After news broke last spring that the University of Pittsburgh is using aborted babies for taxpayer-funded medical research, often in barbaric experiments, Pitt asked an independent firm to conduct an investigation into their researchers’ compliance with state and federal laws. The findings of that investigation were released last week, but the report arguably raises more questions than it answers. Hyman, Phelps and McNamara (HPM), the D.C.-based law firm hired to conduct the “regulatory assessment,” said they found Pitt’s academic research with human fetal tissue to be “fully compliant with applicable laws.” But a close reading of the 40-page report shows that HPM intentionally limited the scope of their investigation, allowing investigators to turn a blind eye to some of the most damning allegations related to fetal tissue research. Where Do Babies Come From? HPM admits they did not investigate the two university clinics where university researchers source their aborted fetal tissue: the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, where more abortions are performed than in any other hospital in the state. HPM reasoned they could only investigate activities for which Pitt has regulatory control, and that excludes UPMC because it is a private nonprofit that the university “has no role in managing or supervising.” This is a significant omission because some of the most atrocious allegations, including labor-induced, partial-birth abortions, occur at UPMC. Investigators instead focused on fetal tissue that is collected and distributed by the Pitt Biospecimen Core (PBC). What investigators failed to mention is that PBC laboratories are located inside UPMC hospitals, including one in the Magee-Womens Hospital. HPM tried to justify the serious omission with a caveat that even though they cannot hold Pitt responsible for UPMC, they did evaluate “whether Pitt satisfied its independent duty to confirm compliance of specified activities related to fetal tissue undertaken by UPMC.” In the limited investigating they did do of UPMC, HPM found that UPMC was in fact not in compliance with laws for obtaining consent from pregnant women to use their babies’ organs for research. HPM’s report said they did “consider” whether there were any conflicts of interest between Pitt and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, and found there were no “illegal arrangements,” but did not provide any details on who they spoke to or how they arrived at that conclusion. Yet they felt the need to explain that if Pitt did have contracts with Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, such an arrangement would not be “inherently unlawful.” “There is no law preventing Pitt from supporting Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania if it chooses to do so,” HPM investigators wrote. There may be no law, but conflicts of interests between Pitt and PPFA do run amok. Not only do Pitt faculty moonlight as abortionists at a PPFA abortion clinic located just six minutes away from Magee-Womens Hospital, but in 2014, Center for Medical Progress’s David Daleiden recorded videos of Planned Parenthood associates admitting, “there is a tissue bank at Pitt that we offer patients to donate to.” A vice chair of Pitt’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), Dr. Beatrice Chen, is also the medical director of Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania and oversees Planned Parenthood’s abortion training fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Chen, who also serves as Magee’s director of family planning, was listed in an annual report from Pitt as “outreach/contracted care,” along with three other doctors for Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania. The IRB, a focus of HPM’s investigation, “is responsible for reviewing applications to conduct research involving human subjects conducted at the University,” yet they simply concluded that Chen had “no conflicts or violations.” Pitt has denied it has any “procurement relationship” with Planned Parenthood. Pointing Fingers The study that first caught the public’s attention about how taxpayer dollars are being spent involved grafting aborted baby scalps onto the backs of rats, who were then deemed “humanized.” The study, which was funded by Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health, includes graphic photos showing little infant hairs growing on rodents’ backs, the same way they would on a healthy child’s head, as well a note about where researchers obtained the baby scalps: De-identified human fetal tissues at the gestational age of 18 to 20 weeks were obtained from medically or elective indicated termination of pregnancy through Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Tissue Bank. HPM’s report contradicts that note included in the study, claiming that of the 31 studies they reviewed, this particular study was one of five that did not obtain fetal tissue from the Pitt Biospecimen Core (located within UPMC hospitals). Instead, HPM says, this particular study obtained their tissue from a commercial tissue supplier, Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR). If ABR sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the commercial tissue supplier who was exposed for trafficking baby body parts from Planned Parenthood facilities to researchers, and essentially became PPFA’s scapegoat when they were first caught selling those baby body parts in 2015. It remains unclear where the baby scalps for this study were obtained. Were they from ABR, as HPM found, or from UPMC, as the researchers who conducted the study wrote? What is Pitt trying to hide by contradicting its own research? Abortion’s ‘Potential Benefit’ Although HPM declined to hold Pitt responsible for any activities at UPMC or Magee-Womens UPMC, investigators took issue with how the hospital obtained consent from women being asked to contribute their aborted baby’s organs and tissue. The report includes a four-page form from Magee-Womens UPMC entitled “Consent To Act As a Participant In Research – Fetal Tissue Consent Form.” Statements on the form entice women with abortion, saying donating their baby “may contribute to a new discovery or treatment,” calling it a “potential benefit to society.” In order to prevent any kind of persuasion, state law requires clinicians to wait 24 hours after a woman has consented to an abortion before presenting her a donation consent form. Yet it’s entirely possible that a woman who has changed her mind about undergoing an abortion is influenced after a nurse or abortionist consults with her about donation. “Structuring a policy that allows elective abortions for experiments for research and ‘new discovery’ is a perverse incentive on women and families. This practice must end,” said Retired Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Cheryl Allen in a statement. We Still Need Answers Pitt and the outside investigators they hired at HPM clearly have no intention of addressing the initial allegations or answering questions such as: Did Pitt facilities perform illegal partial-birth abortions or infanticide in operating a fetal kidney harvesting program? Instead, the report backfired, raising even more questions that lawmakers and taxpayers must demand answers to. Those include: Why did investigators choose not to explore the relationship between Pitt and UPMC, in terms of both finances and shared resources? And why is Pitt now contradicting its own research by saying that the tissue grafted onto rats and mice was obtained from Advanced Bioscience Resources, not UPMC? Will HPM be releasing the documents or interviews their assessment was based on? Madeline Osburn is managing editor at The Federalist. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter.
Crystal Hefner, the 35-year-old widow of Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner and a former Playboy Bunny, revealed on Instagram earlier this month that “modesty is what empowers me these days” and that she’s removed “everything fake from my body” following a career built in part on her raunchy Playboy brand. “I don’t know whether I felt empowered by dressing scantily clad, showing cleavage, etc …or if I just felt it was expected of me or what,” she wrote, next to a black-and-white selfie in a turtleneck sweater. “But now I can confidently and 100% proudly say, modesty is what empowers me these days, and because it feels so much better internally, it will probably be this way for the rest of my life.” A year ago, she hinted at the move in a post about removing her “toxic” implants that made her “very ill.” “Our culture is a trap and makes women feel terrible about themselves,” she wrote in January 2021. “How our culture defines beauty makes it impossible to keep up with. Women are overly sexualized. I know from the worst kind of experience. … To this day I need to write reminders of why I’m worthy that have nothing to do with my physical appearance to convince myself that I’m enough.” Hefner is absolutely right that the cheap way our society often markets to women (and just plain markets women) foolishly promises empowerment through sexual promiscuity. She’s right that there’s nothing truly empowering about fake boobs hanging out of a tacky outfit that has the sole purpose of showing as much skin as possible. But notice that, while Hefner’s turtleneck is certainly modest, it’s still striking and it certainly isn’t ugly. That’s because — as she seems to sense — the opposite of hypersexualization isn’t frumpiness, it’s beauty! Too often, the “feminists” among us offer a false dichotomy of alternatives to the Playboy standard. Criticizing the sexed-up caricatures of women in Western media is usually only acceptable if it’s because you think the industry is not being inclusive enough and is therefore bigoted. If you object on moral grounds, you must be a frumpy, fundamentalist prude who’s an even bigger bigot. The woke critics of hypersexualizing women aren’t actually mad at the dehumanizing idea of a woman stripping for a movie camera (they call it empowering). They’re mad that audiences are usually more interested in seeing women on camera who are considered attractive, which contradicts the mission of erasing biological differences in the name of equity. Instead, they say, anything and everything down to a woman who has mutilated her body to look like a man’s is “beautiful,” which of course would really mean that beauty doesn’t exist at all. That’s not to say that beauty always wears a size zero or has flawless skin, shiny hair, or other Barbie doll stereotypes. Beauty is subjective in some real sense, and loving or admiring a woman often (and legitimately!) leads to truly seeing her as more beautiful. It’s a far broader category than the Hugh Hefners of the world might give it, but it is still a category, usually cultivated and achieved by some combination of taste and thoughtfulness without and graceful modesty within. To condemn Playboy Bunnies and butt injections doesn’t require you to fill your closet with potato sacks or stop shaving your armpits in protest, any more than it requires you to say with a straight face that Cosmopolitan Magazine’s feature on faceless, naked, distorted, obese bodies is some form of profound beauty. (That article still reduced women to their bodies, of course, but in a reality-defiant and dehumanizing way that can only be described as grotesque.) True beauty has a confidence that doesn’t seek validation in naked sex appeal or in self-congratulatory ugliness. It’s dressed in the clothing equivalent of what Edmund Burke called the “decent drapery of life,” which renders beauty by both revealing and concealing. I don’t know if Crystal Hefner would agree with me on all of that, or exactly the process that led to her candid observations. But she seems to be, like many women, frustrated by a world of fake beauty while still longing for such a thing as beauty to be real. Not only is beauty real, it’s a good, desirable thing. Defined rightly, it’s part of the lovely vocation of womanhood and femininity. It’s something to be curated, not rejected (or injected). And that is empowering. Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.
American families have been voicing their dissatisfaction with school boards, including prolonged school closures in the name of Covid-19 and the far-left ideological content their children have been taught over Zoom sessions. But few have been able to push back their school boards as successfully as residents in San Francisco. On February 15, San Francisco’s majority-liberal residents will decide the fate of three far-left school board members who face recall. The outcome of this local election will have national implications, indicating how much Asian Americans, the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the nation, are shifting away from the Democrat Party. The three San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) school board members facing recall are Board President Gabriela López and Commissioners Faauuga Moliga and Alison Collins. San Francisco families have three main grievances against them. Those Three Main Grievances Even the Democrat-led city government of San Francisco had enough with the board. It filed a lawsuit against both the SFUSD and its board in February 2021, accusing them of ” failing to come up with a reopening plan even as numerous other schools across the U.S. have reopened.” But SFUSD reopened only elementary schools last April and didn’t return to full-time in-person learning for all K-12 until fall 2021. Board President López claimed the long delays didn’t cause any learning loss because children were “just having different learning experiences than the ones we currently measure,” and they learned more “about their families and cultures by staying home.” Her tone-deaf comments angered many parents, who have witnessed their kids’ academic and emotional struggles at home due to the school closures. The school district has experienced such a sharp decline in student enrollment during its long closure that it had to implement a steep cut this school year to fill a budget hole of $125 million. Social Justice at the Expense of Education Second, the school board focused on leftist politics rather than education. In 2019, the board voted to cover a mural depicting slavery and Native Americans at George Washington High School, a decision that would cost taxpayers between $600,000 to $1 million. Fortunately, the mural will stay after a San Francisco Superior Court judge overturned the school board’s decision last year. In January 2021, rather than focusing on reopening schools, the board voted to rename 44 schools, including Abraham Lincoln and George Washington High Schools. Even Democrat Mayor London Breed expressed her disbelief in a statement, saying, “I can’t understand why the school board is advancing a plan to rename all these schools when there isn’t a plan to have kids back in those physical schools.” Breed backs the campaign to recall the three SFUSD board members. Facing nationwide backlash over the renaming controversy, the school board voted to reverse its school renaming plan in April. In her recent campaign mailer to voters to defend her seat, SFUSD board member Collins identified the top three accomplishments of the board in the last few years, including “SFUSD becoming an Arts Equity District, reorganizing resources to ensure all 4h [sic] and 5th grade students received music instruction through the pandemic” and “Official reparations to the Native American / Native Alaskan communities, and for Board meetings to begin with acknowledgment that our district stands on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land.” None of Collins’s “accomplishments” is related to the school board’s primary responsibility to ensure all kids receive a quality education. Open Racial Bias Lastly, another top grievance of recall supporters is school board members’ anti-Asian bias. In the fall of 2020, the school board voted to eliminate the academic performance-based admission process to Lowell High school, one of the best high schools in the city. It is important to note that Lowell’s admission process wasn’t 100 percent merit-based. Due to the San Francisco NAACP v. San Francisco Unified School District lawsuit and the 1983 Consent Decree settlement, there is a limit to the percentage of students from a particular ethnic group that can enroll at Lowell. This cap means that, to get into Lowell, Chinese Americans have to score higher than any other ethnic group because Chinese American students represent a “disproportionate” share of students meeting the school’s requirements. Still, to justify canceling Lowell’s academic-based admission completely, board president Lopez claimed grades and test scores were “biased towards Whites and Asians,” even though non-white students make up 75 percent of Lowell’s student body. Collins tweeted that “‘merit’ is an inherently racist construct designed and centered on white supremacist framing.” Shortly after, people uncovered some racially charged tweets by Collins from 2016, in which she blamed Asian-Americans for using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” Several Asian-American voters told me that Collins’ racist tweets, her half-hearted apology, and her refusal to resign despite widespread criticism had motivated them to volunteer for the recall campaign. Asian Americans Led The Recall Campaign The three board members and their supporters claim the recall campaign was funded by right-wing big money. In truth, the recall campaign is a grassroots movement led by Asian Americans. Many of them are lifelong liberals, and some are first-generation immigrants who had never been politically active until last year. I interviewed two of them. Kit Lam Kit Lam is an immigrant from Hong Kong and a father of two children in SFUSD. Lam has worked for the school district for 12 years as a fraud investigator. It broke Lam’s heart to see his son, a 10th grader, stop being outgoing and struggle academically and emotionally during the school closure. Lam’s position at the school district also gave him a front-row seat to see how much other kids in the district have fallen behind. Lam decided to do something to “save these kids’ lives.” Lam joined the recall campaign from the start, when there was no money and only volunteers like him. Lam went on numerous radio shows to explain the recall campaign to Asian voters. After his first radio interview, a Chinese immigrant donated $25 and signed up as a volunteer. From such a humble beginning, the recall campaign gradually built momentum. To get the recall on the ballot, recall supporters had 160 days to collect signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in the city, or 51,325 per board member. The lockdowns made collecting signatures extra challenging. Still, with immigrants’ perseverance and work ethic, Lam and others collected more than enough signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Allene Jue is another campaign volunteer, and a daughter of Chinese immigrants. In their early years in America, Jue’s dad worked as a cook and her mom had multiple jobs, including being a hotel housekeeper. From the time Jue was born till she was six, her family of four crammed into single-room occupancy (SRO) housing in Chinatown. A typical SRO room is so small that it” barely fits in a bed and a small table.” All occupants on the same floor shared a communal kitchen and bathroom. Today, Jue is an executive at a fintech company. A graduate of Lowell, she learned from her own experience that a good education could open many doors and change an immigrant family’s fortune within one generation. She believes replacing Lowell’s academic-based admission with a lottery system would take away opportunities from qualified Asian students from low-income families like hers. Never interested in anything political in the past, Jue has been busy getting signatures, stuffing envelopes, and delivering signs for the recall campaign. She said she would pay more attention to political issues from now on, even after the recall campaign was over. Board Recall a Bellwether There are important national implications if this grassroots campaign led by Asian Americans succeeds in ousting the three most leftist school board members in one of the farthest-left cities in America. It will signal that the Democrat Party’s policies have become so unpopular that even left voters can’t take it anymore. A successful recall campaign will also give indications of how much Asian Americans, traditionally solid supporters of the Democrat Party, are shifting away from the party. Since Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the nation, such a political shift will heavily influence America’s future. Helen Raleigh, CFA, is an American entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. She’s a senior contributor at The Federalist. Her writings appear in other national media, including The Wall Street Journal and Fox News. Helen is the author of several books, including “Confucius Never Said” and “Backlash: How Communist China’s Aggression Has Backfired.” Follow her on Parler and Twitter: @HRaleighspeaks.
Amid ongoing supervision from parents across America, the Episcopal School of Dallas has sought to reassure parents it is not teaching critical race theory or targeting students on the basis of their race. Despite this attempt, documents obtained by The Federalist prove that the institution is teaching critical race theory while telling parents it’s not. The elite private school, which bears a whopping tuition price of $26,945 for kindergarteners and $34,075 for high school seniors, sought to insulate itself from backlash on its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page, which preemptively responds to common critiques. The page warns against “misinformation” before assuring parents the school is “not teaching critical race theory,” nor is it teaching “that being part of an ethnic or racial group makes a person responsible for systemic problems, or to cast blame on or shame any member of the community for actions that took place in history.” According to other school documents, however, these claims are false. Student assignments show the school is teaching the left-wing extremism that targets children in so many government-run K-12 schools. CRT In The Classroom One Episcopal School of Dallas reading assignment for a middle school history class titled “This Thing Called White” exhibited the defining characteristics of CRT. The assignment claimed that “Whiteness is a constantly shifting boundary separating those who are entitled to have certain privileges from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence is justified by their not being white.” It goes on to contend that race was created “with the purpose of giving power to white people.” In an 8th grade history class taught by Ron Frankland, students were required to listen to a podcast from the 1619 Project’s Nicole Hannah Jones. Frankland also signaled his support for CRT while bemoaning the wave of pushback from parents who’ve voiced their opposition to the ideology. Nevertheless, attempts to turn students into leftwing activists through indoctrination appear to be working. An open letter titled “Our Turn To Rise Up,” penned by students as part of a history assignment at the school, condemned America as “diseased” and endeavored to “spark a fire of revolution.” Faculty Members Endorse CRT Furthermore, several faculty members, including many who are in key positions, have demonstrated an allegiance to the doctrines of CRT, as well as expressed their intent to incorporate the divisive theory in the classroom. Jennifer Jarnagin is the chair of the school’s Classical and Modern Languages Department, as well as a sponsor of the Middle School Diversity Club and a middle and upper school Latin teacher. Several of Jarnagin’s tweets display an anti-cop and anti-white bias informed by the teachings of critical race theory. During the height of the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots of 2020, Jarnagin implied all police officers were violent. She also stated that she was happy to “disrupt white nonsense,” and that she dreams of “throwing 90% of white men into the ocean.” In Jarnagin’s Twitter bio, she states that she’s “dismantling white supremacy, misogyny and heteronormativity” and that she’s a “Latin teacher interested in proficiency, inclusion, and empathy.” Tolly Salz, an English teacher and the chair of the English Department, has also signaled her support for ideas endemic to CRT. On Twitter, Salz promoted an article titled “White People’s Fear of Critical Race Theory is Based in Ignorance,” as well as one from Learning for Justice, a project of the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, titled “Confronting the Weaponization of Whiteness in Our Classrooms,” which claims that white supremacy is “baked into America’s foundation.” The article also condemned white womens’ emotions as instruments of oppression, making the claim that “Men going to war with armor is the same as white women waging war through tears.” Salz also promoted a guide labeled “Teaching with the New York Time’s 1619 Project.” Critical race theory also appears to have affected the Christian school’s religious leadership. Antoni Luc-Tayengo, who recently became a chaplain at ESD, has publicly advocated for CRT. In an article titled “Predominantly White Churches & Racial Justice: Discern The Next Right Thing,” the female chaplain argues people should “look for color” and frames involvement in the openly Marxist Black Lives Matter movement as a moral imperative for Christians. Her article also links to a “well-cultivated list of resources for anti-racism education of all ages.” The page includes the 1619 Project and work from critical race theorists Robin DiAngelo and Kimberle Crenshaw, among various others. Rev. Nate Bostian is a senior chaplain at ESD. While his public remarks have not carried the same vitriolic tone of many others at the school, from his public remarks it’s clear that leftwing ideology influences his religious understanding. In this prayer he gave for LGBT pride month, Bostian begins by referring to God as the “God of Diversity and Inclusion.” In another post, he cites infamous critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi before going on to provide a theological argument for diversity, inclusion, and equity. ESD’s Institutional Ties To CRT None of these examples are isolated incidents. Despite telling parents that they do not teach CRT or engage in shaming tactics against children on account of their race, ESD, as an institution, has done both. ESD sent parents a list of CRT information compiled by Elizabeth Goatley, the school’s director of diversity and inclusion. Parents were directed to a page called “Anti-Racism 102: Why Not All Discrimination Is ‘Racism.” Intended for children in grades K-4 and adorned with colorful cartoons, the page erroneously claims that white people cannot be the victims of racism, saying “reverse racism isn’t a thing. Stop trying to make reverse racism a thing.” It also claims everyone is complicit in systemic white supremacy and that “whiteness” must be “de-centered.” The recommended reading list included Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility,” material from critical race theorist Kimberle Crenshaw, Kendi’s “How To Be An Anti-Racist,” the 1619 Project, “Anti-racism for Kids 101,” and Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” among others. The list also linked to a “K-8 Racial Literacy” curriculum from an organization called Pollyanna. Pollyanna’s Conferences for School page sheds light on the type of material the organization presents to children. Topics include “Race, Privilege, and Community Building,” “Shaping & Sustaining Safe Schools for LGBTQ+ Community,” “Intersectionality,” “Cultivating Racial Awareness and White Engagement,” and “Implicit Bias.” The organization also claims systemic racism “permeates every aspect of our society and transcends person-to person interactions,” a core belief of CRT. The school’s DEI page explains that both staff and students frequently attend several conferences, including the People of Color Conference hosted by the leftwing National Association of Independent Schools. The POCC overtly teaches CRT. One presentation from the conference describes kindergarteners as “natural social justice warriors,” while others explicitly outline how to create a curriculum based on CRT. Another presentation condemns the American system, telling the audience to “burn sh-t down.” It also discusses the “White People Way,” with the presenter condemning “perfectionism” and “power hoarding” as defining characteristics of white people. The Federalist reached out to multiple school staff for comment, inquiring about the 1619 Project, racially charged statements made by a faculty member, and CRT in the classroom. The Federalist also asked why the school was present at the POCC event, where teachers were taught how to develop a curriculum grounded in CRT, if there was no intention of teaching the racially charged ideology. In response, ESD’s Director of Communications Julie Clardy provided the following statement: “We present challenging material that asks students to consider multiple points of view. For instance, we present the 1619 and 1776 projects together and ask students to analyze and argue their merits. Students are edified, not damaged, when they are asked to examine ideas they may disagree with.” ESD Is Not The Only School Deceiving Parents The Episcopal School of Dallas is by no means the first academic institution to lie to parents about teaching critical race theory. Over the summer, President of the American Federation of Teachers union Randi Weingarten falsely claimed CRT is not being taught in K-12 schools despite her organization previously bragging on national television about teaching the ideology. The Federalist reporting has revealed that officials at both Riverside School District and Los Angeles Unified School District lied to their school communities, falsely claiming they did not teach CRT. Despite the obvious parallels with previous instances, the state of the Episcopal School of Dallas demonstrates that elite private schools are not immune from the left’s push for CRT in America’s K-12 institutions. Spencer Lindquist is an intern at The Federalist and a senior at Pepperdine University where he studies Political Science and Rhetoric and Leadership and serves as Pepperdine’s College Republicans President. You can follow him on Twitter @SpencerLndqst and reach him at [email protected]
It has been two years since the world first noticed people were getting sick and dying from a novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. As the seriousness of the disease became more apparent, policymakers around the world struggled with how to respond. Eventually, many leaders settled on policies of draconian lockdowns and restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. As these restrictions dragged on for months and years, some leaders trimmed their sails; some changed course completely. But most policy makers failed to keep in mind the fundamental axiom of governing, most pithily stated by Thomas Sowell: there are no solutions, there are only trade-offs. Now it is becoming clear that most of the policies they chose, like all policy choices, were not consequence-free. Sadly, America’s school children appear to have borne the brunt of their choices. Politico and other outlets have reported on the “disaster” of learning loss resulting from pandemic school closures. Unfortunately, this learning loss is concentrated in minority communities that could least afford to suffer these consequences — as I, my rocket-scientist brother, and countless others can attest, education is the key to escaping poverty. The American Academy of Pediatrics declared “a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health,” specifically noting an increase in suicide attempts, as well as “soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, and their communities.” I have been warning the American public about these devastating effects on our children for the better part of two years now. Early in the pandemic, it was obvious to anyone who actually sat down and looked at the data, rather than acting on fear and propaganda, that children were not at risk from this virus nearly to the degree that adults were, never mind older adults with comorbidities, who are overwhelmingly the victims of the disease. We also knew early on that online learning is not as effective as learning in the classroom. We knew children would disappear from the school system if we went virtual, particularly in minority and underserved communities. We knew that mask mandates, quarantines, and mandatory social distancing would be harmful. Now we have more data proving all of this to be true. Media Responsible for Spreading Lies, Fear I welcome outfits like Politico and The New York Times recognizing that policies seeking to halt the spread of an airborne virus have had lifelong negative consequences for American children. But that does not absolve them of their responsibility for bringing these consequences about. For motivations both noble and base, leftist corporate media was a loud, constant cheerleader for the most draconian of Covid responses. From the start of the pandemic, the public health bureaucracy, liberal politicians, and the left in general spread fear, confusion, and lies about the risks of Covid and the consequences of pursuing their “lockdown and eradication” approach. At every turn, the leftist media was there cheering them on and helping them squash dissent. For example, when several prominent doctors and scientists authored the “Great Barrington Declaration,” which advocated for protecting the vulnerable but otherwise trying to minimize Covid’s disruption of everyday life, the architects of our failed response enlisted allies in the media, such as The Washington Post, to discredit the proposal. Other ideological commitments, such as the unjustified faith that teachers unions have the interests of students at heart, also drove the media’s coverage. One thing we have seen in the pandemic is that many teachers unions care about teachers and pursue their desires (especially the desires of the loudest fringes), rather than caring about students. Indeed, in many areas the teachers unions are the ones who insisted that school go entirely virtual, and resisted with all their will any attempts to resume in-person education. Just recently the Chicago teachers union refused to show up to teach in person, claiming that the risk of Covid was too great. (Would these same teachers be so sanguine if the people responsible for keeping their grocery store shelves stocked acted the same way?). There, every step of the way, was leftist corporate media, playing up the risks of Covid — always while studiously avoiding discussion of how those risks are focused in a relatively small subset of the population — and downplaying the risks, now realized, of virtual learning. Despite the incredible costs these policy makers and pundits imposed on our children, all is not lost. The American people appear to be realizing, slowly, that bureaucrats act in the interests of bureaucrats, not the public, and that unions act in the interests of unions, not the public. The mass exodus from states that continue to choose restriction over freedom is happening for a reason. The mass exodus from public schools is happening for a reason. Ultimately, Americans always choose liberty over tyranny. Dr. Ben Carson served as the 17th secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is the founder and chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute.
Chelsea Greene Publishing is suing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for allegedly abusing her political authority to push Amazon to censor their book titled, “The Truth About COVID-19.” The publisher alleges serious First Amendment violations. On September 7, 2021, Warren sent an official letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy urging him to suppress the bestseller written by Joseph Mercola and Ronnie Cummins in Amazon’s search results for “perpetuating dangerous conspiracies about COVID-19 and false and misleading information about vaccines.” Chelsea Greene responded by filing a lawsuit accusing Warren of “violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by seeking to stop booksellers from selling and/or promoting” their book. The lawsuit cites the Supreme Court case Bantam Books v. Sullivan, which held that government officials violated the First Amendment by “sending letters to booksellers warning the sale of certain books was potentially unlawful.” The ruling established that even though private companies have the right to censor speech within their platforms, they can’t do it on behalf of a government agent. It is unconstitutional for state officials to pressure a private company to suppress “objectionable” speech. According to Warren’s letter, a search on Amazon’s website using the keywords “COVID-19” and “vaccine” would list the book as the first result. Warren concluded the letter by calling Amazon to modify its algorithms “so that they no longer do so.” Chelsea Greene Publishing released a statement explaining their allegations against Warren. “The term ‘vaccine misinformation,’ as Warren uses it, refers to any speech challenging the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines, even when that speech consists of factually accurate information or reasonable and protected opinion,” the statement said. “Plaintiffs allege Warren’s letter contained blatant falsehoods and unsubstantiated accusations about the book and that Warren’s claims, even if correct, would not alter the book’s constitutional protectedness.” Author Joseph Mercola accused Warren of violating his First Amendment rights, noting that protecting free speech is “central to our democracy.” “I believe successful treatments for COVID-19 have been suppressed, and there are real conspiracies that have been revealed that are essential to public well-being,” said Mercola. Margot Baldwin, president of the publisher, pointed out that, historically speaking, suppressing books indicates dangerous government trends.. “The government trying to ban books is a very dangerous slippery slope to totalitarianism and cannot be allowed,” said Baldwin. “We’ve been here before in history and we know where it leads: tyranny! First burning books, then banning books, then disappearing books from search results. It’s all the same thing.” As a result of Warren’s letter, Barnes and Noble, the largest bookseller chain in America, announced it would no longer sell the ebook of “The Truth About COVID-19″ on its digital platforms, a decision which was reversed a few days later. Many observations about Covid-19 that were previously considered “conspiracy theories” by Democrat politicians have since turned out to be correct. For a few examples: after two years of lies, the Centers for Disease Control finally admitted that its Covid death and hospitalizations numbers were being inflated, 75 percent of Covid victims had at least four comorbidities, the vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission, and cloth masks were always political theater. This is not the first time Democratic politicians have colluded with powerful private corporations to shut down speech that poses an inconvenience. Recently, President Joe Biden urged social media companies to “deal with the misinformation and disinformation” on their platforms. Last year, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed the White House was regularly working with Facebook to “flag problematic posts that spread disinformation.” Nathan J. Arnold, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he doesn’t believe that “there is any ‘misinformation’ in the book,” but even if there was, it would be irrelevant since it is speech protected by the First Amendment. “I know that the political landscape that we’re all operating in is terribly partisan, but we don’t want unpopular opinions being suppressed by whoever’s in power,” said Arnold. “It really transcends party politics.” Sam Neves is a former leftist and a correspondent for Campus Reform. He is a marketing major at Emerson College. After graduation, Sam plans to attend law school and continue his mission to fight for people who do not have a voice.
One day before the 2022 March for Life in Washington, D.C., Catholics For Choice, a radical pro-abortion group, proudly projected “Pro-Choice Catholics You Are Not Alone” and “1 in 4 Abortion Patients is Catholic” messages onto the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The left-wing funded group, which has not been Catholic for decades, defended the sacrilegious act by claiming that 68 percent of Catholics “want Roe v. Wade to remain the law of the land.” CFC’s LGBTQ president, along with other members of the progressive staff, happily amplified the stunt on Twitter. Although many of the CFC staff are openly at odds with Catholic doctrine about contraception, marriage, and gender, the group still claimed to represent a “majority” of Catholics. CFC masquerades as a religious group that cares about the health and well-being of women but the organization is just another front for left-wingers that want to fund activism that encourages killing babies in the womb. The CFC claims to be a “nonprofit organization that lifts up the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom,” but the group is actually a front for pro-abortion leftists to push their radical baby-killing agenda under the guise of religion. For decades, the CFC and its pronoun-happy staff have relied on donations from openly left-wing donors to fund their long history of pro-abortion lobbying in the nation’s capital and around the world. For more than a decade, leftist billionaire Warren Buffett, a self-described agnostic who was raised Presbyterian, has propped up the CFC and its activism by funneling the organization tens of millions of dollars from his foundations. In 2019 alone, Buffett’s Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation gave more than $1,492,000 to Catholics for Choice in the name of promoting abortion-on-demand policies. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a mega-funder for multiple far-left causes and anti-Trumpers posing as Republicans, has also poured millions into CFC in recent years. The Ford Foundation, which maintains sketchy financial ties to communists and terrorist sympathizers, and the Huber Foundation, which is known for giving to radical abortion organizations, have also donated millions to CFC’s cause. The CFC uses this money that it receives from non-Catholic or Catholic doctrine-denying donors to join forces with other radical pro-abortionists in the United States and even fund advocacy and teachings that encourage killing unborn babies overseas. CFC was founded in Washington D.C. under the name “Catholics for a Free Choice.” At the time, the nonprofit bragged it was designed “to serve as a voice for Catholics who believe that the Catholic tradition supports a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health.” Despite CFC’s insistence that its radical pro-abortion views line up with modern religious feelings, the Catholic Church officially opposes abortion and teaches that life must be protected starting at conception. According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholics have officially “affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion” since the first century. “This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law,” the catechism states. The pope also has said that abortion, which the CFC touts as “protecting women,” is “murder.” Additionally, despite the church’s firm position against LGBTQ acts, most of CFC’s current staff are openly gay, actively allied with LGBTQ activism, or have pronouns in their staff bios. As a result of the CFC’s immoral teachings, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, then called the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, excommunicated the CFC in 1993 and said the group was not “an authentic Catholic organization.” “It attracts public attention by its denunciations of basic principles of Catholic morality and teaching — denunciations given enhanced visibility by media outlets that portray CFFC as a reputable voice of Catholic dissent,” the NCCB wrote in a statement. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Mexico also censured the organization and noted that the CFC’s primary mission is antithetical to Catholic teaching. In addition to losing its official status as a Catholic organization in the 1990s, CFC has also earned the wrath of several high-ranking Catholic officials over the years who don’t take the nonprofit’s endorsement of the immoral act of abortion lightly. During the 2022 March for Life, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington D.C., compared CFC to Judas Iscariot, the disgraced disciple who betrayed Jesus. After the CFC displayed pro-abortion messages on the National Basilica ahead of the March for Life, Gregory said the group excommunicated themselves by supporting baby-killing in the womb. “The true voice of the Church was only to be found within The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last evening. There, people prayed and offered the Eucharist asking God to restore a true reverence for all human life,” Gregory wrote. “Those whose antics projected words on the church building demonstrated by those pranks that they really are external to the Church and they did so at night – John 13:30,” he added. Archbishop Salvatore Cordilene, head of the Archdiocese of San Franciso, also condemned CFC’s “attempted desecration,” and called it “diabolical.” While the CFC has failed to gain the approval of the Catholic church, it has earned high praise from abortion activists and baby-killing organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which boosted the CFC’s early efforts to advertise and promote abortion. Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordangdavidson.
Supply chain issues, a result of lockdowns and other extreme Covid measures, have been plaguing Americans throughout the pandemic and had affected a majority of people by the end of 2021. The problem has been worsened by a labor shortage at least partly fueled by states and the federal government paying people not to work and punishing workers who chose other means to fight Covid than experimental vaccines that boost big pharma. So, since the start of 2022, shoppers have been treated to a growing number of totally empty shelves. Now, the crisis has made its way to baby formula. In a CBS interview with one San Francisco couple, one mother said, “We noticed [formula] being difficult to find maybe a couple months ago, two, three months ago, and then just recently, we can’t find it. We have tried all the local Targets and we checked Costco, Costco online, Walgreens, we can’t find it anywhere.” As this is a growing problem, parents need solutions. Whatever the reason for offering formula — we had to feed our middle daughter formula because she was lactose intolerant as a baby and would recreate the vomiting scene from “The Exorcist” whenever she breastfed — parents cannot just swap out formula for a turkey sandwich. So many are looking for solutions. On Twitter, PoliMath offered a short thread on what parents can do. In it, he lists several options, including evaporated milk and a recipe that uses powdered goat’s milk, as well as a link to a fact sheet detailing what goes into formula. Here’s another nutrient-rich recipe recommended by a friend. This is where we are as a nation, in 2022, thanks to elite mishandling of basically everything since Covid escaped the lab in 2019. In 2020, despite the virus and the mishandling of it, there were supply chain issues, but people could still mostly find the staples they needed. They could also better afford to pay for them. These days, that’s not a given. Now, with inflation running rampant and shelves running bare, parents are being forced to find alternatives to feed their babies. Given that formula wasn’t cheap to begin with, that adds even more strain to the stress of having a newborn. Add that to the ever-growing list of his failures and it’s easy to see why even Chuck Todd had to admit that Biden is “no longer seen as competent and effective, no longer seen as a good commander-in-chief, or perhaps most damaging, as easy-going and likable.” “In fact,” he continued, “just 5 percent of adults say Mr. Biden has performed better than expected as president, one of the many lowest firsts and fewest in our poll.” Those numbers came from polling NBC did after Biden’s two-hour speech last week in which he explained just how great a job he’s doing. President Biden may be asking America, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” but with the pandemic of incompetent elites hitting everyone, now including babies, he isn’t going to like the answer. I guess our only hope at this point is for the supply chain issues to cause disruptions to the ice cream market so he’ll finally start paying attention. Richard Cromwell is a writer and senior contributor at The Federalist. He lives in Northwest Arkansas with his wife, three daughters, and two crazy dogs. Co-host of the podcast Coffee & Cochon, you can find him on Facebook and Twitter, though you should probably avoid using social media.
The film “Belfast” shows us the beginning of what became known as The Troubles in Northern Ireland, but the story doesn’t just say something about the past or a particular place. It says something profound about our current political order’s reality, namely that religion is always considered a problem. Why Secular Liberalism Can’t Stand Real Religion Jamie Dornan plays the father of protagonist Buddy, a 10-year-old Protestant boy with a crush on a Catholic girl in 1969. In one scene where Dornan and his wife (played by Caitriona Balfe) are skipping church to figure out what they’re going to do with their family amidst all the chaos erupting in Belfast, his son asks why there’s so much violence in their town and on their street. He answers: “Because of religion.” Religion is the problem. But it’s also the solution. Buddy then asks his father, “Then why are you sending us to church?” His father replies, “Because your grandmother would kill me if I didn’t.” Therein lies the crux of it all. Only a sentimental spirituality, that is good because your grandmother says it is, remains non-threatening to a political order and other religions. But a real faith that makes real demands is threatening, and that’s partially why The Troubles existed. Dornan’s character represents the emergence of modernity, secularism itself, that sees politically religious zealots as the problem. To a modernist, religion may be a fine thing but should never be the highest thing. The highest ideal or “virtue” to the modernist is tolerance – kindness, fairness, respect. It’s a world where being Catholic and being Protestant (or Hindu or Muslim) are essentially the same thing. Jointly, secular liberalism and individualism water down religion and make it a private faith that makes no public demands and does not govern the foundation of society. A community or country’s common good is not after an actual “good” at all, for there is no aim, but just a shared physical existence, not a spiritual reality. ‘Belfast’ Captures Community, Just Not A Unified One The common life portrayed in “Belfast” is still quite beautiful and shows how communal society used to be. The street life — the community of working-class families in row homes (with toilets in the backyard and couches dragged to the front stoop) — leaves you nostalgic for a simpler, more connected time where in-person play was standard and there were few technological distractions to human interaction. Belfast reminds one of “Cheers,” a place where a kid could grow up and everyone knew his name and looked out for him. In part, his neighborhood was an extension of his family. The film also captures the special inter-generational relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. Buddy’s grandpa is the sage old male character in the film constantly offering his advice on love to the young lad with the best lines: “The way to handle a woman is to love her.”“People think when you’re gray your heart doesn’t skip.”“Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.” Despite the film’s black and white nostalgia, young Buddy’s earnest desire to be good, and the natural chemistry between Dornan and Balfe, I couldn’t shake the subliminal messaging and the obvious realization that individualism goes against human nature. Without Religion, We Will Never Agree on Reality Despite the coexistence of Catholics and Protestants in “Belfast,” there remained a misunderstanding, a spirit of tribalism, and a lack of social cohesion. Buddy’s parents had major misconceptions about Catholicism. These showed that even in a pluralistic society, there will always be ideological sects and a lack of total unity because human nature is drawn to community. And authentic community can only really exist with a shared mutual end or aim. One obvious issue that arises between different groups of people with different confessional beliefs is a disagreement upon objective reality. There is no agreed-upon objective authority by which to measure sin and moral law, which means that moral questions devolve into relativism and never get answered, and the illusion of neutrality becomes the social norm. And the tragedy of neutrality is that saying there are no absolutes becomes an absolute, an absolute nihilism. Cardinal Manning once said that “all human conflict is ultimately theological.” Religion is always the problem, but it’s also the solution to our polity’s problems. Yet instead of having the real debate on theology, our society has a million little debates on the issues that stem forth from theology. I think we’re just all a little too “tolerant” to address the real one. Jessica Kramer currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area and argues for a redefinition of feminism through her organization, Ladies for Liberty.
A professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business recently went viral for tweeting the news that approximately one-quarter of her students believe the average American worker makes six figures annually: I asked Wharton students what they thought the average American worker makes per year and 25% of them thought it was over six figures. One of them thought it was $800k. Really not sure what to make of this (The real number is $45k)— Nina Strohminger (@NinaStrohminger) January 20, 2022 That news shouldn’t surprise anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in the nation’s capital. Washington often feels like the “District of Cash,” so flush with spending other people’s money that it has little bother with the concerns of real-world Americans. Six-Figure Speeches Consider the current Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen. In recently perusing her financial disclosures, I noticed she had to file an amended form last year. In one case, Yellen misstated the amount of a speaking honorarium by $100—an oversight that could represent a mere typographical error. But Yellen had to amend her disclosure for another reason: For a series of five speeches she gave to the City National Bank in January 2019, she had to admit that she wasn’t paid $112,500 per speech, but “only” $90,000 per speech. The change to her financial disclosure brought two questions to mind. First, who makes an error like that? Put aside for a moment the fact that Yellen now manages an immense bureaucracy, including agencies that pump out thousands of pages of regulations every year, and an Internal Revenue Service that can scrutinize the finances of every single American. If someone paid me $450,000 to give a series of speeches, I would remember every last detail about those speeches—down to what I ate traveling to and from the event. I would bet most Americans would, too. But when filling out her original disclosure form, Yellen and her team apparently couldn’t even figure out whether she gave four speeches (which would average $112,500 per speech) or five (which would average $90,000 per speech). What exactly did City National Bank expect for their $450,000? As the Wharton professor recently noted, that sum roughly approximates what an average worker makes in a decade. For City National Bank to give Yellen such a large sum simply to give a few speeches represents either a colossal waste of shareholders’ money—or an attempt to buy access to someone who at the time had just left her post as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Nearly six years ago, Hillary Clinton drew jeers, and rightly so, for meekly defending her $675,000 fee for three speeches given to Goldman Sachs by claiming “That’s what they offered.” But Yellen’s financial disclosure form shows that policymakers’ tin ear towards the way ordinary Americans live hasn’t remained confined to Clinton. Lavish Spending It isn’t just confined to Democrats, either. Several years ago, I made an offhand comment to a Capitol Hill staffer about a work conference I had to attend at a luxury resort. The staffer responded that he had always wondered how conservative organizations can justify to their donors having fancy conferences at four-star hotels. He had a point, one that I pondered before and since. I understand that donors, many of them wealthy, likely wouldn’t attend events held at the local Motel 6. But as someone who takes pride in his thriftiness, the nature of the cocktail-and-gala circuit often seems unsettling, particularly in the case of organizations that are supposed to advocate for smaller, more effective government and lower federal spending. Societal Disconnect Nearly a century ago, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote on the impact of wealth—not just its practical effects, but the corrosive nature and entitlement mentality that often accompanies it: Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. With the Washington metropolitan area home to some of the richest counties in the land, the disconnect between wealthy elites—of both parties—and the people they represent will only grow, with potentially disastrous effects on the nature of our society and the fate of the democratic experiment. Chris Jacobs is founder and CEO of Juniper Research Group, and author of the book, “The Case Against Single Payer.” He is on Twitter: @chrisjacobsHC. Previously he was a senior health policy analyst for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a senior policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies, and a senior policy analyst with the Joint Economic Committee’s Senate Republican staff. During the debate over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, Jacobs was a policy adviser for the House Republican Conference under then-Chairman Mike Pence. In the first two years of the law’s implementation, he was a health policy analyst for the Senate Republican Policy Committee. Jacobs got his start on Capitol Hill as an intern for then-Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from American University, where he is a part-time teacher of health policy. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.