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Blue state blues

May 27, 2021

ITEM #1:  We wrote last week — as we have several times in the past — about how far-left policies are driving more and more Californians to flee in search of greater opportunities elsewhere.

Well, it’s not just in the not-so-Golden State where we’re seeing a trend of citizens voting with their feet and choosing red-state policies over their blue counterparts.

David Keltz, writing for the American Spectator, informs us:

“Americans can’t escape from blue states fast enough. Even before the COVID pandemic, they were fleeing Democrat-led states for red ones in droves.

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2019, California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois lost a combined four million residents. Meanwhile, the top five states that saw the greatest influx of new residents were the Republican-led states of Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, and Arizona. It does not hurt that Florida, Texas, and Tennessee also have no income tax.”

He adds that “the pandemic, in conjunction with disastrous Democrat policies, has only accelerated the blue-state exodus.” More from Keltz:

“It turns out that draconian lockdowns in the form of school, restaurant, and business closures; massive spikes in violent crime; few entertainment options; higher taxes; and scarce job opportunities do not make for a desirable living environment or a suitable place to raise a family.”

New York, where Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has enforced especially strict lockdown policies, joins California on the list of those states bleeding eye-popping numbers of residents. “Between January 1, 2020, and December 7, 2020,” Keltz writes, “3.57 million people left New York City, resulting in nearly $34 billion in lost tax revenue from residents.”

Nevada is a state that consistently sees population growth as people come here in search of the freedom and opportunity that has long defined the Silver State.

But as Nevada Democrats continue to lurch further and further to the left (and maintain their grip on power in Carson City), that’s far from a given going forward. Let’s hope those in power learn this important lesson — either on their own, or at the hands of Silver State voters.

ITEM #2:  Hey, remember when anyone even considering the idea that the coronavirus may have originated in a Wuhan lab was immediately dismissed as a right-wing wacko?

Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien does, and reminds us of how much of it went down:

“A few examples of how the media were reporting on the lab leak theory a year ago, when Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., suggested it had emerged from a lab known for bat coronavirus experiments:

"‘Sen. Tom Cotton Repeats Fringe Theory of Coronavirus Origins,’" the New York Times wrote.

"'Trump says US investigating whether coronavirus spread after China lab mishap but cites no evidence,' a USA Today article read.

"'New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic,' the Washington Post wrote."

But of course, now that the leak theory seems increasingly plausible and even likely, with even Dr. Anthony Fauci himself coming out and saying he’s "not convinced" the virus developed naturally, the press’ backpedaling and memory-holing of their previous coverage has begun in earnest.

"Former New York Times reporter Donald McNeil, who previously viewed the lab leak theory skeptically, wrote last week on the increased plausibility of the leak theory. The Washington Post's Josh Rogin, who reported last year on State Department cables in 2018 warning of security risks at the Wuhan lab, said it was good to see major newsrooms pursuing the story in the wake of the Wall Street Journal report.

"'Major media outlets spent a year demonizing the lab-leak theory as an insane conspiracy theory,' journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted. 'Fact-checkers pronounced it false … Mainstream outlets are now forced to admit its viability. Any accountability?'"

Fauci has since walked back a bit on his statement, which means the press will likely similarly revert to their original talking points on the subject. But that just makes the key takeaway even clearer: The press’ coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak has consistently been driven not by facts or science, but by narrow, partisan calculations.

And it’s not just on the question of the virus’ origin where we’ve seen them do it. The press has also demonized Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis who took a lighter approach to lockdowns, while lionizing Democrats like New York’s Andrew Cuomo who took a more heavy-handed approach — even as the facts have vindicated the former and discredited the latter.

It’s simply shameful that with so many lives and livelihoods being affected not only by the virus but also by our government’s response to it, all other considerations have been constantly subjugated in favor of the media’s partisan agenda. 

O’Brien’s piece, which also notes that “Congressional Republicans have launched an effort to get to the bottom of the origin of COVID-19,” is chock-full of additional examples of media hypocrisy on this story. It’s worth reading in full, which you can do here.

ITEM #3:  Want more evidence that President Biden’s economic agenda is hurting everyday Americans?

Alfredo Ortiz of the Job Creators Network delivers:

"President Biden has repeatedly promised that he won't raise taxes on American families earning less than $400,000 per year. Yet widespread and growing inflation due to his policies is — at least indirectly — breaking that promise. Call it the Biden inflation tax.

"Consumer prices have increased at an accelerated rate every month this year. In April, core inflation rose at its fastest month-over-month pace since 1981. The producer price index grew by the largest amount on record last month. Commodity prices are skyrocketing, with corn rising by more than 50% this year, lumber elevating to four times its traditional rate, and copper hitting a record high.

"Average gasoline prices nationwide have risen by about 40% since Biden was elected, exceeding $3 a gallon nationwide. Biden's longstanding opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline contributed to widespread gas shortages across the Southeast caused by the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. As these input prices filter down to consumer goods, prices will rise even further."

Blaming Biden's "aggressive fiscal and monetary policies" for all of these developments, Ortiz explains further that, "Inflation acts the same way as a tax by reducing the value of earnings. It devastates retirees and those on fixed incomes by making them poorer through no fault of their own. And it hurts small businesses, which must constantly raise prices, reducing sales and alienating customers."

Democrats can try to defy the laws of economics all they want, and deploy all the flowery rhetoric available to try to justify their agenda. But reality always prevails in the end. 

ITEM #4:  The Atlantic is hardly known for taking on high-profile Democrats. So it was a bit surprising to see the magazine’s Edward-Isaac Dovere’s recent piece featuring a rather candid and unflattering look at Kamala Harris’ experience thus far as Vice-President.

The article does include some attempts to puff Harris up. For example, this passage: 

"As Harris strode down the stairs, the angle of her head and the pace of her step deliberate, California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis started a round of applause. Kounalakis was still gushing when I caught up with her by phone a week later. 'She carries the mantle of this big job in a way that seems very natural,' she said." 

But all in all, the story paints a portrait of someone in way over her head and struggling to even figure out how to have an impact within the administration.

A few excerpts:

"The vice president and her team tend to dismiss reporters. Trying to get her to take a few questions after events is treated as an act of impish aggression. And Harris herself tracks political players and reporters whom she thinks don’t fully understand her or appreciate her life experience. ... [S]he continues to retreat behind talking points and platitudes in public, and declines many interview requests and opportunities to speak for herself (including for this article). At times, she comes off as so uninteresting that television producers have started to wonder whether spending thousands of dollars to send people on trips with her is worthwhile, given how little usable material they get out of it."

"Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told me he was 'dumbfounded' trying to come up with what Harris’s precise role or impact has been. Bob Casey, the Democratic senator from Pennsylvania who’s been close with Biden for years and is now a Harris fan too, fondly recalled how much he enjoyed being in the Senate until 5:34 a.m. to watch Harris cast the tiebreaking vote to move the COVID-relief bill forward. As for her specific influence, he added, 'It’s probably the case that there are a number of things where her imprint or her presence on that team is the reason why there’s a particular emphasis. I can’t say that I can identify one.' Other members of Congress who have sat in Oval Office conversations with the president and vice president struggled to answer this question too. Biden, who has shown a new confidence since he returned to the White House, has been making clear that he’s the one running the meetings, and Harris has been diligently deferential."

"Harris’s staff initially told reporters that the border was part of her assignment. ... A few weeks ago, I went to a White House press briefing to try to get a sense of what the vice president’s role is supposed to be. Harris had held a virtual meeting with the Northern Triangle leaders that morning, so I asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki how that call fit into the administration’s overall effort. Psaki started by saying that the conversation was part of a series of meetings the vice president had been having with other leaders and staff, not all of which had been public. Had the president given Harris any directives? I asked. 'Well, the president and the vice president see each other quite regularly. She’s in many of the meetings, when she’s in town — almost all of them — that the president is in as well. So I would say it’s more of a discussion with others who are leading and running point on these issues.' No one, including the vice president’s staff, has been able to tell me what any of this means ... Pretty much everyone — reporters, members of Congress, advocates — gets confused about what the parameters of her role are."

The piece is titled, “What Kamala Harris Has Learned About Being Vice President.” We’ll field that one: She’s learned that her performance as Vice President has been so lackluster that not even The Atlantic can cover for her.

ITEM #5:  Writing for National Review, Alexandra DeSanctis passes along some promising developments for the pro-life movement:

“Lawmakers in the Alabama state senate have unanimously approved the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a popular piece of pro-life legislation that requires doctors to provide appropriate medical care to newborn infants who survive an abortion procedure.

“In the May 17 vote, the bill received not only unanimous support but also the votes of several Democratic state senators. According to an Alabama Daily News reporter, one such lawmaker, Democrat Linda Coleman, described the born-alive bill as an effort to protect newborn babies, saying it is not an abortion bill but rather a right-to-life bill.

“The born-alive bill has already passed the Alabama House of Representatives with overwhelming support. Republican governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign the bill into law.”

DeSanctis notes that the news comes on the heels of North Carolina’s state Senate passing its own version of the act, which is expected to get through the House of Representatives in that state as well. 

And she refutes some of the most common arguments against this type of legislation:

“Opponents of the federal born-alive bill and its state-level iterations typically insist, as Cooper did in 2019, that these laws infringe on women’s rights, despite the fact that the law’s terms require only that doctors care for a newborn after a failed abortion procedure, which evidently has no effect on a woman’s health-care options.

“Other opponents suggest that born-alive bills are unnecessary because killing newborn infants is already illegal. That much is true, to be sure. But it is not presently illegal for a doctor to neglect an infant who survives an abortion, an infant who was intended for death just moments earlier. In fact, the slate of born-alive bills cropping up over the last few years came in direct response to a Democratic governor, himself a physician, saying that doctors ought to be allowed to do just that.”

There’s no disputing the plain reality that life issues are divisive. But this particular fight — to require care for newborns who survive an abortion attempt — should be unequivocally embraced by anyone with even a modicum of respect for human life.

ITEM #6:  For an update on the Biden administration’s ongoing slide into full wokeness, let’s turn to the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke, who reports:

"U.S. diplomats unfurled Black Lives Matter banners to commemorate the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched a public relations campaign to condemn racism at home and abroad.

“'On the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, we remember that to be a credible force for human rights around the world, we must face the reality of racism at home,' Blinken wrote on Twitter, with an accompanying video. 'By addressing our shortcomings openly and honestly, we live up to the values that we stand for worldwide.'

"Some embassies posted banners displaying the logo while others promoted a video compilation of remarks from American officials and activists. The public campaign dovetails with a reported memo that gave diplomats 'an authorization, not a requirement' to embrace the banners."

This of course will do absolutely nothing to keep Americans safer, either at home or abroad — never mind the absurdity of making this self-degrading gesture in nations across the world whose racial and other sins are far in excess of ours.

Meanwhile, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson showed a clip this week (see here, starting around the 1:33 mark) of an Associated Press reporter trying to do a story from Minneapolis’ George Floyd Square, only to hear gunshots ring out.

It’s another painful example of how the left continues to preoccupy itself with virtue-signaling abroad, while letting a once-great city fall to pieces at home.

ITEM #7:  And finally, in this week’s edition of “least shocking news imaginable,” Derek Hunter reports at Townhall:

“This headline in the New York Times tells you everything you need to know about the progressive mindset, 'A Year After George Floyd: Pressure to Add Police Amid Rising Crime.' Who didn’t know that demonizing police, cutting their funding, making it as clear as day that a city’s political leaders not only won’t defend them, but will actively throw them to the mob without any due process considerations might lead to problems for a city? Turns out pretty much every left-wing activist in the country. Worse, most of them still don’t care.

"Crime is up, especially violent crime, in Democrat-run cities where the 'defund police' movement found a receptive audience in government. Now, the Times reports, 'The surge is prompting cities whose leaders embraced the values of the movement last year to reassess how far they are willing to go to reimagine public safety and divert money away from the police and toward social services.'”

Every victim of one of these crimes is a human tragedy. Will the radical, anti-police left ever be held to account for their role in destroying so many people’s lives?

NOTABLE QUOTES

“If you look at Washington right now, we do not have a system that the Founding Fathers envisioned, where people go to Washington and be part of the servant class. Instead, we have a permanent political class that fashions itself the rulers of the people.” ― Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
 
“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.” ― Calvin Coolidge