Climate Models Overlook Benefits of CO2 and ‘Lukewarming,’ Data Scientist Says thumbnail

Climate Models Overlook Benefits of CO2 and ‘Lukewarming,’ Data Scientist Says

By Kevin Mooney

Rather than relying on climate change models that could be the basis of expansive and costly regulations, policymakers should instead question those models, focusing on the legitimacy of their underlying assumptions.

So said The Heritage Foundation’s chief statistician at a recent climate change conference in Las Vegas that preceded the international summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that concludes today.

While the Biden administration continues to pursue regulatory policies based on a concept known as the “social cost of carbon,” increased carbon dioxide emissions have led to a “greening of the planet,” Kevin Dayaratna, principal statistician and data scientist for The Heritage Foundation said in his presentation at the Heartland Institute’s 14th International Climate Change Conference.

The nonprofit, Illinois-based free-market think tank attracted dozens of scientists, economists, and academics from across the globe to the conference, which ran from Oct. 15 to 17.

The Heartland Institute also hosted a Climate Reality Forum in Glasgow on Nov. 2 and 3 during the two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The Heartland Institute is a co-sponsor of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which has brought together scientists, researchers, and scholars from across the globe who dispute U.N. findings that point to catastrophic climate change. Dayaratna is among the researchers who have advised policymakers to refrain from enacting anti-carbon measures in the name of averting climate change.

“Regardless of one’s predictions on the extent of human influence on climate change, commonly proffered solutions by lawmakers here, such as carbon taxes and ‘cap and trade,’ will have no meaningful impact on altering the climate anyway, as we’ve demonstrated in prior Heritage Foundation research,” Dayaratna told The Daily Signal, the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.

Dubious Assumptions on Social Cost of Carbon

The social cost of carbon is typically defined as “the economic damages per metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions,” according to Dayaratna’s slide presentation at the Heartland conference.

There are three statistical models the Obama administration used to measure the long-term economic impact of carbon dioxide emissions over a particular time horizon, Dayaratna explained. They are the DICE model, the FUND model, and the PAGE model.

The Biden administration recently reinstituted Obama-era climate-modeling exercises that attempt to calculate the social cost of carbon. But an “honest cost/benefit analysis” of carbon dioxide emissions is not possible under current modeling practices, Dayaratna said. That’s because the assumptions built into the climate models overstate recent warming trends while failing to account for the positive attributes of carbon dioxide, the data analyst told his audience.

“The benefits of CO2 may outweigh the damages,” Dayaratna said.

“In fact, when more realistic assumptions about how sensitive the climate is to carbon dioxide emissions are plugged into the climate models, many of the damages disappear from the forecasts,” he added.

“Is global warming necessarily a bad thing?” he asked, answering his own question: “CO2 in the atmosphere can increase agricultural productivity.”

One of Dayaratna’s slide presentations included a satellite image of “the Greening of the Earth” that occurred from 1982 to 2009. The Heritage Foundation statistician also cited a newspaper article in The Guardian dating back to 2004 that described how Pentagon officials told then-President George W. Bush that climate change over the following 20 years could “bring the planet to the edge of anarchy” and that “nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine, and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.”

The fact that those predictions of a catastrophe have not materialized demonstrates that there’s still much to learn about climate change and that climate models such as those used to calculate the social cost of carbon are “highly sensitive to assumptions” that may not be accurate, Dayaratna warned.

“‘Settled science’ is an oxymoron,” he said. “Science is never settled.”

Understating Benefits of Carbon Dioxide

Dayaratna is the co-author of a peer-reviewed research article that explores “the implications of recent empirical findings about CO2 fertilization and climate sensitivity on the social cost of carbon in the FUND model.”

He and his colleagues selected the FUND model because, unlike the other models, the FUND model accounts for the possibility of agricultural benefits.

Nevertheless, they conclude that even the FUND model understates the benefits of carbon dioxide.

There is “overwhelming evidence that CO2 increases do have a beneficial effect on plant growth, so models that fail to take these benefits into account overstate the [social cost of carbon],” the research article says. “The recent literature on global greening and the response of agricultural crops to enhanced CO2 availability suggests that the productivity boost is likely stronger than that parameterized in FUND.”

After making “reasonable” adjustments to “agricultural productivity specifications” in combination with “moderate warming” forecasts that can be plugged into climate models, Dayaratna finds that there are “social benefits” to what he describes as the “lukewarming” the planet has experienced.

“There has indeed been man-made global warming, but the extent to which humans have contributed to it over the last century has been vastly overstated,” Dayaratna told The Daily Signal in an interview.

To use a term coined by Pat Michaels of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, I like to refer to it as ‘lukewarming.’ The climate models also greatly overstate the amount of warming that is likely to occur going forward. Human CO2 emissions are indeed responsible for some warming, but much of it is the result of natural influences and this ‘lukewarming’ we have experienced, which is fairly mild, has benefits that are overlooked.

Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas. It is a key element of photosynthesis and thus has agricultural benefits, and to consider it only as a pollutant that solely has deleterious effects is a mistake.

Dayaratna offered some advice for policymakers and the public at the conclusion of his Oct. 16 presentation.

“Models are highly sensitive to assumptions, and the Biden administration is using these same models,” he said. “We need to think seriously about the administration’s estimates, and the assumptions that went into producing them.”

If not, Dayaratna cautioned, predictions as inaccurate as those provided to Bush in 2004 could beguile the public into accepting costly regulatory policies that do not square with scientific observations.

*****

This article was published on November 12, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

Environmental Solutions, Not Social Overhaul thumbnail

Environmental Solutions, Not Social Overhaul

By Dominick Sansone

The Glasgow climate summit and recent bold climate proposals are more about politics and do little to actually help the global environment.

The recent climate summit in Glasgow saw world leaders gather together to unanimously declare—as articulated by U.S. President Joe Biden himself—climate change as the “[paramount] challenge of our collective lifetimes.” Calling on the world community to devote themselves to confronting this “existential threat,” Biden cited his own administration’s lofty goal of reducing carbon emissions by at least 50 percent in the lead up to 2030.

“High energy prices only reinforce the urgent need to diversify sources, double down on clean energy development, and adapt promising new clean energy technologies.” This will ostensibly manifest through the type of long-term development envisioned in the massive infrastructure bill currently making its way through Congress.

As previously stated in this publication, the United States—as well as the developed economies of Western Europe—is hardly the primary cause of concern for those who would wish to see lower carbon emissions on a global scale. Substantial growth projected in greenhouse gas emissions is largely due to developing countries, such as India and China, which are poised to continue increasing their reliance on coal. The latter country has already set plans in motion to build increased capacity for the high carbon-emitting fuel, while the former currently sees about 70 percent of its electricity output derived from coal.

That does not mean that the United States needs to simply disregard its levels of carbon emissions. The U.S. still relies on dirtier forms of petroleum for 35 percent of its energy consumption, and coal for 10 percent. Prioritizing a transition to natural gas, in addition to the energy security made possible through independence from imports, would see real movement in measurable reductions to U.S. emissions. Instead, with the price of natural gas doubling in part due to the Biden administration’s policy choices, the use of coal has subsequently increased by 22 percent in 2021. Despite upending U.S. energy independence, the president apparently sees no irony in shamelessly asking for OPEC to increase production in an effort to reduce gas and oil prices.

The attempts of developed Western nations to subsidize policy that radically overhauls the energy landscape have a less than stellar record. Echoes of the Obama-era Solyndra scandal still reverberate in the energy industry. Germany’s attempt to heavily subsidize wind and solar in the 2010s led to a significant increase in burning coal, due to the inability of the former two to provide energy without interruption. Although the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline may imply a more realpolitik approach in Berlin to ensuring a stable and clean source of fuel, coal burning still tops wind as the country’s primary source of electricity.

While U.S. renewable energy investment continued to rise by significant amounts throughout the Trump administration—despite claims that the former president heavily favored the oil and gas industries—frozen windmills in Texas this past winter, although not responsible for blackouts, displayed the danger of relying entirely on fickle renewables. The impact of the weather freezing the turbines led to a 60 percent drop in wind-energy production compared to the previous week.

These facts, however, are all irrelevant to those attempting to place climate as the central axiom around which to enact a new green-centric policy agenda. That is because their true goal is radical social reorganization based on equity-based notions of justice. The acolytes of transformational programs such as the Green New Deal are not interested in pragmatic, if gradual, steps that would allow the United States to practically and effectively become more energy efficient; rather, they are interested in recasting society according to ideological principles.

This is not the rambling of conspiracy theorists who envision an underground lair of technocratic elites laying the foundations for a one-world government—it is the words of the agenda’s own proponents. Vice President Kamala Harris, in collaboration with Green New Deal champion Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, last year introduced the Climate Equity Act (CEA) in the Senate, in order to “center [the fight against climate change] in justice and equity.” Equity, as aptly described  by James Lindsay, is shifting resources and shares in a system so as to ensure that outcomes proportionally resemble the envisioned conception of fairness.

Harris’s cosponsoring of the CEA is not an aberration in an otherwise moderate climate policy; it is rather a testament to the Biden administration’s wholesale buy-in to the radical green agenda. The 46th president has additionally created the new Office of Domestic Climate Policy, headed by chief of staff Maggie Thomas who has previously stated that there is “no role for natural gas” in the nation’s energy mix, short-term or otherwise. Instead, she supports a goal of 90 percent of electricity production coming from renewables by the year 2035. Another new establishment under the Health and Human Services Department is the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, tasked with the stated mission of “protecting vulnerable communities” from the impact of climate change. It is easy to see how these vaguely defined executive appointments not beholden to an electorate could morph into centralized authorities for enforcing a radical equity-based agenda—in fact, they would likely welcome the task in their mission statement.

During the Glasgow summit, President Biden additionally took it upon himself to apologize for the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords during the Trump administration. Trump had originally withdrawn from the pact under the auspices of its disadvantageous impact on U.S. industry. Citing a commitment to the American workers, Trump criticized the deal as resulting in “lost jobs, lowered wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.” Considering the achievement of (now eliminated) energy independence, the United States becoming a net exporter of oil in 2019 for the first time in its history, a continued growth in renewables, and all while still managing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, one has to question how exactly participation in the Paris Accord was in the national interest of the United States.

The answer is that it wasn’t. It wasn’t even really advantageous to the interest of reducing global carbon emissions. As previously stated, if multilateral agreements such as the Paris Climate Accord actually wanted to invest resources in the areas which are most crucial to reducing carbon emissions—in other words, where they would receive the greatest return on investment—they would focus almost exclusively on the challenges posed by developing countries.

This, however, is not the concern of those who seek to overhaul the world economy and hamstring western industry along the way. Those interested in a recasting of society are not concerned with actual concrete steps that would practically allow the United States to approach reductions in carbon, as well as more energy efficient solutions, through innovation and ingenuity. They are also not interested in prioritizing energy security for American citizens.

At the summit, Prince Charles called for a “war-like footing” on the climate issue, proclaiming the need of a “Marshall-like plan.” Another Brit, much greater and deserving of our attention, previously stated that there are those who will seek to perpetuate a sense of crisis in times of peace, so as to justify the individual citizen’s subjugation to the state. “The argument…that economic crises are only another form of war, such that we must live our lives in a perpetual state of war…this, of course, is the socialist view.” These words were written by Winston Churchill in defense of the U.S. Constitution, as a response to (ironically) the big-government views of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.

According to Churchill, once the government found a seemingly just cause that it could utilize to incite the passions of its people, it would then be able to manipulate their desire to do good for its own purposes. After the individual is brought under the “subjugation of the executive government,” Churchill continued, “socialism…[allows] the rulers to demand of him in time of peace sacrifices only tolerable in a period of national self-preservation.”

Those who wish a radical overhaul of society—whether out of a genuine belief in the greater good or from a selfish desire for power—have found an issue that allows them to invoke a sense of moral superiority. What higher duty is there than responsible stewardship of our natural home, the earth? We must be on our guard that our desire to live up to this task does not blind us to the schemes of those who would seek personal advantage from our goodwill.

*****

This article was published on November 12, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The American Conservative.

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National School Board Association’s Contempt for Parents Divides Organization

By Bethany Blankley

26 state school board associations distance themselves from national group

More than half of state school board associations have distanced themselves from the national association after it sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking for federal intervention to investigate parents who protest at local meetings.

Of the 26 that have repudiated the letter, 11 have discontinued their membership with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) after Kentucky did so Wednesday.

In the Sept 29 letter, the NSBA likened parents protesting the teaching of critical race theory, mask mandates and other local school decisions to domestic terrorists and sought federal help.

The NSBA is a national association that state school board associations are members of and pay dues to.

In response to NSBA’s letter, the U.S. Justice Department and Merrick Garland instructed the FBI to monitor and investigate parents protesting at local school board meetings.

Parents Defending Education emailed 47 state school board associations for comment on the NSBA’s Sept. 29 letter. Hawaii and Washington, D.C. associations are not NSBA members and Virginia and Louisiana had already made public statements by the time PDE sent the letter.

PDE asked the associations to confirm or deny if they were in agreement with the NSBA’s position, to state how they define “intimidation,” “harassment,” and “threat,” and if they planned on reporting individuals in their states to the U.S. Department of Justice. It also published their responses online.

As of Wednesday, 26 states have distanced themselves from the NSBA’s letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Among them, 11 states have taken action by withdrawing their membership, participation, or dues from NSBA: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Several states did not respond to PDE’s letter at all: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. California replied by stating that it declined to respond to the questions.

“We believe the letter from NSBA leadership demonstrated how out of touch the national association is with the concerns of local school boards and the principle of local control,” Ohio’s association said. “Because of that, OSBA no longer sees the value of continued NSBA membership.”

Pennsylvania’s association said NSBA’s letter saying comparing upset parents to domestic terrorists “was the final straw” after the organization had already been questioning the value of keeping its NSBA membership. It added that NSBA had “fomented more disputes and cast partisanship on our work on behalf of school directors, when we seek to find common ground and support all school directors in their work, no matter their politics.”

The New Hampshire School Boards Association said it plans on withdrawing its membership but has not yet done so officially.

The Montana School Board Association will formally leave the NSBA in July 2022, as it already renewed its membership in July of this year.

Alabama withheld its dues to NSBA and plans to vote on whether to leave in December. Florida did not submit dues to NSBA and expressed its opposition to the NSBA’s position. Kentucky’s association leadership is currently evaluating the benefits of continued membership in NSBA. Mississippi says it doesn’t support NSBA’s action and will be meeting to address the situation.

Many of the associations that responded to Parents Defending Education said they had not been asked or informed by NSBA before it sent the letter. In fact, the letter was sent without their knowledge or input from the state associations it is supposed to represent, they added.

Delaware’s association said NSBA’s letter “was a clear overreach” and “violates the fundamental principle of local authority, upon which the Delaware public education system is founded and structured.”

Idaho’s association said, “Had we been asked, we would have readily pointed out the mischaracterization of parents and patrons in our communities as domestic terrorists who merited federal investigation. We want parents and patrons engaged in our public schools – we have sought that for years.

Illinois’ association said, “This is not the first disagreement that IASB has had with NSBA. Prior to this incident, the IASB Board of Directors was evaluating its relationship with NSBA. IASB previously expressed concerns to NSBA about problems related to governance, transparency, and financial oversight. IASB suspended payment of dues to NSBA for 2021-2022 and sought to address these concerns through changes to the governance structure of the national association.

“IASB disagrees with NSBA’s decision to request federal intervention, and the decision by NSBA leadership to tie the request to claims of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

New Jersey’s association said it doesn’t endorse the letter, and NSBA’s position doesn’t “reflect the beliefs and policies of NJSBA.” It said it has expressed its disapproval of the letter and “strongly supports the ability of parents and citizens to voice their opinions at board meetings, which is a fundamental principle of our democracy.”

*****

This article was published on November 11, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

China is About to Make a Huge Mistake: Make Xi Jinping Dictator for Life thumbnail

China is About to Make a Huge Mistake: Make Xi Jinping Dictator for Life

By Doug Bandow

Big political moves are afoot in the People’s Republic of China. A critical Politburo meeting is set to begin on November 8 but, as in Joseph Stalin’s time, it will effectively be a meeting of one, with everyone else merely playing the political equivalent of a movie extra. It is the latest development, reported Katsuji Nakazawa, “connected to the bid by Xi Jinping, the country’s president, and the party’s general secretary, to become leader for life.” This will be bad for the U.S., but it will be much worse for China.

Some Americans appear to believe that the Chinese Communist Party has already won. The dubious bromides are many. The Chinese think long-term. The Chinese leaders are knowledgeable technocrats. The Chinese Communists have transcended the vagaries of democracy.

In fact, the People’s Republic of China faces enormous challenges. Economic growth has been built on feet of, if not clay, then a soft metal, such as tin. Heavily indebted state enterprises owe big bucks to overextended state banks. Expensive ghost cities await new residents. Repeated property bubbles have swallowed enormous wealth. Rising state interference in business discourages outside investment. The population will soon begin shrinking, leaving an aging populace and diminishing workforce with a surplus of unmarried young males. Even if the long forecast Chinese economic collapse never occurs, the PRC might not escape what has been called the middle-income trap.

However, an even bigger problem for China may be its political weaknesses. No doubt, America has put the failures of democracy on dramatic display. Nevertheless, the U.S. political system, despite its many flaws, retains a rough form of accountability. Presidents are defeated and Congresses change party control. Similar shifts occur at the state level. Moreover, politicians whose grandiose plans fail generally face a cascade of criticism even as their supporters attempt to circle the wagons. With a constitutional commitment to civil and political liberties, though much tattered after decades of assault by illiberal forces on both right and left, America retains a creative spark so often crushed elsewhere, like in the People’s Republic of China.

Imperial China existed for thousands of years, but faltered when it turned isolationist around the 15th century. The once great empire’s lassitude was most evident in what the Chinese call the “Century of Humiliation,” during which the country was effectively dismembered. Japan took Taiwan; the United Kingdom grabbed what became Hong Kong; Portugal gained Macau; Tokyo and various Western powers, including America, created territorial “concessions” within the country which operated outside of China’s control. For instance, in Shanghai the US, UK, and France enjoyed favored status; the waterfront Bund still showcases European-style structures dating back to that time.

The Communist revolution ended foreign control. Mao Zedong rose to lead the CCP. He understood nothing about economics but had a preternatural instinct for wielding power—brutally but effectively. The communists largely allowed the nationalists to exhaust themselves resisting the Japanese invasion and then with Soviet aid won the ensuing struggle after Tokyo’s surrender.

Mao cared nothing about the human cost of victory, so long as others did the dyingJulia Lovell, at Birkbeck, University of London, explained: “To conquer key cities in the industrial northeast, Communist commanders laid siege to civilian populations. ‘Turn Changchun into a city of death,’ proclaimed Lin Biao, one of Mao’s most successful strategists, in 1948. By the time the metropolis fell five terrible months later, 160,000 non-combatants had died of starvation.”

This strategy was terribly cruel, but it worked. On October 1, 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the new PRC government in Tiananmen Square. He famously announced that “the Chinese people have stood up.” In theory, that should have been good for the Chinese people. Alas, liberation meant tyranny, which benefited only those at the top.

The resulting chaos, injustice, and bloodshed was barely imaginable, and it was overwhelmingly the responsibility of the new Red Emperor. Mao sought to destroy the existing order and expected, even desired, enormous slaughter. Millions died as the CCP consolidated power. Wrote Frank Dikötter, who documented many of Mao’s greatest abuses, the CCP leader targeted pre-revolutionary relationships “so that nothing would stand between the people and the party … Nobody was to stand on the sidelines. Everybody was to have blood on their hands.”

Then came the misnamed Great Leap Forward, which collectivized agriculture and built backyard steelworks, among other lunatic schemes. Tens of millions died, with estimates topping out at an astonishing 55 million, most starved to death. His power was such that even other Politburo members, though aware of the disastrous impact of his policies, refused to challenge him as millions of their countrymen died horrid deaths. His colleagues eventually pushed him aside, causing him to unleash the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—part party purge, part civil war, part insane paroxysm of violence—which dramatically upended the social order. Chinese citizens high and low alike were imprisoned and killed prodigiously.

Relief came only when this most terrible tyrant died in 1976. Almost immediately Mao’s most fervid supporters, the so-called Gang of Four, were arrested. Deng Xiaoping returned to the fore and began the process of economic liberalization. The totalitarian society relaxed its grip over people’s personal lives. Although hope for equivalent political reform died along with hundreds of protestors in the 1989 crackdown after widespread protests in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere, even that was a closely run affair, with significant support for a freer China within the CCP. Moreover, the resulting authoritarian system remained loose, with veiled debates over policy, independent journalists critical of local officials, human rights lawyers fighting in court, NGOs urging political reform, extensive academic cooperation with the West, presidential term limits and rotation in office, and more.

This all meant that there were extensive information flows, competition in ideas, and political turnover. Indeed, Deng and his successors sought to restrict the retention of power in a Communist system of unlimited political authority which is no easy feat. The constitution held the president to two terms; the party informally applied the same restriction on the general secretary, a position more important than the president.

The result was not perfect, certainly, but was an extraordinary improvement over the Mad Mao era, with policy emanating from one demented mind and demotion if not prison awaiting anyone brash enough to challenge the emperor reborn. No doubt, economic reform was key to the PRC’s growth, but so was the end of Mao, who was treated as near divine even as he grew mentally and physically enfeebled. That one man could cause so much social devastation and death highlighted the dramatic human price often paid by dictatorships.

The new system appeared to work reasonably well as China grew economically. Alas, of late the future doesn’t look so bright. Some mistakes mirror those in America—wasting vast amounts of money on unproductive security and military outlays. Result-oriented, politicized regulation. Continuing political pressure to intervene in economic policy. Dubious foreign economic adventures.

Presently, a huge and growing problem is the current president and general secretary, Xi Jinping, who is remolding himself as Mao II. He ruthlessly deployed a widespread anti-corruption campaign against his political rivals. He removed presidential term limits from the constitution. He has even instituted a China-wide campaign to impose Beijing’s will on industry. Business entrepreneurs and corporate titans like Alibaba’s Jack Ma have been brought to heel.

Xi’s insistence on greater political hegemony is intensifying the PRC’s ongoing economic problems. Grotesque economic inefficiency is embedded within the Chinese system. For instance, state enterprises are still used to provide employment, irrespective of the economic consequences. Moreover, businesses must surmount the great firewall and other controls to gain access to the world’s information, people, markets, and more. Now, however, ever more economic decisions are being decided by the CCP leadership.

This problem almost certainly will grow worse. Indeed, one of Xi’s latest ideological jihads was against those who reject his godlike aspirations. After a decade he should be firmly in power, but apparently resistance to his rule continues within the top leadership. The recent publication of his “selected discourses” included an attack “on what he called ‘discordant and cacophonous voices’ in the party. He cited unnamed cadres saying that, ‘we have for the past five years sufficiently stressed concentration [of powers] and unity in the party… [and] from now on we must put the emphasis on developing democracy within the party.” He attacked his critics’ “political obfuscation and mental obtuseness” and use of “ulterior motives to push through [evil] agendas.”

Xi’s extraordinary power trip is not good for China’s future. Like Mao, Xi has become a Red Emperor, though with even more people, 1.4 billion, subject to his every whim. And, like Mao, he is surrounded by sycophants, suspicious of criticism, protected by enforcers, shielded from reality, and absolved from accountability.

If lucky, the PRC will avoid the catastrophe of rule by Mao—and such counterparts as Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Nicolae Ceausescu, and lesser avatars of evil. Even then, however, China is unlikely to escape the more mundane failings of a system that combines the inherent flaws of original sin with the inevitable corrupting influences of power. The PRC will continue to pose a serious challenge to America and the West. However, Xi’s war on liberty will give the U.S. an important and enduring advantage in the contest for the future.

*****

This article was published on November 12, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from the American Institute for Economic Research.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, specializing in foreign policy and civil liberties.

He worked as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and editor of the political magazine Inquiry.

Time for a New University?

By Allen Mendenhall

Higher education in the United States is in dire condition. Priced Out, a report by Neetu Arnold of the National Association of Scholars released earlier this year, describes several problems afflicting colleges and universities: profligate spending, administrative bloat, exorbitant tuition costs, massive student loan debt, mission drift, student radicalism—the list goes on.

What can be done to fix these challenges? Is it time to build parallel schools to rival too-far-gone institutions? Is there room for new colleges and universities predicated on the serious, unbridled pursuit of truth and open inquiry, free from the rigid orthodoxies, anti-intellectualism, and close-mindedness of wokeism and identity politics?

We might find out. This week brings word of the University of Austin, or UATX, a residential, brick-and-mortar, startup liberal arts institution backed by some of the sharpest, most independent voices in the public discourse. Its board of advisors, for instance, includes Arthur Brooks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali (also a founding faculty fellow with Peter Boghossian), Leon Kass, Robert Zimmer, Steven Pinker, Jonathan Haidt, Nadine Strossen, Joshua Katz, John A. Nunes, Vickie Sullivan, Jonathan Rauch, Stacy Hock, E. Gordon Gee, David Mamet, Glenn Loury, Sohrab Ahmari, and Wilfred McClay.

The founding team consists of Pano Kanelos, formerly the president of St. John’s College who will serve as president; Niall Ferguson of The Hoover Institution and Stanford University; Bari Weiss, who made headlines in 2020 after resigning from The New York Times; Heather Heying, an evolutionary biologist; and Joe Lonsdale, a tech entrepreneur in the field of wealth management.

An impressive group. How will they ensure that UATX differs from the typical university, the kind that Arnold decries? For starters, they are steadfastly committed to free speech, robust debate, and unfettered questioning. “Our students,” Kanelos intones, “will be exposed to the deepest wisdom of civilization and learn to encounter works not as dead traditions but as fierce contests of timeless significance that help human beings distinguish between what is true and false, good and bad, beautiful and ugly.” He continues: “Students will come to see such open inquiry as a lifetime activity that demands of them a brave, sometimes discomforting, search for truths.”

Second, Kanelos et al. will distinguish UATX from legacy institutions by devoting their efforts to six principles (open inquiry, freedom of conscience, civil discourse, financial independence, intellectual independence, and political independence) and three pillars (open inquiry, a novel financial model, and an innovative curriculum). The repetition of “open inquiry” as both a principle and a pillar emphasizes the importance of that concept to UATX’s distinct mission. UATX is not about rigid orthodoxy or ideological conformity, but about curiosity, exploration, and self-examination.

Translating these lofty ideals into practice could prove difficult. Ralston College, which generated buzz for its similarly ambitious mission and curriculum, has never taken off. Back in 2010, Stanley Fish heralded Ralston College as “Back to the Future!” for its exciting, innovative approach to traditional learning and classical curriculum. Over a decade later, that prospective college hasn’t enrolled a single student. What will Kanelos and the team do to ensure that UATX does not suffer the same fate?

The foreseeable ranting and naysaying among journalists and scribblers isn’t an impediment to UATX. The chief challenge for UATX, in fact, will be recruiting students.

I learned a few possibilities last month at the fall meeting of the Philadelphia Society, where Kanelos publicly announced the creation of UATX, and then at a three-day “co-creation” summit in Austin hosted by the Universidad Francisco Marroquín and the American Institute for Economic Research. At the latter, I discussed UATX with Kanelos at length, and the whole point of the summit was for inventive leaders in higher education to “crowdsource” or “workshop” pioneering ideas for improving university costs, governance, administration, instructional models, tuition—in short, anything that our large group could come up with. Some measures are simple: outsource or streamline anything extracurricular like athletics or clubs. Others involve partnerships with wealthy investors and businesses keenly interested in UATX’s success. For example, the young and wealthy Joe Lonsdale, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, is helping to fund and develop UATX. The missional obligation to abide by principles of truth-seeking and constructive disagreement guards against undue influence that donors might have on academic freedom.

UATX is in the embryonic stage and, therefore, receptive to unique and imaginative suggestions, such as courses regarding sound money and cryptocurrency, yet it has a plan to ensure that its business model is viable and that its mission remains uncompromised. It aspires to launch a summer program in 2021, a graduate program in Entrepreneurship and Leadership in 2022, and graduate programs in Politics, Applied History, Education, and Public Service in 2023. By 2024, it will have established an undergraduate college with a rigorous liberal arts program that students must complete before choosing between different tracks, each organized under the aegis of a different center of academic excellence. My guess is that, although the ideas for these centers are mapped out, their design remains fluid, not fixed, and their rollout will require some practical flexibility.

Predictably, the media commentariat is apoplectic about UATX. Tom McKay intemperately refers to the university founders as “a sampling of the nation’s most intolerable contrarian columnists, right-wing pundits, and other stuffed shirts.” Without citing evidence for his opinion, Daniel W. Drezner emotes, “If its faculty even remotely resembles the board of advisers, the school would be assembling the most cantankerous, egotistical assortment of individuals since the Trump White House.” Claire Goforth claims that the announcement of UATX “comes from the minds of the nation’s most prominent reactionary bloggers and thinkers, who have become iconoclasts for their desires to break with the ‘woke’ movement they believe is brainwashing elite American academic universities and trickling down to the rest of the country.” Harsh words!

Writing for The Daily Beast, Noah Kirsch says, “Buried in the school’s FAQ section: it does not actually offer degrees, nor is it yet accredited.” Accreditors often require startups to operate for a period, even to grant degrees, as a prerequisite to accreditation. I do not know the policies of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board or the Higher Learning Commission—from which UATX will seek accreditation—but the fact that UATX isn’t accredited yet should come as no surprise.

The foreseeable ranting and naysaying among journalists and scribblers isn’t an impediment to UATX. The chief challenge for UATX, in fact, will be recruiting students. How will a UATX admissions office convince high school seniors and their parents that attending there can yield measurable returns on investment, that UATX has the staying power and credibility to endure inevitable criticisms and to flourish amid a rambunctious culture increasingly fractured along political lines. To make recruitment more manageable, UATX is starting backwards: with summer programs and M.A. programs before operationalizing the undergraduate program.

UATX must also be wary of faculty and staff seeking to abandon their posts at legacy institutions to seize on this new opportunity. “Hundreds of college professors pleaded to join [UATX],” reports Fox News. These professors must be carefully vetted lest they attempt to bureaucratize UATX along the lines of other universities, or, worse, sabotage the whole project. Even well-meaning academics have been acculturated to working and business conditions that, by and large, aren’t subject to market pricing mechanisms. UATX should hire in the manner of Hillsdale College, requiring interviews not just with each department but with the provost and the president as well.

UATX is that odd combination of traditional and innovative, pouring old wine into new wineskins. Its success could usher in a new era in educational reform. The stakes, it seems, are high. But my hopes are even higher.

*****

This article was published on November 12, 2021, in Law&Liberty, a project of Liberty Fund.

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Data Disproves Left’s Fear Of Adhering To The Constitution On Guns

By John Lott

This year has seen the largest increase ever in the number of concealed handgun permit holdersmore than two million, for a total of 21.52 million. That is a 48 percent increase since 2016. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of NYSRPA v. Bruenwhich has a chance to further increase this total and make permitting rules more similar across states.

Six states now have more than 1 million permit holders: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Florida is the first state to have more than 2.5 million permits. Alabama has the highest rate of adults with permits, at 32.1 percent. Indiana is second, with 21.6 percent. By contrast, New Jersey and Hawaii both have rates of less than 0.1 percent.

The statistics don’t even account for the vast numbers of Americans who carry without permits. Twenty-one “constitutional carry” states no longer require people to have a permit to carry. Those who want to carry out of state may still get a permit, but many don’t bother.

Women and minorities (blacks and Asians) are driving the increase in permits. The growth in permits for women was 109 percent faster than for men, and 136 percent faster for blacks than for whites. As a result, women now make up 28.3 percent of permit holders, and black Americans make up 11 percent, close to their share of the population.

The lockdowns and related social unrest have something to do with this increase. As prisoners were released and police faced new restrictions and budgets cut, many people took responsibility for their own safety. But, last year, 20 states either stopped or virtually stopped issuing permits. After the process opened this year, applications were made in record numbers.

The current Supreme Court case has to do with the seven “may issue” states, which require applicants to provide “proper cause” with “good justification.” The court is considering replacing this discretionary process with objective rules. That way, someone can’t be denied a permit as long as she reaches a certain age, doesn’t have a criminal background, pays the fees, and completes any required training.

Chief Justice John Roberts and others expressed skepticism for requiring this. Roberts asked if you don’t have to justify what you are going to say “when you’re looking for a permit to speak on a street corner . . . why do you have to show in this case, convince somebody, that you’re entitled to exercise your Second Amendment right?”

After Brian Fletcher, the principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, said people had to prove a “demonstrated need” was consistent with the Second Amendment, Roberts responded: “I’m not sure that’s right. . . . regardless of what the [constitutional] right is, it would be surprising to have it depend upon a permit system.”

Only about 1 percent of adults in these may-issue states have permits. In the other 43 “Right-to-Carry” states, almost 11 percent of adults have permits.

Whenever states have eliminated “proper cause” requirements, gun-control advocates have predicted disaster, with blood-in-the-streets and irresponsible behavior by permit holders. But in state after state, concealed handgun permit holders have proved them wrong by being extremely law-abiding. Indeed, none of the right-to-carry states have even held a legislative hearing, let alone held a vote, to move back to requiring “proper cause.”

Those same fears were raised again and again during Wednesday’s oral arguments. Justice Stephen Breyer raised fears such as: “People of good moral character who start drinking a lot and who may be there for a football game or — or some kind of soccer game can get pretty angry at each other. And if they each have a concealed weapon, who knows?”

So many of these kinds of claims by gun control advocates are about things that might go wrong, but we don’t need to guess what happens. The data shows that this fear is unfounded.

For example, in Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of firearms-related violations at one-twelfth of the rate at which police officers are convicted. In the 19 states, where the revocation rate for permits for any reason is available, the average rate is one-tenth of 1 percent, with the most common reasons including a person moving or dying or simply forgetting to have his permit with him while carrying.

A federal court already forced Illinois to become a right-to-carry state, but Illinois responded by making it as difficult as possible to get a permit. While almost 22 percent of adults have permits in neighboring Indiana, the percentage stands at only 4 percent in Illinois. There’s a simple reason: obtaining a five-year permit costs more than $400 in Illinois and only $12.95 in Indiana.

Chicagoans have faced other obstacles. The city banned permitted concealed handguns on public transportation, created gun-free zones, and prohibited training facilities until a federal circuit court decision prohibited these measures in 2017.

This discretion also affects the type of people who get permits. In 2013, Los Angeles Weekly obtained a list of the 341 concealed-carry permit holders in Los Angeles County, California. Internet searches indicated the list was disproportionately wealthy, politically connected, white, and male, with only 7.6 percent female and 5 percent black. The numbers are very different in “shall-issue” states, which issue permits to anyone who is legally eligible.

Suppose that New York, California, and the six other may-issue states start following objective rules instead of arbitrarily denying the vast majority of applications. Presumably, they would follow Illinois’ approach and make the process very difficult. But assuming they equal Illinois’ 4 percent rate, that would still mean 2.3 million more American adults with permits.

If the Supreme Court rules against arbitrary and unfair permitting processes, even the media centers of New York City and Los Angeles might finally get to see for themselves that their fears of concealed carry are unjustified.

*****

This article was published November 10, 2021,  by Crime Prevention Research and is reproduced with permission.

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Pertinent Passages from the 5th Circuit Ruling Stopping the Vaccine Mandate

By Neland Nobel

The mandate to require employers to force employees to take an experimental vaccine, which at best seems to provide protection from severe symptoms for a limited amount of time, was struck down by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The full ruling can be found here.

The Court makes a number of salient observations, basically saying OSHA does not have such power, and the mandate is flawed on its own terms. Below are some short quotations from the ruling.

These are selective quotes to provide you with a gist of the argument. Readers can read the entire finding hyperlinked above. We think it fair to say the Administration gets rebuked rather badly by the Court.

  • On the dubious assumption that the Mandate does pass constitutional muster—which we need not decide today—it is nonetheless fatally flawed on its own terms. Indeed, the Mandate’s strained prescriptions combine to make it the rare government pronouncement that is both over-inclusive (applying to employers and employees in virtually all industries and workplaces in America, with little attempt to account for the obvious differences between the risks facing, say, a security guard on a lonely night shift, and a meatpacker working shoulder to shoulder in a cramped warehouse) and under-inclusive (purporting to save employees with 99 or more coworkers from a “grave danger” in the workplace, while making no attempt to shield employees with 98 or fewer coworkers from the very same “grave danger”. The non-delegation doctrine constrains Congress’s ability to delegate its legislative authority to executive agencies. See, e.g., Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361, 371–72 (1989): “The Constitution provides that ‘[a]ll legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States’ . . . and we have long insisted that ‘the integrity and maintenance of the system of government ordered by the Constitution’ mandate that Congress generally cannot delegate its legislative power to another Branch.”
  • The Mandate’s stated impetus—a purported “emergency” that the entire globe has now endured for nearly two years and which OSHA itself spent nearly two months responding to—is unavailing as well. And its promulgation grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority
  • But the Mandate at issue here is anything but a “delicate exercise”of this “extraordinary power.” Cf. Pub. Citizen, 702 F.2d at 1155. Quite the opposite, rather than a delicately handled scalpel, the Mandate is a one-size fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers) that have more than a little bearing on workers’ varying degrees of susceptibility to the supposedly “grave danger” the Mandate purports to address.
  • Equally problematic, however, is that it remains unclear that COVID 19—however tragic and devastating the pandemic has been—poses the kind of grave danger § 655(c)(1) contemplates. See, e.g., Int’ Chem. Workers, 830 F.2d at 371 (noting that OSHA itself once concluded “that to be a ‘gravedanger,’ it is not sufficient that a chemical, such as cadmium, can cause cancer or kidney damage at a high level of exposure” (emphasis added)). For starters, the Mandate itself concedes that the effects of COVID-19 may range from “mild” to “critical.” As important, however, the status of the spread of the virus has varied since the President announced the general parameters of the Mandate in September. (And of course, this all assumes that COVID 19 poses any significant danger to workers to begin with; for the more than seventy-eight percent of Americans aged 12 and older either fully or partially inoculated against it, the virus poses—the Administration assures us—little risk at all.)
  • We next consider the necessity of the Mandate. The Mandate is staggeringly overbroad. Applying to 2 out of 3 private-sector employees in America, in workplaces as diverse as the country itself, the Mandate fails to consider what is perhaps the most salient fact of all: the ongoing threat of COVID-19 is more dangerous to some employees than to other employees. All else equal, a 28 year-old trucker spending the bulk of his workday in the solitude of his cab is simply less vulnerable to COVID-19 than a 62 year-old prison janitor. Likewise, a naturally immune unvaccinated worker is presumably at less risk than an unvaccinated worker who has never had thevirus. The list goes on, but one constant remains—the Mandate fails almost completely to address, or even respond to, much of this reality and common sense.
  • If the deficiencies we’ve already covered aren’t enough, other miscellaneous considerations seal the Mandate’s fate. For one, “[t]he Agency cannot use its ETS powers as a stop-gap measure,” Asbestos Info., 727F.2d at 422, but concedes that that is precisely what the Mandate is intended to do here. See 86 Fed. Reg. 61,402, 61,434–35 (admitting that “[c]rafting a multi-layered standard that is comprehensive and feasible for all covered work settings, including mixed settings of vaccinated and unvaccinated workers, is an extraordinarily challenging and complicated undertaking, yet the grave danger that COVID-19 poses to unvaccinated workers obliges the agency to act as quickly as possible”). For another, courts have consistently recognized that the “protection afforded to workers [by an ETS] should outweigh the economic consequences to the regulated industry,” Asbestos Info., 727 F.2d at 423, but for all the reasons we’ve previously noted, the Mandate flunks a cost-benefit analysis here.

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Arizona School Boards Accused of Stalking Activist Parents

By Cole Lauterbach

Editors’ Note: As we see the spread of “tiny tyrants” and the abuse of liberty by local officials, it is worth exploring where this attitude originated. Besides coming from the universities that have become bastions of intolerance, the attitude of the Federal Government cannot be dismissed. The constant rhetoric coming from the Biden administration and from the Justice Department is that Americans who feel elections have not been fair, that Covid restrictions overreach without making logical sense, and those that oppose socialism are “white nationalists”, “domestic terrorists”, and “science deniers”, has been unrelenting. Once you dehumanize your political opponents, all sorts of awful things logically flow from that attitude. This constant fear-mongering from the Left that demonizes anyone who opposes them, is unlikely to stop. It has always been a part of Leftism. But it can be contained, and those that use such tactics can be removed from office.

Arizona school district officials are accused of taking some controversial steps to keep tabs, even intimidate, parents unhappy with COVID-19 mandates.

Scottsdale Unified School District, one of the state’s largest, sent a letter Wednesday to parents, assuring them private student data is not accessible by its school board members.

“We want to assure you in no uncertain terms that personal student information and educational records are private and protected in district-maintained, secure information systems to which neither Board members nor the public have access,” the letter read. “Any student information the Board may receive is in relation to discipline cases under its consideration, and that information is provided to the Board by the district’s legal counsel.”

The memo stems from an uproar over SUSD Board Chair Jann-Michael Greenburg’s father being implicated in compiling an extensive online database containing information on his son’s political enemies, namely parents who had been showing up at board meetings and protesting the district’s COVID-19 measures.

The story was originally reported in the Scottsdale Independent.

The database, which has been removed from the public eye, contained pictures of parents, some of their children, copies of parents’ professional certifications, mortgage information, and other private data.

State officials from the Scottsdale community have since joined parents in petitioning for Greenburg’s removal from the board, though it’s unclear he was involved with curating the information.

“As a Scottsdale parent and member of the community, I am calling for the resignation of Jann-Michael Greenburg,” said state Rep. Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale. “The evidence of his cyberstalking and spreading of an enemies list should be the last straw for his fellow board members, and I expect them to join me in this call.”

State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a Scottsdale Republican who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, said she signed onto a letter from SUSD parents demanding Greenburg step down.

“We stand together in requesting the immediate termination of Jann-Michael Greenburg as SUSD Governing Board President, and we further demand his resignation as an SUSD Governing Board Member,” the letter read.

In the letter to parents, SUSD said there was nothing the district could do to remove an elected board member.

SUSD isn’t the only district with board members accused of taking controversial steps to keep tabs on protesting parents.

Emails obtained by activist Peggy McClain show members of Chandler Unified School District’s board and district officials working with a school resource officer and sergeant with the Chandler Police Department to monitor social media posts from parents involved in groups that have protested district meetings. The emails were sent in May, according to copies McClain posted online.

*****

This article was published on November 12, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

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The Rittenhouse Case: Observations and Predictions

By Charles M. Strauss

Note: This article was written before closing arguments.

If facts mattered, the jury would find Rittenhouse not guilty on all counts, except for possession by a minor. However, facts don’t matter. If facts mattered, he would not have been charged in the first place. So, there is always the possibility that the jurors are a bunch of nitwits who believe in their hearts that possessing an AR15 is prima facie proof of homicidal intent, or that going into a danger zone with a gun is prima facie proof of homicidal intent. (Except for Grosskreutz, of course. Rittenhouse’s lawyer never asked him why he brought a gun into the situation. Why not?)

There is a fairly high likelihood that the jury will find him not guilty on all counts (except for possession by a minor), for two reasons:

  • The verdict needs to be unanimous, and although I believe there are many stupid people in the world, and some on the jury, I think it unlikely that all 12 would be that dumb. So worst case, hung jury, which is the same as acquittal except the prosecutor could refile the charges. (Unless the judge grants the motion for dismissal at that point.)
  • The prosecutor needs to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Rittenhouse was not acting in self defense. If a juror says “I think Rittenhouse may not have been acting in self-defense, but I admit it’s at least plausible that he was acting in self-defense,” then that is supposed to be a not guilty verdict. For a verdict of guilty, the jurors would have to believe “No reasonable person could possibly think this was self-defense. Self-defense? That’s crazy talk. That’s like claiming space aliens pulled the trigger.”
  • However, at the last minute, the prosecutor proposed reduced charges, so jurors could feel sorry for the prosecutor, and want to give him a consolation prize. Or they could be afraid of rioters/retribution, and want to throw the wolves a bone to take heat off themselves. Or they could think “I think he’s not guilty, but surely the DA would not have brought this case if there was nothing there, right? My government would never do such a thing.  He must be guilty of something.” It’s easy for them to say “I don’t think he’s guilty, but let’s give him ‘only’ ten years in prison instead of life in prison. He’ll only be 28 when he gets out, so no big deal.”

    About the Prosecutor

    It’s hard to believe he is that incompetent. Any lawyer knows Thou Shalt Not bring up the subject of invoking the right to remain silent. You can get suspended for that. And on and on. This guy is stunningly horrible. But, is he really that bad, or is he throwing the case on purpose? It’ll be interesting to see if he brings up verboten material in his closing argument, causing the defense lawyer to object (something rarely done) or more likely, causing the judge to interrupt him.

    About the Defense Lawyer

    Not bad, but not great. Did a good job getting the witnesses to say the right things. (Especially Grosskreutz.) Did a great job prepping Rittenhouse. But there are a couple of things I think he could have done better.

  • The self-defense case re: Rosenbaum is based on whether a reasonable person could believe that Rosenbaum was (a) grabbing for the gun and (b) would have used it to shoot Rittenhouse if he had gotten it — versus he was not grabbing for the gun, or he was grabbing for the gun just to disarm Rittenhouse and he would not have used the gun himself. In other words, was the unarmed Rosenbaum defending himself against the armed Rittenhouse? (Will the prosecutor lay it out like that in his closing argument?) That’s a good argument, because it is not clear “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Rosenbaum was not grabbing the gun or would not have used it. Nevertheless, the defense should have had a backup plan – having an expert witness dispel the myth that you can’t shoot an unarmed man because an unarmed man does not present “deadly force.” The expert should have educated the jury that 600-700 people a year are killed by people who are unarmed vs. maybe half that many by people with AR15s. Because the defense did not bring it up, the prosecutor is likely to raise it in his closing argument.
  • The prosecutor intends to make a big deal about Rittenhouse using FMJ (full metal jacket) ammunition, which is supposed to be evidence that Rittenhouse recklessly disregarded the risk of bullets over penetrating and hitting a bystander. Because the charge of reckless endangerment was added at the last minute, that gives the prosecutor an opening. The defense lawyer should have gone after that in the argument for jury instructions. “Your honor, there are only two kinds of ammunition: hollow point and non-hollow point. If a defendant uses hollow point ammunition, the prosecutor can use that as evidence that the defendant wanted to inflict maximum pain and death. If a defendant uses non-hollow point ammunition, the prosecutor can claim that the defendant recklessly disregarded the risk of overpenetration. There was no evidence presented at trial to show that FMJ ammunition fired from an AR15 penetrates more (or significantly more) than hollow point ammunition, so the prosecutor should not be able to make that argument.” Alternatively, the defense lawyer should have gotten an expert to talk about the likelihood of overpenetration of that brand of ammunition from that barrel length, in comparison with other types of ammunition. At the very least, the defense lawyer better be prepared in closing argument to tell the jury that there was no such testimony, but that in any case, they could interpret the use of FMJ as evidence that Rittenhouse did not want to use “more deadly” hollow point ammunition. Remember how Harold Fish got screwed when the prosecutor raised the subject of hollow point ammunition for the first time in his closing argument, and how the judge let it go, and Fish’s lawyer let it go? I hope the prosecutor doesn’t get away with it this time.
  • There was a better answer to “Why did you have a gun?” Answer: “I thought it would be a deterrent. I assumed rioters and arsonists were reasonable people, who would see people with guns and decide to go somewhere else and leave that business alone. I never thought I would actually have to shoot somebody.” “Then why did you load the gun?” “Just in case I ran across some psychotic violent criminals, off their meds, who would be crazy enough to try to kill me while I was carrying a gun.” (“OBJECTION!” “Sustained. The jury will disregard the statement about psychotic violent criminals off their meds.”)
  • About the Judge

    He knows that this is a bulls__t case, which never should have been brought. He has left open the defense motion to dismiss. I would not be too surprised if, after closing arguments, the judge says “I have made a decision regarding the motion to dismiss. The prosecutor’s conduct has been so egregious that I grant the motion to dismiss, with prejudice. Rittenhouse is a free man, and I will be recommending that the Wisconsin Bar investigate the prosecutor’s unethical misconduct.” I would especially expect that if the prosecutor steps over the line again during his closing argument.

    The judge really would prefer to pass the buck to the jury, and let them come back with a not guilty verdict. So, if he reads the jury as being inclined to not guilty, he may let the jury decide the case, knowing that if they do find Rittenhouse guilty, he has that motion to dismiss in his back pocket, and he knows he can issue a “judgment notwithstanding the verdict” – effectively overruling the jury. That is almost never used, but I’m thinking this guy is 75 years old. He is ready to retire, and he is pissed off at what he sees as a gross miscarriage of justice. “Let the heathen rage” – his pension is secure. He can move to Florida, and he can supplement that fat pension with consulting expert fees on Fox News and elsewhere.

    Because of the recently introduced lesser charges, I revise my prediction: the jury finds Rittenhouse guilty on a lesser charge. In my opinion, that would be a terrible injustice; this is as clear a case of self-defense as ever there was. But, sometimes injustice prevails. Sometimes the bad guys win.

    Now let’s just wait and see how wrong I was.

    Seriously, Why Is Sweden Always Left Out of The Discussion? thumbnail

    Seriously, Why Is Sweden Always Left Out of The Discussion?

    By Neland Nobel

    Not too long ago, we wrote a satirical piece about the disappearance of Sweden.

    For all intents and purposes, when it comes to public policies towards the Wuhan virus, Sweden is just ignored.  Why? Their story is an important one and could inform our own debate about what policies make sense.

    Sweden you may recall had perhaps the lightest touch in dealing with Covid of any of the major industrialized countries. They did not force quarantines, mask mandates, vaccination mandates, or severely curtail personal liberty. Nor did they spend themselves into oblivion, jeopardizing the future of their country. They did not use a medical crisis to attempt to impose socialism on their people as the Democrat Party has in the U.S.

    Nor have they forced children, who rarely get Covid and almost never die from it, to be subjected to the side effects of an experimental vaccine that did not pass through normal medical protocols. They have not divided their population into tribes based on mask-wearing or vaccination status.

    In short, they have not done any of the unreasonable and unjustified things so common in other countries.

    You don’t see people being beaten in the streets of Sweden as we see in so-called democratic Australia. The results are summed up in the chart above. Yet for all their hands-off attitude, it does not appear their outcomes are worse than ours. Quite to the contrary, their results are better than just about any other country and certainly better than the USA.

    Whether one looks at deaths or the rate of infection, Sweden ranks very well.

    It is said a picture can say a thousand words. The same goes for a good chart.

    Former Senate Staffer Under Hobbs Awarded $2.75 million in Race Discrimination Firing thumbnail

    Former Senate Staffer Under Hobbs Awarded $2.75 million in Race Discrimination Firing

    By Cole Lauterbach

    A former adviser to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has again won a racial discrimination case against the state official from their time in the state Legislature.

    A jury sided with Talonya Adams, a former legal advisor to the Arizona Senate Democrats, in her claim that she was discriminated against when she was fired in 2015.

    Adams, who is Black, was awarded $2 million for being retaliated against and $750,000 for proving she was racially discriminated against. It’s unclear how much Adams will receive, since federal discrimination cases are capped at $300,000 plus legal fees for employers of more than 100 people.

    Hobbs, who testified at the trial, was the Senate Minority Leader when Adams was fired. The Senate’s defense insisted Adams wasn’t discriminated against on the basis of race since she never brought up the issue, according to court documents. Instead, the defendants said Hobbs and others “lost trust and confidence” in Adams after she miscommunicated issues to the Republican caucus.

    Adams was fired in February 2015 after she took a leave of absence to tend to a family medical issue, a court document said.

    A previous legal challenge in 2019 had also sided with Adams on the issue. In each challenge, Adams had represented herself. The court ordered the Senate to return her to her old position after the 2019 verdict but has since moved on.

    Transcripts from July 2021 show Adams had learned that she was paid significantly less than a white male counterpart with similar experience and duties. According to transcripts, Hobbs claimed Adams was insubordinate by bringing up the issue with others beyond her supervisors.

    Neither Adams nor Hobbs’ office responded to requests for comment Thursday, though the secretary of state’s office is closed for the holiday.

    Hobbs is running for Arizona governor as a Democrat.

    *****

    This article was published on November 11, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

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    Race Baiters Are Trying To Divide Us

    By Thomas C. Patterson

    Americans are barraged with messaging from left-wing politicians and their supportive media informing us we are a fundamentally racist nation, frozen in amber from our slaveholding past, and denying it only proves how racist we are.

    But the fact case is against these purveyors of resentment. Yes, racism exists, duh – but America is the least racist nation on earth. To label us unregenerate bigots is a slur purposed to divide us by skin color.

    First, America in this century has elected to its highest offices two members of racial minorities, if anything aided, not hindered, by their race. Hundreds of other blacks hold elected positions, cabinet posts, and positions of influence.

    Moreover, this nation of supposed bigots boasts the largest legal immigrant population in the world, with 40 million citizens born outside the country, quadruple the immigrant population in 1965. America is the world’s greatest magnet for immigrants, who seek freedom and fairness.

    Black Americans, both native-born and immigrant, have also benefited from the promise of liberty and equality. It is true they have not obtained the financial and social success of some other groups. But know that family breakdown and substandard education have caused more harm than racial animus ever could.

    The linchpin of systemic racism allegations is the charge that blacks are regularly gunned down by rogue cops. Again, facts intrude.

    According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report last year, policemen made 10 million arrests which resulted in 1004 fatalities, 41 unarmed, nine of those black. The same year 89 police officers and about 10,000 black citizens were murdered.

    Yet the left continues to attack normal Americans as racists. When usual indices of racism i.e., actual mistreatment of minorities, failed to materialize, the definition of racism was expanded to include believing in the goal of color blindness.

    When “racism“ lost its bite due to overuse, “white supremacy” became the all-purpose insult. Whiteness is composed of such subversive notions as “merit“, “family“, “rationality“, “getting the answer right“ and “capitalism”.

    This racialized environment was the background in which the recent Virginia election took place. When Terry McAuliffe lost, predictably out came the race card.

    “He’s run a racist campaign from start to finish“ it was said of Glenn Youngkin. It was asserted that Republicans decided “tap dancing with white supremacy is their way back to power“, Youngkin made “racial appeals to working-class white voters“ and “this country simply loves white supremacy“.

    These claims not only lacked evidence but were laughable because Youngkin’s successful running mate for lieutenant governor was Winsome Sears, a black woman of Jamaican descent and his attorney-general was Cuban-American. Sears spoke movingly of her experience as an immigrant, later a Marine, and an American living the Dream.

    Evidence of Youngkin’s racism was based largely on his opposition to Critical Race Theory in the public schools and his support of parents who were threatened for opposing it. CRT is the thoroughly un-American notion that character is determined by skin color. Whites are inherently racist as is the country they founded, while blacks are incapable of racism by nature.

    The racial haters defending CRT first defended it as necessary, then denied it was being taught. By the time of the election, analysts were insisting that CRT “isn’t real“ and is “code for white parents don’t like the idea of teaching about race“.

    Again, they have a problem with their facts. There is a torrent of published information showing state and local education officials supporting CRT and schools surreptitiously teaching it. Under Governor Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia Department of Education declared that “teachers should embrace Critical Race Theory“ in order to “re-engineer attitudes and beliefs systems“.

    The relentless lies and deceit about race are a political strategy of the Left, which has determined the future of the Democrat party lies in racially dividing the nation while posing as the champion of the growing minority groups.

    Martin Luther King‘s dream was of a nation where we would judge each other by the “content of our character“ not skin color, where race wouldn’t really much matter. Whether his vision or its opposite prevails will determine the future character of America itself.

    ****

    Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute

    Payouts To Illegal Migrants: Another Sad Example Of A Politicized DOJ thumbnail

    Payouts To Illegal Migrants: Another Sad Example Of A Politicized DOJ

    By May Davis

    Despite the president’s initial confusion, let’s be clear about where we’ve landed: the Biden DOJ is absolutely planning to pay up to $450,000 per illegal migrant separated under the short-lived Zero Tolerance policy as part of a settlement. Biden has since recanted, shouting at a reporter that border crossers, “whether they crossed legally or illegally” deserve payments if they “lost a child” and “he’s gone.” (Fact check false: Any separation would have occurred because the parent was sent to jail for illegal crossing, so no border crossers were here “legally,” and these lawsuits are not about children who are “gone” but about lingering emotional distress despite reuniting or the opportunity to reunite.) Not a moment after President Biden originally lied and said the payments were “not going to happen,” the ACLU — one organization in the lawsuits — corrected the record. They sternly reminded the president of his “campaign promise” to pay them, and the migrants.

    A campaign promise? I was unaware that was a basis for prosecutors to give taxpayer dollars to partisan organizations and migrants who enter the country illegally. Leave it to the Washington Post to spin for the administration. According to WaPo, the proposed lucrative payouts actually showed how apolitical the Biden DOJ is. As opposed to prosecuting parents for domestic terrorism, an apparent political decision, paying cash settlements to illegal migrants is politically “fraught,” and thus a sign of independence, says WaPo.

    I beg to differ with such an absurd conclusion. For one, my sources tell me the cash settlement decision came from the “highest levels” of the administration. But it also fails the common sense test.

    Clearly, the Biden administration does not want to fight the migrants’ claims in court — not because it is afraid it will lose, but because it knows it will win. Unlike a private company that settles a claim to limit its liability and put an end to a potential public relations disaster, here the defendant is ideologically allied with the plaintiffs. And it fears criticism from the mainstream media and the corporate law firms assisting these cases, for failing to sufficiently alleviate harm and suffering the migrants allege.

    But if the DOJ settles cases it believes it will win, financially rewarding the Southern Poverty Law Center and other pro-Democrat legal organizations, it will be using federal (i.e. your) resources for political ends.

    If the DOJ honestly believed that emotional distress from family separation should result in money damages, I should expect the DOJ to invite litigation from American families as well. Every day, American families are separated, purposefully by the government, not infrequently in stressful settings. One study estimates that one in 12 American kids will experience his or her parent being sent to jail. The emotional harms for these children, and parents, are the same as for migrant children. Children who have been separated from an incarcerated parent are more likely to commit crimes, experience depression and anti-social behavior, and fail in school.

    But don’t hold your breath waiting for payouts to citizens because the DOJ knows the law does not create liability for government actions that create emotional distress. In particular, agencies cannot be sued for discretionary, policy-driven decisions. If the law were otherwise, there would be no end to the payouts, meaning the government would either crater under the weight of litigation, or stop providing certain services.

    For the DOJ, the migrant payouts are not about the law. They are additional examples in an unsettling series of decisions from the Biden DOJ — like failing to defend Trump-era policies they disagree with, suing Georgia and Texas for straightforwardly legal election laws, labeling concerned parents domestic terrorists, and filling their ranks with Russia collusion theory hoaxers — that show the DOJ to be working, not to advance justice, but to advance liberal politics. That is devastating to a system of ordered government. No reasonable American will believe in the “rule of law” where political leanings dictate what you can get away with. The DOJ should re-read its own motto — “who prosecutes on behalf of justice” — before it’s too late.

    *****

    This article was published on November 11, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Independent Women’s Forum.

    Without Fossil Fuel Infrastructure We’re Supposed To Have An ENERGY CRISIS! thumbnail

    Without Fossil Fuel Infrastructure We’re Supposed To Have An ENERGY CRISIS!

    By Ronald Stein

    Over the last decade, climate activists have successfully pressured governments, banks, and corporations to divest from crude oil and natural gas companies. The energy infrastructures are just like the “civil” infrastructures the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Cards constantly addresses, and the resultant poor “grades” given to the infrastructures of our economy. Under-investment in infrastructure leads to deterioration and supply chain issues that more adversely impact the economy.

    Without fossil fuel infrastructure we’re supposed to have an ENERGY CRISIS! ESG “Environmental, Social, and Governance” investments are all the rage on Wall Street these days as climate activists continue to pressure governments, firms, and banks to divest from oil and gas exploration. The ESG investment directions are impacting the energy markets and the supply chain of products and fuels manufactured from crude oil and are, paradoxically, causing rising coal use, carbon emissions, and shortages.

    Meanwhile, China, India, East Asia, and Europe are all mining and burning more coal to make up for the lack of natural gas. China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Africa will have more than 3,000 coal-fired power plants by 2030 in those developing countries with billions of people seeking abundant, affordable, and reliable electricity.

    The ESG considerations now propagating throughout corporate America account for much of the decline in capital expenditures by international oil companies in recent years. Big financial institutions such as Bank of America and Mastercard, investment managers such as BlackRock and Vanguard, and hundreds of corporations are going all-in on the financial and commercial portion of the Great Reset, pushing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.

    As we have learned from the ASCE Infrastructure Report Cards, under-investment in oil and gas exploration is “supposed” to facilitate the deterioration of fossil fuel infrastructures and lead to an economy rife with inflation and supply-chain disruptions.

    Of the three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil, the ESG enthusiasts do not understand that crude oil is seldom ever used for the generation of electricity.

    For electricity, most of the world’s continuous uninterruptable electricity generation is by coal, natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear. Crude oil is a non-player for electricity generation.

    The primary usage of crude oil is not for electricity, but to manufacture oil derivatives that make 6,000 products used in our daily lives, and the transportation fuels needed by the world’s:

    Militaries

    23,000 Commercial jets

    20,000 Private jets

    10,000 Superyachts over 24 meters in length

    300 cruise ships

    53,000 merchant ships, and

    1.2 billion vehicles

    The economic comeback from the covid pandemic has pushed up demand. The underperformance of electricity generation from breezes and sunshine has meant higher demand for both natural gas and coal, to provide continuous uninterruptable electricity generation.

    With ESG investment guidelines hovering over corporate America, oil and gas firms have since refused to expand production, even though the proof of this desperately needed infrastructure is in the data. Fossil fuels’ share of global energy production remain unchanged at 81 percent. To the extent emissions in Europe and the US declined, it was largely due to the transition from coal to natural gas.

    Socially responsible investing is decades old, but ESG was embraced over the last decade by large university endowments, investment banks like Blackrock, governments, the International Energy Agency, the United Nations, and eventually by oil and gas companies themselves, including Shell, Total, and many others. In May, a court in The Netherlands ordered Shell to reduce its emissions, a ruling that made firms reluctant to invest in new oil and gas exploration.

    With ESG having picked breezes and sunshine as the winners for intermittent electricity generation, those taxpayer subsidies could further reduce the incentive for private firms to invest in oil and gas. Even if they don’t, the Biden administration has moved to restrict oil and gas drilling on public lands.

    Like California, that relies primarily on foreign countries for 58 percent of California’s crude oil demands, President Biden has effectively accepted the idea that the United States will rely more on foreign oil. As a result, foreign nations will benefit from rising oil and gas prices at America’s expense.

    High oil and gas prices are already creating political problems for governments as they worsen inflation. Prices and shortages are likely to remain high for years not months.

    Increasing America’s dependence on foreign oil producers makes even The New York Times, which has long championed oil and gas divestment, nervous.

    The flagship of the alarmist policies today is the Green New Deal, the most recent iteration of the Green New Deal was first proposed in the United States by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and backed by other prominent politicians and Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D_MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

    Among the goals, the GND seeks to accomplish by 2030 are the following:

    The elimination of all electricity generated by coal, natural gas, and nuclear power, concurrently while intermittent electricity from breezes and sunshine is underperforming.

    The GND seeks to replace all fossil fuels, including the innocent bystander fossil fuel of crude oil that is seldom used for electricity, but necessary for products and fuels.

    The ESG movement does not bode well for both the electricity market and the supply chain for more than 6,000 products as the primary usage of crude oil is for the manufacture of derivatives for thousands of products, and fuels for transportation infrastructures.

    Seems that we have learned very little from the ASCE Infrastructure Report Cards that have taught us those infrastructures deteriorate with under-investments. By under-investment in crude oil and natural gas infrastructures, the world leaders are tinkering with the supply chain of crude oil that is destined to impact resultant shortages of transportation fuels and the thousands of products made from the oil derivatives manufactured out of crude oil demanded by current lifestyles and worldwide economies.

    *****

    This article was published on November 5, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, The Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow.

    COVID and the Malaise of Human Rights thumbnail

    COVID and the Malaise of Human Rights

    By David McGrogan

    One of the more surprising features of the response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic internationally has been the deafening silence of human rights advocates about the restrictions on fundamental freedoms that have been introduced. Across the developed world, governments have taken it upon themselves, frequently by executive fiat, to restrict the movements of their citizens in all manner of draconian ways. Many are now making it more or less mandatory to be vaccinated, whether through an explicit legal requirement or by making it essentially impossible to participate in social life without being “jabbed.” One might have thought that human rights advocates would have something to say about all of this. Remarkably, for the most part, they haven’t.

    The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the central plank of the United Nations’ human rights apparatus, coordinating the activities of the vast array of bodies under the UN umbrella that are charged with implementing and enforcing states’ human rights obligations. As might be expected, the COVID-19 pandemic features heavily in its Annual Appeal for funding for 2021. “Never have the relevance and practical value of human rights been more obvious,” we are told (accurately) in this document by the High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet. Yet the fact that states around the world have spent the last 18 months restricting the most basic liberties of their citizens in manners hitherto unimaginable receives nary a mention in the Appeal. Instead, the focus is almost exclusively on how human rights can motivate efforts to “build back better.”

    “It is a matter of great urgency,” Bachelet goes on, “that we overcome the pandemic and accompanying recession; recover from the harms they are causing; and rebuild our societies in more resilient and sustainable ways.” This, Tedros Ghebreysus, Director-General of the WHO, later tells us in the same document, will require “transforming existing economic and social paradigms that have created inequality.” In this sense, the pandemic represents in itself “an opportunity to transition to a more inclusive, equal, resilient, just and sustainable system.” This human rights-centred approach to rebuilding will mean “fixing inequalities within and among countries; abolishing systemic gender inequality; strengthening universal health and social protections for all people; strengthening institutions; and tackling structural discrimination and human rights violations.” Only a single one of the Appeal’s 50 pages hints that human rights might have something to do with protecting the civic sphere and fostering civil societybut even this is framed in terms of enhancing the effectiveness of “measures adopted by the authorities” through “helping provide accurate information” and “providing feedback and oversight on measures rolled out.”

    The United Nations human rights system represented, at its inception in 1948, a slightly uneasy compromise between two competing imperatives: on the one hand, limiting state power, and on the other, buttressing state intervention in the name of enshrining economic and social rights. Judging by the response to the pandemic, the latter seems to have entirely won out. It is as though the idea that human rights might exist to restrain the power of the state to interfere with its citizens’ freedoms has become a quaint relic of a bygone era. Instead, reading the Annual Appeal, one gets the impression that international human rights law exists solely to justify ever more state intervention in society and the economy. How did this happen?

    The answer is that for a long time now, certainly since the late 1980s, the archipelago of UN human rights mechanisms has adopted an almost millenarian interpretation of human rights laws—as nothing less than a blueprint for the coordination of society towards ideal ends. As the foreword to the OHCHR’s Management Plan for 2018-2021 puts it, “Human rights [can] help set us on a course towards inclusion, sustained prosperity, justice, dignity, freedom and sustained peace”; they are nothing less than the means to “build societies in which everyone has a chance to survive and flourish.”

    And, of course, all of this is supposed to be achieved through the power of the state, by placing obligations on it to actively improve the welfare of society. This means that the state, in the modern orthodox view, does not just have the duty to “respect” human rights (in other words, not to violate them). It also has the obligations to “protect” and “fulfil” them. This means both ensuring that the rights of all individuals are protected vis-à-vis all other individuals, and that society, the economy, and culture are arranged in such a way that rights are actively “enjoyed.” Since the menu of human rights includes very broad substantive goods such as health, education, housing, food, and so on, the result is a highly interventionist model for the relationship between state and society. The right to housing, to take one example, does not in the orthodox view just require the state to refrain from arbitrarily depriving people of their homes. It requires the state also to “protect” and “fulfil” the right in question through intervening to prevent evictions, providing social housing, and ending homelessness.

    To anyone steeped in this view, the idea that human rights might limit the state’s power to respond expediently to a pandemic is to commit a category error. Human rights are not for limiting state power. They are for guiding it towards benevolent ends.

    Naturally, the immediate consequence is that human rights advocates can relate almost anything to the state’s human rights obligations. My favourite obscure, but revealing, illustration of this was the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food’s 2016 report on the right to nutritious food. Among many other things, this document included in its conclusions the recommendation that states heavily restrict the advertising of “breast-milk substitutes” on the grounds that breast-milk is a healthier alternative. The idea that the original drafters of the relevant treaty (the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights) had such an interpretation of the right to food in mind, back in the 1960s, is fanciful. But if one thinks that human rights are a mechanism to “build societies in which everyone has a chance to survive and flourish,” it is, of course, entirely natural to envisage the right to food’s fulfilment as requiring the highest standards of nutrition for all—quite literally from the cradle to the grave.

    This small example is a microcosm of the whole. UN human rights bodies regularly behave as though human rights give carte blanche for the state to adopt any and all measures necessary to coordinate society towards benevolent ends, such as achieving a “healthy psychosocial environment”; ensuring that children have “opportunities for culture, leisure and play” in the digital sphere; “training teachers to adopt constructivist teaching strategies that equip girls and women with critical thinking skills and a sense of positive self-worth”; and so on. And, as we have seen with the 2021 Annual Appeal, it is now common for human rights advocates to argue that climate change, sustainable development, and indeed any other grand social challenge of the era, must also be viewed through the lens of the obligations to “respect, protect and fulfil” human rights.

    On the face of it, this is really just another example of Robert Conquest’s second law of politics in action: Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing. And, indeed, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that sections of the left, defeated ideologically by the 1980s, latched onto human rights as the means of achieving through law what they could not through politics. It is no accident that the “respect, protect, fulfil” framework for interpreting human rights obligations was first mooted in 1987, for instance, as the Cold War was drawing to a close.

    It also readily explains why the UN OHCHR has simply not been very interested in defending the rights to freedom of assembly, association, or indeed liberty itself during the pandemic period. Yes, those rights exist, and they are not entirely ignored within the UN system, but they are just not what most modern human rights advocates care about. Instead, the system’s chief concern is the question of how the administrative state can be made more powerful, efficient, and just. The response to the pandemic has merely revealed this to be case.

    But it has also revealed a deep malaise. Faced with the coronavirus threat and the suggestion that locking down was the appropriate response, human rights advocates had two options. The first was to reason from classical liberal principles regarding rights, which I take to be those advanced by Ronald Dworkin. In essence, the whole point of human rights is that they permit the individual to act as she sees fit irrespective of whether the authorities think it to be in the general welfare. If you only have a right to do something as long as it is in the general welfare, you do not really have a right to it, because it can be revoked the moment some official decides it no longer accords with the public interest. This means that the only justifications for limiting the rights of an individual are where they would interfere with some other identifiable individual’s rights, or in times of such dire public emergency that the ongoing existence of the society itself is at risk. Reasonable people can of course disagree about whether the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic posed that kind of a threat, but at the level of principle, that was the appropriate debate to have in the context of liberal democracy.

    Instead, the UN human rights system appears, largely implicitly, to have adopted the second option. This is to identify human rights themselves with the general welfare. Remember: to the OHCHR, human rights are about “building societies in which everyone has a chance to survive and flourish.” Their raison d’etre is to provide a blueprint for universal well-being. To anyone steeped in this view, the idea that human rights might limit the state’s power to respond expediently to a pandemic is to commit a category error. Human rights are not for limiting state power. They are for guiding it towards benevolent ends. And what more benevolent end could there be than protecting lives? What space for debate could there possibly be?

    But there, of course, is the rub. Is a “society in which everyone has a chance to survive and flourish” one in which children are denied an effective education or opportunities for socialising and play for months or even years at a time? In which the government can at any moment prohibit family members from meeting, or citizens from participating in public worship or protest, through mere decree? In which individuals are essentially forced to undergo particular medical procedures or lose any chance of living a normal life? In which the most basic liberty of all, to go where one wishes within reason, is curtailed to one’s front door on the notional grounds that any social contact at all might be dangerous?

    There is indeed a debate to be had on those terms. And the fact that it did not take place suggests that there is something badly awry with the way in which the global human rights constituency understands the relationship between the individual and the state. To them, quite simply, a society in which “everybody has the chance to survive and flourish” is one predicated not on freedom but on safety, achieved through a highly interventionist model for state power. Those are the only terms in which the response to the pandemic could be understood. The protection of fundamental freedoms was simply of no consequence when weighed against the protection of a very narrow conception of life and health.

    This should be of profound concern to anybody who prizes civil liberties and limited government. Among the people who should care most—human rights enthusiasts—it’s not that classical liberals are even losing the debate about the appropriate relationship between state and society; it’s that the debate is considered so unimportant that it is not being had in the first place. To cite one of the most widely-used university-level textbooks on human rights law: “right[s] cannot exist without State action.” Those of us who consider it important to maintain spheres of life in which the state does not act will therefore find little support in the contemporary human rights movement.

    *****

    This article was published on November 4, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Law and Liberty, a project of Liberty Fund.

    Scottsdale Unified Assures Parents Of Privacy In Aftermath Of Secret Dossier Discovery, Parents Call For Greenburg Resignation thumbnail

    Scottsdale Unified Assures Parents Of Privacy In Aftermath Of Secret Dossier Discovery, Parents Call For Greenburg Resignation

    By Terri Jo Neff

    The Scottsdale Unified School District’s administration is scrambling to do damage control after a group of mothers discovered Governing Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg had access to a Google Drive full of personal information, documents, and photos of about 47 people, including children.

    An email sent out Wednesday evening by the SUSD’s Communications Office sought to assure families that their personal and educational data is safe. However, the district also solely blamed the discovered digital dossier* site on Mark Greenburg, the father of Jann-Michael Greenburg.

    The damage control appears to be too little too late for many parents in the Scottsdale Unified School District, including Amy Carney, a mother of six, who is among those calling for Greenburg to step down.

    “I am calling for the immediate resignation of our board president Jann-Michael Greenburg. We cannot allow anyone in a leadership position to secretly compile personal documents and information on moms and dads who have dared speak out publicly or on social media about their grievances with the district,’ said Carney, who is running for a seat on the Scottsdale Governing Board in November 2022.

    Even though Mark Greenburg is listed as the Google Drive owner, records from an Aug. 17 special SUSD board meeting show Jann-Michael admitted sharing a computer with Mark. With Mark and Jann-Michael sharing a computer and a home, there is no way to know which of them has been uploading files (now known as the “G Files”) to the drive, according to concerned parents.

    In addition, some parents say that despite Jann-Michael’s denial of involvement with the dossier, they believe there appears to be evidence that Jann-Michael has complete knowledge of the Google Drive files and had shared some of its contents in an effort to intimidate SUSD parents. Parents are calling that an “unacceptable abuse of power.”…..

    *Because of the personal and sensitive information it contains, AZ Free News is not posting the dossier at this time.

    *****

    Continue reading this article, published on November 10, 2021 at AZ Free News.

    Americans Blow Off Fed Propaganda Inflation is “Temporary” thumbnail

    Americans Blow Off Fed Propaganda Inflation is “Temporary”

    By Wolf Richter

    Americans, as they struggle with the meaning of the Fed’s terms “transitory” and “temporary,” expect that inflation one year from now will rise to 5.7%, the 12th month in a row of relentless increases, the highest in the data going back to 2013, creating a beautiful record spike (red line), according to the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations released today. And consumers expect inflation in three years to be at 4.2% (green line).

    The Fed keeps saying in its FOMC statements that it wants “longer‑term inflation expectations” to remain “well-anchored” at 2%. And they’re now totally unanchored and spiking to high heaven.

    “Inflation expectations” is a key metric for the Fed, based on the theory that consumer price inflation is in part a psychological phenomenon – the inflationary mindset, as I call it.

    It’s the theory that rising inflation expectations alter consumer behavior, such as by moving purchases forward before things cost even more, and accepting higher prices, rather than balking, as they would have done before. And this altered consumer behavior contributes to higher inflation in the future.

    These inflation expectations are an outgrowth of reality on the ground for consumers. For the Fed, they’re adding to a war chest of reasons for hiking rates.

    Inflation expectations are much higher where people spend most of their money.

    Despite a median inflation expectation of 5.7%, for the line-items where consumers spend much of their money – rent, food, gas, healthcare – inflation expectations for one year from now are at or near 10%:

    • Rent: +10.0% (new record)
    • Food prices: +9.1% (new record)
    • Gasoline prices: +9.4%
    • Health care: +9.4%
    • College education: +7.4%.

    Expectations of rent increases one year out have been surging all year and eked out a new record in October:

    Consumers expect home prices – which are not included in the Consumer Price Index, as two rent factors determine the housing component of CPI – to rise by 5.5%. This is below the peak of 6.2% in May…..

    *****

    Continue reading this article published November 8, 2021 at Wolf Street.

    Will the Right to Bear Arms Become a “Constitutional Orphan”? thumbnail

    Will the Right to Bear Arms Become a “Constitutional Orphan”?

    By Joyce Lee Malcolm

    After nearly a decade rejecting Second Amendment cases, the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. It is high time and not a moment too soon. Since McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010 when the Court incorporated “the right of individuals to keep and bear those arms in common use for self-defense and other lawful purposes” a batch of state and local statutes, with the approval of the lower courts, have made a nonsense of the Court’s ruling, reducing, in Justice Thomas’s words, the individual right to be armed to “a constitutional orphan.”

    A few examples of this stubborn defiance of the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment opinions will suffice. Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had no problem affirming the Chicago gun ban even after the Court overturned Washington D.C.’s identical ban in District of Columbia v. Heller. The Supreme Court then overturned the Chicago ban in McDonald v. City of Chicago and incorporated the Second Amendment throughout the country. Undeterred, five years later Easterbrook upheld a Highland Park, Illinois ban on weapons the city defined as “assault weapons.” These included any semi-automatic rifle taking a large capacity magazine and sporting certain cosmetic features. Although the banned firearms are among the most popular hunting rifles in the country used safely by millions of Americans, Highland Park branded them “dangerous and unusual.” Defying the Supreme Court ruling that guns in common use are constitutional, Easterbrook insisted it is “better to ask whether the regulation bans weapons that were in common use at the time of ratification [1791] and have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia,” both points explicitly and emphatically rejected by the Supreme Court. For good measure Easterbrook added that other questions about Second Amendment protection should be clarified by “the political process and scholarly debate.” Judge Manion, the lone dissenter in the 2/1 decision, found both the Highland Park ordinance and the Seventh Circuit’s opinion “directly at odds with the central holdings of Heller and McDonald.

    In a similar fashion the Ninth Circuit upheld two blatantly unconstitutional California statutes. Peruta v. California focused on the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms in public. California law forbids carrying a gun openly in public while requiring a showing of “good cause” among other criteria for carrying a gun concealed.  It was left to the local sheriff to decide what constituted “good cause.” Since the sheriff in San Diego, petitioner’s county specified that “concern for one’s personal safety” did not “alone” satisfy this requirement, citizens were, for all practical purposes, barred from carrying a firearm at all. A Ninth Circuit panel agreed this was unconstitutional, but when the case was heard en banc a majority of the judges reversed, focusing only on whether the Second Amendment protected a right to carry a concealed firearm, ignoring the fact open carry was already forbidden. With both effectively barred Californians had no right to bear a firearm at all.

    In Pena v. Lindley, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of California’s Unsafe Handgun Act which included the stipulation that all new handguns must stamp “microscopically the handgun’s make, model, and serial number onto each fired shell case,” although “no handguns were available in the United States that met the miscrostamping requirements.” Nevertheless, the judges added that “simply because no gun manufacturer is `even considering trying’ to implement the technology, it does not follow that microstamping is technologically infeasible.” Californians are free to buy handguns that do not exist.

    Now for the New York Case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. City of New York that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear. This involves a New York City licensing regulation (Rule 5-23) for guns kept on the premises, put in place in the years before Heller recognized the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. It prohibits handguns kept in the home from being taken outside except to a shooting range within the city while unloaded and locked in a container separate from the ammunition. This regulation remains despite the Supreme Court affirming the right of individuals to bear a gun for self-defense.

    Justice Thomas found it “extremely improbable that the Framers understood the Second Amendment to protect little more than carrying a gun from the bedroom to the kitchen.” A gun outside the home locked in a compartment separate from the ammunition is clearly useless for self-defense. As Heller explained, “[a] statute which, under the pretense of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right, or which requires arms to be so borne as to render them wholly useless for the purpose of defense [is] clearly unconstitutional.” Plaintiffs also claimed the regulation violated their right to travel and interfered with interstate commerce, two arguments that failed to persuade.

    In his decision, District Judge Robert Sweet sidestepped the right to carry a weapon in public for self-defense. On appeal the Second Circuit Court judges, claiming to employ heightened scrutiny, unanimously upheld the District Court ruling insisting the Supreme Court “puts the focus where it belongs: on the core right of self-defense in the home.” That claim is especially ironic since New York City’s draconian requirements for obtaining a gun for self-defense in the home have resulted in the approval of only 40,000 handgun licenses for the city’s population of 8,550,405 residents.

    The Second Circuit judges claimed to have used heightened scrutiny although relying on a single affidavit from the former commander of the state licensing division while arguing plaintiffs had failed to describe “a substantial burden on those rights.” “Denying a fundamental individual right by applying a version of heightened scrutiny unrecognizable in any other constitutional context,” petitioners point out, poses a threat to all constitutional rights. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. Let us hope that the justices will rescue the right to keep and bear arms from those who would defy the Court and the Second Amendment’s Framers.

    Joyce Lee Malcolm is Patrick Henry Professor of Constitutional Law and the Second Amendment at Antonin Scalia Law School. Her work was cited several times in the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller (2008).

    *****

    This article was published on November 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Law & Liberty, a project of Liberty Fund.

    Vaccine Authoritarianism Explained thumbnail

    Vaccine Authoritarianism Explained

    By Max Borders

    This is behavior that picks and chooses precepts from both syndromes [taking and trading], creating monstrous moral hybrids.” – Jane Jacobs, from Systems of Survival

    Disclosure: I am vaccinated against Covid-19. So allow me to inoculate myself from any charges that I am an ‘anti-vaxxer.’ I am not. Yet, I join millions of people worldwide who are unsettled by vaccine mandates like those issued from the Biden Administration and from states like California. First, we should ask whether the mandates make sense from a public health perspective. Then, if not, we want to try to make sense of why authorities would double down on measures with such weak public health justification.

    Mandates Make No Apparent Sense

    Before we get into the political economy of that which slinks from the coital bed of government and pharma, we need briefly to get into the reasons why the current “public health” case for mandates and passports makes no sense.

    • Schoolchildren currently have negligible risks from Covid-19. Subjecting kids to risks such as myocarditispericarditis, and thrombosis, however small, is not based on any rational assessment of the current data on Covid disease risks to children. So the main argument for mandatory child vaccination is that it protects adults. Not only do Covid vaccines have diminished effectiveness through time, but they also do precious little against transmissibility after only two months, especially against the variants currently raging worldwide. Breakthrough cases are legion, and waning vaccine effectiveness is well-documented. (Disclosure 2: Despite being vaccinated, I contracted Covid and passed it to my vaccinated partner and unvaccinated children.) Of course, no one has studied the long-term effects of mass mRNA vaccination on either adults or children, and even the clinical trials on children are dubious. So it’s strange to hear the usual boosters (no pun) of a more expansive regulatory state want to move full-throttle in forcing experimental therapies on kids.
    • Vaccine mandates introduce unnecessary risks to the scores of millions of Americans who are Covid recovered. Study after study (after study) demonstrates that people who have recovered from Covid-19 have robust, durable immunity, which is as good or better than vaccine immunity. There is no reason people with natural immunity should be compelled to undergo any therapy whose long-term effects are unknown. Never mind that the magnitude of the known risks is still being studied. (One Covid recovered law professor sued his university for just such a mandate.)
    • Vaccine mandates are questionable even for those who have not yet contracted Covid-19. Why? It’s pretty simple: adults ought to weigh the known and unknown risks of any medical decision for themselves and seek proven early treatment if they contract the virus. As I pointed out above, the case for vaccine-based community protection is weak and growing weaker by the day. It’s frankly bizarre that we are living in such a time that authorities fancy it’s okay to force anyone to undergo therapies that are still considered experimental. Such is not to argue that riskier experimental therapies shouldn’t be an option for people in a pandemic; it is simply to argue against compulsion.

    The good news is that millions of people around the world are in open rebellion against these mandates and the authorities who issue them. And the rebel alliance is not just a covey of anti-vaxxers. People of conscience, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, think these mandates are wrong. Mainstream media apparatchiks will continue to peddle talking points to justify these authoritarian measures, but the great unvaxxed aren’t having it. Current scientific findings and 13,000-plus physicians support their intransigence.

    Given that extensive research militates any purported rationale for vaccine mandates, we have to ask: Why then? The answer might have something to do with the dynamics of political economy.

    Follow the Money

    At the risk of oversimplifying, I’m going to tell a story. I will use readily available information to form a rough timeline and a hypothesis that evokes traditional Public Choice Theory. For the uninitiated, Public Choice Theory is a branch of economics that deals with the behavior of actors operating in a matrix outside of normal market conditions, such as within the political realm.

    Our story begins in Wuhan, China: December 2019. Or so it would seem. There, a mysterious virus had begun claiming lives. (As you’ll see, we’ll have to go back a little further than that.) Still, in December 2019, the world had started to notice. The virus soon spread beyond China, and by February 2020, the pandemic raged globally.

    In January 2020, a little-known company called Moderna developed their mRNA vaccine with a grant from BARDA (a sub-agency of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services) but in close collaboration with NIAID, the federal infectious disease agency headed by Anthony Fauci. Indeed, the NIH shares the patent with Moderna. All told, government officials spent $2.5 billion to bring Moderna’s vaccine to market, with almost $1 billion going to research and development. Moderna/NIAID entered clinical trials for its mRNA vaccine on March 15, 2020, which means this research had begun, or been accelerated, at a pace unknown to most bureaucracies.

    Readers will note that just six weeks before the start of Moderna/NIAID’s clinical trials, NIAID director Anthony Fauci maintained close contact with key stakeholders involved in a multi-year program that included risky gain-of-function research. The exchanges culminated in a now-famous Saturday conference call on February 1, 2020. That call included Scripps Research microbiologist Kristian G. Andersen who had warned Fauci by email a couple of days prior that “Some of the features (potentially) look engineered.” Scripps Research is no stranger to using and allegedly misusing NIH largesse, so it’s no surprise that Andersen would refer to any theories of lab leaks or engineered viruses as “crackpot theories.”

    Also present in that teleconference was NIH director Francis Collins who, amid increased calls to fire Fauci, recently resigned his own post.

    Along with Fauci, at the center of questions surrounding dangerous gain-of-function research is Peter Daszak. His non-profit, Ecohealth Alliance, directed $600,000 in NIAID grants to the Wuhan lab between 2014 and 2019 as part of a grant to study bat coronaviruses. Daszak wrote Fauci in the days after the Saturday teleconference to thank him for using his gravitas to dismiss the lab-leak theory and propagate the SARS-CoV2 natural origins theory. Daszak was also behind publishing a letter to the venerable Lancet in which signatories denounced the lab-leak theory and boosted the notion of a natural origin. Before the letter’s publication, Daszak had written to a co-conspirator thus:

    “We’ll then put it out in a way that doesn’t link it back to our collaboration so we maximize an independent voice.”

    The Lancet later condemned that letter, citing conflicts of interest.

    As mentioned, Daszak’s Ecohealth Alliance had also been a recipient of research funding over which Fauci had oversight. Not only did Daszak fail to disclose an Ecohealth Alliance grant proposal to DARPA — denied because its research posed dangers eerily similar to that of the current pandemic virus — but Daszak allowed himself to be installed as one of the principal investigators for the WHO, commissioned to look into the Wuhan Lab as a potential origin.

    The riff-raff commonly refer to this as the fox guarding the henhouse.

    The Moderna Connection

    Now, excuse the interruption, but what on earth does all of the above have to do with vaccine mandates?

    In one of the email exchanges uncovered by a Judicial Watch FOIA request, a January 20, 2020 email initiated by NIH officials included a “Wuhan Pneumonia Report” along with a timeline of the initial outbreak in China to that point. The report also details a portfolio administered by none other than Peter Daszak of the non-profit EcoHealth Alliance.

    Peter Daszak (R01A|110964-06) is funded for work to understand how coronaviruses evolve and jump to human populations, with an emphasis on bat CoVs and high-risk populations at the human-animal interface. Main foreign sites are in China (including co-investigators at the Wuhan Institute of Virology).”

    Said “co-investigators” included researcher Fang Li of the WIV, who was to carry out research that sounds conspicuously similar to what lay folk now refer to as “gain of function.” But the exchange also describes another grant to “a team of investigators using mouse models of SARS and MERS to investigate CoV pathogenesis and develop vaccines and therapeutics.” Chimeric or “humanized” mice used in the Wuhan/EcoHealth Alliance research are now coming under greater scrutiny as potential pandemic vectors, belying Fauci’s statements before Congress.

    Then, under a section of the report simply called “Vaccines,” NIH authors write:

    The VRC [Vaccine Research Center] and collaborators have stabilized the MERS-CoV spike protein in its prefusion conformation. The stabilized spike protein is potently immunogenic and elicits protective antibodies to the receptor binding domain, n-terminal domain and other surfaces of the spike protein. The stabilized coronavirus spike protein, and mRNA expressing the spike protein through collaboration with Moderna Therapeutics, is currently being evaluated in the humanized DPP4 mouse model at UNC. (Emphasis mine.)

    Needless to say, it is odd that the startup Moderna had been at the center of all this parallel research on bat coronaviruses for years leading up to the Wuhan outbreak, and was thus joined at the hip with Fauci’s NIAID.

    The Fatal Conceit and Monstrous Hybrids

    To be fair, the “gain of function” vision, which Anthony Fauci has always supported with a full throat, was to figure out how to develop an arsenal of therapeutics to combat any given virus that might leap from an animal to a human. The whole idealistic premise had been that researchers would collect viruses and find likely candidates for zoonosis in the lab. Then authorities would be able to fund drugmakers to create vaccines. As Fauci writes in 2012:

    Scientists working in this field might say—as indeed I have said—that the benefits of such experiments and the resulting knowledge outweigh the risks. It is more likely that a pandemic would occur in nature, and the need to stay ahead of such a threat is a primary reason for performing an experiment that might appear to be risky.

    A more cynical interpretation of the above might be that these stakeholders would benefit from a grave warning shot like the Covid-19 pandemic. But a more charitable understanding of events is that Fauci’s desire to save the world from pathogens had been vindicated, indeed accelerated, by a freak accident in Wuhan only they could clean up. That latter interpretation would only fly if the virus was thought to emerge naturally. Otherwise, the political equivalent of ‘Hey, we dropped a match in the forest, so we firefighters are going to get our hoses out now.’ would land with the public like a lead balloon — and for reasons Fauci had anticipated long ago

    They knew they had better get their stories straight.

    Thus, in the minds of Moderna executives like the allegedly vicious Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and his partners at NIAID, including Fauci, the vaccine train had already left the station. It was a technocrat’s dream, a public-private partnership for all humanity. The credulous, pious media continued to fawn over Fauci throughout 2020 and well into 2021. Remember, up to this point in the story, no mRNA vaccine had ever been rolled out to the masses. Yet Fauci’s reputation as public-health papa put him squarely in the position of Technocrat-in-Chief when it came to the pandemic and how to control it. Moderna stood to make a metric ton of money on top of the investment largesse Fauci had already directed to the start-up in the years leading up to the pandemic. But who could begrudge a life-saving hero becoming a billionaire?

    Bootleggers, Baptists, and Vaccine Mandates

    I would not go so far as to speculate that Anthony Fauci might be playing out Munchhausen by Proxy on a societal scale, though some have gone there. Still, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Fauci and his functionaries have behaved in a way that lends plausibility to orthodox Public Choice Theory, specifically the theory of Bootleggers and Baptists.

    In 1983, economist Bruce Yandle developed the Bootleggers and Baptists framework to explain his belief that durable government action tends to come about with the support of two types of interest groups: those with moral interests and those with financial interests. Yandle appeals to early twentieth-century blue laws, which prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Baptists, the moralists, were motivated by their beliefs that Sundays should be respected as a day of prayer and rest, not drinking. The Bootleggers supported the ban, too, but only because they would enjoy a thriving black market on those days and profit from illegal alcohol sales. Durable government action, according to Yandle, tends to emerge with the support of coalitions that share a common goal even if they don’t share common motivations.

    In a global pandemic, it has not been difficult to find a plethora of public health pieties. Nor has it been hard to find profiteers, especially pharma. I doubt that Anthony Fauci has any financial interests in the Moderna/NIAID vaccine — though investigators should look. He’s in it for the glory. Still, the Moderna/NIAID partnership puts the Bootleggers and Baptists on the same team.

    Fauci, President Biden, and all the MSM sentinels are the moralists in this equation, that is, if Prof. Yandle will permit a not-so-bright line between moralism and savior complex. They want to be known as the ones who beat the pandemic. One might even say Fauci has been planning for this his whole career. Now he graces us with his presence daily on SAHM programs such as The View, basking in the lamps, reminding us to wear our masks and get our vaccines.

    The decrepit Biden, though he needs help getting up on that high horse, once bestride it, holds his mighty executive pen aloft and commands the multitudes to get the jab or else. Waiting in the wings are shadowy corporate figures, such as Moderna’s Bancel, prepared to execute these technocratic plans using billions of dollars inked in red. Though howls against Big Pharma were once prominent in the Progressive Playbook, those have mysteriously been redacted like Anthony Fauci’s FOIA’d emails. When one stops to think that these billions will have to be repaid by the very children who won’t have a choice but to get these vaccines, much less likely Covid, she might find the idea nauseous. A considerably more disturbing thought, though, is that Fauci probably suspected all along that NIH funding led to the creation and (accidental) release of a virus that has killed 5 million people as of this writing.

    Anthony Fauci is a monopsony on funding for infectious disease research. He clearly does not want to be known as the guy in charge of funding the pandemic, even inadvertently. His defensiveness, his untruths before Congress, and his moth-like draw to camera lights — all seem to reveal a man who, in his moralism, refuses to acknowledge that his agency had any hand in the damage Covid dealt. He wants to be America’s doctor, and his grand plan has always been to vaccinate the world. In his favored scenario, he would not be viewed not as a negligent bureaucrat but a savior. And he wants to keep it that way. The researchers? The intermediaries? The pharma execs? They’re in it for the money upon which their careers depend.

    My hypothesis, therefore, tentative but bold, is that economist Bruce Yandle must have seen this coming a mile away. The vaccine mandates of 2020-2021 is a story of Bootleggers colluding with Baptists. The only question that remains, then, is whether we’re going to let them get away with it.

    *****

    This article was published on November 6, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

    Arizona School District Colluded With Law Enforcement To Shut Up Parents thumbnail

    Arizona School District Colluded With Law Enforcement To Shut Up Parents

    By Jordan Davidson

    An Arizona school board colluded with local law enforcement to kick out and arrest parents who spoke out against the district’s anti-science mask mandate for young children.

    According to emails obtained by Not in our Schools, Sgt. Greg Howarth of the Chandler Police Department spent time in April and May gathering evidence on parent groups opposed to critical race theory and child masking to satiate the request of Chandler Unified School District’s (CUSD) Director of School Safety Tanya Smith.

    Ahead of controversial school board meetings, Smith, who admitted she was already seeking out information about dissenters on social media, asked Howarth to share any information he had about certain parent groups that were openly opposed to mask mandates. Howarth reassured her that he already had “access to their sites” and would “be monitoring them.”

    On May 27, Howarth notified other officers in his department of the intelligence operation between the district and himself and asked for further monitoring of multiple groups that he claimed have been “disruptive” in the past. Howarth labeled two of the groups he mentioned, Purple for Parents and Patriot Party AZ, as opponents to the third group, “Parents for Equity,” which advocates for critical race theory in schools. Howarth also characterized the “intel” on the organizations using source material from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, which regularly smears nonprofits and conservative organizations as “hate groups” to justify further action against them.

    “Here are some sites for you to pass along to the Intel Unit and Lt. Salazar, so whomever [sic] is coordinating and running this [operation] can continue to monitor and prepare for this one,” Howarth wrote.

    Howarth had previously informed CUSD and Smith over email that they could request for someone to be removed from the property and even arrested.

    “If someone doesn’t comply and you want them removed from the property let us know,” Howarth said in an April 27 email, one day before he was scheduled to “brief” the district and his officers on the “excellent action plan.” “If they fail to leave let us know that you want them trespassed and we can do that.”

    The collusion revelation comes on the heels of the Biden administration’s national effort to target parents frustrated with the wokeification of education under the leadership of leftist school boards.

    Attorney General Merrick Garland indicated he doesn’t plan to stop federal law enforcement from intervening even after the National School Boards Association walked back the inflammatory language contained in its letter asking the Biden administration to weaponize “domestic terrorism” laws against parents. At least 23 state school board associations, however, have disassociated themselves from the NSBA, with many citing the infamous letter as the reason.

    *****

    This article was published on November  9, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.