Updates On Steyer and Hong Kong

Grind for August 17th
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.”
– Pablo Picasso

Head Over Fist

The Headline

Democratic activist Tom Steyer likely to appear in next primary debate

The Grind

In just five weeks, presidential hopeful Tom Steyer has gathered enough individual donors to appear in the next Democratic primary debate.

Now, all he needs to do is reach 2% support in one more qualifying poll by August 28th.

“I’m proud to tell you that more than 130,000 people have invested in our campaign – a campaign run on the idea that, as Americans, we deserve more of a say in what happens to our country than a foreign oligarch or corporation does,” wrote Steyer in an email to his supporters.

The Details

Tom Steyer is a former hedge fund manager and longtime Democratic activist. Two years ago, he started the “Need to Impeach” group that has since attracted more than 8 million members.

This year, his net worth reached $1.6 billion.

When Steyer announced his presidential bid in July, he promised to invest $100 million in his campaign. So far, he has spent nearly $4 million on TV and Facebook ads focused on his goal of ‘ending the hostile corporate takeover of our democracy.’

As you can imagine, rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren aren’t too happy about a billionaire entering the race.

“Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires, whether they’re funding Super PACs or funding themselves,” tweeted Warren. “The strongest Democratic nominee in the general will have a coalition that’s powered by a grassroots movement.”

Sanders told reporters that he was “a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power.”

Sanders and Warren are among nine candidates who have already met the requirements to appear in the next debate, which will be held September 12th-13th in Houston.


The Headline

As riots continue, lawmakers are getting concerned about Hong Kong

The Grind

“I can assure you that if China comes down hard on the protestors that there will be action in Congress,” warned Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) on Tuesday.

Any violent intervention from the mainland would be “completely unacceptable,” added Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

When Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997, the US agreed to give Hong Kong special treatment thanks to the ‘one country, two systems’ policy that allowed the territory to maintain a capitalist system.

“If China interferes with the autonomy of Hong Kong, then it does affect our agreements in regard to Hong Kong as far as the trade zone is concerned,” explained Cardin.

In June, a senior Administration official suggested Washington might even consider sanctions on China if the mainland uses violence against the protestors in Hong Kong.

The Details

Lawmakers’ concerns follow ten weeks of civil unrest in Hong Kong, including the repeated use of tear gas and rubber bullets against civilians.

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, accused protestors of pushing the situation onto a “path of no return” after riots forced the international airport to cancel hundreds of flights.

In the meantime, Beijing has started to send troops to the border and to describe the protest movement as “terrorism.” Some Chinese officials have even accused the United States government of making the situation worse.

“By neglecting and distorting the truth, they whitewashed violent crimes as a struggle for human rights and freedom, and deliberately misinterpreted the work of Hong Kong police as violent repression when the police were only enforcing the law, fighting crimes, and upholding social order,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying.

Hua personally criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has made several public comments in support of the protestors.

“The people of Hong Kong are trying to preserve the promise of One Country – Two Systems,” tweeted Pelosi on Monday. “If we don’t speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, we lose all moral authority to speak out elsewhere.”

Pelosi has also urged the White House to stop selling munitions to Hong Kong and has urged Lam to meet with the protestors to “listen and act on their legitimate grievances.”

In China’s opinion, US lawmakers have no right to make these sort of statements.

“We solely remind you this plain truth: Hong Kong affairs are entirely China’s internal affairs, and you are neither entitled nor qualified to wantonly comment on them,” warned Hua. “Mind your own business and stay out of Hong Kong affairs.”

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