A Survey of Southeast Asian Nations

This one was done by ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute a research institute established by the government of Singapore.

Organizers sent the survey late last year to government officials, academics, and other stakeholders from the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Here are some interesting tidbits from the report. First, the nations’ overall concern about the situation in the South China Sea:

Notice that—even concerns about a US-PRC confrontation are a distant 3rd to concerns about the PRC’s misbehaviors. And of those 12.5% concerned about our own military presence, Singapore (6.3% [of those 12.5%]), Vietnam (4.6%), and the Philippines (4.5%) have little qualms about it. These are the nations most directly threatened by the PRC’s acquisitive adventurism.

The Biden Budget

Carol Platt Liebau, Yankee Institute for Public Policy President, wrote in her Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed about President Joe Biden’s dangerously expensive Wuhan Virus “relief” bill. A truly Pyrrhic relief it would be, too, even were it not occurring on an already dangerously expensive pair of “relief” bills enacted over the prior year.

She had one statement, though, that particularly jumped out at me, perhaps because it centers on a matter I’ve been on about for a bit already.

President Biden wants to send $350 billion in unrestricted cash to state and local governments to fill their budget holes.

“My Word as a Biden”

That was then-Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s go-to phrase whenever he wanted to emphasize his seriousness in making a claim.

Here’s one of those serious statements:

If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot, no ifs, ands, or buts[.]

When White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo was abusive to a Politico reporter, he was suspended for a week without pay and barred from interacting with Politico reporters.

A Treasury Climate Czar

That’s what new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants to set up. That’s not necessarily a bad idea.

A climate risk office inside Treasury actually could be useful—were its purpose properly targeted.

The risks that are worth assessing and which realizations worth planning for, though, are political and economic, not climatic.

The political risk is from government overreacting with laws and regulations to the overhyping of climate.

The economic risk is from businesses overreacting in anticipation of such political overreactions.

Somehow, though, I doubt that’s Yellen’s intention for her new office.

Too Far

Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) has reintroduced his Terror Intelligence Improvement Act, his bill to allow Government to block suspected terrorists from obtaining firearms. This bill, far from improving anything, is a long step back from our rights under our Constitution. As Dana Loesch summarized it in her newsletter (behind a paywall after this month; subscribe now for a discount on her subscription price),

The bill would also provide more authority for law enforcement agencies to go after suspected terrorists, while safeguarding law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment and due process rights.

Cent Wise and Euro Foolish

Barron’s has an example, centered on Europe’s very own Wuhan Virus situation.

The EU economy shrank last year by 6.3%, according to the latest EU forecast, published on Thursday. That amounts to about €877 billion ($1.1 trillion) of lost gross domestic product last year. Or about €17 billion a week.
Compared with this, the total bill of vaccines procured until now by the EU—based on contracts signed, and vaccine prices confidential in principle but tweeted last December by the Belgian health minister—would amount to €20.5 billion.

The finally agreed vaccine bill amounts to a bare day-and-a-half over a week’s lost GDP—and how many lives.

What’re You Going to Do, Joe?

Iran has begun accumulating the immediate precursor to weapons grade uranium metal.

…report was given by UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to its members and states Iran had on Monday produced a small amount of uranium metal, after importing new equipment into a nuclear facility that is under IAEA inspection[.]

To be sure,

The material produced was a small amount of natural uranium metal…meaning it wasn’t enriched. To use uranium metal for a nuclear weapon’s core, Iran would need around half a kilogram, or slightly more than one pound, of highly enriched uranium metal….

However. There’s always a however.

Where was IT?

Oldsmar, FL’s, water treatment facility was hacked via a remote access software package, with potentially devastating results (and which access has much broader implications for our nation).

One of them [software functions] regulates the level of sodium hydroxide, or lye—a main ingredient of drain cleaners that also is used to control water acidity and remove metals from drinking water, Sheriff Gualtieri said. The hacker increased the amount of lye from about 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million, he said.

That’s bad enough, but there’s this, that enabled the hack [emphasis added]:

Another Example

…of the folly of doing business with companies domiciled inside the People’s Republic of China.

The particular company is Ant, a financial institution that PRC regulators lately decided its owner Jack Ma was getting too impudent regarding government actions—was getting too big for his britches—so the regulators blocked Ant from going public unless and until it massively reorganized and at least to significant extent downsized.

Now let’s back up in time a little bit.

A High School Debate

The impeachment charge against former President Donald Trump that is before the Senate is one of incitement and causing the riotous invasion of the Capital Building.

The argument led by main House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D, MD) is centered on Trump’s claims of election fraud. This has nothing to do with the actual charge, and the change of subject is something that any high school debater would recognize and not be suckered by.