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Lipson: The Sick Alliance Between The Left And Muslim Extremists

Lipson: The Sick Alliance Between The Left And Muslim Extremists

Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClearPolitics.com,

The virulent anti-Israel…

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Lipson: The Sick Alliance Between The Left And Muslim Extremists

Authored by Charles Lipson via RealClearPolitics.com,

The virulent anti-Israel protests across America and Europe throw a glaring light on the bizarre alliance between left-wing activists and militant Muslims. That odd combination has been the bedrock of political activism at universities and in the streets for years. It began in universities, where it now dominates political discourse, threatens Jewish students, and intimidates anyone brave enough to voice their dissent. We can now see how it has spread far beyond the campus.

What makes the alliance so strange are the deep-seated differences between leftists and Muslim fundamentalists over core beliefs.

The left supports women’s rights and full equality in the workplace and public sphere. Militant Muslims oppose them.

The left supports gay rights and gay marriage. Militant Muslims toss gays off buildings. None would dare hold a public march in Pakistan, Iran, or Saudi Arabia.

The left supports abortion rights. Militant Muslims oppose them.

The left supports religious freedom, including the right to reject religion altogether. Militant Muslims believe heretics should be executed.

The left rallies against book banning. Militant Muslims embrace it for any book they believe insults Islam or supports Israel.

The left opposes the death penalty. Militant Muslims endorse it and praise their governments for using it.

These beliefs are not marginal for either group. They are foundational, and they are profoundly opposed to each other. Still, the two groups have formed a long-standing alliance. How do they deal with these profound differences? And why are they allied?

They deal with differences very simply: They never mention them when they act jointly, primarily against Israel and its supporters across the world. They have joined together to form a more powerful coalition against shared enemies. They would destroy that partnership by raising issues where they differ.

Far better to focus on their agreement, which goes beyond hating Israel to claim Western capitalism has oppressed, degraded, and ruined the world. Since the U.S. is now the world’s greatest power, it is tagged as the main source of that malignancy, at home and abroad. As they see it, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America are poor because they have been oppressed by capitalist nations and their corporations. If they have terrible governments, they have them only because the West has installed and sustained them.

This critique is based on a shared, but muddled, ideology. The heart of that ideology is its illiberalism. Both groups are fundamentally opposed to the forbearance of individual differences, including very different views and goals, that are essential to Western constitutional democracies. In their place, these opponents rely on a toxic brew of ideas drawn from:

  • Karl Marx, of course

  • Franz Fanon (“The Wretched of the Earth”)

  • Edward Said (“Orientalism”)

  • Herbert Marcuse (and the Frankfurt School of “cultural Marxism”)

  • And, for the most extreme Muslims, revolutionary theologians like Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual father of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its subsidiary in Gaza, Hamas

The mixture of these ideas makes a confused jumble. But “incoherent” doesn’t mean “useless.” It serves as a kind of makeshift glue that binds disparate groups in opposition to what they see as the West’s oppressive bourgeois culture, its tolerance for divergent views, and the unequal outcomes produced by market competition (softened by transfer payments). Overturn it all, they say, in the name of “social justice.” They have no idea of what to replace it with. In fact, the coalition would break apart if either side emphasized its proposed alternatives.

This negative, often nihilistic, ideology inverts the old adage, “might makes right.” Their implicit claim is that “weakness and poverty make right.” It doesn’t. What’s right or wrong has nothing to do with who has wealth and power and who does not.

These self-proclaimed champions of the poor add one more sloppy argument to the mix. They claim people are poor and weak only because they have been oppressed and exploited.

One implication is that people in poor countries would be far better off if they had never been touched by the West and its institutions. They would thrive under their own social and political systems (and, in the West, some version of socialism). That, at least, is the unspoken claim underlying the coalition of the left and militant Islam. Some progressives (who aren’t poor) make common cause by self-flagellation. They are “repentant oppressors.” Their remorse has all the religious fervor of medieval monks who wore hairshirts and beat themselves with whips for their sins.

The idea that the West is responsible for the world’s poverty has a core of truthful criticism next to a mountain of lies. One doesn’t have to apologize for colonialism to note that almost everyone on planet Earth lived in grinding poverty until the cumulative effects of industrialization began to take hold after 1800. That process began in northwestern Europe and gradually spread across the world, lifting income, health, diet, and life expectancy. Where it failed was in countries racked by civil unrest or governed by rapacious regimes that didn’t provide public order or secure property rights and stole the revenues needed to provide essential public goods.

As for human liberation, no societies voluntarily ended human bondage until the West did it, mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries. Britain spent enormous sums stationing its navy off the African coast to prevent the transshipment of slaves, which had been captured and sold by local tribes. Britain gained nothing financially from that effort; it did it for moral reasons. In America, “free states” in the North and Midwest abolished slavery well before the Civil War. The war itself ended slavery, though blacks were still oppressed for another century by Jim Crow laws (in the South) and segregation (everywhere). Those practices were always inconsistent with the Western ideal of human equality and were finally outlawed in the mid-1960s by the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

The current fight over millions of illegal immigrants obscures one fact common to all modern states and two crucial features of American history. The common fact is that state sovereignty includes the essential right to control who can enter each country. What makes U.S. history so unusual is that it has welcomed tens of millions of legal immigrants and integrated them, by fits and starts, into a society where common citizenship transcends ethnic and religious heritage. Today, most Americans appreciate the fruits of that integration in art, music, food, and culture, drawn from multiple cultural traditions. The left, with its focus on identity politics, damns much of that sharing as “cultural appropriation.” It is a deliberate attempt to divide the country into separate, opposed camps, based on birth.

The depth of this ideological rot is most visible on college campuses, where some students (and a few faculty) hate America and Israel so much they have actually rallied in support of Hamas and attempted to justify its atrocities as somehow the liberation of the poor and oppressed. It’s a disgusting idea.

It’s high time Americans went beyond revulsion and defended their basic, liberal ideals and the constitutional democracy founded upon them. We don’t have to accept the mantle of “oppressors” because of events that happened long before we were born, for which we are not responsible, and from which we never profited. We don’t have to accept the damning slur that our success is due to “privilege” rather than hard work, time-tested values, and a good education. The greatest “privilege” is not inherited wealth or status. It is being raised in a stable home by loving parents, living in an orderly community, and growing up in a country where each of us is free to pursue our own goals and define ourselves as we choose.

We can and should recognize America’s flaws – and work toward correcting them – without falsely painting our nation’s past as primarily a legacy of slavery and stolen wealth (the “1619” project and its twin, “decolonization” studies).

America is a great nation, for all its flaws.

Its greatness lay in the experiment of 1776 and establishment of a democracy that has endured and slowly incorporated all its people into the body politic.

The values that undergird that democracy are worth remembering, worth cherishing, and worth fighting to keep, even as a vile coalition celebrates those who kidnap and murder in the perverted name of religion. That’s not “social justice.” That’s an age-old crime.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/15/2023 - 23:45

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

More Travel:

With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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