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‘Lab leak’ discredits the experts and other commentary

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‘Lab leak’ discredits the experts and other commentary

From the left: ‘Lab Leak’ Discredits the Experts

If COVID-19 did leak from that Wuhan lab, Thomas Frank thunders at The Guardian, “we may very well see the expert-worshiping values of modern liberalism go up in a fireball of public anger.” In the Trump years, “liberalism made a sort of cult out of science, expertise, the university system, executive-branch ‘norms,’ the ‘intelligence community,’ the State Department, NGOs, the legacy news media and the hierarchy of credentialed achievement in general.” But if the once-suppressed lab-leak theory proves true, it will “start to dawn on people that our mistake was not insufficient reverence for scientists, or inadequate respect for expertise, or not enough censorship on Facebook. It was a failure to think critically about all of the above.”

Media watch: The Gray Lady Forgets

At National Review, Isaac Schorr notes that The New York Times gave President Biden’s budget “a far more generous top-line takeaway than” it did to President Donald Trump’s a few years earlier. Trump’s 2018 budget would “have incensed any Tea Party-style conservative,” but it was the Times “that was outraged.” Its story — headlined “White House Proposes $4.4 Trillion Budget That Adds $7 Trillion to Deficits” — called Trump’s plan “a federal spending spree.” Compare that to the paper’s story on Biden’s plan, “Biden to Propose $6 Trillion Budget to Make US More Competitive,” which gives “the administration a voice,” touting its arguments for the budget bender. How big spending is framed, it seems, depends entirely on the political party of the president proposing it.

Reality check: Voter ID Is Huge in Europe

While Democrats are “warning anew of racist voter ‘suppression,’ . . . democracies in Europe and elsewhere tell a different story — of the benefits of stricter voter-ID requirements after hard lessons learned,” reports John R. Lott Jr. at RealClearInvestigations. “Of 47 nations surveyed in Europe — a place where, on other matters, American progressives often look to with envy — all but one country requires a government-issued photo voter ID to vote.” The rule holds elsewhere, too: After massive fraud stole the 1988 presidential election from a left-wing challenger, “Mexico in 1991 mandated voter photo IDs with biometric information, banned absentee ballots and required in-person voter registration” — and voter turnout rose.

Iconoclast: Shameless Facebook

The same day Facebook reversed its decision to censor posts about COVID’s possible manmade origins, the social-media giant announced an extension of “its policy of ‘shadow-banning’ accounts that promote misinformation,” fumes UnHerd’s Freddie Sayers. If you “share something deemed to contain misinformation multiple times, your account could be silenced; you won’t be informed, you won’t know to what degree your content will be hidden and you won’t know how long it will last — all thanks” to “ ‘fact-checkers’ whose authority cannot be questioned.” That the diktat came just as Mark Zuckerberg embarrassedly walked back the COVID rule “shows how unaccountable these global superpowers are” — and how free to act with impunity: In democracies, after all, entire governments might collapse over mistakes like Facebook’s, yet Big Tech “hasn’t learned its lesson.”

Foreign desk: A Golden Age for Genocide

Seeing a crowd shouting “Stop the Genocide!” in Washington, The Wall Street Journal’s Walter Russell Mead wasn’t sure “which contemporary atrocity they had in mind”: China’s treatment of the Uighurs? Burma’s of the Rohingya? No, they “were ethnic Tigrayans getting early reports from friends and relatives” of “mass murder and ethnic cleansing against civilians” by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces. Last week, Germany asked forgiveness for colonial-era mass killing in Namibia, and France admitted its “terrible responsibility” in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Yet new “genocides and bloody campaigns that bear genocidal hallmarks are taking lives faster than halfhearted apologies can be made for the old ones. The ‘international community’ hasn’t been this morally weak” since the Cold War and has no “serious plan to restore the moral and political foundations of our fraying world order” — despite much “moral grandstanding.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Opinion

New book takes lessons on aging from our seniorcelebs

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New book takes lessons on aging from our seniorcelebs

Age should bring wisdom

Joe Boredom and Nancy Pelousy made age the new “in.”

So now comes Steven Petrow, of the Washington Post’s “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong.” The title’s longer than the Kensington Press book, which claims studios love golden vets with silver hair.

Jean Smart (70 in September) is in HBO’s something or other, Jane Fonda (83), Ellen Burstyn (88), Liam Neeson (69), Helen Mirren (75), Morgan Freeman (84), Harrison Ford (78). Alan Arkin, 87 co-emoting with Michael Douglas (77 in September).

The book says to trade kitsch for kvetch. And go outside your same antique circle since inter-generational friendships improve well-being. Color your hair? Uh-uh. Inky black roots telegraphs “I’m desperate!” Only give it a shot if your colorist is as good as Diane Sawyer’s.

And forget your chorus of aches and pains. Limit health talk to one single cocktail.

Creaking along: Dolly Parton, 75; Patti Smith, 74; Bruce Springsteen, 72 come September; Mark Harmon, 70, Sept. 2; Jill Biden, 70; Martha Stewart, 80 in August; Mitt Romney, 74; Chuck Grassley, 87; Mitch McConnell, 79. Oy, Mitch.

And for all of us on our next birthday, maybe a colonoscopy.

I spy . . . Madge

Where you were last week, I don’t know. Where Madonna was, I know. She was enjoying Immersive Van Gogh at Pier 36 . . . I also know about Bette Midler. “The Rose,” a tale of the high price of fame, which starred her as a self-destructive rocker (and got her an Oscar nom), is being remade starring Cynthia Erivo.

Welcome to New York City

Arizona’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema dropped into NYC and dug in at the W hotel in Union Square. She had a broken foot. She wanted room service. Due to COVID the front desk said no. Along with our usual friendly warmth, they told her to order out . . . The Olympic games start next month. Biden’s iffy on attending in person. Right now the White House leans to NO — maybe because Biden himself leans . . . Chuck Schumer received five pairs of Father’s Day socks courtesy of his toddler grandson. With zero going on in the Senate, pay attention to Chuck’s ankles. He’ll be flashing them this week.

Film fiasco

The film “The Fortress 2” just wrapped filming in Puerto Rico. The elements were not kind to the cast of Bruce Willis, Shannen Doherty, “Desperate Housewives” Jesse Metcalfe and producer Randall Emmett, who’s about to marry Lala Kent of “Vanderpump Rules.” It was intermittent power outages on set and at their hotels. To make up for it, Noel Ashman, also celebrating his upcoming film “Baby and Max,” also celebrating a birthday, is also giving them a party Thursday at Noir.

Stray thoughts

One thought: Topping our historic year is our coming New York City election. Seems that for many voters it’s maybe not everyone’s pick — it’s not who we really really love — it’s dredging down to who we dislike the least. . . . And a comment from one of our top NY restaurateurs: “They’re not spending like they used to. It’s different. They’re cheaper.”


From a weary dad: “When I finally get taken to my heavenly rest, I want my ashes scattered over Bloomingdale’s. This way, maybe I could be sure that at least twice a week my daughter will visit me.”

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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Opinion

Letters to the Editor — June 21, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — June 21, 2021

The Issue: Mayor de Blasio’s lack of response to rising crime and disorder in Washington Square Park.

Mayor de Blasio abandoned the city during his failed run for president, making him “the national idiot” (“DeB ‘didn’t see a problem’!?!” June 18).

The clueless progressive has abandoned the city again by failing to acknowledge the worst crime crisis since the 1970s or to do anything to protect the people who pay his and his wife’s hefty salaries.

Kathryn Donnelly

Queens

As a native New Yorker who did not flee the crime waves and lower quality of life during the 1970s-1990s, I’m am reconsidering (“Bloodshed, Bedlam & Clueless Blas,” Editorial, June 15).

Another criminal rampage beset Washington Square Park recently, ending in 14 shootings, two knifings, vicious assaults, attacks on businesses and more, as the NYPD was held at bay.

Mayor de Blasio’s answer to the depravity that went on in the park? A “natural” resolution will work things out, whatever that may mean.

If we had a choice between a natural resolution against the high crime rate or allowing the NYPD to do their job, I’ll choose the NYPD.

J. Marie Norris

Brooklyn

Our mayor has decided to turn a blind eye to the problem.

A curfew was suppose to be in place a week or two ago, but our mayor is holding the NYPD from performing its duties.

It is no longer safe to walk through the park or even around it after the sun is down. Assaults, drug use and loud music make it total mayhem there — a Sodom and Gomorrah at night, all because the mayor refuses to acknowledge the out-of-control situation.

What’s it going to take before he wakes up?

Joseph Comperchio

Brooklyn

So the residents around Washington Square Park are upset by the disorder? What did they expect?

They helped elect government officials who enacted no-bail reform, emptied half of Rikers Island, disbanded the anti-crime units and removed limited liability for the police.

Then there are prosecutors who will not prosecute and judges who are soft on criminals.

On top of that, the residents helped elect a doofus mayor — not once but twice.

Gary Layton

Interlaken, NJ

The Issue: A city-backed program that will give $1,250 per month to young homeless people.

A program backed by the city plans to give $1,250 a month to the homeless (“Young NYC homeless people to get $1,250 each month in city-backed study,” June 18).

The intentions are certainly noble, but here’s the problem: The homeless population in New York City has a very high percentage of drug addicts.

Where exactly do these fools think this money will be spent — on school supplies? Are you kidding me? Which genius came up with this idea?

Drug addicts will always spend any and all available cash on drugs. Period. That’s the nature of the desperation that addiction brings with it.

The recipients will not be held accountable for where the money is spent. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the disaster this program will be.

Norman Gold

West Hempstead

Now a city-backed program will give young homeless people $1,250 per month to spend as they wish — more brilliant social engineering by the left.

Most homeless people have serious personality disorders, and no amount of money will get them off the street. We need homes and halfway homes — if you can get the homeless to actually stay in them.

Lloyd Zimet

Stuyvesant

The Issue: A city-backed program that will give $1,250 per month to young homeless people.

A program backed by the city plans to give $1,250 a month to the homeless (“Cash for young on streets,” June 19).

The intentions are certainly noble, but here’s the problem: The homeless population in New York City has a very high percentage of drug addicts.

Where exactly do these fools think this money will be spent — on school supplies? Are you kidding me? Which genius came up with this idea?

Drug addicts will always spend any and all available cash on drugs. Period. That’s the nature of the desperation that addiction brings with it.

The recipients will not be held accountable for where the money is spent. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the disaster this program will be.

Norman Gold

West Hempstead

Now a city-backed program will give young homeless people $1,250 per month to spend as they wish — more brilliant social engineering by the left.

Most homeless people have serious personality disorders, and no amount of money will get them off the street. We need homes and halfway homes — if you can get the homeless to actually stay in them.

Lloyd Zimet

Stuyvesant

Want to weigh in on today’s stories? Send your thoughts (along with your full name and city of residence) to [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, length, accuracy and style.

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Opinion

Biden’s first foreign trip only showcased his own weakness

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Biden's first foreign trip only showcased his own weakness

“We’ve gotten a lot of business done on this trip,” Joe Biden declared in Geneva, the final stop on his first overseas tour as president. Not one reporter at the press conference called him on the absurd claim.

Of course, he started the “presser” after his sitdown with Russia’s Vladimir Putin by telling the press, “As usual, they gave me a list of who I’m going to call on” — broadcasting to the world the fact that his own staff doesn’t trust him not to embarrass himself.

Bumbling Biden is not a world leader who can command respect, let alone fear.

The much-ballyhooed jaunt ended with just two minor achievements: The United States and the European Union reached a truce in a long-running dispute over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus, in which the World Trade Organization had ruled both guilty. And America and Russia agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts after Putin had recalled his and “suggested” the other go home after Biden called the Russian tyrant a “killer.”

Biden’s gaffes made more headlines. At the G-7 meeting England hosted, Biden chided Prime Minister Boris Johnson for not introducing South Africa’s president when he already had — prompting laughs from the other leaders. And he capped his Geneva press conference by lashing out at CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who called out to him as he exited after taking questions from just six reporters to ask why he was “so confident” Putin would “change his behavior.”

“I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior! What the hell? What do you do all of the time?” the prez exploded. “I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacted to them and they diminished their standing in the world.”

And there, in a nutshell, is the Biden Doctrine: Count on global opinion to move the bad guys to mend their ways.

Biden said he’d made “no threats” in his Putin sitdown, which ended hours earlier than expected. His pleas were personal: “I asked him how he’d feel if ransomware took over his pipelines,” he said. He wondered how Putin felt knowing the rest of the world understands Russia has interfered in other countries’ elections.

Reaching out to Vladimir Putin’s heart: What a pathetically naïve approach to foreign policy. Russia (and China and Iran) won’t abandon authoritarianism to win admiration from the “international community.” What matters to Putin is power, and Biden’s appeals only tell him that the leader of the Free World won’t stop him from grabbing it.

Heck, Biden handed Putin more in advance of the trip, waiving sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which will make Europe more dependent on Russian energy and weaken Ukraine’s hand.

“America is back,” Biden proclaimed on every stop of the trip, including the NATO summit in Brussels. Back maybe, but with a clueless prez.

His handlers said his chief goal was to rally the G-7 and NATO around countering China, but he achieved nothing of substance there, just some supportive empty words, because Europe has little interest in confronting China and risking its money-making exports.

And Biden, ever seeking to be the un-Trump, won’t cross “the club,” as French President Emmanuel Macron called it, to which he now belongs. “America is back” really means the White House is back in the hands of the establishment and desperate to please the Euro elite by pretending that the world’s villains can be faced down with finger-wagging.

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