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Putin’s Wall Street pals, Democrats’ brand in tatters, and more commentary

Energy desk: Putin’s Wall Street Pals

It’s clear 2022 brought “an end to an era of illusions,” with the post-Cold War era’s close, “the first energy crisis of the enforced energy transition to net zero” and “environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing down to earth with a thump,” as BlackRock’s ESG fund “lost 22.2% of its value” while “the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index rose 54.0%,” recaps Rupert Darwall at RealClearEnergy. “The three are linked. By restricting investment in production of oil and gas by Western producers, ESG increases the market power of non-Western producers, thereby enabling” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “weaponization of energy supplies. Net zero” — ESG’s “holy grail” — “has turned out to be Russia’s most potent ally.” Though ESG’s failure “as an investment strategy became unmistakable in 2022, its existence as a political doctrine will continue until it is challenged and defeated politically.”

Twitter files: Collusion With Feds Demands Accountability

“Elected Democrats have been notably quiet about the continued release of internal Twitter communications,” fret the Washington Examiner’s editors, but that may “change now it has been revealed that the Trump administration also abused its connections with Big Tech companies.” It seems the Trump team wanted to suppress “stories about ‘runs on grocery stores’ at the height of the COVID lockdown.” A new trove of emails show the State Department and the CIA “used the FBI as a kind of doorman to get its social media surveillance and censorship needs met by Twitter.” Bottom line: “The CDC, the FBI, the State Department, and the CIA have no legitimate authority to police speech.”

From the left: Dem Brand ‘in Tatters’

“Put frankly: Democratic wins this year were in large part because Republicans came off as more extreme,” declares Time’s Philip Elliott. But they don’t constitute “a mandate, and the party’s brand remains in fixer-upper mode.” For example: “The rising progressive wing of the party may be loud and well-funded, but it didn’t exactly run the electoral ticket.” And “nationally, among voters who said crime was their top issue, they broke roughly 2-to-1 Republican.” On immigration, “that lopsided result was 3-to-1, according to exit polls,” while on inflation “voters said they trusted Republicans more by a stunning 43-point gap.” So while “Democrats had braced themselves for a whalloping in 2022 that never arrived,” they seem “equally as unready for the sequel.”

Culture critic: How to Restore Free Speech

The left-wing establishment sees “the constitutional ban on censorship as a ploy used by the majority to maintain power, rather than, as Frederick Douglass understood, a key protection for minorities and dissenters who seek to break up illegitimate power,” observes Heather Mac Donald at Encounter Books. It has “no appreciation for the marketplace of ideas and the difficult, dialectical process of truth-seeking.” And it won’t “as long as America and the West are cast as racist oppressors” and “victimhood is the most coveted status in elite circles.” So we must “take on the lies about Western civilization directly.” It’s “not distinguished by domination and exploitation,” and we “must assert at every opportunity that” its “unique features” are “its passion for discovery and exploration, its hunger to systematically understand the workings of nature, the development of limited government, and the concepts of tolerance and of equality before the law.”

Peter Daszak of the World Health Organization team, walks to a conference center in the cordoned off wing of the hotel in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.
The National Institutes of Health gave EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak a $3.7 million grant for research.
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Pandemic journal: Probe Gain-of-Function Science

“One investigation Congress should undertake,” argues Bill King at RealClearPolitics, is into gain-of-function research — especially since the National Institutes of Health gave EcoHealth Alliance prez Peter Daszak a $3.7 million grant for such research, and he “made a sub-grant for $600,000” to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, near the epicenter of the COVID outbreak. Indeed, “questions about gain-of-function research predate COVID” and led “the Obama administration to issue a moratorium” on the practice. “Of all the things we regulate, surely tinkering with viruses to make them more contagious and more lethal should be right at the top of the list.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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