Steve Koonin: Is There a Climate Emergency?

“The climate is the most complex system on Earth. Is it really possible to project with any precision what it will be like 20, 40, or even 100 years from now? Steve Koonin, former Undersecretary for Science in the Obama Administration, challenges the confident assumptions of climate alarmists.

#WhereIsPengShuai?

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Writes Stephen Wade on the disappearance of former Wimbledon and French Open Single’s champion, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, after publicly stating she was raped by a senior Communist Party official, “IOC call with Chinese tennis star Peng raises more questions“:

Peng is just one of a number of Chinese businesspeople, activists and ordinary people who have disappeared in recent years after criticizing party figures or in crackdowns on corruption or pro-democracy and labor rights campaigns.

While the ruling Communist Party is quick to blot out any criticism, that this time it came from an athlete made it especially sensitive. State media celebrate athletes’ victories as proof the party is making China strong — and the party is vigilant about making sure they cannot use their prominence and public appeal to erode its image.

The tennis star accused a former member of the Communist Party’s ruling Standing Committee, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault in a social media post that was removed quickly.

She wrote in part: “I know that to you, vice minister Zhang Gaoli, a person of high status and power, you’ve said you’re not afraid. With your intelligence, you certainly will deny it or you can even use it against me, you can dismiss it without a care. Even if I’m destroying myself, like throwing an egg against a rock, or a moth flying into a flame, I will still speak out the truth about us.”

Concerns about the censoring of her post and her subsequent disappearance from public view grew into a furor, drawing comments from tennis greats like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and Martina Navratilova.

[…]

The WTA is the first sports body to defiantly stand up to China’s financial clout — in what many see as a sharp contrast to the IOC, which says its policy is “quiet diplomacy.”

“The statements make the IOC complicit in the Chinese authority’s malicious propaganda and lack of care for basic human rights and justice,” Global Athlete, a lobby group for athletes, said in a statement.

“The IOC showed a complete disregard for allegations of sexual violence and abuse against athletes,” the statement said. “By taking a nonchalant approach to Peng Shuai’s disappearance and by refusing to mention her serious allegations of sexual assault, IOC President Thomas Bach and the IOC Athletes’ Commission demonstrate an abhorrent indifference to sexual violence and the well-being of female athletes.”

Writes the NY Times in an opinion column:

Like so many victims of China’s repressive system, Ms. Peng has done nothing other than to seek redress for a wrong. Yet the very straightforwardness of her plight inevitably leads to fundamental questions about China’s fitness to host a global sporting event that purports to follow an Olympic ideal of building a better world through sport.

CNN Reports the News: Sara Sidner on the Kyle Rittenhouse Not Guilty Verdict

Once upon a time, CNN was the world’s leading news organization. Times have changed, as the once admired news organization, is referred to as the leading source of “fake news,” and perhaps deservedly so. Such is not the case of CNN Senior News Correspondent Sara Sidner who regards the reporting of facts as the only means of ascertaining the truth. Sadly the same cannot be said of some of CNN’s editorialists and reporters who apparently are ignorant of their own news coverage.

 

Transcript:

SIDNER: …We learned a lot of things in this trial that we should sort of go over. And I was just kind of reviewing some of the things that we learned in the trial that were not necessarily public knowledge before that. One, there has been a lot of talk, especially by politicians, about where Rittenhouse was the night of this shooting. And it turned out he was already in Kenosha, that he had family here, including his father, that the gun was here in Kenosha. He did not bring that over state lines. It turned out during this trial that we learned that the gun that he had a hold of, he actually could legally possess, according to the judge, and according to the law here, because of the measurements of the gun. Had it been shorter and a short-barreled gun, then it would have been illegal. But because it wasn’t, the judge said that that needed to be thrown out. And, indeed, that charge of a minor in possession of a gun illegally was thrown out in this case, the jury only looking at those who were injured, those who are endangered and those who were killed the night in August that Rittenhouse ended up shooting people.

We also learned that he was working here that night, that he had stayed over that night here. ….

…. we did learn a lot of things from that video because it was very clear what was going on. There was a video of Rosenbaum chasing after Kyle Rittenhouse during this time when he had his gun.

And at one point Rittenhouse levels his gun at Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum continues towards him. And as he gets close to Kyle Rittenhouse, Kyle Rittenhouse fires his gun several times. We learned also in the trial that he was hit four times. And, obviously, this is an AR-style rifle that has the capability of firing very quickly.

….we heard from Gaige Grosskreutz. And that — this was a pivotal moment in the trial, hearing from the one defendant who was shot, but survived Kyle Rittenhouse shooting at him.

And he said that — when asked whether or not Kyle Rittenhouse shot at him when his hands were up, he said no. And then he was asked by the defense, did you point your gun at Kyle Rittenhouse, and then he said shot you? And he said, correct.

[13:25:01] That was a big moment for the jury, for sure, because that could be self-defense.

….When you go through each one. Anthony Huber, who was who was also shot before Grosskreutz, he had a skateboard. And he attempted and you can see on the video hitting Kyle Rittenhouse.

….the jury clearly thought that, in this case, after Kyle Rittenhouse tripped and fell and turned his gun and people started coming at him, that he was only defending his own life or from great bodily harm.

….This has been a political football, if you will. It has been — the right has looked at Kyle Rittenhouse this whole time as a hero. The left often or the far left has looked at Kyle Rittenhouse as a devil.

….And it is pretty clear that people are sticking to their side. But they were not in this court. And many folks did not watch this trial. We did. We were in court watching every second of it. And the jury looked at all of the evidence.

….And so it seems that, in this case, yes, Gaige Grosskreutz was an important witness, but the video seemed to be the star in this case, because the video shows you exactly what happened that night…

Another Transcript:

…There is so much vitriol that is out there right now on all sides of this. Depending on where you stand, and what you believe. One of the things, I think, that a lot of people who are making some of these very strong statements, some of them, which are factually incorrect. They didn’t watch the trial and they didn’t look at the same evidence that the jury looked at.

Weiss on the Outright Lies About Kyle Rittenhouse

Bari Weiss dismisses the lies by the Democrats and their press in The Media’s Verdict on Kyle Rittenhouse:

Writes Weiss:

  • There was zero evidence that Rittenhouse was connected to white supremacist groups at the time of the shooting.
  • In addition to having a job in Kenosha, Rittenhouse testified that much of his family lived there: his father, his grandma, his aunt and uncle, and his cousins.
  • Kyle Rittenhouse did not travel to Kenosha to oppose protesters. He testified under oath that he had traveled to Kenosha for his job the night before the shootings, and was staying at a friend’s house.
  • Rittenhouse didn’t bring the gun to Kenosha. The gun was purchased for Rittenhouse months earlier by a friend and stored in Kenosha at the home of that friend’s stepfather, as then-17-year-old Rittenhouse was too young to purchase it. Under Wisconsin law, 17-year-olds are prohibited from carrying rifles only if they are short-barreled. The weapon Rittenhouse was carrying was not short-barreled. Which is why, during closing arguments, the court threw out the charge.
  • [T]here’s no clear indication that Rittenhouse sought to kill anyone. What we know is that he showed up with a first aid kit and an AR-15-style rifle. Video evidence, and Rittenhouse’s own testimony, indicates that he offered medical assistance to protestors and ran with a fire extinguisher to try to put out fires—and that later, after being pursued, he killed two people, Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and severely wounded a third. Both video evidence and the only living person that Rittenhouse shot that night, Gaige Grosskreutz, undermined the idea that Rittenhouse was simply an aggressor looking for a fight. During cross examination Grosskreutz acknowledged that Rittenhouse shot him only after Grosskreutz had pointed his own gun at Rittenhouse.

Read the rest.

Immanuel Kant and the Roots of Critical Race Theory

Princeton University professor Allen C. Guelzo, comments on the foundations of CRT in an AEI podcast: as a “reaction against the Enlightenment and against the confidence that scientific reason could discover the answers to things”:

….Kant was appalled at the irreligious conclusions to which reason had driven the Enlightenment. He was determined to find a way around Enlightenment religious lack of faith. So he says, what can we know for certain? Well, if we rely strictly on reason, we discover that reason only works on what our physical senses tell us, and that’s not much. Reason can’t penetrate into the essence of things. Some other tool was needed to reach what he called the thing in itself. So, to brush back the influence of reason, Kant develops a critique of reason, a critical theory, if you will.

….when you see how little reason can penetrate to the real lessons of things and you awake to a new reality. And that reality is that reason has blinded you. That is critical theory…

… critical theory set off a chain reaction of romantic investigations for non-rational explanations of reality.

….some of those non-rational explanations took a form of nationalism. That’s what you find in the philosophy of Georg Hegel. Some of them took the form of out-and-out racism. … Above all, you find non-rational explanations of reality based on economic class, and that is Karl Marx.

…And you might think that economics functions as what Adam Smith called a natural instinct to truck and barter. But in reality, it’s governed by the oppressive relations of class. Especially in the hands of Marx, critical theory uncovers the activity, not of employers and employees, but of an oppressor class and an oppressed class.

And the payoff?

…it promises an emotional burst of revelation and indignation. It allows you not so much to understand because remember, understanding is a function of reason, it allows you to denounce. It allows you to replace the question, is what I know true with a different question, whose interests does this question serve?

…. If the only purpose of questions is to serve the interests of a dominant or oppressive class, then no question that you ask about the truth of a situation or the truth of an event or the truth of a proposition, none of that kind of questioning about truth has any meaning. And any answer you come up with, which doesn’t speak in terms of some hidden structure of oppression, can simply be dismissed as part of the structure of oppression.

Read the rest.

Marc A. Thiessen writes in the Washington Post on “The danger of critical race theory”:

Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, authors of “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction,” state that “critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.”

….Ibram X. Kendi, one of CRT’s leading advocates, openly declares: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

This is the opposite of what the civil rights movement stood for. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did not argue that America was systemically racist; he argued that racism was un-American.

By dispensing with the reason the only solution is violence:

“… If your critical race theory is impervious to questioning and evidence, then fine: I will retreat into my critical race theory and it too will be impervious to evidence and the questioning. At which point then the only solution becomes violence.”

The FDA & CDC: Why The U.S. Fails in COVID Testing

From “Here’s Why Rapid COVID Tests Are So Expensive and Hard to Find“, ProPublica:

….Companies trying to get the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for rapid COVID-19 tests describe an arbitrary, opaque process that meanders on, sometimes long after their products have been approved in other countries that prioritize accessibility and affordability over perfect accuracy.

On the FDA treating private bio-tech companies like criminals:

After the FDA put out a call for more rapid tests in the summer of 2020, Los Angeles-based biotech company WHPM, Inc. began working on one. They did a peer-reviewed trial following the agency’s directions, then submitted the results this past March. In late May, WHPM head of international sales Chris Patterson said, the company got a confusing email from its FDA reviewer asking for information that had in fact already been provided. WHPM responded within two days. Months passed. In September, after a bit more back and forth, the FDA wrote to say it had identified other deficiencies, and wouldn’t review the rest of the application. Even if WHPM fixed the issues, the application would be “deprioritized,” or moved to the back of the line. “We spent our own million dollars developing this thing, at their encouragement, and then they just treat you like a criminal,” said Patterson. Meanwhile, the WHPM rapid test has been approved in Mexico and the European Union, where the company has received large orders.

An FDA scientist who vetted COVID-19 test applications told ProPublica he became so frustrated by delays that he quit the agency earlier this year. “They’re neither denying the bad ones or approving the good ones,” he said, asking to remain anonymous because his current work requires dealing with the agency.

On FDA micro-managing how the tests can be used making them expensive, and banning the private sale of cheap tests to the public:

FDA officials were particularly concerned about allowing tests to be administered outside the purview of a trained health care provider. “To mitigate the impact of false results, all Covid-19 tests authorized to date have been made available only by prescription, so that clinicians can interpret results for patients,” wrote Shuren and his deputy Dr. Tim Stenzel in an October 2020 column in The New England Journal of Medicine.

That cautious approach persisted all through the winter and early spring, despite rising agitation from the White House and Congress around the availability of tests.

“I actually have been saying that for months and months and months, we should be literally flooding the system with easily accessible, cheap, not needing a prescription, point of care, highly sensitive and highly specific” tests, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said under questioning from Schrier in a hearing on March 17.

On the FDA standing in the way of innovation and experimentation:

The FDA has been particularly circumspect with more novel approaches to testing, such as an olfactory test that detects the common COVID-19 symptom of loss of smell. The agency’s reviewers deprioritized an application for the scratch-and-sniff card even though it had been proven to stem transmission, said inventor Derek Toomre, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

On how the FDA bans tests approved in Europe:

For example, the biopharmaceutical giant Roche told ProPublica that it submitted a home test in early 2021, but it was rejected by the FDA because the trials had been done partly in Europe. The test had compared favorably with Abbott’s rapid test, and received European Union approval in June. The company plans to resubmit an application by the end of the year.

[…]

A smaller company, which didn’t want to be named because it has other contracts with the U.S. government, withdrew its pre-application for a rapid antigen test with integrated smartphone-based reporting because it heard its trial data from India — collected as the delta variant was surging there — wouldn’t be accepted. Doing the trials in the U.S. would have cost millions.

On how the central planning approach of “putting your eggs in one basket” fails:

In May, the CDC leaned hard into the message that vaccines were almost completely protective, mitigating the need for frequent testing. Manufacturers took that as a bad sign for testing volume. Abbott ramped down manufacturing of its popular home test.

[…]

“It has taken more than a year for the American public, scientific experts and academia to accept the important role of rapid testing in the U.S.,” Koval said. “Overseas, that was not the case, because the value of rapid testing was better understood prior to the pandemic.”

Read the rest.

Recommended Reading:

Pano Kanelos: America’s Illiberal College System

Writes Pano Kanelos in “We Can’t Wait for Universities to Fix Themselves. So We’re Starting a New One,” Common Sense:

Over the last three decades, the cost of a degree from a four-year private college has nearly doubled; the cost of a degree from a public university has nearly tripled. The nation’s students owe $1.7 trillion in loans.

…The warped incentives of higher education—prestige or survival—mean that anincreasing proportion of tuition dollars are spent on administration rather than instruction. Universities now aim to attract and retain students through client-driven “student experiences”—from trivial entertainment to emotional support to luxury amenities. In fact, many universities are doing extremely well at providing students with everything they need. Everything, that is, except intellectual grit.

…our educational system has become illiberal and is producing citizens and leaders who are incapable and unwilling to participate in the core activity of democratic governance.

Universities are the places where society does its thinking, where the habits and mores of our citizens are shaped. If these institutions are not open and pluralistic, if they chill speech and ostracize those with unpopular viewpoints, if they lead scholars to avoid entire topics out of fear, if they prioritize emotional comfort over the often-uncomfortable pursuit of truth, who will be left to model the discourse necessary to sustain liberty in a self-governing society?

Read the rest.

How Government Regulation Created The COVID19 Pandemic

The centrally planned government response to the COVID19 virus is the cause of the pandemic. What should have been an isolated episode has become a global crisis.

From the introduction of the virus to the world from Communist China (possibly from a Wuhan lab) under the approving eye of WHO (which disregarded the warning signals provided by Taiwan) to the U.S. CDC banning PCR tests that worked, in favor of its own test that did not work, etc.

If the COVID19 response was ‘managed’ by a free market it would have been long over by now as it is in the interests of producers and consumers to not die from COVID19.

There are many ways to attack COVID19 (in addition to masks, lockdowns, and vaccines) such as creating a drug that treats COVID19 and prevents death.

Under central planning, there is only one option: the government one with non-approved solutions banned.

Observe that U.S. regulators chose to:

(1) lockdown the healthy;

(2) banned the sale of cheap rapid antigen tests for over a year resulting in the failure to identify the infected;

(3) banned the sale of the COVID19 vaccine created in February 2020 (until after the 2020 US elections), etc.

Under a free-market competition, we would have a plethora of rapid tests & treatment options — such as a drug that treats COIVD19 rendering it harmless, and who knows what else.

What is required is innovation under the freedom of laissez-faire capitalism and not regulation under the authoritarianism of the fascist medical state.

Instead, of medical freedom, we have the expansion of a totalitarian, fascist regulatory government — that expands into all aspects of our lives. – Mark Da Cunha

Bari Weiss: Say No to the Woke Revolution

Writing in Commentary magazine in “We Got Here Because of Cowardice. We Get Out With Courage,” Bari Weiss provides an excellent summation of the “core beliefs of the Woke Revolution,” and asks, “Why are so many, especially so many young people, drawn to this ideology?”

If you have ever tried to build something, even something small, you know how hard it is. It takes time. It takes tremendous effort. But tearing things down? That’s quick work.

The Woke Revolution has been exceptionally effective. It has successfully captured the most important sense-making institutions of American life: our newspapers. Our magazines. Our Hollywood studios. Our publishing houses. Many of our tech companies. And, increasingly, corporate America.

Just as in China under Chairman Mao, the seeds of our own cultural revolution can be traced to the academy, the first of our institutions to be overtaken by it. And our schools—public, private, parochial—are increasingly the recruiting grounds for this ideological army.

And then asks “How did we get here?”

There are a lot of factors that are relevant to the answer….[b]ut there is one word we should linger on, because every moment of radical victory turned on it. The word is cowardice.

The revolution has been met with almost no resistance by those who have the title CEO or leader or president or principal in front of their names. The refusal of the adults in the room to speak the truth, their refusal to say no to efforts to undermine the mission of their institutions, their fear of being called a bad name and that fear trumping their responsibility—that is how we got here.

Her solution?

All that had to change for the entire story to turn out differently was for the person in charge, the person tasked with being a steward for the newspaper or the magazine or the college or the school district or the private high school or the kindergarten, to say: No.

If cowardice is the thing that has allowed for all of this, the force that stops this cultural revolution can also be summed up by one word: courage.

[…]

George Orwell said that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” In an age of lies, telling the truth is high risk. It comes with a cost. But it is our moral obligation.

Read the rest.

Jordan McGillis: China’s Energy Expansionism Threatens a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

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Writes Jordan McGillis over at IER:

Oil, Gas, and the South China Sea assesses China’s skyrocketing oil and gas demand and the actions the People’s Republic is now taking to firm up its supply of these essential resources. In pursuit of oil and gas, China now routinely encroaches upon the waters of other South China Sea littoral states, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Despite international rulings against its behavior in the region, China’s expansionary pursuits have only intensified in recent years, jeopardizing the shared global interest of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

As this report explains, China’s additional use of oil and gas in 2020 exceeded its additional renewables use by 30 percent on an exajoule basis and China now consumes 50 percent more crude oil than it did just ten years ago. China’s oil consumption growth has accounted for two-thirds of new global oil consumption in recent years. China’s use of natural gas has accelerated even faster than its use of oil, multiplying tenfold since 2001.

Today, imports meet about three-quarters of China’s total oil demand and China is the world’s biggest crude importer. By 2030 four-fifths of China’s oil demand and half of its natural gas demand will be met by imports.

To mitigate this perceived problem, Xi Jinping has set China on a path towards greater resource production, both onshore and offshore. In seeking new offshore resources, China is now thrusting itself into conflict with the other countries that ring the South China Sea.