Trump vs. Beijing

There are many ways of measuring the advance of the Chinese economy in comparison with that of the United States. But one of them is this: in 2019, for the first time, the number of Chinese companies on the Forbes Global 500 list exceeded the number of U.S. firms.

When the rulers of China decided to turn their country into an international economic powerhouse, there was a widespread assumption that the adoption of capitalism by the world’s largest country would inevitably result in a transition from Communism to democracy.

Xi

That hasn’t happened. China has gotten rich – and a few million managerial-class Chinese people have gotten rich, too – by exporting cheaply made goods to the West and by using sky-high tariffs to keep out Western products. But at the same time it has remained resolutely totalitarian, and its blue-collar workers – you know, those proletarians whose welfare is theoretically at the heart of the entire Marxist project – continue to be drastically underpaid in comparison to their Western counterparts, which of course is why China can sell its manufactured goods so cheap.

In any event, the fact that a Communist country, for the first time in history, either has the planet’s largest economy or is close to it, should be a cause for deep concern throughout the free world.

Trump

It isn’t. Not yet. Not really. President Trump, who has tried to rein in the Chinese dynamo by raising U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports – although those tariffs are almost nothing compared to the Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods – has been accused of waging a trade war. In fact he’s simply making a modest effort to come somewhere near evening out what has for all too long been a very uneven situation.

Anyway, China has thrived. Which would not be a bad thing if not for the fact that, as Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon putitin a September appearance on The Mark Levin Show, Chinese President Xi Jinping has turned his country into a “communist nightmare.”

Gertz

Gertz, who has written a new book entitled Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy, told Levin that Xi “has his eyes set on global hegemony, he wants China to be the dominant superpower in the world, and in order to do that, he has to diminish the power of the United States.”

Some Americans in positions of authority recognize that. Most do not. Too many of them are distracted by thoughts of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, where the vodka-addled population is taking a nosedive and the economy is no bigger than that of Texas.

On the Levin program, Gertz praised Trump for taking on China – not only by fighting for fair trade but by “cracking down on China” when it comes to “law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and spying.” Gertz didn’t claim to have a crystal ball, but he contended that just as the USSR collapsed, so might China: “with a little bit of pressure” of the sort being exerted by Trump, “the whole thing could come crumbling down in Beijing.” Which would be a magnificent development for the oppressed, brutalized, and painfully unfree people of China, and would also make the whole free world breathe a good deal more easily.

Xavier Becerra’s California

Xavier Becerra

On Tuesday, we began discussing Xavier Becerra, who was named Attorney General of the State of California early last year by Governor Jerry Brown and who has made use of the powers of that office to stand up to President Trump’s policies on immigration and travel. Notably, he has challenged Trump’s attempt to restrict entry into the U.S. by people from certain foreign countries.   

But get this: while fighting Trump’s proposed travel bans from countries that represent a real threat to American security, Xavier Becerra has imposed bans on state- funded or state-sponsored travel from California to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas. Why? Because, he says, those states discriminate against LGBTQ people. Of course, some of the countries that would have been covered by Trump’s proposed travel bans execute gay people. But don’t try to view Becerra’s ideology through a lens of logic. He subscribes to the kind of leftist thinking whereby Americans who question the injection of puberty-delaying hormones into supposedly transgender children are vile bigots, whereas Muslims who throw gays off of the tops of buildings are acting upon the dictates of a culture that Westerners have no right to criticize. 

Kate Steinle

Becerra has, unsurprisingly, also stood up for the so-called “sanctuary cities,” suing the U.S. Department of Justice in August for limiting certain types of funding to municipalities that systematically refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, even harboring felons in order to protect them from deportation. (As it happens, California became a sanctuary state at the beginning of last year.) As federal officials have noted, sanctuary city policies have been responsible for the murders of several U.S. citizens, most famously Kate Steinle, killed in San Francisco on July 1, 2015, by a Mexican who at the time had seven felony convictions, had been deported from the U.S. five times, and was in San Francisco precisely because he knew that it was a sanctuary city whose government would help him evade federal immigration officials. Implicit in the arguments of Becerra and other champions of sanctuary city policies is that lives like Steinle’s are worth sacrificing in order to protect illegal aliens.     

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Becerra hasn’t been exclusively preoccupied with immigration and travel issues. On March 28 of last year, he took action on those controversial videos in which Planned Parenthood officials were caught having chilling, unconscionable conversations about their practice of selling fetal body parts obtained through partial-birth abortions. Needless to say, Becerra didn’t go after these reprehensible Planned Parenthood officials – he went after the activists who had recorded the videos, whom he slapped with fifteen felony charges. (The charges were later dismissed by a Superior Court judge.)

Becerra’s California

But nothing Becerra has done as Attorney General approaches the chutzpah of his latest move. As the Washington Free Beacon reported on January 19, Becerra “warned employers in the state that they will face legal consequences if they voluntarily provide information on their employees’ immigration statuses to federal authorities.”

In other words, if you are a law-abiding citizen who dares to help federal law-enforcement officials carry out their legal obligations, you will be viewed as a criminal by the State of California. Meanwhile, actual criminals – people who have entered the U.S. illegally – will be protected from your efforts to help bring them to justice. Welcome to Xavier Berecca’s California, where the very meaning of the word justice has been turned upside down.