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Center for Immigration Studies’ latest bizarre “solution” to reducing immigration – HotAir

Center for Immigration Studies’ latest ‘genius’ idea involves the U.S. government either offering direct payments to residents in three Latin American countries or paying for birth control.

The so-called “low immigration, pro-immigrant” think tank recently released their Biden Plan for the Northern Triangle suggesting a bribe to those in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras so they don’t attempt to move to America. Those already in the U.S. or sitting at the Mexican border would get $2500 each, while those currently in higher immigration areas get $1000 each. Individuals in medium or lower countries get $750 and $500 respectively. It’s less than the cash the U.S. handed out to certain taxpayers in total coronavirus direct payments from 2020 and 2021, and for around 33.1M people. Estimated total costs for the payments are $12.5B, which CIS explains is worth happening due to the federal government’s current spending spree (deficits don’t matter anymore, apparently, until they will).

Caveats and hidden costs exist. CIS appears to want the government to pay for bus rides and flights for those in the U.S. and on the border to their home countries. The proposal also includes delaying some payments under the idea it will give people incentive to stay home for longer.

“[T]he dollar goes further in the NT than in the U.S.,” CIS fellow David North writes while admitting his figures are just estimates. “If a family of two parents and a 15-year-old, now at our border accepted the $7,500 offer, it could mean life-changing benefits back home, such as the purchase of a herd of sheep, or equipping and opening a shoe repair shop, or buying a car and starting a taxi service, or funding a year or two of college.”

This is asinine for a couple of reasons, notwithstanding the fact, all three countries appear consumed by violence. These so-called “life-changing benefits” might only benefit the gangs or corrupt government officials looking to profit from harsh coronavirus lockdown measures and their drug war. Who’s to stop the gangs from forcing people to relocate for the cash, then stealing the money? Why start a business when people live in fear of gangs and the government? Why not spend the money to buy a plane ticket out of the country to escape and take the risk of a better life elsewhere?

Another issue involves the potential for fraud. One has to think families on the border will be willing to lie about their country of origin, allowing them to illegally benefit from the direct payments. Those living in so-called ‘medium or lower’ areas could just attempt to move to higher areas in hopes of raking in more cash, forcing the U.S. federal government to spend more cash.

A final kicker North and his CIS friends might not like: the chance of increasing the current issues on the U.S.-Mexico border. Let’s say a family hears they can earn $7500 at the border. Why not take the risk and run to the border in hopes of getting money? That stick of, “Oh, we’re going to delay payments,” may not stop anyone that desperate for cash. It’s naive to consider this as a real solution.

Let’s not forget the U.S. government is already doing this on a smaller scale. Reuters reported earlier this month the Biden administration sent cash to Central America to help people meet so-called basic needs. It’s not working now, so why keep this option going if people are still coming for “free money.” Mexico is doing its own program which may or may not be working either.

Of course, CIS doesn’t stop there. Their other “idea” of reducing immigration to America is to spend federal cash on birth control access in hopes of keeping women from birthing babies.

“Part of the problem in the Northern Triangle is that the populations in these nations are heavily tipped toward young people, assuring us of expanding numbers of women in their reproductive years in the decades to come…” North opines before writing Guatemala’s population is mostly under 30. “Girls under the age of five currently will, 25 years from now, be in their peak years of fertility, and that cohort will be twice as large as that of the 25- to 29-year-olds now. Even with a sharp reduction in the number of births per 1,000 women, the total number of births in the nation will keep on climbing.”

Isn’t this at odds with the conservative belief of not being in favor of taxpayer-funded birth control? Should the federal government be spending money to pay for abortions, contraceptives, or condoms? It seems odd for a group linked to conservatives and the Republican Party (despite allegedly being nonpartisan) to find it a-OK for the government to pay for birth control in other countries. Of course, it’s not surprising since this is the same group co-founded by someone who wrote an essay promoting passive eugenics.

Better solutions exist but are more long-term. The George W. Bush Institute noted regulatory barriers are preventing companies from investing in the Northern Triangle. Some of it has to do with the fact the economies of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras need further liberalization while allowing more personal freedom. The lack of opportunities means migrants/immigrants/whatever you want to call them will seek opportunities elsewhere. Forcing gangs to go legit could lead to a reduction in crime and weaken their power over the populace.

It’s easy to suggest handing out federal cash will end up being the solution to problems ailing populations. However, as we’ve seen in the U.S., the solutions only end up exacerbating the problem. CIS’ proposal on encouraging direct payments to foreigners to stay home and more birth control won’t help and should be rejected.

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Houston shelter for migrant girls abruptly closed after HHS staffer suddenly dies – HotAir

An emergency intake site (EIS) that housed 450 to 500 unaccompanied minors, all-female, abruptly closed Saturday in Houston. This followed an incident Friday night. A “flurry of activity” was seen Saturday as buses arrived and left the shelter with the girls. Boxes and computers were seen being carried out by workers. An adult staffer from HHS suddenly died Friday night at the shelter.

Authorities cite privacy policies and declined to comment on the staffer’s death. The transfer of the girls is not related to the death, authorities say. The agency isn’t giving details on why the girls are being moved.

A brief statement was released by HHS.

“Today, HHS announced that all of the children in HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) care at the Emergency Intake Site (EIS) for Unaccompanied Children at the National Association of Christian Churches site in Houston, Texas (NACC Houston) will be immediately unified with sponsors or transferred to an appropriate ORR facility,” agency officials said in a statement released Saturday.

The question is, why? Coming immediately after a sudden death on the premises sure looks suspicious. The girls arrived only two weeks ago. The National Association of Christian Churches (NACC) partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Refugee Resettlement to open the facility to ease the horrendous situation of overcrowding on the southern border. An HHS official reported that 130 of the 450 girls at the site already have plans to be united with a sponsor. The others are being moved to different facilities.

Familias Inmigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha (FIEL), an “immigrant-led civil rights organization”, according to its Twitter bio, released a video of some activity outside the facility on Friday night. The video is narrated by a Spanish speaker but you can see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and movement.

Executive director of FIEL, Ceaser Espinosa, said the conditions inside the warehouse were ‘inappropriate for anyone, especially young girls’, who range in age from 13-17 years old. He added that employees of the facility would only let the teens get out of their cots a few times a day to shower and use the restroom.

Fiel member Alan Cisnero said while he was out with his family on Friday night, he noticed a large amount of first responders arriving to the facility. He said he then proceeded to see what the issue was, however officials told him they couldn’t share much information regarding who was involved in the incident.

Espinosa added that the facility actually had 500 girls on roster at the time of Friday night’s incident, meaning they were right at capacity. Due to the amount of girls, he said they were unable to properly social distance inside the warehouse.

“The NACC Houston EIS and other Emergency Intake Sites are intended for use as a temporary measure,” DHS officials said.

The reason for the abrupt clearing out of the facility has still not been given. Maybe it is because the facility wasn’t suited for the teenage girls. HHS cited “continuity of care under conditions that meet our strict standards of care in ORR state-licensed shelters, the Carrizo Springs Influx Care Facility or Emergency Intake Sites where beds have become available.”

A Congressional Democrat from Houston describes the situation as a good one – happy that the facility is “no longer needed” yet that sounds like a strange way to describe it.

The pastor who heads the National Association of Christian Churches in Houston calls it a “sudden and unjustified” removal, and likens it to a drug raid. He said the government “begged” him to take the girls then refused to reimburse for expenses, telling him to contact attorneys to help him with his claims. He also said he was first told he would receive boys but then discovered the teens were girls.

José Ortega, founder and president of the National Association of Christian Churches, the disaster-relief agency based in Houston that was awarded a federal contract to house unaccompanied minors who had been detained at the southern border, condemned the Health and Human Services Department.

“I’m a humble pastor that was thrown into this mess without asking for it,” said Ortega, who said that HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra asked him to take the migrant children. After he scrambled to prepare for the boys he was told to expect, he learned he would be getting girls instead, he said. The government sent officials and employees of a contractor that took over the operation. He still had to pay the contractor he’d hired, he said.

A spokesperson for Houston Mayor Turner said that the White House notified the mayor that the facility was no longer needed. It looks like the facility is no longer needed because Ortega invited journalists in to cover the story of the facility and because the federal government was not honoring its contract with him and reimbursing him for expenses.

Ortega accused federal authorities of threatening to arrest an organization board member for letting journalists into the facility.

He told the Chronicle in a later interview that he agreed to take on the task of setting up a shelter at the urging of HHS but claimed that he was not reimbursed for expenses he incurred in establishing the center and procuring goods and services for the care of the children.

Ortega said he last talked to Becerra on April 1, “when he again begged me to open up the facility and sign this contract.”

The situation escalated last week, Ortega said, with continued delays from HHS on paying him, until he informed them Friday night that he had retained attorneys.

“I don’t know anything about contracts,” he said. “I’m a pastor. We were not looking for a contract, we were not applying for a contract for us to make money — this was thrown on us.”

Ortega says the girls didn’t want to leave and cried about it as they did. NACC representatives released letters written by the girls that thank the organization for taking care of them.

No good deed goes unpunished, right? What a mess.

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In Minnesota, Black militia group tries to keep the peace – HotAir

Here’s a headline you don’t see every day. Out in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where nightly protests and sporadic violence have been unfolding ever since the police shooting of Daunte Wright, a new group of players has taken the field. According to the Associated Press, a group of mostly Black civilians wearing body armor, many of whom are armed, has been patrolling the streets in the evenings, seeking to establish some distance between groups of noisy protesters or potential rioters and the police. Calling themselves the Minnesota Freedom Fighters, the group members describe themselves as an “elite security unit.” While most of them did not appear to be armed on Friday night, they still had a very militaristic look about them. One member said that their only intent was to ensure that the protests remained peaceful.

As protests intensified in the Minneapolis suburb where a police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright, a group of Black men joined the crowd intent on keeping the peace and preventing protests from escalating into violence…

The Black men at the edge of the crowd wear yellow patches on protective vests that identify them as members of the Minnesota Freedom Fighters, a group formed to provide security in Minneapolis’ north side neighborhoods during unrest following the death of George Floyd last year. They are not shy about casting a forceful image — the group’s Facebook page features members posing with assault-style weapons and describes itself as an “elite security unit” — but on Friday the Freedom Fighters didn’t appear to be armed and said they intended only to encourage peaceful protesting.

As several people began to rattle a fence protecting the Brooklyn Center police department, the Freedom Fighters communicated to each other over walkie-talkies. They declined to say how many are in their group.

Some of the early commentary I saw on social media from liberals ran along the lines of how “white conservatives are gonna freak out” about a group of armed Black men taking to the streets. I had to laugh when I saw that. I think this is a great idea. There’s no suggestion thus far that any of the members of the MFF are not licensed firearm owners. Nor have there been reports of them doing anything but protecting property and keeping the crowds from trying to tear down fences and attack the police. One of their members interviewed in the linked report is a former Marine who pointed out the damage to the local neighborhood that ensues when the crowds begin to riot and the police respond.

So that’s some good news, right? But before we chalk this up as a job well done, we should hop into the Way Back Machine for a moment. You may recall another group of armed men who showed up in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. It was the group that included Kyle Rittenhouse. Let’s contrast these descriptions of the Freedom Fighters with how the Associated Press covered the presence of (mostly white) armed people patrolling the streets of Kenosha prior to the Rittenhouse shooting. Most of these descriptions sound fairly different, wouldn’t you say? (Emphasis added)

“The sheriff told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that militia members or armed vigilantes had been patrolling Kenosha’s streets in recent nights…”

“How many times across this country do you see armed gunmen, protesting, walking into state Capitols, and everybody just thinks it’s OK?” [Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela] Barnes said.

And then there was this coverage from the same week, warning of online calls for armed militias to travel to Kenosha.

Reddit said Thursday it had removed posts that had urged vigilantes to go to the Kenosha protests. The company said in a statement its rules “explicitly prohibit content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence.”

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said Wednesday that militia members or armed vigilantes had been patrolling the city’s streets in recent nights and asked about being deputized.

But what did the group Rittenhouse joined claim to be doing when they arrived in Kenosha? They were there trying to prevent vandalism and damage to businesses and private property while preventing attacks on the police. Isn’t that the same thing? And yet when the Rittenhouse crew showed up, they were immediately tagged as militia members and vigilantes. But the MFF is “a group of Black men… intent on keeping the peace and preventing protests from escalating into violence.”

Funny how the news media style guide somehow shifts on a dime, isn’t it? In any event, I wish the Minnesota Freedom Fighters the best of luck in their efforts. Hopefully, they can keep the mayhem and the damage somewhat tamped down.

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Why did Twitter flag my pro-vaccine tweet as misinformation? – HotAir

Is … is Twitter anti-vax now?

I mean, I know Alex Berenson drives a lot of traffic to the site.

And Jack Dorsey’s always had a New Age vibe about him. You know how New Agers are about vaccines and “wellness.”

No, actually, this unfortunate outcome almost certainly has a mundane explanation:

Twitter has an algorithm problem. In trying to filter out anti-vax propaganda, they probably set up a watchlist for tweets containing the words “COVID,” “flu,” and “less deadly,” since many a COVID denier is prone to using those terms to underplay the severity of the disease. Remember all the nonsense at the beginning of the pandemic about how COVID was supposedly “just the flu” or potentially even “less deadly than the flu”?

I was making the opposite point using the same keywords but the algorithm was too crude to detect that. So my tweet got put in timeout the way one of Trump’s tweets occasionally would when he got a little too incendiary or mendacious. Result: No one on the platform can retweet it or reply to it even though it, uh, makes a strong case in favor of vaccination.

What I need to do now is figure out a way to monetize my new “Big Tech martyr” status. I could do a slew of whiny media appearances, but I’m more inclined to set up a “Justice for Allahpundit” GoFundMe.

The only way to stick it to Silicon Valley and avenge this searing injustice is to send me cash.

Seriously, though, the algorithm snafu may be a blessing in disguise. It’s caused the tweet to get more attention on Twitter today than it otherwise would have, which is welcome because I really do think the COVID/flu comparison could be useful in explaining the benefits of the vaccine to the skeptical. The last pre-pandemic winter brought nearly 22,000 deaths from flu or “influenza-like illnesses,” according to the CDC. That’s par for the course in an average year yet Americans are so inured to the small risk of dying from flu that many don’t bother visiting the local pharmacy for the flu shot even though it’s free to those with insurance. By comparison, the CDC has detected just 74 deaths from COVID so far among 66 million vaccinated people. Extrapolating that out, we’d expect something like 400 deaths total — total — in the United States from the coronavirus if every American got their two doses.

Which is to say, if you’re unvaccinated and were somehow given a choice between being exposed to the flu or to SARS-CoV-2, you’d choose the flu all day long. But if you’re vaccinated, the calculus changes. The COVID vaccines are so amazingly effective that, forced to choose between the flu and a pathogen that’s killed 580,000 people and counting, it’s a no-brainer that you should take your chances with the coronavirus.

It’d be nice if the pros could get that message out, especially to the red states. Because this is not looking good:

The same article compares blue states to red ones in terms of (1) estimated vaccine hesitancy among the population and (2) the share of each state’s population that’s already received their first dose. The correlations are stunning. Practically all blue states have done better than red ones in finding willing recipients to get their shots so far, and some of the more poorly performing blue ones (Georgia, Michigan) are much more purple than blue. Just one blue state, Georgia, is below 30 percent in terms of the number who have had their first dose; by comparison, just one red state, South Dakota, is north of 40 percent.

If this keeps up, we’re headed for a two-track pandemic this fall in which the virus is less prevalent in blue jurisdictions and more prevalent in red ones. (Including red areas within blue states.) Not only does that mean more human misery among Republicans, it may mean a slower economic recovery as workers continue to fall sick and businesses avoid contracting with businesses in redder areas for fear of COVID-related disruptions. Although the “lockdown forever” mentality of some Democratic officials may end up squandering their economic advantage relative to red states by keeping some businesses operating at lower capacities for longer than the science demands. We’ll see.

Here’s Fauci this morning on CNN wondering why Republicans who complain so loudly about masks and pandemic restrictions are also the segment of the population most likely to refuse a pharmaceutical treatment that’ll make masks and restrictions unnecessary. When the guy’s right, he’s right.

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Tells BLM protesters to “get more confrontational” – HotAir

Rep. Maxine Waters sure sounds like she’s trying to incite protesters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. She joined in a Black Lives Matter protest Saturday night. Waters said she plans to stay in Minnesota until Monday, the day when closing arguments are expected in the Chauvin trial.

The death of Daunte Wright has produced seven nights of protests. Outrage over his death is causing the 82-year-old California lawmaker to lose sleep. She told reporters that she had to come to show her support for Wright’s family and friends. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, died after he was shot by a white policewoman. Waters included her anger in the Derek Chauvin case, too, as she told protesters to fight for justice, stay in the streets, and “get more confrontational”.

Waters told the protesters at Brooklyn Center that she will fight for justice on their behalf and urged them to ‘to get more confrontational’ – just one day after protests descended into violence.

‘I am not happy that we have talked about police reform for so long,’ Waters said. ‘We’re looking for a guilty verdict,’ she added in regards to the Derek Chauvin trial. ‘If we don’t, we cannot go away.’

‘We gotta stay on the street,’ Waters was recorded saying, adding that protesters needed ‘to get more confrontational’ and they should ignore the curfew in place.

She has thoughts and wanted the protesters to hear them, so she traveled to Minnesota to make sure the protests continue.

“I came here for one reason, just to be here, to make sure that I let my thoughts be heard among all of those who have spent so much time on the streets. And so I’m hopeful that the protests will continue,” she said.

As she left the protest, it has been reported that a fight broke out between protesters and police outside Brooklyn Center Police Department. Who could have seen that coming? She told reporters she isn’t “depending on” Republicans for anything when she was asked about her work in Washington. She said that Republicans (“right-wing”, “racists”) will likely stand in the way of police reform legislation.

Waters included her anger over the Chauvin case as she addressed reporters. She demands no less than a guilty verdict, otherwise, she wants protests to escalate. She’s not a fan of curfews.

“We’re looking for a guilty verdict” in Derek Chauvin’s trial for the police killing of George Floyd, where deliberations will begin next week, she said.

“And if we don’t, we cannot go away,” she added. “We’ve got to get more confrontational.”

Asked about the curfew, she said, “I don’t know what curfew means,” according to another tweeted clip.

“A curfew means that ‘I want y’all to stop talking,’” she said, adding, “I don’t agree with it.”

Maxine Waters has a pattern of inciting anger in crowds against Republicans and conservatives. During the Trump administration, she instructed Trump deranged Democrats to harass members of the Trump administration, to run them out of grocery stores, away from gas stations, and get them thrown out of restaurants. We know she was successful as Trump opponents did just that as they filmed their ugly behavior on their phones. The protesters who turn their marches into riots don’t need any encouragement from her now.

On Saturday afternoon Black Lives Matter protesters showed up at the home of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. Orput charged Kimberly Potter, the white policewoman who shot Wright as he resisted arrest, with second-degree manslaughter. Black Lives Matter and Waters say that charge isn’t enough – she should be charged with murder. One of the BLM activists, Nekima Levy Armstrong, said that Orput left his home and briefly spoke with protesters.

The protesters on Saturday night were chanting, “No good cops in a racist system!”, “F–K your curfew!”, and “No justice, no peace!” On Friday, about 100 people were arrested after the “peaceful” protesters attempted to tear down a fence around the police station. By Saturday night, protests spread to cities across the country, including Washington, D.C. It’s protest season in America and Maxine Waters is here for it.

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A choice of life or death: Sunday reflection – HotAir

This morning’s Gospel reading is Luke 24:35–48:

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

Too often, we miss the true inflection points in our lives — the choices we make that truly matter. Their import only reveals itself in retrospect when we recognize how those choices could have unfolded differently. We lacked the context and knowledge at the time to comprehend the stakes involved, and we have to pay the consequences when that blindness leads us down the wrong path.

In some cases, we describe those as life-or-death choices, usually with some level of hyperbole. In today’s readings, we have two glimpses of the actual life-or-death choice that Christ presents us in His mission. This choice doesn’t involve hyperbole, and the choice is truly existential on two different levels.

Peter explains the literal life-or-death choice in our first reading from Acts — the rejection of Christ. Whom did the Judeans trade for Jesus? A murderer, Barabbas, who had been justly condemned for his crimes. They demanded freedom for Barabbas and death for “the author of life,” as Peter calls Jesus, a truly confounding choice even under these circumstances — especially by a population that days earlier had welcomed Jesus as a king. The people of Jerusalem literally choice murder over eternal life.

Jesus challenges His disciples to grasp this in today’s Gospel as well. This passage from Luke comes after the Christ’s appearance on the road to Emmaus and the discussion of it among the Twelve. The disciples must have been skeptical about this — and who wouldn’t be? — when Jesus appeared among them. He appeared in bodily form, clearly alive, and yet the disciples remained convinced that they were seeing an apparition. Jesus tells them to recognize His life and His resurrection, and emphasizes it by asking for food and eating it in front of them.

In both passages, we are asked to choose life over death, even in the absence of “proof,” which Jesus clearly provided in this passage from Luke. This isn’t just a choice of life or death on a personal level; it’s a choice between putting eternal life at our core or a love of the fallen material world that decays and dies continually before our eyes. That is the missing context for us when we sin, either through ignorance of the Gospel or a lack of faith in the Lord’s goodness. This is the blindness which we suffer too often at these crossroads, and that leads us down the primrose path rather than the road to eternal salvation and God’s love.

And yet, as Peter says in his exhortation to those in Jerusalem, it’s never too late to choose again. Even those who condemned Jesus had an opportunity to make a better choice:

Now I know, brothers, that you acted out of ignorance, just as your leaders did; but God has thus brought to fulfillment what he had announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.

This leads us to an interesting question: was Barabbas ever saved? He was clearly saved from execution by the crowd, and some literary treatments of Barabbas has him converting to Christianity as a result of his eventual shame over Jesus’ death in his place. Barabbas slips out of history entirely after the Passion, so we cannot know what his choices were — but we know he had those choices. For that matter, so did Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ to the temple guards. Judas could have repented of his sin, the same sin that Peter lays at the feet of all those in Jerusalem, and embraced Christ as His savior and Lord. Instead, Judas chose to stubbornly remain on his path toward death rather than choose life.

We have this same choice, not presented just once but continually. This is why Christ created the sacrament of reconciliation or “confession.” By acknowledging and repenting our sins, we reconcile ourselves with Christ and switch paths back toward our salvation. In effect, we get a “do-over” on those life-or-death choices, allowing us to regain our footing in faith and come closer to the Lord, who has remained constant all along in His love for us.

The choice of life is always before us. And even when we have erred in those choices in the past through ignorance or malice, we can take hope in that choice always being available to us — if we have the courage to grasp it, truly and completely.

 

The front page image is a detail from “Le Christ devant Pilate” by Mihály Munkácsy, 1881. On display at the Orsay Museum. Via Wikimedia Commons.

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here.  

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Navalny “could die at any moment” – HotAir

It’s been two and a half months since Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was sent to prison for two and a half years by a kangaroo court for missing some meetings with his parole officer. (Navalny’s excuse for being tardy was that he spent months in a German hospital, with significant periods being in a medical coma after Vladimir Putin had him poisoned.) While behind bars, Navalny complained of increasing pains in his back and lower legs, but his personal physicians have been barred from seeing him. In protest of this treatment, Navalny went on a hunger strike more than two weeks ago. His jailors have shown no signs of relenting, however, and now it’s being reported that his latest round of blood tests indicate that Navalny could literally die at any moment without proper treatment. (Associated Press)

A doctor for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is in the third week of a hunger strike, says his health is deteriorating rapidly and the 44-year-old Kremlin critic could be on the verge of death.

Physician Yaroslav Ashikhmin said Saturday that test results he received from Navalny’s family show him with sharply elevated levels of potassium, which can bring on cardiac arrest, and heightened creatinine levels that indicate impaired kidneys.

“Our patient could die at any moment,” he said in a Facebook post.

President Joe Biden was asked to weigh in on the subject of Navalny. He said the dissident’s current situation is “totally, totally unfair and totally inappropriate.” It doesn’t sound like Putin is taking Biden’s criticism to heart, however. Russia’s state penitentiary service released a statement in response saying that Navalny is “receiving all the medical help he needs.”

Judging by his most recent bloodwork, it certainly doesn’t sound like he’s getting all of the medical attention he requires. If the Russians were really interested in returning Navalny to better health, they could surely strap him to a gurney and hook an IV up to his arm to provide him with some nutrients, right? It’s not as if the Russians are going to respect the individual medical wishes and freedoms of one of Putin’s chief critics anyway.

I find myself wondering how far Navalny is willing to push this. Is he really so dedicated to this proposition that he would actually die and make a martyr of himself in his ongoing war against Putin’s corrupt administration? Given his track record, I wouldn’t put it past him, but his loss would leave a very large hole in the country’s anti-corruption campaign. Then again, Navalny has millions of followers. Perhaps someone is already waiting in the wings to take his place if he falls.

Would Vladimir Putin care one way or the other if Navalny dies behind bars? The more jaded part of me leans toward thinking that it would do little more than save the Kremlin the trouble of making sure that the famous Putin critic has “an accident” before he finishes his sentence. And that’s very likely not some paranoid conspiracy theory. Let’s face it. The former KGB strongman decided that he’d had enough of Navalny stirring up trouble and despite his ongoing protestations of innocence, he ordered the assassination attempt. Nobody else would have dared to do it without getting an okay from Putin. They only barely failed in that attempt, but there’s nothing stopping the Kremlin from finishing the job now. All Putin will do is continue to deny any involvement, reject any calls for an investigation and move on with his other plans. He knows that the west isn’t going to go to war with Russia over the life of Navalny and he’ll mostly just shrug off any new sanctions that are imposed.

I’d love to be able to envision a rosier scenario here, but it’s difficult to come up with one. The clock may be ticking for Alexei Navalny, though I doubt his anti-corruption movement will die even if he’s no longer among the living.

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We’ll have police reform when white kids are killed – HotAir

CNN evening show host (and New York gubernatorial sibling) Chris Cuomo launched into a bit of a diatribe on Friday night wherein he appeared to encapsulate all of the woes of the United States into an abbreviated list, complaining that we are unable to “come together as we the people” to make the world a better place. While a bit frenetic and scattershot in listing off our various societal ills, I’ll give him credit for at least trying to strike a positive, hopeful tone. Sadly, he struck a bit of a sour note in the middle of his monologue, however, when he approached questions of police shootings and police reform.

First, he listed off the names of some recently deceased Black or Hispanic suspects, mocking the voices of people who come up with excuses as to why the police failed to take them into custody without employing lethal force. Then he addressed the question of when such shootings would end. The answer, at least according to Cuomo, was when “your kids” are being shot, referring to white people. That, in the host’s opinion, is when some magical renaissance would take place. (New York Post)

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said gun laws and police reform will happen when “white people’s kids start getting killed.” …

“Shootings, gun laws, access to weapons. Oh, I know when they’ll change,” said the anchor. “[When] your kids start getting killed. White people’s kids start getting killed.”

Cuomo at one point in the monologue attempted to affect the hypothetical accent of a confused white parent, asking: “What’s going on with these police? Maybe we shouldn’t even have police,” he said, before directly addressing the whiteness of his audience:

I couldn’t find an embeddable copy of the segment for you, but you can watch the full clip at Mediaite. (And if you’re interested in this story, I suggest you do. The excerpts in the linked article really don’t convey the whole story.)

Aside from the poor marketing value of mocking the huge segment of his audience that Cuomo tacitly admits is white, he clearly decided to launch into a lecture that was based on common misperceptions rather than hard data. Let’s start with the idea that things would change if “white people’s kids start getting killed.” For quite a few years now, the FBI and the DOJ have actually been compiling data on police shootings broken down by the race of the suspect. The numbers tell a consistent tale. Police officers in the United States routinely shoot and kill more white people than any other racial group, frequently at rates at least twice as numerous as Black suspects. Granted, Black suspects are still more likely to be killed in this fashion on a per capita basis calculated by their percentage of the overall population, but the totals tell a story.

For example, in 2020, police shot and killed 457 white suspects as compared to 241 Black and 169 Hispanic suspects. That’s literally more than both of those minority categories combined. In 2017 the difference was even more stark. 457 white suspects were shot and killed, compared to 223 Black and 179 Hispanic suspects. (That’s literally more than twice as many white than Black.) So while the numbers may remain disproportionate based on the Black percentage of the population, it’s inaccurate to claim that the cops “aren’t shooting white kids.”

The second half of the phrase “white kids” deserves some attention as well. How many “kids” are being shot and killed by the police? In 2020 there were a total of 13 suspects under the age of 18 who were killed in police shootings. And that figure includes suspects age 16 and 17, by which point many young people have unfortunately run up extensive records of “law enforcement involvement.” Further details are hard to come by since their records are generally sealed. 2018 and 2019 saw similar figures, with 15 and 14 suspects in that age group respectively being killed. There was a bit of a spike in 2017 when 28 died. By far the most common age group to die during police shootings was the 30-44-year-old suspects.

The other obvious question involves how some of these suspects wound up dying during encounters with the police. That’s another area where Cuomo mocks his audience for even raising the question. Once again doing his best “stereotypical white person” accent, the host says, “That George Floyd. Did you hear about him? That Daunte Wright. Did you hear about him? That 13-year-old kid named Adam. You know he was a gang banger.”

Does Chris Cuomo honestly believe that there is no value in context or relevant information going into an investigation of a police shooting? While the death of a child is always a tragedy by definition, there was a lot more to the story of the shooting of Adam Toledo than the headlines portrayed. He only drew the attention of the police because of a ShotSpotter alarm indicating gunfire on the streets in the middle of the night. Toledo was out and about with a 21-year-old gang member wearing red gloves that tested positive for gunshot residue. And even CNN was forced to admit that less than one second elapsed between the moment he finally dropped his handgun and the police officer firing the shot. Could the shooting have been avoided? Possibly, but that’s something to be determined during the ongoing investigation. The point is, Adam Toledo wasn’t out playing hopscotch with his schoolmates when some rogue cops showed up to suddenly gun him down. Cuomo’s criticism of society acts as if it’s the audience’s fault for suggesting otherwise.

There are obviously bad police shootings from time to time and even some actual rogue cops perpetrating serious crimes. (Look no further than Michael Slager for proof.) But Chris Cuomo is yet another media talking head who pretends he’s trying to solve problems while doing little more than dumping gasoline on the fire of generalized hatred of the police and efforts to reform, defund, or abolish them. This is not a productive way to approach the issue.

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Sunday morning talking heads – HotAir

This morning on the Sunday shows brings us a visit from not one but two Ghosts of the Republican Party Past. George W. Bush makes a rare return to national politics on “CBS This Morning,” where he’ll discuss his op-ed this week on how to solve America’s immigration crisis. Fifteen years ago he championed legalization for illegals and 15 years later nothing’s changed:

One place to start is DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Americans who favor a path to citizenship for those brought here as children, known as “dreamers,” are not advocating open borders. They just recognize that young men and women who grew up in the United States, and who never knew any other place as home, are fundamentally American. And they ought not be punished for choices made by their parents…

As for the millions of undocumented men and women currently living in the United States, a grant of amnesty would be fundamentally unfair to those who came legally or are still waiting their turn to become citizens. But undocumented immigrants should be brought out of the shadows through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned, as for anyone else applying for the privilege. Requirements should include proof of work history, payment of a fine and back taxes, English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and civics, and a clean background check. We should never forget that the desire to live in the United States — a worldwide and as powerful an aspiration as ever — is an affirmation of our country and what we stand for. Over the years, our instincts have always tended toward fairness and generosity. The reward has been generations of grateful, hard-working, self-reliant, patriotic Americans who came here by choice.

He’ll be asked to explain what makes him think there are enough Republican votes in the Senate to make this happen post-Trump when there weren’t enough pre-Trump. Elsewhere, John Boehner will chat with “Meet the Press” and “State of the Union” about his new book, in which he describes what a pain in the ass the tea party was, how much he hates Ted Cruz, and his … complicated feelings about the last Republican president.

Other than Bush and Boehner this morning, it’s basically Fauci, Fauci, and more Fauci. He’ll appear on “This Week,” “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” and “State of the Union” to try to stop the bleeding in public confidence in Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine after the FDA’s controversial decision to “pause” it over blood-clot fears. He’ll also give us a sense of when we can expect J&J back on the market. Hopefully this week. But maybe not.

Finally, UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a.k.a. “the Ambassador of Blame America First,” will join “Face the Nation” to explain why she made her own country sound worse in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council than the various degenerate regimes that populate that body. The full line-up is at the LA Times.

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Rioting and arson in Portland – HotAir

There was a fatal police shooting at a park in Portland Friday morning. It started when a call was placed to police reporting a white man pointing a gun in the park. Police arrived and, according to a witness who filmed the encounter, the man became irate. He was shirtless and didn’t appear to be armed at that point, though the witness said he’d seen him with a gun earlier. Police attempted to issue orders and locate then gun but when the man bent down to pick something off the ground, one of the officers shot him. The man died at the scene. As many as 250 protesters showed up at the park Friday morning while police created a line of officers to keep people out of the scene.

Friday evening there were two protests announced. An Antifa account called for an occupation of the park where the shooting happened and made clear BLM was not welcome:

Both the Antifa and the BLM march blocked traffic but the Antifa march was eventually declared a riot, the third one in five days.

A group of protesters in downtown Portland lit fires, smashed the windows of businesses, a church and the Oregon Historical Society, and caused other various damage during a destructive demonstration Friday night and early Saturday.

Someone also fired several gunshots from a car traveling a block away from the protest crowd early Saturday. No one was hurt.

Police declared the demonstration a riot late Friday, marking the third time in five days the bureau had made such an announcement.

Of course the written word doesn’t fully communicate the scale of the damage. There was lots of vandalism and broken windows.

For some reason, Antifa once again targeted the Oregon Historical Society. What in the world does “No more history” mean? They also targeted a church:

Nordstrom and Nike were targeted:

They painted “Kill Cops” on this building.

Police published additional photos of the damage done last night:

Rioters also set a significant fire at a downtown mall connected to the Apple Store:

 

Fire crews eventually arrived to put it out.

The Oregonian spoke to an arson investigator this morning. He estimated the damage at this one location was $200,000.

But Portland wasn’t alone last night. There were similar protests around the country. In Chicago:

In Oakland:

In New York:

And Washington, DC:

So last night Portland was not a special case. People around the country are ready to riot over the deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo and we’re still waiting on the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial.