The Press-Dispatch

January 12, 2022

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C-4 Wednesday, Januar y 12, 2022 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg What's Jan. 6 really about? As we await findings and conclu- sions of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 attack, let's take a mo- ment and do our own soul-searching about what is going on. The House Select Committee is en- gaged in Washington's favorite pas- time — looking for whom to blame. The sidelight of this pastime is the pre- tense that things that are very compli- cated can be made clear and simple. And the other side of the coin of the search for whom to blame is the re- fusal to step up and take personal re- sponsibility. The latter, unfortunately, is increas- ingly becoming a hallmark of today's culture and is exactly the opposite of the personal characteristic that built America. As I wrote in a recent column, one of the great errors of today's culture is equating the political process we call democracy to a culture that embodies the principles of a free society. The triumvirate of protection of life, liberty and property — the pillars of a free society — are all under siege today. Unfortunately, the democratic process is, with alarming frequency, now used to undermine these pillars of liberty. The vast expansion of government power through debt, taxation and reg- ulation amounts to a direct assault on the private property of American cit- izens. The storming of the Capitol build- ing on Jan. 6, regardless of if and how it was planned, regardless of the motiva- tions of those involved, put on display disregard for the principles of law and protection of property that are more fundamental than the democratic and political processes. Unfortunately, the pathology pro- ducing this disregard for the funda- mental institution of protecting prop- erty, for respect and regard for what is not yours, has become widespread. What we learned on Jan. 6 is that this pathology is nationwide, in all politi- cal streams, and not limited to the left. The incident on Jan. 6 was just the latest in many such incidents. I am not the first to point out that exactly the same behavior was ram- pant across the country in years prior to Jan. 6, 2021, perpetuated by Black Lives Matter and other progressive groups and justified by the same lead- ers of the Democratic Party that are now driving the Jan. 6 witch hunt. In July of 2020, a mob toppled a stat- ue of Christopher Columbus in Balti- more and threw it into Baltimore's In- ner Harbor. When asked about this, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is from Baltimore, responded, "People do what they will do." The reporters prodded Pelosi to condemn the mob action, but she re- fused. The mob behavior and mentality on display on Jan. 6 was already getting rooted in our country and justified and encouraged by political leaders in the Democratic Party. Suspicions about improprieties in the electoral process in 2020, which led up to the Jan. 6 incident, were and are quite justified given the closeness of the election coupled with the track record of dishonest behavior in the Democratic Party. Behind the first impeachment of President Donald Trump was grossly improper and illegal behavior in which the so-called Steele dossier, fabricat- ing evidence of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russia, amounted to the FBI working with the Democrat- ic Party to undermine a Republican president. Where is the investigation of this grotesque incident? All is quiet. As the core values that were the basis of the founding of the USA are undermined and purged, as eternal truths are displaced by politics, all sense of truth and meaning is being lost. The result is a dangerous tenden- cy to anarchy. I call on Republicans to take on re- sponsibility for leading the nation back to its core values. And to advance these truths in our minority communities, where for years the left has co-opted the mes- sage of freedom and personal respon- sibility with a message of blame and victimhood. Releasing these commu- nities from the left will also release us from such close elections. Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show "Cure America with Star Parker." Moving forward Independents are now America's largest group of voters. A fter George Bush's presiden- cy, fewer people called themselves Republicans. A fter Obama's, fewer called themselves Democrats. How will these independents vote? Andrew Yang hopes they'll vote for him. In my latest video, the former Democrat explains why he's started a new party, the Forward Party. "Our country is polarized and get- ting worse all the time ... seeing each other as mortal enemies ... I'm com- mitted to doing everything I can to help change it." He's written a book about that, "Forward." Compared with most politicians, Yang is refreshing. He opposes cen- soring people for what they say. "Sat- urday Night Live" fired a comedian after he called Yang a "Jew Chink." Yang tells me, "I didn't think that was right ... he's a comedian. It's his job to push boundaries." Yang says other things presiden- tial candidates don't say, like: "Run- ning for president requires traits that make you a terrible leader. You make false promises (and) regularly claim powers you do not have." He cites worker retraining as an example. Governments keep funding expensive job training — the feder- al government alone has 43 retrain- ing programs, but they almost never work. Many promise computer-cod- ing jobs, but Yang points out, "If you actually go to a town that had the plant close, you find no one working as a coder. ... People walk out with valueless certificates and no job." Unfortunately, Yang's plan to help people, a universal basic income, may be even worse. Yang would simply give every adult $1,000 a month. But the Unit- ed States is already going bankrupt, and a UBI would give more of your tax money even to people who don't need it. Yang's UBI wouldn't even replace existing welfare programs (Charles Murray's proposal), so a drug user could just snort up $1,000 and apply for more handouts. His plan would encourage lazy people to stay lazy. People like me, when I was young. I say to Yang, "I wouldn't have over- come my stuttering and worked as hard as I did if I had free money. Not having it ... drove me." "I'm a data guy," he replies, claim- ing more people would start busi- nesses. "If you have that fallback, it makes you more likely to take a risk." But at what cost? Already, we see an effect of government's reck- less stimulus handouts: inflation is the highest in 40 years. Yang's UBI would give away four times that ev- ery year. A better Forward Party proposal is automatic tax filing. "We waste so much time figuring out our taxes," Yang complains. "It's stupid." True. In some countries, govern- ment just sends you a bill or refund. You can dispute the results, but if you don't, you can file taxes in less than a minute. The reason the USA does not have automatic filing, says Yang, because "Intuit is making too much money off TurboTax. It lobbied (actually, H&R Block and others lobbied, too) and said, no, no, no! ( You) can't do it au- tomatically! " Yang says other sensible things that Democratic politicians rarely say. During the heat of last year's an- ti-police anger, activists screamed at him because he opposed defunding the police. He stood his ground. Yang's run businesses, so he doesn't say stupid anti-capitalist things. But often, he acts like a typical pol- itician. At the Democratic National Convention, he gushed over Biden and Harris. "You're just sucking up! " I tell him. "I was willing to do or say whatev- er I thought would help get Trump out," Yang replies. Why? "Trump was erratic," says Yang, "not leading in a positive direction." I'm glad Yang is around, with a new party. More choices are a good thing. Yang is a decent man who brings up some fresh ideas. Unfortunately, many of Yang's ideas are bad. He calls climate change an "exis- Why don't the union bosses in America represent their union mem- bers anymore? Could it be because the union leadership has become more beholden to the Democratic politicians in Washington than the rank-and-file workers who pay the dues? We saw an example of this betray- al of the workers not long ago when the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters brass en- dorsed Joe Biden for president — even though Biden openly opposed all fossil fuels and wanted to end the building of pipelines. Talk about selling the rope to the hangman. The union bosses acted surprised that Biden's first act as president was to kill several thou- sand union jobs by killing the Key- stone XL pipeline. And in recent months, the Biden officials have been on a crusade to shutdown Mid- west pipelines that carry natural gas to the midwestern states. More recently, we witnessed one of the dumbest union leadership campaigns in American history. The United Mine Workers Associ- ation endorsed the Build Back Bet- ter bill, which is stuffed with $550 billion of subsidies for green ener- gy projects and energy mandates explicitly designed to kill America's coal production. Wipe coal and coal miners right out of existence. Then, UMWA President Cecil Rob- erts wrote an extraordinary letter to Sen. Joe Manchin (D- West Virginia), admon- ishing him for opposing the bill. "We are disap- pointed that the bill will not pass," Roberts said. "We urge Senator Man- chin to revisit his oppo- sition to this legislation and work with his col- leagues to pass some- thing that will help keep coal miners working." Manchin was standing up for the coal miners in his state. Why wouldn't the union do the same? I've been to Charleston, West Vir- ginia, and talked to many of the coal miners. They hate the Biden bill and know that their jobs are in jeopardy. They remember that Hillary Clinton came to West Virginia in 2016 and told the coal miners that under her plan, these workers could build wind panels instead. They laughed at her arrogance and fantasy. The UMWA wants more funding for victims of black lung and oth- er benefits for laid-off coal miners. That's fine. But if Build Back Bet- ter passes, there won't be any min- ers left working in states like West Virginia, and the UMWA will be de- funct. What's next, the Steelworkers union coming out against steel pro- duction? Even the United Auto Workers union is putting at risk tens of thousands of union jobs by backing Biden's risky plan to di- vert production of gaso- line-powered cars toward electric vehicles. More than 90 % of the car sales in the U.S. are still tradi- tional cars. If they are not made in the U.S., they will be made in Japan, Korea and Germa- ny. How does that create union jobs? The union bosses haven't caught on to the reality that the green move- ment they are partnering up with is essentially supporting an agenda that will deindustrialize America. There is no way that we can have a $22 trillion economy that makes ev- erything from steel to cars to pipe- lines to buildings and airplanes and technology and corn and cotton with- out affordable energy. My question for the union bosses is: How do we create jobs in America if our energy comes from wind turbines and solar panels ... made in China? Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at Freedom Works. He is also author of the new book: "Govzilla: How The Re- lentless Growth of Government Is De- vouring Our Economy." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un closed out both 2021 and a five-day meeting of the Korean Workers Par- ty with a speech that gave little rea- son to hope for a happier New Year. Contrary to predictions of major pol- icy shifts or responding to South Ko- rean President Moon Jae-in's desper- ate quest for an end-of-war declara- tion, Kim offered no hint of diplo- matic outreach or moderating North Korea's ongoing arms buildup. He fo- cused instead on resolving the coun- try's economic "great life-and-death struggle." North Korea's economic travails and pandemic concerns make diplo- macy unlikely for the foreseeable fu- ture. However, the regime could al- ways choose to engage in another major provocation to increase ten- sion on the Korean Peninsula. It has done so repeatedly in the past. In the first year of each of the three previous U.S. administrations, con- ducted a nuclear or long-range mis- sile test. The lack of such provo- cation during the first year of the Biden administration was therefore uncharacteristic. However, North Korea continued short- and medi- um-ranging missile testing in 2021 and could eventually choose to test the new long-range missile systems it paraded publicly in 2020 and 2021. Each January, Pyongyang signals its domestic and foreign policy pri- orities for the forthcoming year. The regime typically discusses foreign policy at length, either harshly crit- icizing Washington and Seoul or in- dicating a seeming willingness to ne- gotiate. In January 2018, for exam- ple, Kim announced he would send a top-level delegation to the South Ko- rean Winter Olympics and in 2019, he announced a willingness to again meet with President Donald Trump to discuss denuclearization. The plenum statement's terse, dis- missive reference to "north-south relations and external affairs" was unprecedented and reflects the re- gime's continued resistance to dia- logue. Recently, North Korea reit- erated its demands that the United States must first drop its "hostile pol- icy" before the regime would accede to any meetings. Kim Jong-un made scant refer- ence to the country's nuclear and missile forces other than to praise the defense in- dustry for developing "one ultra-modern weap- on system after another." Kim directed pressing ahead with the produc- tion of weapons articu- lated in last year's Party Congress statement. At that time, North Korea announced plans to de- velop multiple-warhead ICBMs, hypersonic glide warheads, tactical nuclear weapons, nuclear-powered submarines, mili- tary reconnaissance satellites, and long-range submarine-launched bal- listic missiles. Kim's speech also maintained the regime's retrenchment against mar- ket-oriented reform measures, reas- serting the virtues of state control and hewing to socialist economic policies. He called on the industri- al and agricultural sectors to aug- ment production, exhorting them to implement socialist principles to "strengthen the unified guidance and control of the state over econom- ic work." The emphasis remained on maintaining North Korea's juche pol- icy of self-reliance to remain inde- pendent of outside influence. The extent to which Kim dwelled on improving the agricultural sector indicated an increasingly dire food situation. North Korea had acknowl- edged a "food crisis" in mid-2021, and the regime's continuing restric- tions against foreign trade, com- bined with international sanctions and weather calamities, suggests the populace could face famine con- ditions before the autumn harvest. The plenum statement declared that emergency COVID epidemic prevention work was also a top pri- ority, along with rural development, and constructing large housing proj- ects to improve living conditions. Also noteworthy was a lengthy dis- course on enhancing ideological pu- rity, particularly in rural areas. The emphasis given to upholding regime ideas and conducting the "struggle against anti-socialist and non-social- ist practices" is reminiscent of sim- ilar warnings issued after Kim had his uncle Jang Song-taek executed in 2013 for dis- loyalty. It is not known if the regime has faced in- creasing resistance from the populace or per- ceives greater potential for insurrection. But the plenum statement por- tends a continued, if not enhanced, effort by Kim to repress foreign infor- mation from contaminating his sub- jects. During his reign, Kim tight- ened border security, increased de- tection capabilities against foreign phones and broadcasts, and enacted legislation to make possessing out- side information, including South Korean movies, punishable by death. Past New Year's Day speeches pro- vided fodder for those claiming that Pyongyang was pursuing econom- ic reforms, implementing a more benign foreign policy, and interest- ed in abandoning its nuclear arse- nal. Statements that were less vitu- perative in comparison with previ- ous speeches were often perceived as messages of an enhanced regime desire for dialogue and improving relations. Some experts employed a Sherlockian dog-that-didn't-bark log- ic to detect signals sent by what the regime didn't say. This year's missive allows no such interpretation. While the lack of bombastic threats was welcome, there was little to suggest a willing- ness to resume dialogue or negotia- tions. Pyongyang even rejected re- peated international offers of food, humanitarian assistance, and pan- demic vaccines. The regime fears both the entry of the COVID virus and destabilizing foreign influence. Pyongyang will maintain its dra- conian isolation measures despite their impact on the national econ- omy and the well-being of the pop- ulace. Kim has been unable to de- liver on his 2012 pledge that North Koreans would never have to "tight- en their belts again," nor has he of- Race for the Cure By Star Parker Give Me a Break John Stossel Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore Union bosses against union jobs Heritage Viewpoint By Bruce Klingner North Korea in 2022: Kim Jong-un's next moves See FORWARD on page 5 See KOREA on page 5 Court

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