The Senate race in Arizona has become one of the most-watched, as GOP replacement Martha McSally is challenged by former astronaut Mark Kelly. There have been significant dollars being poured out in the desert for both races as McSally is seen as vulnerable by Democrats to have her seat flipped to blue.
What has been of interest is that both Kelly and McSally sport resumes with military service — Martha breaking barriers as a female fighter pilot, and Kelly piloted multiple space shuttle missions — and this led to an interesting development. It was recently revealed that three former astronauts came forward with their endorsements — surprising many, they have decided to back Martha McSally. They cited reasons from Kelly’s gauzy platform to his support for gun control and higher taxes.
One thing they could have also mentioned was how curious it is that a pilot who flew numerous missions for the U.S. space program had in civilian life become rather entrenched with the Chinese communist government. In her brief tenure McSally has been outspoken in her stance against varied Chinese involvements, including a strong position regarding the breakout of the formerly-named Wuhan Virus. Martha’s positions have raised enough ire with the Chinese to be listed in a report from that nation on reprisals in U.S. courts towards particular lawmakers. Her opponent has been far less antagonistic with the Chi-Coms.
Varied business interests involving Kelly raise more than questions, they raise suspicions. His dealings began in 2003, when he was a key member of The Young Leaders Forum, a weeklong event staged by the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs. The Kelly campaign has explained that this was a junket attended in conjunction with NASA, evidenced by his continued support of the program while in space. Less forthcoming are they about the contacts Kelly established on his trips to the Mainland.
While business interests with foreign countries is not itself a problem, two factors need consideration. First, the rise of President Trump has led the press down the path of demonizing every perceived connection with communist Russia as an automatic problem. By extension then any involvement, business or otherwise, with communist China should also be analyzed. Secondly, China has long been known as a rampant participant in pirating intelligence and intellectual property, so any business concern needs to be looked at as a potential conduit of intel to the Chi-Coms.
Kelly has been a spokesman for Shaklee Products, a nutritional aid company with ties to NASA. Shaklee CEO, Roger Barnett, is a campaign donor. For years Mark has spoken on behalf of the company in various locations, including China. In a particularly uncomfortable video from one conference the candidate rides out on stage in his astronaut togs on a motorcycle, with a subtle touch of the Chinese flag adorned to the handle bars, as ‘’Highway To The Danger Zone’’ plays, the Kenny Loggins anthem from the movie ‘’Top Gun.'”
In 2014 Kelly began a new aerospace company out of the Tucson area, called World View. That enterprise teamed with a Chinese investor, the conglomerate Tencent. It is not difficult to see how tech developed at World View can find its way to the Chi-Coms, especially considering among its numerous interests Tencent is regarded as a surveillance arm of the CCP. Tencent operates in China the social media platform WeChat, with a billion users and one the Chi-Coms use to monitor its citizenry. One of that company’s U.S. executives, David Wallerstein, is also a campaign contributor.
The Kelly campaign notes that their candidate resigned from the company as he prepared for his Senatorial run, but what they do not say is that he divested. Kelly maintains a significant stock holding in the company, as well as options, and he has immediate family still employed with the company. There also has been another company Kelly is affiliated with, one also with Chinese attachments.
Here in the states Tencent has come under sanctions for illegal data collection, in much the same manner that Tik Tok has been targeted. To see how broad and immersive Tencent can be the company also has investments in Hollywood productions. Recall Kelly’s Harley ride in Beijing; Tencent Pictures is a major producer of the new ‘’Top Gun: Maverick’’ sequel, set to be released in the near future. As a player, and to appease the Chi-Com authorities, we see the deeply American product has had elements redwashed, where Tom Cruise’s iconic jacket from the first film had to be altered to make the communist leaders satisfied.
The tendrils of China reach deep into our commerce and into our culture, and by all appearances Mark Kelly helped facilitate some of those advances. He did so by teaming with Chi-Com interests, all in the name of corporate profiting. Recall how often we have been told by the media over the years how this is the very activity that is deemed a threat to our democracy.