The World and Everything in It: August 4, 2022
Health officials are concerned about the evidence of a link between THC consumption and the onset of psychosis; the political significance of Speaker Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan; and the legacy of Ron Sider. Plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, and the Thursday morning news.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Good morning!
Health officials are seeing a rise in side-effects for those who consume the growing number of products containing THC.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: We’ll hear what some states are doing in response.
Also today, Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
Plus evangelical author and thinker Ron Sider died last week. We’ll hear an excerpt of a 2016 interview from Listening In.
And Cal Thomas on the troubling results of the family breakdown.
BROWN: It’s Thursday, August 4th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
BUTLER: And I’m Paul Butler. Good morning!
BROWN: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Senate vote on Sweden/Finland NATO » On Capitol Hill Wednesday, lawmakers in the Senate voted to welcome Sweden and Finland into the NATO alliance.
AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 95, and one senator responded present. The resolution of ratification is agreed to.
For a new member to join the world’s largest defense alliance, every NATO member nation must separately ratify its approval. Washington has now done its part.
For generations, Finland and Sweden both stuck to a policy of remaining neutral … with no military allegiance to another country. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed their minds.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell …
MCCONNELL: Putin has succeeded in actually expanding NATO and making it even more effective as a deterrent. Remember Reagan said peace through strength, and that’s what NATO is all about.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also celebrated the historic vote.
SCHUMER: This is important substantively and as a signal to Russia. They cannot intimidate America or Europe.
Schumer invited ambassadors of the two nations to the chamber gallery to witness the vote.
Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese fighters breach defense zone » Taiwan scrambled jets on Wednesday to intercept dozens of Chinese aircraft that breached the island’s air defense zone.
That comes ahead of live fire drills that Beijing says it will begin tomorrow in the Strait of Taiwan. China claims that’s in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island this week.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre said Wednesday …
PIERRE: There’s no reason for Beijing to turn this visit, which is consistent with our policy, into some sort of crisis or to use it as a pretext to increase aggressive military activity in or around the Taiwan Strait.
Pelosi received a euphoric welcome on the island as the first U.S. House speaker to visit in more than 25 years. And on Wednesday, she fired back at Beijing.
PELOSI: It’s really clear that while China has stood in the way of Taiwan participating and going to certain meetings that they understand that they will not stand in the way of people coming to Taiwan.
The speaker heard there before departing Taiwan for South Korea. She also plans to visit Japan and Mylasia before returning to Washington.
Rep. Jackie Walorski killed in car crash » Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski died in a car accident on Wednesday. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: An oncoming car crossed the center line and struck Walorski’s SUV head-on Wednesday afternoon, killing the congresswoman and three other people inside the SUV.
A 55-year-old woman driving the other car also died in the crash.
Walorski represented the 2nd Congressional District in northern Indiana.
The 58-year-old Republican lawmaker was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2012.
Prior to that, she and her husband served as missionaries in Romania where they started a charity to provide food and medical supplies to children.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Iran Vienna Talks » U.S. officials will soon meet face-to-face with leaders from Iran for nuclear talks in Vienna. The nations announced the surprise summit on Wednesday, though they did not say exactly when it will take place.
The Biden administration hopes to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. But Rafael Grossi, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, said that won’t be easy.
GROSSI: I think we have to recognize that there are important differences among the negotiating parties.
The announcement comes after Iranian officials declared that they now have the technical ability to build a nuclear bomb, though they claim they have no plans to build one.
Kentucky devastation » Floodwaters in Kentucky continue to recede, but many have seen virtually everything they own destroyed, including this resident of Hardshell, Kentucky.
AUDIO: We slept in the driveway, and helicopter rescue teams were out the very next day for two days. The second day, they seen us and the children. We was out of formula and water. We was eating the last bit of canned food.
He said the rescue team took his family to a shelter.
Governor Andy Beshear said more than 400 people who lost their homes are staying in shelters or state parks. He said the damage is heartbreaking.
BESHEAR: You basically go down right beside the creek, and every tree littered with what used to be a home. Five of Perry County’s buses pushed over the county line. One is in through a building.
Beshear said one of the most devastating realities about this flood is that many people will not have the means to rebuild or replace what they’ve lost.
BESHEAR: A lot of people don’t have insurance. Most people don’t have flood insurance. It’s really expensive.
He said tragically most Kentuckians don’t have flood insurance.
The official death toll from the flood remained at 37 on Wednesday, but the governor said that number could still rise.
Biden Abortion Executive Order » At the White House on Wednesday, President Biden signed an executive order he said is aimed at making it easier to get an abortion across state lines.
Biden said, among other things, the order gives direction to the Department of Health and Human Services to work with states where abortion is legal …
BIDEN: Secretary Becerra is going to work with states through Medicaid to allow them to provide reproductive healthcare for women who live in states where-where-where abortions are being banned in that state.
But the order is likely to face legal challenges as it is illegal in most cases to use Medicaid funds or any other federal taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the danger of THC.
Plus, rising crime and the breakdown of the family.
This is The World and Everything in It.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: It’s Thursday the 4th of August, 2022. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Paul Butler.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. First up on The World and Everything in It: limits for products with THC.
Since 2012, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana sales. The cannabis industry quickly expanded its market to offer users a variety of ways to consume the psychoactive ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Today users can smoke, eat, or inhale products packed with it.
BUTLER: The concentration of THC in each of those products is also growing and along with it evidence of a link between high-potency THC use and the onset of psychosis in the developing brain. WORLD reporter Bonnie Pritchett has our story.
BONNIE PRITCHETT, REPORTER: When the State of Washington legalized the commercial sale of cannabis, Lauren Davis was working in the field of behavioral health.
DAVIS: In the year 2015, I had two 16 year old boys in my life that I knew through different means. And they were both diagnosed with cannabis induced psychotic disorders at 16. That nexus between cannabis, specifically, and psychosis was new to me in 2015…
About a year later she participated in a panel discussion with social workers on an unrelated topic. At the conclusion, the director of an adolescent psychiatric unit spoke up.
DAVIS: He basically took the microphone and said, Look, I don't understand why nobody's talking about the fact that my unit is full of young people with first break psychosis caused by high potency cannabis…
“First break psychosis.” That’s the first time an individual, temporarily, loses touch with reality. That episode – caused by genetics or THC - could be symptomatic of future psychosis and even schizophrenia.
Now, as a representative in the Washington legislature, Davis is trying to get the genie back in the bottle. She introduced legislation capping THC levels for some products. The measure failed.
In Colorado, Rachel O’Bryan also advocates for caps. O’Bryan is co-founder of One Chance to Grow Up. The drug awareness organization educates communities about the physical and mental health threats to teens and young adults from cannabis use, especially high concentrate THC products.
O’BRYAN: When we started in Colorado, it really was a blank slate, there were no protections in any regard, because before that, it was illegal for everyone. So that was the message, don't do it. Because it's illegal. We had to actually fight for just about every protection for kids…
Since 2012, cannabis growers have enhanced the THC levels in plants to about 30 percent – up from 12 to 14 percent 10 years ago. A generation ago it was 2 to 4 percent.
Cannabis manufacturers also distilled the THC to concentrations of up to 99 percent that is then infused into edible and vaporized products.
The high-potency THC products are sold in the form of candies and snacks popular with kids. O’Bryan said regulators aren’t keeping up with what is being sold in their own states.
O’BRYAN: We have been in the market buying products from the beginning. And in one instance, at least, a product picture that I walked into a regulator’s office led to emergency rulemaking…
At that time consumable cannabis products had no serving size warnings.
O’BRYAN: What we ended up with is a product that was 100 milligrams of THC, which is considered 10 servings of THC in a bite sized chocolate that looked like a mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. And they couldn't believe it…
Edible cannabis packaging now has serving sizes in Colorado. But advocates want more than warning labels. They want caps on the percentage of THC the products contain.
Vermont will be the first to impose a 60 percent cap on concentrate products when its market opens in October.
The cannabis lobby fought the caps in Vermont and opposes efforts in other states considering similar legislation.
Industry leaders deny the link between high-potency THC use and the onset of psychosis. They argue the relationship is anecdotal.
And, they have a point. Studying the cause and effect is problematic.
Ashley Brooks-Russell explains why. She’s an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus.
BROOKS-RUSSELL: There's so little literature on on that particular topic. And part of it, I think, is because first of all, you have the struggle of what's high concentrate…
Researchers have not settled on defining terms and methodology for the studying cannabis products that are less than 10 years old, particularly the high THC concentrate edibles and inhalants.
Legal and ethical considerations limit studies of underage users. Research on legal users is restricted to observational analysis.
But the sheer volume of studies in the U.S. and abroad indicating the link is enough to concern some state lawmakers – even those who voted to legalize cannabis.
In 2020 the Colorado legislature tasked researchers at Anschutz to study the relationship between expanding proliferation of high-potency cannabis products and brain development in underage users.
BROOKS-RUSSELL: And there was growing concern about the impact these products could have particularly I believe, on young people. Because we know that drug use, you know, the younger you use any number of substances, the worse it is for the developing brain and it seems to kind of lay down pathways in the brain that increase the risk for addiction in later life…
But cannabis lobbyists and their legislative advocates claim caps on legal sales will drive the market underground.
Representative Lauren Davis disagrees.
DAVIS: That's essentially the fear mongering argument. But the thing is, the science doesn't support that. So, the black market grew under legalization in our state and in every state…
Davis is a progressive Democrat from a liberal district. She even sponsored legislation decriminalizing all drugs. That would decriminalize the use but not the commercialized manufacturing and marketing of those drugs that she argues is the source of the problem.
Lawmakers aren’t looking to repeal the laws legalizing marijuana. But, in Washington, they’ve funded research—looking for ways to undo the damage.
DAVIS: And they're looking at everything from raising the purchase of concentrates to age 25, capping concentrates, banning concentrates, doing a required amount of CBD to kind of balance out the THC, banning certain products, warning labels, which California is doing, they're basically looking at this entire sort of menu of policy options...and I certainly hope that other states can learn from our mistakes…
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Bonnie Pritchett.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi departed Taiwan on Wednesday. It was an unannounced but widely reported trip that angered China.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and sees a high-level U.S. visit as an affront. And Pelosi was the most senior U.S. official to visit the territory in 25 years.
She made that stop in Taiwan despite repeated threats by the Chinese government. And in response, Beijing announced live-ammo drills around the island beginning tomorrow.
BROWN: Here to talk about the significance of this trip and what comes next is Dean Cheng. He’s an expert on China and previously studied China's defense-industrial complex for the U.S. government at the Office of Technology Assessment. Dean, good morning!
DEAN CHENG, GUEST: Good morning.
BROWN: You say it was important for Pelosi to travel to Taiwan. Why is that?
CHENG: Well, once the People’s Republic of China basically started saying you can't go and started to issue threats, this became much more than just a visit by Speaker Pelosi. This now became an issue of whether or not the People's Republic of China can dictate to the United States government who can and cannot go to Taiwan and when such a visit may or may not occur. It is absolutely vital that Beijing understand that in its dealings with other nations, particularly the United States, it is dealing with equals. It is not in a position to dictate conditions, requirements, prerequisites.
BROWN: The US policy regarding Taiwan is a little bit confusing. On the one hand, Washington sells weapons to Taiwan and supplies its military. We publicly support its democracy. But on the other hand, officially, we still adhere to the One China policy. Can you explain what that means … and maybe clear up any confusion over where America stands with regard to Taiwan’s independence?
CHENG: Well, I can try to explain, but I give no guarantees of clearing up confusion because it is a very, very complex and bewildering set of statements and positions. Where the United States basically comes down is that ever since 1972, the United States has seen the People's Republic of China as the government of China. And in 1979, we made this formal by formally recognizing the PRC and withdrawing our recognition from the Republic of China, which is the name of the government on Taiwan. So the United States does not recognize the ROC. And the United States also, under the One China policy, says there is only one government, and we do not support Taiwan independence. However—and this is important—what the United States also says is that we oppose any unilateral change in the situation and especially a use of force by the PRC to reunify the two sides. That message is to both sides of the Strait. To Beijing, don't use force. If you use force to invade Taiwan, we may well respond. And to the island, we are saying don't declare independence, because that is a red line that will precipitate a conflict. And if you just go and do that without any consultation or what have you, then there's no guarantee we will support you. This is the so-called strategic ambiguity.
BROWN: What is the significance of the military drills near Taiwan that China has announced in response to Pelosi’s visit?
CHENG: Well, there's several aspects to this. The first is that these are very large, extensive live fire exercises for which they have closed, they have announced the closure of air and sea space. In this regard, it's important to note the Chinese are actually being very responsible. They're also not unique. Other countries have done the same thing. If you're going to fire missiles into an area, you don't want to accidentally hit an airliner or merchant ship. What is striking is, one, how extensive they are. Three in the north, two in the south, one to the east. The one to the east is sending a political message to the U.S. military: If you thought that there was a safe zone east of the island where you might be in a radar shadow, where you thought we couldn't see you, we now operate in that area. The other thing is that at least some of these exercise zones apparently overlap Taiwan's territorial waters which extend 12 nautical miles. If the Chinese operate within 12 nautical miles of Taiwan, that is truly risky, because now you're operating within the sovereign territory of the island and that is really a very escalatory, very dangerous move.
BROWN: Do we have any indication that China might try to take Taiwan by force in the near future?
CHENG: Well, it depends on how you define “near future.” The People's Liberation Army has said we will be fully modernized by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PLA. We will be—in the PLA’s terminology—fully mechanized, fully information-ized, and fully intelligence-ized. Meaning, our equipment will be… we will ride into battle, not walk into battle. We will have all of the computers and we will have artificial intelligence and other such subsystems to support our operations. At that point, the PLA is essentially saying whatever you want us to do, we will be able to do and if that means taking Taiwan we will be able to do so. That is, I would say, the moment of greatest danger because right now, today or next year, the PLA reasonably could say, look, we're not necessarily ready to do this, but in 2027 we will be.
BROWN: We’ve been talking to Dean Cheng. He is a Senior Research Fellow with the Heritage Foundation. Dean, thanks so much!
CHENG: Thank you for having me.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: A Mississippi man averted a home invasion thanks to his four-legged friend, “Bandit.”
Everitt was asleep at his home near Tupelo when he awoke to Bandit pouncing on the bed and pulling the comforter off of him.
This was strange behavior for Bandit, so he got up to investigate, and that’s when he saw two men outside his house. One was holding a handgun, the other was trying to pry his back door open with a crow bar.
Everitt ran back to his bedroom to retrieve his gun, but the would-be intruders may have seen or heard Everitt because when he returned, the men had fled.
Man’s best friend in this instance was not a dog.
Bandit is a 20-pound feline.
So if you’ve never heard of guard cat, now you have!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, August 4th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler.
Christian author and thinker Ron Sider died last week at age 82. As the founder of Evangelicals for Social Action—Sider is probably best remembered for his 1977 book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.
For nearly 50 years, Sider challenged the church to not only evangelize lost but work for their good in society.
BROWN: Over his lifetime he was a fierce defender and advocate of the pro-life position—not just on the issue of abortion, but capital punishment and euthanasia as well.
In 2016 Warren Smith caught up with Ron Sider at the March for Life in Washington D.C. Here’s a short excerpt of their conversation.
WARREN SMITH: Your book Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger came out in 1977. Christianity Today calls that book one of the most influential Christian books of the 20th century. How did that book come about?
RON SIDER: Well, the kind of specific development was I was preaching for a little Baptist Church for a few months when I was in Divinity School, and I preached a sermon on poverty. And at the end, I talked about a way to respond. I did the Biblical stuff, and I did the details on global poverty. And then I talked about a graduated tithe—the more money you make, the higher percentage you give. And then I did a little article for Intervaristy’s His Magazine called the “Graduated Tithe” and then I got a contract for a little book called The Graduated Tithe. Then when I wrote it, it grew like topsy and became Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.
I grew up in a farming community. I've never been rich. I developed in an Anabaptist community that cared about the poor, you know. A variety of other things: I lived in an African American community and learned from African Americans about the extent of poverty. And then I read the Bible. There are just hundreds and hundreds of Biblical verses about God's concern, concern for the poor. And I've tried over my life, to approach any issue from a biblical perspective and then put beside that the facts that we know, and come up with a conclusion, and the result was Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.
SMITH: Well, that book had a huge impact, but even you confessed that when you wrote that book, you didn't know much economics, and that you've shifted your position somewhat over the years. Specifically has your thinking shifted?
SIDER: Well, I was never a Marxist. I sometimes say, I'm a Mennonite farmer, for Pete's sake, have you ever met a Mennonite farmer that wants the government on your land? You know, but I certainly hadn't read a lot of economics. And I think it was probably the third edition, I had a very good economist, who was doing a PhD at Notre Dame, and it was connected with Calvin College. And he helped me do a lot of revising.
I’m more—since the third edition and since then—I’m more explicit that when, as in my life-time the choice is between a centrally owned centrally planned economy, as you get in Soviet Union, and a basic market framework as a starting point, I think the market framework is clearly the right—or the better place to start.
I think it's both more in keeping with what the Bible tells us about the dignity of persons, our freedom, [and] the danger of centralized power. If you combine economic and political power as a Marxist system does, you inevitably get totalitarianism. And furthermore, it doesn't work as well. Supply and demand is a better way of allocating, you know, use of resources. So I'm clear about that.
Now, I immediately want to go on and say that if you think that centralized power is dangerous, then you've got to be consistent and say, when you get the richest 1%, as in the last few years, getting 90% of all the increase in income in the society, you got centralized power in an incredibly dangerous way.
So I want to insist that we need to have an economic process. [It] starts with a market economy, but then says we need to empower everybody. So they got access to the productive resources, so they can earn their own way and be dignified members of the community.
SMITH: So if big government is bad, then so is big corporations, and maybe even big church?
SIDER: Well, any kind of centralized power that doesn't have checks and balances is clearly dangerous in a fallen world. And even Christian leaders are not fully sanctified. So they need checks and balances. Now, I think another thing is important at just this point—limited government is important, but that's in no way meaning that a Libertarian position is right. A Libertarian position is simply not a biblical one. Whether the issue is…(interrupting himself) an Evangelical doesn’t think a Libertarian approach to public policy with regard to abortion, or marriage is the right one. But it's not the right one in economic justice either.
There's lots of Old Testament evidence that the king is supposed to do justice. He’s supposed to empower poor people. There is an amazing text in Nehemiah, he's the political leader, the governor, and he learns that in a time of, I think of famine, some rich Jews enslaved many poor Jews, and they lost their land and their kids were in slavery. And he calls an assembly and he says “give their land back immediately.” You know, the political leader takes a clear action to bring economic justice.
So it's important. One part of what governments should do would be to have public policies that effectively decentralize the economy, and especially empower the poorer members of society., so they've got the resources, knowledge, education, and so on, to earn their own way and be dignified members of the community.
SMITH: So what do you want people to say about Ron Sider? What kind of a legacy do you want to leave with your work—whenever you're not here to add to it? What do you want your body of work to say about you, and about your contribution to the body of Christ?
SIDER: I would hope that above all, people would say he tried to follow Jesus—true God and true man, his Lord, in every area of his life. He certainly didn't do that perfectly. But that was his deepest desire, and that he tried to be fundamentally submissive to the full scriptures in all that he thought and did. Now, secondarily, I've tried to encourage the church to be engaged in what I call holistic mission. Not just doing evangelism, not just doing social action, but putting evangelism and social action together. I tried to encourage the church to be much more engaged with the poor. I've tried to encourage the church to have what I call a biblically balanced agenda, or if you'd like a completely pro-life agenda. Those are several of the things that I've tried to do. I've tried to be a bridge builder in the body of Christ. But most of all, I've tried to follow Jesus and that would be what I would hope people will remember.
BUTLER: That’s Ron Sider talking with Warren Smith in 2016. If you’d like to hear this entire conversation, we’re going to post it this weekend on the Listening In podcast feed as well as on the Listening In page at wng.org.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Thursday, August 4th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: And I’m Paul Butler. Up next, commentator Cal Thomas on the breakdown of the family and some of the policies that lead to it.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and bête noire of conservatives, has written a column for The Wall Street Journal. In it he defends his donations to liberal prosecutors who are releasing criminals on low or no bail, resulting in their frequent commission of new crimes.
Soros claims a choice between public safety and justice is a false one and that they reinforce each other.
His proposals for reducing crime and reforming the criminal justice system have been tried before. He makes the ludicrous claim that “there is no connection between the election of reform-minded prosecutors and local crime rates. In fact, violent crime in recent years has generally been increasing more quickly in jurisdictions without reform-minded prosecutors.”
In fact, violent and other crimes have been increasing in cities and states run by liberal mayors and prosecutors—some of whom are facing recall elections. According to the worldpopulationreview.com, Democrats run 11 of the deadliest 15 American cities. If liberal solutions to violent crime worked, would they not have by now in the cities that they lead?
Like many other progressives, Soros blames racism for the number of Black men arrested for violent and non-violent crimes. No racial group has suffered more from violent crime than African Americans. Several prominent Black voices have correctly diagnosed the crime problem, among them former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume, writer Thomas Sowell and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley. When asked by Larry Elder which posed the bigger threat to Black communities - white racism or absent fathers - Mfume said, “The absence of Black Fathers.” Thomas Sowell agrees: “The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.”
The main causes of rising crime are moral and spiritual. A sense of entitlement and envy of the successful, as well as the absence of fathers in the home and the loss of a shared moral and value system have all contributed to rising crime.
While no prosecutor can rebuild the family structure, they can better protect the public by enforcing laws and tightening the bail structure, especially for violent offenders. The revival of the nuclear family structure is up to the religious community and prison programs that seek to spiritually transform criminals so they are less likely to commit new crimes when released.
The George Soros approach makes it more likely offenders and offenses will increase. Perhaps he should speak with crime victims to learn what they think about the revolving door that has become too much a part of the criminal justice system.
I’m Cal Thomas.
PAUL BUTLER, HOST: Tomorrow: Andrew Walker is back with Culture Friday.
And Collin Garbarino reviews a new animated film from Skydance Media and veteran filmmaker John Lasseter.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Paul Butler.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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