Shapers of public opinion and media news editors are at a loss, but Congress isn’t taking any chances.
House of Representative Amendments titled, “Amendments to the labor, health and human services, education, and related agencies appropriations bill FY2023,” don’t normally get much attention in the news cycle.
Such documents are usually filled with bland legal language and near-incomprehensible bureaucratic jargon like, “On page 117, line 9, insert ‘IN GENERAL. — ’ after ‘(a)’,” and, “On page 43, in the paragraph beginning with, ‘Alcee L. Hastings’, in the last sentence, strike the word ‘tobacco’”.
Amendments, even short ones, are often very long. They frequently cover a wide range of issues, with scores of corrections, revisions and inclusions. House Appropriations Committee amendments make for interesting reading- for people who consider C-SPAN interesting.
Still, in the many committees of the House of Representatives is where the magic of democracy happens, or where the sausage gets made, depending on your perspective.
In important committees like Appropriations, the whys and wherefores and what ifs are abandoned eventually, if temporarily, for the more practical and workaday question: “How?”
From the will of the people to the law of the land, someone needs to get things moving from point A to point B. Our duly elected representatives have been democratically selected to serve as these generals.
Good generals talk tactics; great generals talk strategy: Winning generals talk logistics.
They don’t always agree, to say the least, which is why the slow-motion magic of our democratic process sometimes looks like a hot sausage-making mess. Though elected officials in Congress and in the Senate may debate bitterly, even viciously, compromise only grudgingly, and claw tenaciously for ever inch, a bipartisan group has always managed- somehow- to keep the U.S. chugging along.
All the well-meaning will of the people aside, the intentions of the framers of the Constitution are meaningless if the people elected to run the government can’t competently spend the tax largesse of one of the wealthiest countries in the world without driving the nation into penury and chaos.
The minutiae of House Appropriations Committee amendments are the kinds of mind-numbing details with which the 24-hour tabloid news cycle has no truck.
The average American internet news reader, Twitter doom-scroller and amateur political analyst class has no patience with in-depth dissections of how the will of the people is carried out on the House floor, or so our legacy media outlets believe.
Alas, like the junk food companies of yesteryear, and today, media companies have found more profitability in addicting people to tasty junk than making healthy foods irresistible.
Until that status quo shifts, or shifts back, it will be up to each of us in the mighty Information Age to find and discern the truth for ourselves.
Reading the text of actual House amendments is one way to cut through all the noise of our chattering journalistic class, and their corporate overlords pushing for more ad-clicks.
Amendments like this are filled with exactly the types of raw, unvarnished information many media consumers crave in a landscape dominated by click-bait and influencers.
This particular amendment includes everything from “Psychedelic Research,” to the, “Maintenance of Chimpanzees on US Air Force Bases. — When Congress passed the CHIMP Act, it intended for all chimpanzees owned by NIH to be retired to an animal sanctuary.”
The amendment includes very important items like, “Fentanyl Awareness Education,” and, “Domestic Manufacturing.”
Perhaps the biggest gem doesn’t even require getting through 15-pages of heavy reading.
“At the end of title V, insert the following.” instructs the amendment on the very first page. “Sec__. None of the funds made available by this Act may be made available to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or any other laboratory located in a country determined by the Secretary of State to be a foreign adversary, including China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.”
Quietly, without much fanfare and escaping notice from most mainstream media outlets, who may not consider the item newsworthy and/or useful, Congress is, while not endorsing the lab leak theory by any means, nevertheless, stopping funding for the virology institute believed by most experts to be at the epicenter of the COVID19 outbreak.
The evidence is so strong, not only is a committee of bipartisan lawmakers prepared to blacklist the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but any laboratory in China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.
The lab leak theory, first panned and shunned then outright censored from social media by tech giants and members of the press, has quietly but steadily gained acceptance in the mainstream over the past year.
That the coordinated effort to suppress the theory was exposed, though it was downplayed and ignored by many in the mainstream press, is one of the reasons. Another was the circumstantial evidence inadvertently provided by the Chinese Communist Party government’s flat refusals to allow the international scientific community access to the epicenter.
It isn’t the crime that gets you, it’s the cover up. Refusing to let investigators examine the scene of a crime is the act of a guilty party and it was seen as such. A government with nothing to hide would have welcomed the scientific community gladly.
Then there was the common sense angle, best articulated by high-profile left winger and comedian, John Stewart. The high priest of liberal late night television broke ranks when he articulated this little gem:
“Oh my god, there’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China, what do we do?” Stewart joked. “Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird!”
“There’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania, what do you think happened?” Stewart asked sarcastically. “I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel made it with a cocoa bean. Or it’s the [expletive] chocolate factory!”
The instant backlash shocked Stewart, as well it might have.
Stewart made his quip in June of 2021. Almost a year to the day later, the WHO launched a new probe into the COVID19 lab leak theory based on “new evidence.”
With this latest development in Congress, the lab leak theory seems to be gaining even more credibility. The old investigative adage, “follow the money,” is as true today as ever.
With this signal- no money for the lab in Wuhan- U.S. lawmakers are being perfectly clear.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)