either export licenses or government scrutiny. Knowing these legal loopholes, the Chinese government has pursued a military-civil fusion development strategy, which “integrates and leverages science and technology innovations across military and civilian sectors” and “blends military and civilian expertise and knowledge.”

In practice, the Chinese military relies on Chinese civilian companies to acquire advanced dual-use equipment and technologies for military development, while evading both the European Union’s and U.S. exports controls. That approach has significantly helped the Chinese military’s development in AI and semiconductors, often with eager cooperation from western firms.

Americans Help Speed Up the Chinese Military’s AI

A team of researchers at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University released a report last month that highlights the crucial role U.S. companies play in supplying China with data, software, and funding for the nation’s AI development. The report finds that western firms have provided various Chinese military PLA units with commercial, off-the-shelf autonomous drones and AI-enabled surveillance software — AI tools that are ready for use.

The report also reveals that most of the advanced computer chips at the heart of China’s military AI systems are designed by U.S. firms such as Intel, Nvidia, and Xilinx. Furthermore, U.S.-based venture capital companies are financing Chinese companies that supply the Chinese military with AI-based battle management and cybersecurity software.

The most troubling aspect is that since most Chinese military suppliers also sell equipment and technologies to civilian companies, many are not blacklisted by either the U.S. Treasury Department or the Defense Department. These companies have practically had free rein to acquire sensitive technologies and equipment with little to no restrictions.

U.S. Companies Help China Develop Chips

Like AI, the semiconductor industry is another area where western companies have lent China’s military a helping hand. Semiconductor chips are essential components of almost all electronic devices, from computing to health care to the military and more. According to the Chinese government’s Made in China 2025 initiative, the semiconductor sector is one of the top ten industries that the government has heavily subsidized, hoping to make China self-sufficient in chip manufacturing and dominant in global high-tech manufacturing.

Out of concern for national security, the Trump administration imposed strict restrictions on exporting American semiconductor chip technology to Chinese companies that supply the Chinese military. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SIMC) is one such Chinese company on the U.S. export control list.

SIMC is a national champion identified by Beijing to lead China’s semiconductor chip development. It has received large government subsidies and is backed by several Chinese state-owned enterprises that also are suppliers of the PLA. The Biden administration expanded the export control list, banning Americans from investing in 59 Chinese companies with alleged ties to defense or surveillance technology sectors.

U.S. Companies Invested Despite China’s Atrocities

Despite these restrictions, the Wall Street Journal reports that Silicon Valley venture-capital firms such as Sequoia and chipmakers such as Intel and their Chinese affiliates have been helping build China’s semiconductor industry by exporting sensitive technological know-how, investing in Chinese chip-making firms, and raising money from foreign investors to fund Chinese chip making start-ups.

Companies such as Intel have been very vocal in their home countries, taking a stand against what they claim is systemic racism and racial injustice. Yet, at the same time, they have shown little concern as they assist Beijing with its military development, even though Beijing has committed gross human rights violations against its own people, poses a threat to liberal democracy, and has the ambition to spread authoritarianism around the world.

Thanks to these American companies, Chinese firms have made significant progress in key technologies and are quickly narrowing the gap with western chip makers in technology and manufacturing. These technological advancements have helped make the Chinese military a powerhouse and give the Chinese Communist Party powerful tools to advance its geopolitical ambitions and disrupt the liberal world order.

Passing Laws May Come Too Late

In a statement, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) criticized these American companies for prioritizing “their bottom lines without regard to the broader American economy or our national security.” He and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) are working on legislation that would “screen outbound U.S. investments and the offshoring of critical supply chains and tech-industry resources to adversaries like China and Russia.”

While such legislation is a welcome move, it may not be the most effective and timely solution because a bill takes months of deliberation. By the time it becomes a law and actually goes into effect, it may be too late because technological advancement takes place daily, and China may have already acquired all it needs to be technically self-sufficient before the bill becomes law.

Since western companies are more interested in fattening their bottom line than national security, stopping their continuing assistance to the Chinese military requires market-oriented solutions, in addition to legislation.

For example, Microsoft’s LinkedIn recently pulled out of China because it finally realized that it could not straddle between two opposing political and value systems and be successful. The increasing censorship Beijing demands has threatened the company’s reputation and subjected it to enormous legal risks back home, eventually hurting its profit worldwide. Patriotic shareholders of western companies should point to LinkedIn as an example to demand management to be accountable for subjecting their company to the risks of assisting the Chinese military’s modernization.

Another way to get the attention of western companies is for some of their most essential domestic customers, such as the Department of Defense, to put their foot down and demand companies pick a lane between liberal democracy and China’s authoritarian regime. A company that engages in helping the Chinese military at the expense of America’s national security doesn’t deserve to have millions or even billions of dollars worth of contracts with the U.S. government. Such a company shouldn’t be allowed to profit from U.S. taxpayers. Hopefully, western companies will finally change their behavior when management realizes they are hurting their bottom line if they continue business as usual.

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This article was published on November 17, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Western Sheriffs Association Declares ‘no confidence’ in DHS Secretary Mayorkas

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Western States Sheriffs’ Association has issued a declaration of “no confidence” in Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border crisis.

The association, which represents 17 states west of the Mississippi River, argues that illegal immigration is “not a new phenomenon” and has been occurring for decades. But what is new, they argue, is “a complete and total breakdown of efforts of the past several years.”

The letter is signed by Sheriff Leo Dutton of Lewis and Clark County, Montana, president of the association, and retired Sheriff James Pond, executive director of the association.

Of particular concern are the hundreds of thousands of people who entered the U.S. illegally from over 160 countries, some of whom are from special interest countries with terrorist ties, they argue, and that the director of Homeland Security tasked with protecting Americans isn’t fulfilling his oath to do so.

Mayorkas “was sworn into his position to follow the rule of law in securing our nation,” they said. But since his appointment “we have seen his policies enacted that are personal and political ideologies that continue to dismantle the security of our country and the enforcement efforts of the hardworking federal officers assigned to an extremely difficult task.

“America’s sheriffs have watched in disbelief as the southern border has turned into an invisible line in the sand,” they add. “Border patrol agents have been relegated to daycare supervisors at housing units and when they do attempt to act, they are scrutinized, placed on administrative leave, and investigated for political gain.”

They also point to “the impact of massive amounts of drugs being moved across interstate highways and small rural roads contributing to an historic fentanyl crisis in the U.S.”

More people have died in the U.S. from fentanyl overdoses than from COVID-19 in the last 20 months, they argue, because the drug being produced in Mexico is being brought across the southern border “at alarming and unacceptable levels.”

In his testimony before the U.S. Senate last week, Mayorkas gave himself an A grade “for effort” and insisted the southern border was under control, despite local law enforcement and Border Patrol agents being overrun by an unprecedented number of people pouring through after Mayorkas’ new policy directives made clear most foreign nationals entering illegally wouldn’t be deported or arrested for breaking the law or even for being in the country illegally.

“I put 100% into my work, and I’m incredibly proud to do so,” he said.

The association disagrees, arguing its membership “must emphatically state our position of having NO confidence in the ability of Secretary Mayorkas, and his leadership within the Department of Homeland Security, to affect any positive outcome ion this matter.”

The association has called on the Biden administration to “take appropriate steps to remove Secretary Mayorkas from his leadership position” and appoint a new leader to head the agency who “recognizes, respects and will enforce the rule of law for the safety and security of our nation.

“We demand a new leader who will work with our federal enforcement partners and the administration to restore security and safety on our nation’s southern border,” they write.

The Association has partnered with the Southwest Border Sheriffs Coalition and the Texas Border Sheriffs coalition to address crime resulting from illegal immigration. The association represents sheriffs from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Neither the Biden administration nor DHS has issued a statement in response to the declaration.

Their vote of no confidence comes after the National Sheriff’s Association and the Arizona Sheriff’s Association publicly opposed Biden’s nominee for commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus.

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This article was published on November 20, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Georgia Governor Orders Probe Into ‘sloppy’ November 2020 Vote Counts in Fulton County

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brian Kemp says some audited results from state’s largest county are “inconsistent” and erroneous. One count of 950 votes for Biden actually appears to be just 92.

In a rare act for a state chief executive, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has referred the audited November 2020 election results in the state’s largest voting metropolis to the State Election Board after multiple reviews found significant problems with absentee ballot counting that included duplicate tallies, math errors and transposed data.

The errors could have skewed the audit totals reported to the state by several thousand votes, according to a 36-item summary Kemp included with his letter. Biden was declared the state’s winner by about 12,000 votes.

“The data that exists in public view on the Secretary of State’s website of the RLA Report does not inspire confidence,” he wrote in his referral letter. “It is sloppy, inconsistent, and presents questions about what processes were used by Fulton County to arrive at the result.”

Kemp’s referral comes several months after a Just the News investigative report first raised questions about the audited election tallies Fulton County reported to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office after conducting a hand count known a risk-limiting audit.

Just the News reported the tally sheets Fulton County used for the audit/recount absentee ballots did not match totals from ballot images, in some cases appeared to include duplicate counts, and used batch numbers that did not correspond to existing ballot stacks.

A separate review conducted by Georgia lawyer Bob Cheeley, likewise, found irregularities this summer.

The referral to the State Elections Board is likely to add fuel to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s push to place Fulton County elections into state receivership, meaning state officials and not county workers would supervise the next few elections.                   

Kemp wrote he first learned of the problems when a Georgia citizen named Joseph Rossi compared the audit tally sheets to ballot images, and found similar problems as those enumerated in the Just the News article.

Rossi recently referred his concerns to Kemp’s office, which did a similar analysis and confirmed there appeared to be serious errors in the final audited tallies Fulton County reported to the state.

For instance, one batch of ballots that awarded 93 votes to Biden and just four for Trump “appears to be duplicated” on the final report to the state, the letter said….

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Continuer reading this article, published November 19, 2021, at Just the News.