[Fauci] uses the phrase “I don’t recall” 194 times. In various other formulations, the invocation of his amnesia is closer to 300 over a 7-hour deposition. He continually falls back on just how busy he is managing $6.2 billion in spending plus 6,000 employees. This is why he simply cannot pay attention to the crucial issue being adjudicated: whether he directed agencies under his influence to censor science and other COVID-related matters at social media companies.
To hear him tell it, he knows next to nothing about social media, never really pays attention to Reddit, has barely a passing familiarity with Twitter and Facebook, does not recall any real connection with Google, and condescends repeatedly to the attorneys with dismissive remarks about his own importance compared with their own petty concerns.
[…] Even when confronted with emails he wrote, and references to phone calls he made, his defense is that he reads and sends thousands of emails and cannot be held to any of them. Even on matters related to the Great Barrington Declaration, he pleads that he had no time for such matters.“I’m not 100 percent sure that the meeting of the epidemiologists, authors of the declaration with the Secretary, this was very likely the first time it was brought to my attention, although I can’t say for sure. I would imagine—again, getting back to context, this is not something that I would have been paying a lot of attention to. I was knee deep in trying to do things like develop a vaccine that wound up saving the lives of millions of people. That’s what I was doing at the time. So an email like this may not have necessarily risen to the top of my awareness and interest.”
This is fascinating because in other interviews and testimony, he equally claims that vaccine development is not his area and focus. He is for them but never approved them. That’s for others to do. Same with particular grants such as the many to EcoHealth Alliance that flipped the money over to the Wuhan virus lab that was deploying what any layperson would call gain-of-function research.
[…]There’s a reason why gaslighting is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year. What Fauci is doing here embodies it better than anything else, comparable only to Sam Bankman-Fried’s own interviews.
[…]Similarly, Fauci masquerades as an infectious disease doctor but actually ranks among the most feared of all health bureaucrats in the country. He was lord of billions in grants to scientists. He specialized in rewarding loyalists and punishing enemies. Thus was he surrounded by fake friends for many years, including among media sycophants who for sure knew the history so thoroughly documented in Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s book “The Real Anthony Fauci.” But they went along simply due to his awesome power.
We also know from Fauci’s own schedule what his real job for three years has been: he was a media star, morning until night, daily, and only for friendly outlets. He shilled for lockdowns, school closures, mandatory masking and mandatory vaccines, and trashed anyone and everyone who questioned whether this was really the right way to go about handling infectious disease. Of course when he is confronted about all this, he demures and says he was merely making recommendations.
Very subtly and carefully, however, what’s really happening with Fauci’s bout of amnesia is this: he is preparing a scenario in which he throws everyone else under the bus. All his associates are now aware of this. He is saving his skin and glad to sacrifice everyone else. I was among many thousands who read this transcript with awareness of precisely what he is up to. One can almost hear the screams of fury among the thousands who have dealt with him over the years.”
Niall Ferguson on fatalism in history:
Contingency here means a relatively small event or decision. And it doesn’t need to be a decision. It can be something accidental, has very major consequences. And historical causations like that, something relatively small, can have tremendous ramifications. I’ll give you another illustration. This year, most people, including the US government, thought that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainian government would quite quickly fold, and it was assumed that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, would bail. He didn’t. He gave his famous response, “I don’t want an air ticket. I want ammunition.” And Zelenskyy’s courage when they were closing in on Kyiv with a high probability that they would assassinate, the Russians turned the course of history in a way that I think is now quite widely understood.
People know Zelenskyy is an important historical figure. He gets a lot of attention because he is a charismatic figure who understands how to use modern media to communicate with an audience. That’s the benefit of having a very seasoned entertainer as your president. But I think what’s really important there is that his courage, particularly the famous video selfie video where he says, “I’m here. The defense minister is here. We’re here.” They’re standing in the streets of Kyiv. The Russians are closing in at that point on the capital. That was a tremendous act of courage. But it emboldened ordinary Ukrainians not to fold, and it also intimidated the collaborators who were ready to help the Russians, not to act. So the contingency there is if Zelenskyy had gone according to our expectation and taken the plane, then Putin would’ve had Kyiv within a matter of days or weeks, and the war would be over.
So I think one of the things that’s exciting about the study of history is you are trying to remind yourself again and again that what happened, that what we know happened, might have gone the other way. That the Cuban Missile Crisis ended in both sides essentially backing down was not predetermined. There was a moment when a Soviet submarine commander gave the order to fire a nuclear torpedo at US naval surface ships. So we came within a hair’s breadth of World War III. These alternate worlds, these histories that didn’t happen, have to be alive in your mind when you are writing history.
The fatal mistake is to write history as if it was bound to happen the way it happened. And this, of course, is the mistake that a great majority of historians make. Forgetting that, we don’t know at the time, at the moment, we didn’t know the morning of the 24th of February that Zelenskyy would stand his ground. Nobody knew that. I wonder if even Zelenskyy at that moment knew what it was that he was going to do.
So I say all this because I think it’s really important to convey to your listeners and viewers how exciting history is and how studying it makes you understand the course of events in your own life better removes that passivity that sometimes people succumb to. If you think great historical forces are going to have inevitable outcomes, if you have a deterministic view of the historical process, it’s very easy to lapse into fatalism. There’s the other trap, which is the conspiracy theories. “Well, the truth of the matter is that actually, Soros and the Rothschilds are orchestrating all this.” Again, you throw up your hands and you abandon the attempt to understand how the historical process works.
Listen to the rest on the Tim Ferris Podcast.
Hilary Fordwich corrects CNN’s Don Lemon on British Empire over slavery during the Queen’s funeral:
Don Lemon: “Some people want to be paid back and members of the public are wondering, ‘Why are we suffering when you are, you have all this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns…”
Hilary Fordwich: “Well I think you’re right about reparations in terms of – if people want it though, what they need to do is, you always need to go back to the beginning of the supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain? That was in Africa. Across the entire world, when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery? …the British”
“In Great Britain they abolished slavery. 2,000 naval men died on the high seas trying to stop slavery. Why? Because the African kings were rounding up their own people. They had them [in] cages, waiting in the beaches.”
“I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start.”
“This issue has nothing to do with an oppressed and disadvantaged minority. It has everything to do with the battle against fanatical Islam, which is highly organized, well funded, and which seeks to terrify us all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, into a cowed silence.” – Salman Rushdie
Writes Bari Weiss on the stabbing in the neck of author Salman Rushdie who “has lived half of his life with a bounty on his head—some $3.3 million promised by the Islamic Republic of Iran to anyone who murdered him”:
We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.
The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.
[…] And yet as shocking as this attack was, it was also 33 years in the making: The Satanic Verses is a book with a very bloody trail.
She goes on to recount the horrific number of murders, stabbings, bookstore bombings and burnings, and anti-Rushdie riots, noting the courage of those defending Rushdie in the 1980s, and how the intellectuals of today condemn Rushdie, and those like him who dare to speak what they believe:
…the difference between civilization and barbarism is that civilization responds to words with words. Not knives or guns or fire. That is the bright line. There can be no excuse for blurring that line—whether out of religious fanaticism or ideological orthodoxy of any other kind.
Today our culture is dominated by those who blur that line—those who lend credence to the idea that words, art, song lyrics, children’s books, and op-eds are the same as violence. We are so used to this worldview and what it requires—apologize, grovel, erase, grovel some more—that we no longer notice. It is why we can count, on one hand—Dave Chappelle; J.K. Rowling—those who show spine.
Another lesson to draw from the attack is made by Daniel Pipes, noting that “Salman Rushdie was never safe“:
Will the rest of us learn from this sad tale? Russia and China are certainly great power foes, but Islamism is an ideological threat. Its practitioners range from the rabid (ISIS) to the totalitarian (the Islamic Republic of Iran) to the mock-friendly (the Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan). They threaten via propaganda, subversion, and violence. They mobilise not just in the caves of Afghanistan but in idyllic resort towns like Chautauqua, New York.
Religious Terrorism vs. Free Speech by Leonard Peikoff
Ayatollah Khomeni’s attack on Salman Rushdie and his publishers represents religious terrorism. Americans oppose the Ayatollah’s death-decree, but our government is doing nothing to combat it.
Echoing Ayn Rand’s analysis in her essay “Global Balkanization,” Ayan Hirsi Ali writes in “Tribalism has come to the West” how tribalism destroyed Somalia leading to civil war, and how such a fate may come to America:
While such violence is yet to seize America, all the tribalist ingredients are present. There is a blind commitment to one party or the other; emotions are running high; there is a lack of trust in civic institutions.
These tribal quirks run deep on both sides of the aisle. Many Republicans continue to dispute the legitimacy of the result of the last presidential election; while on the Left, the woke are eroding the Democratic Party from the inside, as identity politics displace universalist aspirations. Some citizens are viewed as part of oppressive groups, some as part of oppressed groups. A person’s individual actions can generally do little to change the immutable characteristics of the tribe to which they belong.
She continues how America was founded on replacing tribalism (a form of collectivism) with individualism:
The beautiful story of America, the reason so many people around the world still yearn to come here, is to a large extent founded on our rejection of tribalism and our establishment of civic, neutral institutions, based on the fundamental principle of equality before the law.
In a play on the Washington Post’s banner “Democracy Dies in Darkness”, liberal comedian Bill Maher examines the latest fiasco inside the newsroom at one of America’s leading newspapers, noting “Nothing captures what’s wrong with today’s ‘journalism’ like the sad saga of what happened last week at The Washington Post.”