It’s Friday, January 28th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) New Book Sheds Light On American Leaders’ Ties To China
The Topline: A new top selling book, “Red-Handed,” looks at “how American elites get rich helping China win,” and has uncovered some problematic ties between America’s leadership and the Chinese Communist Party.
Quote Of The Day: “We have leadership in the United States, in Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street that are wedded to Beijing, and they don’t want us to take a hard line towards Beijing when it comes to our own security, when it comes to our military competition with Beijing, because they’re compromised, they have conflicts of interest…”
– Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and bestselling author of “Red-Handed”
China has a strategy they call “elite capture,” with the goal of forging commercial relationships with powerful politicians to help make them rich by giving them cutout deals in China. By doing so, they forge a bond and effectively turn those politicians into advocates for softer positions on Beijing. They do this to both Republicans and Democrats, the executive branch, Capitol Hill and the diplomatic Corps.
A series of deals made by the Biden family in China amount to $31 million. Each of them were arranged by a Chinese businessman who had ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence.
Not only do Google and Microsoft do commercial deals with China, they sponsor research in China at facilities controlled by the Chinese military. President Xi has said whoever controls the future in artificial intelligence will have “the commanding heights” in the competition between the powers. Microsoft also accepts interns from the People’s Liberation Army.
2) Tensions Continue To Rise In Ukraine
The Topline: Concerns continue to grow that Russia will launch a military strike against its neighbor Ukraine, despite efforts by multiple international groups and governments to achieve a diplomatic solution.
Quote Of The Day: “A political solution is still possible. But then, of course, Russia has to engage in good faith.”
– NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg
Russia has continued to amass military forces along its border with Ukraine. Pro-Russia Belarusian forces are also readying along the border between Belarus and Ukraine.
Despite the concern, NATO’s secretary general is still hoping an invasion can be avoided.
However, this week, the U.S. embassy in Ukraine released an official statement telling Americans that “the security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable due to the increased threat of Russian military action and can deteriorate with little notice.”
The embassy is encouraging all U.S. citizens to leave the country and an announcement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Americans may be stuck in Ukraine if Russia invades.
Remember: The Biden administration has admitted they don’t know how many American citizens are still in Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2 Pipeline
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is one of several pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany. The Trump administration opposed its development, but construction continued under the Biden administration.
The pipeline is crucially important to both Russia and Germany, as Germany is the biggest purchaser of Russian natural gas in the world. Earlier this week, the State Department tried to use the pipeline as leverage.
The State Department spokesperson added that military action by Russia would have consequences when it comes to the pipeline.
Sanctions might not be effective if Germany doesn’t engage due to their reliance on Russia for much of their energy resources. The threat of potential sanctions could not intimidate Putin, who also invaded Ukraine in 2014, while President Joe Biden was vice president.
3) Homelessness Crisis In America
The Topline: Over the past five years, the number of people sleeping on the streets in the U.S. is up more than 20%.
Quote Of The Day: “What we’ve found is, when people are severely mentally ill or abusing drugs, they tend not to seek treatment on their own, especially if they can live for almost free on the streets.”
– Judge Glock, Cicero Institute
‘Housing First’ Program
According to research from the Cicero Institute, one of the biggest contributors to homelessness is a well-intentioned program designed to end homelessness called Housing First.
Several years ago, many politicians, including then-Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom, said that by building enough free homes homelessness could be entirely ended within a decade. In 2013, the Obama administration mandated this strategy for the entire nation.
Housing First presupposes that a lack of housing is the primary issue causing people to be homeless. However, a recent study showed that among those homeless on the streets, 75% had severe mental illness, 75% had a drug or alcohol problem, and the majority had both.
A condition of funding the program forbids the homeless advocacy groups running the housing units from mandating sobriety or mental health check-ups. Some studies show these problems get worse inside these new homes.
The free homes can also attract more homeless people into the system, and take money away from short-term shelters and other programs, which have been reduced in cities like San Francisco over the past decade.
Cities aren’t enforcing bans against street camping or street sleeping like they did in the past, and homeless advocates have become more radical, saying that if a city doesn’t have a bed for every homeless person, they have a right to sleep in public.
When L.A. began cleaning its Skid Row back in 2006, it cut the number of homeless deaths in half, because more people returned to their families or went into treatment or shelters. When they stopped enforcing it in 2014 after Mayor Eric Garcetti took office, homeless deaths almost tripled – to now over 4 deaths per day.
Citizens in both San Francisco and Austin – two liberal cities – voted to ban street camping in the past few years, but the cities are refusing to enforce the bans.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
Spotify has announced it is pulling the music of rocker Neil Young off its platform at his request. Young had demanded the streaming service cancel Joe Rogan or lose his music. Young told his management team in a letter: “I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform. They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” Young has accused Rogan of spreading COVID “misinformation.”
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