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Team Biden is still pushing blatant lies about the Trump vaccine plan

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Team Biden is still pushing blatant lies about the Trump vaccine plan

Why is Team Biden sticking to its ridiculous “Trump had no vax-distribution plan” claim?

Vice President Kamala Harris trotted it out in a weekend interview, yet again insisting that the new administration is effectively “starting from scratch” because of its predecessor’s failures.

Ha! After President Biden made a similar statement weeks ago, Dr. Tony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser as he was Trump’s, set the record straight: “We are certainly not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.”

In other words, the jabs administered before the end of Trump’s term didn’t just magically find their own way into the arms of more than 16.5 million Americans.

Sure, Fauci notes that Biden is greatly increasing federal involvement, but his plan is based on “amplifying” what Trump had already established.

Trump’s plan left control to the states, but that’s a reasonable choice, not a lack of a strategy. The feds partnered with and delivered doses to chain pharmacies, set aside billions for vaccine distribution, set up programs for nursing-home residents and hospital workers and provided a playbook from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide state plans.

Under Trump, the US gave shots to millions, enrolled tens of thousands of private providers in the vax program and organized a data-collection system that includes all 50 states.

To reduce all these efforts to a “dismal failure,” as Biden did, or absolutely “no national strategy or plan,” as Harris just put it, did, is flat-out wrong.

Nor is it remotely clear that the Bidenites’ approach is better: Their obsession with racial “equity” in vaccinations, for example, is all too likely to add paperwork and other complications, slowing everything down.

The “no strategy” line seems designed to give the new administration a ready scapegoat if anything does go wrong, which is both cheap and shameful.

Worse, it seems like Biden & Co. are looking to outdo Trump in insisting on blatantly fake “facts.”

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Opinion

Supreme Court now has a chance to end the real ‘systemic racism’

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Supreme Court now has a chance to end the real 'systemic racism'

As the nation’s racial reckoning following last May’s killing of George Floyd morphed into the summer’s riotous anarchy, the term “systemic racism” emerged as a fixture of our public discourse.

What began as a somewhat arcane dialogue about purported police “militarization” and the “qualified immunity” legal doctrine soon took on a much more insidious tone. America, those like The New York Times’ “1619 Project” fabulists told us, was rotten to its very core, blemished by the indelible taint of “systemic racism.”

In reality, there is no factual basis to support that. There will, sadly, always be individual racists from all backgrounds and all walks of life, but American society in the 2020s simply does not have anything remotely resembling a legally enshrined regime under which its racial majority “systemically” oppresses its racial minorities.

America in the year 2021 is not Germany in 1936; it is not South Africa in 1985; and it is not — after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — the Jim Crow South. This ought to be astoundingly obvious.

But while the notion of sprawling, multi-institutional “systemic racism” is a lie, there is at least one major American institution that does suffer from legally codified racism that tarnishes the institution’s integrity, sullies its legitimacy and is so widespread that it might earnestly be dubbed “systemic.” I speak, of course, of affirmative action admission policies in American higher education.

Thankfully, due to the petition for a writ of certiorari that was filed before the US Supreme Court this week in the case of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College, the nightmarish systemic racism of affirmative action might finally end soon. (As a disclosure, I personally know Students for Fair Admissions’ attorneys, one of whom is now representing me before the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in unrelated litigation.)

There is at least some cause for optimism. A divided court in 2016 upheld race-conscious university admissions policies in Fisher v. University of Texas, but the court’s composition has changed since then. What’s more, affirmative action is perhaps the single issue upon which infamous Republican-nominated disappointment Chief Justice John Roberts is the most reliable.

In addition to his joining Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent in Fisher, it was Roberts who, in the 2007 race-conscious education case of Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle, penned perhaps his most iconic line: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Affirmative action might have been devised as a well-intentioned effort to eradicate the vestiges of antebellum chattel slavery, but as Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his 1995 concurrence in Adarand Constructors Inc. v. Pena, “Government-sponsored racial discrimination based on benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired by malicious prejudice.”

And discriminate Harvard does. The university maintains noxious de facto racial quotas to penalize Asian Americans, redolent of the anti-Jewish Ivy League quotas of the early 20th century. Harvard’s lawyers conceded at trial that Asian Americans are penalized by the admissions office’s nebulous “personal rating” category — and they are penalized simply for the fact of being Asian. The university engages in deliberate racial balancing, seeking to fill its incoming freshman classes with a largely preconceived, annually consistent racial breakdown.

Harvard’s admission data are eye-opening. For high-school applicants in the top academic tenth of their class, whites are admitted at a rate of 15.3 percent; Asian Americans are admitted at a rate of 12.7 percent; Hispanics are admitted at a rate of 31.3 percent; and blacks are admitted at a rate of 56.1 percent. Poor refugees from Communist China and impoverished white students from Appalachia are thus placed at a “systemic” racial disadvantage relative to well-off Hispanics and blacks.

In no rational universe is this a just arrangement.

Legal conservatives usually have myriad reasons for pessimism, but affirmative action could prove an exception. The justices have a real chance to deliver a grievous blow to the systemic racism that blights one of the nation’s leading institutions. Let’s hope they don’t blow it.

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Opinion

How NYC can squeeze the rich — and have them enjoy it

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How NYC can squeeze the rich — and have them enjoy it

Let’s change the debate about casino gambling in New York City.

Forget the Atlantic City or Las Vegas model of large, noisy, neon-lit airplane hangars packed with dollar slots and poor and middle-class gaming addicts pouring their rent money into a hopeless pursuit of riches.

Instead, think James Bond at Monte Carlo. Classy joints that would never allow schlubs like us in the front door. Casinos that attract only the richest people on the planet, people who can afford to drop $50,000 in a night on baccarat or roulette and wouldn’t be caught dead in an Atlantic City or Poconos casino.

Think casinos that generate billions of tax dollars for the city and billions more in economic activity, with none of the undesirable social issues normally associated with casino gaming.

And if you’re a progressive, think about a great new way to tax the rich.

Casinos like these have existed for years in London, and they’d work just as well in the world capital that is New York.

Following the London model, New York could require that casinos be members-only private clubs and set a somewhat steep minimum for membership dues — say, $5,000. In London, these private-club casinos are limited in size, allowing perhaps no more than 100 players at a time. They are discrete, located in grand hotels behind closed doors. A small plaque is the only advertisement.

They’d have no slots — just table games. Nor venues for big-name entertainment; New York City’s got that already.

Hotels that lack their own casinos can become casino members, so someone from the concierge desk can escort a hotel guest to a casino. Think of the fat tip for some kid from Queens just starting out in the hospitality business.

These high-end parlors could be placed in iconic locations, such as the site of the recently closed 21 Club. The city could issue a request for proposals for perhaps five such casino licenses, setting rules governing size, occupancy, advertising, minimum membership fees and types of games.

Expect hotels to partner with gaming companies and bid for these five licenses. Screen the applicants and review the bids carefully — a process that would be paid for by hefty application fees. Hold an auction; award licenses to the highest bidders and start counting the money from the license fees.

Count the money from tax revenues, too. London casinos pay 15 percent in taxes. Other countries set even higher tax rates.

Count the money from the global super rich who spend more hotel nights in New York because of this new attraction, something New York’s tourism opponents always look to encourage.

Count the higher income taxes from New Yorkers who get jobs in these casinos and from everyone in the hospitality industry who benefits from an influx of rich tourists.

New York has very good hospitality programs at several schools, and they could add courses for this new concept. These would be some of the best jobs in the hospitality industry.

Yes, we’re talking about casinos for the super-rich. The rest of us won’t be able to afford them. But we’d still have Aqueduct and Yonkers, Atlantic City and the Catskills. And there’d be little competition for these places: The high-rollers frequenting our New York City private-club casinos don’t mix with the common folk in existing gaming venues. (When they do gamble here, they do it in off-the-books games, and government gets no piece of the action.)

So let’s not get hung up on arguments about equality or elitism. Let’s look at private-club casino gambling as a way to increase revenue and job opportunities, with little or none of the social downside normally linked to gambling, such as how it risks addicting and further impoverishing those who can least afford it.

And the impact of public safety is almost non-existent. Winnings and losses move by wire transfer. Who gets mugged riding in a limousine? 

With tourism, entertainment and hospitality industries in the city shattered by COVID, now’s the time to squeeze the global super-rich and give them a chance to support our schools, hospitals, social services, affordable housing, public transit and police. We can even convince them that they’re having fun doing it.

Pat Smith is a former journalist and public relations exec with no interest in casino gambling.

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Opinion

Letters to the Editor — Feb. 26, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — Feb. 26, 2021

The Issue: The accusation by a former aide of Gov. Cuomo that he sexually harassed her on the job.

When it rains it pours, especially for Gov. Cuomo. Already on the hot seat for hiding the true number of CO­VID-related deaths in nursing homes, now he is accused by a former aide of sexual harassment (“Cuomo’s a pig,” Feb. 25).

The details already released are pretty bad. This could be the beginning of the end for him. He has, in essence, abused the power of his position to a great extent.

It’s about time he meets his fate in a courtroom. It seems like every day a new, ugly truth is revealed about him, so let justice be handed down against him to the fullest extent of the law.

Joseph V. Comperchio, Brooklyn

Obviously, Cuomo did not heed the adage that you shouldn’t throw stones if you live in a glass house.

He conducted a virulent campaign against former President Donald Trump, accusing him of being egotistical, autocratic, a sexual predator, a vindictive bully and, of course, a liar.

Now it seems the chickens are coming home to roost for Cuomo, and not a moment too soon.

Frank Brady, Yonkers

Cuomo is in deep doo-doo now. His directive caused the deaths of thousands of people in nursing homes. He’s been dancing around it, pointing fingers at others, and he may never answer for it.

But now a former aide has accused him of giving her an unwanted kiss on the lips — without warning. And that may be the end of him. It could be the first snowflake in an avalanche of accusations.

One scandal should have caused handcuffs to be slapped on him, and the other should have caused a solid slap in the face from an aide.

James Grant

Massapequa

Score one for Mayor de Blasio, a fellow Democrat in the moral minority, who is calling for an independent probe of the sexual-misconduct allegations against Cuomo.

Although I find it discouraging that the left-wing media is turning a blind eye to Cuomo’s harassment charges and liberal women leaders are not demanding that aide Lindsey Boylan has a right to be listened to.

It was a different story when allegations were made against now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Trump.

The American people have a right to know the full story — not the cherry-picked version that the media chooses to report.

JoAnn Lee Frank

Clearwater, Fla.

The most revealing part of this “Cuomo is a pig” story is the hypocritical silence from the former loudmouths of the now-forgotten “Me, Too” movement.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that Harvey Weinstein was the most evil person on the planet? And Hollywood turned into judge and jury for the despicable Kevin Spacey?

Impeach this creep, now.

Joe Nugent

Staten Island

After causing the deaths of thousands of the elderly and trying to blackmail people into silence, we now find out Cuomo is also an accused sexual predator.

Using his power to allegedly maul a woman shows what a low-life he really is. Why isn’t his brother reporting on this?

Too bad New Yorkers don’t have the guts or brains to remove him from office. Maybe then they could save their state.

Storm Destro

Bayonne, NJ

Lord Cuomo has been exposed for the corrupt bully that he is. It’s time to stop talking and start taking action.

We need to start the impeachment process immediately to have him removed from office so he cannot do any more damage to the great state of New York.

Gene O’Brien

Whitestone

Now that Cuomo has allegedly done some very bad things that brought dishonor to his last name, it might be time to remove the Cuomo name from the Tappan Zee Bridge, which spans the Hudson River.

The “Mario Cuomo Bridge” never sounded right anyway.

John Kirkwood

Westwood, NJ

Want to weigh in on today’s stories? Send your thoughts (along with your full name and city of residence) to [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, length, accuracy and style.

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