Joe Biden Drastically Downplays China

Former vice president Joe Biden speaks at a rally with striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston, Mass., April 18, 2019. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Making the click-through worthwhile: On the campaign trail, Joe Biden offers an assessment of China’s leaders that is simply stunning; the Democrats rage about Attorney General William Barr but are vague on what they’re willing do about him; a familiar congresswoman blames the United States for the violence in Venezuela; and the Democrats get yet another presidential candidate.

Joe Biden’s Wildly and Dangerously Naïve Assessment of China

You hear pretty often that a this-or-that political figure made a shocking statement, and sometimes it’s genuinely shocking, and sometimes it’s overhyped. But former vice president Joe Biden declaring that the figures running the Chinese government are “not bad folks” and that “they’re not competition to us” has to be the most jaw-dropping assessment of a world power since Gerald Ford’s 1976 assessment that “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.”

Biden’s full quote:

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China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west. They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

A few moments earlier, Biden had bragged, “I’ve met virtually every major world leader in my role as vice president, as Foreign Relations chairman over the last 30 years.” We’re left wondering if Biden’s view of the world changed at all in the past three decades.

China’s government is growing more repressive and more belligerent towards the United States. FBI director Christopher Wray said recently,“China in many ways represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face.” China is investing in offensive capabilities to disrupt or destroy U.S. assets in orbit. They’re pursuing genetic research with no ethical limitations. They’ve used “Confucius Institutes” to co-opt and influence what is taught about China on American colleges and universities. They’ve got more than a million people in concentration camps for “reeducation.” They are expanding their economic leverage and strategic assets:

China has landed, not only by militarizing artificial islands it built in the South China Sea, but by building or acquiring seaports, logistics terminals, and related transportation, communication, and energy assets in more than a dozen countries around the globe, including U.S. allies in the EU and Latin America.” As Chinese fighter jets regularly violate the airspace of our Asian allies, “The risk of accidental conflict goes up as China becomes more active, more determined, and more belligerent.

An assessment that China’s government are “not bad guys” and are “not competition” is so out-of-whack that I think it’s fair to wonder if the 76-year-old Biden is growing senile.

The White-Hot Democratic Rage Over William Barr

This morning, a lot of the usual suspects are just white-hot livid about Attorney General William Barr.

James Comey says President Trump has “co-opted” him. Michael Tomasky says he’s the “wartime consigliere” of the GOP “racket.” E.J. Dionne accuses Barr of “shamelessly corrupting the debate over Mueller report.” The Washington Post editorial board declares Barr “torched his reputation” and charge that his letter summarizing the top conclusions of the Mueller report was “highly misleading.” House Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler is threatening to hold Barr in contempt

Even Charlie Sykes over at The Bulwark looks back to long-forgotten allegations of the George H.W. Bush administration secretly funding Saddam Hussein and concludes, “Barr, it turns out, has for 30 years been the go-to guy for protecting a president, covering up scandals, and obstructing investigations.” (I’m not quite sure how he managed to be the go-to-guy for 30 years when he didn’t work for the government between 1993 and 2019.)

Guys . . .  if you think this is worthy of impeachment, then go and attempt to impeach him. This applies to Trump and to Barr.

We keep hearing from Democrats and like-minded commentators that Trump’s actions clearly constitute obstruction of justice, that the lack of an underlying crime is immaterial, and that Trump passed the threshold requiring removal from office a long time ago. They contend that the evidence is overwhelming, that the counterarguments are weak, and that the precedents are ample.

Okay, fellas, then act like it. Stop talking about what should be done and do it.

Much like celebrities’ apocalyptic rhetoric around climate change and their continued use of private jets, there’s a giant disconnect between what these prominent Democrats and liberal thought leaders are saying and what they’re doing.

Most folks on the Right are looking at liberals’ furious denunciations of Barr with skepticism and maybe even a bit of bewilderment. Why is there so much screaming about Barr’s letter when the Mueller report is now released? Even the contempt threat doesn’t make much sense:

Roughly 10 percent of the public report is redacted to conceal grand jury material, details on ongoing investigations, classified information and details that could impact the privacy of third parties. Barr has allowed a select group of lawmakers, including Nadler, to review a less-redacted version of the report, but Democrats have objected to the arrangement because it leaves many in Congress unable to view information.

Nadler is threatening a contempt citation against Barr for refusing to release an unredacted version . . .  that Nadler is allowed to see! No one has argued that any of the redactions are improper, unethical, or unwarranted. The redactions were made in cooperation with Mueller’s team. But Democrats stare in yearning at those blacked-out portions like those treasure hunters who keep digging deeper on Oak Island. They have unwavering faith that somewhere down deep underneath the black is the presidency-wrecking revelation of their dreams — a revelation that for some unexplained reason, Mueller didn’t feel was necessary to share with the American public.

Stop calling for Barr’s resignation, Democrats. You know he’s not going to resign. Nobody resigns just because figures in the other party call for it to happen. Heck, in Virginia, a slew of Democrats called for Ralph Northam to resign and he just ignored them. If you think Barr’s actions warrant resignation, they should warrant impeachment as well, right? Put your money where your mouth is.

Otherwise, the cynical assessment from the Right is the correct one, that this has little to do with what was actually in Barr’s letter or Mueller’s report and a lot to do with the psychological state of a Democratic party that convinced itself it was getting a second Watergate. They had absolute unwavering faith that Mueller was going to prove Trump colluded with the Russian government, and that this would trigger a tidal wave of public outrage that would sweep the entire Trump crew out of public office and positions of authority.

Omar: Venezuela’s Suffering Is America’s Fault

As we watch armored personnel carriers run over civilians in the streets of Venezuela, Representative Ilhan Omar has found the real villain: Americans.

You know, I mean, a lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today. This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.

To use an old phrase from Glenn Reynolds, she’s not anti-war, she’s pro-the-other-side. She wants trade sanctions on Israel, but not on Maduro’s regime.

ADDENDUM: The bad news is, Colorado senator Michael Bennet is running for president, giving the Democrats 21 candidates — and two Coloradans! — in the 2020 race. The good news is, this means Bennet is cancer-free after a prostate-cancer diagnosis. Glad you’re on the mend, senator . . . now, are you sure you want to do this?

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