Ukraine

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Americans barely knew nor thought about Ukraine until Vladimir Putin’s Russian forces invaded the country, which then erupted into the largest land war in Europe for at least 75 years. The vast majority of support for Ukraine has been supplied by Americans, led by folks who just 50 years ago were devotees of the anti-war movement. Let’s take a look.

We can pretty much agree that Russia’s actions are barbaric and something we thought we moved past in the civilized world. We can also pretty much agree that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s elected leader, has been steadfast in his defense of his country. We can also agree that the Ukrainians have put forth a valiant effort to rid themselves of the Russian invaders without asking for America or its allies to supply troops. They have told the world: “give us arms and we will fight and win the war.” There is not much dispute on these points.

My concern is that anyone espousing something other than blind allegiance and support to Ukraine is branded as a malcontent and thus misguided. Many elected officials and some members of the press (on both sides) are pointing at these people as traitors to the cause. Let me remind you we have the guaranteed right of dissent in this country and let me also remind you this is not World War II where we were attacked.

There are two parts to question here – money and Zelenskyy.

We have already provided vast sums of money to Ukraine and more will be coming. The first question is where are our allies? Some have been there — mainly Poland and the three Baltic states. We have provided more military aid than all other countries combined. The rich countries of Europe like Germany and France have been verbally supportive but lacking in financial support. Once again it has fallen on our shoulders while the others watch from the sidelines.

Do not be fooled by the recent commitment by some countries to supply tanks. They cannot even come to an agreement to accomplish that.

At some point this war will end and who do you think will get stuck with the bill to rebuild Ukraine? French and German engineering firms will be anxious to provide services, to be paid with American dollars.

If Biden is pressuring other countries to do their appropriate share, then he is doing so very quietly and highly unsuccessfully.

Then there is the question of where our money is going and assuring it does not end up in Swiss bank accounts. I recently discussed this issue with someone who countered that our government rarely knows where vast sums of money we allocate lands. That certainly is a fair point. However, it is still important to make sure U.S. dollars sent to Ukraine are properly spent and on American goods where possible.

When Zelenskyy was recently in the U.S., one publication I read briefly mentioned a person was on the job who monitors expenditures for the military. If that is so, let us see a report. The military is big on reports. Ukraine was a notoriously corrupt country before the war. That alone dictates extra caution.

Then there is the problem of Zelensky himself. We are constantly told this is a fight between a Democracy versus an Autocracy. That may be so, but in multiple ways that is not true since the war started.

Zelenskyy has:

1. Outlawed long-standing recognized religions in the country.
2. He has outlawed opposing political parties.
3. He has put restrictions on free speech.
4. Signed a bill that would permit him to control all media, censor new online sites and shut down new sites.

If these matters were brought forward by Biden while Zelenskyy was here, then Biden’s people should have announced that loudly and clearly. When all those members of Congress were warning us about not supporting Ukraine and were providing greater funds, they should have been pressuring Zelenskyy to reverse these restrictions on basic freedoms.

People will argue that Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. They will argue during World War II we imprisoned Japanese Americans and did other things restricting communications. All those actions are now looked upon as tragic mistakes in our history. Why should we be condoning these actions in a country that knows without our funding they would have probably been crushed?

There have been reports that the allies have wanted to pursue peace talks and Ukraine has rejected them. Now the Ukrainian foreign minister has finally stated publicly they would be interested in having discussions starting in February. The United States has done little to pursue a peace track even while the war threatens to cost more lives and potentially expand beyond Ukraine’s borders.

It is not supportive of Putin and Russia to question these matters. In fact, it is errant on the part of our leaders not to question these concerns, and worse that they would attack anyone who does.

We want to make sure that all those countries are really with us and not just spewing platitudes. Europe is still not fully carrying its weight in NATO. This should be a test of their resolve and real commitment. We are not supporting this cause in Ukraine to end up with a country that is contrary to our democratic values.

It is right and just to bring up these points. When people want to close off debate on a subject that is when you should question the validity of their positions.

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This article was first published by FlashReport and is reproduced by permission of the author.

Take Your Foot off the Gas

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 1991, a year after his controversial firing as men’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University, Jim Valvano published a book titled They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead. It’s a great title.

The past few weeks’ convergence of energy and environmental news reminded me of the irony of that book title. Rolling blackouts, which the 2022 State of Reliability report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) had previously warned about, affected several states on Christmas Eve. Days later, a White House announcement on December 29 hailed Pres. Joe Biden’s “goal that 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 be electric vehicles” and advertised new and revised tax credits for people buying electric vehicles (EVs). Then on January 9, a Biden appointee to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) openly talked about possibly banning gas stoves, which are used by an estimated 40 percent of households across the country.

So half of all new cars and trucks sold in the future would have to be electric? Nearly half of households (not to mention so many professional kitchens) in America would have to switch to electric stoves? We’d need to generate much, much more electricity to fill the void of all that power once produced by millions of gasoline-powered engines and gas-fired stoves.

If environmental zealots in the Biden administration were to get their way, then something would have to answer the call for such a huge increase in electricity demand. Do they have an answer for this challenge?

No. They declared natural gas the bridge fuel to renewables, and then they declared pipeline projects dead.

No new pipelines means no new supplies of “bridge fuel”

The “bridge fuel” conception of natural gas promotes it as a reliable baseload generator with significantly lower emissions than coal (a reliable baseload generator). From there, this view envisions natural gas serving as an emissions-lowering stopgap until sometime in the future when zero-emissions renewable resources and battery storage will be able to meet electricity demand reliably, to the extent that they can replace natural gas to scale. President Barack Obama talked about it in his 2014 State of the Union address, for example, and last year Biden’s “Special Envoy to the Climate” John Kerry talked about it (with some caveats) to the US Chamber of Commerce. Some environmental extremists dislike it on principle, of course, or they suspect that even when renewables and storage were finally ready for the big time, utilities would choose instead to continue favoring low-cost, efficient electricity from natural gas.

The natural-gas bridge is alluded to in the NERC report: “natural-gas-fired generators are now necessary, balancing resources for reliable integration of the growing fleet of variable renewable energy resources and can be expected to remain so until new storage technologies are fully developed and deployed at scale to provide balancing” (emphasis added). Furthermore, “With the continued retirement of coal and nuclear units and a growing reliance on natural-gas-fired generation, the interdependency of the electricity and natural gas industries has become more pronounced.”

In other words, the existing demand for electricity in this country is more dependent than ever on natural gas. NERC warned of an increasing risk of energy shortfalls as “the resource mix evolves” away from “flexible generation (i.e., fuel-assured, weatherized, and dispatchable resources)” such as natural gas and toward weather-dependent, fickle sources such as solar and wind.

Note that this risk is growing before an increased demand for electrification to power cars, trucks, and buses, and possibly also stoves. The Biden administration seems oblivious to the risk, however. Biden’s day-one cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline permits set the stage, cementing his campaign promise to stop pipeline infrastructure. By May of last year, the Biden administration and Congress had taken over 100 separate actions that make it harder to produce oil and gas in America.

On March 24, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposed changing its policies regarding pipeline approvals, no longer relying on precedent agreements and also adding “adverse impacts” (including such things as “environmental interests” and “environmental justice communities”) for which it could deny an application. FERC also proposed a new greenhouse gas policy that would require FERC’s oversight of natural gas pipeline projects’ “reasonably foreseeable” greenhouse gas emissions. Those, however, could include future emissions, construction and operation, and even upstream and downstream effects.

Both of those changes would increase the uncertainty surrounding the viability of pipeline projects, which would at best increase their expected costs and at worst prevent new natural gas pipelines from being built.

Federal efforts to delay and block pipeline projects compound the efforts of environmentalists filing expensive lawsuits and of state regulators withholding or slow-walking permits until the projects become too expensive to finish. The Institute for Energy Research described it as the “‘death by a thousand cuts’ approach to stopping pipelines.”

Leaving people worse off while getting in their own way

By stopping pipelines, however, federal overseers are also standing in the way of their own goal of seeing electricity generation transition to zero-emissions resources without dangerous power disruptions. (Of course, they could simply advocate for the only baseload zero-emissions resource out there, which also happens to be the most efficient, reliable generation resource: nuclear power. That they don’t is a great mystery.)

It should go without saying that government taking popular consumer choices away from people leaves them worse off, as consumers as well as makers and sellers. The drive to deprive people of gas stoves and conventional cars and trucks is fueled by the same environmental extremism that opposes gas-fired electricity. It betrays an impatience with people making choices that best address their own needs, and it also shows an inability to wait for entrepreneurs and innovators to solve the riddle of zero-emissions reliable electricity generation (other than nuclear, for whatever reason).

Instead, regulators would rather force changes through government that not only level serious harms against people, but even cripple their own long-term goals.

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This article was published by American Institute for Economic Research and is reproduced with permission.

A Major Shift in the JFK Assassination

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

President Biden’s recent decision to permit the CIA to continue keeping its 59-year-old records relating to the Kennedy assassination secret from the American people has brought about a public backlash that has not been seen since the enactment of the JFK Records Act in 1992. This major shift is a tremendously positive development in the JFK assassination.

You will recall that a couple of years ago, Biden used the Covid crisis as an excuse to give the CIA another extension of time for secrecy. Biden has now returned to the tried-and-true “national-security” excuse for, once again, letting the CIA get away with another secrecy extension. Apparently the idea is that if the CIA’s 59-year-old secret assassination-related records are released to the public, the United States will fall into the ocean or be taken over by the Reds.

The backlash to Biden’s decision has been substantial.

There is Tucker Carlson’s monologue on Fox News in which he expressly stated his belief that the CIA was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. Given that Carlson is the most popular commentator on Fox News, that monologue is obviously a huge breakthrough.

Robert Kennedy, Jr., is the son of Robert Kennedy, the president’s brother, who himself was assassinated. Kennedy, Jr., sent out a tweet that included a link to Carlson’s monologue. Kennedy’s tweet stated, “The most courageous newscast in 60 years. The CIA’s murder of my uncle was a successful coup d’état from which our democracy has never recovered.@Tucker Carlson.”

In his online show System Update, the noted political commentator Glenn Greenwald has also now weighed in on the JFK assassination. You can see his presentation here (go to 43:00). Greenwald doesn’t specifically state his conviction that the CIA helped carry out the JFK assassination but there is no doubt in my mind that, based on his presentation, that is what he believes. In his presentation, he features Carlson’s monologue and Robert Kennedy’s tweet. He also recommends David Talbot’s book The Devil’s Chessboard. For a written summary of Greenwald’s presentation, see here…..

Continue reading this article at The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Maricopa County’s Printer ‘Problems’ Behind the 2022 Election

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Attorneys siding with embattled GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake are insisting that Maricopa County’s mass Election Day failures were purposeful.

Mark Sonnenklar, a roving attorney with the Republican National Committee (RNC), told AZ Free News that the county experienced few of the issues during the primary election that suddenly metastasized on Election Day: faulty printer settings and incorrect ballot paper size.

Sonnenklar said that out of the 11 vote centers he visited on the primary election day, only one had major problems with tabulation: the North Phoenix Baptist Church location.

“My theory is that the county was on a trial run for the general. I believe in my heart, my gut tells me, that they planned to create this chaos on general Election Day,” said Sonnenklar. “They were testing methods to create that kind of chaos during the primary. That’s when they were figuring out how to do that.”

None have produced evidence that the Election Day failures were intentional.

Although tabulators were the initial suspect for the mass Election Day failures across the county, it turned out to be administrative errors prior to tabulation. Sonnenklar pointed out that it wouldn’t make sense for these issues to multiply due to the sheer amount of in-person voters, since printer settings and paper size wouldn’t be affected.

On Election Day, Sonnenklar said he witnessed mass tabulator issues at six of the 10 vote centers. The widespread failures were so pervasive that Sonnenklar, alarmed, reached out to other roving attorneys across the county to gather their experiences while fresh. Many reported witnessing the same failures, which lasted around eight hours and forced thousands of affected voters to cast ballots into a “door 3” slot to be manually tabulated later.

Maricopa County largely dismissed voter concerns, assuring that door 3 ballots would be tabulated properly and opting to push off a review of the chaos for a post-certification investigation. An estimated 71 sites (44 percent) out of the 211 vote centers were impacted (Lake’s attorneys claim that 132 sites were impacted, or 59 percent).

“I was receiving calls from everyone I knew in the Valley,” said Sonnenklar. “I knew there was a massive problem.”

Poll worker testimonies of election machine issues leading up to Election Day, given during the election certification in late November, aligned with Sonnenklar’s evidence gathered. Similar testimonies were also given during the Maricopa County Superior Court hearing in Lake’s lawsuit challenging the 2022 election results.

Sonnenklar stated that there were at least three primary causes of the tabulator malfunctions: timing marks and small white specks, which were uncovered before Lake’s trial, and incorrect ballot paper size, which was revealed during the trial.

Sonnenklar claimed that he spoke with election officials at various vote centers about the tabulator issue. He cited one example from a Mountain View vote center inspector who reportedly showed him that the timing marks weren’t printing correctly. The inspector backed up her claim with nearly 200 ballots fed into box 3 with faulty timing marks.

“She was definitive. She said that the problem was the timing marks on the ballot not printing dark enough,” said Sonnenklar. “She had 175 ballots that she had taken out of box 3. She showed me every one of those ballots and they were gray, they weren’t black. They hadn’t printed dark enough. All 175 of the ballots rejected by the tabulators had gray timing marks instead of black timing marks.”

As for the white specks: Sonnenklar said that another poll worker noticed that the bubbles indicating the chosen candidates weren’t filled in completely. They appeared to have little white specks where the printer failed to fill them in.

“He asked the voter if they would be willing to color in the white spec with the felt-tipped Pentel pens,” said Sonnenklar. “Every single time that the voter did that, it went through the tabulator just fine.”

The third issue, the ballot paper size, was discussed by Lake’s witness Clay Parikh, an information security officer, during the trial. Parikh testified that ballots from six of the six vote centers he inspected the day before Election Day printed 20-inch ballots on 19-inch paper. Sonnenklar noted that these six vote centers were selected randomly, and expressed concern that this represented a rate of 100 percent of vote centers being problematic.

Maricopa County didn’t dispute the erroneous ballot paper size, noting that it was a recurring issue over the last few years. However, they did dispute the number of affected vote centers (three versus Parikh’s sworn six) and pressed Parikh to admit that these ballots could be duplicated and counted. Parikh noted that those reprinted ballots could be counted, if done correctly. Sonnenklar questioned why the county didn’t solve the problem completely.

“The county maintained that the 19-inch paper on 20-inch ballots only occurred at three vote centers and that they knew about that problem from three prior elections,” said Sonnenklar. “Bottom line is, we think there were multiple reasons why the tabulators failed. In one case it was printers not printed properly. And in another case it was 19-inch paper printing 20-inch ballots.”

Sonnenklar insisted that the court wrongly dismissed Lake’s case because the judge, Peter Thompson, failed to consider whether the affected voters could’ve changed the outcome of the election. He said the judge only considered one legal standard, whether fraud occurred, but didn’t address if there was enough misconduct to render the election outcome “uncertain.” Sonnenklar contended that the judge created a high legal standard inconsistent with legal precedent.

Lake lost by over 17,100 votes, around the same number of voters affected by mass Election Day failures. Though this margin may seem slim, another race was even closer. Hamadeh, also contesting his election, lost by just over 500 votes.

“We just had to prove that the number of votes in the election could have changed the outcome of the election. I don’t think the defendants ever countered that,” said Sonnenklar. “On the legal front, I think we have a very strong grounds for appeal here. I think we made a pretty good case for overturning the decision of the trial court.”

Sonnenklar will be filing a reply brief to the county and Hobbs’ responsive briefs.

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This article was published by AZ Free News and is reproduced with permission.

In McCarthy Negotiations, GOP Landed On ‘Most Significant Win For Conservatives In A Decade’

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

The real story of McCarthy’s winding road to the speakership is bigger than he is, bigger than the GOP, and bigger than the 118th Congress.

Life expectancy in the United States is at its lowest level since 1996. Teen suicide rates spiked nearly 30 percent in the last decade. Though drug overdose deaths declined from a record high in 2021, they remain 50 percent higher than just five years ago. In the second quarter of 2022, the majority of workers lost a median 8.5 percent in real wages — a 25-year high. Marriage and fertility rates are falling.

A heightened nuclear threat looms amidst the invasion of Ukraine. In the last fiscal year, the government recorded 2.76 million illegal crossings at our southern border, as tens of thousands of desperate people stream into the country every month, trafficked by cartels. American happiness is at a record low. So is institutional trust.

It’s in this dismal context that Kevin McCarthy’s bid for the House speakership faltered over the course of four frenzied days last week. McCarthy finally secured the gavel late Friday by striking a deal with the House Freedom Caucus, or HFC. “It’s the most significant win for conservatives in a decade, possibly the biggest in a generation,” a senior congressional aide told The Federalist on Sunday. “The rules package, if adopted, will actually impact policy outcomes by forcing a transparent and open process.”

“Everything that Republicans and conservatives say they hate — giant, thousand-page spending bills negotiated by a handful of people with little input from anyone else, plum committee assignments reserved for insiders, and a closed off amendment process — is addressed here,” the aide added.

From John Boehner to Paul Ryan to McCarthy, House conservatives are gradually shocking Republican leadership into representing their own voters. When the GOP failed to win back a major margin in the House, members of the Freedom Caucus did the math and realized they could flex some muscle. Even before Election Day, McCarthy had courted the HFC, as we reported in October. He made friends of Reps. Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene. He talked about reversing certain Pelosi-era power grabs.

Indeed, this is exactly what frustrated members such as Rep. Dan Crenshaw. From their perspective, HFC went into the speaker vote having already won. That’s actually true, but it’s also true they won even bigger as the week wore on. Those two points are not mutually exclusive, though it seemed like the baby might get thrown out with the bath water more than once.

While the political establishment preferred to focus on personalities and melodrama, the concessions HFC members managed to wring out of McCarthy are shockingly consequential. Without another speaker candidate waiting in the wings, serious negotiators like Rep. Chip Roy knew they had the upper hand and could push the GOP establishment much further than anyone imagined.

“They just achieved more in the last week than any other group of conservatives has in years,” the senior congressional aide said. “They knew the power of their vote and they held together until they negotiated an acceptable agreement.”

Again, the version of McCarthy that would have taken the gavel had HFC not played hardball would already have constituted a win for them. But what they ended up getting became something much bigger.

Rep. Andrew Ogles provided a list of McCarthy’s concessions to journalist Roger Simon, which is quoted in full below:

1. “As has been reported, it will only take a single congressperson, acting in what is known as a Jeffersonian Motion, to move to remove the speaker if he or she goes back on their word or policy agenda.
2. A ‘Church’-style committee will be convened to look into the weaponization of the FBI and other government organizations (presumably the CIA, the subject of the original Church Committee) against the American people.
3. Term limits will be put up for a vote.
4. Bills presented to Congress will be single subject, not omnibus with all the attendant earmarks, and there will be a 72-hour minimum period to read them.
5. The Texas Border Plan will be put before Congress. From The Hill: ‘The four-pronged plan aims to ‘Complete Physical Border Infrastructure,’ ‘Fix Border Enforcement Policies,’ ‘Enforce our Laws in the Interior’ and ‘Target Cartels & Criminal Organizations.’’
6. COVID mandates will be ended, as will all funding for them, including so-called emergency funding.
7. Budget bills would stop the endless increases in the debt ceiling and hold the Senate accountable for the same.”

On Thursday evening, Kimberley Strassel published a helpful overview of the rules, arguing, “These changes will produce the first functioning House in years, even as they tie the hands of spenders.” Strassel is skeptical of the motion to vacate but correct that concessions secured by the HFC will shift Congress closer to functionality. One way to tell the HFC scored some real wins is to see how bitterly the GOP establishment opposes the deal.

Another is by taking a look at the left. HFC’s stand against McCarthy reignited a bitter debate over “Force the Vote,” a movement that sought to pressure “the squad” into withholding support from Nancy Pelosi’s speaker bid until she agreed to bring “Medicare For All” up for a floor vote. (HFC, by the way, just pulled this same maneuver but with a bill on term limits.) Why do that, the argument went, when the gesture would only be symbolic?

Pelosi’s margin was a bit more comfortable than McCarthy’s, but the left is right that our health care system is a disaster the public won’t tolerate much longer. Perhaps the plan’s detractors were correct that pushing Pelosi on a symbolic vote was an unwise use of political capital. That may well be true. But in HFC’s case, they gambled and won. They realized McCarthy needed them more than they needed him, given the public’s exasperation with establishment leaders. Few minded the lively four-day demonstration of republican government outside the Beltway.

Those who fret that this veritable laundry list of demands will create chaos are correct. It probably will. McCarthy, thanks to the motion to vacate, will lead with the immediate threat of his ouster constantly looming. Government shutdowns will be on the table. Single-subject bills will have their drawbacks. But a dysfunctional House got us here, and there’s no functional way to leave dysfunction.

None of this should be surprising, and none of it is cause for panic. Congressional leadership is old and comprised of people who’ve presided over recent decline, all while amassing more power. Last week, a group of Republicans tried to take some of that power back and won.

It was messy. Some of the negotiators are goofballs. While there’s no guarantee the HFC will wield these new tools wisely, there’s virtually a guarantee that without undercutting the power of congressional leadership, decay will continue apace.

From 30,000 feet, a four-day delay in the speaker vote is hardly the outrage pundits framed it as. The rules package is mostly unobjectionable institutionalism. Sure, it’s remarkable HFC won these concessions, but only because party leadership in D.C. is so unaccustomed to losing. The press painted all of the HFC with the same broad brush and missed the real story: They out-negotiated leadership and changed the House in a serious way.

Asked in September whether he expected a challenge from HFC if Republicans took back the House, McCarthy told me, “I’ve had people push and do different things. But if you’re able to be running for speaker, that means all you’ve ever done is win. And I don’t think you change the coach then.”

He found a way to win on Friday, but the hard part is just beginning. The real story of McCarthy’s winding road to the speakership is bigger than he is, bigger than the GOP, and bigger than the 118th Congress.

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This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Net Zero Will Lead to the End of Modern Civilisation, Says Top Scientist

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Devastating consequences

A damning indictment of the Net Zero political project has been made by one of the world’s leading nuclear physicists.

In a recently published science paper, Dr. Wallace Manheimer said it would be the end of modern civilisation. Writing about wind and solar power he argued it would be especially tragic “when not only will this new infrastructure fail, but will cost trillions, trash large portions of the environment, and be entirely unnecessary”. The stakes, he added, “are enormous”.

Dr. Manheimer holds a physics PhD from MIT and has had a 50-year career in nuclear research, including work at the Plasma Physics Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He has published over 150 science papers. In his view, there is “certainly no scientific basis” for expecting a climate crisis from too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the next century or so. He argues that there is no reason why civilisation cannot advance using both fossil fuel power and nuclear power, gradually shifting to more nuclear power.

There is of course a growing body of opinion that points out that the Emperor has no clothes when it comes to all the fashionable green technologies. Electric cars, wind and solar power, hydrogen, battery storage, heat pumps – all have massive disadvantages, and are incapable of replacing existing systems without devastating consequences.

Manheimer points out that before fossil fuel became widely used, energy was provided by people and animals. Because so little energy was produced, “civilisation was a thin veneer atop a vast mountain of human squalor and misery, a veneer maintained by such institutions as slavery, colonialism and tyranny”.

This argument hints at why so many rich, virtue-signalling celebrities argue not just for Net Zero but ‘Real’ Zero, with the banning of all fossil fuel use. King Charles said in 2009 that the age of consumerism and convenience was over, although the multi-mansion owning monarch presumably doesn’t think such desperate restrictions apply to himself. Manheimer notes that fossil fuel has extended the benefits of civilisation to billions, but its job is not yet complete. “To spread the benefits of modern civilisation to the entire human family would require much more energy, as well as newer sources,” he adds.

The author notes that the emphasis on a false climate crisis is becoming a “tragedy for modern civilisation”, which depends on reliable, affordable and environmentally viable energy. “The windmills, solar panels and backup batteries have none of these qualities,” he states. This falsehood has been pushed by what has been termed a climate industrial complex, comprising some scientists, most media, industrialists and legislators. Furthermore, he continues, this grouping has “somehow” managed to convince many that CO2 in the atmosphere, a gas necessary for life on Earth, one which we exhale with every breath, is an environmental poison…..

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Continue reading this article at Summit News.

Kari Lake: The Fight Continues

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Editors’ Note: The Prickly Pear presents two opposing opinions and sides about the outcome of the 2022 Arizona Governor’s race. It is the belief of this publication that multiple factors were at play in the outcome of the election. The voters should always determine the candidates in their respective party via the primary process and the candidates selected by voters are the choice to be made in the general election by the voters. The fundamental question that should be asked is what can be done to prevent election debacles in the future.

That said, those responsible for the conduct of the election in Maricopa County – the County Recorder (Stephen Richer), the County Supervisors (Bill Gates, et al), and the Secretary of State (Katie Hobbs) were incompetent, dishonest, corrupt or a combination of all three. The Maricopa County 2022 election was severely compromised regardless of how and appropriately became the laughing stock of the nation for election integrity. We are concerned on all of these levels and very concerned about the integrity of the coming 2024 election given this history and the many questions the public are asking.

Obviously election integrity must be addressed and fixed with the appropriate legislative actions. Citizens should be aroused, angry and insistent on repair of election mechanics and replacement of those managing our elections. As referred to below, the GOP Chair, Kelli Ward, got involved inappropriately by supporting Kari Lake during the primary race. The GOP Chairs at the state and national levels have no business in doing this – it is up to the voters to select their candidate for the November general election, not the Chair. Kelli Ward should step down or be defeated in the coming election for state GOP Chair if only for this reason.

 

Regardless of how one feels about Kari Lake, she certainly is a fighter. Her battle in court, if she is heard, could further explain the odd outcomes in recent elections. Hopefully, this will lead to changes in both law and procedures in Maricopa County.

Some contend she is a delusional loser, who just won’t admit defeat. She lost because she alienated Republican voters. A good example of that view is expressed in the first video presented. It is true she did get fewer votes than some other Republican candidates.

It is entirely possible that a split between McCain and MAGA forces within the party cost Lake votes. It is also possible, and in fact probable, that the primary battle between Lake and Robson, aggravated by the bias during the primary by GOP Chair Kelli Ward, also was a factor.

But as the second interview suggests, the loss could also be attributed to electoral machinery that malfunctioned on a grand scale, either on purpose or because of ineptitude. We think Lake’s lawyer makes a compelling case. The second video gives the essence of the legal arguments that are being presented to the courts and they are substantial.

 

There is a third possible view that says choices one and two are not mutually exclusive. It is entirely possible that internal party rifts, or Lake herself, cost Republican votes. Yet whatever that difference was could easily have been made up by Republican voters and independents who either could not wait at the polls and did not vote or those who voted but had their ballots lost or miscounted.  Technical issues affected far more possible votes than the margin of loss because of disaffected Republicans.

In Arizona, the imperfections in the electoral system in Maricopa County in particular are obvious. It has either been a case of malevolence or extreme incompetence, or possibly both. In either case, continued controversial elections undermine the faith voters have in the process. The video below gives the essence of the legal arguments that are being presented to the courts and they are substantial.

However, we let the viewer draw his or her own conclusions.

Pfizer Exec Caught Saying They Plan on ‘Mutating’ Covid to Increase Infectiousness

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Last night, Project Veritas released a video that shook the internet. In it, a Pfizer whistleblower caught a Pfizer executive on camera saying that their company was “mutating” the Covid-19 virus to increase infectiousness. Chalk up another one for the “conspiracy theorists.”

Another Pfizer executive previously admitted that the company had not tested its COVID-19 vaccine for effectiveness. It is not only the opposite of effective, but it also causes death and other serious side effects in many people.

In the above video, Jordan Tristan Walker, Pfizer Director of Research and Development – Strategic Operations and mRNA Scientific Planning (try saying that three times fast) says that Pfizer wants to mutate the virus to “preemptively develop new vaccines.” That does raise “a risk of like. . .no one wants to be having a pharma company mutating f—king viruses.” The experiments with mutating viruses would be performed on live monkeys, the Pfizer executive said. Walker tried to claim that “Directed Evolution” is different from gain-of-function research, even though they sound like the same process. That research is already “ongoing.”

Walker even confessed, “It’s pretty good for the industry to be honest. It’s bad for everyone else in America.” Government regulators who want to work for Pfizer later will be easier on Pfizer’s products, he explained. That’s true for the military, for pharma, across multiple industries, he said. Below are more quotes from Walker (notice how he discusses the financial return to Pfizer on its dangerous and ineffective Covid vaccines):

“You have to be very controlled to make sure that this virus [COVID] that you mutate doesn’t create something that just goes everywhere. Which, I suspect, is the way that the virus started in Wuhan. . .From what I’ve heard is they [Pfizer scientists] are optimizing it [COVID mutation process], but they’re going slow because everyone is very cautious. . .

You’re not supposed to do Gain-of-Function research with viruses. Regularly not. We can do these selected structure mutations to make them more potent. There is research ongoing about that. I don’t know how that is going to work. There better not be any more outbreaks because Jesus Christ. . .Part of what they [Pfizer scientists] want to do is, to some extent, to try to figure out, you know, how there are all these new strains and variants that just pop up. So, it’s like trying to catch them before they pop up and we can develop a vaccine prophylactically, like, for new variants. So, that’s why they like, do it controlled in a lab, where they say this is a new epitope, and so if it comes out later on in the public, we already have a vaccine working.

Veritas Journalist:Oh my God. That’s perfect. Isn’t that the best business model though? Just control nature before nature even happens itself? Right?

Walker: Yeah. If it works. . .Because some of the times there are mutations that pop up that we are not prepared for. Like with Delta and Omicron. And things like that. Who knows? Either way, it’s going to be a cash cow. COVID is going to be a cash cow for us for a while going forward. Like obviously. . .it’d be perfect.”

Veritas previously verified evidence that Anthony Fauci lied under oath, because the US did fund gain-of-function research on coronaviruses in different locations, including Wuhan.

Walker perfectly stated the reason Pfizer will continue to produce and try to force its ineffective and dangerous vaccines on people: “COVID is going to be a cash cow for us for a while going forward.” Your life for their bonus.

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This article was published by Pro Deo et Libertate and is reproduced with permission.

British ‘Single-Payer’ Health Care Program Is Cratering. That Should Be Wake-Up Call for US Liberals.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Rishi Sunak, the United Kingdom’s new prime minister, refuses to answer a simple question.

He was asked three times whether he received private medical care or relied upon the National Health Service, the British version of “single-payer” government-run national health insurance.

Sunak dismissed the question as “not really relevant.” But it is.

The prime minister is the head of the British government and is ultimately responsible for the National Health Service, the government agency that’s supposed to provide “free” universal coverage and care for all of Britain’s citizens.

It does no such thing.

According to the BBC, there are 7.2 million British citizens awaiting medical care, or almost 11% of the entire British population. And Sky News reports that more than 400,000 people in England have been awaiting hospital treatment for more than a year.

Right now, the most salient problem is emergency care. According to The Telegraph, December data show that people suffering a heart attack face an average wait of 90 minutes for an ambulance, with some waiting up to two and a half hours. For emergency care, The Telegraph further reports, 55,000 people were forced to wait on hospital gurneys for “at least” 12 hours following emergency department decisions to admit them.

Of course, patients suffering from a stroke or a heart attack are always in a race against time, as medical delays can result in permanent disability or death.

Surveying the carnage, Dr. Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, estimated that between 300 and 500 people are dying each week because of delays and related problems in the delivery of emergency medical care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a punishing stress test for Britain, as well as for the United States and other countries. America’s performance in that regard has been crippled by several federal government failures, even as the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the structural weaknesses of Britain’s single-payer health care system.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, public health experts warned in May 2020—early in the pandemic—that the British government was not prepared to respond well to COVID-19.

In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic simply deepened long-persisting problems underlying the British single-payer program. As the BBC reports, the current crisis in Britain’s single-payer system, though aggravated by a nasty flu season, has been building for “decades.”

For Americans, there’s a lesson here.

Liberals in Congress have been saying that the case for an American version of a single-payer health system—abolishing virtually all private health insurance and transferring health care financing and key decision-making to Congress and federal officials—is even stronger in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s a bold claim.

The reality, however, is this: The congressional single-payer bill (HR 1976) contains the key components driving the implosion of the British health care system, including government budgeting, bureaucratic central planning, and reduced pay for doctors and nurses.

Yet, last year, 120 House Democrats co-sponsored the legislation.

In sharp contrast to the congressional liberals’ top-down regime, which would restrict private coverage and care for Americans, British patients are still free to go outside of the British single-payer program and spend their own money on private health insurance coverage and care of their choice.

As noted, Sunak, the prime minister, has that option, even though he won’t say whether he has taken advantage of it.

Big reductions in the pay of medical professionals, as authorized in the congressional single-payer legislation, can indeed reduce health care spending. But there is a big price: You pay less, and you get less.

Britain has the lowest number of doctors per 1,000 patients in all of Western Europe, while British nurses rank third-lowest (ahead of only Italy and Spain) in their availability to patients.

Compared to their American counterparts, British doctors and nurses have relatively low pay. There’s nothing shocking about Britain’s single-payer system being periodically hit by labor strikes, as well as serious shortages of vital supplies and equipment.

As in the United States and among countries with advanced economies, Britain’s COVID-19 lockdowns have imposed a heavy price on personal health in delays and denials of medical care, particularly from pauses in medical treatment, including chemotherapy, as well as in preventive care, such as mammograms.

Last August, The Telegraph reported that an estimated 10,000 cancer patients had been waiting for three months. Professor Pat Price, an oncologist with the Imperial College of London, said, “There will be tens of thousands of cancer patients who die unnecessarily because of the disruptions with COVID.”

Even though the pandemic has been receding in Britain, as in the United States, the number of patients getting a “face to face” appointment with a doctor, according to The Telegraph, is still below pre-pandemic levels in England. There, the newspaper notes, only 2% of general practitioner practices are seeing their patients within a two-week period.

Matters are coming to a head, and a broad consensus on the need for reform is emerging.

The editors of The Daily Mirror declare, “Without radical reform, the [National Health Service] is doomed.” The Guardian, one of Britain’s top left-wing publications, says that the “crisis-ridden” NHS is “falling apart.” Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, acknowledges the gravity of the NHS crisis, is criticizing the system’s “bureaucracy,” and is calling for the private sector to help “clear” Britain’s enormous waiting lists.

The right remedy requires the right diagnosis. Mounting problems with Britain’s ailing single-payer health system are systemic and deeply rooted in the arrogant assumptions of central planning; namely, the bureaucratic decision-making that governs the health and the lives of more than 67 million souls.

No one has better summarized the path ahead than Allison Pearson, a prominent columnist with The Telegraph:

We must break free of the coercive control exercised over us by the NHS. We are not to blame for putting it under pressure.

We are not at fault for expecting a feverish child or a 90-year-old with a broken hip to receive prompt attention. The NHS is to blame. No longer must we listen with hushed sympathy to the pathetic excuses of its elusive managers.

We put tens of billions of our national wealth into health care; what we get in return is broken, embarrassing and dangerous. NHS, heal thyself.

Congressional liberals should heed the warnings of experience. Regardless of their promises to make their version of “socialized medicine” work “better,” the same dynamics of their bureaucratic model will replicate the same problems, waiting lists, and delays and denials of care.

That model is falling apart right before our eyes.

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This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

The Twitter Files: Lenin Would Be Proud

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The vast majority of commercial and industrial establishments are now working not for the free market but for the government.” V.I. Lenin, State and Revolution; 1917

This Lenin quote leapt to mind amid the recent revelations coming from the “Twitter files” and exposed over the past several weeks. Among other disclosures, the files revealed direct lines of communication between government agencies, including the FBI and Department of Defense, and the social media company.

Twitter was found to not only be a landing spot for many agents in the government intelligence community, but also doing the bidding of agencies to suppress information deemed to be antithetical to the agencies’ goals and preferred narratives. Indeed, journalist Matt Taibbi went so far as to describe Twitter as an “FBI subsidiary.”

And it wasn’t just Twitter that the government targeted. Late last month Elon Musk tweeted “*Every* social media company is engaged in heavy censorship, with significant involvement of and, at times, explicit direction of the government,” illustrating his point by saying, “Google frequently makes links disappear, for example.”

Such revelations undercut many defenders of tech giants, who insist “they’re private companies, they can do what they want.” Instead, we must ask: are these truly ‘private companies’ in any meaningful sense?

Indeed, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrup Grumman are all nominally “private companies.” But they are private in name only because they are in reality appendages of the state, relying on defense contracts (not market transactions) for their success.

We should treat big tech companies with the same skepticism we apply to tools of the military industrial complex. Certainly so after the “Twitter file” revelations.

In his quote above, Lenin was, of course, bragging about the progress made toward complete nationalization of industry in the Soviet Union of the time.

But we can also consider his statement as descriptive. When your main mission is to do the bidding of the state, rather than serving consumers in the voluntary marketplace, you are not really a private company in the true sense of the term. Your company is not a market phenomenon.

It’s no longer possible to defend social media corporations on the basis of private property rights, because big tech are what Michael Rectenwald would describe as “governmentalities,” not private companies.

Michael Rectenwald, former professor of liberal studies at New York University and author of the book “Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom,” provided context for how he believes tech goliaths like Google and Twitter come to do the state’s bidding in a November 2020 lecture.

“In a series of lectures entitled Security, Territory, Population, the postmodern theorist Michel Foucault introduced the term ‘governmentality’ to refer to the distribution of state power to the population, or the transmission of governance to the governed,” Rectenwald noted.

“Foucault referred to the means by which the populace comes to govern itself as it adopts and personalizes the imperatives of the state, or how the governed adopt the mentality desired by the government—govern-mentality,” he added.

Rectenwald, however, went even further than Foucault. “I adopt and amend the term to include the distribution of state power to extragovernmental agents—in particular to the extension and transfer of state power to supposedly private enterprises.”

What transpires, then, is a form of ‘governmentalization’ of nominally private enterprises, rather than the privatization of government functions that free market advocates prefer.

How intertwined with the government are the tech giants? The relationship predates the more recent phenomena revealed by Elon Musk’s divulgences.

“First, both Google and Facebook received start-up capital—both directly and indirectly—from US intelligence agencies,” Rectenwald informs us. In their early days, Google in particular was heavily reliant on CIA contracts and deals with other U.S. intelligence agencies.

As Lenin boasted, “The vast majority of commercial and industrial establishments are now working not for the free market but for the government.” And work for the government, including shutting down dissident voices, is what big tech has indeed been doing for years.

As a result, they can no longer be defended with cries of “but they’re private companies,” and instead be called out for what they really are: tools of state oppression.

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This article was published by American Research for Economic Education and is reproduced with permission.