Don’t Confuse Trusting the Experts with Knowing the Facts

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Patrick Carroll

“[H]ow can we avoid trusting too easily? My proposal is that we adopt what I call ‘citation needed’ culture. As the name implies, the idea here is to create a culture where we habitually demand evidence, especially for contentious ideas. Any time someone makes a claim, your instinctive response should be ‘citation needed.’ Growing up, we learned to take things at face value, to take the teacher at their word. But this is a bad habit, one we would do well to abandon.” (12/02/22)

Congress is shocked, shocked by the COVID fraud it created

by James Bovard

“Like Captain Renault in the gambling casino in ‘Casablanca,’ congressmen are ‘shocked, shocked’ by all the fraud spawned by the trillions of dollars in COVID handouts they approved. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis issued a report Thursday blaming fintech firms for the pilfering of Paycheck Protection Program loans that began in 2020. But the real fraud is the illusion that members of Congress give a damn about plundering American taxpayers. PPP was enacted in March 2020 and eventually provided $800 billion in loans to more than 11 million businesses. Congress designed the program to carpet-bomb the nation with federal tax dollars.” (12/01/22)

“Free Speech” and “Permissive Platforms” Aren’t the Same Thing, But They’re Both Good

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“‘By ‘free speech,” [Elon Musk] tweeted on April 26, ‘I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.’ Speech regulated by law — even law that embodies ‘the will of the people,’ were there such a thing — isn’t free speech. Free speech is simply an absence: The absence of threats of force (by law or otherwise) to forbid or punish speech. I’m a big fan of free speech. … I’m also a fan of what Musk is actually defending: Twitter as a permissive platform.” (12/01/22)

Not Even N95 Masks Work To Stop Covid

Source: Brownstone Institute
by Ian Miller

“Even though the CDC and Dr. Fauci explicitly claimed that wearing anything to cover your face would be effective at preventing transmission, many have now quietly dismissed that messaging. Fauci specifically said that ‘cloth coverings work,’ not just surgical or N95s. Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams famously suggested that rolling up a t-shirt in front of your face would be effective protection. Yet public health departments and the media are now highlighting the importance of ‘high quality,’ ‘well fitted’ masks. Their desperation to justify masking has led to remarkably poor studies being released to support their anti-science messaging. There is new research that has been released showing that masks are ineffective, regardless of type. And it’s not just new research, it’s high quality research.” (12/01/22)

After Mahsa Amini, Iran’s anti-clerical tradition returns with a vengeance

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by John Limbert

“The Islamic Republic must have a death wish. Faced with an abusive and out-of-control morality police force, the brutal and tragic death of the young Mahsa Amini, and an angry popula­tion, the response should have been obvious: appoint a com­mis­sion to investigate (and whitewash); punish a few lower-level officials; and get the hated ‘guidance patrols’ off the streets, where they have become the focus of popular grievance. Instead, the authorities, oblivious to the obvious, declared war against their own people, answering protesters with bullets, bullies, and brutality. … The pro­testers are threatening the foundations of a system that has kept a few senior clergymen in their offices and villas, which, after so long a time, they have come to see as their preroga­tives.” (12/01/22)

“Failure Theater” Is Back, and Look Who’s Doing the Failing

Source: Commentary
by Noah Rothman

“Politico reports this week that the Republican National Committee is conducting a ‘review of the party’s performance’ in the midterms, and they’re bringing in a dozen Republicans from across the party’s ideological spectrum to assist. There’s nothing wrong with that, barring the axiomatic caveat that a statement drafted by committee will say less in direct proportion to the number of voices contributing to it. The council will ‘help chart a winning course in the years to come.’ That suggests, at a minimum, its members should know something about winning elections. Most of them do, or are, at least, invested in victorious outcomes. But the bizarre inclusion of Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters on the team suggests this enterprise is willing to entertain losers, too. … what does Masters bring to the table (besides being a token representative of a very loud albatross around the GOP’s neck)? Excuses.” (12/01/22)

Why this doctor applauds Elon Musk ending Twitter’s COVID “misinformation” ban

Source: New York Post
By Marc Siegel

“Elon Musk’s decision to remove Twitter’s COVID ‘misleading information protocol’ should be applauded not attacked, as it’s been in the media. His move is a nod to free speech and, more important, to the idea that when you assert people are spreading misinformation there’s an implicit understanding you know the truth and they don’t. This is dangerous posturing because the truth itself is often flexible, changeable, dependent on vantage point, never certain — especially in the case of a virus we are still learning about, with no consensus on effective public-health protocol or absolute measures to prevent spread. When it comes to COVID, what was yesterday’s misinformation has become tomorrow’s truth and vice versa, a reality that goes beyond Anthony Fauci’s and others’ infamous flip-flopping on masks.” (11/30/22)

China’s Protests Punch a Hole in Xi’s Credibility

Source: Foreign Policy
by Deng Yuwen

“Students and members of the public have taken to the streets in major cities across China, with protesters in Shanghai calling for Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to step down — a rare sight in China, where protest is strictly curtailed. … Commentators calling these the largest protests since 1989 are mistaken. The Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao years saw mass protests that drew tens of thousands of participants or more, destroyed local government offices, and had to be put down by armed police. The crowds in videos emerging from protests … are generally small, ranging from several hundred to over a thousand. Rather, it is Xi’s heavy-handed suppression of social dissent over his time in office and his concomitant expansion of public expenditures and targeted poverty alleviation, buying the affections of the underclasses and all but eliminating open public protest, that makes the current wave of protests significant.” (12/01/22)

Eight Reasons Why Now Is a Good Time for a Ukraine Ceasefire & Peace Talks

Source: Common Dreams
by Medea Benjamin & Nicolas JS Davies

“As the war in Ukraine has dragged on for nine months and a cold winter is setting in, people all over the world are calling for a Christmas truce, harkening back to the inspirational Christmas Truce of 1914. In the midst of World War I, warring soldiers put down their guns and celebrated the holiday together in the no-man’s land between their trenches. This spontaneous reconciliation and fraternization has been, over the years, a symbol of hope and courage. Here are eight reasons why this holiday season too offers the potential for peace and a chance to move the conflict in Ukraine from the battlefield to the negotiating table …” (12/01/22)

Here’s How We Make Housing Affordable Again

Source: Libertarian Institute
by Vanessa Brown Calder

“Between federal and local policy reforms, there are abundant opportunities for policymakers to improve housing affordability for families. In order to increase housing affordability for families, policymakers should eliminate zoning and land use regulations, make TCJA reforms to property and mortgage interest deductions permanent, eliminate Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum and Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports, end Department of Commerce policies that ensure antidumping and countervailing duty restrictions, and pass federal land reform legislation, like the HOUSES Act, among other things.” (12/01/22)