In a short essay written by former Navy SEAL and apocalyptic novelist Matthew Bracken entitled “Arm Thy Neighbor,” it is recommended that homeowners concerned about self-defense and a potential collapsing economy consider buying a few extra guns and ammunition to pass around the neighborhood when the time comes. Bracken openly admits that his advice may not be appreciated by all: “I can hear you saying, ‘What is Bracken talking about? If that foolish grasshopper of a neighbor didn’t bother about his security when guns were readily available, why should I worry about him now? Besides, he may even be an anti-gun liberal, so the hell with him!’” Despite negative comments and naysayers, Bracken makes some good points that should be diligently thought over.
First, Bracken says, former anti-gun liberals will quickly change their tune when the war for survival comes to their doorstep.
When violence explodes during an economic collapse, millions of new conservatives will be created from former left-wingers. And besides philosophically anti-gun liberals, many folks simply grow up in families where guns are not present and reach adulthood having never touched a firearm. But no matter why they don’t own firearms, when the ultra-violence breaks out your neighbors down the street will deserve a way to defend themselves from criminal predation. Simple charity, Christian or otherwise, suggests that we should not leave the elderly couple, the widow or the single mom with young children defenseless against evildoers bent on rape, robbery or murder.
Second, Bracken makes the practical point that a gun and some ammo given out in advance with a sufficient amount of training will make you appear as a trusted leader when and if things get bad. He writes: “Training a non-shooter in the safe operation of firearms also shows your own overall knowledge of security issues. This demonstrated firearms proficiency will stand you in good stead when your leadership skills and tactical knowledge may benefit your overall neighborhood security posture.”
Third, more guns mean multiple fields of fire. Once looters and thieves realize that many homes in a neighborhood are in possession of firearms, ammo, and the willingness to use them, the word will get around. Bracken says: “Consider why tiny Switzerland has never been invaded by its much more powerful and often bellicose neighbors. It’s not because of the Alps. It’s because the Swiss have a strong tradition of armed self-defense at every level.”
Finally, arming your neighbors can help to “provide you with a critical early warning of imminent danger when [a neighbor] fires it in self-defense.” This is a key tactical point that should not be taken lightly. “Forewarned is forearmed,” Bracken says, “even if the warning is a rapid series of pistol shots heard from up the street at oh-dark-thirty.” Either way, he says, it would obviously be preferable “to hear defiant shots than helpless screams.”
Bracken’s advice is certainly not without its critics, many of which seem to think that his essay is naïve. Perhaps, but what he says makes good sense and should certainly be thought over before being completely dismissed. If the bottom falls out and mass chaos ensues, it will definitely be better to be armed with your neighbors than to be armed without them.
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AG Barr Warns America About What Communist China Is Trying To Do
Attorney General Barr requested American businesses to wake up quickly to the threat that is the Chinese Communist Party, warning that China “thinks in terms of decades and centuries, while we tend to focus on the next quarter’s earning report.”
“I’m privileged to speak here today about what may prove to be the most important issue for our nation and the world in the 21st century,” Barr began. “And that is the United States’ response … to the global ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Barr warned that the CCP sought to “overthrow the rule-based international system and to make the world safe for dictatorship.”
“The General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, who has centralized power to a degree not seen since the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, now speaks openly of China moving closer to the center stage, building a socialism that is superior to capitalism, and replacing the American dream with the Chinese solution,” Barr continued. “China is no longer hiding its strength, nor biding its time. From the perspective of its communist rulers, China’s time has arrived. The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic Blitzkrieg, an aggressive orchestrated whole of government, indeed whole of society, campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent technological superpower.”
Barr continued by listing off numerous industries that China seeks to totally dominate in order to control the world, including everything from monopolizing rare earth materials to dominating 5G infrastructure to being the global leader in AI.
Will Americans ever realize what is really happening?
FULL TRANSCRIPT PROVIDED VIA REV:
Thank you very much, Andrew, for your kind introduction. And I’d like to say that I really appreciate the work that Andrew and Matt, our US Attorneys for the Eastern and Western District of Michigan are doing here for the people of Michigan, and all the law enforcement community from Michigan that is here today. We really appreciate your work. And as Andrew said, after my remarks, they’re going to put on a presentation on the China initiative, which I think you’d find very interesting. So if you have the time, I urge you to stay for that. And I’d like to thank the leadership and staff of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, especially Elaine Didier, for hosting this event. And I also thank the Ford Presidential Foundation and its Executive Director, Joe Calvaruso.
Even under normal circumstances it’s hard to put together an event like this, but in the current circumstances, it’s especially challenging and I really appreciate it. And I really appreciate all of you who’ve come. I know many have come from around the state and I appreciate the effort that was made to be here for these remarks. I was last in Grand Rapids, maybe 30 years ago, John. John Smietanka, from here, was one of my principal deputies when I was Deputy Attorney General and stayed on while I was Attorney General. He was the US Attorney here in the Western district. So John, it’s great to see you here.
I feel a special bond to the Ford administration. So it’s appropriate to be here today for these remarks. Because I started out in the CIA in 1973 and then President Ford took office. And because of what was going on at the Agency, I had the privilege of working closely with many of the superb people that he brought into government. Many of whom I had the opportunity to work with over the years; several of whom were my mentors. One of the people I met was the Attorney General at that time, Ed Levi, who President Ford had made Attorney General and his portrait is up in my conference room, and his grandson, Will Levi, is my chief of staff. So as I say, I feel especially close to the Ford administration. If I wasn’t a political appointee in that administration, many of the political appointees I’ve worked with over the years were really cut their teeth during the Ford administration.
I’m privileged to speak here today about what may prove to be the most important issue for our nation and the world in the 21st century. And that is the United States response in the global ambitions, to the global ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP rules with an iron fist over one of the great ancient civilizations of the world. It seeks to leverage the immense power, productivity, and ingenuity of the Chinese people to overthrow the rule-based international system and to make the world safe for dictatorship. How the United States responds to this challenge will have historic implications and will determine whether the United States and its liberal democratic allies will continue to shape their own destiny, or whether the CCP and its autocratic tributaries will control the future.
Since the 1890s, at least, the United States has been the technological leader of the world. And from that prowess has come our prosperity, the opportunity for generations of Americans, and our security. It’s because of that, that we were able to play such a pivotal role in world history by turning back the threat of fascism and the threat of communism. What’s at stake these days is whether we can maintain that leadership position and that technological leadership. Are we going to be the generation that has allowed that to be stolen, which is really stealing the future of our children and our grandchildren?
Several weeks ago, the National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brian, spoke about the CCP’s ideology and global ambitions. He declared and I agree that the days of American pacivity and naivety regarding the People’s Republic of China are over. And last week, the FBI director, Chris Wray, described how the CCP pursues its ambitions through the nefarious and even illegal conduct, including industrial espionage, theft, extortion, cyber attacks, and malign influence activities. In the coming days, you will hear from Secretary Mike Pompeo, who will sum up what is at stake for the United States and the free world.
Now, Chris Wray told me that shortly after his speech last week, one of the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party pronounced that his speech was particularly disgusting. I told him that I was going to aim today to be despicable. But I’ll settle for especially disgusting. But no matter how the Chinese seek to characterize it, I do hope that my speech and Mike Pompeo’s speech will encourage the American people to reevaluate their relationship with China so long as it continues to be ruled by the Chinese Communist Party.
It is fitting that we’re here today at the Ford Presidential Museum. Gerald Ford served in the highest echelons of the government at the dawn of America’s re-engagement with China, which began obviously with President Nixon in 1972. And three years later in 1975, President Ford visited China for a summit with PRC leaders, including Mao Zedong. At the time, it was unthinkable that China would emerge after the Cold War as a near peer competitor of the United States. And even then, there were signs of China’s immense latent power. In the joint report of their visit to China in 1972, House Majority Leader, Hale Boggs, and then Minority Leader, Gerald Ford, wrote, “If she manages to achieve as she aspires, China in the next half century can emerge as a self-sufficient power of a billion people. This last impression of the reality of China’s colossal potential is perhaps the most vivid of our journey. As our small party traveled through that boundless land, this sense of a giant stirring, a dragon waking gave us much to ponder.”
It is now nearly 50 years later, and the prescient ponderings of these two congressmen have come to pass. Deng Xiaoping, whose economic reform launched China’s remarkable rise, had a famous motto, “Hide your strength, bide your time.” That is precisely what China has done. China’s economy has quietly grown from about 2% of the world’s GDP in 1980, to nearly 20% today. And by some estimates based on purchasing power parity, the Chinese economy is already larger than ours.
The General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, who has centralized power to a degree not seen since the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, now speaks openly of China moving closer to the center stage, building a socialism that is superior to capitalism, and replacing the American dream with the Chinese solution. China is no longer hiding its strength nor biding its time. From the perspective of its communist rulers, China’s time has arrived. The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic Blitzkrieg, an aggressive, orchestrated whole of government, indeed, whole of society campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent technological superpower. A centerpiece of … poses a real threat to US technological leadership. Despite World Trade Organization rules, prohibiting quotas for domestic output, “Made in China 2025” sets targets for domestic market share sometimes as high as 70% in core components and basic materials for industries such as robotics and telecommunications.
It is clear that the PRC seeks not merely to join the ranks of other advanced industrial economies, but to replace them altogether. “Made in China 2025” is the latest iteration of the PRC’s state-led mercantilist economic model. For American companies in the global marketplace, free and fair competition with China has long been a fantasy. To tilt the playing field to its advantage, China’s communist government has perfected a wide array of predatory and often unlawful tactics, currency manipulation, tariffs, quotas, state led strategic investment and acquisition, theft, and forced transfer of intellectual property, state subsidies, dumping, cyber attacks, and industrial espionage. About 80% of all federal economic espionage prosecutions allege conduct undertaken for the benefit of the Chinese state. And about 60% of all trade secret theft cases have been connected to China.
The PRC also seeks to dominate key trade routes and infrastructure in Eurasia, Africa, and the Pacific. In the South China Sea for example, through which about one third of the world’s maritime trade passes, the PRC has asserted expansive, and historically dubious claims to nearly the entire waterway, flouted the rulings of international courts, built artificial islands and placed military outposts on them, and harassed its neighbors, ships, and fishing boats. Another ambitious project to spread its power and influence is the PRC’s Belt and Road’s infrastructure initiative. Although billed as foreign aid, in fact, these investments appeared designed to serve the PRC’s strategic interests and domestic economic needs.
For example, the PRC has been criticized for loading poor countries up with debt, refusing to renegotiate terms, and then taking control of the infrastructure itself, as it did with with the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota in 2017. This is little more than a form of modern day colonialism. Just as consequential, however, are the PRC’s plans to dominate the world’s digital infrastructure through its digital Silk Road Initiative.
I have previously spoken at length about the grave risks of allowing the world’s most powerful dictatorship to build the next generation of global telecommunications networks known as 5G. Perhaps less widely known are the PRC’s efforts to surpass the United States in other cutting-edge fields like artificial intelligence. Through innovations, such as machine learning and big data, artificial intelligence allows machines to mimic human functions, such as recognizing faces, interpreting spoken words, driving vehicles and playing games of skill, much like chess or even the more complex Chinese game of go.
In 2017, Beijing unveiled its next generation artificial intelligence plan, a blueprint for leading the world in AI by 2030, whichever nation emerges as the global leader in AI will be best positioned to unlock not only its considerable economic potential, but a range of military applications such as the use of computer vision to gather intelligence. The PRC’s drive for technological supremacy is complemented by its plan to monopolize rare earth materials, which play a vital role in industries such as consumer electronics, electric vehicles, medical devices, and military hardware.
According to the Congressional Research Service, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the United States led the world in rare earth production. Since then, production has shifted almost entirely to China, in large part due to the lower labor costs and lighter economic and environmental regulation. The United States is now dangerously dependent on the PRC for these essential materials. Overall, China is America’s top supplier, accounting for about 80% of our imports. The risk of dependence are real.
In 2010, for example, Beijing cut exports of rare earth materials to Japan after an incident involving the disputed islands in the East China Sea. The PRC could do the same to us. As China’s progress in these critical sectors illustrates, the PRC’s predatory economic policies are succeeding. For a hundred years, America was the world’s largest manufacturer, allowing us to serve as the world’s arsenal of democracy. China overtook the United States in manufacturing output in 2010. The PRC is now the world’s arsenal of dictatorship.
How did China accomplish all this? No one should underestimate the ingenuity and industry of the Chinese people. At the same time, no one should doubt that America made China’s meteoric rise possible. China has reaped enormous benefits from the free flow of American aid and trade. In 1980, Congress granted the PRC “most favored nation“ trading status. In the 1990s, American companies strongly supported the PRC’s accession to the World Trade Organization and the permanent normalization of trade relations. Today US-China trade totals about 700 billion.
Last year, Newsweek ran a cover story titled, “How America’s Biggest Companies Made China Great Again.” The article details how China’s communist leaders lured American business with the promise of market access, and then, having profited from American investment and know-how, turned increasingly hostile. The PRC used tariffs and quotas to pressure American companies to give up their technology and form joint ventures with Chinese companies. Regulators then discriminated against American firms using tactics like holding up permits. Yet few companies, even Fortune 500 giants, have been willing to bring formal trade complaints for fear of angering Beijing.
Just as American companies have become dependent on Chinese markets, the United States as a whole now relies on the PRC for many vital goods and services. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on that dependency. For example, China is the world’s largest producer of certain protective equipment, such as face masks and medical gowns. In March, 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.
It then attempted to exploit the shortage for propaganda purposes, shipping limited quantities of often defective equipment and then requiring foreign leaders to publicly thank Beijing for these shipments. China’s dominance of the world’s markets for medical goods goes beyond masks and gowns. It has become the United States’ largest supplier of medical devices, while at the same time discriminating against American medical companies in China. China’s government has targeted foreign firms for greater regulatory scrutiny, instructed Chinese hospitals to buy products made in China, and pressured American firms to build factories in China where their intellectual property is more vulnerable to theft.
As one expert has observed, American medical device manufacturers are effectively creating their own competitors. America also depends on Chinese supply, Chinese supply chains, in other vital sectors, especially pharmaceuticals. America remains the global leader in drug discovery, but China is now the world’s largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients known as APIs. As one Defense Health Agency official noted, “Should China decide to limit or restrict the delivery of APIs on the United States, it could result in severe shortages of pharmaceuticals for both domestic and military uses.” To achieve dominance in pharmaceuticals, China’s rulers went to the same playbook that they’ve used the gut other American industries.
In 2008, the PRC designated pharmaceutical production as a high value added industry and boosted Chinese companies with subsidies and export tax rebates. Meanwhile, the PRC has systematically preyed on American companies. American firms’ well known obstacles in the Chinese health market include drug approval delays, unfair pricing limitations, IP theft, and counterfeiting. Chinese nationals working as employees at pharma companies have been caught stealing trade secrets, both in America and in China.
And the CCP has long engaged in cyber espionage and hacking of US academic medical centers and health care companies. In fact, PRC-linked hackers have targeted American universities and firms in a bid to steal the IP related to coronavirus treatments and vaccines, sometimes disrupting the work of our researchers. Having been caught covering up the coronavirus outbreak, Beijing is desperate for a public relations coup, and may hope that it will be able to claim credit for any medical breakthroughs. As all of these examples should make clear, the ultimate ambition of China’s rulers isn’t to trade with the United States, it is to raid the United States.
If you were an American business leader, appeasing the PRC may bring short-term rewards, but in the end, the PRC’s goal is to replace you. As a US Chamber of Commerce report put it, the belief by foreign companies that large financial investments and sharing of expertise and significant technology transfers would lead to an ever opening China market is being replaced by boardroom banter that win-win in China means China wins twice. Although Americans hoped that trade and investment would liberalize China’s political system, the fundamental character of the regime has never changed.
As its ruthless crackdown of Hong Kong demonstrates once again, China is no closer to democracy today than it was in 1989 when tanks confronted pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square. It remains an authoritarian one-party state in which the Chinese Communist Party wields absolute power unchecked by popular elections, the rule of law, or an independent judiciary. The CCP surveils its own people and assigns them social credit scores, employs an army of government censors, tortures dissidents, and persecutes religious and ethnic minorities, including a million Uighurs detained in indoctrination and labor camps.
If what happened in China stayed in China, that would be bad enough. But instead of America’s changing China, China is leveraging its economic power to change America. As this administration’s China strategy recognizes, the CCP’s campaign to compel ideological conformity does not stop at China’s borders. Rather, the CCP seeks to extend its influence around the world, including on American soil. All too often, for the sake of short term profits, American companies have succumbed to that influence even at the expense of freedom and openness in the United States.
Sadly, examples of American business bowing to China or legion. Take Hollywood. Hollywood’s actors, producers, and directors pride themselves on celebrating freedom and the human spirit. And every year at the Academy Awards, Americans are lectured about how this country falls short of Hollywood’s ideals of social justice, but Hollywood now regularly censors its own movies to appease the Chinese Communist Party, the world’s most powerful violator of human rights. This censorship infects not only the versions of movies that are released in China, but also many that are shown in the United States theaters to American audiences.
For example, the hit movie “World War Z” depicts a zombie apocalypse caused by a virus. The original version of the film reportedly contained a scene with characters speculating that the virus may have originated in China, but the studio, Paramount Pictures, reportedly told producers to delete the reference to China in the hope of landing a Chinese distribution deal. The deal never materialized. In the Marvel Studios blockbuster, “Doctor Strange,” filmmakers changed the nationality of the major character known as the ancient one, a Tibetan monk in the comic book, changed it from Tibetan to Celtic.
When challenged about this, a screenwriter explained that if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people, or as the Chinese government might say, we’re not going to show your movie because you decided to get political. These are just two examples of the many Hollywood films that have been altered one way or another to please the CCP. National security advisor O’Brien offered even more examples in his remarks. But many more scripts never see the light of day because writers and producers know not to test the limits.
Chinese government sensors don’t need to say a word because Hollywood is doing their work for them. This is a massive propaganda coup for the Chinese Communist Party. The story of the film industry’s submission to the CCP is a familiar one. In the past two decades, China has emerged as the world’s largest box office. The CCP has long tightly controlled access to that lucrative market, both through quotas on American films imposed in violation of China’s WTO obligations and a strict censorship regime. Increasingly, Hollywood also relies on Chinese money for financing.
In 2018, films with Chinese investors accounted for 20% of the US box office ticket sales, compared to only 3% five years earlier. But in the long run, as with other Chinese industries, the PRC may be less interested in cooperating with Hollywood than in co-opting Hollywood and eventually replacing it with its own homegrown movie productions. To accomplish this, the CCP has been following its usual modus operandi. By imposing a quota on American films, the CCP pressures Hollywood studios to form joint ventures with Chinese companies who then gain US technology and knowhow.
As one Chinese film executive recently put it, everything we learned we learned from Hollywood. Notably, in 2019, eight of the 10 top grossing films in China were produced in China. Hollywood is far from alone in kowtowing to the PRC. America’s big tech companies have also allowed themselves to become pawns of Chinese influence. In the year 2000 when the United States normalized trade relations with China, President Clinton hailed the new century as one in which liberty will be spread by cell phone and cable modem. Instead, over the course of the next decade, American companies such as Cisco helped the Chinese communist build the great firewall of China, the world’s most sophisticated system for internet surveillance and censorship.
Over the years, corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple have shown themselves all too willing to collaborate with the CCP. For example, Apple recently removed the news app Quartz from its app store in China after the Chinese government complained about the coverage of Hong Kong democracy protests. Apple also removed the apps for virtual private networks, which had allowed users to circumvent the great firewall and eliminated pro-democracy songs from the Chinese music store. Meanwhile, the company announced that it would be transferring some of its iCloud data to servers in China, despite concerns that the move would give the Communist Party easier access to emails, text messages, and other user information stored in the iCloud. Recently, we were able to get into two cell phones used by the Al Qaeda terrorist who shot eight Americans at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. And during the gunfight with him, he stopped, disengaged, put his cell phones down and tried to destroy them, shooting a bullet into one of his two cell phones. And we thought that suggested that there might be very important information about terrorist activities in those cell phones. And for four and a half months, we tried to get in without any help at all from Apple. Apple failed to give us any help getting into those cell phones.
We were ultimately able to get in through a fluke that we will not be able to reproduce in the future where we found communications with Al Qaeda operatives in the Middle East up to the day before the attack. Do you think when Apple sells phones in China, that Apple phones in China are impervious to penetration by Chinese authorities? They wouldn’t be sold if they were impervious to Chinese authorities. And what we’ve asked for is when we have a warrant from a court, that we should be able to get into those cell phones. That’s the double standard that has been emerging among American tech companies.
The CCP has long used public threats of retaliation and barred market access to exert influence. More recently, however, the CCP has also stepped up behind the scenes efforts to cultivate and coerce American business executives to further its political objectives, efforts that are all the more pernicious because they are largely hidden from public view. As China’s government loses credibility around the world, the justice department has seen more and more PRC officials and their proxies reaching out to corporate leaders and inveighing them to favor policies and actions favored by the Chinese Communist Party. Their objective varies, but their pitch is generally the same. The businessperson has economic interest in China, and there is a suggestion that things will go better or worse for them, depending on their response to PRC’s request. Privately pressuring and courting American corporate leaders to promote policies, or US politicians, presents a significant threat. Because hiding behind American voices allows the Chinese government to elevate its influence campaigns and put a friendly face on its pro regime policies. The legislator or the policy maker who hears from these American businessmen is properly more sympathetic to that constituent than to a foreigner.
And by masking its participation in our political process, the PRC avoids accountability for its influence efforts and the public outcry that might result if its lobbying were exposed. America’s corporate leaders might not think of themselves as lobbyists. You might think, for example, that cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship is just part of Guangxi, a system of influential social networking necessary to do business in the PRC. But you should be alert to how you might be used and how your efforts on behalf of a foreign company or government could implicate the Foreign Agents Registration Act. FARA does not prohibit any speech or conduct, but it does require those who are acting as agents of foreign principals to publicly disclose that relationship and their political or other similar activities by registering with the Justice Department, allowing the audience to take into account the origin of the speech when evaluating credibility.
By focusing on American business leaders, I don’t mean to suggest that they’re the only targets of Chinese influence operations, but they are principle targets today of Chinese influence operations in the United States.
The Chinese Communist Party also seeks to infiltrate, censor, or co-opt American academic and research institutions. For example, dozens of American universities host Chinese government-funded Confucian Institutes, which have been accused of pressuring host universities to silence discussion or cancel events on topics considered controversial by Beijing. Universities must stand up for each other, refuse to let the CCP dictate research efforts or suppress diverse voices, support colleagues and students who wish to speak their minds, and consider whether any sacrifice of academic integrity or freedom is worth the price of appeasing the CCP’s demands.
In a globalized world, American corporations and universities alike may view themselves as global citizens, rather than as American institutions. But they should remember that what allowed them to succeed in the first place was the American free enterprise system, the rule of law, and the security afforded by America’s economic, technological, and military strength. Globalization does not always point in the direction of greater freedom. A world marching to the beat of the communist Chinese drum will not be a hospitable one for institutions that depend on free markets, free trade, or the free exchange of ideas.
There was a time when American companies understood this, and they saw themselves as American and proudly defended American values. In World War II, for example, the iconic American company Disney made dozens of public information films for the government, including training videos, to educate American sailors on navigation tactics. During the war, over 90% of Disney’s employees were devoted to the production of training and public information films. To boost the morale of America’s troops, Disney also designed insignia that appeared on planes, trucks, flight jackets, and other military equipment used by American and allied forces. I suspect Walt Disney would be disheartened to see how the company he founded deals with foreign dictatorships today. When Disney produced “Kundun,” the 1997 film about the PRC’s oppression of the Dalai Lama, the CCP objected to the project and pressured Disney to abandon it. Ultimately, Disney decided that it couldn’t let a foreign power dictate whether it would distribute a movie in the United States. But that moment of courage wouldn’t last. After the CCP banned all Disney films in China, the company lobbied hard to regain access and the CEO apologized for “Kundun,” calling it a stupid mistake. Disney then began courting the PRC to open a 5.5 billion theme park in Shanghai. As part of that deal, Disney agreed to give the Chinese government officials role in its management. Of the park’s full-time employees, 300 are active members of the Communist Party, and they reportedly display hammer and sickle insignia on their desks and attend party lectures at the facility during business hours. Like other American companies, Disney may eventually learn the hard way the cost of compromising its principles.
Soon after Disney opened its park in Shanghai, a Chinese-owned theme park popped up a couple of hundred miles away featuring characters that, according to news reports, looked suspiciously like Snow White and other Disney trademarks. American companies must understand the stakes. The Chinese Communist Party thinks in terms of decades and centuries, while we tend to focus on the next quarter’s earning report. But if Disney and other American corporations continue to bow to Beijing, they risk undermining both their own future competitiveness and prosperity, as well as the classical liberal order that has allowed them to thrive. During the Cold War, Lewis Powell, later Justice Powell, sent an important memorandum to the US Chamber of Commerce.
He noted that the free enterprise system was under unprecedented attack and urged American companies to do more to preserve it. “The time has come,” he said. “Indeed, it is long overdue for the wisdom, ingenuity, and resources of American business to be marshaled against those who would destroy it.” So [true] today. The American people are more attuned than ever to the threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses, not only to our way of life, but to our very lives and livelihoods, and they will increasingly call out corporate appeasement. If individual companies are afraid to take a stand, there is strength in numbers. As Justice Powell wrote, “Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period years in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.”
Despite years of acquiescence in communist authorities in China, America’s tech companies may finally be finding their courage through collective action. Following the recent imposition of the PRC’s draconian national security law in Hong Kong, many big tech companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Zoom, and LinkedIn reportedly announced that they would temporarily suspend compliance with government requests for user data. True to form, communist officials have threatened imprisonment for noncompliant company employees. We will see if these companies hold firm, and how long they hold firm. We hope they do.
If they stand together, they will provide a worthy example for other American companies in resisting the Chinese Communist Party’s corrupt and dictatorial rule. The CCP has launched an orchestrated campaign across all of its many tentacles in Chinese government and society to exploit the openness of our institutions in order to destroy them. To secure a world of freedom and prosperity for our children and our grandchildren, the free world will need its own version of a whole of society approach in which the public and private sectors maintain their separation, but work together collaboratively to resist domination and to win the contest for the commanding heights of the global economy. America has done that before, and if we rekindle our love and devotion of our country and each other, I am confident that we, the American people, the American government, and American business together can do it again. Our freedom depends on it. Thank you very much.
Seattle Business Owner Announces Move to Texas so His Employees Can Live Free
A businessman has announced that he is moving his billion-dollar company away from the West Coast and down to Texas.
A businessman has announced that he is moving his billion-dollar company away from the West Coast and down to Texas because the coast stands firmly against the business sector not to mention stifles freedoms of all sorts.
Peter Rex, the founder and CEO of Rex Teams, a tech, investment and real-estate firm, was once based in San Francisco. Then, when California became inhospitable, Rex moved his company to Seattle. But that also proved a mistake.
Now Rex says that he is moving his company to Austin, Texas, because his is done with the West Coast.
“We tried San Francisco. We tried the Seattle area. Both were wonderful in their own ways, especially in natural beauty and personal friendships. But both have become hostile to the principles and policies that enable people to live abundantly in the broadest sense,” Rex wrote in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal.
After noting that he is headed to Texas, Rex added “By the end of the year, I hope to move dozens of employees to the Lone Star State and to be ready to hire hundreds more.”
“While uprooting a big part of a billion-dollar company isn’t easy, the decision to move to Texas wasn’t hard. Our staff and their families will be able to flourish to a much greater extent,” he said.
Rex admitted that there is a large pool of possible employees in the tech industry in Seattle and San Francisco. The the bad outweighs the good.
“But the best places to be in tech have now become some of the worst places to raise a family, practice a faith, or even think freely. This hurts my team and the business,” he lamented.
Rex then made a most obvious statement.
“These areas are culturally diverse but increasingly monolithic in terms of ideology,” he wrote. That seems to be stating the obvious, doesn’t it?
Rex concluded by noting that the Seattle CHOP zone and the violent riots that wracked the city was about his final straw.
“The mood in the area was that this experiment in anarchy was acceptable and even praiseworthy. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan even issued a statement commending the ‘First Amendment activities’ of the occupiers,” he wrote.
That wasn’t the only problem. He went on to note that the West Coast was hostile to religion, bad for families, impossibly expensive for home ownership, hostile to freedom of speech and freedom to chose one’s own politics, and seriously inimical to businesses.
Rex concluded saying:
That’s why we’re leaving the West Coast and heading to Texas. When it comes to talent, we’re confident we can attract the best without finding the same homogeneity of views. When it comes to housing, families making $100,000 to $200,000 a year can afford a good-size place. The policy environment in Texas encourages risk-taking and rewards workers. When it comes to schools, there are plenty of great options that don’t confuse indoctrination with education. And on matters of faith and morals, religious belief doesn’t make you a social outcast. In Texas, the quintessential American ideals of family, faith and freedom still reign supreme.
Will it be tough to make this move? You bet. But heading to Texas is the right thing to do for my team and their families, and their outpouring of support has been telling. They want to be in a place where they can live to the fullest extent. And I’m convinced that the sooner they are, the stronger the company will be.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.
Black Business Owner Sobs as His Business is Burned to the Ground by Minneapolis Rioters
A black business owner and firefighter was left sobbing when the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter rioters burned his small business.
A black business owner and former firefighter was left sobbing when the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter rioters burned the small business that he worked himself to the bone to create.
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do, I worked so hard to get here, so hard,” businessman Kb Balla told the media.
— kreeche (@FatherKee) May 29, 2020
A GoFundMe page was set up to help Balla and his wife, Twyana, recoup their disheartening loss.
“Scores Sports Bar was set for a grand opening this spring but when COVID-19 hit that was put on pause,” the page tells visitors. “Now, just as Scores was gearing up to welcome customers with updated guidelines from the governor, George Floyd was murdered, and everything changed overnight.”
“Scores Sports Bar was LOOTED, VANDALIZED and DESTROYED 5/27/2020. This black-owned business is left trying to pick up the pieces amidst mourning with the community,” the page laments.
“About the Bar Owners: Kb Balla & his wife Twyana are active members of their community,” the page reports. “KB is a Firefighter on the Brooklyn Center Fire Department and Twyana was a member of the Sounds of Blackness. They have a four beautiful children, and the toll of this entire situation is heavy. KB has been a community entrepreneur for decades and coaches and contributes to the community in which they live.”
This is the foolishness of these rioters.
There ARE NOT “freedom fighters. ” These ATE NOT “protesters for their rights.” These are lawless rioters.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.
Wendy’s Haunted by ‘Where’s the Beef’ Slogan as Burgers Dropped from Menu
Social media users were furious!
The Wendy’s fast food franchise has long been unique, particularly in the world of drive thru restaurants.
First, there are the square burgers. If you ask a well-trained Wendy’s employee why their sandwiches feature the untraditional shape, they should respond that founder Dave Thomas “doesn’t cut corners”.
Hardy har har.
Secondly, Wendy’s was the first major chain to advertise that their beef was “fresh, never frozen” – a distinction that has now become the industry standard. The advertising campaign they utilized to tell customers about the superiority of their protein included the tagline “where’s the beef?”, often accompanied by an image of a heavily-chilled employee of another restaurant digging around in the store’s freezer.
Today, however, “where’s the beef?” has an entirely new connotation.
With meat shortages roiling the U.S., some Wendy’s Co. restaurants have taken burgers — their hallmark item — off the menu.
Customers have taken to Twitter to complain they couldn’t order burgers from the restaurant, which touts its beef as fresh and never frozen in its marketing.
A check on Wendy’s app showed that only chicken items were available for takeout or delivery orders from at least some of its stores in California. The situation has prompted a number of customers to ask “Where’s the beef?” on social media, invoking a Wendy’s catch phrase from the 1980s that poked fun of the small burgers sold by other chains.
North America’s meat-supply chain has fallen apart as outbreaks shutter slaughterhouses, heightening the prospect that pork, beef and chicken may go missing from grocery shelves and restaurant menus. About a dozen slaughterhouses shut last month because of infections among employees jammed together on processing lines.
And while the situation may appear dire on paper, meatpacking companies such as Tyson Foods have indicated that selection and pricing may vary in the coming weeks, but that Americans will not suffer any sort fo cataclysmic meat shortage…just so long as virus-panicked individuals don’t start hoarding supplies like they did with toilet paper.
Report: ‘More Than 40%’ Of Small Businesses May Close In The Next Six Months
The coronavirus is expected to permanently shut millions of small businesses in the next several months.
“It’s a crisis that will impact our economy for generations,” said Amanda Ballantyne, executive director of Main Street Alliance, an advocacy group for small business. “We’re going to lose so much of the small-business sector.”
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) May 4, 2020
If you’re afraid of the virus, stay home. Let the rest of us return to work!
In addition to record unemployment numbers, experts now predict that a “wave” of small business bankruptcies is on the horizon — and it could leave the United States with 40% fewer small businesses.
The New York Times reports that the United States Chamber of Commerce estimates “more than 40 percent of the nation’s 30 million small businesses could close permanently in the next six months” — a statistic entirely attributable to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.
The economic consequences of such a mass business failure could last for “generations,” the NYT reports.
“Commercial bankruptcies in the first quarter of 2020 ticked up 4 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the American Bankruptcy Institute,” according to the NYT. “But many of those filings were made before the pandemic, when the economy was healthy. Right now, some owners are waiting to find out if they will receive federal stimulus aid before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy protection.”
Restaurants and retail services are, of course, the most vulnerable, but family-owned enterprises, like heating and cooling operations and plumbing companies, and even health-care services, particularly small dental and pediatric practices, are in severe danger. More
And yet the MSM continues to perpetuate nothing but fear. They are as much to blame as the governors.
I’m so sick of only hearing about the number of deaths. Let’s hear about the survival rate or about the huge number of people that have probably already had the virus without any symptoms. Stop the fear-mongering and let’s get on with life!
Not sure why this is shocking to anyone. You cannot make no money for eight weeks+ and not take a hit.
— JamesTBrayden (@JamesTBrayden1) May 4, 2020
Who is this a shock too? Karen’s who screamed that going outside would murder pawpaw? Or the socialist millennial that loves (false) security over freedom…
— Chuck Wagner (@ChuckWagner1993) May 4, 2020
Not so much of a shock if you’ve ever run a business. May be a bigger shock if larger companies find they can remain profitable with a remote staff. Don’t renew leases, no ancillary staff, cleaning crew loses work and on it goes.
— SMF87 (@SMF150) May 4, 2020
ugh! the unintended consequences caused by fools in control of our lives.
— timbo (@tjw1983) May 4, 2020
Now Banks To Deny Business Financing to Companies with All-White Male Boardmembers
The leftists in our financial sector are now saying that they will stop financing businesses that have all white, male boards.
The leftists in our financial sector are taking another step toward the anti-American extreme, this time saying that they will stop financing businesses that have all white, male boards.
Since when is social engineering the business of banks?
The newest directive was issued by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon on Thursday during an interview on CNBC.
Solomon said that as of July 1 in the U.S. and Europe, Goldman Sachs “is not going to take a company public unless there is at least one diverse board candidate, with a focus on women.”
“Diversity on boards is a very, very important issue, and we’ve been very, very focused on it and so we’re trying to find ways to encourage that,” Solomon said.
“This is a small step, but it’s a step in the direction of saying, ‘You know what? We think this is right. We think it’s the right advice,'” Solomon added.
Solomon went on to extol his leftist ideology saying that he imagines there are “significant financial incentives” for companies to get rid of those terrible, evil white men.
He claimed that his experiences at Goldman proves his leftist assertions.
“We have four women out of 11, we have a black lead director. I really value the diverse perspectives I’m getting, which are helping me on the company,” he said.
“Over the last four years, the performance of IPOs where there’s been a woman on the board in the U.S. is significantly better than the performance of IPOs where there hasn’t been a woman on the board,” Solomon concluded.
Once again, how is it the financial sector’s business to conduct social engineering on our society?
Alaska Gov. Moves to Dump Goldman Sachs after Bank’s Oil Divestment Scheme
Goldman Sachs recently began eliminating investments in fossil fuel companies, but the move spurred Alaska to retaliate by cutting its own ties with the bank.
Banking giant Goldman Sachs recently began eliminating its investments in fossil fuel companies, but the move has now spurred Alaska to retaliate by cutting its own ties with the bank.
Last week, Goldman Sachs announced that it intended to stop financing new oil exploration in the Arctic as part of its gradual move to eliminate investments in fossil fuels.
But Alaska’s Republican Governor, Mike Dunleavy, was less than thrilled with the big bank’s move.
Dunleavy said that he is directing the state to begin eliminating Goldman Sachs from its own investment plans over the bank’s divestment of one of the state’s most important resources: oil.
“In response to Goldman’s pledge, the governor’s office has directed the review and where possible without financial or progress impairment, the removal of Goldman from business relations with the state,” acting Revenue Commissioner Mike Barnhill wrote in a Friday letter to Goldman’s CEO, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Dunleavy also said he had “serious reservations” about working with a bank that did not have the best interests of Alaskans in mind.
“I think it’s part of my role to advocate on behalf of Alaska,” Dunleavy added.
It’s about time someone with a little power began striking back at this left-wing bullcrap being perpetrated by so many large corporations groveling at the feet of the far left.
So, after Goldman’s announcement of its anti-oil direction, Alaska began removing the bank from its list of participating banking institutions.
Dunleavy said that Alaska may take similar actions about doing business with any other company that pushes far left nonsense and PCism disguised as company policy.
“There may be other outfits that we do business with … that may be working against our goals,” the gov. added.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.
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