Reason Roundup

Violent Crackdown In Hong Kong as Residents Protest Bill Allowing Extradition to Mainland China

Also: Mike Lee says Congress must reassert power over the presidency. And so long to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

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Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong this week. Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray against the umbrella-wielding crowds gathered near the province's legislature to protest a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.

Residents of Hong Kong see the extradition bill as a major erosion of the city's quasi-independent status. Since Great Britain returned it to China in 1997, Hong Kong's justice system has been fully independent from its parent country's. That has made the city an appealing destination for those fleeing prosecution in China. While Hong Kong's judicial system is widely regarded as one of best in the world, China's ranks 82nd out of 126 nations in the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index, scoring particularly poorly for "fundamental rights." Prosecutors in mainland China achieved a 99.9 percent conviction rate last year, which should explain why Hongkongers are worried.

"Even if we're not doing anything drastic—as simple as saying something online about China—because of such surveillance they might catch us," a 25-year-old protestor told Agence France Presse.

If the proposed bill becomes law, it would compel Hong Kong judges effectively to rubber-stamp extradition requests to mainland China—even if the charges are bogus. Martin Lee, the founder of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, warns that this could have consequences that reach beyond the tiny island. "If this extradition law is passed, Americans, Canadians and many other nationalities could become potential hostages to extradition claims driven by the political agenda of Beijing," he writes in The Washington Post. The U.S., like Hong Kong, does not have an extradition agreement with mainland China.

In Washington, D.C., a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday affirming Hong Kong's autonomy. If passed, the measure would allow the U.S. to freeze assets and deny travel visas for anyone "involved in forcibly removing people from Hong Kong," Bloomberg reports.

At least 79 people were injured in violent clashes with police on Wednesday. On Thursday, Hong Kong police said they had made 11 arrests in connection with the protests. One of those arrested is a 22-year-old man who runs an encrypted chat service via Telegram, according to CNN, which also reports that he was charged with "conspiracy to commit public nuisance."

Organizers say more than a million Hongkongers have taken to the streets since last weekend. Civil Human Rights Front, the group organizing the protests, is planning to hold another major demonstration on Sunday.

FREE MINDS

"It is not possible to articulate a similarly simple level or rate of marijuana consumption and a corresponding effect on driving ability," the Congressional Research Service concludes in a report released Thursday.

There is evidence that driving while high increases the likelihood of a car accident (don't do it, kids), but the fact that there is no clear or consistent relationship between THC in the blood and THC in the brain has short-circuited the development of a "weed breathalyzer," a sort of holy grail for cops in states with legal marijuana.

Nevertheless, many states do impose legal limits on THC in the blood. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,

Six states—Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington—impose various per se limits for the presence of specific amounts of THC in blood while twelve states (Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota Utah, and Wisconsin) impose zero tolerant per se standards. In those states, it is a criminal violation of the traffic safety laws to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable levels of THC in blood. Colorado law infers driver impairment in instances where THC is detected in blood at levels of 5ng/ml or higher.

FREE MARKETS

It's time for Congress to revoke presidential authority over trade (and more!), Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) writes in USA Today:

From trade to energy to health care to transportation, Congress has given far too much legislative power to the executive branch. Instead of taking the time and responsibility to make hard choices and take tough votes, Congress has instead chosen to avoid accountability by giving power to faceless bureaucrats in Washington.

In January, Lee introduced the Global Trade Accountability Act, which would require congressional approval of any trade action taken by the president. He says that would help restore the balance of powers enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly gives Congress authority over trade and tariff issues.

Meanwhile, 661 American businesses and trade associations signed a letter urging the White House to avoid escalating the trade war with China. The letter warns that "both sides will lose."

QUICK HITS

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders will step down as White House Press Secretary at the end of the month. President Donald Trump thinks she should run for governor of Arkansas. There is no word yet on who will replace her as the administration's mouthpiece, though there are many contenders.
  • The House rejected an amendment by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) that would have removed barriers to medical research on marijuana and on psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin. More on the proposal here.
  • Democrat-turned-Libertarian-turned-Democrat Mike Gravel appears to have fallen short of the threshold to qualify for the first Democratic primary debates, scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Miami. Here's hoping his top-notch social media team live-tweets the event in his absence.
  • State lawmakers in Pennsylvania have passed a massive expansion to an existing school choice scholarship program. The only question is whether Gov. Tom Wolf will sign it.
  • The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is lifting a ban on serving alcohol in football stadiums.
  • Who owns the Moon?

NEXT: Rising Conservatives Are as Hostile to Freedom as the Leftists They Disdain

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  1. It is not possible to articulate a similarly simple level or rate of marijuana consumption and a corresponding effect on driving ability…

    So let’s do something arbitrary.

    1. “Count backward from one hundred by, uh, oh, WOW!”

      1. Dude! My hands are huge!

    2. So let’s do something arbitrary.

      That worked for copyright law.

  2. Violent Crackdown In Hong Kong as Residents Protest Bill Allowing Extradition to Mainland China

    I will await Boehm’s article later how Americans should just buy cheap Communist China shit to financially support this tyrannical demand to control a new group of people.

    1. What you’re describing seems like economic sanctions. Is anybody, including your economic hero Trump, calling for that?

      1. Haha. Thanks for that laugh this early.

        1. Then what do you think should be done regarding China? Absent sanctions or tariffs high enough to stop a lot of trade, what do you do to curtail their authoritarian moves?

          1. Stop asking such hard questions Zeb. The talking points don’t come as fast these days, what with the Huckabee-Sanders departure.

          2. The smart supply chains are and will move out of China. Nothing really needs to happen, except that some incredibly wealthy investors will lose-or maybe Hong Kong will kill the extradition bill. That is the risk one takes when they park capital with communist authoritarians.

            An interesting quip from Tyler Cowens take on libertarian freedom indices:
            “Thus is revealed a deeper lesson still: Freedom is not merely the ability to buy and sell goods at minimum regulation and a low tax rate, variables that are readily picked up by economic freedom indices. Freedom is also about the narratives people live by and the kind of future they imagine for themselves. Both of these are greatly affected by the legitimacy and durability of their political institutions”.

          3. Zeb, start by not fellating the Communists in China all the time. I don’t mean you, per se but the media and politicians (D&R&LINO).

            Call Taiwan “Taiwan” again on all American dealings. It pisses the Commies off in China.

            If we put Iran, North Korea, and Cuba on sanctions lists for tyrannical governments then put China on there too.

            Once we have the propaganda FOR Communist China curtailed, we can move to Plan B.

      2. Heck, when has that worked anyway?

    2. I could swear that not too long ago you were crying about China’s refusal to sell cheap drugs to the US.

      1. Do you know who else won’t sell cheap drugs?
        My guy.
        Really grinds my gears.

      2. Your link is broken.

  3. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will step down as White House Press Secretary at the end of the month.

    Finally, she’ll be able to dine out again.

    1. Not before she goes on Oprah and apologizes.

  4. Bennet, Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, de Blasio, Delaney, Gabbard, Gillibrand, Harris, Hickenlooper, Inslee, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Ryan, Sanders, Swalwell, Warren, Williamson, and Yang — see you in Miami.

    Yeesh. Say what you will of Trump, at least there’s only one of him.

    1. Yeah, but he’s worth more than the whole group.

  5. Who owns the Moon?

    Harry Caray: Yes! Hey! Now Ken we all know thta the moon is not made of green cheese.
    Dr. Ken Waller: Yes! That’s true Harry.
    Harry Caray: But what if it were made of barbeque spare ribs would you eat it then.
    Dr. Ken Waller: What!
    Harry Caray: I know I would. Heck I’d have seconds. Then polish it off with a tall cool budweiser. I would do it.
    Dr. Ken Waller: Yeah!
    Harry Caray: Would you.
    Dr. Ken Waller: I’m confused.
    Harry Caray: It’s a simple question. Would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs.
    Dr. Ken Waller: I don’t know how to answer that.
    Harry Caray: It’s not rocket science. Just say yes and we will move on.

  6. What Hong Kong needs is some common sense umbrella regulations. Those thingies are not only scary but dangerous as well. The black ones are definitely the worst of the lot.

    1. Lasist.

    2. At least all umbrellas should be required to be transparent. Who knows what they’re hiding under those things. Kulaks and hoarders, probably.

  7. The House rejected an amendment by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) that would have removed barriers to medical research on marijuana and on psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin.

    Maybe when her party has the majority.

    1. Last time they had the majority, they passed Obamacare.

      Doubtful Democrats will ever completely control American government again.

    2. The house rejected it. The dems are the majority.

      1. I think that’s the joke.

        1. Ah.

    3. It didn’t go too far enough.

  8. The letter warns that “both sides will lose.”

    In the global trade war of attrition, the point is who will lose more.

    1. Certainly not the political class.

  9. US says Iran took mine off tanker; Iran denies involvement

    Hmm…. False flag operation or typical Iranian behavior?

    1. Iran was able to purchase limpet mines with all that Obama pallet cash.

      1. Weird, I didn’t know limpets came from mines.

        1. Under the ocean, evidently.

      2. Iran can make cruise missiles. Pretty sure they can manufacture a bomb attached to a magnet.

    2. Why not both?

  10. Who owns the Moon?

    Who planted its flag there? Look up to the night skies, boys. That’s America you see. And if anyone doubts it? NUKE IT SO NO ONE CAN HAVE IT.

    1. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from playing Risk, it’s that you have to fortify your strongholds with troops.

      Enter… Trump’s Space Force.

    2. Hasn’t the sun already nuked the moon? I say nuke the Sun; its killing us with its global warming and I say it’s about time we stand up for ourselves before we’re next.

      1. The Sun already nuked itself in the ultimate act of deterrence.

      2. “nuke the Sun”

        This was actually the plot of a Danny Boyle(?) movie – Sunshine, I think.

        Good cast.
        Bad movie, bad director (constant shaky cam should be grounds for lynching)

  11. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is lifting a ban on serving alcohol in football stadiums.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission did that? That’s what led directly to the 2008 financial crisis.

  12. Attention everyone who cares about abortion access! Here’s another compelling argument for reproductive rights we should be using.

    A quick google search reveals in a single day in America 11,000 babies are born but only 7,000 people die. Only a stupid person could not see where this is heading. We should be making it easier for unwanted pregnancies to be terminated.

    The Koch / Reason position is that population growth should be accomplished by allowing more immigration — not by promoting reckless breeding.

    #StandWithPP
    #ImmigrationAboveAll

    1. Her picture says it all.

    1. What to do with all these logs? Throw them on the wildfires!

      1. Well in my day we would have used those logs to craft some kinda of domicile. But CA has solved that problem by forcing people to live on the streets as god intended.

  13. “BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy flashed more warning signs in May as the United States ramped up trade pressure, with industrial output growth unexpectedly slowing to a more than 17-year low and investment cooling, underlining a need for more stimulus.”

    —-Reuters, June 14, 2019

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-activity/chinas-may-industrial-output-growth-cools-to-17-year-low-as-trade-war-bites-idUSKCN1TF0NU

    The biggest story is that China’s economy continues to slow (clocked in well below expectations at 5% growth), but there is some important information in there about “stimulus” that isn’t being appreciated by people outside of the investment world.

    “The world’s highest official debt-to-GDP ratio today is Japan’s at 236%, but China’s unofficial rate is 300%.”

    —-Trading Alpha (link below)

    The U.S. went into recession in and around 1991–about the time George H. W. Bush wasn’t reelected. Japan went into recession about the same time–and they never really recovered. They’ve been trying stimulus in different ways for almost 30 years now, which is why they have the largest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world.

    The interesting thing is that WHEN China’s growth tops out (which it appears to be doing), they’re likely to be in a similar situation to Japan circa 1991.

    Export economy?

    Check.

    Government and Industry working together for national interests?

    Check.

    A banking industry heavily indebted to industries with close ties to the government?

    BIG Check.

    Stimulus is the non-libertarian, anti-free market, futile attempt to stave off the forces of creative destruction, and China may have already maxed out what it can do with borrowing against its reserves.

    Anybody who’s seen the original Bladerunner might remember the scenes presuming that Japan would dominate American cities in the future–largely because Japan was buying up so much of our national debt.

    It’s always the same–even the “This time is different” is always the same. If there’s a real difference this time, it may be that where Japan was a democratic country that could dump multiple leaders to let off political steam, China is stuck with Emperor Xi so long as he lives–and that’s a political pressure cooker waiting for a recession to explode.

    The most important question for China right now isn’t how to deal with Hong Kong. It’s whether Emperor XI can find a way to capitulate to Trump while saving face.

      1. I like that website and use it as a blog site to track investments and what people in that community are saying.

        I think the idea that China is going to plateau from its rapid growth rate is pretty well accepted. It needs to transition from that to a more sustainable model.

        This thing with pissing off Hong Kong I do not understand. That place is dripping in money. The richest city in the world. You would think that the Chinese government would kiss the tuches of the Hong Kong elite and try to gradually siphon off the riches.

        None of this has to do with tariffs Trump the US at all BTW for some here.

    1. It will be interesting to see how the masses in China handle even a sharp drop in growth, much less an actual recession. There are still hundreds of millions of people over there clamoring to get into their middle class, and hundreds of millions more who will now do anything to stay there. Hong Kong is certainly not a major issue. No one else in China knows what’s going on there and they probably don’t care. And I don’t even think Trump’s tariffs are that big a deal. China is facing an economic reckoning. The tariffs will just make it happen a little bit sooner.

      From what I’ve seen, though, the Chinese people are more likely to come of out it demanding more government control and less market capitalism as they are to overthrow the party and institute democratic reforms. Just look at how little the older generation cares about thousands being massacred in Tienanmen Square.

    2. People have been predicting change in China for ages. They have all been wrong. I somehow doubt the nice little narrative now developed about China being a debt-bomb waiting to go off like Japan did will prove any more correct than the prediction they would become more democratic as they became more rich.

      Neat narratives and the lack of urgency they entail have continued to cripple any effort from the West to actually deal with China because hey, why bother when China will end up imploding anyways? By the time you would be able to realize your narrative is incorrect you will have forgotten you made it as a new soothing narrative of unending American dominance is always around the corner.

      If only the Syracusans, err Chinese, would just open up their walls to their betters…

  14. OMG! Tulsi “Putin’s Favorite Democrat” Gabbard is even worse than I realized.

    She actually goes on white nationalist Tucker Carlson’s propaganda hour.

    Don’t let her allegedly “anti-war” message fool you. She wants a weakened United States with insufficient influence across the globe. Patriotic Americans must reject this cowardly attitude.

    #GabbardRussia

    1. You still young enough to sign up for military service?

      1. I was born in 1995.

        When this country once again has a Democratic Commander in Chief, I will strongly consider serving in any conflict with Russia. Because when they hacked our election, it was an act of war not unlike Pearl Harbor or 9 / 11.

    2. That Tulsi is one of the least bad Democratic candidates says a lot about how far off the reservation the party has gone.

    3. PG&E is cutting off power to fire prone areas when the weather is bad. How fucking ridiculous is that?!
      SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric implemented a controversial practice of cutting power to selected portions of Northern California on Saturday to guard against wildfires as the weather turned very windy, dry and hot.

      “Electricity was turned off around 6 a.m. to 1,600 customers in parts Napa, Solano and Yolo counties. Just as that shutdown was called off, the utility warned 27,000 customers in Butte, Yuba, Nevada, El Dorado and Placer counties that their power would be cut from 9 p.m. through Sunday morning.”

      https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/06/08/pge-cuts-power-to-1600-customers-in-high-fire-danger-areas/

      This is because they can’t properly maintain the trees and wilderness areas around their power lines because of onerous environmental regulations and such–and they don’t want to be found guilty of killing another 85 people and burning down 10,000 homes like they did in the Camp fire.

      If environmental regulations made it impossible to maintain power lines properly, then was it really the power lines that caused those fires?

      1. In California, the answer is yes.

      2. Hopefully, it was the people living in the wooded areas that were the ones pushing for the regulations that prevented the trimming of trees around power lines.

        1. It probably wasn’t.

          It was the people in San Francisco, Monterrey, Sacramento, who were pushing for the regulations.

          Rural people in northern California seem to me to be like people in eastern Oregon.

    4. “white nationalist Tucker Carlson”

      it’s because he stopped wearing a bowtie, isn’t it

  15. I’m a little torn. I would like government to get out of the way of Psilocybin research. But it’s fun to watch AOC get rejected from her own party.

  16. The Gibson’s bakery versus Oberlin College case has been covered pretty extensively already, so I’m not surprised that Soave hasn’t added to the din despite this being his beat, but this is just a glorious event on all fronts.

    I can’t think of a better punishment for a far left-wing college enabling bad behavior by its administrators and student body, than to get hit with a fat, $33 million hook to their endowment for trying to drive a small, multi-generational family business into the ground, over the thoughtcrime of trying to keep from getting their property stolen by a black student and beaten up by him and his friends for trying to get it back.

    This is a textbook case of why white liberals in particular are the greatest threat to public harmony and high-trust communities, and should be treated like the cancer they are.

  17. In May of 2018, the annualized inflation rate in Iran was 9.7%.

    Trump reimposed sanctions, and in May of 2019, the inflation rate in Iran is now 51.4%.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/iran/inflation-cpi

    Meanwhile, Iran is fighting wars on at least two fronts.

    In addition to asking yourself whether Trump was wise to reimpose sanctions, whether Trump was wise to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and whether it was wise for Trump to send the U.S.S. Carrier Group Abraham Lincoln to the Persian Gulf, ask yourself this: Is it wise for the Iranians to remain in defiance of the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

    Here’s a follow up question you should ask yourself, too: if the Iranians’s desire is to enrich their own uranium for only civilian use, then why are they willing to subject their economy to so much pain? If they want the sanctions to end, all they need to do is comply with the NPT–like they did for decades before 2003.

    1. I neglected to state the obvious, which is that Russia would be happy to sell them all the uranium they want–that’s already been enriched to levels that are sufficient for civilian use.

      The obvious conclusion is that the reason they want to enrich their own uranium is because they want to enrich it for purposes that go beyond civilian use.

      1. That can’t be right, what with the religion of peace and all that.

        1. Turns out, they’re subject to the laws of economics, too.

          And that’s why the Iranians are going after oil in international waters. They’re trying to pressure the rest of the world (and the U.S.) to drop the sanctions against them.

          They’d rather do that than comply with the NPT, too.

      2. Iran is a story of dreams and dashed hopes.

        The revolution was to deliver far more than it did. There was the idea that the Islamic Revolution with a hybrid of theocratic control and elected government, learning the ways of technology and the modern world, was going to sweep over the Islamic world and be a model for a new way of living and prosperity.

        It did not work.

        In a way I understand why they do not want to give over what they have achieved in nuclear or other tech. Why should they trust anyone? Until there is another revolution it will be what we have. It has been low level conflict which is often fought by proxy.

        That said I do not wish for war and have some armchair ideas based on beefed up defense which I think could avoid it. What do I know?

    2. Carrier group is fine but what we really need is land based Air Force there. In a war it would be foolish to put a carrier in range of Iranian anti ship missiles.

      Also smaller ships that can act as escorts for tankers. But we wasted all that money on the 3 littoral ships that don’t work instead of building a bunch of smaller ships like destroyers which would be perfect for the gulf.

    3. Carrier Strike Groups are in the Gulf almost 24/7. A stupid waste but who am I to judge? Who would not want to be on a 10 month deployment cruising around while the USA spends billions bombing dipshits hiding in caves in Yemen and Iraq?

  18. “WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and investigations into Russia election meddling”
    https://twnews.us/us-news/the-latest-panel-subpoenas-ex-trump-aides-flynn-gates

    They should be interviewing the hags’ aides if they really want to know about dealing with the Russkies,
    The don’t. They’re just acting out as TDS victims.

  19. If Freedom fest is about liberty then why did they disable comments on the article? What are they trying to hide?

    1. Not going to waste server space on crap like this?

      1. Our comments aren’t crap! They are well thought out nuanced opinions on the issues of the day. How dare you, sir, even suggest otherwise. Harumph, harumph.

    2. If Freedom fest is about liberty then why did they disable comments on the article?

      This is a really bad sign.

    3. If Freedom fest is about liberty then why did they disable comments on the article?

      It was sponsored content. I’m guessing the check bounced before they could attach the comments section.

      1. Or they paid extra to not be associated with the bloody mess that is the comments section.

    1. And don’t forget the Penguin

      I like the Burgess Meredith version myself.

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