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Biden Gets Played By Vladimir Putin On World Stage Over Ransomware Attacks

As President Joe Biden wrapped up his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, the U.S. leader was played by his Kremlin counterpart...

Ted Cruz Slams Airline Masking Laws As ‘Performative Theater’

Sen. Ted Cruz, like any American who has been on an airplane in the past few months, has seen the signs and heard the...

Education Department Extends Title IX Protections to Transgender Students, in Reversal of Trump-Era Guidance

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona takes part in a briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters) The Education Department on Wednesday announced that it would expand the definition of the federal civil-rights statute banning sex discrimination in federally funded education programs to include gender identity amid a national debate over whether biological males should be allowed to compete in girls’ sports. “Today, the Department makes clear that all students — including LGBTQ+ students —deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive in schools that are free from discrimination,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has upheld the right for LGBTQ+ people to live and work without fear of harassment, exclusion, and discrimination – and our LGBTQ+ students have the same rights and deserve the same protections,” the statement adds. The department said that discrimination against gay and transgender students is prohibited under the 1972 law that forbids sex-based discrimination in federally-funded schools.  The move is the latest in a years-long argument over the definition of “sex” that has now spanned three administrations. The Obama administration initially expanded the definition, writing in a Dear Colleague letter that “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” The Obama administration then used the new definition to issue mandates to schools across the country requiring that schools use a transgender student’s chosen pronouns and that they open bathrooms, locker rooms, overnight accommodations, and some sports teams to students based on their chosen gender identity. However, the Trump administration’s Education Department and Department of Justice later rescinded that guidance, saying that if “sex” is redefined it should be done by Congress or the Supreme Court. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de1f87 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de1f87 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de1f87 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de1f87 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de23ae .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de23ae .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de23ae { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de23ae .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de26e2 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de26e2 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de26e2 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de26e2 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de290c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de290c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de290c { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de290c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de2aa0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de2aa0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de2aa0 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca4b7de2aa0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } The Supreme Court ruled last year that the meaning of discrimination “on the basis of sex” in the workplace encompassed “gender identity,” though it did not expand the definition of sex to include gender identity. It said that to discriminate against someone for their “gender identity” necessarily entails discrimination on the basis of sex. However, the Biden administration has now interpreted the ruling to apply to discrimination against gender identity in schools. “We just want to double down on our expectations,” Cardona told the New York Times. “Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.” Yet the announcement does not change the process of reporting or investigating individual cases of discrimination, according to the report. The ruling could expose schools that seek to preserve sex-segregated spaces to litigation and could lead to challenges against Republican-led efforts to preserve female only sports, though Cardona was vague about how aggressively the Department of Justice would be in pursuing such cases. “The reality is each case has to be investigated individually,” Cardona said, adding that schools should “not wait for complaints to come to address these issues.” Cardona said the announcement aims to give schools notice that the Biden administration will not tolerate discrimination in schools receiving federal funds. “This is really clarity around how we interpret it,” Cardona said. “We need to make sure we are supporting all students in our schools.” “We are in the process now of synthesizing that information as we go to the next steps of actually developing our rules,” Cardona said. Though he did not offer a timeline for when the work would be finished, he said the department plans to “move as quickly as possible on it” as “we know many folks are waiting.” Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Eligible Voters Would Fail U.S. Immigration Civics Test, Survey Finds

Voters line up to cast their ballots in the Senate run-off election, at a polling station in Marietta, Ga. January 5, 2021. (Mike Segar/Reuters) Most U.S. eligible voters fail a civics questionnaire simulating the mandatory test for U.S. citizenship taken by migrants who apply for naturalization. Only 42 percent of respondents received a passing score on the survey, with those claiming to be independent of party affiliation making up the majority. Republicans, 44 percent of whom passed the test, slightly outperformed Democrats, only 35 percent of whom passed. The survey, comprising 20 questions, was derived from the study guide of 128 questions published by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommended for prospective citizens. While the real citizenship test is administered verbally, requiring spoken responses, the survey was administered virtually in multiple-choice format with no time limit. The real test has ten questions, with six correct answers (60 percent) needed to pass. The model survey asks 20 questions, with 12 correct answers (also 60 percent) needed to pass. Cesar Melgoza, the survey’s creator and founder of Moxy, a new platform seeking to encourage positive civic engagement, said in an interview with National Review that his version should be theoretically easier than the official Civics test, as it offers ten more chances to achieve a passing score, no time constraints, the ability to consult external materials (although expressly discouraged to protect the integrity of the results), and no pressure or intimidation typical of an oral exam. Despite the flexibility of the Cesar’s test, however, most respondents failed it, demonstrating that many Americans, if they were to apply today, would probably not qualify to become U.S. citizens. The survey’s sample size, which included 1,033 participants, accounted for geographical diversity but did not control for age, as it was open to all eligible voters 18 years of age or older. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d167c34 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d167c34 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d167c34 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d167c34 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16815d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16815d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16815d { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16815d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169926 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169926 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169926 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169926 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169d47 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169d47 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169d47 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d169d47 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16a091 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16a091 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16a091 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca46d16a091 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Cesar said that the fact that independents outperformed both Republicans and Democrats suggests an interesting phenomenon. He interpreted the results as showing that political moderates are more likely to have an individualist mentality that leads them to do independent research and “do their own homework” on which candidate deserves their vote. Cesar also stated that the survey’s outcome is a reason to be concerned with our country’s prioritization of civics education, or lack thereof. Most Americans are expected to have a baseline knowledge of civics and the way the U.S. government operates, but Cesar’s study indicates that immigrants may be better informed in these areas than native citizens. The issue of American civic education has been hotly debated in recent months thanks to the introduction of critical race theory (CRT) into American classrooms. Republican lawmaker Steve Toth spearheaded a bill in Texas, which was signed into law Wednesday, to curtail CRT indoctrination in public school curricula, including by banning teaching of the infamous “1619 Project” published by The New York Times. In an interview with National Review, Toth said that American civics illiteracy became an apparent issue to him when he volunteered to teach the subject to immigrants studying for their citizenship exam. The vast majority passed on their first attempt, Toth confirmed, but he said he was frustrated, knowing that most American students couldn’t pass that same exam. “It’s completely a subject area that is neglected. Some of us took it in junior high but never came back to it. And then we’re expected to vote responsibly? The messaging during election season is “vote” but you don’t hear ‘vote smart’,” Cesar remarked. This is a call to action. A lot of people distrust their government, but what do they know about the country’s laws?,” he added. Send a tip to the news team at NR.

San Francisco Chaos Proves It: Law and Order Is a Public Good

A sidewalk filled with tents set up by the homeless in San Francisco, Calif., April 1, 2020. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters) If a government stops enforcing the law, private businesses will not — and cannot — step in to fill the void. San Francisco is refusing to stop shoplifters, and it’s driving businesses, such as Walgreens, out of the Bay Area. Instances of brazen stealing have circulated on Twitter and other social-media networks, leading some to wonder why Walgreens spends so much on security guards if they aren’t going to stop theft. The disastrous outcomes in San Francisco shows what happens when sound economics meets bad public policy. The traditional definition of a public good is something that is enjoyed by all without anyone’s consumption infringing on someone else’s use of it. National defense is the canonical example of a public good because everyone relies on the Army’s protection, and the United States must defend the whole country. Public goods lead to a free-rider problem, though, where people shirk paying into the system because they will receive the benefits whether or not they contribute. This is why governments provide public goods. However, we often think of public goods as, well, goods. Defense, roads, and environmental protection physically require tanks, concrete, or an EPA. But San Francisco shows why we need a more capacious definition of a “public good.” Police officers and the justice system do more than simply arrest criminals; they create a social climate of order from which all citizens benefit. But because “order” is not a tangible product, people can misunderstand it as something that is individually enforced. This is a mistake. It’s not surprising that if a city decriminalizes shoplifting, there will be more shoplifters. However, it is important to be clear-eyed about the fact that if a city, county, or state stops enforcing the law, private businesses will not step in to fill the void. They simply cannot do so. If law enforcement will not prosecute criminals, it’s not economically efficient to stop minor crimes. Litigation is costly, so suing shoplifters isn’t worth it. If a security guard and a shoplifter had a conflict, companies could be held liable for any physical harm that occurred. Furthermore, any physical conflict between a company staffer and the public could hurt a company’s public image. This is why Walgreens security guards have been relegated to essentially documenting crimes rather than enforcing the law. As long as Walgreens insures the products in their stores, there is not a strong enough incentive to enforce shoplifting rules. If things get bad, as they have in San Francisco, companies will just close their doors. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac1ed4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac1ed4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac1ed4 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac1ed4 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac223d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac223d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac223d { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac223d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac22fd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac22fd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac22fd { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac22fd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2393 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2393 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2393 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2393 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2410 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2410 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2410 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca424ac2410 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } In this way, companies are free-riders on the public good of order, unable and unwilling to provide it themselves. The police-brutality protests-turned-riots last summer are a perfect example of this phenomenon. Stores were looted, sometimes more than once. Businesses boarded up their facilities in anticipation of riots but often refused to enforce security at the door of their stores. Some may wonder why businesses don’t do more to protect their property. It may seem unfathomable to knowingly allow one’s store to be raided. On the other hand, others believe that companies that close up shop are abandoning the community. This frustration arises because we expect businesses to act on the same norms that individual people do. This is not the case, though. Many critical interpersonal interactions are based on “Schelling points” — points of agreement that people arrive at without communicating. In the context of property rights, people naturally agree (without actually saying anything to one another) to contracts that roughly look like: “If you don’t come onto my property, I won’t come onto yours.” People defend their homes from invaders both to protect their things and because they find the intrusion itself offensive. Whether or not one’s house is insured isn’t relevant. If someone broke into your house, for example, and did nothing but rearrange the furniture, you’d still find that “breach of contract” disagreeable. People expect Schelling points to be honored. Americans don’t have the same Schelling points for businesses that we have for individuals. For many people, shoplifting is forgivable, but robbing a house is not. Conversely, there is no sense of “castle doctrine” for company managers. They will not take the same measures to defend their business that ordinary people would take to defend their property. This explains why some Minnesota private citizens acted as “unofficial neighborhood guardians” during the Black Lives Matter protests while many companies left their stores unguarded. In sum, maintaining order is not economically efficient at the atomized level for two reasons. First, privately paying for private security, insurance fees, and litigation expenses doesn’t make economic sense. Perhaps more important, there is no widely agreed upon Schelling point between businesses and ordinary citizens. There is a reason that even the most minimalist libertarians look to the government to administer justice and maintain order. However, politicians seem to believe that businesses are like wealthy merchant traders, not realizing that the culture around business interactions is wildly different from the culture that shapes interpersonal norms. People will defend themselves. Businesses will flee. San Francisco should serve as a warning to other major cities: Treat order like a public good, or companies will run to places that do.

Biden Snaps at CNN Reporter over Post-Summit Putin Questions

President Biden holds a news conference after the U.S.-Russia summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) During a press conference Wednesday following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Biden snapped at a reporter after she asked how he could be confident the Russian leader would “change his behavior” given his denial of human rights abuses against Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and others, his refusal to admit even partial responsibility for the Russian cyber attack on a major U.S. oil pipeline, and his tepid commitment to improving U.S.-Russia relations generally. Biden barked back, “I’m not confident he’s going to change his behavior. What the hell? … when did I say I was confident?” “Look, let’s get it straight. What I said was what will change his behavior if the rest of the world reacts to him and diminishes his standing in the world,” he added after the reporter, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, clarified her question. Collins responded by pointing out that Putin refused to give ground on the issues that Biden said they would be discussing during their meeting, and argued that Putin’s history suggests he won’t be changing his behavior anytime soon. “If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business,” Biden shot back. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbc9b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbc9b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbc9b { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbc9b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbf35 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbf35 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbf35 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bbf35 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc008 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc008 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc008 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc008 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc0cd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc0cd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc0cd { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc0cd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc16a .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc16a .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc16a { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca41e2bc16a .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } "What the hell? … when did I say I was confident? … if you don't understand that, you're in the wrong business" — Biden gets upset at Kaitlan Collins's shouted question as he tries to leave the news conference pic.twitter.com/mCQ1218LaW — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 16, 2021 The president also fielded questions earlier about a comment Putin made about the Russian regime’s targeting of opposition leaders. During his press briefing, Putin said his government only cracks down on foreign agents as a means to prevent domestic disturbances that threaten homeland security, citing the January 6 Capitol Riot episode and the formation of dangerous organizations like Black Lives Matter as examples. Biden said, “That’s a ridiculous comparison,” when the reporter referenced Putin’s claim. Biden added that there’s a stark difference between criminals storming a government building, violently assaulting law enforcement, and destroying property and peaceful demonstrators marching and exercising their right to free expression. Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Watch: Ron DeSantis Shows What Leadership Looks Like on the Border Crisis as Biden Bumbles on World Stage

As President Biden continues to embarrass the United States on the world stage, back here at home Republican leaders are stepping up to the...

Biden’s ‘Build Back Better World’ Plan Isn’t Enough to Counter China’s Investments

President Biden holds a news conference after the U.S.-Russia summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) What the Marshall Plan can teach us about the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a staple of Chinese foreign policy, is a multitrillion-dollar investment project that has the potential to unseat the United States as the world’s leading superpower. It has taken over seven years, but the U.S. has finally taken steps to compete with China, through the “Build Back Better World” (B3W) plan unveiled at the recent G-7 summit. Even so, America’s response leaves much to be desired. * * * Money talks. Of the many lessons from the massive struggles of the 19th and 20th centuries, this aphorism nears the top of the list. Britain’s “Golden Cavalry of St. George” bankrolled the Russian and Austrian armies during the Napoleonic Wars. The United States’ Lend-Lease program during World War II supplied the Allies years before we officially entered the war. Most famous of all was the Marshall Plan, a $13 billion, four-year-long program designed by the Truman administration to combat Europe’s precipitous post-war economic decline. Enacted in 1948, it would be equivalent to about $146 billion in 2021. That said, in 2019, the U.S. spent nearly $40 billion on foreign aid, which is actually more than the adjusted annual amount (~$36 billion) spent during the Marshall Plan. What makes the Marshall Plan unique, however, is that it was almost entirely economic assistance. Today, as was the case during the continental and global conflicts of the past two centuries, the vast majority of aid given was in military forms, such as through subsidized arms deals and financing recruitment. This more direct form of financial assistance reeled impoverished European nations in to the negotiating table. As evidenced by internal memos written in 1947 by Under Secretary of State William Clayton and State Department policy planners, American leaders were careful to avoid framing the Marshall Plan as a scheme to compete with the Soviets. They were skeptical of the public’s willingness to support another international power struggle and were worried about Joseph Stalin using his strength and influence to interfere with the program. For all the brotherly compassion Americans seemed to have genuinely felt toward Europeans, internal documents express a genuine fear of the slowly collapsing morale on the continent. Policy-makers correctly pointed out that chaos is the perfect ladder for totalitarians and communists. As such, the economic assistance was conditional. Recipient nations needed to buy American and liberalize their economies. Americans presented the Marshall Plan as an innocent plan for economic recovery alone, but the ulterior motive of moving European industry to the right is evident. “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos,” Secretary George Marshall explained. The Marshall Plan largely succeeded in its goals, but it did not go perfectly. Shrewdly, our former leaders used polite, universally appealing rhetoric to lower the guard of the Soviets, and Stalin initially permitted the Eastern Bloc to enter negotiations. Unfortunately, his smarter subordinates saw through the lofty speeches, and the USSR quickly retaliated with the Molotov Plan to prevent U.S. capital from dominating the entire continent. * * * The similarities between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Marshall Plan are astonishing, down to the messaging. “The programs of development will be open and inclusive, not exclusive,” Xi Jinping proclaimed, with state media framing the plan as an opportunity for nations across the world to engage in fair, mutually beneficial trade. As Therese Shereen has explained, this is a charade meant to exploit poorer nations. Through debt traps and Sino-centered trade deals, the Chinese Communist Party could use its leverage to combat America’s military presence in Southeast Asia. Not only would this jeopardize the safety of Taiwan and Japan, but it also poses a major national-security threat. We cannot allow our allies to be brutalized and oppressed in the way Tibet was, or let our troops be threatened. Horrifyingly, our leaders have done nothing to pull our allies away from the allure of the Dragon’s yuan. A total of 139 countries — together amounting to about 40 percent of the world’s total GDP — have joined the BRI, including NATO members and longstanding allies such as Italy, New Zealand, South Korea, and Turkey. Thanks to the foolishness of the Obama and Trump administrations, B3W is already at a massive disadvantage. For all of Trump’s tough talk about trade, he utterly failed to provide a meaningful counteroffer to BRI member states. In a strange twist, China’s initiative has placed the United States in the same position that the Soviets had been in the face of the Marshall Plan. But President Biden is incapable of projecting power in the manner that both Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin were able to (albeit in very different ways). The leaders of the G-7 must take a harder line against China and pressure their allies to look to non-genocidal sources of investment. Offering an alternative is not enough if countries such as Austria and Greece remain latched to an enemy, especially when our version of the Molotov Plan is seven years late. And while it is typically unwise (to say the least) to consult the Soviet example for advice, here there is actually something we can learn from it. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d1b8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d1b8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d1b8 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d1b8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d74e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d74e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d74e { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d74e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d8c2 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d8c2 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d8c2 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d8c2 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d9e6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d9e6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d9e6 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650d9e6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650daf3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650daf3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650daf3 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca40650daf3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } The Biden administration’s official statement on B3W gives further cause for concern. Irrespective of one’s sympathies with the White House’s goals of achieving international “gender equity” (whatever that entails) and combating climate change, this heavy-handed approach is doomed to failure. B3W’s obsession with “values-driven” investment is not reciprocated internationally. In 2019, after China received formal condemnation from 22 nations for placing millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps, 37 other countries rallied to voice support for China. Of these 37, a whopping 32 are currently members of the BRI. Burkina Faso, Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, and Turkmenistan are the lone exceptions — and the latter four have all publicly expressed interest in joining. These are the countries whose support we need. Remember, history teaches us that money can easily override ideological convictions. How else could countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, nations that claim to represent and defend Islam, turn a blind eye to China’s treatment of the Uyghurs? However noble the goals of the G-7, we have to take realpolitik into account. If the G-7 self-imposes limits on the growth of its own project through stifling clean-energy regulations, foreign powers will continue to ignore American cries for justice. Furthermore, B3W is being framed as, at least in large part, an investment venture for private institutions. What made the Marshall and Molotov plans — and what is currently making BRI — so appealing is that they were state-driven investment. Had these projects been privately driven, high-risk areas such as then-West Germany would have struggled to acquire the necessary capital. Few private companies want to invest in Greece, let alone crumbling countries such as Venezuela and Afghanistan. The U.S. has to be willing to lose money in this project, in the same way that China is. The goal is to acquire influence, and influence costs money. The United States also does not need to quit trying to move the developing world in a direction more favorable to its values. But to inspire countries such as Nigeria and Tajikistan to be better, we must first wrench them away from the corrupting influence of the CCP’s cash. We need to make investment offers that are more appealing than China’s, just as the Soviets had in Eastern Bloc. We should use our leading position in NATO to oblige member states to abandon their deals with China. Trump succeeded in pressuring our European allies to pay more of their fair share of the bill, and we need that same kind of vigor and initiative now. China has already used its financial might to silence corporate and political criticism of its cruelties. NBA and WWE stars have been forced to apologize for totally legitimate comments. John Cena was compelled to apologize in Mandarin for being impudent enough to refer to Taiwan as a country. The CCP continues to deny this island country membership in the World Health Organization, even throughout a pandemic. There is no room for appeasement here. China is weaponizing capital to shape a new world order where the CCP is free to do as it pleases. That is not to say the United States is the perfect global hegemon. It is not. But when we compare the current political states of the U.S. and China, it should be clear which of the two is preferable.

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Ten GOP Senators Announce Support for Infrastructure Compromise

(rarrarorro/Getty Images) A bipartisan group of 20 senators, including ten Republicans, announced their support for a compromise framework on infrastructure on Wednesday. Details of the framework were not immediately available, although the cost of the potential bill would be $1.2 trillion over eight years, according to CNN. The backing of ten GOP senators could give the potential bill a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, if all 50 Democrats vote in favor. “We support this bipartisan framework that provides an historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure needs without raising taxes,” the group said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop legislation based on this framework to address America’s critical infrastructure challenges.” Twenty senators from both parties announce support for $1.2T, eight-year bipartisan infrastructure outline pic.twitter.com/0aTxnBGwzM — Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 16, 2021 #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c905d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9471 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c96a3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c9845 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60ca7567c999e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } President Biden initially proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes funding for bridges, roads, and railways, and a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles, among other provisions. Republicans have attempted to lower the price tag on the bill and have insisted that legislation not include tax increases. Additionally, the GOP senators have strived to keep former President Trump’s 2017 tax reform measures in place. Democrats have explored options for passing an infrastructure bill via budget reconciliation rules, which allow certain pieces of legislation to pass the Senate via a simple majority vote instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes. However, Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) cautioned against using budget reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill in comments to NBC earlier this month. “Are you ready to go it alone with just Democrats?” reporter Garrett Haake asked Manchin. “No. I don’t think we should. I really don’t,” Manchin responded. “Right now, basically, we need to be bipartisan.” Send a tip to the news team at NR.
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