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Floyd’s ‘murder’ wasn’t racist and other commentary

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Floyd’s ‘murder’ wasn’t racist and other commentary

Iconoclast: Floyd’s ‘Murder’ Wasn’t Racist

We are “supposed to believe” Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd “at least partly out of a disregard for black lives” — yet John McWhorter at his Substack blog doubts that. “For every incident we hear of where cops kill a black person, there are multiple others where cops killed a white person, and we did not hear about it.” The problem is that the ­media focus on black killings; people “never see white people being killed on television and online.” Still, the George Floyd case may help us change a situation in which cops kill “too many human beings.” And if that means “thinking of the cops as blithely dedicated to shattering black bodies, then I may just have to go along for the ride.”

Peanut gallery: MLB & the Voting-Rights Con

By pulling the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, grumps Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review, the rulers of Major League Baseball have “taken a no-compete spectacle I’d long since stopped caring about, and, by politicizing my respite from politics, they have made me not only care about it but get bats–t over it.” Yet “this is about power, not social justice”: Democrats “press to expand the number of registered voters and available ballots, then figure out ways — many regrettably legal, some not — to harvest them” to “acquire and retain power.” Indeed, “if voting is as crucial as the left says it is, people should be proud to exert the close-to-zero effort that is called for.” Policies like “no-ID provisions have nothing to do with race. They have everything to do with Democrats creating more opportunities to cheat.”

Economy beat: Cali’s High-Speed Lesson

“With a Democrat in the White House and a $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan on the table, excitement about high-speed rail is on the rise again,” reports Reason’s Paul Detrick. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg even tweeted out a map featuring possible routes for bullet trains crisscrossing the homeland. But “anyone taking the promise of high-speed rail seriously” should first consider California’s recent attempt to build a bullet train. The project has been substantially scaled back over the years, as the cost ballooned from $33 billion to $100 billion, and it still remains “unfinished and over budget” more than a decade later. Constructing high-speed rails drains state finances and would require “bulldozing neighborhoods and disrupting communities.” Candidate Joe Biden didn’t hide his famous rail fetish, but smarter Dems should heed the Golden State’s high-speed warning.

From the right: Hunter’s Ugly Memoir

“Hunter Biden’s ‘Beautiful Things’ is an ugly piece of fiction,” declares Dominic Green at Spectator USA. In his memoir, the president’s son ­“denies that he did anything wrong” by taking $50,000 a month from a Ukrainian energy company or persuading “a Chinese billionaire to give him $10 million a year for ‘introductions,’ ” though there is no evidence “Hunter tried to disabuse his foreign patrons” of the idea that “their money would buy influence or access.” After all, why “else would these companies have thrown their money at this runny-nosed whoremonger?” When The Post revealed “Hunter’s influence-peddling,” traditional and social media ran interference, a “downright chilling” attempt to affect the outcome of the election. The memoir and its coverage aim “to spin Hunter Biden’s story back onto the familiar rails of pity and redemption.” In America, just as in “one-party dictatorships,” “naked nepotism can be converted into virtue.”

Conservative: Questions on Joe’s Georgia Boycott

For the first time ever, a president of the United States (Joe Biden) has called for economic sanctions against one of the 50 states “over dutifully and legally passed legislation,” scoffs The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway. The media should ask him some tough questions. For one, “given that African Americans make up 55 percent of Atlanta, 54 percent of Savannah and 55 percent of Augusta,” does Biden really think punishing the state will promote equity? More important, does Biden “keep a list of other pieces of state and local legislation of which he does not approve?” Will he punish those jurisdictions, too?

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Opinion

Biden finally saw the folly of our Afghan adventure, but Trump got it first

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Biden finally saw the folly of our Afghan adventure, but Trump got it first

Nearly two decades, $2 trillion and more than 2,300 US casualties later, President Joe Biden has announced that it is time to withdraw our forces from Afghanistan.

Biden is absolutely right. As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the 10th anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s killing, we need to accept the fact that we accomplished our only real objective in the region long ago: eliminating the terrorist mastermind responsible for the murder of thousands of Americans.

There was never any other reason to be there. Killing Osama bin Laden was an appropriate response to heinous attacks on American soil, and it is unfortunate that it took us a decade to find him hiding out in neighboring Pakistan. But a decades-long attempt to bring democracy to a country that has never known anything but brief intervals of peace amid thousands of years without a centralized government? This was mad folly, and no one should be surprised that the authorities in Kabul have accepted the reality of sharing power with the Taliban.

We should, too.

The saddest thing about our “forever war,” to use a phrase Biden has appropriated from his predecessor, is that its futility was totally predictable. I hate to be one of those young fogies who laments the decline of reading, but sometimes I wish people in charge would just open an encyclopedia for once. Here is what it says in my dusty old set of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1911:

“The Afghans, inured to bloodshed from childhood, are familiar with death and audacious in attack but easily discouraged by failure; excessively turbulent and unsubmissive to law or discipline; apparently frank and affable in manner, especially when they hope to gain some object, but capable of the grossest brutality when that hope ceases.”

Does this sound like the start of a modern fairy tale about the triumph of liberal democracy and brotherly love in a despotic wasteland? Did anyone really think that democracy hadn’t arrived in Afghanistan before 2001 because no one had ever thought of trying it before and that its people would abandon centuries of habits to play along with our pet project? Let’s keep reading:

“Among themselves the Afghans are quarrelsome, intriguing and distrustful; estrangements and affrays are of constant occurrence; the traveller conceals and misrepresents the time and direction of his journey. The Afghan is by breed and nature a bird of prey.”

These are hard words, ones that would never appear in a modern reference book. But they are full of genuine wisdom, the fruit of decades of British experience in Afghanistan, which even the Empire upon which the sun never set could not subdue. The Russians couldn’t do it, either, which was why the United States was happy to watch the crumbling Soviet Union waste what was left of its military might there in the 1980s. Why did we think we would fare any better?

I am old enough to remember when what Biden is attempting now was unserious at best and at worst criminal, a return to the wickedness of Charles Lindbergh and the anti-World War II “America First” movement. But lots of things (elite belief in the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines, for example) have changed since the last administration. Maybe if former President Donald Trump had campaigned on staying in Afghanistan for all eternity, he would have been impeached for not getting every last American home by Thanksgiving 2017.

The truth is, though, that even Biden isn’t going to have an easy time getting us out of Afghanistan. Like both of his predecessors, he is about to discover that the Pentagon is used to getting whatever it wants and that the US foreign-policy establishment has decades worth of spurious justifications for keeping American troops in the region indefinitely. While it would be nice to think that the president has enough of a mandate to push through a withdrawal, there are good reasons to remain dubious.

In his speech announcing the move on Wednesday, Biden said that all 2,500 US troops will be home by Sept. 11. This is a fitting date.

But I will believe it when I see it.

Matthew Walther is editor of The Lamp magazine.

Twitter: @MatthewWalther

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Opinion

NYC needs a crime-fighting mayor again — not one out to appease the defunders

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NYC needs a crime-fighting mayor again — not one out to appease the defunders

“As you look down the road, as far as crime-reduction in New York City, it’s a very bleak picture,” ex-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly recently told radio host John Catsimatidis. “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, as far as I can see.”

That was one bleak assessment by the city’s former top cop. Kelly lamented that none of the leading mayoral candidates has shown an interest in cracking down on crime.

Case in point: Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang was heckled and called “pro-cop” by demonstrators during a bike ride protesting the police-involved shooting death of Daunte Wright on Tuesday night.

Apparently, the anti-cop protesters took offense at Yang’s mild call for more funding for the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crimes Task Force amid a spate of violent attacks. But Yang’s remarks are in-sync with most New Yorkers, who want police follow-up to both solve crimes and prevent future ones — with the perps arrested, tried and imprisoned.

But speaking common sense out loud will get candidates heckled, shamed and run out of events, as the radicals did to Yang.

The bullies have most of the Democratic mayoral wannabes embracing the “Defund the police” nonsense. Progressive favorite Maya Wiley would cut the headcount at 1 Police Plaza and city jails and use the savings to fund one-stop community centers and so on.

Establishment Democrat Scott Stringer strives to appease the radicals by taking various responsibilities (and funding) from the NYPD and giving the Civilian Complaint Review Board final say over cop discipline — kneecapping the department’s commissioner.

Eric Adams, a retired police captain, vows to . . . name the first woman police commissioner. He’s anti-“defund” but promises to find $1 billion in “savings” in the NYPD budget. Another dodge: Rather than disbanding the NYPD’s anti-crime unit, he says he’d have turned it into an anti-gun unit — which is what it actually was anyway. But Adams would much rather talk about his big plans for . . . wind power.

Yang and Ray McGuire talk about naming a deputy mayor just to bird-dog the department. Yang also wants a civilian, not a career cop, to head the department, while McGuire also vows to find “savings” in the NYPD budget.

Absent is any loud vow to get New York off the path to being an open city for criminals and violent street crazies, any clear recognition that subways, buses and other public spaces won’t become safer on their own.

City Hall needs straight-talking leadership with a laser focus on reducing crime and disorder — someone who’ll face down the radicals who demand police scalps and stand with a public that desperately wants the “good old days” of ever-increasing public safety to return.

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Opinion

The feds’ foolish new J&J delay further feeds false anti-vax fears

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The feds’ foolish new J&J delay further feeds false anti-vax fears

Just two days after the feds announced the pause on the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, vowing it’d only be “a matter of days” as they looked into six cases of blood clots in the 7 million Americans who’ve gotten the jab, they’ve found just two more — and now say it’ll be at least a week to 10 days before they un-pause. This “abundance of caution” has nothing to do with science, only bureaucratic indecision. And it’s downright dangerous as it puts vax programs on hold and feeds anti-vax hysteria.

The issue is a rare blood clot, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which occurs in about 5 to 15.7 people per million each year. The J&J shot has an even-lower case rate — if it’s actually linked to them. (The first six cases involved women of childbearing age, and birth control heightens the risk of blood clots; one of the two new cases is a man. All eight also suffered low levels of blood platelets, making the clots tough to treat.)

Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a three-hour emergency meeting Wednesday to assess whether this handful of cases should keep a halt on the vax.

Three bureaucrats — Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC chief Rochelle Walensky and President Joe Biden’s vaccine czar, David Kessler — testified to Congress Thursday that all three federally authorized vaccines, including J&J’s, are safe and effective. And they urged Americans to get one of them as COVID cases continue to rise.

But the decision to halt the only vaccine that’s given in one dose rather than two and doesn’t need freezer storage is making mass vaccination more difficult. It’s put a hold on New York City’s home-vaccination program for the elderly and disabled, and likely many others across the nation.

And it’s tanking public confidence in the safety of J&J’s vaccine, from 57 percent before the halt to 32 percent after, per a YouGov/Economist survey. And anti-vaxxers are pointing to the pause to fuel their conspiracy theories about all brands of the lifesaving shot.

You’re far likelier to die in a plane accident than get a blood clot from J&J’s jab, yet we still allow air travel. And getting as many people immunized ASAP is vital to beating COVID and saving far more lives. People can make up their own minds about the minuscule J&J risk, and there’s nothing scientific about bureaucrats taking the decision out of their hands — or about politicians letting them do it.

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